House of Representatives
19 May 1949

18th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mt. J. J. Clark) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

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– Is the Minister for Labour and National Service aware that the employees of a wool and basil working firm at Launceston, Tasmania, are now on strike? That is a most unusual occurrence- in Tasmania. Can the Minister inform honorable members of the cause of the stoppage and the action that is being taken to end .the strike?

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

– I am aware of the existence of the dispute at Launceston to which the honorable member has referred, and I agree with him that it it unusual for Tasmanian workers to go on strike. As far as I have been able to gather, the dispute follows a -series of conferences that have taken place during the last six months between the employers’ organization and the employees’ federation. As the result of those conferences, the employers’ organization agreed to pay an increased wage to the employees. Most of the employers, covering the majority of the employees, have paid the increased wage, but a minority of employers, including the firm at Launceston which the honorable member has mentioned, have not yet done so. The latest development is that a conciliation commissioner, Mr. Kelly, has decided to go to Launceston early next week, and call the parties together again in conference, if possible next Tuesday. T am hopeful that the conciliation commissioner will find a satisfactory formula to settle the dispute.

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– I desire to direct the attention of the Minister for Repatriation to the decision of the Services Canteens Trust Fund to supplement by £200 in respect of each man the work of the Red Cross Society in assisting paraplegic and double amputee exservicemen to purchase motor cars for their own use. T ask the honorable gentleman the following questions: - Do the United States and Canadian Governments grant .to single amputees sufficient money to enable them to purchase cars’? Has the British Government already allocated 1,500 cars for its maimed exservicemen? Is the New Zealand Government providing maimed’ ess-members of its farces with motor cars, which become .their property when .they have demonstrated ‘their fitness to .own .and drive Ahern i Will the .Australian Government .follow .the .humane .example of those other English-speaking countries and grant .to .our maimed ex-servicemen sufficient money to -enable .them io purchase -cars, instead of leaving .this necessary form of assistance to -charity?

Minister for Repatriation · BASS, TASMANIA · ALP

– In some .dominions motor cars are provided for certain classes of -ex-service .pensioners mho suffer from war-caused disabilities. When the honorable .member stated .that 1,500 motor .cars had been made .available .for that purpose in the ‘United .Kingdom, .he .understated the [position, because 2,0.00 cars [have been allocated to such .men. Possibly that understatement of the position lends .point to .his question. In Australia .the Government has for many years provided .substantial .assistance .to disabled -ex-servicemen in the form of .special aids to .drive motor cars. The .real -difficulty now is not to provide -money -for the purchase of -motor cans, .but to purchase -cars with any money made available.



– The celery growers of South Australia who, incidentally, produce the finest celery in Australia, are experiencing considerable difficulty because they are not entitled to obtain supplies of tinplate with which to can their ‘surplus produce. Although there is a considerable -demand for the celery, go much is produced that the supply often exceeds the demand, and -the surplus could profitably bc manufactured into soup if sufficient tinplate were available for that purpose. Can the

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say whether he has yet given any consideration to the matter? If not, will he take the matter up with .his colleagues with a view .to having celery included is the list of commodities for the canning of which tinplate may ‘be used ?

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · ALP

– -Representatives of the celery-growers of South Australia have brought to my notice the fact thai they have a phenomenally good crop of that ^excellent product. I -point out, of course, that commodities >of similar excellence are also produced ‘in -other States. “The representatives of the -celery - growers have -stressed ‘Are fact that unless tinplate is allocated for the canning .of their .produce their prospects of “disposing .of .the surplus ‘satisfactorily are nol very great. .1 have therefore submitted their case to .my -colleague, the Minister for Supply and Development, and requested .that .he .should investigate it. I trust that in <due course ;a favorable reply will be received.



– I address the following .’questions to the Treasurer: (lj) Is ‘the Commonwealth Bank holding funds which the -trading banks arc compelled to .deposit -with it, and do those deposits “at -present amount to approximately £3S0,0B,000? (2) Does th, Commonwealth Bank [pay .the .trading banks interest at :the rate of -one-half per cent, on such funds? Ti not, what is the rate of interest paid? (3.) How does .the Government -or the Commonwealth iBank -Employ those funds’? (4) What justification has the Government for charging ex-servicemen £3 15s. -per cent, .interest -on loans .for War Service Homes when :it is acquiring £he use of huge .sums of public money at 10s. per cent.? (5) Does net the existence of such a disparity -amount to usurious practice on the part of the Government?


– Although the actual amount varies from day to .day the average amount held by the ‘Commonwealth Bank on deposit from the trading banks is, as the .honorable .member .said, approximately £380.000,000. It is also correct that the rate of interest fixed by order is about one-half per cent’. The rate was originally 17s. 6d. per cent., but it varies from time to time. It is true that money is borrowed from the Commonwealth Bank by private banks at a rate of interest of approximately per cent, a year, although the money deposited with the Commonwealth Bank by the private banks carries a much lower rate of interest. That is done at the request of the private banks, and not because of any dictation by the Commonwealth Bank. If a private bank agreed to dispose of securities in order to place with the Commonwealth Bank the minimum deposit that is required of it, there would be no need for it to borrow from the Commonwealth Bank, but for technical reasons associated with banking the private banks prefer to lodge certain money with the Commonwealth Bank and to borrow in other directions. Those minimum deposits are not used by the Commonwealth Bank, as has been suggested by the honorable gentleman, for the purpose of making loans to the public. All ot portion of them could be recalled by the private banks if circumstances arose which, in the opinion of the Commonwealth Bank, made it desirable that that should be done. I remind the honorable gentleman that the Leader of the Australian Country party is one of those who claim to have been the first to think of the system of minimum deposits. The right honorable gentleman has claimed in this House, quite justifiably, that he reached a voluntary arrangement with the trading banks with regard to minimum deposits. In view of the great amount of money that was flowing into the community during the war, with the objective of preventing inflation, the right honorable gentleman negotiated a voluntary arrangement whereby when the Commonwealth Bank called for certain deposits to be placed with it, that would be done. This Government has made that voluntary arrangement the subject of legislation. It is now compulsory for the private banks to adopt this pro.cedure. The necessary provision is contained in the legislation under which the Commonwealth Bank acts. Perhaps it would be better if I supplied the honorable gentleman later with a statement upon this matter.

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– Has the attention of the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction been directed to a statement by the chairman of the Soldier Settlement Commission in Victoria, Mr. Simpson, reported in the Melbourne Argus of Wednesday, the 18th May, to the effect that the livelihood of soldier settlers will be jeopardized unless the Soldier Settlement Commission can reach agreement with the federal authorities on the system of valuing properties in Victoria?

Minister for Defence · CORIO, VICTORIA · ALP

– My Melbourne office has directed my attention to the statement to which the honorable gentleman has referred. In my opinion, the procedure that has been adopted by the chairman of the Soldier Settlement Commission in Victoria is grossly improper. The Premier of Victoria wrote to the Prime Minister requesting that a conference be held to consider valuations for soldier settlement purposes. The Prime Minister replied to the Premier

And said that it would be desirable for a conference to be held first between the officers of the Commonwealth and State Governments. One of the Officers appointed by the State Government to take part in these discussions was the chairman of the Soldier Settlement Commission. As far as I am aware, the report of the proceedings of that conference has not yet been forwarded either to the Prime Minister or to the Premier of Victoria. It was grossly improper of the chairman of the Soldier Settlement Commission in Victoria to make public the matters that were discussed at the conference without having first informed his Premier and without the Premier having referred the matter back to” the Prime Minister. As to the subject-matter of the discussions, clause 6 of the agreement that was ratified by both this Parliament and the State Parliament makes it perfectly clear that valuations of soldier settlement properties will be based upon what can be borne by the settler after he’ has received a reasonable income. The valuations are also to be based on the long-term yields and prices of the products that will be produced on a particular property. Soldiers’ organizations generally throughout Australia have acclaimed that provision in the agreement as the charter under which returned soldiers of World War II. will receive rauch better treatment than was given to returned soldiers of previous wars. That particular provision, I repeat, has been acclaimed everywhere throughout the Commonwealth as being a reasonable, and indeed a generous, standard of valuation to be made in respect of soldier settlement properties.

Mr- Rankin. - Many returned soldiers desiring a property may die of old age before they get one.


– Valuations can be based either on the principle set out in the agreement or on the cost of acquisition plus the cost of development of the properties. In some instances, if the properties were bought at a very low valuation - and under the agreement such properties are supposed to be bought at 1942 valuations - it might transpire that the valuation based on the cost of acquisition plus the cost of development would be less than the valuation based in accordance with clause 6 of the agreement. In that event, the Commonwealth would be prepared to accept the lower of the two valuations. But what the chairman of the Soldier Settlement Commission in Victoria wishes to be done is that the valuation should be based on the cost of acquisition plus the estimated cost of development, on the 1942 basis. That, of course, would mean that both the Commonwealth and the State would have to pay out very large sums because of the decrease in the aggregate of the valuations based according to that method. I believe that the agreement is perfectly fair and indeed is generous to soldier settlers and the Commonwealth intends to adhere to it.


– I address a question to the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction relative to the scheme for land settlement of ox-servicemen, and the Commonwealth part in that scheme. First, I nsk the Minister whether the Common wealth has yet settled one ex-serviceman in its own territory, the Northern Territory, consisting of 500,000 square miles? Secondly, I ask the Minister whether, and to what degree, the Australian Government accepts responsibility for the land settlement of ex-servicemen in those States with which arrangements to implement the scheme have been made. Without trespassing your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am prompted to ask this question by a constituent who has written to me in these terms -

I have applied for eleven blocks in Victoria and seventeen in New South Wales in the last two years. I was on my father’s dairy all my life until I joined the Australian Imperial Force. T served three years with the First Armoured Division-


– Order ! The honorable member has read sufficient to make his point.


– The writer says that he has since saved £1,000. Another constituent says that he served in the Australian Imperial Force–


-Order! The honorable member is proceeding to argue his question. He must ask his question without comment.


– In about a dozen words I wish to point out that another constituent-


– Order ! The honorable member has already used more than a dozen words in endeavouring to make his point. He must ask his question.


– This man says that he served-


– Order ! The honorable member must ask his question.


– Will the Minister state specifically to what extent the Commonwealth accepts responsibility for the land settlement of ex-servicemen in its own territories and in the States? I confine my question to ex-servicemen who are qualified for settlement.


– It is the responsibility of the Commonwealth to provide for the settlement of ex-servicemen within its own territories. The number of properties available for that purpose in the Australian Capital Territory is very small indeed, because most of the leased properties in that territory are held by exservicemen from World War I. The honorable member will realize that settlement in the Northern Territory requires a very much greater amount of capital than is required for settlement in the States.

Mr McEwen:

– My specific question was: Has the Government settled one man there yet?


– My own opinion is that the possibilities of settling exservicemen on the land in the various States where good land is available-

Mr McEwen:

– I rise to order. I submit, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that in replying to my question the Minister is arguing the case. He said, “ My own opinion is so and so “. I do not ask the Minister to argue the case. I ask him to reply to my specific question whether one ex-serviceman has yet been settled on the land in the Northern Territory.


-Order! If the honorable member had asked his question in that form in the first place, he would have received a direct reply. I ask the Minister to answer the specific question asked of him by the honorable member.


– The subject of land settlement of ex-servicemen in the Northern Territory is related to the plans of the Government for the development of that territory. It is of no use to settle ex-servicemen there until those plans have been completed. In the development of those plans the subject of land settlement of ex-servicemen will be taken into consideration.

Mr McEwen:

– Has one ex-serviceman been settled in the Northern Territory yet?


– Order ! I ask the honorable member for Indi to be courteous enough to permit the Minister to answer the question. Otherwise, I shall ask the Minister not to bother to reply at all.


– The honorable member has referred to a constituent who applied for soldier settlement blocks in Victoria and in New South Wales. The allocation of land to soldier settlers is entirely a matter for the State governments. The Commonwealth’s only concern is the eligibility of applicants. That is determined by their war service. The allocation of the blocks to individual applicants is entirely within the province of the States, and I suggest that the honorable member should put his question to the Victorian Government.

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Fire at Administrative Building.


– Will the Minister for Defence inform the House whether one of the principal administrative buildings on the guided weapons testing range was recently destroyed by fire? If so, has an inquiry been instituted to ascertain the cause of fire, and what are the results of that inquiry?


– The administration of the guided weapons testing range is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Supply and Development. J am not aware that an administrative building has been burned down, but I. shall make inquiries from the responsible Minister and supply the honorable member with an answer.

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– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services aware of the following anomaly in the unemployment and sickness benefits provisions of the Social Services Act? A constituent of raine, locked out from a large factory, recently applied for unemployment benefits for himself and daughter, aged 32, who acts as his housekeeper, his wife being deceased. He received benefits for himself, but was refused any payment for his daughter. Such a benefit is approved in the case of a de facto wife. Will the Government consider amending the act to give the same benefit to a dependant-housekeeper as to a de facto wife?


– I shall dismiss the portion of the question dealing with the case of a de facto wife because I do not understand it. I am fairly certain that the act now provides for an allowance to a housekeeper in lieu of deceased wife. If the honorable member is a ware of a case in which that has not been done I am certain -that the Minister will -have the matter put right. If necessary, he will take action to -have the act amended so as to place the position beyond doubt.


– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health how many, -or what percentage, of public and private hospitals throughout Australia have adopted the Commonwealth hospital ‘benefits scheme? How many of the State governments, if any, have agreed to the Commonwealth’s decision to extend the scheme in order .to relieve relatives, or friends, of the payment of fees in respect -of inmates of mental hospitals1?


– I am able to supply in round figures the information sought by the honorable member. About 610 public hospitals and 760 approved private hospitals are now taking part in the hospital benefits scheme. Those figures would represent approximately 90 per cent, of the total public and private hospitals of approved standard throughout Australia. About nine, or ten, months ago the Government commenced negotiations with all of the State Governments with a view to extending its hospital benefits scheme in order to relieve relatives, or friends, of payments towards the upkeep of inmates of mental asylums. Four of the State governments have not completed negotiations with the Treasury whilst two of them have done so and are now implementing the scheme. Those two States are Tasmania and South Australia. When the four remaining State governments have completed their negotiations with the Treasurer, the Australian Government will immediately relieve the relatives and friends of inmates in mental asylums in those States from the obligation of making contributions towards their upkeep.

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Sir Earle Page having addressed a disallowed question to the Prime Minister,


– The right -honorable member is familiar with the Standing Order which provides that questions may not be framed in such a way as to give information or put forward argument. In the course of his question, the right honorable member asked, “Is the Prime Minister aware?” and then he himself offered certain information. The whole purpose of the question seemed to be to give information rather to .seek it.

Sir Earle Page:

– The practice has been to allow the giving of some preliminary information !So->that a Minister may understand the nature of the question. Why has that right been denied me?


– It has not been denied, but the practice has been to allow the giving of only .such brief information as may be necessary to make the question clear. The right honorable member is not entitled to make a long statement setting forth facts and opinions under cover of asking a question.

Sir Earle Page:

– Will the Prime Minister answer that part of the question which has already been asked ?


– I am sure that the Prime Minister does not remember what has- been asked. Certainly, I do not.

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– My question relates to H.aligonian Duke which has been held up in Melbourne for some months with a cargo of coal ordered by the Victorian Government. I ask the Prime Minister whether the Victorian Government has sought the co-operation of the Australian Government to have that cargo unloaded? Have communications been directed to the right honorable gentleman along those lines? If so, what is the nature of the reply which has been given to the Victorian Government’s request?


– The story relating to Haligonian Duke is extremely lengthy. I understand that it is a Canadian vessel which has been under charter carrying coal from Bombay on behalf of .the Victorian Government, although that Government completely washes it? hands of any responsibility regarding the ship or the unloading of its cargo. This matter has been discussed on a number of occasions and representations have been made by the Indian representative in Australia. The matter has been investigated several times by the Minister for Shipping and Fuel. I understand that it Ls alleged that the vessel carries a non-union crew and that for that reason the Waterside Workers Federation has been requested by the corresponding union in Canada not to handle the cargo. As the honorable member has said, the ship has been at Melbourne for the last nine, or ten, weeks. Some time ago I had a history of the vessel prepared, and that statement consisted of five foolscap pages of typescript. I shall not attempt to give all of the details to the House at this juncture. Following representations to me by the Premier of Victoria, the Minister for Transport in that State, Mr. Kent Hughes, sent a telegram to the Government asking whether it would be prepared to support the Victorian Government in steps it might take to unload the coal. Mr. Kent Hughes did not indicate in that telegram, and he has not since done so, what sort of steps his Government proposed to take, and, naturally, I do not buy a pig in a poke. 1 asked the Minister for Shipping and Fuel to see what assistance could be given in the matter so long as he understood what assistance would be involved. I shall obtain further information for the honorable member.

Mr Holt:

– Will the right honorable gentleman make available to me a copy of the statement to which he has referred ?


– Yes; but it is a fairly lengthy statement.

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Assistance in Recruiting Campaigns.


– Can the Minister representing the Postmaster-General say whether the Australian Broadcasting Commission assists the service departments in their recruiting campaigns? If not, will the Minister request that the Postmaster-General’s Department, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and the Defence Department, to consider the advisability of utilizing the national broadcasting system to assist the recruitment of servicemen.

Minister for Immigration · MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP

– I do not know whether the Australian Broadcasting Commission is assisting the recruiting campaigns of the various services, but I shall bring the honorable gentleman’s request to the notice of the PostmasterGeneral, and suggest that he confer with the other authorities that he has mentioned.

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– I lay on the table the report of the Tariff Board on the following subject : -

Axes, Adzes, Hatchets, and Sledge Hammers

Ordered to be printed.

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– A paragraph appeared in the Melbourne Herald on the 10th May stating that another 500 war service homes for Victoria would be completed by June and that a further 1,500 were under construction in the same State. It was also stated that another 1,500 homes would be acquired in the same period by the War Service Homes Commission. I ask the Minister for Works and Housing how long those homes have been in the course of construction? Who is getting them ? How are they allotted ! Can the Minister give me particulars showing the areas in which the homes are being built ? I ask these questions on behalf of people who have been waiting for war service homes for some years and have not yet received satisfaction.

Minister for Works and Housing · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP

– I cannot give a fully detailed reply to all the honorable member’s questions. The numbers stated by the honorable member are substantially correct as far as they relate to the war service homes which have been completed, are under construction and for which contracts have been let. I shall arrange for the honorable member to be supplied with information as to the areas in which the homes are situated or are to be built. Homes are allocated according to a list of priorities. Totally incapacitated ex-servicemen have absolute priority. They include ex-servicemen who are blind, are double amputees, or are totally incapacitated by tuberculosis and men whose health is stated by doctors to be adversely affected by the conditions under which they are living. Their needs account for possibly 15 per cent, of the war service homes allocated. The rest of the war service homes are allocated on a needs basis. Applicants, apart from the war disabled cases, are divided into seven categories of priority. We take a block of from 500 to 1,000 applications in the order of the date of their lodgment, and then divide them into the seven categories of priority and deal with these before selecting another block of applications. However, if an applicant, whose need is urgent, submits his application, he is placed in the high priority category to which he belongs, despite the fact that this will give him preference to applicants in lower priorities who submitted their applications before he did. In other words, we deal with emergent cases promptly, irrespective of the date of lodgment of their application, whilst other than emergent cases are dealt with in blocks, having regard to the priority category within which they come within the block. I shall be glad to supply the honorable member with any further information that she may desire.

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– My question concerns the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral and the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. However, I shall address it to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. I have been asked to protest against the undue publicity given to the rabbit industry by the Australian Broadcasting Commission on Monday without stating the full facts. The Commission broadcast a statement setting out the great value to Australia of the rabbit industry. That point of view was also given much press publicity. Can the Minister say who was responsible for the statement? Will he arrange for the preparation of a statement, to be given wide publicity, detailing the great damage and loss caused by rabbits in Australia in order that the wrong impression created by the recent broadcast may be corrected?


– I assure the honorable gentleman that I am entirely innocent, and I should imagine that the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral likewise is innocent. I should have thought that, after the undue publicity that the honorable member gave to the subject of rabbits in this House earlier this year, it would have been unnecessary for the Australian Broadcasting Commission to interest itself in the subject.

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– In view of the tragic happenings following the recent voyage of R.M.S. Mooltan to the United Kingdom, will the Minister representing the Minister for Health give some indication to the Parliament of the Government’s attitude towards the compulsory vaccination of all persons leaving thi* country by any means of transport? Will the Minister also indicate whether the Government is prepared to discuss with the governments of other countries tinquestion of compulsory vaccination of all people leaving those countries bound for Australia?


– I know that the Minister for Health has this matter under consideration, but I shall certainly bring to his notice the questions’ that the honorable member has asked and try to obtain a full answer.

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– I direct to the Minister for Repatriation a question concerning the war pensions of imperial exservicemen and Australians who served in the British Army. There is no provision in Australia for ex-servicemen in .those categories to have their pensions increased if their condition becomes worse. All that can be done is to send a cable message to the United Kingdom because the Government of that country has not delegated any powers to the Repatriation Commission in Australia. Will the Minister take up this matter with thi’ Government of the United Kingdom with a view to establishing a reciprocal arrangement so that such men, particularly those who served in World War I., who are ailing and unemployed and have very small pensions may secure re-assessments and obtain pensions equal to their needs ?


– Yes, I shall be glad to discuss this matter with the United Kingdom authorities. However, I point out that the Under-Secretary to the United Kingdom. Minister of Pensions, Mr. Blenkinsop. visited Australia a few months ago. T had a long talk with him on this subject, because there are now about 5,000 ex-servicemen from the United Kingdom in Australia and w? expect the number to increase. Mr. Blenkinsop also travelled throughout Australia and investigated what was being done by the repatriation authorities with a view to improving the service and deciding how much delegation of authority might be arranged between the United Kingdom and Australia. I shall be happy to investigate the subject further and, if the honorable member has a particular case in mind, I shall be glad to give my attention to it.

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British Advertisements - Compulsory Unionism - Formal Motion for Adjournment


– Has the Minister for Immigration any information about advertisements appearing in British provincial newspapers offering attractive jobs in Australia? When persons apply they receive a request for a fee of 10s. or El before the name of the employer is supplied. In the end no job is forthcoming, only disappointment. Can Australia House issue a warning against this form of petty racketeering?


– Although I have not previously heard of the practice which the honorable member has mentioned, I shall certainly ask the officials it Australia House to advertise or publish news in the same newspapers, if they will be accepted, warning intending migrants from Great Britain against that kind of racketeer. Apparently, there are people in England anxious to exploit the unfortunate position of many British people who have no relatives or friends in Australia and, therefore, cannot secure passages as easily as can those who have nominators resident in this country.


– I wish to ask the Minister for Immigration a question based on a report published in the Melbourne Herald some days ago under the heading “D.P. Migrants may be Deported “. The Minister, I know, is a devout reader of the Melbourne Herald and he may have some recollection of the incident to which this report refers.. It relates to trouble at a government timber mill in Canberra. The relevant section of the article states -

Mr. Smith said several of the Ukranians, Including an ordained priest working there, had ulan caused trouble by refusing to join a union.

The Immigration Department had to intervene to see that the mcn did observe job conditions and join. 1 ask the Minister whether any immigration official did intervene in this dispute, and whether a condition of immigration to this country is compulsory union membership?


– I f I were to read every reference that the press makes to me or my department, I should have a full time job just reading newspapers. I do read some newspaper comments, flattering and otherwise - the latter of course considerably exceeding the former - but I did not see the particular item referred to by the honorable member. I shall have the matter examined immediately. There is no condition that immigrants to this country must join unions. However, if immigrants seek employment under awards which provide for compulsory union membership, or in industries in which that is the general practice, we tell them in the former case that they must join the appropriate union, or, in the latter case, we advise them that it would be good for them to join a union. If they exercise their free will and say that they do not want to join a union, we find employment for them elsewhere. Nobody is deported for refusing to join a union, but some immigrants are deported for refusing to carry out the obligations that they undertook voluntarily when they came to this country. We are not going to allow a magnificent scheme to be wrecked by a few fools and agitators who want all the good things under the contracts and will not discharge their obligations tn the

Australian people whose guests they are in this land.


– I have received from the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) an intimation that he desires to move .the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely -

The need to convey to the President of the Commonwealth ‘of the Philippines assurances of our friendship and goodwill, and an affirmation that Australia’s immigration policy in relation to nationals of that country is based solely on economic considerations and not on any policy of racial discrimination.


.- I move-

That the House do now adjourn.


– Is the motion supported ?

Five honorable members having risen in support of the motion,


-. - This House cannot afford to ignore the very serious position that kas arisen regarding our relations with the Philippines. For the first time in our history, the Parliament of another country has seen fit to legislate directly against the nationals of this country. During the war the Philippines had very real bonds of comradeship with Australia, and gave every evidence of its desire to retain our friendship. However, it has embarked on a policy of reprisals in order to right what it regards as a grave national affront.

When the Japanese were moving southwards, the Philippines became our first line of defence. In 1935, on the establishment of the Philippines Commonwealth, General MacArthur resigned his position as Chief-of-Staff in Washington in order to organize the defences of the Philippines. President Roosevelt released the general from the important position’ that he occupied, because he realized that the outcome of a war in the Pacific would depend largely upon what happened in the Philippines. Even so, the real danger was under-estimated. Australia has a very real reason to remember the defence of Bataan and Corregidor. The resistance by the Philippines gave Australia vital breathing space, and enabled the American Fleet to be moved south into position for the Battle of the Coral Sea.

When it was known that the Philippines could resist no longer, President Roosevelt ordered General MacArthur to proceed to Australia. Accompanying the general were .the President of the Philippines, Manuel Quezon, and his wife and daughter, who, honorable members will recall, were murdered recently in the Philippines by Communist guerrillas. General Mac Arthur’s staff included General Romulo and other Filipinos, including a Sergeant Gamboa. The then Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Curtin, welcomed the Filipinos and General MacArthur very warmly on behalf of the people of this country. They were shown every courtesy and hospitality. For their part, they pledged their aid in the common cause against Japan. General MacArthur and his Filipinos honoured their pledge. Australia became the chief allied base in the campaign to drive the Japanese back to their home islands. A handful of the men who came to Australia in connexion with that fight against Japan married Australian women. That happens in a war. One of those men was Sergeant Gamboa. There was no plot to undermine the White Australia policy. Australians, Americans and Filipinos were allies in the common cause against Japan. When the war ended, the men who had married Australian women were confronted with the problem of residence. If they intended to honour the bonds of matrimony, they had to make a decision. The number of such cases was so few that no intelligent government would have raised any barriers. Moral law as well as civil law was involved.

The White Australia policy has never been a completely closed door against the admittance of non-Europeans to Australia. Economic considerations have always been regarded as the basis of our immigration policy. So, business men, journalists, Filipino boxers and golfers, have been allowed to enter Australia. While a Chinese merchant remained a merchant he could stay here indefinitely. For the four-year period preceding the outbreak of World War II., there was a net migration gain of 1,135 nonEuropeans. In that time, the net gain of Filipinos was seven. Even taking the war .years into consideration, the net gain of Filipinos from 1930 to 1946 was only twelve.

That was the position when this Government took the action that made the White Australia policy a live issue for the first time throughout the Orient. There was no danger of any wholesale influx of non-Europeans into Australia. The Immigration Act provided the necessary safeguards against such a development. But the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) has a strange, insatiable lust for limelight that has become an obsession with him. He saw his chance to get limelight in the international sphere. He could become a notorious world figure. So he embarked upon his campaign against the handful of Asiatics who had come to this country during the war. Many of them had served with the Australian forces, and some of them had married Australian women. As those men were already in Australia, his policy was interpreted abroad as one of racial discrimination. Countries that had never questioned our right to apply the Immigration Act to their nationals became our enemies when we started to deport their nationals who were already here.

Sergeant Gamboa, had married an Australian. He was still a member of General MacArthur’s army in Japan, and he wanted to visit his wife in Melbourne. The Minister refused him admission to Australia. General MacArthur’s staff took up the case. The general was rebuffed. It was then that the matter took a grave turn. The Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) intervened to defend his Minister. The issue became a matter between governments. While the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) was trying to soothe the feelings of General Romulo at Lake Success, the Prime Minister made it clear that he was backing the Minister for Immigration in his policy of racial provocation. President Quirino then made a personal appeal. He said that if any technical reasons existed for Sergeant Gamboa’s exclusion, there would be no protest by the Philippines Government. But the Prime Minister stood pat. The Parliament of the Philippines then took a hand, and passed a measure directed against this country. Its budget now provides for the closing of the Philippines consulate in Sydney. For all practical purposes, diplomatic relations have been severed between the two countries. That is a tragic state of affairs.

The real issue is not our migration policy, but our administration of that policy. Only a maladjusted administration would have failed to recognize that these marriages created a special problem. I challenge the Government to say whether there is another Filipino soldier, apart from Gamboa, who married an Australian.

Mr Calwell:

– Yes, six.


– Very well. What damage would have been done if the special circumstances had been conceded; if the moral law had been recognized? The Prime Minister must accept full and final responsibility for what has occurred. Because of his failure to intervene, we are now in a position of having to defend our “ White Australia” policy. As a working reality, it had not previously been challenged, but because it has been used as a cover for petty, personal persecution on racial grounds, it has become the cause of real international conflict in the Pacific.

The Philippine Islands are vital to Australia’s future. They are a bastion against the Communist drive south. The population of those islands is double that of Australia. Their people are 92 per cent. Christians. For almost half a century, their islands were American possessions, and the people of the Philippines have been educated in American democracy. Their Constitution is modelled on that of the United States, and their link with Washington is very strong. The American Ambassador to Australia was recently promoted to become the American Ambassador to the Philippines. That tells its own story. We shall not get a Pacific, pact while the present situation continues. The United States would not enter such a pact without the Philippines. This Government has deliberately courted the enmity of 1,000,000,000 people in our near north. It has jeopardized our future security. It has endangered the “ White Australia “ policy. Let us, even at this late stage, adopt a sane approach to the problem. Let us take the initiative in remedying any genuine case of hardship. At the same time, we should assert our right to control migration on economic grounds, just as the United States did through its immigration act. Let the Government assure the President of the Philippines that we are still the friends of his country, as we were in war. We shall need friends in the’ future, and this is an opportunity to re-establish friendship with a people who proved good friends when we needed them most.

Minister for Information and Minister for Immigration · Melbourne · ALP

– This motion is simply a clumsy piece of hypocrisy, unrelieved by any genuine interest whatever in the welfare or the future of the people of the Philippines. Only a few weeks ago the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang), who submitted the motion, in the course of an address to a meeting in Sydney of 24 so-called delegates from a handful of so-called branches of his so-called political party, falsely alleged that I was attempting to destroy the predominantly European composition of the Australian people. The honorable member went further and alleged that I was in effect destroying what is known in the vernacular as the White Australia policy. That was the whole burden of his story. To-day he reversed his gears and travelled in the opposite direction. To-day he attacked me because, true to my oath of office, I am upholding the immigration laws of this country, and true to the election platform of- the Australian Labour party, which has the support of an overwhelming majority of the people for its immigration policy, T have refused to yield to the vicious clamour of certain newspaper interests and certain narrowminded politicians who have demanded again and again that I should administer our law contrary to its express provisions. The honorable member for Reid and other members of the Opposition who want to whittle down our immigration laws and practices will have an opportunity to test their views and their courage when a measure to amend the Immigration Act is introduced to the Parliament. When that time comes I trust that those who advocate the introduction of quota systems and those who want the Minister for Immigration to administer the law in a fashion inconsistent with our statutes will have the courage at least to present amendments to that legislation, and to divide the House and, also, if necessary, the committee of the House, on the issues on which they have been so vocal and so insistent outside the Parliament during the recent recess.

The proposition now before us was fathered in malice, conceived in deceit, and born in intrigue. It is worthy of its putative father. It is also worthy of those who, by rising in their places, in th( chamber when the motion was made, stood sponsors at its baptism. It is a wicked and monstrous thing because it is deliberately based on mendacity and misrepresentation. The inferences it contains are all wrong. The first of them is that there is a need to convey an assurance of friendship and goodwill to the President of the Philippines. That is a lie because Australia has always cherished feelings of goodwill and friendship towards its northern neighbours and wishes well to the newly-founded Philippines republic. Neither the President nor any member of the Government of the Philippines has challenged anything that, this Government has done in regard to their country or its people. We have received no representations from the Philippines Government on the Gamboa case or any other case. The second inference is that there is a need to emphasize that the traditional immigration policy of this country is based solely on economic considerations. This, too, is a lie. The policy of this Government is not different from that of any of its predecessors since federation was established. There is no more need to-day than there was when the first immigration laws of this country were passed by the first Parliament of the Commonwealth to emphasize the principles on which those laws rest. The third inference is that there is a need to affirm that our immigration policy is not based on any policy of racial discrimination. This also is a lie. No healthy minded, decent Australian will be fooled into believing otherwise. If Ananias had been asked to frame the resolution that is now before the House I doubt if he could have packed more falsehoods into so few words than has the present member for Reid in this Parliament, now on his way to political oblivion.

The centre of the matter about which some misguided Australians have agitated, but which other deliberately treacherous fifth columnists in this country have used for the purpose of trying to poison the good relationships between the Australian people and the people of the Philippines is a person of Filipino blood named Gamboa. Let me tell the House the story of Gamboa. This man originally arrived in Sydney on the 27th January, 1942, as an evacuee from the Philippines. He had joined the American army in the Philippines early in 1941. Having come here as an evacuee, he rejoined the United States army in Sydney on the 24th July, 1942. .

Mr Holt:

– Had he been in the American army before then?


– He had joined the American army in the Philippines. He escaped from the Philippines and came here as a war-time evacuee. When the American army landed here, he rejoined it in July, 1942. He was discharged in Brisbane on the 1st November, 1945.

Mr McEwen:

– What does the Minister mean by “ rejoin “ ?


– -He joined an army. Apparently that army dissolved, and he came to Australia as an evacuee.

Mr White:

– He was still on the strength of that army.


– The American army landed in Australia in January, 1942. Between the time when Gamboa first landed in Australia and the day on which he rejoined the American army here in July, 1942, he was a civilian evacuee. Anyhow, this aspect of the case does not matter very much. He was discharged from the American army in Brisbane on the 1st November, 1945. He was discharged by the American authorities in Australia without any advice being given to the Department of Immigration as required by that department. It was only by accident that it was discovered that he was in Australia when, under our laws, he had no right to be here. He is a Filipino by birth. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America on the 26th July, 1946. His wife, whom he married in Melbourne, made application in 1945, after he was required to leave, that he be permitted to remain. Then, when he went away, she asked that he be permitted to re-enter Australia for permanent residence. He himself asked that he be permitted to re-enter for permanent residence. Hia wife said that she had a job waiting for him. Both Mrs. Gamboa and her husband were told that, under our existing laws and practices, he could not be permitted to come to Australia for permanent residence. Then he applied for temporary admission to Australia. It was perfectly obvious that the application for temporary residence was only a subterfuge to get into the country. Once in, the Government would be obliged to go to all the trouble and expense of deporting and removing him. The laws of this country do not permit him to come in. permanently. Those honorable members who want to alter those laws have an opportunity to introduce a private bill on the matter or to move amendments to the bill that I shall introduce in a fortnight. If they do not move their amendments then, let them be silent for ever. They cannot have it both ways.

Mr Spender:

Mr. Spender interjecting,


– He applied for permanent residence after he was discharged from the American forces in 1945.

Mr McEwen:

– That application was refused ?


– That was refused. He went away. He has tried to come back since, and his applications have been refused. The view of this Government is that, as he is a person who is not eligible to enter Australia, he cannot enter. It is the view of this Government, too, that it is no longer a matter for the Filipino people, as they themselves admit, because this man has changed his nationality and is now an American citizen. If anybody has the right to raise the issue of his entrance into Australia now that he is an American citizen, it is the United States of America Department of State. That department has not raked the issue. Nor did that department raise with this Government the question of permitting American negro soldiers, whose people have been in America for probably 300 or 400 years, to stay in Australia with any Australian women that they married. Their wives went out with them. If the Gamboa case has to be decided in favour of Gamboa, the whole question of our immigration laws will have to- be opened. We shall have to let back the Malaya and Indonesians who married Australian women, and a couple of hundred other people of the Asiatic races who- married Australian women and were required to go or went voluntarily. We cannot decide the principle of a law on one case. I do not propose to make an exception in the case of Gamboa because it would mean the abandonment of a principle upon: which our legislation rests. If we make exceptions in every hard case that occurs, ultimately we shall have so many -exceptions that we will have no policy at all. It is all right for people to say that the law is a good one but that its application is harsh. The law itself is a harsh law to the people who are kept out. It is a cruel law to those who are refused admission. How can a rigid law be administered flexibly? The thing is absurd. Either we stand by the law ot we do not stand by it. Either we believe in the maintenance of a White Australia or we are prepared to water the policy down in one of several directions that have been suggested by a number of people. The people of the Philippines themselves are not very greatly agitated about this case.

Mr Gullett:

– Ob dear, no!


– The honorable gentleman from Henty (Mr. Gullett) has not been there. All that he depends upon for his information is a press that is determined to fan bitterness and which deliberately poisons the news services so as to create difficulties for the Australian Government. It would do so no matter what Government was in office. It treated the Menzies Government and the Fadden Government in the same way. Such a mischievous desire to harm international relations is a chronic condition in most newspaper offices in this country.

Australians are nott the only people to deport Filipinos, or to refuse Filipinos the right to enter our country. In 1947, the United States of America deported 30 Filipinos from that country.

Mr Spender:

– What for?


– For various reasons, some of which were that they had over stayed their time itf the United States of America. Under American law the Filipinos are Asiatics and are. not entitled to- treatment different from that accorded to other Asiatic races. I know the susceptibilities of the people of the Philippines. They say that they are a bridgehead between the east and the west. Because of their strong admixture of Spanish and American blood they say that we should treat them as westerners and not as easterners. Whatever the value of that argument might be, it is an argument that ought, to be advanced on a government to- government basis. It ought %o be argued in a proper way. It ought to be the subject of a special submission for special consideration. It is certainly not a question to be decided on the circumstances of one ease the case of a man who, belonging to, the Filipino race, deliberately chooses to become a citizen of another country and then says, “ I ought to be admitted to Australia, not because I am an American but because I am a Filipino, and Filipinos ought to be treated differently from the way in which they are being treated “. I have told the House what America did in 1947. We have deported one Filipino since 1946 - just one, a man named Ganeron, who was a deserter from the American steamer Monterey, Action waa taken against him on the application of the master of that vessel.

Mr Spender:

– .Could not the Minister find any others to deport ?


– I wish that there had been some exclusion laws that would have kept out the ancestors of the honorable gentleman who has just interjected, when they carp” to this country. Had there been, wc should not be pestered by him now. From time to time we have seen in the press all sorts of criticism about our treatment of Filipinos and of the Filipino reaction to that treatment. The newspapers starred alleged attacks upon Australian members of the crew of the steamer Nellore while it was in port at Manila on its way to Japan. The ConsulGeneral for the Republic of the Philippines, in Sydney, Manuel A. Alzate. has advised the Australian Government in these terms -

According to official advice from my Government, the alleged assault by Filipinos oh two. Australian, officers of the steamer Nicllors on the, wharf at Manila., is absolutely without basis in fact.

Inquiries made- in- Manila from all- possible sources’, including and press: services, yielded no such- evidence of alleged1 assault

But Australian newspapers, do-not. publish any reply of that sort. Om. the contrary, everything is done to try to poison relationships between Australia and the Philippines, in the hope of discrediting this* Government in. the minds of the Australian people. I. do not mind how much the newspapers’ attack the: Government o£ this.- country, in. this* country. That is our affair.. But when, they try to stir up hostility, outside Australia to the elected representatives of the Austraiian people they, are doing something that,. in« time of war, would be regarded as treason, and in. time of peace is no less contemptible and. reprehensible.

Mr Gullett:

– .Hear. hear!-


– I know that the honorable member for Henty has said something’ on the same- lines publicly. He is one of the honorable members on the other side of the House who sometimes say some very splendid things.

INDI, VICTORIA · CP; LCL from 1940; CP from 1943

– That is not in the Minister’s notes-


– Of course I would not expect: any member of the Australian Country Parity to reveal intelligence on this subject,, because anything that comes forward in the minds, of the members of that party constitutes for them a valid argument with which to attack this Government. I believe that there are national considerations which ought to bind us all, and one is to resist all demands to’ yield to pressure from other people. I have a copy of an address broadcast by a gentleman in Manila, a Filipino- named Ignacio Javier, that was delivered over the- Philippines radio- station DZRH on the 25th- March, 1949, at 8.45 p.m. on a frequency of 660 kilocycles. He spoke about- the Gamboa case and. said. -

  1. . I should like to say right out that I think the Australian Government has every right, under international law, to say who can live in Australia, and even who can enter’ Australia, livery legitimate government has that, right- and our own government, for example,, can say that no more than 50Q Chinese can enter the Philippines in any one year or that no- Chinese may have a stall in our public markets at, all.- The legal aspect of it; therefore, is beyond dispute. Different governments may exercise their inherent’ power Co- control immigration in- different ways, of-

The speaker continued -

Perhaps! I. am giving the- impression that 1 am defending the Australian immigration policy. I am. not d’oing that.

He then proceeded to- criticize- us>» but; he criticized the United States, even more trenchantly than he criticized’ Australia. He- continued -

The whole affair seems to he rather unfortunate, because, as far as we, the Filipinos, are’ concerned-, we should not even be’ concerned: . Who is Lorenzo Gamboa, after- aW There. i was- a time when he could have called himself a. Filipino. when he could hsv: legitimately claimed the protection of the Republic of the- Philippines’ and the sympathy of hisfollow citizens. Now he- is just another American … I cannot understand, why Lawrence Gamboa-

Honorable: members willi note* that the: name! is- mow changed from Lorenzo Gamboa t’O. Lawrence Gamboa. Mr. Gamboa* apparently anglicized his names- if he still has any claim to the sympathy, of his- fellow- Filipinos, and. Asiatics-

The commentator, I ask honorable members to, note did not challenge our right to class- Filipinos- as Asiatics - does not take the natural alternative- of bringing his wife and children to the Philippines. Yet he! is reported to. Have declared that,, as a-n American - and- I should like- to. emphasize that - as an American- - [Extension of time granted.] The: address continued - he1 feels he “would’ be a* a disadvantage withe Philippines! to-day . . .” - rr-

Those were Gain boa’s own words; as’ also were tIle following: - “ As he sees it, Australia is the only place he could give his” children the education he did’ not get.”

Then the broadcaster said -

Frankly,. I have no sympathy, or even patience, with a man like that. I” have no patience with a Filipino with so little1 pride in our nacc and Republic that he will change, his- citizenship, even for that of the, mightiest and freest democracy in the world. I have no patience with a Filipino with so little dignity and intelligence that) he will go crawling to’a place where ho is- not wanted, in the naive delusion that a piece of paper can- change the colour of his skin. Lawrence Gamboa is an American. Let the American Department” of State fight his’ battles for- him.

If that statement could be broadcast over a radio station in the Philippines, my observation that there is very little real interest in this case in the Philippines is correct.

Mr Spender:

– The Philippines Republic passed an act of parliament to discriminate against Australians, because of the Gamboa case.


– Feeling on the matter has been worked up by people like the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), who is always chasing some band wagon to get on to. That honorable member has been in and out of his own party so many times that it has now given him a passout check so that he can come in and go out as he likes. The truth of the matter is that there are some people who are prepared to muddy the stream of international relationships. But we have nothing to be ashamed of in our treatment of the people of the Philippines. We admit merchants, tourists, scholars and university students who come for special courses in our universities. We oven admitted some bank clerks recently.

Mr Menzies:

– Obviously, the admission of the bank clerks was temporary only.


– We admitted junior clerks of the Philippines Central Bank so that they could be properly trained, for banking, in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. As at the census of the 30th June, 1947, there were in Australia 235 Filipinos of full Filipino blood, if there be, anywhere in the world, such a thing as pure blood. At any rate they would be regarded as full caste. We had 214 who, without offence, would be described as half-caste Filipinos. We had 449 in all. We admitted one person in the merchants and students category in 1946 and three temporary visitors and tourists. In 1947 we admitted four in the former class and 35 in the latter. In 1948 we admitted twenty in the former class and 30 in the latter. Since 1946, 93 Filipinos have been admitted to Australia. If the Philippines Government likes to lay it down that no Australian may enjoy better conditions of entry into, or residence in, the Philippines than are per mitted to Filipinos in Australia, we shall have uo reason for complaint. There are more Filipinos here in Australia than there are Australians in the Philippines. For centuries Filipinos have had an immigration problem of their own. They want people to go there to help develop the country, but they want to keep out other Asiatics.

We do not complain about the immigration laws of other countries. So fains immigration is concerned, no country could be more exclusive than is the United States of America. Only- 100 Australians are permitted to take up permanent residence in America each year. A person who enters the United States of America on a tourist’s vise may not engage in any gainful occupation. Should he do so, he becomes liable to be thrown out. We do not seek to impose similar conditions against nationals of the United States of America. They are welcome to come to Australia, and to take up permanent residence here. We recognize that whatever the United States of America does in regard to immigration is its own business, and we have no complaint or criticism to offer. Similarly, what we do in regard to immigration from other countries is ./1 r business. Asiatic countries may erect what barriers they like against Australians, but no country should, and no Asiatic country has tried, to lay down a. basis for reciprocal treatment as between its nationals and ours. This Government is administering the immigration laws of Australia as passed in 1903. From those laws there has been no deviation. The present Government is faced with a problem which will eventually pass, but in the meantime it has to be dealt with separately from other immigration matters. I refer to the problem of wartime evacuess. Lawrence Gamboa was a war-time evacuee, and an attempt has boon made to associate his case with our general immigration policy. If there had benn only one case of the kind it might be argued that he should be allowed to come to Australia, and afterwards we could deal with the difficulty of getting him out of the country again. However, once a precedent has been created, it must be followed in all similar cases there can be no discrimination in the administration of justice. I refuse to make exceptions. I am not concerned with the names of the persons affected, or the places from which they come, or the circumstances applying to their marriages. “While I remain Minister, all will be dealt with according to the law of the country until Parliament alters the law.


.- The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) has brought this matter before the House in very temperate terms. It is a pity .that the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell), who is the spokesman for the Government on this subject, mid whose remarks are taken up and noticed in other countries, cannot likewise speak in temperate terms. Instead, he seems to regard himself as being involved in some stormy trades hall conference, and he uses language appropriate to such an occasion. Obviously, he had not expected a temperate speech from the honorable member for Reid. because he had drafted sundry, pungent phrases with which to open his speech in reply. That opening misfired, and much of his criticism had no point whatever in reply to the sober comments of the honorable member for Reid. The Minister cannot dismiss this aa an unimportant matter. If it had been properly handled by the Minister, it might have been of no significance at all, but because of the way in which the Government’s policy has been applied, the matter has become one of such importance that a friendly power geographically close to us in the Pacific has found it necessary to take action through its Parliament, by way of reprisal, for what it regards as an insult placed upon it by Australia.

I believe it to be proper that a member of the Opposition should speak on the subject so that our point of view, or mine at any rate - and I think it is a representative point of view - may be made clear. I believe that the Minister has at no time recognized the special and abnormal character of the situation created by the residence in Australia of war-time evacuees. He has attempted to apply a policy to that situation which might have had force if applied to a continuing set of circumstances. He has shown no appreciation of the domestic and international difficulties which the application of the present policy has brought about. The problem was a special one, and could have been handled in a manner which, while not undermining the White Australia policy, would have brought credit to this country, and earned the goodwill of those countries whose nationals were affected. At the end of the war, there were in Australia some thousands of Asiatics who had been brought here because of abnormal circumstances arising out of the war. All but a handful of them wanted to get back to their own countries just as quickly as possible. They had their own ties in those countries which drew them back, and tho Australian Government properly did all it could to ensure that they were sent home. However, there was a handful of persons who wished to remain. Some had married Australians, and wanted to settle here. Others had taken up permanent residence in Australia, and did not wish to leave. Without departing from the principle of a White Australia, or destroying the balance between white persons and Asiatics, the Government could have, as a gesture of goodwill, taken the attitude that it regarded the presence of such persons in Australia as constituting a special problem. It could have said that those Asiatics who had married Australians, or who had taken up permanent occupations in Australia, could remain if they so desired. That need not have affected our traditional approach to the subject of Asiatic immigration. Now, however, when the time comes, as it inevitably will, when we shall be subjected to pressure from Asiatic countries to admit their nationals, we shall not be in a position to point out, as otherwise we would have been, that, although our immigration policy- had been defined practically since the begining of Federation, it had been administered with humanity and common sense. In support of that contention we could have pointed to the treatment of that handful of Asiatics who had been allowed to remain in Australia after the war. It is absolute nonsense for the Minister to ask how it is possible to administer with flexibility a rigid code such as the White Australia policy. It has never been, in the long course of its- history, a rigid policy. We all know that, regardless of the government in office, the Minister of the day has exercised a discretion in cases of hardship^ and that with the sane administration of governments, drawn in the main from the parties now on this side of the House, the number of persons of Asiatic origin in the Commonwealth to-day is only about half the number that was in this country when federation was formed although, in the meantime, the population of Australia has just about doubled. So, we have been able to hold the policy firmly, without giving offence or causing any feeling of racial resentment in other parts of the world. As the direct result of the policy followed by the Minister, with the backing he has enjoyed from the Cabinet and the party behind him, there has been a complete reversal of that attitude. We find bitterness and resentment in countries which should be our friends, with which our interests are tied up and with which we would normally be expected to expand trade and commercial relationships in the years ahead. All this has resulted because the Minister’s approach to this problem has got away altogether from the economic element which was one of the most, if not the most important consideration, in our “White Australia” policy. We have given the impression that the policy is based entirely on racial considerations which admit of no exception, however hard a case may be, or however much it may call out for discretionary treatment.

I join issue with the honorable member for Reid in respect of the terms of one phrase that he used. He said that the White Australia policy is based solely on economic considerations. I do not believe that that is so. We should face up frankly in the Parliament to this subject as a matter of policy, as we shall when the relevant amending legislation comes before us. I believe that the White Australia policy is based on two considerations. Certainly, it is based on economic considerations. When the policy was first framed we did not want an influx of population to undermine industrial standards in this country, but we also had in our mind the fact that we had been fortunate to avoid the complex racial problem which kas marred community life, in other lands, and’ we wished to avoid a similar state of affairs. There is no affront, or insult, to- other peoples in making that point clear to them because, as the Minister himself pointed out, other Asiatic countries, in order to preserve their own standards, have in recent, years: found it necessary to introduce legislation restricting the flow of migrants to their countries from other Asiatic countries- So, we should say frankly to the people of China, the Philippines and other Pacific countries that our policy is based on economic considerations and that, we cannot have a great, influx of persons who might undermine our economic standards, having regard to our limited absorptive capacity. [Extension of time granted.] We can make clear to those countries, first, that there is that, economic consideration ; and, secondly, that it is our desire to avoid the racial problem which would make our own community conditions here so much more difficult. I am certain that that view would be received sympathetically in other parts, because I personally put it as recently as last year to representatives of some of the countries concerned when we met in conference in the United Kingdom. Those representatives fully appreciated trie Australian point of view. But I pass on to honorable members the comment made to me by those representatives because I believe that it is at the heart of the sensitiveness which those countries experience on this matter. They said, in effect, “That is all very well, but when you freely admit our nationals to your country as you have from time to time, then there must be no discrimination against them inside your country on the ground that they are of a different race “. It is because that attitude has been adopted in South Africa that so much feeling has arisen in India against the people of South Africa.

The Government could have administered our policy with sanity, humanity and discretion. It could have developed goodwill, whereas it has developed bitterness and resentment against us. The Minister made a fundamental blunder when he set out to deport from this country, regardless of the circumstances, which have been revealed in the meantime, people who had sought temporary sanctuary here during the years of war. He would have brought great credit to the Government and to Australia as a whole if, in eases of hardship, where humanity and flexibility could have been displayed, h n had employed a humane approach and had allowed the handful of persons involved to remain in Australia. It has been his practice when these criticisms have been uttered to say that we want to undermine and whittle down the White Australia policy. That, certainly, is not my intention, nor is it the intention of honorable members generally on this aide of the House. I do not believe for one moment nhat it is the intention of the honorable member for Reid. The Minister, acting no doubt from motives which to him seem to be the best in the interests of the country, has not only prejudiced the White Australia policy and placed it under attack and challenge outside Australia but has also whipped up within Australia opposition unci criticism of the policy which otherwise would not have developed. He has claimed to be the greatest friend and champion of this policy but in fact, he has been its greatest enemy in recent times. I hope that the Government will review its approach to this matter. This is not the last incident that is likely to occur. We, are considering an unhappy chapter in a long serial and we shall hear more upon the subject when the amending immigration legislation comes before us. We shall hear more about it also when other persons in Australia come under the order of deportation. Each of those (uses will be hardship cases, and there will be public controversy about it which will be taken up in other countries. I hope that the Government will consider the factors which we have put forward not in any party spirit, .or in any attempt to discredit its administration, but with a genuine desire .to make clear to the peoples of other countries who have shown sensitiveness in this matter what we really feel about it. It should be pointed out that there is no suggestion of racial superiority as any one who has had dealing with the representatives of the other countries concerned would agree, but that the object of the White Australia policy is to preserve in our country just as they themselves would desire to preserve in their own lands, standards which are to us worthy of preservation. Therefore, I repeat that the Government should have shown more, sanity and humanity in its approach towards this matter.


.- I was astonished to hear the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) declare that hitherto the White Australia policy had provoked no objection, but now it has aroused hostility because of the action of the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell). It is difficult to believe that the honorable member himself believes that statement. I never expected that only one would make that claim, for I can recall offhand the violent press campaign which swept through India at the time of the appointment of Mr. E. G. Casey as Governor of Bengal when objections to that appointment were raised on the ground that Australia’s immigration policy was racially insulting to India. Before the war many Japanese, including those in high places, objected to the White Australia policy. It is true that the objections to this policy are increasing in Asiatic countries to-day, but that is not the result of the policy of any Minister, or Ministry. It is the result of an intensification of Asiatic nationalism as more and more Asiatic countries obtain national independence and become extremely self-conscious with respect to their national dignity. I congratulate the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) upon his abandonment of racialism. However, it is unfortunate that just in front of him, upon the desk occupied by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), lies open to our view a copy of the Century which carries an article signed by the honorable member for Reid which is violently antiforeign. It is headed, “ Menace of D.P. Migrants to Trade Unions”. If we consider the career of the honorable member for Reid during the last two years it seems rather impossible to believe that he is sincere in proposing this motion, which is untrue in its content and unwise in its intention. When the secretary of the Returned Servicemen’s League in New South Wales accused the present Minister for Immigration of abandoning the White Australia policy the Century supported him. When, during the crisis in India, before the promise of self-government had been made, certain people of mixed European and Indian origin were permitted to enter this country, and the Minister was again violently attacked for allegedly breaking down the White Australia policy, the Century added its voice to those attacks. The Century invented the insulting expression “ reffos “ to describe the large number of people who came to this country as the result of persecution in the country of their origin. To-day, when fine people like the Lithuanians, Estonians and Latvians are among the people coming to this country, the Century in its latest issue is inciting the trade unionist against them as the Communists are doing. As the result of the experiences of these people of maltreatment at the hands of the Russians, they have preferred to turn their backs on Russia and the Com0munists attack them because they fear the circulation in this country of stories recounting how Russia has treated its subject peoples. In order to gain a little cheap publicity the honorable member for Reid is alining himself with the Communists in an endeavour to incite the trade unions against these very fine European migrants.

I propose to- address myself to the terms of the submission on which the honorable member has based his motion. This Parliament is asked to transmit to the President of the Republic of the Philippines the naive lie that our White Australia policy is based, not on racial but on economic grounds. When Sir Edmund Barton, the first Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, laid down the immigration policy of the new Commonwealth, he said that the test for admission of people to this country was to be whether they were the sort of people whom we would admit to full social and political rights, including the right of inter-marriage. That is a basic statement concerning our immigration policy. Including the right of inter-marriage! Is that an economic or racial question? Obviously it is a racial question, and it is based on emotional, or, if you like. racial grounds. It is untrue to say that the White Australia policy is based on economic grounds, and no Asiatic will believe the Australian apologists’ viewthat that policy is designed merely to keep coolies out of this country who might lower our wage standards. No one could convince an Asiatic that that is the reason for the White Australia policy. Furthermore, in the years in which that policy has been in operation, it has been administered racially. During the present crisis in India, many of us have received representations from people who have relatives in that country. Many people, including many former members of the Parliament, and many honorable members who have been in this Parliament for many years who have received representations on behalf of aliens in the past, have always believed that prospective foreign immigrants were required to prove that they were more than fifty per cent. European before they were admitted to this country. Is that stinulation an economic or a racial qualification ? That has been the practice of all Australian administrations for the last 40 years. Now we are asked, with the support of certain members of the Opposition, to send to the President of the Republic of the Philippines a lie couched in these terms -

The need to convoy to the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, assurances of our friendship and goodwill-

As though they were in doubt! The submission continues - and an affirmation that Australia’s immigration policy in relation to the nationals of that country is based solely on economic considerations, and not on any policy of racial discrimination.

The White Australia policy was laid down as a policy of racial selectivity. I repeat Sir Edmund Barton’s words, which were -

We will not admit any one to this country whom we will not admit to full social and political rights, including the right of internarriage

That is undoubtedly a racial policy. If this Parliament were to send such an apologetic and pathetic message to the Government of the Philippines, we should be courting its derision and be uttering a lie which would not have the virtue of being convincing because it is so transparently false. The honorable member for Reid has chosen this opportunity to exacerbate a particular matter which had already died down. We are asked to believe that the honorable member who, in the past, has been a violent racialist, has suddenly become a man who deplores racialism. Some honorable members opposite would foist this utterly unwise proposal on the Australian community. Two years ago when Indonesian seamen who had married Australians were deported, I asked the Minister for Immigration a question which was critical of his action at that time. The Minister answered in very firm terms that he intended to deport all of them, ami the Opposition benches resounded with “ Hear, hear “. In similar circumstances I asked the Minister a question concerning the deportation of Malayan seamen, and again many members of the Opposition applauded his reply. Of course there were certain emotional reactions to the words “Indonesians” a nd “ Malayans “ that do not apply to Filipinos. Surely nobody can support this proposal to send in the form of an apology to the President of the Philippines, whose national Gamboa is not. a statement which can only be labelled as a lie.


.- This debate is not, holding a very full House, notwithstanding that the report of it will be avidly read by members and represent.)!tives of the governments of Asiatic countries. Let us be under no misapprehension about that. It will be read with interest in the legations and in the consular and foreign offices of Asiatic countries. The speech of the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), in which, in an unnecessarily vehement manner he declared, I presume for the Australian Labour party, that our policy is undoubtedly founded on racial discrimination against Asiatics, is one which will do Australia a disastrous disservice. The honorable member’s party should be ashamed to have allowed a speech of that character to be made in this Parliament. In every word, and in every thump of the desk, the honorable member’s speech was calculated to incite Asiatics against Australia. By his repeated declarations he sought to make it plain that the White Australia policy is dictated by the belief that Asiatics and other coloured peoples are inferior to us.

Mr Beazley:

– That is untrue.


– That is the only deduction I can draw from the honorable member’s words.

Mr Beazley:

– I rise to order. I regard as personally offensive the statement that J had said that Asiatics and other coloured peoples are inferior to us. At no stage of my speech did I do so.

Mr. Sheehy

– I ask the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) to withdraw the words to which exception has been taken.


– The honorable member for Fremantle did not ask for a withdrawal.

Mr Fuller:

– The honorable member for Indi should withdraw his accusation, which is unworthy of him.


– If our discrimination against the coloured people is on racial grounds, then it is on the grounds of considered inferiority. This spokesman of the Labour party has said so.

Mr Beazley:

– I rise to order. I ask for a withdrawal of the statement that I, at any stage, said that our policy was administered on grounds of considered inferiority.


– Does the honorable member for Fremantle consider the remarks of the honorable member for Indi to be offensive?

Mr Beazley:

– Yes, most definitely.


– I. ask the honorable member for Indi to withdraw the words to which objection has been taken.


– -I withdraw. I am withdrawing something that the honorable member for Fremantle inferred from my remarks. That is something new, but I am willing to withdraw anything because I have had the experience of being thrown out of the chamber for not withdrawing. I shall pursue the matter no further except to say that it is an unhappy and dangerous day for Australia when such expressions can be put forward in this Parliament, by a spokesman of the. Australian Labour party. Whatever may have been the merits or de-merits of the remainder of; the speeches, made by Government supporters in this debate, they had no recognizable relation to the substantive matter before the House. Other than the matter to which I have referred, ,the Labour spokesmen have confined themselves to vicious attacks on the honorable member for Reid. It is not my purpose to defend the honorable member for Reid. He is well’ able to attend to that matter himself; but it is a poor state of affairs when, a Minister, replying to the mover of a motion for the adjournment of the House, devotes half of his time to what to all of us, as experienced parliamentarians, are obviously insulting phrases devised while burning the midnight oil. The honorable gentleman used every adjective that he. could possibly dredge up to insult the honorable member for Reid, rather than attempt to deal with the issues that he should have” dealt with in accordance with his’ administrative responsibility. Of all the issues that’ could worry the Australian people, none” could be more worrying that the- White Australia policy and its wide implications. Australia is isolated geographically, economically and certainly militarily. I can think of no greater disservice that could’ be done to this country than to incite the thousands of millions of coloured Asiatics to our north against the handful, relatively, of British people in this isolated continent. We have the White Australia policy because we have standards to maintain. We have standards in various phases of our life. We have industrial standards, economic standards and moral standards. Those are the things that prompted the introduction of the White Australia policy, and they are the reasons for its continuance. They are good and justifiable reasons. We know the magnitude of the problems that a coloured minority in the United States of America holds for that great and powerful nation. I say quite frankly that we do not want to import that kind of problem into this country. No political- party, and no public man, to my knowledge, wants that- kind of a problem in Australia, and no such problem exists to-day. That is the reason foi1 Out un, happily named White’ Australia policy. I cannot readily think of a. better name for the policy,, but some alteration! appears to be desirable.. However, the White Australia policy is not and never has been the rigid unalterable .policy that the Minister for Immigration claims it to be-. The honorable gentleman contradicted- himself out of his own mouth. He said, that there are. approximately 500 Filipines in Australia, at. present. How did they get here? They came here under, the flexible administration of the White Australia policy by both. Labour and. non-Labour governments.

Mr Haylen:

– That number of course, changes from year to? year.

INDI, VICTORIA · CP; LCL from 1940; CP from 1943

– That is! so. The honorable member, by his interjection, fortifies me in my arguments-. A similar- state of affairs’ exists in respect of Chinese, Malays;, and Indian’s. If an Indian wanted’ to come here to-morrow to set up a business for the sale of cornsacks, he would be welcomed with open arms. Hecould be admitted’ under the provisions of the White Australia., policy. If Sergeant Gamboa wanted to come here to be- trained, say, in the Commonwealth Bank as a.- bank clerk, lie would probably be welcomed. If an Asiatic wanted to come here to attend’ an Australian university, again the flexibility of the White Australia policy provides for his admission. Asiatics are also admitted’ as tourists, or shop assistants or. workers in a business or industry carried on by another Asiatic who has been permitted to establish himself here. Because of the flexibility of the White Australia policy, there are thousands of Asiatics in this country to-day, and we are not shocked by that. Apparently the only disqualification for an Asiatic wishing to enter this country is that he should once have come here to fight in our defence. (Extension of time granted.”] The Minister misled the House. That was his considered purpose. He said that Sergeant Gamboa joined the American Army in the Philippines, and then came to this country as an evacuee, later re-joining the- American Army. What impression does that convey ? It conveys the impression inevitably that Sergeant Gamboa once served with the American, forces, then ceased to serve, and later re-enlisted in Australia. However, in reply to interjections, the Minister revealed that that was not so. Sergeant Gamboa’s military service was as continuous as was that of General MacArthur. The Minister said that Sergeant Gamboa came to Australia as an evacuee, but the circumstances in which lie came here were identical with the circumstances in which General MacArthur, General Sutherland anc General Marshall came to Australia. Sergeant Gamboa came to Australia as a soldier. He married an Australian. He came from Bataan. We have named one of our latest destroyers H.M.A.S. Bataan. It is one of the most modern destroyers in any British Navy, and it was built in Australia. It was named Bataan in honour of the military affiliation of Australia and the Philippines. If the custom of carrying on the names of ships-, which is traditional in the Hoya1 Navy, continues, perhaps we shall have c Bataan for a century or more in our service to recall to us the gallant fight of th, Americans- and the Filipinos. Yet, this man, who was- driven out, as our own troops on occasions were driven- out and who came here and married one of our own girls is not allowed’ to return, even tovisit his wife. The Minister and his officers know that if they refer to; the files, of the department, they will find that, in the last 30 or 40 years, we have admitted the wives of Chinese market gardeners and Chinese merchants to this, country. Ever since we have had a. so-called White Australia policy we have allowed the spouses of Asiatics to visit their spouses in Australia, but the only spouse who cannot be permitted to visit his spouse here is an ex-serviceman. If anything is calculated to promote a feeling of antagonism towards Australia, it is this kind of thing. If anything is calculated to promote the feeling in the Philippines that we practise hyprocisy in naming a warship after a Philippines military incident, it is thefact that we- will not allow a Filipino soldier to visit his wife. I’ am sorry that the Prime Minister has given the imprimatur of the whole Government to this incident. In principle, the White Australia policy is not- disputed by my party or I am sure, by any political party in Australia, except, of course, the Communist party, which does not believe in the White Australia policy and never has done so. We say, however, that the policy can- be applied with the flexibility with which it has been- applied ever since it was introduced, without causing resentment in Asiatic countries. Such, incidents as this can endanger Australia.. Publicized in Asiatic countries, they incite dislike and, may-be, hatred of Australia. At the very minimum they incite lack of sympathy for Australia. The Minister is too quick on the trigger. I concede immediately that much can be said to the credit of the Minister in the administration of our immigration laws, but in this and other incidents he has been far too quick on. the trigger. I warn him to realize that this kind of incident may have repercussions to the great disadvantage of Australia, not now, perhaps-, but in the years to come. The seeds are being sown to-day.


.- The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) warned us that the chancelleries of the East will be listening to this debate on the White Australia policy. He. alined himself with the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) in painting a very black picture of the Australian Government in its administration of a policy that has been sacrosanct since federation. He contributed nothing useful to the debate, but he urged us to be moderate in order that people listening to the debate in other parts of the world might know the moderate Australian views on the matter. I want to test the sincerity of the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) in submitting this motion and of honorable gentlemen opposite in speaking in his support, for sincerity goes to the root of the matter. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) said, that the honorable member for Reid had submitted’ the matter in a most temperate manner. Since we know by experience that all the actions of the honorable member for Reid are repressive and! fascist, one does not need to be a Sherlock Holmes to realize that the honorable gentleman could not have thought of the terms- of his submission himself. We can only come to- the conclusion that the Liberals moderated the terms of his proposal in such a way that they could stand up, in the face of Australia’s attitude to the White Australia policy, and support his speech on the White Australia policy. The honorable member for Fawkner admitted as much by inference.

Mr Holt:

– That is a complete lie.


– I am sorry if the honorable member for Fawkner thinks I am saying that he altered the text of the submission, but the inference I drew was there to draw.

Mr Holt:

– No member of the Opposition knew the text of the submission until it was handed to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies).


– Then the honorable member for Reid and honorable gentlemen opposite have made such a wonderfully harmonious approach to the subject that it amounts to one of the miracles of to-day. To get back to considerations of sincerity, which is what we are concerned with, surely, after the years that hare passed since federation and the hardships that we have incurred in maintenance of the White Australia policy, that policy is no longer a political issue. We come to the question whether the move of the honorable member for Reid is of any value to Australia’ or to the Government of the Philippines. Has it any value at all? [t has to be assessed and analysed from the standpoint of its sincerity. The honorable member for Reid has always been most tolerant in this House. He has always been worried about the under-privileged Easterners who nome to this country and the Baits from the displaced persons camps in Europe. He has done everything in his power as an impressive speaker and flamboyant journalist to tell the world that these people should have sanctuary here. Yet, in his newspaper, he has referred to displaced persons as a menace to trade unionism. They are “ the Baits “. He has referred to the “ migration flood “. He has referred with great fury to the fact that white men in this country, who have survived ten years in Europe, have advertised in the local press for jobs. He has referred to a little Baltic woman working in his electorate at the sewerage works as a cook, who advertised for a job as a housekeeper in order that she might get accommodation for herself and her three children. In scorn, he has said, in effect,. “ This is disruptive of our economy Yet this man has the temerity to challenge the Government on behalf of Lorenzo Gamboa. He would not have’ known who Lorenzo Gamboa was, unless his editors had told him. He would no doubt have thought that “ Lorenzo Gamboa “ was a kind of Mexican toothpaste. There is no sincerity in this man. There never has been any. But this is good political material to throw out to the people. It is also highly dangerous. I completely support the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell). The honorable member for Reid is devoid of sincerity. He has a hatred of people. He is an estate agent. He peers through the slats of the fences at Auburn to see if there are any “ reffos “ there. But the land agency of Lang and Dawes at the other end of the road does not object to selling houses to “ reffos “. That is why the honorable member is able to check his newspaper’s statements with such accuracy. There is no sincerity in the honorable member. He has done a gross injustice to this nation by proposing that we should send to a friendly power an apology for something that has not been done.

Now I come to the remarks made by the honorable member about the Filipinos themselves. We are not unaware of the history of the Filipinos in the Orient. We know that they arc 92 per cent. Christian, that they have inherited Spanish influences from the Spanish settlements of many centuries ago, and that when the Japanese were corsairs and pirates they formed what would now be described as the “ bridgehead “ which resisted Japanese thrusts into Malaya and the South Seas. We know the splendid history of the Filipinos. It was not necessary for the honorable member to tell us about it in putting forward a proposal that is in essence political and something designed to damage the Government, and which has arisen out of a situation that has been made to appear very much more important than it actually is. I ask this House and the people of

Australia to consider the position of the Minister for Immigration. Whatever else may be said about him, with his ruggedness, his Labourism. and to ray mind his honest Australianism, the Minister is an administrator of distinction and has created a policy in the broad field of immigration that has amazed and delighted the world because, first, it will settle people in Australia, and, secondly, it will relieve some of the miseries of displaced persons in Europe. Because of the rigid application of the immigration law, the Minister has had to do certain things in other sections of his department, whether he liked doing them or not. As he said in effect, with some sincerity, And I thought with considerable devotion, “I am faithful to my oath, and I administer the law “. If we demand no more and no less of our Ministers than that we shall never have very much wrong with the government of this nation, no matter what political party may temporarily occupy the treasury bench. The Minister has had a very hard decision to make, but I do not apologize for him. As has been [jointed out, there are provisions for flexibility in our immigration laws but they can be pushed aside under the awful pressure of the population increase in the East.

Everybody in an administrative position in the Department of Immigration must face with fear the situation that arises from the attempts of Asiatic migrants to enter this country. That situation has nothing to do with any feeling of inferiority or superiority towards people who live to the north of Australia. Those people know as well as we do that that is so. Immigration priorities and prohibitions do not arise from inhibitions of race or colour. They are accepted in other countries. The Filipinos say that Chinese may not hold trading licenses in. certain categories. As ,the Minister has already pointed out, a Chinese may not occupy .a booth in a market in the Philippines. Because of the intensely competitive spirit at this time, the world is in a state of flux and people are asking for sweet reasonableness and understanding. Gamboa, for whom I feel sympathy because of the difficulty of his situation, is a victim of the circumstances of an overriding law, but the law must prevail. There is a final thing to be said about this matter and we all must face it. There are people in Australia who give only lip service to the White Australia policy. They want the glory and the glamour of talking at election times of “ this free white race under the Southern Cross “, but when their tempers are flicked by what appears at the moment to be administrative cruelty, they will not stand by the policy that our forefathers ‘ told ‘ us offered the only way to hold this country in the future. Without any discrimination against colour, which we have exercised not because we like to discriminate but because of the awful force of circumstances, we should witness in Australia a repetition of the tragedy of negroes in America, Indians in South Africa and Indian coolies in Fiji. Surely even people of Asiatic origin, who belong to proud races with distinguished backgrounds and histories, must realize that our immigration law is not aimed at the hearts of our nearest coloured neighbours. It is not a prohibition that is used insultingly. The people who attempt to make political propaganda out of the situation certainly do Australia more harm than do the thousands of millions of people outside Australia who humbly agree that perhaps we are pursuing the only course of action open to us in the circumstances. [Extension of time granted.’] As I have said, one might have given some sort of consideration a proposal of .this description that was temperate and sincere but the one before the House is not sincere.

We find that the honorable member for Reid is an exponent of race hatred. He publishes threats of savagery in his newspaper, but introduces soothing syrup in this House. I suggest, therefore, that there is something wrong. We also must consider the honorable member’s status in this House. He represents no party, of “course; he is the single remnant of a once great party, from which he removed himself. That being so, he is what one might describe as a political appendix, and I cannot conclude my speech more fittingly than by quoting a reference made to appendices by the

Minister for Immigration. The Minister, of course, was referring to the Australian Country party at the time but his comment applies with equal force to the honorable member for Reid. The honorable gentleman said that in the first place, an appendix was perfectly useless, in .the second place it was generally unpredictable, and in the third place was always a possible source of inflammation. Both the motion and the mover of it have these symptoms.

Postmaster-General · Barker · ALP

approached the question before the House in his usual inimitable way and his early remarks were interspersed with such words as “ mendacity “ and “lying”. I admit that I went to sleep in the party room after lunch to-day, and at first, when the Minister was speaking, I had to pinch myself to make sure that we did not have a Minister under suspense speaking in the guise of the Minister for Immigration. In fact, so frequently was the word “lying” used that J thought for a time that I might be hearing somebody in the witness box, testifying in other circumstances. The Minister did not touch on two of the main points that arise from the motion. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang), for whom I make no apologies and for whom I have no concern whatever, raised a certain issue. He had a right to do so. I shall always defend that right if necessary in the interests of the honorable member and other unattached members of this House, as I have done for the last fifteen years. The attitude of the Labour party seems to be that anybody who once belonged to it but has left its fold has committed an unpardonable sin and must be consigned to the burning lake forever more. The burning lake might well engulf a few honorable gentlemen who have not been game enough to leave the party. Two serious charges arising from the issue raised by the honorable member for Reid have to be answered by the Government, but the Minister did not deal with either of them. He went to great trouble in an attempt to prove to us that there is no disturbance whatever in the Philippines about the Gamboa case. Some fellow with a name like Pedro Jiminez or Eugenio Gonzales broadcast from a radio station of which we have never heard before and said that the Gamboa case was all fair and above board. That radio voice, if it actually spoke, did not explain away the law that was passed by the Philippines Congress during the recent recess of this Parliament and that was aimed as deliberately and as distinctly at the Commonwealth of Australia as any bonewas ever pointed at a native by a medicine man. That subject was left untouched by the Minister for Immigration. The other issue that he ignored was what happened at Lake Success. Unless every newspaper in the world is untruthful-

Mr Haylen:

– The honorable member has said that nothing ever happens there.


– Nothing of any value to humanity. The Minister for External Affairs, who represents Australia at Lake Success, also presides over the deliberation,?, of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Unless the radio and the press throughout the world are wrong and are lying, certain representations have been made to the Minister for External Affairs at Lake Success about the Gamboa, case. “We were told that that matter had caused the Minister for External Affairs very great perturbation. For once in his life, he seemed to become politically introspective, and show some slight inclination to look after happenings in his own country. However, the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), who must speak for the Australian Government and for this country, has taken sides in the quarrel which crops up from time to time between the Minister for External Affairs and the Minister for Immigration. Another disagreement occurred between them during the last sittings of the Parliament. On the present occasion, the Prime Minister doomed to outright failure any chance that the Minister for External Affairs might have had at Lake Success by publicly taking sides with the Minister for Immigration. I admit that the Prime Minister has a perfect right to do so, but his action does not conceal the fact that the view of the Minister for External Affairs at Lake Success was obviously different from that of the Minister for Immigration here. Sooner or later the Australian Government must attend to that matter.

The impact of the White Australia policy on Asiatic countries at present is of paramount concern to the Australian Parliament. For a long- time, we were able to carry into effect the White Australia policy, and every inference and implication that can be read into it, because we were completely protected by the might of the. British Navy. We are not so protected to-day, and we shall not be so protected in future. We are face to face with an entirely new international set-up in the Pacific Ocean. I have no doubt about where I stand regarding the White Australia policy.

Mr Pollard:

– Where does the honorable member stand ?

Mp. ARCHIE’ CAMERON. - I think, as so often happens in some matters, that I am in the same boat as is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Pollard).

Mr Pollard:

– In that event, the honorable member will be all right.


– If the Minister and I were members of the same party we should be all right. As I have told him on many occasions, his proper place is on this side of the chamber with members of the Opposition. However, we really must consider our- attitude vis-a-vis what happened in the Pacific during World’ War EL and the outcome of that struggle. I believe that everything in Australia depends on the maintenance of the White Australia policy. I also believe that greater consideration and circumspection should be shown in the administration of that policy. A Minister may administer a policy in many ways. For example, he may administer a policy in a manner that does not create ill1 feeling, or his actions may receive considerable adverse publicity in the press-

Mr Chifley:

– When the- honorable member for Barker was a Minister, some of hrs actions created ill feeling.


– I acted quite deliberately, and’ make no apologies for having done so. The right honorable gentleman was noli a member of this chamber when I took action on one or two notorious occasions, and. not one member oi the Australian Labour party would challenge in this House what I did. The Minister for Commerce and. Agriculture may shake his. head,, hut that- is the position. Acta of administration, may be done in different ways. Too- much publicity has been given to certain aspects of the White Australia policy in recent months, and too much ill- feeling has been aroused in Malaya,, the Butch East Indies and the Philippines- through, the way in which that policy has been* administered in Australia. Even if this debate serves, no- other useful purpose, it may have the effect of directing the. attention of all Ministers, to the need for administering policy sometimes in the kid: glove rather than in the mailed fist fashion. An old cat may have a smooth foot, but it does conceal sharp claws, which may be felt when the cat is provoked. My advice to the Minister for Immigration - if I a:m entitled to tender advice to him, and I do so with- all good spirit - is to emulate the old cat in seme matters, and not the eagle or the vulture. If he will accept my advice, he will get on much better than he has done.


– This debate enables honorable members to discuss the policy of the Government towards non-Europeans who entered Australia during World War LT. Obviously, the Gamboa case has prompted the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) to move the adjournment of the House this afternoon. The honorable member has- asked that the Australian Parliament should convey to the President of the Republic of the Philippines assurances Oi£ our friendship and goodwill, and’ affirm that Australia’s immigration policy in relation to the nationals of that country is based solely on- economic considerations- and not on any policy of racial discrimination. In my opinion, the circumstances do not warrant the course of action that the honorable member advocates.. A person does not apologize to another person until’ he learns that his words or his actions have caused the second party to become aggrieved. The Government of the Philippines has n representative in Canberra, but has not voiced,, through diplomatic channels, a complaint about the administration of the White Australia policy in respect of Filipinos. In the circumstances, this Parliament is not called upon to transmit an apology to the Government of the Philippines regarding the exclusion of Sergeant Gamboa from Australia.

No honorable member will deny that, in recent months, Australian newspapers have severely criticized the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) in connexion with the O’Keefe case. Mrs. O’Keefe is an Indonesian who sought refuge in Australia during World War II. Honorable members opposite frequently challenge us to obtain an expression of public opinion about certain issues. We have been informed that gallup polls give a. fair indication of public opinion on various questions.

Mr Archie Cameron:

– The honorable member will need to gallop at the next poll.


– In the gallop for the next poll, I shall be greatly surprised it’ I am not a few furlongs ahead of the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron). The O’Keefe case is closely related to the Gamboa case. Honorable members opposite may be interested to learn that “ The Public Opinion News Service “ has conducted a gallup poll on the subject of our migration laws, and that the result has been released only to-day. The statement issued by the service reads as follows: -

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Majority Opinion

The Government’s decision to close loopholes in ourimigration laws is approved in principle by most of us, according to a Gallup Poll this month.

Interviewers broached the subject by asking: “ Now, about our immigration laws, would you give me your idea of what the O’Keefe case was about?”

A quarter of the people interviewed (470 out of 1.820) admitted they didn’t know. Most of the others correctly said the O’Keefe case was about an attempt to deport an Indonesian widow who had married an Australian.

It is apparent, therefore, that the great majority of the people knew what the case was about. The statement continues -

With this background in mind, people were then asked: -

The Government plans to strengthen the immigration laws, so that people allowed to come here temporarily can besent away again. Do you think those laws should be strengthened or not? The full cross-section of 1,820 answered: - 53 per cent. said, “ Strengthen the immigration laws”; 31 per cent. said, “Don’t strengthen them “ and 10 per cent. didn’t have opinions.


– The honorable member for Fawkner cannot “ take it “.. He does not want people who may be listening to the broadcast of these proceedings to hear this particular part of my speech clearly. He wants to drag in some extraneous matter. That is common tactics of members of the Opposition. When supporters of the Government attempt to make a good point in its favour honorable members opposite invariably try tosidetrack us by introducing some extraneous issue. However. I can assure the honorable member that he will be lucky to catch me. The statement I am quoting continues -

A separate count of answers of those who knew about the O’Keefe case gives almost thesame figures: Strengthen, 50 per cent.: don’t strengthen, 33 per cent. and no opinion,11 per cent.

Political Effect

People were asked their political affiliation, and analysis on that basis shows general agreement among the political groups regarding immigration laws: -

Usual comments were: “We must safeguard against undesirables “ or “ Maintain the White Australia policy “.

On the other hand, the minority feel that the present laws are sufficient, or that “if people are good enough to come here temporarily they should be allowed to stay “. (Issued by Aust. Public Opinion Polls, 352’ Collins St., Melb.)

Despite all the condemnation of the Minister uttered by members of the Opposition and published in the press, I have no doubt whatever that support for the White Australia policy is deeprooted in our people. It is significant that a majority of the people interviewed advocated the strengthening of our immigration laws so that people who were permitted to stay temporarily in this country can be sent away again. Only 31 per cent, were opposed to the strengthening of our immigration laws. Honorable members may say that the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who took part in this debate, was expressing the views of the Australian Labour party, but I point out that I have at least an equal right to express my views. I hold the view that we have no quarrel with the Filipinos. We want to live in peace and amity with them and to develop the maximum trade with them. T say to the Government, the Parliament and the people of the Philippines that we do not expect the Filipino people to extend any greater concessions to Australians than we are prepared to extend to them. I believe that the Filipinos generally appreciate that. The honorable member for Reid and his supporters among the Opposition have, in my opinion, done the country a disservice by raising this matter, and I consider that as members of the National Parliament

Ave are merely belittling this institution by discussing the Gamboa case.


– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.


.- I emphatically disagree with the concluding remarks of the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) because 1 am convinced that it is regrettable that these matters should be ventilated in the Parliament. In the few minutes which remain before the debate concludes I intend to make a practical suggestion. Australia is obviously being brought into disrepute overseas because its foreign policy is being left entirely to one individual, who has debased his country in the eyes of the world. The good name gained by our fighting forces in the shooting war is being lost by our representative at the United Nations in the shouting war.


– Order ! The honorable member must confine his remarks to the matter under discussion.


– I was about to point out that if we had a foreign affairs committee in the Parliament matters such as the Gamboa case could be brought before it. I made a suggestion as long ago as 1943 that such a committee should be constituted.! If my suggestion had been adopted the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) would have been saved a great deal of the embarrassment that he has experienced recently because the responsibility for decisions in these matters would rest on the Parliament.

In my opinion the Minister for Immigration is not so much Ajax defying the lightning as Ajax inviting the limelight. We have no statute called the “White Australia Act “ ; the only statutory basis for that policy is the Immigration Act. But because the Minister has administered that act maladroitly and come down flatfooted he has marred the good record that he has established in other directions. I repeat that it would be an excellent thing if the Minister were to bring difficult cases of the nature of the Gamboa case before an all-party committee of the Parliament. Such matters, and, indeed; all those which affect the national policy should bo above party -politics. Decisions on such cases as that of Gamboa vitally affect our prestige throughout the world. We must always remember that Australia, is little more than a white outpost on the fringe of Asia with its teeming hordes. We do not want to lower our flag to those people, yet we constantly hear around us suggestions, that we should adopt a quota system in order to permit the introduction of a number of Asiatic peoples in quotas. I warn those who advocate such a departure that its adoption would cause much more trouble than we are experiencing now. Every nation would seek a quota and there would be eventual pressure for larger quotas. Our Immigration Act is a sound statute which has worked efficiently for more than 40 years. A liberal construction of the act will undoubtedly permit the Minister for Immigration to exercise a limited discretion. Indeed, the present Minister is quite aware of that fact because he has made a number of exceptions to its general rule prohibiting the entry of coloured peonies. It must be apparent to every honorable member and. indeed, to every sensible Australian who has given any thought to the matter, that if the Minister exercises his, limited discretionary powers justly and with discretion, our White Australia policy will be adequately safeguarded and no offence need be caused to any Asiatic nation. However, because of the tactless and forthright fashion in which the Minister has exercised his powers a great deal of bitterness has been aroused against this country in some eastern countries. Certain Asiatics who have a grudge against Australia have seized the opportunity to vent their spleen upon us. When incidents arise such as Gamboa’s application for entry to this country they must be dealt with on their individual meritsIt cannot be denied that the despotic attitude of the present Minister for Immigration, notwithstanding that he may believe himself to be justified, has done Australia a serious disservice. I have deliberately expressed my view as mildly is -possible because I believe that the Minister is honestly trying to do his best. Again I commend to him the suggestion that he bring these difficult cases before a committee of the Parliament. The need for caution and a unified policy in dealing with these matters is apparent when we realize that during the same month that the Minister refused Gamboa permission to <visit this country he permitted Filipino golfers and boxers to come here. Undoubtedly, his decision in Gamboa’s case could, and should, have been more generous. However,, I trust that we shall hear no more of cases of this kind. Should any occur I trust that they will not be given wide publicity. Equally, I trust that the Minister will refrain from seeking publicity from these unfortunate cases.

Debate interrupted under Standing Qa’der 257b.

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Motion (by Mr. Chifley) .agreed to -

That leave bo given to bring in a bill for .an act to approve of ratification by Australia of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and for other purposes.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP

by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to seek the approval of the Parliament for Australian ratification of the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Genocide, which means the wholesale or partial destruction of religious, racial or national groups, has long shocked the conscience of mankind. The term itself, however, only came into general use at the time of the Nuremberg trials. It was then used to describe the destruction by the Nazis of groups of human beings on racial or religious grounds. The General Assembly of the United Nations at its first session, in December, 1946, unanimously affirmed that genocide was a crime under international law which the civilized world condemned. It decided thai a draft convention to outlaw the crime should be prepared. After much preliminary work by the Economic and Social Council and its organs, a final text was drawn up and unanimously approved by the General Assembly at Paris on the 9th December, 1948. In approving the convention, the Assembly recommended it for signature and acceptance by member States. It has already been signed by more than twenty States.

In the convention the term “ genocide “’ covers various acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such. The contracting parties are obliged to giveeffect to the provisions of the convention and to provide effective penalties for genocide. The convention will come into force on the nineteenth day following the date of -deposit of the twentieth instrument of acceptance. The bill also approves that the Secretary-General of the United Nations be notified of the extension of the convention to territories for the conduct of whose foreign relations Australia is responsible. This is in accordance with Article 12 of the convention and a separate resolution of the General Assembly which recommended that States. apply the convention to their dependent territories.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Menzies) adjourned.

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Motion (by Mr. Lemmon) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the War Service Homes Act 1918-1948.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Works and Housing · Forrest · ALP

by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to endeavour to provide a greater measure of assistance to ex-servicemen by raising the amount available under the act to a total of £2,000. The existing provision is for assistance under mortgage to a total of £1,500, and under contract of sale to a total of £1,750. The bill provides for a maximum of£2,000 undereither a mortgage or a contractofsale. The increases of the amountofassistance will help considerablyinthegroup building scheme, which I am pleased to informthe House is gaining in impetus.

Provisionis also madein the bill to retainthe deposit of up to 5 per cent., in contractof sale cases, where the assistance doesnot exceed £1,750, and to provide a sliding scale of deposit increasing above the 5 per cent. by one per cent. for every increase of assistance of £50, orpart thereof, where the amount of assistance under contract of sale exceeds £1,750. The maximum deposit required is 10 per cent. In mortgage cases the applicant must have a 10 per cent. equity, irrespective of the amount of advance. Provision is made forthe director to have discretion in contract of sale cases, where the circumstances so warrant, to accept a smaller deposit than either the 5 per cent. up to £1,750or the deposit required on the sliding scale where the assistance exceeds £1,750. The discretion in this respect is provided in the act at present where the assistance does not exceed £1,250, but instances have arisen which show that, unless the discretion is extended to assistance up to the proposed maximum of £2,000, some applicants, who are in a position to pay their instalments regularly but who are not able to pay the required deposit, would be unable to proceed with their proposals, despite the fact that their circumstances might warrant the most sympathetic consideration under the War Service Homes Act.

Debate (on motion by Mr. White) adjourned.

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Motion (by Mr. Pollard) agreed to - That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to approve acceptance by Australia of the International Wheat Agreement, and for other purposes.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · Ballarat · ALP

. -by leave - I move - “Thatthe bill be now read a second time.

This bill is brought forward to ratify the International Wheat Agreement which was arrived at by representatives of governments at a conference held in February and March last. It will be remembered that a similar bill was introduced last , year. The agreement which that legislation covered, “however, was not ratifiedby the United States Congress, and,because of the importance of America as an exporter, it lapsed. At the instance of the United States, a further conference was called, and the agreement which forms part of thisbill is the result. ‘The agreement is subject to ratification or formal acceptanceby the governments concerned by the 1st July, 1949.

In my second-readingspeech last year I covered fully the history of the negotiations foran international agreement and dealt in detail with theprinciples underlying the agreement. The new agreement follows the same lines, in principle, as the agreement drawn up last year. Therefore, in this speech, I shall confine my remarks mainly to the differences on matters of substance between this year’s and last year’s agreement, with some brief comments on the present world position of wheat. The agreement which I now present to the Parliament for ratification is to operate for four years. The quantity of wheat covered slightly exceeds 450,000,000 bushels. This amount of wheat, including flour, is to be supplied by five exporters - Australia, Canada, the United States of America, France and Uruguay. A fixed quantity, or “ quota “, is to be supplied by each of these countries. I shall refer later to these quotas, particularly to that of Australia. Thirtysix importing countries have signed the agreement. Each of them is to purchase a specified annual quantity of wheat, including flour.

The agreement lays down maximum and minimum prices. The maximum is the price at which the exporters may be called upon by the importers to supply wheat; the minimum is the price at which the exporters may call upon the importers to purchase wheat. In practice, however, it can be expected that many sales of wheat covered by the agreement will be made at various prices within the range set by the maximum and minimum limits. The important point is that while wheat is relatively scarce, as it is at present, importers cannot be charged more than the maximum price, while later on, if prices slump heavily .as a result of. an improved supply position, exporters will be assured of a market for about 450,000,000 bushels at not less than the minimum price. Transactions in wheat outside the agreement may be made at any price. There is no restriction on such transactions provided the countries concerned continue to sell and purchase their quotas under the agreement.

The agreement is intended to come into effect on the 1st August. However, because of technical details involved in starting off the first year, the substantive parts, price and quantity, may be put into force as late as the l3t September. 1949.

I shall turn now to the major -changes in this year’s agreement compared with last year’s agreement. These changes have to do with duration, prices and quantity.

The present agreement is for four years - that is to say, from the 1st August, 1949, to the 31st July, 1953. Last year’s agreement was intended to run for five years. There is provision for the extension of the agreement beyond four years, if desired.

The outstanding change relates to price. The maximum price under the new agreement is one dollar eighty cents a bushel at Fort William, Canada, as against two dollars last year. On the other hand, the minimum price has been raised from one dollar ten cents to one dollar twenty cents. The following table compares the minimum, price under the two agreements. It will be noted that this price is ten cents higher for each year covered by the 1949 agreement than was provided for those same years in the 1948 agreement.

On the estimated proportions of wheat and flour that will go to the United Kingdom -and to our nearer markets, the Australian equivalents of the one dollar eighty cents maximum and the one dollar twenty cents minimum are, upon present freight rates, approximately lis. to ils. 3d. and 7s. to 7s. 3d. respectively. I should state here that the prices in the agreement are linked to the American dollar and that the only alteration in exchange rates that could affect the Australian equivalents would be a change in the value of the Australian pound compared with the American dollar.

Both the Cabinet and myself were very loth to accept a lower maximum than two dollars, which was the figure in last year’s agreement, but after examining all the circumstances and after consultation with the executive of the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation, it was decided to do so. The executive had advised me that although it was not satisfied with the maximum rate it considered that the Government should accept the range of prices proposed with the lower maximum. I would further observe that consent to the one dollar eighty cents maximum was not given by the Australian Government until the Governments of Canada and the United States- the main exporters - and also those of the United Kingdom and other principal importers had advised their acceptance.

I fully appreciate the arguments that the agreement reached in 1948 should not have been departed from. But it must also be appreciated that the bargaining position of exporters with importers had weakened somewhat over the year. When the conference opened this year the world price was around 2. 20 dollars per bushel! At the close of the conference last year the price was fluctuating around 2.70 dollars a bushel, having fallen during the course of that conference from about 3.20 dollars. During 1948 the world price of wheat continued to decline gradually and at the. year’s end was about 2.40 dollars a bushel. On the 14th May, 1949. it was 2.15 dollars.

The supply outlook at the recent conference was more satisfactory from the stand-point of importers than it was a year ago, and recent reports of a very heavy United States crop indicate that a still easier position is in prospect. The harvesting of the United States crop will commence shortly.

The other important difference between the 1948 and the 1949 agreements relates to quantity. The quantity covered by the agreement drawn up last year was 500,000.000 bushels. The new agreement covers a total of 452,000,000 bushels. The actual figure that appears in the agreement is 456,000,000 bushels, but one country - Paraguay - did not sign, and Peru reduced its quantity before signing. Unless other importing countries are willing to raise their guaranteed purchases by an offsetting, amount, it will be necessary to make a slight reduction in the guaranteed sales of exporting countries.

Some countries such as the United Kingdom and Ceylon have undertaken to purchase the same quantities as they had inserted in last year’s agreement, or have inserted higher quantities - India and South Africa, for example. On the other hand, other importers have put in reduced quantities, whilst France has changed from an importer of 36,000,000 bushels under the 1948 agreement to an exporter of 3,000,000 bushels under this year’s agreement.

When it became clear at the recent conference that the quantity covered by the agreement would be less than 500,000,000 bushels, the shares, or quotas, set last year for Australia, Canada and the United States of America had to be reconsidered. A comparison of the export quotas in the 1948 agreement with those in this year’s agreement is as follows : -

It will be noted that each of the three main exporters had to accept reduced figures. Over the next four years our export quota of 80,000,000 bushels should just about absorb our exportable surplus from average crops. A crop of around 160,000,000 bushels would be required to give an exportable surplus of 80,000,000 bushels. We did endeavour to retain our previous quota of 85,000.000 bushels, since it was considered that we could reckon on having that quantity available, after taking into account that our last harvest yielded 190,000,000 bushels. On the other hand, we should not have difficulty in disposing of some additional wheat over and above our 80,000,000 bushels quota.

The quantity of wheat covered by the agreement is about one-half of this year’s estimated world trade in wheat. Guaranteed purchases under the agreement represent less than the total import requirements of many of the participating importing countries. They have, necessarily, made allowance for some variation in domestic yields. They have also allowed for imports of wheat from Argentina, Russia, and the Danubian exporters. In addition, the requirements of Germany and Japan, which are at present over 100,000,000 bushels, will be met outside the agreement, almost entirely by the United States of America.

No one, of course, can prophesy what the future relation will be between world import demands and world export supplies of wheat. For the first year of the agreement the exportable supplies look like being about 1,000,000,000 bushels. The United States of America is expecting an exportable surplus of nearly 500,000,000. bushels. Canada, Australia and Argentina together are likely to have a surplus of around 450,000,000 bushels. Then, apart from some minor exporters, there is Russia, which, at the recent conference, asked for a quota of 75,000,000 bushels and stated that, if required, it could supply over 100,000,000 bushels. Whilst exportable supplies of new crop wheat . are not likely to continue to reach 1,000,000,000 bushels annually, a fall much below 900,000,000 bushels cannot, on the average, be looked for with any certainty.

A very important question is “ Will the world trade in wheat continue during the next four years at the present volume “ ? The evidence suggests that it will not. The pre-war net annual demand was around 550,000,000 bushels. It is true that since then the import requirements of certain countries have risen. In some cases - India is an example - the increase has been considerable.. Other importing countries may be prepared to reduce production and increase foreign purchases when prices fall from the present high level. However, taking an overall’ view, it does not seem likely that the world import demand will remain permanently at the current very high figure, although an immediate contraction is not expected.

Even if the total volume of the world trade in wheat can be maintained at a level up to 200,000,000 bushels above the pre-war figure, giving a total of 700,000,000 to 750,000,000 bushels there is a prospect, a distinct possibility, of the creation of a large surplus. Such a surplus would result in a sharp drop in prices America is already showing signs of apprehension, and the United1 States Administration recently warned farmers of the possibility of the reintroduction of acreage restrictions. I do not wish to assume the role of a pessimist, but over the next few years Australian wheat-growers might well be thankful for the shelter of an international agreement which gives them an assured market for all, or nearly all, of their surplus, at not less than a known, minimum price.

I commend the agreement to the House. I am a firm believer in the principles of an international agreement for wheat. I would have liked to see a higher maximum of two dollars, but it could not be secured. Under all the circumstances I consider that the Government was fully justified in. signing the agreement and is also justified in presenting it for ratification. Its real service to the Australian wheat-grower is that it gives him security and it protects him from falls on the export market which, over a span of years, have periodically resulted in returns which can. only be described as hopelessly inadequate. 1 should be ungrateful if I did not pay a. tribute to Australia’s representative at the International Wheat Conference, Mr. McCarthy, Secretary of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture. For many years, Mr. McCarthy, serving under governments of various politicalcomplexions, has worked faithfully and well in the interests of Australia. At the conference he was able, by hisown efforts, backed by the Government, to bring about an agreement which, I believe, will be of inestimable value to Australian wheat growers’ and to Australia generally.

Debate (on motion by Mr. McEwen) adjourned.

page 96


Debate resumed from the 18th May (vide page 51), cm motion by Mr.

Dedman) -

That the following paper be printed;: - Brief review of Australia’s Manufacturing Economy in the Post-war Period.


:.- I confess that I am deeply disappointed in the. document which the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) has presented to the House on the’ subject of Australia’s manufacturing economy. In table A of the statement the: Minister has set. out figures compiled, by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, so they may be taken as reliable.

Presumably, the: order ins which; the various items- appear in the. table” may be regarded- as the order of importance which they occupy in- the1- opinion of- the Minister.. Figures’ are given showing, the number” of persons’ employed, in- Australia’s secondary industries from l-944!-45 to- 1946-47. . In answer to a question which I asked of. tile Prime Minister some weeks ago, I was supplied with figures which, bring’ the information, up to the end of 1947-48.- From these fig-urea it is. evident that the number of persons engaged in manufacturing has increased by about 60,000 during the last ten- years. Unfortunately the number engaged in rural industries has declined during the same period by almost exactly the same total. Ten years ago, 526,000 persons were employed in rural industries.- Today, the number is 464,000, representing a decline of 62,000. There is a relation between the number of persons employed iti primary and secondary industries, which should not be overlooked. The Minister also referred’ to the number” of industrial establishments” in Australia, and in” this connexion the House is indebted to the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt)’ for his dissection of the figures. He showed that of the” 34,70’7 industrial establishments in Australia, Only 2,80ff employed more than LOO persons, which indicates that even iri secondary industries” the great bulk of the employment is still provided by small establishments. Figures are also given in the Minister’s statement’ which show the total amount paid in wages to employees in secondary industries: In view tff the greatly increased price of practically all manufactured goods, the increase . of wages and’ salaries seems to be rather small. Certainly; it does not correspond with the price increases that have taken place1. Since 1944-4’5, the total capital invested in secondary industries, has increased by” only 16 per cent.; that is from £366,000,000 to’ £382,000,000- This comparatively small increase indicates that Australian manufacturers have practically reached their’ peak, arid that a decline may now be expected. The Minister has placed the iron, and’- steel industry at the1 head, of the list of Australia’s manufacturing industries. Lower down’ on- the list he has’ placed” the production of elec- trical energy. Itf my opinion, the’ pro,duction of electrical energy should Fate very highly, among- our industries because itf may be1 regarded as a raw material, which enters- into the production of practically every other manufactured com,modity

I am somewhat concerned over- the Government’s complacency about Australian industry, and its claims regarding the progress made. Those claims appear to” be based entirely Upon inflated values. The .statement of the Minister shows no understanding of the proper order df importance’ of the Various industries, aud: particularly- of the production- of electric power. I emphasize’ that if we’ had an additional 1,000,000- people in this country and our production of electric power” remained at its present level, we should not be- able to- increase production substantially even should the supply of power to present users be rationed by 30 per cent’. The rationing of power recently imposed in New South “Wales must seriously impede industrial production generally during the next few years’: I repeat that due to- deficiency of power production the immediate introduction of an additional 1,000,000 people to this country would riot enable us to increase total production- to any substantial Mcgree. A- glance at the figures supplied r-nt only iri the statement which the Minister has presented to us, but also iri the Commonwealth Statistician’s Monthly Review for March reveals the stark’ fact that although 400,000 more people were employed in this country last year than in 1938-“39, our volume’ of productions has remained stationary and, in many industries-,- including essential services;- is actually lower now than- it w’as ten’- years ago. For instance,- the number of- bricks manufactured in- this country last year was 150,000,000 fewer than that- produced in 1938-39, whilst the production of pig-iron and steel ingots decreased by hundreds of thousands of tons. Under-production in those indus=tries must- impede the. expansion of our industrial economy as a whole. However, J shall deal later iri.: more detail with- that aspect.- A much starker fact is’ that despite1 the complacent boasts contained in’ the’ statement before” us, a cut– of 30 per Gent: on power, supplies has* been imposed upon industry and essential services in Sydney, which is the second largest city in the Empire. This decision has already caused rationing of employment in every industry in that city. Furthermore, similar rationing has been instituted practically throughout New South Wales, which contains two-fifths of the population of the Commonwealth and is the largest in population and the wealthiest of the States.

The Minister places electric power production in third place in the order of industries with which he deals in his statement, but I regard power production as being of first importance. Therefore, I shall deal with it before proceeding to discuss conditions in other essential industries. I shall show that the deterioration in our power system is due to lack of vision on the part of the Government and its lack of drive combined with its weak-kneed surrender to Communist extremist elements in key trade unions which are concerned with the production of power and fuel.Both the Australian Government and the Government of New South Wales are directly responsible for the present power failure and for the fall in production generally. The power failure at Bunnerong, which is the biggest generating station in Australia, is due mainly to three causes. The first is insufficient supplies of coal, particularly good quality coal for which the station’s furnaces were specially constructed at very heavy cost. Those furnaces were designed to burn only the best coal, but the best coal is not being supplied to that station. I read in the Sydney Morning Herald only a few days ago that due to the use of inferior coal a considerable quantity of glass is deposited in the furnaces. The second cause for the power failure at Bunnerong is a deficiency in the total equipment needed. The third cause is the lack of maintenance of that equipment due to absence of staff discipline resulting largely from Government interference with the system of wage fixing by the Arbitration Court. Both this Government and the Government of New South Wales have advanced alibis for the position which now obtains at Bunnerong. They say that present shortages are due to faulty planning and incompetent ordering by the electricity authorities in the past. Such an allegation comes rather strangely from those governments because at present privately-owned organizations such as the Electric Light and Power Supply Company of Sydney and the City Electric Light Company of Brisbane have the best equipped stations and have succeeded in obviating serious trouble at their plants. It is somewhat ironical that the New South Wales Government has just appointed as its emergency power controller Mr. Conde, general manager of the Electric Light and Power Supply Company of Sydney, and has given him the responsibility of extricating Sydney from the unenviable position in which it finds itself as the result of power blackouts. Apparently, in this instance socialization has not proved as successful as has private enterprise.

The same two governments have also advanced the second alibi that because of the war they could not obtain requisite electrical equipment. I shall make a few comparisons with conditions in other countries to show the falseness of that claim. I informed myself fully upon this aspect when I was in London during the war charged with the responsibility of obtaining a 50,000-watt turbo alternator for the Sydney County Council. During the war Australia installed an additional 240,000 kilowatts of generating capacity whereas at the outbreak of hostilities our total capacity was 1,407,000 kilowatts. This increased our generating capacity by 16 per cent. whilst the actual electrical units generated increased from 6,000 million to 8,000 million, or an increase of 30 per cent. However, during the same period, Canada increased its generating capacity from 5,560,000 kilowatts to 7,121,00 kilowatts, or an increase of 28 per cent., and increased the unit? generated from 25,000 million to 40,000 million or an increase of 60 per cent. : and the United States increased its capacity from 38,000,000 kilowatts to 50,000,000 kilowatts, or an increase of 28 per cent., and increased the number of electrical units generated from 127,000 million to 223,000 million, or an increase of 80 per cent. Thus, during the war years Canada, which rendered as much help to the cause of the Allies as did Australia in man-power, money and materials, installed 1,600,000 kilowatts, which is practically equal to Australia’s present total capacity, and the United States of America installed 12,000,000 additional kilowatts, or six times Australia’s total capacity, whilst during the same period Australia installed only 240,000 kilowatts.

Siding suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.


– From the facts that I recited prior to the suspension of the sitting, it is clear that the Government’s second claim that, because of the war, it could not obtain the requisite electrical equipment to meet our industrial requirements, cannot be sustained. Due to their greater drive and efficiency the Governments of Canada and the United States of America were able to obtain sufficient electrical equipment to meet the expanding needs of industry in those countries. In 1941 a request was made by the Sydney County Council for the supply of a 50,000-kilo- watt turbo-alternator. When I went to London to represent Australia at a meeting of the War Cabinet I ascertained that that order had been given a very low priority. I made strong representations to Sir Andrew Duncan, the British Minister for Supply, with the result that the priority was raised to the highest level and the equipment was supplied without delay. The failure of governments adequately to cater for the requirements of the electricity supply undertakings in Australia has resulted in stagnation in many important Australian industries. In productive output the Australian worker before the war, during the war and since cannot compare with workers in Canada and the United States of America. The 40-hour week might have been introduced in Australia without complete dislocation of our economic position had we first backed our industries with sufficient electric power, together with labour and time-saving devices. Instead, we see the sorry spectacle of decreased production of the most essential goods. I have compiled some figures relating to the production of coal, and iron and other basic metals which may be of interest to honorable members.

In 1938-39, the production of black coal in Australia amounted to 12,192,000 tons. In 1947-48, notwithstanding the increase of the number of mine-workers, black coal production declined to 12,000,000 tons. Peak production was achieved in 1941-42 when the total yield was 14,316,000 tons. This drop in coal production is reflected in the production of pig-iron and ingot steel which play such an important part in the production of many of our requirements. The production of pig-iron declined from 1,548,000 tons in 1941-42 to 1,000,000 tons in 1948. During the same period the output of ingot , steel dropped from 1,692,000 tons to 1,250,000 tons, refined lead from 247,000 tons to 160,000 tons, and refined copper from 22,000 tons to 15,000 tons. Most significant of all, the production of bricks dropped from 720,000,000 in 1938-39 to 600,000,000 in 1948. It is heartening to note, however, that an outstanding increase took place in the production of timber during those years. I pay a tribute to the timber industry for its extraordinary achievements since the outbreak of the war. As the result of a combination of effort on the part of the workers, the haulers, the sawmillers and all those associated with the industry sufficient supplies were made available during the war to meet the requirements of the armed forces and of urgent civil projects, and since the termination of the war the timber industry has made a notable contribution to the reconstruction programme. A similar decline in production to that experienced in the base metals industries is to be found in the production of household requirements. In 1947-48 the average monthly production of cast iron porcelain enamel basins was 3,940. In January, 1949, production dropped to 3,802. The comparative figures for earthernware basins are 2,242 and 1,9S9, and for cast iron porcelain enamel sinks they are 3,455 and 3,221. The decline in the production of stainless steel sinks was similar. The average monthly production of solid fuel coppers varied, but there was an overall drop from 6,925 in 1947-48 to 5,389 in January, 1949, and of gas coppers from 2,753 to 1,937. When such a decline is manifested throughout the whole range of production the people must suffer. These deficiencies have been brought about to a great degree by the viciouscircleof insufficient supplies of coal, and coal of bad quality resulting in the diminuition of the output of electrical energy.

The Minister for Postwar Reconstruction (Mr.Dedman) referred to thegreat decentralization that had taken place in the industrial sphere. He cited the points at which he claimed that decentralization had taken place. In New South Wales, for instance, hesaid that great decentralization had resulted from the establishmentof industries at Villawoodand St. Mary’s. I remind the honorablegentleman that both of those townsare within . 30 miles of Sydney. As an exampleof decentralization in Queensland hesaid that new industries had been established at Rocklea Rocklea is only aboutt8 milesdistant from the Brisbane General Post Office. He also pointedto the new industries which badbeen established ‘at Hendon in South Australia, but omitted to mention that Hendon is within walkinigdistanceof the City of Adelaide. Allof this so-called decentralizationof industry has taken place in and around thecapital cities. Indeed,, thegrowthof Sydney and Melbournesince the outbreakof war has been so rapid that facilities if or the supply ofessential foodstuffs, including milk, havebeenoutstripped. InSydney difficulty isexperienced in obtaining ‘sufficient water for industrial purposesand for the needsof the rapidly growing population. At places where large war factories wereestablished, such as Orange, Lithgow and Cowra, the populations of “which were expected to increase substantially in thepost-war period, there has been adeclineof populalationas the resultof factors with which Ishall deal ina moment or two. Forinstance the Mitchell district, which includes ‘Orange and Lithgow, has suffereda reduction of 264 in its population since 1933. This means,of course, that it has also lost a natural increase estimatedat 15,554, making a total deficiency of 15,818. The Lachlan district, which includes the town of Cowra in the electorate so ably represented by the honorable member for Calare (Mr. Howse), has lost approximately 14,000 of its population since 1933. This, addedto & natural increaseof 16,87.5 which might otherwise have been expected, makes a total loss of 30,875. The only rural area in New South Wales that hasgained population is the north coast district, where some of the electricity and water supply schemes that I have advocated for the past 35 years have now been brought into operation. That district has gained 13,000 people, although it has not entirelyheld its natural increase. That brings meto the question of what actually has caused the tremendous decline of population in country areas despite a certain degree of industrial development which has improved working conditions considerably. To-day certain country factories such as those at Orange have some of the finest machinery in the world.; yet the establishment of those industries has not ‘led to any appreciable increase of population in the districts in which they aresituated. The reason for that is that it is not possible to provide substantial heads of electricity for developmental purposes. Mr. Miles, a former chief engineer of the New South Wales railways,andone of the ‘ablest technical -men in this country, states that during the last ten ‘or twelve years the first question asked by business menseeking to undertake production in country areas hasbeen, “‘Can we get. l0,000horse-power forour industry immediately, andanother 10,000 horsepower to cover ‘expansion in, ‘say, ten or fifteen years’? If wecannot get that, it is of nouse starting here at all “. At present thisquantityof electrical power can beobtainedonly wheredecentralization has already taken place, andthat, according to the Minister’s own statement, is within 30 or 40 miles of the capital cities.Onlyby regional development can we prepare adequately to feed,clothe and house the migrants whoare coming to this country. Balanced regional development will not he possible until we have harnessed theSnowy,Burdekin andClarence rivers - the threegreat water heads inthe eastern Statesofthe Commonwealth. Electricity from those sources must he linked up with coal supplies if new undertakings are to beestablished in country towns which have ready access to raw materials. This is the only solution of the problem ofensuring a balanced distribution of population throughout . Australia.

It is interesting to examine the manning of existing industries throughout the Commonwealth. Of the 34,000 factories at present in operation in all States, only approximately 2,S00 employ more than 100 operatives. Therefore, the other 32,000 undertakings, many of them essential industries, could easily be moved to country centres if adequate supplies of water and electricity were available. Earlier to-day I was prevented from completing a question that I was asking the Prime Minister. I was inquiring whether the right honorable gentleman would discuss with representatives of the governments associated with the Commonwealth in the Clarence River Scheme the offer by an electrical equipment manufacturing company to examine the details of the scheme with a view to submitting an estimate of the cost of manufacturing the necessary hydro-electric machinery in this country so that a start could be made straight away. The Prime Minister may be prepared, by interjection, or later in the evening, to give me a reply, because I know that he is sympathetic to this proposal.

Mr Chifley:

– I have already promised the right honorable member that an investigation will be made of the third phase of the scheme.


– I am glad of the Prime Minister’s assurance on that point in spite of the absence of an answer to my question earlier to-day. The provision of adequate electricity supplies to country towns will enable us to restore the balance of employment between manufacturing and rural industries that existed twenty or 30 years ago. Information supplied by the Commonwealth Statistician in reply to a question that I asked in this chamber about two months ago, shows that whereas, in 19 34-3 “5. the number of people engaged in rural industries, including, I think, mining, was 528,000, and the number engaged in manufacturing undertakings was 448.000 - a difference of 80.000 - to-day, secondary industries are giving employment to an additional 380.000 people, while the number engaged in rural occupations h*>s declined by approximated 60,000. If we tackle the whole problem of our manufacturing industries, bearing in mind the three points that I have men tioned as being fundamental to expansion, we shall be able to establish proper priorities and ensure an equitable decentralization of industry without increasing production costs or creating transport difficulties. Only by the transfer of large numbers of our people from the cities to the rural areas where they can be engaged on new decentralized industries, can we develop this country and provide adequately for its defence.


.- I wish to make some comments on the paper that has been presented to the House by the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman), entitled “Brief Review of Australia’s Manufacturing Economy in the Post-war Period “. I have a special interest in this matter because there has been considerable industrial development in South Australia. In his criticism of the Government last night, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) conceded that the solution of the problem presented by the serious shortages of many commodities in this country was not easy to find. That was an admission that had not been heard from the Opposition benches previously. Continually we have .been told by our political opponents that all the blame for any shortages that exist, to-day may be laid at the doorstep of the Commonwealth Government. Although the Leader of the Opposition told us that the solution of the problem was not easy, I did hot recognize in his speech one suggestion that would help us to increase the production of the materials of which we are short to-day - short because of the increased demand brought about by full employment. Before the war, South Australia was regarded as a primary producing State, and, in the event of a bad season, the unemployment problem was acute ; but, during the war, factories were established for the manufacture of war materials, and they have now been turned over to the production of civil needs. The Leader of the Opposition alleged that the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) had given him the credit for the establishment of those industries, but let me tell him that the credit is due to the Labour party, which was called upon to take over the administration of the country’s affairs when he and his supporters, who claim to have laid the foundations for our industrial development, failed to carry on. “Whereas, before the war, South Australia was merely a primary-producing State, it now possesses important secondary industries. The Australian Government has leased to private enterprise 21 factories and has sold one. They are in production. In addition, there has been a vast increase in the number of small factories throughout the State. A great deal of the industrial expansion in South Australia is attributable to the far-sighted policy of the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) and the policy of the Commonwealth Bank to assist industrial development. The Leader of the Opposition and others have referred to the scarcity of homes for the Australian people. The right honorable gentleman cannot blame this Government for that scarcity. He himself said in 1939, when questioned in this House, that housing was the responsibility of the State governments. That statement is recorded in Hansard. The honorable member for Hindmarsh made the position clear when he stated that he had been told by the then Premier of South Australia, when he was a member of the Commonwealth Housing Commission, that no State was willing to transfer to the Commonwealth Parliament power over housing. I have before me figures relating to the scarce materials. They were prepared for me at my request by the Acting Commonwealth Statistician, Mr. S. R. Carver, in order that I might distribute copies in various centres of my electorate. I propose to read them to honorable members so that they shall be aware of how the announced policy of the Prime Minister so to expand industry as to achieve a balanced economy throughout Australia and iri the various States has borne fruit in my State. South Australia enjoys a balanced economy such as it never had before. The expansion of industry in that State by the conversion of war-time factories to the production of civil needs, under the encouragement of the Australian Government, has conferred a boon on the workers, because, before the establishment of the new industries, a worker, unless he was employed in the Government Railway Workshops or in one of the two large motor body building establishments, had a lean time. The figures supplied to me by Mr. Carver show that the number of factories in South Australia has increased by 40 per cent., the number of factory workers by 70 per cent, and the value of output by 200 per cent That indicates the industrial expansion that has occurred in South Australia. Unfortunately, we experience from time to time a scarcity of coal. We have only just passed through a period of such scarcity. The first basic material with which I propose to deal, therefore, is coal. The Australian production of coal in 1938-39 was 12,198,000 tons compared with 14,734,000 tons in 1947-48 and 8,076,000 tons in the six months ended December, 1948. In 1947-48, 208,000 tons of coal was produced at Leigh Creels in South Australia compared with 146,000 tons produced in the six months ended December, 1948. If production continues at that rate, South Australian coal production will be increased considerably. The next basic material with the production of which I propose to deal is pig iron, of which 1,105,000 tons was produced in 1938-39 compared with 1,233,000 tons in 1947-48. Admittedly, not all the coal or all the pig iron that could be produced is being produced, and the same applies to ingot steel, of which 1,172,000 tons was produced in 1938-39 and 1,278,000 tons in 1947-48; but the figures show increased production all along the line. The production of cement rose from 868,000 tons in 1938-39 to 988,000 tons in 1947-48. The only commodity in the production of which there has been a decline is bricks, the output of which fell considerably from 721,000.000 in 1938-39. Brick production in South Australia from July to November, 1947, was 16,000,000 bricks. With the introduction of 45 displaced persons into the industry, production increased to 19,000,000 bricks during the period from July to November, 1948, an increase of 3,000,000 bricks over the corresponding period of the previous year. The policy of the Minister for Immigration is to endeavour to supply immigrant labour to vital industries so that they may continue to increase production. I have here a statement issued by the manager of one of the largest brick and pottery works in Melbourne, who claims that one man can produce 3,500 bricks a week or 2,500 tiles a month. Obviously, the Government is on the right track in pursuing its policy of directing immigrants to basic industries. Production of terra cotta tiles in Australia increased from 39,700,000 in 1938-39 to 41,200,000 in 1947-48. We hear a great deal of talk about the inadequacy of electric power supplies in Australia to-day, but the real cause of our troubles is the vastly increased demand for power. In 1938-39 the output of electric energy in Australia was equivalent to 4,688,000,000 kilowatt tours, and in 1947-48 the figure had been increased to 8,368,000,000 kilowatt hours. In South Australia, the annual output of electric energy was more than doubled over that period from 256,000,000 kilowatt hours to 521,000,000 kilowatt hours. Nevertheless, industry in South Australia is starved of electric power as the result of coal shortages.

Mr Rankin:

– The trouble is that the coal-miners will not dig the coal that is needed to produce power.


– We are having difficulties, but I shall make an appeal in my own way on that subject later.

A number of small industries have been established in the electorate of Boothby, which I represent. With the assistance of the Government, I was able to retain for South Australia an industry that produces goods which benefit industry generally by saving man-hours and increasing production. I took advantage of an opportunity to bring to Canberra the directors of the company concerned, who received sympathetic attention from the Government and were granted all possible assistance. They said to me in King’s Hall afterwards that it was a great pity that more leaders of industry in South Australia did not visit Canberra to place their troubles before the Government. The industry to which I have referred was attacked from outside Australia, but the wisely directed efforts of this Government saved it for the nation. The captains of that industry appealed to the industrial organization to which their employees belonged, and of which I also was a member. Representations were made to me, and I was able to assist them. The refrigeration industry in South Australia also was preserved as the result of assistance and guidance given by this Government. As honorable members will recall, I was attacked by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) on the very night when I pleaded the case for that industry in this House. The honorable gentleman made bold to claim that I wanted to prohibit all imports.

Mr Harrison:

– He made a “ cold “ attack upon the honorable member.


– I shall deal with the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) on another occasion. He has been waiting for this for a long time; it is on the cards. As the result of the far-sighted actions of this Government and the assistance rendered by the Commonwealth Bank, South Australia now has a balanced, economy.

We all know why wo suffer from a housing shortage to-day. I have figures that show that the trouble started long before the Labour party came into power in the Commonwealth Parliament. Those figures were prepared and issued by Elder Smith and Company Limited, of which the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. McBride) is chairman of directors, and so honorable members opposite are not likely to challenge their authenticity. The statistics, which have been supplied to every honorable member, specify the years in which homeconstruction was at its lowest ebb in South Australia and show clearly the progress that has been made since World War II. ended. In the bad days of the early ‘thirties, the rate of construction of homes in the metropolitan area of South Australia was very low indeed. In 1931, only 51 homes were erected in that area. In the following year, 80 houses were completed, and in 1933 the figure was increased to 195. The highest rate of construction prior to World War II. was reached during the regime of the Labour Government of that State which instituted the “ thousand homes scheme “ now known as the “ garden scheme The figure for one year was 3,400. The number of houses built in the metropolitan area last year was 3,300. The vast increase that has occurred since the end of the war indicates that the production of materials essential to home building has been accelerated considerably. It is all very well for honorable members opposite to blame this Government for shortages of commodities, but the fact is that during the last eight years Labour governments have done more for industry in Australia than was ever done by any anti-Labour government. In South Australia before the war we scarcely knew what secondary industries were. We had only one or two major industries in the whole State.

Mr Harrison:

– The honorable member can give the credit for the improvement to the Menzies Government, of course.


– Only a very weakminded person would give credit to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Honorable members opposite frequently complain that the Government has not stepped up the production of manufactured goods for export purposes. The truth is that members of the Opposition do not know what they want. They challenged the Labour Government when it made token shipments of goods in order to retain the markets that Australia had secured prior to the outbreak of World War II. The Labour Government, in the opinion of the Opposition, was wrong when it made those token exports. To-day, the Opposition claims that the Government is wrong because it does not encourage the export of manufactured goods. In the eyes of members of the Opposition, the Government has never done anything right.

Mr Rankin:

– Was the wheat agreement with New Zealand justified ?


– I cannot believe that all the people who, in their wisdom, have returned the Labour Government to office, are of the same opinion as is the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin). To achieve our objective of a healthy, virile nation, we must ensure that the people are adequately housed. Any person who engages in a go-slow policy in the production of building materials and equipment required for home construction is increasing the cost of building and thereby reducing the purchasing power of fellow unionists. I appeal to those per sons who are responsible for the manufacture of building materials and the like to realize that the objective of all Australians must be to develop and enrich this great country. Each of us must play his part in that work. Every man and woman, every youth and maiden, as a citizen of this Commonwealth, must accept some responsibility for the development of Australia. A Labour government or a Liberal government cannot be held responsible for all the sins of the whole community. Every adult should realize that he has a responsibility to the land of his birth, and should play his part in developing this nation in the manner in which all good Australians desire it to develop. The review of Australia’s manufacturing economy in the post-war period, which the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) has submitted to the House, the information collected by the Commonwealth Statistician which I have read this evening, and the encouragement that the Labour Government has given to industry generally augur well for the future development of Australia. South Australia is indebted to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) for the assistance that he has granted to its industries. Fo, example, he has provided personnel for the railways and 400 persons for hospitals and similar institutions. The value of goods manufactured in South Australia in 1938-39 was £33,000,000; last year the value was £104,000,000. That increase indicates the industrial development that has taken place in South Australia. I do not claim that all the credit for that increase is due to the Labour Government, but it cannot be denied that the Government has supplied the wherewithal to make that development possible. Prior to the outbreak of World War II.. South Australia was known as a primary producing State. In a season of low production and low prices, unemployment was rife. I am gratified to be able to say that because of the foresight displayed by the Labour governments which we have enjoyed since 1941 and which we shall enjoy in future, Australia will continue to develop. It is the responsibility of one and all in this country to make Australia, industrially and otherwise, the nation that we to be.


.- This debate arises out of a review of Australia’s manufacturing economy in the post-war period, which the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) presented to the House on the 25th November, 1948. The review is divided into two sections. The purpose of the first section is to give a factual presentation of the development of our manufacturing industries, but the major portion of the statement indulges in political propaganda of the kind that the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Sheehy) has engaged in this evening. After having read the review most carefully, I cannot discover any reason why T should congratulate the Government upon any improvement that may have taken place in our secondary industries. [ feel justified in saying that the improvement in the manufacturing industries has occurred in spite of this Government. Australia requires a balanced economy, in which our primary and secondary industries make steady progress, side by side, but they are not doing so to-day. Our secondary industries are frustrated and handicapped, and our primary industries lack adequate supplies of all the commodities that they require for their development. The true story is vastly different from the glowing report that the Minister has made to the House. Because of the shortage of coal, and continual industrial trouble, including hold-ups and strikes, the output of our manufacturing industries in the main is only 60 per cent, of their capacity. Under the administration of this Government, the industrial position is drifting to a serious degree. Not even the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction is justified in deriving any satisfaction from the existing circumstances.

Before I deal further with the Minister’s review of Australia’s manufacturing economy in the post-war period, I shall refer to some of the observations by the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Daly). In his rambling speech he attributed the development of our secondary industries mainly to the fiscal policy of the Scullin Government. His observations clearly indicate that he either handles the truth very carelessly,’ or is grossly ignorant.

The Scullin Government, which was in office during the world-wide financial and economic depression, administered the tariff in a panic-stricken manner. It ignored the recommendation of the Tariff board, and decided its tariff policy by striking a red pencil through the whole tariff schedule. The Scullin Government destroyed the protection that had been granted to Australian industries on the recommendation of the Tariff Board after careful examination. It prohibited the importation of many classes of goods, and caused endless trouble throughout the world, as the Minister for Immigration (-Mr. Calwell) is doing to-day in his administration of our migration laws.. Many industries, some of which had been. established under the Massy Greenetariff and others under the subsequent. Pratten tariff, were adversely affected bythe tariff introduced by the Scullin Government. Although a steady development of primary industry had occurred as the result of the tariff introduced by Sir “William Lyne, our experience during World War I. had impressed upon us the absolute need to encourage the establishment and development of secondary industries. That encouragement was supplied by the tariffs introduced by Sir Walter Massy Greene and Mr. H. E. Pratten. In consequence, our secondary industries were functioning efficiently for many years before the advent of the Scullin Government.

Ministers and their supporters have made a great deal of the fact that British industrialists are now anxious- to transfer their industries to Australia. What is the reason, for that tendency? Obviously, British industrialists have not been encouraged to come here because of their confidence in the present Administration. The plain reason for their desire to migrate to this country is that they _ realize only too clearly that the English Channel no longer affords them any protection against air attack from Western Europe. Therefore, they seek to come to this country because they appreciate our remoteness from the great land masses of the world and hope to develop their industries free from the threat of enemy air attack.

The honorable member for “Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) and the honorable member for Boothby devoted the greater part. of their speeches to paying tributes to the Government for the development of secondary industry in South Australia. The truth is, of course, that the credit is due not to the present Administration but to the Menzies Government. In the years that immediately preceded the outbreak of hostilities, that Administration realized that war was virtually inevitable, and it very wisely decided to concentrate on developing secondary industries that would sustain us in the stress of war. It was obvious that any attack on Australia would come from the north, and, for that reason, South Australia was selected as the most suitable area in which to develop eur secondary industries, and hundreds of large and small manufacturing plants were established in that State. For the successful establishment of those industries, which functioned so efficiently during the war, I pay tribute also to Mr. Essington Lewis and the very able leaders of industry who co-operated with him in carrying out the plans formulated by the Menzies Administration.

The basic industries of this country on which our secondary production is so vitally dependent are coal and iron and steel. Any impartial observer of the efforts of Labour in the last few years must feel the utmost disappointment at the continuous frustration and obstruction experienced by our industrialists, who have been unable to obtain reasonable supplies of those materials. Our minimum requirement of coal is 13,300,000 tons annually, but our annual production is only 11,720,000 tons, which is approximately 1,600,000 tons less than our minimum requirement. The harmful effect of the shortage of coal on the generation of power for industry does not need to be emphasized. Almost continuous hold-ups are experienced by industrialists because of the shortage of coal. Transport is, of course, vitally affected. “We have had to suffer curtailment of train, tram and shipping services.

In addition, there has been an unprecedented number of strikes in the transport industry. Since transport is the lifeblood of the nation it has therefore been impossible for our industries to function efficiently. Delayed production, caused by either shortage of coal or strikes, has resulted in enormous increases in the cost of manufactured goods. The hopelessly inadequate production of iron and steel, about which I shall say more presently, has contributed in large measures to the desperate housing shortage which confronts us. Because of lack of coal, blackouts are constantly occurring in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Not only are industrialists affected, but also ordinary householders have to endure serious deprivation and discomfort. Tens of thousands of unfortunate housewives are unable to cook, to wash, or even to warm their dwellings properly because of the shortage of coal. In the face of those unpleasant facts I ask the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction and the honorable member foi’ Boothby, who has just spoken, what the present Administration has done to improve our lot. The record of the Government is one of sorry failure. Turning to the production of iron and steel, we are confronted with a similarly unhappy situation to that presented by the coal and transport industries. During, and since, the war, our iron and steel industrialists have done their utmost to improve production by importing new plant and improving the efficiency of their existing plant. Yet in spite of all their efforts the production of iron and steel is still totally inadequate. Our potential production of iron and steel has been estimated at 1,750,000 tons a year, yet during 1948, only 1,278,000 tons were produced, or 75 per cent, of our potential production. The effects of this shortage are most widespread. Not only are manufacturers gravely hampered and home-builders frustrated, but even our farmers find that they are unable to increase their production. They cannot obtain machinery or agricultural implements. Indeed, they cannot even obtain sufficient supplies of such simple items as galvanized iron, wire, wire netting and piping, all of which are in short supply. Only recently I visited a number of farmers at Redland Bay, Cleveland, Wellington and Ormiston, in my electorate. That is a fruit and vegetable producing district, and in reply to my inquiry why they were not producing more fruit and vegetables they told me that they could not obtain sufficient steel piping even for irrigation purposes. In this small area alone there is a shortage of 100,000 feet of piping. Farmers have been waiting for years for deliveries. That is a very sad story, but facts such as those are not set out in the document that is now before the House.

How can employers provide employment for young men and women when the country is desperately short of all the articles that are needed for the expansion and development of our industries f I have already said that in many industries to-day, owing to the shortage of coal, electric power and raw materials, factories can be utilized only to approximately 60 per cent, of their capacity. The decreased production of iron and steel products is affecting the whole community. We are faced with the farcical position that the Labour Government of New South Wales is importing Japanese steel at a cost of £42 a ton and the Victorian Government is importing steel from the United Kingdom and Belgium steel at a cost of £26 a ton when the cost of Australian steel is £15 a ton. The Queensland Government is importing railway engines and steel railway lines because it is unable to obtain them in Australia. Many private manufacturing concerns are being forced to import steel at a cost three times greater than the cost of Australian steel, because they are unable to obtain supplies from Australian sources. Those facts should make the members of the Government hang their heads in shame. Their record is one of complete failure. It is a record with which even honorable gentlemen opposite cannot be satisfied.

At the end of the war Australia had a great opportunity to increase its secondary production, but because of the ineptitude of this Government the opportunity has been lost. During the war all our raw materials and man-power resources were concentrated upon the production of munitions of war and armaments, to the almost complete exclusion of the production of consumer goods. Consequently, at the end of the war the shelves in our warehouses and retail shops were almost empty. If we had produced the goods that could have been produced had there been no industrial trouble Australia would now be more prosperous than any other country in the world, with the possible exception of the United States of America. We have an obligation to supply to the people outside Australia the goods and raw materials for which they are crying out and with which we could have supplied them, but we have failed dismally to discharge that obligation. The improvement of our secondary production that has taken place is due to the plan that was evolved by the Menzies Government to facilitate our preparations for war, to the high prices that are being obtained for many of our primary products such as wool and meat, to the establishment of the great factories to which I have referred, and to the fact that British people have come out here to find refuge from enemy attack in the event of another war.”

During the war, the United States of America and Great Britain sent technical experts and skilled artisans here to assist our executives and workers in their war effort. The American and the British personnel paid great tribute to those executives and workers. If the technical skill and experience that they acquired during the war could be fully utilized in our manufacturing industries there would be a great increase of production, but owing to the dismal failure of this Government to provide the necessary coal, and raw materials for the full development of our secondary industries, full advantage cannot be taken of it.

The present shortage of houses is deplorable. During the war the Government issued brochures to our troops in the battle-fields of North Africa, the jungles of New Guinea and the islands of the Pacific, in which rosy pictures were painted of the homes that would be available for the heroes when they returned from the war. The men exchanged ideas with their brides or prospective wives about where they should live when the war ended, but now they find it almost impossible to obtain houses. Figures issued by the Commonwealth Statistician after the last census was taken reveal that there are hundreds of instances of four families living in one home and of different families sharing rooms. That deplorable state of affaire is due to the shortage of building materials. In the Sydney Daily Telegraph of the 18th May there appeared a report of the evidence that was given before the Coal Industry Tribunal, Mr. Gallagher, by Mr. Donald Stewart Eraser, the executive director of the Building Industry Congress of New South Wales. Mr. Fraser said that the number of bricks produced in New South Wales this year will be 150,000,000 short of the year’s requirements. That quantity of bricks would be sufficient to build 5,000 two-bedroomed cottages. Mr. Fraser went on to say that the coal shortage is the crux of the whole problem of shortages of home-building materials and that the building industry is entirely dependent upon coal supplies. He explained that New South Wales would be short of 12,000 tons of reinforced steel this year. He pointed out that steel products are largely used in building and that the steel shortage is most serious to the building industry. He said, further, that the production of cement in New South Wales had decreased from 436,000 tons in 1947 to 427,000 tons in 1948. The reason for that decrease is the coal shortage, the chief cause of which is the continual industrial trouble that is inspired by Communists in the coal-mining industry. The shortage of coal is affecting the production of galvanized iron, which is used for roofing, spouting and piping, and in the country districts for water tanks. Those” articles cannot be obtained in any quantities because of the failure of this Government to deal with the wreckers who are in charge of many of our industrial unions. Homes which now cost £1,500 to £2,000 could have been erected before the war for £650. The promises tb,at the Government has made are not being carried out. The Government is passing the buck to the States, although it did not suggest during the “whole period of the war that the States should do this job. If the Government were to make it possible for the States to obtain the raw materials that are needed, there is no doubt that house production could be speeded up. For undertakings of its own the Government is drawing man-power and materials from the very limited pool of supplies that is available. That is seriously affecting the provision of houses for the people. In my opinion, the erection of houses for the people should take priority of the construction of buildings for use by the Government in Canberra and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. The Government is responsible for the failure to ensure industrial peace, the consequence of which is decreased production, shortages and higher prices. It has failed to uphold law and order in this country. The Communists dictate government policy. The major trade unions of this country are controlled by the Communists, and those unions are the chief supporters of the Government. The Government appointed Communists to the Stevedoring Industry Commission and to other bodies despite protests from honorable members on this, side of the House. Only yesterday two of those Communist appointees were removed from the Stevedoring Industry Commission because Mr. Justice Kirby, the chairman of the commission, refused to co-operate with disruptei’3 and wreckers. The Government was forced to take that action. If we examined the records of the major producing industries of this country we would find that in those industries in which Communists predominate production has fallen. No less an authority than Mr. C. C. Fallon, the secretary of the Australian Workers Union, a man who from time to time directs the Labour party’s election campaigns in Queensland, made this observation, which I hope the Minister will take to heart -

Communists are sabotaging Australia in the industrial world.

That is an endorsement of what we on this side of the House have been saying for a long time.- It is a. condemnation of all the protestations and claims of honorable members opposite. Mr. Fallon continued -

If I had the power of government I would treat many of these people who are supposed to be leaders and union officials and who are causing their members to sabotage this country, as guilty of treason to the nation, and I would deal with them by imposing the maximum penalty of the law . . . These people are pledged to a policy which has for its purpose the intimidation of decent people. Then is a fifth column now in the industrial life of Australia.

But what does this Government do? It simply appoints those wreckers to important positions. If. any one wants, anything at the hands of this Government let him he a Communist and he will be: appointed to a high position.

I have given the story as told by Mr. Fallon, and I endorse that story. Every right-thinking person in the country will’, agree that what Mr. Fallon has said condemns the Government for its failure to deal with the Communists. The standard’s of living of our people are affected by. the’ constant disruption caused by these Communists. High costs which result from industrial1 unrest, have affected the purchasing power of the people. The £1 will no longer buy what it bought previously. The national prosperity about which the honorable gentlemen opposite boast is a spurious prosperity only. What would happen if the high, prices that’ we are receiving at present for our primary products were to decline ? The bill’ introduced to-day by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Pollard), in relation to the international wheat agreement, shows that the price of. wheat is falling. For a long time it was as high as 18s.. 6d. a bushel. Under the proposed new agreement the price will come down to a maximum of Ils. 3d. abushel’ for the next four years’. What will happen if the price of wool falls? ff this- country would produce more goods and’’ develop its overseas markets for such goods, produced at a reasonable, competitive price, we could continually supply them’ to overseas markets and this country could look forward to full employment. But the record of this Government is> full of dismal failure. ‘ The statement’ now before the House is not a true reflection of the position of the country’s industrial economy to-day.

Mir. DUTHIE (Wilmot). [9-.14]:.- Jeremiah,, of the. Old Testament,, waa known as the prophet of doom. I am quite sure that one of hia progeny has come into this. House to-night in the person of the. honorable member, for Moreton (Mr. Francis).

Mr Francis:

– Let the honorable member prove my statement incorrect.


– His speech to-night is in keeping’ with most of those he makes in this House. His speeches- are’ nothing but a gospel’ of pessimism and1 doom. To judge: by what he has- said to-night he must, go around with his eyes closed, because it is impossible to believe the bulk of what he has- said.

Mr Fuller:

– He does not believe it himself.


– It is* of; course; the policy of the. Opposition to., criticize this Government all the. time This is an election year and it is good for ali of us to bear- in mind that everything that will be. said by the Opposition- in the ensuing six months, will be loaded, with, election propaganda!, against this. Government. Therefore I divide- by half what- the honorable; member has. said and thereby arrive at something like bedrock.

Mr Francis:

– Let the honorable member reply to the remarks .by Mr. Fallon, that I have quoted.


-The report under discussion is surely the most comprehensive one- that has ever been presented by a government. Any fair-minded person would admit that. It is certainly a tribute to the stability of the country’s economy and finances that, after years of pre-war stagnation when more money waa going out of Australia than was coming into it, so many industries and so much capital are now finding their’- way into Australia. The reason given for- that by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) was very naive. He said- that British industries were- running for their lives, that they were- scuttling out to the Dominions through fear that they would be crushed in another war. I agree with the honorable member that decentralization of United Kingdom industries is very vital, but why should the persons controlling those industries select Australia as a new site for them?

Mr Francis:

– British industries are moving to Canada also. In fact, more of them are going there than are coming here.


– Perhaps that is so; but Canada is probably able to absorb more of them than Australia can. . The reason for the movement of those industries to Australia is surely that, those who control them see in Australia some opportunity to establish and develop them. Unless that were so, they would never take the colossal risk of moving the industries to this country. Fair-minded folk would agree that such industries were coming here not only because of the fear of a third world war, which would be an atomic war, but also because their controllers find a financial and economic stability here that makes this country a suitable location for the industries. Approximately 103,000,000 of overseas capital has been invested in Australia in the last four years. That capital came from the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Sweden in particular, and [ believe that £40,000,000 of capital is now awaiting investment in this country when we are in a position to absorb it. The Prime Minister, in a recent statement on this subject, said that more than 200 overseas companies were known to be investigating the possibility of establishment or extension in Australia. He said that overseas interests had participated in 226 of the 2,404 New South Wales manufacturing projects announced in Australia during the three post-war years. That is an amazing development for one State. He went on to say that in some instances overseas companies had established direct subsidiaries in Australia, whilst in others they had joined forces with Australian interests in establishing new industries or in expanding existing industries. Of the total of 1,672 other new businesses announced from the end of the war up till last June, 107 were either owned by, or closely linked with, important overseas manufacturers. The newspaper report of the Prime Minister’s statement from which I have quoted the foregoing points, also states -

British interests participated in 50 of these, America in 42, and other countries in six.

Direct assistance was given by overseas companies in the case of 110 of the 732 extensions of operations.

British interests were involved in 70, the United. States in 45, and other countries in four. “ All these and many other companies have added greatly to the. stature of Australian manufactures and have introduced into this country the most up-to-date methods of production and technical know-how “, Mr. Chifley said. “ In many cases they are producing goods not previously made here.”

The last statement was very important. Australia has been dependent for a long time upon the United States of America and the United Kingdom for the supply of certain manufactured commodities. Now we are becoming somewhat more self-sufficient. It is to the advantage of primary producers as well as manufacturers that machinery should be manufactured in Australia. Recently, I visited many parts of Tasmania, and was interested to note the wide variety of machinery of Australian manufacture that has been installed in various places. Such machinery is a credit to the technicians and workmen responsible for its manufacture. Thi3 development has occurred during the last six or seven years.

Touching upon the way in which the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) hap handled the affairs of the country while he has been in office, 1 propose to repeal a statement made to me within the last three weeks by a person who is a supporter of the Liberal party in Tasmania. This, in effect, is what he said : “ I have to admit that, when the history of Australia is written, Mr. Chifley will go down as one of ite greatest treasurers because, from a business point of view, he has got. the money in, and he has kept our finances on a stable basis “. We were noi able to agree on many things, but I am pleased to record that tribute to the Prime Minister from a generous and fairminded Liberal - and there are fairminded Liberals.

We admit that production has declined in some of our basic industries. There was no need for the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) to deliver a tirade on the subject. Nevertheless, in spite of the lag in the production of building materials, the fact remains that 49,000 houses were built last year, which is 22,000 more than the yearly average for the ten years preceding 1940. That was a remarkable achievement, having regard to the shortage of coal. Probably the most important reason for the inability of industry “to meet all requirements is the enormously increased demand from the public. The demand depends upon the number of mouths to be fed and bodies to be clothed, and on the quantity of materials required, but the demand can become effective only if the people have purchasing power. When purchasing power is reduced, the market declines. The purchasing power of the people of Australia, has never been greater than at the present time. For instance, there is a great demand for porcelain baths. They must be porcelain. I have a tin one in my own home. There is a demand for refrigerators, hot-water services, electric stoves, wall-to-wall carpets, tractors, agricultural machinery and motor cars. For all those commodities, and for a great many more, the demand has increased since 1939 because the people can now afford them, whereas previously they had to walk past the shop windows saying to themselves, “ 1 wish I could afford that Only the rich could afford them ‘ then, whereas to-day most people are demanding them. The existence of such a demand is evidence of a healthy social state, not an unhealthy one, as was suggested by the honorable member for Moreton. With patience, we can win the battle of production. It cannot be won by screaming about what has or has not been done. However, as soon as we have pulled through the production crisis, we shall be confronted with another. When production catches up with purchasing power, the effective demand will slacken, and when production exceeds the demand, there will be unemployment.

Mr Holt:

– Has the honorable gentleman ever heard of export markets?


– Export markets are governed by the purchasing power of overseas people. Should Marshall aid be withdrawn in twelve or eighteen months’ time, a depression of tremendous magnitude will begin in western Europe. The reaction will be felt in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, and later in Australia. The overseas demand for our primary products will slacken, and the story of 1930 and 1931 will be repeated.

Mr Holt:

– The western European countries are recovering economically. In those countries the market for our products should expand.


– They will expand if Marshall aid is continued. If it is discontinued, the purchasing power of the people will fall. Australia’s economy has been greatly assisted by the Government’s immigration policy. The Baits and Poles who have come to Australia are employed in some of our most important industries. Between 60 and 70 have recently been employed in a sugar refining factory in Melbourne, and more than 300 have been allocated to the iron and steel industry. Others are engaged in brick-making, the timber industry and in electric power projects in Tasmania. Others, again, are working on farms. Our immigration policy is interlocked with our economic stability. I believe that no honorable member will dispute that proposition.

Our financial position overseas is much sounder to-day than it has been for many years. I shall review it briefly. Seventeen years ago Australia was one of the greatest debtor nations, but should prices which we are now receiving for our primary products be held at reasonably high levels for another three years, this country has a good chance of becoming a creditor nation within that period. In 1939, Australia’s overseas debt totalled £644,000,000, whilst we held overseas reserves amounting to only £56,000,000. However, to-day, our overseas reserves total £380,000,000 whilst our overseas debt is now £533,000,000. Whereas in 1939 our net indebtedness was £588,000,000, it is now only £195,000,000. Prior to the war we were weighed down with an enormous interest burden, payments in respect of which had to be extracted from our annual production. However, our interest bill has dropped from £30,000,000 in 1932 to £17,000,000. In other words, the interest burden per head of our population has decreased from £3 15s. 3d. in 1932 to £1 18s. 2d. Those figures provide a conclusive answer to those who say that Australia is “ on the rocks “, that this country is doomed and that it is not a nice place in which to live.

The credits which I have mentioned will provide a safety valve should another depression occur. That advantage is due to the shrewd administration of the Treasurer as well as to the high prices which we have been receiving for our primary production. We have improved our financial position overseas to that remarkable degree in spite of the -fact that during the’ same period -we expended £35,000,000 for wool and made gifts of £25,000,000 to Great Britain, and £24,000,000 to Unrra. “We also made contributions of £10,000,000 in respect of the international Monetary Fund and of £8,0.00,000 in respect of lend-lease. During the period in which we made those payments which total £127,000,000 we reduced our net indebtedness to £1-95,000,000. I believe that another economic depression could be caused only by the collapse of Marshall aid to Europe. The last depression followed the collapse of the Dawes plan in 1928 when American financiers withdrew credits -from Ger*many and ‘Prance.

However, should another depression occur the Australian Government would be in a position to cushion its effect on this country. The Government has in mind four” methods of achieving that purpose. Many people are constantly saying that another depression is just around the corner. I do not agree with that view, but I admit that another depression” could occur within the next few years should those who are financing Marshall aid suddenly panic and withdraw their credits “from Western European .countries.. .One factor that will guarantee the continuance of Marshall aid for longer than four years, the period for which’ aid was made available “towestern Europe under the Dawes plan, is the fear of Russia. Should Marshall aid collapse and widespread unemployment and misery consequently be caused in the countries which are now receiving it Russia could march to the English Channel without firing a shot unless the western European nations went to war to stop its advance. That is the position. I repeat that should another depression occur the Government would be able to cushion its effects upon Australia by the use of its overseas credits which; as I have already said, now amount to £380,000,000 compared with reserves of £56,000.000 in 1939, and £42,000,000 in 1931. Without such reserves of purchasing power overseas the effect of a depression upon this country would be disastrous. In such circumstances we should not bc able to purchase machinery urgently required for factory and agricultural production. However, -when the necessity arises, the Government will =use those credits -to purchase such -machinery and so maintain employment “in Australia. The development * of the Snowy River scheme would be impeded and electricity projects now being undertaken in Tasmania would “be brought ito a standstill should we not be able to obtain the requisite machinery (from Great Britain.

The second method by -which we could cushion the effect of another depression would be by the rational and sensible ase of the Commonwealth Bank which, fortunately, is new free from board control. From .1924 to 1945 the bank was shackled and strangled by the Commonwealth Bank Board, but in the latter year the Chifley Government sacked the board and enabled the bank to resume its proper place in ou-r economy. The credits and resources of that institution could be utilized to offset our difficulties should prides go -into a tailspin. In thi event of another depression occurring the Commonwealth Bank could advance loans to industry and primary producers in order to maintain production at a reasonable level. Our industries collapsed during the last depression because at that .time we .had no way of cushioning its effects upon our economy. When the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) -was Prime Minister he endeavoured to obtain credits amounting to £U3,00O,0.0O from the Commonwealth Bank in order to relieve unemployment in this country, but his request was ref used by Sir Robert Gibson, who was then Governor of the bank. That fact demonstrated that the Commonwealth Bank Board was a -private “ show “. We were then completely at the mercy of financial interests and they actually governed Australia. They defeated the Prime Minister of the day just as similar financial interests defeated Mr. Ramsay Mac’Dona’ld when he was Prime Minister of .Great Britain. The policy of those financial interests was to put Labour out of office. However, the Commonwealth Bank is now in a position to come to the assistance of the nation should another depression occur.

The .Government’s -social services programme offers ;a third method of cushioning (the effect of ia depression upon tour economy. When the flight honorable member for

Mr Dedman:

– is nothing secret shout it. .lit was created hy this Parliament


– The right honorable member for Darling Downs likes to use these strange-sounding terms, because they make the newspaper headlines. The fourth way in which the Government plans to .cushion a possible future depression is by the institution of a national works programme. Such .a programme was not in existence during the regime of -the Scullin Government or in the early days of the administration of the Lyons Government. A national works pro» gramme could absorb thousands Of unemployed workers, A national works programme, estimated to cost approximately £600,00.0,000, including re-afforestation, hydro schemes, .standardization of railway gauges, irrigation schemes, and the like, has already been blue-printed. The Snowy River hydro irrigation scheme is but one of the many projects with which the Government would be able to cushion the effects of a possible recession. That scheme will cost about £200,000,000, and will take twenty years to complete. It will save more than 4.000,000 tons of coal a year. The diversion of the Snowy River to the Tumut

River and -other streams will -enable -an additional -4;000,00u” acres -df land to she irrigated.

The fight “honorable .member ff or Cowper (Sir ‘Earle Page) .referred to the urgent need for .the “implementation of hydro-electric -projects in order to facilitate the .development of this country to ‘its full productive capacity. .1 agree wholeheartedly that such projects should be j>u.t in hand without delay. If, however, the fight honorable gentleman presented his views on these matters in a fair-minded way, instead of using them to “‘bash-‘” the Government, he would -be much more helpful. We all agree with the necessity ‘for increasing the generation of hydro-electric power, because only by that means can the difficulties which con-front us as *the result of the lag in the production of coal he -overcome. The value of cheap hydro-electric power has already been -amply demonstrated in Tasmania. In its conception, the Snowy River waters scheme is almost the equivalent of the undertaking conducted by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the United States of America. The States are in harmony over the scheme -and the people are solidly behind the Government in its intention to push this great project to completion. Should a depression occur, and should men be put out of work in industry, they will be given the opportunity to he employed on national projects such as that, instead of -walking the roads, “humping a bluey or “ jumping the rattler or going from house to house begging for bread and meat. They will be housed and paid decent wages, and the money they earn will be freely circulated throughout the community. Purchasing power is the very life-blood of the nation. If purchasing power be drained from the community economic death stalks the land. National works projects play a dual role; they increase the productivity of the country and at the same time they enable purchasing power to be circulated throughout the community. Should another depression hit us many men will look to these great national works as a means of saving them from economic disaster. Those are the four ways- in which the Government proposes to cushion the effects of a possible recession.

The attraction of migrants and of capital to this country is tremendously important, first because migrants assist in expanding our production, both primary and secondary, and, secondly, because every additional migrant increases the local market for our own products. The greater the number of consumers in this country the better it will be for our primary producers and manufacturers. An increased population will enable us to 3ell greater quantities of our goods in the Commonwealth instead of searching, perhaps in a futile way, for overseas markets. The stimulation of migration will assist our economy in a very real way and the capital brought in by new settlers will add to the life-blood of the nation.

The industrial expansion of Tasmania during the last four years has been nothing short of miraculous. It is well that honorable members should be informed about what is happening in States other than those which they represent. After the preaching of the gospel of doom to which we have just listened, in which the honorable member for Moreton attempted to out- Jeremiah Jeremiah, it is perhaps well that we should consider the progress achieved by the States under the guidance, and in some instances with the financial assistance, of the Commonwealth. More than 300 factories have been established in Tasmania since the war ended. Tasmanian industries are as a rule free from industrial troubles. It is true that a strike is in progress in Launceston at the present time; but in general, strikes in Tasmania are about as rare as is an optimistic speech by the honorable member for Moreton. Cheap hydro-electric

Flower is a feature of Tasmania’s economic ife. There are no electrical blackouts there except on the rare occasions when a tree falls on the power-lines and causes a temporary stoppage. Sydney people who have suffered so much as the result of electrical failures might do well to consider living in Tasmania. At least they would not have to worry about electrical blackouts if they did so.

The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) referred to the desirability of housing migrants in villages. Though T agree with him, I point out that the proposition which he has advanced would present grave difficulties at a time when so many people are waiting to be provided with homes. The Hydro-electric Commission of Tasmania is a remarkable organization. As the result of its endeavours the industrial expansion of Tasmania has proceeded apace. The Butler’s Gorge Dam, which was completed three and a half years after the first concrete was poured, is the largest and highest arch dam in the Commonwealth. The completion of the dam will enable the power of Tarraleah station to be substantially increased. The new village which is being built at Bronte, in my electorate, as a base for the £7,000,000 Nike River scheme is a remarkable example of the progressiveness of the commission. It will eventually house a thousand people. When I visited it about a fortnight ago I found that already 600 people were housed there, including Poles, Englishmen, Scotsmen and Irishmen. The village may be said to be a united nations in miniature. At least it oan be said that its inhabitants agree much better than do the delegates at assemblies of the United Nations on occasions. In Tasmania 900 Poles are employed, nearly all of them in the hydro-electric works. I cannot pay too high a tribute to the value of their work in the handling of machinery and on the technical side of the Hydro-electric Commission’s undertakings. On a recent tour of the hydroelectric works, I saw a Polish electrician named Shultz wiring the new turbine which is to be installed at the Waddamana power station. This man, who is a first-rate electrician from overseas, is engaged on technical work for the commission. The township to which I refer already has 35 or 40 prefabricated houses, well defined streets, and other services. All the houses are numbered as in . an ordinary suburb. Hydro-electric power is supplied to the mess-room and workshops. The workshop to service the trucks will be the largest in Tasmania outside Hobart. The hall that is being built will seat 400 people. A large hospital is also being erected.


-Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.


– The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) has twitted the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) with being a prophet of doom. I must confess that I was not greatly heartened by the honorable member for Wilmot, who spoke of the possibility of a depression. He even went so far as to forecast a depression because lie said that, although to-day we could continue producing commodities in an endeavour to overtake the shortages, as soon as we had aught up with those demands, there would be unemployment. Apparently the honorable member is convinced that the “more we produce the worse off we *hall be. I find very little comfort in (hat opinion, but I suggest that there is some comfort in the idea that it will be many years before the markets of the world have been satisfied provided that i he world is able to find efficient means of distributing the goods that it is beginning to produce in ever increasing quantities. The honorable member for Wilmot made one or two other remarks that impressed me. He stressed the fact that Australian industries to-day were making many articles which previously had not been produced in this country and while he was speaking I recalled that only a few days ago I had been mending some household linen. Being a thrifty soul, I.’ always mend sheets until there is nothing much left to mend, but now I find myself wondering whether the sheets are really worth the now cotton that I have to put into them because cotton is such a scarce commodity and so highly priced. I suggest that the establishment of new industries of the type that will help the housewife to supply the needs that press upon her could well be given a little more attention by the Government! I shall return to the question of cotton in a few minutes. >

It falls to the lot of every parliamentary debater at some time in his career to be misrepresented. Last night the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson), who, I thought, made a very good speech indeed, was sadly misrepresented by a gentleman for whom I have great respect, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson). The honorable member for

Deakin said, when he was asked by way of interjection what remedy he had for under-production, that first we must have more people in this country; secondly, we must have industries on a competitive basis, and thirdly, we must have greater output per man-hour. From the way in which the honorable member spoke it was quite apparent to me what he meant, but the honorable member for Hindmarsh placed his own interpretation on the suggestions. He agreed that we should have more people, but he asked what the honorable member fdr Deakin meant when he spoke of putting industries on a competitive basis. He added that quite obviously the honorable member for Deakin meant that he wanted men to be competing for jobs so that there would be lines of unemployed outside factory gates. If the honorable member for Hindmarsh knew the honorable member for Deakin a little better as a man and as an employer, he would blush for having put that interpretation on his remarks. Nobody wants to see men fighting and scrambling for jobs. That is the type of accusation that causes much of the trouble that we have in Australia to-day. The honorable member for Hindmarsh went on to make some splendid comments on the spirit that was needed in industry. He said that there must be a spirit of unselfishness and a spirit that demanded of each person full acceptance of the responsibilities imposed upon him. That is quite true; but every time a speech such as that made by the honorable member for Hindmarsh last night goes out from this chamber it gives rise to further bitterness in the ranks of the industrialists, causes more suspicion and heartburning, and takes us one step further away from the peace in industry that we all seek. The honorable member said that if the methods suggested by the honorable member for Deakin and other honorable members on this side of the chamber were employed, we should have industrial conscription. What surprises me is that Government members and supporters who sometimes use that term, very rarely look at present-day trends. They fail to see that industrial conscription is precisely what lies ahead of us under the present Government. Not long ago, the Prime Minister (Mr.

Chifley) said, at a press- conference that he had warned a Labour conference recently that transfers of labour might be necessary as the production of many commodities overtook- demand. Jobs would be’ provided for every one, but not necessarily the jobs- that individualsmight prefer. He added that he did not imply any compulsory direction of manpower, but merely an extension of the Commonwealth Employment Service inan emergency. The right honorable gentleman’s statement, Was I suggest, purposely ambiguous; The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) has announced that his department isstudying “ labour transferrability”. The research is being carried out by his department and will be an extension of what, the Minister claims, is the postwar version of man-power control. I put it to honorable members- opposite that if the target is government control of air industry and one master in industry; man-power must be controlled’. If the Government is to make itself directly responsible for every man’s job,, it must be in a position to say what that job shall be. There is no escape- from the fact that this Government is pledged to the socialization of all industry. All honorable members opposite have pledged them selves to. work for that objective as hard as- they possibly can. I put this matter to Government supporters, in. all- friendliness to show them the- inevitable result of the pursuance of such a policy. Honorable members opposite must remember that any attempt, to impose upon the people a. completely mechanized form of government must fail to produce anything, but an inhuman, machine. There is no- escape from that. Individual responsibility must disappear.

Statistics in, the hands of an expert, as-, every one- knows, can be made to prove anything; in. the hands: of an amateur, they can be positively tragic. We have heard to-night the: quotations of many statistics, and’ many widely divergent conclusions have, been drawn from them. Hillaire Belloc gave’ sound advice on this matter of statistics-. He said-

If statistics appear to prove something entirely opposed to your- common experience, then question statistics by all means.

With that doctrine”’ I heartily agree. Nevertheless, like other speakers, I wish to quote one or two statistics. The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) quoted statistics which showed the grave unbalance developing’ betweenprimary’ industries and secondary indus-tries. Many speakers’ have referred te the necessity for balance, but we aire beginning to- be1 overbalanced in” the1 direction in” which- we- were previously unbalanced. The right honorable gentleman quoted figures which showed1 that- there- are now 380,000 more employees in secondary industries ‘than there were twelve years’ ago and that there are- 6-2,000 fewer employees’ in primary industries. That is serious indeed, because ether statistics eton be quoted! to show that -a:M: the time the drift is away from the rural areas to the cities and the large towns. I* Tasmania, for’ instance, the urban population Was. 10’5,02’5 in 1933, compared with 151,350 in 1947. The rural’ population, in that time, decreased1 by 4,742. All along the north-west coast of Tasmania), which is rich agricultural country, where the average’ farm is only about 150 acres”; and where mixed! farming: is more successfully carried! on- than in any other part- of the country, a most Unhappy state of affairs is developing. Every week, properties are advertised’ for” sale. They have been- held, in” some cases, by two’ or even three, generations df fine same family;: and ifr many other instances they/have been held” by one man- for a great number of years1. Too” often, the industrial development of which s”o- much has beenmade to-night, and of which I am not an opponent - I wish to- make that clearhas had the effect of taking’ young people off the farms and of leaving to their ageing parents the carrying on of work that requires several hands. As- those people grow older, they find it necessary to- sell their farms as they have made a modest- competence they go into’ the towns to live.- A great deal of the land along the north-west coast of Tasmania is not being used to its full capacity. A great deal of it is in- an exhausted condition beca.use of the war years-, when fertilizer was not freely available. By the way, it is not freely available- now; indeed,, it is- urgently needed to< produce a- normal crop, without considering the restoration of the- quality of the land. That land is being- deserted. Whereas formerly yield’s were obtained of which the farmers1 were proud1,, now those yields are declining; and I say, in all seriousness1, that there, is a grave possibility that, within a mea.surable time;. Australia will1 suffer a food’ famine. True; we- shall1 always have1 sufficient wheat, or so* we hope ;; but there isa variety of produce’ which could! be* raised’ from the soil that in the very near- future: will’ be very seriously scarce Sir William Angliss- is a man whose n’ame has’ been« quoted very often ih’ this) chamber. I must confess- that it nas been quoted! very’ frequently by honorable- members oppositewith hostility. BUt even- those.1 whocriticize him most1 severely will admit that he- is an expert in meat production. He- has said- that for every 100)000’ of new population, in: Australiait will be necessary to increase- our livestock by 2,000j000. sheep and 20,000 cattle a year: I’ do; not know what plans, the Government, has to meet that situation, because the population is growing, and; under the– Go.vernment’s own immigration! policy; with which, in the main’, I warmly agree; it is1 increasing at a- rate-that- was not foreseen h few years ago; I hope that, in the meat agreements that are now being’ discussed, full cognizance will be taken- of the’ facts’ that I have just given. We cannot afford to allow secondary industries to over balance- and too often wipe out of existence’ those primary industries that mean so- much to us.

In the House yesterday, I asked a question about the fish-canning- industry, fit is’ an industry that is capable of great development, as every honorable member will readily appreciate.’ There are, for instance, although this, I think, is not generally appreciated, huge numbers of tuna in the southern waters, of Australia, and tuna is one of the most highly prized fish for canning: That reservoir is practically untouched, but it could be used to very great advantage. The fishcanning industry in Australia is comparatively new, and I believe that. the. Government, has. given some, assistance to it; but the. industry is facing particular difficulties. The. local market. which it used even last season, is being flooded’^ - and I say “ flooded “, because that is the word fo> use-with imported canned fish. One’ sees’ if on) every’ hand. Whereas, last year, the canners* of- fish could count oil a1- large’ market ii Aus- tralia, to-day t’hey can’ count on practically nothing at all. I- am quite1 prepared- for SOm’e One”* to1 Say, “But the overseas variety of fish ia< more attractive;. is:. better packed^ and* is’ a? finer” kind “’. Any sta’tement” of that’ kind’ must’ be’1 investigated”, because any industries- that’ we’ wa.n-t to help in’ this country most- be- able’,- as the honorable’ member for* Deakin- (Mr”. Hutchinson1)’ says «s> stand on a competitive basis’ with’ industries- overseas There is in- the1 electorate which I represent a fish-canning project that employs about 150’ people. As’ these” things’ go iff Australia, that1 is not a- small industry. Furthermore, as honorable’ members know, the- whole1 industry is only in its infancy. The factory that I have men!ti’oned sent’ to the British’ Ministry of Food’ last’ year 35,000 cases of barracouta,. and the Ministry, having used that shipment, has ordered 50;000 cases of the same product for the 1949, season.

Mr Hutchinson:

– Where does the imported fish come from?’


– LYONS;- It. comes- from 26. different countries. The first one that comes- to my mind is Yugoslavia. I had not; thought that we should be bringing fish from Yugoslavia just now, but we are doing so. Canned fish also comes, from French. Morocco and American Samoa, and the latest, shipment to arrive at: Sydney was- a large consignment from Russia.. I submit that the product being canned in Australia is not inferior to some of the fish that is being imported. No canner in Australia believes for a moment that, he can make barracouta as attractive- as Alaskan, red salmon. That would be sheer nonsense, and the canners know it. However, a great deal of the fish that is. being imported is of the same type as the barracouta that is canned in Australia, and I claim that, fish for fish, the pack that is produced locally is equal to the. foreign pack.

An important point in this discussion, to which I draw the attention of the Government, should receive- a very sympathetic hearing from Queenslanders. It is that au improvement of the pack of certain Australian fish i-ould be made if sufficient quantities of cotton-seed oil were available for the industry. I know that cotton-seed oil is a very scarce commodity, especially in Australia. I have been told by one firm that its factory has been allotted something like 12 gallons of cotton-seed oil, sufficient only to satisfy the factory’s needs for two hours. If adequate quantities of the oil were available, the quality of certain types of fish canned in Australia would be equal to that of even the most luxurious brands produced overseas. We all know what has happened to the cotton industry in Queeusland. It has receded, I am told, almost to vanishing point. It has reduced its output by at least 80 per cent. That should receive the earnest attention of the Government not only because the production of cotton itself is an excellent thing for the country but also because cotton-seed oil is of great benefit to an enormously important industry. I am sure that it is not necessary for me to emphasize the fact, although I do so in passing, that employment in factories is not all that is involved in this industry. The employment of hundreds of men around the coast in fishing boats is involved as well. Since r .he end of the war these fishermen, many of whom are ex-servicemen, have invested a considerable sum in the mass in the purchase of boats and fishing gear of all kinds.

What the industry asks is that some kind nf protection be given to it at this stage in order to help it to expand and to compete on even terms with overseas companies. The suggestion made by the whole industry is that imports from “easy currency” countries be restricted to the volume of pre-war years, which is not an inconsiderable amount. I believe that the present rate of importation of canned fish is 13,000,000 lb. annually, which is a great weight of fish as everybody will admit. Production of the local article last year reached 11,000,000 lb. Imports from “ hard currency “ countries are restricted, of course, as is the case with every other type of commodity. I submit this request to the Government because I consider that the fish-canning industry is of great value to Australia. It may even be of greater value to us in the export field than we realize now.

Mr Burke:

– Is the volume of imports greater than it waa before the war?


– I believe that it is not at the moment, but it soon will be if the trade develops at the present rate. According to my information, approximately 1,300 import licences have been granted. The honorable member will admit that 1,300 people competing to bring canned fish into Australia will prevent the commodity from becoming scarce on the market. The industry merits some attention. When the honorable member for Deakin spoke of referring inquiries to the Tariff Board, the honorable member for Hindmarsh declared that there was inconsistency on this side of the House because a question had been asked suggesting the imposition of some form of tariff protection for the fishcanning industry. There is, of course, no inconsistency at all. We have been talking about balance all night. Balance is what we must achieve. Most Australian industries have been developed by means of some form of protection, and this industry should at least be given the opportunity to prove its claims for consideration and assistance. I suggest that, as the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) so frequently urges, a reference to the Tariff Board might be a very sound way of obtaining a thorough investigation of the merits of the industry. I know that Australia is bound by all sorts of trade agreements at present, and they, of course, will have to be taken into consideration. However, an industry which employs so many people in a healthy out-door occupation and which will supply healthful food to many people should be given an opportunity to produce a reasonably-priced and well-packed article that can compete on favorable terms with goods from any other country.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Harbison) adjourned.

page 118


The , following paper was presented : -

Norfolk Island Act - Regulations - 1949 - No. 1 (Public Service Ordinance).

House adjourned at 10.10 p.m.

page 119


The following answers to questions were circulated: -

Commonwealth Boards

Mr Hamilton:

n asked the Prime Minis ter, upon notice - 1.How many Commonwealth boards are functioning at the present time?

  1. Have any boards been appointed since February, 1948?
  2. If so, what are the title, function, and estimated cost for the current financial year in each instance?
Mr Chifley:

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

    1. The titles of these authorities are: -

Australian Capital Territory Apprenticeship Board.

Advisory Committee on Capital Issues.

Army Stores Accounts Adjustment Board.

Art Advisory Board.

Australian Aluminium Production Commission.

Australian Apple and Pear Marketing Board.

Australian Barley Board.

Australian Broadcasting Commission.

Australian Broadcasting Control Board.

Australian Canned Fruits Board.

Australian Commonwealth Shipping Board.

Australian Dairy Produce Board.

Australian Egg Board.

Australian Hide and Leather Industries Board.

Australian Meat Board.

Australian National Airlines Commission.

Australian National Film Board.

Australian New Guinea Production Control Board.

Australian Babbit Skins Board.

Australian Shipbuilding Board.

Australian Shipping Board.

Australian War Memorial, Board of Management.

Australian Wheat Board.

Australian Wine Board.

Australian Wool Board.

Australian Wool Realization Commission.

Board of Aircraft Factory Administration.

Board of Examiners of Patent Attorneys.

Board of Factory Administration (Munitions).

Board of Higher Forestry Education.

Board of Visitors, Commonwealth Observatory.

Central Canteens Control Board.

Central Engineering Trades Committee (five).

Central Boilermaking Trades Committee (five).

Centra] Blacksmithing Trades Committee (five).

Central Electrical Trades Committee (five.)

Central Sheetmetal Trades Committee (five).

Local (Engineering Trades) Committee (six - one in each State).

Local (Boilermaking Trades) Committee (six- one in each State).

Local (Blacksmithing Trades) Committee (six - one in each State).

Local (Electrical Trades) Committee (six - one in each State).

Local (Sheetmetal Trades) Committee (five - one in each State except Western Australia).

Central (Boot Trades) Committee (one).

Local (Boot Trades) Committee (six - one in each State).

Central Reference Board.

Central Reference Board and Local Reference Boards (Coal-mining Industry) (eight).

Central War Gratuity Board.

Commonwealth Archives Committee.

Commonwealth Disposals Commission.

Commonwealth Fire Board.

Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council.

Commonwealth Literary Fund.

Commonwealth Practitioners Board.

Commonwealth Prices Branch.

Commonwealth Stores Supply and Tender Board.

Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Board. Defence Research and Development Policy Committee.

Dried Fruits Control Board.

Export Sugar Committee.

Federal Exports Advisory Committee (one).

State Export Advisory Committees (six - one in each State ) .

Federal Potato Advisory Committee.

Film Censorship Board.

Flax Production Committee.

Fruit Industries Sugar Concession Committee.

Historic Memorials Committee.

Joint Coal Board.

Joint Dairying Industry Advisory Committee.

Land Valuation Boards (fourteen).

Literature Censorship Board.

Long Range Weapons Board of Administration.

Maritime Industry Commission.

Minerals Compensation Board.

Naval Charter Rates Board.

Overseas Telecommunication Commission (Australia).

Overseas Trade Publicity Committee.

Railways Local Industrial Board (one in Sydney and one in Melbourne).

Rationing Commission.

Reinstatement Committees (six - one in each State).

Secondary Industries Commission.

Sheep and Lamb Pelts Advisory Committee.

Stevedoring Industry Commission.

Superannuation Board.

Tallow Advisory Committee.

Tariff Board.

Taxation “Board of Review. No. 1 in Sydney.

Taxation Board of Review. No. 2 in Melbourne.

Tax Agents Boards (six- one in each State).

Taxation Relief Board (Canberra).

Tea Control Board.

War Damage Commission.

Wheat Stabilization Advisory Committee. 2 and 3. Yes. Eight boards, committees, &c., have been appointed, viz.: -

Army Stores Accounts Adjustment Board.

Australian Broadcasting ControlBoard.

Commonwealth Fire Board.

Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Board.

Defence Research and Development Policy Committee.

Railways Local Industrial Boards (one in Melbourne and one in Sydney).

Local (Boot Trades) Committee (Tasmania).

Particulars of the functions of these eight authorities and of the estimated cost for the current financial year are appended. The information furnished in reply to this question excludes reference to -

Public Service Board.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

Naval Board.

Military Board.

Air Board.

Defence Committee.

Joint Intelligence Committee (Defence). Contracts Board (Department of Supply and Development ) .

Repatriation Boards.

Soldiers’ Children’s Education Board (assisting the Repatriation Commission).

Purchase and Contracts Board (assisting the Repatriation Commission).

Registration boards established under the Australian Capital Territory ordinances for the registration of medical practitioners, &c. (Department of the Interior).


Mr Lang:

g asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. What is the position ©f elderly British subjects, resident for many years in Australia, who are unable to obtain from England their birth certificates, in order to qualify for a passport ?
  2. Will he take into consideration the following case : - Walter Davies, of 207 Bridgeroad, Glebe, now in his 81st year. Arrived in Sydney in August, 1883, at age of 15. In 1.936, when in England, applied for a birth certificate, but the Registrar was unable to trace back as far as 22nd July, 1-868. He next applied to several clergymen in the district where he was born, but, as lie did not know where he was registered, he could not furnish the exact particulars himself. He cannot, therefore, obtain a certificate in order to -qualify for a passport under the new regula tion. He already has had three Australian passports, and was welfare officer with the Commonwealth Shipping Line.
  3. Will he now be refused a fourth passport, when he desires to re-visit the land of hi? birth?
Mr Calwell:

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

Elderly people who have been resident in Australia for many years and who claim to be British subjects but are unable to produce birth certificates are granted passports without production of such evidence, provided that the applicants’ bona fides are not otherwise open to doubt. Appropriate instructions in the matter have already been issued to all Passport Officers. In regard to the case of Mr. Walter Davies, if the facts are as stated by the honorable member he would be eligible to receive a passport without production of evidence of British birth. If he makes application to the Passport Officer, Immigration Department, Sydney, his case will receive prompt attention.


Mr Lang:

g asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. Will he table a return showing the number of permits of entry issued during the past three years through the representations of the Jewish Welfare Society and the International Migration Service?
  2. Will he also indicate the total number of migrants from non-British countries, listing each country?
  3. Has he yet concluded the inquiries he promised to make into the case of Walter Roth, who admitted dividing certain extortionate fees with the Jewish Welfare Society?
Mr Calwell:

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

  1. Applications for the grant of landing permits are recorded in the names of the nominators and their nominees. No group record is kept of representations made by bodies such as the Jewish Welfare Society or the International Migration Service and to obtain the desired information would necessitate examination of many thousands of individual files. As the Immigration Department is at present understaffed and officers are already required to work continuous overtime to cope with current work, I am unable to see my way to arrange for the services of officers to be diverted to the task of obtaining the information which yon desire.
  2. The Commonwealth Statistician has supplied the following figures of new arrivals for the years 1946, 1047 and 1948.
  1. I understand that the court case in which Walter Roth is involved has not yet been determined. The investigations in regard to the moneys alleged to have been paid to Roth for landing permits will not be proceeded with until the case has been finally settled.

Repatriation : Service Pensions

Mr Harrison:

n asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -

  1. Is land held by returned soldiers on first mortgage classified as an asset for means test purposes in applications for pension ?
  2. Is such land subject to the provisions of the Moratorium Act?
  3. What is the position, for pension purposes, of a returned soldier, aged 60, who holds war bonds worth £300 and land on firstmortgage values (1038) at £450?
Mr Barnard:

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

  1. Pension payable to a member in respect of incapacity arising out of his service in the forces is not subject to a means test, consequently it is presumed that the honorable member’s questions relate to Service Pension. Land held by a member as mortgagee would be regarded as accumulated property for service pension purposes and the amount held would be the extent of the mortgage.
  2. Moratorium acts are in force in the various States and this question can be answered only by a legal practitioner after having regard to the full details of the mortgage and the law of the particular State.
  3. For service pension purposes, and again assuming that the member is the mortgagee, the value of the member’s accumulated pro perty would be deemed to be £840, and as this ls over £750 he would not be eligible to receive a service pension.

Australian PRISONERS of- Was: Field and Subsistence Allowances.

Mr Harrison:

n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice - - 1. Has field or other allowance been paid to commissioned officers and warrant officers first-clans for the period during which the) were prisoners of wai- - (a) in Malaya, and

  1. in other theatres of wart

    1. What form of allowances or subsistence payments has been made to non-commissioned and other ranks who were taken prisoner in the ease of (a) and (o)T
    2. Will tha Government reconsider its decision not to pay subsistence to troops in the above categories, and make such payments available at the rate of subsistence which was -current whilst they were in prisoner-of-war -camps ?
Mr Chambers:

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

  1. Field allowance, which is a normal pay allowance, waa credited to the pay accounts of all commissioned officers and warrant officers, Class I., from the date of their embarkation, and was continued for the whole of their period of service outside Australia, including any period whilst prisoner of war.
  2. No allowances or subsistence payments have been made to non-commissioned officers and other ranks during the period of their detention as prisoner of war.
  3. The question of payment of a subsistence allowance to members of the forces during periods when they were detained as prisoners of war has been given most careful consideration from time to time, and the Government does not propose to vary the decision already given.

Legal Costs of Inquiries and Prosecutions

Mr Holloway:

y. - On the 2nd March, the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) asked the following questions, upon notice : -

Will he furnish a list of fees paid to outside counsel, together with names and daily rates, m connexion with the (a) Land Sales Control Inquiry, (4) the Lutana Inquiry, (c) Garden prosecutions, (d) New Guinea Timber Royal Commission, and (e) prices prosecutions from 1040 to 1949, where same in’ total exceed £600?

The Acting Attorney-General has now supplied the following information: -


This Boya! Commission ls still proceeding and complete figure* an not available.


It .would not be possible without an enormous amount oi research through the many hundreds of files In each of the States dealing: with prosecutions in the four years referred to to obtain this information. Price is now a nutter for the States and there are no Commonwealth Prices Officer* available to make such an exhaustive search.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 May 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.