House of Representatives
5 March 1943

16th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker. (Hon. W. II. Nairn) took ihe chair at 11.30 a.m., and read prayer1.

page 1267


N Newspaper Report.


– I desire to make a personal explanation. In a section of the press this morning there is a report of a statement said to have been made last w::ck by thu honorable member for Henty (Mr. Coles). I may say ut once that. I have not had an opportunity to ask :ho honorable member to let me sue a proof of his Hansard speech and consequently I can only rely on the press report.

Mr Archie CAMERON:

– In what section of the press did the honorable gentleman se* the report?


– In the Sydney Morning Herald. I am not criticizing that newspaper, but am merely referring to its report which, so far as I know, is correct. Thu honorable member for Henty is reported to have said that Mr. Fadden would have been wise to keep to the suggestion made by Mr. Spooner that the Income Tax Assessment Bill should not be opposed on the second reading but that amendments should bc moved in committee. I spoke twice on that measure before the honorable member for Henty spoke. The first occasion was the 19th February, a fortnight ago to-day, and the second occasion was yesterday, the 4th March, when I spoke to the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Fadden). In my first speech I said that as my leader would speak later I would reserve my attitude to the second reading or any amendment that my leader might foreshadow; but I left no doubt about my opinion of the bill generally because I expressed clearly my hope that the Government would withdraw it. On the second occasion I said plainly that I woUld support the amendment which in the meantime had been moved by the

Leader of the Opposition, but on neither occasion did I even infer that I preferred to sec the second reading carried and would wail for amendments to be made in committee. 1 not only concurred to the full in the amendment-


– The honorable member has made his personal explanation.


– I concurred in the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. Indeed, I went further for with other honorable members I helped him to draft it. On no occasion did 1 even suggest that 1 preferred to have the second reading carried and the bill amended in committee.


– I, too, desire to make a personal explanation. In my remarks yesterday I said that the impression left on my mind, and I am sure on the minds of many other honorable members also, by the second-reading speech of the honorable member for Robertson ‘ (Mr. Spooner) in opening the case for the Opposition in relation to the Income Tax Assessment Bill was that he desired to see some amendments made to the bill, but that it would bc preferable for them to be made at the committee stage. I accept his apology for having changed his mind.

page 1267




– Now that negotiation* for the transfer of the rifle range at Sandy Bay have been completed, will the Minister for the Army make a statement to the House on the subject?

Minister for the Army · CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– Yes. I hope to he able to make a statement next week setting out the position under which the transfer is to be made after the war.

page 1267



– Is the Deputy Prime Minister in a position to announce the Government’s decision regarding the waiving of duties on tobacco and other comforts for members of the fighting forces 1


– I understand that the Prime Minister has already set out clearly the attitude of the Government in regard to this matter.


– The right honorable gentleman said that he would make a report to the Parliament on the subject.


– The Prime Minister will be here next week. I shall bring the question of the honorable member to his notice and no doubt he will then make a statement.

page 1268


Minister for Repatriation · FRANKLIN, TASMANIA · ALP

– On Wednesday last the honorable member for Grey (Mr. Badman) asked whether it was a fact that there was a difference between the. rate of pension for -service men who are declared permanently and totally incapacitated for life and the rate for others whose total incapacity is classified as temporary, und, if so, whether in view of the fact that a mau in the latter category might be rendered idle for . years I would look into the matter and make n statement to the House this week.

In my second-reading speech on the Repatriation Bill on the 17th February, 1943, I gave several examples of the operation of pension rates and the ordinary pension rate as laid down in the first schedule to the act. For total incapacity the pension under the new proposed basis will be £2 10s. a week for a member, £1 2s. a week for a wife, and 9s. a week for each child. Persons so assessed may or may not bc able to earn a full or partial rate of wage, but in arriving at the assessment no regard is had to earnings.

The assessment of war pension ordinary rates is made solely in respect of the degree of war damage to the individual, regardless of his economic position. The term “ war damage “ includes such factors as physical and mental incapacity; pain and discomfort; a lower standard of health; inability to participate in normal recreations, and so on. Where, however, by reason of his warcaused incapacity, the member is unable to engage in employment for a period exceeding three months, provision is made for an additional amount to be paid - 24s. a week for a married man and 15s. a week for a single man. Under the new bill the income of a married man with three children in such circumstances will be-

Before a member can be classed as totally and permanently incapacitated, however, the act provides that he must, in addition to being totally incapacitated for life, be unable to earn other than a negligible percentage of a living wage. In this case, the income for a man, wife and three children will be -

111 addition, education allowance will be payable to eligible children which, together with child endowment will bring the total amount payable to about £8 10s. 6V1. a week.

It is not considered desirable or necessary to classify a soldier in this category unless his condition renders bini permanently unfit and unable to earn. Once this rate is granted, it is not the policy of the Commission to reduce the pension unless it is shown that the member is engaged in remunerative employment. It has not been the experience of the Department that mcn classified as 100 per cent, incapacitated and not in receipt of additional amounts or allowances under the Oth Schedule to the Act, may be rendered idle for years by reason of their war disabilities. If such a position did arise, it is most probable that the rate of pension would be increased to that provided for total and permanent incapacity, or that the living allowance addition mentioned previously would be paid.

I have looked into this matter carefully and am satisfied that the present system is reasonable. It would be wrong to classify men as being totally and permanently incapacitated until it was certain that their condition was such that no improvement could be expected. However, it is necessary to ensure that those in the intermediate group, i.e., men temporarily totally incapacitated and unable to work, are provided with an amount sufficient for them to live in reasonable comfort, and I am satisfied that this is being done. If the honorable member knows of any instance in which a soldier who has been classified as 100 per cent. incapacitated and by reason of his war disability has been idle for years, is not receiving the special living allowance, I undertake to look into the case personally.

page 1269



Quota Payments - No. 5 Pool


– Is it a fact, as stated in the Sydney Morning Herald to-day, that about 6,000 wheat-farmers, many of whom have been waiting since November for their wheat quota payments, have not yet been paid, and that the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has now instructed that all routine work of the State Wheat Committee must be set aside, and that staffs shall work three shifts of eight hours in order to complete the work associated with the making of payments? Further, will the Minister inform the House the reason for the delay in making payments, and whether inefficient administration is responsible for this work having to be done, presumably at overtime rates?

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– There has been an unfortunate delay in issuing wheat quota payments in New South Wales, although in the other States final payments were made some time ago, except in respect of a few outstanding appeals. One of the main reasons for the delay in New South Wales was the inability to secure staff. When I made inquiries into this matter on Monday last, I was alarmed to find that about 6,000 claims were still outstanding. During the previous week, unsuccessful efforts had been made to secure additional staff. On Monday I called the State Wheat Committee together and issued a definite instruction that, where possible, members of the staff were to work round the clock. I indicated that I was willing that overtime should be paid, because I believed that, at all costs, the wheat quota payments should be finalized. As the whole of the money in connexion with this season’s crop was made available in December last, it has not been through any fault of the Government that the moneyhas not been paid to the farmers. The delay is due to the abnormal circumstances now existing.


– Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say when a further advance will be paid on wheat delivered to the No. 5 wheat pool?


– I am now conferring with the Treasurer on the matter.

page 1269




– Is it a fact that the present dispute at Hebburn No. 2 Colliery has arisen because a deduction was made from the wages of shiftmen who actually went down the mine and were waiting to start at 7 o’clock but could not do so because of the non-arrival of the contract miners who were then holding a meeting? I am told that the owners deducted from the pay envelope of shiftmen an amount equivalent to from one-sixteenth to one-eighth of the pay for a full shift on that particular day. If that be so, does not the action of the owners constitute a breach of agreement and custom in the industry? As the Minister has displayed the ferocity of a tiger-cat in prosecuting the rank and file when they have committed breaches, will he now inform the House why he has not displayed similar ferocity towards employers who commit breaches?

Mr.WARD. - No report has been received by my department from either the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James), or an official of the union concerned, or the management of the colliery with regard to the stoppage to which the honorable member refers. Consequently, I amat a loss in the matter. Neither am I aware of how the honorable member gained the erroneous impression that I have displayed ferocity in prosecuting miners. My department has nothing whatever to do with the institution of prosecutions in such disputes. That is entirely a matter for the Attorney-General, acting, I understand, in conjunction with the Minister for Supply and Shipping. However, if the honorable member is anxious to obtain accurate information concerning the matter he raises, I shall endeavour to obtain it for him.

page 1270



College for Revolutionaries


– I preface a question which I wish to ask the Minister for War Organization of Industry with the following extract from a report published in the Melbourne Herald: -

page 1270


Communist organizers in Victoria propose to establish a “ Communist University “ at Chelsea, where Marxist-Leninist theory will be taught.

It is intended to be a “lasting memorial to Lenin - initiator, organizer, and leader of the Great October Revolution, from which the Soviet Socialist Republics emerged “.

A block of land has been bought. The organizers say that more than £S00 of the £1,200 needed to start has been subscribed. . . .

Has the Minister any knowledge of that proposal? Has his department received any application for a permit for the construction of such a building? If so what has been his decision in the matter?

Mi-. DEDMAN. - I have no knowledge of the matter raised by the honorable member, and I am not aware that my department has received an application from the body mentioned for a permit to build. If, and when, such an application is received, I shall examine it in relation to our war requirements.

page 1270




– Has the Deputy Prime Minister seen the statement of the secretary of the Metal Trades Employers Association, Mr. D. M. McDonald, published in the Sydney Sun of the 2nd March, that the Women’s Employment Board award for the metal trades industry, prescribing different rates of pay to women workers, was a “ festering sore”? In view of that statement, and the statement made by Mr. Dovey, K.C., in the Arbitration Court yesterday that chaos was likely to result in the industry if the Women’s Employment Board continued to function and to make decisions along the lines it has followed in the past, will the Government consider restoring to the Arbitration Court all the functions of the Women’s Employment Board?


– I have not read the report referred to by the honorable member. I understand that Mr. Dovey appeared for the employers. Any statement made by him in his capacity as counsel for a particular party could hardly be considered to be strictly impartial. I prefer to be guided by statements made by the presiding judge rather than by any statement by counsel for either of the parties. I shall peruse the statement referred to, and discuss the matter with the Prime Minister.

page 1270




– In view of the statement made in this House last night by the honorable member for Melbourne that he would not assist the Government to raise the new £100,000,000 loan, and his suggestion that loan money, and even the interest on loans, would have to be repudiated, will the Deputy Prime Minister inform the House: First, is it the policy of the Labour party to continue raising money through public loans for war purposes? Secondly, does the Prime Minister endorse the statement and suggestion made by the honorable member for Melbourne? Thirdly, if it be the policy of the Government to continue to raise money through loans, and if the Government does not endorse the statement and suggestion of the honorable member, will it give a clear and unequivocal undertaking that it will not repudiate either the interest on loans or the loans themselves?

Mr Calwell:

– I rise to a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The question asked by the honorable member is based on wrong premises. I did not say that interest will have to be repudiated. Therefore, the honorable member has misrepresented me, and I ask that he withdraw his question.


– It is for the Deputy Prime Minister to say whether he will answer the question. I shall not attempt to adjudicate between two honorable members as to whether one of them actually made a statement attributed to him by the other.


– I did not hear the speech made by the honorable member for Melbourne last night in which he is alleged to have made the statement attributed to him by the honorable member for Wentworth. However, I have just heard the explanation given by the honorable member for Melbourne which indicates that the honorable member for Wentworth has misrepresented him. The honorable member for Melbourne is well capable of expressing his own views on any matter. On behalf of the Government, I say that the war oan be financed by only three methods - taxation, the raising of loans, and the judicious use of national credit - and it is adopting those three methods. The Government pledges this country to honour its obligations to all people who lend money to it for the prosecution of the war aud for other purposes; and the Government will honour all its obligations in respect of both the payment of interest and the repayment of loans.

page 1271


Air. CLARK- A film entitled Moscow Strikes Bach, which is a documentary picture of the fight for Moscow, has been censored by the film censor on the ground that the atrocities it depicts should not he shown in public. In view of the fact that the film has been shown in its entirety in the United States of America :ind Great Britain, and that photographs depicting similar atrocities are published in the press from time to time, I ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the Government will take steps to ensure that the film shall be shown in its entirety in Australia in order Id enable the public to realize fully the moaning of war?


– I shall give consideration to the honorable member’s request.

page 1271


Motion to Disallow Regulations

Debate resumed from the 16th February (vide ‘page 738), on motion by

That Statutory Rules No. 459 of 1942 and No. 3 of 1943, being National Security (Proprietary Medicines) Regulations made under the National Security Act 1939-1940 be disallowed.


– These regulations can be considered from two points of view. The first is whether they are a valid exercise of the power conferred upon the Minister, or the Executive, under the National Security Act. Their validity depends on whether it can be shown that they have some connexion with the war effort. So far as I can see these regulations are not connected with the war effort in any way whatever; and in debates upon similar legislation in New Zealand no suggestion was made that regulations of this kind had anything to do with the war effort. However, I am not concerned about that point. That issue can be determined by the court. That to which I object occurs in many regulations. I do not, as a rule, have an opportunity to attack regulations, because I am in the unfortunate position of not being able to secure a seconder for any motion I may submit. I had the support of the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) on one occasion, when I moved for the disallowance of Statutory Rule No. 77f, 1942, but I cannot expect him to support me on every occasion. I therefore welcome this opportunity to attack what I regard as a most arbitrary provision, the like of which is to be found in many regulations. I object to regulation 6, which provides -

The Minister may, by order, prohibit thu manufacture or the salt- of any proprietary medicine if he is satisfied that it has not the effects which are claimed on its behalf or does not satisfy the purposes for which it is sold or that it is of a dangerous nature or i.s liable to produce abortion or miscarriage.

I should imagine that a competent tribunal would prohibit the manufacture of such medicines. I do not, however, consider that the Minister should be given the power to be both accuser and judge. The best course would be to disallow the regulations; failing which, they should provide that the Minister shall not act except after a judicial investigation has been made, or that an appeal shall lie to a court against his decision. I understand that the Government is prepared to make such a provision. If it agrees to take from the Minister or a government officer the power to deprive a man of his living without a judicial investigation, I shall be prepared to accept the regulations. But I object to regulations which, as has happened over and over again, confer on executive officers or their nominees, not merely executive, but also judicial power. There is no guarantee that a person aggrieved will be heard in his defence before action is taken against him. This is a most arbitrary and intolerable provision, and unless I have from the Government an explicit undertaking that the power will not be exercised except after a judicial investigation or, that a person aggrieved by the Minister’s decision shall have the right to appeal from it to a court, I shall oppose the regulations.


– I support the motion of the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) for the disallowance of Statutory Rules No. 459 of 1942 and No. 3 of 1943. I recollect that several questions were asked in regard to the legality of these and other regulations, and the reply of the AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt) was that the matter was one for decision not by him but by Hie courts. Before regulations are promulgated, the department of the Attorney-General should ensure that they have legal backing. The onus of contesting them in the courts should not be placed on unfortunate persons whose businesses are likely to be affected by them. The responsibility of ensuring that regulations have legal backing, and do a measure of justice, rests on this Parliament and the Government’s legal advisers. These regulations do not possess those qualities. I support the disallowance of them for other reasons also, particularly on behalf of those who live in the outback areas of Australia and are thus far removed from medical attention, and the means of obtaining medicines. Many patent medicines are of a very high standard, and render a wonderful service to the people of the outback districts. If any drugs or other preparations needed for war purposes are used in the manufacture of patent medicines, the Government has ample ‘power under a hundred and one regulations made under the National Security Act to direct that they shall be reserved for war purposes. Bungling has been displayed in the making of these regulations.

They are thoroughly bad, and I sincerely hope that they will be disallowed by the House. I repeat, that unfortunate persons who find their businesses swept away because of a hasty regulation instigated by a hair-brained individual associated with a government department should not be obliged to contest its legality. The Attorney-General should take an early opportunity to examine the credentials ‘of some of his advisers who are the instigators of regulations. There are dozens of regulations which could be challenged and defeated in the courts of this country. I appeal to honorable members to disallow the statutory rules.

Mr. MORGAN (Reid) 1.12.7].- The Minister for Health (Mr. Holloway), and the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) have stated that the main purpose of these regulations is to conserve man-power and supplies. It could be contended that, they go even further; that they are concerned with the health of the community during a time of war. The health and morale of the fighting services and munitions workers can definitely be claimed to be a matter that comes within the emergency war powers. I could not contemplate any matter which could be more appropriately dealt with under those powers in the present emergency. That opinion is fortified by the report of the Royal Commission on Secret Drugs, Cures and Foods, which presented a report to this Parliament in 1907. Paragraph 1126 of that report reads as follows : -

The sale of patent medicines “ in Great Britain has advanced by leaps and bounds. It has recently been announced that the sum paid by the British public for “ patent medicines” in the year ended 31st March, 1900, was $15,033,400. Some patriotic Englishmen, who wish to excuse their countrymen for the contraction of the “ patent medicine “ habit, say that it is chiefly due to the insidious wiles of the American nostrum vendor and advertiser. Whatever may be the cause, and there can be hut little doubt that American “ patent medicines “ and American methods of advertising have made great headway in Great Britain of late, the fact remains that the people of Great Britain have developed an ever-increasing tendency to consume remedies of every kind. Perhaps this may bo one of the reasons for the much to be deplored physical and mental degeneration of the youn in Great Britain.

Paragraph. 1172 reads as follows: -

The whole dispute is as to how far they shall bc fair game for secret trading, and as to how far they - that is to say, we - shall be defended. It is herein claimed throughout by all and every line of evidence that the defence shall be complete as far as law and administration can make it. In the scope of morals, health, and life, I claim with all deference that no parliament is entitled to bargain away, for any interests, any part of the national security. The security should be absolute insofar as foresight and the power reposed in Parliament can make it.

The conclusions are published at page 426. I quote the following from them : -

Taking together the 3ix divisions of this report, including the whole range of human life iti relation to secret drugging, to secret alleged cures, to nostrums for the treatment of parts of the body in health or disease, to manipulation of medicaments and foods, to deception, fraud, and crime within the premises - it is believed that sufficient evidence has been offered as to the universality of the social injury and of racial deterioration. It lias been made clear that a growth exists in nur nation which may be called malignant, and which, for the national safety and continuance, requires extirpation.

The practices above named constituting that growth are not partly right, they are entirely wrong, and are rooted and grounded in greed. They are a carcinomatous inversion of the natural activities, of the principles of industry, are capable of conversion and must be removed.

Quackery, it has been shown, afreets the domain of therapeutics, hygiene, and nutrition. It demands secrecy and deception as indispensable conditions where the racial interests demand truth and candour.

Those findings show clearly that the matter of health is definitely one inquiring the exercise of Commonwealth powers, in the direction of controlling the manufacture of patent medicines and drugs. The question is, whether these regulations constitute a genuine exercise of that power. Whilst recognizing the Necessity for an exercise of the power. F am inclined to the view held by other honorable members that these regulations go altogether too far; that, in fact, they invest the Director-General of Health with dictatorial powers. Like the parson’s egg, they are good in parts; in other parts, they are bad. I agree, with the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn), that such powers should be vested in an independent authority. The report from which I have quoted laid it down that a bureau of chemistry should lie sot up Ivy the Government to analyse various drugs and reveal the nature of their contents to the proper authorities. Some such provision is advisable instead of the matter being left entirely in the hands of the Director-General of Health ; because, after all, he may consider that a particular medicine is either good or bad, and it is purely within his province to determine whether or not it may be sold to the general public. In the long run, many of those who now purchase patent remedies at a very small cost from chemists and drug stores would be compelled to consult medical practitioners at a considerably greater cost if they were unacquainted with remedies which were otherwise available to them. The medical advice might cost them half a guinea or a guinea, and the dispensing of the prescription by the chemist a further 5s. 6d., with no more beneficial result than could be obtained by the expenditure of a few pence. I cannot agree that the method hero chosen is the correct one. A department such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research might be an appropriate independent authority to analyse and obtain data in regard to various medicines, and report upon them to the proper authority. [ do not agree that th<> contents of drugs should be kept secret. Anything that may benefit the public generally should be made widely known and not be the close preserve of those fortunate enough to be aware of its utility.


– He should be entitled to some reward for his discovery.


– I agree that when an individual makes a discovery that will benefit the health of the public, he should he adequately compensated. But I do noi consider that he should bc permitted to use the discovery for his own private gain. The formula should be made available for the benefit of the health of the general community.

I object: to the sweeping manner in which these regulations prescribe what my and what may not be advertised. J ‘hey reveal the orthodox medical view; but many great discoveries by laymen were for a long time rejected by the medical profession before it was forced to recognize them. The regulations provide that -

Statements should not be used in respect of any preparation that it is “ the best “, “ the most successful “, “ safest “, “ quickest “ or containing any similaruse of superlative adjectives involving comparison with other remedies, or departures from strict truth.

Examples of expressions which should not be used are - “ The only preparation” which will achieve a certain result. “‘A certain”, or “‘unfailing’” remedy for any particular purpose “ Nature’s own remedy “. “ Australia’s national remedy “. “ One dose will immediately “Never fails’”. “ You can always depend on …. “ “‘Used by more persons than any other preparation of its kind “. “There’s nothing better than….”. “There’s nothing like….” “ The ideal remedy “.

Whilst some proprietary medicines may’ not possess any therapeutic value, the auto-suggestion that is concealed in the form of the advertisement frequently has a beneficial effect. If a doctor pats a patient on the back and tells him that his health is better than he thinks, the patient is immediately encouraged and begins to feel better. A similar effect is Sained from the advertising of proprietary medicines. It is better to have a positive suggestion–

Mr Jolly:

– Not all of them have a positive suggestion. For example, I cite Epsom Salts.


– I do not profess to have any great knowledge of that preparation. Some proprietary medicines may be neither beneficial nor harmful to the person who drinks them, but the psychological effect of the advertisements, and of simply taking medicine, appears to have, in many cases, curative powers. In the circumstances, the rights of those who purvey the medicines should be safeguarded. The proprietor should not be prohibited from distributing the medicines to the community. The subtle form of advertising over the radio, accompanied by music, tends to create a positive state of mind in many individuals. If these regulations are to be permitted to remain in their present form, the benefits which many people derive from drinking patent medicines will be denied them.

The regulations are even more wide sweeping than I have yet indicated. For instance, they cite the type of complaint to which reference may, or may not be made. In my opinion, the decision whether the proprietors of these medicines shall be precluded from listing the complaints that they claim their nostrums will cure should not be left to an individual, or a small body. Although the Minister, in drafting these regulations, doubtless had a worthy object in view, I fear that they will not benefit the community. That the Minister is actuated by a desire to conserve man-power and medical supplies, is unquestionable; but I noted that he gave an assurance that he would re-examine the regulations. In view of that assurance, I shall not vote for the motion to disallow the regulations, but I hope that the Minister will revise them.


. -The honorable member forReid (Mr. Morgan) defended the regulations on the ground that the care of public health falls within the province of war-time powers.

Mr Calwell:

– I do not think that the honorable member for Reid defended the regulations.

Mr.Jolly. - But he said that he would not support the motion to disallow them.


– The care of public health, through controlling the advertising of proprietary medicines, does not properly come within the scope of powers taken under the National Security Act. The Minister for Health (Mr. Holloway) defended the regulations, not on the ground that they were required to safeguard public health, but for other reasons. He disclaimed any major responsibility for their introduction, and declared that he was a member of the sub-committee of Cabinet which decided to control the advertising of patent and proprietary medicines. He also went to some pains to assure honorable members that the regulations were not strongly sponsored by the DirectorGeneral of Public Health. The Minister defended the regulations because of the necessity to conserve medical supplies, and man-power. Under present conditions, those reasons are not valid. The Government has ample power, apart from these regulations, to conserve the supply of a wide range of goods. Since the outbreak of war, the Government has taken action to restrict the use of materials in short supply which are urgently required by the fighting services. The Government has not prohibited the sale to the public of canned fruits, but has simply controlled the distribution in such a manner that no supplies are made available to the public until the requirements of the Army have been satisfied. I support that policy. I f supplies of drugs and chemicals must be conserved, the Government should “ freeze “ them at the source.

The regulations will not conserve manpower. The Minister for Health declared that approximately 3,000 persons are employed in the manufacture of proprietary medicines.

Mr Dedman:

– According to their returns for the purposes of the pay-roll tax, the manufacturers of proprietary medicines employ 6,000 persons.


– The number is not vital to my argument, because the fact remains that many of those who prepared proprietary brands are small chemists. Throughout the Commonwealth are more than 2,000 small chemists, and I do not suppose that the Minister considers that in order to conserve man-power, their businesses should be closed. They are engaged in an essential industry. Consequently, the man-power which will be released as the result of the promulgation of these regulations is comparatively small and out of all proportion to the great disruption that is being caused in this trade. I support the motion for three reasons, first because the regulations are invalid; secondly, because they are discriminatory; and thirdly, because they are entirely unnecessary. I shall not repeat the arguments advanced by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) regarding the invalidity of the regulations, but I point out that the first regulations dealing with this subject of medical supplies were promulgated on the 19th September, 1939, in Statutory Rule No. 178. They provide that-

For the purpose of ensuring an adequate supply of medical equipment for the Naval, Military and Air Forces and the civil population of Australia, the Chairman of the Central

Committee, acting upon the recommendation of the Medical Equipment Control Committee, may make orders for regulating, restricting, or prohibiting the production, storage, distribution, sale, purchase and use of medical equipment.

That statutory rule adequately controls the position regarding proprietary medicines. I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later hour.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

page 1275


Battle of the Bismarck Sea.

Minister for the Army · Capricornia · ALP

by leave - I desire to inform the House that the communique which has justbeen received from the head-quarters of the CommanderinChief of the allied forces in the SouthWest Pacific Area, General Douglas MacArthur, contains the following item : -

Huon Gulf

Intensive and widespread searches by our reconnaissance aircraft early yesterday morning failed to reveal any remaining trace of the enemy convoy in the entire area beyond floating wreckage and occasional lifeboats and barges containing troops. Two damaged destroyers which had lasted during the night were attacked, hit and sunk. Barges, lifeboats and rafts still afloat were strafed and sunk. Four enemy fighters were encountered and shot down without loss to ourselves.

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear!

page 1275


Motion to Disallow Regulations

Debate resumed.


.- Regulation No. 6 provides that the Minister may by order, prohibit the manufacture or the sale of any proprietary medicine, not for the purpose of saving man-power, materials or drugs, but if he is convinced that the medicine will not have the effects which are claimed on its behalf, or does not satisfy the purposes for which it is sold. That has nothing to do with the points which the Minister raised in defence of the regulations. If honorable members will examine the regulations, they will discover nothing to show that the purpose is to conserve man-power or medical supplies. The sole purpose is to control proprietary medicines in such a way as to ensure that they will not be said, if they are liable to prove injurious to the health of the purchasers, or if the advertisements relating to them are exaggerated. Obviously, this matter does not come within the scope of the National Security Act. Whilst the restriction of the sale of certain drugs required for war purposes may be necessary. I cannot understand why all this paraphernalia of organization should beestablished, because it is involving the people concerned in an enormous volume of work. Proprietary medicines could be controlled by simpler means at the source.

Regulation8 (1a) of Statutory Rule No. 459 of 1942 lays down certain rules about the advertising of patent medicines, but all that it provides is that certain forms of advertising may not be used. I see no good reason why those restrictions should he applied. It. seems to me that the regulation could be held to be invalid. It discriminates between those proprietary medicines which are prepared and sold according to the formulas of the British Pharmacoparia and patent medicines made under other formulas. Advertising plays an important part in the sale of patent medicines, and the advertisements which have been published in the past have afforded manufacturers an opportunity to let the public know what the medicines contain. This gives to the public a certain guarantee that the medicines contain the drugs which, according to the advertisements, they are said to contain, and the manufacturer is liable to certain penalties under the present law if the formulas are not adhered to. From that point of view, the regulation reduces the value of the guarantee given to the public and causes people to have less faith in the efficacy of the medicines than they have had in the past. A large number of smallchemists prepare and sell their own particular mixtures, and under the regulations they are called upon to submit the formulas employed by them The enforcement of the regulations will imposea greatly increased amount of work on chemists who are already short of staff. Therefore, I maintain that such restrictive regulations are undesirable. I also regard the regulations as quite unnecessary.If the desire of the Government is to restrict the use of drugs, that could be accomplished by other methods. Government control has already been exercised with regard to man-power, materials, transport, imports, exports, prices and profits. Many proprietary lines of patent medicines have proved most beneficial to the community as a whole. Other patent medicines are not so good, but I have not heard of any that are deleterious to public health. Legislation is already in force to prohibit the sale of medicines falling within that category. If the Government desires to deal with this matter, it should do so by legislation and not by regulations. I support the motion submitted by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender).


.- This matter has been brought up for consideration by the Parliament in a curious way, namely, by a motion submitted unexpectedly, and without notice, which entirely disorganizes the order of business. This obscure matter of general business is given priority over those important matters which have already been listed as orders of the day, in priority to the subject of patent, medicines. I deplore and resent to some degree the action that has been taken by the Government. If it were not for the fact that the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn) kept his head, I do not think that any honorable member, including you, Mr. Speaker, quite knew where we stood with regard to this matter. We were told that by the promulgation of regulations the Government has power to go behind theback of the Parliament, and that it, is likely to find reasons to justify it in doing things, however extravagant and absurd, which it has been given power to do; but. the ferocious opposition of the honorable member for Warringah, although meritorious in some particulars, is some three years too late. A race can never he won by starting three years after the fall of the flag. Therefore, the honorable member can hardly seriously hope to win this race. Indeed, I suspect that, as usual, a sufficient number of members of the Opposition, when the crucial time conies for a division, will be missing, in order to obviate the embarrassment of defeating the Government, when the last thing in the world they desire, having regard to political considerations, is its defeat. The ferocious opposition of the honorable member for Warringah is based on constitutional grounds. I do not propose to enter into an analysis of that line of argument. In the present state of the defences of this country, and in view of the war which is being waged, if this Government can do anything, however apparently remote from defence, which cannot be roped in as constitutional under the slogan “ necessary for defence “, it must be a great deal less ingenious than I am prepared to admit it is. Having regard to the constitution of the High Court, I am satisfied that the Government will have no difficulty in establishing and maintaining the constitutionality of these regulations at least by a majority of the High Court. The honorable member for Warringah declares that the promulgation of the regulations was an abuse of power. It probably was, but the proper time to call attention to that probability was when the power was being taken by the Executive. At that period, I myself opposed the creation of this power in a Government which preceded the present Administration.

Sitting suspended from12.45 to 2.15 p.m


– The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), and some of those who support him, were casting about for reasons assumed to be actuating the Minister in the formulation of these regulations. Several guesses were hazarded as to the reasons which had moved the Minister to act. As it turned out, the guesses wereall wrong, and it came to light that the regulations had originated in the bright imagination of theProduction Executive, which sits under the chairmanship of theMinister for War Organization of industry (Mr. Dedman). When that became known there was a marked intaking of breath among members of the Opposition, and a chorus of “Ah’s” was uttered. The finger of scorn was pointed at the Minister for War Organization of Industry - a favourite subject for obloquy and even slander among honorable members opposite. It is true that the Minister for War Organization of Industry is charged with the duty of translating into law and, indeed, into fact, the un pleasant attributes of a total war policy, which the Prime Minister, in due course, sugar-coats with oratory in the House and over the air. I am not at all in love with these regulations. They are of a kind which serve to explain why I opposed and voted against the proposal to clothe the Executive with extravagant powers. Notwithstanding that, however, I do not propose to support the motion for the disallowance of the regulations. I know that the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) finds it difficult to understand that attitude. The honorable member, who has no personal loyalty, and no incurable loyalty to political principle, for that matter, cannot understand how a great movement like the Labour party retains its solidarity by the exercise of a certain measure of discipline acting for high purposes through the decisions of its majorities. The honorable member, changing as he does politically from day to day, now supporting a party, and then politically betraying it, has difficulty in understanding one’s sense of loyalty to a great movement, but when the matter is intelligently observed and studied, it is not impossible of comprehension, all the same.

I have noted that the two Ministers who are most loyal to the policy of the Government as expressed through its leader, and who cheerfully undertake the unpleasant task of applying that policy, are most frequently the objects of attack from the other side of the House. The method of the members of the Opposition is to divide and conquer. They profess to support the war policy of the Governmentas expressed by its leader, but when that policy is applied in a personal sense to their own discomfiture, orto the discomfiture of their friends and supporters, by the Ministers whose task it is to do so, they seek to segregate those Ministers from the rest of the Government, and to discredit them by constant attacks. In that way they win the support of the propagandists outside Parliament who are never tired of advocating an all-in war effort, but who, when they are themselves personally affected, become bitterly hostile.

Mr Mulcahy:

– One would think that there was not a war on at all.


– That is so. When it becomes a matter of applying unpleasant features of war policy, one would hardly think, from hearing some of the complaints, that there was a war on. It has to be assumed that the regulations now under discussion are part of the considered policy of the Government, not of individual members of the Government. They are part of the policy of waging successful war against a vigilant and dangerous enemy. I assume, as I think I am entitled to assume, that this policy will result in the release of men for war purposes, and also in the conservation of necessary supplies. I assume that, in the opinion of the Government, and of its legal advisers, the regulations are a valid exercise of the extravagant powers vested in the Executive by the Parliament. 1 am influenced by the fact that I have confidence in the Minister for Health, w ho has to administer these regulations, although he has gone modestly to a sub- ordinate place on the treasury bench while the Minister for War Organization of Industry has been promoted to the table, and that he will administer them wisely and temperately. I have had representations made to me by constituents asking me - I am not sure whether it was a request or command - to vote for the disallowance of these regulations. If I really thought that they would be administered unwisely, were harsh, or would necessarily involve an act of injustice to any individual, T would vote against them. It was for that reason, if I am permitted to ay so by way of illustration, that I would support by neither speech nor vote the Defence (Citizen Military Forces) Bill HMS. which gave effect to the policy of conscription for overseas military service. In that case I considered that a wrong was being done to individuals, and, taking that as a personal matter of conscience. I could not. and, in fact, did not lend my support to the proposal. But the fact is that here we have a difference - a matter of administration. I expect that ibc Minister for Health, or at least a Labour Minister, will continue to administer these regulations. So far as the y are susceptible to being used for the release of man-power, they will be reasonably used to meet a grave necessity in the grave emergency that now besets us. I am certain that they will not be used to prevent any person from purchasing, with as much freedom as heretofore, proprietary or patent medicines or any other kind of medicine that he may choose for his own use. The absurdity and the extravagance of the terms of the regulations are to be deplored, but, so long as they remain as extravagances and absurdities and do no inevitable, wrong to any person or body of persons - and they do not necessarily have that effect - I think that the matter may be safely left in the hands of those invested with the necessary authority.

I do not, as every body knows, agree with everything that the Government does. That is not required of me as a member of the Labour party. But I realize that, I cannot have it both ways. I. cannot seek membership of this Parliament by virtue, of my membership of the great Australian Labour party on the one hand and on the other seek the favour of particular persons by dissenting from the policy of Labour. I remain in the Labour party confident that its great heart is sound and that when the terrors and anxieties of this war have passed I may still be of some service to those whom I have promised to assist and to the movement which has done so much for the working class. If I am not privileged, or it is not my fate to be here at that time - and that is in the lap of the gods; it is not at my disposal - at least I shall have had the satisfaction of having endeavoured to maintain my loyalty to the movement in which I have worked for so many years and in which I have been able, according to the votes of those who have chosen me, to render some little service to the working class. I shall have the satisfaction of knowing that at least T have served my conscience faithfully and donn what T conceived to be right


– I shall support the disallowance of Statutory Rules 3942, No. 459, and Statutory Rules 1943, No. 3, because the regulations there:n are unnecessary. If the main objective of the regulations were to prevent the sale and distribution of patent medicines injurious to public health there would perhaps be some justification for them, but the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) set out clearly that that was not their objective, and that their main purpose was to conserve stocks of drugs and man-power. I consider that the Government has sufficient power in other regulations to carry out that, objective. As a matter of fact the (lowers of the Minister for War Organization of Industry would appear to be unlimited, and, in view of his many activities, one would think that he would have sufficient to do without having to bother about controlling the sale of such things as Kruschen salts. One aspect of this matter that deserves careful attention is the fact that thi’ curtailment of the sale of standard patent medicine* would impose great hardship on people in remote country areas who, in the absence of doctors or chemists, have to rely on patent medicines sold by the local ^orekeepers. 1 assume that the regulations do not prohibit the sale of patent medicine* by storekeepers, but I have received many requests that f make representations ro the Ministry against any curtailment of supplies of standard lines of patent medicines to storekeepers in rural districts.

Mr. COLES (Henty) [ 2.40 .- In presenting to the House reasons for the retention of these regulations, the Minister for Health (Mr. Holloway) stressed the fact that their main objective was the location and conservation of supplies of drugs essential for war purposes. The Minister also said that another purpose of the regulations was to obtain from the patent medicine trade n< much man-power as could he obtained from it. I find it difficult to believe that the regulations were framed for those purposes. The honorable m ember for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn^ has pointed out the very dangerous conditions that could apply under regulation 6 of Statutory “Rules 1942 No. 459 if it were allowed to remain in force, and I agree with his arguments. f support the motion for the disallowance of the regulations on that ground alone. No regulations affecting any other trade or business have gone to the length of these regulations in attempting to withdraw man-power. I direct the attention of tin House to regulation 7, which reads -

A manufacturer or distributor of any proprietary medicine, or any person employed or authorized by a manufacturer or distributor of any proprietary medicine, shall not -

canvass or solicit: (fcl. employ any person to canvass or solicit, any person for the purpose of inducing that person to purchase, obtain, or use any proprietary medicine.

Mr Rosevear:

– That conserves manpower.


– 1 do not see that it is necessary that regulations should be made for each particular trade or industry to prohibit the performance of specific duties. The Ministry has ample powers in other directions to take from this trade or any oth r trade or industry all of tiemen of military age or of any age who are capable of performing useful service in other directions. There is no need for specific powers to take men from a particular occupation that is an important pan of the trade.

A grave injustice would be done to the whole community if reasonable facilities were not given to drug manufacturers to introduce new lines, particularly those which come under the heading of “ethical products “. Ethical products are those lines that have been discovered by experts in the laboratories of manufacturing chemists. They are not advertised, but are sold exclusively to doctors and hospitals. I know many doctors who would never have known of these lines but for manufacturers’ agents. It may be thought that the British Medical Association Journal would provide sufficient publicity for such discoveries, but the doctors are generally too busy to have their attention drawn to those discoveries until they are orally told about them. Some of these drugs are dangerous - I specify the sulphur line of drugs like sulphanilamide - but, taken under medical direction, they have saved many lives. There is nr> wai” in which a manufacturer cm promote the sale of such products unless he is able to send some one to interview the members of the medical profession for that purpose, bur these regulations prevent him from doing =n. [’ =ee no reason why men of more (ban military age - men in the 70’– if the Minister likes - should not. be employed by a drug manufacturer to promote sales, and 1 do not think that regulation 7 should be allowed to remain in force. Another grave objection to the regulations is that there is nothing to link them up with the explanation given by the Minister for Health that they were introduced purely for war purposes. They should have contained an indication that their purpose was really to seek out and conserve the drugs to which the Minister has referred. If they had been limited to that purpose, I think they could have been made acceptable to the House, but I regard them, while having some good features, as so badly drafted, that I must vote for their disallowance.

Mr Harrison:

Mr. Speaker–

Mr Dedman:

Mr. Speaker–

Mr SPEAKER (Hon W M Nairn:

– The fact that two honorable members, one of them being a. Minister, have risen in their places at the same time raises a question which was raised recently, and should.I think, he settled, as to how far a Minister is entitled to preference in receiving the call during a debate. There is a rule that a Minister is entitled to be called when he rises, and another rule, adopted by the House, that the call should be on each side alternately. Generally. Ministers make the administration of the first rule easy by not seeking to break in upon the debate. The Minister for War Organization of Industry would in this case assist very much if he withdrew his call for the time being.

Mr Dedman:

– Certainly, Mr. Speaker.


. -When the Minister for Health (Mr. Holloway) made his explanation on the last occasion on which the motion was debated, he told the House that the regulations were the outcome of a recommendation made by his Production Executive, of which the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) was chairman. The House suspected something of that nature. It knew that representation: would very likely be made by the various State governments to the Commonwealth health authorities in an endeavour to achieve something under National Security Regulations which they could not do within their own powers. It knew alsothat such representations had been made, and that regulations had been prepared by the Commonwealth Department of Health, but now we find that the Minister for Health has passed the buck completely to the Production Executive, and pulled into the scheme of things our old friend the Minister for War Organization of Industry. We knew that the hand of Esau was in it somewhere, but we had no idea that there was such complete collaboration and co-operation between the two departments. The honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner) made it perfectly clear to the House on the last occasion this subject was debated that this was a matter of paramount importance which had been brought up again and again in the New South Wales Parliament, that in the eyes of certain sections of the community control of patent medicines was regarded as very desirable, and that it was a matter very close to the heart of the New South Wales Department of Health. We knew that the Commonwealth Government by means of National Security Regulations could introduce provisions to give effect to what the State governments were desirous of doing. The Commonwealth Health Department, therefore, knew that the Minister for War Organization of Industry was easy to approach, in order to see if something could not be done jointly by the two departments to achieve what he and the State health departments regarded as very desirable. One has only to read the regulations to agree that they must have originated with the Minister for War Organization of Industry, because a more stupid set it is hard to conceive. The Minister for Health also stated that they were introduced in order to conserve essential drugs and manpower. I should have no objection to them if that were the ease, but it is not so. The Minister knows already that he can conserve drugs. His department has taken a census of all essential drugs in use, and can conserve them, if it so desires, for war purposes. The argument in regard to conservation of man-power can also be exploded very easily. If it is the intention of the Minister for War Organization of Industry to rationalize the proprietary medicine industry, why does he not come straight out and <say so? He might then tell us the number of mcn who could be secured for war purposes, by, for instance, reducing the number of tooth pastes being made in the community - not that that is likely to affect the quantity of tooth paste used, or I hope not. I fail to see how, if the same quantity of tooth paste is likely to be manufactured, the Minister is likely by such action to conserve man-power. I believe that this is a definite attempt on the part of both Ministers to interfere with the normal business of proprietary medicines. It is another step as I. see it towards the nationalization of industry by taking complete control of the manufacture of proprietary medicines. Indeed they hope to acquire all the formulae associated with them, so that the dead hand of the Department of War Organization of Industry may control the whole industry and the Government may ultimately establish it on a. national basis, after ruining the incentive of private enterprise to carry on normal business activities. The control of health still reposes in the State government.’, and 1 wonder why it should have been taken over by the Commonwealth authorities under the guise of National Security Regulations. What is the position to-day with regard to health services throughout the community? Honorable members know that they are severely curtailed. There was an instance only recently where hospital treatment was denied to a young child suffering from some disability. and because of the failure to get hospital treatment, the child died in the out-patients’ department of one of our bie metropolitan hospitals. Medical attendance to the civilian community is severely restricted. It is very difficult to get the attention of a medical man. If that condition obtains in the big metropolitan centres, how much more must it obtain in the far outback country, where proprietary medicines are the standby of the man on the land, who is out of touch with all the metropolitan centres from the point of view of medical attention and hospital treatment? Tt is essential to preserve a reasonable flow of proprietary medicines, so that that section of the community can be serviced when no other medical services are available to it. 1 support the observations of the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Marwick) as to the restriction of the manufacture and sale of patent medicines. The attention of the House should be drawn to the wording, because it is very pertinent to the issue. Regulation G provides that -

The Minister may, by order, prohibit the manufacture ur the sale of any proprietary medicine if he is satisfied that it has not ihe effects which are claimed on its behalf, or does not satisfy the purposes for which it is sold.

The Minister could obviously only be satisfied that it had not the effects claimed on its behalf by the advice of the medical officers of his department. How often in their experience have honorable members found that proprietary medicines have cured a complaint that a doctor has not been able to cure? In many instances that does happen. Therefore, if the Minister relies on his medical advisers, who without exception condemn all proprietary medicines, I assume that their manufacture and sale will certainly be discontinued because those advisers are sure to disagree as to whether the cures claimed are effected. I do not believe that all proprietary medicines effect the euros which their makers say they do, because quite obviously a number of them are not effective. No doubt, other honorable members can detail a number of cases in which they have not effected the purpose for which they were purchased. At the same time I draw attention to the danger of such a sweeping regulation and hope that the House will not agree to it. Under regulation 4 the Government proposes to acquire the formulas of proprietary medicines. A full statement of all formulas must be handed over to the Health Department. Honorable members have already pointed out how some agents and sellers in Australia are bound not to reveal the formulas associated with the goods they are selling or manufacturing. The secrets arc retained by big manufacturing concerns outside Australia. Honorable members will agree that many medicines so manufactured are very effective, and a big percentage of them are recommended by the medical profession. They have been brought to the notice of the medical profession, by whom they are extensively used. Are we going to deny to the people of Australia those proprietary medicines that have had a very beneficial effect on their health, simply because a manufacturer refuses to make the formula available? If it is not made available, the regulation denies him the right to manufacture the medicine in Australia. I shall support the disallowance of these regulations. I listened with a great deal of interest to what the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) had to say as to the restrictions on the advertising .of patent medicines. For example by regulation 8 it is not allowable to state that a preparation is a secret held by the manufacturers as the result of years of devoted and persistent research on the part of eminent scientists, that skilled chemist? or pharmacologists control the manufacture, or that the standards of the ingredients u-‘cd in the production are in accordance wilh the requirements of the British Pharmacopaia. It may not even be stated in the advertisement that because of the quantity of the goods required by the. armed services, supplies are not available for civil consumption. In other words, the advertising of all proprietary medicines bearing a trade mark or brand is reduced to a mere catalogue type description which will rob the public of adequate information as to their purpose and use. It is common knowledge that many of the researches conducted by big manufacturing concerns are carried out by eminent scientists who are paid large sums of money as retaining fees or salaries, and who devote a lifetime to research work in the endeavour to obtain a drug from some obscure plant or from a combination of various chemicals. That being the case, they should have a right to proclaim that their research has been of considerable benefit to mankind; but under these regulations, such a statement cannot be made and these products are placed exactly on the same basis as valueless preparations. In these circumstances, I contend that these are stupid regulations, and I have much pleasure in associating myself with the motion for their disallowance, which I hope will be carried.

Minister for War Organization of Industry · Corio · ALP

– In moving for the disallowance of these regulations, the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) made a double-barrelled attack upon them. The argument that he advanced were, first, that they were invalid, and, secondly, that they were an abuse of power. Apparently, the honorable member was not sure of his grounds for the first argument, otherwise he would not have found it necessary to raise the question of whether or not they represented an abuse of power. Besides attacking the regulations on the two grounds that I have mentioned, the honorable member quoted a number of statements from the appendix to the regulations. These statements were entirely irrelevant and I shall dispose of them first. The honorable member claimed that the statements dealing with restrictions on advertising, appearing in the appendix, were entirely farcical - I think that that was the word be used - and threw grave doubt upon the validity of the regulations themselves. The plain fact is that the restrictions upon advertising specified in the appendix were approved by the advertising authorities themselves.

Mr Abbott:

– Only after a compulsory conference.


– The following is an extract from a letter which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 1st March : -

Reputable manufacturers, advertising agents, newspapers, and radio stations have also imposed a control of advertising based on the grounds that this should be truthful and in good taste. In this connection certain principles were stated in writing with full approval from all the parties concerned and forwarded to the Director-General of Health.

Therefore, the matters quoted from the appendix by the honorable member for Warringah were actually approved by the advertising people themselves.

I shall not deal at length with the alleged invalidity of the regulations, because the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) has dealt adequately with that point already; but from my own examination of the position, I am convinced that there can be no doubt whatever as to their validity. They were submitted to the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt), and, in his opinion and that of hia legal advisers, the regulations are valid.

Mr Spender:

– That is not what he said


– I think that he did say that.

Mr Spender:

– The Minister should read what the Attorney-General said.


– I have read it. In any ease, it often happens that opinions in regard to the validity of regulations differ. For instance, the AttorneyGeneral might consider that certain regulations are just valid and no more, whereas some other authority might hold i hem to be invalid. In such instances the appropriate place to test the validity of the regulations is in the courts of this country. The Attorney-General himself made that clear. If I can show that the regulations are conducive to an improvement of the war effort, then both the objections raised by the honorable member for Warringah, and supported by other honorable members opposite, will have been met. In my view, the regulations are neither invalid nor are they an abuse of power.

Mr Ryan:

– They might be unnecessary.


– That is so, but no member of the Opposition has endeavoured to prove that they are unnecessary. The regulations were introduced for the express purpose of conserving man-power and essential drugs which are in short supply. The honorable, member for Warringah said thai the only way in which the conservation of man-power could bc said to have been accomplished by these regulations was through the control of advertising, but that is not exactly true. Man-power will no doubt be conserved by the restrictions upon advertising, but also it will be conserved in other directions. To show that the application of these regulations will result in an improvement of our war effort, I shall survey the pool of resources which is tied up in this industry. I mentioned previously that more than fi. 00ft persons were employed in this industry.

Mr Holt:

– The Minister for Health s;:id that the number was 3,000.


– There are 3,000 male per«ons employed in the industry, but, in addition, a large number of women are employed, making a total of more than 6,000. At the time the Minister for Health made his speech an accurate calculation had not been made. The Minister was given an estimate, which he quoted to honorable members. Since then, by means of an examination of payroll tax payments, it has been ascertained that the number of persons concerned in the manufacture of patent medicines is more than 6,000.

Mr Abbott:

– Then the figure quoted by the Minister for Health was merely a guess


– It was an estimate; the Minister was entitled to make an estimate of the number of people engaged in the industry.

Mr Paterson:

– At least he did not overstate his case.


– That is so. There arc 208 establishments manufacturing approximately 20,000 different medicinal preparations. These establishments employ 3,300 mon and 2,750 women, and it is estimated that at least 1,000 men and 1,100 women are engaged on the production of non-essential medicines which do not serve the purpose for which they are advertised. If the Directorate of Man Power were to remove these employees from the industry without regard to the effect of such action upon the establishments concerned, the production of essential medicines would be interfered with seriously. It is necessary therefore to determine first of all which preparations are required on medical grounds, and then to allocate the available manpower and drugs to the manufacture of the preparations that are essential in the community. The honorable member for Warringah complained that restrictions on advertising did not serve any good purpose, and that if they were to be of any use at all, they should take the form of a curtailment of space rather than a restriction of wording. I point out that the proportion of space devoted to the advertising of patent medicines has increased by 300 ner cent, since the outbreak of war and the number of people employed in the industry ha= increased by approximately 20 per cent. It is quite clear, therefore, that in tb;= ^dustry there is a pool of resources which can be drawn upon for the war effort.

Mr Spender:

– Why not call up those people?


– Take the case of a firm which is manufacturing two lines of patent medicine, one of which is essential for the health of the community and the other non-essential. Are the man-power authorities going to tell that firm that as 20 per cent, of its man-power is engaged upon the production of non-essential medicine, that percentage should be called up? Every body knows that the problem cannot be approached in that way. Employees of such a firm would be engaged part-time on the manufacture of one medicine, and part-time on the manufacture of another, and any arbitrary withdrawal of a percentage of manpower would be quite impossible.


– It has been done time and again by declaring a product to bc nonessential.


– That is quite a different argument. What the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Coles) says is quite true, but obviously before we can find out whether or not a patent medicine is essential, we must know its formula. That is one of the main reasons for this regulation. Without power to call for. and examine, formulas of preparations, it is impossible to determine whether or not they are of value to the community.

Mr Paterson:

– Why not make a regulation for that purpose only?


– Honorable members are now raising all sorts of new arguments apart from those that have been voiced in the course of this debate. There are many points that can be raised, and if I had time I could reply adequately to all of them. As I have said, these regulations were promulgated for the express purpose of conserving man-power and essential drugs in short supply. The honorable member for Henty and the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) now say that if the Government wants to conserve drugs it should prohibit the use of them ; but the problem is not so easy as that.

Mr Paterson:

– I did not say that.


– I accept the honorable member’s statement that he did not say it. In the case of any essential drug that is in short supply, the requirements of the Army are paramount and have to be met first. A certain portion remains, but it is not sufficient to meet all the civilian requirements; that is to say, there is not enough of it to enable it to be used as an ingredient of all the patent medicines which are on the market. Is it not perfectly reasonable that the Government should have the power to examine all patent medicines, and to say in which of them this short supply that is available for civilian purposes may be used ? If that short supply were spread over the whole of the requirements of the patent medicine manufacturing firms, none of the many medicines produced would contain a sufficient quantity to do any good. An examination of a very large number of patent medicines has shown that, whilst they contain drugs which are beneficial for the purpose for which they are advertised, the content is so small as to be of no value.

Sir Charles Marr:

– That could be said of some of the prescriptions given by doctors.


– It may; but it applies particularly to patent medicines. There is a very strong reason, in many instances to believe that that is so. Some drugs are harmful if taken in excess quantity. The patent medicine manufacturer who, for a particular purpose, has to put into a medicine a drug which, if taken in the correct quantity, would not be harmful, but otherwise would be, has to make absolutely certain that the patient will not suffer if he takes a double dose; consequently, he reduces the percentage of that ingredient so greatly that it is not at all efficacious for the purpose advertised. Therefore, in many instances, drugs which are in short supply are dissipated over a large quantity of medicines. Ear greater good would be done to the community if they were concentrated in a smaller quantity.

I shall cite a number of cases of patent medicines that are widely used for certain purposes. I do not know the names of them. It is perfectly proper that their names should have been withheld from me. When I state the nature of their ingredients, and thu circumstance? under which they are sold to the public, the House will quickly realize that vast quantities of patent medicines are sold in this country to-day, involving the use of a considerable volume of man-power in advertising, packaging, and the provision of bottles, cork-, stoppers, and the like, as well as in distribution, which are of no benefit whatsoever. Who will deny that that labour power is essential to the war effort, and is being wastefully and uselessly employed ? One medicine advertised as a tonic consists of a little common salt and a little flavouring agent dissolved in alcohol of a strength of 53 per cent. The more of it one drinks, the more one wants, because of its salt content.

Mr Prowse:

– How much man-power does its marketing involve?


– I have already stated that names have not been supplied to me. With such information in my possession, I might have been able to trace this particular product. It is proper that this information should have been withheld from me. Here is the point: Not only is the. marketing of this particular patent medicine a completely wasteful u’c of resources, but in addition it must definitely be doing harm to the community. The alcoholic strength of the whisky .and brandy sold in this country is only 38 per cent. ; yet, under the guise of a patent medicine, a preparation is sold that has an alcoholic strength of 53 per cent., and has no other constituent except common salt.

Here is another example : A preparation that is sold as a lotion for curing goitre consists of a. mixture of 1 oz. of Epsom salts and 4 oz. of water. It is supposed to be rubbed on the neck. Can any one deny that there would be an improvement of the war effort if the man-power and resources used in the manufacture of that lotion were devoted to war purposes?

I could produce reams of cases of this description. Here is another type of case : A tonic, consisting of 26 ingredients, has each of them in such an infinitesimal quantity that they cannot do any good.

Mr Marwick:

– How does the honorab’c gentleman know that?


– I have been so informed by the medical advisers of the Government, who have examined the for mula. Does the honorable gentleman contend that those officers are deliberately misleading the Government? Such a contention would be a grave reflection on the Commonwealth Public Service. Moreover, some of the ingredients have exactly opposite medicinal properties. I am reminded by the Minister for Health (Mr. Holloway) that this is a sworn declaration by the manufacturers ; consequently, its accuracy cannot be doubted. The comment of the department on that particular tonic is -

A very mixed medicinal action, of the same kind as anti-aircraft fire - the more guns, the more hope of hitting something - but every one of the active ingredients is very much below the minimum dose recognized as effective medicinally.

A final example : Tonic “ F “ contains sixteen ingredients, in addition to water, all of them, in quantities so small that only one - Epsom salts - can have any action. In an S-oz. bottle sold for more than 6s., the actual worth of the ingredients i-“ less than 3d.

As I have already said, the use of the labour and materials involved in the manufacture, merchandizing and distribution of these useless medicines cannot be justified at the present time, l t is a wasteful use of labour, and should be stopped immediately.

The honorable member for Warringah declared that he could see no connexion between the war effort and the prohibition of medicines designed to procure abortion or miscarriage. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) painted a harrowing picture of the position in many public hospitals where children had been denied admission because the overworked staff could not attend to them.

Ali’. II a uki son. - Does the Minister deny that statement?


– I accept the honorable member’s statement as being correct. Some drugs which are used in the manufacture of abortifacients are in short supply; but apart altogether from that fact, every one knows that these med 1.cines are being used by a section of the public for a certain purpose. Our hospital have patients for treatment for abortion and miscarriage brought about by the use of these nefarious medicines.

Mr Harrison:

– The case which I cited has nothingto do with that.


– Surely it is wise, when doctors and nurses are so scarce and hospital accommodation is so heavily raxed, for the Government to prohibit the manufacture of abortifacients.

Mr Spender:

– When the same regulations were introduced in New Zealand, the Government frankly admitted that the purpose was to secure control of proprietary medicines.


– The Commonwealth Government introduced these regulations in order to conserve man-power, to trans fer labour to the war effort, and to reduce the demand on drugs in short supply. The regulation? achieve that purpose.

Discussing the validity of the regulations, the honorable member for Bourke advocated the insertion of a preamble setting out their objectives. The Government is prepared to amend the regulations by declaring that the objective is to conserve man-power and drugs in short supply. The honorable member for Bourke and the honorable member for Henty took objection to regulation 6. The Government, whilst believing that this is the most effective way in which to prohibit the use of drugs in short supply and to ensure that supplies available for civil use will be used in medicines most beneficial to the public, is prepared to give an undertaking to review that regulation.

Mr Spender:

– An undertaking to review the regulation is worthless, just as is an assurance that “consideration will be given to the matter “.


– I state plainly that the Government, rather than see the regulations defeated and lose the power to examine formulas in order to ensure that the drugs are being used to the best purpose, is prepared to withdraw regulation 6.

Mr Morgan:

– Why not review all the regulations?


– These are the only two matters to which objection has been taken. I have proved the necessity for the Government to possess the information and the formulas in order to decide the medicines which should yield themost beneficial results to the public, and toprohibit the manufacture of use less medicines. Because the Government is so anxious to preserve that power to demand the formulas for the purpose of conserving drugs in short supply, I ask the House not to agree to the motion. I assure honorable members that the Government is prepared to insert a preamble as desired by the honorable member for Bourke, and to withdraw regulation 6.

Question put -

That Statutory Rules No. 450 of 1942 and No. 3 of 1943, being National Security (Proprietary Medicines) Regulations made under the National Security Act 1939-1940, be disallowed.

The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. W. M. Nairn).

AYES: 28

NOES: 27

Majority . . 1



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

page 1287


Len d-Lease Administration: Supply of Food to American Forces - Gas Masks - Women’s Employment Board - .Lighting of Industrial Establishments - Australian Capital Territory : Parliamentary Representation ; Canberra Railway Station Staff - Australian Army : Court Martial Sentence; Death after Inoculation - Royal Australian Air Force: Punishment of Sergeant Pilot Gregor - Internees of British Nationality.

Motion (by Mr. .Forde) proposed -

That the House do now adjourn.

Sir EARLE PAGE (Cowper) [3.39J.- 1 take, the strongest exception to the.Australian section of the report on lendlease administration to the 31st December, 1942, tabled by the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) on Wednesday. It contains a slur, perhaps unintentional, on the Australian producers and on Australian production, which is not. warranted by the facts. The statement as it stands is calculated to damage our reputation in the United States of America as a producing country, especially when we come to postwar arrangements and trade treaties. Such statements could easily promote amongst our own people the strongest feelings against American soldiers. The implication is that the Australian producers have fallen down on their job, but I venture to say that the difficulties with the civilian population are due to the Government’s unprecedented bungling and inefficiency in handling our production problem, and not to the fact that food has been supplied to the American Army. There has been waste in Army buying and ordering, waste through manpower and transport difficulties created by government bungling, and waste through lack of co-ordination of existing preservative facilities.

The excess quantity of butter we usually exported could feed, at the Australian standard of living, an additional 6.000,000 people. Our excess meat could feed 4,000,000. our excess dried fruits 20,000,000, our excess canned fruits “5,000,000, our excess apples and pears 7.000.000. and our excess wheat. 20,000.000 people. How then could the feeding of the Americans here dislocate our internal food economy? The propaganda of the Government to cover up its own bungling on the food front will make us appear ridiculous in the eyes of every American. We have already had enough difficulty on the military side in trying to explain why we will not send our conscripted soldiers to fight north of the Equator. Are we now to explain why providing Americans with 1 per cent, of our total production of food will cause unprecedented hardship among civilians in this country?


– L shall read the report. It slates -

Our men have received 20,900,000 lb. of Australian beef and veal, lamb, mutton and pork: 20,000,000 lb. of potatoes, 1,800,000 doz. eggs, and 5,464,000 quarts of milk, among other foodstuffs. These supplies are taking a sizeable share of the total food production of a country of only 7,000,000 inhabitants. The Australian people are going short of many things to supply our troops.

The report of the statement, as published it: the Sydney Morning Herald, was as follow? : -

The extra demands which have been imposed upon our productive capacity have involved a real and, in some cases, severe restriction or. the consumption of supplies or use of service: by the civil population.

What are the facts? The average food production of Australia is over 7,500,000 tons a year. The total of all the items of American consumption set out in the hud-lease report roughly reaches 75,000 tons, or .1. per cent, of our total production. Is that a sizeable share which causes severe restriction on the consumption by civilians of supplies in Australia ?

The normal export of Australian food to Britain is about 1,600,000 tons a year. One-half of that, about 800,000 tons, cannot go to Britain because of shipping shortages, so that the American consumption is 10 per cent, of the quantity available for export that we cannot ship overseas. How then can such an infinitesimal percentage of our total production, or such a small percentage of the quantity of foodstuffs we cannot export, dislocate the ordinary channels of supply and distribution in Australia, and make the people nf this country go without food in order that the American troops in this theatre of war may be supplied? Every year, Australia faces irregular production of food due to climatic causes. Its production of individual lines nearly always varies 10 per cent, up or down from the average, but our existing production and distribution machinery has always dealt with the irregularity without disturbance to the civil population. Now, when 1 per cent, of the total production is being supplied to the allied forces, it is supposed to cause this extraordinary dislocation and chaos. When the production and distribution systems are left to themselves, they can, as it were, swallow a camel, but they strain at a gnat when interfered with by bungling government regulations. The Australian soldiers whom we have now to feed are not an excess part of the population. They were the healthiest and heartiest eaters in the country. They may be eating more in the Army, and eating different kinds of food, but the total increase of consumption must be insignificant, though the waste may be terrific.

Now let us examine some of the individual items. The Americans take 1,366,000 gallons of milk. The total quantity of liquid milk consumed in Australia is 162,000,000 gallons, so that the Americans are taking only % per cent. Can that be why the price of milk has advanced in Australia during the last year ?

Australia’s average export of oranges u*ed to be 300,000 cases. At eight dozen to the case, our average daily export of oranges used to be 1.20,000. Thus, there is that quantity of oranges available for the American troops, without touching the quantity usually consumed in Australia. In the case of fresh fruit3, it must be remembered that we are now keeping in Australia 4,000,000 cases of apples and pears for which shipping space is not available. Surely the feeding of the American troops cannot cause a shortage of apples and pears when all that extra fruit is on the market. We cannot export 1,200,000 cases of canned fruits that were normally sent to Britain. The Americans have received 200.000 cases, but surely that is not why ir is so difficult for ordinary people to buy canned fruit in Australia. Only yesterday, the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Mr. Beasley) said that the Government had fixed the price of peaches, and prevented their transport to market, so that greater quantities would be available for canning.

The story of vegetable production is a sad one. lt is a story of poor organization, of the taking away of necessary man-power, transport facilities and fertilizers from the vegetable-grower at the time when he needed them. Recently, a man who had sown 10 acres of carrots told me that, when they were ready to be weeded, the man-power authorities took his helpers away from him so that, in the end, lie harvested only one out of the 10 acres. This sort of thing makes for black marketing, something which need never have occurred had production, been organized and prices controlled.

The average production of potatoes in Australia over the last ten years has been 350,000 tons. The Americans took 10,000 tons, or 3 per cent, of the total; yet, this is supposed to be the reason why the civil population had to go without potatoes for months. The statement issued by the Minister for Supply and Shipping several days ago, should never have been published. It is calculated to create anti-American feeling in Australia, whilst in the United States of America it will create the impression that we in Australia are not prepared to do anything to help either their war effort or our own.


.- The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) spoke as though it was our responsibility to supply only those troops who were in Australia. However, Australia has accepted responsibility for the supply of all allied troops in the SouthWest Pacific Area, and has also contracted to send food to the United Kingdom. In addition, we must feed our own civil population. In. peace-time, food is produced and consumed within a comparatively short time, but in war-time immense stocks of food have to be established, so that three or four times as in much of some commodities have to be produced as are required for immediate consumption. Stocks of food must be established in various parts of the world, and there is always a large quantity of food in transit, and some of it is lost by enemy action. When the “war is over, it will be found that a great quantity of the food held in stock will not go into consumption, at all. In the United States of America before the war they were, for the most pant, able to supply themselves with food. Some items were imported, but not a large quantity. Since the outbreak t-f war, however, the demands of the fighting services have been such that red meat has been rationed, and I was informed by a visitor who recently returned from the United States of America that horseflesh is being sold there. He told me that he saw six carcasses of horses hanging in a shop in New York, and they were all sold within a few hours. The shortage of food in war-time, both in the United States of America and here, is not because the food is not being produced, but because the requirements of the fighting services are far in excess of the requirements of the same number of people in peace-time.

As for potatoes, it was necessary to enter into contracts with the growers, and to guarantee a price, in order to make sure that a sufficient area, was sown. Crops have to be planned twelve months ahead, so the Opposition cannot blame this Government for a shortage last year, because it was in power when the plans should have been made for the harvest. The right honorable member for Cowper to-day contradicted what he said on Wednesday when he moved the adjournment of the House to discuss the food position. To-day he said that we were growing sufficient food but were not exporting enough, whereas on Wednesday he claimed that supplies of food were short. The right honorable gentleman cannot have it both ways.

Mr. DUNCAN-HUGHES (Wakefield) 3.536 . - I rise to bring to the notice of honorable members the matter of the supply of respirators to civilians and their training in the use of those respirators. This is not the first time I have taken an interest in this matter. Seven years ago I made a speech on the subject in the Senate, and said - 1 hope that the Government will keep before it the need of gas masks. Because Australia is a long way from other countries, there is a tendency on the part of ite people to wait until the evil day arrives.

The then Leader of the Senate, Sir George Pearce, replied - this subject is being dealt with.

I said -

I am glad to know that. I am concerned, however, that the people of Australia are not being taught how to use gas masks. . . .

Later in the same year, I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence -

  1. . How many gas masks have been issued to the various States?
  2. What arrangements have been made tor the public to be instructed in the use of them?
  3. How many persons, approximately, have lo date received such instructions?

Sir George Pearce replied ;

The Minister for Defence has supplied the fallowing answers: -

  1. No gas masks have yet been issued to State governments. There is a limited stock held in military ordnance stores in each State, a proportion of which can be made available for training when actually required.
  2. .It is not the policy of the Government to undertake the instruction of the general public at this stage.

That was seven years ago. The answer continued -

In New South Wales, where the preliminary organization exists, officers of the Defence Department have conducted numerous courses and classes for key personnel.

Eight hundred personnel of key organizations.

I followed this matter up with a speech in the Senate in December, 1937, and with, two questions in 1937 and 10’3S to which I elicited a long reply from Senator Foll on behalf of the Minister for Defence. I recite this history to show that the position then so far as information was concerned was better than it is now. A certain amount of information could be obtained six or seven years ago, but it is difficult to get any of a public nature at present. We have had about three and a half years of war during which the keymen in civil defence organizations have been instructed to some extent in the use of respirators, but what disturbs me is the fact that the general public, as far as I know, has had no such training. It would be idle to imagine that we cannot suffer a gas attack. Members of Parliament who six or seven years ago scouted the idea of gas attacks in Australia realize that they are now within the realm of possibility. My general knowledge, which is confirmed by statements made to me by other honorable members, is that nothing has been done to train the civilian population to protect itself against gas attack. 1 am concerned about the general public, not about the members of the armed services, because they come under the control of the various service Ministers, and, as a representative of a rural constituency, my principal concern is those members of the general public who live in country areas. We all, of course, know that country districts arc much less vulnerable than cities. We are equally aware that some States of Australia are, wrongly or rightly, regarded as being more likely to be attacked than others. I emphasize that I am not pressing for the immediate issue of respirators to the general public, because I realize that that would serve no good purpose, because respirators are susceptible to damage and wear ; but all the people should be taught how to use and take care of their respirators when they are issued to them. A few weeks ago, .1. asked the Minister for Home Security (Mr. Lazzarini) a question on this matter in the following terms : -

  1. Has adequate protection against gas attack,” by the provision of reserves of gas masks, been made in the southern States of Australia?
  2. What lias been done in the capital and country centres of South Australia in the way of (a) the issue of gas masks to civilians, and (6) the training or instruction of civilians in the use of gas masks?

What is the estimate of the number of gas masks so issued and of civilians go trained in the areas mentioned in paragraph 2 respectively?

Thu Minister replied -

For security reasons 1 am unable to make public my reply to the honorable member’s questions. However, 1. am furnishing a reply by letter.

It is because of that answer that I say that it was easier to obtain information about what was being done on the subject of respirators six or seven years ago than it is now. I regard the answer as most unsatisfactory. One does not desire to divulge information which may be of value to the enemy, but I do not wish to have security advanced as the reason for not supplying a proper answer to a question. I want this information for myself and the general public, in order that it may be able to protect itself. If the confidential information which followed that given in a letter from the Minister, who has been most courteous, is satisfactory, other people besides myself want to know it; if it is not satisfactory, it is no consolation to me to know it privately. This matter is not so profoundly secret that it is impossible for the Minister to make a fuller reply than -

For security reasons 1 am unable to make public my reply to the honorable member’s questions. However, I am furnishing a reply by letter.

One part of the question was -

Has adequate protection against gas attack by the provision of reserves of gas masks been made in the southern States of Australia?

One would think that that question deserved a fuller reply than three lines dismissing the whole subject and saying, in effect, that the public of Australia had no right whatever to know what stores of gas masks there were in Australia, how many had been issued, what personnel had been trained and how it was spread over the various States. There is not the slightest doubt that much more could be divulged than has been without any danger to national security. A great deal of information has been given in regard to other fighting requirements in this country without the issue of national security being raised. If there happened to be a shortage in other cases, it was in some instances placarded in the press with the idea of making it up, but there is nothing in the official reply furnished to me to show whether we have a surplus or a shortage, or what the position is in any State. The subject is very much wider than my limited case covers. Needless to say I shall not state what was in the Minister’s confidential reply, but in my opinion it ought properly to be given to the general public. If there were any details which it was felt, inadvisable to repeat, they could have been struck out, but the public is entitled to know something about the provision made in this important direction. That it is important anybody who has had to rely on his gas mask for his life, knowing perfectly well that he would not get through without it, must realize. I am afraid that this is only another instance of national security being used as an excuse for not giving to the House and the public information to which I consider that they are justifiably entitled, at any rate to a far greater degree than has happened in this instance.

Minister for Repatriation · Franklin · ALP

[4.9 1. - I cannot understand the attitude of the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) during this week. In the early part of it we read in every Sydney newspaper what he had to say about the food shortage which he predicted in Australia. He was once Minister for Commerce, and is supposed to represent a primary producing electorate. I represent a primary producing electorate and, so far as I have seen since I have been a member, we have to-day as Minister for Commerce the most practical man who has ever held that portfolio.

Mr Anthony:

– Is this a mutual admiration society?


– The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) should not intervene. He as Assistant Minister for Commerce made a thorough bungle of the apple and pear scheme. On more than one occasion after the war broke out I approached the right honorable member for Cowper when he was Minister for Commerce for funds to build cool stores in Tasmania. Every man representing primary producing districts and interested in the food supply of the Commonwealth realizes that we must build more cool stores. Will the honorable member for Richmond say that we have too many of them?

Mr Anthony:

– We initiated and built them while the honorable member and his colleagues only talked about them.


– When the war broke out, money was supposed to be made available for the building of cool stores, but the right honorable member for Cowper as Minister refused to help men on the land by facilitating this necessary work. Although we applied for the money over and over again, we could not get it. I asked the Minister a number of questions about it, and his replies are on record in Hansard. The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron), when Minister for Commerce, stated that he did not want foodstuffs preserved here. That was when I approached him with the request that cool stores should be built in Tasmania. They should have been built throughout Australia, but the honorable member would not listen. His reply that we had plenty of food for ourselves and that others could look after themselves is on record in Hansard. That also is the attitude which the right honorable member for Cowper took; yet he moved the adjournment of the House this week on the plea that the country was short of food. He is suddenly interested in the subject, but he made such a bungle of it while he was Minister for Commerce that he would not help the producers to preserve the commodities which were then available. 5ro country can go on in the way we have been doing for the last twenty years. The righthonorable member for Cowper referred to America, but he knows as well as I do that America would not treat its food supplies in the same manner as we have done. The American people would not slaughter cattle one day and eat the meat the next, as we do here.

Mr Abbott:

– One of the biggest troubles is that our cattle are not being killed here. The Minister knows the waste which is going on at the Homebush abattoirs.


– The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) is as big a humbug as is the honorable member for Richmond in regard to the primary producers. He is really the representative of private enterprise, as he proved by his speech on the bill to set up a mortgage branch of the Commonwealth Bank. The sooner the primary producers realize what the honorable member and his sort really are, the better it will be for this country. We must go more on American lines in the preservation of food by providing extensive cool storage. Throughout America they slaughter the cattle three months before they use the meat. In this country we simply live from hand to mouth, and if there is a hold-up at the abattoirs for two or three days there is a cry that we are short of meat. That should not be possible. There should be three months’* supply on hand in our cool stores the whole time. We need storage facilities to meet the requirements of men in the outback who have fat sheep or lambs on hand and cannot get an immediate market for them. If cool-storage space were available for that meat, there would be no difficulty. I tried to impress on the right honorable member for Cowper when his party was in power the importance of making these facilities available, but he turned a deaf ear every time. Now that he thinks that a general election is approaching lie conies to the House and raises a debate on an alleged acute food position in Australia. All honorable members who represent country districts must agree with me that more coolstorage space is urgently needed.

Air. Abbott. - Wo erected cool stores, a– the Minister knows. Be fair!


– Last year I tried to get cool-storage space for 100,000 bushels of fruit in ‘Sydney, but failed. The right honorable member for Cowper knows quite well that there has been a shortage of certain foodstuffs owing to man-power difficulties, and that the Minister for Commerce has had a difficult time in dealing with that problem. Obviously no man-power can be wasted at a time such as this. When I went to Tasmania in December of last year I found that there were 7,000 or S,000 tons of small fruits to be harvested. Labour was scarce and there was danger of the crop going to waste. In an endeavour to avoid withdrawing men from the Army I made an appeal to people in all fruit-growing districts to do their best to harvest the crops, “nd the response was excellent. Women who worked in their homes during the mornings spent a couple of hours picking fruit in the afternoon, and town people who usually spend their week-ends enjoying some form of relaxation went to the fruit-growing districts and worked in the orchards. The result was that the entire crop was harvested without withdrawing men from the Army. The honorable member for Richmond knows quite well that in all primary producing districts there is a pool of labour which can be drawn upon in an emergency. No woman who was anxious to assist in the war effort would refuse to spend, say, a couple of hours a day picking fruit.

Mr Anthony:

– That does not apply to the dairying industry. Townspeople cannot help in that work. It must all be done by experienced workers.


– That is quite true, and we hope that sufficient labour will be forthcoming for that work, but the fact remains that in most primary producing districts there is a considerable volume of labour which can be utilized in time of need. For instance, in Tasmania at present a large crop of hops has to be harvested, and the residents of hopgrowing districts, rich and poor alike, are assisting in this work. It is wrong for people engaged in any industry to say to the Government, arbitrarily, “ If you cannot supply more labour, we shall let the crops rot “, and they will not do so if an appeal is made to them in the proper manner. People realize that many of these products are vital to our fighting forces, and that if labour is withdrawn from the armed services, the men who have been in the front line in New Guinea for many mouths will be unable to be brought back to base areas for a rest. It; is not fair to ask our fighting men to carry on the battle until they drop.

Mr Marwick:

– Some of our men have been in New Guinea far too long as it is.


– I agree with the honorable member, and as I have said, if we withdraw men from the Army for agricultural work, it may not be possible to send the necessary relief to the forward areas. It is the duty of all honorable members to make an appeal for assistance in the harvesting cf crops. I regret that the right honorable member for Cowper has seen fit to make an attack upon the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture in this chamber.

Mr Archie Cameron:

– I would like the Minister for Repatriation to repeat what he was saying about me when I ramp into the chamber.


– I said that when the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) was Minister for Commerce I asked him would he make money available for the erection of cool stores wherever possible to accommodate surplus foodstuffs, and his reply was that we had sufficient food for ourselves. Then, when I drew attention to the fact that thousands of people were starving in Europe, he said that was their affair and not ours.

Mr Archie Cameron:

– The Minister cannot find that in Hansard.


– It is in Hansard. The right honorable member for Cowper represents a rural constituency, and he should be prepared to do his best to assist the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, who is doing a bettter job than that dene by any of his predecessors in recent years.


.- I wish to deal with the situation that has been created in industry as the result of the operations of the Women’s Employment Board. Honorable members will recall that one of the strongest attacks that had been made upon the Government by the Opposition was launched a few weeks ago in relation to this matter. The Government was warned then that the appointment of the Women’s Employment Board would eventually produce a chaotic state of affairs in industry. I have no wish to cover the ground which was covered so fully on the two previous occasions when this matter was debated, but I think that it would be informative if I were to quote to honorable members the contents of a number of press cuttings which have been taken at random during the past few days. It is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it is indicative of the type of problem which is being created in a host of industrial establishments throughout the Commonwealth. Criticism, of the Women’s Employment Board has been mainly on the ground that its operations would in many respects overlap the work of the Arbitration Court, and that, by having at least two different bodies dealing with the same problems, anomalies and” discrepancies would arise which would not be of assistance in maintaining industrial peace. The effects of such overlapping are evident, particularly in those industries which are included in the metal trades group. Female employees who were engaged in industry prior to the establishment of this board continue to work under the appropriate award for their industry, and under the National Security Regulations their wages cannot be increased, except in respect of living adjustments. On the other hand, female employees who have entered industry since the Women’s Employment Board was appointed are subject to the decisions of that board. The type of problem which is occurring in so many of our industrial concerns is this : First, there is the older and more experienced female operative who has been in the industry for some time, working under an award of the Federal Arbitration Court, and then, perhaps working alongside that employee and engaged upon similar work, there is the female operative who has had little experience, having entered industry comparatively recently, but who is subject to the decisions of the Women’s Employment Board. I shall cite an instance of the discrepancy that can arise in such circumstances. My authority is Mr. McDonald, secretary of the Metal Trades Employers Association, who was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald of the 3rd March as follows: - “ The difficulty is that the board has awarded substantial increases of wages to about half the females employed in the metal trades industry.’’ he said. “The award does not apply to the other half, who will continue tn work on the fixed rates of the. Arbitration Court award. ”‘(hu half covered by the decision of the Women’s Employment Board will now get not less than £± 1 SS. a week, with about £30 in back pay. while the other half will continue on their £3 Vis. a week. “Notwithstanding any agitation by union officials, there will be considerable delay in settling the position. Many engineering employers are working under conditions governed by Government departments, and no increase in wages can be paid without the permission of the Commonwealth Government. “ As to those females with whom the Women’s Employment Board cannot make an award, increased rates cannot lie forced in the face of the National Security (Economic Organization) Regulation which prohibits wage increases without the sanction of the appropriate authority. “ Therefore, if a strike occurs, it is not within the powers of the employers to make any adjustment.

I his award will breed discontent in factories which will never be healed, except by Government intervention.”

A few day; previously the Baily Mirror had published the following: -


” A vague, loosely-drawn order in which scissors and paste were used - and not enough scissors” was Mr. Justice O’Mara’s criticism to-day of thu Women’s Employment Board award fixing the rate of 90 per cent, of male wages for women employed in metal trades.

Hearing a complaint in the Central Arbitration Court that89 females employed by a Sydney company engaged on defence work were on strike, the judge said that employers were entitled to more information than was provided in the board’s common rule of the employment of females. “Employers are told they must pay certain rates and observe certain conditions in respect of employees included in the jurisdiction of the board, but are not given any clue as to what employees are included in such jurisdiction,” said His Honour.

An interesting analysis appeared in the Sydney Sun of the 3rd March, under the heading “Female Pay Chaos; Board Ruling Slated “. This analysis is credited to a leading industrial advocate. Judging by other press statements that were published at about the same time, I imagine that the gentleman in question is Mr. Dovey,K.C. The following matter was published : -

Decisions of the Women’s Employment Board are causing wage inequalities which are leading to turmoil and great discontent in many industries, a leading industrial advocate said to-day. “ The board has been granted power to usurp the functions of the Arbitration Court and to override its determinations,” he said.

The barrister pointed out that the principal function of the board was to determine the type of men’s work on which women could be employed and to fix the rate of. pay at not less than60 per cent., and not more than 100 per cent., of the male rate for similar work.

page 1294


The man’s wage rate had been fixed by the Arbitration Court which worked on the basic wage, fixed for a man, his wife and one child.

Female wages, fixed by the Arbitration Court, were54 per cent. of the male rate. A margin for skill also was allowed. “ The Women’s Employment Board decides that if a woman is doing the same work as a man - the standard being productivity and efficiency - she must be paid the full 100 per cent. of a man’s wages,” the advocate said.

Thus women in scores of instances are getting a wage equal to that set for a man, his wife and one child.

This applies not only to one industry, but to every particular establishment.

page 1294


The advocate quoted two examples -

page 1294


” The whole thing is farcical,” the advocate said. “Employers are not allowed, even if they so desire, to make up the pay of their old employees.”

The advocate said that the employers had gone to the Full Arbitration Court for an interpretation of the powers of the board, believing that the board was entitled only to deal with the wages of munition workers.

The court had decided the act creating the board was valid, and therefore the board had. in effect, power to override the Arbitration Court. “ This decision will have tremendous repercussions,” the advocate said.

I shall not read in full the statement which Mr. McDonaldissued as secretary of the Metal Trades Employers Association. If the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward) wishes to see it he will find it reported in the Sydney Sun of the 2nd March. I gather that it represents the views of the members of Mr. McDonald’s association. In the press of yesterday or to-day, Mr. Hendy, president of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia, issued the following statement: -

An unfortunate situation was quite expected by those who had foreseen the inevitable result of superimposing another and unrelated wage-fixing tribunal on the Arbitration Court. If the present method of sabotaging the wage- fixing structure of Australia was continued the community could look quite definitely to the continuance of a period of industrial difficulty.

Manufacturers had. from the inception of the board, warned the Government of the consequence to industrial peace and war-time production of the strangest wage-fixing set-up ever devised in Australia.

To divide the female working community into two camps, one section awarded by the new tribunal a wage up to 90 per cent. of the male rate, on. apparently, the consideration of the nature of the work done, and the other awarded a female wage on the basis adopted after proper consideration by our industrial courts and bavins;; regard to the social obligations of the workers concerned, is to ask for industrial unrest, and production stoppage in the plainest possible language. “One must assume”, saidMr. Hendy. “that the Government was fully aware of the implications of its actions when it constituted the board, and know exactly what it was doing and what the results would be. It can also be assumed that the Government’s economic advisers are fully aware of the position, and we may be pardoned for drawing attention to the very heavy addition to the cost of the war, not only to Australia, but also to our allies, who buy from us, which the adoption of something approaching equal pay for the sexes is imposing. “Manufacturers have always advised the Government to leave the work of fixing female and all other wages and working conditions, both during war and peace, to the judges of the Arbitration Court.”

I have read these statements because, in my view, no government or Minister oan ignore the significance of so many comments by responsible people being voiced at approximately the same time. They are clearly indicative of the existence of a great deal of difficulty, particularly in the metal trades group of industries, as the result of the conflict of the rates applicable to women, according to whether they are working under the old metal trades award or under decisions of the Women’s Employment Board. I suggest in all seriousness that the Government must have learned of the danger and difficulty of having a competing wage tribunal operating parallel with the Arbitration Court. I am aware of what the Minister for Labour and National Service has said in the past concerning the delays associated with the work of the Arbitration Court, and have some knowledge of the matter; nevertheless, whatever is being done to-day by the Women’s Employment Board could be done equally well, and just as speedily, if i’.n additional judge were appointed to the Arbitration Court. Judge Foster has become, in effect, the head of a new industrial tribunal. Everything which he does to-day as the head of that tribunal could be done by him equally effectively as a judge of the Arbitration Court specializing, if necessary, in problems of female employment. If that were done, a common rule could be applied to female employees in industry throughout Australia. In making this suggestion, I do not wish it to be thought that I advocate the reduction of the wages of female employees, or the introduction of cheap labour of any kind ; but many women have now become the indirect responsibility, in regard to their wages, of the Commonwealth Government and the taxpayers, whose burdens have been tremendously increased by the decisions of this House this week. Therefore no govern ment should ignore this important matter. If one set of women enjoy better conditions than their workmates, industrial friction will be created. An award made during the week grants to one section of female employees a payment of £30 in respect of past work, and a payment for continuing work of fi 6s. a week more than other women employees receive in the same establishments. Consequently, difficulties are inevitable.

The Department of Labour and National Service has issued lighting regulations which prescribe a standard of lighting for industrial establishments. I do not criticize the standard. As the Minister knows, I was instrumental in creating the Welfare Division of the Department of Labour and National Service. I have great admiration for the head of the division, Mr. Baxter, and hi3 officers, and I have watched with pleasure the work that they have been doing in order to improve the welfare standards of employees. My remarks should not be construed as criticism of the standards prescribed in the regulations. I know that the department obtained the advice of the Standards Association, among others, and therefore the standards which have been laid down can be regarded as having been properly and scientifically evolved. But there are serious obstacles in the way of implementing the regulations completely at the present time. For example, it is most difficult, and, in fact, impossible in many instances, to secure the materials required to comply with those standards. Furthermore, there is a real difficulty in securing the necessary skilled labour to perform, the work. If the regulations are observed to the letter the cost of the work will be millions of pounds. Hundreds of thousands of manhours will be used and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of materials, either in scarce supply or even unavailable, will be needed. I do not suggest that unsatisfactory lighting conditions should be. retained in industrial establishments for any considerable period, but I ask for flexibility in the administration of the regulations. If the department is reasonably convinced that the difficulties are real and that the employers are doing their best to comply with the standards, the regulations should be administered sympathetically. The employers do not wish to evade their responsibilities; but so soon as materials and labour become available, the Government could insist upon compliance with the welfare standards.

Minister for War Organization of Industry · Corio · ALP

– The honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Duncan-Hughes) referred earlier to the supply of respirators available to the civilian population, and sought information as to whether civilians had been trained in their use. The honorable gentleman was good enough to advise the Minister for Home Security (Mr. Lazzarini) of his intention to raise this matter. The Minister, who has been obliged to leave on urgent business, asked me to inform the honorable member that he will make investigations and furnish a reply as soon as possible.


– I bring to the notice of the Government a matter of the utmost importance to the residents of the Australian Capital Territory. As a part of a great national ideal, the National Capital has been established at Canberra; but the residents of the city have neither a voice nor a vote in the election of a member to the National Parliament. Under the altered circumstances to-day, this position is unjust, undemocratic, and improper. The whole basis of our democratic institutions is that the individual shall have a voice in the government of the Commonwealth. As proposals for the amendment of the Commonwealth electoral law are being discussed, I make an appeal on behalf of ‘the residents of the Australian Capital Territory for early and adequate representation in this Parliament. More than 3,000 persons living iii the Territory are entitled to the franchise, but they have no representation. One of the bases of democracy ir. that there shall be no taxation without representation. When they paid only federal income tax, ‘their claim for representation was not so strong as it is to-day. Since the introduction of the uniform income tax, their fiscal burdens are exactly the same as those of every other Australian. The inhabitants of the Northern Territory, who number only 6.000. elect a member to the House of

Representatives, though he may exercise a vote only on matters pertaining to his constituency. I fail to see why residents of the Australian Capital Territory and Jervis Bay should not be granted similar representation.

One of the proposed amendments of the Electoral Act is designed to enable men and women of the fighting services between the ages of IS and 21 years to exercise a vote in the election of senators and members of the House of Representatives. Shall we say to a young man fighting in the front line with his comrades that, because he happened to live in the Australian Capital Territory, he shall not have a vote, although his : ,ate in the same trench or strongpost, or his comrade in the Air Force or the Navy, can enjoy the franchise, because he did not reside in this Territory ?

Mr Archie CAMERON:

– Persons resident in New Guinea have no vote.


– There are very few civilian residents - if any - in New Guinea to-day, apart from those who are assisting the fighting forces. There has been almost a complete exodus from the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, and certainly from the area around Rabaul. An attempt to draw a comparison between residents of Canberra and New Guinea to-day is futile.

Mr Archie Cameron:

– The point 1 wished to make was that a resident of Canberra has no greater right to a vote than has a resident of New Guinea.


– I am submitting a practicable proposition. The Australian Capital Territory is populated - it has over S,000 inhabitants - whilst practically all of the former civil population of New Guinea has left that territory.

D”. Prick. - The Northern Territoryhas .10 representative at present.


– The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) now represents the Northern Territory, at the request of, and by arrangement with, the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain), who, unfortunately, as far as we know, is now a prisoner of war in. Malaya.

Mr Archie Cameron:

– No honorable n, ember has a right to give his constituency to another member.


– That is a facetious and unworthy remark. When the honorable member for the Northern Territory joined the fighting forces, he made arrangement?5 on behalf of his constituents for the honorable member for Bendigo to represent them in this chamber during his absence. I agreed to assist, the honorable member for Bendigo.


– I ask the honorable member for Moreton to pay no attention to interjections.


– The honorable memoir for Balaclava (Mr. White), prior to leaving for the front, arranged with the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) to attend to the affairs of his constituents, and to raise matters on their behalf in this chamber. The honorable member for Bendigo now represents the Northern Territory effectively. He has travelled through the territory many times, and is familiar with the requirements of the people. .1 urge that in the preparation of the amending electoral legislation, the Government should provide for the representation of the Australian Capital Territory in the National Parliament along the lines of the representation enjoyed by the residents of the Northern Territory.

I make a passing reference to the regrettable observations of the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Frost) concerning the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle .Page). Remarks of the kind offered by the Minister are unworthy of him and of the important department which he administers.’ 1. regard the statement as unfair and bordering on disherit sty, because the Minister should know better than to make such a statement. Very few, if any, members qf this Parliament work harder or have done more for the primary producers of this country titan has the right, honorable member for Cowper. For the last 25 years or more he has served the primary producers as no other honorable member has. Bad as their position is to-day, it would have been infinitely worse but for the services that he has rendered. I refuse to allow this vicious attack on him to be made without protest.


.- The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. francis) has submitted an unanswerable

Hill case for parliamentary representation of the Australian Capital Territory. We cannot discriminate between members of the fighting services. On reaching the age of eighteen years, men and women in the forces are, under a- foreshadowed amendment of the electoral laws, to be given a vote, and in the same amending bill the Government should provide for representation of persons resident in the Australian Capital Territory, whether they are soldiers or not. I am pleased that the request made by me in the first instance that members of the forces should be enfranchised at the agc of eighteen years is to be adopted by the Government, and passed into law during the present session.

Mr Duncan-Hughes:

– The Australian Capital Territory has not a sufficiently large population to make up the quota required under the electoral law to entitle the residents to a vote.


– I am in favour of the people in this Territory having a voice in the deliberations of this Parliament, but I do not go so far as to urge that their representative should be permitted to vote. If what the honorable member for Moreton has said is correct, residents of the Northern Territory are less entitled to representation, from the point of view of population, than are the people in the Australian Capital Territory. Residents of the Northern Territory know that they have a representative in this Parliament who can express their views and press for redress of their wrongs. By his presence in the Parliament, and by his access to Ministers, he can properly and quickly advance the claims of the residents. Therefore, representation having been conceded to the people of the Northern Territory, I see no valid reason why representation should not be given to persons resident in the Australian Capital Territory. In the post-war period, when further government departments will be moved to this Territory from Melbourne and Sydney,- the .population will rapidly increase. ] will probably double in less than five years, and the Territory will have almost half as many people as reside in the average constituency on the mainland. The population will approximate to the number of persons entitled to a vote in electoral districts in Tasmania.

Mr Archie Cameron:

– No.


– The honorable member for Barker is out of step with almost every body else in Australia in refusing to recognize that in time of war we must prepare for the peace, otherwise wo shall experience a greater disaster after the war than we did when it started. We entered this war unprepared, and that was bad enough, but to enter the peace period unprepared would be to invite the subversive part of the community to give full reign to its feelings, and to create all sorts of social and political unrest. In my opinion, the Australian aborigines are entitled to representation in this Parliament.

M.r. Archie Cameron. - I would include the Afghans, too.


– These interruptions are prolonging the proceedings unnecessarily. I will not tolerate any further interjections.


– The Australian aboriginal race has been so misused by the white race that it would be hard to find in the annals of history a similar record of debauchery, cruelty and inhumanity. The remnants of the race are certainly entitled to some recognition in this Parliament. The native race in New Zealand has separate representation in Parliament,, and in the French Chamber of .Deputies there were representatives from all parts of Franco’s colonial empire. At some future time further disclosures will, no doubt, be made of the treatment still being meted out to the aborigines. They are most certainly entitled to representation in the National Parliament.

Last, week, the Minister for th.i Army (Mr. Forde) gave a reply to a question which I asked about the treatment of a soldier before a c,ourt martial. This nian was sentenced to twelve months’ detention for desertion, and was then found guilty on a charge of using insubordinate language to hi. superior officer, and of striking his superior officer in the execution of his office. On this charge, a further sentence of fourteen months’ detention was imposed. The

Minister’s reply to me contains the following passage: -

Upon review of the evidence, however, the conviction for striking his superior officer in the execution of his office was quashed and the sentence was reduced to one of thirteen months’ detention. This sentence is being served concurrently with the sentence of twelve months’ detention.

It is apparent that, for the offence of striking his superior officer, the soldier was sentenced to one month’s detention, whereas for using insubordinate language he was sentenced to detention for thirteen months. If that is the way in which the Army hands out justice it is no wonder that there is grave dissatisfaction with the conduct of courts martial, and the treatment which men receive at their hands. The absurdity of the reply is so evident that I wonder that the Minister himself did not detect it.

I desire to bring another matter under the attention of the Minister for the Army. In December last, Captain L. J. Bishop died on the same day that he was inoculated. By some extraordinary process of reasoning the Army authorities have come to the conclusion that he did not die from the effects of inoculation, and a pathologist’s opinion to that effect is quoted. During the afternoon, the unfortunate officer was inoculated with two different serums, and shortly afterwards was taken violently ill, and died in a. military ambulance at approximately 6 o’clock on the way to the Heidelberg Military Hospital. It is perfectly obvious that he died from the effects of the inoculation, and his family will probably have great difficulty in securing an adequate pension, or even the recognition of their right to a pension, because it will be said that the pathologist who performed the postmortem examination found that the inoculation was not a factor in the man’s death. During the same afternoon lie had been testing tinned foods, and the pathologist found that the tinned foods did not cause his death, either; he just died of cardiac failure. It is evident that an attempt is being made to obscure the obvious fact that the inoculation did cause his death. Army medical officers will deny that inoculation can have deleterious effects, and they will continue to insist that every one must submit to inoculation. There ought to be an examination of inoculation methods by a competent medical authority.

Mr Anthony:

– Where did this incident occur?


– In Melbourne. Recently, I asked the Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings) whether it was a fact that there was dissatisfaction among the staff of the Canberra railway station, and, if so, would he have inquiries made into the matter. I received a reply that the Commissioner for Railways had no knowledge of any dissatisfaction. Such a reply, which was, of course, written by .some official in the Department of the Interior, does little credit to the Minister or to the department. If I ask a question about dissatisfaction among Commonwealth Railway employees, it should bc apparent that I know there i.s dissatisfaction, and the Minister should depute somebody to see what is wrong. The fact that the commissioner, whose office is in Melbourne, does not know of the existence of dissatisfaction at Canberra proves nothing, and the Minister’s reply was not an answer at all. Members of Parliament have to endure too many indignities of this kind from departmental officials who prepare replies to questions. This afternoon, the honorable member for Wakefield. (Mr. DuncanHughes) spoke of the increasing difficulty experienced by members of Parliament in obtaining information. That is a state of affairs which should be remedied as soon as possible-

Minister for Labour and National Service · East Sydney · ALP

– I desire to reply to further criticism by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) regarding the operations of the Women’s Employment Board. He quoted extensively from newspaper extracts giving the opinion of people, whom we may assume are partisans, and advanced those opinions as evidence that great difficulties had been created in industry by the decisions of the board. He did not, however, say what would be the position if the board were not in existence. As honorable members know, the position would be chaotic. A great deal of the country’s production would have been lost had the Government not taken action to ensure that men who left industry for the fighting forces were replaced by women. The introduction of additional women into industry created problems which had to be dealt with. The Women’s Employment Board was set up to deal with those problems. The Government, does not deny that the decisions of the board have created anomalies, but th«> way to correct those anomalies’ is not by abolishing the board and reverting to the old system of fixing wages for women. That would cause chaos. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) declared that as the result of the institution of the Women’s Employment Board the anomalous position had been created of women newly employed in industry receiving higher wages than more experienced women who had been in the industry for many years. The Government does not deny that. The secretary of the Metal Trade Employers Association, Mr. McDonald, said recently that, owing to a decision of the board, 50 per cent of the women employed in the metal trades industry were receiving £4 1Ss. a week, whereas the other 50 per cent., who had been in the industry for some time, were receiving only £3 12s. a week and that, even if the employers desired to place all the women on the same level, they were prevented by the economic regulations from doing so. That difficulty could be overcome. Before the establishment of the Women’s Employment Board, wages for women in industry were fixed by the Arbitration Court. The Government could ask the court when deciding what constitutes an anomaly to have regard to the decisions of the Women’s Employment Board. That would provide machinery to enable the metal trades employers to raise the pay of all their female employees to the level fixed by the Women’s Employment Board. It is a remarkable fact that the metal trades employers have not asked the Government to assist them in surmounting the difficulty created by the economic regulations.

Mr Holt:

Mr. McDonald said that the matter required Government intervention. The Minister will concede that only the intervention of the Government onn solve the problem.


– Yes, but the Government intervention desired by the employers is in the direction of reverting to the old system under which the Arbitration Court, regardless of standards of efficiency, fixed the wages of women in industry at 04 per cent, of the male rate. The Government will examine the position in order to ascertain what can be done to overcome this difficulty. The honorable member also quoted remarks made by Mr. Dovey, K.C. Mr. Dovey was briefed by the Metal Trades Employers Association to appear before the Women’s Employment Board on it* behalf. The opinions he expressed there could not be accepted as strictly impartialAir. Dovey said that the decisions of the Women’s Employment Board wor? causing wage inequality. That existed before the board was established. He said, further, that the employers were not allowed to make up the pay of older employees. I have already dealt with that aspect. The honorable member also referred to the statement by the secretary of the Chamber of Manufactures, Mr. Hendy, that deci.sions of the Women’s Employment Board were unrelated to the arbitration system. That is not so. The Women’s Employment Board does not fix rates of wage’, in the sense of making an award. Tt determines, what percentage of the wage awarded by the Arbitration Court to males shall be paid to women who replace men in industry. I concede the truth of Mr. Dovey’s argument that the continuance of two rates of pay for women working in the same industry will divide the women employees into two camps and lead to industrial stoppages. It is true that there is friction and that this friction will result in stoppages unless the cause be removed as a result of action taken by the Government. That friction will not be removed by action in the direction desired by the opponents of the Women’s Employment Board, namely, reversion to the old system of fixing wages of women in industry, which would result in the wages now being paid under the determination of the Women’s Employment Board being reduced to those paid to other women in the industry under a determination of the Arbitration Court. The policy of the Government is to raise the status of women in industry, because it knows that they have been underpaid for years, as the result of the basis upon which their wage rates are fixed having been determined by the Arbitration Court. If the employers wish to get over their difficulty by raising the wages of the lesserpaid women, the Government will do all in its power to assist them.

The honorable member for Fawkner dealt also with the industrial lighting regulations and said that he had no criticism of the standards set by the industrial welfare division of the Department of Labour and National Service. He complimented the department on what it has done in respect of the improvement of lighting in industrial undertakings. I join with him in commending the industrial welfare officers for the excellent work that they have done in improving the conditions of workers. The honorable member, however, said that there were difficulties in the way of carrying out the standard set because of a shortage of materials and skilled labour. I noticed in the press that one or two employers had complained about those difficulties, and I instructed the industrial welfare division to make inquiries, but no approach has been made on that subject to the department or the Government. A great many employers commend the policy for the improvement of industrial conditions, but say that it should be delayed until after the war. Now, more than ever before, if is necessary that lighting conditions in factories be. improved, because in many cases three shifts are being worked, whereas, in pre-war days, all work was done in daylight. It is imperative, not only in the interests of the workers themselves, but also in the interest of war production, that there be proper lighting in factories. It is untrue to say that the improvements that must be effected under the industrial lighting regulations will involve millions of pounds of expenditure, and the use of large quantities of materials essential for other purposes. That is merely another example of the opposition which private enterprise offers to any attempt by the Government to improve industrial conditions. But for the opposition of private individuals and persons representing vested interests the Department of Labour and National Service would have done a great deal more than it has done to improve industrial conditions. The Government will do everything possible to ensure that the improvements it has demanded will be effected as :0011 as possible.


.- I wish to refer briefly to the extraordinary difficulties that I have experienced in lodging an appeal on behalf of SergeantPilot Gregor, who was arrested after an air force accident some months ago and awarded a term of twelve months’ imprisonment in a civil gaol. My purpose is not to discuss the merits or otherwise of the case, but merely to draw attention to the difficulties placed in the way of this boy having his case properly considered by the constituted courts of appeal. 1 visited Gregor at the prison farm camp last Saturday afternoon for the purpose of ascertaining the facts for myself. He comes from the district which I represent, and for that reason 1. have taken a particular interest in his case. His appeal to the Air Board a week or two ago was not successful, and under air force regulations he has the right of final appeal to the GovernorGeneral. I went to the camp on Saturday afternoon after consultation with Gregor’s legal advisers, and had with me the document which Gregor was required to sign, setting forth the terms of his final appeal. I expected that it would be possible for him to sign it, and that I might take it away with me and have it properly lodged with the Minister for Air (Mr. Drakeford). But the officer in control there said that he could not permit any document signed by Gregor to go out until he had consulted the officer in charge of the prison farm, who was not then available, but he promised to post, the document back to me quite early in the week. “When it had not arrived by Wednesday, I rang up the farm, and the officer in charge informed me that he could not give authority for the appeal to be forwarded to me, but that he had sent it on to the Controller-General of Prisons for New-

South Wales in Sydney, whose responsibility it was to decide whether the document should go forward. On Thursday when the document still had not turned up, 1 asked the Minister for Air a question in the House about it. I wish at this stage to pay a tribute to the Minister for the very great help which he has endeavoured, to give throughout the case, so that what I say with respect to it must not be taken as reflecting in any way on him, or, indeed, on the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt), who also has been enormously helpful. I am merely drawing attention to the obstacles which are placed in the way of a boy, whose freedom has been taken from him, in submitting his appeal. The document, as I say, went to Mr. Nott, Controller-General of Prisons. I understand that after I asked the Minister on Thursday whether the appeal had yet been received he got in touch with Mr. Nott, who informed him that he could not part with the document, which had to go to Mr. Downing, the Minister for Justice in New South Wales. So far as I know, Mr. Downing still has it. It is now almost a week since I personally went to the prison farm to get the appeal signed so that it might be promptly lodged, but still it has not been received in Canberra. The delay is due simply to the arguments put up by the S twite authorities as to whether the body of the prisoner is theirs, or whether he is a federal prisoner. As I have repeatedly pointed out, I am not attempting to discuss the merits of Gregor’s sentence. I have my own views about it, but that is a matter for the properly constituted authorities to determine. When their final determination is made I may have something to say on it, but I do not want to influence the matter one way or another until it is finally disposed of by the proper courts. I direct attention simply to the unfair treatment that is meted out in cases such as this. These remarks do not apply only to Gregor’s case, but to any service prisoner who happens to be thrown into a civil gaol. My criticism throughout has been that a boy such as this should not be thrown into a civil gaol for an air force offence which is not of a criminal character. I shall have more to say about that, on a subsequent dato. At this stage

I content myself with drawing .the attention of the House, the Government and the country to the difficulties which were placed in my way. So far as I have been officially informed, the appeal has not yet arrived here, but I have reason to believe that it will be speedily obtained as the result of intervention by the Minister or some other person, lt, should not be necessary to invoke influence to have an appeal such as .this dealt with. I hope that, in any future case of the kind, steps will be taken to give the prisoner the right to have his case promptly heard.


.- I draw the attention of the right honorable the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) and the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) to the fact that there is a strong desire, which I share, that a number of persons of Australian birth or British nationality interned in Australia should have their cases favorably considered by the Government. I refer not only to the members of the Australia First Movement but also to a number of others. Some of the former are still interned, the only reason being that they have refused to avail “themselves of their right of appeal to an internment tribunal. I do not think that they should be continued in. internment. A number of Australia First ex-internees have been released on conditional liberty, with various restraints imposed on them. It is time that those restraints were removed. Apart from those cases, a number of other people have their freedom curtailed, being either interned or on conditional liberty. By this time we should be perfectly satisfied that the members of the Australia First Movement had no treasonable intentions at all. I had a conversation in Melbourne with an officer who conducts investigations. He said that he was perfectly satisfied that even among Italian and German internees there is no pro.Japanese sentiment. I am quite convinced that among the Australian and British people who were interned there was no such sentiment. I believe that the Government would do a graceful act, for which the country would be grateful, if it released those who are interned, and removed the restraints on the liberty of those who have been conditionally released.

Barker · ALP

– I entered the chamber in time to hear the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Frost) misrepresent me. I shall be extremely grateful if he will produce the Hansard numbers which he says record the fact that during my term of office as Minister for Commerce in 1940 I stated that we had all the cool-storage facilities that we wanted in this country. The actual facts are that in 1940 I was faced with a shortage of cool-storage facilities, and had to take special steps, as the present Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) can quickly verify if he examines the files, to see that those facilities were considerably improved and increased. The toughest n’t that I had to deal with was the Government of Victoria, which owned coolstorage works, and seemed to think thai every private person should be prepared to improve and increase cool storage, but that it need not do so.

Mr Scully:

– That Government is still tough.


– That is probably true. Now that the Minister for Repatriation has entered the chamber, I again ask him if he will be good enough to produce the Hansard references of which he spoke earlier in this debate.

Mr Frost:

– I shall do so.


– Probably we shall then have an’ interesting evening.

Then there is the question raised by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis). I am at a loss to know why the honorable member has suddenly developed this interest in the representation of Canberra returned soldiers. I have known a lot of returned soldiers in Canberra since I have been here, and there were many here before I arrived. The honorable member for Moreton was here a long time before I arrived, but this is the first time that I have known him to display any interest in the representation of Canberra returned soldiers.

Mr Francis:

– The honorable member for Barker should wake up. I have attended every one of their conferences, and their Legacy Club meetings as well.


– I am not surprised at that; but surely the honorable member’s interest in returned soldiers should go back to those who served in the last war, and should not be confined to those who are leaving our fighting forces to-day.

M.r. Francis. - Like the honorable member for Barker, I was not here during the last war to see that the soldiers in Canberra, had a vote. I am concerned now about returned soldiers of this war having a vote.


– I am not in favour of that. Members of the Opposition would do well to give very careful consideration to the half-baked crazy schemes that are being propounded for a reduction of the age limit for voters. If that sort of thing were carried far enough, we could have the schoolchildren voting, and then we might have the “ Quiz Kids “ here as members of Parliament instead of as interested spectators and commentators on what takes place here. It must be remembered that the moment we reduce the age limit for voters, in order that certain persons may lie placed on the electoral roll, we automatically make persons of that age eligible for election to Parliament. People who are to have a say in the election of members of Parliament should have some experience of life, and a balanced outlook, so that they may cast an intelligent vote. I do not say that every body who votes to-day is intelligent or casts an intelligent vote, but we certainly shall not improve matters by monkeying around with the electoral rolls in the manner proposed.

I repeat I have risen only to ask the Minister for Repatriation to produce the quotation from Hansard to which he referred.

Mr Frost:

– My memory is very good.


– So is mine.

Mr Mcdonald:

– Surely honorable members will rely upon Hansard


– I do not always trust Hansard, because I am well aware of the difference between the Ilansard of the State Parliament in which I served, and that of the Commonwealth Parliament. Some of the most important statements ever made in this place do not appear in Hansard.

Mr Francis:

– That is not fair. Hansard reporters are most efficient.


– That is true. I do not know who was responsible for the excision of the statements, but I can give instances of that having been done. I do not look upon the Hansard of this Parliament in the same light as the Hansard of the South Australian Parliament, in which every honorable member was supplied with a complete copy of the proceedings, so that if an alteration were made every honorable, member would know of it. Here, an honorable member receives only a copy of his own speech, and anything that may be said about him in somebody else’s speech can be altered or “ butchered “ without consulting him. My view is that the Hansard method of this Parliament is a rotten method, and that the practice of the State Parliament should be followed in giving to every honorable member a full copy of the proceedings.

Mr Chifley:

Hansard makes better speeches than some honorable members.


– I realize that. I recall that on one occasion a certain member of the South Australian Parliament requested that his speeches be reported verbatim. That was done on the next occasion on which he spoke, and the request was never repeated. I know that the Hansard staff dresses up speeches, just as journalists do, but some of us do not like our speeches being dressed; we prefer them in all their ugliness as they are delivered.

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · Gwydir · ALP

– I shall draw the attention of the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) to the representations that have been made by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn). As the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) has already taken up with the responsible Minister the matter to which he has referred this afternoon, there will be no need for me to take any steps in regard to it. Other matters raised by honorable members have already been dealt with by the appropriate Ministers. The question of parliamentary representation for the Australian Capital Territory, referred to by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis), will be referred to the Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings).

I should like to comment briefly upon the subject of food supplies, which was raised by the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page). I say advisedly that the attitude of the right honorable member in regard to this matter is not in keeping with the high traditions of Australian citizenship, or with the high standard of conduct thatone expects from a man who has held highly responsible offices in the councils of the Empire. The right honorable member must have known that some of the statements that he made this afternoon were absolutely incorrect.


– Order ! The Minister may not make such assertions.


– The statements made by the right honorable member for Cowper cannot be attributed to lack of knowledge of the subject under discussion. The right honorable member’s allegations in regard to the food position are at variance with announcements that have been made by the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Mr. Beasley) and myself. This eternal croaking by the right honorable gentleman is to be deplored, because never in the history of this country was there more systematic planning for present and future supplies of all primary products than there is to-day. Every one knows that there is an alarming shortage of man-power. That is only to be expected. When we realize that, although Australia is essentially a primary producing country, more than half of its population is in the fighting forces or engaged upon war work, the manner in which the food front is being maintained is remarkable. The Government and the people of Australia owe a debt of gratitude to the primary producers for the way they have shouldered their burden and are carrying out their obligations to our fighting forces in regard to the supply of foodstuffs. I commend them. Last May, almost immediately after the parliamentary committee of which the honorable member for Moreton was chairman had .presented to the Government a report in which it drew attention to the great shortage of man-power in Australia - a fact that was apparent to all - a blanket exemption was applied to all primary products, and it has not since been interfered with. The Army, under the direction of the Minister .for the Army (Mr. Forde), has done everything humanly possible to release from their military duties as many seasonal workers as possible, in order that they might assist in the harvesting of the crops. Over 15,000 Army personnel were released to assist in the recent wheat harvest. Those are established facts. For the life of me .1 cannot understand why a man of such high repute as the right honorable gentleman, who has held office in this Parliament, should persist with a tirade of abuse in respect of our food position which can cause only discontent and unrest not only in Australia hut also throughout allied countries. I hope that in this latest outburst we have heard the last of such deplorable exhibitions.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 1304


The following papers were presented : -

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Commonwealth purposes - Collingwood, Victoria.

National Security Act - National Security (Mau Power) Regulations - Order - Registration of nurses.

House adjourned at 5.31) p.m.

page 1304


The following answers to questions were circulated: -

Chartered Banks of Canada


Y - On the 20th February, the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn) asked the following questions, upon notice- -

  1. Has he seen the statement reported in the Canadian House of Commons Debates on the 29th July, 1942 (page 5289), that the chartered banks of Canada are lending money at one-half of 1 per cent, to the Government and other large customers?
  2. Will be ascertain whether this is correct?
  3. At what rate of interest are (a) the trading banks of Australia, and (6) the Commonwealth Bank, lending to the Government?

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

  1. I have seen this statement, winch formed part of a question put to the Minister of Finance by the member for Broadview, Mr. T. L. Church.
  2. I am unable to confirm the correctness of this statement, as the reply of the Minister of Finance is not available. 3. (a) Since this Government came into office the trading banks have not been permitted to lend money direct to the Government. (6) Loans made to this Government by the Commonwealth Bank have been against Commonwealth treasury-bills, on which the ni to of discount is li per cent, per annum.

Cigarettes for Sick and Wounded Soldiers

Mr Curtin:

n. - On the 25th February, the honorable member for Moreton (Mx. Francis) asked the following question, without notice.: -

I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that radio station 4BH, Brisbane, has raised many thousands of pounds in order to supply cigarettes to sick and wounded soldiers who arc inmates of hospitals, and that, because of the substantial reduction of the number of cigarettes made available to it, this company has been unable to fulfil the object for which the fund was inaugurated? I understand that representations in the matter have been -made to the right honorable gentleman, and I have read protests concerning it that have been published in the Brisbane press. Will the right honorable gentleman sympathetically re-examine the request for an additional number of cigarettes to be granted?

I desire to inform the honorable member that the Government has recognized the need for providing sick and wounded soldiers with tobacco and cigarettes. Special and adequate supplies for this tun-pose had been made available to longestablished societies which have particular experience and special facilities throughout the Commonwealth for efficient distribution. ‘The available stocks of tobacco leaf in Australia have declined to a most dangerous level. The position was such that it is quite impracticable to make additional supplies available to meet a demand which has already been specially catered for. The extreme Paucity of stocks is evidenced by the drastic reduction of supplies made available to the normal trade and also to workers engaged in the production of articles essential to the war effort. It has also hern found necesary slightly to restrict the the basis on which tobacco »nd cigarettes arc made available to the fighting forces. The distribution of tobacco and cigarettes is controlled by National Security (Tobacco Rationing) Regulations. If station 4BH purchased tobacco and cigarettes in the base year for rationing purposes, i.e., the year ended the 30th September, 1940, then it is entitled to supplies on the existing rationed basis. The extremely short stock position renders it impossible to make additional supplies available.

On the 25th February, the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan) asked the following question, without notice : -

I ask thu Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether wholesale tobacco merchants in Brisbane have refused to provide cigarettes for station 4BH sick soldiers’ organizations? If so, will the Minister compel them to make supplies of cigarettes available to this organization in order to stop the .political propaganda which is being used al present against the Govern ment?

The Minister for Trade and Customs has furnished the following reply : -

The Government has token no direct action in connexion with any supplies of tobacco and cigarettes distributed- by 4BH broadcast ing station.

The pivotal .point of the tobacco rationing scheme which was instituted by a previous government is that manufacturers and wholesalers shall not supply any distributors or vendors other than those operating during i.lie year ended the 30th September, 1940, and shall only supply quantities related to base vear purchases. As far as can be gathered it would appear that Brisbane distributors erroneously supplied to 4B1I broadcasting station quantities nf cigarettes and tobacco.

A serious position has arisen because of the depletion of stocks of tobacco leaf held in the Commonwealth and economies have been enforced in all avenues of consumption - civilian, munition workers and even fighting services. Wholesalers have consequently had to review their distribution, and no doubt ceased granting supplies to the broadcasting station. For a time the Australian Canteens “Board also supplied the station with a limited quantity nf cigarettes and tobacco, but the board, probably on account of shortage of its own stocks, ceased this service on the 18th February, 104 3.

The Government recognized the need for providing the sick and wounded of the fighting services with the comforts to which they aTe entitled and for that purpose special privileged allocations have bren provided to meet the requirements of Ions-established organizations which have particular experience and special facilities throughout the Commonwealth for the most efficient distribution. As the exist- i!C! suein! irs arc enabled to provide for sick and woundedmen on a comparatively liberal scale, it is considered that any additional supplies amount to a duplication of an existing service and such duplication cannot be justified in view of the prevailing paucity of tobacco.

The activities of 4BII broadcasting station are a duplication of the work carried out by the Queensland branch of the Australian Red Cross Society, and they result in an unfair abundance being made available to soldier inmates of Brisbane hospitals as against their kindred in all other parts of the Commonwealth.

T he Queensland Tobacco Distribution Committee, the statutory body, which carefully examined the claims of 4BH broadcasting station, strongly recommends that privileged supplies of tobacco and cigarettes should not be made available for this station and that any such supplies available for free distribution amongst soldiers in hospitals should be handled by theRed Cross Society.

Canberra Railway Station Staff

Mr Calwell:

l asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that dissatisfaction exists amongst the staff at the Canberra railway station ?
  2. If so, will he have an inquiry made into the matter?
Mr Lazzarini:
Minister Assisting the Treasurer · WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– The answer to the honorable member’squestions is as follows : -

The Commonwealth Railways Commissioner has no knowledge of any dissatisfaction.

Tax-free Loans.

Mr Morgan:

n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. What are the amounts of tax-free loans still outstanding and the dates of maturity?
  2. What is the amount of annual interest payable thereon?

Mr.Chifley. - The information is being obtained, and will be furnished as soon as possible.

Commonwealth Bank : Treasury Bills;

Transfers of Profits.

Mr Morgan:

n asked the Treasurer, uponnotice -

  1. To what extent during each financial year since the commencement of the war has the Commonwealth Bank (a) discounted treasurybills and (b) negotiated such treasury-bills to private financial institutions and/or the general public, respectively?
  2. What was the consideration passing to the bank on such negotiation, and how was it effected? 3. (a) What is the total of excess funds transferred by private banks to the Common- wealth Rank in accordance with National

Security Regulations; (b) how was such transfer effected; (c) what amount was in cash and how much by alternative security, and (d) what is the nature of any such security?

Mr Chifley:

– Inquiries are being made, and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.

Private Incomes; Goods fobcivilian Use.

Mr Blackburn:

n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. What was the aggregate private income of Australia (a) in 1939, and(b) in 1942?
  2. What was the value of the goods available for civil consumption (a) in 1939, and (b) in 1942?
Mr Chifley:

– Inquiries are being made, anda reply will be furnished as soon as possible.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 5 March 1943, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.