17th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. J. S.Rosevear) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Sporting Goods - Sandshoes for Children
– Willthe Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shippingmake inquiries and inform the House regarding the extent to which synthetic rubber may be used in the manufacture of sporting equipment, particularly sandshoes for school children?
– At the moment, the use of synthetic rubber is confined to the production of motor tyros, the allocation of supplies for that purpose having been made by the War Production Board in the United States of America. Conditions are attached to the uses to which it may be put. According to my knowledge of the matter up to three weeks ago, I cannot hold out any hope of its being made available for the purpose suggested. Nevertheless, I think it desirable that inquiries should be made with a view to the production of the goods mentioned at the appropriate time.
– I have received a telegram in these terms -
Queensland Motion Picture Exhibitors Association special meeting to-day appalled at Prices Commissioner’s ruling re “ Song Bernadette “also permitting distributors to charge highly increased rentals involving percentage settlements exceeding forty per cent. which is maximum adopted by exhibitor associations throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Will the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs have the matter examined by the Prices Commissioner, with a view to an adjustment being made in order that fair play may be done?
– I shall confer with my colleague the Minister for Trade and Customs, with a view to action being taken along the lines suggested.
Mr.CONELAN. - I have received a telegram from Mr. Halbert, secretary of the Griffith Electoral Committee, who is also president of the Queensland Motion Picture Exhibitors Association, protesting against a certain ruling of the Prices Commissioner in relation to the motion picture industry, and also against the granting of permission to distributors to charge highly increased rents. As wages are pegged in this country, will the Go vernment take steps to have pegged also the rents charged by film distributors to exhibitors?
– I shall confer with the Minister for Trade and Customs on the subject, and I assure the honorable member that the strong case he has made out will be considered.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping state whether or not coal production is at present exceeding all consumption needs ? If it is, will he ascertain whether or not additional coal can be made available to the various railway authorities so as to permit the relaxation of some of the existing rail transport restrictions ?
– I should not careto say that existing production is meeting all our needs, because needs for extra supplies are constantly arising. The necessity for higher production is made more apparent by the presence in the Pacific of units of the British Fleet. The stock piles of coal for transport purposes have been considerably increased in Victoriaand South Australia during the last two or three months, and I am hopeful that this . will have the effect of achieving the result desired by the honorable member.
– Does the Minister for the Army recall that, at the conference of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions on coal held on the 19th December last, the General President of the Miners Federation, Mr. Wells, said that proof of the federation having disciplineditsmembers wasgiven by the fact that it had recommended that a number of coal-miners should be taken into the Army, and this actually had been done? Will the right honorable gentleman inform the House of the number of recommendations made by the federation, and the number of men taken into and retained by the Army in response to them? Can he further state whether such men, if there be any, have proved amenable to Army discipline?
– I well remember the Conference referred to; it was most successful. I cannot give now the details sought by the question, but I shall obtain them for the honorable gentleman.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping aware that many districts report grave shortages of the smaller sizes of children’s footwear, and that complaints as to quality are still common? In view of the injury that is caused .to the health of children, and the difficulty and anxiety imposed upon the already overburdened mothers of the community, will the honorable gentleman undertake to examine the possibility of increasing the production of footwear of this class - if necessary, even at the expense of other lines used by adults?
– I regard the matter as important and, if the circumstances be as stated, rather serious. The obligation to provide proper and adequate footwear for the children of this country is a special one. I shall discuss the matter with the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) who is Controller of Leather and Footwear, in order to determine whether or not the wish expressed in the question may be met without delay.
Sydney Turf Club - Royal Exchange Hotel
– I ask the Treasurer to state the terms of the authority issued by the Treasury to the Sydney Turf Club for the acquisition of certain properties in Sydney. I also ask the honorable gentleman to state whether or not authority recently was given to Tooth’s Brewery to purchase for the sum of £60,000 the Royal Exchange. Hotel in Sydney.
– The Sydney Turf Club was permitted to acquire the Canterbury race-course by the issue of deben tures. No money was loaned by any institution for the purpose. That is the only transaction of which I have any knowledge. I understand that other consideration given by the Sydney Turf Club to the Canterbury Park Racing Club was in the form of cash reserves. There was no borrowing.
– The issue of debentures is borrowing.
– No money was advanced by any bank or loaned by any other body. I have read in the press, statements in connexion with the Moorefield and Victoria Park race-courses, but I have no knowledge- of any transaction having been effected. I shall have inquiries made in relation to the purchase of a hotel by Tooth’s Brewery, and shall advise the honorable member of the result.
– May we understand that applications for permission to purchase properties which have been rejected because the intending purchasers have not been able to complete their purchases without borrowing money, will be favorably reconsidered, provided that the prospective purchasers can arrange for borrowing in the form of debentures? In such circumstances will the objection to the purchases be waived?
– I shall consider the matter if there is any possibility of such persons being able to finance their transactions by means of debentures.
Public Relations Directorate) - Parcels Post Services
– I ask the Minister for the Army whether or not members of the Public Relations Directorate of the Army holding non-commissioned rank are reporting operations in forward areas. If so, will the right honorable gentleman give urgent consideration to the matter of granting commissions to such members, and to the acknowledgment of their individual reports when statements are made to the press?
– I shall have inquiries made, with a view to furnishing the information desired.
– The delivery of parcels and second-class mail matter addressed to personnel in certain Pacific operational areas has been seriously delayed owing to shipping difficulties, and in a certain area only one delivery has been made since early in December, and that, unfortunately, not before Christmas ; also letters for delivery by air are sometimes left behind because room is required on the aeroplane to carry visiting army personnel, probably on inspectional work. In view of these facts, I ask the Minister for the Army whether he will investigate a complaint that in recent weeks a colonel visiting a. Pacific operational area by aeroplane was accompanied by a native batman and a dog, thus necessitating the exclusion of first-class mail matter of corresponding weight ?
– I shall have inquiries made into the matter. We all are in sympathy with parents and relatives who desire their men in operational areas to receive their mail regularly. The receipt of letters by troops in forward areas is probably the best of all morale builders, and everything possible should be done to ensure the delivery of mail matter a3 quickly as possible. An acute shortage of shipping exists, however, and this has caused delay in the delivery of secondclass mail matter. I shall refer the subject to the Commander-in-Chief immediately, with the object of having any cause for complaint removed as quickly as possible.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior aware that the Government has taken over for various military projects large areas of land vacated by Allied Services, on which huge sums have been expended in the provision of water, sewerage, and lighting facilities? Does the Government intend to acquire these properties? If not, will the expenditure have been wasted ?
– In the acquisition r>f land, the Department of the Interior :,Cts on requests and requisitions from other departments which require it. When such land is vacated, it is handed back to the owner in the terms of the regulations that govern the matter, and he is compen sated for any damage that may have been done. Certainty, considerable loss is likely to result from war expenditure of this sort. But all expenditure for war purposes is wasteful. The expenditure in question had to be incurred, and if it be lost the war will have to be debited with the cost. I shall obtain a full reply from the Minister for the Interior.
– Will the Minister for Munitions give sympathetic consideration to the possibility of making a small quantity of fly-wire gauze available with a view to removing the inconvenience and discomfort of people who have been granted permission to .rebuild homes destroyed in bush fires last year?
– The fly-wire gauze produced has been required largely for the services in the northern areas of Australia, and what has remained after .their requirements have been met has been used to supply the needs of hospitals. I am thoroughly sympathetic with the applications of those who have suffered from bush fires, and will have the matter examined with a view to affording the relief that they seek.
– Earlier in this week, the press published details of what were alleged to be the contents of a confidential document which the Treasurer discussed with caucus in relation to the Government’s banking proposals. Will the honorable gentleman state whether or not they gave an accurate forecast of the Government’s intentions? In particular, is it true, as has been reported, that the Government proposes to empower the Commonwealth Bank to lay down the advance policy to be followed by the trading ‘banks?
– I have not read the report purporting to give details of documents discussed by the Government party, and proposals submitted to it by me on behalf of the Cabinet. The honorable member mentioned a confidential document. It would appear that not many such are about in these days. I hope to submit to the House, by the 9th
March if possible, the Government’s legislation on this subject, and when that is done the points raised by honorable members will be answered.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Repatriation been directed to a report in this week’s Smith’s Weekly in which the grave allegation is inside that a soldier discharged as suffering from neurosis is not entitled to any repatriation benefit and is therefore required to seek medical aid at his own expense to preserve his sanity. Will the Minister examine the allegation and make a statement to the House on it next Wednesday? Will he also inform the House of what is being done to ensure the proper treatment of nervous and mental cases among service personnel?
– I have not seen the report. I have not read Smith’s Weekly for a considerable time. I do not consider that bald statements in a newspaper without reference to specific instances of the kind referred to are sufficient grounds for action. I invite the honorable member to submit specific cases to me and I assure him that I shall have them investigated at once.
Motion (by Mr. Forde) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn to Wednesday next, at 3 p.m.
– Has the Minister for Information seen the report in this morning’s Canberra Times to the effect that Mr. Weaver, the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of New South Wales, has publicly stated that he would not join the Liberal party because the members of that party would not have the right to express their own opinions even in caucus?
– I have not yet read this morning’s Canberra Times, but I have not been surprised at the action Mr. Weaver has taken. I expect that a great many other people associated with the anti-Labour forces of Australia will express similar views within the next few days.
– In the light of the serious shortage of manpower and material in Australia, will the Minister for the Army inform mewhy a camp constructed at Prospect, near Parramatta, at an expenditure of many thousands of pounds, was never occupied and is now being demolished, although a new camp is being constructed for the British Navy about 10 miles away on the Blacktown-Richmond railway line?
– I am not aware of all the circumstances of the matter referred to by the honorable gentleman, butI shall have inquiries made to ascertain why an existing camp within reasonable distance of the site of the new camp was not used. The site of the new camp was, no doubt, selected by those who desired to use it.
– I bring to the notice of the Minister for the Army a pamphlet issued recently by the Australian Army Educational Service. It has, as its cover picture, a rather graphic representation of people leaving rural areas and going to the cities. Will the Minister have inquiries made to ascertain whether the picture is true to the facts or an exaggeration of them? The matter publishedin this pamphlet is intended for use in Army educational discussion groups. If the picture is an exaggeration of the true state of affairs, it will not he conducive to the best efforts by those soldiers who are fighting to introduce a new order. As the British Government is at present considering the possible establishment of new industries in places which hitherto have teen without industries or have lost those which they had, and as the Commonwealth Government also desires to prevent the drift of people from rural areas to the cities, will the Minister say whether he considers the publication of such pictures in the best interests of the development of new industries in our rural areas?
– I thank the honorable member for the information that he has been good enough to give to me. I shall submit the subject-matter of his question to the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether it is the intention of the Government to refer the subject of the aluminium industry to the Tariff Board for investigation and report? Has any estimate yet been made of the amount of capital that will need to be invested in this industry? Has any estimate been made of the cost per ton of producing aluminium ingots in Australia?
– The Munitions Department will administer the Aluminium Industry Act. An announcement is expected shortly of the names of the persons who will constitute the personnel of the commission. i cannot answer the other questions which the honorable member has asked.
– Will the Deputy Prime Minister obtain information for the House as soon as possible of the approximate losses of sheep and cattle in Australia during the last two years owing to drought conditions, and will the right honorable gentleman inform us of any plans the Government has in preparation to obviate such great economic loss?
– Knowing of the deep interest which the honorable member has in the pastoral industry, I shall endeavour to obtain the information that he desires as quickly as possible.
Control of Interstate Airlines: i nter-depa rtmental committee’s Report - Northern T asmania - Australian National Airways - Aircraft Crash at Spring Plains: Report or Departmental Panel.
– In view of the announcement in the Governor-General’s Speech that statutory authority is to be given to the intention of the Government to control interstate airlines, will the Minister for Air place before the House, for the information of honorable members, the report of the Inter-departmental Committee on Civil Aviation which the Government has held for twelve months?
– I understand that, during my absence overseas, the honorable member for Balaclava sought to have this report tabled, and was informed by the Acting Prime Minister that, being a secret document, it would not be tabled. I agree with that decision, and do not propose to table the report.
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation any information to the effect that the British Government intends to take over all private aviation companies in Great Britain and nationalize them, as is stated in a report in this morning’s Canberra Times?
– I have not seen the newspaper report. While I was overseas, I was in contact with the persons in Great Britain who are administering civil aviation, and I was not informed that it was the intention of the British Government to nationalize the airways of that country. But the British Overseas Airways Corporation is a government concern in which, so far, only government money has been invested. I am quite sure that that organization will administer its undertaking successfully, as this Government will administer civil aviation affairs here.
-Is the Minister for Civil Aviation yet able to make a statement concerning the restoration to its normal condition of the reduced air service to north-western Tasmania?
– I shall endeavour to obtain the latest information on the subject and furnish it to the honorable member. I was under the impression that the service had been restored, but if this is not so, I shall make an investigation with the object of having it restored as soon as possible.
– Will the Minister for Civil Aviation inform me whether it is a fact that Australian National Airways has made application for permission to operate fifteen internal airlines in Australia, and eight overseas services, all without subsidy? Has the Government yet reached a decision on this application ?
– A number of such applications has been received from aviation companies, including one from Australian National Airways. No doubt the honorable member has seen the details of these various applications which have been published in the press. It would appear that aviation companies are prepared to run air services anywhere in the populated areas in Australia. The Government has not yet reached any decision on these applications, but it may be relied upon to do the best that can be done in the interests of the whole of our people.
– by leave - I have received a report from the departmental panel of officers appointed to ‘ inquire into and report upon the fatal crash of Stinson A2.W. (VH-UYY) aircraft at Spring Plains, about 54 miles north-west of Essendon, Victoria, on the morning of the 31st January 1945. Eight passengers and the crew of two were killed in the crash.
The Stinson left Essendon at 7.55 a.m. for Broken Hill, and was flying its normal course at the time of the accident. At 8.6 a.m. the aeradio station at Essendon received a message from the aircraft advising, “I have nothing to report”. About seven minutes later the aircraft crashed. The aircraft was in the charge of Captain A. L. Murn and First Officer A. D. Openshaw, both experienced airmen. Captain Murn had a total experience of 1,100 flying hours and First Officer Openshaw 3,000 hours. The certificate of airworthiness of the Stinson was valid until the 1st November, 1945.
Aircraft VH-UYY was one of four Stinson aircraft imported during 1936 by Airlines of Australia. One of these aircraft crashed on the 28th November, 1937, when it took off from Archerfield aerodrome near Brisbane, in darkness and fog and struck some trees near the aerodrome. There were only one pilot, and one passenger on board, and both were killed. The second Stinson crashed at Lamington National Park, in the Macpherson Ranges, South Queensland, on the 19th February, 1937. There were two pilots and five passengers on board. The two pilots and two passengers were killed, and of the remaining three passengers, one died on his way for assistance. The accident was attributed to cyclonic weather conditions, resulting in the aircraft being caught in a sudden down current on the lee side of the mountain range, and hitting the trees. The fourth and remaining Stinson was grounded immediately after the accident to aircraft VH- -UYY, and will not be permitted to fly again.
The cause of the fatal accident to Stinson aircraft VH-UYY on the 31st January is ascribed to an undetected fatigue crack in a welded joint at the lower main front boom attachment fitting of the port outer wing which led to stress concentrations which, in turn, caused the crack to develop through to the parent metal, and eventually led to very rapid and complete failure of the fitting in tension. Expert examination since the accident indicates that the initial fatigue crack did not break the surface of the welded metal, and in all probability would not, therefore, be visible at the certificate of airworthiness and annual overhaul inspections in October last year. From the disposition of the wreckage, and having regard to the statements of witnesses, it has been established that the sequence of failure was - (i) Port outer wing; (ii) tail unit; (iii) starboard wing; (iv) starboard power plant attachments.
The failure of the port outer wing caused the aircraft to commence a descending roll. The descent of the aircraft then steepened, the roll continued, and the tail was then observed to be broken from the rest of the aircraft and whipping around under the restraint of the control cables. Several other pieces of the airframe were then observed to leave the descending aircraft and it finally crashed in a stony paddock, immediately catching fire. The height of the aircraft was 1,000 feet above terrain as it approached the scene of the accident.
The departmental panel has reported that, so far as is known, this accident is the first example to date of a failure in flight of an aircraft primary structure attributable directly to fatigue. The kind of construction employed in Stinson aircraft is a heat-treated welded steel tubular framework as distinct from the ‘ more common all-metal monocoque type of construction. The panel has accordingly recommended, inter alia, that at every annual overhaul of aircraft employing welded steel tube structures., the structurally important joints where stresses are likely to be high should be magnaflux examined, since it is evident from this accident that fatigue cracks can exist which may not be visible. The adoption of this recommendation will involve the procurement of suitable portablemagnaflux equipment for issue to the department’s senior inspector of aircraft at each capital city, and this will be done forthwith.
Since publicity had been given to a statement that a crack had been observed in the tail of Stinson aircraft VH-UYY on the 26th January, 1945, by two Royal Australian Air Force personnel who had directed the attention of the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark) to the effect, the departmental panel obtained statements under oath from -the two Air Force men concerned. Both stated that they had definitely observed a crack in the outboard elevator bracket on the port side of the machine. Although the part in question was severely damaged on impact with the ground, a careful examination was made and the panel was not able to establish the existence of such a crack. The panel advises, however, that it may be stated with certainty that prior to the actual impact of the tail unit with the ground, this bracket was in whole and firm condition and the nature of the impact failure reveals that considerable impact force was transmitted through the bracket in question in several places. It is thepanel’s considered opinion that the alleged crack had no hearing whatsoever on the accident.
To sum up, according to the departmental panel’s report, the accident was caused through the failure of the lower main front spar boom attachment fittings due to a fatigue crack. Examination since the crash has indicated that the fatigue crack developed in three stages. The initial stage was in the weld metal, approximately inch long, and was generated over a considerable period of time by stress concentrations at this section. The later states developed rapidly, and caused the ultimate and complete failure of the wing. The initial crack com menced on the inner surface of the attachment socket weld and extended slowly to the outer surface. Stress concentrations due to the presence of this initial crack were sufficient to cause rapid propagation of the fatigue when heavy air loads, such aswould be expected in the turbulent air conditions at the time, were encountered. The time interval between the two later stages of the crack could not be accurately determined by the panel, but it is sufficient to say that it was extremely short. Both by the nature and location, the initial fatigue crack referred to could not be detected by routine inspection during maintenance, and it is also extremely improbable that any visible evidence of the crack was present at the time of the annual overhaul in October. 1944.
The sympathyof the House will, I am sure, be extended to all relatives of the pilots and passengers who lost their lives in this distressing accident.
– Who were the members of the panel?
– The panel consisted of four departmental officers, all experts in their own lines. Mr. Stewart was chairman, but I cannot give the names of the others off-hand. A thorough inquiry was made, but in order to allay any possible uneasiness in the public mind, seeing that this accident was of a kind different from others, I propose to arrange for the holding of an open inquiry, in addition to the departmental inquiry just concluded.
- by leaveReference is made in the report of the departmental panel to a statement which I made to the press. I travelled in the aeroplane on the Friday before the accident. On that occasion, a crack in the tail structure was pointed out to me by two groundstaff members of the Royal Australian Air Force, men whom I took to be experienced. At the inquiry into the accident they repeated the statement which they had made to me. It would appear from the report which the Minister has just read that those who conducted the inquiry deny that there was such a crack in the tail structure of the plane. The fact is that I, myself, saw the crack there. As to its extent, or the danger which it might have represented, I am not qualified to speak. ,1 did say to the two aircraftmen that if they believe that the crack represented a danger they should inform the pilot, so that the machine would, not be taken into the air.
– Was that the only action the honorable member took?
– I have travelled in various aircraft and have heard various statements about them. If on every occasion I had taken heed of those statements and endeavoured to prevent the pilots from flying the machines, a difficult position would have been created. I realize that by making the statement I did, I left myself open to the. criticism that I ought to have taken other action, but in point of fact I took the only action which I thought at the time to be necessary. I asked the aircraftmen to tell the pilot about the existence of the crack, but I do not know whether they did so. I have in my pocket now a ticket for a trip on this aeroplane on the Wednesday, the day upon which it crashed. I was waiting to board it when I was informed that it had gone down in flames. It is. evident, from my preparedness to travel on it again, after having seen the crack in the tail, that I had not been very much alarmed when the defect was pointed out to mc. It was after the crash occurred that the incident came back to my mind, mid’ I made n statement to the press so that that aspect of the matter might be looked into. The report of the panel has disclosed that there were several cracks in ‘the aircraft structure. That being so, it seems to me that all antiquated aircraft of this kind which ure flying on passenger routes should be carefully examined for defects. I have been informed by engineers that fatigue cracks in the metal framework of aircraft can be located by X-ray equipment. All antiquated aircraft should be so examined for fatigue cracks, particularly at points of stress, and certificates of airworthiness issued only after such examination has been made. I suggest that an examination of this kind be made every three months or six months at the most. It is more important that the frame of an aircraft should be sound than that the engines should be in perfect order, yet the engines are examined daily. If the engines fail, there is still a chance that the aircraft can be brought down safely, but if the structure of the aircraft itself fails there is no hope at all. Therefore I urge the Minister to ensure that the metal structure of aircraft is properly examined with X-ray apparatus, and certificates of airworthiness issued only when they are found to be free from defects.
- by leaveIn the report of the departmental panel which was read by the Minister for Air (Mr. Drakeford), no mention is made of the fact that aircraft of this type were originally fitted with three engines. The particular aeroplane which crashed had only two engines, which indicates that at some time in its history it had undergone a major structural alteration. This aeroplane was, perhaps, eight or nine years old. An aeroplane may have a longer life, but the rate of depreciation is usually fixed at 25 per cent, per annum in order to be on the safe side. It seems to me that the panel made a serious error in not mentioning the removal of one of the engines originally installed, and therefore the Minister should refer the report back to them.
– This incident is another argument in favour of the nationalization of airways.
– Let lis not drag politics into the matter. I am now referring to the report of the departmental panel, and I suggest that it be referred back to them even before the holding of the public inquiry.
– I have in my hand an advertisement which appeared in the Melbourne Herald on Friday, the 12th January, and was inserted by the Victorian State Executive of the Australian Communist party. This advertisement calls attention to a public meeting to be held on the Yarra Bank on the following Sunday to protest against British policy in Greece. In the body of the advertisement appears the following: -
Send your protests direct, to the British Government, and through Dr. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs at Canberra!
Clearly, the inference to he drawn from that advertisement is that the Minister had in some way linked his name with the protest, or had authorized the Communist party to advertise that protests might he sent through him. Did the Minister, in fact, authorize the use of his name in this connexion? Were any protests actually receivedby him? Were they, in fact, despatched by him to the British Government? If he did not authorize the publication of such a statement by the Communist party, what action does he propose to take in respect of that party’s impertinence in linking his name with a public statement of this kind?
– The honorable member showed me the advertisement five minutes ago. I did not authorize the use of my name, or any reference to the department. I did not receive any protests whatever. Consequently, nothing went through this Government to the British Government on the matter; and I am certain that the British Government did not authorize the publication of such a statement.
Debate resumed from the 22nd February (vide page 74), on motion by Mr. Fraser -
That the following Address-in-Reply to His Royal Highness the Governor-General’s Speech be agreed to: -
May it please Yourroyal Highness:
We, the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, to extend to YourRoyal Highness a welcome to Australia and to thank Your Royal Highness for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
– The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin), who was given leave last evening to continue his remarks, is engaged at the moment on important business with the GovernorGeneral and will not be able to continue his speech at this stage. I understand that the leaders of the parties have been consulted on the matter and have agreed to the rather unusual course of another honorable member resuming the debate, the Prime Minister to continue his remarks at a later stage.
– The programme outlined in the opening Speech delivered by His Royal Highness will satisfy any reasonably minded person that the successful prosecution of the war is the Government’s first concern. This debate presents an opportunity to honorable members to speak upon almost any subject which they consider to be of importance. No doubt criticism of the Government’s policy will be offered. I propose to deal with a few items about which I shall clear up misconceptions which might arise in the public mind, as the result of statements made last night by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). The right honorable gentleman urged that Australia should consult with other Empire countries before it participated in international conferences. He referred to the International Conference on Civil Aviation held at Chicago in November and December last. It may interest the right honorable member to know that prior to proceeding to Chicago I represented this Government at a conference with the New Zealand Government on this matter in accordance with the terms of the Australian-New Zealand Agreement. We discussed matters of mutual interest likely to come before the international conference at Chicago. In addition, before I proceeded to Chicago I participated in a conference held at Montreal at which representatives of all Empire countries were present. At that conference agreement was reached on matters affecting civil aviation. During the Chicago conference, seldom a night passed that representatives of the Empire countries did not meet to discuss matters of common interest. Furthermore, when the Chicago conference concluded representatives of Empire countries again met in Montreal to discuss the results of the international conference, and steps were taken to establish a body, which is to be known as the Commonwealth Air Transport Council, to discuss civil aviation matters of common interest to Empire countries. Therefore, honorable members will see that the very procedure urged by the Leader of the Opposition has, in fact, been followed in the past by this Government. I should imagine that the right honorable gentleman would be fully aware of that fact, because several reports were published in the press dealing with the results of the conference which took place in New Zealand, as well as the Chicago conference, and the preliminary conference held at Montreal. Therefore, my answer to him is that the prior consultation which he advocates was followed in respect of the international conference held at Chicago. The representatives of Empire countries worked at that conference as a team. They did not constitute an Empirebloc; but they accepted every opportunity for thorough consultation on matters of common interest. I believe that the International Conference on Civil Aviation held at Chicago did a very good job which will prove of great advantage to not only Australia but also the world at large. Some people are of opinion that the conference was virtually a failure. I believe that it was a great success. Of course, it did not reach agreement on all matters. That was hardly to be expected at a conference attended by representatives of 52 nations meeting for the first time since the outbreak of the war, to consider matters relating to the development of civil aviation. Naturally, the representatives of the various countries approached the problems arising from different points of view. However, representatives of British countries were able to arrive at complete agreement. Although the proposal, known as the Anzac proposal, which was put forward by Australia and New Zealand was not carried, it received substantial support. I emphasize that that proposal is not dead. It was referred to the Interim Council appointed by the conference, and I am glad to be able to inform honorable members that Australia is represented on that body. That in itself isof some significance. The council is charged with the duty of examining the proposal put forward by Australia and New Zealand, and to report upon it later, not only to Interim Conferences, but also to the Permanent Conference. Thus our proposal for the establishment of international control of world trunk line routes is receiving proper attention. The main argument for the proposal is that the establishment of such control would avoid friction resulting from competition, leading, possibly, as does competition in other commercial spheres, to international bitterness.
– What countries supported the Anzac Proposal ?
– France and Afghanistan. France strongly supported it. I repeat that the proposal was not merely dismissed on a negative vote.
– Why did not the proposal receive more widespread support?
– Because the opportunity was not available to give the matter full consideration. Had it been possible to adjourn consideration of the matter, undoubtedly, the representatives of other countries, some of whom personally expressed sympathy with the idea, would have taken steps to obtain authority from their respective governments to support it. However, when representatives of various countries attend a conference of that kind, without knowing the details of proposals that may be brought forward, they cannot act upon their own initiative but must await instructions from their respective governments. In this case, sufficient time was not available to enable them to follow that procedure.
– Was there any evidence that each country tends to adhere to the idea that it should control its own airlines ?
– That point did not arise in this matter. The Anzac Proposal was to set up an international authority to control world trunk-line routes, and all countries affected were to be represented upon that body. However, the seed of that ideal has been sown, and I expect that increasing support will be given to the proposal at further conferences.
I gathered from the remarks of the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) that he advocates the idea that representatives of the Opposition parties should accompany Government representatives to future international conferences. It is obvious that the Government is the proper authority to represent the people of a country at international assemblies. Judging by the differences of opinion expressed in this House from time to time, it would be absurd to send Government representatives’ to international conferences accompanied by another body of representatives who would advocate a different policy altogether. That would result in confusion and lead people overseas to believe that Australia had no mind of its own on any subject.
– Why then are Opposition members being invited to attend the San Francisco conference?
– I do not know. At that conference there will be no specific agenda, but at the Chicago conference, a specific matter was under consideration on which this Government, which represents the people of Australia, has definite views, and if there had been other persons from. Australia standing up and saying that the view expressed by the Government representative on any particular proposal was not the view of the people of Australia, Australia would have beenbrought into ridicule. What will be done with regard to the San Francisco conference is something of which I so far have no information, but, if there are some honorable members from the Opposition benches, like the honorable member, who desire a trip to San Francisco, I am sure that they could make very useful contributions to the discussions, as the honorahle member does in this House from time to time. However, this opinion that on all occasions an injustice is. done by not sending representatives of the Opposition overseas carries no weight with the Government or the people.
With regard to our own people overseas, I am glad to be able to say, while not attempting at this stage to give a report on my visit, that I was able to make contact with members of the Royal Australian Air Force in various countries. As Minister for Air, I consider that I should say that members of the Royal Australian Air Force overseas, have greatly impressed the people with whom they had come into contact. In the United States of America, Canada and Great Britain they are very highly thought of. I am not suggesting that that is exclusive to the Royal Australian Air Force, because I think members of other services also have impressed the people of other countries whom they have met. But there are large numbers of Royal Australian Air Force personnel abroad. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) has pointed out that the numbers should not be stated, so I shall not give them ; but they are large, and wherever our airmen have gone, they have created the impression that they are as fine a body of men. as could be sent from any country. I had, of course, visited them in forward zones of the South- West Pacific Area and all I had seen of them there and in Australia was confirmed by my visit overseas. Both on and off the field of combat their conduct does credit to the people of Australia and themselves. The best proof of the high regard in which members of the Royal Australian Air Force are held in Great Britain is the fact that commanding officers do not want to lose them. I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that the men themselves are keen on. the service that they are given the opportunity to render. They want to do their best, and are “on their toes “ practically all the time. I visited them not only at the stations from which they are operating, but also at the places where they are finding entertainment and recreation, and I pay tribute to the splendid services given by the various organizations which attend to the men’s recreational needs. There are numbers of them and, lest I should omit any, I shall not attempt to name them all, but they include such bodies as the Australian Comforts Fund, the Boomerang Club and the Anzac Club. There are clubs for the entertainment of Australian airmen in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The people conducting them go to the limit in looking after the interests of our men overseas, and I pay tribute to them for the generous way in which they are catering for our lads. The way in which the Royal Australian Air Force members have responded has helped to raise our prestige overseas.
In the last few weeks there has been considerable comment from time to time about the employment of members of air crews in other than their ordinary occupations. I propose to deal with that because it is of considerable importance,
Much of what has been said has no justification. Honorable members will recall the comprehensive statement made In this chamber, towards the end of last session, by the Minister for Home Security (Mr. Lazzarini), as Acting Minister for Air, during my absence abroad, regarding the then aircrew position. He then explained that a fairly substantial number of aircrew surplus to immediate requirements had been built up, owing primarily to the following factors : -
That sudden and unexpected cancellation of despatch overseas of drafts who were already fully trained or partially trained for service with the Royal Air Force resulted in substantial surpluses to immediate requirements, which were then confined to Royal Australian Air Force needs in the South-West Pacific Area. Consideration was immediately given to the solution of the problem of absorption of those surpluses in manners by which they could be regarded as rendering the most economical and useful service to the country. The course finally decided upon was to reduce recruiting intakes and close down certain training schools temporarily, until such time as the surplus pools were absorbed. At the same time, the training organization was adjusted to produce subsequent requirements in the South-West Pacific Area, after making due allowance for the numbers of operationally trained aircrew,both those here and those anticipated to return from overseas and become available for service in this theatre. All the fully trained aircrew of the required standards will be utilized on full flying duties within the next few months.
According to statistics made available, 1,683 partially trained aircrew personnel who were withdrawn from aircrew training as the result of that diminution in the training programme are temporarily employed on ground duties, pending resumption of their aircrew training in the near future. Of those numbers, 850, large numbers of whom volunteered for the work, have been made available at the request of the man-power authorities for fruit-picking to approximately the end of March in the Shepparton and Renmark districts, the other 833 personnel being at present employed at Air Force formations and units on the following duties: -
A few officers who were undergoing pilot training at the time the training was suspended have been re-employed on flying instructional duties in their original aircrew category. Others are temporarily employed on administration or other duties, pending their re-absorption in their aircrew training course.
Every action will be taken to ensure that, except in the case of those who were remustered to ground-staff because they did not measure up to the required aircrew standard, the partially trained aircrew employed temporarily on other duties will resume their aircrew training in the near future. Actually, all of those personnel have already been allotted to courses in the aircrew training plan and will resume their training by the following dates: -
Initial Training School trained - the 21st May, 1945.
Elementary Flying Training School trained - the 30th April, 1945.
Service Flying Training School trained- the 19th March, 1945.
Air gunners - the 16th April, 1945.
Navigators (W)- the 22nd July, 1945.
– There will be aircraft for them to fly? They will not be kept as trained men without aircraft?
– It is the first suggestion I have heard that one reason for not continuing training is shortage of aircraft. I do not think that is in any way the fact. It will be noted that, except in the case of navigators, wireless, all the partially-trained aircrew whose training was temporarily suspended will resume their training by the 21st May next.
It is regarded as appropriate here to mention that, in view of the reduced numbers of aircrew required to meet our future commitments, and having regard to the much higher standards now demanded of personnel for the operation of the latest types of aircraft and equipment with which the Royal Australian Air Force is being equipped, steps were taken to remove from the lists of aircrew graduates those who were regarded by their squadron commanders, as verified and confirmed by Area Head-quarters, or for medical reasons as not “ measuring up “ to or maintaining the standards required. The numbers of aircrew personnel recommended for re-muster or discharge on the grounds that they were below service aircrew standards approximated 200. Certain re-musters and discharges have already been effected, though the big majority of cases involved are still under’ consideration by the determining authorities who are making a very close examination of each case to ensure the most sound and just decision in relation to final disposal.
Another aspect to which I should like to refer is the recently renewed calling of applications for enlistment as aircrew. Some may find it difficult to reconcile that action with the present surplus aircrew position to which I have already referred. Honorable members cannot hut agree that it is impossible to forecast when the war against the Japanese will end. It may be this year, next year, or even the following year. Further, Australia must keep up the fighting strength of such forces as may be assignedby the Government for operations against the enemy in this area, which means that the training of aircrews sufficient for the manning of Royal Australian Air Force squadrons so actively and effectively engaging in operations must continue until the enemy is defeated. As I have already explained, all the partially-trained aircrew at present employed temporarily on other duties will resume their courses in the comparatively near future. All those personnel have already completed their initial training course and will now. undergo the more advanced stages of their training. They will thus graduate, in the vast majority of cases, well before the close of 1945. To ensure the availability of sufficient numbers of aircrew subsequently, it is necessary to continue recruitment and training of adequate numbers to meet requirements after the graduation of those to whom I have referred.
Apart from the partially trained personnel who are at present engaged on other duties but who will shortly resume aircrew training, the present number of aircrew recruits on the reserve and awaiting the commencement of aircrew training is approximately 300, and they will be admitted to the Initial Training Schools in March and April, 1945. Thus, further recruitment is necessary to meet the requisite intakes in subsequent months. In this connexion, it is vitally important to remember that aircrew trainees, who may be recruited now, will not complete their courses and be available for operational purposes until April or May, 1946.
Another important consideration which is constantly regarded in adjusting the training organization and periodical aircrew intakes is the fact that certain numbers of fully-trained personnel are returning at intervals from Canada after the completion of their training there, and from the United Kingdom after certain operational service. The numbers so far involved are comparatively small and have made relatively small contribution towards our requirements in the SouthWest Pacific Area. On the conclusion of hostilities in the European theatre, however, large numbers of war operationally trained and widely experienced personnel will become available for service here, and the whole of our training organization, recruitment and other associated activities will be subject to considerable adjustment. Developments in that connexion will continue to be fully regarded in determining the air crew training programme of the Royal Australian Air Force.
I hope that the information whichI have given will clarify the position in relation to those matters about which some honorable members may feel a certain concern. As will be appreciated by all, the sudden termination of drafts for overseas, which resulted in a substantial though temporary surplus of fully and partially trained air crew personnel here, was quite unpredictable, but a pleasing consideration is that cancellation of those drafts was due to the substantially improved strategical position of allied operations in the European theatre and to casualties being considerably below anticipated rates. Those surpluses will be absorbed on flying duties and training courses, as I have indicated. Pending their re-allotment to flying duties and air crew training courses, the services being rendered by those personnel on ground stuff duties and other work are of national im portance.
From time to time, many honorable members ask for the release of Air Force personnel for the purpose of engaging in work of national importance. Last year, the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) made representations for the release of men in the recruits depot at Shepparton to assist with fruit-picking; and they were made available to provide the labour that is required to meet this seasonal need.
– Could the Royal Australian Air Force allow these men to be released temporarily for farm work and for the production of food generally?
– I do not know whether Air Force personnel are made available to pick bananas - the industry in which the honorable member for Richmond is particularly interested. If some fruits, such as grapes, apricots and peaches, are not picked within a limited time, they become useless for eating or canning purposes. Consequently, the labour demand in certain fruit-growing industries fluctuates greatly, and can be met only from some source of supply. I do not regard favorably the idea of the Royal Australian Air Force being a pool of labour to meet emergencies, but honorable members on both sides of the House would object if the Air Force were not prepared to stretch a point in order to meet these exceptional needs. When I have tried to do so some misunderstanding appears to have arisen about it.
– I referred to the return of farmers’ sons to their farms until they are again required by the Royal Australian Air Force.
– If all the requests that pour in to me for the release of personnel were complied with, the Air Force would not remain in existence very long. A constant flow of applications for the release of personnel and for compassionate leave come to my notice, after they have been considered by the manpower authorities and the Air Force Command. We have released a good many men. Recently, I sent to the honorable member for Richmond a letter indicating that an application which he had made for the release of a man, had been granted. The policy of the Royal Australian Air Force is to release men, wherever possible, without impairing its efficiency. One important condition is that there must be sufficient men in the various musterings to meet service needs for the time being. In those circumstances, men are released in order to cope with the greatly increased food production programme for this theatre of war. As most honorable members are aware of these facts, it should not be necessary for me to refer to them.
– The Royal Australian Air Force has been very reasonable in that regard.
-I am glad that the Air Force has given reasonable satisfaction in that regard. In order to give complete satisfaction, we should be obliged to grant every application for release from the service. That cannot be done if the Royal Australian Air Force is to be maintained at its requisite strength. I assure honorable members that we do give reasonable consideration to all applications that are made.
– The Minister has not mentioned air crew personnel who are now working on the wharfs. They do not receive award rates of pay applicable to waterside work.
– Yesterday, I heard the honorable member mention that matter, and I promised to inquire into it. My own view is that this subject is somewhat complicated. The honorable member for Balaclava would not suggest that Royal Australian Air Force personnel employed temporarily on the wharves should be paid award rates applicable to that class of work. If they were so remunerated, they would immediately be removed from the category of service personnel. One point which should be borne in mind is that a married serviceman receives allowances in respect of his dependent wife and children, so that a member of the Royal Australian Air Force with a wife and two children would receive a rate of remuneration equal to the amount earned by a wharf labourer.
– The shipping companies pay full award rates in respect of service personnel working for them. I should like to know who collects the difference between award rates and service rates of pay. It must go into Consolidated Revenue.
– I am not quite clear on that point, but I shall obtain the information for the honorable member. The difference between the two rates of pay is probably earmarked to provide certain amenities for the services.
– Incidentally, the service personnel working on the wharfs did not volunteer for that job. They were detailed to do it.
– I shall cite an actual occurrence in order to give the honorable member some idea of the difficulties that arise. Recently, a cargo of potatoes was awaiting shipment from Western Australia to the eastern States, where they were urgently required. An application was made to Royal Australian Air Force head-quarters to provide a number of men to remove from the cargo potatoes which had been attacked by grubs, so that the balance would arrive at their destination in good condition. The Air Force was not bound to supply this labour, and we recognized that if we complied with the request, there would be heard throughout the country a wail that men who had been given expensive training were employed only on removing grub-infested potatoes from a ship’s cargo. However, the Royal Australian Air Force allowed some of the 200 servicemen, who were engaged only temporarily on wharf labouring work, to undertake the task, so that the potatoes w ould not be wasted. Surely that was a reasonable way of dealing with the matter ! Then again, wharf -labouring work often calls for the use of particular equipment belonging to the Royal Australian Air Force for certain types of loading, which, for very good reasons, cannot be mentioned here, and Air Force personnel are better equipped than anyone else to deal with that class of job. That statement is not true of all the labour supplied, but most of the men so detailed are transient personnel awaiting postings or appointment to various places and they are merely utilized to meet that requirement temporarily. If we could get expert labour for wharf work, particularly winchmen and other key men, probably less manual labour would be required to meet these needs. I do not like, and I do not propose to encourage, the use of large numbers of Air Force personnel for work other than that for which they were trained;, but if in an emergency we did not permit men who were temporarily not required, because of various developments in the organization, to do the work for which they were trained, to be used for other work, we should be acting wrongly. [Extension of time granted.] I assure honorable members that all steps are being taken to ensure that no air crew personnel are employed on duties other than those for which they enlisted any longer than is necessary to bridge the interval to the earliest date on which they are required in air crew service.
The control of civil aviation in this country will later he the subject of legislation. When that legislation is introduced, honorable members will have an opportunity to make their contributions towards achieving the most satisfactory arrangement in Australia.
-Will that legislation be introduced during this session?
– I believe that it will ; and in the meantime, I hope that honorable members will prepare contributions to the debate that will help to make the control of civil aviation serve the interests of the whole of Australia.
– Will the Minister make available to honorable members copies of the report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Civil Aviation?
– The Government’s intentions were definitely stated to the Parliament during my absence.
Before I conclude, I desire to make brief reference to my recent mission abroad. I felt privileged to have the opportunity to visit the United Kingdom while I was overseas, and I made contact with various people holding positions which would enable them to express authoritative opinions. They were, I found, most keenly interested in Australia and in the policy of the Government, not only regarding civil aviationbut also in general matters. That may be said to be true also of people in the United States of America and Canada. Australia’s war effort is greatly appreciated abroad. It is recognizedas being a remarkable contribution to the winning of the war. The people of the United Kingdom are imbued with a magnificent spirit. Their fortitude and devotion under conditions of war which, I hope, we shall never experience in Australia, are something for which we have every reason to feel grateful. Those who come from British stock must feel a deep pride in the achievement of the British people. They do not complain about their hardships and sufferings. Whatever shortages there may be in Australia -and there are some - they are small in comparison with the shortages existing in England and with the sacrifices that the British people are making. During my all-too-brief sojourn in the British Isles, I did not hear one whimper or word of complaint. Of the fourteen days which I spent there, ten of them were foggy, and it was most difficult for me to move about. To that extent, I was disappointed. The people of London are suffering greatly. I cannot give any details, because they might be of value to the enemy, but some of the information has been published since I was there. I can say, however, that the spirit of the people is magnificent and their courage is unsurpassed. They are willing to fight this war to the bitter end, even though that resolution entails for them further great suffering and’ sacrifice. If the people of Australia knew the extent of the ordeal to which the people of England are being subjected, they would not regard themselves as having to make major sacrifices in this very fortunate country. We are fortunate indeed in not having experienced the shock of war in the same way as England has, and I am deeply thankful for that. When we know that our kith and kin in other countries are suffering in this way and are continuing to suffer without complaint, we should be prepared to put up with any inconveniences that arise from conditions resulting from our contribution to the war effort.
.- This being the Address-in-Reply to the Governor-General’s Speech, I desire to take this opportunity, before dealing with the subject-matter of the Speech, to say what a source of pride and pleasure it is for us to have a Royal Governor-General. There is a link of kinship which, though invisible, binds us to Great Britain more strongly and closely than more tangible tilings. It is fundamental, and so much more important than the domestic issues which divide us politically. I was gratified to hear the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Fraser) voice that sentiment, which, I hope, is general throughout Australia. The Minister for Air and Civil Aviation (Mr. Drakeford), who recently visited the head-quarters of the British Empire, told us of the magnificent effort that the British people have made throughout six long years of war, during which they were directly threatened with invasion by an enemy who had approached for years to within 22 miles of their shores. I make those remarks as a preface to some of the lesser matters usually contained in the Governor-General’s Speech and representing the policy of the Government for this session.
I was pleased to hear the Minister for Air mention his pleasureat having represented Australia abroad. This personal contact with the representatives of other parts of the British Empire is most desirable, and should be more frequent among members of dominion parliaments. The Empire Parliamentary Association encourages those visits, because much is to be gained from them.
The Minister mentioned that Australia and New Zealand had put forward a plan for the socialization of international air services. Although the conference did not accept this plan, the Minister claimed that he convinced some of the delegates of the wisdom of the proposal. He may have done; hut the majority of them were convinced that the introduction of such a plan was not opportune at this time. Air transport is now commonplace, and oceans can be crossed in a matter of hours. If we were to avail ourselves more extensively of air travel, Australia would lose a lot of the isolationism which now exists but which should not exist here, because we are a part of the British race and we have much in common with the great English-speaking United States of America.
I was pleased to hear the Minister pay a tribute to the members of the Royal Australian Air Force abroad. With his sentiments, we are wholly in accord. Any one who has been associated with the Royal Australian Air Force overseas knows the high regard in which these young men are held. They have made many sacrifices in lives given and in services gladly rendered. Consequently, it is deplorable that they should suffer in any way either in morale or in future outlook. I mentioned at the end of last session that a drastic curtailment in the set-up of the force was to be made, not among the higher officers, but among the young men who had carried the burden of the day, and among those who were training to do so. I protested that there was muddling in high places, and an incredible display of lack of imagination, seeing that men who had almost completed their training - and it costs about £2,000 to train a pilot - were to be offered the alternative of discharge or remuster on the ground. We hear that 1,500 of those men accepted ground positions, and some of them were put on guard and other menial duty. I contended strongly at the time that a complete reorganization of the Royal Australian Air Force was overdue.
I also say that a retirement scheme is overdue. Many senior members of the force should be retired, so that the young men who have earned their laurels might hold the higher positions. There are staff schools where they could qualify for staff appointments or for commands. Instead of taking the negative attitude of reducing strengths, we should avail ourselves to the full of the excellent material we have trained. Yet we see young members of the Air Force who have earned high honour overseas detailed for what they consider to be humiliating work, because highly paid men who have slept in their beds at night throughout the war without running risks, and receive two or or three times as much pay as that of the fighter pilot, will not do the work. They have been detailed to unload some of the ships on which they returned to their native land, after three or four years of service abroad. I attacked that position strongly in December, and put forward six proposals.
In a measure, the Government has gone back on what it then decided. This does not happen in Great Britain. There is not an idle moment at the personnel depots in the Motherland. Australians get leave to travel throughout the country, meet their blood brothers in Britain, and attend instructional courses, in subjects such as advanced navigation, and are also given acclimatization and flying courses. They are taken on tours to aircraft factories, given educational courses, and attached to universities. A sensible and thoughtful programme for these highly trained young men is arranged. In Australia, however, they sit around kicking their heels, and some of them are told that they can take ground jobs or get out. That more or less is the choice which is offered to them.
It appears that 1,500 air crew personnel are languishing somewhere, and doing camp jobs, when they might have been flying aircraft. Why was the higher command so devoid of imagination that it could not see that those air crew personnel wouldbe required ? Was not the position the same in December as it is in February? The Minister is only partly adjusting the position. We read that 200 men were told that they were not up to the high standard required f!or modern aircraft, but I know that young men with over 1,000 hours of flying and who were due to go to Great Britain but who were put on staff and ferrying jobs because Japan came into the war, have received a curt letter informing them that they have to get out because they are redundant. What the Air Force needs is the cutting down of some of its heavy administrative staffs and the building up of more squadrons in Australia. It has been stated in the press that the strength of the Royal Australian Air Force is approximately 170,000.
– I have not mentioned the u umber.
– The number of members of our Air Force overseas is well known, and has been published in the press. Some sixteen Australian Article XV. squadrons have made history overseas, and in addition, in over 500 units of the Royal Air Force our men have earned a name second to none.
Great Britain knows that the war in Europe will end soon. We should bc very glad to observe thai; the tide of battle there has now destroyed the !Nazi hopes of victory. The armies of the Allies are making such good progress that Germany may collapse in weeks or months. But the war with Japan will continue. We can rejoice over the splendid strikes in the Pacific by the forces of the United States of America, but why i.< Australia not playing a bigger part than that allotted to it? I agree with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) that Australia should not be relegated to a secondary role. The Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) declared that our forces were not playing a secondary part in the war in the Pacific, and that Stiff fighting lay ahead for them. We know that there is no bloodless road to victory; but, as the Government has a voice as to the use to be made of our fighting forces, the traditions of the Australian Imperial Force are such that it should not be given merely mopping-up work. When Tokyo has been pulverized, and a revolution occurs in Japan, which will no doubt seek peace terms and be called upon to surrender unconditionally, all the Japanese units scattered among the Pacific Islands will have to be withdrawn, if disease has not already decimated them.
Yet our policy to-day is to mop up the isolated areas which have been bypassed by the American forces. The men who have been detailed for that work would prefer to fight side by side with the Americans with whom they served in New Guinea or in action in the Dutch Isles, so as to let the Dutch people know that we are anxious to help them to get back their empire, and make up for some of the horror and disaster which has fallen on their mother country, Holland. Cannot we do better with our Air Force than is being done at present? Australia is an immense training ground. The Royal Australian Air Force has a splendid record of service both here and overseas that will be written some day, but its squadrons are so few, like the British in the early days of the war who gave the Huns their first defeat. The Minister acts on advice tendered to him, but some of his advisers have completely reversed an opinion expressed some months ago about what, should be done with the Air Force personnel. The Government should build on the splendid material available to it.
– I said yesterday that the changes were due to contradictory information from overseas.
– That is the poor excuse which has been given to the Minister. He may believe the explanation, but 1 do not. I said in December that anybody should know that the Japanese would not pack up in two or three months. Our men have been returning from, overseas for a long time, and we need them all.
Australia’s safety, in future, will be largely dependent on its air force, despite the excellent work which the Navy renders on the seven seas. Aircraft, with their increasing range and endurance, are now recognized as destroyers of anything afloat. Australia’s defence reaches out beyond the ridiculous limit of ite territorial waters, which the Labour .party advocated in 1937. We shall need an efficient air force that can strike at great distances, and this is the time when we should pick the best of the splendid material available to us. The only test should be efficiency. There should be no vested rights of old or young men in the force to-day, or of permanent or duration men, to hold on to their positions, but all should be equitably treated. The Minister, assisted by a board, should go through the names and pick out the very best men. Australia on its record could select an air force second to none. The Royal Air Force, which is most efficiently conducted, is determined not to let the efficient men elude it. It has circularized not only its own personnel, but also the dominion men who serve with it, asking them, if they will stay on for the post-war effort.
If we do not find out whether our men wish to remain in the war, they will no doubt seek to return to industry, and in that way the very best will be lost to us. No doubt some of the best men will remain, but there will also be some of indifferent calibre if we do not act. If the Minister is keen to see Australia doing its full part, not only in the war,but also in the post-war period, he will not be content with less than a post-war air force which will make the name of this country respected. In order to offer a practical suggestion, I ask the Cabinet to lay down a tentative post-war establishment for the Royal Australian Air Force. Everybody in it should be told that he has an opportunity to offer his services. Those not chosen will probably seek to take advantage of whatever rehabilitation facilities are available. I am glad the Minister has taken the opportunity to go overseas and has compared conditions there with those in Australia.
It is deplorable that, when civil aviation services in Australia have been built up with great difficulty by the pioneers of the industry, the Government has decided to acquire control of the services. It is nonsense to say that the pioneers are not still in the industry, when we know that such men as Hudson, Fysh, Ansett, and Holyman are still closely associated with it. The Government has acted wrongly in taking this action during the war, because it will utilize funds which could be expended to better advantage. I draw the attention of honorable members to the following remarks by a former Director of Civil Aviation : -
Political interference and control of the detail work of airline operations and management must inevitably lead to disaster arising from delays in decisions, lack of funds provided promptly at the right time, lack of knowledge, and permitting political expediency to override efficient management.
I emphasize the statement that, under national management, political expediency will override efficient management. He concluded with these words -
Nothing can prevent political interference and disorganization in any industry owned by the Government, in which untrained and inexperienced Ministers assume the role of managing directors and override the advice of trained executives.
– He did not say anything like that while he was Director of Civil Aviation.
– He said that in a comment on a committee of which he was the chairman. The Minister for Air dare not table that report, although for a year we have been asking for that to be done. There is something rotten in the state of government when that sort of thing can continue. When the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde), as Acting Prime Minister, announced in the Parliament that civil airlines were to be taken over by the Government, the words that he used were that the Government would take over, operate and maintain them. Ever since then, the right honorable gentleman has been trying to explain that statement away by casuistically reasoning that nationalization is not socialization. The statement of the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) that the object is to avoid private monopoly and to observe considerations of finance is merely nonsense. The airlines will be socialized, and these efficient organizations definitely will be run as a government department, with all the inefficiency that attaches to control by government departments and the exclusion of private enterprise. The announcement in the Governor-General’s Speech represents a considerable modification of the original pronouncement, because it is now said that the Government will “ control “ civil aviation. I suggest that, although different terms may he used, lie effect will be the same. A bill will be introduced providing for the taking over of civil airlines by the Government. This is the sort of thing on which Nazi Germany grew up.
I have said in this House before, and I repeat, that Germany was propelled in that direction by its financial measures. The Government, I believe, is contemplating, in its projected banking legislation, the passage of the most sinister piece of legislation that the Parliament has had to consider since the inauguration of federation. It claims that the form of the legislation will he rather innocuous. But this will be only an instalment of what is to come. We know that the ultimate aim is State socialism; that the individual will not have the right to choose his banker, and that the influence of the Minister for Works (Mr. Lazzarini), the Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward), and certain other demagogic members of the Government caucus, may lead to the adoption of a proposal which would depress our currency, destroy the value of the savings of our people in the banks, and make practically worthless all pensions, wages and insurance policies. Honorable members need not accept my dictum on this subject. The circular issued by the whole of the insurance companies points out that 3,000,000 insurance policies to the value of £3,000,000 are in jeopardy. The Government was taught a lesson at the Constitution referendum. The people then definitely and emphatically told it that they did not want socialization; yet it now proposes to socialize civil air services, banking, the manufacture of aluminium., and goodness knows what other forms of business.
– All for the good of Australia.
– That is the trap that has been set for the unwary. In time of war, it would be for the good of Australia were we to concentrate on matters relating to the Avar. These proposals do not fall within that category.
The present session will be a very important one. Yesterday, I touched on one minor matter which concerns transport when, in a question to the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin), I pointed out that he had promised to confer with the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Air with a view to ah improvement of the air services to Canberra.. Because I added that Ministers, travelling by car, did not have the benefit of knowing how bad the transport services to this Capital City are, the right honorable gentleman treated me to a sermon on car travelling, as though I had wanted to he provided with a car. For fifteen years in this House, I have been trying to improve the communications to Canberra by means of an air service, and I can take some credit for the establishment of the air service that is operating to-day. During the last 30 years I have tried to make many people air-minded, and have achieved some success. I am puzzled to know why, when Ministers can travel by car from one capital to another, a beneficent organization such as the Royal Life Saving Society, of which I have the honour to be the president, cannot obtain permission to transport some of its surf teams to another district by means of producer-gas units, even though it is prepared to pay the cost out of its slender earnings and to do some national good. For the last week I have been passed from one official to another, from a State to a Federal authority and vice versa, and the latest communiqué when I left Melbourne was that permission could not be granted. Yet a Minister can slip into a car at any time of the clay, and Labour friends can be brought to Canberra from Brisbane, Melbourne, or Adelaide.
– That is not correct.
– The honorable member for Griffith is one of the few members of the Labour party who travels by rail. Luxuries such as car travelling can be indulged in when petrol and rubber are available in ample quantities in peacetime. The Minister for Transport might well confer with the Minister for Air and the Prime Minister, with a view to ensuring that this Capital City, in which many foreign legations are now established., shall not be serviced by a railway system that would not do credit to a second-class South American republic. Passengers, after having sat up all night, are obliged to” totter “ from Goulburn on a train which averages about 15 miles an hour, and makes stops at wayside stations which are explicable only by some old custom. Apparently, the civil airlines will be reduced to that standard. That is my answer to those who claim that the Government can run things efficiently. In the United States of America to-day, the railway systems are being improved, in an endeavour to cope with competition by the air services. Honorable members who have travelled on the air services of the United States of America know thai; they are highly efficient. Our air services compare very favorably with them. But the railway services of Australia, except in Victoria, definitely lack efficiency, particularly the service to this Capital City. Let the transport to our Capital City be improved by any method whatever, so that diplomats and others who visit it will not have the idea that they are arriving at a wayside station in a backward country.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) spoke yesterday about the position of Poland. A conference is to be held shortly in San Francisco, and very important international matters will bc discussed at it. I can speak with some knowledge of the feelings of the Poles because, as during the war, I have been associated with them for some time. They are not at all happy at the prospect of their country being encroached upon by Russia. The terms of the recent arrangement in regard to the Curzon Line will cause Poland to lose territory that is definitely Polish. We have the greatest admiration for Russia and the huge successes of the Russian army, but the fact must be remembered that Russia was helped by Great Britain and the United States of America. Further, Russia has had to fight on only one front. The Russian army did not have to fight against Japan as well as Germany. Russia did not have to disperse its fleet and armies and air force all over the world. If we believe in the Atlantic Charter and the rights of all nations to selfdetermination, the weak as well as the strong, then our delegates who attend the conference in San Francisco - the delegation is to represent all parties and I hope it will include the Prime Ministershould voice an emphatic protest against any proposal to surrender to the pressure of power politics. If the Poles have a case it should be heard. Australians need not be backward in voicing their view, even though we can take no measures to adjust the situation. It has been said that the Lublin Government is merely a puppet Government and that the President is not even a Pole. Whether that is true or not should be capable of proof. Poland has fought longer in this war than has any other Allied country. When I was in England, a Polish officer said to me with pride, “ Ours is the only conquered country that has never produced a Quisling or a Petain, or a Darlan”, but it has already lost 10,000,000 people in this war. Poland received the first blast of the Nazi offensive, and at that time it was attacked from behind by Russia, as was France by Italy. We may gloss over that now, but it is true. Now that Poland has been liberated f rom Germany it would not be right that Russia should evacuate large numbers of Poles from certain districts so that when a vote is taken the remaining population may declare in favour of Russia. ‘ Lithuania,, Latvia and Esthonia have gone. We do not hear from_them now, because they have been swallowed up by Russia, but we do hear from the Poles through that often maligned body, the Polish Government in London. The Poles have made great sacrifices in this war and rendered valuable service. They provided a greater number of foreign personnel for the British Air Force than any other nation, and the Polish Air Squadron has a splendid record. A Polish army was equipped in Scotland and is now fighting in Italy, whilst Polish units are fighting as paratroops on the Western front in Europe. The Poles say that they will fight on to the end. As one Pole said to me, “ The devil has never had a complete victory; we believe that our nation will survive “. Our hearts should go out to the Poles at this time, and we should not accept the present proposal in regard to Poland as un fait accompli because a stronger nation has said that the boundary shall be in a certain place. Let us not meekly acquiesce in such a disposition of Poland. I feel strongly on this matter. It is an uncomfortable thought that the country which has been most ravaged by this war against Nazi Germany should be dismembered as is proposed. Let our delegates to the San Francisco conference raise their voices on the side of justice. Some wise decisions wore reached at the Yalta conference, but apparently the conference decided upon a definite line for the partition of Poland, and we should not accept it, because we know that justice is on the side of the Poles, as it would be on our side if we were resisting a proposal to give away a part of Australia to any other country, whether friendly or not. Would any honorable member here acquiesce in a proposal that a part of our territory should be handed over to some other nation?
The present session of the Commonwealth Parliament will be a very important one. I exhort the Government not to be rash or foolish in pushing its socialistic ideas. Yesterday, we listened to a. very thoughtful speech from the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Fraser), who adheres to the socialistic doctrine. We can all be socialists at heart, but it is a different matter when we seek to put socialism into practice. We saw socialism in practice in Germany. I wish that honorable members had been there to see it, as I was in 1938.
– There are monopoly enterprises in Germany.
– That is a minor issue, and such monopolies as were permitted to continue in Germany had to pay tribute to the Government. All profits over a certain percentage were confiscated. When M. Molotov was in England he listened on one occasion to the tubthumping speakers at Marble Arch. He asked what they were saying, and was told tha t they were attacking the Government. He laughed and said, “In Russia we would shoot them “. There is no opposition to the Government in totalitarian countries. What the honorable member for Eden-Monaro advocated was totalitarianism, with a humanitarian bias, but it would be no less totalitarianism than what Hitler introduced in Germany. Under socialism you do not evolve a new breed of men. Consider for a moment the wasteful government enterprises that were conducted in
Queensland, and the misery and war that have been bred of totalitarian socialism, whether of the Nazi or the Communist brand. [Extension of time granted.] The Communist party in Australia is growing in strength. Now we have the spectacle of a Communist representing Australia at the Trade Union Conference in Great Britain. He was a party to requesting that enemy trade unionists should be allowed on the platform with him. The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) said that the Communist organization in Australia was a political party, and should be allowed to function, as is any other political party, but the fact is that the Communist party is a revolutionary organization. Any political dictionary will confirm that statement. Among the Opposition are men who fear the Communists, and who tolerate them only because they are afraid.I appeal to them to quit being afraid, and to purge the unions of Communists. The unions would be better for such a cleansing. The great difference between the Australian Communist and the Russian Communist is this: The Russian Communist is loyal to his country and fights for it; the Australian Communist merely disrupts his country’s war effort. The Communists have ruined many trade unions. The president of the coal miners’ federation is a Communist, as also are the presidents of the building trades and munitions workers unions.
During this session we should get on with war problems. Let us deal with the proper rehabilitation of the men who fight, and shield us. We must ensure proper organization in the services. Let us discard inefficiency, of which evidence is not lacking. We should give first consideration to the fighting man in the services. Honorable members opposite should forget all about a seven-year limitation to preference. The righting man will not thank any Government for that concession, because he wants the full preference which he was previously promised. Perhaps, a man may spend three or four years in hospital, after the cessation of hostilities. Does the Government propose to give to him for only three years thereafter preference of employment over a unionist? Some unions to-day are closed to the fighting man.I urge the Government to purge the unions of Communists, to forget its ideas of socialization, and to apply itself to a policy that will enable Australia to become a better and more democratic country.
– I associate myself with those honorable members who have made complimentary remarks about the Speech delivered by His Royal Highness. I associate myself particularly with the hopes expressed by the Governor-General regarding the termination of hostilities. All of us undoubtedly trust that hostilities will cease long before his term of office as GovernorGeneral expires. Whilst I do not pretend to have done as much flying as the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White), I agree with him that air and other transport services to the National Capital should be improved. However, it amazes me that most of the criticism of the Government on this matter comes from honorable members who occupied ministerial office for a number of years, but failed to do anything to effect this improvement, although many opportunities to do so were presented to them. Such criticism is so much hot air. During the depression years, governments of which honorable members opposite were members had full opportunity to establish firstclass transport services to the National Capital, because at that time the necessary labour and materials were available in abundance. Men were then crying out for work. But past governments did nothing in this matter; and the honorable member for Balaclava was a senior M inister in those governments.
– In 1934, the Government of which I was a member established all the air services that exist at present.
– Our air services succeeded in spite of past governments. What answer has the honorable member to give to the failure of past governments to improve rail services to the National Capital?
– No coal.
– Coal did not enter into the picture. Labour and materials were available in abundance. I recall those days when men marcheden masse to this Parliament House to plead with the government, of the day to give them employment. That Government failed to do so, although here was one important work that could have been undertaken. In view of these facts, all of the criticism voiced by honorable members opposite is so much “taradiddle”. Governments which they supported did nothing in the matter, but to-day, when we are engaged in the greatest struggle in history, they urge the Government to undertake this work. The same inconsistency is apparent in other criticism which they have voiced. They contend that the Government should concentrate all its energy on the prosecution of the war, and should not socialize industry. At the same time, they agree with socialization of rail transport services; because any improvements of those services is the responsibility of the State and Commonwealth Governments who own and control them. This remarkable inconsistency in the arguments of honorable members opposite amuses me. I have been a member of this Parliament long enough to be able to make a comparison of the record of governments supported by honorable members opposite with that of the present. Government. When the honorable member for Balaclava was a Minister in previous governments, I did not hear him advocate the improvement of rail transport services to the National Capital, although, when we were in opposition in those years, we pressed for such work to be undertaken. The railway service to Canberra is the same to-day as it was when I was first elected to this Parliament eleven years ago. I agree with the honorable member that we must improve air services in this country. I believe that that improvement will be effected expeditiously when those services arc nationalized. The Government intends to do that. To some degree I also concur in his remarks concerning the retirement of trained personnel from the services. That practice is not confined to the Air Force. It applies also to some degree to the Army. I do not profess to be a military strategist, but I believe that the present CommanderinChief of our Land Forces should either be retired, or should be in the field where our troops are fighting. No commander can successfully direct fighting troops front a point 2,000 miles from the actual theatre of operations. All sorts of stories are in circulation concerning armchair administration of our armed forces. The Minister for the Army might look into this matter. The honorable member for Balaclava, who was so critical of what has been done, and is being done, by the Government, seems to miss the point with respect to the Air Force. When I was in Canada recently, I learned quite a lot about the Empire Air-training Scheme. I heard many complimentary remarks about its success. I was also informed about its shortcomings. In the main, however, general approbation was expressed regarding the scheme. On one occasion, I visited a camp when 250 men wore marching out upon the completion of their training. At the last moment, the pilots were withdrawn from the batch that was to proceed overseas. The reason given for this action was that there was a surplus of pilots because the loss was not so great as was originally anticipated. If, to-day, we have a surplus of highly trained pilots in the Air Force, it is due in the main to the fact that losshas notbeen so great as was anticipated. That is all to the good. In those circumstances, would the honorable member for Balaclava suggest that it is a matter for regret that these men have not been used. Is it not preferable to greater losses among pilots?
– That was not the point. I complained that highly trained pilots were being badgered about. Two months ago, they were “sacked”, and now, with a change of policy, they are to be taken back. We should hold all of them and keep them busy.
– They have not been kept busy because the losses have not been so great as was anticipated. This fact involves a re-orientation of the whole of the Air Force.
Sitting suspended from12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– The honorable member for Balaclava was very verbose in his criticism of the Government, particularly in relation to the Air Force and its administration. One of the difficulties associated with the organization of the Air Force has been that the losses have not been so great as was anticipated. That is all to the good, because it means that younglives have been saved. If because of that many young men in this country are disappointed that they have not had a “ crack “ at the enemy and havehad to transfer voluntarily to a lower position than flying, it is unfortunate for them ; but, from the nation’s point of view, it is good. Nevertheless, it has created difficulties in the control of the Air Force. I do not suggest for a moment that the control of any branch of the fighting forces may not be justifiably criticized; but, as this is a global war, we have had to anticipate problems some of which have not arisen. The fact that those anticipations were astray has made it much better for this country, because it has meant that far fewer bombs have been dropped on Australia than might otherwise have been the case arid our cities have escaped destruction. That means that after the war our task of rehabilitation will be much less than it could have been. Our escape has been largely due to the assistance that came to us from the American Forces under the command of General Douglas MacArthur.
Criticism was levelled against the Government last night by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). I know that both of those honorable gentlemen are great strategists. The honorable member for Warringah is a colonel in the Army and the Leader of the Opposition made history years ago when he made his first “ run out “.
Mr.Spender. - That is a contemptible allusion.
– And the honorable gentleman himself was of military age in the last war.
– That is true. I was the first man to offer his services in the railway unit that was then formed. UnfortunatelyI was physically unfit.
– What about the honorable gentlemen’s mental condition?
– My constituents have regarded my mental condition as warranting their returning rne to this Parliament four times in the last ten years. In order to answer the criticism of the Government by this self-appointed colonel, the honorable member for
Warringah, it is sufficient to say that the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) recently visited Great Britain where he discussed the disposition of our forces in the SouthWest Pacific Area with the political and military leaders of Great Britain and its allies who exercise the final control over the employment of the forces of the United Nations. During those discussions certain jobs were allocated to the Australian forces. For my part, I am prepared to accept the recommendations of our military advisers. It ill behoves the occupants of the Opposition benches to indulge in destructive criticism of those military advisers. The Government’s policy has been based entirely on the decisions of those in the best position to offer advice as to the employment in global strategy of all the forces, including Australians, that the United- Nations have at their disposal.
We had from both honorable gentlemen some criticism of the External Affairs Department. I was rather amazed ito listen to them, because, when 1 entered this Parliament and honorable gentlemen opposite were in power, the External Affairs Department had few employees and the Government had no foreign policy at all.
– Nonsense !
– It is not nonsense, but fact. The policy of the Government with which the honorable member for Warringah was associated was “ follow Britain “.
– Does the honorable member not want to follow Britain?
– Do not try to twist what I am saying before I have said it. What I am saying is that the policy of the Government with which the honorable gentlemen were associated was, when Mr. Chamberlain was Prime Minister of Great Britain, “ follow Chamberlain ! “ - the pacifist policy. When that policy was changed in Great Britain the policy of the then Australian Government was again “follow Britain!” It did not have the courage to decide on any external policy for this nation.
– Does the honorable member remember what the Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings) said about Mr. Churchill?
– I do not care what, any one else said about Mr. Churchill. I have the greatest admiration for him. Neither 1 nor the Government is responsible for what may bc said by other individuals. I am stating facts. When the honorable member for Warringah was a Minister in the Menzies Government the policy of that Government was “ follow Britain !” regardless of what was the policy of that country. The Labour party, when it took office, had the courage to formulate a policy for itself. It had sufficient courage to ask for assistance in the only place from which it could have been obtained in the early clays of the war against Japan. That action was twisted by members of the Opposition, particularly the Leader, into disloyalty to Great Britain. It was not. To seek assistance from the United States of America was courageous, but it was the only thing to do. It prevented this country from having the enemy land on its shores. The present Minister for External Affairs has surpassed his predecessors in this respect. He is the only person who has held that portfolio to succeed in inducing the Government to accept a progressive policy on external affairs. Although the honorable member for Warringah has criticized that: policy, he cannot deny that we have reached out in this realm, and shall reach out even further.
– The Government’s lack of policy on external affairs!
– The policy of the Government is progressive. Whatever may be said about appointing a Minister with a roving commission in South America, the decision is at least a forward step. As the result of action by the present Government, Austraia now has representatives in many parts of the world. I agree with the contention of the honorable member for Warringah that the department must develop. I agree also with some of his criticism of the lack of publicity from which Australia has been suffering in other countries. I saw instances of it when I was in the United States of America last year. But I remind the honorable member for Warringah that the Department of Information did not. exist in any strength before the advent of theCurtin Government, but it now has branches in the United States of America and in other places.
– That is how the honorable member may describe it.
– Weak though it may be, it is a department, and its officers are trying to handle the expanding interests of this country in New York, the population of which exceeds the entire population of Australia. Other representatives are stationed in various parts of America. I agree with the criticism that the number of personnel is insufficient, and should be strengthened. However, we must crawl before we walk. The extension of Australia’s representation abroad can be carried out only by a government which is courageous enough to undertake the necessary expenditure. The previous Government never attempted to do so. Now, honorable members opposite have the temerity to criticize this Government for having increased Australia’s representation abroad.
– Courageous! Good heavens !
– I am aware that my criticism gets under the right honorable gentleman’s skin. He knows very well that, when he was aMinister, he was the greatest procrastinator. The Bulletin described him as the “ Tragic Treasurer “ and he helped to give away the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers. The present Minister for External Affairs has displayed more courage and vision than any of his predecessors did. He has developed the department in such a way as to bring Australia to the notice of people abroad. At the recent Unrra conference at Lapstone, New South Wales, he gave a lead that has been recognized by every member of the Allied Nations.
– The Minister was trying to prevail upon the conference to provide Australia with additional food.
– The point which the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) should bear in mind is that the Minister gave a lead to the other delegates, and his recommendations have received favorable comment in other parts of the world. The external affairs policy of this Government is beyond reproach. To date, the Government has not made a mistake. Although the honorable member for Warringah may smile, he must recognize the truth of that positive statement.
The Leader of the Opposition commended adversely upon the lack of opportunity afforded to honorable members to debate important statements that have been submitted to the House by the Minister for External Affairs. Responsibility for that lack of opportunity must rest with the Opposition. If honorable members opposite choose to take up the time of the House in moving frivolous formal adjournment motions, they have only themselves to blame for the lack of opportunity to debate important statements on international affairs. They cannot have it both ways. During the last parliamentary period, honorable members opposite moved seven formal adjournment motions.
– Not enough!
– Perhaps it was not enough. I recognize that the Opposition is perfectly justified in using the forms of the House to raise subjects which they consider should be debated. But if they occupy the time of the House in discussing matters near and dear to their hearts, they must forgo debates on important ministerial statements.
– The House sat only 42 days last year.
– I welcome that interjection, because I have compiled some most illuminating figures dealing with that subject. The Menzies Government, which took office in April, 1939, sat on 27 days from January to August, and on 24 days between September and December. In 1940 the House sat on 43 days. In the following year, the Menzies Government met the House on 27 days from January to August. From September to October, the Fadden Government sat on seven days - a great record - and the Curtin Government sat on sixteen days until the end of the year. The total number of sitting days in 1941 was 50. In 1942 the Curtin Government sat on 45 days, in 1943 on 48 days, and in 1944, from January to October, on 50 days. Thus, last year, the Curtin Government sat as often as did the Menzies, Fadden and Curtin régimes in 1941. Those are the facts. Yet the Leader of the Opposition had the effrontery to refer to “Legislation in a hurry “, and to criticize this Government for its record of sitting days last year. The Leader of the Opposition must have known that he was not telling the truth. Obviously, such statements are made for the purpose of discrediting the Government. Fair criticism is always justified, and I believe that the Opposition ought to have full opportunity to criticize the actions of the Government, but the Opposition should not make statements in this House which they know to be untrue.
Formal motions for the adjournment ofthe House have been submitted by the Opposition for the purpose of discussing the control of interstate airlines, the sale of broadcasting stations, Commonwealth grants, the Jensen report and the Portland butcher. The last-mentioned item could hardly be said to have raised a great national issue. The House could have been discussing external affairs, but its time was taken up for two hours in considering whether the Portland butcher should have a licence to sell meat! Other subjects debated as the result of formal adjournment motions tabled by the Opposition were the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the wheat industry. [Extension of time granted.]
At the present stage of the war, the subject of the rehabilitation of ex-service personnel has become of the utmost importance. Australia must produce food for people who need it, both in this country and overseas, and that work must proceed side by side with the prosecution of the war and the provision of the supplies required by the fighting services. Consideration must therefore be given to the best means of rehabilitating exservice men and women at the close of the war. I am glad to know that a substantial portion of the GovernorGeneral’s Speech consisted of constructive proposals regarding the matter.
The need for improved social services was also mentioned in the Speech delivered by His Royal Highness. I am particularly interested in this matter because of my association with the Social Security Committee. Having had experience as a representative of Australia atthe International Labour Conference, and, having studied the subject closely in. recent years, I am pleased to note the increasing interest shown in the provision of adequate social services for the people. Most eminent people agree that social service plans must be so arranged that everybody in the community, irrespective of his or her financial position, will be assured of some of the good things of life. Even during the trials and tribulations of war, Great Britain has not hesitated to adopt measures for improving the living standards of the people. Australia, too, has given serious thought to this problem, but, I’ am not satisfied that it has gone as far as it should in the matter.
The attention of the Government should be directed to the present scale of child endowment payments. The Labour party cannot claim credit for the introduction of the child endowment, scheme, because it was sponsored by an anti-Labour government. I notice that the plans being prepared in Great Britain for child endowment provide for a weekly payment of 5s. for each child after the first. A proposal for a cash allowance of 5s. a week, derived from taxation, will be submitted to the British Parliament, and this payment is proposed to be supplemented by services in kind, including meals and milk at, school. That is a progressive step. It is most important that the children of parents in less fortunate financial circumstances than those of many others should be catered for in this way. In Australia the child endowment payments should be increased. The present scheme has had a sufficiently lengthy trial to enable us to judge of its merits, and I am satisfied that the money which it. has cost has been wisely expended.
Some people say that the money paid as child endowment, is wasted by the mothers in having their hair waved or in going to race meetings, but I do not believe that the money is misused to a serious degree. I hope that the Government will increase thebenefits provided under the child endowment scheme. I agree to the proposals announced in the
Governor-General’s Speech with regard to social services generally, and I do not pay serious attention to the allegation that the Government is running amok and intends to do things that will prove of disservice to the community. I believe that the plans now announced will ultimately confer benefits upon the people. I feel sure that effect will be given to the proposals of the Government with regard to the control of banking and of interstate air services, and that the people will have cause to bless the Labour Government, thus disposing of the canard about the socialistic tiger as effectively as that bogy was laid low some years ago.
.- The honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard), who has just resumedhis seat, appears to be completely content with the administration of the Government, and with its policy so far as that has been revealed in the Governor-General’s Speech. Listening closely to him, it appeared to me that he treated the House to an exposition of his own policy, which is not identifiable with that of the Government. He then proceeded to credit the Government with it, and to endorse itfrom A to Z.
Coming to the opening of a new Parliament, we expected that the Speech of HisRoyal Highness the GovernorGeneral would have given a comprehensive and lucid outline of the intentions of the Government in respect of the immediate future, and. of the more distant planning for the post-war period. One found, however, that the Speech was designed largely as a review of world events, and of many matters which have been within our knowledge for some considerable time, with a rather hasty passing over of certain items of policy in very general terms, and the expression of hopes. A perusal of it will show that by no means is it confined to pronouncements of policy, as is traditional in documents of the kind, but actually refers to the fact that the Government is contemplating the doing of this and that. Surely the Parliament, is entitled to something more definite!
The Speech points out - as we well know - that the war is still at its height, and from this fact draws the conclusion that Australia has overwhelming war commitments which occupy the time and attention of Ministers and administrators, call upon our financial and material resources to the utmost degree, and impose the greatest demands upon our man-power resources. We could have accepted most of that had the Speech proceeded to say that, such being the actual state of affairs, the Government intended to devote itself, and the organization and resources of the country, to the conduct of war. But it contains an extraordinary paradox in that, having established the hypothesis that all the resources of this country are required for the conduct of the war. in which our safety still is at stake, it proceeded to outline the intended actions of the Government, many of which have no relation whatever to the conduct of the war, but on the contrary are calculated to disperse our material and national resources, preoccupy the time of Ministers and administrators, and certainly divide the Australian people. Wars are fought not only with men in uniform, and material. At the back of those must be a united nation. All governments charged with the responsibility of managing the affairs of a nation at war have accepted the view that during the war matters of domestic controversy ought to be pushed into the background to the greatest degree possible, so that there might be established the first foundation requisite for war, namely, internal national unity. Yet in what we believe to be still an important stage in the war, we are informed that there is to bo introduced during this session legislation that is calculated to divide the Australian people. I can conceive of nothing that would be better calculated to divide them. The controversial banking legislation, and the proposed nationalization of interstate airlines, are quite legitimate matters for political discussion and decision, and the will of the people, as interpreted by the Government in office, should prevail. But these are matters of a kind which cannot be introduced and put into operation without dividing the people; and the most important thing to avoid at this time is the division of the people. So I feel obliged to criticize the Government, as my colleagues have done, on that account.
I have noted with interest the cautious choice of words in the announcement in respect of civil aviation. His Royal Highness has informed us that the Government proposes the establishment of a statutory authority to control, not to conduct, interstate airlines. I do not know whether or not there is any significance in that; whether the choice of words was accidental, or whether events will reveal later consideration of the quite forthright pronouncement of the the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) when Acting Prime Minister that the intention was to nationalize all interstate airlines. The matter of internal policy raises points of law which cannot be laughed off. It. would have been well had the matter of internal and external aviation policy been brought before the House for discussion. Certainly, either this or any other government could not fail to be aided by the expression of views from all quarters. Some members of the Opposition are most competent to express a legal view in respect of whatever legal obstacles may exist. Had the statement read to the Parliament by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr. Drakeford) shortly before his departure to participate in the Chicago conference been made the subject of debate in this House, I do not think he would have found himself at that conference as one propounding in respect of international aviation a doctrine which did not receive the acquiescence of any other British community except New Zealand.
– But it is tobe studied and considered, first by the interim council, and later by the permanent council.
– Summed up, they have called for a report. We have had previous experience of that course of action; it does not get us anywhere. The truth of the matter is, that the doctrine was not. acceptable to other than the provisional Government of France and the actual Government of Afghanistan. It is hardly good enough for the Commonwealth Government to send its representatives to an international conference, and then find that it is not able to attract to its proposal any wider support than that. I believe that if this matter had been the subject of a discussion in Parliament the Government would have had the benefit of views which would, perhaps, have so modified its intentions that it would have been able to command a wider respect for its proposals at an international conference.
It would appear that the trend of this debate has been largely determined by the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). He chose to refer to several matters which made a considerable impression on my mind, but with some of the things he said I do not find myself in agreement. For instance, he referred to the dispositionof the Australian forces, and to the employment, or non-employment, of those forces. He used a term which I hope will not be accepted as a standard description of the work upon which a considerable part of our forces is engaged; he referred to the “ mopping-up “ operations being conducted by the Australian forces in our own territories, and in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. Well, it is true that our forces are engaged in those areas; they are engaged in fighting the enemy. It is true that the power of the enemy in those areas has been blunted, but he is still there, and our Commander-in-Chief has stated publicly that he estimates the Japanese left behind in the territories under discussion to number not less than 100,000. That formidable force still occupies Australian territory, the recapture of which must be a matter of great importance to us. Those territories are inhabited by millions of natives who are either citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia, or have been placed under the authority of the Commonwealth in the terms of the mandate from the League of Nations. I am not prepared to accept the proposition that so long as the Japanese enemy is not an actual and immediate menace to you and to me, we have, therefore, no need to concern ourselves over the matter; that we ought, on the contrary, to allow our minds to bolt some thousands of miles across the ocean to examine the possible places where Australian forces could be used in areas remote from Australia.
The Leader of the Opposition suggested that our forces might be used in the Philippines, or in Malaya or in Burma. We should remember that the campaign in the Philippines has been decided insofar as it affects the capacity of the Japanese in those islands to be aggressive anywhere outside them. The remainder of the campaign will, in fact, be a mopping-up operation different only in degree from that in our own territories. If Australians are to be used in mopping up, I should prefer to see them used in mopping up the Japanese in Australian territories rather than in mopping up the Japanese in some one else’s territories. I .respect the enthusiastic desire of the Leader of the Opposition to see Australian forces, including our first-class divisions, employed in recapturing Malaya - -that country which will live for ever in our memory as the scene of one of the most disastrous incidents in the history of Australia at arms; but the Leader of the Opposition must surely’ know that governments cannot make decisions of this kind over the heads of the military commanders. The commanders know the war potential of all the Allied Nations. They know the forces which are available, and the Prime Minister has said that it was agreed by the highest authorities that the Australian Army should be reserved for employment in the South-West Pacific Area. I hope that we shall not accept what is really a derogatory description of the function of our forces, coined by some American newspaper, and that we will not fall into the habit of looking upon the work of our troops as nothing more than mopping-up operations or garrison duty. I hope that we shall not extend the circulation of such a term by repeating it. Our men are fighting day by day. They are doing a gallant job for Australia, and I will not lend myself to the writing down of the importance of the work which they are doing.
– The honorable member does not seem to be supporting the Leader of the Opposition.
– I am here to express my opinion, and I am doing so. I am not one who customarily seeks the cheers of honorable members opposite. The Leader of the Opposition expressed the opinion that Australia is destined to play an increasingly important part in the international arena.
– Will the honorable member say whether he was a party to a decision of the Advisory War Council regarding the disposition of Australian troops ?
– As a matter of fact, the decision to assign Australian combat forces to General MacArthur’s command was made during the time when the Advisory War Council included members other than those who are now on the Council.
– Does the Prime Minister suggest that there was no debate in the Council as to the role which the Australian forces were to fill?
– The Leader of the Opposition, having walked out of the Council, cannot now expect to receive information through the back door.
– My experience leads me to believe that the allocation of Australian forces to theatres of war is the responsibility of the Government - not that of any composite body.
– Hear, hear!
– That, I understand, was the procedure during the last war. It was certainly the. procedure while I was a member of the War Cabinet, both before there was an Advisory War Council and afterwards. I understand that the present Government also regards the making of such decisions as its prerogative. However, I have been a party to discussions on this subject, and my present speech will convey some impression of the views which I hold regarding the present allocation of the Australian forces, and by those views I stand. I agree with the Leader of the Opposition as to the importance of international affairs in the future of Australia. In the very nature of things, international affairs are not matters which can be decided in isolation by one government, because, of course, they affect the relationships of governments; and the actions of other governments must have their impact upon the particular government we are considering to-day, namely, the Government of this country. I am prepared to agree that both for continuity of policy and for the purpose of having available the widest experience and judgment on matters of international affairs, there is scope for co-operation between the Government and other parties. There is scope for the employment of the experience of members of both Houses of the Parliament, as was suggested by the Leader of the Opposition. The right honorable gentleman, however, was not explicit in outlining exactly what he had in mind in the nature of a committee on international or foreign affairs. He said that there might be a joint House committee; that there might be a committee of each House. Certainly, I should not approve the suggestion of a committee of each House, because in such circumstances the Government, possibly, would be confronted with conflicting advice from each chamber, and so bo placed in a difficult, if not impossible, position.
– The Leader of the Opposition said that he preferred a joint committee of both Houses.
– Yes; and I think that that is the most practical suggestion. It would be futile to have a foreign affairs committee, or a committee of this kind under whatever name it may be known, which was isolated from the Government of the country; because, obviously, in such a set-up would be the germ of a situation such as that which developed in the United Statts of America at the conclusion of the Peace Treaty after the last war, when the government of that country was pledging itself to a certain course of action, whilst, at the same time, a foreign affairs committee, clothed with full authority, but not being a part of, or linked with, the Government, eventually vetoing that policy. Consequently, I sec little use in a foreign affairs committee isolated from the Government.
– It would not be of much use if it were just a rubber stamp for the Government.
– That is not a very original contribution. We can agree, I think, that rubber stamps have their purposes.
– Like the Advisory War Council.
– Unless we are to commit ourselves to the idea of a foreign affairs committee completely isolated from the Government, we are called upon to contemplate a committee working in co-operation with the Government.
– Hear, hear!
– So many “Hear, hears ! “ from the Minister for External Affairs somewhat embarrass me. We are asked to contemplate a committee which includes members of both chambers, representatives of all parties, and members of the Government; and, as foreign affairs cannot be regarded as an abstract or static matter, but is essentially a matter developing from day to day, and by reason of events over which the Government concerned has no control, namely, the decisions of other governments, such a committee, consequently, can be of use only if it maintains a day-to-day acquaintance with developments in the realm of foreign affairs. Necessarily, that calls for a confidential knowledge of events in the realm of foreign affairs. I presume that in a matter on so high a plane as foreign affairs, if such a committee is to be advocated - and I agree with the Leader of the Opposition on this point -we should wish to have in its personnel senior members, including the Minister for External Affairs, as well, no doubt, as members of the rank and file of the Government party, and senior representatives of the Opposition, including former Prime Ministers and honorable members who have held high ministerial rank. That seems to me to be unarguably the most useful, and, in fact, the only useful foreign affairs committee that could be established. I am sorry that the Leader of the Opposition is not present in the chamber at the moment in order that I might have the opportunity to point out to him that he established such a committee. He gave it a different name. He named it the Australian Advisory War Council. That committee is now functioning; and it is discharging very largely the functions which the Leader of the Opposition propounded, and which such a committee ought to discharge. Those functions are being discharged now, and the machinery therefor exists in the Advisory War Council.
– That is a secret body.
– Does the honorable member believe that a foreign affairs committee worthy of its salt would sit in public? I have no reluctance in pointing out to the Leader of the Opposition the actual state of affairs existing to-day; and if it would help him to change the name of that committee so that with his wealth of experience and the prestige of his office in this Parliament he would return to that committee, I should be willing to see its name changed, because I cannot see anything in his argument except the argument for the maintenance of this body, or its exact replica under a different name. It is no pleasure to me to find myself on such an occasion expressing views which are not identical with those of the Leader of the Opposition, but he caused me and the members of my party some embarrassment on this particular issue some time ago; and I am sure that he would not deny to me the right to express my views here on the issue publicly. The foreign affairs which have been introduced largely as the subject-matter of this debate have turned in the speech of the Leader of the Opposition substantially around the activities of Unrra. The relationships of the nations in respect of the conduct of the war being firmly fixed, and the authority of the various parties being clearly established, I have no doubt that future discussions will very largely be devoted to the relief and rehabilitation of the United Nations and, eventually, to a lesser degree, enemy countries. Australia can provide food and clothing, but in that respect we labour under two great disadvantages: the complete diversion of our resources to the actual conduct of hostilities and a devastating drought. If Australia desires to make a contribution of food and clothing and materials for clothing, it can do so only by some re-allocation of its man-power. I see no great opportunity for a re-allocation of man-power as between those who are in uniform and those who are in civilian clothes until at least some of the war jobs in our own territory havebeen done. How many uniformed men are required to do a certain job is something on which no man in civilian clothes can give a reliable opinion. We are bound to accept the advice of our military advisors. Nevertheless, members of this chamber have met many men and women in uniform in the back areas who complain that they are not fully occupied. I meet such people almost daily. We speak very glibly of the hundreds of thousands of our people in the armed forces, but the truth is of course that a substantial part of our armed forces consists of people who are really workers in uniform and are not combatants at all. One finds as one travels around army or air force establishments great numbers of men , and women in uniform doing ordinary workmen’s tasks, such as repairing engines, driving trucks, maintaining stations, or handling supplies, who complain day after day that they are idle for a substantial part of their time. I do put it to the Ministry that there we have a pool from which men and women could be withdrawn and replaced in civilian clothes to perform some of the essential tasks of the country. I have had enough experience with military authorities to know that they are human and that it is extremely difficult to get senior military officers to agree that they have more people than they need. I submit to the Government that there is scope for the personal intervention of Ministers, not in respect of actual war operations - I emphasize that -but in respect of military establishments on the Australian mainland to ensure a real combing out of man-power and the conservation of some of the materials and equipment that they are using. I instance motor vehicles, petrol and tyres among the thousand and one items of which the civilian population is desperately short, but which are being used on a prodigal scale in some mainland military establishments. I reiterate that it is my firm belief that it is only to Ministers that we can look to ensure a raking over of our man-power resources and steps to conserve materials. It is all the more necessary that we should have this stocktaking if we are to meet our responsibility to provide food and clothing and other assistance through Unrra when we realize that superimposed upon the unavoidable shortages of superphosphates, machinery and labour are the devastating effects of a severe drought. [Extension of time granted.] If the Government is to avoid not only being unable to make any really useful contribution to Unrra, but also an acute shortage of foodstuffs in this country, there will have to be an intensive examination of the possibilities of getting from some of the military establishments in back areas additional man-power as well as a more discriminating allocation of available materials.
The Minister for External Affairs recounting, I think, a motion carried at the International Labour Organization conference, said that peace was not merely a negative factor, that peace was not merely the absence of hostilities, but that peace was something real. He then developed the idea that, having defeated our enemies, we must, in order to have an effective peace, have a growing standard of comfort and social security amongst our people. That was essential if we we’re to have a genuine peace worthy of the name.With all that I agree; but I desire to say to the Government that peace consists in not merely the cessation of hostilities and the provision of additional comforts and social security for the people, but also a peaceful state of mind. The people must believe that they are enjoying a fair deal. We shall always have some scope for a variety of opinions as to exactly what a fair deal is, but I would say that as long as there are people preaching the creed of class consciousness amongst their fellow citizens, no matter what the allocation of resources may be, we shall never have the peace of mind without which we can never have true peace. I particularly address those remarks to some members of the
Ministry. I hope that as a part of the Ministry’s plans for the post-war world and the new order there will be an abandonment of the preaching of the creed of class consciousness. Unless we have that we shall not have a real and satisfying peace.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Haylen) adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Repatriation Commission - Report for year 1943-44.
War Service Homes Act - Report of War Service Homes Commission for year 1943-44, together with statementsand balance-sheet.
House adjourned at 3.26 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
n asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -
In connexion with the inquiry into the Dean case -
Does the Attorney-General associate himself with the views expressed by the SolicitorGeneral in his letter of the 18th February, 1944, to the honorable member for Fawkner? If not,is the Attorney-General aware of the evidence on which these views were based?
Was the board of inquiry established by the Attorney-General or by decision of the Government?
Who drew up the terms of reference of the inquiry?
Who appointed Mr. Alderman, K.C.; what instructions was he given and by whom was he instructed?
How were the witnesses selected, and did the board of inquiry nominate any of the witnesses?
Has the Attorney-General received any evidence from the Security Branch or other official source that Mr. Eric Butler was ever engaged in activities which might endanger the security of Australia or in any activities that could be termed disloyal?
t. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows:- 1 to 4. The Atlantic Charter is both a charter and a statement of aims. The Atlantic Charter was the first major declaration of general post-war proposals. It was issued originally in the names of Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt, and was later subscribed to by all the United Nations including Australia in the Washington Declaration of 1st January, 1942. It therefore carries the force of an agreed inter-governmental declaration of policy. Further, at the recent conference between Mr. Churchill. President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin, these leaders declared, “We reaffirm our faith in the Atlantic Charter “.
The general application of the principles of the Atlantic Charter to Poland is indisputable. It is also indisputable that the charter, while disclaiming any intention of territorial aggrandizement on the part of any of the Governments subscribing to it, does not exclude the possibility of territorial changes. On the contrary, it expressly lays down the conditions on which such changes should come about, namely, in accord with the “ desire and freely expressed wishes” of the peoples concerned.
It was precisely to create better machinery for the unfettered expression of the will both of the Polish and of the Ukrainian peoples that the decisions reached at the Crimea conference covered the establishment of a Polish Government more broadly based than was possible before the liberation of Poland by the Soviet armies, and inclusive of democratic leaders from Poland itself and from Poles abroad. The provisional government thus formed will be pledged to the holding of free and unfettered elections as soon as possible.
Closely connected with the aspect of the Polish question referred to by Mr. Francis is the proposed accession to Poland of territories to the north and west which will be essential for proper Polish development in the future. The Australian Government will do its utmost to ensure that all the proposed arrangements affecting Polish territories will be finally dealt with as a whole and not piecemeal.
The Australian Governmenthas been active in seeking the welfare of the people of Poland. At the request of Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt it undertook and carried out the extensive task of representing Polish interests in the Soviet Union after diplomatic relations between the Soviet Government and the Polish Government in London had been severed. The Polish Government in London expressed its warm appreciation of our efforts in watching the interests of the Polish people during one of the most critical periods of Poland’s history. In addition we have made our view clear all along that any final Polish settlement must be based on free expression of the will of the Polish people leading to the establishment not only of a strong, free and independent Poland, but also of a democratic Poland.
Very recently Polish representatives in London, in a memorandum presented to the United Kingdom, and the United States, have expressed their readiness to co-operate in the creation of a Government for Poland, “ truly representative of the will of the Polish nation “. This general attitude is a welcome one to the
Australian Government, which, over a considerable period while it had charge of Polish interests in the U.S.S.B., worked so cordially with tha Polish Government ill London.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
Are the officials at Australia House, London, yet in u position to reply to questions asked them by prospective migrants, or are they still acting under the instructions o[ the Minister to reply “that government policy with regard to immigration ]>-is not yet been decided “ ?
– The following answer has been supplied by tho Minister for the Interior : -
Tha Commonwealth Government is still conferring with the United Kingdom Government in regard to the scheme tor migration from Great Britain. The Australian High Commissioner and his officers are representing the Commonwealth at this conference, and are fully aware of all details of the scheme. Until tha scheme is approved by both governments, no details of it can be made public. The whole question of publicity in regard to migration is at present receiving the careful consideration of the Government.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 February 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1945/19450223_reps_17_181/>.