18th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. J. S. Rosevear) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Mr. ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker)
It deals with the position in which honorable members were placed yesterday afternoon, when a division was taken, the result of which waa that two honorable members - the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) and the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony)- were suspended from the service of ‘this House on the one motion. I believe you will agree, Mr. Speaker, that yesterday afternoon the tempo of the proceedings was somewhat high, and certain remarks were made which perhaps ought npt to have been made. Some honorable members, of course, were not so deeply interested in those remarks as they were in other matters. For instance, I was not absolutely an fait with all that was happening, because I had the Seven Pillars of Wisdom in front, of me and bad only started on the first, and at odd times I was going through a book entitled The King and His Dominion Governors. I thought that that might be needed before we had gone very far.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman must Heal with the matter of privilege.
– I am coming to that, sir. The position is, that two honorable members were suspended on the one motion. A very old dictum, laid down by Gilbert and .Sullivan, states that “ the punishment should fit the crime “. I believe that that conveys the implication, which the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) will promptly substantiate, that the crime also must fit the punishment. In this instance, those who had to decide whether any crime had been committed, or whether any punishment was to be imposed, were the members of this House. I submit to you, sir, that honorable members were not given an opportunity to distinguish between the two crimes which were alleged to have been committed. Some honorable members may have been firmly of the opinion that the honorable member for Wentworth had justly deserved the censure of suspension from the service of this House. Other honorable members may have been equally firm in the belief that the honorable member for Richmond had not got himself into anything like the difficulties of the honorable member for Wentworth, and that a punishment which was meet, just and proper in the one case was not . meet, just and proper in the other case./ I regard that as »a point upon which,] before any decision is taken, we ought to! hear the Attorney-General, who might,/ for the purposes -of the case, cast his! mind back a few years and place himself! in the position, if not of a judge, at least of a judge advocate-general. The1’ matter goes a little further, because the cases of not only honorable members who’ sat here as judges but also the two honorable members concerned, should be considered by this House. For instance, the honorable member for Wentworth might have -considered that he was perfectly in order in everything that he did and said, and that his friend the honorable member for Richmond, was not in order in what he did and said. Therefore, the matter in issue is, not only the rights of honorable members who were not parties to the dispute but were simply unwilling judges, but also the opinions which each of the gentlemen concerned hold in regard to what the other said and did. In such matters, unfortunately, party feeling sometimes runs very high. It stands to reason that a man like myself and, perhaps many others, among which you, Mr. Speaker, would be included, who has . had several party allegiances during our time here, might be influenced by the fact that the motion dealt with a member of each of the opposition parties. Therefore, I say that it is only right >and proper that the House should determine once and for all whether two members oan be suspended on the one motion for two entirely different alleged breaches of the Standing Orders, these not being breaches until the House has supported tha decision which you gave with such ability and f force from the Chair. I move -
That the action of the House in expelling the honorable members for Wentworth and Richmond on the one motion constitutes a breach of the privileges of honorable members, for the reason that it prevented honorable members who may have desired to do so from voting against the expulsion of one honorable member and for the expulsion of the other.
– The motion is entirely out of order. T have listened to the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) at some length, and have heard all he has had to say on the matter. The Standing Orders are very clear regarding it. It is laid down that -
No member shall reflect upon any vote of the House, except for the purpose of moving that such a vote be rescinded.
Yesterday, with a clear knowledge of everything that the honorable member for Barker has said this morning, and, what is more, with a clear knowledge of the matters that led up to the suspension of the two honorable members, the House caine to a certain decision. My action in. naming the honorable members was clearly endorsed ‘by a large majority of the House. The question of privilege is, of course, ‘an important one, but; while F occupy the chair, T will not allow an abuse of privilege for the purpose of evading the Standing Orders. There is only one way in which the action of the House can be discussed, and that is on a motion for the rescission of the motion carried yesterday.
Wages and Conditions or Nurses
– Has th* Attorney-General read the report in yesterday’s edition of the Canberra Times. headed “ Canberra nurses threaten to walk out of hospital “% Is it a fact that the wages of nurses at the Canberra Community Hospital are lower than at any other hospital in the Commonwealth, and that whilst a working week of 44 hours is generally observed in hospitals in New South Wales and “Victoria, nurses in the Canberra Community Hospital work up to 60 -hours a week and more, without payment of overtime? Will the Minister state what action is proposed fo be taken to remedy the grievances of these nurses ?
– I am not aware in detail of the conditions to which the honorable member has referred. The matter of a variation, of the award for nurses has been before the Industrial Board in Canberra, and, in accordance with the regulations, the application has been referred to the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal Arbitration Court for a ruling as to whether an anomaly exists which would give the board jurisdiction. I was informed yesterday that the decision of the Acting Chief Judge was about to be given and it has probably been already released. From that decision it will appear whether the conditions mentioned by the honorable member really exist, and will be modified.
– Will the Minister for External Affairs state whether it is a fact that the Netherlands Minister to Australia, Baron Van Aerssen, who left recently for the Hague, will not return to his present position here? Is there any truth in a report that he has been recalled? In either event, can this be interpreted as disagreement with the policy of the Commonwealth Government towards the Netherlands East Indies, and the refusal of Australian waterside workers to load supplies for the Netherlands East Indies? En order to preserve our diplomatic relations with other countries, will the Minister immediately take the control of our foreign policy out of the hands nf the -militant waterside workers?
– Portions of the honorable member’s question it would be impossible to answer without initiating a debate. The Government does not know whether the Netherlands Minister to Australia is being recalled. Before he left this country he called upon the Prime Minister and me, and nothing transpired to indicate any intention on the part of his Government to recall him. His relations with the Commonwealth Government during a time of considerable difficulty, and occasional embarrassment, have been excellent. If the Netherlands Government is giving him a new post, I am quite certain that this action has nothing to do with the matters mentioned by the honorable member.
– It is recorded in the press that the Minister for Labour and National Service stated, when referring to industrial trouble on the waterfront, that-
The Government will haveto consider prompt action to ensure that men are allowed to work.
This remark was made in reference to action contemplated against the employers. Will the Minister consider acting in concert with the Government of Western Australia to prosecute Communists and other industrial wreckers who are at the root of this trouble? The Government has never launched a prosecution against such people.
– It is true that I issued a statement yesterday about the lockout at Mort’s Dock. The word “ prompt “ was not in that statement, which was to the effect that if the employers continued with the mass lockout of men - 8,000 in this instance - the Government would have to consider some counter action so that men would be able to work and keep their families. As for the honorable member’s reference to Communists, the dispute is between him and them. It has nothing to do with me.
Free Medical Service- Malaria
– As it is the intention of the Government to provide a free medical service for all sections of the community during the life of this Parliament, will the Minister for Repatriation take steps to ensure that free medical attention shall be provided forthwith for all ex-servicemen, even though the repatriation authorities do not recognize that their disabilities are the result of war service?
– The treatment of ex-service personnel who need medical attention, irrespective of whether their condition is due to war service or other causes, is now receiving attention by the Repatriation Commission and myself, The matter has been discussed at length, because I recognize that sufferers should be treated without delay and that, in some instances, investigations to ascertain whether or not their disability is due to war causes may take some time. I hope that a determination will be arrived at in the near future, and when that stage has been reached an announcement will be made. The whole subject will be dealt with in the legislation for the provision of improved medical services for the people of Australia which will be introduced later. In the meantime, I shall discuss with the Repatriation Commission the point raised by the honorable member.
– As it has been reported in the press on several occasions that a new cure” for malaria has been discovered, will the Minister for Repatriation inform the House whether the cure is being made available through the Repatriation Department? If so, what steps must an ex-serviceman take to secure treatment?
– It is true that the method of treatment of malaria cases is much different, and also better to-day, than that adopted years ago. The Repatriation Department deals with exservicemen who suffer from the malady. I am not able to furnish a reply in detail offhand, but I shall obtain the information desired by the honorable member and supply it to him later.
Requisites of Show Organizations
– For some time members of the Australian Country party, including myself, have urged, both inside and outside the Parliament, that the sales tax on requisites of agricultural and pastoral show organizations should be rem oved. I now ask the Treasurer whether sales tax has been lifted on these requisites, and, if so, will he indicate the items affected?
– Representations have been made to me by honorable members of both sides of the House that the sales tax should be lifted on the requisites of the bodies mentioned, among them being ribbons, printing, advertisements, literature, &c. I believe that those items have been covered bythe exemptions that have been made. I assume, however, that the honorable member desires fuller details, and, therefore, I shall arrange for them to be prepared and supplied to him.
– If the Prime Minister subscribes to. the view that an inadequate basic wage imposes nutritional and physical dangers to the workers, thereby making an adequate basic wage a social service necessity, will he ask the Social Security Committee to investigate immediately the housing and nutritional needs of basic wage earners with a view to relating the basic wage to their needs?
– As has been stated previously, the “fixing of an adequate basic wage is a matter for the Arbitration Court. Some time ago the Australasian Council of Trade Unions made representations to the Minister for Labour and National Service that a special committee should be set up to make recommendations regarding computations and the regimen of the “ 0 “ series index. I understand that that body does not desire the immediate appointment of the committee. The Government intimated that it was prepared to appoint a committee constituted of two representatives of employers, two representatives of the trade union organizations and an independent chairman, but at the same time it made it clear that the committee would have no judicial power and could only conduct an investigation and make recommendations. The honorable member now suggests that the method of computation of the basic wage be investigated by the Social Security Committee. It would be undesirable to refer this important subject to too many investigating bodies. The Social Security Committee has already undertaken certain preliminary investigations of housing, which is included in the basic wage computation. I shall consider the representations made by the honorable member and ascertain whether the subjects he desires investigated might appropriately be. dealt with by the Social Security Committee.
Participation in Parliamentary Debates.
– Have, you, Mr. Speaker, seen the statement, attributed to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), in the daily press criticizing your action in addressing a committee of this House during, the budget debate?
– The honorable member might also refer to certain letters which have been published on the subject.
– I have seen them and have noted that they emanated from well-known members of the Opposition. I should also like to know whether it is not a fact that during the war your predecessor, Mr. Speaker, was removed from the office of Speaker as a party mover by the party of which he was a member.
– This matter has caused me some little concern, because, in my view, all honorable members, including the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), have ample remedy in this House to test the conduct of the Chair. The Standing Orders make specific provision in that respect. It is becoming a practice, as it were, to attack the Chair through the press in the fairly safe knowledge on the part of the attackers that no reply will be published by the press. I am glad the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Mulcahy) has raised this matter, because it affords me an opportunity to reply . in such a way that my reply cannot be submerged by the press. Following the statement made by the Leader of -the Opposition outside this Parliament to the press, I also made a statement to the press, because I believe that if the forms of the House are not used in order to test my .rulings I should at least have an opportunity to test them outside, much as I dislike that idea. The statement which I made to the press on this subject, and which the press- has not published, was as follows: -
Mr. Menzies’ statement requires some elucidation. Does he intend to suggest to the public that the Speaker has no right to speak when the House is in committee? Does heintend to convey the idea that I am the first Speaker that has done so? Without going further back into the records of the Australian. Parliament than 1932, I find that Speakers Mackay, Bell and Nairn have taken part in discussions when the House is in committee on no less than eight occasions since Mr. Menzies has been a member of this House. I think he should be reminded that because Speaker Sir Littleton Groom would not Vote in committee to save the Bruce-Page Government he was subjected to a politicalvendetta by the party Mr. Menzies now leads which resulted in his defeat at the subsequent elections.
– That is not correct; it is a complete untruth. The party which I lead was not then in existence.
– If that is the qualification, my reply is that the party was in existence under another name.
– That is an impartial observation !
– My statement continued -
He should also be reminded that Speaker Nairn, who was a very impartial Speaker, was compelled by his party to resign from the Chair for political reasons in order to make the defeat of the Curtin Government possible. Further, Sir T. Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practise, which is the accepted standard work on parliamentary procedure, states: Although the Speaker is restrained by usage while lie is in the Chair in the exercise of his independent judgment he is entitled in committee of the whole House to speak and vote like any other member”. As a matter of fact, from 1040 to the last recorded incident in 1870 many Speakers of the House of Commons have exercised that right. For example, Speaker Abbott addressed a committee »f the House of Commons on the Roman Catholic Relief Bill in 1813 and carried an a mend ment excluding Catholics from Parliament, which caused the abandonment of the bill. This indicates that not only have the Speakers of the House of Commons exercised their right to speak in committee on controversial matters, but, as indicated in this case, a Speaker was responsible for the moving of an amendment which wrecked a bill.
So I say in reply to the honorable member for Lang that I am getting a little fed up of these attacks outside the House on matters that can be ventilated inside the chamber, and I intend in future, in defence of my position, to reply in this House where people will hear despite the press.
– In view of the Government’s policy of appointing to remunerative positions under the Crown people who were engaged in essential services during the war, will the Minister foi- Post-war Reconstruction ask the Parliament to amend the Re-establishment and Employment Act to permit former members of the merchant navy, who joined that service during the war, when under the age of 21 years, receiving benefits of training under that act?
– The honorable member’s question is based on an assump tion. J. will not go into the false basis of his assumption. If the honorable gentleman desires an amendment of the Re-establishment and Employment Act, the Standing Orders provide means by which he may move to do so.
– In the absence of the Minister for Civil Aviation, 1 ask the Minister for External Affairs whether agreement between the United States of America and Australia for reciprocal landing rights for aircraft has yet been completed. If so. can he supply details of the agreement in order that honorable members may be informed of the position when the matter comes up for discussion.
– The agreement is on the point of completion. The supply of details is a matter for the Minister for Civil Aviation.
– Is it a fact, as stated by the Deputy Director of Postwar Reconstruction, Mr. J. A. Mitchell, at a meeting in Hobart, that there is no career for men in the Commonwealth Public Service in Tasmania? Is it a fact, as also stated by Mr. Mitchell, that the Public Service is too highly sectional and that there should be more cooperation with other organizations? Will the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction take steps to have investigated these criticisms, and, if they are proved valid, will he ensure that the necessary improvements shall be effected ?
– The matter to which the honorable gentleman refers relates to the Commonwealth Public Service. I do not know what relation it has to the Department of Post-war Reconstruction. However, I shall examine the question and see whether I can reply to it.
– I wish to make a personal explanation relating to a matter arising out of a question asked yesterday by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) relating to the appointment of a certain gentleman to the executive council of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. In asking the question, he alleged that Mr. D. A. Mountjoy was a member of the Communist party. It is reported in the Canberra Times this morning that, in answering this question, I intimated that Mr. Mountjoy had been a member of the Communist party. I want to make it quite clear that, as far as I can ascertain, Mr. Mountjoy has never been a member of the Communist party, and, in order to make that clear it is necessary that I repeat what I said in this House yesterday -
Ican state categorically that Mr. Mountjoy has no connexion whatever with the Communist party. He has been, and still is, a member of the Australian Labour party. In carrying out his duties as a member of the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Mr. Mountjoy will be in a position to decide whether atomic energy can be used for industrial purposes, and for the raising of the standard of living of the Australian people.
I regret that the Canberra Times should have made this error, but I am rather intrigued by the fact that errors that appear in the press from time to time, are always to the detriment of the Government.
Increase of Membership
– During the general elections, a press report stated that the Prime Minister had said that he proposed at an early date to increase the membership of the House of Representatives in view of the additional duties imposed upon present members by the extension of the Government’s social services scheme. If that report was correct, will the right honorable gentleman inform the House when, and how, he proposes to increase its membership?
– I have not seen the particular report to which the honorable member refers, but I assure him that it is incorrect. I did not say anything of the kind. On one occasion when I was asked by press representatives whether the matter was likely to be considered, I said it possibly would be, as I knew that one or two of my colleagues strongly favoured increased membership. That was all that was said. I committed neither the Government nor myself to any definite opinion on the matter.
– To-day’s Sydney Morning Herald contains a report that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro had stated, presumably on behalf of the Government, that drought relief would be given by way of a grant to producers in the New South “Wale’s milk zone, and that under the scheme, relief would be granted for losses suffered as the result of drought conditions in the last three months. Assistance would be given on the basis of hardship suffered by individual producers. Commenting upon this statement, the president of the Milk Zone Dairymen’s Council, Mr. Turton, said -
It is more than a shock; it is an insult. The idea seems to be to place milk producers on a means test . . .
In view of the great hardships that producers in the milk zone of New South Wales have suffered, I ask the Prime Minister why their request for a subsidy of 3d. a gallon on all milk produced for one month after the drought breaks has not been granted, and why, if it is the policy of the Government to abolish the means test in respect of pensions and other social services, it has decided to impose a means test on the hard working dairying community in the New South Wales milk zone?
Mr.CHIFLEY. - In reply to previous questions by the honorable member for Robertson and the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, I said that discussions were taking place between advisers of the Commonwealth Treasury and officers of the New SouthWales Government, and that I expected a report upon the matter. I promised the honorable member for Robertson that when the report was received I would make a statement upon it. The report has now been received, and it states in effect that a number of dairymen seem to have been suffering particular hardships. If we were to grant a general subsidy to all the milk producers in the zone, some who did not require assistance would benefit. Yesterday afternoon, I sent a telegram to the Premier of New SouthWales suggesting that the Commonwealth and the State should share equally the cost of meeting such hardship cases. I am not able to
Bay whether the Premier of New South
Wales will accept the proposal. “Mr. Abbott. - Is the statement by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro correct ?
– It may be that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro does know:–
– He seems to have beaton the pistol.
– It has not been unusual for previous governments, in granting relief to primary producers who suffered severe hardships from bush fires, floods, or drought, to deal with individual cases on their merits. The honorable member for Richmond had this experience with the growers of berry fruits in Tasmania, and he appealed to me to write off the amounts of the advances. Following the recommendations contained in the report, I have suggested that the milk producers in necessitous circumstances should receive assistance.
Japanese at Broome.
– A correspondent in Darwin has written to me, as follows : -
I see that the Government has soon forgotten the Jap outrages and are preparing to let them back in the pearling industry in Australia. I believe there are two already in Broome ready to start, and yet we who suffered and lost everything through pioneering the north and holding it against the yellow hordes are denied our rights.
I ask the Minister for the Interior whether he has received any information that Japanese disguised as Indonesians are being brought from the islands to Broome? Will the honorable gentleman immediately send a senior officer of the Commonwealth Investigation Branch to that area for the purpose of investigating the allegation? Will he take every precaution to ensure that these yellow fiends in human form shall not set foot on our soil?
– Yesterday, I received advice from Broome that two Japanese, who had been released from an internment camp, had returned to Broome, and that the citizens of Broome had protested. I immediately instituted inquiries with a view to confirming the message. The Government will decide whether any action should be taken.
– by leave - Last Wednesday, the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) addressed to me a question regarding the exclusion of people who desired to farewell passengers on Asturias. The honorable member asked me what Commonwealth authority was responsible for that action. I had inquiries made, and I find that all wharfs in Sydney are owned by the Maritime Services Board and are leased to various shipping companies, which thereby have absolute control. The National Security Regulation that vested control of wharfs in my department was repealed in October, 1945. When disembarkation from, or embarkation in hired transport such as Asturias, is being arranged, the decision whether a wharf shall be opened or closed is arrived at by joint agreement between the Sea Transport Officer and the agents. Prior to the arrival of Asturias, it was agreed between the Sea Transport Office and the agents of the vessel, Shaw Savill and Albion Company Limited, that in the interests of all concerned, the exclusion of visitors to the ship and wharf until such time as the -various civil authorities had completed their formalities would promote a speedy handling of baggage and an expeditious disembarkation. Only persons whose immediate business required their presence on board were furnished with passes.
For the embarkation of passengers on the afternoon of Monday, the 25th November, the same procedure was agreed upon. The loading of mails and cargo was progressing, and at 4 p.m. customs formalities, the clearing of baggage, embarkation, and settling down of passengers on board having been completed, the wharf was thrown open to visitors. Passengers were then informed that they were at liberty to proceed ashore until midnight. Practically all of them did so. It has not been customary to allow the friends and relatives of passengers on board ships under Sea Transport Control to make their farewells after embarkation. The sailing of Asturias was timed for 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the 26th November, so that in no way could the embarkation period be looked upon as an opportunity for the farewelling of passengers by their relatives and friends. For some two hours prior to the actual departure of Asturias, relatives and friends in large numbers carried out the customary farewelling of passengers from the wharf at the ship’s side. The master was entirely in agreement with the arrangements made. He has reported that it is the usual custom in English and South African ports to use the “ closed “ wharf policy.
Agreement with New Zealand.
– Now that the New Zealand elections have been held, is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture prepared to make a statement on the subject of the wheat agreement between Australia and New Zealand and thereby enable the wheat-growers of Australia to assess the amount by which they will be expected to subsidize wheat-growers in the sister dominion?
– I answered a similar question about a fortnight ago, when I said that any arrangement or any agreement that might be made with New Zealand would be the subject of a statement in this House in due course. That answer -still holds good.
In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from the 28th November (vide page 80S)..
Proposed vote, £1,868,200.
, - When the committee reported progress in the early hours of this morning, we were engaged in an important discussion relating to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the security of secret information which may be handled by that instrumentality. This subject which was raised by other honorable members, was brushed aside rather lightly by the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), in a nice, gentlemanly way, of course,
– I disagree with the honorable member’s use of the word “’ gentlemanly”.
– I am not referring now to the discussion between the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) and the Prime Minister. I am endeavouring to leave that out of consideration for the time being. I want the Prime Minister and other Ministers concerned to concentrate their attention upon the very important subject of the security of scientific information which may be handled by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. This matter must not be treated lightly by the right honorable gentleman. This year we have seen reports to two important incidents bearing on this subject, which occurred in other parts of the world. One of them affected a resident of the United Kingdom, who was given a heavy gaol sentence for his part in the disclosure of secret information and the other concerned the representatives of a certain power in the sister dominion of Canada. On the 26th March, 1943, I asked the AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt) how many representatives of the Soviet Union were in the legation of that power in Australia. The Attorney-General promised to furnish that information, and later it was supplied to rae. That answer has never appeared in Hansard. I was asked this week whether I could account for its nonappearance. I cannot do so. But I know what the answer was - that the astounding number of 84 persons of Russian nationality was attached to the Soviet Legation in Australia.
– I presume that some of those would be children.
– I do not know. For some reason, that answer was not incorporated in Hansard.’ I do not know the reason, and so far have not attempted to learn it. But in view of what has taken place publicly and openly in the dominion of Canada, I believe that the Australian Commonwealth has some little responsibility for having a look at anything connected with nuclear energy, the people to whose care its secrets may be entrusted, and the people who, for different motives, may be interested in securing access to those secrets. So far, neither the Prime Minister nor the Attorney-General has attempted to satisfy the committee that even the rudiments of security has had his attention.
.- I rise to take part in what I regard as the most reprehensible debate it has been my ill fortune to listen to in this assembly. I have heard honorable members opposite, on different occasions, refer to abuses of the privileges that are conferred upon this and similar -assemblies. Such abuses of privilege, they have claimed, are malicious, unjustified and dastardly attacks upon persons who have no right to defend themselves in this chamber. I believed that they meant what they said, and that they were honest and earnest men who would not take advantage of the forms of this Parliament to make such dastardly attacks if an opportunity to do so were presented to them. Perhaps no honorable member is better fitted or more required than I am to engage in this debate, because of the unprovoked, unjustified, and completely undignified attack that has been made upon -a man whom I regard as one of my closest and best friends. “We made our appearance in this Parliament simultaneously three years .igo, as members of the Labour party, in which both of us had served from boyhood. We both had sought to further the ideals of that great movement. I have not much doubt that Mr. Mountjoy, in the course of his political and industrial life, has made mistakes. I, too, have probably made mistakes. If honorable members opposite are honest, and will search their consciences, they will agree that -at some time in their lives they have made mistakes which they will forever regret. Is a mistake to be used at every opportunity to hound a man throughout his life? If it is, there is no Christian spirit in the world, and those who parade themselves as paragons of all the virtues mid defenders of civil rights and liberties are not actuated by humanitarian instincts.
– What about the honorable member’s venemous attack on the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) ?
– Because I may also make mistakes, I had better disregard that interjection. The fact is, that a certain appointment has been made. We have to satisfy ourselves whether that appoinment is justified, or whether a better one might have been made. The position demanded that ,a representative of the workers of Australia should be appointed to the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. It is claimed that the appointee ought to have a university degree. I wholeheartedly endorse the principle of workers having representation on such bodies. I believe that members of the Opposition also subscribe to the. view that the workers should be represented on bodies which investigate matters with which they are vitally concerned, not solely in the higher realms of scientific research, but principally in connexion with ordinary matters which affect their daily lives and their economic welfare. What we have to determine is, whether the appointment that has been made satisfies the needs of the occasion. It is not necessary to appoint to such a position a man who possesses scientific attainments, or has spent his lifetime passing through school, college and university.
Mr. Blain interjecting,
– The honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) must cease being a nuisance in the chamber.
– I would get rid of all pests.
– If the honorable member does not remain silent, I shall name him.
– We do not want a man who has been through school, college and university to place the views of working men before the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Such a man is not acquainted with the problems of the working man, because he has not had experience of their problems. Not having had to engage in the battle for existence, he does not appreciate “the intensity with which industrial and political pressure is brought to bear upon the under-privileged members of the community. Mr. Mountjoy has those qualifications. He is a member of an extremely large family. In our moments of high idealism, we claim that large families are a desirable achievement, but in actual practice the members of such families .are handicapped economically. Mr. Mountjoy has experienced the struggles and difficulties which beset those who have to meet tremendous and ever-pressing needs out of a low wage. He has studied problems associated with viticulture, and other agricultural subjects. In my opinion, he knows as much about that side of agricultural production as does any member of this Parliament, and the ma jority of the people outside it. He has been right through the industrial movement, and as a member of the railways service has performed the most arduous tasks that could be given to any man. He has spent a considerable portion of his life in outback areas, and has travelled over every part of the great State of “Western Australia, living under all sorts of conditions, which could easily have been alleviated as the result of scientific or industrial research. We pay tribute to railway employees for the valuable work they render, but we keep them on the road. Through lack of sufficient thought or action, they are condemned to live in hovels.
– -By the Western Australian Labour Government.
– I do not blame any particular government. My point is that we have not realized the possibility of providing those employees with modern living conditions. Having forged his way from the bottom of the ladder to the highest grade in the railway service to which he could rise, the ex-member for Swan received the endorsement of his fellow men in Western Australia and became a member of this House. The division of Swan is one of the hardest seats in Australia for a Labour candidate to win, and the fact that Mr. Mountjoy was elected to that division shows that he had the confidence of his fellow workers and of the people.. The present honorable member for Swan (Mr. Hamilton) was victorious at the last elections, but Mr. Mountjoy secured a substantial vote. These facts suggest that in every way my friend, the ex-member for Swan, is a fitting m-an to advise persons having a purely scientific training as to the best means of dealing with the problems of working men and women in the development of research. Without doubt, the appointment of Mr. Mountjoy to the position to which he has been elevated can be justified. I would say that he is ideally fitted for appointment as a representative of the working people to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. He has no university degrees, but he has been closely associated with the manifold problems of the underprivileged section of the Australian community.
It has been vilely said that he might betray his country by making scientific secrets available to a.n ex-enemy, or perhaps an allied power. Such base insinuations do not seriously affect Mr. Mountjoy’s reputation, but merely lower the status of those who make them. Critics of Mr. Mountjoy have said that, he has been associated with the Communist party. Every man who has passed through the Labour movement has had that tag attached to him at some time. In 1937, I stood for election as representative of the division of Perth. No suggestion could be made in the Labour movement that I was Communist or a “ near Commo “, but on one occasion my mother came home almost brokenhearted, because she had heard a rumour that I was a Communist. At the same time, a Communist newspaper had ‘been finding fault with me, claiming that I was a rightist, a reactionary and an enemy of the working class. I had occasion to go to the editor of the newspaper and eli him plainly that, if any further comments of that nature were published concerning me, action would be taken for libel. Yet to hurt me people were being told that. I was, in fact, a Communist. Those who try to be honest and earnest iti the Labour movement - and no doubt this applies also to members of the Opposition - find themselves bitterly atacked from every side. The ox-member for Swan has suffered severely over the years from attacks of this kind.
I did not know Mr. Mountjoy well until he became a member of this Parliament. Since I have been here, I have developed a regard for him as great as that which
T entertain for any other man with whom T have been associated. I cannot give the reason for this. Our tastes differ, and I do not always agree with him in his views. If he has one fault it is that he is transparently honest and outspoken. Some of the remarks which have come from honorable members opposite on some subjects may be true, but there may also be a distortion of the truth which results in a great disservice to the country. Not many men weigh their words with caution before they cast them irrevocably on the air. It is wrong to attack a man because of what he may be alleged to have said, or because of what vile rumour has accused him. I have heard questions asked in this chamber which do not reflect credit upon the honorable members responsible for them. I once heard a remark when the late Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, had ricked one of his ankles on the steps in the Parliamentary Library. After that was said to have taken place, an .honorable member stated h: this House, “ We have also heard that be walked up to a person completely unharmed “. That was a vile insinuation that the late Prime Minister, to whom the country owes much, was unwilling to face a certain political situation in this House. I have heard it said here ‘that a man who had given great service ito Australia and the world had betrayed his country. Could any worse charge be made than that of betrayal of one’s country to an enemy?
– The honorable member should have read the propaganda which was spread in Queensland concerning me.
– I know that in the heat of political conflict things have been said which would have been better left unsaid. The source of rumours can seldom be traced. A deliberate and unjustified attack such as has been made upon Mr. Mountjoy does less harm to the victim of the attack than to the person who utters bitter and vile words. I find it difficult to express my feelings on a matter of this kind. The Opposition, in my judgment, does not, at heart, believe that anything but good can result from the appointment. I believe that advantage has been taken of this appointment to make political capital out of it. If I were a member of the Opposition I could think of many better forms of attack against the Government. I would certainly regard myself as disgraced if I were- to stoop to the making of such an attack as has been made in this instance. I respect the members of this Parliament, both Government supporters and Opposition supporters, as the elected representatives of the people. I would respect some of them more if they did not make personal attacks of this kind. With whatever faults he may possess there is no man for whom I have a higher regard than “ Don “ Mountjoy, and there is no man whom I would rather defend if any defence were needed.
– I propose to refer to items in the Estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department, which provide money for research into mining, metallurgy and nuclear energy. I am very disappointed that only £13,220 is to be allocated for mining and metallurgy. Recently, we read that British scientists, in- eluding geophysicists, deplored the fact that the British Empire was still unexplored so far as the search for minerals was concerned, and they advocated a thorough exploration with a view to making new discoveries. Herein Australia we have, in fact, merelyscratched the surface in our search for’ minerals. In my maiden speech in this. House on the 9th December, 1934, I discussed these subjects. At that time,. Mr. R. G. Casey was Treasurer, and the Government was sponsoring a proposal for the geological and geophysical survey of Northern Australia, work for which £250,000 was voted. At the time,, I deplored the fact that money was tobe wasted on investigations of the kind proposed, when all the information), needed could be obtained from old prospectors who had spent years in the Territory. I urged the Government to saveits money, and to develop the known mineral deposits. I mentioned, in particular, areas at Tennant Creek, PineCreek and further to the west towardsthe Kimberleys, but the Government did not take -my advice, with the result thatmuch of the money was wasted. Westarted on such surveys twelve years after Canada, and £150,000 was expended’ on elementary work in orc! er to obtain information which the Canadian authorities could have given us for nothing. Much time and money were expended- in» flying operations, and in the taking of aerial photographs, but no more gold was produced. I admit, however, that magnetic surveys have located gold-bearing iron ore deposits at Tennant Creek, but the cost of this work has been too high. However, it is not for me to criticize what has been done, and I mention it merely so that we may avoid the mistakes which were made in the past. I regret that’ the Government has the benefit of so little scientific advice. Apart from those holding medical degrees, few of us. in the House have graduated in science. It is time that men with a scientific training took a greater interest in politics, and in this Parliament.
In certain parts of Australia, including my own electorate, there are radioactive minerals. Wolfram has been discovered west and east of Alice Springs and in the Macdonnell ranges. The Government should sponsor prospecting in those areas for radio-active minerals. Under the provisions of the Atomic Energy .(Control of Materials) Act, the Government may take control of any deposits of radio-active minerals discovered by prospectors, because of their possible use in the production of atomic energy. Therefore, the Government should offer a reward to prospectors to induce them to go out and search for such minerals. Instead of talking of expeditions to the South Pole, we should : seek to discover radio-active substances in Australia. Wolfram is what is known a3 a catalyst, that is, an agent which, when mixed with other substances, produces a chemical change in them, without itself being changed.
– The honorable member for Reid, (Mr. Lang) must “be one.
– I had in mind at the moment the ex-member for Swan, Mr. Mountjoy. He himself has not been disturbed by recent discussions, but he has certainly disturbed the peace of this chamber.
I wish to refer to a remarkable lecture delivered in Canberra in 1938 by Sir David- Rivett, an illustrious Australian, at a conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement cf Science. I am proud that I was the only member of this House who was sufficiently interested in scientific matters to attend that conference. Another conference convened by the same body is to be held next August in Perth, and I hope that I shall be privileged to attend it. I trust that other honorable members also will display more interest in scientific matters and attend the gathering. The Government has already indicated its interest in science; it has appointed Mr. D. A. Mountjoy, the ex-member for Swan, to that highly scientific body the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. I do not wish to be misunderstood. I do not even criticize the Government for desiring to find a position for him, or any other honorable member who has fallen by the wayside. On the contrary, I would assist publicly, or otherwise, any person who has to take his part again in the economic life of the country after he has served a term in the Parliament. All the criticism of Mr. Mountjoy’s appointment goes out to the public as evidence that we in this Parliament have not a good conceit of ourselves. I have a good conceit of myself, but that does not mean that I am conceited. Every member of the Parliament should have a good conceit of himself. I take it that, a man seeks to enter the Parliament of his country because of his ethical outlook and his desire to leave the planet a little better than he found it. If that is not his purpose, he should not make the attempt. Therefore, I repeat that I do not criticize the Government for trying to fit Mr. Mountjoy into the economic life of the nation. I understand the difficulties because I lost my scientific practice by coming here as the representative of the people of the Northern Territory. Other men of talent have lost legal or medical practices, or have sacrificed business interests to serve their country in its legislative halls. Others may have gained by coming here ! I am not one of them. Men who serve their fellows in the Parliament of the nation and subsequently are defeated at an election often find difficulty in picking up the threads that they dropped, and it is the duty of every successful candidate to try to fit his less fortunate colleague into society again. But having said that, I add a proviso: [ do not subscribe to a policy by which such a highly scientific body as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Eesearch is watered down. And so I propose to read some extracts from that address delivered in this city in February, 1.9 3S, by Sir David Rivett. I have done so before. Speaking to the Science and Industry Research Bill 1938, on the 3rd May, 1939, I quoted from Sir David Rivett’? address in which the lecturer said -
I atn asked to open a discussion on the problem presented to-day by the relations between science and society. This is not the first discussion which this very serious topic lias evoked; nor will it be the last.
I suggest that we take for granted a great deal that has been said in the past and that will be repeated frequently enough in the future. Only a few minutes ave available to me, and I shall assume that it is unnecessary to harrow your feelings at length by depicting the vile and filthy misuse that men ure willing to-day to make of the control over nature, or rather (and more accurately) of that capacity to direct natural processes towards specific, chosen purposes, which has been put into their hands by the patient, unselfish, intellectually honest labours of hosts of ordinary scientific workers, thousands of mediocrities and a few score of outstandingly brilliant leaders and pathfinders. fs it not imperative then that men of science should themselves play a huge part in the adaptation of their own work to ensure the health, in the widest sense of the word health, not only of the specific community in which they live, but of the wider community which makes up the single unit of the human race?
Now I ask you for a moment to transfer your thoughts to the building nearby where the rules governing this Commonwealth are formulated, and to scrutinize the lists of the formulators. Having done so, I beg you to repress sternly any desire to sneer at the capacity of the elected members of our Parliament. One of the many lessons I myself have learned in recent years is never more to indulge in gibes at our legislators. One marvels at their courage and deeply sympathizes with them in their difficulties; more need not be said. 1 want to know whether, after scrutinizing that list, you can honestly say that scientific mcn are carrying their weight in this community. How many nien with reputations as scientific workers, and as exponents of the scientific habit of mind, are to be found across there? Very few indeed!
There is one main way in which scientific men in Australia can effectively use their weight in relation to this problem of science and society. That is by the broadest minded of them getting right into the legislative and administrative arenas; facing squarely these difficult problems which at present we leave to the small groups of capable men that emerge from the large number of so-called elected representatives of the people; struggling on through a morass of conflicting interests, jealousies, human misunderstandings where laboratory principles and practices are of little direct avail - but where only the absolutely honest and straight attitude of the scientific man, supported by the best available knowledge, can be expected to indicate the right and proper road.
Those are weighty words, which I repeat in the hope that the policy of the country in connexion with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research shall not be watered down.’ I trust that those words of Sir David Rivett will be heeded and that more and more scientific workers will come to this Parliament. Above all, I hope that in our efforts to re-establish in the life of the community those who have fallen by the wayside, we shall not place any man in a position where because of his lack of qualifications he will be unable to take his proper place with the scientists with whom he will have to confer.
.- I propose to say a few words about the appointment of the former honorable member for Swan, Mr. Mountjoy, to the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Let me say at the outset I consider that, in criticizing this or any ether appointment, the Opposition is doing its duty.. I do not resent the fact that honorable members opposite question whether any man is qualified for a position to which he has been appointed. Indeed it is their duty to do so; but some honorable members opposite have gone far beyond that. As to the suggestion that Mr. Mountjoy is a Communist - which he denies - all I can say is that I heard the assertion that he is a Communist and the counter-assertion that he is not. A further suggestion was made that he is likely to indulge in treason. As to that, only God and the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) can read men’s consciences. I join issue with the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) to whose very sober and balanced speech we have just listened. The honorable member referred to the number of scientific people in this House. I assume that a medical degree is a scientific degree and, accordingly, that if the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle
Page) and the honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) had been defeated at the recent elections, and had been appointed to the executive of the council, no criticism could have been made on the ground that neither had scientific training. Nevertheless, either of them -would be as much a layman as I am on the question of animal health and production, plant industry, entomology, horticulture, food preservation and transport, forest products, mining and metallurgy, radioresearch, industrial chemistry, and the twenty odd lines of research engaged in by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Honorable members opposite referred to the most distinguished gentleman who is the wheat expert on the council. Yet even that gentleman would be as much a layman as I am in respect of most of the matters which form the subject of research by the council’s technical and scientific officers. The function of the executive of the council is, not to carry out research itself, but to direct lines of research. Honorable members of this chamber, in their capacity as representatives of their electors, frequently have suggested that certain lines of research should be undertaken by the council. I well remember the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) raising again and again in this chamber the need for investigating means of combating the buffalo-fly menace. Does any one contend that because the honorable member for Moreton is not a biologist he cannot speak with knowledge of the need for the eradication of the blow-fly pest? The honorable gentleman represents an agricultural interest; he knows of the needs of that agricultural interest and he suggested that there should be that line of research. The honorable gentleman has also suggested that research should be undertaken into the cause and cure of contagious abortion, repeatedly drawing the attention of the Minister to the desirability of investigation being made by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research into vaccines as a means of counteracting that scourge. Let us consider the suggestion that Mr. Mountjoy might be responsible for conveying information concerning atomic energy to Russia. According to the journal Time, the secret of fission is contained in 900 pages of secret typescript, and approximately £500,000,000 has been expended in making the requisite industrial equipment to carry out atomic research. The belief that the details of the research work undertaken by the council go before its executive is entirely foolish. It would be equally erroneous to believe that the notes used by a lecturer at a university go before the governing body of the university, the senate, which includes lay representatives in its constitution. The act provides for the appointment of a representative of the workers to the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and it is to that position that Mr. Mountjoy has been appointed. He will look into problems associated with industrial matters as they affect workers just as the representative of the primary producers on the council looks into problems relating to the man on the land. The representative of the primary producers makes sure that an adequate portion of the vote of fl,3S3,050 for investigations is devoted to the industries he represents. That is his function. The function of the representative of the workers is to see that scientific matters which affect the working classes are not overlooked. What are they? I should say that, first, he should see that what pundits called industrial psychology, but which seems to be industrial physiology, is given attention. There is need for research into factory hygiene, ventilation and industrial fatigue. There is need to ascertain whether the basic wage provides for an adequate nutritional standard, but not one member of the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research could himself carry out such an investigation because not one is a nutrition expert. Mr. Mountjoy, as the representative of the workers, will be able to press for such research to be conducted. As to technical qualifications, I have no hesitation in saying that an industrial worker with a scientific degree who had gone back into industry as a worker would, by reason of his knowledge of scientific methods, be a better representative than a layman. I draw the attention of honorable members, however, to the number of scientific subjects covered by the investigations of the council, and to the fact that in nine instances out of ten in respect of them the members of the council are but laymen. That is not a disability, however, as they are appointed, not to carry out research, but to direct it into certain channels. The act envisaged the appointment of a workingclass representative. The former honorable member for Swan gained his endorsement for the Swan seat for an entirely different reason from that which resulted in my selection to represent the Labour party in Fremantle. I did not receive my endorsement solely from the industrial workers of Fremantle; they did not know me. I came from academic circles, from the political wing of the Labour party. Mr. Mountjoy, on the other hand, had been intimately associated with the industrial movement for many years in one of the few industrial centres of Western Australia, namely. Midland Junction. He is intelligent and has had a great deal of experience of industrial conditions. I do not know anybody who could do more than he will to represent the workers and to see that investigations are undertaken by the council in the interests of the workers. The honorable member for Northern Territory, in a sneering manner, said that the only step taken by the Government to encourage science was the appointment of Mr. Mountjoy to the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. I draw the honorable member’s attention to the increased votes for the various branches of research carried out by the council. The vote for animal health and production has been increased from £74,210 to £133,590; for plant industry from £S5,290 to £112,590; and for entomology from £31,110 to £44,050. Thus, it will be seen that the Government is providing for a very great expansion of the activities of the council. The attacks which have been made upon Mr. Mountjoy personally have been answered with equal emotion by the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Burke). In that respect, we have heard assertion and counter-assertion. Honorable members opposite question Mr. Mountjoy’s right to complain about a smear campaign against him in this chamber in view of the role he played in an incident in this chamber. That incident occurred before I was elected to the Parliament. Therefore, I can express no opinion as to whether Mr. Mountjoy waa equally as ungenerous as honorable members opposite have been in this instance. Honorable members opposite, when criticizing this appointment, are, perhaps, fulfilling their duty as an Opposition. However, they should not ignore the fact that a strong case can be made out for the appointment of laymen to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research or that present members are laymen in nearly every section of the council’s activities.
– I propose to deal mainly with the appointment of Mr. Mountjoy to the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Burke) delivered his usual lecture to the committee on the evils of misrepresentation. We are becoming accustomed to hearing him chastise us for making attacks, which he himself then follows up by indulging in the most bitter abuse of political opponents. For example, he had the honour of being reported in yesterday’s press as being even more bitter in his attacks than the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) on the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang). Yet, the honorable gentleman has the audacity and effrontery to lecture us time and again in the strain in which he has just spoken ! Of all honorable members he most deserves to be described as a Pharisee. I do not object to any appointment by a government of a defeated member of Parliament so long as the appointee is qualified to hold the position to which he is appointed. Service in Parliament divorces members from ordinary industrial and business activities, and when they are rejected by their constituents they are placed at a very serious disadvantage in again setting themselves up in life. Therefore, I do not object to the government of the day appointing its supporters, or political opponents, to positions in order to give to them means of livelihood commensurate with their talents. However, I insist that appointees must possess qualifications and capacity for the positions to which they are appointed. But no more ludicrous appointment could have ‘been made by any government than that of Mr. Mountjoy to the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, which is the highest scientific body in Australia. For that position he has not one single qualification, except, possibly, that he can be described as “ the man in the street”. The Minister for Post-war’ Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman), when excusing the appointment some days ago, said that the executive of the Council for ‘Scientific and Industrial Research had been increased from three to five members, and that the Opposition had taken no objection to the enlargement of the executive in that way. Members of the Opposition took no objection, because none of us could conceive that the purpose of enlarging the executive to five members was simply in order to make it a dumping ground for defeated government candidates. If we had had the slightest idea that the Minister could have so little regard for the outstanding prestige of that authority which he controls to make such an appointment, the Opposition would have fought the proposal to enlarge the executive at every step. Let me examine the duties of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as set out in the budget papers. It is charged with conducting investigations in respect of the following matters : - Animal health and production, plant industry, entomology, horticulture, including soil survey and irrigation, food preservation forest products, mining and metallurgy, radio research, Scientific Liaison and Information Bureau, including library, industrial chemistry, fisheries investigations, aeronautical research, National Standards Laboratory, tribophysics, building materials research, biochemistry and general nutrition, flax research, radiophysics, metallurgy, nuclear energy, meteorological research, overseas studentships, wool textile research, coal dust investigations, unforeseen and urgent investigations, and miscellaneous investigations. The only activity for which Mr. Mountjoy would be qualified to join the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research would be in respect of “unforeseen and urgent investigations “. It is noteworthy that the amount allocated in respect of that item is £500, which is exactly the amount of the salary at which Mr. Mountjoy has been appointed. The honorable member for Perth, who rose so stoutly to the defence of Mr. Mountjoy, deplored what he described as the smear campaign conducted by honorable members on this side under parliamentary privilege. He castigated, chastised and lectured the committee like a. parson at a christening. I propose to give some idea to honorable members of certain action taken by Mr. Mountjoy when he was a member of this chamber. Under privilege, .he asked the most diabolical question which has ever been placed on the notice-paper. The question was directed against a political opponent, a Mr. A. R. de Barclay, who was secretary of the Sane Democracy League of New South Wales, which is very strongly antiCommunist. The question was not. a “ hot-blooded “ question. It was placed on the notice-paper. Therefore, Mr. Mountjoy had thought it out well beforehand. The question was -
Will the Attorney-General ascertain whether the same Mr. A. E. de Barclay held an interest in what is known as a select house of assignation at 34 Crown-street, Sydney?
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Clark).Honorable members are entitled to deal with the appointment of Mr. Mountjoy and his qualifications. The honorable member for Richmond will not be in order in going beyond those limits.
– I rise to order. I submit that an honorable member is entitled to show what class of man an appointee is. The honorable member for Richmond is pointing out the class of man that this appointee is, and, in order to do so, he must quote from Mansard, and I submit that he is quite in order in doing so.
– If the honorable member for Richmond will be reasonable and not let his remarks stray too far from the subject before the ‘Chair, he may proceed.
– I endeavour to be reasonable, but I have a duty to do. The Opposition is charged with the responsibility of directing attention to appointments by the Government that it thinks should not have been made. Under privilege, Mr. Mountjoy also asked the AttorneyGeneral -
Will he carry out an investigation to discover whether a Mrs. Ryan, who was associated with Mr. A. de R. Barclay in this Crown-street business, later opened a similar business at King’s Cross, and whether Mr. A. de R. Barclay has drawn any remuneration from this business?
Those are the questions that were deliberately put on the notice-paper under privilege by a man who is now to sit on the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The answers revealed that Mr. Barclay had no connexion whatever with premises of the type referred to in the questions. A number of leading citizens of Sydney in the persons of Mr. David Maughan, K.C., Mr. L. Napier Thomson, Mr. Ernest A. S. Watt, Mr. J. W. Scott Fell and Mr. Charles Ludowici were so moved that they wrote a letter to the Sydney newspapers testifying to his integrity. His only son served with the Australian Imperial Force in the Middle East, then returned to Australia, and was killed in action in New Guinea. The fact that five dead Japanese were found near his body indicates how dearly he sold his life. I have shown the nature of the attack made in this House by Mr. Mountjoy. Yet Government supporters claim that Opposition members should hold their tongues when an appointment of this kind is being made. I have no objection, as I have said, to defeated (politicians receiving some kind of appointment, but not this kind. Every one agrees with the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), that perhaps laymen may be able to contribute something to the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, but there can bc no suggestion, no honest suggestion at any rate, that he has one of the qualifications necessary to be a member of that executive. One of his first duties, as disclosed by the Minister in his reply to me yesterday, was that Mr. Mountjoy will be charged with the responsibility of fixing the salaries of scientific workers of the council. That is one of the duties of the executive.
– The executive does not fix them. It makes recommendations to me, and I fix them.
– (There is a distinction without a difference. I direct attention to the qualifications called for and salaries paid to the employees of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
– What did the honorable member do about that when Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research?
– I am not discussing that. My point is that the salaries offered by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to men who have spent a lifetime in study to obtain university degrees and in scientific research are not equal to the salary that is to be paid to a defeated member of the Labour party. Several advertisements for scientists to work for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research appeared in the Commonwealth Gazette of the 31st of October. The following is one of them -
Applications are invited for appointment to a position of Senior Research Officer, Microbiology Section, Division of Food Preservation and Transport, Homebush, Sydney.
Duties. - To undertake investigations on the bacteriology of food spoilage, with particular reference to bacterial food poisoning.
Qualifications. - University degree, with honours, in science, agricultural science, or veterinary science, with advanced training in bacteriology, or equivalent qualifications. At least four years’ experience in research work is essential.
The salary for that position is £665. The payment of that salary depends upon the qualifications of the successful applicant; but Mr. Mountjoy starts off as his boss at £500, plus 30s. per day for every day he is away from his home. He lives in Western Australia, and I assume that the executive meets in Sydney. So we can guess what his remuneration is likely to be. There is a final point in connexion with this appointment. It should have concerned the Minister more than any one else in Australia because he is in charge of post-war reconstruction and preference to returned soldiers. What does he say about this appointment? How does it comply with the preference provisions of theRe-establishment and Employment Act?
– What about the honorable member’s party!
– Never mind about my party. The party to which the Minister belongs has been in power for the last five years and it must answer for its sins. The Re-establishment and Employment Act was guided through this House by the Minister. It stipulates that returned soldiers shall have preference in employment. If anybody in this country is called upon to give preference to ex-servicemen it must be the Minister who demands that the business community obey the act.
– Is the honorable member suggesting that I have committed a breach of the act? If so, it is a false accusation.
– The act requires that preference shall be given in employment to ex-servicemen, but the Government left so many loopholes in it that it is a farce. The Government will not give a lead in employing ex-servicemen.
Honorable members interjecting,
– If honorable members persist in interjecting, I shall have to deal with them.
– I agree with your direction, Sir, because only yesterday I suffered suspension myself. I realize that honorable gentlemen opposite are feeling restive under my remarks, because they have only recently returnedfrom the electors whom they told what an important act the Minister had piloted through Parliament, and what security it gave to returned soldiers. Naturally they must feel thatwhen the Ministerwho is charged with the administration of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research makes an appointment of this kind, he is showing a flagrant disregard, perhaps not for the letter, but certainly for the spirit, of the re-establishment legislation. If preference is to mean anything, a lead must be given by the Commonwealth Government, and in that regard, the initiative rests with the Minister who was responsible for the introduction of the re-establishment legislation. The appointment of Mr.
Mountjoy completely disregards the fundamental principles of that act. 1 realize, of course, that, whatever we on this side of the chamber may say, the battalions of the Government will march across the floor of the House if a vote is taken. There is nothing we can do about it, but we cannot be prevented from voicing our disgust - I use the word advisedly - and. abhorrence of appointments of this nature.
– The work of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is vital to this country, and I am glad to see that provision is made for increased expenditure under this heading. However, I draw the attention of the Minister (Mr. Dedman) to the omission of any special provision for petroleum research in this country. I hope that the Minister will make a statement in regard to this matter. The Government may intend to leave the search for flow oil to private enterprise. If that he so, I shall be quite satisfied. Already flow oil has been produced in this country at Roma, and reports indicate that there is a distinct possibility that petroleum will be located in the Carnarvon Ranges and in central Australia. Somebody should undertake the responsibility for this work. If private enterprise is to be given an opportunity I shall have nothing further to say on the matter, but I should like to have an assurance from the Minister that oil search leases will not get into the hands of monopolistic concerns. The Government should make adequate provision for carrying out this very essential work.
– I take this opportunity to reply to certain observations made by honorable members opposite regarding the appointment to the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of a former member of this chamber who was rejected by the electors at the last elections. Whilst Mr. Mountjoy was a member of this chamber, he comported himself in a manner that could not be considered to be in the best interests of the Parliament, of his constituency, or of the country. I join issue with honorable members opposite on three grounds : First,
I question Mr. Mountjoy’s suitability for the appointment, secondly, I doubt hia capacity, and thirdly, I regard the practice pursued by this Government of appointing to various offices former members of this chamber who have been defeated at elections. What is Mr. Mounjoy’s record in this Parliament? Honorable members will recall that on one occasion I moved the adjournment of the House to discuss a certain question that had been placed upon the noticepaper by the then honorable member for Swan, who, under the cover of parliamentary privilege, sought to defame a highly respected citizen of this country. When I gave an emphatic denial to the allegation that the citizen concerned had an interest in certain premises that were being used as a place of assignation, not one honorable member opposite was game enough to defend the then honorable member for Swan, indicating by their silence that they too believed that any honorable member who sought, under cover of the privilege conferred upon him by his membership of this legislature, to defame a citizen who had no opportunity to reply in the Parliament forfeited, not only the respect of the House, and of his constituency, but also of the country. I come now to the question of Mr. Mountjoy’s suitability for membership of the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. In that capacity he will be called upon to make weighty decisions on highly technical and scientific matters. Surely this task calls for the appointment of some one of undoubted executive capacity, understanding, education, and culture; but what are Mr. Mountjoy’s qualifications? He -has been trained as a railwayman, and possibly his industrial associations in that, job would fit him to represent employees on an industrial tribunal, but he has not had any experience that would fit him to be ia member of an executive body charged with controlling such important functions as those exercised by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. In this regard too, therefore, the appointment is without justification. The only qualification that Mr. Mountjoy possesses for appointment to the executive of the Council for Scientific and In dustrial Research is that he was a supporter of the Labour party in the last Parliament. At the recent elections, he was rejected by his constituents, and therefore, the Labour party had to find some job for him. I contend that Mr. Mountjoy does not possess the ability to justify his appointment to the executive. Indeed, this decision of the Government will hold up to ridicule one of the most important scientific bodies in Australia. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research requires the services of scientists, who engage upon researches which are vital to the rapid development of this country. The appointment to the executive of a man who possesses no qualifications for the job demeans and belittles the organization. No valid reason can be advanced for his appointment. Already the Labour party has a very unsavoury record regarding the appointment of defeated politicians to important offices. This policy of “ spoils to the victor “ will bring into disrepute the whole parliamentary institution. The Opposition has not the numbers in this Parliament to prevent the appointment of Mr. Mountjoy, but at least we can protest, and direct the attention of the public to it. If the Government has any sense of responsibility regarding the need for “ clean “ appointments, it must reconsider this decision.
.Considerable criticism has been levelled by the Opposition against the appointment of Mr. Mountjoy, a former member of the *House of Representatives, to the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. I was amazed to hear the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) who, less than 24 hours ago, was suspended from the service of this House for disgraceful and unparliamentary conduct, take exception to this appointment.
– I rise to order. I object to the statement by the honorable member for Martin that my conduct was disgraceful and unparliamentary, and I ask that the remark be withdrawn.
– As the honorable member for Wentworth has objected to a remark of the honorable member for Martin I ask that it be withdrawn.
– I should like you to inform me, Mr. Chairman, whether I am entitled to state a fact.
– Order ! The honorable member must obey the ruling of the Chair. As the honorable member for Wentworth regarded a certain remarks as being personally offensive to him, the honorable member for Martin must withdraw it.
– In deference to your ruling, sir, I withdraw the remark, but I point out-
– I desire to take a point of order arising from the Chairman’s ruling. Earlier in this discussion, when a Temporary Chairman was in the Chair, I took a point of order that the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) had stated that I was a purveyor of political untruths. I said that the remark was personally offensive to me, and asked that it be withdrawn.
– Order ! I am not giving a ruling on an earlier ruling by a Temporary Chairman.
– Did not the Chair order the,honorable member for Martin to withdraw and apologize?
– No. . I asked the honorable member for Martin to withdraw the remark to which the honorable member for Wentworth objected, and he has done so.
– Less than 24 hours ago, the honorable member for Wentworth was suspended from the service of this House for unparliamentary conduct. A few minutes ago, he made a vile insinuation against a reputable former member of this Parliament. At least during his parliamentary career of three years, Mr. Mountjoy never suffered the indignity of being suspended from the service of the House.
Sitting suspended from 1245 to 2.15 pm.
– Before the suspension of the sitting, I was referring to the audacity of the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) in criticizing the appointment of Mr. Mountjoy to an important position on the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Less than 24 hours ago, the honorable gentleman made an un- seemly exit from this chamber at the request of the committee, yet he has dared to criticize the conduct of a man who, during his membership of the Parliament, never suffered the same indignity. It is remarkable also - and honorable members should know this - that the honorable member for Wentworth is reputed to have been a member of that infamous organization, the New Guard, and to my knowledge has never denied the accusation.
– Mr. Chairman, I take strong exception to the remark made by the honorable member for Martin and I ask that it be withdrawn. I was never a member of that organization, and I have said so in this chamber.
– What was the remark ?
– The honorable member has accused me of having belonged to an organization known as the New Guard. Honorable members know that I have repeatedly denied such accusations in this chamber. The statement is objectionable to me.
– The honorable member is entitled to deny the truth of the statement, but I do not consider that it was personally offensive.
– It is a misrepresentation, sir, and you are permitting it to pass.
– That statement-
– Stick to the truth. I have denied it.
– That statement was no different from the sort of criticism that was levelled by honorable members opposite at my former colleague in this chamber over his appointment to a position with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The New Guard was subversive and was not the sort of organization with which any reputable citizen should have been associated.
The honorable member for Wentworth also objected to the appointment of Mr. Mountjoy on the ground that he had been rejected by the electors. Many notable men have been rejected by the electors from time to time owing to passing fancies for other candidates. The present Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) was, on one occasion, rejected by the electors, but to-day nobody will deny his outstanding ability. Why, even Mr. Winston Churchill, the great British war-time leader, was rejected by British electors on occasions! The late Mr. John Curtin, who was one of the most outstanding public men that this country has produced, was rejected by the people on one or two occasions. Therefore, that objection to Mr. Mountjoy’s appointment cannot be sustained as far as I am concerned, and I am sure that right-thinking members of this Parliament will agree with me. Apparently, in the eyes of honorable members opposite, it is an unforgivable sin for the Government to appoint a capable man to any position if he has been defeated at an election. Honorable members opposite have criticized Mr. Mountjoy again and again because he was a railway worker. Our Prime Minister was once a railway worker but he has done a magnificent job for Australia. The qualifications required for a job such as that to which Mr. Mountjoy has been appointed, are common sense, administrative ability, a sound understanding of the requirements of the position, and sincerity of approach to it. No matter what Mr. Mountjoy’s previous station in life has been, his conduct in this Parliament, his general attitude to national problems, and his manner of dealing with his duties as a representative of the electorate of Swan, have shown that he will capably fill his new position.
The honorable member for Wentworth ridiculed Mr. Mountjoy because he had been a railwayman. Apparently he has forgotten that the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes), in days gone by, was an umbrella mender. It is on record that the honorable member for Wentworth himself worked in a departmental store before he was fortunate enough to be elected to this Parliament. The attack by honorable members opposite on Mr. Mountjoy was an attempt to blacklist, during his temporary absence from this Parliament, a man who has rendered noble service to the country. I commend the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) on the appointment. It involves no departure from precedent. As the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) pointed out yesterday, many former members of the United Australia party in this Parliament have been appointed to high positions. Was not Mr. Stanley Melbourne Bruce appointed to a high position in London after being rejected by the electors? Anti-Labour governments appointed many of their rejected and discredited members and supporters to posts in Australia. The appointment of Mr. Mountjoy to the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research will stand any test that may be applied by the Opposition. His job will be done well, and I take pride in supporting the appointment. The arguments adduced by honorable members opposite were intended to besmirch the reputation of a man who has served his country nobly and who displayed sound judgment and ability while he was a member of this Parliament.
– I draw the attention of the Minister to the proposed vote of £S3,100 for the Commonwealth Public .Service Board which is a considerable increase of expenditure on salaries. I know that the membership of the Commonwealth Public Service Board has been increased but, in view of the amount of the proposed expenditure, I should like to know whether the board is carrying out the requirements of section 17 of the Commonwealth Public Service Act, which imposes upon it the duty of effecting economies in various departments, avoiding unnecessary expenditure, and examining the business of each department in order to determine whether any inefficiency or lack of economy exists. I realize that during the war those provisions could not be strictly applied. However, they should now be fully effective. I also draw attention to the proposed vote of £49,550 for fisheries investigations under the control of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research which is four times greater than the amount proposed to be expended on research into nuclear energy. I do not criticize the expenditure of money on fisheries investigations. I have frequently said that the fishing industry in Australia requires a thorough investigation, and deserves practical and sympathetic support from the Government. I realize that the industry has great potentialities, and I am pleased to see that the Government has increased the amount proposed to he expended on investigations from £23,272 last financial year to £49,550. However, the proposed vote for fisheries research is out of proportion with that for nuclear energy research, for which the Government proposes to allot only £11,380 this financial year. I should like to hear some explanation of this disparity.
– A number of observations have been made by honorable members opposite regarding the proposed vote for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. I do not propose to say rauch about the appointment of Mr. Mountjoy ; there is no need for me to justify my actions in that regard. I believe that he will do an excellent job in the position to which he has been appointed.
– For whom?
– For the people of Australia generally. The arguments of honorable members opposite against the appointment were based on false premises. Last night, the honorable members for Indi (Mr. McEwen) and New England (Mr. Abbott) claimed that Mr. Mountjoy would be able to obtain secret information which he might pass on to somebody else. Let me say, quite definitely, that in time of peace none of the work of the council is secret. No oath of secrecy is taken by any employees of the council who undertake inquiries, investigations and research work, and almost without exception they are free to publish their views on the results of their investigations. I am speaking, not of the period during which we were at war, and certain officers of the council were engaged in very important secret work, but of the investigations which they conduct in time of peace. The work of scientific research cannot flourish in secret. The value of the work which these men do as scientific investigators, and the performance of their tasks, are largely affected by the contacts which they must have with other scientific investigators, not only in this country but also throughout the world. For a period, we had a scientific liaison officer in Russia. We have scientific liaison officers in many countries throughout the world. The success of the council’s work in relation to industry generally depends largely on the publication of the results of all the investigations it undertakes, and the contacts which its officers .are able to make with scientific persons not only in this country but also in other countries. It is true that certain aspects of scientific research may have to be undertaken for, for example, the Defence Department, and that the Government proposes to set up a defence scientific advisory committee. I assume that, if an officer of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is appointed to that committee, he will have to take an oath of secrecy, and that anything which he does in that capacity will be secret and will not be passed on to anybody outside the committee, except the Minister for Defence, who is in charge of the Defence Department as a whole, and to whom the defence scientific advisory committee will be responsible. Therefore, the argument that Mr. Mountjoy will be in a position to pass on secret information if he wishes to do so, falls to the ground.
The honorable members for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) and Maranoa (Mr. Adermann) raised certain matters in connexion with the proposed votes for “ Mining and Metallurgy and “ Metallurgy “. They suggested that the amounts made available, £13,220 and £4,000, respectively, will be insufficient for the purpose of carrying on investigations as to where minerals and petroleum deposits may be found and exploited. I inform them that those two items do not cover expenditure for that purpose. Prospecting for minerals, and an examination of mineral deposits anywhere in the Commonwealth, in relation to either metals or oil, are covered by items in the estimates of the Department of Supply and Shipping, including an item for expenditure on a bureau of mineral resources.
Therefore, the matters mentioned ought not to have been raised under these estimates. The investigations that are being carried out under the heading “Mining and Metallurgy “ are concerned with the elucidation of the mineral associations in complex ores, so that the most suitable methods of treatment can be determined. Ore dressing investigations are continuing at laboratories that have been established in co-operation with the Metallurgy School, University of Melbourne, the South Australian School of Mines and Industries and the Kalgoorlie School of Mines. In relation to the proposed vote for “Metallurgy”, I point out that the council already has a small group of metallurgists in the Division of Aeronautics, whose interest is confined to the specific problems with which that division is concerned. Fundamental metallurgical investigations- of a more comprehensive nature are being initiated in collaboration with the Research School of Metallurgy at the University of Melbourne. If this work develops, the establishment of a division of metallurgy may eventually be necessary. Therefore, this expenditure relates to matters entirely different from, those mentioned by the honorable members for the Northern Territory and Maranoa.
Reference has been made also to an expenditure of £11,380 in respect of “ Nuclear Energy “. The council has followed the experiments that are being undertaken in Great Britain and elsewhere throughout the world, in particular the experiments in Great Britain by an Australian, Professor Oliphant, at the University of Birmingham. Much information relating to the development of nuclear energy has been published in pamphlet form, not only in this country but also in other countries throughout the world. The main purpose in expending £11,380 on experiments in connexion with nuclear energy is to develop in this country the necessary research staff which may be able to deal with problems of this nature that arise in the future. If we have not trained personnel who have undertaken at least some experiments in connexion with nuclear energy, and there are developments in other countries - for example, along the lines of the use of atomic energy for industrial pu r. poses - then we will not have in this country, the skilled scientific personnel who will be able to apply the results of those experiments to our own economy. The tremendous effort that is being put into experiments in connexion with nuclear energy by the United States of America, Canada and Great Britain, makes it essential that we should have in Australia men who have been trained in the various techniques involved, so that, when information becomes available, it may be .used effectively. I believe it was suggested that this is an example of work being done by the council which might be of a secret nature. Let me say in that regard that much of this work is being done by the University of Melbourne as an agent for the council. A portion of the funds that are’ being sought under the heading “ Nuclear Physics “ is to be used to support the atomic energy laboratory that has been established under the direction of Professor Martin in the Department of Physics, University of Melbourne. Do members of the Opposition suggest that I should require Professor Martin, of the University of Melbourne, who does not come under my jurisdiction, to take an oath of secrecy? I believe that Professor Martin and others who undertake these experiments realize their value and concede that they owe it to the world to make available any results they achieve. The very f act that so much of this work is being undertaken by institutions which do not come under the control of the Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research shows that there is nothing in the argument that Mr. Mountjoy might be able to obtain secret information which nobody else could get, and make it available to other nations. The work undertaken in the laboratory will make possible investigation in relation to particles with much higher energies than those which it is possible to produce at present by artificial means. In this way, it will be possible to give men first-hand experience of the methods and technique used in atomic energy work. Some funds are also to be used in sending scientists to Canada and Great Britain to work there. In addition, important work has been undertaken at the Division of Industrial Chemistry with, regard to uranium and thorium, from which raw material for atomic energy can be produced. The honorable member for the Northern Territory mentioned certain deposits in Central Australia. He referred, I think, to wolfram, and suggested that it was a radio-active mineral.
– I said that other radioactive minerals were to be found in the Northern Territory.
– That may be so, but, to the best of my knowledge, wolfram is not one of them. The work of exploring deposits known to exist, and looking for others, does not fall within the province of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, but is a matter for the Mineral Resources Survey Division of the Department of Supply and Shipping. The point raised by the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) concerning the Commonwealth Public Service Board, will, I understand, be dealt with later by the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley).
– I think it will be admitted that Mr. Mountjoy’s appointment has been discussed sufficiently in this chamber. The whole question seems to be whether he was the best man to appoint to the job, or whether he has been selected because he has been a good supporter of the Government. It now remains for him to justify his appointment. When I first entered this chamber I suggested that, if every honorable member’s history were exhibited on the walls, a great deal of the time of this Parliament would be saved..
Referring to the proposed vote to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for investigations regarding “plant industry”, “irrigation.” and “ unforeseen and urgent investigations “, I hope to offer some constructive remarks. The dried fruits industry is of paramount importance to Australia. Tt seldom needs subsidies, and it is practically self-contained. On the 27th October last, frosts which occurred in parts of Victoria and New South Wales did tremendous damage. People found their vines damaged overnight to such a degree that the supply of dried fruits for next year in many areas will be small and even the following year’s production may be seriously jeopardized. It is necessary for us to maintain our quota, of Empire preferential trade, and the department concerned can assist the primary producers by recommending means of overcoming the frost menace. I am aware that official investigations are being made regarding this matter. At Koraleigh, in New South W ales, it is estimated that 90 per cent, of the crops will be damaged, whilst in Victoria the damage is computed at 45 per cent, at Nyah ann 75 per cent, at Woorinen. The quantity of dried fruit that is expected to be lost in Victoria alone is 4,737 tons, the value of which is estimated at £2S0,000. How can this damage be prevented, and how can the Council foi- Scientific and. Industrial Research help in the matter? I made an inspection of the damage, and found that in parts of the irrigation areas that had been recently watered practically no damage had been done. If those areas could be supplied with sufficient water in October and early November, the chances are that much of the damage would be obviated. The depart, ment should be able to devise means of providing irrigation for those areas at the right time. The growers know that, if the vines could be enveloped by sufficient smoke when frost is prevelant, the damage would be averted. During the Battle of Britain, certain machines were used to enable smoke-screens to be spread for defence purposes. These machines are still somewhere in Great Britain and probably not being put to any use. I suggest that the department should obtain some .of them for experimental purposes, with a view to preventing frost damage. My remarks should interest the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, because it is proposed to settle many ex-servicemen on fruit blocks. I hope that Mr. Mountjoy and the other members of the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research will recognize the need for this investigation, so that Australia may produce as large a quantity of dried fruit as possible for the purpose of expanding imperial and world trade and increasing our national income.
– I desire to address a question to the
Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (Mr. Dedman). A few moments ago he explained that there should be no need to raise the issue of secrecy in connexion with Mr. Mountjoy’s appointment, because we are discussing peace-time investigations. Are we to understand that we are now experiencing a time of peace, in view of the fact that we recently had presented to us for discussion a bill, the preamble of which reads -
Whereas a state of war still exists between His Majesty, Germany, Japan and other countries?
. -The statement just made by the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) leaves the position little better than it was. He said that persons employed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research had the right to publish to the world anything they liked. This seems to me to be an extraordinary state of affairs. They are employed by the Commonwealth of Australia, and ought to be employed for Commonwealth purposes. I fully appreciate that there is a class of scientist at large, who, in many instances, thinks that he is a citizen of something that does not exist, that he is above nationality. I sincerely trust that this spirit has not invaded the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. In the past, I have had a high regard for the work of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, but I am now beginning to believe that upon certain of its activities the spotlight of parliamentary attention should be directed. The matter has been brought to a head by the Government’s own action in appointing Mr. Mountjoy to the executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. I have not criticized this appointment, because I think it speaks so eloquently for itself that no criticism from , me is needed.I believe that there is some merit in the suggestion of the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Turnbull) that the records of all the members of this Parliament should be displayed in the chamber.We might go further, and ask the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to discover apt occupations, especially for honorable members opposite, who may be defeated in the elections. The recommendations of the council should be published so that the people, when they go to the poll, will know the alternative before them, and can decide whether they would rather have the candidate as their representative or have him employed by some public institution. All I want from Parliament is good government, and there seems to be little or no prospect of getting it. The committee should pay more attention to an institution like the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the activities of which are legion, and the constitution of which is known only to the Minister who has been at pains to impress upon us the power which he exercises over appointments. It is evident, even from the Estimates, that the council is engaged upon investigating many matters of military significance. For instance, it is concerning itself with radio research, industrial chemistry, aeronautical research, radio physics, neuclear activity, and tribophysics, whatever that may be.
– It has something to do with oiling machinery.
-In that event, the Government has need of it. I remind honorable members that some of the most important scientific discoveries were made by accident rather than design. Scientists have stumbled on very important discoveries when they were looking for something else. This is true of the X-ray and, more recently, of penicillin. Are we to accept the assertion of the Minister that the Government does not care what scientific findings are publishedby persons attached to the council, or upon what work they are engaged? Surely it is not right that a scientist should, at his own whim and will, be at liberty to publish or withhold from publication the results achieved by an institution endowed by the Commonwealth. Such a proposition is so basically unsound that only the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction would have attempted to advance it in his defence of the indefensible.
– Mr. Chairman-
– Give us some more pacificism !
– There are some men to whom I am disposed to listen, not because I have any great respect for their mentality, but because I can feel sympathy towards them. The interjection which we have just heard from the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) is the first which he has addressed to me, and I find it insulting. The honorable member was sent here to represent his electorate, but if he tries any of his sabre-rattling tactics with me, he will find that he has taken on the wrong man. I was born in Australia. One of my sons served as a volunteer in the Navy and another in the Air Force, so that it is plainly ridiculous for the honorable member to insinuate that I have no interest in the welfare of my country. I hope that, in .future, when I rise to speak on matters of concern to the nation, I will not be heckled and have my time wasted by being compelled to answer remarks - of the kind made by the honorable member for the Northern Territory. I had made up my mind, because I felt an innate sympathy for him, that I would not be drawn into a controversy with the honorable member for the Northern Territory, no matter how disgusted I might be with what he said. I should have kept that resolution had he not attempted to belittle me personally. The honorable member had much to say on the subject of the qualifications which should be possessed by a man who was to serve on the executive of the Council for .Scientific and Industrial Research. As a matter of fact, it is not always the man who is entitled to write letters after his name who does the best work when it comes to the direction of a public institution. When I resigned from the South Australian Parliament a few weeks ago I resigned also from the council of the University of Adelaide and from its finance committee. Those bodies control the Waite Institute, where the Council for Scientific and Industrial . Research carries out much valuable research work. I have had over thirteen years’ experience with members of that council, every one of whom apart from myself possesses one or more university degrees. I have met with them week after week in council and conference, but never once did any of those gentlemen - they are gentlemen in the true sense - cast the slightest reflection on me because of my lack of academic qualifications. I never heard from them such remarks as I heard here last night and again to-day concerning a man who cannot claim the right to put a lot of letters after his name. It may be that Mr. Mountjoy, as a member of the executive of the ‘ Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, will have an experience similar to mine. It may be that after he has served on that body for some years he will have won the approval and goodwill of the men with whom he has been associated. It may be his experience, as it has been mine as the only layman member of a council of 25 members, to be selected as one of a committee or subcommittee of four or five members to investigate matters of detail in connexion with some university undertaking or proposal. A few months ago it was my privilege as a member of a sub-committee to confer with Sir David Rivett and Dr. Richardson when they visited Adelaide to discuss the future of the Waite Institute and the activities of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in that State. At that conference no attempt was made to embarrass me because of my lack of academic qualifications. My experience as a member of the bodies to which I have referred has brought me into close contact with real gentlemen - not men with just sufficient education to cause them to belittle themselves by their smiles and smirks and their condemnation of men without university degrees. In this chamber we have heard a man who has been appointed to an important position condemned, not because of the concern of his critics for the future of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, but because of a desire to embarrass the Minister and the Government. When honorable members criticize the appointment of an ex-member of this Parliament to a position in which the Government believes that he can represent the views of the ordinary citizen, they should not forget that the money which this Parliament votes for research by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has been provided by the ordinary citizens of Australia. From my experience I now say that it is good to have on a scientific body, especially one engaged in research, a man who is not carried away by his enthusiasm for research, particularly in a restricted sphere, but can bring to the problems under consideration a balanced outlook, and can view matters from the standpoint of the ordinary taxpayer. I said more than once to the finance committee of the council of the University of Adelaide that if at any time the university desired money for research they could depend on my fullest support. If honorable members wish to know more of the value of a layman on such bodies I suggest that they approach Sir “William Mitchell, the Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, and ask his opinion as to the work which I performed. They could remind Sir “William that I was a layman who had had no secondary education, as I left school at the >age of thirteen years, when a scholar in a primary school. They could also remind him that after leaving school I worked with my hands as well as with my head and, as he will well know, had no academic qualifications of which to boast, or letters to place behind my name. I do not know Mr. Mountjoy. I have spoken to him only once, ‘but I believe that the appointment of such a man to work with men possessing ;high academic qualifications in the realm of science will have good results. I do not imagine that on the first occasion of which Mr. Mountjoy will meet the other members of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research he will tell them what they ought to do. I recall various visits which I paid to the Waite Institute, and what I saw in the research laboratories there in connexion with such matters as fungus, the treatment of soils and so on. Although I was not a scientist, I could appreciate what the scientists were doing, and when I made suggestions they were well received by my fellow councillors. It was my experience also that some men with the keenest scientific minds - men with high qualifications and possessing university degrees -which distinguished them from their fellow citizens - were “ all at sea “ when business matters were being discussed. They .appreciated the help of a layman “with a balanced outlook.
Coming now to the Estimates themselves, I express my appreciation of what the Government is doing in the field of research. The honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. McBride) knows what has been done at “ Urrbrae “ in connexion with investigations in respect of wool, and other matters affecting pastoralists and the man on the land generally. I have no doubt that the honorable member will be pleased that the Government recognizes the value of such work and proposes to finance further activities in these and other fields of research by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
I do not know whether other honorable members are interested in research in connexion with the fishing industry. I arn reliably informed that the waters along the coast of South Australia and the southern coast of Western Australia are teeming with fish.
– All fishermen are supposed to be able to tell good stories.
– I am not speaking of the huge fish that got away, but of the shoals of fish which no one is even attempting - to catch. Much more research is required before we can have anything like a thorough knowledge of the prospects ahead of the Australian fishing industry. Some years ago the trawler Endeavour was employed in a search for good fishing grounds. I hope that that branch of research will be continued and that it will result in ‘an improved harvest from the sea. I regret the introduction of personalities into the debate. I do not indulge in that form of attack unless I myself am first the victim of it. I am able to take care of myself and have nothing to fear from the personal attacks of other honorable members. I assure them that they will not find me an aggressor. If that attitude is a form of pacifism I gladly acknowledge that I am a pacifist. However, if any man seeks to invade my territory, to force his way into my home, or to make a personal attack upon my character, he will find me no gentle enemy. I shall protect the things that I hold dear, including my honour and my good standing in the opinion of other men. I trust that honorable members will confine their remarks to the specific items before the Chair. Only by such disinterested consideration of the problems that confront us will we be able to set right things which we believe to be wrong. Let us get away from descriptions on the walls of this chamber ; let us have the picture of Australia firmly implanted in our minds, and let us devote our efforts to the upholding of everything that is designed for the good of this country.
– The vote for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is one of the most important in the Estimates, and I am gratified to note that it is to be increased. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) has said that there is no necessity for a man occupying a position on the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to hold a university degree. I agree with the honorable member, provided that such a man recognizes the possibilities of science. Some of the greatest achievements of this country have been made possible only through the efforts of practical men. I recall the very valuable part played by them in the eradication of prickly-pear, which had invaded valuable pastoral and agricultural lands in Queensland to the amount of 1,000,000 acres a year. The menace of the ever-encroaching pricklypear was destroyed as the “result of research made by a layman, Mr. Clark, who pointed the way for the scientists working at the experimental station of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research at Dulacca under the direction of Dr. Jean White. They combated the pest by the introduction of cactoblastis. In 1944 I moved the adjournment of the House to discuss the need for scientific research in rural industries, yet nothing emerged from the debate until in 1945 an amending bill was brought down merely increasing the membership of the executive council of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. In introducing the bill the Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, after stating that it provided for the appointment of two additional members of the council, said -
It would, in the long-term view, provide a larger reservoir of experience to meet the changes which must inevitably arise when other members of the present executive retire, thus maintaining continuity in the direction of the council’s work. The council lias been consulted on this matter, and concurs in the view that an increase of the number of members of the executive is desirable. The amendment contained in the bill is in itself small, but it symbolizes the success of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to date, and is an indication of wider efforts and achievements to come.
I am not personally concerned about Mr. Mountjoy’s appointment, but I am concerned that a position of such value and importance should be given to one who has shown no imagination in regard to the possibilities of scientific development. It is the imaginative layman with practical experience who contributes the greatest assistance to the scientist, who relies largely on the suggestions of the practical man. ‘ When I moved the adjournment of the House to discuss the urgent necessity for formulating plans to assure maximum assistance by scientific research into land and stock industries, I recounted what had been done in Canada, Russia, Germany and Great Britain many years ago in that direction. More than 60 years ago the Canadian Government established institutes for investigation and research into problems and diseases affecting plant and animal life. There should be established along the coastline of Australia scientific institutions and research stations to carry out on the spot investigations of stock diseases and the hybridization of cereals and other forms of vegetation. Scientific research into these matters is encouraged in all other countries and in all of them a linkage exists betwen the scientist and the practical man, the farmer or the grazier. Scientific research stations should also be established in the interior of this continent to explore the possibilities of increasing the fertility of the soil and the growth of crops anc! vegetation generally in low rainfall areas. Investigation should also be carried out into the mining and metalliferous resources of this country. In the last 60 years the Canadian Government has established 38 State branch stations, 10 sub-stations, 190 illustration stations and 47 district experimental sub-stations, which stretch across the dominion from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and cater for every condition of stock and plant life.
Ihave frequently advocated the establishment of such stations in Australia, but my appeals have invariably fallen on deaf ears. The Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is merely a theorist; he has no idea of the possibilities in this direction, nor has he sufficient imagination to appreciate the difficulties confronted by our primary producers. Let me give one illustration of the difficulties which exist owing to the absence of adequate control and experimental stations. Thebuffalo fly spread into Queensland from the Northern Territory and it is now moving further south almost unhindered. The scle attempt made by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to eradicate this pest is conducted from a small station outside Cairns under the charge of a young scientist. The buffalo fly is now approaching the Now South W ales border and is winging its way south. The same apathy exists in respect of cattle tick. Millions of pounds have been expended in New South “Wales not to eradicate the tick but merely to halt its spread. There is an almost complete lack of scientific assistance for the producers in this country. In Russia scientists have produced in snow areas frost resistant potatoes and fruit trees and cereals that have a very short growing period. Russian scientists have now produced a frost resisting potato. On previous occasions, I have asked the Minister to discuss with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research the advisability of establishing stations as Britain, Canada and Russia have done in order to assist our primary producers. To-day, we are expending considerable money on university research. Not a little money is expended on determining the ages of rocks and fossils, and classifying the names of plants. Now, we need to concentrate on research which will be of practical assistance to primary producers in meeting their problems. As I have said, the Minister is merely a theorist. He said that he would not attempt tosay more than he told me on a previous occasion. All he then said was that this was a State matter. It is a national matter. Every State government would be only too ready to cooperate with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in establishing research stations in their respective domains. We cannot shirk this responsibility, and thereby leave the primary producer undefended against pests whose depredations cause losses running into millions of pounds. We defend our country against a foreign foe; but, apparently, the Government is not prepared to protect our land against diseases which ruin stocks and crops. I urge it to follow the example of the countries I have cited, and establish this new branch of research in order to give practical assistance to primary producers.
. -The right honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr. Fadden) has asked for an assurance that the Commonwealth Public Service Board is, in accordance with section 17 of the Commonwealth Public Service Act, effecting every possible economy in the staffing of departments. The board is carrying out its duty in that regard. In addition, the Government has instituted two inquiries with a view to obviating over-staffing of various departments. I assure the right honorable gentleman that every possible economy is being effected in that respect.
.- Some time ago I directed the attention of the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) to the necessity for greater research to determine the requirements of soils in the north coast district of New South Wales and the south coast district of Queensland. Experience has shown that since the beginning of settlement in those areas, the productivity and carrying capacity of the land has decreased from 50 per cent. to 60 per cent. The farmers in those areas have attempted to follow the example set by Victoria and New Zealand in applying certain fertilizers, such as superphosphate, to the soil; but, for some reason which has not yet been discovered, such fertilizers do not react favorably on these soils. Consequently, production in those districts is gradually declining. Land which had a carrying capacity of one beast to the acre can now carry only one beast to two, or three, acres. Last year I suggested that special research might be undertaken by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research into these very important problems. The district which I represent, and which is situated on the north coast of New South Wales, produces about one-third of the total butter produced in New South Wales. The Minister stated last year that a laboratory was being established at Brisbane to undertake work of the kind I have in mind. Although a considerable time has elapsed since I directed his attention to this matter, I have no knowledge of any investigation having been carried out in the district which I represent. It is now proposed to increase the vote for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research by nearly £300,000. I hope that some of that money, and some of the talent of special officers, will be devoted towards a solution of the problem to which I have referred.
– The matter raised by honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) is of first-rate importance. I shall ascertain from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research whether it is possible for the council to undertake the investigation he suggests. Of course, we must recognize that quite a large number of problems exist in relation to soil survey, and the council must first deal with those problems which - in its opinion - are the most urgent.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Motion (by Dr. Evatt) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
Mr.RIORDAN (Kennedy- Minister for the Navy) [3.25].- On the 26th November I informed honorable members that I was exploring the possibilities of increasing the number of mine-sweepers for use in removing the mine-fields on the Queensland coast. At the same time, I stated that mine-sweeping was a highlyskilled and dangerous occupation and that ships could not be hastily commissioned and despatched to undertake the work until the ship’s company had had adequate training at sea in the handling of their difficult equipment. I further indicated that some of the original flotilla had been paid off, as their retention in the service would have necessitated holding a considerable number of mine-sweeping specialists with high points for demobilization. Having regard to government policy on the question of demobilization and the desire of personnel who have had long and arduous service to return to civil life, their retention against their will could not be justified. In the circumstances, I have arranged for a call for volunteers from these specialists with a view to manning, to the fullest extent possible, the ships which have been paid off, and I am hopeful of some success in this direction. The extent to which additional ships can be commissioned is, of course, dependent on the number of personnel available, and the Naval authorities are now taking urgent action to implement this purpose to the fullest extent possible.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department of Civil Aviation - R. M. Seymour, C. R. Sladen. J. W. Stone.
National Security Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules1946, No. 132 (substitute copy).
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1946, No. 131 (substitute copy).
House adjourned at 3.27 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
Housing: War Service Homes;
Timber for Flooring.
On the 20th November, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) asked the following questions: -
How many war service homes were erected in each State of the Commonwealth during each of the years 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946 (to 31st October) ?
How many applications for war service homes were received in each State of the Commonwealth during each of those years?
I informed the honorable member that the information requested by him was being obtained. I am now able to supply the following details : - 1. (a) The information requested by the honorable member in respect of homes erected during the financial years 1941-42, 1942-43. 1943-44 and 1944.-45 was made ‘ available in response to a question asked by him in June. 1946. See Hansard No. 13 of the 13th
July, 1946, page 2,371. (6) Two homes were built during the financial year 1940-41; one in Victoria and one in Queensland, (c) The completed figures for the financial year 1945-46 and for 1946-47 to 31st October, 1948, are-
On the 20th November, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) asked the following questions -
How much was expended on the building of war service homes in each State of the Commonwealth during each of the years 1940, 1941, 1942. ]!)43, 1944, 1945 and 1946 (to 31st October) ?
W,hat was the number of war service homes built for members of the Australian Imperial Force and of the Second Australian Imperial Force in each State of the Commonwealth during those years?
I informed the honorable member that the information requested by him was being obtained. I am now able to supply the following details : - 1. (a) The information requested by the honorable member in respect of years 1940, 1941. 1942, 1943 and 1944 was made available in response to a question asked by him in March, 1945. See Hansard So. 3 of the 7th March, 1945, page 417. (6) The completed figures for 1945 and 1946 to the 31st October are -
– On the 13th November, th* honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) asked a question relating to timber and flooring .supplies for South Australia.
The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following information : -
The bulk of the wooden flooring used in Australia is hardwood, which needs to be seasoned to near atmospheric moisture content before it is laid if it is to give a satisfactory type floor. The .process of seasoning hardwood has to be largely carried out by stacking .for .periods of from twelve to*24 months. All stocks of timber in Australia were practically exhausted during the war, and the .continued ready market for a’ll classes of timber since that time has resulted in insufficient stocks of timber ‘being laid down for seasoning, not only for flooring .but also for weatherboards, -and .more particularly for joinery.
The position .has -been examined .in regard to obtaining supplies from ‘the various States and it has been ascertained that a limited supply may be obtained from Tasmania for South Australia, if Shipping can be made available. Inquiries are being made of the Australian Shipping Board as to the possibilities in this direction by the DirectorGeneral .of the Forestry and Timber Bureau.
As far ,as Baltic timbers ave concerned, ,the position is .that Norway requires practically all her production for ;her northern wardevastated areas, and has none to spare for Australia. The whole of Finland’s surplus timber production is at the disposal of Russia, and it has so far been found impossible to obtain any timber from that country. The result of negotiations with Sweden is that they have agreed to supply Australia up to the’ 1st May, 1947, through trade channels, with 800,000 super, feet of building timber, most of which will, it is expected, be flooring and weatherboard. This quantity is, -however, of very little importance against the requirements of the whole of Australia, and it is not to be expected that South Australia will manage to procure any great proportion.
e asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
The Minister may, if he is satisfied that it is in the interests of the development of Australia so to do, direct the Commission to establish, alter or continue to maintain any interstate airline service or territorial airline service specified by the Minister.
Department in the matter of the expeditious transmission of airmails is the determining factor.
Section 37 of the Australian National Airlines Act provides that the commission shall pay all rates, taxes and charges (other than income tax) imposed by or under any law of the Commonwealth and such other rates, taxes or charges as the Minister specifics.
r asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
d. - Last week the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr.
Thompson) asked a question concerning the importation of hickory for axe handles.
The Minister for Trade and Customs has informed me that licences have been issued for the importation of hickory axe handles from North America, and it is expected that the first shipments against these licences will arrive in the near future. Arrangements have been made through the local agents for overseas suppliers of hickory handles to ensure, as far as possible, that the imported handles will be sold in country districts, thus satisfying the wishes of professional timber.getters. A proportion of the imported handles has also been reserved for supply to Australian axe manufacturers to enable the ‘better quality imported handles to be fitted to the higher grade locally manufactured axes, which are also supplied principally to professional timber-getters.
Film “Indonesia Calling”.
– On the 26th November the honorable member for “Wakefield (Mr. McBride) asked a question concerning the exportation of the film Indonesia Calling.
The Minister for Trade and Customs has informed me that permits have been issued for the exportation of the film to New Zealand, the United States of America and Java. The Commonwealth Government would have no official knowledge of the action taken in overseas countries in connexion with the importation and screening of the film.
t asked the Minister for Postwar Reconstruction, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
N asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping, upon notice -
– The Minister for Supply and Shipping has supplied the following information : -
New Guinea : Purchase ob- Equipment FOR Landholders.
n. - On the 27th November, the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) asked a question concerning the needs of returning settlers in New Guinea. The Minister for Supply and Shipping has furnished the following information: -
Prior to the arrangements being made for the current auction sales in New Guinea, the Commonwealth Disposals Commission took every possible precaution to ensure that the needs of the Territory and of settlers who are not yet back in the Territory should be provided for. In the first place, the commission covered the requirements of the Department of External Territories for all governmental rehabilitation purposes. Secondly, it has for a period of twelve months made available to settlers, missionary organizations, mining companies and others in New Guinea, all such stocks as the people and organizations concerned desired to take over. Thirdly, realizing that a number of settlers are not yet back in Now Guinea, the Commonwealth Disposals Commission arranged with the Department of External Territories for the Production Control Board to take over stocks of equipment which are held by that board for the needs of settlers who are not yet back on their holdings in New’ Guinea. Settlers who come within this category should make application to the Chairman, Production Control Board, for supplies of material from this reserve. Finally, all settlers in New Guinea, including the large number who returned by the vessel Duntroon, have been given every opportunity of bidding at the auctions in competition with buyers from the mainland.
It is emphasized that the cost of freight from New Guinea to the mainland is so high as to ensure that local buyers have every opportunity of purchasing in competition as they have no freights to pay. It is not correct that even at the auction sales the stock is being sold in huge quantities, as the commissions arrangement provides for sale in small quantities to local buyers before bulk stocks are offered to mainland buyers. Whilst the general manager of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission was in New Guinea some three or four weeks ago he met representatives of the Returned Soldiers League, both at Rabaul and at Lae, these being the two main centres concerned. In both areas the Returned Soldiers League expressed itself as being highly satisfied with the arrangements which the Commonwealth Disposals Commission has made to meet the needs of local settlers.
– On the 27th November, the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) asked whether I had read a newspaper report and seen the accompanying photograph published in a newspaper on that day, relative to the finding by fishermen off the Hawkesbury Estuary of a large unexploded depth-charge.
I have made inquiries into this matter and find that all ships of the Royal Australian Navy engaged in dumping war material and ammunition are instructed to dump in a position prescribed by the Department of Navigation, which is 18 miles distant on a bearing of 119 degrees from Macquarie Light. This is 200 miles north of Sydney Harbour. The position in which fishermen have reported bombs and depthcharges is off Broken Bay, about 15 to 20 miles north of Sydney Harbour. Officers of ships employed in dumping have been questioned and all confirm that their cargoes were dumped in the prescribed area. There is no possibility that bombs and depth-charges as ordered could have drifted to the position in which they have been reported. The area extending from Curl Curl Head, about 5 miles north of Port Jackson, to Broken Head about 25 miles north and extending about 7 miles to seaward, is a declared air bombing and air gunnery practice area which was extensively used by the Royal Australian Air Force during the war. An additional small area another 5 miles to the seaward was also used by the Royal Australian Air Force. Both areas were promulgated in Australian notices to mariners in 1944. Depth-charges of the type recovered by Waralla were issued to Royal Australian Navy, Royal Navy, and allied warships, merchant ships, and to the Royal Australian Air Force. The routes for all allied war ships and merchant ships in time of war pass well to the seaward of the area in question. It is considered most improbable that the explosives which have been netted by fishing vessels were in this area because of action taken by the Navy.
t asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made and a reply will be furnished as early as possible.
Second Security Loan: National Quiz Competition.
Mr.Chifley. - On the 21st November, the right honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr. Fadden) asked the following question : -
In view of the fact that the Government has expended a considerable sum of money on campaigns designed to attract cash to Commonwealth loans, will the Treasurer inform the House why the winners of the National Quiz. Competition held in connexion with the Second Security Loan received cash instead of bonds?
The answer to the right honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The decision to pay prizes in cash instead of in Commonwealth securities was made on expert radio advice in order to avoid any suggestion of compulsory subscription to a Commonwealth loan. It was felt that to be consistent with other competitions on the air, prize-winners in the National Quiz Competition should have complete freedom of choice in the matter of the use to which they would apply their prize money. I am advised, as a matter of fact, that the four members of the Victorian team, who shared all the major prizes, voluntarily invested- the whole of their prize money in the Second Security. Loan. The question raised by the right honorable member will; however, be given full consideration when arrangements are being made in relation to future Commonwealthloans.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 November 1946, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1946/19461129_reps_18_189/>.