House of Representatives
4 June 1947

18th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. J. S.Rosevear) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

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Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -

That the House, atits rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at 10.30 a.m.

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Land Sales Control


– Does the Prime Minister intend to place before the House prior to the ensuing recess, the report of the inquiry concerning the administration of Land Sales Control in Sydney? Is the right honorable gentleman able to say whether the inquiry has progressed so far that hewill be able to give some indication, by way of an interim or a full report, of what it has revealed, or does he intend to wait until the Parliament has gone into recess before making the report available?


– As I stated last week, the Investigation Branch of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department is examining all matters pertaining to the administration of the Land Sales Control in Sydney. I have also informed the House that when the investigation was begun, Mr. Lush intimated that he was ill, and submitted a certificate from a Macquarie-street doctor in support of an application for sick leave.Following the receipt of that certificate I directed that, if possible, Mr. Lush should make himself available to answer questions, but he replied, either personally or through an agent, that he was not in a fit condition to submit himself to questioning. Arrangements were then made for him to be examined by a Commonwealth medical officer. That examination was made yesterday, and the Commonwealth medical officer reported that Mr. Lush is suffering from anxiety neurosis in an acute form, that he will be unfit for duty for one month, and that at present he is unfit for any questioning. Ihave not yet received the report of the Investigation Branch. I understand that the Solicitor-General has paid a visit to Sydney, and will return to Canberra by air later to-day. The Attorney-: General may then be able to give some account of what it has been possible to. investigate up to date. The House willbe informed preciselyof the position. The Government is not in any way responsible for any delay that has occurred.

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Blind Persons


– As there are not more than about 4,500 civilian blind pensioners in Australia, will the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Social Services consider the abolition of themeans test in connexion with those unfortunate persons? Will he also state whether there is any likelihood of the pensionthat is payable to blind persons being increased?

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

– In August last the permissible income of blind pensioners was increased from 12s. 6d. to 20s. a week. Any further increase is a matter of government policy, but I do not think that the amount will be altered until the investigations now being made as to the possibility of introducing a universal superannuation scheme have been completed. Blind pensioners are now in a more favorable position than any other sections of the community, and rightly so. The pension of a blind person is £5 7s. 6d. a week. A single blind pensioner may receive £1 17s. 6d. a week in addition, making his total income £7 5s. a week. A blind married couple are entitled to £5 7s. 6d., plus £1 17s. 6d. each, making a total income of £9 2s. 6d.

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Australasian Performing Right Association Limited


– During the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the House, moved by the honorable member for Reid last Friday, the Minister for Information stated that recently a deputation, consisting of Mr. Moses, of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and Mr. Ridley and Mr. Paddison, of the Australian Federation of Commercial Broadcasting Stations, waited on the AttorneyGeneral for the purpose of obtaining an unfair advantage over an organization known as the Australasian Performing Right Association Limited, in regard to payments for the performance of music Will the Attorney-General inform the House whether the representatives of the organizations named made any request to him that would have given them any unfair advantage over the Australasian Performing- Right Association Limited ? Did the gentlemen wait on him in their official capacities? Did they seek any amendment to the Copyright Act that went further than the recommendation of the Calwell Committee or the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Australasian Performing Right Association Limited, presided over by Mr. Justice Owen? Did a representative of Australasian Performing Right Association Limited secure an interview with him at the same time?

Attorney-General · BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– It is true that representatives of the commercial broadcasting companies and the Australian Broadcasting Commission saw me recently in connexion with the fixation of fees payable by broadcasting companies to Australasian Performing Right Association Limited. The matter arose out of a claim made by Australasian Performing Right Association Limited against certain companies which provided a musical programme dur ing the luncheon hour of their workers. The representatives of the broadcasting companies and the Australian Broadcasting Commission asked that the Government should consider fixing the payment on the basis of an arbitration system such as exists in Canada. I undertook that the matter would be considered. I also heard the representations of Australasian Performing Right Association Limited on the subject. The agendum dealing with the matter will be brought before Cabinet soon. Those, broadly, are the facts of the case.

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– As Townsville gas supplies will be completely cut off unless the Townsville Gas Company is able to get supplies of Newcastle coal soon, and as ss. Dundalla recently left Newcastle with a cargo of steel instead of coal, will the Minister representing theMinister for Supply and Shipping take the matter up with the Australian Shipping Board with the object of having shipping space made available for the carriage of coal from Newcastle to Townsville?

Minister for Defence · CORIO, VICTORIA · ALP

– I shall certainly take the matter up with the Minister for Supply and Shipping who, I am sure, will do his utmost to ensure that shipping is made available for transporting coal to Townsville.

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– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether he will take action to relieve the anxiety of primary producers throughout Australia, and especially in Queensland, who have to market their produce in bags - particularly potato growers, maize growers and onion growers? Since the Government withdrew the subsidy on bags, the price has sky-rocketed to such a degree that marketing arrangements have been upset. In some instances, I understand, the position can be dealt with by the Prices Commissioner, and in others by the Minister himself. Will the Minister refer to the Prices Commissioner for review those commodities for which there is a guaranteed price, so that the price of bags may be added. As for other commodities, will the Minister himself approve increased prices to cover the increased cost of bags?

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · ALP

– I understand that the Prices Commissioner has already announced an increase of prices of commodities sold in bags, other than potatoes, and, I think, superphosphate. An announcement in regard to them will, no doubt, be made in due course.. Primary producers who are in doubt about the appropriate ceiling price for commodities may have the matter cleared up by applying to the Prices Commissioner. Something has to be done to ensure that commodities which were put in bags bought at. the old price are not sold to the consumer at a price which would cover the cost of bags bought at the new price. I shall be glad to refer the honorable member’s question to the Prices Commissioner for his information.

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– Has the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction seen a statement which appeared in “ Column 8 “ of the Sydney Morning Herald some time ago about the alleged inability of Sterling Drug Incorporated, of the United States of America, to establish factories and laboratories in Australia, although it had been successful in doing so in New Zealand? I quote the following from “ Column 8 “ of the Sydney Morning Herald: -

Impressed by Ambassador Makin’s idealized picture of Australia, Ralph W. Henderson, vice-president of the Sterling Drug Incorporated, United States of America, caine to establish factories and laboratories here and in New Zealand.

Within a week negotiations were completed and operations commenced in New Zealand. But lie couldn’t get anyone to build anything in Australia, and flew home yesterday to ask Makin to tone the picture down a bit.


– I saw the paragraph referred to in the Sydney Morning Herald, and immediately caused inquiries to be made. I am now able to say that there is no foundation for the statement published in the Sydney Morning Herald. Actually, Sterling Drug Incorporated has been in production in Australia since 1944 - through a subsidiary, Frederick Stearns and Company, with which the Secondary Industries Division of my department has been in close contact in recent years. I should like to quote from a recent letter received by the Secondary Industries Division from Frederick Stearns and Company -

The purpose of the recent visit to this country of Mr. E. W. Henderson, to which you referred in your letter was to examine the company’s plans for the extension of its manufacturing facilities here in Sydney. We are glad to be able to tell you that as a direct result of Mr. Henderson’s visit a decision has been reached by the parent company to proceed immediately with its building expansion programme, and work has already commenced on a laboratory building adjacent to our present manufacturing unit which will almost double the company’s manufacturing facilities.

Another interesting development of which the firm has apprised the Secondary Industries Division is its intention that all export markets previously supplied from the United States of America, insofar as Asia and South Africa are concerned, will be handled by the Australian corporation. It will be seen that, far from there being any decision on the part of Sterling Drug Incorporated to abandon Australia as part of its developmental plans, the fact is that very considerable development is actually taking place, and that, insofar as a large part of the export markets of the world is concerned, Australia in this firm’s programme appears very high indeed.

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– The Commonwealth Egg Controller issued a report for the year 1945 which showed that a profit of £600,000 had been made on contributions from egg suppliers. Has the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture read the criticism in Poultry News of July last year which claimed that this profit was made exclusive of the levy of 2jd. imposed on suppliers? Can the Minister indicate what profits have been made in each of the last three years, showing details of the composition of those profits and what has been done with them? Will he accept from me a copy of the Poultry News containing the criticism to which I refer, and will he supply full details of the disbursements of profits made since the Controller was appointed? Is there any reason why suppliers have not been informed of the profits made on their contributions for the last two years ?


– It is true that a levy is imposed upon eggs marketed under the direction of the Commonwealth Egg Controller. It is also true that from this levy a considerable sum has been accumulated. Pending a decision by the industry itself in respect of future marketing organization after the lapse of National Security Regulations, it has been considered wise to hold that fund in reserve. Some egg marketing boards are of opinion that the fund should he distributed to the respective State hoards, hut other boards differ from that view. However, when the time arrives to distribute the reserve fund the Government will announce its policy in the matter. I might add that it had been hoped that Commonwealth control of the industry would cease as from the 1st July this year; but due to the inability of the industry itself to bring to fruition a Commonwealth system of marketing, the Government, at its request, has extended the period of control by the Commonwealth Controller of the marketing of eggs to the 31st December next. The question asked by the honorable member, and the information conveyed in it, will be further scrutinized, and his viewpoint will be given due consideration.

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– Has the attention of the Minister for Immigration been directed to an Australian Associated Press cable from New York, reading as follows: -

An Australian Government representative recently visited Shanghai at the request of the Hebrew Sheltering and Aid Society, to study 3,500 applications for admittance to Australia by Jewish refugees. This was stated by an official of the society. The society had a list of 4,000 refugees who wanted to leave the crowdedslums along the Whangpo River to settle permanently in Australia.

Will the Minister say who was the representative of the Australian Government referred to; how many of the applications have been granted; and whether he is aware that refugees in Shanghai recently staged an anti-British demonstration?

Minister for Immigration · MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP

– I expected to be asked this question last week when I read the story in the newspapers. If such statements were made, the representative of the Hebrew Sheltering and Aid Society at New York was not telling the truth. In the first place, no Government representative went to Shanghai. Secondly, the Hebrew Sheltering and Aid Society made no representations to me, or, as far as I know, to any other Minister to send anybody to Shanghai as an official Government representative. Therefore, the statement that somebody had been sent at the request of the society is not true either. Thirdly, there is no list of applications from people at Shanghai totalling 4,000, and the Government made no promise that 4,000 permits would be issued.Fourthly, no permits have been issued by anybody in respect of persons at Shanghai. That, I think, deals fully with the questions which the honorable member has raised. This question will probably be the last of the antisemitic questions we shall hear during these sittings.

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– The Military Board at present consists of the Chief of the General Staff, the Deputy-Chief of the General Staff, the Adjutant-General, the Quartermaster-General, the MasterGeneral of Ordnance, a finance member and a business member. In view of the dependence of the Army on the citizen soldier, both in peace and in war, does not the Minister for the Army believe that , a citizen or militia soldier should be appointed to the Military Board ?

Minister for the Army · ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

– That aspect of the constitution of the Military Board has not been brought to my notice. I shall examine the composition of the board in order to ascertain whether there is any reason why it should be altered as suggested by the honorable member.

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Cotton and Rayon Piece Goods -

Synthetic Gut and Sausage Casings


– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether it is a fact that, from the 27th May,all imports of cotton and rayon piece goods from the United States of America and Canada were prohibited.

Does the prohibition apply to linings and shirting materials ?. Is it. a fact that this important decision was made without reference to the Minister? Is it also a fact that many merchants are bound by contracts, completed prior to the 27th May, and will suffer heavy losses because they had not applied for import licences by that date.? If these are facts, will the Minister state whether sympathetic consideration will be given to the granting of licences, to those traders who were bound by contracts before the 27th May, and who produce satisfactory evidence to that effect, and will he also state whether the decision will have the effect of unnecessarily prolonging the rationing of clothes ?


– I shall be glad to refer the honorable member’s questions to the Minister for Trade and. Customs with the request that answers be supplied.


– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether ^licences were recently granted to Slazengers (Australia) Proprietary Limited to import from the United States of America synthetic gut for stringing tennis racquets and whether butchers have been endeavouring for a long time to obtain licences to import from Canada and the United States of America hog casings for the manufacture of fresh sausages, but have been refused licences? If those are facts, will the Minister ascertain the department’s explanation for such inconsistency?


– I shall be glad to convey the honorable gentleman’s question to the Minister for Trade and Customs, who, n.o doubt, will furnish a satisfactory answer.

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Exports to South Africa - Pools


– During the “ Farmers’ Hour “ broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission recently, the statement was made that quantities of farming machinery had been exported to South Africa from Australia, and extracts from the Standard Bankers’ Journal of South and East Africa were quoted, expressing appreciation to the sister dominion of Australia for the exportation of those implements. “Will the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and

Customs ascertain what quantities of farm machinery and spare parts have been- exported to: South Africa and elsewhere during the period from the cessation of hostilities to the end of May this year ?


– Australia has been an exporter of agricultural machinery and parts for many years. I understand that, in the post-war period, exports have consisted of ploughs, harrows, and similar implements which, are alleged not to be in very short supply in Australia. However, in view, of inquiries that had been made, I recently asked an officer of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture to prepare a list of agricultural machinery which, after perusal, we shall make the subject of an export permit system in order to ensure that Australian agriculturalists shall at least have first claim to the products of their own country.


-Approximately three years ago the Government introduced a scheme to provide, financial aid for the establishment of .agricultural machinery, pools for farmers, and I understand that the Government now intends t.o abandon this scheme. Is. this a fact; and, if so, I ask that. the. Government reconsider its decision, because the pool system has. been of great value, to. farmers.


—It is quite true that during the war the Commonwealth Government, in co-operation with State governments, established an organization to. provide, machinery pools. Because of agitation after the war for the abolition of this control the Commonwealth Govern-? ment, abandoned its organization, considering that State governments were well equipped in respect of trained officers and technical facilities to continue the operation of the controls. The Government also had in mind the elimination of a duplication of work such as bookkeeping and keeping of records. However, there is nothing to prevent State governments from continuing the operation of agricultural machinery pools within their own States. I think that the principle of this scheme is quite sound, and it is probable that some State governments, at least, will continue it. At the last meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council a State Minister eulogized the operation of the pools and suggested that because they were profitable to operate, State governments should control them, and I retorted that I quite agreed with him.

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– Has the Minister act ing for the Minister for External Territories read the press reports of the return on the vessel Malaita last week of a number of miners and planters from New Guinea, who stated that it was impossible for private enterprise to carry on in the territory under the present administration ?


– Why ?


– The Government has been told why. In view of the fact that planters in New Guinea receive less for their copra than do producers in any other copra producing country, will the Minister visit the territory, as he visited Japan, during’ the parliamentary recess, if possible taking with him some members of the Opposition, and inquire into the inadequacy of the present administration, its failure to maintain production of essential commodities, the lack of a policy for the economic development of the territory, the unbalanced native policy, and the unrest which exists in the Public Service in the territory? I shall be glad to accompany the Minister if he will go.


– I have not seen the press statement referred to by the honorable gentleman, but I will have the matter examined and supply the information asked for.

Mr White:

– What about visiting the territory?


– That suggestion will also be examined.

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– Are trade unions re quired to furnish the Government with information about their membership and other details? If so, has the AttorneyGeneral seen an article in Smith’s Weekly to-day that a report on the affairs of the Sydney branch of the Transport Workers’ Union of Australia charged forgery of auditors’ reports and falsification of the financial position of the union? If the

Commonwealth has any power in this matter, will the Attorney-General order an investigation?


– I have not seen the statement and I should like the honorable gentleman to give me a copy if he has one. Under the New South Wales legislation governing trade unions, certain returns have to be furnished and, under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, certain returns have to be furnished to the Arbitration Court.I will examine the matter raised by the honorable gentleman and ascertain what Commonwealth powers exist and whether it really concerns the Commonwealth.

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Supplies in Northern Territory.


– I desire to ask the

Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs a question about tobacco rationing on the isolated mining fields in the Northern Territory. During the war the fields were over-run by Chinese brought from Nauru. I understand that they were issued with tobacco through canteens. In the northern areas under military control - Katherine and Pine Creek - they were issued with supplies from Army stores. I understand that a committee in Sydney has ruled that unless a storekeeper was selling tobacco before the war he shall now be more or less debarred from selling tobacco. People are returning to the territory and the population is increasing. I refer specifically to Katherine and Pine Creek, and to the Wauchope wolfram fields lying between Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon J S Rosevear:

– Order ! What is the question ?


– Only yesterday I received a letter-


– Order ! The honorable gentleman has given enough information on which to base his question.


– I will ask the question now. Yesterday I received a letter from wolfram gougers at Wauchope, between Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, where there are 60 miners, to whom wolfram returns £425 a ton. Will the Minister confer with the Minister for

Trade and Customs with a view to having that rule relaxed so that new storekeepers setting up business on rehabilitated mining fields shall be allowed a tobacco ration?


– Governmental control of the distribution of tobacco was eliminated by the Government about twelve months ago.

Mr Blain:

– But the Government gave plenary powers to someone else.


– Control was eliminated by the Government about twelve months ago. That action was in line with speeches made yesterday by the honorable member for Swan and the honorable member for Wimmera asking for relaxation of controls. The tobacco manufacturers themselves set up a committee to control distribution to ensure as fair distribution as is possible. Do I understand that because of the breakdown of distribution of tobacco by private enterprise in the Northern Territory the honorable member desires that the Government shall establish governmental retail distribution centres in the territory ? If he does, I shall be glad to assist in the fulfilment of his desire in every way possible.

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– Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture obtain the latest information availlable concerning the supply of caustic soda for the manufacture of soap?


– Realizing the urgent necessity for soap manufacturers to be supplied with caustic soda, I gave instructions to a member of my personal staff to contact manufacturers to obtain the desired information to-day, and I shall communicate it to the honorable member this afternoon.

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– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to a report in yesterday’s issue of the Argus that many ex-servicemen are tramping city streets and stairways in a fruitless search for office space? If so, will the Prime Minister inform the House what justification there is for 54 public servants occupying two floors at Century House,

Melbourne; for ground floor space at Olderfleet Building, Collins-street, remaining vacant, and for one Government department occupying five floors of National Bank Chambers, Collins-street, where at least 90 tenants previously carried on business? In view of the importance of aiding ex-servicemen to return to civil life, will the Prime Minister order an immediate investigation of the Government’s occupancy of these and other buildings in Melbourne and in other capital cities, for the purpose of remedying the present position?


– In all capital cities, ex-servicemen and others who desire to engage in business are experiencing the greatest difficulty in obtaining office accommodation. Examinations have been made from time to time at the direction of the Minister for the Interior to ascertain whether offices now occupied by Commonwealth departments can be released to private enterprise. A subcommittee of Cabinet has also examined the problem. A big percentage of the allegations made in the newspapers on this subject has proved, upon investigation, to be completely untrue, and, actually, the inquiries which were made into them were totally unjustified. Wild and stupid statements have been made about office accommodation occupied by Government departments, and much of the work of investigation which public servants have undertaken of the allegations was entirely unwarranted. However, as the honorable member has cited specific instances, they will be investigated.

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Post-war Policy.

Minister for Defence, Minister for Post-war Reconstruction and Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research · Corio · ALP

by leave - As honorable members understand, it is my function to deal with defence policy as a whole. The administration of the Navy, the Army and the Air Force within the Government’s defence policy is the responsibility of the respective Ministers concerned. The. implementing of the production and supply aspects of defence requirements is within the spheres of the Minister for

Munitions and the Minister for Supply and Shipping. This statement, therefore, will outline the steps which the Government has decided to take to give effect to the following basis of defence policy included in the Governor-General’s speech of the 6th November last: -

The Forces to be placed at the disposal of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security, including regional arrangements in the Pacific ;

The Forces to be maintained under arrangements for co-operation in British Commonwealth defence ; and

The Forces to be maintained to provide for the inherent right of individual self-defence.

The security of Australia will therefore rest on a blending of these three safeguards, which are complementary to each other, and none of which is exclusive to the others. The nature and extent of the provision to be made for defence will be influenced by the stage of development that has been reached in organizing a system of collective security and a scheme of Empire defence, and the degree of reliance that can be placed on them. I would therefore like briefly to refer to their present stages of development before proceeding with the detailed statement of the Government’s policy, as it is against this background that the Government’s conclusions have been reached. In regard to collective security, it has frequently been made quite clear that, in its international policy, the Government has given, and will continue to give, unwavering support to the United Nations and its related organizations and to the principles and purposes declared both in the Atlantic Charter and the United Nations Charter. The Government has consistently endeavoured to assist in establishing a just and lasting peace based on those principles.

We have only to look at the history of the constitutional evolution of the British Commonwealth to realize that the growth of a scheme of collective security under the United Nations will necessarily be slow. If an overall plan could be prepared in accordance with the principles of the charter, it would indicate the nature and strength of the forces, and the facilities and resources to be provided by each of the parties to the arrangement. This would have a vital influence on our future defence organization and the basis of our planning. It is essentially a long-term view, but is fundamental to any scheme for a substantial reduction of the burden of armaments. In the meantime, reliance must primarily be placed on co-operation in Empire defence and, in the (last resort, on the forces that can be raised in an emergency to provide for the inherent right of individual self-defence under the charter.

The stage reached in co-operation in Empire defence is that various imperial conferences over the years have laid down principles relating to co-operation. However, the basis of their practical application at this stage has been stated by the Australian Prime Minister in these terms -

Co-operation between members of the British Commonwealth is a matter of bilateral or multilateral planning, according to the strategical position of the particular part of the Empire concerned, the views of its Government and those of the other Governments that may be concerned.

This means that each member of the Empire has a primary responsibility in regard to its own problem in its particular region, which requires working out, not only with the other members of the Empire concerned, but also with other nations with territorial and strategic interests in that area. If you piece these regional arrangements together you achieve a major contribution to an overall plan, whether on a British Commonwealth or a world basis.

Upon his return from London last year, the Prime Minister outlined to the Parliament the proposals and observations of the Australian and United Kingdom Governments relating to responsibilities for British Commonwealth defence, including regional security in the southwest Pacific; machinery for co-operation in British Commonwealth defence; and the strategic development and distribution of the resources of the British Commonwealth.

From this basic preface, I shall proceed to the details of the peace-time policy adopted, and shall later relate them to the wider concept of British Commonwealth defence, with which Australia’s efforts must he associated.

The Government has approved of a programme extending over the next five years which will cost a total sum of £250,000,000, or an average annual vote of £50,000,000. An assured programme over a period of years is the only basis on which the planning and authorization of expenditure and the balanced development of the services and departments can proceed. At the end of the period the maintenance of the organization developed, including normal requirements for re-equipment owing to wear and tear and obsolescence and normal capital requirements, is not to exceed an annual defence vote of £50,000,000.

Mr White:

– Has Cabinet reduced the financial proposals of the service chiefs?


– If the honorable gentleman is suggesting that Cabinet has altered the recommendations of the Defence Council, that is entirely false.

Mr White:

– That is an allegation that has been published in the press this morning.


– I repeat, it is entirely false.

The following are the average annual and aggregate allotments: -

Navy. - An average annual allotment of £15,000,000, totalling £75,000,000 for five years.

Army. - An average annual allotment of £12,500,000, totalling £62,500,000 for five years.

Air Force. - An average annual allotment of £12,500,000, totalling £62,500,000 for five years.

Research and development. - An average annual allotment of £6,700,000, totalling £33,500,000 for five years.

Departments of Munitions and Supply and Shipping. - An average annual allotment of £3,500,000, totalling £17,500,000 for five years.

Defence Department. - An average annual allotment of £650,000 totalling £3,250,000 for five years.

The totals are.: An annual average allotment of £50,850,000, on which £850,000 has to be saved, and an aggregate of £254,250,000, on which £4,250,000 has to be saved to bring the programme within the limit of £250,000,000. This is for the total peace requirements; but in the earlier years, additional provision will also be necessary for outstanding war commitments. It is realized that these are substantial figures for a peacetime expenditure following so closely on a victorious war. It is the amount in present circumstances which the Government considers should be devoted to defence. It .also contains a substantial element, having regard to our limited resources, towards the relief of the burden in Empire defence so long carried by the United Kingdom. I shall refer to this more precisely later.

An amount of £33,500,000 is to be devoted to defence research and development during the next five years.

In the supply of equipment for the post-war forces, the United Kingdom Government has laid down four principles which, I am sure, will meet with general agreement. They are: (a) Concentration on research; (&) the limited introduction of equipment of the most modern kind; (c) the maximum use of accumulated stocks; and (d) the maintenance of a reasonable war potential.

The whole subject of post-war defence policy is affected by the impact of scientific development on the types of weapons and armament for the various services. The salvation of the world from the perils of atomic and biological warfare depends on the establishment of adequate measures for the international control of such weapons, together with an effective system of collective security. In thE meantime, it is important that our postwar defence policy should be quite realistic and rational. While ardently supporting international control of weapons of mass destruction, we are dependent for our defence on existing weapons, and it would be folly to dispense with them, until they have been replaced with others that have been fully tested and tried. In order to achieve a blending of service and scientific advice, the Government, as already announced, has recently added to the higher defence machinery a Scientific Advisory Committee and a New Weapons and Equipment Development Committee. From the combined work of the service and scientific staffs, there will ultimately emerge a conclusion on the probable nature and methods of future warfare which will furnish a firm basis for the introduction of new weapons. In the periodical reviews of the whole programme that are to be made by the Government, the results of scientific developments will be under constant notice. I do not propose to amplify the programme on which the amount of research and development is to be spent, beyond stating that the main item is the guided missiles project, and that the Commonwealth and United Kingdom Governments are in the closest consultation as to the best way in which Australia can help over the whole of this important field.

Notwithstanding all the changes and developments in weapons, the British Commonwealth still remains a maritime Empire, dependent on sea power for its existence. In order to make it clear that I am not using sea power in any narrow sense, and excluding the part played by land and air forces, I cite the greatest modern writer on Imperial strategy and history, who claims that the principles of British Commonwealth defence which have safeguarded us in the past are equally valid to-day and will be in the future. Admiral Richmond, in . Statesmen and Sea Power, says sea power is composed of three elements -

  1. Fighting instruments capable of overcoming whatever resistance an opponent can offer to the desired movements of troops or trade across the sea, and of closing the sea to an enemy;
  2. Positions in which those fighting instruments can be continuously maintained, and from which they can, readily, and without undue expenditure of their powers of endurance, reach the scene of their operations and there remain as long as is needed for the fulfilment of their purposes; and
  3. Vehicles of transport in which the troops and trade can be carried.

Those fighting instruments and those vehicles operate to-day on the surface of the sea, under the surface and above the surface; they extend from the largest battleship to the submarine, the motor-boat, and the aeroplane. All are instruments of sea power.

Ifr. Dedman

It is the duty of the statesman to make provision for the fulfilment of all these needs. Ships and aircraft cannot be built without the raw materials of their construction, nor moved without the means of their propulsion. If either of these do not exist in .sufficient quantity within the country, access to their sources must be assured in peace and in war. And as ships cannot be .built unless a shipbuilding industry exists with its yards, slips, and machinery, and a skilled body of workers in that industry, so the fostering of that industry is an essential duty of the statesman in regard to sea power. The positions needed by the ships of all natures - bases - cannot be held without garrisons, nor can additional bases be obtained, or the enemy deprived of bases, without field armies.

Australia’s experience in the recent war fully demonstrated the fundamental importance of sea power to our defence. Owing to commitments in other theatres,, the United Kingdom was unable to assign adequate naval forces to the Pacific on the outbreak of war with Japan, and the Pacific theatre, by arrangement between Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt, was made a sphere of American strategic responsibility. Accordingly, American sea power undertook the role which the Royal Navy similarly carried out in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Thus. Allied sea power enabled “ its possessors to exploit all their own resources, to draw upon the resources of the world for the raw materials and finished goods of their needs in war, to carry those goods whither they were needed, and to transport the fighting forces of the other arms to whatever points in the vast theatre of war where they could be most effectively used. Sea power did not win the war itself ; it enabled the war to be won. It was, as the British Prime Minister had said, the ‘ foundation ‘ essential to victory “.

The largest quota in the programme has been allotted to naval defence for the reasons which I have mentioned and because it is essential that a navy must be ready to fight as soon as a war occurs. The main naval vessels, which take a long time to build, must be in existence before war occurs. Also, with our limited resources, it is impossible to replace the larger ships which may be lost in war. The naval programme aims at building up a balanced force over a period of years which will be capable of operating as an independent force, backed by shore establishments for its maintenance. It also includes escort vessels for the protection of our shipping, and survey vessels to continue the surveys necessary in Australian waters. The following is a summary of the naval programme: -

  1. Ships in commission. - Squadron. - It is proposed that by the end of the programme the squadron should consist of: - 2 light fleet carriers, 2 cruisers, 6 destroyers. Escort Forces. - 3 frigates. Surveying Duties. - 3 survey ships and their tenders. Training Ships. - 1 frigate, 2 Australian minesweeping vessels, 3 air-sea rescue vessels; total 6. Auxiliary Vessels. - 1 ocean-going tug, 1 ammunition carrier, 2 boom defence vessels ; total 4.

    1. Ships to be retained in reserve and maintained in good condition against any future emergency. - 1 cruiser, 2 destroyers, 6 frigates, 31 Australian minesweepers, and 39 miscellaneous vessels; total 79.
    2. Personnel. - The total personnel required for the Royal Australian Naval Forces in 1947-48, exclusive of war commitments, is 10,450, comprising 4,040 seagoing forces and 6,410 for shore establishments and pools. The comparable figures to be reached in 1951-52 are 6,756 sea-going forces and 7,997 for shore establishments and pools; a total of 14,753.
    3. Naval aviation. - The first stage of the naval aviation plan is proposed to be implemented in 1947-48. This includes the acquisition, but not the commissioning, of the first carrier, the placing of the order for initial aircraft, and the setting up of recruiting, training and stores establishments for the naval aviation organization. The personnel required in the first year is 448, rising to 3,936 in 1951-52. The amounts provided over the five years for naval aviation total £11,976,090 for capital expenditure, and £11,432,400 for maintenance.
    4. Ship construction and repair. - Provision is made for the maintenance in Australia of a nucleus ship construction and repair industry capable of expansion in war. An average sum of £2,500,000 is proposed to be expended annually on the completion of the present destroyer programme of two under construction and four to be laid down. This will enable a continuous building programme to be continued at Cockatoo Dockyard, Sydney, and the Naval Dockyard at Melbourne.
    5. Shore establishments. - There will be the shore establishments essential for bases for commissioned ships and to provide administrative storing, repair and training facilities.

Aircraft having become integral elements of a naval force, and, as the modern fleet is built around aircraft carriers, the main feature of the naval programme is the provision of two light fleet carriers, each with a war-time complement of 36 aircraft. The status of naval aviation in relation to the Air Force is still under consideration.

Careful consideration has been given to the implications of new weapons, and the decisions in regard to the Navy are based on the broad conclusions of the great naval powers that these weapons should be introduced by the normal process of evolution, first, into existing ships, and later, perhaps, into an entirely new form of fighting ship. The same authoritative opinion is of the view that there will be no rapid development which will render vessels, such as carriers, cruisers and destroyers, obsolete in the near future.

Before leaving the naval programme, I mention that it is proposed to establish a Royal Australian Navy base at Manus where, as stated some time ago, the Australian Government would welcome an arrangement for its joint use by the United States of America on the principle of reciprocity. Manus will be maintained in place of the present New Guinea base at Dreger Harbour.

In accordance with the basis of policy outlined at the commencement of my statement, the role of the post-war Army will be -

  1. to provide forces, as may be required for a future possible commitment under the United Nations, including regional arrangements in the Pacific.
  2. to participate in arrangements for co-operation in Empire defence.
  3. to provide the basic organization for expansion in time of war.
  4. the forces for these purposes will also cover requirements for the local defence of the mainland of Australia.

While control of sea communications and air superiority is an essential foundation, comprehensive land operations, in which land and air forces must be combined against a resolute and well armed enemy, are the means by which victory is ultimately won.

The following is a summary of the Army programme: -

  1. Organization and Strength. - The Army programme provides for the raising of the following forces : -
  1. Voluntary Enlistment. - Personnel of both the Permanent and Citizen Forces are to be obtained by voluntary enlistment.
  2. Initial Location of Permanent Field Force. - Initially; when raised, all Permanent Field Force units will be stationed in Japan, replacing a number of existing units of the Australian Military Force component of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force.
  3. Expansion of Royal Military College and other facilities for Training of Officers. - The provision of suitable officers requires the introduction of special measures. These include the expansion of the Royal Military College at Duntroon, raising of officers’ training corps units at universities and teachers’ colleges, and expansion of the school cadet corps.
  4. Period of Training for Citizen Forces. - The annual Citizen Force training periods comprise 14 days’ camp and . 24 days’ home training, comprising twelve days’ obligatory and twelve days’ voluntary training. Officers and noncommissioned officers will be encouraged to attend additional courses at Army schools.
  5. Reserves. - An adequate trained reserve of officers will be maintained. Other ranks of the Permanent Forces on completion of engagement will be organized as a reserve to provide for expansion of the Permanent Field Force in an emergency. Other ranks of the Citizen Forces on completion of engagements will constitute a potential reserve.
  6. Pay of Citizen Forces. - The rates of pay for the Citizen Forces are under consideration, and a proposal that they should be the same as those recently approved for the Permanent Forces is being examined.
  7. Scientific Developments and Equipment. - The effect of scientific developments on the organization and weapons of the Army will he continuously studied, and during the currency of the programme changes will be introduced as the necessity arises.

The post-war Army will be equipped initially, as far as possible, with the equipment now held in stock. Replacement of existing equipment in accordance with the policy of standardization with the United Kingdom willbe undertaken gradually over a period of years.

  1. Accommodation. - Initially, Permanent Force units and fixed establishments will be located in existing Army buildings, and hutted accommodation improved where necessary. Ultimately, when the national building position has eased, it is proposed that permanent accommodation be constructed for these units.

The Army programme will be implemented by stages. The raising of the Citizen Forces will : be commenced during the first year. It is intended that Citizen Force units shall be better trained, organized and equipped than prior to the recently-concluded war. This, together with attractive conditions of service, will be of great importance under the voluntary system in obtaining the necessary personnel to keep the Citizen Forces at full strength.

Non-permanent force personnel now serving in the interim Army, and exservice personnel, will be recruited into the Permanent Forces as early as practicable.

The late John Cur tin, speaking in 1944 on operations in the South-west Pacific Area, said that a feature of the story of the campaigns would be the manner in which air power was integrated with naval and land strength to render possible a new conception of offensive power in the realms of strategy, tactics and logistics. The paramount importance of air superiority was equally demonstrated in other theatres also.

The role of the post-war Air Force harmonizes with that of the Navy and Army. From its contemplated and potential strength it will assist Australia infulfilling its obligations under the United Nations Charter, including regional arrangements in the Pacific. It will enable participation in arrangements for co-operation in British Commonwealth defence. It will provide a basis for expansion in war, and will furnish the air contribution to the requirements for the local defence of Australia.

The Air Force programme is based on the following fundamental principles: -

  1. A permanent air force trained in the techniques of modern air warfare and capable of rapid expansion in an emergency.
  2. A training organization capable of rapid expansion to meet commitments in the first phase of mobilization.
  3. A maintenance organization which is adequate for the support of the Air Force in peace, in conjunction with civil resources, and which contains in embyro all those major elements essential to efficiency in time of war.
  4. A modern aircraft industry containing all the elements essential for rapid expansion in an emergency.
  5. Air bases essential for the strategic deployment and tactical operation of the Air Force.

The following is a summary of the Air Force programme: -

  1. Organization -
  2. Home defence. - A static home defence organization , for the defence of Australia of seven squadrons as follows, together with miscellaneous associated units : -

Four interceptor fighter squadrons (which are Citizen Air Force squadrons) with unit equipment, of eight aircraft each, totalling 32 aircraft.

One heavy bomber general reconnaissance squadron, with unit equipment, of eight aircraft.

One target towing squadron (which will specialize in maritime strike operations for its secondary role), with unit equipment, of eight aircraft.

One air-sea rescue squadron (which is to be trained in addition as a general reconnaissance bomber squadron), with unit equipment, of six aircraft.

Making a total of 54 aircraft and a personnel strength of 1,182.

The home defence force will be organized and disposed at strategic centres. The Citizen Air Force squadrons will be adjacent to main centres of population for the close defence of vital strategic centres, and to allow easy access to units of part-time Citizen Air Force personnel.

  1. Task force elements. - A group of task force elements which in an emergency can he organized with suitable supporting ancillaries and head-quarters in order to provide a force for employment for strategical purposes and in air support of the other services. It will consist of nine squadrons, as follows : -

Two long-range fighter squadrons, with unit equipment, of sixteen aircraft each, totalling 32 aircraft.

Three heavy bomber squadrons, with unit equipment, of eight aircraft each, totalling 24 aircraft.

Two transport squadrons, with unit equipment, of eight aircraft each, . totalling sixteen aircraft.

One tactical reconnaissance squadron, with unit equipment, of nine aircraft.

One survey squadron, with unit equipment, of nine aircraft.

Making a total of 90 aircraft and a personnel strength of 2,061. Fighter squadrons of the mobile task force will be capable of operating as long-range fighters and in a secondary role as ground attack.

Task force elements under the command of Eastern Area head-quarters during peace will be disposed on a system of airfields in New South Wales and Queensland.

In addition, certain airfields to comply with a general reconnaissance plan and for special strategic purposes are provided on the mainland of Australia and in the Australian mandated islands to the north and east of Australia.

Task force elements will be practised in operational training exercises at their “ home “ bases or for short periods by squadrons at strategic bases located on the mainland of Australia and in the Australian mandated territories. Every opportunity will be taken to exercise task force elements in exercises with Army and Navy forces to provide practice in combined and amphibious operations.

  1. Training Organization. - A training organization which will meet the manning requirements of the Royal Australian Air Force and provide a firm basis for expansion in an emergency. It will have a personnel strength of 3,175.
  2. Maintenance Organization. - A maintenance organization organized to meet the supply and maintenance requirements of the force. Its personnel strength will be 2,804.
  3. Head-quarters and Other Units. - Head-quarters, command, and miscellaneous units with a personnel strength of 3,403.

    1. Total Squadrons and Aircraft. - The total of sixteen squadrons will have a unit of equipment strength of 144 aircraft. These will be backed up by 439 reserve operational aircraft and 698 aircraft for training and miscellaneous duties.
    2. Personnel. - The total personnel strength of the Royal Australian

Air Force will be 12,625, comprised as follows : -

  1. Reserve. - It is proposed that there should be a Royal Australian Air Force reserve in peace, consisting of -

    1. Demobilized members of the Royal Australian Air Force still eligible for active service, and members of the Royal Australian Air Force who have completed their period of engagement.
    2. Qualified air crew and tradesmen of the combined aviation industry.
    3. Members who have completed a period of active service in Citizen Air Force Squadrons.
    4. Officers whose short service commissions have expired.

This reserve will be supplemented by personnel drawn from recognized aero clubs and the Air Training Corps.

  1. Telecommunications and Radar. - A comprehensive scheme of telecommunications and radar installations and services will be provided as an adjunct to the effective operation of the Air Force.

As in the case of the other services, the effect of scientific developments on weapons and equipment has been prominently borne in mind. The programme, whilst providing for sufficient first-line aircraft for use in emergency and for training purposes, also provides for development along the latest scientific lines of thought. The re-equipment cycle for aeroplane and associated equipment will, in general, be on the following basis : -

When the Australian Prime Minister was reporting to Parliament last year on the proceedings of the conference of Prime Ministers, Mr. Chifley said -

I told the conference - and I am quite certain that I was expressing the sentiment of both sides of this House and the people of Australia - that it was recognized that Australia must in future make a larger contribution towards the defence of the British Commonwealth, and that this could best be done in the Pacific.

The programme which I have outlined gives very practical and substantial effect to the Prime Minister’s promise to undertake a greater share of the burden of British Commonwealth defence. I mention the following illustrations : -

  1. In view of the fundamental importance of sea power to the British Commonwealth and the fact that in war the navies of the Empire act under the strategical direction of the Admiralty, the provision of two aircraft carriers and the increased naval vote are contributions to the naval strength of the British Commonwealth, as well as to our own defence.

As indicated in my observations on the roles of the Australian Army and Air Force, they also have important parts to play in co-operation in British Commonwealth defence. In fact, at the present time, the predominant share of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan is the Australian component.

  1. The bulk of the amount for defence research and development is in conformity with the principle of the strategic development and distribution of the resources of the British Commonwealth.
  2. Provision is being made for a joint intelligence organization to serve the requirements of the British Commonwealth in the Pacific.
  3. Finally, as the Prime Minister told the House on his return from the Prime Ministers’ conference last year, the Government is seeking to provide the widest possible base for a defence and supply structure for the needs of the British Commonwealth in the Pacific.

At no time in its history will Australia have made as great a peace-time contribution to British Commonwealth defence, and to the maintenance of peace and security at large than is contemplated in this programme. In referring earlier to the development of British Commonwealth co-operation, I mentioned that adequate principles had been laid down by Imperial conferences, but the shortcoming was the lack of measures for their practical application. As stated by the Prime Minister to the House in his review of the Prime Ministers’ conference last year, and following his declaration of Australia’s willingness to make a larger contribution towards the defence of the British Commonwealth in the Pacific, he made the following proposals for improved machinery for co-operation in British Commonwealth defence: -

  1. It is fundamental to future arrangements for co-operation in defence that appropriate machinery should he created to provide for an effective voice by the governments concerned in policy and in the higher control of planning on the official level.
  2. There should be assigned to the Australian government machinery, responsibility for the development of the defence aspect of matters relating to regional security in the Pacific, in which the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand are concerned, and provision should he made for the representation of the United Kingdom and New Zealandat the appropriate levels on such machinery.
  3. Corresponding provision would also be necessary for dominion representation on any parallel machinery in the United Kingdom. On the official level, the Australian Government contemplates the strengthening of its joint service staff in London, as a counterpart to the defence committee in Australia, and to provide an agency for advice to the High Commissioner in London on defence matters.

The Government has now proposed to the United Kingdom and New Zealand Governments the following procedure for representation in the Australian Government machinery for matters of cooperation in British Commonwealth defence : -

  1. Government Representation. - The High Commissioners of the United Kingdom and New Zealand will be invited to attend meetings of the Council of Defence when matters affecting those parts of the British Commonwealth are under consideration. As the sovereign control of its policy is retained by each member of the British Commonwealth, and as the Council of Defence is a statutory advisory body to the Australian Government, any recommendation which it may make on subjects of a British Commonwealth relation, are matters for consideration by the governments concerned. The proceedings of the council will not limit, in any way, the channel of direct communication between governments, though representatives of governments will no doubt he authorized to express the views and decisions of their governments on matters which have received the prior consideration of governments, and on which they have been able to instruct their representatives. Should it be preferred on any occasion, or for any matter, that a Minister should represent the United Kingdom or New Zealand Governments, this would be arranged.
  2. Representation on the Official Level. - The Governments of the United Kingdom and New Zealand have been invited to maintain in Australia a joint service representative and staff who will be accredited to the Defence Department. The general principle in regard to representation on the official level will be that the joint service representative will be invited to attend meetings of the Defence Committee and Chiefs of

Staff Committee when matters affecting his country are under consideration. Where necessary, he would also accompany his governmental representative to the Council of Defence as an adviser. Similarly, members of the Staff of the joint service representative would be invited to attend meetings of the joint service machinery subordinate to the Defence Committee and Chiefs of Staff Committee.

  1. Reciprocal Arrangements. - Reciprocally, the Australian Government would have the right of similar representation on the same basis on the corresponding machinery of the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

As stated by the Prime Minister to Parliament last year, the Australian proposals were necessarily limited to cooperation between the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, between whom a special defence relationship has been established in the South-West Pacific Area and because of common commitments which have been accepted. It does not preclude, however, their extension to other parts of the British Commonwealth. I would emphasize that these are the Australian Government’s proposals and are subject to consideration by the United Kingdom and New Zealand Governments, to whom they have only recently been communicated.

To achieve a balanced defence policy, it is necessary to ensure proper coordination of the Navy, Army and Air Force, the supply organization and the civil economy which supports the direct military effort. The defence machinery must provide for the co-ordination of these as integral parts of the national defence policy. In peace, it is a question of funds and man-power and material resources that should be allocated for defence. In war, it is a matter of how the aggregate national financial, manpower and material resources can be allotted to maintain the most effective and balanced war effort. The preparations in peace must embrace the planning for an emergency. The basis of these plans is the Commonwealth War Booh and departmental War Boohs, and the time is approaching for their revision in the light of the experience of war-time policy and administration and likely contingencies. It is proposed shortly to constitute the machinery to deal with the wide range of subjects covered by the War Boohs.

The measures for the defence of the civil community come within the scope of the Commonwealth War Booh, the detailed plans being embodied in the departmental War Booh of the department which will handle this matter in war. Important new aspects of civil defence have been under consideration for some time. Adequate measures for the defence of the civil community against attack by atomic and biological weapons must be based on proper scientific investigation which has not yet reached a stage to enable planning and other measures to be soundly developed. When this stage has been reached, it will be possible for the Defence Committee and the Defence Scientific Advisory Committee, which has liaison with overseas sources of information, to advise on this matter. It will then be possible to establish a committee on civil defence, representative of the Commonwealth and State authorities concerned, to recommend the plans and measures that should be taken.

The Government realizes that this programme is a considerable insurance premium to pay as the price of security. But it is a small one when compared with the human and material costs of war. To rest content on a hard-won victory and let our defences run down, would be inviting a future catastrophe.

The Prime Minister in his review to Parliament last June, speaking of security said -

If we are to promote the social progress and better standards of life to which the United Nations are pledged, there must be a reduction of the burden of military expenditure. But this cannot be achieved nor the optimum conditions of economic and social welfare created, except in an atmosphere of confidence, trust and security.

It is therefore a challenge to all, with disastrous consequences if it is ignored or evaded, to make the United Nations an effective organization, and the principles of its Charter a predominant influence in National Policies.

The Government will keep the programme constantly under review in the light of the prevailing international situation and the measures being taken to establish an effective system of collective security, and to secure the regulation and reduction of armaments. The Government believes that it is a well-balanced policy which takes into account the many factors which have a bearing on the de fence of the country, and that it merits the approval of the House and the endorsement and support of the Australian people.

I lay on the table the following paper : -

Post-war Defence Policy - Ministerial Statement. and move -

That the paper be printed.

Motion (by Mr. Menzies) proposed -

That the debate be now adjourned.


.- Before Mr. Speaker left the Chair, I asked him when it would be possible for the House to discuss the statement just made by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Dedman), because in response to any question asked of the Minister when he was speaking, he evaded giving a reply. I endeavoured to ask a question about the inadequacy of the provisions set out in the statement. Our future navy, apparently, will consist of two cruisers and a few other craft which would possibly be a fleet suitable for Albania; whilst the Army and Air Force proposed for our future requirements would be more appropriate to a country like Patagonia. The Minister said that we shall be given an opportunity to discuss his statement, but shall we be given an opportunity in view-


– The honorable member is out of order. The question before the Chair is “ That the paper be printed “, and the Leader of the Opposition has moved “ That the debate be now adjourned “.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 3346




– Great anxiety, if not consternation, prevails among senior officers of the Public Service with relation to the granting of increases of their salaries. In view of the fact that the present sittings will conclude this week, I ask the Prime Minister, on their behalf, from what date increases of salaries up to £750 a year take effect ? Will the increases be made retrospective; if so, from what date ?


– The increases of salaries of officers in the lower grades of the Public Service are already in operation under an award of the Public Service Arbitrator. I cannot say at the moment from what date increases of salaries ranging from £450 to £800 will take effect, but I understand that such increases will also be made under a consent award. I shall ascertain the precise date, and inform the honorable memberlater.

page 3346


Second Reading

Debate resumed from the 30th May (vide page 3219), on motion by Mr.. Chifley -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Leader of the Opposition · Kooyong

.- The bill before the House contains two major provisions. The first is one which increases the amount of the parliamentary allowance to members of the Parliament from £1,000 a year to £1,500 a year, and the second is one which increases the allowances to the Leaders of the Opposition, in the case of the Senate from £200 to £300 a year, and in the case of the House of Representatives from £400 to £600 a year. I propose before I finish to have some strong criticisms to make of these proposals, and therefore it is desirable that in the course of my address I should clear the ground of certain preliminary matters. With the permission of the House I propose to put various questions to myself and to the House on this matter and to endeavour to answer them fairly. The first of them is this: Has this matter of the increase of the parliamentary allowance so far been fairly presented to the Australian people? I have no hesitation in saying that it has not. I have not for a long time witnessed in certain sections of the press such a gross misrepresentation of a proposal, and in these circumstances, and because I am known to be a very strong critic of the proposal, it will perhaps come with a little more force from me to say that I deplore the kind of publication that we have been called upon to read for some time past, a publication very frequently plainly designed to mislead the public and to distort public opinion. That, of course, is not universal condemnation; but a few newspapers have not only been unfair in their analysis of this matterbut have also been extravagant in their criticism of it.

For example, in one newspaper quite recently I read, suitably displayed, a statement that members of the Parliament are paid £22 a sitting if they belong to the House of Representatives. If that remark was intended to be humorous I must say that its humour escapes me; if it was intended to be taken seriously then it is a direct allegation that there is no political work to be done by any member of the Parliament unless the House is sitting, which is untrue and must have been known to be untrue. Whatever may have been the theory in the last century, there can be no doubt about it that every man who sits in this House gives the overwhelming bulk of his time to his public duties, and in the circumstances to say that the parliamentary allowance is to be divided by being spread over the sitting days of the Parliament is a singular and remarkable piece of dishonesty. I also read allegations that there are perquisites. These references to perquisites are calculated to produce and encourage in the public mind a belief that those who serve this nation in the Parliament do so in order that they may line their own pockets. We have had allegations of that kind made about us all. All I can say - and I speak for the first time about my private affairs because I have never “ moaned “ about these matters - is that as a result of serving this country for eighteen years in the Parliament I find myself in this year of grace in possession of the lowest income from all sources that I have ever had since I was a young man in the twenties. But the perquisite stories persist. One of them, for example, is that members already have a handsome secretarial allowance and a substantial stamp allowance, the whole thing being put as though these things represent money in the pockets of members of the Parliament. I venture to say that the managing director of any great newspaper concern in this country has secretarial assistance, has a stenographer in the outer room, and does not provide his own postage stamps for the correspondence of the newspaper, but he would be shocked to be told that the salary of his secretary was a perquisite of his and ought to be taken into account in determining what his salary ought to be.

But the whole campaign reached what I thought was the most unsavoury climax in two publications which occurred over the week-end. I shall trespass on the patience of the House while I refer to them. On Saturday morning, the Melbourne Age carried a story which surprised me all the more because I have not found that journal customarily unfair in its approach to these matters. The story read as follows : -

Sweeping usual formalities aside, the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) rushed the Parliamentary Allowances Bill to the second reading stage in quick time to-day.

The normal procedure with a bill is that a Minister gives notice of motion that he will ask for leave to introduce it on one day; on the next he moves for leave to introduce it, and presents the bill, which is read a first time, and the following day he moves its secondreading and explains it.

This is the procedure which, according to the writer of this story who, to put it on the most charitable basis, must be singularly unacquainted with parliamentary procedure, was swept away. The Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial published on Monday morning a powerful leading article. I shall not read that section of it which offered great approval to me, but I shall read the opening paragraph to which, in common with all honorable members, I take the strongest possible exception. It read -

In keeping with the unseemly manner in which the Federal Parliamentary salary grab was instigated by caucus was the way in which the bill to legalize the looting was hurried through its early stages. The normal procedure is for a Minister to give notice of motion that he will ask for leave to introduce a bill on one day, on the next to move for leave and to present the bill, which is read a first time, and on the following day to move its second reading and explain its provisions. On Friday the Prime Minister suddenly introduced the Parliamentary Allowances Bill, when the House of Representatives was not “on the air and in less than five minutes it was rushed through the second reading stage.

I assume that “ rushed through the secondreading stage “ is a typographical error, because we are at this moment, as the public should understand, just beginning the debate on the second reading. All that happened on Friday was that the formal preliminaries of the bill were gone through. The people of this country, when reading that kind of comment, should also learn that the statements are false. It is true that in respect of a bill which does not involve a charge upon the revenue the normal practice is to give notice one day that leave to introduce the measure will be sought on the following day, the second-reading stage being reached on the third day; but a bill involving a charge upon the revenue must proceed from a Governor-General’s message. In respect of such bills the normal procedure is for Mr. Speaker to rise in his place and announce that he has received a message from the GovernorGeneral recommending an appropriation of money for the purpose of a bill, the name of which is then given. We then have the formal procedure in committee, with which we are all familiar, under which the bill is almost always taken to the completion of the first reading, and nine times out of ten the second reading is moved there and then. That is not a new practice with which some writer would be unacquainted. That has been the practice of this Parliament ever since I have been in it and, I venture to say, it has been the practice of British parliaments for the last 200 years.

There was no departure from the normal at all. In point of fact, having some feeling of fair play in these matters though I am a critic of this bill, I had a look to see what happened with other bills last week. Exactly the same procedure was pursued in relation to the States Grants Bill, the New South Wales Grant (Drought Relief) Bill, the Supply Bill, and the War Pensions Appropriation Bill as was followed in the case of the Parliamentary Allowances Bill. No comment was made on those because, of course, it was known that they were the commonplaces of parliamentary procedure; but the false statement was made that, when

Ifr. Menzies. this bill came on, for some devious and dubious reason, all precedent was broken, formalities were dispensed with, and the thing was hurried into the seconding reading stage. It is a grave misfortune that those whose duty it is to criticize public policy and parliamentary action in this country, should not realize that a temperate criticism well-founded on facts is infinitely more effective than the kind of intemperate and distorting criticism to which I have just been referring.

The next question that I put is this: Is there a case for a review of parliamentary allowances? I am now putting all other circumstances, such as the circumstance of time, on one side for the moment. I do not think that any honorable member or anybody at all acquainted with the work of Parliament, will doubt that there is a case for a review of parliamentary allowances. After all, the present allowance was fixed in 1920. It would be a bold man who would say that in 1947, 27 years later, there is no case for the review of an emolument which was then thought to be appropriate, particularly when we recall that since 1920 there has been an enormous increase of the volume and complexity of legislation. I refer to the complexity of legislation because I venture to say that any conscientious parliamentary representative to-day must do far more reading and study upon the details of our current problems than members were required to do at any previous time. Furthermore, there has been a vast increase of the mass of correspondence. Social services haveextended enormously in Australia, and every honorable member knows that social services produce perhaps more correspondence and more requests from electors than any other type of legislation. The electors to be represented in that way have increased by 40 per cent, since the fixation of allowances in 1920. All of these matters justify a review of parliamentary allowances at an appropriate time. The idea that this allowance, once fixed, should stand forever would not be tolerated, I think, by any other section of the Australian community, unless ft might happen to be the judges whose salaries have, for some reason that I do not understand, remained completely static during the entire history of the

Commonwealth ‘of Australia. That comment produces another . question, and I torn to it now.

It has been suggested ‘that this problem should not be dealt with by Parliament bu’t should he dealt with by some outside tribunal. Some have suggested the Arbitration Court and others a special committee including one Or more judges. T want to make clear my own view, that the fixation of this allowance is a matter for Parliament. It involves a complete misconception of the authority of the Parliament, as one of the three great organs of this country, to suppose .that it has to go to somebody outside in order to have this responsibility discharged for it. The founders of the Constitution addressed their minds to this .matter. In section 48 of the Commonwealth Constitution, it was enacted thai: -

Until the Parliament otherwise provides, each senator and each member of the House of Representatives shall receive an allowance ‘Of four ‘hundred pounds a -year . . . “ Until the Parliament otherwise provides “:! It was expressly ‘made one df the functions of Parliament to deal with this matter, just as it was expressly provided, in the very next section, -that -

The powers, privileges, and immunities of the .Senate and of the House of Representatives . . . shall be such as are declared by .the .Parliament. . . .

It is a great mistake to discuss the National Parliament of this country as if it were a subdivision of the Public Service; or as if it were some industrial organization. The National Parliament is the governing body of this .country, within the limits of the constitutional authority, and the Constitution itself has said, “ You will deal with this problem of allowances “. Very well ! That means that we have not only the right but .also the duty to deal with that matter from time to time, however unpopular that duty may be.

As I hinted just now, there would be a rather exquisite irony .about consulting the judges. I remind this House with great sorrow that the emoluments and financial independence of the judiciary in Australia have both been steadily undermined in physical terms during the last 45 years. The salary paid to a High Court justice is to-day -exactly what it was “when the High Court was first created. To go to a judge and say to him, “Ever since 19.03 your emoluments have been pegged, but we want to put up a powerful case to you for unpegging our emoluments, because our last rise was in 1920 “,, would be a little ironical. I would not face the task; somebody else would have to go to a judge who., in my opinion, is grossly underpaid, and say to him, “ We started with £400 a year, and we propose to raise the amount to £1,500 & year.. You started at £3;000 a year, and there you are to-day”. I urge upon the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) the .grave importance of doing “something about this matter. All of this nonsense that is talked about “ tall poppies “ will never get us anywhere. The ‘fact is that, in financial terms, we have steadily undermined the independence of the judiciary for the last twenty or thirty years.

The next question that I put - :and perhaps at this stage I shall begin to lose some of my audience-

Dr. -Evatt. - We are all in agreement up to this ‘point.


– So far, T appear .to have been on fairly common ground. I told the House that I would set out to make a fair statement of this case and honorable members will agree, I think, that I have stated the argument .for this bill in pretty fair terms. .Now I am going to complete the job by putting this question to the House: Is this the right time for Parliament to make this change? This is quite apart from the merits, quite apart from ‘.the justification that exists for a review. It is a vastly important question: Is this the right time? I do not mean by that : do we, by now, .incur criticism? Because whenever parliamentary salaries have been changed criticism has blackened the sky. I am not -concerned about that. What .concerns me is, should the Parliament, at a time when wage-pegging is still the law of the land, unpeg its own remuneration to the extent of a rise of 50 per cent. ? “ Wagepegging “.is a phrase with which we have become familiar, ‘but I remind the House that when you say that your policy is to peg wages, that means that your policy is to keep wages down, to keep them from rising. The only .purpose of pegging of wages is to provide that they shall not go up beyond the point at which the peg is driven in. That means that the policy i3 to keep a hand firmly down on the wage structure, as other branches of the Government’s policy are to keep a firm hand down on interest rates and so on.

Wages were originally pegged as at February, 1942. Various relaxations have been made since then, but wage-pegging is still the law of the land, and it is the law of this Parliament and the law of this Government. It is quite true that an alteration was made to permit of a review of the basic wage - a review that, by the way, has not been concluded - and it is true that an alteration was made to permit of expansion of margins up to approximately 25 per cent., plus 3s., and that has gone into operation in various places. It is quite true that, by the last change that was made, remuneration beyond those limits may be awarded if, in the opinion of the Chief Judge of the Arbitration Court, the increase would not be opposed to the national interest. But, whatever the degree of alteration there may have been, it is still true that wages do not run free in Australia. Wages are pegged. The regulations still apply in relation to wages.

If the wage-pegging regulations are so attenuated now that they are, in effect, meaningless or nominal - and some people contend that that is so - let them be repealed. But until they are repealed we, as a parliament, should respect them, not because we believe that we are tech- uically bound by the wage-pegging regulations but on the good old-fashioned ground that example is worth a lot more than precept. We have, I believe, a very serious duty in this matter. I find it impossible, with, I suppose, all the desire in the world from one point of view, to reconcile -a 50 per cent, increase of the remuneration of members of Parliament with the maintenance of pegged-down rates for others. In the last twelve months the most important industrial disputes that we have had in Australia have been associated with wage-pegging. I am not concerned to undertake the task of discovering what all the rights and wrongs were in all. those disputes, but I do know, as every other honorable member knows, that wage-pegging was alleged in those cases to be the bone of conten- tion. We know that a vigorous campaign has been conducted against wage-pegging. As the result, people like myself, who have been more involved than most, have rebuked the strikers and have undertaken to say to them, “ This is not a proper industrial dispute. This is a strike against the law of the land. You are not to indulge in a strike against the law of the land. Indeed, if we had the power to do it, we would alter the industrial code in order that your leaders, your agitators, might be punished for stimulating strikes against the law of the land, strikes against wage-pegging.”

How can any one of us, on top of that experience, turn round and say, “ Although that is the position for you, it is not the position for us. We are giving ourselves what we regard as an eminently justifiable 50 per cent, increase. If you, Mr. Engineer, have an eminently justifiable claim for an increase of your margins, as perhaps you have, you must still obey the wagepegging law.’’ There is enough cynicism in the public mind to-day without our increasing it. There is enough capacity for bitterness in the industrial world without our increasing it. What would any one of us have in our minds if we were leaders of a militant union urging our men to strike, to challenge these laws by direct action, if we opened our papers and saw that the Parliament had done something that we knew perfectly well would give us a most powerful argument in inciting our men to take the law into their own hands ? Consequently, I believe that this is unquestionably the wrong time to be doing this. I believe that we are striking a blow at industrial peace because we are setting a bad example. I believe that we are inciting militant trade union leaders to be more militant. I believe - and I am now talking about not extravagant partisans to whom I referred earlier, but many sober-minded people in Australia with a sense of balance and fail’ play - that we are taking a grave risk «>f lowering respect for the Parliament at a time when the authority of the Parliament was never more important and at a time when the Parliament still maintains, after a period of years, a system of economic controls that we have always said was designed to benefit the’ people of

Australia. All those things are extremely dangerous things to do. I am bound to say that I do not desire to discuss this matter in any holier-than-thou attitude, as honorable members will agree, but I cannot persuade myself, although I have some personal interest, particularly in one provision, that I could be justified in improving my own position, however much it needs to be improved, if, at the same time, I was saying to the industrial workers of Australia, “ Please understand that wage-pegging is the law of the land and you must go on obeying it “. To do that would be to forfeit all moral authority, and, indeed, all moral right to talk to those people.

The last thing I want to say is that the whole of this matter, being a matter for the Parliament, and being a’ matter that peculiarly affects the rights and privileges of members, should never have been brought into this House merely as the result of a one-party decision, or as one to be determined merely by a parliamentary majority. I think the Government made a grave mistake when it considered this matter not to have taken all the political parties into the consideration in order that they might have said, “Let u3 examine all the facts, let us look at the wage-pegging problem, let us consider the questions of not only the amount but also the timing, so that we shall pool our wisdom”. The Government did not do that, but, even at this stage, it ought to, because I believe that there should be an accurate and detailed examination of all the factors that bear on the allowances to members and privileges of members, not only so that they may be wisely determined but also that they may be accurately known to and clearly understood by the public. I therefore move -

That all the words after “That” be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ the bill be withdrawn and redrafted after the whole question of allowances to and provision for members of Parliament has been investigated and reported upon by an all-party committee of both Houses.”

Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs · Barton · ALP

– Every member of the House is obliged to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) for the manner and the tone in which he addressed himself to this important matter. He pointed out, first of all, the atmosphere that certain newspapers have endeavoured to create in relation to this matter, and he read to the House extracts from one or two newspapers, including the first paragraph of an article in the Melbourne Sun-Pictorial of Monday, the 2nd June. I propose to omit the second paragraph and to read the third, and I suggest to honorable members that they could not imagine anything more inaccurate, intemperate or unfair to Parliament and to every member of it than this criticism. It reads -

Whatever merits the case for a rise (such as might be granted by an independent tribunal) may possess, nothing can excuse the shameless attempts at intimidation and bribery that are being resorted to in an effort to force acceptance of the grab. Members with conscientious objections to looting are being threatened with demands for payment of income tax on the increased salary, even though they refuse to accept it.

I believe that to be an absolute invention, and I am sure that any member of the House would emphatically repudiate any such suggestion. The publication of such matter is simply an attempt to degrade Parliament, and even those honorable members who oppose this measure would condemn it. The article continues -

While a peculiarly offensive attempt to bribe opponents takes the form of the inclusion of provisions to increase the allowance of the Leader of the Opposition by £200 and that of the Senate Opposition leader (who in July will have one Liberal and one Australian Country party representative to lead) bv £100. Only a caucus sunk in cynicism could imagine that such sops will affect Mr. Menzies’ determined opposition to the grab.

I say that those are inventions. The suggestion that there is any attempt to intimidate or to bribe honorable members in this manner-

Mr Chifley:

– Caucus itself did not discuss that aspect of the measure.


– The Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) has reminded us that caucus itself did not discuss the proposal to increase the allowances of Leaders of the Opposition in each House. My private opinion is that payment of the allowances should not ,be limited to the Leader of the Opposition, but should be extended to the leaders of parties which are substantially represented in this House. The Leader of the Opposition appreciates that whenever a measure is introduced to increase the allowances of members of Parliament people write things of the character I have read. People of meagre minds who are unsympathetic to parliamentary institutions, think it is a heaven-sent opportunity to defame and attack the Parliament as an institution and every member of it. Honorable members may be interested to hear a few comments on attacks made by the press on members of Parliament some years ago when Parliament restored to members the reductions of the allowances to which they had voluntarily submitted during the depression. The attack made by one newspaper was so bitter and malicious that Parliament summoned its editor to appear before it. I propose to read the remarks made by the late Mr. Holman at that time because they illustrate the difficulty which always confronts Parliament in determining matters of this kind. He pointed out that Parliament had increased the allowances of its members to £1,000 per annum in 1920, but that there had been subsequent reductions to £900, to £S00, and finally to £750 during the depression. He said -

Those reductions, I remind honorable members, were made by Parliament itself. No angel from Heaven breathed forth a message that the time had come; but we made the sacrifice. Although I was not a member at the time, yet I was a reader, and, I regret to say,, a reader of that journal which is being, arraigned in this chamber to-day. When the reductions were made, there was no scurrying, around Sydney by newspaper reporters to interview leading citizens for the purpose of obtaining their opinion upon what had been done. The reporters did not say to those leading citizens, “ Look what these selfsacrificing, high-minded and noble-principled members of ours have been doing. They have cut down their own salaries by £100. What do you think of that? “ We did not hear that the gentlemen addressed by the emissaries of the press fell into raptures of admiration and astonishment at the news.

He pointed out that these attacks do not emanate from journalists assigned to report the proceedings of Parliament, who know the work that is involved for Ministers, office-holders and private members in properly discharging their duty to the nation and their constituents. He did not hold them responsible for these attacks, because, he said, “ Those who meet Parliament usually respect Parliament”; and we know that these attacks are made by people in offices in the capital cities far removed from this House. Although Mr. Holman was referring to a Sydney newspaper when he made these remarks, I do not accuse the Sydney press of being responsible for this latest attack because most of the criticism has appeared in Melbourne newspapers, and I understand that the Sydney press has approved of the principle of this bill. He went on to say -

Those who meet Parliament usually respect Parliament; but it is from offices in Sydney, as from a reservoir of defamation that is connected with a reticulation system extending throughout the whole of the State, that these attacks emanate.

That is the way in which discussion of the whole subject has been prejudiced. The matter of income tax was dragged into the discussion. The Leader of the Opposition made three points in the course of his speech, the . first of which was, Is there a case for review? He says “ Tes “ to that ; and by “ review “ he does not mean a reduction, he means an increase. He pointed out the long period which has elapsed since parliamentary allowances have been increased, and he admits that if those allowances are to be reviewed there is a strong case for an increase of them. He then dealt with the question whether the review should be made by some body outside parliament. I do not altogether agree with his contention in this regard. I thin’k the opinion of the House is practically unanimous in this regard, and it accords with the view which the Leader of the Opposition went on to express, namely, that Parliament should fix its own allowances, because, as he- pointed out, the Constitution so provides. I think, however, that there might be some justification for following the precedent set by the Parliament of New South Wales, when, it asked Mr. Justice Edwards on one- occasion to inquire into the matter of parliamentary allowances and to hear- the cases presented by individual members. I should not have thought that it was contrary to the dignity of Parliament to have an investigation, of that kind made - not as binding Parliament; but as1 a means of informing Parliament. However,. I do not press the matter; and I think it is quite clear from the decision of the parliamentary party to which I belong, and from what the Leader of the Opposition says, that that would not be a proper procedure.

The Leader of the Opposition then declared that the time is not appropriate for the Parliament to increase honorable members’ remuneration. The right honorable gentleman is in favour of an increase, but believes that the time is not opportune because the wage-pegging regulations are still in operation. The Leader of the Opposition then referred to the supposed analogy between the pegging of wages and the duty which devolves upon the Parliament in considering this bill. I submit that there is no analogy whatever. Under the amended wage-pegging regulations, nearly every restriction has been removed, and to-day, industrial tribunals with jurisdiction over the wages and industrial conditions of workers throughout Australia, whether they be employed under Commonwealth or State awards, have unlimited authority. To that statement there is one exception, namely, that in certain instances, approval of the increase must be obtained from an authority.

Mr Abbott:

– A judicial authority.


– Exactly, the Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. In the case of Commonwealth awards he is, as it were, the head of the organization. In the case of State awards he may decide what is permitted by the wage-pegging regulations. What analogy can one draw from that, unless we trace the matter one step further and discover what is the practice of the Chief Judge of the Arbi-t-ration Court under this system? It does not mean that wages are stabilized at any figure. It means only that increases of wages, as determined by industrial tribunals, must finally be submitted to the Chief Judge for approval. In other words the wage-pegging regulations have been so relaxed that this remains the only restriction upon increases of wages. I have not the figures: - the Minister .for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holloway) will have them - but I do not know of many cases in which the Chief Judge’s consent has not been given to the decisions of. industrial -tribunals in favour of increases of -wages.

page 3353



– I am endeavouring to ascertain whether there is any real validity in the contention of the Leader of the Opposition. He said that because the wages of the workers, when determined by an industrial tribunal, must finally be approved by the Chief Judge of the Arbitration Court, the proposal to increase the parliamentary allowance of honorable members should be referred to some authority other than the Parliament. But the right honorable gentleman proceeded to state that the Parliament must fix the remuneration of honorable members. I contend that there is no validity in the analogy which he drew. It is just a cry or slogan which might be used by the gentleman who wrote the defamatory article which I read to the House earlier, in order to prejudice the position of honorable members.


– Surely the supreme test is whether the wage-pegging regulations still exist.


– Order ! The supreme test will be when the House hears the speech of the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison).


– I always welcome intersjections from the honorable member for Wentworth. Often they are helpful to him, and more often they are helpful to those who answer them. On this occasion, it is a fact that awards of industrial tribunals are still subject to the endorsement of the Chief J udge of the Commonswealth Arbitration Court.- If any honorable member desires to draw an analogy, and I submit that there is none, he must favour the proposal which the Leader of the Opposition rejects.

I now come to the final point which the Leader of the Opposition made, with,OUt much enthusiasm and with less logic than his earlier submissions. The right honorable gentleman asked: Is there a case for review? He answered that question in the affirmative and. implied that he considered that the remuneration of honorable members should be increased. He asked also whether an authority such as the Arbitration Court should approve the increase, and rejected that idea. I remind honorable -members that the

Leader of the Opposition considered that the time is not appropriate to increase parliamentary allowances of honorable members because of the continued existence of the wage-pegging regulations. He then suggested, not that the bill should be rejected, but that an internal authority should be appointed to determine whether the allowances indicated in the bill are appropriate. I put this question to the Leader of the Opposition : If an all-party committee were appointed and recommended the increase proposed in the bill, would the right honorable gentleman support’ it?

Mr Menzies:

– No, not sit present.


– Then, of what use would it be to appoint an all party committee? The Leader of the Opposition has submitted an amendment that the bill should be withdrawn and re-drafted - not read six months hence - after the whole subject of the remuneration of honorable members has been investigated and reported upon by an all-party committee. I submit that the appointment of such a committee at the present time would not be the proper procedure. Who would be the members of it ? Would they express their individual opinions? By this time, every honorable member must have decided upon his attitude to this bill. If an all-party committee were appointed, would its recommendations be unanimous, or would there be majority and minority reports? If there were a dissentient, what would be our procedure then ? That is not the way in which this matter can be approached. I shall not describe any of my personal experiences, but I know, and every honorable member knows, the position of a member of the Parliament, and the job that he does, not only in the Parliament but also, as the Leader of the Opposition rightly said, outside it. His duties are endless. His position should be one of great eminence and distinction in the Commonwealth. A few weeks ago, the Parliament fixed the salaries of conciliation commissioners, who will be appointed under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, at £1,500 per annum. The bill proposes that the remuneration of honorable members shall be increased from £1,000 to £1,500 per annum.

Mr Holt:

– There was not a word of criticism in the newspapers when the Parliament fixed the salaries of conciliation commissioners at £1,500 per annum.


– No, and honorable members did not criticize it, although the remuneration of a number of conciliation commissioners would be increased from £800 or £900 to £1,500 a year. No suggestion was made that the remuneration of conciliation commissioners should be examined. That is the kind of comparison which honorable members should make. Although at one stage I would have favoured a reference of this proposal to an arbitration authority, I did so because I felt certain that such an authority would recommend an increase similar to that which the bill provides.

Opposition members interjecting,


– I say that quite frankly, because the facts of the case would warrant such a finding by an arbitration authority. Even the Leader of the Opposition, when he implied his approval of an increase of the remuneration of honorable members, was substantially of the same opinion. I should be quite content to have an independent authority investigate the facts, because I believe that this proposal would be accepted.

The Government cannot accept the proposal of the Leader of the Opposition for the appointment of an all-party committee. It takes the responsibility for introducing this bill. Honorable members must support or oppose the increase of remuneration from £1,000 to £1,500 per annum. Most important point of all, there will be, to use an Americanism, the “ pay-off “. The information will not be contained in the records of the House, but the time will come when each honorable member must determine whether he will accept this increase. The amount will be more than ‘sufficient to offset any increase of tax applicable to the income of any honorable member; that is to say, there will always be a balance that may be returned to the Treasury if an honorable member decides not to accept the additional £500. On this matter, honorable members should look ahead. The bill will not compel them to accept the increase, and no honorable member will be able to say, after he has voted against it: “ I. am sorry, but I am bound under the law to accept the increase”.

Mr Conelan:

– The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes), when Prime Minister, inserted a provision in the Parliamentary Allowances Act of 1920, compelling each honorable member to decide, within a period of three months, whether he would accept the increase.


– I was not aware of that; but this will not compel any honorable member to accept the increase. The criticism of this proposal outside the Parliament is not fair, and does not recognize the duties of honorable members. The Leader of the Opposition is right in deciding that the time has come when the remuneration of honorable members should be reviewed. In this instance, however, 74 members of the House - not five or seven members of an all-party committee - will determine whether the time is appropriate, and whether the figure of £1,500 is justified.

Sitting suspended from 12.48 to 2.15p.m.


– Although this bill may appear to some persons to be ill-timed, and even though it does not attack the problem of parliamentary allowances in the realistic way in which I think it should, I shall support it, because some improvement of the conditions of members of the Parliament is long overdue. I shall support it not merely as an act of justice, but also for reasons of highest policy which I shall later indicate.

Experience has taught me that the time is never regarded as ripe when it is proposed to institute a reform ; in fact, reforms are usually about two generations too late. In regard to the press criticism that has been levelled at this proposal, I merely say that, even if members of the Parliament are such a crew of abandoned scoundrels as they are said to be, it is worth-while remembering that only nine months ago the people of Australia declared that the members of the present Commonwealth Parliament were the best candidates that were offering for public service at that time. Of course, the members of this Parliament are not abandoned scoundrels. If the right honorable member forNorth Sydney (Mr. Hughes), the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin), the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan), and myself, who have been members of this Parliament for 30 years or more, had been abandoned scoundrels, we would have been exposed long ere this. My experience has been that this Parliament has always acted in accordance with a sense of responsibility. I must confess, of course, that when we who sit on this side of the House were in office, the Parliament appeared to have a better sense of responsibility than has been displayed since the Labour party took office. Always, however, a definite sense of responsibility has been evident.

The parliamentary records contain two outstanding examples of publicspiritedness on the part of members of the Parliament. The first that is worth recalling is that in 1907 they voluntarily, in the Commonwealth Salaries Act, made themselves liable to the payment of State income taxes, although the Australian Constitution provided that they could always have remained exempt from that liability. Then, during the depression years, this Parliament voluntarily reduced the allowances of its members by no less than 25 per cent. There is, of course, another side to the picture. There have been occasions on which it has been considered necessary to increase the parliamentary allowance. I agree with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) that that is a prerogative of the Parliament, and is not a task that should be delegated to an outside body. The responsibility is ours, and we should shoulder it openly and without shame.

What is the history of the parliamentary allowance? Section 48 of the Constitution provides -

Until the Parliament otherwise provides, each senator and each member of the House of. Representatives shall receive an allowance of four hundred pounds a year. . . .

In 1907, the allowance was increased by 50 per cent. to £600 a year. About fourteen years later, in 1920 or 1921, it was raised to £1,000 a year. Now, 27 or 28 years later, the proposal is to raise it to £1,500 a year. The lapse of time between the increases is becoming very much longer, and should that tendency continue, by geometrical progression, 56 years will have elapsed before the next rise occurs. Therefore, it is necessary from the standpoint of the nation as a whole, that we should do the right thing now.

Various measures have been taken to improve the position of members of the Parliament since I have been a member cf it. In 1920, at the instigation of the right honorable member for North Sydney, the parliamentary allowance was raised from £600 to £1,000 a year. In 1925, I, as Treasurer, attempted to improve the position by granting a tax concession, which still applies, ranging from £450 in respect of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie to £100 in respect of members representing city electorates. A scientific basis was adopted, so that there might be some relation between the consideration of the extra expenses asso-elated with the discharge of parliamentary functions in big country electorates, and those involved in the representation of electorates close to the centre of government, or in which a good deal, of travelling is not involved. I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that it would be a good thing if the anomalies which arise from the fixing of the parliamentary allowance at a flat rate were examined by an all-party committee. I am satisfied that such a committee would recommend the payment of an additional allowance, as the Attorney-General (Dr. suggested, to the Leader of the Australian Country party, which has been established in this country for approximately 30 years, as well as to those who represent outback constituencies.

The next action to. improve the position of members of the Parliament was taken on the initiative of Mr. Speaker, in the Joint House Committee ; it relates to personal expenses.. Although that has. been of some assistance, it has not advanced the position as a whole, as I shall show later. “We have to place the whole matter on- a proper basis. Ever since I entered this Parliament - and I made no bones about it when I spoke on the proposal of the right honorable member for North Sydney in 1920 - I have regarded the allowances and conditions of the members of this Parliament as a national disgrace.

In view of the growing responsibilities of Australia in the national and the international field, and the additional powers which: the Commonwealth Parliament is beginning to exercise, especially since the referendum in respect of social services was carried eight, or nine months ago, failure now to improve the conditions under which members live and work might prove, a national menace by a lowering of the quality of the men returned to the Parliament. Obviously, the best men are needed to administer the affairs of this huge continent. If the total number of members of the Parliament is. increased by 50 per cent, or 100 per cent.., the problem of inducing- candidates, of a better type and in sufficient number to offer their services will become accentuated.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) mentioned in his second-reading speech that since the. .parliamentary allowance had been fixed at £1,000, the cost of living had risen, by 50 per cent. That means, that £1,000 is- worth only £500, and the proposed additional £500 will be the equivalent of only £250, on the basis of costs in 1920, making the total £750. That does not, take into account the tax deductions, which I believe are higher now than they were- at the end of World War I. Boiled down, the conclusion is inescapable that this great continent of 3,000,000> square miles is relying on the patriotism and the desire for public service of the relatively few men who have been prepared to renounce civil prizes which they could easily have obtained, because they regard public service as the noblest career in which they could engage. A minister of religion or a doctor can benefit an individual,, but wise, statesmanlike action in a. parliament may raise the standard of living- and the happiness and comfort of the nation a» a whole. I shall show how the inadequate rewards affect the choice of good men. It is time that the problem was put in proper perspective’. Because of my age> I shall not long benefit from any .substantial improvement of honorable members’ financial status, and so I think that I am in a position to put the case frankly in order that the best men may be attracted to the Parliament, particularly as no further change may be made for a number of years. It will help, I think, if I define my own personal position. I believe that I can deal with this subject impartially and impersonally. I came into the parliamentary arena about 28 years ago with a definite objective, which was to secure the maximum rural betterment. I came with my eyes open. I knew that I should have to make substantial sacrifices and that, as a member of the Parliament, I should not make any monetary gain. I came because I thought that I could do a definite job. I have never complained, and I should not complain now, if I did not believe that I was approaching the end of my time and that this matter should be put on a proper basis in the interests of the country. When I entered the Parliament I believed that I ought to fit myself for the work before me, and so during the first three years of my membership of the Parliament I travelled in every State. I also went to the Near East at my own expense to see for myself the conditions there. Then I tried to examine the possibilities in order to decide what might be done. During the first three years I expended about £1,500 in order to develop interest in the establishment of a hydro-electric scheme for northern New South Wales, which would serve a large area, and since then I have expended many pounds in giving publicity to the need for a much larger scheme. When I was asked to serve in Great Britain at the time that the right honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr. Fadden) was displaced as Prime Minister, I remained there for ten or eleven months on a private member’s salary because it was war-time and I thought that I could serve my country best in that way. That is the background of my approach to this bill.

I come now to the question of what should be done at this stage. Not long after I entered this Parliament I became leader of my party. Mr. Charlton, who was then the leader of the Labour party, was an old friend of my family. Be came to see me immediately after my election. In the course of conversation he told me that my chief difficulty as leader of a party would not be what I expected. He said that it would be to find suitable candidates for all the seats that the party expected to win. He went on to say that

I would have no difficulty in getting firstclass candidates for blue-ribbon seats, and that not a great deal of difficulty would be experienced in getting good men for marginal seats, but he emphasized that for the other seats I should have difficulty in finding suitable candidates. The right honorable member for North Sydney, who was then leader of the Nationalist party, gave me the same advice and confirmed what the then leader of the Labour party said.

We must remember that Australia is a continent almost as large as Europe and that if the British Empire is to maintain its permanent position in the world Australia must be a strong bulwark of Empire. That means that Australia must be developed quickly, and, therefore, it is essential that we shall have in the Parliament the best men it is possible to obtain. The field from which they may be drawn should be as wide as possible. When I look back, what do I find? I have noticed that the Parliament has not attracted many young men with families, because, first, any man entering the Parliament must necessarily be away from his home for long intervals, and, secondly, should he lose his seat he may find himself at a disadvantage on his return to his former sphere of activity. He is then out in the the cold. In my travels throughout Australia I have approached many good-looking chaps who appeared likely to win seats, but when I have suggested that they should offer themselves as candidates, the invariable reply has been, “ What security can you offer to me ? “ I have always had to reply that I could not offer them any security beyond the date of the next election. Then, when they asked, “ What will my financial position he ? “ I had to reply, “ It will be rotten “. I shall show what has happened. During my term as a member of this Parliament I have noticed a good many bachelors among my f fellow-members, but not many married men with children, and certainly not many with large families. It is true that some men over 45 years of age, whose children have grown up and have become independent, have continued as members, but I repeat that I have not known many men in the prime of life, with large families needing education, to remain here because of the conditions appertaining to membership. I shall, therefore, examine what I believe to be the essential qualifications of a member of Parliament. What are the things that he must do if he is really to perform the duties for which he is elected and if he is to pull his full weight for Australia? My experience shows, first, that he must have an easy mind in regard to his financial future. If a man is worried about the future, and does not know what lies ahead of him, he cannot do as good work as if his mind is free from anxiety. Secondly, every statesman should know the conditions “under which the people as a whole live. Therefore, he -must take steps to ascertain the facts so that he may decide what can be done to improve their conditions. He should inform himself of the result of suggestions made in the past, and he should know what is being done in other countries. In order to do that, he must study and concentrate on his work. I have noticed that most members of the Parliament have made good use of the wonderful library of the Parliament. Incidentally, I mention that the library is rarely mentioned in the press, but I regard it as one of the most valuable perquisites of members. A member must concentrate on the national and international position ; he must study the reaction of Australian policy on other nations and on all sections of the community. He must have regard to the effect of legislation to assist one section of the community, and must satisfy himself that it will not be to the disadvantage of another section. He should remember that what is one man’s meat may be another man’s poison. In order to decide wisely on the matters that come before him,’ he must, in addition to taking full advantage of the parliamentary library, buy books for himself so that he may study history, and know the results of proposals for reform in various countries. It is useless to attempt something here which has failed elsewhere. He must look to the future with the knowledge of what has happened in the past. Above all, he must know Australia, and must be able to visualize, from personal knowledge of the conditions in various localities, what happens in every part of this great continent. He must under- stand, as the result of his reading, and observations, and contacts, how the federal system, the most complicated in the world to administer, works. He must find out what is and has been done in every other federation, whether great or small, so that he may avoid working along wrong lines. He must understand the administrative difficulties associated with the government of a continent from a centre many hundreds of miles away from where the policy decided on is to be put into operation. He must appreciate the needs of a continent as well as the requirements of his own electorate. In order to do that, he must be able to travel all over Australia, so that he can study local conditions on the spot. He must be able to make contacts with all classes in the community, especially those outside his own particular sphere or calling. He must accept and return hospitality. No one will deny that a man who knows Bunbury and Geraldton, Cairns and Mount Gambier, and local conditions in practically every part of Australia, is a better asset to the Parliament than one who does not. To misquote the wellknown lines - “ What do we know of Australia who only one State knows?” Every member of the Parliament must have an opportunity to do and know these things, just as a medical student must walk hospitals before he is allowed to practice on the public. Therefore, the stupidity of press statements which estimate the value of a member’s service at £100 a week, or at so many pounds a day for the period of his attendance in the Parliament, is apparent. Every honorable member must work every one of the 365 days to represent his electorate, and most of the nights as well. How can he afford to do that on the present allowance of £1,000 a year? Out of that he must pay taxation, which varies from £200 to £240 a year, depending on the size of his electorate. My experience is that personal travelling expenses during an election campaign amount to about £300. The average life of a Parliament is about two years and eight months, but even counting it as three years, travelling amounts to about £100 a year. If a man represents a big electorate he must hire cars so that he can travel around opening shows and making contacts, and the cost of this can be put down at another £250. The house in which he and his family live costs, say, £150 a year. Half of his time he must spend in Canberra, and a quarter of his time in the capital of the State in which his electorate is situated, and this involves him in an additional cost of about £150 a year. When these various amounts are added up, it is found that they total almost £900 out of an allowance of £1,000, leaving him £100 a year with which to feed, clothe and educate his children. That is why men in the prime of life, with growing families, cannot usually alford to enter this Parliament. Members, unless they have outside means, must live on saved capital, or they must try to cut expenses. If they try to save on the £250 a year for travelling about their electorates, they will probably lose the next election. Therefore, some of them give the horses “ a go “, and try to make it up that way. We need, as representatives in this Parliament, men with families who will consider the likely effect on their own children of the legislation with which they are dealing. I take this opportunity to destroy the illusion fostered by the press, and entertained widely throughout the community, that Commonwealth members are immune from taxation. I only wish it were true. Many people believe that we are paid expenses in our electorates as well. There is also a wild idea that the possession of a gold pass, enabling members to travel free on the railways, is a tremendous benefit. As a matter of fact, every honorable member knows that travelling becomes a great physical burden to a member. In my 28 years in Parliament, I have travelled more than 1,000,000 miles in performing public duties, and some other honorable members may have travelled even more. Such travelling is essential if members are to render public service. Proof that the allowance has never been excessive i3 found in the fact that in almost every instance when a member of the Parliament dies it is necessary to do something to help his widow because she has been left in an impoverished state. A man may spend 25 or 30 years as a member of this Parliament, passing laws to ensure that other people shall not be left in want, but when he dies his own family is often left unprovided for. That is a national disgrace.

As I have said, many Commonwealth members must have three domiciles, one in his own electorate, one in the State capital and another in Canberra. In this respect, they are worse off than members of State parliaments. This view is supported by the fact that in this House, at the present time, fewer than ten members have been through State parliaments, and not all of them entered this Parliament straight from a State parliament. Members of State parliaments find that they are better off on the smaller State parliamentary allowances than they would be if they became members of this Parliament. The State parliaments should be recruiting grounds for this Parliament, but that will never be the case while Commonwealth parliamentary allowances remain so unattractive.

The record of Commonwealth members in the performance of their duties in the Parliament is an impressive one. The Clerk of the House was good enough to take out for me figures for attendances over the last 25 years. During one session there was an attendance of 96 per cent., and over the whole period of 25 years the average attendance was 85 per cent., which meant that out of the 75 members of the House of Representatives, 65 attended, on an average, every sitting day. This record was achieved notwithstanding the fact that from time to time parliamentary delegations have travelled abroad, and sometimes two or three Ministers of the Crown have been absent at a time on public business. During the war, several members were away for long periods on military service. It sometimes happens that members fall sick, or must be absent from meetings of the Parliament on missions representing the Government. Despite all that, the record of attendances challenges comparison with that in any other parliament in the world. Moreover, despite the miserable allowance, the probity of members of this House has never been questioned - something which it is worthwhile to emphasize. Therefore, I do not think that we need debate any longer the question whether the proposed increase is justified.

I wish now to discuss the point raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr.

Menzies), namely, whether this is the right time to increase parliamentary allowances. The right honorable gentleman said that to increase allowances now would be to interfere with wage-pegging and price fixation, and would tend to induce inflation. To my mind, there is no substance in that argument. In 1943, and in the years immediately succeeding, the prices stabilization scheme worked fairly well. Ceiling prices were fixed, and even then many holes quickly developed in the ceiling, so that it became necessary to pass legislation against black marketing, legislation which did not prove entirely successful. To-day, however, the ceiling has been so knocked about by competition for labour and by black marketing, that there is practically none of it left. This is borne out by the recent strike of retail butchers in Queensland, and by experiences in connexion with land sales. The price structure has been maintained during the last four years only because prices for butter, bread, sugar and labour were more or less rigidly pegged, but that measure of control is rapidly going. I have a notion that we should take this opportunity to introduce a much over-due measure to wipe out price control altogether, so that the country may get on to a proper economic basis. I agree that it would produce an unfortunate moral effect to increase parliamentary allowances while wage-pegging remains in force, but the remedy is to remove wage-pegging. We can keep down the cost of living by means of subsidies; and we should give those subsidies their right name. It is absurd to speak about a subsidy for tea as a subsidy for consumers, and a subsidy for butter as a subsidy for producers. The purpose of both of those subsidies is the same, that is, to maintain the purchasing power of the basic wage. The remedy for inflation is not to refuse to give to men their due, whether they be wage-earners or. members of Parliament, but to reduce income tax, increase production, increase the purchasing power of the community, and cease sweating the basic wage-earner and the farmer. We should abolish rationing and price-fixing, and thereby eliminate black marketing and all-round racketeering. I believe that we shall do two good things under this proposal: We shall adjust our own difficulties, and, at the same time, forward proposals designed to adjust the difficulties of the nation.


.- The awakening of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) to the menace of the press in this country is like a refreshing breeze in the heavy pall which surrounds our political atmosphere. The meat of his argument was that the present was not an appropriate time to introduce a bill of this kind. I propose to deal, first, with his objections, and, later, to say something with respect to the press which has had a great deal to say in connexion with this matter. Apparently, the Leader of the Opposition seeks to draw an analogy between wage-pegging as such and the position of members of the Parliament; and, on that account, he says that the time is not ripe to introduce this measure. Shakespeare has very well said, “ There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so “. Whether the time is ripe to-day or in six months is not a particularly forceful argument, because other objections can be raised by those who desire to do so against a proposal of this kind at any time. However, the Leader of the Opposition implies that wage-pegging is an end in itself. Actually, wage-pegging is only a means to an end. It took effect as from the 10th February, 1942, in order, first, to control inflation, and, secondly, to facilitate prices control. The position of members of the Parliament who are not engaged in any industry is not in any way relevant to the position of workers in industry. Of course, it may be argued that the community will be expected to burden this increase of £55,000 of the cost of administration; but I remind the House that probably half of that amount will be returned to Consolidated Revenue because this increase of our allowance will be subject to income tax in the same way as our present allowances are subject to tax. But even assuming that there were an analogy between wage-pegging and the position of members of the Parliament, does any one suggest that wages have remained static at the figure at which they were fixed on the 10th February, 1942? Indeed, there have been increases of wages because of cost of living adjustments, increases of marginal rates up to 25 per cent, without the approval of the Chief Judge of the Arbitration Court, and increases as the result of ironing out anomalies disclosed in respect of applications made by the unions to the Arbitration Court. In addition, there have been special allowances made by way of war loading. All of those increases have substantially raised the amount of wages paid to the lowest paid workers to-day compared with the wages paid to them on the 10th February, 1942, when wages were pegged. Assuming that there was a relationship between wage-pegging and the position of honorable members in this House, I believe that a substantial case still exists, without reference to any court, for the Parliament itself to determine whether this increase is warranted in the present circumstances. It is regrettable that many honorable members believe that what they receive as members of the Parliament is a wage. That is a complete misnomer, because the Constitution Act refers to the payment made to honorable members as being by way of an allowance. It would be more correct to say that it is a parliamentary expenses indemnity, because any one who has been a member of this Parliament could not believe that the amount of money he receives is for any purpose other than to indemnify him for the moneys which he is obliged to expend in order to perform his duties as a member of the Parliament. I compliment the Leader of the Opposition and the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page), as well as the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt), for keeping this debate on a high plane. However, assuming that there is an analogy between wage-pegging and the allowance paid to members of the Parliament, we -believe that, having regard to all the circumstances, and bearing in mind the increases of wages paid to workers in industry, the increase proposed under the bill is justified.

I come now to the attacks being made by the press upon the Parliament in this matter. One would imagine that the newspapers were paragons of all the virtues in this country. They are claiming on the one hand that there has been a salary grab, that we are doing some thing which we should not do having regard to the responsibility of the Parliament to the country. It is well worth while to look at the facts. The very press - the Murdoch press - which has been criticizing the Government for this proposal seized an opportunity under the provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act as it stood before being amended in 1944 to provide very substantial dividends to certain members of its own executive staffs. I quote the following passage from a speech by the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) when, as Treasurer, he was speaking on the second reading of the Income Tax Assessment Bill 1944, as reported in Hansard of the 3rd March, 1944, at page 933 : -

I may mention, however, that the bill restates the provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act which permit the deduction of contributions made by employers to funds to provide pensions, retiring allowances, and other benefits for their employees and their dependants. The Government supports the principle expressed in the legislation that employers ‘ should be encouraged to establish and maintain these funds to provide some measure of financial security for employees, who are unable to make adequate provision for the days of their retirement from active employment. Recent examination has disclosed, however, that the directorates of some large public companies are taking an undue advantage of the liberal nature of the income tax allowance. These companies have established funds from which the general body of employees are excluded, the moneys in the funds being allocated for the benefit of a small number of selected senior executive officers of the companies. In one case a public company has recently paid £ 50,000 to a fund to provide retiring allowances of £20,000 for its managing director, £10,000 for its general manager, and sums ranging from £1,000 to £4,000 for its departmental managers. The saving to the company in taxation is over £20,000 so that the cost to the company of establishing the fund would not be £50,000 but something less than £30,000.

The executives to which the Treasurer was then referring were the executives of the Murdoch press. To-day, the Murdoch press, through the SunNews Pictorial and the Herald, has had a great deal to say about -what members of Parliament are doing in connexion with the proposal now before the House. In order to demonstrate that the press itself has not had clean hands in connexion with a matter of this description I have read to the House one instance of what has been done by unscrupulous business executives to ensure that their return from the meagre contribution which they make to industry and the welfare of the country is more substantial than that obtained by other people who make very much larger contributions. The press has unquestionably outdone all other sections of the community in advancing its own interests. The proposal before the House is so reasonable that it could not meet with any real objection either by honorable members in the House or by the country at large. There is ample support for it. It has been endorsed by the organizations affiliated with the Australian Labour party. I personally have had only one objection to it from my constituency of 83,000 electors. I do not know whether honorable members have had even one objection from their electors. Having regard to these matters, to the fact that wagepegging is virtually ended, as has been mentioned by the Attorney-General, that public servants are enabled to obtain increases of their salaries, not only by upward adjustments made by the Public Service Arbitrator, but also .by resort to the device known as reclassification, and the fact that skilled workers in industry are receiving wage adjustments, it in not too soon or too late to be making a proposal of this description. I strongly urge the House to reject the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition. As I have said, it does not matter whether this bill be postponed to a later time; objections will always be raised to any proposals of this kind by some sections of the community with particular interests to advance. As a member of the committee of caucus which made the initial recommendation that the parliamentary allowance be increased, I have no hesitation in asking the House to endorse what is unquestionably a reasonable proposal.


– All honorable members are indebted to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) for the excellent case which he presented to the House and for the temperate way in which he approached this rather contentious matter. It will be appreciated that a debate may sometimes be initiated in a wrong atmosphere. This debate has been commenced in the right atmosphere. I am one of those who believe that not one honorable member is not prepared to say openly, wherever he may be, that the parliamentary allowance is due for some revision. Those who criticize the proposal find themselves out of step with the majority of honorable members only on the question as to whether this is the appropriate time for the introduction of such a measure. We believe that we should wait until such time as we are able to set an example to .the public generally. I do not propose to develop that theme at the moment, but to say something about the statements made by my leader. At the outset may I say that, but for the necessity for honorable members to state their position clearly in this House, I find myself so much in complete accord with the observations of my leader as to render my participation in this debate unnecessary. I endorse fully his criticism of the press. I underline every statement he has made in that regard, not because I have suffered at the hands of the press from time to time, but because of the untrue statements which have been published in the newspapers in an attempt to inflame the public mind against this proposal. It is not for me to indicate to the press in which direction its policy in regard to parliamentary institutions is likely to lead it. I merely say that the increasing tendency on- the part of the newspapers to criticize the standards of our parliamentary institutions and the calibre of members of this honorable House is unworthy and unfair. I was one of the members of the executive of my party which recently sought candidates of the right type to contest seats not only in thi! Commonwealth Parliament but also in the parliaments of the States. I found that the principal objection raised by those who were approached in the matter was that if they entered public life they would suffer too much criticism and bitter contumely at the hands of the press. Their second objection was that public life offered no security, and that they could much more lucratively employ their talents in other directions. The cynical disregard of parliamentary institutions may crystallize itself into some form of direct action which will seek the overthrow of existing parliamentary institutions. Thus, the freedom of the press may be jeopardized. Under some other forms of government the freedom of the press would by no means be assured, whereas under a form of democratic government the freedom is guaranteed. Instead of unnecessary and unfair criticism there should be more support of the parliamentary institutions, and more ‘ encouragement given to political parties to attract to their ranks the most capable and talented persons as representatives of the electors ip. the legislative halls of this country.

Criticizing the reasons advanced by the Leader of the Opposition as to why he, as an individual member of the Parliament, could not accept the proposed rise, the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) sought to prove that wage-pegging was not effective.

Mr Holloway:

– He did not.


– He did. He said that the regulations had been altered that authority now rested with the Chief Judge and that they were largely ineffective. However, the supreme test is whether the regulations are still the law of the country. The Attorney-General, in effect, said, “ It is a peg but only a little peg, so let us not take any notice of it “. That is an entirely illogical argument that ignores the principle that a law made by the Government is still in force, however it may have been altered, and should not be stepped over. The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Falstein) took a different stand from that taken by the Attorney-General. It is interesting to find a man with a smattering of legal knowledge attempting to pit his opinions against those of such an eminent jurist as the Attorney-General. The honorable member for Watson said,’ “We should not relate the revision of our allowances to wage-pegging, because our allowances are an expense indemnity “.

Mr Falstein:

– That is right.


– That introduces the principle of sectional law - a law for the man in the street whose wages are pegged and a law for ourselves which exempts us from wage-pegging. No argument could be seriously advanced in justification of that principle. The honorable member also said that the trade unions had endorsed the Government’s decisions to increase parliamentary allowances.

Mr Falstein:

– That was the decision of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions.


– I have heard sufficient criticism from members of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions and trade unionists generally to believe that the trade union movement is not in accord with the Government’s decision to jack-up parliamentary allowances, while applying wage-pegging, however rigorously or leniently, to the workers in industry.

I have no difficulty in saying that revision of parliamentary allowances is necessary. Indeed, every honorable member, if he is honest with himself, will acknowledge that that is so. Our argument is, however, that this is an ill-timed step. The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) said that the time was never ripe for reform ; but that is an unctuous, self-satisfying philosophy under which anything can be justified. The laws that the Government makes for the benefit of the public generally it ought willingly to apply to itself.

Mr Edmonds:

– The amendment does not get the Opposition anywhere.


– I should have preferred to relate the amendment to wagepegging, but I am prepared to support it as it is. The point clearly made by the Leader of the Opposition was that we, on this side, have bitterly condemned the Government for its failure to enforce the law against industrialists who strike against wage-pegging. I should feel embarrassed if ever called upon to appeal to the Government to enforce laws against direct action if I had been a party to direct action to jack-up my own salary. That is a most important point, because every honorable member should be untrammelled in expressing opinions about matters of great national importance. If we take direct action to place ourselves beyond the reach of the wage-pegging law, we shall never be able again to advocate the application of the law against men who strike, not against something their bosses have done, or conditions of an award, but against the law of the country. Whatever argument may be advanced, no honorable member can justify the creation of a special code of ethics and a special law for parliamentarians. No honorable member, I least of all, could justifiably subscribe to an increase of parliamentary allowances so long as the wage-pegging regulations operate.

Mr James:

– The honorable gentleman need not take the rise.


– I will have something to say about that at the appropriate time. If we persist in sectionalizing the laws of this country, we shall commit the gravest error that a democracy could commit, one that would tend to shatter the democratic way of life, because nothing contributes more to a cynical attitude towards parliamentary institutions than disregard by those institutions of the laws that they pass for the guidance of others. We have recently witnessed a war fought on ideologies and forms of government. The victory was an endorsement of the democratic form of government, which the totalitarian powers held in contempt. Millions of lives were lost in thepreservation of democracy. If we abrogate the fundamental principles of democracy we seek to level this great throne of ours.

The Attorney-General said that honorable members not wishing to accept the increase could find a way out by accepting the money and repaying it to the Treasury, less the amount of tax levied on’ it and paid by them, hut there is another way. I propose to explore means by which honorable members may avoid the necessity of accepting the money. In World War II., I served with the military forces in an honorary capacity.

Mr Conelan:

– With the “ Yanks “.


– No, on the staff of General Fewtrell, New South Wales Lines of Communication. The Commissioner of Taxation informed nae that I could not serve with the military forces in an honorary capacity, and that the- remuneration which I should draw as an officer of the staff would be subject to tax. After some argument, he wrote to me a letter stating that the amount to which I was entitled as an officer would not be assessable as income derived by me if I would assure him that I would not accept it. I informed him that the money had been returned to the Treasury before I had interviewed him, because I objected to being assessed in respect of an amount which I did not retain. However, the utter absurdity of the position was brought home to me when I, as an officer of the military forces, serving in an honorary capacity, was to be assessed on an amount which I was not prepared to receive. A similar position arises to-day. Some honorable members do not desire to accept the proposed increase of £500. In view of my experience, the contention that they will be assessed on the additional £500, if they do not accept it, does not impress me. I have established a precedent. At a suitable opportunity, I shall read the letter to the House if the Commissioner of Taxation attempts to assess me on the additional £500, which I am not prepared to accept until wage-pegging has been .abolished.

Earlier, I said that we can justify a revision of the parliamentary allowance, but I prefer the revision to be made in a different way from that which the Government proposes. Certain unavoidable expenses are associated with the profession of being a member of the Parliament, and those expenses should be an allowable deduction for purposes of taxation, as are similar expenses incurred by members of various professions and industries. For example, honorable members who represent large country electorates incur extraordinary expenses in moving from place to place. In addition, heavy calls are made upon members of Parliament for entertainment. Money expended in these ways is a legitimate allowance in most businesses. All these expenses could be listed, and should be allowable deductions for taxation purposes as they are in various professions and industries. If that were done, the public and the press would realize that it was justified. Employees of newspapers are permitted to deduct for taxation purposes the expenses which they incur. As members of the Parliament have similar expenses, they should be placed on the same basis.

I return to my original contention. I could not accept the proposed increase of £500 in view of my attitude towards industrial unrest. If I attempted to justify the proposed increase at the present time, I would he prejudiced in any action that I might take subsequently in criticizing the Government’s failure to enforce the rule of law against any recalcitrant union engaging in a strike. Because I believe that every honorable members should express his views on this bill, I have done so. Until the wagepegging regulations are abolished, I shall not accept the additional £500.


.- The only contribution which the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) has made is to announce that Wentworth is to cross the mountains again to live in the wilderness, and will not return until the wage-pegging regulations have been abolished. All unionists throughout Australia will fall on their faces, but whether with consternation, dismay or hysterical laughter, I am not able to say.

Mr Harrison:

– Perhaps the honorable member will find lush pastures for me when the Parliament re-assembles next September.


– That is the only reference which I shall make to the honorable member’s speech. He was having a bet both ways on the proposal, and displayed no knowledge of the intricacies of the income tax law. My first approach to this bill will be from the standpoint of ethics, and my second, from the human aspect. I believe most sincerely that the ethical and human aspects can be brought together, and that all honorable members, regardless of their political beliefs, can approach the matter in a reasonable spirit. Many facets of this rather extensive argument have already been disclosed, but I desire to make a few on my own account. The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) referred to the necessity for introducing new members into the Parliament from time to time. A few years ago, politicians and newspapers advocated an infusion of new blood in the Commonwealth and State Parliaments. In 1943, because the Labour party was the only live body in’ this Parliament, some blood transfusions took place, and I. among others, came into this House. Whether that was a good or bad thing, I do not say; I am merely stating whatis now an historical fact. Like my colleagues, I found myself in a strange, new world. Having been a unionist for many years, I thought that my time Was my own at certain hours of the day and at certain times of the year. Since I became a member of this Parliament, my time has ceased to belong to me.

Mr Abbott:

– To what union does the honorable member belong - the dressmakers ?


– Order ! The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) will join the gardeners if he interjects again.


– When the honorable member for New England speaks I always feel lyrical. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) has expressed this feeling in a parody on Wordsworth in another case -

Oh blithe New England! I hear you,

And hearing you rejoice.

Oh cuckoo, cuckoo, art thou bird,

Or but a wandering voice?

However, the point which I was making is that the person who becomes a member of this Parliament encounters tremendous perplexities relating to his new job. He is deprived of much of his private time, and is appalled to find that he has committed himself to something which is financially untenable if he lacks private means. These things are personal, and we all know about them. The ethical point is then involved, namely, whether we should increase the parliamentary allowance while the tattered threads of wage-pegging are still attached to the economy of the nation. This subject has been argued so efficiently by the AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) that honorable members have now a clear conception of the position. There can be and we submit it in all humility - no analogy between the two circumstances. If the community elects a manto this Parliament, there is a pre-supposition that he has to do a job. If, in the performance of those duties, his expenses are increased, an adjustment must be made. The adjustment should be made, not by the Arbitration Court or the servants of the Government, but by the Parliament itself, because the Constitution provides that honorable members may increase their remuneration as the circumstances warrant. I have sufficient knowledge of the members of both houses of this Parliament to confirm the statement of the right honorable member for Cowper, that, despite unfair press criticism, they have gained for themselves over the years, from the electors in this democracy, a reputation for probity and fair dealing. The democracy in which we live is fresh, vital and alive. Our next-door neighbours know as much about parliamentary procedure and what is going on in the country, and also about the measures that are being canvassed and discussed, as do the parliamentarians themselves. I am speaking in general terms, of course. There is no possibility of our getting on to a higher level of living, or of our creating a rarified atmosphere in which we may live some kind of a remote life and become isolated figures. That may be possible for members of the British House of Commons, or even for the members of the Canadian House of Commons, but it is not possible here. We are very much of the people, and we live and work among them. There is no question of our creating layers of society in this country. There is a general level of society among the Australian people, and we live on it. In these circumstances, we are entitled to discuss openly the reasons which we consider justify the increase of allowances that is now proposed. The increases that are being provided are not salary increases, nor do they ensure an increase of status. The Government is merely endeavouring to bring closer together the two ends to which I have referred. On the lowest estimate - and I speak now as the representative of a tenuously held seat, who has a wife and two children to support - the increase will just about be enough to cover my expenses during the next election campaign. I hope that the representative of the Electoral Department, who provides the little blue forms for us, is listening to my remarks. The question that we are discussing is one that can be resolved reasonably. The ethical points involved have been dealt with by other honorable members who have spoken in the debate. I compliment the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) as to one half of his speech, on an excellent utterance, even though the other half wa3 a rather .apologetic utterance. The Attorney-General must also be complimented on his substantial contribution to the debate. Honorable members on both sides of the chamber, in fact, have discussed the subject fairly and reasonably, and I consider that we may well face any repercussions that may arise outside.

I come now to the manner in which the press has dealt with the measure. Extravagant language has been used by the Melbourne metropolitan press, but the journalists of the New South Wales press have been very reasonable in their press coverage. No one would suggest that the press should not attack a measure of this description if it considered it to be wrong, and no one could object to its doing so in such circumstances. I do not think that any one could offer objection to the manner in which the subject has been dealt with in the press of New South Wales. The press of Victoria, however, has shown a great deal of spleen and irritation in the articles that have been published, and this has not been justified by what has been done.

In support of my remarks concerning the press of New South Wales, I refer particularly to the leading article which appeared in the Sydney Daily Telegraph on the subject on the 22nd May. By no stretch of imagination can that newspaper be regarded as favorable to me or to the Australian Labour party. The article read -

The Federal Government’s proposal to raise the salary of federal members has evoked the criticism which usually follows proposals to give politicians more pay.

Public hostility on this issue is automatic, short-sighted and ungracious.

At £1.000 per year a politician - if he is worth anything at all - is miserably underpaid.

The article then referred to the payment of the Prime Minister and other Ministers, and proceeded -

Members of the Opposition are entitled to disagree with the Government’s proposal to increase salaries.

But they would be wrong to make their opposition an opportunity for party political attack.

They know, how “expensive the politician’s life is.

So they should not encourage that mean, carping attitude of contempt for the politician mid his job, to which Australians generally are prone, mistakenly believing that it expressed a sturdy democratic independence.

I wish also to refer to a letter that I have received from one of my constituents which deals with the subject from another angle. He wrote with the perverted sense of some people about bowing his head in shame, and also about the misery of wives and little children, and so on. But after indulging in this literary outpouring he forgot to sign his name. I am therefore unable to reply to him. I hope that he, too, may be listening to this debate; if so, he will know why I did not deal with his letter in my- usual way, by replying to it the same day.

The Victorian press went berserk in dealing with this measure. This was not due to the journalists working in the press gallery in this House. So far as I know, the journalists who are employed here have dealt with the subject in a level-headed way, and not as the meagreminded morons who write the leading articles of the newspapers at the behest of their bosses. The newspapers to which I refer as having gone berserk attempted to show that we were about to do something detrimental to the best interest to the people of Australia, but they quite failed to state a case. I know the words “ grab “ and “ loot “ very well, and I shall tell honorable members why these particular words are used. They are short words which enable the newspapers to publish their headlines in larger type than would be possible if longer words were used. If the Sydney Morning Herald, for example,, had followed its practice of years ago, it would have had to use letters in lS-point type, but the use of such short words as “ grab “ and “ loot “ make possible very much bigger headlines. When I was a very junior junior reporter I wrote an article to the effect that while walking along the street a lady had her handbag stolen, and I said that the thief had run down a narrow laneway to escape. The sub-editor to whom I delivered the paragraph told me that I would never make a journalist if I used language like that. He said that I ought to have written the paragraph in something like the following manner. “ Leaping off a moving tram at an intersection of George-street a man snatched a lady’s handbag, dashed along the lane and disappeared, and so was able to avoid arrest by the police.” With the same basic idea, newspapers in these days use such words as “ grab “ and “ loot “, but the use of such language does not conduce to the discussion of any subject in reasonable terms.

The increase of allowances which is being provided for in this bill will amount, I understand, to between £45,000 and £55,000 a year. The newspapers of Australia, and particularly those of New South Wales, have recently been indulging in a little looting themselves. In New South Wales, for instance, the price of the week-end newspapers has been increased by one penny. At least two of those newspapers proudly claim a circulation of not less than 400,000 copies a week. In respect of those two journals, therefore, the increased charge of Id. a copy yields about £S3,000. That is a fair-sized “ grab “. It was not claimed that the increase was due to any increases of pay to the staff, or to an increase of the cost of paper. In order to justify the charge the newspapers concerned transferred to the week-end edition the newsprint that would be required for a few pages from their Tuesday, Thursday and Friday issues, which are not as widely read as issues for the other days of the week. The week-end editions thus appeared in an enlarged form and, on this ground, the increase of the charge to fourpence a copy was justified. Even assuming that an increase of production costs of £20,000 were involved in the change of policy, the newspapers concerned would still reap the handsome profit of £63,000 a year. Honorable gentlemen on both sides of the House, therefore, must realize that the ancestral home of such words as “ grab “ and “loot” is not the Houses of Parliament, but the offices of the newspaper directorates of this country.

As to the percentage of the increase of allowances to honorable members of the Parliament, all I wish to say is that an increase has been granted recently to members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. That is well-known. What is perhaps not as well known is that about the same time the members of the Canadian House of Commons alco voted in favour of an increase of their emoluments. In relation to wage and salary increases generally, the same percentage of 50 per cent, is observable. The basic wage in 1920, as has been pointed out by several honorable members, was £3 12s. 6d. a week, whereas to-day it is £5 6s. a week, an increase of 50 per cent. I do not want to cite the analogy of the old-age pension, because the comparison is rather tragic; nevertheless, there has been an increase of 200 per cent, in that payment. If there is any substance in the argument that the proposed increase is justified, it must be based on the percentage increase throughout the nation. No one will suggest that if we do not accept this increase the amount received by the basic wage earner will advance by £5 a week to-morrow.

Another vital point is the enlargement of the electorate. The statistics show that the average New South “Wales electorate consisted of 39,979 electors in 1920, and that it consists of approximately 66,000 to-day. In Victoria, the increase has been from 41,000 to 67,000. In addition, as every honorable member knows, the volume of work that has to be done by a member of the Parliament has increased with the passage of the years. I have been a member of this Parliament for only a little less than four years, yet even I have noticed an acceleration of the volume of the work involved in the representation of my constituency. .Since the matter of social services has become a vital Commonwealth problem during and since the war, we have had to work very close to our electorates in matters of representation, and in some instances the burden has become unduly heavy.

Finally, I revert to my argument, namely, the human aspect of the proposed increase. I believe that a man who has an income approaching £1,000 a year, or even £800 a year, in industry, would be ill-advised to enter Parliament, unless he realized that he must forfeit the whole of his time. There is no such thing as a 40-hour week for the politician. If we were judged according to trade union standards we would be described a3 “scabs”, because of the amount of overtime that we work. There is no such thing as the sanctity of one’s place of residence, which no one can enter without an invitation, because, so long as there is a bell to be pushed or a telephone to be rung, the invasion of one’s privacy will continue. “We accept that as inescapable from the task of being a parliamentary representative. We should have the courage - if I may use that term - to point out to the people whom we represent that a fairly reasonable job is being done on their account, and that the alternative to the proposed increase, the effect of which will be merely to cover the additional expenditure to which we are subjected, is not to insist on donations, not to regard the Commonwealth member as the best “ sitting shot “ in the electorate, but to demand that a limit shall be placed on the hours which a mem-‘ ber devotes to the duties associated with his electorate, and that his wife and children shall not be involved in the fight as well as himself. The democratic people of Australia realize that. The only reason for any resistance having been offered to this measure is that, unfortunately, a certain position exists in relation to increases that may be made under the wagepegging regulations. The analogy in that connexion has not been fully sustained. As other speakers have pointed out, there must eventually be an entire abolition of wage-pegging. On the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) and other responsible Ministers, already 90 per cent, of the restriction imposed by the regulations has been removed. Therefore, without having our tongues in our cheeks, without uttering pious platitudes or ful.minations, we can put to the House the proposition that this is a reasonable increase, which will not do more than help honorable members to bridge the gap between incomings and outgoings. If the status of a Commonwealth member is to be imperilled, that will result from his inability to “ make ends meet “. I have already mentioned an alternative. In New South Wales and other States there is a seething black market. Honorable members should not delude themselves into believing that it is confined to people outside the Parliament. Some workers themselves have broken away from wage-pegging, and have sold their labour on the black market. It would be tragic from the point of view of the future of this country if, in the attempt to balance their budgets, members of this Parliament were forced to go on the black market. All of us would regard that as highly improbable. I hope that it is. But there is no need for any insincerity in regard to this matter. I have noted with great pleasure the tone of the speeches that have been delivered from the Opposition benches. While contesting the issue of timing, honorable members opposite generally have agreed that this proposal is a good one. I believe that, in the long run, it will be a good thing for the Parliament that such a stand has been taken by the Opposition. In the matter of timing, I merely ask, “ Who is to judge as to what would be the best time V History teems with instances of men who neglected to observe the Shakespearean admonition to “take time by the forelock “. If we knew of a better occasion, which would suit both the nation and the individual, I am sure that we would adopt it. The Government must accept the responsibility for what is done. A strong and representative committee has investigated the matter thoroughly. I am entirely satisfied with its findings; consequently, I support the measure.

Mr. ABBOTT (New England) [3.411. - The bill now before the House, which proposes that the allowance of members of this Parliament shall be increased by 50 per cent., and that certain additional benefits shall be given to the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, has been discussed very freely this afternoon. The opening remarks of some speakers, and a considerable portion of those of other speakers, have been devoted to the claim that a section of the press had presented the case for an increase of the allowance of members of Parliament in an unfair and prejudiced way to the people of Australia. I am not concerned about what the press says. To-day it will say one thing about a man, and to-morrow it will say another thing. My concern is that every member if this Parliament shall consider the bill on its merits, not in the light of what the press of Australia says as to what should be done. The fear which may be aroused in the hearts of weak brethren, that if they do not follow the lead given by the press they will lose their seats, should be disregarded. The bill should be con sidered carefully. Honorable members should note its implications, and its possible repercussions on the people of Australia and the economy of this nation. Having done that, they should follow the advice of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), by asking themselves various questions, and noting the replies that come sincerely from the bottom of their hearts.

I am opposed to the bill on several grounds. When the proposal was first made, I considered it from every angle. I could not conscientiously vote for the measure, and have no intention of doing so. No political pressure has been put on me from any quarter in this House, with a view to causing me to change my view. Had there been, it would not have had the slightest effect, because my mind was made up after mature consideration of the grounds on which I would oppose the proposal.

The first point that I make in opposition to the proposed increase is that, prior to the general elections that were held on the 28th September last, a contract existed in ‘regard to the allowance which members of the Commonwealth Parliament would receive for the service that they rendered to the people of Australia.

Mr Archie Cameron:

– Let us look at the contract.


– It may not have been a written contract. But it was a verbal contract, and a contract of honour which the members of this Parliament were bound to fulfil. Prior to the 28th September, neither the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), the Leader of the Opposition, nor the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) - to which I have the honour to belong - included in his policy speech any suggestion for an increase of the allowance that was to be paid to the members of the new Parliament. I do not believe that any honorable member of this House mentioned it in a speech to the electors during the campaign. I did not do so, and I have not been able to find any reference to it by a single candidate. During the life of the previous Parliament, certain additional privileges were given to honorable members. These included the provision of secretaries for members, limited rights in regard to air travel in relation to members other than those representing electorates in New South Wales, and a living allowance of 22s. 6d. a day while members were obliged to be in Canberra to attend to their parliamentary duties. On the 28th September, the people of Australia returned the present Government to power, with a somewhat reduced but still a considerable majority, thus, apparently, endorsing what had been done during the life of the previous Parliament. I want to make it perfectly clear that my attitude has been consistent -throughout, and that the attitude that I am adopting to-day is consistent with that which I adopted in the Parliament which expired in 1943. When the Canberra allowance was granted, I refused to accept it until it had been endorsed by the electors at the polls. I did not collect the arrears which had accumulated up to the date of the elections, and I have received the allowance only since that date. I consider that in bringing down this bill, the Government is making a new, unilateral contract, without consulting the other party to the existing contract as to its willingness to have the proposed amendment made. Such a practice, if continued, would ultimately wreck democracy. If leaders of parties place certain policies before the people, and subsequently give effect’ to other policies in regard to which the people ought to have been but were not consulted, the result will be very detrimental to democratic government and to the parliamentary institution in the Commonwealth of Australia.

My second point relates to the policy which the Government has claimed it has followed ever since it has been in office, and particularly during the life of the Chifley administration, namely, the prevention of inflation in Australia. The determination or decision has been to maintain the existing purchasing power of wages because, as the Prime Minister very truly said, no one suffers more from inflation than do wage and salary earners, who have saved their money and invested it in gilt-edged securities, or have taken out life insurance policies for the benefit of their widows. They suffer, because they have monetary assets.

As the value of money depreciates, their assets disappear. That occurred during the great deflation in Germany in 1923. The anti-inflation policy of the Government has been applied, first through the rigid control of prices by means of their fixation and rationing, and secondly, by means of wage-pegging. The Government has fought a very strong rearguard action for the maintenance of wagepegging in the Australian community. The third leg on which the Government rested its anti-inflation policy was very heavy taxation, which was particularly severe on the higher incomes in order to ensure that some people did not accumulate huge savings at a time when the incomes of wage-earners were kept down by wage-pegging. The Government and its supporters have claimed that this policy was successful, and that the general price level, as reflected in the ‘ cost of living, did not increase more than 25 per cent, during the war. As I have said, the Government fought a stiff rearguard action to maintain wage-pegging in the face of strikes and other forms of pressure. It also subsidized prices in order to keep down the cost of commodities to consumers. Since the end of the war, the relief afforded taxpayers has been given slowly and grudgingly. The AttorneyGeneral claimed that 90 per cent, of the restrictive force of the wage-pegging regulations had been removed, but he went on to say that relief was obtainable only by applying to the Arbitration Court. Originally, before the relaxation of the regulations, relief could be obtained only by proving the existence of anomalies. Now, a measure of relief can be given by a ruling of the Chief Judge of the Arbitration Court. The truth is that wageearners did not during the war, and do not now, enjoy the right to demand an increased wage of 50 per cent., and to hold up industry if their demand is refused. That right has never been conceded by the Government or the Arbitration Court. Therefore, it is wrong that this Parliament, without any inquiry by a judicial body, or a committee of members, should increase parliamentary allowances by 50 per cent. I cannot see any reason why a judicial body should not have been appointed, in an advisory capacity, to inquire into the whole subject of allowances in relation to what workers in industry outside receive, and bearing in mind the increased cost of living since parliamentary allowances were last fixed in 1920. We have heard much about the increased expense to which members of Parliament are now subject. I have been a member of this Parliament since 1940 - more than seven years-

Mr James:

– Too long !


– The only occasion when there ever seemed to be any danger that I might be defeated was at the election in 1943. Fortunately, the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) spoke against me in the town of Gloucester, and afterwards I received in that town the largest vote I was ever given there. The honorable member for Hunter was responsible for that, and I thank him. As a matter of fact, members of Parliament will receive more net income in the next couple of years, because of reduced income tax, than they received during the war. 1” admit that the press did not state fairly the position in regard to secretarytypists for members of Parliament, but the fact remains that before their appointment many honorable members did, in fact, employ secretary-typists at their own expense to help them in their parliamentary work. Therefore, the salary of £280 a year which is now paid to the secretary-typists out of the public funds represents a measure of relief to members of the Parliament..

Another consideration is the allowance of 22s. 6d. a day to members of Parliament while they are in Canberra. Hitherto, it was stipulated that members representing electorates in the eastern States could draw only £100 a year under this provision, while other members were permitted to draw £125. However, since the 14th May, this provision has been relaxed, so that members may now benefit to a greater extent. Therefore, taken by and large, the position of members of Parliament is far better than it was.

I believe that this proposal will do more to increase the danger of severe inflation than any other single action by any body of persons since the Government came into power, and I will throw in all the trade unions and black-marketeers. It will, if carried into effect, prove to be disastrous to Australia’s economy.

Minister for Repatriation · BASS, TASMANIA · ALP

– Rubbish!


– The Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Barnard) interrupted me in a very rude way-


– The honorable member must address the Chair.


– I will tell you, sir, what the Minister said.


– Yon shall not tell me. You must address yourself to the bill.


– How can the Government expect wage-earners to accept wagepegging, or primary producers to accept price-fixation, when the Parliament ignores it3 own legislation and says, in effect, that there shall be one law for the people and another for members of Parliament? The Government is saying that what is good for the people is not necessarily good for the politicians. There is no logic in that proposition, and no principle, either. We were told by the press that certain members of Parliament and certain Ministers had opposed this proposal in caucus. The Prime Minister, it was said, was one of these, but he is reported to have observed -

I can see by the light in their eyes that they are determined to have the rise; consequently, it is no good resisting them.

Mr Conelan:

– Who said that ?


– That is what the press said. Whether it is true or not I do not know. A comparison may be drawn between members of caucus when confronted with the prospect of an increase of their allowances and a mob of cattle that smell water after a long, dry journey. No doubt, you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, from your knowledge of cattle-droving in your own electorate, will be able to appreciate the comparison.


– The honorable member is getting away from the subject-matter of the bill.


– I am seeking to make a comparison in order to show how similar is the behaviour of members of caucus and of cattle in the circumstances described.


– If the honorable member does not discuss the bill he will not be given an opportunity to refer to anything else.


– When there is danger of a stampede among cattle, a good drover will avert the danger by ringing the mob. When there is danger of a stampede among human beings, a good leader will direct their minds away from policies, which, if applied, are likely to prove disastrous. In this instance, the Prime Minister, like the bad drover, sat idly by. He let his men stampede for increased allowances, and the effect will be disastrous, just as would be the effect on a stampeding mob of cattle, which would crush one another to death in their rush for water. If this bill is passed the economy of Australia will be most disadvantageous^ affected. I am opposed to the proposal because it brings the system of parliamentary government into contempt. In his second-reading speech on the bill the Prime Minister said -

This measure is amply justified by changes in economic conditions, and by the increasing responsibilities now shouldered by members of the Commonwealth Parliament.

Except for reductions made in accordance with financial emergency legislation, parliamentary allowances have remained unaltered for 27 years, the last adjustment having been made in 1920. in the meantime, there has been a substantial rise in incomes generally. Average wage rates have increased by about 50 per cent.

I propose to test that, not over a whole series of industries, but by citing the experience of the workers in one outstanding organization, the Australian Workers Union. In 1920, the rate in the eastern States for shearers was 40s. a hundred. In March, 1947, it was 47s. a hundred, an increase of 17£ per cent. In 1920, the basic wage in New South Wales was £4 5s. a week. In 1921, the basic wage fixed by the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, plus, the Powers loading of 3s., was £4 lis. 6d. a week. In 1947, it was £5 10s. a week, an increase of 17 per cent. Where do we get this 50 per cent, increase of the basic wage about which the Prime Minister spoke? His statement was manifestly untrue, and cannot be supported by statistics. The making of such statements can serve only to lower the prestige of the Parliament and of the Government in the eyes of the people.

The Prime Minister also said that increasing responsibilities were being shoul dered by members of the Commonwealth Parliament. I say advisedly that the volume of work for members of Parliament is less to-day than it was during the war. Economic controls are being lifted - though not so quickly as I should like - and the States have taken over a tremendous amount of the work formerly performed by the Commonwealth. In addition to that, members of Parliament have the assistance of secretary-typists. The proposal is contrary to the economic policy laid down by the Prime Minister himself, and by the late John Curtin, and the Prime Minister has resorted to subterfuges in an attempt to justify some-, thing which in his heart he must know is fundamentally unsound and morally wrong. This will have the effect of bringing the Parliament into contempt at a time when it is more than ever necessary to uphold its prestige. There are four great dictatorships in the world to-day, that of Franco in Spain, that of Peron in Argentina, that of Salazar in Portugal, and that of Stalin in Russia, which was described by President Truman as being as absolute as any in the world. Actions like that which the Government is now proposing to take make the people wonder whether parliamentary institutions are all that we who love freedom and democracy have made them out to be; or whether they are tending to turn more and more towards dictatorship, towards totalitarian methods of government, in which the State counts for everything and the individual for nothing.

Recently the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) asked me what I intended to do with the increased allowance if it were approved. The honorable member said, “ You will accept it ? “ I now inform him exactly what I propose to do. I shall not accept the increased allowance until such time as the people have expressed their views upon it at the polls. In this respect I shall repeat my attitude towards the Canberra allowance.

Mr James:

– Did the honorable member subsequently accept it retrospectively?


– No; I drew the Canberra allowance only after the following election. I thank the honorable member for his interjection because it gives- me an opportunity once again to clear up this matter. If a member of the Parliament is permitted to refuse to accept the increased parliamentary allowance and is not charged income tax in respect of such increase, I shall leave the whole amount that may be due to me in the Treasury pending the ascertainment of the will of the people. I understand from the Attorney-General’s remarks that tax may be levied upon the increased amount. If that beso, I shall take only sufficient of it to pay the increased tax; the rest of it I shall return to the Treasury and will continue to refuse to accept . the increased amount until the people have recorded their opinion of the proposal at the next election.

Debate (on motion by Mrs. Blackburn) adjourned.

page 3373


Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 2)

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · Ballarat · ALP

– I move - [EXCISE TARIFF PROPOSALS (No. 2.).]

That the Schedule to the Excise Tariff 1921-1939, as proposed to be amended by the Excise Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the fourteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-six, be further amended as hereinafter set out, and that on and after the fifth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and forty-seven, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Excise be collected in pursuance of the Excise Tariff 1921-1939 as so amended. The tariff proposals I have just introduced are designed to implement the Government's decision to reduce the rate of excise duty on spirit used in the fortification of wine consequent on the cessation of the payment of bounty on wine exported from the Commonwealth. The Wine Export Bounty Act 1939-44, insofar as the payment of bounty is concerned, lapsed on the 28th February, 1947, and it is not proposed to renew it. Under the provisions of that act, an amount of 2s. 6d. a proof gallon from the excise duty imposed on spirit used for the fortification of wine is regularly transferred to a trust account from which the bounty is paid. Consequent on the cessation of the bounty it is proposed to reduce the rate of duty on fortifying spiritby 2s. 6d. a proof gallon, the amount previously found necessary to maintain bounty payments. The existing excise tariff item 2 (j) (1) provides for concessional rates of duty on spirit used in fortifying wine or grape must prior to the 13th March, 1930. The concessional rates referred to are 5s. a proof gallon for spirit distilled from doradillo grapes, and 6s. a proof gallon for spirit distilled from other types of grapes, as compared with 6s. 6d. a proof gallon for all types of spirit used for fortification of wine after the 13th March, 1930. The quantity of spirit yet to he cleared from bond to which the concessional rates apply is negligible - it amounts to only approximately 1,600 proof gallons and the justification for the continuance of the concession no longer exists. In consequence a flat rate of excise duty is now deemed appropriate. For all practical purposes the existing rate of duty on all fortifying spirit can be regarded as being 6s. 6d. a proof gallon, and the proposal now introduced, for the reasons I have stated, provides for the rate of duty to be reduced to 4s. a proof gallon as from 9 a.m. on the 5th June, 1947. Honorable members will note that the proposal will not affect revenue from spirit used for the fortification of wine for the reason that, of the amount previously collected, only 4s. a proof gallon has been credited to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 3374 {:#debate-22} ### PARLIAMENTARY ALLOWANCES BILL 1947 {:#subdebate-22-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed *(vide* page 3373). {: #subdebate-22-0-s0 .speaker-JPL} ##### Mrs BLACKBURN:
Bourke .- Some months ago, I was asked by representatives of the press what would be my attitude in the event of an increase of the parliamentary allowance. I have had no reason to change the answer I gave then, nor am I likely to do so. I did not then believe that there was any intention to increase the parliamentary allowance. Apparently there had been rumours which had not reached me. Before that time there had been considerable agitation on the part of the workers for an increase of the basic wage, and when a small increase was granted, prices immediately rose, so that the increase had very little effect upon the position of basic wage workers. Ever since I have been a member of this House I have endeavoured to place before the Government the plight of invalid and old-age pensioners, civilian and war widows and other groups of persons living on small allotments, urging that the payments to these people be increased in order to enable them to meet rising prices. On every occasion, the reply of the Government was that a small increase would be granted after the 1st July next. When these requests were made, I understood1 from the answers given that theGovernment was under the impression that it did not have sufficient money to grant an increase of more than. 5s. a week to these people. It appearsthat the Government is now in possession of moneys which it did not expect to have at its disposal, the surplus on the year's transactions being likely to reach an amount of £43,000,000. If some of that money had been used to augment thepensions and allotments of the various groups of persons to which I have referred I would have felt somewhat differently towards the proposed increase of the parliamentary allowance. Justification for the increase, to adopt a phrase used by the Treasurer **(Mr. Chifley),** is to be found in " the change in economic conditions". If that be a good reason I can only say that economic conditions press more heavily on the groups of persons I have mentioned than on members of the Commonwealth Parliament. The cost of living has increased far beyond the meagre increase proposed in respect of invalid and old age and widows' pensions, and others. I am aware of the arguments for the increase of parliamentary allowances. Some of them are reasonable and others are not. But nothing like a 50 per cent, increase is proposed for the basic wage worker and those other groups' of persons to which 1 have referred. One argument freely used by honorable members of the Parliament is that the expenses of representing a constituency are so great that members cannot hold their seats on their present allowance. The phrase "hold their seats " interests me. A hundred years ago members of Parliament bought their seats. We do not expect people todo that now. I am aware that the expenses of members of Parliament are heavy and that they are expected to give freely to various causes. It is true that at the end of every month many of us have nothing left of our allowances. There is, however, a way out of the difficult position in which members find themselves. I suggest that a measure could be introduced providing for what I might describe as an " electoral allowance " on a basis similar to the mayoral allowances granted by municipalities and shires. The electoral allowance might even amount to £500 per annum. If such a system were adopted the electors would know that the money would be returned to them. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr Beale: -- That would be even better than the Government's proposal because members would not be taxed in respect of such an allowance. {: .speaker-JPL} ##### Mrs BLACKBURN: -- The electors would be satisfied if they felt that that money was being returned to them. Members should be satisfied because they also would feel freer in respect of money spent in that way than they do now. That arrangement, I think, " would also have to include an audited annual return in order that constituents might know how the money had been spent. "Wage-pegging has been referred to, and I should not need to refer to it, but that was also included in my reasons for opposing this measure, and it was included before I knew that such a bill as this was to be brought before the House. I must oppose this bill for the reasons I have mentioned and because it looks very much like class legislation. One group of persons should not be given an advantage another group is denied. {: #subdebate-22-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
North Sydney -- The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** has stated the position of the party that he leads on this measure in such a way as to commend it to us all. I should not have spoken had not references to my action in 1920, when I was responsible for the introduction of a measure that increased the allowance of members of Parliament from £600 to £1,000, made it incumbent upon me to state my attitude towards this measure. As I have implied, I support it. It has been my privilege to be in this Parliament quite a while, and, from time to time at long and ever-extending intervals, the parliamentary allowance has been increased. Each increase has been greeted by the press in the same way. It has levelled at this Parliament acrid lucubrations of its indignation, hardly stopping short of horror, at the audacity of members of the Parliament in raising their allowances. It is said that we are the judges in our own case, that even if a prima facie case can be made out for increasing parliamentary allowances now received by honorable members it should be remitted to a judicial tribunal or some outside authority. Although 27 years have passed since the parliamentary allowance was raised from £600 to £1,000, the attitude of the press has remained unchanged. I listened with some surprise to what my friend, the honorable member for New England **(Mr. Abbott),** said just now, and I dissociate myself in a very definite way from all that he said. I do not agree with him. His attitude towards this institution is one that seems to reflect entirely those interests against which I came into public life many years ago. I have endeavoured to champion the cause of the people ever since. I entered the Parliament, not to take part in a debating society or to seek office, but to champion the cause of the people. The Parliament is the supreme instrument of democratic government, and has proved itself from the first day it was able to be master of its own household centuries ago to be the most fitting instrument for government of the people, by the people, for the people. My honorable friend says that we should not take this increase and that he will not take it until the matter has been referred to the people and they have expressed approval of it. Let me deal for a moment with the position. .Repeating, as I must, much of what the Leader of the Opposition said, I say that the right of this Parliament to fix its own allowance is fast-rooted in the Constitution itself. Section 48 of the Commonwealth Constitution provides - >Until the Parliament otherwise provides, each senator and each member of the House of ^Representatives shall receive an allowance of four hundred pounds a year, to be reckoned from the day on which he takes his seat. That provision had been submitted to the people of the whole of Australia. The people went into this greater sphere with their eyes open. The provisions of the Constitution had been diligently promulgated ; and the people with their minds fully informed approved the establishment of the Commonwealth and a Parliament endowed with the powers set out in the Constitution. It was a parliament whose members were to he paid £400 a year " until they otherwise provided ". That waa in 1901. In 1907, when **Mr. Deakin** led the Parliament, a measure was introduced to raise the parliamentary allowance to £600. It had been found that the allowance was inadequate recompense for the high and onerous duties that members of the Parliament perform. That was the precedent upon which I acted in 1920. Honorable members whose leisure hours afford them the opportunity for reading but whose range is apparently confined more or less to the newspapers have read of the indignation that has been aroused among the people of this country as the result of this latest attempt by this Parliament "to enrich itself at the nation's expense." Yet, as I have reminded- honorable members, this Parliament was expressly endowed with the power to fix the allowances of its members. In 1907 - that is 40 years ago - **Mr. Deakin,** who cannot be at all bracketed with any of my friends on the other side and was, as every one will concede, closely associated with those " powerful interests in Melbourne " against which they are wont to rail, introduced legislation to increase the allowance from £400 to £600. But although the proposal toincrease the allowance from £400 to £600 was introduced by **Mr. Deakin's** Government, the *Age* and the other newspapers did not for a moment hesitate to denounce that increase in almost the very terms that are now used against this proposal. When I introduced the proposal to increase the amount to £1,000 I, being, of course, a great man for precedent, especially when I find it convenient, fell back on what had been said when **Mr. Deakin** put his proposal before the Parliament. I was struck with the nauseating monotony of the press criticism. What the newspapers said in 1907 was repeated in 1920 and is being repeated in 1947. It may be that, in the fullness of time, because time works great wonders, they will think of something new, but of this, there is to-day, no promise. The *Argus* said on the 16th August, 1907- >Federal members have raided the Treasury. On the 22nd August, getting into its full stride as time went on, it said - >The people came to the Town Hall to declare their indignation at what they believed to be a contract broken, a trust betrayed. In the attempt to move faster than the breath of criticism, Parliament drew on its head a storm. A few phrases from the gentlemen who spoke at that historic meeting will interest honorable members - "A measure rushed through behind our backs " - the backs of the people, particularly the *Argus,* of course - " The abuse of a position of trust ". " An imposition put upon us." "A policy not of increase, but of grab." "No man shall be the judge of his own case." Those phrases are perennials. Time goes on working miracles. Even we are not immune from its influences, but it does not affect our press critics at all. What they said in 1907 and repeated in 1920, is exactly what they say to-day. In 1920, 1 was pilloried as the man who by one of those curious but most regrettable turns of the wheel had been elevated to a position of authority which made my word law. I had done this abominable and shameful thing. I had raised or sought to raise the allowances of members of Parliament to " a thousand a year ". I think I ought to tell honorable members why and how I did that. I did not do it because I was in any difficulty in the House. I had behind me great cohorts and those who sat on the other side, were a forlorn and ragged remnant. I did so because a deputation, which included members of all political parties, waited on me. " None was for a party, and all were for the bill ". I knew all of them very well. I was a colleague of some of them, and in other and quite recent days I had been a colleague of the others. They put the matter before me. I had anticipated what they would say, and I cordially agreed with all their submissions. In short, the bill was introduced and passed into law. The honorable member for New England said that he will not accept the proposed increase of £500 a year, and that the Parliament, before proceeding with this bill, should refer the matter to the people. We are all, I hope, idealists. I have been and I still am an idealist; but I am also a man who keeps his feet well on the ground. I ask honorable members to consider what happened to those who ventured to do this audacious and shameful thing of supporting a bill to increase their parliamentary allowances. Were they rejected, and cast out by the indignant populace when the people had an opportunity to register their indignation at the ballot-box? They were not! Nearly all of them were returned, but others who voted against the bill were cast in ignominy into outer darkness. {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr Abbott: -- That is all very well. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: -- The right honorable member for North Sydney is "pointing the bone " at the honorable member for New England. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- The honorable member for New England will try to live down his speech, but he will regret that he made it. When I introduced the Parliamentary Allowances Bill in 1920, I pointed out that the period 1907-20 had been most eventful. The years had worked mighty changes. For example, in 1911, the basic wage was £2 Ss. a week. In 1920 it was £3 12s. To-day, after the lapse of 27 years, it is £5 6s. a week. I ask honorable members and the people, what organization is satisfied that this amount is adequate? Is it not a fact that, in Australia, there is industrial unrest, diligently fomented, no doubt, by interested parties that seek the subversion of all democratic principles and institutions, but, nevertheless, at the base of this industrial unrest, there is a demand for higher wages? The purchasing power of the £1 has rapidly declined. In 1911, when the Harvester award was made, the cost of living index figure was 1,000. In 1926, it had risen to 1920, and in 1947 to 2400. That shows conclusively that the allowance is not greater to-day than it was in 1911, when the allowance was £600 per annum. Some honorable members contend that the proposed increase of remuneration should be referred to the people for decision. In effect, the matter has been referred to them repeatedly. I am gifted with an almost prophetic insight. On one occasion when the parliamentary allowance was under review, I heard the then honorable member for Angas, sitting across the chamber, say that he was satisfied with the amount then paid. At the following election, the people were not satisfied with him. He disappeared, and nothing has since been heard of him. A former member for Henty, who spread himself in declaring, in unctuous phrases, his satisfaction with the allowance, also disappeared. The honorable member for New Eng- land said that members of the Parliament do less work now than they did during World War II. Every honorable member must speak for himself. Per- sonally, I do not find that I am doing less now than I did a few years ago. Other honorable members must answer that question themselves, after having searched their own consciences and experience. There is an idea, which I am afraid is widespread and is certainly diligently fomented by the press, than when the Parliament is not in session, the position of a member is a sinecure. That is quite wrong. My own experience, which has been an extended one, is that, as a matter of fact, I have less to do in session than I have when I am at home attending to the requirements of my constituents. As for the duties of a member of the Parliament to-day, I can compare them with those of 1900 and 1907. They have grown out of all knowledge. This Parliament is the cupola, and at the same time the very foundation of our democratic system of government. Members of the Parliament should be placed in a position at least comparable with that of judges to whom a salary is paid - quite inadequate, as the Leader of the Opposition said - so that they shall be removed from all outside influences. That there are interests - not only moneyed - but other even more insidious, of course, every honorable members knows. But a member of the Parliament should be given such financial security as to ensure his freedom of expression and action. The proposed increase is thoroughly justified, but I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that the continuance of the wagepegging regulations is inconsistent with that increase which the bill proposes to grant. I regret that the Government has not taken cognizance of that. The Attorney-General **(Dr. Evatt)** dealt with this subject in a masterly manner. It is a subject which lends itself to manipulation in a lawyer's hands, and he has "broken out even". I am perfectly satisfied that the public, the Australasian Council of Trade Unions and all the unions would say that wage-pegging should be removed before the Parliament considered this bill. I know very well, although I was not present at the caucus meeting, that a considerable number of honorable members opposite think as I do on this subject. The position of a member of the Parliament is extremely important. Everybody knows that an executive, who carried out similarly important work, would receive a much higher salary. The honorable member for "Wentworth **(Mr. Harrison)** said that many men hesitated to offer their services as members of the Parliament because they would be exposed to the shafts of poisonous criticism. That is true. But then, they have the consolation of being able to earn in business substantially more money than they would receive as members of the Parliament. The Leader of the Opposition devotes his time and his talents to the service of the Commonwealth. No one can deny that he could, earn two or three times as much money at the Bar. That statement also applies to many other honorable members. "We must not forget that conditions have changed. A few days ago, an honorable member informed me that miners at the face in the metalliferous mines at Broken Hill were able to earn £20 a week, or approximately £1,000 a year. Coal-miners working at the face in Newcastle probably earn £750 or £800 a year. When in 1907, the Prime Minister of the day, **Mr. Deakin,** introduced the Parliamentary Allowances Bill to increase the allowance to £600 a year, the income tax payable was £14. In 1920, when I introduced the Parliamentary Allowances Bill to increase the remuneration from £600 to £1,000 a year, the tax was £100 a year. To-day the tax is a subject for " prayers and lamentations ". I leave the matter at that. I shall support the bill, but shall vote for the amendment submitted by the Leader of the Opposition. {: #subdebate-22-0-s2 .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter .- One remark by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** should not be permitted to pass without comment. The right honorable gentleman said that he believed that the bill should be referred to an allparty committee of both Houses of the Parliament. The Attorney - General **(Dr. Evatt)** asked the Leader of the Opposition, by interjection, whether,, if the proposed committee were torecommend the increases, he would accept them, and the right honorable gentleman replied in the negative. What, then, does he desire?' Apparently, he wants a little bit both ways. The right honorable member for Cowper **(Sir Earle Page)** correctly stated that the members of the Commonwealth Parliament had never abused their powers. He pointed out that, although under theConstitution, the members of the Parliament were not liable to pay income tax they desired to be on the same footing asother citizens, and had voluntarily agreed to meet all the taxes appropriate to their incomes. The honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Harrison)** opposed thebill and, in the course of his remarks,, said that, as a volunteer soldier, he had worked in an honorary capacity in the New South Wales Lines of Communication Area, and, although he refused toaccept any payment, he was taxed on theamount of pay to which he was entitled. When the honorable member was asked by interjection whether . he would take theallowance provided under this bill, hemade some ambiguous reply and said that he supposed the allowance would be subject to income tax in the same way as the military remuneration to which hewas entitled but had not accepted. He added that both would probably be in the same category. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: -- The honorable member obviously was not listening to my speech. I said that I was not taxed in regard to the military pay to which I was entitled but which I did not accept. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- I understood the honorable gentleman to say that he was taxed,, and that any amounts to which he was entitled under this measure would probably be regarded as being in the same category, in respect of taxation, as the military pay which he did not accept. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: -- Why not be honest, and quote what I said. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- We all are aware that one letter comes to us regularly to which we make no reply. It is the notification from the Clerk of the House that our allowance has been paid to the credit of our banking account. The honorable member for New England **(Mr. Abbott)** has said that he will not accept this increase of allowance. I suggest to him and other honorable members whose views are similar, that an arrangement be made with the Commissioner of Taxation to deduct from the £500 now being provided any amount due for taxes, and that the remainder be paid to the Clerk. The honorable member for New England said that this subject should be referred to a judicial tribunal for consideration and report. In 1920 **Mr. Justice** Edmunds was - requested by the Government of New South Wales to inquire into and report upon the question of increasing the salaries or allowances to Ministers and members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales. His report was ordered to be printed on the 25th November, 1920. His Honour indicated, in his report, that allowances were first made to members of the Legislative Council of New South Wales in 1889, and were given, not as salary, but as expenses, the amount being £300 a year. No check was made as to whether the members expended the whole £300. That matter was left to their sense of honour. His Honour made some interesting assessments of members' expenses. He set down election expenses at £150, or £50 a year, contributions to charities and other public bodies, £20 a year, and expenses incurred by country members in attending the sittings of the Parliament, £1 10s. a day for a period of 26 weeks, or £273 a year. He also stated the cost to members of providing assistance in connexion with their parliamentary work as £150 a year. In connexion with the finding that it cost members of the State Parliament £273 in living expenses, if they came from country electorates, I point out that honorable members of this Parliament did not provide a comparable living allowance for themselves until about eight months ago, and then the amount was only £1 2s. 6d. a day, although, in 1920, His Honour estimated that the cost was £1 10s. a day in respect of State members. It must he remembered also that the constituency of a member of the Commonwealth Parliament is comparable in extent with that of five State constituencies. That means that members of the Commonwealth Parliament have about five times as much work to do as members of the State Parliament, particularly taking into account the wide area over which Commonwealth members are obliged to travel. As to the " nips " made into Commonwealth members for donations to charitable institutions and the like, I say no more than to point out that whenever an appeal is made to a State member, a similar appeal is almost invariably made to a Commonwealth member. I confess that I often wish that people who are seeking donations to charitable causes would sometimes forget that "Old Rowley" is their Commonwealth member. **His** Honour put the travelling expenses of State members down at £50 a year. The members of the Parliament of New South Wales granted themselves a travelling allowance of £50 a year in 1938, but the members of this Parliament have never granted themselves a comparable travelling allowance. His Honour also stated that the cost to a member of a State Parliament of maintaining a second home during the parliamentary sittings is £6 7s. a week, or £331 10s. a year. This refers, of course, to members representing country constituencies. His report then proceeded - >On the whole subject of the first question (members' allowances), I accordingly find and report that the sum which might be reasonably regarded as an adequate annual salary or allowance for members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales is £875 per annum. That report was made in 1920, and we all know that the purchasing power of the £1 has fallen seriously since that time. The work of members of the Commonwealth Parliament has increased very greatly by reason of the fact that they are now called upon to deal with many aspects of social service legislation that formerly came within the scope of State members. The honorable member for New England has said that he will not accept this extra allowance. The right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** dealt with this subject in a more or less light-hearted way, but I remind the House that, generally speaking, honorable members who decline to accept allowances are those who have incomes from private sources. The honorable member for New England, for example, has a property of 7,000 acres on which he raises stud stock, and from which he obtains a substantial wool-clip every year. I direct the attention of honorable members also to the paragraph in His Honour's report which reads as follows : - >I am unable to base the computation of the allowance as salary upon commercial principles because the contractual control which compels the performance of a salaried officer's duties and the commercial rules for the estimation of the value of services rendered in performance of a contract cannot be applied in this case. That means, in effect, that it is impracticable to bring members of Parliament within the ambit of ordinary wage-fixing tribunals. Apart from that, the Constitution provides that the Parliament shall fix its own allowances; therefore, whatever amount was fixed by such a tribunal, the Parliament would still have to pass the law to ratify it. One reason for that is that parliamentarians are never really off duty. We read press criticism from time to time about the relatively small number of days on which Parliament sits. I wish that Parliament would sit continuously, for it is really a vacation to come to Canberra for the sittings of Parliament when we compare this aspect of our duty with the arduous task that we have, when we are in our electorates, of travelling from place to place continuously to attend to business that arises within the electorate. I believe that the report of **Mr. Justice** Edmunds is of sufficient importance to justify incorporation inHansard, and I ask for leave to do so. {: #subdebate-22-0-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I should like some information about the length of the document. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- The evidence is not published with the report, and the report consists of only two pages of printed matter. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Is leavegranted ? {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- No. Leave not granted. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- In that case I shall have to read the report. It is as follows : - > *Royal Commission of inquiry into the question of increasing the salaries or allowances to Ministers and Members of the Legislative* {: .page-start } page 3380 {:#debate-23} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-23-0} #### REPORT To His Excellency the Honorable **Sir Walter** Edward Davidson, Knight Commander of the MostDistinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Governor of the State of New South Wales and its Dependencies, in the Commonwealth of Australia. May it Please Your Excellency, - Having made the inquiry required by the Royal Commission issued to me on 28th October, 1920, I have the honor to submit this Report upon the subject matter of the Commission - The public sittings of the Commission were held on 29th October, 8th, 15th, and 19th November, 1920. The minutes of evidence and the exhibits are appended hereto. The questions submitted to the Commission are: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What sum might be reasonably regarded as an adequate annual salary or allowance for Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales; 1. What sum might be reasonably regarded as an adequate annual salary for Ministers of the Crown in the said State. The scope of the Commission is limited to the work of an assessment of a reasonable amount in answer to the above two questions and does not extend to the consideration of any unsettled question of public policy. I am of opinion that it is my duty to look for guidance as to the principles on which such assessments should be made to the method by which the legislature has determined the same matter in the past. {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Salaryor Allowance for Members of the Legislative Assemblyof New South Wales. Until the passing in 1889 of the Parliamentary Representatives Allowance Act, 53 Vic. No. 12, Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales received no direct payment as allowance for the discharge of their parliamentary duties. Passes enabling them to travel free over the Railways and Tramways of New South Wales and the stationery and postage stamps used in parliamentary correspondence were, however, provided for them by the Government. The allowance of £300 per annum was expressed by the said Act to be made by way of reimbursement for expenses incurred by them in the discharge of their parliamentary duties. The expenditure of a member was left wholly uncontrolled by any authority other than the member himself, and the sum of £300 was received without any question being raised whether the expenses incurred in the discharge of the parliamentary duties amounted to £300 or not. It thus appeared to me that the amount of allowance should be the same for all members, and should be estimated in respect of all matters in which the members are ordinarily compelled to incur expenditure in the discharge of their parliamentary duties. According to the evidence, the matters on which the allowance has been, in fact, expended, are : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Election expenses. 1. Contributions to public charities and other public objects. 2. Expenses of attendance at the House during the sittings of Parliament. 3. Expenses of assistance in the members' private or parliamentary work. 4. Travelling expenses. 5. Maintenance of home. {: #subdebate-23-0-s0 .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- Having read so far, I ask for leave to. incorporate the remainder of the report in *Hansard.* Leave granted. In 1912 the Parliamentary Representatives Allowance Act, No. 19, of 1912, increased the amount of the allowance to £500. {: type="1" start="1"} 0. *Election Expenses.* - These may not be expenses " incurred in the discharge of parliamentary duties " within the strict interpretation of that expression. But they are necessarily incidental to the position, and have always been, in fact, an object to which the allowance was applied. I estimate them to have been in 1889, and to be at the present time, £150 for an election, or £50 per annum. 1. *Contributions to Public Charities and other Public Objects.* - The above criticism as to election expenses coming within the expressed objects of the allowance, apply also to this matter. But it seems to me that no man in a prominent public position could, or should, escape reasonable contribution of this kind, nor that any such man can be regarded as taking his due part in public affairs unless he so contributes. A reasonable amount to be provided for these purposes I assess at £20 per annum. 2. *Expenses of attendance at the House during the Sittings of Parliament.* - For members living in the country this expenditure is considerable, and' is ordinarily inevitable. In the case of members living inSydney, the case is otherwise. Yet residence throughout the year within or near a populous electorate may entail an expenditure by the member of thecity electorate of which the country mem- ber; at least during his absence from his electorate, is relieved. As it seems to me necessary and just to make the allowance for country members, the same amount must, on the rule of uniformity, be extended to all. I estimate the allowance under this heading at £1 10s.. per day for twenty-six weeks or £273 per annum. 3. *Expenses of Assistance in the Members' Private or Parliamentary Work.* - It. was shown in the evidence, more particularly the evidence of **Mr. Bruntnell** and **Sir Joseph** Carruthers, that a member's public or private business cannot be properly done without such assistance. I estimate the allowance under this heading at £150 per annum-. 4. *Travelling Expenses.* - To visit even once all the occupied parts of any of the largest of the electorates of New South Wales could cause an expenditure of hundreds of pounds. This was the case also in 1889. It seems to me, therefore, that such visits, however necessary or desirable they may be for the purpose of qualifying a member for performance of his duty, were not provided for as objects coming within the policy of the Act of 1889. For this reason I do not make any provision for them now. There is in fact, however, an expenditure ordinarily incurred by all members in travelling on public business. I assess the allowance under this heading at £50 per annum. *Maintenance of Home.* - It might be fairly argued that if the above matters were contemplated as objects of expenditure by members of the legislature in 1889, there was nothing left of the £300 to be applied to the maintenance of a home. But in fact the circumstances of many members have compelled them to so apply the whole or some portion of the allowance, and at the present time, 60 per cent. of the members have no source of income other than their parliamentary allowance. In my opinion, it is impossible in this state of facts to exclude this heading from the list. I assess the allowance in this regard at £6 7s.6d. per week, or £331 10s. per annum. On the whole subject of the first question, I accordingly find and. report that the sum which might be reasonably regarded as an adequate annual salary or allowance for Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales is £875 per annum. I am unable to base the computation of the allowance as salary upon commercial principles because the contractual control which compels the performance of a salaried officer's duties and the commercial rules for the estimation of the value of services rendered in performance; of a contract cannot be applied in this case. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Salaries of Ministers of the Crown. The salaries of Ministers were fixed by the Ministers' Salaries Act, No. 2 of 1908, as follows : - Since that date the number of Ministers lias been increased to thirteen without any salary being provided for the additional offices. The total sum now paid to all the Ministers is £13,500 per annum, viz.: - Although these amounts are called "salaries", in the statute, the reasons given above for my opinion that such amounts cannot be computed on the principles that apply to salaries paid in pursuance of contracts, apply to the assessment of these amounts. I find that the Ministers' Salaries Act provided the sum of £1,370 for the Ministers taken as a class, when the allowance for Members of the Legislative Assembly was £300, i.e. £1,070 more than the allowance for a Member of the Legislative Assembly, the Premier £500, and the Attorney-General £150 above, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council £570 below that sum for Ministers as a class. This is the only rule which I can find for my guidance, and accordingly I adopt it and find that the sum which might be reasonably regarded as an adequate annual salary for a Minister of the Crown is as follows: - I have, &c, Your Excellency's most obedient servant, {: type="A" start="W"} 0. EDMUNDS, Royal Commissioner. Judges' Chambers, Court of IndustrialArbitration, Sydney, November, 25th, 1920. I have already compared the duties of State and Commonwealth members. In New South Wales, there are 90 members of the Legislative Assembly, each of whom receives an allowance of £875 per annum, the total cost being £78,750. In Victoria there are 65 members of the Legislative Assembly, each of whom receives an allowance of £650 a year, the total cost being £42,150. In Queensland there are 62 members of the Legislative Assembly, each of whom receives an allowance of £850 a year, the total cost being £52,700. In' South Australia there are 39 members of the House of Assembly and 20 members of the Legislative Council who receive £600 a year, and the total cost is £35,400. In Western Australia, the 50 members of the Legislative Assembly receive £600 a year and the total cost is £30,000. In Tasmania, country members receive an allowance of £500 a year and metropolitan members an allowance of £400 a year, the total cost being £3,500. The aggregate for the whole of Australia is £222,500, in which is included the cost of the allowance for only one upper House, because I have no information in relation to what is received by the members of the upper Houses of the other States. I have disregarded them also for the reason that, for the purposes of my comparison, I have not taken into account the cost of the allowance to Commonwealth senators. I compare that figure of £222,500 with the £75,000 for members of the House of Representatives. who represent the whole of the Commonwealth, including the Northern Territory. All that I ask is that no member shall suffer loss, but that all members shall be enabled to meet their commitments in the huge areas that they have to cover. The money which can be devoted to the domestic financial obligations of some honorable members is less than that which they had when they were engaged in industry. When in the. " hungry 'thirties " it was proposed that the Commonwealth parliamentary allowance should be reduced by £250, I opposed the reduction, on the ground that the Governor-General had his allowance fixed at £10,000 a year free of tax, and that he was voted approximately £35,000 a year for the upkeep of his establishment. I said then, and I repeat now, that if the Governor-General is worth that amount, I am worth more. {: #subdebate-23-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order ! The honorable member is well aware that the name of neither His Majesty the King nor the Governor-General may be used in order to influence the debate. {: #subdebate-23-0-s2 .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- Very few members of this Parliament, particularly those who sit on this side of the House, have a private income. Twenty-seven years have elapsed since the parliamentary allowance was last increased. In the House of Commons of Great Britain, the allowance was £400 a year in 1911. It was raised to £600 a year in 1936; and to £1,000 a year in 1946, £500 of this last mentioned amount being free of income tax. In Canada, the parliamentary allowance was raised in 1946 from 4,000 dollars to 6,000 dollars, 2,000 dollars of the latter being free of income- tax. In Australian currency, the increase was from £1,250 to £1,875, of which £625 is free of income tax. I have heard it said that had this proposal been made in a cunning and " snide " manner, had it been for the payment of an additional £500 on account of expenses, there would have been no opposition to it, but on the contrary it would have received wholehearted support. Let us consider what has happened since 1920. The basic wage was £3 12s. 6d. in that year, and to-day the average is £5 6s., an increase of 50 per cent. Social services which were not then in existence have since been provided, in order that those who, unfortunately, cannot help themselves might be assisted. I have always contended that when men have been put out of industry they should be cared for and provided with an adequate standard of living. It is expected that, ultimately, the means test in respect of social services will be abolished because of our social services contributions. The invalid and old-age pension has been increased from 12s. 6d. in 1920 to £1 17s. 6d. from the 1st July next, an increase of 200 per cent. The following is a comparative table of the average number of electors in each electorate in each of the States in 1920 and 1946 :- By reason of the increase of the number of electors, the duties and responsibilities of honorable members have been considerably enlarged. The cost of the allowances of the 90 members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, at £S50 a year each, is £78,750, whereas the cost of the allowances of New South Wales members of the House of Representatives, who cover the same area, is only *£28,000.* That applies throughout Australia. Any honorable member who opposes this measure cannot claim to be living solely on his parliamentary allowance; he must have a private income in addition. {: #subdebate-23-0-s3 .speaker-JPL} ##### Mrs BLACKBURN: -- Not necessarily. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- I accept the personal correction of the honorable member for Bourke. How many other honorable members can claim to be in the same category? The silence of honorable members proves that there is only one honorable member of this House who has not to rely to some degree on a private income apart from his parliamentary allowance. There can be no cause to wonder that the honorable member for New England, who rears prize bulls and other stock on his 7,000-acre property, can adopt an heroic manner and say that he does not propose to accept the increase. If he and the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Harrison)** fear that they will be taxed on the additional sum, they can have the matter adjusted. Some persons have the idea that honorable members will have the benefit of the whole of the additional £500. According to the schedule of proposed tax reductions that has been prepared by the Treasury and is to take effect from the 1st July next, the effective increase after that date will be as is shown in the following table : - It cannot be said that members of the Parliament have ever abused their right to increase their own allowances. There has been no increase since 1921, and in 1931' they reduced their allowances by £250 a year. I cannot recall that any one else in Australia at that time voluntarily reduced his wages. I am not trying to be heroic about it. I opposed the reduction of parliamentary allowances in 1931. J believe in keeping what I have, and fighting for more - I am quite candid about that. I support this measure, and I will gladly take the increase. {: #subdebate-23-0-s4 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Wimmera -- This afternoon, we have witnessed the amazing spectacle of speakers on this side of the House being approved by members of the Government, and of a measureinitiated in the Labour caucus being approved by many members on this side of the House. {: .speaker-KSD} ##### Mr McLeod: -- What is wrong with that? {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- I did not say that there was anything wrong with it, but I suggested that it was unusual. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr Beale: -- The honorable member said that it was amazing. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- It must have been an unusual and, if honorable members wish with me to go further, an amazing experience for those who have listened to the debates in this Parliament during the last fifteen months. The honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. James)** cited the allowance received by members of State parliaments, and argued that Commonwealth members, who represented large areas, were entitled to so much more. That is not the point. It is a question of right and wrong - whether it is right or wrong for us to give ourselves this increase now. I compliment the honorable member forNew England **(Mr. Abbott)** upon his attitude. He expressed in large measure what was in my own mind. Let me assure honorable members that I have not reached a hasty conclusion upon this subject. I have not been stampeded by the press, nor what has been said by other speakers in this House, whether they be partyleaders or representatives of the Government. In order to prove this, I quote the following from the *Sunraysia Daily,* a newspaper printed in Mildura, dated the 24th January, 1947 : - >Commenting on the suggested increase of up to 50 per cent. in the salaries of members of the Federal Parliament, **Mr. Turnbull,** M.H.R., said last night that the present salary of £1,000 seemed quite a large amount, but expenses, especially at election times, were very high. Apart from the £1,000 salary, private members received £8 a month stamp allowance and a form of subsistence allowance of £1 2s.6d. a day for each day that a sitting of Parliament was attended. If a member was in Canberra when Parliament was sitting, but could not attend because of illness, he would receive the allowance. The most a private Victorian member could receive under this allowance was £100. That provision,I understand, has been removed, and there is now no limit to the amount which may he received. The article continues - >A member was also entitled to a stenographertypist, for which he was allowed £285. That was a misquotation, the fact being that the amount is paid to the stenographertypist by the Government. I go on - >The member could appoint one of his family, who would receive the allowance. In **Mr. Turnbull's** case, he employed a secretary, but the allowance had to be augmented from his own pocket. I may state here, that I employ an exserviceman. The report continues - >There was no allowance to private members for hotel accommodation, said **Mr. Turnbull,** and even while in Canberra he had to pay for accommodation and also for meals at Parliament House. This was covered by the £1 2s.6d. a day. No allowance was paid for offices either in capital cities or constituencies for private members. I understand that if a member of Parliament has an office in his constituency the Government pays the rent of it. The article concluded - >First-class sleeping berth travel was provided, where available, all over Australia, and a member was able to make trunk-line calls free of charge. **Mr. Turnbull** said he had not been canvassed to ascertain his views on the suggested increase. Although the rise was necessary, the time to make such a suggestion was at election time, when electors would know the position before voting, he said. He likened the suggestion to the position when a person signed a contract for acertain amount and soon afterwards asked for a higher wage. I made that statement in January last, so that I cannot be accused of having reached a sudden conclusion, and I stick to what I then said. If I were to vote for this proposed increase it would exclude me from making a sincere expression of opinion on many matters that come before the Parliament. The right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** said that no man could be the judge of his own case. Well, we are now being asked to judge our own case. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr Beale: -- He did not say that. The honorable member has misunderstood what was said. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- I do not wish to misconstrue anything that an honorable member said. {: .speaker-DTN} ##### Dr Evatt: -- The right honorable memfor North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** condemned that very argument. He quoted it in order to condemn it. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- Then, put it the other way; but the fact remains that we are trying to be judges in our own case. My argument is logical. I do not want to misrepresent any one; but whichever way it is twisted we must arrive at the same conclusion. We know that there is chaos in industry to-day because people have been trying to get more money. I maintain that the Government is asking the people to accept counterfeit wages in that wages have not the purchasing power which money had, perhaps, six to twelve months ago. Some honorable members have asked how a member of Parliament can be expected to educate his family on the present parliamentary allowance. I ask, how can a man on the basic wage educate, his family ? I know that honorable members do not like me saying these things, but to be honest I should say them. I intend to oppose the bill, but if the second reading is agreed to I intend to move in committee an amendment providing that, instead of the increase becoming operative from the 1st of July next, it shall become operative from the date of the next general elections for the House of Representatives. That will give the people a chance to take appropriate action if they do not believe that the increase is justified. I do not say that the increase is not justified on the merits of the case. No one can tell me anything about the cost of fighting elections. I 'have fought three elections in *he last twenty months, and for six years before that I was on a very low wage with the Australian Imperial Force I have no other job besides my job in this Parliament. I give my whole time to it. If any one wants this increase more than I do, let him, as the honorable member for Hunter said, show his hand now. I believe that members of the Parliament are entitled to this rise. I agree with those who say that an allowance of £1,000 a year is not enough. I 'know that from my personal experience,'but I believe that the present is not an opportune time for us to give ourselves an increase. No increase should come into force until the next general election. {: #subdebate-23-0-s5 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON:
Barker · ALP -- It is not very often that I comment on the speeches of other honorable members, and particularly on those made by honorable members on this side of the House, but I cannot allow the speech of the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Turnbull)** to pass, without comment. It was one of the paltriest and pettiest speeches that I have heard in the whole period of my twenty years in Parliament. He quoted from ,an interview which he allegedly gave to the *Sunraysia Daily,* but apparently he wrote it himself. He states, that before he ever entered this Parliament, he had made up his mind what the job was worth. Now he gets up in his place here, and in .a selfrighteous and unctuous manner, says that no man should be the judge of his own cause. He added that he had contested three elections in 2.0 months. I say that it is a wonder he did not have to contest 20 in that .time. He has not been in this Parliament a dog-watch yet. He is a single man, 'and does not know the expenses ito which married men are subject. Since he has been in this House, he has been .one -.of the most vocal of the new members, yet 'he has contributed very little that was worth while to the debate. If .we to introduce the -system >of payment .by results for parliamentarians, the honorable member for Wimmera would be pretty well at the bottom of the list. I do not know whether the electors of Wimmera have developed a habit of putting freaks of .one kind ,or another into the Commonwealth Parliament. Wie have just got rid of one - to Norfolk Island. He was one of the most silent members we have ever had in this place. But in exchange for the towers of silence we now have the sounding brass and the tinkling cymbal. If the electorate is in any way influenced by the case submitted by the honorable member for Wimmera, God help democracy, because in that event democracy will be quite incapable of helping itself! Every honorable member who comes into this Parliament offers his services as a volunteer. To my friend the honorable member for New England **(Mr. Abbott)** I say that I am not aware that there can be any contract between the electors and a parliamentary representative unless that .representative iia foolish enough to forget his responsibility and enter into some contract with them. If, during the election campaign, the honorable member for New England told his electors that in no circumstances would he accept a parliamentary allowance in excess of £1,000- {: .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr Abbott: -- I did not do so. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- If the honorable gentleman had done so he would have been bound by his words, because any undertaking publicly given by a public man should he honoured. The honorable member assures us that he gave no such undertaking. That being so, I am particularly interested to discover whether this great contract between him and the electors of New England can mean anything for, as the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies),** the AttorneyGeneral **(Dr. Evatt),** and other honorable members have pointed out, responsibility for fixing allowances of members of this Parliament was imposed upon the Parliament itself by the Constitution which, as the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** has indicated, had been endorsed by the whole of the people in the six colonies before federation. I am one of those who believe in the Parliament carrying out its responsibilities and not running away from them. I have fought many election campaigns and never have I departed from my decision not to answer, during an election campaign, any questions about parliamentary allowances. If the electors of Barker think I shall go in for a sort of reverse auction, and enter into competition with other candidates, to determine who would do the job for the least money, I would not be interested. The first thing that stands out in my estimation of the history of Australian public life is the fact that many men have abandoned what might have been very lucrative private businesses to enter the political arena. Perhaps we have no better instances than the Leader of the Opposition, who left a very highly lucrative legal practice, the right honorable member for Cowper **(Sir Earle Page)** who abandoned an extensive and well paid medical practice, and the Attorney-General, who left the seclusion and security of the High Court of Australia to take his place in the ruck of party politics. The Attorney-General volunteered to leave his high place and descend to the political arena; the right honorable gentleman knows perfectly well that if I had had my way I would have stopped him. These gentleman had nothing to gain personally. On the contrary, in spite of the fact that they knew that by entering politics they would lose financially, they were sufficiently publicspirited to do so and we are proud to hold them up to the world at large as examples of the types of men who place public duty before private interest. The honorable gentlemen I have named would no doubt have been very well off had they remained out of politics, but they gave up their careers for what they and I believe to be the greatest career open to any man in a democratic community, namely, devotion to the public service. I am one of those who do not believe that this bill should have been brought before us. I may, perhaps, have peculiar ideas about these matters; but I believe that there' are certain things to which the attention of the people should be directed now and again, and this is one of the occasions on which the Parliament does well to examine its affairs and call the attention of the community to the way in which they are governed. We heard a good deal this afternoon from the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. James)** about the State parliaments. I am one of the members of this House who has served in a State parliament. Others include the Leader of the Opposition, the Attorney-General, the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture **(Mr. Pollard),** the Leader of the Australian Country party **(Mr. Fadden),** the honorable member for Wide Bay **(Mr. Corser),** the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Thompson),** the honorable member for Corangamite **(Mr. McDonald),** and the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Lang).** Their number could be counted on the fingers of two hands. Instead of the parliaments of the States being, as the right honorable member for Cowper said, the training ground for the Commonwealth Parliament, there appears to be disinclination on the part of members of the the State parliaments to enter the Commonwealth Parliament. There must be a reason for that. If we examine the State parliaments, the duties that they have to perform, the fact that their members have smaller and more compact electorates than Commonwealth members and the fact that State members merely have to attend the sittings of the Parliament in the capital city of their own State, one can easily see that if they desire to do so State members may continue to represent their electors and at the same time continue to carry on their own businesses. If we examine the question of costs incurred in representing the people, the areas served by a State member as compared with a Commonwealth member, and the great distances of many Commonwealth electorates from the seat of government at Canberra, we can agree that there is very little reasonable basis of comparison. I have had experience in both State and Commonwealth Parliaments. Within the confines of my own electorate there are eight and a half State electorates, and within the electorate of my honorable friend from Wakefield **(Mr. McBride)** there are about ten and a half State electorates. The honorable member has the distinction of sharing one State electorate with me. The distances which he must travel are even greater than are those which I have to traverse, and we are not by any means the worst off in that regard. Certain interested people, however, have no regard for these difficulties, and so we must direct public attention to them now and again. In the South Australian Parliament, for instance, a session begins. about the end of June or the middle of July, and finishes either in the middle of November or, at the very latest, early in December. For the rest of the year members of that Parliament have their own affairs to attend to. It is true that they are on duty all the time, but they have a certain amount of freedom. In my twelve years' experience in the Commonwealth Parliament I have found that the duties of members have increased immensely in volume and, as the result of Commonwealth legislation, in variety also. As the result of the vote of the people at the last elections, the introduction of social services legislation will bring about a terrific increase in the volume and variety of our functions. Whether we like it or not many functions are being taken away from the States, and are being added to the responsibilities of the Commonwealth Parliament. Consider what has happened in respect of income tax alone. When I first entered the Commonwealth Parliament each State had its own income tax laws ; to-day the whole burden of income tax collection, and administration, falls on the Commonwealth, and, consequently, upon the representatives of the people in the Commonwealth Parliament. Social services are being handed over to the Commonwealth in increasing volume. I read a press statement recently indicating that all hospitals are to be brought under Commonwealth control. If that be done, members of this Parliament will have more headaches than they have ever had before in their lives. From practical experience of the administration of the invalid and old-age pensions legislation every honorable member knows just what is ahead of him as the result of these changes. The responsibilities of members of the Commonwealth Parliament are increasing day by day. I cannot pass over one argument which so far has not been advanced in this debate.' During the election campaign last year, in accordance with my usual wont, I made some fairly rough forecasts of the political weather. I said then that I thought that if the Labour party were returned to office two things could be relied upon to happen; first, there would be a heavy increase of the number of members of the Commonwealth Parliament, and, secondly, there would be an increase of the cost of the government of the Commonwealth. I felt reasonably sure that an increase of parliamentary allowances was then being hatched. I do not want to go into great detail about that because I was a member of the last parliament, as most of us were, and we all know perfectly well that this question of an increase .of the parliamentary allowance did not arise since the last elections. If my memory serves me aright, it arose about two years ago before the right honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Chifley)** was sworn in as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth. If we look through the newspapers we shall see recorded there a division taken at a meeting of the Australian Labour party showing the names of members who voted for and against a certain proposal involving a review of the salary, emoluments and appurtenances of members of the Commonwealth Parliament, For honorable members to say that this is something which has just blown up like an atomic explosion is so much stuff and nonsense. We know that such a proposition has been under consideration for some time past. More members of Parliament will reduce the volume of duties of members, but not the variety of duties. There will be no alteration of the geographical relationship between the electorates and the Australian Capital Territory. There will be no alteration of the fact that many Commonwealth departments are administered, not from Canberra, but from Melbourne and Sydney. If one has anything to do in connexion with the Commonwealth Bank, or finance generally, one mostly has to go to Sydney to do it. Some tax matters can be dealt with in the State capitals, but others have to be handled in Canberra. Many departments are still located in Melbourne.. I raise this simply because the electorate, should know,that, even with an increased membership of the Parliament, the. variety of the duties of honorable members will not be diminished. Rather will it be substantially increased because of legislation, which. I have opposed but which, has the undoubted support of the Australian community. The electors cannot deliberately support by their votes; a policy that includes extension of Commonwealth activities and at the same time say, " After all, the Commonwealth Parliament is having an extremely easy time and should be getting on comfortably". The two do not fit together. The sooner the Parliament tells the electorates the truth about these things the better it will be.. The next point I want to raise is one that seems to escape the notice of a lot of the people. The history of payment of members of Parliament goes back beyond the memory of most of us. Payment of members existed before we took any interest in politics. It goes back beyond our generation. But there was. a time w;hen; members of Parliament were not paid, and I have a strong feeling, from my reading of history, that a bigh percentage of members, including, those in colonial legislatures, were better paid by private interests than members have been paid since payment of members came into force, because it goes without saying that if we have a system under which men enter Parliament without obligation to the community, they will have obligations to some person or persons. I will not go into details now, but the history of the payment of members is something like this: nobody in the early days of payment of members ever expected that men would make politics entirely a full-time occupation, but the intrusion of government into private life is not something that has happened just lately, for it has gone on for a long period. It has been a steady growth. Sometimes it has been steadier than at other times. Sometimes a halt has been called, and sometimes, as in the depression, there has been a recession. But to-day we are living in an age when the population is demanding more and more from men in public life, in attending to individual desires and complaints in the electorate. So it stands to reason that, especially in Commonwealth politics, there is a growing tendency for the position, to become so. difficult that many men find it necessary to devote practically their whole time to the electorate.. I have no doubt that some men like that will be found on both sides of the House., Both here and in my constituency I have made no secret of the fact that I spend as much time at home as I can. If the electorate does not approve of my methods and views, it has the opportunity every three years of deciding who shall be its representative for the next three years. The point I make is important. We can sum up the history of the members of parliament in the colonies, the States and the Commonwealth in a, short, sentence: There has been practically np graft. Likewise, as far as the persons that the right honorable member for Cowper referred to are concerned, few men have died leaving a great deal as the result of long membership of the Commonwealth Parliament. So there has been very little profit. No man with any desire to accumulate a fortune in this world would ever dream of entering Commonwealth politics. Any man hoping for advancement in industry, trade, finance,. commerce or agriculture, would eschew Commonwealth politics ; he would avoid it like the plague. Yet I have noticed at election after election aggregations of newspapers telling the electors that men with business experience who have made a mark in commerce, industry, finance, agriculture, trade and so forth, should give up their vocations and devote their whole time to the representation of the electorates in the Commonwealth Parliament, and then to the administration of the country. I ask the newspaper executives how many of them would be prepared to give up their £3,000 or £4,000 a year, or whatever it is, and how many men who have developed good businesses or professions, would follow the example set by the right honorable member for Kooyong, the right honorable member for Cowper and the right honorable member for Barton and enter the Commonwealth Parliament for a salary that has prevailed since 1920. One of the deterrents is not merely the insufficiency of the salary. Before the general elections for the Parliament of South Australia, I tried to induce a good friend of mine of long standing to contest a seat, but he was not a starter. I discovered that one of his troubles was that the Parliament was an institution that was not written up too well these days. There is a lot of misunderstanding about the Parliament'. I have often told my constituents that the Parliament can hardly bc much better than the people who create it. As a jury is supposed to consist of twelve good men and true, that means fair average quality, as we say in the wheat industry, in the long run no House of Parliament can be much better than the average of the people who elect it, and, if there is much wrong with the present Parliament of the Commonwealth, we have to examine why. One of the first is whether people are paying the attention to Commonwealth politics that they ought to pay. The second is whether the emolument offered to men to cut themselves off from their homes and families and go into the Commonwealth Parliament and do a job is sufficient. The third is another that agitated my friend last year when I tried to 'induce him to enter State politics; is it worthwhile to enter Parliament and take all the kicks and criticism so freely heaped upon us all? Some men are idealists and others realists, but we all share the kicks and criticism. Some men are constitutionally not created to stand up easily to criticism or worse. .Some men are quite happy about maligning so long as they are not at the receiving end. I say to friends about to essay politics, " If you want to know the unwritten biography of a life that you have never lived yourself in your own consciousness, put up for Parliament and you will learn things about yourself that you have never even dreamed about I have no doubt that we have all had experiences that way. *Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.* {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- I have heard it said, on more than one occasion, that one must be beware of the man who offers to work for nothing, because on general principles, he is usually worth it. Possibly, some people in the community consider that that principle should be applied with opposite effects, but the services of one member of this House, for whom I have a great deal of sympathy, do not receive recognition in the bill. I refer to the position of the Leader of the Australian Country party. I can speak about it from brief experience. The gentleman who occupies that office is doing a job which is almost equal to that performed by the Leader of the Opposition. He is required to visit every State from time to time, and what is more, he must pay much more attention to country districts than to the capital cities. On the whole, the travelling which is required of the Leader of the Australian Country party is even greater than that which is normally required of the Leader of the Opposition. He is expected to lead in this House, a party the numerical strength of which is almost as great as that of the Liberal party. On one occasion, the Australian Country party was numerically the second largest party in this House, but, by its own choice, it did not constitute the official Opposition. I agree that the functions which the Leader of the Opposition performs are extremely onerous, fatiguing and responsible, but the job which is done by the Leader of the Australian Country party is no less onerous and responsible, and makes just as great a demand on a man's time and brain. So, on some future occasion, the Prime Minister should remedy this situation. During this debate, references have been made to the remuneration of the judiciary. I have not examined this matter thoroughly, but I point out that the judiciary is administered by the Attorney-General. Usually, the AttorneyGeneral is a person who has been fairly prominent at the Australian Bar, although he does not get much opportunity to practice when he holds that high office. The present Attorney-General **(Dr. Evatt)** is a former judge of the High Court. Therefore, if their Honours are suffering from any financial disability, the Attorney-General himself should be able to adjust the matter. ' The next point which I raise may be more controversial. There has been a good deal of talk, although not so much as I had expected, as to whether some honorable members will accept the proposed increase of £500 per annum. I am only a layman, but I have examined section 48 of the Constitution, and, in my opinion, it does not provide that an honorable member may accept a. part of his parliamentary allowance and refuse to accept the balance. The Constitution provides that each senator and member of the House of Representatives shall receive a certain remuneration which will be fixed by the Parliament from time to time. I am not one of those who normally would discuss this subject. I do so now with considerable diffidence and perhaps uneasiness, but I express the opinion that one of the worst things that could intrude into our public life is an argument advanced by some persons who consider that they are not able to accept an emolument voted to them by the authority of which they happen to be a part. If I had my way, I should make it clear in the law that once a man becomes a member of the Parliament, he must accept the parliamentary allowance as decided by the Parliament itself. What he does with the remuneration after he receives it is his own business, and I am not in the least interested. Some honorable members have declared that they will donate the additional £500 to charitable institutions. This is a very tender subject, and I believe that in matters of this kind one should not let his left hand know what his right hand doeth. That is my view. Whatever may be the outcome, I should deplore the repetition of a condition of affairs which I saw years ago. A member of the Parliament refused to accept an increase of the allowance, but that did not save him. His constituents rejected him at the next election. Six weeks after his selfabnegation, the electorate did not care twopence about him. His constituents were more interested in the price of wheat, or the disposal of wool by Bawra. These things are ephemeral, and are quickly forgotten. I speak of these matters as one who has taken a firm stand in this House on more than one occasion against my own colleagues - sometimes alone - but I have always taken that stand when a. political principle was at stake. In the last Parliament, I voted against the proposal that the people should be asked at a referendum to confer upon the Commonwealth complete powers with respect to social services. I have no complaint against my colleagues, who thought differently from what I did. I was one of six or seven honorable members who voted on the conscription issue, but again I have no complaint against those who thought that they should vote otherwise. On this bill, however, we are not confronted with a big issue in Australian politics, and I should deplore any attempt on the part of any person, no matter how well intentioned it may be, to make of this proposal a matter of party politics throughout the Commonwealth. The time must come when the Australian people will take a greater interest in the affairs of the Commonwealth. Many complaints are voiced about what the Commonwealth does or does not do. Recently suggestions have been made that the proposal to increase the parliamentary allowance should be submitted to the people for decision. I ask: "What kind of a question would the Government be expected to put to the people? Under the Constitution, the only referendum that may be put to the people for decision is a law which has been passed by an absolute majority of senators and members of the House of Representatives Section 48 of the Constitution provides that the responsibility for determining the parliamentary allowance shall devolve upon the Parliament. Perhaps some persons would like a question in the following terms: - >What, in your opinion, is a fair price to pay per annum for the services of men in the Parliament who can give honesty and integrity to you? The answers would :be almost as numerous as the voters. When discussing the proposal that this matter should he submitted to the people by way of referendum, I suppose that I shall commit more indiscretions, but one of them is not original. About twenty years ago, I heard referenda being discussed by a person who, at the time, was prominent in South Australian politics. He stated that a " referendum was an appeal from those who knew or who ought to know, to those who did not know and who could not possibly find out". I am not sure that I agree entirely with that expression of opinion, but I do cast it, like a water-lily upon a pond, to some honorable members opposite, in the hope that they will derive some satisfaction, if not some profit, from this matter. I propose to define my personal attitude towards the bill. 1 believe that it is not wise to proceed with this proposal at this time. If the parliamentary allowance is to be altered, the necessary legislation should be passed by an outgoing parliament, and made effective from the date of the election of the incoming parliament. On the last day of the last Parliament, two honorable members made very significant utterances. One was the former member for Herbert, **Mr. Martens,** a man with long experience in this House, whose integrity will not be challenged by any one who knows him. The other was the former member for Parramatta, **Sir Frederick** Stewart, whose integrity will not be challenged by anybody. The last speeches which they made it this House directly raised the matter of the parliamentary allowance. They said, as men who had no further practical interest in this chamber, and who were voluntarily severing their connexion with it, that, in their opinion, the parliamentary allowance was out of proportion to the services and responsibilities that honorable members have to carry. If I re member correctly, each of those two gentleman, one of whom supported the Labour party and the other the Liberal party, expressed the view that the allowance should be increased by at least 50 per cent. In a matter of this description, where all political parties are concerned, the Government should have consulted with the Leader of the Liberal party and the Leader of the Australian Country party, and then appointed a committee to examine it. However, the Government did not do so. Why, I do not know. I have not inquired. Perhaps it is not for me to know, but the Government, rightly or wrongly, decided upon a certain course, and, so far as I know, no official or unofficial communications passed from the Prime Minister to the Leader of the Liberal party and the Leader of the Australian Country party on this subject. The political parties which constitute the Opposition in this ' Parliament have been completely ignored on this matter, which has caused great heartburning outside this legislature. It should have been otherwise. In the circumstances, I propose to support the amendment submitted by the Leader of the Opposition. Even now, it is not too late for the Government to adopt this very reasonable proposal. {: #subdebate-23-0-s6 .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR:
Dalley .- I realize that, in speaking on the second reading of a bill, I am creating a precedent. However, I have never burked at creating a precedent, or destroying what I consider to be a wrong precedent, when I believed that the position warranted it. Having been well publicized in the pres3 as the chairman of the committee which drew' up these proposals and presented them to the Government party, I feel that I might easily be described as " squibbing the issue " - to use the vernacular - if I sat in the protection of the Speaker's chair and allowed other honorable members to defend this proposal. So, this evening, for the first time, I, as the Speaker, am supporting the second reading of a bill, and shall give my reasons for doing so. The important question which the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** asked was: "Has the matter been fairly presented to the people ? " Until to-day, no one had an opportunity to present the case to the people. That was entirely in the hands of a jaundiced press which, as the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** pointed out, has, whenever a suggestion has been made to increase the parliamentary allowance, endeavoured to whip up a spurious enthusiasm for the very misdirected cause which they represent. In fact, since it was first announced that the Government intended to introduce this bill the press of Australia had descended to absolutely the lowest level of journalism that we have known in this country. I shall deal with that matter later. I entirely endorse the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition about the unfair presentation of the case to the people. The matter has not been fairly represented to them. There has been more misrepresentation and more journalistic lying in connexion with this issue than I have ever known in my long experience in this Parliament. The Leader of the Opposition presented his case very fairly. He started by saying that, in dealing with the problem, he would ask himself certain questions, and would then answer them himself. That, of course, is an amicable arrangement, since it ensures unanimity between the questioner and the answerer. I propose to ask myself precisely the same questions which the Leader of the Opposition asked himself, but I shall not guarantee to give precisely the same answers. The right honorable gentleman asked first, "Is there a case for a review of parliamentary allowances " ? He answered the question in the affirmative, but with the qualification that although there was a case and the time for such a review was ripe and perhaps overripe, he could not justify himself in supporting this bill because it had not been presented to Parliament at the appropriate time. What would be the appropriate time? The bight honorable member for North Sydney has pointed out that on the three previous occasions in his knowledge, when the question of parliamentary allowances was under consideration, the members of the Parliament have been assailed by the press in exactly the same way as they are being assailed to-day. The press has tried to formulate public opinion against the proposals, and has not scrupled to use any disreputable method to this end. After the depression, when members of the Parliament voluntarily reduced their allowances from £1,000 to £750 a year, I well remember - and I was a member of the House at the time - the very last restoration to predepression wages and salaries and pensions was that of the members of the Parliament. ' After all other wages and salaries which had been reduced under the Premiers plan had been restored, the members of the Parliament' restored their own emoluments. Notwithstanding that fact there never was a more violent or ill-balanced attack upon the legislature than then occurred. So much so, that we were for about a week dealing with a question of breach of privilege. So, through the only avenue of information that has been available to the public so far on this question, the position has been entirely misrepresented to the people. The press has seized upon every opportunity to misrepresent it. The only channel of information available to the public, apart from the wireless, has put the case that the time is inopportune. However, I desire the public and the House to be informed that, in determining the question of the appropriate time, the committee which dealt with this subject exhaustively investigated the question of how other parliaments throughout the British Empire had dealt with it. This is what they discovered: Despite the parlous condition of the finances of Great Britain, a subject which we debated at considerable length in this House last week, the House of Commons, in 1946, within twelve months of the end of the war, raised the salary of its members from £600 to £1,000 a year. When the salary was £600 a year an amount of £100 was exempt from income tax as expenses. The arrangement was elastic, however, and if members could show that they had spent the whole of their salary on election expenses, the whole salary was exempt from income tax. When the salary was increased to £1,000 a year, £500 of it was allocated as allowances, and, as such, is non-taxable. It is interesting to note also that that was the second occasion within ten years on which salaries of the members of the British House of Commons have been raised. This is the first time in 27 years that the members of this House have ventured to take action to raise their allowances. Moving on to the Dominion of Canada, we discover that on the 8th of December, 1946, very soon after the close of the war, the members of the Canadian House of Commons raised their salaries from 4,000 dollars to 6,000 dollars, and the increase of 2,000 dollars was declared to be exempt from income tax. Both the British House of Commons and the Canadian House of Commons carry the same responsibility and the same authority as does this House in respect of salaries and. allowances, for they alone may increase or decrease the remuneration of their members. So much for the question whether or not this is an appropriate time to take this action. "What is the position in relation to the State parliaments in Australia ? In 1938, the Parliament of New South Wales increased the salary of its members from the depression rate of £670 a year to £875 a year, plus a small allowance of £50 for travelling expenses. In 1944, the Parliament of Victoria raised the salary of its members from £500 to £650 a year. That was done during the war, which surely would be considered an inappropriate time for such action. In 1944, also, the salary of members of the Parliament of South Australia was increased from £400 to £500 a year, and in the same year the salary of the members of the Parliament of Queensland was increased by the Parliament from £650 to £850 a year. This was done while the wagepegging regulations were in full operation, when we were still at war, and when appeals were being made right and left for loan, money for war purposes. It will be seen, therefore, that whether the time was opportune or inopportune, those three Parliaments, at any rate, decided to increase the salaries of members. In 1945, the Parliament of Western Australia raised the salary of its members from £400 to £600 a year, plus a cost of living allowance of £75, and for every ls. lid. by which the cost of living increases the salary of the members of that Parliament will be increased by £5 a year. The last adjustment of parliamentary salaries in Tasmania was made in 1927, when the rate was increased from £400 to £500 a year. The next question which the Leader of the Opposition asked himself was, " Who should decide this question ? " He frankly admitted, and there is no escape from it, that the only authority which may raise or lower the remuneration of members of the Parliament is the Parliament itself. That obligation was placed on honorable members, not by an ordinary act of Parliament, but by the Constitution. Acceptance of that obligation is implied in the acceptance of the Constitution. It is an obligation and a responsibility that every honorable member must share from time to time. We often hear the cheap criticism that the Parliament is the only authority which can raise or lower the allowances of its members. That statement is correct only in a qualified way; but possibly the Parliament is the only authority which has no alternative under the Constitution but to do this job itself. The suggestion has been thrown out in a more or less half-hearted way to-day, that a justice of the High Court or an authority associated with the Public Service Board should determine this matter. That might be a most interesting experiment, hut I advise honorable members that every justice of the High Court is a servant of the Parliament, through the Executive Council. He is appointed through the Executive Council, and his salary is fixed by the Government. It would be a unique form of arbitration, therefore, for an employee to fix the salary of his employers. I do not think that that experiment has been tried very often. In fact, the. only time it was tried was in 1920, when a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales was authorized by the Government to make an investigation and report upon this question. His Honour awarded the members of the Parliament more than they bargained for, or expected. So persons who consider that the emoluments of the members of the Parliament may be restricted by that method can get very little encouragement from the one decision of which we have any knowledge. We hear a good deal of loose talk from time to time about arbitration on this subject. Whenever arbitration occurs there is a claimant and a respondent, and the arbitrator is expected to hold the balance fairly between the two. Assuming that the members of the Parliament might be regarded as the claimants in any arbitration on this subject, who would be the respondents? The fact is that there is no escape from the position that the Constitution provides that the only authority to determine the raising or lowering of the remuneration of the members of the Parliament is the Parliament itself. Consequently, I entirely agree with the answer which the Leader of the Opposition gave to this question. The third question that the right honorable gentleman asked himself was, ""What is the correct approach in this matter ? " 1 disagree with the reply he gave to it. He suggested that an allparty committee should be appointed to investigate the matter and submit to the Government a report, which should be embodied in legislation. Strangely enough, although the Leader of the Opposition advocated that course, when the AttorneyGeneral **(Dr. Evatt)** asked him whether he would support legislation based on the findings of such a committee, he replied that he would not do so. Notwithstanding that he argued that that was the correct method of approach, he admitted that it did not make possible a solution that he could accept. Assuming that an allparty committee had investigated the subject, what would have happened? The members of the committee would have considered the material that was available and it would have prepared a report. It is quite feasible that with such a committee the same thing might have happened as has happened in this debate to-day. There would have been three sets of delegates, representing three parties, and there would have been divergent views. How could a government be expected to co-ordinate such views in legislation which would find unanimous acceptance by the House? If the Government had accepted the majority report as against the minority report and had drafted legislation accordingly, it could have had no guarantee that we should not have had .a similar spectacle to that which we have witnessed to-day, of some honorable members declaring in debate that they would not accept the decision and would vote against the legislation. In the parties, in the House, and fundamentally at the finish, precisely the same result would be obtained. "What was the composition of the committee which investigated this matter? It was composed of the President of the Senate and myself as the two presiding officers - men who had had long rank and file experience, and somewhat less experience in executive positions, in this Parliament - two Ministers, one from the House of Representatives and the other from the Senate, who had had similar experience, and two rank and file members, one from the Senate and the_ other from the House of Representatives. Is it claimed that in this Parliament a more broadly spread committee could be constituted, that the experience of the members of other parties has been entirely different from that of the members of the Government party, apart from the fact that they sit on opposite sides of the House? In my view, there is only one way in which such .matters can be brought to a definite conclusion, and that is by the Government setting up a committee to make an investigation and submit a report to it, the Government to legislate and take the consequences if it accepts the report. That is exactly what the Government is doing in this instance, and I commend it on that account. I wish to make one correction before proceeding further. It is important, because I believe that the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Archie Cameron)** approached this matter in a very fair way. The honorable member referred to the fact that a press report in relation to the parliamentary allowance had been published some time ago. Having read it, his faith in press reports has probably been somewhat shaken, for I can assure him that the report was totally untrue. It was to the effect that the matter had been discussed in the Labour party caucus two years ago. A speech based on such information must fail in two respects. The first is, that experience has taught that an argument or a debate should never be based on a press report. The second is, that what is published regarding party decisions in a press report is either a figment of the imagination of the journalist who wrote it, or can be ascribed to the faulty memory of a traitor in one's own party. Those are the only sources of such information. The committee made an exhaustive investigation of this matter, and reached conclusions which it embodied in the report which it presented to the Government party. Let us consider another point that has been raised. I emphasize, in the first place, that the allowances of members have not been raised for 27 years. To introduce the subject of wage-pegging, which has been in existence for only the last five years, and to trot out the bogy of invalid and old-age pensions, with an accompanying comparison designed to show whether or not members' allowances should be raised, is to adopt a completely fallacious basis for discussion. There ought to be no attempt to link the basic wage with members' allowances. If to do so would be to show good judgment, I remind the House that in 1920 the basic wage was £3 12s. 6d. a week, and to-day it is £5 6s. a week. {: .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr Holloway: -- It is £5 9s. and £5 10s. in two of the capital cities. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- The figure that I have mentioned is the average for all the capital cities. That is the only basis on which we can attack the comparison. Since 1920, and despite wage-pegging, there has been an increase of the basic wage by 50 per cent. That is precisely what this proposition is. If . a relation existed between the basic wage and members' allowances in 1920, the same relation exists to-day; and if wages have been increased by 50 per cent., surely those who argue in support of the existence of such a relationship will admit that the proposed increase is justifiable! There has been much talk of wagepegging, and great stress has been laid on it by several members of the Opposition. Wage-pegging, admittedly, has been gradually tapered off, but putting the position at its worst, it has been in existence for only five years. Members' allowances have been pegged for 27 years. It is an interesting fact that from 1920, when member's allowances were previously fixed, until 1942, when wages were pegged, the basic wage increased from £3 12s. 6d. to £4 Ss. a week, an increase in 22 years of 15s. 6d. a week, but in the five years during which wagepegging has been in existence it has risen from £4 8s. to £5 6s. a week, an increase of 18s. a week. There has been an attempt to induce people to believe that wages have been rigorously pegged since 1942, and that the average worker has not found it possible to obtain an increase of ls. a week. The figures that I have given prove that to be totally incorrect. Every recognized increase has been added to the basic wage, and every tradesman whose wage is founded on the basic wage has received the same increase. All that has happened in the material sense is that wage-pegging has prevented what actually would amount to a reclassification in industries, through the medium of the Arbitration Court. Every honorable member knows that there are monopolistic, industries as well as industries which work " very close to the bone " financially. Any honorable member who has had industrial experience is aware that monopolistic industries are prepared to make any wage concession at any time, provided the court will tolerate it. In saying that, I mean that from time to time during the last 30 years we have had the experience of the court, acting in the public interests, refusing to gazette awards because of the existence of that feature. There could be circumstances in which monopolistic industries would agree to inordinate wage increases whilst others were paring wages " to the bone " because of their economic circumstances. That would be one of the most prolific causes of industrial unrest in this country which could be imagined. Workers in an industry monopolistically controlled could have practically no difficulty in securing increases, because the extra cost could easily be passed on to the consumer by such industries, whilst other workers could have their wages cut to the bone" because of the economic circumstances of the industry in which they were engaged. The principal effect of wage-pegging has been to prevent the ballooning of wages and costs in some industries, and the pegging-down of them in other industries. It has maintained stability. Whether or not it ought to be entirely abolished at the moment is quite beside the question. If it were entirely abolished, we should have to face up to the inescapable consequence of entirely abolishing price-fixing also, and from the stand-point of the workers in industry, if we are to be guided by the examples furnished by the United States of America and other countries, in which prices were unpegged and were allowed to sky-rocket, that would be one of the worst things that could happen. I move on to the next plea that has been made. The honorable member for Bourke **(Mrs. Blackburn)** has introduced the subject of invalid and old-age pensions. Over the years, no one has fought harder than I have for the payment of the best pensions possible to these people. I am one who, in 1931, not only in New South Wales, but also throughout Australia, assisted in the building up of their organization, in the realization that, unless they banded together, they would never get anywhere. And they have got somewhere. What are the facts in regard to invalid and old-age pensions? If the honorable member for Bourke chooses that battle-ground, and desires to relate, invalid and old-age pensions to members' allowances, what will be the result? In 1920, members' allowances were raised to £1,000 a year. In that year, the old-age pension was 12s. 6d. a week. What is the position to-day? From the 1st July next, the rate of pension will be £1 17s. 6d. a week, an increase of 200 per cent. Yet the honorable member for Bourke refuses to accept the proposition that members' allowances should be raised by 50 per cent. ! I know that a comparison can be drawn between the increase of 5s. a week on the one hand and the increase of £500 a year on the other hand. But there must be consistency if one is related to the other. The fact is that since this Government has been in office it has increased the rate of invalid and old-age pension by 17s. a week a person, which, means £1 14s. a week for a man and his wife, whilst, during the same period, the basic wage for a man, wife and child has been increased by only 18s. a week. I pass on to the next consideration - what responsibilities do honorable members bear to-day ? I want to repeat figures which have already been given, for the purpose of ensuring consecutive argument. The approximate average size of electorates in each State in 1920 and in 1946 is shown by these figures - It will be noted that the number of people to whom each member of this House owes a responsibility has increased by over 25 per cent, in the intervening period. There could not be a 25 per cent, increase of numbers without also a 25 per cent, increase of the individual responsibility of members. Some newspapers which have been so caustic in their criticism have been urging that the membership of this Parliament ought to be enlarged. Some of them have ventured the opinion that the present number ought to be practically doubled, tacitly admitting that 74 members are to-day doing the volume of work which ought to be shared by 120 members. Yet they jibe at and argue against , the proposal that members shall receive an increased allowance ! I add to that increased responsibility the new activities which the Commonwealth has taken over involving the consideration of more legislation. In the intervening 27 years the Commonwealth has taken over practically every State responsibility for social services. I agree with the honorable member for Barker that the more that is given in the way of social services the more work is made for members of this Parliament. Therefore, members are now responsible to a great many more electors than was the case years ago, and they" have assumed increased duties in respect of social services. Before the war, the Commonwealth bill for social services was £18,000,000 a year. It is expected that within another two years that bill will have increased to £100,000,000. That is more than the entire Commonwealth budget before the war. I remember the amazement of honorable members just before the war *when* a budget for £100,000,000 was brought down to cover all services, including defence, pensions and the public service, yet the bill for social services will shortly be more than that. There has been a good deal of talk about what the proposed increase of allowances will cost. There are 111 members of this Parliament, so that the gross additional outlay will be £55,500. I have examined the position, however, and I find that of this £55,500 at least £25,000 will go back to the Treasury in taxes. On the present parliamentary allowance, a single man now pays £228 tax. On, £1,500 a year he will pay £436, so that his effective increased allowance will be £292. A man with a dependent wife now pays £190 tax. When he receives the proposed increase he will pay £390, and the effective increase to his allowance will be £301. A man with a wife and one child now pays £171 tax. On the increased allowance he will pay £363, so that he will receive an additional £308. A man with a wife and two children now pays £159 tax. On the new scale, he will pay £349, and his effective increase will be' £310. The question now arises, as was asked by the Leader of the Opposition, whether the time is opportune to increase parliamentary allowances. Well, I have cited dates and particulars regarding every other Empire parliament that we were able to investigate, and all of them considered that the time was opportune to make adjustments either during the war or immediately after it. The question has also been raised whether the committee which investigated the proposal was competent to judge the matter. I assure honorable members that there was considerable investigation, and a good deal of time devoted to it. I have given the names of those who were members of the committee, and I ask honorable members, particularly those who propose to vote for the amendment, to consider seriously whether an all-party committee would have been more competent. Would its decision have been unanimous? Would not the members have had to go back to their parties and face the same criticism as this proposal is receiving now? Would the appoint ment of such a committee have altered the minds of those gallant gentlemen who propose not to collect the extra money? Would it have salved the consciences of those who proposed to vote for the amendment, but intend to accept the money? This amendment is not a direct negative to the Government's proposal. It is merely a shuffle out. It is, in effect, the setting up of an Aunt Sally for critics to have a shot at. Those who support the amendment know that the scheme will fail, and then they will be able to vote for the bill as it stands. Surely honorable members opposite do not think that they can fool the people in that way. 1 do not intend to break any confidences or mention any names, but I know that there is as big a proportion of members on the other side in favour of this increase as there is on this side of the chamber, and I challenge denial of that statement. Why go on with this humbug about amendments? The consciences of honorable members are either clear or guilty. Every honorable member has been either opposed to the increase or in favour of it from the beginning. It is of no use' to talk about caucus rule. . Under the Constitution, each honorable member must accept the responsibility imposed upon him. He cannot shirk that responsibility by virtue of his membership of any party. The Constitution does not recognize parties. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Holt: -- There were some, dissentients in caucus, but they are abiding by the party decision. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- I do not think that there are any humbugs in our party who will dissent from the proposal in Parliament and then collect the money. This is the place where decisions have to be made. The honorable member for New England **(Mr. Abbott)** said that no mention of the increase was made during the election campaign in September. I ask him whether he provoked a discussion on the subject? I agree that it was not mentioned, but did he ask the people what they thought he should be paid? Does he believe that in the hurly-burly of an election campaign the atmosphere is suitable for the people to decide whether their parliamentary representatives are worth two "bob" or £1,000? Every one knows that at such a time the parties are too busy " slang- -wanging " one another to bother about the proper remuneration foi' members of Parliament. The honorable member for New England knew the story of the increase which took place in 1920, and the objections that were then raised; but did he, when he first stood for Parliament, ask the people to decide whether he was worth £1,000 a year, or did he ask them to decide whether they should put him into Parliament? I suggest that the latter was the question which he put to them. Did he, at the last election, raise the subject of the living-away allowance? Certainly he did noi, but when he was reelected he accepted it. He would not accept it before, which is a clear indication that he was living in a state of funk lest he might not be returned, but when he was re-elected, he had no hesitation in accepting the allowance. I leave the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Turnbull)** to the tender mercies of the honorable member for Barker. There are some people who insist on putting a value on themselves, and I suppose the honorable member for Wimmera must draw the line somewhere. {: #subdebate-23-0-s7 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE:
Balaclava .- There is a legal maxim that no man should be the judge in his own case. We have just heard a bit of subtle sophistry from the Speaker of this House who, speaking from his place on the floor of the chamber, said that those who dared to oppose this proposal put a poor value on themselves. It is a pity that we cannot approach this matter in a non-party atmosphere. I am sorry that the Speaker has transgressed in this respect. We are setting ourselves up to judge our own case. We are being asked to approve an increase of 50 per cent, on parliamentary allowances. When allowances were increased in 1920 from £600 to £1,000 a year, the issue was left as a non-party one. If the Labour party were to leave its members free to vote as they like on this bill, it would be interesting to see how the Prime Minister (Mri Chifley) and others who were reported to be against the proposal would, in fact, vote. However, the regimentation of party members is so strict that not one Labour member will dare to vote against the bill. 1 admit that there is much merit in the argument that present parliamentary allowances are inadequate. This is felt more by some than by others. It is felt with particular severity by young, family men who have not yet had an opportunity to establish themselves, but that situation will always exist. It is impossible to make conditions equal for every one. I recognize that, if we approach a question of this kind with enthusiasm in support of the increase, all difficulties disappear, self-interest being the main objective. On the other hand, if we show some diffidence, cynics like the Speaker will say that we have no right to voice our opinions. There is a cynical maxim to the effect that a politician is a man who can rise above his own principles. There has been a certain suggestion of that in some of the speeches to which we have listened to-day. It must be admitted that this proposal emanated from the Labour caucus. There was no mention of a 50 per cent, increase of parliamentary allowances during the last general election. The proposal was canvassed in the press, but no official cognizance was taken of it by the Opposition until the last few weeks. I believe it would have been better if an alternative had been discussed. If the reduction of taxes had been more substantial, incomes would be more in accordance with prevailing prices. Do honorable members realize that there are in existence inflationary taxes such as the sales tax and primage duties which increase the cost of commodities to everybody? Had the Labour party been more generous in its tax-reduction policy, so as to bring wages and prices into a proper relationship, it would not have been necessary to introduce the .present bill. We are, above all, the trustees of public moneys. If we go into public life we must, as Pericles said to the Athenians, share the honours and bear the hardships, also. How can we justify a 50 per cent, increase of our allowances when we know of the anomalies in connexion with wage-pegging which are responsible for so much unrest among men who say that they deserve a greater reward for their labour ? *We* should not for a moment consider helping ourselves until anomalies arising out of wage-pegging are adjusted. The right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** referred to an increase of the parliamentary allowance made in 1907. I digress slightly in order to correct an historial inaccuracy on his part. The right honorable gentleman said that **Mr. Deakin** had supported the increase at that time. I have looked up the *Ilansard* record, and am able to inform the right honorable gentleman that at that time **Mr, Deakin** was taking part at a memorable Imperial conference in London, after which Australia negotiated an important 'agreement relating to reciprocal Empire trade. The bill to increase the parliamentary allowance was presented by the then Acting Prime Minister, **Sir William** Lyne. It is true, as the right honorable gentleman has said, that the Constitution provides that the Parliament may adjust the allowance of members. In the draft constitution bill the allowance was originally fixed at £500, but, before it was assented to the allowance was reduced to £400. That was merely a minor adjustment of the many adjustments which took place only six years after the Commonwealth was formed. The right honorable member reminded us that many of those who opposed subsequent increases of the parliamentary allowance lost their seats. As to that, all I can say is that I would sooner resign my position in public life than support a° measure of this kind on the basis that by so doing I might better my chance of retaining my seat. Let us examine some of the anomalies that continue to exist in other directions before we concentrate on our own. Only last Friday, in the small hours of the morning, this House debated an amendment which I had proposed to the Social Services Consolidation Bill, the purpose of which was to ensure that no deduction should be made from the unemployment benefit in respect of pensions paid to ex-servicemen for disabilities arising out of their service in the war. I then pointed out that an exserviceman in receipt of a pension of say, £1 or 25s. a week who became unemployed had the amount of his pension deducted from the unemployment benefit. The House was so moved by the argument? submitted in support of that amendment that two honorable members on the Government side favoured it, though, when a division was taken on it they did not vote for it. How can we legislate to grant a benefit to ourselves when anomalies such as that are permitted to continue? There should be some priority in the rectification of anomalies, and, in my view, the injustice which I sought to have removed should certainly take precedence over the adjustment of the parliamentary allowance. Without going too deeply into service matters, one could cite many examples of anomalies that are still permitted to exist. For instance, in 1943, this Government laid upon the table of the House a regulation which subtracted hundreds of pounds from the deferred pay of certain members of the Royal Australian Air Force, including some 24 flying instructors. I fought their case in this House, but was unsuccessful in getting justice for them. The men concerned thereupon took the case to the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and, in delivering his judgment in favour of the men, **Mr. Justice** Davidson made some very scathing comments on the action of the Government. The Government subsequently announced that it would not accept the decision and took the matter to the High Court, securing a verdict in its favour. But the Chief Justice and some of the other justices of the High Court were also scathing in their criticism of he action of the Government. I have recently been informed by the AttorneyGeneral that an *ex gratia* payment will be made to some of the men concerned. One of - those on whose behalf I made my appeals in this House is a flying instructor who has had four years - {: #subdebate-23-0-s8 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE: -- During the course of his remarks the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** who is also Speaker, referred to invalid and old-age pensions and other matters of that kind. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! I have allowed the honorable member considerable latitude. I now ask him to confine his remarks to the bill before the House. {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE: -- If the Chair does not allow me to explain, I shall resume my {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE: -- Let me say that if one is to be circumscribed in this way on a matter which concerns the treatment by the Government of other sections of the community, about which we on this side of the House have some conscience - - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! If the honorable member persists in defying its ruling the Chair will order him to resume his seat. The honorable member is entitled to make only passing reference to any matter irrelevant to the bill before the House ; he may not indulge in a lengthy discussion of specific cases. {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE: -- The Government also has subtracted from the pay of men presumed to be dead--- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member will resume his seat. He has deliberately tried to evade the ruling of the Chair. {: #subdebate-23-0-s9 .speaker-KZJ} ##### Mr LANG:
Reid **.- Mr. Deputy Speaker-** {: #subdebate-23-0-s10 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr HARRISON: -- I rise to order. I have listened with great interest to this debate and have noticed that other honorable members have spoken about the basic wage, widows' and invalid and old-age pensions and matters of that kind which have some bearing on the attitude of the Government towards certain sections of the community as compared with its attitude towards members of the Parliament a3 disclosed by the bill now before us. I listened attentively to the speech of the honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. White)** who endeavoured to link up matters concerning the pensions paid to exservicemen with the bill. I suggest that the Chair should permit him to continue his speech.. I am sure, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** that the honorable member had no desire to flout the ruling of the Chair. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I, too, listened attentively to the honorable member's speech. The honorable member endeavoured to deal with specific cases connected with matters that have no relation to the bill after the Chair had directed him not to do so. The Chair informed him that he was entitled to make passing reference to pensions and to pay ments to certain people. He was not in order in endeavouring to make a secondreading speech in relation to them. The honorable member's remarks had no relation to the measure before the House and he was asked to conform to the ruling of the Chair, but he endeavoured to evade it in an insolent way. I thereupon directed him to resume his seat. {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White: -- I disagree with your ruling, **Mr. Deputy Speaker.** I shall put my motion of dissent in writing and ask the House to divide on it. I move - >That the ruling of **Mr. Deputy Speaker** - that the honorable member for Balaclava should resume his seat for continued irrelevance - be disagreed with. **Mr. Lang** *having again risen in his place,* {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr Rankin: -- I rise to order. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must resume his seat. The honorable member for Balaclava has given notice of dissent from the ruling of the Chair. {: .speaker-KZJ} ##### Mr Lang: -- I rise to order. I received the call from the Chair, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** and resumed my seat only when a point of order was taken by the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Harrison).** By so doing, have I lost my right to speak? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I shall deal with that matter later. The motion of dissent from the 'ruling of the Chair must be seconded. Is the motion seconded ? {: .speaker-KQK} ##### Mr McDonald: -- I second the motion. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- In accordance with the Standing Orders the debate on the honorable member's motion will be adjourned until to-morrow. I call the honorable member for EdenMonaro **(Mr. Fraser).** {: .speaker-KZJ} ##### Mr Lang: -- Before the honorable member for Eden-Monaro addresses the House, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I desire to point . out that just before the point of order was taken by the honorable member for Wentworth I received the call from the Chair. After his submission had been dealt with the Chair gave the call to the honorable member for EdenMonaro **(Mr. Eraser).** I desire to know whether, as the result of this action, I shall lose my right to speak? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! The Chair did first call the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Lang),** but I have since ascertained that the name of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro appears first in the list of speakers submitted to me by **Mr. Speaker.** The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has accordingly been given the call. The honorable member for Reid will be the next speaker from the side of the House on which he sits. {: #subdebate-23-0-s11 .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr FRASER:
Monaro · Eden -- I entered this House in unique circumstances, which place me in a special position in speaking on this matter. I came direct from the press gallery of this Parliament to the floor of the Parliament itself. In the 47 years since federation I was the first one to do so. Before becoming a member of the National Parliament after the elections in 1943, 1 had reported Parliament and many of the decisions of the Government during most of a period of twenty years. In that time I represented a number of newspapers both in Sydney and Melbourne, including newspapers which have supported the present move to increase parliamentary allowances, and other newspapers which have bitterly opposed it. During the whole of that time I was continuously an officer of the Australian Journalists Association, filling almost every position in that association, and being frequently in discussions and negotiations with newspaper proprietors concerning^ appropriate rates of pay, conditions of work and expenses for journalists employed among other duties in the reporting of this National Parliament. Notable in those discussions were proceedings in which the present Leader of the Opposition was the chairman of a tribunal which brought an appreciable gain in journalistic remuneration and working privileges. At the time I transferred from the press gallery to the floor of this House, I was, as it happened, both president of the parliamentary press gallery and president of the Australian Journalists Association in Canberra. I have therefore an exact knowledge of the pay and conditions of members of the press gallery employed in the task of interpreting the work of the Government and the Parliament in Canberra. The remuneration of senior members of the staff of metropolitan newspapers reporting and commenting on the proceedings of the National Parliament approximates the allowance paid to members of the Parliament itself, with this very important difference, that the payment to journalists is a net payment, oh top of which they receive all the allowances and expenses incidental to the performance of their duties, while the allowance paid to the members of the Parliament is a total allowance from which a member has to meet all the expenses incidental to the performance of his duties in his electorate. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen: -- Have the journalists had an increase of remuneration since 1920? {: #subdebate-23-0-s12 .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr FRASER:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- They have had manyincreases since then. It should be sufficient to say that the rate of remuneration received by the average senior journalist in the press gallery has increased by at least 50 per cent. - probably considerably more - since 1920. In the upshot, the position is that federal roundsmen on metropolitan newspapers engaged in making known the proceedings and decisions of the Government and the Parliament receive substantially higher remuneration than do members of the Parliament who engage in these proceedings and who have responsibility of making these decisions. It is worthwhile to note that the agreements under which these salaries and expenses are properly paid to journalists are registered and approved by the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. It is also important to note that the newspaper proprietors of Australia have voluntarily entered into all these agreements fixing the rates of pay and conditions of those who report the proceedings of this Parliament. Not since 1917 has the Australian Journalists Association actually been into the Arbitration Court for an award. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN:
INDI, VICTORIA · CP; LCL from 1940; CP from 1943 -- Awards have been made by consent? {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr FRASER:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- All agreements have been made by consent and embody theopinions of proprietors, after due discussion and negotiation, as to -what is the proper remuneration for those whose duty it is to report the proceedings of the Parliament, and are then registered in the court. The agreements fix the rates of pay of members of the association. I say nothing against the rates of- pay and conditions of journalists reporting the National Parliament. Indeed, in some respects, I believe that those rates of pay and conditions could, with advantage, be further improved. I can say nothing against them, except in that sense, because I took a leading part for twenty years in obtaining them. But I emphasize that they are rates and conditions approved by the newspaper proprietors, some of whom are using their journals to criticize the proposal before the House, and also approved by the Arbitration Court. He would be a bold man who would claim that a higher rate of pay is desirable and proper in a democratic community for those who report the work of the Government and the Parliament than for those who are called upon to do that work. Since a journalist's salary is not inclusive of other allowances and expenses incidental to the performance of his task and the allowance of a member of Parliament is his total allowance and is inclusive of heavy travelling and other expenses in his electorate, a senior journalist employed in Canberra does receive a far higher income than does a member of Parliament. That is a position that has grown through the years during which the journalists' rates have steadily advanced and parliamentary rates have remained stationary. It is a position I have always thought to be demonstrably wrong. I thought it was wrong before I entered the Parliament. My experience as a member of Parliament has confirmed that opinion. It is a position which this bill will help to adjust and which I am proud to play my part in adjusting. With such a close knowledge of the Parliament as I had in twenty years of association with it before I became a member of it I entered it with my eyes open. I knew that I should make a substantial sacrifice; but, in the circumstances, I was content to accept that, because, in common with, I believe, most, or all, other honorable members, _ I recognize that the work of representing the people in the Parliament is amongst the most satisfying and honorable work that a man can hope to do for his country. But I have never concealed my opinion that the allowance granted to a member of Parliament is insufficient for the duties he is required to perform and the expenses he is compelled to incur. I do not conceal it now. I take full responsibility for the vote that I am about to cast to rectify a position that should have been rectified substantially years ago. I have long been accustomed both in the press gallery and on the floor of this House to bearing contemptuous suggestions that members of Parliament enjoy so-called perquisites not enjoyed by other members of the community. Such references are frequently made in the newspapers of the Commonwealth, and yet every member of the staff of every one of those newspapers rightly receives full recompense for all money expended by him in carrying out his task as a member of that staff. Full hotel and travelling expenses are provided for by the Commonwealth Arbitration Court in agreements registered in that court whenever journalists are required to leave their home towns in the performance of their duties. Although he is referred to as a recipient of perquisites, the private member of Parliament enjoys none of those rights in the performance of his duties in his own electorate. A member of Parliament representing a large country electorate must have a motor car and travel hundreds of miles any day from week to week to attend specific gatherings and functions in that electorate. Often he must take his wife with him on those journeys, and the expense of even one such trip into a distant part of his electorate leaves very little of the parliamentary allowance which he receives for one week's service. I cannot speak with exact knowledge of the position of members representing city constituencies, but I understand they have correspondingly heavy expenses. A member of Parliament is constantly requested to make contributions to good causes - patriotic and charitable endeavours in bis electorate. Response to those requests is a matter for his own decision, but I consider that I am bound to set a lead to my fellow citizens in these matters. If a member refuses to answer a worthy call from some small settlement or centre in his electorate he may, by his refusal, discourage and undermine the success of the whole appeal. Therefore he feels it incumbent upon him to respond even though, if he considered his own financial position, he should not respond. The amount involved in such calls on him would easily amount to three figures. In my first three years in this Parliament my account showed that after I had met all the expenses for which I was obligated in .my representation of my electorate I was left with far less than half the amount that the court and the newspaper proprietors thought I ought to receive as a reporter and interpreter of the work of the Commonwealth Government and the Commonwealth Parliament. For 24 years, by close association with the work of the Parliament, I have watched that work grow in detail, importance and complexity. In that time the number of constituents whom a member must represent individually and collectively has increased by twothirds and the range of tasks and functions coming under the control of Parliament has correspondingly increased. Again I cannot speak with knowledge of city electorates, but I think that mine would be the average experience of a representative of a large rural electorate, and I receive more than 300 letters a week, apart from personal interviews with those who travel to Canberra to place business associated with my constituency before me. It .is a matter of practice that when I travel to any centre in my electorate I return with 30 or 40 individual matters to be represented to Ministers and departments on behalf of my constituents. The volume of detailed knowledge and attention that is required from a private .member of Parliament in the proper performance of his duties on behalf of his constituents is extraordinarily large. A Minister of the Crown has the obligation to be expert upon the matters that concern his department, but if a private member wishes properly to put a case on behalf of a " small " man, an individual constituent, as against the serried ranks of departmental officers, he must be acquainted with or expert in all departmental matters. The range in which he is required to make representations is so large that it would be impossible for him to perform his task as the complexities of Commonwealth administration require it unless he was in a position to give his whole mind and attention to the performance of that task. So, whatever the position may have been in previous years, the representation of a large rural electorate does require the whole time and attention of its member. It can no longer be satisfactorily performed as a part-time duty and the electors recognize that. They require fulltime representation from their members. In my experience, they are not unprepared to grant him proper pay and expenses to allow him to perform that task. What they are concerned with is that he shall be a full-time representative and do his work to the best of his ability. I listened with great attention to the speech in which the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** initiated to-day's debate on this matter. I noted that he was quick and powerful in his criticism of newspaper distortions of public opinion, " distortions of public opinion " being the term that he himself employed; but it appeared to me that in the later arguments that he used against this measure he was himself guilty of the very distortions of public opinion of which he had accused some of the newspapers of the Commonwealth. Having first made a case, as he undoubtedly did, for a review of the parliamentary allowance, having established by his speech that it was a proper and right thing that parliamentary allowances should be reviewed, and having left no doubt in the mind of any one who heard him, that by " review " he meant an upward review, an increase, the right honorable gentleman proceeded to deal with the argument that the review should be referred to a body of outside arbitrators. Most convincingly, he proceeded to destroy that argument and to show that it was a matter for the Parliament itself and not for any outside body of arbitrators. He quoted the Constitution and cited the principle of the matter, and showed, as I think' it was. proper to show, that the duty is laid upon the Parliament itself to fix the allowance payable to members of Parliament and to be directly, responsible to the electorates for the decisions so made by it. Having first put the case for increased remuneration, and, secondly, the case that the decision must be made by the Parliament itself, he proceeded to oppose the measure on the ground that it would be wrong for Parliament to proceed to review the allowance whilst any vestige of the wagepegging regulations remain. If members of Parliament had a proper claim that could be submitted to the Arbitration Court, which is a creation of the Parliament, and if it was proper that members should side-step the obligation placed upon them by the Constitution and refer it to the court, it would be perfectly competent and proper for the court to award a substantial increase of the allowance paid to members of Parliament, because, as the Leader of the Opposition knows perfectly well, under the existing wagepegging regulations there is no bar whatever to the amount of increased remuneration that may be awarded to any section of workers in the community, unless the Chief Judge certifies that it is against the national interest that such an increase should be awarded. The Leader of the Opposition had a " little bit each way He made a convincing case that in ihe national interest the parliamentary allowance should be increased, and submitted a proven case that it would be improper for the Parliament to submit the matter to any other tribunal for determination. Having done so, he argued that, for the very reason that the Parliament is debarred from obtaining that redress from any other tribunal, the increase of the allowance should be refused, although in his own words, it is in accord with the national interest that the existing rate should be reviewed. If the Leader of the Opposition wished to demonstrate that a keen legal mind can be utterly illogical, bo certainly did so with his subsequent arguments. He introduced into this proposal to increase the parliamentary allowance a suggestion, which he urged the Government to accept, that the rate of remuneration of Commonwealth judges should be increased. He pointed very rightly to the fact thai their remuneration had not been increased since the inception of federation. Yet his own argument about the wage-pegging regulations must apply equally against an increase of the remuneration of judges as against an increase of the allowance of members of the Parliament. The right honorable gentleman then proceeded to his final inconsistency. Having supported the measure in principle and having opposed it by word of mouth, he submitted an amendment which would still leave open the adoption of the course which he himself said thai the bill should not take. He suggested the appointment of an all-party committee of both chambers to examine this proposal. His own statement had definitely committed him against an increase of the parliamentary allowance, but he suggested the appointment of an all-party committee to examine the identical project to which he was opposed. If such a committee were appointed upon his suggestion, he could have no other duty than to urge that the committee should not recommend an increase of the allowance of members of the Parliament. {: #subdebate-23-0-s13 .speaker-L0G} ##### Mr RYAN:
Flinders .- My attitude to this bill may be stated in a few words. I am utterly opposed to it. My reason is, not that I believe that there are no material reasons for an increase of the parliamentary allowance, but that there is to-day resting upon every honorable member a moral obligation which outweighs any material consideration. During the last fortnight, this bill has been bitterly opposed in certain organs of the press, and amongst the public. The arguments which the press advanced appeared to me to be most unfair. They were exaggerated, and were largely based upon inaccuracies. I shall not say any more about the press at the moment. The public have reacted, like the press, very strongly against this measure. Of course, many people are extremely ignorant of what takes place in this House, and the situation of honorable members, in particular, regarding their parliamentary allowance and work. They believe that honorable members are underworked and over-paid, that our parliamentary remuneration is exempt from income tax, and that when the House goes into recess we have a long riot of a holiday. Some people also believe that we have a number of perquisites which make our life very pleasant. Honorable members know that those impressions are utterly erroneous. The parliamentary allowance is on a different basis from the remuneration which workers in industry and the employees of private enterprise receive. The business executive or the receives weekly, fortnightly or monthly his salary, which he uses to .provide for his family and meet the ordinary demands of ' his non-business life. The parliamentary allowance is based on something entirely different, namely, the principle that it is to recoup us for expenses incurred in the normal course of our business of attending to the requirements of our constituents, and carrying out our parliamentary duties generally. The parliamentary allowance is not a net sum which we receive. As honorable members know to their cost, what remains after we have carried out our parliamentary duties is not a large amount. Therefore, from the material stand-point, I have no hesitation in saying that a very strong case may be adduced for an increase of the allowance. Reference has been made during this debate to what occurred in 1920, when the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** introduced the Parliamentary Allowances Bill, which increased the allowance from £600 to £1,000 per annum. If it were right then that honorable members should receive £1,000 a year, when the purchasing power of the £1 was worth considerably greater than it is to-day, when income tax compared with the present rates was almost negligible and when the demands on a member were small compared with what they are to-day, surely in this year of grace, 1947, it is only right that the allowance should be reviewed when income tax has risen out of all proportion to what it was in 1920 and the work of a member has increased in complexity and volume. Prom a purely material consideration of this matter, the time has come for a review of the allowance. However, when I! turn to the moral obligation which devolves on honorable members, I contend that the time is not opportune. During this debate, many references have been made to wage-pegging. The Attor ney-General **(Dr. Evatt),** in an explanation, said that to-day wage pegging hardly exists. Other honorable members have made similar statements. However, in the final analysis, there is still in existence in Australia a definite control over all emoluments received by the trade unionist. As long as that control remains, members of the Parliament have a moral obligation not to break it down by setting an entirely wrong example to the rest of Australia. "We have dealt in this debate with one section of the population, namely, the trade unionists - the men who are employed in industry. Other sections of the population are suffering severely from burdens left by World War II. I have in mind particularly a large number of elderly retired persons, who practised thrift in order to provide an income for themselves when they ceased to earn. Now, the reduced purchasing power of the £1 and heavy rates of tax inflict upon them a severe hardship. I think also of the large number of people who live on income derived from superannuation funds to which they subscribed while they were employed. Their superannuation contribution was increased by subventions from private employers or from the Commonwealth and State Governments. They are in a most difficult situation. The value of their pensions has declined most appreciably, and they also suffer from the heavy burden of taxation. These people urgently require relief. They have had to draw upon their savings in order to eke out their pensions. Their existence at present is under rather miserable conditions. War widows depend on payments either from the Commonwealth or the State governments, or on their own savings or annuities left to them by their husbands. They have not received adequate financial assistance from this Parliament. {: .speaker-L1A} ##### Mr Williams: -- The party which the honorable member supports did not assist those classes when it was in office. {: .speaker-L0G} ##### Mr RYAN: -- The Liberal party was not in office at the end of the war, but it has consistently though unsuccessfully endeavoured to obtain relief for those classes. In addition, there is a wide range of employees known as the " white collar brigade", whose salaries are approximately the same as they were five or tea years ago. Because of the wage-pegging regulations, they cannot obtain an increase of remuneration, and they are weighted down by the heavy income tax. AH these people are suffering hardships to-day. How, then, can we come forward with any conviction in our hearts and say - " We shall redress our own grievances, although the grievances of many people are crying out for redress, but are not finding it". Those are the moral obligations. As long as they remain, no honorable member should agree to this bill, which will place members of the Parliament in a privileged position. Those are the main reasons why I object so strongly to the measure. This is not a party political matter. If honorable members opposite were able to voice their opinions frankly, we should find a cleavage of opinion throughout the chamber, some honorable members considering that the measure is justified now, and others contending that it is not. This is a matter for the conscience of the individual member. One point has surprised me greatly. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** has adopted a policy which I have supported for a long time. I do not by any means support all of the right honorable gentleman's policies, but his idea of retaining economic stability by the control of wages and prices commends itself to me, as I believe it does to every other honorable member. Yet, by this bill, the Government will cut right under that policy, and we shall be in -danger of making a breach in the wall, thereby upsetting the whole of the existing economic structure, with which we all agree. Mention has been made of what may be done when this measure is passed. If the bill were put to a free vote of honorable members I have strong reason to believe that it would not be passed, but having regard to the way in which it will be dealt with to-night, there is no doubt about the issue. Whether we like it or not, we shall find that an extra £500 a year has been voted to every honorable member. Whether or not that amount is to be subject to income tax is beside the point. There are a hundred and onn ways in which we could avoid accepting the extra money. We could give it away or take no action in regard to it. At some future time, when the unfavorable circumstances of other sections of the community to whom I have referred have been remedied and their grievances adjusted, we could quite legitimately consider whether the position of members of the Parliament should be improved, but in my opinion we should not give any consideration to the subject until we have fulfilled our moral obligations to other sections of the community. We should not put ourselves in & privileged position. We should first see that justice is done to other people. Then, and then only, we could properly give some attention to our own situation. {: #subdebate-23-0-s14 .speaker-KZJ} ##### Mr LANG:
Reid .- This bill is a . direct challenge to the economic policy of the Government, lt represents a revolt by the majority of members of caucus against the programme of deflation which is being applied by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley).** It is a recognition by caucus that the present policy of the Government is wrong in both principle and practice. I agree that the present parliamentary allowances are grossly inadequate. Neither the allowances nor the privileges of honorable members are commensurate with the importance of the National Parliament. No member of the Parliament can give adequate representation to his constituents if he is haunted by the personal problem of how to make both ends meet. Honorable members have suffered through the incidence of the taxes imposed by the Government. They, like all other persons in the community, are the victims of the G07vernment's policy of using taxation as a means of reducing consumption demands. The standard of living of honorable members is lower to-day than it has ever been. Honorable members are suffering the same fate that other persons in the community with fixed incomes have suffered during the war. The incidence of taxation has been much 'heavier on that class of taxpayer than on other classes who have benefited by war-time prosperity. During recent weeks this Parliament has fixed, at £1,500 a year, the salary of conciliation commissioners. Those commissioners will be appointees who will not necessarily have any special training for their work, and they will enjoy security of tenure until they reach the age of 65 years. They certainly will not have the demands made upon them that are made upon members of this Parliament. The members of the Parliament have no security. When they cease to be members of the Parliament they will probably find that their former qualifications in their particular callings have been lost to them, and they will be dependent upon the Government or upon the good graces of some former colleagues to find them a job. Many former members of the Parliament have ended their days in penury. An engine-driver who has been a member of the Parliament for a number of years and who subsequently loses his seat would find it impossible to go back to the footplate. The privileges which members of the Parliament enjoy are not in keeping with the duties they have to perform. Only recently have honorable members been provided with secretarial assistance, yet a minor government official can obtain all the assistance that he needs to do his job. A member of this Parliament finds it impossible even to have an office partitioned off for him so that he may carry out his ordinary duties on the principles of sound administration. Temporary employees of the Prices Branch may obtain the use of an official motor car to help them to discharge their official duties; but when the members of the Parliament arrive at Canberra they are hustled into a dilapidated omnibus, which takes them to their hotel or to Parliament House. The only way they can escape that fate is to secure appointment as liaison officers to something or nothing. Yet honorable members have an obligation to 'Uphold the dignity of the Parliament. No honorable member should be expected to resort to mean subterfuges in order to obtain privileges which should be available to him because of his membership of the Parliament. He should not find it necessary to act as a mythical liaison officer in order to obtain a motor car, to swank before his constituents. To abuse the privileges of a member of the Parliament is to abuse the Parliament itself. Only a hypocrite would take such an unfair advantage of the situation. If we are to maintain the prestige and status of the Parliament we must adjust our view of the manner in which members of the Parliament should be treated, Every inducement should be given to members to make the service of the Parliament their sole occupation. Members of the Parliament should rank as the first servants of the nation, and be treated accordingly. Having said something of the responsibilities of the private member, I consider it my duty, and this to be a proper time, to point to what I have long thought to be a grave defect in our parliamentary system. That is, the failure to give recognition to two men who have been chosen to assume the heaviest of responsibilities. They are the men who act as the principal supporters of the democratic institution of this great Commonwealth. I refer to the Prime Minister of this country and the Speaker of this House. Whoever accepts a commission to form a government, and thus assumes the office of Prime Minister, automatically becomes the first citizen of the nation. He also becomes the hardest-worked person in the nation. No matter how heavy ot complex may .be his duties, upon the Prime Minister rests the final responsibility in this nation. Some leaders have the art of delegating their authority, whilst others assume the full burden. It does not matter much which course is adopted, because in both instances the Prime Minister must stand or fall by the decisions :that are made. From the moment he takes office, he knows that there can be no escape for him. Unless we are careful, we shall find ourselves accused of killing our Prime Ministers. Still, there is no way of escape, because of the responsibility of office. Such burdens are inherent in the system of responsible government in Australia. But it. is disturbing, nevertheless, to realize that some men who have held, this high office have also been torn with other worries; they have had financial troubles to worry them on a personal as well as a national plane, and while they have been spending millions of pounds on behalf of the nation they have been forced to meet the demands of office on an entirely inadequate allowance. T have asked, and we all should ask ourselves, why have we to wait until they die before we set about making financial arrangements for their widows? Some men who have been appointed to government positions, the House should be mindful, have been given greater salaries than the allowance that is paid to the Prime Minister, and, in addition, they have obtained security of tenure which no Prime Minister can ever enjoy. The occupational hazards are entirely different. If the Prime Minister is our first citizen - and I say that he is - then he should be paid accordingly. The Governor-General is paid £10,000 a year, yet his function to-day is purely symbolic and his duties arc mostly nominal. So there can be no comparison in terms of work performed or responsibilities assumed, and no justificacation for paying the Prime Minister one penny less than is received by the Governor-General. The United Kingdom pays its Prime Minister £10,000 a year, and, in addition, the House of Commons makes a wise provision which this Parliament would do very well to consider, namely, that a pension of £2,000 a year shall be paid to its Prime Minister upon his vacation of office. So the Prime Minister of Great Britain, upon assuming office, is relieved of all personal worries about his financial future, and can give undivided attention to his duties, knowing that the nation has assumed the obligation of safeguarding his financial security. That is just and wise, and in keeping with the true conception of the status of a leader of a nation. The Prime Minister of Canada receives 15,000 dollars a year and a sessional allowance of 4,000 dollars. The President of the United States of America is paid 75,000 dollars a year, plus a travelling and entertainment allowance of 25,000 dollars a year, or 100,000 dollars in all. There is a widespread belief in the United States of America that even that is not sufficient, and that the President of the nation should be not only its first but also its highest-paid citizen. It is time the Parliament viewed this matter realistically. What I desire to say about the other gentleman to whom I have referred has had point added to it by what has occurred since the suspension of the sitting for dinner. The other person entrusted with the discharge of the weightiest responsibility in this democratic institution is the Speaker of this House. His functions are essentially judicial. He represents the fulcrum upon which the entire process of legislation must balance. No justice of the High Court has graver responsibilities. For that reason, I hold that the Speaker of this House should be placed by the Parliament in such a position that he will be at all times both impartial and independent. Unless he is independent he must - and he does - find it difficult to be impartial. Once again, the British Parliament has given the correct lead. It not only pays its Speaker a salary sufficient to guarantee his independence, but also makes provision for a pension adequate to meet his needs when he relinquishes office. We have adopted a similar proceeding in order to secure the independence and impartiality of our judges, but we have failed to take any action to ensure the independence and impartiality of the Speaker of this House. That, I believe, is a defect that should be remedied at the earliest possible moment.. The other provision that is made for the Speaker in the British Parliament is that, having been elected to the chair, he shall be granted immunity in. his electorate; he shall be returned unopposed. He breaks off his party affiliations, and becomes a servant of the Parliament and an unbiased officer presiding over its deliberations. Both financially and politically, he is placed in a position that ensures his independence and impartiality. The Speaker of the House of Commons is paid £5,000 a year while he is in office, and receives a pension upon retirement. We should give consideration to establishing the true dignity and status of our presiding officer. We should take the necessary steps to establish his independence and impartiality, because that would be protecting the parliamentary institution. However, whilst I hold these views most tenaciously, I recognize that there are equally important principles at stake. The policy of the Government is either right or it is wrong. Members of this Parliament are not free agents once they enter the Parliament. The Prime Minister and those supporting him will vote for this bill although they be- lieve that it violates cardinal principles of the very policy that they have adopted. They will vote for the bill because caucus has endorsed this departure from the Government's deflationary policy. Were they free agents, the Prime Minister and the right honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Scullin)** would vote against the bill on the ground that it is a breach of the Government's own wage-pegging policy. When the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** issued a statement that wagepegging would end with the signing of the new Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, the Prime Minister immediately replied that wage-pegging would continue and that the Government had no intention of abandoning it. In the very next day, however, caucus met and decided that the measure now before us should be introduced. That decision was a direct negation of the Prime Minister's attitude insofar as it concerned the salaries of members of Parliament. I am opposed to wage-pegging, and I said so on every platform on which I spoke before I was elected to this Parliament. I cannot accept the suggestion that wagepegging has been removed by 90 per cent. The simple fact is that the Chief Judge of the Arbitration Court still has to give a certificate that a proposed wage increase is in the national interest. No such certificate has been asked for in this case. That proves that the only way in which wage-pegging can be eliminated is by a decision of caucus. It cannot be done by any action by members of this House. If the same members of caucus who voted for the introduction of this measure are prepared to carry the fight against wage-pegging into caucus and make the passage of this legislation conditional upon that decision, they will carry the day just as comfortably as they did before. Such action would be directly in accordance with the principles of justice and equity. Many sections of employees have just as valid claims as have members of Parliament for wage increases. These claims are being held up by the vicious wage-pegging regulations and the Government's deflationary policy. While agreeing that members are justly entitled to the increases proposed, I cannot concede that their position entitles them to any priority. I believe that the fight that Government supporters have started in caucus must be continued to the end. The Government's policy must be reversed not only in the interests of members of Parliament, but also for the sake of all members of the community who are entitled to a just share of the current prosperity in this country. Caucus has shown that it is no longer behind the Government's policy, but it is not prepared to make that an issue on grounds broader than those affecting the pecuniary interests of members. I cannot subscribe to that limited view. If it is right for wage-pegging to be lifted for members of Parliament it is equally right that it should he lifted for everybody. Because I .agree whole-heartedly with the provisions of this bill I cannot vote for the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. I shall vote for the second reading of the bill, and in so doing I shall be voting for the establishment of the principle; but, as I am totally opposed to wage-pegging, when the bill reaches the committee stage I propose to move that it shall become operative from the day that wagepegging regulations are abandoned. That need not delay the operation of the measure. The Government can abandon the wage-pegging regulations straight away. The increase could still be effective from the 1st July. There is ample time to do that. Removal of the wagepegging regulations will clarify the issue and provide a test of principle. {: #subdebate-23-0-s15 .speaker-JLZ} ##### Mr ANTHONY:
Richmond -- The speech of the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Lang)** underlines the difficulties that the Government is encountering in the course upon which it has embarked in relation to this measure. If members of the Opposition were content to remain silent they would have every justification for so doing and for accepting whatever decision is reached by the House. The honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear),** speaking in his capacity as a private member, and as chairman of the committee which formulated this proposal, said that is was the Government's responsibility to legislate, and that the Government took that responsibility in connexion with this measure. In saying that, he absolved members on this side of the House from committing themselves on this issue. However, I do not propose to take advantage of that refuge. I propose to state my views quite clearly. Members of the House who have already contributed to the debate and have listed the various expenses of members of Parliament have not understated the position. *t* rather think that the public at large has quite a wrong view of the emoluments and privileges enjoyed by members of this Parliament. Parliamentarians, like any other member of the community, have to pay income tax on their salaries, although apparently many people believe that they are exempt. Regarding the privileges of travel, the much vaunted gold pass, in 99 per cent, of cases, is used solely to enable honorable members, usually uncomfortably, to travel from their homes to Canberra", or to other parts of the Commonwealth in which they are required to perform their parliamentary duties. In short, the gold pass merely enables a member to perform duties of his office. *lt is* true that each honorable member is also provided with a secretary-typist, but any one who has had experience with parliamentary work knows that a member could not possibly deal with the present deluge of correspondence without that assistance. Much is made sometimes of the stamp allowance to honorable members of £8 a month. To those who would criticize this provision I would say that, like many other members of this House, I have frequently had to put my hand in mv pocket to supplement hat allowance. Therefore, these so-called privileges do no more than enable an honorable member to perform his job. The duties of a member of Parliament cover very much more than attendance in the Parliament at Canberra. When the Parliament is in recess, a member representing a country constituency is called upon to be present one day in one place, and the next day in another place 200 miles away. He must provide his own motor car, and pay for the petrol he use3, and he is supposed to do that as well as incur other expenses on £1,000 a year. Of course, be never actually receives £1,000 a year, because income tax is deducted from it first, yet on what he does receive he is expected to perform duties as exacting and responsible as those of a big business executive in receipt of a salary of £2,000 a year or even £3,000 a vear, plus expenses. I say without any hesitation that the remuneration of members of the Commonwealth Parliament is inadequate to enable them to dischargeefficiently and conscientiously the duties of their office. A good deal has been made of the concession in respect of air travel. I havenot yet availed myself of it, but I will certainly do so. Hitherto, I have sometimes travelled by air from Canberra tomy home, and vice versa, and it has cost me £20 for the return trip. These thingscannot be done out of an allowance of" £1,000 a year. Because of their own experiences, honorable members are unanimous that an allowance of £1,000 is not enough to enable them to perform their duties, but the reason for this is to be found largely in the Government's own policy. Many of the difficulties encountered by members of Parliament also beset members of thepublic on fixed incomes. I refer in. particular to rates of tax on incomes of £1,000 a year and more. From time to time, the Government has made much of the fact that taxes have been reduced on lower incomes, but very little has been done to improve the lot of the middle class, and members of Parliament, by reason of their incomes, must be regarded as members of the middle class. It seems to me to be unfair that while the private citizen on a fixed income must bear the full burden of the Government's financial policy, members of Parliament can improve their own position by voting themselves an increased allowance. It has been suggested thai the Parliament is not competent to determine this matter; that it ought to be delegated to some outside .authority, such as a judge of the Arbitration Court, or a commissioner. I am opposed to that suggestion, because I believe that we ought to accept the responsibility imposed on us by the Constitution, and to do what we conceive to be the proper thing. Some honorable members have asked whether this is the proper time to vote ourselves an increase. As the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr.** Hughes) pointed out, when it was proposed in 1907 to increase parliamentary allowances from £400 to £600, h was suggested then that the time was inopportune. Again, when it was proposed in 1920 to increase allowances from £600 to £1,000 a year, it was said that it was noi the proper time to do such a thing, and now in 1947 it is still not the proper time. I believe that it will never be the proper time if heed is paid to all the objections that could be raised. I will support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition because I believe that this matter should first of all have been considered by a committee representative of all parties in the Parliament. It has been suggested that, bearing in mind the opinions that have been expressed in the debate on this hill, such a committee could not have done other than bring in a recommendation almost on all fours with the proposal now before us, but that is not true. An all-party committee could have recommended that an increase of allowances be made conditional upon certain other things being done. It could have given consideration to the point raised by the honorable member for Reid and others regarding the appropriateness of keeping the wagepegging regulations in operation. It might have recommended that the repeal of those regulations should take precedence over any increase of parliamentary allowances. I suggest that an allparty committee could also have considered the position of public servants who, for .a number of years, have been kept on fixed salaries, the only increases being the basic wage variations based on the cost-of-living index figures. A firstclass postmaster receives a salary of between £500 and £600 a year, and no increases have been permitted during the last seven years. He has certainly received the basic wage adjustment of a few shillings a week, but not a percentage adjustment to enable him to maintain his place in the community and the prestige of his office. Many thousands of Commonwealth public servants are in the toils of the Taxation Department and have no way out except an appeal to the Public Service Board ; yet the only improvement of their position for many years has been a basic wage adjustment amounting to a few shillings a week - an amount altogether disproportionate to their position in the community. Those officers should have been given consideration before this measure was introduced. Despite all that has been said by critics of this proposal, the cost to the Treasury will not be more than about £35,000 a year after allowing for income tax. Within the last few days we have had before us a measure for the appropriation of £68,000,000 to cover expenses of the country for the first three months of the next financial" year. Members of the Parliament are directors of an organization whose commitments amount to about £360,000,000 per annum and they should be remunerated for their responsibilities. It has been said that the time is not ripe for this increase of salary. I have never known the time to be ripe to improve the conditions of members of Parliament. The time is ripe for their position to be reviewed, as it is also ripe for better conditions to be granted to those engaged in the dairying industry. The- {: #subdebate-23-0-s16 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER:
Mr. Sheehy -- Order! {: .speaker-JLZ} ##### Mr ANTHONY: -- I contend that I am in order, **Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker,** in comparing what is being done to grant a percentage increase of salary to members of Parliament with what is being done for other sections of the community. I shall not continue in that strain, except to say that the interests of every section of the community must be borne in mind. If the passing of this measure w;ll mean that more sympathetic consideration will be given to the problems of other sections of the community, and particularly that it will cause Government supporters to be more sympathetic to the claims of others besides themselves, then the payment of £35,000 will probably be justified. {: #subdebate-23-0-s17 .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON:
Hindmarsh -- I have been particularly interested in the claim that this is not the right time to increase the salaries of members of Parliament, and that the granting of an increase would amount to breach of contract. I am not aware of any contract that I have with the people excepting that I shall legislate on their behalf in accordance with the Constitution. The right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** has told us how the salaries of members of Parliament were fixed in the first place under the Constitution. He referred to the Constitution which provides that the allowances of members were to be £400 a year until the Parliament otherwise provided. That is the only contract that I recognize in this connexion. It is clear from the Constitution that the original payment to members of £400 a year could be altered, by the Parliament. This is the third time that I have been called upon to participate in a debate relating to the salaries of members of Parliament. I was a member of the South Australian Parliament during the depression when it was proposed to reduce members' salaries from £400 to £360 a year. When conditions improved and it was proposed to restore the salaries" to £400 a year, the newspapers of .South Australia saw fit to indulge in some caustic comment. Later, members found that £400 a year was inadequate, and so a proposal to increase the amount to £600 a year was introduced. I emphasize that that proposal emanated from a Liberal government. On that occasion one honorable member said that he would never accept the extra £200 a year ; and as some honorable members of this House have inquired what the position would be if an honorable member decided not to accept any increase of salary I inform them that the South Australian member to whom I have referred met the situation by making a sworn declaration that he would never claim the money, and authorized the State Treasurer to retain in Consolidated Revenue the amount payable to him. He did not pay tax on the additional £200 to which he was entitled. Honorable members of this Parliament are in a similar position; they need not accept the additional £500, and I do not think that there is any constitutional difficulty about authorizing the paymaster to retain the amount in Consolidated Revenue. I add that that increase of salaries in .South Australia followed, not preceded, a general election, and took place when wage-pegging regulations were in force. The position was different from what it is today when wage-pegging regulations have practically been lifted. On that occasion, members of all parties agreed that it was right to grant the increase. The result was that the additional payment to members was made. Later, when I decided to transfer to the Commonwealth Parliament, I received the support of an overwhelming majority of the electorate. On the present occasion I know that I shall be criticized by some people. There are always individuals in the community who are willing to criticize members of Parliament. Some of them resort to writing letters to newspapers on such occasions. When I stood for election to this Parliament, I was accused of seeking to grab £1,000 a year instead of £600 a year. No matter what we do, some people will always accuse us of being out for what we can get. We should approach this subject from the viewpoint of what is a decent and reasonable allowance for the job we are called upon to perform. I recollect some years ago members of a State Pariament, even. Labour members, decrying the Parliament because they considered the procedure by which parliament was conducted was not the correct one to be applied. I recollect, too, how some of them were missing from their places in the Parliament after the elections. There is an old saying that if you want to sell fish you should not declare that they are stinking. If we believe that the job we are doing is worth £1,500 a year, and practically every honorable member who has spoken to the bill ' apparently does not regard that amount as too great, let us be honest and say that the adjustment should be made now. Let us not be naive about the proposal and say, " It can wait till later on ". That would be merely calling stinking fish. If honorable members do so and the people subsequently accept them at their own valuation they cannot complain. I have not been accustomed to receive a high salary, and, as far as I am concerned, £1,000 a year seems to be a fairly good salary. The electorate which I represent, however, does not involve me *in* the heavy transport and other expenses which have to he met by many other honorable members. If I had to run a motor car over great distances and pay for its upkeep, the amount of the parliamentary allowance, less the tax imposed upon it, would not be sufficient to enable me suitably to maintain my position. When a member of this Parliament attends functions in his electorate and sees the mayor, the chairman of a district council and other civic dignitaries driving up in sumptuous motor cars, while he himself drives a 1934 " Lizzie ",. he does not feel that he is upholding his position with the dignity it deserves. Let us not decry the task we are called upon to carry out. If we are to undertake it in a manner befitting the responsibilities of our office and we 'believe an allowance of £1,500 a year to be necessary, let us be honest and support the bill. If at any time I have reason to believe that any person is not getting a fair deal I am only too. willing to argue with any official on his behalf. If I believe it to he possible to give him something better than he is getting, I fight for it; and because I am determined to. fight for reasonable conditions for others I am equally prepared to fight for justice for members of the Parliament, realizing that many of them are mulct in expenses very much greater than my own. I want to clear up some confusion that exists with regard to the comparative responsibilities of members representing country and metropolitan electorates. I had' a long experience as a representative of a metropolitan electorate in the Parliament of South Australia, and I am also familiar with the responsibilities of members representing country electorates. To. attempt to. draw an analogy between members representing metropolitan and country electorates is utterly impossible. It is well known that in the course of their duties some representatives of country constituencies do not expend onehalf as much as do others. That is also, true of the representatives of metropolitan constituencies. There is no yard stick by which the expenses of members, of the Parliament can be measured. We are- here as the representatives, of- the people of Australia. We have been called upon to assume a very high and honorable office. When, I was- abroad, recently I was questioned as to the allowances paid to members of the Commonwealth Parliament. I had to make a lot of excuses when I explained that we received £1,000 a year or the equivalent of 3,200 American dollars. My questioners wondered what sort of people Australians were who gave their parliamentary representatives so meagre an allowance. In my travels I met many heads of minor departments who were receiving the equivalent of £5,000 a year. I shall vote for the bill, not because it gives effect to a caucus decision, but because I believe its purpose is to grant a measure of justice to the members of this Parliament. {: #subdebate-23-0-s18 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HOLT:
Fawkner .- We were told by our press friends just before the week-end that the Parliament was trying to rush this legislation through the House and that a day would be selected on which the proceedings of the Parliament were not being broadcast over the air. I do not think any one can claim that this legislation is being rushed. If the expressions of honorable members in all parts of the House, are any indication there has been a very fair and representative discussion of this measure. It is a good thing thai, through the innovation of broadcasting,, the public has been able to hear a good deal of the discussions that have taken place on this measure. I regret that some of the most significant speeches, those of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies),** the Attorney-General **(Dr. Evatt),** the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes),** the right honorable, member for Cowper **(Sir Earle Page)** and others, were broadcast in the * course of the afternoon, because whatever impression now rests in ihe public mind I believe, that had the people been able, tolisten in to the full discussion that has taken place here to-day, a sense of proportion would have been restored to- who have had merely the splenetic and biased distortions of some sections of the press to guide them on the problem which the Parliament is discussing. I believe that there should be included on the. staffs of some of our great daily journal's, particularly those in my own State, psychiatrists to probe the minds of the gentlemen who write some of the leading articles that have been presented 10 the public in recent days. After all, who are these people that they are denouncing in these violent terms ? What is the great burden that is being imposed on the Australian public? Let me answer these two questions briefly, because at this stage of the debate I cannot add very much that is fresh on the factual side and it would be useful to touch on one or two points that have not been fully developed. I remind the people of Australia that those who are being branded as looters, grabbers, and scoundrels are honorable members who but a few months ago were returned by the people of this country in a very democratic vote as their representatives in this Parliament. If we are the scoundrels who have been referred to, I might add that some of us have been here for a pretty long time and title country is taking a long time to find out just how rascally our conduct has been, and just how truthful are the statements made by the press about us. If those statements were true, and we represent the best material that the people have been able to select for their National Parliament, it does not say much for the future of the Commonwealth. But, of course, those who are able to retain some sense of proportion in this matter are not going to be confused for long by the unbalanced story which some sections of the press have been publishing about us. We are here because each of us has been able to convince from 70,000 to 80,000 people in our respective electorates that we have a judgment which we can exercise for the benefit of Australia, and because of those presented to them for election we represent, in their view, the best material available. While we are here, let us hold ourselves in Parliament in that high ' estate for which we have been chosen. Do not let us underrate the position to which we have been elected. It is one of the highest and most responsible positions that can be given to any citizen of the Commonwealth at the present time. While we are here let ils by our conduct in the Parliament and outside show that we are worthy of our electors' trust. I for one do not believe that the people of this country are so miserable as to desire their Parliamentary representatives to live at a standard considerably lower than that enjoyed by members of parliaments in other democracies. What is this great cost that is imposed upon the people of the Commonwealth for the maintenance of this Parliament? I took occasion to consult the latest Commonwealth *Year-Booh* in the library, and I found that the cost of the Commonwealth Parliament to the people works out for the last year, 1942-43, for which a record is given, at ls. 6d. *per capita* per annum. That is less than the cost of two pints of beer, or a " bob " each way at the races, once a year. Is that too much for the people of the Commonwealth to pay for their parliamentary institution ? That cost covers not only the Parliament itself, but also the GovernorGeneral and his establishment, the Executive Council and its establishment, the Ministry, including travelling and salaries expenses of Ministers, the cost of conducting the work of both Houses of the Parliament, parliamentary committees and various officers of the Parliament, including the *Hansard* staff, and all the numerous items which come under the heading of " The Parliament ". Yet one would believe, if one were to take as gospel the statements which have been published in the press in recent weeks, that the people are to groan under some new and additional burden. The Parliament is able to exercise its own responsibility in this matter. It has done so in the past; and I adopt the view of those who say that there is no question of a contract with the electorate, or that the question should be handed over to some tribunal to determine its conditions. If we have a contract when we are elected to the Parliament, it is a contract to conduct ourselves under the Constitution. In this respect we have no direct contract with our electors. We are sent here to represent them : and they have their remedy if they are not satisfied with the representation that they get. The same argument applies with equal force to the setting up of a tribunal to determine what conditions should apply to the work of members of the Parliament. I do not propose to elaborate that argument, because it has been dealt with fully by other honorable members in this debate. But there is one aspect of this- matter which I believe cannot be over-emphasized, and that is the need for attracting to this Parliament the best talent - persons of the best calibre available in the Commonwealth, lt is not only a matter of the increase of numbers of electors in each electorate. During the comparatively short period that I have been a member of the Parliament, the number of electors in my electorate has increased from 50,000 to S0,000. Neither is it merely a question of the number and complexity of matters having grown, and that is admitted by all honorable members. To-day this Parliament is expending for governmental purposes and on matters which come under Commonwealth administration, approximately £400,000,000 per annum, which is about one-third of the total national income. Surely, the best economy the country can institute is to have supervising that expenditure, and planning the policies which are to control that expenditure, the best talent available among the men and women of Australia that can he attracted to the Parliament. It is no answer to me to say that at every general election candidates rushed to seek election under conditions which have previously prevailed. I know that that is not true, because I know that we have the greatest difficulty in persuading suitable candidates to offer themselves for election. That is particularly the case in States like Western Australia and Queensland, because representation in this Parliament of electorates in those States involves severance of family ties and business connexions, and almost complete disruption of the life of a man, or woman, who is elected to this Parliament. We are not getting the best talent to-day in those States because conditions of representation in this Parliament are not sufficiently attractive and because of the insecurity involved in membership of the Parliament. As a matter of interest, [ ascertained how members of the Parliament, during the twelve years that [ have been a member of the House, have fared from the point of view of security. To-day only 23 of the 74 members who were here when I was elected are still members of this House, and only three of the 36 honorable senators in office -when I was elected will remain in that chamber after the 30th June next. We are looking for young men - I say men because our main representation will come from males as a matter of practice - particularly those with service background, to come to this Parliament to carry on their service in the Parliament and contribute the youth, energy and vigour that can be so valuable in our deliberations here. But, to-day, we are seeking them, particularly from the distant States, such as Queensland and Western Australia on conditions which to most of them .would be less advantageous than those they enjoyed as junior commissioned officers in the defence forces. That is bad for the Commonwealth on the whole. It is false economy so to stint the' members of the National Parliament that we shall not attract the best talent available to seek election to the Parliament. Therefore, I join with the overwhelming majority of honorable members who have spoken in this debate in saying that there is a strong and powerful case for an upward review of the present salaries of members of the Parliament. I come now to the question which really is the issue among honorable members in this matter. Should we make this upward revision at this very moment? The Leader of the Opposition dwelt on the wage-pegging aspect of the matter, and reached the conclusion that, on that account, the Parliament, whatever its general view might be, should defer any action while the Parliament as a whole was maintaining a policy of wagepegging and economic controls which were keeping rents pegged at the 1940 level, and keeping down land-values and prices generally in a general endeavour to maintain economic stability. There is great force in the argument that he advanced - that while the Parliament, however much honorable members individually may disagree with respect to wage-pegging and prices control at present, still maintains in theory at any rate this policy, the present is an inappropriate time to make an upward revision of our own salaries. It is not a complete answer to that argument to- say that, in practice 90' per cent, of wage-pegging has been lifted, because whatever the practice may be, the theory remains completely so far as the Government is concerned. Only last night, in the debate on supply, member after member opposite declared that it was their policy to continue the controls. While that is the Government's attitude it cannot consistently bring before the Parliament a provision involving an upward revision of our own allowances. Therefore, I come to -what I regard as the practical solution of the problem - the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. This is not a matter for any particular political party or a matter that a majority in t'he Parliament should determine of itself and throw into the laps of other honorable members, saying, " Here it is. Take it or leave it, as you like." The Parliament as a whole is affected by this problem, and I am at a loss to understand why the Government did not take the course suggested by the Leader of the Opposition, because it is not merely a problem of determining an increase of the parliamentary allowances. We know from discussions that have come to us from the caucus room that the Government has other matters in mind concerning members of Parliament. If they are to .affect all members, .as this proposal affects all members, the -Parliament .as a whole, first through a .representative committee of the Parliament, should be able to debate the matters. I do not say that with any desire to -avoid a full public discussion of them, because the recommendations of such a committee must finally come to the Parliament to be debated, as we have debated this proposal -to-day. If matters affect all members of Parliament, all sections of the Parliament are entitled to be consulted before decisions are made instead of having decisions thrust upon them. There should have been no difficulty, in practice, in bringing that about in this instance. The Speaker, in his dual minor roles of honorable member for Dalley and chairman of the caucus committee that investigated these matters, asked, "What more representative body could you have got than the .Speaker, the President 'of "the Senate, two Ministers and two rankandfile members of the party?" We could have got a much more representative body than that, because there are other issues including that of wagepegging that could and would be raised by other members of the Parliament that should properly form the subject of inquiry by such a committee. The result is that the caucus, after its own investigation, has reached a decision. It has presented that decision to the Parliament, saying, " Here it is. Like it or lump it." I find myself in a dilemma. I admit it quite frankly. One either accepts the caucus proposal, which is contrary to our view, having regard to the 'Government's policy on wage-pegging, or says '" I for one am not going to accept any such increase." That is a dilemma, and there is no solution of any dilemma that commends itself entirely to the person involved. I should have preferred, as my party would have preferred, this matter to be delayed until the wagepegging regulations have been repealed, not because -we deny that, in substance,, 90 per cent, of the regulations ' .may have been repealed ; but because the impression remains in the minds of the mass of the people of this country that prices are controlled, that rents are controlled and that wages are controlled, and that, .in those circumstances, the other elements in our economy should .also be controlled. I agree that -this is a provocative move that is likely to increase rather than -decrease the volume of unrest in the community. So the dilemma in which we are placed is that we either .accept the proposal, which to us is ill-timed and provocative, or., although we .recognize that the case for it is overwhelming, say that we shall reject the advantage. I intend to express my policy by my vote. I will accept the result as I have accepted, the .result in relation to other measures that I have resisted but which have been carried. It will be something of a novelty if honorable members who have voted against tax measures, but have accepted the verdict and paid what they regard as excessive taxes, place themselves for once, in an advantageous position by accepting the result in this instance. It is not a happy decision for me to reach, but it is the decision that is nearest to resolving -my dilemma. {: #subdebate-23-0-s19 .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr FADDEN:
Darling DownsLeader of the Australian Country party -- I realize that at this stage of the debate there is no new ground for me to break, but, as Leader of the Australian Country party, it is my duty to place its views before honorable members. Everything said in this debate has demonstrated the justice of an increase of what some people mistakenly describe as our salaries. " Salaries " is a misnomer. What we are paid is an allowance as compensation for parliamentary service. However, although it is described as the parliamentary allowance in this legislation, the legislation that it amends, and the Constitution, it is treated as income out of which indispensable and inescapable commitments must be met. The concensus of opinion of honorable members, as has been shown by this debate, is that the allowances of honorable members are totally inadequate to cover the faithful discharge of duties of members of the Parliament. I do not intend to hark back to 1907 or 1920, or any other year. I ask the country to consider what would be adequate compensation for the faithful performance of parliamentary duties if this were the first Parliament of the Commonwealth instead of the eighteenth. Every honorable member appreciated the temperate and lucid speech of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** and we ore indebted to the right honorable member for Cowper **(Sir Earle Page)** and the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes),** whose long experience in the Commonwealth Parliament enabled them to place before honorable members facts that might otherwise have escaped their attention. The question to be resolved is not whether the present allowance of £1,000 a year is adequate or not, but whether the proposed increase is appropriately timed, considering all circumstances. Members of the Australian Country party have expressed doubt regarding the wisdom of increasing the parliamentary allowance at this stage in view of existing restrictions, such as wage-pegging. I submit that responsibility for the existence of these conditions and for the timing of the proposal rests entirely upon the Government, which introduced the measure and now asks us to approve of it. The Parliament itself, and the people of Australia, must decide whether the explanation given by the Attorney-General **(Dr. Evatt),** who spoke on behalf of the Government, is satisfactory. They must also take cognizance of the doubts express sed by the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Lang).** Considering all these factors, I believe that the House should accept the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition which proposes the appointment of an all-party committee to consider the bill from every aspect, with particular regard to its timing. Everything that has been said during this debate indicates that an increase of the parliamentary allowance is justified. First, I point out that the prime cost of the increase will he approximately £55,00 per annum. I say " prime " cost, because the increase of £500 per annum *per capita* will be subject to income tax.' One can only guess at the amount of the contra account in respect of taxes. I hazard the opinion that it will be not less than £27,000 a year, or approximately 10s. in £1 of the amount of the increase. This calculation does not take into account the detrimental tax effect to which recipients of the increase will be subjected as a result of its addition to the incomes which they receive from other sources. The people. must be told that the maximum net cost of the proposed increase will be about £27,500 a year. Also it is appropriate to draw attention to the fact that £1,500 a year represents a charge on the electors of 6d. *per capita* per annum. About 60,000 voters are enrolled in each electorate of the Commonwealth. The cost of sharing £1,500 per annum amongst that number of persons is 6d. *per capita.* Therefore, the cost of the proposed increase of £500 per annum will De 2d. *per capita.* I refer now to the indispensable costs charged against the parliamentary allowance, of which I can speak with the authority of experience. My costs as a parliamentary representative over the last three years have averaged £930 per annum. This calculation also disregards entirely the detrimental effect, in respect of my tax liabilities, of the addition of that allowance to my other income. These costs are common to every member of this House, and they are particularly burdensome on honorable members who represent rural electorates. The expenses of the representatives of our most far-flung electorates are the heaviest of all. An honorable member cannot adequately represent a rural constituency unless he has a motor car, and the running costs of a motor car are considerable. Members are also obliged to attend shows, patriotic gatherings, and public functions of that nature. Donations and subscriptions to various charitable causes also constitute an unavoidable charge. Every honorable member knows that his costs during election campaigns are high. The larger an electorate and the more remote its locality, the greater are the costs of conducting an election campaign. A reasonable allotment for election expenses is £300, which represents £100 per annum. This does not include certain personal expenditure, which a candidate must incur if he wishes to secure the confidence of the electors. In addition to all the costs that I have stated, there are other expenses, which were mentioned by the right honorable member for Cowper. The right honorable gentleman, who has had many years of parliamentary experience, pointed out that a member of this Parliament is obliged virtually to maintain three homes. He must have accommodation in a State capital city, where much of his administrative work has to be carried out and where are situated various departments which he has to visit in the course of his duties. He must also visit all parts of his electorate as frequently as possible, and this involves considerable expenditure. Finally, the meetings of this Parliament, which have been particularly frequent and of long duration in recent years, require his presence in Canberra for large parts of each year. Because of all these demands, I have marvelled, ever since I have been a member of this Parliament, at the fact that honorable members who are dependent entirely upon their parliamentary allowances are able to meet all of their costs. I could not possibly have carried on had I not benefited from other sources of income, which are fast being dissipated. We must not lose sight of the relative positions of Commonwealth and State members of Parliament. It is ironical that, when members of Parliament in various States increased their salaries in recent years, their actions were not criticized so greatly or subjected to such undue attacks by the press as have been levelled at this bill in the last few days. In my home State of Queensland, the average Commonwealth electorate embraces approximately six complete State electorates. Within the last twelve months, members of the Parliament of Queensland increased their allowance to £850 per annum. A simple calculation will demonstrate that, if six State members represent an area equivalent to the size of a Commonwealth electorate, the cost of State representation within that area is £5,100, compared with the cost of Commonwealth representation of £1,000. That amply demonstrates the degree to which members of this Parliament have been ill-treated in the matter of the parliamentary allowance and justifies, if justification were required, the proposed increase of £500. Sufficient consideration has not been given to the varying circumstances and responsibilities of members of this Parliament, having regard to area, remoteness and general conditions of electorates in a metropolitan area compared with electorates in country districts. The country electorates can be represented faithfully and properly only at the cost of the minimum amount to which I referred earlier. I am in favour of the proposed increase. If I had had any doubts about the justification for it, the mature views which have been expressed by some of the previous speakers would dissolve them. Honorable members who have a period of parliamentary experience which en tires them to speak with authority on th's subject, include those who have made a great national sacrifice by giving up lucrative practices and happy careers in order to enter the National Parliament and provide in it the standard of representation that is required. These men have received from the public scant consideration and recognition for the lengthy service that they have rendered to Australia and the sacrifices that they have made. Nothing else has motivated those gentlemen but a sincere desire to serve Australia faithfully and well. The case that has been presented during this debate has amply demonstrated that the proposed allowance of £1,500 a year is the minimum that in all the circumstances should be granted. I still contend thatthe introduction of the bill at this juncture, and the method adopted by the Government in determining the amount of increase, are open to criticism and comment, and the Government must explain to the satisfaction of the Parliament and the people that wage-pegging virtually exists no longer. The matter should be thoroughly investigated, and doubts which have been raised could be dissipated if an all-party committee of both chambers were appointed to examine this proposal. I shall support the amendment. {: #subdebate-23-0-s20 .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr BOWDEN:
Gippsland -- I desire to make a few brief comments on this proposal, which has resolved itself into a question of - >How happy could I be with either > >Were t'other dear charmer away. It is notable that nearly every honorable member who has spoken in this debate has found some merit in this proposal. That is easy to do, because circumstances combine to make it easy or to recognize the necessity for an increase of the parliamentary allowance. However, it is obvious that speakers have not spoken to pattern. Each has spoken in a manner which reflects his own opinion, and many opinions have been expressed. Consequently, it would be strange if, in this multiplicity of opinions, some doubts were not cast on the propriety of introducing the bill at this juncture. I have no doubt that honorable members generally are familiar with the statement that "members of the Parliament are mainly interested in feathering their own nest ". Even before I became a member of this House I always resisted that proposition. I believe now, with a knowledge of all the circumstances, that such a charge could not be sustained. I support the amendment which the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** submitted, for reasons that are not associated with any such contention. Few bills introduced into this Parliament since I have been a member of it, apply a more severe test to one's sense of national responsibility than does this measure. The majority of bills which have an ultimate objective in view, have provided an opportunity for the expression of many points of view. Many people outside this Parliament still delude themselves with the belief that it is the mean of all these points of view which eventually decides the question. I emphasize that there can be only two points of view on this bill. We must be more than usually alert in order to ensure that our judgment shall not be prejudiced by considerations of self interest. An equally strong case can be made out for either the affirmative or the negative. The Attorney-General **(Dr. Evatt)** and the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** have eloquently stated the case for the affirmative. I admit quite freely that from the stand-point of monetary value, the allowance which is granted to members of the Parliament of the Commonwealth is anything but flattering. Democracy demands equal opportunity for all those who adhere to its principles, and the diversity of interests, plus the liberal cross-section of the community which is represented in this Parliament, provide eloquent proof that Australians believe in that democratic principle. It will be a sad state of retrogression, if we ever reach it, when only the rich man can afford to contest a seat in this Parliament. The public mind, so far as it is interested in this proposition, has been prejudiced by what I term, as other honorable members have described it, the unfair manner in which the case has been presented by certain sections of the press. Those journals elect to prepare the public mind for an unbiased opinion by decorating their front pages with delectable phrases, such as "salary grabs" and " Treasury loots " as though a proposition such as this were unprecedented and Parliament had no jurisdiction to determine such a matter. They begin their articles by stating - quite accurately - that a member of the Parliament receives an allowance of £1,000 per annum, less tax, plus 22s. 6d. a day during parliamentary sitting days, free of tax. In fairness, I think they might add that exactly the same treatment is accorded to public servants who are compelled to live away from home. But the worst piece of misrepresentation in which they indulge is the allegation that members receive an amount of £250 to £280 per annum for payment of secretarial allowance, and I know that the general public believes that we receive this sum to use at our own discretion. Newspaper writers and editors could easily explain that that amount is not received by honorable members at all, but is paid to the secretaries, who are public servants. Then these newspaper reports mention the privilege honorable members enjoy of using a railway pass. My pass is more ornamental than useful, and most members representing country constituencies find that it is merely a licence to travel on trains which do not run. Nearly all members representing country constituencies have to use a motor car to serve their constituencies at their own expense, and I would cheerfully surrender this concession. However, I must admit that the taxpayers of this country pay for the provision of railway passes, although in the circumstances the issue of railway passes merely amounts to putting money into one pocket and taking it out of another. Finally, I refer to the stamp allowance of £96 per annum, a subject touched upon by other honorable members who have spoken. To write one letter to each of his constituents every three years, a member of the Parliament representing an average electorate of 60,000 constituents would have to spend £500 or more. I think that is an effective answer to criticism of the payment of the stamp allowance. I do not pretend that members write 60,000 letters in three years, but we might easily require to do so. My remarks, so far, may be considered as a defence of this proposition, and 1 intend them to be regarded as such; but in defining my attitude to the timing 'and method of this measure I echo the remark of the Leader of the Opposition, by saying that I make no claim to be " holier than thou ". Possibly my perspective is different from that of honorable members who have more social obligations than I have, and therefore I view this measure in a different light to them. In a state of transformation, such as we are now undergoing, the dividing line between the successful reestablishment of community life and a lapse into chaos is very fine. As members of the National Parliament, we have an obligation to maintain a high national morale. The Government, in its efforts to maintain a stabilized currency, has applied safeguards against inflation, in the form of price control and wage-pegging, and is continually exhorting the public to curtail spending; yet it now proposes, quite calmly, to increase the allowances paid to members of the Parliament by 50 per cent. ! It looks to me very like a case of, " Do not do as I do, but do as I say ". This proposal involves an aggregate sum of aproximately £50,000, which will not materially affect the general financial position; but, on the other hand, if the general public regard it as an example which they are entitled to follow, we may find that we shall be seriously embarrassed in the near future. *Sitting suspended from 11. SO p.m. to 1% midnight.* *Thursday, 5 June 1947.* {: #subdebate-23-0-s21 .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- History furnishes abundant proof that where the foundation is 'Unstable, or there is not moral guidance, chaos usually results. I agree with the Prime Minister that, as we develop nationally the responsibility of honorable members increases in both magnitude and importance. But I should like to know whether our collective value is assessed according to the responsibility that we incur or to the manner in which we discharge it; because there is no doubt whatever that, over the years, the Government has permitted certain militant minorities in this country, by harassing tactics, so to impair the national economy that very many more important phases of our re-establishment programme and our marketing . structure are far behind schedule. I turn now, briefly, to the Prime Minister's statement that one of the reasons why this proposal should be approved is the general stability and prosperity of Australia's economy. Opinions may differ about the stability of our economy. I believe it to be based on our war-time experience, which taught the Government that, if one-half of the people are engaged in non-revenue-producing services there is always more money in circulation than is required to purchase the relatively few goods which the other portion of the community produces. Theoretically, this proposition may he sound, but in practice what do we find? In order to maintain such an economy certain legislative restrictions have been found necessary. These, in turn, have hampered production to such a degree that permits for practically everything that is required for the development of wealth-producing industries have been needed, and these have brought in their train the very distressing black marketing and racketeering, it is rather ironical that the very measures which we have provided for the protection of the country against inflationary tendencies, such as prices control, furnish the security under which black marketeers operate. If that security ceased to exist, I believe that there could no longer be black marketing. A state of society in which there is more money than is required to purchase the relatively few goods that are offering is, in degree, only slightly less disturbing from a general stability stand-point than the other extreme, in which the money in circulation does not quite equate with the goods that are offered for sale. So this stability and prosperous economy about which the Prime Minister has spoken may prove to be merely a bubble, which will be beautifully iridescent until it bursts. Our £1,000,000 social services programme will present no difficulty whatever while we are living in a state of boom, hut it has yet to be tested in a condition of falling markets. If it can survive the test of all ' economic cycles without drying up the sources of money supply then, probably, this Government will deserve well of the people. The ease with which we can increase our own allowances is in sharp contrast to the cold indifference with which every proposition by members of the Opposition is greeted when they desire to obtain some small concession for the very deserving people of this country. The scope of the bill will not permit me to elaborate on that theme. I need refer only to exservicemen, and others who, in the developmental portions of the continent, are opening up new country and rendering a great service to the community. When we have asked for the smallest consideration for them we have been met with a cold and an emphatic " *No ",* and that has not prejudiced me in favour of this easy method of increasing our own emoluments. I know that skilled female operatives in the employ of the Commonwealth, with probably from ten to fifteen years service, are still receiving less than £4 a week. I know of men with 22 years' service, including six years of war service, who are receiving less than £5 a week. I know a man with 35 years' service, who is receiving only £6 a week. Each of those men is maintaining a wife and family, and is trying to educate, feed and clothe them adequately. The munificent salaries which they receive are increased only by the amounts which represent rises of the cost of living. Employees such as those to whom I have referred have no means of' by-passing the basic wage by such expedients as margins for skill, war-loading, danger-pay, or any other similar device, but must continue, apparently without hope after from 20 to 35 years' service, to receive no more money than they were paid 20 years ago. The case for the amendment, which I support, is one upon which, apparently, the House is divided. I heard the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** describe it as an expedient to dodge an issue. It merely expresses resentment at the way in which this bill was introduced; because, after all, 47 per cent, of the total adult population of Australia is represented by honorable members who sit on this side of the House, compared with 53 per cent, by members of the Government party. Government policy is not a factor in this issue. The matter materially and beneficiently affects the whole of us individually and collectively. In common with other Opposition members, I consider that the 47 per cent, of the public which is represented on this side of the House, should have had 47 per cent, of the voice in deciding whether or not this proposal should be introduced. The Government is treating it as a policy matter, quite regardless of the fact that we. too, have feelings and must either accept or reject it without having had any voice in deciding whether or not it should be brought forward. That is the case for the amendment, which I propose to support with the full consciousness that many honorable members of this Parliament, probably because of their obligations - which may bo heavier than mine - may be badly in need of the increase. I have already expressed the opinion that the allowance which we receive is anything but flattering, considering the important job that we do. It is all right to say that any time is the right time for increasing it. In my opinion, it is nothing of the sort. The right time would be when we had regained some semblance of stability which we could be assured would last .for at least twelve months. The newspapers to-day published the statement that the Australasian Council of Trade Unions are dealing with the threat of a one-day strike over the whole of Australia'. Therefore, our prosperity may prove to be of the bubble variety. I want to see some real stability before embarking upon a proposition which may be misconstrued in the community, and may give to certain sections of the people the right to go ahead with their designs. I summarize my opposition to the bill by saying that much that could have been done has been left undone and much that has been done could well have been left undone. Therefore, in spite of the admirable case that can be presented in favour of this proposal, I support the amendment seeking the postponement of the bill until a full investigation of the matter has been made. {: #subdebate-23-0-s22 .speaker-JPT} ##### Mr BLAIN:
Northern Territory -- This is a rather audacious bill coining from ihe Labour party. For twelve years I have criticized Labour members of this Parliament for coming here as delegates and not as representatives. I say they are delegates because they have to bow to the wishes of pressure groups outside the Parliament. This measure is the first indication that at long last honorable members opposite are adopting a higher conception of their duty to their country, and are prepared to act as representatives of the public at large. This means, of course, that more will be expected of them in the future and that they- will have to show greater firmness in controlling the destinies of this country. I am reminded of the words of the famous Irishman, Edmund Burke, in 1774. Refusing to be treated as a dele gate when his constituents from Bristol tried to put him in the stocks, as this Government is so frequently put in the stocks by the communistic pressure groups, he claimed that his first duty was not to his constituents but to his conscience. I remind the Labour party, therefore, that in view of this legislation, it will have to accept greater responsibility in the future, in fact, in the near future. Honorable members opposite will have to live up to the designation " representatives ", and never again lay themselves open to the charge of being delegates of certain pressure groups outside the Parliament which have dictated most of this Government's legislation, with the exception, of course, of this measure. Opponents of this bill say they hope it will not be passed, but are afraid that it will be. I think, however, that like myself, most of them hope it will be passed but are afraid that it will not be. That makes my position quite clear. The honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Archie Cameron)** trenchantly criticized the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Turnbull)** for his opposition to the bill, and practically used a mallet to drive home his points. {: #subdebate-23-0-s23 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- The honorable member means " malice ". {: .speaker-JPT} ##### Mr BLAIN: -- No, the honorable member for Barker, who did so much for me and for my constituents in the Northern Territory while I was away during the war, does not know how to be malicious. He said that the honorable member for Wimmera did not appreciate the position of most honorable members because he did not understand the troubles of a married man. In defence of the honorable member for Wimmera, I point out that had he not been a bachelor he probably would not have been able to do the job that he did for his country during the war years. I am rather afraid that the words of the honorable member for Barker might induce the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** to introduce a bachelor tax. I urge the honorable member not to look upon bachelors and spinsters as people who have been unable to get married, but rather to look upon married people as those who have been unable to remain single. Unfortunately, the attitude of the public to members of Parliament has been unduly influenced by the press. I am confident that at least 99 per cent, of members of this House entered the Parliament, not for the emoluments that they receive, but because they have felt there is something wrong in the country that should be righted. They have come here because of an urge to leave this planet a little better than they found it. Any honorable member who does not have that objective in view should not be here. That is my answer to press criticism. I was pleased, indeed, to hear an ex-pressman, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro **(Mr. Fraser)** put up such an excellent case to-day. His views must be respected by the press - and when I speak of the press I mean the newspaper organizations. The honorable member's speech must have placed the press, and also pressmen, in a rather awkward position. The House owes a debt of gratitude to the honorable member for his most lucid arguments. The parliamentary allowance is a secondary consideration to anyone who has earned a decent income in some other walk of life, but the honorable member could have enlarged upon bis theme, and pointed out that the salary which a man receives determines his status in the eyes of foolish people. If members of Parliament draw allowances smaller than the salaries paid to a considerable section of public servants the tendency will be for the public to scorn their parliamentary representatives, despite the fact that it is those representatives who devise - that is the important word - legislation for the country. Unless parliamentary allowances are increased we shall be looked upon as inferior beings. This legislation is long overdue. Some honorable members have entered this Parliament without having ever earned outside it more than they receive here as members. To such persons the press should have been kinder in its criticism, instead of abusing those who have offered their services to their country. On the other hand, let us consider such men as the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies),** the Attorney^ General **(Dr. Evatt)** and the right honor able member for Cowper **(Sir Earle Page),** who sacrificed big incomes to enter the Parliament. There are persons outside the Parliament who are making big incomes out of business that is not legitimate. They dare to criticize us, but they have not the intestinal fortitude to offer themselves for election. They prefer that some one else should enter the Parliament, and then they try to use them as stooges. Somebody has to do this job, and it is our duty to try to leave the world a little better than we found it. I congratulate the Government on its courage in bringing forward this measure. I hope that it will continue to show firmness, that it will refuse to submit to pressure groups outside the Parliament, and that it will evince greater courage in face of the communist menace than a trapped rabbit in the toils of a python. **Mr. McEWEN** (Indi) T12.26 a.m.].Little that is new can be said on this measure ; but the issue is one upon which I do not wish to vote without expressing my opinions. It is a pity that honorable members, when discussing a proposal of this kind, should feel that they are on the defensive. I intend to vote for the bill, and I do not intend t& offer any excuses for doing so. This proposal involves extra expenditure amounting to £55,000 a year. We in this Parliament are accustomed to deal with much larger amounts than that, without the animated debate that this measure has aroused. We dispose of millions of pounds in a very short space of time, and offer no apology for doing so, because it is necessary. It is only because a personal element intrudes itself, because this matter concerns honorable members themselves, that they feel apologetic, and even feel obliged to criticize what it is proposed to do, while believing that it ought to be done. The affairs of the nation are controlled by the Parliament, the judiciary and the public service. Members of Parliament, who have their part to play in the conduct of public affairs, are not necessarily chosen from among men with fanatical political belief who, because of their fanaticism, are prepared to serve in the Parliament for nothing. Neither have we an aristocracy, or wealthy class of men, born to a sense of public duty, who oan afford to serve their country without reward. If Australia is to be governed at all, it must be governed by parliamentary representatives who are ordinary persons, men without great wealth, who have the same feeling about their obligations to their dependants as have persons in other avocations. Therefore, I believe that the issue before us is whether those who serve the country in this Parliament are being adequately rewarded for their services and recompensed for inescapable expenses, or whether the time has come to review parliamentary allowances. This matter has been brought before the Parliament on the initiative of the Government. I make no .apology for expressing the opinion that this is a proper time to discuss it. Nor am I prepared to compare my position or that of my colleagues with the position of a basic-wage worker or an old-age pensioner. What should be done for such people is a proper subject for discussion at the appropriate time, but the matter now before the Parliament concerns people who are performing an essential service, and go to their masters periodically knowing that the electors are free to change their representatives if they are not satisfied with them, and that they do, in fact, exercise that right. If it U a proper thing periodically to review the rate of payment to other persons in the community who perform services for reward, surely there is nothing improper in saying that the scale of payment to" members of parliament shall periodically be reviewed. Such a review is now taking place. It is a sad reflection on the press of Australia that such an issue cannot be regarded as news and dealt with temperately. Newspapers in this country enjoy great privileges, not because they arc primarily organs of criticism but because they are organs of news. A modern community regards news as an essential service. It may be arguable whether the proposed salary rise is or is not justified, but whatever may be said on that score it is a proposal to raise the salaries of members of Parliament, not a proposal by them to grab something. Yet, in what we were expected to regard as responsible journals I have not been able to find the proposal referred to except under the heading " salary grab ". If newspapers expect to continue to enjoy the existing privileges and amenities made available to them, they ought not to forget that their primary function is to disseminate news. Journals which purport to act in the public interest will not enhance their reputation by associating such terms as " bribery ", " loot " and " grab " with the proposal now before the House. In saying that, I have no wish to step off the stage of public: criticism. The House is now discussing a matter of payment for a service which has not been reviewed for 27 years. Can any man who directs the policy of a great newspaper say that his salary has remained the same for 27 years? Is there a person who reports the debates in this Parliament, or works a linotype, or is associated with a newspaper in any other capacity whose rate of pay has not been reviewed and raised in the last 27 years? The answer is " No ". Therefore it ill becomes persons associated with newspapers which are not notable for launching scandal-mongering and vitriolic attacks on people who advertise in their journals, to choose parliamentarians as the target for their invective. It is not right to' seek such an occasion as the introduction of this legislation to bring the parliamentary institution into such low repute as has been attempted. I make these observations regarding the press, but if anyone thinks that these attacks have any influence on me, or will divert me from the attitude that I think should be adopted, he is mistaken. Some newspapers, I am glad to say, are free from the criticism that I have just voiced. What is the measuring stick by which the reward for the services rendered by members of Parliament is to be judged? I agree with those who say that this issue is not one to be decided by any outside person or body. Parliament is the supreme body in this country, but if at any time its members think otherwise, and for that reason believe that it must act only on the advice of an outsider in the discharge of its primary functions, we shall have reduced the importance and status of the parliamentary institution. I do not believe that this matter ought to be delegated to some person or foody outside the Parliament, whether a justice of the High Court or the Pull Bench of the High Court. If this Parliament had behind it a record of its members plundering the public and acting improperly during the 47 years of its existence, a case could be established for referring this proposal to an independent authority, hut there is no such record. On the contrary, there is a record of the Parliament devoting itself to the betterment of every section of the community, on many more occasions than it has acted in the interests of its members. I pay a tribute to those honorable members who have been in the Parliament for many years, that they have so little availed themselves of opportunities to better their conditions. In this matter, as in others, I shall be guided by my own opinions and shall vote accordingly. In my opinion, the proposal is a matter of payment for services which are not of minor or insignificant character. The conduct of the affairs of a nation is " big business " on a big scale. I have noticed that in the conduct of big business there is a general willingness to pay well for the services of good men, and a recognition of the fact that the cheapest 'men in the long run are good men no matter what is paid to them. Of those -who offer criticism of these proposals in the public press and elsewhere there are to be found few who, in the conduct of their own affairs, do not subscribe to the practice of paying their employees well, recognizing the fact that they cannot hope to attract good men unless they do so. Broadly speaking, this country has been well served by those who have entered the Parliament. We are not super men; few of us claim to be better than average; but I am sure this country has been conscientiously served by its parliamentarians. This is not a poor country which would wish to have its affairs conducted by men less well paid than they should be. What is described as the parliamentary allowance represents, in effect, the gross income of parliamentarians in the samesense as the receipts from a business constitute gross income. In short, one receives £1,000 a year only in circumstances which involve the recipient in certain inescapable expenditure, such as the regular conduct of elections. I have learned that there are some members of my own party in Victoria who contend that this proposal is wrong, yet my own party has never aided me in conducting my election campaigns since I was first elected to the Parliament in 1934. My own party surely must recognize that expenses incurred in the conduct of election campaigns are inescapable. Apart from expenses necessary for the conduct of election campaigns, members of the Parliament are involved in other substantial and completely inescapable expenditure. If a hammer be a tool of trade of the carpenter, then to no less a degree is a motor car a tool of trade of a member of Parliament representing a country constituency. How is a parliamentarian without other resources, in receipt of a parliamentary alowance of £1,000 a year, less income tax and other inescapable expenditure, and less the cost of living, to save the cost of a modern motor car of the cheapest type? Surely this is not so poor a country as would wish those in charge of its affairs to be without the capacity to meet the normal items of expenditure and equip themselves with the cheapest kind of motor car. The longer I live, and the wider my experience grows, the more I "become aware of the fact that most of the business of this world is conducted in an informal manner, in the course of private conversations during which the extension of hospitality is inevitable. If members of the Parliament are to have an opportunity to acquaint themselves on a wider scale with the problems which they are called upon to wrestle, surely it should be recognized that they should be financially able to extend hospitality to their advisers, and to that degree the cost of such hospitality must be recognized as one of the inescapable items of expenditure of every parliamentarian. I cannot remember when the magnificent gold pass about which I read in the newspapers- every day has been of use to me for travelling from one part of my electorate to another. It is completely valueless to me, as it is to other honorable members representing country constituencies. In order to make a tour of my electorate and to visit the most remote town in it - and it is a very important one - I have to drive a motor car a distance of 500 miles, and I have a comparatively compact electorate by comparison with very many other honorable members representing country constituencies. I do not believe that members representing metropolitan constituencies are aware of the tremendous expense in which country members are involved in motor car travelling. Heaven knows I get enough obligatory travel not to bother jaunting about in my car, yet during the period of my membership of this House I have driven my own car on an average more than 10,000 miles a year. During part of that period I wag a Minister of the Crown and travelled a good deal in government cars, and for some lengthy periods I did not have time to travel. As the right honorable member for Cowper **(Sir Earle Page)** said, the country member with his home in the country has necessarily to spend a substantial portion of his time in the capital ctiy of his State. During the war I found it imperative to maintain a small flat in Melbourne because it was absolutely impossible to find accommodation in hotels whenever one wanted it. In common with very many other country members, I now find myself maintaining my own home in the country, a room or a flat in Melbourne, and an hotel room in Canberra. Membership of the Commonwealth Parliament is absolutely a bread-and-butter business for a man with no other resources. I' feel no shame whatever in saying that I believe that the proposal contained in this bill is quite properly brought forward at this time, and that it should not be shuffled off for examination by any one else. Wo should make our own decisions in the Parliament. If a case can be made out in respect of wage-pegging, we should not run away from that issue. Let us deal with it by all means. I do not subscribe to the view that we should refuse to deal with one issue merely because we have not dealt with another with which it may be related. Another point is that we parliamentarians, with public servants only, are in the unique position of paying our tax to our own employer. Therefore, whilst it may be argued that it is scarcely relevant in the case of private employment to say that an increase of salary of £300 is, in effect, an increase of only £150. in this case the simple, undeniable fact is that what on paper is presented as an. increase of £500 is, in effect, as certain tables which have been produced show, an increase of only £200, or £300, and that to our employer, the Government, it is an effective payment of only £200 or £300, and, in some cases, much less than that figure. I have presented the argument mainly from the point of view of the man who has no resources apart from his parliamentary salary. I have done so because I believe that those who have no private resources should be enabled to contemplate standing for election to the National Parliament. However, it cannot be denied that there is another class in thi? country who can make a useful contribution to the affairs of the Parliament, because, after all, the plain fact is that most of the development, production and employment in this country is still related to the conduct of business. To a large degree it is related to the conduct of big business. Consequently there should bc some place in the Parliament for those who are acquainted with business on a major scale. A man who ha? a private income of from £3,000 to £4,000 a year does not require much calculation to realize that, should he be elected to the National Parliament, in which capacity he would be paid a salary of only £1,000 a year, he would be actually out of pocket having regard to the higher rate of tax that would be levied upon his combined private and parliamentary income and the unavoidable expenditure involved in respect of the items to which I have referred. Such a state of affairs is not desirable. It is not in the best interests of the country that men with substantial private incomes must inevitably be out of pocket should they be elected to the National Parliament. I do not approach this proposal in any defensive or apologetic attitude. Neither am I prepared to compare my position as a member of Parliament with that of an old-age pensioner or the basic-wage earner. I believe, with my colleagues, that all honorable members are performing a duty of importance and dignity in return for which we are entitled to some reasonable reward ; and I do not regard the increase proposed under the bill as being in any way excessive. {: #subdebate-23-0-s24 .speaker-KOL} ##### Mr McBRIDE:
Wakefield -- It is true to say that since the original announcement was made that the Government caucus had decided to increase the allowance of members of the Parliament to £1,500 a year, a great deal of public interest has been displayed in the proposition. I believe that public opinion in this matter has been influenced mainly by two factors. The first, which has been mentioned repeatedly in this debate, is the manner in which the press has dealt with the matter. I have no hesitation in saying that some sections of the Australian press have grossly misrepresented the proposition. On the other hand, it must be said in fairness that other sections of the press have presented the proposal in a reasonable manner. One honorable member cited a leading article published by one newspaper, and, whether we agree with it or not, all honorable members, I believe, will admit that the argument expressed in that article was fair. The second factor which has influenced public opinion substantially is the manner in which the announcement of the Government caucus decision was made. It was stated that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** and, I believe, some other Ministers, opposed the proposition. I do not know whether that report was accurate; but I do know that at the last- general elections the people of this country showed that they have a great, deal of confidence in the Prime Minister as head of the Government and Leader of the Parliament, and, consequently, many immediately concluded that if the Prime Minister were against the proposition there was something inherently bad in it. The people also remember that during the last twelve or eighteen months there has been considerable industrial unrest in this country for various reasons, but, mainly, because of the economic policy of the Government, particularly with respect to the retention of wage-pegging. -Consequently I believe that, if that report were not correct, the Prime Minister would have done a great service, not only to his own party but also to the people as a whole by stating precisely where he stood on the matter at that time. The people of Australia are not ungenerous towards those whom they elect to represent them in the National Parliament. I agree that many offer trenchant criticism of honorable members from time to time; but those who have Lad experience in political life will agree that we receive great support, and even generosity, from our electors in the work we are doing on their behalf. Consequently, I am satisfied that our people as a whole are prepared to hear any reasonable case that can be advanced in support of this proposition. For that reason, I am pleased that the Prime Minister has given to the House this opportunity to debate the matter so soon after the announcement of the decision of the Government caucus was made, and also because the debate was arranged while proceedings in this chamber were being broadcast. I am satisfied that whether or not listeners agree with what has been said' in the debate, they will at least be much better informed on the various facts of the proposal ;. and will adjust their views on the matter accordingly. The economic policy of this Government is a matter on which many of us have expressed views on many times in the last eight or ten months. Although it is generally agreed, I think, that it undoubtedly rendered "service to the country during the war, a great many people in this House and throughout the country believe that the time has arrived when restrictions and controls should be substantially tapered off, but the part of the policy that particularly affects this proposition is that designated " wage-pegging ". We have heard a great deal about the wage-pegging regulations, not just to-day but during the last eight or ten months. A large section of the Australian workers think those regulations have prevented their receiving industrial justice. Though I recognize the objectives of the policy, namely, the curbing of the inflationary tendency, I think it is misconceived now because, apart altogether from that restriction on increasing wages, one of the great needs to curb inflation is greater production, and I am satisfied that, whatever wage increases might have been granted in the absence of wagepegging, they would noi have affected the cost of production to anything like the degree to which industrial unrest has affected it in this country during the last year or so and as it is affecting it to-day. In my opinion, wage-pegging has been used, not as a reason, but as an excuse for many happenings. In other words, wage-pegging has been more apparent than real. We have only to look around and see what has happened and is happening in industry to realize that " wage-pegging " is entirely a misnomer. It has been stated that, notwithstanding the regulations, substantial increases have been made of the wages paid in every Australian industry. I realize that extreme anomalies have been created, because, at ihe moment, as far as I understand it - and I speak subject to correction - the effect of wage-pegging is that awards made by the court prescribe rates that are not only ihe minimum but also the maximum that may be paid. But we know perfectly well that the maximum rates are flagrantly broken on every possible occasion and that, whereas in some industries the rule is obeyed that wageearners shall not be paid more than the rates prescribed by the court, in other industries the sky is the limit. The outstanding example of thai is provided at Broken Hill where, with the lead bonus, the miners receive more than when wagepegging was introduced and infinitely more than the court awarded to them. Apart from that, however, the idea that wage-pegging has rigidly held wages is incorrect. So I do not put the proposition that the allowances of members of Parliament shall not be increased because it is made concurrently with the existence of wage-pegging. As a matter of fact, it has been said that allowances paid to members of four of the six State parliaments have been increased during the period of the wage-pegging regulations. As far as I know, the criticism hurled at those parliaments was not comparable with the criticism hurled on this occasion at the Commonwealth Parliament. I' do not believe that the proposal should be turned down because of the existence of the wage-pegging regu- lations, and I do believe that a good case has been made out on both sides of the chamber for an increase of our allowances by the amounts proposed. I do not desire to traverse all the ground that has been covered.' I only want to say that after twelve or thirteen years of experience of this Parliament I have great sympathy with honorable members who have to rely entirely on their parliamentary allowances. I have no doubt that the inadequacy of the parliamentary allowances has prevented many desirable men, particularly younger men, from entering the Commonwealth Parliament. Members of ' the House of Representatives have a most important function to perform and, in return for its performance, 11]ey deserve a reasonable allowance from the Australian people, who, I believe, are perfectly willing to provide them with such an allowance. I strongly object, however, to the way in which the matter was decided and brought before the Parliament. I know that the government of the day is responsible for the policy of the Parliament of the day, but I think it can extend that principle too far because, when we talk of government policy, we generally refer to it as a policy that affects not members of Parliament specifically, but the people of Australia generally. Taxes, social services and all the other matters thai the Commonwealth Parliament is called upon to determine affect not only members of Parliament, but particularly the people outside. However, we are now dealing with a proposal that affects directly only members of Parliament. The only effect that it has on the people outside is that they will be called upon to pay in taxes their share, as individual taxpayers, of the cost of the increase of the allowance given to members of Parliament. In these days, I think we are justified in agreeing that a proposal like this should be referred to an all-party parliamentary committee. I listened with great interest to the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** when he ridiculed the idea of an all-party committee. He listed the members of the committee set up by the Government. I have no complaint to make about the membership of that committee, but I think that not even the honorable member for Dalley would suggest that all the wisdom in the House resides on the Government side. {: .speaker-KQB} ##### Mr Scully: -- It nearly all does. {: .speaker-KOL} ##### Mr McBRIDE: -- I would expect from the Vice-President of the Executive Council **(Mr. Scully)** an interjection as stupid as that, but not from the honorable member for Dalley. The Government would be well advised, . even at this late hour, to accept the amendment and appoint an all-party committee to consider the proposal. It would be futile to suggest that all anomalies would be removed by the bill. In this respect I agree entirely- probably for the first time in my life - with the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Lang),** who compared the position of our own Prime Minister with that of the Prime Minister of Great Britain. I also agree that the office of Speaker, and other important positions in this Parliament should carry much higher rates of remuneration than are proposed in the bill. For instance, the work of the Leader of the Opposition is extraordinarily difficult. If carried out properly, it is a full-time job. The Leader of the Australian Country party, too, holds an important post for which he is accorded no financial recognition. The bill does not provide for all of the needs of the Parliament. Therefore, I have much pleasure in supporting the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition. I hope that, even now, the Government will accept it and thus give honorable members the opportunity to give effect to their views on this important matter. {: #subdebate-23-0-s25 .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN:
Bendigo -- Every member of this House should state exactly where he stands in relation to this bill. I shall vote for it, because I believe that its provisions are well justified. A man who serves an electorate, particularly a big rural electorate, cannot make any profit from his position as the representative of 50,000 or 60,000 people. Honorable members should take a firm stand on several points at issue in relation to the bill. The attitude of the press on this subject has brought discredit upon the newspapers of Australia. In this instance, as in many others, the press has seen fit to distort events in this chamber and the statements of honorable members, thereby lowering their standing in the public eye. Certain newspaper roundsmen in Parliament House have a very pink shade of political opinion ; some of them are almost " red ". I believe that these men are imbued with the old Communist doctrine that the right way to destroy a democracy is to discredit democratic methods of government and the parliamentary system. Although many journalists who work in Parliament House are good friends of mine, I hold the view that many of them, who are paid at least as highly as members of this Parliament, should be writing their stories on jam tins. It is incredible that the slush which has been published in some newspapers in recent weeks could have been written by educated men. I do not blame the newspaper representatives in Canberra entirely for the nature of the press campaign. In order to get to the root of the trouble, we must go to the people whose influence lies behind the great newspaper organizations. These people claim that members of this Parliament, who are authorized by the Constitution to decide the appropriate rate of allowance for their services, are not carrying out their contract with the people. I have in mind one newspaper executive in Victoria, who went to Gallipoli in World War I. Before going ashore he contracted with the general commanding the Australian forces that he would not send any despatches that were not approved by the general's staff. Nevertheless, he left Gallipoli carrying a despatch from a well-known and " impossible " man who served certain great British newspapers. These documents were taken from him at Marseilles. That man was referred to in a book by **Sir Ian** Hamilton, as " a young Australian pressman of magnificent physique who was mightier with the pen than he was with the sword ". That man's newspapers to-day take us to task, for not standing by our contract! I say without hesitation that the people who endeavour to belittle members of this Parliament have, with few exceptions, less chance of being elected to positions in this House than an old-age pensioner living in a remote fishing village would have. The people of Australia should ignore their attacks on this Parliament and despise them for the paltry attitude which they have adopted. The proper way to secure good governnent in Australia is to pay to the representatives of the people adequate salaries and expenses, so as to ensure that men of the right sort, with outstanding qualifications shall offer themselves for election. We need the sort of men who have become leaders of industry, men who can prove their worth, not the sort of men who seek election solely as a means of livelihood. Australia has been very fortunate in having the services in public life of many great men. I refer, for instance, to statesmen of the first Commonwealth Parliament such as Barton, Deakin, **Sir John** Forrest, Kingston, Watson, and the sole survivor in this House of the original Parliament, the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes).** Those men could not have been recompensed in terms of money for the great services that they rendered to Australia. There are many men of the same calibre in Australia to-day. I do not believe that more than 3 per cent, of the people are so stupid as to take the slightest notice of what certain newspapers and " soreheads" have said about this bill. I believe that the. remainder of the people aTe completely satisfied. Perhaps the Government was mistaken in not agreeing to the appointment of a committee, as the Leader of the Opposition has proposed. The Government has accepted responsibility for introducing this bill, and as it possesses a majority in the Senate and in this chamber, it is perfectly justified in adopting this course. We can disregard the criticisms which have been published in the press. We need not worry about them: Personally, I believe that we are entitled to pass the bill, and I shall have no hesitation in voting for it. {: #subdebate-23-0-s26 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP [1.21'l. - m *reply* - I desire to make a passing reference to the attitude of the press towards the proposal to increase the parliamentary allowance from £1,000 to £1,500 per annum. At the outset, I make it clear that I never object to criticism by the press when it is based on. accurate information. What I have noticed during the last few days is scandalous statements in at least one Sydney, and one Melbourne newspaper. The Attorney-General **(Dr. Evatt)** and the Leader of .the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** read extracts from an article published in the latter. An attempt has been made to create the impression that the bill was presented to the House in haste and in a sly manner in order to jrevent proper discussion. I propose to place the -facts on record in *Hansard.* On the 27th May last, I stated in reply to a question that this bill would be introduced on Friday, the 30th May, or on Tuesday, the 3rd June, depending upon the physical capacity of the Government Printer to print the bill. Therefore, I gave to the House ample notice of the Government's intention to introduce this measure. The Leader of the Opposition dealt very clearly with that aspect, when he pointed out that this bill provided for an appropriation of revenue - a charge upon the public purse - and was introduced in the same manner as four other bills were introduced last week. That demonstrates that the Government did not depart from the usual practice, although certain newspapers have implied that the bill was introduced in haste. Ae that aspect has been fully covered by the Leader of the Opposition, I shall not deal with it further. At least two newspapers published statements that the bill was rushed through the second-reading stage. Those statements must have been written by persons who either desired to completely discredit all political parties in this House, or were completely ignorant of parliamentary procedure. To state the matter mildly, the articles completely disregarded the truth. As the right honorable member for North .Sidney **(Mr. Hughes)** pointed out, whenever proposals have been made to increase the parliamentary allowance, many persons have criticized them. I do not object to honest criticism based on the truth. Some honorable members opposite have wondered about the attitude of members of the Labour party towards this proposal. Apart from the investigations undertaken by the special committee, this subject has been thoroughly examined bv Government supporters. The Labour party thoroughly discussed whether the proposed increase should be reported upon, not decided by an outside authority such as the Acting Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. We also considered whether the increase was desirable at this juncture, and whether the proposal should be examined by an all-party committee representative of both chambers. I judge from the expressions of opinion during this debate that members of the Opposition are, if anything, more unanimous than are members of the Labour party in the view that the determination of the parliamentary allowance is the responsibility, not of an outside authority, but of the Parliament itself. Nearly all honorable members who have spoken in the debate, agree that the Parliament must accept responsibility for1 granting the increase. Section 48 of the Constitution supports that contention with strong logic. I have devoted considerable thought to whether any other authority should be asked to recommend, not decide, whether the allowance should be increased. I agree that there is a psychological association between the proposal to increase the parliamentary allowance, and the continuance of the wage-pegging regulations. The Attorney-General has dealt with aspects of wage-pegging, which now prevents' organizations of employers engaged in a monopoly from making agreements among themselves which would be opposed to the public interest, and would result in increased costs being passed on to the community. Apart from that, virtually no restriction is placed upon industrial authorities granting increases of wages. Wage-pegging will be further relaxed at the appropriate time, and as I intimated long ago, when the circumstances warrant, they will be abolished. I shall not allow myself to be stampeded by charges that because this very limited form of wage-pegging is still in operation, honorable members should oppose an increase of the parliamentary allowance. Every speaker whom T have heard in this debate - I did not hear the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Turnbull)** - has admitted that honorable members are entitled to an increased allowance. Some members of the Opposition have contended that the proposed increase should be examined by an all-party committee consisting of members of both chambers. However, every speaker in this debate would support the proposed increase. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Holt: -- There are other matters apart from the increase of the allowance. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY: -At present, the House is considering the parliamentary allowance and not matters incidental thereto. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Holt: -- The Leader of the Australian Country party **(Mr. Fadden)** referred to other important matters which should he considered. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY: -- The honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Holt)** believes that an all-party committee, if appointed, should examine other proposed privileges for honorable members. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Holt: -- Or examine, in a different way, the proposed increase of the parliamentary allowance. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY: -- If I were appointing the all-party committee which the Leader of the Opposition suggested, I should experience great difficulty in finding one honorable member who would be likely to oppose the granting of the increase. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Holt: -- What about the wagepegging regulations ? {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY: -- Wage-pegging regulations are of a temporary character, but, judging by what has been said in the House to-day, this will probably be the only opportunity that honorable members will have for another 27 years to determine the parliamentary allowance. So now is the hour for honorable members to make up their minds. It is of no use for honorable members to hide behind an amendment. The Government will not accept any amendment of the bill. I placed my personal views before the political party to which I belong when it discussed this proposal, and my voice is the voice of the Australian Labour party. As I say, the Government is not prepared to accept any amendment. In any event, amendments moved now are only something in the nature of " having 2s. each way". Honorable members must make their decision to-night, and it may be a long time before they get another chance to do so. When this amendment has been disposed of, they will still have to record a definite vote for or against the proposal. I shall not now canvass its merits or demerits. I mention, however, that with the consent of my colleagues, I approached the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Committee so as to ensure that this debate should take place at a time which would afford ample opportunity for the public to hear the broadcast. I desire to refer to one other matter in connexion with attacks made by the press on the Government. It was alleged that the decision of caucus that the allowance of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** should be increased by £200 a year was an attempt to bribe members of the Opposition. I give a complete denial to that allegation. The increase was never discussed by caucus. When the legislation was being drafted, I sought the approval of Cabinet to increase the allowance because of the increased duties of the Leader of the Opposition and the fact that he has worked very hard. I thought that he was entitled to a " marginal increase " ! I accept full responsibility for this provision in the bill. Caucus did not attempt to bribe any one, in fact, I did not even mention the matter to the Leader of the Opposition, and no discussions took place between members of the Opposition and myself on the subject. The Government accepts complete responsibility for the introduction of this measure, and, from the trend of the speeches delivered by some members of the Opposition, I believe that they are glad that the Government is accepting the responsibility. Question put - >That the words proposed to be left out **(Mr.** Menzies's amendment) stand part of the question. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon J. S. Rosevear.) AYES: 36 NOES: 24 Ma jority . . . . 12 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Question put - That the bill be now read a second time. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. J. S. Rosevear.) AYES: 42 NOES: 18 Majority . . . . 24 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In committee:* Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to. Clause 3 (Allowances to Leaders of Opposition) {: #subdebate-23-0-s27 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HOLT:
Fawkner .This clause deals with the proposed increase of the allowances payable to the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber and in the Senate. The Attorney-General **(Dr. Evatt),** in his second-reading speech, referred to the position of the leaders of minor parties in the Parliament. It is my recollection of the position in the State . parliaments that the leader of a party consisting' of a specified number of members is entitled to some special allowance, and I do not think that anybody who has noted the history of this Parliament over the last fifteen years or more, will lack appreciation of the significance in the political life of this Commonwealth of the Australian Country party. If there are to be allowances for leaders of parties, and the leader of a party such as the Australian Country party is not to participate, a very serious injustice will be perpetrated. The AttorneyGeneral himself admitted the force of that claim. I can remember another occasion in my own experience in this Parliament when, in the place where I now sit, and behind it, there was a group of men comprising the Lang Labour party. The leader of that party shouldered all the responsibilities of leadership, and all the work that his office entailed. If it is proper to reward the loaders of opposition groups, it is fair also to make some allowance for the leaders of minority parties, provided such parties consist of a reasonable proportion of members of the Parliament. I ask the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** if provision could be made in this bill to cover that situation. {: #subdebate-23-0-s28 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP -- This matter has been considered, and I should not like it to be thought that the absence from this bill of special provision for the Leader of the Australian Country party **(Mr. Fadden)** is an indication of a failure to recognize the value of the parliamentary work that that right honorable gentleman doe3, or the great assistance he has given this House. However, the matter was put before Cabinet, and the view of Cabinet was that there was only one officially recognized Leader of the Opposition in each chamber. It was because of that view, and not because of any personal feeling, that Cabinet rejected the suggestion to go beyond the provision of an increase for the Leader of the Opposition himself, either in this chamber or in the Senate.- An amendment of the bill could not be considered now, nor when the measure reaches the Senate. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- Would the Prime Minister be prepared to give further consideration of that matter? It does not seem to admit of a technical answer; it is a matter of substance. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY: -- I agree that it is a matter of substance; but the Leader of the Opposition himself must realize that there can be only one official Leader of the Opposition in either House. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Holt: -- But the State parliaments cover this situation. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY: -- I am not quite sure that they do. All I can say now is that I shall have some further inquiries made, and that the matter will be given further consideration. {: #subdebate-23-0-s29 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN:
Indi .- I rise first of all to thank the honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Holt)** for having raised this matter. I regret that I did not have an opportunity to speak before the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** addressed the House. When the general question of increased parliamentary allowances was first brought to the knowledge of honorable members through the press and it was reported that the intention of the Government was to make an adjustment of the allowances payable to the Leader of the Opposition, I, having regard to my own views on the subject, went to the leader of the party to which I belong - the Australian Country party - to seek approval to go to the Prime Minister and ask him to consider this matter. It was only because of the personal request of my leader that I did not take that course. For the same reason, I have not spoken of the matter to any one else. Now, I have an opportunity to express my own views. The original conception of our parliamentary system was that there should be only two entities in -the parliament - the government and the opposition. However, with the passage of time, there has developed in this legislature a powerful third party, the strength of which at present approximates that of the official Opposition party, and the leader of which has duties closely approximating those of the Leader of the Opposition himself. In fact, it has become the responsibility of the leader of the third party to acquaint himself with the problems of every piece of legislation that comes before the House. He is, in every other respect, recognized by the Prime Minister, for official and unofficial purposes, and it seems to me that the time has arrived, if it is not overdue, when the Parliament should provide some allowance for the leader of the third party, subject, of course, to the reservation that that party should be of sufficient strength to warrant recognition. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley: -- That is rather difficult to set out. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- That may be, but it is by no means impossible. For instance, in the Parliament of Victoria, where a similar state of affairs exists, there is an act which makes provision for the payment of an allowance to the leader of any party which has a specified number of members. {: .speaker-KQK} ##### Mr McDonald: -- Twelve or more. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- In a house of 74 members we can assume that the Opposition will not often number more than 30 members. The official Opposition party must necessarily have more than half that number, so, by a process of deduction, the strength of the third party would appear to be, on the average, ten or twelve members. I offer as my own suggestion thai ten would be a reasonable figure to specify, although I do not ask that that figure be accepted finally, without giving the matter the fullest consideration. I do not ask the Prime Minister to make a decision immediately, but I do think that the proposal warrants consideration by the Government. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Holt: -- Why not do it now? {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- I should be agreeable to that. I adhere strongly to the view that there should be an extra allowance for the leader of the third party. {: #subdebate-23-0-s30 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
Leader of the Opposition · Kooyong -- I support what has been said on this matter from this side of the House. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** has indicated that the matter has been considered by Cabinet, and that Cabinet has taken the view that, as there can be only one Opposition leader, there can be only one provision of this kind. But I point out to him that that theory proceeds from the older idea of a two-party parliament. The fact i> that the pattern of Australian politics has, for many years, embraced three large parties, the Labour party, the party to which I have the honour to belong, and the Australian Country party. There isno need for any subtle definition to provide for the leader of the third party, because, as has already been suggested, we could get over the problem of having to provide for some small or nominal party by prescribing that only the leader of a party which has not less than so many members - specifying some reasonable number - should be entitled to an extra allowance, having regard to the fact that his responsibilities to his party and to this Parliament are inevitably far greater than those of a private member. The whole point is that, as the matter now stands, I am regarded as one whose official responsibilities are such that I should receive an allowance. That is perfectly proper, and I do not dispute it, but the Leader of the Australian Country party is, so far as allowances are concerned, regarded as a private member. He is not a private member, because he is the leader of a party which has twelve members in this House. My own party has seventeen members. The difference is not so very great, and his responsibilities in relationtohis party and parliamentary work are not different from those which I myself have to discharge. {: #subdebate-23-0-s31 .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER:
WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND · CP . -Havingservedaswhip to the Australian Country party, I hope that the Government will consider favorably the suggestion put forward by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** that the Leader of the Australian Country party should receive some extra remuneration. I do not propose to press the matter to a division. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley: -- In order to do what is proposed it would be necessary to bring in another message recommending an appropriation. {: #subdebate-23-0-s32 .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- I realize that. I am prepared to leave it to the wisdom of the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley),** and to rely upon his assurance that consideration will be given to the proposal. As whip of the Australian Country party, I know that the job of my leader is a full-time one. {: #subdebate-23-0-s33 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HOLT:
Fawkner .-I regret that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)cannot** give a more sympathetic assurance in answer to the request that has been made. I believe that he is personally sympathetic, and the AttorneyGeneral **(Dr. Evatt)** has publicly expressed his approval of the proposal. We know what will be involved if another message recommending an appropriation has to be obtained, and another hill introduced. As the Prime Minister himself said, the Parliament had to wait 27 years before making this move to increase allowances. I do not want leaders of minority parties who, in practice, have almost as much work to do as has the Leader of the Opposition, to have to wait for another 27 years before obtaining recognition. In Victoria, the leaders of minority parties, apart from the official Opposition, are recognized in the way I have suggested. The Australian Country party is not some fly-by-night party. It has come to stay, whether we like it or not. It has a long history, and may have a long future. The Prime Minister should give an assurance that, before this sessional period ends, the matter will be dealt with to our satisfaction. {: #subdebate-23-0-s34 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP -- I cannot give any assurance of the kind asked for, hut I will give an undertaking to have the matter submitted to the Parliament before the end of the next sessional period. Then, if it is accepted, the provision will be made to cover the whole period. No amendment can be accepted now. Clause agreed to. Clause 4 - >Allowances at the rate fixed by sections three and seven of the Principal Act, as amended by this Act, shall commence to be payable on the first day of July One thousand nine hundred and forty-seven. {: #subdebate-23-0-s35 .speaker-KZJ} ##### Mr LANG:
Reid .- I move - >That the words " on the first day of July One thousand nine hundred and forty-seven be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - " from the day that the wage-pegging regulations are repealed ". I take this action because I believe that a very grave injustice has been inflicted on wage and salary earners by the operation of the wage-pegging regulations, which should be repealed in the interests of justice and industrial peace. I know that, many large employers in recent years have been prepared to give their employees a larger share in the profits of the business. They have said to their employees: "We are prepared to grant you an increase of wages. We realize that you are justly entitled to it, and the profits of the business can bear the increase, but the wage-pegging regulations prevent us from doing what we know to be just. " In many instances, the employers have tried to circumvent the wage-pegging regulations. Certain formulas designed to achieve this end have been agreed to, but always they have been rejected by the legal authorities. This has driven the workers to hold stop-work meetings, and to demonstrate, not against the employers, but against the Commonwealth Government. The acceptance of my amendment need not delay the operation of this bill for a moment. The Executive can immediately provide for the repeal of the wage-pegging regulations. In the course of this debate most honorable members have said - and I supposed they believed it- that the wagepegging regulations are practically ineffective at the present time. If that be so, then it is no great thing to ask the Government to repeal them. This is the 5th June, and the increased parliamentary allowances would not become payable until the 1st of July in any case, so that there is plenty of time in which to repeal the wage-pegging regulations. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** said that he would not accept an amendment of the bill. I do not know whether that was a threat- {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley: -- It was just the usual statement. {: .speaker-KZJ} ##### Mr LANG: -- Being a new member, I did not know whether it was a threat or a promise. I have pledged myself to do all I can to bring about the repeal of the wage-pegging regulations as soon as possible. I shall do all in my power to bring about that result. It matters little or nothing to me personally whether the amendment be agreed to or defeated, but I shall press it. Should the committee reject it, I am certain that it will not be long before the desirable result to which the amendment is directed will be an accomplished fact. The sooner this act of justice is performed the better. The carrying of the amendment need not embarrass the Government. I can see no advantage in keeping the regulations in force; they are of no value to the Government and of no advantage to any section of the people. For a long time I have believed that the lifting of wage-pegging restrictions would be a step towards peace in industry, and prove an incentive to greater production. Therefore, I hope that the amendment will be accepted. {: #subdebate-23-0-s36 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE:
Balaclava -- I support the amendment, but I should like it to go further. Wage-pegging is the cause of a good deal of industrial unrest. The complete withdrawal of wage-pegging regulations would remove three anomalies, namely, those concerning the " dole " paid to disabled men from which deductions are made, the deduction from the deferred pay of members of the Air Force, and deductions of pay from prisoners of war presumed to be dead. There should be some priority in these matters; we should not put ourselves first. It is inconsistent to support a proposal to increase our own allowances without first adjusting these anomalies. When the depression loomed I advocated that we should first reduce our own allowances before *we* passed legislation to reduce the incomes of other people. That was done. Now, when there are advantages to be gained, we should be the last to receive them. I hope that the Government will accept the amendment and remove these anomalies. {: #subdebate-23-0-s37 .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER:
Wide Bay -- There is merit in the amendment moved by the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Lang).** The more I consider it the more I am convinced that we have a duty to perform. The regulations which prevent unionists from receiving increases of pay should be removed. I think, however, that, at this stage, the honorable member for Reid should not press his amendment. If he forces it to a division, I shall oppose it. Question put - >That the words proposed to be left out **(Mr.** > >Lang's amendment) stand part of the clause. The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. J. J. Clark.) AYES: 39 NOES: 14 Majority . . . . 25 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Clause agreed to. Preamble and Title agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 3437 {:#debate-24} ### ASSENT TO BILLS Assent to the following hills reported : - Income Tax Assessment Bill 1947. Income Tax Bill 1947. Social Services Contribution Bill 1947. Gift Duty Assessment Bill 1947. Gift Duty Bill 1947. Estate Duty Assessment Bill 1947. Commonwealth Aid Roads and Works Bill 1947. {: .page-start } page 3437 {:#debate-25} ### AUSTRALIAN" SOLDIERS' REPATRIATION BILL 1947 Bill returned from the Senate without amendment. {: .page-start } page 3437 {:#debate-26} ### PHARMACEUTICAL BENEFITS BILL 1947 Bill received from the Senate and (on motion by **Mr. Holloway),** read a first time. Motion (by **Mr. Holloway)** - *by leave* - proposed - >That the second reading be made an order of the day for a later hour this day. {: #debate-26-s0 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
Leader of the Opposition · Kooyong -- What does the Minister mean by a later hour this day? This is a bill which we have not yet had before us. Is it a large bill? Is it designed to re-enact the earlier pharmaceutical benefits legislation? {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Holt: -- With amendments? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- Yes, with amendments. There seems to be a very odd fatality attached to the pharmaceutical benefits legislation. The original bill was introduced into this House at about this time in the morning, the amending bill of 1945 was also brought before the House at this time of the morning, and now apparently some further bill is to be introduced. Is this bill being introduced in the closing hours of the sitting in order that it may be passed before the Parliament rises for the recess? If so, I shall oppose it at all stages. It is outrageous that legislation of this bind, which doubtless involves the expenditure of millions of pounds, should be introduced in this hole-and-corner fashion for the third time. {: .speaker-JUQ} ##### Mr Clark: -- It was approved at the referendum. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- It was not approved by a referendum of the people. In the referendum the people merely approved the proposal that the Commonwealth should have power to make a law in relation to this matter. Consequently, I propose to take every possible objection to this bill being brought on in this fashion at this time. If the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Holloway)** wants to have the second reading of the bill considered properly he should move that it be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting, and not for a later hour this day. It is already 2.30 a.m. Is it not proposed to have another sitting of the House tomorrow ? {: #debate-26-s1 .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr FADDEN:
Darling DownsLeader of the Australian Country party -- I agree entirely with the objections voiced by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies).** The haste exhibited by ihe Government in this matter is indecent. This bill has been introduced without any notice being given to either the Leader of the Opposition or myself. The Government, apparently, seeks to convey the impression that the measure is unimportant, and that it merely re-enacts the Pharmaceutical Benefits Bill passed in 1944. However, it is not a small bill. It consists of 23 clauses. Parliament is reduced to a sorry state of affairs when a measure of this importance is introduced at 2.30 a.m. and we are asked to deal with it almost immediately. {: #debate-26-s2 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP -- I fail to see the reason for the fuss raised by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr.** Menzies) and the Leader of the Australian Country party **(Mr. Fadden).** The bill has just been received from the Senate, and the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Holloway)** does not even propose to make his secondreading speech at this stage. {: .speaker-JLZ} ##### Mr Anthony: -- When does the Government propose to proceed with the second reading? {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY: -- When the Minister proposed that the second reading be made an order of the day for a later hour this day, he did not mean that it was proposed to proceed with the motion for the second reading during this sitting. He intended to move that the second reading be made an order of the day for the next sitting. I discussed this matter with him, and we agreed that this bill and another small bill should be proceeded with when the House re-assembled after breakfast, that is, at the next sitting. That is still our intention. {: #debate-26-s3 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr HARRISON:
Wentworth -- I point out that it is only because of the protest voiced by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** now intimates that it is intended to make the second reading an order of the day for the next sitting. It is fitting that the Leader of the Opposition should draw attention to the fact that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Bill of 1944 was introduced at precisely this hour of the morning, and that an amending bill was also introduced at the same hour. Is the Government so ashamed of its proposals in respect of pharmaceutical benefits that it now introduces this measure at practically the same hour of the morning? Legislation conceived in darkness can have no value whatever; and it is significant that history is repeating itself on this occasion. Apparently, the Government is so ashamed of the measure that it is endeavouring to sneak it through. I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that we should oppose the measure at every stage in an endeavour to find out the real reason why the Government introduces a measure of such importance at this early hour in the morning. {: #debate-26-s4 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN:
Indi .There is an important procedural dif ference between a motion that the second reading of a measure be made an order of the day for a later hour this day and a motion that the second reading be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting. If the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Holloway)** is prepared to move that the second reading be made an order of the day for the next sitting I understand the Opposition will withdraw its objection. {: .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr Holloway: -- That is my intention. I ask for leave to amend the motion to read - >That the second reading be made an order of the day for the next sitting. Leave granted. Motion amended accordingly and, as amended, agreed to. {: .page-start } page 3438 {:#debate-27} ### HOSPITAL BENEFITS BILL 1947 Bill received from the Senate, and (on motion by **Mr. Holloway)** read a first time. {: .page-start } page 3438 {:#debate-28} ### SUPERANNUATION BILL 1947 Bill returned from the Senate with amendments. {: .page-start } page 3438 {:#debate-29} ### SUPPLY BILL (No. 1) 1947-48 {:#subdebate-29-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from the 3rd June *(vide* page 3291), on motion by **Mr.** Chifley - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #debate-29-s0 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS:
Moreton -- I take the opportunity afforded on the debate on supply to direct the attention of the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Barnard)** and the House once more to the need for provision of better treatment for ex-servicemen suffering from war neurosis. It is lamentable that the Government has not a comprehensive plan for dealing with their condition, which I regard as one of the most important problems facing the Repatriation Department. The absence of governmental action has meant that the various exservicemen's organizations, including the Returned Sailors, Soliders and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia and the Air Force Association, as well as the Australian Red Cross Society, have had the responsibility thrust upon them. Victims of war neurosis face, in the first instance, palliative measures and, in the last resort, mental " institutions. Existing facilities for treatment are designed for other categories of disability. In many cases, the treatment meted out to sufferers for war neurosis merely aggravates their condition. It is generally accepted by most laymen that war neurosis may be described as a " mental complaint, real or imaginary, which impedes the exservicemen's readjustment to civilian life". According to an authority causes of war neurosis may be summarized thus - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Early age of enlistment (thousands went straight from school). 1. Exposure of the immature mind to peculiar, distinct and sometimes terrifying hazards : - long bombing raids over enemy territory (in the case of air crews). 2. Lengthy incarceration as prisoners of war with its accompanying hardships and mental turmoil. 3. Loss of confidence resulting from disappointment on return to civil life. 4. Horror dreams and loss of sleep. 5. Introspection resulting from waste of five or six important years (viz.: from 18 to 24 years of age). The medical approach is of major importance. In the Repatriation Department there is an urgent need for psychiatrists, vocational instructors, skilled social workers and specially trained medical orderlies. Specialized research into the many problems' associated with war neurosis is also required. Attempts at effective treatment are being made chiefly .by voluntary bodies. This field of divided function is the direct result of the Commonwealth Government's apathy towards war neurosis sufferers. The Government has failed to provide separate facilities by way of properly staffed and equipped and decentralized centres for treatment. That is where I disagree with the Minister for Repatriation. The problem should not be left entirely to voluntary effort. I have stated all that previously, but the Government has not yet made an effort to provide adequate treatment for these victims of the war, as a result, the Returned Sailors Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia is expending more than £4,000 to maintain a readjustment centre and the Air Force Association is appealing to the public for funds for a similar scheme. I pay the greatest possible tribute to the young men who left school to serve in the Royal Australian Air Force as air crew members. They went through extensive training in Australia from 5 a.m. till 11 p.m. for eight to ten months and then went through further extensive training overseas before being flung into battle. At an early age they went through stresses and strains that would have probably broken the nerves of more mature men and they have returned to their homeland suffering from war neurosis to such a degree that the Air Force has found it imperative to ask the Australian people to subscribe money to enable them to be treated. Security loans raised by the Government have been raised primarily for the purpose of rehabilitating ex-servicemen. Cases of the cruellest type have been reported in the press. Yet the sufferers have to depend for treatment on the good nature of the Australian public and their comrades in the various organizations of ex-servicemen. Long delays are experienced by war neurosis sufferers anxious to have their cases heard. Competent authorities point out that, in dealing with victims of war neurosis, speedy, sympathetic treatment is all important because otherwise the mental conditions of sufferers deteriorates. The United States of America has tackled their problem in a much better way than the Commonwealth Government has. In the United States of America, the problem of dealing with ex-esrvicemen suffering mental disability from the effects of war service has been undertaken by the Veterans' Administration, a federal government organization, with the aid and advice of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, a voluntary organization. Dealing with mental illness, the annual report for 1943 of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene states - The discharge of veterans within that category is effected as early as possible. This results in large numbers of veterans in need of treatment for mental disorders being returned to their home communities. The report goes on - In every State a vocational rehabilitation bureau has been established under the general direction and supervision of the vocational rehabilitation bureau of the Federal Security Agency. The Federal Government pay all administrative cost of the State bureaux and half the cost of vocational re-training, medical and psychiatric services, industrial placement and so forth. The National Committee of Mental Hygiene, in a statement in 1944, reported that- >Tn order to provide proper treatment for larger numbers of mcn coming back with some nervous condition, regular psychiatric rehabilitation clinics are being established in an increasing number of our largest cities. The psychiatrist plays the leading role in this work, but he is assisted by several other professional people. The specialist in internal medicine examines the man to determine whether any physical or organic condition is causing or aggravating his nervousness,' and, if anything of this nature is found carries on the necessary treatment. The psychiatric social worker assists in the civilian rehabilitation of the patient and if requested will enter into his home to assist his adjustment to domestic life. Are we rendering similar services in Australia ? {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr Barnard: -- Yes, we are. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- I should like the Minister for Repatriation to give us some details of what has been done. {: #debate-29-s1 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD:
ALP -- I should like the honorable member to give us some specific cases. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- That is all twaddle ! It is reprehensible of the Minister to talk of an important subject in this way. He merely says that he is " doing something " for these people. These cases are of the worst type, and are the most difficult of war injuries to handle. The annual report of the administration of veterans' affairs in the United .States of America for 1943-44 states- >Appropriations for hospital construction totalled 49,380,500 dollars. Most of the funds appropriated during this year are to be used to provide beds to meet the increasing demand from veterans with neuro-psychiatric diseases. What is the Minister doing along these lines ? Where have we any similar hospitals? I shall be surprised if they exist in other than a nominal way. The report continues - >All neuro-psychiatric hospitals are giving electric shock therapy or preparing to institute this form of treatment which has largely supplanted insulin sub-shock therapy, although the latter is still the preferred method in certain cases. Similar work is being done in New Zealand. It is not left for volunteers to do. Local committees representing various government organizations in that dominion accept responsibility for the welfare of war neurosis sufferers. ' In Australia, we have to depend to a very great degree upon the efforts of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia, the Air Force Association and the Australian Red Cross Society. I have raised this matter ' before, but the Minister merely asks me to bring forward cases. If the Minister wants me to cite specific cases, I refer him to some that were mentioned in the Sydney *Daily Telegraph* of the 1st May. {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- Without the names? {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- The Minister asked for cases, and I shall cite them. The first case is that of a flight lieutenant with a distinguished war record- {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- Has the honorable member got his name and number ? {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- I shall give the Minister the particulars. {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- He might be " **Mr. X** " for all I know about him. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- I shall call him " **Mr. X** " then. The details of the three cases that I have are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. A flight lieutenant, with distinguished war service, was an in-patient at No. 3 Royal Australian Air Force Hospital suffering from war neurosis. He attended an investiture to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross. The excitement affected him considerably and he was removed from No. 3 Royal- Australian Air Force Hospital to the Reception House, where he was certified insane and transferred to Callan Park. At Callan Park the treatment he received and the class of people among whom he found himself were such as to hamper his chances of recovery. Nobody there " talked his language and attendants showed him little consideration. He had some visitors, he talked to them rationally, and appeared on most occasions to be quite normal. Finally, after considerable trouble, he was released to the custody of his father. No readjustment centre existed where this nian could receive simple understanding and correct treatment. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. An ex-Royal Australian Air Force man was removed from Yaralla to the Reception House, Darlinghurst, during a week-end. As no medical officers worked at the Reception House at the week-end, he could receive no medical treatment until Monday. By that time he was in a very bad condition, and was taken to Callan Park. A week later he died. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. An ex-member of the Royal Australian Air Force, married, with two children, was receiving shock therapy for wai' neurosis. The family received sustenance from the Social Service branch. When the patient voluntarily entered Broughton Hall, the Social Service branch immediately withdrew sustenance, on the ground that, while he was a patient at Broughton Hall, it considered him dead, and regulations did not permit payment of sustenance. The Air Force Association argued that if the serviceman was dead his wife was a widow, and entitled to draw a widow's pension. The association applied for a widow's pension, which the department granted - the " widow " drawing the pension from the Sth March until the 21st March, 194G. As soon as the patient left Broughton Hall the department withdrew the pension. The record of this Government's treatment of neurosis cases is a pitiful story. I ask the Minister to adopt the principles that have been adopted in the United States of America, and in New Zealand and to do a job worthy of these men who have given their best for their country. I refer now to the difficulty of obtaining telephones in all parts of Australia. There is a great dearth of telephone instruments, and many ex-servicemen who wish to re-establish themselves in business are unable to obtain them. I shall indicate where some of the few available telephones are going. To-day I asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General how many telephones are installed in Marx House, Sydney, the head-quarters of the Communist party in Australia, an organization which should not be given special consideration. The Minister informed me that there are twelve telephones in Marx House. Ten of these were installed during the war, when it was almost impossible to obtain telephones. At that time, members of our own armed forces and the American forces could not obtain sufficient telephones. Nevertheless, the Communists were able to get ten. Installations were made on the following dates: 7th November, 1939, 16th January, 1940, 26th September, 1941, Sth December, 1941, 25th May, 1943, 22nd September, 1943, 20th December, 1943, 5th July, 1944, 17th July, 1944, and 16th October, 1944. Many of those installations were made when the war was at its height. Will anybody defend the right of the Communist party to such preferential treatment? That party was opposed to taking any part in the war, and is still disturbing the whole of the industrial life of the country. In addition to the installations which I have mentioned, it has twenty extension lines, many of which were installed during the war. It also has a silent telephone line and two lines reserved for outward calls only which are not listed in the telephone directory. Secret telephones ! The Government cannot possibly defend the granting of these privileges at a time when the whole community is badly in need of telephones. The Postmaster-General indicated recently that the number of telephones required in Australia amounted to hundreds of thousands. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- It seems that some of the telephones at Marx House were installed under the administration of an anti-Labour government, in 1939, 1940, and early in 1941, when the Communist party was an illegal organization. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- Only two installations were made before the Labour party came into power. I ask the Government to re-examine this matter. It is not a laughing matter as the Minister seems to think. The Government should be ashamed of the position, and I make an emphatic protest against the granting of these privileges to the Communist party when other sections of the community, including many ex-servicemen, are suffering from the shortage of telephones. Even if the Minister for Information is satisfied with the position, I am not. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- I am not satisfied that the honorable member is presenting all the facts. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- I regard this matter as most serious. The Minister professes to hate the Communists. Let him demonstrate his hatred of them by treating ex-servicemen fairly. The fact that so many telephones have been allotted to the head-quarters of the Communist party indicates clearly who is. dictating the policy of this Government. The Government is not prepared to resist the Communists. Whatever they want, the Government will give to them, and it is well that the community should know the facts. Some of the telephones which have been showered on this gang of dig.ruptors of the peace in Australia, should be made available to ex-servicemen who need them for the purpose of reestablishing themselves. The Postmaster-General's Department has taken the amount of the annual rental for telephones, ranging from £3 10s. to £5 or £6, and held it without installing the instruments. In this way the department has accumulated hundreds of thousands of pounds. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- I have told the honorable mem!ber on several occasions that that statement is not true. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- Some correspondents have written to me repeatedly on this subject. They state that they paid the rental for the telephones over twelve months previously, and have not had the instruments installed in their premises. When the Minister contradicts this statement, he is talking nonsense. It is impossible to get anything out of this Government because its representatives are incapable of speaking the truth. I shall hand to the Minister a list of the names of the people who have complained to me that they paid the rental more than twelve months ago and have not yet had telephones installed in their premises. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- After the expiration of three or four months, the money is refunded to them when the telephones have not been installed. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- They are not able to secure the refund of the rentals that they paid in advance, and the department has " kept it dark " that they are entitled to a refund. Personally, I have not heard of it. The Deputy Directors of Telephones in the States are anxious to treat these prospective subscribers fairly. Why is not an effort made to import these instruments ? {: #debate-29-s2 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD:
Minister for Repatriation · Bass · ALP -- The case which the honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. Francis)** presented regarding repatriation matters is as unreliable as his statement regarding the provision of telephones. The honorable member attempted to mislead the House by quoting only a part of the facts which were supplied tohim in- reply to a question. He knows perfectly well that telephones were installed at the head-quarters of the Communist party during the regime of the Menzies Government, when the Communist party was an illegal organization. The honorable member purposely withheld the complete facts from the House, so that his statements would appear in *Ilansard* as representing the true position. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis: -- That is entirely incorrect. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- The honorable member for Moreton " dialled the wrong number ". {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- He usually does that. Dealing with repatriation, the honorable member referred particularly to ex-servicemen suffering from war neurosis. I have become accustomed to the honorable member quoting reports in daily or weekly newspapers of the case of " **Mr. X** " who allegedly had not received fair treatment from the Repatriation Department. The honorable member knows perfectly well that the department can only deal with sufferers when their names and addresses are supplied to it. As a former Minister for Repatriation, the honorable member cannot be completely ignorant of that aspect. I realize that he was not a Minister for very long- {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis: -- I was a Minister longer than the honorable gentleman has been. {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- The honorable gentleman was Minister for Repatriation long enough to know that the department must have that information. *[Quorum formed.]* The honorable member makes a habit of declaring that information published in newspapers about exservicemen, who allegedly have not received sympathetic treatment from the Repatriation Department, is the truth. I have secured the names of some of the exservicemen to whom reference has been made from time to time, because 1 always make investigations immediately a case is mentioned, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the press statements are accurate. Almost invariably, I discover, after an examination, that the facts are not correctly presented in the press. I shall not be able to follow up the cases which the honorable member cited unless he is prepared to supply the necessary particulars. Apparently, the honorable gentleman is concerned more with placing these statements on record in *Hansard* or in having them broadcast, than with presenting the facts with a view to having the matters rectified. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis: -- That is wrong. {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- That is how it appears to me, and the facts sustain that charge. I have the greatest sympathy for young ex-servicemen who are suffering from anxiety neurosis. The tempo of treatment for this class of person has been accelerated considerably in recent months. The Government had difficulty in securing the services of a psychiatrist, and it had to obtain the services of one from abroad. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis: -- When did that take place? {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- I understand that the psychiatrist has already taken up duty, but I cannot be definite on that point. I know that he left England by flying-boat in May, but, although I believe he has arrived and commenced duty, I am not certain of the fact. Turning now to a matter of which I am certain, I can inform the House that the number of psychiatrists available in Sydney for treatment of neurotic ex-servicemen has recently been increased. Eight specialists are now available for the treatment of these cases, and there are empty beds in the hospital at Concord and other institutions for the reception of psychiatrical cases. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis: -- What about the position in Queensland? {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- The honorable member referred to several alleged cases of neurosis in New South Wales, and he based his remarks on reports appearing in the Sydney *Daily Telegraph.* Now that I have disposed of his contentions in that regard, he attempts to side-track the House to a consideration of the position in Queensland. There are empty beds in the psychiatrical wards of repatriation hospitals in every State, and, whilst I admit that a complete cure has not been effected in all cases, the peculiar nature of the affliction must be taken into consideration. Neurotic cases are notoriously difficult to treat, and are perhaps the most difficult of all. The honorable member referred to what is being done in the United States of America in providing specialized treatment for sufferers from this type of war disability, but I suggest that his contention is nothing more than another example of the old maxim that the distant fields are greenest. He does not know of his own knowledge what Ls being done in the United States of America, nor even what is being done in Australia. The most modern curative methods, including shock treatment, are available to ex-servicemen in this country, and none of the facilities he mentioned as being available in the United States of America are denied exservicemen in Australia. In order to increase the effectiveness of its organization to treat such cases, the department decided to make the services of a specialist available at its head office, and, after a great deal of difficulty, the services of a specialist were secured. I do not contend that the absolute maximum is being achieved at present, but I emphasize that a most conscientious effort is being made by the department. I have heard stories from representatives of the Air Force Association similar to those related by the honorable member, but that association has supplied me with names and particulars of cases, so that I could have them investigated. I repeat that at present it is impossible for the department to do any more for ex-servicemen suffering from neurosis than it is doing, and the clearest indication of the efficiency of the treatment being given to these patients is the number of empty beds in mental institutions under the control of my department. I contend that that fact proves that few exservicemen have been unable to rehabilitate themselves because of neurosis. In regard to the cases referred to by the honorable member, I shall undertake to have them investigated if he supplies me with names and relevant details, but it is perfectly useless for him' to rely on generalized reports of the type which so often appear in the press. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis: -- On the Minister's own admission he did not do anything to secure the services of a psychiatrist until May. {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- That was due en- tirely to the fact that although the department advertised for a psychiatrist in all the metropolitan papers and medical journals of this country it was unable to secure the services of a local specialist and had to engage a specialist abroad. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis: -- The Minister was a long time securing his services! {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- Irrespective of what the Government achieves, the honorable member is so prejudiced and unreasonable that he will not even admit that a fair and reasonable job is being done by the department. I suggest to the honorable member that instead of speaking of cases of which he has no first-hand knowledge, he should satisfy himself of the facts of actual cases, before he attacks the Government or the department. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis: -- What is the department doing in Queensland ? {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- The same as it is doing in other States. {: #debate-29-s3 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN:
Indi .- I wish to mention the possible effects on the economy of this country of decisions made at the International Conference on Trade and Employment at Geneva, because I may not have an opportunity to do so before the close of the sessional period. I presume that those decisions will not be conveyed to this Parliament by the Government before next September, when the only alternatives open to honorable members will be to ratify or repudiate those decisions. Of course, we realize that if the Government desires to implement decisions reached at that conference, it will be able to do so because it has the numbers. However, I commend the Government for its attitude in regard to the imposition by the United States Government of an excessive duty on Australian wool sold fo that country, and I realize the fight that is being waged to retain markets in the United States of America for our wool. I do not propose to recount details of the crusade carried on by **Mr. Cordell** Hull, the former Secretary of State, for greater freedom of world trade, and the high hopes he entertained of world peace and prosperity. It seems incredible that at the very moment when the nations are negotiating to secure this very purpose that his own. country should darken the outlook by introducing in Congress a proposal to increase the already high duties on wool. I compliment the Government upon its resistance to that proposal, apparently not without some success. I am in some doubt as to whether the Americans are really bona fide, or are bluffing in an attempt to beat down our request for lower duties. This is manoeuvring of a kind to which we have become accustomed in the realm of international negotiations. Although the Government has made a firm stand on an important issue, it seems to me that in some degree it has been trapped into believing that it is the only issue. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- The honorable member can rid himself of that idea. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- I would be the last to belittle the importance of wool to thi3 country. Any man who did so would be foolish. I am a wool-grower, and have a personal interest in wool, consequently I am completely informed and am fully aware of all the implications. I support the Government in the stand that it has taken. I merely point out -that, important as wool is to the Australian economy, the wool industry represents money rather than employment. It is not an industry which contributes most to the development of this country. In terms of capital expended, it probably provides less employment than does any other industry that I can readily call to mind. {: .speaker-KSD} ##### Mr McLeod: -- If the whole of our wool could be fully manufactured, a great deal of employment would be provided. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- We should then have a. magnificent 'secondary industry. But we would be also confronted with the first-class problem of selling the output of the industry. Without detracting, from the importance of the wool industry, I point out that there are otherland industries which, in proportion to the capital invested, contribute vastly more to the production of wealth, the provision of employment and the development of this country. I refer to the more, intensive agricultural industries, such as the dairying, meat, .canned fruits, dried fruits, pig meats, various vegetable and other industries which will come readily to the minds of honorable members. They are the industries which provide an opportunity for men with small capital to establish themselves. If a substantial number of migrants is to be brought to Australia to engage in rural industries, it is to those industries that we must look to provide employment. From them flows substantial secondary employment. Dairy farms lead to the establishment of butter factories, orchards to the establishment of canning factories, the production of pig meats to the establishment of bacon factories, and so on right through the piece. {: .speaker-KSD} ##### Mr McLeod: -- At one time, those products were sold at a loss. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN:
INDI, VICTORIA · CP; LCL from 1940; CP from 1943 -.- The products of most of those industries were sold at a devastating loss until the industries were stabilized by a statesmanlike act - the achievement of the Ottawa conference, and the Empire preferences which resulted from it. We know that those preferences will be in jeopardy during the discussions at Geneva. The great canned fruits industry, which is conducted more extensively in my electorate than in the whole of the rest of Australia, cannot be sustained if it loses the benefit of Empire preference, and that would be a most serious blow. Although I cannot speak with the same knowledge, my conviction is that the Australian sugar industry, to the degree to which it depends upon exports, cannot be sustained indefinitely without a continuance of Empire preferences or their equivalent. The dried fruits industry, which has been responsible .for magnificent development at towns such as Mildura, Renmark and many others which could be named, could not be sustained in face of the competition of Mediterranean cheap-labour countries if the preferences which resulted from the Ottawa conference in relation to dried fruits should be lost. I put it to the Government most strongly: If it can stage such a magnificent demonstration in respect of wool as to force the matter to the centre of the stage at the world discussions in regard to trade, and to make it a first-class issue in the United States of America, at a time when the wool industry of this country is booming as it has never boomed before and when it is in less need of assistance than it has ever been, why is there this extraordinary silence in face of the threat, which has been acknowledged to exist, to the sugar industry in relation to exports and to the canned fruits and dried fruits industries? I believe that the same threat would exist in respect of our great dairying and meat industries, if we could not see the prospect of exporting to the United States of America dairy produce and meat produce when we had a surplus in excess of the requirements of the United Kingdom, and there was a shortage of those products in America. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr Rankin: -- And Canada. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- Doubtless, in Canada also. The three industries to which 3 have particularly directed attention - canned fruits, dried fruits, and sugar - are, I repeat, in my firm opinion, in very grave jeopardy. I should like to be re-assured, and I am sure that the good Australians who are engaged in those industries also would be, by an authoritative statement by the Government that it is not less concerned about stabilizing and safeguarding them thanit is about Australia's great wool industry. In my electorate an area of approximately 40,000 acres has been set aside to settle ex-servicemen on the land with the aid of Commonwealth money, to grow fruits for canning. At present-day values, this area would be sufficient to establish 1,000 Australian families in the primary business of growing fruit. The development of such a project would provide employment for literally thousands of men in the orchards themselves, and for men and women in the additional canneries that would be required. These are industries that do not slash wages. I am proud to say that for many years the canning fruit industry, for which I speak particularly, has employed all its personnel under award conditions, and the Canning Fruitgrowers' Association, which has a membership of not less than 99 per cent, of all the canning fruit-growers, has voluntarily paid employees in excess of the award rates. That is a very proud record for any rural industry. Rural industries, perhaps, are not notable for their capacity to pay award wages, let alone something in excess of award rates. The whole picture looks cock-eyed when a fight that resounds around the world can be conducted to get a slightly higher return for our wool at a time when the price of wool is extremely high, yet there is nothing but silence in relation to these other industries, which admittedly are in great jeopardy. I know that it is not within the power of this Government to say, " We shall maintain preferences": That is a matter for the United Kingdom Government itself. If the British Government decides to remove preferences, nothing that this Parliament can do will affect the issue; but the same thing applies in respect of the United States of America and Australian wool. The Government is fighting for better conditions of entry for Australian wool into America. What we want is some evidence that the Government is also fighting to retain the preferences that we have in the United Kingdom for the products of these other industries. I hope that my remarks will provoke some authoritative statement from the Government. I say to the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** that whilst I realize that, ultimately, it is within the power of other governments to abolish the preferences upon which we depend, the least that the canning fruit industry can expect, and, I believe, demand, is that its products in the United Kingdom shall be protected against the dumping of similar products by the United States of America. That is not a quick or idle thought. The facts are these: Sales of Australian canned fruit to the United Kingdom represent normally about 60 per cent, of our production. That volume is exceeded by sales by the United States of America to the United Kingdom, but the proportion of the total American production that is sent to the United Kingdom market is only 10 per cent. American exports regularly follow the ordinary and good business practice of selling out their stocks every year at whatever prices prevail, which means, of course, that whatever price is quoted by other countries, the American exporters will quote a slightly lower figure. We should, as a last resort, press the United Kingdom to give us protection against the dumping in that country of canned fruit from the United States of America. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley: -- The whole question of dried and canned fruits has been given consideration. We appreciate the position. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- I accept the Prime Minister's assurance on that point. What I say to the right honorable gentleman, however, is that people engaged in the canning fruit industry know all about the fight that is being put up for Australian wool overseas, but they have not heard anything about a fight for the retention of our canned and dried fruit markets. If a few words could be said now to the effect that the Government will fight to the best of its ability to protect these industries they would be most timely. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley: -- We are fully alive to the position of these industries, no matter what benefits may go to other industries. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- I am glad of that. I do not think that the point that I have made in regard to anti-dumping precautions has been made before in thi; House. **Mr. EDMONDS** (Herbert) [3.37 a.m. 1.- The honorable member for Indi **(Mr. McEwen)** and the honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. Anthony)** have referred to the sugar industry. Any one reading the statements of those honorable members might easily be lead to believe that this Government is paying no attention whatever to anything that is taking place in the international sphere in regard to the sugar industry. I believe, therefore, that I should be failing in my duty if 1 did not address myself to this matter. By far the largest part of the Australian sugar industry is within my electorate. In my constituency there are eighteen sugar mills which give employment to many thousands of men. In addition, there are the farmers and their employees. Approximately 230,000 or 240,000 people in the Herbert electorate depend for their living upon the sugar industry. When I interjected that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** and the Government appreciated fully the importance of the sugar industry, the honorable member for Richmond said that I was a new member and was perhaps not aware of the manner in which the Government approached matters such as this. If the honorable member was trying to *convey to me the* impression that the Prime Minister was not sincere in the assurances that he has given to this House that these matters are being attended to, he wasted his time. I can assure honorable members that I would resist with all the force at my command any action that would have the effect of placing the sugar industry in jeopardy. On not merely one occasion, but several occasions, the Prime Minister has given an assurance that these matters are being given every consideration. In fact, he has said more than once that no offers have been made or received in connexion with sugar. The honorable member for Richmond spoke of an emissary of the Government who had addressed the Government and Opposition parties on matters relating to the trade discussions. He said that he did not know what that gentleman had told members of the Government party, but he had said to the Opposition parties that some offers had been made in connexion with sugar, [f that is so, there must have been something wrong with the emissary. The question was put to him when he addressed our party, and he said that no offers had been made or received in regard to sugar. T have said that I will resist any attempt to interfere with the sugar industry, which, if destroyed or seriously checked, would greatly damage the economy of Queensland. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen: -- Does the honorable member know that a request was made by Cuba and that, under the Charter, a concession granted to one country is automatically granted to all? Therefore, we are involved. {: #debate-29-s4 .speaker-KDB} ##### Mr EDMONDS: -- I am not denying chat, but the question was asked whether sugar would be affected by the negotiations, and only yesterday the Prime Minister said, by way of interjection, that he could give an assurance that no offers had been made or received in connexion with sugar. I have sufficient confidence in the Prime Minister tei believe that he would not deliberately misrepresent the position. "We do not want reports to go out to the people that the sugar industry is threatened. I am confident that those engaged in it have nothing to fear, and that the Government, and its representatives at the conference, will see that the industry is protected. {: #debate-29-s5 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE:
Balaclava -- I do not think that the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Barnard)** has been frank about what has taken place at the Caulfield Military Hospital. The honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Gullett)** and I asked him whether the patients were being removed from there to Heidelberg, and the Minister wrote in reply that reports to that effect were merely kite-flying by interested persons. Well, the interested persons were in some cases patients who had been at the hospital for twenty years. Since the Minister wrote his letter, many of them have been removed, and I have been informed that voluntary workers and others who have visited the hospital are much distressed in consequence. The families of men receiving treatment in the hospital have settled close by so as to be near them, and members of the staff also live in the neighbourhood. No doubt, it is right to use the new hospital at Heidelberg, but new patients could be sent there. It seems to me that the patient* have been removed in a somewhat underhand way, having regard to the assurances given by the Minister. I desire now to call attention to a retrospective regulation issued by this Government in 1943 depriving certain officers of the Royal Australian Air Force, and, in particular, flying instructors, of money owing to them in the form of deferred pay, amounting in some instances to some hundreds of pounds. The positions were advertised, and these men enlisted under the conditions then stated. Later, the conditions were varied, and they have been deprived of money to which they are entitled. I have received letters on the subject from the Minister for Air **(Mr. Drakeford)** and the honorable member for Werriwa **(Mr. Lazzarini),** who was then Assistant Minister for Air, stating, in effect, that the men were overpaid; but .that is not true. In New South Wales, certain of the men took their case to court, and **Mr. Justice** Davidson, in granting their claim, said that it was almost incredible that citizens, invited by the Government to serve under specific terms, should find that a large part of the reward for their services was taken away from them through nofault of their own. How would members of a trade union feel if a regulation, about which they knew nothing, were issued to deprive them of what was due to them under their employment contract? One of the men in whom I interested myself has since died by his own hand. I do not know whether his action was in any way associated with the injustice which he had suffered. A statement was made over the air that the granting of the men's claims would involve a lot of alterations to pay-books, but not many men arc involved altogether. The Government appealed to the High Court against the decision of **Mr. Justice** Davidson, and the appeal was upheld. The Commonwealth ruled against the decision of **Mr. Justice** Davidson on the ground that the Air Force ("War Financial) Regulations deprived the respondent, Squadron-Leader "Welsh, of any right to recover the deferred pay for the period between his appointment as an officer and the date of his embarkation. The High Court rejected Welsh's claim by a three to five decision, **Mr. Justice** Rich and **Mr. Justice** Williams dissenting. The Chief Justice, **Sir John** Latham, said that Welsh had no right to recover the money sued for because his claim was validly affected by the regulation.' **Mr. Justice** Starke said - >In allowing this appeal, I regret that it will mean a great injustice to Welsh and many other airmen in the same position. The court's function is to construe the regulations as they find them, much as they may regret the policy that dictated them, and the injustice done to ex-servicemen. How can the Government do such a shameful thing? I have been unofficially informed that the Government, after putting the men to so much expense, now proposes, as an act of grace, to hand over the deferred pay due to flying instructors. The money was paid over in the case of men who were killed on service, but it has so far been withheld from those who served right through the war. Flying officers are not the only ones affected. Others are doctors and lawyers who served in the Royal Australian Air Force, and in their case, apparently, the Government still does not propose to pay them what is due. I urge the Government to hand over this money, with which the men have been credited, and that will close a shameful incident. I also ask. that the Government consider the position of the official or the Minister who was responsible for this action in the first place, thus causing so much trouble to worthy men. {: #debate-29-s6 .speaker-KZJ} ##### Mr LANG:
Reid .- I wish to express some opinions regarding the allegation contained in a letter written on the 21st May last to the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** by **Mr. F.** A. Lush, the Sydney delegate of the Treasurer. The matter should be referred to a joint parliamentary committee. The important question at issue is not whether **Mr. Lush** showed favoritism, but whether the whole system of land sales control is corrupt. **Mr. Lush** was an important figure in that system ; he exercised almost plenary powers in the name of the Treasurer of the Commonwealth. Thousands of transactions passed through his hands. He alleges that he was overruled by the authorities at Canberra; that there were grave, departures from correct departmental procedure by his superiors at Canberra; that political juggling of valuations in respect of some sales ; that sales were approved at inflated values without valuation being obtained from the regular valuers, and that there was extraordinary procedure in connexion with certain sales during his temporary absence from the office. The Government knew of this trouble months before it came to a head, but it took . no action. **Mr. Lush** was allowed to remain in his office. It is suggested that at one stage he was called to Canberra. If so, whom did he see, and was he put " on the carpet " ? What steps were taken to check the allegations that were current? It was not until the honorable member for Swan **(Mr. Hamilton)** put specific questions to the Minister regarding some suburban transactions that the Government took any official action. If it can be proved that the Government had grave doubts about the conduct of the Sydney office months before that, the Government itself is culpable if it failed to take remedial action. The Prime Minister admitted that he had heard rumours but he did nothing. Who is **Mr. Lush;** what was his background? He does not fall into the category of those temporary public servants about whom the Prime Minister spoke in this House recently. He was a trusted *official of the* Treasury at Canberra before he was sent to Sydney to become the delegate of the Treasurer. Prior to his appointment, there had been many complaints about ihe Sydney office. The then delegate of the Treasurer had surrounded himself with files awaiting attention, but there was no action. That officer failed to deliver the goods. It may be tha't he was over-zealous, in has efforts to carry out the regulations. He may have been too conscientious. At all events, there was a general hold-up, and high officials at Canberra were disturbed. It was, therefore, decided to get rid of the bottle-neck at Sydney, and so the Commonwealth Actuary, **Mr. Balmford,** as the officer in charge of Land Sales Control, decided that he had to be very careful about the man he sent to Sydney. Accordingly, he selected one of his most trusted Canberra Treasury officials, namely, **Mr. Lush.** Prom that moment everything that happened in the Sydney office calls for a thorough investigation. The Prime Minister deliberately refused to order an inquiry into **Mr. Lush's** counter allegations. As the AttorneyGeneral **(Dr. Evatt)** said in this House recently with reference to another ma! tei-, the fact, that a man himself is involved in shady business does not necessarily mean that his word cannot be trusted if he makes counter allegations. **Mr. Lush** had no criminal record. He was a trusted Treasury official. Therefore, it was all the more necessary that his allegations should have been given immediate attention. "We are told recently how the evidence regarding the activities of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission at Atherton was buried, and how inordinate delays allowed the " crooks " to get away. How much easier it would be to dispose of evidence of land sales control than evidence connected with the activities of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission. Almost a fortnight has passed and still there is no public inquiry. All that has happened is that the Investigation Branch of the Attorney-General's Department has asked to conduct an inquiry into the Parry matter. The allegations of **Mr. Lush** to the Prime Minister were made, not by an irresponsible person, but by a senior public servant, who must have realized that when be posted that I'll!)] letter he was staking his entire future. If he could not prove his allegations his career was at an end. The Prime Minister went to extraordinary lengths to say that he was not accusing **Mr. Lush** of corruption. On the other hand, **Mr. Lush** did not hesitate to make accusations which did involve corruption of the worst kind. File numbers were quoted by *Smith's Weekly* when attacking **Mr. Lush.** So that newspaper must have had access to official files. Some one inside the department must have divulged the contents of those files. Did that information come from Canberra, or did it come from the Sydney office? Why has the Government failed to follow up this phase? If the contents of a file could be divulged for the purpose of undermining an official, it is obvious that there would be no hesitation about divulging the contents of a file for pecuniary gain. That is an aspect that affects the public. Surely it affects everybody connected with Land Sales Control! Has **Mr. Lush** a dossier ? Can he support his charges with specific cases ? It must be presumed' that he can, as, otherwise, no sane man would have written the letter that **Mr. Lush** sent to the Prime Minister. The only possible course of action by any government faced with such a serious state of affairs would be to institute a searching inquiry on a fact-finding basis. Had the Government adopted my proposal in this House a fortnight ago, the public would have been satisfied that there was no cover-up, no hush-hush. A prosecution directed against one individual is not the appropriate course of action. That only provides an alibi of *sub judice.* If the Government has something to hide, then its easiest course of action would be to select some scapegoat and prosecute him. That would keep the " higher-ups " out of the firing line. The public believes that that is what happened in the *Goldberg* case, that a minor prosecution averted a major public scandal. How, it is to happen again. The alibi again is to be *sub* *judice,* while the major culprits go scot free. Millions of pounds are involved in this matter. Favoritism is hardly the right word for the corruption of a system. Favoritism, could mean that a favoured firm could have the inside running into millions of pounds worth of land sales, while its rivals were squeezed out entirely. That is the real meaning of favouritism when certain individuals are given the monopoly right of granting or refusing the right to sell land. These officials have been given complete discretionary power. There is a clear case for a searching inquiry to ascertain how that discretion has been used. There have been S0,000 sales in the last year. In how many did favoritism mean an advantage for the favoured firm? In other words, how many were corrupt? The public believes there is something fundamentally wrong. No wonder the land sales control regulations are being treated with universal contempt. The Government's attitude has been to exonerate **Mr. Balmford** and the Canberra office, without giving **Mr. Lush** an opportunity to state his case. That will not satisfy any one The Canberra office is not infallible. Do not forget that **Mr. Lush** came from the Canberra office. Never in the history of government in Australia has there l«en a clearer-cut case for a public investigation of charges affecting public administration. If the Government fails to take the necessary steps, then it is clearly implicated. If corruption exists, and it takes no action, then it condones that corruption. It will be an accessory both before and after the fact; it will have failed in its duty to the nation. -I raise these matters even at this late hour, because, in the interests of everybody, they must not be allowed to rest. Searching by security officers is insufficient. Prosecution by one individual only produces an excuse for an alibi of *sub judice.* In the interests of the administration of the Land Sales Control, these matters call for an immediate public investigation. {: #debate-29-s7 .speaker-KCA} ##### Mr DAVIDSON:
Capricornia -- I rise to lend weight to representations already made by honorable members in this chamber concerning the provision of telephone services in country areas, particularly in relation to the regulations governing the extension of new services. At present there exists a limitation in regard to .the extension of new services whereby constructional work is limited to £100 a subscriber. In any case where the cost of constructional work exceeds that limit, those who apply for the service are required to supply .poles, clear the land, erect the poles and generally provide labour for the work. In many cases that imposes what I consider to be undue hardship on those responsible for the development of country areas. The existing limitation should in some way be modified. I agree that it is necessary to adopt some limit as a basis for the guidance of departmental officials handling such applications; but I contend that that basis need not be of a hard and fast description as it is at present. It; should be within the scope of the department to permit either its higher officials or the Postmaster-General himself to exercise some degree of discrimination whereby applications could be treated on their merits, and, if it were found that a proposition were sound, authority should be given for the basic limitation to be exceeded. In order to show how unfairly that method operates, I shall cite two cases which were brought to my notice recently. The first refers to the exchange at Colston Park which is situated 25 miles from the coast from which it is separated by a range. It is a compact area which has been developed in recent years by dairy-farmers. Some years ago, those farmers applied for the installation of a telephone service, and they were required to provide telephone poles and labour. They did so, and eventually obtained the service. After it had been in operation for some time, the farmer in whose house the exchange was installed sold his property, but the person who took over from him declined to accept responsibility for the running of the exchange. The farmers in the area are now told that the cost of moving the exchange a distance of lj miles will be £300, and that they must supply the poles and labour and also the cartage of materia] over the range. They have been negotiating with the department on this matter for a period of eight months because they object, and rightly so, to making any further contribution, towards the installation of the exchange. During that period, although they have not been receiving any service, they have been paying rental. The second case concerns an area situated about 25 miles north of Rockhampton. It is a dual area consisting of two centres, Milman and North Milman, lt is a thriving area which would have been serviced by telephone some time ago, but for war conditions. The area is some distance from the nearest telephone line which runs parallel to the railway line. In wet weather, that community of farmers, numbering approximately 50, is completely cut off. Those farmers submitted a proposal to the department which local officials considered to be sound and anticipated that a reasonable proposition would be submitted from the head office. Now, however, intending subscribers have been informed that :hey must supply the labour and poles, the cost of which is estimated at a sum considerably beyond the resources of those who desire the exchange to be installed. The estimated cost in respect of the Milman area is £211 and in respect of North Milman £375. Such demands constitute a burden which those farmers cannot afford to carry, and unless some provision is made whereby they can obtain the service at a more reasonable cost they will be forced to do without it although it is essential. The method adopted by the department in these matters ignores the fact that after the service is provided it will become revenue-producing. At Milman, from twenty to 25 of the total number of 50 settlers in the area are prepared to take the service immediately. There can bc no doubt that when the service is established, others would come in and the service would eventually become profitable; but the demands made upon the settlers are based solely on the number of the original applicants. I point out that many years ago when areas were being opened up, it was the policy to let the settlers make bush tracks which had to serve as roads. Eventually, local government authorities provided the roads at no capital cost to the settlers. For a long time the unsoundness of the former policy, -o far as the opening up of new country is concerned, has been realized, with the result that to-day, in most cases, roads are provided as part, of the original development of new area's. A similar policy should be applied in the provision of essential telephone services to newly settled areas. Such services should be provided before new areas are actually opened up, and without saddling settlers with exorbitant costs. I ask the Government to implement that policy in respect of the installation of telephones in newlysettled areas and thus lighten the burden of settlers. {: #debate-29-s8 .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN:
Bendigo -- I wish to refer to two matters. I support the remarks of the honorable member for Indi **(Mr. McEwen)** with respect to the need to ensure the maintenance of the sugar industry which is directly linked with the fruit industry in northern Victoria. In the electorate of Indi, an up-to-date canning factory has been established at Shepparton which is a thriving city. The local government authority has already repaid a considerable loan which it obtained from the State Government for developmental purposes, and the factory I have mentioned is now paying substantial dividends to suppliers of fruit. That factory is also putting out a very fine pack of fruit which is known throughout the world. Ardmona and Kyabram are important fruit-growing centres. There are many big fruit-growers in my electorate, and they are worried at present over the statement by **Dr. Coombs,** DirectorGeneral of Post-war Reconstruction, that, in his opinion, so far as the present trade negotiations at Geneva are concerned, Empire preference must go. "Whilst the wool industry is our greatest industry, we should not allow our interest in it to blind us to the importance of other industries. We must ensure that the sugar industry in Queensland which has served to populate north Queensland with white people, a vital factor from a defence point of view, shall be kept on a sound basis and be encouraged regardless of the world price for sugar. I believe that with the diversion of the Snowy River and. the locking of the Murray River, the greatest river in Australia, the Murray Valley will carry a greater population than any other rural area in Australia. It is essential that we should not allow some public servant, or professor, or some " bird who has read in a book how to run a country, to decide the future of that great area, which, in my opinion, is vital to Australia and i.° tied up with the sugar industry of Queensland. We have heard much about former Australian prisoners of war of the Japanese, and I should think that, with the exception of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture **(Mr. Pollard),** who is asleep, we all have a. great deal of sympathy with them and should like to do everything we can to assist them. {: #debate-29-s9 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER:
Mr. Burke -- Order! Is that intended as a reflection on the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture? {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- He can wake up if he likes. {: .speaker-JPT} ##### Mr Blain: -- Let the Chair ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture to withdraw from *Hansard* the dirty things he said about them. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member for the Northern Territory must resume his seat. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- What do you ask me to withdraw, **Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker** ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I ask the honorable member for Bendigo to withdraw his remarks to the effect that sympathy was felt by all honorable gentlemen except the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- If you insist- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I do insist, and, in common fairness, the honorable gentleman ought to withdraw without qualification. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- I do not qualify my statements. In deference to your request, I withdraw whatever you wish me to withdraw, although I do not think it is fair of you to ask me to do it. Whatever sympathy we have for Australians captured in Malaya and elsewhere in the Pacific campaign, we must also sympathize with those captured in Greece, Crete, and other Mediterranean theatres of war. They were imprisoned in Italy, Austria and Germany. As the British forces, the American forces, and the Russian hordes swept into Germany and Austria they were gradually released. Those that could get away from certain races, which we need not mention - some were lucky enough to escape from them, but others were held for months - returned to Great Britain. Some of them were gallant soldiers - I will not say that any of them were not gallant - and they said immediately, "We want to go back to Australia to fight in the Pacific for our country". But what was their reward when they returned? Some went to the islands in the Pacific. Others were told, "No, you are not physically fit", or. " We have now decided that we shall not ask former prisoners of war to go to Morotai or any of the islands ". They were given 2S days' leave on full pay. Other mcn who went to England after their release absented themselves without leave - I do not blame a man who went " A.W.L. " in the circumstances - and when they were picked up by the military police after having been away for a month or so they were shipped to Australia. When they landed they were given 70 days' leave on full pay. That happened in runny instances. I could produce privately to the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley),** if he so desired, the ranks, names and numbers of four men who enlisted about the same time. and served for about the same time before being captured. One escaped and came home. He was given fourteen days' leave on full pay and then sent to the islands. Another man absented himself without leave in England and was absent for 30 days before being picked up by the military police. He then was given 28 days' leave in England and 70 days' leave on full pay on his return to Australia. I think the men who returned to Australia and placed themselves at the disposal of the Australian Government and their lives once more in jeopardy are entitled at the very least to the same consideration as was given to men who were absent without leave in England, were arrested by the military police, were returned to Australia and were given leave such as that given to the men whose cases I have cited. If the. Prime Minister docs not ensure that the Army Department shall rectify this anomaly there is something wrong with the country. {: #debate-29-s10 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Maranoa -- I take this opportunity to impress on the Government the urgent need for new post offices in rural centres. It appears that all new construction work in respect of post offices is confined to the towns and cities and that the country areas receive no consideration. I was told by the PostmasterGeneral **(Senator Cameron),** in reply to a question, that last year, of £3,700,000 expended by his department on new works, two-thirds was expended in the capital cities alone. It seems that most of the remainder was expended in other cities and towns. I speak particularly on behalf of the town of Kingaroy. When the war was still in process, the then Postmaster-General **(Senator Ashley)** inspected the Kingaroy post office and told the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce that the position was so acute that the department would not wait till the war was over before proceeding with the building of new premises. In that growing town 32 employees were then working in one room, the floor dimensions of which are about 20 feet by 30 feet. The position has been aggravated since then. The former Deputy DirectorGeneral of Posts and Telegraphs in Brisbane, **Mr. Bradley,** told me that the Kingaroy post office was on the list for the calling of tenders in the then near future. His successor, **Mr. Stewart,** told me that the Kingaroy post office had been promoted to first priority, and, that in his opinion, tenders would be called for the work within six months, but I understand that it is not on the list of urgent works at all. I have risen at this late hour to speak, because if there is one urgent need it is a new -post office at Kingaroy. I know the shortcomings of the present premises well, because Kingaroy is -my home town. I protest with all the vigour I have against constructional work being confined to the capital cities and provincial cities and the absolute neglect of the country areas. According to the Treasurer's Financial Statement, expenditure on mail services has decreased. Heaven knows, country people have suffered long enough from the lack of adequate mail services ! More of that amount of £3,700,000 should have been used to provide people in country areas with, postal conveniences. I ask the Government to inform me whether the Kingaroy post office has been taken off ihe priority list of construction work and also to undertake to provide more fre quent mail services wherever possible in country areas. **Mr. BLAIN** (Northern Territory) 1 4.31 a.m.]. - Owing to the disgraceful way in which the Government is handling parliamentary business by forcing legislation through at this hour of the morning, I do not feel able to discuss an important matter which I proposed to deal with at some length. This is a subject of sufficient importance to warrant the close attention of the Government and of Australians in general. It is the problem of soil erosion. In spite of the late hour, I shall refer to matters affecting the Northern Territory. I pay tribute to the Bank of New South Wales for. publishing a remarkable booklet. It has incurred considerable expense in doing a job which I consider should have been done by the Commonwealth Government. I met many officials of the bank who were engaged on economic survey work in. the Northern Territory years ago. One of these men had carried out voluntarily, in company with another student doctor of economics and under the direction of **Dr. Macdonald** Holmes, the Professor of Geography at the University of Sydney, an economic survey of the whole of Tasmania. Two other pamphlets which I have with me are new to me, but they are of great interest. They have been prepared by that remarkable man, Professor Macdonald Holmes. I regret that I have not sufficient time in which to discuss them. I prepared a great deal of type-written matter on the subject of the menace of soil erosion on this continent, but it would be hopeless for me to attempt to deal with it, in view of the present state of the House, while many Ministers are so little concerned, with the affairs of the Parliament that they are in bed asleep. It is disgraceful that this sort of thing should be allowed to occur. The Parliament should continue its meetings for another week so that honorable members might have a chance to deal with matters which require urgent attention. Some time may elapse before I can deal appropriately with the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture **(Mr. Pollard),** but I shall do so in my own good -time. I refer to his statement about Australian prisoners of war. My memory will be like that of an elephant. A few thousand other Australians will have equally tenacious recollections of the Ministers' statement. At present, I content myself with referring to two important matters affecting the Northern Territory. I am very disturbed about the lack of progress on the Tennant Creek goldfield. I assume that this is due to wage-pegging and the refusal of the Government to pay wages to employees at the Government batteries equal to those paid at private batteries. I hope that the Minister for the Interior will make some statement later in the day regarding the hold-up at the Government batteries at Tennant Creek. He should make urgent inquiries "from the officers controlling the mining branch of his department with a- view to effecting a quick settlement of the strike at the batteries. The field should be put into full working order again as soon as pos- si bie. Much money has been expended on those batteries. "We had a big struggle years ago to secure their installation, and they should be in full use. I do not wish to see that asset deteriorate, particularly as the Tennant Creek field has been proved to have mines worthy of exploitation by companies. The big mine in that district, as the Government must know, was the only one allowed to operate during the war. The small miners were hunted off the field. The Government should state its reasons for taking that action. Surely the Government is able to pierce the veil of the future and realize that, although gold is wanted urgently now, the demand will continue to increase. The position is so serious that the Government should extend the railway line from Alice Springs to Tennant Creek, a distance of 300 miles, immediately. Consideration should also be given to the importance of the other goldfield at The Granites and Tarrami, 500 miles from Alice Springs. The noted world geologist from **Mr Isa, Mr. Blanchard,** reported favorably on that field five or six years ago, and it is time that developmental work was commenced there. The deposits in that area are of low grade, similar to those which a company developed at Big Bell, some distance from Cue.. That field was of no real value to small prospectors because of the low grade of the ore, but, under the operations of the company, it has proved to be of enormous value. The company uses the open-cut system. Finally, I refer to matters affecting the Minister for Works and Housing' **(Mr. Lemmon. I have received from him a letter! indicating that no long-lease tenures can he given for suburban lands in Alice Springs because a town-planning scheme is to be inaugurated there. I ask for full information about this scheme. Who is to be the town planner? I sincerely hope that he will not be one of the architects who prepared the labyrinthine plan for Darwin. The Minister must know that Western Australia has a brilliant town planner, Mr. Davidson. He should be allowed to do any further planning that is required in the Northern Territory. If he is not available, the Government should select men with surveying or engineering experience, not architects. I hope that town planners will not be allowed to mess around with Alice Springs as they did with Darwin, where they deliberately removed all the churches, confiscated their lands, and disturbed the whole town, disregarding all townplanning principles** It is time that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** took a hand in this matter. I have no confidence in the three other Ministers who deal with matters affecting the Northern Territory. They do not confer with the honorable member for the Northern Territory. That is an insult, not only to me, but also to people of the Northern Territory. I have highly technical qualifications, and, in any case, I have every right to know what is happening. I will not go to the Department of the Interior and snoop around among my friends there in order to find out by underground methods what the Government is doing in the Northern Territory. I do not do that sort of thing. I expect the Minister to be candid with me. The Prime Minister should take a hand and instruct his Ministers to do the right thing, not only by myself, as the representative of the Northern Territory with highly technical qualifications, but also by the residents of the territory. I am just about fed up with the present condition of affairs. I am inclined to move for the appointment of a royal commission to investigate the entire administration of the Northern Territory. During the sittings of the House later to-day, we shall be considering a bill affecting the Northern Territory. When it is introduced, I shall discuss matters affecting the lands policy in the Northern Territory and the lack of resumptions. There seems to be something sinister going on in the territory. I expect the Minister to be candid, and I ask the Prime Minister to instruct the other Ministers to whom I have referred to inform me of the proposals that have been formulated for town planning and the other matters in which the people of the Northern Territory and I are most interested. {: #debate-29-s11 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP -- in *reply* - I do not propose to cover all the points which honorable members have raised in this debate. The honorable member for Maranoa **(Mr. Adermann)** emphasized the necessity for an improvement of facilities at Kingaroy Post Office. Doubtless, there are hundreds of similar cases throughout Australia. Last week the honorable member for Hume **(Mr. Fuller)** asked me to visit one of these buildings in his electorate when I happened to pass it. All I know at the moment Ls that more than £40,000,000 has been provided for a three-year programme to meet the requirements of the Postal Department, and the work is limited only by the lack of labour and materials. A part of that programme provides for the establishment of 401 rural automatic telephone exchanges in country areas, which will be one of the greatest boons that can be provided for people residing in outback districts. I shall ask the Postmaster-General **(Senator Cameron)** to ascertain whether the request of the honorable member for Maranoa regarding the Kingaroy Post Office can be granted. The honorable member for Indi **(Mr. McEwen)** and the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Rankin.)** referred to Empire trade preference. The House considered that subject in a special debate. The honorable member for Herbert **(Mr. Edmonds)** referred to the necessity for safeguarding the Australian sugar industry. Last night, the honor able , member for Richmond **(Mr. Anthony)** also referred to this subject and I informed him - and my statement stands - that a special sub-committee of Cabinet has been examining the matter of Empire trade preferences and that sugar has not yet been discussed at the Internationa] Conference on Trade and Employment at Geneva. The Secretary of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture, **Mr. McCarthy,** believes that sugar will be dealt with under a commodity agreement. One honorable member referred to the demands that Cuba might make for a share in the world's sugar trade. At present, Cuba is working under a special trade agreement with the United States of America; and the matter has not been discussed. As I stated, the special sub-committee of Cabinet has been examining for months the requests that have been made to Australia by other countries, and the requests which Australia has made to other countries, for trade concessions, but sugar has not been included among them. The Government realizes the importance of the dried fruits and the canned fruits industries, particularly as certain areas in Australia are dependent economically upon them. I have not attempted to approach the Geneva trade negotiations or Empire trade preference from a party political standpoint, because the problems associated with them would be of considerable national importance to any Government. I am not able to say what the future regarding sugar will be; I am only able to state what the position is at present. The honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Lang)** referred to the control of land sales. Earlier this week I informed the House that nothing could be done about the matter until the Commonwealth Investigation Branch had submitted its report. Incidentally the principal in the case is not in a position to be questioned. Last night, " I prepared a short statement on the matter, and during the next sitting I shall ask leave to make it to the House. That will be in conformity with the promise which I gave that, as soon as the report had been examined, I would make the statement to the House. Honorable members will see that now I am indulging in a little propaganda in the hope that I may be granted leave to make the statement. I do not propose to make any further commenton the matter. The statementwill indicate the line of action which the Government proposes to adopt. The honorable member for **(Mr. Davidson)** advocated the provision of certain telephone services. The difficulties which he mentioned arise in many country districts. Repeatedly, demands aremade for the installation of expensive telephonic equipment in areas which offer no prospect of an economic return for a long period. Honorable members who represent country constituencies know of the difficulties that people in remote areas experience through the lack of telephone services. Apparently that must be regarded as one of the inconveniences of residing in isolated districts. This equipment can be provided only at very great expense. However, I shall submit the honorable member's requests to the PostmasterGeneral. {: .speaker-KGC} ##### Mr Hamilton: -A similar position arises in some parts ofWestern Australia. The settlers concerned have been asked by the Postmaster-General's Department to clear a route for the telephone lines, dig the holes for the poles andeven to cart the poles, but they are unable to obtain the necessary labour for this work. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY: -If the settlers are unable to obtain the labour; how can the Postmaster-General's Department obtain it? {: .speaker-KGC} ##### Mr Hamilton: -The PostmasterGeneral's Department has asked the settlers to supply the labour. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY: -I have received halfadozen similar requests from some of my constituents, and although I am Treasurer, I have not succeeded in having them met. However, I shall continue to press for them. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate. {: .page-start } page 3456 {:#debate-30} ### PAPERS The following papers were pre sented : - >Arbitration (Public Service) Act Determinations by the Arbitrator,&c. -1947 - No. 46 - Federated Ironworkers' Association of Australia. No. 47. - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans' Association. No. 48 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association. No. 49 - Non-Official Postmasters' Association. No. 50 - Federated Clerks' Union of Australia. Northern Territory - Report on Administration for year 1945-46. House adjourned at 4.49 a.m. (Thursday). {: .page-start } page 3456 {:#debate-31} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers' to questions were circulated: -* {:#subdebate-31-0} #### Compulsory Acquisition of Land: Property of Mr. R. R. Taylor {: #subdebate-31-0-s0 .speaker-KEP} ##### Mr Falkinder:
FRANKLIN, TASMANIA r asked the Minister acting for the Minister for Air, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that in 1942 the Royal Australian Air Force constructed an airfield on the property of **Mr. R.** R. Taylor, Valleyfield, near Launceston? 1. Is it a fact that in the construction of this field, 300 acres of grazing property were rendered useless for that purpose, that fences were removed and that gravel, the property of **Mr. R.** R. Taylor, was appropriated? 2. What was the total cost to the Commonwealth Government of this airfield? 3. Is it a fact that the Department of Civil Aviation intends to make use of the field in connexion with Antarctic expeditions? 4. Has the Department of Civil Aviation received a claim for compensation from the *property* owner? 5. Is it proposed that compensation will be paid; if so, when? {: #subdebate-31-0-s1 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr Barnard:
ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes, two runways were constructed on **Mr. Taylor's** land at Valleyfield. 1. Gravel was removed from **Mr. Taylor's** property, which was the nearest possible source of supply. Except the areas from which gravel was removed and runways constructed the land was not rendered useless for grazing. Some fencing was removed to allow the runways to be constructed. 2. The total cost of the airfield was approximately £49,000. 4.. No. Until construction of the new runway at Western Junction is completed, the Department of Civil Aviation will continue to use Valleyfield as an alternative to Western Junction when the latter aerodrome is closed due to adverse weather conditions. 3. No, but the Department of Civil Aviation has made arrangements with the owner for the payment of rental whilst his land is held under lease by the Government. 4. **Mr. Taylor** is entitled to claim for physical damage to his property. No claim has been received by the Department of Air. "Wool. {: #subdebate-31-0-s2 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did the Government announce that it would establish new country wool-selling centres at Dubbo, and Moree, New South Wales? 1. If so, in view of reports that wool buyers will not attend any country sales outside the programme already arranged for the season in New South Wales, is it intended to proceed with the establishment of these new centres? {: #subdebate-31-0-s3 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard:
ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. Wool-selling centres have been established at Dubbo and Moree. {:#subdebate-31-1} #### Northern Territory : Pastoral Leases {: #subdebate-31-1-s0 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen: n asked the Minister acting for the Minister for the Interior, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. From what pastoral leases in the Northern Territory have resumptions been made and the resumed area not yet re-leased? 1. What is the date of resumption in each case, and the area resumed? 2. Are the former lessees in occupation of and stocking the resumed areas'? 3. Is rent being paid? 4. What precautions, if any, have been taken to ensure that land which has been resumed is not over-stocked by the former lessees and so reduced -to a condition disadvantageous to a new lessee? 5. Why has not resumed land been made available for re-leasing? 6. Why is it not possible for *(a)* an exserviceman or (6) any other suitable applicant to select as a pastoral lease vacant Crown lands in the Northern Territory? 7. When is ifr intended to make available as pastoral leases (a) resumed areas, and (&) vacant Crown lands ? 8. Is there any provision for advances or financial assistance to ex-servicemen who desire to take up pastoral leases in the Northern Territory? {: #subdebate-31-1-s1 .speaker-L0X} ##### Mr Lemmon:
Minister for Works and Housing · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1>. The following resumptions were made in 1945 and the areas- have not been re-leased, 2. (a) 30th June, 1945. (&) 118a (C.A.), 91 square miles; 194 (C.A.), 275 square miles; 203 (C.A.), 225 square miles; 114 (N.A.), 110 square miles; 121 (N.A.), 3,340 square miles (approximately) ; 123 (N.A.), 204 square miles. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. No. Occupation ceased 30th June, 1946. 1. See answer to No. 3. 2. See answer to No. 3. Lands ave unoccupied. {: type="A" start="G"} 0. The Administrator states that it would be unwise to make any of the large blocks available for leasing until he has had a discussion with the new Director of Lands and has gone into ali the pros and cons concerning the tenure of lease, as most of the blocks are highly improved. The new Director of Lands has been appointed and is expected to take up duty shortly. 3. No land can be made open to selection as a pastoral lease until it has first been advertised as required by Section 16 of the Crown Lands Ordinance 1931.-194G. Otherwise there is no embargo against ex-servicemen or other persons selecting land as a pastoral lease. 4. See answer to No. 6. 5. Yes, under the provisions of Part 6 of the Re-establishment and Employment Act 1945, which is administered by the War Service Land Settlement Branch, Department of Postwar Reconstruction. {:#subdebate-31-2} #### Aeroplane Engines {: #subdebate-31-2-s0 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis: s asked the Minister representing the Minister for Munitions, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many aeroplane engines have been made by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation of each type of which manufacture has been undertaken, and at what average cost? 1. How many of the engines manufactured already by the corporation have been fitted! in aircraft, and how many will be fitted1 iri aircraft? 2. How many engines1 made by the corporation will not be used because of the decision to build turbo-jet engines, and what was their total cost? 3. What was the cost of machine tools and plant which will be scrapped because of the decision to build turbo-jet engines? 4. What steps are taken to obtain the latest data on the rapid developments in engine construction abroad, and what action, if any,, can be taken to ensure that engines manufactured in Australia for use in fighter and bomber aircraft are not obsolete by world standards before their manufacture can begin? {: #subdebate-31-2-s1 .speaker-KCF} ##### Mr Dedman:
ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Eight hundred' and seventy twin-row Pratt and Whitney wasp engines were manufactured at the Aircraft Engine Factory at Lidcombe, New South Wales1, which is managed by the; Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation on1 behalf' of the' Commonwealth. The average COSt including' depreciation' and amortization, waa: £7,800. Six hundred and eighty single-row Pratt and Whitney wasp engines were manufactured at the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation's Factory at Fishermen's Bend, Victoria. The average cost was approximately £4,000. One hundred and eight Rolls Royce Merlin engines are now being manufactured at Lidcombe, New South Wales. The manufacture of parts for these engines has reached an advanced stage and the first ten are nearing completion. 1. The whole of the single and twin row wasp engines produced in Australia have been delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force, either installed in Beaufort and Wirraway aircraft or as spare engines for such aircraft and as replacement engines in other types of aircraft operated by the Royal Australian Air Force. 2. The decision to build turbo-jet Nene engines will not render surplus any engines already built or under construction. These turbo-jet engines are all required for installation in Vampire aircraft and as spares. 3. The building of turbo-jet Nene engines will not necessitate scrapping any machine tools and plant. The project will, in fact, enable the use of existing machine tools and plant to a greater extent than would be the case if no turbo-jet engines were produced in Australia. 4. The Nene engine is at present the most highly developed engine known of the turbojet type. The technique being acquired through this production will enable future types to be undertaken without technical difficulty. Under the arrangement with the Rolls Royce Company, the Government will be appraised of all future developments in Rolls Royce jet engine design. A technical officer of the Division of Aircraft Production is being sent to London for the purpose of the Commonwealth being kept abreast of all aircraft and aircraft engines developments. {:#subdebate-31-3} #### Australian Army: Motor Vehicles {: #subdebate-31-3-s0 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: n askedthe Minister for the Army,upon *notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many vehicles are at present situated at Mount Gravatt, Wallangarra and other military motor parks in Queensland, detailed under appropriate heads, viz., cars, utilities, trucks, *&c,* and giving totals for each separate location? 1. What is the number similarly held in each of the other States? 2. What is the general condition of such vehicles with special relation to (a) deterioration through inadequate protection against weather, (b) loss of vital parts through theft and (c) undue delay in declaring such vehicles as surplus' to requirements? {: #subdebate-31-3-s1 .speaker-JWR} ##### Mr Chambers:
ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The numbers of motor vehicles held in various depots in Queensland are shown hereunder: - In addition, a certain number of vehicles are at present located in these camps and are in progress of disposal action or are awaiting shipment to British Commonwealth . Occupation Force in Japan. As a result of the decision which has recently been given in connexion with the post-war forces, a number of vehicles which will be held for post-war army and mobilization requirements will be again reviewed. All of the trucks which are now held and which will be held in future for post-war and mobilization requirements as the result of the review now in progress are 4-wheel or 6-wheel drive vehicles of a special War Department type. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. This information is now being compiled and will be communicated to the honorable member as soon as possible. As in the case of vehicles held in Queensland, the number of vehicles held throughout the Commonwealth is at present under review, and it has already been indicated that a further 6,000 vehicles will probably be released as the result of this review. 3. (a) A special committee of civilians was set up under the authority of the Military Board to consider the method of treating Army vehicles for long-term storage. The Civil Advisory Committee on technique of long-term storage of wheeled and tracked vehicles consists of - **Chairman -Mr. W.** D. Chapman, Railways Standardization Division. Members - **Mr. A.** B. Cox, Department of Munitions. **Mr. G.** M. Kerr, Department of Works and Housing. **Mr. J.** E. Cummins, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. This committee has submitted its first interim report and except for a number of minor suggestions has 'favorably endorsed the Army's method of treatment of vehicles for long-term storage. {: type="1" start="6"} 0. A recent check at Wallangarra, where every vehicle is being meticulously examined at present, indicates that the loss of vital parts through theft is negligible. {: type="a" start="c"} 0. Having regard to all the circumstances, uo undue delay is taking place in declaring vehicles for disposal. The disposal of vehicles is of necessity being done progressively. Up to date more than 100,000 vehicles have been declared for disposal to the Commonwealth Disposals Commission and a further 5,000 have been transferred to Allied Forces and government departments. The balance held by the Army has been under constant review, and it is anticipated that the further review which is now in progress will result in approximately 0,000 additional vehicles being declared to the Commonwealth Disposals Commission. {:#subdebate-31-4} #### Wheat {: #subdebate-31-4-s0 .speaker-JLL} ##### Mr Abbott: t asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Under article 51(1) of the United Nations Charter on Trade and Employment, is any member country entitled to purchase wheat from Australia at 5s. Od. per bushel (a) on terms no less favorable than those afforded to New Zealand or, alternatively, (6) on terms approved by the Organization T 1. Under such charter, will the right to determine the price to be charged such member nations pass automatically from the Australian Government to the Organization? 2. In accordance with the spirit of the charter, would not the Organization use the New Zealand contract price of 5s. Od. a bushel as the equitable basis for determination of the price which Australia would be allowed to charge other member nations for Australian wheat ? {: #subdebate-31-4-s1 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. 1. No. 2. No. Government Departments : Transfer from Melbourne to Canberra. {: #subdebate-31-4-s2 .speaker-KGC} ##### Mr Hamilton: n asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Does the Government contemplate the transfer from Melbourne to Canberra of Commonwealth departments or the central administration of any departments now in Melbourne? 1. If so, what are the departments involved ? 2. When is it anticipated the transfer will commence? 3. What staff of each department will be involved in the transfer? 4. What are the Government's plans for housing and accommodating the staff to be transferred ? {: #subdebate-31-4-s3 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP -- The question is receiving attention and an answer will be furnished as soon as practicable. {:#subdebate-31-5} #### Paper Bags {: #subdebate-31-5-s0 .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr Fadden: n asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been called to newspaper reports that the Federation of Retail Grocers and Storekeepers Associations of Australia has issued a warning that public health would suffer unless the Federal Government obtained immediate supplies of wrapping paper and paper bags? 1. Has the Government received any official complaints regarding the matter? 2. Will he order an immediate investigation with a view to taking whatever action the Government can to meet the situation? {: #subdebate-31-5-s1 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP -- An answer will be supplied to the right honorable gentleman as soon as possible. Cockatoo Island Dockyard : Transport of Employees. {: #subdebate-31-5-s2 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP y. - On the 14th and 28th May the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Harrison)** addressed questions to me concerning the Cockatoo Island ferry service. I have had this matter examined and find the arrangement for subsidy on the basis of 6d. per week was made through the Department of the Navy but that payment of such subsidy was to be made by the Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company Proprietary Limited, who carry on all operations on the island. The fact is that the company had not paid such subsidy since the beginning of September last, but this had only recently become known. Arrears have now been paid by the company and an increase in the cost of a weekly ticket from ls. 6d. to 2s. will become effective as from this week. This increase is consequent upon the discontinuance of the previous subsidy of 6d. per weekly ticket. It is understood that the ferry company has agreed to continue the service to Cockatoo Island on this basis. 1947 Census. {: #subdebate-31-5-s3 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP -- On the 15th May, the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Lang)** asked the following questions in relation to the forthcoming census : - >The schedule of the census to be held on the 30th June gives a long list *>f personal questions. 'Questions on dwellings concern the. class of dwelling, the materials of which outer walls and roof are made, number of rooms, number sleeping out, condition of occupancy, weekly rent, whether supplied with gas, electricity and water, toilet and cooking facilities as well as date of building. As there is a penalty of £50 prescribed for an untruthful statement, would the Prime Minister supply the following information: - !l. Have these questions been asked in previous census returns? > >If a person refuses to answer questions which may be regarded as an invasion of hit privacy, is it proposed to lodge prosecutions in each instance? > >What steps are being taken to ensure that the census cards are kept confidential? Will the collectors be given the right to examine the cards? > >What inquiries were made into the records of applicants for the position of census 'collector, bearing in mind the opportunities the job might provide for those desirous of embarking on illegal pursuits? The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. By comparison with the 1033 census schedule, the 1047 census schedule omits six questions previously asked in relation to persons, and includes a question relating to the issue of marriages which was not asked in 1933 but was asked in 1911 and 1921. Additional questions to be asked in 1947 in relation to dwellings are the materials of roof, the availability of electricity, gas and running water, the existence of a bathroom, toilet, laundry and cooking facilities, and whether the dwelling was built before or after 1933. 1. Any person who fails to supply the particulars required in the Householder's Schedule, or who refuses to answer questions asked by a collector necessary to obtain those particulars, is liable to a penalty of £.10. Any person who knowingly makes, in a census form or in answer to a question asked under the authority of the act, a statement which is untrue in any material particular is liable to a penalty of £50; but no person is liable to any penalty for omitting or refusing to state the religious denomination or sect to which he belongs or adheres. These penalties are provided by the act and will be strictly enforced. In view of the national purposes for which the census information is required it is considered that the questions asked do not constitute an invasion of the individual's privacy. 2. AH possible steps are taken to ensure that information supplied in the- census schedules is kept confidential. All 'officers and employees engaged on -census work are required to sign, in the presence oi .a witness, an undertaking of fidelity and secrecy, and officers .are prohibited, except as allowed by .the act .or .the regulations, from divulging .the «oh tents of any form filled up in pursuance of the act, under penalty of £50. The census collectors are required, under section 13 of the act, ito assist occupiers of dwellings to fill .up the Householder's Schedule, and .to satisfy themselves by inquiries from occupiers or other persons that the Householder's Schedule has 'been correctly filled *up.* 3. The census enumerators (who are also the Commonwealth district returning officers) are responsible for the selection of collectors, and before they appoint any one they are required to satisfy themselves to the best of their ability that the collectors selected are of good character and suitably qualified for the performance of their duties. Motor Vehicles. {: #subdebate-31-5-s4 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP y. - On the 7th May and the 20th May, the honorable members for Cook **(Mr. Sheehan)** and Richmond **(Mr. Anthony)** respectively addressed questions to me regarding the importation of motor vehicles. I have now completed inquiries into this matter and am advised that motor vehicles generally are not imported in complete form, hut as unassembled chassis upon which locally-made bodies are mounted. This applies particularly to vehicles of North American origin. Utility truck bodies are, in many instances, mounted on conventional passengertype chassis. It is not possible, therefore, to determine the proportion of utility truck chassis to be imported. Where a special utility truck chassis is available from North America, importers are being permitted to import the full number made available by the suppliers and quotas have been increased to allow this to be done. There is no restriction on the importation of vehicles from the United Kingdom, but as the industry is fully aware of the heavy demand for utility trucks, it is reasonable to assume that every effort is being made to meet this demand. Nineteen thousand four hundred and sixty-six utility chassis were ordered from both the United Kingdom and North America by Australian motor vehicle importers for 1946-47. As at the 1st April, 1947, 11,114 of these vehicles had arrived, but owing to industrial difficulties, shortages of materials, &c, only 0,096 had been produced and made available to the public. Distributors were holding 6.01S chassis as at this date, for assembly. Authority has been given to distributors to import supplies of this type of chassis sufficient to meet our demands in Australia, but production difficulties are the determining factor in the vehicles becoming available to the general public. All importers and assemblers have been urged by the Director of Road Transport to increase the production of utility trucks to the fullest extent. Commonwealth General Assurance Company Limited. {: #subdebate-31-5-s5 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP y. - On the 15th May and the 3rd June, the honorable members for Franklin **(Mr. Falkinder)** and Darling Downs **(Mr. Fadden)** respectively addressed questions to the AttorneyGeneral regarding press allegations against the activities of the Commonwealth General Assurance Company Limited. I have examined this matter and have found that the Commonwealth Life Insurance Act 1945' came into force on the 20th June, 1946, so that the Commonwealth had no control over transactions between a life insurance company and its policy-holders prior to that date. All inquiries from policy-holders of the company named have been the subject of careful investigation, but to date no evidence has been obtained of an infringement of the provisions of the Life Insurance Act. Pillaging. {: #subdebate-31-5-s6 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP y. - On the 20th May, the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) asked a question in regard to the pillaging of goods on the waterfront or in transit by sea. I" have since conferred with the Minister for Supply and Shipping on this matter and he has advised me that the position at present is that the special regulations for the control of pillaging during the war, which were contained in the National Security (Shipping Co-ordination) Regulations, were allowed to lapse as from the 31st December last in accord ance with the Government's policy of relaxing war-time controls as far as possible. *2o* official figures showing losses by pillaging in recent months are available, but it is considered that pillaging has diminished from the peak which was reached during war years. The matter is still regarded as serious, however, and the Australian Shipping Board has recently formed a committee to coordinate measures for the protection of cargoes in interstate and overseas ships. The Australian ^Shipping Board, interstate and overseas interests are represented on the committee and subcommittees have been formed in each main port with a view to cooperating as closely as possible with the State police and the harbour authorities. The Australian Shipping Board has agreed to meet half the expenditure . involved of the protective measures. The board is fully aware of the conditions which are prevalent and is endeavouring to combat these conditions to the fullest extent possible. Clothes Rationing. {: #subdebate-31-5-s7 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP y.- On the 28th and 29th May respectively the honorable members for Moreton **(Mr. Francis)** and Brisbane **(Mr. George Lawson)** asked questions regarding clothes rationing in Queensland. In response to the honorable members' questions I have conferred with the Minister for Trade and Customs who advises that the whole question of clothes rationing is being examined in the light of recently improved prospects of obtaining clothing materials from abroad. I understand from the Minister that the matter is being discussed this week by the Rationing Commission with their Trade Advisory Panel. Air Training Corps. {: #subdebate-31-5-s8 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP y. - On the 21st May the honorable member for Denison **(Dr. Gaha)** asked the Minister acting for the Minister for Air whether he would make available an Avro Anson aircraft to the Air Training Corps in Hobart. I desire to inform the honorable member that that matter has received consideration but that the request cannot be approved, first, because the curriculum for the Air Training Corps does not provide for the use of such an aircraft and, second, because of the difficulties of ensuring adequate servicing and maintenance of the aircraft having regard to the fact that no Royal Australian Air Force servicing or maintenance personnel are stationed in Tasmania. Armed Forces: Rates of Pat. {: #subdebate-31-5-s9 .speaker-JWR} ##### Mr Chambers:
ALP s. - On the 5 th December, the honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. Falkinder)** asked the following questions : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. le it intended to give Australian Imperial Force status and rates of pay from date of enlistment in February, 1941, to (o) the Rabaul Heavy Battery, Royal Australian Artillery; (6) the Rabaul Fortress Company, Royal Australian Engineers; and (c) the Rabaul Fortress Signal Section, Australian Corps of Signals? 1. Is it intended to grant pay and allowances from date of enlistment to date of discharge or notification of presumed death to members of those units? I informed the honorable member that consideration was being given to the matters raised by him and he would be further advised. I now desire to inform the honorable member as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. It is intended to grant Australian Imperial Force status and rates of pay to all members of the Rabaul Garrison as from the following dates: - (o) Members who volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force in Australia prior to proceeding to Rabaul - from date of completion of form for enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force; (6) other members - from 22nd January, 1942, or from date of completion of form for enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force. 1. It is intended to grant Australian Imperial Force pay and allowances from the above dates until dato of discharge, death or presumption thereof, whichever is applicable to members of the Rabaul Garrison. Leather. {: #subdebate-31-5-s10 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard:
ALP d. - On the 9th May, following a reply by me to a question by the honorable member for Wide Bay **(Mr. Bernard Corser),** I undertook to review the so-called " surcharge " on leather prices of approximately 20 per cent. I am now able to say that the imposition of a surcharge was the method followed by the Prices Commissioner when, on the 6th October, 1939, he permitted an increase in the prices of certain specified leathers by percentages ranging between 6§ per cent, and 8 per cent. Since then prices have been varied by this surcharge method and the present maximum prices are approximately 20 per cent, above the prices at which each manufacturer sold similar kinds and grades of leather on the 1st September, 1939. It is a simple and convenient method of varying prices. The purchasers of leather goods do not thereby carry any more burden of .increased costs than does the community in general, and it is quite wrong to say that the surcharge is an added profit to the merchants because leather prices have a controlled relationship to hide prices and in any event the Prices Commissioner controls merchants' margins on leather and leather goods. Chaff. {: #subdebate-31-5-s11 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard:
ALP d. - On the 7th May, the honorable member for Riverina **(Mr. Langtry)** asked if I would take up with the Prices Commissioner certain matter? relating to the increased cost of chaff bags and the ceiling price of chaff. T have been informed by the Prices Commissioner that it has already been conveyed to farmers that, where they have purchased chaff bags at increased prices, they may pass on the increased price in the form of a surcharge in the selling price of the produce. However, he add? that in Victoria and South Australia chaff prices have fallen below the ceiling, though in the other three' mainland States producers are still receiving *th,ceiling* price. {: #subdebate-31-5-s12 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard:
ALP d. - On the 7th May, the honorable member for New England **(Mr. Abbott)** asked if it was possible to purchase phenothiazine in the United State? of America for 8d. per lb., and, if so, what would be the landed cost in this country, free of duty. He also asked if an inquiry would be made by the Prices Commissioner into manufacturing costs of phenothiazine in Australia, with a view to ascertaining whether the present price of *is.* per lb. can be reduced. The Minister for Trade and Customs advises that the f.o.b. value of phenothiazine in the United States of America is. considerably above the figure quoted by the honorable member, and lands at costs which are close to the present price of the Australian product. With regard to Australian phenothiazine the Prices Commissioner has had costs under constant review since manufacture was commenced in this country in 1944. Costs are still high, but a reduction in price will be effected as soon as the flow of production results in a lowering of costs. {: .page-start } page 3462 {:#debate-32} ### PHENOTHIAZINE {:#subdebate-32-0} #### English Poplin {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard:
ALP d. - On the 29th May, the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Harrison)** asked a question upon notice concerning a stock of English woven poplin material stored at the Army Ordnance Depot at Leichhardt. The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following information - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. This material was originally ordered by the Department of the Army for use in the manufacture of civilian shirts. When it was decided to discontinue the issue of civilian clothing to soldiers on being discharged the demand was allowed to continue with the view to the material being made available upon arrival for the manufacture of shirts for the civil market. 1. 490,000 yards are in the Leichhardt store. This materialhas been accumulated from shipments arriving from the United Kingdom during January to April of this year. The quantity in store has been declared by the Department of the Army to the Commonwealth Disposals Commission which is transferring it to the Commercial Branch, Department of Trade and Customs for distribution to base year quota holders. Fruit: Prices in the Australian Capital Territory. {: #subdebate-32-0-s1 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard:
ALP -- On the 23rd May, the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Archie Cameron)** asked a question concerning the price of apples and grapes in the Australian Capital Territory. The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following information : - >As part of the Government's policy of decontrol, restriction on the price of apples is now limited to the fixation of a limit on the profit margins allowable to growers. High prices now being charged by retailers are due directly to the high prices being received by growers in consequence of current short supplies. Recent checks in the Australian Capital Territory have shown that these margins are being observed. Grapes for domestic consumption have never, been " declared " under National Security (Prices) Regulations. There were many reasons for the decision not to place them under price control.. The facts stated by the honorable member do, however, emphasize the effect of the absence of price control. Grapes are a seasonal commodity and it is not considered that the time is appropriate to impose control on goods that were free of our control right through the war years. {:#subdebate-32-1} #### Telephone Services: Marx House {: #subdebate-32-1-s0 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis: s asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many telephones are installedin Marx House, Sydney? 1. What was the date of installation of each telephone? 2. Do the telephones at Marx House include any silent lines; ifso, how many? Mr.Calwell. - The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following information : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Twelve exchange lines and twenty extension lines. 1. The dates of installation of each telephone are as follows: - Exchange lines - 9th June, 1909. 18th September, 1923. 7th November, 1939. 16th January, 1940. 26th September, 1941. 8th December, 1941. 25th May, 1943. 22nd September, 1943. 20th December, 1943. 5th July, 1944. 17th July, 1944. 16th October, 1944. Extension lines - 18th August, 1928 (three lines). 3rd October, 1939) (three lines). 23rd February, 1940 (three lines). 25th May, 1943 (one line). 21st September, 1943 (four lines). 13th March, 1945 (one line). 4th September, 1945) (three lines). 26th February, 1946 (two lines). {: type="1" start="3"} 0. One silent line, in addition to two lines which are reserved for outward calls only and are not listed in the telephone directory for inward calls.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 4 June 1947, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.