17th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. J. S. Rosevear) took the chair ait 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– -Will the Minister for External Affairs state the policy of the Government in relation to the appointment of heads of Australian missions in countries overseas? Does the Government intend to continue the present system of making what are exclusively political appointments?
– Who instituted that policy?
– I have no knowledge of past practice and am referring only to the present. Is it intended also to make appointments from the ranks of Australia’s diplomatic service, some members of which not only have given excellent service to this country, but also have considerable seniority?
– The policy of the Government is to appoint the best men, irrespective of whether or notthey are connected with politics, or are members of the Commonwealth Public Service or diplomatic staffs. The honorable member will have no cause to complain at any time about any appointment made by this Government.
Prices Control in South Australia.
– Will the Minister forCommerce and Agriculture, at a convenient time, perhaps on the motion for the adjournment of the House this afternoon, give information concerning the present position of vegetablegrowers in South Australia as the result of the unusual price levels imposed on them by the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner which caused a strike lasting two days?
– I will not promise to make a statement this afternoon, but I shall have an investigation made and at the next sitting will supply the information which the honorable member seeks.
– No . provision has been made for the release from the Army, through the manpower authorities, of many young men who have hadmilitary service extending over five years and are B class, and the Army contends that they cannot be released on compassionate grounds. Some of them are associated with small businesses which, during their absence, have been carried on by their wives or fiancees, and they wish to be released in order that they may personally attend to them. Will the Minister for the Army take up their case with the War Cabinet?
-The answer is “Yes”; the representations of the. honorable member will be taken into consideration.
– Some time ago, the
Prime Minister stated that a Cabinet sub-committee was dealing with the problem of migration. Is the right honorable gentleman able to state what progress has been made in the discussions? In view of the rapidity with which events are moving in Europe, is he satisfied that our machinery is developed sufficiently far to deal with the problem as the conditions make that course desirable?
Mr.CURTIN. - I am not yet in a position to make to the House a statement in the amplitude with which this matter should be dealt with if it is to be adequately covered. A statement dealing with aspects of it would only give rise to controversy, and to a discussion which might give a distorted view of Australia’s generalpolicy on the subject. The events, which I understand the honorable gentleman to imply are associated with the prospects of the early victory of the Allied forces, are not in any way affecting the speed with which the matter is being dealt with, or at which results can he achieved.
– In view of the fact that current stocks of hay are being exhausted, will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture state whether or not action has been taken by the Government to ensure that growers of hay shall be given sufficient inducement to produce adequate supplies of fodder for the coming season?
– During the early part of this week, a conference was held at which a determination was reached between the officers of my department and the Prices Commissioner. I hope that an early announcementwill be made by the Prices Commissioner, or throughmy department, which will give sufficient inducement to primary producers toconserve a large portion of their hay.
-I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether or not the Commonwealth briefed Mr. H. G. Alderman, K.C., of Adelaide, and Mr. J. S. Hutcheon, K.C., of Brisbane, to represent it in connexion with a legal action in the High Court, sitting in Brisbane this week, in relation to a 53-year-old punt sold by the Brisbane City Council for£25 in 1931, and later acquired by the Department of the Navy, whilst the opposing counsel, representing the Queensland Government, was Mr. T. McLaughlin, who is not a King’s Counsel? Did Mr. McLaughlin, during the course of the action, state that it seemed a pity that the taxpayers’ money should be spent on such a small action? What is the number of qualified barristers and solicitors employed in the office of the Deputy Crown Solicitor, Brisbane? Why was it necessary to engage, at public expense, an Adelaide King’s Counsel and a Queensland King’s Counsel to represent the Commonwealth ?
– I understand that the Department of the Navy has retained counsel to appear on behalf of the Commonwealth in all compensation claims in connexion with vessels that have been requisitioned, in order that all cases may be presented uniformly, wherever they may happen to be heard. I shall inquire as to what are the facts in this case.
– Has- the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the announcement yesterday in the press and over the air, that the War Department of the United States of America proposes the partial demobilization of the American fighting services upon the defeat of Germany? As the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Churchill, has already announced that there will be a substantial demobilization of British fighting forces after the defeat of Germany, will the right honorable gentleman indicate whether or not the whole position will he reviewed in the light of that happy event, with the object of considering what contribution towards further service shall be made by each member of the Allied Nations, taking into account service already given and the capacity of each such member ?
– The consultations which are constantly proceeding between the Allied Governments in regard to the conduct of the war, involve the preparations that have to be made for the defeat of Japan as well as of Germany. Upon the Combined Chiefs of Staff devolves the responsibility of formulating and directing what shall be the composition of the forces that are to be disposed against our present joint enemies, of whom there were three not so long ago. They obtain those forces from the assignments that are made by the Allied Governments. Each country has complete sovereignty over the forces that it will assign to commands. The question as to what Great Britain, the United States of America, or Russia is doing or will do, is in the same category as what the Commonwealth of Australia is doing or will do. Each of those countries recognizes a mutual responsibility to the ‘ethers. At the same time, the problems of the whole of them are well understood by the leaders of all of them. There has been no misunderstanding, except by uninformed persons, respecting the changes that are being effected in the strength of the Australian fighting forces, and I am quite certain that Australia will not misunderstand any announcements in regard to the demobilization of certain forces by either the United Kingdom or the United States of America.
Motion (by Mr. Curtin) agreed to - That the House, at its rising, adjourn to Wednesday next, at 3 p.m.
– The Prime Minister has stated that a sub-committee of Cabinet has been appointed to consider the report of the Secondary Industries Commission in regard to the use of munitions works and annexes for the production of domestic articles. Will the right honorable gentleman indicate the policy of the Government in this regard?
– Throughout this week, the House has been occupied in determining a matter of great moment that was introduced to it by the Leader of the Opposition. Before the end of the present sessional period, there will be opportunities for the Government to state its policy as it is developed, and to deal with particular aspects of it in which, perhaps, the House is interested and with respect to which the country has a right to be informed. There will not be a final statement because a great deal of work yet remains to be done, but a statement of principle will be made.
– Will the Treasurer state whether the workers’ homes built at Glen Davis, which cost the Commonwealth Government£800 each, have been sold to the local building society for£750 each, on the understanding that the balance of£50 is to be applied to the replacement of the foundations of the buildings, many of which have not yet been occupied?
– There are many aspects of the housing problem at Glen Davis. One is that a building society, known as the Community Advancement Society, operates in that town. Prior to the Commonwealth undertaking building operations there that society made arrangements with the Commonwealth Bank for an advance of£100,000 for the purpose of building houses. It is true that certain houses built by the Warworkers Housing Trust at that centre have been transferred at a price to the Community Advancement Society. In addition, various cottages have been built there under other conditions. It would probably be advisable for me to arrange for the Minister in charge of the Warworkers Housing Trust to prepare a statement giving details of the operations. I am speaking only from memory, but I may say that some of the houses built by the Commonwealth Government have been transferred to the Community Advancement Society at a price somewhat lower than their original cost. I shall see that the information desired is made available.
– I have asked the Min ister for Air several questions as to when the public is likely to be informed of the result of an inter-departmental inquiry regarding urgent matters connected with civil aviation in Australia, the future of the air companies in this country, and the careers of members of the Royal Australian Air Force now being demobilized, who may desire to obtain employment in civil aviation services. Has the Minister yet taken the matter to Cabinet, and will he table the report of the inquiry before the budget proposals are discussed?
-FORD. - T he matter has not yet been before Cabinet, but it has received consideration by a Cabinet subcommittee. It is still under consideration, and I am hoping that it will be taken to Cabinet at an early date. Civil aviation companies have not hesitated to exert pressure in many directions in order to serve their own interests. It is not likely that the Government will announce its policy on the matter before full consideration has been given to it.
– Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture take immediate measures to prevent the Central Wool Committee from erecting wooden buildings for the storage of wool on property ownedby the Commonwealth Government, in defiance of the local municipal authorities, although the land has been set aside for the erection of homes for ex-servicemen, and is now being used as the Matraville soldiers’ settlement?
– I am not aware of the anticipated erection of such buildings by the Central Wool Committee, but I shall immediately take the matter up with the committee and call for an early report on it.
Improvement of Quality
– Can the Minister for War Organization of Industry indicate the action taken by the Production Executive, following a report by the special committee of inquiry into the manufacture of woollen cloth in Australia? Has action been taken to improve the standard of the cloth being made at present?
-The question of the quality of the cloth being produced in Australia was referred to the Tariff Board for report. When the report was submitted to the Production Executive, it decided to give effect to all of the recommendations, and that is being done through the Minister for Supply and Shipping, who is in charge of the production of all textiles in Australia.
– Will the Minister for War Organization of Industry consider withdrawing the regulations which impose a quota on, country butcher shops in respect of beef which is not required in the metropolitan areas, and will not be exported? Will he also consider the withdrawal of the regulations with respect to the licensing of butcher shops in rural areas?
– That matter falls within the jurisdiction of the Minister for Trade and Customs, and is controlled by the Rationing Commission. I shall bring the question to the notice of the Minister concerned, and see that a reply is furnished to the honorable member.
Removal or Shelters
– When Mr. Bradley, K.C., recently inquired into “ quota sold “ problems in Brisbane, he drew attention to the unsightly air-raid shelters still to be seen there and in other cities. Will the Prime Minister ascertain from the military authorities whether the time is now opportune for the removal of those structures, and, if they could be removed with safety, will the necessary man-power be made available for the work?
– The state of the war would permit of the removal of the shelters in Brisbane and in some of the other cities throughout Australia but not all of them. The controlling factor is the need for allocation of the resources at hand to the best advantage. In view of the priorities which must operate with regard, to essential things, I am afraid that desirable changes in city amenities, to which the Government would like to give effect, must be delayed. In his budget speech yesterday, the Treasurer indicated that the cost of the removal of air-raid shelters will be allowed) as a deduction for income taxation purposes.
– Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture inform the House whether the Government has formulated plans to assist primary producers who are suffering from the effects of the devastating drought which prevails throughout a large portion of the wheat producing areas of Australia? Some of the growers are experiencing the second year in which they have had no return for their labours. What preparations, if any, are in hand, and will the Minister expedite them, in view of the great urgency of the matter?
– Following earlier submissions from the honorable member, I have recently discussed that matter with the Treasurer, and we are now making a survey of the drought position in the respective States. I hope to be able, at an early date, to submit to the Treasurer a report as to how much Government assistance may be necessary. I understand that the matter was discussed at the last meeting of the Loan Council, and that a definite understanding was reached.
– Substantial provision was to be made by the States.
– The whole matter will be investigated at the earliest possible opportunity.
Planning foe Peace - World Organizations.
. - by leave - Events are moving rapidly towards the’ downfall of the second of the three Axis partners. So great a climax has been made possible only by the sustained devotion of the armed forces, and of the peoples and leaders of the Allied Nations. The prospect of complete victory over Germany, so remote from us, first in 1940, then again in 1942, lifts a tremendous burden from the hearts of all. We are entitled to rejoice. But the Allies must seize this second opportunity - probably the last opportunity for the democracies - of preventing another world war. Victory in Europe will be the prelude of another and even greater task - that of establishing the foundations of a new kind of peace, a peace which will signify, not only the absence of war, but a positive development towards the great objectives declared in the Atlantic Charter.
For some time past, discussions have been taking place among the United Nations, covering, not only armistice terms, but general plans for maintaining and safeguarding the future, peace of the world. In discussing these problems it should be remembered that the Pacific war has still to be won, and that it would be dangerous to encourage the notion that, after the defeat of Hitler, a world settlement can be completed and perfected. On the contrary, specially great tasks of statesmanship will have to be undertaken; for instance, guarding against the effects of acute war weariness in Europe, and bringing the Pacific war to its end at the very earliest point of time. Even provisional decisions as to the world settlement must be subject to these vital reservations. But, even now, public discussion and debate will be very helpful.
Australia, as an active belligerent in two world wars, has an obvious concern in the success of international planning aiming at the prevention of future wars. In such planning we have contributed and are contributing our quota. Australia, not only as one of the United Nations which has shared the burden of war, but also as a nation with a recognized international status, exercises the right to participate in post-hostilities planning. Such a right is impliedly accorded by the reiteration in the Moscow Four-power Declaration of 1943 of the sovereign equality of States.
But in this case the rights of the British self-governing Dominions have a much firmer foundation than this abstract principle of international law, despite its general importance. Like the people of Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, the people of Australia have’ paid, and are paying, a heavy price for their share in the victory which will save the whole world from tyranny. The war effort of Australia has been a notable one. On the battlefields of the world,83,000 casualties have been sustained. No less than 72 per cent. of Australia’s man-power has been engaged in the armed forces or in war production or other essential industry. Of its total population, 12.4 per cent. has enlisted in the armed forces. “When an estimate was made a few months ago, more than 40 per cent. of the total male labour force of the country was engaged in the forces or direct war work, compared with less than 1 per cent. at the outbreak of war. The valiant deeds of Australia’s service men have been performed in almost every theatre of this global war. Proportionately speaking, the efforts of the four self-governing dominions of the British Commonwealth bear fair comparison even with the massive efforts of the most powerful of the Allied nations. These considerations should establish a special place for Canada, Australia, New Zealand , and South Africa in the councils, not only of the Empire, but also of the world.
Because of its vulnerable position, Australia is vitally concerned in the establishment of a successful peace and a world security system, and as portion thereof, a regional defence system. While we can derive incalculable advantage from a world security system we must on our part be prepared to assume our fair share of military responsibility in the working of the system. In the Australian-New Zealand Agreement, both Dominions have already indicated their willingness to accept that share of responsibility.
In considering the problem of peace, it seems very desirable that the final and definite peace settlements, with Japan as well as Germany, should be preceded by the establishment of permanent machinery by the United and Associated Nations, aimed first at the maintenance of world peace, and secondly at the promotion of economic and social welfare. In other words, there should be a better prospect of enduring peace settlements if they were made against the background, and subject to theoperation, of an established world system of security rather than if they were made immediately after the surrender of our enemies.
Security against Aggression.
The first problem is that of security against aggression. To this end mere declarations of general principle are not enough. The nations of the world must establish orderly proceduresby which any particular international dispute which may lead to war can be adjusted promptly, by which any threat to use force will be countered not by the single state threatened, but by the authority of the security organization. For that purpose the organization must, in one way or another. have control of sufficient military force either to- prevent or to make a quick end to any armed ‘conflict.
Therefore, measures aiming at security against war should be based upon a world organization. The constitutional machinery for that organization is already in the making. In its planning we have the past failures - and successes - of the League .of Nations to guide us. That experience shows, above all, that, in order to prevent aggression, the nations represented in any security organization, and particularly those who are its leaders, must have the will to use physical force against a proved aggressor.
The Responsibility of the Great Powers.
The overwhelming preponderance of the world’s armed strength now lies in the hands of three .powers - Great Britain, the United States of America and the Soviet Union. The military power of each one of these powers is so great that any security system which did not have the full backing of all three would have little chance of success. Equally, it is doubtful whether, if any one of these three were minded to commit tin act of aggression, it could be checked by anything less than another world conflict, which it is the primary purpose of a ny security organization to avoid.
It follows, first, that it is basic to the success of any world organization that each of the three great powers must be ready to renounce war as an instrument of national policy, and a means must be found for composing amicably any differences amongst the Big Three; and, secondly, that the three great powers must act unitedly against aggression or threats to peace on the part of any other nation. While this may sound like what is called “ power .politics “, it is only bare common sense, having regard to the experience gained in the working of the League of Nations.’
Fortunately, we already have important guarantees for the future in such documents as the Anglo-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance and the Four-Power Declaration on Peace and Security. In pursuance of the Moscow Declaration, officials of each of the four powers have been meeting to draft plans for the establishment of an international organization for peace and security. That meeting of officials, and the world conference which must follow it, are of supreme significance to Australia.
Because of the importance of this .particular matter, I have prepared a collection of the more important of the relevant declarations and commitments entered into by the great powers. In general the picture they present is one of firm resolve to maintain peace and security.
There is another side to the problem. The community of nations consists of small and near-great .powers as well as the Big Three or the Big Four. The second .part of the problem of world organization is to ensure that these leading powers will pay due regard to the old but still cherished doctrine of equality of States. They should allow fair representation to smaller powers on any world organization, and so gain their confidence and support. No sovereign State, however small, will wish to think that its destiny has been handed over to another power, however great. Nor does history at all support the view that wisdom is confined to the strongest nations or that knowledge is -found only at the centre of power. Therefore, a successful world organization requires an enthusiastic contribution from smaller powers, both in counsel and in material support. It must be remembered that a so-called small power may in certain areas and in special circumstances possess great, if not decisive, influence.
This leads to the inference that, within the world security organization, almost every power will have a significant contribution to make, at any rate in relation to regional matters or to particular subjects. For every nation, quite irrespective of its area or population, has a recognized international status, and every nation, the small perhaps even more than the great, has a stake in the preservation of peace.
The immediate objective is to maintain for as long as (possible that war-time comradeship and solidarity of the leaders of the big powers while, at the same time, protecting the interests of the small, especially those allied nations who will have contributed very materially to the overthrow of the Axis aggressors. But as time goes on allied leaders will change, and therefore it is important to consider the permanent machinery of the new organization for world peace and world welfare.
For purpose of discussion, it can be assumed that any proposed world organization would include an assembly representative of all member states, and an executive authority consisting of the larger powers, together with a selected number of other powers. There would be a permanent secretariat. There would also be a permanent court of justice to which will be referred all those disputes between nations which are capable of adjudication by reference to existing international obligations.
One important point is that the representation of the smaller powers on the executive authority should be adequate to ensure a balanced outlook on world affairs and so increase confidence in all executive decisions. Further, the executive should be so constituted that no distinct region of the globe and no important group of nations should be left unrepresented upon it. It is also the view of Australia and New Zealand and, judging’ by one important reference of Mr. Churchill, that within the framework of the supreme world organization a place should be found for regional groups of powers subject to the world organization, but empowered by it to exercise jurisdiction over local or special questions such as joint defence measures, and the welfare of native peoples within the selected region.
Further, it can be assumed that the immediate duties connected with the prevention of war will be vested in, and discharged by, the executive authority of the world organization. While justiciable disputes will go to the permanent court, the vast majority of the non-justiciable disputes must come in the first instance before the executive. Decisions of that body, in order to be effective, will have to be arrived at promptly and also in such a manner that they will be backed by a force so clearly preponderant as to dissuade any party to the dispute from having recourse to war.
It is argued that there are only two possible ways of ensuring that any executive decision is promptly carried into effect ; first by making a decision that will be convenient to the major powers; and secondly, by making a decision in accordance with a declared principle which all members of the world organization have previously pledged themselves to support. Then it is argued that the first method must be objectionable as it will necessarily turn upon the expediency of the particular decision so that the old game of “ power politics “ will be perpetuated in a new international setting.
It is said that, by adopting the second method, success will be more likely. Nations should, it is said, be in a position to declare and define certain common principles of non-aggression, and they should be prepared to uphold these declarations of principles against any nation which infringes them.
I see no real contradiction between these methods of procedure. The machinery of world organization must be neither too rigid nor too flexible. The great powers will only come together at all upon the implied understanding that they as well as smaller powers must refrain from acts of aggression. All will recognize that the success of any organization will depend, not only on its machinery, but also on the spirit that animates its members and their abiding faith in the possibility of maintaining peace through joint action. That spirit cannot be impeded, and may be greatly assisted by a general declaration of guiding principles.
In accordance with this, I quote the wise advice of the American Secretary of State, Mr. Cordell Hull, in his speech of the 9th April last. He said that any organization to maintain peace and prevent aggression -
Mr. Cordell Hull also said ;
It must provide for the maintenance of adequate forces to preserve peace and it must provide institutions and procedures for calling these forces into action to preserve peace.
Within the framework of the world organization, the part of the permanent court can and should, in my view, become far more important. The body of international law applicable to international controversies should expand. As principles are declared, the range of justiciable disputes will be widened. Many so-called non-justiciable disputes will become justiciable and, if so, to use the phrase of the late Mr. Justice Higgins in connexion with the Commonwealth court, will open up in the international field many “new provinces for law and order “.
Relationship of Security from Aggression to Welfare.
Lasting world peace is not a negative but a positive concept. It is not enough to undertake obligations not to resort to arms or by the application of force to carry out a particular executive decision or to settle a justiciable dispute before a permanent or ad hoc international tribunal. A permanent system of security can be made effective and acceptable only if it has a foundation in economic justice. Indeed, real stability in the post-war period can be achieved only by building a way of life in which the various nations and peoples can live together in prosperity as well as in security. Therefore, the Australian Government has consistently taken up the position that nonsecurity matters covering economic, social and welfare plans, some of which have already been agreed upon, should also be pushed ahead with vigour.
Peace is not merely the absence of war. The Atlantic Charter foreshadowed freedom from want as well as a system of international security. Mr. Cord ell Hull has recently said -
Along with arrangements by which nations may be secure and free, must go arrangements by which men and women who compose these nations may live and have the opportunity through their efforts to improve their material condition.
In my recent statement to this House on the 19th July last, I outlined in some detail the stage reached in the United Nations’ plans for post-war welfare and collaboration. These include the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, United Nations Commission for the Investigation of War Crimea, Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, Convention for an International Wheat Agreement, a plan for a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, existing organizations such as the International Labour Office, an Australian proposal for an International Agreement on Employment, and certain monetary proposals, which were then being considered on the official level.
I am attaching as a further annex to this statement a review of existing world organizations. It will be seen from this document that there are certain very useful organizations, notably the International Labour organizations which do not have to be re-created, and which must be recognized in the general scheme of United Nations world organization plans. These would include, for instance, the Drug Supervisory Body and Permanent Central Opium Board, the Financial and Economic Section of the League, and the Health Organization of the League.
Since my July statement, there have been three important developments in the economic sphere. Certain monetary proposals have been referred to governments for their consideration. The texts of these, with a report by the Australianrepresentative, will be considered by the House in due course. At this stage the only comment I would make is to refer to my suggestion of October last to the effect that, admittedly, such proposals, though of undoubted importance, have to be viewed in the light of the overriding objective of full employment and improving living standards. In this connexion I direct special attention to the efforts of the Australian officials at the Monetary Conference to put forward the desirability of obtaining an international agreement on employment.
Since July last, there has also been referred to this Government a formal proposal for the establishment of the International Food and Agriculture Organization. The declared purpose of this organization is to raise levels of nutrition, to secure improvements in the efficiency of the production and distribution of all food and agricultural products, to better conditions of rural populations, and in other ways to contribute towards an expanding world economy. The organization will rely upon methods such as research, dissemination of knowledge, advice to member .governments, work with other international organizations, and assistance in promoting world organization of certain commodities The obligations imposed are confined mainly to the making of reports and to contributing to the expenses of the organization. This proposal, like the monetary proposals, will be submitted for the consideration of Parliament.
The third matter of importance is the recent International Labour Organization Conference at Philadelphia. The Minister for ‘Supply and Shipping (Mr. Beasley) and the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard), were the governmental representatives at the conference and the report will be tabled in the House very soon. It demonstrates the vigorous way in which Mr. Beasley argued before the International Labour Organization the Australian ‘Government’s consistent thesis that successful post-war collaboration between the powers will depend largely upon the determination of the United Nations, especially the major powers, to pursue internal policies designed to obtain maximum levels of employment and increased standards of living. Whether international affairs are regarded from the point of view of Australian financial, industrial, or export interests, or from the point of view of creating conditions which will help to remove causes of aggression, we invariably return to the conclusion that it is of crucial importance that the nations should pursue domestic policies of maximum employment. The Australian Government first advanced this thesis in July, 1943, in relation to the Hot Springs Conference on food and agriculture. At every subsequent conference, and on many occasions since then, the same point of view has been stressed. Gradually, its implications have been understood and appreciated. After a long struggle, Mr. Beasley was successful in persuading the conference to carry the following recommendation to member governments, viz. : -
The Conference recommends to Governments that a conference of representatives of the Governments of the United, associated, and other Nations, willing to attend, be called at an early date, in association with the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, to consider an international agreement on domestic policies of employment and unemployment, and this Conference pledges the full co-operation and the assistance of the International Labour Organization in calling such a conference on employment, and in helping to carry into effect appropriate decisions it might make.
This resolution is an important step forward. The Australian Government is already urging that the proposed conference shall be called as soon as possible. Fortunately, there is already a large measure of appreciation by all the nations of the British Common,wealth of the importance of making domestic policies concerning employment a subject for international negotiation and international agreement.
Because of the importance which the Australian Government attaches to this international employment agreement, I have prepared a set of official Australian statements explaining this policy and also attach it as an annex to this statement.
Australia’s thesis, stated shortly, is that food and agriculture organizations, wheat agreements, commercial policy proposals, and the like, cannot by themselves prevent widespread and periodic unemployment in the post-war . period. Each of these schemes should be approached in the light of an overall plan for international collaboration aiming at the two supreme objectives of security from aggression and freedom from want. We believe that an international agreement concerning employment is basic to such an overall plan. Without it, isolated proposals might not only fail, but might even impose restrictions and burdens on certain countries without providing compensating benefits. Australia, in its consistent advocacy of the employment approach in international economic collaboration, has, I submit, performed a notable pioneer service. In our view much will still depend on whether the majority of the powers are willing to make the policy of maintaining maximum employment the subject, not only of continuous international consultation, but of an international agreement. Our view is that to a very large extent the prosperity of Australia is dependent upon the prosperity of such peoples as, say, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and New Zealand : in short, that from an international aspect prosperity is not only as indivisible as security, but also actively promotes security.
There are also arrangements or proposed arrangements covering matters which are important from both security and welfare aspects. These include oil, rubber, civil aviation, and communications. Our general policy with respect to all is that, as far as possible, they should be dealt with as a matter of international concern. These subjects do not affect two or three nations alone, or only two or three commercial groups. Oil is of vital interest to all nations, particularly those without natural oil resources. Rubber is a commodity of major importance to the welfare of the peoples of the areas north of Australia, and we are most interested in any international scheme concerning it. Civil aviation, we believe, should be subject to far-reaching international control, rather than left to the bargaining power of national commercial interests backed by their governments. Similarly, communications are a service specially adapted for international regulation or control. The problem of strategic materials and communications has a close connexion with the question of world security, and measures of international co-operation in regard to them both should be co-ordinated with the work of any world organization for security.
One great danger that should not be overlooked is this: after military defeat, Nazi organization may be continued, not only by underground activity, but also by control in German interests of patent rights in such vital war materials as beryllium, magnesium, synthetic rubber, optical instruments, synthetic nitrogen, drugs, and electrical and other equipment. A warning of this danger was recently pronounced by the Attorney-General of the United States of America, who pointed out how international cartel and monopoly arrangements might be manipulated in the interests of long+term plans for German rearmament. I think that all of us will agree with the view of the United States of America that I have mentioned that in such cases rigid international control by governments, whatever its difficulty, is preferable to control by private international monopolies which may be exploited in the interests of a would-be aggressor as they were after the last war.
The climax of the war in Europe, bringing with it the downfall of a great military and industrial power and a deep, complex of attendant political and economic questions, will test to the utmost the responsibility and judgment of the leaders of the United Nations. According to the policies followed after military victory, and even now in the final stage preceding victory, Europe can make or mar the stability of the whole post-war world order.
Understanding between Three Powers.
The starting point in the exercise of the right policies in Europe must be the closest understanding and means of working together between Britain, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America. The evidence that this understanding exists and is already being applied in practice is a fact which all other countries welcome unreservedly. It appears partly from formal arrangements like the Anglo-Soviet Treaty, with its undertaking for British-Soviet co-operation in ensuring European peace for a long period ; and in the working of the European Advisory Commission, consisting of representatives of the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Russia, whose function is to put agreed recommendations to the three governments on matters immediately arising out of the termination of hostilities with European enemy states. The understanding depends also in an equally important way on the extent to which the three powers have already collaborated on matters of general, as distinct from purely European, scope, such as world organization and international agreements on special subjects. British, American and Russian understanding over the conduct of European affairs is of such prime and over-riding necessity that matters of procedure, and minor questions of policy which may be sources of friction or irritation, should be kept in due subordination to the main end.
The Responsibilities and Interests in Europe of Smaller Powers.
The European settlementis of the highest concern to the whole world. Therefore countries other than the three principal powers must share to some extent the responsibility for such settlement. The two world wars show conclusively that, even if we wished, Australia could not contract out of Europe. We may be committed irretrievably by what is done in Europe. It is our plainest obligation to do all in our power to see that the commitment is an acceptable one.
What can be done by us depends partly upon the extent of Australian participation, or influence, either direct or indirect, in the controls set up during the highly important formative period after the armistices; but mainly on our ability to see and express clearly the lines of sound policy. As so many of these matters are the subject of almost daily diplomatic exchanges with other governments, especially those of the British Commonwealth of Nations, it is not possible to discuss them without reserve. However, it is possible to suggest some salient points. It is a cardinal interest of Australia that there should be a stable, peaceful and prosperous Europe which will no longer be a breeding ground of future conflict. This result will not be attained without a positive contribution from all those United Nations which have been directly concerned with the war in Europe.
Countries like Australia should try to see that, as a first step, the way should be thrown wide open for the resurgence of democracy in Europe. We have most to hope and least to fear from a Europe in which a people’s war has been carried through to a people’s peace. It is our plain interest to encourage actively, as well as by acquiescence, a revival of European democratic institutions. Only on that basis, realistically and solidly founded on the will of millions of people who have suffered the horrors of fascism for five years, can we hope or expect Europe to help itself, as well as to be helped. Democracy is itself a positive and constructive force and will get on with the job if it is allowed to. The authorities controlling Europe will have it in their power to make sure that at least one impediment to the regrowth of democratic government is done away with. President Roosevelt has already indicated the danger of fascism being permitted to survive under one alias or another ; and Mr. Cordell Hull has said :
We have moved from a careless tolerance of evil institutions to the conviction that free governments and Nazi and Fascist governments cannot co-exist in this world.
Active Fascist elements should be removed in all the defeated enemy countries and prevented from resuming power. Some must be tried as war criminals. Particular care will have to be taken that fascism is not merely driven underground, to emerge again in a few years’ time. We can be very sure that plans to do exactly that have already been made by some of those now or recently in control of Germany and Italy. All such trends can be eliminated during the control period, which will have also as its object the creation of economic, political and social conditions which will give no harbour at any time to a recrudescence of the Fascist infection.
This is one line of positive actionin which the peace settlement in Europe will need to differ markedly from that of Versailles. Many people of goodwill, aware of the defects of the Versailles settlement, and believing that a more liberal attitude should have been taken towards republican Germany, are inclined to regard avoidance of these earlier mistakes as a guide towards the next settlement. They assume that, after the defeat of Nazi-ism, a democratic Germany will arise as a matter of course. This assumption is a dangerous one. The primary question in Europe is the future of Germany. Action to meet the immediate situation which will arise when Germany surrenders will obviously include measures for the occupation, disarmament and control of Germany, and will, of course, have great influence on the long-term policy which will be followed as a result of the later general peace settlement. For this reason the Government deems it important that, even at the armistice stage, some provision should be made for associating with these immediate measures all the countries which have taken an active part in the war against Germany and are entitled to have a voice in the final disposition of Germany. Some major questions which will arise in that disposition are not yet ripe for decision, but they have to be constantly in the background of our thinking. I shall refer only to one or two of them here. There has been much discussion, for example, on the dismemberment of Germany as a means of ensuring its impotence as an aggressive military power. The effectiveness of such a measure, if it can be applied, cannot be disputed. As against this it is necessary to consider the strains and stresses which the partition of Germany might set up in other directions, and also whether the will to continue to enforce such a settlement will remain in the allied countries after the passions aroused by the war have subsided.
Another important matter is the future of German heavy industry. The capacity of a country to undertake military aggression or to use aggressive diplomatic methods against its neighbours depends ultimately on its industrial potential. Germany’s industrial potential in 1939 far outweighed that of any other continental European state. In the four key industries of iron, steel, coal and electrical power, Germany held, in fact, the second place in world production after the United States of America. The return to this comparative position would be a standing temptation to German militarism to try a third time. For this reason the extent and rate of German industrial rehabilitation, and under what controls, are matters of the highest priority in relation to the European settlement as a whole.
One further point: severe and restrictive as the control of Germany must be after the surrender, this does not remove the necessity that, in the interests of all, Germany must ultimately be integrated again with the rest of Europe. This is a question which I think is best approached from the angle of the maximum degree of European unity which is attainable, making a beginning in such practical ways as European-wide control of certain public utilities, -for example, transport and communications.
– Of course it would be.
– Why then discuss the question of dismemberment of Germany now ?
– Because it is time that these important matters were considered by all concerned. Events are moving so rapidly that, if we failed to invite consideration it would be rightly said that the matter should have been discussed earlier, not merely by the Government and diplomatic representatives, but by the public, as represented in this Parliament, and in the press.
Australian Diplomatic Representation m Europe.
It is of little value to envisage an active policy by Australia in European affairs unless we possess the diplomatic machinery for carrying it out. The view used to be widely held that Australia need possess its own diplomatic missions only in the Pacific Area. But the experience of Canada and Australia already has shown that a nation which enjoys sovereign status and .possesses widespread interests must act in its own right in all major matters and such action cannot be limited to any fixed geographical area. Further the question is no longer one for Australia’s choice alone; other nations claim the right to establish relations with Australia in their own interests, and we cannot deny these claims.
Australia should therefore expect to see further extension of its diplomatic representation abroad. We already have our missions in Moscow and to the Netherlands. The need for an Australian mission to France is obvious to all. It is hoped shortly to complete the diplomatic exchange begun between the Australian Government and the French Committee of National Liberation, of which the recent arrival in Australia of the staff of the new French Delegation is the first and very welcome step.
Australia looks to the restoration of a friendly and powerful France. We have faith in France and wish to see it play its proper part both in Europe and the world, including the Pacific region. I am confident that the . close relations established between ourselves and the Free French in 1940 and since developed will be maintained and strengthened.
Australian Representation of PolishInterests in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
In connexion with Europe, I must refer to the part recently played by Australia in relations with Poland and the Soviet Union. The diplomatic rupture between Poland and the Soviet Union occurred in April of last year. Both these Governments were at war with Germany, and it was essential that, pending a resumption of diplomatic relations, the formal representation of Polish interests in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics should be maintained. The reasons for this were clear. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was the Allied power most closely associated with Poland, because of its geographical position and its military part in the war. Moreover, many thousands of Poles were, and are, in Soviet territory. In the interests of all the United Nations, therefore, and, as was made clear at the time, animated by a warm admiration for both the Soviet and Polish peoples, the Australian Government undertook, with the express approval of the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States of America, the formal representation of Polish interests in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the protection of Polish nationals. This was, of course, done with the consent of the Soviet Government.
There has been some misapprehension as to the duties assumed by the Australian Government in this connexion. There has been no question of the Australian Minister in Moscow, for instance, acting as formal intermediary between the Polish and Soviet Governments. The Australian Minister was charged with representation only and efforts to bring about a resumption of diplomatic relations between the Polish and Soviet Governments, which have been made by other governments, were outside the Australian Government’s strict province.
On the 2nd August the Soviet Government informed the Australian Minister that, following an exchange of representatives between it and the Polish Committee of National Liberation, a body set up inside occupied Poland, the Soviet Government no longer felt able to have continued the Australian representation of Polish interests in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Australian Government at once conveyed this information to the Polish Government.
I should add that the Australian Government has performed its duty in this matter to the very best of its ability, and that this has been recognized by the Polish Government, which has expressed its deep appreciation of our action and its gratification at the energy and efficiency with which its representation was maintained during the fifteen months when this was in Australia’s charge.
Certain of the considerations which apply to Australian interests in Europe apply also to the Middle Eastern region. In this area the responsibilities hitherto have been left almost entirely to those powers which have direct territorial interests in the Middle East and notably to the United Kingdom and France. Nevertheless, a return to the situation existing at the outbreak of war now seems impossible. The future of the mandated territories of Palestine and the Levant States, and of those States which have already attained independence, is the concern not only of those powers which have hitherto played an active role in the Middle East, but of all those nations which have direct or indirect interests in that region. The experiences of two world wars are in themselves sufficient to demonstrate that Australia is such a power, and the Australian Government intends to take its proper share of responsibility in this respect.
The best guarantee of the stability of the Middle East lies in the political, and not less important, the economic development of the Middle Eastern countries. The raising of living standards and the realization of the economic potential of the Middle East cannot be accomplished, however, without the goodwill and the active co-operation of more advanced States.
The Australian Government has for some years had a trade commission located at Cairo, and consideration is being given to the extension to the Middle East of Australian political representation.
In previous ministerial statements I have endeavoured to keep the Parliament as fully informed as possible on every important aspect of Australia’s external policy. There are difficulties involved in performing this duty. On the one hand the House is entitled to pass its judgment on these international questions and must be armed with the knowledge of the relevant facts. On the other hand it is often impossible to disclose - especially while this great war is waging - our day to day handling of particular matters. What I have always done is to disclose the general line of policy we are applying. While the extent and value of our intervention in these matters cannot be assessed until all the facts are finally known, I make claim that all our views have always been stated with vigour and candour, and have contributed to the solution of many difficult issues. Having regard to my recent statements I have not, in the present statement, attempted to restate our views in relation to the Pacific and South-East Asia. These views 1 are frankly expressed in the AustralianNew Zealand Agreement and we adhere to them. In the near future representatives of the Australian Government will attend in New Zealand a second conference between the two Dominions as contemplated by the agreement. Pending these further discussions, there is little call at the moment for repeating anything said on earlier occasions regarding Australian general policy in the Pacific and South-East Asiatic regions.
As regards the plan for the Western Pacific international conference contemplated under the Agreement, I need only say that owing to the rapid momentum of the European war situation, it has not yet been found practicable to hold such a conference. Both Australia and New Zealand have kept in close touch with the views of all the Pacific powers concerned. I am hopeful that such conference will be possible after the forthcoming conference with New Zealand and as soon as the European situation is sufficiently clarified. In the meantime’ the French and Netherlands authorities are concentrating intensely on the problem of European rehabilitation. Through the two Australian-New Zealand Secretariats established both in Canberra and Wellington under the Australian-New Zealand Agreement, the two Governments are acting in closest day-by-day cooperation in relation to important matters of British Commonwealth and foreign affairs.
I repeat that in its general outlook on the affairs of the Pacific and SouthEast Asian region, Australia realizes that regional and local arrangements must be integrated to world organization. This principle was clearly stated in the Australian-New Zealand Agreement - indeed it is one of the outstanding contributions of that Agreement to the task of applying to a specific area the general principles of security and welfare embodied in the main war-time international declarations. Australian policies of security and welfare are thus notisolationist or merely regional but linked up with world arrangements. We have to be citizens of the world as well as citizens of the Pacific. The speeches both of the Australian, Prime Minister and of Mr. Fraser have given clear and unambiguous expression to this fundamental principle.
We must not forget that the Western Pacific is a very special area. It is an area of great inequalities. It holds multitudes of people in different stages of political and economic development.
Future stability depends on the development of the less favoured people to a stage at which each will be able to take a responsible place in a Pacific order. This task, in which Australia seeks to share, is one which will engage our resources to the full.
Both in the development of the Pacific region and in its security, full British andUnited States’ participation will be absolutely essential. For this reason, we have warmly welcomed President Roosevelt’s important statement made at Puget Sound in which he indicated how wide a region the United States contemplates in considering arrangements for the future security of the Pacific from the American point of view. These arrangements would cover the use of bases over a large area, including the former Japanese mandated islands captured by the United States’ forces by some remarkable and heroic feat of arms. The concern both of Australia and New Zealand is that the arrangements finally made should give a sure and certain hope of a long period of stability in the Western Pacific. That is a dominating purpose of the AustralianNew Zealand Agreement.
It appears from this and prior statements on foreign affairs that the Department of External Affairs is now carrying increased responsibilities in connexion with a very wide range of subjects. Considerations of world organization, which have both security and economic aspects, the promotion of an international employment policy, the expression of our point of view in relation to Europe, the Middle East and especially the Pacific, our obligations to New Zealand - matters like this have to be considered by the officers of the department. This is illustrated by the fact that the department is now organized on the basis of regional sections dealing with the Far East and the Pacific, including the Australian-New Zealand Secretariat ; Europe and the Middle East ; and America. Besides these regional sections there are other sections dealing with matters not of merely regional concern - one deals with world organization and specific matters of immediate postwar planning which are world-wide in character; another concentrates on inter national economic relations which are of more than regional interest, including the promotion of the Government’s employment policy; and a third deals with general matters of international cooperation including assistance to Australians abroad, legal, administrative and consular matters. Each of these three lastmentioned sections works closely with the regional sections I have mentioned.
In all cases the jurisdiction of the department flows from the international aspect of the particular matter being considered, and the department has frequently to collect and co-ordinate the views of the other departments directly concerned, and to take the initiative in having matters considered, and in dealing with other powers. .
It is obvious that in the post-war period there will he even greater demands on the Department of External Affairs. In the near future it will be necessary to establish the nucleus of a consular service, particularly in the United States of America, where it is impossible to expect a legation located in the east to look after Australian interests throughout the country. The diplomatic cadet system, which I introduced two years ago is developing as planned. It will greatly assist in the years to come.
With the consent of the House I shall incorporate in Hansard annexes “ A “, “B” and “C” to the foregoing statement.
A Joint Declaration by the United Nations, Washington, 1st January, 1942, signed by the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China. Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Poland, South Africa, Yugoslavia.(1)
The Governments signatory hereto,
Having subscribed to a common programme of purposes and principles embodied in the Joint Declaration of the President of the
United States of America and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, dated 14th August, 1941, known as the Atlantic Charter. ( See text below. )
Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to decent life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world,
The foregoing Declaration may be adhered toby other nations which are, or which may be, rendering material assistance and contributions in the struggle for victory over Hitlerism.
The Atlantic Charter.
The President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, representing His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, being met together, deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world.
First, their countries seek no aggrandizement, territorial or other;
Second, they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned;
Third, they respect the right of allpeoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them:
Fourth, they will endeavour, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoymentby all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the
Taw materials of the world which are needed for their economicprosperity;
Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing for all improved labour standards, economic advancement and social security:
Sixth, after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want;
Seventh, such a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance;
Eighth, they believe that all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons, must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measures which will lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments.
The following Declaration was adopted by the 26th Session of the International Labour Conferenceat Philadelphia on 10th May, 1944:-
” The Conference re-affirms the fundamental principles on which the Organization is based and, in particular, that -
” Believing that experience has fully demonstrated the truth of the statement in the Constitution of the . International Labour Organization that lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice, the Conference affirms that -
“The Conference recognizes the solemn obligation of the International Labour Organization to further among the nations of the world programmes which will achieve -
” Confident that the fuller and broader utilization of the world’s productive resources necessary for the achievement of the objectives set forth in this Declaration can be secured by effective international and national action, including measures to expand production and consumption to avoid severe economic fluctuations, to promote the economic and social advancement of the less-developed regions of the world, to assure greater stability in world prices of primary products, and to promote a high and steady volume of international trade, the Conference pledges the full cooperation of the International Labour Organization with such international bodies as may be entrusted with a share of the responsibility for this great task and for the promotion of the health, education and well-being of all. peoples.
” The Conference affirms that the principles set forth in this Declaration are fully applicable to all peoples everywhere and that, while the manner of their application must be determined with due regard to the stage of social and economic development reached by each people, their progressive application to peoples who are still dependent, as well as to those who have already achieved selfgovernment, is a matter of concern to the whole civilized world.”
The Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China: united in their determination, in accordance with the Declaration by the United Nations of 1st January, 1942, and. subsequent declarations, to continue hostilities against those Axis powers with which they respectively are at war until such powers have laid down their arms on the basis of unconditional surrender; conscious of their responsibility to secure the liberation of themselves and the peoples allied with them from the menace of aggression ; recognizing the necessity of ensuring a rapid and orderly transition from war to peace and of establishing and maintaining international peace and. security with the least diversion of the world’s human and economic resources for armaments;
That they will confer and co-operate with one another and with other members of the United Nations to bring about a practicable general agreement with respect to the regulation of armaments in the post-war period.
We, the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the Premier of the Soviet Union, have met these four days past, in this, the capital of our Ally, Iran, and have shaped and confirmed our common policy.
Wo express our determination that our nations shall work together in war and in the peace that will follow.
As to war - our military staffs have joined in our round-table discussions, and we have concerted our plans for the destruction of the German forces. We have reached complete agreement as to the scope and timing of the operations to be undertaken from the east, west and south.
The common understanding which we have here reached guarantees that victory will be ours.
And as to peace - we are sure that our concord will win an enduring peace. We recognize fully the supreme responsibility resting upon us and all the United Nations to make a peace which will command the goodwill of the overwhelming mass of the peoples of the world and banish the scourge and terror of war for many generations.
With our diplomatic advisers we have surveyed the problems of the future. We shall seek the co-operation and active participation of all nations, large and small, whose peoples in heart and mind are dedicated, as are our own peoples, to the elimination of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance. We will welcome them, as they may choose to come, into a world family of Democratic Nations.
No power on earth can prevent our destroying the German armies by land, their U-boats by sea, and their war plants from the air.
Our attack will be relentless and increasing.
Emerging from these cordial conferences we look with confidence to the day when all peoples of the world may live free lives, untouched by tyranny, and according to their varying desires and their own consciences’.
We came here with hope and determination. We leave here, friends in fact, in spirit and in purpose.
Signed at Teheran, 1st December, 1943.
Treaty between the U.S.S.R. and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of Alliance in the War against Hitlerite Germany and Her Associates in Europe and of Collaboration and Mutual Assistance thereafter.
Desiring to confirm the stipulations of the agreement between His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the Government of the U.S.S.R. for joint action in the war against Germany, signed at Moscow on the 12th July, 1941, and to replace them by a formal treaty; desiring to contribute after the war to the maintenance of peace and to the prevention of further aggression by Germany or the States associated with her in her acts of aggression in Europe; desiring, moreover, to give expression to their intention to collaborate closely with one another as well as with the other united States at the peace settlement and during the ensuing period of reconstruction on the basis of the principles enunciated in the declaration made on the 14th August, 1941, by the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to which the Government of the U.S.S.R. has adhered; desiring finally to provide for mutual assistance in the event of an attack upon either high contracting party by Germany or any of the States associated with her in acts of aggression in Europe.
In virtue of the alliance established between the United Kingdom and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics the high contracting parties mutually undertake to afford one another military and other assistance and support of all kinds in the war against Germany and all those States which arc associated with her in acts of aggression in Europe.
The high contracting parties undertake not to enter into any negotiations with the Hitlerite Government or any other Government in Germany that doesnot clearly renounce all aggressive intentions and not to negotiate or conclude except by mutual consent any armistice or peace treaty with Germany or any other State associated with her in acts of aggression in Europe.
Should one of the high contracting parties during the post-war period become involved in hostilities with Germany or any of the States mentioned in Article III. (2) in consequence of an attack by that State against that party, the other high contracting party will at once give to the contracting party so involved in hostilities all the military and other support and assistance in his power. This article shall remain in force until the high contracting parties, by mutual agreement, shall recognize that it is superseded by the adoption of the proposals contemplated in Article III. (1).
In default of the adoption of such proposals, it shall remain in force for a period of twenty years, and thereafter until terminated by either high contracting party, as provided in Article VIII.
The high contracting parties, having regard to the interests of the security of each of them, agree to work together in close and friendly collaboration after the reestablishment of peace for the organization of security and economic prosperity in Europe. They will take into account the interest of the United Nations in these subjects, and they will act in accordance with the two principles of not seeking territorial aggrandisement for themselves and of non-interference in the internal affairs of other States.
The high contracting parties agree to render one another all possible economic assistance after the war.
Each high contracting party undertakes not to conclude any alliance and not to take part in any coalition directed against the other high contracting party.
The present treaty is subject to ratification in the shortest possible time and the instruments of ratification shall be exchanged as soon as possible.
It comes into force immediately on the exchange of the instruments of ratification and shall thereupon replace the agreement between the Government of the Union of Soviet SocialistRepublics and His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, signed at Moscow on the 12th July, 1941.
Part I. of the present treaty shall remain in force until the re-establishment of peace between the high contracting parties and Germany and the powers associated with her acts of aggression in Europe.
Part II. of the present treaty shall remain in force for a period of twenty years. Thereafter, unless twelve months’ notice has been given by either party to terminate the treaty at the end of the said period of twenty years, it shall continue in force until twelve months after either high contracting party shall have given notice to the other in writing of his intention to terminate it.
The future towards which we are marching, across bloody fields and frightful manifestations of destruction, must surety be based upon the broad and simple virtues and upon the nobility of mankind. It must be based upon a reign of law which upholds the principles of justice and fair play and which protects the weak against the strong if the weak have justice on their side. There must be an end to predatory exploitation and nationalistic ambitions.
This does not mean that nations should not be entitled to rejoice in their traditions and achievements, but they will not be allowed, by armed force, to gratify appetites of aggrandisement at the expense of other countries merely because they are smaller or weaker or less well prepared, and measures will be taken to have ample armies, fleets, and air forces available to prevent anything like that coming about. We must,undoubtedly, in our world structure embody a great part of all that was gained to the world by the structure and formation of the League of Nations. But we must arm our world organization and make sure that, within the limits assigned to it, it has overwhelming military power. We must remember that we shall be hard put to it to gain our living, to repair the devastation that has been wrought and to give back that wider and more comfortable life which is so deeply desired. We must strive to preserve the reasonable rights and liberties of the individual. We must respect the rights and opinions of others, while holding firmly to our own faith and convictions.
There must be room in this new great structure of the world for the happiness and prosperity of all and in the end it must be capable of bringing happiness and prosperity even to the guilty and vanquished nations. There must be room within the great world organization for organisms like the British Empire and Commonwealth, as we now call it, and I trust that there will be room also for the fraternal association of the British Commonwealth and the United States. We are bound by our twenty years’ treaty with Russia, and besides this - “
I, for my part, hope to deserve to be called a good European - to try to raise the glorious continent of Europe, the parent of so many powerful states, from its present miserable condition as a kind of volcano of strife and tumult to its old glory of a family of nations and a vital expression of Christendom. I am sure these great entities which I have mentioned - the British Empire, the conception of a Europe truly united, the fraternal associations with the United States - will in no way disturb the general purpose of the world organization. In fact, they may help powerfully to make it run. I hope and pray that all this may be established and that we may .bc led to exert ourselves to secure these permanent and glorious achievements which alone can make amends to mankind for all the miseries and toil which have been their lot and for all the heroism and sacrifice which have been their glory.”
The Prime Minister explained yesterday that we do not want to impose upon others in detail whatever our ideas may be; at the same time we are entitled to say what our general ideas are about the world organization.
I would like to leave with the Committee just a few principles on which we suggest this future organization should be based. They are these: first, that the world organization must be designed, in the first instance, to prevent a recurrence of aggression by Germany and Japan and must be fully equipped with forces to meet the purpose; secondly, that to ensure this there must be close political and military co-operation between the United States, the Soviet Union, the British Commonwealth, and China and other Powers; thirdly, that the responsibility in any future world organization must be related to power, and consequently the world organization should be constructed, on and around the four great Powers I have mentioned, and all other peace- loving States should come in and play their part in the structure; fourthly, that the world organization should be flexible and not rigid, that is to say, that it should grow by practice and not try straight away to work to a fixed and rigid code or rule; and, fifthly, that all the Powers, great and small, included in the world organization, should strive for economic as well as for political collaboration.
I understand only too well the difficulties in any attempt to translate into practical experience the principles I have outlined. What I can say is that we have already begun informal conversations with other Powers a,bout these propositions and I hope that in the coming months we shall be able to make more progress with them. At least we are convinced that it is only by translating into the period of peace the” confidence which we have built up and the machinery we have built up for collaboration as Allies in the war, that wc can hope to save the world from a repetition of those conflicts, which, twice in our generation, have caused so much misery to mankind.
The maintenance of peace and security must be the joint task of all peace-loving nations. We have, therefore, sought to develop plans for an international organization comprising all such nations. The .purpose of the organization would be to maintain peace and security to assist the creation, through international co-operation, of conditions of stability and well-being necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations.
Accordingly, it is our thought that the organization would be a fully representative body with broad responsibilities for promoting and facilitating international co-operation, through such agencies as may be found necessary, to consider and deal with the problems of world relations. It is our further thought that the organization would provide for a council, elected annually by the fully representative body of all nations, which would include the four major nations and a suitable number of other nations. The council would concern itself with peaceful settlement of international disputes and with the prevention of threats to the peace or breaches of the peace.
There would also be an international court of justice to deal primarily with justiciable disputes.
We are not thinking of a superstate with its own police forces and other paraphernalia of coercive power. Wc are seeking effective agreement and arrangements through which the nations would maintain, according to their capacities, adequate forces to meet the needs of preventing war and of making impossible deliberate preparation for war and to have such forces available for joint action when necessary.
All this, of course, will become possible once our present enemies are defeated and effective arrangements are made to prevent them from making war again.
Beyond that, the hope of a peaceful and advancing world will rest upon the willingness and ability of the peace-loving nations, large and small, bearing responsibility commensurate with their individual capacities, to work together for the maintenance of peace and security.
On 2 1st March, 1944, the Secretary of State issued the following memorandum on the bases of the foreign policy of the United States : - “ In determining our foreign policy we must first see clearly what our true national interests are. “At the present time, the paramount aim of our foreign policy is to defeat our enemies as quickly as possible. “ Beyond final victory, our fundamental national interests are the assuring of our national security and the fostering of the economic and social well-being of our people. “ Co-operation between nations in the spirit of good neighbours, founded on the principles of liberty, equality, justice, morality, and law, is the most effective method of safeguarding and promoting the political, the economic, the social, and the cultural wellbeing of our nation and of all nations. “ Some international agency must be created which can -by force, if necessary - keep the peace among nations in the future. “ A system of organized international co-operation for the maintenance of peace must be based upon the willingness of the co-operating nations to use force, if necessary, to keep the peace. There must bo certainty that adequate and appropriate means are available and will be used for this purpose. “ Political differences which present a threat to the peace of the world should be submitted to agencies which would use the remedies of discussion, negotiation, conciliation, and good offices. “ Disputes of a legal character which present a threat to the peace of the world shouldbe adjudicated by an international court of justice whose decisions would be based upon application of principles of law. “ International co-operative action must include eventual adjustment of national armaments in such a manner that the rule of law cannot be successfully challenged and that the burden of armaments may he reduced to a minimum. “ Through the Moscow Four-Nation Declaration, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States, and China have laid the foundation for co-operative effort in the postwar world toward enabling all peace-loving nations, large and small, to live in peace and security, to preserve the liberties and rights of civilized existence, and to enjoy expanded opportunities and facilities for economic, social and spiritual progress. “ As the provisions of the Four-Nation Declaration are carried into effect, there will no longer be need for spheres of influence, for alliances, for balance of power, or any other of the special arrangements through which, in the unhappy past, the nations strove to safeguard their security or to promote their interests. “ In the process of re-establishing international order, the United Nations must exercise surveillance over aggressor nations until such time as the latter demonstrate their willingness and ability to live at peace with other nations. How long such surveillance will need to continue must depend upon the rapidity with which the peoples of Germany, Japan, Italy, and their satellites give convincing proof that they have repudiated and abandoned the monstrous philosophy of superior race and conquest by force and have embraced loyally the basic principles of peaceful processes. “ Excessive trade barriers of the many different kinds must be reduced, and practices which impose injuries on others and divert trade from its natural economic course must be avoided. “ Equally plain is the need for making national currencies once more freely exchangeable for each other at stable rates of exchange;’ for a system of financial relations so devised that materials can be produced and ways may be found of moving them where there are markets created by human need; for machinery through which capital may - for the development of the world’s resources and for the stabilization of economic activity - move on equitable terms from financially stronger to financially weaker countries. “ The pledge of the Atlantic Charter is of a system which will give every nation, large or small, a greater assurance of stable peace, greater opportunityfor the realization of its aspirations to freedom, and greater facilities for material advancement. But that pledge implies an obligation for each nation to demonstrate its capacity for stable and progressive government, to fulfil scrupulously its established duties to other nations, to settle its international differences and disputes by none but peaceful methods, and to make its full contribution to the maintenance of enduring peace. “ Each sovereign nation, large or small, is in law and under law the equal of every other nation. “ The principle of sovereign equality of all peace-loving states, irrespective of size and strength, as partners in a future system of general security, willbe the foundation-stone upon which the future international organization will be constructed. “ Each nation should be free to decide for itself the forms and details of its governmental organization - so long as it conducts its affairs in such a way as not to menace the peace and security of other nations. “ All nations, large and small, which respect the rights of others are entitled to freedom from outside interference in their internal affairs. “ There is no surer way for men and for nations to show themselves worthy of liberty than to fight for its preservation, in any way that is open to them, against those who would destroy it for all. Never did a plainer duty to fight against its foes devolve upon all peoples who prize liberty and all who aspire to it. “ All peoples who ‘ with a decent respect to the ‘opinions of mankind ‘, have qualified themselves to assume and to discharge the responsibilities of liberty are entitled to its enjoyment.
There rests upon the independent nations a responsibility in relation to dependent peoples who aspire to liberty. It should be the duty of nations having political ties with such peoples, of mandatories, of trustees, or of other agencies, as the case may be, to help the aspiring peoples to develop materially and educationally, to prepare themselves for the duties and responsibilities of self-government, and to attain liberty. An excellent example of what can be achieved is afforded in the record of our relationship with the Philippines.
In the course of a broadcast on foreign policy on the 12th September, 1943, Mr. Hull said - “ It is abundantly clear that a system of organized international co-operation “for the maintenance of peace must he based upon the willingness of the co-operating nations to use force, if necessary, to keep the peace. There must be certainty that adequate and appropriate means are available and will be used for this purpose. Readiness to use force, if necessary, for the maintenance of peace is indispensable if effective substitutes for war arc to bc found. “ Differences between nations which lead toward armed conflict may bc those of a nonlegal character, commonly referred to as political, and those capable of being resolved by applying rules of law, commonly referred to as justiciable. Another cause of armed conflict is aggression by nations whose only motive is conquest and self-aggrandizement. We must, therefore, provide for differences of a political character, for those of a legal nature, and for cases where there is plain and unadulterated aggression. “ Political differences which present a threat to the peace of the world should be submitted to agencies which would use the remedies of discussion, negotiation, conciliation, and good offices. ‘ ‘ Disputes of a legal character which present a threat to the peace of the world should bc adjudicated by an international court of justice whose decisions would be based upon application of principles of law. “ But to assure peace there must also bc means for restraining aggressors and nations that seek to resort to force for the accomplishment of purposes of their own. The peacefully inclined nations must, in the interest of general peace and security, be willing to accept responsibility for this task in accordance with their respective capacities. “ The success of an organized system of international co-operation with the maintenance of peace as its paramount objective depends, to an important degree, upon what happens within as well as among nations. We know that political controversies and economic strife among nations are fruitful causes of hostility and conflict. But wc also know that economic stagnation and distress, cultural backwardness, and social unrest within nations, wherever they exist, may undermine all efforts for stable peace. “ The primary responsibility for dealing with these conditions rests on each and every nation concerned. But each nation will be greatly helped in this task by the establishment of sound trade and other economic relations with other nations, based on a comprehensive system of mutually beneficial international co-operation, not alone in these respects, but also in furthering educational advancement and in promoting observance of basic human rights. “ There rests upon the independent nations a responsibility in relation to dependent peoples who aspire to liberty. It should be the duty of nations having political ties with such peoples, of mandatories, of trustees, or of other agencies, as the case may be, to help the aspiring peoples to develop materially and educationally, to prepare themselves for the duties and responsibilities of self-government, and to attain liberty. An excellent example of what can be achieved is afforded in the record of our relationship with the Philippines. “ Organized international co-operation can be successful only to the extent to which the nations of the world are willing to accept certain fundamental propositions. “ First, each nation should maintain a stable government. Each nation should be free to decide for itself the forms and details of its governmental organization - so long as it conducts its affairs in such a way as not to menace the peace and security of other nations. “ Second, each nation should conduct its economic affairs in such a way as to promote the most effective utilization of its human and material resources and the greatest practicable measure of economic welfare and social security for all of its citizens. Each nation should be free to decide for itself the forms of its economic and social organization - 4but it should conduct its affairs in such a way as to respect the rights of others and to play its necessary part in a system of sound international economic relations. “ Third, each nation should be willing to submit differences arising between it and other nations to processes of peaceful settlement and should be prepared to carry out other obligations that may devolve upon it in an effective system of organized peace. “ All of this calls for the creation of a system of international relations based on rules of morality, law, and justice as distinguished from the anarchy of unbridled and discordant nationalisms, economic and political. The outstanding characteristic of such a system is liberty under law for nations as well as individuals. Its method is peaceful cooperation. “ The form and functions of the international agencies of the future, the extent to which the existing court of international justice may of may not need to be remodelled, the scope and character of the means for making international action effective in the maintenance of peace, the nature of international economic institutions and arrangements that may be desirable and feasible - all these arc among the problems which are receiving attention and which will need to be determined by agreement among governments, subject, of course, to approval by their respective peoples. They are being studied intensively by this Government and by other governments. They are gradually being made subjects of consultation between and among governments. They are being studied and discussed by the people of this country and the peoples of other countries. In the final analysis, it is the will of the peoples of the world that decides the allembracing issues of peace and of human welfare.”
In the course of a broadcast on the foreign policy of the United States of America, on 9th April, 1944, Mr. Hull said- “ However difficult the road may be, there is no hope of turning victory into enduring peace unless the real interests of this country, the British Commonwealth, the Soviet Union, and China are harmonized and unless they agree and act together. This is the solid framework upon which all future policy and international organization mustbe built. It offers the fullest opportunity for the development of institutions in which all free nations may participate democratically, through which a reign of law and morality may arise, and through which the material interests of all may be advanced. But without an enduring understanding between these four nations upon their fundamental purposes, interests, and obligations to one another, all organizations to preserve peace are creations on paper and the path is wide open again for the rise of a new aggressor. “ This essential understanding and unity of action among the four nations is not in substitution or derogation of unity among the United Nations. But it is basic to all organized international action because upon its reality depends the possibility of enduring peace and free institutions rather than new coalitions and a new pre-war period. Nor do I suggest that any conclusions of these four nations can or should be without the participation of the other United Nations. I am stating what I believe the common sense of my fellow countrymen and all men will recognize - that for these powers to become divided in their aims and fail to recognize and harmonize their basic interests can produce only disaster and that no machinery, as such, can produce this essentia! harmony and unity.”
House Resolution 25, 78th Congress, 1st Session. ( “ The Fulbright Resolution “ ) , 21st September, 1943. “ Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring) that the congress hereby expresses itself as favouring the creation of appropriate international machinery with power adequate to establish and to main tain a just and lasting peace among the nations of the world and as favouring participation of the United States therein through its constitutional processes.”
Senate Resolution 192, 78th Congress,1st Session,5th November, 1943. “ Resolved, that the war against all our enemies be merged until complete victory is achieved. “ That the United States co-operate with its comrades-in-arms in securing a just and honorable peace. “ That the United States, acting through its constitutional processes, join with free and sovereign nations in establishment and maintenance of international authority with power to prevent aggression and to preserve the peace of the world. “ That the Senate recognizes the necessity of there being established at the earliest practicable date a general international organization, based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving States, and open to membership by all such States, large and small, for the maintenance of international peace and security. “ That, pursuant to the Constitution of the United States any treaty made to effect the purposes of this resolution, on behalf of the Government of the United States with any other nation or any association of nations, shall be made only by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, provided two-thirds of the senators present concur.”
Comunique issued on the Moscow Conference, 1st November, 1943. “ Second only to the importance of hastening the end of the war was the recognition by the three Governments that it was essential in their own national interests and in the interests of all peace-loving nations to continue the present close collaboration and co-operation in the conduct of the war into the period following the end of hostilities and that only in this way would peace be maintained and the political, economic andsocial welfare of their peoples fully promoted.”
Extract from Speech by M. Stalin. 6th November, 1943. “We must establish lasting economic, political and cultural collaboration among the peoples of Europe, based on mutual confidence and mutual assistance for the purpose of restoring economic and cultural life destroyed by the Germans.”
Extract from a Message from M. Molotov, Soviet Commisar of Foreign Affairs, to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,25th November, 1942. “ I fully share the wish expressed by you that these comradely relations between our two peoples, consolidated by the blood shed on the field of battle, shall be devoted after victory to the task of re-establishing the peaceful life of nations.”
Branch offices of the Drug Supervisory Body and the Permanent Central Opium Board were opened in Washington in February, 1941. The head-quarters of both bodies resided in Geneva. In addition to checking estimated requirements of drugs and endeavouring to control the international traffic in drugs, attention was being given to post-war problems. The most important of these problems were -
In the 1942-43 “Report on the Work of the League of Nations “ it is stated that the Permanent Court is ready to resume its work when circumstances permit. The last meeting was held at The Hague in 1940.
Its President, one of the judges, and its Registrar are in Geneva, where, through the generosity of the Carnegie Endowment, its latest publication, Elaboration of the Rules of Court of March11th, 1936, was recently issued in English. There is no doubt that a number of judges, sufficient to ensure the requisite quorum, will be able to sit when the time comes. The fact that the International Court is receiving contributions from States which are not members of the League is an indication that it is respected as a worth-while international institution.
The Health Section has continued active operations in Geneva. The work of the section has covered the fields of malnutrition and its effects on the health of Europe, the study of food relief requirements and, through the Epidemiological Intelligence Service, it has kept in touch with the evolution of communicable diseases in various countries. Most States, feeling the need for information as to the trend of diseases abroad, kept up their collaboration with this service; the results of research carried out by the Health Section has been published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record and the Bulletin of the Health Organization, 1943.
Apart from work in connexion with the above subjects, the Health Organization has maintained its activities in other spheres through the Health Information Service, the Permanent Commission on Biological Standardization and the Malaria Commission. Progress has also been made with the development of an international nomenclature of diseases and causes of death, and the unification of pharmacopoeia.
According to the 1942-43 report, theChild Welfare Information Centre continues, so far as is possible, to collect and communicate the texts of legislative and administrative measures taken in various countries.
During 1942, thirteen new treaties were sent to the Secretariat by governments for the purpose of registration. These treaties are mentioned in the lists that have been published periodically. Two volumes of the “ Treaty Series “ appeared in June, 1943. The Legal Service has carried out certain general studies. In particular, it has abstracted and classified all the provisions of conventions attributing powers and duties to the organs of the League of Nations.
During the latter part of 1940 the International Labour Office was transferred to Canada with its head-quarters located at Montreal. Subsequently, a branch was established in London to maintain contact with the Allied Governments in London to deal with colonial labour problems, and, so far as possible, to furnish factual information about social conditions in Great Britain. The first International Labour Conference after the commencement of the war was held in October, 1941, when representatives of 34 countries formulated policies relating to the part the International Labour Office was to play in the post-war reconstruction period. Two and a half years later, in April, 1944, the Twenty-sixth Session of the International Labour Conference drew up plans on three technical problems of outstanding importance - the organization of employment in the transition from war to peace, social security, and minimum standards of social policy for dependent territories. In addition, recommendations were made to the United Nations for present and post-war social policy. The future policy, programme, and status of the International Labour Organization were decided by the Conference.
On 9th November, 1943, plenipotentiaries, representing 44 United Nations and those nations and authorities associated with them in the war, signed agreement establishing the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. The next day the representatives of these nations met at Atlantic City, New Jersey, in the first session of the council established by the agreement to provide for the organization of the administration and to lay down the broad policies to guide its activities. The purpose of the administration is to ensure that the population of areas liberated by the armed forces of the United Notions shall receive aid and relief from their suffering; food, clothing, and shelter; a id in the prevention of pestilence and in the recovery of the health of the people; and that preparations 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 urgently needed services. A directorgeneral has been appointed as the executive authority and the council is also served by a Central Committee, a Committee of Supplies, 1 Committee for Europe, and a Committee for the Far East. The second meeting of the council has been called for 15th September, at Montreal.
The Evian Conference of July, 1938, resulted in the creation of the InterGovernmental Committee on Refugees for the purpose of securing, in the first instance, the orderly migration of refugees from Germany and Austria. In April, 1943, the AngloAmerican Conference, at Bermuda, recommended that the Inter-Governmental Committee should be used in handling the post-war problem of refugees. Subsequently the executive of the Inter-Governmental Committee proposed that the committee should extend its mandate to cover all political, religious and racial refugees from Europe, and to take such steps as might be necessary to preserve, maintain and transport them. The respective fields of activities of the Unrra Committee on Displaced Persons and the Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees have been agreed upon by conferencebetween the respective organizations. In general, the Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees will care for refugees who have escaped from war areas and will make arrangements for their transfer to a place of permanent refuge, while the Committee on Displaced Persons will be primarily concerned during the period of relief operations in arrangements for the return of war victims to their homes.
At the Moscow Conference of October, 1943. it was agreed to set up machinery for ensuring the closest co-operation between the Governments of the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom in the examination of European questions arising as the war develops. For this purpose the conference decided to establish in London a European Advisory Commission to study these questions and to make joint recommendations to the three Governments.
On 10th November, 1943, the Allied Control Commission inItaly was set up to regulate and execute the terms of the Armistice with Italy, and to align the Italian economy in complete support of the Allied fight against Germany. The president of the commission is the representative in Italy of the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces.
The commission is divided into four sections: military, political, economic, and administrative. An Advisory Council has been established in conjunction with the Allied Control Commission to deal with day-to-day questions and to make recommendations for the co-ordination of Allied policy with regard to Italy.
A United Nations Commission for the
Investigation of War Crimes was set up in London on 20th October, 1943. The commission will investigate and record the evidence of war crimes, identifying where possible the individuals responsible and will report to the Governments concerned cases in which it appears that adequate evidence is likely to bo forthcoming. This investigation is regarded as an essential preliminary to the trial of war criminals.
The proposal for a permanent international organization for food and agriculture was put forward at a United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture at Hot Springs, Virginia, in May, 1943, and an Interim Commission was appointed to prepare a draft declaration and draft constitution for the consideration of Governments. The Interim Commission’s report is now before Governments. The purpose oftheorganization will be to promote the common welfare by furthering separate and collective action by nations to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living; to secure improvements in the efficiency of methods in the production and distribution of food and agricultural products; to better the conditions of rural populations; and thus to contribute towards our expanding world economy.
Following meetings in Washington, the Governments of Argentina, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States announced on the 22nd July, 1942, that they had approved of a Memorandum of Agreement as a first step towards the conclusion, as soon as circumstances permitted, of a comprehensive international wheat agreement. This memorandum provided for control measures to meet the war-time situation and to prevent disorganization and confusion immediately after the war. It also provides for the convening by the United States when the time is deemed propitious of a conference of all the nations having a substantial interest in wheat, whether as consumers or producers, to consider a Draft Convention. To serve the purposes of the Memorandum of Agreement an International Wheat Council, composed of representatives of the five powers, meets regularly in Washington.
The Monetary Conference held at Bretton
Woods in July, 1944, did not commit governments participating, but it did result in the formulation of definite proposals for the establishment of an International Monetary Fund and an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. These proposals have been submitted to governments for consideration, and will come into operation if ratified by countries representing65 per cent. of the quotas to be subscribed.
On the 8th August, 1944, an agreement on petroleum between the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom was signed at Washington. The agreement lays down certain broad principles governing international trade in petroleum and provides for the establishment of an International Petroleum Commission composed of representatives of the two Governments. The commission is charged with the responsibility of estimating the world demand for petroleum and recommending to the two Governments the manner in which this demand may best be satisfied in accordance with the general principles of the agreement. The commission is further charged with the duty of investigating AngloAmerican problems relating to efficient and orderly operation of the international petroleum industry and of making an appropriate recommendation to the two Governments. It is also stated that the requisite steps preparatory to the calling of a world petroleum conference for negotiation of a multi-lateral agreement will be taken as soon as it is practicable.
The Conference of Allied Ministers of Education, which originated in London with a meeting of the Ministers of Education of the Continental Allies in October, 1942, recently submitted a tentative draft constitution for a United Nations organization on educational and cultural’ reconstruction to the Governments of the United Nations and nations associated with them. This action was the result of the United States proposal that an open meeting should consider the question of a United Nations educational body. The tentative draft constitution under consideration defines the function of the projected organization in terms which would permit it to work effectively in fields of educational and cultural rehabilitation and reconstruction and to develop ultimately into a permanent body with broader activities.
When twenty Governments have expressed their views it is proposed that a further meeting of the conference should be held with a view to the preparation of a final draft for formal adoption by Governments concerned.
The Rt. Hon. H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs in an address on Post-war Settlement in the Pacific at the Overseas Press Club, New York, 28th April, 1943-
From what I have said it follows that if the general principles of the Atlantic Charter are carried out by the countries adhering to it, it may become necessary for their governments to accept obligations of international character affecting matters which, in the past, have normally been regarded as matters of domestic concern only, and to accept responsibility for standards of living and for economic development in countries beyond their own borders. These are developments of major significance. For instance, it is absolutely essential for the economic and political security of the world that the major industrial countries shall maintain a high level of employment and living standards within their own borders. The governments of these countries may well be treated as having an obligation to see that these practical objectives arc achieved internally, this obligation being assumed not only towards their own peoples but to the peoples of the world.
It is necessary to differentiate between the acceptance of this responsibility and the method by which it will be achieved. It must clearly be left to the individual country to decide by what means and within what limits these objectives are achieved internally, but this does not alter the necessity of the obligation being accepted.
Clearly, unless the nations have the real intention and will of carrying out international obligations, little can be expected of international organizations.
I believe that some such form of organization is capable of dealing with the type of problems I have outlined. If,for instance, the governments of the major industrial countries undertook to maintain within their own spheres a high level of employment, an international body could be developed with power not merely to record the results of this policy in the various countries but to provide the machinery required for the supervision of the international obligations.
Statement made by Australian Delegation at United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture, Hot Springs, 24th May, 1943 -
The Delegation hopes, therefore, that the Conference will recommend to all governments that there should be an international organization through which the international action outlined above could be put into effect.
If these views canbe implemented, the Food Conference will have established a method of international co-operation in the economic andsocial fields, i.e., a method of national action in accordance with internationally accepted responsibilities.
This method is capable of being applied in other fields, such as employment. A basic requirement of an expanding world economy is the maintenance of a high level of employment in industrial countries. For this reason the Delegation believes that this Conference should recommend to governments the acceptance of international responsibility for maintaining this high level of employment and collaboration in examining ways in which this result can be achieved.”
The Rt. Hon. H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, in a Statement in the House of Representatives, 14th October, 1943 -
One subject of informal and exploratory discussion was international monetary policy. The period between the two Great Wars was characterized by fluctuating exchange rates and other exchange difficulties. These made it expedient for nations to introduce special restrictions upon their trading relations. It is the hope of the authors of plans which have recently been advanced that violent fluctuations in exchange may be avoided by the provision of suitable international machinery. The United Kingdom’s proposal is that of a clearing union; the United States’ proposal is that of providing a stabilization fund. It is obvious that these proposals cannot in themselves solve basic international economic problems. In discussing these proposals in a purely informal way the Australian Mission always insisted that it was dangerous and erroneous to embark upon separate solutions of such problems when all have to be viewed in the light of the overriding postulate of full employment and improving standards.
The Hon. J.Bi. Chifley, Minister for Postwar Reconstruction, in an article on International Co-operation - “ Sydney Morning Herald” - 2nd December, 1943 -
The most complete success of the full employment approach requires the widest international adoption. I believe that an individual country should aim at full employment whatever the rest of the world does. But if such a policy is not generally accepted among the nations there is an even chance that the world will tread again the 1919-1939 road of depressed consumption and sluggish demand for exports of foodstuffs and raw materials. This conviction has been the basis of recent statements on Australia’s approach to international economic policies by the Prime Minister, by Dr. Evatt and myself.
On the whole, our conviction is now widely shared here and overseas. It is increasingly recognized that international collaboration - the building up of a better world monetary system, for example, or the elimination of the worst types of trade barriers - will fulfil our hopes only if each country’s internal policy marches in step with those of others towards common goals - rising employment and consumption.
The fact is that, amongst nations, the volume of trade has usually more to do with the levels of employment and national income than with the levels of tariffs.
When such domestic policies of full employment are operating successfully in all countries, or at least in most of the major trading countries (and perhaps not until then), the world will enjoy the conditions and atmosphere which permit of favorable consideration of tariff revision. Revisions may have been desirable all along; policies of stable full employment make them practicable.
And so in Australia’s case, policies of full employment applied here benefit not only our own people, but all who would trade with us. For, as national prosperity and income go up, so does the demand of Australians for commodities both from the home market and from abroad. It would, however, be of limited benefit only if the adoption of these domestic policies were one-sided; the demand for trade would be correspondingly one-sided and consequently abortive.
It is Australia’s hope - as it is indeed our interest - that there will be general application of these policies all over the world. My colleague, the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), on his recent mission abroad, vigorously advocated their general acceptance. So did the Australian delegation to the United Nations Food Conference at Hot Springs, Virginia. Both found widespread interest in an agreement on this positive approach to expanding employment and expanding trade, which are the economic objectives of the Atlantic Charter and the Mutual Aid Agreement.
The delegates of 44 countries at the United Nations Food Conference commenced their key resolution, entitled “ Achievement of an Economy of Abundance “, in this way - “ Whereas -
The conviction of the present Commonwealth Government was confirmed by a later clause of that unanimous resolution which read - “ Progress by individual nations towards a higher standard of living contributes to the solution of broader economic problems, but freedom from want cannot be achieved without effective collaboration among nations.”
Australia’s delegation urged concrete application of the principles thus expressed. It suggested there should be regular international consultation on full employment problems and policies since these were generally admitted to be the key to effective collaboration in other economic matters. The Commonwealth Government will be glad to consider plans for the greater stability of world monetary relations which have as their objective full employment of men and resources and rising standards of living.
From the Australian-New Zealand Agreement signed on 2 1st January, . 1944 - “ There should be co-operation in achieving full employment in Australia and New Zealand and the highest standards of social security both within their borders and throughout the islands of the Pacific and other territories for which they may jointly or severally be wholly or partly responsible.”
The Rt.Hon. H. V. Evatt,Minister for External Affairs, in a statement on the AustralianNew Zealand Agreement issued to the press - 21st January, 1944 - “ Another important aspect of the agreement is the new and permanent machinery for collaboration and co-operation. This is aimed at co-operation for defence, collaboration in external policy, the development of commerce between the two countries, co-operation in achieving full employment and social security.”
TheRt. Hon. H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, in a statement on the Mutual Aid Agreement with Canada in the House of Representatives -17th March, 1944 -
Article X. is of particular interest. This reads - “ The Governments of Canada and the Commonwealth of Australia reaffirm their desire to promote mutually advantageous economic relations between their countries and throughout the world. They declare that their guiding purposes include the adoption of measures designed to promote employment, the production and consumption of goods, and the expansion of commerce through appropriate international agreements on commercial policy, with the object of contributing to the attainment of all of the economic objectives set forth in the declaration of the 14th August, 1941, known as the Atlantic Charter.”
The wording of Article X. of the AustralianCanadian Agreement is in strict accordance with the Australian Government’s views as to future international economic collaboration. The Australian Government stresses the importance of domestic policies of full employment as the basic policy which should be followed in promoting post-war international economic collaboration. Our view is that it is by maintaining high levels of employment and consumption throughout the world, and especially in the major countries, that prosperity, increased consumption of goods, and expansion of trade can be effected, and the economic objectives of the Atlantic Charter fulfilled. The Australian Government accepting these objectives, regarded Article VII. of the United Kingdom-United States Agreement as a further expression of them. The Austra lian Government’s view is that the objectives can best be attained by attaching primary and indeed supreme importance to the adoption of measures designed to promote full employment and increased production and consumption of goods.
In our view this Australian approach is particularly important when in the post-war period so many nations, including Australia, will be dependent on the re-establishment and expansion of overseasmarkets. In 1938 New Zealand’s export trade was 35 per cent. of her total national income; Australia’s nearly 20 per cent. It will be realized that a fall in the level of employment in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States is likely to have a detrimental effect on such economies as those of New Zealand and Australia. Such reductions in employment are not unusual. For instance, in the United States of America between 1937 and 1938, there was an increase from about 5,100,000 to 7,400.000 in the number of registered unemployed workers. The adverse effect of this on the exports of other countries to the United Nations can be observed from the trade figures. The maintenance of a high level of employment throughout the world would undoubtedly have a beneficial effect in increasing trade, production and consumption, and so in preventing recourse to the methods associated with extreme economic nationalism.
Australia’s general policy in relation to international economic collaboration may be stated as follows: -
Statement by the Honorable John Beasley, Minister for Supply and Shipping, in the general statement made at the commencement of the International Labour Organization Conference, Philadelphia, 24/A April, 1944 -
You will no doubt be aware of the work which has been done in the past by Australians in endeavouring to have accepted by all nations the raising of living standards as the primary means of securing increased trade and establishing harmonious international economic relations.
It needs to be emphasized that the raising of living standards is primarily a matter of domestic policy. The instruments for increasing investment, consumption and employment, and for distributing purchasing power among the community lie in the hands of the institutions and governments of each nation. But it must be emphasized also that the raising of living standards is not wholly a domestic matter, particularly for those countries which are under-developed’ or are .highly dependent on foreign trade or the financial policies of other countries. For them domestic policies to maintain high levels of employment and to increase standards of living are restricted! by the necessity of balancing external pay,ments. In other words, the success of the domestic policies of many small countries depends, not only upon their own domestic planning, but .also upon world demand for their exports.
The most important single factor determining the demand for goods entering world trade is world level of income and consumption, and particularly, the level of income and consumption in the larger and industrially developed countries. High levels of income and consumption throughout the community are dependent, in their turn, on high and stable levels of employment.
Thus we are led to the conclusion that the critical factor controlling the raising of standards of living and the level of trade throughout the world will be the kind of domestic policies which are followed by the larger economies such as those of the United States of America and- the United Kingdom. This being the case, higher levels of employment throughout the world, and in particular higher levels of employment in the more developed countries, should be the first goal to be sought in international economic collaboration.
It can be seen that employment and consumption policies, which have traditionally been regarded as of domestic concern only, exercise far more influence on the affairs of other nations than do exchange rate, tariff, and export subsidy policies which have conventionally been classified as of international concern. The Australian Government considers, therefore, that national policies of employment should come within the scope of matters subject to international discussion and agreement.
An agreement between governments to maintain high levels of employment would not imply any interference with sovereign rights by an international institution, except the sovereign “ right “ to cause unemployment in other countries by allowing unemployment and low living standards to persist within the national boundaries. Every country would be free to use the means which seem most appropriate in the circumstances to maintain its own employment level and prevent unemployment. It hardly seems conceivable that democratic governments would hesitate to undertake to maintain high levels of employment. They cannot afford to hesitate, having regard to the experiences of the great depression, and the undoubted claims every demobilized serviceman and producer of war goods will have upon his government to see that a proper place will be found for him in the economic life of his country when this war is over.
It may be advanced that there are political and traditional difficulties which might arise in some countries in carrying out an agreement to pursue policies of full employment. But I submit that no system of government, no set of institutions, is adequate for the purposes for which it was developed if it cannot guarantee work for all who wish it. In every country in the world to-day, including the most advanced, there is room for very extensive employment of men and materials, as well as extension of social services, health, education, housing, and so on.
The Right Honorable H. V. Evatt, in a statement in Sydney, 25th April, 1944 - “The suggestion made to the International Labour Organization Conference by Mr. Beasley, Australian Minister for Supply and
Shipping, andhead of the Australian delegation, that the United Nations should enter into a binding agreement to maintain high levels of employment and to consult regularly on employment policies was an integral part of the Australian Government’s economic foreign policy for the post-war period. Full employment and stabilized prices for our farm products are essentials of our reconstruction planning.
The Australian approach is, therefore, an essential basis of international economic cooperation and the foundation on which any international machinery in special fields should be built. In any case, international economic collaboration in some fields will have to be reached gradually and tentatively as the post-war transition problems are overcome. Further, a rapid completion of an international agreement aimed at full employment everywhere, and its active implementation, would greatly increase the possibility of achieving international collaboration in a variety of other matters sooner than would otherwise be possible.
I agree with Mr. Beasley that if freedom of want is to be pursued realistically it is hardly conceivable that democratic governments should hesitate to undertake to maintain high levels of employment. The agreement would recognize in legal form the moral obligation which governments in all developed countries owe not only to their peoples, but to other peoples.
The Right Honorable H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, in a statement in the House of Representatives,19th July, 1944 -
Representing a country which has a large and vital export trade, we have a point of view to put which might on occasion be overlooked. Further, we are from time to time, the spokesman for the interests of other small nations.
Throughout the discussions on all subjects we have adhered to the principle that domestic policies are of increasing concern to other nations. We believe that domestic policies, and in particular policies to maintain high levels of employment, should be the fundamental basis of all international economic collaboration.
Further, the domestic policies that the main countries of the world follow often determine the attitude of other governments to each proposal. Economic collaboration embraces a whole series of particular proposals: commercial policy, commodity agreements and monetary proposals. These separate proposals cannot readily be accepted by governments without knowing the broad outlines of the general plan.
For instance, it is difficult for a country to give up its freedom to adjust exchange rates without knowing something of its future trade balances. After this war we in Australia will, no doubt, pursue a policy of full employment. Full employment means increased demand for goods, and therefore increased imports. If other countries do not have full employment and do not likewise increase their demand for our exports, how shall we pay for our imports? It can be seen that the demand in other countries, and therefore the level of their employment, is a factor of critical importance to us.
At this moment, the Monetary Conference is being held at Bretton Woods, United States of America. There will be no commitment at this conference, and the Parliament of Australia must make the final decision as to whether any proposals shall be accepted. The mailt concern of the Australian representatives at this conference is to see that the aim of exchange stability does not in any way conflict, as it did under the gold standard, with the predominantly important aim of maintaining high levels of employment.
Whilst I do not wish to overstate or appear too optimistic, the fact is that there has been far more post-war planning during this war than during the last war. Certainly, we have made substantial progress. The Australian Government has maintained a consistent principle and advocated a new approach. It has been so described by expert observers in the United States of America. We believe that it is vital to accept the principle that domestic policies are of international concern, and that governments should accept obligations concerning their employment policies.
Therefore, our foreign policy must at all times be integrated with our domestic policies. Full employment should be regarded as vital to both. In practice, this means that our foreign policy must be to secure export markets, to obtain supplies necessary for housing and other works, to provide for a steady development of our secondary industries and to assure us of supplies of strategic materials.
Statement made by Australian Delegation at Bretton Woods Conference, July, 1944 -
The proposed Monetary Fund and the suggested plans for reducing trade barriers and for stabilizing commodity prices all aim at action in the international field. We do not question their use in making trade flow more easily, but we believe they will be comparatively of little value unless a high level of effective demand can be ensured by domestic measures of an expansionist kind.
Apart from machinery for investment, international arrangements cannot of themselves create this demand. They can merely facilitate the full expression in international trade of whatever volume of demand there may be. Of this, much the most important determinants arc the level of employment and incomes in each country.
The experience of the inter-war period shows that the volume of international trade depends far more upon domestic policies of employment than upon any international arrangements. When employment and prosperity have been high, trade has flourished notwithstanding tariffs andsubsidies and unstabilizcd currencies. When there has been unemployment, trade has dwindled. Stabilized currencies and lower tariffs can reshuffle trade and, in favorable circumstances, aid its increase, but without high levels of employment and spending power the real motive force behind international trade is lacking.
Domestic policies aiming at high levels of employment by expansionist measures are therefore of international concern because of their effect upon demand, the final source of trade. They are of international concern also, because, unless employment is maintained, other international agreements cannot function successfully. Unless we can find some way of reducing the amplitude of the trade cycle, the monetary fund and agreements to reduce barriers to trade will not, we believe, endure. When employment falls, a struggle inevitably ensues between countries to capture the greatest share of a dwindling trade. Moreover, the fall in demand is not evenly distributed. Credit and debit balances of payment emerge. The fund, with its limited quotas and limited annual drawings, provides no solution for these problems if long protracted. Countries scourged by unemployment will seize the. means of relief that seem to lie closest to hand, even if they prove in fact illusory. In a period of growing unemployment, we believe that countries would not deny themselves the right to prevent the spread of unemployment within their boundaries by restrictive measures. In these circumstances, the monetary fund and any tariff arrangements would break down and competitive currency depreciation and tariff abnormalities would return to plague us.
We believe that, in order to secure popular support for monetary and other similar proposals, it is first necessary to convince the man in the street that these proposals are a means to an end in which he has a vital interest. Hence the Australian desire to see governments specifically accept the obligation to maintain employment. Oncesuch an obligation had been accepted, particular proposals, more technical and more difficult, could be brought forward as part of a general plan, and in this way made attractive to ordinary men and women.
It has been objected that domestic policies of employment are the sovereign concern of nations and should not be made the subject of international agreement. But the currency of a country and its tariff policy are just as much matters of sovereignty. If international agreements are not to interfere with the sovereignty of nations, no agreements whatever are possible.
We do not, however, suggest the creation of an international employment authority that would have the right to interfere with the domestic policy of a country. The ways and means of maintaining employment must be left to each country to determine. . Any employment authority we have in mind would limit itself to collecting and exchanging information on employment and providing a meeting-place for countries to discuss the causes of any threatened breakdown.
I lay on the table the following paper : -
International Affairs - Ministerial Statement together with annexes, 8th September, 1944. and move -
That the paper be printed.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Harrison) adjourned.
-I have received from Mr. Charles Mangin, of the Wheat Growers Association, Meringur, in the drought-stricken area of Victoria, the following telegram: -
Hay is procurable in district at £5 15s. per ton. Ceiling price is £5 per ton, Melbourne, less freight to district where hay1s. Stock dying for want of same. Please demand that grower be permitted to receive £5 15s. per ton here.
I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether the rigid price fixed for hay will be increased to induce holders of stocks to sell to farmers badly in need of hay and chaff?
– I shall refer the honorable gentleman’s question to the Minister for Trade and Customs, who administers the Prices Commission, but the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture informs me that this matter is now under consideration. Apparently, officers of his department felt it necessary to take up the matter.
– About a year too late.
– I suppose it is better late than never. The question asked by the honorable member for Wimmera is based on drought conditions. Were the conditions as bad then as now?
– No, but the necessity existed.
– I regard the matter as urgent, and hope to have it attended to immediately.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Home Security, who is absent to-day, if it is the Government’s intention to review the present black-out arrangements, particularly in capital cities in the southern Stales? Is the continuation of the black-out due to security considerations, or solely to the desire to economize in fuel?
– The black-out is being maintained for both the reasons mentioned by the honorable member. However, I shall obtain a complete answer from the Minister for Home Security and forward it to the honorable member at the earliest opportunity.
– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture to ensure that stocks of wheat now held at country sidings in drought areas shall not be removed in view of the possibility that the wheat will be required for seed and feed purposes in those areas. On this matter, I have received the following telegram : -
Large quantity bulk wheat left station this line yesterday. More loading Underbool to-day. Please take any suitable action to avoid any further trucking. - Hall, secretary, Advancement League.
The removal of this wheat would be unwarranted in view of the possibility that it may have to be brought back to these areas later. Therefore I ask the Minister to direct the Australian Wheat Board, as far as possible, to leave supplies on hand at country sidings in drought areas.
– I shall take up the matter immediately with the Australian Wheat Board, as suggested by the honorable member.
formal Motion for Adjournment.
– I have received from the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, “ The case of Mr. P. Dargin, butcher, of Portland, New South Wales, and all matters associated therewith “.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
– Is the motion supported ?
Five honorable members having risen in support of the motion,
-I submit this motion for the purpose of voicing a public protest against the misuse by this Government of its war emergency powers in order to persecute a man whose only offence has been that he has been strong enough to stand up against blackmailers, andnational saboteurs. It seems to me that the Government, having itself failed to show any inclination to stand up against the threats of striking coal miners, is quite unwilling that anybody else should win fame in that respect. As is usually the case in connexion with questions of public interest, a certain degree of conflict exists as to the facts of this case ; and it was with a view to resolving this conflict that early last week I placed upon the notice-paper, addressed to the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin), because several Ministers were involved, a series of questions designed to extract some authoritative statement as to the actual position. I gave notice of those questions early last week, but so far I have not received any reply. Honorable members know that yesterday I took the opportunity to inquire from the Prime Minister as to when I was likely to receive answers to those questions, and I was told that I would receive them possibly to-day. Perhaps, I shall receive them to-day after this debate has been concluded. However, it is interesting to examine the difficulty experienced by the Prime Minister in answering these questions. The reason cannot be because the questions are particularly complex, or because they involve anything like an intensive search of public records or statistics. The first question I asked was -
Has permission been given to the Portland Co-operative Society, or any person, or corporation, to open a butcher’s shop in Portland?
I have not yet received a reply to that question, but, surely it should be easy for the Prime Minister to reply to it even without notice.
– How long has the question been on the notice-paper?
– Since Wednesday of last week. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) has already publicly announced that permission has been given to the Portland Co-operative Society to open a new butchery in Portland. It is pertinent to ask why the Minister for Trade and Customs, and not the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman), had to give that information. Was it due to the fact that the latter remembers that not so long ago I had a contest with his department as to whether permission to open a butcher’s shop at Eastwood, in my electorate, should not be given to a man who had just returned disabled from service overseas, and who had proposed to rent an unoccupied butcher’s shop in that district. That application was refused, and it was only after returned soldiers’ organizations in that district threatened to pull the department to pieces that permission was given. Or, perhaps, the Minister for War Organization of Industry remembers a more recent case of one of my constituents, a Mrs. Vincent, a resident of West Ryde, whose husband has not been heard of since the fall of Singapore, who desired to open a cafe and shop in order, more than anything else, to keep her mind off her distress. She was arbitrarily refused permission to open that establishment. Perhaps, those are the reasons why the Minister for War Organization of Industry has kept out of the Portland dispute and has allowed his more portly colleague, the Minister for Trade and Customs, to be the spokesman for theGovernment on this occasion. The second question I asked the Prime Minister was -
Has a meat quota been allotted to any such party; If so, what is the nature of the quota?
Again, the Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the answer. He said that a beef quota is being arranged by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. However, before this can be accomplished, two or three hurdles must be overcome. Regulation No. 27 of the National Security (Meat Industry Control) Regulations, which have been in operation since September, 1943, provides that the Portland district, in common with every other district in Australia, shall have a beef quota based on the quantity distributed in the particular zone in April, 1942. Has that regulation been complied with in respect of the new shop at Portland, and, if so, how has it been applied? The quota for the Portland district in 1942 was held by two butchers, namely, Mr. Dargin, and Mr. Tweedie. Since that date, Dargin acquired Tweedie’s business, and, therefore, to-day, according to the law he is the possessor of both quotas, whilst, at the same time, no new shop has any base period upon which a quota can be fixed for it. But that is not the only difficulty which has been arbitrarily brushed aside by the Government in this case. Regulation 38 of the Rationing Regulations provides that -
A person shall not carry on at any premises any business in the course of which he supplies any coupon goods unless -
he was carrying on that business at those premises immediately before January 27th, 1944; or
he is authorized so to do by a licence or authority issued to him by the Commission.
Obviously, the Portland Co-operative Society cannot comply with the first qualification in this case because it was not carrying on a butchering business in Portland immediately prior to January, 1944. Therefore, the only way it could obtain authority to conduct a butcher’s business in Portland to-day would be by obtaining a licence from the Rationing Commission. The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Coles) is the Chairman of the Rationing Commission, and I should like him, before this debate is concluded, to state whether the commission has, in fact, given such permission to that body. There is also another difficulty. The Price Fixing Regulations provide that any butcher selling meat to-day must sell at the prices prevailing at his shop in February, 1943. Who is going to fix the prices at which the Portland Cooperative Society, which was not in business in February, 1943, will sell meat in its new shop in Portland? Will its prices be just a trifle below Dargin’s prices? Of course, it is obvious that the Society will not mind losing a little money in order, as its chairman has stated, to run Mr. Dargin out of business. I have just mentioned three regulations which, if the statement made by the Minister for Trade and Customs be correct, have been flagrantly broken by the Government. The Minister for Trade and Customs has been very anxious to emphasize that the issue of an authority to the Portland Cooperative Society to open a new shop had nothing whatever to do with the recent Dargin incident. If that be so, I ask why the Minister sent his private secretary, Mr. Donovan, to Portland to see what he could do about the matter. I am informed that Mr. Donovan told Mr. Dargin that unless he was prepared to reinstate the young woman whose dismissal was the subject of the trouble, permission would be given for the opening of another butchery in Portland. Further, Mr. Donovan emphatically pointed out to Mr. Dargin that he was at his wit’s end trying to keep the Minister for Trade and Customs at bay. Honorable members who know Mr. Donovan and the Minister for Trade and Customs will draw a keen picture of Mr. Donovan holding the Minister’s 22 stone of hurtling energy at bay. Those of us who had something to . say about the control exercised by bureaucrats over Ministers have, apparently, foolishly believed that this control has been exercised largely by the hierarchy of the Commonwealth Public Service. We did not think that it had descended to the private secretary level, but apparently it has done so. Mr. Donovan told Mr. Dargin that he could not hold his Minister at bay much longer, and Mr. Dargin told Mr. Donovan, probably in picturesque Australian language, that whilst he would not be browbeaten, he would accept the assurance of the Prime Minister and abide by the findings of the Conciliation Commissioner. According to Mr. Dargin Mr. Donovan was then guilty of making some very disparaging remarks about the Prime Minister and the Conciliation Commissioner.
I have not yet received from the Prime Minister an answer to my third question, which reads -
Is such quota additional to the quota previously operating in the zone embracing Portland?
If the answer to this question be in the affirmative, it means that Portland strikers, who deprived the Australian community of 30,000 tons of coal when it was vitally needed for the war effort, will be given a double meat ration. At whose expense will they be given that double ration? No reserves of meat have been set aside for meeting “ emergencies “ of the kind that occurred at Portland. If the Portland strikers are to receive a double ration of beef, civilians in other zones will have to go short. That is grossly unfair. They are striking, and contemptuously defying the Prime Minister’s direction. If supplies to civilians are not reduced, will our servicemen go short, or, even more reprehensible still, will our kinsmen in Great Britain, who have been subsisting since the outbreak of war on a ration of ls. 2d. worth a week, go short? If none of those courses is adopted to provide the quota of meat for the new shop, the Government must intend to reduce the supplies now made available to Mr. Dargin. That will be confiscation, naked and unashamed. I remind the Government of a recent decision of, and comment by, the High Court of Australia relating to some other dealings, in which Commonwealth Ministers and officers were involved in the acquisition from private citizens of property required for war purposes. My fourth question was -
Has authority been given for the employment of additional staff for the new shop? If so, what is the number of staff so authorized?
Again, there was abysmal silence. I hope that, during this debate, the reply will be given. It will interest businessmen who are engaged in essential enterprises, and whose staffs have been reduced to breaking point. It will interest that man in my electorate who is conducting a substantial business in the distribution of fodder. He is unable to secure the release from the Army of his son who has already served for four years - most of that period overseas - in order to relieve him of some of the burden. It will interest also that poultry-farmer in my neighbourhood, who has been vainly endeavouring to secure the release from the Army of his son in order to save himself from a .physical breakdown. The Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) knows about that case because, if I have been correctly informed, he promised the father that the son would be released.
– Does the honorable member suggest that men have been released from the Army in order to work in the new butchery at Portland?
– Then what point is the honorable member trying to make?
– I contend that if authority can be given for the employment of a number of men in a new and unnecessary enterprise, more consideration should be given to persons who are already conducting essential enterprises. The next question which I asked, and to which I have not received an answer, is -
Has authority been given for the acquisition and installation of refrigeration equipment for this shop? If so, what is the limit of such authority f
This reply will be interesting, particularly to housewives who have been denied the right to purchase even the most modest of household refrigerators. My sixth question was -
Has authority been given for alterations to shop premises? If so, what expenditure has been so authorized?
The answer to this question came, not from the Prime Minister, but from Mr. George Booth, M.L.A., of New South Wales, who is chairman of the Cooperative Societies of that State. Greatly to the concern of other people who did not want the information to . be given, Mr. Booth stated publicly that a sum of £3,000 will be expended in equipping and fitting the new shop.
– Approval will have to be obtained from the responsible Commonwealth department.
– lt was for the purpose of resolving any doubts about this .matter that I directed to the right honorable gentleman over a week ago the questions that I am repeating in my speech to-day. If I am labouring under a misapprehension, the Prime Minister must accept ,the responsibility for it, because he permitted Mr. Booth’s statement to pass unchallenged. As chairman of the Co-operative Societies of New South Wales, Mr. Booth is a person of some authority, and, in the absence of an official refutation, I accept his statement. Therefore, I conclude that the Commonwealth Government has authorized the expenditure of £3,000 upon unnecessary equipment for, and additions to, that unnecessary shop at a time when it is insisting that no amount exceeding £25 shall be expended on essential equipment for businesses.
– That is not correct.
Sir FREDERICK (STEWART.- That is the Minister’s contention. Finally, I asked the Prime Minister to direct that all papers relating to this matter, including any ‘submissions from industrial bodies, should be laid on the table of the House before it adjourned last week. I again urge the Prime Minister to make available for perusal by honorable members all papers relating to this matter.
What are the circumstances which have inspired so much energy on the part of Commonwealth Ministers in connexion with the Portland meat business? The Treasurer (Mr. ‘Chifley) has been involved in the matter not very willingly but because Portland is situated in his electorate. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) and the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) are deeply involved, whilst the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman), who should have been involved, has carefully held himself aloof. Is their interest due to the belief that Mr. Dargin is a disloyal and undesirable citizen, who has committed an offence agains’t the community? Fortunately, this question has been answered, not by the Prime Minister, but by no less an authority than the Conciliation Commissioner, an officer of the Department of Labour and National Service. I propose to read the relevant extracts from his findings. If any doubt exists in the minds of honorable members regarding the authenticity of these findings, I direct attention to the fact that the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) reserves the copyright in the document. The hearing, which the Conciliation Commissioner conducted, assumed some of the elements of the old Roman arena. The case against Mr. Dargin was heard in the Portland motion picture theatre, in the presence of practically the whole population of the town. They attended because they had nothing else to do. They were not working, and this hearing was the event of the day. They were waiting to follow the traditional move of turning their thumbs down, but, unfortunately for them, the Conciliation Commissioner refused to turn his thumb down. He said -
After carefully weighing the facts I have concluded that Mr. Dargin is not the type of employer who by reason of his record in this town could be claimed to bc a bad employer. … As I said before, there is no evidence that Mr. Dargin is a had or unscrupulous employer. In fact, he spoke with pride of his record in this town us an employer and said that he had always treated his employees liberally and had paid them their full pay when on sick leave, and had allowed them time off without loss of pay whenever they asked for it. . . . Mr. Upton, the union representative, also stated that he had had no trouble with Mr. Dargin previously. [Extension of time granted.]
Regarding the allegation of victimization, which is at the root of all this trouble, the Conciliation Commissioner said -
It may be that through this episode in the girl’s life, her footsteps may be guided in other and more congenial channels and that, when she looks back upon this episode, she will herself realize that she has been mistaken. She may even in the future become an employer herself.
I should point out - and I am surprised that no one else mentioned it previously - that, despite sinister rumours, no reflection was cast upon the character and integrity of the woman concerned. The transcript of the evidence given before the Conciliation Commissioner, which I have before me, does not contain the slightestsuggestion of any impropriety on her part.
– I have not heard such rumours.
– All that was said was that the girl was unsatisfactory and unpunctual. She did not deny it. She was unfortunate in not being able to work harmoniously with some of the other employees of Mr. Dargin. In addition, there was a slight irregularity in her bookkeeping. Those statements cast no reflection upon the character of the girl. In view of the findings of the Conciliation Commissioner, why was the Government not content to allow the matter to end there? I have the answer to that question. On the 8th August, a public meeting was held in Portland. The strikers, who had found that they could not get their own way, decided to return to work, but imposed .a certain condition. They threatened that they would go on strike after fourteen days if they did not receive an assurance that a new butchery would be opened in Portland. In the meantime, they had tried another method. They obtained meat from Lithgow, only to find that the difficulties were too great. Besides, they wanted an easier way to crush Mr. Dargin Now, the 8th August was eleven days before ‘the 19th August, the day on which the referendum was held. Honorable members will see how carefully the whole matter was arranged. Fourteen days after the 8th August would bring them to the 22nd August, when they were demanding a definite answer from the Government. I do not think that I am unfair when I suggest that the arrangement for the opening of a new shop was a part of the plan to get these men back to work before the 19th August. Instead of standing up against lawlessness, the Government cravenly decided to throw its weight - weight which it possesses only by virtue of war-time powers that should be used only for crushing .the enemy - into crushing a ‘ law-abiding Australian citizen. It did this at the behest of law-breakers who at that very moment were already contemptuously defying the specific direction of the Prime Minister. Mr. Dargin’s experience might be that of any business man in Australia who dares to stand against the everincreasing arrogance of industrial controllers and militant minorities. It is the Government’s condonation of this sort of thing which played so large a part in contributing to the humiliation which it suffered on the 19th August, when the people of Australia so devastatingly refused to extend into the peace period the powers which it is now misusing. This, however, is nothing to the Nemesis which will pursue this or any government which is prepared to lend its authority and machinery to the propagation or encouragement of those twin noxious importations - blackmail and boycott. I hope that even at this late hour the Prime Minister will call off the wolves and direct his Ministers to conform to the laws and regulations which the Government itself has been responsible for formulating.
– I do not propose to traverse all the details of this matter, but there are one or two aspects of which the House should be informed. First, the feeling in Portland is not confined to the period associated with this particular trouble. The honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) will deal with that aspect in more detail later on. The fact is that there were a number of butchering businesses in Portland at different times, and prior to the sale by Mr. Tweedie to Mr. Dargin there were two. An arrangement was made with Mr. Tweedie by the local co-operative society by which the meat sold by him to co-operative members carried a certain rebate. When Mr. Dargin bought Mr. Tweedie’s business he closed the butchery that he himself was using. This meant that there was only one butchery operating in Portland to serve a population, of about 4,000 people. Besides this, Mr. Dargin continued to rent the shop in which he himself had been operating, and which was already equipped, so, I presume, that nobody else could use it.
– The refrigerator had been sent to Glen Davis.
– I am putting the facts as I know them. I hope to do so quite temperately, because I feel that there are faults on both sides. What I have been speaking of was all quite a while ago. In normal circumstances Mr. Dargin would not have had a monopoly, but meat rationing was introduced, and the control of butchers’ shops went over entirely from the Department of War Organization of Industry to the Rationing Commission. That explains why the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) did not intervene - a matter upon which the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) commented.
The facts are very simple. A great feeling was growing up in Portland long before any trouble arose about Miss Wylde. Let me state in passing that this is the first time that I have heard any sinister suggestions about her, and I have had to come from my own electorate to hear them. I heard nothing of the report until the honorable member for
Parramatta did Miss Wylde the injustice of bruiting abroad the fact that such a suggestion had been made. So far as I know, the girl is estimable. I think that Mr. Dargin found her unsatisfactory and decided to get rid of her, but that incident was only the match set to the tinder that had been existing in Portland for a good while. The people were dissatisfied, the first to complain being the members of the cooperative society who had lost the benefit of the agreement which they had with Mr. Tweedie. Mr. Tweedie’s shop had been bought by Mr. Dargin, who closed his own shop. All these were psychological factors.
– Did not Tweedie offer the shop to the co-operative society?
– I am not aware of it, but if he did, the co-operative society may not have been prepared to take it on his terms. Mr. Dargin’s shop, which I understand was properly equipped, was kept closed. I am told that in, it there was all the necessary equipment, and that Mr. Dargin continued to pay the rent for it, and had a complete monopoly of the trade in the other shop. All this feeling had been simmering since the co-operative members lost the benefit they had been getting, but there were other factors. I do not wish to cast any reflection on Mr. Dargin as an employer or as a citizen, but I believe that he was very offhanded in the way in which he dealt with everybody. There is no reflection on his honesty, but there is no doubt that his manner and his actions - I am not suggesting that any of his actions were dishonest - had a tendency to incense many people. Even while this dispute was in progress he made remarks which certainly were not calculated to ease the position. I have not the exact words, but he inferred that so long as he had the master butchers behind him he did not “ give anything “ for the Prime Minister or the citizens of Portland or anybody else. Those are the facts, but there is a great deal of psychology associated with the whole business. The honorable member can produce all his logic, but he cannot get rid :of the fact that there was longstanding unrest and dissatisfaction in a town which has not had the best of deals.
During the depression it had an exceedingly bad time, and when the war had been, going on for some time, it still represented a great pocket of unemployment. I give credit to the previous Government for recognizing the hardships that the town was suffering under, and the dissatisfaction that existed. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), who was then Prime Minister, and Senator McBride agreed, even if it cost a good deal of money, to subsidize the transport of many of the people of Portland to Lithgow to work. That was done in an effort to alleviate the discontent existing in the place. Later on the present Government tried to ease the position in Portland by establishing an annexe there. Both Governments recognized that in this place there was unemployment and discontent, and that it was in a way shut out of the general war effort. This was at a time when there was no great shortage of man-power. The Minister for War Organization of Industry can tell the House that the activities of the cement industry, one of the main supports of the town, began to diminish and there was a time when it appeared that it would have to close. Prior to this, in the early stages of the war, the coal mines in the district had to battle to get orders to keep the miners on part-time work. That is the history of a town in which, prior to the war and for a long period of the war, there was nothing to encourage patriotism in its people. It was one of the worst treated towns in the Australian community, as both this and the last Government recognized. The Minister for War Organization of Industry himself looked into the question of the closing down of the cement industry, and decided in view of all the circumstances that an effort should be made to keep it going as well as the other one at Kandos. I give honorable members that as a background, because there are many factors in the whole dispute which are mainly human and have no particular logic in them. I do not want to attempt to defend the men who went on strike. In this town they were not only the miners. Honorable members listening to the honorable member for Parramatta would think that the only ones in this trouble were the miners.
– The whole town was in the trouble.
– I know that.
– The honorable member talked about the miners.
– I said that the whole community was in it.
– I know something of what happened in the butchery itself. There was nothing sinister about it, but there was a difference of opinion on that point. Several women employees did not get on very well. That is not unusual among women or among other people for that matter. A feeling developed among the butchers in the shop against Mr. Dargin. I do not say that he was not a good employer, but trouble occurred, and this girl was dismissed. There would not have been a strike in Portland but for the fact that there was no meat available. I am not attempting to justify those who went on strike because I told them myself that their action was foolish. The Minister for Labour in New South Wales, who represents that district, knew nothing about the strike until it actually occurred. I am the federal member for the district, and I knew nothing about it until the trouble started. When Miss Wylde was dismissed the butchers employed by Mr. Dargin went on strike. They have been fined for their action in that regard. As Mr. Dargin’s was the only butchery and Mr. Dargin was the only one who could supply meat, and did not have any butchers to assist him, the meat supply for everybody in the district was cut off. A great number of miners ceased work - and I admit that they were the first to come out - not because of Miss Wylde’s dismissal, but because they said, “No meat, no work”. That is the truth of the matter, which has been hopelessly distorted. I do not attempt here and I did not attempt in my constituency to justify the stoppage of work without exhausting every avenue to see if something could not be done to supply meat to the people. It is, however, clear that Mr. Dargin’s butchers were on strike and Mr. Dargin had a complete monopoly of the meat supply for the whole of that district, with the result that the residents not only of Portland but also of the surrounding country could not get any meat. That is what put the match to the tinder, because the dissatisfaction had been simmering for a long time. I was not in Portland during the strike, but I have been there since, and have talked to the strike committee and to very responsible citizens, including clergymen, who I should imagine are impartial observers of all that occurs there. I formed the conclusion that it was only just to grant to the people of that district another butchering licence in that area. I have gone through the whole history of the trouble to show that it was not associated in the first place with the dismissal of Miss Wylde. At a public meeting in January of this year it was decided to ask the co-operative society to open another shop. No doubt there were very good reasons why the request should not be granted. Meat rationing had been applied, and it could be argued that if the butchery there previously had met the needs of the place it could go on doing bo. If the request had come to me I would have said, “ One butchery has supplied your requirements up to now; why provide another ? “ But nobody at a distance could know all the factors which created the great bitterness that grew up in Portland. . Honorable members know how these things grow, and how in time a molehill becomes a mountain. The honorable member for Parramatta can produce all the logic he likes, but after talking to reputable citizens, including ministers of religion, I am completely satisfied, whatever illogical things may have been done, that a second licence should have been given to Portland. Without wishing to say anything disrespectful about Mr. Dargin, I am satisfied that although he may have believed himself to be acting in the right manner, his attitude on many matters has antagonized the population of this country town. The people of Portland believe that they have not been given a fair and reasonable deal in many ways. To those who suggest that I was associated with the affair, 1 say that I was not near Portland while the strike was on, and had I been there I should have done exactly what the union leaders did, and tried to get the men to go back to work and have the affair settled in some other way. So strong was the feeling of bitterness against Mr. Dargin that the miners’ leaders could not overcome it. I visited Portland a week after the strike ceased and made inquiries. I had a look at Mr. Dargin’s shop, and I say quite frankly, that so strong was the feeling against him, that housewives were travelling 15 miles to Lithgow to purchase their meat. No amount of logic can overcome the human factor in matters such as this. I told the Minister for Trade and Customs what was my view on the question. I did not endeavour to persuade him. I merely said, “ There are ‘the facts “. I think that I even mentioned the matter to the Prime Minister, who undoubtedly left it to the Minister for Trade and Customs to make a full examination of the circumstances. The Minister was unable to go to Portland himself, and so he sent his private secretary, Mr. Donovan, to see whether some compromise could be reached. I understand that Mr. Donovan spoke to Mr. Dargin, but I am not aware of the exact conversation. Quite frankly, the compromise hoped for, was that Mr. Dargin would ask Miss Wylde to return to his employ, and that Miss Wylde would say that she did not wish to return.
– And to renew the contract with the co-operative store to supply meat.
– Certain propositions were put up, but were not acceptable.
I regret very much the action which was taken by the unionists at Portland. I told them that I thought it would have been far better had they explored every other channel first; but again, it is impossible to ignore human factors which often move individuals and multitudes to do things which may appear to be entirely unreasonable. However, any one who believes that the fault was entirely on one side in this case, is quite wrong. If the war finished to-morrow, the regulations which control the meat industry would be removed, and Mr. Dargin would have to face ordinary peace-time competition. Mr. Dargin has been able to enjoy a monopoly only because of war-time regulations, and surely if regulations can be used to enable Mr. Dargin to monopolize the butchering business in Portland, they can be used also to break such, a monopoly.
My intention in speaking to this motion is to place before honorable members the psychological aspect of this matter, ignoring for the moment, high-sounding utterances about patriotism. I say again that the people of Portland have played their full part in the war effort - I do not think that the Portland Cement Works has been out of operation because of a strike since long prior to the outbreak of war - despite the fact that conditions throughout that district both before and during the war have not been such as to inspire that high degree of patriotism which one might expect from citizens more favorably treated.
– In a spirit of sweet reasonableness the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) has somewhat dampened this debate. The honorable gentleman made a series of interesting points. First, he said that Mr. Dargin was not persona grata in Portland, and that he had adopted towards his customers an attitude which caused them great concern. The Treasurer also told the House that had Mr. Dargin been agreeable to reinstate Miss Wylde, the people of Portland would have been quite content to carry on despite the alleged disabilities caused by Mr. Dargin’s monopoly of the butchering trade in that town.
– That is not correct.
– True, it has been stated that so far back as January of this year, a request ‘was made for a second butchering licence for Portland, and that no action had been taken by the Government, but considering all the facts one can only come to the conclusion that no action would have been taken to issue a second licence had Mr. Dargin not refused to comply with the demands made upon him by the union. The second point that the Treasurer made was that Mr. Dargin had bought the business run by Mr. Tweedie, closed it, and transferred the whole of the trade to his own shop. I have some knowledge of the policy of this Government in regard to matters such as this. The Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) has been instrumental in bringing about the closing of not one shop but many.
– That is quite untrue.
– It has been done many times. The usual method is to issue directions in regard to the employment of man-power in certain industries, with the result that employees are withdrawn and those who remain, being unable to carry on, are forced to close their doors. True, the Minister himself does not close the doors directly, but he achieves the same result by taking away the labour necessary to keep the businesses open.
– Order ! I ask the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to confine his remarks to the motion before the Chair.
– The question before the House relates to the closing of butchering businesses in Portland. The Treasurer himself has pointed out that Mr. Dargin closed a certain establishment.
– That does not entitle the honorable member to deal with regulations generally.
– I have no wish to do that, Mr. Speaker. I am merely pointing out that the closing of shops to save man-power is ,a feature of this Government’s policy, and that Mr. Dargin was assisting the Government in implementing that policy by concentrating in one establishment all the trade which previously flowed through several shops. Returning to the Treasurer’s claim in regard to Mr. Dargin’s allegedly unsatisfactory standing in the Portland community, why did the Government refuse to take action, until pressure was applied by the unions ? Why was not action taken when a request was made in January of this year for a licence for a second butchering establishment? Had that been done there might have been some justification for the Government’s action, but in the present circumstances there is not any justification. I remember listening with keen interest to a statement by the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) in regard to the right of an employer to “hireor fire “ an employee. This is a matter that strikes at the very heart of the Government’s policy, which obviously is to deny an employer the right to “ hire or fire “ an employee, to deny him the right to dispense with the services of an employee whom he does not wish to retain in his business. Mr. Dargin’s action in dispensing arbitrarily with the services of an employee was contrary to the expressed policy of the Government. Notwithstanding the sweet reasonableness of the Treasurer in emphasizing the importance of human factors in questions such as this, there is something much deeper than that behind the Government’s action. The facts are these: Not being satisfied with one of his employees, Mr. Dargin dismissed her. Immediately, action was taken by certain unions, and other employees refused to work in Mr. Dargin’s shop. When steps were taken to supply meat to customers in other ways, the meat was immediately declared “ black “, and there we saw in the Portland district the beginning of the industrial anarchy which has become so notable on the coalfields in recent years, due almost entirely to lack of strong measures on the part of the Government. In Portland, trouble grew like a snowball. Union after union joined in the dispute, and increasing pressure was brought to bear upon the Government. The extension of the trouble to the coal-fields led to a loss of coal production amounting to 30,000 tons. There was a vital principle at stake - the right of an employer to dispense with the services of an employee. The unions knew full well what was the Government’s policy in this regard, and they realized that if they applied sufficient pressure .the Government would give in.
– That had nothing to do with it.
- Mr. Dargin is being victimized by the Government’s granting of a second butchering licence in Portland in contravention of the regulations. Knowing quite well that the Government could be relied upon to take action if sufficient pressure were brought to bear upon it, the unions were prepared to force the issue, even to the extent of victimization. As the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick .Stewart) pointed out, the Unions gave the Government a number of days to come to a decision. Naturally, that decision was favorable to the unions. Under political pressure the Government agreed to the opening of a second butcher’s shop in Portland.
– And the employees concerned in the dispute were prosecuted.
– Of course they were, and quite rightly so, but the fact remains that Mr. Dargin has been victimized. The unionists who were prosecuted were law-breakers, but Mr. Dargin was not a law-breaker. His only crime was that he believed that he lived in a democracy, and that if he obeyed the law he would be protected by the Government. He has found out his mistake. Not only has he been subjected to pressure by the unionists, but also he has been a victim of intimidation of the kind that is becoming only too prevalent in this country - intimidation by bureaucrats, in this case the secretary of the Minister for Trade and ‘Customs (Senator Keane). We all know that business people in the capital cities to-day are afraid to open their mouths in regard to certain matters, because they fear that the bureaucrats will “ take it out of their hides “. Here we find the Minister for Trade and ‘Customs sending his confidential secretary to intimidate Mr. Dargin into giving way to the Government and to the strikers.
– What proof of that can the honorable member produce?
– The Treasurer has already said that he knows that to be a fact.
– The Treasurer did not say that.
– The Treasurer knows full well, .and stated the reason why Mr. Donovan went to Portland.
– There was nothing sinister in that.
– No ? Obviously to cover his own colleague the Treasurer would not admit anything sinister, but the facts cannot be robbed of their sinister appearance.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired. Sitting suspended from 12.J/S to 2.15 p.m.
.- The honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) made definite charges against an organization, the objects of which he does not understand, otherwise he would not allege that it had been responsible for pressure on and persecution of a man who wanted to stand up against saboteurs and blackmailers. That is a severe indictment of the co-operative movement, which, unlike the honorable member and those whom he represents, trades not for profit but purely in order to give service.
-I would not make such a charge against the cooperative movement, because it would not be true. I referred to the strikers in that connexion.
-The honorable gentleman said that those involved in the trouble were saboteurs. There is incontrovertible proof that members of the co-operative movement made representations for a butcher’s shop and held a public meeting in Portland last January, long before the trouble arose in connexion with Miss Wylde. The honorable gentleman also said that victimization was the basis of the trouble. That, also, is not true. The trouble originated with the cancellation by Mr. Dargin last December of his contract to supply meat to the shareholders of the co-operative movement in Portland. At the meeting in January, the shareholders requested the committee of the movement to establish a branch store in Portland. That may have brought the trouble to a head. Portland has a population of 4,000. At one time it was served by three butcher shops and three cutting carts, some of which Mr. Dargin bought out. Mr. Tweedie, a former contractor for the supply of meat to the shareholders of the co-operative movement, maintained amicable relations with his customers who were co-operative shareholders. He is an uncle of Mr. Dargin. Not only was the contract cancelled by Mr. Dargin, but he also put the shareholders of the movement on a cash basis, whereas they had always previously enjoyed fortnightly credit, on the basis of their share of the capital invested.
-Would the cash basis mean lower prices?
-No. Other businesses cannot compete against a co-operative store, because it does not trade for profit, and returns to the shareholders any overcharge upon commodities, disclosed at the end of each six-monthly balancing period, which could not be assessed at the time of sale. The co-operative movement is established in most industrial centres, and is naturally opposed by private enterprise. A Mr. Aitcheson also held a contract to supply meat to members of the co-operative movement in Portland prior to the advent of Mr. Dargin. The shareholders could not pay cash for their meat, because they receive their wages fortnightly. That refutes the argument that miners make large incomes.
It has been said that the intention is to steal Mr. Dargin’s customers, and cripple him. I give that a flat denial. The Co-operative Community Settlement Act 1924, of New South Wales, definitely and clearly provides that” co-operators “ cannot trade with more than 10 per cent. of the general public. The Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1942, by section 117, defines co-operative and mutual companies in these terms: -
In this division,” co-operative company. means a company the rules of which limit the number of shares which may be held by, or by and on behalf of, any other shareholder, and prohibits the quotation of the shares for sale or purchase at any stock exchange or in any other public mannerwhatever, and includes a company which has no share capital, and which in either case is established for the purpose of carrying on any business having as its primary object or objects one or more of the following: -
the acquisition of commodities or animals for disposal or distribution among its shareholders;
the acquisition of commodities or animals from its shareholders for disposal or distribution;
the storage, marketing, packing or processing of commodities of its shareholders ;
the rendering of services to its shareholders;
A co-operative company, thus defined, is permitted to treat as an allowable deduction so much of its assessable income as is distributed among its shareholders as rebates or bonuses based on business done by shareholders with it, or is distributed among its shareholders as interest or dividends on shares; and no such rebate or bonuses based on purchases made by a shareholder from the company need be included in his assessable income, except where the price of such purchases is allowable as a deduction in ascertaining his taxable income of any year. This clearly shows that the co-operative movement could not steal any of Mr. Dargin’s customers, or cripple him. If. all his customers were shareholders in the cooperative movement, he must have done himself a disservice by discontinuing the contract under which his predecessors operated. The position should be viewed fairly, and not with the object of making party political capital. According to the Lithgow Mercury, of the 30th August, the master butchers intended to hold a meeting on the 1st September, with a view to preparing to meet the granting of a licence by the Government for a quota of meat to be distributed in Portland. These persons were the cause of agitation at Homebush sale yards which led to a stoppage of operations there. They are “flag flappers”, and are described as great patriots. I hope that the Government will grant a licence, because the shareholders of the cooperative store are entitled to it. I predict that, if it does so, these master butchers will act in a way that will not be in the best interests of the war effort ; they will cause further trouble in order to intimidate the Government and thereby allow one butcher to have a monopoly. [Extension of time granted.] I am indebted to the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) for handing to me a telegram which has been addressed to him by Mr. Bennett, president of the Portland branch of the- Australian Labour party, confirming the statement by Mr. Doig, manager of the co-operative society, whom the honorable member for Parramatta criticized for having said that he would run Mr. Dargin out of the town. In view of the acts from which I have quoted, I do not believe that Mr. Doig would say such a thing. After Mr. Dargin’s cancellation of the contract with the co-operative society, a meeting of shareholders held in Portland in January last demanded that a cooperative butchery be established. Under the contract, the co-operative society collected the money owing by the shareholders and paid it to the contractor. Whoever may be the contractor he is not troubled with bad debts, because the society, which gets 10 per cent, of the sums collected, ensures the payment of the accounts. The telegram to which I referred reads as follows: -
Reply Mr. Menzies, public meeting Portland, January, 1944, many complaints regarding meat. Request for second butcher’s shop.
The co-operative movement, which is definitely non-political, has not made so much headway in Australia as in Great Britain, where it is widespread and gives valuable service to the people. I had the honour to represent the Kurri Kurri Co-operative Society on , the Wholesale Co-operative Society of New South Wales prior to and for two years after becoming a member of this Parliament. This is a legitimate movement which deserves encouragement.
Mr. Dargin has tried to retain a monopoly in Portland. The co-operative society there endeavoured to negotiate with him for the purchase of one of his shops which he keeps shut, but he flatly refused, and replied, “ I have the meat quota of the town “. The honorable member for Parramatta admitted that. Only because the co-operative society traded under its agreement with Mr. Dargin was it possible for him to have a double meat quota. The dismissal of Miss Betty Wylde aggravated the dispute, but the agitation arose months before her dismissal. She had worked for Mr. Dargin’s uncle for two years, and had been employed by Mr. Dargin for 30 weeks. He found no fault with her work, but said that she was unsuitable. He admitted that she had integrity and ability, so I fail to understand why she should have been regarded as unsuitable for her job. When the senior girl was absents Miss Wylde was given an increase of wages for doing both her own work and that of the senior girl. I am puzzled to know how Mr. Dargin was able to dismiss her. I understood that the employer must obtain the permission of the man-power authorities before dismissing an employee, just as an employee must get permission to leave one job for another.
– Only in protected industries.
– I have known of cases where appeals have been made to the man-power authorities, and they have refused to allow employees to take other jobs, irrespective of whether or not they were working in a protected industry. Seeing that Mr. Dargin dismissed Miss Wylde in these circumstances, and had the audacity to say that she was not suitable for her job, I consider that the Government would be justified in allowing the co-operative society to supply the meat requirements of its shareholders. The co-operative movement began in the Chartist days and has proved successful in competing with private enterprise. Of course, it is socialistic in its operation,.
– The honorable member is digressing from the subjectmatter of the motion.
– The honorable member who submitted the motion should be the last to talk about blackmail, considering the sharp practices associated with certain land transactions at Chullora.
– If the honorable member says that frequently enough he will believe it, but he knows that it is a confounded lie.
– The Opposition is prepared to hold up the business of this country by submitting motions designed to ridicule the Government.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- When the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) brought the facts of d is case before the Parliament, he put the matter quite dearly. He confined himself almost exclusively to a relation of the facts in chronological order, and he demanded from the Government an explanation of its conduct. He related how the dismissal of a girl had been followed by a strike of butchers in Mr. Dargin’s shop, and how the matter came before the appropriate industrial tribunal, which decided in favour of the employer. He then asked the Government to explain the reversal of its nation-wide policy to refuse permission for the starting of new enterprises which would require the use of building material, equipment and. manpower. The Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) replied, being the first Minister put up by the Government. He told us a touching, true-to-life story of the mental outlook of the residents of industrial country towns, and the hardship of their lives. We were very interested, and I should like to compliment the Treasurer upon the way in which he put the case for his constituents. I presume there is some significance in the fact that it is the Treasurer whose constituents were affected, even though hitherto he had taken no part in the case. That, no doubt, explains why he was put up to excuse the action of the Government.
– He is also the man who knows the facts better than any one else in this Parliament.
– Perhaps, and he is the man who, in his reply, avoided the facts better than any one else could have done. As I have said, his story was a very interesting one. Every journalist knows that “ sob stuff “ is better calculated to make the front page than are other news items. The Treasurer, calling upon his experience and his undoubted ability, treated, the House to a very touching sob story. I remind honorable members, however, that it really had nothing to do with the purpose of this debate, which is to confront the Government in Parliament with some of its administrative acts, and to require from it a statement of its policy regarding them. The Government framed regulations under which a meat quota was allotted to a certain district where there happened to be only one meat distributor. An industrial disturbance occurred which was investigated by the proper tribunal, and the action of the distributor was vindicated. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) directed this man’s employees to return to work, and had that direction been obeyed there would have been no extension of the industrial disturbance. The Opposition now wants to know why the Government tolerated the defiance of the Prime Minister’s direction.
– I cannot prevent citizens from failing to obey orders given to them. The Portland butchers were prosecuted; the law took its course.
– Yes, the law took its course.
– I am not a hangman - I am only the Prime Minister.
– The law took its course - in due course. There was no haste, and in due course the men were fined £5 each. I have no doubt that the fines were paid by the good old Australian system of a “ bob in “. No one was, in fact, penalized for the offence committed against the law, and there followed a strike, involving the cessation of work in the coal mines and at a small arms factory. There was widespread industrial dislocation, and the explanation put forward as a justification for all this is the Treasurer’s story that, after all, the 4,000 people in this district included many who had experienced hardship during the depression. We really ought to try to understand them, he said, and we are asked to accept his suggestion that, because they had a hard time ten years ago, they are justified in evading the law to-day in defying the directions of the Government, in holding up the production of coal, and in bringing about a cessation of work in a munitions factory.
– The Treasurer did not justify their action - he denounced it.
– The ultimate act of justification was the Government’s acquiescence in the request of these people for the issue of an additional licence, a request which cut right across the declared policy of the Government. No more complete justification of the action of these insurgents could be offered.
I do not want to relate the whole history of the case. The thing is done now, and I have no illusions that the Government will undo it. I want, however, to emphasize that it will be a bad day for this country when it becomes established that defiance of the law can succeed; that the real way to overcome those features of the law which you do not like is to defy the law in strength, so that if you can do so in sufficient strength you can have your own way, and the Government will approve. We have seen the same principle at work in the coalmining industry. A special pensions scheme was promised to the miners if only they would go back to work. There may be sound reasons for granting a special pensions scheme to coal-miners. I do not know enough about the industry to say whether there is or not, but I am prepared to accept the theory that there may be. I know, however, that it is a bad thing if men who are defying the law have to be .cajoled, and even bribed, to obey the law by promising them something out of the public purse, with the threat that the benefit may be withdrawn if they do not continue to obey the law. These people are not the only persons in the community who are affected by the inconveniences, the anomalies, and the injustices which are almost inevitable under any administration in war-time. [Extension of time granted.] It would be a bad day, for instance, if dairyfarmers came to the conclusion that the only way to get a better price for their products was to go on strike.
– That is exactly what they have done.
– I know that that happened for a day in Sydney.
– According to the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) the vegetable-growers in South Australia have taken similar action.
– I ask the honorable member for Indi to return to the subject before the Chair.
– The interjections by Ministers show that the action of the Government in submitting to the demand in strength by an organized section of the community is tending to establish pressure politics in this country which, if exercised by a section of the community that occupies a key position in the nation’s industrial life, can be relied upon to be successful. The honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) spoke of the co-operative movement. I live in ,a district where farmers, who hold shares in co-operative dairy companies, have been obliged, by direction, to hand over their dairy products to a proprietary concern which they have been fighting for years. That has been done in the process of organizing industry for war.
– It has not been due to any action by the Department of War Organization of Industry.
– I did not say anything about the Department of War Organization; it has been done under a system of zoning.
– We are not dealing with the zoning of primary products but with the case of Mr. P. Dargin. a butcher of Portland, and matters associated therewith.
– One of the matters associated with the case of Mr. P. Dargin, butcher, of Portland, was a strike by his butchers, and the successful defiance of the authority of the Government.
– I ask the honorable member to confine his remarks to that matter.
– A government which allows an incident of this kind to create the impression that the right way to overcome the inconveniences which arise from war-time administration is to go on strike is serving Australia poorly, especially, if, as in this case, it involves the closing of a munitions establishment and of coal mines, and the denying of meat to the community. Taking this case as a precedent, people may conclude that if they show sufficient strength in flouting the law they can be sure of gaining their ends. The action of those who defied the Government in this instance enabled them to enjoy something which no other town in Australia was granted, namely, the establishment of an additional butcher’s shop. I hope that the action of the honorable member for Parramatta in bringing this matter forward will prevent a recurrence of such an incident.
.- The Deputy Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. McEwen) has sought to show that the Government’s action in connexion with Mr. Dargin’s butcher’s shop, at Portland, has been responsible for the industrial atmosphere that has arisen out of it. He concluded by saying things with which I entirely agree, but the principles that he affirmed have no application at all to the incident that we have in mind. Whilst I say frankly that no government can permit any section of the community to dictate to it, I say also that a government must act as the law prescribes. When a citizen acts in a way that the government regards as being contrary to the law, the fact must be borne in mind, by not only the public generally but also members of this Parliament, that the Government cannot do more than institute proceedings against him. Moreover, such proceedings must follow a proper legal process. In the case under review, certain butchers in Portland who had been directed to continue at work and had failed to comply with that direction, were dealt with in accordance with the law of the land. In no other way ought any government to deal with the citizens of a country, whether they comprise trade unionists, men engaged in growing vegetables, men called up for military service, or men who are accused of selling liquor unlawfully. During the last fortnight things have been said which tend to obscure the issue, and, therefore, I remind the House that the Government cannot usurp the functions of the judiciary, and ought not to be expected to do so. No citizen of this country should be expected to be judged by the government of the day, and to comply with any sentence pronounced by it. Those are fundamental principles which have to be kept in mind when this, or any other similar matter, is under consideration. I said just now, by way of interjection, that I am not a hangman. I go further, and say that I am not a policeman, and, certainly, I am not a police magistrate. No citizen of this country need fear that I shall send him to gaol; but what he may expect is that, if he has failed to carry out the law, I shall ask the appropriate judicial authority to determine whether he did break the law, and, if so, to prescribe, within the law, the penalty he shall suffer. For any government to do more than that would be not only a great abuse of authority; it would also tend to bring in the “ pressure politics “ to which the Deputy Leader of the Australian Country party referred. There has not been a proper sense of proportion on the part of the Opposition in its treatment of this and other incidents associated with the industrial life of this country. In the case under review, the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) has asked why a licence has been granted to another butcher in the town of Portland, when Mr. Dargin, who previously served the people of Portland with meat, is willing to continue to serve them. That is the issue that we are now discussing. The facts were stated by the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley). Portland is a town in New South
Wales with a population of about 4,000 people. Before the war the town had more than one butcher shop. Had it not been for the regulation to which reference has been made during this debate, there might have still been four shops in the town -supplying meat to the public. The regulation was devised to prevent the misuse of the. resources of this country and to ensure their proper allocation to war needs. The regulation does not say that there shall be only one butcher shop in Portland, or five or six in Canberra, or ten in Shepparton, or one hundred and twenty in Sydney; it does not prescribe any number; it authorizes the Minister to decide what number of those enterprises are adequate to serve a given area or population, as the case may be.
– That applies in all places.
– Yes. It does not involve a decision which shall be static for all time. There was no monopoly at Portland, but the regulation did, in fact, having regard to the circumstances and the evolution indicated by the Treasurer, result in Dargin having a monopoly. I have heard eloquent speeches from the Opposition on another matter to the effect that what the law does the law can undo, and, if the restriction of the source of supply of an essential commodity has caused ill-will, disquietude, and disaffection, it is as much the duty of the Government to take measures within its lawful authority to remove the cause as it is to institute legal proceedings against law-breakers and insurgents. That is what the Government has done, and I make no apology for having done it.
– Although the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin), the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley), and the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) have tried to justify the Government’s decision to license a second butcher shop at Portland, the House has not yet heard a reasonable explanation. First, the Treasurer, some of whose constituents live at Portland, said that the sole reason was a psychological one. He said that certain Portland ladies did not like the look of Mr. Dargin, or the way he wore his coat, or the way he used his chopper, and preferred to go fifteen miles to buy their meat elsewhere. If that is so, they have more time and money and less common sense than most other Australian women. But that was the substance of the reason advanced by the Treasurer for the strange visit to Mr. Dargin’s shop of Mr. Donovan, private secretary to the Minister for Trade and Customs.
– If the Prime Minister is right, there was no occasion for that visit.
– That is so. It is strange that the psychological reasons did not manifest themselves until the 22nd August, three days after the referendum. They were not at all apparent early in the year when a .permit for the opening of another butcher shop at Portland was refused. The Government did not consider it necessary to issue another licence from the 25th July until three days after the referendum. Not until then did the psychological aspect make it apparent that a second butcher shop was required. The Treasurer, who is supposed to be more closely in touch with this matter than any other honorable member, did not attempt to argue the issue logically. In fact, he said that it was impossible to do so. Then we had the attempt by the honorable member for Hunter to cover up by means of a discourse on the co-operative movement. Finally, the Prime Minister walked into the chamber and entered the debate. The right honorable gentleman, mark you! is the person who on Friday, the 4th August, said that he would not requisition any shop in Portland for any purpose. In other words, he definitely supported Mr. Dargin and the Conciliation Commissioner, Mr. D. V. Morrison, who decided in Mr. Dargin’s favour. The Prime Minister then upheld the law, but to-day he has taken an entirely different stand.
– He has wilted.
– Yes. He has completely reversed his attitude. Seeking to explain that most peculiar fact, the Prime Minister spoke of fundamentals. I took down a few of his words. He said, in effect : “ The decision was not by the Government, but by the appropriate judicial authority”. He then said that the regulations were framed to prevent the misuse of the resources of this country, and he spoke about a monopoly having been created in Portland. Earlier in the debate, we were told that a permit to establish a new shop had been refused earlier in the year. Therefore, if a monopoly was created, the Government created it. The point of the matter is that no suspicion has been engendered that Mr. Dargin has abused his monopoly by overcharging. The honorable member for Hunter, indeed, said that Mr. Dargin sold meat for cash. A corollary of cash sales is cheaper prices- It cannot .be claimed, therefore, that Mr. Dargin’s monopoly has led to abuse of his power. It all turns on the fact that certain people, particularly women, do not like the look of Mr. Dargin. The Prime Minister spoke of fundamentals. So do I. A fundamental principle is involved in the question of whether the Government intends to uphold or circumvent an industrial authority. Miss Betty Wylde was dismissed by Mr. Dargin on the 25th July. Her dismissal was argued before the Conciliation Commissioner, whose decision upheld Mr. Dargin’s right to dismiss her. As I have already pointed out, the Prime Minister then upheld the law. Then, before the referendum, Mr. Donovan appeared on the scene on behalf of the Minister for Trade and Customs, with not an olive branch, but the threat, “ Unless you do certain ‘things, Dargin we will deal with you “. Mr. Dargin who, to use his own words, is able to pick up and throw out insects and is a man of considerable stature, did not receive Mr. Donovan’s intimidation with equanimity.’ But, after the referendum, a permit is granted. The threat made by Mr. Donovan is thus made good ; and the Prime Minister, by supporting that action to-day, has turned one of the greatest political somersaults yet performed by any public man in this country. He rises in this chamber to-day, and talks about fundamentals; and now he actually supports the granting of a permit for the opening of a new butcher’s shop in Portland. When the press first reported that this permit was to be given, inquiries were made as to whether the Rationing Commission knew anything about the matter. The Deputy Meat Controller in Sydney, Mr. Shute, informed Mr. Herbert, the secretary of the Master Butchers Association, that he knew nothing of the matter, and advised Mr. Herbert to get in touch with the Meat Controller, Mr. Tonkin.’ Mr. Herbert did so, and later, Mr. Tonkin rang back to say that he knew nothing about the matter at all. That was on the 30th July, but a week previously Mr. Booth, M.L.A., told a meeting at Portland that the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) had informed him that a permit for the opening of a second butcher’s shop in Portland was to be granted.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I am not familiar with the details of this case, but it seems extraordinary that essential industries should be dislocated in time of war because a butcher dismisses one of his employees. ‘ For that reason the coal-miners and workers in the cement industry in the Portland district went on strike. However, when the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) protested against the discrimination shown by the Government in this case against Mr. Dargin the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) merely replied by telling the House a moving story. He said, in effect, that although the Government’s decision appeared to be illogical, it was a very humane decision, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) defended the Government’s action by saying that the decision was a matter of justice. He declared that justice must take its course; that is a fundamental. What nonsense that he should talk so ! Must not justice be allowed to take its course in the observance of decisions of the Arbitration Court, and in. opposition to the threats of coal-miners? Is it just a coincidence that these industries should be disrupted on such a trivial pretext, and, immediately after the referendum, the Government should grant a special licence for the opening of a second butcher’s shop at Portland? The same concession would not be granted to any one else in the Commonwealth. In this matter the Government has been guilty of straight-out discrimination against a citizen because of pressure brought to bear upon it by powerful industrial groups. Those groups made threats against this man, who, apparently, is a good citizen, judging by the way he resisted such threats against himself and bis business and resolved to carry out what he considered to be right and proper. In that stand he was supported by the Conciliation Commissioner. If a government allows itself to be dominated by industrial bullies, industrial unrest must result. That is how the seeds of Nazi-ism and Communism are sown ; and it is just a travesty to call such a government a democratic government. It may seem a little thing that a union has had its way in Portland by harassing this man whom it is intent on putting out of business; but it is a dreadful thing that the Government has discriminated against him. Where does the Government propose to get the extra quota of meat for the new shop in Portland? It will be taken from some one else. That is the Government’s attitude towards individuals. When a school in my electorate asks for an extra allowance of a pound or two of butter a month for its tuckshop, for children whose mothers are working in war industries, the request is refused by the very Minister who has granted a quota to this new butcher’s shop. In another case, a small butcher’s shop is shut down, because the man run: ning it is recalled for military service after three months’ leave, although his father is an invalid. The Government does- not consider him. In another instance, a widow applies for permission to open a little sandwich shop beside a factory, but, although the proprietor of the factory supports the application because no shop is .situated within a mile of the factory, the application is refused. It is obvious that when the coal-miners’ federation puts sufficient pressure upon this Government, it can obtain any concession, whereas ordinary citizens, including returned soldiers who want to set up in business, are refused the necessary permits. I should like the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) to indicate just exactly how many men demobilized from the services have been granted permits to set up in business. The number is very small indeed, because in cases of this kind applicants are usually told that sufficient businesses already exist; they are refused permits, but are informed that the man-power authorities will find jobs for them. That is the kind of treatment which the Government metes out to the ordinary citizen, but it will grant any claim which is sponsored by a powerful union. The Prime Minister had something to say about Magna Charta. I remind him that under Magna Charta justice could not be bought, sold or delayed. However, to-day, in this country, we find that justice, the brightest inheritance of our British tradition, is administered unfairly. Very definitely this is a case of discrimination on the part of the Government in favour of industrial bullies and Communists.
– I am afraid that this matter goes much deeper than would appear on the surface. First, there is the application of the rule to which the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan) referred in such eloquent and condemnatory terms, namely, “ one out, all out “. Because one girl is justifiably discharged from her employment, a number of workers decide to go ou strike, thereupon the unions in the district declare “ black “ the business concerned, and consequently, that man is not able to carry on his business. A still more interesting departure from established practice was the visit of the private secretary of a Minister to Portland on what appears to have been a very confidential and important mission. The interview between Mr. Donovan and Mr. Dargin seems to have been of such a nature that, if it had taken place in the motion picture theatre at Portland, as did the proceedings before the Conciliation Commissioner, it would have gone down in history as “ D “ day of the town. One of the most delicious episodes in that conversation was Mr. Dargin’s invitation to Mr. Donovan to tell his Minister - a pretty weighty man - that he was like the fellow with the wheelbarrow, because he had the job in front of him. The Government to-day is in the position of having the job in front of it. One issue to which the Prime Minister did not refer must be faced. The right honorable gentleman has performed a. complete somersault in this case. No man who has occupied the highly responsible position of Prime Minister of this country has been such a master of the gentle art of flogging his friends with a feather duster as is the right honorable gentleman. He makes verbal castigations, and issues all kinds of instructions, such as the one he gave to the railway employees in Adelaide this week. He is fast getting himself to be regarded as a man of whom his supporters take not the slightest notice. Regardless of his instructions, they go their own sweet way and carry out their own will. Therefore, I repeat what I said on aformer occasion, namely, that it is the worst possible thing for any Minister, magistrate, or other person in authority to make a threat unless he is prepared to act upon it, if necessary, or to issue an instruction unless he has the power to enforce it. The Prime Minister declared that he would not requisition any shop in Portland. Later, one of his Ministers -the one who never forgets - said that he would grant a licence for a new butchery in Portland.
-He did not requisition a shop.
-Then to that extent, the Prime Minister is still on terrafirma. But that does not get away from the fact that the case presented by the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) has not been answered from the treasury bench. The honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) complained that Mr. Dargin had a monopoly of the meat business at Portland, and that a cooperative movement would open a second butcher’s shop in the town. Knowing how strictly Mr. Speaker interprets the Standing Orders, I realize that he would not allow me to speak for ten minutes upon the subject of the co-operative movement; but, I venture to direct attention to the system of zoning which is general throughout Australia to-day. In nearly every country district, and certainly in every city and town, people complain that because of the zoning system they are compelled to deal with a certain butcher, baker, or milkman. This monopoly at Portland, to which some honorable members opposite take serious objection now, was not objectionable to them until the employer dismissed an employee for reasons which a competent authority said were just.
Debate interrupted under Standing Order 257b.
Bill presented by Mr. Chifley, and read a first time.
– by leave -I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The Income Tax Assessment Act will be amended during this session to provide for the allowance of a deduction in respect of the estimated cost of deferred maintenance. A taxpayer who claims a deduction of this nature will be required to deposit with the Commissioner of Taxation a sum of money equal to the amount of the deduction. This sum will be repaid to the taxpayer on demand, but not earlier than six months from the date of deposit and not later than two years after the termination of the war. Any amount repaid will be included in the assessable income of the taxpayer in the year of repayment, but he will be allowed as a deduction any actual expenditure incurred by him in effecting repairs or maintenance. The allowance of the amount deposited as a deduction in the assessment of income tax will automatically entail a similar allowance in the assessment of war-time company tax.
If war conditions had not precluded a company from incurring expenditure on maintenance, the amount actually expended in any year would have been allowed as a deduction in the assessment of that year’s income. The amount having been expended would not have been included as apart of the capital employed. As a sum of money equal to the deduction in respect of deferred maintenance is to be deposited with the Commissioner of Taxation, that sum will remain the property of the company. In the absence of provision to the contrary, the law would require the amount of the deposit to be taken into account as a part of the capital employed, notwithstanding the fact that the total estimated cost of the deferred maintenance was allowed as a deduction. This would confer a double benefit on the company. Therefore, the bill provides that any amounts allowed as deductions in respect of deferred maintenance shall be excluded from the capital employed for the purposes of assessing war-time company tax.
The bill also provides that, when the deposit is repaid to the company, in whole or in part, the sum so repaid shall be included in the capital employed and thus offset the deduction made in respect of deferred maintenance allowed. The allowance in respect of deferred maintenance will be made in most instances in assessments of income derived during the year ending the 30th June, 1945. In certain circumstances, which are more particularly explained in the amending Income Tax Assessment Bill, power is vested in the Commissioner to allow deductions for deferred maintenance or to include repayments of deposits as the case may be in assessments for the three preceding financial years. To meet any such cases, the bill is made to apply to assessments for the financial year 1943-44, and all subsequent years. I commend the bill to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Habbison) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Income Tax (War-time Arrangements) Act 1942-1943.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
– by leave - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The principal purpose of this bill is to enable those officers who were transferred from the State income tax staffs to the Commonwealth under the Income Tax (War-time Arrangements) Act to receive payment for long service leave or furlough, at their Commonwealth rates of salary if they are greater than the State rates. The bill is also designed to preserve to temporary officers of the State service who have ‘been transferred to the Commonwealth their right to contribute to the State Superannuation Fund.
Honorable members will recall that when the uniform tax legislation was enacted, it was this Government’s intention that State officers who were transferred to the Commonwealth under that legislation would have preserved to them their existing and accruing rights as State officers. Under the existing legislation, transferred officers who are re-transferred to the State on retirement, and are granted long service leave, receive payment for that leave at their State salaries at the date of transfer to the Commonwealth, plus any increments to which they have become entitled as State officers. Representations have been made that transferred officers should receive payment for long service leave at the Commonwealth rates of salary being received at the date of retirement.
There is substance in the representations, as during the operation of the Income Tax (War-time Arrangements) Act, transferred officers who retire may suffer a monetary disadvantage by being paid for long service leave at State rates. As time goes on, the position will become more accentuated because a number of transferred officers will be promoted to positions to which they might reasonably have expected to be promoted had they remained with the State. State salaries, however, will not have advanced as a result of those promotions and officers will, upon retirement, revert to their State salaries. The payment for long service leave at State rates of salary is apportioned between the State and the Commonwealth according to the length of the officer’s service with each. The measure now before the House provides, however, that any difference between Commonwealth and State salaries for such leave will be borne wholly by the Commonwealth. The additional liability imposed upon the Commonwealth is not expected to be considerable. In any event, I feel certain that honorable members will agree that upon retirement officers should be paid for Iona* service leave at the rate of salary being received at the date of retirement. As I have said, this bill also seeks to preserve to temporary officers transferred the right they would have had if they had remained in the State service to contribute to the State Superannuation Fund. The provisions of the existing act are sufficiently wide to protect the superannuation rights of permanent officers of the State service who have been transferred to the Commonwealth. It has been found, however, that the rights of temporary officers in some circumstances have been prejudiced in this respect.
In the State of New South Wales, temporary officers had the right of electing to convert their salaries to an annual rate. When they made the election they became eligible, subject to certain conditions imposed by the State, to contribute to the State Superannuation Fund. The Crown law authorities have now advised that the provisions of the Wartime Arrangements Act are not sufficiently wide to enable temporary officers to convert their salaries to an annual rate. They are thus denied the right to contribute to the State Superannuation Fund. A similar position may arise in States other than New”South Wales where temporary officers are or become eligible to contribute to State Superannuation Funds. The proposed amendment ensures that a transferred officer who was a temporary officer of the State service shall have preserved to him any rights which he would have had concerning eligibility to contribute to a State Superannuation Fund. The adoption of the bill will ensure that State officers will not be penalized in regard to superannuation rights and payment for long-service leave by their transfer to the Commonwealth.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Harrison) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr.Chifley) agreed to-
That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act to amend the Commonwealth Employees’ Furlough Act 1943.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
. -by leave -I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The actpassed in March, 1943, provides for the grant of furlough to temporary officers with twenty years’ continuous service. Provision is also made for payment in lieu of leave to such officers on retirement or resignation and to dependants of deceased officers of a sum equivalent to the salary that would have been granted, had the furlough been taken prior to retirement, resignation or death. The act also provides, on a pro rata basis, for leave or pay in lieu to temporary officers with less than twenty years’ service who die, retire after attaining 60 years of age or are retired on account of ill health, not being due to misconduct or causes within their own control, before attaining the age of 60 years. To obtain the privileges of the act, continuity of service is essential. Continuity of service is deemedto have been broken by any absences which exceed in the aggregate one-seventh of the working days in any period of fourteen months. This limitation has been found to operate harshly in the case of employees who have had more than twenty years’ service in which there has been a single break of some months and also in cases of those employees who, during the depression, were not employed for a continuous period. To meet these cases, the restriction of absences to one-seventh of the working days is being retained, but it is proposed to apply it to the whole period of service, provided that employment has not been broken for more than twelve months at any one time.
The act provides that prior State service continuous with Commonwealth service counts in the period for which furlough is granted. It has been found necessary, however, to include an amendment to limit to some extent the Commonwealth’s liability in those cases where an employee has lengthy State service for which furlough has not been granted by the State. Other amendments which have been included in the bill to facilitate the administration of the act do not depart from its general principles. Explanations of these will be available in the committee stages.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Harrison) adjourned.
War - Meat Industry : Transport of Live-stock; Man-power for Processing Works - Petrol Rationing : Penalties on Garage Proprietors - ShippingServices.
– I move-
That the House do now adjourn.
I wish to inform the House that in the darkness about 2 o’clock on the morning of 5th August, 1944, over 900 Japanese prisoners of war in a camp in Australia made an unprovoked mass attack upon their guards. The Japanese had armed themselves with mess knives, baseball clubs and other improvised weapons. They first set their sleeping huts alight and then rushed the fences of the camp. The Japanese had prepared themselves with extra clothing, gloves and padding for surmounting or passing through the wire fences. Those who escaped into an internal camp road endeavoured to break out of the gates at each end of the camp. Large numbers who escaped through the outer fence of the camp attacked and killed an Australian machine-gun crew and attempted to storm the garrison quarters. These attacks were met by fire from the Australian guards, who showed excellent discipline and restraint throughout the incident. As the result of these events substantial numbers of Japanese were killed or wounded. ‘The prisoners of war who escaped after the attacks had failed were subsequently recaptured - all but a small number by nightfall on the day of escape. During the search for escapees an Australian officer was brutally murdered by a party of Japanese. Eighteen of the twenty sleeping huts and two administration huts in the camp were burned to the ground. In burned huts incinerated bodies of Japanese were found. Many other Japanese committed suicide or were killed by their comrades inside and outside the camp. Total casualties sustained by the Japanese prisoners of war were - 1 officer killed. 230 other ranks killed or died of wounds or died by suicide, 1 officer wounded. 107 other ranks wounded.
A Military Court of Inquiry was immediately appointed to investigate the matter. The court’s report can be summarized as follows : -
First, that conditions at the camp were fully in accordance with the provisions of the International Convention, that accommodation and rations for the Japanese were provided on the same scale as for Australian troops, and that the camp was at all times open for inspection by the protecting power and International Red Cross delegate. Such inspections had been made at frequent intervals.
Secondly, that no complaints as to treatment had been made by or on behalf of the Japanese prior to the mutiny, that the mutiny was carried out according to a premeditated and concerted plan formulated by the Japanese, and put into effect following a meeting secretly held in the camp at midnight.
Thirdly, that the action of the Australian garrison in successfully resisting the attack averted a greater loss of life, that the attack by the Japanese was characterized by a suicidal disregard of life, that firing ceased as soon as control of the camp was assured, and that adequate arrangements were made for treatment of the wounded, many of whom have since recovered.
Fourthly, of the 231 dead Japanese it is found that twenty died by hanging and strangulation inflicted by the Japanese on themselves or on one another, nine by suicide from stabbing, two by suicide under a train, five from a. combination of self-inflicted wounds and gunshot wounds, and twelve from causes unknown but their bodies were found in huts burned by the Japanese. Sixteen of the wounded showed evidence of attempted suicide.
The extensive preparations made by the Japanese, the commencement of the mutiny during the hours of darkness, and other attendant circumstances prove beyond all doubt that the responsibility for the incident rests entirely on the prisoners of war themselves, and that it was their intention to engage in suicidal combat with their guards. I am glad to be able to add that casualties among Australian personnel fortunately were light. In accordance with recognized practice the Australian Government has furnished a report on the mutiny to the representative of the protecting power for transmission to the Japanese’ Government.
– I wish to bring to the notice of the Government the very serious state of affairs which exists, and is developing, in Victoria in respect of the transport of live-stock. At the present time, according to the explanation given by railway authorities, only sufficient live-stock trucks are made available to provide the ordinary meat requirements of the metropolitan area of Victoria. As the Government no doubt is aware, a serious condition of drought exists in Victoria, and shows every sign of becoming possibly one of the worst droughts on record. Numerous live-stock owners are endeavouring to lighten their holdings of live-stock by Tailing stock to Melbourne and to other markets for sale to farmers whose properties are situated in more favorable areas south of the dividing range. I know from personal experience that upon an application being made for a truck, the reply is that there is no chance of obtaining one in less than four weeks. That is an unprecedented state of affairs, and is calculated to result in a tremendous financial loss to farmers in Victoria and a serious national loss, because the retention of stock in the drought-stricken areas, clue to the inability to get numbers of cattle away by rail, will result in additional deaths, and also in loss of condition by large numbers of cattle and sheep in that State. Added to that, of course, we are on the eve of the commencement of the export slaughtering season. Last season, in Victoria, livestock owners - particularly fat lamb raisers - had a disastrous experience, due to the man-power shortage at the meat treatment works. It was not uncommon to find that, owing to the shortage of man-power, stock that had been .trucked to Melbourne treatment works, both proprietary and co-operative, had to stand in the yards of the works for as long as eight days before killing. Quite apart from the suffering endured by these unfortunate animals through being kept in the yards for such a long period, that state of affairs resulted in a very serious loss, not only to the stock-raisers themselves, but also to the nation, through wastage of condition. With the approach of the export season, on top of the increased demands made upon rail transport owing to drought conditions and the difficulties caused by the coal shortage, there are alarming prospects of a disastrous state of (affairs developing in Victoria.
I speak on this matter to-day, not with the intention of criticizing what has been done or has not been done, but merely to direct the attention of the Government to this state of affairs, and to assure the Government that, from my personal knowledge as a live-stock owner, these conditions do exist. To-day it is impossible to secure live-stock trucks in less than four weeks. There are many thousands of live-stock owners in Victoria clamouring for trucks either to remove their entire live-stock from their drought-stricken holdings, or, in the majority of cases, to lighten stock holdings, particularly to send away for killing stock which is in fat condition. I warn the Government that the holding of stock for four weeks in these circumstances will result in loss of condition on the part of thousands and thousands of beasts which at present are in a good killing condition. These animals may waste to such a degree that they will not be fit for killing, and their retention on already over-taxed properties will accentuate the effect of the drought. I trust that it will be found possible by some means, or by a combination of several means, to afford some relief. It is not for me to say anything about the production of more coal. I have no doubt that the Government will allocate available supplies of coal in the best possible manner, and having regard to the relative urgency of the different demands. I merely draw the attention of the Government to the urgency of this matter, and ask that the conditions to which I have referred be considered fully. I hope that the Government will take steps to organize road transport facilities for the transport of stock to the maximum degree, and to this end will ensure that any regulations which may tend to limit the fullest use of this form of transport - I am not referring to petrol rationing - will be relaxed until the present crisis has passed, so that the greatest possible relief may be given.
– I support everything that has been said by the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen). The electorate which I represent, and the State of South Australia generally, are now experiencing their second year of drought. I have no doubt that last year there would have been a considerable saving of stock in. the northern mallee district had transport been available to remove sheep to areas where they could have secured satisfactory agistment. This year the position is very much worse. To-day we have not only the problem of the transpert of sheep - a relatively minor one this year, because large numbers were carried last year - but also the difficulty of finding agistment for horses, and transport to remove horses to more favorable areas, the extent of which is diminishing week by week with the continued absence of rain. In this matter stock-owners are up against one or two regulations which seem to me to be Gilbertian. Recently, a party of buyers from Bordertown attended the Geelong ram sales to obtain their requirements of rams, but they were told that they could not transport the rams to Bordertown until a South Australian truck happened to come to the Geelong area, although Bordertown is only 12 miles from the border. In this case it so happened that a South Australian truck arrived only 48 hours after the purchases were made, but in other circumstances there might have been an indefinite hold-up. I have no quarrel about the regulation restricting the transport of racehorses, but I have come across instances of the regulation being applied to circumstances which I am quite sure the Government had no intention of covering. Then there is the question of road transport of stock. I had brought to my notice not long ago a case in the southeast of South Australia, where it appears that, according to an interpretation of the regulation, it is illegal to carry registered racing stock through certain towns. A constituent of mine carried his horse on a float to within a mile of a town.
The driver then proceeded with the empty float, and the owner rode the horse through the town, returning it to the float on the other side. I am quite sure that the Government has never intended that that sort of thing should happen. I put it to the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) that the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) and the Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) ought to have a heart-to-heart talk on the subject of stock transportation by rail and road, as we’ll as on the very vexed matter of horder transport; because there is no doubt that very silly things are done to-day under the border transport control. Ministers cannot be expected to attend to every administrative detail. I am perfectly sure, however, that if they dealt with the matter in broad outline, the responsible authorities would be instructed that the regulations are not intended to cover such cases as I have mentioned.
– I ask the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) to convey to the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Mr. Beasley) a request in connexion with repeated hardships that are being suffered at present by a number of motor garage proprietors in the Sydney metropolitan area. I have no knowledge of the intrinsic merits of the cases, or of the specific infractions .that are alleged against these persons, but I do know that most severe penalties are being imposed upon them by the Liquid Fuel Control Board. As the Minister who had the task of initiating the petrol control regulations, and also as a .practical motorist, I know that it is impossible for men in the hurly-burly of life at service stations to conform to every jot and tittle of the regulations. Only an hour ago, the Prime Minister said in this House that it is not the function of governments to impose penalties. .Surely it is not the function of government instrumentalities, other than judicial bodies, to impose penalties! In the light of that, I am encouraged to ask that the Prime Minister will see that before these men shall be called upon to suffer grievous penalties, including the arbitrary closing of their establishments for a month or longer, they shall be given the opportunity to prove their innocence before a duly appointed tribunal. That is all that they seek, and their request is not unreasonable.
.- I endorse the remarks of the honorable members for Indi (Mr. McEwen) and Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron), concerning the position in relation to transport for stock, arising out of the drought conditions which extend practically throughout three States to-day. I mentioned this matter in the speech that I made during the debate on the coalmining industry, when I pointed out what was happening in regard to the supply of trucks for live stock and the carriage of fodder, on account of the shortage of coal supplies. I do not believe that most people in this .country understand fully the dryness of the season that is being experienced in the greater part of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. I have heard many of the older people say that the drought of 1914 was the worst they had ever known. There is no doubt that the conditions of this year will eclipse those of that year. Water for stock is being carted for from ten to fifteen miles; The whole of the north-west of Victoria is in a shocking state, and a dangerous position has been reached in the northeast of that State, whilst large sections of South Australia are experiencing the worst drought in their history. Obviously, at a time like the present, stock in a fat or even a killable condition should ,be trucked to the killing works with as little delay as possible, an order that wastage of meat may be avoided. Yet considerable delay is experienced in obtaining trucks, and week after week the demand cannot be satisfied. Stock and station agents in Melbourne are deluged with requests for the provision of trucks, and not more than one-half of the number required can be provided. The shortage of coal is responsible for this state of affairs. If the position be not rectified, there will be a tremendous wastage of valuable food. Under drought conditions even a week can make a tremendous difference in the condition of a sheep. If weeks elapse in the provision of transport, fat stock will quickly lose their condition, and much meat will be lost. I hope that the Government will give the most serious consideration to this acute problem. I know, and so does the Government, that there is a great demand to-day for food supplies of all kinds, and that it is difficult for this country to fulfil the requirements of Great Britain.
– We are satisfying the claims as they are made on us.
– I believe it will be found that there is difficulty in filling the shipping space that is available to-day for the transport of food overseas. I am not saying that the Government is not supplying as much as it can; but this is not sufficient to meet the needs of the people of Great Britain. If the transport position be not rectified, there must be a considerable falling off in the quantity of meat that will be available to meet the needs of Great Britain, as well as the fighting services and the people of this country. Urgent consideration must be given to the matter of priorities for the conveyance of stock and motor transport.
I also direct attention to the need to supply man-power at the processing meatworks in Melbourne and Sydney for the coming season. When lambs become fat, thousands of them will be trucked to the capital cities for treatment. As the honorable member for Indi has stated, there was a tremendous shortage of all classes of meat last year. I know from my own experience that fat lambs had to wait for from four to seven days to be killed. My fat lambs were taken from their mothers on a Sunday, and were not killed until the following Thursday afternoon; and I was much more fortunate than were hundreds of other producers. Possibly, hundreds of thousands of fat lambs waited for a week to be killed. The wastage of a lamb in a week would be not less than 3 lb. One can -imagine the colossal waste which must have occurred. Hundreds of the older sheep died in the yards, because they could not be killed. Two factors were responsible. One was that the men would not work as well as they had done formerly. At a killingworks in Melbourne, the custom of which was to treat 17,000 head a day, the rate fell to between 11,000 and 12,000 head a day, sheep and lambs. The men would not work full time; they knocked off half an hour early. The same thing happened at another of our leading processing works. This delay in killing meant the loss by death in the yards of hundreds of the older sheep. Lack of man-power was not the whole cause of the trouble. The matter was not one of hundreds of men being needed; possibly, from 100 to 120 men would have been sufficient. This labour was promised in the early part of the year, but was not provided. Representations have been made by graziers’ organizations in Victoria during the last six months for the purpose of obtaining an assurance that that tragic state of affairs will not be experienced again. Those organizations are not satisfied that the meatworks will be given the necessary man-power. Attention to these matters is of the utmost importance in the prosecution of the war effort.
.- I support the remarks of the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen), the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) and the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) regarding the necessity for the provision of adequate transport for live-stock. I make no apology for my attitude, because disastrous results may be experienced if the matter is not taken in hand properly. It is true that the drought is widespread, the whole of northern Victoria and South Australia, and a great deal of the western district of Victoria, being most seriously affected, by one of the worst droughts experienced for many years. The meat situation last year at the Newmarket sale yards, and at the slaughter yards adjoining them, was chaotic, great loss of meat occurring through stock being left standing in the yards for long periods. This year we may be faced with even greater difficulties, because the lambing season coincides with a period when a great many graziers will desire to sell their stock. Yesterday I asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) whether he could give an assurance that all necessary steps would be taken to prevent a repetition of the chaotic conditions prevailing last year, and his reply did not inspire me with confidence. He said that he hoped the position would be met, and that steps would be taken to deal promptly with the stock available for slaughter. I should have preferred a statement showing categorically what action was to be taken to ensure a satisfactory handling of. the situation. I hope that the Government will do all that it possibly can within the next six weeks to prepare for the slaughtering season.
As to the removal of stock from drought-stricken areas, I realize that the Government is faced with great difficulty at present, owing to the coal shortage. Trains cannot operate without coal, and coal cannot be obtained by the railway authorities unless it is produced by the miners. Either coal must be diverted for the admittedly temporary work of removing stock by rail, or arrangements must be made for their removal by road. Stock are dying now, and, if the drought continues even for a few weeks, not to say months, the losses will be tremendous. The loss of breeding ewes will seriously jeopardize the position of. the sheep industry, particularly in the season after next. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) smiles, but I am quite serious in my observations.
– The number of sheep in the Commonwealth has increased by millions, since the beginning of the war.
– I also know that at present the number is decreasing. I trust that the Government appreciates the seriousness of the situation, and will take appropriate steps immediately to deal with it.
.- I am sure that the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) and his colleagues are impressed by the gravity of the matter to which attention has been directed by several honorable members f,rom country districts. I am prompted to refer to it, because of the statement by the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) that the Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) and the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) should confer as to whether transport facilities could be improved, in order to meet the immediate crisis. When the Government is considering this problem as it affects the transport of food from the producing areas, it might widen the investigation, and have regard to the difficulty experienced in the movement of foodstuffs between the States, particularly processed foods. Of course, the present difficulty arises from shipping shortages, and the Prime Minister is fully aware of the fact that manufacturers and processors have difficulty in obtaining adequate space to execute orders from different parts of the Commonwealth. In my own experience, cases have arisen where only one-fifth, and in another instance only one-fourth, of the space applied for has been available for a considerable period. This shortage is having the serious effect of reducing the quantity of food supplied to the public.
– mi reply - The observations which have been made regarding the movement of livestock, and the steps that should be taken to minimize losses arising chiefly from the adverse season, from the fact of war, and because normal facilities for the removal of stock have to be greatly curtailed, relate to matters which are, of course, within my knowledge. At the conference of Commonwealth and .State Ministers held in Canberra recently, a brief review of the seasonal prospects was given, and very little that was encouraging appeared on the horizon. Unfortunately, rains have not come to our aid, and I have no doubt that all of the views expressed this afternoon on this subject are well founded. Were it not for the difficulty of applying the remedies which have been suggested, they would be applied immediately. The shipping facilities available for the transport of processed foods interstate are not capable a.t present of being expanded. I need not do other than say that there are occasions, even in war, when a certain quantity of shipping can be temporarily released for the purposes of the normal trade and economic requirements of the country, and the Government has taken full advantage of those opportunities. I do not wish to divulge anything useful to the enemy; I merely say that at present the Government cannot provide more shipping for those purposes than is now available. That, unfortunately, coincides with the necessity for curtailing railway transport facilities, owing to the fact that the stocks of coal have fallen. During this week and last week, the quantity of coal produced has been very satisfactory. If that rate of production had been achieved during the last few months no problem would have arisen, and if it can be maintained, while there cannot be any immediate solution of the problems arising out of an inadequate coal supply, there will be every hope that the difficulties which confront us will soon be overcome. Perhaps it would not be out of place for me to-day to express my thanks to the coal industry for what has been a splendid week. I hope that those engaged in the industry will give r i every inducement to make a similar statement each Friday for the rest of t1 e year.
I shall carefully consider methods for overcoming existing difficulties associated with road transport. While rail transport is restricted because of the shortage of coal supplies, it may be possible to make temporary arrangements for the improvement of road transport facilities in order to augment rail services. I shall endeavour to bring that about. I am conscious of the importance of these, matters, because they affect the livelihood of many people, and also because of their bearing upon Australia’s economy, and their effect upon our ability to aid our Allies and others who are dependent upon us for food supplies. What can be clone in this way will be done.
– .Will the Prime Minister also look into the matter of slaughtering in Melbourne ?
– Yes. It is not unreasonable that, during this period of difficulty, those who normally earn their living by the slaughtering of stock should make a special effort to meet the requirements of the industry.. I shall have communications directed to the employers and to the representatives of the employees, suggesting that a certain amount of overtime should be worked, or an effort made to increase the daily target of production. This would be of great value to the nation, and would, in the circumstances, represent a reasonable acceptance by the industry of a share of the general sacrifice these workers are required to make. We are prepared to share one another’s perils inwar. We should endeavour also to develop a spirit of mutual understanding among the various groups in the economic order. When one group is in difficulty, there can be no greater national virtue than that other groups should come to its aid.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 4.9 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
Wine Export Bounty Act.
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows
Apples and Pears.
– The desired information is being obtained and will be furnished to the honorable member as soon as it is available.
t asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In view of the great areas released by the armies of the United Nations in Northern
France and Belgium, will he request the High Commissioner for Australia in the United Kingdom to ascertain the condition of the mill machinery in the French and Belgian woollen mills, particularly in theRoubaix, Tourcoing and Lille areas, and inquire whether the machinery was destroyed by the Germans or removed to Germany, and as to how long it is estimated it will be before the French mills come into operation again ?
– Yes. Inquiry will be made.
Portland Meat Supplies.
y. - On Thursday, the 7th September, 1944, the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs the following questions, without notice: -
The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following information : -
Application was made in the normal way by the Portland Co-operative Society Limited to the Deputy Director of Rationing in Sydney on 5th August, 1944. An investigation had been carried out in the district prior to this date and it was considered that the district was entitled to an additional butchering business. The following factors are relevant in this connexion: -
In view of these facts, and in the light of the investigation made by the Deputy Director of Rationing in New South Wales, it was considered that the town was entitled to an additional butchering business on a population basis, and accordingly the necessary permission was granted. Similar permission would be granted to any other town of the same size which is served by only one retail bucher’s shop.
As mentioned, any town which is similarly placed to Portland will be given permission for an additional butchering business. It is remarkable that persons of the Opposition, who always favour free competition in trade and business, now object to the Government’s granting a permit for a new butcher’s shop in a district where only one shop was previously operating; consistently with their political views, one would have thought they would concur in such action.
s asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Is it a fact that clothing coupons are being provided to allow agents for the Government and/or shop proprietors to tempt shop employees to break the law’ governing the rationing of clothes! If so, why is this allowed J
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has furnished the following reply: -
I have ascertained that, immediately after the introduction of clothes rationing, an application was made by the Master Drapers Association for the issue of ration books to enable traders to exercise the same supervision of staff in sections of stores handling rationed goods as existed prior to rationing, and still exists in sections dealing with non-rationed goods. This request was granted in July, 1042, as a matter of administrative routine without reference to the members of the Rationing Commission or myself and has been in operation ever since. I agree with the honor able member that the practice of providing ration books for this purpose is undesirable and have directed the Rationing Commission to discontinue it. Investigators and inspectors employed by the Rationing Commission and officers of the -police departments of the States are provided with coupons or ration books on the occasions when they are carrying out duties in connexion with the detection of rationing offences. This is done in order to avoid the necessity for these officers using coupons from their own ration books in connexion with purchases of rationed goods.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 8 September 1944, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1944/19440908_reps_17_179/>.