House of Representatives
14 November 1946

18th Parliament · 1st Session

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

page 233



Statement by Mb. J. A. Beasley.


– Has the Prime Minister noted in this morning’s press the statement by the High Commissioner for Australia in the United Kingdom, Mr. Beasley, in answer to the charge by a British shipping authority that obstructive tactics by waterside workers in Australia and New Zealand were delaying the movement of ships that were fitted for the rapid handling of cargo. Mr. Beasley is reported to have said that sinister’ forces were causing industrial unrest in Australia for the same purpose as was actuating influences in the high field of international diplomacy, namely, to prevent the British Commonwealth from regaining its former place in world affairs and to allow some other power to supersede it. Was Mr.. Beasley expressing the views of the Government? If so, what action does the Government propose to take against these sinister in’fluences which the High Commissioner said were causing industrial unrest?


– I have not read the statement mentioned, and am not prepared to accept it as a correct report of what Mr. Beasley said. I shall arrange for the statement to he supplied to me in exact terms. Having done so, I shall advise the honorable member whether what Mr. Beasley said coincides with Government policy. It is safe to say that, generally speaking, Mr. Beasley is not likely to make statements that are wide of Government policy.

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Drought Relief - Wheat fob Feed.


– I have received numerous letters and telegrams from various branches of the Milk Zone Dairymen’s Association. Is the Prime Minister aware that the area of the milk zone in New South Wales is suffering from the effects of an acute drought, and that the dairymen in it are able to continue production only by heavy hand-feeding and, where irrigation is available, by continuous pumping? In view of the substantial addition to production costs -by reason of the drought, will the right honorable gentleman order an investigation of the position of the milk zone dairymen, with a view to having a drought subsidy of 4jd. a gallon paid to them until one month after the’ breaking of the drought, thus raising the amount to that paid during the winter months, namely, ls. 8£d. a gallon? If the right honorable gentleman agrees to have an investigation made, will he institute it immediately, in view of the desperate ‘ plight in which the dairymen are placed?


– The matter of drought conditions in the area which the Milk Zone Dairymen’s Association purports to represent has been brought to my notice by the honorable member for EdenMonaro (Mr. Fraser), who has asked me to receive a deputation on the subject in compliance with, I believe, a request contained’ in a communication received from Mr. Sedgwick, the secretary of the association. Other representations also have been made to the - Government on the matter. Generally speaking, the Commonwealth has taken the view that drought relief is a matter for the States, and that proposals to that end should bc initiated by them. However, as the result of the representations which the Government has received, Commonwealth officers will consult with New South Wales officers either to-day or early next week in regard to the requests that have been received from the Milk Zone Dairymans Association. The honorable member for New England and the honorable member for Eden-Monaro may rest assured that the matter is now being investigated.

Later :


– Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture be good enough to ask the Wheat Board to increase the quantity of wheat allocated to dairy-farmers in New South Wales? T.n this connexion, T have received the following letter from the General Manager of the Bellingen River Co-operative Butter and Bacon Society: -

The last truck we received was in June, but as you know this district has been hard hit first with floods,, drought, and then bushtires.

Many farmers have pigs at the store stage, but insufficient grain to top them off, as maize crops have suffered severely by floods, &c, and giving them’ one or two bags to do this is useless.

Our pig supplies have fallen off here to an alarming extent, and it is possible that we may have to close the bacon factory if supplies are not forthcoming.

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · ALP

– The Wheat Board is fully aware of the situation, and is doing ‘everything possible to have more wheat shipped to Queensland and New South Wales. The railways authorities in the States concerned are playing their part to the best of their ability, and the Commonwealth is assisting them as far as possible.


– Will the Prime Minister state the present position in relation to applications for assistance by dairyfarmers in the milk zone who are suffering severely from the drought? Has agreement on the matter yet been reached by the Governments of the Commonwealth and New South Wales? If the position cannot be stated now, will the right honorable gentleman make an early announcement, in view of the very serious difficulties which the dairyfarmers are experiencing while awaiting the assistance they are seeking?


– I have informed the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) that consultations are taking place, or will take place early next week, between officers of the Commonwealth and State Governments. I have” no further statement to make on the matter.

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Northern Queensland Service


– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping state whether it is true that the steamers -Canberra and Ormiston are not to be restored to the north Queensland run? Having regard to the fact that a reasonable share of available shipping has not’ been allocated to northern Queensland, will the Minister ensure that the Canberra and the Ormiston will visit northern Queensland ports as in the past or ensure that other steamers of the same class are put on that run?

Minister for Defence · CORIO, VICTORIA · ALP

– I shall’ ask the Minister for Supply and Shipping to ‘inquire into the position, and an answer will be given later.

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– Has the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture seen a report in the Sydney Morning Herald of this morning that the Railways Department in New South Wales is overworked and undermanned ? As this is undeniably true, and as it is also true of the Victorian Railways Department, and probably of other State Railways Departments, and as large quantities of primary produce are likely to be held up because the railways cannot handle them, will he confer with the Minister for Transport with ‘ a view to entering into negotiation with the appropriate Ministers in the various States in order to ensure that motor transport shall be kept on the roads at -least until the railways are again able to shift all the wheat, wool and live-stock offering?


– I have seen the report referred to by the honorable member, and I have no doubt that it is true that railways stalls in all the States are sb.ortha.nded and overworked. The State Governments are aware of this, and I am sure that they are doing what they can to handle the freight offering. I shall confer with the Minister for Transport in order to see whether we can do anything to assist the State authorities.

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POSTAL PREMISES of Boothby Electorate.


– In view of the industrial expansion which is taking place in the electorate of Boothby, which will result in the opening up of new residential areas, will the Minister representing the Postmaster-General request his colleague to take the necessary action to secure additional post office sites in order to provide for future requirements in this regard ?

Minister for Immigration · MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP

– J am sure that thu Postmaster-General will take the necessary action to acquire whatever sites are needed for postal services in the great and expanding industrial districts of Boothby which the honorable member represents so competently in this House. When the Postmaster-General is in a position to give me some detailed information on the subject I shall be happy to furnish it to the honorable member.

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1945-46 Pool.

Postmaster-General · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

– Ha s the Attorney-General taken, or does he propose to take in the High Court any action to bring about an early hearing of the claims against the Commonwealth in respect of the wheat delivered to the 1945-46 pool?

Attorney-General · BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– I shall look into the situation in connexion, with the litigation to which the honorable member has referred and see whether such action as he suggests is required.

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Passages on Strathmore - Alien Refugees from Shanghai.


– Will the Minister for Immigration supply an answer to questions I have asked relating to the entry into Australia of alien immigrants? The questions are: Will the Minister lay upon the table of the House all the papers relating to the entry of 200 alien immigrants who arrived from the Middle East on the Strathmore11. Will he include in such papers the original applications for permission to enter, together with the recommendations thereon? Will he also table the text of the representations made through Australia House to the British Ministry of Transport which led to the withholding of 200 berths from passengers stranded in England in order to accommodate migrants from the Middle East?


– The answer to the first part of the question is “No”. The answer to the second part is “ No “ ; and the answer to the third part is the same as the answer to the first and second parts.


– I desire to ask the Minister for Immigration a question arising out of one which I asked during last session. The question was based on a report that some hundreds of Jewish refugees were en route from Shanghai to Australia. The Minister then cast some doubt on the accuracy of the report, but as the people have since arrived in Australia, and others as well, will he now state how many alien migrants have arrived here since the end of the war, and for how many more permits to come here have been issued?


– I did cast doubt on a statement contained in the question of the honorable member which he asked during the closing hours of the Seventeenth Parliament, namely, that a boatload of hundreds of aliens was en route to Australia.

Mr Gullett:

– The figure given was 250, and that number arrived.


– At that time, there was no boat en route to Australia from Shanghai carrying Jewish refugees.

Mr Gullett:

– It was not stated that they were en route. It waa stated that they were at Shanghai.


– The honorable member has repeated his statement that there was a boatload of refugees en route to Australia. T denied, in the first place, that there was any ship-load of refugees en route to Australia at that time.

Mr Gullett:

– Nobody ever claimed that there was, so there was no need to deny it.


– The honorable member made a statement, and now he is running away from it. In the second place, 250 refugees never arrived from Shanghai on any one boat. The total number that arrived from Shanghai on all boats was .hot more than 100. Stories of boat-loads of aliens arriving in Australia, or about to depart from Shanghai for Australia, are in the same category as those concerning the synthetic cyclones which were created off the Queensland coast at the time of the Yoizuki incident. That covers the first part of the honorable member’s question. If he will put the remainder of it on the notice-paper, it will receive consideration.

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Appointment of Royal Commission


– Has the AttorneyGeneral seen the press report that the Queeusland Government has decided to appoint a royal commission to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the finding of a quantity of contraband tobacco at the residence of a Queensland Minister of State? Does not such, h matter come more properly within she exclusive jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Government than within that of the State authorities? Will the AttorneyGeneral confer with the Prime Minister with a view to the appointment of a royal commission to inquire into all recent alleged breaches of customs and excise laws, including those relating to Mr. T. A. Foley and Miss Rosetta Kelly?


– In regard to the first part of the honorable member’s question, namely, the finding of contraband tobacco at the residence of Mr. Foley, MX. A., that matter is still in the hands of the Department of Trade and Customs and the Commonwealth Crown Law officers. I understand that a conference is taking place between those two authorities to determine whether or not additional proceedings shall be launched. Until a recommendation is made and action is taken one way or another, it would not be proper for me to discuss what should or should not be done. T have no desire to interfere in any way with the recommendations of the departmental officers, which will be considered, and, no doubt, acted upon.

Mr Fadden:

– The Queensland Government is interfering in the matter.


– I express no opinion about the attitude of the Queensland Government. 1 can express only the opinion of the Commonwealth. I shall discuss the matter with the Prime Minister. As regards the matter raised by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, I assure him that the same course is being followed. It is the regular course. Departmental officers are dealing with the matter under Commonwealth law. Their recommendation will go forward and will undoubtedly be acted upon. I do not want to express any opinion about the matter one way or the other. I think the honorable gentleman will agree that that is the proper attitude.

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– Will the Minister for the Army lay on the table the report by Senator Fraser on Aitape?

Minister for the Army · ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

– I shall consider the matter, and if the Government decides that it should be tabled it will be tabled.

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Second Land-line FROM East to West.


– As the broadcasting of the proceedings of the Commonwealth Parliament has priority on the use of the only existing land-line from eastern Australia to Western Australia, listeners there are debarred from receiving relayed broadcasts from the eastern broadcasting stations when the Parliament is sitting. I ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General whether the department is providing a second land-line to overcome the disability? If so, when will it be in operation? If not, when may the people of Western Australia be provided with the necessary facilities?


– It is the intention of the Postmaster-General’s Department to provide additional land-lines, not only to Western Australia, but also to other parts of the Commonwealth. I cannot say at the moment when the required facility will be provided, but I will ask the Postmaster-General to supply me with the information in order that I may either answer the honorable gentleman’s question or obtain leave from the House, to make a statement on the matter of land-lines as soon as possible.

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REMOVAL of Ban on Export.


– The Sydney morning press reports to-day that the Minister for Trade and Customs has announced that the film Indonesia Calling will be released for export. The article states that in August the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board prohibited the export of the film on the ground that it would offend the people of a foreign country. It states, too, that the organization that made the film has arranged for release of the film in New Zealand and Indonesia, and that steps are being taken to release it in America and Europe. I ask the Prime Minister by whose authority the recommendation by the Commonwealth Film. Censorship Board that the export of the film, be prohibited has been overridden. Does the right honorable gentleman not think’ that the release of such a film will be detrimental to our relations with the Dutch?

Mr SPEAKER (Hon J S Rosevear:

– Order ! The honorable member for BalacIava is inviting the Prime Minister to engage in a debate, which would not be in order.


– In that case, would the right honorable gentleman not object to and protest against the world-wide release of a film detrimental to Australia?


– I think that the matter was well covered last week by the Minister for External Affairs, lt is true that in some States the film was permitted to be exhibited by the State authorities but in others its exhibition was not allowed. The Minister for External Affairs replied to a question asked by the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) on the subject. The matter of the export of the film was submitted ‘to the Commonwealth Government, which decided that there were no grounds for banning the export of the film. A good deal of discussion had taken place regarding this matter, and as I intimated a few days ago, I arranged for the film to be exhibited .before Cabinet. The Minister for External Affairs indicated in the House last week that on general principles, it was not the Commonwealth Government’s function to decide whether the censor should prohibit the export of films made in Australia.

Senator McBRIDE:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP; LCL from 1951; LP from 1954

– Why was the decision of the censor overridden?


– Order ! The honorable member for Wakefield is out of order in interjecting when the Prime Minister is replying to a question.

Mi-. CHIFLEY. - The Minister for External Affairs dealt thoroughly with the principle involved a few days ago. It is for each country concerned to determine whether the film shall be exhibited in its theatres. If the Government of New Zealand and the Government of the United States of America desire to prohibit the exhibition of the film, that is entirely a matter for themselves. The honorable member foi- Boothby asked who overrode the film censor. From his knowledge of the law regarding this matter, he must know that the censor is not the final authority. The Minister may decide to take action, and, in this instance, he did so on instructions from Cabinet.

Mr White:

– Will the Prime Minister answer the last part of the question dealing with the undesirability oof exhibiting the film, in Australia ?


– The film does not in any way express the views of the Government, and, in the circumstances, the Government is not responsible for it.

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– Earlier this month, the press reported that after the departure of the MV. Port Wyndham from Corio, the vessel being loaded with food parcels for Great Britain, a number of mail bags and wrappings of food parcels were washed up upon the beach around Geelong. On arrival at Adelaide, Port Wyndham took on another 2,000 parcels, some of which were later reported to Lave been stolen. These reports have caused great concern to people who send parcels to Great Britain. Will the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral inform me whether the department has investigated these losses? If so, what is the result of the investigation? Do the inquiries show that any food parcels prepared by the Victorian Department of Agriculture were among the number lost? What steps is the PostmasterGeneral’s Department taking to prevent a repetition of these losses?


– I shall ask the Postmaster-General to advise me whether any inquiries were made into the newspaper statements to which the honorable member referred, and whether any investigations have been made generally into the delivery of food parcels from Australia to Great Britain. Every person in Australia would be greatly concerned it the condition of affairs which the honorable member described, happened even occasionally. However, the PostmasterGeneral will have a file upon the subject, and when I obtain the necessary information, I shall furnish it to the honorable gentleman, or if honorable members so desire I shall make a statement to the House.

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Brad kie i.d SSchetu e.


– I ask the Prime Minister. - (1) Is it a fact that a royal commission has inquired into the practicability of implementing the Bradfield irrigation scheme to divert the rivers of eastern Queensland westward into the rivers flowing into the Lake Eyre area for the purposes of irrigation? (2) If so, when will the royal commission’s report be made available to the House? (3) Will this report be the last word on such a scheme, or will alternative schemes to combat the disastrous erosion of Central Australia be investigated?


– So far as I can recall, the Commonwealth Government has not appointed a royal commission to inquire into the Bradfield water conservation scheme. However, reports have been compiled upon this proposal for diverting water into the dry areas of Central Australia, and the practicability of undertaking such a work has been discussed. On a few occasions, committees have considered the plan as a part of other works. I shall ascertain for the honorable gentleman exactly what the position is, and furnish the fullest information available.

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Office Accommodation at Dalby.


– I bring to the notice of the Minister for the Interior the fact that the electoral office at Dalby, in the Division of Maranoa, consists of a room of only 32 feet by 13 feet, in which officers are required to deal with all the electoral matter of 430 polling booths. Will the Minister endeavour to make more adequate accommodation available before the census is taken next year? Will he also confer with the Postmaster-General with a. view to making accommodation available for electoral purposes in the new post office which is to be built at Dalby?

Minister for the Interior · KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP

– No previous representations have been made to me on this subject, but I shall cause inquiries to be made. If the accommodation is inadequate I shall endeavour to have it increased so that the census work may be done properly.

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– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping aware that an acute shortage exists in Brisbane of 3-in. and 4-in. piping for the laying of gas mains in areas where new buildings are being constructed? Is he aware also that large stocks of such piping are awaiting shipment at Port Kembla? Will the honorable gentleman ask his colleague to ensure that shipping shall be made available as early as possible to transport the piping to places where it is urgently needed?


– I am aware that an acute shortage of many kinds of building material exists in different places throughout the Commonwealth. There is also a shortage of shipping which is contributing to the difficulties of the situation. I shall ask my colleague to afford what relief he can.

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– Yesterday the Minister for Labour and National Service denied a statement attributed to the chairman of the Stevedoring Industry Commission that several hundred men on the Sydney waterfront had not presented themselves for employment during the last eleven weeks. The honorable gentleman stated that there was no shortage of labour, and that, in fact, men had not been able to secure work there in recent times. A spokesman for the “shipowners said yesterday that there was a labour shortage of 1,500 men on the Sydney waterfront yesterday, that nine overseas vessels had received no labour at all, and that eleven overseas and three intra-state vessels were left short of labour. In view of the obvious fact that this information contradicts the statement supplied to the Minister by his advisers, I ask the honorable gentleman to consult representatives of shipowners and the Stevedoring Industry Commission on the subject of the supply of labour at the Port of Sydney, so that the present delay in the working of ships may be eliminated.

Minister for Labour and National Service · MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP

– The answer that T gave to the honorable member yesterday on this subject was not contradictory of the statement published in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald. The honorable member has read only a part of the statement that appeared in that newspaper. I was asked by him. whether the Waterside Workers Federation had closed its books. My answer was that it had not.

Mr Holt:

– I do not challenge that statement.


– The honorable member also said that there was a. shortage of labour on the waterfront of Sydney and he asked me whether I would appeal to the Waterside Workers Federation to open its books.

Mr Holt:

– I also asked what other action the Government proposed to take.


– I said that, according to the number of men available and registered on the books, there was no shortage of labour. The statement that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning is most illogical and self-contradictory. The newspaper reported that I had ascertained that there was no shortage of labour, but it went on to say that men were not able to get work on the waterfront although there was a shortage of labour. Is there any sense in that?

Mr Holt:

-The real point is, whether there is a shortage and what the Government proposes to do to alleviate it.


– The honorable member did not read that portion of the report. I said that there was not a shortage of labour. I was, of course, speaking in the general sense. The shipowner responsible for the statement published in the Sydney Morning Herald has endorsed what I said in that respect. There is no shortage of labour if the position be viewed over-all. Everybody knows that, because of the nature of the industry, there is and always has been a shortage at peak periods. On the other hand, there are periods during which there is a surplus of labour. I said yesterday that there was no need for the Waterside Workers Federation to open its books for the admission of new members, because they had not been closed, and that the labour registered in the federation and recognized by the Port Committee was sufficient to do the work offering in normal times. The shipowner to whom I have referred also stated in to-day’s Sydney Morning Herald that 300 or 400 members of the Waterside Workers Federation are even now not being called up for work because of their inability, on account of age or physical condition, to do all the classes of work offering. Everything that I said has been .proved to be correct. To the last part of the honorable member’s question my answer is, “ Yes “. This morning I made a check, with a view to ascertaining whether I had made a mistake yesterday, and the reply that I received from the Waterside Workers Federation bears out what I then said. I told the honorable member yesterday that quite recently the Minister for Supply and Shipping had had a conference with representatives of the shipowners, the Chairman of the Stevedoring Industry Commission, and representatives of the “Waterside Workers Federation, with a view to discovering means whereby ships could be turned round more quickly. A further conference on the matter is in session at the present time. I shall again -confer with the different parties.

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– I ask the Prime Minister whether any representations have been made to him in regard to the holding of tests with guided projectiles in Central Australian reserves. If so, what is their nature? Who is to control the tests, and who is to say what will be done with the information obtained from them? Has the Government decided to allow the experiments to be held ? Will the matter be brought forward for debate in this House ?


– Experts from the United Kingdom have visited Australia. I understand that they had previously made investigations elsewhere with a view to locating the most suitable site for experiments in regard to the guided projectiles. The Commonwealth made available expert officers to assist them during their stay in Australia. Their final determination was that a site in Central Australia was the most suitable they had found for the holding of the tests. Up to that, stage the matter had been on a purely expert plane and had not been raised to a high governmental level. Apparently, they made a report to their government when they returned, to the United Kingdom. Prior to the election of the new Cabinet recently, I had received cables in regard to the matter from Mr. Attlee, and had decided that it should stand in abeyance pending the formation of the new administration. I understand that further details were received during last week. I have had representations from some bodies in Australia, including representatives of different churches. Because of my inability to do so, the Minister for Post war Reconstruction received a deputation on the subject. To the best of my belief, the objection raised by the members of the deputation was to the site chosen and not to the proposed experiments. Numerous individual representations and protests have been received in connexion with the site. I hope that the matter will be dealt with by Cabinet within the next fortnight. I shall then be able to supply fuller information to the honorable member.

page 240


Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP

– I lay on the table the following paper: -

Commonwealth Grants Commission Act - Commonwealth Grants Commission - Thirteenth Report, 1946

The Government has adopted the recommendations of the commission, and legislation to give effect to them will be brought down in due course.

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– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping seen the reported statement by Mr. Roughley, State Superintendent of Fisheries in New South Wales, that the shortage of wire netting will result in fewer oysters being gathered next year? In view of the keen demand for oysters, and the number of men employed in’ the industry, will the honorable gentleman have wire netting made available to the industry for use on the trays on which are placed the mangrove sticks on which the young oysters are fattened?


– I have not seen the statement to which the honorable gentleman has referred. I do not think that the Minister for Supply and Shipping can be of much assistance in this matter. The manufacture of wire netting is controlled largely by private enterprise, and the Commonwealth Government does not exercise any control over its distribution.

Mr Abbott:

– An allotment is made.


– I shall ask my colleague to supply any information that he has.

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Reparations from Japan.


– Has the Prime Minister or the Government been requested by the Australian Prisoners of War Relatives Association to demand from Japan by way of reparation the sum of £20,000,000, representing payment for suffering, sickness and death among Australian servicemen while they were inmates of Japanese prison camps? If so, what is the Government’s attitude towards the request?


– I am not certain that any official representations have been received, but I have read of the request having been made. I believe that some letters on the subject have reached the Prime Minister’s Department. The matter has not been considered by Cabinet. No doubt it will be considered as part of the general subject of reparations from Japan, regarding which finality has not yet been reached. I cannot now give full information as to what is likely to be done, but I shall keep the honorable member informed.

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Taxation on Living Allowances.


– Can the Treasurer say whether it is a fact that some living allowances granted to ex-servicemen undergoing rehabilitation training are subject to taxation deductions, and if so, on what authority?


– I believe that such allowances come within the general range of the taxation law, and that deductions are being made. This action is being taken under the authority of a law passed by this Parliament.

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– This morning’s press published a statement of the Minister for Repatriation that from now on service in Great Britain in either world war would be regarded as service abroad for repatriation purposes. Having regard to this fact, will the Minister for Defence re-open the cases of the 2,000 members of the Royal Australian Air Force, and of some hundreds of men in the Army, who served in Great Britain in World War II., but were declared ineligible for decorations? mi


– I shall consider the point raised by the honorable member.

page 241


Motion (by Mr. Pollard) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Wheat Industry Assistance Act 1933.

page 241


Motion (by Mr. Pollard) agreed to -

That leave bo given to bring in a bill for an act to grant and apply out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund a Bum for the purpose of making grants to certain States for the purpose of drought relief.

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Messages from the Governor-General reported transmitting Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and Estimates of Expenditure for Additions, New Works, Buildings, &c, for the year ending the 30th June, 1947, and recommending appropriations accordingly.

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

page 241

BUDGET 1946-47

In Committee of Supply:

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP

– lt is my privilege to present the sixth successive budget brought down by the Labour Government since taking office in October, 1941.

In the fifteen months since hostilities ceased the Australian war organization has largely been dismantled. Some 520,000 men and women have been released from the services and practically all these, besides some hundreds of thousands of people formerly engaged in war industry, have found civil occupations. Employment has reached record levels and production is rising in most fields. Overseas trade prospects are at present favorable. We have held prices in check and have reduced overseas debts. The first stage of the post-war transition has been completed successfully.

Many problems, however, remain and burdens have yet to be borne. For instance, we are pledged to maintain a defence organization commensurate with our new responsibilities for empire and world security in the Pacific zone and this will entail a far greater annua] defence expenditure than in pre-war years.

Various commitments arising from the war and its aftermath have still to be met. Some of these will be cleared up in a year or two. Others will continue from year to year far into the future so that this generation will not see the end of them. Finally the danger of inflation is still present, as formidable as ever, and the fight against it must be carried on. Consumer demand banked up during the war, in the form of accumulated purchasing power, and has continued to bank up. Civil production, on the other hand, was severely curtailed.

With the rapid demobilization of the services and the abolition of controls, production is making headway in most industries, but is still a long way from overtaking the scarcities of the war period and the increased demand which lias arisen from higher employment.

A notable feature of the last year has been the rise in factory employment. In August this year the number of people recorded as employed in factories was 770,000, which is 20,000 above the wartime peak and 230,000 above the level of June, 1939. Clearly we are developing a potential in secondary production capable not only of meeting a much wider home demand but also of supplying markets abroad. But this, like other possibilities of its kind, is entirely dependent upon our achieving a higher all-round standard of efficiency and productivity. Failure in this direction would involve painful re-adjustments once the present scarcity demand had been satisfied.

We have meanwhile held firmly to controls not only on prices but on the main elements in costs. It is recognized of course that with competition for resources extremely active and with rising world prices, some changes in local price and cost relationships have to be made. But these re-adjustments must be handled with the greatest care and with a full appreciation of their consequences, direct and indirect.

We shall be wise, I believe, to pursue a steady course, taking advantage of favorable conditions as they occur, striving for greater output in all industries, making sectional adjustments where necessary to correct anomalies and secure a fair distribution of returns, but keeping to a minimum any general movement in prices.

Export prices for wool and wheat are at present high. Under the contracts with the United Kingdom, moreover, we are receiving increased returns for meat, dairy products, and dried fruits, while minor exports are also meeting a favorable demand. There are, however, elements in the overseas situation that will have to be closely watched. It should not he forgotten that while much of the current exceptional demand arises from war-time scarcities in consumer countries, production in exporting countries can be expected to expand fairly rapidly. We must lose no opportunity to increase our overseas earnings from exports of both primary and secondary products. At the same time in order to guard, against an adverse turn in export prices excessive costs in those industries must be avoided.

London funds held by the Commonwealth Bank at the end of October were at the high level of £218,000,000 Australian. Partly this is due to favorable export returns and partly to the relatively slow movement of imports, a factor which has contributed largely to the continuation of local shortages. Substantial liabilities have still to be met on account of the war and it is probable that most of these will be cleared up during the current year. Under the Financial Agreement with the United States of America signed on the 6th December, 1945, the United Kingdom Government is committed to approach Australia and other members of the sterling area for an arrangement with regard to sterling balances. The future availability of these funds, taken with the earnings of our export trade, will determine our future capacity to purchase imports, of which’ we need considerably more than pre-war quantities to refit our industries, restore stocks, and to provide plant for new enterprises now starting, and for which we shall have to pay substantially higher prices than before the war.

We undoubtedly have the capacity to achieve much higher levels of civil production than those so far attained. Full employment gives wage-earners secure tenure of their jobs and provides industrialists with dependable markets for their goods. Government policy has been and will be steadily directed towards this end. But for the productive effort that will turn these advantages to full account in higher living standards we must necessarily rely upon industry and all who have a share in it. Unless that effort is made the attainment of full employment will be but a partial achievement.

Revenue and Expenditure 1945-46

In the Financial Statement presented last July, I explained the movements in revenue and expenditure for last financial year, and I do not propose to make any further comments to-day. For the convenience of members, however, the details of revenue and expenditure during 1945-46 compared with the Budget estimates of September, 1945, are given in Statement No. 1. In addition the main heads of aggregate war expenditure to the 30th June, 1946, are set out in statement No. 4, and details regarding loan transactions and the public debt in statement No. 5.

Defence and Post-war Charges 1946-47.

Special attention has been given in this budget to reduction of expenditure on items arising from the war and related activities. Also, as intimated in my Financial Statement of July last, the estimates of the war and defence group of departments havebeen re-arranged under the heading “Defence and Post-war (1939-45) Charges”, in order to make clear the change which has taken place in the character of expenditure in this field since hostilities ended.

Estimated defence and post-war charges for 1946-47 show the effects of rapid demobilization of the forces and the war supplies organization. The estimate of expenditure is £221,000,000, compared with £378,000,000 in 1945-46, a reduction of £157,000,000. Included in this total of £221,000,000 is £64,000,000 to be paid overseas, principally on account of war liabilities carried forward from earlier periods. The summarized details of defence and post-war charges are as follows : -

Defence and Allied Services

The estimated cost of defence and allied services for 1946-47 is £147,000,000, compared with £348,000,000 last year, a reduction of £201,000,000. The main reduc tion has been made in the Departments of the Navy, the Army and Air, for which estimated expenditure this year is £183,000,000 below the amount spent last year. Active pay and allowances for the current year are placed at £25,000,000, as against an expenditure of £130,000,000 in 1945-46. Deferred pay is estimated at £17,000,000, compared with £72,000,000 last year.

On present plans the strength of the three services, which was 137,000 in June this year, will have been reduced to 67,000 by June,. 1947. During the present interim period the defence forces will be limited to maintaining the Australian component of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan, .administrative and maintenance activities on the mainland, and a nucleus for the permanent post-war forces. It will take some time for the full effects of scientific developments in the defence field to be assessed and for the future strength and arming of the services to be determined.

Provision of £1S,000,000 for aircraft equipment and stores under the Department of Air includes £8,000,000 in respect of local aircraft production programmes.

Estimates of £13,000,000 for the Departments of Munitions and Supply and Shipping indicate .a decrease of £2,000,000 from actual expenditure in 1945-46. Of the £7,000,000 set down for the Munitions Department, £2,600,000 is required for maintenance of certain factories as nucleus and reserve establishments and for the closing-down expenses of certain other factories and annexes and their conversion for peace-time requirements.

Post-war Charges.

The items grouped under post-war charges figure much more largely in this budget than in earlier budgets. In this financial year they represent 47 per cent, of gross expenditure compared with 23 per cent, in 1945-46.

Re-establishment and repatriation is estimated at £35,000,000, which is £21,000,000 above expenditure last year, and includes £14,000,000 for reconstruction training, £7,000,000 for repatriation benefits, £6,500,000 for pensions and £5,500,000 for land settlement and agricultural re-establishment loans.

Interest and sinking fund on account of war and repatriation borrowings will be £46,000,000, an increase of £5,000,000 on last year.

Subsidies for price stabilization and assistance to primary production are estimated at a net £23,000,000, or £10,000,000 less than expenditure in 1945-46. Details are contained in statements Nos. 7 and 8.

Credits to be offset against defence and post-war costs are set down at £57,000,000 as against £74,000,000 last year. These include proceeds of war disposals and recoveries from other administrations as well as a considerable range of lesser credit items. In view of the many contingencies involved, this estimate cannot be made with full certainty.

The existence of these post-war expenditures brings home the fact that war costs do not end when fighting ceases. Some of the items, such as debt charges and war pensions, will continue for many years. Such items as Unrra and the lend-lease settlement, will not, however, recur, whilst other items will tend to diminish and will disappear within a few years. As mentioned already, by the middle of next year the services will have been brought down considerably below their present strength and it ishoped that most of the external liabilities which have been carried over from the’ war will have been settled.

Perhaps at this stage I might give an indication of how far the real burden of war and its aftermath has in fact been reduced. Aggregate budget expenditure upon war and related purposes does not truly portray the actual drain upon the nation’s physical resources, because items such as interest, subsidies, war pensions and deferred pay represent transfers of purchasing power and not a subtraction from consumption standards. Similarly, war expenditure abroad draws upon the resources of other countries. Against this, expenditure here by Allied forces., though not appearing as a budget cost,, did use up Australian resources.

After making adjustments for such, items, the actual value of Australian resources devoted to war reached a maximum of £548,000,000 in 1943-44. From that point it declined to £448,000,000 in 1944-45 and to £278,000,000 in 1945-46. This year, on current estimates, it will have fallen to £110,000,000, which is about one-fifth of the figure of three years ago.

These and related estimates of national, income and production will be found in a separate paper which is being distributed with the budget papers.

Estimates of other Expenditure 1946-47.

The estimate of total expenditure other than defence and post-war charges is £223,000,000 or £59,000,000 above the amount spent in 1945-46.

Tn accordance with the National Welfare Fund Act, payments to the fund will comprise £51,000,000 in respect of social services contributions, together with £13,000,000 from the pay-roll tax- a total of £64,000,000. Last year payments to the fund amounted to £46,000.000. A substantial increase in expenditure from the fund is expected this year. Expenditure last year was £53,000,000. With the rising cost of invalid, old-age and other pensions and child endowment, together with a full year of hospital benefits, expenditure is expected to reach £68,000,000 this year. Thus the fund’s receipts from taxation will fall short of expenditure by about £4,000,000. Statement No. 6 shows the position in detail.

Payments of taxation and special grants to State governments are estimated at £45,000,000 or £8,000,000 above payments last year. Of this increase about £6,000,000 is accounted for by the increase in taxation reimbursement grants associated with the continuation of uniform tax. Full details are given in statement No. 9.

The provision of £34,400,000 for the Post Office is £5,400,000 above actual expenditure last year. The increases are £2,000,000 for new works, £1,900,000 for maintenance and extensions to services, and £1,500,000 for capital finance for the Overseas Telecommunications Commission.

Provision of £7,200,000 has been made for civil aviation, a field of activity which is expanding rapidly to meet needs created by post-war developments. This is an increase of £5,400,000 over actual expenditure last year. The items in this increase are £2,200,000 for works, mainly aerodromes, £1,400,000 for maintenance, and £1,800,000 for advances to the TransAustralian Airways.

Estimated expenditure on the territories is £6,000,000 compared with £1,600,000 last year, an increase of £4,400,000. Main items are £1,685,000 for rehabilitation services in Papua and New Guinea, £1,366,000 for new works in the Northern Territory, and £1,184,000 for works in the Australian Capital Territory.

The increase of £8,400,000 in administrative departments is due principally to the transfer of the Departments of Labour and National Service, Transport, Post-war Reconstruction and Information from war votes to ordinary votes. Certain other expenditures formerly charged to war votes are also being charged this year to ordinary votes.


– I will supply the exact information required by the right honorable gentleman.

Apart from the Post Office, civil aviation and the territories, new works and buildings being undertaken by the Commonwealth involve an estimated expenditure of £10,500,000, compared with an actual expenditure of £1,000,000 last financial year. Whilst the programme extends over .most fields of Commonwealth activity, ‘the largest expenditure will be on

Avar service homes and shipbuilding. An amount of £750,000 is provided for surveys and other preliminary work on the standardization of rail gauges.

Further details of expenditure other than defence and post-war charges are given in statement No. 3.

Estimated Revenue 1946-47

It is estimated that with taxation at the rates in force last year, i.e., before the July reduction in income tax, revenue in 1946-47 would be £414,000,000 compared with actual revenue in 1945-46 of £389,000,000, an increase of £25,000,900.

After taking account of the reductions in income taxation on individuals made in July and of certain proposed reductions in indirect taxation which I shall outline later, it is estimated that revenue for the current year will amount to £385,000,000, a fall of £4,000,000 on last year.

Within this total, income tax and social services contribution are expected to show a decline of about £12,500,000 and sales tax a decline of £2,600,000. On the other hand customs and excise will be greater by about £11,000,000, mainly on account of the anticipated increase in imports during the financial year. Further details of estimated revenue are given in statement No. 2.

Budget Summary

The budget position for this year, compared with that of last year, may therefore be summarized as follows : -

Certain self-balancing items of revenue and expenditure connected with primary production, for instance thewheat export charge and the wool contributory charge, have not been included in these figures.

Loan Finance

To the budget gap of £59,000,000 requiring loan finance must be added the Loan Council borrowing programme of £45,000,000 to cover expenditure by State governments on public works andhousing.

Expansion of housing is vital at the present time, and public works contained in the Commonwealth and State programmes are essential either to maintain existing services or to provide new social and industrial facilities. Many of them have become urgent through long deferment during the war period. They must therefore go forward as rapidly as possible.

Works activity, however, must be integrated with the general economic and employment situation. The Commonwealth Government, in co-operation with the State governments through the Loan Council, is seeking methods by which to achieve an appropriate balance in the demands made upon our total physical resources by private expenditure on the one band and public expenditures, particularly works expenditures, on the other hand. Failure to achieve this balance can mean either falling incomes and unemployment or else that excessive competition for resources, with consequent pressure upon prices and costs,which is the real cause of inflation. Financial control, exercised through budgetary measures in the widest sense and the adjustment of loan works programmes, is the main instrument through which this balancing of expenditures can be accomplished.

The total borrowing programme in 1946-47 for Commonwealth and State governments amounts to £104,000,000. In addition, there is the borrowing programme of about £24,000,000 for local and semi-government authorities. This programme, while much below the level of borrowing in recent years, is still very large. In the light of the present exceptionally strong private investment and consumption demand and the unprecedented levels of employment, it is the maximum which would be justifiable.

Taxation Proposals

After a careful assessment of the whole position the Government has decided to propose substantial reductions of indirect taxation to take effect immediately. Full details will be given in the measures to be introduced later to-day. In summary, the reductions are as follows: -

Sales tax -

Clothing and household drapery (present rate 71/2 per cent.) - Complete exemption.

General rate (at present 121/2 per cent.) -R eduction to 10 per cent.

Third schedule (present rate 25 per cent.) -Reduction to 10 per cent, in respect of certain items.

Additional exemptions - Certain items at present subject to tax to be exempt.

The estimated cost to the revenue of the proposed sales tax concessions is estimated at £16,000,000 in a. full year and £9,000,000 for the remainder of the current financial year.

Customs and excise -

Special war customs duty - Abolition of duty.

Primage duty on plant, equipment, materials and minor articles used in connexion with manufacturing processes in Australia - Abolition of duty.

Excise duty on dry batteries, carbonic acid gas and methylated spirits - Abolition of excise duty with corresponding reductions in the customs duty.

Customs and excise duty on petrol - Reduction of duty by Id. a gallon.

The cost to revenue of the proposed reductions in customs and excise duties is estimated at £4,000,000 for a full year and £2,500,000 for the remainder of the current year.

All told the value of the proposed tax concessions is expected to be about £20,000,000 for a full year and £.11,500,000 for the remainder of the current year. Taken in conjunction with the reduction in income tax which was made in July in anticipation of the budget, they bring the value of tax reductions made during the current financial year to a total of approximately £37,000,000 per annum. If these are added to the reduction of income tax and sales tax made during 1945-46 the annual value of tax reductions made by the Government since the war ended will be about £61,000,000. This total of £61,000,000 is made up as follows :-

Prices and Production

The proposed sales tax reductions will be of immediate and substantial benefit to consumers as a whole and particularly ti) those people who spend .most of their incomes on necessaries. Practically all essential commodities entering into the living standard will be free from sales tax

The customs and excise reductions will also benefit consumers directly and will reduce costs both of current production and of the establishment of new enterprises.

In this latter respect, . they are in line with a series of measures taken by the Government to encourage expansion and reduce costs in Australian industry. ‘Sales r<ix reductions made during the last financial year in respect of machinery and plant and aids to manufacture are estimated to have an annual value of £2,300,000. These are now complemented by the abolition of primage on a wide range of capital equipment and in a large degree also by the abolition of the Special War Duty.

The lower costs resulting from the reduction and removal of taxes and duties on consumer goods will be passed on to the public in the form of lower prices. The effect will be felt at different dates because the lower prices will not apply to stocks of goods upon which the higher rates of tax have already been paid. It is expected, however, that the penny reduction on petrol will operate almost immediately.

The adjustments consequent on the removal of the sales tax of 7tJ per cent, on clothing and household drapery will offset the upward movement in the level of clothing prices. The Prices Commissioner is now engaged on a thorough check of clothing prices, and special care will be taken to ensure that the advantages of the lower taxation are passed on to consumers quickly.

Double Taxation

As already announced, the Commonwealth has concluded with the United Kingdom Government an agreement designed to avoid double taxation. This agreement also is expected to assist in the further development of Australian industry. A. synopsis of the agreement is given in Statement No. 10.


Much has been done in a brief time and under many difficulties to ease the burdens and slacken the restraints inevitably carried over from the war. We have expanded social and other services of great value to the community as a whole and yet have been able substantially to reduce taxation. That much remains to be done, however, we fully recognize. Consistently with the trust we hold for national security, for the reinstatement of service men and women, and for the development of facilities vital to the welfare of the community, our efforts further to reduce expenditures will be unremitting, as they have been in the past. Economy in government is a proper counterpart of efficiency in industry. Both must be pursued in a strenuous effort, shared by all, to achieve a higher level of efficiency and hence of standards of living. I move -

That the first item in the Estimates under Division No. 1 - The Senate - namely, “ Salaries and Allowances - £8,870 “, be agreed to.

Progress reported.

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The following are the main heads of war expenditure during the seven years from June, 1939, to June, 1946:-

Notes. - (a) In addition supplies and services to the total value of £254,000,000 (excluding reciprocal lend-lease) were provided for other governments. All of this amount has already been recovered except for £26,000,000 which is allowed for in the item “ Other war and miscellaneous services “. (b) The total value of lend-lease supplies received from the United States was about $1,500,000,000.

Sales of war savings certificates amounted to £8,456,163 face value, and redemptions during the year were £5,777,164 face value.

Public Loans Raised in London, 1945-46.

No loans matured in London during the year, but options of redemption were exercised in respect of the following 5 per cent, loans due to mature in 1975 -

These were dealt with in two operations as follows: -

July, 1945- £34,311,567 - Transferred to Australia, United Kingdom holders being paid offwith moneys provided by Commonwealth

Bank, which received in exchange 31/4 per cent, securities redeemable in Australia. £60,000,000 - Converted at par in United Kingdom to 31/4 per cent, securities redeemable in London in 1965-69.

December, 1945 - £14,055,000- Converted at 98 in United Kingdom to 3 per cent, securities redeemable in London in 1958-60.

These transactions resulted in an aggregate interest saving of £2,598,000 per annum to the governments concerned.

Increase in Commonwealth debt in 1945-46 due to war, £152,404,000.

Sinking Fund

During 1945-40 the sum of £25,213,000 was provided by the National Debt Sinking Fund for the redemption of debt. The amount estimated to be available for this purpose for the current financial year is £26,233,000.

Notes. - (a) To allow Australian manufacturers of woollen goods to produce within the price ceiling for those goods, subsidies are paid to reimburse to manufacturers purchasing wool for home consumption the difference between the basic cost for wool (upon which ceiling prices have been fixed) and the average market price for the particular auction series.

  1. The above subsidies do not include all subsidies paid in respect of primary production, further details of which are contained in Statement No. 8.

Note. - These figures do not include subsidies in regard to wholemilk, interstate movements of hay and chaff and such items as relate to primary production which are contained in Statement No. 7- Details of Price Stabilization Subsidies.


The disposals plan under the Wool Realization Act is now in operation and auctioning ofwool has been resumed. The Government, through the Wool Realization Commission, has fixed an average reserve price of 18.15 pence per lb. of raw wool for the current season.


Prior to November, 1945, the Government was subsidizing production to give the farmer an average return at the factory, equivalent to approximately1s. 7.31d. per lb., commercial butter. The Government accepted, as from 1st November, 1945, the following additional items of cost for the purposes of subsidy: -

  1. Increase of.25d. per lb. in manufacturing costs; and
  2. . 19d. per lb. being a capital value adjustment for live-stock.

When applied to a full year of subsidy, the increase of . 44d. per lb. (allowing for the 25d. per lb. increase in manufacturing costs) is estimated to ensure to the producer an average return, at the factory, equivalent to 1s. 71/2d. per lb., commercial butter.

In addition, the existing subsidy on dairy products is guaranteed at a level estimated to yield a return of1s. 71/2d. per lb. commercial butter equivalent at the factory until 31st March, 1947. At that date a review will he undertaken withthe proviso that returns will not be below1s. 7.31d. per1b. during the year ending 31st March, 1948.

On estimated production for 1946-47 an amount of £6,250,000 will be required for subsidy payments but it is anticipated that during the financial year, refunds of subsidy to the extent of approximately £4,000,000 will be received from the British Ministry of Food in connexion with exports between April, 1943, and June, 1946, leaving £2,250,000 to be provided from Revenue.

Apples and Pears

The sum of £856,000 is provided to meet the probable deficiency on the operations of the Apple and Pear Acquisition Scheme in Western Australia and Tasmania for the 1946 season. The crops in those States, during the 1945-46 season, aggregated 10,820,000 bushels.

There was an improvement in the export position during 1946 but the refrigerated shipping space available for fresh fruit shipments remains considerably short of normal requirements.

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Taxation Reimbursement Grants

In 1942 Commonwealth legislation was passed under which the Commonwealth became the sole income taxing authority for the duration of the war and one year there after. Under the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942, States vacating the field of income taxation received annual reimbursement grants based on the average of their income taxation collections in 1939-40 and 1940-41 less any arrears of income taxation received each year by the States. Provision was also made under section 6 of the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942 whereby any State might make application through the Commonwealth Grants Commission for further financial assistance from the Commonwealth if the reimbursement grants were insufficient for that State’s revenue requirements. Later in 1942, the Commonwealth, in agreement with the States concerned, established uniform entertainments taxation on a similar basis.

At a Premiers Conference in January, 1946. the Commonwealth Government indicated that it had decided to continue uniform income taxation permanently. The Premiers, whilst maintaining in principle their oppositionto uniform taxation, agreed upon a revised bastion which future reimbursement grants should be paid to the States in respect of income taxation and entertainments taxation. The revised basis of tax reimbursement grants was incorporated in the States Grants (Tax Reimbursement) Act 1946, the provisions of which became effective on 1st July, 1946.

Under the States Grants (Tax Reimbursement) Act 1946, the reimbursement to each State concerned in respect of both income tax and entertainments tax is covered by the one grant. Payment of the grant to each State is dependent on that State refraining from imposing income taxation but is not conditional on the State continuing to vacate the field of entertainments taxation.

This act provided that the aggregate of the grants will be £40,000,000 in each of the years 1946-47 and 1947-48, whilst in subsequent years the amount of £40,000,000will be varied in proportion to variations in the States’ populations and the resultant amount will be increased by half the percentage increase in the level of average wages per person employed over the level in 1946-47. The manner in which the aggreate grant of £40,000,000 will be distributed to the States in the years 1946- 47 and 1947-48 is set out in the table below. In years subsequent to 1947-48 a gradually diminishing part of the aggregate grant will be distributed in the proportions in which the aggregate grant of £40,000,000 is distributed to the States in 1946-47 and 1947- 48 whilst a gradually increasing part will be distributed in proportion to the States’ respective populations after adjustments have been made to those populations to take account of relative sparsity of population and the number of school children in each State. The effect of this formula is such that by 1957-58 the aggregate grant will be distributed solely in proportion to the adjusted populations of the States.

A comparison of the distribution of the tax reimbursement grants in respect of 1946-47 (and 1947-48) with the distribution of the basic grants under the war-time scheme is given in the following table: -

The reimbursement grants paid annually to each State will continue to be reduced toy the amount of any arrears of income taxation which may be received in that year by the State. In 1945-46 these arrears amounted to £733,550 and are estimated at £615,000 in 1946-47.

The States Grants (TaxReimbursement) Act 1946 repealed the provisions of the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942 including the provisions under section6 of the latter act whereby any State might make application under that Act for further financial assistance. In accordance with the recommendations of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, additional financial assistance amounting to £2,132,920 was made available under section 6 of the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942 to the States of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania in respect of 1945-46. The distribution of this additional financial assistance was as follows: -

The payment of these amounts of additional financial assistance was made to the States concerned shortly after the close of 1945-46 but the States kept their accounts for 1945-46 open in order that the amounts could be in- cluded in their revenues for that year. The amount of £2,132,920 is, however, included in the Commonwealth Budget for 1946-47.

Special Grants

The Commonwealth Grants Commission have

The recommendations of the Commonwealth Grants Commission have been adopted by the Commonwealth Government.

page 253


The agreement is designed to cover all income which is taxed both by the United Kingdom and by Australia. The full text of the agreement has already been made public and this synopsis merely gives a broad outline of the principles and provisions of the agreement. It is not an exhaustive explanation of its terms.

The taxes covered by the agreement are -

The Commonwealth income tax (including super-tax), the social services contribution, the additional amount of tax assessed in respect of the undistributed amount of the distributable income of a private company, the further tax imposed on the portion of the taxable income of a company (other than a private company) which has not been distributed as dividends, and the war-time (company) tax.

The income tax (including surtax), the excess profits tax, and the national defence contribution.

Broadly speaking, income falls to be dealt with in two main classes -

Trading Profits


Australia will levy full tax on profits derived in Australia by United Kingdom residents. United Kingdom will allow against its tax a credit of the Australian tax on the profits.

United Kingdom will levy full tax on profits derived in the United Kingdom by Australian residents. Australia will continue, as at present, to exempt the profits so taxed.

Shippingand Air Transport

Australia will exempt the profits of ships and aircraft owned and registered in the United Kingdom, while the United Kingdom will exempt the profits of ships and aircraft owned and registered in Australia.


Australia will exempt dividends paid by United Kingdom companies to United Kingdom residents, even though the companies’ profits are derived in Australia. The profits will, of course, be taxed by Australia.

Australia will exempt dividends paid to a United Kingdom parent company by a whollyowned Australian subsidiary company. This will place the United Kingdom parent company trading in Australia by means of an Australian subsidiary company in the same relative position for taxation purposes as a United Kingdom company trading in Australia by means of a branch. United Kingdom will tax these dividends but will give a credit to the shareholders of the Australian tax on the profits used by the subsidiary company to pay the dividend. Credit will not, however,be given for Australian tax attributable to profits used in payment of a dividend at a fixed rate on preference shares.

Australia will impose half taxon other dividends paid out of Australian profits to United Kingdom residents, unless the United Kingdom resident carries on business in Australia through permanent establishment, in which case Australia will levy full tax on the dividends. United Kingdom will tax its residents on these dividends, and will give a credit of the Australian tax on the dividends and, subject to the remarks in the previous paragraph in relation to preference dividends, will also give a credit in respect of the Australian tax attributable to the profits used to pay the dividends.

United Kingdom will exempt from sur-tax dividends paid by United Kingdom companies to Australian residents not engaged in trade or business through a permanent establishment in the United Kingdom.

Australia will tax dividends paid by United Kingdom companies to Australian shareholders but will give credit for United Kingdom tax.The credit will be calculated at the net United Kingdom rate and will be reduced by the amount of any relief or repayment to which the taxpayer is entitled under the United Kingdom law. Its allowance will be conditional upon the recipient electing to have the reduced amount of United Kingdom tax included in his assessable income.

Tax on Undistributed Income of Private and Public Companies.

Companies which are private companies under the Australian taxation law and having United Kingdom shareholders, whether carrying on business in Australia through a separate subsidiary company or a branch, will continue to pay private company tax at full rates on their undistributed income. United Kingdom public companies, whether carrying on business in Australia through a separate subsidiary or branch, will also pay full undistributed income tax on their undistributed income.

Royalties, Pensions and Agency Profits

Literary and industrial royalties (other than mining royalties), pensions and purchased annuities and certain agency profits will be taxed only by the country in which the recipient is resident. The country in which the income originates will exempt the income so taxed. In the case of mining royalties the country of origin will tax the royalty. If the country of residence also taxes, it will give a credit in respect of the tax paid to the country of origin.

Film Business Controlled Abroad and Insurance with Non-Residents.

Australia will continue to tax income from these sources and the United Kingdom will give a credit against its tax of the Australian tax paid on the income.

Governmental Remuneration

Governmental remuneration will be taxed by the employing governmentand exempted in the country where the officer is employed except where the officer is ordinarily a resident of the country in which he is employed, or is not in that country solely for the purposes of rendering services to the employing government.

Businessman Professors and Teachers

Where United Kingdom businessmen visit Australia for a period or periods not in excess of 183 days in any year of income, the remuneration paid to them by their United Kingdom resident employers will be exempt from Australian tax if United Kingdom tax is imposed on that remuneration. A reciprocal exemption will be granted by the United Kingdom to Australian businessmen visiting the United Kingdom. This exemption will not apply to public entertainers such as stage, motion picture or radio artists, musicians or athletes, but double taxation of these persons is obviated by the United Kingdom granting credit for the Australian tax paid by United Kingdom artists on their earnings in Australia and by Australia refraining from taxing the earnings of Australian artists in the United Kingdom.

Professors and teachers from the United Kingdom temporarily resident in Australia for a period up to two years will be exempt from Australian tax on their remuneration. A corresponding exemption will be granted by the United Kingdom to Australian professors and teachers visiting the United Kingdom.

Rents and Interest

These classes of income are not specifically covered by the agreement. The origin principle accordingly applies, i.e., the country in which the income originates has the prior right to tax. If the country of residence also taxes, it will allow a credit in respect of the tax paid to the country of origin.

Exchange of Information

Information available to the taxation authorities of each of the contracting governments will be exchanged for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of the agreement and for the prevention of fraud and for the administration of statutory provisions against legal avoidance of tax. No information is to be exchanged which would disclose any trade secret or trade process.

Extension of Agreement

The agreement may, at the request of either Government, be extended to the colonies overseas territories protectorates or territories in respect of which the Government exercises a mandate or trusteeship. The agreement can be so extended only with the consent of the other Government.

Commencement of Agreement

The agreement will apply for the current financial year, that is -

In Australia -

  1. to income of the year ended 30th June, 1946, in the case of companies; and
  2. to income of the year ended 30th June, 1947, in the case of individuals.

In the United Kingdom -

  1. for the year of assessment 1946- 1947, in the case of income tax;
  2. for the year of assessment 1945- 1946, in the case of sur-tax; and
  3. as from 1st April, 1946, in the case of excess profits tax and national defence contribution.

Duration of Agreement

The agreement will operate for ten years certain and thereafter will continue indefinitely subject to the right of either Government to give notice of termination.

The agreement does not, however, come into actual operation until it is given the force of law in both countries.

The arrangement in force since 1921, under which each country granted partial relief from double taxation, will he discontinued.

page 255


The following paper was presented: -

The Budget 1946-47 - Papers presented by the Honorable J. B. Chifley, M.P., for the information of honorable members on the occasion of the Budget of 1946-47.

Ordered to be printed.

SALES TAX BILLS (Nos. 1 to 9) 1946.

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP

– I move - (1.) That, in respect of goods not covered by the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act and on the sale value of which it is not provided by that Act that sales tax shall not be payable, in lieu of the rate of tax imposed by the Sales Tax Act (No. 1) 1930-1943, sales tax at the rate of Ten per centum be imposed upon the sale value of goods manufactured in Australia by a taxpayer and on or after the fifteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six, sold by him or treated by him as stock for sale by retail or applied to his own use. (2.) That, in respect of goods not covered by the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act and on the sale value of which it is not provided by that Act that sales tax shall not be payable, in lieu of the rate of tax imposed by the Sales Tax Act (No. 2) 1930-1943, sales tax at the rate of Ten per centum be imposed upon the sale value of goods manufactured in Australia and sold on or after the fifteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six, by a taxpayer who purchased them from the manufacturer. (3.) That, in respect of goods not covered by the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act and on the sale value of which it is not provided by that Act that sales tax shall not be payable, in lieu of the rate of tax imposed by the Sales Tax Act (No. 3) 1930-1943, sales tax at the rate of Ten per centum be imposed upon the sale value of goods manufactured in Australia and sold on or after the fifteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six, by a taxpayer not being either the manufacturer of those goods or a purchaser of those goods from the manufacturer. (4.) That, in respect of goods not covered by the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act and on the sale value of which it is not provided by that Act that sales tax shall not be payable, in lieu of the rate of tax imposed by the Sales Tax Act (No. 4) 1930-1943, sales tax at the rate of Ten per centum be imposed upon the sale value of goods manufactured in Australia and sold to a taxpayer who has, on or after the fifteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six, applied those goods to his own use. (5.) That, in respect of goods not covered by the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act and on the sale value of which it is not provided by that Act that sales tax shall not be payable, in lieu of the rate of tax imposed by the Sales Tax Act (No. 5) 1930-1943, sales tax at the rate of Ten per centum be imposed upon the sale value of goods imported into Australia by a taxpayer on or after the fifteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty -six. (6.) That, in respect of goods not covered by the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act and on the sale value of which it is not provided by that Act that sales tax shall not be payable, in lieu of the rate of tax imposed by the Sales Tax Act (No. 6) 1930-1943, sales tax at the rate of Ten per centum be imposed upon the sale value of goods imported into Australia by a taxpayer and, on or after the fifteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six, sold by him or applied by him to his own use. (7.) That, in respect of goods not covered by the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act and on the sale value of which it is not provided by that act that sales tax shall be not payable, in lieu of the rate of tax imposed by the Sales Tax Act (No. 7) 1930-1943, sales tax at the rate of Ten per centum be imposed upon the sale value of goods imported into Australia and sold on or after the fifteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six, by a taxpayer not being the importer of the goods. (8.) That, in respect of goods not covered by the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act and on the sale value of which it is not provided by that act that sales tax shall not be payable, in lieu of the rate of tax imposed by the Sales Tax Act (No. 8) 1930-1943, sales tax at the rate of Ten per centum be imposed upon the sale value of goods imported into Australia and sold to a taxpayer who has, on or after the fifteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six, applied those goods to his own use. (9.) That, in respect of goods not covered by the Third. Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act and on the sale value of which it is not provided by that act that tales tax shall not be payable, in lieu of the rate of tax imposed by the Sales Tax Act (No. 9) 1930-1943. sales tax at the rate of Ten per centum be imposed upon the sale value of goods in Australia, including goods which have gone into use or consumption in Australia, leased by a taxpayer to a lessee on or after the fifteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six. (10.) That, for the purposes of the foregoing resolutions,”the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act” mean the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act 1935- 1946 as proposed to be amended by the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill (No. 2) 1946.

The sole purpose of these motions is to reduce the general rate of sales tax from 121/2 per cent, to 10 per cent, on and from the15th November, 1946. The rate of 121/2 per cent, which applies to most of the goods in the taxable field, has been in force since the 1st May, 1942, when substantial increases of the rates were made in order to assist in raising the revenue needed for war purposes.

The rates of tax at present in force are:71/2 per cent, in respect of clothing and household drapery, 121/2 per cent, in respect of the general field of goods, and 25 per cent, in respect of goods of a less essential character which arc specified in the third schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act 1935-1946. It is proposed in other legislation to amend that act to authorize exemption in respect of the clothing and drapery which has hitherto been taxed at the rate of 71/2 per cent. That rate of tax has not been applied to any other classes of goods, and it will, therefore, lapse on and from the 15th November, 1946. Thus, instead of three rates of tax, only two will be in operation on and from the 15th instant, namely, 10 per cent, in respect of the general field, and 25 per cent, in respect of those goods which remain in the third schedule.

The annual loss of revenue resulting from the reduction of the general rate from 121/2 per cent, to 10 per cent, is estimated at £5,000,000. For the current year the loss will be approximately £2,900,000. This reduction will provide a measure of relief in respect of such essential goods as household furnishings, cutlery, crockery, and other domestic utensils, motor vehicles, tools and business equipment.

Progress reported.

page 256


Motion (by Mr. Chifley) - by leave - agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act 1935-1946.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP

by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to allow relief from sales tax on and from the 15th November, 1946, by the granting of certain further exemptions, and also by the removal of certain goods from the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act, thus causing the rate of tax thereon to be reduced from 25 per cent, to 10 per cent., which is the new general rate which will operate, by virtue of separate legislation, on and from the 15th November, 1946.

A statement is being circulated among honorable members setting out particulars of the goods affected. Foremost among the new exemptions is that which relates to clothing and household drapery. Hitherto there has been a special rate of 1 per cent, in respect of clothing, drapery, soft furnishings and yarns which were coupon goods as at the 13th .September, 1945. The Government has had due regard to the fact that the cost of clothing at present involves a burden upon the people, especially where large families are involved, and it is proposed, therefore, that there shall be a complete exemption frOm sales tax of all clothing, drapery, soft furnishings and yarns which have been subject to the special rate of 7$ per cent. There are also certain kinds of industrial clothing which were not coupon goods, and which, therefore, bore tax at the general rate of 12£ per cent. There appears to be good reason why these goods should be included in the proposed new exemption. The bill, therefore, provides for the exemption of certain specified classes of industrial clothing. Perambulators and comparable goods are also being included in the schedule of exemptions, with the object of reducing the cost of these essential articles.

Further consideration has been given to claims made for the exemption of the very few classes of building material which now remain taxable. There are apparently some people who believe that sales tax on building materials still adds greatly to the cost of housing. There is no foundation for this belief. Most building materials are exempt. The list of exempt materials is now being extended to cover paint and associated goods, in addition to wallpaper. It is considered that freedom from tax now applies to not less than 95 per cent, of the value of the materials used in the construction of an average home.

As honorable members are aware, the principal foodstuffs are already exempt from sales tax. However, action is being taken to restore to the exemption schedule certain items which were exempt prior to the 22nd November, 1940, but which were taken into the taxable field at that date because of the unprecedented need of revenue for war purposes. The most important of the foodstuffs which are now to be restored to the exemption schedule are meat pies and meat pasties. These represent a normal portion of the regular daily diet of a considerable section of the people, and are supplied in great numbers through canteens which cater for workers in large industrial establishments. These goods are considered, therefore, to have a strong case for exemption, so that they may be placed on the same footing as the basic foodstuffs.

Numerous requests have been made to me from time to time for exemption from sales tax of show ribbons and certain printed matter for the use of agricultural societies. The bill provides for the granting of these requests. The opportunity has also been taken to restore the former exemption of mining machinery and equipment. Although persons engaged in the mining industry gained substantial benefits from the recent exemption of aids to manufacture, the terms of that exemption are not sufficiently wide to allow freedom from tax on all the goods which formerly qualified for exemption when used in the mining industry. This bill, now restores to that industry the full measure of exemption previously enjoyed by it.

Among the goods which are being transferred to the general field and which will, therefore, be reduced in rate from 25 per cent, to 10 per cent., perhaps the most important are watches and clocks, musical instruments, gramophones, bath and toilet soaps, and tooth pastes. Rowing clubs throughout Australia will be interested in the fact that a similar reduction is being granted in respect of skiffs, dinghies and other craft for sport and recreation. Rowing clubs are thus being placed on the same footing as regards sales tax as other athletic or sporting bodies. Details of the other concessions to be allowed will be found in the statement which has been circulated.

The annual loss of revenue resulting from the concessions granted by this bill is estimated at £11,000,000. The loss for the current year will be approximately £6,400,000. The total loss of revenue from sales tax, taking into account the reduction of the general rate by virtue of other legislation from 12£ per cent, to 10 per cent., will be £16,000,000 per annum, or £9,300,000 for the current year. The bill is confined to the allowance of relief from tax, and I have no doubt, therefore, that it will give satisfaction to all honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Menzies) adjourned.

page 258


Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 1) ; Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 1) ; Customs Tariff (Southern Rhodesian Preference) (No. 1)

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · Ballarat · ALP

– I move - [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 1).]

That the Schedule 'to the Customs Tariff 1933 -1939 be amended as hereinafter set out, and that, on and after the fifteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff 1933-1939 as so amended. [Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 1).] That the Schedule to the Excise Tariff 1921 -1939 be amended as hereinafter set out, and that, on and after the fifteenth clay of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Excise be collected in pursuance of the Excise Tariff 1921-1939 as so amended. **Mr.** *Pollard.* [Customs Tariff (Southern Rhodesian Preference) Amendment (No. 1).] That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (Southern Rhodesian Preference) 1941 be amended as hereinafter set out, and that, on and after the fifteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff (SouthernRhodesian Preference) 1941 as so amended. The tariff proposals I have just introduced are designed to implement, in part, the Government's decision in relation to the budget for the reduction or elimination of certain customs and excise duties to the following effect: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Customs Tariff Special War Duty to be abolished. This is a special duty of 10 per cent, of the total customs and primage duties payable. It was first introduced in May, 1940, as an emergency war measure; 1. Excise duties on dry batteries of less than 6 volts, methylated spirits and carbonic acid gas to be abolished, and corresponding reductions made in the customs duties. All of these duties were first imposed as emergency measures during the war period ; 2. The petrol duty to be reduced by 1d. a gallon in both customs and excise tariffs; 3. Primage duties on Customs Tariff items 174, 219 . (c), 404, 404a, 415a to be removed. These items cover plant, equipment, materials and minor articles used in connexion with manufacturing processes in Australia. The importation of goods covered by these items is important in connexion with the re-establishment and expansion of Australian industries. It is anticipated that the above reductions will result in a loss of revenue of £4,000,000 for the complete year, or £2,500,000 for the remaining period of the present financial year. The tariff proposals now before the committee implement the Government's decision in respect of the customs and excise duties on petrol and the customs duties on dry batteries of less than 6-volts, methylated spirits and carbonic acid gas. In order to remove the excise duties on the three last-mentioned products, and to meet legal requirements, it will be necessary to introduce a bill to amend the Excise Tariff Validation Act No. 33 of 1943. A similar procedure will be necessary in order to remove the special war duty, and I shall ask the House, following the introduction of these proposals, to grant to me leave to introduce two bills for those purposes. Honorable members will also note that, apart from the budget items in the proposals, two other items are included. I refer to the definition of beer in the excise proposal and to the alteration of the wording of the tobacco item in the customs proposal. The definition of beer merely constitutes a legal safeguard, and requires no further elaboration. In regard to tobacco, the proposed rates remain unaltered. The wording of the item has, however, been altered to give to the Minister for Trade and Customs authority to determine the proportion of Australian stemmed or unstemmed tobacco leaf to be used, and to permit the importation of the remainder at the concessional rates of duty. This action has been rendered necessary by the decrease in production of Australian leaf over recent years, and to the fact that stocks of Australian leaf are at such a low level that manufacturers cannot reasonably maintain the present minimum content of Australian tobacco - 15 per cent, tobacco and 3 per cent, cigarettes - to obtain the benefit of the concessional rates of duty. The item as proposed will enable the percentage to be adjusted according to available stocks of Australian leaf. The Australian Tobacco Board, on which growers are represented, supports the proposed alteration of the item. With regard to the removal of primage duty on capital goods and minor articles for use in Australian industry, to which I have referred, I advise honorable members that a proclamation is being issued to implement the Government's decision. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 262 {:#debate-32} ### CUSTOMS TARIFF (SPECIAL WAR DUTY) VALIDATION BILL 1946 Motion (by **Mr. Pollard)** - *by* *leave -* agreed to - >That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Customs Tariff (Special War Duty) Validation Act (No. 2) 1943. Bill presented, and read a first time. {:#subdebate-32-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · Ballarat · ALP -- *by* *leave* - I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. The bill which I have introduced will give effect to the Government's decision to abolish the special war duty of customs, to which reference was made in my speech on the introduction of the Customs and Excise Tariff Proposals. The Customs Tariff special war duty, which was first introduced on the 2nd May, 1940, to provide additional revenue for the prosecution of the war, was a special duty of 10 per cent, of the total of customs and primage duties payable. Under the Customs Tariff (Special War Duty) Validation Act (No. 2) No. 30 of 1943, the collection of special war duty was validated, and this bill, which limits the period of operation of the Validation Act, will cause special war duty to cease to be payable on and from 9 a.m. on the 15th November, 1946. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Menzies)** adjourn ed. {: .page-start } page 263 {:#debate-33} ### EXCISE TARIFF VALIDATION BILL (No. 2) 1946 Motion (by **Mr. Pollard)** - *by leave -* agreed to - >That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Excise Tariff Validation Act (No. 2) 1943. Bill presented, and read a first time. {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · Ballarat · ALP -- *by leave* - I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. This bill is to give effect to the following decisions of the Government referred to during my speech on the introduction of Customs and Excise Tariff Proposals: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Excise duty of 6d. per lb. on dry batteries and dry cells of less than 6-volts to be removed. 1. Excise duty of1s. per lb. on carbonic acid gas to be removed. 2. Excise duty of1s. 6d. a gallon on methylated spirits to be removed, provided the spirit is delivered in accordance with regulations under the Spirits Act. All of these duties were first imposed during the war to provide additional revenue for the prosecution of the war. As the collection of these duties was vali dated by Excise Tariff Validation Act (No. 2) No. 33 of 1943, it is necessary to limit the period of operation of the Validation Act of 1943 so that the duties referred to above will cease to operate on and from 9 a.m. on the 15th November,. 1946. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Menzies)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 263 {:#debate-34} ### WHEAT INDUSTRY ASSISTANCE BILL 1946 Bill presented by **Mr. Pollard,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · Ballarat · ALP -- *by leave* - I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. The bill amends the Wheat Industry Assistance Act of 1938 by providing additional funds for the elimination of marginal wheat areas. The extra amount provided is sufficient for the States to finish their marginal area programme, and so solve a problem which has disturbed the wheat industry for many years. In the years between the wars, and particularly in the first decade after World War I., there was considerable expansion of the area under wheat. That expansion occurred in other countries beside Australia, and there are parallels to be found in the mistakes made here and overseas. The development of new wheat lands brought in areas which have since proved their value, and which have become an established part of our sound wheatproducing country; but the expansion went too far into districts where wheat should never have been grown, and into districts where wheat might be a secondary crop, but certainly not a main crop. Similar developments took place in the four main wheat-producing States, and after a very little time it was found that over large areas in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, wheat was being grown regularly on land which was not capable of economic wheat production. These became the " marginal areas ", which simply could not provide a reasonable living, and a large group of wheat-growers faced the impossible job of producing under conditions which prevented them from attaining prosperity. They were a submerged group within the industry, . depending on occasional good seasons, and continually in need of government assistance. The Governments of the States faced a complex problem, with land being used in a way which was agriculturally unsound, as well as uneconomic, so that growers had to be helped not only in bad seasons, hut also in normal seasons. The only solution was to cut the loss by taking the marginal areas out of wheat, and diverting them to other forms of production. This, in effect, meant that the farms must be reconstructed, the farmers given much larger areas, and production diverted to sheep. Wheat, where it remained in the farm programme at all, had to become a minor part of the farming plan, instead of the major activity. The growers had to be assisted so that they could take over larger areas, or leave their holdings and go into other means of livelihood which offered some prospects of success. The problem, and the solution, were recognized by successive Ministers of the Commonwealth, and by State Ministers of Agriculture. In 1938, one part of the wheat industry assistance legislation dealt specifically with it, and provided £2,000,000 over a period of four years to enable the States to draw up programmes to eliminate the marginal wheat areas. The money was provided from the flour tax proceeds, and distributed to the four States from year to year according to their programmes. Each State defined its own marginal areas, and drew up the plans for dealing with them. The plans were then submitted to the Commonwealth, and were approved after discussions had taken place to bring them broadly into line with one another. Conditions vary considerably between the States, and so absolute conformity was not practicable, but the general principles were the same in each case, and the plans approved follow the same general pattern. It was intended that the whole programme should be completed in about five years, but the war soon put an end to any prospect of that, and the work is still unfinished. However, in spite of the difficulties, it has gone on year after year, with progress being made each year. Although the shortage of men and material has slowed down the schedule, it has not stopped the work, and its completion is now in sight. As soon as the States had surveyed the problem and furnished their estimates, and supplied details of the reconstruction necessary, it was realized that £2,000,000 was not sufficient to finish the work. Actually, £2,950,000 is the total cost involved. With £2,000,000 provided by the original legislation, and another £107,000 supplied from revenue a few years ago, £843,000 is still needed, and the purpose of this bill is to provide that amount. The scope of the problem can he seen when it is mentioned that the area to be withdrawn from wheat production is more than 3,300,000 acres. Over 6,000 settlers are concerned, and when the plan is complete, half of this number will have been removed from the marginal areas. The other half will remain on the land in the same districts, but will be working larger areas under a different farming programme. For them, wheat, where it is grown at all, will be a secondary interest, and they will be on farms reconstructed so as to let them carry on profitable farming. I have said that the plans have been carried out slowly. The war is to blame for that, but the delay has at least enabled us to see that the plans are sound, and that the money provided is achieving the original intention. It can be said that over two-thirds of the necessary work has already been completed, and the results justify fully the extra expenditure needed to complete it. From £2,107,000 already provided, New South Wales has been allocated £800,000, South Australia £713,000, Western Australia £417,000, and Victoria £177,000. The present appropriation is intended to provide another £820,000 for New South Wales and £23,000 for Victoria. It should be noted that the allocations made in previous years were based on the rate of progress each State could make. They were intended to get rid of an Australian problem as quickly as possible and were not founded on any intention of giving a proportionate share to each State of the total available for each year. As a result, South Australia and Western Australia have already been allocated sufficient to carry out their full plan. New South Wales still needs over £800,000 to complete its reconstruction programme, and about £20,000 is needed in Victoria. The effect will be to provide all of the States with the full amount needed to carry their plans into effect. The whole matter has been treated on an Australian basis, because it is an Australian problem rather than a State problem. Its solution will benefit all wheat-growers in the Commonwealth, and will be one substantial factor in placing the wheat industry on a sound economic footing.From the point of view of public finance, there is also the fact that one regular demand on public funds will be obviated by the removal of the submerged section of an important industry. In bringing this matter before the House I look for general support. It is not a party matter, and all Australian governments for many years have recognized the need to eliminate uneconomic wheat-growing. That need is recognized also by the wheat-growers, in whatever State they may be. There is general agreement on the need to carry out the full plan for eliminating marginal wheat areas, and that agreement has existed for a good many years. We have, in fact, to pay for mistakes made in development after the last war, and the sooner this particular work is completed the better it will be for all concerned. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Archie** Cameron) adjourned. {: .page-start } page 265 {:#debate-35} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-35-0} #### INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Debate resumed from the 13th November *(vide* page 193), on motion by **Dr. Evatt** - >That the following paper be printed: - Foreign Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 8th November, 1946 {: #subdebate-35-0-s0 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON:
Barker · ALP -- There is no doubt that since the honorable member for Barton **(Dr. Evatt)** assumed the office of Minister for External Affairs he has taken a lively interest in the work of that department. He has been responsible for a great extension of the activities of the Commonwealth in the diplomatic field. Our purpose this afternoon is not to discuss what he has done in that direction, but rather to consider the attitude of the Commonwealth to matters relating to the negotiation of peace with our former enemies, and, in particular, to the maintenance of peace. The Minister for External Affairs has been overseas more than once, and no other Australian Minister who has gone abroad has produced more publicity for himself and for Australia than he has. He has been, in many respects, a question mark to his countrymen. Generally speaking, they agree that he is trying to do a job according to his lights, although they may not approve his aspirations, nor some of the associations which he formed at the conferences he attended. Many Australians have in their hearts the greatest misgivings regarding the attitude of the Minister to certain matters at the San Francisco Conference. I refer particularly to his apparent leadership of a group of minor and insignificant countries, most of them in central and South America, which were anxious to cash in, or crash in, on the peace programme, and particularly on the organization known as the United Nations, but which might be more appropriately described as the " disunited nations ". Many people, and I am one of them, believe that when we get down to tintacks, our first consideration in the diplomatic field should be to ensure that relations between ourselves and Great Britain and the other British dominions are of the closest possible kind. Therefore, the moves of the Minister for External Affairs which appeared to place him in a position of leadership in respect of a number of powers - if one may use that term to describe them - which took very little interest in the war, and usually take very little interest in the peace, were looked at askance by a great many Australians. Since the San Francisco Conference the Minister has been to Paris, where he dared to differ with the representatives of the great man in Moscow, and I am one of those who said "More power to his tongue ". One of the great problems associated with making and maintaining peace will centre in the attitude which Russia finally adopts to other countries. Certain things associated with the negotiating of peace are little understood by the Australian community, and are almost equally misunderstood by all the democratic communities, particularly the English-speaking ones. I do not know for certain whether any government has ever made a clear statement regarding what actually took place at Yalta and Potsdam. The agreements reached at thos© conferences crop up for discussion time after time. Other agreements were made between the powers during the war, but those two agreements were vital. Newspapers in the United States of America frequently publish accusations about reservations by the President of the United States of America regarding agreements entered into, particularly with Russia, at Yalta and Potsdam. No proper approach can be made towards the negotiation of peace with our former enemies, or towards drawing up a programme for the maintenance of- peace, until the world knows fully, without reservation or equivocation, exactly to what our governments were committed at those conferences. The negotiation of peace is an extremely important matter, and several conferences have already been held. In this regard I am reminded of a saying attributed to Disraeli - who certainly had some knowledge of these things - that he would never negotiate until he had reached an agreement. It is obvious that many of the powers that have taken part in the deliberations in Paris and New York recently, and formerly in San Francisco, have not reached agreement. The representatives who attended the conferences apparently were animated by the highest motives, but out of the welter of talk and of conflicting interests they failed to reach any sort of agreement which would be intelligible or acceptable to the great bulk of mankind. It is reasonable and proper that those powers which took the major responsibility for the fighting should have the greatest say in the settlement of the peace terms. We may talk about our ideals and inspirations - I heard some of them voiced yesterday - but this is a hard and cruel world. To get down to bedrock in international affairs we must all acknowledge that the only thing that matters is force. Force is the only realistic and compelling factor. No diplomatic programme is worth anything unless the government giving effect to it is prepared to back its opinions by force. For that reason we have the veto problem. The great powers were not prepared to be committed to wage war, or to refrain from waging war, merely by the votes of small countries which, would contribute little or nothing to the enforcement of the decisions of the United Nations. Those countries which fought in the war have a right to a say in the peace terms. Others, who fought early in the war but were crushed out, also have a right to determine the terms of peace. Let us consider the position of Poland. My mind goes back to May, 1939, some time before the advent of the Minister for External Affairs in this House, when we were discussing a guarantee which had just been offered to Poland and another which was to he offered to Rumania. I recall very clear, what I had to say on that occasion, though some honorable members may be pardoned if they have forgotten my words. I then said that no guarantee we gave to Poland or to Rumania could ever be fulfilled by us, because we could never get our armed forces into either of those countries in order to carry out the terms of the guarantee. For hundreds of years the only intrusion the British have been able to make in Europe was that made in the eighteenth century under Marlborough. And even then Berlin was the furthest point to which our forces were able to penetrate in an easterly direction. Some people believe that, we have liberated Poland, but the Poland that we see on the map to-day is not the Poland that went to war in 1939, and not the country on whose behalf we are alleged to have gone to war. Poland, therefore, comes within the second category of powers which are interested in the negotiation of the peace treaty. After their country had been overrun and armed resistance ceased, the Polish forces continued to operate against the enemy as an element of the British forces. There seems to be a desire on the part of some people to forget the sacrifices of the Polish people in their endeavours to free their homeland from the heel of an aggressor, endeavours which failed because, whether we like it or not, Poland has now become {: type="a" start="a"} 0. satellite State on the western frontier of Russia. There is a third class of powers which seem to have a good deal to say about the peace, notwithstanding the fact that they took no part in the fighting whatever. Possibly the representatives of the nations concerned form the majority of those who attend the meetings of the United Nations and have much more to say in world affairs than the contributions of their countries to the victory warrants. The limited participation of certain powers in the war is an important factor to be considered, and under that category we have to place our own country. I .realize that the sort of peace that will prevail in Europe will have a great hearing on this country. Whether we like it or not, the Commonwealth must play a dual role in international affairs, because it has dual interests. As a country peopled by stock of European descent. Australia is deeply interested in the affairs of Europe; geographically situated as we are between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, we must he deeply interested in and affected by everything that takes place in Asia, particularly southern Asia. In the discussions al; ibo. United Nations our representatives must pay tribute to the gallant achievements of our airmen who were sent to participate in the European conflict, to the part played by the Royal Navy, and, perhaps not least of all, of the efforts of Australia to provide foodstuffs for the troops in Europe. From a military point of view, however, Australia played an unimportant part in the conduct of the war in Europe. It is true that our troops were engaged in the early campaign in Greece, but apart from that campaign not one solitary division of Australian troops was engaged in the European conflict. {: .speaker-DTN} ##### Dr Evatt: -- Our contribution towards the overthrow of Italy was very important and crucial. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- The Minister may he able to cite facts and figures in regard to that, but I shall not go into them at this moment. {: .speaker-DTN} ##### Dr Evatt: -- The honorable member knows the facts. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- Long before the outbreak of the second world war I said in this chamber that the area in which Australian forces would be engaged in a future war would be bounded by a line drawn from Capetown to Cairo, from Cairo to Hong Kong, and from Hong Kong to New Zealand. The area in which our troops were engaged has an important bearing on our right to settle the terms of peace. {: .speaker-KFQ} ##### Mr Gullett: -- We had more than a division in Greece. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- I agree, but when all is said and done the campaign in Greece was merely one of the " side shows " of the European conflict. Another factor that limits the strength of the Australian voice, and the voice of the Minister for External Affairs, is the fact that in respect of the most important land operations, Australia deliberately took up the attitude of a limited power. In other words, there were points beyond which we were not prepared to send our troops to carry out. military operations. I do not make that statement with the object of raking up old political arguments or of starting new ones; I merely desire the Parliament and the people to take an objective view of the attitude which other powers and countries will adopt towards us when we speak loudly and often about the conditions under which peace should be decided. The next factor that affects this country - and it gets down to the core of the United Nations - is the trusteeship of certain conquered countries. It is high time the fiction of trusteeship were done away with and we got down to the plain fact of annexation. The Government must either permit the United Nations, with its feathery sort of organization, to exercise supervision and control over the lands committed to our trusteeship, or it. must deny to the United Nations the right to interfere in what we have purchased by conquest and, in some respects, purchased twice, as in the case of New Guinea. Public opinion in Australia will not tolerate interference in New Guinea, Papua, New Britain or the other islands committed to our care. The intrusion of representatives , of the United Nations in matters of this kind would not he welcome. I do not believe that the United States of America would agree that the Carolines and the Marshalls and other islands to our north which have been under American control should be submitted to annual audit, inspection and supervision by a representative of the United Nations. To all intents and purposes these islands must become part and parcel of the United States of America itself and they will be administered as such. Let us abandon this fiction of i trusteeship and get down to realities. . If the proper method of dealing with conquered territories in the Pacific is a form of trusteeship on behalf of the United Nations, how can the Minister justify the occupation of parts of Finland, Latvia, Esthonia and Lithuania which took no active part in the war? lt would not do to make too close an assessment of the rights and wrongs of the part played by Finland during the war, otherwise we might feel constrained to place other people in the dock for aggression. The subject of foreign affairs must be considered purely from the viewpoint of the interests of the country concerned.' It is the task of the Department of External Affairs to reconcile Australia's interests with the possibly conflicting interests of other countries with which we come into contact. It is in our interest to achieve the closest co-operation with the other units of the British Empire. And by co-operation I mean not only political co-operation, but also military co-operation, for, as I have said, if any f foreign policy is to bo worth while it must be backed by force. What the Government has not told us, either in the GovernorGeneral's Speech or in the speech of the Minister for External Affairs in opening this debate, is what is to be Australia's share of imperial responsibility for maintaining the peace after the peace has actually been concluded. Until we know what is proposed, we are not able fully to appreciate the statements made by the right honorable gentleman. One of the areas outside the Pacific in which Australia is vitally interested is the Middle East. Both the Middle East and the Suez Canal lie right across our main line of communications with Great Britain. Vet according to statements in the press there is a tendency for the Imperial Government to " sell out " in Egypt and the Middle East. As one citizen in the British Empire, I do not favour the British getting out of the Sudan. I do not favour such a vital channel as the Suez Canal being left to the tender mercies of incompetent Egypt, a country that throughout the critical stages of the war was a very doubtful friend of Great Britain and this country. Egypt is not in the position of being able to guarantee the safety of the Suez Canal. It is not able to guarantee its own safety and security, which will have to be guaranteed by Great Britain or by some other power, and we do not have to look at the .map for long to realize which power that will be if the British walk out. We are not so deeply interested to-day in the Dardanelles, but we have a clear indication of what will happen to the Suez Canal zone once British power, authority and influence have been removed from the Middle East. Australia has a deep interest in the Middle East. It is one of the sources from which we draw our vital supplies of oil, and, for that reason, we have a second responsibility regarding the economic future of the Commonwealth. I should be happy to hear from the Government through the Minister for External Affairs what attitude the Australian Government ' has adopted on the Egypt issue and on the matter of the Middle East generally, an area stretching from the Mediterranean to the borders of India and into the north-west frontier zones of India where certain movements are occurring. I do not think that Persia is in a position to threaten any one. I never believed that Finland was powerful enough to threaten any one. However, in the course of time, we saw Finland overrun and Persia threatened. These are threats to which this Parliament and this country must pay attention. The Anglo-Saxon countries generally can afford to take notice of the position there. Then we have the position in the Indian Ocean. At present there seems to be no threat against Australian lines of communication and British interests in the Indian Ocean, but immediately the equilibrium is upset, as it can easily be, we shall be deeply concerned, for our right to the free use of that waterway and our i to call at places like Ceylon, Aden and Bombay may be affected. So Australia must have some real interest in what has occurred. To the north there are stretching to Asian shores countries whose future is perhaps a selfish concern for Australia. We have not had from the Government any clear-cut statement as to its ultimate intention. That intention obviously must be linked very largely with what the United States of America proposes to do and the extent to which that country proposes to hold the territories that it has conquered to the north of Australia. I understand from information that was elicited mainly by interjections that the United States of America intends to acquire the Carolines and the Marshalls and other islands to our north. I do not know how far north the forces of the United States intend to go in the acquisition of territories previously either Japanese-owned or like Okina wa, which was controlled by Japan from 1895. Until that becomes known, there is not much scope for debate on that .matter. But, there is the matter of Manus. I do not know what the Government's policy is about Manus. Nor do I know what the government of the United States of America asks of the Commonwealth Government in respect of Manus. But, all those are matters of first-class and overriding importance on which this Parliament ought to be fully find accurately informed. Until we know what the policy is to be, much of the debate on foreign affairs is beside the point. I do not think that by any stretch of the imagination it could be argued that the United States of America is a threat to world peace. Great Britain has become more inclined to limit ite responsibilities than to expand them. Any country that has been weakened tends to limit its responsibilities and thereby further weaken itself. In Australia we have a vital interest in Great Britain's intentions. Does it intend to get out of India and leave India to its own tender mercies? The reports in the newspapers in the last few weeks seem to indicate what lies ahead of India if British power is removed from that country. I think that internal disorder will follow. We have already been made aware by what has occurred of what is likely to occur in India once the British depart. The disorder will be of such magnitude that some other power will intervene to restore and maintain order. I repeat that there is no threat, to peace from the United States of America. France is obviously not in a position to threaten any one. It has too many problems of its own to deal with. The smaller nations of Holland and Scandinavia are a threat to no one. Neither does Portugal constitute a menace. Germany does not appear likely to be a threat to any one. For how long it will remain in that position will depend for a long time on what happens in Germany during the period of reconstruction. On that matter I have read in newspapers that at least in the section of Germany under the control of Great Britain it is proposed to establish a form of government on the Australian model. I should like to know what the Attorney-General and his ministerial colleagues think of that, because their dissatisfaction with the relations between the Commonwealth Government and the .State governments is so notorious that twice within two years they have tried to alter the basis of the federation. I think the Commonwealth Parliament is entitled to some information from the Minister for External Affairs about that. Japan might be a threat to peace. Japan has suffered defeat in the military sense in a way different from the way in which Germany was defeated. Japan has been occupied, but about 1S60 it submitted to occupation on similar terms to those now imposed. I am not at all moved by the statements made about the democratization of J apan. I have often said that it is extremely difficult to transplant the democratic system of government into certain other countries, and democracy may well prove to be a form of government that will not acclimatize itself in Asian Japan. Therefore, only one other power remains to which we have to look as a threat to peace; I refer to Russia. In his speech on Friday, the Minister for External Affairs said, " Don't get tough with Russia ! ", hut we can equally say to Russia, "Don't get tough with us ! ". {: .speaker-DTN} ##### Dr Evatt: -- I said that; I said both. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- My study of Russia did not start yesterday. I say that until the other great powers of the world do get tough with Russia they will never get sense from or agreement with Russia. Remember that on the occasion of the signing of the treaty under which there was to be peace between the two countries for twenty or more years, Stalin said to the Japanese, "We are fellow Asiatics ". The record of the Russian armies in central Europe reveals things of which that country will have cause to be ashamed. The record of the Mongol troops in the Russian armies in central Europe is something that this country will hear about in the course of time, and because of it no Anglo-Saxon country will have cause to be proud of having been associated with Russia as an ally. Russia's acts of taking into the Russian domain Lithuania, Esthonia and Latvia were acts of unforgivable aggression, which no silence and no rhetoric can justify. Consider, too, Russia's attack on Poland from the east while Germany was storming through from the west. Why was the guarantee of Poland against aggression upheld against Germany but not against Russia? There is on the files of the Department of External Affairs a letter written by me asking why the guarantee of Poland's integrity was a matter on which Australia,, in common with the other components of the British Commonwealth of Nations and France, had gone to war against Germany when it was not a matter in respect of which the same countries would go to war against Russia. I did not then, and do not now, expect a reply. But I do say that until the governments of the world take an objective view of the Russian situation I am afraid they will not get far with Russia and peace. As to the future, a lot has been said and written about the part that the United Nations is to play in world affairs. But what part will it play? In the long history of the world, country after country and government after government have tried to set up leagues of nations of some kind or other. Alexander of Macedon tried by Greek arms to impose the Greek language and civilization on the world, in order to secure one common citizenship paying allegiance to Greece, but how short a time that lasted after his death ? The Roman idea was different. They had 32 legions on their boundaries maintaining peace within the Roman empire and by keeping the barbarians outside. We have seen the Roman empire under Emperor Trajan limit its frontiers and responsibilities. *[Extension of time granted.]* France under Louis XIV., and again under Napoleon, extended its power throughout Europe. After World War I., we saw the rise of the League of Nations. Years ago in this chamber, before the commencement of World War II., I said that we fought World War I. to end war, but we concluded it hy signing a peace to end peace. The United Nations is a bigger fraud on humanity than ever the League of Nations was. Even its expenses are so' great that the President of the United States of America publically warned the organization about the error of its ways. The United Nations cannot function unless it adopts force as its basis. It cannot function unless it is able to apply sanctions against lawbreakers. At this point, I ask the right honorable gentleman, "What is the law that they might, break?" There is no international law to-day. There is no " parliament of man " and " federation of the world ", of which Lord Tennyson wrote in *Locksley Hall.* We are a long way from that ideal. Bui there is a tendency to charge people with breaches of a law that does not exist, and to talk about the enforcement of a law which has never been committed to paper. Until we have that body of international law under which ' we shall know what are the responsibilities of States, their rights and their obligations, and what penalties shall be imposed for breaches of the law, the real state of international relations must be one, not necessarily of lawlessness or anarchy, but of a lack of law. Until that law is defined and accepted by the various nations who will be subject to those dictates, all the talk of a United Nations, and the transfer of armed forces to its control, will not get us very far. I should like to know more about the powers that the United Nations may exercise. More than ten years ago, I listened in this chamber to the debate upon the imposition of sanctions against Italy. I recall the fight over the presence of a British cruiser in Shanghai, when trouble occurred there, and over an Australian cruiser which happened to be at Alexandria when international relations were " sticky ". I should like to know whether to-day it is the policy of the Australian Labour party to raise armed forces and place them at the disposal of an undesignated authority, when the circumstances in which those forces will be demanded are still unknown to us. Under the conditions that I have visualized here, no Australian government will dare to ask this Parliament for authority to raise forces for the purpose of fighting outside Australia the forces of countries, whose identity we do not know yet, and can hardly visualize. If that be the policy of the Australian Labour party, it is in marked contrast to the policy of that party when we asked the Parliament for authority to send a division overseas early in World War II. At that time, I considered that Australia should send five divisions. If honorable members opposite have changed their views, the sooner that fact is known to the community the better it will be. But I have yet to learn that such a change has taken place, and until that change occurs, and honorable members opposite are prepared to commit to the authority of the United Nations those armed forces, our signature on the compact does not amount to very much. When the League of Nations asked its members to impose sanctions against Italy, they announced their willingness to comply, provided the sanctions did not apply to those commodities which they normally sold to Italy. For example, Chile would not impose restrictions upon the sale of copper to Italy, and Belgium would continue to send coal overland to that country. Yugoslavia would not refrain from supplying other goods. The records will prove that some of these countries even submitted to Great Britain an account to cover what they believed to be their losses as the result of the imposition of sanctions to their international commitments. When I think of India, Palestine, Java and certain other countries, I have a strong suspicion that Great Britain and the Dominions will be expected to maintain the peace and pay the cost of doing so. All I should like to know now is whether the Commonwealth has made up its mind to sign the bill acknowledging its share of those costs. {: #subdebate-35-0-s1 .speaker-C7E} ##### Sir EARLE PAGE:
Cowper .- Like all brilliant lawyers and advocates, the Minister for External Affairs **(Dr. Evatt)** says many things at different times in different places, but occasionally he makes a most illuminating revelation of his real thoughts. He made one such statement at London on the 11th May last, when he said that the power of the veto made it impossible for members of the United Nations to rely entirely on action by the Security Council as the only weapon against aggression. He added that arrangements for Empire defence must be constantly revised. I propose to show that while the right honorable gentleman pursues this chimera of changing the veto - even if it were obtained, it would not prove a panacea of our international troubles - the inaction and lack of policy of the Australian Government have allowed Empire defence and consultation to slip back at least 30 years. This concentration on the " theoretical investigation " method of procedure has indefinitely postponed the restoration of Europe and Asia after World War II. At the time the Minister made this statement in London, **Sir Arthur** Salter, who is one of the wisest minds in the world, who has had long experience in the guidance of the League of Nations, who during the war acted as director of the Combined Shipping Board for the United States of America and Great Britain, and who sits in the House of Commons as the independent member for Oxford, made a most interesting speech in the British Parliament. He said that at present a dominion might adopt one of three courses. First, it could regard itself as a completely separate and independent unit. In those circumstances, its place in the United Nations would be that of a small secondary country. The second course was that a dominion like Australia should "hang on the skirts" of a great power like the United States of America. In the formulation of its defence and foreign policy, it could not then expect to have any considerable influence. The third course was that Great Britain and the Dominions should bind themselves into a really strong and effective Commonwealth. When we study the history of the United Nations, beginning with the San Francisco Conference and ending with the speech of the Minister for External Affairs in this House la3t week, we note that we are getting only words when deeds are required to improve world conditions. We have the apotheosis or deification of the less important. In other words, the less important has been given primary place, and the most important has been overlooked. Continual argument about procedure and the veto might have value in the orderly precincts of a court of law, or in an indefinite assembly of turbulent nations, such as we occasionally witness now, but that, is not the position to-day. We live in a vast and rapidly disintegrating world, and our most urgent needs are immediate action to ensure the solidarity of the British Empire, to make certain of its utmost co-operation with the United States of America, and to effect at the earliest possible moment a final peace treaty with our two major foes of World War II., namely Germany and Japan. In my opinion, the world will not return to normal until the destiny of those two countries is decided and their people are able to begin to work their own way back into the comity of nations under governments of their own choice. Delay in reaching the final settlement, and the maintenance indefinitely of large occupation forces in Germany and Japan, will create internationally the worst possible conditions. The present system of control of the defeated enemy is a source of constant irritation to the peoples of the occupied countries, whilst the presence of the troops makes fraternization inevitable. Moreover, this fraternization causes ill-feeling among the peoples of the countries from which the occupation troops are drawn. We all recall the wide credence given to the lie after World War I. that Great Britain starved German women and children. The truth was, as **Sir Frederick** Maurice pointed out, that the conditions of starvation were due to the fact that supplies did not reach the German people because German shipowners would not allow their vessels to bring food to Germany at that time. Yet, even a statesman of the status of **Mr. Lloyd** George mentioned that lie as if it were the truth. If we permit the present indefinite state of affairs to continue in Germany and Japan, other serious lies will be circulated. The longer the period of occupation, the longer will be the period for the generation of international hate. This all-important problem should be discussed by the parliaments of the Allies with a view to ascertaining whether there is a better method of securing control and preserving peace. My opinion, which is widely held by many experts throughout the world, is that the control should be, as far as possible, invisible. Examples of the invisible control are control of the development of electric power and its selective use, control of the importation of key raw materials like aluminium, uranium and thorium, and control of the production of war materials. The Commonwealth Parliament is vitally concerned with this matter, because it involves its own industrial development. In the interest of world prosperity, German and Japanese industry must be restored, but not in such a way as to compete with our expanding production. Much more important -than building up, in meticulous detail, the machinery of the United Nations, which is accompanied by the maximum mutual offensiveness that is given the widest publicity, is the preservation of our security. After eighteen months the United Nations has not shown any signs of working, and, therefore, we must be prepared t.o defend ourselves against any possible aggression. Let us suppose that the United Nations organization will begin to function. Its thorniest problem will be the establishment of an international police force. Decisions as to how the force shall be raised, how it shall be paid and how it shall be controlled, must be made. In World War I. and World War II. Australia, South Africa and Canada refused to empower Great Britain or an Empire defence council to decide where their troops should be sent. Each dominion insisted upon the right to make that decision. If the dominions refused to give to an Empire council that authority, they are less likely to vest it now in an organization of 21 or 30 countries, with some of which we have no understanding and little consultation. Therefore we should concentrate, first of all, on our own security. This subject was dealt with a few days ago by Lord Alanbrooke, who was Chief of Staff in Britain and one of the chiefs of the combined General Staff during the last .war. He made an apt statement on Empire security when, according to a report which appeared in the *Sydney Morning Herald* last Saturday, he said - >Before the war, certain dominion statesmen showed .1 tendency to place the interests of the League of Nations over those of the Umpire, and now, after the second World War, the same tendencies are apparent in relation to UNO. > >Since the creation of UNO there was a tendency in some quarters to look upon it as a fully established barrier against future war, and that, consequently, we need no longer look .to the British Commonwealth for our security. "But", said Lord Alanbrooke, " UNO rs suffering from teething troubles, and it will inevitably take years to reach maturity ". Lord Alanbrooke spoke of " teething troubles I doubt whether the United Nations has even got that far. It is, in fact, scarcely born, although I have heard of infants being horn with teeth. This distinguished leader referred to the necessity for a closer integration of Empire defence and laid down the following four fundamental requirements for the security of the British Commonwealth - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Recognition by the British peoples that world peace depends' upon Commonwealth solidarity more than upon any other factor. 1. The existence within each Commonwealth nation of an organization capable of developing its full defensive power. 2. The firm co-ordination of the whole of Empire defence requirements. 3. Acceptance by each member of the defence responsibility for its zone. He also said - >The existing Imperial contacts; including Imperial Conferences and the staff colleges, were excellent, but they were not sufficient to provide the continuous day-to-day examination and co-ordination of Empire defence plans. He went on to urge that - >The British and American Combined ChiefsofStaff organization which operated during the war should be examined as providing the type of link required between the Dominions and Great Britain. As the Leader of the Opposition .said in his speech yesterday, Empire strength must still remain the sheet anchor of world peace. It proved to be that for 200 years. The existing Empire organization seems very nebulous. I fear that with regional defence schemes by Australia and New Zealand - the farthest outposts of the Empire - we might fall between two stools; in fact, I suspect all talk of regionalism in defence matters. No member of the Government has dared boldly to proclaim himself as an advocate of Empire disintegration ; yet, in effect, the talk of regionalism may mean the same thing. Empire defence organization and consultation on foreign policy seem to have retrogressed thirty years. This point has been sharply illustrated in the negotiations that have been carried on recently respecting the Suez Canal, the Middle East, and the proposed new Anglo-Egyptian Treaty. For 100 years the Mediterranean and Suez have been regarded as the lifeline of the Empire, and especially of the -Pacific and Indian Ocean areas of the Empire, which constitute three-quarters of its total area and hold .six-sevenths of its population. Australia has recognized this many times. Our effort in the Sudan contingent; our gallant feats on Gallipoli ; our activity in the last war in the Middle East in air, on land and on sea, all showed how highly their importance was assessed by different generations of Australians and by Australian and British governments. Accordingly, when the existing Anglo-Egyptian treaty was being negotiated and when it was concluded in August, 1936, nothing final was done by the United Kingdom Government until Australia and the other dominions had been consulted in a full meeting of the Committee of Imperial Defence specially called for the purpose in April, 1936. I attended that meeting as the representative of Australia, and was consulted continuously thereafter. We did not have to press our case with the British Government, which, in fact, was glad indeed to have our support. We submitted that the whole subject must be regarded in the light of the needs of the Empire and of Imperial defence. I made it clear to the British Government that unless we could be assured of the perpetual safety of the Suez Canal we should regard as a partly wasted effort the sacrifice of 60,000 of our men who died in the first world war. We demanded an assurance of the perpetual safety of the Suez Canal. A day-to-day assurance was no good to us. In consequence of our insistence on this point, Articles 8 and 16 were included in the treaty. That document was signed only when it was quite clear that it had been agreed to by the Dominions. Yet when I asked the Prime Minister a question on this subject last week he told us that he could not give a detailed explanation of the negotiations between the Government of the United Kingdom and Egypt. Surely no Australian Government can divest itself of interest and responsibility in this vital matter. When the subject was under discussion in England last May it received wide notice in the press although at that time British newspapers were being published in a very condensed form. Two full-dress debates took place in the British Parliament on the 7th and 24th May on this subject. The report of each debate took practically a page in the condensed editions of the *Times.* For a whole month there was at least a column of letters each day in the British press dealing very fully with the question. Yet the Prime Minister has told us that there has been no meeting of the Australian Cabinet to deal with this question ! The net result of the discussions in the British Parliament has been that the British Government has "gone slow" in the British evacuation, and a statement has been issued to the effect that if the Government could .not get a satisfactory agreement, the present treaty would stand. Because of the extreme importance of the subject I bring to the notice of honorable members the exact provisions of article 8 and article 16 of the treaty. Article 8 reads - >In view of the fact that the Suez Canal, whist being an integral part of Egypt, is a universal means of communication as also an essential means of communication between the different parts of the British Empire, His Majesty the King of Egypt, until such time hs the high contracting parties agree that the Egyptian Army is in a position to ensure by its own resources the liberty and entire security of navigation of the canal, authorizes His Majesty the King and Emperor to station forces in Egyptian territory in the vicinity of the canal, in the zone specified in the annex to this article, with a view to ensuring in co-operation with the Egyptian forces the defence of the canal. The detailed arrangements for the carrying into effect of this article are contained in the annex hereto. The presence of these forces shall not constitute in any manner an occupation and will in no way prejudice the sovereign rights of Egypt. > >It is understood that at the end of the period of twenty years specified in article 16 the question whether the presence of British forces is no longer necessary owing to the fact that the Egyptian Army is in a position to ensure by its own resources the liberty and entire security of navigation of the canal may, if the high contracting parties do not agree thereon, be submitted to the council of the League of Nations for decision in accordance with the provisions of the covenant in force at the time of signature of the present treaty or to such other person or body of person -i for decision in accordance with such other procedure as the high contracting parties may agree. > >In order that there could be no element of doubt about the meaning of the treaty, article 16 was also incorporated. It reads - > >At any time after the expiration of a period of twenty years from the coming into force of the treaty, the high contracting parties will, at the request of either of them, enter into negotiations with a view to such revision of its terms by agreement between them as may be appropriate in the circumstances as they then exist. In case of the high contracting parties being unable to agree upon the terms of the revised treaty, the difference will be submitted to the council of the League of Nations for decision in accordance with the provisions of the covenant in force at thu time of signature of the present treaty or to such other person or body of persons for decision in accordance with such procedure as the high contracting parties may agree. It is agreed that any revision of this treaty will provide for the continuation of the alliance between the high contracting parties in accordance with the principles contained in articles 4, 5, 6 and 7. Nevertheless, with the consent of both high contracting parties, negotiations may be entered into at any time after the expiration of a period of ten years after the coming into force of the treaty, with a view to such revision as aforesaid. Those articles were inserted, I repeat, to ensure the perpetual continuance of the Anglo-Egyptian alliance and British control of the canal. I draw particular attention to the provision that if any revision of the treaty became necessary, the high contracting parties agreed that any variation should retain an assurance of the perpetual safety of the canal. I have outlined the situation that existed in 1936. I now contrast it with the situation that exists to-day. It has been suggested that there should be some alteration of the treaty. I have no quarrel with the Government on that score. My quarrel with it is on the ground that it has not insisted, as the Government of 1936 did, upon providing every possible safeguard in respect of the canal. Surely this is a subject that should demand the ni03t careful consideration of the Government. Sydney *Truth* is a newspaper which no one will regard as being opposed to this Government; it, in fact, supports the Government. On the 12th May that journal drew attention to the extraordinary effect on the public of the British Prime Minister's announcement that the Anglo-Egyptian treaty was to be varied. His statement had a dispiriting effect upon the people. The article stated, however, that the Prime Minister of Australia would undoubtedly insist upon the British Prime Minister acting only after the fullest consultation with the Australian Government. M.r. Haylen. - Is the right honorable gentleman suggesting that former British Prime Ministers did not deal independently with foreign affairs? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Sir EARLE PAGE: -- I say- and I believe that the Attorney-General will support my statement - that when I was in England in 1936 representing the Australian Government I supported its policy in the strongest possible way. There has been no more stalwart fighter than I have been for the full recognition of the Australian Government in matters of this kind. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- I apologize. I thought that the right honorable gentleman seemed to be favouring the school of diplomacy to which the Deputy Leader of the Australian Country party **(Mr. McEwen)** belongs. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Sir EARLE PAGE: -- I am putting the case as strongly as possible that Australia must he consulted in every respect in these matters, and must take responsibility in regard to Empire defence. What was the result of the action that was taken in 1936? We were firmly entrenched in Egypt when the war broke out. That enabled us to hold the Suez Canal and the eastern Mediterranean, to succour Malta in its heroic defence - one of the most epic stories of all time - to conquer North Africa because we could get supplies through the Suez Canal when we could not get them past Gibraltar and the western Mediterranean, to keep Turkey neutral, to regain Syria, and to attack Germany from the Mediterranean through the " soft belly " of Europe. Anybody could say with reason that had we not held the Suez Canal we might easily have lost the war. Therefore, we must be careful not to do anything that may lessen our security. According to article S, British troops were to be withdrawn from Egypt only in the event of the Egyptian forces being sufficiently strong to guarantee the security that was needed. Speaking in the British Parliament in May of this year, Lord Morris said definitely that a battalion of invaders could overcome the Egyptian army, which was ten years behind in training and equipment. Every one who was overseas during the two world wars realizes what would happen to the present Egyptian army if a couple of battalions of Australians were pitted against it. No security is provided by the present military state of Egypt. The Prime Minister of Great Britain has stated that it was the intention of his Government to revise the treaty and to evacuate British troops from the area of the canal without prior agreement with Australia or full Cabinet discussion in this country. In reply to a question that I asked in this House last Thursday, the Prime Minister stated - >I am unable to give a detailed explanation of the negotiations between the Governments of the United Kingdom and of Egypt regarding the revision of the treaty. The subject was discussed at length during the conference of Empire Prime Ministers in London, though this was more for the purpose of providing information for the Prime Ministers than for arriving at any decision on the subject. It is believed that the decision is primarily a matter for the Government of the United Kingdom, although it is recognized that the protection of lines of communication through the Suez Canal is important to Australia, even if, owing to changes in military technique, it is not so important as was the case some years ago. The subject has not been considered by the Commonwealth Government, and no up-to-date information is available' regarding the. negotiations. I do not. speak now for the Government, but my own opinion is that the- action proposed by the1 Government of the United Kingdom is> justified. That, however, is only m.y personal opinion. Could ona have expected, a condition of affairs of that sort in Australia on a matter, of such *ita moment? Fancy tha Prime Minister saying that he did not speak for the Government and. that the: matter had never been considered, by his Cabinet ! The Prime. Minister of Britain has stated his view, which may seem good to him but is quite- different from that of any Australian government with which I have been associated during the last 25 years. Those administrations always impressed their view upon the Government of the United Kingdom. If the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)-** were present, he would say that the governments with which he was associated' always insisted on a view being taken of this matter different from that expressed by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, who om the 8th May last said- - >The object is to give them- He was referring to other members of the British Commonwealth - mi opportunity of expressing their views in confidence if .they so desire. These views are taken fully into account, but the decision must be ours, and the other Governments- are not asked, rand, would not wish, to share the responsibility for it. Dominion Governments follow the same practice. Fancy saying that to Australia, which had five divisions engaged in World WauI.,, and the whole of whose overseas forces were in the Middle East for two years, in World War II. ! I insist that we do want to share responsibility for such decisions. No decision should be taken in which we have not a definite voice. If we are not courageous enough to take the responsibility which goes with the decision, we are unworthy of the traditions of our forefathers in Britain and in this country, and of our soldiers, sailors and airmen. **Mr. Eden** asked - >Do T understand that while the Egyptian situation was fully, discussed with the Dominion Governments, they did not commit themselves in airy way in support of the action announced yesterday by the British Government? The- Prime Minister replied: - >He was endeavouring to, make tha.t perfectly clear. The fact was that in these con?sultations there was no endeavour to come to a decision. Can honorable members imagine an Empire's affairs being conducted in such a manner by men brought from all over the world, responsible men returned to their parliaments by electoral majorities, with the destinies of the.- people who returned them at stake ? Would they meet merely for a general,, friendly chat, and not come to a decision? The Prime Minister of Canada was not. present on that occasion. He had been communicated, with, and said publicly in a statement which he made, in, I believe, the Canadian House of Commons - >So far as Canada was concerned, no. advice hud been offered to the British Government on any aspect of the Anglo-.Egyp.tian discussions, nor was1 Canada a party to any decision, which ** been taken.. **Sir' Arthur** Salter, speaking in the debate to which I have referred, said this - >He thought that the public were startled and shocked to realize from the Prime Minister's* statements .that in. a matter of Commonwealth affairs, where the defence of an area did not concern Great Britain any more than other parts of the Commonwealth, the sole responsibility for decisions was: with the Government of the United Kingdom. The Suez Canal is the responsibility of Australia equally with Great Britain. 1 believe it to be equidistant from both countries. **Sir Arthur** Salter, went on to say- - >The fact was that the Statute, of Westminster had never been, carried to its logical conclusion in the most vital sphere of all - that of defence. How long would the dominions be content with a position in which they suffered all the consequences of inadequate Commonwealth defence, and yet had no effective share in planning it. While such a position exists,, we are wandering round the world trying to build up a. United Nations organization - an airy, nebulous thing, which is in the clouds and like a cloud can have no connexion with the earth unless some disturbance causes a precipitation. That is the position as I view it. I have no comment :to make on the manner in which the negotiations were conducted by the British Government. I should, however, like to quote what **Mr. Eden** said, in the light of his very great experience as a Foreign Secretary.. These are his words - >The sentiment that the 1936 treaty was in some way derogatory to Egypt was quite a recent one. No doubt it arose, in large part, owing to the continued presence of British troops in the great Egyptian cities after the end of hostilities. If he were Foreign Secretary he would advise the Government to complete the withdrawal from the great cities to the Canal zone at the earliest possible moment and, by so doing, reduce the temperature. Secondly, he would make it plain to the Egyptian Government that, if arevision of the treaty was to be agreed upon, it was in the interests of both countries that it should be negotiated, accepted and signed, as was the treaty of 1936, by all parties in Egypt. A rather remarkable feature of the Anglo-Egyptian, Treaty of 1936 was that, in order to give to it an enduring quality, not merely was a great deal of care taken in regard to its phraseology, but also the British Government insisted that the leaders of all the political parties in Egypt should sign it, so that, should there be a change of government, there would be no possibility of its not enduring. I venture to say that it was because all parties in Egypt knew that Australia and New Zealand held strong views in regard to the matter, and were 100 per cent, behind the British Government, that they signed the treaty. **Mr. Eden** went on. to say - >Thirdly, he would make it plain that any new agreement must, in the terms of the 1936 treaty itself, provide for the continuance of the Anglo-Egyptian alliance.. During the whole of my association with parliamentary office, I have insisted that Australia shall accept full responsibility and have the right to make decisions. *[Extension of time granted.]* A rather interesting commentary on the position is that when the canal was no longer to be defended from Egypt and. had to be defended from somewhere, the suggested alternative was that it should be defended by British troops in southern Palestine. That immediately bad unfortunate repercussions. It lessened the possibility of enlisting American aid and co-operation in the attempts that were being made to patch up the Jewish-Arab quarrel in that country. Obviously, if there is to be trouble between the Jews and the Arabs in Palestine, that is not a healthy place in which to have forces for the defence of the Suez Canal. The decision was vital to Australia and fatal to the goodwill of other nations. It might easily cause an unfavorable reaction in the manner in which the United Nations is viewed by the Congress of the United States of America. Therefore, the time has arrived when we should do much better than we have done so far. Lord Hankey, for many years Secretary to the War Cabinet in World WarI,and for a time in World War II., has published a book dealing with this matter, in which he has expressed the view, that there must be an. Empire set-up. In emphasizing the importance of such a proposal, he said - >The mistake of premature disarmament must be avoided this time. We must not reduce our forces too quickly. Last week, we read in the newspapers the most disturbing news that cooks and stewards had had to man the British Fleet for a review. This indicates that, in respect of this arm of the service, disarmament has been rather premature. Lord Hankey, went on to say- >Foreign policy must be dealt with in its wider, as distinct from its technical aspects, by a Standing Foreign Affairs sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence, which would include representatives of the opposite parties and the dominions: To me, that appears to be very wise advice. Surely, Empire defence and our own security should cease to be party matters, on which opinions would change when one government took over from another on purely domestic issues. The time has arrived when we should make certain of having in this Parliament a foreign affairs committee, the members of which would be drawn from all parties. When that committee is brought into being, it should be prepared to give up the ostrich-like habit of pretending that the Empire is not a defence *bloc.* When war is declared every one of the British dominions enters the fray within 24 hours, and stays there until the end. If there is an Empire *bloc* for the waging of war, why should there not be an Empire *bloc* for the prevention of war? Our association with the Empire confers upon us many advantages in the way of trade, as typified by the system of Empire preference. I do not think that there is anything to be ashamed of in being a member of the British Empire. If we recognize the existence of an Empire *Hoc,* then we become part of one of three world *blocs -* the British Empire, the United States of America, and Russia. Each one of those powers enjoys the right of veto at international conferences, and if we recognize ourselves as a part of the Empire *Hoc,* then the exercise of the veto will pot have so many terrors for us. I suggest that we should have more frequent discussions of foreign affairs in this Parliament. A man recognizes that, in order to assure his life, he must pay the premium. If we are to ensure national security, we must be prepared to give up something to achieve that end. It has been proposed that peace shall be ensured by the establishment of an international force under the control of the United Nations. Presumably, each member country would contribute something towards this force, but how the arrangement would be worked out I do not profess to know. In the meantime, wo should take steps in Australia to make ourselves as powerful as possible. We can make Australia a vital factor in world affairs by making of it the most important granary of the Empire, and one of the most important arsenals for the production of technical and military equipment in the Anglo-American alliance. We must be prepared to encourage production to the utmost; to develop our power resources, decentralize industry, and provide an incentive for men to work and to produce. Our people should be prepared to raise, not only their own living conditions, but also those of other peoples. In that way we can build a nation, the defence of which will be a comparatively easy matter. Thus, our first step is to make secure the defense of Australia in a military, industrial and foodproducing sense. We must then assure our position in the Empire, after which we should promote the closest possible association with the United States of America, and prepare a place for ourselves in the United Nations. I freely praise the Minister for External Affairs for the active part he has taken in the work of the United Nations, but I maintain that our ago. ciation with the United Nations is of less importance than is our association with the Empire and with the United States of America. {: #subdebate-35-0-s2 .speaker-L0G} ##### Mr RYAN:
Flinders .- -The House is indebted to the Minister for External Affairs **(Dr. Evatt)** for the statement which he made last week, and also for the opportunity which he has provided for honorable members to debate this most important subject. Debates of this kind have been all too rare. I have been in this House for six years, and this is only the third occasion upon which we have had a full-dress debate upon foreign affairs. {: .speaker-DTN} ##### Dr Evatt: -- There have been more debates on the subject in the last three years than in the previous 36 years. {: .speaker-L0G} ##### Mr RYAN: -- I am admitting that previous governments devoted too little time to the subject, and that is a symptom, rather than a cause, of the indifference of people and of governments to foreign affairs. It is noticeable that in the press to-day the headline news has to do very largely with foreign affairs, coupled, of course, with sport. This might be taken as an indication that the people are more concerned now with foreign affairs than they used to be. Nevertheless, the Government and the public generally are very far from giving the subject the attention which it deserves. As for the Government itself, I find it very difficult to know what is its policy regarding foreign affairs. We have, of course, a very active and capable Minister for External Affairs, who has spent a great deal of his time abroad putting forward in a vigorous fashion certain policies which emanate from I do not know where. I do not know upon what principles they are based. Since I have been in this House, I have never hoard one considered pronouncement of foreign policy emanate from the Government. I am not, of course, forgetting the various statements which have been made by the Minister for External Affairs, but they have been, for the most part, merely reviews of recent history. {: .speaker-DTN} ##### Dr Evatt: -- Dozens of statements on policy have been made. Principles have been enunciated in every ministerial statement made by me. {: .speaker-L0G} ##### Mr RYAN: -- *Ad hoc* statements, perhaps. {: .speaker-DTN} ##### Dr Evatt: -- *Ad hoc* statements, and also statements of principle. {: .speaker-L0G} ##### Mr RYAN: -- Then I must re-examine those statements in order to discover, if possible, what is the Government's policy. As I have said, I do not know what is the Government's foreign policy, if, indeed, it has one. When I think of the Minister for External Affairs my mind is taken back to the story told of Louis XIV. of France. Louis was asked about the state of France, and he replied, "L'état, c'est moi!- "I am the State". If we could get the Minister for External Affairs in a frank mood, and ask him what is the Government's foreign policy to-day, I have no doubt that he would reply, " I am the foreign policy of the Government". I should like very much to know what time the Government has devoted to the examination of these important international problems, if, indeed, they have been examined at all. What time did Ministers expend in considering their attitude to the present situation in the Middle East, or to the situa tion in the Netherlands East Indies, or to any other of the pressing problems which have been the occasion of international headaches? The interaction of national policies has a profound effect upon the lives. and welfare of every man, even more so than the day-to-day decisions of governments on political and economic affairs. Most of us here have had experience of two great wars and one great economic depression. The causes of these events lay outside out own country, but they profoundly affected the lives of every one of us. What has happened in the past may well happen again. We must realize that it is necessary to take a greater interest in matters of this kind than we have been accustomed to do. It is true that we are a small nation, but we can exercise a great influence on the course of events if we will pursue a course of enlightened self-interest, while not being unmindful of the interest of other peoples. We in Australia have enjoyed complete control over our affairs, both internal and external, for the past three decades. There was a time when, although theoretically we enjoyed such freedom, it was not in practice exercised. Decisions were taken in London and, without being considered by us, were accepted here, and thus control of our external relations was taken out of our hands. That time has now passed, and we are tending to go to the other extreme. Over-assertiveness with the object of demonstrating our independence is liable to be mistaken for something else i i the councils of the nations. It should bc our concern to steer a steady and even course. There is a marked distinction between status and stature. Australia's position to-day is this: We draw our strength, not from the number of our population, but from the fact that we are a member of the British community of nations. It is an obligation on our diplomatic representatives, when they go abroad to fight for our own corner in everything in which Australia is particularly concerned, but in other matters, when the interests of Australia are also those of other members of the British Empire, we should seek agreement with those other members, and avoid quarrels which can only have the effect of diminishing the prestige and authority of the Empire from which Australia draws its strength. *Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.* {: .speaker-L0G} ##### Mr RYAN: -- An obligation rests upon our diplomatic representatives to fight for everything of immediate and particular concern to Australia. Where Australia's interests are common with those of the rest of the world, and in particular with those of the British Empire, an obligation rests upon them to avoid quarrels either with Britain or with the other dominions which would lower the prestige and authority of the co-operative body known as the British Commonwealth of Nations, from which Australia derives its strength. That brings me to another thought, namely, the desirability of increasing our contacts with Great Britain and the other dominions. It cannot be gainsaid that there is at present too little contact, much less integration, between the various partners in the British Commonwealth. Except in time of war, little interest is shown by one dominion in the affairs of the others. What does Great Britain, for instance know of the internal problems of the Dominions? What, for example, do we know of the problems of Canada and South Africa .and the other dominions? Our consultative arrangements are extremely fragmentary .and inefficient. Our knowledge of the problems of the other dominions is not increased solely by the exchange of diplomatic representatives, as many people consider to be the case. A great deal more is required to be done. In the first place, Australia, in common with the other dominions, should have more background information relative to matters of concern to all members of the British Commonwealth, and this information should be disseminated not only to members of the parliaments but also to the people. This could be done, I believe, partly through the press and partly through broadcasting. It is essential that we should have full knowledge of the problems of the various dominions, and that they in turn should know the problems that beset us. There should be more frequent interchanges of Ministers between the Dominions themselves and between the Dominions and Great Britain. In that way a much wider general knowledge of Empire affairs would be gained by the Government .and our administrative departments. I go further .and suggest that there should be frequent visits abroad of our senior public servants, .our schoolteachers and school leaders, leaders of industry and the executive officers of trade unions. Australia in turn should receive reciprocal visits from leaders in other parts of the Empire. It .has been ,my experience - and I know the Minister for ^External Affairs will agree with me in this - that a few hours' personal contact between people engaged in the solution of a specific problem is worth months of exchanges of telegrams, letters and memoranda. Only by direct contact with the other dominions can problems of mutual concern lie speedily solved. The requisite machinery for the holding of such consultations is already in existence, but it is not working fully and results have to dote been extremely poor. During the war there were frequent consultations between representatives of the Dominions and of the Mother Country. The problems arising out of the war were urgent and we set about to remedy them without delay. What can be done in wartime can also be done in this time when the world is supposed to be at peace. Great delay occurs in the exchange of communications between one dominion and another. 1 know of my own experience and also from the experience of others that -often grave delays have occurred in dealing with problems submitted to us by the British Government, yet many of them have been of the greatest urgency. Problems involving international relations cannot be put off from one month to another, and the delays that have taken place in the past in this respect have not redounded to the credit >of the Dominions. I do not say that the fault has always been ours; there 'have been faults on the part of Great Britain and of the other dominions. We must try to improve the procedure. I believe that as a first step in this direction we should establish a British Commonwealth secretariat whose -duty would be to -collate information regarding the Dominions -and to transmit it to other Empire .countries. The problems 'Of Australia could be made known to ether dominions and to Great Britain by .such im auithority, -and 'their views on -our suggested solution .of them could be sought. Relations between empire countries are less close to-day 'than they were at any other time during the last 25 years. The Dominions seem to be drifting away from one another. I notice that the honorable member for Fremantle **(Mr.. Beazley)** looks sceptical. {: .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr Beazley: -- At the honorable .member's sceptical remark. Mi-. RYAN. - The Dominions are a great deal less close to-day than they were in the years immediately preceding the war. {: .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr Beazley: -- Is there mot an Australian high commissioner in each of the Dominions ? Mi'. RYAN. - The mere presence of a high commissioner will not solve all problems that might arise to cause friction between us. All actions taken by the British Government affect Australia to a greater or less degree, and accordingly we should not only be consulted but also be in a position to .speak with a considered voice on them. Governments should' take this loosening of Empire relations much) more seriously than, it has done in the. past. Every problem that presents' itself for our consideration should receive the very earliest consideration, and our considered, opinion upon it should he communicated at once to the Dominions concerned. The third suggestion I make - it has already been made by the Leader of the Opposition - is that there should be established in this country an all-party committee on foreign, affairs. Such committees' are already in existence in other countries. The subject of foreign affairs- should not be treated, as a party matter. Problems relating to international affairs are not solely for the consideration of the Labour party, the Liberal party or the Country party; they affect the whole of Australia and should be dealt with on a national basis. We should have a consistent policy in these matters. In Great Britain, irrespective of whether a tory government succeeded a whig- government, or a conservative government succeeded a Labour government, or a Labour government followed a National government, a. consistent line of foreign policy has been pursued. If we are to evolve a worthwhile foreign policy we must do likewise. A foreign affairs committee would assist the Government to evolve such a policy and make it known, not only to the members of this National Parliament, but also to the people at large. Only by that means can we maintain a settled policy over the years to come. There is too much indifference on the part of the people of Australia, including many honorable members of this House, in regard to the important subject of international affairs. Only two members from the Government side have so far contributed to this debate, and I should not be surprised if not a single Minister, other than the Minister for Externa] Affairs will participate in it. Surely honorable members opposite must have some ideas on the subject. I again ask the Minister for External. Affairs whether he can claim that Australia has any settled foreign policy? The right honorable gentleman has already said that the Government's foreign policy has been stated on more than one occasion. There is, of course, an easy answer members opposite will say, "We believe in the United Nations; we believe- in adherence' to the British Commonwealth of Nations ; we believe in peace ". But those are mere vague terms and are not sufficient. Something more definite is required. A reply of that kind is as inconsequential as the answer given by a young man starting off afresh in life to a question as to- what he proposed to do- with himself, when he said " I am all for making friends with my fellows and finding happiness and prosperity in this- life ". He would need greater and more definite aspirations than that to. get anywhere in the world. Surely, honorable members opposite can answer my question in less vague terms. All of us are aware that the future of Australia, depends on the solution of the problems of the world, the grand strategy of world affairs. I think it was Admiral Mahan who said., when asked a question about strategy, "A general who has a sound basis of strategy can afford to make tactical mistakes but no. tactical successes will make up for unsound strategy." That I think is very true.. It applies to the general strategy of world affairs. I think we all agree with that. The Minister for External Affairs said - >Australia will continue to make the fullest contribution to the United Nations in accordance with the terms of the United Nations Charter and the Atlantic Charter. I do not think any one inside or outside this House would disagree with that. The right honorable gentleman dealt with the difficulties confronting the United Nations, particularly in regard to the veto. I do not desire to deal extensively with the matter of the veto, because other honorable gentlemen have spoken at length on it. It is obvious to any one who understands the situation that the United Nations cannot guarantee maintenance of peace under the present set-up. The tragic inability of the League of Nations to guarantee permanent peace was partly due, I think, to the wishful thinking of the nations composing it and ignorance of what the League was there for and what it could do. The fate that befell the League of Nations may befall the United Nations. That danger is real. Bo if there should be anything that can be done to safeguard the United Nations against making the mistakes made by the League of Nations, for God's sake let us do it. I agree that without an international organization entrusted with the task of preserving peace, there can be no lasting peace, but for such an organization to be successful in its objective, there must be some surrender of sovereignty, not only by the great powers, but also by the small. Looking at the attitude of the great powers, can any one say that one of them is prepared to forgo any of its sovereignty? The maintenance of the veto is proof of that. But in that respect the small powers are more or less equally culpable. For instance, some people in this country - some of them are in the Cabinet itself - are not prepared to make the small sacrifice of sovereignty necessary for Australia to become a party to the Bretton Woods Agreement. If we are not prepared to make a small sacrifice of sovereignty, how can we expect the great powers to do so in respect of more important issues? So the fact must be faced that, United Nations or no United Nations, maintenance of peace depends on whether the great powers co-operate or, at least, do not go to war. If one of them resorts to war the whole world will be devastated again as it has been in years gone by. Therefore, it seems to me that, although it is in the interests of the British Commonwealth of Nations to support the United Nations strongly and sincerely in order to strengthen the organization, we must, at the same time, strengthen ourselves in order that we may be ready to meet aggression should we ever again be threatened. I have not the time to dilate on defence, but I desire to say something about what I believe is the accepted principle, that each member of the British Commonwealth of Nations should be responsible for the defence of its own territory and region, since Great Britain is obviously no longer able to carry that burden. Surely that agreement is not sufficient. None of the dominions is capable of standing alone. Each would require support in time of aggression. Just as we sent men overseas in two world wars, help ought to be sent to us by our partners in the British Empire should we ever be attacked. It is not sufficient for us to say, " Oh well, we will look after Australia; let the others look after themselves ". One plain fact emerged from the statement of Lord Allanbrooke and from the recent debate in the House of Commons, namely, that the fundamental question of lines of communication was left undetermined and that the resolution of the Imperial Conference of 1926. which declared Britain's responsibility for the lines of communication, had never been rescinded. These matters must be taken up and with at an early date. In common with other honorable members on this side, I should like enlightenment on Australia's attitude to the great troubles that beset the world. What has it to say about the Middle East? The Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** told us what he had said to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, **Mr. Attlee,** on that subject. Is the Commonwealth Ministry saying or doing anything about the situation there? Was our Prime Minister directed to say to **Mr. Attlee** what Australia thinks about the maintenance of British influence in the Middle East? Our main route of communication with Great Britain, by sea or air, is through the Middle East. From that part of the world the British Empire draws 90 per cent, of its oil supplies. We have not heeded what has occurred and is occurring in the Middle East; it has been left to Great Britain to do as it likes, apparently without any criticism from us. The time is passing, if it has not passed, when we should take a positive stand in our own interests in matters that concern us deeply, such as the future of the Middle East. I am too pressed for time to debate many other matters of first importance to the British Empire as a whole, and Australia as a component. I conclude with the hope that strengthening of the ties that bind the British nations will contribute to the strengthening of the United Nations, and that thereby we may achieve an abiding peace. {: #subdebate-35-0-s3 .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
New England -- I congratulate the Government on its having in the last session of the previous Parliament passed legislation providing for the broadcasting of the proceedings of the Parliament in order that the Australian people may listen to the debates. Those people who listened to what was said in this House last week must have shared my interest in the declaration of the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Lang)** that the Labour party no longer existed, and that the leaders and followers of the Government were the right wing of the Conservative party. He claimed that the Labour party bad abandoned its traditional policy. The honorable gentleman must have been reassured, however, by the speech on international affairs made by the Minister for External Affairs **(Dr. Evatt)** and by other speeches from the Government side, because those speeches starkly reveal that Labour has not discarded its traditional policy of isolation and disinterest in foreign affairs that concern Australia. The Minister for External Affairs spoke about what he has been doing in the months he has been away from this country attending various conferences of representatives of the nations. The Minister for External Affairs is looked upon by adherents of the Labour party as a man of great standing in international councils; but remarkably few of his admirers were sufficiently interested in his speech to stay in the House and listen to it. From tho Opposition side we have heard in this debate from former Prime Ministers and former holders of other important portfolios, including that of Defence and that of the Army, but what have we heard from the Government party in reply? A poet and a professor ! MINISTERIAL Members. - You will get it, {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr ABBOTT: -.I hope so. I hope that some one in a responsible position in the Labour party will be ordered to try to reply to our strong arguments, so that the listening public shall know where the Government stands, that they shall know that it has not, as alleged by the honorable member for Reid, abandoned traditional Labour policy, but has, through the Minister for External Affairs, expressed Labour policy to he one of isolation from world affairs. The one objective of Australia in relation to the proposed peace treaties should be the adoption of the supreme principle that Australia shall be able to live without fear of involvement in international strife. Our people want to know whether their safety is to be assured. Government Supporters. - Sit down. {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr ABBOTT: -- Honorable gentlemen opposite ask me to sit down. They writhe under criticism which they know is the truth. I propose to examine the Minister's speech, paying special attention to what he has been doing abroad to ensure the safety of Australia. Last Saturday, the Prime Minister, addressing a meeting at Bathurst, which is situated in his own electorate, said that the security of the people of Australia was preserved against the ogres of unemployment, sickness and every other ill. Unfortunately, the right honorable gentleman referred only to internal security. What we are concerned with, and what we contend really matters, is that the external security of the people of the Commonwealth all be preserved as well. What is the use of having guarantees of internal security against social ills if those guarantees are swept away by tho blast of a foreign aggressor, because through our foolish conduct in these peace treaties, we have not safeguarded our security? The ideas which the Minister for External Affairs put forward so fluently in his speech to the Parliament last Friday are not new in any way. The honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Archie Cameron)** pointed that out this afternoon. If honorable members will turn to history, they will find that the great French statesman Sully, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, attempted to create what is, in effect, the foundation upon which similar proposals for the preservation of security have been based throughout the years. Sully put forward what he called the " Grand Design ", which provided for a Council of Europe to discuss matters of common interest between the nations and settle disputes. That is primarily what the United Nations is attempting to do to-day. We have to study history, not to follow it slavishly but to learn from its lessons to avoid mistakes, and to profit from the failures of the statesmen of the past to accomplish what we ave endeavouring to achieve to-day.. I was strongly reminded of the words of Lord Bacon when I heard the Minister for External Affairs speaking for hour after hour about the struggle which he had conducted in the United Nations on procedural matters and on legal technicalities. Referring to gentlemen very like the Minister, Lord Bacon said - >As for philosophers, they make imaginary laws for imaginary commonwealths and their discourses are as the stars which give little light because they are so high. An Honorable Member. - Have a drink. {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr ABBOTT: -- I am endeavouring to preserve my voice. The people of Australia, who are listening to the broadcast of this debate, will realize from the interjection the levity with which Government supporters treat this examination of our foreign policy. {: .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr Beazley: -- The voice that turned a thousand knobs. {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr ABBOTT: -- 1 remind the professor - the youthful member for Fremantle - that this debate on foreign policy is too vital for such levity. {: #subdebate-35-0-s4 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member must not address the listening public; he must address the Chair. {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr ABBOTT: -- I thought that " the Chair " was an all-embracing term which included the public. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member is out of order. {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr ABBOTT: -- The speech of the Minister for External Affairs must be examined from two aspects. First, does it provide for the greatest possible security for Australia ? Secondly, does it show that the Minister is attempting to achieve things which the lessons of history teach are unattainable? I contend that the proposals of the right honorable gentleman do not provide the greatest possible security for Australia, and that he' is undoubtedly trying to achieve things which have been found impossible in the past. He is unwilling to learn from the lessons of history. His colossal vanity makes him above design and so, in the course of the debate, he has not allowed even his fellow ministers or members to enter into the discussion for fear they might .express different views. The Minister stated that he proposed to report to the House on four matters: First, the progress achieved in the making of the peace treaty; secondly, the main business now before the United Nations Assembly ; thirdly, the matters of the Pacific, particularly pertaining to Australia; and fourthly, some general trends and principles for discussion by the House. The Minister then proceeded to put before the chamber what he called the " background of the making of the treaties", and he referred to certain arrangements which the great powers made during the course of the war. Hf said that those were not strategic arrangements, and really belong to the peace treaty. If the Minister had ever endured the dangers and perils of being actively in a war, he would know that all nations at times nave had to make arrangements in :order to preserve "their existence .and bring the war to a victorious conclusion.. One point which I noticed in the speech of the Minister is that, while the great nations continually seem .to do everything that is wrong, die believes that neither the right honorable gentleman nor a little power ever makes a mistake. So we find in his speech a kind of veiled criticism of the great powers for having made these arrangements. He said - >Towards the >end of the war, an arrangement was made -under which Soviet, Russia obtained important territorial concessions in the Far East. This is another illustration of the kind of arrangements which did not relate purely to the war effort of the United Nations as a whole, but to the peace settle ment, and it was entered into without prior consultation with other countries concerned such as Australia and New Zealand. Does not the Minister realize that time is of the essence of the contract in these arrangements made by the great powers in the heat >of the conflict? If conferences were held and these [problems were discussed openly during the war, the enemy would probably have outbidden us. Who was to know that the atomic bomb would crush Japan so speedily? In the circumstances, it was essential at that period to make certain promises to the Soviet in order to bring the armed might of Russia into the conflict against the forces of Japan. The Minister should know perfectly well that such arrangements have been made in every wai since the dawn of time. He should know that, in the Napoleonic war, Sweden refused to enter the struggle unless it were given sovereignty over Norway. The decision had to be made suddenly. The British Foreign Minister at that time, Lord Castlereagh, was compelled to pay the price, and that arrangement was incorporated in the Treaty of Paris. In the secret treaty of London on the 26th April, 1915., Italy was promised great concessions as its price for entering the war against Germany and Austria. The whole question is whether the end justifies the means. But once the promises are made, they must be honoured. They are made in the heat of war, and it is easy for the Minister, now that peace has been given to us by our victorious armies, to criticize the great powers, and say that these arrangements pertaining to the peace should not have been made. Does he suggest that we should repudiate them, or does he agree that they should be honoured ? In my opinion, these promises must be honoured in accordance with the strict letter. The Minister also put forward the proposition that countries like Australia should participate effectively in the making of the peace settlement. I do not know whether he meant that the small countries should have an equal voice with the great powers in the making of the peace treaties, but I rather suspect that he did because subsequently, in reply to an interjection that I made, he said no distinction was made between the powers because of their sizes. What sort of a proposition is that to put to nations like .Soviet Russia, which lost about 5,000,000 men in World War II., and to the United States and Great Britain which suffered tremendous losses and bore the brunt of the war on their shoulders? Are their destinies to be placed at the mercies of small nations like San Domingo, Haiti, and Peru? I contend that the proposition is an impossible one. Its adoption could do nothing but harm, and introduce discord into the discussions of the nations. Still discussing the background of the peace treaty, the right honorable gentleman said that the Council of Foreign Ministers of the great powers was appointed to draft the proposals which would be submitted to the other nations for their consideration. Australia suggested - that is camouflage for the fact that the right honorable gentleman made the suggestion - that other countries should be associated with the Council of Foreign Ministers. The alternative was that any decisions which were reached by the council should bc submitted for free and open discussion to all beligerents, who should have power to modify them. Is that a realistic proposition, or the kind of proposition that we should expect to hear from the young professor from Fremantle? I say that it lacks every element of reason and commonsense. Tho Minister stated that, as the result of a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, the representatives of the four great powers and seventeen other nations, including Australia, assembled at Paris for the purpose of considering the draft treaties and making recommendations. The right honorable gentleman said - >Indeed, it was to be an advisory body rather than a peace conference with full power to settle the terms of peace. In my opinion, the proposition which the Australian representative put forward was impossible for two reasons. First, the size of the conference would prevent an agreement being reached in a reasonable time. I remind the Minister of what M. Gentz, secretary to the Austrian Foreign Minister, Metternich, said about the way in which the Congress of Vienna began its business - >There were sovereigns negotiating in person, some of them as though they were their own prime ministers; presidents of cabinets of the first rank turned into plenipotentiaries; plenipotentiaries of the second rank; nearly a hundred princes and ministers of princes of every degree, each one intent on furthering some private interest . . . That is the kind of institution in which, the Minister seriously proposes, the four great powers which won the war should participate. Well, I do not know. I am baffled. The quotation continues - >The dictatorship of the Great Powers, though theoretically an injustice, was under the circumstances a necessity. Theoretically, the dictatorship of the great powers may be an injustice. Undoubtedly, it would be an injustice in a debating society, hut the Council of Foreign Ministers, which, formulates the peace treaties, is not a. debating society, because upon its decisions depend the life and security of millions of people, including over 7,000,000 Australians. They will not be preserved by the dialetics, the brilliant oratory and the pholosophical discussions by the Minister in the councils of the nations. The great powers bore the strain of the war; they paid the piper, and are entitled to call the tune. These great nations of Europe, America China, France, Britain and Soviet Russia are not likely to allow the small nations throughout the world to call the tune. They would bo traitors to their own peoples if they did so. Lord Castlereagh, probably one of the greatest Foreign Ministers that Britain has ever had, took this stand long ago at the Congress of Vienna, which has always been regarded as one of the most successful international congresses ever held because it gave peace to Europe from ISIS until 1848. In that period of 33 years Europe enjoyed comparative freedom from disturbances. At that congress the peace terms were dictated by the great powers, which did not allow the little rag-tag, bob-tail powers to lay down rules and orders in relation to peace terms. Lord Castlereagh wrote to Lord Liverpool on the 20th September, 1815 - >There was only one opinion, that the conduct of business must rest with the great powers. The conduct of the business of these great assemblies must always rest with the great powers. In this connexion I refer honorable members to the *Protocole Separe* quoted at page 101 of the volume *The Confederation of* *Europe,* in order to show how peace treaties were negotiated at that time and in the hope that we may learn some lesson from the past. The provisions to which I call attention are as follows: - 1, The four powers alone were to decide on the distribution of the provinces to be disposed of as the result of the late war and the Treaty of Paris, but the two other powers were to he allowed to hand in opinions and objections afterwards. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The plenipotentiaries of the four powers would not enter into conferences with those of the two powers for this object until they had arrived at a complete understanding among themselves on the questions of Poland, Germany, and Italy. 1. To save time the plenipotentiaries of the four powers would, as soon as the congress opened, consult the two powers on other matters. Those provisions were agreed to on the 2nd September, 1815. If that procedure was necessary in 1815 a similar procedure is necessary to-day. We should learn from the lessons of history. The Minister for External Affairs should realize that his policy is, in effect, destroying the security of this nation. Tho right honorable gentleman should be prepared to pay heed to the experiences of the past in the important matter of peace-making- {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: **Mr. Haylen** *interjecting,* {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr ABBOTT: -- I do not propose to pay any attention whatever to the honorable gentleman or his *Poems for Adolescents.* We should be guided by examples from history. I shall refer to another great statesman though T. would not insult the dead by suggesting that the Minister for External Affairs stands in thu same rank of statesmanship. A.»: soon as Talleyrand arrived at the Congress of Vienna he endeavoured to rally the small nations to his banner. But there was this difference between Talleyrand and the Minister for External Affairs: Talleyrand was trying to do something for his country. He was seeking to secure an effective voice for it at the congress. But the Minister for External Affairs had such an instrument already at his hand. However, he was more concerned in trying to fight the battle of the small nations than in trying to secure the safety of this country. The right honorable gentleman could have made the British Empire an effective instrument for the benefit of Australia. He could have expressed the views of this country through British Empire representation. Had he pursued that policy Australia undoubtedly would have had a voice in the Council of Foreign Ministers, but the right honorable gentleman did not exploit that avenue. .Why did he not do so? It was because had he taken that course he would not have been the hero strutting across the stage of world affairs. Yet he would have ensured thereby a more effective expression of the views of this country. Vanity has been th<3 downfall of many men. If the right honorable gentleman had fought for the representation in the Council of Ministers to be that of the British Empire instead of stressing again and again that the council had on it representation of the United Kingdom only and not of the British Empire, Australia would have been much better served and would have been able to speak with a much more effective voice. If the representation on the Council of Ministers had been that of the British Empire instead of, as the Minister kept stressing throughout his speech, that of the United Kingdom, Australia would have been in a position to put its views effectively, and if it could have converted the other .members of the Empire to its views, then they became the Empire policy in the Council of Ministers, and in a place, moreover, where the right of veto existed against the views of other nations. If representation on the Council of Foreign Ministers had been on an Empire basis there would have been no necessity for the procedure of recommendations which the right honorable gentleman was seeking at the conference. The right honorable gentleman should have been concerned primarily not with the the affairs of the small nations but with the safety of Australia. That should have been his supreme objective. The Minister complains that if any one of the great powers, United Kingdom, United States of America, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and France disagreed with any recommendations of the conference, then all would oppose the recommendations. The attitude of the great powers was in accord with the precedent of the 22nd September, 1815, under which the four great powers, prior to the conference of Vienna, adopted the *Protocole Separe* The decisions of the Council of Ministers strongly confirms the view that the great powers were determined to be the dictators of the peace. They had decided that there should be an absolutely watertight arrangement, and that the peace terms should, not be left for determination by the small nations. I contend, therefore, that the Minister for External Affairs betrayed his country by acting as he did. The question that he must answer is: Why did he not work for his country in the manner that I have suggested instead of adopting an isolationist attitude? It is apparent that the right honorable gentleman acted as an isolationist, for when I asked him whether any arrangement had been made by which the dominion Ministers might consult with the British Government representative on the Council of Ministers to put forward an Empire view that would overcome most of the difficulties, he replied : " Theoretically that appears to be sound, but in practice that is difficult ". I then asked, " Has it ever been tried?" and the right honorable gentleman replied, " Yes ; however, the machinery for trying it may be improved ". Yet the Minister did not try to improve it because he was working too hard in trying to muster the small nations and in trying to break the unity of the British Empire and the other great powers. I repeat, that he betrayed his country. This is not a question of machinery, but of a recognition of the principle that the British representative on the Council of Foreign Ministers is the British Empire representative, to whom instructions could be issued from time to time by an Empire council representing the views of the United Kingdom Government and the dominions. That this procedure is not impracticable is shown by the fact that the Australian delegate on the Advisory Council at Tokyo also represents the United Kingdom, New Zealand and India. The Minister is apparently quite prepared to accept the situation that an Australian representative may represent the Empire at Tokyo, but he seems unwilling to accept the converse that Australia may be represented by an individual from another dominion, or from Great Britain in other conferences or committees. Yet the two propositions should be complementary. The Minister must surely be willing to concede the logic of this contention. I had intended to speak at length on some other aspects of the isolationist attitude adopted by the right honorable gentleman. However, my time is limited and I wish now to turn to the question of regional security, with particular reference to the transfer of the trusteeship of Manus Island. The Minister' stated that two extreme views had been: advanced in this connexion, the first being that although the Americans had fortified and used Manus Island during the war, the war was now over and therefore the island should be returned to Australia ; the other being that Australia should inform the United States of America that if it desires to control Manus Island it may do so. The right honorable gentleman stated that the latter proposition was impossible under international law and practice, because Australia is a mandatory authority, or a trustee of the island. The honorable member for Partes **(Mr. Haylen)** is interjecting again, but I do not intend to take any notice of him. The honorable gentleman hops round like a dancing master and tries to blind us with science. In that respect he is something like the Minister for External Affairs, who, a leader in the legal profession, endeavours to blind us, and the people of Australia, with legal science. The contention of the right honorable gentleman that Manus Island could not be handed over under international law is a mere quibble, for under article 77 of the United Nations Charter, the island could undoubtedly be put under the trusteeship of the United States of America. Let us look at Manus Island from the point of view of the United States of America, and also that of Australia. The American view has been very well stated by **Dr. Werner** Levi in the *Fortnightly Review* of September, 1946, in an article entitled " The United States and Pacific Bases ". {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- Can we not have something more recent? {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr ABBOTT: -- The honorable member for Parkes is more concerned with the possibility of reaping some political advantage from the speech of the Minister than he is with conserving the welfare of the Commonwealth. The article to which I have referred states that towards the end of August, 1945, a report on Pacific bases was issued by a sub-committee of the Naval Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives of the United States of America. **Dr. Levi** stated that the report was important as coming from a committee which exercised considerable influence upon American policy. The main conclusions of the committee were that the United States of America should have a dominating control over the Marshalls, the Carolines and the Mariana, Izu, Bonin and Ryuku Islands, and that it should have " specific and substantial right to sites where American bases have been constructed on island territories of the Allied Nations ". It also stated that American bases should be permanently kept in a state of preparedness, and that the Pacific strategy of defence should revolve about a centre line north of the equator to Hawaii, Micronesia and the Philippines. The line should be protected north and south by certain major bases, airfield's and the like. *[Extension of time granted.]* I shall not detain the House much longer. Government Members. - Hear, hear! {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr ABBOTT: -- The reason for honorable members saying, " Hear, hear !", is that I am placing before the members of this Parliament very damning facts relating to the refusal of the Government to hand over Manus Island to the United States of America, an island that is unimportant except for military purposes, and so lock the United States of America into the defence of the South-West Pacific Area and extend the operation of the Monroe Doctrine over that ocean, making of Manus Island a bastion in the defence of this country and placing' us in such a position that we would not be solely dependent on that weak vessel, the United Nations, or on what the Minister for External Affairs has described as regional security. Was the regional defence of the Malay Peninsula, and of the area bounded by a line drawn across Java into New Guinea, and thence through the New Hebrides, New Caledonia and New Zealand, so secure that the armies of Japan were not able to pierce it? Strength lies with the big battalions. The Government " slobbered " and " slimed " over the United States of America when it sought the aid of that country in time of war. Is it not essential to endeavour to lock America here in time of peace, so as to preserve the existence of this Commonwealth against the external dangers with which it is threatened? The point made by the naval subcommittee was that defence should revolve round an area north of the equator, with lines running north and south of it. Manus Island is one of the- southern lines of defence envisaged. It is essential to the whole Pacific strategy. If we are not going to allow the United States of America to have full and sole use of it, those in charge of defence measures in that country may have to re-orientate the whole of their strategy for the Pacific and South-West Pacific Areas, and instead of having vertical lines of defence running north and south of a point north of the equator, they may have to draw their lines on an arrow head formation, and leave 8,000,000 white people in Australia alone, -miserable, and untended, with a seething yellow sea to the north of the continent. If we hand over Manus Island to the United States of America, the Monroe Doctrine will, in effect, straightway be extended into the SouthWest Pacific Area. Walter Lippman, one of the greatest foreign publicists in the United States of America, has said, that that is what, in effect, would take place. Australia's security would be guaranteed by the most powerful nation in the world. Yet, in order that the people of the world may see what a Hercules or a strong man he is, the Minister for External Affairs is prepared to barter Australia's security for the right of being the leader of the small nations of the world. {: .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr Holloway: -- The honorable member is not fit to wipe his boots. {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr ABBOTT: -- I do not wipe the boots of anybody except myself. The Minister has said that the Government is prepared to allow Manus Island to be Used as a base reciprocally by the American navy if the. United States of America will let us use American bases. Does he understand the first principles of defence - that the nation which intends to defend any territory, or use it for offensive purposes, must decide what sort of airfields are necessary, and what naval requirements should be provided in the harbours? Is there any guarantee that we would keep that base in a state of absolute preparedness in 'accordance with the recommendations of the naval subcommittee of the American House of Representatives? The right honorable gentleman must be completely ignorant of the first principles of war, strategy and defence if he believes that any tinpot base can be made immediately effective, Manus Island must be maintained according to American standards, not according to what we believe America wants. The proposition put to the United States of America was an impossible one. Australia has let itself and the world down very badly by its stupid behaviour. The Minister went on to say that he had discussed this matter with **Mr. Byrnes** in America. He also mentioned Admiral Nimitz, who was in charge of the American forces in the Pacific. In the 300 pages of its report, the naval subcommittee has pointed out that it consulted the whole of the naval, air and army high command in the Pacific area, and that in their opinion it was essential to have the plan which the committee had recommended. I would not for one moment doubt the Minister's veracity. All that I say is that hig memory is very bad indeed, and that he should take a course in Pelmanism, if he says that Admiral Nimitz told him one story and the naval sub-committee another story. Is there any thought in his mind that Australia or the British Empire is going to fight the United States of America? Apparently, the right honorable gentleman and the Prime Minister differ upon the reasons for not giving Manus Island to the United States of America. The right honorable gentleman has said that there is no power to do so under the Charter of the United Nations, or under the mandate system of the League of Nations. When I raised this matter during the last election campaign the Prime Minister, in reply to me from, I think, Brisbane, said that we might want to use Manus Island at some time to fight an enemy with whom the United States of America was not at war. What, then, becomes of the security pact of the United Nations? The Prime Minister admits that it is worthless when he says that we may be at war with some country and have to fight alone while the United Nations sits idly by, apparently biting their finger-nails. To me, that seems an extraordinary proposition. Some American congressional committee whose report I have referred to has recommended extending the Monroe Doctrine to the Pacific Ocean, and maintenance of the *status quo* in the Pacific. If Australia were attacked, would it not be better for us to have the sanction of the law and the strong arm of the United States of America on Manus Island defending this country, than to fight a lone battle while others stood by, with the possibility of our being destroyed? I hope that I have raised a few points which may produce some replies more authoritative than we have so far had from the ministerial spokesmen from one who can speak with more knowledge because of his experience in parliamentry and political matters -and in the hurlyburly of foreign affairs, not one who has merely read accounts of the events published in books or has lectured to school children. The Government should put up somebody to reply to my damning allegation that it has surrendered the safety of Australia. The United Nations is a weak vessel,. and "the last argument of a king is force ". I remember reading on the breech-blocks of a battery of guns in France in World War I. a Latin inscription meaning " The last argument of a king". The last argument of a great power is not dialectic discussion or the philisophical writings of the Minister for External Affairs, but the force of the great nations that stand behind it for the protection of the people in it. The safety of the people of Australia is the supreme law. The Minister should devote all his energies to that end, and should not attempt to gain notoriety for himself in the councils of the world. I remind him that Lord Castlereagh, a British Foreign Minister of no mean order, said in regard to the Treaty of Paris that they should bring common sense into their discussions. The Minister should look at this matter of the United Nations, and conduct his discussions overseas, in a common-sense way, not in the legalistic and philosophical manner he has adopted up to date. {: #subdebate-35-0-s5 .speaker-JTF} ##### Mr BURKE:
Perth .- I regret that the extravagant utterances of the honorable member for New England **(Mr, Abbott)** have brought me into this debate, and that I must attack them. On a former occasion, in similar circumstances, I had cause to demonstrate how wild, unreasonable and foolish were the utterances to which he had given tongue. The honorable gentleman afterwards demonstrated to the House the solid reasoning of which he is capable. On the occasion in question he proved that he knew a good deal about the intricate and technical subject that was under discussion, and did himself justice - which he certainly has not done in his wild and irresponsible utterances to-night. I regret that, because at other times and in other places I have come to have some respect for the honorable gentleman. By his utterances to-night, he has forfeited any respect which one may have had for him. Whilst gladly defending, if defence be needed, the work and the reputation of our very able Minister for External Affairs **(Dr. Evatt),** I regret that I have to say hard things about a man who at other times has shown himself to be far more reasonable and responsible than the honorable member for New England showed himself to he to-night. No one regards seriously the accusations he has levelled against the Minister. No one regards as fruitful in this or any other debate the delving into ancient history which has characterized the speech I am now reviewing. There are valuable lessons to be learned from history. Too frequently, however, we fail to recognize the real lessons that are to be learned from the actions of nations after great wars have been fought, and pursue the same old policy of the balance of power - on which, apparently, the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Spender)** has staked his reputation in the current debate. It is suggested that we should adhere to the same old policy that will inevitably lead us onto the slippery decline that must end in another war. It is to the credit of the Minister for External Affairs that, he has learned the lessons of history. He has seen that the old methods of exacting reparation from defeated enemies, and of establishing undemocratic organizations, have always ended in trouble. Sometimes, organizations of the kind to which I have referred were established in good faith, but when the acid test was applied, they proved incapable of preserving peace. Indeed, their very existence proved to be a snare and a delusion, engendering in the minds of the people a feeling of false security, and a belief that war would be avoided. The people relied upon international organizations to preserve peace, being unmindful of the unsound foundations upon which they rested. Only when a new war was upon them did they realize the futility of their hope. I think that I have dealt sufficiently with the accusations of the honorable member for New England, and I believe that he, for his part, should make amends for the vile attack which, if taken seriously, could damage the reputation of a man who has done so much for Australia, and very much to establish on sound foundations the international organization which we may reasonably expect to ensure world peace. The speech of the Minister for External Affairs last week was perhaps the finest of a number of splendid pronouncements which he has made on foreign policy and the work of the United Nations. A generous tribute was paid to him on this account by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** and other members of the Opposition, and this constitutes a further condemnation of the honorable member for New England for the attack which he made upon the Minister. Many of the matters discussed by the Minister in his statement have been reported and commented upon in the press, but we learned of them in greater detail from him, and we learned also something of the reasons which actuated Australia's representatives at international conferences. We were told of the benefits which might be expected to follow the adoption of the policy advocated by Australia. The Leader of the Opposition criticized the statement of the Minister for External Affairs on various counts. He was very ably answered by the honorable member for Fremantle **(Mr. Beazley),** who pointed out the wisdom of the foreign policy adopted by the Government. Some of the statements of the Leader of the Opposition were unworthy of him, in particular his statement that the discord and dissension apparent at meetings of the United Nations were merely so much clowning designed to achieve publicity. Such a statement represents a gross distortion of the position. As a matter of fact, we may pluck much comfort from the fact that expression was given at the conferences to the discord and dissension which exists among the powers. I do not believe that the interests of peace would be promoted by an attempt to settle all differences al secret meetings so that an appearance of unanimity might be kept up at public conferences. As happened after other wars, such action would merely have the effect of deceiving the people into a belief that real unanimity had been achieved, and that a lasting world organization had been established for the preservation of world peace. On this occasion, the clashes and disputes, and the rival political and economic claims have all been heard in public conference. They have been reported in the press of the world, and that is a tremendous advantage. While the people know .that such dissensions exist, they, who have suffered and bled through the war, will make known their resolve that international differences must be settled. The people expect and demand that there shall be no more wars. Therefore, it is infinitely better to conduct peace negotiations in the open forum than by means of bilateral arrangements as suggested by the Leader of the Opposition. The right honorable gentleman also complained that, although a long timehad elapsed since the termination of hostilities, no peace treaty, even with the enemy satellite powers, had yet been signed. That, also, I believe to be all to the good. A better peace can be written now, twelve months after the end of the war, than could have been written amid the hatreds and enmities that existed immediately after the war. Thus, the time has not been lost. The sharp antagonisms engendered by war have had time to subside. It is possible now to take a wider and wiser view of world problems, and this will ensure the writing of a just peace, one which will enable the nations to avoid war in the future, rather than a peace that would contain within it the seeds of future wars. The right honorable gentleman also referred to the Council of Foreign Ministers, to the work it did and the claims it made. It is reasonable to assume that the great powers would seek to have a large share, perhaps the major share, in any peace settlement. The Minister for External Affairs did not suggest anything to the contrary. However, he did say that when the peace treaties have been drawn up by the Council of Foreign Ministers, they should be submitted to the United Nations organization, which would have the right to criticize and suggest amendments. He did not propose that the assembly should have the power to amend treaties, but that it should have the right of review, and the right to refer recommendations back to the Council of Foreign Ministers for consideration. The Foreign Ministers would then make their final decision in the light of the views and recommendations of the Assembly. If that is not a wise proposal, I have yet to hear of one. No one will suggest that all wisdom lies with the statesmen and the people of the four great powers. Therefore, I cannot see how anything but benefit can accrue from the adoption of the proposal of the Minister for External Affairs. I cannot understand why such bitter criticism was directed against him. I can only believe that members of the Opposition failed to read the United Nations Charter, or to give attention to the statement of the Minister for External Affairs. I come now to the speech of the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Spender).** He made loose remarks of a kind which we are not accustomed to hear from him when he said, referring to the Minister for External Affairs, that the democrat abroad became the autocrat at home. That charge is not warranted. The Minister made a clear, concise and comprehensive statement to this House in which he discussed all phases of international affairs as they affect Australia. Indeed, after hearing his exposition of world affairs, difficult to add anything fresh. Then, having made his statement, he threw the subject open for debate by the House. What is there in such action to justify the charge of the honorable member for Warringah that the Minister is a democrat abroad and an autocrat at home? His statement is -part of a smear campaign on a pitiful scale, and ' does scant justice even to the honorable member himself. He went on to say that, Australia should efface itself in the councils of -the nations. I suggest that there may emerge from Australia some glimmer of an idea that would be of use in solving the difficulties that now confront the nations. For that reason, if for no other, the Minister for External Affairs would not be justified in effacing himself in the councils of the nations. Of course, the honorable member intended to convey the impression that the Minister had evinced a disposition to draw away from the other members of the British family of nations. There is no basis for such a suggestion. As a matter of fact, the Minister has, in all his speeches on international affairs, demonstrated how Australia has endeavoured to promote consultation and cooperation between Great Britain and Australia. {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr Abbott: -- What about Egypt? {: .speaker-JTF} ##### Mr BURKE: -- I shall discuss Egypt later. The Minister has explained that proposals advanced by the Australian Labour Government would, had they been accepted, have had the effect of enhancing the influence of the British Empire among the nations, and of promoting closer relations between the various parts of the Empire. Other nations which make up the British family thought that they should pursue their own policies. The proposals made by the late Prime Minister, **Mr. Curtin,** and by the present Prime Minister and the Minister for External Affairs, were not acceptable to them. We have in living form a complete refutation of every accusation made. Time and time again the same old accusations are- made until one becomes nauseated by the repetition of vile untruths. {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr Abbott: -- The accusations are true, and the honorable member knows it. {: .speaker-JTF} ##### Mr BURKE: -- The honorable member for Warringah went on to say that there is a clash of ideologies between Russia on the one hand and the British Empire and the Western States on the other. I do not claim to have any great knowledge of the history of these countries or of the foreign policies they have pursued, but every authoritative work which I have been able to consult has demonstrated that the foreign policy of Soviet Russia has never varied and that the policy of Russia to-day Hinder Stalin is identical with that followed by Russia under the Czars throughout the centuries. Another suggestion made by the honorable member for Warringah was that Australia should efface itself in the councils of the world. The only conclusion I can draw from that statement, which was repeated in a much more irresponsible form by the honorable member for New England, is that honorable members opposite are afraid, not of lessening the tie between Australia and Great Britain, but of accepting the responsibilities which might be placed upon this country if it adopts a wider domestic and foreign policy. They have demonstrated in a number of ways that they are unwilling to accept the responsibilities that national sovereignty demands. In -effect, we have the spectacle to-day of the British Government asking us to carry certain responsibilities and to play a leading part on behalf of the Empire in the Pacific, while honorable gentlemen opposite suggest that in the bad bold world to-day there are too many obstacles to be faced, too many large issues ahead of Australia for it to make a determined stand in the area in which its greatest interests are centred, and that therefore it should ask to remain under British protection. They say that the Government and 'the people of this -country have sufficient to do to look after affairs at home without dabbling in -affairs abroad. There are many matters in the speech of the Minister for External Affairs to which lengthy consideration might well be given, 'though many of them 'have been widely canvassed in this debate and in others which have preceded it. One that, concerns me very greatly is the proposal concerning Trieste. It has been suggested that this vital port should be controlled by an international authority. That proposal appears to repeat once more the tragedy of Danzig and to contain all t:he ingredients of a future dispute. With humble apologies for dealing with something about which I have but a limited knowledge, I say that it might have been better to vest control of Trieste in the country which appears to have the greatest claim upon the port, and to give assurances that the country to which it is denied shall have free access to all its facilities. Another matter about which I am greatly concerned is the safeguarding of human rights. The proposals put forward by the Australian representative give expression to an ideal which we all hope to attain, and their advancement gives greater hope for the future. The solution of international differences that result in wars is not to be found in any one definite formula. The conflicting influences which bring about international differences are manifold. The proposals for the safeguarding of human rights will assure the peoples of the world t'hat the "haves" shall not prevail against the " have nots ". I applaud the efforts of the Minister in this regard, and I trust that they will have a beneficial effect upon the deliberations and the final decisions of the organization to be set up te guard human rights. One of the important matters to which I had proposed to address my remarks is the subject of reparations. However, much of what I had intended to say upon that subject has become unnecessary, because of the excellent speech delivered by my -friend the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** last night. I have long held the view that it is foolish for victorious nations to demand vast sums -of money by way of reparations from their conquered enemies. It is equally foolish to take from the' defeated powers by way of reparations vital machinery required for the employment and feeding of their populations. One has only to recall the consequences of such actions following World War I. to see 'how absolutely ineffective these demands must eventually be. After World War I. vasts sums of money were demanded from the defeated countries, but before very long the demands had to be -scaled down because it was found that payment was impossible. Finally, the whole scheme was abandoned. The victorious nations had to lend money to their former enemies in order to enable them to feed their populations and pay the reparations. -Once again the victorious nations will have to assist their former enemies to save them from ruin. I agree that the war 'potential of defeated nations should be wrecked or otherwise disposed of, but I do not agree that we should take from them productive machinery vital to the maintenance of their peoples. Such ku action is defeatist in its concept and foolish in practice, and will serve again to sow the seeds of bitterness that must lead to future conflicts or disagreements. Demands by way of reparations from defeated countries should be treated in the same way as the lend-lease agreement or written off as part of the price to be paid for future peace. We all agree that control and' supervision must be. exercised over defeated nations to ensure that their war potential shall not be built up again secretly as has occurred in the past. We should exert every effort to convince the defeated peoples, even though it may take generations, that the democratic way of life is the best, and that the totalitarian methods that they have supported in the past can have only one end. However, the solution of the ]) rob lem does not lie in demanding substantial reparations in the f onn of money that can never be paid, or in the form of goods which the allied countries do not wish to import. Because of my views on another question, I shall probably find myself alone in this chamber, and possibly unpopular in my electorate. I refer to the execution of war criminals. I say unequivocally that I object to that method of disposing of the leaders of defeated nations. No doubt, it is the easy solution of the problem, but it savours of a return to the primitive wars of history when the leaders of conquered nations were put to the axe or the sword. This method of dealing with our enemies can serve only to create martyr legends on the basis of which, at some future date, a new dictator will be able to rally his forces. A part from that aspect, there is a terrible finality about death in this cold and methodical form against which, I believe, human instincts must revolt. In addition these -killings serve to -brutalize the executioners, and dull the finer feelings of the nations responsible for them. It was most nauseating to find that when the German arch-criminal Goering escaped the hangman's noose by taking poison in his prison cell, there was a wave of resentment throughout the world, indicating the existence of a spirit of barbarism. From a practical point of view, Goering could have earned a more favoured place in the history of his people had he gone to the gallows calmly and bravely, with perhaps the same final Hitterrances that identified others who were executed with their nation. However, that is not of vital concern. There is another and much more effective way to deter nations from going to war. War criminals certainly should be tried for their crimes. That ought to establish an international code of value. Convicted war criminals should then be put to work in the service of some organization that would first repair the devastation that they had caused, and secondly, work for the ending of war. That the German war leaders were arrogant there is no doubt, and of course, they were military men to the highest degree, but there is something about hard -manual labour that chastens the most arrogant of men. Determining the fate of German war criminals presented a problem of great magnitude, but in my opinion, execution was not a solution of it. Rather did it reveal an unwillingness to face up to the problem. I repeat that the execution of these men can serve only to regenerate a nationalist spirit of the Hitler type at some future date. I have spoken longer in this debate than I had intended. I rose mainly to emphasize how much this country owes to the Minister for External Affairs for his work overseas on our behalf. An endeavour has been made by certain honorable members opposite to establish that the Minister does not speak for the Government. I can say without any hesitation, and with the fullest assurance, that the right honorable gentleman has the confidence of all Government supporters, individually and collectively, to a far greater degree than has ever been enjoyed by any man in a similar position in the history of this Parliament. The policy that the right honorable gentleman has enunciated has the backing of the party of which he is a member. That he has rendered noble service to this country is recognized by all fair-minded members of the Opposition, and it is sad to hear other speakers condemn bini unjustly. The Minister for External Affairs has proved himself to he an able Australian, a man who loves his country, and places its interests above all other considerations. He has earned the gratitude of all Australians for his untiring work. In the international sphere, he has proved himself a foremost citizen of the world. {: #subdebate-35-0-s6 .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE:
Parramatta .- I come into this House as the successor to **Sir Frederick** Stewart, who represented the electoral division of Parramatta for fifteen, years, and I should like to place on record my appreciation of the services rendered to Australia and to the constituency of Parramatta by the honorable member during his long parliamentary career. I am sure that I express the sentiments of every one in the House when I wish him many years of happiness and usefulness. It is only natural that a newcomer to this chamber should gain sharper impressions concerning the conduct of its affairs than other honorable members who have been here for some time, and, in the course of this debate on international affairs, I have certainly been struck by one thing, namely, the vivid contrast between the interest shown by Opposition members and the lack of interest on the part of members of the Government. When the Minister for External Affairs made his speech, in fact at the moment when he rose to address the House, there was an exodus from the Government benches, only thirteen or fourteen honorable members remaining. .Similarly, when the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** made his no less important and valuable contribution to the debate, Government supporters dwindled and have continued to dwindle ever since. It has been said here that Australia's policy on international affairs is being controlled by one man. Although I do not subscribe to some of the expressions which have been used in this donnexion, it is plain that Labour members as a whole are not interested in this subject, and it is, therefore, not unfair to assert that the Minister has become a sort of Palmerston in our foreign affairs. This may be because, as an able man, he is so far ahead of his colleagues in his knowledge of international affairs that they cannot follow him, or it may be that they are only interested in domestic matters. Whatever the cause, this solitary direction of Australia's foreign policy is bad for the nation. It is wrong for any one man, or even a small group of men, in a national parliament to monopolize control of this most vital of all national subjects. This leads me to make the suggestion, which has been made before by honorable members on this side of the House, that an all-party committee on international affairs should be appointed. There is such a committee in the United States of America, although it has powers which would not be appropriate in Australia. Canada recently established an all-party committee on the lines that we propose, and it is operating effectively. There is no such body in Great Britain, although there has been agitation for the appointment of one for some time past, but in that country there is this difference that the parliament is invited to express its opinion upon important matters of foreign policy before decisions are made by the Government. In matters affecting Australia's international relations and the nation's reputation abroad, it is necessary to call upon the best brains available in the Parliament irrespective of party, and I have no doubt that the Minister for Externa] Affairs would concede, even though some of his colleagues might not do so, that there are men of great ability on this side of the House. If an all-party committee were established, it would also give to this country something which it very badly needs in the field of international affairs, namely, continuity of policy. Some policies being pursued at present are likely to be changed where there is a change of government, and all this is bad for the nation. An all-party committee would, therefore, ensure the maintenance of *a* certain degree of continuity of policy, and would also give to the Government the benefit of the views and experience of all parties represented in the Parliament. Many honorable members on this side of the House would be glad to serve on an important committee of this sort, and if the Minister for External Affairs still possesses that quality of being amenable to persuasion, which he possessed as a member of the High Court Bench some years ago before politics claimed him, I am sure that expressions of opinion from members of the committee on this side of the House would be well received by him, and would result in benefit to the nation. I turn now to the Minister's statement and, in particular, to matters dealt with, or rather not dealt with, by him. He will, I think, not find me to be a captious or irresponsible critic, for I am one of those who has great respect for his ability and for the hard work done by him on Australia's behalf. But, although his statement covered a wide range of subjects, it was notably lacking in two respects. In the first place, his statement, which purported to give the history of our internal relations during the last year, gave no indication of the existence of that degree of close collaboration with Great Britain and other members of the British Comwealth, which I consider to be vital to Australia's security and welfare. The only references at all to this matter arose as a result of interjections made by the honorable member for New England. That honorable gentleman asked - >Was any arrangement made by which Dominion Ministers might consult with the British Government's representatives on the Council of Foreign Ministers to put forward the Empire view? That would overcome most of the difficulties. The Minister replied - >Theoretically, that appears to be sound, but in practice it is difficult. We were not told why only theoretically it appeared to be sound, and we were not told how in practice it was difficult. In the jargon of the lawyers, this is very much a case for "further and better particulars " on this matter. The honorable member for New England then asked - >Has it ever been tried ? and the Minister said - > >Yes. However, the machinery for trying it may be improved; but it was impossible to do that in the fullest sense at the stage when the council decided to call a conference. The view put forward by the British Government was that unless we agreed to support each other there would be no conference at all. The broadest answer to that is that it. is better not to have a. conference at all than to have a conference which cannot be effective. That was all that the Minister said at that stage regarding collaboration with Great Britain. It showed that there was unwillingness on his part to collaborate with the British Government unless he, as the representative of the Australian Government, could have his own way on all of the matters which were under discussion. A little later in his statement, the Minister made the only other observation on the subject in reply to this question by the honorable member for New England - >Has Australia put any view to the British Empire representative? The Minister said - >Australia is continually in touch with the United Kingdom representative, but it is not quite practicable to deal with the matter in that way. We discussed these matters, for instance, at a conference attended by the Prime Minister when he was in London. Certain aspects of colonial questions were raised there, and there were difficulties in the way. The difficulty in the way of the British Government is that unless we accept certain things which we do not like we shall not be able to get the things which we prefer. All this is somewhat cryptic, but I interpret it as a statement that, if the British Government and. the Australian Government have divergent views on certain matters, that is to be the end of the matter. Apparently there is not to be any further attempt to reach an understanding and present a united front to the world. What is the whole object of foreign policy? What should a nation seek to achieve in its relations with the rest of the world? This question was partly answered by the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Spender),** who said that the object of foreign policy was security. I add one further thing to that answer. The object of foreign policy is not only to achieve security but also to ensure that the nation shall be honoured and respected abroad. Security and respect are obviously the two main objectives of any foreign policy. They constitute the touchstone upon which all matters of foreign relations must be tested. The whole trend of events in Australia in the last year or two has indicated that the nation is not achieving security or the respect of other nations by the methods which . have been adopted. Australia lias played too much of a lone hand. I do not object entirely to that policy. As an Australian, I believe in preserving our own individuality and in developing our own nationhood. I want the nation to be sturdy rand self-reliant and able to defend itself in every way possible. I do not believe, however, that this country's security, honour and welfare can ultimately be achieved by standing alone, to the exclusion of our relations with Great Britain. [ put that matter at the moment on the ground of self-interest, and not on any higher plane. It is idle for Australia to become the so-called leader of the small nations, as if there were any community of interest between the small nations merely 'because they are small. I believe, with great respect to the Minister, that that is one of the fallacies into which our foreign policy has fallen. Being a nation of only 7,000,000 people in a potentially hostile world., we must have powerful friends. Those friends must be the ones whom we know ; and it is necessary for us te turn at all times and at all costs to our friends who happen also to be our kinsmen, and in conferences and elsewhere to present a united front with them to the rest of the world. I may be asked, am I not interested in making the United Nations organization work, and in establishing an international organization which will preserve world peace? Of course, all of us are interested in those matters. We all know that the Minister is passionately concerned, as is every honorable member, with preserving world peace and in supporting the United Nations to that end. But T remember, as a young student after World War I., the days of the Treaty of Versailles, and the surge of enthusiasm and interest with which we of our generation met the new League of Nations. We attended lectures, we gave lectures, and talked about, this new organization. We pinned our faith to it. But I remember also as the years passed, how we lost our faith, and some of us broke our hearts over it, because we learnt, as we had not known in our youthful enthusiasm, that there is no safety and salvation merely in paper constitutions and in international conferences, but that safety lies ultimately in power. That was the lesson of history in. my generation, and what was true in 1920 is equally true to-day. We shall not achieve security for Australia, however much we may desire it and however much we strive for it, as indeed we must do, merely by resting on the United Nations or some similar organization-. Peace, in the last resort, will be achieved only by power to enforce the peace. I ask: Is there any one in this chamber, and particularly among honorable members opposite, who is prepared to pledge Australia's manhood to fight at the behest of the United Nations in some unspecified foreign war? Of course, we are not. All this is still in a nebulous stage. None of us can know what future this organization has, and. therefore, we must, in the meantime, close our ranks and stand together. Why should there not be the closest possible collaboration between Australia and the British Commonwealth? There would be no loss of prestige or individuality. I remind the House that the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** was the Prime Minister of Australia after World War I. He was the outspoken champion of Australia, and he did not yield one jot or tittle of the reputation, sturdiness, selfreliance and independence of Australia. Yet, in the formulation of the peace treaties, he did not find it impossible - indeed, he did not find it difficult - to collaborate with Great Britain and other members of the British Empire, and achieve a real unity with them. Therefore I ask, "What is wrong with the closest possible collaboration between Australia and other members of the Commonwealth?" What has the Labour party to fear from it? Some honorable members opposite speak of capitalism and imperialism, and of Australia's being dragged into an imperialistic war. I remind them that the Government now in office in Great -Britain is a Labour Government - in some respects a more truly Labour government than is the present Government of the Commonwealth of Australia. But does any one suggest that the British Labour Government has imperialistic ambitions and .aims, and that it would drag Australia into an imperialistic war and pledge us to fight for things which are inimical to our nationhood, security, and independence ? Of course, it is nonsense ! There is nothing to fear. We do not know why some honorable members exhibit this strange reluctance to enter into the closest possible relations with Great Britain and other members of the Commonwealth. They may have their reasons, but we have not been given the explanation. If there be an answer, we should like to be told what it is; and my criticism at this juncture is that the statement by the Minister for External Affairs is strangely silent on that very important matter. My own comment, in particular, is that in future, we must have constant consultation with Great Britain and the other dominions before the peace treaties, are completed, and even before w. sit at the conference fable with other nations to discuss them. We must consult with the other members of the British Commonwealth for the purpose of seeing whether we can reach p.n agreement on all fundamental matters. Furthermore - this is vital - we must, in the interests of unity on fundamental subjects, be prepared to compromise on other matters upon which there may be difference of opinion. This apparent unwillingness of the Government to give way on any matter on which it disagrees with the Government of the United Kingdom or the other dominions is full of danger. The mere satisfaction of continuing to assert our own views on minor matters is no compensation whatever for disunity in the British Commonwealth and for the absence of a united front. The result is to weaken us all and subject us in Australia to the amused contempt of powerful countries such as the Soviet Union. The word "' realistic " has been spoken many times in this chamber during the debate. The Russians are truly realists, and do not understand our point of view. The only thing that they understand is power. T now propose to direct attention to another important omission from the Minister's speech and that is his failure to comment on Russia's conduct during the last year or two and what the Aus- tralian Government thinks of it. I recognize that, for the Minister, this is a difficult matter. It is not easy to sit in conferences in Europe and elsewhere face to face with representatives of foreign powers, and, in particular with the representative of the Soviet Union, and a few weeks later to speak in critical terms about that country in this Parliament. However, the security of Australia, and our right to know the true position, demand some plain speaking. Last March the right honorable gentleman did not have much difficulty in speaking in adulatory terms of the Soviet Union; and in critical terms of Great Britain, although I think that he would be less willing to adopt a similar attitude to-day for a lot of water- has flowed under the bridge in the meantime. But whatever diffidence he may have personally, I contend that it is his duty on behalf of his Government to express its views. We believe that, in the interests of Australia,, there should be some authoritative speaking by the Minister on behalf of the Government. Some people say, "Do not talk in critical terms of the Soviet Union,, because you will upset it ". The honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)'** expressed some such view -as this. Others believe that we should take a strong stand and speak plainly. In my view,, the latter is the course which the Government ought to take. Is no protest to be made about the stream of abuse against British countries published in Russia by a controlled press which has continued unchecked for years ? What about the irresponsible and unfair use of the veto? What of the violation of treaties and the encroachment on the rights of small sovereign states, particularly the Baltic states done in' the name of security, but all in violation of the laws of nations and of the principles of morality? Are we to remain silent regarding these matters? We have been informed recently by M. Kalinin that the Comintern is to be revived. Are we therefore to expect a repetition of the sort of internal interference to which many nations were subjected some years ago. Only a few months ago the Government of Canada issued a 700-page report of a royal commission on Russia's espionage in Canada. Here is a brief summary of its findings : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That the staff of the Soviet Embassy had been used for espionage. 1. That there was a fifth column in Canada directed by Russian agents, including several spy rings. 2. That fourteen or more public officials ot the Government of Canada had been seduced by Russin tto disclose to Russian agents secret information relating to radar, explosives and scientific matters. 3. That there was an organization under Russian direction to secure false passports for fifth column agents. We already have in Australia certain activities which are under the direction of the Soviet Government and are inimical to the best interests of this country. Are we in the British Empire to remain silent under conduct of this kind? On international affairs one should speak with restraint, but that does not imply that one should not speak at all. It is necessary for members of this Parliament, and for Ministers particularly, to be bold enough to state their views regarding such conduct. The statement attributed in the press this morning to the Australian High Commissioner in London, **Mr. Beasley,** is refreshing and most necessary. If, in the heart of the Empire, **Mr. Beasley** felt called upon to speak in such terms, that is fill the more reason why members of the Australian Government should be bold and outspoken as to Russian conduct in the last few years. Let us face the facts; we have in the Soviet Government a ruthless despotism utterly opposed to our ideas of the democratic way of life. Within its own borders, this is entirely its own affair, r would not criticize it for its own way of life, but when it does the things which I have indicated, and which are dangerous and hostile to us, it is necessary for us to make a stand. Is the Soviet making a bid for world power? On that matter the honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Burke ) made a statement with which I am inclined to agree. He said that the present foreign policy of Russia is not different from that which it has been for a hundred years and that policy is one of imperialistic expansion. At least we are entitled to ask ourselves, " is not some such policy under way? What is Russia up to ? " If its designs are peaceful, why is it doing the things it is ? We are told that this encroachment on the rights of smaller states and the rattling of the sabre are merely for security purposes. Mr. Paul** Winterton, the wellknown British Broadcasting Corporation commentator, has written a book telling the tragic *story* of what went on in Russia during the recent war and is still going on. He declares that there is an iron curtain in Russia ; that the people of that country know nothing of our war achievements, or of the fact that we are holding out a friendly hand to Russia; that they know nothing good about us. Is that in the interests of peace, or Russia's own security; or is it- not rather engendering explosive matter which threatens the peace of the world? We should say in this House, and the Minister should have said, that we want peace with Russia, but that we will not acquiesce in world domination or in courses of conduct which appear to the rest of the world to threaten the peace. I believe that, as one honorable member has said, Russia will understand and respect plain language. Soft criticism or failure to speak of Russia's conduct will get us nowhere. What is going on in eastern Europe now is similar to what took place before the war of 1870, and before World Wars I. and II. So long as we say nothing about the matter Russia wil! continue, not to assist the peace of the world, but to endanger it. It may be well said, of course, thai mere plain speaking is useless unless we speak with power and authority behind us. I agree, and I come back to the point I made before, that we must return to closer contact with the British family of nations. Earlier in this speech I based the need for this on selfinterest, but I wish to make it clear that in my view the need for close unity with Great Britain does not rest on selfinterest alone. There is another reason. We are a British people. We inherit the same laws, institutions, language and literature; we share the same magnificent history and great traditions. These people are our own kinsmen; and it is natural and inevitable that we should stand together. In 1940, when the world appeared to be- falling in ruins, Great Britain stood alone in Europe, and Australia, to its eternal honour, stood with Britain. When in that desperate summer Of 1940', **Mr. Churchill** called' to the people to brace themselves for their terrible ordeal, he said1 - Let us so bear ourselves that, if our Commonwealth and Empire shall last a thousand years, men will Still say this was their finest hour. In that speech **Mr. Churchill** included Australia. He spoke of the Commonwealth and the Empire. He drew a magic circle and we were within it. So long as I remain a member of this House I shall do all in my- power to see that we are not taken out of that circle. {: #subdebate-35-0-s7 .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON:
Hindmarsh -- Like the honorable member for Parramatta **(Mr. Beale),** I have succeeded in this chamber an honorable member who gave many years of faithful service to his country. As the successor to the Honorable Norman Makin, who for many years represented one of the great Labour electorates of this country, *I* am accepting a responsibility which, perhaps, I should not accept, in attempting to reply to the honorable member for New England **(Mr. Abbott).** Listening to the debate on international affairs, introduced into this chamber by the Minister for External Affairs. **(Dr. Evatt),** I have tried to analyse the remarks of honorable members opposite, and it seems to me that they still retain the old idea of power politics. Evidently, they believe that force is the thing that counts. I take exception to the statement ma-de last night by the honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. White)** that the waterside workers are taking the foreign policy of Australia out of the hands of the Government. When I asked him what he would do, he said that he would ensure that men who wanted to work were allowed to work. My mind went back to a time, about twenty years ago, when a government with a policy similar to that of the present Opposition was in office, and trouble occurred on the waterfront at Port Adelaide. Men with the same political outlook as the honorable member for Balaclava decided that, if the regular waterside workers would not work on ships, others who were willing to do so would be employed and given protection. I well remember solicitors and others from city offices, going to Port Adelaide, carrying loaded rifles with bayonet's fixed; to protect volunteer workers, most of whom were foreigners, chiefly Italians, who were unable to speak English. That is what happens when force is used. When, the trouble was over and the waterside workers, many of whom were returned soldiers, wanted to return to work they were prevented from doing so. Instead, the foreign volunteers were employed. Later, when the right honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Scullin)** became Prime Minister, returned soldiers and other Australian citizens were reinstated in their jobs, but when the Scullin Government was defeated in this House almost the first act of its successor was to give preference in employment to those foreigners. The irony of it was that, when war broke out in 1939, the foreigners who had been protected by force were placed behind barbed wire entanglements in internment camps, and Australians were given work on the wharfs. They carried out their duties well, often working sixteen hours a day, and in many instances undermining their health. The use of force for the benefit of one section of the community often is injurious to other sections of the people. I was interested in the speech of the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Archie Cameron).** It reminded me of the days when we participated in debates in the South Australian Parliament. The honorable member does not hide his light under a bushel; he states clearly where he stands. I think that I am right in saying that last night he said that the thing that counted was force or power. The honorable member nods assent. He is of the opinion that the United Nations organization is of little or no use. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr Archie Cameron: -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- The honorable member for New England is, in some respects, similar to the honorable member for Barker, because he, too, favours the restoration of power politics. There is a great difference between the outlook of those honorable members and that of the Minister for External Affairs in regard to world problems. My conception of our duty to the people of Australia is that the claims of humanity "must come first. The greatest power is not that nation which has the biggest guns or the strongest navy, but that which is intellectually strong. The honorable member for New England spoke sneeringly of the Minister for External Affairs. He hurled insults at the right honorable gentleman and accused him of betraying his country. The honorable member is a sabre-rattler who would say to all who do not agree with him, " Get behind bars or up against a wall ". That is the impression which 1 have of the honorable member. I may be doing him an injustice. I would not have spoken in this strain had he not been so outspoken and so ready to cast reflections on the Minister, whom he accused of having betrayed his country. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** has made a plea for consultation on the subject of foreign affairs. Other honorable members opposite have said that the subject should be considered, not from the point of view of the Minister or the Cabinet, but according to the dictates of rho Parliament as a whole. I admit that that sounds very nice. But what have the leaders of the big four done at meetings of the Security Council? The veto is being used, not because the people have expressed their will, but because their representative believes that that is the way in which they would have him act. We know what would happen if we were to direct the Minister as to what he should do. Despite all the precautions that may be taken, no matter can be kept secret for long. That would be the fate of any direction which this Parliament attempted to give to its representative. I am prepared to trust the Minister for External Affairs, because I believe that he speaks in what he considers to be the best interests of the mass of the people, aud is not actuated by what gain can be derived from trading' with another country. The honorable member for Balaclava spoke about the trade with Indonesia that had been lost by Australia. The waterside workers and every other section of our workers are most anxious to increase the prosperity of Australia. I have represented working men for years, and know that in a period of prosperity they can have in their homes some of those things which every person is entitled to have. I also know upon whom unemployment and misery bear most heavily in a time of depression. I do not agree that any section of the community should direct what a country shall do. There may be Communists in the ranks of the Waterside Workers Federation and other organizations, birt the great majority of those men are decent Australians, with families who want to do their best in the interests of their country and the community generally. Those who talk about working for the Dutch are not much concerned about human rights; justice and decency in relation to Indonesians. Their principal consideration is that Indonesia is a country with which we can trade. An earlier speaker demonstrated that he stood for self-interest, and then referred to our being British. If we consider only our own interests, how can we expect the other fellow to consider anything except his interests'? I am reminded of the old saying, " Make money honestly if you can, but make it at all costs ". When some persons plead for the safeguarding of Australia, have they in mind human values or only those material things which might bring them riches and aggrandisement? We have listened to* night to a historical review. The honorable member for New England went back 200 or 300 years in order to give point to his argument. I emphasize that the greatest force in this world is not armaments or large navies and armies, but money. Mention has been made of a combination of countries keeping the peace by means of force. Force can be imposed only by the expenditure of money, and this is often obtained by trading with people who have the poorest standards of living. Honorable members may point to history to show where experiments have been tried and failed. Mention has been made of the League of Nations. In. my opinion, the League of Nations was always doomed to fail, on two grounds: first, because of the avaricious desire of certain countries for power and riches; and secondly, because there were no means by which it could enforce its decisions. Ve have been asked whether we are prepared to send Australians to fight in a foreign country. My reply is that I am a realist. I have seen much of the sordidness of life, as well as the accumulation of wealth by means of international trading. I believe that when the peoples of the world have sufficient courage to instruct their representatives to stand fast for a lasting peace, for a policy among the nations which will ensure some sense of security, they will not be a party to their children being sent to battlefields as our men and women were sent. We must send to these international conferences representatives like the Minister for External Affairs, who will fight for the rights of small nations. It is all very well for some people to sneer at small countries which want to take part in the councils of the United Nations, and say that they have no right to do so because they are not important. Let such people remember that our greatest enemy in the last war was our ally in World War I. We shall only deceive ourselves if we believe that we can evolve a sound foreign policy and establish world peace by considering only those countries which were our allies in the last war. No one can foretell what the future holds in the international sphere. We cannot study only our own selfish interests, and at the same time expect to receive the hand of friendship from other countries. We cannot expect to establish friendship with other countries if our primary aim is to bring about a position which will enable us to enrich ourselves. Our first objective cannot be to strip defeated countries of their industries and industrial equipment, and say, in effect, to defeated peoples that we shall not leave them the wherewithal to generate electricity, or make steel. That way lies ill will, because, in effect, we shall thus tell defeated peoples that they must subsist as serfs. If we attempt to build our foreign policy on that basis we shall only sow the seeds of future wars. I recall the waterside strike in "1928-29, when indignities were placed upon tho wharf labourers. Speaking in the South Australian Parliament at that time, 1 said that I could not understand how the shipowners, whom we are entitled to regard as intelligent, could humiliate other human beings and see them and their children go hungry while replacing them in their jobs with foreigners. I could not understand why the shipowners did not realise that some day the waterside workers would wield the big end of the stick. Apparently, honorable members opposite cannot appreciate that to some degree the actions of the waterside workers and coal-miners are really reactions against the indignities and unfair treatment which have been meted out to them in the past. The same observation applies in respect of international relationships. Therefore, when honorable members opposite question the policy of the Minister for External Affairs of fighting for the rights of small countries they but sow the seeds of greater wars in the future, because the nations which they would ill-treat today may some day obtain the big end of the stick. In my maiden speech in this House I have no intention of lecturing honorable members. However, I am not a beardless youth. I have had some experience of life. I have been knocked down; but I have risen again. I know all the tricks of politics. I know that the views expressed by honorable members opposite in this debate arise from party political bias. However, I have no doubt that I am speaking as the great bulk of our people would speak were they in my place. The great majority of Australians cannot understand a foreign policy which is based upon the humiliation of peoples of other countries. They know that such a policy must sow the seeds of future wars in which their children will have to make the real sacrifices. I trust that the Minister for External Affairs will always keep in mind the fact that the man at the bottom in this country is very much like the man at the bottom in any other country; that it is not the man at the bottom who declares wars, but the man at the top. The man with the pick and shovel on the basic wage does not promise the last man and the last shilling. Such promises are usually made by the man who is guaranteed safety, and runs no risk in the event of war. We shall not maintain world peace under any system which gives to one county the opportunity to exploit another, or enables one country, in the guise of reparations to push another people down in the mire, dooming them to struggle along without hope for themselves or their children, and giving them no reason whatever to respect other peoples. If the Minister for External Affairs bears those thoughts .in mind he will do something worthy of Australia and worthy of the great race to which we belong. {: #subdebate-35-0-s8 .speaker-JLZ} ##### Mr ANTHONY:
Richmond -- I congratulate the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Thompson)** upon his maidern speech in this House. I congratulate him upon his very clear enunciation, but I am afraid that I cannot extend that compliment in respect of his logic. No doubt he has earned his election as representative of Hindmarsh, because he espouses the Labour party's point of view as we have come to know it in this House over a long period of years. I regret very much that at this stage of our history, a little more than twelve months after the most devastating war the world has experienced, that point of view could still be maintained in thi3 Parliament. I should have thought that the experiences of the last war would transform everyone who was formerly an isolationist into one who recognizes realities and understands that no nation can adopt the attitude outlined by the honorable member for Hindmarsh and the honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Burke).** Their speeches revealed great hearts, but, having regard to hard realities their words also revealed softness of mind. The speeches delivered by Government supporters on the back benches remind me of the speeches that **Mr. Ramsay** MacDonald used to make - they reflect pacifism, and a. belief in mankind which I would like to share. The honorable member for Hindmarsh said that the peoples of the world should send to the peace conference men inspired by the same ideals as those of the Minister for External Acairs **(Dr. Evatt).** What have we to do with the selection of representatives by other powers? What hand or voice did we have in the selection of M. Molotov? Nevertheless, our representives must face the representatives of the other nations at the peace conference. We should be guided by the facts as they exist to-day. The honorable member denounced power politics. " Away with them 1 " he said, " we have had enough of them. Let there be no more force in the world. " That was said in 1937 and 193S, and honorable members who support the Government continued to- say it until February, 1942, when the then Labour Prime Minister of Australia appealed to the United States of America to employ its forces for our rescue and our protection. The fact is that we are dependant for our very existence on force, whether exercised by ourselves or somebody else. I congratulate the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Lang)** for having been instrumental in provoking this debate on foreign affairs. I do not believe that it was intended that such a debate should take place so early in the session; but at the conclusion of the speech of the honorable member for Reid on the motion for the adoption for the Address-in-Reply the forces of the Government collapsed so completely that they were unable to carry on the debate. Therefore, the Minister for External Affairs had perforce to be thrown into the breach with an extemporary speech on foreign affairs, and it was an excellent speech. I listened to it carefully, and afterwards read every word of it in proof. The Minister for External Affairs, who needs no praise from me or any other honorable member on this side of the House for his contribution to discussions on world affairs, because he is recognized as an authority on such matters, gave a very clear and concise statement on Australia's position in relation to other countries. He faced the facts, unpleasant as many of them are. I have noticed that during the twelve months since the San Francisco Conference the attitude of the Minister for External Affairs towards international matters has undergone a change. I confess that I was dismayed at his attitude at the San Francisco Conference. He certainly was acclaimed as a leader of the smaller nations - no doubt a high honour - but I could not escape the belief that all the time he was antagonizing the greater nations that we regarded as our friends, namely, the United States of America and Great Britain. Too often he was at variance with the representatives of those powers, but I noted with satisfaction, that at the Paris conference, he was more often found defending the British and American points of view against the Rusians. The attitude of the Minister to foreign affairs is now much more in line with that of honorable members on this side of the House. It has been said that he is a publicity hunter - that he likes the limelight - and that many of the things which he has done or attempted to do were for the purpose of bringing himself into prominence. That may be so, and I would not complain of it if his actions served the real interests of Australia. At times they have. If his purpose was merely to advertise Australia, he has done it efficiently and magnificently, but, unwittingly, perhaps, his actions may also have served to embarrass Australia, to weaken its real defences, and to shake the faith of certain of our allies in our constancy of purpose. The war is over, but have we merely attained another uneasy peace? "World War I. ended in 1918, but looking back we can now see that, during the 25 years that intervened between the two wars, there was only an armed truce. Is the position any better to-day? After World War I. a League of Nations was formed. We now have a United Nations Assembly. I could not find anything in the speech of the Minister for External Affairs to justify the belief that the United Nations can avert another war, or protect the people of Australia should another war break out. The honorable member for Hindmarsh said that we should not think too much of ourselves, but I remind him that the first duty of a government is to ensure the safety of its people. I am afraid that the policy at present being applied in international affairs need not necessarily have that effect. I appreciate the capable, legal mind of the Minister for External Affairs, but I say with all deference that [ have a feeling that lawyers, because of their training, tend to become too legalistic for the purpose of practical politics. The Minister for External Affairs may be able to throw additional light on this point, but I believe that the insistence of the Australian Government on what it regards as the rights of Australia in the matter of Manus Islam( has been of no real help to us. What does it matter to us who controls Manus Island so long as they are our friends? It would cost Australia many millions of pounds to make the island an Australian naval base, and it would cost a great deal more to provide the battleships necessary to make of it an effective base. If we had given the island to the United States of America without a quibble of any kind it would not have injured Australia, and the island would have been a defensive bastion on our northern frontier. The foreign policy of Australia and the defence of Australia ought not to be the concern of any one political party. We should try to get down to fundamentals in determining this important matter so that, irrespective of changes of government a continuous foreign policy will be pursued. I point to the fact that such a system is adopted in the -United States of America. The fact that Congress has now been captured by the -Republicans, although a Democratic President is still in the White House, will not change American foreign policy because the representatives of that country at the peace conference have mainly-been Republicans. At the moment **Senator Vandenberg,** a Republican, is the spokesman for the democratic President in Washington. If, unfortunately, anything should happen to the Minister for External Affairs - and I hope that nothing untoward will happen to him - who is there to take up his task? On the Government side other than the right honorable gentleman himself, not one senior Minister, not one Minister in the Cabinet, is qualified to make a contribution to this debate. The fact that Ministers have refrained from participating in it has not been entirely due to their modesty. We_know their qualifications and their limitations. We know the kind of substitute who would have to be found should the present Minister for External Affairs have to relinquish his important office. It would take years for any other Minister to gather up the reins and assimilate the knowledge possessed by the right honorable gentleman. Too much reposes in the mind of one man; too much responsibility is left for one man to bear. Some of my friends on this side of the House have suggested that we should establish a foreign affairs committee to lay down a consistent foreign policy. If, as it is claimed by Ministers, this is a democratic Government, it surely must subscribe to the view that Parliament itself should share greater responsibility for weighty and important decisions affecting the future destiny of this country. It is evident from what is happening in the world, from the line up at present at the peace conference and the General Assembly of the United Nations, that the world is developing into two *blocs,* cossisting of Russia on the one hand and of the Democratic front, comprising particularly the United States of America and Great Britain on the other. One *bloc* *13* not threatening the other, but each is undoubtedly fearful of the other. Russia is building up its strength, which is already enormous, believing that the sole guarantee of future security is armed might. In spite of what we think of the United Nations it is apparent that Russia is distrustful of the other major nations. The peace of the world can be assured only if we are able to match force with force. It is probable that force will never have to be used but we should be prepared even though we know that the democracies will never commit an act of aggression. If we are to play our part in the United Nations and at the deliberations of the peace conference, and in world affairs generally, we must have guns to match our voice. It is of little use- for Ministers to go to Paris, Washington or elsewhere proclaiming Australia's position in world affairs when the delegate who sits next to them may say, " What is your military strength? Have you a mere volunteer army or have you a sound military organization?". The time will come when we will be expected to back up our arguments with guns or withdraw from the discussions altogether. I congratulate the Minister on the very lucid exposition he has given of this important subject. I realize he holds in his hands alone responsibility for the foreign policy of Australia. I sincerely hope that as the result of this debate - the first extensive debate on foreign affairs that has taken place in this House for many years - the right honorable gentleman will take heed of the views of honorable members on this side of the House, realizing that they represent the opinions of a considerable portion of the people of Australia. I trust that he will realize that the electors represented by honorable members on this side of the chamber are entitled to have their views given effect as far as they are consistent with those of the Australian people generally. I express the hope that this debate will result in a more realistic approach being made to the policy which Australia should pursue in its relations with other nations. {: #subdebate-35-0-s9 .speaker-KOL} ##### Mr MCBRIDE:
Wakefield .- I listened with a great deal of interest to the speech made by the Minister for External Affairs **(Dr. Evatt)** upon this important subject. I join with the honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. Anthony)** in congratulating him on his lucid explanation of Australia's position in the councils of the world. The right honorable gentleman has displayed more than ordinary ability in his handling of this subject and has undoubtedly applied himself with great energy to his important task. I am interested from another point of view because I have had the doubtful privilege of witnessing the vacillations of the Australian Labor Party in. respect of foreign policy in years gone by. Honorable members opposite have gone from collaborationists with Great Britain to isolationists and it is cheering to us to find that at long last they have realized the futility of an isolationist policy. Over the years the people of this country undoubtedly stood for collaboration with the other British dominions. Australia was settled and developed not entirely by our efforts, but mainly under the protection that Great Britain and other parts of the Empire have afforded us. So, through the years, this country has consistently played its part in the conflicts in which the Empire has been engaged. I believe that the first occasion on which Australian troops left these shores to engage in a war to which the British Empire was committed was in 1885 when a New South Wales contingent went to the Sudan. Again in 1899 when the Mother Country was engaged in a war with the Boers, contingents from other parts of the Empire, including Australia, played their part. Upon the outbreak of World War I., the people of this country again gave a lead, and the then Labour Prime Minister, **Mr. Andrew** Fisher, offered to the Mother Country Australia's assistance "to the last man and to the last shilling ". However, in spite of this magnificent beginning by a Labour leader, after World War I. the Labour party turned to isolationism, and unfortunately for Labour, and indeed, for a number of people in this country who have been misled by the policy enunciated by Labour leaders and supporters during that period, it was not until quite recently that Labour realized the futility of isolation. I hope that in view of the evidence that we have before us now, the Labour party will really abandon that dangerous and futile policy. I do not know whether the people of Australia realize how recent is the conversion of the Labour party from isolationism, but I should like to read a paragraph that was published in the *Digest of Decisions and Announcements* in connexion with a statement by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley).** It is as follows: - >On 3rd May, 1946, the following *aide* *memoire* was issued in London - " To appreciate properly the background to the defence proposals sponsored by Australia, it is necessary to go back to the triennial conference of the Australian Labour party in December, 1943, when the late Prime Minister, **Mr. Curtin,** obtained endorsement to a policy of cooperation among members of the British Commonwealth, the nations of the world at large and the Pacific nations in particular ". 1 am quite certain that the people of this country do not realize that until that time, whatever collaboration was given by the Labour Government had not the approval of its masters. Now that that approval has been given, we may expect very much better Empire relations, and closer co-operation. I was encouraged in that belief when I read the policy speech of the Prime Minister. The right honorable gentleman expressed sentiments with which I, and I believe most citizens of this country, are in entire accord. Amongst other things, he said - > >In the last five years, » new conception of the British Commonwealth of Nations has emerged: No longer are the Dominions active only in time of war. Collaboration within the British Commonwealth now extends to peace as well as to war. This development implies a fuller recognition by the Dominions of their responsibilities, which has resulted in the assumption of reciprocal duties by the Dominions and by Britain. I trust that from now on we shall not hear anti-British sentiments expressed by any one who claims to be a Labour man. *i* was greatly interested to hear the account given by the Minister for External Affairs **(Dr. Evatt)** of his activities on behalf of Australia at the various conferences that have taken place in connexion with the United Nations. I agree that the right honorable gentleman has devoted great energy and ability to the task of finding a solution of the many problems that have arisen. I am sure that his main object in taking part in these discussions has been to put. what he considers to be worthwhile points of view and, in doing so the Minister undoubtedly has given great prominence to Australia. In his speech last Friday the right honorable gentleman emphasized the fact that the British people have a genius for differing on many matters, yet being as one on important issues. Truly that is one of the unusual characteristics of the British people, but it is a characteristic that is not always understood by many, in fact, by most, other countries. The result is that when our Minister for External Affairs expresses an opinion contrary to that held by other representatives of British countries, he conveys to many people assembled at these conferences the idea that the British Commonwealth of Nations is not solid, and to create the impression that there is a rift in the Empire is to do a real disservice, not only to the Empire itself, but also to the world in general. It is generally admitted that prior to the first World War, the Germans misunderstood the British people. They did not seem to understand the characteristic of the British race to which the Minister has referred. Also, 1' have no doubt that bickering within the Empire misled Hitler, to some degree at any rate, in 1939. I hope, therefore, that on all matters of importance, the Minister for External Affairs will not disagree openly at any rate with the representatives of other British countries. It was very disturbing to find that, after the very active participation of the Minister in the discussions at San Francisco, the British representatives were not aware of his attitude towards them even in the dying hours of the conference. Of course, we have been obliged to rely on newspaper reports for a great deal of our information. I refer to the following report published in the Melbourne *Herald* of the 27th June, 1945:- >It is stated officially that the British feel that Australia through **Dr. Evatt** has behaved in u manner not usual among members of the British Commonwealth in their relations with each other, lt is reliably stated that **Mr. Forde** has been requested to convey informally the British views on the episode to the Australian Government at Canberra. 1" do not know whether this report was given publicity in other countries, but [ arn sure that such incidents will not help the cause of Australia or that of the British Commonwealth of Nations as a whole. > >T draw attention now to what .1 consider should be the underlying principles of any foreign policy subscribed to by the Australian Government or the Australian people. We must be purblind if we fail to learn anything from experience. As has been said frequently during this debate, we have had experience of the efforts that have been made after every war to preserve peace. The attempts which were made after World War I., which occurred not long ago in history, were similar in many ways to those which are being made to-day. The sequence of events after that war was almost parallel to the sequence of events to-day. During World War I., President Wilson's fourteen points laid down the principles and ideals for which the Allies had fought in terms somewhat similar to, though perhaps not so comprehensive as, those employed by the United Nations. Wilson's fourteen points provided for the abolition of secret diplomacy, the removal of economic barriers between the nations and the reduction of armaments. That is reminiscent of some of the provisions of the Atlantic Charter. The Charter provided, among other things, that countries at war would not seek aggrandizement, territorial or otherwise, that they desired to see no territorial changes that would not . accord with the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned, that they would respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they would live, and that they wished to see sovereign rights restored to those peoples who had been forcibly deprived of them. Whilst the League of Nations played a great part in publicizing the ideals of .its member nations, the fact that the League would not be able to succeed was fairly obvious almost from its inception. Anybody who examined the general situation must have realized that an organization which excluded two major nations could not possibly succeed should either one of those nations, or indeed any major power, decide to act against the decisions of the League. Although the United States of America took an important part in the peace negotiations which led to the establishment of the League, unfortunately that nation never became a member. Russia, too, did not acquire membership for a considerable time because of the change of regime inside its own borders. We have reason to hope for a greater measure of success with the United Nations, because all of the major nations are members of the organization. However, the same old influences that have operated throughout history will continue to operate. Whilst we do not want to abandon our ideals or to refrain from giving real support to the United Nations, we must realize the inherent weakness of any organization of this kind. I consider that Australia's foreign policy should be in line with that of Great Britain and other members of the British Commonwealth. The most important duty which the right honorable gentleman must undertake is to participate in negotiations and conferences that will cement the unity of the various members of the British Empire. He should be careful not to do things with which the other members of the Empire are not in accord. In making that statement, I do not suggest that on minor matters, different opinions should not be expressed ; but I emphasize that, on fundamentals, the representatives of Great Britain and the Dominions should abandon the idea of " open diplomacy " and agree to present to the world a united front, despite any disagreements that may have arisen in the course of their discussions. The Minister has taken a prominent part in the San Francisco conference and other international conferences. I believe that he was appointed to a sub-committee of the Security Council to examine allegations which one of the satellites of Soviet Russia made against Spain. On a matter of this kind, Great Britain and the Dominions should be in agreement. This sub-committee made certain recommendations which, I have no doubt, had not the approval of the British Minister for Foreign Affairs. Whilst we cannot agree entirely with the ideological approach and form of government adopted by Spain, we all realize that that country cannot threaten world peace. Spain is a minor nation which, during World War II., might have been much more embarrassing to Great Britain and other members of the United Nations than it was. We know perfectly well that, even during the war, agreements were made between Great Britain and the United States of America on one hand and Spain on the other providing for reciprocal benefits. If Spain had not been prepared to act in accordance with the wishes of the Allies, 1 have no doubt that they would have taken appropriate action. However, the cold fact remains that, under that agreement, Spain exported certain raw materials to Great Britain and the United States supplied oil to Spain. Whilst Spain may not have been of great assistance to the United Nations in the general conflict, it was no great embarrassment to us at any critical time. Therefore, I hope that we shall not be drawn into a conflict on what are, after all, only minor issues in the real problem of preserving world peace. The Minister should take into account the point of view which honorable members on this side of the chamber have expressed regarding Australia's foreign policy. I emphasize that foreign policeis presumed to be above party politics. For example, in Great Britain the foreign, policy which the Conservatives pursued, is being continued magnificently by **Mr. Bevin,** the Foreign Secretary in the Labor Government. Although the Republicans have defeated the Democrats in the United States of America, the foreign policy laid down by the Democrats will be continued. Australia, which is a minor nation, must adopt a consistent foreign policy. Our principal aim should be to strengthen our collaboration with other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and make agreements with the other great English-speaking country, the United States of America. The British Commonwealth of Nations and the United States of America will not be aggressors at any time in the foreseeable future, but they are countries which, if united, will show a strong hand against any potential aggressor. As the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Spender)** stated last night, Australia, being a minor nation, will be obliged in the next world conflict to attach itself to one of the major powers. Obviously, in tho first instance, that power will be Great Britain ; but our position will bc much more secure if we also have the support of the United States of America. That is the main objective to which our foreign policy should be directed in future. Debate (on motion by **Dr. Evatt)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 308 {:#debate-36} ### PAPERS The following papers were presented : - >Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act - War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunals - Reports for year 1945-40. House adjourned at 11.40 p.m. {: .page-start } page 308 {:#debate-37} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers to questions v;ere circulated : -* {:#subdebate-37-0} #### IMPORT Licences {: #subdebate-37-0-s0 .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr Abbott: t asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. . Will he state the number of applications and the value in respect of the same received by his Department for licences to import goods into the Commonwealth over the past twelve months and over the last quarter? 1. What was the average length of time taken in dealing with each application? 2. Will he state the number of applications and the value in respect of the same which have been refused, and the number and value of those granted, for the two periods mentioned above? 3. Of tl,e applications granted for licences to import, have the applicants been permitted to import their full requirements, or have they been required to reduce them before being granted 11 licence? fi. On what basis are licences granted or refused, anil with whom lies the decision as f.o whether a licence shall be granted or nol? {: #subdebate-37-0-s1 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard:
ALP -- .The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. lt is not possible to supply this information. Applications for import licences are made in many instances by letter or orally as well as on the prescribed form and it is practicable only to keep records of the number and value of import licences issued. Applications ure submitted to Collectors of Customs in all States of the Commonwealth. 1. No records of the time taken in dealing with applications ure kept. Applications dealt wilh by Collectors of Customs on a quota or other specified basis, which amount to approximately 50 per cent, of the total applications, are' finalized on the average in fortyeight hours. Thu remaining applications are dealt with by' the Central Import Licensing Branch of the Department of Trade and rustom?. They aru handled with all possible speed but no average time can be given, as this varies with the degree of examination required in each case. 2. lt is not possible to supply information regarding the number and values of import licences refused. The following are the details of the number and value of the import licences granted in the period shown: 3. In cases when import licences are granted mi *a.* quota basis the value of licences issued in any licensing period may not exceed the quota value for that period.- In other cases licences are issued for quantities and values which are regarded as reasonable, keeping in mind present known requirements and thu level of pre-war trade in the particular commodity concerned. Reductions iii the quantities and values covered by applications would lie required if the original quantities and values were regarded ns excessive. 4. The general basis on which applications for import licences arc considered is whether the proposed importation is justifiable in view of the fact that the expenditure of overseas exchange on imports must be confined within curtain limits. The factors taken into consideration are essentiality of the goods involved, the quantity and value. If it is proposed to import from a nonsterling source, the availability of the goods for early shipment is considered, also whether suitable supplies arc available from sterling sources. The final decision whether *or not a* licence shall be granted rests with the Minister for Trade and Customs but in practice the majority of applications are determined by licensing officers of the Department, of Trade and Customs to whom the Minister has, in accordance with Section 14 of thu Customs (Import Licensing) Regulations delegated his powers to grant or refuse import licences. Meat: Contract with the United Kingdom. {: #subdebate-37-0-s2 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
INDI, VICTORIA n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. On what date was the most recent renewal made of the contract for the sale of Australian meat to the United Kingdom Government? 1. What is the schedule of prices, and what other conditions are provided in the contract? 2. What factors were considered by the Government to justify the withholding from Australian meat producers of the knowledge of the new schedules of prices? 3. Is he able to state that no officials or representatives of meat buying and exporting companies were in possession of prior knowledge of the details of *(a)* the new contract, and/or (6) the prices and conditions being discussed prior to the conclusion of the new contract ? 4. Does any disparity exist and, if so, to what extent, between the prices in the new contract schedule and the prices at which the Commonwealth Government will now take over incut for export? {: #subdebate-37-0-s3 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard:
ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. There has been no renewal of the contract for the sale of Australian .meat to the United Kingdom Government. The long-term purchase arrangement provides for the sale to the Government of the United Kingdom of the exportable surplus of Australian .meat for the four years, 1st October, 1944-30th September. 1948. In accordance with the terms of the arrangement prices for the third meat year - 1st October, 1946-30th September, 1947 - were negotiated recently. (Schedules of these prices are being prepared.) {: type="1" start="3"} 0. The principal features of the negotiations were not completed until the 20th September, 1946, at which date certain essential details still remained to be determined. Temporary export price schedules were issued by the Government on the 24th September, 1946, operative as from the 1st October, 1946, under which producers received the bulk of the price increases. 1. As far as I can ascertain, no official or representative as such of any meat buying and exporting company had any prior knowledge of the increased prices agreed upon or being discussed.I would point out, however, that the temporary export schedules were discussed with producer representatives only and that disparities exist between these schedules and the new schedules under the contract. 2. Yes. In the case of lamb the contract price is on the average1/3d. (Australian currency) per lb. higher than the present buying schedule and for bone-in beef in Queensland1/3d. (sterling) per lb. higher. In some States, however, including Victoria, the Commonwealth Government is still purchasing bone-in beef at prices in excess of the contract price. In regard to offals a percentage of the recent increase has not yet been paid. Re-establishment : Employment of ex-servicemen. Mr.Francis asked the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many ex-service personnel are receiving sustenance payments while waiting for employment? 1. How many ex-service personnel are not now in employment? 2. How many have returned to positions held before service in the forces? 3. How many have been placed in a different position by their former employers? 4. How many have entered the service of other employers? 5. How many have returned to complete apprenticeship training? 6. How many are unavailable for work because of incapacitation? 7. How many are desirous of full-time vocational training? 8. How many are undergoing full-time vocational training? 9. How many intend to establish new businesses ? 10. How many ex-service personnel, if any, are unwilling to accept employment? {: #subdebate-37-0-s4 .speaker-KCF} ##### Mr Dedman:
ALP n. - The following figures represent the position as at the 30th September, 1946:- {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 4,6090. This is the number of ex-service personnel receivingre-employment allowance under the provisions of theRe-establishment and Employment Act. 1. The number shown under No. 1 (4,690), plus a proportion of the total number of persons (civilian and ex-service personnel) in receipt of unemployment benefits (6,282). It is not practicable to ascertain the number of ex-service personnel included in total recipients of unemployment benefits. 2. 324,814.(a) 3. 469 cases have been notified. (b) 4. 179,369.(b) 6.9605.(a) 5. 318 cases accepted as totally and permanently incapacitated, due to war service, and unable to engage in any occupation. 6. 73,585.(c) 7. 20,075. 8. 33,911. (a) 9. At the time of discharge 3,986 males and 18,957 females said they were not then prepared to put their names down for employment. It is certain that at least a very large proportion of the 3,986 males unwilling to accept work immediately after discharge, have since taken up employment. Figures prepared by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics indicate that to 31st August, 1946, only 346 males have retired from gainful occupation. {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Related to the period from November, 1943. to 30th September, 1940. No Commonwealth records available earlier than November, 1943. 1. Related to the period 1st October,1945.). to 30th September, 1946. No earlier records available. 2. Based on the number of applications lodged by ex-service personnel since commencement of the CommonwealthRe-construction Training Scheme (1st March. 1944). {:#subdebate-37-1} #### Immigration : Jewish Refugees {: #subdebate-37-1-s0 .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr Bernard Corser:
WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND r asked the Minis ter for Immigration, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Government issued any permits for Jewish refugees to enter Australia ? 2.If so, how many permits have been issued, and have any refugees yet arived? 1. What steps, if any, are taken to ensure that such refugees desiring to enter Australia are not associated with Jewish terrorist organizations and are desirable and reputable citizens ? {: #subdebate-37-1-s1 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell:
ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The Commonwealth Government, acting in common with other Allied Governments, has, as a contribution towards the settlement of the problem of the displaced and persecuted peoples of Europe, issued a limited number of landing permits to Jews and aliens of other religious denominations who were persecuted by Nazi regimes by being deported from their homes, *or* placed in concentration camps or forced labour camps. 1. No special statistics are kept showingthe various religious denominations to which the grantees of landing permits belong. Anumber of persecuted or displaced persons has already arrived. 2. All landing permits are granted onthe condition that the grantees are persons of good character. The holders of permits are carefully screened by British or Australian consular or passport officers and also by security officers. In addition, they must satisfya consular *or* passport officer as to their good character before their passports are visaed for travel to Australia. Income Tax. {: #subdebate-37-1-s2 .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr Fadden: n asked the Treasurer, *upon, notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What were the total amounts of income tax, represented in assessments, issued during the months of July, August, September and October, 1940, respectively? 1. What were the total collections of income tax for each of these months? 2. What amounts of (a) tux assessed, and (6) tax collected, respectively, represented (i/ tax assessed for prior years remaining uncollected at the 30th June, 1946, and (ii ) tax unassessed at that date? 3. What was the total amount of tax outstanding, actual or estimated, at the 30th September, 1946, or later date if available, representing (a) uncollected tax assessed, and (6) unassessed tax for prior years? {: #subdebate-37-1-s3 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP -- The answers to the right honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="3"} 0. It is not quite clear what information the right honorable member seeks in this question, but a dissection Of collections as between tax outstanding at 30th .tunc, 1040. and tax assessed since that date is not available, 4. (a) £34,260,000 at 31st October,' '.940; (6) £15,000,000 (estimated) at 31st October, 1040. The above figures include war-time (company) tax and social services contribution. {:#subdebate-37-2} #### Sales Tax {: #subdebate-37-2-s0 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: n asked the Treasurer, upon *notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that certain traders margins of gross profits are calculated as a percentage of cost into store after sales tax is added? 1. In the event of sales tax being reduced, is it the intention of the Government to protect the money margin of profit at present allowed to these traders? 2. If so, are there likely to he instances where the full benefit of sales tax reductions will not be passed on to the consumer? 3. Is it expected that in order that the full sales tax concessions can be enjoyed by the consumer, there will be instances in which price subsidies will be paid to maintain present profit margins? {: #subdebate-37-2-s1 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP -- This is a question for reply by the Minister for Trade and Customs, and I have asked him to pre pare a reply for the honorable member. {:#subdebate-37-3} #### Gold {: #subdebate-37-3-s0 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr Archie Cameron:
ALP n asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is there a free market for gold in any country at present; if so, in what countries? 1. What is the market price for gold in such countries, in Australian currency? {: #subdebate-37-3-s1 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP -- Inquiries are being made and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible. {:#subdebate-37-4} #### Bank of International Settlements {: #subdebate-37-4-s0 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr Archie Cameron:
ALP n asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Commonwealth made any subscriptions to the funds of the Bank of International Settlements? 1. Does the Commonwealth one anything to that bank? 2. In what ways has the bank assisted Commonwealth trade, industry or policy? 3. Will the winding-up of the bank detrimentally affect Australia, and, if so, in what way ? 4. When is the bank expected to complete it* winding-up? {: #subdebate-37-4-s1 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP -- Inquiries are being made and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible. {:#subdebate-37-5} #### Housing: Finance. {: #subdebate-37-5-s0 .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr Fadden: n asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What moneys lui ve been borrowed under the authority of the Loan (Housing) Act 1045 (a) under the provisions of the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1011-1945, and (6) under the provisions pf any Act authorizing the issue of treasury-bills? 1. What are the amounts of advances which have been made to each State seriatim for the purposes of housing in pursuance of the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, contained in the schedule to Act No. 44 of 1945? 2. What are (a) the rates of interest, and (6) the periods of repayment of the moneys mentioned in paragraph (2.)? 3. What have been the losses (if any) for each State respectively as calculated under clause 6 of the Second Schedule to the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement? {: #subdebate-37-5-s1 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP -- Inquiries are being made and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible. ROYAL Australian Air Force. {: #subdebate-37-5-s2 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White: e asked the Minister for Air, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is (a) the present establishment and strength in men and machines of" the Royal Australian Air Force, indicating the numbers nf each type of machine and when the various typos are expected to become obsolete, and (6) the desired strength in men and machines within the next year, indicating the numbers of each type of machine? 1. What types of machines and engines are (a) now being made in Australia, and at what cost, and (6) what types of machines and engines are being imported, stating the count' 'y of origin and their cost? 2. How many *(a)* commissioned officers, and (b) non-commissioned officers and men, U it hoped to recruit for the Royal Australian Air Force in each of the next three years? {: #subdebate-37-5-s3 .speaker-KCM} ##### Mr Drakeford:
Minister for Air · MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA · ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1. (a) (i) Establishment of personnel, 15,000; present strength of personnel, 13,000; effective strength of personnel (this includes personnel who have volunteered for a period of two- years), 11,000. (ii) For security reasons an undesirable precedent would be created if the details of establishment by types and number of aircraft were made public. However, the operational type aircraft comprise Mustang, Dakota, Liberator, Auster, Catalina and Mosquito; and the training type aircraft include Anson, Oxford, Beaufort, Beaufighter, Wirraway and Tiger Moth, (iii) Aircraft surplus to the establishment of unit equipment aircraft and the normal reserve required to cover wastage arc in the process of being declared surplus to requirement to the Commonwealth Disposals Commission, (iv) In calculating the numbers and types of aircraft to he retained, it has been assumed as a basis for calculations that operational type aircraft become obsolescent after five years service and that training type aircraft become obsolescent after eight years service. The operational types quoted in (ii) above will be obsolescent in 1951, when their replacement win progressively take place. However, the introduction of the jet propelled Vampire fighter will commence towards the end of 1948. Training types quoted in (ii) above will be obsolescent in 1054, when their replacement will progressively take place. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. (i) The desired strength of men in 1047 is 15,000. Achievement of this strength will depend on recruiting rates attained. This is the approved establishment of the Royal Australian Air Force during the interim period. ( ii ) The desired strength of machines in 1947 is not available for publication, but these aircraft, plus the necessary reserves to cover maintenance and wastage, are already held on strength. 2. (a) (i) The following machines and engines are now being made in Australia: - (o) Mosquito fighter bombers (airframe) - cost £50,000; (b) Tudor military transports (airframe and engine) - cost £104,000; (e) Lincoln heavy bomber (airframe and engine) -cost £110,000; (d) Mustang fighters (airframe) - cost £17,500; (e) Rolls Royce Merlin 102 for Lincoln - cost £6,000, excluding tooling; Authority was recently given for the production of Vampire jet propelled fighters and Nene gas turbine engines, but these projects are yet in their preliminary stages. {: type="1" start="6"} 0. The following machines and engines are now being imported: - (a) Sikorsky .helicopter (country of origin, the United States of America) - cost £A20,000; (b) Rolls Royce 85 engines for installation in the first 50 Lincoln aircraft (country of origin, United Kingdom) - cost is not known at present, but is likely to be in the vicinity of £5,000 sterling *ex* United Kingdom factory. 3. (a) and (b) It is hoped to recruit the following numbers during the period 1947 to 1050:- (o) 1047 - Officers i20, .other ranks 3,500; (b) 1948 - officers 120, other ranks 3,300; (c) 1949 - officers 120, other ranks 2.400. This recruiting rate will cover wastage from demobilizations and by normal losses to the service. Should a larger percentage of personnel than anticipated re-enlist on completion of their present contract of two years, this recruiting rate may be reduced. Any subsequent increase of the overall size of the service as the result of a decision on plans now under consideration will lead to a proportionate increase of recruiting rate.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 14 November 1946, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.