18th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. J. J. Clark) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -
That the following paper, laid on the Table of the House on the 2nd September, be printed : -
National Debt Sinking Fund Act - National Debt Commission - Twentyfifth Annual Report, for year 1947-48.
Loss of Aircraft “ Lutana
– In the absence of theMinister for Civil Aviation who, I understand, is in Melbourne awaiting the arrival of the Convair aircraft, which represents the latest addition to the fine air fleet maintained by Trans-Australia Airlines, will the Prime Minister state whether consideration has been given to the advisability of holding a public inquiry into the cause of the tragic disaster to the Australian National Airways aircraft Lutana last week?
– Normally, when the cause of an air accident is easily ascertainable, it is not necessary to hold a public inquiry. In this instance, after examining the circumstances and the information available, the Minister for Civil Aviation believes that a public inquiry should be held, and he proposes to direct that such an inquiry be undertaken. Some time, of course, may elapse before the necessary arrangements can be made to obtain the services of a judge or some other suitable person to preside over the inquiry.
– In framing the terms of reference, will the Prime Minister ensure that the investigating authority shall be directed to ascertain’ whether existing navigation aids to commercial aircraft are satisfactory and effective, or whether they are capable of improvement 1 Will the right honorable gentleman also arrange for the inquiry to seek to ascertain whether existing safeguards relating to the adherence to air navigation regulations by flying personnel are sufficient to ensure that effective use is made of services provided, or whether measures are necessary to enforce the use of these and other safety measures in civil aviation?
– The scope of the inquiry is a matter for the Minister for Civil Aviation to determine. I shall ask him to examine the suggestions made by the honorable member.
– In view of the shortage in Australia of zinc for industrial purposes, and of the fact that men are being put off work in the galvanizing sections of the heavy industries in the Newcastle district, will the Prime Minister confer with the appropriate Minister in an endeavour further to control the export of this commodity and so ensure the retention of adequate supplies for our own industrial requirements?
– I presume that the honorable member refers to the supply of zinc to Lysaght’s works at Newcastle?
– This has been the subject of several conferences on the departmental level and discussions have also been held on a much higher level in an endeavour to overcome the difficulties that have arisen regarding the allocation of zinc supplies to Lysaght’s works at Newcastle. I am not able to report a favorable conclusion to those discussions yet. When I was in the northern coal-fields areas of New South
Wales last Sunday, my attention waa drawn to the possibility of that establishment being closed down as the result of the renewed shortage of zinc. I took the matter up again this morning with a view to having the problem solved. The price of zinc, which is one of the matters in dispute, will pass from the control of this Government after the 20th September and it will therefore be necessary for the States to make a decision on that matter. The issuing of export licences, of course, is controlled by the Commonwealth. The honorable member may rest assured that everything possible will be done to solve this problem.
– Has the Minister for Immigration seen a report of a statement made by a Mr. Charles Tuffin, of Sydney, on his return from London, that prospective British migrants are being informed that there are good hopes for orchard development on the Nullabor Plain in South Australia? Does the Minister share this optimism, and is this advice being given in Great Britain with his approval? If not, will the Minister take action to prevent the continued dissemination of misleading information of this character?
– I have not seen the report, but I do not share the optimism of the writer any more than the honorable member himself does. I am certain that the information is not being disseminated from official sources.
– The writer claims that it is coming from official sources.
– I do not admit that his claim is justified. I have never heard of anything . so fantastic. I cannot stop the dissemination of false information in Great Britain any more than I can stop it in Australia, although I should like to prevent the spreading of a lot of wrong information in this country about immigration and other subjects. If I can obtain more definite details, I shall ask my representatives in London what they know about this matter and will inform the honorable member of the results of my inquiries.
– In view of the announced intention of the Government to bring large numbers of migrants to this country, will the Minister for Immigration state whether these migrants are to come to Australia under the nominated system, under which an obligation rests on their nominators to provide accommodation for them for a certain period? If not, how is it proposed to house these people when the Government finds it practically impossible to house thousands of our own citizens?
– British subjects of European origin and descent may come to Australia at any time. If they pay their own fares, no disability of any kind is placed upon them. Those who desire to come here under the schemes we have negotiated with the British Government, generally known as the free and assisted passages schemes, must be nominated by Australian residents, who must be prepared to guarantee them accommodation in their own homes or in such other places as are acceptable to the State immigration authorities. I gave, figures last week of the estimated number of migrants expected to arrive this year. Approximately 20,000 British subjects will be coming as free and assisted passengers and approximately 18,000 will pay their own fares. They will not all, of course, be residents of the United Kingdom. Numbers of them will be returning Australians and some of them will be business men coming here for a period and going back again. The Australian Government cannot and will not make arrangements to house people who pay their own way. Every piece of information we can give is furnished in answer to questions asked of us by people who want to come here without nomination, and every person who seeks information is warned of the housing difficulties confronting the Australian population at the present time. Some people come here in spite of our warnings and are disappointed. Others, perhaps because they have more grit, or more luck, or because of other circumstances, find Australia a good country and remain here. Responsibility for housing the people is primarily a State matter. I have noticed in recent times some criticism by the Government .of Western Australia of the fact that people having come here have not been able to secure houses.
– It is difficult to obtain materials in Western Australia because of industrial disturbances in the eastern States.
– I know that a difficult situation exists in Western Australia, but we are helping in every possible way. I have noticed that the West Australian, which cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called a radical journal, has, in recent times, criticized the Government of Western Australia because of its rather narrow view on this subject, while, at the same time, strangely enough, it has praised the Commonwealth Minister for Immigration for his statesmanship.
“Mr. McBRIDE. Can the Prime Minister, who is acting for the Minister for External Affairs, say whether it is a fact that the United States Government has proposed that conflicting claims to Antarctic territory should be solved by “some form of international control? Have the United States proposals been communicated to the Australian Government, and, if so, is the right honorable gentleman in a position to advise the House of the exact nature of the internationalization proposals and whether United Nations trusteeship is involved?
– A great deal of publicity has been given to statements that have been made about Antarctica, including Heard Island and other places. I am not aware of anything generally of the nature that has been indicated in press reports, but in order that I may present a complete picture of the position in regard to Antarctic territory to the honorable member, I shall have a written reply to his question prepared.
– MR. LARS GUSTAV BRUNDAHL
– Has the Minister for Immigration yet decided to issue a deportation order against Lars Gustav Brundahl a former Nazi internee, whose antiAustralian activities have caused widespread resentment? Is it a fact that, whilst he has refused to take action against Brundahl, he has issued instructions that Mrs. Stewart Carrick, of Perth, the Tongan-born “wife of a British subject, and their two children, Joan, aged twelve years, and Diane, aged eight years, must, leave Australia by the end of this month ? Was a deportation order issued against a Mr. Jim Foo. who served in the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy for five years and has an Australian wife and two children? As the Carricks and Foo have given proof of their loyalty to the country, whereas Brundahl has given proof of his disloyalty, will the Minister reverse his decisions in all three cases ?
– I have not issued a deportation order against Lars Gustav Brundahl. . I explained the position in regard to Brundahl in the course of a letter which I sent to the honorable member for Parramatta on the 17th June last. ]n that letter I stated -
In my absence from the House on June 8th yon directed a question to my colleague, the Attorney-General, in respect to Mr. Lars Gustav Brundahl, -the former representative in Australia of the Leipzig World Fair, who was interned during the Second World War. You desired to know how it came about that he was allowed to remain in Australia when other prominent Nazis were deported, and, after pointing out that since his release Brundahl had been convicted of offensive behaviour and of having assaulted a woman, you asked if steps would be taken immediately to deport him “ so that he may cease any longer to be a nuisance in this country”.
The facts are that Mr. Brundhal has lived in Australia for 34 years. When he arrived in the Commonwealth in 1914 he stated that he was born in America of a Swedish father and a German mother, the widow of a Canadian. The question of his nationality, however, has never been resolved, and the United States Consulate authorities do not recognize him as an American.
I interpolate now a reference to the statement that Brundahl’s mother married a Canadian prior to her marriage to his father, because, if that were a fact, she was probably regarded as a British subject. Later she married a man who was of American nationality and Brundahl was born of that marriage. The perplexing question of Brundahl’s nationality, irrespective of whether it be regarded as settled or still unresolved, has an important bearing on his liability to deportation. The letter which I wrote to the honorable member for Parramatta continues -
Brundahl was not interned during the First World War. In 1927 he became the representative in Australia of the Leipzig World Fair and visited Germany, for the first time (so he
Bays), ill 193(J. He was interned in March, 1040. He repeatedly applied for release, but the applications were refused; and it was not until July, 1045, that the Director-General of Security, after noting that the United States refused to recognize his claims to American citizenship, and that there was nothing to suggest that he was a German subject, decided that the time had come when he could be released. He was, therefore, released by the Director-General in accordance with the powers delegated to him under the National Security (General) Regulations.
Consequently, Brundahl did not come -within the scope of the Aliens’ Deportation Act, which referred to aliens whose deportation from the Commonwealth was recommended, in the case of local internees, by Hie Honour Mr. Justice Simpson. The judge’s appointment as a Commissioner to inquire into the cases of these internees, and to recommend whether it was necessary or desirable to deport them from Australia, was not made until the 2oth October, 1945.
Brundahl has been here for more than five years, and it is therefore impossible to deport him under the provisions of the Immigration Act. He would be liable to deportation if he were convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for more than twelve months, but he has not been so convicted. His recent conduct, or alleged conduct, is at present being investigated, and I prefer to say nothing further on that aspect of the matter at present. His name is Swedish. Although his conduct is reprehensible the law, in its present state, does not enable me to enforce his deportation or to take any other action against him. If he has committed other offences he can be prosecuted under Commonwealth or State law. If he is prosecuted and convicted, I might be able to do something in the matter. The other people to whom the honorable member has referred were war-time evacuees, and, like all other war-time evacuees, they have to leave Australia. Some of these evacuees have already gone, and others will be going. I do not know the total number of deportation orders that I have signed in recent years; but it has been considerable. Finally, I inform the honorable gentleman that no matter how many deportation orders I sign, the number will always be one fewer than I should like it to be.
– While accompanying representatives of local authorities to the Department of Works and
Housing in Brisbane when they were seeking road-making machinery, I was advised that they had not the slightest hope of receiving a caterpillar grader in less than two years, and would probably have to wait just as long for other road-making machines. Will the Minister for Works and Housing inform me whether the Australian Government is permitting the importation of graders and other road-making machinery? As I understand that satisfactory machines for this work are being manufactured in Australia, can the Minister indicate the volume of manufacture, and, if he can, what proportion of these machines is being exported? Will the Minister also indicate whether local authorities have any reasonable hope of obtaining graders to help them in their work, which is far in arrears?
– The Australian Go’vernment no longer controls the distribution of road-making machinery.
– Through the Department of Trade and Customs, the Government controls the importation and exportation of this machinery.
– At present, the only control that the Australian Government can exercise over the importation of machinery is through the Department of Trade and Customs, which may issue permits to importers in the various capital cities in order to ensure that a certain percentage .of the machines shall go to each capital. At the end of last month, the Government transferred to the States control of the allocation of machinery, and the State authorities in Queensland have announced that they do not propose to continue such control. Therefore, distribution in the future in that State will be a matter of arrangement between manufacturers and customers. Offhand, I am not able to inform the honorable member of the number of roadmaking machines made in Australia, but I shall obtain the information for him.
– Are any of these machines being exported ?
– No. We have, however, allowed a few large caterpillar-type tractors to be sent to New Guinea and New Britain. In addition, two have been despatched to Noumea. However, they can hardly be regarded as having been exported, because we permitted them to be sent to timber companies which are securing timber in those islands for use in Australia.
Australians in Japan.
– I desire to make a personal explanation.
– On what subject?
– The remarks which I made in this House last Thursday have been misrepresented, and as they make an implication against the Hansard staff I should like to make a personal explanation. In raising this matter, I am forced to quote a few lines from the Sydney Daily Telegraph, and I assure the House that, in the circumstances, they will be as brief as possible. A columnist - and when I say “ columnist” I mean a journalist and not the racehorse of that name - made the following reference in that journal: -
Last week, in the House, Mr. Haylen said some very unpleasant things about newspaper men in Japan.
If you happened to listen over the air, you’ll recall the words, “ larrikins, whether politicians or pressman “, and “ renegades to their country “.
But there are some interesting changes in the “ flats “ - the proofs of Hansard distributed before the final printing. “ Larrikins “ is replaced by “ people “. “ Renegades to their country “ has become “ renegades to the best interests of their country “.
It will be interesting to see how the nasty little speech finishes up.
I want to say in rebuttal, first, that as every honorable member knows, it is not possible for any honorable member to make alterations of the Hansard report between the time he makes a speech and the time the printed “ flats “ are available next morning. Secondly, even if I had been able to alter the “ flats “, as charged against me by the columnist McNicoll, an examination of the “ flats “ will show that my remarks are there exactly as I said them. I refer to page 41 of the “ flats “, in which this appears : “ There are two or three Australian pressmen who are renegades to their country “. Thirdly, I refer to page 44 of the “ flats “, in which this passage occurs : “ We have to put people in their place, whether theybe newspaper men, politicians or any one else, and we have to see to it that the better class Australian will have a say in the future “. That is what Hansard recorded me as having said, and that is what I did say, and, despite Mr. McNicoll’s assertions, I have no intention to alter Hansard. Finally, as the accuracy of the Hansard report is involved, I want to say that I am more concerned about the excellent quality of the verbatim reporting of members of that staff than I am about anything that may appear in such newspaper columns.
– We are informed that the contract price for butter to the United Kingdom is to be 236s. sterling a cwt., which is equivalent to 2s. 7d. per lb. Australian. Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture inform the House who is to get the benefit of the increase? Is it to be returned to the producers, or is it to go into the funds of the Government?
– It is a fact that the United Kingdom Government has agreed to pay an increased price for butter supplied under the United KingdomAustralia contract. The exact price to be paid will be 233s. 6d. sterling a cwt., f.o.b. The difference between that price and the old price will be paid into a stabilization fund to protect the dairy-farmers of Australia if, owing to a fall in prices, there should not be sufficient funds available from current sales to enable us to pay the price that has been guaranteed for five years. The funds concerned will not be available to any government. They will be held in reserve. The consent of the Australian Dairy Produce Board, which represents butter factories, producers and others, engaged in the industry, was obtained to the taking of this course for the protection of the dairyfarmers of Australia.
– Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture state whether the United Kingdom Government is so desperately in need of fats and foodstuffs, particularly butter, that in order to stimulate butter production in Australia and New Zealand it has been willing to offer a price for butter approximating 2s. 7d. per lb. Australian currency? Is it the intention of the Australian Government to pass on this price to dairy-farmers in order that production shall be stimulated? Is it a fact that notwithstanding that 2s. 7d. per lb. is being obtained from the United Kingdom Government for Australian butter, only 2s. 1½d. per lb., a return which is recognized by the Minister’s experts as being less than the cost of production, is being paid to the Australian dairy-farmers?
– It is a fact that the people of the United Kingdom are short of fats. The Australian Government has been well aware of the need of the British people from the commencement of the shortage. In order to overcome that shortage, for the first time in our history an Australian Government has guaranteed to dairy-farmers their cost of production for a period of five years. More recently, the Australian Government has succeeded in inducing the United Kingdom Government to offer a price higher than the cost of production. In order to protect the dairy-farmer against a possible fall of overseas prices at a later stage, the Australian Government, with the consent and approval of the Australian Dairy Produce Board, is placing the additional money into a fund which will enable it to keep the price of butter at a level never hitherto known in the history of this country.
– Will the Minister for Labour and National Service inform the House whether, under the conditions applicable to the granting of long-service leave to public servants, there is any provision for the grant of such leave on a pro rata basis to members retrenched before completing twenty years’ continuous service ? If so, what are the conditions?
– There are a number of provisions in regard to the granting of extended leave to public servants. I am not quite clear about the provision in the particular case that the honorable member has in mind, but I shall have a detailed statement prepared for her.
– Great loss and inconvenience are being caused to primary producers and others by the continued shortage of fencing wire, wire netting and galvanized iron. The lag in deliveries has been estimated at four years. Will the Prime Minister arrange for the admission of supplies of those materials, free of duty, from the United States of America, in which country they apparently are in plentiful supply, especially as the Australian manufacturers are agreeable to that course being followed while the present shortages exist, and as the shortages are not caused by any action of the primary producers and other users themselves, but by petty strikes and stoppages, brought about by those who wish to damage industrial production in this country?
– The matter of the importation of various materials that are required by primary producers has been raised on several occasions by the honorable member for Wakefield. Licences were issued for the importation of some of those materials from Belgium and other European countries. They were, however, for very limited quantities only, because the prices are very high.
– That is due to the duty that is imposed upon them.
– It is not entirely due to the duty. Most articles coming from European countries at the present time are very expensive. The honorable member asked whether supplies of materials needed by primary producers could be obtained from the United States of America. That could only be permitted in regard to very limited quantities of absolutely necessary material. It is useless to deceive ourselves. We cannot import goods of that kind from the dollar areas in any great quantity, because we have not the dollars to spend. We have to obtain our dollars from the British Treasury as we are not meeting our own dollar requirements. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture and the Minister for Works and Housing have given a great deal of thought to thisquestion and have a more detailed knowledge of it than I have.I shall consult with them. The suggestion made by the honorable member will be examined, but I cannot hold out much hope of increased supplies from the United States of America.
– Has the Prime Minister seen a Reuter’s report in the press of the 4th September last stating that -the Australian Communist party’s “ troublemaker No. 1 “ in the near north has -taken up residence in Bangkok, Siam ?
– The honorable gentleman must not introduce press comment into his question.
– I ask whether the right honorable gentleman has seen the report. Has he received any official report regarding the presence in Siam of a notorious Australian Communist? Does he know anything of the activities of certain Catalina flying boats in the vicinity of Malaya which ave reported to be smuggling opium, firearms and gold? Can he ascertain where the twelve Catalina flying boats formerly located at the Royal Australian Air Force station at Lake Boga, are operating? These aircraft were sold to East Asian Airways, a company with Chinese and Australian directors, one of whom was a Communist. Will he ask the Commonwealth Investigation Service to explore the whole position and see that no illicit help is given to Communists in Malaya?
– I have not seen the Reuter’s report referred to by the honorable member, nor have I received any official report on the matter to which he has referred, but I have had brought to my notice newspaper reports to the effect that a Catalina aircraft is being used. A statement in reply to that allegation was made by the Director of Civil Aviation, who said he knew of Catalinas being used, though certainly not with the express approval of the Australian Government, for the smuggling of opium. I have no information about the smuggling of gold, but I shall ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether he has any details which substantiate the report regarding gold smuggling.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Defence been drawn to a statement published in the press during the week-end that .the British Government has removed from a position of trust in its atomic research department a scientist who was known to have Communist tendencies? Has similar action ;been taken in respect of Communists employed by departments and activities under the control of the Minister in Australia? If not, is it because there are allegedly no Communists in those departments and activities, or is the Minister less keen to take such action than is the British Government? I also want to know whether it is a fact that the United States Government has been very reluctant to impart certain information to the Australian Government because of an alleged belief that it is sympathetic to communism.
– I shall answer the question for the Minister for Defence, who is suffering from a throat infection. I heard on the radio that an officer employed in the research section of the British Ministry of Supply had been removed from his position because he is an avowed Communist. The honorable member asked whether any such employees had been dismissed from employment on the Australian rocket range project, and, if not, whether this was because no Communists were employed there or because the Government is not prepared to take any action in the matter. The answer is that there is no indication that anybody holding such beliefs is engaged in Australia on work of a secret character affecting security. Charges in regard to this matter were made in this House by the honorable member for Warringah last week, and the Minister for Defence will reply to them at a suitable time and when he has recovered from his present disability. The question relating to communications between the Australian Government and other governments will also be dealt with in due course.
– In view of the fact that Commonwealth control of prices ceases on the 20th of this month can the Minister for Transport inform me whether it is the Government’s intention to continue the practice of issuing priorities for the purchase of new motor cars, particularly as the Australian-made motor car will soon be in full production?
– The Government does not intend to retain control of the allocation of new motor vehicles any longer than is absolutely necessary. A recent review has made it possible to relax control over motor vehicles up to 12 horsepower. The position in respect of other types of vehicles is continually under review, and as soon as practicable other categories of vehicles will be released from control.
– In view of the question asked by the honorable member for Griffith, I ask the Minister for Transport whether it is not a fact that there is only a trickle of panel vans and utility trucks now being imported into Australia? Does this not constitute a hardship to certain sections of the community, particularly when a great number of high-priced cars are being imported ? Cannot the Government arrange for the importation of panel vans and utility trucks in proportion to the number of high-priced cars being imported ?
– The Government is doing everything possible to obtain motor vehicles of the type for which there is the greatest demand. The importation of cars which might be described as luxury cars is a matter for the Department of Trade and Customs. The Department of Transport deals only with the allocation of vehicles after their arrival in Australia. It is true that there is an acute shortage of panel vans and light utility vehicles, particularly vehicles of up to 1 ton capacity; but the Government is doing everything possible to speed up the supply of such vehicles and as soon as that supply approximates the demand we shall release control of them.
– Can the Prime Minister give honorable members any information regarding his visit to the coalfields, reports of which appeared in the press at the week-end ? The press reports did not convey much information about what happened at the meetings which the Prime Minister attended or about what the right honorable gentleman said. Apparently his principal reference at the meetings was to the age-old grievances of miners. Would the Prime Minister inform the House of the nature of the appeal which he made to the miners for an increase in coal production? Was he accompanied by, or had he on the platform with him, the general president and the genera] secretary of the miners’ federation? Did he receive any assurance from the miners’ executive that it would assist him in his appeal to secure more coal; and does he consider that as a result of his visit an increase in the production of coal is likely?
– The newspaper reports are correct to the extent that I visited the towns of Cessnock and Kurri Kurri, in the northern coal-fields area. It is also true that I addressed meetings of miners there at which, doubtless, other people associated with the mining industry were present. An officer of the miners’ federation, Mr. W. Crook, was my chairman at both meetings and gave me a great deal of help. Mr. Crook is a man to whom I have paid tribute on previous occasions for help received from him by myself and the Minister for Shipping and Fuel in relation to coal production. At those gatherings I also met officers of the central executive of the miners’ federation, although I do not remember them being on the platform. I did not, of course, ask for a reply at the meetings to my appeal for increased coal production. The nature of my appeal was that the miners, in the interests of the people of Australia, and particularly of the workers who suffer most in any deprivation such as is caused by gas or electricity rationing, should do their very best on the job. I was not making any appeal on political grounds; I was appealing to the men to work for their country and their countrymen. I cannot judge what the miners’ response to that appeal will be. I could only appeal to them as one who has an intense love of his country and desires to see it progress and its people enjoy the highest possible standard of living. I shall not weary the House by recounting all I said on that occasion. I doubt whether the honorable member would like to read a verbatim report of my remarks; but should be feel so generous as to do so I shall supply to him a detailed report of what 1 said. 1 repeat that I do not know what the response to my appeal will be. All I can say is that I did my best in making the appeal, and hope that the miners will do their best in the interests of Australia.
Stait Membership op Organizations - Diplomatic Cadets.
– I wish to address to the Prime Minister a question founded upon a letter which I received to-day from Dr. Burton, Secretary of the Department of External Affairs, in which he refers to a speech, which I made in this House on Thursday last, when I alluded to certain officers of his department and quoted information which had been supplied to me by the Prime Minister in reply to a question. To make my question clear it is necessary for me to reiterate the information given to me that whilst a substantial number of the officers of the Department of External Affairs are members of the Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association, at the same time a substantial number of them are members of the Federated Clerks Union, which, I pointed out, is completely controlled and dominated by Communists. From that information I drew an inference which Dr. Burton seeks to correct.
– Does the honorable member wish to make a personal explanation?
– No. At this point, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I wish to do justice to some public servants if you will tolerate me for a moment. In my speech I said that I could only conclude that public servants who joined the Federated Clerks Union in preference to the Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association, which appears to be the normal association for them to join, did so because the former has a different political slant. Dr. Burton pointed out in this letter that the Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association accepts for membership only those persons who are permanent, officers-
– Which is a great mistake.
– And that temporary officials, among whom are numbered diplomatic cadets who are to become our future diplomats, have no alternative but to join the only other union available to them, the Federated Clerks Union.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable member entitled to make this long explanation in asking :i question?
– The statement which the honorable member for Indi is making is out of order. If he wishes to continue with it he should ask for leave to .make a personal explanation.
– I am prepared to ask for leave to make a statement if I do not’ thereby forgo my right to ask my question if leave to make a statement be refused.
– The honorable member has asked for leave te make a personal explanation. Is leave granted?
– by leave. - I have outlined the substantive facts at issue. I regret that I did not know that the Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association did not accept temporary officers as members, and that the diplomatic cadets were, in consequence, compelled to join the Federated Clerks Union. However, I do not admit the right of any public servant to write to a member of Parliament rebuking him for u speech made in this House. I would have expected that every honorable member of this House would join with me in taking exception to such behaviour. I do not object to being supplied with facts, but I take a firm stand against the action of a Commonwealth public servant in writing to a member of Parliament rebuking him for a meech made in this Parliament, and I would expect every member of this legislature to join me in doing so.
– Read what he said.
– I desire to point out-
Mir. Ward. - Read what is in the letter.
– The honorable member for Indi is entitled to be heard without interruption. The Minister must remain silent.
– It is an intolerable state of affairs that members of the diplomatic corps, our future diplomats, should be compelled to join a union which is so ruthless in its discipline as is the Federated Clerks Union, as was demonstrated recently by what took place in Melbourne when a branch of the union was dissolved.
– The honorable member has made his explanation, and I take it that he does not propose to carry the matter any farther.
Mr. McEwen, having addressed a. question to the Prime Minister,
– I disallow the question. The honorable member for Indi, who knows the forms of the House as well as does any other honorable member, is well aware that he must not offer argument or opinion when putting a question, and that the matter to which the question refers may not be debated.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister a very important question touching upon the proposed cut in the petrol ration. Many primary producers, who live at a distance from a market town and from schools, find the present ration inadequate. In making a further cut, is it proposed to take into account the distance of the petrol user from a market town, or is the cut to bc made irrespective of this factor?
– Nobody regrets more than I do the necessity to reduce the petrol ration in this country. Originally, Australia had an understanding with the Government of the United Kingdom that an endeavour would be made to keep petrol consumption in this country to 95,000 tons monthly. Subsequently, a reduction of this figure to 85,000 tons became necessary. However, due to a number of circumstances, some of which are beyond our control, consumption has exceeded that figure. One factor has been the increase of the number of registered motor cars. Also, the number of heavy commercial vehicles now on the road is almost double the prewar figure. The result has been that petrol consumption has increased to more than 100,000 tons monthly, and Australia is bound to take some steps to reduce this figure, first, because of the limited dollar credits available from the Empire pool, and, secondly, because petrol supplies from certain areas have been reduced. For instance, the Haifa pipe-line has been closed for some time, and the refineries in that city have closed. This has meant an annua.! loss of between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 tons of petrol a year from that source alone. Australia was not receiving supplies from that area, but the closing of the pipe-line means that countries formerly depending upon Haifa now have to draw their petrol from elsewhere. Whilst I have stated that the over-all consumption of petrol in this country must be reduced by certain percentages, special circumstances will be considered by the Liquid Fuel Control Board. I shall ask the Minister for Shipping and Fuel to supply the honorable member with a statement . covering the aspect of the matter to which the honorable member has referred.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel inform me what happens to petro] consumer licences held by owners of motor cars and trucks who sell their vehicles to dealers? Are the licences retained by the former owners until the vehicles have been disposed of finally, or do the dealers receive them? Is there any danger of a small black market in petrol existing in this connexion? I have had inquiries from certain of my constituents on this matter, and I have found difficulty in having the practice explained satisfactorily. It has been alleged that motor car traders, some of whom may have two or three hundred cars on their premises, draw petrol on numerous licences bearing different names. Is there any significance in this?
– I assure the honorable member that the position to which he has referred is covered. However, I shall arrange with the Minister for Shipping and Fuel for the Liquid Fuel Control Board to supply the honorable member with the details of the procedure.
– Has the Minister for Repatriation yet received the report of the No. 1 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal? Is the report in any respect adverse to the administration of the Minister, and, in any event, will the honorable gentleman ensure that it will be tabled before the budget debate? If the report has not yet been received, will the Minister expedite its presentation?
-I have received the report of the No. 1 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal, which ceased to function as from the 30th June last, but I do not propose to canvass its contents now, even in reply to a question by the honorable member. In accordance with the usual procedure, it will be tabled in due course when the reports of both tribunals have been received.
– On several previous occasions I have addressed questions to the Minister for the Army regarding Australian prisoners of war of the Japanese who received promotion just prior to or during their period of captivity, pointing out that the Government had never recognized such promotions and has refused to pay the higher rates of pay appropriate thereto. The Minister promised to make investigations with a view to effecting the necessary adjustments. Will the honorable gentleman now indicate the latest position in relation to these claims which have remained in abeyance for almost two years?
– The subject is now before the Defence Committee.
– The honorable gentleman said that on the last occasion on which I raised the subject.
– I then said that the matter was before Cabinet. The Defence Committee will meet again on the 21st September. I trust that at the conclusion of that meeting I shall be able to give the honorable member the information which he desires.
Debate resumed from the 3rd September (vide page 105), on motion by Mr. Thompson -
That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to: -
May it please Your Excellency :
We, the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
Upon which Mr. Lang had moved, by way of amendment -
That the following words be added to the Address: - “and to inform Your Excellency that because the Communist party . . . “ (vide page 52).
– When speaking during the Address-in-Reply debate last Friday, I said that I did not propose to discuss at length matters affecting the Repatriation Commission. However, one such matter is of very great interest to honorable members and therefore I propose to-day to speak very briefly about it. I refer to tools of trade for ex-service men and women. Honorable members will recall that, at the 30th June last, the issuing of tools of trade by the Repatriation Commission had almost ceased.
One important factor in any scheme for re-establishing members of the forces in civilian life is the provision of tools of trade; therefore, the Repatriation Commission was authorized to make available tools of trade, plant and equipment, professional instruments or other articles of personal equipment, exclusive of clothing in any form, where it was necessary for the purpose of enabling a member to engage in his or her calling orin a remunerative occupation. Obviously the women members had the same eligibility asthe males. Moreover, this form of assistance was available to war widows. The commission was empowered to make gifts up to £10 in value and, in addition, to make available amounts, up to £40 as non-interest bearing loans where further articles were required. In addition to providing articles for those members who were undertaking employment, the commission placed itself at the disposal of the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Committee to provide books, instruments : und materials required by the trainees during their trade or professional training.
When the war was at its height, the shortage of tools of all kinds was most acute and every means was exploited to provide them. Orders placed- in the United Kingdom and the United States of America were unproductive. The Navy, The Army and the Air Force needed all the tools in their hands, and the munitions authorities could not help. Eventually the position eased through the cessation of hostilities. The armed forces were helpful, and supplies of a wide variety of articles became available from the Commonwealth Disposals Commission. Some goods were obtained from overseas, but in view of the need for tools, especially in the building industry in the United Kingdom, releases for export were severely rationed, and, in some instances, prohibited. At the same time as the commission was seeking tools to pro/vide for men who were returning to employment - and I mention here that allowances amounting to £1,022,828 were paid to 66,096 of them up to the 30th June last - the Directorate of Industrial Training was trying to obtain similar articles to equip the technical schools so that they could meet the demands of the vocational trainees. Active co-operation between the training directorate and the Repatriation Commission was evident at every stage. Among the men who needed tools were the apprentices who revived the apprenticeships which they had relinquished on enlistment, and.it is interesting to note that 12,364 of them had done so up to the 30th June, 1948, and that the commission had supplemented their wages to the amount of £2,778,233.
The mention of a few items fabricated in the Commonwealth allows a tribute to be paid to Australian workmen and the manufacturers who employed them. Over £10,000 worth of wood chisels of a high standard were supplied from Hobart, wood planes were produced in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, carpenters’ braces and hand drills were made in New South Wales, and so on.
One highly skilled man, working for himself, faced a precision job when he made watch-makers’ drills. These and other tools were of a high quality and good finish and completely suitable for the use of journeymen. It was necessary to recut some saws, which became available from the Commonwealth Disposals Commission, to sizes which were in demand, and in some instances to sponsor the importation of raw materials from overseas so that articles could be made. The importation of silver steel from Sweden so that plasterers’ floats could be produced is an example of this. I mention these facts simply to show that all manner of means had to be exploited to obtain stocks. The Repatriation Commission took care not to denude the market of tools, but the placement of men in employment could have been delayed if tools had not been available, and it would have been a seriour matter to the reconstruction training scheme if the trainees could not have been released from schools to subsidized employment because of the lack of them. There would have been a banking up in classes which would have precluded the admission of new trainees.
By arrangement with the training authorities, the commission was able to anticipate the output of the technical schools and, when the trainees became 40 per cent, proficient, the commission made available to them the tools required for their further on-the-job training in their trades. Watches for nurses and tramwaymen, professional instruments for doctors, and special fitments for disabled personnel, were among the articles supplied. In fact,- tools, instruments and equipment have been made available in almost every class of trade, calling or profession. That this undertaking has been of considerable magnitude is shown by the following figures as at the 30th June, 1948 : -
The amount to-day exceeds £2,000,000.
There are two other aspects of this task which are worthy of mention. The first is the matter of the persons concerned getting value in the tools available as a gift. By establishing its tool stores and buying in bulk from the Commonwealth Disposals Commission and the manufacturers, the Repatriation Commission, in many instances, was enabled to give to them a much greater value in tools, instruments and equipment than would otherwise have been possible. The second is the satisfaction which a man has in choosing his tools. In certain spheres, the commission arranged for the member to select the articles which he desired and present a pro forma invoice from the firm concerned. An official order was then issued for delivery to be made to him. This gave the member the satisfaction of having the exact tool or instrument which he desired for his avocation. Honorable members will realize, therefore, that the Repatriation Commission has done an excellent job in providing equipment for ex-service men and women. Of those who enlisted, approximately one in four have received assistance, and I consider that the scale of assistance provided speaks volumes for the administration of the department and for the earnestness and ambition of the applicants. Although I shall have something to say at at later stage on other matters which concern the administration of the Repatriation Commission, I do not propose to go into the matter any further at present. I consider that the GovernorGeneral’s Speech was an excellent one. Although it was comparatively brief, it provided a most interesting resume of the work done by the Government during the preceding twelve months and indicated the nature of the legislative business which is to be transacted during the present session.
.- I desire to make some observations regarding the Governor-General’s Speech. I say at once that I endorse most heartily the hope that it expressed that all Australians will give a warm and cordial welcome to the King and Queen and the Princess Margaret when they visit Australia. Every one is looking forward to the visit, and I need hardly recall the happy recollections which we have of Their Majesties’ previous tour of Australia as the Duke and Duchess of York. However, the real importance of the Governor-General’s Speech lies not so much in what it contains but in what it omits. It has always been customary for governments so toprepare His Excellency’s Speech as to give to the Parliament and the country generally a detailed statement of the legislation which it proposes to introduce. However, the present Speech containsvery little indication of the Government’sintentions, but is occupied unduly with fulsome eulogies of particular Ministers of the Commonwealth, whose names arementioned, and certain Commonwealth departments in regard to functions which they are alleged to have discharged. Such statements are mere propaganda, and the Government has acted unworthily in. using the Governor-General for such propagandist purposes.
The Speech contains only a brief reference to a matter which concerns the entire community, namely, the course and the conduct of foreign affairs. . The proposals for defence outlined inthe Speech are unexcusably vague, and no reference whatever is made in it to the necessity for taking some action to stem the rising tide of communism. Unfortunately, it is plain to every one that the world is far from returning to peace, and the shadows of war are already lengthening on the horizon. Those who worked and fought for peace have every reason to despair. Nevertheless, only passing reference is made to the outstanding problems presented by the state of international affairs. Despite the menace of communism to Australia, and to the world generally, no indication is given by the Government of any concrete proposals to arrest its forward march; indeed, not one word is said about communism in the entire course of His Excellency’s Speech. It is quite clear that the Government is unwilling to grapple with the monster which has captured some of our major industrial unions and i3 endeavouring to destroy us. For that reason I was pleased to hear the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) move an amendment to the AddressinReply, and I support that amendment. The honorable member moved -
That thefollowing words be added to the address: - “ and to inform Your Excellency that because the Communist party, as an agency of a foreign power, admits it owes no allegiance to the Commonwealth of Australia, and because its avowed objective is the overthrow of constitutional government in Australia, with force if necessary, this House is of the opinion that Your advisors should be asked to take the following action to deal with the grave emergency rapidly developing within the nation, to threaten its security: -
The Communist party and its auxiliaries should be declared illegal organizations and necessary legislation should be submitted to this Parliament to deal with them as treasonable agencies . . . “.
He proceeded then to indicate how that end could be achieved, and mentioned certain legislation which had been enacted in New SouthWales and elsewhere to deal with this problem. I agree that the method which he outlined is the proper one to be adopted for the solution of this problem, which is disturbing not only Australia but also the whole world. We should not sit by idly and allow our industries to be dislocated by men who are alien to the Australian way of life.
As I mentioned earlier, the GovernorGeneral’s Speech included only the briefest reference to defence. I am glad that the Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers) is present, because I look to him to amplify the very meagre statement of the Government’s defence policy. We have been waiting a long time for a proper outline of the Government’s intentions. The statement in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech which refers to defence is as follows: -
My Government has developed this programme having regard to the most effective manner of self-defence; to co-operation in Empire and regional defence; and to the fulfilment of obligations under the Charter of the United Nations.
That is a policy about which we are all entitled to more information. We have waited a long time for a clear, forthright statement from the Minister for Defence (Mr. Dedman) of the Government’s proposals. Of course, we heard a great deal of the Government’s proposal to expend £250,000,000 on the guided missiles range project and on the armed services. I understand that the amount is to be divided equally between them. I consider that such a proposal indicates clearly that proper consideration has not been given to our defence requirements, and I trust that the Minister for the Army will supply the details for which the nation has been waiting so long. The Minister is the second source, as it were, from which we might obtain information, because we certainly cannot get any from the Minister for Defence. I regard the GovernorGeneral’s Speech as nothing more than a feeble propagandist effort designed to help the Government, and it is certainly not going to assist the House in its deliberations.
We know that the largest portion of our armed forces is comprised in the Australian component of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan, and I want to take this opportunity of saying that I recently visited that country as a member of the parliamentary delegation. I spent fiveweeks in Japan, including a period of three weeks with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, and I returned to Canberra only a few days ago. I went to Japan with fear and misgivings as to the condition, morale and fighting efficiency of our forces. Sections of the press had stated that our troops were mentally and morally neglected. However, during our visit to Japan, every opportunity was given to us to make investigations at first-hand amongst the troops, and as the result of those investigations I say without qualification that the allegation that our troops are mentally and morally neglected is totally and wickedly untrue. I say without any reservation whatever that they are a very fine force and that their military discipline is high. They are doing an excellent job for Australia, and I certainly desire to correct any wrong impressions which may linger from the irresponsible, anonymous and inaccurate allegations made in Australia early this year. If honorable members could see our troops in Japan and meet them on and off the parade ground and dine with them in their messes, as we did on several occasions, they would be proud of their soldierly bearing, their high sense of duty and their conduct and dignity.
They are outstanding amongst the occupation forces in Japan, and when General MacArthur welcomed us on our arrival, he spoke of our troops in terms of great appreciation. When taking leave of the delegation, he spoke to us for more than two hours in a most helpful and interesting manner, and said, inter alia -
The Australian soldier is excellent both in peace and in war. They have a reputation of being good soldiers in battle but not so good as troops in an army of occupation. Now, you have seen these men for yourselves. You will agree with me that they are an excellent body of men both in peace and in war. I tell you that they are as fine a body of men as I ever wish to command.
That statement, and the assurances given by members of the delegation, should satisfy the public that Australian troops in Japan are not mentally and morally neglected. All the evidence which I have adduced completely refutes the allegations. Our troops are seething with righteous indignation at the unfair and unjust ‘attacks made on them, and claim that they have been maligned. Venereal disease is an unpleasant subject to discuss, but I am compelled to mention it. The widespread stories that our troops are seriously affected are grossly exaggerated. A committee of army chaplains-general, appointed by the Minister for the Army, has examined the position on the spot, and, in its report, has nailed the lie. Our inquiries while we were in Japan showed that the present rate of incidence of 1 per cent. a. month was lower than that of any other army of occupation. The whole of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, from the Commander-in-Chief, Lieutenant-General Robertson, down to the private soldiers, complain that they have been let down. All of them have had to suffer considerable anxiety and distress because of the careless circulation of baseless reports. While I was in Japan, three prominent senior padres discussed with me. the allegations regarding venereal disease, and informed me that after the statements had appeared in the press, twenty-two soldiers came to them with letters from their fiancees breaking off their engagements. The men asked for the co-operation of the padres to assist them in making a clear statement of the facts and refuting these unfortunate and callous observations.
– Does the honorable member know that it was reported in a Sydney newspaper that the delegation had had its leg pulled, and that it was not a true statement?
– In my opinion, those statements were maliciously untrue. The padres, to whom members of the delegation spoke, were men of outstanding honesty and integrity. They were cut to the quick by the work that they had to do to straighten out these problems. Some young Australian troops received letters from their mothers, stating, “ Do not come home, we do not want to see you again after what we have read in the newspapers “. It is monstrous that young Australians should have to suffer in this way, and I urge that, in future, such cruel and unjust allegations be thoroughly investigated before they are widely circulated to the public through the press. In view of what has already occurred, an obligation devolves on editors and their staffs to ensure that these reports shall not be repeated until they have been thoroughly investigated.
– Hear, hear!
– Australian members of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, whether they be attached to the Navy, the Army or the Royal Australian Air Force, are doing a magnificent job. They are upholding the best traditions of our forces. All ranks are giving of their best, and every man is trying to prove that he is a worthy son of Australia. Much of the credit for this spirit must go to the Australian Commander-in-Chief of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, Lieutenant-General Robertson, whose standards, like his reputation, are of the highest. I have never seen a finer spirit of co-operation and goodwill existing among all ranks as that which exists to-day in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force.
Our visit to Japan enabled us to gauge how thoroughly all the occupation forces under General MacArthur are carrying out the terms of surrender laid down in the Potsdam Agreement. The Far Eastern Commission, sitting in Washington, consists of representatives of the United .States of America, Great Britain,
Russia, China, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, the Netherlands and the Philippines. Its function is to formulate policy for carrying out the surrender terms, and its decisions are implemented by the Supreme Commander in Japan, General MacArthur. The objective of the Far Eastern Commission is to ensure that Japan shall never again be capable of waging an aggressive war. Japan has already been deprived of its navy, army and air force, and all its munitions establishments. “War equipment has been collected, not without great difficulty, from hide-outs throughout the Japanese islands. The thoroughness of the search may be gauged from the fact that the occupation forces have combed the whole of the country, and have dug into every cave - there are myriads of them - in their quest for war materials. When they have found weapons or equipment, they have destroyed them. The Japanese are not permitted, without the approval of S.C.A.P., to construct ships other than those of a small tonnage. Japan has been completely demilitarized, and, in this respect, the Supreme Commander and members of the occupation forces under him have done an excellent job. The demilitarization of the country is almost complete and, in addition, the large-scale task of demobilization has been undertaken. In this work, the British Commonwealth Occupation Force has played a large and distinguished part. Through its hands have passed hundreds of thousands of Japanese, who have returned from the South-West Pacific area and South-East Asia. Japan is most difficult to administer, and in spite of what I have said about the successful progress of demilitarization, its future will cause every lover of peace anxiety for a long time. Approximately 220,000 Japanese, who took a leading part in World War II., or in governmental or militaristic organizations associated with Japan’s war effort, have been purged. They are debarred for all time from taking part in public life, or an active part in commerce and industry. For all practical purposes, they have become nonentities. One of the major measures which have been taken to democratize the economy of Japan was the breaking up of large financial and industrial mono polies known as the Zaibatsu. Before the outbreak of World War II., big organizations like Mitsui and Mitsubishi dominated the industrial and commercial life of Japan. Now, the controllers of those bodies have been deposed, and are not permitted to take an active part in commerce or industry. That purge has been undertaken at the direction of the Supreme Commander, and the Japanese Diet was required to pass legislation abolishing the excessive concentrations of economic power. The Samurai - the professional soldiers - have been purged, and are not permitted again to take an active part in public life, or in commerce and industry. Because the State religion - Shinto - had played an important part in unifying the nation for war, it has been removed, from State control, and deprived of State support. Under their new constitution, the Japanese are granted religious freedom, and the Emperor, in his New Year Imperial Rescript in 1946, repudiated his divinity, and said that it was mythical. I quote from the imperial rescript dated 1st January, 1946. He said, among other things -
We stand by the people and we wish always to share with them in their moment of joys and sorrows. The ties between us and our people have always stood upon mutual trust and affection. They do not depend upon mere legends and myths. They are not predicated on the false conception that the Emperor is divine and that the Japanese people are superior to other races and fated to rule the world.
The four oppressive and driving influences which led the Japanese into aggressive warfare - the Samurai militaristic clique, the financial and industrial monopolies known as the Zaibatsu, the Emperor in his divinity, and the unifying State Shinto religion - have all been stripped of their power, and the Japanese nation is to-day lacking in inspiration.
The task of reconstruction in Japan is colossal. Major cities and industries were thoroughly bombed, and those that were not bombed out were burned out. Eighty per cent, of the City of Tokyo was destroyed, and similar destruction took place in many other cities in Japan. Accordingly, the work of reconstruction and democratization of the people of Japan is extraordinarily difficult. In saying that, I want to stress that the work of the Supreme Commander, General MacArthur, and those cooperating with him, is beyond praise. Given adequate time, good progress will undoubtedly be made towards making Japan democratic, but the conversion will take a long time if permanent results are to be achieved. I remind honorable members and the people of Australia that during the darkest days of the war against Japan, many people in this country said that after Japan had been crushed and forced to surrender, that country would have to be occupied for generations until the Japanese people had been taught the error of their ways and converted into a peace-loving nation. Now that the Japanese have surrendered and our own and allied occupation forces are in Japan we should not weaken on our earlier resolutions to make the effect of the occupation of Japan effective and lasting. I hope that the Australian Government will ensure that it shall be possible for Australians to form part of the occupation forces in Japan for some considerable time to come.
Originally, the British Commonwealth Occupation Force comprised Australians, British, New Zealanders and Indians, numbering in all over 40,000. The British troops have since been withdrawn, except for a very efficient section of the Royal Air Force. The Indian forces have returned to their country, and the New Zealand forces are beginning to return to that dominion. The Australian portion of the occupation force has been considerably reduced. Fortunately for the world, in March next year the United States of America intends to augment the strength of its occupation forces, from its enlistments, but in my opinion if Japan is to become democratized, we must maintain an occupation force there for some considerable time. In the Pacific we claim the right to speak on all matters of this nature and to be represented at all conferences. If we are going to attend those conferences and to play an effective part in the future of the Pacific, we must accept our obligations, and face up to them. Japan is in a critical position to-day and the task of democratizing that nation is very difficult. .To-day the people of Japan are devoid of any natural inspiration at all. The four main forces which drove Japan into the war, and were the backbone of Japan’s driving force during the last 2,000 years, have been destroyed and wiped out under the Potsdam Agreement. The Japanese people, stripped of that power, must now be given time, and directions how to reconstruct their way of life along democratic lines. They must be assured of protection from the 220.000 members of the four groups mentioned. In my opinion, if the occupation forcesleave Japan prematurely those people will rise again and the progress that has been made toward democratizing that country will be lost. The American forces are doing their very best to teach the Japanese democratic principles. They have established a form of military government which is neither military nor government they send out officers and non-commissioned officers among the people to help «them and to demonstrate to them what democracy stands for; they even help local government bodies. Our men are also doing that job, together with security work, in a splendid way, endeavouring to educate the people throughout Japan in the democratic way of life. Bearing in mind the background of Japan, that task is extraordinarily difficult, and the premature removal of the occupation forces would result in disaster and wastage not only of money but also of the good work already accomplished.
The Japanese are an Oriental people who to-day are without a friend in the world because of the cruelties and atrocities that they perpetrated during the war. Japan has no natural resources except man-power, and its economy has been destroyed. The population which is at present 80,000,000 is increasing at the rate of 1,000,000 a year. Japan has not sufficient food to-day, and in fact has not had adequate supplies for a long time. The United States of America continues to provide Japan with food to the value of 400.000,000 dollars a yearabout 1,000,000 dollars a day. The Supreme Commander, General MaoArthur, said that according to calculations by his experts, if this supply of food were not maintained to Japan, 25,000,000 people would die in a short time. The appalling conditions in that country have to bc seen to be believed. Only 15 per cent, of Japan is arable and 47 per cent, of the people, including women and children, work from sunrise to sunset to try to produce sufficient rice and other food to keep the Japanese people alive. Included in that 15 per cent, of arable land are mountain slopes on which there are terraces of small plots, intensely cultivated.
Before the war Japan imported substantial quantities of food and raw materials from Manchuria, Formosa and Korea, but Japan was dispossessed of those countries, under the Potsdam Agreement, and now has no sources of its own from which to draw extra food and supplies of raw material. Accordingly, it is imperative that Japan shall be given time to recuperate.
The task of making Japan economically secure is extraordinarily difficult. The Oriental mind of the Japanese makes the task almost impossible. By way of illustration, I shall recount what happened when three divisions of the Japanese army were preparing to board transports to go to the Philippines to fight the American forces. They were not told until the day before that General MacArthur was about to land in Japan, to accept the Japanese surrender, and they were then required to form a guard of honour for him between Yokohama and Tokyo. They did the job without question. Where else in the world could that happen? When LieutenantGeneral Eichelberger, Commander of the Eighth Army, landed at Yokahama to prepare for General MacArthur to proceed approximately twenty miles from Yokahama to Tokyo to accept the Japanese surrender, the Japanese forces lined the roads. They turned their backs on the general as he drove through, to watch their own people in the houses and thus protect him. Where else in the world could that happen ? What a mentality has to be dealt with ! The whole of the Japanese battalions surrendered their arms and equipment readily, and American non-commissioned officers even went around and collected them. The order was given to pile arms and equipment in front of the battalion, and that was done. A corporal ordered the arms and equipment to be placed on trucks to be driven away, and that was done, too. Where else but in Japan would such a thing be possible? If a Japanese is knocked down in the street by a passing vehicle, particularly if it be a vehicle belonging to the army .of occupation, he will, if he can, stagger to his feet, smile, bow repeatedly, and express regret for having got in the way. Could that happen anywhere in . the world but in Japan ? How can we expect such people to understand and accept democracy overnight? On one occasion, the car of a cadet of a foreign mission, with a J apanese chaffeur in charge, was parked outside the office of the Supreme Commander at 9.30 at night. Two soldiers got into the car and required the chaffeur to drive away. He protested, but was forced to drive into the suburbs, where he was murdered. Members of the family of the murdered man, people of considerable education, called on the leader of the mission and apologized to him because he had failed to take proper care of the car which had been entrusted to him. Where else could that happen but in Japan? Women are beasts of burden in that country. Old .women, with peculiarly constructed packs on their backs, are required to carry heavy railway sleepers. Young Japanese men, with cigarettes in their mouths, load two sleepers on to the back of an old woman who carries them up a ramp to a waiting railway truck. There other young men take the sleepers and stack them in the truck. What are we to do with people who are prepared to allow such things to happen? Men and women go out to work all day on the farms. They take a cart with them, and at night the cart is loaded with firewood or farm produce. Then the woman picks up the shafts of the cart and drags it home, with her husband sitting on top of the load. The people of Japan are, in effect, like anxious children. Members of the Diet continually asked us to tell them about the working of democracy in our own country. They have no confidence that democracy will become effective in Japan, and they are fearful of the future, if we withdraw the occupation forces too soon, there is danger of an invasion of communism from Korea. Before and during the war, Korea was occupied by Japan. Under the terms of surrender, the Russians occupied northern Korea down to the 3Sth parallel, and the Americans occupied the southern part of the country. The Japanese have been repatriated from the mainland of Asia, except from that part of Korea occupied by the Russians, who are allowing them to return to Japan at the rate of 1,000 a week, and then only after they have been thoroughly indoctrinated with communism. I believe that we should continue the occupation of Japan, and that the head-quarters of our forces should be removed from Kure, which is most unsuitable.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I desire to pay a tribute to His Excellency, the GovernorGeneral, for the stately manner in which he opened the Parliament last week. All Australians who were present must have been proud to hear the excellent address which he delivered, and to note the manner of its delivery. The Governor-General is an Australian, born of humble Australian parents. He was not born with a golden spoon in his mouth, but received the heritage of a clear mind and a strong body. With those advantages, he forced his way through life, a credit to his parents, a credit to the schools, colleges and universitythrough which he passed, and a credit to Australia. He graduated from the university in law. He then represented an electorate in the Parliament of New South Wales, and later the people of that State paid him a very high tribute by making him Premier. Later, Australia paid him the greatest compliment possible by elevating him to the position of Governor-General. I, as an Australian, born of Australian parents, felt proud last Wednesday afternoon to take my seat in the Senate chamber of the Parliament of the Commonwealth when an Australian, His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, declared the present session of the Parliament open.
The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) began his speech by expressing disappointment that the GovernorGeneral did not refer to communism. I remind him that the Governor-
General did not refer to the Liberal party either, or to the Australian Country party. There are many political parties and many organizations in Australia, but the Governor-General- did not refer to them, any more than he referred to communism. Were it not for the catch-cry of communism, opposition members would have nothing about which to criticize the Government. Ever since .1 was elected to the Parliament, I have been present on practically every day that the House has sat, and for the last eighteen months members of the Opposition have found nothing about which to attack the Government other than communism. That in itself, is a great tribute to -the Government, when we recall the large volume of legislation for which it has been responsible. The people of Australia know that this Government is in no way associated with communism. The Government owes allegiance only to the Australian Labour party. I have contested two elections, and on both occasions I was opposed by the Liberal party and the Communist party. On every platform where I addressed an Australian audience I condemned the Communist party just as emphatically as I condemned the Liberal party. The Communists and Liberals opposed me in 1943, and at the election of 1946 my opponents were once more a Liberal and a Communist.. Again, the Communist party received the same condemnation and criticism from me as the Liberal party did. If the Opposition was serious in its opposition to theCommunist party, and wished to wipe that party out of existence in Australia, honorable members of the Opposition or their friends could do so to-morrow. The Communist party has an executive in every city in Australia. Those executives are not housed in the trades halls of the various cities or in the offices of industrial organizations. This Government and those associated with it may speak with union officials in the various trades hallsin the Commonwealth because their officesare there. Where are the offices of theCommunist party in New South Wales?’ They are in a four-story building which the Communist party owns in Georgestreet, Sydney, a building which was never owned by a representative of the Labour party, but was formerly owned by those who’ represent the Liberal party. Honorable members opposite cannot deny that. The Australian Communist party also has the old Nock and Kirby building in George-street, Sydney, which was never owned by any member of the Labour party. In South Australia the Communist party is housed in a building which is owned by the family of a man who takes his place on the Liberal party benches of the Legislative Council of that State. Honorable members will find throughout the length and breadth of this country that Australian Communist party executives are housed in properties that are owned, or were owned, by individuals who support i he Liberal party. Communist party executives cannot exist in Australia unless iiic friends of the Opposition permit them to be housed in such palatial premies as I !,ave mentioned. Let the next speaker say why those premises were sold to Communist executives throughout Australia.
– The Government sold aeroplanes to a Mr. Campbell, who is a Communist.
– I noticed that before I commenced to speak to-day on the Address-in-Reply the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison) and the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) were not in the House, nor were many other members of
I he Opposition, but they realize that the things that I am saying are true and they will try to do their best to refute them, although they will find it. impossible to do so. I am addressing these remarks, not ony to the House, but also to any of the Australian people who have been hoodwinked by the anti-Communist catchcries of the Opposition. There are not many such people, as was shown in Tasmania, recently, when the leader of the Liberal party outside this Parliament went to Tasmania and made a public pronouncement to the effect that Tasmania was the testing ground for the next federal election, and that the people of Tasmania would show Australia that they were sick of the Labour Government. The leaders of the Liberal party must have received a great shock when they found that their catch-cry of communism had not crossed the water to Tasmania. I have every faith in the Australian people, but I do not desire them to be caught up by anti-Communist catch-cries. The Australian Labour party has no association with the Australian Communist party. In every election in which I have been a candidate I have been opposed by a Communist party candidate. It is well known that the Communists are associated with, and housed by, the Opposition parties, who endeavour to decry the Australian Labour party.
– What nonsense!
– The honorable member may say it is nonsense, but it goes to the credit of this Government that for the last two years the Opposition has confined its attack on the Government to the issue of communism. Because it could not attack the Government on its legislation the Opposition was forced to seek catch-cries and is using the catch-cry of communism. Honorable members may take it from me that the Australian people will not be influenced by that catch-cry.
I shall now refer to the speech in this Parliament .last week by the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) in which he criticized me. The honorable member was quite unfair in that criticism, which he made as a result of ids visit to Japan as a member of the Australian parliamentary delegation which recently visited .that country. I remind honorable members that I was responsible for the despatch of that delegation. It was sent as a result of my complete fairness and my desire to vindicate Australian soldiers who were serving in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. I was not satisfied to ask the country to accept my word alone that everything was O.K. in Japan. For a long time, both in this House .and through the medium of the press, I stood alone in defending the Australian troops in Japan. I have copies here of statements which I have made in the House and also through the press. I do not think the honorable member for Flinders meant to do me any injustice when he said that I had never defended the Australian troops in Japan. Honorable members may remember that soon after I was appointed Minister for the Army in 1946, when there was extensive criticism of the
British Commonwealth Occupation Force I decided to go to J apan at the first opportunity and examine the position myself. T spent Christmas 1946 in Japan and at that time the conditions of the troop3 there were not so good as they are now. Certain action which I took then improved those conditions. It was through those actions that conditions affecting soldiers in Japan who were separated from their wives and families were improved, lt was as a result of my advocacy, on my return from Japan, that it was possible for 400 wives with 800 children to join their husbands who were serving in Japan. Thereafter I continued to pay great tribute to members of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, and I have articles here which I could read to substantiate that statement. However, criticism continued even after I returned to Australia. Honorable members may remember that the president of the Legion of ex-Servicemen made very serious charges against the members of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. I again defended the troops, because, prior to the criticism and condemnation of them, I had spoken to Chaplains-General who had been to Japan and had returned to Australia. “When that criticism continued, I believed that I should take action in fairness to the parents and fiancees of members of our occupation forces in Japan. Originally, we were told that because of those reports sixteen fiancees had broken off their engagements, but the number is now up to 22.
– Probably, it is greater than that.
– I am in close communication with not only both General MacArthur and LieutenantGeneral Robertson, but also members of the occupation forces. As members of the delegation which recently visited Japan are probably aware, any member of those forces is authorized to communicate with me direct should he wish to make a complaint. In respect of each complaint made to me I have not failed to act in the interests of the occupation forces and to defend them against allegations made through the Legion of exServicemen. Therefore, I say that the members of those. forces have hot been let down by the Government. The reports made by the committee consisting of the three chaplains-general, Major-General Lloyd and Mr. Massey Stanley, following their investigation of conditions in Japan, have been published in the Australian press. I realized that in justice to those forces it would not be sufficient for me merely to say that all was well with our troops in Japan, particularly when at. that time, as I now recall, nearly every member of the Parliament was inclined to believe the allegations published in the press. At the same time, I. personally, was not able to defend those forces adequately, because I had not visited Japan since Christmas, 1946. Therefore, following my representations, the committee to which I have referred was sent to Japan to investigate conditions among our troops there.- In passing, I refer particularly to the work which Mr. Massey Stanley performed in those investigations. I should be a coward if I failed to express my appreciation of the manner in which both he and Major-General Lloyd carried out their duties in making their inquiries in Japan. I have complete faith in those gentlemen, and I urge every . honorable member to re-read their report. Regardless of what others might think, about Mr. Massey Stanley, 1 was convinced that, as the result of his visits to Japan during the early stages of the occupation and in the interim, he was admirably qualified to be a member of that committee of investigation. Those who have read the report which he submitted in conjunction with Major-General Lloyd will admit that he did a splendid job. I repeat that at one period I stood alone in defending our occupation forces in Japan against the charges made against them. I was aware of the resentment felt by parents and fiancees of those troops, and I deemed it to be my duty to send to J apan investigators who on their return could convince the Australian people that all I had said in defence of our occupation forces was the truth. I believed that in order to settle the matter finally a delegation of members of the Parliament should visit Japan to investigate not only conditions among our troops, but also conditions generally in that country. From what
L have heard since the return to Australia of members of the delegation, and after listening to this debate, I believe that that action was more than justified. 1 do not propose at this juncture to deal comprehensively with the subject of defence and the Army. A more appropriate opportunity to do so will be presented to me when we are considering the budget. Honorable members opposite talk about our lack of defence. I urge them to give to the Government a little co-operation, and to prove that they are sincere in their approach to the problem of defence. I urge them to show that they sincerely desire the maintenance of peace. However, the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), as the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) observed in his speech in this debate, merely indulged in talk of war. To-day, only a few years after the conclusion of the last world war, which involved a loss of 22,000,000 lives and an expenditure of hundreds of thousands of millions of pounds, we are hearing more talk of war than of peace. Some honorable members opposite - the captains, majors and colonels - profess to be able to tell the Government all about defence. They do a great disservice to the generals who are in control of our armed forces. Those generals were not appointed by me. I refer particularly to men like Lieutenant-General Sturdee, Major-General Rowell, Major-General Bridgeford and Major-General Milford.
– What about General Blarney ?
– -Each of those men has a record comparable with that of General Blarney, because each of them was always right up in the firing line. They are the men who guide the Government in its defence policy, not honorable members opposite, some of whom have never held even non-commissioned rank.
– Why does not the Government accept their advice?
– The Government does accept their advice; but honorable members opposite urge us to take instead the advice of ex-generals. :
– The Minister might do a lot worse.
– I shall take my advice from those who are inside the
Army. Whenever honorable members opposite applaud the ex-generals, they do a great disservice to those still on the active list, each of whom is a brave soldier and has fought in the two world wars. They are throwing in their lot with the armed services of Australia. I leave the matter there until the budget comes before the House, when I can more appropriately deal with the subject of defence at length. I again urge honorable members opposite to co-operate with the Government in implementing the plan which it has evolved for the future defence of this country. That is the Government’s responsibility, and it seeks the cooperation of all parties in that work. ‘ If that co-operation be forthcoming, I believe that the Government’s defence policy will prove successful. Having regard to the brief period of existence of the Regular Army and the Militia, the progress recruitment figures speak highly for the patriotism of Australian youth, and I am confident that, given the co-operation of public bodies throughout the Commonwealth, our defence plan will be a pronounced success.
– I endorse the expressions in the Governor-General’s Speech of loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign and pleasure at the forthcoming visit of Their Majesties and the Princess Margaret. I am sure that those expressions will be echoed by the great majority of our people. The Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers) apologized because the Governor-General’s Speech did not contain any reference to communism. Our complaint is not that such references were omitted from the Speech, but that the Government itself has failed to take heed of the subversive activities of Communists in this country. We complain that the Government has done nothing in that matter. The Minister also complained that some firm in Sydney had sold to the Communist party a building occupied by Nock and Kirby, and he implied that honorable members on this side of the House had not made any protest against that transaction. No one can lay at the door of either of the Opposition parties any responsibility in that matter. The responsibility was that of the ‘Government, because it was a government instrumentality that agreed to the transfer of this building, the payment of money to Nock and Kirby, or whoever owned it, and its occupation by the Communists. As soon as it was so occupied, other government instrumentalities issued permits for extensive improvements and alterations of the building, and telephones for all rooms were made available so that the Communists could conduct their propaganda.
– That was done during the period of office of a government of which the honorable member for Wide Ray was a supporter.
– That is a silly comment. The transfer was consented to and these privileges were granted by the Government of which the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) is a supporter. If the honorable gentleman does not like what was done,why does he not resign now that he knows it was done by that Government?
By means of the strikes that they foment, the Communists are determined to prevent Australia from getting on an even keel “ and retrieving the losses it incurred during the war. The subversive activity of which we complain has its root in the activities of their colleagues on the waterfront and in the mines of New South Wales. So bad were those activities that last Saturday, at last, the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) spoke to those miners, or to those of them who would listen to him, and informed them that it was necessary that they should work. The right honorable gentleman said that he was not making a political speech, and of course he was not. It was the first time he had ever told the Communists anything, so it would not be a political speech. The Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley), who is the Commonwealth Minister responsible for coal supplies, and under whose administration the Communists seem to work unhindered, stated that the amount of coal now produced by underground mining activities is now less than that produced in 1939 although there are 1,300 more men in the industry and new and up-to-date labour-saving machinery has been installed. The extra men and the new machinery should have resulted in increased production, but production is, in fact, approximately 1,000,000 tons less than in 1939. The Minister, speaking on behalf of the Government, said, “ Petty stoppages must cease “. I wonder what the Government’s next action will be, because those stoppages will not cease as long as the Communists control the mining industry as well as the shipping industry.
Because of the dollar shortage, the Prime Minister is depriving the people of Australia of many commodities that could otherwise be imported from the United States of America. During the recent Communist-inspired railway strike in Queensland, for example, colossal quantities of petrol were used for the conveyance of goods by road. That purchase of petrol entailed the expenditure of dollars, but the right honorable gentleman did not lift his hand at that time to assist the Queensland Government or play the part that he should have played in condemning rebellions against government instrumentalities. The 1,500,000 people who live in Sydney are now denied the use of trams on Sundays owing to the activities of a union that is dominated by people who are not concerned with the interests of Australia. In an attempt to alleviate the position, motor-bus services are being supplemented and tons of petrol are used every Sunday, but the petrol ration of the Australian people is being cut by 20 per cent. Nothing is done to hinder the activities of the Communists, and all that the people get from the Prime Minister and the Commonwealth Government is silence. Industry in Australia is largely dependent upon iron and steel products, but the manufacture of those products is now being menaced because the foundries are not getting adequate quantities of ore. That is due to strikes, stoppages and trouble on the waterfront. Even when the iron and steel products are manufactured, the people of Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia cannot get sufficient supplies because of shipping difficulties. Great quantities of material have accumulated on the wharfs, but the Government does not seem to be interested in ensuring that the material is distributed to those who require it.
Mr. Baddeley, the Acting Premier of New South Wales, claimed last Saturday that the industrial turmoil of the last eighteen months - he could have said of the last six years - was caused by the interference of some mysterious organization, either the mine-owners or somebody else. That is the nearest approach to an attack upon the Communist party that has been made by the Labour party. Most people in Australia know who is causing the trouble, not only in this but also in many other directions. We have been informed that Australia will not be allowed to share in the defence secrets of the United States of America because the American Government does not trust us in our association with the Communist party. That is a dreadful state of affairs. Australia is the only country within the British Empire in which some public admission has not been made about the activities of the crawlers who, by their subversive activities, try to maim the countries in which they live and undermine their parliamentary institutions. I am in agreement with the Government of the United States in the attitude that it has adopted, because I have no confidence in this Government. There are too many “ pinks “ and “ rainbow reds “ associated with it and its advisers. Recently some trade union representatives applied to visit the areas in which secret defence projects’ are now in progress. Why did they want to go there? If the projects are secret, why should not secrecy be enforced? Those of the trade union representatives to whom permission was granted refused to go because other unionists were denied, even by this Government and for reasons that were apparent to most people, similar permission. I remind the House that Great Britain, not Australia, has been responsible for the development of those projects. The Opposition in this Parliament has advocated a ban on the Communist party, but the Government says that that would be undemocratic and that no political party should be denied the freedom of speech and association. But the Communist party is not a political party in the true sense. Its aim is to destroy democracy. It is an alien philosophy. There are no political parties in Russia. There is a govern- ment, but no opposition: parties holding differing political beliefs are not permitted. Ballot-papers do not bear the names of candidates belonging to opposing parties. Therefore, the argument that Communists should be tolerated in this country because they belong to a political party is not valid. In many other countries to-day, stern measures are being taken to suppress this evil organization that is injuring Australia. According to the arguments advanced by honorable members opposite, such action is unfair and undemocratic, but I remind them that it is being taken in the United States of America, the nation to which we look first for protection. An exhaustive inquiry into the ramifications of the Communist party has been carried out by a special committee set up to investigate “ un-American activities “. Can it be said that a similar effort is being made to uncover “ un- Austral ian activities “ in this country? The British Government, too, has waged a campaign against the Communists. There has been a purge of Communists, and the revelations of the investigating authorities have shocked the people of Great Britain, particularly members of the Labour party, because several crypto-Communists were found within its ranks. Twenty members of the Labour party were suspected of Communist sympathies. They were closely questioned, and half a dozen of them were found to be Communists. The Prime Minister of this country has assured us that there are no Communists in the Australian Labour party, but he will not sanction an inquiry, which is all we ask. Investigations in Great Britain brought to light unreported speeches made by certain members of the British Labour party abroad. There was no record of those utterances in Great Britain.
This country should follow the lead of the United States of America and Great Britain and wage war on the Communists without delay. The people of the United States of America have been warned repeatedly against the activities of Communists by President Truman and by the former Secretary of State, Mr. Byrnes. Addressing an audience of 2,600 not Jong ago, Mr. Byrnes said that America might have to face an international crisis within a matter of weeks. Mr. Byrnes was Secretary of State during the latter part of World War II., and has had a wide experience of foreign affairs. Current wireless messages from overseas relating to the Berlin crisis indicate that Russia is still determined not to be friendly with the Western Powers, and to hinder them in every possible way. Mr. Byrnes also urged the United States of America to issue a warning to Russia that Russian interference in Italy, Greece or Turkey would be resisted immediately by his country, and that every endeavour would be made to maintain the status quo until the matter had been brought before the Security Council. America should realize, Mr. Byrnes added, that Russia would not be satisfied merely with the abandonment of Czechoslovakia, and Finland by the Western democracies, but would continue to make demands. In contrast to those grim warnings in the United States of America, the Government of this country has refused even to recognize the menace of communism in Australia. We have seen Communists visiting Ministers in this building, dining with them, and calling each other “ Jack “ and “ Bill “. We have suffered this embarrassment whilst the menace of communism has grown day by day and the subversive activities of Communists have extended to our trade channels, hindered our progress, and impaired our safety. Yet the Prime Minister can only offer excuses for the Government’s inaction.
To-day, the entire structure of the Western democracies is threatened by Russia. Russia’s war machine has been strengthened by arms and munitions to the value of hundreds of millions of pounds, which were stolen from Russian-occupied European countries and Manchuria. This plundering has been carried on in defiance of the Yalta Agreement and other similar undertakings. Russia did not abandon its war production at the end of the war. Instead, it has strengthened its war potential and by the threat of its might, has so far been able to obtain from the Western democracies all that it has wanted without resorting to bloodshed. Communist forces have infiltrated into Greece, but their activities have been checked by strong action on the part of the United States of America. Fortunately, communism in Italy received a severe set-back because free elections were ensured by the Western democracies. Russia, to-day, seems to be obsessed by a desire for world domination. Everywhere its agents are committing murder and fostering revolution. These things have been happening not far from our shores. Trained Communists from Moscow have imperilled the existence of the Dutch in the Netherlands East Indies. When the Dutch had almost restored order in Java, the Indonesian Communists appealed for assistance, but the only country “ that interfered was Australia. At the behest, of its masters the Australian Government in that instance showed its determination to assist the Communists of Indonesia. The waterside workers having decided that no ships belonging to the Dutch would be handled in Australian waters, Dutch ships were held up in our ports. The Communists of Australia rallied to the support of their comrades in Indonesia. A similar position exists to-day in connexion with our relations with Burma. The Government cannot ship anything to that country. It is true that 100 guns were sent by the British Government to Malaya, but they had to be carried by air because of the shipping ban. No assistance was given to those in Malaya who sought a continuance of the kind of government of which we in Australia are so proud. No thought was given to the protection of the resources of the Empire. The efforts of those who blazed the trail and opened up the hinterland of Burma and Malaya have been in vain. Their industry and their pluck are to go for nothing. The Prime Minister, who has the privilege of being the first citizen of this country, cares little -for the hardships and the privations suffered by our pioneers, for those who built our wharfs and our railways, established industries, took up homesteads in the virgin bushand through hard work established the nucleus of a great white nation in this country. The right honorable gentleman looks down on the efforts of our pioneers and panders to the subversive elements in our community who would wreck what has so painstakingly been built up. The Communists have been busy, not only in parts of Europe and Asia, and in Great Britain, but also in the Dominions. Hecent disclosures of their activities in Canada show the great necessity for the community to be purged of these undesirable elements. One has only to read the recent history of the investigations of Communist activities in Canada to realize the great dangers that beset the Empire. A member of the Canadian Parliament, whom I met personally at gatherings and banquets while I was visiting the dominion, was revealed as a Communist and a traitor to his country. What treachery from a man who had taken the oath of allegiance to his King and had sworn obedience to the laws of his country ! For all we know there may be parliamentarians in this country who, too, are Communists. At least we are certain that the Government includes at least some members who are very near to the Communists. Communist infiltration into key defence projects is well known. That this is realized abroad is evidenced by the recent decision of the Government of the United States of America not to send to Australia data containing the secrets of its atomic energy experiments. The Americans are afraid that their closely guarded secrets will not be kept.
This debate relates to. the loyal Address.i uReply to the Speech which His Excellency the Governor-General was pleased to deliver to this Parliament; but in the main the speeches of honorable members who have participated in the debate have dealt with the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang).
– How does the honora bie member take the whip ?
– The honorable member for Reid certainly does not come under my lash. He rightly asks that the Government should take action to deal with the grave emergency which is threatening the security of this nation. The first action suggested reads -
The Communist party and its auxiliaries should be declared illegal organizations and necessary legislation should be submitted to this Parliament to deal with them as treasonable agencies.
AH members of the Opposition will wholeheartedly support that proposal. It cannot be denied that the Communist party is a treasonable agent which should be banned from our midst. The Communist party was banned by an anti-Labour government in the past, but the ban was unfortunately lifted by a Labour government. I congratulate the honorable member for Reid on his forthright proposal.
– The honorable member said that the honorable member for Reid was greater than Lenin.
– I say quite definitely that the honorable member for Reid is greater than Lenin was, as indeed most people are. The next section of the amendment of the honorable member for Reid reads - ]fo Communist should be employed by the Commonwealth in any position involving the security of this country.
Is there one Labour supporter who would not join the members of the Opposition and the honorable member for Reid- in imposing such a ban? The next action advocated by the honorable member reads -
The appointments of all Communists on government boards and agencies should be terminated immediately.
Would any member supporting the Government dare to vote against such a proposal? The honorable member for Reid then suggested that all newspaper and newsprint licences of the Communist party and its auxiliaries should be withdrawn and that the despatch of its publications through the Post Office should be prohibited. The scurrilous literature printed and distributed by the Communists in these times of acute newsprint shortage should be banned. Surely no Government member or supporter would be “ game “ to oppose such a course of action. The amendment continues -
All premises occupied by Communist organizations (including Marx douse, Sydney), should be declared illegal premises, and all telephone facilities should be withdrawn by the Postmaster -General.
I suggest that the telephones so withdrawn be sent to the electorate of Wide Bay where they are so badly needed. The next action proposedbythehonorable member forReid is thatlegislation, based on the New SouthWales Consorting Act, shouldbe introduced, making it illegal for members of theCommunist party to consort together. Does not that represent agentlemanfly wayof dealing with these subversive elements,a tolerant anddecent way of dealing with men of evilwho by their evil actions,their insidious propaganda, their trouble waking, and, as a last resort, their willingness to spill thebloodofinnocentvictims, are upsetting so manycountries in the world to-day? We merely ask the Government to do its duty by banning the activities of these evil people. Have the members ofthe Labour party the stuffing, the “ guts “, to vote on this amendment according to the dictates of their consciences, or are they determined to find some means of preventing a showdown on it? The last paragraph of the amendment proposes that the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act be amended so as to make it an offence for any registered trade union to pay amy of its funds into any Communist party organization. Will any member of theLabourmovement say that he opposes that? Will any member of the party say that 95 per cent. of those Australians who are compelled by law to join trade unions want their money to be paid to Communist organizations whose aim is towreck unionism, their homes, this country, and the rest of the Umpire ? These subversive organizations should be disbanded. I appeal to the Government and its supporters to accept the amendment and show to the people of the United States of America and the rest of the world that we are awake to the dangerous machinations of this gang of crooks which operates here as well as in other countries with the object of destroying democracy.
.- I join with the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Corser) and other honorable members on bothsides of the House, as well as with the people of the Commonwealth, in expressing great pleasure at the prospect of the visit to this country next year of Their Majesties the King and Queen and Her Royal Highness the Princess Margaret. I am sure that Australians fromone end of the land to the other will give them awarm and sincere welcome. I also congratulate the GovernorGreneral upon the way in whichhe dis- charged the responsibletaskofopening this sessionofthe Australian Parliaunent. Heread.his message to the Parliament in a dignified manner andI, like the Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers), was proud to be associated with Chat splendid function.
The honorable member for Wide ‘Bay made an inaccurate and hysterical attack upon this ‘Government for what it is supposed notto have done to the Communists. I refer particularly to one misstatement which he made when he declared that the Government, whichIsupport, was responsible for the installation of telephones in Marx House, the Communist party’s head-quarters in Sydney. I sought to disillusion him at the time, but he accused me of being silly when I interrupted him.I have the facts necessary to support my interjection. An anti-Labour coalition government of which he was a supporter was responsible for the installation of eight telephones in Marx House. Since the Labour party has been in power, twelve telephones have been installed there.
Mr.BernardCorser. - The Communists did not own the building when the MenziesGovernment wasinpower.
– I have stated the facts about the installation of telephones in MarxHouse. Members of the Opposition havereferred to the GovernorGeneral’s Speech as a eulogy of the Labour party. They have said that it concentrated on the past achievements of this Government rather than upon its plans for the future. I point out that an examination of the Speech reveals that 31 of the 52 paragraphs in it deal with the Government’s plans for the future. That fact could scarcely be said to support the contention that the Speech concentrated chiefly on past achievements. A great deal more than half of the Speech referred to the Government’s plans in many fields of human activity.
In rebuttal of the Opposition’s criticism of the state of Australia’s economy, I quote the words of Sir Norman Brookes,
Chairman of Directors of Australian Paper Manufactures Limited and the Australian Paper and Pulp Company Limited, upon his return to Melbourne recently after a trip abroad lasting for five months. He said -
Australia is in a sounder economic position than any other country I know. Prices have been held down so successfully that even an overseas slump could be withstood successfully hy Australia. If only wo can realize what a wonderful position we are in now, and make thu most of our opportunities, there should be no stopping us. We can face the future with the greatest optimism.
Sir Norman Brookes has probably never voted for the Labour party in his life, but he has been enlightened by his tour around the world. It is regrettable that some of the Labour party’s opponents in various States have not done likewise recently. Had they done so, I am sure that they would have returned holding views similar to those expressed by Sir Norman Brookes and many other important Australians representing private enterprise who have gone overseas recently. It is remarkable that these men are always satisfied to return to Australia. That surely is a tribute to our economic situation.
Coal production was the subject of some very severe criticisms expressed last week in this chamber by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison). I agree with him that coal is the key to increased :i.nd continued industrial output in every State. However, his attack on the industry failed to include any suggestion for the production of even one extra ton of coal. He made no attempt to propose any means of improving the coal situation. The barrage that has been raised by the Opposition has obscured certain facts which should be emphasized. One such important fact is that factory employment in New South Wales alone has increased by 70 per cent, since 1939. In that year, there were over 200,000 employees in New South Wales factories. To-<lay the total is approximately 350,000, which indicates a great increase of the number of factories requiring power from gas, steam, and electricity, all of which are produced from coal. There has been a consequent tremendous increase of the consumption of power generated from coal. This fact has been entirely obscured by the Oppo sition attack upon our coal miners. Furthermore, the demands of Bunnerong power house have increased almost by 100 per cent, since 1939. The supply of coal to that power-house is, of course, the key to light and power in Sydney. In 1939 Bunnerong power-house consumed 450,000 tons of coal; in 1948 its needs increased to 807,000 tons; and it cannot obtain its requirements. The consumption of coal at Bunnerong has almost doubled since 1939, and that increase furnishes some indication of the demand for coal generally. Evidence of the increased production of coal in New .South Wales is supplied by the fact that only a fortnight ago 277,000 tons were mined in one week, and the coal-miners’ leaders say that if their members can retain that rate of production the total output for the year will be higher than in 1942, which is the record year for coal production. That is surely a tribute to the men who work in the mines-
– There are more men in the industry now than ever before.
– No; the number is less than in 1939. The statistics furnished by the Commonwealth Statistician in regard to the production of black coal are interesting. In 1938-39 the production of black coal averaged 235,000 tons a week; now the weekly average is 302,000 tons, which represents an increase of 67,000 tons. Yet we hear constant criticism of the miners to the effect that they are always on strike, that Communists have riddled the industry, that disruptive elements have deliberately blacked-out Sydney and towns which depend on coal, and that irresponsibles have caused chaos in industry. That criticism gives some idea of the exaggerated propaganda to which members of the Opposition resort, and of the political motive which underlies such criticism. Most of the criticism of communism uttered by members of the Opposition has a purely political motive, and whenever an industrial dispute, whether trivial or otherwise, occurs in this country the blame is fastened on the Communists.
Hardly a sessional period passes without reference being made in this House to the Communist party. It must be gratifying to the Communists to find themselves so much in the news. Indeed, if members of the Opposition did not have the stick of communism with which to beat the Government, they would be almost bereft of weapons. I took part in the recent Tasmanian State election campaign, and observed the way in which the Communist bogy was paraded before the electors of that State. Having regard to the result of the elections, one wonders whether the people are still content to entertain that type of propaganda. Members of the Australian Labour party admit the menace of communism quite as freely and just as sincerely as do members of the Opposition parties, but the difference between the outlook of the Labour party and that of the anti-Labour parties is that the latter are merely exploiting the fear of communism as a political- instrument, and as something which might assist them to regain the treasury-bench. I think that the superficiality of their arguments is obvious.
What is communism? We may have differing opinions. It is certainly more than a political party, and in saying that I agree with the honorable member for Wide Bay. It is a religion; but a religion, one might say, without a god. It has its creeds, its book, its missionaries, its hierarchy and its programme, which evoke sacrifice, ‘ enthusiasm, devotion and loyalty amongst its members. In a very real sense it is a form of the religious nationalism which is arising in the world to-day. Its success so far indicates that with the Communists the means to an end, or even the ideal envisaged, does not matter, provided that the ideal is achieved. Communism has a ruthless discipline unlike that of any other party or movement in the world. Tt makes an appeal to the adventurous and extremist elements amongst the people. From the ranks of communism two main types are emerging. The first comprises those who lust for power, and embraces the party followers who are trained in political warfare, in industrial matters, in tactics and in oratory. They are the men who finally climb the ladder pf union leadership. That is one type; they seek power and influence, and are educated to that end. Then there is the other type, which comprises the idealists amongst the Communists - men who sincerely believe that the old world needs redress; and that Marx and Lenin have the complete solution of the problem of the redress of society’s ills. Those people read and study Communist teachings as a personal religion, but take little part in the rough and tumble world of power politics and party activities. 1 should call the members of this second class, who comprise the intellectuals, the “ armchair “ Communists. We find them in most professions. Although they are almost worshippers at the shrine of the Communist religion, their idealism remains simply idealism. We do not find them coming out into the open to put into practice their ideals in the ruthless fashion advocated by members of the first class.
The point which concerns us all is how to combat communism. I am quite convinced that the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) has not the answer. Ravings and rantings about communism will never kill it; they will never even weaken it. The method which the honorable member advocated in his amendment to the Address-in-Reply would not achieve the end which we all have in view, that is, weakening the Communist grip wherever it has taken hold. The only effect of the adoption of the honorable member’s suggestion would be to drive Communist influence underground, whence it would spring up under some other name, as I shall explain in a moment. How can we combat communism effectively? Communism grows and thrives in a certain type of soil. That soil is provided by unemployment, by economic unrest and insecurity, and depressions, hunger, misery, homelessness, squalor and poverty all tend to nourish it. The years 1930 to 1934 witnessed a tremendous growth of Communist influence; but as economic stability became an actuality in the years which followed the depression, and particularly during the term of office of the present and the preceding Labour governments, the influence of communism decreased throughout Australia and the membership of the Communist party declined. However, we have examples throughout the world to-day of the growth of communism where it is able to exploit the unrest, the hunger, the confusion and uncertainty and the irreligion which have become a part of the post-war world. The present provides a glorious opportunity for the Communists to whisper into the ears of people who are hungry, starving, homeless, ragged, insecure and workless.
I propose to illustrate my argument by referring to the conditions which exist in some of the principal nations of the world to-day. We were told by the travelling secretary of the Australian Christian Student Movement, who returned to Australia from Germany at the beginning of this year, that the German people are turning towards communism. According to the survey which he carried out in Germany the reason for the change of their political outlook lies in the prevailing hunger and desperation of the people. They believe that under Hitler they at least had food and clothing, whereas they contend that under the democracies they have neither. That was the position, as that gentleman saw it, at the beginning of this year, and he concluded that the German people were looking to Russia and to communism to provide a way out for them. In Trance, inflation and industrial unrest are turning the people towards communism. Of course, it is possible that de Gaulle, the leader of the Rally of the French People, who is completely opposed to communism, may yet be able to combat the growing menace of communism in that country. However, the causes of the growth of communism in France are plain; they are inflation, industrial unrest and utter economic instability.
Sitting suspended from 5.59 to 8 p.m.
– In many countries, communism is exploiting the post-war conditions of unrest, hunger, confusion, uncertainty and irreligion. The cost of living in China has risen by 3,000,000 per cent, since the outbreak of World War II. Inflation is the greatest evil there, and communism is growing apace. The economic situation in the United States of America is most uncertain. A financial and economic depression is probably imminent, and 4,000,000 persons are unemployed. So serious is the posi tion that Congress has been obliged to appoint a committee to investigate unAmerican activities. One of its functions is to question people about their political beliefs. This is an illustration, of weakness, not of strength, and, in my opinion, shows that inflation encourages the growth of communism. In Burma, the Communists are organizing against the Government. A similar situation exists in Malaya, where Communist leaders, probably working underground, have exploited unrest, with disastrous results.
Food is becoming a powerful weapon in world politics. Berlin is now a battleground, and the Western allies on the one hand, and the Russians on the other, are endeavouring to capture the loyalty and support of the German people through the instrumentality of food. Empty stomachs drive people in desperation to support communism. In Italy, the situation is grim. I have been reading an account of conditions in that country during recent months. Most of us believed that the war against communism there was finally won when the supporters of the Right secured a two to one victory in the general election last April. Unfortunately, the battle was not decisive. A journalist, who has studied the situation in Italy, wrote -
This battle against communism won’t be won till there is no more gnawing at mass empty stomachs, no . more wind whistling through mass ragged clothes, no more rain beating in the half-roofed, half-walled shelters - shelters many thousands of families call home. Eight million voters cast their votes for Communists in April. In their hopeless misery countless thousands may turn to any “ ism “ promising immediate relief. In this case the “ ism “ would be communism. Italy’s 2,500,000 strong Communist party is the biggest outside Russia. Its leaders aren’t likely to wait five years to test their strength at another election. Revolution, ill-concealed, waits its chance just round the corner.
Three years after history’s most terrible war, hundreds of thousands of Italians are living under conditions even more precarious than those of war-time. There are bands of displaced persons whose horizons are the walls of camps just as bad as the once-dreaded concentration camps. There are masses without shelter for whom work is no longer a means of livelihood - they have grown too feeble to work . . In thousands of Italian homes there are families ready to listen to any one with a story of sufficient food, warm clothing, a wind-proof, rain-proof house.
Near Tocco, which, is situated on the Adriatic coast, a reporter spoke to a peasant who cultivated a farm of eight acres. This man was aged 41 years, and had six children, one of whom was sick in. bed at the time. He owned neither the land that he worked nor the miserable house in which he lived. However, he did possess a mule, three sheep, a pig and a few fowls. He grew a small quantity of wheat and some vegetables, and tended a small orchard. One-half of his crop was ear-marked for the landlord. What did this peasant think about communism ? His opinion is most important. He said to the interviewer -
I have no doubts that if there were plenty to eat and prosperity hare, Italy would not have many Communists. And I’m just as sure that, if things were as bad even in the United States of America, they’d have so many Communists, Russia would look pale pink by comparison. Communism is a desperate hope that breeds on poverty and misery.
That is a remarkably accurate summing up of the whole situation. The writer has indeed hit the nail on the head. The menace of communism can be checked only by the creation of conditions under which people will be healthy, well-fed, well-housed, decently clothed, well-paid and democratically governed. The introduction of these conditions should be the paramount objective of every nation that does not desire to be submerged in the “ red “ flood. President Truman, speaking at Chicago on the 6th June last, said -
The only way the United States can defeat communism at home and abroad is to produce more and better democracies. You cannot stop the spread of an idea by passing a law against it. The best weapons with which to fight communism are laws fulfilling the rights of the people to homes, health, school, security, good jobs, fair wages and brakes on inflation . . . A nation which reaches these goals will never succumb to communism.
The situation could not have been stated more clearly, because the establishment of those conditions is the real answer to communism. Demands that the Communist party be declared illegal, and that communism be banned as an ideology or philosophy, are no more practicable than the act of beating the air. The duty of Christian people in this post-war world is te make Christianity work, and prevent it from becoming merely a subject for armchair discussion, and discussion groups. We must devote our strength to removing the causes of communism, and Christianity is one of the most powerful forces that can be directed against this menace if we are sufficiently courageous to employ it. The Right Reverend J. D. McKie, Bishop of Geelong, in an article published in the Melbourne Age on the 7th August last, wrote -
It is the disillusioned and disgruntled who are likely to become Communists. There are evils amongst us which must be removed. We must realize the importance of the Christian faith in our civilization. The importance of the other fellow, the observance of the rule of law, the recognition of our obligation to society, our pride in individual freedom - all arc treasures derived from our Christian inheritance.
He then asked -
Should the Government be urged to ban the Communist party?
That is a poser, and this is his reply to his own question -
Undoubtedly there is a powerful group bent on disrupting the life of the country, but I do not believe that to declare the Communist party an illegal organization would advance the cause of freedom. In England, both Sir Oswald Mosley and his following, and the Communists, expressed their opinions without let or hindrance. It is true that the Communists have been removed from posts of security and importance in England. The British people have learnt by bitter experience that the suppression of one party to-day means the rise of a rival party to-morrow. In this country a situation may arise in which a ban might be necessary if, for instance, war broke out, or if the Communists produced industrial chaos. But the time is not now.
The Opposition are not united on this matter. In Perth recently, at the annual conference of the Western Australia Liberal party, a resolution was passed urging the federal executive not to seek a ban on the Communist party. At a convention of Liberal party speakers’ groups held at Mornington recently, a motion that the Australian and State Governments should ban the Communist party was rejected. The convention urged the exclusion of Communists from all public offices, hut it rejected a motion to declare the Communist party illegal. Members of the Opposition know that to ban the Communist party would not be the answer to communism; it would merely drive the party underground. We must attack the causes, the seed-bed, as it were, of communism. Banning the party would be a sign of our own weakness. It could not destroy -the ideology of communism, but would merely drive the organization underground to reappear later under other names, and would weaken the cause and ideals of freedom of expression, which we cherish so deeply. England showed the way to the world. Sir Oswald Mosley and the Communist party are both allowed freedom of expression in Britain. We should cling to our own freedom of expression of all groups, provided they are not subversive.
– But they are
– We have the Commonwealth Investigation Service to check on the Communists all the time and they are all liable in this country, should they be subversive. Surely that is sufficient safeguard against subversive activity.
I believe it is a sign of England’s strength, that Sir Oswald Mosley and the Communists may continue to speak on street corners. Spain and Canada, I believe, are the only two countries which have imposed a ban on Communists. The story of the Christian Church, Christianity, and of the Jews, proves for all time that repression, persecution, death and concentration camps cannot destroy a belief, a way of life, a faith, or an ideology, whether it be good or bad. Where there is a bad system it should be replaced by a good one; and where there is an evil idea, it must be supplanted by a better idea. We must match the Communists’ enthusiasm with greater enthusiasm, their devotion with a greater devotion, and their intense belief with a greater intensity of our faith in our ideals. We .must match the Communist missionary zeal with a greater missionary zeal and their organizing ability with a better organizing ability. Their desire for better conditions must be matched by a greater desire for better conditions, along evolutionary rather than revolutionary lines. We must match the Communists knowledge of where they are going and what they are seeking by a greater knowledge on our part of what we are seeking to achieve as a democracy.
I put these thoughts forward, not as the complete answer to the menace of communism, but as a reply to the Opposition’s constant attack on this Government for what we are supposed not to be doing about the Communists. We are creating in Australia an economic system of social security and full employment, which is the best answer in the world to communism. Destroy the seed-bed, and Communists have nothing to thrive on. That would be like digging the soil away from around a plant which will wilt and wither because the soil is no longer there. That is the best answer to communism in this country. The countries where there is no economic stability, where there is inflation, unemployment, misery, hunger and starvation, have to fight the terrible menace of communism day in and day out. Communism is weakest in countries like Australia, Britain, New Zealand and probably Canada, which have economic stability. We can watch the Communists when they are in the open, hut the moment we ban an organization we make martyrs of its members and reveal our own weakness and fear that we cannot stand on our own feet. We can fight communism in the open because we have the necessary economic potentiality, capacity, faith and democratic ideals. I trust that every one of us will dedicate himself to this struggle and use the democratic weapons which are at his disposal to the best of his ability.
– I shall not attempt to cover the ground that has been more or less effectively dealt with by other honorable members, but shall confine myself to an examination, which, I am afraid, will be regarded in some quarters as a criticism, of the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), and particularly his attitude towards foreign and domestic affairs as they are affected by communism. Honorable members will remember the right honorable gentleman’s advice that we should refrain from giving offence to other powers, lest we precipitate a third world war, which, he said, would be fifty to one hundred times more terrible than those that have preceded it. He told us what the position was in Europe. He told us that he did not believe that tAe Russians wanted war, but that he did believe that they were prepared to push their policy, economic and ideological, as far as they could without war. At the same time and almost in the same breath, he bade us to refrain from any attempt to resist the Russians’ onward march. I ask the House and the country to look at the position as it is. I agree with the right honorable gentleman that we should do everything in our power to preserve the peace of the world. The last world war caused the death, on the battlefield, by bombing and other means, of some 78,000,000 human beings. When we are told by the right honorable gentleman that he believes that another war would be still more terrible, we get an idea of what war would mean and of what peace is worth. We look for a light to guide our feet through the darkness - but we look in vain; we look for counsel on how we shall defend ourselves - and the right honorable gentleman tells us to stand still, and warns us not to attempt to arrest the onward march of the Russians, because it would inevitably precipitate another war. He tells us that there is no power in the world, and certainly not in Europe, that could arrest the onward march of the Russians, and that they could flood the rest of Europe with 4,000,000 or 5,000,000 of their fighting forces. And so we are to stand still, like cattle in the killing pen, awaiting the lethal stroke. What are we to do to be saved? Are we passively to await the onward march of Russia which we are warned not to resist? See where Russia is now and where it was. World War II., like World War I., was fought to ensure for every country in the world, great or small, the right to govern itself in its own way and the right to security, whether or not it had at its disposal the means of stemming the enemy. For war as a means of settling international disputes there was to be substituted the rule of international law. There was to be ensured for us the four freedoms - freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Now we are told that all Europe is to stand trembling, awaiting the onward march from Russia which it dare not - must not - attempt to resist.
I remind the House and the country that a world war can now only arise from one of the three great powers - Britain, America or Russia. By their deeds ye shall know them. What is the position of Britain? When World War II. broke out, Britain was the head of the greatest empire the world had ever seen, but it has stripped itself of the greatest part of its imperial possessions. By its valour and heroism, which saved the world in 1940, it impoverished itself and now stands desperately endeavouring to restore its shattered industrial fabric and feed its 47,000,000 people. It is not from Britain that the world has to fear an assault. We turn to America. America gained no territory as a result of the last war and does not threaten any country in the world. When we turn to Russia, however, there is another story to be told. When war broke out in 1939 Russia then was very different from the Russia of to-day. The war brought it golden gifts. It has extended its empire until now it straddles over half Europe. It has taken Poland. Part of that country was ceded to it by the arrangement with Germany - because in the last war Russia was for a time an ally of Germany - and since the war ended it has obtained de facto possession of the remainder of Poland. It has taken the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. It has seized Czechoslovakia. Benes died the other day, hounded to his death, like Masaryk, by the Russians. Roumania has fallen. Hungary has fallen. Yugoslavia has set up for the time being another little soviet. Albania has gone. And still the Russians press on. And we stand still. The right honorable gentleman said that we are to do nothing. Who is marked down as the next to let blood? Russia stands now at the very gateway to the Mediterranean, which opens up to it immense possibilities in Africa, Asia and Australia. I ask what we are to do in either the international sphere or the domestic sphere.
One enemy we have, and one alone, and that is communism. It is a dire threat to the peace of the world. The right honorable gentleman spoke to the miners the other day, and he was right in so doing. He made a stirring appeal, and I hope that it will bear ripe fruit. I ask my friends on the other side of the chamber, what is to happen to Australia. The right honorable gentleman’s appeal came belatedly and it arose because the Communists of this country, like the Russians in the international sphere, spit on the name pf the law. They understand one thing and one thing only, and that is force. Their words are written in water. It is part of their gospel to deceive the outside world in order that they may more readily conquer it. At the present time the agents of Russia are at work in every country in the world. They are at work here. The business of a government is to govern, but this Government does not govern. The Communists break the law with impunity. The Labour party is bound, as a fundamental principle, to arbitration, as a means of settling industrial disputes. The Communists spit on arbitration. They accept all the gifts that industrial awards give them but refuse to carry out the corresponding obligations imposed by those awards. They are like the Russians. They do not want to strike. Why should they strike when they can get everything they want by threatening to strike? In these two sentences, the industrial situation in Australia is summed up. The Communists press on, the community headed by the Government stands passive. The Labour party, awakening to its danger, is taking steps to purge its ranks of Communists, f hail that action with great satisfaction. But the political wing of the Australian Labour party has long since ceased to be a really effective instrument of direction in that party. The industrial wing has paralysed the efforts of the political wing and now directs the party’s political efforts.
The Prime Minister went to the coalfields and addressed the miners. If the miners follow his advice they will cut coal. If they do not follow his advice they will not cut coal, and although the latter action is an offence against the law they will defy the law, and can defy it with impunity, because the Prime Minister says he will not drive them underground. What can Communists do underground that they are not doing much better as they are? They now have their head-quarters in the centre of our city. They have great financial resources, and their journals are publicly sold on our streets. The last number of the Communist newspaper, Tribune, spoke about the “heroic efforts of the Malayans to achieve self-government “. A Communist leader, Mr. Sharkey, or at least his agents, went over to Malaya to stir up strife, and he is permitted to do this with impunity. What is behind all the trouble in Malaya? A campaign of murder and rapine has been let loose, and white settlers have been murdered. When the settlers requested arms, and arms were loaded in vessels for despatch to Malaya, the Waterside Workers Federation, which I established and ran for twenty-odd years, banned those vessels. The watersiders’ action was an offence against the law, but the Government did nothing. But when, at last, driven by public criticism, the Government decided to send arms to Malaya it sent them by air. But it uttered not one word of censure on the Communists who had defied it.
It is the business of governments to govern, but in international as well as in domestic affairs this Government does not govern. The Communist party is regarded by some people as just another political party, but it is nothing of the sort. The Australian Labour party believes in the rule of law. It believes in appealing to the people to elect members to a Parliament which is endowed with authority to make laws, and that those laws, being made by all, must be obeyed by all. But the Communist spits on the rule of law. Australia is a Christian country. Revealed religion means a great deal to the Australian people. One cannot read the history of our race without realizing that for centuries religion has been a dominant factor in the life of the British people. The Parliaments of the countries of the British Commonwealth open their proceedings every day with prayers. But the Communists spit on religion. The Communists say religion is the opiate of the people, supplied by the capitalists to fool the workers. Communists believe in the dictatorship of the proletariat, which in theory vests every individual with equal power, but in practice, as we see it in Russia, vests authority in the hands of a few individuals. The Prime Minister made no reference whatever to varying his Government’s policy on communism. His words might have been received, and no doubt were received in the Kremlin with great satisfaction. Indeed, Com- munists throughout the world may well feel so satisfied with the right honorable gentleman’s attitude - and conduct - that they may present him with an illuminated address! The very name of communism is sacrosant. In his speech he said not one word against communism, which seems to be the one subject which is barred from criticism by .honorable gentlemen on the Government side of the House. Those honorable gentlemen never condemn communism, but content themselves with casual and oblique references to it. No doubt they are going to purge their political ranks of Communists, but they know very well that’ they intend doing nothing at all to deal with communism in the industrial sphere where it is all-powerful. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) has placed before this House an amendment which puts the position squarely. He has submitted for the consideration of the Parliament a number of steps which, he says, should be taken to deal with communism. There way bc other steps, but the steps suggested by the honorable member for Reid commend themselves to me. But the Prime Minister turns away from them. He will not drive the Communists underground.
What are the Communists doing, and what is their objective? Their objective is to destroy the system of government under which we live, which is the freest and best in the world. Under that system the people elect a Parliament as its rulers. If the rulers do not rule wisely and well the people can remove them. This power to unmake governments is the most precious thing we have inherited from our forefathers and have ourselves enhanced. But the Communists aim to destroy this system of government. They do not believe in parliaments; they believe in dictatorship. They do not seek election of their candidates with the hope of getting a majority. They believe in force, and they are working to hasten the day of revolution. Every one knows that. Every honorable member on the Government side of the House knows that that is what the Communists are working for. That is why the Australian Labour party decided to purge its movement of Communists, but. dares not do anything to the one wing of the industrial movement which really matters two hoots in the scheme of things. I put this to the House, and particularly to honorable members opposite: Although we are divided on many things, on this we stand together, We believe in the rule of law. We believe that the people should rule, and that they should, rule through a system of parliamentary government. That system has enabled the party opposite to assume and hold the reins of government. It is a system that is admirably adaptable to the modern man’s idea of democracy. It gives to the individual the freest possible scope in word and action, subject only to the equal rights of every other individual. All this is now at stake. Does any one believe for a moment, looking at the world as it is to-day, that communism does not threaten everything material and spiritual that free men value and cherish? When I say that we have one foe, and one foe alone, communism, who shall gainsay me? I know that honorable members opposite think as I do on this subject. They feel in their very bones, and with every movement they take, that communism stands to-day, like Beezlebub, in the narrow way. Communism is pressing on now in Europe. We are told by the Prime Minister that it has acquired complete domination of half of Europe. It stands at the gate of the Mediterranean. It needs but another step, and Greece will be gone, Turkey will be gone, all Africa will be at its feet, and so will the Suez Canal, and even we ourselves. Who threatens the world to-day? I again ask that question. Who is in a position to threaten the world, bar Russia? It may be that the United States of America is, with the atomic bomb. It may be, too, that nothing but the atomic bomb which America holds in her hands stands be-, tween us and the third world war about which the right honorable gentleman speaks so feelingly. We stand with him in our efforts to preserve the peace of the world, which is far more important to us all than whether we or honorable members opposite should sit on their side of the House. We want to preserve in this country the system of government handed down to us and built up and broadened by ourselves and which communism threatens to destroy.
In Malaya, as I have said, there is a campaign of murder and rapine. Armshave been sent there, in order that the settlers might protect themselves and their families. The right honorable gentleman pointed out. in his speech that a great many people in Malaya are not Malayans at all, and that they have a right to consideration; but he says, as to Malaya’s 17,000white settlers, that most of them are there for profit. So, it has come to this: Because a man has gone to Malaya on business that yields him some profit, he is a fair victim to the cutthroats and murderers, who are engaged in this campaign inspired by, and fanned by; Communists, and to a large degree by the Communists in Australia. In Australia, Malaya and everywhere else these Communists take their orders from Moscow. What are we to do with these traitors in our midst who are labouring tirelessly to destroy us? We must not drive them underground, the right honorable gentleman says. I ask again : What could they do underground that they do not do now?
I have said that this is a Christian country. Our system of government rests on the basis of revealed religion. I remind honorable members that we open our daily proceedings with prayer. We are now confronted by an army of the godless people who spit on religion and regard God and the scriptures as mere dope for the ignorant proletariat. What are we to do about this problem? Apart from the material measures which the honorable member forReid has put before us and which commend themselves very much to me and to many others, there is no hope for us or for the world except in a spiritual awakening. What is wanted now is a revivalof that spiritual life in the country that has been numbed by materialism. I am against communism. The one policy for us and for all democratic countries is to fight the Communists. There is no room on the world stage for communism and us. One of us must go down. Which is it to be?
– By some strange irony of fate I seem destined to follow the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) in a succession of debates.
– Nothing is arranged. It just so happens that the right honorable member for North Sydney, speaks his present mind and I speak the mind he used to speak when he belonged to the Labour party. I speak in the doctrines of democracy. We heard an impassioned speech by the right honorable gentleman this evening, on the Communist party. He warned us that either the Communist party in Russia and communism throughout the world must be extirpated or Christianity, must, go down before the red tide. I am reminded of a speech which the right honorable gentleman made in 1941. It was quoted in this House a few months ago by the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Daly). The SydneyDaily Telegraph, of the 23rd June, 1941, reported that speech as follows : -
” Everybody ismy friend who stands at my right hand in this fight”, said the Federal Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes) commenting on the news’ that Russia and Germany were now at war. “I don’t care twopence whether he calls himself a Communist or capitalist.” “ What he did in the past would he forgiven and forgotten if. lie was with us in this struggle against the tyranny of Nazi-ism?”
– Who said that?
– The right honorable member for North Sydney. But thebest is still to come: Listen to this - “ I say to my comrades in the Communist party : ‘ You have made some remarkable changes of front in the past, but your attitude should now be clear and unmistakable’.”
The only comment I make is that the right honorable gentleman himself has made some remarkable changes of front. No member of the Labour party ever said to the Communists as did the right honorable gentleman-
I am prepared to shake hands with you because you now form with us a united front against the Nazis in this war.
The Labour party has maintained its historic attitude towards the Communists. The Labour party believes itself to be the only political expression of working-class opinion in Australia. It believes itself to be the only proper vehicle for expression of the true democratic opinion of the people of this country. It says to those who are trying to make a political football of communism that their own attitude to-day is not consistent with their attitude in the past. They themselves have changed front. I have heard the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White), the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) and the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) speak in this debate. All they did was to re-echo phrases used by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) and others of his political ilk. There is no doubt that the honorable member for Reid now belongs spiritually to the Opposition. Members of the Opposition, during the last week, have said the things which the honorable member for Reid has been saying for a long time. There is one peculiar feature by which we may remember ‘the Eighteenth Parliament of the Commonwealth. The real Leader of the Opposition does not sit on the Opposition side, of the chamber. He sits on a Government back bench. The real Leader of the Opposition sits - although we have no use for him - on the right of the chair, and determines the line of policy which the Opposition follows consistently in the Parliament. The Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison) moved no amendment to the Address-in-Reply. The Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) moved nothing and seconded nothing. The Deputy Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. McEwen), at a later stage, seconded the amendment moved by the honorable member for Reid. The honorable member for Reid “has dragged the Opposition around this chamber until they have reached a state of inconsequential insignificance.
Members of the Opposition parties have appointed a joint executive that is going to put the Government “ on the spot “ in regard to foreign and domestic affairs. This executive holds heated meetings, but has not yet succeeded in “ thinking up” one .idea. ‘Presumably, there was a meeting before the beginning of this session of the Parliament, but not one member from the Opposition benches moved an amendment to the AddressinReply. ‘ It was not until the honorable member for Reid moved his amendment that the Opposition got a cue what they should say. Of course, they have thought of a few things besides communism. They have talked about Malaya as if it were the duty of the Government to become involved in warlike activities there. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) wanted to know why we did not send a cruiser, or even two cruisers, to Malaya. Others wanted to know why we had not sent troops. This is what the honorable member for Warringah said -
We have done nothing except to send to Malaya a few miserable rifles and sten guns, which belonged to Great Britain. Anyhow I should have thought that instead of waiting to be asked to help we would have volunteered to do so.
What does he mean by that? This is what the honorable member for Balaclava had to say on the subject -
Are the British people who live in Malaya to-day not entitled to the protection of the nearest British dominion?
It will be noted that he did not speak of sending arms, but said that we should give protection. He went on -
What help has Australia given? About as much as we have given to the Dutch, our nearest white neighbours, in the Netherlands East Indies.
Apparently, the honorable member would not be satisfied with getting us involved in a dispute in a British crown colony, but would involve us also in Dutch-held territory. He continued -
Why not say boldly that we shall co-operate to the utmost of our ability.
What does that mean? If it means anything, it means that we should send troops into Malaya. The honorable member for Balaclava was vociferous in his condemnation of the Banking Bill. He wanted the Government to hold a referendum on the question of nationalizing the banks, but he would be quite prepared to send the youth of Australia into Malaya without holding any referendum on the subject.
– It would not be necessary to send them. There would be plenty of volunteers for the job, and the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) would not be amongst them.
– It is not the policy of this Government to fish in the troubled waters of Malaya. Some newspapers in Australia advocate the sending of Australian troops to Malaya. That is what they must mean when they advocate intervention by Australia. The Government has sent arms to Malaya, and should not do more. The Prime Minister has stated the position clearly, and has said all that ought to be said on the subject. Honorable members opposite have spoken of communism until the people of Australia must be sick and tired of listening to them. Members of the Opposition have gone on saying the same things for months and months ; indeed, they have been talking in the same way for years. The honorable member for Reid was himself in a position on various occasions to do something about communism, but did nothing. En his amendment to the AddressinReply, he states: -
The second reason why the Communist party should be extinguished is that it is committed to the overthrow of constitutional government in Australia. It is subject to a rigid international discipline. The Sixth Congress of the Communist International adopted the official programme of the party that still remains as the objective of the organization.
The Sixth Congress of the Communist International was held at Moscow in 1928. The honorable member for Reid was Premier of New South Wales after that. Why did he take no action against the Communist party in New South Wales in 1930 and afterwards, as he could have done under State law?
– He fraternized with r.he Communists.
– Yes, as the honorable member for Werriwa says, he fraternized with them. It was the Communists who were among those who surrounded Parliament House in Sydney and were instrumental in making the honorable member for Reid the leader of the Labour party. They intimidated the members of the Labour party into voting for the honorable member against Mr. Mutch. There is the story of one of his henchmen, who is now in Long Bay gaol, who said, “Lang is greater than Lenin “. Did the honorable member disavow -the compliment? Did he say that such a comparison made his blood cease to flow? He thought, I believe, that Mr. “ Jock “ Garden had understated the position, and that he was, indeed, greater than a dozen Lenius. It was only when he fell out with the Communist party that he began to attack them. While their help was valuable to him he accepted their support. When he left office in 1932, he staged his own defeat. He ran away from his responsibility. He betrayed his comrades in the Labour party, and then tried to make it appear that he was the victim of a conspiracy hatched in Whitehall, and supported by members of the Union Club in Sydney. The honorable member’s association with Communists is clearly marked, and it is idle for him to deny it. Of course. when he decides to lie, he lies magnificently, but he lies without colour and he lies without skill. He tells the sort of lies that little boys tell. For instance, he said -
The Communist party has planted its traitors in many key government departments. Its officials are even admitted into the confidence of the Government on vital transport and fuel problems of organization and administration. I hey are on key government boards.
That is a deliberate untruth. If he believes it to be true, let him repeat it outside this House without parliamentary protection. Let him name these people, Let him indicate what Ministers he alleges have knowingly planted traitors in any government departments. The honorable member said -
Its officials are even admitted into the confidence of the Government on vital transport and fuel problems of organization and administration.
That is untrue. If the honorable member thinks it is true let him reveal the basis of his charges. He further said -
They are on government boards.
That is another misstatement. I suppose he gets all this information from J. Walter Thompson, of Sydney, or some organization which undertakes publicity work for the Liberal party in referendum and election campaigns. All that the honorable member said against communism could have been directed against his own administration as the Premier of New South Wales and could be directed to-day against the administration of the anti-Labour governments in the State Parliaments.If, as he hassaid, the Communistparty should be declared illegal, and no Communist should be employed by the Commonwealth in any position involving the security of this country - and none is- why does not thePlay ford Government in South Australia, the Hollway Government in Victoria, find the McLarty Government in Western. Australia pass legislation, as they could do, to suppress the Communist party in their own States ? But they have not taken any such action. They just talk about communism as. the honorable member for Indi talks about it. The honorable member for Indi said that the Australian Country party had advocated for years that the Government should brand communism for what it is. His words were -
Thefirst and most elementary thing to do is to brand the Communist party forwhat it is - a subversive party - and declare it to be illegal. That is the policy of the AustralianCountry party.
Ifthatistrue,whathas his colleague of the Australian Country party, the Deputy Premier of Victoria (Mr. McDonald) done about thematter? According to the Melbourne Sun-News Pictorial of the 6th April, Mr. McDonald, addressing a Country party conference, said that Unless the Victorian Government dealt effectively with the menace ofcommunism, the Australian Country party was not prepared to remain in the composite Ministry. The Government of Victoria has not banned the Communists, but Mr. McDonald is still Deputy Premier of that State. Apparently he is prepared to eat his words, because his colleagues in theLiberal party cannot be persuaded toapply the ban he desires. Theysay that Communists should not hold government positions, hut how many Communists has the HollwayMcDonald Government dismissed from the Victorian Railways or the Victorian Tramways? It has not dismissed one Communist from any position in Victoria. Yet its Country party associates in this legislature make ranting speeches demanding that every one who has Communist sympathies or views must be dismissed from the Australian Government pay-roll. There are better minds inthe world than those of members of the Liberal party andthe Australian Country party in this Parliament. Other people have been concerned about the growth of communism. Noparty has fought the Communist party harder than the Australian Labour party. Members of the Australian Labour party have been in the front trenches fighting Communism in the unions and in the party itself. If the Communists could destroy the Labour party- and they have had the assistance of the Liberal party to that end - there would be bloodshed in this country, but while the Australian Labour party remains strong and solid, based on the sturdy common sense of the average Australian trade unionist, no revolution can succeed and any attempt at dictatorship by the right or by the left will fail. Certain people have sought to set up a dictatorship bf the right. One such move ment was led by Colonel Eric Campbell, who is now a member of the Australian Countryparty and prior to the 1946 electionwasa candidate in a Country party pre-selection ballot for a seat in this Parliament. He did not win because he didnot deserve to win. He was too much for even the Australian Country party to swallow. Many people in other parts of the world have expressed views on communism which deserve some attention. Incidentally, I point out, that with the exception of Canada, no part of the British Empire has banned the Communist party. Canada proscribed the Communist party during the war but it was re-formed immediately as the Progressive Labour party, which sent Fred Rose into the House of Commons at Ottawa. That did not prevent him from spying and carryingon, underground, activities, that we are informed will not be possible if the Communist party is proscribed in this country. I was in Toronto last year, and I found that in the provincial legislature in that city there were two Progressive Labourites. They are Communists in disguise. So it is not just a matter of telling the Communist party that it must go out of existence and then forgetting about it. That is what the Menzies Government did in 1939. It banned the Communist party and then assumed that itno longer existed. Of course, it existed. The weakness of the
Menzies Government was that it compromised as the anti-Labour forces always do, and it compromised badly. If that administration had been determined to suppress the Communist party it would have interned its leaders. Anybody who advocates the suppression of the Communist party must be prepared also to support the internment in concentration camps of 5,000 or 6,000 people. And where would that get us ? Another 6,000 people would be required to guard them, and whilst the Communists were interned they would be further indoctrinated in their peculiar ideology.
Communism’ cannot be defeated by a negative .policy* It can be defeated only by a positive policy. We must put forward something better than has been put forward up to date. Addressing a convention of the Liberal party iii Victoria recently, the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) made a speech which for a Liberal party convention was an oration almost fit to rank with the Gettysburg address. He talked more horse-sense in a couple of minutes than delegates to the convention had heard in the rest of the time they had been listening to addresses by other members including even the great leader of ‘the Liberal party, Mr. K-. G. Casey. According to the Melbourne Argus of the 25th August, the honorable member for Henty told the convention that to attack waterside workers., miners or unionists was useless and mischievous because communism would flourish as long as people were crowded together and educated in slums, ill-fed and without land or pastimes. That is the truth of the matter. There would be no communism ‘to-day if there ‘were no monopoly capitalism. There would be AO ‘ communism if there were -no slums. There would be no communism if there were no fertile ground in which the seeds ‘of communism could germinate, -and if ‘everybody in the community had the social justice and security that he has a right to expect from our modern civilized society. The honorable member for Henty has been saying a lot of other things to the Liberals and, of course, the honorable member for Balaclava has been saying yet other things. As a consequence, I suppose people in the party have become confused because there is not much sign of improvement in their general outlook. At any rate, the honorable member for Henty did. say on the 29th June, as reported in the Melbourne Herald -
We won the referendum, but if we- went to the electors to-morrow I doubt if we would win, because it is Labour, and not wes in Australia, who have the confidence of the people at present.
I do not want to embarrass the honorable member tod much in his party by quoting extensively from what he has said, but I can say that what he said at the convenetion is directly opposite to what the honorable member for Balaclava told that gathering. I am not going to rehash the speeches of the honorable member for Balaclava. He can do that himself, and he does it. He has made them into minceMeat. A Meeting of the Liberal Speakers* Group was held in Victoria. Its deliberation was reported in the Argus on the 30th August. A motion that the Communist party should be banned was rejected by it. The Argus report stated -
Mr. George Crowther said it was useless to talk about banning the Communists. “ Why do you want to ban them ? “ he asked. “ Because .you are frightened of them ? “ Banning them is no good. What we haveto do is to get down to a solid foundation for fighting them and present a worth-while, trusted programme that the people will accept in preference to the false doctrines of theCommunists. “ It is our job to give a lead, to show that it does no pay to be a Communist.”
But those on the Opposition benches are so confused as to what they really want to do that it is not at all surprising that whilst some Liberals in Victoria talked that way, the Liberal party in New South Wales, under the inspiring leadership of the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale), according to the Melbourne ‘Herald of the 24th June last, decided on a six-point policy aimed at suppressing communism-. It did so in a half-hearted way. Members of that party realize, that they cannot win merely by trying to suppress an idea. If a majority in any society -could always suppress the ideas of other people, there would probably be no changes in the world’s history, but .there ; have been -changes for both good and ill. The six-point pro-gramme included this verbiage, which, coming from the Liberal party, is exceedingly strange -
Maintain constant pressure for improving living standards and removing social and economic injustice and other genuine cases of industrial discontent.
The Liberal party and the Australian Country party have fought all progressive legislation to improve living standards. For them to say that it is necessary to maintain constant pressure for improving living standards suggests that they have applied such pressure. That is an attempt to fool the people, but it will not fool any one. Lots of people in other parts of the world have had the problem of communism to deal with and they have dealt with it as Australia has dealt with it. I said that Canada was the only part of the British Commonwealth that had suppressed the Communist party, but it still functions under another name, The Communist party is not suppressed in Great Britain. It is not suppressed in New Zealand, in Eire, in Northern Ireland, in Pakistan, or in India.
– - And not even in the United States of America.
– Our great neighbour, the United States of America, whose protection enabled us to survive in the Pacific war, has not suppressed communism.
– It is not suppressed in Japan.
– The Melbourne Argus of the 7th June last contained the following report from Chicago of a speech by President Truman : -
The only way the United States of America could defeat communism at home and abroad was to produce more and better democracy, said President Truman in his first major speech on his western tour.
He made a strong but indirect attack on the Mundt-Ni.von bill, now before Congress, that would virtually outlaw the Communist party. “ You cannot stop the spread of an idea by passing a law against it “, he said.
The best weapons with which to fight communism are laws fulfilling the rights of the little men to homes, health, schooling, security, good jobs, fair wages, and brakes on inflation. [ would sooner take the opinion of the President of the United States of America than that of a thousand members of the Liberal party. No one can accuse the President of being communistic in out look or of coquetting with communism. I suppose communism is opposed in the United States of America with greater ferocity than in any other part of the world, but the people of that country fight the Communists on an intellectual level as they have always fought them. The Archbishop of York, Dr. Garbett, whose name is one to be respected, had his say on the matter. The London Daily Telegraph, on the 31st March, this year, published the following report: -
The, Archbishop of York, Dr. Garbett, discussing the means of combating communism in the York Diocesan Leaflet published to-day, declares that there must be no “ spy mania “ or “ witch hunting “.
He finished the leaflet with these words -
The regular attendance of ordinary member* . at the meetings of their councils and unions, and the average elector taking the trouble to vote at local and parliamentary elections, are the surest safeguards against resolute but unrepresentative minorities capturing key positions either in industry, the city or the State.
At that time, the purge of Communists from positions in the British Civil Service was under discussion in- Great Britain.
No one would say that the Economist is a radical Labour journal or anything other than a supporter of the established order, but. in its issue of the 21st March last, it said -
It is clearly important for public opinion not to lose its head on this matter of communism and to end in such ridiculous witchhunts as those conducted by Congressman Thomas in the United States. Nothing in the Prime Minister’s statement warrants a general attack upon the Communists’ right to hold their views, to express them and to be employed in work for which they are competent and which has no bearing on national security.
The Observer, which is the most conservative of the newspapers in Great Britain, cautions the people of Great Britain to be careful in suppressing minorities and even in conducting purges. It says -
A justified course of action, however, may not always be wise or expedient. To ban totalitarian movements in this country at. present, would probably do more practical harm than practical good. But where security secrets come in further issues arise.
Nobody in this country wants to see bloodshed in Malaya or stands for terrorism there or anywhere else. No one in this country is so jealous of individual liberty as is the Australian
Labour party. All those who commit offences against the law should be dealt with according to the law, whether they are members of the Communist party or any other organization. Treason is an offence that will be punished by this Government or any other government.
I propose to say a word or two about the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). He is not one of those people who want to suppress communism. He has to do as his party tells him, however. In the Sydney Daily Telegraph of the 18th August, 1943, he is reported as having said -
There will never be fascism in Australia <o long as there is any free speech.
The Australian Labour party believes in free speech. So did a lot of the old Liberals. But there is growing up a generation that knows nothing about free speech and thinks it can defend the existing order of society and stamp down industrial discontent by suppressing organizations and interning people. In the Argus of the 18th February, 1946, there appeared a report of a statement by the Leader of the Opposition under the heading “Don’t Ban the Communists - Deal with them in the open “. That is still his view, despite the fact that the Liberal party has gone a little berserk on the issue. I now quote the remarks by Professor “Walter Murdoch, because he is a man whose views do not always agree with mine. He has never been a member of the Labour party. He said -
Communism is a prescription, it is a medicine. Wo may decide that it is a quack medicine, we may be certain that it is not a remedy for the ailment it professes to cure, we may even think the remedy worse than the disease. But we must be clear about this: that it is the disease that has to be Mired, not the medicine.
The way to wipe out communism is to destroy the evils that create it. The Labour party stands for a state of society built upon Christian ethics. It does not believe in any society based on materialism, and monopoly capitalism equally with communism is based on rancorous materialism. The exhortation of the right honorable member for North Sydney to the world to engage in a Christian awakening should be addressed m those- people who defend the existing order of society which perpetrates the injustice out of which communism grows.
If the Communist party were proscribed and driven underground, and if this Government were defeated as the result of a panic campaign about communism, there would finally be far more Communists in Australia than there are at present. Hitler suppressed communism, but there are more Communists in Germany to-day than there were before Hitler rose to power. Mussolini suppressed communism, but at the elections held in Italy only a few months ago, one out of every three Italians voted for Communist party candidates. That proves that communism cannot be suppressed merely by force. Communism can best be beaten by appeals to the intellect of the people and by submitting legislative programmes which the people will accept. As Abraham Lincoln said, “ You can fool all of the people some of the time; you can fool some of the people all the time; but you cannot fool all of the people all the time “. Honorable members opposite will not fool the people of Australia on communism.
– At the outset I wish to make some comments on the remarks of the Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell). The honorable gentleman stated that there were differences of opinion between the Liberal party and the Australian Country party. I agree that such differences of opinion exist and I hope that they will always do so because they indicate that there is still some freedom of expression left to us. Where the Minister stands in relation to communism is perfectly evident. The honorable gentleman treated the House to some quotations from speeches made by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) back in the dim, distant past before we knew of the evils of communism. The honorable member for’ Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) charged the honorable member for Reid with having fraternized. with Communists in the past. I remind the House that the honorable member for Werriwa was himself, at one time, a member of the party led by the honorable member for Reid and applauded all his activities. The Minister for Information quoted from speeches made by the right honorable member for
North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) during World War II. No matter what may be said of Russia now, we must not forget that during the war Russia was our ally in the fight against a common foe. As Mr. Churchill said, “ Those that are with us are not our enemies “. Not in the distant past, but at the Easter conference of the Australian Labour party this year, the Minister for Information said that capitalism, and not communism, was the enemy of Australia.
– I did not say that.
– It is true that the honorable gentleman tried to wriggle out of the statement.
– I did not make it.
– No matter how the Minister may try to wriggle out of it, his attitude towards communism is quite clear. He is not even in agreement with his leader, the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) who has made frequent appeals for subscriptions from the so-called capitalists of this country. He is, however, in complete agreement with the Minister for Defence (Mr. Dedman), who said that every man who owns his own home is a little capitalist and an antagonist of the Australian Labour party.
– The Minister did not say that.
– Both the Minister for Inform ation and his Golleague, the Minister for Defence, are anxious to implement fully the socialization policy of the Australian Labour: party. It ill becomes the honorable gentleman to attack the right honorable member for North Sydney as he has done to-night. Let us compare the activities of the Governmentled by the right honorable member for North Sydney with those of the present Government. It is common knowledge that, but for the persistent and successful fight of the right honorable member after the termination of World War I., Japan would have been granted a mandate over New Guinea and Australia would have been lost to us in the struggle from which we have recently emerged. By the tenacity of his fight against the then leaders of the world, the right honorable gentlemansaved Australia from the fate that must have befallen it. The present Government is prepared to allow the waterside workers of Australia to control the destinies of this nation and to allow Communist collaborators in the islands adjacent to Australia to gain power. Should another world war occur they will constitute the dominating influence. The Prime Minister is not as far-sighted as was the right honorable member for North Sydney when he stood up for Australia’s rights before Clemen ceau, Wilson and the other world leaders after World War I. The Minister for Transport has said that Labour is fighting communism. To say the least, it is adopting strange methods in waging the fight. An examination of the records of this Government and of other Labour governments in Australia, shows that the only Labour leader who stoodup to the Communists for a period was the Premier of Queensland, Mr. Hanlon. Since his recent visit to Canberra he, too, unfortunately, has shown the white feather and has yielded to Communist pressure, throwing overboard at a time when he was in sight of victory the very law for which he himself was responsible and which would have beaten the Communists. He has allowed the Communists to get away with their scheming and plotting to such a degree that they are flow holding a victory celebration because they have beatenhim in the long run. Genuine unionists in Brisbane told me during the recent rail strike that the reason why they did not express their opinions was that unless they had their backs to the wall and had plenty of supporters they would have been knocked on the head. That is how the right of free expression has been taken away from the workers. How can the Minister for Information claim that the Australian Labour party stands for the preservation of democracy when unionists who seek to express their views are debarred from doing so by the force of the Communists? The Minister says that the Government is fighting the Communists in a positive way, but its attitude has never been anything but negative since I have been a member of this House. I say that every trade union leaderwho has vowed allegiance to a foreign nation should be sent to that nation. The germ of communism in Australia would be killed if we sent to Russia only half a dozen of the men who are paid by the government of that country.
– With one-way tickets, we hope !
– Yes. That is the only action that would be necessary. These men are paid by the Government of Soviet Russia and have vowed allegiance to it. They are not loyal to their own country. Why should they be allowed to remain here? The Minister has said that the Government will punish treason. Why does it not punish these men? It is treason to uproot the freedom that exists in this British country. It is folly for the Minister to try to answer the constructive criticism of honorable members on this side of the House merely by invoking the shades of bygone political speeches on all sorts of subjects.
Two other subjects whichI wishtodiscuss are production, and the Councilfor Scientific and Industrial Research. I shall deal first with the Prime Minister’s expressed desire that production should be increased. The Government has declared that it has taken drastic measures to curtail dollar expenditure and is doing everything possible to increase Australia’s earnings of dollars, forwhich purpose it wants increased production. Itismakingeffortstopromotesalesin dollar areas. Obviously if we are to increase sales in dollar areas, we must produce the goodsto sell. Only yesterday the Common wealth Statistician announced that Australia’s exportshad reached a record value. I emphasize the word “value”, because it does not necessarily indicate that we are exporting an increased quantity of goods. The value of some exports this year has been 300 per cent. higher than the valueofour exports ofthe same goods over the comparable period of 1939. In July we actually earned a small dollar surplus. However, export sales made in July obviously included much of the wool that had been sold at open auction in May’ and June. It does not follow that the value of ourexportsin August and September. will be comparable with that of July exports, because the wool sales have ended. Although we have exportable surpluses of many commodities, I contend that we are not producing as much as we should produce if the Government adopted the correct policy. Actions speak louder thanwords. I regard the Government’s policy as being one of restricted production rather than oneof increased production. In order to justify my contention, I refer to its policy on liquid fuel. That policy can have no other result than the restriction of production.
Liquid fuel allocations in the country areas of Queensland at least are insufficient for the needs of business. Last year the ration was reduced by 10 per cent. Producers complained, but they struggled through. Now the Government has decided upon a further reduction of 20 per cent. The Prime Minister was asked to-day who would be affected by that reduction, but he could not give a definite answer because he does not administer the Department of Shipping and Fuel and the responsible Minister is not in Canberra at present. However, he has informed me by letter that the 20 per cent. reduction will apply to users of private motor vehicles and that a10 per cent. reduction will apply to all other consumers. That is vague, but it appears that the10 per cent. cut will apply to farmers who operate tractors. I was approached aboutthis matter last week by the secretary of the Queensland Grain Growers Council, and I immediately referred itto the Minister for Shipping and Fuel, pointing out that any reduction wouldhave a serious effect upon production. The Government has announced that special fuel allocations will be made to meet specialneeds. I am afraid that that promise is not being honoured. I havehad evidence from various sources to provethat the Queensland Liquid Fuel Board does not give effect to that policy. In the Cunnamulla district in Queensland where wool and stock have to be transported over long distances, a carrier whooperates eight lorries receives an allotment of 1,000 gallons of petrol each month. Of that quantity, a ration of 567 gallons is ear-marked for the purposes of three mailcontracts, leaving 468 gallons for five truckswhich are operated fulltime and three which are operated part-time to carry produce. Before the first ten days of last month, had elapsed, his petrol allocation had been used and he was unable to carry wool, or the stock in drought-stricken areas that he would have liked to move. His request for a special allocation of fuel was refused. When I rook the matter up with the Liquid Fuel Board on his behalf, I was told that an extra allocation would not be made. The board’s representatives were adamant. In oilier words, production can “ go hang “ so long as petrol consumption is curtailed. Apparently that is all that matters in the view of the Government. From a dollar pool of over 64,000,000 dollars, an amount of 6,500,000 dollars has been set aside for the purchase of petrol from dollar areas. The rest of the nation’s petrol quota must be bought in sterling zones. [ submit that all of our petrol can be bought in sterling areas. We have been informed that the oil wells of the Netherland East Indies were producing at their pre-war rate about two years ago. We could buy large quantities there.
– If the “wharfies” would let us.
– Yes, if the Government would govern and deal with the friendly nation that helped us to fight the Japanese. Why should we not have trade between Australia and Dutch territory ?
People in our country areas want to know why the Government proposes to curtail their fuel supplies. The reduction affects other liquid fuels as well as petrol. One oil company has informed me that imports of power kerosene have been reduced by 20 per cent. Before I left Kingaroy last week I received protests from various parts of the Maranoa electorate because two large oil companies had had their stocks of power kerosene “ frozen “ for September on the ground that they had over-sold their quotas. The result of that was that farmers could not get power kerosene and their tractors were standing idle. Other companies refused to sell supplies to them because their quotas were already too limited to warrant them accepting new customers. So the Government says to the farmers, “Hang your ploughing and hang production. We will not have increased production. We are going to restrict it by restricting your fuel allocations “. I challenge the Government to prove that its policy will result in anything but the restriction of production. How can the Prime Minister appeal to the primary producers for cooperation and greater production when he refuses to let them have the wherewithal to do their work? People can get dollar allowances for things which are not vital. Petrol quotas are granted so that racehorses can be carried about the country in floats. Is that helping Australia to get dollars? I know scores of city residents who get larger quotas for private purposes than many farmers can get. Many farmers get no more than twenty gallons a month each. The mileage which they can obtain from their petrol allocations does not allow them to go into town even once a week. When they do drive into town they have to cart their calves and pigs, and on their return transport their supplies from the town to their properties. The allocation of fuel to country residents certainly does not permit of any motoring for pleasure, whereas the allocation to city dwellers, some of whom receive more than 20 gallons a month, permits them to drive for pleasure, and some of them can use their vehicles in order to have a holiday every week-end. The men to whom the Prime Minister is appealing for increased production do not receive sufficient petrol to enable them to use their cars to take a holiday even once a year. If a country man asked for a special allocation in order to enable him to take his family to the seaside he would be refused. If he asked for a special allocation to enable urgent or emergency work to be carried out on his property he would not receive any consideration. Recently, a man in my electorate, whose property is situated on flat country, and is liable to be flooded, desired to cart materials in order to build a ramp for his wheat in case of flood, and made application for a special allocation for that purpose. His application was refused, notwithstanding that his object was to conserve wheat. That is typical of the attitude adopted by the Liquid Fuel Control Board in Queensland. If the Prime Minister is sincere in his appeals to primary producers to increase production he must revise his policy in regard to fuel consumption. Unless more wool, butter and meat are produced for sale overseas, we cannot hope to meet our dollar commitments. By adopting a niggardly policy in its treatment of primary producers, the Government is guilty of short-sightedness. It is not encouraging primary producers to increase production, and in the end the Government’s treatment of them will defeat its own policy.
The other matter to which I wish to refer is the provision of additional accommodation for the Council for Scientific and Industrial ‘Research. I noted with approval the statement in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech regarding provision of additional accommodation for the council. That body maintains two research stations in my electorate, one of which is situated in the heart of the sheep country. Some time ago in this House I complimented that Council on the results accomplished by that station. However, I intend to refer now to the station maintained by the council in the Stanthorpe district. I make particular reference to that station to-night because I have previously urged that the financial provision for the experimentation work carried on at that station should be increased. Unfortunately, some of my remarks were misunderstood and were interpreted as a criticism of the work carried out at the station. I emphasize that in making my previous remarks I had no intention to criticize the staff of the station. I have visited the station, of which Mr. Thomas is in charge, and I have had an opportunity to examine the valuable work which he is doing. His particular function is to investigate root growth of apples. “When the task was assigned to him he was told that he would not be expected to furnish a report covering final results for ten years. Having had an opportunity to examine, his work, I realize that his task is a lengthy one. He has’ now been engaged upon it for seven years, and already his experiments have yielded wonderful results. He has not a large staff, and because of the inadequacy of his staff he seems to be overworked. Furthermore, I noticed that additional areas are being cleared in order to enable him to make further experiments. I trust that the Government will carry out its declared intention to provide liberal funds for the Council for Scientific and
Industrial Research, and I hope that some of the funds provided will be allocated to Mr. Thomas in order to assist him in carrying out his particular task. I intend my remarks to apply generally to all work carried out by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in rural areas. I have made those remarks, not only to clear myself of any misunderstanding attaching to my previous statement, but also in order to pay tribute to the work carried on at the research stations at Stanthorpe and at Gilruth Plains near Cunnamulla. The establishment of such stations in the centre of the districts in which particular phases of primary production are carried on is a sound policy. If the investigation of the incidence of disease in fruit trees comes within the ambit of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, I trust that additional funds will be provided for that purpose.
.- At one stage of the debate I intended only to reply to some of the remarks made by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison), who opened the case against the Address-in-Reply on behalf of the Opposition. Whilst it is still my intention to deal with the remarks of the Acting Leader of the Opposition, I intend, first of all, to say something with regard to the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang), who moved the real “censure motion “ against the Government. Any amendment moved to the AddressinReply is a direct censure of the Government, as the honorable member for Reid knows, because he was Premier of New South Wales for some time. The honorable member submitted his motion in the guise of an attack on communism, about which he had a great deal to say. Of course, he ought to know a lot about communism because he was a camp follower of the Communists for years. The honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Adermann) interjects - I think to the effect that I also must have been a Communist sympathizer - but I can inform the honorable member that heelers of the honorable member for Reid, the former Premier of New South Wales and leader of the Australian Labour party in that State, chased me in my electorate for three pre-election ballots because I would not “ confirm and co-operate “, as they used to say in those days. I can also assure him that my opponents did not achieve muck su’ccess -in their campaign against me. They also conducted a vendetta against my brother, who is the member for Marrickville in the Parliament of New South Wales. because he would not “ toe the line “. In those days the honorable member for Reid was responsible for, and was the spearhead of, the “red objective”, as it was termed. A:t an annual Easter conference of the New South Wales .branch of the Australian Labour party he strongly advocated the formation of socialization units with power to co-opt outside persons, including Communists. But .some time afterwards, because of the Communist colouring of the units which the honorable member for Reid had helped to establish in the Labour ..party, I, with others, Was ‘deputed to destroy them. It was a pretty tough Job. Finally we got rid of them. We ‘also ,got rid of the honorable member, and it was the best day’s work that Labour ever did in New South Wales.
When he was Premier of .New South Wales, the chief adviser of the present honorable member for Reid was not any of his departmental officers, but Mr. “Jock” Garden, a former secretary of the New South Wales Trades and Labour ^Council. Garden could get into the “Premier’s office in order to see him when even the Premier’s ministerial colleagues could not do so. That i3 a notorious fact, and every one in Sydney knew it at the time. Furthermore, the former Premier hardly made a single, move in ‘the industrial world without first seeking ‘the advice of Mr. “ Jock “ Garden, which, in most instances he acted upon. It was even whispered .around the streets “of Sydney that “Jock1” Garden had ‘a duplicate key to the Premier’s ministerial suite, and could go in there as often as he liked, and I believe that rumour to have been true. In 1931, the present honorable member for Reid was so generally regarded in New South Wales” as a Communist and a “ red “ that it was believed that the Labour party in that State had gone “red”. He led a proud party of 55 Labour members into the Legislative Assembly of 90 members, but in a short time he had crushed, broken and destroyed that party, so that only a handful of its members returned after the next State elections. All that happened because he simply suppressed every one who declined to follow him. Talk about dictatorship I As dictators, Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini were not to be compared with him. Through his association with a section of the Trades Hall, he succeeded in breaking up the Labour leagues until .their membership .consisted of only a handful of ‘camp followers whom he could control. The Labour movement was im such a sorry mess through the influence which he exerted that it did not come back into its own until it had got rid of him. After -he had been deposed from the leadership, the Labour party in .New South Wales was elected to office, and is now enjoying its third term as a government. J forecast that in spite of the honorable member for Reid, the Australian Labour PartY will sweep the New South Wales constituencies at the next ‘election as it did at !the .last two elections. ‘Obviously^ he has joined the enemies ‘of the .Labour movement, because the amendment which he has submitted to the GovernorGeneral’s Speech represents a -direct attempt to censure the Governmnent. But regardless ‘of ‘everything (that the honorable member can do, the people of New South Wales still have ‘complete faith in the old Labour movement that “he nearly destroyed, and, indeed, would have destroyed had he remained its leader much longer. I shall not say more on that subject, because it nauseates me. In fact, I experience a feeling ‘of nausea whenever the honorable member rises to speak.
The Acting Leader of the Opposition was not o’bliged to move an -amendment to the Governor-‘General’s Speech, because he had already arranged with the honora’ble member for Reid to do so. I am convinced that the honorable member for Reid submitted the amendment with the connivance of the Liberal party and the Australian Country ‘party. Members of the Opposition knew of his intention to do so. The speeches which they had prepared ‘on communism show distinctly that they were aware that their “stooge “, the honorable member for Reid, would take the course that they themselves had not sufficient courage to take. The speech of the Acting Leader of the Opposition was one of the worst rehashes that I have heard for years. I imply no disrespect to Mr. Deputy Speaker when. I say that, had I been occupying the Chair at the time, I should have ruled the honorable members remarks out of order because he was guilty, of tedious repetition. But as he referred to some “ hardy annuals “, I must place on record, the case for the Government.
The Acting Leader- of the Opposition complained that the Governor-General’s Speech omitted all reference to developmental works. The explanation is that any references of the kind were not necessary. Had the honorable member, been assiduous in attending to his- parliamentary duties, he would have known that,, even while Australia was- engaged in; a total war that absorbed all the resources of the country, including engineers and technicians,, the Government found opportunities to plan a large number, of developmental works, which could be commenced immediately man.-power and materials became available. The Labour Government was anxious to avoid a. repetition of the experience when men who had been employed on the construction! of the underground railway in Sydney were forced to apply for the dole immediately the job had been completed because of the lack of forward, planning of other works. This Government would be ready to-morrow, if man-power and materials were available,, to embark on huge developmental works which would enable Australia to carry a substantially greater population and enormously increase its productive capacity. We have planned’, in conjunction with New South Wales and Victoria, an undertaking involving: the diversion: of: the Snowy River waters: At present; a”, small matterin: dispute between the two .States hasyet to be resolved,, but when- the- work has- been, completed^. Australia will have one of. the- greatest: hydro-electric plants in. the world’.. This undertaking cannot be- commenced, now- because of the lack of manpower- and materials, but the project, had: been: planned’ long- before? the
Governor-General delivered his Speech last week.
Commonwealth officers have assisted the States and offered valuable advice to them on the problem of combating soil erosion. The Commonwealth, in conjunction with New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, has also formulated plans for- the standardization of railway gauges. Although man-power and materials are not yet available for the work, every honorable member realizes the necessity for commencing it at the earliest opportunity. When this Parliament used to meet in Melbourne, 1 travelled by the Limited Express from Sydney to Melbourne at the beginning of the- week, and from Melbourne to Sydney at the week-end. I recall that, one year. South. Australia and Victoria enjoyed a bountiful season, but New South Wales suffered a disastrous drought,, and, because of traffic disruption caused by the- break of gauge, large quantities of urgently needed fodder consigned from Victoria and South Australia: to- New South Wales to feed the starving, stock were stacked inside and outside the railway yards at Albury. That occurs readily to my mind, as an instance of the serious inconvenience, and,, indeed, economic loss, that Australia suffers through the- lack of ap uniform gauge. Every honorable member is aw.are of the situation, and. must admit the wisdom; of proceeding with standardization.
The Governments of the Commonwealth and New South Wales have formulated, plans for constructing a number of locks- on the- Darling River,, as has’ been, done- on the Murray River and, to some extent; on the Murrumbidgee River,, in; order to conserve1 flood waters which now flow to the ocean. I cite those few examples- in reply to’ the mendacious; misrepresentation in. which the Acting: Leader of the Opposition, always- engages-. They answer- his- complaint- that the Go- vernment has; not formulated plains- for important developmental works; even though-, no reference was- made to1 themins the Governor-General’s Speech.
The Government has also planned the’ continuance- oft assistance- to primary inrdustries and: hopes, with the co-operation-, of: the’ States;, to: stabilize them’., Indeed, the Government accomplished more in this respect during the years of total war than anti-Labour governments ever did when they were in office in peace-time. “We shall continue to assist the primary industries up to and after the next election. The Acting Leader of the Opposition also raised some matters which have become fetishes with him. For example, he spoke of housing problems, and told a harrowing story about the plight of people living under conditions of overcrowding. His criticism can be easily answered. Wherever we go, we see evidence that the Commonwealth, in conjunction with the State housing commissions, has completed houses, and has others under construction. The dwellings provide reasonable living conditions, and are offered to the public at a rent which the tenants can afford to pay. No other government in the world has achieved what the Commonwealth and State Governments have accomplished in the building of homes, and housing generally. The honorable gentleman also referred to families sharing homes as being a tragedy. During the years that anti-Labour governments were in power many families were compelled to share homes in the cities and other congested areas because of the intermittent employment and low standards of living then existing. They had no hope of ever acquiring homes of their own. Home crowding under slum conditions, in areas which should not have been slum areas, was the normal family life of thousands of people in this country during those years, and no attempt’ was made by anti-Labour governments to try to remedy the situation. During the depression - and I am never going to let the people of this country forget it while I have a tongue in my head - I heard of many people having to get out of even the poorer kinds of houses in the cities into any kind of habitation that they could secure. Thousands of brickmakers, carpenters, plumbers, builders’ labourers, and others engaged in home-buliding were on the dole. Timberworkers were doing relief work when they could have been employed getting timber out of the forests. Tradesmen could have been building homes for tens of thousands of peopleThere was no shortage of anything,, but the Commonwealth Bank wasshackled by the Bruce-Page Government, and had to do what it wastold. The Commonwealth Bank and associated banks told the people of Australia that there was no money. Had webeen able to get £20,000,000 in the early days of unemployment - it would havebeen worth £150,000,000 when the depression was at its peak - it would havestopped the toboganning down into thedepth of the depression. Anti-Labour - governments said that the financial structure of Australia could not stand it. Yet we were spending that amount every two days when war expenditure was atits height. No legislation could be passed* in this Parliament to do anything about it because the Senate had control and the Commonwealth Bank acted under - the charter given to it by the BrucePage Government. It is sheer humbugfor the Acting Leader of the Opposition to refer again to the present housingshortage. It is nauseating, and the honorable gentleman knows it. The deficiency is due to two things: first, to great shortages, and, secondly, to many years of unbroken employment. Incomeshave been enhanced by almost constant overtime payments, as evidenced by Commonwealth Bank figures. Deposits rose from £250,000,000 in 1939 to over £700,000,000 in 1946, according to the statistics recently issued: and they are still rising. Manypeople who, under anti-Labour governments, never dreamt of owning a house,. have been enabled to put a deposit on a home. Those people would have had to be content otherwise to continue to share homes, because their conditions would’ have been such that they could not afford to buy a home of their own.
I wish to refer to the burning question/ of coal. Opposition members always endeavour to throw responsibility onthis Government for unrest on the coalfields. I know the position fairly well,because I have represented a coal-mining area for many years. The Acting Leader of the Opposition knows as much about it as does a new-born babe. It is a> big problem, which nobody who has not- been constantly on the coal-fields, talked to the men, and repeatedly tried to get evidence of their problem, can hope to understand. Throughout the world there is a traditional antagonism between employers and employees in the coal industry. Anti-Labour governments in the past have fanned that antagonism; they have helped to keep it alive by doing all the things that the coal-owners wanted, but nothing of a practical nature to help the employees. They have done nothing to try to overcome the real causes of unrest on the coal-fields. I am not referring to wages tribunals; wages are not everything. [Quorum formed.] The problems that faced the coal industry went unheeded for years while antiLabour governments were in office. In many instances the miners could do nothing but resort to the strike weapon and, because they had to do it so often, it became almost a habit. Reference was made to the Prime Minister’s recent visit to the coalfields. Some years ago another Prime Minister visited the coalfields,but that visit did more harm than good. Because of the John Brown incident, the Gatling guns in the streets of Newcastle, theRothbury case, and so on, this spirit of antagonism never waned but was fed by the brutality of the anti-Labour governments. In 1939, when the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) was Prime Minister of this country, because of this attitude of the anti-Labour parties there was a disastrous strike. At that time the nation had a reserve of over 3,000,000 tons of coal, but it was dissipated as the result of that strike, which the Menzies Government made very little effort to stop. Whatever efforts that Government did make, they did not stop the strike nor were any miners sent to gaol. Because the strike lasted sufficiently long to result in the dissipation of the reserve of 3,000,000 tons of coal, when a Labour government came into power just before the commencement of the war with J apan, we had notaton of coal in reserve. Owing to the exigencies of the war and the everincreasing demands of coal for munitions, shipping and so on, it was impossible, having regard to the productive capacity of the mines, for the miners to build up a reserve. The country is now suffering from the actions of the Menzies Government, which allowed industrial troubles to go on without attempting to stop them until the whole of our coal reserves were dissipated and we were down to bedrock, without a ton of coal in hand. The Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison) has madestatements with regard to the coal industry, housing and so on, but I am sure that the Parliament and the country, would be more grateful to him if in future he made sure of his facts and stated the correct position.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Hutchinson) adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Elections and Referendums - Statistical Returns in relation to the Senate Elections, and the General Elections for the House of Representatives, 1946 (including Detailed Return in relation, to the Election for the House of Representatives, 1946. for the Northern Territory), and the submission to the Electors of Proposed Laws for the Alteration of the Constitution, entitled : -
“Constitution Alteration (Social Services) 1946”;
“Constitution Alteration (Organized Marketing of Primary Products) 1946”; and
“Constitution Alteration (Industrial Employment) 1946”; together with Summaries of Elections and Referendums, 1903-1946.
Elections, 1946 - Statistical Returns showing the voting within each Subdivision in relation to the Senate Election and the General Elections for the House of Representatives, 1946, viz.: -
Now Sou th Wales.
Ordered to be printed.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Departments of -
Health - F. R. Cawthorn, H. B. Cumpston, J. J. Gard, R. S. Martin.
Post-war Reconstruction - J. E. Brocksopp, R. Buchanan, R. J. M. Gordon.
Shipping and Fuel - L. W. D. Taylor.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for -
Department of Post-war Reconstruction purposes - Wingfield, South Australia.
Department of Shipping and Fuel purpases - Onslow, Western Australia.
Kadina East, South Australia.
Picton, New South Wales.
Port Lincoln, South Australia,
Tumut, New South Wales.
Norfolk Island Act- Ordinance - 1948- No. 2- Advisory Council.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-
Ordinance - 1948- No. 2- Workmen’s Compensation.
Regulations- 1948- No. 1 (Buildings and Services Ordinance).
House adjourned at 10.15 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
Re-establishment:BuildingTrades; Loans to ex-Servicemen.
Mr.Francis asked the Minister for Post-warReconstruction, upon notice -
asked the Minister for Post-warReconstruction, upon notice -
3.£ 7,003,869. Average amount £716.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 September 1948, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1948/19480907_reps_18_198/>.