House of Representatives
5 July 1945

17th Parliament · 3rd Session

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

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Acting Prime Minister and Minister for the Army · Capricornia · ALP

– It is my melancholy duty formally to inform honorable members of the tragic death early this morning of the Prime Minister, the Right Honorable John Curtin.

To-day, the Australian nation mourns and offers to this common man, this son of the people, a tribute of affection, gratitude and honour, which has been offered rarely, even to kings. For this man was truly one with the masses who populate our country. He had striven and struggled among them, and when he came to the highest place in the land he was still one of them.

John Curtin is as one to-day with those fighting men of our race who have given their lives that we might live. For them, interposing, as he himself put it, their bodies between us and the enemy, he worked day and’ night for many weary months and years that they might have the strength to hold out. For the British race and for the cause of the United Nations, he did everything that was in his power to shape policies that would produce the maximum effort on the part of this country.

As I said earlier to-day, the captain has been stricken in sight of the shore. His memorial stands around us - a free land, a free people. And I feel that he has chosen his own epitaph - in the words of Swinburne, which he quoted to the Australian people on that momentous day, the 8th December, 1941, when Japan struck. They were -

Come forth, be born and live,

Thou that hast help to give,

And light to make man’s day of manhood fair,

With flight outflying the sphered sun,

Hasten thine hour

John Curtin’s work was done, well and faithfully done. Nothing remained for fulfilment, but the laurel wreath of victory and the benefaction of peace. And so he was called home to rest. It may be said that the call came before its time. But I think I interpret the feeling of allmen when I say that I am thankful that he was spared for so long during this dreadful struggle to guide our nation’s destiny.

It is true that he had dreams for the future. He had an abiding faith in the future national greatness of Australia, and I recall the vivid picture he painted of what he could see for the future in a speech that he made in Sydney in June, 1943, when addressing theNew South Wales conference of his political party.But it was not to be for him. For those of us who remain, he has set a course to follow, and the best tribute we can pay to his memory will be to do as he would have wished us to do.

In this regard, his faith in Australia was expressed by himself on that day in April, 1939, when, in this place, be offered the sympathy of his party to the family of the late Mr. J. A. Lyons. Mr. Curtin said then : “ We believe that the country that yielded such a man can continue to produce such men”. When the hour arrived, Australia produced John Curtin, and now that he has gone this country is without its leader. In this moment of grief, I am sure he would, if he could, say to us to have faith in ourselves and to carry on the task of building our nation to greatness.

We, in this Parliament, here and in another place, have lost a colleague. We have lost, too, a guide and a friend. And Parliament, as a democratic institution, has lost one of its staunchest adherents, who revered it, and did much to uphold its dignity and influence.

We of the Federal Parliamentary Labour party cannot assess our loss in a measure of words. His period of leadership, extending over the record term of nine years, nine months and five days, commenced at a time of trouble in the party’s fortunes. His untiring work, shining example, and high ideals raised it to its zenith, and to-day it has a strength unapproached at any time in its history. All of us will treasure those rare moments when, with the informality of which he was suddenly and spontaneously capable, he would chat with us individually or in groups. To those ofus who had the honor and privilege to sit under his chairmanship in the Cabinet room, he gave a wealth of knowledge which will stand us in good stead.

I had refrained from referring to the feelings of persons, governments and countries other than our own. but I feel that, as a tribute to Australia, it should go on record here that during this morning and this afternoon expressions of sympathy and deep regret have been received from all parts ofthe world ; and, on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia, I acknowledge them with pride and gratitude. The tributes paid by the world to our great Australian, reflect John Curtin as a world figure. That is very fitting, for John Curtin worked for all humanity. In the course of my recent visit to England and America I found that on his tour abroad last year he had made a profound impression upon the statesmen and peoples of both of those countries.

And so we now bid farewell to a man for whom, I am confident, history will mark a place as Australia’s greatest son. It is a consolation to every one to knowthat this gallant, happy warrior passed on without pain. He faced the last great crisis, fortified by the philosophy which had seen him through so many personal and political crises, both before and after he became Prime Minister. His last words were spoken to his dearly beloved wife, his constant and never failing helpmate and counsellor.

I place on record the formal account of the late Prime Minister’s public service -

In 1924, he was a delegate to the International Labour Office Conference at Geneva and visited Britain. During 1927-28, he was a member of theRoyal Commission on Child Endowment - and I pause here to add that he lived to see his minority report translated into law by an act sponsored by his own Government. In 1928, he was elected to the House of Representatives for the division of Fremantle, and was a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Public

Works from 1929 to 1931. He was defeated at the general election in 1931. The Government of “Western Australia appointed him as its advocate before the Commonwealth Grants Commission from 1933 to 1935. In 1934, he wa<= again returned as member for Fremantle in this House and he has represented that division since. He became leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labour party on the 1st October, 1935, and was Leader of the Opposition in this House until the 1st October, 1941, on which clay he became Prime Minister and Minister for Defence. He had previously joined the Advisory War Council - in October, 19-1:0 - and had given of the very best that was in him in assisting the Government of the clay in its endeavours to speed up Australia’s war effort.

His Majesty the King created him a Privy Councillor in May, 1942. Mr. Curtin attended the conference of Prime Ministers in May. 1.944, and during his stay in London was received by His Majesty and was formally sworn as a Privy Councillor. He was made a Freeman of the City of London and an honorary Doctor of Law of Cambridge University. The Lord Mayor of London told me that the speech made by John Curtin on the occasion when he was made a Freeman of the City of London was one of the most brilliant speeches he had ever heard in that historic building in which the ceremony took place. During his visit, overseas, lie met the late President Roosevelt in the United States of America and was also received by the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. McKenzie King, at Ottawa. In our frequent meetings at San Francisco, Mr. McKenzie King regularly asked after his great personal friend, John Curtin, and with deep emotion, asked me to express to him his sincere wishes for a. speed-y recovery.

Tt should be noted that Mr. Curtin was Prime Minister continuously for a longer period than any previous holder of that office from his party - three years, nine months and a day. The late Mr. Andrew Fisher held the office for a greater period, but during three distinct terms.

Those are the biographical details of a career about which many volumes could be written. Death has written “finis”, but death can never take from our heartsand minds the memory of John Curtin. it is now my sad task to submit the following motion: -

That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of the Right Honorable John Curtin, member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Fremantle, and for more than three years Prime Minister of theCommonwealth of Australia; places on record its appreciation of his distinguished public service; and tenders to his widow, his son and. daughter, and all ‘ relatives, it3 profound, sympathy in their bereavement.

Leader of the Opposition · Kooyong

– I second the motion. We all grieve for Mrs. Curtin and her family and pray that they may have consolation in the memory of a just, upright and honoured life, devoted to the service of the Australian people. I also extend my deep sympathy to the Government and to the party of which John Curtin was the trusted leader.

My mind has gone back very vividly in the last few hours to another occasion, five years ago, when death suddenly claimed three of my own much-loved colleagues. No government can fail to suffer deeply from such losses, for good Ministers not only wind themselves into the hearts of their associates, but they also become, as it were, a vital part of the whole structure of governments.

Of John Curtin I can say, as I believe we all can say, with a full heart, “He was my friend, faithful and just to me”. As a Prime Minister, I owed very much to his friendship and understanding, always freely and informally extended. As an Opposition Leader, I have long admired his political skill, his capacity for securing unity of purpose and direction, his unflagging industry, his willingness to put upon a far from robust constitution burdens which most men would have been glad to avoid, his selfless devotion to the Australian people.

To-day we lay aside controversy to pay our brief tributes to one who sought nothing in politics except the good of all others, as he understood it; who followed his lights with unswerving fidelity; who really believed in justice ; who saw politics clearly as a conflict of ideas and not as a sordid battle of personal hostilities and ignoble ambitions.

It was possible, and from my point of view necessary, to attack on political grounds John Curtin’s politics or his public administration ; it was impossible and unthinkable to attack his probity, his honesty of purpose, the man himself. He has left behind him a good name and an honoured memory.

Leader of the Australian Country party · Darling Downs

– This is indeed a sad occasion, because not only does this House mourn the loss of the Prime Minister and. Leader of the House, not only does the Labour party grieve at the passing of its great leader, but also Australia has lost in the death of its Avar-time Prime Minister one who personified all that Australia is and means. I join with the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Forde) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) in conveying to Mrs. Curtin and ner family our heartfelt sympathy.

John Curtin was a very humble man. He was a generous and kind man. His ideas and convictions were deeprooted, and he fought strenuously for them. His political disagreements were always conducted with extreme dignity, and his co-operation at all times was generous and valuable. I did not have the privilege or pleasure to know John Curtin for very long, but I knew him long enough to appreciate his qualities, and to count him among my most intimate friends, and most valuable advisers. When I first entered this Parliament, I made an immediate assessment *of John Curtin’s ability as a debater, and of his strenuous efforts on behalf of his party and its platform. But it was not until 1940, when the Advisory War Council was created, that I got close to John Curtin, and we founded a friendship that has endured ever since. He brought to all matters a brilliant mind and conscientious consideration. He forgot politics, recognizing that the war emergency and Australia’s national wellbeing transcended all party considerations. That was the way in which he approached all matters that came before the Advisory War Council.

I recall, with the greatest possible gratification, that when I had the responsibility of acting as Prime Minister during the absence abroad of the right honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Menzies), and the gathering war clouds in the Pacific convinced some of us that war with Japan was inevitable, John Curtin unhesitatingly, as also did the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Beasley), joined with me in February, 1941, in making an appeal to Australian national sentiment for an fill-in war effort. We were seriously criticized in many quarters for having issued that warning; but nevertheless, John Curtin showed his readiness to co-operate with the Government and his determination to place the interests of Australia before all other interests.

Time brought its political changes; and in October, 1941, it was his responsibility to form a’ government. On the 7 th December, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, and Australia was menaced by a new and a nearer aggressor. Then it became John Curtin’s task to marshal the whole of Australia’s resources to meet this new threat, and he became Australia’s wartime leader. Although he was not in the fighting services or in the front line, it can be said, truthfully and sincerely, that he died fighting for Australia. He was conscientious to the last degree, and wore himself out at his post. The strain under which he laboured increased, and finally led to his death. Honorable members may take a lesson from this very sad event. Whilst it is fundamental to democracy to disagree and . dispute on political matters and policy, let us do it with dignity and decency, as did John Curtin during the whole time that I knew him.

This is the second occasion on which honorable members have mourned the loss of an Australian Prime Minister since I became a mem’ber of this Parliament, and it is sad to recollect that both the late Joseph Lyons, and John Curtin, died in the service of Australia, and, indeed, of civilization. Neither had the opportunity, his task fulfilled, to take a moment’s leisure in retirement. The people should appreciate what public men give in their service to Australia, what the responsibility means, and to what, their untiring efforts lead. John

Curtin was not a robust man. He did not have those physical qualities and advantages that would have enabled him to bear his load of responsibility easily; but he used his strength unsparingly in the service of Australia and our Allies, and in the maintenance of constitutional authority and freedom. It is said that John Curtin, who marshalled Australia’s resources for an all-in war effort, did not live to see the final triumph of the Allies over Japan, and the restoration of peace in the world. 1 know from, my conversations with him that his hopes lay in the future, tie had great visions, great plans. He wanted to see this war successfully terminated. But our Lord thought otherwise, and as with all things earthly, even man himself must submit to time’s invincible sway. On behalf of the Australian Country party, I extend sympathy to all those, including the Australian nation, who mourn the loss of i hat great Australian. John Curtin.


– The three leaders of this House have paid very fine tributes to the public work and the personal attributes of John Curtin, and [ shall not attempt to add any words to what they have said, particularly about his public service. As one of the oldest of his friends in this chamber, [ am grateful for the words that have been uttered this afternoon. I wish that lie could have been present to hear how highly he was esteemed by political friends and opponents. The outstanding attribute of John Curtin - was the kindness that he displayed to every one. I experienced it for a number of years. As one of the previous speakers said, there 13 a. lesson to be learned from his passing. In the stillness of death, he is still with us, and still conveying a message to us, as he conveyed many a message in eloquent words in this chamber. His end teaches us that it is not hard work, cither mental or physical, that kills a man; it is anxiety and worry. Looking back over the years, I sometimes wonder how much we weigh our words in our opposition to each other, and in striving for the ideals in which we believe. How often do we think what effect our words will have upon the one who is listening to our criticism? None of us is blame less; but here in this chamber, where we mould the destiny of the nation, and where we gather to-day to mourn the loss of a great man whom we all respected and admired, and for whom most of us had the deepest affection, let us remember that perhaps we might, by greater tolerance, spare one another some of the barbs of criticism, many of them undeserved, which fall on each and every one of us. The hardest struggle in leadership, or in any responsible position, is the making of decisions of a vital character in times of crisis. They take a toll, but so also do misunderstandings, to say nothing of the misrepresentation which often arises from these decisions. So, as time passes, I become more convinced that we can learn the lesson of tolerance. To-day, we may learn a lesson from the end o)f our great and beloved colleague. He was a greaand trusted leader ; but he was more than that : he was a true mate, and every one of us who had the privilege of claiming mateship with him will treasure his memory while life remains. Our sympathy goes out to all his loved ones in their great sorrow.

North Sydney

– -This is a sad day for this Parliament and for the people throughout the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister is dead. The man who, for nearly four years led the country through its darkest days, when the heavens- were black with omens of disaster, when the news from every front told a story of enemy triumphs unrelieved by one Allied gain; the man who. by his unwavering courage, wise leadership, and winged words, roused the people of Australia to action, has gone from na. That voice, which urged us forward, which revived our flagging spirits, which spurred us on to still further efforts, is hushed in death. The Leader of the Government, the man to whom all sections of the community turned for counsel and aid through the years of trial, when the country groped its way through a darkness that could almost be felt, has passed away; at an hour when the black clouds have been swept away and the sun of victory begins to lighten the heavens. He died, as he would have wished, at the post of duty. Of no man can it be more truly said, that he literally gave hi? life for his country. He was a great Australian. He has gone, but he leaves behind him a name that will live ever fresh and fragrant in the hearts of the people of Australia. To his widow and family I tender my sincere and heartfelt sympathy.


– My colleagues from “Western Australia have done me the very great honour of choosing me to associate them, and myself, with the resolution now before the House. This is a sad day for Australia, particularly for Western Australia, where the late Prime Minister established a wide circle of true, personal friends. John Curtin came to Western Australia in 1917. He answered a call from the Labour movement to take over a Labour newspaper which at that time, was struggling for its existence. By his great devotion to duty he succeeded in setting upon a firm foundation the Westralian Worker. At that time John Curtin had no political, ambitions, but later, at the request of many personal friends, he agreed to submit himself as a candidate for the electorate of Fremantle. In doing so, he undertook to face the many problems associated with the life of a parliamentarian. By his outstanding ability, true friendship and mateship, which only those who were close to him can fully appreciate, he soon won his way to high office in the Australian Labour party. Eventually he became leader of the Australian Labour party in this Parliament, upon the retirement of the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin). When he assumed office, the many factions existing within the Labour movement, did not augur well for its final unity. However, John Curtin devoted many years of hard work to achieving unity, and the measure of his success is the number of representatives of the Labour party in this Parliament to-day. The task which John Curtin accomplished was all the more difficult because his home was in Western Australia. For many years, even before he became Prime Minister, he had to sacrifice his home life.. He made that sacrifice in an endeavour to consolidate the forces of the Labour movement, which he loved, and of whose principles he was a staunch advocate. .But at what a cost! To-day, every section of the community - every man, woman and child in Australia - respects, and will remember the name of John Curtin. He rendered a great service to this nation in its darkest hours and I am proud to have heard in this Parliament, the honest and well-merited acknowledgment of his work by members of all parties. Nothing that I could say would add anythingto the kind tributes which have been paid to our late Prime Minister. In conclusion, I paraphrase what 1 believe to be an appropriate verse,, written by Roderick Quinn on the death of the late Donald M!acDonald, who also gave great service to the Labour movement -

He was ever at hand in the thick of the fight

Trusted and true and tried,

And God summoned a man that we ill could, spare

When our Prime Minister died.


– I desire to offer my deep sympathy to Mrs. Curtin and her children, and also to pay homage of respect and gratitude to John Curtin for his great public services to Australia,, the Empire, and the world. His premature death shocks every one in Australia. Especially does it shock those of us whowere privileged to know him and toserve alongside him in this Parliament for so many years. He has died as a direct result of the tremendous tasks and responsibilities that war has entailed. He is a war casualty, as much as is any fighting man.

The death of a second Prime Minister in office - just six years after the death of” Mr. Lyons - emphasizes the terrific mental and physical strain that public men carry in this country. That strain is accentuated by the immense distancesin Australia, the small number of its parliamentary representatives, and, as well, the sacrifice of their home life. The time is overdue to give them greater relief from the burdens with which they have to contend. lt is over eighteen years since I first knew John Curtin. The Government with which I was associated had appointed -him to the Child Endowment Commission. On that body, he showed! great qualities. It must have been a matter of great satisfaction to him to have seen operating for the last five years, legislation which that commission advocated.

Then he came into this Parliament, and I was privileged to know him intimately, first, as a private member and, then, as leader of his party. A relationship, based on mutual friendship, frankness and confidence, grew up between us, as leaders of our respective parties. His personal kindness and consideration, especially on the death of Mr. Lyons, will always remain most fragrant memories. I shall ever cherish the recollection of our last long chat together just a few weeks ago. Similar memories will keep him alive in the minds of all honorable members.

John Curtin came into this Parliament with a well-stored mind and a very keen intelligence. It was a matter for pleasure to see how, with increasing responsibilities and experience of administration, his mental stature and grasp of affairs progressively grew. He became a spokesman for Australia, of whom we all were proud. He was one of our most gifted orators and masters of expression. He was a great parliamentary leader, and a distinguished servant of the people whom he loved.

I extend my profound sympathy to his widow and family, to his party, and to the nation at his untimely passing when he can be so ill-spared.


– I support the motion so sympathetically submitted by the Acting Prime Minister and supported from all sides of the House. As has been said, John Curtin gave his life for his country in the truest sense of the words, and his passing will undoubtedly be deeply mourned by all sections of people throughout the Commonwealth and by large numbers of people in other countries. As a- war-time leader, John Curtin proved himself to be capable of really great deeds. His very action in assuming the position of Prime Minister against the avowed policy of his party showed that he placed the needs of the nation before the needs of sections, and set a shining example to the people of Australia. His constant skill in guiding the affairs of the nation throughout the most critical and perilous days of its history will long bc remembered. His name will bo revered by a thankful people for the fearless courage which he displayed when calling into action for the defence of Australia, at great sacrifice to many, the strongest effort that it was humanly possible to produce and which, with the help of our allies, resulted in stemming the tide of Japanese aggression. His ability to rise to the needs of the moment in the face of danger and his capacity, regardless of criticism, patiently to organize the Australian war programme, in co-operation with the Allied leaders, to fit into a plan of world strategy for the most effective use of available resources, placed him in the ranks of the great figures of our time. In paying my tribute to his memory, I wish to say that one of the greatest privileges of my life was my personal association with him. I feel deeply the loss of a true friend. My sincere sympathy goes out to Mrs. Curtin and her family in (heir bereavement.


– I associate myself with the sentiments expressed on all sides of the House on this very sad occasion. Having been closely acquainted with John Curtin while he was Leader of the Opposition for a. period of at least six years, circumstances having forced us, as representatives of distant States, to spend a great deal of our time in Canberra, I came to know him well. To know him was to admire his great ability, his thoughtfulness for others, and his many sterling qualities, which he radiated amongst those who came in contact with him. Australia has produced many fine sons. Very few of them, if any, have possessed qualities equal to those which John Curtin possessed. None of them displayed greater courage or served their nation bettor in its hour of need than he did. He died in harness, as others have already said, and it was just as much a soldier’s death as if he had died on the battlefield. I express my sincere sympathy to his widow and family.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

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Acting Prime Minister · Capricornia · ALP

– I inform the House that I propose to wait upon His Royal Highness the Governor-General to-morrow to tender certain advice with regard to the administration of the Government of the Commonwealth until a new Ministry is appointed.

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Motion (by Mr. Forde) agreed to -

That the House, at its rising, adjourn to Wednesday, the18th July, at 3 p.m.

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Motion (by Mr. Forde) agreed to -

That leave of absence be given to every member of the House of Representatives from t he determination of this sitting of the House tothe date of its next sitting.

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Acting Prime Minister and Minister for the Army · Capricornia · ALP

– As a mark of respect to the memory of the late Prime Minister, I move -

That the House do now adjourn.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Mouse adjourned at 3.20 p.m.

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The following answers to questions werecirculated: -

Division of Import Procurement

Mr Holt:

t asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. What is the number of persons employed inthe Division of Import Procurement in (a) Australia: (b) United States of America;

    1. Canada: and(d) Great Britain?
  2. What was the total expenditure incurred by the Division in the financial year 1944-45?
  3. What is the estimated expenditure for 1945-46?
  4. Is it a factthat the Government intends to revert to pre-war import trading practices; if so. when?

Mr.beasley. - The information is being obtained.


Mr White:

e asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Supply and Shipping, upon notice -

  1. What was the cost of the aluminium processing mill at Wangaratta, Victoria?
  2. What expenditure was made on similar works in other States?
  3. What expenditure will be involved in the Tasmanian aluminium project?
  4. What is the value of production from any of the above undertakings?
  5. When is production expected from each of the enterprises mentioned?
Mr Makin:
Minister for Munitions · HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

– This is a matter which concerns the Department of Munitions, and the answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. To date the cost has been approximately £557,000. The factory was established to inincrease the Australian capacity for the processing and fabrication of aluminium and for security reasons to provide a duplicate plant to the one already in existence at Granville.
  2. With the exception of a remelt annexe at Granville, costing £29,500, no other Governmentowned plant has been erected. Rolling and extrusion capacity, however, has been established by private firms.
  3. The Aluminium Industry Act provides for an expenditure of £3,000,000 to be borne equally by the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments. 4. (a) Wangaratta plant, £9,570; (b) Remelt annexe, Granville, £370,922.
  4. See 4. Due to changes in the war situation, it was not necessary to employ the full capacity of the Wangaratta plant’ and the remelt section only has been in operation. Operations in Tasmania, which will be of a different character will be commenced when the Aluminium Production Commission has assurance in respect of the extent and quality of bauxite available. When this information is obtained the type of plant to be erected will be decided.

Alien Farmers.

Mr White:

e asked the Acting Attorney-

General, upon notice -

  1. How many farms have been acquired by aliens since the outbreak of war?
  2. Whatis the number in each State?
  3. What is the number ofeach nationality?
Mr Beasley:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · WEST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

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

Prior to the present war, all matters relating to the acquisition of land fell entirely within the province of the States, and in none of the States except Queensland was there any restrictionon the acquisition of freehold land by aliens. On the outbreak of war, aliens became divided into two classes, enemy aliens and friendly aliens.

On the 10th June, 1940, Italy entered the war, and on the 23rd July,1940, the National Security (Land Transfer). Regulations were made prohibiting -

enemy aliens from acquiring land:

naturalized persons of enemy origin acquiring land without the consent of the Attorney-General ; and

subjects of countries in enemy occupation from acquiring land.

On the 19th February, 1942,the National Security (Economic Organization) Regulations were made, and these regulations provide that no person whatsoever can acquire land, unless the consent of the Treasurer has first been obtained.

It will thus be seen that since the 23rd July, 1940, enemy aliens have been absolutely prohibited by Commonwealth law from acquiring land in the Commonwealth, while one class of friendly aliens, namely, subjects of countries in enemy occupation (there are now no such countries) could only acquire land with the consent of the Atttorney-General. So far as State law is concerned, friendly aliens, in all the States but Queensland, could freely acquire freehold land. Since the National Security (Economic Organization) Regulations were made, all purchases of land, no matter who the purchaser is, require the consent of the Treasurer.

In order to furnish the information asked for by the honorable member, it would be necessary to search each land transaction registered in the State Titles Offices for almost the past six years. This would necessitate the employment of a small army of searchers, and [ cannot recommend that the State Premiers be asked to cause such an extensive search to he made.

The honorable member may be assured that, to far as the National Security (Land Transfer) Regulations are concerned, in their application to naturalized persons of enemy origin, all applications for consent arc carefully scrutinized, and the personal character and loyalty of each applicant is carefully investigated before any consent is given. Consideration is also given to public feeling in the locality in which the land is situated and, in the case of country land, regard is had to its suitability for settling servicemen on their return from war service.

Munitions Establishments: Production of Cigarette Lighters

Mr White:

e asked the Minister for Munitions, upon notice -

  1. What-has been the cost of tooling-up for the manufacture of cigarette lighters at the Government Ammunition Factory, Footscray?
  2. When will production be reached?
  3. What production is expected?
Mr Makin:

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

  1. £2.500.
  2. Up to the 4th July, 14,492 had been delivered.
  3. Five thousand per week up to the end of July; thereafter 10,000 per week until com pletion of order. This lighter is being pro duced for the Department of the Army, and inmanufactured to a specification and a standard of acceptance laid down by the Army Inspection Division. The original order was for 200.000, but this has since been reducedto 96,000. Notwithstanding that tooling for the complete original order and complete shop overhead ate charged into production,the cost ex the factory is 4s. l0d. each.

Australian Prisoners of War.

Mr.Forde.- On the 22nd June, 1945. the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) asked questions in the following terms : -

Is it a fact that some Australians who were held as prisoners of war in Poland have recently returned via Russia?

Have they been called upon to give an undertaking that they will not discuss or make public their experiences as prisoners or during their return through Russia?

If so, is there any official reason why these men should not make known their experiences ?

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

It is a fact that some Australians who were held as prisoners of war in Poland have recently returned via Russia.

These men were not subjected to an) restrictions on the discussion or publicizingof their experiences other than those which normally apply to all members of the forces. A temporary publicity censorship ban was im posed on references to, or interviews with them.

This temporary restriction has now been removed.

World Youth Conference: Australian Representation : Passports.

Mr Makin:

n. - In reply to a question asked by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) on the 3rd July, as to whether any applications had been made for passport facilities for representatives to attend a Youth Conference in London, I wish to state that no such applications have been received by the Department of External Affairs and, as the issue of passports is a matter for the Department of the Interior, any question in relation thereto should be addressed to the Minister in charge of that department.

Awards to Civil Pilots.

Mr Beasley:

y. - The answers to the questions asked by the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Daly) on the 3rd July, concerning awards to civil pilots, are as follows : -

  1. Consideration has not yet been given to the issue of the Pacific Star to civil aviation pilots. The conditions of eligibility for operationalstars that have already been decided upon relate, in the case of air personnel, only to members of the Air force who have given the prescribed service in operational squadrons. The honorable member’s attention is, however, invited to the announcement as under, included in the statement made by the Acting Prime Minister in the House on the 18th May, 1945, in relation to campaign stars, &c. - “VI. Civilair Transport.

Consideration will be given to the pro duction of a scheme for the award ofthe newstars in certain conditions for those civilian crews who have flown into or through theatres of war or over dangerous waters. Air crew of the Royal Air Force Transport Command engaged in similar duties will also be considered”.

  1. Under the scheme announced on the 18th May, 1945, it is proposed that the Defence Medal shall be awarded for civil defence or other specific civilian service in military operational areas. Until conditions of eligibility tor the Defence Medal are finally determined, however, it is not possible to say whether civil pilots will he eligible for this award.

Australian Forces: Releases.

Mr.harrison asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -

Has consideration been given to the release of service personnel who are over the age of 35years and who have family responsibilities?

Are these included, unconditionally, in the 50,000 men who, it has been announced, will be released by the end of this year?

If not, willhe arrange for a review of government policy to provide for the early return to their civilian occupations of the men who comprise this group?

Mr Beasley:

y. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1, 2, and 3. The conditions of special releasee fromtheserviceswereoutlinedintheActing PrimeMinister’sstatementofthe29thJune, whichmentionsthatageisafactorinthe releaseoflong-servicemen.Asthebulkofthe specialreleasesaredependentontheexercise oftheoptionofdischarge,theresultswillnot beknownforsometime.Whentheyare known,itistheintentionoftheGovernment, asannounced,toreviewthepositionand conditionsofreleaseinthelightoftheaddi– tional information.

Commonwealth Investigation Officers. the 3rd July, a reply was furnished to a question, upon notice, asked by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) in regard to the. number of persons employed on investigation staffs of certain sections within the Commonwealth administration.

I now inform the honorable memberthat in respect of part (viii) of the question relating to censorship, no investigation staff is employed.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 5 July 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.