16th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. J. S. Rosevear) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– A few weeks ago, the Prime Minister asked me to conduct an investigation of the incidence of malaria among our troops, and to suggest the best means of combating the disease and ensuring that malaria will not become endemic in Australia. I have submitted a report which makes far-reaching recommendations in regard to what should be done. Two things are necessary to success in implementing the recommendations. One requirement is, that action upon them should be taken immediately. The Prime Minister has assured me that he has already taken certain action. The second vitally important point is, that “a continuous policy should be agreed upon by all parties in this House in order that action taken in certain respects by the executives of the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, . as well as by civil health authorities, may be strong and firm. I now ask the Prime Minister whether, before the dissolution of Parliament, he will take steps to ascertain what possibility may exist of obtaining agreement by all parties in respect of other very important matters of health policy?
– Insofar as the report relates to the troops, action has been taken, and will continue to be taken, in association with the services. In some respects, as the right honorable gentleman knows, 1 action anticipated his recommendations. Certain of his recommendations emphasize the desirability of extending practices which the Army had already introduced. Important features of the report of the right honorable gentleman - for which the Government and- the country ai-e indebted to him - involve the relationship of the civil population to persons who have suffered from malaria, the majority , of whom arc troops.- ‘ I am quite in agreement- with him that a continuous policy on the part of the Commonwealth is imperative and urgent. The right honorable gentleman knows that a continuous policy, insofar as it relates to the civil treatment of health, is a matter that is doubtfully within the province of. the Commonwealth.
– Why ?
– Because Commonwealth power in respect of health is practically restricted to quarantine, although the Commonwealth can give subsidies to the State governments to do all kinds of work in respect of health. The right honorable gentleman knows that, in a recent endeavour to clarify the relationship which the health of the civil population will have to Commonwealth responsibility, the best that could be achieved was that the Commonwealth will have power in regard to health only in association with the States.
– I do not admit that that is the position under the defence power of the Commonwealth.
– In that matter and in a number of other matters, I am in entire agreement with the right honorable gentleman, but, unfortunately, the majority of the justices of the High Court apparently do not entertain the same view as he and I hold. That is the difficulty. I assure the right honorable member for Cowper that an endeavour will be made to give effect to his recommendations to the fullest degree permitted by the powers of the Commonwealth.
- by leave - As the third liberty loan was still open for subscription when Parliament rose on the 1st April last, I take this opportunity to inform the House of the results of the loan. The final figures show that 423,000 applications were received, for a total amount of £101,804,000. This *M £1,804,000 in excess of the amount sought. To all those citizens who contributed to the success of the loan, the Government has already expressed its appreciation. It is not necessary, on this occasion, to individualize; but honorable members will agree with me that special mention is warranted of the 1,500 war loan committees throughout the Commonwealth who, in a voluntary capacity, applied themselves to the task of ensuring that their districts would make a maximum contribution to the loan. Their work in this loan, as in previous loans, has been of the greatest importance.
-Is the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction in a position to indicate whether he is likely to make an early pronouncement, or to submit a progress report, in respect of matters of postwar reconstruction that have been undertaken by his department? Does the, department propose to link up with the various departments that have been set up in the matter by the State governments, in order that complete collaboration may be achieved in connexion with post-war plans and the decentralization proposals of the different State governments ?
-Considerable preliminary work has been done in connexion with the general plan of post-war reconstruction. The Tariff Board has been examining for some time proposals in relation to secondary industry. A Rural Industries Commission has been set up, and has already toured the State of Western Australia. The Housing Commission is at present taking evidence in New South Wales. National works, it is considered, ought to be the subject of particular discussion with the States. Correspondence has been addressed to the various State Premiers, seeking their cooperation in regard to the preparation of a programme of national works, and asking for their assistance generally in regard to this and other matters, including the work that has been undertaken by the various commissions that have been appointed. The Commonwealth hopes that later there will be a meeting of the State Premiers, probably concurrently with the next meeting of the Loan Council. A certain degree of finality may be reached in regard to methods by which the Commonwealth and the States may collaborate in connexion with national works. Some of the State Premiers personally, and others by letter, have indicated to the Commonwealth their desire to co-operate and collaborate with it.
– In his plan for postwar reconstruction, will the Minister take into consideration, and review, the agreement made in 1928 between Britain and Australia on the subject of migration? Will he explore the possibility of continuing the scheme for the settlement of servicemen and migrants in the Lachlan Valley, New South Wales?
– The construction of certain water conservation projects in New South Wales, particularly in the electorate of the honorable member, was the subject of an agreement between the Commonwealth and the States. I shall have this matter examined in conjunction with the other public works to which I have referred.
Article in” Smith’s Weekly”.
– I ask the Minister for the Army whether, under a national security regulation, two military officers some time ago entered the office of Smith’s Weekly in Sydney, and demanded that they be furnished with the name of the person who had supplied to that newspaper a copy of the balance-sheet of the Army CanteensFund? Was this action taken under authority delegated by the Minister? Did the editor of Smith’s Weekly refuse to comply with the demand ? Has the Minister denied knowledge of this high-handed action having been taken under his authorization, and stated publicly that he would call for a report upon the incident? If so, will the honorable gentleman table the report in this House?
– While in Western Australia, I was informed that a search had been made by two military officers at the offices of Smith’s Weekly. I then said that the action had been taken without my approval, and that I had no knowledge of it. The authorization had been given in a general way by the Minister for Defence, not by the Minister for the Army. I called for a report in connexion with the matter, and shall inquire as to whether or not it may be made available to the honorable gentleman.
– Yesterday, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) asked me a question, without notice, in regard to the arbitration determination for the dairying industry. I understand that a consent award has been made, and that an announcement on the subject is expected within a few days.
” THE BRISBANE LINE “.
– by leave - Speaking during the early hours of “Wednesday morning, the honorable member for Maranoa (Sr. Baker) stated that he had distributed among his electors in the west of Queensland a copy of a map showing a small section of Australia, the defence of which was envisaged by “ the Brisbane line “ strategy. He added -
I asked them to look at it, and said that the sergeant of police and his men, who were present, could arrest me if I said anything that was wrong. I then said, “ They throw you to the wolves, and now they are about to come back for a renewed vote of confidence. If you give it, I hope you will get what is coming to you”. I intend to distribute 10,000 copies of that map to my constituents, and I shall tell them what terrible consequences would have attended the invasion of Australia by Japan with the application of “the Brisbane line “ policy.
– The map ought to have on it the photographs of all you Quislings, rats and traitors.
– They would include the honorable gentleman. I invite the Prime Minister to look into this matter, in view of the developments that have occurred concerning “ the Brisbane line “. I demand to know the source from which the honorable member for Maranoa obtained the map. Is it an official map? Are honorable members of this House at liberty to divulge to the public information which should be secret, in that it purports to reveal war strategy? Furthermore, is there not a national security regulation which prohibits the printing and distribution of information such as the honorable member for Maranoa has indicated he intends to print and distribute?
– The Leader of the Opposition has directed attention to statements made quite recently in this Parliament by the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Baker). I presume that, having brought the matter to my notice, he expects me to make some inquiries. I have not yet had an opportunity to do so. He has asked me whether I intend to make any comment on the matter. I have questioned the honorable member for Maranoa, and he says that no map was given to him by anybody.
– He asked for leave to have one inserted in Hansard.
– The accusation is that the honorable member in some way obtained possession of an official map.
– No; it purports to be an official map. Permission was sought to incorporate it in Hansard.
– I am not responsible for the arguments which private members advance, either in this Parliament or to their constituents. I have only to say that I have not placed at the disposal of the honorable member for Maranoa, or any other honorable member, any map in relation to any aspect of the war.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. My knowledge of “ the Brisbane line “ was obtained from information gleaned in this chamber, from the press, and as the result of my own observation. I admit that I drew the map; I consider that it is a very good one. When I asked the permission of the House to incorporate the map in Hansard, approval was given.
– It was not.
– At the time, the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) was occupying the Chair. I do not retract anything that I said regarding the matter. In fact, it was I who put “ the Brisbane line “ on the map.
– I ask leave to make a statement about the publication by the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Baker) of a map.
– I object to leave being granted.
Leave not granted.
– A good deal of heat and controversy might be obviated if I make a brief statement to the House. During my temporary absence from the Chair, the honorable member for Bendigo relieved me, and the honorable member for Maranoa, who was addressing the House, sought permission in a proper manner to have a map incorporated in Hansard.
The Acting Speaker, adopting the customary procedure, submitted the matter to the House. I have the official record of what occurred. Referring to the very reliable Hansard record, I find that the only demur came from the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron).
– That is correct.
– The Acting Speaker asked whether there wa3 any abjection to the incorporation of the map in Hansard, and the honorable member for Barker said, “ I shall agree only on condition that the photograph of the Minister for Labour and National Service is also published “.
– I stick to that.
– After making extensive inquiries, I have discovered that only on four occasions in the history of this House has permission been granted for the publication in Hansard of a map or graph. This is a responsibility that the House has thrust upon it. The matter was properly placed before the House.
– At what hour in the morning?
– The hour is quite immaterial. What appears in Hansard by consent is the responsibility of the House. If honorable members are not au fait with what is proposed to be included in Hansard, they should not consent to its inclusion.
– Once they do they are finished.
– Furthermore, only one objection was raised, and that was by the honorable member for Barker.
– Wo, there were several objections.
– I have read to the honorable gentlemen that objection. It was either serious or facetious.
– It was not facetious.
– I am not able to interpret what was in the Acting Speaker’s mind, but he apparently took it to be facetious.
– Then he was misinformed.
– If being facetious when they should be serious is the way in which honorable gentlemen accept their duties, I think the whole responsibility is on the House for accepting something which is now apparently causing some trouble. I have gone extensively into this matter. I am at present giving consideration to whether the map should be published in its present form. That is a matter which the House has apparently left to me. There are certain difficulties at the printing office because of the nature of the map and the manner in which it has been drawn. All those things have to be taken into consideration. I ask honorable gentlemen to leave the matter there for the time being. I consider that, having a responsibility thrown on me as Speaker, I shall be able to get over the whole difficulty.
– Am I refused leave to make a statement about this matter?
– Is the honorable gentleman involved any more than other honorable members?
– I say that the security of the country is involved.
– Is leave granted ?
Government Members. - No !
Leave not granted.
– As I was the person who raised the objection, or finally gave conditional consent, to the inclusion of the map, my reason being that it is only fair that the author of this thing should go into Hansard with the filthy thing itself-
– Order ! What is the question?
– If you are considering this matter and you thought that the consent I gave was facetious, why did you not have the courtesy to send for me and ask for my views? I was in earnest in objecting to that map going into Hansard unless a photograph of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward) went in with it.
– I assure the honorable gentleman I was not discourteous to him in any way.
– The honorable member wants “Rafferty” rules.
– They suit me.
– They do not suit the Chair. I have already pointed out to the House, I think very clearly, that I have the matter still under consideration. Primarily, it is not the responsibility of the Speaker to have to determine questions of this character. I have already pointed out that it is the responsibility of every honorable member in the House who gave permission for the map “to be included in Ilansard, in view of the far-reaching consequences of the matter. I have not hastened to a decision. I have already spoken to the honorable member for Maranoa (“Mr. Baker”). I shall speak to the honorable member for Barker. The matter has not been determined. Consequently, there can be no discourtesy in my not having consulted the honorable member for Barker so far.
– Is the Minister for War Organization of Industry aware that many evictions are taking place despite the fact that tenants are paying their rent, because the owner, having purchased the property, wishes to obtain possession of it? Many of those who are being evicted had to live in bag humpies because of unemployment a few years ago, and I ask the Minister now to relax the building regulations so as to permit workers who desire to build their own homes to erect structures at a cost of up to £350.
– I am not aware of the scale of the evictions taking place from houses which owners wish to occupy. As for the building regulations, the severity with which they are applied is governed by man-power needs in respect of constructional work urgently needed for the defence of Australia. If it should be possible to release a certain amount of man-power from the work of constructing defence projects in the north, I shall undertake to relax the severity of the building regulations, so that the utmost use may be made of the available man-power and materials to relieve the housing shortage of which I am well aware.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister for Social Ser vices regarding the effect of an increase of war pensions upon the rate of old-age pensions. In this connexion, I have received the following letter showing’ how one pensioner has been affected: -
I enclose for your kind consideration a memorandum I received from the Pension Commissioner, F. Pogson. I feel much upset about this, as I find it hard to understand why such a reduction should be made. I have been receiving a pension of £2 per fortnight from the Military since my son was killed in France in 1916, and recently 1 was notified that the Military had given me an increase of 5s. per week. The Pension Department regards this as income so have taken 18s. per fortnight off my pension. I trust, dear sir, you will see what can be done to alter this unjust decision.
Thus, an increase of 5s. a week granted by the Repatriation Department has resulted in the old-age pension being reduced by 9s. a week. Will the Minister examine the position with a view to preventing this sort of thing from taking place ?
– If the honorable member will hand me the particulars of that case I shall have a detailed inquiry made into it. Of course, if the action that has been taken is in accordance with the act, it will have to stand, but I shall look into the matter.
– During the depression, the law relating to pensions was amended, and one consequence is that an increase of a military pension is reflected by a corresponding decrease of the invalid or old-age pension in the case of recipients of dual pensions. Did the Minister for Social Services say that the Government is prepared to reconsider the restoration of the original position so that military pensions will not be subject to deductions if the recipient is granted an invalid or old-age pension, or did the Minister state some time ago that the law will not be amended?
– So far as I am aware, any amendments of the act since this Government took office have improved rather than worsened the position. A war pension is calculated as income for the purpose of assessing other pensions, but allowances to relatives are not so regarded. I shall examine the special circumstances mentioned by the honorable member for Perth.
-Can the Prime Minister say whether it is a fact that female labour is being transferred from one job to another at the direction of the man-power authorities? Is it a fact that many of the women so transferred are suffering a reduction of wages, in some cases as much as 50 per cent.? If so, will the Prime Minister take steps to remove this hardship ?
– I have no exact knowledge of the circumstances to which the honorable member has referred, though I have a general idea that what he says is correct. I shall have inquiries made and seek a remedy if the facts are as stated.
– Will the Prime Minister, in view of the improved war situation in regard to Australia, relax the existing press censorship?
– The improvement which has taken place in the war situation as it affects the United Nations is fortunately shared by us, but the relationship which that has to press censorship is not clear to my mind. There is a minimum of censorship of the press, and that censorship is strictly related to the security of the Commonwealth, and relates more particularly to operational activities. There has been a lot of talk about interference with the press, but I venture to say that, under all governments since this war commenced, the press has enjoyed unfettered freedom to express opinion in regard to the government of the country. The Chief Censor has been performing his duties solely with the idea of ensuring that information which might be of use to the enemy should not be published.
– Will the Minister for Air cause a full inquiry to be made into the following matters : -
-I do not accept the suggestion that money was wasted in connexion with this aerodrome, but I shall have the points raised by the honorable member investigated, and shall supply him with the information as soon as possible.
Rank of Officers Returning from Service Abroad.
– Is the Minister for Air prepared to make a statement regarding the alleged demotion of the late Flight Lieutenant Brennan?
– by leave- Much comment has recently appeared in the press concerning the relinquishment of acting rank in the case of Acting Flight Lieutenant Brennan, and his reversion to the substantive rank of flying officer. I have examined this case, and find that that officer was released by the Royal Air Force on the 17th January, 1943, for service in Australia. Royal Air Force practice provides that officers shall relinquish their acting ranks on ceasing to fill vacancies warranting such rank, and apparently that action was taken in London in Acting Flight Lieutenant Brennan’s case. I wish to assure the House, however, that in accordance with the policy I have already laid down, no action whatever was taken by Royal Australian Air Force head-quarters in Australia to give effect to the action taken in London. Acting Flight Lieutenant Brennan carried that rank right through to the date of his unfortunate death, no gazettal or any other action having been taken here which would involve the relinquishment of his acting rank. I desire to repeat the statement which I previously made that men recalled from service overseas in the Royal Air Force for service here in the Royal Australian Air Force will not be reduced in rank as a result. It was alleged that one man had been reduced, but inquiries revealed that the man had not been brought back at all, but had relinquished the acting rank which he had in London. Officers of the Royal Australian Air Force granted acting rank in the course of operational service overseas are not called upon to relinquish such rank if recalled for operational service with the Royal Australian Air Force in the SouthWest Pacific Area. This policy has been laid down by me, and will be carefully and consistently implemented. I wish to lay particular emphasis on this important policy.
To prevent further misunderstanding in the minds of the public regarding the Royal Australian Air Force, and to avoid recriminations occurring within the service itself as a result of misinformation and the making and repetition of inaccurate statements, it is desirable that the public should be informed of the true nature of acting rank, and the principles underlying its grant.
Acting rank is not a promotion, but an appointment granted to an officer while he is temporarily holding a post carrying a higher rank than his own. There are many reasons why an officer holding a rank equivalent to that of such a post might not be able to be made immediately available, and officers are fully aware that, in such cases, acting appointments are granted to them only for the purpose of conferring the necessary status to perform the duties of the higher post. Upon an officer ceasing to occupy a higher post in such circumstances, and therefore ceasing to perform the duties associated with it, either because an officer of appropriate rank has become available or for any other reason, there is no principle which would justify the retention of the acting appointment thereafter. This principle is a long-established one, and is well known and understood amongst officers of all services - both in Australia and in the United Kingdom.
Press comments have been directed to the position in the Royal Australian Air Force, although exactly the same system prevails in the Army and Navy. Yet some of the newspapers suggest that injustice has been done to airmen. As a matter of fact, the principles which apply to the other fighting services also apply to the Royal Australian Air Force.
Promotion is an entirely different matter, and is the permanent elevation in rank of an officer who is considered to have become suitable, because of his knowledge and experience, to fill posts carrying wider responsibilities. All officers are considered for promotion at regular intervals and on these occasions, each officer is considered in comparison with all other officers of similar rank in the same branch. This feature illustrates the essential difference between promotion in the true sense of the term and grants of acting rank. In the latter case the only consideration which arises is that the officer happens to be temporarily occupying a higher post. To treat acting rank as a permanent promotion would, in many cases, be to deprive more deserving officers of promotion. They may be more deserving because of ability and length of service, but they cannot, for service reasons, be made available to take the higher posts just at the time when they became vacant. Such an unjust and anomalous result cannot be permitted to occur.
There are three distinct classes of officers to be considered: first, Royal Australian Air Force officers serving as a part of the Royal Australian Air Force organization in the Australian theatre; secondly, Royal Australian Air Force officers serving overseas within the Royal Air Force organization; and, thirdly, Australians serving on short service commissions in the Royal Air Force itself. On return to Australia, officers in the second and third categories have to be fitted into the framework of the Royal Australian Air Force organization, and, in this process, it is essential that their seniority shall be fairly and equitably related to that of their contemporaries who have been rendering such splendid operational service in the South-West Pacific theatre. Officers in the third category, that is, those who held commissions in the Royal Air Force, cannot expect, upon being granted commissions in the Royal Australian Air Force, to displace officers who had devoted the whole of their service continuously to the Royal Australian Air Force. Such Royal Air Force officers have the option of remaining in the Royal Air Force and, before transferring to the Royal Australian Air
Force, they are clearly informed that, although they will be granted the same temporary rank as that held by them in the Royal Air Force, they will not displace officers of the same rank in the Royal Australian Air Force.
Honorable members will appreciate, that the position is far more complex than might at first sight appear. The principles which I have enunciated were framed and applied by those who are in possession of all the facts and who alone are in a position to appreciate all the implications. The Government is anxious and, in fact, determined to see that full justice is done to aircrew members returning from service overseas, but it is equally determined to ensure that, in the process, injustice is not done to those officers who have been retained to render their operational service in the SouthWest Pacific Area.
On some occasions, comparisons are made between officers engaged in flying duties and those engaged in non-flying duties, and it is sometimes alleged that the promotion open to the latter is disproportionate to that open to the former. Such comparisons are based upon a complete misunderstanding of the position. Non-flying branches are established to include the many types of specialists whose services are essential, and also to avoid appalling waste of effort, skill and man-power which would be otherwise involved if highly trained aircrew officers were employed in posts in which their aircrew training would be of little value. Flying and non-flying personnel are members of entirely separate and distinct branches. Officers in each branch are promoted within their own branches, and, consequently, no question could arise as to the promotion of flying personnel being retarded because of the promotion of non-flying personnel. Therefore, statements to the contrary are entirely misleading and calculated to cause false and disturbing impressions, not only among the public, but also within the ranks of the service itself.
In actual fact, all leading posts are essentially reserved for officers of the flying branch and, in addition, provision exists for their promotion automatically to the minimum rank of flight lieutenant after a. period of two years’ satis factory commissioned service. This privilege is not extended to officers of nonflying branches, and its value will be appreciated when it is realized that every officer of every category in the aircrew branch is assured of reaching at least the rank of flight lieutenant, subject only to his behaviour and service being satisfactory during the first two years of his commissioned service. When these facts are understood, it is hoped that false issues as between flying and non-flying officers will no longer be raised. Many of the latter are performing essential duties of first-rate importance to the service, and their responsible, onerous, but nonspectacular services are all too often overlooked. It is also material to note that officers of the non-flying branches are paid at rates which are substantially lower than those of the flying branch.
In reply to the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan), I desire to state that Acting Flight Lieutenant Brennan had a magnificent record and rendered splendid service. He was not demoted on his return to Australia as has been stated in a number of newspapers in the various capital cities.
– The man-power authorities have been interrogating members of metropolitan bowling clubs, and have even found time to investigate the activities of a certain juvenile transport organization at Kandos. As these incidents suggest that the man-power authorities lack worthwhile objectives, will the Minister acting for the Minister for Labour and National Service direct the attention of his officers to the fact that 1,000 men who were formerly engaged in munitions work in Sydney, are now drifting aimlessly somewhere?
– As the question is rather complex, I ask the honorable member to place it on the notice-paper. If it be true that 1,000 men are unemployed in Sydney, I should like him to give to me more specific information about them.
– Will the Prime
Minister invite the Premier of New
South Wales to ascertain who is the licensee of the so-called City Club situated in National Chambers, Sydney, and owned by the United Australia party? Will he also inquire why this organization is permitted to operate six fruit machines on the premises every day?
– I shall bring the matter to the notice of the Premier of New South Wales.
– Will the Minister for Transport, on the next day of sitting, make a brief statement regarding the co-operative group transport system which will operate in the rural areas of Australia ?
– The commodity prices ceiling was fixed eighteen months after wages were pegged. During that period commodity prices increased by from 20 to 30 per cent., to the disadvantage of the wage-earners. That fact has been recognized by judges of the Arbitration Court and other tribunals which would be prepared to increase wages to workers who are seeking increases, but cannot do so because of the regulations pegging wages. His Honour Judge Drake-Brockman, at the Central Coal Board on the 15th June, said -
I think we had ‘better take it up with the Government, because in this case I am quite willing to give the fellow a bit, not a lot, and I nm not sure that I am able to do it.
Similar comments have been made in other tribunals. Will the Prime Minister give consideration to the desirability of relaxing the regulations pegging wages in order that wages may catch up with commodity prices?
– The wage-pegging regulations allowed cognizance to be taken of the cost of living. Therefore, His Honour’s remarks must have had relation to some matter placed before him other than the cost of living. I shall look into the matter that the honorable member has raised.
– I move -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn to Wednesday next, at 3 p.m.
There are certain measures which we should transmit to the Senate before the House rises to-day. They include the Supply Bill and the additional estimates of expenditure for the current year. Provision should be made to use certain funds as a part of the war resources, and the measure appropriates for war purposes certain revenue over and above the budget estimate for the year. Then it is necessary to pass a loan appropriation bill and a bill providing for a special grant to be made to Tasmania, arising out of the uniform income tax. Those are the measures which we require to pass in time for the Senate to consider and determine them before the end of the financial year. Honorable members may desire to raise all kinds of matters. These can be dealt with, I venture to say. when the House resumes next week. I undertake to provide ample opportunity for honorable members to raise such matters as they think should be raised in the interests of their constituents or the country. I do ask the House at least to facilitate the passage of the necessary financial measures which are indispensable to orderly government and are vital to the conduct of the war.
– If the Prime Minister would enable the financial statement to be debated independently we could deal at once with all the matters he has mentioned.
– Yes, there will be a measure next week in connexion with income tax arrangements. The Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) has given notice of it to-day.
– What the right honorable member for Cowper has in mind is that the debate on the financial statement could be adjourned till next week.
– That is not before the committee.
– It was last night.
– No, the additional estimates on which the Treasurer made a financial statement.
– If the debate on the Financial Statement could be resumed next week, the other measure could go through.
– I cannot bring the Financial Statement before the House again except ‘in the form of a substantive motion. I shall investigate the position. If we pass the additional estimates, the financial statement will no longer be on the notice-paper. I shall provide an opportunity to honorable members to raise such matters as they think should be raised. There is the dairying industry subsidy. That should be a pleasant attraction for the right honorable member for Cowper. I think that the measures I have mentioned which are the mechanics of government, rather than matters of political policy should be dealt with.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
” THE BRISBANE LINE “.
Formal Motion fob Adjournment.
– I have received from the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, “ Whether an offence against the security of the Commonwealth has been committed by the publication of a map by an honorable member of this House which appears to be: - (a) a wrongful publication of an official military map, or (b) the publication of a map which wrongfully purports to be a military map, or (c) a map with no official basis which purports to show that large areas of the continent were to be evacuated and is calculated seriously to affect the morale of the people “.
.- I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
– Is the motion supported?
Five honorable members having risen in. support of the motion,
– I rise to a point of order. I submit that the motion is to take into consideration, as though certain things had happened, things which have not happened. The question of publica tion is a matter entirely within the hands of the censorship and, quite regardless of what may have been the decision of the House, I understood you to say earlier, Mr. Speaker, that the matter had not been determined.’
-I do not know that that is the position.
– I do not wish to interrupt the Prime Minister, but on the point of order-
– Order ! I do not know that the Prime Minister has finished.
– Let him go.
– The Prime Minister is under a misapprehension. My motion is not directed to the publication in Hansard of this map. It is directed to the statement made in this House by the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Baker) that he has already distributed copies of the map in his electorate.
– On a further point of order, Mr. Speaker, is it within the province of the honorable member for Indi to submit a motion dealing with a matter which was debated in this House only yesterday?
– The honorable member for Griffith has raised a serious point of order. This does not refer to the particular matter that was debated yesterday. Certainly the contents were debated in a general way, but the principal matter of the publication of a map was not debated.
– This motion is based on wrong premises because the matter has not been incorporated in Hansard or published.
– This motion has nothing to do with that.
– I am not in a position to say whether the premises are wrong or right. The House itself must deal with that.
– I appreciate the difficulties of the Government in respect of the time factor, and I regret having to occupy time on this motion, but the responsibility is upon the Government alone for refusing me the opportunity, in my place in Parliament, to make a statement when I asked for leave to do so.
– I rise to order. The honorable gentleman has said that the Government refused him leave to make a statement. The Standing Orders prescribe the manner in which leave may be obtained, and they do not provide for either Government or Opposition approval ; they prescribe that any member may object.
– But practice provides that the Government shall control its unruly members.
– Whatever may be the merits of the fine point taken by the Prime Minister, the fact is that I was not permitted, from my place in this House, to express myself as I submit I was entitled to do on a matter touching the security of this country.
– The honorable member is making the Parliament look ridiculous.
– I cannot imagine any issue less calculated to make the Parliament look ridiculous than the issue involved in my motion. My .point has nc reference whatever to a matter which falls within your jurisdiction, Mr. Speaker - I refer to the proposed publication of a map in Hansard - upon which I understand you have not yet made a decision, nor is it affected by the statement of the Prime Minister that the censorship has yet to exercise its control or give its decision upon the publication of the map in other ways. My point is taken upon a most unequivocal and plain statement of the honorable member for Maranoa, who said, in the frankest words, in this House -
I distributed amongst some of my electors out in the west copies of a map which shows a small section of Australia, the defence of which was envisaged by “ the Brisbane line “ strategy. I asked them to look at it. - and so on. I do not need to quote hi3 remarks at any further length. The honorable gentleman made a clear-cut avowal that he had distributed maps. As he has already distributed to some of the people of this country a map indicating that certain areas were not to be defended, he must have done one of three things: Either he must have improperly distributed a map showing a military plan -
– I thought there was no “ Brisbane line “.
– Or he must have distributed a map which wrongfully purported to disclose a military plan. If he has not done either of those things - and this is the point to be considered - he must have distributed, without any foundation or justification at all, a map calculated to leave an impression in the minds of the citizens to whom it was shown that it was the intention of the Commonwealth Government and its military commanders to abandon a part of Australia.
– Not this Government, but the Government to which the honorable member belonged.
– There can be no escape from the conclusion that the honorable member for Maranoa has acted wrongfully in one of these three ways. He has either distributed wrongfully a military plan and that surely must be an offence against the security of the Commonwealth; or, he must have distributed a plan which was wrongfully represented to be a military plan, which, equally, must he an offence against the security of the Commonwealth; or, with complete abandonment of all sense of responsibility, the honorable member must have distributed a plan which had no official foundation or justification at all, a plan which was calculated to strike terror into the hearts of citizens, and which in no way indicated that the Government or its military advisers planned to abandon people to the enemy without defence. In his own words, the people were to be thrown to the wolves. The Government has taken precautions to provide that such things shall not be done, or, if they are done, that the persons who do them shall be punished. I would have no difficulty at all in establishing that the wrongful distribution of an authentic military plan would be an offence, nor would I have any difficulty in establishing that the wrongful distribution of what purported to be an official plan was an offence. This matter is covered by regulation 17 of National Security (General) Regulations issued under Statutory Rules 1942, No. 519.
– One of these bureaucratic regulations !
– Yes, like regulation 77, which one of the right honorable gentleman’s own Ministers said he would never administer. The regulations to which I have referred reads - (2.) A person shall not make any false statement, or spread a false report, whether orally or otherwise, or do any act, or have any article in his possession, likely to be prejudicial to the defence of the Commonwealth or the efficient prosecution of the war, or likely to cause disaffection to His Majesty or public alarm or despondency or to interfere with the operations of any of the forces of the King or the Commonwealth or the forces of any foreign power allied or associated with His Majesty in any war in which His Majesty is engaged. (3.) In any prosecution for an offence arising under the last preceding sub-regulation, the averment of the prosecution that the statement or report is false shall be prima facie evidence of the falsity of the statement or report.
Mr. Ward interjecting,
– The honorable gentleman would like to prevent me from speaking, but he cannot do so. Subregulation 3, which I have just read, is very important. I put it to the House that I have indicated circumstances under which a member of this Parliament, who is in frequent consultation and contact with Cabinet Ministers, and who, by reason of that fact, may reasonably be concluded to be well informed, and who, as the public well know, was present at secret sessions of this Parliament has, in his own words, produced a map and published it. If I understand the English language at all the honorable gentleman has thereby done an act which, in the words of the regulation, is “ likely to cause disaffection to His Majesty or public alarm or despondency “. I put it to the Government that such an act cannot be permitted to pass unchallenged. The honorable member for Maranoa may have considered that he was justified in acting as he did. He may have believed that he was spreading a true report, the grounds for which might perhaps be found in a letter, to which I referred in the House a day or two ago, written bv the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn) in which he said that he and all the members supporting the Government believed “the Brisbane line “ story to be true. The honorable gentleman also wrote in that letter -
The statements recently made by Mr. Ward have been made by him at least twice from the Government front bench, on which were seated colleagues who must have known the facts, and yet neither contradicted Mr. Ward’s assertion nor corroborated Mr. Fadden’s denial of that assertion.
We can therefore assume that the story was repeated frequently, and that it originnated with some Cabinet friend of the honorable member for Maranoa. If this is not a matter to be taken with full seriousness by this Parliament, I cannot imagine any matter that would be taken seriously by it. You, Mr. Speaker, have just given us a reminder, perhaps much needed,, of the necessity to take our responsibilities seriously in this House. An interjector from the front bench asked me, a little while ago, “Do you really take this matter seriously?” The only thought that the remark provoked in my mind was whether he takes his responsibilities seriously. Are we, as members of political parties, to take it that any one of us may go out and, on his own judgment, and without any sense of responsibility, declare that the Government, or its military chiefs, or the Opposition intended to do certain things vitally affecting the defence of the Commonwealth ?
Mr. Ward interjecting,
– Mr. Speaker, cannot you stop the honorable member from yapping at me? He is dead, but he will not lie down. I am entitled to protection from the Chair. I put it to the Prime Minister that the words uttered by the honorable member for Maranoa in this place, as recorded in Hansard, provide prima facie evidence of an offence against the national security regulations, and I ask the right honorable gentleman to take the matter into consideration and tell us what he proposes to do about it.
– What the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) has put to me would have been a perfectly proper question to address to me, but it was quite unnecessary for him to move the adjournment of the House on the subject. The law on this matter, as the honorable gentleman has quoted it, is quite clear. If the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Baker) or any other citizen of this country is accused of having broken the law, or if he is charged with breaches of the regulations, it is the business of the Executive to institute the requisite inquiries. I do not know whether the honorable member for Maranoa distributed a map or not.
– He has said that he did so.
– I was not present when he made his statement.
– He said definitely that he had done so.
– However, the statement has been brought to my notice and I shall bring it to the attention of the proper authorities. That is how the matter now stands. The honorable member for Maranoa is in no different position from that of any other citizen of the Commonwealth. If the information which he distributed is of a character which comes within the scope of the regulation, then it is the business of the authorities to apply the regulation to him as they would do to any one else. I have no two views about the administration of the law. It applies to all citizens irrespective of who they are, but I am neither the judge nor the accuser. I shall submit the information that has been placed at my disposal to the proper authorities.
– The honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Baker) made a speech in this House in the small hours of Thursday morning and asked for permission to incorporate a map in Hansard. That map was drawn, not because of any particular knowledge which the honorable member had, or which any one had made available to him, but because he had made an intelligent assessment of the situation confronting Australia at a certain time, and in relation to which the military commands were alleged to have proposed certain things because of the lack of equipment for the fighting men who had to defend Australia. This attempt to pillory the honorable member for Maranoa is a particularly mean one. Anything that the honorable member has said in this Parliament was but an echo of what General MacArthur himself said on the anniversary of his arrival in Australia. The general said that when he came to Australia he found a defeatist policy and a decision to abandon a certain portion of Australia. If the honorable member for Maranoa cared to draw a map on the strength of that statement, he did nothing beyond what any honest and intelligent man was entitled to do in the given set of circumstances. Any child could have drawn a map of that portion of Australia which extends from Brisbane to Perth, after he had read what General MacArthur had condemned. I am indebted to the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) for a report of what General MacArthur said, or at any rate, a digest of what he said, on that occasion. It was printed in an official document that was issued by the Prime Minister’s Department. The report published in th Melbourne Argus was as follows -
So much has changed in the intervening twelve months that it can now be revealed that this time a year ago, when General MacArthur first came to Australia, the defence plan for the safety of this continent involved North Australia being taken by the enemy. This was based on the conception of “ the Brisbane line “ of defence.
Opposition members interjecting,
– Honorable members opposite can yell and scream as much as they like. I am reading what the Melbourne Argus .published on the 18th March, 1943.
– The honorable gentleman said that he intended to quote the words of General MacArthur.
– The right honorable member for Kooyong is unusually touchy and apprehensive. If he will contain himself a little longer, I shall proceed.
– Is the honorable “member quoting what was said by General MacArthur ?
– The newspaper report proceeds -
It had been drawn’ up on the fundamental that the littoral of islands to the north of Australia would be taken by the enemy, and that northern Queensland and Darwin area would be overrun by the Japanese. It was the intention of Australia to defend along a line somewhere near the Tropic of Capricorn, which would be known as “ the Brisbane line “.
I interpolate that the honorable member for Maranoa, who is a ‘retired public school inspector, having read so far, would have needed only to draw a line along the Tropic of Capricorn. Surely he would not then be giving information to the enemy. In such circumstances, he could not be regarded as a fit subject for interrogation by officers of the Security
Service, or somebody else, as might be inferred from the speech of the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen). I continue my quotation from the report in the Melbourne Argus-
At that time, the role of Port Moresby was to “hold the enemy to enable mainland defences to be brought into action “.
There is not even a semblance of justification for a charge, much less an inquiry, in regard to anything that was said by the honorable member for Maranoa. I would leave the matter at that point did I not wish to emphasize that the statement of the honorable member was made in the early hours of Thursday morning. All those honorable gentlemen who are so vociferous in their attack upon the honorable member at this time of to-day - just about noon of the 25th June - were slumbering in the early hours of Thursday, the 24th June. If they wished to offer any objection to what was said or done by honorable members who were in the chamber at that time on that date they, too, should have been present. Having neglected their parliamentary duties while the honorable member for Maranoa was speaking, surely they have no right now to try to make electioneering propaganda out of what he said ! It is propaganda which will do them more harm than good ; it might well be a boomerang in its effect. The honorable member for Maranoa only wanted to have incorporated in Hansard, in pictorial form, what General Douglas MacArthur had said upon his arrival in Australia.
.- There are very important discrepancies between the statement of the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) and that of the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Baker). The honorable member for Melbourne has read a newspaper statement which alleges that General Douglas MacArthur referred to a line running somewhere along the Tropic of Capricorn. I was in the chamber, and was awake, in the early hours of Thursday morning.
– That is more than can be said of certain other honorable members.
– I noted particularly what the honorable member for Maranoa said, because it was the first time I had heard it said that this line ran from Maryborough to Port Augusta. I now ask the honorable member for Maranoa whether or not the map which he has given to Hansard is one that shows the line to run from Maryborough to Port Augusta, with the area south-east of that line hachured ? The monorable member should state why the map which he drew contains information different from that which is alleged to have come from General Douglas MacArthur, and the sources from which he obtained the information that he proposed to have inserted in Hansard, namely, that the line was drawn from Maryborough to Port Augusta.
.- It is apparent that members of the Opposition are greatly alarmed at the prospect that too much may become known of the defence plans that were conceived while they were in control of the affairs of this country. That they should be alarmed, and should claim that security is involved because an honorable member, on the strength of reports that were submitted and statements that were made by persons responsible for military strategy, should . have spoken of a defeatist plan that was in existence in this country a year or so ago, is quite understandable. How can security be involved? What advantage, is it suggested, can accrue to the enemy by the plain statement that such a plan previously existed, but was rejected when this Government came into office? If security is involved, then the greatest danger in which the people stand to-day is that, if the truth be withheld from them, the parties that now sit opposite may, at the ensuing elections, again be returned to control the affairs of this country. When they formerly occupied that position, they were responsible for so denuding Australia’s defences that, even on the admission of one of their own Ministers - quoted in this House by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) - one Japanese division could have walked through and overrun the whole of our territory. Because of this, it is urgently necessary that the people should be advised and warned of the danger that lies ahead of them should these persons again obtain control of national affairs.
Puke, for example, the honorable member who has submitted the motion. Surely everybody knows what happened while he was in control of air operations. Certainly that was prior to the entry of Japan into the war. It is very well known in official circles that Japanese mine-layers were laying mines all round the Australian coast, that Australian coastal vessels were being sunk and destroyed, and that the then Government was powerless, incapable, incompetent, or something worse, because it could do nothing effective to deal with the situation. The honorable member for Melbourne has very rightly quoted some words of General MacArthur. He ought to have proceeded a little farther. The right honorable member- for Kooyong asked, “Did General MacArthur make that statement?” After I read the report in the press, I made some inquiries, so that I should be fortified in my facts. I am able to assure the House that General MacArthur personally made the statement in one of the very few interviews that he gave to press correspondents. He talked to them for some considerable time. Evidently, he was under no illusion as to who was responsible for the defeatist policy that was then in existence, because he said -
This largely defeatist conception was brought upon us by the fact that we were almost completely unprepared to defend against a large-scale Japanese move. It was not Australia’s fault. The cream of her youth was fighting thousands of miles away. Airfields and aircraft were lacking. Supplies, and facilities for movement, were far below military requirements.
Who was responsible for that position? It was those who had sent large numbers of Australia’s able-bodied men out of their own country, who had denuded Australia of its defence supplies, who had refused to turn to America for aid when they could not get it from other quarters. That is the forlorn hope which was handed to General MacArthur when he landed in’ this country to become CommanderinChief of all the forces here, in order to ensure our defence. I make this point: If honorable members opposite argue that they intended to defend the northern portions of Australia, how did they propose to do so without airstrips or aerodromes? How could they protect it when they were allowing fuel supplies to become dangerously low, with the result that there was some doubt as to whether the few aircraft that we had would be able to remain in commission; when there were no arterial roads, and no other defence preparations? The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) quoted a statement that had been made by General MacArthur -
Therefore, it was the intention of Australia to defend along a line somewhere near the Tropic of Capricorn, which would be known as “ the Brisbane line “.
At that time, the role of Port Moresby and other outlying ports was to hold the enemy, so as to enable mainland defences based on “ the Brisbane line “ strategy to be brought into action. It is not necessary to accept the word of any honorable member of this Parliament. Members of the forces well know to-day that certain orders were given to the troops at those outposts. They were to resist for a certain number of hours, and then “ take to the bush “, as it were. They were to be sacrificed as delaying forces until a defensive position was taken up at the line that is now referred to as “ the Brisbane line “. Honorable members opposite demand a royal commission to inquire into some incident that occurred in a discussion in this House. I say to them : If they want the people to know the whole of the facts, let us have a royal commission based upon wide enough terms of reference to enable the matter to be completely examined. Let the whole truth be placed before the public. Honorable members opposite do not want that. They do not want inquiries to be made into the activities of those of them who were Ministers in previous administrations. If we had the fullest investigation, we should be able to produce evidence in regard to the activities of certain Ministers who previously held office, and of their association with those against whom we are now fighting. We would be able to show how they had left themselves ‘open to questioning as to whether, by their actions, they had not made it possible for the enemy to obtain valuable information. The Japanese were not then at war with this country, but Japan was a member of the Axis. I urge the honorable member for Maranoa not to be alarmed by the statements of honorable members opposite. If some ‘of those who are criticizing him had their desserts, they would be branded right on the back with a big “ Q “ so that everybody would know just who and what they are. In spite of their efforts to still my voice, they are a long way from doing so. Wherever I am able to make my voice heard, I shall compel these people to stand up and face their responsibilities. I am going to tell the people the danger they were in, and the danger they will he placed in .again if they hand the Government of the country over to honorable members opposite. There is only one way in which we can ensure national safety, and that is to push aside those who were responsible for a defeatist policy. When Labour came into office in 1941, Australia was absolutely defenceless, and at the mercy of an invading foe. Since then, Labour has improved the position immeasurably. To-day, Japan is powerless to attack Australia because our strength has grown and grown. Royal commission or no royal commission, I am determined that the people shall be told the truth. We are not afraid of any inquiry. Let there be an inquiry, and let it be as wide as possible. Let us have the truth, and if it comes to light, I am convinced that Labour will reign for a long time in office in this country.
.- It is quite obvious why the Opposition .benches are practically empty. Honorable members opposite have run for cover because the honorable member for Indi (M.r. McEwen) has raised a hornets’ nest about their ears. They have attempted to obscure the issue, but to-day we have brought it’ to the surface. That is why they ran for cover, and why not one man got up to support the motion, except the honorable member for Boothby (Dr. Price), who spoke for just one minute. It is an old saying that “fools rush in where angels fear to tread “, and that is what the honorable member for Indi has done to-day. Most honorable members opposite recognize that it was a foolish thing for him to raise the issue, because the facts will now become known to the public. The honorable member, in making this motion, has revealed the fear complex which clouds his mind. He, and those who think as he does, do not want the people to know the truth. How can the matter of security be involved in the publication of a simple map of Australia, with a line running across it from one well-known place to another? Such a map could be drawn by any school child. The existence of what is known as “ the Brisbane line” was disclosed by the Commander-in-Chief of the South-West Pacific Area, General MacArthur, three months ago. He had no qualms about doing so, because he knew that the danger had then passed. There can be no danger in revealing, two years after the danger is over, a plan of strategy designed to meet certain conditions. If there were, it might be argued that, after the evacuation of Gallipoli, the public should not have been allowed to discuss whether the landing ought ever to have been made; but we know that, in fact, there was a great deal of criticism on the point. Surely we are permitted to discuss whether those we have placed in charge of our defence did right or wrong in preparing certain plans of defence to meet a situation which existed two years ago, hut which exists no longer. Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt are open to criticism for their own actions and those of their Governments. Indeed, they court criticism so that they may have the benefit of the people’s judgment. That is what General MacArthur does in Australia. Recently, he held a press conference in Melbourne, which was attended by many war correspondents, and openly discussed matters of policy with them, so that criticism would be forthcoming from the press and the public. He recognized that a man, even of his own great ability, might make mistakes. This is how the meeting is reported in one newspaper -
General MacArthur yesterday met war correspondents on the first anniversary of his arrival in Australia from the Philippines. He told them that no brake would be applied to criticism, except when it was based on false premises or incomplete information. After the war correspondents had all the facts, no attempts would be made to shade or dictate their own opinions, even if they involved the most violent criticism. He had given the press reports almost as fast as they had been received from the front line. The minute details of General MacArthur’s review of the Pacific war answered in advance a barrage of planned press questions. General MacArthur did not minimize the problems ahead, but spoke with quiet confidence of the Allies’ ability successfully to sustain the holding war.
At that time, he was discussing current events, not the events of two years .before. I sincerely regret much of the propaganda used by the Opposition and by the press in regard to this matter. It is evident that there are in the community elements that are trying to create public discord, and perhaps to bring about a certain state of affairs that might play into the hands of the enemy. It is all very well to say that it cannot happen here, but it can. It is not necessary to go to Germany or Austria or Spain for examples. Only a week ago, there was a coup d’etat in Argentina - a country that was supposed to be favorable to the Allies - which resulted in the setting up of a Fascist regime. I appeal to honorable members to do everything they can to promote national unity.
.- I rise to draw .pointed attention to the lack of support which the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) has received for his motion. It is true that a certain number of honorable members rose in their places to support him in conformity with the forms of the House, but since then, only one honorable member from his side of the House has spoken, and at the moment most of his colleagues are out of the chamber. I regard the moving of this motion as one of the tricks which have been, persisted in for some time, with the able support of the capitalist press, to damage the reputation of the Labour Government in the eyes of the people in order to gain a party political advantage. The attack on the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Baker) by the honorable member for Indi is just one more of those cunning moves of the Opposition to make political capital out of the situation. “We are at this moment waiting to get Supply in order to carry on the services of the country. Not only the ordinary peace-time services are affected, but Supply is also necessary so that members of the fighting forces may receive their pay, and ordinary war ex penditure may be continued. The honorable member for Indi to-day, like the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) yesterday, is prepared to go to any lengths in trying to hold up to ridicule this Government which has done such a wonderful job in the prosecution of the war.
.- In moving for the adjournment of the House, the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) exercised his right as a member of this Parliament. He had previously risen in his place on two occasions to ask a question on the subject, but you, Mr. Speaker, ruled against him. I am not questioning your ruling, but I am pointing out that the honorable member then adopted the only course open to him. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) gave an assurance that the matter would be referred to the Crown Law Department for investigation. That being so, there is no need to debate it any further. We accept the assurance of the Prime Minister that he will discuss it with the legal officers, and take what action is necessary. The honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) has urged us to get on with the discussion of the Supply Bill. I am quite agreeable, merely pointing out that the honorable member is one of those who is in the ‘habit of walking into the House, having his say, and then going out again.
.- I was under the impression that Parliament was called together for the purpose of passing the Supply Bill, but I am now convinced that, among honorable members opposite, there is an organized attempt to put the Government to as much inconvenience as possible. We have heard much about “the Brisbane line”, but I have no doubt, after listening to some of the speeches on the subject, that “ the Brisbane line “ did exist. We should not overlook that important fact when honorable members opposite seek to condemn the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Baker), who is deserving of the respect of every member of this House. These incidents prove that Parliament has reached a very low level. I am pleased that we shall have an opportunity to go before the electors without delay. From the evidence that has been submitted regarding the defenceless condition of the country before the Labour Government took office, I am convinced that a tribe of blackfellows armed with spears and bows and arrows could have overcome any resistance in Australia. The people will now have an opportunity to express their approval of the remarkable transformation in our defence position, for which the Labour Government has been responsible.
Question resolved in the negative.
Bill received from the Senate, and (on motion by Mr. Lazzarini) read a first time.
In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from the 24th June (vide page 352), on motion by Mr. Chifley -
That the following additional sum be granted to His Majesty. . . . (vide page 334).
.- I am gratified to learn that the Government has taken action to stabilize the food position. Under the capable direction of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr.. Scully) the problem will be satisfactorily handled. While the Minister is dealing with the matter, he should consider not only the quantity of food available for the fighting services and civilians, but also the quality. The example of Great Britain is worthy of note. Much of the malnutrition which existed in that country before the outbreak of the war has disappeared, and, despite severe rationing, the general standard of health has been improved. The reason is that greater attention has been paid to the quality of the food available to the community, and people have been educated regarding food values. The Minister should devote particular attention to the quality of our bread. The annual bread bill of Australia is 16,000,000, but the white bread which is delivered to a majority of homes has, according to expert opinion, little or no food value and may even be harmful to consumers.
Butter rationing has been introduced, not because we cannot supply our normal requirements, hut because we must export large quantities to Great Britain. The Government should consider the advisability of granting an additional ration to workers in industry who are unable to get their meals at restaurants or canteens. Many people in clerical occupations are able to purchase their meals in restaurants, and, consequently, they are not handicapped to the same degree as are workers who had to take a cut lunch. This is a form of discrimination which should be rectified. I am glad to say that no stoppages in industry have occurred in my electorate as a protest against the butter ration. I am opposed to strikes as protests against the rationing of commodities, and the workers in my constituency have not resorted to them, but they believe that the Government should correct the anomaly.
Regarding output in industry, I hope that despite the temporary change in the administration of the Department of Labour and National Service, the policy of establishing production committees in war industries will be continued. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward) endeavoured to encourage the creation of these committees in view of their success in Great Britain and the United States of America in increasing production and promoting greater efficiency. The Government has endeavoured to sponsor them in its own factories. Obviously if the Government expects private enterprise to establish the committees, it must set the example. Many workers consider that the progress in establishing these committees has been too slow. With the war now in its fourth year, it is high time that we followed the example of Great Britain in creating these committees. In many of our industries the employers are trying to cooperate with the works committees established by the employees, but many of them are too unwieldy. They have too many members, and that is not conducive to efficiency. The production committees in Great Britain consist of five members, two of whom are elected by the management, and two by the employees, and the fifth is an independent chairman. They meet regularly and act expeditiously and efficiently. I hope that the Government will encourage the formation of similar committees in Australia and ensure that the representatives of the workers will not only be democratically elected, but also possess the requisite technical knowledge and skill to enable them to render valuable service. Mr. Lloyd Ross has pointed out the miracles of production that have been achieved in Great Britain and the United States of America as the result of the operation of these committees.
The Government should also pay attention to the value of the committees in sustaining morale. The press has “ played up “ and exaggerated strikes and absenteeism, and that has had a depressing effect on many workers. I quote an extract from the Sydney Morning Herald of the11th March -
Executives of three shipbuilding companies maintaining high output figures testifying before the Senate Committee investigating the war programme, declared that too much emphasis had been placed on absenteeism as a factor in slowing down production.
The committee asked the executives to disclose and pass on their secrets for attaining record outputs.
All declared there were no secrets and no magic. Success had followed close attention being paid to the problems of morale of personnel.
Mr. Andrew Higgins, a New Orleans shipbuilder, said : “ Morale is what does it. Our boys are making money. We are glad to pay them, but we think a man will work more for pride and patriotism than he will for money. “ When men see naval ships coming in with their backs broken by enemy shells and torn by torpedoes, that is all the incentive they need.”
Asked for a specific morale-raising formula, he advocated: “Mixing praise with raising hell “.
Mr. Higgins added : “ We work out things together. When there is a dispute we just sit around and work out things in a soundproof room.”
Mr. Henry Kaiser, the record.breaking West Coast shipbuilder, in evidence before a House of Representatives Committee, advocated service bars similar to Army and Navy medal ribbons as a means of combating absenteeism by rewarding outstanding production records.
Mr. Kaiser handed the committee designs for war workers, and explained that his plan envisaged giving workers bars of progressive length for each month in which there had been no unauthorized absences. A gold star would replace the bars after a perfect year’s record.
He said the present production bottleneck had resulted from a difference in the allocation of materials and not from man-power.
Mr. Kaiser offered five suggestions for increasing war production. These were: (1) Define the worker’s exact responsibility and give him a clear understanding of his part in the total production picture. (2) Secure an uninterrupted flow of materials. (3) Provide adequate housing and transportation for workers. (4) Keep plants clean and efficiently arranged. (5) Avoid unnecessary changes in production designs.
The vice-president of the Grumman Aircraft Corporation, Mr. L. A. Swirbul, endorsed Mr Kaiser’s plan. He said that the corporation gave workers merit certificates for steady, outstanding work.
I have other information regarding what has been done in industry in the United States of America and Great Britain for the purpose of increasing production. I ask leave to incorporate it in Hansard.
– About six or seven pages.
-I rise to order. I should like to know whether an honorable member is in order in attempting to incorporate a lengthy statement in Hansard. In view of the serious shortage of paper, honorable members should endeavour to be more economical.
-Lengthy articles are incorporated in the congressional records of the United States of America.
– An honorable member should be satisfied to give the substance of an article as a part of his speech.
– Is it the wish of the committee that the matter shall be incorporated in Hansard ?
Honorable Members. -Hear, hear!
– The first article is entitled “ War Production Drive - Awards to Workers in the United States of America “, and reads -
Ever since the first Marathon winner was crowned with a laurel wreath in ancient Greece, recognition of the individual’s achievements through awards systems of one kind or another has contributed in large measure to his still greater achievement.
In democratic countries men have the inalienable right to use all the gifts with which nature has endowed them, brains as well as brawn, in their struggles to preserve democratic freedom.
Production drives, incentive contests, awards plans, proceed upon this basic premise, which is psychologically and democratically right, because by their very nature they recognise the inherent dignity of the individual.
In the United States, long before the time it was designated as the Arsenal of Democracy, such incentive campaigns were carried on in government by the Navy and throughout private industry by many concerns.
Even before America entered the war the
Secretary of the Navy inaugurated the system of awarding the Navy’s symbol of excellence afloat, the Navy “ E “ pennant, to plants showing marked superiority in the production of naval equipment. Recently a new production award, representing recognition by the Army and the Navy jointly of the patriotism of industrial America, was announced. The “ E “ for excellence, with its proud background of tradition, is the mark linking the men and women of industry with the men and women of the fighting forces in the common task. Employees of the winning companies are presented with an Army-Navy lapel pin.
All plants engaged in war production and construction work are eligible for the ArmyNavy production award. There is equal opportunity for governmental as well as private plants; those engaged partly on war work as well as those engaged fully on war work: sub-contractors as well as prime contractors. Quantity and quality ofproduction in the light of available facilities are the factors which are given the greatest weight in selecting recipients for the award. Other factors include -
No “ E “ award is permanent. The records of each company are reviewed every six months by both the Army and the Navy Boards. If they find that a company has fallen below standard it loses its right to fly the “ E “ until it redeems itself. Each time the boards renew the award to a company, however, it can affix a white star to its Army-Navy flag.
The “M” Pennant.
The U.S. Maritime Commission’s “M” pennant, announced early in the spring of 1942, was largely designed to build morale among shipyard workers who are constructing the war-time fleet of 2,400 vessels, the goal of 1942-43. Some 1,500 of these 2,400 vessels are to be of the 10,800-ton Liberty-ship type. The “M” is given to a shipyard uponthe completion in fewer than 105 days per ship of one ship from each of its ways. Each ship is also given the Victory Fleet flag. Each time this cycle is completed a star is added to the “M “ pennant. All workers in the shipyard receive a Labour Merit badge. These badges remain their property, and new badges are issued to new workers who stars are added to the pennant. The Maritime
Commission may make similar awards to prime contractors, or to sub-contractors who are contributing to the construction of the Victory Fleet. As with the Army-Navy “ E “ the Maritime “ M “ is good for onlysix months at a time.
The war production drive, organised at the direction of President Roosevelt and Mr. Donald M. Nelson, chairman of the War Production Board, fosters the organisation of joint labour-management committees in war plants to expedite production. It services these plants with publicity and promotional material designed to stimulate the individual worker. Campaign media of all types are utilised - posters, placards, banners, stickers, radio transcriptions, photographs, score- boards, movies, slogan contests, rallies. At the heart of the drive is the suggestion-box, the vehicle by which each worker may enlist his brains as well as his brawn inthe warproduction drive.
Suggestion boxes, located in prominent places in many factories, have long been a part of the American industrial scene, but never have they played such an active role as now. With the impetus given them by official Governmental sanction of an Individual Awards Plan, administered by the war production drive headquarters prepared booklet, suggestion systems have taken on new life. Of 1,700 labour-management warproduction committees now registered, some 600 have reported suggestion systems in operation. It is also estimated that there are more than 500 war-production drive committees in operation and countless suggestion-box systems, which have never reported to headquarters.
In the United States two types of suggestion plans are operating successfully. One is the “ blind “ or anonymous plan, in which the suggester submits his idea on a blank with a number. He does not record his name, but merely keeps the stub of the blank as his identification. The suggestion then is judged solely on its merits, with no personalities involved. The identity of the suggester is not revealed until his award is announced by having his number posted.
The other type of plan is known as the “ open “ or signed system, in which the worker signs his name to his suggestion and is easily accessible if clarification of his idea is needed. Proponents of this latter plan claim that it is based on mutual trust between workers and those responsible for reviewing and judging suggestions, and therefore makes for better industrial relations. In all plans, originators of useful suggestions arc rewarded; in many cases monetary awards, nowadays in the form of war bonds, are given by the firm.
In announcing the Individual Awards Plan, Donald M. Nelson said: “Our Army and Navy have systems of commending merit of high order in the line of duty. I propose that the production soldier shall also be recognised for meritorious service to his country.”
Governmental recognition of war workers, it is intended, shall include three types of recognition - the award of individual production merit, granted for suggestions which increase production in individual plants; the certificate of individual production merit, for suggestions certified to Washington by labourmanagement committees and possessed of possibilities for application throughout industry; and the citation of individual production merit, accompanied by a War Production Board pin, also granted for outstanding contributions to the entire war effort.
To date, labour-management committees have requested 19,332 award forms for distribution in individual plants. Some 271 suggestions from over 50 companies have been certified to Washington for study. In two meetings the board has granted six citations (as yet unannounced), 39 certificates, and 45 honourable mentions, indicating that over 60 per cent, of the suggestions considered by the board are found worthy of industry-wide application.
The Suggestion Exchange Section is responsible for “ ploughing suggestions back “ into industry. This is accomplished by means of circular letters to trade Press and to all committees, with brief descriptions and serial numbers of suggestions, divided into specific categories by type of operation and industry, from which they can request from headquarters the complete data with drawings and photographs, on all suggestions which they believe can be utilised in their plants.
To date, there have been some 243 specific requests for complete information, and several trade magazines have started special “ warwinning” suggestion features based on material furnished by headquarters. In addition to the industry exchange, there is also intra and inter governmental exchange. The Navy Department is furnished with copies of all suggestions for adoption in all Navy yards; suggestions are likewise sent to England for possible use in British factories.
The following article is entitled, “A Pattern for Australian Industry “ : -
Here is a word-picture of a war factory, somewhere in Britain, which stands out for its efficiency and high production.
It might well become a model for the type of factory Australians will work in when peace comes.
And to one man - its superintendent, here introduced as Mr. X - is due the credit for a system which has raised the output of 13.000 workers to undreamed-of heights.
The story of the modest Mr. X, who will not permit publication of his name, is told in London “Daily Mail” by Charles Sutton, who gives two reasons for the fact that men in this factory, working less than 50 hours a week, can earn up to £14.
The superintendent does not reduce piece rates when production goes up.
With so much leisure time (much of which is organized by the superintendent), employees, men and women, are always in a physical and mental condition to work at the highest pitch of efficiency.
The net result is that the rate of productivity in this factory is probably the highest in Britain.
Every month the employers and shop stewards have tea together in the factory, and then sit round the board-room table and make criticisms and put forward constructive suggestions for increasing output.
Every other month a shop steward takes the chair, and the superintendent and his managerial staff sit waiting to be called upon for observations on and answers to criticisms.
That is Mr. X’s idea of democracy in his factory, and he believes that a new spirit of co-operation in industry will spring from the production committees in factories where employers and men can meet for an exchange of ideas for a more efficient running of the business.
Frustration, complacency, and indifference meet an impenetrable defence when they try to storm his factory.
His belief in co-operation has been more than justified. Though he set his work-people an “ impossible “ programme at the beginning of 1942, they advanced 10 per cent, beyond it, and they have so captured his spirit of enthusiasm that he was not afraid to increase their 1.943 programme by another 25 per cent.
Most factories are faced with a greater demand for output and the prospect of fewer skilled workers, so Mr. X has turned his attention to health and welfare.
The year 1942 will be remembered as the year in this war when every machine and every working man and woman had to be made more productive, as supplies of all three were running short.
Mr. X has called in every medical aid to make his workers fit. He lectures them himself on how they should keep their minds and bodies healthy.
He has organized a welfare department which not only smooths the worker’s path through the monotony of production, but enlightens and cheers his leisure hours.
Mr. X has organized essay, music and poetry competitions, and he has got the headmaster of a famous public school as judge of the poetry, which is produced on a prolific scale. “ We are constantly examining our machines and making alterations to increase their efficiency, and their length of life,” he says. “If a machine needs care and treatment, how much more necessary is it to look after the men and women operators who have to work in harmony with their machines? “
And, in order further to perfect the rhythm of production, Mr. X is for ever altering the lay-out of his vast factory.
There are so many ways of shortening the journey of a piece of raw material through the various processes of manufacture by moving workers and machines.
Mr. X has created this happy state of affairs because he has partly eliminated that fear of instability which competitive business gave the workers before the war.
But, like all war workers, the men and women in this factory still have a subconscious fear that pre-war vicissitudes of employment and earnings will return with peace.
Mr. X’s remedy for this would be a drastic one if he had any influence with the Government. He would urge that everyone should bc guaranteed now a continuance of employment after the war, whatever it costs. “ It would increase output by 10 per cent, all over the country,” he says, “ and get the war over quicker. “The Government need not be frightened of such a proposal. We have got to get our trade restored quickly after the war, and to do so it is essential that we should have contented, well-paid workers.”
Another principle Mr. X has established is leadership and the improvement of human relationships within his organization, which is so vast as to be almost an epitome of a nation.
Many modern factories use some of the principles adopted by Mr. X - and others have put into practice ideas that Mr. X has not evolved. But probably none has achieved such all-round advancement in methods of management.
Leading industrialists in Great Britain have formulated what they describe as “ a charter of better conditions and opportunities for workers”. This is described in an article entitled “Reforms for Industry “ -
Widespread reforms in the British manufacturing industry, including a “ charter “ of better conditions and opportunities for the workers, but maintaining the principle of private enterprise, are outlined in a statement entitled “ A National Policy for Industry “, which has been issued by 100 industrialists.
The signatories include Lord Dudley, chairman of the British Iron and Steel Corporation and several other industrial concerns; Lord McGowan, chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries; Lord Melchett, a director of Imperial Chemical Industries; Lord Hirst, chairman of the General Electric Company and president of the Radio Manufacturers’ Association; Lord Perry, chairman of the Ford Motor Company; Lord Sempill, director and chairman of the F.T.M. Limited; Sir Valentine Crittall, chairman of the Crittall Manufacturing Company and of the Darlington and Simpson Rolling Mills Limited; Sir Cecil Weir, a partner in the firm of Scrader, Mitchell and Weir; and Sir Frank Sanderson, chairman of Salts (Saltaire Limited.
The statement emphasizes that the signatories are speaking in their personal capacities and not as representatives of their companies. They state: “ft is a necessary condition for achiev ing efficiency that the system of private enterprise should continue. We do not think that the profit motive should be eliminated from our industrial service to the community as a whole. “ We believe that industry can be so organized that its threefold responsibility - to consumers, to employees, and to those who provide the capital - can be effectively discharged and that the idea of service can be carried more fully into practice without embarking on changes in the social system such as might seriously and detrimentally dislocate the national economy.”
Dealing with the social obligations of industry, the signatories urge closer collaboration between the trade unions and managements, so that they may jointly examine problems affecting industry in relation to the community. “ All sections of labour “, the statement adds, “ should have closer association with the management. This can be assisted by the general adoption and extension of works councils and production committees, which would neither displace the trade unions nor relieve the managements of their responsibility for decisions.”
Outlining a code of duty to employees, the statement suggests full opportunities for every man and woman to rise to positions of great responsibility; a minimum basic wage; a system of payment by results; the adoption of the principle of co-partnership where practicable; unemployment pay at subsistence rates as a right and not as a charity; government and local schemes of work to relieve unemployment, possibly including State assistance for industry; holidays with pay; reasonable hours of work; family allowances; contributory pensions schemes; adequate housing, with industry assuming the duty of ensuring that employees are properly housed; and the raising of the school leaving age to sixteen years, with plans for part-time education to the age of eighteen, and more industrial vocational education.
It declares that ownership by the State and operation by the State would not succeed, and in peace-time would be wasteful, clumsy, and destructive of development and initiative. There would be a danger of industry’s becoming the plaything of party politics, and a great extension of State ownership and operation would so injure efficiency as to be a “ national calamity “.
The statement suggests the creation of a central council of industry, representative of the whole of industry. Industries should be classified into sections, each having a sectional association. These associations should elect the central council which would maintain contact with them and the Trade Union Congress.
The signatories emphasize that their aim is to assure to the consumer the full benefit of technical progress, and higher quality and lower prices, also to establish greater economic security for all. [ trust that these matters will be considered by the Minister for Labour and National Sendee (Mr. Ward) or the Minister who is acting for him. I am quite sure that the institution of many of these ideas will increase production and make for the more economic working of industry, thereby helping to .bring down costs, an aspect with which we are vitally concerned. I am sure that the methods which have been effective in the United States of America will also save millions of pounds in Australia.
The Minister for Post-War Reconstruction (Mr. Chifley) said to-day that the matter with which he is entrusted in that capacity had been given close attention and that the Department of Post-War Reconstruction would collaborate with the various committees set up by the State governments to deal with post-war reconstruction and decentralization, in which the States, particularly New South Wales, are interested. We are also concerned with the immediate position because the end of the war, when it comes, will come suddenly. It may not be to-morrow, but it may be twelve months hence. When it does end we shall be faced with the necessity to close down many industries which have been set up to supply war requirements. Industrialists in my electorate, both workers and managers, are very much concerned about the absence of any plans for a change-over from war-time production to production of the needs of peace. One man told me that if the war ended to-morrow he would be at the end of the telephone the whole day long listening to various Government representatives cancelling orders for munitions. He suggested that there should be some system of silent orders for peace-time production, so that, immediately munitions orders were cancelled, factories could go to work on some order, which they had in store, for the manufacture of peace-time goods. That would enable industries to keep going and would avoid large-scale unemployment, the cost of which would come back on the Government.
.- Like the honorable member for Reid (Mr.
Morgan), I have a problem of bread, but it is not a matter of my constituents not having wholemeal bread. They have little or no bread at all. There has been a bakers’ strike in Perth this week. The position is becoming rather serious. It is a question of the hours of baking. A couple of months ago, the State Arbitration Court made an award and fixed the wages and working conditions of the bakers on the basis of baking being commenced at 3 a.m. The troubles, which have been going on for a considerable time, appeared to have been settled. They probably would have been but for the fact that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward) refused to ratify the award. The result of that is that the disputes were opened up again, and they have culminated in a strike that has already lasted more than a week. Yesterday I invited the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) to take advantage of the regulations, but the best he could say was that some report had been called for and that he might act at some future time. This dispute has been brought about through the interference of the Commonwealth Government, through the Minister for Labour and National Service and, therefore, there is a responsibility upon it. The Government, having caused the dispute, should take some steps to terminate it. It has ample regulations under which to act. There are regulations under which any service or undertaking may be declared to be an essential undertaking, and, in the event of such a declaration, if either the employers or the employees do not carry out their duties under the award, the Minister, in this case the Prime Minister, may take steps to have them drafted into the Army or into the Civil Constructional Corps. They are what are called the “work or fight” regulations. The machinery is there and can be put into operation by the Government immediately. The situation is urgent and I hope that action will be taken by the. Government.
– Do I understand from the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) that there will be an opportunity to discuss this matter before the session closes?
– It .is ‘urgently necessary that the financial measures should reach the Senate in time for it to have the opportunity to debate them before the end of the financial year. I have assured the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Fadden) that next week I shall either bring down Supplementary Estimates or table a statement, with a motion that it be printed, which will enable the House fully to discuss all matters that honorable members may desire to raise.
– That will suit me.
– If the House will meet the Government in that respect I give an undertaking that that shall be done.
– Will that enable any matter at all to be raised?
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.
Resolution of Ways and Means, founded on resolution of Supply, reported and adopted.
That Mr. Chifley and Mr. Lazzarini do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Mr. Chifley, and passed through all stages without amendment or debate.
Message recommending appropriation reported.
In Committee of Supply:
.- I move-
That there be granted to His Majesty for or towards defraying the services of the year 1943-44 a sum not exceeding £43,889,000.
The purpose of this motion is to provide for the granting of supply to carry onthe ordinary services of government for the first three months of the financial year 1943-44. the amount is £43,889,000.
The provision may be summarized under the following heads: -
Provision has been made only for the estimated requirements to carry on the essential services on the basis of the provision in the Appropriation Act passed by Parliament for the current year 1942-43. Excluding defence and war and excepting a few instances of special need, the items making up this total represent approximately one-fourth of the 1942-43 appropriations.
Excluding special appropriations, it is estimated that in the first three months of 194!3-44 war expenditure will amount to £143,000,000. The sum of £30,000,000 provided for war ‘ services in this bill represents the estimated amount which will be available from revenue receipts for the first three months of the year after making due allowance for other obligations. The balance of war expenditure will be met from loan appropriations.
Provision has been made for assistance to the dairying industry of £2,150,000. This will cover arrears in respect of the additional provision from the 1st April, 1943. A sum of £2,000,000 has also been provided under the price stabilization scheme for subsidies on imports and miscellaneous subsidies to secondary industries.
As in previous years, provision will be made in the Supply Bill for “Advance to the Treasurer”, the amount being £5,000,000. This sum is required mainly to carry on uncompleted civil works which will be in progress at the 30th June and also to cover unforeseen and miscellaneous expenditure. No provision has been made for any new expenditure except in respect of defence and. war services, and there is no departure from existing policy.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.
Resolution of “Ways and Means, founded on resolution of Supply, reported and adopted.
That Mr. Chifley and Mr. Lazzarini do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Mr. Chifley, and read a first and second time.
– Does the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) intend to make an announcement to honorable members concerning the proposed date of the election? The right honorable gentleman said last night that no further business would be transacted, as it was his intention to tender certain advice to the Governor-General.
– He said that certain financial measures would be presented.
– This measure proposes to provide supply for three months. Honorable members are entitled to know exactly what that means. Certain rumours are abroad this morning concerning the coming elections. As a rule, I take no notice of rumours, but in the special circumstances of this case, the Treasurer must agree that some extraordinary statements are being made.
– What date does the honorable member favour for the elections?
– I am not concerned about that point, but I consider that the Government has had sufficient time to make a statement to honorable members on the subject. In view of the war situation, which is very different from the situation just prior to the last elections, the appeal to the people should be made without long delay. I have heard it said that the elections will not be held until after the middle of August.
– Surely that is time enough, for the danger of invasion has passed.
– The Government should disclose its intentions to the Parliament and to the country.
-Supply for three months would carry us beyond the middle of August.
– I point out to the Government that the conditions under which troops will vote on this occasion are very different from those under which they voted at the last elections. A great deal more difficulty will be encountered on this occasion, and if some of the seats should he closely contested the Lord knows what may happen. It will probably be a month after the elections before the results are known in some of the closely contested seats.
– The honorable member need not worry; we shall win in our stride.
– The honorable member may think so. I have no desire to delay business, but it is important that an authoritative statement should be made on behalf of the Government concerning the date proposed for the election.
– Does not the proposal for three months’ supply give to the honorable member all the information that he needs?
-I am not sure that it does.
Bill agreed to and reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Sitting suspended from 1.50 to 2.15 p.m.
Message recommending appropriation reported.
In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral’s message) :
. -I move -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of moneys be made for the purpose of a bill for an act to authorize the raising and expending of a certain sum of money.
It is necessary to obtain parliamentary authority from time to time in order to finance that portion of war expenditure which is met from loan moneys. The tremendous increase of war expenditure has naturally increased the requests for loan authority, both as to amount and as to frequency. The bill seeks a further appropriation of £200,000,000. Following the usual practice, there is also provision for authority to borrow a like sum.
In my financial statement earlier today, I indicated that war expenditure this year is estimated to reach £560,000,000, of which approximately £160,000,000 will be met from revenue, and the balance of £400,000,000 from loan. I refer the committee to my remarks in that statement. Further information will be given by service Ministers as required, subject, of course, to security provisions.
The balance of loan appropriation available at the commencement of this financial year was £86,000,000. Two additional appropriations were granted by Parliament in October and February, totalling £300,000,000. The bill will, therefore, provide an appropriation of approximately £14,000,000 for the remainder of this financial year. The balance of £1S6,000,000 is required to carry on war services in the coming year. It is anticipated that this amount will meet requirements to the end of November next.
.- The Opposition does not raise any objection to this necessary measure, which is required for the purpose of financing the war expenditure to be incurred by the Government, to an amount of £14,000,000 to clean up the balance on loan account for the year that is drawing to a close, and an amount of £186,000,000 in the ensuing financial year. I have to make only two observations, which the Treasurer might keep in mind ; they relate to matters that have been mentioned during recent debates. One is that the Government should aim at securing, by means of loans from the market, as much &a possible of the £200,000,000, so as to take the fullest advantage of the money in circulation; secondly, that as little as possible should be added to the already heavy total of central bank credit financed through the treasury-bills system. That matter must be left to the administration of the Go vernment and the efforts of the Treasurer. I am confident that the honorable gentleman will agree in principle that it is desirable that such a result should be achieved to the greatest degree possible. Upon the Government rests the onus of taking such steps as aTe open to it to effect a portion, at all events, of that result.
My other observation is that when the Government next places a loan on the market it might consider the adoption of improved methods for raising money from the public. I realize that the principal need is to obtain subscriptions to loans, and that, whatever comes or goes, loans have to be floated and the money raised. I recognize, also, that the wide publicity employed is designed to attract subscriptions from small investors who have to be persuaded to subscribe or who have to be reminded of the urgency of the matter. The funds of major contributors to loans are generally capable of ascertainment. I am conscious of the great service which the Commonwealth Bank renders to the nation in that regard, by contacting the financial institutions and keeping constantly before them systematic means of subscribing to loans and marshalling their resources for the service of the nation. However, other methods are available to the Government by which loans may be brought before the notice of small lenders and subscriptions may be made as widely as possible. That, in a measure, can be done only through the medium of advertising, and by impressing upon persons of small means their obligation to subscribe, and, indeed, the benefit which subscription to loans confers on them. It is unfortunate that certain of the methods adopted in the past have given rise to criticism. The Government has now had considerable experience, in the raising of loans on the market - in particular, the two loans that were raised during the financial year that i3 drawing to a close. With that experience as a guide, it may be able to eliminate some of the methods that have not been productive of worth-while results, and to concentrate upon others that are calculated to have some value whilst avoiding unnecessary expense and criticism, such as has been associated with the raising of some recent loans. The Opposition is glad to co-operate with the Government in passing the legislative machinery that is necessary to place loans on the market and secure the money that is required for the conduct of the war.
.- I support the remarks of the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner). Apart from the small subscribers to whom he has referred as needing encouragement, and the large lenders, there is a section of the community in the fortunate or unfortunate position of not having any member of the family who can respond to the call for service to the country. Some of these have not altogether played the game by supporting the appeals of the Government for subscriptions to loans. The time is approaching when steps will have to be taken to ensure an equitable distribution of the burden of these loans. Like the honorable member for Robertson, I am of the opinion that there has been a good deal of unnecessary expenditure in the raising of loans. Send ing a military band round the country to attract subscriptions is hardly a dignified procedure.
– -The cost of raising our loans has been less than 5s. per cent, compared with the cost of fi 2s. 6d. per cent, in Canada.
– However small the cost may be, some of. the expenditure is quite unnecessary. However, the principal point that I make is that a large number of ‘people in Australia to-day who are in a position to subscribe to Joans have, not done’ so. If we are to continue to borrow, means will have to be found to compel subscriptions by those who will not subscribe voluntarily.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.
That Mr. Chifley and Mr. Lazzarini do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Mr. Chifley, and passed through all stages without amendment or debate.
Message recommending appropriation reported.
In committee (Consideration of Governor-General’s message) :
– I move -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to grant and apply out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund a sum for the purpose of financial assistance to the State of Tasmania.
The purpose of this bill is to implement the recommendation contained in the final report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission on the application made by the State of Tasmania for further financial assistance in 1942-43 from the Commonwealth under section 96 of the Constitution.
Under the States Grants Act (No. 46 of 1942), which was assented to on the 6th October, 1942, payments totalling £2,175,000 for financial assistance to the States were authorized. The amount payable to each State was as follows : -
It will be recalled by honorable members that in recommending these payments, the Commonwealth Grants Commission based its calculations on the budgetary results of the States for 1940-41 the latest year for which complete information was then available, but that consideration was also given to conditions obtaining in years following that on which the grants were assessed. Thus, although the actual grants assessed for South Australia and Western Australia were £1,220,000 and £970,000 respectively, the commission recommended that payment of portions of these grants as assessed be deferred until next financial year. The commission considered that payment of the grants in full would exceed the current needs of those States. In the case of Tasmania, however, the same conditions did not apply, and payment of the grant as assessed was made in full.
In September, 1942, the Government of Tasmania advised the Commonwealth Government that it considered the grant of £575,000 for 1942-43 inadequate, in view of the known deterioration in the budgetary position of the State since the 30th June, 1942, and it asked for additional assistance. The Commonwealth Government referred the request to the Commonwealth Grants Commission for consideration.
In an interim report, dated the 25th January, 1943, tabled in this House on the 18th February last, the commission pointed out that little would be gained by an attempt then to assess the probable result of Tasmania’s transactions for the year 1942-43, and that a recommendation for immediate financial assistance might well prove by the end of the financial year either too much or too little for Tasmania’s financial needs of that year. The commission therefore deferred its recommendation until later in the financial year.
Further consideration has now been given to Tasmania’s case, and, in its final report, dated the 16th April, 1943, the commission said it is clear on the evidence now available that the grant of £575,000 made earlier in the year will be insufficient to meet the needs, of Tasmania in 1942-43. The commission, therefore, recommends an advance payment of £200,000. This is in addition to the amount of £576,000 referred to above and, under the commission’s method, the advance will be adjusted in a later year in order to preserve fully the relativity in the commission’s method of assessing special grants. The commission’s final report is laid on the table of the House.
On becoming aware of the commission’s recommendation, the Tasmanian Government took exception to the payment of the £200,000 as an advance, and stated that it required the grant to be unconditional. In the circumstances, Tasmania applied for an increase of £200,000 in the amount payable to Tasmania under the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942. The Premier said that this application was made without prejudice to the advance already recommended, but if the application was granted payment of the advance would not be required. The application for an increased grant under the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942 has been considered by the Commonwealth Grants Commission in pursuance of that act, and the commission’s report thereon has been tabled to-day.
A summary of the commission’s findings is as follows: -
In view of the foregoing, the commission reports that it is just fiat no additional financial assistance should be payable to Tasmania in 1942-43 under the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942.
In view of this report the Government does not propose to increase the income tax reimbursement grant to Tasmania, but is prepared to make the sum of £200,000 available to Tasmania as recommended by the Commonwealth Grants Commission in its final report on Tasmania’s application for further financial assistance in 1942-43. This will make the total grant to Tasmania for the current financial year £775,000. I therefore submit this bill to the House for its favorable consideration.
.- I understand the Treasurer’s statement to mean that the final report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission provides for the payment to Tasmania of an amount of £200,000 in the form of an advance, in addition to the amount of £575,000 already paid. In other words, it puts Tasmania right so far as its cash position for the past year is concerned, but leaves the way open for adjustments to be made in subsequent years in the light of circumstances then existing. That, I think, is a wise decision, and I hope that the Government of Tasmania will, upon reflection, agree with it. The machinery for investigating the accounts of the State Governments is well established, and an independent commission was set up to examine the claims of the States. It would be very difficult for a government, except for good and sufficient reasons, to refrain from adopting the recommendations of the commission. Similarly, this Parliament would need to have very good reasons for failing to accept the commission’s report. This is hardly the occasion for a debate on the affairs of the States, even if such a debate were desirable or necessary. There will be other occasions for that. On the bare facts disclosed by the Treasurer, supported as he is by the report of the commission, I believe that Parliament should vote the amount of £200,000 as proposed in the bill before the House. The commission has done wisely in keeping this further advance on the basis of a grant under the constitutional provisions, rather than to confuse it with the 1942 legislation which dealt with income tax reimbursements under the uniform taxation scheme. To have done otherwise would have been to create a precedent from which it might be difficult for the Government to depart. The income tax reimbursement legislation was framed on a definite principle, and the work of the commission under that legislation should be confined to the consideration of special conditions relating to variations of taxation receipts. In the case now before us it is evident that Tasmania’s claim is based on general difficulties. The commission has recognized that, and has reported accordingly. I support the bill, and also the method by which it is proposed to make this advance to Tasmania,
– I do not oppose the bill, but, unlike the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner), I do not altogether agree with the method which it is proposed to follow. This grant of £200,000 is an advance on next year’s grant, so that, instead of Tasmania receiving the full amount recommended for next year, it will receive £200,000 less. This advance provides only Temporary relief to Tasmania. In effect, Tasmania will be using part of the income of 1943-44 to finance the undertakings of 1942-43. That is what it boils down to. I come from a State which, over a long period of years, has been unable to retain within its own boundaries its natural population increase. The Government of Tasmania bears the expense of educating children born there, and frequently bears the expense of teaching them trades. Then they leave the State because there are better opportunities on the mainland. That is inevitable, but for that reason cognizance should be taken of the difficulty by the Commonwealth Parliament, and Tasmania compensated accordingly. I regret that I have not had an opportunity to peruse the documents that have just been circulated. They set out the application made by the State, and the report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Probably, sound reasons can be advanced for the decision of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. I do not object to the Treasurer giving effect to the recommendations, but, at the same time, I can understand the attitude of the Treasurer of Tasmania. Next year the grant to the State will be reduced by £200,000.
– The debt will be paid !
– Honorable members from the larger States derive a lot of amusement from applications by the smaller States for financial assistance. They refer to them as the “ mendicant “ States.
– New South “Wales derives the greatest advantage from the uniform income tax arrangement.
– I was about to make that point. New South “Wales receives an advantage of £1,250,000, to which many people consider that the State is not entitled. Whether this gift was handed to New South Wales on a silver plate, as some honorable members contend, is not relevant to this debate. But the fact remains that New South Wales this year has been able to show a surplus of £2,000,000, proving that it has benefited substantially from the introduction of the uniform income tax. Tasmania, which has been denuded of population, is suffering great disabilities. It has not been given the same opportunity as the larger States to manufacture munitions. The explanation is that at the outbreak of war munitions had to be manufactured without delay, and therefore existing factories received the orders. But, undoubtedly, the previous Government displayed a lack of sympathy with and consideration for Tasmania when erecting new munitions undertakings.
– Has that been corrected during the last eighteen months?
– Yes ; I forecast that the people of Tasmania will remember that when the day of reckoning comes.
– Tasmanians will not thank the honorable member for making political capital out of this issue.
– I am simply stating facts. The United Australia party Government never made any attempt to decentralize industry. The contentions of the Treasurer of Tasmania contain considerable merit His application for further financial assistance under the State Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942 read -
The Government of Tasmania makes immediate application under section 6, sub-section I of the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942 for an increase of £200,000 in the uniform tax compensation payment of £880,000 net in respect of 1943-43. Such application is made without prejudice to the advance of £200-,000 already recommended under section 06 of the Constitution.
The Treasurer of Tasmania declared -
In no circumstances could the Government consider that “ an advance “ was sufficient to meet the present financial difficulties of Tasmania. The Government now repeats this view, but with added emphasis, in view of the extremely buoyant revenue position in all other States of the Commonwealth as revealed by the monthly financial returns.
Whilst I have not been able to analyse those returns, the fact remains that the revenues of other States have been extremely buoyant. The reason Ls not far to seek. In South Australia, for example, there has been a mushroom-like growth of large factories that employ thousands of workers. The previous Government looked with a kindly eye upon South Australia when selecting sites for munitions undertakings.
– The reason was, not consideration for South Australia, but the remoteness of the State from possible enemy action.
– Isolation, or remoteness, is the reason why Tasmania is always placed number seven on the list of priorities.
– Does not Tasmania desire to be number seven on the invasion list? v
– Tasmania does not wish to be number seven all the time. That system has always worked to the disadvantage of the State. The advance will temporarily relieve its financial difficulties.
Mr. -Chifley. - Temporarily, it will meet the deficit.
– That is true. I desired to place on record the point of view of the Treasurer of Tasmania concerning this matter. Next year, Tasmania will be embarrassed to some degree, because its revenue will be reduced by £200,000. I hope that later this year the Treasurer will give sympathetic consideration to the contentions of the State Treasurer.
– I do not object to the proposals of tie Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) because they are in consonance with the recommendation of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, but it is appropriate for me to refer to the incongruities resulting from the State Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act. The honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner) indicated that the application by Tasmania for further assistance was made under that act.
– In the first instance, the application was made under the Commonwealth Grants Commission Act. Subsequently, the State submitted its claim under the State Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act.
Sir FREDERICK STEWART.Will it be competent for a State which receives a disabilities grant -to apply for additional assistance, because in some general way its financial position has deteriorated, although payments madu vt it by the Commonwealth under the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act may have been substantially greater than its previous receipts? Supple that the railway system of Tasmania improves its finances to such a degree that it is much better off than in previous years. If the financial returns from other State activities have been reduced, the State should not be entitled to make a general disabilities claim. The time is appropriate for me to draw attention to the incongruity resulting from the provision iri the State Grant3 (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act, which gives te a State the right to apply for an increased grant in the event of the worsening of its financial position, but debars the Commonwealth Treasurer from a reciprocal right to seek a reduction of the grant in the event of a substantial’ improvement in the finances of a State. In making this statement, I realize that I am speaking against the best interests of New South Wales. When the uniform income tax legislation was under consideration, I directed attention to the possibility of a great improvement in the finances of some States. My forecast has been proved to be correct. To-day, New South Wales is showing a substantial surplus, but the Commonwealth Treasurer, who last night reported a deficit of £400,000,000 in the accounts of the current financial year, is unable to reduce Commonwealth payments to the State. The Government should afford the Parliament an opportunity to remove the incongruity, so that any degree of assistance granted by the Commonwealth to a State under the State Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act shall be entirely consistent with its’ needs.
– I assume from the remarks of the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner) that the grant of £200,000 to Tasmania will be an advance against next year’s allocation of £818,000. I am of opinion that the Parliament should deal with this situation immediately; otherwise, this incident will recur every year.
– Not necessarily. Next year the Commonwealth Grants Commission will make its customary examination of the finances of South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, and will make a recommendation, perhaps long before the end of the financial year. It is unfortunate that this matter has arisen in the last days of the present financial year.
– Tasmania has been most unfortunate in not having derived any special benefits from increased railway revenues, as the other States have done. It is interesting to note the effect of the net increase of railway revenue compared with the allocations under the State Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act. The following table shows the comparison: -
My point is that the railways revenues of the States have increased since the outbreak of war, largely as the result of Commonwealth expenditure, by amounts equal to about 25 per cent, of their allocations from the uniform income tax. I agree with the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) that it is a great pity that no provision was made in the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act for the Commonwealth to reduce the reimbursement of States in proportion to increased earnings from railway traffic as the result of Commonwealth activities. I concede that South Australia and Western Australia have not derived anything near the benefit from increased railway receipts that has been derived by the three eastern States. It is wellknown that most of the State governments have money to burn, whereas the Commonwealth Government is at its wit’s end to obtain additional revenue with which to wage the war. I do not protest against this proposed additional grant to Tasmania, because it has not derived much ‘benefit from the increased Commonwealth expenditure on account of the war. On the contrary, it has been placed at a great disadvantage. But to make this advance against next year is merely to postpone the evil day, because the same situation will arise again.
.- This bill does not put off the evil day, for I do not remember a year in which some grant had not to be made to Tasmania. Since its establishment, the Commonwealth Grant Commission has gathered most valuable data regarding the financial position of all applicant States.
– That was before this new income tax arrangement was made.
– That is true, but the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act really pegged’ the revenue that the States will receive from income tax. That is all it did. ‘It is easy to say now what should have been done,* but we had a sufficient headache in passing the act as it stands. It took us a long time to bring Parliament to the point of passing the measure, which ended the multifarious systems of income taxation that were in operation in Australia. It is easy to be critical now, but in the circumstances Parliament did very well to get the various uniform income tax measures on to the statute-book. 1 do not desire further to digress on that matter.
For years and years the Commonwealth Grants Commission has made an annual examination of the question of the inadequacy of the revenues of South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. I cannot remember any year when any of those States did not receive some grant from the Commonwealth. The application which gave rise to this bill was made late. It is necessary that this measure should go through before next Wednesday night, in order that the money it appropriates may be paid into the accounts of the Government of Tasmania before the end of the financial year and so fulfil the purpose for which it is to be voted, namely, to meet Tasmania’s deficit.
Lt will not matter whether the grant is made as is now .proposed, as a grant in aid, or under the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act, which was the basis for which the Government of Tasmania asked, because, regardless of how the money is received by Tas mania, in a subsequent year the Commonwealth Grants Commission will take the grant into consideration in assessing the State’s requirements from the Commonwealth. This measure is so late in coming before Parliament because the Government of Tasmania protested against the grant being made in the ordinary way instead of as additional compensation under the uniform income tax legislation. We immediately referred the application back to the Commonwealth Grants Commission, the body which is the most competent to deal with such matters. Its supplementary report reached Canberra only this morning, and roneoed copies have been distributed to honorable members. I tabled the report immediately I received it. I repeat that it makes little difference to Tasmania which way the grant is made, because it will be considered in a subsequent year by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.
– The difference is that there is a. degree of uncertainty.
– Yes, if the grant were made as a part of the reimbursement of income tax to the State, it would become a permanent part of Tasmania’s receipts from income tax. The Government is not prepared at this early stage to say, on its own authority, and without investigation by any body, that Tasmania’s reimbursement of income tax should be permanently increased; but that is what would result if Tasmania’s request for additional reimbursement of income tax were granted.
I agree with the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Jolly) that Tasmania has not gained very much of the additional prosperity that has come to other States as the result of the Commonwealth’s wartime expenditure. The honorable member for Lilley said last night, and repeated to-day, that the increased railway revenues of the States were the result of increased traffic brought about by military operations, but that is not entirely correct.
– A good deal of it is due to that.
– Admittedly, but before the war nine-tenths of interstate traffic was seaborne, whereas, now that there is not so much shipping available, the railways systems have coped with considerably increased traffic, not all of which is represented by transportation on account of the Commonwealth Government. A great deal is commercial. The honorable member for Lilley must be mindful of other considerations which have been put to me by State Premiers. I shall reply more fully to the honorable member next week, but, meanwhile, I remind him that all the States are building up large commitments for holidays and long-service leave for their employees, who are unable to take them during this war period. That alone will be a heavy charge against the States’ finances. The charge should be met this financial year, but it cannot be. Moreover, the States are not able to keep their rolling-stock and rails and bridges, &c, in as good order as in normal times. In fact, there has been great deterioration of the rolling-stock, and considerable replacement will be necessary. Therefore, although it may appear that the State railways are making great profits, if proper depreciation and maintenance accounts were kept, and proper provision were made for accruing holidays and long service leave for employees, the largely increased revenues would be subject to heavy deductions.
In view of the recommendation of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, the Government is not prepared at this stage to ask Parliament to approve of an increase of compensation to any State under the uniform income tax law. The circumstances are so unusual that it would be quite possible to make a bad guess and add to the compensation payable a permanent increase which later on might be found to be quite unwarranted, whereas the Commonwealth Grants Commission can review the circumstances next year or the year after and make its assessment accordingly. I do not think that any Commonwealth government has failed to adopt the recommendations of the commission. It is a completely impartial body - two members of it were appointed by the previous Government and one was appointed by this Government. I, personally, would require a great deal of persuasion before I would advise the Government to depart from a recommendation of the commission.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.
Bill presented by Mr. Chifley, and passed through all stages without amendment or debate.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Commonwealth Grants Commission Act - Final Report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission on application made by the State of Tasmania for further assistance in 1942-43 from the Commonwealth under section 96 of the Constitution.
Financial assistance to Tasmania - Report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission upon the application submitted by the Government of Tasmania for additional financial assistance in 1942-43 under the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Commonwealth purposes -
Bullsbrook (Pearce), Western Australia.
Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, South Australia.
Mount Lofty, South Australia.
National Security Act -
National Security (Aliens Control) Regulations - Orders -
Aliens restriction (Fishing vessels and other small craft).
National Security (Emergency Control) Regulations - Order - Military powers during emergency.
National Security (General) Regulations - Orders -
Control of highways (2).
Merchant ships (Passive defence).
Post and telegraph censorship.
Prohibited places (3).
Prohibiting work on land (4).
Prohibition of acquisition and sale of censored envelopes.
Protected areas (2).
Registration of outboard motors.
Removal of direction signs (Revocation ) .
Taking possession of land, &c. (180). Use of land (14).
National Security (Internment Camps)
Regulations - Rules - Camp (2).
National Security (Man Power) Regulations - Orders - Protected undertakings (78).
National Security (Medical Co-ordination and Equipment) Regulations- Order - Control of medical equipment.
National Security (Prisoners of War) Regulations -
Order - Prisoners ofwar camp.
Rules - Camp.
National Security (Rationing) Regulations Orders - Nos. 23-28.
Northern Territory - Report on Administration for year 1941-42.
Postmaster-General’s Department - Thirtysecond Report, for year 1941-42.
House adjourned at3.15 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
– Information is being obtained.
General Elections: Franchise of Members of the Forces; Preferential Voting.
– The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers : -
-It is not proposed to make an alteration in the method of voting as suggested by the honorable member.
d asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers : - 1 and 2. The information is being obtained.
l asked the Acting
Attorney-Genoral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions arc as follows : - 1 and 2. The only existing provision under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act for the taking of secret ballots, at any stage of the proceedings in relation to a dispute, ia contained in section 56d of the act ( inserted by Act No. 18 of 1923) which provides that such ballots shall be .taken (with or without provision for absent voting) in accordance with directions given by the court. There are no regulations implementing this section as the section provides that such ballots are to bc taken in accordance with .the court’s directions. By the amending act of 1028 other provisions were inserted in the principal act (sections 50a-56O .and 56b) empowering any ten members of an organization to demand a secret ballot generally and enabling ‘the court, where any such demand is not complied with, to direct a ballot to be taken. Regulations 33 to 35 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Regulations (made by Statutory Rules 1928, No. 81) implement these sections. Sections 56a-56c and 56b were however repealed by the amending act of 1930 with the result that regulations 33 .to 35 are now inoperative.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 June 1943, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1943/19430625_reps_16_175/>.