17th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. J. S. Rosevear.) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Re-allocationof Ministerial Duties.
– I inform the House that, owing to the illness of the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin), I shall act as Prime Minister during the absence from Australia of the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Forde). For the time being, I shall represent also the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt).
During the period of Mr. Curtin’s absence from duty the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Beasley) will act as Minister for Defence, in addition to anting as Attorney-General in the absence from Australia of Dr. Evatt.
– by leave - All honorable members regret very much the news of the further indisposition of the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin). I express the warm hope that he will take a holiday sufficient in extent and character to repair his health, which he will need, because important affairs will confront the leader of this country in the months that are ahead. I congratulate my friend the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) upon having become Acting Prime Minister. He knows that he can rely upon mo to give to him the closest personal co-operation in the discharge of his duties.
– by leave - I endorse the sentiments that have been expressed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). I hope that the Prime Minister . (Mr. Curtin) will have g well-earned rest from his onerous and arduous duties, and that his recovery will be speedy and- complete, I assure the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) of my whole-hearted personal’ co-operation, and congratulate him upon his appointment.
– The business to be transacted by the House this week will follow the order in which it appears on the notice-paper to-day. In view of the lengthy session that confronts us, I request honorable members to refrain from asking for extensions of time. From this I except the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) and the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden), or their deputies on any occasion. The Government will be grateful if honorable members will endeavour to expedite the . business of the House.
– Will the Acting Prime Minister say whether the refusal to grant extensions of time will apply to the banking legislation before the House and the measure for the rehabilitation of service men and women? The honorable gentleman will realize-
– Order ! The honorable member may not debate the question.
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is “ Yes “. I request honorable members to confine their remarks to the time allowed under the Standing Orders and not to ask for extensions of time, and I hope that that request will be acceded to, except in the case of speeches . by leaders of parties, or others acting for them. I was able to confine my second-reading speeches on the banking bills to 50 or 55 minutes.
– In view of the fact that the two measures relating to banking are being taken together, and cover a wide range of subjects, would it not be possible to allow some elasticity in regard to the length of speeches on them?
– I did suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that, in order to avoid the necessity for honorable members to prepare two speeches on related bills, particularly as the cold winds are starting to blow in Canberra, honorable members might be permitted to make reference to both bills in the one speech. With that suggestion Mr. Speaker agreed.
– But that does not mean that both bills are being debated together.
– No. What I understood was that both bills would be discussed separately, but that an honorable member could refer to something in the other bill not then being debated and would not be called to order.
– Will the Acting
Prime Minister state whether or not the Government has made a decision in regard to arrangements for marking the conclusion of the war in Europe?
– The Government is considering the matter in the light of information which it received to-day from the British Government in reference to the form of observance which that Government considers should mark V-E Day in Britain. An announcement will be made shortly.
– For some time past, the Commonwealth Government has made references to a policy of post-war works by local authorities. The Co-ordinator of Public Works in Queensland has requested all local governing bodies in that State to supply to him a list of post-war works which they propose to undertake. As the Queensland Treasury has adopted a scheme for the payment of a subsidy on approved works by local authorities, up to a maximum of 17½ per cent, on the amount of the loan raised for the purpose, will the Acting Prime Minister state what additional amount of subsidy, if any, the Commonwealth proposes to advance?
– As the House knows, the National Works Council adopted recommendations by the Commonwealth Co-ordinator-General of Works in relation to the works that might be undertaken in the immediate post-war period. Generally speaking, all such works were to be financed from -their own resources by either the State Government or semigovernmental bodies. The matter of Commonwealth assistance doubtless will arise for consideration when the second and third stages of post-war planning in connexion with public works have been reached. 1 shall arrange to have prepared a statement of. the exact position.
– It is understood that a film with the title The Bells of Remembrance is to foe issued to all city picture theatres :by the Department of Information, for exhibition immediately an official announcement has been made of the .cessation of hostilities in Europe. As large numbers of people patronize suburban picture theatres, the proprietors of which have responded generously to requests by the department for screen space during the war, will the Minister for Information make the necessary arrangements to have this film exhibited in suburban theatres simultaneously with its exhibition in city theatres?
– Following recent representations on the subject by honorable members, I have given further consideration to the possibility of suburban and country theatres being supplied with copies of this film. Unfortunately, the additional expense that would have to be incurred is not the only obstacle. A greater difficulty is presented by the existing short supply of film in Australia. The department would need to make 1,486 additional prints, and the length of film used would be approximately 400,000 feet. We have on hand only about 240,000 feet for the use of the services and for other important governmental purposes. I regret, therefore, that it will not be possible to make prints available to .suburban and country theatres.
– Does the length of film mentioned by the Minister contemplate a showing on the one day or for a period of a week?
– It contemplates the exhibition of the film simultaneously for two or three days in every theatre. Of course, it would be possible to exhibit the film in city theatres for two or three days, and then transfer it to suburban theatres. The suburban theatre proprietors desire a simultaneous exhibition.
For the two reasons that I have given, it is not practicable to accede to their request.
– The Sydney Baily Telegraph published to-day the statement, “ Calwell is new Film Board Chief”. Will the Minister for Information say whether or not that is correct? ‘Can he announce the names of the persons who are to be appointed to the Australian National Films Board? Will any person possessing a practical knowledge of film production be appointed to the board? What expert advice, apart from his own and that of Commonwealth and State Government officials, has been, sought? Have certain Communists shown a lively interest in the constitution of the board, as an instrument for the dissemination of party political propaganda? Is it intended that there shall be Communist representation on the board?
– I read the May Day message from the Sydney Daily Telegraph to which the honorable member has referred, and. which announced - to use its own verbiage - that I was to be the “ Film Board Chief “. A ministerial announcement was made yesterday with regard to the decision of the Full Cabinet to set up a National Films Board, and a little later I shall make a full statement regarding the personnel of the board, the interests to be represented and other relevant facts. As to the possible use of this instrumentality for the dissemination of Communist views, all I have to say is that that particular fear is but a figment of the honorable gentleman’s very disordered imagination.
– Will the Minister for Labour and National Service inform the House whether any action has been taken to increase the number of nurses available to hospitals in South Australia?
– Since the matter was raised last week, steps have been taken in that direction, and I regret to say that I have had to resort to direction orders. Since Thursday last, 52 such orders have been issued, with safeguards, of course, as -to the ages of the nurses and the distances they may be asked to travel from their homes. The greatest difficulty is experienced in inducing women of any age to go into hospitals or kindred institutions, because of the low rates of pay offered and the poor living conditions. My department, however, can do nothing about it, for it is purely a State matter.
– Will the Acting Prime Minister inform the House whether the Government has failed in its attempts to induce B class wireless stations to bind themselves to continue relaying the Australian Broadcasting Commission news service for a fixed longterm period, including the election year of 1946 and. later years? Have those stations now made arrangements with the newspapers of Australia for the provision of independent news services, which will provide the listening public of Australia with radio news that will be free from government inspiration and control? Were those services inaugurated in New South Wales on the 1st May? Did the Government, through the PostmasterGeneral’s department, inform broadcasting stations on the 30th April, that land lines would not be available for the transmission of those news services to B class stations in country areas? Will the Government direct the PostmasterGeneral and his officers that such land line facilities are to be provided without delay, so that all country listeners may have the privilege which will now be enjoyed by residents of metropolitan areas, namely, that of hearing news services which will be objective and free from party political taint?
– As the question is a fairly long one, I had better arrange for a reply in detail to be furnished to the right honorable gentleman. .The provision of the facilities referred t’o, would depend largely, I should think, on whether it would be physically possible to make them available. If a demand has been made on the Postmaster-General’s department for some additional service, the facilities for which are not available,
I should say that it would -be physically impossible to provide it. As to the other matter, an agreement which I think, speaking from, memory, was made in 1942, terminated yesterday. I am not sure that it was not a gentleman’s agreement. As far as I am aware, nothing has been done which is contrary to the law with regard to broadcasting. However, a full reply to the right honorable gentleman’s inquiries will be furnished by the Postmaster-General.
– Has the Minister representing the Acting Minister for the Army read the press reports to the effect that discontent ever lack of canteens and hostels led t j wild scenes, in which hundreds of Australian servicemen, with a sprinkling of servicemen from Great Britain participated, in Brisbane city streets last night? If so, will the Minister explain the Government’s failure to provide adequate canteens and hostels, and will he take immediate steps to remedy the position by giving the necessary facilities, and so prevent a repetition of such scenes?
– I have not read the reports to which the honorable gentleman has referred. Generally speaking, canteen and hostel facilities sufficient for all of the services have been provided. I shall refer the matter to the Acting Minister for the Army and obtain a reply from him.
– On the 26th April, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) asked me a question concerning war correspondents’ despatches. I am informed by the Minister for the Army that every facility is given to war correspondents in operational areas to secure in the front line such information as they require. Every effort is made for their despatches to reach their newspapers in the quickest possible time - in fMs respect, communications within the Army are made available, and immediately the despatches reach the mainland they are transmitted by civil telegraph. Censorship is exercised, and it is necessary for the safety and success of the forces, but it is not exercised capriciously. Most correspondents cooperate with censorship authorities by omitting from their copy censorable material of which they have been informed. The Minister has no information concerning the desire of correspondents to relinquish their appointments.
– In view of the urgent demand for houses, will the Treasurer take the necessary action so that advances may be made by the Commonwealth Bank Board, funder the present law, to persons who desire to build homes?
– The first requirement in respect of the building of a home is a permit to do so from the Department of Post-war Reconstruction. Subject to that permission being obtained, arrangements have already been made whereby co-operative building societies, in the first place, may make advances for the purpose of building houses.
– But at a higher rate of interest than would be charged by the Commonwealth Bank.
– -The Bank is in a position precisely similar to that of the co-operative building societies, many of which are obtaining money for housing loan purposes through the Commonwealth Bank. Other money has been obtained on loan from private trading banks. The Commonwealth Bank itself has always made advances through its ordinary trading section for the purpose of building houses. That policy has not been changed. Subject to permits being obtained - >and that depends upon the man-power and materials available - there should be no difficulty.
– Has the VicePresident of the Executive Council, in his capacity ‘as Minister administering the Public Service, any later information about the payment of overtime to members of the Public Service who worked extra time during the period that Australia was subject to the direct threat of invasion? When the Minister answered a question on this subject asked by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) recently, he left the matter somewhat in the air, and the present situation is giving rise to a good deal of irritation.
– The Government has agreed tq meet the changed conditions by making certain payments, but the proper procedure is to approach the Public Service Arbitrator. For my part, I believe it to be unwise to deal with the matter by regulation. Thus, both parties will go before the arbitrator, and support the application. I do not know the date of the hearing, but it is my wish that the case be heard as soon as possible.
– Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say whether it is true that the ‘Commonwealth Government has purchased from the United Statesof America 2,000,000 bushels of grain sorghum for stock feed? If so, what price is to be paid, and have arrangements been made for shipping the grain to Australia? Will the Minister, at an early date, make a statement to the House explaining the present position in regard to fodder as it affects various producers, including poultry-farmers and stock-owners ?
– A similar question was asked by the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden), and I replied to it. It is true that a certain amount of grain sorghum has been purchased from the United States of America; the price is still the subject of negotiation. None of the grain has yet been shipped, but arrangements have been made to bring it to Australia as soon as ships are available. It would be almost impossible to compile particulars of the total amount of fodder available in Australia, but we know that there is not nearly enough to meet current demands, and if the drought persists the position will become worse.
referred to an invention by VX146267 Craftsman L. V. Malee and complained of the manner in which the invention had been dealt with by the Army Inventions Directorate and the Army authorities. The Acting Minister for the Army desires me to state that there is complete liaison between the Army Inventions Directorate and the Minister for the Army and he is satisfied that the Army Inventions Directorate takes extreme pains to ensure that all inventions received by it are given complete consideration; wherever there is any possibility that an invention may lip based on sound principles, or will meet a definite service requirement, every effort is made to assist the inventor in the development of his idea.
While the Army authorities are represented on the board of this directorate, the majority of its members are drawn from the ranks of professional and experienced men in civil life, and the Acting Minister is fully satisfied that the services they are performing are worthy of every commendation. Among the large number of inventions that are considered by the directorate, it is inevitable that cases will arise where enthusiastic inventors will insist that their inventions have possibilities far in excess of those which are admitted to be sound and feasible by the experienced, technical and professional advisers on the directorate. The case of Craftsman Malee would appear to come within this category.
The honorable member, in his lengthy statement on this case, alleged that General Steele, the Engineer-in-‘Chief, was so impressed by the working model of this invention that he approved a grant of £300 to enable Malee to develop and perfect his idea. This is not the first time that this statement has been put forward in regard to Malee’s invention, as the file shows that representations were made to this effect to the Minister on the 13th March, 1943, but General Steele denied its accuracy at the time and again has stated most emphatically that at no stage was the invention regarded by him as an Army requirement, nor did he recommend spending £300 on it. This statement from General Steele in itself largely discounts the representations put forward by the honorable member for Wentworth, but in order that the position may be fully explained, I submit the following further observations : -
The basic idea of remotely controlling demolition charges by means other than electric leads was not new, and Malee’s submission to the authorities was made in such a form as to indicate that he was merely following known ground in his attempt to obtain the result. However, reports were received that he was successfully operating apparatus at the Royal Australian Engineers Training Station, Wagga, where he was stationed and he was accordingly requested to submit, more complete details of his proposal.
Malee’s invention, together with one received from New Zealand, was referred to the Army New Munitions Committee on the Srd December, 1942, but neither was considered sufficiently important to warrant its classification in a high priority group. However, as it was the policy both of the Army New Munitions Committee and of the Army Inventions Directorate not to discourage persons who had put forward projects which had the elements of novelty combined with practical application, the Army Inventions Directorate was asked to obtain a working model of the device from the New Zealand Inventions Board, and Malee was brought to Melbourne to discuss his proposal with officers of the “ user “ and “ supply “ branches of the Army.
Malee was returned to his unit in March, 1943, when it was decided that consideration of his proposal should be held over pending trials of the New Zealand device for the reason that, although Malee’s proposal was recognized as being theoretically sound, the New Zealand one was thought to be based on better principles and to have greater possibility of translation into a practical unit.
In May, 1943, the matter of Malee’s transfer to a technical unit was first raised officially. In June he was transferred from Royal Australian Engineers Training Centre to the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Training Centre, and was from there sent to a bash. training course for radio mechanics in Brisbane. He qualified from this course in November, 1943, and was then sent to attend an electrical and mechanical radio conversion course. On completion of this latter course Craftsman Malee. was posted to 16th Radio Maintenance Section, and, on the re-organization of that unit, she was posted to 8th Australian Advanced Workshop, Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, on the 1st August, 1944.
A request was received in August, 1944, for Craftsman Malee to be attached to Design Division, Land Head-quarters, to enable him to build a working model of his invention. This request was complied with on the 27th August, 1944. In the meantime, the experimental model of the New Zealand apparatus had arrived in Australia in August, 1943, but on a preliminary test, it was found not to perform satisfactorily. Army Inventions Directorate, with the assistance of the Postmaster-General’s Department Research Laboratory, and later the Experimental Establishment of Design Division, adjusted and modified the New Zealand apparatus to bring it to a stage at which it could be subjected to field trials. This work took some considerable time as do many scientific developments, especially those which are not sufficiently important to warrant a high priority classification.
When the trials had been completed, it was found that, for the New Zealand apparatus to be satisfactory for service use, it would, have to be still further radically modified. Therefore, it was considered desirable to give Craftsman Malee the opportunity to build a model of his proposed apparatus concurrently with the consideration of the New Zealand device. Craftsman Malee was accordingly attached to the Design Division Experimental Establishment in August, 1944, with the object of constructing a model of his proposal.
He had modified his original proposal, and proceeded to build the modified type. It became evident that Craftsman Malee was not sufficiently experienced in the complexities of the subject to enable him to construct the apparatus necessary, even with the assistance and advice of the technical officers of the unit. As it had by this time become known that a superior device had been successfully developed overseas it was decided that, in view of the availability of the equipment developed overseas, and also the changed conditions of warfare in the South-West Pacific Area, further development of either the New Zealand apparatus or that proposed by Craftsman Malee was no longer desirable.
In January, 1945, Craftsman Malee was returned to his unit, which is a Radar Section of the 8th Australian Advanced Workshop, Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, where he was again employed on radar maintenance. As far as can be ascertained, the only non-technical duties which have been performed by this soldier are in the nature of fatigues allotted to any soldier within a normal unit. Regarding his period of absence without leave, it is advised that, the three days concerned were a Saturday, Sunday and Monday. There was never any statement that he desired to purchase material and, on being interrogated in the Orderly Room, he stated that his reason for taking leave was “ to meet someone “. Craftsman Malee recently went absent, without leave for a second time for a period of approximately one month, and was fined £5 on that occasion.
The Acting Minister is satisfied, after a complete investigation of the case, and an examination of the Army departmental and Army Inventions Directorate files, that Craftsman Malee was given every consideration by the Army Inventions Directorate, and that he has no cause for complaint.
Pigmeats - Rationing
– Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say whether it is correct that the Government of the United Kingdom has agreed to pay higher prices for pigmeats? If so, will the producers benefit, or will the Meat Controller use the increased returns to offset previous losses?
– Prices paid by the Government of the United Kingdom for pigmeats have not been increased. I am convinced that producers of pigmeats are satisfied that present prices are remunerative, and the Government does not intend to increase them.
– Is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture in a position to state the present position in regard to the desire of co-operative companies for deferred payments to be made to the producers of pigs? “Will the Minister say whether he supports the attitude of the Controller of Meat Supplies in preventing this from being done?
– This matter was referred to the Controller of Meat Supplies, who has furnished a report. I do not know whether a reply has yet been forwarded to the honorable member, but if not I shall see that that is done.
– Oan the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say what quantity of meat is expected to .be saved as the result of the reduction of supplies to civilians announced to-day? Will he also say whether the full quantity which will be saved will be exported to Great Britain, and, if so, whether the increased quantity will enable Australia to meet fully its commitments to that country? If not, will he say to what degree the exports will fall short of our commitments?
– The only reason for reviewing the civilian meat ration and curtailing supplies of meat to civilians is that Australia may meet its commitments to the United Kingdom. It is hoped that an additional quantity of between 50,000 and 60,000 tons of meat will be made available. The overall supply of meat has fallen because of drought conditions, but it is hoped that the saving which will be effected will enable us to give to Britain the quantity of meat that has been promised.
– Can the Acting Prime Minister say whether it is a fact that, under a National Security Regulation which was issued last week, aliens with good records who have served in labour corps will, in future, be granted naturalization free of charge? In view of the fact that leaders of ex-servicemen’s organizations in Brisbane have protested emphatically against the issue of such a regulation and the Government’s policy in relation to aliens, and are planning a meeting of protest to be held on the 9th May, will he make a full statement to the House on the regulation referred to and on the Government’s policy generally in regard to aliens?
– The right honorable member will realize that I cannot do anything about the proposed meeting of protest. Such meetings are held so frequently that they almost constitute a national industry. I am not familiar with all the facts associated with the regulation to which reference has been made, but I shall ask my colleague, the Acting Attorney-General, to prepare a statement on the subjects referred to, and later I shall give a reply to the right honorable gentleman.
Shortage or AIRCRAFT
– Early in this session, and again when the House resumed after the Easter adjournment, I asked the Minister for Air whether he had received a report from Air Vice-Marshal Jones concerning a statement made by him in Adelaide as to a shortage of aeroplanes, and whether he would make a statement to the House on this important matter. Can he now say whether he has received the report referred to, and, if so, will he make it available to the House?
– On the last occasion on which the honorable member referred to this matter I said that I had received a report and was considering it. My answer to his latest question is that I am still considering the report.
– I desire to base a question on a letter which may have general application. A correspondent writes -
I received yesterday a cheque for £1 5s., being a refund of half my telephone rent for six months, I having been an A.R.P. sector warden. This is the third cheque I have received since we ceased activity as A.R.P. wardens. The two previous cheques I gave to charitable activities engaged in helping the soldiers - Toe H. and the League of Soldiers Friends. This one goes to Toe H. It seems to mc that if the whole of the metropolitan area is being treated in as generous a manner as Prahran a large amount of money has been wasted which could easily have been used in the war effort to better purpose. I understand that a further cheque will be paid in six mouths’ time. Is this one of the things we buy bonds for?
Has the Treasurer any knowledge of this practice? If not, will he take steps to ensure that this unduly generous treatments is discontinued?
– This is the first time I have heard the Treasury accused of undue generosity. The honorable member has my assurance that the matter will be investigated immediately.
Relations between Australian Ministers.
– Has the attention of the Acting Prime Minister been drawn to a statement in the Sydney Morning Herald in which that newspaper’s correspondent, Irving Douglas, reports that a difference of opinion exists between the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Forde) and the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) as to who shall lead the Australian delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco, and that as the result Australia was not represented at an important conference of British delegates? As the correspondent went on to say that the matter was resolved subsequently by Mr. Forde being confirmed in his leadership, will the Acting Prime Minister inform the House of the terms of the armistice reached by those two envoys of permanent peace?
– One of them wrote the speech and the other read it.
– I have not seen the statement to which the honorable member has referred, but my attention was drawn to some other references to the matter. I have no information at all regarding any differences between the two Ministers who are representing Australia at the San Francisco Conference. Neither through official channels nor otherwise has any information reached me that friction has occurred between the members of the Australian delegation.
– I ask the Acting Prime Minister whether it is possible to supply honorable members with a verbatim report of the speech made by the Deputy Prime Minister at the San Francisco Conference. Press reports of the speech were rather scrappy and honorable members should like to learn exactly what the Deputy Prime Minister did say.
– I shall endeavour to meet the request of the right honorable member.
– ‘Speaking on the motion for the adjournment of the House last Friday week, I alleged that the Division of Import Procurement was pursuing a policy of discouraging importers from obtaining supplies from Great Britain on the ground that local production was sufficient to meet their requirements. Later, I read a statement in the press attributed to the Prime Minister that he would have inquiries made into the matter. I now ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether such inquiries have been made and whether he is in a position to state the policy at present operating in the division, which virtually places an embargo upon the importation of some British goods.
– Did the honorable member deal with specific cases?
– No, but I can give specific cases to indicate the general policy being pursued.
– It would help me a great deal if the honorable member could give me specific instances. I can then examine the facts and furnish him with a full reply.
– I can give three specific instances.
– In view of the fact that the Advisory War Council no longer serves the purpose for which it was set up, namely, to be an advisory body representative of the Government and the Opposition parties, and has now become superfluous, will the Acting Prime Minister say whether it is proposed to continue the council, or to replace it with a more representative body, such as an all-party standing committee on the Army of the type operating in the United States of America?
– It is intended to continue the Advisory War Council. With regard to the comments made by the honorable member, I should like to say that on Friday last I expressed the Government’s appreciation of the advice and assistance that had been rendered to it by the council. I have always believed it to be highly desirable that representative members of the Opposition parties should be given opportunities, when security considerations permit, to discuss war problems.
– Is the Acting Prime Minister aware of the interminable delays in settling claims for subsidy in respect of country electricity undertakings and other enterprises? I refer to the delays on the part of the Treasury in coming to decisions, and, more particularly, to delays in settling claims. Will the Acting Prime Minister take steps to expedite settlement of such claims?
– Personally, I am not aware of any complaints of undue delays such as have been mentioned by the honorable member. Of course, lengthy deliberations sometimes take place with regard to the amount of subsidy. However, if the honorable member will submit particulars of specific cases I shall have the matter investigated, and furnish a reply on the subject generally.
In committee: Consideration resumed from the 20th April (vide page 1005).
Clause 6 - (1.) The Board shall consist of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser and six other members representative of Australian Woolgrowers, who shall be appointed by the Governor-General and shall hold office for three years. (2.) Three members shall be appointed on the nomination of the organization known as the Australian Woolgrowers’ Council. (3.) Three members shall be appointed on the nomination of the organization known as the Australian Wool Producers’ Federation. (4.) The Minister may, on the recommendation of the Board, appoint one of the members to be the Chairman of the Board. (5.) On the occurrence of a casual vacancy in the office of any member of the Board (other than the Commonwealth Wool Adviser), the Minister may, after consultation with the organization on the nomination of which the member whose office has become vacant was appointed, appoint a person to fill the vacancy, and any person so appointed shall, subject to this Act, hold office for the residue of the term of the member in whose place he is appointed.
Upon which Mr. Abbott had moved by way of amendment -
That, in sub-clause (1.), the word “six” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ ten “.
– When progress was reported considerable argument had taken place with reference to the constitution of the proposed board. The merits of equal representation for the two bodies concerned, and the alternative of representation on a proportional basis, had been argued with considerable liveliness. I am not particularly concerned with that aspect of the matter. However, the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) has moved an amendment to provide for five representatives from each of. these bodies, on the ground that this would allow representation to be given to growers in each of the five principal wool-producing States. It will be obvious to honorable members that once the question of representation on a State basis comes into the picture, no State which can in any way be concerned in the matter should be ignored. Just in case honorable members are not aware that sheep and wool are produced in Tasmania, I point out that the Quarterly Summary of Australian Statistics reveals that at the end of December, 1944, there were 2,187,799 sheep in Tasmania, and that wool production in that State for the year 1942-43 totalled 17,256,000 lh. Obviously, that is a very small quantity in comparison with the production of certain other States.
– Its value is about £1,000,000.
– It is worth a large sum of money. Tasmania must enter into this matter as a member of the Commonwealth. Over and over again, because Tasmania is small geographically, and consequently its production must be small, the State is ignored in matters of this kind. The result is that, unfortunately, a feeling has grown up in the State that it is ignored on occasions when it should not be overlooked. Although the production in Tasmania of certain commodities is small, the quality is very high, and repeatedly, top prices have been obtained for Tasmanian wool, apples and potatoes. I strongly urge the honorable member for New England to accept the suggestion that six members of the board shall be nominated by the- Australian Woolgrowers Council and six members by theAustralian Wool Producers Federation. If my suggestion be adopted, the position of Tasmania in the wool producing business, and, beyond all else, as a partner in this Commonwealth, will receive proper recognition.
.- The speech of the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) recalled to my mind the adage, “Beware the Greeks when they bring gifts “. At considerable length and with great emphasis, the honorable member urged that the clause should be amended for the purpose of increasing the membership of the Australian Wool Board. He suggested that five members should be appointed by the Australian Woolgrowers Council and five by the Australian Wool Producers Federation. If honorable members will peruse his speech carefully, they will discover that originally he complained that one of those organizations, being numerically stronger than the other, should have greater representation. Now, the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) has pointed out that the representatives on the board will be selected from the principal wool-growing States, to the exclusion of Tasmania. In this particular instance I agree with her observations. If representation on the Australian Wool Board is to be on a State basis, the only way in which to achieve it is to appoint representatives from the six ‘States. To contend that some States, being larger wool producers than others, should have greater representation i3 to overlook an impor tant consideration. Tasmania is a con’siderable producer of excellent wool. For a long period, that State has obtained the top price on the market. Therefore, if we contemplate increasing the number of representatives on the board, we should provide for the representation of each State. My own opinion is that a board of ten members would be unnecessarily large, but if we agree to a body of that size, we should be prepared to go the additional distance and appoint a board of twelve members, on a State basis.
The production of wool figures prominently in this legislation, because we are discussing proposals for advertising it. When considering the suggestion to increase the membership of the board, we should examine the advisability of Appointing a woman as a member.
– The honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) already lias sufficient duties fully to occupy her time.
– I did not suggest that the honorable member for Darwin should be appointed to the Board. Whilst I have great respect and admiration for her, I consider that there are other women who can fill that position more capably than she can. More than a hundred years ago, the wool industry in Tasmania was founded by a woman. In 1826, 100 merino sheep were brought from Saxony by Mrs. John Ferling and her two sons. I had the pleasure of being a. member of- a party which attended the unveiling of a memorial to her in the Midlands of Tasmania.
The argument which has been adduced by the honorable member for New England and his supporters for an increased membership of the board is not wellfounded. The appointment of three members each by the Australian Woolgrowers Council and the Australian Wool Producers Federation will suffice. The smaller board will function more satisfactorily than a larger body, and the two organizations should have equal representation on it.
– I support the suggestion, which the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) put forward so ably, that the clause should be amended to provide for the appointment of six members of the Australian Wool Board by the’ Australian Woolgrowers Council and six by the Australian Wool Producers Federation. I do so for the same reason as that which the honorable member advanced, namely, that wool production is the greatest of Australian industries. As the wool industry is worth approximately £70,000,000 per annum to the economic well-being of Australia, its management should be such as to ensure the broadest national outlook on all its problems. We should do everything possible to provide for effective administration of the industry. There has been both misconception and misrepresentation of the attitude of the Australian Country party to this clause. According to the Prime Minister’s statement last November, the original decision was that the Australian Wool Board should consist of four representatives of the Australian Woolgrowers Council and two of the Australian Wool Producers Federation. I am advised that that is in accordance with letters written by Mr. Cowdery and Mr. Hitchins, the presidents of the respective organizations. The view put so clearly and forcefully by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) that the two organizations should have equal representation and that representation should not be based upon sheep ownership or membership of the organizations is reasonable. The Country party considers that such representation would also give more adequate representation to the various States. The honorable member for Darwin has now foreshadowed a further amendment to provide that there shall be not only equal representation of the two organizations concerned but also representation of each ‘State. As the bill stands, it will be possible for all the representatives to be nominated from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, and for the important wool-producing States of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania to have no representation. I commend the suggestion of the honorable member for Darwin to the favorable consideration of the committee. It is desirable in my opinion that the two organizations .mentioned should have equal representation and that each State should also have representation on the hoard.
.- I support the proposal that has been made by the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons). The numerical strength of the board should be increased to ensure that each State shall be represented upon it. It is becoming a habit of the Parliament to ignore Tasmania, and I protest strongly against it. This important board certainly should have on it- a representative of each State. As the honorable member for Darwin has said, Tasmania produces some of the finest merino wool in the world. The quantity may not be great but the quality is superb. Tasmanian merino wool always fetches the top .price in the market. As tha purpose of this bill is to promote the use of wool, and as Tasmania produces substantial quantities of first-class wool, it is only proper that that State should be represented on this board. I hope that both the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) and the Minister in charge of the measure will accept the suggestion made by the honorable member for Darwin.
.- If the Government agrees to any alteration of the numerical strength of this board I . hope that it will adopt the proposal of the honorable member for Darwin, but I have not yet heard any argument which justifies an increase of the number of board members. My experience of boards in this country, which extends over many years, is that, generally, the larger they are the less effective they are. The value of this measure will depend not upon the size of this board but upon the effectiveness of the Wool Consultative Council that is to be constituted under the provisions of clause 14. The important duties of the council [ire set out in paragraphs a to g of sub-clause 2. I regard the constitution of that council as by far the most important justification for this legislation. What we need is a thoroughly scientific investigation into ways and means of increasing the use and the quality of our wool.
– Does the honorable member consider that the .proposed wool board is unnecessary?
– I consider that the establishment of an effective wool consultative council in the terms of clause 14 is far more important.
– That is also the view of the Australian Country party.
– I do not regard the proposed Wool Board as a competent body to advise the Minister on the most important aspects of the development of the wool industry. Such competency would, however, reside in a thoroughly representative wool consultative council which would have power to co-opt necessary scientific assistance. If the membership of the Wool Board is to be increased beyond six I consider that there should be twelve members, which would give equal representation to the two woolproducing organizations which have been mentioned and also to each State of the Commonwealth ; but I do not regard the board as being of very great importance. The proposed consultative council will be, in my opinion, the more important body.
– My conclusions in relation to this matter are similar to those of the honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha). The producers naturally have the greatest interest in the development of an organization for improving the production and increasing the use of wool. Unfortunately, the principal duty under the bill is to be assigned to the Wool Consultative Council. I am not in the slightest degree opposed to the amendment of the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons). I point out, however, that the duties of the board will be confined to promotion of the use of wool, and that it can have no value in connexion with the other problems by which the industry is beset. Only one member of the board will be appointed to the Wool Consultative Council. Therefore, that valuable instrument would not be strengthened by an increase of the number of members of the board. 0( what use will it be in assisting the Government when, according to the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Forde) iri his first important pronouncement abroad, the Government is about to establish a large factory for the production of synthetic fibres in this country? I am more concerned about the representation which the woolgrowers will have on the Wool Consultative Council than I am about the number of members of the Australian Wool Board.
.- The honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) has expressed the view that the Wool Consultative Council will be the principal body, and that the Australian Wool Board will be of only minor importance. I point out to him and the committee that the Australian Wool Board will have very important functions indeed. Under clause 13, it is to be empowered to make arrangements with persons, authorities, and organizations in Australia and other countries for joint measures of publicity or other means for promoting the use of wool. The words “ other means “ imply a very wide area of activity. They might mean entering into certain exchanges of wool with other goods, or sending wool free to China. On the other hand, the Wool Consultative Council will be only a minor body under the present terms of the bill. It will be only consultative, and will be called together only when the Minister so desires. It might never be summoned; to meet; therefore, its functions might be reduced to zero. I should not mind very much if the Australian Wool Board consisted of the membership proposed by the bill or that proposed under the amendment of the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott). But I concede the point made by the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons), that the number of members should be increased to six representatives of the Australian Woolgrowers Council, and six representatives of the Australian Wool Producers Federation. However, merely adding one member to the present proposed membership of the board would not necessarily result in each State having representation. Under the original proposal as well as under the proposal of the honorable member for New England it would be possible for that to occur, but in order to make it certain, we must insert a mandate that one member at least shall come from each State.
– Unfortunately, owing to indisposition, I was unable to take part in the earlier discussion of the bill. Some honorable members opposite treat this clause as if it were one of the most contentious of the bill; but I understand that it is not viewed with disfavour by representatives of the wool industry. Some honorable members consider that the proposed representation on the Australian Wool Board should be widened. I do not agree with them. I was responsible for all the negotiations with the industry which led to the introduction of the bill. I had consultations with members of the Australian Wool Board, and with representatives of both the Australian Woolgrowers Council and the Australian Wool Producers Federation. Early in the negotiations, I received a letter - which I believe has been discussed at length - signed by Mr. Cowdery and Mr. Hitchins, the presidents of the two growers’ organizations, agreeing that the representation on the Australian Wool Board should be four members for the Australian Woolgrowers Council, and two members for the Australian Wool Producers Federation. Almost immediately after the agreement had been made, and the letter had been delivered to me, Mr. Hitchins called on me in Canberra, and asked that it be repudiated. I suggested that he should ask the Australian Woolgrowers Council, as a. party to the agreement, to discuss the matter with him, with a view to seeing whether or not it would be agreeable to the representation of the two bodies being equal, as he and his organization throughout Australia desired. Then I received a further letter from Mr. Hitchine stating thait he could not come to an agreement with the Australian Woolgrowers Council, and that it had decided to adhere to the original agreement between the two organizations. He said that he would like a repudiation of that agreement, and his organization asked the Government for equal representation of the two bodies. Subsequently, it was decided to give to them equal representation, as far as it could be arrived at on the basis of available statistical information. I regret that an agreement has been departed from, but in my opinion it would not be advisable in any circumstances to increase the personnel of the board. Six representatives, with equal representation of the two organizations, is a workable number. The board will be fully representative of the wool industry of Australia, and, from what I know of the men who I expect will be nominated, no major disagreement should occur among them. Their one desire will be to promote the welfare of the industry and the use of wool throughout the world.
Dissatisfaction has’ been expressed regarding the personnel of the board, but, after all, its decisions will represent the views of the industry throughout the Commonwealth. The Wool Consultative Council will be an important body, but it will have no executive authority. Its express purpose will be to furnish special advice that the Wool Board may desire, and the board will be the only medium through which that advice can be given effect. I regret that I was uuable to take part in the earlier discussion on this clause. I have talked over the matter with the honorable member for New England, and I think that there is no major difference of opinion between us. I have had long discussions with Mr. Boyd, who is one of the outstanding men in the wool industry, and I have always hoped that he will be long associated with the board. The board has done good work for the industry in the past, and I do not believe that any man in Australia is more competent than Mr. Boyd to assist the industry in future. Mr. Hitchins, who ha? been appointed to the Central Wool Committee, has extensive knowledge of the industry, and with men like Messrs. Boyd and Hitchins associated with the board, the safety of the industry is assured.
A m e n dmen t n egati ved .
.- I move -
That, in sub-clause (1.), the word “six” be left out. with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ seven “.
The board would then be composed of four members of the Australian Woolgrowers Council and three members of the Australian Wool Producers Federation.
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Riordan).Tlie committee has already decided that the word “ six “ shall remain part of the clause. The amendment was submitted to the committee in the form, “ That the word proposed to be left out stand part of the clause “.
– I rise to order. The purpose of putting an amendment to the committee in that form was to enable the honorable member for New England to move for the deletion of the word “six” with a view to inserting another word. If the amendment of the honorable member for New England is not acceptable, I submit that it is competent for another member of the committee to move the insertion of another number. If your ruling is to stand, Mr. Chairman, only one amendment could be moved on any clause. I believe that the normal procedure in the House of Commons is that one figure shall not be taken to the exclusion of another, when there is more than one amendment. The way in which the amendment by the honorable member for New England was put to the committee is merely a parliamentary method of arriving at a certain decision, but not a final one.
– The committee has decided that the word six “ shall stand part of the clause.
– The amendment I originally moved in sub-clause 1 was to delete “ six “ and insert “ ten “. Afterwards I accepted a suggestion by the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) for the insertion of the word “ twelve”, to delete throe “ in sub-clause 2 and insert “ six “, and to delete “ three “ in sub-clause 3 and insert “ six “. If my amendment was the only amendment allowed to be put to the committee I cannot see how any other amendment could have been voted upon. I believe in the rule of common sense, and it seems manifestly unjust that an honorable member should not have the right to submit a further amendment. I do not suggest, Mr. Chairman, that your ruling is wrong, but 1 contend that you should reconsider it.
– The Chair put the question in the way provided by the forms of this House, and. the committee has decided to retain the word “six”. The honorable member now proposes to alter something which the committee has decided to retain.
– I accept your ruling, Mr. Chairman; 1 can do nothing else. 1 now move the following amendment: -
That, in sub-clause (2.), the word “Three” be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “Four”.
If this amendment be agreed to, I shall then move to reduce the representation of the Australian Wool Producers Federation from three to two. The board will then be constituted of four representatives of the Austraiian Woolgrowers Council and two representatives of the Australian Wool Producers Federation. I confess that I was not enamoured of the suggestion that the board should directly represent the various States. I believe that it should have on it the best, men available, whether they come from Bourke, Forbes or Donnybrook. It should represent mainly those who contribute most of the money, and who have the interests of the wool industry really at heart. It cannot be denied that the Woolgrowers Council is the body which really represents the wool industry of Australia. Its members are concerned almost exclusively with the production of wool and meat, and they include practically all the notable stud-breeders in Australia. These are the men who, over the years, have put Australian wool on the map. They are naturally more keen to see the industry go ahead than is the man who runs only a few sheep. The members of the Wool Producers Federation are more concerned with growing wheat than with producing wool. In Victoria, most of its members are located in the northwestern corner of the State. Their activities are directed chiefly to the growing of wheat, and they run a few sheep ae scavengers. On the basis of the amount of money to be contributed under this legislation, the case for increased representation for the Woolgrowers
Council ia very strong. In Victoria, the Graziers Association is affiliated with the Australian Woolgrowers Council. Members of the association pay a membership fee of approximately 2s. for each 100 sheep. Thus, it is easy to ascertain the number of sheep which members of the association own. I believe that the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture was approximately correct when he said that the members of the Woolgrowers Council throughout Australia own 60,000,000 sheep, which is about half the total for the Commonwealth. The Minister
Raid that members of the Wool Producers Federation owned 39,000,000 sheep, but he admitted that there was no way of getting accurate information on the subject. Apparently, he made a wild stab at a figure, and decided upon 39,000,000. In my opinion, that figure is ridiculously high. If it be correct, then only about 20,000,000 sheep a.re owned by persons who belong to neither the Woolgrowers Council nor the Wool Producers Federation. That, also, is ridiculous, because we know that there are thousands of sheepowners in Australia who belong to neither body. I should be surprised if members of the Wool Producers Federation own more than 20,000,000 sheep between them. However, for purposes of comparison, let us accept the Minister’s figure of 39,000,000, and even on this figure- which, as I have said, is manifestly incorrect - the case of the Woolgrowers Council for increased representation on the board remains unanswerable. The Minister will agree with me that a fair way to estimate the production of wool is to reckon on three bales from 100 sheep. On that basis, members of the Woolgrowers Council will contribute under this legislation £180,000, as against £117,000 by members of the Wool Producers Federation, a difference of £63,000. There is justice in the claim that the Australian Woolgrowers Council should have four representatives and the Australian Wool Producers Federation two representatives on the board. During the discussion on this bill last week it was pointed out that that basis of representation had been agreed to by the presidents of those two organizations. Speaking presumably with a knowledge of the Government’s legislative intentions, the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) on the 1st November, 1944, said that representation- would be on- the basis for which I now ask, and subsequently the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) informed members of the Australian Woolgrowers Council that Cabinet had agreed to that basis. I, therefore, ask the Government to honour its promise. If it will not accept the amendment, the only explanation appears to be that to which the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Lemmon) referred on Friday last, when he said that politics had entered into these proposals. The honorable gentleman said that a section of the Australian Woolgrowers Council had previously been associated with the Australian Country party, and the implication was that the basis of representation had been altered by the Government for political purposes. In Victoria, and I believe in other States also, the Australian Woolgrowers Council has no political affiliations. I repeat that woolgrowers who are members of the Australian Woolgrowers Council Will pUt into the fund more money than will those who belong to the federation, and that, in the main, the council represents the people who in the past have done so much to improve stud flocks. I trust that in a matter of such importance to Australia the interests of a great industry will not be subordinated to party political considerations.
– The Government cannot accept the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson). The case for and against any alteration of the proposed basis of representation on the Australian Wool Board was discussed at length at the second-reading stage, and I do not propose to weary the committee by traversing the arguments then advanced. The Government is convinced that the representation proposed in this bill is equitable when all the circumstances are taken into account.
– I move -
That, in sub-clause (4.), the word “may” bc left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “shall”.
Probably the intention of the sub-clause is the same as I have in mind, because I cannot conceive that any government would be unwilling to appoint as chairman of the board one of its members whom the board recommended for that position. The amendment is .practically only a machinery provision. Should the clause remain as printed, a future Minister, who may not favour the nominee of the board, could hold up the appointment of chairman, and so interfere with the board’s functions.
– I understand that the wording of the subclause follows the .usual practice in similar circumstances. There may be something in the contention of the honorable member for New England because the position may arise that no recommendation will be made by the board. In that event what would the Minister do?
– The sub-clause includes the words “ on the recommendation of the board “.
– I shall have the sub-clause re-examined, and should the Government decide that the proposed amendment should be made, appropriate action will be taken when the bill reaches the Senate. At this stage I am not prepared to accept the amendment.
– The Minister should not hesitate to accept the amendment. If the Government, believes that the Australian Wool Board will serve a useful purpose, it should allow the board to appoint its own chairman. In its present, form, the sub-clause cuts across the principle of producer control, which, presumably, the Government has in mind, seeing that certain organizations are to have direct representation on the board. If the amendment be not accepted, the time of the committee will be wasted in debating the rest of the bill.
.- I hope that the Minister, after reflection, will decide to adhere to the form in which sub-clause 4 ia drafted. I express that hope because of the fact that the clause employs the time-honoured form of words. In parliamentary government, in the highest exercise of the democratic form of government, it is not the practice to direct a Minister of the Crown as we are now asked to do by substituting “ shall “ for “ may “. I have no doubt that the draftsman of the bill was alive to the historic propriety of using the form of words which he has used, and I hope that the Minister will adhere to sub-clause 4 as it appears in the bill. The Minister may do what the majority in the Parliament directs in any particular set of circumstances, but it is not usual or proper to say that the Minister “ shall “. Other reasons on lower grounds could probably be advanced why the form of words appearing in the sub-clause should be retained ; for example, the financial responsibility of the Government. That responsibility will be found to be inherent in the bill. The expert draftsman who drew the bill is well aware that it is not usual to direct a Minister of the Crown, and say that he shall do something, whereas in fact his duty is to carry out the will of the Parliament as a whole in his capacity as adviser to the Crown.
– The amendment proposed by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) is perfectly consistent with the two preceding sub-clauses; and the Government having drafted those two sub-clauses, I am a little puzzled as . to why it boggles at the amendment. However, I object to the basis on which the clause as a whole is drafted. From 20 to 25 per cent, of the people who will be compelled to contribute under this measure will not be represented by either of the two bodies who are to be given the monopoly of nominating the members of the proposed board. In fact, they will appoint the members of the board, because the clause prescribes that the members shall be appointed by the Governor-General on the nomination of the Australian Woolgrowers Council and the Australian Wool Producers Federation. Consequently, in this case there is no prerogative left to the Crown. The whole of the clause is absolutely wrong. Any government, regardless of its party political affiliations, must have discretion in matters of this description. Most of us can recall attempts by certain outside bodies to wangle a nomination wholly unacceptable to this Parliament; but as the clause is drafted, both the Government and the Parliament must in this case accept the members nominated by the organizations mentioned. Should the Minister ibo not satisfied, he has no authority to appoint as chairman any member not recommended by the board. That is a hopelessly invidious position in which to place any Government. Therefore, the Minister would be well advised to have a really good look at this clause before the bill is dealt with by the Senate. I had hoped that the Government would have taken a good look at it over the week-end, and would have consulted the Solicitor-General on the matter. If the Government insists that sub-clauses 2 and 3 are right, I cannot see any logical reason for its objection to the amendment.
– I agree in substance with the amendment. I am not so well versed in legal matters as is the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan), but I should like to know what is the intention of the clause. Does the Government intend that the Minister shall accept the recommendation of the board in the appointment of the chairman, or does it intend that he shall be at liberty to ignore the recommendation of the board and himself choose the chairman? As the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Cameron) has pointed out, assuming that the Minister does not accept the recommendation of the board, there is really no point to the clause; because, apparently, the clause does not empower the Minister or anybody else to appoint the chairman. If the Government intends that the board itself should choose its own chairman, such appointment to be approved pro forma by the Minister, it should make that intention quite clear. Following the argument advanced by the honorable member for Barker, I suggest that there is no reason at all why the clause should not be amended to provide that the Minister shall appoint the chairman on the recommendation of the board.
.- I have received many shocks in this chamber, but I have never had such a surprise as I had this afternoon when I heard the rich, ripe conservatism of the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan). He declared that no legal precedent existed for this amendment, that the legal advisers of the Government would be horrified if this sub-clause were so altered, and that the Minister also would be offended. As the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) pointed out, this word “ shall “ is used in the two preceding sub-clauses as follows : -
– In those two subclauses, no coercion is exercised against the Minister.
– No coercion is exercised in sub-clause 4. In plain, blunt words it instructs the Minister what to do. I see no difference between what is suggested in the amendment and what the Government itself incorporated in the two preceding sub-clauses. The funds of the Australian Wool Board will be subscribed by Australian wool-growers. In the past honorable members opposite have extolled the advantages of producer control, and advocated producer representation, yet wool-growers, who control the production of wool, will be denied the right to elect the chairman of the board that will seek to promote the use of wool throughout the world. I cannot understand the attitude of the Government in opposing the amendment. Evidently, Ministers have shed some of those bright radical ideas which they held in their youth. After their few years of office, the moss of conservatism is growing over them. I am astounded that the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr.
Johnson), for example, who has a knowledge of the wool industry, has not risen in his wrath to support this amendment. The Minister suggested, very helpfully, that if the Opposition did not press this amendment now, the Government would examine the whole position and, if necessary, have the bill amended appropriately in the Senate. That is the wrong approach. This chamber is the Commons of Australia, and here these subjects should be discussed and decided. They should not be hawked to honorable senators who, unlike ourselves, are not responsible to individual electorates.
Two great principles are involved in this sub-clause. First, the people who subscribe the money by taxation should have adequate representation on- the organization that will expend it. On another occasion, when certain people threw tea into Boston Harbour in order to emphasize their firm belief in the justice of the principle of “no taxation without representation “, their action caused the War of American Independence. The second principle is that producer boards shall be given the right to conduct their own affairs, and particularly the right to nominate their own chairman. I appeal to the Minister to accept this amendment, which is so simple and just. Let him prove that his ideas have not been overgrown by conservatism, but that he still has a liberal mind.
.- I ask the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) to unravel for me another legal conundrum which this subclause raises. How, when and where does this bill abolish the existing wool board? The present board has definite powers, and acts under its own authority without direction from the Minister.
– That board will be abolished by clause 2.
Question put -
That the word proposed to be left out (Mr.
Abbott’s amendment ; ) stand part of the clause.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. Riordan.)
Majority . . 25
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
.- Subclause 5 of this clause provides that, on the occurrence of a casual vacancy in the office of any member of the board, other than the Commonwealth Wool Adviser, the Minister may, after consultation with the organization, appoint a person to fill such vacancy. I suggest that the words, “ may, after consultation with,” be deleted and the following words inserted in lieu thereof : “ shall, on the nomination of “. Such an amendment would be in conformity with the spirit of the clause. Casual vacancies should be filled in the manner prescribed for the making of the original appointments. The organizations which may nominate the original members should also be authorized to nominate members to fill vacancies caused by death or resignation. I made this suggestion in my second-reading speech, and I hope that the Government will adopt it.
.- I support tie suggestion of the honorable member for Forrest and, if necessary, E will move an amendment to that effect. En my opinion, the argument of the honorable member for Forrest is unanswerable. Casual vacancies should certainly be filled in the manner in which the original appointments are made.
.- I hope that the clause will not be altered in this respect. If the Minister did not accept the original nominations the board could not be constituted. If an organization is required to make a nomination to fill a casual vacancy and it refrains from doing so, a difficult situation can arise. In my opinion, the Minister should have power to appoint a person to a casual vacancy in the terms of sub-clause 5. If the board did not consist of the full number of members for a. period that fact would not render it inoperative. The Government is subsidizing this scheme substantially, and for that reason the Minister should be entitled, after consultation with an organization, to make an appointment.
– I support the suggestion of the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Lemmon) and congratulate him upon having made it. I hope that the Government will adopt it. I was deeply touched, and almost moved to tears, by the exhibition of loyalty to the Government of the honorable member for Calare (Mr. Breen), but the honorable gentleman was not so loyal to his colleague, the honora’ble member for Forrest, who represents practical wool and wheat growers of Western Australia ; in fact the honorable member for Calare has betrayed the interests of the primary producers of his own electorate. His insistence of the right of the Minister to make appointments to fill casual -vacancies in the event of the death or resignation of members was extraordinary. I am not fearful of what the present Minister may do, but, as the honorable member for Forrest has pointed out, ancient history may repeat itself, and a Pharoah may arise who knew not Joseph. I can see no reason why the Minister should have a power in relation to casual vacancies which he does not possess in connexion with original appointments. The adoption, in certain circumstances, of the procedure outlined in sub-clause 5 might enable a Minister to appoint to the board persons who would be subservient to ministerial direction. The honorable member for Forrest has put his finger on a vital principle. I shall not move an amendment, but I confess that I am shocked that an honorable member opposite who claims to represent primary producers should seek to deny to them rights in connexion with casual vacancies which they possess in regard to original appointments. In fancy, I can hear the crowing cocks in the electorate of Calare to-night. What possible justification can there ‘be for departing from the principle laid down in subclauses 2 and 3? The adoption of the suggestion of the honorable member for Forrest would ensure uniform action. 1 can see no reason for embodying two different principles in the ‘same clause in connexion, with what is, essentially, the same subject matter.
– The Government cannot accept the proposal of the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Lemmon). I assure him, however, that it will be studied, and if the Government considers it sound, steps will bc taken to amend the bill in the Senate.
– The Ministers’ promise does not get us anywhere. This should be, and was, until recently, a deliberative chamber. Its deliberative character is rapidly vanishing. We have in this clause one of the most delicious sets of contradictions I have seen in any clause of a bill. First, the GovernorGeneral has no discretion; he must appoint six members, who are to be nominated by the two organizations named. The supporters of the Government have supinely agreed that the Minister may, on the recommendation of the board, appoint one of its members to be the chairman of it. In circumstances that have been discussed, the Minister may find himself without a chairman. Then we come to the next. sub-clause, which deals with casual vacancies. Here, the honorable gentleman wants the committee to say that the Minister may, after consultation with the organization on the nomination of which the member whose office has become vacant was appointed, appoint a person to fill the vacancy. That language is utterly inconsistent with the language of the three preceding sub-clauses. The Government is now off on another tack. Its .attitude is entirely different from that which it took up on sub-clause 1, confirmed on sub-clauses 2 and 3, and contradicted on sub-clause 4. Only one course is left, and I shall take it. I move -
That, in sub-clause (5.), the words “may, after consultation with ‘’ be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - “shall, upon the nomination of”.
I do not agree that the nomination system is right. But I do agree that in legislation there ought to be some consistency, and some uniform principle. It is better to have consistency founded on a principle which, although I consider it wrong, at any rate is understandable, than to have complete and utter confusion - which will prevail, if this clause is allowed to become law in its present form. Notwithstanding arguments to the contrary, the Minister has adopted an attitude which would be understood properly only in Roman times, in a place called Abdera
.- For the reasons which I gave earlier on another sub-clause, after consultation with those who are responsible for correct draftsmanship, I hope that the Minister will not accept the proposal of the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Lemmon), great as my respect for that honorable gentleman is. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) tried somewhat heavily - as one might expect - to make a little by-play out of my alleged inconsistency. As I ventured to interpolate by way of interjection, it will be found that there is no inconsistencies in sub-clauses 1 to 3, because in no case is there an attempt to coerce the Minister. The constitution of the board is determined in emphatic manner by mandatory language. I adopt the argument of the honorable member for Calare (Mr. Breen), who pointed out that when a vacancy occurs, in either the chairmanship or some other office, the board may still continue to exercise ite functions. I hope that it will do so.
.- For three reasons the Minister should accept the proposal of the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Lemmon). The whole principle of the clause is that there shall be equal representation of the two organizations named in it. Under the system adopted earlier in the clause, the representation of those organizations is to be on their nomination. Under sub-clause 5 as it stands, the Minister may, after consultation with the organization on the nomination of which the member whose office has become vacant was appointed, appoint a person to fill the vacancy. He may appoint some person who is not a member of the organization. There is nothing to protect the principle of equality of representation. I thoroughly agree with the argument that there should be equality of representation. By failing to safeguard it, there is a possibility of its being destroyed. Because of the stress laid on the necessity for it, I hope that the Minister will reconsider his attitude and enable a vacancy to be filled in the manner suggested. In that event, the nomination would be accepted by the Minister, as he had accepted the original nomination of the three members - or the five, if he should agree to that number after further consideration; I trust that he will do so. I assume that he will not “ blackball “ any person nominated by either the Australian Woolgrowers Council or the Australian Wool Producers Federation. There is a special provision later that a defect in a nomination shall not cause it to be invalidated. That makes it certain that both organizations will have equal .representation. That is my first reason.
My second reason is that the money which the Australian Wool Board will disperse will have been raised by a tax on the wool-growers. There is provision later for the constitution of the “Wool Consultative Council, which will handle practically the whole of the Government subsidy. It is proposed that the producers shall have only one member on that body. When clause 14 is under consideration, I shall move for the appointment to the council of two members of the wool-growers’ organizations, so that each section of the wool-growers may . be represented on it. The woolgrowers, through the Australian Wool Board, should have the determining voice in this matter.
My third reason is that no explanation has been given why a principle adopted in the present act should be departed from. The act provides that the GovernorGeneral may appoint the members of the board upon the nomination of the Australian Woolgrowers Council. The board consists of a government representative and six members appointed upon the nomination of the council because when the act was passed the second body was not in existence. Now it is proposed that the representatives of both bodies shall constitute the Wool Board. It seems consistent that the democratic practice which has been in vogue for nine years, and has proved thoroughly satisfactory, should continue to operate. In order that both organizations shall continue to have equality of representation, I urge the Minister to accept the suggestion of the honorable member for Forrest.
– I am pleased to have seen a complete somersault on the part of the honorable member for “Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron), and I am proud that within a few minutes I have been able to persuade him to alter his opinion. Previously he sided with the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) with regard to the word “ shall “, but now he has even gone so far as to submit an amendment quite contrary to the argument advanced by him five minutes ago. As the Minister has promised that he will give consideration to my suggestion, and, provided there is no legal difficulty, arrange for consideration to be given to an appropriate amendment in the Senate, I am pleased to accept his assurance.
– There has been no somersault on my part. I have a wholesome contempt for an honorable member who is prepared to circulate an amendment and then abandon it. The committee has decided by 40 votes to 15 to adopt a certain principle, and has declared by that vote that members of the Opposition are wrong. If that be the considered view of the committee, the next thing to do is to make the present sub-clause consistent with that on which we have already voted. Otherwise there will be utter inconsistency and the measure will be unworkable. I am never worried when people talk about somersaults. I have witnessed the capacity of honorable members opposite, after having attended a caucus meeting, to declare that black is white, blue is yellow, and green is no colour at all. The only thing left to do is to take a division on the amendment and enable honorable members opposite to back up their change of front by a change of vote.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be left out (Mr. Archie Cameron’s amendment) stand part of the clause.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr.riordan.)
Majority . . 23
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– Sub-clause 6 reads -
The powers and functions conferred on the board by this act shall not be affected by reason only of there being a vacancy in the membership of the board.
What would be the position should two vacancies occur in the membership?
In view of the decisions already made sub-clause 7 is an amazing provision. It reads -
The appointment of any person as a membershall not be questioned on the ground that there was any -defect in the nomination of that person.
Does the Government anticipate a state of affairs inwhich defects may arise in the nominations of these persons? It has already induced a majority of the committee to accept a set of circumstances in which nominations will be full of defects. I should like elucidation of those two points.
.- On reference to the Acts Interpretation Act one would find that the singular imports the plural and vice versa. In any case, the point raised by the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) is amply covered by the plain intention of the bill as drafted. Whether there were one or more vacancies the procedure would be the same.
. -I should like elucidation of sub-clause 7, which states that the appointment of any person as a member shall not be questioned on the ground that there was any defect in the nomination of that per son. I could understand that clause if,, elsewhere in the bill, reference were madeto regulations, or rules, dealing with the nomination of members. Standing by itself, however, this sub-clause appears like a lone wolf.
– Subclauses 2 and 3 provide that three members shall be appointed on the nomination of the Australian Woolgrowers Council and three on the nomination of the Australian Wool Producers Federation. Sub-clause 7 is provided in case there be any defect in the nominations made by those two bodies. Sub-clause 6 has exactly the same wording as sub-section 8 of the corresponding section of the Wool Publicity and Research Act of 1936, and as the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) was a supporter of the Government which introduced that measure he should know the reason for its inclusion in the bill.
.- With respect to sub-clause 7, I point out that a wool-grower may be a member of a number of the associations which comprise the Australian Woolgrowers Council and the Australian Wool Producers Federation. I know of growers who are members of all of the bodies affiliated with the council and the federation. Should rivalry exist between the council and the federation, objection might he taken to the nomination by one body of a person who was also a member of the other body. It is conceivable that in such circumstances one organization might have four representatives on the hoard, and the other organization only two. That might be the reason underlying this sub-clause. However, it is arguable whether the clause as drafted will ensure representation on the basis intended. I agree with the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Lemmon) that further consideration should be given to the clause with a view to rectifying this defect when the bill is in the Senate.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 7 to 12 agreed to.
Clause 13 -
Subject to any directions of the Minister, the board shall have power to make arrangements with persons, authorities and organizations in Australia and in other countries for joint measures of publicity or other means for the promotion of the use of wool.
– Under the Wool Publicity and Research Act the board had complete initiative in the field of publicity, but under this provision the proposed board will be practically superfluous. I am so strong an advocate of producer control that on six occasions I have moved the adjournment of the House to emphasize the necessity for that form of control on an Australia-wide basis. This bill provides for control of the wool industry on an Australia-wide basis, but it does not provide for producer control. When the Government decided to introduce legislation designed to promote and increase the use of wool, the woolgrowers of Australia agreed to a levy in order to provide a fund for advertising wool, and the Commonwealth Government agreed to subsidize the amount so raised. Other industries, as, for instance, the iron and steel industry, have been granted subsidies without any contribution at all by those engaged in them. There is no need for the restriction which the clause in its present form imposes, as the Minister will be represented on the board by the Commonwealth Wool Adviser; he will have his own direct representative on the controlling body. Moreover, the money to the credit, of the fund can be expended by the board only in advertising wool and promoting its use; it cannot be used to buy expensive motor cars, or for any other purpose. And we must not forget that half the money will be contributed by the wool-growers themselves. The committee has already agreed to the appointment of an Australian Wool Board on which two organizations will have direct representation. As the representatives of those organizations and the Minister’s own nominee will be responsible for the expenditure of the money to the credit of the fund, is it necessary to obtain the permission of the Minister before expending money on advertising?
I foresee that, with the clause in its present form, difficulty may arise in obtaining men willing to carry on the board’s administration. I therefore move -
That the words “ Subject to any directions of the Minister,” bc left out.
The amendment, if agreed to, would leave the board un’trammelled. After the cessation of hostilities Australia may have difficulty in disposing of its huge stocks of wool, and the board should not, be subjected to harassing restrictions. The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) suggested that Australia should make a generous contribution of wool to India and China. In my opinion, Australia should assist the people of devastated European countries by supplying wool to them through Unrra. But we have not supplied wool as a portion of our Unrra quotas. That being so the Government should make a grant of wool to China, India and Poland to help them to become wool minded. We could also do something for Great Britain as a gesture of gratitude for what that country has done for us, but, with the clause in its present form, the board would be powerless to do such things. The present board, which the Minister agrees has done good work, has more power than the Government proposes to vest in the new body. The existing board has worked conscientiously and, within the limits of. its power, has been of great advantage to the wool-growers of Australia.
Sitting suspended from 5.59 lo 8 p.m.
.- Honorable members opposite have made much of the point that the organized woolgrowers of Australia should exercise exclusive control over the funds which are to be collected under this legislation. On general grounds there might seem to be something in their contention, but the fact is that the two organizations which this bill empowers to nominate representatives to the board do not by- any means represent all the wool-growers of Australia. As a matter of fact, I go so far as to say that they do not represent 50 per cent, of the growers. Therefore, it is only right that the Government,. which, will be charged with the responsibility of collecting the money, should see that it is expended in the interests of all the growers, and not of a section of them only. There are good reasons why many wool-growers are not members of the organizations named in the bill. For instance, the New South Wales Graziers Association, which is one of the organizations affiliated with the Australian Woolgrowers Council, was until quite recently affiliated also with the Australian Country party. Thus, had a wool-grower with Labour sympathies joined that organization, the money which he contributed to it might well be used to bring about the political defeat of his own party. The same thing applies to the Farmers and Settlers Association, which only recently dissociated itself, financially at any rate, from the Australian Country party on the ground that it wished to leave the way open for members of the Labour party to join it.
– It seems to me that the honorable member for Calare (Mr. Breen) was not speaking to the clause. As a matter of fact, the clause makes no reference to representation on the board, but provides that the board shall have power to make arrangements with persons, authorities and organizations in Australia for publicity regarding the use of wool. The clause also provides that the board shall exercise its functions in this direction “ subject to any directions . of the Minister “, and to this the honorable member for Wide Bay (ifr. Corser) has taken exception. The people of Australia are much concerned over the .tendency to centralize authority in the hands of Ministers, [n this case, we are to have a board six members of which are to be nominated by the two- largest organizations of wool-growers in Australia to control and expend funds, one half of which is provided by the wool-growers themselves, and by no one else. Let there be no mistake about that. As in the past, so in the future, the board will have to work in conjunction with other organizations overseas. Before the war, 90 per cent, of the wool grown in Aus tralia was exported, and only 10 per cent, made up here. During the war, the quantity manufactured in Australia ha* risen to nearly 15 per cent, and it may be that we shall be able to continue manufacturing that percentage after the war, but 85 per cent, will still have to be exported. The wool-growers’ organizations will naturally elect to the board those persons whom they believe to bebest qualified to carry out effective publicity designed to promote the use of wool. In 1937, when the Australian. Wool Board was first created, a conference was held in Melbourne between representatives of Australia,. South Africa and New Zealand, and it was decided that, instead of each dominion singing the praises of its own wool, the three of them should contribute to a common fund in London to be expended upon advertising wool in general, and upon encouraging its use. I believe that, after the war, markets for wool will open up of which we did not dream a few years ago. The application of plastics to the treatment of sheepskins may well create a tremendous demand for skins for the manufacture of women’s coats to supply a market that is closed to the fur trade because of the price factor. There is also a field to be exploited in India, China and other Eastern countries. Recently, I discussed this matter with members of the Indian Trade Delegation when they were in Australia, and also with a gentleman from Chungking, and with representatives from, other Eastern countries. They were all unanimous in their belief that the village co-operatives and cottage looms would, in future, provide a market for large quantities of Australian wool. It is necessary that we should send instructors to those countries to show them how to set up suitable machinery, and how to use it in the treatment of our wool. These activities should be inspired and directed by experts, and no Minister of the Crown, simply by virtue of taking an oath of office, can become qualified to direct such work. The Australian Wool Board is to be given authority to expend the money raised, and it should be trusted to do so in the way best calculated to produce results. For that reason, I hate the provision that the money is to be expended subject to directions by the Minister. The board should not have to run to the Minister for permission to expend the money in the way which it knows is best. The Minister is not qualified to decide such matters. He may say that he will consult the experts, but who are they? For the most part, they are gentlemen who live a monastic life amid the rustic beauties of Canberra, where they are entirely ignorant of the world and its affairs. These economists and theorists are not qualified to do a practical job such as are the men who will be nominated by the wool-growers’ organizations to represent them on the board. Therefore, I trust that the Minister will accept the amendment of the honorable member for Wide Bay.
I was particularly interested in the remarks of the honorable member for Calare. He is always interesting to listen to, but to-night he reminded me somewhat of a cow in a bog; the more we tried to get him out, the deeper he went into it. He said that a large number of wool-growers do not belong to either the Australian Woolgrowers Council or the Australian Wool Producers Federation, which will be represented on the Australian Wool Board and expressed, as an empiric opinion of his own, that less than 50 per cent, of the woolgrowers of Australia belong to those organizations. I cannot understand how he reached that conclusion. On the 21st March last, the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) directed the following questions to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) : -
The Minister supplied the following answers : -
– The Minister said that estimates had been given.
– He said that the numbers of sheep controlled by the Australian Woolgrowers Council and the Australian Wool Producers Federation were 60,300,000 and 39,000,000 respectively. Therefore, the total number of sheep owned by members of the two organizations was 99,300,000, and the number of sheep in the Commonwealth at that time was approximately 122,000,000. According to the figures supplied by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, only 20 per cent, of the sheep in Australia were owned by producers not represented by either of those two organizations. The tax will not be a poll tax on the wool-growers of Australia, but will be levied on each bale of wool. Consequently, the owners of the 99,300,000 sheep will contribute the bulk of the funds for wool publicity and research. They represent considerably more than 50 per cent, of the total number of woolgrowers of Australia. The argument advanced by the honorable member for Calare was ridiculous. He proceeded to accuse the Australian Woolgro wers Council of having political affiliations until recently, and surmised that that organization was affiliated with the Australian Country party or other non-Labour forces. He contended that no other grower who was not a member of that very august body, the Australian Country party, or of any other non-Labour party, could become a member of the council. If the honorable member spoke without (political bias, he spoke from a lack of knowledge of the true position. He is neither a wool-grower nor a primary producer. The Australian Wool Producers Federation, I understand, is a non-political body. The Australian Woolgrowers Council has never been a political body, and has never at any time in its history had political affiliations. With the exception of the New South Wales Graziers Association, which recently ceased to be affiliated with the Australian ‘Country party, the whole of the graziers’ organizations throughout Australia have had no political affiliations whatever.
– The New South Wales Graziers Association, originated the Australian Country -party.
– I admitted that the New South Wales Graziers Association, until recently, had political affiliations with the Australian Country party. I do not deny it. I believe in giving honour and credit where they are due.
– Order ! The honorable member has exhausted his time.
.- Although I have no strong feelings regarding this clause, it appears to me that on all matters of this kind the Minister should have a discretionary power, because in the final analysis, he must accept responsibility for the administration of this fund. If the administration of the board is a failure, it cannot be dismissed until the expiration of three years. The words “Subject to any directions of the Minister “ are rather far-reaching, but I assume that they mean that the Minister shall have the power to veto a proposal or arrangement that the board may make for publicizing wool. In its present form, the clause is logical and is in harmony with the remainder of the bill. I cannot see anything wrong with it. As the board will be responsible for the expenditure of approximately £1,000,000 on wool publicity during its three years term of office, the Government, through the Minister, should he empowered to say whether the money is being expended wisely or unwisely.For that reason, I consider that the clause should remain in its present form.
– The issue, which is very simple, resolves itself with a question of producercontrol of the producers’ money, and I am satisfied that when the case has been put, the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully), who has always advocated that principle, will support whole-heartedly the . contentions of the Opposition. At present, the Australian Wool Board controls the expenditure of its own money under the Wool Publicity and Research Act of 1936. Section 11 reads -
The board shall have power to make, with any authority, association or person, any arrangement which, in the opinion of the board, is likely to be conducive to -
the improvement of the production of wool in Australia; or
the increase and extension, by publicity and research or any other means, of the use of wool throughout the world.
The corresponding provision in this bill reads -
Subject to any directions of the Minister, the board shall have power to make arrangements with persons, authorities and organizations in Australia and in other countries for joint measures of publicity or other means for the promotion of the use of wool.
The board has been in existence for nine years, and no one has questioned the wisdom or quality of its work. Its funds may be described as “producer-money, obtained from a levy made by wool producers on themselves”. This organization was established at their request, and, therefore, these persons have the right to determine how they shall expend this money, especially as they have a record of wise administration. Honorable members should note that the Wool Use Promotion Fund will be financed by the imposition of a tax of 2s. on every bale of wool, and the Commonwealth Government will contribute an equal sum. That money will be controlled entirely by the Wool Consultative Council, consisting of eight persons, only one of whom will represent the wool producers, who will contribute one half of the money.
Clause 17 deals with the application of the fund. When the demands for wool research have been met, the moneys in the fund shall be applied by the board, inter alia, for promoting by publicity and other means the use of wool in Australia and throughout the world. In view of the fact that the expenditure on wool publicity will be less than the total contribution made by the wool industry, the board should be permitted, as it has been in the past, to control it. Insistence upon the retention of the words “ Subject to any directions of the Minister “ in clause 13 displays a lack of confidence in the whole system.
– The small wool producer wants that measure of control.
– The Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) has no knowledge of this subject. Regardless of the organization to which they may belong,, the wool-growers desire to control the- expenditure of the money that they contribute. When we deal with clause 14, I shall endeavour to obtain for growers the measure of control that they seek. At the moment, however, I emphasize that for nine years the Australian Wool Board has functioned in a manner satisfactory to wool-growers. It has not been subject to Government interference. Any attempt to alter that system should be resisted.
– I support the amendment. If the Australian. Wool Board, consisting of representatives of the Australian Woolgrowers Council and the Australian Wool Producers Federation, is to serve any useful service, it should not be deprived of the opportunity to make its own decisions. The members will possess a firsthand knowledge of the requirements of the wool industry. To make the board “ subject to any directions of the Minister “ will be to strip it of all authority. If the Government is sincere in appointing this board, it should avoid making it a .rubber stamp to record the desires and whims of the Minister. The position would be bad enough if the .board were subject only to the control and decision of the Minister, but we know that what is developing, cancer-like, in this community is the destructive power of bureaucratic control and guidance. Control measures have had certain values under war conditions, but they should not be tolerated with the return of peace. Honorable members should do their utmost to strip away these controls, and Ministers should he prevented from delegating their authority and responsibility to those upon whom they depend for advice. If the Government has a real desire to make the Australian Wool Board a useful instrumentality it should accept the amendment. If the words “ Subject to the directions of the Minister “ be retained, the board will have practically no functions of any value to exercise independently. The Wool Consultative Council that is to be set up will discharge practically all the functions for which the fund is to be used. To submit the Australian Wool Board to the veto of the Minister is completely contrary to the principle of producer-control. I therefore ask the Government to agree to the deletion of those objectionable words. Unless it does so, the board will be practically a rubber stamp and will become another instrumentality of bureaucratic control.
.- The Government cannot accept the amendment. The remarks of the honorable member for Calare (Mr. Breen) were pertinent, for he reminded the committee that a considerable proportion of the fund to be raised will come from wool-growers* who are not members of either of the two organizations mentioned in the bill and will have no representation on the board. The Government, therefore, has a duty to these individuals to see that the funds provided are wisely expended. The clause is being misinterpreted by honorable members opposite. If they will compare it with clause 12 they will see that the purpose is not in any sense ministerial control of a drastic nature. The preceding clause contains the words “ Subject to the approval of the Minister “. This clause contains the words “ Subject to any directions by the Minister “. The Minister may not give any directions, and if the board does its work properly and avoids extravagances be is not likely to issue any directions.
– But he will have power to do so.
– That is true. The real meaning of the clause is that the board shall have power to do all the things prescribed, subject only to any directions that the Minister may feel it necessary to give. The Minister will not interfere with the work of the board so long as it discharges its functions reasonably.
– Then why use the words?
– The words are there as a safeguard, in case the board should engage in unwarranted extravagance. In such circumstances, the Minister may say, “ You shall not do this thing “.
– The honorable gentleman said that the purpose of the clause was to safeguard the interests of woolgrowers who are not members of the organizations mentioned in the bill. Why not give those non-members representation on the board?
– That was one of the reasons why the words were used. The Government, as a matter of fact, is quite competent to represent the woolgrowers without the help of any board.
– Then why pull the wool-growers’ legs by this method?
– I have said that the Minister is not likely to interfere with the day-to-day administration of the board. He will intervene only if money is being expended extravagantly. The Government will not accept any amendment of this nature.
Mr. CHIFLEY (Macquarie- Acting
Prime Minister and Treasurer). -by leave - To-day the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) asked me whether the Government had made any arrangements for marking the occasion of the cessation of hostilities in Europe. This matter has been given consideration by the Government, and it is proposed that the Commonwealth Government will take the following action. I emphasize that this intimation does not mean that the cessation of hostilities is imminent. I am giving the information simply for the guidance of the general public of Australia.
It is being assumed, and it is probable, that advice of the cessation of hostilities will he received in Australia during the evening of the day on which the official announcement is made in Britain. This will be known as V-E Day. On this assumption the following arrangements are contemplated: -
In committee (Consideration resumed) :
– I was interested to hear the Minister say that the Government could not accept any amendment.
– I said any amendment of this nature.
– I have never before known of a government to be in the position of this Government, and I am still Avaiting to see whether it will accept any amendment of any kind. The speech of the honorable member for Calare (Mr. Breen) reminded me of the muzzled ox. How the honorable member can reconcile the speech which he delivered before the suspension of the sitting with that which he has just delivered is beyond my comprehension. The principle embodied in this clause is at variance with that contained in a clause we. passed earlier. In one case the Minister had no discretionary power, but in this case he can issue directions to the board and practically control the expenditure of the fund that is to be raised. The power of veto of M. Molotov at the San Francisco Conference has nothing on the power of veto that the Minister may exercise under this bill, for one power will expire within a few days, whereas the other may go on indefinitely. No two parts of this bill fit into each other. The . parts of a jig-saw puzzle will make a picture, but the parts of this bill will make nothing hut chaos. If the bill is to hang together at all, the amendment of the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Corser) should be accepted. It is of no use for honorable members opposite to moan about the provisions of the bill if they will not help us to amend them.
– The more I consider this bill the more convinced I become that it constitutes what is practically a confidence trick on the wool-growers’ organizations. The Government approached these organizations with the object of obtaining their concurrence in the establishment of research and publicity organizations, but it is now saying: “We will establish an Australian Wool Board, but the expenditure of its funds will be controlled by the Minister, and we will establish a Wool Consultative Council on which the growers’ organizations will have only one representative “. In relation to publicity, the Government says : “ We are going to take from the growers £325,000 “-that is the estimated amount - “ We are going to allow a board to be established to expend such portion of that money as we allow it to have “. That is governed by clause 17. It then says : “ But whilst it will be able to expend such portion of this money as we allow it to have, that expenditure will be subject to the control of the Minister of the day”. Therefore, actually, the sole control of the expenditure of this money of the wool-growers, plus the amount to be provided by the Government, is to be exercised entirely by the Minister of the day. The board will not be able to engage in any activity except in regard to publicity. The Minister said : “ The reason for our making the expenditure subject to the directions of the Minister is that a certain number of growers are not members of the different organizations”. Let me deal with that point. According to the figures given by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully), the Australian Wool Producers Federation represents 39,000,000 sheep and the Australian Woolgrowers Council represents 60,300,000 sheep. Therefore, at 2s. a bale the wool-growers represented by the Australian “Woolgrowers Council will contribute to the fund £180,000, and those represented by the Australian “Wool Producers Federation will contribute £117,000, a total of £297,000, leaving only £28,000 to be contributed by the other wool-growers who ‘ are not members of any organization. I said in an earlier speech that I regard as grossly inflated the figures in regard to the Australian Wool Producers Federation which the Minister gave to us.
I come now to the other point. The same Minister said : “ I intend to control the expenditure of this money, if necessary, because I believe that this board may at some time become extravagant”.
– He did not say anything of the sort.
– He did. The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction knows very little about wool, and a future Minister who has control of the matter may know nothing about it. Yet such a person is to be the judge as to whether a board composed of representatives of wool-growers is expending its money wisely or unwisely! Does the Minister” really believe that the growers who are outside these organizations would trust a Minister of the day rather than elected representatives of organizations representing ‘ sheep-breeders and woolgrowers. That is too silly for words. This is an amendment which the Government should accept. Apparently, however, it has taken the stand, ““We have the numbers; justice can go by the board “. It is another instance of a perfectly just case being denied recognition by the Minister.
.- The Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) argued that this clause provides for another bureaucratic set up. I maintain that it does not. If full powers in regard to the expenditure of this money were delegated to any appointed board, that would be the acme of bureaucracy. On the contrary, if the disbursement of the fund is made subject to the Minister’s control, that is, in fact, responsible government. I do not think that that can be gainsaid. This board is to be established for three years. It is not to be elected by the wool-growers, but is to be appointed from the nominees of certain organizations. In all probability, they will be good men. But they may know very little about the matter of publicity, which is a specialized activity, and, therefore, they will have to rely on outside advice.
– Does the honorable member consider that the Minister will know more?
– I am not suggesting that. But in the long run he must accept responsibility on behalf of the growers and the people of Australia, in the same way as the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) must accept responsibility in regard to the moneys that are collected from the whole of the taxpayers of Australia. The Parliament and the Government are responsible for the expenditure of all funds. That principle is inherent in this clause. It is not bureaucracy, but the antithesis of it.
.- I am in favour of grower control. With the words, “ Subject to any directions of the Minister “, there will not be effective grower control. The experience in Queensland of orderly marketing under grower control boards - and they are grower controlled, not subject to direction by the Minister - has proved that there is no necessity for those words. The Government seems to be fearful of what the growers will do with their own money. Almost every clause provides for the approval or the direction of the Minister. In Queensland there are seventeen grower-controlled marketing boards, and there is no record of any wild expenditure by any of them.
– The growers would throw them out if they were guilty of it.
– In double quick time. The point made by the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Wilson) has been illustrated in Queensland. The Queensland Butter Board, nominated by the organization and not by the growers, performs its functions with satisfaction to the growers. That is the only instance in which the State Government has not given to the growers the right to vote directly for the appointment of their representatives to a board. The members of that board are elected by the representatives of the butter factories. The executives of the wool-growing organizations are elected to their positions in the first instance, and are responsible to the growers of wool. Why would they not be concerned with the welfare of the wool industry? If we do not have confidence in representatives appointed by the growers, the matter becomes farcical. I should certainly have more confidence if they had the expenditure of their own money, and so would the growers. After all, they would have the handling of only a part of what is collected from the growers, because undoubtedly the Minister will direct that a part of it shall be paid into the fund, together with the full amount provided by the Treasury, and all of that money will be controlled by the Minister. Surely we can have sufficient confidence in the representatives of the growers deciding wisely !
.. - I was astonished when the Minister said that the words “Subject to any directions of the Minister “ are not words of limitation on the Australian Wool Board.
– I did not say that they arc not words of limitation, but that they are not very drastic limits.
– The difference between the two is similar to that between Eno’sFruit Salts and castor oil. The Minister told a very old story when he said that these are not words of limitation. Such a story was told by the wolf when he was digesting old Granny in bed. He was dressed in Granny’s clothes, and he said to Little Bed Biding Hood, “ There is no danger “. A Minister is no different from the wolf in Granny’s bed. Both are big bad wolves. One will eat up the wool-growers, as Little Bed Biding Hood was eaten. Whether drastic or not, these are words of limitation. The board will not have the power to make any arrangements with persons, authorities and organizations iri Australia and other countries, unless it gets directions from the Minister. All of that work will have to be done subject to the directions of the Minister. There is no likelihood of the funds being wasted. The honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Wilson) has said that the bodies which control the Australian Wool Board are of the unelective type. They arc elected by the organizations which, represent the wool-growers, just as the trade unions of Australia represent the working man. The Government has preached for years its faith in producercontrol. If it wants to be consistent, it must delete from the clause the words to which we object, hand the control to the producers themselves, and not impose the limitation that everything must be directed by the Minister. The honorable member for Wimmera, in-
– An excellent speech !
– It was a splendid speech, brimming with unctuousness, just as is the Minister who has interjected. Hesaid that Parliament is responsible for the expenditure of all funds. I remind him that the Parliament is responsible for seeing that all funds shall be expended, according to the provisions of the Audit Act. The Australian Wool Board has always discharged its functions in that way. That is the sole concern of the Government.
– The honorable gentleman will agree that we want to get the best value for the money.
– Of course we do! Does not the honorable member, as a practical wheat-grower and farmer, consider that he and those whom he represents would be far- more likely to obtain good value for the expenditure of their hard-earned cash, than would a lot of gentlemen who have derived their knowledge of wool-growing from reading books in the Parliamentary Library, or studying the sheep pastured on the Canberra common? The Minister, in order to be consistent, must accept the amendment. Ihope that he will do so.
Question put -
That the words proposed to he left out (Mr. Bernard Corser’s amendment) stand part of the clause.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. Riordan.)
Majority . . . . 23
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 14 -
There shall be a Wool Consultative Council for the purpose of advising the Ministers on matters concerning the Australian wool industry.
The council shall consist of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser and seven other members appointed by the Minister to represent respectively -
the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research ;
authorities concerned with technical education ;
the Australian Workers’ Union; and
the Australian Textile Workers’ Union.
The Minister may appoint a member of the Council to be the Chairman of the Council.
The Council shall meet at such times a nd places as are directed by the Minister.
.- In order to be helpful to the Minister, 1 intend to propose that, after the word “ members “, sub-clause 2, the following words be inserted : “ whose names shall be submitted to the Minister by each of the bodies or authorities mentioned hereunder, and shall be “.
An oversight seems to have occurred regarding the manner in which the members of the Wool Consultative Council are proposed to be appointed. Six members of the Australian Wool Board are to be appointed on the nomination of the Australian Woolgrowers Council and the Australian Wool Producers Federation, but an entirely different method is proposed in the appointment of the members of the Wool Consultative Council. This body is proposed to consist of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser and seven other members appointed by the Minister.
.- I have an earlier amendment. I move -
That, in sub-clause (2), after the word “of”, the following words be inserted: - “a representative elected by the Australian Woolgrowers’ Council, a representative elected by the Australian Wool Producers’ Federation “
Although I agree generally with what the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) has said, I desire to mate certain that there shall be an election of the representatives of the two bodies mentioned in my amendment. Their representatives should be elected in a truly democratic manner, as are the members of the Australian Wheat Board. Several other members are to be chosen, and only one will be a representative of wool-growers. Seeing that among the members of the council will be representatives of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Australian Wool Board, wool manufacturers, textile distributors, authorities concerned with technical education, the Australian Workers Union, and the Australian Textile Workers Union, surely it is only reasonable that there should be a representative of each of the organizations whose members own the wool, and which are actually the industrial organizations of the wool industry.
Question, put -
That the words proposed to be inserted (Sir Earle Page’s amendment) be so inserted.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr.riordan.)
Majority . . 21
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I ask the Minister to be consistent, and to provide that the various bodies which are to comprise the Wool Consultative Council shall be given the right to nominate their own representatives. Subclause 2 of clause 14 provides that - (2.) The Council shall consist of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser and seven other members appointed by the Minister to represent respectively -
I cannot believe that the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Johnson) will agree that the Australian Workers Union should surrender the right to nominate its own representative to the council. It is certainly offensive to suggest that such bodies as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the wool manufacturers and the textile distributors are not qualified to nominate their own representatives. Therefore, I move the following amendment : -
That, in sub-clause (2.), after the word “members” the following words be inserted: - “ whose names shall be submitted to the Minister by each of the bodies or authorities mentioned hereunder and shall be “.
I ask the Minister not to dismiss the amendment with a curt intimation that the Government cannot accept it. The impression is growing that the Minister has received instructions from some authority that no amendments are to be accepted. I do not say that that is true, but if it should be, then those responsible are simply making a f arce of Parliament. Though members of the Opposition should speak with the tongues of angels in support of amendments moved in the interests of the wool-growers and the ‘ public, there would be no prospect of any of them being accepted. I ask the Minister to use his own judgment in this matter, and not to be governed by instructions from elsewhere.
.- This measure is of great importance to the people of Australia because it affects directly what is probably Australia’s greatest national industry. Therefore, I thought that, when discussing it, honorable members would keep clear of party politics. However, members of the
Opposition have submitted one amendment after the other for the sole purpose of providing themselves with opportunities to put over political propaganda. I appeal to honorable members to give the measure their honest and earnest consideration. I can see nothing wrong with the bill. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) mentioned the Australian Workers Union, of which I am general president, and suggested that I would not agree to the representative of the Australian “Workers Union on the “Wool Consultative Council being appointed by the Minister. I remind honorable members that the procedure contemplated in the bill is exactly that followed in the appointment of representatives of the Australian Workers Union to other bodies. The union will submit a recommendation to the Government, and the Government will, in all probability, act upon it.
– But that is not provided in the bill.
– It is not likely that the Minister will appoint some one to represent the Australian Workers Union, for instance, without having been advised by that organization that the person is acceptable to it, and the same procedure will be followed in regard to the other bodies to be represented on the council. We know that when the general terms of this bill were being settled the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) had many conferences with the representatives of the organizations affected, and also with representatives of the consumers. Most of the opposition to this measure comes from tho representatives of vested interests. We have also to contend with the parochial outlook of some honorable members who maintain that this or that State should be represented.
– Do not be too hard !
– Yes, my remark applies to the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) as well as to those on the opposite side of the House. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison) suggested that Western Australia should be represented on the Australian Wool Board. As a matter of fact, I am just as much concerned with the interests of Queensland in this regard as I am with those of Western Australia. There has been evidence of too much parish pump politics in this debate. I represent a constituency which produces 50 per cent, of the wool grown in Western Australia, and the bill is acceptable to me. I approve of it, and I am prepared to accept responsibility for doing so.
– This is one of the two vital clauses of the bill, because it provides for the appointment of a Wool Consultative Council. The other vital clause is that which provides for the constitution of the Australian Wool Board, and the bill stipulates that the board may function only at the direction of the Minister. Now, in this clause, it is provided that the Minister shall appoint members of the Wool Consultative Council. It is clear that the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Johnson) is practically of the same opinion as the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott), who has moved that the various bodies mentioned in the clause should be given authority to nominate their own representatives to the council. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie claims that the Minister would naturally invite nominations from the bodies concerned.
– Recommendations, I said.
-Well, that is what we are pressing for, but at present there is no provision for it in the bill. ‘ The clause provides quite plainly that the members shall be appointed by the Minister.
– The honorable member knows that recommendations are always sought by the Minister in such circumstances and almost, without exception, accepted by him.
– Perhaps the honorable member would support an amendment to that effect. This is a period of life or death for the woolgrowers of Australia. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie, who is president of the Australian Workers Union, the greatest organization of workers in Australia, knows that, in matters affecting the bread and butter interests of the members of that union, the Minister does not select the union’s representatives. Yet when the bread and butter interests of an organization of primary producers are concerned he says that the representatives of that body should be chosen by the Minister. No industrial union would stand for such interference in. its affairs. I do not know of any act of Parliament which provides that representatives of industrial organizations shall be selected by a Minister, and why there should be any difference when an organization of primary producers is concerned is beyond my comprehension. Why should primary industries be shackled by control being in the hands of politicians and departmental officers? A big job requires to be done, but that job is not being entrusted to the wool-growers, who are the persons most concerned. Primary producers should have the same rights as other organizations enjoy. The amendment of the honorable member for New England merely seeks to provide that primary producers shall be entitled to ielect their own representatives.
– I cannot accept the amendment of the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott). Opposition members have said that, so far, I have not accepted any amendment moved by them. The reason is that such thorough investigation of the various matters associated with this measure was made before the bill was introduced that a good case has uot been made out for any proposed amendment. This clause proposes to set up a Wool Consultative Council whose main function will be to advise the Ministers concerned - the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, the Treasurer, the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction and the Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research - as to how the money in the Wool Research Trust Account ought to be expended, I remind the committee that that council will be a consultative body, and will not have any executive powers. It will not be in constant session, but may meet only three or four times a year. The composition and the personnel of the council were agreed upon by representatives of wool-growers’ organizations after consultations extending over many days! The chairman of the Australian Wool Board and the chief officers of the two organizations proposed to be represented on the reconstituted board were present at those discussions, and they agreed that the council should consist of seven members besides the Commonwealth Wool Adviser.
– We do not. disagree with that.
– The honorable member claims that the organizations to which he referred reflect the opinions of wool-growers, but in this case they do not do so. As I have said, the organizations representing the wool-growers of Australia agreed to the proposals embodied, in this measure.
– Did they agree as to themode of selection?
– Yes, the draft bill was submitted to them and they agreed, to it.
– Did they agree to the selection of representatives being made by the Minister?
– Yes. They did that before thebill was brought before Parliament.
– I understand that the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) has asked the Minister to agree that each of the bodies referred to in the clause shall nominate its own representative on the council. In reply to that request, the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) mentioned the Ministers concerned with this measure. I was not previously aware of that. I should like the Minister to tell us what reason there is for opposing the amendment of the honorable member for New England which provides thatthese bodies should nominate their own representatives. I was unable to follow the reasoning of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Johnson), but the arguments of the honorable member for New England appear to be unanswerable. As he said, no industrial union would agree to the principle embodied in this clause, yet the honorable member for Kalgoorlie would have other organizations treated differently. It is only fair that such bodies should appoint their own representatives and I should like to hear from the Minister good reasons why that should not be done.
– I do not know of any measure which provides for more representative control of an industry than is embodied in the bill before the committee. In the early stages of the preparation of this legislation the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Pollard), who is assisting me, went to Melbourne, in company with Mr. Swan, a departmental officer with wide experience in matters affecting wool, to discuss the Government’s proposals with Mr. Boyd. After discussions lasting several days, the major provisions of the bill were agreed to. Mr. Boyd wrote tq me about several minor matters and asked me to see Mr. Cowdery, the president of the Australian Woolgrowers Council, and Mr. Hitchins, of the Australian Woolgrowers Federation, and I agreed to do so. After that a bill was prepared, and it later was examined in my office, clause by clause, in the presence of those gentlemen and experts from the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce and Agriculture, and Post-war Reconstruction. Some amendments were agreed to. At the conclusion of the conference, a draft bill similar to that now before the committee was definitely agreed to by representatives of organizations of woolgrowers, and therefore it is not correct to say that the measure has not the endorsement of the representatives of the wool industry. The men to whom the draft bill was submitted were earnest in their desire to have a bill which would be acceptable to the industry. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) will agree with what I have said, because he had a consultation with the representatives a little later.
– They did not tell me much.
– I do not think that they told the honorable member that they had not agreed to the bill.
– I have no doubt that representatives of the different organizations were consulted in the preparation of the bill; but that does not relieve honorable members of the responsibility of giving thorough consideration to the measure. I am sure that had the faults disclosed during the course of this debate been revealed to the representatives of those organizations they would agree with the views being expressed by honorable members on this side. I believe that were these short comings made known to the rank and file of the wool-growers, some of their leaders would be asked to answer for their action in accepting this measure. It is now apparent that the proposed board is merely a palliative to the growers, because it will handle only a certain amount of money and will not be able to do very much publicity work. The Wool Consultative Council 13 purely an advisory body, which shall meet only when requested by the Minister to do so, and matters of policy arising from its deliberations will be the subject of decision by three Ministers. Consequently, authority for the expenditure of moneys will reside in the Ministers concerned. The growers will have only one representative on the council, namely, the board’s representative, and he will be chosen by the Minister. The board itself will have no voice in selecting its representative on the council. I do not agree with that set-up. I fail to comprehend why the Minister refuses to agree to the different bodies concerned nominating their representative on the council. It would appear that the Government, having introduced the measure, is determined to push it through without alteration, regardless of the logic of the observations of honorable members on this side. Apparently, the Government will stand to the measure simply because it has the numbers to push it through. I repeat the suggestion I made in my second-reading speech and again urge the Government to set up a board fully representative of the growers, but comprising representatives of all phases of the industry from the production to the distributing end. This board should be given full executive powers in order to enable it to deal effectively with the different problems confronting the industry. Recently, a new form of rayon was evolved in Great Britain. Prior to the discovery of this rayon, which is made principally from seaweed, it was impossible ‘to use the finest of our wools, but after treatment with an emulsion it is now possible to weave the finest wools. The woven material is immersed in an alkaline solution, the synthetic solution originally put into the fibre being completely dissolved, leaving only the finest woollen cloth. Here is a development of immense value to the industry, and I cite it as an example of the line of action upon which a body fully representative of the industry, and clothed with executive power, could direct its attention. Only in that way will the industry be able to deal effectively with its problems. I also point out that a campaign is now going on in this country with the abject of creating the impression that rayon is being developed in the interest of wool. “Wide press publicity is being given to that idea. In the example I have just cited, synthetic materials can help wool; but I emphasize that the people interested in rayon are out primarily to benefit themselves, and not the wool industry. Matters of this kind pertain to research, and a body, fully representative of the industry and clothed with executive powers, should be enabled to deal with such matters in the best interests of industry. I ask the Minister if he will give an assurance that the Wool Consultative Council will meet at least three times a year. I also ask him to explain why he refuses to accept the amendment which is designed simply to enable the interests concerned to nominate their representatives on the Wool Consultative Council. I am sure that the representatives of the growers would welcome the amendment. I repeat that they agreed to the measure as submitted largely because they were not aware of shortcomings which have been disclosed in this debate. I appeal to the Minister to accept the amendment if only to establish harmony in the industry.
.- I have listened with great interest to the debate, and particularly to the remarks of the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) this afternoon, when he intimated that some of the suggestions made in the course of the debate may yet be considered before the bill reaches the Senate. This clause is the most important in the bill. The measure is cited as a measure “ To make provision for improving the production and increasing the use of wool “, and it repeals the Wool Publicity and Research Act of 1936. One can only conclude that the latter measure did not prove satisfactory, and that the machinery provided under it did not meet the needs of the industry; and, consequently, the growers, of their own volition, asked that it be replaced by this measure. Personally, I am not concerned with the first part of the bill, because I do not think that it is within the competence of the growers to do anything more than grow wool. This clause deals with the really vital aspect of the measure. The proposed board is not competent to give an opinion on the scientific side. The Wool Consultative Council is to consist of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser, and members appointed by the Minister to represent the seven bodies specified. The first of these is the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research whose representative will be competent to deal with the scientific side. The representatives of the other interests enumerated, namely, the board, wool manufacturers and the textile distributors, .will not be competent to deal with that aspect. The representative of authorities concerned with textile education may be competent to give such an opinion. Should we fail to provide a proper scientific set-up, this measure will not be worth the paper on which it is printed. Apparently, the board fell down on the job allotted to it under the measure passed in 1936. Had those people been competent to do their job, there would be no necessity for this measure, which the Government has introduced at the request of the growers. I repeat that the really important part of the measure does not concern the growing of the wool, but development on the scientific side, and the discovery of new uses for wool. However, I do not quibble with the proposed composition of the Wool Consultative Council, but I suggest that the Minister amend sub-clause 2 by adding the words, “ and such other members as the Minister may from time to time appoint”. As scientific investigations proceed we shall find more and more people competent to express an opinion on that aspect, and they are the kind of people whom the Minister should have power to co-opt at a later date when more information is available regarding development of the industry on the scientific side. This is the only clause that really matters in the bill because it rein les to the wider uses of wool. This 13 a problem for scientists, whereas growers, or their representatives, are not competent to give advice in that sphere. I urge the Minister to accept an amendment along the lines I have suggested. As to whether members of the Wool Consultative Council should be nominated or elected, I contend that we should be consistent, and the principle which we apply to one part of the bill should be retained throughout it. During the last fifteen years, I have had considerable experience of boards and believe that their personnel are the only people with heads of reinforced concrete. They are absolutely incompetent, and are always the excuse for the classic method of government in this country which, at the best, is government by suspicion.
.- No speech to which I have listened in this chamber more revealed a person’s ignorance than the rambling speech of the honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha). His remarks were an insult to the Australian Wool Board, which has been in existence since 1936. It was recognized that further wool research was necessary, and because the funds at the disposal of the board were not sufficient for the purpose, the wool-growers were invited to make a greater contribution, and the Commonwealth Government was approached to introduce legislation to enable research work to be undertaken. That is why the bill is now before honorable members.
Regarding the personnel of the Wool Consultative Council, I submit that, democracy does not mean autocratic selection by the Minister. Because the method of selection proposed in this bill is not in conformity with democratic principles, I object strongly to it. Despite the agreement reached between the Commonwealth Government and representatives of the wool industry, the rank and file of woolgrowers throughout the length and breadth of the land will protest against ministerial selection alone. I cannot imagine the Minister applying a strict interpretation of this clause to the Australian Workers Union and the Australian Textile Workers Union, because they would not accept his dictation. As president of the Australian Workers
Union, the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Johnson) has outlined the attitude of his organization to the proposal, and I know from experience that the unions will select their own representatives and. recommend them to the Minister, who will meekly accept them. I ask that the nominees of the other groups mentioned in sub-clause 2 shall be similarly accepted.
.- Whilst I agree with the principle of the amendment, I am not able to see how the bill prejudices it. The clause does not provide that the Minister shall select the members of the Wool Consultative Council.
– Why not put the position beyond doubt?
– The clause provides for “seven other members appointed by the Minister “.
– The distinction is that the Minister will not select the representatives, although he will appoint them. That is clear from the wording of the clause. If that assurance could be given by the Minister, it would satisfy members of the Opposition. In general practice, such bodies as the wool manufacturers and textile distributors would select their own representatives for the Wool Consultative Council. It is only right that they should.
– In essence, they will.
– The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) assures me that those bodies will select their own representatives, and in general practice, the Minister will appoint them.
– The Minister may veto them.
– He may, but I feel confident that he would not do so. The organizations themselves would become very vocal, and rightly, if he did so.
– It will be too late when the bill has been passed. Now is the time to be vocal.
– One cannot lay the charge against members of the Opposition that they have not been vocal, and if the Minister were to reject the nominees of those various bodies, honorable members would hear a good deal about it. Perhaps an assurance from the Minister would relieve the minds of honorable members opposite.
– The Minister naturally will consult these various bodies with regard to their representatives.
– The speech of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Johnson), who is the president of the Australian Workers Union, indicates that some supporters of the Government believe that the various organizations named in subclause 2 will select their own representatives on the Wool Consultative Council. If their interpretation be correct, I ask the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) whether he is prepared to accept an amendment providing that “ The council shall consist of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser and seven other nominated members appointed by the Minister “. At present, those persons must be approved, and in fact, they will be selected and appointed by the Minister. The honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) claimed that the Wool Consultative Council will be a scientific body, and that in that respect, the Australian Wool Board’s nominees are of no value. He contended also that the representatives of the wool manufacturers and textile distributors would be unable to tender scientific advice, as members of the Wool Consultative Council. Then he stopped short, and did not explain bow the council would benefit from the scientific advice of the representatives of the Australian Workers Union and the Australian Textile Workers Union. The honorable member stated correctly that this clause is a valuable part of the bill. Whilst agreeing with that statement, I point out that this legislation does not deal only with scientific wool research. The honorable member made disparaging remarks about the Australian Wool Board, which has been in existence since 1936, and explained that the present hoard is abolished because it is useless. Evidently the honorable member forgot that the Minister had previously complimented the board upon its wonderful record of service. The previous legislation on this subject was enacted under the title, “Wool Publicity and Research Act 1936 “. This bill is entitled the “ Wool Use Promotion Bill 1945 “. Science is, of course, of the greatest value to the wool industry, and scientific research is one feature .of the measure. The Australian Workers Union is another feature of it. The people whose bread and butter is at stake deserve consideration. If the Minister will not accept the amendment, I ask him to agree to the Australian Wool Board, the wool manufacturers and the wool distributors each having the right to select its own representative.
.- It is obvious that heavy responsibility will rest upon the Minister in connexion with the selection of the representatives that will constitute this council, each member of which must be of the right calibre. The remarks of the honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) indicate how narrow scientists can become in their views._ The fact is, of course, that the scientist needs the help of the practical man, and the practical man needs the help of the scientist. As a practical man engaged in the fat lamb industry, I have problems which I need to refer to scientists. A proper balance of scientists and practical men will be necessary on this council.
The honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Adermann) chided the honorable member for Denison with ignorance, and attacked him because he criticized the work of the Australian Wool Board which was constituted under the 1936 legislation. If the honorable member for Maranoa had examined the facts more carefully he would have been aware that the first approach in connexion with this matter was made by the Government and not by the Australian Wool Board. The Government expressed the opinion that the functions of the board could be greatly enlarged to the advantage of the industry and it proposed a £t for £1 subsidy under certain conditions. The result of the subsequent negotiations was that a levy of 2s. a bale of wool was agreed upon. The honorable member for Maranoa displayed ignorance in attacking the honorable member for Denison on that, point.
– I would not have participated in this discussion except for the aspersions that have been cast on the work of the Australian Wool Board. I have observed the activities of that board during the last nine years. It has done extraordinarily good work. It has contacted some of the finest scientists in the world, and has placed its funds freely at their disposal. The result has been a great improvement in the quality of our wool, and in the woollen textiles that have been manufactured. I referred in my second-reading speech to the substantial advantage that had resulted from the use of unshrinkable wool in the manufacture of socks for soldiers. In the old days after a pair of socks had been Washed a couple of times they had shrunk So much as to be useless. Very fine work has been done at Torridon and the Australian Wool Board is entitled to a share of praise in this connexion. Its activities under the old levy of 6d. a bale were so satisfactory that the wool-growers voluntarily agreed to increase their contributions to 2s. a bale, and they are no more ready than other people to part with their money. I agree with the honorable member for Denison that scientific investigation is necessary. It is a pity that the present proposals are not more elastic in that regard. The Wool Consultative Council should have authority to co-operate with the Scientists. It is also necessary, however, that both the wool manufacturers and the textile distributors should have a place on the council. The distributors ure able to give valuable advice about the kind of textiles that people favour and the manufacturers need to be in touch with the work of the council so that they may give advice from their point of view. The wool belongs originally to the wool-grower. Nobody else is to make any contribution to the fund, except the taxpayer. Surely, therefore, the wool-grower should have the right to say how the Wool Consultative Council should be constituted.
– As the Minister has pointed out, the Wool Consultative Council is one of the most important of the bodies to be constituted under the act. Its chief function will be to advise Ministers in connexion with the working of the act. The chairman of the council should be the Commonwealth Wool Adviser. He will be the link between the publicity and the promotion sections of the Government’s proposals, as well as between the scientific research and the research in connexion with the textile industry to be carried out by other bodies with the money that is to be provided. The chairman must be a scientist of the highest standing. Not only must he have a thorough knowledge of biological research, but in addition he must be competent - as is Mr. Wilsdon, of the British Wool Research Association - to conduct research in relation to fibres and manufactured cloths. Despite the fact that the Minister has refused to accept every amendment so far submitted, we cannot be accused of acting in a party political sense in this matter. I was astounded when the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Johnson) said that, having considered the measure closely, he regarded it as a very good one - so good that it could not be improved; therefore, it did not need further consideration by the Parliament. I do not believe that there is any legislation which 74 members, imbued with determination, cannot improve. All of them view it differently, and probably notice points that have been overlooked by the Minister and his advisers in the drafting of it. The full discussion given to a bill provides means whereby it can be improved. This bill would be very greatly improved by ensuring that the Commonwealth Wool Adviser shall be the chairman of the Wool Consultative Council. Accordingly, I move -
That sub-clause (3.) be left out with a viewto insert in lieu thereof the following subclause: “ (3.) The Commonwealth Wool Adviser shall be the Chairman of the Council.”.
– The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) almost, but not quite, per.suaded me to accept the amendment.
I agree with almost everything that he said. The Commonwealth Wool Adviser will co-ordinate the work of the Wool Consultative Council. Nevertheless, an occasion might arise on which a representative of one of the other organizations represented on the council would make an even more competent chairman. I say quite frankly that such a situation is not likely to arise. It is almost certain that the Commonwealth Wool Adviser will be the chairman of the council. But I do not want to tie myself completely in that respect. The honorable member can rest assured that the Minister will use his discretion wisely. If the Commonwealth. Wool Adviser is the best man for the task, he will be appointed to the position.
– I move -
That, in sub-clause (5.), after the word “places”, the following words .be inserted: - “ but not less than three times each year “.
The Wool Consultative Council will be an important body, which will advise Ministers. Therefore, it is necessary that it should meet at regular intervals.
– I cannot accept the amendment. In my opinion, there is no justification for it. It may be necessary to hold only two meetings in one year, four in the next year, and six in the next year. Why tie the Minister down to any given number? He will call the council together as often as it is required to meet.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 15 - (3.) Moneys standing to the credit of the Research Account may be applied in any manner approved by the Ministers for the purposes of this Act, including the following purposes: -
– Paragraph a of sub-clause 3 provides that moneys standing to the credit of the Research Account may be applied to the purpose of scientific, economic and cost research in connexion with the production and use of wool and goods made wholly or partly from wool. I move -
That, in sub-clause (3.), .paragraph (a), after the word “ .production “ the following words be inserted : - “, carriage, distribution “.
It will be essential for the Wool Consultative Council to investigate from time to time the cost of the carriage of wool, not only on the railways of Australia, but also, and particularly, from Australia to the United Kingdom, Europe, and the East. I recall to the Minister’s mind an occasion some years ago when we had a tremendous fight against the overseas shipowners association to effect a. reduction of the wool freight from Australia to Europe and the United Kingdom. That fight continued for some years and eventually we were able, largely through the instrumentality of the Cooperative Steamship Company, whose vessels the Primary Producers Association of Western Australian chartered, to effect a reduction of approximately Jd. per lb., which in the aggregate represented a saving of hundreds of thousands of pounds per annum. The matter of wool freights must be investigated. Tremendous research can be done in connexion with it, because there is no equality in regard to freights between the different countries. As I pointed out earlier, the freight is far greater on frozen meat than on wool from Argentina to the United Kingdom, whereas the reverse is the position between Australia and the United Kingdom. A matter which has caused great concern to wool producers is the greatly increased cost given to wool as the result of the costs of processing and distribution. The intermediate costs between the production of the raw article and the time when the finished product reaches the purchasing public add to the difficulties of the growers in the selling of wool in competition with synthetic products’. Very little has been done in the way of research for the purpose of reducing the cost of distribution. Some work in that direction was carried out in Great Britain in 1938 by Mr. Cronje, a representative of South Africa On the International Wool Secretariat, who showed that the prime cost of wool was only from 8 per cent, to 14 per cent, of the cost of the finished product. That disparity is altogether too high. Wool is subjected to many manufacturing processes from the time when it is shorn until the finished article appears in retail establishments, and every process adds to the final cost. When I submitted my previous amendment, the Minister admitted that I had almost convinced him that it should he accepted. I hope that on this occasion I have completely convinced him that the amendment before the committee should be made.
– The amendment is not at all necessary. Subclause 3 provides that moneys standing to the credit of the Research Account may be. applied “ in any manner approved by the Ministers “ for the purposes of the act, including certain purposes that are specifically mentioned. One of the purposes of the measure is to secure the expansion and betterment of the wool industry generally, and the carriage and distribution of wool are, in their widest sense, matters which may be approved by the Ministers, and are included in the purposes of the bill. It is true that paragraph a of sub-clause 3 indicates some of the purposes, but these are preceded by the words “including the following purposes “. That does not exclude any other purposes which may be approved by the Ministers. I can assure the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) that the matters referred to by him will be taken into account as soon as the Wool Consultative Council meets.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 16 agreed to.
Clause 17 -
– This is one of the most important provisions of the bill. The fund is to be raised by the wool-growers of Australia, and 80 per cent, of the growers’ contributions will be provided by the members of the Australian Woolgrowers Council and the Australian Wool Producers Federation. The growers would not have consented to the Government having the right to allocate those funds to purposes other than those determined by them. The funds belong to the growers, and they have the right to dispose of them, in the manner they think proper, through their representatives on the Australian Wool Board. This clause breaks down the whole idea of producer-control of boards appointed to deal with the sale of various commodities. I move -
That, in sub-clause (1.), the words “Ministers shall determine the proportion “, be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ Board shall determine the proportion, if any “.
I urge the Minister to keep faith with the wool-growers of Australia, who have made arrangements with him for the administration of this fund. The Minister stated that they would be satisfied if 25 per cent, of the funds collected from them by means of the levy on wool were allocated to the research fund, but I am assured by the representative? of the two bodies concerned that no such arrangement was ever made. There will be a distinct breach of faith with the growers if they are not permitted to handle their own funds. I see no necessity for this clause, and it is hard to understand why the Government wishes to take money from the control of the growers’ representatives without their consent. The annual income of the fund will be about £650,000, of which the Government will provide £325,000. The research programme provides for the expenditure of £100,000 in the first year, £175,000 in the second year, and £305,000 in the third year, or a total of £5S0,000 in the threeyear period. The Government would pay into the fund £975,000, while the expenditure would be £580,000, leaving a reserve of £395,000. The estimated capital expenditure on buildings and plant for research purposes is estimated at £400,000, so that, after the first three years, the most that the Government could seek from the growers’ fund would be £5,000. Surely it is not suggested that the board would refuse £5,000’ to the Government in such circumstances.
The growers are seriously concerned over the possibility that the Government, in a time of financial stress, might yield to the temptation to divert the money from the purposes for which it was originally intended. I do not say that the present Treasurer would yield to such a temptation, but treasurers come and go, and there are good treasurers and bad ones. It may happen that there will at some time in the future he a treasurer who would say, “ The wool-growers do not need all this publicity. We will stop our contribution to their fund.” The Minister is to be given power to say what proportion of the fund shall be devoted to publicity and what proportion to research. A Minister may say that nothing is to be expended on publicity, but all on research. That is what the growers are afraid of. They ask that they themselves shall be given authority to administer the fund to which they have contributed. Therefore, I ask the Minister, as a staunch democrat, to act in a democratic way, and to allow those who raise the fund to administer it for the benefit of the industry and. of Australia.
.- The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) has moved a number of amendments to-day, and when arguing in support of the last one he almost convinced me that it would be a good thing, in regard to his present amendment, however, I can say without any hesitation that in no circumstances would the Government entertain it for a moment, for a number of reasons. In the first place, this money is to be collected by a tax. Government taxing machinery is to be used as the instrument for its collection, and, therefore, the Government must be the final authority in determining how the money will be expended. It would be different if the growers, by their own action, collected the money. They would then be perfectly entitled to expend it how they liked. Listening to the honorable member for New England, one might be pardoned for thinking that that was actually what was to happen. He said that the growers themselves would collect the money. That is not true. It is the Government which will collect the money in the form of a tax. There are other reasons, also, why the Government must be the final arbiter in determining how much of the money shall be used for research. In order to draw up a research programme, it is necessary to look many years ahead, and to know how much money will be available year by year. It would he impossible to organize an effective programme if it were open to the board to say at any time, “ No money will be made available from the fund for research purposes this year “. The Government must know how much money it will have at its disposal.
– The amendment, if agreed to, would not prevent the Government from obtaining that information.
– Yes, it would. It would empower the board itself to decide how the money, which is to be raised by a levy on wool, would be expended.
– That is so.
– Well, the Government cannot and will not agree to that. Of course, the Government will consult with the board.
– That is not provided in the bill.
– ‘No, it is not.
– Quite a lot seems to have been left out of the bill.
– The Government may say that, in its opinion, 75 per cent, of the money raised is to be expended on publicity in any one year, and 25 pei cent, on research; (but if the Government had no say in the matter the board might decide that 100 per cent, of the money should be expended on publicity.
– And on promotion.
– Yes, and on promotion. Well, the Government cannot agree to that. This is the first government in the history of Australia which has made such a generous gesture to the wool industry as it is proposed to make in this bill. Without any approach having been made by the wool-growers or the Australian Wool Board, the Government has said that, in its opinion, the wool industry is so important to the future of the country that it proposes to expend a great deal of money on research into the industry. It is only fair that, since the Government is to provide a large amount of money for this purpose, the industry itself should provide some.
Finally, the point has been well taken by some speakers that part of the money which is to he raised ‘by taxation will be obtained from growers who are not members of either of the. organizations to be represented on the board. The Government has a duty to them to ensure that the money which they contribute is properly expended.
.- The wool industry is probably the most important in Australia, and it is necessary that, in working out any scheme for its improvement, there should be a full measure of co-operation between the industry and the Government. The industry has readily agreed to make a contribution of £325,000. The board will consist of men who are keen to make a success of the industry in which they are engaged, and they will not be likely to stand in, the way of anything which would be in its interests. If the Government will accept the amendment it will do something to counteract the irritating tactics to which the industry has been subjected, and the lack of co-operation shown by the Minister during thi3 debate. Never previously in my parliamentary experience have I seen proposed amendments given so cold a reception by any Minister. The wool-growers of this country will not oppose any proposal of the Wool Consultative Council which is in the best interests of the industry. I ask the Minister to accept the amendment, and in that way promote greater harmony among all concerned in this important industry.
.- It is unusual to have so many important proposals for the improvement of a measure summarily rejected by the Minister in charge of it. The Government should pay some attention to the views of honorable members on this side, particularly those who have a sound knowledge of wool-growing. In supporting the amendment, I emphasize the statement of the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) that as the money will be provided largely by wool-growers it should be expended under their direc tion. When that point was made, the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) said that the money would be raised by taxation. That is a specious argument, because half of the money will, in fact, be provided voluntarily by the woolgrowers, and the Government will merely act as agenrt for the woolgrowers in collecting it. As the money will belong to the wool-growers, the fund should be administered by them. I agree with the Minister thai it is not always possible to say how much money will be required each year for research, but I suggest that the way to deal with that is not to make inroads on the moneys provided by the wool-growers, but to increase the government subsidy. I understood, and I believe my colleagues have been of the same opinion, that although the wool-growers, in consultation with the Minister for Commerce, and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) and the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, agreed to many things, they did not agree to the way in which the money was to be expended. Therefore, I regard some of the proposals in this bill as a breach of faith on the part of the Government.
– That is a serious charge to make.
– I believe it to be a breach of faith, and therefore the Minister should reconsider his decision not to accept the amendment of . the honorable member for New England.
– In rejecting the amendment proposed by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott), the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) made some exaggerated statements. The Minister apparently overlooks the fact that the growers have voluntarily agreed to increase the levy on wool which they themselves pay. It now appears that, in doing so, they have lost all control of that money. In its present state, the bill provides for Government control of the wool industry. I agree with the Minister when he says that the present Government is the first administration to make such a contribution to the wool industry; but this is the first time that it has been seriously challenged. Should the wool industry fail to meet the challenge, the greatest source of revenue will be lost. The Government is interested in assisting the wool-growers because the destruction of their industry would mean a serious loss of revenue. The failure of wool to meet the competition with which it is confronted would mean considerable loss of employment, and the Government would be a big loser. The small subsidy which this bill provides shall be paid by the Government is small in comparison with the revenue which the Government derives from the wool industry. If the Government really wishes to assist this industry, it should cease to pay a subsidy on the production of synthetic fibres, and should also cancel the arrangements made to establish a factory for the production in Australia of synthetic fibres to compete with wool. No subsidy that the Government pays to the wool industry can compensate for the damage that will be done by establishing a factory for the manufacture of synthetic fibres.
– I should not have spoken on this clause but for certain remarks by the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction. (Mr. Dedman). I support the amendment moved by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) because it seeks to provide that the growers shall exercise control over at least a portion of the funds provided which they themselves contribute. However, the Minister in the course of his remarks stated that in allocating the subsidy provided under the measure the Government was doing more to assist the industry than had been done by any previous government. The honorable member for Wide Bay Mr. Corser) made a very good point when he stated the reason why the Government’s interest in the industry has never been so pronounced as” at present. We know that, wool now faces serious competition from synthetic fibres. I remind the Minister that the Government’s proposed subsidy of £325,000 will be taken from taxation revenue and does not represent benevolence on the part of the Government. At the same time, Australia’s annual wool cheque is approxi mately £70,000,000, and an expenditure of £325,000 represents an insurance premium of, about $ per cent, in relation to the wealth safeguarded by maintaining and encouraging the development of this great industry. The Government would have fallen down entirely on its job had it failed to realize the urgency of giving every possible financial assistance not only to maintain but also to expand this industry which is the greatest individual contributor to the economic well-being of Australia. Therefore, the proposed subsidy of £325,000 is a contribution for the purpose of maintaining our taxation base, because, obviously, should the income earned by the industry be reduced, the Government’s source of taxation also will be seriously reduced. Therefore, failure on the part of the Government to heed the representations of the growers would be suicidal. The growers have volunteered to tax themselves at the rate of 2s. a bale provided the Government subsidizes their contribution to an equal amount. The maintenance of the industry is essential to the welfare of Australia. Apart from, the direct financial aspect, the industry provides substantial employment and maintains our economic stability. It helps us to meet our external liabilities as well as maintain our internal economy. Therefore the Government cannot claim that it is acting benevolently towards the industry in subsidizing the growers’ contributions to an amount of. £325,000 annually. I repeat that that is a very small insurance premium in order to safeguard our economic well-being as a nation.
.- In answer to arguments advanced in support of earlier amendments, both the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) and the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) told the committee that representatives of the wool-growers’ organizations had agreed to this measure, and therefore honorable members should accept the bill as drafted. It is clear that this provision was not agreed to by the growers. Had they realized that from 1 per cent, to 99 per cent, of the money contributed by them could be utilized by the Government for purposes other than those for which they thought it should, be used, they would have set up a hue and cry throughout the length and breadth of the land. The Government proposes to take £325,000 annually from general revenue. That is a large amount to be expended on research. However, I believe that the growers, because they realize the necessity for research, would agree to the Government taking something like 25 per cent, of their contribution to be expended on research. That would provide an additional £80,000 annually, making a total of over £400,000 for that purpose. However, publicity is also of great importance for the success of the industry. If we are to encourage the sale of our products throughout the world, we shall need to expend hundreds of thousands of pounds to undertake a worthwhile publicity campaign. However, after adding £80,000 of the growers’ contribution to the Government’s subsidy of £325,000 to be used for research, approximately £200,000 would be available for publicity. The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction has said that the Government’s contribution under this measure represents the most munificent offer ever made to the industry. I remind him. that long before the Government ever thought of raising this money, the necessity for a special tax on wool was realized by representatives of the growers throughout Australia. Indeed, last session I mentioned the necessity for such a scheme, before the idea was ever put forward by the Government; but, before I mentioned the matter, representations had been made by the growers emphasizing the necessity for concerted action on the part of the industry to publicize wool and to engage in research in the interests of the industry. This measure really flows from the growers to the Government; it is not the bright idea of the Government. However, the Government has sufficient sense to realize the wisdom of the growers’ proposals. I again ask the Minister to amend the clause to provide that not more than 25 per cent, of the growers’ contributions shall be used for research. I have not the slightest doubt that a board consisting of growers’ representatives would be prepared to agree to the amount being increased should they be convinced of the necessity for additional research. At the same time, they have a -right to know that the larger portion of their contributions will be expended in publicizing wool. If the Minister will not accept the amendment now under consideration, will he consider an amendment along the lines that I have indicated?
– When the’ interested parties met in conference, I explained that approximately 25 per cent, of their contributions, but no more, might be appropriated for the research fund, and that principle was agreed to. I remind the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) that during the period in which the Australian Wool Board exercised complete control over all the money collected for wool publicity, nearly £200,000 has accumulated. Under this bill, the Commonwealth Government will allocate to the new board approximately three times the amount of money that the original board controlled. Although the Government may earmark up to 2.5 per cent, of the collections for research purposes, a colossal sum will be available to the board for publicity.
– Does the Minister mean that the board has accumulated an amount of nearly £200,000?
– Yes. That sum has not yet been expended.
– Over what period was it collected ?
– It has accumulated since the outbreak of war, because no advantage was to be gained in advertising woollen goods after- the introduction of clothes rationing.
– The honorable member for Deakin will note that the board will receive per annum approximately three times as much money as it formerly controlled. That should be more than a reasonable sum for expenditure on wool publicity.
– The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) has tried to bolster the Government’s case for retaining this clause in its present form, by announcing that the Australian Wool Board has accumulated approximately £200,000, collected for wool publicity. The honorable gentlemanomitted to explain that that amount had accumulated since the outbreak of the war, when it became futile to advertise the advantages of woollen materials. When clothes rationing was introduced for the purpose of limiting the purchases of woollen goods, it became unnecessary to advertise wool products in Australia, Great Britain or the United States of America. Yet, very unfairly and unjustly, the Minister accused the board of accumulating £200,000, which had been collected for wool publicity.
– I did not accuse the board unfairly.
– The Minister drew an unfair inference from the fact that the board had accumulated £200,000. If he will examine some of the pre-war budgets, he will discover that the Australian Wool Board was starved for money for publicity, particularly in comparison with the enormous expenditure by the manufacturers of synthetic materials, such as Samuel Courtauld and Co. (Australia) Proprietary Limited. One firm of rayon manufacturers will expend in twelve months more than the total funds available to the board for the promotion of wool, and wool research. If we sincerely desire to make a success of this project, we must realize the necessity for expending money on promotion, which does not consist of smart captions such as “ Wear more wool “ and “ Wool does not irritate your skin. “. We must have publicity in the press and from broadcasting stations, and exploit the untapped markets of the East.
The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) made the extraordinary statement that -we must plan our research programme for years ahead, and earmark every penny available for that purpose. Is not the Minister aware that we have done that for the lust six years?
– How much has been expended?
– Approximately £60,000 was collected by the Australian Wool Board. The honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) hurled insults at the farmers in Australia. May I say that I have never seen a better personification of a character in Dr. Cronin’s book, The Citadel, than the honorable member for Denison. He declared that the woolgrowers did not know anything about scientific research or publicity. He implied that they were ignoramuses. The honorable member thinks that he becomes a scientist because he has a few degrees. Let me recall for his information some of the persons who have been renowned in the scientific world, but who did not have the advantage of going to a university and who were not able to “ tack “ a few letters on to their names. For example, there is Mr. Euston Young, who has carried out research work in Queensland.
– Is he a member of the Australian Wool Board?
– He is a leading pastoralist, and may easily be a member of the board. His research into the genetics of sheep-breeding is some of the most important work of its kind in the world. Mr. J. H. W. Mules, who has no university degrees, has attained his eminence unaided. His discovery has provided more benefits for the wool-growers of Australia than any other single discovery in the treatment of blowflies. Dr. Clunies Ross, Professor of Veterinary Science in the University of Sydney, has paid tribute to the valuable work performed for the wool industry during the past few years by Mr. Mules. Mr. Marston, who has no degrees, has done excellent work in the dietetics of the sheep industry. His researches are conducted in the laboratories of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, attached to the Waite Institute in South Australia. He was trained by Sir Brailsford Robinson, one of the greatest scientists ever to come to Australia. Mr. Wilsdon, the head of the British Industries Wool Research Centre at. Torridon, has no university degrees. The Austrian monk, Mendel, who also held no university degrees, conducted researches into the laws of breeding and made one of the greatest discoveries in the world. Was Lawrence Hargreaves a university man? Was he the accredited representative of the British Medical Association? He was not! He was not one of those doctors who boasts of scientific achievements.
Finally, I mention the name of Luther Burbank. It makes me angry when I hear an honorable member make such ignoramt statements as did the honorable member for Denison.
The Australian Wool Board accumulated a fund of £200,000 because the outbreak of war restricted wool publicity. But, in future, just as we must budget for research, so also must we budget for increasing the use of wool by means of a publicity programme. If the Australian Wool Board is given the right to control this fund, it will expend a considerable sum of money. What the wool-growers do not want is control of the expenditure of their funds by a Minister in a Government which has not collected, them. The Minister quibbles about words. He says that the growers do not collect the money. Of course they do not! When there is a mass collection machine such as the Treasury, why should they? But whether they put it in themselves, or it is collected from them by the Government, it comes out of their pockets. For that reason, the Government should accept the amendment and allow the Australian Wool Board to say what proportion of the fund it will give for research, purposes.
Question put -
That the words proposed tobe left out (Mr. Abbott’s amendment) stand part of the clause.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. Riordan.)
Majority . . . . 23
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Australian Army: Borneo Operations - Apples : Cancellations of Tasmanian Shipments for United Kingdom - Australian National Films Board - Man-power: Women’s Hairdressing Trade - Migration : Dictation Test.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
I inform the House that Australian troops of a famous division which served in the Middle East are participating in an action that is now taking place against the Japanese in Borneo. Further news of the action will be contained in the communique issued by the CommanderinChief, South- West Pacific Area, General Mac Arthur.
.- I would not have imposed on honorable members at this hour had it not been for an outrageous action in Tasmania. Because of the most unfortunate and serious position which arose, residents of the United Kingdom have been denied the delivery of 113,000 cases of apples. The cause was an alleged failure by the waterside workers of Hobart to observe the customs of the port and to carry out award conditions.I cannot do better titan quote what appeared in a Tasmanian newspaper yesterday. It reads -
Failure by Hobart waterside workers to give an assurance that they will not repeat demands made on a former occasion, and will observe the custom of the port, has resulted in the cancellation of shipping space for a consignment of 113,000 cases of apples for the United Kingdom. A considerable quantity of the fruit, which was to have been lifted shortly, already is on the Hobart wharves.
It is known that the British Shipping Controller expressed dissatisfaction at the fact that the first ship which lifted fruit at Hobart this season, when exports to Britain were resumed after a break of four year*, was allowed to leave with space unfilled.
Mir. E. Ross, deputy representative for Tasmania for the British Ministry of War Transport, made the following statement on Saturday: - “ Urgent representations were made by the Australian authorities to the British Ministry of War Transport to allocate refrigerated shipping space for the carriage of apples this year from Tasmania to the United Kingdom. As a result two vessels were nominated to load at Hobart. “During the loading of the first vessel, which took place recently,- the Waterside Workers Union demanded that all men, whether employed trucking fruit or aboard the ship, must be paid to the same hour. This involved paying the shedmen for an hour or thereabouts while they were idle, and the waterside workers were fitting insulated hatches aboard the vessel at the conclusion of each night’s loading. “ The regulations of the shipping company owning the two vessels nominated to load Tasmania!! fruit, like certain other companies which have customarily served the Tasmanian fruit trade, require that the insulated hatches bc fitted at the conclusion of loading each day, so that some of the refrigerating equipment may be operated to assist in the good carriage of the fruit. “During the loading of the first vessel the union’s men carried into effect their threat. Following this a telegram was received from Sir Thomas Gordon, Director of Shipping, for conveyance to the Waterside Employment Committee, reading -
You must make it perfectly plain to the Port Committee that the Federation must guarantee that they will observe and work award conditions, otherwise the projected additional fruit loadings will be cancelled.’ “ Various discussions have taken place since that notification was given a fortnight ago, but as the Stevedoring Industry Commission informed Sir Thomas Gordon that the men had refused to give the required assurance, advice was received from Sydney on Friday that the fruit load:ng had been cancelled, and that the loading of the second vessel would now be confined. to general cargo only. This decision was postponed until the very eleventh hour, when the point was reached that other arrangements had to be completed elsewhere for the filling of the vessel’s refrigerated space.”
The people in Great Britain are starving for this fruit. Apples are wasting and rotting in Tasmania, and because of the action of somebody the people of the United Kingdom are being deprived of the fruit. I am not discussing the merits or demerits of the case, because I do not know them, but there can be no merit in holding up in time of war supplies which the people of Great Britain urgently require.
Surely we have sufficient boards, tribunals and regulations to enable all industrial differences to be adjusted without resort to direct action of this description. The worst feature is that the alleged action of the waterside workers has resulted in the fruit loading of the second vessel being cancelled altogether although some of the fruit was on the wharfs awaiting shipment. After four years without fruit shipments overseas, Tasmania is faced with the serious effects of the disloyal action of those who are responsible for the cancellation of this shipment overseas. The growers of apples are greatly perturbed at the withdrawal of the shipment of the large quantity of apples which they contemplated would be exported. I appeal to the Minister to take whatever action is necessary to insist that these vessels shall be loaded. The Australian authorities were successful in their representations to the British Ministry of “War Transport for securing refrigerated space to send the muchneeded apples to the United Kingdom, but the effort has been frustrated by the action of somebody who has blundered. The stage has now been reached when transport in limited quantities is available, but it appears that 113,000 cases of apples cannot be sent to our kinsmen on the other side of the world. As the matter is most urgent, I hope that the Minister will ensure that the second boat shall be loaded, even if it be necessary to call on members of the fighting services to do the job. I am sure that nobody would be more pleased than members of the services if the fruit could be despatched to the people overseas who are in dire need1 of it.
– Earlier in the day, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison) directed a question to me concerning the decision of Cabinet to establish a National Films Board. He read from a newspaper a certain item that was dressed up in a way which apparently appealed to his fancy, and I promised to make a statement later concerning the Cabinet’s decision. t a meeting of Full Cabinet yester day it was decided to establish a National Films Board under the chairmanship of the Minister for Information. The duties of the board will be to expand, promote, assist and co-ordinate the production and distribution and the importation of films for purposes of school and adult education, rehabilitation, social development, international understanding, trade and tourist expansion, and immigration.
In addition to the chairman, members of the board will be Dr. H. C. Coombs, Director-General of Post-war Reconstruction, or his deputy; Mr. J. F. Murphy, secretary of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture, or his deputy; Mr. K. Binns, Librarian of the Commonwealth National Labrary, and Professor Stout of the University of Sydney, representing the Documentary Films Society. The Government will also invite the State Directors of Public Instruction, through the State Premiers, to nominate a representative of secondary and primary educational bodies. The seventh member of the board is yet to be selected by the Government.
The establishment of the board follows a series of conferences, the first of which, called by the Government in September last year, was widely representative of Commonwealth and State instrumentalities interested in the production of documentary, fact, and educational films. Represented at this conference were Commonwealth departments, including the fighting services, State Departments of Education, universities, technical schools and organizations concerned with adult education and training and upon the decisions of the conference the proposals now adopted by Cabinet were based.
An immediate responsibility of the board will be to train a number of Australian technicians, so that an Australian production organization may be built up that will be able to make films equal in quality to those produced by the British Ministry of Information, the Canadian Films Board and other overseas units specializing in this type of film production. With the assistance of the British Ministry of Information inquiries have been proceeding for some months with a view to bringing to Australia two film technicians experienced in documentary film production who will organize the production activities of the board and train Australian technicians. As soon as the board meets the results of these negotiations will be placed before it and arrangements completed to bring the specialists to Australia.
In addition to its specialized national interests, the board will, with the approval of the Treasurer, provide financial assistance to Australian producers to facilitate the production of films approved by the board as being consistent with the advancement of Australian prestige at home and abroad. The board, for administrative purposes, will be attached to the Department of Information, which will be the Commonwealth authority responsible to the board for the production or supervision of films approved by it.
The distribution of films produced or acquired by the board will be effected, in the case of non-theatrical films, through the Commonwealth National Library, which will act as the central distributing agency within the Commonwealth and be responsible for the storage of master copies, cataloguing and classification, and bibliographic research. The board hopes to continue the distribution of films and their exhibition in commercial theatres through the National Films Council, an honorary organization representing commercial film exhibitors that has, since the beginning of the war, co-operated closely with the Department of Information in all matters effecting Commonwealth film activity.
State governments will be invited to form State advisory committees to advise the board., which, on request and at the expense of the States, will produce or acquire approved films and make available the facilities of the board for the purposes of visual education in the States. The board will also take action to assist in the acquisition and ultimate standardization throughout Australia of equipment for non-theatrical exhibition.
. - I bring to the notice of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holloway) what I regard as a serious anomaly. I recognize that the Minister cannot be aware of everything done by the man-power authorities, and I believe that if cases of. injustice arc brought to his notice he will do his best to rectify them. My complaint has to do with the action of the authority in placing a ban upon the employment of apprentices in the ladies’ hairdressing trade. This ban has been in force since May, 1943. The industry was given to understand that the ban would be progressively relaxed, but, far from that being done, it has now been extended to cover students in training at hairdressing colleges. The master hairdressers originally agreed to the imposition of a ban became they recognized that at that time there was a shortage of female labour for other industries, but they believed that it would be relaxed as soon as possible. Indeed, they were told that permits would be issued for the employment of students who had had one year’s training at a licensed college. They were also told that permits would be issued in cases of hardship when firms had lost so ma.ny employees that they were unable to carry on. Hairdressing businesses, in the meantime, have been carried on, mainly Avith senior staffs, but the loss of staff which has been great since 1943 has not been made good by replacements. In 1944, only 26 college students and 23 other assistants were allowed to enter the trade, although there is in Sydney a great number of establishments engaged in ladies’ hair-dressing. In 1944, the manpower authorities were approached with a request that apprentices should be allocated to the trade through the State Apprenticeship Commission, which would ensure that the trade was not flooded with cheap labour. This application was rejected, mainly on the representations of the Hairdressers Union, which also objected to the issue of permits to college students.
However, an exception was made in the case of students who had had two years’ training, and, strangely enough, this happened to coincide with the curriculum of the union college. However, the manpower authorities decided to ban all apprentices, but the ban applies only to Sydney. In all the other capital cities, apprentices may be taken from colleges or, alternatively, girls between the ages of fifteen and seventeen may be taken into the industry. As a matter of fact, the man-power authorities have no power of direction over girls between those ages. The effect of the ban in Sydney is that girls must either remain at home or go into some industry other than the one of their choice. They may enter a hairdressing college, but they may not go into the industry. If they take a twelvemonths’ course at a college, their training if) wasted unless they are allowed to enter a hairdressing establishment afterwards. The ban drove many girls into training colleges. If they have a year’s training in a college, for which they pay a fee of about £40, it counts as two years’ apprenticeship in the trade itself. Hairdressing firms were prepared to accept this condition because it was recognized that the training at the college had the effect of rubbing off the rough edges. The trouble is that many parents in poor circumstances made a serious sacrifice to scrape together enough money to send their girls to a college for a year so that they might enter this popular occupation of hairdressing. Now, after the girls have finished a year’s training, they are prevented from entering the trade. They must find something else to do, or their parents must try to scrape up another £40 to enable them to take a second year’s course. There is a number of hairdressing colleges in Sydney. Amongst them there is one controlled by the master hairdressers, and the other by the Hairdressers Union. These colleges, I understand, constitute a lucrative business. The union, which was formerly in straitened circumstances, has recouped its finances as a result of the activities of the college. The master hairdressers want apprentices to come into the trade, but not with the object of getting cheap labour. As a matter of fact, only a limited number of apprentices would be allowed to enter. The union, however, does not want apprentices. I cannot understand its attitude in this respect, although, perhaps, the Minister can enlighten me. The union is accepting girls as students at its college and taking their fees for training them for twelve months. Now it is suggesting that they should continue their training for another twelve months, for which they must pay an additional fee. This necessarily places a heavy burden upon parents in poor circumstances as compared with those who are better off. The action of the union operates against the poor whilst assisting the rich. In this connexion, I shall read the following extracts from a letter which I received recently : -
Numbers of eases of extreme hardship could be mentioned. We have evidence of girls, whose fathers are fighting in the north, or are prisoners of war, prevented from learning the trade because they cannot afford it. fu our own school, we have girls completing their year’s course and unable to find the wherewithal for a further year. One of our students has a sick father, who can only work occasionally. The mother has taken the burden on her own shoulders, and at great sacrifice to herself, paid for her daughter’s training. The girl has completed her year, and has a position waiting for her. The mother cannot continue for another year. The girl herself is frail, and totally unfitted for factory work or similar employment. In another case, a city hairdresser with many years of experience in training hairdressers, is unable to take his own daughter into his business, but must pay two years’ fees to a college if he wishes to obtain the necessary man-power permit.
There is no ban upon boys being apprenticed to men’s hairdressing, and we can see no reason for this distinction between the sexes. Ladies’ hairdressing is just as important to the personal hygiene of a woman as is a haircut and shave to a man.
I ask the Minister to make inquiries into this matter.
– I direct attention to what appears to be a serious misuse of the dictation test provisions of the Immigration Act as they are applied to merchant seamen of allied and friendly countries. I shall refer to a typical case - that of James Franklin Carpenter, aged 22, chief electrician on an American tanker who was charged at the City Court, Melbourne, on the 24th April, with being a prohibited immigrant. I understand that this man missed his ship through his own fault on the 7th April, and that when he went to the ship’s berth on sailing day he found that the ship had sailed. He reported at once to the United States consulate and was sent by consular officials to the Immigration Section of the Department of the Interior. Having made a statement about missing his ship, he was taken by detectives to Russell-street watch-house where he was locked up without being charged. On Friday, the 13th April, an official administered to him a dictation test in French, which he failed to pass. At the hearing of the court case, the Council for Civil Liberties provided legal representation for him. When the magistrate intimated that he intended to convict, Mr. J. V. Barry, K.C., pointed out that several men had recently been convicted in Melbourne on a similar charge and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment He suggested that there was an onus on the authorities to find a ship for a seaman who had missed his ship, and that the gaoling of such seamen for months was an improper use of the courts. He proposed that the magistrate should impose a sentence of only a few days’ imprisonment with the object of giving the authorities sufficient time to place the man in a ship’s company. The magistrate said that he agreed with much of Mr. Barry’s submission, and imposed a sentence of fourteen days’ imprisonment. I understand that six American seamen are now serving sentences of three months’ imprisonment in Pentridge gaol. I ask that a ministerial instruction be given that the Immigration Act dictation test shall not be applied to allied seamen who happen to have missed their ships, and have not intended to try to remain in Australia as residents. Merchant seamen are facing great risks in serving the cause of the United Nations, and they have a right to be treated justly. The Government has accepted the view that British seamen should not be subject to the harsh provision of the original National Security Regulation 51, and the revised form of this regulation is much more satisfactory.
I press for an investigation of the way in which the dictation test is being applied to alien seamen; and should it show the facts to be as I have outlined, I ask that an instruction be issued that the present practice must cease.
. - I understand that the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) is considering the matter raised by the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Guy) with a view to overcoming the difficulties that have been mentioned.
I shall bring to the notice of the Minister concerned the remarks of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Fraser) with a view to an immediate investigation of the treatment of allied seamen who fail to join their ships being
– I have been impressed by the seriousness of the statements made by the honorable member for Went worth (Mr. Harrison). I have no doubt that some of the matters which he raised can be explained satisfactorily, but in order to make sure I shall discuss them with Mr. Bellemore, the UnderSecretary for Labour in New South Wales and also with the man-power authorities and the Hairdressers Union, I know that there are several hairdressing colleges in New South Wales; one is conducted by the union, and another by the master hairdressers, and there are also some private colleges. The man-power authorities have interested themselves in seeing that some hairdressers do not have too many juveniles while others cannot get sufficient assistance. It is not quite true to say that the man-power authorities have no control over girls between fifteen and seventeen, years of age and have not the right to direct them, and, indeed, they do not wish to direct them; but they can prohibit an employer from employing girls of the ages stated. . Should an employer engage several girls of, say, sixteen or seventeen years of age, without first obtaining the permission of the manpower authorities he would be liable to punishment. The primary object is to see that young girls are not enticed to pay premiums to be trained in callings which offer no future prospects. I believe that a good deal of exploitation has gone on in the past. I have helped to obtain amendments to legislation dealing with employment in shops and factories, in order to prevent exploitation of young people by persons who accept a premium, employ them for a few months, and then put them off and engage others. I am not suggesting that the colleges referred to by the honorable member adopt that practice. The primary object is to ensure that juveniles, male or female, are distributed evenly in various callings, and thus prevent certain employers from obtaining an unfair proportion of employees whilst others are unable to obtain any. The charges made by the honorable member are so serious that I shall have them investigated by the manpower authorities. I shall also ask for reports from the union concerned, and the Under-secretary for Labour in New South Wales.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Air Force Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1945, No. 49.
Defence ‘ Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1945, No. 46.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for - Commonwealth purposes -
Fortitude Valley, Queensland.
Gawler, South Australia.
Postal purposes - Wodonga, Victoria.
National Security Act -
National Security (Emergency Control)
Regulations - Orders -
Dental treatment for civilians (No. 2).
Military powers during emergency.
National Security (General) Regulations - Orders -
Control of overseas postal communications.
Taking possession of land,&c. (41).
Use of land (2).
Regulations - . Statutory Rules 1945, Nos 47, 50. 51, 52, 53, 54.
Norfolk Island - Report for 1942-43 and 1943-44.
House adjourned at 12 midnight.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Munition’s Establishments : Lithgow Small Arms Factory ; Pencil Sharpeners.
– The honorable member for Griffith recently brought to my notice the position regarding the supply of paint in Queensland and requested that supplies of zinc to Queensland be increased to meet local requirements. The position is that although sufficient zinc is available for this purpose, extreme difficulty has been experienced by the manufacturers in obtaining adequate man-power for the manufacture of zinc oxide, which is the material required for inclusion in paint. Owing to the acute man-power shortage and the unpleasant nature of the work involved in this particular industry, sufficient labour has so far not been obtained. To supplement present inadequate local production arrangements are in hand for the procuring of supplies of zinc oxide from overseas sources.
y asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
From what account were funds, if any, d rawn -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
No charges have been made against Commonwealth funds other than the costs of providing ordinary travel facilities available to federal members during recess. 2. (a) The normal Commonwealth accounts to which costs incurred in the transport ot federal members are usually debited. In the case of those members who travelled by air the difference in cost between air passage and surface passage was met from private funds;
n asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers : -
r asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
y. - On the 22nd March, 1945, the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) asked whether it is considered equitable that the Vegetable Seeds Committee should he exempt from prices fixed by the Prices Commissioner, particularly as the committee is empowered to prevent private merchants from selling at the official price or at any other price. Further, he asked would appropriate steps be taken to alter the present position? In reply, 1 wish to state that as the Vegetable Seeds Committee is a Commonwealth authority it is not subject to the provisions of the National Security (Prices) Regulations. However, I am informed that close liaison exists between the committee and the Prices Branch, and in the circumstances no action is considered necessary.
d asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The Minister for Social Services has supplied the following answers : -
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers : -
t asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers : -
n asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice -
Mr.Ward. - This question should have been addressed to the Minister for the Interior, who supplies the following answers : -
Department of Post-war Reconstruction.
asked the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, upon notice -
n. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Land Settlement of Ex-servicemen.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
y. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions areas follows : -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 1 May 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1945/19450501_reps_17_181/>.