House of Representatives
7 September 1944

17th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. 7. S. Rosevear) took the chair .at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

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Prime Minister and Minister for Defence · Fremantle · ALP

– I lay on the table the following paper : -

Monetary and Financial Conference of the United Nations, held at Bretton Woods U.S.A., July, 1944 - Documents.

These documents include the draft agreements for. a monetary fund and a reconstruction bank which were formulated at the conference. At an appropriate stage, it is intended to ask the Parliament to express its opinion formally regarding the principles of the agreements. An adequate number of copies is available to meet the needs of honorable members.

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– I ask the Minister representing- the Minister for Trade and Customs whether or not Mr. Donovan, private secretary to that Minuter, paid a visit to the home of Mr. Peter Dargin, at Portland, on the 5th August last? If so, did he threaten Mr. Dargin that, unless Miss Wylde was reinstated in his shop, a new’ butchery would be established at Portland? Can the Minister say whether or not Mr. Donovan threatened Mr. Dargin under the instructions and with the authority of Senator Keane f If so, can the Minister for Trade and Customs substantiate his statement of the 23rd August, that the granting of permission to open another butcher’s shop at Portland had no connexion with the industrial disputes associated with this matter ? ‘

Minister for Supply and Shipping · WEST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– I have no knowledge of such a happening, but shall inquire of the Minister and advise the honorable member later.


– Can the Prime Minister say when I may expect answers to several simple questions referring to certain events at Portland which I placed on the noticepaper early last week, particularly the question relating to the tabling of departmental papers?


– Probably tomorrow.

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Press Report of Speech by Mr. G. M ar tens, M.P.


– I rise to make a personal explanation. The Sydney Daily Telegraph published today under big headlines a mis-report of a speech that I made in this House last night. It reads -

A Government member suggested in the House of Representatives to-night that malcontents on the coal-fields should be sent to the firing lines.

He is Mr. Martens (Labour, Queensland), who was speaking to the censure motion on the Government for its failure to solve the coal shortage.

I give that statement an emphatic denial. Whatever member of the press gallery sent it to Sydney for publication is a liar and is not worthy of a place in the press gallery. I decline to accept the view that such mis-reporting is the fault of somebody in the newspaper office. It is the fault of the reporter who represents the newspaper in the press gallery. This is what I said -

We know that much of the present trouble is attributable to illconsidered action on the part of young men in the industry, who are prone to be impatient with the older men who have been through the mill. As a corrective I should not put these young irresponsibles into khaki,but for a period I should give them a taste of the conditions under which the soldiers live, and it would not he very long before they realized that coal-mining was not such a bad job after all.

That statement of mine does not contain any mention of men being sent into the firing line. I have some regard for men who are in the firing line, and would not compel men to go to any battle area. But I would place these young coalminers under the conditions in which soldiers are living in New Guinea, and give to them a taste of those conditions for three months. It is the mention of the firing line to which I object, and the person responsible for it is a liar. I throw the statement back in his teeth, with allthe force of which I am capable.

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– In the absenceof the Minister for Labour and National Service, will the Prime Minister inform the House on whose authority Mr. King, a national service officer at the Trades Hall, Sydney, is refusing returned soldiers the right of employment in the bricklaying, plastering, and painting trades, or as builders’ labourers, unless they are members of trade unions? Are returned soldiers to understand that the policy of the Government is one of preference to unionists in contradistinction to preference to returned soldiers?


– I shall ascertain whether or not the allegation of a refusal to give to returned soldiers opportunities to obtain employment is based on fact. In any event, the policy of the Government is in accordance with the law of the land. This is, that preference shall be given to returned soldiers. That law. was passed some years ago. It was first embodied in the Commonwealth Public Service Act, and more recently was made a part of the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act. I state positively that the policy of the Government is preference to returned soldiers. I shall have clearedup the matter which the honorable gentleman has raised.

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– Can the Minister for War Organization of Industry give the assurance that the interests of the motorbodybuilding industry in South Australia will be safeguarded in any proposals for the manufacture of motor cars in Australia?

Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research · CORIO, VICTORIA · ALP

– The whole future of the motor car industry in Australia is receiving the close attention of the Government at the present time. I assure the honorable member that, in whatever decision may he made, the Government will take adequate steps to safeguard the interests of the numerous workers who are employed in the motorbody building industry in South Australia.


-Can the Minister for War Organization of Industry say whether it is a fact, as reported in the

Melbourne press, that a Cabinet subcommittee is inquiring into the proposal for the manufacture of motor cars in Australia, and that the committee has invited expert opinion?” Has a general invitation been issued to those who may desire to offer evidence? Are inquiries to be conducted in public, and if so, by what body?


– It is true that a subcommittee of ‘Cabinet has been appointed to go into the whole matter of the manufacture of motor cars in Australia. I am. a member of the committee and the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator. Keane) is chairman. It is not correct to say that experts have been invited to give evidence. The committee itself has held a meeting, and has prepared certain recommendations which will be considered by the full Cabinet, probably at its next meeting. Beyond that I am not in a position to supply the honorable member with any information.

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Minister for Aircraft Production · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether or not the Government is taking any steps to deal with the very serious position of fodder supplies in the drought-stricken districts of southern Australia?

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

– The fodder position throughout Australia is most acute, ‘owing to adverse seasonal conditions and an abnormal demand upon the fodder that had been conserved. As late as Monday last, a conference of the different departments concerned was held in Melbourne, with the object of advising the Government as to the best means of securing and conserving for equitable distribution whatever fodder may be available. I have not yet received a report from the conference. When I receive it, I shall advise the honorable member of the steps that are to be taken.

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– In view of the release from enemy occupation of France, Belgium, and probably other woolconsuming countries in Europe, will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture see that immediate action shall be taken to procure a market for the existing extensive stocks of Australian wool?


– All the stocks of Australian wool in this country and elsewhere are owned by the Government of the United Kingdom, which is under contract to purchase Australian wool for at least a year after the cessation of hostilities. In order to achieve the purpose mentioned, that Government would have to he approached. I am sure that it will be alive to its responsibilities in that connexion. The Australian Government will gladly give every assistance.

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– The Melbourne press has published the statement that twelve 21-passenger air-liners are being made available by the ‘Commonwealth Government to air-line operators in Australia, but has not mentioned .the routes on which they are to fly. Will the Minister for Air, and his colleague, the Minister for Transport, see that Canberra shall not be forgotten, but will be provided with an air service that will replace the ridiculous train service which now operates between Goulburn and Canberra ?


– Complaints regarding the train service have been made in this House for many years. I have no doubt that the New South Wales Railways Commissioner in particular and the Victorian Railways Commissioners have the matter well in hand. The allocation of the aircraft referred to by the honorable member is governed by the use which the Commonwealth authorities have made of the planes of the civil aircraft companies, for military and other purposes, depriving the companies of the use of their aircraft and reducing the airworthiness of the machines. We have to replace aeroplanes which have been partly worn out in the defence services of the country. As to the specific route which the honorable member has mentioned, I can only say that, notwithstanding what I have heard during the last four months about the undesirability of Canberra having .too much say in anything, I consider that it should be adequately served by air.

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– Will the Minister for Supply and Shipping inform the House whether the Government has yet made sales, or arrangements for sales, of property or materials through the War Disposals Commission? Has the Government made any special arrangement for State governments, or local government authorities, to select property or materials which they need, before making them available for public auction, and have all necessary safeguards been taken on behalf of the Commission to prevent, as far as possible, a recurrence of what has happened in the past as the result of the sale of such national assets . as the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers?


– The War Disposals Commission has not actually begun operations yet. It will meet for the first time next Thursday. Miscellaneous materials, a list of which has been made available, have been disposed of by ihe Supply Department; they include barbed wire and steel pickets. The Prime Minister gave an undertaking at the recent conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers that State governments and semigovernmental instrumentalities would be given prior notice of surplus war materials being made available. Thus, in effect, they would have a prior opportunity to purchase them. Sales by the Commission are to be subject to the permission of the Minister, and sufficient confidence will have to be placed in the Minister that he will not permit a repetition of circumstances such as those to which the honorable member has referred.

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-UY. - Has the Government yet reached a decision in connexion with the claim made by the blue pea growers of Tasmania, whose crops were compulsorily acquired in 1942, for the difference between the 15s. a bushel paid to them and the 22s. 6d. a bushel which was declared by the High Court to be a fair and reasonable price? If no such decision has yet been reached, when may the House expect a definite determination of the matter?


– A decision as to whether any additional payment will be made will be announced to the House _ shortly.

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– Is the Minister for Supply and Shipping aware of certain rumours in Queensland that the shipping services to that State will be curtailed in the next few months? Does he know that, as a result of those rumours, serious concern has arisen amongst the people of Queensland, particularly the business community? Is there any foundation for the reports?’


– Those rumours have reached the ears of the Director of Shipping and of my department, but I can assure the honorable member that there is no foundation whatever for them. In fact, there is ample tonnage to meet all of the shipping requirements of Queensland. We are hopeful that, even if further shipping facilities were applied for, they could be made available.

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– Will the Treasurer state in whose fertile brain was conceived the scheme under which school children are accorded rank from “private” to “ colonel “ in accordance with the amount of money subscribed by them for war savings stamps and certificates? Has the Treasurer’s attention been drawn to a statement by Mr. Edwards, DirectorGeneral of Education in Queensland, published in the Brisbane Telegraph, that some parents bad complained that the “ privates “ were forced to salute the “ colonels “, and that, in his opinion, the whole thing was immoral? As the scheme is based on ability to pay, and consequently the children of wealthy parents have a decidedly unfair advantage over the children of poor parents, will the Treasurer order the immediate abolition of this system, which is a farcical method of raising war finance?


– I have not read the statement to which the honorable member has referred. It probably exaggerates the position, as most statements of that kind do, but I shall have the matter investigated, and a statement in reply provided.

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– “Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture have a detailed statement prepared for the information of honorable members giving a nation-wide survey of the drought position -as it affects food production? Will he also indicate whether any State has asked for Commonwealth assistance for drought-distressed farmers? Will the Minister arrange for the statement to be presented to the House during the sittings next week?


– I shall take up that matter with my department, and have a survey made along the lines suggested. As soon as the information is completed it will be made available to honorable members.

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– In view of the fact that the peak of the slaughtering season will commence shortly, and having regard to the drought conditions obtaining in Victoria to-day, can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture give an assurance that all necessary steps have been taken so that slaughtering shall be carried out this year without the chaos which, last year, resulted in great waste of meat and considerable loss to producers ?


– The only assurance that I can give, as far as my department is concerned, is that every preparation has been made, and that we hope that operations throughout the season will be carried on .satisfactorily.

SOUTH wm st pacific.


– Has the Minister for Information mad an article published in the Canberra Times to-day, quoting comments by an American feature writer, Ralph T. ‘Jones, on the Australian publication South West Pacfic, which is described in most eulogistic terms by Mr. Jones as being “ about the best of the official publications put out by the various Governments at war “. He points out that it is issued under the authority of the Minister for Information, and that he is so absorbed in it that he spends half an hour each day in reading it. There is a great demand for this publi cation in the United States of America, but the list of recipients is strictly limited. Will the Minister say whether it is possible to extend the circulation of this journal so that due publicity may be given to Australia’s war effort, and the potentialities of this country for postwar development may be brought under notice overseas? If necessary, will the Minister confer with the Treasurer regarding the provision of adequate funds for this purpose?

Minister for Information · MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP

– I was pleased to hear the favorable comments regarding that excellent publication entitled South West Pacific. Steps are being taken to increase its circulation as money is made available by the Treasurer. I have no doubt that he will listen sympathetically to the representations of the honorable member for Reid, as well as to anything which I may say to him on the subject. Starting from the next issue, every member of this House will receive a copy of the publication, and I shall be pleased to hear from other honorable .members comments as enthusiastic as those which we have just heard from the honorable member for Reid.

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Death of ORDINARY Seaman G. J. F. Elliott.


– Like other honorable members of this House, I have received a copy of a letter written to the Prime Minister by Captain F. L. Elliott, of 65 Perth-road, Albany, in which he severely castigates the naval .authorities for their treatment of his son, Ordinary Seaman Geoffrey John Francis Elliott, who died some time ago. Can the Minister for the Navy give any information regarding the matter?

Minister for Munitions · HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

by leave - I have also received a copy of the letter sent by Captain Elliott to honorable members. At the time of the death of his son two years ago, I had the circumstances fully investigated, and I found that the statements contained in the letter are not borne out by facts. Captain Elliott states that the medical examination made at Fremantle’ was a lie and a cruel fake. The facts are that his son was medically examined by a wellknown Perth specialist, Dr. Craig, was X-rayed and found fit in every respect. He would not have been allowed to leave Perth unless he had been fit to travel. The winter of 1942 was a severe one at Flinders Naval Depot, and there was a considerable number of cases of sickness, mostly common colds, and some cases of bronchopneumonia and bronchitis. There were also cases of measles. On the 7th August, 1942, Captain Elliott’s son was admitted to hospital with symptoms of severe cold, and was placed under the care of Surgeon Lieutenant Bottomley, who in private life is a specialist physician in Melbourne, and possesses the highest medical degrees and qualifications. Captain Elliott’s son, however, developed signs of broncho-pneumonia and haemorrhagic measles, from which he died on the 19th August, 1942. During his illness, he received every possible care and attention, and the statement that he was made a subject for experiment is entirely incorrect. Possibly, the fact that he was given 10 c.c. of convalescent measles blood may have given rise to this statement. This treatment is in no sense experimental, nor is the use of M and B 693, which is also referred to by Captain Elliott. The climate and situation of Flinders Naval Depot are in no way unhealthy. The winter months are cold and sometimes wet, but, on the whole, the climate of this part of Australia is healthier than tropical or sub-tropical parts of the continent. I sympathize very deeply with Captain Elliott in the loss of his son, but I regret the allegations which have been unjustly made against the medical services of the Royal Australian Navy. I have here the file in connexion with the case, and it will later be in my office for perusal by any honorable member who would like to investigate the matter further.

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Releases - Leave for Troops in New Guinea.


– Recently, the Minister for the Army said that it was proposed to release 30,000 men from the Army to assist in the production of food. Having regard to the fact that, in recent years, many applications for the release of men have been turned down, including some by men for the release of sons to help them on their farms, will the Minister for the Army have all such cases re-examined? Does he wish honorable members again to submit particulars of such cases ?

Minister for the Army · CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– All applications that were unsuccessful because of recommendations by the DirectorGeneral of Man Power, based upon the reports of Local War Agricultural Committees, will automatically be reconsidered as a result of the decision to discharge 30,000 men by the end of June next year. The conditions governing the special releases of the 30,000 soldiers under the new plan are similar to those which operated when 20,000 special releases were made recently. They are -

All applications mustbe recommended by the Man Power Directorate.

Army requirements will not permit of the release of the following personnel : -

Those medically classed “A” who are serving in units outside Australia or certain other units now in Australia which are required for projected operations. These units cannot be stated for security reasons.

Those medically classified “A” who are undergoing recruit training or awaiting onward movement as reinforcements for these units.

Tradesmen and specialists, except in cases where they are surplus to requirements.

Personnel whose release will seriously affect the efficiency of their unite.

These conditions will not apply to men over 40 years of age, or to those over 35 years of age who have completed three years’ full-time Army service, except when they are classified as key men in their units.


– Can the Minister say why the authorities refused to release men serving on lines of communication?


– If the honorable member can supply me with particulars of cases of the kind he has in mind, I shall have them investigated. In addition to the . 30,000 men whom it is proposed to release from the Army, 15,000 are to be released from the Air Force, and all these are over and above the ordinary wastage from the two forces.


– Can the Minister for the Army explain for the information of the relatives of service personnel the basis on which home leave is granted to army personnel serving in New Guinea?


– This is a matter on which I have frequent consultations with the Commander-in-Chief. The basis of leave is as follows: -

  1. Troops stationed in New Guinea are granted home leave on the same basis as troops on the mainland, i.e., at the rate of 24 days per annum.
  2. If a unit is relieved and returned to the mainland, the members are granted all accumulated leave as soon as possible after return.
  3. When the unit as a whole is not relieved and returned to the mainland, the members are granted 24 days’ home leave at the expiration of which they return to the unit in New Guinea. This is administered on a roster system.
  4. The general aim has been to grant the leave as soon as possible after twelve months’ service in New Guinea, but in practice it has not been possible to implement this in full, owing to the necessity to maintain the strength of units and formations in New Guinea and owing also to transport difficulties.
  5. Consideration is at present being given to plans for the relief of whole units and individuals after completion of a specified period of service in New Guinea. Owing to the continual changes up to the present, and considerable changes contemplated in the immediate future, in the constitution of the forces in New Guinea, however, it is not possible to put any such plans into immediate effect. Whether it will be possible to carry such plans into effect in the future will depend largely on the availability of the necessary personnel and transport facilities.
  6. Pending other arrangements the policy of granting leave to members of units stationed in New Guinea is being continued up to the limits imposed by transport and the necessity to maintain strengths of units.
  7. Figures were supplied to me some weeks ago of the numbers in New Guinea who were overdue for .leave. There have been numerous troop movements since those figures were compiled, and a considerable amount of leave has been granted.

– As men who are demobilized from the fighting services experience the greatest difficulty in getting homes, will the Minister for the Army see that, when releases from the services are made, men in the building industry are given consideration in order that the War Service Homes Commission may get busy with a building programme ?


– The representations of the honorable member will be taken into consideration, but I remind him that there are 79,000 unsatisfied demands on the man-power authorities for labour of various kinds, and that at least 39,000 of them are urgent. It is impossible to satisfy all demands, but the DirectorGeneral of Man Power is doing a splendid joh in placing an order of priority on the claims that are made upon the restricted number of men available.

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Charges by Mk. A. J. Hannan.


– Will the AttorneyGeneral state what was the cost to the Commonwealth Government of the inquiry recently held in Adelaide into charges in connexion with the censorship brought by the Crown Solicitor for South Australia, Mr. A. J. Hannan, K.C. - charges which were declared by the Commissioner to be groundless, a fact which proves conclusively that the minds of certain gentlemen in South Australia were more suspicious than their telephone ears were musical?

Attorney-General · BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– I shall ascertain the cost and let the honorable member know.

PRICES CONTROL. Mr. BERNARD CORSER. - I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether he will immediately take steps to repeal . an order by the Deputy Prices Commissioner in Queensland affecting certain hotels? I refer to Prices Regulation Order No. 1326, which, in respect of certain hotels, provides that board and lodging shall be supplied - (1) At the rate of 17s. 6d. per week, or 2s. 6d. per day, in respect of any kind of lodging; (2) At the rate of 17s. 6d. per week, or 2s. 6d. per day. plus 9d. for each meal, in respect of any kind of lodging and any meals; and (3) At the rate of 35s. per week, or 5s. per day, in respect of any kind of full board and lodging. As the Licensing Commission of Queensland requires hotelkeepers to provide board and lodging, will the Minister look into this ridiculous order with a view to. repealing it and substituting something sensible and reasonable?


– Does the honorable gentleman suggest that there is conflict between the State licensing law and the price-fixing regulations?

Mr Bernard Corser:

– No. I am complaining chiefly about fixing the price of a meal at 9d.


– Obviously, this is a matter affecting price-fixing. I shall refer it to the Minister for Trade and Customs.

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Messages from the Administrator reported transmitting Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, and Estimates of Expenditure for Additions, New Works, Buildings, &c, for the year ending the 30th June, 1945, and recommending appropriations accordingly.

Ordered to be printed and referred to Committee of Supply forthwith.

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BUDGET 1944-45

In Committee of Supply:

Treasurer and Minister for Post-war Reconstruction · Macquarie · ALP

.- I move-

That the first item in the Estimates under Division No. 1 - The Senate - namely, “ Salaries and Allowances, £8,480”, be agreed to.

Review of Financial Year 1943-44

Our effort in this war is limited by the number of men and women who can either fight or work. In the past year our total mobilization of man-power has remained at peak level. We have had the normal annual increase in men of working age - about 20,000 - but, on the other hand, some of those men who postponed their retirement in response to the war have now found it necessary to give up work. Additional women have, however, been mobilized so that the net result has been an increase of about 20,000 in the total numbers in the services or in employment.

There has been, however, some change in distribution of man-power. The increased demand of the United States forces for supplies of all kinds, and particularly of food, added to the requirements of the United Kingdom, necessitated some diversion of man-power from the armed forces and munitions to the production of food and other essential supplies. As a result, releases from the armed forces have exceeded enlistments by about 25,000 and there has been a release of about 18,000 from government munitions works. In spite of these diversions, production 6f some essential supplies has not been sufficient to meet all demands. The Government’s plans for the equitable distribution of goods in short supply were therefore further implemented by adding meat to tie list of rationed goods and by reducing the butter ration from 8 oz. to 6 oz. a week. Other shortages have occurred but, on the whole, have not been serious enough to justify rationing in view of the expense and difficulties involved.

The shortage of goods for civil consumption, coupled with the increase of purchasing power held by the public, has involved a very heavy strain on the price control organization. The fundamental policy of price stabilization has been successfully carried out and the Commonwealth Statistician’s “ C “ series index of retail prices is now at about the level of April, 1943, at which date the plan came into operation. Intensified effort has, however, been required to keep a check on black market activity. There is undoubtedly some decline in the willingness of consumers to accept the deprivations imposed by the war, and of producers to forgo the rises of prices which would in peace-time naturally follow shortage of supplies. These tendencies no doubt derive from an assumption that because of the improved war position relaxation of effort is justifiable.

War expenditure in 1943-44 was approximately £544,000,000, a decrease of £17,000,000 compared with the previous year. From . these figures the inference has been made that the war strain has already decreased and that the direct war effort on the one hand and controls of private expenditure on the other can both be relaxed. This is a wholly mistaken inference and likely to have most unfortunate effects on public morale and the prosecution of the war. I must therefore take some pains to state the true position.

Our war effort depends primarily on two things. First, the degree to which we are mobilizing all our resources of man-power for the fighting services and production purposes, and, secondly, the proportion of the consequent production we are devoting to war purposes.

On the mobilizing of man-power, I will say only three things. Of our total population between the ages of fifteen and 60 years - which includes married women with families, invalids and many school children - 71 per cent, are either fighting or working. Our numbers engaged in the fighting forces and in production are 170,000 greater than the total numbers normally available for work in pre-war years. The proportion of our population engaged in the fighting forces compares very favorably with those of our Allies.

Having raised total production to the maximum, the question is : What proportion is devoted to war purposes? That is the chief element in war strain - the diversion to war of resources which would be normally used for the satisfaction of human needs. That part of our war effort is measured by the amount of Australian resources used for war purposes. That concerns me directly as Treasurer and it is fitting that I should put the facts as clearly as possible before honorable members.

The budget war expenditure does not exactly measure the amount of Australian resources used for war purposes. First, it includes expenditure on pensions, interest and subsidies which are transfer payments and not direct payments for goods and services. Secondly, it includes government expenditure abroad, which makes no immediate demand on Australian production. Conversely, budget expenditure does not include expenditure by other governments in Australia and that expenditure makes a direct demand on goods and services in Australia. This last item is important. It includes all personal expenditure made by Allied troops out of their pay as well as expendi ture on munitions supplied to the United Kingdom and Dominion Governments for other theatres of war.

When adjustments for these factors have been made we find that the amount of Australian resources used for war purposes was £558,000,000 last year, as compared with £530,000,000 in the previous year - an increase of £28,000,000 and not a decrease of £17,000,000 as shown by the budget figures. As prices have been practically stable since early in 1943, there has been a real increase of the drain on our physical resources and man-power. It is not possible to give a valid estimate for the current year because it depends in large part on the expenditure of other governments in Australia.

This increased absorption of goods and services for war purposes - whether by this Government or by other governments - means increased incomes and increased spending power to the people while, in many categories, the goods and services available for civilian use are becoming less. In other words, the danger of price inflation has not lessened but has increased, and consequently the necessity for measures for combating inflation - price control of all kinds, rationing and the control of supplies - has also increased. These measures have been operated up till now with a very fair measure of success. J. notice, however, a very dangerous tendency to assume that with the increasingly favorable turn of the war, these controls are less necessary and can be lightened. There could not be a more dangerous state of mind or one more fatal to the stability of our economy. Unless we can keep control of the value of our money, it will be impossible to make post-war plans of any validity for maintaining a high level of employment, and raising living standards. We must keep it firmly in our minds that the fight against inflation must continue, that the fight is becoming more severe, and that the crisis is likely to come in the immediate post-war period after victory in the field is complete. That is why the Government considered it was essential for the Commonwealth to have in that period full powers to control prices and distribution. They are the necessary arms in fighting inflation - just as necessary as guns and tanks in fighting the enemy in the field.

Mutual Aid

The principle of mutual aid, whereby the United Nations concerned do not allow international . financial considerations to impede their maximum contributions to the common war effort, continued to be a potent force in the conduct of the war during the past year.

Once again, I gratefully acknowledge the substantial aid which Australia continues to receive from the United States under lend-lease legislation. This aid covered a very wide range of goods and services during the year. Estimates compiled by the United States Government indicate that up to the 31st December, 1943, the total value of lend-lease aid to Australia was approximately 741,000,000 dollars.

During the past year, Australia also benefited from Canadian mutual aid. Although the mutual aid agreement with Canada was not signed until the 9th March, 1944, aid was received from Canada prior to that date. A report by the Canadian Mutual Aid Board covering the period to the 31st March, 1944, places the total value of aid given to Australia by Canada under the mutual aid plan to that date at 28,000,000 dollars. Of this amount, approximately half was devoted to the payment of Australia’s expenses under the Empire air training scheme, whilst the remainder related to goods and services essential to Australia’s war effort. Exports from Australia to Canada remain on a commercial basis, the whole/ of the dollar proceeds of those exports being required for the purchase of other essential supplies from Canada.

Apart from lend-lease or mutual aid a arrangements, direct government procurement of imports has been on a relatively small scale. “When circumstances permit, import transactions will be allowed to revert to normal peace-time trading channels. At the present time, however, many of the commodities we need are in critically short supply, and in some instances allocations of these commodities for export to Australia can be obtained only if the transactions are handled through government channels.

Reciprocal aid provided by Australia to the United States forces in Australia and in the South- West Pacific Area increased very considerably during 1943-44. Expenditure totalled £110,000,000, as compared with £59,000,000 in the previous year. Some indication of the extent of Australia’s reciprocal aid to the United States is given by the fact that last year this expenditure represented approximately 20 per cent, of our war expenditure.

It would be a formidable task for me to attempt to supply the full details of reciprocal aid furnished to the United States forces in all its many ramifications of supplies given and services rendered. The supply field covers thousands of items ranging from food and items of personal equipment, such as clothing, to items of heavy capital equipment, such as roadmaking machinery and ships. In many cases, this has involved the establishment of new productive capacity or the extension of existing capacity to meet urgent operational needs. Services provided include repair and other assistance to United States shipping, together with transportation by land, sea and air of American personnel and goods. The works provided under reciprocal lendlease include camps, hospitals, port facilities, aerodromes and fuel installations.

I would emphasize, however, that in addition to the fact that many forms of mutual aid cannot be expressed in monetary terms, it is contrary to the conception of mutual aid as a common pooling of resources by nations that any monetary comparisons of aid received and given should be made. The figures I have cited are intended merely to give some indication of the extent to which the principle of mutual aid is being applied.

The war has reached a point where there are rapid and important changes in the distribution of troops with the consequent development of new supply lines and new demands against production. It is impossible to anticipate accurately the effect of these changes on the reciprocal aid which Australia will provide in the current year. However, provision has been made in the budget for the expenditure of the same amount as last year- namely, £110,000,000.

External Position

During the financial year just concluded our external financial position was substantially improved.

As in previous years our export income was safeguarded by the arrangements made with the United Kingdom Government for the purchase of a considerable proportion of our primary production. These arrangements include bulk purchases of foodstuffs required, by the United Kingdom to maintain the basic ration available to civilians, and during the year every effort was made, consistent with the demands of the services on Australian production, to maintain the volume of foodstuffs shipped.

Expenditure by the United Kingdom and other governments for war supplies and services further assisted our London funds position.

On the other hand restrictions on the importation of non-essential goods remained severe, and payments for civilian imports therefore continued to be considerably lower than at the outbreak of war.

In the aggregate our overseas earnings last year considerably exceeded our overseas payments, and after meeting our overseas war expenditure of £56,000,000 it was also possible, as envisaged in my budget speech last year, to repay a temporary loan of £12,000,000 sterling which had been raised, in London in 1940-41 for war purposes. The financing in Australia of the repayment of this loan was arranged by discounting treasury-bills with the Commonwealth Bank.

Revenue and Expenditure 1943-44

Total expenditure last year was £686,532,000, of which £544,416,000 was expended on the war. Compared with the previous year, non-war expenditure increased by £33,554,000, due mainly to the establishment of the National Welfare Fund into which £27,889,000 was paid during the year. At the same time, war expenditure fell by £17,327,000.

Excluding taxation collections of £32,813,000 reimbursed to the States, taxation last year yielded £270,854,000, and other revenue was £38,531,000, making a total of £309,375,000. This represented an increase in total revenue of £41,9.2-2,000 la S compared with the previous year. This increase was due for the most part to income tax collections which benefited from the higher income taxation rates imposed to finance the National Welfare Fund.

After meeting non-war expenditure, revenue provided £167,259,000 towards meeting war expenditure, thus leaving a balance of £377,157,000 to be financed from other sources. The proportion of war expenditure financed from revenue was therefore approximately 31 per cent, as compared with 28 per cent, in the previous year. Towards the balance, public loans and war savings certificates contributed. £265,000,000, the temporary use of treasury balances £43,000,000, and the discounting of treasury-bills with the Commonwealth Bank £69,000,000. An additional £15,000,000 of treasury-bills was required to repay the London loan, thus bringing the total increase to £84,000,000.

Details of actual revenue and expenditure compared with the estimates are given in Table No. 1.

Loan Transactions and Public Debt

Last year two public loans were raised in Australia for war purposes, the total amount subscribed being £276,949,000. Of a loan for £13,064,000 which matured in August, 1943, £12,251,000, or 94 per cent, of the amount outstanding, was converted at lower rates of interest. The interest payable on all these loans is 2-J per cent, for short term and 3J per cent, for long term securities. Sales of war savings certificates during the year amounted to £13,89S,000 face value.

During last year £20,945,000 was provided by the National Debt Sinking Fund for the redemption of debt. For the current year it is anticipated, that the amount available for this purpose will be £22,600,000.

The aggregate public debt of the Commonwealth and States at the 30th June, 1944, amounted to £2,366,858,000, of which £1,476,098,000 is Commonwealth and £890,760,000 .State debt. The increase of £369,200,000 in Commonwealth debt for the year is due to the war. The operations of the Sinking Fund, and the fact that no public loans were floated for the States in 1943-44, resulted in a decrease of £8,080,000 in the debts of the States during the year.

I now turn to the Estimates for the current year.

Estimated Expenditure (Other Than War) 1944-1945

This year expenditure for purposes other than the current war is estimated at £147,861,000, an increase of £5,745,000 compared with last year.

An important feature of recent budgets has been the considerable growth in the provision for social services. The provision this year includes an increase of £37,700,000, compared with 1940-41. Of th is increase, invalid and old-age pensions account for £4,650,000, widows’ pensions £3,050,000 and National Welfare Fund £30,000,000. In the case of the last item, actual payments in benefits this year will be about £12,000,000 and the balance to be carried forward for benefits in a later year about £18,000,000. national welfare fund.

Honorable members will recall that into the National Welfare Fund is paid each year from Consolidated Revenue a sum of £30,000,000, or onequarter of the total collections from income tax on individuals for Commonwealth purposes, whichever is the lower. Last year the contribution to the National Welfare Fund amounted to £27,889,000 of which £2,364,000 was expended on maternity allowances and funeral benefits, leaving a balance at the beginning of this year of £25,525,000. The contribution to the fund for the current year is estimated to reach the maximum of £30,000,000, of which it is expected that approximately £12,000,000 will be expended on social services. Since a detailed description of the social services to be provided from the fund this year is given on page 144 of the budget papers, I shall now give only a brief analysis of the estimated expenditure.

Maternity Allowances and Funeral Benefits

Increased maternity allowances became payable in July, 1943, together with funeral benefits for old-age and invalid pensioners, and last year the expenditure on these schemes was £2,259,000 for maternity allowances and £105,000 for funeral benefits. This year the expenditures are estimated at £2,400,000 and £160,000 respectively.

Unemployment and Sickness Benefits

During the year, two further national welfare benefits became law viz., unemployment and sickness benefits and pharmaceutical benefits. Manpower and accommodation difficulties will hamper rapid development of the administrative arrangements, but it is anticipated that an adequate organization will be ready by January, 1945, when the benefits will become payable. It is estimated that sickness benefits will cost about £8,500,000 in a full year, whilst unemployment benefits will cost £2,000,000 for every 1 per cent, of unemployment.

Pharmaceutical Benefits

Pharmaceutical benefits will enable doctors’ prescriptions to be dispensed by chemists without charge to patients. A considerable amount of preparatory investigation , and organization is necessary, but it is anticipated that the pharmaceutical benefits will also become effective in January, 1945. For a full year the cost is estimated at £2,100,000; and for the latter six months of this year £1,000,000 has been provided.

Other National Welfare Services

The Government is pressing forward towards its goal, which is to ensure that all essential health and medical services will be available without charge to all persons needing them. I can here record two further steps forward.

Hospital Benefits

The recent Premiers Conference approved the Commonwealth proposals for a hospital benefits scheme based on the payment by the Commonwealth of a subsidy of 6s. a day in respect of inpatients. This will mean that public ward beds will be free to patients while, in respect of other patients in public and private hospitals, the subsidy will relieve them of fees to the extent of 6s. a day. The scheme will bring financial relief , to patients, but State Governments will continue to make their customary contributions to hospital maintenance costs.

Appropriate legislation will be brought down in due course. The cost of hospital benefits in the full year is estimated at £4,400,000. If the benefits become effective in January, 1945, the cost to the National Welfare Fund for the six months will amount to about £2,200,000.


The Premiers Conference also approved the Commonwealth proposals for assisting a campaign for the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis. ‘Commonwealth assistance will take the form of a £l-for-£l subsidy towards the maintenance costs of casefinding facilities and after-care facilities up to a maximum of £50,000 under each heading. If these proposals become effective in January, 1945, the cost for the half-year will amount to about £50,000.’ other social services.

There are, of course, a number of other social services which are not met from the National Welfare Fund. It is estimated that £36,950,000 will be required for these social services this year compared with £36,757,000 last year. Brief details of some of these services are as follows : -

Invalid and Old-age Pensions.

During the last financial year, invalid and old-age pension rates were stabilized by legislation at the existing maximum of 27s. a week and the system of costofliving adjustments was abolished. Special allowances also became payable in July, 1943, to the wives and unendowed children of invalid pensioners. As about 10,000 persons who would otherwise have qualified for invalid and old-age pensions either continued to work or were granted widows’ pensions, there was some decrease of expenditure last year. The estimate for the current year is £22,000,000, an increase of £301,000 over actual expenditure last year.

Child Endowment

Child endowment is expected to cost £11,900,000 this year, a decline of £357,000 compared with last year, when expenditure rose mainly as a result of the incidence of endowment pay periods.

Widows’ Pensions

The number of widows’ pensions increased during the year by nearly 4,000, an increase of about 10 per cent. The rates of widows’ pension’s have been stabilized and are not now subject to cost-of-living adjustments. The cost last year was £2,801,000, and the estimate for this year is £3,050,000.

Business Undertakings

Expenditure on Commonwealth business undertakings is estimated at £30,167,000, an increase of £1,586,000 over expenditure last year.

Post Office expenditure last year amounted to £25,415,000 and the estimate for this year is placed at £26,S34,000. Unprecedented demands on the postal services account for increases of expenditure in recent years which, however, have been more than offset by the record revenues which the Post Office has enjoyed. In common with other government bodies and private enterprise, the normal programme of Post Office expansion works has been and will continue to be drastically curtailed during the war. A comprehensive programme for the improvement of the various postal services has been prepared, and will be undertaken at the conclusion of hostilities.

Special Grants to States

Special grants to certain States will be made ‘in accordance with the Eleventh Report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, which will be tabled for the information of honorable members.

The payments recommended for this year, compared with those paid last year, are as follows: -

The Government will bring down legislation to give effect to the recommendations of the Grants Commission.

Details of the estimates of non-war , expenditure are given in Table No. 3.

Loan Council Programme

For the current year, the Loan Council recently approved a borrowing programme of £16,584,000, for State Works, including £9,058,000 for housing. As in recent years, no amount has been included for the Commonwealth. The

Loan Council also approved a borrowing programme of £3;344,000 for local and semi-government bodies.

Estimated Wau Expenditure 1944-1945

War expenditure this year is expected to reach £505,000,000, which is £39,000,000 less than the actual expenditure last year. Expenditure in Australia is estimated at £452,000,000, and overseas expenditure at £53,000,000.

The decision to budget for reduced war expenditure was made only after a full review 0f Australia’s war effort. The reduction in no way implies any diminution of effort .but rather a reorientation of that effort, duo to two main factors. In the first place, the war has reached the stage where the necessity for new capital works of various kinds has decreased. Thus provision is no longer necessary on the same scale for camp accommodation, aerodromes, fuel installations, and many other works essential in the initial stages for the efficient operation of our fighting forces, whilst our existing munitions factories can meet all requirements. In the second place, demands on Australia’s productive capacity for essential supplies required by the United Kingdom and Allied Governments have strained that capacity to the utmost and some diversion of man-power from the armed forces to production is necessary if those demands are to be met. In the circumstances, and with the full concurrence of the Allied Governments, the total strength of the services will be less during this financial year than in the year just concluded. The variation does not lessen the striking power to be exerted against our enemies, but is effected as the result of the changes in war planning. This adjustment is reflected in the estimates of war expenditure for the current year.

For security reasons it is not desirable to give details of expenditure by the service departments. As in recent years, the estimates of expenditure by the service departments - including munitions, aircraft production, and reciprocal lendlease to the United States forces - has been shown as one amount in the Estimates, namely, £424,000,000. Other war services are shown in the usual detail and are estimated to cost £81,000,000, as compared with £74,000,000 last year. The major items in this expenditure are interest charges, price stabilization, and subsidies for primary production.

Expenditure on interest and sinking fund in connexion with loans raised for war purposes has risen steadily. Last year this expenditure amounted to £24,703,000, an increase of £9,643,000 on the previous year, whilst in the current year it is expected to reach £35,270,000.

Price Stabilization

I have already referred to the success of the price stabilization plan put into operation in April, 1943, in effectively stabilizing prices which had risen during the preceding year by about 10 per cent. Under the stabilization plan, increases in costs are met, where necessary, by the payment of subsidies, thus preventing repercussions’ on other prices and costs. These increases in costs are mainly due to higher costs of imports and the need for increasing the incomes of ‘ some primary producers and of correcting wage anomalies, particularly for women. In achieving this stabilization of prices, the cost to the Commonwealth has been reasonable, expenditure last year being £7,006,000, whilst expenditure in the current year is estimated at £12,000,000. There are, of course, subsidies other . than those for price stabilization.

Details of the principal price stabilization subsidies are as follows : -

In avoiding the necessity for frequent adjustments of wages to the cost of living, a considerable contribution has been made towards stability of cost9 in industry and in primary production. In addition, State governments have gained greatly by the stability of wages during the operation of the plan. These advantages are important .under the disturbed conditions of war, but the price stabilization plan will be no less important during the transition period after the war. Subsidies, however, are only a part of the cost of stabilizing prices so long as incomes are greater than the value of ‘goods and services available at stabilized prices. The other part of the cost is. continued exercise of controls over consumption, such as rationing.

Primary Production

As n result of the increased demands on Australian primary production to which I have already referred, it will bp necessary again this year to provide considerable assistance to primary production. Assistance will therefore be provided by the Commonwealth and State Governments in organizing production in rural industries in order torn make fullest use of all our rural resources. Whilst considerable direct Commonwealth subsidies will again be necessary, the Government will also assist primary production by marketing schemes, guaranteed prices, and action to ensure that limited materials and resources are directed as far as possible to meeting the most essential needs.


The annual subsidy of £6,500,000 granted by the Commonwealth Government to the dairying industry from the 1st April, 1943, was intended to provide assistance to the extent of 3£d. per lb. of commercial butter, but owing to a decline in production last year the actual resistance was 3£d. per lb., thus ensuring for producers a price of approximately ls. 6Jd. per lb. for commercial butter. From the 1st April, 1944, the subsidy to the dairying industry has again been increased to average over the year 4+d. per lb. of commercial butter, whilst the basis has been changed by providing increased payments during the eight non-flush months as an incentive to greater production. This rate of subsidy lias been guaranteed to the dairying industry for the next two years.”

During the last financial year £7,346,000 was actually disbursed, and of this the Commonwealth will be recouped by the United Kingdom the actual subsidy applicable to butter and cheese exported to the United Kingdom during the last subsidy year.

It is anticipated that £7,500,000 will be required for dairy subsidy payments during the- current year. These amounts do not include the substantial subsidies to be paid on whole milk supplied to cities and the other subsidies applicable to grains used as stock feed. The dairying industry has also benefited from the attractive guaranteed prices paid for pigmeats.


With the introduction of the wheat quota plan, payment to growers for a quota of 3,000 bushels has been at the rate of 4s. and 4s. 1-Jd. per bushel in the Nos. 6 and 7 pools respectively. In addition to £1,750,000 provided last year to cover the Commonwealth losses on quota wheat, a further amount of £650,000 has been provided in the Estimates to meet the estimated losses on quota wheat in the Nos. 6 and 7 pools.

Until recent months the reduction in exports of wheat and flour overseas resulted in wheat stocks accumulating in Australia, particularly in Western Australia. It is proposed to continue to compensate the growers in Western Australia aA the rate of 12s. per acre for the area which has been compulsorily restricted, the estimated cost for the financial year 1944-45 being £570,000.

As a result of the substantial increases in wheat and flour orders obtained by the Government, higher production goals have been decided upon from the 1945 sowing. ‘Advances against wheat stocks guaranteed by the Commonwealth amounted to £31,000,000 at the 30th June. The rate of realization of wheat pools- has, however, considerably improved.


In accordance with price stabilization policy, the cost of imported cornsacks and bran-bags is being subsidized to prevent an increase in production costs of wheat, barley and other crops. The subsidy required for the current year is estimated at £1,000^00.

Stock Feed

The provision of cheap wheat for stock feed is being extended to cover oats and barley and, in Queensland, grain sorghum and maize. These grains will be supplied to essential users at a special price, whilst a guaranteed price is being assured for growers to stimulate production of feed grains and encourage the use of concentrated feeds in essential food production. The coat to the Commonwealth in the present year is estimated at £800,000.

Apples and Pears

Owing to good yields, the apple and pear crops in Tasmania and Western Australia aggregated approximately 10,250,000 bushels. It is estimated that because of shipping difficulties it will be impossible to place about 5,175,000 bushels of these crops in areas where they may be consumed, and this accounts for the estimated loss of £725,000 to the Commonwealth on the 1944 crop.


In accordance with price stabilization policy, the price of superphosphate for primary producers has been stabilized at the 1942-43 levels. Increases in costs of imported phosphate rock and manufacture are expected to require a subsidy of £2,750,000 this year as compared with £1,303,000 last year.

A quantity of nitrate of soda is being imported from Chile for agricultural purposes. This fertilizer is being made available to primary producers on the same basis as in 1943, and the resultant loss to be borne by the Commonwealth in the current financial year is estimated at £270,000.

Estimated Revenue, 1944-45

It is expected that revenue in 1944-45 will reach £325,472,000, an increase of £16,097,000 over receipts last year.

Of this amount it is anticipated that taxation will yield £286,022,000, which would be £15,168,000 more than was received last year. Income tax is expected to realize £167,288,000, representing an increase of £15,536,000 over last year, due mainly to arrears in tax collections. Contributory factors are the adjustments involved in the transition to a “ pay-as-you-earn “ basis and the expectation of heavy collections from defaulters. There will be slight reductions in collections of customs and excise and other miscellaneous taxes.

As from July of this year, the system of “ pay-as-you-earn “ income taxation has applied to taxpayers other than com- panies. The transition from the old to the new basis is being effected smoothly, though the’ Taxation Department will have serious difficulties to surmount in giving effect to the plan in the first year of its operation.

Revenue, other than taxation, is expected to realize £39,450,000 in the current year, as compared with £38,521,000 last year. It is anticipated that Post Office revenue will reach £27,700,000, an increase of £1,020,000 compared with last year.

Details of revenue for the two years are given in table No. 2. state tax reimbursement grants.

Our statutory obligations to the States for tax reimbursements amount to £34,254,787 annually, of which £33,489,000 relates to income tax and £765,787 relates to entertainments tax.

Last year we collected £1,442,000 arrears of State income taxes, thus leaving £32,047,000 to be provided by the Commonwealth budget in reimbursement to the States for vacating the income tax field. In the current year, it is anticipated that arrears of States income taxes amounting to £777,000 will be collected by the Commonwealth on behalf of the States, and the amount which the budget will have to provide to reimburse the States will be £32,712,000.

As was the case last year, the statutory amount of £765,787 will be paid to the States this year as entertainments tax reimbursement.

Since these reimbursements are selfbalancing items in our accounts I have omitted them from my comparisons of revenue and expenditure of the current and previous years.

Taxation Concessions

At the present time, when about one- ‘ third of our war expenditure is being financed from revenue, it is not practicable to contemplate any reduction in the rates of income tax. There are, however, some anomalies in income taxation which the Government considers should be corrected. Although I shall give full details of these proposed concessions when the relevant bills are submitted for your consideration, it is appropriate that I should now refer briefly to the main concessions proposed. With the exception of the concession relating to demolitions of enemy raid precaution structures, these concessions will apply for the first time to assessments based on income earned in the current financial year.

Medical and Dental Expenses

At present the amount on which a rebate of tax may be allowed in respect of medical expenses is limited to £50 per taxpayer. Since this provision places some taxpayers who have dependants at a disadvantage, it is proposed that the maximum amount upon which a rebate may be allowed be £50 for each person in respect ofwhom a claim may be admitted under the present provisions, namely, the taxpayer, his wife, or any children under 21. It is also proposed that medical expenses be regarded as including the dental expenses, up to £10 in each case, of the taxpayer, his wife and children under 21 years.

The cost of these concessions in a full year is estimated at £365,000, but there will be no significant effect on revenue in the current year.

Children over Sixteen Years Receiving Full-time Education.

At present, rebates of tax are allowed in respect of dependent children under sixteen years of age. It is now proposed that these rebates be extended to cover dependent children between the ages of sixteen and eighteen years who are receiving full-time education. It is proposed to calculate the rebate of tax on an amount of £75, subject to a maximum rebate of tax of £45. This amount of £75 would, however, be reduced by the amount of any Commonwealth or State educational assistance provided.

The cost of this concession in a full year is estimated at £300,000.

Deferred Maintenance Expenditure

Because of war-time exigencies maintenance work which would normally have been carried out on property and plant has had to be deferred. The effect, from an income tax point of view, is that the taxpayer’s income is artificially inflated.

It is now proposed that a taxpayer be permitted to lodge with the Government a non-interest bearing deposit equal to the sum which is estimated to be the cost of deferred maintenance up to June, 1945. The amount of this deposit will be allowed as a deduction in assessing taxable income. At any time after the expiration of six months from the date of the deposit, but not later than two years after the termination of the war, the taxpayer will be entitled to obtain repayment of the deposit either in one sum or in instalments. Amounts so repaid will be regarded as taxable income of the year of repayment, but the actual expenditure in that year for repairs and maintenance will, as usual, be allowed as a deduction in assessing taxable income.

Expenditure on Alteration to Plant and Machinery.

In order to produce materials required for war purposes many manufacturers have made alterations to plant and equipment. These manufacturers will have to re-convert their plants to enable them to revert to peace-time production. Under the present income tax law the expenditure thus incurred is regarded as capital expenditure. It is now proposed that such expenditure be allowed as a deduction in the year in which it is incurred, provided that it has not increased the capital value of the asset. This concession will first apply to expenditure in the current year, and will have little immediate effect on revenue.

Demolition of Enemy Raids Precautions Structures

In 1942, provision was made in the Income Tax Assessment Act to allow a deduction for expenditure incurred by taxpayers in erecting air raid shelters and other similar structures. It is considered proper that the cost of the demolition of these structures should also be allowed as a deduction. I am therefore proposing that the Income Tax Assessment Act be amended accordingly to apply to assessments based on income derived last year and in following years.

Sales Tax on Building Materials.

The problem of housing and housing costs has become a very serious one, and has received the full consideration of the Government, having regard to present necessities as well as those of the post-war period. Unfortunately, difficulties in materials supplies and manpower do not permit the lifting of restrictions regarding building activities generally. It has been decided, however, that action should now be taken to restore the exemption from sales tax in respect of building materials which existed prior to the 22nd November, 1940, upon which date a number of exemptions was withdrawn as a part of the plan to raise additional revenue for war purposes.

It is proposed, therefore, that all building materials of a kind which were exempt from tax immediately prior to the 22nd November, 1940, shall again be exempt on and from to-morrow, the 8th September, 1944. Broadly speaking, the classes of goods which will thus become free of tax are bricks, stone, plaster, cement, concrete, metal reinforcements, tiles, slates, fibro-cement sheets, sheet iron, glass, timber and piping. The goods will be shown in detail in a bill to be introduced into Parliament at a later hour this day. The restoration of the exemption will involve a loss of revenue amounting to approximately £500,000 in the current financial year.

Budget Summary

For the convenience of honorable members I now summarize the financial results of last year and the Estimates for the current year -

The tax reimbursement grants to the States of approximately £33,000,000 in each year have been omitted from the revenue and expenditure figures which I have just cited.

The gap to be financed this year is £328,000,000. Up to the 30th June, 1944, we have issued £343,000,000 of treasurybills for war purposes. The effect of these bills together with the influence of large expenditures in Australia by our Allies is that excess spending power in the hands of the public has increased greatly since the beginning of the war. This is primarily reflected in an increase of £135,000,000 in the note issue and £220,000,000 in the deposits with the trading banks, while the increase of £227,000,000 in the deposits with savings banks indicates that much of this excess spending power is held by individuals in a very liquid form. Any further increase in spending power will add to our postwar difficulties and postpone the time when we shall be able to match the spending power by a corresponding supply of goods and services.

Taxation at present levels will contribute £177,000,000 towards war expenditure. Taxation is so high that it is impracticable to obtain any further contribution from this source. On the other hand, I am concerned that treasury-bill finance should be kept to the lowest possible level. We must therefore turn to loans.

Last year net subscriptions from public loans and war savings certificates reached the record amount of £265,000,000. That sum was assisted, to some extent by abnormal subscriptions from institutions which cannot be repeated on the same level this year. The general public can, however, subscribe more, particularly in view of the increase of spending power. Whilst both the war loans floated last year were over-subscribed, the numbers of subscribers, totalling 568,000 and 452,000 respectively, fell short of expectations. Both for winning the war and winning the peace to follow, there is now the strongest obligation on every citizen to save and subscribe to war loans a greater amount than ever before. I appeal, therefore, for a response to public loans which would reduce reliance on treasury-bill finance to a minimum.

Other Financial Matters. Interest Bates

Acting under the powers conferred by the Economic Organization Regulations, the Commonwealth Bank, in January, 1944, reduced by J per cent, per annum the maximum rates of interest on new bank fixed deposits or renewals having a currency of less than two years. In August, 1944, further interest reductions were made;the maximum rate for trading bank overdrafts was reduced from 5 per cent, to 4¾ per cent., fixed deposit rates were f urther reduced and reductions made in respect of, interest on savings bank deposits in excess of £500, new loans to local authorities and new loans by building societies and by life assurance companies against their own policies. The treasurybill rate was reduced from 1½ per cent, to1¼ per cent, per annum in November, 1943.

United Nations Belief and Rehabilitation Administration

Honorable members will recall that a bill to approve Australian membership of theUnited Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration was read a first time on the 21st July, 1944. The purpose of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration is to help to meet the shortage of food, clothing, shelter, health and other services which will be a difficulty of the early transition period in liberated countries. By ensuring that the freed peoples are provided with the necessaries of life, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration will facilitate the subsequent carrying out of the policies of international economic collaboration envisaged in Article VII. of the Mutual Aid Agreement. It has been agreed by the representatives of the 44 United Nations, including Australia, that each country should endeavour to contribute for relief purposes 1 per cent, of its national income as estimated for the financial year 1942-43. Accordingly, it is proposed in the bill to which I have just referred that a special appropriation of £12,000,000 be passed to cover the total relief contributions which may be made by Australia. For the present financial year it is estimated that an amount of £47,000 will be required to meet Australia’s share of the administrative expenses. At the moment it is not possible to say exactly what form relief contributions from Australia will take or what the exact value of those contributions will be. That will depend on military requirements and other commitments existing at the time requests for relief supplies are made to the Commonwealth Government.

International Food and Agriculture Organization

A second international organization to which Australia may be asked to contribute in this financial year is the proposed international food and agriculture organization. The purpose of this organization is to help to achieve “ freedom from want “ by encouraging member nations to take action to maintain adequate nutrition standards and to increase the efficiencyof world agricultural production. After the initial conference at Hot Springs in June, 1943, an interim commission was set up which has drafted a constitution for a permanent food and agriculture organization. This constitution will soon be considered by the governments of 44 members of the United Nations. Australia as a primary producing country would have a particular interest in such an organization. It is also in line with the general policy of economic expansion which the Commonwealth Government considers to be a necessary condition for the successful operation of plans to secure better economic arrangements in the post-war world.

International Monetary Conference

Australia also participated in the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference held at Bretton Woods, United States of America, from the 1st July to the 22nd July, 1944. The discussions at the conference were at the expert level only and did not involve any commitment whatever by governments.

The deliberations of the experts at the conference have resulted in the formulation of concrete proposals for an International Monetary Fund and an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. These proposals are to be submitted to governments for their consideration and acceptance or rejection.

The documents relating to the conference have already been printed and laid on the table of the House for the -information of honorable members. At an appropriate stage it is intended to ask Parliament to express its opinion formally regarding the proposals.

Our Fighting Services

It is appropriate at this point for me to make an important announcement on behalf of the Government concerning our fighting services.

I am sure the Government interprets the wishes of the people of Australia as a whole, as well as the members of this Parliament, when it expresses gratitude for the valour and devotion which has been displayed in all manner of ways by the members of our fighting services. It is the Government’s conviction that the nation owes them some signal recognition, outside the ordinary plans for repatriation and reinstatement in employment which in a variety of legislative and administrative ways will be provided for those who return from the war.

Methods which the Government will consider include a straight-out gratuity, based on the principle of place and length of service, or, alternatively, payment for extended leave based on the same principle. There are, of course, various other ways in which the nation might indicate its admiration for the service they have given. I suggest it may meet the wishes of the House if this matter were referred to a parliamentary committee.


Total war means war on two fronts, the battle front and the home front. When victory in the field begins to loom over the horizon and some easing of the fighting effort is in sight the strain on the home front will be approaching its climax. Victory on the home front will be postponed on the physical side until full employment in peace-time occupations is achieved, and on the financial side until the inflationary effects of treasurybill finance are finally overcome. On the home front there was never greater need than now for selfdiscipline, self-sacrifice and resolution. Our fighting forces have shown these qualities to the full and are reaping the reward. As I believe in Australia, I believe that our people will show those same qualities on the home front and follow up the promised victory in the field with an equally decisive victory at home.

Progress reported.

page 578


The following papers were presented : -

The Budget 1944-45 - Papers presented by the Honorable J. B. Ohifley, M.P., for the information of honorable members on the occasion of the Budget 1944-45.

Ordered to be printed.

page 578


Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to-

That leave be given to bring in a ‘bill for an act to amend the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1943, as amended by the Income Tax Assessment Act 1944.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Treasurer and Minister for Post-war Reconstruction · Macquarie · ALP

by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The budget speech that I have just delivered indicated to honorable members, in general outline, certain proposals of the Government for alterations to the income tax law. The principal provisions of this bill are directed towards giving effect to those proposals.

The bill does not impose further liability or obligation upon the taxpaying community. On the contrary, it provides relief to taxpayers, by the expansion of the concessional allowance ‘for medical expenses, by a new allowance for dental expenses, and by allowances in respect of children between the ages of sixteen and eighteen years who are receiving full-time education. Deductions are also provided for the estimated cost of deferred maintenance of incomeproducing property, the cost of alterations to plant used for war purposes, and the expenditure incurred by taxpayers in the demolition of enemy raids precautions structures.

Under the existing law, the rebate for medical expenses is limited to an aggregate amount of £50 for all the members of a taxpayer’s family. This limitation bears most heavily upon the taxpayer with family responsibilities. It will readily- be agreed on all sides that, in such cases, the concession should be based on £50 for each member of the taxpayer’s family. This enlargement of . the concession is embodied in the bill. This Government has received, as I think previous Governments did, representa- ti ons from time to time for dental expenses to be treated as medical expenses and to be subject to a concessional allowance on the same principle. “We all realize the difficulties of the family man in meeting the dental expenses of himself and his family, and, at the same time, paying tax on that income which is applied in the payment of dental fees. In recognition of these difficulties, the Government proposes that there shall be a concessional allowance, based on amounts up to £10, for dental expenses incurred by a taxpayer on his own behalf or on behalf of his wife and his children under the age of 21 years. The rebate will form a past of the medical expenses, so that the concession up to £10 will apply in respect of each member of the family. It is also recognized that people who have had. the misfortune to lose a limb or an eye are handicapped physically as well as financially in comparison with taxpayers who have not suffered an injury of this nature. Taxpayers who incur expenses in connexion with artificial limbs or eyes will be granted a concessional rebate of tax on the expenses they incur. Unlike medical and dental fees, no limit is to be placed on the rebate allowable in respect of such expenses.

The concessional allowances have been expanded to grant also a measure of relief from taxation to taxpayers who are maintaining children between the ages of sixteen and eighteen years, and are providing those children with higher education at a school or a university. In such cases, it is proposed that taxpayers whose children are receiving full-time education shall be allowed a rebate of tax based on £75 in respect of each child. The Government has given serious consideration to the amount of the concessional allowance where Commonwealth or State assistance is provided in connexion with a child’s education. The principle adopted by the Government embodies the view that the taxpaying community, in such cases, could not be expected to make a double contribution towards the education of a child, first, by direct assistance, and secondly, by way of abatement of tax in the parent’s assessment. For this reason, the Government proposes that, where monetary assistance is granted by the Commonwealth or a State in connexion with a child’s education, the amount of £75 upon which the rebate is based shall be reduced by the amount of that assistance.

The Government has also given consideration to the repairs and maintenance that have accumulated over the last three years on the income-producing property of taxpayers. These accumulations are due to shortages of labour and materials in the war years. For example, a farmer has recurring expenses in normal years, such as repairs to buildings, fences, dams and plant. He has been unable to effect these repairs, &c. He has also been unable to maintain the condition of his pastures, because of a shortage of fertilizers. Secondary industries have also been unable to carry out normal maintenance. Arrears of maintenance will continue to accrue until manpower and material become available in the post-war period. -

Mr Francis:

– Does that include painting?


– It covers everything that comes under the heading of maintenance. The inability of the taxpayer to carry out normal repairs and maintenance in the war-time years means that he is meeting a tax liability at high wartime rates upon an amount in excess of the true taxable income. The effect of this heavy tax is to withdraw from the taxpayer funds that should be available to him to effect post-war maintenance of his property. Representations have been made to the Government by primary and secondary industries, with the object of obtaining some alleviation of this weight of taxation. The Government recognizes the merits of these representations, and proposes that, in the current year ending on the 30th June, 1945, such taxpayers may estimate the cost of deferred maintenance and obtain a deduction of the amount so estimated. It isto be a condition of deductibility that the taxpayer shall lodge with the Commissioner of Taxation a deposit equal to the amount of the deduction which he claims. When the opportunity is presented to the taxpayer to effect the repairs and maintenance, he may obtain repayment of his deposit, and may use it in meeting the cost of repairs and maintenance. The repayment will form a part of the assessable income of the taxpayer in the year in which it is repaid ; but this assessable income will be offset by the allowance of a deduction of his expenditure on repairs and maintenance actually effected.

The Government has also considered cases of taxpayers who have, for war purposes, effected alterations to the plant and machinery normally used for peace time production. As the demand for war production diminishes and finally ceases, these taxpayers will be obliged to reconvert their plants to peace-time production. Technically, the expenses of the alterations and reconversion are of a capital nature, and are not admissible income tax deductions in the year in which the expenditure is incurred. In reality, the expenditure adds nothing to the capital value of the plant, and it is considered by the Government to be most appropriate that the taxpayer should obtain a deduction of the expenditure from income of the year in which the expenditure is actually incurred.

Provision is also being made to permit the deduction of expenses incurred by taxpayers in the removal of enemy raids precautions from business premises and other incomeproducing property. Two years ago, the act was amended to authorize the deduction of expenditure incurred in providing protection for persons and property against enemy raids. The improvement in the war situation in the last twelve months has enabled my colleague, the Minister for Home Security, to authorize the removal of protective structures that have been erected. The demolition and removal of these structures have involved taxpayers in expenditure which, it will be agreed, I feel sure, should be admitted as a deduction for income tax purposes, where the property is used for business or other incomeproducing purposes.

The bill also contains a number of other amendments, but these are relatively minor in character. Accordingly, I do not propose to mention them in this speech, as I consider that they can be dealt with adequately at the committee stage, when honorable members will have the benefit of the explanatory notes which, as is customary, have been prepared for circulation among them. These notes will be issued to honorable members to-morrow, and will show exactly what is provided for in each of the proposed amendments.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Menzies) adjourned.

page 580


Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -

That leave he given tobring in a bill for an act to amend the War-time ( Company ) Tax Assessment Act 1940-1043.

page 580


Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act 1935-1943.

Bill presented, and read the first time.

Second Reading

Treasurer and Minister for Post-war Reconstruction · Macquarie · ALP

by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

As I indicated in the budget speech, the main purpose of this bill is to restore the former sales tax exemption of building materials. Honorable members are aware that the demand for housing throughout the Commonwealth is unprecedented.

The nation’s resources in money, material, and manpower have had to be diverted to war purposes, and the resultant restrictions upon the building of homes have created a most serious shortage of housing. The Government fully recognizes the necessity for taking the strongest action to remedy the position as soon as the exigencies of war will permit. Home building, therefore, ranks very highly in the programme of work to be undertaken in the post-war period. The Government is most anxious to adopt all possible means to facilitate the building of homes, and to keep the cost of home building within reasonable bounds. Notwithstanding the recent improvement in the war situation, the way is not yet clear for a removal of building restrictions generally. That is a matter which must yet be deferred, but; which will be kept constantly in mind with a view to the commencement of largescale building activities as soon as possible.

The present sales tax of 12½ per cent, on building material is considered to operate as a restriction of home building, which should no longer be continued. It is accordingly proposed to restore the exemption of building materials which was withdrawn on the 22nd November, 1940. The classes of goods which are to be covered by the exemption are specified in paragraphs (a) and (e) of clause 3 of the bill. They may be briefly described as including bricks, stone, cement, lime, plaster and plaster products, concrete, metal reinforcements, tiles, slates, sheet iron, glass, timber, joinery, and pipes. The exemption will apply precisely to those building materials which were free of tax immediately prior to the withdrawal of the exemption on the 22nd November, 1940. In order to avoid any dislocation of trade, the bill provides that the restoration of exemption shall apply to all transactions, acts and operations effected on and from tomorrow, the 8th September, 1944. The exemption is estimated to involve a loss of revenue amounting to £500,000 in the current financial year.

Although the chief concern of the Government is with housing, as distinct from other classes of building, it does not propose to limit the exemption of building materials to those for use in the construction of houses. Such a limitation would lead to considerable administrative difficulties, and it is deemed preferable to restore the unqualified exemption formerly in force. The exemption will thus cover materials for use as parts of buildings and other structures for agricultural, industrial or commercial purposes. In order to give full impetus to the post-war building drive, the policy of the Government is to foster the training of skilled tradesmen to the greatest possible degree. Substantial sums of money have been specially allocated by the Government for this purpose. The existing sales tax law contains provision for exemption of equipment used in certain technical schools which are conducted by a government, or the expenditure of which is wholly or partly borne by a government. There are, however, certain other schools the pupils of which receive tuition in woodwork and metal work, and the equipment of these schools is not free of tax. In order to encourage the extension of this class of education, it is proposed to authorize exemption from sales tax in respect of tools and other equipment required for the teaching of woodwork, metal work and similar trade courses in schools not conducted for profit. This exemption is provided for in paragraph d of clause 3 of the bill, and will also commence on the 8th September, 1944. Only slight loss of revenue is involved in this exemption.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Harrison) adjourned.

page 581


In Committee of Ways and Means:

Treasurer and Minister for Post-war Reconstruction · Macquarie · ALP

– I move -

  1. That a tax be imposed upon incomes at the following rates: -

Division A. - Rate of Tax in Respect of Taxable Income Derived from Personal Exertion.

If the taxable income does not exceed £300, the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and including £100 be 6 pence, and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income in excess of £100 be 30.165 pence increasing uniformly by.165 of one penny for every pound by which the taxable income exceeds £101.

If the taxable income exceeds £300 hut does not exceed £1,000 the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and including £300 be 44 pence and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income in excess of £300 be 96.01 pence increasing uniformly by . 01 of one penny for every pound by which the taxable income exceeds £301.

If the taxable income exceeds £1,000 hut does not exceed £2,000 the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and including £1,000 be 85.3 pence and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable incomein excess of £1,000 be 110.033 pence increasing uniformly by.033 of one penny for every pound by which the taxable income exceeds £1,001.

If the taxable income exceeds £2,000 but does not exceed £3,000 the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and including £2,000 be 114.15 pence and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income in excess of £2,000 be 176.015 pence increasing uniformly by.015 of one penny for every pound by which the taxable income exceeds £2,001.

If the taxable income exceeds £3,000 but does not exceed £5,000 the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and including £3,000 be 139.76 pence and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income in excess of £3,000 be 206.004 pence increasing uniformly by.004 of one penny for every pound by which the taxable income exceeds £3,001.

If the taxable income exceeds £5,000 the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and including £5,000 be 169.46 pence and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income in excess of £5,000 be222 pence.

Division B. - Rate of Tax in Respect of Taxable Income Derived from Property.

If the taxable income does not exceed £200 the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and including £100 be 6 pence and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income in excess of £100 be 30.165 pence increasing uniformly by.165 of one penny for every pound by which the taxable income exceeds £101.

If the taxable income exceeds £200 but does not exceed £300 the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and including £200 be 26.25 pence and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income in excess of £200 be 75.74 pence increasing uniformly by 24 of one penny for every pound by which the taxable income exceeds £201.

If the taxable income exceeds £300 but does not exceed £1,000 the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and inchiding £300 be 50.6 pence and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income in excess of £300 be 123.51 pence increasing uniformly by.01 of one penny for every pound by which the taxable income exceeds £301.

If the taxable income exceeds £1,000 but does not exceed £2,000 the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and including £1,000 be 106.55 pence and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income in excess of £1,000 be 137.534 pence increasing uniformly by . 034 of one penny for every pound by which the taxable income exceeds £1,001.

If the taxable income exceeds £2,000 but does not exceed £5,000 the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and including £2,000 be 139.025 pence and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income in excess of £2,000 be205.50275 pence increasing uniformly by . 00275 of one penny for every pound by which the taxable income exceeds £2,001.

If the taxable income exceeds £5,000 the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income up to and including £5,000 be 183.86 pence and the rate of tax for every pound of taxable income in excess of £5,000 be 222 pence.

Division G. - Rates of Tax in Respect of Taxable Income Derived Partly from Personal Exertion and Partly from Property.

  1. For every pound of taxable income derived from personal exertion, the rate of tax shall be ascertained by dividing the total amount of the tax that would be payable under Division A if the total taxable income of the taxpayer were derived exclusively from personal exertion, by the amount of the total taxable income.
  2. For every pound of taxable income derived from property, the rate of tax shall be ascertained by dividing the total amount of the tax that would be payable under Division B if the total taxable income of the taxpayer were derived exclusively from property, by the amount of the total taxable income.

Division D. - Rates of Tax by Reference to an Average Income.

  1. For every pound of taxable income derived from personal exertion by a taxpayer to whose income Division 16 of Part III. of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1944 applies, the rate of tax shall be ascertained by dividing the tax that would be payable under Division A upon a taxable income from personal exertion equal to his average income, by that average income.
  2. For every pound of taxable income derived by him from property the rate of tax shall be ascertained by dividing the tax that would be payable under Division B upon a taxable income from property equal to his average income, by that average income.

Division E. - Rate of Tax by Reference to a Notional Income,

  1. For every pound of the actual taxable income from personal exertion of a taxpayer deriving a notional income, as specified by sub-section (1.) of section eightysix of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1944, the rate of tax shall be the amount obtained by dividing the tax that would be payable under Division A upon a taxable income from personal exertion equal to his notional income, by that notional income.
  2. For every pound of the actual taxable income from property of a taxpayer deriving a notional income, as specified by sub-section (1.) of section eighty -six of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1944, the rate of tax shall be the amount obtained by dividing the tax that would be payable under Division B upon a taxable income from property equal to his notional income, by that notional income.

Division F. - Rates of Tax Payable by a Trustee.

For every pound of the taxable income in respect of which a trustee is liable, pursuant to either section ninetyeight or section ninety nine of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936- 1944, to be assessed and to pay tax, the rate of tax shall be the rate which would be payable under Division A, B, C, D or E, as the case requires, if one individual were liable to be assessed and to pay tax on that taxable income.

Division G. - Rales of Tax Payable by a Company.

  1. Subject to the last preceding Division, for every pound of the taxable income of a company the rate of tax shall be -

    1. in the case of a company which is not a lite assurance company - Seventy two pence;
    2. in the case of a company which is a mutual life assurance company - Sixty pence; or
    3. in the case of a life assurance company, other than a mutual life assurance company -
    1. in respect of the mutual income of the company as defined in sub-section (1a.) of section one hundred and sixty c of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1944 - Sixty pence; and
    2. in respect of the remainder of the taxable income of the company - Seventytwo pence.
  2. Subject to the last preceding Division, for every pound of that portion of the taxable income of a company which has not been distributed as dividends on which the company is liable, pursuant to PartIIIa. of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1944, to pay further tax, the rate of tax shall be Twentyfour pence.
  3. For every pound of interest in respect of which a company is liable, pursuant to subsection (1.) of section one hundred and twenty five of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936- 1944, to pay income tax, the rate of tax shall be Seventytwo pence.

Division H. - Tax Payable on Certain Incomes of less than £113.

Where, apart from this Division, the amount of income tax payable under Division A, B, C, D, E, or F, in respect of a taxable income of less than One hundred and thirteen pounds would, after deducting all rebates to which a taxpayer is entitled in his assessment, be greater than fifty per centum of the amount by which the taxable income exceeds One hundred and four pounds, the income tax payable in respect of that taxable income shall be fifty per centum of the amount by which the taxable income exceeds One hundred and four pounds.

Division I. - Tax Payable where Amount would otherwise be less than Ten Shillings.

Where, apart from this Division, the amount of income tax which a person would be liable to pay under Division A, B, C, D, E, F or H, after deducting all rebates to which he is entitled in his assessment, is less than Ten shillings, the income tax payable by that person shall be Ten shillings.

Division J. - Tax Payable where Amount would otherwise include Odd Pence.

Where, apart from this Division, the income tax which a person would be liable to pay under the preceding Divisions, before deducting any rebate to which he is entitled in his assessment, leaves an amount of pence remaining when expressed in pounds and shillings -

  1. if the remaining pence do not exceed six the income tax payable by that person shall be the amount so expressed in pounds and shillings; or
  2. if the remaining pence exceed six the income tax payable by that person shall be the amount so expressed in pounds and shillings plus One shilling.

    1. That, in addition to any income tax payable under the preceding provisions of this Resolution, there be payable upon the taxable income in excess of Five thousand pounds derived by a company a supertax at the rate of Twelve pence for every pound of that excess :

Provided that this paragraph shall not apply-

  1. to the assessment of a company as a trustee;
  2. to the income of a company to which section fourteen of the War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Act 1940-1944 provides that that Act shall not apply; or
  3. to the mutual income, as denned in sub-section (1a.) of section one hundred and sixtyC of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1944 of a life assurance company.

    1. That tax in accordance with the preceding provisions of this Resolution be levied and paid for the financial year which commenced on the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and fortyfour, upon the taxable income derived during the year of income as defined by section six of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1944.
    2. That, until the commencement of the Act for the levying and payment of income tax for the financial year beginning on the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and forty five, the foregoing provisions of this Resolution also apply for all financial years subsequent to that which commenced on the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and forty four.
    3. – (1.) That, in addition to the income tax payable under paragraph 1 of this Resolution, income tax, at the rates specified in Divisions A to F (inclusive) of that paragraph, be imposed, and be levied and paid, for the financial year which commenced on the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and forty-four, upon the taxable income derived by any person, other than a company (except a company in the capacity of a trustee), during the year of income as denned by section one hundred and sixty ap of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1944. (2.) That the provisions of Divisions H and J of paragraph 1 of this Resolution apply in relation to income tax under this paragraph in the Baine maimer as they apply in relation to income tax under that paragraph. (3.) That, where, apart from this subparagraph, the amount of income tax which a person would be liable to pay under this paragraph, after deducting all rebates (other than the rebate under Division 18 of Part III. of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1944) to which he is entitled in His assessment, is less than Ten shillings, the income tax payable by that person be Ten shillings.
    4. That provisional tax be imposed, and be payable in accordance with the provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1944, in respect of the income of the financial year ending on the thirtieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and forty-five, or the accounting period (if any) adopted under that Act in lieu of that financial year.
    5. That, in this Resolution - “ the Income Tax- Assessment Act 1 930- 1944 “ mean the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1943, us amended by the Income Tax Assessment Act 1944 and as proposed to be amended by the Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 2) 1944; “the War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Act 1940-1944” mean the War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Act 1940-1943, as proposed! to be amended by the War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Bill 1944.

This is the usual motion which precedes the introduction of the bill for the imposition of the income tax rates for the current year. Honorable members were informed in the budget speech that it was not proposed to make any alteration of the rates of, income tax this year. The rates contained in the motion are, therefore, those which were in operation for the financial year 1943-44. On incomes in excess of £104 per annum the rates of tax on personal exertion income commence at 6d. in the £1 on the first £100, where the taxable income does not exceed £300, and increase as the taxable income rises until the maximum rate of 18s. 6d. in the £1 is payable on taxable income in excess of £5,000.

The rate of tax on income from property is the same as that on income from personal exertion, where the taxable income does not exceed £200. From that point the property rate exceeds the personal exertion rate. The greatest margin of difference between the two rates is reached at £1,000, where the difference is approximately 25 per cent. Thereafter, the differentiation diminishes until at £5,000 it is 9 per cent.

In the case o£ companies, other than life assurance companies, the rate of tax is 6s. in the £1. The rate of tax payable by a company which is a mutual life assurance company is 5s. in the £1. If a life assurance company is not wholly a mutual life assurance company, the rate of tax in respect of its mutual income is 5s. in the £1, and. on the remainder of its income, 6s. in the £1. In addition, a public company pays tax on its undistributed profits at the rate of 2s. in the £1, and a super tax at the rate of. ls. in the £1 on the amount of its taxable income in excess of £5,000.

As honorable members are aware, the year ending the 30th June, 1945, marks the first year of the operation of the system of- pay-as-you-earn taxation approved by Parliament early this year. Prior to the introduction of that system the tax payable for a financial year was assessed on the income of the previous year. Under the new system, tax is payable during the financial year on the income of that year. There is now no difference in the case of an individual between the year of income and the year of tax. The pay-as-you-earn system does not apply to companies.

In the transition from the old system to pay-as-you-earn, it is necessary to deal with two years of income in assessments for the financial year 1944-45. A rebate of 75 per cent, of the tax payable on income of the year ended the 30th June, 1944, will be allowed, leaving only 25 per cent, of that tax payable. In the case of salary and wage earners, the deductions made each pay-day from the 1st April, 1944, to the 30th June, 1944, will, in most instances, foe sufficient to meet the 25’ per cent, tax which will, in due course, be assessed on income of the year ended the 30th June, 1944. Where the income of that year is not derived from salary or wages, payment of the 25 per cent, will be spread over a period of three years.

Special provision hasbeen inserted in the resolution to enable assessments to be made of the tax payable on income derived by a taxpayer during the year ended the 30th June, 1944.

Under the payasyouearn system, persons who derive income from sources other than salary or wages, will be required to pay provisional tax in respect of that income. The method of determining the amount of provisional tax payable is prescribed in the Income Tax Assessment Act, but a taxpayer cannot be required to pay provisional tax unless the act declaring the rates of tax payable for the financial year provides that provisional tax shall be payable in accordance with the provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act. Accordingly, the resolution provides that provisional tax shall be payable in respect of the financial year ending on the 30th June, 1945.

Progress reported.

page 585


Second Reading

Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs · Barton · ALP

.- I move-

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this measure is to enable Australia to discharge its obligations as a member of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, shortly known as Unrra. It authorizes the Australian Government to furnish supplies and services for the work of relief in devastated countries and to pay Australia’s fair quota of the administrative expenses of the organization, as allocated by the Council of Unrra.

The importance of the task of relief and rehabilitation is very great. After the war of 1914-18, the relief problem in Europe was enormous. Starvation and disease were the lot of many innocent victims of war, especially children. In view of the far greater ravages caused by the present war in both Europe and Asia, an even greater task now faces the United Nations. In both Europe and Asia the aggressors have plundered, despoiled, and cruelly ill-treated. The economy of the occupied countries has been disrupted. Again, as the tide of warfare has ebbed and flowed over hundreds of miles, large territories have been devastated and great sections of the populations have been dispersed. In order to lessen suffering, to avoid pestilence, and to give the liberated peoples a chance of again finding a place for themselves in the world, comprehensive measures are necessary to provide food, medicine, shelter and clothing and as quickly as possible to restore people to their homes and make it possible for them to resume their ordinary life.

The one lesson of relief administration after the 1918 armistices was that a single body should co-ordinate relief efforts. A special relief and rehabilitation organization cannot be created without careful and elaborate planning.

During 1942, various proposals for the establishment of an international relief organization came under discussion. A draft agreement for a comprehensive United Nations organization was sent by the United States Government to all members of the United Nations in June, 1943. Soon after the receipt of this draft, the Australian Government published it for general information, and the Prime Minister made a special statement welcoming the prospect of joint action by the United Nations to deal with the immense problems of relief and expressing approval of the general principles on which the draft agreement was based. Subsequently, in the light of suggestions received from various governments, including that of Australia, the first draft was revised. In due course, the new text was transmitted to governments with the request for their formal acceptance. In a statement to the House on the 14th October last, I announced that the Australian Government was ready to sign the agreement and at the same time presented the text to Parliament. The text of the agreement, as signed by the Australian Government, was the same as the text presented to this House on the 14th October. It also appears as a schedule to the bill now before the House.

The Relief and Rehabilitation Agreement was signed by the 44 plenipotentiaries of the United Nations, and authorities associated with them in the present war. The .first session of the Council of Unrra was held at Atlantic City, and the leader of the Australian delegation, Sir Owen Dixon, was one of the three vice-chairmen.

The agreement itself, and the resolutions of the first session of the council, have laid the foundations for the organising of relief and rehabilitation. The general objective of Unrra is briefly stated in the preamble of the agreement. All the signatories declared that -

Immediately upon the liberation of any area by the armed forces of the United Nations or as a consequence of retreat of the enemy the population thereof shall receive aid and relief from their sufferings, food, clothing, and shelter, aid in the prevention of pestilence and in the recovery of the health of the people, and that preparation and arrangements shall be made for the return of prisoners and exiles to their homes and for assistance in the resumption of urgently needed agricultural and industrial production and the restoration of essential services.

In pursuing this objective, the chief functions of the administration will be to plan, co-ordinate and administer measures to provide food, fuel, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities, and medical and other essential services for the victims of war. The administration will also arrange for all the necessary ancillary services.

In order to discharge its functions, the administration is organized on the following lines : - The policy-making body of the administration is the council. Each member government is entitled to nominate one representative to the council. The council meets twice a year, but may be called together for special meetings on the request of one-third of its members

Between sessions of the council, a central committee is empowered to make policy decisions of an emergency nature. However, these decisions are open to reconsideration by the council at any regular session or special session. The central committee consists of: (1) representatives of China, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, (2) the director-general, (3) the chairman of the committee of supplies when policy matters affecting supplies are being discussed, and (4) a representative of any member government whose special interests are under discussion.

The committee of supplies is empowered to make recommendations to the council or to the central committee on matters concerning provisions of supplies. A committee for Europe considers policy with respect to relief and rehabilitation within Europe, and a committee for the Far East considers policies with respect to the Far East. Both these committees present their recommendations to the council and central committee. Australia is represented on the committee of supplies and on the committee for the Far East.

Provision is also made for the establishment of such other standing regional and technical committees as the council may consider desirable. Under this power technical committees on agriculture, displaced persons, financial control, health, and industrial rehabilitation and welfare have been created.

The executive authority of Unrra is in the hands of the director-general, who was appointed by the council on the nomination, by a unanimous vote, of the central committee. This office is occupied by Mr. Herbert H. Lehman, formerly Director of the United States Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation.

I now refer to the question of Australia’s contribution to Unrra. The agreement makes a distinction between contributions of supplies and resources and contributions towards administrative expenses. The total amount and character of the contribution of supplies and resources are left for determination byeach member government. However, the undertaking in regard to the payment of administrative expenses is definite and precise. The first session of the council approved of a budget presented by the director-general for the year 1944 and the part of the year 1943, totalling $10,000,000. The Australian quota was fixed at 1.5 per cent., this quota being the same as that for Brazil and the Netherlands, and comparable with that for Canada - 3 per cent. - and that for South Africa, Poland, Belgium and Czechoslovakia - 1 per cent. In the fixing of these quotas, guidance was sought from existing schedules used by other international bodies, and consideration was also given to the supply contributions expected from various countries. The allocation was regarded as provisional, and the quotas may be reviewed before a final determination is made for future years. In terms of currency, the Australian commitment to administrative expenses is $150,000 approximately £A.47,000. This is the only part of our contribution which has been fixed by the council in precise terms.

Regarding the general contribution, the council recommended that each member government whose home territory had not been occupied by the enemy should make a contribution approximately equivalent to 1 per cent, of the national income of the country for the year ended the 30th June, 1943, as determined by the member government. The council recognized that there were cases in which this recommendation might conflict with particular demands arising from the continuance of the war, or might become excessively burdensome, and, therefore, recognized that the amount and character of the contribution recommended was subject to such considerations. It was also recommended that 10 per cent, should be provided in foreign exchange and 90 per cent, in local currency available for the purchase of local supplies and services. The national income for Australia in 1942-43 has been calculated by the Commonwealth Government Statistician as approximately£ A.1,200,000,000. Therefore, if the recommendation of the council were adopted, the Australian Government would accept a commitment to make a total contribution of approximately£A.12,000,000, of which 10 per cent or £1,200,000, would be in foreign currency, and 90 per cent., or £10,800,000, in local currency. A part of the expenditure within Australia might be for the provision of services, but it is clear that the greater part would have to be applied to the procurement of Australian supplies. Preliminary inquiries as to what will be required for the Far East a region for which Australia is one of the obvious suppliers have revealed such diverse needs as foodstuffs, chiefly rice, maize, flour, sugar, milk powder, dehydrated vegetables and meat products; drugs; hospital equipment; household utensils; textiles; madeup clothing; materials for building; implements; roadmaking plant; and so on. Most of these supplies or the national resources needed to produce them are already in demand for the prosecution of the war or to meet our obligations to our own civilian population, and any contribution to relief in the near future will probably have to be made at the expense of some other commitment. In other words, the amount and character of our relief contribution in the form of Australian supplies can only be calculated as a part of our total production and supply programme. Therefore, whilst the Australian Government can enter into a general commitment regarding its contribution to Unrra it will be impossible to specify exactly the date or dates on which we can make the whole or a part of thatcontribution available. Each request for relief supplies will have to be considered on its merits and measured against existing commitments, such as the minimum Australian civilian consumption requirements, military requirernent; reciprocal lend-lease supplies, and export demands, particularly to the United Kingdom.

In view of these conditions, the Government, in seeking parliamentary approval for its contribution to Unrra, does not propose the immediate expenditure of the amount authorized. It is asking Parliament to approve of a total expenditure for this purpose, not exceeding £12,000,000, and, if that approval be obtained, it is proposed -

  1. that Australia should pay immediately our quota to the administrative expenses of Unrra for 1944, namely, £47,000, and
  2. that, in reference to the remainder of the contribution, Australia will inform Unrra that measures have been taken to make the contribution available, and that the use made by Unrra of the amount available in local currency for the purchase of supplies must depend on the availability of the goods required, such availability to be determined by the Government in. respect of each request for supplies as it is made.

In concrete terms this will mean that, onreceiving a request for supplies of a certain commodity for relief purposes, the Australian Government will have to consider the request, having regard to other demands for the same commodity in respect of the conduct of the war or our other commitments. Then we shall have to determine whether the request from Unrra can be met at once and in full. In this connexion I should mention that Australia’s other contributions to relief will be credited to our account under Unrra. As a consequence of the International Wheat Meeting of 1942, Australia agreed to contribute wheat for relief, if required. If our wheat contribution is assessed at, say, £A.7,000,000, such contribution will be credited as a contribution to Unrra. In 1942, also, when the Government obtained a substantial increase of the price of wool under the United KingdomAustralia arrangement, I gave a general undertaking on behalf of the Government that Australia would take its part in the supply of wool for post-war relief. In this case, too, any such contribution will be recognized as a part of Australia’s contribution to Unrra. In order that this policy may be applied, the Government has designated a committee, representative of those branches of the administration chiefly concerned with financial, manpower, production and supply matters, to which requests for contributions of Australian supplies and services for relief purposes within the limit set by Parliament will be referred for examination.

The present bill follows action taken by other governments. On the 29th March a joint resolution of the United States Congress authorized to be appropriated to the President such sums, not to exceed $1,350,000,000 approximately £420,000,000 Australian in the aggregate, as Congress may determine from time to time to be appropriate for participation by the United States in the work of Unrra. The Canadian Parliament, in the Mutual Aid Act passed last month, made an appropriation for Unrra, bringing its total appropriation for this purpose to $77,000,000 about £24,000,000 Australian. In the British House of Commons the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced a Supplementary

Vote of Credit which included provision for an amount of £80,000,000, as the British contribution to Unrra, that sum having been determined as approximately equivalent to 1 per cent, of the national income. In explaining to Parliament why he had adopted the procedure of linking the Unrra contribution with a Vote of Credit mainly for war purposes, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that it was impossible to estimate in advance how much would have to be contributed in a given period. In the United Kingdom, as here, the provision of goods and services to be supplied to Unrra has to be related to the provision of supplies for war purposes.

There are several other matters relating to our international obligations to Unrra to which I should like to refer briefly. First, a voluntary organization, called the Australian Council for Unrra, has been formed in order that the Australian Government may have the assistance and advice of the Australian bodies interested in relief work abroad. The chief object of this body is to provide a means for consultation between the voluntary organizations and the Government on all matters pertaining to overseas relief and rehabilitation; to coordinate activities of non-governmental organizations and individuals interested in overseas relief; to compile a register of organizations and individuals prepared and qualified to engage in overseas relief work and a register of materials and goods available for such work; and generally to advise and assist the Government in matters arising from its membership of Unrra. Over 35 bodies are represented in the organization, including -

Anzac Fellowship of Women.

Australian Board of Missions.

Australian Federation of University Women.

Australian Federation of Women Voters.

Australian Jewish Welfare Society.

Australian Red Cross Society.

Australian Student Christian Movement.

Australian United Nations’ Assembly.

Baptist Church of Australia.

Boy Scouts Association.

British Orphans Adoption Society.

Church Missionary Society of Australia and Tasmania.

Church of Christ.

Church of England.

Commandery of St. John.

Congregational Union of Australia and New Zealand.

European Children’s Relief Fund.

Federal Council of British Medical Association.

Girl Guides Association.

Jewish Advisory Board.

London Missionary Society.

Methodist Church of Australia.

National Council of Women of Australia.

National Missionary Council of Australia.

National Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

Presbyterian Church of Australia.

Roman Catholic Church.

Russian Medical Aid and Comforts Committee.

St. Vincent dePaul Society.

Salvation Army.

The Religious Society of Friends. TocH.

United Emergency Committee for European Jewry.

Young Men’s Christian Association of Australia.

Young Women’s Christian Association of Australia.

A decision of the first session of the Council of Unrra was to the effect that the staff of the Unrra administration should be of an international character, selected upon the basis of individual ability, without discrimination on the grounds of race, nationality or creed, and recruited upon as wide a geographic basis as is possible compatible with efficient administration. The Australian Government is endeavouring to make certain that Australians who are qualified shall have a fair opportunity of employment on the Unrra staff. In this matter we shall be assisted by the Australian Council for Unrra.

In addition to the persons employed on the administrative staff of Unrra, it is anticipated that Unrra will seek the participation of voluntary relief agencies in relief activities for which they have special competence and resources. The extent to which such agencies are used will be determined by the director general in consultation with the government or recognized national authority of the country concerned. Two prominent Unrra officials, Mr. Lithgow Osborne, formerly deputy directorgeneral of the administration in London, and Mr. Rolf Nugent, of the Division of Supply, will shortly visit this country.

Mr Morgan:

– Will the trade union movement co-operate with this organization?


– The trade union movement should be co-operating with it. The suggestion that it should be has been made to me, and I have authorized it to become a member of the voluntary council. I think it important that it should take an active part.

Australia is specially interested in the organization of relief and rehabilitation in the Far East. We are somewhat concerned that greater progress has not been made in preparations for Far East relief. The problem of relief in this region is of very great magnitude. The phrase “ starving millions “ has been used so often that it has lost the full horror of its exact meaning. Yet speaking literally, the liberation of occupied territories will reveal the tragedy of millions of starving people in Asia and neighbouring territories. This great area includes places where primitive conditions, undeveloped communications, and the everpresent danger of epidemics will make the task of relief and rehabilitation extremely difficult. Already relief demands are foreshadowed. They will grow rapidly as the Japanese are pushed back from Burma, from Malaya, from the Indies and Philippines, from China, and from other Pacific islands. The prewar population of the area I mention was over 400,000,000. Through portions of this area, the people have been despoiled and cruelly oppressed by the Japanese invaders. It is essential to the effective planning of relief in this region that the committee for the Far East and the appropriate agencies of the relief administration should be located as soon as possible within the region to be covered, Australia has been active in this connexion, and we anticipate that a satisfactory decision will be made at the next meeting of the Council of Unrra.

I wish to make it clear that the functions of Unrra are confined to relief and rehabilitation. It is not intended, nor is it being equipped, to engage on longterm tasks of international reconstruction. The functions of Unrra may be described as follows: -

  1. Relief supplies, i.e., the supply of essential consumer goods to meet immediate needs, such as food, fuel, clothing, shelter, medical supplies.
  2. Relief services, such as health and welfare; assistance in caring for, and maintaining- records of, persons found in any areas under the control of any of the United Nations, who by reason of war have been displaced from their homes and, in agreement with the appropriate governments, military authorities or other agencies, in securing their repatriation or return; and such technical services as may be necessary for these purposes.
  3. Rehabilitation supplies and services - Materials, such as seeds, fertilizers, raw materials, fishing equipment, machinery and spare parts, needed to enable a recipient country to produce and transport relief supplies for its own and other liberated areas, and such technical services as may be necessary for these purposes.
  4. Rehabilitation of public utilities and services so far as they can be repaired or restored to meet immediate needs, such as light, water, sanitation, power, transport, temporary storage, communications, and assistance in procuring material equipment for the rehabilitation of educational institutions.

Therefore, measures for relief and rehabilitation are different from the major task of reconstruction for the purpose of building up post-war peace and prosperity. None the less, to repair some of the greater ravages of war and to succour the distressed is an essential preliminary to more far-reaching measures. We believe that these objectives of Unrra can be carried out as a prelude to further co-operation between the nations in greater and more enduring tasks.

The passage of. the bill will enable Australia, as one of the United Nations, to discharge its obligations to the people who have been overrun by the armed forces of the enemy. We are determined not only to discharge our duty as one of the United Nations, but also to fulfil our part in a simple act of humanity which will make an appeal to the heart of every Australian.

Mr Morgan:

– Will the functions of Unrra cover such matters as the adoption of war orphans?


– No, not directlyassistance to war orphans, such as their removal to places of safety and their return to their homes, but not adoption.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Holt) adjourned.

page 590


Report of Public Works Committee

Debate resumed from the 2.1st July (vide page 378) on motion by Mr. Lazzarini -

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-1936, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work, which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, and on which the Committee has duly reported to the House the result of its investigations, namely - Erection of a Hostel at Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 590


Review of War Situation - Man-Power

Debate resumed from the 30th August (vide page 400) on motion by Mr. Curtin -

That the following paper be printed: - “The War- Ministerial Statement, 30th August, 1944”.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 590


Second Reading

Prime Minister and Minister for Defence · Fremantle · ALP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This bill is a short and simple one. The main purpose is to extend the classes of persons before whom statutory declarations may be made for Commonwealth purposes. Under the present act a statutory declaration may be made before any of the following persons: -

  1. a police, stipendiary or special magistrate, or a justice of the peace; or
  2. a commissioner for affidavits (Commonwealth or State) ; or
  3. a commissioner for declarations (Commonwealth or State) ; or
  4. a notary public.

This list does not, however, cover all the persons who are, by State law, authorized to take statutory declarations for State purposes. In Western Australia, for example, the persons so authorized include secretaries to road boards, classified officers of the State or Commonwealth Public Service, and members of the police force. In Victoria, the Evidence Act 1941 has given a wide selection of persons before whom statutory declarations may be made for official purposes. Inconvenience is often experienced in obtaining a witness qualified to take a Commonwealth statutory declaration, especially in Western Australia, where settlement is widely spaced. The bill proposes, in clause 2, to meet this difficulty by authorizing any person who may take statutory declarations under the law of a. State to take Commonwealth statutory declarations in the same State. Declarations taken before such persons will, of course, entail the same penalties for false statements as declarations made under the act as it stands at present. Clause 3 of the bill proposes to make a similar alteration in section 7 of the act, which deals with declarations required by Commonwealth laws other than the Statutory Declarations Act. Honorable members will, I am sure, agree that the bill will facilitate public and private business and legal transactions.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

page 591


Commonwealth Grants Commission - Landlord and Tenant Regulations and War Service Moratorium - Nicotine Supplies

Motion (by Mr. Curtin) proposed -

That the House do now adjourn.


.- I take this opportunity to inquire when the eleventh report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission will be made available to honorable members.

Mr Chifley:

– That report will be distributed to honorable members within the next few days.


-Shall we have it before the debate on the budget is resumed?

Mr Chifley:

– Yes.


.- I draw attention to an anomaly disclosed in the operation of the Landlord and Tenant Regulations, which will cause a good deal of inconvenience, and even distress, if an appropriate amendment be not made. It appears that premises, many of them situated at seaside and country resorts, which are frequently let for holiday purposes, are affected not only by the Landlord and Tenant Regulations, but also by the War Service Moratorium Regulations. Regulation 4 of the National Security (Landlord and Tenant) Regulations sets out the premises which are deemed not to be affected by those regulations, and so specifies premises ordinarily listed for holiday purposes. From that provision it would appear that those regulations were not intended to cover premises let for, perhaps, a few weeks, for holiday purposes. However, regulation 30 (1) of the National Security (War Service Moratorium) Regulations provides that the Landlord and Tenant Regulations relating to tenancy and ejectment apply to all premises except premises licensed for the sale of spirituous liquors of which a member of, the fighting services, or a female dependant, or a parent of a member of the services is a tenant. Already one court in Victoria has held that that provision cuts across the provision under the Landlord and Tenant Regulations that premises let for holiday purposes are not to be affected by those regulations. Perhaps, I can make the position clearer by citing a specific case. A woman living at Chelsea, in Victoria, let her own home for a period of four weeks. It was her practice from time to time to let her home for holiday purposes. The incoming tenant was the wife of a member of the services. At the expiry of that period, the owner tried to recover possession of the premises, but was offered rent for a further period of four weeks by the tenant who claimed that as she was the wife of a member of the services she was entitled to remain in the premises. The owner took the case before the local court, and the magistrate was about to give a decision in her favour for the ejectment of the tenant when the clerk . of the court directed his attention to the provision under the War Service Moratorium Regulations to which I have just referred. The magistrate adjourned the hearing in order to study the regulations ; and when the matter again came before him he announced that under the War Service Moratorium Regulations he was not able to issue an order for the ejectment of the tenant. At first sight, honorable members might think that the position is not unsatisfactory if the effect of it is to assure a tenancy to the wife, or a dependant, of. a member of the fighting services; but, quite clearly, the protection provided under the Landlord and Tenant Regulations was not intended to aPPly in the case of premises let for holiday purposes. However, the position now is that many people who quite genuinely desire to rent premises for short holiday periods at seaside or country resorts will be debarred by owners from entering into occupation of such premises because they happen to be the wives or dependants, of members of the services. In fact, I am informed by estate agents that owners in the Chelsea district who desire to let premises for the forthcoming holiday season are now trying to obtain undertakings from prospective tenants that they are not the wives, or dependants, of members of the services. Obviously, this position is unsatisfactory. I am sure that this rather unusual result has developed solely as the result of an anomaly. It appears that the only way in which the position can be met is by amendment of the regulations themselves^ and in view of the approach of the Christmas holiday period for which many lettings are now contemplated, or are actually being made, the position should be rectified in the interests not only of persons desiring to rent premises but also of owners willing to let their premises for holiday purposes. J ask the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) to take up this matter with the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) in order to see whether some appropriate amendment cannot be made to the National Security (War Service Moratorium) Regulations.


.- In supporting the representations just made by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt), I point out that the anomaly to which he has directed attention, has another very undesirable effect. Some members of the fighting services who have been demobilized cannot themselves repossess their own property because of the operation of the National Security (War Service Moratorium) Regulations. This is another instance of a provision operating to the disadvantage of a section of the community which it was designed to protect. I instance the case of a soldier who was demobilized because he was suffering from tuberculosis. Although he owns a property he cannot obtain possession of it because of the operation of these regulations. At the same time, he cannot obtain suitable accommodation elsewhere because of hia complaint. This man took his case to court, but the decision was given against him under the National Security (War Service Moratorium) Regulations, because the tenant was able to say that a member of the family was a member of the services. I am sure that the regulations were not intended to apply in that way. Therefore, in directing attention to this matter, the honorable member for Fawkner is doing a service on behalf of many people of the class I have mentioned particularly at a time when the housing shortage is acute. I hope that the position will be remedied as soon as possible.

Barker · ALP

– I support the representations made by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) and the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) regarding the manner in which certain regulations are being administered. Recently, an unfortunate case from the metropolitan portion of my constituency came to my notice, and the matter has not yet been satisfactorily adjusted. One woman is monopolizing a seven-roomed house, and refuses to allow the owner of the property to occupy two rooms in it. The justification for this position is that the woman’s husband is a member of the Royal Australian Air Force, and although he is not serving abroad he is not stationed in South Australia. I concede willingly that points must be stretched in favour of the relatives of service personnel, but I do not think that by any stretch of the imagination the Commonwealth Government intended that the regulations should be interpreted in such a way as to allow one woman to monopolize in a very busy and overcrowded area a sevenroomed house for her sole accommodation. I ask the Government to examine this matter for the purpose of seeing whether the regulations can be amended in order to give more discretion to some local authority so as to overcome difficulties of this kind.

I now direct the attention of the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Mr. Beasley) to a matter affecting a number of my constituents. During the Minister’s absence in the United States of America, the Acting Minister for Supply and Shipping (Dr. Evatt) agreed to release supplies of raw nicotine; but it now appears that those supplies will be made available only to the manufacturers of certain proprietary medicines for veterinary purposes. My constituents contend that the conditions in their districts are different from those in the areas where these proprietary medicines are made and for which they are made. Therefore, they desire that the raw nicotine shall be made available to them so that they may mix their drenches to suit their own particular requirements. The cost is not a factor to them, being only a few pence a gallon, and one gallon is sufficient for 160 sheep. The point is that no proprietary medicine containing these nicotine compounds is suitable to conditions in these highrainfall districts, which have a substantial carrying capacity for sheep.

Minister for Supply and Shipping · West Sydney · ALP

.- The regulations to which the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) and the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) referred were introduced to prevent wrongful evictions and to safeguard persons in the possession of their homes. The honorable members claim that the regulations, after having been in operation for some time, have created anomalies. That often occurs when acts of Parliament, as well as regulations, have been in force for a period, and I believe that, profiting from experience, when regulations create anomalies, we should make the necessary adjustments. The honorable member for Fawkner has presented a case which warrants immediate attention. He asked me to refer the matter to the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane), but, if he agrees, I shall arrange for him to consult tomorrow with a representative of the Crown Law Department on the matters that have been raised. Arising from their discussions, they can present to me for submission to the Minister for Trade and Customs concrete proposals for alterations to meet the situation.

Mr Holt:

– I am prepared to do that.


– Then I shall make the necessary arrangements. The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) has asked for supplies of raw nicotine to be made available direct to certain primary producers in his constituency because conditions there are different from those in other areas for which proprietary medicines for veterinary purposes are made. This is another instance of where particular cases have been affected detrimentally by the application of a general principle. I shall be pleased to inquire into the honorable member’s representations.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 593


The following papers were presented : -

National Security Act -

National Security (Economic Organization) Regulations - Order - Economic organization (Interest rates).

National Security (Rationing) Regulations - Orders -Nos. 53-55.

House adjourned at 5.15 p.m.

page 594


The following answers to questions were circulated: -

Northern Territory : Selfgovernment - Schools

Mr Archie Cameron:

n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Has he received from the Northern Territory Development League a request for the introduction of local self-government in that territory, and the establishment of a legislative council?
  2. If so, will the Parliament have an opportunity to discuss the proposal before the Government makes a final decision?
Mr Curtin:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. If any such proposal were approved by the Government it would involve an amendment of the Northern Territory (Administration) Act, which would have to be submitted to Parliament.
Mr Archie Cameron:

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

  1. Has he made arrangements to staff the schools in the Northern Territory for 1945?
  2. If so, what arrangements have been made?

Mr. Lazzarini (through Mr. Dedman). - The Minister for the Interior has furnished the following answer: - 1 and 2. The question of the future staffing of schools in the Northern Territory has been under consideration for some time. The matter is to be discussed with a senior officer of the Department of Education, South Australia, in a few days.

Australian Publicity Abroad

Mr Bowden:

n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Has the Government yet given consideration to the suggestion of the Minister for Supply and Shipping, that greatly increased funds should be made available for Australian publicity abroad, particularly in America ?
  2. If so, what expansion of the publicity services is contemplated?
  3. What is the annual expenditure on similar departments in (a) Great Britain, (b) Canada, (c) United States of America, and

    1. d ) Australia ?
  4. What is the population of each of these countries in relation to Australia, and what staff is employed in the information department in each country?
  5. Is it a fact that the refusal of the Commonwealth Government to pay salaries which would attract first-class journalists and photographers to staff positions in the Australian Department of Information is a deterrent to obtaining the best men available?
  6. If so, will he, in the interests of Australian publicity both in this country and overseas, consider an immediate revision of the financial allocation for publicity services with a view to extending Department of Information activities in newspaper, film, radio and other avenues of publicity?
Mr Curtin:

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

  1. The question is being considered.
  2. The Government has before it recommendations for the appointment of press attaches to Australia’s diplomatic representatives in Ottawa, New Delhi, and Wellington, and of other officers of the Department of Information possibly at Chicago and Los Angeles. 3. (a) Great Britain (1943-44), £7,936,000; (b) Canada (estimate for 1944-45), 995,707 dollars or £A280,000; (c) United States of America (estimate for 1944-45), 58,000,000 dollars or £A18,500,000, plus 2,500,000 dollars (£A7 80,000) for domestic publicity; (d) Australia (1943-44) actual expenditure: information £124.007, short-wave £69,369. In addition, publicity censorship cost £44,884. 4. (a) Great Britain, 40,200,000; (b) Canada, 11,500,000; (c) United Stales of America, 131,700,000; (d) Australia, 7,200,000. (Note. - Details of staffs employed in similar departments in other countries are not available. In Australia the total staff numbers 247, of which 88 are in the short-wave division.)
  3. Top-ranking journalists on newspapers are probably more highly paid than men of equal calibre employed by Department of Information, but journalists and photographers of the Department of Information receive, on the average, rates equal to those paid to members of the Australian Journalists Association.
  4. See answers to 2 and 5. The short-wave, film and radio activities of the department are being fully investigated, and plans are in hand for their expansion in the near future.

Publications by Government Departments.

Mr.Curtin. - On the 29th March, the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) asked the following questions, upon notice -

  1. Will the Prime Minister furnish a list of all government publications (other than parliamentary papers and documents of that nature) issued since October, 1941?
  2. What is the cost of each such publication ?
  3. What was the cost of issue of the following documents to date: -

    1. Planning for Peace;
    2. Reconstruction in Australia;
    3. Important speeches, &c, by the Prime Minister?

The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. List of government publications (other than parliamentary papers and documents of that nature) issued since October, 1941, and the cost of each such publication -

Prime Minister’s Department -

Commonwealth Gazette, year 1942-43 - £6,507.

Federal Guide, two issues - £413.

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research -

Bulletins (Nos. 141 to 172), 32 issues! - £2,509 15s. 7d.

Journals (Volumes 14, 15, 16, and 17, and Supplements), thirteen issues - £1,789 7s.6d.

Pamphlets (Nos. 109 to 115), seven issues- £364 18s. 6d.

Circulars (Industrial Chemistry Nos. 1 to 4) (Food Preservation No. 4p), five issues - £110 8s. 7d.

Monograph on Termites - £357 16s. 5d.

Department of Defence -

First Addendum of the 1941 Emergency Formulary of Australia (compiled and published by direction of the Medical Equipment Control Committee), 6,000 copies - £40.

First Australian War Pharmacopoeia, 20,000 copies - £195.

Department of the Army -

Guinea Gold, issued daily. (i)

Table Tops, issued daily. (i)

Army News, issued daily. (i)

CurrentAffairs Bulletin - £4,000. (ii)

Department of the Treasury -

The Job Australia is Doing - £8,336.

Attorney-General’s Department -

Post-war Reconstruction, prepared for the Constitutional Convention, November, 1942- £216 17s. 5d.

Post-war Reconstruction - Notes on the fourteen powers and the three safeguards, issued March, 1944 - £89 12s. 9d.

Current Notes, issued approximately fortnightly cost for 1943, £452.

Diplomatic and Consular List, issued annually cost for 1943, £8 16s. 9d.

Department of Supply and Shipping -

Advice to those in Lifeboats and Rafts of Merchant Ships - £45.

Technical Bulletin of the Tinplate Substitute Container Committee - £10.

Leaflet, Flax Production under War Conditions - £21 15s.

Bulletins (Nos. 1 to 4 and pamphlet, Fuel Economy in Iron Foundries, issued by the Commonwealth Coal Commission £100.

Department of the Interior -

Annual Report of the Activities of the Allied Works Council for the period ended 30th June, 1943 - £914.

Department of Trade and Customs -

Commonwealth Rationing Commission’s Trade Circular, issued monthly - £330.

Meat Bulletin - £120.

Rationing Quiz Booklet, £290; less receipts from sales, £175 - £115.

New Clothes from Old, £790; less receipts from sales, £665- £125.

Planning Meat Ration Meals - £1 1,760.

Department of Health -

Publications issued for the National Health and Medical Research Council -

Survey of War Medicine, supplements to Medical Journal of Australia £372 19s. 7d.

Standard Procedure in the early treatment of air raid casualties on arrival at hospital - £82 6s.10d.

Hospital Treatment of Burns - £101 13s. 4d.

Publications prepared by the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Sydney -

Service reports on tropical diseases of special current importance -

Dengue - £281.

Mosquito Intermediary Hosts of Disease in Australia and New Guinea - £180 14s.

The Intermediary Hosts of Malaria in the Netherlands Indies - £92 17s. 6d.

Reprints of research and studies on tropical diseases and public health, 23 pamphlets- £66 13s. 6d.

Department of Commerce and Agriculture -

Food Front, two issues - £226.

Department of Labour and National Service -

Wartime Lighting Bulletin - includes reprints, £209.

Why Improve Industrial Lighting in Wartime, short extract from Wartime Lighting Bulletin - £9.

To Improve Industrial Lighting in Wartime - £35.

Casualty Treatmentin Wartime Industry -£25.

Oil Dermatitis: Cause, Prevention and Treatment - includes reprints, £16.

How to Reduce Absenteeism and Increase Production - £131.

Dust Hazards in Australian Foundries - £72.

Industrial Welfare Officers - includes reprints, £10.

Repatriation Commission -

An outline of Repatriation - £355 18s. 3d.

Helping the War blinded to see - £78 12s. 7d.

Department of War Organization of Industry -

Pamphlet, And Now . . . All this War Organization, 1,000 copies - £9 15s.

Trade Union Bulletin, Purpose and Work of the Department of War Organization of Industry, 12,250 copies - £16 3s. 6d.

Booklet, War Organization of Industry - What it is and What it does, 6,000 copies - £104 18s.1d.

Trade Union Bulletin, Government Planning, 14,000 copies - £25 4s. 6d.

Department of Home Security -

General -

Evacuation, educational and psychological problems of evacuation, an analysis of experience in England - £51.

Advice to the Public in the event of invasion - £300.

Sow to make a Sandmat - £142.

Civil Defence Bulletins of the Department of Home Security, issued monthly - £220.

Pacific War Zone Map - £50.

Education without schools - £8.

Publications issued under agreement between the Commonwealth and States for the standardization of Civil Defence Training Publications, including -

Handbooks (six) and Supplement, memoranda (two), leaflets (four), pamphlets (two), and instructional charts (three)- £6,323.

Publications issued by the Research and Experiments Section -

Five pamphlets - £147.

Publications issued’ by the Camouflage Section -

Four pamphlets - £393.

Department of Aircraft Production -

Australia’s Aircraft Industry - £64 5s.

Measures to Combat Absenteeism - £61 13s. 6d.

We Think you ought to Know, No. 1 (Sickleave provisions) - £53 10s.

A Bird’s Eye View of Beaufort, first edition, 1943- £13 7s.

A Bird’s Eye View of Beaufort, second edition, 1944- £138 9s. 9d.

The Invisible Crew - £215.

Department of Information -

Forty Facts About Australia’s Wartime Industry - £38 10s.

Thirty Facts about Australia’s Dairying Industry in Wartime - £39 19s. 9d.

Forty Facts about Australia’s Wartime Agriculture - £871s.

Thirty Facts about Health and Social Services - £105 9s. 4d.

Thirty Facts about Repatriation - £166 4s. 6d.

Forty Facts about Australian Manpower £52911s.

For This we Fight - £627 4s. 3d.

You and the Referendum - £2,0441s. 10d.

Fighting Men Speak - £812 14s.

We Can Do Better- £1,078 15s. 4d.

Farming Future - £283 15s. 3d.

Discussion Group Courses - £625 9s. 7d.

SouthWest Pacific - Portion of costs paid by department in respect of issues Nos. 2 and 3, £180 6s. 8d.

Facts and Figures of Australia at War, quarterly; commenced July, 1943; total copies, four issues, 42,206 - £708 15s. 3d.

Home News for the Australian Fighting Forces, commenced July, 1943 cost inclusive of distribution, £2,273 12s. 7d.

Jungle Trail - £801 lis. 2d. (iii)

Battle of Wau - £796 19s. 8d.(iii)

Battle of the Ridges - £986 17s. 6d.(iii)

I lived in Japan - £211 . 12s.1d.

Fifty Facts about Britain at War - £117 5s. 6d.

Know Australia - £930.

  1. Planning for Peace - £35 12s.

Social Security & Reconstruction - £60.

Reconstruction in Australia - £15.

Digest of Decisions and Announcements, &c, by the Prime Minister - £1,471 7s. 2d.

Notes. - (i) The papers are financed from the profits of the canteens services and no cost to the publicis involved.

  1. The cost shownin respect of this paper, whichis published fortnightly, is for the financial year 1943-44.
  2. The amounts shown are recouped by the revenue received from the sale of these publications.

Owen Gun.

Mr.Francis asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

Has his attention been drawn to an article in a Sydney weekly paper dated the 6th August, headed “ They’re making Owen Bankrupt “, in which it is stated that the Government has paid Mr. Owen, inventor of the Owen gun, a miserable royalty of 5s. a gun and demanded the equivalent of 4s. back in taxation, leaving him1s.?

Is it a fact, as stated, that Mr. Owen is now faced with a taxation liability which will put him through the bankruptcy court, and that, to buy his freedom from this crushing taxation burden, he has offered the Commonwealth his patents, free of encumbrance or further royalty payments if the taxation is waived ? 3.If the facts are as stated, will he order an immediate review of the matter with a view to waiving the claim for taxation and rewarding Mr. Owen suitably for an invention which saved Australia thousands of lives and an enormous sum of money?

Mr Chifley:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. Mr. Owen’s tax liability in respect of his royalties has not yet been determined by the Taxation Department, but the matter is being fully investigated.
  3. When Mr. Owen’s tax liability is finally determined his offer will receive consideration by the Government.

Clover Seed

Mr Archie Cameron:

n asked the Minis ter for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

  1. Has the embargo on the export of clover seed to New Zealand been lifted?
  2. Has he considered the petition of clover seed growers of Mr Barker, South Australia?
Mr Scully:

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

  1. Yes. A survey of the subterranean clover seed position was undertaken to determine what volume of seed could be exported to New Zealand without seriously shortsupplying our own requirements. As a result of this survey it has been determined that the export to New Zealand of 70 tons of clover seed can he permitted and merchants have been advised accordingly.
  2. Yea. Consideration was given to the position of clover seed growers at Mr Barker and representations in their petition were taken into account in arriving at the decision set out in.l above.

Vegetable Production

Mr Archie Cameron:

n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

  1. What was the vegetable production target for 1948-44 t
  2. By how much did production exceed or fall short of the target!
Mr Scully:

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

  1. The production target set for vegetables in 1943-44 was 467,800 acres.
  2. Statistics giving details of production have not yet been released by the Commonwealth Statistician, but it jb understood that preliminary figures show an acreage of approximately 455,000’ to have been actually bowd. Plantings of potatoes and blue peas exceeded the targets, and with most other vegetables plantings were slightly above or only slightly under the targets. The only real exception was green peas for canning, for which the target was set at a very high level, and although plantings were very considerably in advance of the previous year the target was not attained.

Meat Industry

Mr Fadden:

n asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice -

  1. Has his attention been drawn to a report and to a leading article in the Melbourne Stook and Land of the 30th August, in which grave concern is expressed concerning the outlook for the approaching meat export season in Victoria because of the absence of an assurance that there will be sufficient transport to convey the stock to processing works and markets f
  2. Will he examine the reports in question and make a statement on the subject?
  3. Will he alao consider the request of the Victorian Graziers Association that he should resume the conference held on the 15th May, 1944, so that a public statement can be made as to steps taken to have the available stock transported and .processed!
Mr Ward:
Minister for External Territories · EAST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

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

  1. No.
  2. I would add that the matter referred to has been the subject of conference between officers of the Food Controller and the Department of Transport, and the latter are arranging transport with the Victorian railways on the best basis possible in view of general transport restrictions.

Pacific Conference - Australian Minister to Moscow

Dr Evatt:

t. - On the 1st September the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) asked the following questions, upon notice : -

  1. Does he still contemplate calling the conference of powers having territorial interests in the South and South-West Pacific, which he said in February would be convened by Australia as boob as practicable! If not, why not?
  2. Sid he receive any reports on the activity of the Australian Minister to Moscow as official intermediary between the Russian and Polish Government? If go, will he lay them on the table?

I propose to make a statement to the House shortly in which I shall deal inter alia with the matters raised by the honorable member.

  1. Yes.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 September 1944, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.