16th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. W. II. Nairn) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– - It is my sad duty to inform the House of the death which occurred, on the 6th September, under tragic circumstances, of Senator Edward Bertram Johnston. The late senator had been a representative of Western Australia in this Parliament since 1928, having been elected to the Senate in that year. He was re-elected in 1934, and again in 1940. He previously served in the Western Australian Parliament, representing WilliamsNarrogin in the Legislative Assembly from October, 1911, to December, 1915, and from January, 1916, until October, 1928, when he resigned to contest the Senate election. He had held the office of Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and for six years he was deputy leader of the Western Australian Country party.
The late senator, who was widely known, had many friends, and his service as a public man extended over a period of more than 30 years continuously, in the course of which he conducted many campaigns. On no occasion when he contested a parliamentary seat was he defeated. He did much to encourage the development of primary industries in Western Australia, and was a consistent advocate of the interests of the man on the land. Senator Johnston was a great advocate of what he considered to be the true interests of Western Australia. As I have said, for 30 years he had been either a representative of an electorate in Western Australia in the Parliament of that .State, or a representative of the people of the State in the Senate. That is a long time for a man to represent a free people in parliament, and I am quite sure that the members of this House who knew him as well as the members of the chamber to which he had been elected, liked him. The manner of his passing fills us with great sadness. I move -
That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of Senator Edward Bertram Johnston, a representative of the Stateof Western Australia, and formerly a member of the Western Australian Parliament, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.
– I desire to associate the members of the Opposition with the sad sentiments which the motion conveys. The late Senator Johnston was a member of the Country party for many years. He gave valuable service to his constituents and he was particularly untiring in his conscientious advocacy on behalf of the State which he represented. I join with the Prime Minister in expressing the deep regret of the Opposition at the tragic circumstances of the passing of our former colleague.
– I also wish to associate myself with -the motion. I served for a short period in the Senate with Senator Johnston, and I learned very early in that chamber that he was a great champion of State rights, and a resolute fighter for the people in the back country of Australia generally, and of Western Australia in particular. I offer my sincere sympathy to his bereaved family.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
Sitting suspended from 3.6 to 5.30 p.m.
Assent to the following bills reported : -
Customs Tariff Validation Bill 1942.
Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Validation Bill 1942.
Customs Tariff (Special War Duties) Validation Bill 1942.
Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Validation Bill 1942.
Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Validation Bill 1942.
– Can the Minister for the Army give any information to the House regarding military operations in New Guinea?
– In reply to the honorable member, who is a member of the WarCouncil, I may state that I have no information to give additional to that contained in the communique issued at noon to-day, and broadcast during to-day’s news sessions.
– With reference to my announcement to the House’ on the 4th June last regarding the appointment of a special committee composed of members of both Houses to inquire into and report upon the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act, and to recommend what amendments, if any, are desirable, having regard to the conditions caused by the present war, I desire to inform the House that the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) tendered his resignation as a member of the committee, and that his place has been taken by the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. McDonald).
– Can the Minister for Commerce say when a decision will be reached regarding the request for the establishment of a wool appraisement centre at Geraldton, Western Australia?
– The matter is now being investigated. I find upon inquiry that Geraldton would be very suitable as a wool appraisement centre, and that wool sales were held there in former years. I hope to be able to make an announcement on the subject shortly.
– Is the Minister forCommerce aware that sales of superphosphate during the last ten weeks have had to be made without the manufacturer knowing how much he should charge, or the buyer knowing how much be should pay, this being brought about because the long-expected announcement regarding the fixing of prices has not yet been made? Can the Minister say whether the subsidy payable on each ton of superphosphate will be increased in inverse proportion to the decreased volume of fertilizer brought about by rationing?
– I shall give a full reply to the honorable member’s questions to-morrow.
– -Can the Minister give any information to the House regarding the deposits of suprephosphate in South Australia, or in any of the other States, and can he say whether any attempt has been made to examine the extent of such deposits?
– I have asked officers of my department to undertake an investigation of the deposits of superphosphate in South Australia. I shall also take steps to ascertain whether there are any deposits in other States so that they may be investigated.
– Will the Minister for Commerce state whether an officer of the Department of Commerce has ‘been in Queensland for some weeks investigating sites for the establishment of plants for the dehydration of mutton, and, if so, has the Minister yet received his report? Can the Minister state at what centre.-1 in Western Queensland it is proposed to erect dehydration plants?
-It is true that an official of the Department of Commerce, and also the engineer appointed to regor upon dehydration projects, have visited Western Queensland, but their inquiry was not so comprehensive as I had hoped it would ‘be. I shall give instructions that a more extensive tour of the western parts of Queensland shall be made, with a View to selecting sites suitable for tinerection of dehydration plants.
– In connexion with the ‘Government’s proposal to assist in the establishment of plants for the dehydration of mutton, can the Minister for Commerce tell me whether it is a fact that his department has laid down the condition that no assistance shall be given unless a minimum of 500 carcasses is available daily for treatment?
– No, there is no definite regulation.
– The Minister’s engineer wrote and said that.
– He may have acted on his own initiative, but there is no definite regulation, and applications for assistance in the establishment of de hydration plants will be fully investigated by the department. In no circum stances should I consider having s hard-and-fast regulation in that respect. Applications will be dealt with in a common-sense manner, and consideration will be given to every aspect.
– Will the Minister for Commerce inform me whether his department has investigated the suitability of Tasmania for the dehydration of mutton? If it has not, will the honorable gentleman ascertain whether r branch of this industry could be established, with advantage, in that State?
– I shall order the fullest possible investigation. The only difficulty that suggests itself to my mind at the moment is regarding supplies of meat. Whilst I am sure that the product would Ik; satisfactory, extensive supplies are required for the scheme to be effective. But I shall send to Tasmania two departmental officials, who are responsible for handling matters associated with the dehydration of mutton, for the purpose of making an investigation.
– Can the Minister for Commerce say whether it is true, a-1 has been stated in the press, that owing to the negligence or tardiness of his department an order for 25,000 tons of dehydrated mutton has been cut down to barely more than 1,000 tons? Will the Minister say how many works are now producing dehydrated mutton, and how many are likely to be producing it in the future?
– My department has done everything it possibly could I expedite establishment of the process of dehydration. As it is now only in its initial stages, there has been a great amount of difficulty in securing the equipment and also the technical advice that is essential. Furthermore, there ha3 been great difficulty in securing material at this particular time, as the honorable member is well aware. I consider that to date the department has made excellent progress, inasmuch as already three plants hare been designed and a site selected, and provision is being made for the establishment of many more plants in different centres throughout the Commonwealth. The department is, therefore, alive to its responsibilities in this direction. Any development of this character is hampered by the shortage of man-power and the difficulty of procuring the necessary material for the erection of plants.
– How many are operating to-day?
Alleged Wasteful Expenditure
– Will the Minister for Air immediately institute inquiries as to whether there has been enormous waste, because of inefficiency, in the preparation for the defence of aerodromes in Tasmania ?
– I have not heard of any wasteful expenditure, bur I shall make inquiries.
– Having in mind the need for efficient fire fighting services in metropolitan areas in case of air attack, will the Minister for Home Security inform the House what provisions have been made to keep such services up to the requisite strength, seeing that they have tended to drop below their peace-time strength? What provisions have been made to place them on a footing of equal efficiency with the fighting services?
- by leave- The matter of granting exemption to personnel engaged in civil defence from service with the Army or the Allied Works Council has engaged my attention for some time past. As far back as August, 1941, the Commonwealth Government agreed to assist the States financially to implement civil defence measures, and made a grant of £500,000 which was divided between the States, and made available for expenditure on approved projects within vulnerable areas as desig nated by the Commonwealth. The basis of such expenditure was that each £1 from the grant was to be supplemented by £1 from loan funds raised by the States for this special purpose.
Since August, 1941, two additional grants of £500,000 have been made available to the States. The first took the form of a further direct contribution on a pound for pound basis towards the cost of civil defence measures under conditions similar to those of the August grant. The second £500,000 was made available, subject to the provision of a pound for pound subsidy by the States to meet the cost of certain equipment, including trailer pumps, stirrup pumps, sandbags, binoculars, tec, ordered by the Commonwealth on behalf of the States.
In addition, a further sum of £500,000 has been provided to cover the cost of additional anti-gas equipment, including service respirators, supplied to the State authorities free of charge by the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth has also accepted commitments exceeding £100,000 for the supply of steel helmets for civil defence personnel. Since August last, therefore, commitments totalling approximately £2,200,000 have been incurred by the Commonwealth in the provision of grants, and the supply of equipment, to the various States. I do not propose to go into the various items of this equipment; it will suffice to say that there has been a great improvement in the supplies coming to hand during recent weeks, and the position will further improve in the near future.
I propose, however, to make special reference to fire-fighting equipment. The supremacy of fire as an agent of destruction is apparent from British experience. The attention of my department, therefore, has been directed towards securing an adequate supply of emergency firefighting equipment for Australia. Much of this equipment was unprocurable locally, and in October, 1941, as the result of a conference with the firefighting authorities throughout Australia, orders were placed in the United States of America under lease-lend conditions for the estimated total Australian requirements for emergency fire-fighting equipment. This equipment was for Melbourne as well as other Australian cities.
Orders placed covered the supply of self-propelled fire engines, canvas fire hose, turntable ladders, trailer pumps, 30- cwt. trucks and other items. Orders for fire hose and trailer pumps have also been placed in the United Kingdom. In addition, my department, in collaboration with the Department of Supply and Development, made arrangements for the local production of trailer pumps and stirrup pumps. Deliveries of this equipment are now being made from all sources, and with its safe arrival, the position of the vital centres of Australia under heavy air attacks will be immeasurably improved.
The Government recognizes that unless personnel are available to be trained in the use of this equipment, or unless trained personnel can be retained, the efficiency of the fire-fighting services cannot be maintained and much of this valuable equipment will not be used. The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Coles) and other honorable members have drawn my attention to the inroads being made on civil defence personnel by call-ups for the Army, the Civil Constructional Corps, and for other services. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) and Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) made similar representations to me only last week. The Premier of Victoria has made strong representations to the Prime Minister in regard to this matter, and I have also received complaints from the executives of the fire-fighting services and from executives of civil defence organizations. They have stated that the depletion of air-raid precautions personnel by call-ups has led to great dissatisfaction, that it tends to dampen their enthusiasm, and threatens to cause the collapse of the whole civil defence organization.
The Government fully realizes the difficulties surrounding the matter. The whole problem arises from the shortage of man-power. But it must be remembered that measures for the safety of the lives of the civil population, for the protection of their property and for the maintenance of essential services, play a most important part in the whole scheme of war organization. As far back as April last, the attention of the DirectorGeneral of Man Power was invited to the need for securing additional personnel for the civil defence services, and in particular for the Emergency Eire Service and Heavy Demolition Service.
The Director-General replied that, having regard to the man-power position, the general principle should be that personnel of emergency fire services and heavy demolition and rescue squads and, to a lesser extent, stretcher parties, should not be granted exemption unless they were over 45 years of age if single, or over 35 if married, and that as regards all other civil defence personnel, exemptions should be granted only to those over 45. The civil defence organizations have been recruiting personnel from those over military age. They have been making a judicious selection of men over 45, and of men under that age who are exempt from military service on grounds of occupation, or of employment in protected industries.
Complaints continue to be received by me that personnel of the emergency fire services were being called up for service in the Civil Constructional Corps. Last month I communicated with the DirectorGeneral of Allied Works, emphasizing that the personnel of many sections of civil defence organization had been highly trained over a long period at considerable expense, and that such men are extremely difficult to replace. The Director-General informed me that, whilst the great bulk of civil defence personnel would be liable for call-up, exemptions would be granted to the following classifications : -
Deputy chief wardens,
Key members of control head-quarters; and Specially trained members of demolition and rescue squads and stretcher-bearer parties.
He pointed out that, as the call-up by the Allied Works Council for the purposes of the Civil Constructional Corps is operated in collaboration with the Man Power authorities, the exempted services, such as emergency fire services, demolition squads, &c, would notbe liable for service in the Civil Constructional Corps provided the association of such men with the services mentioned had been communicated to the Man Power authorities, and that they were within the age limits mentioned.
The latest decision of the DirectorGeneral of Man Power is that civil defence personnel who were, as such, exempted from the principle he has laid down, are to be exempt from call-up for allied works service, with the proviso that, to prevent men from using the plea of being members of various civil defence services as a means of escaping the call-up for allied works, any such persons claiming exemption on this ground are to be examined as to the date of joining the civil defence service. Further, it may be possible so to arrange matters that trained civil defence personnel, other than key or important personnel, can be made available to the Allied Works Council in view of the present demands for man-power, conditionally on their being employed close to where they are to perform their civil defence duties.
– Will the Prime Minister direct the Minister for War Organization of Industry to make a statement as early as possible in the present session setting out the details of - (a.) Rationalization schemes for industry that have been put into operation, either fully or in part;
Will the Prime Minister ask the Minister to furnish to the House the names and qualifications of the advisers and staff of his department, and also of any special committees that have assisted in the preparation of rationalization schemes?
– It will not be necessary for me to direct the Minister for War Organization of Industry to do what the honorable member has requested. I am sure that, to the extent that it is possible for the House to be informed of those matters, the Minister will quite readily supply the information. As for plans under consideration, if they have reached the stage which justifies the making of an interim statement to the House, I am sure that the Minister will be prepared to make it. I shall ask the Minister the names of the persons who advised him as I am not informed fully on the subject. I am sure that the Minister will be able to satisfy the House that all such persons are most competent.
– Before taking action to regulate the supplies of meat, or to fix the price of that commodity, insofar as Tasmanian interests are affected, will the Minister for Commerce give to the representatives of meat producers in that State an opportunity to discuss the proposals with him?
– I lay on the table the following paper : -
Canteens - Report of Board of Inquiry appointed under National Security (Inquiries) Regulations.
” Australia “ Shoulder Badge - Payment of Allotment Money.
– When members of the Australian Imperial Force returned to Australia some time ago instructions were issued that the word “ Australia “ was to be removed from their uniform. As the result of the outcry against this instruction the Minister for the Army revoked it, but some returned men have been fined considerable sums for wearing the badge. In view of the revocation of the instruction, I now ask the Minister whether he will remit the fines inflicted on these men?
– I shall call for a report on the subject and let the honorable member have an answer later.
– Has the Minister for the Army yet completed consideration of the many requests submitted to him for variation of the method of payment of allotments made by service men?
– I shall make a considered statement on that matter tomorrow.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the system under which the Allied Works
Council pays its employees? I draw attention to the fact that the authorities send to the wives of prospective employees slips to the value of £6 which they ask the wives to sign. I have here one such slip which was sent in respect of a man who was not eligible to go. Is the right honorable gentleman aware that men who still remain in Sydney in the employ of such services as die Maritime Service Board are paid a portion of their wages by that body and another portion through the Allied Works Council? Does he not regard that as a waste of man-power? Further, has his attention been drawn to the fact that the Allied Works Council is calling up men from essential work, such as the graving dock in Sydney, and sending them elsewhere? Can he say what Minister controls this department, and what authority controls the manpower situation in it?
– The Allied Worts Council is working under the direction of the Minister for the Interior. I shall have inquiries made in respect of the other questions that have been submitted by the honorable member, and shall endeavour to give him full information on the subject as early as possible.
– Does the Prime Minister regard as a matter of urgency the taking of the referendum to which the Treasurer referred in his budget speech ? Moreover, is the right honorable gentleman in a position to inform the House of the specific proposals which the Government considers should be submitted to the people at such referendum, and will he indicate whether it is intended that the referendum shall be taken separately or in conjunction with a federal election?
– The proposals of the Government in respect of the alteration of the Constitution will be submitted to this House in the form of a bill to amend the Constitution. Until that measure has been introduced and passed by both Houses, no referendum can be taken. Therefore, both Houses will have ample notice of the proposals which are to be submitted to the country. As to the date on which they will be submitted, that is, I think, dependent on the time taken by this Parliament to pass the necessary legislation.
– -Can the Minister representing the Minister for Customs say whether an investigation was recently made of the sugar industry from the man-power point of view? If so, has a report been submitted to the Minister, and can he say when it will be made available to honorable members?
– I am not aware of any specific investigation of the sugar industry, but I am aware that a conference was held in Canberra recently.
– Two officers of the department investigated the whole industry recently.
– I do not know the details. I shall ask the Minister for Trade and Customs to supply the information sought by the honorable gentleman.
– Will the Minister for War Organization of Industry inform the House whether any committee or persons were specifically requested to report on the rationalization of the pastoral industry, and, if so, will he give the names of such persons, their professional qualifications, academic distinctions if any, and ages?
– It is a fact that two officers of my department recently made an investigation of the pastoral industry. They were Dr. Clunies Ross and Mr. D. A. Gill. They consulted representatives of the Central Wool Committee, the Australian Woolgrowers Council, and the. federal council of the Graziers Association.
– The proposals which have been announced were the result of those consultations. As to the qualifications of the two officers, I point out that Dr. Clunies Ross is a recognized expert on matters associated with the wool industry, and was selected by the graziers themselves to spend substantial sums of money on their behalf in England over a period of several years. He has worked in close association with, the wool industry for twenty years, and prior to undertaking the investigations which culminated in the present proposals he was suggested by the Central Wool Committee, on which graziers are represented, as being the most suitable person to undertake the task. Mr. G-ill also has had a close association for over ten years with wool-growing interests. There is ample evidence that both officers enjoy the confidence of the industry.
– What are their respective ages, and qualifications?
– I shall obtain the information for the honorable member.
– Will the Minister for War Organization of Industry lay on the table of the House the correspondence containing the request which, he stated on the 29 th April last, he had received from the ‘Central Wool Committee to examine the wool and meat industries?
– I shall make inquiries, and, at a later stage, I shall supply to the honorable member a complete answer to his question.
– Is the Minister for War Organization of Industry aware that, according to press reports, the Minister for Commerce, when questioned concerning plans for the rationalization of the pastoral industry, admitted that the grazing industry had not been consulted, and said that his department was not responsible, as the matter was completely within the jurisdiction of the Department of War Organization of Industry? What comment does the Minister offer about his colleague’s declaration?
– My attention has not been drawn to that particular paragraph, and I do not believe that the statement regarding my colleague is in accord with the facts.
– If the Minister for War Organization of Industry had not seen the statement of his colleague, the Minister for Commerce, concerning responsibility for the wool rationalization scheme, on what did he base his rep’ to the Leader of the Opposition published in the press yesterday and to-day? Is it to be taken that the Minister replied to the Leader of the Opposition without knowing what he had said?
– I understand that various statements have appeared in different sections of the press. It -is quite possible that I have seen one, but not all, of those statements.
– On what did the Minister base his reply?
– I replied on the basis of one of the many statements appearing in the press. I repeat that I do not believe the statement quoted by the honorable member in regard to my colleague, the Minister for Commerce.
– Will the Minister for War Organization of Industry inform me what are the functions of the National Council for Clothes Styling? How often has that body met, and can the Minister say what expenses or allowances are granted to the fourteen non-governmental members ?
– The function of the National Council for Clothes Styling was to devise styles that would be in the best interests of the nation in order to conserve man-power and materials. The Council, which has met on several occasions, has practically completed its work. Non-governmental members of the council have not been granted any allowances.
Importation of Labour - Shearing
– A.s the problem created by the shortage of man-power in this country is acute, has consideration been given to the possibility and desirability of importing labour ? I suggest India as one country from which labour could be obtained.
– The function of the Department of Labour and National Service in dealing with the problem of man- power is to organize and utilize to its fullest capacity the man-power that ia available in this country. Whether or not this man-power should be augmented from abroad is a matter of government policy, and it is not the practice to give information concerning Government policy in answering questions.
– As so many men in the services are required at short notice for shearing operations, will the Minister for Labour and National Service do everything possible to expedite the granting of leave of absence to men concerned, in order to enable them to attend to this essential work?
– In co-operation with the Minister for the Army, I am ensuring that everything possible is being done at the present time to obtain the release of men who are required for essential work in the primary industries.
– I have in my hand a box of matches which were made in Japan, and which undoubtedly were in this country before the price was increased to 1?d. a box. I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs to investigate the source of supply of these matches, and to ascertain why a charge of l-?d. was made for them.
– I shall refer the question to the Minister for Trade and Customs.
Sir FREDERICK STEWART.When does the AttorneyGeneral intend to make his promised statement on the circumstances of the internment of certain Australian citizens?
– I shall make the statement to-morrow.
– When a soldier is absent without leave, his pay is stopped, but the allowances payable to his dependants are continued. If a soldier applies for and is granted leave, not only his pay, but also the dependants’ allowances cease for the period. Will the Minister for the Army rectify this anomaly without delay, so that men who do the right thing will not be penalized ?
– Consideration will be given to the representations made by the honorable member.
– I ask the Minister for Munitions whether it is a fact that
Mr. W. J. Smith has resigned the position of Director-General of Gun and Munition Production, Ministry of Munitions? If he has, was his resignation the result of a quarrel with the department, or was it in sympathy, because of the treatment meted out to the honorable member for Watson in the Royal Australian Air Force?
– It is true that Mr. W. J. Smith has resigned the position of Director-General of Gun and Munition Production. His resignation was voluntary; he wished to be relieved of those duties. Mr. H. V. Mirls has been acting in the capacity of Director-General of Gun and Munition Production since last December. So far as I am aware, there is no reason to believe that unpleasant feeling caused Mr. Smith to resign from his office.
– I ask the Minister for Munitions whether Mr. Mirls was secretary to Mr. W. J. Smith, either as Director of Gun Ammunition or as a private business man; was Mr. Mirls a member of the Public Service prior to his receiving this appointment? If not, what private interests did he represent outside the department?
– My impression was that Mr. Mirls was in some way linked with the interests that were representa by Mr. W. J. Smith, but I cannot answer specifically. The work done by Mr. Mirls proves that he is a man of considerable ability. It has been done with great credit to himself and advantage to the department.
– Is Mr. Mirls associated at the moment with any outside interest? Is his salary being paid by an outside interest? Is he in receipt of an independent income, as was Mr. W. J. Smith? If he is in receipt of payment from an outside firm, will the Government consider the desirability of requesting him to transfer to the government pay-roll? Will the Government adopt generally the principle that those who serve the Government must be paid :by the Government and must not be paid by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited or any similar body while they are [performing work for the Government ?
– I shall secure a full report in respect of that matter and supply the honorable gentleman with it at the earliest possible date.
– Is the Prime Minister satisfied with the attitude adopted by State governments regarding liquor control?
– I have already stated that I shall review the results of the action that has recently been taken to control the sale of liquor, and I shall then either ask the Premiers to act, or take other steps.
– Will the Minister for Social Services inform the House whether any action has been taken by his department towards relieving distress caused to wives of men on service by their inability to obtain assistance when they must leave their young children to attend hospital for childbirth or other reasons? If no action has been taken, will the Minister consider the creation of a special organization, financed by this Government, that could supply help for the wives of members of the forces when the need occurs?
– I and other honorable members have been asked by young wives to get their husbands out of camp at those periods. There is a great difficulty about that. I have pestered officers of the Army Department over many cases of that character. I think there should be machinery in existence which could deal with the matter. I think my best answer to the honorable member’s question is that I shall confer with the Minister for the Army in order to discover whether some system can be evolved to cover the matter raised by the honorable member.
– I ask the Minister for Commerce whether action by the Victorian Government to require shops selling Werribee beef to display a notice of that fact would be legally inconsistent with the recently gazetted regulations dealing with that beef.
– The question raises a matter of law, and I am not competent to give an answer.
– In view of the fact that regulations have been made authorizing the use of Werribee beef, will the Minister for Commerce extend the application of those regulations to all other sewerage authorities in other cities and towns throughout Australia who are compelled to install huge purification plant and not use raw sewage as is the case at Werribee?
– I shall give consideration to that matter. If the honorable gentleman will place before me privately the facts of any application, the matter will be dealt with immediately, because we want to ensure as far as possible that no beef shall be wasted. Every help will be given to public bodies to utilize pastures to the best advantage.
– I ask the Minister for . Supply and Development whether it is a fact that thousands of cases of egg.= which had been processed and dried for export to Great Britain were taken over by the Department ofSupply and Development and converted to our own uses in Australia? Is it, further, a fact that millions of eggs that were in cold storage ready for processing for export to Great Britain were similarly diverted to civil consumption in Australia? If these are facts, will the Minister endeavour to secure additional supplies required for the armed services and the civil population in Australia by other means than subtracting from the British larder ?
– I think that behind that question is a suggestion that the Government is not fulfilling its obligation to supply foodstuffs to Great Britain. If it is based on that premise, it is most unjust.
– It is based on facts-
– I do not know whether it is based upon facts, and I do not propose to say offhand whether it is or not. As evidence of the close liaison between this Government and the British Government on the matter of foodstuffs, I hope before many weeks go by that two representatives of that government will be in Australia to help in getting foodstuffs to ‘Great Britain. It is one thing to grow foodstuffs and another thing to get them out of the country, A representative of the British Government spent the best part of the morning with me discussing this problem. Any suggestion that we are “walking out on “ the British Government is unfair, unjust and entirely wrong.
– Is the Minister for the Army in a position to give to the House the composition of the new committee which has been set up in connexion with the hiring services, and also the personnel of the Appeals Board which is to be set up in Queensland in the event of any appeals being received?
– I hope to be able to make a statement on these subjects within the next two days.
– Oan the Minister for the Army say when finality will be reached in connexion with the rent and compensation to be paid for places taken over in the early part of this year, in some eases as early as February, by the Hirings Administration? Will compensation be paid this year or next?
– Quite a number of homes were taken over by other service departments, and some time elapsed before the Hirings Administration was asked to undertake the settlement of the matter. Strict instructions were issued some weeks ago to complete all these cases, and officers were sent north to Townsville to expedite settlement. I cannot, offhand, say how many have been settled. I know that a number have been, but I shall make a statement to-morrow giving the honorable member definite information as to how many have been settled and how many are outstanding.
– Will the Minister for the Army state whether it is a fact that a number of incompetent valuers are hiding behind the powers vested by the National Security Regulations in the Hirings Administration? If decisions by those valuers are causing grave dissatisfaction among dispossessed people, is the Minister prepared to set up a civilian committee of assessors to determine what compensation should be paid for the properties taken over?
– I am not aware that there are a number of incompetent valuers in the Hirings Administration. I know that the Hirings Administration has, since the advent of Japan into the war, had a tremendous task as the result of thousands of properties being taken over all over Australia, and has, under difficult conditions, done a very good job. Large numbers of properties were taken over for the other fighting services, and for the American Forces, from Melbourne to North Queensland. In order to expedite the completion of claims, I have now approved of a scheme with which, as I told the honorable member for Herbert, I shall acquaint the House to-morrow. It provides for the appointment of compensation boards in each State to enable persons who cannot agree with the Hirings Administration as to what is a fair rental or compensation to apply to a compensation board. A central committee will also be appointed, which I believe will result in a more expeditious settlement of claims on an equitable basis.
– Recently, the Minister for Commerce was reported in the press as having said that the call-up of men in the dairying industry was not in accordance with Government policy. Was the Minister correctly reported? If so, who was responsible for the mistake? What explanation can be given of this disregarding of the decision of the sub-committee of Cabinet?
– I shall inquire into the matter, and supply the honorable member with an answer to his question.
– In view of the serious decline of butter production owing to the uneconomic prices prevailing in the dairying industry, will the Minister for Commerce state when a decision will be announced regarding the report recently made to the Government by the sub-committee appointed to inquire into the conditions in the industry? Will the Minister also say when that report will be available to honorable members for perusal ?
– .The whole matter is now under consideration. It has been the subject of investigation by a departmental sub-committee, whose report will, I understand be in my hands not later than to-morrow. It must then be dealt with by Cabinet at a later date. We are doing all we possibly can to expedite the whole matter, and after the investigation is complete all the information on the subject will be available to the honorable member.
Sitting suspended from 6.16 to S p.m.
Debate resumed from the 3rd September (vide page 84) on motion by Dr. Evatt -
That the following paper bo printed: - “ International Affairs - Mission Overseas - Ministerial Statement, 3rd September, 1942.”
.- I wish to thank honorable members for the warmth of the welcome which they have extended to me upon my return from overseas, and for their kindness during my recent illness. It was almost worthwhile being ill to find that I had so many friends. Especially, I should like to thank the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) for his consideration and help which enabled me to carry out fully the instruction of my doctor, otherwise I should not have been so well as I am to-day.
My mission abroad had a dual objective^ - to secure aid for Australia and the Pacific area generally, and to secure an effective voice in British war policy in the making. Both of these objectives have been realized, and, of course, they are co-related. Obviously, if an effective voice in British war policy .be secured, aid will .be obtained if there be any source of supply. The circumstances of my mission are well known. I was commissioned by the Fadden Government which subsequently was defeated, but my charter was continued by the present Administration. Before I left Australia I was assisted by many people whose overseas experience enabled them to offer valuable advice. I refer especially to the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes), the right honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Menzies), the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), the Secretary of the Department of Defence Co-ordination (Mr. Shedden) and the Chiefs of Staff. I trust that I return to Australia enjoying the confidence of this Government just as I had its support while I was away, and I am pleased to accept the Prime Minister’s invitation to make my experience and knowledge available to the Government and the people of Australia by attending meetings of the Advisory War Council and of the War Cabinet.
The danger to Australia is still very real and very close. Skilled planning is necessary, and there will be desperate fighting before victory is secured. For that reason we need every ounce of experience and co-operation that is obtainable. In order to see the whole war problem in its proper perspective, and to be fully acquainted with the latest information, I visited the key points of Pacific strategy on my way to London. On the return journey I took a different route, and therefore was able to visit places which I missed on my journey over. In the course of those two voyages, I think that I can say, I saw every place that really matters in Pacific war strategy. I discussed our joint problems with President Roosevelt, with the Government of the United States of America and Chiefs of Staff, and with the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. MacKenzie King. While in London I was privileged to work for many months with the British Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, and his advisers, and in addition, I had valuable contacts with the leaders of many countries which are still fighting with the United Nations, such as Norway, Belgium, Holland and Greece. Here I should like to state that the world is fortunate indeed in having Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt as the war leaders of the two great Englishspeaking nations which are fighting for the democracies of the whole world.’ Though they are optimists, they are also realists. They are convinced that they cannot possibly be defeated, but at the same time they see all the difficulties in the way of ultimate victory, and are always ready to take every practical step to ensure that victory. Between them there is a whole-hearted friendship and a spirit of willing co-operation which enables them to overcome difficulties which otherwise might be insurmountable. In addition they are in close contact with the Russian leader, M. Stalin, and the Chinese leader, General Chiang Kai-shek.
Upon my arrival in Great Britain, I waa faced with three immediate problems. The (first was to ascertain the views of the British War Cabinet and the British Foreign Office in regard to the imminence of war with Japan. The second was to find out what aid could be secured from Britain should a conflict in the Pacific he imminent. That question was of paramount importance and urgency so far as Australia was concerned. The third problem was to ascertain the position regarding what might be called mechanics of conducting the war - how could Australia best influence strategy and ensure the supplies necessary to carry out that strategy in a struggle which undoubtedly would be waged on our own shores, in our own waters, and in the .air above us. In regard to the first problem, I found a general recognition in Britain of the danger in the Far East, but at that time the Libyan position was extremely grave. The ‘battle had just been joined with the Axis forces, and it was absorbing almost all of Britain’s resources, both in munitions and ships, after giving the fullest aid to Russia. Britain therefore had to take some chances in the Far East, and had to recognize that the master strokes of diplomacy in that area lay in the hands of President Roosevelt and not in those of Mr. Churchill. Britain was already fully occupied with its European, Atlantic and Mediterranean commitments, and could not deal successfully with the Pacific as well, without the whole-hearted support of the United States of America. Britain therefore was quite willing that President Roosevelt and Mr. Cordell Hull should assume the diplomatic initiative in the Far East, and the final responsibility for maintaining peace while they prepared their nation for war. The outcome, as honorable members are aware, was the treacherous, but suicidal attack upon
Pearl Harbour by the Japanese, carried out at the very moment when their envoys were purporting to be engaged in peace negotiations with the United States of America. The effect of that attack was to bring America into the war 100 per cent. Had the Japanese attacked Singapore, or the Dutch East Indies, without touching American possessions, no doubt America would have come into the war, but much more slowly. The Pearl Harbour attack transformed the position overnight, and the whole American nation was welded into one solid fighting mass. In regard to the second problem, namely, that of ascertaining what aid Britain could render to Australia and the Far East generally should Japan enter the war, I found thai although undoubtedly some mistakes had been made, the aid available for the Pacific theatre was governed largely by circumstances attendant upon the fall of France. During the previous year Britain had had to stand up to the fall of France, the Battle for Britain, the deteriorating position in Europe generally, aid to Russia, and increasing danger in the Mediterranean. Unfortunately by that time the battle fleet destined for Singapore had been half crippled and, worst of all, the aircraft carriers had been damaged. Two months before the outbreak of the war with Japan, Britain had sent that part of the fleet which was in good order, including the Prince of Wales and the Repulse, to take up positions at Singapore, but it had to go without aircraft carriers because no aircraft carriers were available. Britain had planned that if Japan should enter the war, equipment should be moved forward immediately to reinforce the forces at Singapore, even if it had to be taken from the battle line in Libya, or from Home Forces in Great Britain.
Looking back now, it is obvious thai Japanese air strength was greatly underestimated. There was an insufficient recognition also, at the time, of the importance of air power and, especially, of its importance in association with attacking naval power. The aircraft carrier which was intended to accompany tinbattleships was damaged as it was leaving the Mediterranean, and unfortunately land-based fighter planes from the Middle East and Europe could not be made available except by ship, which would have meant a delay of many weeks.
I immediately asked, however, that everything .should be made ready for immediate action if Japan should strike. As we now know, the entire strategy of the war, not only in the Pacific, but also elsewhere, has been revolutionized by the proved dominance of air power as shown by the loss of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse in Malayan waters.
Australia’s first line of defence has always been visualized by the British High Command, and also by the Australian High ‘Command in the terms of the defence of Singapore and the Malayan ‘barrier. The first consideration, consequently, in providing aid for Australia, was not necessarily the placing of men and equipment in Australia, but the stopping of the Japanese before they could invade this country. The order of priority had always been, first Singapore, then Burma, in order to keep the Burma road open, so that China could remain a fighting force, and, next, the Dutch East Indies with Australia and Ceylon in that order. Australia recognized this priority in a practical way by sending its own troops to Singapore and the Netherlands East Indies, and la tei- to Ceylon. .That was the picture as seen by the strategists.
Immediately’ Japan entered the war Mr. .Churchill offered to release all Australian t>roop3 unconditionally to defend this country if the Australian Government thought that they were needed here. Moreover, when the capital ships were sunk, other aid was immediately given to Australia by Great Britain. Every avenue was searched to find ways and means to help the Far Eastern position and, particularly, Australia. Air-force units and military strength were at once set moving towards this theatre of war. All possible effort was made also to send munitions here.
Very shortly after the Pacific became an active theatre of war the impossibility of directing all active service operations in the various war theatres from one cent-re became obvious. Consequently,
Mr. Churchill arranged with President Roosevelt for the division of the control of the war into compartments in such a way as to ensure effective action. After full discussion these two leaders agreed that there should bethree divisions, the object being partly to ensure that the United States of America, which was nearest to Australia, and an important supplier of equipment to this country, should become primarily responsible for assistance to us with, troops and equipment. The three zoneswere set out in broad terms. First, there was the Atlantic zone, which was to be the joint responsibility of the United States of America and Great Britain; secondly, there was the European, the Middle East, Indian and the Indian Ocean zone, which was to be Britain’s primary responsibility; and, thirdly, there was the Far Eastern, Pacific, Australian and New Zealand zone, which was under the ChiefsofStaff at Washington and was primarily America’s responsibility. In addition to this, Great Britain and the United States of America agreed to pool all their resources everywhere and for all purposes. Although the divisions to which I have referred were effected, Mr. Churchill made it clear that Great Britain recognized its obligation to do everything possible, and to make every sacrifice necessary, to ensure the safety of this country. The consequence was that men and material began to be transported, and machines began to fly, to Australia from the United States of America. An agreement was made also that certain Australian troops were to stay at the battle stations where they were defending the Russian flank and oilwells, and also giving time to provide British troops for reinforcements in Ceylon and India. This procedure conserved shipping and kept veterans at fighting points.
At the same time the Government took steps to ensure that the voice of Australia would be effectively heard in the war councils overseas. It was largely owing to the attitude of the Commonwealth Government that the Pacific War Council was established. By means of that council all governments concerned are able to have a voice in relation to operations in the various battle areas. The council met first in London, but since then it has met at different times at both Washington and London. By this means various commands, such as the A.B.D.A. area and the South-west Pacific, were brought into being.
While this was being done, other steps were taken to meet the equipment situation at Singapore. I do not intend to deal in detail with that aspect of the subject at the moment, for I understand that I am to be given another opportunity to talk to honorable members on this phase of the war. I think, however, that I can say publicly, without taking any risks, that it is a mistake to assume that Singapore was lost through lack of men. It was really lost through the carrying out of a faulty plan of campaign. If there is one thing we need to learn in connexion with that campaign it is that we must not make a similar mistake elsewhere.
My third problem was to ascertain the true position in relation to what I call the .mechanics of conducting the war, in order to suggest how Australia could influence strategy and secure supplies. When I arrived in London I found that there was a notable lack of information - particularly up-to-date information - such as was necessary to make any kind of sound judgment. Information could always be obtained at the meeting of the War Cabinet, but that was too late to counter argument or alter decisions of the Chiefs of Staff. At once I tried various methods to supply this deficiency and in these endeavours I had the complete collaboration of Mr. Bruce. During the whole of the time I was in Great Britain Mr. Bruce placed his great experience at my service and collaborated with me in every possible way. When I found that one method to supply the deficiency failed, I at once tried another. The seething international position was such as to make this possible, because, if one method failed one day, there would sure to be a crisis in the next day or two, during which another method could be tried. Under these conditions different procedures were practicable almost day after day. The result was that by the time Japan entered the war I had worked out, in full collaboration with Mr. Bruce, a method by which Australia could influence policy. This method was founded on three principles : First, that the Commonwealth Government should have a full knowledge of all essential facts, developments and trends of policy; secondly, that it should obtain this knowledge in time to express its view before decisions were taken; and, thirdly, that it should have the opportunity, through its accredited representative, to present to and discuss with the Wai’ Cabinet, and also with such important committees as the Defence Committee, and with the Prime Minister and other senior Ministers, any suggestions concerning new policy or views on policy under consideration which it might, from time to time, desire to submit. The machinery to ensure this desired end was partly British, partly Australian, and partly joint British and Australian. We had always maintained that the Dominion Secretary should be a senior Minister of the British Government. In war-time, and particularly during a war of the magnitude of this one, it would be hardly practicable for the Prime Minister himself to fill the office, but I aim glad to say that the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Attlee, who is the Leader of the British Labour party, is now filling the office of Dominion Secretary, and is a permanent member of the War Cabinet. In the second place, we suggested that Australia should have an accredited representative at the War Cabinet and on the Defence Committee, with all rights excepting the right to vote. The right to vote, of course, was one for which we could not ask in a British War Cabinet, which is, after all, finally responsible to the House of Commons. But in all Cabinet meetings, matters are not determined by votes, but by expressions of opinion, and there must be general agreement on most matters of policy. Consequently, Australia did not suffer to any great degree because it did not have a vote. The important thing is to have a voice, and, most important of all, the accredited representative should be fully informed at the War Cabinet meeting to ensure that he would be able to argue his case in the best possible way.
He should have a complete picture hefore him, and at the same time should be as well informed as the British Ministers are.
So we proceeded to bring into existence a joint British and Australian organization, and, in order to enable honorable members more readily to understand how that organization works, I shall describe the characteristics of the British War Cabinet Secretariat and the Defence Committee. I think that 400 or 500 years have elapsed since Britain has been actually invaded, and throughout that period all expeditionary forces have been joint forces. The Army must be carried overseas by the Navy. Consequently, before the advent of air power, there was always some definite collaboration between the services. When there were only two services that was a comparatively easy job; but in Great Britain during the last war, the Air Force was established as a separate force. As that force grew, a few years’ experience showed that it was necessary to have some other organization, which brought the Air Force into constant planning activity with the Navy and the Army. As the result of that, a joint planning committee of the three services was brought into being in 1923 and that committee was responsible to the Committee of Imperial Defence, on which the Dominions had a voice. When war broke out, the Committee of Imperial Defence was replaced by the British War Cabinet. The War Cabinet had multifarious duties to perform, and it handed over the actual conduct of the war to a Defence Committee, consisting of the British Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Service Ministers, the Minister of Supply and the Chiefs of Staff. That body differed from the Committee of - Imperial Defence, in that it not merely discussed matters, but was able also to make decisions and act on them immediately. Certain of its recommendations went to the British War Cabinet, but many of its decisions were of such a nature that they had to be acted on immediately, and the Defence Committee had that executive power. In order to ensure that it would be a hie to make those decisions on a right basis, it established an organiza tion called the Joint Planning Staff, which was composed of four sections. One section dealt with the executive planning of the war itself, another with the planning of the future of the war, and a third section devoted itself entirely to studying the war from the point of view of the enemy, and trying to find out what the enemy was thinking. The fourth section was a Joint Intelligence Committee. These bodies were linked together by the Directors of Plans. These sections were not isolated bodies, ‘but the Directors of Plans were constituent members of the Joint Planning Staff and were drawn from all the fighting services. My plan was to put men into these organizations at different planes - first before anything went on paper, then at the planning stage, then in a body that considered the plans. These men not merely influenced their respective opposite numbers, but kept the accredited representative in constant touch with everything that was done. The representative also gives his advice to them in their work, in which he was fortified by a small chiefs of staff committee consisting of the senior officers of the various Australian services in London. This settled most of the questions that had previously .been in conflict at lower levels, so that they did not come up to the Defence Committee but had been resolved by mutual agreement in the various stages.
Strategy in the last analysis, however, is determined by supplies, used in the wider sense - ships, aeroplanes, guns, tanks, food, ammunition, &c. It is essential there should be co-ordinated effort in that regard. When I arrived in London the position of supply was very difficult and confused. There were many isolated efforts to get results, one man trying to get aircraft, another machine tools, another munitions. Many matters had reached a dead end. Some were held up because the items had not been brought into existence. Some were held up because of the lack of precise description of the size and type of the tool needed by Australia. .Some were held up because the Board of Trade did not get export licences to enable them to be sent out because it was said that they were needed in Britain. Some were held up by departments like Aircraft Construction, Supply, and the Admiralty, who said they needed them much more urgently for their own job than Australia did. Co-ordination was obviously very necessary. Each department had a good picture of what it needed itself, but there was no central point of contact to ascertain whether machine tools could not have been better distributed in Britain, thereby making so]ne available that could be used in Australia. I immediately discussed the whole matter with Sir Andrew Duncan, President of the Board of Trade, who had been Minister of Supply. ‘ ‘He asked for a list of the most ‘Urgent outstanding cases and went into them personally, and inside a month he had given consent to export licences being given to practically all. Obviously some machinery was needed that would be automatic in bringing together both the Australian and English controllers of production and in ensuring that we did the best we could as a whole amongst ourselves.
At the instigation of the British Ministry of Supply, we had established the Eastern Group Supply Council, which had done valuable work in apportioning between India, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia the manufacture and supply of the various goods that were needed. But the work in these countries was frequently held up by the fact that some small but indispensable, part of equipment for the factories could not be obtained from Britain, either because of the Board of Trade banning its export or because of the Department of Supply not being willing to hand it over or to order its manufacture. The absence of a British representative on the Eastern Group Supply Council was seriously felt because it caused British ignorance of the position as a whole. Our talks had well progressed as to what ought to be done to correct this when Japan came into the war. The agreement then made by President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill to pool supplies of munitions, raw materials, shipping, machine tools, &c, gave an opportunity to perfect a mutually satisfactory scheme of Empire cooperation. The working of this pooling agreement of supplies rendered imperative the creation of an Empire clearing house to adjust and state the position of the various parts of the Empire. These agreements to place the entire resources of Great Britain and the United States into a common pool and to place their control under joint Anglo-American chairmanship may be found to be the real turning point of the Avar. The theory of assignment is that the entire production of Great Britain and the United States of America is pooled and divided among the United Nations in accordance with strategic needs. lt is not possible to make a division by a single board. The assignment can be done only on complete information- about the operational situation in the various theatres of wai-, the state and equipment of the troops, and the requirements for training. To gather this mass of information into one centre would not only require the setting up of a very large staff which would be largely duplicated in the work of the service departments in their home country, but would also mean a vast amount of cabling of details. Geography, therefore, decides that the work must be done by two boards - one in Washington and one in London. The two boards work in parallel. The Washington board assigns that portion of the total pool produced in the United States of America, and the London hoard assigns the British production. The whole of the 40 claimants are divided into two groups - the British group and the American group. The members of the British Empire and the European Allies fall naturally into the British group. They are equipped almost entirely with British types of military equipment, and the closeness of their association with the British forces makes full details of their requirements readily available in London, and the whole of their circumstances and needs can best bt, assessed there. The requirements of the whole British group are thus ascertained in London, and as far as possible they are satisfied, by assignments made by the London board from British production. The surplus requirements which cannot be met in this way are submitted by the British representatives in Washington to the Washington board, where they are considered alongside the requirements of the American group. If desired, any member of the British group can instruct its representatives in Washington to attend the meetings at which its requirements are being dealt with and to reinforce the arguments put forward on their behalf by the British representatives. The Washington Assignment Board makes a bulk assignment to the British group. This bulk assignment is then allocated amongst the members of the group by the board in London.
Throughout the whole process the criterion is the strategic need as assessed in accordance with instructions issued by the combined Chiefs of Staff who give rulings on strategic priority. At the same time the civilian chairman imparts to the board any relevant information as to the policy of the British and United States Governments as affecting the issue. If a satisfactory settlement could not be reached by the board, the matter would in the last resort be referred to the Prime Minister and President for decision. It could be seen from this how useful the Empire clearing houses are in covering supplies from the Empire and putting up the needs of the Empire, and enabling the British position to be dealt with through one channel. The supply contacts are at different levels, just as in planning strategy. But we must do more than deal with the assets actually in existence. We must also increase our production to overcome deficiencies and secure superiority ir equipment. To win the war we must do more than simply organize present production. We must fulfil the vastly greater target of supplies and ships set up by the combined Chiefs of Staff. To do this rapidly we must use to the full all productive capacity which is efficient and capable of employment, wherever it is situated. There must also be a point at which the whole problem of Allied production should come under review-. We need a complete picture of what is being and can be done as a whole with existing productive capacity, as well as continuous planning, of how we can use latent or potential resources, and of the kind, size and location of the equipment necessary for their use. The British Ministry of Production and the Joint War Production Board in America have been brought into being to perform these important tasks. [Extension of time granted.]
As the result of that pooling, it has been necessary to create organizations which are now working satisfactorily. There is first an Anglo-American pool to deal with the assignment of manufactured munitions. Another deals with the pooling of raw materials, and the British representative in that regard is Sir Olive Baillieu, an Australian. Another organization supervises the assignment of shipping, and another devotes attention to new production. The latter is one which the Australian High Commissioner and I were keen on seeing brought into being, because we were trying to secure a general review in Britain itself of the Empire position as far as new production is concerned, in order to meet the deficiency in the munitions supply. Until we were able to get a review, it was impossible to ascertain how and in what countries the things required ought to be made. In the apportionment of the materials available, the criterion established is its strategic needs as assessed by the Chiefs of Staff. What Australia has to do is to make certain that it is able to put up a story that will ensure that it gets its proper share in the apportionment of the materials available. That applies not merely to the assets in existence in the way of raw materials or manufactured munitions, but also to new production. We have established an Empire Council of Production, which is the final authority on matters affecting the planning and programme of Empire production.
With regard to shipping, we find that if we are to get through the war successfully, we must insist on the shortest possible haul being used. If we use ships on an unnecessarily long haul and keep them too long in ports, that is exactly the same as allowing more of them to bc put out of action by the enemy. In order to secure this control an AngloAmerican executive has been appointed, consisting of Lord Leathers, in England, and Admiral Land, in Washington. The shipping position is very serious, though it is being improved somewhat in spite of heavy sinkings, because of the way in which the Americans have revolutionized the method of ship construction.
– What authority is exercised by this Anglo-American executive ?
– It has complete control over allied shipping.
– Does the executive allocate shipping to whatever task it thinks fit?
– Yes, the members of the executive say just where the shipping is to he used, and for what purposes.
– The British representative at Washington of the joint shipping board is Sir Arthur Salter.
– Yes, he is the projection in America of Lord Leathers. Shipping, of course, is of vital importance to Australia.
– Evidently the right honorably gentleman did not think so when he gave away the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers.
– It was not given away; it was disposed of in order to save the primary producers of Australia millions of pounds, and to preserve the British shipping connexion, which has been of incalculable value to Australia during this war. Let no one cast aspersions on the British mercantile marine, which contains, perhaps, more heroes than any other service associated with the war. These are the men who took the convoys through Arctic seas to Russia last winter. These are the men who have kept British ships on the high seas in spite of all the efforts of the enemy, and we owe them an everlasting debt. As a matter of fact, we have to rely upon British and American shipping to bring munitions of war to us, and to transport our military forces.
– That is why the righthonorable gentleman gave the ships away?
– I am sorry that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward) has seen fit to sound the party note. During all the time I was away I tried to look at these problems from an Australian point of view.
– Well, that is a change from the right honorable gentleman’s usual attitude.
– The Prime Minister will admit that I have always given the most disinterested advice, and have always regarded our problems from the Australian .point of view. The introduction of electric welding into shipbuilding has revolutionized the industry. Men who three years ago knew nothing of shipbuilding are now turning out ships at an astonishing rate. The first ship took 185 days to construct, the next 100 days, and the third 60 days. Ships are now being launched within 30 days of the laying of the keel, and they are being delivered within another ten or twelve days. These are 10,000-ton cargo ships, well-found, with a speed of 11 to 12 knots. They are being launched in such numbers that the losses through the submarine menace are being met, and will eventually be overcome. Already the submarines have been controlled along the European coast, and the work of Australian aviators, working in co-operation with the Royal Air ForcE in the Bay of Biscay and over the English Channel, is an epic in itself. With their help, and the help of those who are building ships in America and Great Britain, we shall contrive to get munitions of war to where they are needed, and to carry food to .Great Britain.
Another organization which has been brought into existence is the AngloAmerican pool for the control of food. If we are to win the peace as well as win the war we must do more than produce weapons of destruction. As a matter of fact, our purpose in fighting this war is to achieve a peace worth having. If we are to have a new world, and one without war, our first task upon the cessation of hostilities will be to feed the famished peoples of the world. When we recall the period which followed the last war we realize that the delay which occurred in solving this problem sowed the seeds, of much of the trouble which is afflicting us to-day. The immediate task of the Food Control Board is to stimulate agriculture in the United States of America in order to take advantage of the short haul in supplying food to Britain. However, while doing this, it must also make sure that its present activities will not impede the restoration of American agriculture to normal after the war. In order to ensure that the starving people of the world will be fed after the war it is necessary to maintain the agriculture of the United Nations at its greatest capacity. I have been urging that the board should buy everything that can be produced by the United Nations, and store it for use after the war. The opportunity should be seized to use vacant space in returning ships which have carried munitions to various countries in order to carry this food as near as possible to the points at which it will eventually be used.
The Food Board can do this work in its stride. It has executive functions, statutory powers, funds supplied by both the British and American Governments, and will be able to proceed without unnecessary political interference. In fact, the Baw Materials Board, the Food Board, and the Joint War Production Board should all be thinking in terms of the future as much as the present. They should be laying down a basis of collaboration between the major industries of all countries - in agriculture, in mining and in industrial development. Their aim should be not merely to enable us to win the war, but to ensure the building up of a more prosperous world after the war, to increase the total sum of international trade, to ensure higher individual purchasing power and better standards of living. Only by these means can the enormous wounds inflicted by the ravages of the world war on our social and economic fabric and on our productive resources be repaired.
The current, production of the world, if properly developed, will be great enough to overtake in a relatively short time the wastage of war, and this will’ occur if our productive resources be allowed to function in a natural way. Thus, the work done in this connexion by Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill may prove to he not only the turning point of the war, but also something of decisive importance to the future of the world. With this organization it should be possible to devote to the work of post-war reconstruction the same energy, skill and determination as are now being devoted to the winning of the war itself. If we can do that, the world will be a more prosperous place after the war. We shall be able to ensure higher individual purchasing power, and a better standard of living.
How important the system of intergovernmental contacts may be in the conduct of the waa-, and during the period of post-war reconstruction is now becoming evident. I have been intimately associated with it, and ha.ve been largely instrumental in creating the Empire machinery associated with it. Its importance far transcends party and even national considerations. It is international in its effect. When I accepted the invitation of the Prime Minister to give him what help I could, I felt that I could be of use, not only in the consideration of current problems, but also in planning for the post-war period, so that Australia shall be able to take itf proper place in the affairs of the world.
I cannot over-emphasize the importance of personal contact in international relationships. The successful functioning of this plan of vertical liaison if essential if we are to retain our position in the councils of the United Nations. On the calibre of the men who represent us will depend the success of the negotiations on which they are engaged, and the extent of the aid we shall get. We should he represented at every stage of the negotiations, and should use our representation to the best advantage. Moreover, we should bring our representatives back to Australia at frequent intervals so that they may keep in touch with Australian thought. We should maintain permanent representation in London and Washington, and, in addition, there should be frequent visits by Australian statesmen to Great Britain and America. During the last war, the influence of Mr. Hughes upon Empire policy was important because of his presence in London from time to time. Mr. Menzies made a great impression when he was overseas, and the visit of Dr. Evatt was very useful in placing a certain point of view before the representatives of Great Britain and America. .1 believe that the Prime Minister could perform a. service of very great value to Australia, and also to the Empire, by accepting President Roosevelt’s invitation to visit the United States of America. If he could spare the extra few weeks required for a visit to London, so much the better. I am sure that Mr. Hughes, Mr. Menzies and Dr. Evatt, who have experienced the value of these personal contacts overseas, will agree with me. Mr. Roosevelt, when discussing this subject with me, emphasized the Importance of the periodical visits of the Prime Minister of Canada to Washington, as a result of which practically all difficulties had been removed. FieldMarshal Smuts and Mr. Fraser have also been invited. I should greatly like to see the Prime Minister make this visit, notwithstanding that last year the view was expressed in this Parliament that the Prime Minister should not go outside Australia in war-time. However, the situation at the present time is so critical and the need for a proper understanding so great, that that decision might well be reconsidered in the light of the existing circumstances.
– Would it not mean political suicide?
– On the con tra ry. I think that the Prime Minister’s already great reputation would be enhanced hy a visit overseas.
I thank the Government for the confidence reposed in me and for the consideration given to me during my absence abroad. I am grateful also for the welcome extended to me on my return. I take this opportunity to express my great sense of indebtedness to my staff, Major Coleman, Mr. Low, and Miss Ross, who worked hard and long under distressing and dangerous conditions. I wish to acknowledge, too, the great help given by the High Commissioner, Mr. Bruce, during the whole period of my stay in England.
– The House is greatly indebted to the right honorable the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) for his speech last week and also to the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) for his illuminating statement, this evening. Both speakers have made it clear that this country is a partner with other countries in the prosecution of what we can well describe as the greatest cause for which men have ever fought. That partnership is a real one, and we must try to realize from day to day what it means, not only to us because of the strength that we may draw from our partners hut also what it means to them because of our reciprocal action. Just as we have combined the total resources of all the partners ‘because of the danger to those forming the partnership, so must we allocate those resources in the interests of all the partners. That means that there must be some day-to-day measurement as to where those resources can best be employed. The parliaments of the democracies are representative of tinpeoples of their respective countries, and it is only natural that those peoples should ask that the total resources’ of the combined nations should be so employed as to give to them the greatest sense of security. Political decision? made by governments must inevitably reflect the demands of the people to secure from the common pool the maximum allocation for the particular job which the people regard as being most vital to their own security. It is indeed proper that the government of a country, while recognizing its duty to the common cause, should regard as its paramount responsibility the safety and security of its own people. But in the political consultation* which take place consideration must be given to the views of all those who participate in such consultations. A decision made politically might please some country and its people in that it would increase their security, and yet it might be a bad decision from the standpoint of the successful prosecution of the war. For that reason, political considerations must be merged in a sound strategic appreciation of the progress of the war. There must be professional guidance, as well as political considerations, in determining what are the major theatres of war, and in what proportion0 the man-power resources shall be allocated to them, having in mind not only the immediate problem but also the ultimate solution of the total problem of the war. No one can deny that war means the destruction of life and resources, th’? occupation of territory, and advances and gains by an enemy. Such information helps to form public opinion, and somelimes it has the effect of causing a state of disquietude. Those gains can easily be magnified beyond their real importance, and, as a consequence, pressure is brought to bear upon governments; if governments were so misguided as to yield to such influence the state of the war, bad as it is at present, might become worse in the future. And so I say that, in dealing with this global problem, the people and the Government of Australia, and indeed all responsible public opinion in Australia, must expect not only that the effect of the partnership will be a contribution to our strength, but also that we shall share the perils of all the countries that are engaged with us in the struggle. We must not, regardless of every other consideration, ask that things shall be done to make our position safe. We cannot put forward that claim. And because it will not be put forward, we have to take the day-to-day measurement not only of our peril but also of our obligations as made by the Chiefs of Staff and the political councils that have been established.
As I see it, the problem of Russia is one of acute anxiety to the peoples of the democracies. I regard it to he the duty of the United “Nations to assist Russia to the maximum. Any contribution made to assist other theatres of war which would mean a subtraction from the maximum effort which we are physically capable of making on behalf of Russia would, in the last analysis, not only prolong the war but also produce a state of affairs in which the chances of losing the war would be increased. For those reasons, the consultation which took place recently between the British Prime Minister and the leaders of the Soviet Administration at Moscow had for its purpose not merely the granting of assistance to Russia, but also the granting of it in such a way as to ensure that the total opposition that can be offered to the Axis powers shall be maintained at its maximum. Russia is one of the principal active theatres of actual conflict, and therefore it is understandable that the obligation which the United Nations have towards the maintenance of Russian resistance to Germany involves the contraction of supplies to other theatres, including Australia. It is true also that the struggle in the Middle East is of vital importance; but the decision as to whether the strengthening of our forces there might involve a subtraction from the help which w7e could give to Russia is a matter for determination, not by public meetings, but by those in possession of all the facts, and then only after the most careful assessing of the situation. The argument which I have advanced in respect of Russia and the Middle East applies also to the conflict in the Pacific. These arn three major theatres of war in which the United Nations are engaged. Those nations are widely separated geographically; their capacity to produce is superior to that of the Axis powers, but their capacity to distribute their products has to be measured by their ability to transport them across the seven seas. Last week the Minister for External Affairs, and to-night the right honorable member for Cowper, stressed the significance of shipping to the fighting capacity of the United Nations. If we could place where we want them the things that we are capable of producing, we could increase our resistance against the enemy, but ever since the war began
Ave have been faced with the fact of total inadequacy to do the things that require to be done. When the war commenced wc pooled all that we had, but even then we did not have enough to equip our forces adequately to resist the strength of an enemy that had prepared for war for many years. From that day io this a state of total inadequacy has been the lot of the United Nations - inadequacy not only in the number of aeroplanes but also in regard to their types, inadequacy in respect of naval strength, in the armaments required by our land forces, and in the transportation organization necessary to dispose them to the best advantage. . The problem of supply is of just as great strategic importance as is the problem of military, naval and air dispositions. Since the war in the Pacific theatre commenced, the governments of the United Nations have done their utmost to maintain the closest liaison for the purpose of making the beat decisions for the conduct of the war. It is true that all of us have suffered disappointments. I have not the least doubt that the allied commanders in the Middle East have considered that the flow of material bo them was not equal to that for which they had hoped, and that Russia has reason to believe that supplies received from the democracies have not kept pace with its requirements. In this Australian theatre, the supply has not kept pace with what we consider to be the desirable volume. In all theatres, there are deficiencies. Because of that, we have to ask our- selves what is the ultimate requirement that we ourselves have to meet. I believe that it is not practicable for any very great increase of the fighting efficiency of our own country to be brought to this theatre for some little time. That does not mean that the flow of materials which have been and are coming here will be lessened. It means that there cannot be, by the mere declaration of our necessity, so tremendous a response in the form of aeroplanes or naval vessels that the strength of the enemy in this theatre will be immediately reduced. In my opinion, that is not a feasible or practicable hope to entertain, because it could be realized only by subtracting from the supply of materials that are equally, or, in some respects, even more urgently, necessary in one or more of the other great theatres of this global conflict.
We do not urge that we ourselves shall be made safe regardless of what happens to the other partners with whom we are joined in this great struggle for civilization. For that reason, it is my considered opinion - an opinion not lightly formed - that the obligation of Australia to hold this country must be primarily met by the man-power and resources of the Commonwealth. The contribution that we shall get will be the maximum which the exigencies of the war enable our partners to give to us. Owing to the nature of the problem, they will have to send great quantities of material to the Middle East and to Russia. We have to ensure that the problem of Africa, already fluid, shall not be made impossible of solution by our own forces. What does that really mean? The position is that, for some time to come, the obligation to hold Australia will be imposed upon those who are responsible for conducting the war in this theatre. I cannot imagine that one can engage in grandiose offensives unless one has the resources with which to conduct them; and the problem of supply and transportation for the forces that would undertake the offensive represents a demand upon shipping so great that in this theatre, at any rate, no sensible man would expect to see it satisfied in the near future. Therefore, the House will be justified in planning for a period which, as I see it, will be at least months, in which not one single thing that this country can do for its own defence ought to be left undone.
Let me state the matter generally. Time and time again, representations have been made to me for the release of men from the Army for the purpose of engaging in the production of civil goods, many of which are necessary to the population as a whole. In the absence of naval and aerial superiority in this theatre, I am not prepared to risk any contraction of the Army from the strength which our advisers consider to be the minimum required for the task confronting them; and the present strength of the Australian Army is not so great as I consider necessary. To take large numbers of men out of the Army for the purpose of doing this, that or the other thing is to interrupt the continuity of their training. Most certainly, the intensity of it is diminished. Furthermore, the release of numbers of men creates in the public mind an altogether false impression that men who have entered the Army for the purpose of fighting can be pulled out of it periodically in order to engage in some other occupation. That is a fundamental mistake, which does not enable our Army to be nearly sio efficient as continuity and intensity of training would ensure.
Why must we have an army of that size? The population of this continent is no greater than the population of Tokyo; it is equal to that of Greece or Belgium. Our man-power is greatly limited. Because our population is small and our territory so large, we have to retain in our Army a strength that is capable of holding, shall I say, Darwin or
New Guinea. We have also to provide a holding force for Western Australia ; and, in case the enemy by-passes those places, we have to station an army, strong enough to resist an attack, on the eastern coast of Australia. We have also to see that the vast uninhabited, but tremendously important north-west of Western Australia, and parts of Queensland, are not left open for the enemy to establish land bases, from which to use aircraft in attacks upon the more thickly populated parts of the Commonwealth. In addition to that, we have to maintain reinforcements for the 9th Division, which is at present in the Middle East. Another obligation is to ensure that reinforcements shall be constantly assembled for the purpose of maintaining garrisons that we have established in parts of the Commonwealth where the climate is such that men ought not to be expected to remain there indefinitely without relief. Therefore, forces which are stationed at Darwin, in New Guinea and in the northern parts of Queensland ought to be regularly relieved by trained, seasoned troops. To move about our man-power for the purpose of reinforcing the Army, we must have in training the requisite numbers of men.
Another point is that there is no great inherent mobility in an army in this country. We cannot move large numbers of troops from western to eastern Australia, or from eastern to western Australia. We have not, within ourselves, that capacity for the rapid movement of a large number of men, and their equipment and ancillaries from the south of Australia to the north of Australia. Such a movement can be done only by a complete concentration of road, rail and sea transport, all of which is limited and all of which has new demands upon it because of our war-time production, which make it unequal to requirements. For example, coal must, be shipped from Newcastle to Adelaide and Melbourne in order to meet the demands of the munitions factories there. Steel must be transported from Port Kembla to munitions factories in Victoria and South Australia, whilst iron ore has to be carried from South Australia to Port Kembla. In addition, we have to supply the forces that we have now dis posed for the defence of the frontiers of this country. For this work, ships will be required in increasing numbers. This shipping ought to be permanently allocated to the forces in order to ensure continuity of supplies to them; but it is impossible to satisfy the needs of industry, and the needs of the forces, unless our shipping resources be expanded. All this begets problems of great difficulty. Stores, munitions and petrol must be distributed at places in Australia which, until recently, were without road or rail communication. For that task, ships had to be employed. In the meantime roads have been constructed. We had to engage in a vast programme of works construction in parts of Australia that I shall not specify, but I inform the House that in the last four months, a sum of £14,000,000 has been expended on works of this description. That will indicate to honorable members the physical magnitude of the works.
Honorable members should also be informed that the primary source of supply for the defence of this theatre of war must be within the Commonwealth. In making that statement, I do not want it to be thought that I am dissatisfied with what the United States of America and Great Britain are doing in this theatre. I have no complaint of any description to make about what those two great powers are doing in this part of the world. Like any other man, I would be glad if they could do more for us. We should have cause to be thankful if the other demands on them could be lessened, so that they could do more for us. But the outstanding certainty is that for some period at least, the problem of the United Nations is such that the best thing any Australian can do for his country is to make sure that he uses every ounce of his capacity to assist in its defence. That means that, if the Army is not to be prejudiced in its training and in its useful operations, we have to see to it that its numbers and personnel are adequate to the task that it has to carry out. I say quite candidly that the strength of the Army, whatever it is - and I shall not mention it in numbers - is less that I should like it to be, and is less than the Command would like it to be, and, if there be those in the country who would say that the Array is immobilized and that there are men sitting in camps instead of digging potatoes, producing wheat or cutting firewood, or whatever it might be, my answer is that, whatever be the criticisms that can be made in respect of the Army, the Army is far more efficient than it was, that its training is getting to some degree of maturity, and that it is becoming increasingly efficient. The best way in which to make it less efficient is to interrupt the training with this spasmodic in and out of camp to engage in what is regarded as an essential vocation. It may he an essential vocation. That carries me to this point: those essential occupations have to be carried on, because they are indispensable to the Army itself and to the maintenance of the nation, and, if the Army ought not to release men for rhein. persons not engaged in essential occupations shall be transferred to them. That does mean closing down of many enterprises, it does mean interfering with the personal liberty of citizens, it does mean that the men and women of this country cannot of themselves judge what is the right use to make of their industrial capacity. There has been a great transfer to the fighting forces and to war industries as the result of the policies that have been carried out. I make no apologies for the dislocation caused. I admit that mistakes have been made, that things have not worked nearly so smoothly as we should have liked them to work, but, this problem has terrific urgency. The danger that confronts this country to-day confronted it last February. I remember standing at this fable and announcing the commencement of the Battle of the Coral Sea. At that hour no one knew how it would terminate. Fortunately Aor us, it resulted in. a rebuff for the enemy, and allowed us a breathing space in which to go on with the programme for the organization of this country foi- the prosecution of the war. Had it turned the other way - and it could have - it would have been said that we had not grappled with the problem. It is true that we have not clone things completely; it is perfectly true that we have not been able to consult all the experts in the country. That was owing to the unwillingness of the Government to delay action for fear that too long a delay would mean that we should be too late, and, as a consequence, 1 regret, some things have been done which, if we had had longer time to reflect about them and more time to elaborate the machinery, would have .been clone a little better, with less interference, and with not so many square pegs in round holes. I acknowledge all that. I say to the House and to the country that the Government has laboured under the imperative urge to get things done as rapidly as they can he done, in order to cope with a situation which, any week, might have become unmanageable - unmanageable because the enemy was much nearer than he turned out to be. We can all be wise after the event. The requirements of the munitions and aircraft industries for man-power are greater than they were. As we produce more munitions and aircraft, and have larger forces under arms, we must have machinery for servicing equipment and for keeping aeroplanes in the air and trucks on the move. That repair and service aspect must increasingly make demands upon the labour power of this country. The larger the army the larger the supplies and the greater the demand on the industrial resources. Therefore, increasingly, as our capacity to fight improves, our capacity to maintain the civil order must diminish, because from the civil supply has come the strength of our fighting forces. By taking capital and labour devoted to the ways of peace, we have been able to develop the capacity which we have and which we hope to make greater in order to carry on the war and to defend and hold the country. I know no easy road in this matter. I shall not be able to say to the country that that is conceivable until the enemy has been dealt a serious blow, until the initiative has been wrested from him. He -would not be a man concerned with the welfare of his country who would say that things could be made more comfortable in the next week, the next fortnight or the next few months. No, he would not be. He would not be true to the requirements that his views impose upon him. The only way in which he can be is by saying that he can only make the fighting forces stronger by making things harder for the civil population. To say anything else would be an utter denial of reality.
There are things that are implicit in what I have said. This nation cannot ii nora to waste its substance, and its substance consists of its physical capacity. [ know the need for relaxation, but this country cannot afford a 36-hour cessation from concentration on the task of the war each week-end. [Extension of time granted.’] We cannot afford a day and a half of release from the obligations of war just because it happens to bc Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
– Two days.
– Yes, in many instances the week-end means 48 hours, but I put it at 36 hours, because I know that in that period there is a great loss of energy to the economic structure of this nation. If we are ever to look forward hopefully to the future we can only do so as the result of holding Australia, as the result of victory coming to our cause. And victory has its price. The British Prime Minister said that the price of victory is : “ Blood and sweat and tears”. Well, I do not ask for that, but I ask for constant application to the task’ of industry on the part of those upon whom that devolves. J.f men are required to dig potatoes, to get coal, to transport sugar, or to provide for any of the services of the civil population, I put it to the country that those services must be rendered by persons who hitherto have not been engaged in useful industry, and not at this juncture by men taken from the Army at the price of diminishing the strength of the fighting forces. It must be the contrary, having regard to the casualties we are sure to suffer, and the wastage that sickness creates. I say that, because thousands of our men are going into the jungle country, into places where malaria is prevalent. It is inevitable that disablement and enfeeblement will come to many; sickness will make inroads upon their strength. Those who fall sick will have to be replaced and, increasingly, our manhood will have to ensure that it shall maintain the requisite supply to keep the fighting army at strength, for in war the fate of nations rests entirely on the result of the clash of arms. Strength to overcome the enemy at the place where the ene–.iv is to be met will decide whether the country is to be free or not. As one who has fought for social betterment and as one who looks forward to the rebirth of every plan for making the world a better place, I say that, in order to make it better, at this period of trial to the country and ourselves, we must ensure that in looking forward to the millenium we shall not fail to deserve to have it given to us as the result of the sacrifices and industry demanded of us. I say to Australia that for the next six months the problem of the united nations, the partners in the preservation of civilization, is so stupendous that it is not conceivable that we here in Australia can expect to have given to us anything that we ought to provide for ourselves. The title which we shall have to demand from our partners more than is given to us is that we shall have completely exhausted our own capacity to provide it ourselves. We should put our nation on the same plane as the fighting forces - on the same plane as the heroic, population of Russia. Take Stalingrad for the last few weeks. There, with fearful battles incessantly raging, the people still stand fighting because of the reborn patriotism which has marked Russian history ever since the Bolshevik Revolution. I know that there has been much injustice in this country. I know that there are wrongs to be righted. 1 know that thousands fighting for us got a dreadful deal during the years of depression. I know that there is great truth in the challenge that the rich get advantages even in war-time and that all the burdens are on the poor. Nobody knows better than we that history is full of black patches, but neither history nor hopes will save us. What will save us is concentration by us all on the problems of the present.
.- I consider that whatever I may say at this stage would be in the nature of an anti-climax to the splendid address that the House was privileged to hear from the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin). It was a speech, if words are followed by deeds, of leadership containing high principles, which must be carried out faithfully in respect of all classes of the community. I do hope that this debate will be availed of by every honorable member who desires to speak on it, because I firmly believe that the subject of international affairs has not received from this House the attention it deserves. The custom has been, as the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) would acknowledge, for one or two speeches to be made on the subject and then to adjourn the debate, and that is the last we hear of it. I hope that on this occasion many honorable members will rise in their places and speak upon the many facets of various subjects to which the attention of the House has been directed, and, in particular, to the speech which has been give by the Prime Minister. For my part, f propose to direct my remarks to more limited issues, namely, those raised by the statement read to the House by the Minister for External Affairs last week. That statement was in substance confined to a brief survey of events in the Pacific, to an historical description of the machinery which has been evolved for the conduct of the war, and to general remarks directed to the Atlantic Charter and the post-war world. The Minister has drawn attention to the position of Australia, so far as its ability to defend itself is concerned, in March compared with now, and to the substantial aid which ha3 come forward to Australia, particularly from America. It is well that this statement has been made, especially in view of the confusion which must necessarily have been caused in the public mind, arising out of the “ trickle of aid “ articles which appear to have been inspired from some official source. That substantial aid has come to Australia from America during the past six months is beyond dispute. Indeed, I am satisfied that we owe our immediate security from Japanese aggression to the fact that America came so quickly to our assistance. Whilst, however, in no way desiring to detract from the full credit to which the mission of the Minister to the United States of America and Great Britain is entitled, a reading of his statement would suggest that the flow of aid which has taken place during the past six months was substantially the result of the efforts of Ohe mission.
That the mission played a very proper part in directing attention to the peril and needs of Australia I very willingly acknowledge. Before its departure, however, and continuously ever since there was being expressed from Australia, through the appropriate channels, the case for Australia, in the formulation of which the records will reveal that the Advisory War Council, that creature so much despised by some members of the House, played a not insignificant part. Members in this House will, I am sure, be satisfied from the record given by the Minister for External Affairs that it has played a very substantial part in the conduct and formulation of policy during the war.
Moreover, I am satisfied that, apart from the representations made by the Government, the attention which was focussed upon Australia through the agency of the newspapers, both here and overseas, persuading public opinion as it did, was a very powerful factor in directing to us a large proportion of the aid which we so desperately needed.
Almost immediately after the outbreak of war with Japan. American troops were on the way to Australia, and men, equipment and supplies have been continuously flowing to us ever since. Perhaps the greatest factor of all has been not so much a mere desire on the part of America to aid us, although this we know has been most generously forthcoming, but rather an increasing appreciation on its part of the importance of Australia, not to us alone, but as a vital strategic factor in a war which can have but one common resolution for us all. So far as aid from the United Kingdom is concerned, that has at all times, within, of course, the limits of its total responsibilities to different areas of the conflict, been most willingly provided.
Perhaps the most outstanding matter referred to in the statement was that which arose out of the meeting of the Advisory War Council held in Melbourne in February of this year, shortly before the departure of the Minister overseas. The full extent of the decision taken then, and of the part played by the Advisory War Council in it, has been made clear by the Minister. It has given rise to a position almost without parallel in modern history, where two sovereign countries, namely Australia and New Zealand, surrender for a period a substantial portion of their sovereignty to another nation in order that that sovereignty may ultimately be preserved for them. In short, we each of us have placed the operational control of the war under the direct command of distinguished American officers, who arc responsible in turn, not directly to Australia, but to the United State1 Chiefs of Staff, and through them ultimately to the President of the United States of America.
This surrender of sovereignty was an inescapable necessity created by events. Of our own strength, we had and have not the capacity to resist the full might of Japan. The protection of these shores became, in the logic of circumstance, the responsibility which was so willingly accepted by the President of the United States of America on behalf of his people, and it became inevitable, therefore, that this should in turn involve the surrender of the operational conduct of the war in the Pacific, including the areas of Australia and New Zealand, to the United States of America.
The arrangement to which the Minister has referred created a position which, in the event of any difficulty arising, should be one of academic difficulty only. The Government of Australia, although it has surrendered the operational direction of the war to a powerful ally in the manner described, nevertheless must remain politically responsible for the conduct of the war and for its direction within our territorial areas. In practice, I have no doubt that the constant contacts, and the goodwill which exists between the Government and the people of Australia and the American Commander in Chief, General MacArthur, will resolve any of these matters. The situation created, however, emphasizes the great necessity for the closest personal contact and collaboration being continually maintained between the Government and the American Commander in Chief and his staff.
I regret that the Minister did not see fit, in the statement which he prepared, to direct himself more to an objective survey of the war in its different aspects throughout the world. I think that a statement upon international affairs should, as much as possible, take the form which the Prime Minister adopted in his statement to the House on the 4th June last. It is important that the House should be kept informed of the total appreciation from time to time of the war, and of the problems which confront us, and have before it every possible and necessary fact which can be made available to it, to enable it to appreciate, so far as one may, the course and the possible future of the war; in short, have a global picture of the hostilities in which we are engaged. I hope that when the Minister makes another statement upon international affairs, he will place greater emphasis upon this aspect of his duties.
The speech is important in another aspect, namely, the attention which it directs to the Atlantic Charter and the future of the world. This charter, which, as the Minister rightly points out, is Atlantic only by reason of the place where it was agreed to, has in all other respects world-wide application. It is one to which the attention of every member of the House should be carefully and minutely directed. It deserves the closest scrutiny because, although it has been adopted by the self-governing dominions, in the actual wording of the principles enunciated therein of necessity they could not be consulted, and consequently they need to direct their attention carefully to the problem of how these principles are to be implemented. I may say without hesitation that the noble principles contained therein are such that they should attract, the support of all liberal-minded, just and freedom-loving men. A careful survey of the charter, however, would, I think, arrest attention, not so much by the words which have been used, or the ideas which have been expressed, as by what has been left, not unnaturally, unsaid. It is in respect of things unsaid that the gist of the problems of the postwar world is contained.
I welcome, therefore, the opportunity which this debate affords of directing a few remarks to the subject. Every man and woman in this country who has children, every man and woman who hopes to have children, is earnestly concerned to build, if they can, a world which shall be free from aggression, a world in which young children may have the love, affection and care of their parents bestowed upon them, free from the fear that the hand of war will in the end stretch out and strike them down.
Most of us, particularly those who are still comparatively young, remember the objectives of the last war. We remember the “ war to end wars “. We remember the “ war to create a world fit for heroes to dwell in “. We remember these things and much more, and the average person capable of thinking of these matters knows only too well, whatever blame wc each must bear for our failures to measure up to our national responsibilities in the pre-war period, that the causes of war find their roots too frequently in forces over which the ordinary man in the street has little individual control, [n short, the average parent wants to know something, not so much of his own destiny, but rather of that of his children in the world which will follow this war - shall they live or perish? When we look to the terms of the Atlantic Charter, a number of considerations still to be answered throw themselves into relief. Can peace of any duration be ensured which permits what is known as unrestricted freedom of trade? The fourth terra of the charter to which 2S countries have now subscribed states that the agreeing powers will endeavour, with due respect to their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access on equal terms to trade and the raw materials of the world which are needed for their common prosperity. One question which immediately presents itself to my mind is: Is it contemplated that these resources shall be the subject of what has been loosely called in the past “ freedom of trade”, or what could be more properly described in far too many instances as “ freedom of exploitation by international capital “?
Recently I have noticed considerable propaganda being put out by what I might conveniently describe as the freedom of trade school, some of whose members seek to get comfort from the Atlantic Charter as support for what I take leave to regard as a disastrous policy if we revert to it. This school puts forward the proposition that, with the advent of peace, there should be wholesale reduction of all departments of State concerned with the regulation of commerce and industry, and that the only function of government in relation to trade should simply be the levy of taxes “for the maintenance of defence and such other services as come properly within the functions of the State “. I have no doubt whatever that this propaganda seeks to serve very well the interests of international cartels and trusts, and will endeavour to turn the high principles of the Atlantic Charter to their own commercial ends. I am one who believes that so long as. this so-called freedom of trade is controlled in a large measure by huge international combines, whose power is sometimes greater than governments themselves, there can be no hope for a stabilized world economy, without which disaster will again overtake us.
If the use and development of the raw materials of the world is to be left in any substantial measure to huge international and interlocking combines which necessarily seek profit only, there oan be no safety for the future of our children. I firmly believe that the fight of powerful trading interests of one country against those of another for raw materials will lead inevitably to conflict. Such interests, of their very nature, cannot be concerned with either national or international welfare, nor indeed can they control the explosive forces which they generate. ‘Because of their inherent characteristics they are unable to take the long view, and whatever view they do take must be concerned primarily not with welfare but with profit. We have lived in a period of false values, and we still largely live in that world. Can it be said that there is any honest valuation of the services of man as between him and other men? For too long we have paid tribute to these false values. Spiritual values have largely disappeared in the pursuit of material gain by all classes of the community. We have witnessed what is euphemistically known as “managed currency”. Frequently throughout the world “managed currency “ has meant the manipulation of credit, which in turn has been followed by the manipulation of prices of man’s labour, the goods it produces, and the securities representing his savings. Not always, of course, but time and again these in turn have necessitated control of interest and external trade in the interest of sectional and powerful groups. And with what result? The inevitable consequence has been huge tariffs, restriction of production, of imports, and of exports. Indeed, recourse has been had to every conceivable economic formula. We have accepted almost without question the proposition that the maintenance of price determined profit, and that the restriction of production by artificial means, regardless of its effect upon employment or upon the hungry, was commercially justified. In no sphere was this evidenced more than in the sphere of international trade, and I firmly avow that, until international trade is controlled, so as to prevent spasmodic and unscientific development of the resources of the world, there can he no permanent peace.
It would be foolish indeed for me to express any concluded view as to what shape the post-war world will take, or to have any fixed and immutable ideas as to its reconstruction. We are now engaged in something that is much more than a war; it is a revolution, the most deep-seated in human history. None can foretell how long it will last, what changes will be wrought, or what desolation and destruction it will bring in its train. All these things will fashion the shape of things to come. What we do during this war will largely condition what we must do when the war is through, but the obligation to direct our attention to the establishment and preservation of peace as an abiding principle of international relationships is one which must remain steadfastly with us. It is a goal towards which humanity, through all its stumbling, must direct its faltering footsteps, if civilization as we know it is to survive. The League of Nations failed for many reasons, apart from its lack of courage. These reasons it is inopportune for me to develop at this moment. However, the conception of some supra-national authority imposing its will upon the component entities is one which ultimately we must adopt. Many who have thought much on this matter have reached the conclusion that the achievement of world peace cannot go hand in hand with the complete and unchallengeable assertion of the sovereign rights of separate States and separate peoples throughout the world.
The third principle of the Atlantic Charter states that the nations concerned respect the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they will live, and asserts that they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored ‘to those who have been forcibly deprived of them. With this, I completely agree, assuming as I do that the form of government shall be that which they freely desire and elect, and that this clause of the Atlantic Charter does not contemplate that these sovereign rights will be such as may be asserted economically or otherwise against any nation in such a way as to disturb or imperil the peace of the world. No doubt, in the end these assumptions will involve the surrender on the part of what are called “ sovereign States “ of some portion of their national sovereignty. The world of 1939 Ave can never know again. A large number of completely sovereign national units may have been possible in the years before the climax of the industrial era and the development of aircraft, but in my view, that is no longer possible. lt is always unwise to prophesy, but it is necessary to project one’s mind into the future, and that I am prepared to do. E shall proceed, therefore, to express some opinions which’ I think ‘are of value. Smaller national units, whilst maintaining their independent national culture and characteristics, must necessarily join together in federation in order to protect and defend themselves. A much lesser number of such units only is possible in these times, and no doubt those groups will aim at being as selfsupporting as possible. Certainly, they will group themselves primarily upon a basis of economic and geographical considerations. The picture of Soviet Russia, with its varying nationalities and subjects forming one economic unit, is a finger mark to the world. Such units, if not self-supporting, will possess control of materials, raw or manufactured, or be capable of supplying services which in turn could be disposed of to other groups in return for products and services required. Should I prove correct in all this, it seems to presuppose continuance after the war of State control of external trade. Indeed, as it has been truly pointed out, “ the pledge of the fourth principle in the Atlantic Charter is handicapped of fulfilment if nations pursue policies which limit the purchasing power of other nations for imported goods, oi- if export quotas are imposed, or artificial price-raising devices are resorted to”. However, all that would not prevent complete freedom of commercial intercourse between individuals and units of any group, but my conviction is that it would eliminate selfish sectional interests which are the seed of so much trouble. The simple truth is that the standard of living to which the fifth principle of the Atlantic Charter is directed depends entirely upon the fruit of man’s Labour, the goods he produces, the services he renders. His freedom to deal with and obtain the proper value of the products of his efforts must be acknowledged. Where all external trade is controlled by the States, questions of tariff cannot arise. Imports and exports will then be governed by what the Government believes to be in the best interests of its people as a whole. In what group or federation will Australia find itself? It seems to me all our hopes must be centred in the attainment of a federation between Great Britain, North America and Australasia. The achievement of a supra-national authority imposing its will upon all its subordinates throughout the world is no doubt generations and generations off, but an economic group of the Englishspeaking people of the world is not remote; it is something which can, and I pray will be, accomplished. Its common interests will anchor it to the world of reality. Its common background and culture will give purpose to its life. It will be strong enough to face any European or European-Asiatic combination, and powerful enough to trade on terms of at least equal opportunity with any nation or groups of nations throughout the world. It will be fundamentally our purpose to disarm our enemies, to render them impotent, and to keep them so whilst yet we struggle for ways and means of preserving the peace, and doing justice in accordance with the charter. To such a federation must Australia look if there is to be security for it in the Pacific. Australia’s danger in this war, and therefore its interest in the peace, is deeper than that of any other nation. Including New Zealand, it numbers 9,000,000 people, surrounded by 1,000,000,000 coloured people. Unless this fact is kept clearly in the mind of every thinking citizen, when this war is through, we may easily resume our habit of enjoying the sun.
I could not hope in a speech of this character to deal with all the matters which are germane to the issues which I have raised. I have said sufficient, I hope, to establish the need for the Allied Nations to be collating, from day to day, all the material which the progress of the war reveals as throwing light upon the problems of preserving peace. Until final victory is ours, we cannot form any inflexible views, so great is the fluidity to which the world is being subjected ; but at least we can prepare our tentative plans so that when peace comes to us we shall have an intelligent appreciation of our problems. It is not for ourselves that we should labour, but for our children and the generations still in the womb of the world.
There is one subject, however, to which I desire to direct attention at this stage, and that is the population of this country. I do not make an extravagant statement when I say that, as Australians, we have almost commenced to die. If the rate of natural increase of population in this country which prevailed in 1915 had continued throughout the period from 1916 to 1940, we should now have had more than 800,000 additional young people between the ages of 1 and 26 years in Australia and our total population would have been nearly 1,000,000 more than it is to-day. It is not for me to deal now with the causes of this situation, but merely to direct attention to the facts. We cannot hope to hold this country, certainly not by our own strength, if our rate of increase of population is not substantially augmented.
Although during the war there has been an uplift in the birthrate, taking the period from 1921 to 1941 inclusive, one finds that the accrued- birthrate per thousand from 1921 to 1934 was upon an ever-diminishing curve. The net reproduction rate in that period was at its highest in 1922, when it was 1.376. It fell to less than unity during each of the years from 1932 to 1939. In 1940, it achieved unity and slightly improved upon that position in 1941. The significance of these figures cannot be overestimated. A net reproduction rate of loss than unity means that the adult population of a country is not being replaced. That is what has been taking place for some years past in Australia. The age groups of the country tell the same story.
I draw attention to this grave malady. Some way must be found - indeed, many ways may have to he found - to increase our population as rapidly as possible. I put aside for the moment the immigration method, important as it is, and I say that, not after the war, but now, we must direct our attention to the task of increasing the number of young people in our community. No doubt this problem is largely economic, but it is bound up, inescapably, with the security of the world and the faith and expectation of parents that their children, if born, shall not be destroyed again by war.
For 150 years we have had the great fortune to live in peace, and, compared with many other nations of the world, to live in plenty. “We have never, except spasmodically, measured up fully to our obligations in international affairs. The way is now open to us. Let us tread it with intelligence and courage. Let it be said of us hereafter that we who lived in these times, by the wisdom and foresight we displayed, kept this country secure, not only for ourselves, but also for those who will follow us.
.- This debate has arisen out of an interesting and informative statement made by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), but I propose to follow the example of the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) and to use it for the purpose of referring to some other facets of the war situation. I have had some experience in my lifetime of wars, as a bystander, and I have read of others. I find that every war brings its own catch-cry. The catch-cry which most repeatedly raps upon our ears in connexion with this war is that it is a “ total war “. I have never heard anybody attempt to explain what is meant by a “ total war “, although, as the phrase is of enemy origin, we should have examined it carefully before adopting it as part of our verbal economy. The name, or title, or slogan, or caption - whatever one may call it - suggests the question : What may be done, or what may not be done, in order to win this war? If the end justifies the means, I take it that all may be done which makes for victory. Indeed, it is difficult to understand what else is meant by the phrase “ total war “. If one side in the war bowls body-line, does that leave it open for the other side also to bowl in that way, or must it restrain itself to aiming at the wicket? If one side .breaks all the rules and disregards the rights, not only of its adversaries, but also of other parties, does that release the other side - let us say the Allied Nations in this war - from all obligations to restraint? The question which I have propounded - what may we do, or what may we not do - seems to place us on the horns of a dilemma. If, on the one hand, the enemy fails to observe the rules of the game and we persist in observing them, then it appears to me that we are not waging total war and that the enemy is at a decided advantage. If, on the other hand, we are to imitate the bad example of the enemy and disregard the rights of third parties, it seems to me that our standard of conduct is being set for us by the enemy. Apparently that is likely to be the result, and according to all I hear - and hear repeatedly - in authoritative quarters, the standard is likely to be very low. The dilemma seems to me to be in a way inseparable from the theory that civilization, and, indeed, some say, Christianity itself, is at stake in this war. That would mean, of course, that these things depend upon trial by physical force. That is a disquieting thought which I put away from me, not because it is disquieting, but because I do not believe it. I propose to deal with only one aspect of this matter, namely, war in the air.
What I have to say could he dealt with also perhaps under blockade and the rights of non-belligerents generally in every important case of an invasion; but I choose waT in the air because that seems to threaten in a special way civilization and humanity. This is partly a question of international law, partly a matter of ethical consideration and partly also a matter of good conduct, which in round terms we are accustomed to call Christian morality. The enemy has been freely accused by us of diabolical practices and lias used his privilege of freely accusing us of equally diabolical practices. We are, of course, always right, and the enemy is always wrong. We must leave the last word to the judgment of history, which will also probably be wrong, though it will not be more dogmatic or confident than the propagandists of our own time. The first Air Conference was held in 1S99 when little was known of the subject, but the destructive possibilities of aircraft were understood. Some of the decisions of the conference are amusing. For example, the conference forbade the launching of projectiles or explosives from balloons or other air vessels, but only tentatively for a term of five years. But there was a rapid development of aircraft which was used by all belligerents in the world war of 1914-18. They were described as the eyes of the army in the field and of the navy at ?ea. They are certainly much more than that to-day, and, indeed, they were much more during the last war. It was not long before we were accusing Germany of making raids upon cities far from the theatre of war and, I think, rightly accusing it. After that we started by way of reprisals on the same line of action. This matter of reprisals is very important because, if reprisal is justified in equal measure with attack, each belligerent must be the judge in his own cause as to the nature and extent of the reprisal. Some of these raids aimed at the destruction of objectives of military value, whilst others were deliberately intended to terrorize the civil population. According to an eminent English authority “with a German name, Professor Oppenheim, the damage to objectives of military value done by such raids during the last war was unimportant, whilst the damage to civilian life and property was very great. However, the rule of law accepted is that aerial bombardment for the purpose of terrorizing the civil population or destroying property not of military value is prohibited. The matter has not proceeded very far, from the point of view of international law, since 1907, when the law was codified by agreement. Houses which are built around military objectives or have military objectives among them must take the risk. If the attack is intended for a military objective no valid complaint lies if the attack destroys houses. -Arising out of this some authorities stated that, in the case of munitions establishments, bombing should be limited tq night bombing after the workers had retired to their homes, which were presumably at a safe distance. But this was a counsel of perfection which has been little observed. The law relating to reprisals, as far as I can understand it, is that as attacks on the dominantly civilian population are forbidden, the same principle applies to reprisals ; but nobody seems to have faced up to the position where one party to the conflict frankly disregards altogether the rules of the game. Apparently, however, the tendency is to “ go the whole hog “. I do not think that even the enemy has gone all the way, in the direction of terrorism in attack. Poisonous gases have been used little, if at all. Referring to aerial bombardment, a writer of standing said as recently as 1935 -
The conviction is, therefore, gaining ground among governments that something in the nature of total prohibition will have to be imposed against this form of warfare.
This good man could hardly have foreseen, when he wrote in that fashion, how far we should have proceeded within a few years in the opposite direction. Still, it is only a little earlier that the British draft of the Disarmament Convention provided that the high contracting parties should accept the complete abolition of bombing from the air; to which, however, Britain insisted on adding the words, “ Except for police purposes in outlying regions “. That was an unfortunate addition, I think, because exceptions are so likely to become the rule. However, political considerations at the time had something to do with it. It cannot be seriously contended that the rules of aerial bombardment, as I have outlined them, are anywhere being observed in their entirety, or that they are even being substantially observed, f presume that it may be taken without argument that the attacks made by the enemy upon Coventry and Bath, and many other places in Great Britain, were diabolical in their widely destructive character; but immediately the question arises, can one argue that the attacks on Cologne, on Dusseldorf and upon other towns in France and Germany by way of reprisal, have been different in their nature and extent? Moreover, can it be argued that thew attacks comply with the rule that reprisals predominantly against the civil population must be desisted f rom ? Leaders of public opinion like Mr. Amery, Mr. Duff Cooper and Air Marshal Harris, make it perfectly clear that the inside limit of counter-attack is the attack itself, and I fear that the object we offer is to go as far beyond the attack in the counter-attack as is possible. Mr. Churchill, in one of his public statements in July last, said with the utmost clarity -
We ask from the enemy no compunction. Wo will mete out to him the measure, und more than the measure, which he lias meted out to us.
This spirit of revenge and reprisal is humanly speaking easily understandable. That is to say, it is easily understandable as between similar forces in the” same arena, but very different considerations arise when the rights and interests of third parties become involved, as they inevitably io when the civil population is being attacked. Now that I have mentioned Mr. Churchill’s name, it will be freely conceded, even by his- admirers, that Mr. Churchill’s success is largely due to the tremendous enthusiasm with which he can utter and inspire the spirit of revenge. I am not speaking of the fliers themselves. Their peculiar courage and devotion to duty are beyond question, and they act under orders, though it may be added, as a subject for debate at some other time, that this matter of being required to do under orders those things against which the soul revolts as being morally wrong, does present a serious problem. However, I conclude that, on any fair reading of the achievements of the men in the air, at least in Great Britain and on the Continent, .it must be conceded that the rules of war as laid down by the international convention, have largely gone by the board. Indeed, in a a war of the dimensions of the present war, in which almost the whole population is in some way or other engaged, that is easily understood, but it does not diminish the importance of deciding who are belligerents, and who are not. The distinction becomes very important in the event of an invasion. Generally speaking, I think it may be conceded that women and children, and those obviously helpless from invalidity, are not belligerents. The difficulty of deciding in war-time between military objectives and other targets goes far to explain why, many years ago, an attempt was made to outlaw bombardment from the air. It was very clearly foreseen that war in the air meant war on non-belligerents and on non-military objectives. It means war on women and children. It means war on the aged and invalid, and on those suffering under the tyrannous rule and yoke of the oppressor against their will, as well as on those actively assisting in the work of aggression. It means, if pursued to the utmost possibility, war of the jungle, and worse. So far, that is a short statement of the international law on the subject, which, although ignored in practice, is often referred to in theory as still enjoying some measure of respect.
I now leave the arena of international law in order to say a few words about matters of conscience and ethics. So far as I know, certain elementary dogmas are accepted by all Christian teachers. They are immutable. They have stood the test of time, change and circumstance. They have been proved by the word of authority, and of universal experience, to be the best policy. It is elementary - a copybook precept, perhaps, but none the less true - that we may not do evil that good may come. It is equally true that the end does not justify the means. The means to a perfectly good end may be vicious means, and as such should be reprobated and discouraged. “We may not injure a third party, even to bring just retribution to the malefactor. In all these matters, the issue between Christ and Satan has long since been determined and accepted by all Christian teachers. We may not lawfully carry war into the homes of non-belligerents. We have to consider the third party - the non-consenting, the necessarily inactive, the protesting. It is not a matter for the preachers alone; it is a practical question - one which members of this House might very well occasionally consider in detail to the exclusion of those matters of high strategy which do not concern them at all, and about which they are not qualified to speak. As to these matters, however, they are required to speak, .to think, and to regulate. We cannot save our skins at the expense of the sick and invalid. We cannot attempt to erect or maintain a civilization on the mangled bodies of little children. Let us face the simple direct alternative that we must die first. Not even the physical property of a neighbour can lawfully be violated to make a short-cut to reach an enemy. As I conceive it, this is a matter of courage. Lawmakers, preachers, propagandists, “spruikers” and members of this Parliament in particular, are required to emerge from their safe dugouts and face some of these elementary truths. As I see it, many people in these times are anxious and perhaps a little afraid ; they feel that terrible trials may lie ahead of them. They are not greatly impressed by the loud ranter who speaks about the flag of liberty; they are not even particularly interested in forms of government under which they live. But they are deeply interested in things ethical and spiritual. They do wonder how they will emerge from this Gethsemane. Will they come strutting and swaggering hi an apparent victory by which all is lost, or will they emerge in the pride of defeat with bowed heads, their defeat being a real victory? They have historically a Great Model, an Inspiring Example. They believe that whatever they are called upon to bear it will not be beyond their strength, if it is borne in Ohe right spirit. This, as I conceive it, is real courage; but, I think, not total war. We must beware of those who, having accumulated great wealth, are now marshalling the dispossessed to defend that wealth. It is clear that every people has a right to defend itself by forcible means against forcible aggression; and so I am in sympathy with the efforts that are being made by wise people to defend this country against obvious aggression. [Extension of time granted.] That is my own view on forcible resistance to aggressive action. At the same time, I have great respect for those who are not prepared, because of their interpretation of the Christian tradition, to go so far as that. I have great respect for all kinds of courage; but I have particular respect for the moral courage of the pacifist and the conscientious objector, who, for conscience sake, is prepared to be spat upon by the groundling. Those are matters that this House should sometimes consider.
I have said that we are frequently called upon to discuss subjects about which we possess very little knowledge and really have no responsibility. I do not profess any knowledge of military tactics and, therefore, I do not presume to criticize adversely the action or inaction of the military in particular theatres of war. But I do know that there is a variety of matters which this Parliament could discuss with advantage which are ignored or avoided. A few of them have been indicated this evening. As I see it, we must not lose our hold on things which, though entirely removed from the arena of physical force, are of immeasurable value. “ Death before dishonour “ is not a mere catch cry. It is a very sacred and important injunction to the human family and so comes before us as an example of practical politics. To Christians it is a matter of the greatest practical moment. In this knowledge in moments of extreme peril, men and women find their strength and consolation. There is nothing which so contributes to morale, as moral courage. There is nothing which keeps men so firm in their purpose for the legitimate acts of defence as the knowledge that, though in the material sense they may lose all, they have in the real sense won all. I make those submissions to-night as being proper for even occasional consideration by honorable members whose duty is other than to render up their lives for their country on the field of battle.
.- The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) has emphasized, among other things, the necessity to achieve our maximum effort in munitions production and general industrial activity associated with the conduct of the war. With that statement I heartily agree. The right honorable gentleman said also that during the next six months Australia must depend to a major degree on its own efforts. Accordingly, the effort of every individual should be even greater than he is now making. When seeking to increase production, we should not forget the importance of ensuring that physical fitness of the workers is not impaired. Reasonable recreation leave should be granted to enable them to recuperate from their arduous labours in the factories. In framing its policy the Government sometimes overlooks this consideration.
War-time holidays, or what can be properly described as “ war-time leave “, are of major importance to the great mass of Australian people. This statement is borne out by the fact that, of Australia’s population between the ages of fourteen and 65 years, 68 per cent, are working full time in the production of war materials, are in the armed forces, or are engaged in essential civil occupations. Every one of them is playing a major role in the war effort of the nation. Each individual works hard for long hours, and large numbers are doing work entirely different from that which they undertook in peace-time. Consequently, their work is most arduous, and imposes a severe physical strain upon them. To enable them to give their most efficient service to the nation, it is essential that they shall receive reasonable periods of leave. As the war has progressed, the Prime Minister has made frequent declarations regarding holidays. Restrictions that were placed upon holidays last Christmas, which was shortly after Japan’s entry into the war, were entirely justified, in the same way as every justification exists for the elimination of unnecessary holidays, or any interruption of essential war activities. Whilst it is generally recognized that Christmas and the New Year are the most popular periods for holidays, there must be no dislocation of the war effort.
The Prime Minister should consider the advisability of announcing at once the Government’s intentions regarding leave at Christmas and the New Year. Should the war situation deteriorate before December, any plans that are now announced by the right honorable gentleman could be cancelled; but an announcement at this juncture would be at least an indication to a large number of people of their prospects for obtaining recreation leave. Unless they are granted some leave, their efficiency will be affected, production will decline, the risk of accident through fatigue will be intensified, and absenteeism will increase. If the Prime Minister will examine this matter now, there will be nearly three months in which to formulate plans for the granting of leave, which, no doubt, will have to be “staggered “.
To put this matter in proper perspective, I cannot do better than recall to the House the epic evacuation of the British Army from Dunkirk in 1940. This feat was accomplished with an enormous loss of guns, munitions and supplies. In fact, practically everything that the British Army possessed was left on the Continent by the retreating force. Germany captured the channel ports, and France capitulated. The fears of a century had been realized in one terrible month. England was facing the darkest period of its history. But there was no surrender. Enemy successes, and fear for the future, did not produce panic. The British stood to their guns, and to their jobs. Factory workers played their part on the industrial front just as the soldiers who behaved so bravely on the beaches at Dunkirk played their part in actual warfare. In Great Britain working hours were increased ; the workers gave up their holidays. They were prepared to sacrifice conditions in order to defend their principles and democratic culture. No criticism can be directed against the masses of Britain for their behaviour in those critical hours. The men and women of Britain showed the world the stuff of which they were made. Important, therefore, as is the part the .people of
Britain played in defence of their country, I am concerned at this moment with the lessons to he drawn from war-time policies on holidays and working hours. Australians need have no fears concerning the men of the fighting services. What we have to consider, however, is the position of those who are rendering such noble service on the home front. This vast army is playing a vital part in backing up the fighting services. Consequently, we, in this Parliament, should pause to consider whether the policy governing their conditions of labour is calculated to give the nation a war effort which is 100 per cent, effective. The health of that great body of Australians engaged on the industrial side of our war effort should be a major concern of the Commonwealth Parliament.
To illustrate what I have in mind, 1 remind the House that in September, 1915, the British Government set up the Health of Munitions Workers Committee. This committee published two reports, 21 memorandums and a handbook as evidence of their concern about the dangerous tendencies being revealed in industrial conditions. Those tendencies included the development, to an alarming extent, of sickness and loss of efficiency among British munition workers in the war of 1914-18. The committee was therefore instructed - . . to consider and advise on questions of industrial fatigue, hours of labour, and other matters affecting the personal health and physical efficiency of workers in munitions factories and workshops.
An emergency report concerning the present war, Industrial Health in War, recalled the problems of those days m these words -
During the war of 1914-18, an increase in output of munitions became of primary importance. To this end hours of labour for men were increased, 70-90 hours a week being common and over 90 hours not infrequent. The assumption was that if one unit of work could be done in one hour, then (i could be done in G, 12 in 12, and so on. A simple calculation would give the expected output per week, per month, peT year.
The actual results were found to belie this assumption, for output did not increase pro- portionately in time and effort expended, Other disturbing symptoms appeared, for instance, sickness and disease increased. The calculations had gone wrong - the worker had been mistaken for a machine.
The agreement among the investigators on the remedies was as unanimous as on the evils. The report stated that -
In 1914-18 when the strain industrially was much less severe than it is to-day when intricate machines are being used to an infinitely greater extent than in the years of the Great War the committee stated -
The committee consider it most important that ordinary factory holidays should be maintained. The evidence leaves no doubt as to the beneficial effect of such holidays both on health and output. “ The official findings as regards periodic holidays are quite unequivocal “, states Science in War. “Ordinary factory holidays should be maintained and limits must be placed on the extension of hours.”
The committee stated that it was - convinced that the maximum limits of weekly employment, provisionally suggested, are too high except for quite short periods, or perhaps in cases where the work is light and the conditions of employment exceptionally good. In the great majority of cases, however, the hours of work should now be restricted within limits lower than those quoted. . . . The Committee desires strongly to emphasize their opinion that the time is now ripe for a further substantial reduction in the hours of work. . . . ‘ They are satisfied that reductions can be made with benefit to health and without injury to output.
That opinion was confirmed from many sources.
To return to the evacuation of Dunkirk. Not for a century had the British people been in such a dangerous position. Every emotion was heightened; every tendency exaggerated ; every sacrifice was demanded and freely given. Morale was high. The Government made a strong appeal for extra work. Factories worked 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and bank holidays -were cancelled. Britain was in danger. Production increased enormously and has continued at an exceedingly high level. But the human factor had to be considered. Two months of extreme effort could not be sustained without problems arising. The ill effect of excessive hours of work became most evident after the heroic spurt of June- July, 194’0, when, the
British Minister of Labour and National Service said -
Owing to the situation in the country following the collapse of France, it was necessary to call upon all those engaged in war production to make an intensive effort by working longer hours to speed up production to the utmost extent.
Nevertheless - and this is my point - on the 23rd July, 1940, the Minister issued a leaflet drawing attention to the essential necessity for “ an adjustment in the present long hours of work “. The leaflet pointed out that the maintenance of maximum output on war production was essential. To achieve this the hours of work must be adjusted to prevent tiredness. The continuation of seven-day working with an average working week of between 70 and 80 hours, would quickly cause a rapid decrease in industrial productivity owing to the abnormal strain. The leaflet recommended, for the time being, an arrangement of work by shifts, which would give an average working week for the day shift of 60 hours, but, it added -
As soon as the necessary labour force has been acquired and trained, steps must be taken to institute a permanent scheme to achieve the two primary purposes in view which are -
reduction in the working week to the optimum hours, which experience in many manufacturing fields shows to be in the region of 55 or 56 hours;
an increase of man-hours and the productivity per man-hour.
Theevils associated with the last war were thus being repeated. Once again, a Health of Munitions Workers Committee recommended the reduction of hours, the continuation of the Sunday rest and ordinary holidays. Therefore, holidays had to be restored, hours had to be reduced and detailed attention given to the human factor in industry. Mr. H. M., Vernon in Science in War, to which I have already made reference wrote as follows : -
In the interests of health and efficiency it is important that the workers should be allowed occasional holidays of a few days’ duration, as well as the regular Sunday rest. The statutory bank holidays may be sufficient if supplemented by one or two extra days, but these brief holidays ought not to be withdrawn, except in cases of dire emergency. If possible, a full week’s holiday, with pay, should be granted every year. As it was put to the Health of Munitions Workers’ Committee, “If once in two or three months a man could have two or three days off it would prove the finest medicine, much bettor than a bonus as extra pay “.The committee specially emphasized the need for giving periodic holidays to members of the management and to foremen.
Let me now turn to an Australian authority on Australian conditions to-day. Dr. H. M. L. Murray, Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Munitions, in writing of industrial fatigue, says -
In Germany the hours of work have been cut down in consequence of numerous reports that workers in munition factories are showing signs of over-fatigue. The Times, of 20th December, 1939, quoted an order by the German Minister of Labour that the working day must not exceed ten hours.
In Australia the position is much less satisfactory; when it comes to organizing shifts, there seems to be a fatal fascination about multiples of the figure “ four “. If sufficient labour cannot be obtained to keep all the machines in a shop going on three shifts of eight hours, then the only alternative which seems to occur to any one is two shifts of twelve hours each. If a suggestion is made that two shifts of ten hours might produce a greater output, the only reply is : But then some of the machines will be idle for four hours a day”. I think it is fair to say that two years ago, most of the industrialists tumbled over themselves to fall into the trap baited with the words “ increased hours mean increased output “. And the whole body of public opinion was behind the general, rather vague, idea, that the way to get maximum production was to work everybody in factories as long and as hard as possible.
Now many enlightened employers are alive to the folly of the position, and realize that this business of long shifts is hopelessly inefficient. But now it is too late. Employers arc powerless to reduce working hours. The employees have taken charge, and any attempt to reduce overtime in a factory results in employees leaving that factory in search of more overtime elsewhere. The only remedy lies in Government action, fixing a maximum number of hours per week, which must not be exceeded in any industry. And since Government action seldom precedes public opinion, there is a great need to educate the public in this matter. As far as I am aware, there has been no attempt by any organization to talk plain facts at the present time; and I suggest that it is a task which devolves upon us all. Surely the efficiency of production should be everybody’? business, not just anybody’s.
Especially at the present time is this need for education urgent; for now we are being stampeded into doing things which are hope- ‘ lessly inefficient. A typical example of this is the proclamation prohibiting the ten-day break at Christmas. Many production staffs have worked long hours at high pressure throughout the year; and a break-down in production will result if the pressure were kept up indefinitely. It would be far better in the long run to retain the usual Christmas break; and the fact that this is not generally recognized illustrates the immense task in educating public opinion which lies ahead of all of us who have a knowledge of the actual facts.
The Ministry of Labour in Great Britain, advised on the 25th February, 1942, that holidays in industry should be one week in summer, and if possible to be staggered to include Easter and “Whit Mondays, August Bank Holiday and two days at Christmas or New Year. The following is an extract from the Daily Herald, of the 2nd May last : -
You are not to have any holidays this year - instead you are to “ go on leave “. The Ministry of Health has sent a letter to all local authorities within the London region asking them to tell workers what they should do with their summer vacation. The letter says, “ It is desirable to emphasize by publicity that this is a period of leave, not a holiday in the ordinary sense “. It goes on to say that the “ leave “ has been granted so that workers may have a period of recreation and recuperation. The word “leave” has been chosen to banish any feeling that time should not be taken off from work.
The Ministry wishes to encourage people to stay at home this summer, and enjoy their local parks and swimming pools. And local authorities, at the Ministry’s request, are setting themselves the task of seeing that a stay-at-home holiday can be just as much fun as a holiday by the sca. The Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, Alexandra House, Kingsway, VV.C.2, will help such authorities with arrangements for bands in parks, orchestral and other concerts, community singing, and visits by concert parties and theatrical and variety shows.
The Times of the 5th May last published the following: -
Organized Amusements Urged
Holidays and holiday travel have both to be restricted this year. The great majority of holidays will be spent at home and the Ministry of Labour and National Service is anxious that the best should be made of them, and that the public authorities and voluntary organizations should organize holiday attractions and amusements. It will be far easier, as the Ministry says, to make plans for a town if the whole town goes on holiday at one time. This is the custom in many places in normal years, but nothing approaching a nation-wide staggering of town holidays will be possible. Local enterprise should do all it can, whatever the local conditions, and a first need will be to secure indoor and outdoor accommodation. The fullest co-operation of private individuals and organizations should be secured and the maximum use made of all sports grounds.
Because of the fickleness of our weather, large provision of indoor activities is advisable. Dancing and dancing competitions, with a band, where possible, and alternatively gramophone or wireless music, will always be popular. Picture houses and theatres can be encouraged to arrange holiday programmes, and where there is a holiday week, extended hours of opening would be desirable. Concert parties and Pilgrim Players, dramatic societies and youth clubs may all help. School sports, singing, drilling and dancing entertain parents as we as children.
Other forms of entertainment, made more attractive when they include competitions, are boxing, table tennis, billiards, skittles, and darts. For people with a taste for lectures, there could be holiday courses at the local museum or library.
The outdoor activities to which reference is made include walking, cycling and camping, the use of parks in various ways, provision of shallow water where children can puddle and float boats, donkey rides ann children’s sports. In summer, there might be an outdoor games week and possibly a pageant or patriotic display.
If Great Britain, which is more vulnerable than we are, can do this after the experience of 1914-18, and also of 1940-41 and 1942, for the benefit of its own people, and its Parliament thinks holidays essential to give workers a chance to recuperate, I suggest that this Government should give consideration to the necessity of taking similar action here, and at once. If we do not give the workers in industry a holiday at the coming Christmas period, they will have been working two years without any leave - two years of intense pressure at the highest possible speed. I urge the Government therefore to review the decision to which it gave effect last year.
– It is quite time that a decision was arrived at. The loss of physical fitness, the increase of sickness, the falling off of production, the spread of absenteeism, and the increased expense occurring in Great Britain, and likely, to occur ‘ here, will not give the maximum war effort that the Prime Minister has urged. I ask the Government, without any hesitation, to give the earliest possible consideration to my representations in this matter, and to make an announcement so that the whole community will know what its position is. Thousands of people to-day cannot go on leave unless they are given ample opportunity to plan a holiday. Particularly after the experience of last year, they will not be able to make their plans this year unless an early decision is made. Many hotel and lodginghouse keepers at the seaside, in the mountains and the country, will not be able to accommodate these people when they go on leave, unless they are given early notice. I urge the Government to make an early decision and announcement, so that workers in industry may do what the Prime Minister to-night asked them to do.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned.
Leave for Naval Ratings - Civilian Goods! - Australian Army: Issue of Civilian Clothing; Deferred Pay; Grievances; Court Martial of Pri vates N. Richards and H. L. Ruddell and Gunner C. D. Hanley; Courts Martial and Pay of Personnel in Ceylon ; Lieutenant-Colonel Drummond; Major-General Herring - Allied Works Council: Manpower.
Motion (by Dr. Evatt) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- There are some matters to which I wish to refer. One of them relates to the Navy. I am sorry that the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin) is not present. This complaint is not one for which I hold the Minister personally responsible. I know that he cannot keep his finger on all sections of his department,but I do ask him to look into the allegations made by my correspondent. I do not propose to give any names, but I am told that some of the men at Darwin, who have been there now for over two years, have had only about fourteen days leave, and even when their ships have come south as far as Brisbane, leave has notbeen arranged for them. I refer particularly to the naval ratings. If what I am told is a fact, it seems to me that somebody is rather slacking and inconsiderate in his duty towards the men in the Navy.
– Is the honorable member speaking in regard to naval men only ?
– Yes, because the complaint has come from them. This is one of the things for which I do not hold the Minister responsible. I do not ask that the men should be given special consideration, but Ibelieve that these matters should be decided on a basis of equity. Leave is essential to keep men fighting fit and to sustain morale. To some extent, I agree with what the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) has said in regard to leave. It is important that all men should have leave, particularly thosewho have been for long periods away from their homes. It is a natural urge for men to want to go home to see their families, and that applies equally to soldiers, sailors and airmen as to civilians, particularly when they have been away from their homes for some time. When a man sees his ship leaving to undergo re-equipment in the south, and finds he is left in the air, so to speak, he feels he is not being fairly treated, particularly if he has been in the north for some considerable time. This applies particularly to men in an uncongenial climate such as Darwin. I urge the Government to look into the complaint.
– What about the men in the Army ? Half a dozen who came back recently from Darwin had been there for three years.
– If that is so the Minister for the Army ought to examine the position. Surely it should be possible to make some provision for recreational leave for men who have seen extended service. Such leave is necessary to maintain fitness. 1 suggest that a rearrangement of leave provisions should be possible to meet this complaint. I can see no reason why men who normally work on vessels which need to be brought south for repairs and renovation should not he allowed to come south on the vessels. They could be given recreational leave while the repair work is being put in hand.
Another matter to which I desire to refer relates to civilian needs. I listened with interest and approval to the excellent speech delivered in this House to-day by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) concerning war-time demands on the civil population now and in the months immediately ahead of us. But certain needs of civilian life should be provided if it is humanly possible to provide them. I have received a complaint from a firm in Launceston about the serious shortage of kitchen utensils. The letter reads -
The writer feels that it is absolutely essential that something should be done to relieve the position in relation to the supply of pots and pans for young people recently married who cannot obtain their requirements.
In a letter which this firm received recently from A. M. Simpson and Sons Limited, of Adelaide, the following paragraph appeared : -
We are considerably in arrears with orders for enamel stew pans. We cannot obtain ade.quate supplies of raw material. We have discontinued making kettles.
Metters Proprietary Limited advised this gentleman last week that its factory was fully occupied in the manufacture of military requirements and that there was no prospect of manufacturing pots and pans for civilian needs for some time to come. I assume that this is a matter which will require consideration by the Ministers of several departments, but I urge the Government to give immediate attention to the complaints. Marriages will occur in war-time as well as at other times, and some homes will be established. It is only reasonable, therefore, that a certain quantity of domestic equipment, including pots and pans, shall be made available.
– -At the request of the Melbourne subbranch of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmens Imperial League of Australia, I bring to the notice of the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) several complaints that certain members of the Australian Imperial Force and the Australian Military Forces, and some nurses who have served in Australia are not being treated always in accordance with the requirements of equity and justice. Section 2 of paragraph 218 of Australian Imperial Force Standing Orders, issued on the 31st December, 1940, provided -
Soldiers discharged from abroad, if not in possession of plain clothes at the time of discharge, will receive an issue of plain clothes.
An amendment, serial No. 7, dat:c November, 1941, provided -
The Minister for the Army has stated that members of the Australian Military Forces who ‘have served at battle stations in Australia are now regarded as being in the same position as men who have served overseas with the Australian Imperial Force. Concerning the issue of clothing this is not so. A member of the Australian Imperial Force who has returned from overseas has the right when discharged to retain one serviceable uniform and articles such as underclothing, socks and so on which have been issued to him, but the man who returns home after service at a battle station in Australia has on being discharged to return his uniform and all his underclothing except one shirt, one pair of underpants and the socks which he is wearing. An amount of £20 would not go far to provide clothes for a man who has to refit himself to return to civil life. I feel sure that these circumstances cannot be known to the Minister for the Army, otherwise he would have taken steps to rectify the position. The men are very bitter, and no doubt will spread their complaint among the other men who are still serving. Both Australian Imperial Force and Australian Military Forces men have looked upon their deferred pay as something to carry them over until they resume civil occupations. It must be pointed out that, in many instances, they have been discharged as medically unfit, and in a good many cases, however willing they may be, some time will elapse before they are well enough to work. The matter of deferred pay is of considerable importance, both in the Australian Imperial Force and the Australian Military Forces. Men of the Australian Imperial Force enlisting for home service having a break of a few days between enlistments will have to serve for a period of six months before they become eligible to receive deferred pay on the second enlistment. I draw attention to a statement made by one returned Australian Imperial Force man now serving with the Australian Military Forces. He returned from overseas on the 24th August, 1941, was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force on. the 22nd September, 1941, enlisted at the Melbourne Town Hall for home service on the 23rd September, 1941, was passed fit for home service and told to report to Royal Park in the morning of the 24th September, 1941, and was sworn in on that date. He claims that he is entitled to be credited with continuous service, which would entitle him to deferred pay as from the 7th December, 1941; but the pay office claims that he is not entitled to continuous service as he was sworn in on the 24th September, 1941, thereby losing a day. He maintains that he enlisted on the 23rd September, 1941, and that it was impossible to enlist sooner, as he was a member of the Australian Imperial Force until 23.59 hours on the 22nd September, 1941. Why he waa not sent straight to Royal Park on the 23rd September, he cannot say. He points out: “My Mobilization Form 1 shows my enlistment as 23rd September, 1941, and attestation paper as 24th September, 1941 “. In other words, if he loses a few hours before his discharge from the Australian Imperial Force and his enlistment in the Australian Military Forces he loses six months’ deferred pay. With regard to deferred pay for nurses, the position is that after embarkation nurses receive deferred pay, and if they return to Australia continue to draw it - until the end of their service. Nurses who serve in Australia do not receive deferred pay, although all members of the Australian Imperial Force and Australian Military Forces do. There is- thus an unfortunate discrimination between nurses and male members of the forces, and I ask the Minister to rectify that anomaly also. That concludes the list of matter I present on behalf of the Returned Soldiers Association subbranch.
On the 9th December, 1940, the Minister for the Army, when Deputy Leader of the Opposition, brought to the notice of the House a complaint concerning a court-martial of Leading Aircraftman Percival Reed. He asked the then Minister for Air (Mr. McEwen) -
Is the Minister for Air aware that Leading Aircraftman Percival Reed was courtmartialled at the Woolloomooloo recruiting depot of the Royal Australian Air Force last week for having written a letter to the Attorney-General, and that he has since been discharged from the Royal Australian Air Force ?
The then Minister for Air said that he knew nothing about the matter until he had read of it in a newspaper. He promised later to ascertain whether it was necessary for ministerial approval to be obtained for the holding of a courtmartial. I draw the attention of the Minister for the Army to that inquiry made by him when the Labour party was in opposition, because I now desire him to give consideration to general routine orders issued by General Sir Thomas Blarney on the 19-th June last, and containing instructions concerning complaints by members of the forces. On page 5 of those orders, the following appears : -
Officers and soldiers are forbidden to use any method of obtaining redress of real or supposed grievances other than those prescribed by the A.M.R. or authorized by these orders.
Anonymous complaints and complaints through the press are forbidden.
The use of outside influence to support complaints or applications for personal advantages, or in any matter affecting the position of an officer or soldier, is contrary to discipline. The only proper course for an officer or soldier is to apply through his Commanding Officer or to complain in accordance with the A.M.R. and these orders. Any attempt to obtain favorable consideration of requests or grievances by other means is forbidden.
The Minister for the Army, when Deputy Leader of the Opposition, apparently thought that no serving member of the forces should be court-martialled or dealt with for an offence against the regulations by writing to members of Parliament, but, since the promulgation of these orders, some members of the forces have been paraded before their commanding officers, cautioned and insulted. Others have been told definitely what these gentlemen think of politicians in general and of the Minister for the Army in particular. I have no intention to regale the House with some of the delightful and delicate compliments served up by these people. But I consider that the regulation, as promulgated, should be amended. Members of the forces should be allowed reasonable access to members of Parliament for rectification of their grievances. If many officers in the Army do not think much of members of Parliament, there is at least one member of Parliament, and that is the Minister for the Army, who ought to be able to ensure that his will is carried out. Some broken down motor car salesmen and ex-insurance agents, who now sport military officers’ uniforms, and are duly impressed with their own importance, are telling the rank and file of the
Army their opinions about everything; but they are really doing the Army a grave disservice, as far as its morale is concerned, when they speak as they do to those paraded before them. Many instances could be cited of their abuse of authority and of the threats they offer to the men under their command. They are determined to frighten the members of the rank and file against approaching members of Parliament at all. In my opinion, the Minister should consider the amendment of the regulation immediately.
I now draw the attention of the Minister to articles published in the Sydney Daily Mirror of the 6th and 7th August last. The first article is headed “ D.C.M. on Charge of Desertion “, and the story is as follows: -
Private Norman Richards, 46, winner of the D.C.M., M.M. and Croix de Guerre, pleading not guilty to a charge of desertion, told a district court martial to-day that he had served five years in the last war with the Second Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifles. “ I served from the 8th August, 1914, until 1919 “, he told the court.
Richards said that when he arrived home on leave on the 5th July, his wife was very ill. Later, doctors found she had tuberculosis and sent her to Waterfall Sanatorium.
He said he had to look after his three children, aged eight, four and two. “ We have no relations in this country “, Richards said.
The youngest child was suffering from infantile paralysis at the time, another developed ear trouble and the third contracted scarlet fever, he added.
He had asked another soldier on leave with him to send a wire to his unit requesting an extension of leave, but he had no reply.
Richards was ordered to be released from custody and to return to his unit immediately. Sentence will be promulgated later.
I do not know, when I read stuff like that, whether we are in Germany or in Australia. It is obvious that much time is being wasted by holding courts martial to inquire into charges of this kind. Such cases should be dealt with reasonably and sympathetically by an officer, without subjecting the person concerned to the indignity of a court martial. Moreover, the announcement that sentence will be promulgated later carries with it the suggestion of a. stigma. The second case is reported as follows: -
Private Henry Lawrence Ruddell, at a camp somewhere in New South Wales, received a [utter from his wife on the 5th May telling him that their baby daughter was critically ill with malignant diphtheria.
Without securing Army leave, Ruddell at once headed for the child’s bedside.
These facts, and the vain fight to save the child, who died several days later in hospital, Ruddell told to a district court martial at Victoria Barracks yesterday, in explanation of his absence from camp from the 5th May to the 27th July without leave.
Ruddell pleaded not guilty to a charge of desertion.
Ruddell stated that he himself had contracted the disease. He was admitted to Prince Henry Hospital on the 2nd June.
A recurrence of the disease, just when he had almost recovered, again sent bini to bed, he added. “This soldier fearlessly exposed himself to the disease in his fight to save his daughter’s life”, pleaded the defending officer.
Ruddell was found not guilty.
Magnanimously, the court found him not guilty. [Extension of time granted.] That case provides another instance of the wooden-headedness of those who decide who shall he paraded before courts martial, and what shall be done to them. It is obvious that a minor revolution is needed in Army administration, and I hope that the Minister will commence it to-morrow morning. A constituent of mine who served in Libya, Greece and Crete was a member of the Second Field Hygiene in the Australian Imperial Force. He is now back in Australia with a few entries on his crime sheet. He was absent without leave in Melbourne for five hours before embarkation, and was fined a small sum. He was absent without leave for two days in Alexandria after the first Libyan campaign, and was fined £3. He was court-martialled for breaking guard and attempting to strike a warrant officer, and for this he was sentenced to 56 days’ detention. Upon return to Australia in March last, the unit was in South Australia for 26 days. After his application for leave had been refused, he came without leave to Melbourne for thirteen days. He then gave himself up, and was sentenced by a court martial to six months’ imprisonment. Such treatment, I consider, is outrageous and violates every canon of decency. He had served 60 days when I wrote to the Minister for the Army a month ago and asked for the remission of the rest of his sentence. However, I have not received a satisfactory reply because, apparently, those in charge have little sympathy with the man. It would seem that, in the Army, penalties are imposed with ever-increasing severity for each fresh offence. If this man gets a few more convictions for being absent without leave, he will one day, no doubt, be sentenced to imprisonment for the duration of the war and six months thereafter. On a previous occasion, I told, the House of a colonel in South Australia who was affectionately known as “ February “, because he never handed out less than 28 days when imposing sentence. I also spoke of the other officer at Broadmeadows in Victoria who was known as the “ Mad Major “. The commanding officer in the case which I have just cited was Major Drummond, now lieutenant-colonel in charge of all field hygiene in the Second Army. He is a mean old Scotsman, who drew ls. a day batman’s allowance, but never had a batman until a private was given 28 days’ detention for refusing to bring him hot water at 6 o’clock in the morning in Syria when there was snow on the ground. Immediately that happened, Drummond got a batman in order to protect himself. I have been told that he was 25 days in Crete, and never slept on the ground once because private soldiers had to carry a stretcher around for him, though they had to throw away part of their own equipment in order to do so. I understand that he has suffered no ill effects from his experiences in Crete. This officer had a decided animus against my constituent and his report to the court martial was probably responsible for the harsh and grossly unfair sentence of six months’ imprisonment. The next case is that of VX503R7 Gunner Charles D. Hanley, 2nd/2nd Field Regiment, Australian Imperial Force, who was courtmarti ailed in Ceylon on a charge of, “ When on active service, conduct to the. prejudice of good order and military discipline in that he at Colombo on the 18th April, 1942, was found in possession of two cases of Australian beer suspected of being stolen “. The evidence at the court martial showed that a truck driven by a British private, and with Hanley in the front seat, was stopped at the customs gate. When the truck was stopped, a number of soldiers jumped out of the back of the truck and ran away. Military police arrived and took Hanley, the British driver and another British soldier who was in the truck to their office. In the back of the truck were two cases of Australian beer which undoubtedly had been stolen. At the court martial, Hanley, who had been given an excellent character reference by his commanding officer, strenuously denied that he had any knowledge of the beer, or that he had ever made any admissions of his guilt to the members of the Provost Corps who had arrested him. The evidence for the prosecution consisted of two provost noncommissioned officers. Corporal L. A. Provost, 6th Divisional Provost Corps, swore that Hanley, when arrested, admitted that he had stolen the beer, and that the “ Tommies “ knew nothing about it. This Hanley denied, and the two British soldiers, who every one admitted were standing within 2 yards of Hanley when being questioned, swore that they did not hear Hanley make such a statement. Under cross-examination, Corporal Provost swore that he had returned the two cases of beer to the Customs House, although he “ did not know to whom they belonged “. He did not get any receipt for them, and, in reply to a further question by the defending officer, admitted that it would be quite correct to say that the beer had “ just vanished “. None of these remarkable statements apparently disci-edited Corporal Provost in the eyes of the court. Corporal Whiteside, 6th Divisional Provost Corps, corroborated Corporal Provost as to Hanley’s admission of guilt. Whiteside swore that notes of Hanley’s statement had been taken at the time by Corporal Provost, but under cross-examination admitted that he was not sure of this, but he “ had sworn to it because it was the usual thing for arresting provost non-commissioned officers to take notes “. This method of giving evidence did not discredit Corporal Whiteside in the eyes of the court either. On such disreputable evidence is a soldier, who, according to his commanding officer, had a “very good” general character, found guilty. The submission of the defending officer, who was a qualified solicitor, that Hanley had nothing to answer was lightly brushed aside by the president of the court. On the advice of the defending officer, Hanley petitioned the General Officer Commanding Australian Imperial Force, Ceylon, to have the case reviewed, but his petition was rejected. I understand that he has now lodged a petition to have the case reviewed by the Judge Advocate-General, and I ask the Minister to see that that is done without delay. In view of the widespread dissatisfaction of the Australian Imperial Force recently stationed in Ceylon with the conduct of courts martial under the presidency of Major Cochrane, I also ask that decisions of other courts martial over which that officer presided in Ceylon be scrutinized, and, if the Minister be satisfied, as I am sure he will be, that a number of them should be quashed, I ask that Major Cochrane be debarred from sitting on these vital military courts in future. The attitude of Major-General Boas regarding these courts should also be looked into. I am assured by members of the Australian Imperial Force who served in Ceylon that previously it was always believed that careful consideration was given by the divisional commanders to the findings of courts martial before they were promulgated, but that in Ceylon, under Major-General Boas, this was not done. If a divisional officer does not ensure that absolute, and impartial justice is meted out to the men under his command, it is difficult to see how he can expect them to follow him implicitly.
Overseas Australian troops are paid in the currency of the country in which they are serving, their Australian rates being converted at the current rate of exchange. In Ceylon, the rupee is valued at ls. 6d. sterling. With the 25 per cent, rate of exchange between sterling and Australian currency, that is equivalent to ls. 1Nd. in Australian currency. Whilst Australian troops were in Ceylon they were charged ls. lid. for each rupee in their paybooks, the reason given being a typically stupid army one that “ the pay office does not deal in halfpennies “. No soldier ever drew only one rupee and, moreover, it would have been easy to lay down that only even numbers of rupees could be drawn. That was, in fact, the general practice. The result of this fatuous ruling was that private soldiers were mulct anything up to 2s. every pay day. A sum of 2s. may not appear much to some honorable members, but to a private soldier, in a place where every article he purchased was dear, it meant a lot. It would be easy for the Minister to have this anomaly rectified in respect of the troops who served in Ceylon, because the number of rupees each drew is entered in his pay-book. I ask the Minister to issue instructions that that be done. Stupid little pin-pricks of this kind when cumulative have a bad effect on the morale of the men.
Is the Minister aware that MajorGeneral Herring when appointed to command the 6th Division issued a verbal order to brigadiers that no man was to be recommended for a commission unless he- had the intermediate certificate? Is he aware that General Herring in another command has since reiterated his order? Will the Minister inform General Herring, who did not serve with the Australian forces in the last war, that such a ruling would have prevented brilliant soldiers from obtaining commissions in the first Australian Imperial Force? Will the Minister take steps to see that this snobbish order is cancelled?
I do not bring these matters forward lightly. I ask that they be brought to the attention of the appropriate officers and that action which will be satisfactory to the men concerned shall be taken. My belief is that numbers of matters raised in connexion with the Department of the Army are not given the attention that they deserve, and are not brought to the notice of the responsible authorities in that department. I hope that the Minister will gee that that state of affairs no longer exists, and that attention be given to these matters by some officer specifically deputed to such work. If that be done, we may hope to see the morale of the fighting forces improve.
.- Earlier to-day I asked a question relating to the Allied Works Council and its interference with *he man-power problem in New South Wales. The Prime Minister is advocating a campaign of austerity in order to conserve man-power, and yet we find that members of the Allied Works
Council, which is controlled by the TheodorePacker coterie - men who are not responsible to any one but themselves, although theoretically under the Minister for the Interior - are interfering with the work of important government undertakings in New South Wales. As the days pass the man-power problem becomes more involved. On the one hand, we have the Army authorities disputing with the civil authorities as to what men shall go into camp and remain there, and on the other hand, we have the man-power authorities, under the Department of Labour and National Service, endeavouring to balance the whole position, but being severely interfered with by the military authorities and the Allied Works Council. Several cases were brought to my notice this week in which the Allied Works Council called up men who were engaged on the graving dock in Sydney. One can not imagine a job with a higher priority in the defence programme than that undertaking, yet these men were taken from that work. Apparently, there is no power which can frustrate the efforts of the Allied Works Council when that body calls up men. As the result of its activities the staffing at the graving dock is getting into a serious state.
– Under the regulations, the Allied Works Council has a free hand.
– Evidently the control of man-power is everybody’s business, and therefore it is nobody’s particular business. If this body, which is not responsible to the Government or to the Parliament, is allowed to upset the works programme of the Commonwealth, the present confusion will become more confounded. I know some of these men who were called up last week by the Allied Works Council, and I am confident that they will not be able to stand up to the arduous work which is being performed in the northern parts of Australia, especially during the coming summer months. Regardless of their age or their state of health, they are assigned to jobs in distant parts of the Commonwealth. In addition, the officers of the Allied Works Council evidently pay no heed to the nature of the work that the men are performing before they are called up, despite the fact that they may be engaged on defence projects. The men are given 48 ‘hours’ notice to report to the Central Railway Station and they may be sent to distant parts of Australia. In one instance, an employee on the graving dock in Sydney was called up by the Allied “Works Council. Another reason why he should not be sent away was that his wife was suffering from ill health. Last Thursday he was granted an exemption from service, but on Monday two inspectors of the Allied Works Council visited his home and instructed him to report for duty the next morning. I have no doubt that he will be given 48 hours in which to prepare to leave for some distant part, despite his previous exemption.
– In Victoria, the men are given only 24 hours’ notice.
– I cannot understand why the Government tolerates it. So far as I am aware, no one associated with the Allied Works Council is competent to perform this job. Mr. Arthur Blakeley, who for many years was a member of this House, holds an important government appointment, and his judgment can be relied upon, particularly in relation1 to man-power problems. With an organization that Mr. Blakeley cannot tolerate because of the conditions that apply in it, something must be radically wrong. Mr R. Windsor, a highly respected officer of the New South Wales Public Service, found after a very short time that he could not tolerate the conditions in the Allied Works Council. This organization requires a thorough combing out. On some other occasion I shall have more to say about the doubtful personnel engaged in the Sydney office.
The Government professes to be greatly concerned with making the best possible use of available man-power. Its wish is not always realized in practice. The council sends to the wife of every man who is called up, a voucher for £6, and she is asked to sign the dodiment in two places. To my amazement, I discovered this week that these vouchers have been sent to the wives of some men who are working in Sydney.
– Working on jobs upon which they have been engaged for years.
– That is so. For example, one man is employed by the Maritime Services Board of New South
Wales. The Director of the Allied Works Council, Mr. Theodore, instructed him by letter to remain in the employ of the board. To my amazement, his wife received this week one of the vouchers to which I have referred. It appears that the Maritime Services Board will be responsible for a portion of his wages, and the Allied Works Council will pay to his wife £6 a fortnight, regardless of the fact that he is still engaged in his peace-time avocation and is not likely to leave Sydney. That illustrates the shameful waste of man-power to which I am objecting. The staff of the Allied Works Council keeps records of payments to his wife, whilst the Maritime Services Board keeps records of payments to the man himself.
To make matters even more ridiculous, T have in my possession a voucher that was sent to a resident of Carlisle-street, Leichhardt, New South Wales. The husband, being aged ‘64£, is not eligible for service with the Allied Works Council, but his wife has received a voucher for £6 and has been asked to append her signature to the document. If vouchers are to be distributed as freely as if they were advertising pamphlets, government funds will be endangered. It seems obvious that the bookkeeping system of the Allied Works Council in Sydney is lax and loose. Our man-power resources are being squandered in a most foolish manner. Men who are physically incapable of doing a hard day’s work have been sent from Sydney to northern Queensland. Almost immediately on arrival, they have broken down in health and have been sent back to their homes. It is futile to talk of an austerity campaign, practising economy and conserving man-power when the Allied Works Council acts in this fashion. It is under the control of no Minister so far as we can discover, although nominally it is under the direction of the veteran Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings). Judging by press reports of his utterances on the extraordinary difficulties that ‘have presented themselves in the functioning of the Allied Works Council, one would be justified in concluding that the Minister knows as much about that organization as a garden grub knows about astronomy. The organization is due for an overhaul. The Government should bring it under strict ministerial control, and limit the powers that it now enjoys. These powers are even more farreaching than those that any Minister wields. Until the Allied Works Council is brought under strict ministerial control it will be an upsetting influence on the man-power position, and will endanger the security of government funds. I am not concerned with the Minister for the Interior because he would not understand, but I urge the Prime Minister to take up this matter without delay, because I assure the right honorable gentleman that the last has not been heard of it.
Thursday, 10 September 1942
– The representations made by the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) regarding leave for naval ratings from Darwin will be referred to the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin), who, I am sure, will give sympathetic consideration to the matter. Members of the Australian Imperial Force and the Militia serving in the territories are granted leave on the basia of two days a month. Leave may be accumulated, though it must not exceed in the aggregate 24’ days annually. Troops returning recently from Darwin had been granted leave on this basis with four days’ travelling time added, making the maximum leave 28 days. The Government is anxious to grant leave to men serving in advanced operational stations such as Darwin. The exigencies of the war position, of course, determine to what degree we can liberalize leave.
The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) raised the matter of the conditions under which soldiers are given a civilian outfit when they are discharged from the Army. This matter was raised in questions earlier to-day by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn). The honorable gentleman asked me -
To what discharged soldiers is a civilian outfit issued free of charge?
I replied -
To all soldiers who are in necessitous circumstances and who at the time of their discharge have less than £20 (twenty pounds) due to them, including deferred pay.
The honorable member also asked -
Is it a fact that a free issue of civilian outfit is not made to a soldier who is entitled to £20 or more in deferred pay?
My reply was “ Yes “. That answers the queries raised by the honorable member for Melbourne, but consideration will be given to the further representations which he has made with regard to the desirability of liberalizing that provision.
The honorable member for Melbourne also raised the question of a certain order that was issued by the CommanderinChief, General Blarney, about June last in regard to the representations made on behalf of members of the forces by outside persons. There was issued, however, a later order of which he evidently is not aware. I refer the honorable member to General Routine Order A.108 of 1942 issued by the Commander-in-Chief on 7th August -
All Commanding Officers will therefore ensure that complaints by soldiers are expeditiously and impartially considered, and, if a grievance is well-founded, that it is redressed without delay.
– Does the Minister believe that that is being done?
– The CommanderinChief issues that instruction to all commanding officers. I cannot answer for what is done by 500 commanding officers throughout Australia, but, if a case is brought to my notice of a commanding officer disobeying the CommanderinChief, the commanding officer will be suitably dealt with, because as the Commander-in-Chief has said, the commanding officer should deal with his troops in such a way as to inspire confidence.
– Some do and some do not.
– When the late Mr. Street was Minister for the Army members of the forces were allowed access to members of Parliament.
– I was told that by some one else, but I cannot find any record in the department of any such instruction having been issued. Since federation there has been a section in the Public Service Act laying it “down that no outside influence must be used by a public servant. There has also been a similar Army regulation since the establishment of the Australian Army; it is nothing new.
– Does the Minister accept something laid down more than 40 years ago?
– No, but it is well to realize what the law provides. The provision that men in the Army shall not use outside influence is not new. It has been in existence for many years. There is a similar regulation in force in the Royal Australian Air Force. Since there has been an army in Australia it has been laid down that the men must in the first instance apply to their commanding officer to redress any grievance.
– Is this not a Labour Government?
– Of course it is. We are anxious to do all we can to improve the conditions of the men in the forces throughout Australia. I realize that it is of great importance that we should have in the Army a high standard of not only efficiency and equipment but also discipline. I believe that it is the duty of the commanding officers and men to do everything possible to improve the standard of efficiency, morale and discipline. I consider that justice must be done by the men, but, at the same time, no steps should be taken by the Minister for the Army or the Government that would undermine discipline in the Australian Military Forces.
– Does the Minister think that discipline is interfered with if a member of the forces writes to a member of Parliament?
– Not necessarily; but any continued and persistent undermining of the authority of the commanding officer would be detrimental to Army discipline. I believe that frequently members of the forces are not aware of the procedure by which they can have their grievances redressed. 1 believe that in the first instance they should apply to the commanding officer, because, if they do not do that, and if members of Parliament are burdened with every grievance of thousands of men, and if all their letters were to come to me, it would be utterly impossible for me to do the bigger work that the Minister for the Army has to do in regard to policy. All my time would he taken up with thousands of grievances, in regard to each of which I should not have the time or the facilities to reach a just decision. That is why it is necessary to have machinery in the Army for men to make application to the commanding officer. The commanding officers have strict instructions from the CommanderinChief that they must inspire confidence by giving immediate and sympathetic consideration to every grievance brought before them, and in that way settle matters. I repeat that I cannot answer for the actions of 500 commanding officers throughout Australia. The Australian Army has increased from about 30,000 men a couple of years before the war to the greatest army ever assembled in Australia. We have had great difficulty in training men for the position of officers. One cannot expect 100 per cent, efficiency in any organization which has grown so rapidly as has the Australian Army, but at officers’ training schools throughout Australia everything possible is being done to improve the Army organization. While I will not tolerate any failure on the part of commanding officers to observe the strict instructions issued by the Commauder-in-Chief to redress grievances sympathetically and expeditiously, I do not intend, as Minister, to take any action that wouldbe subversive of discipline or of the ibest interests of the forces in Australia.
– How many majorsgeneral do you propose to sack?
– This is not the place for me to deal with the question of the sacking of majors-general. I have had no complaint that any major-general has been responsible for lack of sympathetic consideration of complaints made to him. If the honorable member has any instance that he can bring before me, I shall be glad to hear it.
As regards the statement made by the honorable member for Melbourne that an instruction was given by Major-General Herring that no one should be promoted to commissioned rank who had not passed the intermediate examination, I am not aware that any such instruction has ever been issued. I doubt very much whether it was everissued by MajorGeneral Herring. All I have to say is that that officer is one of the outstanding men in the Australian Military Forces. For character, integrity and ability, he has few equals, and I do not think he has any superiors. He is a man of the highest integrity and character, and I do not think he would be responsible for any instruction that would deprive promising young men, who have devoted themselves to military work, of promotion of officers’ rank on the ground that they had not had the benefit of a secondary education.
– That is hardly a judicial attitude. The Minister assumes that Major-General Herring is not guilty of all these things because he has, in the Minister’s opinion, a good character, which was not impugned in the slightest degree.
– One has to know the man to realize that he would be actuated by the highest motives in any action he may take. In my opinion, if we had more General Herrings in the Australian Army, the Army would be a very much more efficient organization. He is one of those very bright and capable men who would adorn any military organization, and he holds a very important military position in this country.
– It was a returned Australian Imperial Force officer who gave me that information.
– Even if it were true we have to realize that a certain educational standard has to be reached by persons seeking appointment to important civilian positions. I have travelled from Hobart to Townsville and Perth, and met Australian Imperial Force men and officers, and they all have the very highest opinion of Major-General Herring and speak of him as one of the outstanding men who came to the front in the Middle East. They say they would follow him anywhere, and that they have implicit confidence in his leadership.
The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) raised matters with regard to the Allied Works Council, and went to great trouble to point out some of the anomalies in the administration of that body, which, I think he will admit, has donegreat work in the building of over 100 aerodromes in Australia, and employs upwards of 60,000 persons. I am not going to try to justify everything the Allied Works Council does.
– Or many of the staff that are there, either.
– I do not intend to go into that matter. The honorable member for Dalley raises a question that should be considered by my colleague, the Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings) and I shall have much pleasure in bringing the honorable member’s remarks to his notice. The honorable member went into considerable detail regarding the employment of this man and that, and the calling up of men without sufficient notice, and so on. I assure him that, in addition to what the Minister for the Interior will do, the Government will be pleased to give sympathetic consideration to any representations he may make on this or any other matter.
– Will the Minister deal with all my little points also?
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determination by the Arbitrator, &c. - 1942 - No. 32 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia and Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired - For Defence purposes - Deer Park, Victoria.
For Postal purposes - Southport, Queensland.
National Security Act -
National Security (Army Inventions)
Regulations - Orders -
Inventions and designs (4).
National Security (General) Regulations - Orders -
Inventions and designs (259).
Taking possession of land, &c. (283).
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 376.
House adjourned at 12.15 a.m. (Thursday).
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
y asked the Minister for Munitions, upon notice - -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
y asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
When does he anticipate that he will complete his promised inquiries into the complaint made by parents of members of the Royal Australian Navy, and presented to him by the honorable members for Bass (Air. Barnard) and Wilmot (Mr. Guy), some four or five months ago, that members of the Royal Australian Navy were obliged to pay first-class fares on steamers between Melbourne and Tas- mania on the pretence that no second-class accommodation was available, when in fact such second-class accommodation was available, and. further, that some of the members of the Royal Australian Navy were charged different rates for such first-class fares?
– The result of the inquiry should be available this week or early next week, and I will place it before the honorable member immediately.
t asked the Minister for War Organization of Industry, upon notice -
Will the Minister supply details of the personnel comprising the National Council for Clothes Styling?
– The following is the list of members of the National Council for Clothes Styling : -
Chairman: Honorable John J. Dedman, Minister for War Organization of Industry. Deputy cha irman : Mr. A. J. Burgess, Department of War Organization of Industry. Secretary: Mr. A. O. Anderson, Department of War Organization of Industry, Sydney. Consumers’ representatives: Mrs. F. M. Forde, wife of Deputy Prime Minister; Mrs. C. Green, representative Women’s Section, Australian Labour party; Mrs. Alice Jackson, editress of Women’s Weakly; Miss Gladys Moncrieff; Mrs. Betty Keep, fashion editress of Women’s Weekly. Retail trade representatives: Mr. F. E. Gruner, nominee of Retail Traders Association. New South Wales; Mr. J. Pritchard, nominee of Retail Traders
Association, Victoria. Clothing trades union representatives: Mr. Peter Fallon; Mr. W. J. Gibb. Manufacturers-‘ representatives: Mr. W. Cann; Mr. F. R. Snowball, New South Wales Chamber of Manufactures; Mr. H. X. Stevenson, New South Wales Chamber of Manufactures. Designers representatives: Mrs. H. Darke, designer; Mrs. Cathie, designer.
Supplies of Boots andShoes in Tasmania.
v asked the Minister for War Organization of Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Customs, to whom the Director of Rationing is responsible, has furnished the following information in reply to tie honorable member’s questions: -
The communications referred to by the honorable member were received by the Director of Rationing. Unfortunately, owing to the papers having been mislaid, replies were not despatched to the honorable member. I am glad to inform him, however, that the matter dealt with in his letters has received the attention of the Rationing Commission. Arrangements have been made for the diversion to Tasmania of16500 additional pairs of boots. These boots were released on the 17th August and are now in process of distribution.
s asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Will the Minister consider fixing a special sugar ration for organizations such as the Red Cross, Australian Comforts Fund. Women Auxiliary of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmens Imperial League of Australia, the Country Womens Association and other patriotic and charitable bodies to enable them to have sufficient sugar to make home-made sweets for sale to raise funds for those organizations and the sale of cakes and refreshments for the same purpose?
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answer : -
This matter is receiving the attention of the Rationing Commission and the honorable member will be advised as soon as a decision has been reached.
Shale Oil Deposits in Tasmania.
y asked the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -
In view of Australia’s urgent need for fuel oil, will he have consideration given to a proposal to develop the shale oil deposits in Tasmania ?
– The shale oil deposits of Tasmania haveformed the subject of investigation by various experts over a long period, and they have been kept constantly under review. The consensus of opinion reached was that low oil yields and high sulphur content precluded the exploitation of these deposits, hut I would welcome any fresh information which the honorable member could offer which would warrant further consideration of the matter.
l asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The question of the taxation of alimony and separation allowances is one which the Government proposes to submit to the Parliamentary Standing Taxation Committee for examination.
Manufacture of Contraceptives.
Mr.Calwell asked the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -
Is it a fact that a Sydney firm engaged exclusively on war work has been unable to complete several contracts because it cannot secure an essential commodity which is being used in the manufacture of contraceptives?
Is it also a fact that when this firm asked a company manufacturing contraceptives to release portion of its stocks of the required commodity so that war contracts could be completed the request was refused?
Will he take steps to ensure that manufacturers of contraceptives will not continue to have an equal priority with those manufacturers engaged in war work for the supply of essential materials?
Will he furnish a list showing the number of manufacturers of contraceptives in Australia, the number of persons, male and female, employed by them, and the quantities of materials used by them annually?
y. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. My department has no knowledge of these circumstances, but if the name of the firm and other relevant details are supplied, an inquiry will be instituted.
An order to control the distribution and use of latex and revertex became operative on the 31st May, 1942. This order provides that a person shall not, except with the consent of my department -
This control will ensure that defence contractors will receive supplies of this raw material sufficient to enable them to fulfil their defence commitments.
Ansell Rubber Company.
J. Fielding and Company.
E. Baker Lee.
A. Saunders and Company.
Whitecross Rubber Company.
Nutex Rubber Company.
Dolfite Products Proprietary Limited.
Sterling Rubber Company.
I have no information as to the number of persons employed by these firms.
s asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained.
t asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Mr. CURTIN. - It is regretted that security reasons preclude the publication of the information asked for by the honorable member, but if he so desires the figures will be made available for his personal information. “A.b.C. Weekly “.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
n; - The Postmaster-General has supplied the following answer: -
The commission recently invited and received tenders for printing of the A..B.C. Weekly following the recommendation of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Broadcasting that the journal should be continued. These tenders are now before the Minister with a recommendation from the commission. It is uncertain at this stage what issues may arise out of the tenders, or even whether fresh negotiations might be necessary, and for these reasons it is inadvisable to give any information as to circulation, net costs and advertising, which might prejudice the commission in its dealings with tenderers.
Allied Works Council - PayoF WORKERS
asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
e. - The answers to the honorable members questions arc as follows : - 1. (a) Private,6s. 6d. per day; (b) corporal, 10s. (id. per day; (c) sergeant,11s. 6d. per day, with 2s. deferred pay after six months’ service. Dependants’ allowance, 4s. fid. per day for wife, 33. per day for first child under sixteen, 2s. per day for second child under sixteen, and1s. (id. per day for third and each additional child under sixteen. Allowances not in cash include -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 September 1942, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1942/19420909_reps_16_172/>.