House of Representatives
29 October 1936

14th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speakebr (Hon.G.J. Bell) tool: the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 1409


Motion (by Mr. Lyons) agreed to -

That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday next at 3 p.m.

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– I ask the Prime Minister the following questions: -

  1. Is there any truth in the statement published in this morning’s Canberra Times, that the Commonwealth Government has decided to secure in Melbourne an official residence for the GovernorGeneral ?
  2. Is it correct that special pains have been taken by the Government’ to keep the plans quiet, only members of the Ministry having been informed and the press having been asked to keep the matter secret?
  3. Is it correct that the Government is considering the purchase of a mansion in Toorak, or, alternatively, the home of the High Commissioner for Australia in London, Mr. Bruce, at Frankston?
  4. Is it intended that an official decision in the matter is to be made during the Christmas recess, so that necessary work may be commenced before the next meeting of Parliament?
  5. In view of this alleged discreditable endeavour to avoid the consultation of this Parliament-

-Order! In describing something as “ discreditable “ the honorable member is distinctly out of order. He may not express an. opinion when asking a question.


– Iii view of this endeavour to avoid the consultation of this Parliament upon the matter, will the Government arrange for a full parliamentary discussion at the earliest possible moment?

Prime Minister · WILMOT, TASMANIA · UAP

– As there is not an atom of truth in the statement which appears in this morning’s press, there would seem to be no necessity to. reply to the further questions of the honorable member. The suggestion is that the matter has been kept secret. It is so secret that neither I nor any other member of the Government has any knowledge of it.

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– Will the Minister for Health assist the Government of Victoria to provide milk for school children, irrespective of their religious beliefs?

Minister for Repatriation · NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP

– The honorable gentleman knows perfectly well that the powers of this Government in relation to health matters are severely limited; but to the extent that it is able to assist the Government of Victoria in this laudable purpose, such assistance will be given, on the condition that all children shall share in the distribution of milk, irrespective of their religion or any other consideration.

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– Will the Minister for Defence state whether the Government intends to have armoured cars manufactured at the Maribyrnong munitions establishment? If so, will the proposal involve an extension of the existing manufacturing facilities? Can the honorable gentleman also indicate when the manufacturing operations will be commenced?

Minister for Defence · WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP

– It is intended to manufacture armoured cars at this establishment. It is expected that the works will begin manufacturing operations early next year.

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Motion (by Sir HENRY Gullett) agreed to -

That he have leave to bring in a bill for an act to approve a treaty of commerce made between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Czechoslovak Republic, the final protocol to that treaty, and undertakings given in relation to that treaty.

Bill brought up, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister directing negotiations for trade treaties · Henty · UAP

– 6^ leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

I propose, with the assent of the House, to make a number of general observations covering not only this treaty between the Commonwealth and Czechoslovakia, but also agreements made with Belgium and South Africa that are dealt with in bills to be subsequently introduced, and other treaties- that may be introduced at a later, date, although there will be no specific reference to these latter treaties.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon G J Bell:

Does the Minister intend to introduce these other bills subsequently?


– Yes. ‘


– I think it is desirable that they should be introduced and should pass the first-reading stage before being referred to in the general outline suggested, so that the House may know that in character they are cognate to the bill of which the honorable gentleman is now moving the second reading.


– Then I ask leave to continue my remarks a little later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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Motion (by Sir HENRY Gullett) agreed to -

That he have leave to bring in a bill for an act to approve a provisional commercial agreement between the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Government of Belgium and undertakings given in relation to that agreement.

Bill brought up, and read a first time.

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Motion (by Sir Henry Gullett) agreed to -

Thathe have leave to bring in a bill for an not to ratify and approve an agreement between His Majesty’s Governments in the Union of South Africa and the Commonwealth of Australia in relation to duties of customs.

Bill brought up, and read a first time.

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Second Reading

Debate resumed.

HentyMinister directing negotiations for trade treaties · UAP

– “Within the last few weeks thoughtful Australians in every walk of life have passed through a period of anxiety because of the belated arrival of the spring rainfall. This anxiety has not been confined to the wheat-growers, whose promise of a particularly golden harvest was wilting before their eyes, or to those whose anticipated cheques from fat lambs were threatened with sadly reduced figures, or indeed - and this point I would emphasize - to the people on the land as a whole; it was an anxiety common to us all. Now the rains have fallen - not, it is true, over all the dry areas, nor in sufficient quantity to give complete satisfaction, but at least enough has fallen to ensure, broadly speaking, a season of fair rewards to a great majority of the primary producers.

The prosperity of the primary producer is the index to the prosperity of all. Give to the man on the landa strong purchasing power, and all Australians of town and country alike have the wind and . the tide with thorn.

In town or country in this Commonwealth, industrial and business turnover, professional incomes, and the stability and wage level of weekly or yearly employment, are measured by the volume and value of our export trade. It may be - indeed, it is certain - that as the years pass this necessity to export a great surplus of the produce of the Australian soil over home-consumption needs will diminish. But for the present, and for many decades to come, export markets for station, farm, and orchard produce, and minerals,will continue to be a factor vital to the welfare of our people. Population may - we know that it will - increase; but with the prevailing birth rate and the best that immigration might do for us, it is certain that for many years primary production, not only will continue to exceed home consumption, but also - as every one who knows rural Australia and the present development of rural practices will agree - will actually continue to increase more rapidly than the home market. For some years past we have depended, and probably for some years to come we must continue to depend, in the main, upon the market of theUnitedKingdom for the export of this primary surplus. It is inevitable, however, thatwe shall reach the end of the capacity of that market to consume our exports upon an expanding scale. It is beyond question, I think, that we shall reach that point long before we have reached the limit of our rapidly rising export surplus.

Honorable members will agree that when we reach the limit of our capacity to sell at profitable -prices overseas that surplus primary produce which Australia is capable of producing, there will be a heavy check to our development, and probably a sharp and progressive decline of our standard of living. As I have repeatedly endeavoured to impress upon the House, the value of the Australian export market is not to be measured merely by the millions of pounds received for exports. The value and volume of these exports are of the utmost significance, not only to the primary producers, but also to every householder in the Commonwealth. For example, if we ceased to export primary produce tomorrow, every market for that produce within. Australia would at once become overwhelmed with supplies, and prices would fall to levels that would spell ruination to all but a very few classes of our land settlers, whether they measure their holdings by scores of acres or by hundreds of square miles. Only in less degree would be the calamity to the nation if we were compelled to accept the present point reached by our various exports as the highest point attainable. This latter event would mean a standstill in primary production, to be relieved only as we added to our population. The significance of these remarks to the primary producer is clear. Any diminution of the total external consumption of Australian goods must mean a curtailment of rural industry. Failure to expand the overseas demand for our goods must mean restriction of the present volume of production, which in turn, unless the home-consumption market is to be glutted and prices broken, must mean the abrupt cessation of all scientific advancement in every branch of agriculture, pasture improvement, live-stock breeding and orchard practices. In a word, unless we can expand overseas consumption, rural Australia must stagnate; subdivision of large holdings with opportunities for farmers’ sons and others will be blighted, and irrigation projects upon which it might be said we have only just started must come to an end. I will not add further colouring to the picture; it is already vivid, and, I am sure, convincing enough for every open mind.

There, Mr. Speaker, in a few sentences is the case for foreign treaty-making. There is the case, by fact and by strongest inference, why the people of the Commonwealth, no matter in what occupation they find themselves, should give wholehearted support to this tradetreaty policy of the Government. It is a policy directed to the expansion and intensification of primary production. And I ask again, who, in this Commonwealth, is not dependent directly or indirectly, and whose children will not be dependent, upon the yearly volume of profitable primary production? The pastoralist or farmer, great or small, if he prospers, prospers all. Give him real purchasing power, and all is well with the manufacturer; his sales and Iris employees; all is well with the wholesaler and retailer; all is well with every town and country -lawyer, doctor or’ clerk. On the other hand, deny markets to the farmer and cramp his purchasing power, and dividends will shrink and employment will fade in every corner of this wide land.

For the moment I propose to deal with the prospect of .enlarging the markets for Australian produce in continental European countries. The popular belief that European countries are not to-day great importers of primary produce of the kind exported by Australia, other than wool, is totally unfounded. In support of this, I make available to honorable members the following list of the total imports of primary produce into Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Switzerland during the year 1934: -

I might add that the total “ imports into those countries of produce of a kind exported by Australia- during 1934 amounted to 7,750,000 metric tons. For the same year the Australian export of these commodities to the countries mentioned was 120,000 metric tons. It is not suggested that a large share of this wide range of imports could be made available to Australia. In some cases it would be found that the price level prevailing was too low to attract Australian competition; nevertheless, there remains in this great import into continental Europe a field for exploitation by Australia.

An investigation of the imports of these and other European countries shows that when the intensive post-war policy of local economic nationalism began, amongst the first produce to be almost, if not quite totally, excluded from consideration, was the produce of Australia, excepting, broadly speaking, only wool and a very limited quantity of base metals, barley, meat and apples. The import of barley and meat has been confined in recent years almost if not quite exclusively to Belgium. The reason for this exclusion of the Australian product is not far to seek. Broadly speaking, European countries could dispense with every thing from Australia with the exception of wool, and if they continued to buy wool, even on a reduced scale, they could still ‘ show a substantial adverse balance of trade against the Commonwealth, and claim, because of that adverse balance, reasonable import facilities for their manufactured goods, including Australian manufacturers’ requirements of raw and semi-raw materials, into the Commonwealth.

The injury to Australian primaryproducing interests by this European attitude is at once apparent. It is true that, with the exception of active penalties adopted against wool by a few countries, that commodity has escaped the various forms of import control which is preventing the sale of our other produce. This has been due, not to any sympathetic feeling towards Australia, but of course to the plain fact that wool continued to maintain its position, to a large measure, as an indispensable product. Despite this admission, however, it is quite incorrect to assume that Australian wool has not been penalized by the attitude of European Continental countries, and indeed by countries outside Europe, because of the failure of Australia to engage in treaty-making with foreign governments.

When I was in Europe last year I discussed treaty-making with the representatives of seven countries. Those discussions took place both with prominent ministers and with senior officials of many departments, including foreign affairs, finance, economics, commerce and agriculture. In no country was there absent from the discussions a note of grievance, not. to mention hostility, against Australia. This grievance had its origin in the Continental trading disposition towards bilateral balances. The balance of payments is an ever-present and vital question with these countries. Imports of Australian wool as against comparatively small exports to Australia year after year, have caused disequilibrium in the national accounts. The Ministers and departments responsible for maintaining national solvency have, therefore, the trading position with Australia sharply and, from their point of view painfully before them.

It was vain for theAustralian delegation to protest, as it did everywhere, that raw wool could not properly be taken into the consideration of the balance of trade, inasmuch as those who bought it for manufacturing purposes derived substantially more profit from it than did the Australian pastoralists who produced it. The common complaint was that Australia had by successive steps adopted an attitude in a trading sense unfriendly and harmful towards its old foreign trading friends. The particular steps to which emphasis was given were - and I am not speaking now in any party or controversial sense - the successive increases from 1929 to 1931 of the customs duties, the increased duties under the general tariff arising out of the higher margins of preference to the United Kingdom under the Ottawa agreement of 1932, the strongly preferential remissions of primage since that date and the exchange adjustment concessions accorded to goods of British origin since- 1933. To state the position in a few words, it might be said that the attitude throughout Europe, apart only from woollen manufacturers, was first to exclude Australian products other than wool, and then to curtail as far as possible credits available for Australian wool, and concentrate upon scientific research for the discovery of wool substitutes. The atmosphere and tendency as I saw them were, to put it mildly, not only uncompromising against Australian products other than wool, but also extremely prejudicial to Australian wool interests. In all countries to-day foreign credits are difficult to establish and very limited in amount. The Australian delegation discovered that credits in favour of Australia were everywhere cut to the bone.

On these considerations is the policy of the Government based; few will, I think, challenge the soundness of it. My task now is to convince the House that in moving actually into foreign trade treaty-making, the Government has proceeded down sound and profitable lines. In its endeavour the Government has been faced, of course, with the difficulties common to treaty-making. Obviously in return for concessions, or, in other words, an assured, place in foreign markets for Australian primary produce, the Government has been obliged to make concessions.

This Government has stood, above all, for the restoration of general national confidence with a view to bringing about general industrial recovery and employment for our workers in every field of activity. Our objective in treaty-making has been not only to uphold that policy but also to strengthen it, and obviously this could not be done if,’ in our endeavour to obtain better opportunities for Australian primary produce abroad, we made tariff concessions which would restrict industry at home, or even hinder its continued steady expansion. I submit that we have been able to do this.

Let me say at once that in the two treaties I now recommend to the goodwill of the House we have, in the case of protective duties, adhered to the policy of the Government of adopting the rates recommended by the Tariff Board. At this stage, too, I give the assurance that we have not reduced the preferential margins contained in the Ottawa agreement in favour of goods of British origin, except in a few minor cases with the concurrence of the Government of the United Kingdom. The concessions we have made have been, in brief -

  1. The grant to Czechoslovak and Belgian goods specified in the agreements, of tariff rates recommended by the Tariff Board based on the protective effects of London-Australia exchange.

This tariff assessment is known as the Tariff Board “ a “ level as it appears as such in their recommendations. This “ a “ level has already been accorded to the United Kingdom and half the reduction has been accorded to foreign countries.

  1. The grant of reductions of duty where the preferential margins to the United Kingdom were in excess of the commitments.

These excess margins have been held for application in foreign treaty-making.

  1. Concessions have been made under these two agreements with respect to the Ottawa margins of preference by agreement with the . Government of the United Kingdom.
  2. Reductions of specified duty on revenue and non-protective tariff items.
  3. A number of primage concessions. The total amount of primage remission involved in the two treaties is estimated at £99,000 annually. This estimate is on the basis that the same concessions will be granted to certain other countries with which Australia has most-favoured nation obligations, and also to a few countries concerning which the Government is satisfied that provision should be made for the grant of the concessions pending conclusion of a treaty. I should mention, too, that these primage reductions will serve in part as concessions in the making of additional foreign treaties. Consequential adjustments have been necessary in a number of cases to the primage rate on United Kingdom goods. These, however, are included in the figure of £99,000.

Under the two treaties there have been accorded 105 concessions in the Customs Tariff. No protective duty has been reduced or consolidated for the term of either treaty. In the Belgian agreement there are seven non-protective items on which an undertaking has been given that the existing rate will not he exceeded during the life of the agreement, whilst in the Czechoslovak treaty an undertaking is given not to increase the existing duty on certain steel which is admitted under departmental by-law.

The term of the Czechoslovak treaty is for one year. It continues thereafter subject to three months’ notice of denunciation. The Belgian agreement is of indefinite duration, . subject to six months’ notice of termination. These short terms are the practice of the world to-day.

I come now to the concessions to be granted to the Commonwealth under both agreements. Australia is granted most- favoured nation treatment, which, means that any tariff advantages which Czechoslovakia or Belgium has granted, or will in future grant, to any other country as the result of trade treaty negotiations or otherwise, will likewise bc . granted to Australia. Honorable members may at first sight contrast the disproportionate number of concessions made to the Commonwealth by Czechoslovakia and Belgium under these two agreements against the number of concessions made by the Commonwealth to these two countries. The explanation of this apparent lack of balance, however, is a convincing one. Opportunities in our export trade to Czechoslovakia or Belgium are limited to a few main items, whereas their exports to Australia range in small quantities over a very wide field. It is proposed that Australia should receive a few major benefits, and these two foreign countries a number of minor benefits. The balance of trade (between these countries and Australia is greatly in our favour.

Import figures are now invariably accepted as the best index of the trade between two countries. In- 1934-35 imports into Australia from Czech oslovakia were valued at £354,000 sterling, whilst in 1935 imports of Australian goods into Czechoslovakia were valued at £872,000 sterling.

Belgian imports into Australia in 1934-35 were valued at £478,000 sterling, whilst in 1934 Australian imports into Belgium were valued at £3,269,000 sterling. Those are the Belgian figures, which in regard to imports we accept in all cases.

I am aware that there exists in Australia a strong school of thought which is opposed to the making of foreign trade treaties, but I venture to think that its members have temporarily lost sight of some factors of vital importance to the welfare of the Commonwealth. I also venture to think that they have very greatly exaggerated the dangers of foreign trade treaty-making, and have heavily underestimated its advantages. It is my wish to avoid as far as practicable retrospection upon this subject, but a brief survey of post-war international trade is required if wo are to reach a well-informed mind upon the whole subject. The direct and indirect impact of the war upon international equilibrium was so disrupting, that world economy did not prove sufficiently flexible to adjust itself to the new conditions, without serious breakdown in the trade and finance of the world.

The war not only destroyed the international gold standard and created paper currencies, which brought a world-wide inflation of prices, hut it also developed in many countries a tendency towards the utmost measure of self-sufficiency as a means of national security. -The result was in some cases a forced industrialism, and in many more an agricultural development on an uneconomic scale. The immediate post-war period brought with it rising tariff barriers and trade restrictions which were to be expected in those countries whose industries had developed during the war upheaval, and ip which increased tariffs had become necessary as a. protection against the competition of established industrial nations. lt may be said that the brief period of world-wide prosperity from 1925 to 1929 steadied the trend towards economic nationalism, but the influence of the inescapable depression period was soon felt on world economy and international trade in particular. The depression brought with it falling prices, unemployment, unstable currencies countered by exchange manipulation and trade restrictive measures, such as quota and barter arrangements, and clearing and compensation agreements. Finally, the principle of equality of trade opportunity, best exemplified in the unconditional mostfavourednation treatment, was superseded by the principle of special bargaining and special advantage. As the result of forced primary production behind prohibitive tariff barriers in practically all countries and the shrinkage of purchasing power, raw material prices fell to calamitous levels. The repercussions of the effect of these new restrictions upon international trade were soon apparent, and as a measure which at least offered some relief from trade entanglements, European. a.nd, later, American, countries endeavoured by means of a vigorous policy of trade treaty-making to clear away, or at least minimize, the evil effects of these extraordinary trade conditions. : It is not suggested that foreign countries - and I am speaking particularly of European Continental countries - have by treaty-making sought to abandon a policy of sound and even high protection. Treaty-making has rather been used in almost unbelievable intensity to correct the errors and penalties suffered by country after country as the result of their excessive policy of economic nationalism, which arose out of the war, and to which I have referred. In making these new treaties to offset some of the economic disabilities referred to, European countries have given such import concessions, as they were disposed to make, to those countries which would make treaties with them and give reciprocal concessions in return.

Honorable members will agree that ideal conditions for the disposal of our surplus primary production are that it should have as many overseas markets as are attainable. There is nothing in the least inconsistent in this declaration of policy with the Government’s part in the present dispute with a certain country. Overseas markets, valuable as they are, may prove unacceptable to Australia or, indeed, to any other country, on an unlimited basis unless the conditions governing’ the exchange of products are of a kind satisfactory to the Commonwealth. It is not wise that we should become so dependent upon any one market as to prejudice our Australian national- interests as a whole.

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear!


– I am sure honorable members opposite will agree with the latter part of that statement. The exception to this principle is of course, trade with the United Kingdom. The?e treaties, and others of a somewhat similar kind which may follow them, are not intended to reduce our exports to the United Kingdom. On the contrary, the Government believes that there is still room in the British market for a material increase of the volume of our exports to that market: but, as I have already said, that expansion must have an end. In seeking a renewal of our export trade to foreign countries, the Government is thinking in terms of markets for the expanding primary production of this country above the consumption capacity of the home market and the market of the United Kingdom.

Already our dependence upon foreign markets for the sale of surplus primary produce is widespread and considerable. This I mention to indicate that there is nothing new or strange in this attempt to maintain or stimulate trade with foreign countries. In the financial year 1935-36, the value of our exports, expressed in Australian currency, reached £135,000,000, of which £53,000,000, or 40 per cent., went to foreign countries.

In accordance with the promise given to this House, the treaties are not being put into operation until they have been approved by the Parliament. Due to this promise it has been found necessary to indicate the proposed customs duty changes but not to operate them.

The intermediate tariff rates in respect of the items incorporated in the two treaties now submitted will also be accorded to those foreign countries to which the Commonwealth Government has a definite commitment to extend mostfavourednation treatment, and to those countries to which most-favoured-nation treatment is accorded reciprocally, as well as to certain other countries concerning which the Government is satisfied that provision should be made for their grant. The continuance of the grant to the countries covered by the two lat’er classes beyond a period of twelve months, or such further period as the Government may determine, will be dependent upon those countries entering into agreements with the Commonwealth.

In concluding these preliminary remarks, I may say that I feel sure honorable members, after they have thoroughly considered these treaties, will agree with me that the concessions which Australia is granting will not harm Australian secondary industries, infringe upon Ottawa commitments or cause serious loss to the national revenues. The Government not only feels that its treaty policy will safeguard existing trade, but also confidently anticipates that it will clear the way for an increase of Australian exports to foreign markets and lead to results beneficial to Australia. These treaties should go far to remove from the minds of foreign governments, influential officials, industrialists and

business men the prejudice which undoubtedly exists against Australia to-day in a trading sense. I sincerely believe that the goodwill they establish will considerably aid Australian export trade and contribute not only to the welfare of those engaged in Australian rural pursuits but also to the welfare and prosperity of our people as a whole.

I come now to the particular treaties, and, taking them in the order in which they were signed, I begin with Czechoslovakia. Australia’s trade with Czechoslovakia is active. The following Australian statistics show the position as regards trade balance to be : -

whereas the Czechoslovak statistics show the position to he -

The discrepancy in. the statistics lies in the fact that Czechoslovakia is a landlocked country, and a large portion of Australia’s trade is consigned to Hamburg, Germany, and other Continental ports. These countries have been credited in our statistics with the exports to Czechoslovakia. During the year 1935-36 steps were taken to obtain more exact data with respect to wool exports to Czechoslovakia. This has resulted in fi large increase in our export statistics its far as Czechoslovakia is concerned.

In all Continental trade treaty negotiations the import figures of each country ure accepted as reflecting the trading position between any two countries, import figures are more carefully prepared than export figures. Honorable members, if they examine the export statistics prepared by each country may find that they do not agree, but the import figures of each party to a contemplated trade agreement are invariably accepted in treaty making, because they must be supported by invoices which, in turn, are examined by the customs of each country. If the import figures of Czechoslovakia and Australia are accepted, then the trading position between the two countries in the last three years was more than two to one in favour of Australia.

We export to Czechoslovakia wool - principally greasy - fruit - chiefly apples - lead and zinc and alloys of lead and zinc, hides and skins, and pearl-shell. In return, Czechoslovakia supplies us with textile manufactures such as gloves, trimmings and ornaments, metals, including iron and steel bars and rod of a type not manufactured in Australia, glassware and earthenware, fancy goods and imitation jewellery. Wool is our chief export to Czechoslovakia. During 1935 approximately 16,000,000 lb. or 53,000 bales,, of Australian wool were imported into t’he country. This quantity was nearly 1,000,000 lb. in excess of the total quantity of wool supplied to Czechoslovakia by the remaining principal wool supplying countries of the world, viz., Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa, and NewZealand. As the result of the development of a highly technical efficiency in the manufacture of woollen tissues, Czechoslovakia, which depends almost entirely on imported supplies of wooL. presents an expanding market for this commodity. Since 1933 the import of raw wool into Czechoslovakia has expanded from 24,400,000 lb. to 29,300,000 lb. in 1935. A notable and promising development in the manufacture of woollens in recent years has been the policy of a considerable number of countries to embark upon this industry upon an expanding basis. Japan is, of course, the outstanding example, but in such European countries as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Spain, and Switzerland, the woollen textile industry is on a thriving basis with ambitions towards an export trade. This trend is of significance to the wool industry of Australia, in that it widens the competition at the Australian sales. Wool imports into Czechoslovakia are controlled by the central bank authorities, but up to the present no limitation -has been placed on the import of Australian wool. Under the treaty, the duty free admission of wool in the grease during the currency of the treaty is secured.

In 1934, we supplied Czechoslovakia with 34,000 cases of apples, and in 19.35 with. 26,000 cases. At present the general tariff rate on apples imported into Czechoslovakia is 200 korunas per 100 kilograms, or approximately 2¼d. per lb. Under the treaty - and this is an interesting point - Australian apples, provided they are picked from the tree within three mouths of customs clearance in Czechoslovakia, and are accompanied by a certificate, will be admitted into Czechoslovakia during the months of April, May and June at a rate of 70 korunas per 100 kilograms, or approximately¾d. perlb. The concession is limited in this way in order to prevent cold-storage apples from obtaining the benefit of the reduction of duty. It is confidently expected that the concession on- apples will result in an increased export of Australian apples to Czechoslovakia with corresponding stiffening of prices at the auction sales at Hamburg. Europe appears to offer opportunity for the export of Australian apples. In all countries visited by the Australian delegation last year, we heard many tributes to the Australian apples, and complaints that they were not available in larger quantities. Our apples enter Europe at a time when there is an absence of local fresh fruit, and when the principal competition is from apples grown in the northern hemisphere, and carried for many months in cold storage. These remarks apply in a less measure to pears, and this potential market warrants some expenditure in pioneering by Australian apple-growers.

Australian pearlshell is mostly imported into Czechoslovakia through America. Czechoslovakia is noted for its large button manufacturing, and the opinion was expressed at Prague that the Czechoslovak market offers undoubted possibilities for the pearl-shell industry of Australia. Under the treaty the free admission of pearlshell is secured. Other Australian commodities protected by the treaty are sheep and cattle skins, lead and alloys of lead, and unset opals. The treaty also provides that in the event of the quota system being applied to any imports of interest to the Australian export trade, an equitable share of the total quota will be granted to Australia. The actual commitments of the Australian

Government under the treaty may be summarized as follows: -

  1. The grant to Czechoslovakia of most favoured, nation treatment covering import duties and charges on the importation into Australia of articles from Czechoslovakia.
  2. The grant of an intermediate tariff rate on 44 items.
  3. The continuance of by-law admission of certain steel which is of a type not manufactured in Australia.
  4. Remission of primage duty on a limited number of items.
  5. An undertaking that prohibitions and restrictions shall not be discriminatory.
  6. An undertaking to accord equitable treatment to Czechoslovak goods should quantitative regulation of imports he maintained or adopted.

The undertakings given in the last two paragraphs are reciprocal in their application.

Czechoslovakia on its part undertakes to grant duty free admission to wool, sheep skins, rabbit skins, and pearl shell; to consolidate the existing low duties on lead; and to grant a reduction of duty on apples. These concessions, combined with the undertaking to accord equitable quota treatment, safeguard approximately 97 per cent. of our export trade to Czechoslovakia. It also gives the Australian exporter the opportunity to test the Czechoslovak market in any commodity which is not at present being exported.

I commend this bill covering the treaty with Czechoslovakia to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Forde) adjourned.

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Second Reading

HentyMinister directing negotiations for trade treaties · UAP

– I move -

That the bill he now read a second time.

In moving the second reading of the Trade Agreement (Belgium) Bill, I propose to give the House a brief outline of the trading position with that country, and details of the agreement, and to refer briefly to the economic conditions and foreign commercial policy of that country.

Geographical limitations, pressure of population, and the natural and acquired aptitudes of its people over a long period of time, have forced Belgium into the position of becoming one of the most highly industrialized states of the world, with large-scale manufactories producing a diversified range of commodities. The principal export manufactures are plate and window-glass, metallurgical product’s, textiles and chemical products. The main imports consist of fuel, foodstuffs, and raw material for the metallurgical and textile industries. Under such conditions, and until recent years, it has suited Belgium’s economic policy to obtain raw materials and foodstuffs, such as Australia can supply, at the lowest price. Generally, these goods have been admitted free or at low rates of duty. An important consideration of government policy at the present time, however. is the pressure which has been brought to bear on Belgium to import the necessary primary products from countries which buy largely from Belgium. There are obvious limits to the extent to which that policy can be applied, but even a modified application of the principle would prove detrimental to our export commodities, which have hitherto enjoyed a valuable and unrestricted market in Belgium. So far as Australian products are concerned, Belgium has refrained from applying import restrictions on the grand scale adopted by its neighbours. Circumstances beyond its control, however, in the rapidly developing economic conditions in Europe, have recently forced Belgium to adopt a policy of opportunism in its commercial relations with other countries in order to secure the best possible market for its manufactures.

With a trading balance in the ratio of about ten to one in our favour, it is evident that Australia should makea stout endeavour to consolidate its still very favorable, but precarious, position. The Belgian market is highly valued by all countries which export primary produce - it absorbs many commodities which are difficult to sell elsewhere - and, as the Belgian Government has repeatedly pointed out, the absence of a comprehensive commercial agreement with Australia has on more than one occasion prejudiced the continuance of our fortunate position in that market. In the absence of a commercial agreement with Australia, the Belgian Government has no grounds on which to counter the pressure to which it is subject from its Parliament, industrialists, and the people generally, to discriminate against those non-treaty countries which have a favorable trade balance with Belgium,, and to favour those which have concluded commercial agreements that offer some opportunity to Belgian manufacturers. The only protection which Australia has had against the application of restrictive measures to its vulnerable products in Belgium has been the provisional agreement concluded with Belgium in November, . 1934. As the result of representations made to the Belgian Government during my visit to Brussels in October, 1935, the existing arrangement was extended for a further period, subject, however, to termination at two months’ notice. The provisional arrangement, made in 1934, which was merely of an emergency and temporary nature, was based on the expressed understanding that a comprehensive agreement would be made between the two countries at an early date. Notice of its intention to terminate the provisional arrangement was given by the Belgian Government on the 1st June last, to take effect as from the 1st August, but this was subsequently withdrawn to give a limited extension of time for negotiations. The agreement which is now before the House was negotiated in a a spirit which reflected the cordial atmosphere that has long marked the economic relationsbetween Australia and Belgium. The goods that are to be exchanged between the two countries furnish an outstanding example of complementary trade, and. there is every reason for the belief that the agreement will provide a firm foundation, for the further development of reciprocal trade on a mutually satisfactory basis. This treaty goes far beyond the exchange of Belgian glass and Australian barley and beef.

Unlike wheat, which we export to more than 30 countries, our barley is limited to- some half a dozen overseas markets, and of these, Belgium has been by far the most important customer. Other barley exporting countries, particularly Poland, Argentina, Chile, Turkey and Germany, compete strongly with Australia in that market, and if we are to retain freedom of access for our barley in Belgium, this agreement is essential.

Our wool exports to Belgium are the most valuable single item of our trade with that country. According to our statistics in 1935-36, the value of that item alone was £5,000,000 sterling. The large carbonizing works which are situated in Belgium treat most of the wool imported in the grease for reexport, and it is estimated that approximately 51 per cent. of the total greasy wool imported thus finds its ultimate destination among other European countries. Belgium is, therefore, a valuable intermediary in the marketing of our wool, and the goodwill established by close commercial relations with Belgium is a vital factor in maintaining the price of the Australian staple.

In addition to barley, Australian primary exports to Belgium for the year 1935-36 included wheat, £336,000 sterling; silver and base metals, £228,000; meat, £4,400: and fruit, £14,400.

With regard to window glass, Belgium had’ been for many years our main foreign source of supply. The establishment of an Australian factory, however, foreshadowed a choice of two courses. Either a high protective duty would be required, with a consequent increased price for both the local and the imported product, or a division of the market was necessary, by means of a quota arrangement, between local manufacturers and British and foreign suppliers. To ensure continuity of supplies, and to discourage increases of price, the latter course was adopted and incorporated in the arrangement with Belgium concluded in November, 1934. On the whole, this arrangement has proved most satisfactory, and’ the minor alterations now included’ are- those which have been found necessary in the light of the last two years’ experience, and which have been actually in effect during the latter part of that period. . .

The wide range of commodities in which Belgium is interested can be appreciated by an examination of schedule A. which shows the items on which the intermediate tariff rate has been granted. When it is recalled, however, that the total value of the imports from Belgium in 1935-36 amounted to only £568,000 sterling, and of that total £300,000 was represented by six items, it will be seen that the total value of the concessions accorded is a low price to pay for the maintenance and probable expansion of a market worth £6,000,000 sterling in the same year.

Apart from the existing glass arrangement, the agreement provides for -

  1. Reciprocal most-favoured-nation treatment.
  2. The grant of intermediate tariff to Belgium in respect of 53 sub-items; an undertaking not to increase the duty on seven non-protective items; primageconcessions on a number of items; remission of the revenue duty on outside packages operating on goods covered by nine items; an undertaking to refer a limited number of items to the Tariff Board for inquiry and report; and reclassification of certain sheet glass not manufactured in Australia.
  3. Consolidation of the present dutyfree entry into Belgium of Australian wool., sheepskins, hides and tallow, and consolidation of the fresh apple and pear duties.
  4. An undertaking by Belgium that Australian barley, wheat and frozen beef will not be prohibited.
  5. A provision that should either party to the agreement adopt any measures in respect of any goods specifically mentioned in the agreement, which in the opinion of the other party, have the effect of nullifying or impairing the advantages conceded by the agreement, the other party shall be at liberty to take any action which it considers proper to re-establish the equilibrium of the agreement.

On behalf of the Government, I recommend the agreement to the approval of the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Curtin) adjourned.

page 1421


Second Reading

HentyMinister directing negotiations for trade treaties · UAP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to confirm an agreement between the South African and Commonwealth Governments. The agreement is a simple one, taking the form of an exchange of notes between the two governments. In brief, the South African note contains an undertaking that the duties imposed on products of the Commonwealth entering South Africa or South West Africa, shall not be higher ti) an those imposed on like products imported from the most favoured foreign country, while the note from the Commonwealth contains an undertaking that the duties imposed on South African or South West African products entering the Commonwealth shall not be higher than those imposed on like products imported from the most favoured foreign country.

There is a reservation in the South African note to the effect that the undertaking to grant the Commonwealth the lowest duties accorded to any foreign country shall not apply to special favours accorded by South Africa to adjoining foreign countries. This reservation enables South Africa to continue and extend a reciprocal tariff arrangement with Portugal under which a number of products of the industries of the adjoining Portuguese territory of Mozambique are admitted into South Africa without the payment of any import duties.

The agreement with South Africa now submitted for approval has been made in consequence of changes in the form of the South African tariff. Until 1935 South Africa had one set of duties applicable to all countries except those enjoying the British preferential rates. In 1935 steps were taken to introduce a second set of duties, and to establish intermediate and maximum rates, the former being accorded in respect of particular items to those ‘ foreign countries with which South Africa enters into trade agreements.

The terms of the new South African tariff law were such that the intermediate rates could be accorded only to those countries with which trade agreements were arranged. Accordingly, without an (agreement Australian products entering South Africa would, not have become entitled to the benefits of the duty reductions made by South Africa in pursuance of. trade agreements with foreign countries.

The trade of the Commonwealth with South Africa is not large. Exports based on the trade of the last three statistical years average a little over £A.337,000 annually, and imports £A.250,000 annually. The figures for 1935-36 were: exports. £A.449,000; and imports, £A. 356,000. Timber and agricultural machinery constitute the largest export items, but a fair number of other manufactured products are also exported to South Africa in limited quantities.

The present agreement ensures that the trade in these goods will not be handicapped as a result of any trade agreements South Africa may make with foreign countries. South Africa, on the other hand, will enjoy the benefit of any reductions of Hie Australian duties arising from trade agreements with foreign countries.

It would have given me greater satisfaction to be in a position to present a more comprehensive agreement with South Africa. Since the former agreement with the Union was terminated in 1926, efforts have been made at various times to find a mutually acceptable basis for a new agreement. Owing, however, to the fact that Australia and South Africa fall within approximately the same latitude, and, in a large measure have surpluses of the same primary produce, the opportunity for exchange of trade is limited, and the field for negotiation therefore circumscribed.

I commend the bill to the approval of honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Curtin) adjourned.

page 1422


Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 7); Customs Tariff? (Exchange Adjustment) Amendment (No. 7)

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister directing negotiations for trade treaties · Henty · UAP

– I move -

Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 7)

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariffs 1933 as amended by the Customs Tariff 1936 and as proposed to be amended by the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the twenty-second day of May, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-six, be further amended as hereunder set out, and that on . and after a date to be fixed by Proclamation Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariffs 1933 as amended by the Customs Tariff 1936 and as so proposed to be amended. The resolutions I have just moved give effect to the tariff changes necessary under the trade agreements with Czechoslovakia and Belgium. The resolutions contain a few items which are not specifically mentioned in the trade agreements, but these are incorporated either for drafting purposes or for the reason that they are included in the same Tariff Board report; as items mentioned in the trade agreements. In those instances, special reference is made against the respective items in the small explanatory memorandum circulated to honorable members. The tariff and exchange adjustment proposals will operate as from a date to be fixed by proclamation. This departure from the usual practice has been made by reason of the fact that the proposals incorporate matter included in the trade agreements, which have yet to be discussed by the Parliament. A promise was given to this House that the trade agreements would not he put into operation until Parliament had approved of them, and in order to honour this promise, and at the same time, enable Parliament to consider the agreements, the tariff proposals have been introduced but not put into operation. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 1435 {:#debate-11} ### CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (MARKETING) BILL 1936 {:#subdebate-11-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from the 28th October, *(vide* page 1405), on motion by **Mr. Menzies** - >That the billbe now reada second time. Upon which **Mr. Curtin** had moved byway of amendment - >Thatall words after ''That" be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words, " this House is of opinion that the proposed alteration of the Constitution is inadequate, and that the referendum costing approximately £100,000 should have for its purpose such alteration of the Constitution as would grant to this Parliament wider and more comprehensive powers ". {: #subdebate-11-0-s0 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
Attorney-General · KooyongAttorneyGeneral · UAP -- *in reply* - After the very elaborate debate we have had on the proposal contained in this bill and on the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin),** I do not propose to detain the House very much longer; but it is, I think, proper that [ should make a few observations on the criticism directed against the measure, and on some of the arguments that have been adduced in support of the amendment. A good deal of water has flowed under the bridge since the Leader of the Opposition moved his amendment, when he spoke, I thought with a voice of authority, on behalf of the Opposition. Since then it has appeared that this is a non-party question, and those who, I thought, commenced by being critical of the bill now resolve themselves into three different groups. It appears that one section of the Opposition, which has been silent but which, no doubt, will be effective in division, has decided to support the measure. It has now been permitted, shall I say, to " love " the measure. Another section, whichI imagine is represented by my friend the honorable member for Melbourne. Ports **(Mr. Holloway),** gives to the bill a qualified support. In criticizing it . he said - " We would support it if its company were better. If you would only add to it certain other questions we should be prepared to embrace it warmly." The honorable member for Kalgoorlie **(Mr. A. Green)** made a speech, in which, at one stage, he said - " We are all in favour of this amendment of the Constitution." I take that to be a little exuberant on his part. When I heard the honorable gentleman make that observation and remembered a dozen or so speeches that 1 had heard from his side of the chamber, I was irresistibly reminded of the words of an old music hall song - >It was all very well to dissemble your love, But why did you kick me downstairs. Then there is a third section - if one may refer to sections in a now completely undivided party - which will not have any truck with either the tardy . affection of the Queensland members or the modified raptures of those who sit behind honorable gentlemen of the second section. The third section consists of honorable members sitting opposite on the right of the gangway, as 1 look at it, and now members of the Labour party, who are still prepared, I notice, to adhere strongly to views which they entertained some years ago - views which are incurably hostile to this proposed alteration of the Constitution, and which cannot be reconciled with the views of honorable gentlemen sitting on the other side of the gangway. I shall first say a few words about the body of opinion which has expressed itself as definitely against the kind of alteration of the Constitution contained in the bill. If I may, without making invidious distinctions, select the clearest spokesman of that view, I choose the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** and crave leave to say a few words about the argument that he addressed to the House. I did not know, until I heard the speeches typifying the view that I am about to discuss, that there was any real disagreement in this House about the merits underlying the proposal in the bill. I thought that all parties of the House stood for the kind of relief for the farmers which this proposed alteration of the Constitution will permit, and that the real, argument related to the machinery to be employed to give effect to it. If any justification were needed for the underlying principle of the alteration of the Constitution which the Government is proposing, it was afforded by the extremely able and effective vindication of this doctrine expressed yesterday by the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. John Lawson). His** speech was a most effective presentation of the doctrine underlying this legislation and the proposed amendment. But it turns out now, as I have discovered from listening to the debate, that all parties do not agree that this kind of relief should be given to the farmer. The criticism of the honorable member for Dalley and his associates is based upon the view, undoubtedly honestly held, that to assist the farmers l.y any device which raises the homeconsumption price of farm commodities, is to inflict an injustice on the industrial' population. That, in a sentence, is what I understand to be the basis of their criticism. The honorable member for Dalley made a most effective and eloquent electioneering speech. I could almost hear him repeating it on the platforms in Dalley. I could also almost, hear the cheering thousands, as the honorable member talked about the relative woes of the industrial population and, no doubt, the relative well-being of the farmers of Australia. I challenged him across the table - in a disorderly fashion, I admit, for it is disorderly for honorable members, and particularly for Ministers, to interject - by asking whether he or his party had voted against the legislation introduced to deal with dried fruits, dairy products, and other commodities. After all, a virtue which discovers itself only two, three, or five years after the event is not very useful. The honorable gentleman replied very promptly - for he undoubtedly has a platform manner - that he was not in the House at that time. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr Rosevear: -- .But I should have been ! {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I have not the slightest doubt about that. As the honorable gentleman was not a member of the Parliament in 1928 when the dried fruits legislation was passed, his point was well taken. But in the inscrutable wisdom of Providence he was here in 1933 when the dairy products legislation of that year was before the House, and that legislation was based upon the principle, which the honorable gentleman now declares to be iniquitous, of raising the homeconsumption price and thereby imposing what he describes as a burden upon the people who consume butter. I do not as a rule waste time by conducting researches into what people have said on some previous occasion, because as we grow older we sometimes change our minds. {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- As the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** asked, what does it matter what we said yesterday? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- Precisely. I should, not have referred to this matter had not the honorable member for Dalley been so prompt and successful in washing his hands of responsibility for what was done in 192S. In 1933 the honorable gentleman was in the House, and I assume that he was not suffering from any complaint that prevented him from raising his voice in debate, or any physical incapacity which prevented him from taking part in a division. I find, on examining volume 143 of *Hansard,* that, for the presentation of the view of the Opposition, the debate on the second reading of the Dairy Produce Bill was in the competent hands of the honorable member for Capricornia **(Mr. Forde).** I shall not accuse him of inconsistency, because I understand that he intends to vote for this bill. The honorable gentleman on that occasion, speaking wilh all the authority of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, said : - >This bill provides for something which the Federal Labour party, representing the official Opposition of this Chamber, has advocated foi many years. I .must therefore leave the honorable gentleman to fight the issue out with those who are now h is allies. Yesterday the honorable member for Dalley said that the principle of this legislation- was iniquitous, because it would make the industrialists pay more for the commodities they consumed if those commodities were grown in Australia. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr Rosevear: -- I said that the methods of the Government were iniquitous. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- Unhappily for the honorable member, the. Deputy Leader of the Opposition said that he was speaking for the Federal Labour party and that that party had advocated the principle under notice for many years. Well, I understood that there had now been a marriage of true hearts; but on comparing the speech delivered on that occasion by the honorable member for Capricornia with the speech delivered yesterday by the honorable member for Dalley, *1* was reminded of a very interesting observation I heard made by a Chinese gentleman while I was abroad last year. In referring to the state of internal politics in China the gentleman mentioned two leaders, and said - " They are, of course, at present supposed to be allies but, as we say in our country, they sleep in the same bed, but they do not dream the same dreams " ! I wish to cite a further passage from the observations made by the honorable member for Capricornia in 1933, for he made a very valuable speech. I read this passage in the hope that somebody will print it under the heading of " Unity in Labour Ranks ", in parallel columns with the speech delivered yesterday by the honorable member for Dalley. The honorable member for Capricornia said - >The Labour party has always held that, in a country which has adopted a protectionist fiscal policy, and in which an arbitration court fixes wages and conditions of '.abour - even though those conditions are not satisfactory at the present t;me - the dairy-farmers, and other primary producers are as much entitled to enjoy an Australian standard of living as are other sections of the community. Opposition Members. - Hear, hear ! {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- Do I hear the honor.orable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** saying " hear, hear " ? Is the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** saying " hear, hear " very audibly? {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr Rosevear: -- Oh, yes. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- In the course of this debate to which I am referring the honorable member for East Sydney, to whom, with great respect, I offer my compliments on his consistency, opposed the view expressed by the honorable member for Capricornia. He asked by interjection in a not very disorderly way - >If the bill is passed, will it involve an increase in the local price for butter and cheese ? That strikes a responsive note. The answer he received was - >Those who speak for the dairying industry say that it will not, but even if there is a small increase, I hold the opinion that the workers in the dairying industry are as much untitled to the benefits of an Austral'' an standard of living as are those in other industries. Opposition Members. - Hear, hear! {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- That passage admirably summarizes the views which have been put during this debate on behalf of the Government. If they are right and the attitude of the Opposition has not changed, the honorable member for Dalley and his immediate associates are in a hopelessly indefensible position. It would be a matter for infinite regret, and would challenge one's belief in human nature and in honorable gentlemen opposite, if, in one* breath, they could say - " Yes, we approve of the legislation which is now on the statute-book", and in the next breath they could say - " We are not prepared to vote for the Constitutional alteration which, will make that legislation valid." That, of course, would he a piece of humbug, of which one could not suspect honorable gentlemen on the other side of the House. Consequently, if the honorable member for Dalley is against this legislation, I shall expect him to vote against the proposed alteration of the Constitution, but if he is in favour of it, then he should be prepared to go on to the hustings with others who are in favour of it and ask the people to grant to this Parliament the power to make it effective. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr Rosevear: -- I tell the AttorneyGeneral I do not like the Government's methods. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- In the same volume pf *Ilansard* - it is really one of the most valuable that I have encountered- {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- The Attorney-General's own ghosts will walk one of these days! {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- If the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** admits that these ghosts are walking, I shall be prepared to take a risk with my own. I was about to refer to the speech of the right honorable gentleman, who I hope will not be a ghost for many years - I refer to the right honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Scullin),** than whom no man is more qualified to express precisely what is in his. mind. He made a speech of some length on the Wheat-growers Relief Bill of 1933. The honorable member for Dalley was also in this Parliament in that fateful year. As reported in *Hansard,* Volume 143, page 5,533, the right honorable member for Yarra said - >If there is one thing which requires planning in Australia, it is the marketing of those primary products upon whose success the country depends so much. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- The Attorney-General should know that that is on the Labour party's platform. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I am not addressing myself to the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** who, however frigidly, is in some sort of way a lover of the bill. I am addressing myself to his new colleagues - those who are now in a state of harmony and unity with him, except on this matter, and am reminding them of the statement of the right honorable member for Yarra - >This organized marketing should bo carried out through the medium of Commonwealth and State legislation. I agree. There is no inconsistency about the attitude of the Federal Labour party - if that is not now an antiquated term. Its members have been perfectly consistent. They have stood for this kind of legislation throughout, notwithstanding all its horrible defects to which the honorable member for Dalley referred yesterday. They supported the dairy produce legislation in this House with their voices, and when the question was finally put from theChair, there was no division. The honorable member for Dalley did not vote against the bill, nor did the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward).** Nobody, in what was then the New South Wales Labour party - it is now but a happy memory - went into the division lists against the bill; therefore, one can only assume that they all supported the bill, because, if I may say so by way of compliment, those honorable gentlemen have never shown any disposition to refrain from voting against measures which they do not like, {: .speaker-K9A} ##### Mr Gander: -- The Attorney-General should read the speech of the honorable member for East Sydney. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- If the honorable gentleman is keenly desirous that it should be read, he may arrange to have it read in the time of another honorable member, but not in mine. The position is as I have stated, and so I come back to what I said a few minutes ago, namely, that all parties in this House - whatever electioneering they may choose to do during this referendum campaign, and however virtuously they may thump the table when denouncing the inequity of giving to the farmer better treatment than that given to industrialists - are committed by voice and vote, or by silence, to the legislation which now stands on the statute-book. Consequently the real problem is that of finding a way by which the Commonwealth and the States - to use the words of the right honorable member for Yarra - may be enabled to collaborate in the passing of relief legislation. On that subject the controversy before the House is narrow and clear. The Government has put forward a proposal which it says - and there is no serious challenge of its statement - will enable it to do what Parliament wanted done when it passed the legislation to which I have referred. On behalf of a portion of the Opposition, the Leader of the Opposition has tabled an amendment in which he says in effect, " This proposal of yours although paltry, meagre, and inadequate will, perhaps, do; but you must accompany it by a demand for large national powers." It is stirring to listen to speeches about large national powers. In the course of this discussion we have heard a great number of rhetorical claims for national power. We can frequently sit and admire, and, indeed, applaud, such speeches, but national powers are not conferred upon this Parliament by the vote of the Parliament or even by applause in this chamber. Those powers can be conferred only by the vote of the people. Consequently we are bound to consider the practicability of alterations of the Constitution, as well as their inherent desirability. It is all very fine for us to strike a noble attitude, and say to the farmers of Australia, " Gentlemen, we are going to ask for power to help you, but we must also ask for half a dozen other large national things." Their answer, poor wretches, would be, " Very dramatic, indeed, to be asking for all these things,but you know, don't you, that if you ask for them you will destroy our prospect of getting an amendment that is vital to us." That would be a sound answer. Is there anything in the history of referenda or of public opinion in Australia in the last dozen years which would encourage honorable members of this Parliament really to believe that if we ask for the full trade and commerce power or the full industrial power, side by side with the mar- keting power sought on this occasion, the electors in a majority of the States will say, " Yes, you may have them." ? {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Does not the AttorneyGeneral realize that he is destroying the sympathy of the rest of the community with the farmers in their difficulty by his gibe? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I am coming to the allegation that this is a sectional proposal, and that it must be neatly balanced - counteracted would probably be a better word - by some other proposal before it can be recommended to this House. It has been said repeatedly that we have no right to ask for power to protect the price of butter while denying power to prevent low wages in the dairying industry. That is my own rough summary of the kind of argument that has been put up. I remind honorable members that we are here discussing the question of power, not of policy, or of how the power should be exercised. We are discussing the fundamental, underlying question of the power itself. The essential difference between the problem of marketing to which thisbill directs itself, and the problem generally of industrial justice to which many of the arguments have been addressed, is that, as the law stands, there is no effective power to deal with marketing at all. Honorable members should understand that clearly. No State can provide effectively for marketing schemes of the kind that Australia needs, and as the law stands, no Commonwealth Parliament can provide for such a scheme. {: .speaker-K4X} ##### Mr Nock: -- Nor can Commonwealth and State parliaments combined. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- Therefore, on this problem, there is a failure of power. Let us see how the problem of low wages or of working hours can be related to this other problem. Every State parliament has complete power to deal with labour conditions and wages within' its own territory. There is not one person in the States whose industrial position is beyond the constitutional reach of the Parliaments of the States. That means that a defect of constitutional power does not exist in relation to industrial regulation. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- It does. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- We may think-I myself do - that the distribution of that power . between the Commonwealth and the . States is wrong, but that is a different problem. The totality of power, whatever its distribution may be, exists unfettered in Australia. That means that every individual working man is susceptible of having his wages and conditions controlled by some authority. That is the present constitutional position. But the farmer of Australia cannot have a marketing scheme given to him to-day by any authority. What a world of difference exists between the two! It has been said that we ought not to give to the farmer the homeconsumption price which this constitutional alteration aims to facilitate, unless we are prepared to give to his employees the benefit of modern and reasonable working conditions. That contention has been answered on the hard side of economics by the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. John Lawson),** whose remarks might be summed up by saying that we cannot get . blood out of a stone. Let me, however, answer it on the constitutional side, because it is that with which we are now concerned. It is true that some rural workers are excluded from the benefits of awards. Certain classes of workers do not find entrance to industrial tribunals, but the reason for that is to be found, not in some constitutional defect, but in the policy of Parliament. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- The politics of the party to which the Attorney-General belongs. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- If that he so, the cure is for the honorable member to get into office. The honorable member says, " Trust the people ", and no doubt when they believe that the time is ripe, they will put him in office, and he will be able to form a composite Ministry with members of the Federal Labour party. In that event, no constitutional difficulty will prevent him from making the Federal Arbitration Court accessible to rural workers. If the honorable member were proposing to-morrow to become the Premier of a State, I should be in the happy position of being able to advise him that no constitutional difficulty would prevent him from providing wages and working conditions, and other regulations for every working man in the State, including rural workers. The whole question as to whether rural workers should or should not have the benefit of awards is not one of constitutional power ' at all. It is a mere cold matter of policy. The point that I make - and I hope that it is sufficiently plain - is that to quarrel with the arming of the Commonwealth with constitutional power to deal with marketing merely because the existing industrial powers are not exercised to the- satisfaction of the Opposition, is to deprive the farmers of. Australia of something that is vital to their existence, just because some party or parties or collection of parties has adopted a wrong policy,, in the view of the Opposition, in the exercise of an existing constitutional .power. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Does the AttorneyGeneral say that a wrong policy has been adopted in some of the States? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I am not prepared to criticize the policy of any State. Each State government represents the will of the people in that State, and I shall not interfere by offering my advice to any Stale government as to how it should deal with its local problems, particularly the government of a State with whose problems I am not intimately acquainted. In my own sphere I shall do my best. I shall attend to my own business as best I can. {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White: -- There have been three Commonwealth Labour governments since the inauguration of federation. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I am reminded that, within living memory, there have been Labour governments in control of the Federal Parliament. I do not remember - I speak subject to correction - that any of those governments introduced legislation to provide that rural workers of every description should have access to the Arbitration Court. I may be wrong; but I think I should have remembered it, if it had been done. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- It would have been useless to attempt it with a butchering Senate opposed to the government. **Mr. SPEAKER** (Hon. G. J. Bell).Order ! {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- Does, the honorable member say that the government of which he was a member ever put forward a proposal to admit all rural workers to the Arbitration Court? {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- A proposal was put forward for the adoption of a common rule in the Arbitration Court. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- That is a different thing. When we are discussing whiting, do not let us get on to the subject of herring. I invite the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Beasley),** and those who were, colleagues with him in the last Labour Government, to rake over the cold embers of memory to discover whether they did put forward, even to a "butchering Senate" - if it is permissible to use that expression- {: #subdebate-11-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The expression is certainly not in order. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I am sorry. I was drawn into making a quotation. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I called the honorable member for West Sydney to order for his use of the expression. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I withdraw my adoption of the honorable member's somewhat sanguinary metaphor. One other point that has been raised in the course of this discussion was made very forcibly by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Holloway),** who said a good deal - I do not suggest that he said too much - about the urgent importance of safeguarding a power of this kind against the possibility of exploitation. He and other honorable members also drew a rather terrifying picture of this Government endeavouring to obtain power which would enable the farmers to fix their own prices., to ride roughshod over the rest of the community, while denying to the workers the right to fix their own wages. Although utterly lacking any logical basis, the argument is picturesque. But let us examine it to see whether it has any substance. My answer to the allegation that these powers will become instruments of exploitation is that this Parliament has ample power to guard itself against any such results. {: .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr Holloway: -- It cannot fix prices. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- This Parliament, if the proposed alteration is agreed to, will have in substance the right to validate - to use that somewhat loose term - State marketing schemes by dealing with the interstate element which attaches to them. Now, suppose a State government came along to the Commonwealth Government - any Commonwealth government - and said, " The kind of marketing scheme we want to put through is one which will enable the farmers to fix their own prices as against the community, without reference to the interests of the consumers." Would any Commonwealth parliament be bound to accept a proposition of that kind ? Could not the Commonwealth Government say, " No, the only marketing scheme that we will validate is one in which there are proper restrictions against exploitation." {: .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr Holloway: -- There is no such provision in the bill. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- May I emphasize the fact that we do not need to put it in the bill? The object of this measure is to provide for the conferring of a certain power on the Commonwealth Parliament. How the Commonwealth Parliament shall exercise that power is a matter for it to determine. If it chooses to encourage exploitation it may do so; if it chooses to restrain exploitation it may do so. Yet it is suggested, apparently by the interjection of the honorable member, that we should add a proviso to the bill to the effect that, " in the exercise of this new power, the Commonwealth Parliament may not make any law which will permit of the exploitation of the people." With great respect, I submit that that would be a grotesque addendum to the Constitution. We might just as well say that every one of the 39 powers conferred on the Commonwealth Parliament in section 51 of the Constitution should be qualified by an addendum that they should not be exercised in such a way as to permit of exploitation. Let me remind honorable members that this Parliament is elected, thank heaven, on a democratic franchise, so that the community, through its own representatives, can protect itself against exploitation. The real problem before us is not how the power, if granted, shall be exercised in the future - no one can foretell that; it will be for each successive Parliament to determine - but whether this Parliament shall have the power. That is the vital thing, and without it no policy, good, bad or indifferent, can be put into operation. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- What actual power will this proposal, if agreed to, confer on the Commonwealth? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- The power to exercise such legislative functions as it has, free of the restrictions of section 92 of the Constitution. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Which means, in effect, that it can act only as agent for the States. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- While not adopting the precise language of the Leader of the Opposition, I agree in substance that the Parliament of the Commonwealth will not be authorized in its own right to set up marketing schemes. There is nothing novel in that observation. I made a similar statement in my opening speech. I said that the Commonwealth Parliament would be enabled to put the cement between the bricks, but not to make the bricks. The attack of the Leader of the Opposition - or shall I say, his observations of modified affection - made it perfectly clear that he would like the Commonwealth to possess power of itself to set up marketing schemes. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- I am afraid the AttorneyGeneral's lady has an ugly face and a very poor fortune. She is not worth wooing. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I leave the Leader of the Opposition to fight that out with his colleague, the honorable member for Kalgoorlie **(Mr. A. Green).** The Leader of the Opposition says that the lady is ugly of face and ill endowed, but the honorable member for Kalgoorlie says that he is enamoured of the lady. Whether the suggestion is that this matter might be much better done, as perhaps it might, by the Commonwealth taking full marketing powers, or some other full national powers, the fact remains that the Government, having to deal with this problem, apart from all considerations of rhetoric or even of electioneering, has devoted its mind as best it can to this very simple question : What possible alteration of the Constitution can we get the people of Australia to vote for that will cure the evil which troubles us? The Leader of the Opposition and I might stand side by side on platform, in Perth or in Kooyong, and explain to delighted audiences how fine a thing it would be if the Commonwealth, irrespective of the States, had full and sole responsibilty for dealing with marketing. My supporters would say, " There is no doubt about that man Curtin; he is a very good speaker ". And the supporters of the honorable member for Fremantle **(Mr. Curtin)** would say, " That man Menzies, for once, is right ". But, having done that, the electors of Kooyong and of Perth would have sufficiently subsided by next morning to follow their usual bent, and say, " Why should we give to the Commonwealth, Parliament these added powers? Why is the Commonwealth endeavouring to grasp such powers?" In other words, they would, rally all the forces of prejudice and ill information to defeat the proposal. Whereupon the farmer would say, "Well, I am still left with my troubles, and I am obviously going to be left with them for the rest of my life, but some beautiful speeches were made during the campaign". I have one other observation to make. It has been suggested that at least a request should be made to the people at this time, bracketed with the present proposal, for fuller Commonwealth industrial powers. The Government agrees that this question of industrial powers must bo dealt with, but at the right time, when it will not prejudice, ' or he prejudiced by, the marketing proposals. The time for the introduction of the proposal in regard to industrial powers must be selected by the Government, and selected by it with very great care, so that the precise time will be chosen when there is some rational hope of having the proposal approved, not only by Parliament, but also by the people. It has been pointed out by some critics that some honorable members on this side of the House are in favour of the granting of increased industrial powers to the Commonwealth. I am myself in favour of it.For years my attitude in that respect has been quite unequivocal. Perhaps I am even prepared to go farther than some honorable members opposite. and. having made that admission. I shall no doubt be asked why, if I am in favour of the granting of full industrial powers to the Commonwealth,I can refuse to support a proposal for the submission of this question to the people now. The answer is that I am sufficiently old-fashioned to believe that the sign of intelligence is to know, not only what should be done, but also when it should be done. I happen to hold the opinion, in common with some other honorable members, that the finest game in the world is cricket, but I should think myself a lunatic if I were to suggest that it should be played on the Sydney Cricket Ground in mid- July. Question - That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr. Curtin's amendment) stand part of the question - put. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. G. J. Bell.) AYES: 40 NOES: 26 Majority . . . . 14 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived. Original question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In committee:* Clause 1 agreed to. Clause 2 - >The Constitution is altered by inserting after auction ninety-two the following section: - "92 a. The provisions of the last preceding" section shall not apply to laws with respect to marketing made by the Parliament in the exercise of any powers vested in the Parliament by this Constitution.". {: #debate-11-s0 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · UAP -- I move- >That after the word" by " first occurring, proposed new section 92a, the words or under the authority of," be inserted. The proposed section, in its present form, refers to " laws with respect to marketing made by the Parliament ", and it has been suggested that there might be some doubt as to whether that could be extended to cover laws made under the authority of Parliament by way of regulations. For example, Parliament may deal with a subject by legislation, as it commonly does, and provide that regulations shall be framed to cover certain matters. It has been suggested that the words "made by the Parliament" may be interpreted in a narrow sense, and this amendment is submitted in order to obviate that possibility and make it clearthat regulations are also covered. {: #debate-11-s1 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY:
West Sydney -- The proposed alteration of the Constitution if adopted may possibly come before the High Court for interpretation, and I should like the AttorneyGeneral **(Mr. Menzies)** to give a clearer definition of the word " marketing ". If there are any prospects of this legislation being successfully challenged, we should know the grounds upon which it can be challenged, and whether "marketing" has been used with a full signifiance of what it really means. Generally speaking, we regard a market as a place where produce or goods are sold and where the supply and demand regulates prices. If that is so, the Attorney-General should state whether this proposed new section is confined entirely to such trading. Does "marketing" confine it merely to the buying and selling of goods placed under the control of some agency, organization or board specified in the legislation to be founded on this proposed alteration? This matter,I believe, is extremely important. This clause gives us an opportunity to review all the problems which have, arisen, and to consider the grounds upon which legislation may he challenged. On page 4 of the report of the proceedings before the Privy Council in the *James* case, the representative of **Mr. James** said: - >Theeffect of that legislation was that no man may send any dried fruit from one State in Australia to another unless he exports, destroys, or feeds to stock, thatpercentage of his total crop which is named in the determinationof the Dried Fruits Board. Counsel thus raised, the point that, in effect, if a man's production should exceed the quantity permitted he would have to use a percentage as food for stock, destroy it, or dispose of it in some other way in order to maintain a fixed price in Australia. {: .speaker-KLC} ##### Mr Mahoney: -- People who needed it could not get it. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- That is the point to which I am. coming. Does the word " marketing " cover this aspect of the subject, or does it simply mean buying or selling or the passing of goods from one person to another as is done in municipal and other markets where products arc transferred from one person to another? In view of the Privy Council's decision in the *James* case, and the arguments advanced, this is important. James and many others will not be willing to be governed by an alteration of the Constitution which infringes any rights which they consider they possess, and if the proposed alteration is approved by the people they will probably take further steps to test the validity of legislation based upon it." It has been stated by the Attorney-General that marketing legislation already on the statute-book automatically becomes effective if the proposed alteration of the Constitution is agreed to. *Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 1.45 p.m. [Quorum formed.]* {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- Dealing further with the various interpretations, which may be placed on the word "marketing " I. shall refer to a. reference by **Mr.** Justice Isaacs during the. hearing of the *James* case in 1927. He said - " Marketed " means some commercial act done in South Australia, such as sale, consignment or otherwise, having the effect of supplying the economic demand foi- dried fruits m some markets. At a later stage in the same reference a definition of "marketing" was taken from *Webster,* as follows: - >The economic extent of the commercial demand for commodities. The Attorney-General himself when presenting the case for the Commonwealth before the Privy Council suggested that the desire was to maintain a higher local price in order to offset the unusually low world prices of primary commodities. He said - >If that is to be *done it becomes* necessary to adopt some scheme whereby the quantity of the commodity in question retained in Australia for sale will not be sufficiently great to break down the special Australian price. If a set of circumstances arises in which the overseas market is tightened up, and at the same time we have a bounteous harvest in Australia giving a substantial surplus for which there is no outlet abroad, I should like to know what power the marketing board will have to dispose of that surplus over and above what will be required, according to the Attorney-General's own argument before the Privy Council, in order to maintain the price which is considered necessary in Australia. That is to say, the production of a commodity in one year may be 50 per cent, more than can possibly be marketed abroad, and more than the requirements for' home consumption and substantially more than the quantity required to maintain the price at a figurewhich is considered necessary in order to return a profitable price to the growers. Has the board or some other authority power to call upon the producers to dispose of this surplus by destroying it? And if the producer fails to meet the demands of the board, if he takes the view that, rather than destroy this surplus, he will make it available to those in need of it, what action would the board take against him in those circumstances? For instance, in the homes of thousands of Australians to-day there is room for a larger consumption of local butter. People go to the markets to-day to buy a certain quantity of butter, but if they had the means they could substantially extend their purchases of this commodity. At a social function which I attended last week-end, I engaged in a discussion with a gentleman who said, "Last night I visited the home of a friend who has a fairly large family, and the first utterance of the mother at the table was to tell the children to deal sparingly with the butter. They did not have the means to purchase from the market the amount that the home really required." I therefore ask what powers the board would have under the heading of the word " marketing " to deal with a producer who declared that, rather than destroy his product or feed it to stock or animals of any kind, he would take steps to make it available to those Australian con- sumers who stood urgently in need of it. {: .speaker-K4X} ##### Mr Nock: -- Will the honorable mem- >Der tell us an instance of a producer who has destroyed any of his products in this regard ? {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- The honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** quoted a number of such instances of the destruction in other countries of various primary products for the purpose of maintaining price levels, and it is not an uncommon sight to see cartloads of fruit leaving the Sydney city markets bound for the destructor in order to keep up a price which will enable those engaged in the industry to meet the costs incurred in production. {: .speaker-KEZ} ##### Mr Fisken: -- Are they not destroyed because they have become damaged? {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- In many instances the damage done to the fruit is of a slightly bruised nature, and does not render it unfit for human consumption. In the homes of many poor people to-day fruit is urgently needed as an adjunct to the diet, but the price is not within their reach. {: .speaker-KQ8} ##### Mr Scholfield: -- Does not the honorable member know that that may happen at a stage between the producer and the consumer? {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- There may be room for argument as to the process between the producer and the consumer, but this bill, as the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** has indicated, provides no authority to deal with, the process of the passage of the commodities through the hands of the middleman or retailer. Tho Opposition feels some anxiety in regard to this matter, and desires to elicit from the Attorney-General, the Government, and the advisers of the administration, an explanation of tho full and complete implication of the word "marketing" - particularly whether it would have any reference to the point I have mentioned. {: #debate-11-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-11-s3 .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr HOLLOWAY:
Melbourne Ports -- Some honorable members have asked the Opposition to produce evidence that primary commodities have ever been destroyed. In one case a man endeavoured to sell his product, and his stocks were seized. What was the ultimate result of this prohibition? Surely if he was not permitted to sell his goods, they must eventually have been destroyed. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- By the time the litigation had finished, the weevils had eaten them. {: .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr HOLLOWAY: -- Yes, therefore, actually they were destroyed. The Attorney-General **(Mr. Menzies),** in a very fair analysis of honorable members' contentions in regard to the Government's marketing proposals, continually harped on the point that we stated that there was no safeguard for the fixing of wages. The Opposition did not altogether concentrate upon that aspect. For my own part, I stated that I desired that the primary producer should be given a satisfactory price for his commodity, just as I wanted to assist any other producer or worker to secure a fair return for his labour and industry. But my principal complaint was that, having given a group of producers a complete monopoly of the sale of their particular products, no provision has been made directly or indirectly to safeguard the rest of the community against the possible misuse of that monopolistic power. Experience produces abundant evidence that those who gain monopolistic power naturally and inevitably use it to their own advantage, and those who are managing an organization for the marketing of dried fruits would be lacking in their duty to the growers if they did not do so. It is a natural corollary of monopolistic power; power makes tyrants of us all. My contention was that the Government should have some additional powers in order to make it possible that, in the event of a monopoly misusing its privilege, action could be taken to protect the rest of the community. The sub:ject of wages was not raised. I agree that there is inadequate machinery in Australia to fix wages. It cannot be done quickly and satisfactorily in order to cover every section of the community. Despite all the knowledge which the Attorney-General has upon industrial matters - and he has been an advocate for both sides and therefore should be conversant with all the facts - there are thousands of people engaged in miscellaneous occupations throughout the Commonwealth who could not without organization and costly legal processes be brought under the determination of a wage fixing tribunal. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- The only point which I made was that such a condition was not the result of the Constitution. {: .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr HOLLOWAY: -- But the Opposition desires to improve the Constitution for both sections, producers and con,sumers {: .speaker-KV7} ##### Sir Frederick Stewart: -- A constitutional difficulty is the lack of uniformity throughout Australia. {: .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr HOLLOWAY: -- I agree, and the Opposition desires to straighten out that difficulty. I make this confession only to show the difficulties that must be faced.On dozens of occasions, I have with othermen been forced to organize strikes and urge men to lay down their tools in orderto compel some constitutional tribunalto deal with their difficulties. In no other way could we have their dissatisfaction redressed. On one historical occasion, one group of workers who were properly organized to use every constitutional means at their disposal, registered in the court and filed their plaint for an increase of wages; but they wereforced to wait for so long for the case to be heard, that when eventually it came before the judge, he stated that he could not grant their demands. The fact was that the cost of living had fluctuated and increased so much since they had first made application to the court that the wages which they claimed were not high enough to meet the present circumstances. His Honour stated : " If I give you all that you ask for, and I cannot by law give. you any more, your wages will still fall short of what the cost of living requires that you should be paid Because of such anomalies, we have had to urge men to lay down their tools in order to force their way before a. wages board. Year after year, we ask that the Constitution be altered in order to overcome those difficulties, but the Government has not responded to the appeal. The Constitution will never function satisfactorily until all parties agree to go to the people as a combined force and with a good case. Amendment agreed to. {: #debate-11-s4 .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr BLACKBURN:
Bourke .- I move - >That at the endof proposed new section92a the following provisobe added : - " Provided that no law with respect to the marketing of any goods produced or manufactured in any State or States shall be made by the Parliament of the Commonwealth until the Parliament or Parliaments of such State or States have referred to the Parliament of the Commonwealth the matters of - > >the regulation of the price at which such goods are sold in such State or States, and > >the regulation of the wages, hours andother conditions of employment of workers employed in or in connexion with the production or manufacture of such goods." I propose that, a condition of action by the Commonwealth Parliament, if this power be given to it, shall be the surrender by the States to it of power to deal with two things; first, the price at which the commodity affected is sold, and secondly, the wages and working conditions of the persons who are employed in the production of that commodity. I have always felt that the great evil of schemes for regulating the sales of primary products was that they were propounded entirely from the viewpoint of the producer. The electoral distribution of the States places the farmer in a position of tremendous political advantage. In Victoria, and I think in New South Wales - Iam not sure of the position in some of the other States - the primary producer is enabled by his vote to place in power one or other of the two larger political parties, and as he is now so well organized, concessions are given to him,, as they are to organized groups, generally at the expense of the unorganized. In my own State, a typical measure was introduced in 1930, which proposed that control of the sale of primary products should be exclusively in the hands of the producers - that they should be enabled to fix prices and conditions. I had not been very long in this House when I saw placed on the notice-paper a motion to the same effect. I heard the Assistant Minister for Commerce **(Mr. Thorby)** declare that, roughly speaking, that motion stated the policy of the Commonwealth Government - the policy which it proposes to apply if the power which it seeks is granted to the Commonwealth. Because of such considerations, I feel that the unorganized consumer of this country is entitled to some protection. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Was the honorable member's reference to a bill actually introduced in the Victorian Parliament? {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr BLACKBURN: -- Yes, by a Labour Government. The present Commonwealth Attorney-General **(Mr. Menzies).** who was then a member of the Parliament of Victoria, paired in favour of a clause that I had proposed, the object of which was to protect the consumer against the abuse of monopoly power. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- We were among the few who supported that proposal. {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr BLACKBURN: -- Yes. As a matter of fact, in this matter, the honorable gentleman has a very interesting history, which I think may be summed up in this way, if what he said before the luncheon adjournment can be adopted - that before he slept with the Country party, judged by what he saw in his sleep, he did not have the same dreams as it had. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- That is perfectly true. {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr BLACKBURN: -- I would point out, also, for the consideration of the representatives of the primary producers, that the primary producer himself is severely handicapped by artificial homeconsumption prices. That has been shown by Professor Giblin. In the report which that gentleman furnished to the Wheat Commission, and which is- published as an appendix to the commission's supplementary report of November, 1934, lie pointed out that there are two classes of industries - sheltered and unsheltered; that in sheltered indus tries the increased cost of living is very often thrown ultimately on to the consumers, hut that in unsheltered industries the increase cannot be thrown on to anybody, and therefore, handicaps the producers in those industries in their competition both overseas and in Australia. For example, an increase of the price of butter imposes a burden upon the persons whose function it is to produce wheat, wool, and every other commodity which goes into export, the price of which cannot be regulated in Australia. Professor Giblin 's report considerably disconcerted the Wheat Commission. It had reported unreservedly in favour of a homeconsumption price for wheat, but the commission had recommended that the Government should institute an inquiry to ascertain whether a home-consumption price was really in the interests of the primary producers; and having recommended that, said, " As everybody else is getting a home-consumption price, we shall have to recommend that, for the time being, the wheat industry also should -et it ". What the Attorney-General said this morning in regard to the supposed inconsistency of honorable members who vote for marketing measures may be answered in this way: This Parliament has never had any direct control over the conditons under which primary producers shall produce, or over the prices at which they shall sell, such control being exercised only by the legislatures of the States; and now honorable members are told that unless they vote against a marketing measure they are not consistent. Under existing conditions, honorable members who vote for marketing bills -have no chance of regulating the prices at which the commodities hall be sold. The Commonwealth has no power, and will have none if this alteration of the Constitution is made, to insist upon the regulation of the conditions of the workers in the industries concerned. All that Parliament can do is to say that it does not like a State Scheme because it does not provide for the regulation of prices and of labour : a ad that would have the effect of throwing it out. How can anybody reasonably expect honorable members to be forced into that position? They are in the dilemma that, if they vote for the measure, they obtain no protection for the consumer or the worker, and if they reject it they throw out the whole scheme for the protection of the producer. I am, however, submitting a scheme which, while protecting the producer, would protect also the consumer. I have always supported marketing schemes with the limitations that I have mentioned, because I believe that, in some industries, they are certainly necessary, with the reservation that there must be no abuse of monopoly-power by the producer. I adopt the same attitude in regard to the worker. I would, not give to railway or tramway employees the right to fix fares in order that their wages might be raised. No one has ever thought of giving to trade unionists the right to make laws imposing on the country certain rates of wages. Such a possibility has been carefully guarded against by all sorts of legal and constitutional entanglements. My second proposition is that this Parliament shall have the power to provide that the benefit of the increased price which the producer is to obtain by means of legislative effort shall be shared by his employees. I shall explain how I propose to do that. Paragraph 37 of section 51 of the Constitution gives to the Commonwealth Parliament the power to make laws with respect to any matter referred to it *by* the parliaments of the States. I propose that the people shall make it quite clear that, before the Commonwealth Parliament does anything to validate marketing schemes that are sent on to it, it shall insist that those marketing schemes shall protect the consumer und the worker; and that if they are lacking in that protection, the Commonwealth shall itself have the power to insert, it. I am quite satisfied that, if the present proposal of the Government is defeated, the States will surrender the necessary power. Marketing legislation is needed, and the States could easily make it perfectly simple by surrendering adequate power to the Commonwealth Parliament. If this Parliament recommends to the country a proposal to give to the Commonwealth power, not only over marketing, but also over prices and the wages' of persons employed in primary industries, that proposal will have my support at the referendum. I believe that it would commend itself to the industrial constituencies of Australia. I warn the. sponsors of this legislation that the industrial constituencies have for too long seen prices inflated at the will of producers' organizations only, and I do not think that they will stand for it any longer. I am certain that the people of Melbourne and Sydney will not support the proposal in its present form. I believe that they stand for the principle, as I do, of giving to the primary producer reasonable remuneration for his labour; but I am not prepared to countenance his being placed in such a position as will enable him to exploit the community or, while receiving a benefit from the community, withhold a share of it from his employees. It is for that reason that I propose that, before this power is exercised by the Commonwealth, the States shall be required to . refer to this Parliament the power to regulate prices, so that the consumers will *be* protected, and to regulate wages and the conditions of employment so that the employees also shall be protected. {: #debate-11-s5 .speaker-KFK} ##### Sir LITTLETON GROOM:
Darling Downs -- The honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn)** has put forward an amendment which, if accepted, would defeat the whole object of the proposal contained in this bill. I say that for this reason: The proposal in the bill assumes that the state of affairs in relation to marketing which existed prior to the Privy Council's decision shall continue, and that the States, either individually or conjointly, as the case may be, shall devise schemes to meet the national objective. It provides that this Parliament shall be clothed with power necessary to give effect to those schemes. The honorable member's proposal amounts to this : He says that that proposed power over marketing shall remain; but he proposes to provide that this Parliament shall not exercise it in respect to any goods produced or manufactured in a State until the States, presumably on lines similar to paragraph 37 of section 51, have referred to the Commonwealth power to deal with the matters which he has specified in his amendment. Under the bill it is intended that the Commonwealth will proceed to exercise its marketing power only when specific schemes are submitted by States concerning dairy products, dried fruits or wheat, as thecase may be. It is then open to the Commonwealth to examine them to see if they are fair and reasonable, and, in order that the power may be exercised justly, to see, for example, that no exploitation takes place. The Commonwealth will have complete control of all schemes. The member for Bourke proposes that before this Parliament can consider individual or collective schemes of any kind the State or States must first refer the powers specified in the amendment to the Commonwealth. The honorable member is asking for a general delegation of powers. {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr Blackburn: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Sir LITTLETON GROOM: -- The honorable member's amendment reads - " Provided that no law with respect to the marketing of any goods produced or manufactured in any State or States shall be made by the Parliament of the Commonwealth until the Parliament or Parliaments of such State or States have referred to the Parliament of the Commonwealth the matters of - These matters are set out in general terms. {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr Blackburn: -- I ask the honorable member to read on. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Sir LITTLETON GROOM: -- The amendment proceeds - {: type="i" start="i"} 0. the regulation of the price at -which such goods are sold in such State or States, and 1. the regulation of the wages hours and other conditions of employment of workers employed in or in connexion with the production or manufacture of such goods.". That would be a reference of general power to this Parliament, in relation to the goods to be marketed, as to the regulation of prices, and wages, hours, and other conditions of workers employed in their production or manufacture, the idea being, presumably, that this Parliament should exercise such full powers in these regards within the State or States as are now possessed by the State or States ; but nothing could be done by the Federal Parliament until that reference was first made. We are, however, faced at present with a state of emergency arising from the fact that certain primary industries are likely to be thrown into a chaotic condition by reason of the invalidity of certain marketing legislation. It is a matter of urgency which must be d(-alt with at once. The honorable member for Bourke says that we should accept an amendment which provides that this emergency cannot be dealt with until a State or States shall have first referred certain specified powers to the Commonwealth to enable it to do so. It is most unlikely that the States would refer such powers. He is putting forward a hopeless proposition. The reference of such matters as wages, hours, and other conditions, might result in the introduction of further complications, inasmuch as the Commonwealth already has power to deal with industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State. It is suggested that the power sought by the honorable member for Bourke is to supersede or supplement that power? {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr BLACKBURN: -- No. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Sir LITTLETON GROOM: -- Then the two powers would stand side by side, and might lead to complications if both were exercised. The acceptance of the honorable member's amendment would make this proposed legislation practically useless, because it would mean indefinitely postponing .dealing with an essential problem, which is, in effect, the validation of the legislation of the past. If the honorable member's amendment were agreed to it would mean that we would go to the people saying, " We are prepared to give you this assistance, but you must first of all ask the States to surrender certain specified powers." Thus, we should be adding greatly to the difficulties at present existing by bringing in a further and more complicated question - the reference by States of powers to the Commonwealth. Furthermore, if this delegation were to come about, are the States permanently to be deprived of the power they refer? Are they to have any power of revocation? I think the Attorney-General was per fectly right in saying that the question of granting further industrial powers to the Commonwealth should be kept quite apart from the marketing question. The two powers are not related. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Are we to spend another £100,000? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Sir LITTLETON GROOM: -- Suppose we do spend another £100,000; is it not better to spend this sum now to meet a case of emergency and to give to primary producers relief which is urgently needed and to leave the question of increased industrial and other powers until they have been more appropriately considered? The Labour party is not at all agreed on what industrial powers should be sought. I contend that there are other powers also of great importance which, it seems desirable, should be transferred to the Commonwealth; if it is desired to deal with them they can be dealt with separately.' If the honorable member's amendment "were agreed to, the alteration of the Constitution proposed by the AttorneyGeneral would be made wholly impracticable; it would result in confusing issues. The bringing in of other constitutional questions can only lead to delay and the defeat of the whole scheme. The amendment intends to accomplish what the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** intended to effect. {: #debate-11-s6 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN:
Fremantle -- I can appreciate the point of view of the honorable member for. Darling Downs **(Sir Littleton Groom)** who does not agree with anything in connexion with this matter except that butter producers and one or two other groups of producers should' be given the right to have a scheme of marketing devised upon their own terms, and operated in accordance with such purposes as they find conducive to their best interests, utterly regardless of every other consideration. The honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn)** says that if you are going to protect the price of butter you should also protect the consumer against any excessive price charged for it. The honorable member for Darling Downs, however, says that this is a complication that introduces a constitutional aspect of such difficulty that it might endanger the Government's proposal, which has for its purpose the organization of marketing. He wishes to isolate this question from all others which ought to be considered by a national parliament. The power which will be sought from the people, even if the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Bourke is defeated, is one which will not be exercisable by this Parliament unless the States pass laws providing for a marketing scheme in regard to,' say, butter or dried fruits. The honorable member for Bourke says that if the States desire the Commonwealth to legislate with regard to the marketing of dried fruits they should refer to this Parliament, not only that matter, but also the question as to what safeguards shall be provided for the community in regard to. the price of dried fruits, and what conditions of labour shall be observed in their production. The honorable member for Darling Downs contends that this Parliament would defeat the whole proposal if it asked the States to refer to it the determination of the price of dried fruits or the wages to be paid to the employees in the industry, hut he conveniently forgets that before a scheme for the marketing of dried fruits can be established the States have to pass laws, and this Parliament has to enact complementary legislation. Of ourselves, said the Attorney-General in his secondreading speech, we can do nothing. *We* do not make the bricks; we are merely the suppliers of the mortar. Before we agree to act as an instrument in the carrying out of schemes inaugurated by the States to aid producers there is something more to be done ; it is fair and reasonable that the States should not merely put us in the position of helping them because they cannot get on without that- assistance; we have also an obligation to see that other interests in the community are not exploited as a result of these schemes. I told the Attorney-General earlier in the day that some of his ghosts would walk. He delivered a speech in the Victorian Parliament in August, 1930, on a measure called the Marketing of Primary Products Bill, and this is what he said : - > *As* a number of members of the Country party have been candid enough to admit, one pf the essential features is the local price, and if you -are going to have a local price, you are going to look, however legitimately; or illegitimately, for a profit for the producer at the expense partly of the local consumer. - have yet to learn that when a scheme is promulgated under which one man is to profit and the other to lose, the only man who has a right to a. say in the matter is thu person who is to make tlie profit. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- That means that yon must have consumer representation on the board. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- I am prepared to accept the statement of the Minister that that is what he meant. He has asked me to view the whole situation factually. I remind him that during the life of this Parliament and while he has been AttorneyGeneral in the present Government, efforts have been made to have boards established in connexion with marketing schemes so constituted that the consumers and the workers would he represented on them, but the Minister voted against the adoption of that course. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- The Opposition tried to put workers' representatives on th, boards, and thus make them wages boards. That is a different matter. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- Regardless of what may have been in our minds last year, or the year before, is it not a fact that this Government has not agreed, when the opportunity has been open to it, to appoint workers to these boards and has not agreed to put consumers' representatives cn them? It says that the reference of this matter to the people would hold, up the proposal contained in the bill, and probably lead to the defeat of the measure. I find that, in the speech of the Attorney-General from which I have already quoted, he also said: - >So far as I am concerned, I am prepared to oppose this legislation in season and out of season, on any clause and at any time. He apparently committed himself right up to the limit; he would oppose it at any time. The honorable member for Bourke has submitted an amendment which I regard as eminently fair in a national parliament. In matters of legislation the Parliament might be justified in refusing to appoint representatives of the consumers to a hoard for the marketing of primary products. As a matter of policy, the Parliament might be quite entitled to say that it would be wrong to put consumers on a board dealing with exports, or 'to place workers on a board dealing with prices - the Parliament has to take the responsibility for its decisions - but it would not be right for it to seek such an alteration of the Constitution as would, if sanctioned by the people, render it incompetent to protect the rights of the consumers and the workers. What the Opposition is now anxious about is the character of the power sought to be given to this Parliament to enable it to deal with marketing. As the question of the competence of the Parliament for the future is involved, the proposal ought not to be submitted to the people in such a form as to leave the Parliament subsequently incapable of protecting the community against exploitation by marketing boards. If we are to ask the people for authority to deal with marketing, surely we should seek such authority as would give the Parliament sufficient power to enable it to exercise its discretion unfettered. I do not expect the Attorney-General to put a worker upon a consumers' board. He could perhaps justify such an attitude from his own point of view, but I do not think we ought to ask for a power for this Parliament which would prevent a subsequent government from putting a worker on such, a board. The question is not so much whether a certain thing should be done in this way or in that, as whether this Parliament should have complete discretion as to the way in which it should do it. That is the contention put forward by the honorable member for Bourke in his amendment. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr Bernard Corser: -How can it be clone unless the electors agree? {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- Some honorable members' opposite profess to have an uncanny capacity to anticipate the will of the electors. I do not say for a moment that the people will or will not reject the bill as it stands. They may say "Yes" or " No " to this proposal, but what the Government has refused to do is permit them to say " Yes " or " No " to some other proposal. Mr.Bernard Corser. - The honorable member has told us what the people will say to this. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- Oh, no ! I do not presume to judge what the electors will say in February; I do not intend to try to do so. What I am trying to do is to have submitted to the people a wider choice than the restricted question that the Government proposes to submit to them. I say in conclusion that the primary producers in this Parliament have stood for this bill because they say that it is necessary for the Commonwealth Parliament to have this power in order to protect the prices which the producers will get for their commodities. By themselves they cannot expect to have that endorsed. They need the sympathetic support of every other section of the community. But throughout this debate the primary producers' representatives in this chamber and the Government and its supporters have gone out of their way not only to antagonize honorable members of the Opposition, but also deliberately to affront the rights and aspirations of the thousands of workers whom we represent in this Parliament. There is also this second consideration, that if this is an urgent matter, the workers regard as clamant the settling of the industrial difficulties which press upon them just as grievously as does the marketing difficulty upon the producer. We would bo prepared to give the utmost help to the primary producers to protect the prices of butter, dried fruits, and wheat, but we say that we are not going to give them that power and at the same time act as though we were dumb, driven cattle, while they refuse to give to this Parliament the power to protect the wages and conditions of the men employed in the particular industries concerned. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr Bernard Corser: -- The employees are protected already. {: #debate-11-s7 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN:
FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1934; ALP from 1936 -- We dispute that. But I shall not waste any more time on the question other than to say : If protective power, as the honorable member for Wide Bay **(Mr. Bernard Corser)** alleges, does exist, how does the honorable member justify the statement of the Attorney-, General that industrial matters need constitutional alterations, but that he will deal with that matter in the sweet byandby? {: #debate-11-s8 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · UAP -- I advise the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** before he, produces a ghost, to pinch it and have a good look at it to see if it really is one, because that which he paraded turns out' tobe not. a ghost at. all. It is true that, the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn)** and I, when in the Victorian Parliament, advocated putting consumerrepresentation on any board which was intended to control primary products. {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr Blackburn: -- We went further than that. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- That has always been my belief, and I think it right; but I? have never supported any proposal that the workers, as such, should be represented on theseboards. They are not wages boards; they are business boards. The Commonwealth Government has not set up any board in respect of these matters except the Australian Meat Board, and that does not deal with consumers in the sense in which we are discussing the matter. It deals solely with the export of meat. In the case of wheat, the Commonwealth legislation does not provide for the setting up of a board; it provides only for the licensing of interstate trade. The immediate purpose of this discussion is to consider an amendment moved by the honorable member for Bourke. That amendment has been criticized along certain lines by the honorable member for Darling Downs **(Sir Littleton Groom)** and I respectfully agree with his criticism. I believe that if the exercise of this power by the Commonwealth is made conditional upon a reference to the Commonwealth from the State Parliaments of legislative powers, we probably shall wait a very long time to get any legislation at all passed. I say that for two reasons: in the first place, State Parliaments are, as we must all be aware, notoriously reluctant to hand over powers to the Commonwealth Parliament. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- The honorable member did not say that before the Privy Council. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- What does the honorable member mean? {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- That was not the line of argument pursued by the honorable gentleman when he appeared before the Privy Council. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- These mental aberrations are beyond me. I was talking about the reluctance of the States to hand over powers to the Commonwealth. What that has to do with the Privy Council rests in the gloomy recesses of the mind of the honorable gentleman. I intend to pursue a reasonably relevant line of discussion. Every honorable member knows that opportunities to have powers conferred by the States upon the Commonwealth are so limited as to be almost nonexistent. For example, for years and years the State Governments have said, " We think that the Commonwealth ought to have complete power over aviation But that power has never been conferred upon it by the States although one or two States have passed legislation which has never become operative. Every honorable member knows that the difficulty of getting a power referred under section 51, paragraph 37 of the Constitution is almost insuperable in the present state of mind of the State Parliaments. I come now to the second difficulty. The honorable member for Bourke puts his amendment in substance in this way:"If any State wants the Commonwealth Parliament to operate its marketing scheme, then the Commonwealth Parliament cannot do so until that State has referred to it power to legislate' in respect of prices and working conditions in relation to whatever particular commodity with which it is concerned ". That is the effect of the amendment. Let us assume that the States of New South Wales and Victoria both wanted to have a certain course followed and referred powers accordingly to the Commonwealth Parliament. Then the position would be under that reference that the Commonwealth would be making a law fixing prices of a commodity and working conditions in the States of New South Wales and Victoria but not in any other State. In these circumstances, I remind honorable members that we should occupy a position of serious doubt under section 99 of the Constitution because that section provides - >The Commonwealth shall not by any law or regulation of trade, commerce or revenue, give preference to one State, or any part thereof, over another State or any part thereof. {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr Blackburn: -- How does that affect the matter? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- Surely a law fixing the price of goods is a law of trade and commerce. If it be not so, it is very difficult to know what it is. The position would be that the Commonwealth would be passing a trade and commerce law which was in fact discriminatory between the conditions to be observed in one State and the conditions to be observed in another State. I offer that suggestion for the honorable member's consideration, as it seems to me to indicate a very real difficulty. {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr Blackburn: -- I have already considered it. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- One major difficulty about the amendment is that it endeavours to attach a condition to the exercise of this proposed power which, having regard to the known facts associated with this problem, will inevitably render it inoperative. The real choice, therefore, is between an amendment that will work and an amendment that could be made to work only under almost impossible conditions. The honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Beasley)** raised a question relating to the meaning of the word "marketing". As I said in the opening remarks of my second-reading speech, " marketing " is not a term of art. It is, in itself, possessed of a certain amount of ambiguity, like every other word that can be found in the Constitution. The phrase, " trade and commerce " is better known, but who would say what its limits are? Many hundreds of disputes have occurred in America and also in Australia as to the meaning of the phrase " trade and commerce ", and; we can hardly hope to avoid them; but, as I indicated in my speech, the central notion of " marketing " is the buying and selling of commodities. In the course of drafting this proposed alteration of the Constitution, I naturally availed myself of legal advice, because the subject, is one of first rate gravity and importance, and I may say that the word "marketing" finds its place in the proposed alteration with the approval of three: eminent lawyers, to whom the question was referred by me, apart, of course, from the Solicitor-General himself. Mr.Cur tin. - Would it not be a safeguard to define the term in the bill? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I am sure that honorable gentlemen of the legal profession who are members of the Opposition would agree with me that we should get into -almost untold difficulties if we endeavoured', in 1936, to define this word so that it would meet all the problems relating to marketing that will undoubtedly arise in the course of the next 50 years. We could not frame an adequate definition. The more flexibility there is in the new section and the looser the term used, the more adaptable it is likely to prove itself to be to future conditions. I received advice on this subject from **Mr. Fullagar,** K.C., Professor Bailey, and also **Mr. E.E.** Mitchell, K.C., of the Sydney Bar. **Mr. Fullagar** and Professor Bailey stated that - >In our opinion, the word "marketing" is wide enough to include all the methods of control which have so far been used - the prescription of a quota, the establishment of a " pool " based on compulsory acquisition and the establishment of a " pool" without actual acquisition but with some indirect means of compulsion. "Marketing", indeed, seems to be only a sonorous equivalent for "buying and selling". At its narrowest, it seems to mean the action or business of bringing or sending goods to market. This appears to be wide enough to cover all the ingredients of the present marketing legislation at any rate. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- Did not the AttorneyGeneral tell me that he had received no written opinions? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I think the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** will admit that he asked me whether I had obtained any written opinions as to whether the decision in the *James* case invalidated the Commonwealth legislation. He did not ask me whether I had obtained any written opinions as to the form that the proposed amendment should take. As it happens, I did obtain such opinions. Another matter, which was raised by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. **(Mr. Holloway),** deserves some attention. He referred to the admitted defects, to my mind at least,, of the present form of . Commonwealth industrial power which conditions the jurisdiction on points of dispute, and said that further difficulties had to be created in order to cure those already in existence. I admit that for years I have felt very strongly on this subject, but I doubt the wisdom of attempting to . amend the industrial power of the Commonwealth at the same time as an attempt is being made to amend its marketing power. **Lt** has been said that if the proposal of tho Government is agreed to, tac producers will be in a position to exploit the consumers. My answer to that content. ou is that if we are talking about constitutional power and not merely about the policy upon which it shall be exercised, then the Commonwealth Parliament will be under no obligation to give effect to any State scheme. If a State government proposes a marke'ting scheme which seems to the Commonwealth Government to permit of the exploitation of the public, the Commonwealth Parliament could simply say " No " to it. In other words, there is ample constitutional power for the Commonwealth Parliament to say, " No. we will not ratify such a scheme ". {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- If y State parliament, passed a scheme which provided conditions for the workers, the Commonwealth Parliament could refuse to ratify it. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- The Commonwealth Parliament could refuse to pa"? legislation to validate any State marketing scheme for any reason or for no reason. If the Commonwealth Parliament felt that a proposed scheme was of an oppressive or improper character, it would presumably refuse to ratify it. In any event, every honorable member of the Parliament would have the opportunity, on the submission of legislation to ratify a marketing scheme, to give reasons why he thought it should or should not he approved. {: #debate-11-s9 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN:
Echuca .- The objections to the amendment of the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn)** on both constitutional grounds and the impracticability of securing action by the State parliaments, have been traversed fully and adequately by the AttorneyGeneral **(Mr. Menzies),** and the honorable member for Darling Downs **(Sir Littleton Groom).** I wish to comment on another aspect of the amendment and in doing so shall try to keep in mind the underlying reason for the introduction of the hill now before the committee. I do not think that any honorable member would dispute the contention that the real reason why power is being sought to enable the Commonwealth Parliament to legislate in respect of marketing, is that it may be put in a position to compensate those engaged in our primary export ing industries for the disabilities placed upon them by reason of the effects of national policy in certain other directions. I do not think it will be disputed, either, that the Parliament is seeking to equip itself with power that every one thought it possessed to enable it to establish artificial price levels for the protection of those engaged in primary producing industries, as it has established artificial conditions to protect those engaged in secondary industries. If that is so, we should not limit our consideration to the justice of equipping the Parliament with power to legislate to protect those engaged in manufacturing industries and to establish tribunals to fix the wages of those engaged in secondary industries,, but should also consider what has actually been done in the way of establishing artificial price levels for secondary products. Honorable members who are supporting the amendment of the honorable member for Bourke have taken a prominent part in every effort to raise artificial price levels for the products of secondary industries by means of the application of customs duties and so on, but no effort has been made to fix the selling price of manufactured goods. That has not been attempted or contemplated. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Would the honorable member support us if we moved to deal with the Broken Hill Proprietary Limited? He voted against my formal adjournment motion on that subject. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- I am dealing with the general attitude of honorable members opposite as expressed in the amendment moved by the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn).** Many boot factories are established in the Bourke electorate, and the honorable member would not hesitate to support the maintenance of high duties on footwear, although that protection is responsible for artificial prices in Australia. At the same time, it has never occurred to him, or to any other honorable member opposite, to propose that the imposition of customs duties for the protection of these secondary industries should be conditional upon the fixing, by this Parliament, of the price to the consumer of the products of the factories. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Will the honorable member support a proposal of that kind? {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- I arn dealing with the amendment moved by the honorable member for Bourke, and I refuse to be side-tracked by interjections from honorable members opposite. The very storm which I have aroused indicates that I have touched them on a tender spot. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- We only want to see where the honorable member actually stands. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- I suggest that the honorable member himself should look around to see exactly where he stands in regard to the principle involved. In respect of the control of prices charged by manufacturers, we find that honorable members apparently are content with two safeguards: first, the right of this House to withdraw protective duties which have established artificial prices for these industries, and, secondly, the existence of the Tariff Board, to which can bc referred the duties which enable maintenance of those artificial prices. Those are the identical conditions which will exist, if the objective of this Government is achieved, to safeguard the consumers of primary products. There will still exist the right of this Parliament to repeal legislation which establishes artificial prices for those industries, and there will still exist the right of reference to the Tariff Board, because the industries that are concerned in this legislation enjoy the benefits of protective duties. If it is right that artificial prices for the products of secondary industries should be maintained under those conditions, then honorable members opposite should be content if similar conditions apply in respect of the prices of primary products. We have heard many direct charges, and a number of veiled charges, by honorable members opposite, that if the producers are given the opportunity, through marketing legislation, to establish an Australian price for their products, they will forthwith proceed to exploit the consumers. We can check up on that by reviewing the actions of the marketing boards, some of which have been in existence for ten years. What do those actions reveal? Although honorable members opposite have been very glib in charging the producers with a willingness to exploit the consumers, can they point to one single instance in which any of these boards, which have been vested with the power to fix prices, has exploited the producers? {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- I asked a similar question of honorable members opposite yesterday, and I received no answer. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- They remain silent now; they cannot quote an instance of exploitation on the part of any of these boards. Indeed, the Minister for the Interior **(Mr. Paterson),** in his secondreading speech on this measure, showed that, as recently as two or three months ago, the price for dairy products in Australia, fixed by the Australian Dairy Produce Board, was actually lower than the price that could have been obtained for those products by exporting and selling them on the London market. That is a complete answer to the charges of exploitation made by honorable members opposite. The honorable member for Bourke said he wished to warn the sponsors of this legislation that it would enable the producers to inflate prices at will. That is a very serious charge, particularly when honorable members opposite cannot quote one instance to show that any of these boards have attempted to exploit the consumers of Australia, despite the fact that some of them have been in existence for ten years. I draw the attention of honorable members opposite, who talk so glibly of exploitation, to the fact that the dried fruits industry, for instance, has enjoyed tariff protection. That protection is not necessary at the moment, because to-day sultanas cannot possibly be imported and sold for less than £84 a ton. We find that the Dried Fruits Board, which controls the marketing of this product, has fixed the price for Australian consumption at £56 a ton. It could raise the price to-morrow by £28 a ton to the Australian consumers, and still be able to meet competition from imported sultanas, but ithas fixed its present price with one objective in mind, namely, not to exploit the consumers, but to get a fair return for the growers of dried fruits, and to enable them to pay award wages to workers engaged in the industry. {: .speaker-JXL} ##### Mr Frost: -- Does the honorable member say that the growers of dried fruits to-day are losing £28 a ton just in order to supply the local market? {: #debate-11-s10 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN:
ECHUCA, VICTORIA · CP -- I have been at pains to point out to the honorable member -and I am sorry if he cannot comprehend my point- that this board does not, find it necessary to raise the price by £28, because its present price of £56 a ton is sufficiently remunerative to enable the growers to show a fair return and to pay award wages to their employees. They have not, attempted to take advantage of the protection given to them by exploiting the consumers in this country. The honorable member for Bourke quoted from a report by Professor Giblin to the Royal Commission on the Wheat Industry, in which that gentleman drew attention to the added cost to Australian consumers resulting from the home prices for butter and dried fruits; but he did not proceed to quote Professor Giblin's further statement. I have not the report before me, but I well remember that, after pointing out that a certain burden was added to the consumers in Australia by reason of this artificial price - as happens with all protected industries - Professor Giblin went on to say that there exists in Australia legislative and judicial machinery which accelerated to a greater degree than in any other country of the world the passing of that burden back to those engaged in the export industries. The honorable member would have been only fair had he quoted from that' further statement by Professor Giblin. The Leader of the Opposition said that he and his party could not sponsor legislation of the kind contemplated unless this Parliament had complete discretion to lay down the conditions under which the product of the industries shall be sold to consumers, and under which the workers in those industries shall be engaged. At first glance, that seems a reasonable statement from a Labour man ; but I ask what action along the line indicated was taken by the Labour party when fixing artificial prices for the products of secondary industries. When imposing an embargo against the importation of matches, &c., did that party give any consideration to . Australian consumers? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-11-s11 .speaker-JVR} ##### Mr NAIRN:
Perth .- From a national point of view there is a strong reason why power should be taken under some method such as that proposed by the Government rather than under paragraph xxxvii of section 51, as proposed by the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn).** Under that paragraph the Commonwealth Parliament has power to legislate on matters referred to it by the Parliaments of the States, but with the reservation that " the law shall extend only to States by whose Parliaments the matter is referred, or which afterwards adopt the law." The probability of the Commonwealth making laws which would operate in one or more States, but not in the States generally is one of the reasons why paragraph xxxvii of section 51 has never been of much practical value. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Would the same situation arise if some States referred marketing legislation to the Commonwealth and others did not? {: .speaker-JVR} ##### Mr NAIRN: -- No. Under the proposal of the Government the only limits imposed are the limits of the continent. A good deal has been said regarding the possibility of exploitation by those who would benefit under this legislation. Marketing schemes in connexion with butter and dried fruits have been in operation for a number of years without any complaint of exploitation having been made. In any case the Commonwealth will retain the same means of dealing with exploitation as it has in connexion with the tariff. Should the protection given to secondary industries by the tariff be abused, and the public be exploited, the Government may repeal the protective duties. That is the only means of checking exploitation in regard to tariff duties, but in regard to these marketing schemes there is a double check. First, the scheme must be submitted by the States. If it is not a scheme of which the Commonwealth approves, the Commonwealth may refuse to legislate for it. But should the legislation be passed, and subsequently exploitation take place, there will be a further check; the act can be repealed. The submission of a proposal to the electors in the form indicated by the honorable member's amendment would be imprac- ticable, because the most likely source of objections are the State governments which are most jealous of the power of the Commonwealth, and therefore moat reluctant to relinquish any of the powers they now possess. These marketing schemes have been initiated by State governments, and at the present time such governments have complete control over marketing. If we ask the State governments to surrender those powers to the Commonwealth we invite a direct refusal. Another, objection to the honorable member's amendment is that it means surmounting two obstacles instead of one. Under the Government's proposal the only hurdle is the referendum, whereas that of the honorable member for Bourke seta up two obstacles; first, the referendum; and, secondly, the active reference by the States. In my view, the second obstacle will be the more difficult to overcome. I believe that, if the States are told that, in order to have a scheme of marketing, they must surrender certain powers which they now possess, they will refuse to surrender them. In its present form the proposal of the honorable member for Bourke would assuredly defeat its own object. {: #debate-11-s12 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney .- The honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn)** is to be commended for having brought his amendment before the House, thereby giving to honorable members an opportunity to show in a practical way the sympathy that they profess for the consumers, who are the workers of this country. The Attorney-General **(Mr. Menzies)** said that the proposal of the honorable member for Bourke complicates the issue. He contended that there was no need to amend the proposal contained in the bill, because Parliament would have an opportunity to examine every proposed agreement when it was submitted for ratification. During this debate there has been a good deal of reference to previous speeches of honorable members. It would be well to examine the attitude of the Government to previous attempts to include in legislation provisions for the protection of the workers. If the actions of the Government in the past are a reliable guide we can safely assume that agreements submitted to Parliament for ratification would not contain any provisions relating to the prices of commodities or the wages and conditions of the workers engaged in their production. And should any honorable member attempt to introduce such subjects into the discussion, the Chair would immediately remind him that he was attempting to discuss something outside the scope of the bill. There would be no opportunity for individual members to propose amendments to the agreement; the House would be in the position of having either to reject or accept the schemes submitted by the States. Because of that, we see a special significance in the Attorney-General's statement that the amendment really imposes additional difficulties. He said that the state governments were very reluctant to surrender powers they already possessed, and he quoted as an instance the fact that several of the States had declined to surrender their powers over aviation. That, however, did not deter the Commonwealth Government from passing legislation for the control of aviation. It even went to the length of discovering that, because the Constitution gave to the Commonwealth Parliament power to ratify international agreements, it was therefore competent for the Commonwealth Parliament to legislate in respect of aviation, which was the subject of an international agreement. I point out that if the Government can, by virtue of its power to ratify international agreements, legislate in one direction, it can, by virtue of the same power, legislate in another direction. If it were really anxious to safeguard the interests of the workers, as it professes to be, it could take steps to ratify the 40-hours agreement entered into at Geneva, and could legislate to implement the agreement, without any reference to the States, or without any extension of its existing powers. Since it already has the power to do these things for the workers, and since it fails to exercise that power, we can only conclude that the Government has been merely paying lip service to the interests of the workers, but that it is prepared to circumvent any and all constitutional obstacles, when it has made up its mind to do something for those sections of the community which it really represents. It is not necessary to dig far into historical records to discover contradictory statements on this subject by those honorable members who support the Government. Indeed, it is not necessary to go beyond the present debate. Practically every Government, supporter who has spoken has suggested that the Opposition was inconsistent in asking the Government to place before the people requests for greater powers, when we refused, to support the Government proposal for obtaining more limited powers. Yet the Government, when in need of an argument in support of its proposal, says that it is not proposed to ask the States to surrender any powers with which they would be reluctant to part. The amendment of the honorable member foi* Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn)** is not un.reasona.ble, and asks for nothing more than we might reasonably expect from any government which claims to represent every section of the community. The Government's greatest difficulty in the forthcoming referendum campaign will be to satisfy the people that they will not suffer any disadvantage by granting the power which is sought; that they will not be exploited in order that assistance may be rendered to a section of the primary producers. If there is really no desire on the part of interested parties to exploit the consumers and the workers, what possible objection can there be either by the Commonwealth or the States to the amendment of the honorable member for Bourke. If the Government declines to take what steps are necessary to protect the consumers and the workers, it gives point, to the argument of' members of the Labour party that tlie general result which may be expected to follow the ratifying of existing marketing schemes, and the introduction of others, will be detrimental to the general community. The honorable member for Echuea **(Mr. McEwen)** stressed the point that the workers in the industries we are now considering enjoy protection under Arbitration Court awards. The value of that protection is .a moot point, but at least there is one point upon which there can be no disagreement: the workers do not control the Arbitration Court. Their wages and conditions are examined by an authority not appointed by themselves. They do not enjoy the right to fix their own wages and, working conditions; but the marketing boards, which it i3 proposed to set .ug, will be controlled directly by those who produce the commodities, the price of which the boards will fix. Thus the producers will be able, by the regulation of prices, to fix their own income. The honorable member for Echuca said that the boards would merely seek to give to the producers a fair return. I ask him, who is to determine what is a fair return? If it is left to the producers, there will be a possibility that they will go to extremes. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen: -- They have had the opportunity to do so for years, but the honorable member cannot quote one instance in which they have gone to extremes. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- The workers and consumers have never had an opportunity to examine the industries concerned in order to see whether there has been exploitation or not. They have had to accept on their face value the statements of members of the Country party, and representatives of the producers, that only a fair return was being obtained. On the other hand, the workers must go into the Arbitration Court, and have every phase of their lives sifted and examined so that the court may determine whether they should be given higher or lower living conditions. Members of the Country party have often said that they are opposed to forcing people to belong to organizations. If this scheme is to benefit all the producers - which I deny, because I believe that it will operate against the interests of the small producers - there should be no need for government interference at all. The producers could combine in the formation of a voluntary organization. Why, then, is it proposed to seek governmental authority for the scheme? Because there are some producers who are satisfied to 'receive a fair return, and who refuse to enter into a combination with other producers to force prices to an artificial level so that more than a fair return may be received. That 'being so, it is necessary for those who are not satisfied with a fair return to seek government aid in order to compel others to conform to their standards. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen: -- The only object in regard to dried fruits, for instance, is to raise the Australian price above the world parity price for Mediterranean dried fruits. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- The honorable member must know very well, that if all farmers and producers were prepared to combine, there would be no need for Government action, because the producers themselves could then do what it is now proposed to do under this legislation. It is a fact that some producers would, in the absence of compulsion, refuse to charge more than a reasonable price, that has induced the unscrupulous producers to bring forward this proposal for forcing prices above a fair level. When once this element of competition between the fair and the unscrupulous producers is removed, there is no saying to what heights commodity prices may rise, or to what extent the workers in the industries concerned may be exploited. Honorable members opposite who have spoken on the amendment moved by the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn),** have said that, while they approve of the principle involved, they are afraid that the electors may become confused and that both proposals might be defeated. A national Parliament should not be influenced by such arguments; but should see that justice is done to every deserving section of the community. All that members of the Opposition ask is that those who believe in the principle involved will support a specific amendment. If honorable members opposite believe that the amendment may be the means of frightening the electors, I disagree with them. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-11-s13 .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr LANE:
Barton .- In rising to support the amendment- {: .speaker-K9A} ##### Mr Gander: -- Why did the honorable member run away when a vote was taken o:i the second reading of the bill? {: .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr LANE: -- I did not dodge the issue. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · CP; LP from 1944; LCL from 1951; LP from 1954 -- But the honorable member dodged the division. {: .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr LANE: -- I am not in the habit of dodging my responsibilities. I agree with, the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** that this is a practical way to do what tlie Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** proposed under his amendment. I support tlie views expressed by the Leader of the Opposition concerning the desirability of this Parliament having sufficient power to ensure that reasonable industrial conditions shall obtain in our primary industries, but the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition to the motion for the second reading was not sufficiently specific. I said during my second-reading speech that the industrial conditions in our primary industries are too important to be studied from a party view-point. I do not usually agree with the opinions expressed by honorable members opposite, but I support their contention that if those engaged in secondary production have the right to sell their goods at artificial prices, those engaged in primary production should be entitled to do the same, and thus enable them to make a profit, the consumers to purchase at a fair price, and the employees to get a fair wage. The representatives of' the primary producers in 'this chamber who object to the artificial prices prevailing in secondary industries, ignore the low wages paid to the employees in rural industries. Having made numerous inquiries in country towns, I have ascertained that if a man seeks employment in the dairying industry he is offered 7s. fid. or 10s. a week and keep. If that is all the industry is capable of paying this Parliament should place i't upon such a basis that dairy-farmers will obtain a fair price for their products, the consumers' interests will he safeguarded, and the employees will receive a fair wage. The honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. John Lawson)** justified the proposal embodied in this measure by stating that under a policy of economic nationalism many European countries established artificial wheat prices at a figure which the wheatgrowers in this country cannot expect to realize. Such a policy may be essential to ensure supplies under war condition?, but there is no reason why, without resorting to extreme measures, Australian butter producers should not receive a fair return for their labour, and those whom they employ a remunerative wage. If the dairymen, who work excessively long hours, are not getting a fair return for their labour, those who handle their product must be making the profit, and directly or indirectly encouraging them to continue their operations. The profits made in the dairying industry, as in the Colonial Sugar Refining Company and its subsidiary industries, are not disclosed. If the Commonwealth Government can enter into an agreement with the Queensland Government in respect of sugar, why cannot a similar arrangement be made with those engaged in the production of dairy produce, wheat and dried fruits? Although we have been told that certain sections of the employees in the dried fruits industry and the dairying industry are working under awards of the Arbitration Court, all the employees are not covered by such awards. The conditions and wages of all employees engaged in those industries should be dealt with by this or the State Parliaments concerned. It waB suggested to-day that there is a constitutional difficulty in the way of ensuring reasonable conditions for the employees in primary industries because all the States are not producing for export. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr Bernard Corser: -- The dairymen cannot afford to pay a high rate of wages to their employees. {: .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr LANE: -- In view of the fact that artificial prices have been applied to other industries, the Parliaments of the Commonwealth and the States should pass legislation to fix an artificial price for the products of the dairying industry in order to place dairymen in a position to pay their employees a living wage. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr Bernard Corser: -- Such action is contemplated in this bill, but the honorable member is opposed to it. {: .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr LANE: -- This Parliament must face the possibility of the dairying industry becoming a load upon Australia. By working day and night and living on as little as possible, dairymen may have amassed substantial bank balances about which nobody knows ; but I do not believe that that is so. {: #debate-11-s14 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable member must not digress. {: .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr LANE: -- If it can be proved that, as the honorable member for "Wide Bay **(Mr. Bernard Corser)** and the honorable member for Echuca **(Mr. McEwen)** have stated, dairymen are not in a position to pay a living wage to their employees, both Federal and State legislations should take action to fix such a price for their products as will enable them to do so. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr Bernard Corser: -- A committee of inquiry in Queensland estimated that the cost of the production of one pound of butter was 2s. 6d. {: .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr LANE: -- What matter if . it be 3s. 6d. ! The price does not affect my contention. If, after the Tariff Board has examined the claims of an industry, tariff protection is given to it,, the price of the articles produced by the industry is increased. {: .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson: -- That affects only the local market. Sixty per cent, of our dairy produce is exported. {: .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr LANE: -- Various honorable members have asked for payment of a homeconsumption price to dairymen. At the present time thousands of youths are standing idle on the street corners of our big cities and refuse to accept employment in country districts because the farmers will not pay a reasonable wage. If it is suspected that primary producing industries are in a position to employ these youths at a fair and reasonable rate of remuneration and are not doing so, an investigation of the circumstances should be held. In Victoria the dried fruits industry is controlled by an award of the Arbitration Court, and, therefore, does not come within the same category as the dairying industry. The dairymen need only take a broader outlook and the industry will receive higher returns for its production. Such an increase would not only give to the owner a profit, while maintaining, a price that is fair to the consumer, but would also induce unemployed city youths to seek occupation in the industry. They would not then be paid so little as 7s. 6d. a week as some of them- are at the present time, because the dairy farmer himself is obliged to live on the smell of an oil rag. {: #debate-11-s15 .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN:
Batman · UAP .- The best I can say of the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn)** is that I am not inclined 'in the present' circumstances to oppose it. That it represents an adequate handling of the requirements regarding an amendment of the Constitution, the honorable member would not, I apprehend, claim. {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr Blackburn: -- I would not. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- Nor would I. It is because of the circumstances in which it is moved, and the necessities of the present situation, that I am quite prepared to support the amendment as being probably the best that we can achieve. Moreover, it is an amendment which is in line with the intention of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** when he first set out to amend the proposition before the Chair, but was restrained from doing so by the Standing Orders. The reason why I am not enamoured of the amendment is because its ultimate success is dependent upon the action of the particular States which are interested. I have no confidence, whatever, that the States through their governments will at any time initiate a useful proposition for the amendment of the Constitution, or for implementing an amendment of the Constitution, which will detract in any particular from the power or authority of the State itself. But I do not admit that the submission made by the honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Nairn)** is a valid objection to the amendment now under consideration. The honorable member stated that section 51, paragraph xxxvii, of the Constitution, which enables the Commonwealth to legislate in respect of matters referred to the Parliament of the Commonwealth by the parliament or parliaments of any State or States is limited by what follows, viz. : - >But so that the lawshall extend only to States by whose parliaments the matter is referred, or which afterwards adopt the law. That is no objection to the amendment especially in the particular . environment in which we are now considering it, because the very legislation which we are endeavouring to validate by means of the alteration proposed by the Government rests upon agreements between particular States and the Commonwealth. For that reason the point raised by the honorable member for Perth carries us no further, because the amendment of the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn)** at least is in line with the proposals and the expressed wishes of the Government itself. Honorable members like the AttorneyGeneral and the honorable member for Echuca **(Mr. McEwen),** profess in these matters to have quite a wide Australian outlook. They like to belong to, or support, a more or less reactionary government; but on the other hand it tickles their sensibilities to hold themselves up as radical reformers and big Australians. Therefore, they would have us believe that if circumstances were otherwise, or at some more convenient time, they would be delighted to support, with all their great ability and enthusiasm, wide alterations of the Constitution. That is the impression which, in their speeches, they have' endeavoured to create. I have named two honorable gentlemen. I shall not name, because I do not care to take the trouble, those who, while professing to hold similar views, ingloriously retired from the chamber rather than support those views by their votes. The point that I wish to make is, that if these honorable gentlemen believe in and are bent on obtaining radical reforms, if they believe in a sovereign parliament - in which I have an inveterate belief- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The present occasion is not opportune forthe discussion of the actions of honorable members. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- Very well, sir; then I shall confine myself strictly to the clause. If those honorable members believe in that reference of industrial powers, that reference of the power to regulate wages, which is implicit in the amendment of the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn),** now that they have the primary producers with them - that vast army of which they claim to be the spokesmen and the representatives, and which, according to them, would harken to their voices - why miss this priceless opportunity to effect a junction of the forces of the primary producers on the one hand, and the industrial workers on the other hand, with a view to achieving the object, which, according to the honorable member for Echuca **(Mr. McEwen),** they have in view and which is desired by all sections of the community? Being faced up to that position, the honorable member for Echuca abandons it and says that the special claim of the primary producers is for a homeconsumption price analogous to that enjoyed by the labourer who works under an industrial award.. I personally am with him on that. Within limits, I have agreed in principle with the legislation that has been passed, for the protection of the prices of primary products. But that does not vitiate the argument of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Holloway)** and the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** who, as representatives of industrial workers - of whom I am one - have suggested that this special legislation being designed to protect the wages, the returns, or the prices of the primary producers, exposes those gentlemen to the suspicion of at least having the intention or the willingness to inflate prices, especially when we find that it is their ambition and determination to limit an alteration of the Constitution with the utmost strictness at precisely that point which will secure what they desire for themselves, and nothing for anybody else. It is that "dog in the manger " attitude, . that narrow conception of Australianism - if I may use that term - which makes the primary producer suspect in this matter. Honorable members know that many members of the Labour party have, by arrangement, supported the producers of dried fruits and other primary commodities in the class of legislation that the Government is attempting to validate. Why, then, do they show no tendency to support us? Why does their inveterate conservatism impede them, in the taking of liberal action, when this golden opportunity is presented to do something for the producers of dried fruits on the one hand, and on the other hand for the people who have to buy those fruits - as my electors do when they can afford them - and for the wage-earners whose business it is in the last resort to produce the fruit which is sold to the public at the price fixed by the honorable member and his associates ? {: #debate-11-s16 .speaker-K9C} ##### Mr GARDEN:
Cook -- I support the amendment of the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn).** The only objection that the Attorney- General (Mr.. , Menzies) could lodge against it that the States would not. delegate such . power to the Commonwealth. Surely the Government should place on the States the onus of doing justice to the primary producers! The honorable gentleman said that the States are very canny when the question is one of surrendering a power that they possess. Every State says that the farmers should have the power to obtain an adequate price for what they produce. The honorable member for Bourke has stated that there is no objection to that. Every honorable member on this side of the House agrees that the primary producer should receive a fair price for his production. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Members of the Opposition voted against it. {: .speaker-K9C} ##### Mr GARDEN: -- We did not, and never have. In speech and in voting we have always been consistent. In that respect we are unlike certain Government members, who voted against the dictates of their conscience. We stand for the principle of a home-consumption price. But we also emphasize that the consumer, too, must be protected. It has been argued that the workers have a better opportunity to obtain fair remuneration for their labour than has the primary producer. The worker has no voice in the matter. When he appears in the Arbitration Court he has to give particulars of all his costs. Even *the* wearing qualities of' every article of women's apparel have to be revealed. The primary producer wants full power to say " This is our price, and we must, get it ". I believe that those who farm the farmers, and not the primary producers themselves, are the real champions of this policy. The activities of middlemen have been more detrimental to the farmers than, has any other factor: The Government is not game to stand up to its responsibilities in this matter. It proposes still to allow the middleman to exploit the farmer and to reap what rightly belongs to those who do the work. I listened with interest to the remarks of the honorable member for Echuca **(Mr. McEwen),** whom I designate as a radical conservative with liberal leanings who always comes .back to his conservative base. On this issue he says that .we must *preserve* thestatus *quo.* Surely it is only fair and just when legislation is introduced to give an advantage to primary producers that theinterests of the consumers and the workers engaged in industry should also be protected. The whole of the argument advanced by the honorable member for Macquarie was . that though primary producers want to pay reasonable wages, they are unable to do so. Here is an opportunity for the honorable member to stand up to the policy which he enunciated yesterday and. say, "We shall give to the farmer a fair price for his products, we shall see that the consumer is not robbed, and that the workers in industry receive fair remuneration for their labour ". I have much pleasure in supporting the amendment. {: #debate-11-s17 .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr BLACKBURN:
Bourke -- In the first place, may I say that the legislation in respect of which the Attorney-General **(Mr. Menzies)** supported me in Victoria did not attempt to put a consumer representative on *the* board, hut provided for an investigation by a Supreme Court judge vested with power to reduce prices. I desire now to refer to one or two points raised during the debate on my amendment. If power is transferred under paragraph 37 of section 51, it applies only to the State transferring it. The Attorney-General suggested that section 99 prevents the Commonwealth, in the exercise of such transferred powers, from fixing differing prices for different States. One answer to that is that the Commonwealth may say that the price in the State which has conferred the power shall not exceed the price in others. The real answer is that section 99 does not apply to matters referred under paragraph 37 of section 51, but applies only to matters in respect of which the Commonwealth has to take uniform action, such as taxation, bounties and trade and commerce. Section 99 provides in relation to the power to take uniform action that theCommonwealth shall not give preference to one State or any part thereof over another State or any part thereof. I also doubt very much whether this matter of fixing prices could be regarded as coming under section 99. I remind honorable members that the Commonwealth utilized this power when, during the war, it fixed different prices for different parts of the Commonwealth. For instance, the prices fixed for Western Australia differed from those fixed for other States. But when these regulations were challenged in thecase offarey v. *Burnett,* it was never- suggested that, they contravened section 99. The honorable member for Wide Bay **(Mr. Corser)** has said that the Commonwealth Parliament has power to fix the wages of persons engaged in industry. It has no such power. That power is vested in the Arbitration Court, and the Commonwealth Parliament cannot either control or direct the Arbitration Court. That court is, in substance, a legislature which, acting within its definite scope, has uncontrollable powers. Neither the Commonwealth Parliament nor any State Parliament can override its decisions. The Arbitration Court reduced wages in 1931 contrary to the wishes of the government representing the majority of the people of Australia. The government of the day, representing the majority of the electors, did everything it could to prevent the court from reducing wages, but, being an independent body, the court brought about a reduction of wages. In the same way it has power to refuse to make awards in any industry. There is no Commonwealth power to make laws directly protecting the workers. Question - That the proviso proposed to be added be added (Mr. Blackburn's amendment) - put. The committee divided. (Chairman. - Mr. Prowse.) AYES: 22 NOES: 39 Majority . . . . 17 AYES NOES Question so resolved in, the negative. Amendment negatived. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Preamble and title agreed to. Bill reported with an amendment. Motion ('by **Mr. Menzies)** - *by leave* - -proposed - , That the report be adopted. {: #debate-11-s18 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN:
Fremantle .- -I have to express my utmost disappointment because of the fact that the bill, as reported, limits the question to be submitted to the people to one specific issue. On behalf of the Opposition, I say to thousands of workers throughout Australia that the opportunity which might have been taken to refer to the people certain major matters of great moment regarding the constitutional powers of this Parliament has been lost. The Government has stubbornly, and even defiantly, determined to resist all suggestions made by honorable gentlemen on this side of the House for a widening of the scope of the powers which are to be sought at the hands of the people. We regret this exceedingly. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons),** during the debate on. the second reading, asked the House to discuss the bill on strictly non-party lines. Honorable members on this side agreed to deal with the measure entirely on that basis, but honorable gentlemen sitting behind the Government have not done so. I invite the people to view the spectacle in this Parliament of a constructive Opposition seeking to amend the Government's proposal in such a way as would enable the people to have wider powers- {: #debate-11-s19 .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon G J Bell: Is the honorable member debating the bill as reported from the committee? {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- I am referring to the fact that the hill, as reported, is disappointing from the point of view of the Opposition, because it does not contain any of the proposals which we submitted at the committee stage. It is an empty and unsatisfactory measure, but we shall continue to deal with it in a non-party spirit. Honorable members on this side of the House are at liberty to. vote. upon, it as they individually choose. For myself, I say that the country will' regret the expenditure of the large sum of money which the referendum will cost seeing also that a golden opportunity hasbeen lost by restricting the vote of the people to the single issue to be submitted to them. The Opposition believes that the purpose of the Government would be far better served if some recognition were given to other urgent major proposals which we on this side consider to be of even greater importance than that embodied in the bill. I again express my regret at the Government's insistence upon party discipline in its own ranks,, whilst at the same time it has appealed to the Opposition to deal with the measure on a non-party basis. We have acceeded to the Government's request,, and will act accordingly. {: #debate-11-s20 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
Melbourne .- For 47 years I have hoped to see the referendum, initiative, and recall put intooperation at the will of the people, but when a division was recently taken in this chamber on a- motion submitted by me to provide for the introduction of that reform, 37 honorable members voted against my proposal. It seems to me that the purpose of this bill is to alter a provision of the Constitution for freedom of trade throughout the length and breadth of Australia. The people of this country would never have voted for federation if they had known that complete freedom of trade between the States would ever be prevented. I lodge my protest against this measure, and I venture to prophesy that, when the true history of Australia is written, the action now being taken will be condemned. Question resolved in the affirmative. Report adopted. {:#subdebate-11-1} #### Third Reading Motion (by **Mr. Menzies)** - *by leave -* put - >That the bill be now read a third time. The House divided. (Ma. Speaker - Hon G. J. Bell) AYES: 45 NOES: 21 Majority . . . . 24 AYES NOES {: #subdebate-11-1-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The result of the division being Ayes 45, Noes 21, I certify that the third reading of the bill has been agreed to by an absolute majority of the members of the House, as required by the Constitution. Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 1465 {:#debate-12} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-12-0} #### Waterside Workers, Melbourne - Relic of Dutch Discoveryof Australia Motion (by **Mr. Lyons)** proposed-- >That the House do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-12-0-s0 .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr HOLLOWAY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · FLP; ALP from 1936 -- I seize this opportunity - as a matter of fact I have been instructed to do so - again to appeal to the Attorney? General **(Mr. Menzies)** to assist me in straightening out the difficulties on the waterfront in Melbourne. Since I raised this matter last week I have made further inquiries at the Melbourne branch of the Waterside Workers Federation and have ascertained that 150 men, most of them new members recruited to cope with the shortage of labour which was alleged by the ship-owners, have not been supplied with first preference licences. I do not say that they have been refused, but, at any rate, they have not been granted. The men claim that the promises made to them by the Government, the ship-owners and every one else connected with the matter - that they would receive first preference licences before outside labour - have repeatedly been broken. These men are all able to do any job on the waterfront. The majority of the 150 men to whom I have referred are young men who were admitted to membership of the federation to meet the complaint of the ship owners that some of the men engaged on the waterfront were not able to cope with arduous tasks. Will the Attorney-General look into this matter and ascertain what can be done to settle the trouble? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- I shall do so. {: #subdebate-12-0-s1 .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr HOLLOWAY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · FLP; ALP from 1936 -- I thank the honorable gentleman. {: #subdebate-12-0-s2 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 .- I call the attention of the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons)** to the fact that it has recently been ascertained that the plate left at Shark Bay, Western Australia, by the Dutch explorer, Dirck Hartog, who was the first white man to land in this country, is in the possession of the Rijksmuseum at Amsterdam. By the courtesy of the State of Western Australia two Dutch representatives recently participated in the ceremony which commemorated the centenary of the discovery of the island ofRottnest, near Fremantle, by another Dutchman, and I should like the Prime Minister to institute negotiations with the Netherlands Government with the object of securing the plate of Dirck Har togs for the museum of "Western Australia, which already has a very full collection of relics of the early Dutch exploration of the western portion of this continent, many having been found on the islands off Geraldton. In his book, *A Foreigner Looks at Australia,* by Paul Staal, formerly Consul-General for the Netherlands, at Sydney, occurs the following passage: - >The first tangible evidence we possess of a European landing on Australian shores is in theRijks-museum (State Museum) at Amsterdam. It is the original tin plate nailed to a post by Skipper Dirck Hartogs, at Shark Bay, western Australia, towards the end of the year1616. It bears an inscription, which, translated from the Dutch, reads as follows: - > >Anno 1816 the 25th October. Arrived here the ship Eendracht of Amsterdam. The Chief Merchant Giles Miebas of Liege. Skipper Dirck Hartogs of Amsterdam. 27th do. Sailed for Bantam. I suggest that the Prime Minister should be good enough to obtain the full particulars, and have inquiries made in the direction I have indicated, especially since this country, as a gesture to Germany, returned to it the name plate of the raider *Emden.* {: .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons: -- If the honorable member will give me the full information I shall be glad to make inquiries. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 4.20 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1466 {:#debate-13} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers to questions were circulated: -* {:#subdebate-13-0} #### France and Italy : Territory Cessions {: #subdebate-13-0-s0 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · CP; LP from 1944; LCL from 1951; LP from 1954 n asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, *upon notice -* >What cessions of territory by either power to the other have been made by France and Italy since the 1st January, 1936. {: #subdebate-13-0-s1 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
Treasurer · CORIO, VICTORIA · UAP -- The Franco-Italian Agreement, signed at Rome on the 7th January, 1935, provided as follows: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. The southern frontier of Libya separating the Italian province from French West. Africa and French Equatorial Africa was rectified to include in Libya some 14,000 square kilometres, including Aozou and Guezenti. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. The frontier between Eritrea and French Somaliland was modified so as to give Italy a small triangle of territory (800 square kilometres, including 22 kilometres of coast) opposite the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb at the southern end of the Red Sea. France also recognized the sovereignty of Italy over the island of Dumeira and the nameless islets adjacent to it. Dumeira is about a mile square in area, and some 15 miles from the island of Perim. The Government has no knowledge of the exact date on which sovereignty in these territories was formally transferred to Italy, but it may have been subsequent to the 1st January, 1936. There is no information of the transfer of any territory by either power other than the above-m en tioned . {:#subdebate-13-1} #### Blowfly Pest {: #subdebate-13-1-s0 .speaker-JUB} ##### Sir Donald CAMERON:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · UAP asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >In view of the fact that the blowfly pest is more serious this year than in past years, will he inform the House of the results to date of the work carried out by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in this connexion ? {: #subdebate-13-1-s1 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP -- The results of the council's work on the sheep blowfly have been published from time to time in various scientific journals. The general progress of the work hasbeen reviewed in the council's pamphlet No. 37, and another review will be published shortly. The council's first object has been to obtain a thorough and accurate understanding of the problem. To do this, a great deal of work was necessary, including investigations of the species of flies which strike sheep in different parts of Australia, of the biology of the flies, of the conditions which influence the liability of the sheep to be struck and of the effects of the flies on the sheep. In addition, information was required on local experience of blowfly strike and onlocal conditions which influence, the application of preventive measures in different parts of Australia. This work is approaching completion. The development of more efficient methods of combating the pest must follow the accumulation of this knowledge, but already some useful results have been obtained - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The council's work has strongly supported the conclusion that liability to breech strike can be considerably reduced by removal of certain folds of skin, either by selection of plain breeched sheep for breeding, as urged by the New South Wales Department of Agriculture, or by surgical operation, as proposed by **Mr. Mules.** 1. It has been shown that liability to body strike is less in sheep with bright fleeces than in sheep carrying yellowish fleeces. 2. The possibilities of biological control have been ' thoroughly investigated, and the conclusion has been reached that there is very little prospect of discovering a useful parasite. 3. It has been shown that carrion should be treated to prevent fly-breeding only while it is occupied by the maggots of primary flies, and the primary stage has been defined. Simple and effective methods of poisoning carcasses have been developed. and it has been shown that burial without preliminary poisoning is useless. 4. Intensive trapping has been proved to reduce the incidence of strike, and much work has been done on traps and baits. The efficiency of baits for attracting flieshas been considerably increased by chemical treatment. 5. A satisfactory dressing for the treatment of struck sheep has been developed. unemployment Relief. {: #subdebate-13-1-s2 .speaker-JUQ} ##### Mr Clark:
DARLING, NEW SOUTH WALES k asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >In view of the fact that the State governments have claimed that they have not the necessary finances to provide work for all the unemployed, and that thousands of men are still receiving the dole ration, will he make a special grant available to local-governing bodies to enable them to give at least one week's work before the Christmas period to those still on the dole? {: #subdebate-13-1-s3 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP -- The Government has made provision in the current year's budget for greatly increased expenditure on public works and services, both from revenue and loan fund. The total estimated expenditure under these headings is £7,684,000, compared with the actual expenditure of £5,236,000 in 1935-36- an increase of £2,448,000. Of the total provision, the sum of £3,107,000 has been provided from loan funds in pursuance of the policy which the Government has followed during the last two years. The provision from loan fund has been restricted to the lowest possible figure in order to leave these fields as open as possible to the States in the carrying out of their works programmes. With this end in view, the provision for works from revenue this year has . been increased by approximately £1,250,000. Included in the Estimates is the provision of an amount of £100,000 for grants to the States towards interest and sinking fund on. local public works, the purpose of which is to relieve unemployment. The budget this year also provides for the maintenance of the policy of sound finance, which has contributed so largely towards the absorption of a large proportion of the unemployed by private enterprise. This policy has been a large factor in the general improvement in the position of employment, the percentage of unemployed having been reduced from 30 per cent, in the June quarter of 1932 to 12 per cent, in the September quarter, 1936. The Commonwealth Government is doing everything possible, with the funds at its disposal, to assist the States and local-governing bodies to provide employment, and. it is regretted that it is not practicable to take action in the direction suggested by the honorable member. {:#subdebate-13-2} #### Wireless Broadcasting: B Class Licences {: #subdebate-13-2-s0 .speaker-JUQ} ##### Mr Clark: k asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* >Can he say whether it is the intention of the Postmaster-General's Department to grant licences for additional B class broadcasting stations in the metropolitan areas of all capital cities, or in country centres? {: #subdebate-13-2-s1 .speaker-KXQ} ##### Sir Archdale Parkhill:
UAP -- In present circumstances, it is most improbable that additional licences will be issued for broadcasting stations in the capital cities. It will, however, be possible to issue a small number of licences for stations in country areas at present inadequately provided for. Aircraft Factory: Establishment in South Australia. {: #subdebate-13-2-s2 .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr Price:
BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA e asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Can he inform tho House what stage proceedings have reached in negotiations between the South Australian Government and a syndicate for the establishment of an aircraft factory in the vicinity of Adelaide, South Australia? 1. Is it a fact that the location of the proposed aircraft factory is a matter primarily for the consideration of the syndicate? {: #subdebate-13-2-s3 .speaker-KXQ} ##### Sir Archdale Parkhill:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. I have received no information as to the result of any negotiations between the South Australian Government and the syndicate referred to. 1. Yes. {:#subdebate-13-3} #### Australian Shipbuilding Yards {: #subdebate-13-3-s0 .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr Price: e asked the Minister for Commerce, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What shipbuilding yards or docks are there in Australia suitable for building iron or steel ships of 500 ton3, for commercial purposes, and where are they situated? 1. How many of these shipbuilding yards or docks are actually engaged in building ships? {: #subdebate-13-3-s1 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE Page:
Minister for Commerce · COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- The information is being obtained, and will be furnished to the honorable member later. {:#subdebate-13-4} #### Migration {: #subdebate-13-4-s0 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA n asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Will the Government indicate whether it is proposed to institute a scheme of migration of boys from the United Kingdom to Australia for fanning purposes? 1. If so, what are the terms and conditions upon which these boys are to' be: placed -under training and employment? 2. Will the House be given an opportunity to consider this' proposal ? 3. Has the Government made full inquiries concerning the opportunity for the training and employment of Australian boys and youths at present unemployed? {: #subdebate-13-4-s1 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. I refer the honorable member to' the statement which I made to this House on the 7th October, 1938 - *Hansard,* No. 20, page 788 - in which T indicated that the wishes of the governments of the States were being ascertained regarding the question of resuming assisted migration from the United Kingdom in certain specified cases, including boys for farm work. Copies of my communication to the State Premiers, dated the 10th September, 1930, and of replies received to date from the Premiers of Queensland and Western Australia, are available in the Library. A reply from the Premier of Victoria is being placed in the Library to-day. Copies of further replies from the State Premiers will be placed in the Library as they come to hand. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Tlie matter has not reached the stage at which definite proposals can be formulated. The House will, however, be kept informed of any developments which may take place. 1. All relevant factors, including that mentioned by the honorable member, will be carefully examined before any decision is arrived at. {: #subdebate-13-4-s2 .speaker-JPT} ##### Mr Blain:
NORTHERN TERRITORY n asked the Minister for the Interior, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether the Commonwealth Investigation Branch asks all foreign immigrants - (a) Whether they have served in the army, air force and/or navy or other services connected in any way with the defences of their country, and (6) in what rank or service capacity have they served, and the length of this service? 1. Are they asked whether they have any present or future military, naval or air force, service obligations? 2. If this information cannot he compulsorily obtained, will the Minister take steps to see that regulations are so. altered that it can be obtained, and that declarations of information obtained are sworn, and that, false declarations are punishable by imprisonment, as in other countries? {: #subdebate-13-4-s3 .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. Under the Immigration Regulations, each alien passenger arriving from overseas is required to furnish to the Customs hoarding officer or other authorized officer^ a personal statement, in which he is asked, *inter aiia,* whether he has had any navy, army or air force training, and, if so, in what country, and also as to whether he is a reservist, and, i* -o, in what unit. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Under the immigration Regulations, any person presenting to an officer a statement in a document which is false in any particular is liable to a penalty of £50, or, in default, to imprisonment for three months. Northern Territory: New building {:#subdebate-13-5} #### Ordinance {: #subdebate-13-5-s0 .speaker-JPT} ##### Mr Blain: n asked the- Minister for the Interior, *upon notice -* >Whether any provision has been made for adequate compensation to owners in Darwin who have had their buildings condemned and demolished under regulations provided, by the new Building Ordinance? {: #subdebate-13-5-s1 .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson:
CP -- The Buildings Ordinance 1936 of the Northern Territory and the regulations thereunder empower the Administrator, on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer, to declare any building or any specified part thereof to be unfit for human habitation, and to require the owner to make specified alterations thereto or to take down and remove the building or portion thereof. No provision is made for the payment of compensation in such cases.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 October 1936, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.