17th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hoa. J. S. Rosevear) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that, following a direction by the Coal! Commissioner to the management of Richmond Main- colliery, which refused to issue a lamp to a certain miner, the Richmond Main Lodge met last night and decided to suspend work indefinitely? Does the Government intend to accept as a challenge to- its authority to govern this country in time of war this direct contravention of an order by a Commonwealth officer I If 80j what action does itpropose to take in regard to it !
– This matter is under the administration of the Acting Minister for Supply and Shipping.
– At the request of the Miners Federation, a miner who had been defying the disciplinary code of the federation was refused a lamp, with a view to giving effect to his suspension. The Government is solidly behind the attempt of the federation to enforce its disciplinary code. The matter reached a very critical stage in the events recounted by the honorable gentleman.
– This was the third offence of the miner concerned, leading to a stoppage of the operations of Richmond Main colliery.
– That is so. This has occurred, not only at Richmond Main colliery, but also at several other collieries. The Government is hopeful that the federation will carry to a successful conclusion its fight against the malcontents who are defying its authority. Should it fail to do so, the Government will take independent action with a view to achieving the desired result.
– Last night’s Melbourne Herald published the statement by the manager of the Melbourne Gas Supply Company that unless supplies of coal reached Victoria by midnight of that day, all Melbourne users for either domestic or industrial purposes would be without gas on Wednesday. Has the Acting Minister for Supply and Shipping Inter information which would indicate that the position has been met?
– I can give to the House information which I ask the press not to report. The delay in the delivery of coal consigned to the company mentioned by the honorable member was lue to extraordinarily bad weather for two days off the south-east coast of Australia. I cannot imagine that the manager of the company would not know of that. The explanation could not be published in the press, because it would have disclosed the movement of a vessel on the Australian coast.
– Should not. some reserves be held by such «n organization?
– As all honorable members know, reserves are very short indeed. One could not give publicly a full answer to the question raised by Mr. Dunstan through the press without revealing the movements of this vessel. I understand that the Security authorities would not permit’ that to be done. Information which reached me this morning disclosed that this particular consignment of 15,000 or 16,000 tons had arrived at its destination.
– Will the Treasurer, before the rising of the House, state what progress is being made by the International Monetary Conference, and define exactly the proposal’s that are being discussed and Australia’s attitude thereto ?
– The discussions in relation to the monetary plan have so far been on a purely expert level. I do not know that any other government has definitely committed itself to a particular plan. The Commonwealth Government certainly has not done so. The final proposals which are now being discussed at Bretton “Woods, are in our hands in cable form, but we have not been able so to formulate them as to make them available for complete consideration by either the Government or the Parliament. In conjunction with the Minister for External Affairs, I shall endeavour before the rising of the House or as soon thereafter as may be possible, to make a presentation of all the proposals that have been formulated by the experts in regard to, not only the monetary plan, but also an international bank.
– Can the Prime Minister say whether restrictions likely to be imposed as a result of decisions reached at the monetary conference now meeting are likely to affect the development of Australia’s overseas export trade?
– Cables setting out th<proposals have been coming to us during the last few days. The proposals themselves are only tentative, and must be submitted to the various governments. 1 am not in a position to answer the honorable member’s question.
– Large sections of the country population, particularly those employed in the dairying industry, arc strongly opposed to daylight saving. ] ask the Prime Minister whether or not any decision has yet been taken to introduce daylight saving this year? If not. will full consideration be given to the views of country residents before any such decision is taken?
– No decisions have been taken in regard to the continuance or otherwise of daylight saving next summer. It is perfectly true that, unless the Government takes action, the regulations will operate as a matter of law. Last year, and in the previous year, the Premiers of the States were consulted on the matter. A meeting of Premiers will be held within a few weeks. I know very well that the Victorian Premier is strongly opposed to daylight saving. There were good reasons for its operation last year, and if similar reasons operate about October or November next, I shall favour the continuance of daylight saving.
– The idea was to save coal, was it not?
– Yes, coal and light, ft should be borne in mind that Australia is one of the few countries in the world which does not have daylightsaving as a matter of regular practice.
– In view of the facts that the War Service Homes Commission owns much land suitable for building purposes, and that servicemen being demobilized are finding great difficulty in finding homes or accommodation of any kind, and as the Commission has built only fourteen houses during this war, can the Minister for Repatriation say whether his large and efficient organization has yet developed a policy for home building?
– Yes, my department has developed a policy, and I hope to be able to begin building operations very soon. The honorable member knows as well as I do why we were not able to continue building. We know that there is a serious shortage of homes, and although it is now more acute than ever, it is a fact that the shortage existed even before the war. The commission is ready to begin operations as soon as we can obtain permission.
– Can the Minister for Labour and National Service say whether it is a fact that members of the
Federated Engine Drivers and Firemens Association of Australasia propose to stop work with a view to obtaining immediately redress of their grievances? Is it a fact that their claims for increased .payment for night work have been shelved ? Is it a fact that these men have performed, and are performing, a remarkable service in the interests of Australia’s war effort?
– I know that the locomotive enginemen and firemen have for a long time been dissatisfied because State Governments have not given consideration to the fact that they have been called upon to do so much night work, but it is not true that they are threatening to stop work. The locomotive men have approached me and the Commonwealth Government with a view to having their grievances examined by some industrial authority. It is not true that their request has been shelved. Their claim is now before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court in New South Wales, to which it was remitted at .the request of the Attorney-General and myself. ] believe that I have the authority of the Prime Minister to say that the Government is fully aware that there is no section of the Australian people, outside the members of the fighting forces, who have made a finer war effort than have the railway men.
Use of Commercial Ramo Stations -
Voting by Service Personnel -
Position of Prisoners of War
– For some time past the commercial stations have made an hour available every Sunday evening for the broadcasting of a programme to the forces calculated to further the war effort. I understand that yesterday the management of one commercial station complained that on last Sunday evening time had been devoted during this session to the broadcasting of material supplied by the Department of Information, the material being described as propaganda in favour of the “ Yes “ case in the referendum campaign. I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether action will be taken by the Government to ensure that the authority of the Department of Information and of the Government shall not be invoked to oblige commercial broadcasting stations to make time available for the broadcasting of partisan programmes relative to the referendum campaign ?
– The honorable member’s facts are all wrong.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral ascertain and inform the House whether what took place on Sunday evening was not a contravention of both the Electoral Act and the Post and Telegraph Act in that unsponsored material was broadcast calculated to influence electors in the forthcoming referendum? If these broadcasts are to be continued, will the Attorney-General take steps to ensure that the name of the sponsoring authority shall be made public?
-I am not aware of the facts, which come within the purview of another department. When the facts are ascertained, I shall consider the second request of the honorable member.
– I ask the Minister for the Army whether it is a fact, as stated by Mr. W. K. McConnell in the Sydney Sun of the 5th July, that thousands of fighting men are recording their referendum votes, although they have heard only one side of the case.? IF so, will the Minister inform the House under what authority these servicemen are voting? What guarantee can he give that each serviceman will receive the official referendum pamphlet? Further, on whose authority did Captain Martin, AttorneyGeneral of New South Wales, lecture troops in New Guinea earlier this year in favour of a “ Yes ” vote? Is it intended that he shall do so during the campaign?
– I have not read Mr. McDonnell’s statement, but I noticed that the most recent issue of Salt set out both the “ Yes “ side and the “ No “ side very impartially. The “ No “ side was preparedby the leader of the “ No “ cause in Australia, and, as far as I know, no partiality whatever has been shown by Salt in this matter. I understand that Captain Martin, when he was on the staff in New Guinea, was asked to deliver some lectures, because it was known that he was a very experienced lecturer. I do not know what the text of those lectures was ; but, knowinghim, I am sure the talks were of high -standard. I understand that Captain Martin has resumed his position as Attorney-General in the Government of New South Wales.
– On a point of order. The honorable gentleman has not answered my question about the soldiers voting.
– There is no point of order.
– There is.
– Order ! The honorable member must resume his seat.
– Will the Minister for the Army inform the House whether it is true that soldiers have already commenced voting in various places and units ?
– I am not aware that the soldiers have yet cast any votes. I shall make inquiries, andlet the right honorable member know.
– Is the Minister for the Army able to informme how many Australian prisoners of war will not be able to vote at the forthcoming referendum?
– I take it that all honorable members understand that all Australian prisoners of war will be precluded from exercising the franchise at the forthcoming referendum.
– How many prisoners of war are there?
– In round figures, probably 29,000. I shall obtain more exact information for the honorable member.
– In reference to a letter which I received from the Minister for Transport, some months ago, I now ask him how much coal was saved as a result of the refusal of the Transport Department to permit the carriage by rail of Mr. John Phelan’s greyhound from Glencoe, near Mr Gambier, to Orange, in New South Wales?
– I cannot recall the Incident referred to. During the relevant period, I was dealing with big national problems.
– Now that the High Court has established the authority of the Commonwealth Government to deal with absenteeism, and as several girl operatives in factories have already been penalized, will the AttorneyGeneral say whether the Government intends to deal similarly with absenteeism among miners, slaughtermen and waterside workers? If not, will he say why such discrimination is to be exercised in the application of Commonwealth law ?
– It is not a matter of discrimination.
– Just weakness, then?
– No, nor weakness either. The practice of mass prosecutions in industrial disputes was tried in the coal-mining industry, and did not lead to increased production.
– What about dealing with individuals?
– Individual absenteeism inthe coal-mining industry comes within the jurisdiction of the Coal Commissioner,who has authority to exclude any one from the industry.
– In the light of his previous remarks, I ask the Attorney-General whether he will tell the House how many law breakers against the Commonwealth industrial law must conspire to act in concert before the mass immunity begins to operate?
– What I can get for the honorable member - and it may assist him - is a list of the prosecutions which have been instituted by the Commonwealth in connexion with these industries. Many of the matters to which reference has been made concern departments other than my own. My department carries out recommendations of other departments. I shall endeavour to furnish the honorable gentleman with a list of the prosecutions which have been instituted. It will cover hundreds of cases.
– I want all law-breakers treated alike.
– I have spoken about law-breaking in the coal-mining industry.
Mr.Curtin. - There were none, of course, in the days when the honorable gentleman was holding ministerial office.
– I do not desire to enter into a debate on the subject at this stage; but I shall endeavour to obtain some information for the honorable member.
Surplus Military Officers
– I understand that the number of army officers is now in excess of requirements, and many are being demobilized, particularly officers of the rank of major, lieutenant-colonel, &c., because of a lack of units for them to command. I ask the Minister for the Army whether, instead of demobilizing those officers, it is not possible to give them the opportunity to take positions at Victoria Barracks and in other governmental departments at present occupied -by officers who have seen no war service at all ? I am referring to the demobilization of men who have seen active service in the Middle East and New Guinea. They bitterly complain that at Victoria Barracks are large numbers of officers, who have never been outside Australia, and could be sent back to civil life instead of men with records of active service.
– From time to time,, retirements take place of officers who have reached the regulation retiring age. The honorable member’s suggestion is that positions might be found for them at Victoria Barracks in place of other officers. That aspect is always considered by the Commander-in-Chief and the Adjutant-General. It is a question of suitability and qualification. There is a mistaken idea that, at Victoria Barracks, are a great many officers young enough to be sent to combat areas; but that matter has been very carefully gone into and only officers who are specialists are retainedin Victoria Barracks, if they are of ages which would enable them to be used in forward areas. I see the point of the honorable member’s question; we have a great deal of sympathy for the men who reach retiring age ; but the Army is frequently criticized for having too many officers; so, these retirements must take place from time to time, and the men concerned are made available for civil employment.
Mr.CONELAN.- What steps has , the Minister for Labour and National Service taken to settle the upheaval in the meat industry in Queensland?
– The dispute which has been worrying the meat exporters as well as the employees in Queensland for some months was dealt with yesterday by the Queensland Arbitration Court, and I have had news which I think makes it safe for me to say that a satisfactory solution for the trouble has been found.
Acquisition of Land
– In view of the great dissatisfaction expressed by owners with the amount of compensation paid for building allotments acquired for the extension of the Essendon Aerodrome, and as the matter is of some importance and has not yet been resolved satisfactorily, will the Prime Minister agree to the appointment of a committee of this House or some outside body to look into the matter with a view to arriving at some solution which would be acceptable to both the Government and the owners?
– This matter has been looked into very carefully quite recently, since my return. To give effect to the suggestion of the honorable gentleman - and it has my sympathy - it will be necessary to amend the Land Acquisition Act.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether any communication has been received from the New Zealand Government about the behaviour of the Australian High Commissioner, Mr. d’Alton. If so, will he make a report to Parliament?
– The answer to the first part of the question is “ No “.
– I present the report of the Broadcasting Committee, dated the 12th July, 1944.
– Will the Minister for the Army inform me how many Italian prisoners of war are held in Australia, and how many are actually employed on farms or rural projects?
– Approximately 13,000 Italian prisoners of war are held in Australia at the request and at the expense of the British Government. Approximately 9,500 of them have been placed on farms, and arrangements are in progress for the balance to be so placed. They are being sent, at the rate of about 500 a week, to farms selected by the Director-General of Man Power in the order of priority in which he considers that this labour should be used. It is used only in districts where the shortage of man-power is acute.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether it is a fact that a governmental committee of experts declared that1s. 8d. a gallon was a fair and reasonable price for milk in Tasmania, and that the Prices Commissioner has fixed a price considerably below that figure? Is the Minister aware that the Southern Tasmanian Dairymen’s Association, as a protest, decided to withhold milk supplies from the public, and that it was only on the intervention of the Tasmanian Premier, who stated that the price declared, namely,1s. 8d., was fair and just, that the delivery of milk was resumed, and that the Premier, Mr. Cosgrove, promised to approach the Commonwealth Government with a view to the 1s. 8d. being paid for the whole of the year? Will the Minister make a statement to the House on this matter?
– Obviously I am not able to answer the question at this juncture, but I shall obtain a statement on the subject, and supply it to the honorable gentleman at the earliest possible moment.
– Will the Prime Minister inform me whether it is a fact that the Government has decided to form a company with a capital of from £100,000.000 to £200,000,000 for the production of domestic and other commodities? Is it also a fact that the names of a number of prominent members of the Government are mentioned in a prospectus concerning the formation of such a company ?
– The honorable gentleman may have some information about what the Government intends to do. I do not know. Similarly, I do not know whether he refers to the “ Government “ or to “members of the Government”.
– No; I mean the Government as a national undertaking.
– Well, it is news to me, and I cannot imagine that any government would be able to contemplate steps of the kind that the honorable gentleman’s question suggests without bringing a bill to Parliament. Where would it get the money from?
– Some appalling cases have been brought to my notice of neglect on the part of mothers during the absence j.f their husbands in the fighting forces. Having personally investigated some of These cases, I can vouch for their accuracy. Since the matter affects all the fighting services, will the Prime Minister give consideration, consistent with the requirements of security, to allowing the return, either for home service adjacent to their place of abode, or to civil life, of men with four children or more of school age?
– That suggestion will be included in the great number of proposals that have been made to me as to the persons and numbers that should be released from the Army. The law was carried out in the recruitment of the Army, and I am not able to say that if a particular woman misbehaves and her (mildren are therefore neglected, the husband should be discharged from the Army. That would not be an adequate reason for the discharge of the husband. There are other considerations to be taken into account. In case the question should contain any implied reflection on members of the services - and I am sure that none is intended - I say that I have no doubt that the wives of servicemen are as well behaved as are the wives of civilians.
– Has the Minister for External Affairs seen the statement by Lord Cranborne relating to the killing of a number of air force officers, including some Australians, by the German Gestapo, and also reports of recent hideous massacres in Europe? Will the Minister, on behalf of the Government, make a statement similar to the British announcement expressing strong disapproval and horror at this action, and joining in a recommendation that the Gestapo shall be proscribed as a body and punished instead of individual members /being tried with other war criminals ?
– The suggestion has already been acted upon, but no statement has been made to the House. I shall consider the honorable gentleman’s suggestion and see whether I can make a statement on that and other matter? before the end of the week.
– Will the Treasurer inform me whether it is a fact that a seniorofficial of the Treasury recently appealed to the public to give information, anonymously if necessary, about alleged breaches of taxation law? By whose authority was this public appeal made?” Does the Treasurer consider that, in the interests of fairness, public servantsshould be invited to give anonymously . instances of slackness, waste or inefficiency occurring within the PublicService ?
– I understand from press reports that the Commissioner for Taxation made a broadcast in which heasked members of the public, when they were aware of evasions of taxation, tomake the facts known to the Taxation. Department.
– I do not know whether the right honorable gentleman, feels .that people who break the law in this country ought to have the help of” their fellow citizens.
– That is not the issue.
– Did the Commissionerfor Taxation ask for anonymous information?
– I have not seen a. cony of the broadcast. I read in the pressa statement to the effect that he asked the public to supply any information relatingto evasions of taxation.
– I suggest that the Treasurer should get the text of the broadcast and lay it on the table of the House.
– I understand that, for many years, successive Commonwealth Treasurers have approved of the acceptance by the Taxation Department of anonymous letters conveying information of taxation evasions.
– There is only one place for the anonymous letter.
– Every one has his own view about that and I do not propose to enter into a controversy on the subject. I imagine that manypolicemen who act on “ information received “ do not disclose the names of their informants. However, I make no apology for any attempt by the Commissioner for Taxation to see that people obey the law.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral inform me whether magistrates of State Departments of Justice are presiding over special Commonwealth courts which deal only with offences against Commonwealth regulations? If so, will the right honorable gentleman consider the immediate establishment of Commonwealth police courts presided over by Commonwealth magistrates ?
– State magistrates are presiding over courts which are concerned solely with the infringement of Commonwealth law. In view of the very big increase of the number of offences against Commonwealth law, I shall give consideration to the suggestion ofthe honorable member that Commonwealth courts should be established.
– I ask- the Minister for
Commerce and Agriculture whether his department, or some other Commonwealth department, was able to arrange for the agistment, on the: Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Farm at Werribee, of stock from burnt-out areas?
– Is the honorable gentleman speaking of the agistment of cattle?
– I have sheep in mind. Seeing that this is the second year of drought in north-western Victoria, and that large numbers of stock may be lost unless some arrangement is made for their agistment at Werribee, or in some other area, I ask the Minister whether all possible steps will be taken to relieve the distress of the settlers.
– I shall order an immediate and sympathetic investigation to be made. I realize the necessity for immediate action. To the degree that it is within the province of the Commonwealth Government to act, everything possible will be done to provide agistment.
– Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture give figures relating to the total production of vegetables last year, and the estimated production for this year, and the volume ofcontracts entered into last year compared with the number of contracts proposed for thisyear? If the Minister is unable to supply that information now, will he make it available before this sessional period ends?
– I cannot, from memory, give the exact quantities of vegetables that were produced last year under contract with the Commonwealth Government, but definitely the Production Executive has decided that the vegetable target for the coming season shall be similar to that of last year. However, I shall secure the exact figures for the right honorable gentleman.
– Seeing that it is proposed to reduce, by22,000 tons, the quantity of vegetables to be grown under contract in New South Wales next season, although the Commonwealth Government has appealed to vegetablegrowers to produce increased quantities of vegetables, I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether he will arrange for a floor price or a guaranteed price for all vegetables produced so that growers may be relieved of the anxiety they must feel concerning the danger of gluts in the future?
– I have already stated that it is not the intention of the Government to reduce the quantity of vegetables grown under contract in New South Wales. It is proposed that the same quantity, approximately, shall be grown in the next season as was grown in the last season. Steps have been taken, however; through certain Departments of
Agriculture, to control vegetable production where it has militated against production in the dairying industry. The Government is doing everything it can do to encourage dairy production and I have taken steps to control contracts for vegetable growing in districts where such activity may conflict seriously with production in the dairying industry. The honorable gentleman’s question regarding prices is a matter for the Prices Commissioner. Some time ago a conference of vegetable-growers was called which was attended by prominent officials of my department. A suggestion was made at that time that minimum prices for vegetables be fixed, but the vegetable-growers objected because they feared that the minimum prices might become the ceiling prices. At that time they were against the fixation of minimum prices. I shall take the matter up with officers of my department and ask them to discuss the subject with the Prices Commissioner.
– Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture’ tell me whether it is a fact that the butter production target for the year ended June last was not reached by between 20,000 and 40,000 tons? If those figures are not correct, will the honorable gentleman tell me how the production figures stood in relation to the target figure? Is it not a fact that dairy herds are still being reduced in number, and that dairy-farms are still going out of production, owing to man-power difficulties consequent upon the failure to release sufficient men from the Army? If this is the situation, will the honorable gentleman take steps to expedite releases from the Army in order that butter production may be stepped up according to the Government’s desires?
– It is true that dairy production last season was below the target. No one knows better than the honorable member for Richmond that last season was ohe of the most disastrous that the dairying industry ha3 ever known, owing to the drought conditions that were experienced over practically the whole of the dairying areas of Australia. The position in
Victoria was -calamitous. In the honorable gentleman’s own constituency, conditions could be described as disastrous. That is true also of Queensland. Even if all the man-power desired could be made available bad seasonal conditions could render full production quite impossible. The Government realizes that there is a shortage of man-power in the dairying industry as there is, in fact, in practically every other essential industry, and it is doing its best to meet the position. Every thing that is humanly possible will be done to make man-power available to speed up production in this industry.
– Is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture aware that the ravages of the buffalo-fly in North Queensland are seriously reducing production in the dairying industry? If some national effort is not made quickly, on an adequate scale, to deal with this pest, no meat will be available for export ten years hence; indeed, there may not be sufficient meat for home consumption. Dairying production in North Queensland has already dropped by about 33 per cent.
– Order !
– [ am asking the Minister whether or not he will take prompt action, in conjunction with the Government oi Queensland, to minimize the ravages of the buffalo-fly; otherwise, production will be far short of the target to which he referred this afternoon, in answer to many questions?
– I will not answer the question fully, because I have promised the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) to join with the Minister for Munitions - who is concerned in the manufacture of certain repellants which are essential for the spraying of stock affected by buffalo-fly - in receiving a deputation to-morrow and discussing the matter fully with it. I assure the honorable member that the Government has not been slow to realize the seriousness of the position. Many months ago, arrangements were made by the Minister controlling the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture and Stock in Queensland, to send experts to the north. These experts have been making scientific investigations, and information which I have received recently discloses that these have been very successful. It is hoped that what has been achieved will militate in some way against the ravages of the buffalo-fly.
– In Victoria and elsewhere, water supplies for stock and domestic purposes are inadequate to meet present needs. ‘Can the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction state whether or not the plans in course of preparation in his department make such provision as will overcome this difficulty and extend the possibilities of irrigation in the future?
– Each State has been asked to submit, through the State Coordinator of Works to the Federal Coordinator of Works, all public works proposals that are considered urgent and important for attention in the two years following the termination of the war. This short-range plan will subsequently be supplemented by a long-range plan. Many proposals have already been submitted, and the whole matter will come up for consideration at the meeting of the National Works Council which is to be held at the end of August.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that, as the result of an industrial dispute at a dehydration works in Victoria, involving approximately 70 men, 1,700 men are on strike and have refused to load butter and other perishable products for the fighting services? If so, what action does the Government propose to take to remedy the position?
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has informed me that this dispute is before a wages board in Victoria to-day. I understand that some little time ago the board had the matter before it, but decided that it had not the power to deal with it. I. regard as a very bad state of affairs any unwillingness to supply the requirements of the services, and will ascertain whether or not servicemen have been de prived of what they need. It is probable that they have not, but that, supplies in reserve on their behalf have not been maintained.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior whether or not an agreement has been reached between the Commonwealth and the Government of Tasmania under which the Allied Works Council will take over the works at Butler’s Gorge ? If so, upon what date will the Allied Works Council assume that responsibility? Is it intended to utilize alien labour on this work?
– In the absence of my colleague, the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, I shall answer the question. It is proposed that the work in question shall be made an Allied Works Council project.
– An agreement has not been reached ?
– That recommendation or proposal has not yet been finalized. As the honorable member knows, the early completion of the Butler’s Gorge work is a matter of considerable importance.
– That is so.
– There are difficulties in connexion with the use of alien labour, but it is hoped that these will be overcome.
Inquiry by Mb. Justice Clyne.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether or not the judicial inquiry before Mr. Justice Clyne into the internment of certain members of the Australia First Movement, has been postponed to a date subsequent to the end of August? If so, was the instruction for the postponement issued by the right honorable gentleman, or by an officer of his department? If it was not, for what reason was the inquiry postponed until after the end of August ?
– The matter is still before Mr. Justice Clyne. I understand that when the inquiry had proceeded for a certain distance it was postponed at the request of men who had been interned, and that some of them desire a further postponement.
– Will the right honorable gentleman verify the correctness of that understanding ?
– I shall ascertain the facts, and then advise the honorable gentleman. The postponement of the inquiry was not the result of an instruction by me. The matter is entirely one for His Honour.
– Is the Attorney-General aware that, in an Australia-wide broadcast over certain B class stations last Sunday evening, the text of which is understood to have been supplied by a government department, the mothers of Australia were warned that if they wished to be assured of the perpetuation of child endowment they must vote “ Yes “ at the forthcoming referendum ? If that be the opinion of the Government, what steps have been taken or are proposed in order to validate the £30,000,000 which the present Government has distributed under an allegedly illegal act? Secondly, is it not on record in the department of the right, honorable gentleman that the legal advisers of the Government which introduced that legislation endorsed its legality, and that the same gentlemen are the legal advisers of the present Government?
– I am not aware of what statement was made over the air. . In reply to the second part of the question, I would say that the whole matter was canvassed during the course of a debate in this House, and many honorable members who have had considerable legal experience, including some who sit opposite, expressed the opinion that the power of the Commonwealth to make any payment except the old age and the invalid pension, does not rest on a sound constitutional basis.
– Has the right honorable gentleman any doubt about the position?
– It is doubtful.
– Has the right honorable gentleman a personal doubt ?
– Certainly I have a personal doubt. The Leader of the Opposition expressed the same doubt.
– I was in England when the legislation was discussed.
– I am referring to the statement which the right honorable gentleman made during the recent debate on the bill for the holding of a referendum. In it, the right honorable gentleman expressed agreement with the judgment of Mr. Justice Starke of the High Court as to the limitation of the power of the Commonwealth to appropriate. The honorable member for Warringah also expressed a doubt.
– I agreed with Mr. Justice Starke.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior a question regarding the granting of long-service leave to temporary Commonwealth employees. 1 know of at least three persons from whom such leave has so far been withheld, although under a law recently passed by this Parliament they are entitled to it. I ask what is holding up the consideration of their applications, and point out that such men are necessarily well advanced in years.
– I shall have inquiries made; but I do not know that there is anything holding up the granting of leave. It was the clear wish of Parliament that temporary employees who had served the Commonwealth over long periods should be given long-service leave. There may be some temporary difficulty in allowing many employees to take leave at the same time, and that may account for the delay in the cases referred to by the honorable member.
– Pursuant to Standing Order 25, I lay on the table my warrant nominating the Honorable Joseph Palmer Abbott, Herbert Claude Barnard, Joseph James Clark, the Honorable James Allan Guy, William Joseph Hutchinson, George William Martens, Daniel Mulcahy, George James Rankin, Rupert Sumner Ryan, and David Oliver
Watkins to act as Temporary Chairmen ofCommittees when requested so to do by the Chairman of Committees.
Motion (by Mr. Curttn) - by leave - agreed to -
That, during the unavoidable absence of Mr. Deputy Speaker, Mr. Speaker be authorized to call upon any of the Temporary Chairmen of Committees to relieve him temporarily in the chair.
Debate resumed from the 17th July (vide page 43), on motion by Mr. Curtin -
That the following Address-in-Reply to His Excellency the Governor-General’s Speech be agreed to: -
We, the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
– I desire first of all to join with the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) in what he said yesterday with reference to the impending departure of the Governor-General, Lord Gowrie. Through the courtesy of the Government, I had an opportunity last night, incommon with other honorable members, to join in expressions of goodwill to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, and Her Excellency, the Lady Gowrie. Therefore, I do not desire to repeat at any length what I then said, but I think it should go on record in this House that, on his departure from Australia, His Excellency the GovernorGeneral found himself in possession of the warmest approval of all members of all. sections of this Parliament.
The statement that the Prime Minister made to this House yesterday, while he would be the last to claim that it contained any new item, was, at any rate, a statement which gathered together in compendious form a great deal of information about matters of very high international importance - matters which it was the privilege of the Prime Minister to discuss while in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America.
I have felt some little difficulty in deciding exactly what aspects of this statement I should select for discussion. It is, I think, true that most honorable members coming here for these sittings expected that we should be afforded an opportunity to debate the broad and important matters to which the right honorable gentleman referred, and also to debate important matters of domestic concern which had arisen in Australia during his absence. I hope there will be an opportunity at a later stage for me to discuss domestic matters, but within the compass of one speech, I feel that I would be doing poor justice to the importance of the matters dealt with in the Prime Minister’s statement if I were to turn aside from them to discuss other subjects.
Yet before I direct my attention to these larger considerations, I ask to be permitted to make a passing reference to a matter raised during question-time. It is a matter of domestic concern; it does not bear upon what the Prime Minister told us, but it is of very great importance to. Australia. I find, as I am sure most honorable members will find, the proposition that private citizens in this country should be encouraged to become anonymous letterwriters entirely shocking. I regard the anonymous letter-writer as beneath contempt in all circumstances. I thoroughly agree with the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), who said there was only one place for an anonymous letter. It may be, as I have heard it said, that the taxation authorities have, from time to time, acted upon information given to them in anonymous letters.
– As have the police.
– Yes, the police may have acted in the same way, but there is a vast difference between those officers acting upon information which comes to them by chance in that way, and the same officers urging the public to go into ‘the business of writing anonymous letters, of spying on their neighbours, and making reports to public officials. It will be a deplorable thing if this Government is ito .encourage the belief that it is an act of good citizenship for «i man to become a spy on his neighbour. I mention this matter because I should not like to leave the Treasurer (Ma-. Chifley) in any doubt as to my cwn feeling in regard to it.
Having said that, I turn to the statement which was made to us by the Prime Minister. It is impossible within the compass of one speech to discuss all the matters to which some reference was made, but there are some things upon which a joint statement of opinion in this House may be of value. I propose to put forward my views, not because I apprehend that they differ fundamentally from the views of the Prime Minister, but so that, where there is uniformity of opinion on these great foreign questions, that may appear.
First, I join with the Prime Minister most wholeheartedly in the tribute which he paid to the British people, who, within the last few weeks, have once more found themselves, as civilians, in the very front line of battle. There is I believe, for us and for all British people all over the world, a profound feeling of satisfaction that the final and, as we believe, fatal western thrust in this war is coming from and through Great Britain. A few years ago, the United Kingdom was almost a lonely outpost in a free world. It was, a few years ago, on the defensive, and, indeed, liberty itself seemed to be on the defensive in those days. To-day we rejoice to find that Great Britain, far from being an outpost of defence, is a base of attack, a base of victorious attack, a base from which there is proceeding at this very moment the greatest invasion, certainly, the greatest amphibious invasion, of human history and an invasion which, for the first time in history, is not an invasion of conquest, but an invasion of liberation. Those things give to us all a profound feeling of satisfaction, and we join with the Prime Minister in offering to the people of Great Britain and to their magnificent leader, Churchill, and to all their armed forces and to those who fight with them, our congratulations and our admiration. Then,
I turn to -the conspectus -with which we were presented of the general progress of the war in Europe. It is, I think, worthwhile .stating one <or two things about that progress, even though they -be mere truisms., because I believe that they have .a great bearing: upon the future of the world. What is the outstanding feature of Us present war in Europe? It -is not merely that progress is being made on the Western Front, not merely that there is dramatic and far-reaching success on the Eastern Front, not merely that there is, after some pause, a great and notable advance in Italy ; ,each of those things by itself. of .course, is a great cause for satisfaction; but the remarkable thing, the notable thing, i3 that each of those movements marches with the others. Here, we have three successful attacks, each depending to some extent, and, perhaps, to a large extent, upon the other two. If anything in the history of war has shown the interdependence of allies, it is the three movements that we now see in Europe. Russia, with all the miracle of its battle, would probably not have had so much success in these last few weeks or months if it bad not been for preparations for and delivery of the assault upon the western wall of Europe. Our forces in Italy could not have hoped to have the measure of success they have had there if it had not been for the diversion of the German strength because of the other two attacks. So, we have’ learned, whatever preconceptions may have existed, in these recent times, that the price of victory in this war has been the inter-connexion and interdependence of great allies. It will be a great tragedy if, when the war is won, that interdependence is dissipated.
– Hear, hear !
– It will be a great tragedy if we fail to realize that victory in peace will depend upon just the same kind of co-operation and should exhibit exactly the same kind of interdependence as victory in the war. Now, nobody, least of all the Prime Minister, who has discussed the matters on the spot, will under-estimate the difficulty of the task of maintaining that close association when the war is over. It will not be easy. It is not for one moment to be taken for granted. There will be vexed questions. We all know of some of them. I have no doubt that Ministers themselves, particularly those directly handling these matters, have been greatly concerned about the possible problems which begin to emerge. Yet, unless these three great allied powers, with all those who fight with them, are prepared to work together in peace, I do not myself believe that peace will be of long duration. Indeed, I think it could be said quite truly that the peace of the world in 1964, twenty years hence, will depend almost entirely on how far the international comradeship in arms of the British Empire, Russia and the United States of America has been perpetuated as a comradeship in peace.
It does seem odd to those who have been interested in the progress of European history and world history that we should, at this stage, when victory is in sight be discussing the world’s great powers without very much mention of France, and I want to say a word about France, because I believe that some discouraging things - unnecessarily discouraging things - have been said about France in the world in the last six or twelve months. We can only speculate as to the causes of France’s decline and defeat in the early stages of this war, but I still believe profoundly in two things about that country. I believe, in the first place, that it is still one of the great homes of European civilization, and, as I believe in civilization, I must believe in France. In the second place, I believe that whatever decay may have occurred in some high places in France, and decay there undoubtedly was, it is still true that the real people of France, peasants and artisans, are fundamentally sound. Because of those things, I do not believe that France can be indefinitely left out of this picture. I believe that a restored France, a France which has recovered after what may be a very slow convalescence, because it has suffered cruelly in this war, is essential to any consideration of a restored Europe and a stabilized world. On that, I merely pause to say this: I profoundly hope that the news that has come out of the United States of America quite recently which appears to suggest a clearing of the air between de Gaulle and America is true, because I believe that the news is good news - good news for the restoration of France and good news for the future peace of Europe.
Then, the Prime Minister referred, not elaborately, but by a series of citations, to what will be perhaps the greatest international problem of all when this war ends - the problem of devising some adequate machinery for maintaining international peace. This is a problem which has troubled thoughtful men for many years. My only fear about it is that we may be much too tempted to try to solve it by some rather superficial formula, and that we may unduly pin our faith to some particular word or phrase. We are a little disposed always to classify our attitudes towards foreign affairs, towards the preservation of peace, according to some word or another. One man is an isolationist, another believes in collective security, another believes in power politics, and yet another believes in regional pacts. All these phrases have become a part of our stock-in-trade of recent months and years. Not one of them is, in itself, entirely satisfactory. Let me make a comment or two on some of these, because if we come to see what we are driving at in these phrases, we may come much nearer to the truth. Take the references which were made rather unkindly to the policy of preserving the “ balance of power “ in Europe in the days before this war. Now, the traditional British policy of maintaining the balance of power in Europe was, after all, a policy that maintained peace in Europe for a very long time. And the peace of Europe, so long sustained in the nineteenth century, became troubled and uneasy and finally war came because the preservation of the balance of power in Europe, as the result of the growing strength of Germany, required constant intervention by Great Britain. Instead of maintaining the balance of power with other countries, Great Britain was an intervening power. The moment it became an intervening power, its risks in Europe grew; and as Germany’s strength increased, so the risk of war in Europe grew.
Isolationism, which a. year or two ago bad many adherents and which had, as we know, millions of adherents in the United States of America up to the attack on Pearl Harbour, ignored the fact that peace among the great nations is really indivisible. It was once thought that that was a mere cant phrase. Events have shown how true it is. As the Prime Minister himself pointed out yesterday, cbe small nations that sheltered behind their neutrality have learned in this war to their cost in what a dilemma they live. Isolationism ignores the facts of life, the facts of the world. The United States of America has learned, I hope - and I speak with profound respect of a great ally and a powerful friend - as the result of the events of the last two or three years, that it can never hope as the world now stands to contract itself entirely out of the affairs of Europe. Great Britain cannot contract itself out of the affairs of Europe. Isolation for Great Britain in relation to European politics would be sheer madness, because it would mean that ultimately Britain would fight alone. Similarly, events have shown that if Great Britain is at risk in this world, the United States of America also is at risk. As the world’s airways grow shorter through increasing speed, so the risk of the United States will be greater.
When it is said that the great Powers of this world must, after this war, maintain military strength in order to preserve the peace, somebody will come along and say that that is mere power politics. Power politics are dismissed as something which connotes mere force and, therefore, provokes war. But if world politics are to maintain the peace, they must have power, because this war has shown that righteous weakness will never prevent war from being waged by unrighteous strength. There must be power in our international policies. Then again, in the statement that the Prime Minister has presented to the House, reference is made to future military collaboration. I turn to the phrase “ collective security “ which held such high hopes for everybody before this war.
Collective security is embodied in the Covenant of the League of Nations. Why did that fail? There were many contributing reasons for its failure. Sometimes in my own thought on this matter, I have attached more weight to this and more weight to that; but in the long run, I have come to the belief that there were two great reasons for its failure. One was that it had no international force, and so its commands lacked sanctions - an almost fatal weakness for a new world body. In the second place, having no international force of its own, it was driven to rely upon the sum total of the individual force of each nation composing it. And the truth was that right through the fifteen years of slowly growing disorder which preceded this war, the powers concerned with keeping the peace were militarily weak powers, whilst the aggressor countries were militarily strong. It is one of the ironies of history that between these two wars, those countries which had won the last war proceeded to disarm each other in the face of defeated countries that were first secretly and then openly re-arming themselves.
– They also disarmed the enemy.
– Only temporarily. My point is that at the very time when the United States of America and the British Empire were discussing the limitation of naval strength, as at the London Conference, for example, the process of re-armament had begun in Germany. I did not refer to this matter merely to rake over the ashes of the past, except so far as one can learn something from experience. The point which I want to make is that if there is to be collective security in this world after the war, those nations which participate in it must have and must maintain military strength which will prevent aggression from coming to life. Because I believe that those were the two outstanding reasons for the failure of collective security under the League Covenant, I was intensely interested to find that the Prime Minister referred to the Moscow Declaration of November, 1943 - a declaration to which, perhaps, we have paid insufficient attention, because implicit in it, as I believe, i.- :i very important statement of principle. The passage which was referred to by the right honorable gentleman was as follows : -
That they recognize the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international organization based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peaceloving States.
That reference to the “sovereign equality of all peace-loving States “ is -something which, as I understand it, rejects or postpones - either will do for this purpose - the idea of the super State. It is still held by many earnest and anxious people that the right solution of the world’s problem of peace and war is to set up a super State, which itself will have the military power and will control what has been called an “ international police force “, and to which the constituent nations will be subsidiary. This declaration at Moscow is much more realistic than that. It recognizes that in this state of the world’s development,, it is hopeless to expect that great nations will abandon their sovereignty in favour of a super State. Some day they will, because some day international civilization will rest on the 3ame kind of basis as does domestic civilization. -Some day there will be a community of nations in which order is as much taken for granted as it is in a community of people in one country. At tho moment all this seems a long way off. In the meantime, it is, I believe, a good thing to find a realistic view being taken of the situation. That view is that, if States are to retain their sovereignty, they must look for collective security in their association and co-operation in one military plan. The same idea that the super State has, at any rate, been postponed is implicit in another passage in the Prime Minister’s speech, which reads -
The world organization must have a combined naval, military and air staff to prepare plans and to co-ordinate action.
That does not involve a super-State navy, army and air force ; it implies that those nations which are co-operating shall have their own navy, army and air force and that there shall be co-ordination of action among them through their chiefs of staff in order to keep the world’s peace. I find in all that something good. The truth, I believe, is that power politics, which have been rather contemptuously treated by some debaters, must now be given a collective quality by an alliance not on. lines which are based on mere self-interest to preserve or gain territory, but on lines which represent a real consensus of thought among peace-loving people that between them they will, at all times, have enough strength to keep the peace. The picture of the future, as I see it in my mind, is .that we shall not ignore the conception of and the necessity for power; we shall not rest our faith upon mere paper covenants, and we shall refuse to revert to alliances based upon territorial conceptions. “We shall endeavour fo get out of the comradeship of mighty races in this war a permanent association in peace and the maintenance, for their common purposes, of such power that there will be no room left for war by revengeful and defeated enemies.
I mention now the reference i11 the Prime Minister’s statement to regionalism. Regionalism is a word which has been freely discussed, particularly in Australia where we have, as we can plainly see, certain special regional interests. I am sure that the Prime Minister will forgive me if I say that even that word is by no means free of ambiguity. It is open, to the view that it may involve nothing more than a slightly enlarged form of isolationalism - a collective form of isolationalism, if I may use a curious phrase - in which two or three smallish nations may act together instead of one acting by itself, if they think they have common regional interests. Of course, we have our own regional interests in Australia. There is a regional interest which may involve agreement by Australia with New Zealand and the Netherlands East Indies, which are in our particular zone. If a three-cornered agreement between those countries were reached, it might be imagined that they had arranged for co-operation in peace in that quarter of the world, and that therefore they had finished with the problem of peace and war. If we were to form such an opinion we should make a very great mistake because the truth about our own country is that we have three types of responsibility. Our problem, internationally, is in some way more vexed than that of .some of the greater powers. Our three types of responsibility include first, responsibility to our immediate neighbours; secondly, and broadly, out Pacific responsibility which involves our position in relation to the American countries and to China and Japan; and, thirdly, world responsibility, which I hope we shall desire to recognize, to be directly associated with the European area and the great European powers and inevitably with peace and war in Europe. These three responsibilities, and the problems involved therein, must be kept constantly before us.
– We have a fourth responsibility - to the Empire.
– I shall come to that presently. I emphasize, however, that we must keep in mind the three types of responsibility that I have outlined I do riot need to elaborate them at the moment, but I say that in respect of each of them we shall need to have policies. We shall also need constant information upon them. This is necessary if we are to reach a satisfactory position. I consider the Netherlands East Indies to be among our first regional responsibilities, I venture to say that we are a little disposed too hastily to leave out of the picture the Netherlands East Indies. I know that this is not done, at any time, deliberately; but I take the opportunity to say that I believe that to us, in Australia, the Netherlands East Indies are of profound future importance on two counts : The first is because, in this war, the people of the Netherlands have encountered the full blast of German armaments and are amongst the people who must be liberated by victory, but not only that. They have contributed to world councils some very remarkable men-. I have been impressed by few people in the last few years more than I have been by some of the leading Netherlands representatives whom I have met in this country and on the other side of the world. The second count is because the Netherlands East Indies themselves represent not only a military and political barrier reef to north-west Australia but also, in the future trading of the world, they present great possibilities of friendly association and mutual development. I would never exclude them from even the smallest picture of the responsibilities and interests of Australia. I include them in my first regional responsibility and do not leave them to be picked up in the general total of Pacific responsibilities.
Of course, all of these things involve rights and responsibilities. [Extension of time granted.’] One thing we shall need to keep in mind in Australia is that, when we talk, as I am sure most of us would talk on this topic, of the necessity for the maintenance, after this war, of alliances between the -Great Powers as the nucleus, or the backbone of a league of nations, and of real sanctions behind any new covenant of a league of nations, we shall have to face up to the fact of the need for the maintenance of military power to prevent a recrudescence of aggression. There will be obligations resting upon us to maintain our share of such military power. We, in Australia, must not contemplate ever going back to a position in which we are unarmed and unready - not to wage war at a moment’s notice, because that would involve retaining a burden of armaments corresponding to those which we now bear, but to play our part in cooperation with our great Allies whereever action shall need to be taken to maintain peace. The last thing that I want to say is that many a good policy - and I belie re that what I have been discussing is, in_ broad terms, good policy - has failed’ in the past because of the attempt to go too far, too fast. I am not sure that the League of Nations did not try to run before it had learned to crawl. We, I believe, while maintaining our great ideals on these matters of world control and world organization, must never lose sight of the fact that, for us, the immediate ‘world organization, the one that we now have, is the British Empire itself. A strong chain, which is to bind the world to peace, must have strong links, and for us the first and strongest link is the link with the British Empire, the link which joins us to all the other British countries of the world. I believe that after this war a strong British Empire will be morn than ever vital to Australia. I would like to see an increasing contact and increasing discussion with other British countries, not only on the general principles of post-war security, not only on the great matters which it was the privilege of the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) to discuss with other Prime Ministers in London, but also upon those relatively prosaic matters of trade and commerce which, after all, will have a great deal to do with our strength after the war, with our capacity to maintain military power and force, and with the capacity of the British Empire to resume its proper place in the comity of nations. After all, for a strong British Empire there must be a strong Great Britain. I am not sure that we are not sometimes tempted to overlook that, to treat it as being something that is perhaps so obvious that it need not be reflected about. In this war, Great Britain has suffered, in the material sense, not only losses of man-power - mercifully, up to this stage, as compared with the last .war, they have been relatively small ; but it may suffer very great losses in the next few weeks or months of invasion in Europe - but also a loss of shipping, at which one can only guess, but which must have .reduced, its total mercantile marine to a fraction of what it was at the beginning of this war ; and even at the beginning of the war it was 10,000,000 tons less than it was at the beginning of the previous war. It has also suffered a very great wiping out of its overseas investments, which brought to it so much of its imports, and consequently were responsible for so much of its local standard of living. If Great Britain, as the centre of the British Empire, is to be one of those great forces of power for peace after the war, it must be able to restore the standard of living of its people; and in order to restore that standard of living it must, after this war, be able to export to the world more than it has ever exported previously. Although, in the short run, this perhaps presents a. relatively simple problem, because for some years after this war Europe itself will present an unrivalled market for the disposal of the products of other countries, in the long run the raising of the standard of living and the maintenance of the strength of
Great Britain will depend, just as it will in our own case, upon its capacity and our capacity to maintain a growing volume of exports to the rest of the world. If that is to be done, then 1 believe that if we are thoughtful about this matter, as I am sure we shall be. we shall come right up against the fact that the raising of tie standard of living and the purchasing capacity of great countries like India and China will be of direct domestic concern to us in Australia. I believe that it will appear more and more to be true that the standard of living of an Indian coolie has a great deal to do with the standard of living of a factory operative at Footscray, in Victoria; because I am at a loss to understand how, without that increased capacity to buy on the part of those great Asiatic people, without real conscious help by us in the development of those countries, all the nations of the world which are longestablished will be able to maintain the standard of living of their own people by selling their goods to the rest of the world. So I venture to hope that, before this war ends, there may be not only an Imperial ‘Conference of Prime Ministers, but also an Imperial Conference - whether or not it be called one - of accredited representatives on both the government plane and the business plane - the production plane. I should like to see an Imperial Conference at which the voices of the Australian farmer and the Australian manufacturer will be directly heard in the discussion of these mutual problems; because I believe that, if we are to be restored as an Empire in a restored world, then our first collaboration must be within our own family of nations. General principles on those matters - and general principles are. after all, all that can be hammered out by busy Prime Ministers at a limited meeting - although essential, will not be enough. The closest detailed work will need to be done. I profoundly hope that the Government will not consider that it will expose itself to any sensible criticism in this country if it multiplies and multiplies the number of people who are sent out of this country or who are received into this country for the purposes of such discussions. It will be work worth, doing, and vital work for us, .because it may be of supreme value in keeping the peace after this war has been won.
Mr. SPENDER (Warringah) [4.48J.- I am glad indeed of the opportunity which this debate affords to direct the attention of the House to two or three issues which I consider are of great importance to this country. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) has said many things with which I thoroughly agree - with none more than with his statement on the need to consolidate the British Empire after this war has come to an end. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) has been gracious enough to pay a tribute to what has been done by Great Britain in the present struggle. He has told us also of the appreciation overseas of what we have done. That is all to the good. I am rather inclined, however, to the view that, during the four years of war, we as a people have not fully appreciated how much Great Britain has meant to us in this struggle. My mind goes back to the time when the war broke out, and we were so unprepared in the sense that in common with all other democracies we had cast aside the handicrafts of war. Great Britain was in exactly the same condition. “We were plunged into a war which brought disaster upon disaster to our . arms. I have a keen remembrance of the time when France went out of the war and of the intervening period until Germany struck at Russia. At that critical time our Mother Country alone was the bulwark of democracy. When the fight extended to these regions by the entry of Japan into the war, there were times when harsh things were said because of the failure of Great Britain to help us more; but it must now be clear to every one that it was utterly impossible for Great Britain to render us any considerable direct assistance at that time although its indirect contribution was far reaching. Therefore, I was glad to hear the tribute paid by the Prime Minister to the people of Great Britain.
Much blood will be shed, and great sacrifices will be made by the people of Great Britain before this war is over. Britain will emerge from the war covered with glory but very much weakened. For five years the British people have borne the stress of conflict very close to their shores. The strength of the British Commonwealth of Nations in the post-war period will depend very largely upon the degree of cooperation which can be achieved between its components. The Prime Minister told us that he had placed before the other Prime Ministers his views upon the need for closer collaboration. I applaud his approach to the subject, and Australians generally will applaud the distinctly British and patriotic views which the Prime Minister has expressed, especially during the last twelve months. But I regret that he did not press his views to the point of achieving some measure of agreement among Dominion Prime Ministers, instead of just contenting himself with answering objections, and leaving the matter there. However, I have no doubt that a further opportunity will present itself for discussing these matters. I am strongly of the belief that upon closer collaboration between Empire countries depends the safety, not only of this court;, try, but of the world itself. If we cannot achieve co-operation and understanding between nations with a common language and a common historical background of a thousand years, how are we’ to achieve it between nations which differ in language, temperament and history? Therefore, I urge the need for establishing ever-closer ties between the various sections of the Empire, and particularly between ourselves and the heart of the Empire.
I welcome this debate particularly because it affords me an opportunity to express some opinions upon foreign policy. It was said by the Prime Minister, and it is acknowledged by us all, that peace is indivisible. If war breaks out in Europe we are, in the end, drawn into the vortex, as has happened twice in a period of 25 years. In the hearts of most men and women to-day, particularly young people and the parents of young children, is an earnest desire that when this war comes to an end peace shall be assured if not indefinitely then at least for a reasonable period. This is a matter to which every man and women of goodwill should give attention. It is above politics, because it touches the security of our homeland, and the sanctity of the things for which we live, and in which we place our trust.
There is a tendency to think that world peace can be secured if only we are able to provide for every one what is called the abundant life. For my part, I do not believe that the abundant life will necessarily make for peace. That is the easy assumption, but I believe that there exist influences much deeper which touch the life and destinies of nations, important as economic considerations are. It seems to me that, as this war progresses and draws closer to its conclusion, we are becoming apt to think of it in altogether too simple terms. When I see totalitarian systems of government practically throughout the whole world - our own as well as those of our enemies, because we have been largely compelled to imitate our enemy in order to defeat them - when I note the tendency of people to submit easily to regimentation, when I note the influences at work in the conquered countries of Europe, I may be pardoned, perhaps, for entertaining some misgivings regarding the future of the world. It will not be easy to evolve a formula for peace. Indeed, I believe that the less we look to formulas, and the more we keep our feet firmly upon the ground, the better will be our chance of success.
Last October, the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) made a speech setting out the foreign policy of the Government in regard to the Pacific and the world generally. Without any desire to offer carping criticism, I must say that it seemed to me that there was uncertainty as to whether we should rest our hopes of peace upon the setting up of some form of collective machinery on the lines of the League of Nations, or whether peace was to be guaranteed by the Great Powers. It seemed as if the Government had built two houses, but would not indicate in which it intended to dwell.
Even if we were endowed with the wisdom of Solomon it would be impossible to advance more than tentative views on these matters, but I am concerned with what appears to be the absence of Australia’s representatives from the planning committees which are now laying down the general outline of the peace. Small though our contribution to the total plan may be, I believe that we should be considering now our vital interests in the Pacific, and formulating a statement regarding what we believe should be the general principles necessary for the preservation of the peace of the world. I am not aware that there is any such planning committee in this country. I am not aware that we have any direct, or even indirect, association with the planning committees now working overseas, other than that we may be informed by cable from time to time of their activities. We should lose no time in working out the principles of an enduring peace, and discussing the matter in this Parliament, so that, when the war is over and our representatives sit at the peace table, no ad hoc decisions may be made. Those who have studied the proceedings of the peace conference after the 1914-18war know that important decisions affecting the lives of many people and, indeed, in some instances closely affecting ourselves, were undoubtedly ad hoc decisions.
After the war,we shall be confronted with great problems. We must deal with the German people after conquering them. I do not believe that there is any easy way of dealingwith them except with a strong arm, and therefore that arm must not be allowed to wither once the war is over. Does any one believe that it will be easy to maintain the peace when we are dealing with a peoplewho have become so debased in their outlook as to be able to put to death hundreds of thousands, perhaps even a million of Jewish people by burning them or gassing them, and adopting similar terrible practices, simply as a part of a policy of racial extermination?
– Is the remedy the extermination of the Germans?
– I did not suggest that. I mentioned Germany’s slaughter of the Jews to indicate that we are dealingwith a people who have developed a national aptitude for brutality over a. large number of years. The young people of Germany are infected with the disease, and their cure will require a great deal of re-educating. For my part. I believe that an approach similar to that of Metternich after another war a century ago, is the wise approach. - That approach is that after this war there should be a long armistice so that we shall not come too quickly to decisions as to how best to treat Germany, how best to treat Italy, and how best to treat Japan - a long armistice in which might shall prevail in order to assist to secure peace. At the same lime, going hand in hand with that there will need to be an earnest endeavour to re-educate those peoples. We should extend the hand of assistance to those who show a genuine desire to be reeducated and to live as enlightened people should.
– That is an excellent argument against the taking of the referendum.
– What a petty subject to introduce into a debate such as this ! T am concerned at the moment with the future of the world. I do wish that the honorable gentleman would either listen intelligently to what I am saying or leave the chamber. I am now concerned with the advancement’ of my views on vital matters affecting the future of this country, and I say that the important thing to do is to maintain our military power for a long period after the war comes to an end. I see a distinct parallel between the development of civil domestic society and the development of international society. In a domestic society, it has always been necessary to have the power to enforce law, and such there must also be in the realm of international politics. If peace is to be based on practical consideration? there must be maintenance, indeed, perhaps an increase of power to compel it. There must be the closest collaboration of the three great powers which at present control the conduct of the war. 3 leave the general picture of Europe, with the comment that there are matters which .certainly give us misgivings - the present rule in Spain, the conflicts which are taking place in occupied territories in Europe and. the continuing clash of ideologies.
I come closer to home, that is, the Pacific. It has been said more than once that the Atlantic Charter is to guide the’ future conduct of the world. The Minister for External Affairs has shown a tendency to regard that charter too literally. He said in a debate in October, 1943, that it was a document every word of which was important. I think that is the Wrong approach; it is too legalistic. The purpose of the charter was to give expression to certain broad principles, and it is in that light that my approach is made. One principle of the charter is that we have no territorial ambitions. I refer honorable members to certain areas around the coast of Australia in respect of which I have definite views. If one looks at the map Of Australia, one sees to the north and. north-east islands from New Ireland down to the Solomons, the New Hebrides and .New Caledonia. They form the arc of defence of the east of this country. Indeed, this war has proved them so to be. That area is partly held by us and partly by others. The New Hebrides is held in a joint condominium by the French and ourselves; the Solomons is held by Great Britain, and New Caledonia is held by France. I assert that Australia has overriding interest in those areas. We have the interest with New Zealand of 9,000,000 white people against about 25,000 French whites and a handful of Portuguese.
Let me take, for example, New Caledonia and Timor. The Attorney-General said on the 2nd October, 1943, that when the war came to an end, he and his Government desired to see sovereignty over New Caledonia and Timor returned to France and Portugal respectively. If the right honorable gentleman means economic sovereignty. I have no quarrel with him ; but if he means that complete sovereignty shall bo. returned to those countries in both ti: ase areas, which 1 regard as most vital to the. safety of this country, then I take issue with him. We shall make a great mistake if New Caledonia and Timor are returned to the unqualified possession of France and Portugal. I have for some time hesitated to express these views lest they be misunderstood. I have the utmost faith in the French people as a nation, and, with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), I hope that France will rise again to its former greatness, but I do know from the history of this country how dangerous was the possession of New Caledonia by France, whose real interests were not there, when France collapsed suddenly, leaving New Caledonia almost at the mercy of Japan, whose aim had been to get economic control as a prelude to strategic control of that rich island. It may properly be said that possession of bases in New Caledonia is essential to the safety of this country, and I can envisage no terms of settlement at the peace conference which will meet our needs unless they give to Australia, on the grounds of overriding security, bases in New Caledonia from which we shall be able to defend this country. “What I have said in respect of New Caledonia and France applies equally to Timor and Portugal.
– The Government of which the honorable member was a member pledged itself to restore sovereignty in New Caledonia to France.
– I do not remember that pledge, but what I am referring to now is the strategical need that we shall have the right to bases in New Caledonia and other islands near Australia. If the right honorable gentleman means that we are pledged to return New Caledonia to France without argument that we shall be entitled to bases in that island I disagree.
– I am referring to political sovereignty.
– I am speaking of strategical considerations. I say deliberately that it would be a false step to return New Caledonia to France, or Timor to Portugal, unless bases were given ito us from which we might better defend our country in the event of other attempted- invasions. If one looks at the position of Timor, and one’s eyes travel round to the islands between there and Dutch New Guinea, then to Papua, New Britain, New Ireland, through to the Solomons, New Hebrides and New Caledonia, one must see that they are the natural bastions to protect this country. We have a vital and overriding interest in them.
No one who has been to the Netherlands East Indies could have other than . admiration for the colonial administrative ability shown by the Dutch people, and I favour the closest collaboration economically and strategically with the Dutch people. But we have a direct interest in the future development of the Netherlands East Indies. We must remember that the native inhabitants have a civilization 2,000 years old. They have survived invasions by Mohammedans and Hindoos, and intrusions by the Chinese. As a nation, those people are of vital significance to Australia, and I emphasize the importance of our developing a recognition and understanding of their problems. Australians as a people are very introspective. During this war we have developed a broader outlook. One thing which we require more than anything else in this country is to break away from the parochial attitude which has characterized us in the past. The future of India, China, Malaya, French IndoChina and Indonesia is of the utmost significance to this country. Having a population of only 7,000,000 persons. Australia should always remember that it is surrounded by more than 1,000,000,000 coloured people. If we are to play our part in developing and ensuring the security of this country, we must always give attention to the problems affecting these countries, and assert our interest in them at every possible opportunity.
I do not know what plans the Government, has made regarding immigration, but I hope that during this debate some indication of them will be given. We hear a great deal of loose talk about immigration, and there is loose thinking as to where Australia will be able to get immigrants after the -war. Any assumption that we shall get large numbers of migrants from Great Britain and the United States of America, is optimistic, indeed foolish, thinking, much as we would welcome people from those countries. Western Europe, with one or two exceptions, is encountering the problem of a declining birth-rate as Australia has. There is no doubt that if we are looking for large numbers of immigrants, we must turn to Central Europe and to areas on the north and north- : eastern coasts of the Mediterranean. From those areas alone oan we obtain any really large influx of adult migrants.
Some weeks ago I wrote a letter to the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde), then Acting Prime Minister, on this subject. In my opinion the most fruitful field for obtaining immigrants in the post-war period will be among the orphans of devastated Europe. Countless thousands of young children in Europe have been left without parents as the result of this war. I believe we could induce a large portion of them to come to Australia if we planned properly to attract them immediately after the war. I can think of no better immigrants than those young children, whose minds will still be in the formative period. Indeed, some of them could be taken from the country even of our enemies, brought to Australia, and educated to be fine Australians. We could be responsible for them until they attained manhood and womanhood.. But if we envisage such a project, we must begin to plan now, and we must plan on the basis of hundreds of thousands, not merely tens of thousands. We must train special types of people who will go to Europe immediately the opportunity presents itself for the purpose of selecting these young children, and we must also establish the necessary organization for absorbing them here. Australia has been most fortunate to survive this war. Never again may we have the opportunity of attracting to this country a. large body of migrants. I realize the existence of fear that when adult migrants are brought to Australia, an unemployment problem is created, but I believe that the greater the number of people here, the greater will be the prosperity of this country. Undoubtedly, its security will be increased. Before this debate concludes, the Government should indicate to the Parliament the plans, if any, that it has devised for attracting to Australia the immigrants that I have in mind. I know that one committee has been dealing with immigration [from Great Britain, but I am not aware that its deliberations have extended beyond that.
– They have not.
– The Prime Minister realizes the necessity for attracting population. He is aware of the limited number of areas from which Australia can get population quickly. The ideal type of immigrant would be young persons who could be trained quickly to be good Australians. Therefore, I hope that some consideration will be given to my suggestion.
If we are to attract people to this country, we must give them every opportunity to become Australians. In the past, what have we done? By our own attitude we have forced them into camps of their own. We invited them to settle in Australia, and allowed them to enter this country. “We encouraged them to become naturalized Australian citizens. Our first objective should have been to weld them into our Australian way or life. Unfortunately, we did nothing of the kind. “We regarded them as races apart. We spoke of them as “dagoes”, “ pommies “ and “ J ews “. Always they remained “ foreigners “. That attitude must be broken down. We must realize that suitable immigrants will confer upon Australia great benefits in respect of both security and culture. But those migrants must be blended into our own race. This cannot be achieved until there is evidenced a change of heart on the part of our people.
Before I conclude, I desire to refer briefly to China. To-day, and for four years past, that country has been fighting on- our side. For seven years, indeed, it has fought with very little equipment, but with great bravery and stoic patience and endurance, against a tremendously powerful foe. None of us here would hesitate to express tremendous respect and appreciation for the way in which China has achieved all it has. Because China still fights on, it has removed a great deal of the pressure thatotherwise could have been exerted in this area. Yet in the speeches and statements of policy emanating from the Government seldom is there any more than a passing reference to this great nation - a nation which more than any other will in this century influence the course of events in the Pacific. I hope we will see a greater interest displayed by the Government in the part China must play in the post-war years, especially in relation to Pacific matters. Let me mention, while I am speaking of China, one relatively minor matter touching ite nationals. I believe in the “White Australia policy”, but I do not consider that it should be so inelastic as to prevent men and women from China from studying at our universities, or certain approved types of merchants from coming here to carry on trade. In the past, we have rather closed those avenues.
– What about British Indians ?
– The same applies to them. The important fact that we must keep in mind is that we cannot speak in terms of collective security or in terms of goodwill to other nations if we do not understand them, their country, their culture and. their problems. These we can understand only by an interchange of people. The Minister for China in Australia has made the position clear. China does not ask for the admission into this country of coolie labour, or even of a large number of people. What the Chinese Government has sought to achieve is the admission, for limited purposes, of a limited number of people possessing special qualifications. That would be a wise modification or confession of policy to make to the Chinese nation which has fought so gallantly for the cause that is ours.
.-. We have before us questions of the utmost national importance. I intend to utilize my time to direct attention to matters which I think should be stressed at this juncture. I believe that there is general disappointment on both sides, of the House at the inadequacy of the Prime Minister’s statement. Th-3 right honorable gentleman has been abroad at a time when great events are taking place. It may almost be said that we arc at the end of one world era and at the beginning of another. No doubt,, during the conversations that the Prime Minister had with Empire leaders and with President Roosevelt, he discussed’ not only the carrying on of the war to the victorious stages which we are now approaching, but also post-war matters, which are of paramount significance tQ this country. One would have imagined that on his return the Prime Minister would have told a story that would have ‘( hit the headlines “ and that he would have stirred not only the members of this House but also the general community. However, I found his statement singularly barren. It may almost be said that, it could have been prepared by any honorable member of the chamber who had studied the press reports of recent weeks and months. Although the right honorable gentleman referred to some of the big questions which the Parliament will have to face in the next few months, he made only pass-, ing allusions to them. I appreciate the difficulties of .the position in which hi found himself. Some of the questions of world importance which the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) discussed abroad are, perhaps, only at the exploratory stage; but I consider that, he could have given us much more information than hp has given us on these subjects, which are of world-shaping significance.
It was a matter of bewilderment to, many of us that although gigantic forces were actually poised in Great Britain foi- the carrying out of the invasion of
France, the right honorable gentleman should have seen fit to hurry back to Australia before the beginning of that great event. A few weeks’ delay in his return to this country would not have mattered if, by remaining behind, be could have stood upon the shores of France with Mr. Churchill and Field Marshal Smuts. Had he done so his action would have caused widespread interest in this country and he would have added greatly to his stature. 1 shall not have time to deal at length with many of the points raised in the right honorable gentleman’s speech. I have no doubt that one of the main reasons why the Prime Minister went abroad was to discuss Australia’s future role as a fighting force in the war. We are citizens of a country of vast distances. We have tremendous problems, which do not confront most other countries because they arc created mainly by the size of this continent. . We have a role to fill as a fighting force in the wai-, and we also have responsibilities in relation to the provision of food foi- the fighting forces of Great Britain and the Allied Nations. It was therefore to be assumed that the Prime Minister discussed these questions while he was abroad. The whole subject of the utilization, of the man-power of this country in relation to the fighting services and food production is of the greatest importance. We expected the Prime Minister to say something about the agreement that was reached as to the strength of fighting forces which Australia would be expected to provide in the concluding stages of the war; but we have heard only the vaguest generalities.
I have repeatedly asked in this House whether the Government intends that the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions of the Australian Imperial Force, which have already borne the brunt of the active fighting by Australian troops, are to be kept in the field, seeing that there, are thousands of young nien throughout Australia who consider that they are doing very little as combatant troops. Many of our young men are thoroughly sick of being kept in training establishments. They feel that they arc doing no useful work on the home front, and that their services are not being employed as they Could be in- fighting divisions. This state of mind of many thousands of our young men in the fighting services is having a seriously demoralizing effect. Our young men expected that they would be incorporated in new fighting divisions, but that has not occurred. We heard over the air from a Sydney radio station to-day that many young Australians wished to serve with the Australian Imperial Force, but had been prevented from doing so. It is time that the Government clarified the position in this regard. We wish to know a great deal more than we have been told about the utilization of our manpower in the fighting forces, and we are entitled to a definite statement from the Government as to the approximate number of divisions to be employed. Are we to assume that the three old divisions which have done the bulk of the fighting for Australia since the wai- began are to be kept in active service until the war ends? Unfortunately, in this country, we have not as good a military record as we had in the last war. The military record of New Zealand far surpasses that of Australia. This is u matter of concern to the relatives of the men in the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions.
– Does the honorable gentleman know tha dates upon which each of those divisions was brought out of action and how long each of them has been out of action?
– I have an idea of the dates. I ask the Prime Minister whether in the talks he had overseas he has always visualized those three divisions, which have done the bulk of fighting, being kept in the field until the conclusion of hostilities. What is the Government doing to settle the man-power position in Australia? Does the Prime Minister realize that some units in the Army have not been used at all in the fighting? I believe that in the women’s auxiliary services there are many young women who have practically nothing to do. In common with other honorable members, I have relatives in those services. There is a substantial wastage of personnel which could be more fittingly engaged in other directions. In the discussions that are to take place, consideration should be given to the manner in which the services of all the Australian forces should be utilized, in the interests of economy and more efficient production on the home front. I should like to have an authoritative pronouncement in relation to the three divisions mentioned in the Prime Minister’s policy speech.
– I did not say anything about three divisions.
– The right honorable gentleman mentioned the three divisions in his policy speech. The only three divisions which are capable of going outside the boundaries fixed by the Defence (Citizen Military Forces) Act are the 6th, 7th, and 9th Divisions.
– How would the honorable gentleman get Australians to fight outside that boundary to-day?
– I am talking not of to-day but of the concluding stages of the campaign.
– I could heartily wish that we were in the concluding stages of the campaign.
– At the moment, possibly we are not. I am talking not of time but of the concluding stages, whenever they may be.
– I have to deal with the problems that have to be faced between now and then.
– I repeat, that the only three divisions which could go beyond the boundaries fixed by the act are the 6th, 7th, and 9th Divisions. No other division has been established from the thousands of members of the Citizen Military Forces. Whether or not those three divisions are to bear the brunt of the fighting from the beginning to the end of the campaign is a matter of considerable concern.
– That is a little grotesque also.
– I am referring to Government policy - which, I agree, is grotesque.
– The honorable gentleman is assuming that the personnel of those three divisions has remained unchanged.
– I know that there has been wastage, and that certain men who have passed the age of 40 years have been discharged ; but essentially the composition of those divisions remains as it was when they were formed.
The Prime Minister dealt at some length with machinery for the maintenance of peace after this war, and quite rightly spoke of the major role that will have to be played by Great Britain, the United States of America, and Russia. There was a notable omission from his reference, and to it attention must be drawn. I refer to China. Undoubtedly, a great deal will depend upon the number and the set-up of the major Powers. Any machinery for the maintenance of peace in the post-war world will not be complete without the inclusion of both western and eastern Powers. Too often is China overlooked in this House, and, I am afraid, in discussions concerning world events after the war. We have to realize that, geographically, we are within the sphere of the East, and have to learn to make a. complete study of the East. I well remember that when, in the early thirties, a certain great scholar arrived back from Japan, he said that Australia’s interests were closely bound up with those of Japan, and that the relations between the two countries might assume tremendous importance as the years unfolded. He also advocated the teaching of Japanese or Chinese to our school children. Australians, with western antecedents, naturally think practically always of the western world. I am only twice removed from the old world in parentage, and it is natural that my thoughts should be concerned with the environment and history of the country that gave birth to my forbears. We have to learn that the affairs of the East are of tremendous importance to us. The time is ripe for Australians to realize this fact. We should train our people to take a lively interest in affairs of the East. I believe that any comity of the Great Powers will be incomplete without the inclusion of China, which is destined to play an important role in the post-war world. We should begin to think along the lines of collaboration with that nation which will assuredly develop into a great world Power. We should realize that there are great problems affecting the relations of Russia and China, which have not yet been but will have to be settled if peace is to be made secure in the future.
Doubtless, the matter of Empire collaboration occupied a considerable time at the discussions that were held in London. The Prime Minister has said that some of his views were not acceptable to the representatives of the other Dominions. 1 have no doubt that the views of those Dominions in regard to the establishment of a permanent form of secretariat after the war, were influenced largely by their populations. The population of Australia and New Zealand is almost entirely British. Canada has a racial problem, bceause of the FrenchCanadians and other nationals in its population. South Africa also has a racial problem of no small magnitude. Undeniably, Mr. Mackenzie King had at the back of his mind the population content of Canada. Anything’ which would seem to deny to Canada, even in a visionary way, complete free’dom in Empire matters, would not be acceptable to Canadians as a whole. No doubt, that was the predominant factor in the difference of opinion which arose between the Prime Minister of Australia and the Prime Minister of Canada. Possibly, with the passage of the years, as we receive population from other countries, we may have to take cognisance of a population content which will be different from that of to-day, and that problem may affect our views in our future relations, or in our conception of an Imperial set-up after the war. It can be said that, over the years, the degree of consultation we have had has proved eminently satisfactory, and that actually there can be little complaint about the present position.
I wish to express a view that I have held for some time, in regard to the attitude of the British Parliament to the Dominions. For many years Imperial conferences have been held from time to time, and always the Dominion Prime Ministers have travelled to London to take part in them. There appears to be a feeling in London that when any matter of Imperial importance has to be discussed, London is the place in which to discuss it. There is a failure to realize the real importance of the Dominions. I trust that in future such conferences will be held sometimes in the Dominions, and that, future Prime Ministers of Great Britain will devote a great deal of their time to dominion affairs. I hope that the time will come when no British Prime Minister will consider his duty fulfilled until he has made a comprehensive tour of the Dominions. During my trip abroad, 1 had occasion to note that a great deal of British capital was being invested iD Europe, even in the Baltic countries, although twice within a period of 30 years all such investments have been lost through war. The point should be stressed that, in the interests of the Empire and of Great Britain itself, British capital should be concentrated more and more in the Dominions. The Prime Minister has told us that he expressed the opinion that Imperial conferences should sometimes be held in the Dominions, and I hope that this view will prevail. The Dominions are not known in England as they should be, and I hope the Prime Minister pointed out that after the war the Dominions would welcome a greater share of British investments, rather than that the money should be invested on the continent of Europe.
We have now reached a new stage in Empire building. As the honorable member for “Warringah (Mr. Spender) pointed out, the future of world civilization is largely dependent upon the strength of the British Empire, and this strength must be steadily increased, not only in the centre, but also in all parts of the Empire.
The Prime Minister mentioned, among other things, migration, civil aviation, and food control - all matters of tremendous importance. “We are justified in seeking to learn the views of the Government regarding them. Before the Government makes decisions, an opportunity should be given to honorable members to debate them in this Parliament, so that the Government may learn the opinions of honorable members on this side of the House.
I desire now to refer to the matter of government propaganda. Until recently propaganda has, in democratic countries, always taken a place much subordinate to the activities of other government departments. It has been the rule for the Government in power to employ a publicity officer, but if additional publicity is required, the money to pay for it has been provided by some outside organization. In other words, payment for party publicity from public funds has hitherto been unknown in this country. With the rise of totalitarian regimes in various countries, propaganda has assumed tremendous importance. We know the importance attached to propaganda by Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin. By all three vast sums of money were spent to further the interests of those in power. Recently I have come to the conclusion that this Government has learned; something from totalitarian governments, and that a similar form of propaganda is creeping in here at the expense of democracy. We have witnessed the unashamed use by the Government of the Public Service, of radio, a nd of the press, for purely political ends. lt is- well, that the people should be informed of these things, and of the direction in which we are moving. A referendum is to be held on proposals to clothe the Commonwealth Parliament with increased post-war powers-. Those powers have nothing to do with the waging of the war. All the power necessary for that is. already in the hands of this Parliament by virtue of the NationalSecurity Act. The Government entered into an agreement with the newspaper proprietors to buy space at cut rates for advertising matters associated with the war effort. That space is now to be used, still at cut rates, for advertising the Government’s referendum proposals.
– Will the “ No “ side enjoy the same privilege?
– No. At the beginning of the war the newspapers were asked, as their contribution to the war effort, to provide space at. cut rates for government, advertising. The Government has now stipulated to the newspapers, the big dailies as well as the country press, that the reduced rates must apply to advertising of the Government’s referendum campaign, which lias nothing whatever to do with the war effort and concerns only the postwar period.
– Has the Government insisted upon that?
– I understand so.
– It has done nothing of the sort.
– It has.
– Where did the honorable mem!ber get his information from?
– I have that from different newspaper executives.
– From whom?
– From different newspapers.
– But which are they ?
Mi-. HUTCHINSON. - The Minister for Information knows that as well as I do.
– Do not evade the question.
– I am making a charge.
– Where is the evidence?
– I have it.
– Does the Minister for Information deny that that is taking place ? ‘
– Of course I do. The Government made no order at all.
– Did it make any request to the newspapers.
– Advertising prices are fixed by the Prices Commissioner.
– Order !
– I say definitely that advertising of the “ Yes “ case in the referendum will be at reduced rates. Protests were made and the Government insisted that the cut rates shall apply to its referendum propaganda.
– That will have to be replied to.
– Yes. Then we have the matter which was raised at question-time, the broadcasts from, commercial stations between 9.15’ and 9.30 p.m. on Sundays.
– What is wrong with them ?
– Last, Sunday, there was a broadcast with a distinctly “ Yes “ flavour, and I understand that two or three others are to be made.
– Does the Minister for Information deny that?
– What is wrong with that?
– Everything. The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) recently saw at a city newsreel theatre a film propounding the * Yes “ case.
– What was done by the broadcasting stations was done by arrangement and agreement with the Federation of Commercial Broadcasting Stations.
– Through the secretary.
– The correspondence on this matter should be laid on the table of the House. I invite the Minister concerned to table that correspondence so that honorable members may have ample opportunity to examine it. I ask another question. I should i;ke to know who is to arrange the advertising. Is any person connected with the Government to have a hand in it? Is any staff of a government department concerned with war loans to have any hand in it? Will the persons who arrange the advertising contracts be paid with government, or rather taxpayers’, money. I believe every word I have said about advertising of the “ Yes “ case in the press is true. I believe that the warloan advertising staff is to be employed to advertise the “ Yes “ case. I challenge any Minister to deny it. The Department of Information is being used, not for war purposes, but for something for the post-war period, something which is more party political than anything -fi se.
– It is in the interests of the nation.
– That is a matter of opinion. It certainly has nothing to do with the war effort. All the additional powers proposed for the Commonwealth are to be exercised after the war. It cannot be denied that the Government is using taxes paid by hundreds of thousands of taxpayers, the majority of whom, I believe, will vote
No “, to propagate for party political purposes the “Yes “ case. The taxpayers who will contribute to the presentation of the “ Yes “ case by payments of tax will also have to dig their hands into their pockets to contribute to the presentation of the “ No “ case, which they really believe is in the best interests of this Commonwealth.
– This Parliament decided that the people should be asked to extend the Commonwealth’s powers.
– I have heard no denial of my charges.
– Name the quislings.
– J challenge “ the Minister for Information to lay the correspondence on the table. If he does so, I know who will be elated and who will be deflated.
– What correspondence?
– The correspondence relating to press advertising rates, and full information as to how far the war loans advertising staff is to be used to present the “ Yes “ case. I turn now to another point-
– How could >>nc table mythical correspondence?
– J want to deal with the use of the Public Service for party ends. It ha3 previously been the custom, indeed, the rule, in a democratic parliament, particularly the Commonwealth Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom, for the Public Service to be remote “from party politics. Yet, we have to-day, for the purposes of the Government, the signatures of leading public servants attached to documents bearing on government policy. A few months ago, we had the extraordinary spectacle of the Controller General of Food, Mr. Murphy, making several broadcasts in which he actually attacked the Leader of the Country party, the right honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr. Fadden). If he did not do so directly, he at least did so by innuendo. That is something new. There is a real tyranny over the public servants of this country.
M.r. Holt.- Quite true, and they, in turn, are tyrannizing the country.
– Who are the tyrants?
– I do not know what the public servants themselves think about it; but I believe that they, or many of them, are unhappy about it. They are paid to do a certain job. Policymaking is a matter for the Government, and if public servants are to enter -the arena in the r61e of people with party affiliations, a blow will be struck at the impartiality of the Public Service. That is being done. I do not, think any one can deny my statements. That public servants should criticize leaders of political parties and call them “ knockers “ and so forth is something entirely new in Australia’s history. [Extension of time granted.] These matters involve principles of tremendous importance. If this sort of thing is to go on and if government departments and government money are to be spent shamelessly for party purposes, who can say where we shall end? This Government asks for additional powers after the war. This is the Government which, in the forefront of its proposals to be voted on at the referendum, places repatriation, for which no increase of power is necessary, because this Parliament has always possessed powers of repatriation. That is camouflage designed to delude the people. The real purpose of the Government is to get control of every one, so that the worker and the boss shall be completely in subjection and liable to be shifted at the will of the government of the day to wherever that government thinks they should be shifted. hi order to achieve that power this Government is going to spend money taken from the people by taxation. That is something under which we cannot sit down quietly. It must be made widely known because the expenditure of the people’s money on party political purposes is something which violates the tenets of democracy. If the Government is, by means of specious advertising, to get power to carry out its purposes we shall enter a new stage in the history of our democracy, and I am af raid that what we shall then have will not be democracy but something else.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8.15 p.m.
– The lessons taught by the “ sawdust “ Caesars of Europe in the realm of propaganda and in the exploitation of the public purse for party purposes have been thoroughly learned by this Government. Honorable members will agree that I am not in the habit of making irresponsible statements in this House or elsewhere. The newspapers have a special reduced rate for Commonwealth advertising matter relating to the war effort. Whilst the Commonwealth Government will take advantage of that concessional rate to advertise “ Yes ‘” propaganda, people who are sponsoring and supporting “ No “ propaganda and who do not want to be enslaved by any government in the post-war period will be obliged to pay the full advertising rates. In addition, people who in the past have been used for the purpose of advertising various war-time activities, such as Commonwealth loans, are to be employed to support the “ Yes “ case throughout the country. This pilfering of the public purse is something new to this country, and is outrageous. This Government is engaging in practices that will undeniably undermine our conception of democracy. Public servants are being used under this new tyranny to expound the political principles of the Government now in office. I direct attention to the extraordinary behaviour of Mr. Murphy, the administrative head of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture, who made an attack on one of the political leaders in this House.
– Nothing of the kind. It is not fair for the honorable member to attack a public servant.
- Mr. Murphy is a very efficient public servant.
– This attack on Mr. Murphy is cowardly, because he is not in a position to defend himself.
- Mr. Murphy broadcast an address and when he was challenged by the Leader of the Australian Country party, he replied with a statement in the press about “ knockers “. That is something new in the annals of this country.
– It was in a national broadcast.
– He did not make a personal attack.
– Public servants, who.-are the technical advisers of the Government, are being given the right to come into the open, attack political leaders, and expound views that conform to those of the government of the day. I cite two examples in support of my contention. Dr. Lloyd Eoss, who is a valuable public servant, has travelled extensively throughout the country delivering a series of lectures. I should like to know who pays for those lectures and for the hire of the halls.
– I understand that that was his sole job.
– I understand that the lectures given by Dr. Lloyd Ross are only thinly veiled propaganda for the “ Yes “ case. Dr. Coombes is another eminent public servant who has travelled widely throughout Australia and to whom similar criticism may be applied. His lectures have been veiled propaganda for the “Yes” case. If public servants are to be used in this manner, the Government will undermine the impartiality of the Public Service. One thing that we have been proud in the past to say is that our Public Service is completely divorced from politics.
– Hear, hear!
– Honorable members will recall that three of the powers sought from the people are known as the “ three freedoms “. The last of those “ freedoms “ deals with the issue of regulations. Recently the Premier of Victoria saw fit to engage two eminent counsel to interpret this power. One was Mr. Wilbur Ham, K.C., and the other was Mr. Fullagar, K.C., both of whom are leading constitutional authorities. Their opinion has been widely quoted in the press. “When the Commonwealth Government sought to combat it, its reply came not from the Attorney-General, who is the ministerial head of the law department, but from highly placed public servants. Possibly confusion exists in the Attorney-General’s mind as to whether he is right, whether his department is right, or whether Messrs Fullagar and Ham are right.
– I answered that opinion to the best of my ability.
– The reply, which was given wide publicity by the press, was signed by the Commonwealth Solicitor-General. Sir George Knowles, and Mr. Castieau, .both of whom are public servants.
– And whose opinion ought never to be published.
– Exactly. The person who should take responsibility for any legal act by the Government is the Attorney-General. This is not the first occasion on which the Solicitor-General has taken the responsibility. I do noi know whether it can be said that Sir George Knowles is always in agreement with the Attorney-General, or whether the Attorney-General is always in agreement with Sir George Knowles. What interests me is that public servants are being called upon to reply to criticism published in the press, or to legal opinions when, in the main, the reply should come from the ministerial head of the department. If the present practice continues, the whole foundation of the Public Service will be undermined. I sincerely hope that we have heard the last of this business.
– I assure the honorable gentleman that the Attorney-General was not responsible for releasing the view? of the Crown Law advisers.
– On numerous occasions the Attorney-General has used Sir George Knowles’s name in this House when giving an- interpretation of a law. That practice is new in our political history. Even if some public servants like to do these things, others do not. We are witnessing in this country a new tyranny which is undoubtedly affecting some public servants, against their will, because they have, perforce, to play a public role in criticizing public men. No government in the past would have tolerated that.
– So that there shall be no misunderstanding, let me explain that the opinion of Messrs. Ham and Fullagar was published in the newspapers with an introduction by the Premier of Victoria. I was asked what was the view of the Commonwealth regarding the opinion of these two gentlemen. Not being a lawyer, I asked the AttorneyGeneral’s Department to give me its opinion. That opinion bore three signatures, and not being a lawyer, I released it to the press. That is what happened.
– The position is that the Premier of Victoria asked Messrs. Ham and Fullagar for an opinion regarding the implications of the third “ freedom “. Confusion grows worse confounded, because this matter litis now entered the realm of legal disputation, and we do not know with any certainty what the position will he if this power be granted to the Commonwealth. The opinion which the Premier of Victoria obtained from those eminent counsel was published in the press. [Further extension of time granted.] A statement from the Commonwealth Crown law Department was also published in the press. The statement of the Prime Minister followed the statement of the Crown Law Department,
– I am not responsible for the way in which newspapers publish matter. I issued the statement with an intimation that, on reading Mr. Dunstan’s quotation of those two opinions, for which the taxpayers of Victoria paid, I obtained an opinion, for which Commonwealth, taxpayers paid.
– Whether or not the right honorable gentleman did so, the statement, signed by Sir George Knowles, Mr. Castieau, and Professor Bailey, was published in the press.
– I have explained that that is the form in which the opinion came to me.
– The names of those public Servants should not have appeared. The Prime Minister was perfectly right in consulting the Crown Law authorities on the matter, but he should have published the statement under his name. That would have been in accordance with the practice of responsible government. But the Prime Minister used public servants in a manner that is- not in conformity with responsible government It violated the impartiality of the Public Service, and the government of the day must bear the responsibility for it.
A good deal has been heard in country districts about the great benefits- that will accrue to the man on the land if the referendum be carried. The Leader of the Opposition has more than once declared - and he has a very firm knowledge of these points - that section 92 will still stand. The Attorney-General replies, “ Well, we can get around section 92”.
– The honorable member should not paraphrase my statements.
– I do not know how the Attorney-General proposes to “ get around “ section 92. He has never explained it. I have with me a little book, hot from the press, being dated the 17th July, 1944, and entitled The Rural Reconstruction Commission. After the “ Table of Contents “ there appears the following : -
In pursuance of the powers conferred by National Security (Inquiries) Regulations, I, Joseph Benedict Chifley, the Minister of State for Post-war Reconstruction, hereby appoint -
The Honorable Frank Joseph Scott Wise,
Mr. James Francis Murphy,
Professor Samuel MacMahon Wadham,
Mr. Cecil Ralph Lambert, to be a Board of Inquiry . . .
That committee was appointed to make a general survey of our rural affairs as a preliminary to our post-war reconstruction programme. On page 9 of its report the committee sets out in black and white some views which I consider to have a vital bearing upon future events in this country and also, upon the referendum issue. Paragraph 9 of the report reads -
The Problems of Co-ordination. - The special circumstances of the Australian Constitution add an additional complexity to the problem of devising plans for efficient development. Before the war the constitutional problem became prominent in connexion with the coordination -of marketing as a means for maintaining the internal price levels of commodities. The operation of section 92 of the Constitution prevented the Commonwealth from putting such co-ordinated plans into effect, although it was able to operate various forms of control in international trade. In certain cases it was found possible to achieve much the same result by the co-operation of the State Governments and the .producers’ organizations.
Section 92 is there mentioned as the big barrier to any scheme for the Commonwealthwide marketing of primary products. Does this referendum deal with section 92? Even if a “Yes” vote be given - and I do not think that that is likely - will the constitutional issues associated with section 92 be solved? They will not. The members of the committee have made that very clear.
– That is a complete misrepresentation of the committee’s views.
– In any case, the effect will be to create more confusion and not to correct existing confusion. These are matters of major consequence.
If the Government must fight, it should fight clean, and fairly. Responsible Ministers should make such statements as have to be made. Public servants should not be dragged into the fight, and public money should not be spent upon it. If money has to be provided for the “ Yes “ propaganda, it should be provided from outside channels, as the money for the “ No “ campaign is being provided. There should be no pilfering from the public purse for advertising or other purposes in the interests of a “ Yes “ vote. It is deplorable that this country should be torn in twain by a referendum at a time like this. We heard the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) say in the House this afternoon, that about 30,000 Australians are prisoners of war. Of course, they will not be able to take an interest in. this fight. They will not be able to devote attention to post-war programmes in their own country. They will have no voice in the determination of the referendum. They will not be able to discuss the pros and cons of the case with the members of their1 families. They will not be able to play any part in this matter. But should they not have a hand in the development of their country? Should they not have a say in its future programme? Thousands more Australian soldiers are to-day scattered on battlefields in the islands of the Pacific and elsewhere. We do not know whether their votes are being taken. The Minister for the Army was asked point-blank this afternoon whether the votes of these men were being taken and the question was evaded.
– It was not. The honorable member did not ask whether the vote was being taken.
– I did not ask the question at all. It was asked by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) and it was not answered. In the hurly-burly of war, thousands of our men are being subjected to mob or crowd psychology, and it is being suggested to them that issues in relation to repatriation are involved in the referendum, whereas in fact they are not involved! Although questions of the utmost importance to the future of Australia are being put to the people, many of our men and women in the services abroad, and even inside Australia,, will have no proper opportunity to express an opinion. I consider that that is a scandal. I sincerely trust that the referendum will be defeated, and I believe that that will be the case. If it is defeated on elective convention should be held at some future date, in calmer days, when proper consideration can be given to the necessity for an alteration of the Constitution. Under such conditions the people will be able to take full cognizance of the whole state of affairs in the post-war world and have greater knowledge of the vital problems of development which await Australia.
.- Probably I should not have’ participated in this debate except for an unfortunate interpretation that was pat over the air this afternoon to a question that I asked the Prime Minister. The whole case was seriously distorted and I wish to clarify the position. During the last few weeks several mothers of large families have asked me to’ do something” to remedy the tragic circumstances in which they find themselves. One of the mothers has seven children - two boys, aged fourteen and fifteen years respectively, and five smaller children. Her husband is away with the forces, and she has asked me to intercede with the Army authorities to see whether her husband can bc discharged in order to help her with the rearing of her family. I was casting no aspersions whatever on that mother. Fire. oi- six- similar cases have been brought to my notice in the last two or three weeks and I. have referred them io the- Department of the Army. I have never intended that the slightest aspersion should be cast’ on the mothers concerned. As I have little doubt that the morning newspapers will distort my question, I refer to the subject at this- stage in order to make my position quite clear. My purpose was to try to- get. the Army to release these husbands if it is possible to do’ so, consistent with the security of the country and the needs of the war effort. I cannot believe’ that the man-power position in Australia, is. so extremely- hazardous that reasonable and honest consideration cannot be given to tha appeals of the mothers of large families
The first two speeches we heard this afternoon in this debate were of a high standard. It is gratifying to know that some members of Parliament regard their duties with sufficient seriousness to disuss subjects of international importance as they should be discussed. The considerations which the honorable members concerned have placed before us were worthy of our attention. At the same time, I have the feeling that old clothes have been taken to the cleaners and that ii will not be long before they are again shabby. I remember, from my reading of Greek history, that a good deal was <aid in other days about the forming of blocs. When the enemies of the Roman Empire were challenging the supremacy of the Romans, one individual repeatedly drew attention to the need to destroy the enemies of Rome. I consider that if too much attention is given to the views expressed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) we may again suffer disillusionment. It will be extremely dangerous for us to allow ourselves to be lulled into a sense of false security. Twice in the last 25 years the great British Empire has been caught napping :iud has been saved only by a miracle.
It may be helpful to the House to recall the history of the Empire and of cbe world during this century. Most honorable members can cast their minds back to 1899 when their fathers went to war and fought until 1902. During that time, nearly 500,000 people were killed, and I do not know now what it was all about. After 1902, we had twelve years of comparative progress, but in 1914 we were at war again for the purpose, so we were told, of making the world safe for democracy. After the war ended we found we had succeeded only in making the world safe for depression. We fought for four years, and during that time, according to a statement in a volume entitled l’Homme Stupide written by Richet, which is to be found in the Library, about 17,000,000 people were killed directly and indirectly as the result of the war. After 1918, we had a period of comparative peace until 1939 when, once again, we found ourselves at war in the defence of democratic rights.
Thus, within 45 years the community has been engaged in three major wars. Unless we are prepared to alter completely our ways of living and to forego any effort to dress up old ideals in new clothes there can be no assurance that we shall not again find ourselves engaged in a major war. Taking a long-range view, and remembering the scientific achievements of the nation, which are being used for purposes of war, it may happen that if another war occurs. 70,000,000 and not 17,000,000 people will die.
I have previously in this chamber referred to our disastrous population trends and have adduced figures to show that the enormous decline of the birth-rate in the western world may mean that, if another war occurs, we shall not have sufficient ma>n-power to maintain a political system of any kind whatsoever. I say therefore that our experiences of the last 45 years, with their devastating effect upon human welfare, force us to the conclusion that the necessities of peace transcend every other consideration. Every single one of us owes it to ourselves and to the nation to try to establish a formula for peace. Such a formula must be found. If it be not found I consider that the children born to-day will not see the end of the twentieth century. That may seem a wild statement, but in the past great powers have been completely destroyed by internecine strife, and it may happen that the nations of to-day will destroy themselves. Because of war and its ultimate effect upon the population, we are in grave danger of wiping ourselves out. We have to find the formula for peace. An old Roman named Cato when he found that Carthage constituted the greatest thorn in the side of Rome, finished every speech with the declaration, Cathago delenda est. Not many years elapsed before Carthage was lying in ruins. It is believed to have been a walled city of 1,000,000 inhabitants, and we are not certain to-day of where the foundations of that once great city are. We have to adopt a somewhat similar principle to-day. Every one has to finish a speech with the declaration, “ The formula for peace must be found “. That transcends every other consideration; it makes every other consideration before this Parliament pale into insignificance. No man can justify sending into battle and sacrificing the lives of the young men of this country on account of the political, economic and social fallacies and failures of ourselves and the people of our generation. We have to take a look at ourselves. We spend too much time in finding out what is wrong with our neighbour.
– Shall I get a mirror ?
– Thank God I am not like other men. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. I have frankly admitted that I am one who has miserably failed. My egotistical friend is not capable of such an admission, because he cannot comprehend it. I am perfectly sincere when I say that the formula of the present day is the equivalent of the League of Nations dressed in new clothes. On this occasion, the idea is to have power behind the League of Nations. Those who advocate it are forgetful of the fact that one of the most competent nations which the world has ever seen - Russia - has a political ideology that is different from anything that is to be found in the western world. The attempt is being made to gear that political system to another. That will not work, because in no particular does the one resemble the other. Without preparedness to stand up to change, we shall be engaged in another conflict within the next 25 years, and we might as well begin immediately to make preparations for the military training of the children who are being born to-day. There is no other solution of the problem. We have had three wars in the last 45 years. If we merely dress up the old order in a new suit of clothes, why should we not have another three wars in the next 45 years?
– What is the solution of the honorable member?
– I am not pretending to knowthe solution. I have stated what the disease is, and have admitted that I do not know the cure for it.
– It was a supposedly new order in Germany which started this war.
– Has the world ever sained anything under the system of totalitarianism? What freedom have we had?
– We have not always had it in Australia.
– The outstanding example of freedom that we have had in this country since the beginning of time has been the freedom to starve. My friend, with his tremendous delusion, has succeeded in deluding himself enormously. He does not know the difference between utterance and achievement. We have had abundant freedom to utter, but achievement is the last thing we consider.
– We have had less starvation than has any other country in the world.
– My friend is a jingoist.
– Order !
– I have to answer my friend.
– Order! The honorable member has not to answer him.
– The very elements that are necessary in the present scheme of things are the elements that we dare not touch. What facilities has this country ever offered for adult education? There is the profit-making newspaper, but nothing else. If we earnestly desire to do justly by the country in the future we have to make it clear and unmistakable that the formula for peace must be found, irrespective of who may be hurt in the process. That is essential to the safety of the western world and,I believe, of the entire world. If an honorable member of this House had said six years ago that a war would take place in the jungles of New Guinea, he would have been hounded down as a lunatic; yet in actual fact, that has happened. So we have to find a formula for peace, irrespective of where it comes from or how it comes into being. I say emphatically that it is not to be found in an amalgamation of the resources of Great Britain, the United States of America and Russia, with their enormous powers, because at the first conflict of ideologies they would break apart, as similar groups have separated throughout history.
– It is not to be found in persons who sit comfortably on air cushions.
– I agree with the honorable member that there is a hard way of life and that we have to accept it. I had the great good fortune to go to Russia just before war broke out, I tried to view its system impartially. Upon my return to this country, when I endeavoured to loll the people what I had seen I was hounded and blackguarded for having even gone there. In the first year of this war, nothing that we .could say about ihe Russians was bad enough, yet to-day we talk about “ our great ally “. We should at least say that much about them, because they are a great ally. Who can tol] how much the political ideologies of Camiraunism, Fascism and Nazi-ism differ? I know .that my friends opposite, who love to “ split hairs “, will attempt to mate it appear that there is a difference. What do honorable members consider .is .the effect of the Russian campaign upon the mentality of the oppressed nations of Europe ? The only .effect can have been to inspire admiration of the Russian people. In which direction :are those /people likely to swing in the postwar period? What kind of position would .be created in Europe if suddenly the Fascists and the Nazis decided to join up with the Communists.? What, then, would my friends opposite do?
Mer. Archie Cameron. - They did that in 1939.
– Never was there a greater delusion, as the turn of events litis .shown. This kind of collective security, dressed up, is -not going to give nr. any guarantee of pence in the future. I t may .tide us over the economic stress which must follow. Immediately the war is ‘O’Ver. this .peculiar situation wall exist: There will be the United States of America., with its enormous producing capacity, perhaps five or ten times greater than it was before the war, and nothing knocked down. America’s political outlook on economy will have to be geared :to the ideology of Russia, whose territory has been devastated to a depth of 4’00”miles, and. to that of France, which also ‘has been devastated. As was mentioned this afternoon, one house in every five in England has been knocked down. How cain the intelligent American people be induced to see eye to eye economically with the people of the countries I have mentioned ? Mammon is .still the great god .of the people. There is no chance of gearing the one political system to the other.
– The honorable member is .a pessimist.
– .Can a .man be other than a. pessimist when he has seen three wars in 43 years, in the sacred name of this, that or the other? Could he be an optimist in the light of that experience ‘3 We are offered a solution in the future which represents the continuation of an old order that has already failed a thousand times. There have been international pacts, and group political systems since the dawn of history. Athens and Sparta united against the Persians in the fourth century B.C. There have been politics in Europe from the beginning of time. In one of the most dastardly wars In history, France was invited to defend the Vatican, and with Austria fought outside Florence. Those two countries then fought one another., and the Italian armies beat both of them. If honorable members have no knowledge of the evolution .of mankind, T arn sorry for their colossal ignorance. I have very little faith in the future. I know that the diseases .of mankind are war on the one hand and declining population on the other. That is the disease of .the western world-, a.t all .events. ‘What the cure for it is, 1 .regret that T cannot say. I do not hold out very great hope in the future unless mankind can be educated.; and I do not know how that is to be .achieved unless we can find special organizations for the dissemination .of information. That is a .paramount consideration. I do not .consider that the solution of the problem lies in the raising of the basic wage, because, .as .1 “.have already said in this House, I refuse to believe that under our present system it is economically possible to raise it. All that one can do is to change the name of the basic wage ,and the cost of living. Having regard to the evolution of mankind and its needs, the basic wage has not increased by ‘5 -per cent, during the last 30 years. ‘If that cannot be done, how can society be improved, saturated as it is with Mammon-like views’?
I do not .want deliberately to touch needlessly upon the referendum.- ‘My friends opposite .can justify themselves very readily in. their consciences. They have indicated, even to-day, that they i’-ive no objection to this Government forcing the coal-miners, the wharf labourers, or somebody else, back to work. Rut in the post-war period we must have no compulsion of any kind. They make the two statements almost in the one breath. We are to have freedom i.’i the post-war period, but to-day we must force the coal-miners back to work. They denounce the referendum proposal which, if endorsed, will enable the Commonwealth to issue directives in relation ro employment, yet at the same time they urge the Government to force the coalminers back to work.
– Nobody argues against it in war-time.
– Against what?
– Coercion and industrial conscription.
– We hear of nothing but coercion. The Government is asked, “Why do you not- do something about so-and-so? Why do you not force some one?” But in the post-war period, according to these gentlemen, we must return to private enterprise and have no restraints or restrictions. So far the only thing which the people have had the right to do is to starve.
– Does the honorable gentleman want to have coercion after the war ?
– I. want what is good for mankind. The function of this House is to produce coercive measures. Every law that is passed is coercive. My friends opposite, with their barbaric and medieval minds, do not know the difference between freedom and coercion, or where one ends and the other begins. We do not expect them to do so. If I were bought like they are I would not know the difference, either; I would be blind, deaf and dumb. Honorable members opposite want to coerce everybody, including the miners, but not in the post-war period. For after the war their attitude is, “Let the boss direct the workers to go here, there and everywhere, but for goodness sake don’t direct us “. Their excuse is that the boss is paying the workers, and therefore has a right to direct thom, but if the Commonwealth pays the workers, the Com monwealth is not to have the right to direct them.
– You directed some of the people to their death, but are allowing others who have stayed at home to let the soldiers ‘down.
– Listen to this innocent, to this nian with the bovine intellect, saying that I directed them. Why, the whole of my speech to-night has been a confession regarding the things I have failed in. I have admitted the failure of three wars, and the fact that I have done nothing about them. Now I am watching another war, but I am making an appeal to prevent the possibility of more wars, and to ensure the introduction of something like a decent new order. Some of us hold strong opinions on these matters. The time has passed when we. should be content to live in a world of dreams. Let us have freedom of utterance and of action. There are many people who feel that they have achieved when they have spoken, but it sometimes happens that generations come and go between utterance and achievement. Honorable members on both sides of the House are now agreed that something should be done about housing, but here is an extraordinary thing: Seventeen years ago, the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page), who in those days must have been fairly modern, brought in a Commonwealth Housing Bill. As far back as 1927 he saw the need for such a scheme. Seven years later, in 1934, the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), who was then Attorney-General of Victoria., said at a Constitution Convention that the most, urgent problem in Australia at that time was housing. Seven years went by between the first utterance by the right honorable member for Cowper and the second by the right honorable member for Kooyong, and no houses were built under the Commonwealth scheme. At that time I was Director of PublicHealth, in Tasmania, and the housing shortage in Hobart was even more acute than it is now. In 1939, just before theoutbreak of war, the Commonwealth Government of the day knew that there was a housing shortage in Australia. It. did not even have to get a bill through Parliament. The act was- already on the statute-book. Man-power and materials were available. There were many people out of work, and there was an urgent housing problem, but was one house built under the Commonwealth scheme? No. Now, in 1944, honorable members opposite give themselves a stomach-ache talking about the housing shortage. Where were they during all those seventeen years of paralysis? The housing problem is no more acute now than it was in 1927, if allowance is made for the wartime shift of population from the country to ‘the cities. I venture to say that if we were to build houses in the cities now to house all the people who have moved in from the country to take war jobs, we would be blamed by honorable members opposite when, after the war, the war workers drifted back to the country. They are the sort of people who like to have a “ couple of bob each way “.
I hope that we shall not be content after the war merely to dress up the old order in new clothes. I hope that we shall not content ourselves with passing pious resolutions, but that we shall get on with the job quickly, and do what i3 necessary for the ultimate good of this country and all the nations of the world so that we shall be in a position to solve the problems of the peace, which T hope is not far distant.
.- We have just listened to a speech from the honorable member for Denison (Dr. G-aha) which, in patches, was at least entertaining, but was the most pessimistic utterance that has ever been made in this House. I have yet to learn that anything worthwhile ever resulted from a completely pessimistic outlook. The honorable member surveyed history from 400 b.o. until the present time, and said that he could discover in it no glimmer of hope. He earned some applause from the honorable mem,ber for Batman (Mr. Brennan) by confessing that he could discover no ground for hope from his study of history, and he himself had nothing to suggest. I cannot imagine that a man could spend his time in this chamber less profitably than by saying that nothing good has ever occurred in the past, by pointing out all the dreadful things which fill the pages of history, and contending that unless something happens, something for which there seems to be no reason to hope, we may expect these doleful experience? to be repeated throughout the rest of time. Such a speech, whilst entertaining in patches, is essentially a hopeless and a barren effort. We have a right to expect from a speaker on the Government side something more constructive than that.
So far, there have .been only two speeches from the Government side in the course of this debate. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) spoke yesterday, and he was followed to-day by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). Since then, until the honorable member for Denison spoke, there had been no contribution to the debate by any honorable member supporting the Government. Even the honorable member for Denison said that he would not have spoken had he not been misrepresented on the air to-night in regard to a question which he asked this afternoon. Therefore, until the honorable member was provoked into unpremeditated speech, there was no evidence that the Prime Minister was to receive any support from his own side of the chamber. During my ten years’ experience in this House I have known no other example of a statement so important as that made by the Prime Minister yesterday being thrown, as it were, ou the table, and left entirely unsupported.
The Prime Minister made his speech in terms which fair-minded men will agree was beyond criticism. He recounted the circumstances of the war. and referred to the events associated with his visit abroad. He expressed, as one might properly expect, admiration for the men of the fighting services, together with respect and admiration for the political leaders of the Allied Nations. He expressed gratitude for the aid which this country has received from Great Britain and the United States of America - aid which, added to our own efforts, literally meant the difference between life and death for this nation. He made it clear that the immediate future of the human race is virtually in the trusteeship of three great nations, Britain, the United States of America.. and Russia. He .pointed out, in terms which none of us would wish to dispute, that our hope of peace lies, among other things, in the correction of some of the shortcomings of the past, and in the achievement of a higher overall standard of living; in a levelling up, and also, no doubt, in some respects, a levelling down. As he pointed out, the hope of the people is for security from war and the fear of war, and the removal of the need to prepare for war. These things, he said, were to be achieved by collaboration among the victorious nations. He raised great hope in our minds as to the progress of the war, and left us in no doubt as to the outcome.
That is all very good, and the Prime Minister expressed sentiments which none of us will dispute; but I think it can still reasonably be said that, within the limits of a good speech, he left, us entirely without a.n indication of the plans of the Government ‘ to improve the previously existing state of the world. No Minister has risen to fill in the gaps, to add an explanation to the general outline. Well, let us take one of the most important points of the Prime Minister’s speech, lie makes it quite clear that in his view - and with this we agree - the settlement of the peace and the raising of the standard of human life .and the security of nations against war lie largely in the successful collaboration -of the victorious nations. Now, collaboration must be on h basis free of any prejudicing prior decisions. It would be beyond thought that Great Britain and the United States of America, which have such obvious common interests, existent and in prospect, should get together and reach an agreement as to where their interests lie, seal that up in a treaty, and, at that point, go to the peace conference table and, sitting down with Russia, China and the other Allied nations say, “ Let us talk about the settlement of the peace”. Any rneb proposal would be laughed out of court. Yet, I am bound to say that on a reduced scale that is the very thing that this Government has done. This Government is one of the only two governments to be found amongst the Allied Nations which have complicated the eventual peace discussions by prior arrangement and the conclusion of a treaty with another of the combatant nations. We have had the spectacle of the Australian-New Zealand Agreement concluded at a time when the future developments in the Pacific theatre are in the melting-pot. If we are to expect a fair discussion upon these subjects with our powerful friend, the United States of America, and if we expect the other Pacific nations to come along in good faith to discuss with us the settlement of the Pacific problems, surely they must expect us to come with free hands, untied, by contracts; but we have made a contract. We have bound ourselves, a? New Zealand has bound itself.
– Bound to what?
– I know that the Minister for Transport is one of the signatories to the Australian-New Zealand Agreement which is no doubt to so before Great Britain and the United Spates of America. We have heard the honorable gentleman speak of the capitalistic system of those countries in the most scathing terms of condemnation almost before the ink had dried upon the Australian-New Zealand Agreement.
– There are no secret clauses in it.
– The honorable member seeks to “ draw a red herring across the trail “. If it is proper for Australia and New Zealand to make a regional pact in this area, who is to say that it is improper for the Governments of Greece and Yugoslavia to make a regional pact in respect of the future of the Adriatic, or for any other two nations to make a prior pact? What sort of peace settlement can we have if the nations go to the peace conference with treaties, even secret treaties, already made? Whether it was ever properly within the Executive authority of the Government to make that agreement is a matter in dispute and upon the legality of the pact I would not express an opinion; but, conceding that the agreement was within the Government’s authority, surely in these days, when we hear so much talk of the rights of the minorities, freedom of speech and opportunities for free expression, we should have been given an opportunity to discuss it in this Parliament. No such opportunity was provided.
– That is not right.
– It is an historical fact that there was an explanation, ex parte, of course, by the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) of the treaty when the Parliament met in the last sessional .period. It is true also that for weeks and weeks, until the very closing hours of the session, notwithstanding the many questions asked as to when the opportunity would be given to us to discuss the treaty and the many answers that there would be that opportunity, time was given for only one speech, I think - that by the Leader of the Opposition.
– He ran away with the speech in his pocket.
Mi’. McEWEN. - If that is a sample of the planning of the peace, heaven help us ! I hope that it will stand a3 an example of what should never be done again.
Turning to a more domestic note I point out that, although the Prime Minister spoke with some restrained optimism of the immediate developments of the war, we can, from our knowledge of events, conclude what the outcome of the war will be. Reading the day-by-day news, one may reasonably hope, as I do, that, the speech made by the Prime Minister yesterday may be proved by the event to have been made within six months, certainly within twelve months, of the defeat of Germany. That is not an unreasonable hope; it is almost my expectation. To-day we see the organized mass of the manhood of Russia and the indomitable will of the Russian loaders getting close to achieving their revenge for the treachery and rapine they suffered at the hands of the Germans. We see to-day the tremendous unmatched and unmatchable potential of America and its organizing genius kept completely to the war effort, tremendous factors operating a progressive acceleration towards the defeat of our enemies. We have seen during the last twelve or eighteen months the most terrible havoc wrought by the Royal Air Force and the American Expeditionary Air Force upon Hie industry and life of Germany that has ever been wrought by any invading army in the history of warfare. We can take pride in the fact that of the magnificent men of the Royal Air Force almost one-quarter are young Australians - 23 per cent, to be exact. Reviewing results of this tremendous marshalling of effort by the United Nations, we are entitled, not to slacken our war effort, but to be confident that Ave are getting within sight of the defeat of Germany. When that happy result is achieved, there will be a transference of tremendous military might against our other enemy, Japan, and I think then the total organization of the war against Japan will be of such overwhelming strength, and the geographical centre of gravity of the war will have so changed to the Pacific theatre, that a further very comprehensive review of the structure of Australia’s war effort will be demanded. There will be justification for the release of more of our fighting men. There will be justification and necessity for re-organization of our industrial production set-up. These things are reasonably to be regarded as within sight tc-day, and, if my premises are correct, how comes it that the Prime Minister’s speech contains not one word to outline the plans and intentions of the Government in respect of those industries and those persons who will be so tremendously affected by this change of our war circumstances? Of necessity, very many men will go out of uniform into civilian clothes. They are to be housed; they are to be placed in employment; they are to be trained; they are to bc afforded means of earning their livelihood. And the industries which have been geared to war along certain lines will change over to engagement on different lines. With the opening of Europe to the possibility of receiving goods, food and clothing and all the necessaries of life for the terribly devastated areas will come new demands upon the export industries of this country, and, indeed, upon industries which have never hitherto been exporting industries. What is to be done about all this? Surely, if it is right for this Parliament to meet to-day to review the war effort in the most general terms, it is also necessary for us to view the steps which are to be taken to readjust ourselves within the next six, twelve, or eighteen months, as the case may be, to the tremendous change which is fast coming upon us.
– We will tell you those things after the 19th August.
– The Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell) is always interjecting.
– Will the Japanese be defeated in that time, too?
– I do not anticipate that. I do not set myself up as a prophet. The Minister for Information makes more interjections than any other honorable member and very few ever contribute anything valuable to the debute. On this occasion he has said: “ We will tell you about these things after the 19th August “. That is the date of the referendum and the conviction 1 had derived from the processes of this Government, is proved to be correct by the interjection of the Minister for Information. The omissions from the Prime Minister’s speech were more notable than the pronouncements contained in his statement. By a process of deduction, I conclude that the Government was either unwilling or unable to explain its policy for the industrial reconstruction of Australia and the employment of ex-servicemen and persons who have been engaged in war industries. Either it was not sure that it would possess after the war the constitutional authority to “ direct “ as it enjoys in war-time, or it did not care to take the Australian people into its confidence and tell them its intentions, for fear of the consequences on thu 19th August.
– That is not correct.
– The Minister for Information concedes that it is true that none of these things has been explained. He has said that “ after the 19th August we will let you know “. That will be after the yoke has been placed upon the neck of the Australian people. Let me refer to impending events. The Prime Minister has already indicated that one of the decisions reached during his mission abroad was that a substantial additional number of men shall be released from the Australian Army for reasons related to the war. That release must be made in accordance with a certain [s.1 policy. The Government has announced that civil and military authorities will confer for the purpose of devising a suitable policy.
– The honorable member knows all the details.
– I do not know all the details, but I agree that it is the obvious and proper course to take. There is one principle that ought to have been superimposed upon all others in regard to the impending release of troops. At the outbreak of war, hundreds of thousands of young men came clamouring as volunteers to serve in any part of the world in the defence of their country and the cause which we had espoused. When they enlisted, they were eighteen or nineteen years of age. For nearly five years they have been in uniform and have fought on many battlefields. The Government announced that 20,000 men were released from the Army during the last twelve months. Those releases were made in accordance with a policy based upon occupations and industry. But that policy debarred one class of servicemen - the early volunteer - from entitlement to release. Consequently, the policy adopted by the Government resolved itself into one of “ last in, first out “ unless a man’s health broke down in the meantime.
– Suppose the Government acted upon the advice of its military advisers. Does the honorable member suggest that the Government should have overridden that advice?
– The Government announced its intention to release 20,000 men’ from an army numbering some hundreds of thousands of men. I believe that there could have been superimposed upon the other considerations of policy a provision which would have paid humane regard to the years of service rendered by the class of young men to whom I referred. They fought in Greece and Libya, and upon returning to Australia they were despatched to New Guinea. The Government should have adopted a humane policy, which would have conceded that those men had done their share and that, if any men were to bc released from the Army, they should be entitled to consideration. When the strength of the Army exceeds requirements, young men of that calibre are undoubtedly entitled, if they so desire, to obtain their discharge and return to civilian life. They should not be specifically debarred from entitlement. However, I do not wish to haggle about the past. “We are now on the eve of a review of that policy, and on behalf of the Australian Country party I put it to the Government as strongly as I am able that, in the revising of policy, these young men who have survived the perils of war for nearly five years should bo given the option of returning to civil life.
– Suppose the adoption of that policy resulted in too few men being released for rural industries. The honorable member would then complain that the Government had not released a sufficient number.
– The Minister is entitled to express his own views, but he is not entitled to attribute views to me. What is the policy of the Government regarding our export industries in the later stages of the war and in the post war period? The Atlantic Charter and the mutual aid agreements carry implications of tremendous consequences to the exporting industries of Australia. Surely the Government has something to say to those basic industries of the Australian economy ! But not a word has been uttered to reveal to the primary producers the intentions of the Government, for the purpose of enabling them to set their house in order. What are to be the implications after the war of the mutual aid agreements and the Atlantic Charter upon our secondary industries which have sprung up under hot-house conditions during the war? These are grave matters, and one reacts upon the other. If the Atlantic Charter is to function in certain directions in anything like a literal sense, it is doubtful whether Some of our secondary industries will be able to continue. What has the Government to tell these industries? If Australian manufacturing industries now in existence are to be employed to full capacity in the post-war period, how shall we maintain our export markets for primary products in countries from which, in the circumstances, Ave shall not, purchase anything?
– The honorable member is preaching the policy of freetrade.
– Am I? I am not preaching any policy. I am posing to the Government, if the Minister had the intelligence and interest to follow me, certain questions that are crying aloud fer decision. No substitute for an answer to these questions will be found in any wisecracking from Ministers. These are serious questions which affect the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Australians. The Government should devote serious attention to them. What is to be the future in Australia of civil aviation? If the Government intends to transform civil aviation wholly or in part, into a governmental activity, it is within its authority to make such a decision. I do not intend to predict the Government’s decision. But I do contend that it is high time for the Government to break its silence and to give us some indication of its, intentions. [Extension of lime granted.] If its silence on these numerous and tremendously important subjects is to be explained by the interjection of the Minister for Information that Ave shall be told about them after the 19th August, it is a most reprehensible attitude. If the Minister is not correct, I hope that a responsible Minister will explain the attitude of the Government.
I could put many questions to Ministers. For example, what is the policy of the Government in regard to migration? It might reasonably be said that the continued operation of our Avar factories will depend upon the outcome of the referendum. The Labour party is entitled to have its policy. I do not dispute that.
– Does the honorable member want the ball-bearing factory at Echuca to close?
– I should like to see most of these activities continue in operation. The policy of the Government may be to keep these factories in operation by securing authority to enter the field of production and trade. Whilst I do not agree with that policy, I admit that it is a legitimate political policy. At the same time, I emphasize that, it is not legitimate to maintain it as a secret political policy until the referendum is held. If the Government desires to have the respect of the Australian people, it should “ come clean “ and state its policy, in the absence of any explanation whatever, we have no option other than to draw our own conclusions. One may draw a sinister conclusion by surmising that silence indicates that the Government desires, among other things, to enter the field of competitive production and trade with private enterprise, and fears that an admission of its desires might prejudice the referendum. The tactics of the Government in the conduct of its referendum propaganda provide us with every justification for drawing sinister conclusions. I mentioned to-day certain happenings in connexion with B class broadcasting stations.
– The honorable gentleman was hopelessly wrong, as usual.
– These stations are private enterprises operating for profit. Government representatives approached their management and said: “Will you let ns have a period of time every Sunday night for propaganda calculated to further the war effort?” In common with many other companies and private individuals, the managements of the B class stations immediately agreed, and, for some time, quite good .programmes were put over the air. Last Sunday night, however, the Department of Information broadcast an entirely party programme, using time which had been made available free of charge for entirely different purposes. The Minister for Information admitted from the front bench this afternoon that it was a “ Yes “ programme.
– “ Yes “ for the good of the nation.
– The honorable gentleman may consider that a “ Yes “ vote will be good for the nation, and he is entitled to his view. My opinion is that a “ No “ vote will be good for the nation. But whatever the honorable gentleman’s opinion may be, he is not justified in using valuable time of the B class stations, without the knowledge of the owners of the stations, for purposes for which it was not made available.
– It was done by agreement with the representatives of the owners.
– The owners knew nothing about it, and they have since complained bitterly because their stations have been used for party political propaganda.
– Will the honorable gentleman say that “ No “ propaganda is not being engaged in at the cost of the Government ?
– The honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Pollard) will have an opportunity to put his case, unless he intends to remain one of the 40 good little caucus boys who have been instructed to keep “ mum “.
– That statement is a lie.
– We are used to interjections of that description from the Minister. What I have said gives only the merest glimpse of the activities of the Department of Information in this regard. I hold in my hand a series of booklets to which I shall draw attention. They have been printed in an attractive form on good quality paper, and have been distributed in very large numbers in Army and Air Force establishments. One of them is entitled “ Thirty Facts about Repatriation “, another, “Thirty Facts about Health and Social Services “, another “ Forty Facts about Australia’s War-time Agriculture “, and another, “ Fighting Men Speak”, which has been published by the Department of Post-war Reconstruction. All the pamphlets carry the imprint, “Alfred Henry Pettifer, Acting Government Printer “. The pamphlet which deals with repatriation relates many facts for which the legislation and administration of previous . governments have been responsible, but diligent care has been taken not to refer to that point. Fact No. 29 reads -
To reinforce the existing powers and to ensure that everything possible will be done for the disabled members of the forces and their dependants, the Commonwealth Government proposes this year to seek a clear mandate from the Australian Forces and from the Australian people generally.
At the end of that pamphlet, the follow.ing words appear: -
Issued under the direction and by the authority of the Australian Minister for Information, the Hon. A. A. Calwell, M.H.E.
Although 99 per cent, of what is said in that pamphlet is the result of the administration of previous governments, not one word is said on that point.
This evening the honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) said : “ If, six years ago, any one had suggested that there would be fighting in New Guinea, he would have been regarded as a lunatic “. Six years ago a government led by the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) was in office and I was supporting it. The leader of that Government introduced a bill to amend the Defence Act to bring New Guinea within the ambit of the act to provide against the possibility of any fighting occurring there. The present Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) and all of his present supporters who were then in Parliament, used their voices and votes to try to prevent the passage of the bill. In spite of that fact, this newcomer member for Denison had the temerity to make the statement to which I have referred, and the present Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell) has stated in the pamphlet on repatriation that the Government is seeking a clear mandate from the Australian forces. When the Government in office at the time when war broke out wanted to send an expeditionary force abroad, the proposal was resisted by the present Prime Minister. If he and his followers had had their way there would have been no Australian Imperial Force and no Australian contribution to the Empire Air Training Scheme. Yet these honorable gentlemen have the audacity, to-day, to use public funds to print and distribute pamphlets asking the Australian forces to give them a mandate. These actions are typical of highly improper conduct of this Government for which there is no precedent. Public funds, public servants and public instrumentalities have never previously been used in this way. Yet this Government, clothed with all the power of a war time period, is using all the resources at its command to further its own party political campaign.
– It is perfectly legitimate in the interests of the nation.
– What was the intention of the framers of the Constitution in relation to proposals for the alteration of the Constitution? Their intention was made quite clear. In the days before radio it was the practice, in accordance with the intentions of the framers of the Constitution, to state in equal terms the case for and against any proposal for the alteration of the Constitution.
– That has been done.
– It was provided that a statement of the cases for and against such proposals should be limited in each instance to 2,000 words. [Further extension of time granted.’] The framers of the Constitution, and also our early legislators, intended that any statements for and against an alteration of the Constitution should be submitted to the people in equal terms even to the counting of the number of words. Freedom and the free expression of opinion, however, can never be set down in purely legal terms. The principles of democracy, the rights of minorities, and the true essence of freedom of expression, are not to be found in written words, but in the hearts of men. There has never been a more reprehensible abrogation of the principles of democracy or a more wretched violation of the principles of free expression than that of which this Government is. guilty, for it is using all the resources at its command to put before the Australian people an entirely class-conscious and party political view in respect to the referendum. If this Government considers that certain principles which hitherto have seldom been challenged, and are inherent in the British parliamentary system, should continue to exist, then it should bring to an immediate end the pernicious practices in which it is at present engaged. Although this may seem an extravagant statement to make, I consider I am justified in saying that the technique which is now being employed by this Government brought to supreme authority the Nazi party in Germany. That party came into office after an election held under certain circumstances within a democracy. It then proceeded to use all the powers at the disposal of the Government to propagate the political ideology of Nazi-ism. The German Ministry and the Department of Propaganda subsequently took possession of all media of propaganda, such as the radio and the press, to such a degree that free expression of opinion became impossible in Germany. I do not predict that we are in sight of that in Australia, but this Government has started to tread that course. It is of no use to ridicule the statements that have been made in this House to-day concerning the danger of the surrender of freedom of expression. The Government should show that there is still some fair play to be found in government circles in this country. I say to the Government that there is deeply ingrained in the hearts of the people of Australia an instinct for fair play. They will realize that these practices are not in accord with the traditional Australian conception of fair play, that what is all right in Germany is not .all right in Australia. I hope that before the conclusion of this sessional period we shall have a clear statement of the intentions of the Government in respect of many of these matters, regarding which its most notable contribution so far has been its silence. I certainly expect a cessation of the electioneering practices which to-day are being employed in connexion with the referendum.
– I do not wish to traverse ground that has already been covered, or to deal with ancient history, but I do want to make a few observations concerning the paucity of the matters that we have been invited to consider during this week. Actually, these consist only of what is involved in a review of the war. We have learned nothing new from any statement which the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) has made since his return to Australia. There is, of course, the implication that in the future this country, in common with other countries, will have to accept responsibilities in relation to defence which in the past it has not been prepared to shoulder. That, in itself, is rather pleasing, coming as it does from the Government, in view of the opposition of the Labour party only a few years ago when an endeavour was made to increase the defence forces of this country. The Prime Minister, in his wisdom, did not elaborate on the subject, and I noticed that when he spoke on it his remarks were received in stony silence.
The public is being told that immediately the war terminates 800,000 service men and women will be released info civil occupations. The implication to which I have referred would destroy that assumption. Does any honorable member opposite believe that if the war finished to-morrow Australia would not continue to have a standing Army, to carry on with its Air Force, or to extend its Navy ? We have been taught a lesson by what has befallen those nations which in the past desired peace so greatly that they made no endeavour to protect themselves. They found, to their cost, that the desire for peace is not sufficient to ensure peace. The history of the people of Denmark, Holland, and other industrious nations, is sufficient to warn the people of Australia that this country can be held for British-speaking people in the future only by the efforts of those who inhabit it. It may not be popular to say that compulsory military training will have to continue after the war, or that there will have to be industrial conscription such as has been found so necessary during the war. I was amused at the reply of the honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) to an interjection by the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Adermann) concerning those who absented themselves from work at the present time while others were facing death and destruction on their behalf. If it be fair to impose military and industrial conscription upon 1,500,000 people in this country, it is just as fair to impose it on those who are engaged in an industry which is providing the lifeblood of the war industries of this country to-day.
– It has not been imposed on a fraction of that number ; the majority of them are volunteers. Even the workers in the Civil Constructional Corps are volunteers.
– Not a considerable proportion of them. Hundreds of thousands of men who were engaged in one-man businesses were railed up. Their businesses were closed, their goodwill disappeared, and they were sent far afield, away from their homes and families. That is industrial conscription.
– Of the total number, SO per cent, are volunteers, and the honorable member knows it.
– I do not know anything of the kind. Until compulsory military service was introduced, very great difficulty was experienced in providing the number of men required for the forces which Australia was raising. Every honorable member opposite knows that.’
The forthcoming referendum has been mentioned in the Speech of the GovernorGeneral. I notice that the principal feature of it is an appeal for a “ Yes “ vote in order that the Government may have the powers which it considers will be needed in order properly to rehabilitate the members of the fighting services.
– Those men want the opposite of what was given after the last war.
– Coming from an old “ digger “, that statement is interesting. Must I remind him that the Minister for Repatriation has announced in this House that no country in the world had done more than was done by Australia after the last war, on behalf of its returned soldiers? The Minister stated that £273,000,000 had been expended on repatriation and war pensions. That is no mean effort for 7,000,000 people to make. Those who are clamouring to-day for the votes of the soldiers did not show very much care or forethought on their behalf when we wanted to have placed on the statute-book a provision which would have given preference of employment to returned men. There was uproar in this House after the Prime Minister had promised to introduce a bill giving preference to returned soldiers. Member after member in the corner opposite rose, and said, “You were not elected to give preference to soldiers, your policy is preference to unionists “. Notwithstanding that promise, preference to soldiers lias not yet found its way on to the statute-book, the only provision being that which was secured because the Opposition in the Senate insisted upon its being included in the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act.
– It never should have been included.
– There we have an open admission that it never should have been included. This question has been placed before the unions for their consideration.
– The best which many governments supported by the honorable member could give to a lot of soldiers during the depression was the dole.
– The best that I could give was not, too good. It was not because of lack of sympathy on behalf of governments that soldiers were not able to carry on. Because of temperamental unfitness, due to war service and disability, they were not able to compete with those who had been digging in at home while they had been digging in before the enemy overseas. The honorable member knows that as well as I do.
– The honorable gentleman signed the report of the Repatriation Committee, recommending that preference should be given where practicable.
– Order !
– Did not the honorable member sign that report ?
– I remember it very well.
– Order ! If the honorable member for Ballarat persists in interjecting after I have called him to order, I will deal with him.
– I take advantage of this opportunity to make some observations concerning government enterprise, because the Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell) has suggested in an interjection that work could be carried out, very much better by a government monopoly than by private enterprise.
– Does the honorable gentleman want the flax mills to be kept going at Colac and Camperdown?
– If the honorable gentleman wants them to be kept going, he will have to rely on the private enterprise of those producers who to-day are providing the flax for the mills.
– What was their record before the war?
– Never mind about their record. There is another record of which the Government cannot be very proud, in connexion with the wolfram mines at Hatches Creek, with respect to which a debate took place in this House during the last sessional period. Singularly enough, the report of the Auditor-General did not become available until after that debate had concluded. That report stated that the Government took over the mines on the 1st May, 1942, and that, up to the 30th November, 1943, it had expended on them £368,939, for a return of £29,127. In actual fact, the production decreased to about one in six, compared with what had been produced formerly under private enterprise by the men who had been engaged in the industry. Does the Minister for Information consider that private enterprise would carry on for that length of time, and lose the colossal sum of £330,000 in eighteen months, without taking steps to arrest the leakage? The statement that I have made will be found at page 81, in section. J. 28, of the report of the Auditor-General. The report also stated that the value of stock on hand could not be ascertained, owing to the absence of satisfactory records. May I ask the Minister for Information whether or not that indicates that Government control has been efficient, competent and economical ?
– It does not prove anything. The Government had to take over a lot of bankrupt “ shows “ from private enterprise.
– The Government had not to take over this “show”.. As a matter of fact, these men were very badly treated. They were dispossessed of these mines at a time when there was a strong demand for wolfram, which was required for the manufacture of munitions, and they were able to obtain a price which would have paid them handsomely for the work that they were doing. Yet the Government simply said to them, “ We are going to take this over; you get out and go to other jobs. We are putting in a staff of men to do the work, because wolfram is urgently needed in increased quantities”. Instead of obtaining increased quantities, the production was approximately one-sixth of the production by private enterprise, and at the colossal figure that I have mentioned.
– There is another side to that.
– There is, but it is a side about which we have never been able to get any information. I suggest that it is a very secret side about which the Government will not wish to tell the electors anything before the 19th August.
– It was told to the House, but the honorable member was asleep.
– I was here during that debate, and I never heard a weaker rase made out. The Minister for Information told us to-night that this was the cleanest government that had ever been in power. If he keeps On saying that from now until the 19th August he will not. succeed in convincing even himself, and he certainly will not convince any one else.
I desire to protest against the harsh way in which some country industries have been treated by the price-fixing authority. I have in mind the case of the Maryborough Knitting Mills, a factory which was set up before the war, and was managed so efficiently that it was, able to dispose of the whole of its output without spending one penny On advertising. To-day, this firm is compelled to sell its product at a low price because its management has been efficient. A similar firm in Melbourne is permitted, under price control, to charge 60 per cent, more for articles of a similar quality. The attention of the Prices Commissioner has been drawn to this anomaly but, although it is admitted that a grave injustice is being done, nothing has been done to correct it. Are we to regard it as a sign of government competence when the efficient and well-managed firm is penalized while the extravagant and badly-managed firm is allowed to charge prices that will cover all expenses and still allow a substantial profit? The Maryborough Knitting Mills have assisted the Government in carrying out some important clothing undertakings. In my presence, the manager of the firm informed the Deputy Prices Commissioner of what was taking place, but nothing has yet been done to alleviate the position. I suggest that if the Government -wishes demobilized servicemen to be absorbed into industries as quickly as possible after the war, it should assure private manufacturers of adequate supplies, and they will provide the employment.
– That is what we say.
– Yes, but with tongue in cheek. The Minister for Information said in the Town Hall in Melbourne the other day that, after the 1st July, when the Government had a majority in both Houses of this Parliament it would .be able to implement its policy of nationalization and socialization. Which is true, what the Minister said then, or what he says now ? The one statement is in direct conflict with the other. Both cannot be true, and I suspect that neither of them is.
– I said that after the 1st July wc would have a majority to carry out our policy, and the people put us here to carry out our policy.
– The Government is seeking power to control combines and monopolies. This is very interesting, having regard to the fact that no previous Government in Australia ever did so much to make big business bigger as this one has. There was never another Government that pushed so many small men out of business, and pushed them out forever. The big businesses have been able to take over the small ones without paying a penny for their goodwill, yet the Government says that it is out to deal with combines and monopolies. Perhaps the Government, having in mind its policy of socialization, thinks that it will be easier to deal with a few big businesses than a great number of small ones, and for that reason is encouraging the extinction of small businesses.
– Big business is financing the “No” cause.
– And the taxpayers arc financing the “ Yes “ cause. I wish to bring to the notice of the Treasurer the complaint of many of the settlers who were burnt out in the disastrous fires which swept the western districts of Victoria in January last. Some lost practically the whole of their flocks, but they now find that, because they collected insurance on the burned sheep, this money is counted as income, and they are required to pay tax upon it, although what they lost was actually capital. To replace those sheep to-day they would have to pay 35 per cent, or 40 per cent, more than the amount for which they were insured. If, before the end of June, they fail to purchase sheep, even though their fences are not up yet, the amount which they received in insurance will be counted as income for taxation purposes. In pre-war times, this might not be important, but to-day, when tax rates are so high, the effect will be that men who, before the fire, were practically independent, will be set back to the extent of £2,000 or perhaps £3,000, unless the Treasurer can make some concession to them.
– Is the whole value charged as income, or only a .part of it?
– I was told of a nian who had entered the natural increase of his flock at 10s. a head. He lost 5,000 sheep, which were insured for £1 a head. Their value six weeks later would have been 30s. a head, and the difference of 10s. a head was reckoned as income. This was done despite the fact that some of these men have lost flocks which’ represented years of careful breeding.
– Breeding stock cannot be included for income purposes.
– If that were so, a man running breeding stock would not be taxed at all. Mr. Chenoweth, the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation in Victoria, visited this district to discuss the matter with the settlers. The result of the discussion was that the settlers were told that they were getting off lightly, because they were required to pay only 25 per cent, of the tax for one year. What was not stressed was the fact that even 25 per cent, at the present exorbitant rates represents a great deal more than a normal year’s tax, and this penalty has been imposed upon men who have already suffered enough.
I am seeking to convince the Minister for Information that even government undertakings are not above suspicion. Departments are being created, the heads of which are harder of access than are Ministers of the Crown. Recently, I visited a department in Melbourne and asked to see the hoad, stating his name. The young lady in the office asked whether I had an appointment, and I. replied that I had not, but that I had come a long way and wanted to see the official. She told me that 1 could not. I said. “ That is unfortunate, but I mean to see him “. Then she had a brain -wave, and asked me who I was, and I told her that I was the member for Corangamite. She then went, in and interviewed the chief, and when she came out she asked me if I could come back later in the day. I said that- 1 could not, but that I was prepared to sit there until he could see me. After about three-quarters of an hour I was able to see the man, and in three minutes persuaded him to reverse a very bad decision which he had made. The point is that the Government is creating departments and putting them under the direction of people who arc armed with the powers of dictators. It is creating a machine which possesses greater power than Parliament. That is what people ha ve to fear if they vote “ Tes “.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Sheehan) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Curtin) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at 2.30 p.m.
Motion (by Mr. Curtin) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I received a telephone call the day before I left home from the secretary of the Balhannah branch of the Red Cross Society acquainting me with the [fi] action taken by the price-fixing authorities in regard to a proposed sale of goods by the branch. A. junk sale had been arranged for the purpose of raising funds for the Red Cross, the idea being that everybody was to give a piece of junk and buy a piece. No sooner did the Deputy Prices Commissioner in Adelaide hear of this than he served a notice on the branch requiring it to supply seven days before the date of the sale - which is next Saturday - a complete list, of everything which it is proposed to sell, so that he may fix the maximum prices. It is a great pity that Gilbert and Sullivan died so soon. I was told of a few of the things that were given for sale. Some one gave a goose, some one else gave a little pig, some one else a wireless battery, and some one else a pair of rubber boots. To my mind it is getting down to a pretty low level when functions of this sort cannot take place without the intervention of the Prices : Commissioner. It is time that the Government told that gentleman to attend to things that really matter. Where matters affecting the Red Cross arise, let us remember that, on the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) himself, 30,000 Australian men and some Australian women are languishing in prison camps, we know not where or under what conditions. Shylock’s ghost would be ashamed of the conduct of the Deputy Prices Commissioner in South Australia in demanding to fix pri’ces for the sale of goods on behalf of the Red Cross. That is all 1 have to say on this subject to-night. L hope to hear something from the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) about it in the near future. I hope also that something in the nature of common sense, moderation and decency will be imported into the Government’s administration.
– I wish to raise two matters. The first has to do with the decision of the High Court reached on the 3rd July last, and it is of far-reaching importance to Tasmanian producers. It was a decision that the owners of Tasmanian blue peas compuls’orily acquired by the Commonwealth under National Security Regulations, were entitled to the full market value of those peas at the time of acquisition. This was a case in which William Edley Peterson, of Westbury, Tasmania, farmer, and Stenhouse and Company, of Devonport, Tasmania, produce merchants, claimed compensation from the Commonwealth Government. The Commonwealth had refused to pay more than 15s. a bushel for the peas; but in this case the claimants held out and refused that offer on the grounds that the true market value at the time of acquisition was from £1 ls. to £1 2s. 6d. a bushel. There were many growers not in a financial position to hold out in the same way, and it is in their behalf that I speak to-night, lt is quite possible that they have no legal claim against the Commonwealth, but they have a moral claim, and in support of that claim, I should like to emphasize some of the remarks of His Honour Mr. Justice Starke in making his decision. His Honour said that compensation meant the value or equivalent of the property acquired or taken so that the owner would be in as good a position as he would have occupied if his property had not been taken. Usually the market value of a commodity was the standard or measure whereby the value of the pecuniary equivalent of the commodity could be ascertained, but there might be cases in which the market quotation would afford no true criterion of the value, for instance, if the market, had been “ rigged “ or “ cornered There might also be cases in which there was no market and therefore no value. In such eases, the court would resort to other methods of determining values. In His Honour’s opinion the cases presented no difficulty, for the market value of field or blue peas, A grade, on or about the 29th January, 1942, the date of acquisition, was about £1 2s. 6d. f.o.b. at the main ports of Tasmania. Peterson claimed £1 2s. a bushel f.o.r. Launceston, giving credit, however, for the cost of transport to Launceston from his farm, or, in all, £2,659 ls. 9d. This sum works out ‘at about £1 2s. 6d. f.o.b. Tasmania. Stenhouse and Company claimed £1 2s. 6d. a bushel, or £1,239. Now, the Commonwealth contended that 15s. a bushel was a fair and just price on the pecuniary value of the peas acquired by it. The market value’ on the 28th January, 1942, was the result, it was said by the Commonwealth, of speculative anticipation and activity. That value was not, in the opinion of His Honor, the result of speculative activity, but of war conditions and a largely increased demand thereby occasioned. But war inevitably affected the value of commodities, and indeed was usually an element entering into the value of any commodity in demand, and, even if the market value were the result of speculation, still the market was free, and the plaintiffs were entitled to sell in that market and obtain the prices ruling. I have said already that it is quite probable that those people whose . property was acquired on that occasion and who were not in a financial position to withhold, have no legal claim against the Government; but I urge upon the Government that in this case there is a. moral claim, because the difference between the ruling price and the price at which acquisition was made represents 25 per cent, of confiscated income.
The other matter to which I desire to refer concerns myself, and it is in connexion with a story which I believe is still current in New Guinea to the effect that I am alleged to have made the statement that no soldier in New Guinea should be allowed home on leave lest he should bring malaria into Australia. That story is a diabolical lie. I have never on any occasion made any statement whatever in connexion with leave of soldiers, or of the danger of malaria in Australia. The statement which I am alleged to have made I regard as medically ridiculous and inhumanly cruel. I regret that that story continues to be circulated without its origin being traceable. As soon as I heard it and on every subsequent, occasion I communicated with the person who made the statement and asked him to find the paper in which it was published, and on no occasion did I get a satisfactory response. I was told that Guinea Gold had published the story, but I was assured by the editor that that was not so. Others have said that it might have been published in this or that paper, but it has never been traced. I myself had a son in New Guinea for eighteen months, and a son-in-law for twelve months. The statement from that point alone is perfectly ridiculous; but in any case I hope that any soldier or civilian who knows any paper which published such a statement will communicate with me immediately so that I may be ;ible to take appropriate action.
.- I support the remarks made by the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) about blue peas. It will be remembered that recently the High Court declared that where the Government compulsorily acquired a commodity compensation should be paid on a fair and just basis, calculated on the ruling market price. The Government urged the farmers to grow blue peas, and the farmers patriotically heeded the appeal and increased (heir acreage by 27 per cent, in 1943, and in the last season it has been further increased. The Government acquired the whole blue pea crop of 1942, and, although the ruling rate was 22s. 6d. a bushel, paid only 15s. Worse than that, the Prices Commissioner recommended the payment of 10s. a bushel for firstgrade blue peas, and only as the result of a deputation from Tasmanian members did he recommend that the price be altered to 15s. a bushel. As the honorable member for Darwin has said, many growers were not in a sufficiently strong financial position to refuse the price of Ids. .a bushel, which they accepted under protest, nor were they .strong enough financially to take the matter to court. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) will remember how continually Tasmanian members made representations to him, and to the House generally, with a view to justice being done to these growers, but our requests fell on deaf ears. Yet because Mr. W. E. Peterson, of Westbury, and Stenhouse and Company, of Devonport, went to the High Court and obtained an award of 22s. 6d. a bushel, they were able to get 7s. 6d. a bushel more than was paid to the other growers whose peas were compulsorily acquired.
The honorable member for Darwin has referred to the legal position. There is no doubt as to the legal position of Mr. Peterson and of Stenhouse and Company, but what about the unfortunate growers who were not financially strong enough to take the matter to court? As the honorable member has pointed out, they have at least a strong, moral claim, and I urge the Government to do justice to them and to see that they receive the same consideration as those who were able to bake the matter to court. I cannot conceive that the Government would be so unjust as to pay 22s. 6d. a bushel to those who could go to court and only 15s. a bushel to those who were unable to do so.
– in reply - The Government is most anxious to do what is just. The facts of the matter, apart from the law, are that the Prices Commissioner fixed a price for these peas, and that that price will stand as between any sections of the trading community who bought and sold them.; but, when the Government acquires anything, the person whose property has been acquired is empowered under the Constitution to set his own valuation upon it, if he thinks proper, and then appeal to a court.
– They set their value upon it, but did not have sufficient financial strength to go to court.
– I have no quarrel with what has been said by either the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) or the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Guy). What I have to decide is whether the judge who, sitting alone, fixed the price at 22s. 6d. a bushel on the evidence, was in every way the final authority, having regard to the fact that the Prices Commissioner fixed a substantially lower price. I am having that matter considered. There are two points to bear in mind. The. Prices Commissioner may have made as bad valuation. If that be the case, those whose peas have been acquired by the” Government at that price have been unjustly dealt with, and something should be done in connexion with their moral claim. On the other hand, I say with great respect, the judge sitting alone may have made a bad decision. The department is considering whether an appeal should be taken against the decision of the judge, because, as the matter presents itself to me, the Prices Commissioner does, I think, bring an absolutely impartial mind to the examination of the facts. On the evidence available to him he fixes -what he thinks is a fair and reasonable price. The judge also held an inquiry, and he has advanced certain reasons for his finding. This is not merely a question of law. I am as anxious to do justice to everybody concerned as are the honorable members who have raised this matter. The Government is responsible for the wise use of the revenues of the Commonwealth. It ought not to pay an excessive price for anything, and, having before us two prices that have been impartially assessed, one by the Prices ‘Commissioner and the other by the judge, I am endeavouring to ascertain whether the matter should remain where it is. Until. I get further advice I am not able to announce any decision.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired - for Commonwealth purposes - Drouin, Victoria.
For Postal purposes - Rockhampton, Queensland.
National Security Act -
National Security (Building Operations) Regulations - Order - Restrictions on building operations - Exception.
National Security (Economic Organization ) Regulations - Order - Exemption.
National Security (General) Regulations - Orders -
Asbestos cement sheets (No. 2).
Control of -
Essentia) materials (No. 7).
Leather goods (No. 2).
Refrigerators and refrigeration equipment.
Sale of meat (No. 4).
Employment of outdoor selling agents (South Australia) (No. 2).
Manufacture of domestic furniture (No. 3).
Manufacture of omnibus bodies.
Milk industry (Queensland) (No. 2).
South Australia milk vendors (No. 3).
Taking possession of land, &c. (66).
Use of land (4).
National Security (Universities Commission ) Regulations - Order - Declaration of approved institution.
Northern Territory - Report on Administration for year 1942-43.
House adjourned at 10.31 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained, and a reply will be furnished to the honorable member as early as possible.
y asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In view of the recent High Court decision in what is known as the Peterson case, where the court declared that, where a commodity was compulsorily acquired by the Government, compensation should be paid on a fair and just basis calculated on the ruling market rate, will the Government make provision to pay to those blue-pea-growers, whose peas the Commonwealth compulsorily acquired in the 1942 season, the difference between the 15s. a bushel paid by the Commonwealth and the£1 2s. 6d. a bushel awarded by the High Court?
– The implications of the judgment on blue peas are now being considered, and an announcement in regard to the action proposed will be made in due course.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 July 1944, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1944/19440718_reps_17_179/>.