House of Representatives
28 November 1935

14th Parliament · 1st Session

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

page 2030


Mr.CURTIN. - A series of broadcasts is being made from A class station3AR, Melbourne, by Mr. Martin White, in which he relates the story of the Australian banking institutions. Has the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral made himself acquainted with the text of any of these broadcasts? Can he say whether they are not, in fact, an advertisement of private trading corporations? If they are, ought not those institutions to pay for broadcasts from aB class station?

Minister for Defence · WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP

– I have no personal knowledge of these broadcasts, nor have I seen the text of them, but I shall be very glad to have the aspect referred to by the honorable gentleman considered by the Postal Department.

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– It is rumoured that the air mail service from Great Britain to Australia has been delayed for several days. Will the Minister representing the Postmaster-General state whether that rumour is well founded and, if so, what is the reason for the delay?


– It is a fact that the air mail from England to Australia is being delayed several days, for the reason stated in the press. The Australian end of the organization is in no sense responsible. I shall obtain details for the honorable member.

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Civilaction Againstadministrator


– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the fact that the chairman of the Executive Council of Norfolk Island found it necessary to sue the Administrator in a civil action, and that the judge who heard the case stated that the Administrator had been guilty of a very serious error of judgment? What does the Government propose to do in the matter?

Prime Minister · WILMOT, TASMANIA · UAP

– I have no knowledge of the matter, but shall investigate it, if the honorable member will place a question on the notice-paper. .

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Entry to New Zealand


– In view of the sweeping victory achieved by the Labour party at the elections held in New Zealand, and the consequent change of government in that dominion, will the Prime Minister take early steps to re-open with the new government the negotiations in regard to the removal of the embargo upon the entry of Australian citrus fruits to New Zealand ?


– In due course, the subject of trade between New Zealandand Australia will be taken up with the new government. I shall communicate with the new Prime Minister at an early date, and go into the matter with’ him.


– In view of the probable political complexion of the new government in New Zealand, will the Minister for Trade and Customs give an assurance that his department will take even greater precautions in future against the introduction of corky scab from that country?

Minister for Trade and Customs · BALACLAVA, VICTORIA · UAP

– This question is really the concern of the Department of Health which the Prime Minister is, for the time being, administering. Corky scab is one of the diseases alleged to infect potatoes grown in New Zealand. The matter will receive all necessary attention from my department.

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– In view of the importance of the world sugar conference to be held next year, is it the intention of the Government that Australia shall be represented by a Minister of the Crown, as well as by officials of the Department of Trade and Customs?


– The honorable member for Martin, and other honorable members may rest assured that, in view of the importance of the matter to be dealt with, Australia will be adequately represented at this conference.

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– Has the Minister for Commerce any information that he can give to the House in relation to the quota of Australian beef that is to be allowed to enter Great Britain during the first quarter of next year?

Minister for Commerce · COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– So far I have received no information on the subject.

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Report of Australian Delegate


– I ask the Prime Minister whether the report of the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart), as the delegate of the Australian Government at the last conference of the International Labour Office, has been submitted to Cabinet, whether Cabinet has considered it, and when it will be made available to honorable members?


– The honorable member for Parramatta has submitted reports dealing with the various matters into which he inquired, and also in regard to his representation of Australia at Geneva. TheGovernment has not yet had an oportunity to go into these matters, and at this stage, I cannot say what will bedonein regard to them.


– Will the Prime Minister supply honorable members during the recess with a copy of the report of the honorable gentleman in the matter of unemployment, when the Cabinet has had an opportunity to consider it, so that they may have the benefit of this very intensive research, by a most capable gentleman, before Parliament reassembles?


– I can only promise the honorable member that I shall give consideration to his request.

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

– Does the Prime Minister consider that the victory obtained by the Labour party at the elections held in New Zealand yesterday constitutes a vindication of the policy of the Commonwealth Government in the matter of sanctions?


– Order !

Question not answered.

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The following papers were presented : -

High Commissioner for Australia in London - Report for 1934.

Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act-

Ordinances of 1935 -

No. 11 - BagotRoad Board (Vesting of Roads ) .

No. 12 - Business Names.

No. 13- Mining (No. 3).

No. 14 - Adoption of Children.

No. 1 5 - Hawkers.

No. 16 - Poor Persons Legal Assistance.

No. 17 - Electric Light and Power.

No. 18-Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

No. 19 - Crown Lands (No. 2).

No. 20 - Auctioneers.

Regulations amended, &c, under -

Board of Inquiry Ordinance.

Business Names Ordinance.

Crown Lands Ordinance.

Electric Light and Power Ordinance.

Police and Police Offences Ordinance.

Public Service Ordinance (2).

Wireless Telegraphy Act - Regulations amen ded- Stautory Rules 1935, Nos. 104, 120.

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Formal Motion for Adjournment

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).I have received from the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the House this afternoon for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, “The continued failure of the Government to take appropriate action for the adoption of the Statute of Westminster “.

Five honorable members having risen in support of the motion,

Minister without portfolio assisting the Minister for Commerce · Batman · UAP

.- I move -

That the House do now adjourn.

Mypurpose in moving the adjournment of the House is to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, namely the continued failure of the Government to take appropriate action for the adoption of the Statute of Westminster. Quite recently I addressed a question to the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) on this subject, asking him when he proposed to take action, if at all, and he gave me that soft answer which proverbially turneth away wrath. As my wrath at any time is of that evanescent kind which even a zephyr may dissipate, I was satisfied with his answer for the time being. However, I feel that as Parliament is shortly to rise for the Christmas vacation, the Prime Minister might reasonably be expected to make a public declaration at this stage regarding his attitude on this very important matter. The motion I have movedrepresents an attempt on my part to influence an apparently somnolent Government in a matter vitally affecting Australia’s nationhood, and designed to give a legal definition to dominion status as we already know it to exist in practice.

The processes of Australia’s constitutional development have been slow, admittedly, but since 1917, at any rate, they have moved inexorably to that position defined in 1926 when the legal status of the dominions was brought into harmony with the already accepted constitutional position. The famous Balfour declaration of that year is in these terms -

They are autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate to one another inany aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and. freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

I have always maintained that Australia’s status existed as a fact independent of any formal declaration or any legal enactment. This was recognized by Mr. Bonar Law, a former Prime Minister of Great Britain, when, during the war, he made a public declaration that if Australia wished to declare itself a republic there was nothing to stop it from doing so. Australia, so far as I know, does not desire to declare itself a republic. The League of Nations, a year or two after Mr. Bonar Law’s declaration, recognized by the admission of Australia to the membership of the League, that this country was a nation equal in all things to other State members of the League. Up to 1930, however, statute law, and constitutional law also, did place definite limitations on dominion status which nothing but British legislation, apparently, could remove effectively. In 1930, with the then Prime Minister (Mr. Scullin), I attended the Imperial Conference, which adopted certain decisions now known to history as the Balfour Declaration. The conference also adopted the recommendations of a certain legal committee of experts which had been set up in 1929 to suggest the appropriate method of giving effect to the decisions reached in 1926. The resolution which the conference drew up included the declaration that the parliaments of the dominions should pass resolutions requesting the Parliament of the United Kingdom to pass a statute into law giving effect as an act of legislation to the decisions of the various preliminary imperial conferences which had been held from time to time. On my return to Australia I moved, on the 3rd July, 1931, the appropriate resolution in these terms -

Whereas the Imperial Conference held at London in the year 1930 by resolution approved the report of the conference on the operation of dominion legislation (which is to be regarded as forming part of the report of the said Imperial Conference) subject to the conclusions hereinafter recited:

And whereas the said Imperial Conference by resolution recommended

that the statute proposed to be passed by the Parliament at Westminster should contain the provisions set out in the schedule annexed to the said resolution.

that the 1st December, 1931, should be the date asfrom which the proposed statute should become operative.

that with a view to the realization of this arrangement resolutions passed by both Houses of the dominion Parliaments should be forwarded to the United Kingdom, if possible by the 1st July, 1931, and, in any case not later than the 1st August, “1931, with a view to the enactment by the Parliament of the United Kingdom of legislation on the lines set out in the schedule annexed . . ..

The schedule to the resolution contained the substance of the Statute of West- minster which this Government and its predecessor have so inexcusably failed to adopt. I take leave to digress here sufficiently to say that, if the resolution had been adopted as agreed upon in London, and as proposed by me, the clear purpose which the Balfour Conference had in view would have been achieved, this delay of five years would not have occurred, nor would the present motion for the adjournment of the House have been necessary. Though there has been a good deal of juggling with trifling amendments, designed, as I think, quite unnecessarily to secure the rights of the States, the fact is that the position of the States was not affected by what was done at the Imperial Conference except insofar as it may be said that their position was affected by the public declaration contained in the resolution and stated at the conference - that the rights of the States would not be in any circumstances interfered with. In the resolution which T moved these words occur -

Nothing in this act shall be deemed to authorize the Parliament of the Commonwealth’ of Australia to make laws on any matter within the authority of the States of Australia, not being a matter within the authority of the Parliament or Government of the Commonwealth of Australia.

My view has always been that the relative position of the States and the Commonwealth is one to be dealt with by Australians under the Constitution of the Commonwealth. I have always, for my part, resisted every suggestion since federation that the Parliament of Great Britain has any authority whatever to interfere in that matter. I have stated that in my opinion the resolution was sufficient, but Sir John Latham, who was the then Leader of the Opposition, began from his point of view to paint the lily and add another hue to the rainbow. From our point of view the matter may not properly be described as either lily or rainbow.

Tha present position is that the Statute is in force of its own weight in Canada, South Africa and the Irish Free State. New Zealand, from which dominion better things may be immediately expected in the light of the recent election, has not adopted it, and Australia is in the same lethargic condition.

Under the resolution as I originally moved it, formal adoption, such as I am now seeking, was not necessary, nor do I think it is or ever was necessary; but Sir John Latham, an expert divider of invisible straws, bent his very acute mind to the raising and removing of difficulties, especially to the raising of them. Amendments were suggested avowedly mainly for the protection of the States, which in my view, as I have already pointed out, were not affected at all by anything done at the conference. The right honorable member who was then leading the Opposition having had hi? way in regard to these amendments, or some of them, gave his blessing to the proposal and Sir George Pearce the then Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, salved his conscience with some plausible words to the same intent. In Hansard of the 27th October, 1931, at page 1207, he is reported to have said -

I opposed the original resolution for reasons, which I considered were well founded, but since it has been adopted by both Houses, I intend now to vote for this supplementary resolution because, in my opinion, it puts- the States in an absolutely secure position.

It will be seen therefore that the Opposition came into line with the Government and that both sides in both Houses of the Parliament agreed that the Statute should be adopted and given effect. The Government had, however, accepted someamendments of the resolution in order, if possible, to remove all doubt or suspicion from the minds of defenders of the States. Western Australia, however, was still not satisfied, and in order to meet the second objection, that under the Statute a State would not be able, without the concurrence of the Commonwealth, to secure Imperial legislation even on State matters, the Commonwealth Parliament agreed in October to> a further amendment of the resolution. That amendment read as follows : -

Nothing in this act shall de deemed to require the concurrence of the Parliament or Government of the Commonwealth of Australia in any law made by the Parliament of the United Kingdom with respect to any matter within the authority of the Parliament or Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, in any case where it would have been in accordance with the constitutional practiceexisting before the commencement of this act, that the Parliament of the United Kingdomshould mako the law without such concurrence.

Needless to say I had no objection to that; although I conceived it to be unnecessary. And even the Government of Great Britain felt that the lily had been over-painted. At any rate, of the amendments thought to be of major importance, only the one I have just quoted was embodied in the Statute. An earlier one, on almost precisely similar lines, was dropped. But the States, whose suspicions had been aroused and inflamed by the criticism of the federal Opposition, took the matter further through certain Agents-General.

When the Scullin Government went out of office, the whole subject was held in abeyance for further consultation with the State governments, and there it rests at present. On the whole I am bound to submit, with much respect, that the then Opposition rendered considerable disservice to the clear definition of Australia’s position as a nation. It broke faith with the people of Australia, and even with the people of Great Britain, whom it moved urgently to a dead-end and left them there. The work of the British Government counted for nothing. One wonders what the presentHigh Commissioner of Australia thinks of Bie attitude of this Government and that of its predecessor in the light of the fact that he returned to Australia from England in 1926 triumphantly declaring with visible pride that he had won a new status for Australia. This Government has also let him down.

I should not dismiss this subject without reference to a painstaking and erudite opinion upon it, prepared by Professor Bailey, of Melbourne, at the request of the Government of Victoria - presumably the late Government. Professor Bailey was asked to advise upon the following matters : -

  1. Upon the ‘bearing and effect of this statute aa far as the State of Victoria is concerned ;
  2. Whether any additions to the statute could be recommended, in particular an addition along the lines secured by the Canadian Provinces in section 7 (2); and
  3. Whether there are any other matters affecting the States and arising out of the statute concerning which representations should be made by the Government of Victoria to the Commonwealth Government and the Imperial Government. [Leave to continue given.]

I thank honorable members for their consideration. As might have been expected, the opinion furnished by the professor is worthy of the source from which it comes, but it is obviously impossible for me to discuss it within the limited time available for me to speak to this motion; but, so far as I am competent to appreciate it, it does not appear to affect the validity of the submission which I am now making. I ask and am hopeful that I shall obtain the view of the present Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) on this subject. He has recently returned from London, and I assume has been in contact with the British Ministers who laboured hard with the object of obtaining endorsement of the wishes of Australia in this matter, as will be seen from the published official reports of the proceedings of the British House of Commons.

I was a little distressed to have placed in my hand after the House met a copy of a memorandum or statement on this subject made by the then Attorney-General, Mr. Latham, in 1933. I was not a member of this Parliament at the time it was made, and it had escaped my notice. In thi* statement, the right honorable gentleman said weakly enough that no good purpose could apparently be served by the adoption of the statute at present. Presumably, in 1926, he thought differently. In 1931, he certainly thought differently, for at that time he moulded the statute so far as he was in a political position to do so to his own liking: He won concessions from the government of the day to meet his prejudices and those of the States, and then assisted, to send it, with his blessing, to another place, where it was adopted in the form which one may assume he thought to be entirely satisfactory. Two years later, although so far as one can gather there had been no change in the general outlook, he expressed the opinion that apparently no good purpose could be served by its adoption.

Further words of mine on the subject are unnecessary. I charge this Government, so far as I am permittted to charge it, with a grave neglect of duty in this matter. I remind the Prime Minister that I had the honour to sit with him in the Cabinet which drew up these proposals. At that time he most heartily approved of and. supported them. I ask him now why there has been this change of front? Surely no question of high finance could be involved in this matter such as caused the right honorable gentleman to leave the Labour party. This is a subject of first-rate national importance, in respect of which he could surely be relied upon to support Australia’s wellfounded claims to a clearer definition of its nationhood among nations. As I have said earlier, I do not hold the view that Australia’s constitutional position rests upon the declaration of any imperial conference. I said that at the time this subject was under discussion previously, and I have not changed my opinion. At that time I quoted the words -

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on.

Australia is a nation whether it be declared so or not.

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

– Then why all the fuss?


– There is no fuss. There is an expression of opinion that, inasmuch as constitutional authorities on both sides of the House have for a number of years past taken deliberate action to put on record Australia’s constitutional position; inasmuch as we invited the British Parliament to join with us in this action and the British Parliament has done so most cordially and in harmony with our desires; and inasmuch as we have pledged ourselves to the electors to complete this work to which we have set our hands, I think it is a lame and impotent conclusion of the Government that it isbest to allow this declaration of Australia’s nationhood to ‘be lost in the marshes, as if it were something it is afraid to debate and unwilling to take to a conclusion.

Prime Minister · Wilmot · UAP

– I do not propose to speak at any length on this subject. The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) has asked me on previous occasions to state the policy of the Government in respect of it. I told him very clearly that the Government had not had a full opportunity to discuss the matter and come to a conclusion upon it, but that when that opportunity was found a pronouncement as to its decision would be made to Parliament. I did not make that statement, as the honorable member has suggested, in order to turn away his wrath, nor with any desire to postpone the consideration of the matter by Parliament. I made it because other more urgent matters were occupying the time of Cabinet. This is not an urgent matter, although it is, of course, an important one.

Mr James:

– The right honorable gentleman could shut up the House for six months.


– If I could shut up the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) in the House I should be quite happy. I can only repeat the assurance that I gave the honorable member for Batman on a previous occasion, that this subject will receive the full consideration of the Cabinet and that a decision will be made upon it as early as possible. I do not think - and I say this without any reflection upon the honorable member for Batman - that the speech which has just been delivered has contributed anything new to the discussion. It has merely recalled the history of the subject. Whatever there may be in the honorable member’s speech that is of value in the discussion of this matter will be taken into consideration. The ‘honorable member has suggested that the opinion of the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) regarding the issue raised should be obtained. I agree withhim; but the views of the Attorney-General should be heard by the Cabinet before its decision is made.

Mr James:

– Does the Prime Minister intend to apply the gag? If so,he will gag thehonorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes).


– The Government does not wishto gag anybody. The AttorneyGeneral has given close consideration to the matter, andhe will placehis views before the Cabinet. Ican merely repeat the assurance that I have already given that, as soon as possible, the Government will come to a definite decision, and that it will be made known to the Parliament. If parliamentary action upon it is required, the Parliament will be invited to take that action at the earliest possible moment.

Motion (by Mr.ArchdaleParkhill) put -

That the question be now put.

The House divided. (Mr Speaker Hon. G. J. Bell.)

AYES: 37

NOES: 27

Ma jority . . . . 10



Question so resolvedin theaffirmative.

Original questionput -

The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. G. J. Bell.)

AYES: 25

NOES: 40

Majority . . . . 15



Question so resolved in the negative.

Motion negatived.

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Motion (by Mr. Casey) agreed to -

That he have leave to bring in a bill for an act to amend, in relation to securities and exemptions, acts relating to the imposition, assessment and collection of a tax upon the sale value of goods.

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Bill received from the Senate, and (on motion by Dr. Earle Page) read a first time.

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In Committee of Supply: Considera tion resumed from the 27 th November (vide page 1984).

Departmentof Trade and Customs

Proposed vote. £564,430.

Mr.FORDE (Capricornia) [3.26].-I should like the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) to explain the increase of the proposed vote for the Department of Trade and Customs by £19,905 for 1935-36, in comparison with the expenditure in 1934-35, and to inform the committee of the number of officers employed in the Trade and Customs Department - the total number employed in each State and the total for the Com- monwealth - and what increase of staff has been made over the last five years. I also desire to know the method adopted by the administrative heads of the department to keep in touch with officers in all parts of Australia. Does the Minister arrange for periodical visits by the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs to the States? The Minister himself and the ComptrollerGeneral, I think, have had experience of discovering in the States young, well-equipped officers whom, with considerable advantage to the department, as well as to the officers concerned, they have brought to the central office and given an opportunity to obtain experience in administrative work. It is easy for efficient officers to be side-tracked when their duties are performed in outlying parts of Australia. I have met them myself in central and northern Queensland. It is all very well to say that they have the same opportunities for advancement as men at central office, but they never come under notice. It is only by departmental heads making periodical visits of inspection to all customs offices that the officers can be given an opportunity to meet them, and express complaints or show their claims for future promotion. A little more consideration regarding the customs officers in distant parts would lead to a better feeling of harmony and contentment in the department.

The Department of Trade and Customs is the greatest revenue-producer of all Commonwealth departments. In recent years the revenue from that source has increased strikingly from £18,500,000 in 1931-32 to £25,2S9,000 in 1934-35. It cannot be said that the Minister suffers from any dearth of funds, because the buoyancy of the revenues is pronounced. Of course, that buoyancy has been encouraged by slashing of duties on 1,500 items and sub-items of the tariff schedule in the last four or five years.


– The slashing of the tariff has tended to increase imports into this country, and to retard the development which otherwise would have taken place in our secondary industries. Undoubtedly, more employment would have been given had the Government not adopted a tariff-slashing policy. The

Chairman of Committees (Mr. Prowse), doubtless will say that the tariff has not been slashed to the extent which he would like to see. The Government also has reaped the benefit of increased revenue from excise, which has risen from £9,S00,O00 in 1931-32 to £12,570,000 in 1934-35, making a total revenue from customs and excise of £2S.300,000 in 1931-32, compared with £37,800,000 in 1934-35. T”he increase of indirect taxation, through the Department of Trade and Customs, since 1931-32 amounts to £9,500,000. Of course, the Minister for Trade and Customs would not like to admit that there has been any increase of indirect taxation through this department. He would prefer to say that there has been a drop of direct taxation amounting to £5,500,000, whereas actuallythere has been a net increase of about £4,000,000 in taxation revenue.

On page 79 of the Estimates there is shown the increased proposed vote of £S3o for the Tariff Board. Probably the Minister wall be able to explain the reason for that increase. According to its annual report, the board furnished 110 reports to the Minister during the year. I should like to know how many of those have been tabled, how may have received consideration by the Minister, how many are still awaiting consideration, and upon how many a decision has been reached ? During the year, Mr. A. D. J. Forster resigned his position as a member of t Inboard. Wa3 that action taken of his own volition, or was he asked to resign? Probably there are occasions when members of the board do not see eye to eye with the Government in matters of policy. Some of them may refuse to take a lead in regard to the nature of their recommendations. The attitude of this Government since it assumed office has been to effect a downward trend of the tariff. Did Mr. Forster resign because he could not see eye to eye with the Government?

Mr White:

– Not at all; his resignation was purely voluntary.


– What qualifications are possessed by Mr. Walter J. Rose that entitled him to the appointment?

Mr White:

– Excellent.


– Hear, hear!


– It is true that he was secretary of the Standards Association.

If honorable members who are noted for their low-protectionist views regard his qualifications as excellent, the wisdom of the appointment may be open to question, having in mind the future of Australia’s secondary industries. Probably the Minister may be able to enlighten us on the point. This Government clothed the Tariff Board with much greater powers than I think were intended at its establishment. The fact that under the Ottawa agreement, the duties upon imports from Great Britain may not be increased unless the matter has first been investigated and favorably reported upon by the board, places the board in a very much more important position than it previously held. It is really above Parliament. Control has largely been taken out of the- hands of the Executive Government and vested in the board, consequently, it is of the greatest importance that members of the board should be gentlemen of the highest standard of ability, experience and integrity. The board makes the following comment on page 14 of its annual report : -

The work of the Tariff Board during the past year has included much tariff revision on principles formulated in the United Kingdom and Australia Trade Agreement in 1932. Hence as a starting point for a review of the operation of the tariff the date of the signing of this agreement - 20th August, 1032 - naturally suggests itself. Since that date, restrictions have been removed and material reductions have boon made in the duties pay able on importations. The process has been gradual and the changes have been made without any serious dislocation of the business of local industries, while the result has been generally beneficial to the community. All of the changes which have affected the importation of goods from overseas since August, 1932, have not been the result of recommendations by the Board-

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Prowse:

– Order! I remind the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that the tariff is not now before the committee.


– With all due respect, I am dealing with Division No. 79 - Tariff Board. The expenditure under this item, as I have already mentioned, shows an increase of £S35. I am referring to work that has been carried out by the Tariff Board, upon which an expenditure of £11,305 was incurred in 1934-35, the proposed expenditure for this year being £12,140.


– When the Chair intervened, the honorable ‘ member was referring to tariff policy, an opportunity to discuss which will be afforded at a later date.


– I was quoting a paragraph from the annual report of the Tariff Board. The board sets out the number of alterations of duties that have resulted from its review of the tariff under the terms of the Ottawa agreement. The Minister informed us on one occasion that 1,500 items and sub-items had been reduced largely as the result of the definite instruction issed to the board that it must review the whole of the tariff items in the light of articles 9 to 14 of the Ottawa agreement, which unquestionably cut right across the protectionist policy of Australia without conferring a commensurate advantage upon the primary producers of this country. Apropos the subject of tariffs and trade treaties, presumably the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) will be able to state definitely when the Minister in charge of negotiations for Trade Treaties (Sir Henry Gullett) will return to Canberra. Upon his arrival at Fremantle, he .Ta3 responsible for certain rumblings w!,iel, appear to indicate that he is noi very pleased at the reception his recommendations are receiving at head-quarters. Does the Minister see eye to eye with him in the matter of his recommendations ?

Mr White:

– That has nothing to do with these Estimates.


– It has, because he is accompanied by three officers of the Department of Trade and Customs, including an Assistant Comptroller-General, Mr. Moore and Mr. Hopkins. I presume that the Minister in charge of negotiations for trade treaties is accountable to the Minister for Trade and Customs in the conduct of his negotiations.

Mr White:

– No; the expenditure which he incurs is included in the vote for the Prime Minister’s Department.


– But the expenditure of the Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs is defrayed by the Department of Trade and Customs. I should like the Minister to state what practical value has accrued to Australia from the visit overseas of the Minister directing negotiations for trade treaties. What work has lie done during his peregrinations through- out. Europe, the United States of America and Canada during the last six or nine months? He left Australia in the very early part of this year. All of those who are either directly or indirectly engaged in industry, whether they be employers or employees, await his return with considerable interest. One of the gentlemen accompanying him is a responsible and trusted officer of the Department of Trade and Customs, who has had the important task of advising him. The most important aspect of proposed trade treaties with other countries is the repercussion which must be felt by Australian domestic industries. Moreover, it is difficult to see how any trade treaties can be of much practical advantage to any aspect of Australia’s general economic position. Despite all the good intentions displayed on both sides in tariff treaty bargaining, in the long run a country’s economic policy is always dictated by the combined international requirements of employment, defence, industrial necessities and financial commitments. For these reasons, it should be borne in mind that international trade treaties may bring to Australia far more difficulties and complications than advantages, and may make our great secondary industries vulnerable to imports from cheap-labour countries, thus greatly accentuating the difficulty of providingemployment generally, and particularly for the 50,000 boys who annually leave school and seek employment very largely in vain.


– Order ! The honorable member is not in order in discussing that matter on the vote for the administration of the Department of Trade and Customs.


– I have dealt with the matter because at least three officers of the department have accompanied the Minister directing negotiations for trade treaties. A decisionin regard to treaties will be come to by the Government behind the back of Parliament. We shall know nothing of what has been done until the Minister for Trade and Customs places a treaty before the House and says that it must be accepted holus bolus; that no amendment of it may be made. For some years, the Minister directing negotiations for trade treaties held the position of Minister for Trade and Customs. 1 sincerely hope that he will not be “ given his head “. That he has “ trade treatyitis “ is evident ; andhe has indicated that, if he does not get his way, he will tender his resignation. The acceptance of his resignation would be better forAustralia than the acceptance of his recommendations, if one may place reliance upon what one reads in the press.


.- I desire to bring under the notice of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) complaints that have been voiced by officers of his department concerning their inability to carry out certain special duties with which they have been entrusted, because of the lack of proper facilities. The Brisbane Courier-Mail and the Brisbane Telegraph recently published the following: -

page 2039


Commonwealth Health and Customs authorities in Brisbane said yesterday that, under present conditions, they were severely handicapped in checking the landing of Japanese sampan crews on the North Queensland coast. They expressed confidence, however, that the use of speed boats, as approved by the Federal Government, would place their work on an improved footing.

The officials were commenting on the statement made in Sydney by a Torres Straits shipping master that sampan crews, after long journeys from the East, landed on the coast against quarantine and customs regulations, and sometimes came in contact with the natives. “ Until the launches suggested by the federal authorities are provided, we are really working in the dark; but we are doing all we can with the machinery at our disposal “ said Dr. C. R. Wiburd (Commonwealth Health Department). Before his department could take any action, it was necessary to make direct contact with the sampan crews. . . .

The Collector of Customs (Mr. R. B. Curd) agreed that the crews of sampans would probably find it easy to land on the coast, particularly about the Gulf of Carpentaria. They would, of necessity, come ashore for supplies of water and food, and mission authorities had complained that they had come into contact with the blacks.

I understand from a statement published in the press that a considerable time ago the Government approved of the construction of three boats to patrol the waters off the coast of North Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the north of Western Australia, particularly between Darwin and the Timor Sea, as well as. further afield in the New Guinea area, for the purpose of protecting the property of the people of Australia in those areas. So far, however, the Government has ordered only one boat to patrol the waters in the area used by the England-Australia air mail service from Darwin in the direction of Singapore. I understand that that vessel will shortly be delivered in Australia. So far as I can ascertain, the Department of Trade and Customs has taken no action to procure the other two boats to prevent’ in these waters illegal fishing by Japanese, and to ensure that there will be no breach of the quarantine regulations. Their presence is also necessary to impose a check on the drug traffic, and on smuggling operations. Nothing has been done, however, and a complaint has been received from the department’s own officers in Queensland that they are unable to carry out their work properly because they lack the necessary equipment. The offenders are becoming more and more daring. It is said that if patrol boats are not provided at once they will be of no use. because the sampans are rapidly cleaning up all the trochus shell on the reef. The following report dealing with the subic: was published recently in the Brisbane Telegraph : -

Japanese sampan crews in Northern Australian waters had now reached such a pitch of arrogant defiance of this country’s laws that they were almost openly landing on parte of the mainland coast north from Cooktown, said a northern shipping man to-day, commenting upon the published statement by Captain L: S. Diamond, well known in Torres Straits waters that the Japanese had dropped all pretence of concealment and were openly working what remained of the trochus shell grounds along the Barrier Reef.

It was probable that no patrol boat at all would be necessary after the end of this year, by which time practically the whole of the trochus sholl on the Barrier Reef would have been removed. Some of the shell from the reef had been transplanted in the waters of the Japanese mandated islands, which would mean that by the time the Australian industry had been exterminated the Japanese grounds would be ready for working.

Most of the sampans which were now operating on the reef., he added, were much bigger bouts than those which had first com’; there. Some of them were able to remain on the reef for months at a time without revisiting their bases for oil and stores and their object in coming into territorial waters and estab- lishing camps on islands or on the mainland waa, no doubt, to give their crews the opportunity of a rest and relaxation before going back to the Barrier Reef.


– When I was a mem ber of the Cabinet approval was given for the purchase and commissioning of patrol boats, and I am now asking that the work which I began should be finished. Already this matter has been too long delayed. The patrol boat that is being provided by the Defence Department was put underway when I was Assistant Minister. I appeal to the Minister to stand behind his officers, and provide them with the means to do their job. I have masses of evidence from press reports which I could produce if necessary, to prove the presence of Japanese sampans on the reef and to indicate the damage they are doing. I urge the Government to take action immediately, so that, before Parliament re-assembles, the patrol boats may be in commission.


.- Means should be devised by which the Customs Department can exercise a check over motor vehicles imported into Australia to ensure that only those that aTe safe to handle are admitted. At thu present time, there are a_great many new motor cars on the road that are positive death traps because of faulty mechanical construction. Numerous instances of the kind have been brought to my notice, but I shall content myself for the time being with reciting my own personal experience. Recently, I bought a new Ford V8 motor car, and set off with my wife and family for the South Coast. It was only by sheer luck that we were not brought home on stretchers. There were three major mechanical defects in the car which rendered it unsafe. In the first place, the windscreen wiper was either an old one or was defective, and would not work. Then the gear box was defective, so that the car was apt to jump out of gear into neutral on an incline, and, finally, the brakes were defective. On the journey of which I speak it began to rain heavily before I reached Bulli Pass, so that, with the defective wind-screen wiper, it was impossible for me to see, and I was driv- ing blind. Then, when I reached the incline at Bulli Pass, the gears went into neutral of their own accord, and the car plunged down the steep grade. I applied the brakes, and, fortunately, they acted sufficiently for me to obtain control of the vehicle, though afterwards, when 1 had the car examined, it was found that the brake on one wheel was not acting at all. The brake drum was full of oil, and pieces of the brake lining could be plucked off the brake band with the fingers. Had the car been in the hands of a nervous or inexperienced driver at the time it is probable that a fatal accident would have occurred. Traffic authorities, as we know, are gravely concerned at the present time over the number of road accidents, and it is usual to attribute such accidents to careless or reckless driving. I hold no brief for the man who drives recklessly. I believe that his licence should be cancelled, and that he should be prevented from driving again, but a great many road accidents are due, not to careless driving, but to mechanical defects for which the manufacturers of the cars are responsible. One most fruitful cause of accidents is skidding, the result usually of defective brakes. The law requires that the driver shall keep his brakes in good order, but the driver does not expect that the brakes on a new car should require attention. In my own case, I have treated the brakes with every consideration during the time I have been driving a car, and I always make a practice of descending steep hills in second gear so as to take the strain off the brakes. In order to exercise proper control, it would probably be necessary to obtain the co-operation of the State authorities, but something could be done, I am sure, through the Customs Department to ensure that only those cars which measure up to a certain standard of mechanical safety shall bo admitted to the country. The trouble is that the manufacturers are so anxious to speed up production and to make profits, that they do not take the proper precautions to ensure that the vehicles they make aTe safe. We read that in some instances the iron ore is taken out of the ships at 8 o’clock in the morning to be used in the manufacture of cars which are driven away from the factory the following evening. Recently, I discussed the subject of road accidents with the traffic superintendent in New South Wales, and he mentioned that, in most cases, accidents occurred to drivers who, up to the time of the accident, had had good records extending over a number of years. I am certain that, in a great many cases, the fault is due, not to the drivers, but to mechanical defects in their cars. When I brought this matter up about nine months, ago in the House, the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) tried to answer me by saying that if manufacturers made defective cars they would not be able to sell them. We know, however, that under the economic system of laissez-faire, manufacturers will always take a risk for the sake of profit. In the car which I bought, the electrical system was also faulty, and there were rusty bolts which broke off when they were touched, but at the moment I am more concerned about those defects which made for danger on the road.

Mr Collins:

– Those cars are tested by the agents before they are allowed to go on the road.


– It must have been a very poor tester who did the job on my car.

Mr Thompson:

– The honorable member would have cause for action against the company which sold him the car.


– My relations with the company are not particularly the concern of this Parliament, but the safety of the public is. As a matter of fact, I have letters from the company admitting that, the gears were faulty, and would not operate properly. The point I am making is not whether the company should or should not rectify the fault in the car, but that a check should be. exercised by the Customs Department to prevent the importation into Australia of faulty motor cars which, when placed on the roads, constitute a danger, not only to the persons who drive them, but also to every other road user.

Mr Thompson:

– The honorable member should have sought redress with the company who sold him the car.


– It is not a question of redress. If, as a result of the fault in the car, with my wife and family, I had gone over the cliffs at

Bulli Pass, there would have been no question of redress.


– I have extended great leniency to the honorable member in enabling him to point out what he desires the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) to do in connexion with a certain car. I now ask him to confine his remarks.


– I would have made my point long ago but- for the constant interjections. If I may continue I wish to say that the question of redress does not arise. The point I make is that a check should be exercised by the Customs Department to prevent the importation of faulty motor vehicles, which, as I have said, constitute a danger not only to those who use them, but also to every person travelling on- the roads.

Minister for Trade and Customs · Balaclava · UAP

– The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) has referred to the increased expenditure of the Customs Department. As a former Minister for Trade and ‘Customs I think the honorable member will agree that some extra expense is warranted in view of the increased burden of work imposed upon that department within the last few years. Of the £26,000 representing the increased vote for that department, £3,000 is for automatic increments payable to officers, £8,200 for adjustments in cost of living allowances, £6,738 for new positions considered essential in the central office and in all the States, £4,618 for salary restorations under the Financial Relief Act, and £7,324 for general expenses in respect of the central office and the offices in all States. There is no time to examine the figures further than to say that, comparing administrative expenses with the revenue collected by the department, the increase is very slight. During the last financial year the revenue collected was £37,850,000, and the increased administrative cost this year shows a rise from 1.62 per cent, to 1.72 per cent, of the revenue collected. In 1901, at the inception of federation, the cost of administration was 3.42 per cent., of the revenue collected, and was thus nearly three times as great as it is> at present. On many occasions since then it has been nearly as high.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition also referred to the position of officers engaged in out-stations. As I informed him in reply to a similar complaint last year, the senior officers of the Trade and Customs Department, particularly the Comptroller-General, have accompanied me to various States and there have been many cases in which officers, because of their ability, have been moved to other positions. Every officer in the department has a right to apply to the Collector in his State for- any position which becomes vacant in the department.

In regard to Tariff Board reports I feel sure that the honorable member will not be disappointed to-morrow when some further reports will be tabled. It may even be possible he will receive a surprise to-day.

Regarding the retirement of Mr. Forster from the Tariff Board, the facts are that he did not desire to be reappointed, as he proposed to engage in private business.


– Was it not because his views were not in accordance with those of the Government?


– No. The successor to Mr. Forster is an engineer and a manufacturer, who, for some time, has occupied the position of secretary to the Standards Association. Of all the applicants who applied, he was the best qualified for appointment.

The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) inquired about a launch that was to be built, and quoted reports from the press regarding the activities of poachers- in our northern waters. I was successful in getting the Government to agree to the building of three launches for the use of the Departments of Defence, Interior, and Trade and Customs. The first launch to be supplied is to be used by the Defence Department in patrolling the Timor Sea. For this purpose a fast launch, capable of maintaining a speed of at least 20 knots, is required. When the Defence launch arrives it will be inspected at the Cockatoo Dockyard and elsewhere to see if it is possible to construct similar launches in Australia. The press reports have very much overstated the activities of the Japanese pearlers in Northern Australian waters. Proceedings have been taken by the Customs Department at Thursday Island against the commander of a Japanese sampan, who was fined. Similar action ha3 been taken by the administration in New Guinea against Japanese caught poaching on the reefs there.

The honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) has complained about a motor car which has given him trouble. The honorable member has been unfortunate in his purchase, and I sympathize with him.

Mr Lazzarini:

– I do not ask for sympathy. The Minister has missed the point I was making.


– The honorable member wrote to me on this matter, and I took it up with the company, which replied, inter aiia -

We have gone to great lengths to satisfy Mr. Lazzarini with the performance of this vehicle, and we are still in communication with him on this subject.

The letter continues -

As you may be aware, we have a rather generous warranty policy, under which we agree to make good any parts proving to be defective within certain specified times.

Any redress is a matter of claim between the honorable member and the Ford company. It is not the responsibility of the Customs Department.


– Order ! The time allotted for the consideration of the estimates for the Department of Trade and Customs has expired.

Proposed vote agreed to.

Progress reported.

page 2043


This week’s sittings of the House of Representatives reached an inglorious end to-day, when the Government, not having the necessary 33 members present to enable it to suspend the Standing Orders, lost control of the business. After a wasted day the Government, seeing that the position was hopeless, lind the House adjourned at 4.45 p.m. until next Wednesday. . . . There was con sternation on the Treasury benches when it was discovered that the Whip could not muster the required 38 members to suspend the Standing Orders to enable private members’ motions to be pushed aside and government business taken. This is the second week in succession .that the Government, which has 40 supporters, has found itself in a similar predicament through its followers failing to remain at their posts in Canberra.

Government members absent from the closure and adjournment divisions were: Messrs. Collins (CP., N.S.W.), Corser (CP., Q’land), . . . and so on. I claim that an erroneous impression may arise from that paragraph. I was not one who failed to remain at his post at Canberra or embarrassed the Government. I actually objected to the unnecessarily early closing of the House on Thursday afternoon.


– Order! The honorable member is going beyond the scope of a personal explanation.

Mr Bernard Corser:

– I have not yet made it.


– The honorable member is not entitled to say what his attitude was in regard to the business before the House. By so doing he would introduce debatable matter.

Mr Bernard Corser:

– I did not vote for the adjournment when my own motion or government business could have been proceeded with. The Government was not embarrassed, the suspension of the Standing Orders was not discussed, or even considered, and the Government Whips allowed pairs to certain members, and even Cabinet Ministers themselves were absent, indicating that the Government had not lost control of business.

Mr Bernard Corser:

– I did not leave Canberra until four hours after the weekend adjournment of Parliament had taken place, despite the long sitting during the previous night, which lasted until 3.15 a.m., and I was not absent from my place on the previous week complained of. I brought the matter under the notice of the right authority, the local representative of the Courier-Mail, yesterday, and at his request prepared and presented to his office a short statement. I find by telegram to-day from Brisbane that no mention of my explanation appears in to-day’s issue of that newspaper.

page 2044


Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 3) ; Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Amendment (No. 3) ; Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Amendment (No. 2) ; Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) ; Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 4)

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Trade and Customs · Balaclava · UAP

– I move -

Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 3). (1.) That the Schedule to the Customs Tariffs 1933-

  1. be amended by inserting in that Schedule, between the columns headed “ British Preferential
Tariff" and "General Tariff", a column headed "Intermediate Tariff"; and {: type="a" start="b"} 0. be further amended as set out in the Schedule to this Resolution. (2.) That, on and after the twenty-ninth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-five, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the *Customs Tariffs* 1933 as so amended. (3.) That the rates of duty set out in the column headed " General Tariff " in the Schedule to the *Customs Tariffs* 1933 as so amended shall apply to all goods to which the rates set out in neither the column headed " British Preferential Tariff " nor the column headed " Intermediate Tariff " apply. (4.) That the Governor- General may, from time to time, by Proclamation declare that, from a time and date specified in the Proclamation, the Intermediate Tariff shall apply to such goods specified in the Proclamation as are the produce or manufacture of any British or foreign country specified in the Proclamation. (5.) That, from and after the time and date specified in a Proclamation issued in accordance with the last preceding paragraph, the Intermediate Tariff shall apply to such goods specified in the Proclamation asare the produce or manufacture of a British or foriegn country specified in the Proclamation. (6.) That any Proclamation issued in accordance with paragraph (4.) of this resolution may, from time to time, bo revoked or varied by a further Proclamation, and upon the revocation or variation of the Proclamation, the Intermediate Tariff shall cease to apply tothe goods specified in the Proclamation so revoked, or, as the case may be, the application of the Intermediate Tariff tothe goods specified in the Proclamation so varied, shall bo varied accordingly. (7.) That in this Resolution, unless the contrary intention appears - " Proclamation " shall mean a Proclamation by the Governor-General, or the person for the time being administering the government of the Commonwealth, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, and published in the *Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.* " the Intermediate Tariff " shall mean the rates of duty set out in the Schedule to the *Customs Tariffs* 1933, as amended in accordance with this Resolution, in the column headed " Intermediate Tariff " in respect of goods in relation to which the expression is used. {: .page-start } page 2044 {:#debate-16} ### THE SCHEDULE By adding a new Prefatory Note (12) as follows : - " (12) Unless the Tariff otherwise provides, motive power, engine combinations, and power connexions, when not integral parts of machines, machinery, or machine tools, shall be dutiable under their respective headings." ifr. *White.* **Mr.** *White.* ifr. ifr. *White.* ifr. *White.* {:#subdebate-16-0} #### White ifr. *White.* iff. *White.* Customstariff (Exchange Adjustment) Amendment (No. 3). That, on and after the twenty-ninth dayof November, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-five, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Scat of Government, the schedule to the *Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Act* 1033-1034 be amendedas follows: - by omitting "6(b) (as to deferred duty)", by omitting "11" and inserting in its stead "11(a)" and "11(b)". by omitting " 27 ". by omitting "38 ". by omitting "51(c) (2)". by omitting " 94 " and inserting in its stead " 94(b)'" by omitting "105(h)(1)", "105(h)(2) (a)" and "I05(j) (1)". by omitting "106(d)(2)", "106(e)(2)" and "106(f) (2) ". by omitting " 110 " and inserting in its stead "110(c)", "110(d)", "110(e)"and "(110(f)". by omitting " 114(f)". by omitting " 114(g)" and inserting in its stead "114(g) (1)". by omitting " 115 ". by omitting "117 ". by omitting " 119 ". by omitting "120 (c) (1 ) (b)". by omitting "123" and inserting in its stead "123(a) " and "123(c)". by omitting "126(b)". by omitting "131" and inserting in its "stead " 131(a)". by omitting "136(d)". "136(e)", "136 {: type="a" start="f"} 0. ( 1 ) " and " 136(f) (2) (as to deferred duty)", by omitting "137 ". by omitting " 1 39 ". by omitting " 140 ". by omitting "144(a)" and "144(b)". by omitting "152(a)(3)". by omitting "152(b)" and inserting inits stead " 152(b) (2)". by omitting " 154 " and inserting in its stead " . 1 54 ( a ) ". " 1 54 (b ) ". " 154(c) " and "154(d)". by omitting "161(a)". by omitting " 162 ". by omitting i: 163(a)". by omitting " 165 ". by omitting 166 ". by omitting " 167 ". by omitting "170(a)(1)", "170(a)(2) (a)", "170(a)(2) (b)", "170(b)", "170 (c)" and "170(d)". by omitting "171(a)", "171(b)", "171 (c)" and " 171 (d)". by omitting " 172(b)". by omitting "176(d)" and inserting in its stead " 176(d) (1)". by omitting " 170(e)". by omitting "177(a)" and inserting in its stead "177(a)(1)" and "177(a)(2)". by omitting " 177(b) (3)". by omitting "178(b)" and "178(c)". bv omittim,' "179(a)", "179(b)(7)" and "179(c)". by omitting "179(d) (2) (a) (1)" and inserting in its stead " 179(d) (2) (a) (1) (b)", by omitting "179(d)(3)(c) (as deferred duty)", "179(d)(4)", "179(d)(5)" and " 179(f)". by omitting "180(e)" and inserting in its stead " 180(e)(9)". " 180(e) (10)". 180(b) (11 ) ". ''180(e) (12) ", "180(e) (13)"."180(e) (15) " and "180(e) (16)". by omitting "180(h)", "180(i)", "180 1. k ) ", "180(l)", "180(m)" and "180 (n)". by omitting "181(aa)" and "181(c)". by omitting "182 ". by omitting "186 (as to deferred duty)", by omitting . " 187 (b) ". bv omitting "190" and inserting in its "stead "190(a)", "190(b)(2)", "190(b) (3)" and "190(c)". by omitting " 192". by omitting " 197(a)". by omitting "200" and inserting in its stead "200(c)" and "200(d)". by omitting "208(a)" and inserting in its stead "208(a) (2)". by omitting "208(d)". by omitting "215(b)". by omitting "229(h) (1)". by omitting "231(b)(1)", "231(b)(2)", "231(c)". "231(d)", "231(e)" and "231 (g ) ". by omitting "232(a)", "232(b)" and "232(c) ". by omitting "233". by omitting " 234 " and inserting in its stead "234(b)" and "234(c)". by omitting " 239 ". by omitting "241 (c)". by omitting "242(b) (as to deferred duty ) ". by omitting "250(b)", "250(c)" and " 250(f)". by omitting "252". by omitting "259". bv omitting "266(c)" and inserting in its stead "260(c) (2)". by omitting "209(a)", "269(b)" and "269(c)". by omitting "271" and inserting in its "stead "271(a)". by omitting "278(c)" and inserting in its stead . "278(c) (1)". by omitting "279(a) (as to deferred duty)" and "279(b)". by omitting "281(a)" and inserting in its stead "281(a)(1)" and "281(a)(3)". by omitting " 283". by omitting "291(n)". by omitting " 305 ". by omitting "318(a)(4)(a)". by omitting "319(a)(1)" and inserting in "its stead " 319 (a) ( 1 ) (b) ( 1 )" and "319 (a)(1) (6) (2)". by omitting "319(a) (4)" and "319(a) (5)" and inserting in their stead "319(a) (3)". by omitting "324(a)", "324(c)" and "324(d)". by omitting " 325 ". by omitting "328". by omitting " 329 ". by omitting "332(e)". by omitting " 333 " and inserting in its stead "333(b)". by omitting "334(f)(1) (as to deferred duty)" and "334(g)(1)(a)". by omitting "334(s)" and inserting in its stead "334(s) (1)". by omitting " 340 " and inserting in its "stead "340(h)", "340(c)" and "340 (d)". by omitting "340(f)". by omitting "352(a)(4)". by omitting " 357 ". by omitting "359(e)", "359(f)(3)", "359(f)(9)", "359(g)(3)" and "359 (g)(4)". by omitting "370(a)", "376(b)" and "376(c)". by omitting "381(b)", "381(c)" and 381 (e)". by omitting "390(a)" and inserting in its stead "390(a)(1)" and "390(a)(2)". bv adding after "392(a)(4)" the following: " 392 (a) (5)". by omitting "392(f) (I)". by omitting "393(d)". by omitting "394(d)". by adding after "419(d)" the following:-r- "419(e)(2) only as to those goods the rate of duty on which is determined by an item specified in this schedule ". {:#subdebate-16-1} #### Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Amendment (No. 2) That the Schedule to the *Customs Tariff (Canadian. Preference)* 1934 be amended as hereunder set out, and that on and after the twenty-ninth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-five at nine- o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Customs be collected in accordance with the *Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference)* 1934 as so amended. {:#subdebate-16-2} #### Customstariff (Papua and New Guineapreference) {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) That, from and after a time and date to be fixed by Proclamation, Duties of Customs be imposed on goods produced or manufactured in the Territory of Papua or the Territory of New Guinea and imported into Australia direct from either of those Territories, as follows : - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. On all goods specified in the Schedule hereto - Duties at the rates respectively specified in the column in that Schedule headed " Bate of Duty " ; and 1. On all other goods - Duties at the rates in force under the British Preferential Tariff. 1. That the Duties imposed on any goods in accordance with this Resolution shall be in lieu of the Duties (ifany) imposed on those goods in accordance with the *Customs* *Tariffs* 1933 and the *Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference)* 1934. 2. That in this Resolution, unless the contrary intention appears - "Departmental By-law " shall mean a By-law made by the Minister for the time being administering the *Customs Act* 1901-1935 and published in the *Commonwealth of Australia Gazette ;* " Proclamation " shall mean a Proclamation by the Governor-General, or the person for the time being administering the government of the Commonwealth, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, and published in the *Commonwealth of Australia Gazette ;* " the British Preferential Tariff" shall mean the British Preferential Tariff in force in the Commonwealth of Australia on the date on which any goods in relation to which the expression is used are entered for home consumption. {:#subdebate-16-3} #### Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 4) That theSchedule tothe *Excise Tariff* 1921-1933 be amended as hereunder set out, and that on and after the twenty-ninth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-five, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Excise be collected in pursuance of the *Excise Tariff* 1921-1933 as so amended (in lieu of the duties specified in Excise Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates, namely : - 28th March, 1935 ; and 23rd September, 1935). The resolutions which I have just introduced provide for - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Amendments of the customs tariff. 1. Amendment of the excise tariff. 2. Amendment of theCustoms Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Act. 3. Amendment of the Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Act. 4. Amendment of the Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea) Act. The customs tariff proposals embody the resolutions introduced on the 6 th December, 1934, and the28th March, 1935, which have been validated until the 30th November, and also new items covered by 45 Tariff Board reports received since March last, together with a few minor alterations necessitated by our Ottawa obligations. Comparing the position with that which existed immediately before the introduction of these proposals, and leav- ing out of account the December and March alterations - the effect on the tariff is as follows: - These figures include 52 decreases, in both columns, through additions made to "Item 174 (Machines and Machinery)", mainly by the definite provision in the tariff for the admission at free, British preferential, and 15 per cent., general, of. various types of machines not manufactured in Australia which have hitherto been generally admitted at the same rates of duty under by-law at the discretion of the Minister. This simplification which will be appreciated by all buyers of machinery, takes the onus of by-law decision from the Minister. No Minister desires the responsibility of determining whether certain machinery shall or shall not be admitted under by-law. As the proposals now submitted will clarify the position I think they will be applauded by all concerned. The summary of alterations sets out clearly the immediate changes of existing rates of duty consequent upon this resolution. A memorandum showing the whole of the rates outlined in the schedule, as compared with the Customs Tariffs, 1933, will be circulated to honorable members before the debate on the tariff commences. Among the items of the schedule which did not appear in the December or March schedules are several groups that are worthy of notice. The first group to which I invite the attention of honorable members commences at the foot of page 19 - >Item 170 (b) - Mining and Metallurgical Machineryand Appliances; and > >Item170(d) Rock Boring Machines, n.e.i. The duty on these goods, with the exception of winding engines, has been fixed at 7½ per cent. British preferentialand 33¾ per cent. general, with an intermediate tariff rate of22½ per cent. The previous rates were mainly205/8 per cent. or 30 per cent. under the British preferential, and 45 per cent. or 55 per cent. under the general rate. These reductions of duty should prove of great assistance in the development of mining, and lead to a diminution of unemployment. The Tariff Board is satisfied that they will occasion no harm to the Australian engineering industry which serves the mines verywell indeed. In its report the board stated that the witnesses representing the Western Australian mines showed a willingness to co-operate with the machinery manufacturers and a recognition of the general quality of the work and service given by them, while the local machinery manufacturers evinced a readiness to appreciate the problems of the mining industry. Pages 22 to 36 of the schedule cover Item No. 174 - machines and machinery - to which I have already referred. I refer now to some important items covering certain industriesconcerning which the Tariff Board states that the profit on capital invested has been high, and that prices to consumers should he reduced. The items concerned, and the pages of the schedule on which they appear are - >Item 206 (page 54), Lampware. > >Item 250 (pages 50-00), Glassware. > >Item 334 (pages 70 and 71), Wrapping Paper and Strawboard. {: #subdebate-16-3-s0 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE:
UAP -- While the honorable member for Swan was abroad a tariff schedule was tabled which gave effect to the board's recommendations in regard to British machinery. The rates of duty on foreign machinery were not altered. The Tariff Board considers that the reduced duties now recommended on lampware, glassware, wrapping paper and strawboard, while giving the local manufacturers reasonable profits, will limit their capacity to make excess profits and check any tendency for the general level of local prices to depart from world prices. Under Item 331d, which appears on page 69 of the schedule, a duty has been imposed on rubber latex, hitherto admitted free of duty, to bring it into line with crude rubber, as both commodities are used for the same purpose. The proposals contain an important feature for they provide for the reintroduction of anintermediate column in the Customs Tariff Schedule and set out intermediate rates of duty for the items covered by the motion. The purpose of the intermediate tariff column is to provide a convenient avenue for expressing the level of the duties which the Government is prepared to accord to those countries with which it succeeds in concluding satisfactory treaties. When introducing the Customs Tariff Proposals on the 6th December last, I stated with regard to the general tariff, that the Government had adopted a rate which was generally midway between the Tariff Board's " A " finding for the present exchange conditions and its " B " finding for conditions that should apply when the exchange rate between Australia and the United Kingdom is normal. I also stated at that time that the Government wished to be in a position to negotiate with foreign countries in respect of those items and that its decision was based on the principle of having something to give to those who treat us well and something to withhold from those who treat us badly. Speaking generally, the rates of duty appearing in the intermediate column of the schedule now submitted conform to the findings of the Tariff Board, and accord to Australian producers and manufacturers the measure of protection deemed necessary and desirable by the Tariff Board. In every instance the margin of preference which the Commonwealth is obliged to preserve in favour of the United Kingdom by reason of the Ottawa agreement has been maintained. I emphasize that the rates proposed under the intermediate tariff will not operate immediately. The object of inserting them at this stage is to facilitate current treaty negotiations, and; particularly the drafting of any treaties that may be arranged. In the absence of an intermediate tariff it would be necessary to adopt some less flexible and satisfactory means of expressing any tariff commitments which the Commonwealth is prepared to accept under treaties such as the introduction of special bills as has been done in the case of Canada and New Zealand. It is, therefore, most desirable that an intermediate tariff should be in existence before a treaty commitment in relation to customs duties is accepted either provisionally or finally. {: .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr Price: -- What is the position with regard to Oregon? {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE: -- The honorable member for Boothby has not infrequently asked me questions on this subject. The report onoregon cannot be tabled because negotiations which were proceeding with another dominion in regard to this item were interrupted by an election, and the time is not yet ripe for the re-opening of them. The Excise Tariff Proposals No. 4 will be found attached to the Customs Tariff Schedule on pages S3 and S4. They incorporate the amendments made by proposals of the 6th December, 1934, . the 2Sth March, and the 23rd September, 1935. The only new provision is in Item 19 which imposes a duty of 2s. each on wireless valves. This carries out the intention of the Scullin Government - as stated when the existing revenue duty under the Customs tariff on wireless valves was introduced in 1931 - to impose an excise duty when the Australian industry was fully established. The main purpose of the Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Proposals No. 3 is to eliminate from the operation of the Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Act 1933-34 those items and parts of items for which provision for exchange fluctuations is now made in the items themselves. The Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Proposals No. 2 provide the necessary adjustment of duties on certain Canadian goods consequent upon the alterations of duties under the ordinary customs tariff. The principal object of the Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Proposals is to remove a minor anomaly which has long existed in the tariff relations of the Commonwealth and the territories under its jurisdiction. The Papua and New Guinea Preference Tariff of 1934 specifies certain products of the territory of Papua and the mandated territory of New Guinea which shall be admitted into the Commonwealth free of duty and embraces all the major products of those territories ; but from time to time small quantities of other commodities are sent to Australia. In the absence of a specific provision in existing tariff legislation these other commodities are legally dutiable at the general tariff rates. It thus happens occasionally that goods imported from Australian territories are subjected to higher duties than similar goods imported from neighbouring British islands. It is sought to remove this anomaly by applying the British preferential tariff to all territorial goods except bananas, on which the general tariff rate is maintained, and except those goods for which special treatment is already provided. Only in one other respect is it proposed to change the existing tariff position. The Administrator of Papua is impressed with the possibility of growing tea successfully in Papua. With a desire to encourage this project for the development of the territories it is proposed to grant a preference of 2d. per lb. on territorial tea imported in bulk into the Commonwealth. No change of duty is proposed in respect of the remainder of the items of the schedule. They are included merely to bring together in a consolidated schedule all the items relative to Papua and New Guinea. Speaking generally, I may say that in this schedule, as in those previously introduced by this Government, the policy has been to provide adequate protection for efficient Australian industries, and so encourage them to expand and create new employment as they have so successfully done especially during the last three years. It is hoped also that this policy will continue to assist in the creation and migration of new industries. Moreover, as changes are not made now without adequate inquiry, the commercial world is assured of the maximum of tariff peace. As honorable members know, violent changes were the order of the day in regard to customs duties in the period immediately before this Government came into office. Nowadays the Tariff Board always makes an inquiry before an alteration of duty is made. As the Tariff Board is an impartial body which accepts evidence both for and against the proposals submitted to it, this method affords more sense of security to the commercial community than that previously in vogue. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- But the recommendations of the Tariff Board are not always adhered to. {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE: -- That is so; but, after all, the Government is the Government, and the Tariff Board is an advisory body. Where excessive protection has resulted in exorbitant profits through some manufacturers bringing their prices up to duty-paid levels where a monopoly existed, prohibitive rates of duty have now been replaced by protective rates. The cumulative effect of the Government's policy has been definitely to reduce prices to consumers, increase their purchasing power, and stimulate employment in both primary and secondary industries. The budget figures showed that factory employment had increased from 337,000 in 1931-32 to 451,000 to-day. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- That is the result of the Scullin Government's progressive policy, and not of this Government's meddlesome policy. {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE: -- We have heard the honorable member make similar statements on other occasions, but I do not think that many people are impressed by them. The figures which I have just given speak for themselves. In introducing previous schedules, I have stated, and I again undertake that I shall not hesitate to refer to the Tariff Board for further review the case of any industry, apart from those which the Tariff Board has proved to be uneconomic, in which it is shown that unemployment would be created by the new duties. That was proved in a case dealt with in a recent schedule, in which the Government accepted the Board's recommendation regarding the duty on piston rings. It was found that through reductions of price by overseas producers of these articles, the local producers were suffering very severe competition that might have forced them out of business. After going into the matter carefully, and after a prima facie case had been established, the matter was again referred to the board, which has recommended an increase of duty. This operates from tomorrow at 9 a.m., as will all other duties in the schedules, with the exception of tho intermediate tariff and the Papua and New Guinea preference proposals, which will not operate until a date to be proclaimed. The Government intends to hold a special tariff session, as soon a3 practicable after the new year, when full opportunity will bo given for debate on the various items in the schedule. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 2134 {:#debate-17} ### ESTIMATES 1935-36 *In Committee of Supply:* Consideration resumed from page 2043. {:#subdebate-17-0} #### Department of Health *Proposed vote,* £116,680. {: #subdebate-17-0-s0 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY:
West Sydney -- I have in my electorate an important organization which has operated during the last few years for the purpose of bringing under the notice of the proper authorities the necessity for an impartial investigation of the claims of a gentleman named **Mr. C.** J. Barnes regarding his cure for pulmonary tuberculosis. **Mr. Barnes,** together with a number of other interested persons, has made frequent attempts during the last few years to convince the health authorities, both State and Federal, that his claims should be fully examined and steps taken to prove beyond doubt, whether the treatment he advocates for attacking this awful disease, will produce the results claimed to have been obtained by him. It is extremely unfortunate that there is a tendency in Australia totally to disregard claims made for the cure of any disease, particularly if made by a layman or one who happens to be not a member of the British Medical Association. I urge that the officers of the Department of Health should not be influenced by the highhanded action of this association. In order to establish my case, I shall refer, at the outset, to definite and candid statements made by **Mr. Weaver,** the exMinister for Health in New South Wales, who, speaking of his intention to make arrangements whereby persons could attend hospitals for a medical examination at a fee ranging from 30s. to £5 5s., said - >The moment I said that was my intention, the medical fraternity, through the British Medical Association, immediately notified the doctors we were going to engage that, if they attempted for 30s. to £5 5s. to give people an examination which would ordinarily cost 18 guineas to 30 guineas, they would be ostracised and probably excluded from the British Medical Association. I suggest that, if the department refuses to recognizethe justice of the claim for an impartial investigation of **Mr. Barnes'** claims, I can only arrive at the same conclusion as did **Mr. Weaver,** and say that the strength of the British Medical Association is too great to permit of a private person having an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of his treatment. A notable example of the success of lay persons in the treatment of disease is provided by the work of Sister Kenny. The claim that she could cure infantile paralysis was at first ridiculed, and efforts were made to lead the public to believe that her methods were not in accord with medical practice. Yet, by sheer persistence, public interest in the matter was finally aroused, and the Government was forced to recognize the value of her work. I am fully aware of the danger of heeding the false claims that are advanced from time to time regarding cures effected; but I consider the time now opportune to sift **Mr. Barnes'** claims fully. With all due deference to the medical profession, I suggest that it behoves the health authorities to give the most careful consideration to matters which affect the health of the people. Treatment given by laymenhas sometimes proved successful where members of the medical profession have failed. **Mr. Fitzsimons,** the Minister for Health in New South Wales, recently received a letter from a man in a country district, who had been experimenting for some years regarding the treatment of cancer in stock, and **Dr. Morris,** the DirectorGeneral of Public Health in that State, recommended an immediate investigation of the results of the work. It was pointed out that, although the experimenterwas not a medical man, important discoveries had been made by laymen in the past. If it is desirable to examine the claims of an experimenter in the treatment of cancer in stock, of how much greater importance is it to investigate the claims of a layman regarding the cure of the dread disease of tuberculosis? Surely it cannot be said that we are asking too much when we demand a full inquiry into the claims advanced by **Mr. Barnes.** It may be contended that this is a matter which should be investigated by the State authorities, but I suggest that this Parliament cannot so easily wash its hands of the subject. It is as important for this Parliament to give consideration to the cure of tuberculosis as it is to concern itself with the treat- ment of infantile paralysis by Sister Kenny, or with efforts in regard to infantile mortality. The health authorities in New South Wales appear to be reluctant to treat the claims of **Mr. Barnes** seriously, and the opinion is held that their attitude is due to the influence of the British Medical Association. Therefore, I urge the Commonwealth health authorities to make the necessary investigations, or cause the State health authorities to change their present attitude of apparent indifference. The ex-Minister for Health **(Mr. Hughes)** recently made certain inquiries from thi Department of Health in New South Wales, and forwarded particulars which I had furnished to the Director-General of Health regarding the Barnes case. The reply received from the DirectorGeneral, however, is anything but satisfactory. He offers a number of criticisms, and questions, for instance, the nature of the medicines prescribed, the methods of treatment, &c, but **Mr. Barnes** has submitted a complete answer to those criticisms and has also offered his methods of treatment as a gift to the nation. I suggest that this method of dealing with such an important problem as the cure of tuberculosis will not produce a satisfactory conclusion. The matter has been left in an atmosphere of extreme doubt, and I urge the Department of Health to have it fully investigated. It has been placed before the health authorities in New South Wales on many occasions, but no real progress has been made. In January, 1930, **Mr. Barnes** requested **Dr.** Baret, the Director-General of the Tuberculosis Division of the Health Department of New South Wales, to select a number of cases placed under his charge at one of the government institutions. This request arose out of a petition from 52 inmates of the Bodington Sanatorium, who begged the then Premier of New South Wales, **Mr. Bavin,** to utilize any medical services available for the treatment of their complaint. They stated that at the sanatorium the only treatment given for " T.B. " cases was fresh air and food. The offer made was that **Mr. Barnes** should proceed to Bodington and give a demonstration at his own expense, that the department should be handed the necessary data, prescription, &c, and that **Dr.** Baret should guarantee personally to administer and supervise the treatment and issue weekly or triweekly bulletins. **Dr.** Baret stated that tho offer could not be accepted. During the last five years, many efforts have been made by representative bodies in Balmain to have the claims of **Mr. Barnes** investigated, but the unseen hand of some powerful organization has always prevented tangible results being obtained. The interested organization in Balmain is most desirous of co-operating with the health authorities. **Mr. Barnes** claims that many chronic cases have been cured and restored to normal health under his treatment. The scourge of tuberculosis still remains one of the diseases that are unconque'red by science, and, therefore those who are afflicted by this awful complaint anxiously await the day when the brain of man, whether layman or doctor, will conceive some method of successful treatment. I submit that this matter is so urgent, and of such national importance, that the Government should be made aware of the fact that **Mr. Barnes** maintains that he can cure tuberculosis, and that he can produce living testimony to that fact. I have interviewed some of his patients, and they do not hesitate to declare that they have greatly improved through being under his treatment. I have also in my possession letters from individuals, who speak in glowing terms of the results of the treatment, and of their improvement in health after following **Mr. Barnes'** instructions. In Balmain and the surrounding districts, a body has been formed known as the Citizens Tuberculosis Association, with the object of securing recognition by the health authorities of the remarkable results obtained by **Mr. Barnes** in his methods of treating pulmonary tuberculosis and kindred diseases. The association merely desires that the Department of Health should take such steps as are necessary to probe the claims fully, and to decide beyond doubt as to the genuineness of the cures and the methods of treatment. This matter should not be lightly brushed aside. Those who enjoy reasonably good health cannot possibly appreciate the anxiety and suffering of those who are afflicted by the scourge of tuberculosis. I have made it clear, I think, that the claims advanced should at least be carefully investigated. The Government should indicate that it is willing honestly and sincerely to investigate the claims and I ask the Minister for Health to instruct the Commonwealth Director-General of Health to disregard any influence which the British Medical Association might have, make his investigations and report whether the claims made are bona fide or not. {: #subdebate-17-0-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HOLT:
Fawkner .- The minor importance which the Department of Health occupies in the eyes of this Government and governments generally is shown by the fact that honorable members will be allowed to consider the proposed vote for the department for only 30 minutes, which is the shortest space of time allowed for the discussion of any of the departmental Estimates. I will have considerable support for the contention that the administration of health measures is one of the most important functions of any government. The time is long overdue for a change in the view that health should be regarded as merely a matter for the individual. That it is of importance to the Government and the nation, as a whole is shown by the fact that this year in Australia more than 76,000 persons will be drawing the invalid pension. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby: -- The shortness of the period allotted for the discussion of the Health Department is due not to the fact that it is considered to be unimportant but to the fact that it is considered noncontentious. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HOLT: -- Exactly, but honorable members would have expected from an active and intelligent Government an opportunity to make suggestions for efficient administration in connexion with the most important question of health. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- The fact that the time limit on the discussion of the proposed vote on the Health Department is half a.n hour will prevent at least 20 members from participating in the discussion. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HOLT: -- I hope that some later opportunity will be given to honorable members to give adequate consideration to the Health Department. In his classic work, *Erewhon,* Samuel Butler has written of a hypothetical community in which ill-health is a punishable criminal offence. There is a lot of substance behind the point which he has made. There can be no question that a person in ill-health eventually becomes a burden on the community. Persons who come into contact with the invalids are often endangered and thereby damage may be done to the community as a whole. The Government would be well advised to endeavour to improve the general standard of health in the community, and as a first step in that direction it should give consideration to measures of a preventive character. It is not too much to suggest a compulsory medical examination at regular intervals of every citizen of the Commonwealth. If such a system were instituted, we should reach the point at which all applicants for the pension before being admitted to pension benefits would have to produce certificates that they had submitted themselves to these medical examinations. Some time ago I asked the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Parkhill),** on notice, questions regarding the number of volunteers for military service rejected on the ground of physical infirmity. The figures show that 55 per cent, of the volunteers for the permanent military forces were rejected on this ground. Of the applicants for admission to the Royal Military College, the nominations of 70.6 per cent, were refused for a similar reason. Of the volunteers for the permanent naval forces 45.1 per cent, were rejected, and 43.3 per cent, of those who sought entry to the Royal Australian Naval College were also rejected. Only 3.9 per cent, of volunteers for the militia were refused because of physical unfitness, but the Minister for Defence pointed out that the standard of physical fitness required for those forces was very much lower than in the other cases. Two conclusions are to be drawn from exam'ination of these figures. The first is that the physical fitness of what should be the healthiest body of Australians is very much lower than it should be in a young and allegedly healthy country. The second conclusion is that while the standard of health required for admission to the militia remains very much lower than for the permanent military and naval forces, an opportunity is presented to the Government and the Health Department to raise the general standard of the health of the volunteers for the militia to such an extent that they will reach the standard of applicants for admission to the permanent defence forces. Representations should be made to the Department of Defence for it to include in the defence curriculum training which will make for increased physical fitness. Steps have been taken by many commercial organizations to inaugurate preventive measures to ensure the health of their employees. It is obvious that in any organization in which all the employees are important cogs of the economic machine, if the health of one or a number of employees fails, dislocation of industry follows. Lever Brothers works at Port Sunlight, in England, and the Great Northern Railway Company in England have appointed permanent dental advisers to investigate the dental condition of employees. Similar action has been taken by the Electrolytic Zinc Company in Tasmania. It has led to the discovery that a great deal of ill-health is due to dental troubles and preventive measures have led to a general improvement of health. {: .speaker-KLC} ##### Mr Mahoney: -- I should like to know the source of the honorable member's information about the position in Tasmania. The people to whom he is referring are dying like flies. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HOLT: -- The professor of dentistry at the Melbourne University will confirm my statements if the honorable member desires confirmation. If time permitted arguments that the activities of the Health Department should be extended could be adduced and elaborated at very great length, but I have the approval, I feel, of the majority of honorable members in my declaration that this department Should .be regarded as one of the most important in the public administration. The health of individuals can no longer be treated, as a matter for their own concern. It is a question calling for activity from all governments. {: #subdebate-17-0-s2 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
Melbourne .- I am glad to be 'able to welcome the Assistant Minister **(Mr. Hunter)** 'back to the House, but I commend him to follow the advice of ibis doctors and return to "bed. The Department of Health should be conducted for the benefit of the community, and I support the suggestion made by , t[lie honorable member f or West Sydney **(Mr. Beasley)** that a trial should be given to the treatment of tuberculosis mentioned by him this afternoon. Any invention for the deadly business of warfare, when brought bef ore the notice of the proper 'authorities, receives .adequate trial. ' I wish the same could be said about the discovery of processes for the improvement of health in the community. But I should object to the Commonwealth Director-General of Health **(Dr. Cumpston)** being appointed to carry out the investigations suggested 'by the honorable member for West Sydney. His 'history shows that he is not fitted for the task. When he was definitely asked to investigate the Spahlinger treatment for tuberculosis in Switzerland, he neglected to do so. He went the wrong way about the job. When he found that **Dr. Spahlinger** was not in the neighbourhood in which he himself was located, he failed to telephone, write a letter, send a telegram, or in any other way seek an .appointment with that gentleman. Possibly, if the Spahlinger treatment had been introduced, in Australia many years ago, tuberculosis in cattle in this country would have been eliminated. I contend, therefore, that there mu in the Health Department better men than the Director-General to do the work of investigation which has been suggested. I wish to express regret at the departure from Cabinet of the right honorable member for North .Sydney **(Mr. Hughes),** who was undoubtedly one of the best .administrators of the Health Department am the history of the Commonwealth. His establishment of the Jubilee Memorial Fund for maternal and infant welfare shows how valuable his services were to the country in has capacity as Minister for Health. He has instituted something -which will save the lives of Australian mothers and children. The publication *Save Our Mothers* prepared by the .right honorable gentleman, which I Grave read with, a great deal of interest, outlines action which will protect the health of mattners and children. The publication of the work marks a new step in th'e policy of the Health Department, which previously had contented itself with the preparation of a volume that doubtless was welcomed by the medical profession, but was far above the heads of the general community. The Health Department would be well advised to take a lead from the great insurance companies which recognize that prolongation of life is essential to good .business. These companies spend thousands of pounds a year in advertising in various periodicals, especially the *National Geographic Magazine.* That publication each month contains a full page advertisement, inserted by insurance people art very great expense, which gives advice on health matters mid issues warnings 'against disease. The Health Department could contribute to the 'better health of the community by issuing brochures aimed at improving the health standards of the nation. For instance, one could be prepared for distribution among the schools, containing information that the simple process of boiling water prevents 200 diseases from entering the 'human frame. Of course, inorganic poisons cannot be prevented by this process. A month or two ago the Canberra Hospital was solely under the control of the Commonwealth Director-General of Health. I accuse him- of 'having been unfit for the position. A fact which bears out my con ton ti on is that a supply of hot water is not available at night at the institution. I was a patient at the Canberra Hospital for six weeks, and I thank those " angel women ", the matron, the sisters and the nurses, for the good services which they gave me, and I thank also the medical man who saved my life. The lack of a hot water supply at the Camber ra Hospital is shameful, when one considers that there is no such deficiency at the hotels which have been erected at Canberra by the Government. A continuous supply of hot water is one of the greatest necessities in the conduct of a hospital, and it is futile to say that the boiler or cistern cannot be kept in operation. Another matter for complaint is the hours worked by the nursing staff at the Canberra Hospital. It is disgraceful that nurses should be forced to work for longer than 48 hows a week. The physicianextraordinary to -the late King Edward VII., **Sir Herbert** Sieveking, referring to the nursing staffs at the London hospitals, said that women who take up the God-blessed calling of nursing shortened their lives by five to ten years as a result of the terrible hours that they have to work. To-day I asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, the following question : - >In view of the decreased number of working hours for nurses now obtaining in New South Wales, will he inform the House of the hours for sisters, nurses, and trainees, at the Canberra Hospital ? I received the following reply: - >The weekly period of duty for sisters and nurses is 57 hours. In addition, sisters are on call on three nights each week from S.30 p.m. until midnight. The sister and senior nurse of the obstetric staff are on call on alternate nights. Trainees work 00 hours weekly. A reduction of the weekly working period to 48 hours is under consideration by the Hospital Board. I invite honorable members to inspect the hospital in the adjoining township of Queanbeyan and compare it with the horrible institution in this capital of a continent. Yet the Director-General of Health receives a salary of £2,000 a year ! Honorable members may consider that I am rather harsh in my strictures. I shall read to them what **Mr. Mat.** Charlton, a man as honest as the day, said in this House:- >I requested **Sir Joseph** Cook to send **Dr. Cumpston** to interview **Mr. Spahlinger,** but that official, instead of arranging for an interview, telephoned the Secretariat of the League of Nations, and was informed that **Mr. Spahlinger** was away on holidays, when, in actual fact, he had never left his laboratory. Aa a result, **Dr. Cumpston** failed to interview **Mr. Spahlinger.** I urge the Minister to carry out his investigations in a business-like way in the interests of those suffering from tuberculosis. On the same, occasion I made the following remarks :- >I endorse the wish expressed by the Leader of the Opposition that the Minister for Health will inquire fully into the Spahlinger treatment. Many men in the medical and surgical profession in the United Kingdom, whose names arc on a Scroll of Honour, have endorsed that treatment. That eminent physician, **Dr. Mackeddie,** who was commissioned by the Victorian Government to investigate the Spahlinger method, reported wholeheartedly in its favour. I then stated that had any one told me that **Dr. Cumpston** would decline to inquire into this treatment, I would stake my life on the conviction that he would investigate the matter thoroughly. I am sorry that I was wrong. {: #subdebate-17-0-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -Order! The time allotted for the consideration of the proposed vote for the Department of Health has expired. Proposed vote agreed to. {:#subdebate-17-1} #### Department of Commerce *Proposed vote,* £402,090. {: #subdebate-17-1-s0 .speaker-KCM} ##### Mr DRAKEFORD:
Maribyrnong -- I urge consideration of the desirability of increasing the expenditure upon "publicity, films and photographs ", Division No. 95, with a view to the encouragement of the use of films for educational purposes. The members of my party believe that expenditure in this direction would be of considerable value to the community at large, and that films should be made available to State Departments of Education and other education authorities. There is in existence in Victoria a body known as The Children's Cinema Council of Victoria. It consists of very prominent, earnest men and women, who strongly desire that the Federal Government shall make it possible for the Departments of Education of the States to derive advantage from films that are in the possession of the Commonwealth under the control of the Department of Commerce. In making this request I point out that such institutions exist in other countries, particular attention now being paid to their development in English-speaking countries. Activities of this kind are being developed in the majority of European countries, and Australia should not be allowed to lag behind them. Such expenditure would assist those who feel that so far sufficient has not been done. It may be asked why it should be necessary for the Commonwealth to interest itself in such a matter. Obviously, the scope of the matter is too broad for the States to handle separately, and in the event of their doing so, considerable overlap ping and probable confusion would result. I advocate the establishment of a central bureau controlled and developed by the Commonwealth Government. I understand that the Department of Commerce has a number of films of educational value which could be made available to the Education Departments of the States for exhibition to children during school hours. Other suitable films could be obtained from film distributing companies and other sources, with the result that all subjects of educational value would be exhibited in the schools. It is well known that some parents will not allow their children to attend motion picture theatres. Although prejudice may be the guiding motive in a number of cases, there is a strong feeling that some of the films exhibited at many theatres are such that their screening should not be witnessed by children of tender years. I do not necessarily subscribe to that view ; but I know that some parents in the neighbourhood of my home keep their children away from picture theatres because crime is, to a certain extent, glorified, and scenes of violence are depicted which they feel that their children should not witness. All programmes probably contain desirable items of educational value; but in order to cater for different tastes, features that are regarded by some persons as objectionable, are also included in them - for example, sex problems. These persons would welcome the opportunity for their children to witness the screening of pictures designed to promote educational purposes. I shall quote data that I have gathered to show what is being done in other countries. During the years 1929 to 1932, a commission on educational and cultural films investigated the matter in Great Britain, and in 1932 submitted a comprehensive and an illuminating report entitled *The Film in National Life.* I commend that report to any honorable member who is interested in visual education; it may be obtained from the Par.liamentary Library. Those who made the investigation were most representative; I doubt whether it would be possible to secure a more representative body. They performed the task voluntarily, because they considered that something of the kind had to be done. When a man of such eminence as **Sir Benjamin** Gott, M.A., ex-Secretary for Education, Middlesex, and other high educational authorities, undertake a task of this nature in an honorary capacity, considerable respect must be paid to their recommendations. In chapter 5, the report states - >The commission has not been concerned merely with a sectional or a scholastic issue, but with thu future of cinematography as a cultural influence whose power we do not yet know. It is, as we have said, a new medium which we may turn to our service, but which may easily be turned to our disservice. Even with children the needs of the school arc not only the needs of the classroom - they would be simpler if they were. For a generation of film-going children is learning to pick up points and impressions on the screen very quickly - how quickly and how permanently we do not yet know. Their receptiveness and their power of association are being trained; anil this training is possibly nbt the least of the services which the new medium may render - if the material is right. It is as important to train their taste infilms as in music; from the social point of view, more important. "We cannot provide our children with a better equipment than a strong dislike of the inferior and the common-place even in this sphere." The taste of the next generation is largely formed at school; therefore, the school cannotafford to neglect so important a factor as the film in the education of a generation which goes regularly and naturally to the cinema. That, I think, illustrates the point of view of those 50 authoritative persons in regard to the need for the cultivation of a proper taste, and an appreciation of the film, by giving children the required education. In another chapter the report makes the following statement - >The report proceeds to elaborate the possible use of the filmas an actual teaching medium. " The function of the carefully planned sound film will be to present the material of the lesson, whether in geography or science or mathematics or any other subject, in the most perfect form that the best teacher can devise. We envisage the ultimate use of sound films, not merely as an illustrative medium, although we recognize their great value in this respect, but also as an actual teaching medium." Here again is a suggestion which should be tested immediately by the production and use in schools of experimental films. I emphasize what follows : - "The outstanding need appears to be for some organization to undertake the establishment of adequate machinery to bring producers on the one hand, and teachers on the other, into contact with each other, so that films carefully adjusted to the syllabuses of the schools can bo produced." I should have appreciated an opportunity to place on record in greater detail the valuable data which is available in support of this reasonable request, the granting of which would confer a lasting benefit on the people and the future generation of Australia.. It is necessary for me to deal with the matter rapidly, because other honorable members wish to speak to the proposed vote. I offer no apology to those honorable members who, by voting for the application of the guillotine, are responsible for only half an hour being devoted to this department. The findings of the commission, which are to be found at page 155, read as follows : - >We therefore have the honour to recommend - > >That a national film institute be set up in Great Britain financed in part by public funds and incorporated underRoyal Charter. > >We have considered the organization and establishment which would be needed for an institute with public status. We recommend - > >that a board of governors be appointed by the Government; that they be seven in number; and that their term of office be for five years and renewable; > >that it be the duty of the governing body to set up an advisory council, including representatives of learned and scientific societies, educational associations and education authorities and of the film industry, together with persons nominated by government departments concerned, or individually co-opted, and representatives of the self-governing dominions and of India appointed by the governments concerned ; > >that the duties and powers of the advisory council include advice and assistance to the permanent staff in carrying out the work of the institute, together with power to submit to the governing body suggestions for new activities. Those are only three of the recommendations, and they are very much in line with the wishes of the Children's Cinema Council of Victoria. I also direct the attention of honorable members to a table at page 174, which gives a schedule of activities of film institutes in various countries. The countries dealt with number thirteen, in seven of which - Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, and Japan - the institutes are State bodies. In Japan there is also a private institution. That proves that already the need for such an organization is being recognized abroad, and the time is overdue when something of the same sort should be done here. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page: -- The Government has provided £2,700 more for this work this year than was devoted to it last year. {: .speaker-KCM} ##### Mr DRAKEFORD: -- I am glad to hear that, and I would appreciate the personal interest and help of the Minister. Time will prevent me from dealing further with that schedule, which shows the advances made in other countries. 1 propose now to quote from a recent issue of a valuable magazine called *School Life,* the official organ of the Office of Education in the United States Department of the Interior. The extract is as follows : - >Under the able leadership of **Dr. George** F. Zook, former United States Commissioner of Education, the American Council on Education (744 Jackson-place, Washington, D.C.) is considering plans for the establishment of an American film institute to encourage the use of the full value of the motion picture in education. A preliminary conference of a select group of nationally known educators was held at the offices of. the council on the 4th and 5th December, 1934. At that time the following proposed objectives were set up:- > >To developa national appreciation of the potential contribution of the motion picture to the cultural life of America. > >To collect and distribute significant information concerning motion pictures in education at home and abroad. > >To stimulate the production and use of motion pictures for educational purposes. > >To promote the co-operation of allagencies interested in the production and use of motion pictures in education. > >To initiate and promote research pertaining to motion pictures and allied visual and auditory aids in education. > >Following the conference, representatives of more than 50 national educational and civic agencies were interviewed regarding the desirability of establishing a national film institute and to secure their suggestions as to the nature of the work that a film institute might undertake. The results of these interviews have been very encouraging, and a second confer- ence was held 28th February and 1st March to consider additional data which had been collected and practical means to go forward with the plan for establishing the institute. There are other extracts from recent issues of this magazine which could be quoted as being both interesting and applicable. The following extract is from the *Year-Booh* of education for 1933, edited by Lord Eustace Percy, M.P., formerly president of the Board of Education in England: - >The growing interest which is apparent at the present time among teachers in the vast educational possibilities of modern scientific inventions, such as films, wireless, gramophones, epidiascopes and similar apparatus, is a sign of the times. We live in an age of mechanical devices, and inevitably the technique of teaching is being more and more affected by the gradual introduction of machines into the schools. Such changes can and must bo effected without any loss of the vitally important personalelement in education. The teacher will always remain of paramount importance, and his scholarship and skill will be not less, but more essential, in a system of education which takes full advantage of modern scientific inventions. On page 306, the following extract, which shows what is being done at the present time in the way of experiment and research, occurs: - >Since 1929 there has been a growing stream of interest in educational cinematography. The British Association for the Advancement of Science has establishedan Educational and Documentary Films Committee, under the chairmanship of **Sir Richard** Gregory, and has issued two valuable reports on the subject. The British Institute of Adult Education has conducted research through its film committee, and the Commission on Educational and Cultural Films has come into existence, and spent two years in careful and exhaustive examination of the problem of the film in national life before issuing its report in June 1932. > >Meanwhile, two outstanding pieces of experimental work were being conducted. The Historical Association reviewed the use of cinematography in history teaching, and, with the help of the Carnegie Trustees, published in 1931 a report entitled *The Value of Films in History Teaching.* The actual experimental work, which was conducted from the Education Department of Leeds University with the co-operation of the Leeds Education Authority, occupied a year, and was entrusted to Miss Frances Consitt, who, writing of the conclusions, says - "Does the film help children to learn and to remember historical information ? I think all teachers will agree that if the film gives life, fosters the imagination, stimulates mental effort and arouses interest, it follows naturally that it will help children tolearn and remember. And the tests showed that this was the case. Two other general results may be briefly mentioned. In the first place, use of the film forces children tofindtheir own words to express opinion and describe scenes, not merely to borrow those of the teacher or text book. Thus the film, instead of helping to form the 'mass-mind' - another general criticism laid against its use - encourages originality. Secondly, it may be noted that the film is of value in that it presents a point of view to the children, in addition to that of the teacher and their usual book." > >I desire to point out that there need be no loss of the personal factor in utilizing films for educational purposes - rather it tends to develop the facility of children to express themselves. I propose that some of themoney being made available by the Government should, if possible, he immediately devoted to the creation of a federal cinema institute, whose duty it would be to establish a film exchange for educational purposes. I emphasize the point that there is a very earnest body of qualified men and women giving generously of their time and interest who feel that the Government should commence at once the establishment of a film institute. Amongst them are many prominent people in the educational and civic life of the community. The functions of such an institute would be - > >To actas a clearing house for information on all matters affecting films at home or abroad; > >To influence public opinion to appreciate the value of films as entertainment and instruction; > >To advise educational and other institutions on the supply, use, and exhibition of films; > >To act as a means of liaison between the trade and cultural and educational interests ; > >To undertake research into the various uses of the film and of allied visual and auditory apparatus; > >To maintaina national repository of films of permanent value; > >To catalogue educational and cultural films: > >To give advice to government departments concerned with films; > >To certify films as educational, cultural, or scientific. The establishment of a Commonwealth educational film bureau or institute could be brought about by the following means : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The creation of a visual education bureau subsidized by the Commonwealth Government and controlled by representatives of each State and the Commonwealth. 1. The office of the library could with advantage be located at theCommonwealth Cinema Branch, Melbourne, and use made of cinema facilities, projection room, and office staff, thus saving considerable expense. 2. During the first twelve months, the aim would be to build up a substantial library. An amount of not less than £3,000 should be sufficient to make a start. The children's cinema council would recommend that - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. A secretary would be necessary but during the first twelve months, a parttime officer should be sufficient; 1. When films have been secured, and the necessary copies *made,* sub-libraries should be opened in each State under the direction of the State representative on the council. States could draw their supplies of films from the central federal library, thus saving unnecessary delay and cost of transport ; 2. A large number of films would be obtainable free of charge, and while many others could be obtained in exchange for Australian films, other suitable films could be purchased from private sources; 3. Australian filmscouldbe exchanged for films of overseas subjects and that for this purpose, the Commonwealth Government could make necessary Australianfilms available free of charge as the publicity value to the Commonwealth in having such films distributed through educational institutions abroad, wouldoffset the cost involved; 4. That when such a library has been obtained, a full-time secretary would be necessary together with typistclerk and possibly a film examiner. The secretary could prepare the synopsis for new Australian films or alterations to existing films and would confer with the cinema branch technical officers regarding the preparation of new films or alteration to existing pictures; 5. That it should not be necessary for the council to meet more than annually and meetings should be held in each State in turn. This should ensure the interest of theStates and enable the committee to gain an insight into local requirements; 6. 7 ) Summarized briefly, the necessary action to launch the scheme is- {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Commonwealth Government to approve of the scheme and provide funds, to a limited amount; 1. Council to be formed; 2. Acting secretary to be appointed; 3. Cinema branch to provide typist, office and storage accommodation : 4. State committees to be formed to work out methods of distribution and showing of films ineach State. Much more might he said in support of this proposal, but I do not propose to take up the full time, because I desire to afford an opportunity to the Minister to indicate his approval of the scheme, and to say what the Government proposes to do in order to put it into operation. Those who are interesting themselves in this matter are responsible persons who hold no particular political views, but realize its importance, and feel keenly the fact that Australia is lagging behind other countries to the detriment of our children. I appeal to the Government to give the matter its most earnest and favorable consideration. {: #subdebate-17-1-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN:
Echuca .- I desire to protest against the iniquitous practice which still persists in regard to the sale of wool whereby a draft allowance amounting to 1 lb. in every 112 lb. is deducted on all wool sold. This practice dates back to the time when scales were clumsy and inefficient instruments, but to-day exact weighing machines are available in all wool stores, and there is no longer any justification for it. The wool-growers through their organization, and the wool-brokers in Australia and overseas, have repeatedly expressed their disapproval of the practice, and the Committee of Enquiry, which inquired into the wool industry in 1932, recommended that the Commonwealth Parliament should legislate, to put an end to it. According to the Commonwealth *Year-Booh,* the value of the Australian wool clip for 1933-34, the latest year for which figures are available, was £64,400,000, and the draft allowance deducted from the value of the wool amounted to £561.000. I think these figures alone afford sufficient proof of the necessity for taking action to put an end to this pernicious practice. I am not quite sure whether this Parliament possesses authority to legislate in regard to the draft allowance on wool ; but, if it does not, I ask the Minister for Commerce **(Dr. Earle Page),** as chairman of the Australian Agricultural Council, to place this matter on the agenda-paper for the next meeting of the council for consideration, so that, if necessary, there may be co-ordination of action between the Commonwealth and State Governments. The abolition of the draft allowance on wool, as I have mentioned, has been advocated, not only by individual woolgrowers, but also by such organizations as the Farmers and Settlers Association of New South Wales, the United Country party of Victoria, on numerous occasions, the Federated Graziers Association of Australia, and the Australian Wool Council. It was inquired into by **Mr. Devereux,** the representative of the wool industry in Loudon, whose salary is partly paid by the Commonwealth, who reported that, as it is impossible to get unanimity amongst wool-buyers in all parts of the world in regard to the desirability of abolishing the allowance, it would be necessary to deal with the matter by legislative action. {: #subdebate-17-1-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The time allotted for the consideration of the proposed vote for the Department of Commerce has expired. Proposed vote agreed to. *Proposed Votes.* - Miscellaneous Services, £1,199,460 ; Refunds of Revenue, £1,250,000; Advance to the Treasurer, £2,000,000 ; War Services Payable out of Revenue, £1,039,220. {: #subdebate-17-1-s3 .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr PRICE:
Boothby .- Some time ago a committee, consisting of representatives of each of the States, was asked to decide on the qualifications of applicants for appointment as trade commissioners, but, on the arrival of the delegate from South Australia at Sydney, he found that a selection of names had already been made. The Department of Commerce merely put forward certain candidates, and their names only were considered. Although we have excellent men in the public service of this country, the position of trade commissioner is not necessarily one that should be offered to a public servant. Every government job should not necessarily be offered to a public servant. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page: -- This matter was discussed by business men for many months. {: .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr PRICE: -- The committee appointed by the department should have been given a free hand in the selection of applicants. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page: -- That was done. {: .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr PRICE: -- The South Australian representative found that only one or two names were placed before him, and that the claims of other applicants were not considered. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page: -- The applications of 456 candidates were placed before the committee. {: .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr PRICE: -- Nothing of the kind was done. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE Page: -- The State committees reported on other names. {: .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr PRICE: -- I do not quarrel with the selection made ; the men selected were admirably suited for appointment; but I do say that jobs of this sort should not be the special preserve of public servants. There are excellent men outside the Civil Service. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EAR LE Page: -- 'Some of the men appointed were not civil servants. {: .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr PRICE: -- But my protest is against the manner in which the selection was made. I shall be glad to learn from the Minister for Commerce exactly what took place. South Australians generally are perturbed because, although they possessed excellent credentials, some of the South Australian candidates were not considered at all. I hope that when future appointments are contemplated, the claims of all applicants will receive equal consideration. {: #subdebate-17-1-s4 .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR:
Dalley .- I move - >That the vote, " Advance to the Treasurer, £2,000,000", be reduced by £1,538. If the amendment is agreed to, I intend it as an instruction to the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** not to pay the amount of £1,538 provided as salary in lieu of furlough for the Auditor-General on retirement. My amendment affords honorable members an opportunity to express by their vote their opinion of the Auditor-General's action in delaying his retirement from the Service until he had reached the age of 65 years and in continuing in the Service for a period which should have been spent on long service furlough and then expecting the Government to pay him the sum of £1,538 in lieu of that furlough. {: .speaker-JVJ} ##### Mr Mulcahy: -- And then villifying the invalid and old-age pensioners! {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- Yes; it seems to be the consensus of opinion among honorable members that, in his criticism of the Government and the governmental expenditure in general, the AuditorGeneral has far exceeded the powers conferred upon him by the Audit Act. I am of opinion that the Government is not obliged to pay this amount to the Auditor-General on retirement, but that the payment of salary in lieu of furlough may be regarded as an *ex gratia* payment. The payment of salary in lieu of furlough is governed by section 73 (2) of the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1922-1934, which reads as follows :- >When an officer who lias continued in the Commonwealth Service for at least twenty years is retiring from the Com mon waulth Service, the board may authorize payment to him on retirement of a sum equivalent to the salary for the period of leave not exceeding that which the officer could have been granted under the last preceding sub-section. The last preceding sub-section reads - >When an officer has continued in the Commonwealth Service for at least twenty years, the board may grant to- him leave of absence for a period not exceeding one month and a half on full salary, or three months on half salary in respect of each completed five years of continuous service; . . . Honorable members will note in the particular sub-sections dealing with this matter the use of the word " may ", and it appears to be entirely within the discretion of the Government to pay such sums or to withhold them. **Mr. Cerutty** knew full well the provisions of the Public Service Act. He knew that, in common with other public servants, he should, on attaining the age of 64 years, have commenced his long-service leave, for which he would have been paid; and it seems strange that this gentleman, who so seriously, severely, and unwarrantedly castigated the pensioners of this country, on the eve of becoming an £8 a week pensioner himself, should not only secure from the Government payment for leave which he should have taken prior to retirement, but after getting that additional twelve months' salary, should also expect to receive further salary in lieu of furlough in addition to a pension amounting, I understand, to £416 per annum. This gentleman who so seriously castigates all others for their administrative acts, is blind to his own shortcomings, and expects the Government to pay him a further twelve months' salary in respect of leave which he should have taken outtwelve months previously, and thus made way for somebody else. I hope the Treasurer will give honorable members some indication as to whether **Mr. Cerutty** discussed with him, prior to the printing of the report, the several matters mentioned therein. I do not know whether it is the practice for the Auditor-General to do so, but the fact that some of his criticism has been levelled at the Treasurer himself seems to indicate that it is not likely that there was any such consultation. Whatever honorable members feel about the criticism of the Auditor-General regarding the manner in which the budget is compiled, I do not think that one member of the committee would seek for a moment to endorse his criticism of the most defenceless section of our community - our invalid and old-age pensioners. The Auditor-General has said that our pensioners are, in the main, totally unworthy of the sympathy and support of the Government, and that the vast majority of them are worthless 23eople who did not, during their working life time, make the necessary provision for their old-age. He then went further and sought to assume the authority of the Government itself, for he set down the lines of policy which this and future Governments ought, in his opinion, to follow, His dabbling with such a subject .as national insurance is, in my opinion, quite beyond the scope of his duties. It is noticeable and worthy of comment that while this officer devoted one and a half pages of his report to a most unjustifiable criticism of our pensioners, he devoted only one and a half lines of it to a reference to some hundreds of income tax dodgers who, by the submission of fraudulent returns, failed to disclose income to the extent of £2,000,000. He also made only a very brief reference to certain other taxpayers who, last year, were in arrears in their payments to an amount of £6,500,000. In these circumstances, his clap-trap about the pensioners is all the more unworthy, unjustifiable and reprehensible. I regret that the brief time allowed for the discussion of these Estimates will make it impossible for honorable members generally to express their view of the report of the Auditor-General in regard to our pensioners, or of his questionable endeavour to obtain £1,53S in respect of long service leave which he should have taken, as many other public officers have had to do, before the time of his retirement. His effrontery in this connexion is all the more objectionable in view of the fact that upon retirement he will enter into the enjoyment of a pension in excess of £8 a week. I therefore invite honorable members who will not have an opportunity to express their opinions on the Auditor-General's conduct in the form of a speech, to do so in the form of a vote in favour of my amendment. In this way they will be able to indicate, in one act, their total disagreement with the Auditor-General's condemnation of the pensioners as a class, and also with his endeavour to obtain a large amount of money from the Government, to which, in all the circumstances, he has no legal right. Their attitude in regard to both these matters will be indicated by their vote. {: #subdebate-17-1-s5 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Corio · UAP .- I wish-- {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- I rise to a point of order. While it is the usual practice for the presiding officer to give the call to a Minister who rises to address the committee, I point out that previous to the giving of the last call the Treasurer was not in his place in the chamber. In view of the fact that the guillotine ha3 been brought into operation in connexion with the consideration of these Estimates, I remind the Chair that if every minister took the opportunity available to him to address the committee, no time would be left to other honorable gentlemen to do so. I ask therefore whether, in view of all these circumstances, the call should be given to the Treasurer on this occasion, particularly as. he was not present when the previous call was given to a Government supporter? {: #subdebate-17-1-s6 .speaker-K0D} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Collins:
HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES -- It is in accordance with the practice of this Parliament for the Chairman to give the call to a Minister of the Crown when he rises. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- I hope that I shall never be guilty of attempting to waste the time of honorable members, but an amendment bias been moved in relation to the Auditor-General which I cannot disregard. Moreover, the honorable member foi" Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** asked me a specific question which, I think, merits a reply. I have already said in this chamber and elsewhere what I wished to say in regard to the Auditor-General's strictures upon 'tile Treasury and upon any,self, personally, as Treasurer, and I have no desire to go further into that subject. But the honorable member for Dalley has ashed me whether it is the custom of the Auditor-General, before submitting a report of the kind now under consideration, to bring his persuasive powers to bear upon the Treasury with the object of rectifying matters which he considered are deserving of comment in his annual report. In defence of my own position, I remind the committee that the Auditor-General is not an officer of the Treasury. I have met this gentleman only twice - first when I took over the administration of the Treasury from the Prime Minister and he introduced himself to me: and, on the second occasion, when he vacated his office on retirement. On neither occasion was anything but formal matters discussed. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr Rosevear: -- Then in his report he was expressing his own opinion? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- Yes. In view of the language used in the report, I can quite understand (the honorable member for Dalley asking whether the AuditorGeneral, before expressing himself in such a way, approached the Treasurer with the object of attempting, by persuasive methods, to correct any of the matters in respeot of which he felt complaint was necessary. I come now to the amendment of the honorable member. In spite of what the Auditor-General has seen, fit to say in his report, and in spite also of the tone, temper and contents of that document, the Government is completely against the taking of anything savouring of vindictive action against this officer. {: .speaker-K9A} ##### Mr Gander: -- Hit him in the pocket! {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- It is true, as the honorable member for Dalley has suggested, that the Auditor-General has no legal right to pay in lieu of furlough, but it has became a usage in the service for pay to bc made in such circumstances, and the Government would be very reluctant to take any step to deprive this or any other officer of an 'advantage which has accrued to him in the course of services rendered over a long period. {: #subdebate-17-1-s7 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN:
Echuca .- I wish to refer to a matter mentioned by the Treasurer in the course of 'his budget speech. The honorable gentleman intimated that the Government would make provision for the setting aside of £100,000 this year for the purpose of subsidizing the interest and sinking fund payments of certain local government instrumentalities in respect of expenditure to provide sewerage, water works and other amenities for people living in country towns. The 'brief history behind this decision is interesting. About twelve months ago, 'the Prime Minister announced that, with the object of relieving unemployment, the Government proposed to make funds available to assist various local governing authorities to provide water and sewerage works in provincial, and we all remember that, shortly afterwards, this Parliament voted *£1,000,000* for this purpose. The Prime Minister intimated lat that time that, while the decision isis to the exact works to be put in hand would be left to the State governments, it was desired that the money should be spent in improving t,he amenities of life in provincial centres, and that it should be expended over as wide a geographical area as possible in each 'State. One of the conditions laid down was that any Commonwealth grant of this kind should be subsidized, £1 for £1 by either the State Government or a local governing body. In pursuance of this policy, schedules of works were submitted by the authorities concerned. Arrangements were made, for example, for works to be undertaken -in nine country towns of New 'South Wales. The money provided locally .for these works was to be subsidized to *he extent of one third by the Common wealth .and one third by the Government of Nev/ 'South Wales. Arrangements were also made for sewerage facilities to be provided at Shepparton, Benalla, Kerang and Bairnsdale in Victoria. Unfortunately, catastrophic floods occurred in certain parts of the State about that time, with the result that the Government of Victoria found it necessary to place the necessary repair works at the head of the schedule of works submitted to the Commonwealth for approval. Expenditure on sewerage works had therefore to be placed lower on the schedule. That order of preference being observed by the Government of Victoria and acquiesced in by the Commonwealth Government, the whole of the Commonwealth subsidy, amounting to £225,000 in the case of Victoria, was used for the relief of those suffering from flood damage. The relief was not spread over a wide area as desired by the Commonwealth Government, but was given only in the south-eastern corner of Victoria. Those are the circumstances which precluded four towns in that State receiving assistance from the Commonwealth and State governments similar to that given to towns in New South Wales. For instance, I believe that Corowa received a subsidy from the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments, of not less than two-thirds of the estimated cost of its sewerage works. The Government, 1 think, should have regarded the grant given to Victoria as something in the nature of a special emergency grant, for, undoubtedly, the wide-spread floods experienced there were a national calamity. The country -towns of Victoria were led to believe that they would receive a Commonwealth subsidy, and they should not be denied the assistance expected by them. If effect is given to the policy, which the Treasurer is now applying, of endeavouring to make an arrangement between the State and Commonwealth governments to subsidize interest arid sinking fund payments on loans raised by local authorities for these undertakings, I believe that he will agree that the towns which have undertaken preliminary surveys, and are now ready to begin the sewerage works, should not be debarred from participation in the arrangement. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- That is a matter between themselves and the governments of the States. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- I am glad to know that the fact that they may have already begun the work will not prevent the Commonwealth Government from giving them assistance. In the expectation that the Commonwealth would give the same capital subsidy to the sewerage authorities in Victoria as was given to similar authorities in other States, the Government of Victoria has already undertaken to grant a capital subsidy to the four towns which I have mentioned. In these circumstances, it would be reasonable to suppose that it would decline to give a further subsidy by way of interest- and sinking fund payments under any .joint agreement. I should like the Treasurer to recognize that there are special circumstances in regard to the four towns to which I have referred. {: .speaker-KNT} ##### Mr E F HARRISON:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA · UAP -- There are nine accepted authorities. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- I do not wish to preclude any other towns from the benefits which I am claiming for Shepparton, Benalla, Kerang and Bairnsdale; bur. those four towns may have commence!.! their works when the Treasurer's scheme is approved, and I do not wish them to be prejudiced in their claim for assistance. The Treasurer should also consider the fact that the Victorian Government might, and probably would, decline to subsidize them further, having already given them a subsidy of principal money. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- If I do not have an opportunity to-night to speak on this matter, I shall deal with it on an adjournment motion at an early date. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- I remind the Treasurer that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons),** during the last election campaign, visited Benalla and gave what the sewerage authorities there regarded as a definite assurance that the Government would provide a Commonwealth subsidy for the work which they proposed to undertake. Other towns similarly situated took it that this assurance applied to them also and they would also regard it as a breach of faith if this assistance were denied them. The matter demands prompt attention. The Treasurer should urge the governments of the States to endeavour to reach an early agreement on a joint scheme, so that the work may be proceeded with and a great deal of employment provided. {: #subdebate-17-1-s8 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS:
Moreton .- I notice that an amount of £5,000 is provided for. " Development of the fisheries industry ". A. similar vote has appeared on the Estimates from time to time, and I should like to know how the money is to be expended. It was formerly proposed to purchase a vessel overseas at a. cost of £15,000 for the purpose of discovering the feeding grounds of pelagic and deep sea fish in Australian waters. Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fish is imported annually, and as the fishing industry is languishing - moreso than in any other part of the world - employment could he found for a large number of men by the proper development of our fisheries. In similar latitudes in. the southern hemisphere, large quantities of marketable fish are obtained. Past efforts to develop the industry have failed because of lack of sufficient capital. If the problem had been thoroughly investigated, the industry would no doubt have expanded, and in addition to large supplies of fresh fish being made available, a canning industry would probably have been established. I suggest that the vote should be increased. There is scope for the employment of large numbers of men in the development of our fisheries. {: #subdebate-17-1-s9 .speaker-KLC} ##### Mr MAHONEY:
Denison .- I support the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** in his remarks concerning the unwarrantable comments of the Auditor-General on the character of the old-age pensioners. That officer should be severely reprimanded. Many of the oldage pensioners are the fathers of returned soldiers. The Government has received from the Tasmanian authorities a report in reference to the conditions prevailing in the apple and pear industry, and I hope that it will not delay in the granting of assistance to that industry merely because similar reports from other States have not been received. The Government should not have departed from the method of assistance adopted last year. Although the industry has experienced a slight improvement of prices, it is still in an unsatisfactory financial position. It is regrettable that we do not know precisely how much assistance will be given to the industry. In the case of the growers of citrus fruits, a subsidy of 2s. a case was granted. *Sitting suspended from 6.15 to8p.m.* {: .speaker-KLC} ##### Mr MAHONEY: -- I congratulate the Government on proposing to allocate £20,000 for the improvement of the passenger services between Launceston and Melbourne. I have been a constant advocate of improved shipping services between Tasmania and the mainland, and I hope that the Government will continue to take heed of the representations made in this chamber by honorable members from Tasmania, and give long overdue regard to the State's need for a more adequate and cheaper shipping service. As part of the Commonwealth, Tasmania is entitled to improved services at lower costs to give it access to the mainland markets. Not only are freight charges too great, but the passenger rates are also too high, and if Tasmania is to remain a contented partner in this great Commonwealth, it must be given its rights. Its patience is likely to break unless its grievances are heeded. The Treasurer has proved generous at times, and his generosity is reflected in the proposed vote. Representations made on behalf of Tasmania in the last fifteen months have to a certain extent borne fruit, and we can look forward to even better consideration next year. One of Tasmania's greatest needs is a service which will enable it to compete in the mainland markets, and I hope that the improved shipping service so long advocated will soon come about. In past years Tasmania has been sadly neglected, and that is one of the chief reasons for the State's grudge against the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The time for the consideration of this portion of the Estimates has expired. Question - That the amount proposed to be reduced (Mr. Rosevear's amendment) be so reduced - put. The committee divided. ( Chairman - Mr. Pro wse . ) AYES: 23 NOES: 33 Majority . . . . 10 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. Proposed votes put and agreed to. *Proposed votes* - Common wealth Railways, £546,830; PostmasterGeneral's Department, £9,704,000. {: #subdebate-17-1-s10 .speaker-KK7} ##### Mr JENNINGS:
Watson -- I desire to refer to the portion of the Commonwealth railway running through the Federal Capital Territory. It is incongruous that the City of Canberra should be marred by an unsightly railway station, when, strange as it may seem, die federal portion of the railway to the capital shows a' surplus of revenue over expenditure. There are several honorable members in this Parliament with civic experience who have watched with interest and admired the civic growth of the City of Canberra. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the Commonwealth, but it has probably one of the worst, railway stations in the whole of Australia. I recently received from a friend in London an article which appeared in the London press. In it the writer referred to the " WOODwoopian " appearance of the Canberra railway station. It seemed to bini to bc like a one-man station away in the back-blocks of Australia. I do nol suggest that the Government should spend a large sum on replacing the existing station, hut it is at the front door of Canberra, and first impressions mean a great deal. A portion of the unemployment relief money could very well bc diverted to building an ornate struc ture consonant with the potentialities of this beautiful city. The displeasing appearance of the present station has been remarked upon by many visitors, and I suggest that the Government should give serious consideration to replacing it. {: #subdebate-17-1-s11 .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr HOLLOWAY:
Melbourne Ports -- As the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Parkhill)** represents the PostmasterGeneral in this chamber, I shall expect him to convey to the Minister concerned complaints which I propose to voice, as I am satisfied that the Minister in charge of the department will give every attention to the appeal I intend to make. Since the 1st July last, several hundred employees have been dismissed from the Postal Department. The dismissals came as a shock to the men who, by reason of the report that the department had made a handsome profit, had reason to believe that their positions were safe. The Postal Department is a profitable concern, and last year the revenue considerably exceeded expenditure. I think that the Minister will agree that the public had reason to believe that the works programme of the Postal Department would not be interrupted at least until the end of this year. I have been concerned in several deputations protesting against the dismissals. The Victorian section of the department has suffered severely, but I daresay that, on a percentage basis, other States have been similarly affected. More than 200 dismissals have occurred in the Victorian section in the last two or three months, and the men concerned were employed mainly about Melbourne. Figures I have received from the various industrial organizations covering the dismissed men make it appear that the number of dismissals is considerably larger than I have previously stated. However, to make sure of my position before I raised the matter, I last week questioned the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, and received the reply that since the 1st July last 158 linemen and 50 mechanics had been dismissed in Victoria alone, the reinstatements numbering only two. Representatives of the returned soldiers and the secretaries of the Australian Workers Union and the Postal Workers Unions waited upon *me* and other honorable members, and when .the Minister was asked how many of those dismissed were returned soldiers the answer was " 153 linemen and about 30 mechanics "'. To show how difficult it is to get' anything done - and there must be something wrong with the administration of the department to cause the difficulty - the only result of my endeavours to have the notices of dismissal postponed was that the notices given to three married returned soldiers in South Melbourne were cancelled, and other notices were issued to single returned soldiers. A single returned soldier in these days mustbe either middle-aged or elderly, and is probably shouldering' responsibilities equal to those of the married man, by assisting to maintain relatives. Consequently, I was rather sorry that I had made the overtures ; although I agree that where preference is given, it should be enjoyed by the married man, some single men, because of their responsibilities to dependants, should be classified as married men. I ask the Minister whether, in view of the approach of Christmas, he cannot secure the reinstatement of some at least, if not all, of these men. The majority of them were out df work last year, and honorable members of all parties did everything possible to have them placed in employment. Linemen and mechanics all over the Commonwealth had been out of a regular engagement for lengthy periods, and had had only a few weeks' casual work periodically. We agitated to have them re-engaged in connexion with something like a planned works programme, so that they would have at least six or seven months' regular work. In the early part of this year we were advised that there would be no dismissals during the year; yet 20S men have been dismissed in Victoria alone. They cannot understand the reason for their dismissal, because the department has made a profit on its operations. All the evidence that I have been able to collect goes to show that it is not because there is no work to be done, or that the foremen in charge of the various branches do not desire to push on with the works programme. The only conclusion left is that funds have been withdrawn. I cannot understand why that should be the case, when there is an insistent demand for postal services throughout Australia, particularly in country districts. In the Gippsland district of Victoria alone, for miles on end the telegraph and telephone lines are a danger to the people who drive through the district. The poles are eaten away, and are on the verge of collapse whenever a wind of more than ordinary strength is experienced. Gangs are sent out from time to time for a few weeks to patch up the worst places. There is plenty of work for linemen. It cannot be contended that any services provided are unprofitable, because all the work undertaken leaves behind it an asset. The mechanics who are employed in the department's workshops are highly-trained men. During the last year or two, probably because of the withdrawal of funds and the deflationary process put into operation by this Government and other governments, a sufficient number of juveniles has not been trained. The highly-skilled artisans in the department will be lost to it if they are not given work to do. There is no excess of trained juveniles. A programme has been partly drawn up. and could be put in operation if the necessary funds were provided. The only other reason that can be assigned for the failure to provide necessary services is that there is a shortage of some of the material used in the workshops. That is a matter of management. There should be no shortage of material in these times when there is not half enough demand for the output of every industry in the country, and manufacturers are almost on their knees begging for purchasers of their surplus stocks. I urge the Minister to do his utmost to have the dismissed men reinstated. South Melbourne happens to be the district in which the Postal Department has one of its principal garages. This particular garage is an old ramshackle building, standing upon piles 100 years old that were taken out of the original Princes Bridge, and, where eaten away, have been patched up. Under-carriages of drums filled with cement are used to keep the roof from falling in. Two or three years ago, when a member of the Royal Family visited Australia and an air pageant was held in Melbourne, one of the aeroplanes fell on the roof of this building, broke through it, and set the structure on fire. The damage done was merely patched up. At some period of every 24 hours this garage houses between £50,000 and £60,000 worth of motor vehicles. They are crammed into the building in such a way that there is not room to pass between them. No provision is made for the men's clothes, and there is no decent lavatory accommodation. I am particularly concerned about Hie matter because, in common with others, I take a keen interest in our public departments. Tho staff which works at this garage is the envy of a wide circle of people, and the vehicles that they drive are much better in appearance than any others seen on the roads. The drivers of the machines are the most competent in this country, one reason being that they constantly compete for medals, badges, or stripes for efficiency on the road and inside the garage. But their enthusiasm, which should be maintained at the highest pitch, is being killed. The garage houses 90 vehicles, their average value being about £1,000 each. If a driver runs his vehicle on the roads for a certain period without denting or scratching it, he is given a medal. These men have been employed there for upwards of fifteen years, and they vie with each other in an endeavour to reach the gold-medal standard. Marks are placed against them if they disfigure a machine inside the garage. I have moved among them for years. They tell me that they can drive in the thickest traffic anywhere at the fairly high speed demanded by the nature of their work, without getting a scratch on their machines, yet cannot enter the garage without losing marks, because the operation is in the nature of a jig-saw puzzle. Two or three weeks ago, I witnessed the removal of a ministerial car. Three or four other machines had first to be taken out, and the time occupied was over a quarter of an hour. The garage is 50 years behind the times, and because it has become so dangerous, the department has at last reached the conclusion that some alterations must be effected to it. I ask the Minister to note particularly the fact that it has been decided to spend about £3,000 in patching up the building, and enlarging it slightly by pushing a wall back and removing some of the old piles. In this day and generation, building architecture demands that there shall be no piles or pillars, but only steel girders. Thousands of pounds worth of tires, machinery and material lie exposed to sun, rain and wind, deteriorating all the time. When undertaking any work, the department should look ten years ahead. I believe that that is one of its rules. The expenditure of £3,000 can only have the effect of patching up the building. The money might as well be thrown down a sewer. The land is available for a completely new structure, and it should be provided. The ground is there, and it is only necessary to erect a square building around a central courtyard, together with proper quarters for the men, such as are provided by private employers. I suggest that the department should reconsider its proposal to patch up the existing garage, and have plans prepared for the erection of a new building on the same site. Perhaps some parts of the old building might he worked into the new one. The floor of the present building is below the level of the street because it is so old, and the drainage system is out of date. There is always a certain amount of oil leakage from motor vehicles, and this oil runs along a shallow, open gutter underneath the vehicles. If a fire were to break out 30 or 40 expensive vehicles would probably be destroyed. The main entrance to the garage at present is from the most important street in South Melbourne, along which tram and motor traffic is continually passing. At the back of the building there is a wide street which carries very little traffic, and I suggest that in the interests of safety and efficient working the main entrance be changed to that street. {: #subdebate-17-1-s12 .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:
Warringah Minister for Defence · UAP .- The sum of £5,000 has been placed on the Estimates for the erection of a new garage at South Melbourne. The new building will incorporate many of the improvements which the honorable member ha3 suggested, and I shall give consideration to the other proposals he has put forward. The position in respect of the dismissal of certain temporary employees in Victoria is that the increased activity during the latter part of the last financial year, consequent upon the centenary celebrations, and the disastrous floods which occurred, necessitated the employment of an unusual number of temporary hands. The arrears of work which had arisen were recently overtaken, and as conditions became normal the department had no alternative but to adjust the staff in conformity with the programme of work ahead. Everything possible was done to avoid staff reductions, but, under the prevailing conditions, they could not be avoided. The number of temporary hands retained is still substantially in excess of what may be regarded as the normal number employed prior to the unusual happenings of last year. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- But is there not considerable work waiting to be done? {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- I draw the attention of honorable members to the Estimates which show that an extra £81,000 is being provided for salaries, &c, in addition to money allotted for temporary, casual and exempt employees, for which extra provision to an amount of £45,420 has been made. Therefore, although there have been some unavoidable dismissals, it will be seen that an extra £45,000 has been made available for the employment of those very workers on whose behalf the honorable member made his appeal. The Government regrets having to put anybody off, but the post office is a business undertaking. If there is no work for the men to do their services have to be dispensed with, in the same way as any honorable member in his own private business would have to dismiss employees for whom he had no work. There is generally a rush of work in the department about Christmas time, and an effort will be made to keep as many men as possible in employment until then. {: #subdebate-17-1-s13 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney .- A little while ago I drew attention to the unfair action of the department in - dismissing temporary employees just before they had completed a sufficiently long term of service to entitle them to recreation leave. I mention the case of **Mr. W.** H. Rhodes, of Young, New South Wales, who was within three hours of completing twelve months' service, which would have entitled him to recreation leave. This matter was brought under the notice of the department, and the following letter was received from the Postmaster-General **(Senator A. J. McLachlan)** - >Referring to the remarks made by you in Parliament recently in regard to the dismissal of temporary employees of tho department just prior to their becoming eligible for recreation leave, the instructions which have boon issued in this matter provide that, in all cases where the discharge of temporary hands is contemplated, special efforts are to be made to retain those employees who would become eligible for leave within a short period. Retention in any case is, however, dependent upon there being essential work ,to be performed, and no employee can be granted leave before it actually becomes due. > >It is recognized that, in the particular case referred to by you, the employee concerned was specially unfortunate, but, as further essential work was not available at the time, it was impracticable to retain his services sufficiently long to render him eligible for leave. The statement that the department could not find three hours' work for this man when he was within that time of completing his year's service will not be accepted by any reasonable person. I hope that the Minister will see that when employees are on the verge of completing the necessary period of service to entitle them to leave, they will be allowed to complete the term. I have a complaint to make regarding the censorship of matter broadcast from radio stations. For some time past, a broadcaster who calls himself " The Plain-speaking Gentleman " has been in the habit of delivering addresses every Tuesday evening from a certain station. In the course of those addresses he has criticized the members of various political parties. Recently, when he was about to deliver an address, he was forbidden to do so as the result, I understand, of ministerial direction. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- Although the plainspeaking gentleman was prevented from delivering his address over the air, he sent copies of it to various members of Parliament. I have read the speech, and cannot see that there is anything objectionable in it. With much that the speech contains, I do not agree, but I believe that freedom of speech shouldbe preserved at all costs. I do not believe that official action should be taken to suppress a speech simply because it contains criticism of Ministers or members of Parliament. I shall not read the whole of this address, but, in order to indicate that there is really nothing of an objectionable character in it, I propose to quote typical extracts. Referring to the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Parkhill),** the address states - >You arc a highly skilled and most successful politician. Surely that cannot be considered objectionable, because it is perfectly true. The Minister for Defence is a very successful politician. The address continues - >At no time have you given evidence of statesmanship. Well, that is equally true. A man should not be prevented from voicing his opinion because he may happen to hold a poor opinion of the Minister for Defence. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- No action was taken by the Government or by myself to prevent the delivery of the address. The action was taken by the broadcasting station itself. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- It is a remarkable thing that, prior to this, addresses had been given criticising the members of the various political parties, and that only when it was proposed to deliver an address reflecting upon the Minister for Defence was any objection taken. The address continues - >We have been graciously permitted to read from time to time reports of speeches - mostly after dinner - by you, in which you have given expression to all those admirable, if rather hackneyed, sentiments which are usually the outward indication of inner comfort. > >I cannot see how any one could reasonably object to those statements. {: .speaker-KVU} ##### Mr Thompson: -- They are very offensive. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- I cannot see it, unless it be that the truth is always objectionable to some people. Harder things than that have frequently been said about honorable members in this chamber. Anyone who has listened to the after-dinner speeches of the Minister for Defence, or those of any other member of the Government, will realize that their eloquence is usually the outward indication of inner comfort. The **CHAIRMAN (Mr. Prowse).The** honorable member purports to be reading a speech which it was proposed to broadcast. Any observations of his own on the Minister for Defence, apart from the text of the speech, would not be in order. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- I am merely quoting the matter prepared by " the Plain-speaking Gentleman." His address continues - Either you deliberately ignore some important factors which have a definite bearing on the question of national defence, or you are handicapped by ignorance. In either case you are not doing the job- I think we are all practically in agreement with that- Now, **Sir, if** I remember rightly, during your election campaign your voice was one of the loudest in praise of sound finance, though, like many of your brethren, you betrayed abysmal ignorance of any branch of finance. . . . The birth rate, according to **Mr. Hughes** and other authorities, is declining, and we know that the reason is to be found in the economic insecurity of the people, fear of unemployment, malnutrition, all those things that can be traced to a financial policy of debt. All those things, in my opinion, might well have been said to the people, probably with some benefit to listeners, because there is a wrong impression in many quarters of the community to-day that the Government pays some attention to the requirements of the people. " The Plain Speaking Gentleman '' is not a member of the Labour party, and with many of his statements we entirely disagree; but at the same time we believe that he is entitled to state his point of view. He concludes his address by saying- **Mr. Parkhill,** we are not in the mood to enjoy either your after-dinner platitudes or your defence comedy. We, to-night, remind you of your responsibility to us to produce a policy that is sound and adequate and to cease political caperings that do not amuse, but leave us nauseated. I have read only extracts from " The Plain Speaking Gentleman's " address, which he proposed to broadcast over Station 2SM, but theyare sufficient to indicate its general nature. I think it is an unwise step for any government to take to endeavour to suppress the freedom of speech of any individual in the community. The Minister representing the Postmaster-General claims that he was not responsible for the action taken. Mr.ArchdaleParkhill. - Nor was the Government responsible. Mr.WARD. - Nevertheless, the facts are that " The Plain Speaking Gentleman " was prevented from broadcasting his address. The people who control Station 2SM deny any responsibility for the action taken other than to say that, in respect of all matter broadcast from that station, for which payment is made, they exercise ordinary control. If the action was not taken at the direction of the Government, it must have been taken at its instigation, because if the station had taken action to suppress this address it would have taken similar action in respect of other addresses delivered by the same gentleman relative to the activities of other political parties. I hope that in future the Government will cease this interference with the right of free speech, and will permit free criticism of its various activities and programmes, {: #subdebate-17-1-s14 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr E J HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- In 1930, during the regime of the Scullin Government, a number of returned soldiers were dismissed from temporary employment in the PostmasterGeneral's Department. Of the 95 formerly employed in the PostmasterGeneral's Department in New South Wales, 30 or more had periods of service extending from four to thirteen years. From time to time I have made representations to the Postmaster-General on their behalf and, knowing the sympathetic nature of the Minister now in charge of the committee **(Mr. Parkhill),** I feel sure he will, with added force, carry the representations I now make to the responsible Minister. At the moment we are engaging the services of a number of telegraph messengers to fill vacancies caused from time to time by wastage due to retirements. The Public Service Act contains a section dealing with preference in employment to returned soldiers. In the course of my representations, I have made appeals to the Public Service Board and have received from it certain rulings with regard to this matter. I propose to read extracts from a letter which I have received from the chairman of the Public Service Board in which certain pro visions of the Commonwealth Public Service Act are quoted. I think, however, that the provisions have really been misinterpreted, and that the Minister will be firmly convinced that under them these men are actually entitled to apply for reappointment.The letter from the chairman of me Public Service Board, dated the 13th August, 1934, states, *inter alia -* >I am directed to explain that under section 84(9) (c) of the Common wealth Public Service Act any of those men while temporarily employed were eligible for permanent appointment in the orderprescribed by the section if they had completed two years service in a temporary capacity. The point I have already made is that some of these men had completed from four to thirteen years service in a temporary capacity - >Upon the termination of their temporary employment, however, they ceased to have a claim under that section, which only applies to returned soldiers temporarily employed. Further on, he says - >As regards the temporary employment of the men on whose behalf you write, I am to say that, while the Commonwealth Public Service Act provides that preference for temporary employment must be given to returned soldiers, it does not admit of any discrimination being exercised in favour of returned soldiers who have been temporarily employed. I ask honorable members to note that. Selection for temporary employment must be made in the order of registration of applicants for the work in which employment is required. Section 84(9) of the Commonwealth Public Service Act reads as follows : - >In the making of appointments to positions in the Commonwealth Service of a non-clerical nature the order of preference to returned soldiers shall be as follows: - > >Returned soldiers temporarily employed in the Commonwealth Public Service, who have passed the prescribed examination; > >Returned soldiers employed under the Australian Soldiers Repatriation Act 1920 *or* under the War Service Homes Act 1918-1920, who have passed the prescribed examination; This is the paragraph under which these men claim they could be re-instated - {: type="a" start="c"} 0. Returned soldiers who have been temporarily employed continuously for not less than two years, but have not passed the prescribed examination, and in respect of whom the chief officer certifies that their duties have been performed in a satisfactory manner. That clearly and definitely sets out that returned men who have served, as these men have, the prescribed period in a temporary capacity are to receive additional consideration or preference in regard to employment in the Public Service. If the only consideration is that the chief officer should certify that the duties of the nien of whom I have been speaking have been performed in a satisfactory manner, surely by no stretch of imagination can it be said that men who have served in a temporary capacity for periods ranging up to thirteen years have not discharged their duties in a satisfactory manner. These men have a very good case and plead that more sympathetic consideration should be given to it. They originally left their positions in the Public Service to go overseas and fight for their country, and when they returned they were employed in a temporary capacity in the public service of the country for which they had previously fought, thereby reducing their opportunity to obtain employment outside the Service. As a matter of fact, their training has fitted them for postal work only. Yet they are denied the right to re-enter the Service although, as I read it, the ant expressly provides for their reemploywent. The Postmaster-General should give more sympathetic consideration to their claims and ascertain why the chairman of the Public Service Board refuses to permit these men to re-enter tho Public Service. These men claim that as they have fulfilled the terms of their contract they should be re-employed immediately, and that as the department is continually absorbing telegraph messengers into higher posts, their previous service in the department should be taken into -consideration, and they should likewise be absorbed in the ratio of say 1 in 4. That is their suggestion, but if the whole 30 affected in New South Wales were given re-employment the costto the department would be only approximately £5,000 per annum. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- Are not they in employment now? {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr E J HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- No. They have been out of employment for five years - ever since their dismissal took place. One of the men who stated hh case said - >There are 250,000 postal employees. Practically every day some of these men are retiring from1 positions and other vacancies are caused by death. If von put down the wastage at 1 per cent, there are 250 jobs available a year; two-fifths of these would probably occur in New South Wales; that is to say, there would be 100 vacancies a year. To put the 30 mcn back would only hold up thu permanent appointments of telegraph messengers for four months. When these men went overseas to fight for their country they were just at the age at which many telegraph messengers are now being appointed. In view of the fact that the Postal Department showed a surplus of £1,750,000 last year, I suggest that greater consideration should bo given to the claims of men who have already faithfully served the department, as I have said, for periods ranging from, four to thirteen years. I suggest that it would need only a direction from the Postmaster-General for these mon to be employed. I appeal to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General to examine the facts I have presented. If he will interview these men, and see the conditions under which they are living at the moment, he will quickly realize that, owing to their prior employment in the Public Service, they cannot be absorbed by commercial activities. They became postal employees, and their only opportunity to earn a livelihood is to remain, postal employees. Another matter which I desire to bring forward in connexion with the employment of returned soldiers in a temporary capacity in tire Postmaster-General's Department, is that their temporary service should be included in their total service for furlough purposes. These men say that from 1916 onward a number of them, temporarily employed in different branches of the Postmaster-General's Department, were transferred after the usual period of temporary employment to positions of a permanent nature. This request affects a certain section of employees who direct attention to a precedent for the granting of their request, in that officers of the Defence Department employed before the 26th November, 1924, whether in a permanent or a temporary capacity, have their period of employment counted for the purpose of furlough. It is unfair that any discrimination should be shown against the officers of the Postmaster-General's Department. A person who did not go on active service in 1916, but was appointed to a permanent position in the department is certainly in a better position than a returned soldier who was on active service that year. A number of these returned soldiers had up to six years' continuous temporary service before they were appointed to the permanent staff, and they feel that they have been penalized to the extreme as against the non-returned soldiers appointed to the staff in 1916. I feel sure that an investigation will clearly reveal the reasonableness of this request. {: #subdebate-17-1-s15 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr MCEWEN:
Echuca .- I wish to make several requests which I hope the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral will submit to the PostmasterGeneral. The practice of the department of charging a local call in respect of every trunk line call that is booked is unfair, and should be discontinued. While the charge for a local call is small, I submit that when the department has fixed its scale of fees for trunk line calls, it ought not to make the additional charge to the subscriber for booking his call. The bounds of equity are broken when the double charge is made. The present practice bears particularly heavily on country telephone subscribers, who, by reason of their isolation, are obliged to m.ike many more trunk line calls than are usually made by city subscribers. Moreover, the hours of service provided by country exchanges are generally limited, whereas city exchanges invariably give continuous service. The fact that many country telephone exchanges are open only from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., should influence the department to give special consideration to them, instead of which we find that country subscribers are required to pay what amounts to a double fee in respect of many of their calls. Following a request that I made to the PostmasterGeneral's Department some time ago for a statement setting out the proportion of trunk line to local calls made by subscribers in country districts, I have obtained some interesting information. Taking the case of Stanhope, my own local town, which is typical of thousands of other similar towns throughout the Commonwealth, I find that last year, of 58,600 calls made, 18,900 were trunk line calls, which means that about 25 per cent, of the calls were on trunk lines. This proportion is very much higher than that shown by metropolitan telephone exchanges, and it emphasizes the unfairness that country subscribers are subjected to in having to pay for a local call every time they make a trunk line call. Another request that I submit is that a reduction of the fee for trunk line calls should be made when the call extends beyond the usual three minutes. After the department has gone to the initial trouble and expense of connecting one subscriber with another on a trunk line, it is only reasonable to expect that an extension of the call should be made at a lower rate. Such a practice would be in conformity with ordinary business custom. To put it in another way, I am asking that a " cut " be given for n repeat order that entails no additional expense to the department. This also affects country telephone subscribers more than city subscribers, for the reason that they make a proportionately greater number of trunk-line calls than do city subscribers. I wish now to direct attention to tho need for a reconsideration of charges for telegrams, particularly in the case of districts on the border of two States. The minimum charge is ls. for a telegram within a State, and ls. 4d. for an interstate telegram; but if a citizen on one side of the Murray wishes to send a telegram say, 20 miles across the river, he is required to pay the interstate rate. The department should consider the feasibility of introducing the zone system, so that a telegram could be sent for, say, not more than 100 miles at the State rate, irrespective of whether its destination is in the same State or not. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Sir Littleton Groom: -- Such a provision might work unfairly in a State like Western Australia. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- I cannot see that that is likely to happen, although Western Australians might not reap so much advantage from it as people who live adjacent to long boundary lines such as those between Victoria and New South. Wales and between New South Wales and Queensland. Surely the spirit of federation is being disregarded by the present discrimination in telegraphic charges in respect of people who live within a comparatively few miles of one another but in different States. A telegram may be sent from Mildura to Bairnsdale, many hundreds of miles, foils., whereas one sent from Mildura to Wentworth, just across the river, costs ls. 4d. I cannot believe that the department would be in any way embarrassed by the adoption of the zone system in connexion with its telegraphic service. I trust that these requests will receive the favorable consideration of the PostmasterGeneral. {: #subdebate-17-1-s16 .speaker-KEZ} ##### Mr FISKEN:
Ballarat .- As this is one of the few opportunities honorable members get to mention relatively minor matters that affect their constituencies, I feel justified in bringing under notice of the Government a long-standing complaint of some of my constituents who reside at Ballarat East. The post office clock in that locality is erratic in its operation. Periodically it stops altogether. It has been suggested to the Postmaster-General's Department that as the clock is installed in a. post office building, the department should maintain it in proper order. The department, however, considers that this duty should be undertaken by the municipal council. As the expense involved in keeping the clock in good order would not be great, and the clock is installed in the post office, I make a personal appeal to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General to obtain favorable consideration of the request of my constituents. The department has been subjected to a good deal of criticism to-night, but I wish to compliment it on two or three recent actions that it has taken. It is gratifying to country people that the hours' of a number of country telephone exchanges have been considerably extended. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- That has happened in about 500 cases. {: .speaker-KEZ} ##### Mr FISKEN: -- About 20 exchanges in my electorate have had their hours of service extended, in most cases from 0 p.m. to 8 p.m. This is of great advantage to country people who, unlike city dwellers, do not cease work at 5 o'clock, but often maintain their operations until about 7 o'clock. To have their telephonic service made available to them until 8 o'clock is an advantage that is much appreciated. I also congratulate the department upon the steps it has taken recently to expedite the delivery of mail matter by the extension of the motor car mail contract service. Country people are now receiving very good treatment in this regard. In conclusion, I express appreciation of the courtesy that all the officers of the department accord to those who have business with it. {: #subdebate-17-1-s17 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Capricornia .- I agree with all that has been said by honorable members regarding postal employees, but I desire particularly to present the case of the allowance postmaster or postmistress. Large numbers of these officials are employed throughout Australia, and they are greatly overworked and underpaid. There are 9,830 post offices, of which 1,145 are official. The S,6S5 non-official offices comprise : 68 semi-official; 6,801 allowance; and 1,816 telephone offices. Over 9,000 persons are employed by the department in the nonofficial offices, and each contributes its full share of the department's earnings, which last year amounted to £12,500,000. The net profit on those earnings, after the payment of interest was £1,192,000, which compares more than favorably with the profit of £736,000 in 1931-32 and the loss of £67,000 in 1930-31, when the earnings were nearly £13,000,000. In the metropolitan area of Melbourne there are non-official post offices with a turnover exceeding £100,000 per annum, and the same may be said of other large cities of Australia. The allowance postmaster not only gives his own labour, but, frequently, his wife, son or daughter also assists him, and devotes at least one-half of his or her time to postal work without, pay. In many instances the postmaster works overtime three nights a week. At the end of the year, when he is physically and mentally worn out, he may have a holiday, but not under the same conditions as permanent officers of the public service. He may have a holiday only on the condition that he finds a capable and honest person approved by the department to relieve him, that he pays such person in full for all work done, and that he carries with him, while away, full personal responsibility for all cash and valuables in the office. {: .speaker-K4X} ##### Mr Nock: -- What conditions would the honorable member grant to this officer ? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- Very much better conditions than those I have mentioned. I desire the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral to reconsider the whole scale of allowances to these officers, who, for their responsible work, receive from £4 to £5 a. week. Their monthly pay is greater than this, but they have to meet the cost of rent of the building, proper lighting, and all labour required for postal purposes. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · CP; LP from 1944; LCL from 1951; LP from 1954 -- The post, offices are usually conducted in conjunction with their private businesses. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- Frequently these officers give the whole of their time to the work, although I admit that in some cases they conduct small businesses. In my own district, the average non-official postmaster would show a profit to the depart ment running into four figures; but there are men receiving £3 a week whose health is impaired through the strain of the work, and who pay an assistant 10s. a day to help them on the two busiest days of the week. This means that the post, master works for a full day and carries the responsibilities of his office on those two days a week without pay. Country postmasters do not work under such a. continuous strain, but in all of the bigger offices they are at call for 24 hours a day, giving a continuous telephone service in addition to discharging their ordinary duties. In many small centres, local residents, particularly farmers, have to travel long distances to the post office, and the postmaster is frequently called on duty at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. in order to deliver mail matter to them. In cases where a. money order post office is conducted in conjunction with a business, experience proves that when the allowance for such officers approaches £3 a week, the postal work is practically a full-time job for one person. Semi-official postmasters are paid a margin for skill of about 10s. a week above the basic wage for their arduous and responsible work. Taxpayers' associations and other representatives of big business interests are constantly clamouring for reduced postal rates ; but, before one moment's consideration is given to such requests, justice demands that the whole system of payment for non-official postmasters be immediately reviewed, and that the first allocation of the huge departmental surplus should be in regard to the allowance made to those who toil so hard and so long to earn it. Payment of allowances only once monthly to non-official postmasters is a serious and recurring inconvenience to them, and I ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General to see that they are paid twice monthly, say on the 15th and at the end of each month. Many postmasters employing a staff endeavour to pay them weekly or fortnightly, and they suffer financial inconvenience through having to wait until the end of the month for their own allowance. The additional cost of paying them twice a month would appear to be infinitesimal, involving merely the use of one additional salary sheet - Form 47a - each month, and the checking of such form by the accountant. I urge the Minister to give consideration to the following facts: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The non-official postmaster has not only a greater volume of work to handle, in many cases, than the official postal clerk who enjoys annual leave, but he has also to carry the full responsibility for the proper conduct of his office. 1. This dual strain seriously impairs the health of the non-official postmaster, making an annual holiday a realnecessity. 2. The department now grantsthree weeks' annual leave to its temporary and semi-official employees - even to telegraph messengers. Surely those non-official postmasters with 20, 30 or even 40 year? of faithful service to their credit, areworthy of equal status to andprivilege of a youth employed for one year to ride a bicycle. 3. The allowances now paid to nonofficial postmasters are inadequateto enable them to provide for an annual holiday after maintaining their families. 4. If the non-official postmaster enjoyed recreation leave he would be stimulated to greater efforts towards increasing departmental business, and his general efficiency would bo improved. 5. The cost of providing annual leave would not greatly increase the department's expenditure on non-official post offices. If three weeks' leave on full pay were granted to every non-official postmaster, the extra cost would be not more than 5 per cent. If two weeks' leave were granted the extra cost would be not more than 3.75 per cent. If such leave be granted, I submit that the non-official postmaster, whilst absent on leave, should not be required to carry full responsibility for cash and values in his office as he is at present. The department will permit only persons of whom it fully approves to relieve non-official postmasters, and I feel therefore that such persons should carry full responsibility whilst relieving. The Postmaster-General, in reply to representations I recently made to him in favour of increased allowances and annual leave, expressed regret that he could not comply with roy request. Dealing with annual leave, he said the matter had been carefully considered but the conclusion reached was that the department would not be justified in varying the present practice, as the fact that nonofficial postmasters were not granted holidays with pay was taken into consideration when fixing the scale on which they are remunerated. He also contended that paying twice monthly would involve a considerable increase of work in the department and that heavy additional expenditure would be entailed. I am at a loss to know how the Minister arrives at this conclusion. I now ask him to reconsider the whole matter. I should like the Postmaster-General to make inquiries as to why a third channel on the Rockhampton Murray-Multiplex was cut out on the eve of last Christmas? I. understand that it was the department's intention to restore the third channel when aparatus was available, but nothing has yet been done. Rockhampton has to work on two channels, which are quite inadequate for the Christmas loading. and considering the small outlay involved in reconverting the Murray-Multiplex to three channels, and the advantage accruing to the Rockhampton district, I urge the Postmaster-General to endeavour to have the necessary additional channel provided before Christmas. The growth of closer settlement along the Dawson Valley, the undoubted progress of Mount Morgan, and the increased telephone revenue, are facts which should be taken into consideration. A communication has been received by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** from the New South Wales branch of the Australian Postal Electricians Union, the executive of which urges that the Government should build cottages for the housing of the PostmasterGeneral's staff at the newlyestablished broadcasting station at Lawrence, near Maclean. A similar request could be made concerning the officers at newlyestablished broadcasting stations in Queensland and other parts of Australia. Regarding tho station at Lawrence, the union submits that the Government should build cottages near the station and charge the officials occupying them the usual rentals provided for in the Public Service Regulations, or alternatively hold an inquiry into the whole matter set out in a memorandum supplied by the union to the Postmaster-General. If the accommodation asked for were provided, the department would effect savings. These permanent officers should not have to take their wives and children to hotels. They have to be abstemious, and are required to be on duty whenever needed. Thousands of residents of country districts in Australia frequently receive from the Postal Department adverse replies to requests for improved telephonic and postal facilities. There is a great deal of talk, particularly among the more conservative classes of thought, that the people should be encouraged to go back to the land. The only way in which the people will be encouraged to take up rural pursuits on a larger scale will be by the provision of amenities such as telephone and postal facilities, and improved reception from broadcasting stations. The following is typical of the numerous replies with which the Postal Department meets requests for improved postal and telephone facilities: - >The revenue received from the two telephone offices is very small, and is not even sufficient to cover the little remuneration given to the telephone office-keepers, apart from the charges for interest, maintenance and depreciation. In view of this, it was stated that the continuance of the telephone offices could only he agreed to if the attendance was given without charge, and providing the residents would maintain the line, including the renewal of a large number of supports, free of cost to the department. > >Since the receipt of your communication, a letter hasbeen received from the Local Producers Association, East End, submitting certain general reasons to justify the continuance of the telephone facilities, and, in reply, they have 'been advised that, if the service is of value to the residents as claimed, they should bc prepared to make some personal effort to justify its retention. The yearly revenue received is so very small that the justification of the telephone offices under the present conditions cannot be seen, and it is proposed to permanently close the two places unless the suggestion concerning maintenance and attendance is agreed to. Is that a fair request to put to these struggling farmers in closer settlement areas, who are working twelve to fourteen hours a day for an income of about £2 a week? The same requests are not made to the people who live in the cities of Australia when they ask for daily mail deliveries. This Government owes a special duty to the people living under adverse conditions in the country districts, and the Postmaster-General should reconsider his attitude. {: #subdebate-17-1-s18 .speaker-JPT} ##### Mr BLAIN:
Northern Territory -- My reason for taking this opportunity to speak is to criticize the official outlook which, unfortunately, influences Commonwealth Ministers when they curtail ordinary services and amenities of life provided through the Postal Department to the sparsely-populated areas of the Northern Territory. Mon employed on work connected with the overland telegraph line from Darwin to Adelaide, as a rule, are not allowed to take their wives to isolated repeating stations. I was surprised on the last occasion which I visited Daly Waters, to find that the postmaster there had been allowed to bring his wife to the district, but linesmen and men employed in what might be termed the lower grades of the postal service in the outback areas of the Northern Territory are not given the same consideration. The linesman at Katherine River, when off his guard, agreed to go there, and leave his wife in Adelaide. She followed him, however, and paid her own expenses. The regulations should be so amended as to provide for the Commonwealth meeting the expenses of an official taking his wife to wherever he is detailed for service, and providing her with a suitable residence, whether it be a post office or a police station. Though I am pleased to see that the Minister for the Interior **(Mr. Paterson)** is taking an interest in improving the amenities of life in the outback country, there still remains much to be done to improve the lot of women in the more remote parts of the Northern Territory The Minister for Defence **(Mr. Parkhill)** was a former Minister for the Interior, and travelled through the areas to which 1 am referring. Consequently he knows the truth of my claim. My amazement at the official mind regarding inland mail services was increased when I visited Brisbane shortly after my election to Parliament. I interviewed the Deputy Director of Posts and Telegraphs, who treated as a huge joke my advocacy of the provision of reasonable mail delivery services to the interior because of its limited population. He, apparently, is imbued with the old tradition that the pioneer needs none of the amenities of life, but must remain content until others, following in his tracks, are able to command the provision of ordinary amenities for which his heart ached during the early years. The people in the far outback see the mail planes pass overhead, hut reap little advantage from the service. The AngloAustralian air mail brings benefit to the people at Darwin, and, undoubtedly, to the thickly populated areas which can rapidly be reached from the terminus of the Australian section of the service at Cootamundra. But prompt delivery of fashion plates from Paris is of no value to the pioneers blazing the trails in the interior. When money is expended in subsidizing air services it should be used for the purpose of developing the country, and for extending benefits to the regions passed by the mail planes. I speak now of the inland mail services. There is a service which goes from Alice Springs to Arltunga once a month, and returns by the same route. The people at Harper Springs Station and Woodgreen Station who are now forced to travel 60 or 70 miles to obtain their mail, suggest that the Alice Springs to Arltunga service should make a detour on the return journey to include them. These people are the original settlers in that area. There is also an inadequate mail service from Mount Isa to the Barkly Tablelands to Boorooloola; but now that there has been a big influx of population at Tennant's Greek, due to gold-mining, there is a road through from the Barkly Tablelands, and the people in that area can depend on the kindness of travellers to pick up their mail. I think that that service might be extended by providing along the new road a fortnightly mail at least. I support the remarks of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Forde)** in regard to the conduct of business in non-official post offices. Since the old Wheatstone telegraphic system has been replaced by the modern repeater system in Central Australia, the necessity for skilled telegraph operators has been eliminated. The work at the non-official post offices is now done by police officers or their wives. At Barrow Creek, because the police office there was formerly a qualified postal official, his wife for a mere pittance is required to carry on work which normally would be done by a postmaster, even to the extent of issuing money orders. I do not think it fair that the work for the settlers and pastoralists should have to be done by women for a few shillings a week. An allowance adequate to the work performed should be made. I hope that the requests which I have made will receive the serious consideration of the Minister, and that he will see that proper facilities are given to the people of the interior who are developing Australia. Services should precede settlement. The people of the outback should not have flung in their teeth by officials with cramped vision the taunt, "How can we expect to deliver services to so few people?" {: #subdebate-17-1-s19 .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:
Minister for Defence · Warringah · UAP -- In reply to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Forde),** postal services all over the world are conducted with the assistance of unofficial postmasters and postmistresses. The service could not be successfully carried on without their assistance in Australia. They are paid according to results, and their postal duties are carried on mainly in conjunction with some other occupation in shops, stores or businesses of that kind. The Financial Emergency Act has ceased to operate to their detriment, but I do not suggest that a review of the allowances made should nottake place in order to see if the standard could not be raised. The other matters referred to by the honorable member will receive attention, as will also the appeal of the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. E. J. Harrison)** on behalf of the two sections to which he specially directed attention. It must have seemed to the committee that the honorable member for Wentworth felt that he had an extremely good case. I remind him that the Public Service Commissioner has extraordinary powers, and wisely so, in many respects. However, I give the honorable member the assurance that full inquiry will be made. The representations of the honorable member for the Northern Territory **(Mr. Blain)** in connexion with the provision of fortnightly mail services in outback districts will be taken into consideration. The honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** made certain remarks concerning the individual who is described as "A Plain-speaking Gentleman". I understand that his name is Bayliss, Bayles, or some similar name. He purchased certain time from a broadcasting station in Sydney, payment being made by the Social Credit political group, and gave a series of addresses over the air. Before doing so, he sent communications to those whom he proposed to attack, signing himself.. " A Plain-speaking Gentleman ". These communications were distinctly offensive. I received two of them, and the second I passed on to the Postmaster-General. I made no request, because I hadno special interest in what was to be said. Honorable members will believe me when I say that I do not resent criticism of any kind. I have had so much of it in my time that I seldom take any steps in regard to it. The Director of Posts and Telegraphs, or an officer delegated by him, communicated with the broadcasting station in question, and it was responsible for whatever steps were taken. I agree that people are entitled to deliver addresses over the air without undue censorship. I have no desire, nor has the Government, to interfere with them. But I venture the opinion that any one who sets out to attack public mcn should at least disclose his identity. No action was taken by either me, personally, or the Government, to have these addresses suppressed. I am not in charge of the Postal Department now, but if I were, I should not hesitate to bring in a regulation making it mandatory on any person broadcasting to disclose his name. Several important matters have been mentioned by the honorable member for Echuca **(Mr. McEwen)** from the view point of residents of country districts. As previously enunciated by the honorable member for Riverina **(Mr. Nock),** complaint has been made in regard to the charging of a local call fee for every trunk-line call. The explanation of the department is that the. tariff for telephone trunk line calls in Australia is already fixed on a basis so low and generous to the user as to be altogether unprofitable. Although every effort has been made to ensure the provision of an adequate service in the most economical manner possible, there has been a sustained and heavy loss on the operations of the service. During the last three financial years, there has been an accumulated deficit of something like £600,000 on the trunk-line system as a whole; but notwithstanding this, steps were taken during the last financial year to effect substantial reductions of the charges for trunk-line calls, which mainly benefited telephone users in country districts. The adjustments made in this respect entailed a loss of revenue of approximately £50,000 in the first year. In these circumstances, therefore, there would be no possible justification for the abolition of the practice of charging a local call fee in connexion with each effective trunkline call. To do so would involve a very appreciable annual loss of revenue. The unit fee applies uniformly on all trunkline conversations, whether originated in the metropolitain area or in country districts. Having regard to the valuable local plant which must necessarily be used in order to complete a trunk-line call, the practice of making this charge is considered to bo fair and reasonable. If the charge were removed, the cost of that plant would have to be taken into consideration in connexion with the general scale of charges. I emphasize the fact that every consideration is being given to rural districts. The department recognizes the wisdom of extending telephone services. Recently, an improved service was made available to something like 500 country exchanges throughout the Commonwealth, as the result of which it is anticipated that approximately 10,000 subscribers will benefit. The provision of country telephone services is a costly matter, but every effort is being made to improve the position and make these facilities morn readily available. The conditions under which mail services are established and maintained are framed on a very liberal scale, and with full regard to the requirements of primaryproducing areas. During the period when the financial depression was most acute, it was unfortunately found necessary to curtail mail services to some extent; -but since the return of moreprosperous conditions, the facilities that were withdrawn have been gradually replaced where the circumstances have justified the taking of such a step. The position was reviewed quite recently, and it was found that since 1930-31 - the year in which the facilities were reduced - no fewer than SO new services have been established, and that, to-day, the number of services in operation is greater than it has ever previously been. Adequate provision has been made on the Estimates for the establishment of new mail services, and to increase the frequency of existing services in cases that may arise during the year where the circumstances justify an improvement of the arrangements. The matter of border telegraph rates lias been frequently raised, and an explanation in regard to it is due to the committee. The geographical areas of the six States are so widely divergent that their recognition as tariff zones is inseparable from anomalies in regard to charges. For many years, the question of the introduction of a tariff based upon the zone system, as in the case of the trunk line service, has been repeatedly reviewed. Adoption of the suggestion to introduce a minimum charge of 9d. for telegrams between offices not more than 15 miles apart, and ls. for telegrams between points separated by a distance not greater than 50 miles, notwithstanding their location in different States, would not remove many other anomalies that are inseparable from the basis of existing charges. For example, a telegram of sixteen words sent from Coolangatta to Thursday Island, a distance of 1,915 miles, would cost only ls., while a message which traversed a distance of just over 50 miles would cost a minimum of ls. 4d., if the sender and the addressee were located in different States. A serious loss of revenue amounting to nearly £90,000 per annum would follow the introduction of a minimum rate of ls. for interstate telegrams, as approximately 29 per cent, of the ordinary telegrams lodged are despatched to interstate destinations. A. complete plan for a zone basis of charges for telegrams was prepared by *thi-:* department in 1929. It will be appreciated, however, that the introduction of any tariff based on distances would involve additional cost to those who use the service over the greater distances. "While the introduction of such a system would be in harmony with the federal principle and would remove existing anomalies, it is felt that the present time is inopportune for its introduction. However, the matter will not be lost sight of. I desire to point out that the special provision of £100,000 will enable the department to undertake the erection of additional trunk lines to serve country centres. It is estimated that approximately twenty of these lines will be provided. Already, 26 rural automatic exchanges are in operation. Those in course of installation number five, and 26 further installations were contem plated, and preliminary action in regard to them was well in hand before the special appropriation was decided upon. That, appropriation will enable additional installations of .this description to be undertaken. The details have not yet been worked out, but it is estimated that the number will be increased to about 44. I mention these matters to show that the department is observant of the urgency, the necessity, and the- deserving nature of thom. That the department is progressive will be admitted. I beg honorable members to believe that the requirements of country districts will receive in the future the progressive attention that has been given to them in the past. {: #subdebate-17-1-s20 .speaker-JUQ} ##### Mr CLARK:
Darling .- I direct the attention of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Parkhill)** to the position of juniors employed, in the Service, many of whom are not receiving the consideration to which they are entitled. Telephone exchange girls are appointed after examination, in many cases, as temporary hands and. as assistants in various post offices. When they attain tho age of eighteen years they are dismissed, and girls of fifteen years of age are taken on in their places. That, is a totally unfair practice, because at such an age the girls have lost opportunities of employment in many other avocations. If vacancies actually exist for the employment of telephone operators, those girls who have passed the required examination and have discharged their duties for a period of two or three years should be given permanent employment; and if temporary positions become vacant, further examinations should be held and juniors should be appointed to them. The department should not employ girls up to the age of eighteen years, and then dismiss them. A similar practice is adopted in regard to boys. A Sydney firm advertises " Sure to get it at Grace Brothers". The comment of a " wag " in regard to it was, " Sure to get the sack when you are 21 ". That could well be applied to the Postal Department. Boys are employed from the agc of fourteen. When they reach the age of sixteen or seventeen years they are put off, and juniors are taken on in their places. I know of one office where formerly three juniors wore employed, but where now there is no permanent junior telegraph messenger at all. There is one temporary messenger, and the postmaster has informed me that he has been instructed by the department that if he needs extra assistance he must get a boy off the street to deliver telegrams. I understand that this practice obtains, not in that office alone, but in a great many other offices also. I deprecate the practice of employing boys for two or three years, and then putting them off and taking on other inexperienced boys. That is one of the worst ways of exploiting juvenile labour, and the post office is one of the worst offenders. In Bourke, at the present time, there is no permanent telegraph messenger. I have been told that the messenger previously employed there was transferred to another office, where he is still doing a messenger's work, although he is over 21 years of age. That is not right, because when he attains that age he should be given other work, and another junior messenger should be put in his place. In some post offices the postmaster, because of lack of staff, has to perform all the duties from those of office boy to those of telegraphist and counter clerk. Mail services in the more remote parts of New South Wales continue to be unsatisfactory. In 1928-29, £700,000 spent by the department on inland mail services. According to the Estimates for the year ending June, 1936, only £542,000 will be devoted to this purpose, a saving of approximately £158,000. A few years ago the mail service from Bourke to Tilba cost £700 a year. It now costs only £350 a year, and after the 1st January next it will cost only £48 a year. Since the advent of motor cars, the cost of mail services has been progressively reduced, and services which formerly cost £700 or £800 a year are now being conducted for £1 or 30s. a week. Owing to tho depression, the competition between carriers is veryfierce, and they put in very low tenders merely for the right to run regularly on the road. The department is receiving the benefit of this competition, and should, use the money saved for the purpose of extending mail services to new areas. I have here a copy of a letter received from the Postmaster-General's Department in answer to an application for an extended mail service. The letter is as follows - >To alter the route of tho Milparinka-Mt. Arrowsmith service to include "Yadaminta" as a point of call would involve 23 miles additional travelling and further heavy expenditure which would not be justified, particularly as the cost of the service already very greatly exceeds the revenue received. These areas are not thickly populated, and consequently the cost of delivery must necessarily be higher than in a city. In the case mentioned the service was refused because it would involve an extra 23 miles' travelling, but actually the extra cost would have been very little. Even with tho existing mail services many people have to travel 80 and 100 miles to collect their mails. Many people living in those remote areas cannot afford to install telephones, because they would have to pay from £4.0 to £50 rent each year, even after having done most of the construction work themselves in connexion with the erection of the line. Some time ago the department commenced investigations into the use of wireless telephones in remote country districts for those people who cannot reasonably be expected to pay for the ordinary telephone service. If it were found practicable to install such services at a reasonable cost to users, it would be very much appreciated. I should like to hear from the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral what progress has been made in this direction. I desire to draw attention once again to the unsatisfactory nature of the existing broadcasting services. On the 30th June, 1934, there were in Australia 599,000 licensed listeners,- while in June, 1935, there were 750,000 listeners, each of whom pays to the department one guinea a year. According to the figures for 1934, prepared by the Broadcasting Commission there is, in the cities of Australia, one wireless set to every eight persons, while in the country there is one wireless set to every eighteen persons. Only in Great Britain, the United States of America, Sweden and Denmark is the number of sets greater in proportion to the population than in Australia. Listeners are entitled to a better service than they receive. Recently, the British Broadcasting Commission appointed an official known as the Listeners' Friend, whose special duty it is to advise upon programmes from the point of view of the listener. For some time past I have been asking questions in this Parliament regarding the news service which is broadcast from the national stations. This is sent out each evening at about 7.50, a most unsuitable time, having regard to the fact that persons going out for the evening are usually absent by then. Most country people who have wireless sets attach more value to the news service than to any other item broadcast, and for their sake there should be a substantial news service. As a matter of fact, the broadcasting of the service occupies only five minutes, and I am surprised to learn that there was an agreement between the Broadcasting Commission and the Newspaper Conference which ties the service down to this time. I have here a letter dated the 11th April of this year from the Australian Broadcasting Commission, in reply to my representations that a more extensive news service should be broadcast at 7.15 p.m., which states - >Unfortunately, tlie commission is by no moans n free agent in the matter of its news broadcast services, since it is still bound by mi arrangement made with the Australian Newspaper Conference, under which portions of thu news are published in the daily papers in the various Australian capital cities are available to it. This arrangement limits the amount of news which may be taken from the newspapers in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, in the following manner: - > >News session of five minutes between 7.00 a.m. and 8 a.m. from tho morning news papers. > >The same five minutes' news from tha second station between S a.m. and 1 1 a.m., from the morning papers; news for live minutes between 1 and 2 p.m., being additional news from the morning newspapers, from both stations. > >Between 7.50 and 8 p.m., five minutes' news from evening papers. > >The same five minutes' news from the second station between 10 and 10.30 p.m. It was proposed by the commission a little while ago to broadcast the news service at 7.15 p.m., but a good deal of opposition was encountered from a certain group of newspapers. The letter continues - >The foregoing subject to the following conditions: - (1) Restrictions upon supplemen tary service by stations to bc limited to present routine and sporting news. That is to say the broadcasting stations are not free to broadcast news items other than those which appear in the newspapers controlled by the associated press and then they are restricted to five minutes broadcast. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Duc acknowledgment before and after each session, and especially in the case of particular items of individual news. I specially wish to direct attention to the third condition, which is as follows - {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Supreme national events not more than twenty times per annum, but these national events not to include what ure known as "descriptive events". These ave. important items which appear in the newspapers, yet the broadcasting stations are restricted to broadcasting them not more than twenty times a year. With its great amount of revenue, the Australian Broadcasting Commission should spend more on providing a suitable news service. The agreement with the Associated Press, I understand, expired on the 31st October last, and the Government should see that a better news service is provided under the new agreement. At least, it should not tie the hands of the commission in this respect. Under the .present system, the news service is merely confined to reporting minor accidents and the like. I suggest that the commission should establish its own news agency, employ its own journalists and supply a news service at frequent intervals during the day giving up-to-date information for the benefit of listeners. The letter continues - >Summaries where published to be used for news distribution purposes, or where not so published, may be supplied for a general news cover by the newspapers concerned. > >From the above " agreement " it will be observed that in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, the commission is restricted to the broadcasting of five minutus news from thu newspapers in the early evening, such news to be given out between 7.50 nml 8 p.m. That was in reply to my request that a news service should be broadcast at 7.15 p.m. On behalf of the people in my electorate and the residents of the back country, I enter a most emphatic protest against the present inefficient news service. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- A new arrangement is under contemplation now. {: .speaker-JUQ} ##### Mr CLARK: -- I understand that it is proposed to renew the old agreement. MrArchdaleParkhill. - That is not so. {: .speaker-JUQ} ##### Mr CLARK: -- The letter from **Major Conder,** former manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, states *interalia -* >At least, therefore, until some alteration is made in the present agreement with the newspapers, it is difficult to see how the honorable member's suggestion could be adopted. In reply to a question which I asked in the House, it was stated that approximately £1,450 per annum was paid by the commission to the Australian Associated Press for the right to use its news service, and that the agreement, which recently expired, was being renewed on somewhat similar terms. That amount is considered by the Australian Associated Press to be so small as not to be worth while distributing among the various newspapers controlled by that association, and it is therefore paid into a special fund for policing broadcast news to see that the Australian Broadcasting Commission does not put over the air more news than that agreed upon and at hours other than those provided in the agreement. People resident in remote areas are dependent on the wireless for their news of the day, and I hope that, in their interests, the new arrangement will result in a better service than that made available under the old one. {: #subdebate-17-1-s21 .speaker-KVN} ##### Mr STREET:
Corangamite -- The fact that the Government has decided to extend the hours during which certain country telephone exchanges are to operate, is a matter of great gratification to many subscribers living in remote areas. The extension of the operating hours from 6 p.m. to8 p.m. will prove of particular benefit, because it is just within those hours that the man on the land is best able to make use of the telephone. I was pleased to hear the Minister representing the Postmaster-General say that the Government proposed to increase the number of rural automatic telephone exchanges. The rural automatic telephone exchange was introduced into this country, I think, by my predecessor, **Mr. Gibson.** The innovation has been of great benefit to telephone users, and automatic exchanges should be erected wherever possible. In certain countries, I believe, it is possible to carry on ten conversations simultaneously on one pair of lines. If that is so, I hope that the department will investigate the possibilities of the introduction of that system in Australia, with the object of utilizing it, particularly in substitution for party lines, which are not at all satisfactory to telephone subscribers atthe present time. If it ispossible to conduct ten conversations simultaneously on the one set of lines with selective ringing, and without interference, it will go a long way towards overcoming the difficulties that exist in respect of party lines at the present time. Country telephone directories are at present issued only once a year, and do not adequately meet the requirements of country subscribers. Although I realize that it would not be practicable to issue directories more frequently, I suggest it may be possible to issue supplementary sheets quarterly or half-yearly, in order that the directories may be kept up to date. There is one direction in which the department might extend its liberality, and that is in respect of the service provided for subscribers living in remote areas. For example, at Kennedy's Creek, in the Otway Forest, a small settlement of from ten to twelve farm?, the telephone line, about 12 miles long, was erected wholly by the Government about twelve years ago. For the first seven years the Government maintained the line, but after that the residents were called upon to maintain it. This decision operated harshly in respect of the residents of that particular district, because, as I have said, there are only ten or twelve farms in that isolated locality, and, in the case of an urgent medical call, the telephone is an absolute necessity. In that part of the country bush fires and severe storms are almost an annual occurrence, and the maintenance of the line is a particularly onerous responsibility. I hope the Government will be able to see its way clear to liberalize the conditions under which the telephone lines in remote areas are maintained. It is hard that a small group of settlers should be asked to maintain a line which, admittedly of no great revenue value, is nevertheless indis- pensable to residents. There are many localities in which the same conditions apply. The Government might examine the possibilities of affording further relief in respect of partially privatelyerected lines. Every facility is given to the residents in the towns, but country residents are frequently put to great expense in bearing portion of the cost of erecting the lines over great distances. {: #subdebate-17-1-s22 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD:
Bass -- I desire to say a word or two in commendation of the service rendered by the Postal Department. I bad sent to me a day or two ago, through the courtesy of the Director of Postal Services, a little booklet, entitled *Express Messenger Service,* which contains a fund of information showing that residents in the cities and provincial areas have received very great consideration at the hands of the department. I join with other honorable members in expressing appreciation of the Government's action in extending the hours of business of country telephone exchanges. Since I have been a member of this Parliament I have on many occasions received complaints from people in country areas, who find it necessary to use the telephone more frequently after 6 p.m. than at any other time during the day. For that reason I am pleased that the Government has seen fit to afford them this facility. As a Tasmanian, I greatly appreciate the fact that the cable telephone service between Tasmania and the mainland will shortly be put into operation. It will be of great value, not only to Tasmanians, but also to residents of the mainland, who often need to get into urgent communication with residents of the island State. Although I have commended the department in certain respects, it is inevitable with- a public undertaking of such magnitude as this is that both individual and collective complaints should be made on behalf of people who consider that they are not receiving the service to which they are entitled. In this connexion, I refer to the necessity to provide reasonable facilities for the users of public telephones. I have raised this issue on other occasions, but so far without favorable results. By providing public telephonic facilities, the Postal Department has, inferentially, accepted the responsibility to furnish suitable equipment for the purpose. I feel, therefore, that I am entitled to ask that the cabinets in which public telephones are installed shall, at least, ensure telephone users of a reasonable degree of privacy. Unfortunately, in some case3 this is not so. I have in mind a public telephone in connexion with an unofficial post office in my electorate which is quite unsatisfactory for the purpose for which it is used. As I have on a previous occasion made definite representations to the department in connexion with this particular public telephone, I hope that steps will be taken to remedy my complaint. I wish now to refer to the unsatisfactory circumstances under which the unofficial post office at Invermay, a suburb of Launceston, is being conducted. This complaint is in the nature of a hardy annual, and was brought under the notice of the department by gentlemen who represented the Bass constituency before I had the honour of being elected to do so. It has been pointed out to the department that the postal service of Invermay has been provided in the present building for about 30 years, and that improvements have not been effected in conformity with the growth of the suburb. In a letter which I have recently received from the Postmaster-General **(Senator A. J. McLachlan)** on this subject it is stated - ' As you aru no doubt aware, the remuneration paid to the postmaster at Invermay includes an amount for the provision by that official of alt necessary office accommodation. The question of effecting improvements lias been taken up by him on a number of occasions, and it is understood that, up to the present, he has been unable to persuade his landlord to increase the accommodation. That statement is quite true; but one of the reasons why the landlord will not improve the accommodation is that he has no guarantee that, if he does so, the premises will continue to be used for postal purposes. The department may change its policy in regard to this locality and put in hand the construction of a building on a block of land that has been acquired for the purpose. It has been requested that the front, of the building at present, being used for the post office should be reconstructed and brought out to the building line of the street in conformity with the other buildings in the locality. If the landlord were given an undertaking that, in the event of his putting this work in hand, the department would continue to use the property for a few years at any rate, I have no doubt he would bc willing to incur the expense. Another difficulty in the way of an agreement in this case, however, is that the remuneration of the unofficial postmaster includes an amount for office accommodation. If the present building is improved, undoubtedly the landlord would expect a higher rental. The unofficial postmaster naturally would not be willing to pay more than he is at present paying unless his remuneration from the department were also increased. The department should go carefully into ways and means of providing the people in this locality with better postal facilities than they at present enjoy, and make provision on next year's Estimates for this purpose. I wish now to refer briefly to the broadcasting arrangements in Launceston. The establishment of the regional station 7LA has improved the service available to the people, but, unfortunately, the office accommodation of the station is of only a temporary character. I urge that a modern studio be constructed at Launceston, so that the broadcasting service there may be put on a basis commensurate with the importance of that city. So far we have not been furnished with any information as to the specific postal works to be put in hand in the "various States this year. I ask that the Minister representing the Postmaster-General should obtain information for us on this point. As I am always willing to give praise where it is due, I commend the department for the improvements that have been effected in connexion with the island mail service. In the last year or two, postal revenue has increased considerably, and in view of the surplus for last year the department might anticipate increased profit during the current year. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The time allotted to the consideration of these votes has now expired. Proposed votes put and agreed to. *Proposed votes* - Northern Territory, £159,404; Federal Capital Territory, £258,000; Papua, £63,146; Norfolk Island, £4,000. {: #subdebate-17-1-s23 .speaker-JPT} ##### Mr BLAIN:
Northern Territory -- I shall refer to the administration of, and the general expenditure on, the Northern Territory. During recent weeks honorable members have not been remiss in telling the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons)** what is wrong with the world. Others have been almost as eager to describe the wrongs of Australia. *[Quorum formed.~* In reviewing the statement which tha Minister for the Interior **(Mr. Paterson)** was prevented from making, one naturally asks : " "What is wrong with the Northern Territory?" I realize that the Minister is trying to do the best he possibly can for the territory. I have been, and, I hope, will often again be a critic of the Government in regard to territory matters; but I can always give the Minister credit for good faith and a sincere desire to help. The residents have many grievances and troubles, but most of them are attributable to the kind of representation that the territory has had in the past and to the apparent anxiety of my predecessor to hinder the Government and to make territory affairs r. party matter rather than act as an independent advocate of the development of the territory as a whole on sound and sane lines. At any rate, the Government can rest assured that while I shall fight for my electors to the last ditch, knowing their troubles as only a confirmed territorian can, I shall at the same time do my best to be constructive and to help in every way, rather than to hinder. Knowing what pioneering conditions are. I find it difficult to be patient, but I shall try to be so when I see that a real effort is in progress to effect improvements. I greatly welcomed the visit to the territory during the recent Parliamentary recess of the Minister, and several other honorable members, in order to see how its affairs are administered. I sincerely hope that more members of all parties will follow their example. The visit has already borne fruit, and I have been glad to find most of those honorable members who recently accompanied the Minister generously fighting for territory interests in this chamber. I am sure that if every honorable member were to gain a firsthand knowledge of the hardships of the settlers, much more attention would be paid to the problems of the north. Yet I admit my astonishment at the eagerness during recent months with which everybody has been led to recognize the importance of our tropical problems, and the dangers of the territory remaining practically empty. In the success of my efforts to secure this recognition I feel that part of my mission here has been achieved. On this matter all seem to be agreed, irrespective of their political creeds, except, perhaps, my friends who sit behind the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Beasley),** who seem to be far more interested in Russian extremists, and in the protection of imitators of Guy Fawkes who desire to destroy the Constitution, than in the welfare of any pioneer, unless he be a destructive element like themselves. {: .speaker-K9A} ##### Mr Gander: -- I object to the remark of the honorable member that members of the party with which I am associated are not interested in the Northern Territory. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The remark is not unparliamentary. {: .speaker-K9A} ##### Mr Gander: -- I also object to the honorable member being allowed to read his speech. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I assume that the honorable member is referring to his notes. {: .speaker-JPT} ##### Mr BLAIN: -- The Minister, in his statement, said that the disabilities suffered by the settlers have been receiving attention, and he cited certain measures which are being taken to remedy their grievances. The fact that I consider these do not go nearly far enough, does not mean that I do not congratulate the Minister. The reduction of railway freights, subsidies for boring for water, the bearing of part of the freight costs on fencing material, road construction, a review of pastoral rentals and the assistance granted to gold-mining are all steps in the right direction; but a bold policy is required. But these are only palliatives at best, and I am sorry that there is no largescale constructive plan, which I am sure we should have if we had administration of the right type. I cannot help comparing, in my own mind, the government of Papua by that world-famous administrator, **Sir Hubert** Murray, with that of the Northern Territory. I have had the opportunity lately to meet some of the young mcn whom he has trained, and I have been impressed by the unity of thought and purpose among them. Their minds are clear as to the policy which their administration aims at, because it has a policy. They know exactly what they are trying to do with both native and white development. They realize that the work goes beyond mere government. They are schoolmasters for the black, and an example to black and white alike. I should be proud to be in an administration which, from home-bred material, can turn out civil servants like J. G. Hides. But, though we have the right material among our northern lads, they will never get their opportunity while the Government sends nominees, and officers out of a job, to run the territory, and to deal with complex pastoral and native problems, for the handling of which they have not had the slightest preliminary training. Persons bred in Darwin receive little encouragement, even as apprentices, &c, in the ordinary walks of life, let alone special training to solve the problems of that tropical region that leap to the eye. I often ask myself what I should do if I were suddenly to be handed the portfolio of the interior. Because of knowledge gained by practical experience, I have a good idea of the lines I should follow. In the first place, I should seek an administrator of national standing and with pastoral experience. If necessary, I should pay him a high salary. Surely this would be worth while, since a man capable of handling the problems of an area comprising one-sixth of Australia must have a strong character, and a broad outlook. The men who now administer the territory are not to bc blamed for their mistakes. Putting them into their jobs i3 like sending a farmer with no financial training to manage the Commonwealth Bank. I am not condemning Colonel "Weddell too severely. I recognize that he was an original " digger," was present at the landing on Gallipoli of General "Pompey " Elliott's battalion, and was wounded after being promoted to command. Such men deserve first preference, but I know that he would have been the last man to quarrel with me if I had asked him, when he was appointed, whether a training as assistant master in a public school fitted him to govern onesixth of Australia - an area with more complex problems, many of which are purely tropical, than any other part of this continent. But, so long as the Government expects to get territorial heads for the salary which is paid to the managers of comparatively small mines, and appoints men without the personality and training necessary to develop strong views and to advocate them, there will be incompetence. After placing the Northern Territory under the guiding hand of the new administrator, I should grant to the residents a measure of self-government and assist the administration in every possible way to make it worth while for territorians to take a hand in their own affairs. I shall not enlarge upon this aspect, because I propose to deal fully with it on another occasion ; but I am surprised that the Minister's advisers have seen fit to strike a blow at the idea of greater local authority, by placing the Darwin Town Council under this administration, instead of allowing the ratepayers to elect their own council. The people are weary of bureaucratic rule. The Minister's advisers are as aware of this as I am. The population of Darwin is as great as that of many Queensland shires. Why it should be singled out for disfranchisement only those who have recommended it can know. I am sure that no honorable member can see reason in what is being done. In humorous moments, I am inclined to speculate whether officials who advise the Minister have derived their impressions of Darwinians from the reading of *The Origin of the Species.* I am sufficiently modest not to suggest that my presence in" Canberra may have destroyed this illusion, but I am sure that those honorable members who visited Darwin and enjoyed the hospitality of its citizens will agree with me ifr. *Blain.* that no matter how strong their ideas may be, the people of Darwin are at least as capable of voting intelligently as some of the noisier members in this House. I hope these remarks will induce the Minister to reconsider his decision, and allow the ratepayers to administer their own affairs. In administering the territory I should lay down certain broad lines of procedure. The preliminary would be an economic survey by an expert staff. In this Parliament I have continually advocated such a survey so that we might know the value of our assets. Only by soil and topographical surveys can detailed information of value to our mining and cattle industries be gained. This might be costly, but the expenditure of half a million pounds in the right way at the present time would be amply justified. We cannot have effective development unless we know exactly, by a stocktaking, what we have to develop, how it will re-act to developmental measures, and what tools are needed for the job. The present method would be paralleled by a carpenter who proceeded to make something out of any old bits of wood that came to hand, and with any tools that he could lay his hands on in the dark. As a first step I would ascertain what land could be made payable pastorally what fencing would be needed ; what water and communications, and how these could be provided most cheaply after a hydraulic survey. Unpayable lands I would leave alone. Next, I would lay down a port policy for gradual implementation by encouraging tramp voyages by 5,000-ton vessels to and from the territory rivers to transport live cattle to the east, and later, meat packed in dry ice, a byproduct of power alcohol, manufactured by plants established in the territory. Speed would not be permitted to outstrip usefulness but the use of Junker commercial aeroplanes would be encouraged for the rapid transport of perishable commodities such as fish, &c. Then I would consider the stock at present in existence, their quality and numbers, and I would try to devise a. plan for increasing their numbers and improving their quality to the point where, with freight reductions and increase of carrying capacity, station properties would pay their way, which now is not possible in many instances. I would establish farms for the breeding of stud bulls, and acclimatization stations for grasses at four or five points, [ would introduce plants, timbers and grasses likely to suit territory conditions, and increase production. Buffel grass and' Townsville lucerne would be the subject of immediate investigation to improve the carrying capacity of the country. There would be a special water and mining survey by a hydraulic department, and officials under the .control of **Sir David** Rivett. Instead of allowing hia outstanding abilities to be wasted as at present, **Sir David** would be given an immediate and wide charter to carry out his practical planning on a scientific basis. This would call for the appointment of a nucleus technical staff having the highest qualifications. Finally, there would be a native survey by an experienced Papuan official with the aid of the existing police officers to determine a permanent policy of reclamation. In the preliminary years I would spend money, and encourage others te spend money, on development. I would sectionalize the territory according to the report made on it, and, section by section, [ would see it capitalized, as much as possible, by encouraging to the limit private enterprise with light rents and taxation, and leases sufficiently long to induce corporate effort to invest provided the lessees improved their holdings after being given the advantage of a preferential tariff. E would recommend even perpetual leases in some dry areas. I would retain certain coastal lands suitable for agricultural development at. a later date. Unless some such policy as this is adopted, the territory will remain unpayable with a few people wasting its resources, pulling their own legs, and getting little out of the waste, and, having lost their youth, going cut disappointed. Any business man who owned land which was an incubus for want of development, would follow this course. The main difficulty is to obtain a suitable man - a general manager, let us call him rather than mere administrator - who could plan and carry out such an important undertaking. I am sure that Australia can provide such a man. If the job were advertised at a reasonable salary, instead of the applicant being chosen from amongst ministerial and departmental acquaintances, a suitable man familiar with conditions in the Northern Territory would offer his services. {: type="A" start="I"} 0. should have liked to deal with this subject in more detail, but refrained in order that the first principles of the proposal might be made clear and understood by honorable members. I am, however, constrained to give an outline of the work to be done by the administration. Until the last few years in Australia, road-building has followed settlement. It remained for the Queensland Lands Department to reverse this process. I shall not enlarge on this, but I refer honorable members to the last report of the Queensland Land Administration Board with its splendid photographs and graphs of the highways which are being driven, like tunnels, into rich scrub lands which, in a few years, will feed smiling farms. This publication, under the guiding band of **Mr. Payne,** could actually be classified as a treatise on land administration, and I earnestly suggest that honorable members should peruse a copy in the Library as a guide for a real developmental policy. East and west of Darwin lie two regions. One, Arnheim Land, is known chiefly as the haunt of the buffalo and of the wild blackfellow of Caledon Bay. It is half the size of Victoria. "What is it like? Except for the fringe where Ministers and tourists are taken, scarcely anybody knows. Why? Because there is no communication. Two years ago, in the course of my duties, I penetrated some portion of this area. As soon as I left the roads which touch its edges, I was as much completely lost to civilization and to my headquarters in Darwin as if I had been with Mawson in the Antarctic. I am diffident about painting the hardships of tho journey - of rivers infested with crocodiles, and of many other hardships. I mention them merely to emphasize my conviction that it was criminal that such a splendid area, which was within coo-ee of a railway and a port for overseas steamers, should be so isolated from civilization in a country that has been settled for a century. In that area I noted unclassified leguminous grasses, on light country, and higher carrying country of heavy soils, timber, fertilizing rivers, promising mineral belts extending to tho King River and beyond. But the sound of the settler's axe and miner's pick has never been heard in it, because the western half of it is locked up as a reserve for a few stray natives. Because of its peculiar physical characteristics, the soil in that area will stand heavy rains. During the dry season the low country carries swamp grasses which feed thousands of buffalo. The carrying capacity of the high country is as yet low during the dry seasons, but some day Australia will realize that this class of country should be the first to be developed for agricultural purposes, because the rainfall is assured. I would not recommend long leases on this particular area as it could carry a large population if handled properly with due regard to its tropical location. Wild cattle are to be found in this heavily timbered country, but at present its carrying capacity pastorally is insufficient to warrant fencing for pastoral pursuits. I would favour the construction of an all-weather road leading from a railway through a mineral belt from Pine Creek to another mineral belt in Arnheim Land, traversing en route, light agricultural lands that stand rain - lands that have an added carrying capacity, pastorally, during the wet season, but which are supported by low country, almost inaccessible during the wet season, which has a high carrying capacity during the dry season - a decided advantage for small holders. To the western side of Darwin lie the distant Kimberleys, essentially a pastoral belt of large areas of good carrying capacity on the interior open level country, but of low carrying capacity in the heavy timber near the coast. We know that there is gold in that country. It is a land of rich pastures watered by a regular tropic rainfall. There are big rivers and there is much timber, but the resources of this area have not been surveyed in detail. Small men will eventually be called upon to develop by pasture improvement the timbered country which is now classified as inferior country and embraced in the large holdings that were taken up because of the attractiveness of the rich basalt country further inland. This basalt country is too far inland to .receive the heavy rainfall that induces the tropical growth necessary for agricultural areas, but it forms the basis of some excellent cattle runs that are unable to carry on because of their remoteness, the lack of transport facilities, and the pressure of economic forces. On this occasion I do not propose to deal with the high carrying pastoral lands of the Barkly Tablelands, an uplift from the sea floor. This area will be treated comprehensively later in a carefully planned scheme, as can also the light carrying country around Alice Springs, where small men should hari their leases granted, in most cases, in perpetuity. I return, however, to those two areas described east and west of Darwin, where the real territory problem, as I see it, is to be found. This is country which can only be opened by roads going east and west, one going east from Pine Creek, and the other going south-westerly from the- Adelaide River to Victoria River Downs, thence to Wyndham. I wish to make it quite clear that these routes are at present impassable during the wet season ; they could, however, be utilized later for a light tram line to feed the railway. The tram line would intersect the heads of navigable rivers such as the King, South Alligator, Adelaide and Victoria, on which small craft ply. This would give access to the Finness River country, and Bynoe Harbour - an excellent port. All this country carries cattle that could be shipped to the east in vessels of 5,000 tons, and large barges could be used in concentrating ship loads at delivery points. Eventually cattle will be killed on these rivers to defeat the present wastage in transit to distant works. I do not blame any government for baulking at the cost involved, because all governments are hampered by the old tradition that only when the pioneer has shown his mettle must he bo rewarded with the access and service with the necessary equipment to do his work for which he aches when he first pioneers new country. Such individual effort without national assistance must fail to-day in a remote region. Corporate effort must he invoked, too, and planned corporate effort at that. Let us look at it from an economic point of view. If a road 500 miles long were built Uniting up Arnheim Land and the Kimberleys with Darwin it need not bc an expensive road. It could be cambered to keep off the rain, and linked over the heads of rivers with drum ferries such ns many New South Wales and Queensland rivers possess. It might cost £500 a mile, say £250,000 in all, but if it resulted in the production of even 10,000 ozs. of gold per annum and £100,000 in new production, it would pay for itself easily in increased taxation within ten or twelve years, even on the present scale, while it is unthinkable that that would be the limit of its earning power to those who know the potentialities of the country. As feeder roads were built to it. and the land around it went into production as it must, because, except for the basalt scrub country, it is as rich as much of the east coast of Australia, it would gradually form a new province capable of being turned into a fairly thickly peopled State. But, as in the case of Queensland;, the necessary administration must guide this project. This is merely an example of what may he done with a little vision by an administration that has a plan. I ask honorable members to think it over, and realize that there are a dozen other avenues of development which are likely to be equally productive. There is also the possibility of building up an inland fisheries department which could be combined with the department of agriculture. I hope that the Minister will welcome further discussion of the matter both inside and outside the House, and that he will see my viewpoint, and not allow a natural loyalty to his officials, which I would be the first (o respect, to blind him to the need for a great change in the local management of the territory. I feel that a step has been made in the right direction in the appointment of **Mr. J.** A. Carrodus as secretary to the department. **Mr. Carrodus** has administered the territory, and knows its conditions and people: he has the right type of mind to understand its problems. I look forward to working with him and hope that he and the Minister who controls policy will keep me informed confidentially of these viewpoints and consult me whenever they think my experience may be of value. I can assure them that trust in me will not be misplaced, and that they can discuss any problem of development frankly and in confidence, without the fear which has obviously existed in the past that this attitude might be used against them for party political purposes. I feel that there is a general tiredness in our Australia in regard to further primary development. Two opposing forces have succeeded in producing the static state. Although both are sincere in their endeavours to lift our people out of the trough of despond, one force is endeavouring to do the job by constructive measures, while the other is adopting destructive methods. The resultant static state, however, spells stagnation and is' reflected on the frontier - the Northern Territory. The people are sensing it already, and are seeking a lead. They want an outlet for this pent-up energy, not an evasive palliative based on ignorance of real resources, and a disinclination to take an inventory of nature'1' endowments for fields of future endeavour. This Parliament must be bold within the next twelve months or must write an elegy on the futility of effort. It is regrettable that this country of sunshine is not united in making use of qualified Australians to intensify the development of its tropical assets to- the utmost for further internal activities and endeavour. Snow countries would welcome the natural advantages we possess, and science is knocking at our door to assist in their development. This static state of affairs which, for obvious reasons is dangerous, must cease Faulty administration in Australia has allowed the sappy fruit tree to throw out too many lanky limbs of futile endeavour without consulting the wise pruner who develops as the years go by the maximum area of fruiting wood as each limb is allowed to grow. Choice fruit at the end of bare limbs is hardly worth harvesting, the area of endeavour being too great for the quantity of fruit recovered. There is only one way out, and that is to reconstruct from the base, and develop the same tree with fruit wood throughout by planning and using the old root system a3 the initial force. Only correct administration can do this. The south is faced with this for its own salvation now, but the Northern" Territory, and the tropics in general, are a new tree, waiting for its main limbs of development to be strengthened to carry a greater crop of Australia's population for Australia's salvation. I, therefore, ask that the Minister and the Parliament apply to it sanity and science on the lines outlined to assist it to take its place on equal terms with the rest of Australia's activities. {: #subdebate-17-1-s24 .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr PRICE:
Boothby .- I compliment the Minister on his administration of the Northern Territory. He has gone about his work in the right way by visiting the territory, and endeavouring to ascertain at first hand what is necessary for its development. Some years ago an agreement was entered into between the governments of the Commonwealth and 'South Australia for the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth. It provided that the Commonwealth should construct a railway line from Oodnadatta to connect with the line running south from Darwin; but although many years have elapsed since that agreement was entered into, the line still remains incomplete. It is high time that the Commonwealth Government honoured its undertaking. {: .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr LANE:
BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP -- The construction of that railway would be a waste of money. {: .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr PRICE: -- I disagree with the honorable member, because of the potentialities of the country through which the line would run. So far I have not visited the extreme north of the territory, but on three occasions I have visited Central Australia, where I was astonished to find such wonderful country. It is generally agreed that as regards both its mineral and its pastoral resources the Northern Territory has great possibilities. This Parliament has a duty to discharge to those pioneers who are prepared to develop the outback districts of this continent. A few weeks ago the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. E. J. Harrison)** somewhat alarmed me when he advocated the construction of a railway from Birdum to the border of Western Australia and another to the border of Queensland. In my opinion, the gap of about 550 miles between Alice Springs and Birdum should first be bridged. After that line has been completed, spur lines could be constructed with advantage, to the territory. Another great essential for the proper development of the Northern Territory is the provision of adequate water supplies, and I appreciate what has been done at Tennant's Creek in this connexion. When the Minister visited that area he took a water diviner with him, and I am pleased to know that a good supply of water has now been provided there. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · CP; LP from 1944; LCL from 1951; LP from 1954 -- Was the water diviner responsible for finding it? {: .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr PRICE: -- I do not know how the supply was located; but I am assured that excellent water is now available for the residents of Tennant's Creek, 'who number about 800. I understand that other water found was brackish, but it, could be used at the batteries. Railway facilities should be provided for them. I urge that a railway be constructed from Alice Springs to Birdum, via Barrow Creek and Tennant's Creek. The contract entered into between the governments of tho Commonwealth and South Australia should be honored and the line constructed without further delay. The members of the Minister's party obtained an excellent insight into what is being done in the Northern Territory. As honorable members are asked from time to time to vote substantial sums for works in the territory, they should make themselves acquainted with its conditions by paying a visit to it. Regarding the shipping facilities to Papua and New Guinea., one of the matters that camo under my notice while travelling along the coast of North Queensland was that the passages used by vessels on regular trade routes in the neighbourhood, of the Barrier Reef have been only partially surveyed, and are devoid of beacons or other aids to safe navigation. Lights and beacons are essential at Cook's Passage, Trinity Opening, Grafton Passage, Palm Passage, and Magnetic Passage. Honorable members may attemp to make light of this matter, but I assure them that from a navigation viewpoint it is all-important. A certain proportion of the dues collected from shipping should be utilized in the provision of aids to safe navigation. {: #subdebate-17-1-s25 .speaker-K0D} ##### Mr COLLINS:
Hume .- Listening to the remarks of the last, speaker in regard to the development of the Northern Territory, and having in mind the statements made recently by the Minister for the Interior **(Mr. Patcrson)** concerning the work that has been done there, one must come to the conclusion that little will be achieved unless the Government is prepared to launch out on a bold scheme of development. Any attempt to render assistance by the reduction of freights or the provision of additional water supplies will be quite useless unless the lessees are given an outlet for their produce. That is one obstacle to the development of the territory today. During the three years in which the meat works operated at Darwin the value of produce exported was approximately £1,000,000, and even with the limited railway transport available the total amount paid for freight was about £50,000. Small secondary industries came into existence, with the result that there was an era of prosperity. But immediately the meat works closed the conditions began to change, and in the three succeeding years the value of goods exported dropped to practically nothing, and all the industries associated with the development of the north declined. The honorable member for Boothby **(Mr. Price)** has spoken of spur lines of railway. The task which confronts the Government is to construct lines to strategic points for the carriage of stock to the meat works, thus avoiding long treks over waterless tracks and roads that are devoid of feed, causing the cattle to arrive in store condition instead of being fit for export as chilled beef. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The time allotted for the consideration of theproposed votes for the Territories of the Commonwealth has expired. Proposed votes put and agreed to. Motion (by **Mr. Casey)** agreed to - >That the following resolution be reported to the House: - > >That, including the several sums already voted for such services, there be granted to His Majesty to defray the charges for the year 1935-30 for the several services hereunder specified, a sum' not exceeding £23,759,770. Resolution reported and adopted. {:#subdebate-17-2} #### In Committee of Ways and Means: Motion (by **Mr. Casey)** agreed to - >That towards making good the Supply granted His Majesty for the services of the year 1935-36 there be grunted out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund a sum not exceeding £12,523,830. Resolution reported and adopted. {: .page-start } page 2175 {:#debate-18} ### APPROPRIATION BILL 1935-36 *Ordered -* >That **Mr. Casey** and Mr.Paterson do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution. Bill brought up by **Mr. Casey** and pa.sed through all stages without amendment or debate. {: .page-start } page 2176 {:#debate-19} ### ORANGE EXPORT BOUNTY BILL 1935 Bill returned from the Senate with an amendment, {: .page-start } page 2176 {:#debate-20} ### ADJOURNMENT Repatriation Administration - Great Barrier Reef: Aids to Navigation - rundle-street post office. Motion (by **Mr. Casey)** proposed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #debate-20-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney .- I have been asked by the Returned Soldiers and Sailors Labour Club to bring to the notice of the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Lyons),** the case of returned soldiers in country centres, who have to travel long distances to obey an order to report at the Repatriation Department in Sydney for medical treatment. In the past these men have had to secure the approval of the department for any travelling expenses they might incur, and the department has, in some cases, allowed the barest minimum. I have in mind the case of a returned soldier who travelled from Taree to Sydney, and was allowed only second-class railway fare, plus 3s. for the expense of meals, &c, on the journey. He arrived in Sydney too late in the afternoon to call at the department that day, with the result that he had to find accommodation. The majority of the returned soldiers who are ordered by their local doctors to obtain further treatment in Sydney are afraid to incur travelling expenses, because they are not sure that the department will recompense them. They refrain from travelling first-class, or using a sleeping berth, although I submit that they are entitled to such facilities, and are unable to afford suitable accommodation in Sydney while awaiting treatment. The Government would not incur any great expense if it accepted the local doctor's certificate as authority for the patient to travel first-class, and incur certain travelling and accommodation expenses on his journey to Sydney for further treatment. It is only fair that such a concession should be made to these men, because in many cases those visiting Sydney on medical advice have to sit up all night in the train. {: #debate-20-s1 .speaker-KUW} ##### Mr STACEY:
Adelaide -- I support the request of the honorable member for Boothby (M.r. Price) for the installation of three or four beacons on the Great Barrier reef. Many honorable members, like myself, have travelled on this route on many occasions, and all of them agree that it is particularly dangerous to shipping to have to pass through the reef without the guidance of such beacons, where the width of the channels is sometimes little more than double the length of the boat. On every occasion on which I have made that trip, before and after I became a member of this House, I have been requested to bring this matter under the notice of the Government. I ask the Minister to look into it. About six years ago an amount was placed on the Estimates for the erection of a post office in Rundle-street, Adelaide, but it has not yet been built. Two years ago the Postmaster-General was interviewed by a. deputation in Adelaide, and he promised to give the matter serious consideration. I understand that it subsequently came before the Cabinet, which decided that the post office should be built. Consequently, an amount for this purpose was placed on the Estimates last year. I have raised the matter on different occasions in this House, and have been told by the Minister for the Interior that the plans and specifications for the building were being prepared. An amount of £3,000 has been placed on the Estimates this year for the purpose. I ask the Minister whether that amount is merely for the purchase of bricks or other material, with a view to providing a larger amount next year? Is the Cabinet serious about the matter? Rundle-street is one of the principal streets of Adelaide. The present post office there is a one-storied structure, and could reasonably be taken for a pawnbrokers' establishment. It is a disgrace to the city. {: #debate-20-s2 .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:
Minister for Defence · Warringah · UAP -- I shall place before the PostmasterGeneral the matter raised by the honorable member for Adelaide **(Mr. Stacey).** {: #debate-20-s3 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Corio · UAP -- The matter brought up by the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** will be taken into consideration, and I shall see what can be done about it. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.41 p.m. {: .page-start } page 2177 {:#debate-21} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers to questions were circulated: -* {:#subdebate-21-0} #### Farmers' Debt Adjustment : Payments {: #subdebate-21-0-s0 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin:
FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA n asked the Minister for Commerce, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What amounts have been paid to respective States under the Loan (Farmers' Debt Adjustment) Act 1935? 1. What amounts have been paid by the respective States in respect of adjustment of farmers' debts? {: #subdebate-21-0-s1 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. New South Wales, £5,000; South Australia, £10,000. 1. New South Wales, £4,565; South Australia - payment of £471 has actually been made in respect of one applicant whose case has finally been approved. Preliminary approval has, however, been give.7 to over 215 applications. In tho remaining States the acts have but recently been passed, and in some instances Royal Assent has not yet been given. {:#subdebate-21-1} #### Canberra Hospital: Staff Working Hours. {: #subdebate-21-1-s0 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr Maloney: y asked the Minister for Health, *upon notice -* >In view of tho decreased number of working hours for nurses now obtaining in New South Wales, will he inform the House of the hours for sisters, nurses and trainees at tho Canberra Hospital? {: #subdebate-21-1-s1 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP -- The weekly period of duty for sisters and nurses is 57 hours. In addition, sisters are on call on three nights each week from 8.30 p.m. until midnight. The sister and senior nurse of the obstetric staff are on call on alternate nights. Trainees work 60 hours weekly. A reduction of the weekly working period to 48 hours is under consideration by the Hospital Board. {:#subdebate-21-2} #### Northern Territory: Charges Against Lessees: Concessions to Lessees {: #subdebate-21-2-s0 .speaker-KOQ} ##### Mr MCCALL: L asked the Minister for the Interior, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been directed to statements making serious charges against certain lessees in the Northern Territory for failing to develop their holdings by finding water, erecting fences, and introducing good blood into the herds ? 1. Will the Minister ascertain whether these charges are correct; if so, will he consider the appointment of a royal commission to inquire into the whole situation in the Northern Territory ? 2. If the charges arc not correct, will ho exonerate the lessees referred to ? {: #subdebate-21-2-s1 .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson:
Minister for the Interior · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Statements to that effect were made in the House, but were promptly and effectively refuted by another honorable member, who produced figures in support of his refutation. 2 and 3. In the circumstances, it is not considered that the appointment of a royal commission is justified. {: #subdebate-21-2-s2 .speaker-K0D} ##### Mr Collins: s asked the Minister for the Interior, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been drawn to recent statements in the press expressing dissatisfaction with the concessions which the Government proposes to offer to the Northern Territory lessees? 1. Docs his statement, which also appears in the press, represent the total concessions which the Government proposes to offer to the lessees, or is it his intention, at an early date, to state in detail the Government's scheme towards the development of Northern Australia; if so, when is such statement likely to bc made? {: #subdebate-21-2-s3 .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Statements by only one of the lessees have come to my notice. No indication has been given to date of the views of other lessees. 1. The Government's proposals are set out in the following statement. They represent the concessions which the Government hae decided to offer for the present for the benefit of lessees throughout the whole of the territory. The Government will be guided, as to its future policy, by the effect of those concessions : - Disabilities suffered by settlers in the Northern Territory have recently been receiving consideration by the Government, and I desire to inform the House of steps which it is proposed to take in this connexion. One of the greatest hindrances to tho development of the Northern Territory is the high cost of transporting essential requirements owing to the great distances which have to be covered; another groat drawback is the scarcity of surface water, and the high cost of obtaining supplies by boring - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. To reduce transport costs the Government has approved of a substantial reduction of freight rates on the north Australian railway, and of the wharfage dues at Darwin. 1. The Government will subsidize boring for water on any lessee's property on n £1 for £1 basis of the actual cost of sinking and casing the bore, and when government water boring plants are available they may be hired for this purpose without any charge being made for the plant. The Government will also bear half the total cost of sea, rail and road freight of the engine or mill, tower, trough,&c. 2. The Government will encourage lessees to fence portions of their areas by bearing half the total cost of sea, rail and road freight of all fencing materials (other than posts obtained on or near the property) purchased by any lessee to be used in erecting fences on his lease. 3. 4 ) A more generous provision will be made for the construction of roads, and more especially for creek crossings, and for the maintenance of roads and stock routes. 4. A review of rentals of pastoral leases will be made. 5. It is hoped that the assistance to be given in boring for water and in connexion with the carriage of fencing materials will encourage some cattle breeders on suitable areas to establish stud farms in the territory, so that the heavy expense of transporting bulls from other parts of Australia will be largely done away with. 6. Regarding gold-mining in the territory the sum of £45,000 provided by Parliament late last year for the stimulation of employment in this industry is being used to good purpose, and its provision is proving to be well justified. 7. The Civic Administration at Darwin is at present being carried out by a nominated council which was established by the Government in 1930. The council has asked the Government to relieve it of its responsibilities and various alternatives have been proposed by the residents of Darwin, such as a council wholly elected by the people, a council partly elected and partly nominated, or the taking over of civic affairs by the administration in Darwin. After careful consideration the Government has decided upon the last mentioned course. {:#subdebate-21-3} #### Export of Reapers and Binders to New Zealand {: #subdebate-21-3-s0 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: y asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* >How many reapers and binders have been exported from Australia to New Zealand during the years 1931-32, 1932-33, 1933-34, and 1934-35? {: #subdebate-21-3-s1 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White:
UAP -- Official statistics do not record any exports of reapers and binders from Australia to New Zealand during the years 1931-32, 1932-33, 1933-34, and 1934-35. {:#subdebate-21-4} #### Purchase of Wire Netting : Advances to States {: #subdebate-21-4-s0 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: y asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What rate of interest is now being charged to the States for advances made to the States for the purchase of wire netting? 1. Is it a fact that £250,000 of these advances was made from revenue, and that the greater portion of that amount has been repaid ? 2. Was it announced by the Government, when the proposal to advance £250,000 for this purpose was made, that these repayments would be utilized for the further purchase of netting free of interest charges? 3. Has any portion of those repayments been so used? {: #subdebate-21-4-s1 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. On advances made to the States under the Wire and Wire Netting Act 1927-1932, the States are charged interest at the rate of 4 per cent. per annum. 1. £250,000 was made available from revenue under the Advances to Settlers Act 1923, but no interest has been charged by the Commonwealth on these moneys. Approximately half of this amount has been repaid. 3 and 4. Regulations under the Advances to Settlers Act 1923 provided that repayments of advances thereunder could be used for further advances which, being madein terms of that Act, would be free of interest to the States. The amount of these further advances was approximately £20,000 prior to this arrangement being superseded by the Wire and Wire Netting Act 1927-1932. Loan Conversion : Interest on War Debts. {: #subdebate-21-4-s2 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: y asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What has been the total saving effected by loan conversion during the last six years by(a) the Commonwealth, and (b) the States ? 1. How much has been saved by the withholding of the payment of the interest and sinking fund on our war debt to Great Britain annually, and what is the total amount saved by Great Britain refraining from requesting payment? {: #subdebate-21-4-s3 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The total annual savings (interest and exchange) brought about by loan conversions since July, 1931, *aso -* > £ As a result of these savings, substantial reductions wore mads in interest charged to Crown debtors {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The total annual amount of interest and sinking fund on war debt owing to the British Government, payment of which has been- voluntarily postponed by Great Britain, is £5,548,000 sterling. The total amount thus saved to the 30th June, 1935, is £22,192,000 sterling. {:#subdebate-21-5} #### Australian Exports {: #subdebate-21-5-s0 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: y asked the. Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What was the value of the exports from nach State of the Commonwealth during the years 1933-34 and 1934-35? 1. What was the value of exports a head of population in each State during the same years T {: #subdebate-21-5-s1 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. The following statement sets out the information required by the honorable member: - {:#subdebate-21-6} #### PUBLIC Accounts Committee {: #subdebate-21-6-s0 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: n asked the Treasurer, upon *notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Why has the Government failed to give effect to the recommendation made by the Joint Select Committee on Public Accounts in 1932? 1. In view of the criticism of the AuditorGeneral in reference to the presentation of government accounts, will 'the Government consider the desirability of re-establishing tha Public Accounts Committee? {: #subdebate-21-6-s1 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The report of the Joint Select Committee on Public Accounts in 1932 contained numerous recommendations. It was found impracticable to give effect to all of the recommendations, but very many of them have been adopted, and on . some of them a final decision has still to be made, 1. The matter will receive consideration. Training of Youths *fob* Mercantile Service. {: #subdebate-21-6-s2 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: n asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >In view of the Prime Minister's promise to assist in the training and preparation of youths for work, will he consider the advisability of training youths to become seamen, in order that Australia may maintain a mercantile service equal to. what it has been in the past? {: #subdebate-21-6-s3 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP -- Representations have been made to the Commonwealth Government in connexion with this matter. Full consideration was given to the question of Commonwealth assistance. The Government was, however, advised that the mercantile service is already over-supplied with youths, and that the shipping companies and those associated with maritime interests in Australia are at present training the boys intended to replace wastages in the ships in which they are employed. {:#subdebate-21-7} #### Manufacture of " Marmite {: #subdebate-21-7-s0 .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr Blackburn:
BOURKE, VICTORIA n asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is the commodity known as " Marmite " wholly or partly manufactured in Australia? 1. If it is .partly manufactured in Australia, what import duty is borne by each class of imported ingredient? 2. If it is neither wholly nor partly manufactured in Australia, what import duty ia borne by " Marmite," and from what country is it imported? {: #subdebate-21-7-s1 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. 1. Not applicable. 2. " Marmite " iB imported from the United Kingdom, and is subject to a duty under Tariff Item 79 of 20 per cent., less exchange adjustment, making a net duty of 15 per cent, under .present exchange conditions. In addition, a primage duty of 5 .per cent, is payable.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 November 1935, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.