18th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. 3. 1. Clark) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and’ read prayers.
Motion (hy Mr. Chifley) agreed to - That the House, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at 10.30 a.m.
Act; Charges AGAINST Communists.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral yet received any information about the likely date upon which the
High Court of Australia will deliver judgment on an appeal against the ‘ validity- of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Act and also- on. the appeals of the (Joinmunists, Burns of Brisbane and Sharkey ot£ Sydney, in connexion with: charges of sedition ? Has any explanation been forthcoming regarding the delay of the court in delivering judgment in each case! Has any consideration been given to devising ways and means whereby the High Court will he able to give its decisions on constitutional and important cases without the: great delays that occur at present?
– I answered a similar question last week, and I have no further information at present to. give to the honorable member.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether any discussions are taking place regarding a Pacific regional defence pact. If such discussions are taking place, is the right honorable gentleman in a position to say what stage they have reached and whether there is a likelihood of a pact being. completed .before the-‘ end of this year J
– Reports have appeared in the press regarding talks that have taken place in the Philippines, or somewhere else in the Pacific region, with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and with the President of the Republic of ‘the Philippines regarding this particular matter. There have been some discussions in various places on this subject, but there have not, however, been any discussions on what might be termed the official level regarding the matter.
– Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture explain to the House the actual position regarding the operation of the International Wheat Agreement and the prices that will be paid for Australian wheat sold overseas, in view of the recent devaluation of the British, Australian and a number of other currencies ? What is the situation in relation to Canada ? The position is very vague at present and I consider that an explanation of it should be made in the interests of the wheat-growers so that they may know what the. future position, will be.
– The position is that the depreciation of Canadian currency does not affect the maximum and minimum prices fixed by the International Wheat Agreement in respect of purchases and sales of wheat, because there is an article in the agreement which declares that the maximum and minimum prices were to be fixed at Canadian currency, per bushel, at the parity for the Canadian ‘ dollar determined for the purposes of the International. Monetary Fund as at the 1st March, 1949. As at that date the Canadian dollar was at parity with the American dollar. The effect of the devaluation of sterling and the consequent devaluation of Australian currency will be that the maximum price that will be payable for wheat in the first year of the operation of the agreement will be approximately 16s. Id. Australian a bushel and’ the minimum price will be approximately 13s. 5d. Australian a bushel whilst the approximate floor prices in Australian currency in the second, third and fourth years of the agreement will be 12s. 6d. a bushel, lis. 7d. a bushel and 10s. 8£d. a bushel respectively. I emphasize that those prices are approximate and’ are subject to adjustment when the differences in dollars with respect to freight are worked out.
– I ask the Minister for the Interior a question arising out of a letter which I received from him yesterday, in which he indicated that the provision of staff is not the main obstacle to the re-establishment of circulating libraries in the Northern Territory. The real difficulty, according to the Minister, is the reconditioning and furnishing of a suitable building at Darwin. In view of the fact that the original base library was transferred from Darwin during the period of the Japanese air raids to Alice Springs and is now operating at that centre where it is housed in a suitable departmental building and where hostel accommodation is available for the requisite staff, will the Minister recommend the immediate appointment of trained staff to develop that library into a circulating library to be operated from Alice Springs pending the completion of the library building at Darwin ?
– As I explained in my letter to the honorable member, the obstacle to the early establishment of a library in Darwin is not the shortage, or unavailability, of requisite staff, as he alleged, but the provision of accommodation for the library itself. I discussed this matter with the Administrator during my recent visit to Darwin and learned that every effort is being made to provide that accommodation at the earliest moment. I do not think that a mobile unit to be operated from Alice Springs would meet requirements. On the contrary, by making such an arrangement we should be merely tinkering at the problem. The lack of a library for the time being at Darwin is only one of several disabilities from which the residents of that part of the Northern Territory are suffering because of the shortages of materials and man-power required to do the work of reconstruction of the town. I assure the honorable member that I realize that the provision of a library at Darwin is a most essential amenity and that urgent attention is being given to its early establishment.
Reduction of Imports - InternationalMonetary Fund - Exchange Rate - Dried Fruits Industry.
– In view of the increase in the costs of imported dollar goods that will follow as the result of the devaluation of the Australian currency in relation to dollars, I ask the Prime Minister whether the Government has considered boosting the manufacture of tractors, machine tools and agricultural machinery in this country and also giving special assistance to the timber, tobacco and cotton industries with a view to reducing imports from dollar areas?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is in the affirmative. Naturally, as the result of the devaluation of Australian currency ia relation: to- dollars we shall be obliged to pay higher prices for imports of com plete dollar content. The question of increasing the production of tobacco and cotton has been discussed with the Queensland authorities, and the Minister for Trade and Customs has requested theTariff Board to inquire into certain aspects of those industries. In addition, as the honorable member knows, certain, assistance has been given to those industries directly. “With respect to timber we are hopeful that it will be possible to increase imports from soft currency countries. I realize, of course, that certain timbers, such as Oregon which is imported from Canada, are highly valued for building purposes but, in general, I assure the honorable member that the problems he has mentioned were under consideration by the Government even before the de. valuation question arose. Considerable assistance has been given to the Chamberlain tractor manufacturing organization, in Western Australia, and to the International Harvester Company which is engaged in similar work in Victoria. Similar help and advice will be given wherever possible.
– I preface a question to the Treasurer by mentioning that section 1 of Article VII. of the BrettonWoods Agreement provides that -
If the Fund finds that a general scarcity of a particular currency is developing, the Fund may so inform members and may issue a report setting forth the causes of the scarcity and containing recommendations designed to bring it to an end. A representative of the member whose currency is involved shall participate in the preparation of the report.
Can the right honorable gentleman say whether any such report has been prepared and forwarded to the fund ? If so, does that report contain recommendations concerning dollars, and will he circulate copies to honorable members as soon as possible?
– I gather that the honorable member for Watson is inquiring whether a report has been forwarded to the International Monetary Fund by the Australian Government? However, I think that what the honorable member really desires to know is whether the fund, which is a constituent body, has made a report concerning currency devaluation because, as the honorable member knows, the fund is empowered to make a declaration concerning scarce currency.
Generally speaking, the action taken hy the fund up to the present moment is set out in the statement released by it within the last couple of weeks. That statement contained various comments on economic disequilibrium caused by dollar shortages in many countries. It indicated the opinion of the fund that in many instances national currencies were overvalued, and recommended that they should be revalued. There has been some question of the wisdom of the authorities of the fund, because in making that comment, the fund deprived various member nations of their right to initiate suggestions that their currencies should be depreciated or revalued. As honorable members are aware, member nations have the right to consult the controllers of the fund concerning the revaluation of their currencies. Since I am a governor of the fund I receive most of the information circulated concerning such matters, and therefore I think that I can say that the fund has not made any recommendation concerning any matter mentioned by the honorable member or, more particularly, concerning the revaluation of the currency. ‘Statements issued by the fund usually deal with monetary matters generally, and I do not think that any statement made by the controllers of the fund relates specifically to the matter mentioned by the honorable member. However, “I shall examine the correspondence that has passed between the Government and the International Monetary Fund with a view to seeing whether I ca.n furnish more detailed information to the honorable member.
– In a broadcast on Monday morning the Prime Minister stated that the Australian Government had decided to retain the existing exchange rate between sterling and the Australian pound and to devalue the Australian pound in relation to the dollar in the same proportion as the English pound had been devalued. “When did the Australian Government reach that decision? Was Cabinet consulted prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement and after the British Government’s decision was known? If Cabinet was not consulted, how did the Australian Government reach its decision? Did the right honorable gentleman consult the
Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, Dr. Coombs, at a conference in a car in a Sydney street on Saturday? Did he inform Dr. Coombs of the proposed move, or did Dr. Coombs inform him? Does the Commonwealth Bank act as the agent of the Bank of England in these matters ? Who controls the dollar pool for countries in the sterling bloc - the Bank of England, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the International Monetary Fund, or the World Bank, or do the individual countries control their own dollar resources ?
– There had been Cabinet discussions at various times about what should be done in the event of any devaluation of sterling. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had intimated on a number of occasions that the United Kingdom Government did not intend to devalue sterling but I, and I think other Ministers, had formed the impression that a devaluation of European currencies, or perhaps other economic circumstances, might ultimately result in the devaluation of sterling although I agreed entirely that there was absolutely nothing to be gained .at that time by devaluation. The Australian Government discussed this matter at considerable length on two or three occasions, although there was no such discussion during the last six weeks or so. Finally, after I had obtained the opinions of Ministers regarding the course of action that should be adopted in certain eventualities, Cabinet left to me the making of any decision, keeping in mind the opinions that Ministers had expressed concerning the possibility of devaluation.
– Irrespective of the rate?
– I do not think that I need go into all the details. Cabinet left the making of decisions to me, knowing that I was aware of its opinions. The Commonwealth Bank was not informed by the Bank of England or by the United Kingdom Government of any change, or possible change, in the rate of exchange. That information, when it finally arrived, I think last Friday or Saturday, was conveyed only to me by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It is perfectly true that later I did discuss with the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank and the Deputy
Prime Minister the matter of the rate and what should be done about it. The Governor of the Commonwealth Bank came into the matter because if there was to be an announcement by me on Monday morning, it was essential to find out whether it would be necessary to close the banks on Monday, as was done in a lot of other countries. I did not desire the banks to be closed merely because exchange transactions could not be carried through. That is what I discussed with the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank. It is also true that I arranged with him that he should make a statement immediately after my statement on the mechanics of the banking arrangements. That was done. The decision on the rate was made entirely by the British Government. I understand that the Bank of England was not informed. Anyway, exchange rate control rests with the Lords of the Treasury in the United Kingdom. The Bank of England acts as agent for the British Government. That arrangement did not originate with the present British Government; certainly it existed during the time of the Churchill Government, and’ I think its introduction dates back to the time of the Chamberlain Government. Under the arrangement, decision on exchange and the control of foreign exchange is a matter for the Treasury. I do not think I can supply the honorable member with any further information other than to say that, acting on behalf of the Government, and knowing the minds of my colleagues, I made the decision.
– Is it a fact that the devaluation of the currency will leave the prices of Australian dried fruits, under existing contracts, unchanged but cause a sharp increase of prices of many machines and other articles required in the industry? Will the Government adjust tariff rates on the import requirements of this valuable industry from dollar areas so that it may be safeguarded ?
– To give the honorable gentleman a completely accurate answer I should have to examine the particular matters that he has in mind. Generally, when goods can be produced, first, in Australia, and, secondly, in the United Kingdom, the by-law under which those goods may be brought in from other areas free of duty is not applied. If an article can be produced’ in Australia or is obtainable, within a reasonable time, from the United Kingdom, then, of course, a similar article from dollar countries, or any foreign countries, for that matter, cannot be imported under by-law. Under the Ottawa Agreement, British goods must always have preference; but, if they are not available in Australia and are not likely to be available in a reasonable time in the United Kingdom, but are available in the dollar or hard currency areas, and come within the range of commodities for which dollars may be made available, in most cases - I do not say in all cases - they are admitted free of duty under by-law. Before I could say “ all cases “, I should have to examine the whole range of goods required. If after receipt of an application under the by-laws for a reduction of the tariff rate the Minister considers that special consideration is warranted, he can permit those goods to enter duty free or at a reduced rate. If the honorable member will furnish me with a list of the articles from the dollar countries that he has in mind I shall have the matter examined. It is somewhat difficult to deal with it on a hypothetical basis.
– Yesterday the Prime Minister informed the House that the Australian Government had consulted the International Monetary Fund regarding its intention to devalue the Australian pound and that the members of the fund had expressed their agreement to that action being taken. The right honorable gentleman clearly implied that that consultation followed the announcement to him by the Prime Minister of Great Britain of the intentions of the British Government in connexion with sterling. I ask the Prime Minister whether the International Monetary Fund was consulted by the Australian Government as a result of the information that was conveyed to him by the Prime Minister of Great Britain? What was the method by which the fund was consulted? Who are the persons who constitute the fund for the purposes of such consultations? Will the right honorable gentleman lay on the table of the House copies of the exchanges that took place between the
Australian Government and the fund relative to devaluation?
– Very late last week I was informed of the intentions of the United Kingdom Government regarding the devaluation of sterling. I then intimated our intentions in regard to the Australian pound. The members of the International Monetary Fund were called together in Washington last Saturday afternoon, which was Sunday morning in Australia, and they considered applications that had been made by the governments of the United Kingdom, Australia, and, I think, South Africa, for permission to devalue their currencies to the degree to which it was proposed to devalue them. The action was not taken jointly, but it was taken at the same time. The constitution of the fund provides that applications for permission to vary currency exchange rates may be made on behalf of a country by an accredited representative of that country. The United Kingdom ‘Government delegated authority for this purpose to Sir Henry Wilson-Smith. The Australian Government delegated the necessary authority to act on its behalf to Mr. Makin, the Australian Ambassador in Washington, who also acts as my deputy as a governor of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank. All those decisions were made almost on the eve of the meeting of the members of the fund. I understand that not even the Government of the United States of America knew of the terms of the applications until they reached the fund in Washington last Saturday afternoon, or Sunday morning in Australia. I do not think I can table copies of the cables that were exchanged in connexion with this matter, because they are of a highly confidential nature.
– Could we be informed of the text of the application that was made ?
– I am afraid that I cannot table confidential messages that passed between the Australian representative in Washington and myself, acting on behalf of the Australian Government, but I shall consider how far I can go to inform the honorable gentleman’s mind.
Exports TO BRITAIN
– As honorable members are aware, I represent an electorate from which egg and poultry producers, dairy-farmers and graziers export a substantial proportion of their products to Great Britain at fixed contract prices. Recently in reply to a question the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture said -
As regards all contracts, .however, devaluation of sterling would be regarded by the Commonwealth Government as creating exceptional circumstances justifying reconsideration of such contracts.
In view of that statement, will the Prime Minister consider making urgent representations to the Government of the United Kingdom for a review of contract prices for the commodities to which I have referred?
– What I have said in reply to questions by the honorable member for New England and other honorable gentlemen has been that while sterling continued to bear its then relationship to the dollar, Australia did not propose to alter the relationship of the pound Australian to the pound sterling, but that the position would have to be reconsidered should there be an alteration in the relationship between the English sterling and the American dollar currency. The pound sterling has now been devalued in relation to the American dollar by approximately 30 per cent., but, in turn, there has been a similar devaluation of the Australian pound in relation to the dollar, so that the relative positions of the English pound and the Australian pound have been maintained. Therefore, there is no call for an examination of those contracts between the United Kingdom and Australia.
– Some time ago, representatives of the sugar industry in Queensland, led by the Premier of that State, Mr. Hanlon, discussed with the Prime Minister a proposal for an increase of £d. per lb. in the price of sugar. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether this proposal has been considered, and if 80, whether a decision has been reached!’
– It is true that a deputation representing sugar producers in Queensland, headed by the Premier of that State, and including the chairman of the Queensland Sugar Board, Mr. Forgan Smith, requested the Australian Government to agree to an increase of ½d. per lb. in the price of sugar. Incidentally, that was the first request made by the sugargrowers or by the Queensland Government. The proposal requires close investigation. Certain facts and figures were supplied by the deputation and they have been examined. I understand that a report has been prepared by expert departmental advisers, and is almost ready for consideration by the Ministers who received the deputation - the Minister for Trade and Customs and myself. I assume that a decision will be made at a reasonably early date.
– I direct a series of questions to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. What is the difference in the price paid for Australian sugar in Great Britain and that paid by consumers in Australia? What is the cost of production of a ton of sugar in Australia on the farm, in the mill and in the refinery? How many tons of cane are produced to the acre and what price is paid to the grower for each ton of cane? How many tons of cane are needed to produce a ton of raw sugar? What are the by-products of the sugar industry? Where and by whom are they manufactured?
– As the subjectmatter of the honorable member’s question comes under the purview of the Minister for Trade and Customs, I shall be glad to refer it to him. In due course I hope to be able to furnish the honorable member with suitable answers.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Works and Housing been drawn to a statement at the master builders convention at Brisbane yesterday, that in consequence of the devaluation of sterling the price of Oregon would be increased, with the result that the cost of building a home would rise by approximately £60 ? As the Minister has already expressed concern at the rising cost of home-building, what action, if any, does he propose to take in relation to this latest development, as it affects home-building, not only generally, but particularly those homes being built under the direction of the War Service Homes Division?
– My attention has not been drawn to the statement to which the honorable member has referred. However, it is inevitable that Oregon, which comes from dollar countries, will increase in price as the result of the de, valuation of sterling. I strongly contest the claim that the anticipated rise in the price of oregon will add an additional £60 to the cost of building- a home.
– It would depend on the type of home constructed.
– That is so. It would depend, also on the State in which the home is built. In Western Australia scarcely any oregon is used in home-building. That is true also of Tasmania and, to a lesser degree, of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. South Australian builders use larger quantities of oregon than builders in. other States because South Australia has very little native timber and has to import timbers not only from the other States, but also from dollar countries. I am very doubtful whether the increased price of oregon will add £60 to the cost of building a home even in South Australia. Throughout Australia generally the rise in the price of oregon will not, in my opinion, affect the cost of building a home by more than £4 or £5.
– In view of the recent establishment of the Republic- of Western Germany can the Minister for Externa] Affairs inform the House of the diplomatic status of the new republic? Will diplomatic recognition be extended to it by the Australian Government? If so, will diplomatic representatives be exchanged between our respective countries? Will trade relations be resumed with Germany, and, if so, what plan has the Government made to that end ? What is the Government’s view concerning the recent statements of Pastor Niemoller about the desirability of Germans migrating to this country?
– Some of the honorable member’s questions relate to departments which I do not administer. However, I can inform him that the occupying powers in Western Germany are gradually transferring their operational centre from Berlin to Bonn, the capital of the new republic. It is proposed that the Australian diplomatic representative, who is also our military representative in Berlin, shall have a seat in both Berlin and Bonn. I shall make inquiries concerning the other questions that the honorable member has asked and if I can obtain any information for him, I shall do so.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Immigration been drawn to the fact that a Budapest newspaper, which is one of Hungary’s leading daily newspapers, recently published a report of an interview with two Australian Communists, Dixon and Lockwood, which contained glaring examples of absolute and deliberate misrepresentation? Because of the gravity of this dangerous Communist propaganda, does the Minister still adhere to his earlier declarations that Australian Communists should be afforded every Commonwealth facility, including passports to visit overseas countries, in order to spread this pernicious anti-Australian and antiBritish propaganda?
– The Australian Government does not afford every facility to Communists to go abroad to spread their propaganda. It gives Communists, as citizens, the same rights, including passports and travel facilities, as other citizens receive. That position will obtain until action is taken to declare that the Communist party is not a legal organization - if such action is ever taken. We do not give passports to Communists or to anybody else to go to other countries. A person does not need a passport to permit him to leave Australia, but he generally requires one to enable him to enter another country. Although a person may have an Australian passport, the fact remains that many governments have laid down the rule that vises shall not be issued for entry into their particular countries unless the necessary application is made before the traveller leaves his own country. The Governments of Pakistan and India demand that a person who desires to leave Australia on a passport and enter those countries must first obtain the right to do so through their diplomatic or consular representatives in the Commonwealth or by direct application to their own officers. I deplore the volume of propaganda which is being disseminated abroad by Communists, but it is not the Communists alone who are spreading propaganda detrimental to the interests of this country; and it is not the Communist newspapers in Budapest alone that are doing everything they can to damage the credit and standing of the Australian people.
– Will the Minister for Repatriation inform me whether any further progress has been made concerning the centralization of the out-patients department of the various military hospitals in Sydney at Grace Building?
– The alterations to Grace Building on two floors, which have been proceeding for nearly two years, are being made in order to take the whole of the out-patients’ department, which is now located at Randwick, into the central building, where the Repatriation Department conducts its business. The work is almost complete, and the only difficulty appears to be the installation of a hot water service. That matter was brought to my notice last week-end when I was in Sydney, and I have since discussed it with the Minister for Works and Housing. As the result of our conversation, I hope that the installation will soon be completed and that the building will be available for out-patients.
– Did the Minister representing the Postmaster-General make personal representations to his colleague on behalf of Mr. W. T. Dobson, in which it was alleged that special circumstances existed which entitled Mr.
Dobson to have a telephone installed in his bedroom in Sydney? Did the Minister receive from the PostmasterGeneral a promise that that installation would be made within seven days of the payment by Mr. Dobson of the rent for the instrument ? In view of the desperate situation of thousands of ordinary citizens through their inability to obtain telephones, will the Minister inform the House of the special circumstances in Dobson’s case that entitled him to get a telephone on seven days’ notice?
– I did make representations to the Postmaster-General at the request of Mr. Dobson. He came to see me, and fooled me. He came as the assistant secretary of the industrial group of the Federated Clerks Union and said that he had the blessing of the head-quarters of the Labour party in New South Wales. I plead those facts in extenuation of my lapse. He was accompanied by another prominent representative of the industrial group, and he told me that he was carrying on certain work which, I believed, was of national importance. I made representations to the Postmaster-General to the effect that Mr. Dobson might be given telephone facilities, if that were possible, and a silent number to enable him to carry on the work of the industrial groups inside the union.
– Was that work of national importance ?
– That, to me, seemed to be work of very great importance. This same gentleman was in touch with a number of other people. I think that he was in touch with the Communist party, because that organization published the Postmaster-General’s letter to me, and my complimentary slip to him.
– He was also in touch with the Liberal party.
– The honorable gentleman anticipates me. He had been in touch with a lot of other people. On the night that he dived into Sydney Harbour, he had come straight from the residence of Mr. W. C. Wentworth, a selected Liberal party candidate for a seat in the Commonwealth Parliament at the next election.
– I direct the attention of the Minister for Civil Aviation to claims that have been made that because of the adoption of turbo-jets in De Havilland Comets, British civil aviation airliners are now far in advance of the types that the United States of America can supply. According to a statement that appeared in the Australian press recently this type of aircraft will not be available in Australia until 1952. Will the Minister inform the House whether that is true? If so, has the Department of Civil Aviation made any representations to, or engaged in any consultations with, British manufacturers to see if there could be a more speedy sale of such aircraft to Australia?
– Constant inquiries are being made in other countries by both the Department of Air and the Department of Civil Aviation about the development of aircraft. As I have said in this House on a number of occasions previously, if Great Britain can produce aircraft that will compete successfully with those produced in other countries, we should prefer to buy our requirements of aircraft in Great Britain. It is true that the development of turbo-jets and jet aircraft has proceeded so satisfactorily in Great Britain that the manufacturers in that country feel that they are now ahead of their American competitors. I believe that within a short period Great Britain will be able to meet Australia’s requirements of aircraft, and I hope that we shall then be in a position to buy them as required. It usually takes from one to two years - generally the latter period - to determine the efficiency of new types of aircraft so that 1952 is a reasonable estimate. However, we shall be guided by the advice of experts who recently went overseas in determining whether the types of aircraft mentioned by the honorable member are the best obtainable. I am looking forward to receiving reports from representatives of both Qantas and Trans-Australia Airlines, two of the most famous airlines in the world, and I shall be influenced by those reports in deciding whether to buy the types of aircraft in which the honorable member is interested when replacements become necessary.
– Will the Prime Minister inform the House whether, under the latest financial agreement, India has prevailed on the British Government to include it among the countries whose access to the gold and dollar reserve of the sterling area is left to its own discretion? Have the sterling assets of the Reserve Bank of India decreased from £1,050,000,000 to £600,000,000 sterling during the year 1948-49? If so, has there been any discrimination in the treatment of the sterling balances of India and Australia ?
– I should have to make a fairly lengthy statement in order to cover all of the ground necessary to make the position perfectly clear. In common with other dominion countries India agreed to reduce its dollar expenditure by 25 per cent. In other words the imports of those particular countries were to be reduced by 25 per cent. Although Ceylon earns more dollars than it can spend, it subscribed to the agreement with the object of maintaining, as far as possible, substantial balances in the sterling dollar pool, that is the gold and dollar reserve. I have in mind certain circumstances about sterling with relation to India which require consideration. In our approach to this subject it must be remembered that India has a population of about 280,000,000. As most people who know anything about this subject will probably admit, the need for development, the provision of ameni-ties, and the improvement of the general standard of living throughout that country are matters which require special consideration. In my opinion, no special preference has been extended to India by the United Kingdom in connexion with sterling balances. The Australian Government has not encountered any difficulty in reaching agreements with the United Kingdom Government in regard to such balances, and I do not consider that the agreement concerning sterling balances that has been concluded between the United Kingdom and India discriminates unfairly against Australia.
In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from the 20th September (vide page 386), on motion by Mr.
That the first item in the Estimates under Division No. 1 - Senate - namely, “Salaries and Allowances, £12,400”, he agreed to.
.- We are debating the budget, which is usually described as a statement made to the Parliament by the Treasurer of the day about the probable revenue and expenditure for the ensuing year, with details covering each of the Government’s departments. A budget may be a thing of beauty and a joy for ever to statisticians, economists, actuaries and other people of that ilk, but for most citizens it is a dreary and unreadable document. The present budget is not only a dreary and difficult document, but it is an extremely discouraging and disappointing one. However we regard it, whether in an altruistic way, judging its qualities by the yard-stick of how it will affect the country as a whole, or, as most people will do, from the standpoint of how it will affect them individually, it is a disappointing budget, because in it the Government has failed to do the one thing that, at this time in our history, it should have done - that is, to give economic leadership ix> the nation so that it might step over the threshold to prosperity and greatness. The boom has passed. The prices of metals have fallen. Export prices for grain and woollen textiles are falling. Even if there were a temporary appreciation now in the price of wool, nobody in his senses could say that the wool boom has not reached its height. We must now look forward to something in the nature of a recession of prices. This applies to primary products generally. Yet, in these circumstances we are faced with an estimated expenditure of £532,000,000, which is only £3,000,000 less than last year’s actual expenditure, and that was regarded as an astronomical figure. The sum of £532,000,000 represents more than 40 per cent, of the aggregate of the personal money income of the Australian people. Last year the aggregate personal money income of the people amounted to about £1,600,000,000. That year’s expenditure amounted to 35 per cent, of that income and it was rightly condemned as being at a dangerous height.
This year., when our aggregate personal money income is estimated to he £1,300,000,000, an estimated expenditure of £532,000,000 means that we shall be spending more than 40 per cent, of the nation’s personal money income on government purposes. Most economists of repute condemn such heavY government expenditure. .Recently it was stated by Mr. Colin Clark, a well-known economist, (that any government that attempts to expend more than 25 per cent, of the people’s money on governmental purposes is stepping into grave danger. Recently the London Economist, in condemning the British socialist Government’s budget, described the 40 per cent, expenditure which that Government was proposing as being “nothing ‘short of appalling”. Yet we are proposing to do the same thing in this country, at a time when our economic and production difficulties have been aggravated by the recent coal strike, which cost this country uncounted millions of pounds.
Our difficulties are also being increased by the rising cost of living. When a worker receives his wage nowadays he knows that it will no longer buy all the things it used to buy. The problem of the rising cost of living will be still further complicated as a result of the devaluation, this week, of sterling and the Australian pound. We shall also feel the effect of the action of the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) in budgeting for a huge deficit of £35,000,000. It is extraordinary to find that, at this stage of Australia’s economic development, when we have great opportunities for expansion, the Government intends to embark upon expenditure to the degree indicated in the budget. Thinking people in the community can gain no comfort at all from the budget. They can only be anxious about what “will happen to Australia in the next year if the Government’s policy of high expenditure continues to be pursued. It is my opinion that we are heading for trouble and, indeed, that we are probably, by this very document, taking the first step down the slippery path that leads to recession, which nobody in this Parliament or in Australia wants and which need not come upon us if our economic affairs are properly handled. .Such a recession is extremely likely .if the Treasurer’s policy is pursued’ to its conclusion. But the Labour party is not worried about that.
The main preoccupation of Labour, of course, is to win the next general election. That is why it is now saying, “ Look at our wonderful social services and what we are doing for the people”. That appears to be the motif for .a Labour party theme song entitled, “ Oh, how wonderful we are ! “ Not, of course, the wicked Liberals, who are well known, according to Labour party members, for .grinding the faces of the poor, but only the wonderful Labour party. The obvious line that Labour party candidates will take at the general election will be to boast about the Government’s expenditure on social services which, incidentally, are paid for by the taxpayers. I have heard speech after speech in this chamber in. the last few ‘days, grinding out that dreary monotonous .song again and again, “Oh, how wonderful we are! How remarkable our social services are! Look what we have done ! “.
I heard a broadcast over one of the national stations recently, and took the trouble to obtain a copy of the script. It is a scandalous document in that it shows that the Government has used one of its instrumentalities for the purpose of embarking upon propaganda to ‘boost one of its own departments. ‘The broadcast referred to “ social security from the cradle to the grave “. The Australian Broadcasting Commission, in this instance, has been used by the Government for the purpose of peddling political propaganda. That is, or ought to be, a new principle in politics, but really is not new in the Labour party. But I shall now refer to an even worse example than that of how the Government uses the public money for political propaganda. I have heard honorable members opposite referring to the- remarkable little document on the social services of the Commonwealth. T have a copy of the booklet in front of me. It is another illustration of how an unscrupulous government will use the people’s money to peddle its own propaganda. The Government has issued this document about the social services of the Commonwealth ostensibly to tell the people about their entitlement to social services. It has not been content to convey that information to the people by newspaper advertisements or by posters displayed outside post offices and pensions offices; or by any other ordinary means. It has not even relied upon the intelligence of the ordinary citizen who, if he considers that he has a right to certain benefits, will, go along and fossick out the necessary information for himself. The Government has issued1 this booklet in lovely, shining paper. The hundreds of thousands of copies of it that have been published must have cost the taxpayers of this country thousands of pounds. Copies of it are being ordered by every member of the Labour party for distribution around the electorates. The booklet is an undercover method of purveying the Government’s propaganda. Any one who reads it will find that much of its contents is not factual information about a citizen’s rights, but statements intended to persuade the electors that the Government has done a wonderful job. I notice that the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) has not scrupled to do something which ten years ago would have been regarded as unthinkable in this Parliament. In what he calls a foreword to this booklet, he writes -
Even when Australia was in the grip of war, the then Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) agreed with me that social security in the post-war era demanded a comprehensive social services programme. We felt that the misery and hardships of past years were things which Australia should never have to endure again.
To-day a wide range of social services - incomparably wider than those available before the war - is being provided by the Commonwealth.
The right honorable gentleman goes on in a similar strain. What I want to know is why the .taxpayers of Australia should be obliged to pay for the production of documents of this sort. There is one modifying feature about the booklet. In an introduction to it, the Minister for Social Services (Senator McKenna) appears to have experienced a flash of honesty. He wrote -
Enlightened countries throughout the world now recognize that care of the needy, aged, the invalid, widowed, sick, unemployed and distressed is properly the responsibility of the whole community.
All honorable members will agree with that sentiment; and the theme of my speech will be that in enlightened communities all political parties have for many years shown increasing recognition of the need to care for the aged and sick. However, the objection I make at the moment is that this document, which is expensively got up, has been prepared not for the purpose of informing citizens of their rights but for the purpose of peddling propaganda on behalf of the Government. On the outside of the front cover of the booklet appears a photograph of the- shining, smiling face of a tiny tot. On first seeing that picture I expected to find underneath it an advertisement for some brand of dental cream. On the outside of the back cover there is a picture of an elderly man sitting on a park bench with an infant who appears to be about eighteen months old clasped in his arms. The child is shown wearing a snowy white frock, and at first glance at the picture I expected to find it to be an advertisement for “ Persil “ or “ Lux “ or some commodity of that kind. This booklet is nothing more than sheer advertising by the Government at the taxpayers’ expense for the purpose of pushing the Government’s propaganda down the people’s throats. Another photograph shows a bonny child sitting on a weighing machine with her proud and smiling mother standing by and a nurse looking at the weight indicator. Another photograph in the booklet is that of a gentleman and his wife with their sixteen children. I suppose that photograph is published to indicate the advantage of child endowment payable to a family of that number of children. Another photograph shows an elderly lady in a floral print frock holding a garden rake. Ostensibly, she is standing in her own garden, but I should say that the photograph was taken in the botanical gardens in Sydney. Everything is there but “ the roses round the door “. The point I make is that the Government is peddling this stuff in a deceitful way for the purpose of cramming its propaganda down the people’s necks.
Tie booklet contains a considerable amount of printed matter. In each section one finds a small paragraph under the heading “history”. What history has to do with what a citizen’s rights are is, perhaps, hard to say, but paragraphs about history appear under the headings dealing with various social service benefits.
– Does the booklet really tell who establishes these benefits?
– I shall take the trouble to refer to that, because, in this booklet, the Government has not told the truth about the origin of some of our present social services benefits. Of course, the writer was obliged to admit that child endowment was introduced by the Menzies Government. However, the booklet states that age pensions were introduced by the Deakin Government in 1909, but that invalid pensions were introduced by the Fisher Government in 1910. The booklet does not explain that those benefits were introduced by the Deakin Government under the Invalid and Oldage Pensions Act 1908.
– We shall see what the anti-Labour governments really did.
– If the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Hadley) will persuade his colleagues to grant me an extension of time I shall take the opportunity to tell him what non-Labour governments have done in the establishment of social services benefits. That subject is worthy of the most thorough examination, because honorable members opposite always talk as though only Labour governments are interested in social reforms. I expect to hear them claim soon that William. Wilberforce, the great Englishman who was mainly responsible for the abolition of the slave trade, was a Labour man. The point I make is that the social conscience of our community has been growing for generations and that long before the Labour party was even thought of, people with generous and philanthropic instincts continually endeavoured to improve the lot of the ordinary man. That is a long and continuous process. Therefore, it is absurd for honorable members opposite to deal with matters of this kind in relation to the very limited period of tho last few years and say, “ Look at what the Labour party has done. No other party has done the same “. I shall examine the records to show how ah political parties in Australia and in Great Britain have made contributions towards social reform. The old-age pension was introduced by the Deakin Liberal Government in 1908.
– It was forced to do so by the Labour party of the day.
– I am not here to deny that Labour governments have made their contributions in this sphere. The fact is that all decent people in the course of time make their contributions towards social reform, but the Labour party is not prepared to concede any credit to any other party in that respect.
If it is possible to do so, I shall cram down the neck of the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Fuller) the fact that much enlightened social legislation has been placed on the statute-book for which the Labour party cannot claim any credit. The invalid pension also was introduced by the Deakin Government. Incidentally, the Scullin Labour Government was the only government that reduced the rate of old-age and invalid pensions. It did so in 1931. Widows’ pensions were paid in several States before 1941. This “phoney” booklet, of course, claims that widows’ pensions were introduced by a Labour government. That is correct in one sense, but I point out that the introduction of widows’ pensions was recommended by an all-party parliamentary committee which was set up by the Menzies Government, whose supporters were in a majority on that committee. It was pursuant to that recommendation that the Curtin Labour Government introduced widows’ pensions in 1942.
– The Menzies Government only copied Labour legislation in force in New South Wales.
– It can equally be said that, in introducing widows’ pensions, the Lang Government copied Liberal party legislation in England. The point I make is that all parties have made their contribution to social reform.
The Lang Government in New South Wales passed family endowment legislation as far hack as 1925, hut in the Commonwealth sphere, child endowment payments, free from the means test, and financed by a special tax on employers, were introduced by the Menzies Government in 1941. The principle of repatriation and rehabilitation is not the creature of Labour thought at all. It was established originally by the Hughes and Bruce-Page governments. It is a noble and a necessary part of our social services scheme, but the Labour Government cannot claim any credit for its origin. In fact, in those days the Labour party was so anti-war and so unpatriotic that it would not send soldiers to fight for their country. Certainly it would not have lifted a finger to help ex-servicemen when they returned to this country.
Let us take a look at monopoly exploitation. Monopolies have never been tackled by Labour governments. That work has been left to anti-Labour administrations. A Liberal government passed the Australian Industries Preservation Act as long ago as 1906 to control monopolies in this country, and it even launched prosecutions under that legislation. Prices control was first instituted by the Menzies Government in 1941, one object being to keep prices down, largely for the benefit of the workers in the community. All that we on this side of the chamber say about monopolies is that any monopoly is bad, but a government monopoly is worse still. That is a difference between the Opposition parties and the Government. Honorable members opposite have a sort of passionate regard for a government monopoly. We say that a government, monopoly is worse than a private monopoly. A private monopoly can be controlled by legislation, but a government monopoly cannot be controlled because no government will control its own creature. That has been proved.
– Labour encourages trade union monopolies.
– That is an apt illustration. Having encouraged trade union monopolies, Labour governments are now unable to control them. They are gobbled up by their own machine. I come now to the welfare and safety of workers in industry. In all States over the years, a mass of legislation to protect workers in industry has been passed. Those measures include the factories acts, dangerous machinery acts, coal mines regulation and inspection acts, a whole series of occupational diseases acts, shearers’ accommodation acts, and navigation acts. All these, and a dozen others which could be cited, have been passed by Liberal or other nonLabour governments for the welfare and safety of workers in industry, Australian workers’ compensation legislation was copied originally by a Queensland Liberal government from the legislation passed by the Lloyd George Liberal government in Great Britain as early as 1905. In turn, that legislation was copied by other governments throughout Australia, Labour and Liberal alike. The principle of workers’ compensation is entirely a Liberal conception, and not that of the Labour movement at all. Unemployment and sickness insurance originated with the Lloyd George Liberal government in Great Britain, and not with the Australian Labour party. When honorable members opposite pretend, as they do in the booklet to which I have referred, that the Government’s unemployment and sickness benefits legislation is a purely Labour conception, I remind them that in the 1930’s a royal commission investigated this whole matter and that the proposals which resulted from that inquiry were embodied in legislation which was actually placed on our statute-book. The project wa9 abandoned because a war was looming, but I have always said, and I still say, that the failure to implement that act was a serious error of judgment. However, in view of these activities, it cannot be argued that our side of politics has not been actively interested in unemployment and sickness insurance.
What of the rights of workers and of the arbitration system itself, of which we in Australia are so proud? That system was an entirely Liberal conception. Non-Labour State governments had arbitration machinery before the turn of the century, but it was the Reid and Deakin governments in 1904 and 1905 that established the Commonwealth Court of
Conciliation and Arbitration, and appointed’ its first judges. Our arbitration machinery has been strengthened consistently by governments of all political completions, but particularly by nonLabour administrations. On many occasions ‘anti-Labour governments have passed legislation to protect the trade union movement.
The White Australia policy was formulated to protect Australian working standards. That policy was the conception of Liberal governments, and, as far as I am aware, the only man in Australia who is trying to break it down is the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell). Every one else believes in it. We on this side of the chamber particularly believe in it, because it was established originally by men of our political philosophy. Advocacy of a secret ballot is another attempt by the Liberal party to protect the rights of workers. We want provision made for a secret ballot to safeguard workers against the tyranny of minorities. The only opposition to the proposal comes from the Labour party. The protection of women and children has been the concern of non-Labour governments throughout Australia for many years. These administrations have passed a mass of legislation which has provided for deserted wives and children, child welfare and adoption, neglected children, legitimation, first offenders, guardianship, and so on. This legislation to protect women and children is a reflection of the growing conscience of the community, which is a feature of democratic life. Again I say that we do not deny to Labour governments their fair share of credit for these things, but we claim our share to be great indeed.
Liberal governments throughout Australia have been responsible for the establishment of free education systems in every State of the Commonwealth. University education, too, first received the attention, not of Labour governments, but of Liberal administrations. It is true that Labour has amended, and even improved, our legislation, but the original measures were passed by non-Labour governments. For the last 50 years, the complex task of law reform has been tackled consistently by non-Labour governments be cause the necessity for this reform has been recognized. We on this side of the chamber have always believed that access to law should be quick, cheap, and simple for the people. Thanks to us great strides have been made, as anybody who has any knowledge of the law will concede, in the simplification of legal procedure generally. Industrial research and assistance to industry generally in this country was the conception of the Bruce-Page Government. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, a magnificent institution to-day, was not established by a Labour government. It was the idea of a non-Labour administration. In the field of public health, non-Labour governments have a splendid record in all States. Legislation has been passed covering pure foods, sub-standard houses, drugs, infectious diseases, mental diseases and hospitals generally. The Bruce-Page Government established the Federal Health Council, which has done valuable work in the fields of tuberculosis, venereal disease., the prevention of epidemics, maternal and child’ welfare, and cancer research and treatment. AH this has been the work of non-Labour governments.
I could go _ on giving similar illustrations, but I shall sum up in this way. We do not deny that Labour has made its contribution to national welfare, but we do contest the claim - and I nail the lie here and now - that only Labour has been interested in these matters. If Labour supporters argue in that way, we are entitled to draw the attention of the Australian people to the fact that, on balance, over a period of years, the performance of the non-Labour parties has been immeasurably better than that of the Labour party. We are determined to carry on that work. We are determined that there shall be no diminution of standards, and that this process of generous and ameliorative legislation will continue. People must be protected from the wind and the rain. They must be given opportunities. They must be lifted when they stumble. We all believe in these things and with a record behind us of which we are proud, we are determined to go ahead. So far as I know there are only two limiting factors. The first is that nobody who is concerned to do what is best for this country in the long run dare go so far in this proces as to destroy self-help in the community, and turn the citizens of Australia into a nation of leaners who lean on the State for everything, even for the things that they could do themselves by the exercise of self-help and initiative. Life is a struggle. It always will be. It is our duty as public men to ameliorate the struggle for others and to soften it for people who need assistance; but to stop people from striving when, in the course of nature, they will starve if they do not strive, is to fly in the face of nature and to do so would turn this country into a nation of learners. In the stage of development which this young country has reached with everything before it and enormous opportunities, to be feeding the people, as the Labour party is doing, with such pap as “ You do not have to work hard ; the Government will look after you”, is wicked nonsense. We should be a virile and self-reliant community. Is Australia to be the land of the free bottle of medicine, the free false teeth, and the free wig for those whose hair has gone ?
– The honorable member himself needs a wig.
– The honorable member for Hume may feel disposed to sponge on the State for his false teeth, his wig and his bottle of medicine, but I prefer to buy my own wig when the time comes. Is the sort of world that I have described the sort of world we want? If so, it will consist of a community whose time will be devoted to filling in forms, and one that will be willing to be pushed around by bureaucrats as the price for getting something for nothing. I decline to believe that the Australian people want that sort of life. They want prosperity, equality of opportunity, and a measure of security; but they are prepared to pay for what they get. If the Government provides for them good conditions of work and reasonable wages, they, are prepared to pay their own way. I want a community that will pay its own way and not sponge on the State. It terrifies me to see the tendency, under the guidance of the Labour Government, towards an increase of the proportion of spongers in the community. If this process of destroying initiative goes on much longer the proportion of spongers will grow larger and larger. The Labour Government is spoonfeeding the people in this way because it hopes to win a few votes thereby to enable it to remain in office after the next election.
The second limiting factor to which I shall point is the capacity of the community to pay for these services. We have been told in the budget speech that this year social services will cost £100,000,000, or an amount equal to the whole of the budget for 1938-39. I remind honorable members that in 1944-45 social services cost only £40,000,000. Sooner or later we must determine how much further this country can go in paying for services of this sort and how much more the real workers of the community can stand in the way of deductions from their incomes to pay for them. An analysis of our population figures shows that the commitment for social services will steadily increase because we are turning into an aged community. How far can we go ? There must be a limit. Does the Labour Government acknowledge that there is a limit, or does it deceive the people by pretending that there is no limit? Any honest man in political life must face up to the fact that there are limits beyond which the Government cannot go. If we reduce the number of persons engaged in production and push up national expenditure higher and still higher by taking more and more from the people, fewer and fewer people will produce the wealth with which to pay for these services and finally we shall end up as a community of people who try to live by taking in one another’s washing. A national community cannot stand that any more than can a domestic community. The only way in which we can maintain social services at the level at which the generous- hearted community wants to maintain them in the interests of those who need them 19 to lift the general level of production and the wealth of the community. My criticism of this budget is that it does not provide for an expanding production and for an expanding economy which are necessary to the attainment of greater national wealth. The Government policy as outlined in this budget involves an extortionately high expenditure of £532,000,000. On the Treasurer’s own figures it also involves a deficit of £35,000,000. The refusal of the Government to face up to the fact, which I have endeavoured to elaborate, that we can have these great social benefits only if the money is available to pay for them is patent. Because the Government’s policy, as outlined in the budget, completely ignores the considerations to which I have referred any retrenchments in these social services which may have to be made subsequently will be the Labour Government’s sole responsibility.
.- We have just listened to yet another speech by the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) which will enhance Labour’s prospects at the next election. After listening to contributions of honorable members opposite in this debate, I am convinced that Opposition members generally are utterly devoid of arguments on which to base a real attack on the Labour Government. A careful examination of the speeches made by members of the Opposition during this debate does not reveal any solid grounds for an attack on either the platform or the achievements of the present Government. The Opposition has, in fact, been’ attempting to draw red herrings across the trail to support its contention that the people should eject the Government at the coming election. The Opposition has accused the Government of being devoid of any constructive policy. Of course, honorable gentlemen opposite have to say something, and, as a matter of fact, I am sorry for the position in which they find themselves. Many of them are the victims of self-delusion, and in their false confidence they have already selected a new Cabinet and have arranged all details, except that they cannot agree on who is to occupy Mr. Speaker’s position. I understand that a fight is taking place between the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) and the honorable member for Parramatta for the speakership in the next Parliament. However, there is nothing in the record of the Opposition parties when they were in power to warrant their belief that they will be returned to office at the election. The whole history of the anti-Labour administrations is one of stagnation. A contrast of their record with the positive achievements of Labour since it has been in office will show that not only have the rural and secondary industries benefited by the administration of this Government, but the workers, in particular, have enjoyed a higher standard of living than they have every known before. In fact, there can be no real comparison between the standard of living of the powers to-day and the privations which they had to endure under anti-Labour administrations. Of course, all members of the Opposition parties do not share the confident belief that their parties will he returned to office. Some of them are not so optimistic about the outcome of the election, and they have told me that it is idle for their parties to hope to displace Labour. Incidentally, I am told these things because I am looked upon somewhat sympathetically by the Opposition. Since I entered the Parliament the Opposition have looked upon me as one’ who was certain to be rejected when I faced the electors. However, I am still here to support a Labour administration, and I suggest to honorable members opposite in all sincerity that if their parties have considerable funds’ in hand, they would do better to conserve them for the welfare of their members after the next election than to expend them in the forlorn hope of winning the election.
The honorable member for Parramatta was most laudatory of the achievements of anti-Labour administrations, including those which functioned under Mr. Bruce and later under Mr. Lyons. He conveniently overlooked the fact that anti-Labour administrations absolutely failed the people in time of peace as well as during the recent war. Because of their apathy towards the welfare of the people the members and supporters of the last anti-Labour administration were decisively defeated at the election in 1943. People do not forget the record of the anti-Labour administrations. They know on which side their bread is buttered, and, in any event, there was very little bread on which to spread the available butter under antiLabour administrations.
During the present Parliament Labour has done a great deal for the people of Great Britain. In fact, we have done a colossal job for them. Because of the disintegration of the British Empire, Great Britain would be in a very sorry plight if it were not for the solid support that it has received from the Australian Labour Government. Of course, the members of the Opposition do not appreciate that. Its members have developed a complex which is not only antiAustralian hut also anti-British. They have objected and protested on every occasion when the Government has sought to do something for the people of Great Britain. Of course, if Great Britain were ied by Mr. Churchill, or some other tory, instead of by Mr. Attlee, everything would be all right with Great Britain. As it is, the British Government is anathema to the Opposition. I know that the Opposition parties in this country are receiving many thousands of pounds from vested interests in Great Britain to assist them in their efforts to defeat Labour in this country.
Mr. Francis interjecting,
– For the benefit of the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis), I repeat that the Opposition has attempted to frustrate every move made by the Government to assist Great Britain. Incidentally, I warn the people of Great Britain that if Labour is defeated at the next British elections it may well prove a tragic event for them. The forces of communism are rampant throughout the Empire to-day, and the defeat of Labour in Great Britain, or in any other British country, will provide a great opportunity for Communist agitation. The conditions of working people must inevitably be worse under an anti-Labour administration than they are under a Labour administration, and, under such circumstances, there is always the danger that people may rebel against constitutional government. I do not propose to compare conditions in Great Britain with those which obtained years ago, because those conditions have gone. The important fact to-day is that, under Labour administration, the people of England enjoy full employment, just as do the people of Australia. The British people are making the struggle of their lives to survive economically, but they have the satisfaction of knowing that no man or woman need be out of employment. After all, every man and woman has a natural right to a job.
I said a little while ago that an enormous amount of money is flowing into this country from vested interests in Great Britain to assist the effort of the Opposition parties to defeat ‘Labour at the next election. Those funds are going into the anti-Labour “ slush fund “. Of course, members of the Opposition do not like us to refer to their “ slush fund “, and, more or less by way of diversion, they have complained of Labour’s efforts to obtain funds for the forthcoming election. They have asserted that the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) had a cheek to solicit funds from the public to assist Labour’s election campaign. The fact is that the Australian Labour movement has no money. Big concerns, including manufacturing interests, banks, land-owners and other substantial organizations, which want taxes reduced and social services curtailed so that they will not have to contribute so much of their profits to government revenues, do not contribute to Labour’s funds. They reserve their donations for the anti-Labour “slush fund”.
Since Labour assumed office in 1941 Australians have enjoyed more real prosperity than they have ever known before. That prosperity has been very largely due to sound administration. It is often contended that the Government does not deserve credit for the present prosperity, because that prosperity, it is said, is due to the initiative and determination of private individuals. Of course, we all have some initiative and determination. Even the honorable member for Parramatta is not without those qualities in some degree. The fact remains that the sad history of the country during the regime of the anti-Labour administrations shows that the initiative and determination of our people did not suffice to protect them against the consequences of bad governmental administration. It is only under sound administration that people have an opportunity to exercise their initiative and determination. Since Labour has been in office there has been abundant proof that conditions in this country are the best in the world. Australia’s economy is sounder than that of any other -country. I challenge honorable members opposite to contradict that statement. They may claim that the United States of America is stronger economically than is Australia, but T remind them that the United Kingdom and Australia have full employment and that America has a serious unemployment problem. We in Australia are indeed proud of our record of full employment. Unemployment is a drag on the community, and it is the function of a government to provide employment for every one of its citizens, because employment is their birthright. The people should have an opportunity to enjoy all the good things which Almighty God has placed on this earth for them. Australia, I am proud to say, has the best economic set-up in the world. One tragic feature about the international position is that the United States of America is applying the thumb-screw to other countries. Although the people of the United States of America are sup posed to have -a high standard of living, no fewer than 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 of them are unemployed. That is a tragic state of affairs. Australia’s internal economy is probably the best in the world, and I invite honorable members opposite to examine it carefully. We have achieved a condition of full employment. People in my electorate and elsewhere, who have been in business for years, have admitted to me that they were never so prosperous in the past as they are now. Yet honorable members opposite complain that the incidence of taxation is preventing the expansion of industry.
The honorable member for Parramatta has referred to social services. I do not consider that he has a very profound knowledge of that .subject. Perhaps he has a better knowledge of the law.
– All his clients are in gaol.
– I do not believe that. As the honorable member for Parramatta has stated, the old-age pension was introduced by the Deakin Government in 1909. However, the mere introduction of a social service is not enough. The honorable member has referred to the records of anti-Labour governments in respect of old-age pensions. In approximately 40 years the pension has been increased from 10s. to £2 2s. 6d. a week. At the present time an age pensioner and his wife are entitled to a joint pension of £4 5 s. a week, and, in addition, they may earn up to £3 a week, making their total income £7 5s. a week. Of course, nor every age pensioner and his wife ar? in a position to earn £3 a week. The fact remains that we in Australia have made substantial progress since the Deakin Government introduced the old-age pension 40 years ago, but the credit for having substantially increased the pension belongs to the Labour Government. The honorable member for Parramatta may be interested to hear how the Lyons Government treated the pensioners. Although the Commonwealth had a surplus in 1932, the Lyons Government not only reduced the old-age pension from 17s. 6d. to 15s. a week, but it also penalized the pensioners through certain property provisions. If a pensioner owned property at the time of his death, the government was empowered to recover from his estate an amount equivalent to the money that had been paid to him as a pension. That was an awful thing. Although the pensioner might have been survived by hia wife, the Lyons Government compelled his estate to repay the amount that he had received as a pension. As the result of that penal provision, approximately 12,000 persons surrendered their pensions, and, according to the AttorneyGeneral of the day, Mr. Latham, who was afterwards knighted, an additional 13,000 persons who were eligible to receive the pension refrained from applying for it. What a disgrace ! In addition, the Lyons Government compelled the relatives of pensioners to contribute to their support.
– When was that?
– In 1932. I must emphasize that while the Lyons Government penalized pensioners in this manner, it made remissions of taxes to the wealthy classes. The penal provisions which were applied to pensioners were not withdrawn till 1935, but in the period 1932-35, the Lyons Government remitted land tax, company tax and property tax by an amount of £10,000,000. The honorable member for Parramatta should think well before he criticizes the social services policy of the Labour Government. The honorable gentleman will probably claim that an anti-Labour government introduced the maternity allowance. However, the Labour Government has increased the maternity allowance substantially, and at present, a woman with three or more children is entitled to a payment of £17 10s. if she bears another child.
– A means test is not applicable to the maternity allowance.
– That is so. Who was responsible for the introduction of child endowment?
– The Menzies Government.
– The Menzies Government fixed child endowment at 5s. a week, but the Labour Government has increased the amount to 10s. a week. However, the Menzies Government introduced child endowment only because the Labour party forced it to do so.
– Will not the honorable member give the Menzies Government any credit for having introduced child endowment?
– The honorable member for Parramatta has praised the antiLabour Government for having introduced the scheme, and I have shown that, in a few years, the Labour Government has increased child endowment by 100 per cent. I noticed that the honorable gentleman carefully avoided any reference to the Government’s free medicine scheme. Some weeks ago, he loudly condemned the coal miners because they defied the law and went on strike. However, the doctors, who support the Liberal party, are on strike against the community, and the honorable member applauds them. The doctors should receive the same treatment as the coal miners received^ Theminers’ leaders were sent to prison becausethey defied the law. The doctors aredefying the law, the Government and the will of the people, as expressed at a referendum. In opposing the freemedicine scheme, the doctors are behaving most callously, and are disregarding theneeds of suffering humanity. Their attiture is a damnable disgrace. The doctors should be ashamed to hold up their heads. They assert that, in rejecting the free medicine scheme, they have the interest of the community at heart. The truth is that they have their own vested interests at heart. Although members of the Opposition criticize the Government’s social services programme, they must admit that the scheme is not surpassed in any other country. At all times honorable members opposite have fought the Government on the issue of social services. Their opposition has not always been direct, but they express the views of the wealthy classes who do not like contributing to the cost of social services.
I should now like to refer to primary producers. I have a number of them in my electorate, and they vote solidly for Jim Hadley.
– They are sensible men and women.
– That is true. I appreciate their support. They vote for me because I support this Government and they do not want it to go out of office. They want it to remain in power so that the stabilization of primary industries will continue. I remember when the wheat industry stabilization legislation was being discussed in this Parliament. Who fought it most bitterly?
– The Australian Country party.
– Yes, and its ally the Liberal party. It is astonishing to hear members of the Australian Country party, who are supposed to have at heart the interests of the wheat-growers whom they represent, decrying this Government whenever it tries to consolidate the position of the farmers.
– The Government robbed the wheat-growers of £18,000,000.
– I am no chicken, and I have studied the course of events in this country for many years. I remind the honorable member of the days when speculators robbed the growers. How much did the farmers lose when those exploiters were allowed to operate unchecked and the price of wheat fell as low as 9d. a bushel? The parties represented by honorable members opposite” were in power at that time. Many farmers had to sell their properties, or even walk off them. They could not earn a livelihood because of the disgraceful conditions under which they had to sell their products. Yet honorable members opposite rise in this chamber and declare, in apparent sincerity, “ “We oppose the Government’s stabilization plans because they will rob the farmers of the value of their products”! It would be very interesting to know how many mortgages and other commitments had been entered into with the banks of Australia by wool, wheat, and dairy farmers prior to World War II. The total must have been colossal. Scarcely a farmer was not in the grip of the banks. 1 have relations who are farmers, and I know what they suffered. Many a man was forced off his farm. Even station-owners lost all that they had. I ask honorable members opposite to examine the situation at present. As the result of the Labour Government’s stabilization policy less than 1 per cent, of the farmers in Australia are in debt to the banks. Honorable members opposite may say that I am talking through the back of my neck, but I know that I am telling the truth. Many honorable members on this side of the chamber are farmers, and they were in the clutches of the banks before World War II.
– They are real farmers.
– Yes, not “Kingstreet farmers “. There has been a startling change in the conditions of primary producers throughout Australia since the Labour party has been in power. Prior to World War II., under the administration of anti-Labour governments, many primary producers were using horses and bullocks and share ploughs ‘ to cultivate their properties. To-day almost every farmer is equipped with machinery that relieves him of much of the burden and strain of farm work.
That is the result of the wise administration of Labour governments.
Consider the state of our secondary industries also. Nobody _ knows better than do honorable members opposite how greatly our secondary industries have developed since the end of World War II.
– “ Since the war “ again !
– Yes. The Labour Government did a colossal job during the war in building up many industries by compulsion. If there had not been a war it still would have brought about their development by the enactment of wise legislation.
– How much did the alcohol distillery at Warracknabeal cost?
– I am concerned, not with alcohol, but with the development of industries that will provide the people of Australia with food, clothing and the means of living in decency and comfort. There are 8,000 more factories in Aus- . tralia now than there were before World War II. Why were they not in existence before the war? There was plenty of scope for industrial development before the war, but, because of the tight financial policy of anti-Labour governments, money was not distributed in the community in a way that would permit people to develop industries. Nearly 500,000 people were out of work before the war. Why was that? There is no unemployment to-day. The average monthly rate of employment before the war was 542,000. Since then it has jumped to 800,000. Who has been responsible for that?
– Private enterprise.
– There would be no such development without good government. When the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) and his colleagues were in power, they had the same opportunities to develop the nation as have been available to this Government. Our object is to make Australia the best country in the world and to ensure that every man and woman shall have an equal right to share in that development. I have not heard one speech from the Opposition side of the chamber that would logically influence the people to believe that this Government is not the best government that Australia has ever had.
Honorable members opposite have criticized the Government’s banking and finance policy. I remind them of the depression, when a Labour government had to knock at the doors of the banks in an endeavour to obtain sufficient money to enable it. to stave off the spreading poverty and misery caused by the actions of the banks at that time. That government applied to the Commonwealth Bank Board for what was virtually a nominal sum. It had to beg for assistance so that it would be enabled to alleviate the conditions into which the people had been thrown by the implementation of the policy dictated by the banks and other financial institutions of the world. It was granted only a miserly pittance, not nearly enough to meet the needs of the situation. Conditions to-day are entirely different. This Government, having in mind the possibility of another recession occurring in Australia as the result of world events, has ear-marked a sum of £700,000,000.
– It has not got that much.
– It has the money all right. The honorable member need not worry about that. If ever a recession comes, which I doubt, the Government will expend that money on productive works, not on unproductive employment like the burning of weeds or the chipping of grass, upon which the unemployed were engaged by anti-Labour governments.
When the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Barnard) was answering a question concerning ex-servicemen recently, the honorable member for Parramatta interjected, ““Why does not the Government do something for the returned soldiers ? “ Honorable members opposite claim that they are patriots, but most of them are only lip-loyal patriots. What did antiLabour governments do for returned soldiers after World War I.? The disgraceful history of their treatment of ex-servicemen damns them. Their efforts on behalf of ex-servicemen in the field of pensions’, the war service homes scheme, rehabilitation, or anything of that sort, were almost negligible. I am prepared to sacrifice my seat in the House if honorable gentlemen opposite can prove that efforts on behalf of ex-servicemen after World War I. by governments that they and’ their kind supported are in any way comparable with what this Government has done for ex-servicemen since World War II. Some honorable gentlemen opposite will not like what I am about to say. During thethirties, I was living in a district of Sydney where there were a great many war service homes, some of the occupants of which had been crippled in the defence of their country. It was a tragedy to see large numbers of them evicted. The Labour party did not evict them. The history of the evictions is to be found in Hansard, volume 184, at page 4667. The Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers), who was then just the honorable member for Adelaide, asked the then Minister for Repatriation (Mr.Frost) the following questions: -
Answering the first question, the Minister for Repatriation gave the following information : -
Homes Commission took over from the State
Bank of South Australia as from 1st January, 1035, and the figures for that State exclude cases the control of which was not vested in the Commissioner prior to 1935.
The answer to the second question was -
Right Honorable R. 6. Menzies, K.C., M.P., Attorney-General and Minister for Industry;
He has been a critic of this Government’s treatment of ex-servicemen. Yet we have been eulogized by ex-service organizations for what we have done for their members. The answer continued -
Honorable T, W. White, D.F.C., V.D., M.P., Minister for Trade and Customs; Honorable E. J. Harrison, M.P., Minister for the Interior; Honorable Sir F. H. Stewart, M.P., Minister for Commerce; Right Honorable Sir Earle C. G. Page, G.C.M.G., M.P., Minister for Commerce; Right Honorable W. M. Hughes, K..C, M.P., Minister for Health and Minister for Repatriation, Vice-President of the Executive Council;
He isknown as “ The Little Digger “, but he did not raise an arm against the eviction of returned soldiers from war service homes. The list continues -
Honorable Jos. Francis, M.P., Assistant Minister for Defence and Minister in charge of War Service Homes;
That is the honorable member for Moreton. He is now loud in his protestations of his regard for the welfare of exservicemen, but he was so callous in his treatment of them, after World, War I., that, as Minister in Charge of War Service Homes, he threw them, their wives and their children out of their homes into the streets. The next and last name on the list is -
Honorable J. A. Guy, M.P., Assistant Minister for Trade and Customs
He is no longer with us. Most of the others, however, remain to parade in this chamber their sympathy for exservicemen. They showed no sympathy for them when they were in office. The answer to the question continued - 3. (a) From 1st January, 1932, to 31st December, 1936, orders of the court were executed by the War Service Homes Commission in respect only of the following number of cases: -
New South Wales 5; Victoria 3.; South Australia 7; Western Australia 8; Tasmania 1. No Order of the Court was executed in Queensland and two warrants were current in South Australia as at 31st December, 1936.
A lot of evictions took place in New South Wales, but I remind honorable members that the Labour Government in New South Wales introduced a moratorium that prevented many other evictions that would have been made from war service homes and from workers’ homes erected under State legislation. There have been no evictions of exservicemen from war service homes by this Government.
– I agree with the honorable member for Parkes : nor will there be, whatever the circumstances!
– What about the attempted eviction from a house in Canberra of the wife and family of a serviceman while he was a prisoner of war?
– I advise the honorable member for Richmond to leave that matter well alone. He received a rough handling when he raised it before. The answer continued -
New South Wales 245; Victoria 97;
Queensland 19; South Australia 47;
Western Australia 33; Tasmania nil.
Why were those orders of the court allowed to be made ? Why did the honorable member for Moreton, in whose hands the administration of the War Service Act lay, not announce, ‘” I have some human feelings and sympathies and I understand the plight of the returned soldiers and their anxiety about their homes. Theyshall not be evicted “ ? He should have prevented the cases from going to the court, even at the risk of defying the Cabinet. And, if his colleagues in the Cabinet were so sympathetic with the returned soldiers as they professed to be, he should have had no difficulty in obtaining their compliance with an order prohibiting the evictions. The answer continued -
New South Wales 197; Victoria 49;
Queensland 14; South Australia 4;
Western Australia 16.; Tasmania nil.
New South Wales 48; Victoria 48;
Queensland 5; South Australia 43;
Western Australia 17; Tasmania nil.
New South Wales 303; Victoria 91;
Queensland 58; South Australia 25;
Western Australia 63; Tasmania 2
It is all very fine for honorable members opposite to cart their wares around and say on the hustings what has been done for the ex-service men and women. I remind them that the people of this country are like elephants inasmuch as they do not forget readily. As I have said previously, they know on which side their bread is buttered. It is of no use honorable members opposite thinking that they will be able to hoodwink the people.For them, the 10th December will be like the day of judgment.
– Although I assume that the general election will be held on that date, I should prefer that it be held on the 3rd December. As I have already said, it will be of no use their endeavouring to hoodwink the people with relation to their political activities, because the people will merely say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting oblivion “.
Under Labour administration the expenditure on the provision of homes for ex-servicemen has progressively increased, as this table shows -
This contrasts sharply with expenditure by anti-Labour governments for this purpose prior to World War II. During the years 1932 to 1940 the total expenditure on the provision of homes for exservicemen was £1,046,000.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- We are considering the budget for the year 1949-50. Like previous budgets that have been introduced by the present Treasurer (Mr. Chifley), it provides for colossal expenditure. Very little provision has been made in it for relief from the present high rates of taxes, and it is full of fantasticschemes which are neither sensible nor capable of being carried out successfully. The honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Hadley) made some extraordinary statements. He said that members of the Opposition were opposed to wheat stabilization. That is not so. He also said that this Government is responsible for the wheat-growers being in a much better position now than ever before. This Government could not have the impertinence to claim that it has had any control over the wheat-growers of Canada, who to-day are in a much better position than ever before. That applies also to the wheat-growers of Argentina and other countries. I claim that the wheat-growers of Australia are enjoying prosperous conditions, not because of the assistance of this Government, but in spite of the injustices that the Government has meted out to them on many occasions. It must be remembered that during World War II. no less than 18,000,000 strong, capable men were killed by enemy action either on one side or the other. There is a shortage of foodstuffs throughout the world to-day. During the war period the great industries which had produced agricultural machinery were devoted almost entirely to the production of weapons of destruction. Steel and iron workers were diverted from their normal jobs to munitions production, and in many instances it was not possible to carry out normal maintenance work on production machinery. At the end of the war that machinery was only about 60 per cent, efficient. If the Government claims that the increased prices now being obtained for our primary products abroad are due solely to its administration, the Government must also accept the blame for the state of affairs that I have mentioned in connexion with productive machinery. I claim that good prices are being obtained for our wheat not as a result of this Government’s organization, but merely because of the aftermath of the war. The -Government expects the wheat-growers to produce wheat cheaply for other industries. Whilst I do not object to the Government supplying wheat cheaply to the dairy-farmers, poultry-farmers and stockraisers in order to increase production, I have decided objections to one section of the community being burdened with higher taxes than are imposed on the remainder of the people of this country. Undoubtedly the wheat-growers of Australia have received a worse deal than have any other sections of the community. In order to bolster up secondary industries the cost-plus system was introduced. However, that system did not apply to the wheat-growers. Although the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Pollard) said this morning that he did not know what the wheat-growers of Australia would have done were it not for this munificent Government and its socialistic money the Minister knows in his heart that the Government has used money that belonged to the wheat-growers. It was the proceeds of wheat that had been acquired forcibly from the wheat-growers. It is well known that in the coming harvest a similar procedure will be followed and that the Government will not pay out very much until it has the money in hand. Although the Government will have the asset in hand the wheat-growers will be charged interest at a higher rate than the Government pays on public loans. The farmers will be charged interest for any money that is paid to them in advance, although the Government will have the wheat in hand. The Government will not be even one farthing out of pocket in the interest of the wheat-growers. It will merely do only what the great wheat companies of the past did, that is, handle the sale of wheat in the markets of the world with the wheat-growers’ own money. Honorable members opposite have said that they are opposed to monopolies, but this Government is the greatest friend that monopolists in Australia have ever had.
– Then why do they not vote for us ?
– They have contributed to the funds of the Labour party on many occasions. Let there be no mistake about that. The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie), in his inno cence, may believe that the big monopolies do not support the political parties from which they consider that they will derive some advantage, but he is wrong. Do not let us imagine that the BritishAustralasian Tobacco Company Proprietary Limited is getting away with its treatment of the growers without paying something for it. Do not let us forget that that company is largely responsible for the fact that we have to import tobacco from the United States of America because we are not growing enough in this country now to meet more than a very small proportion of our tobacco requirements.
– The Lyons Government killed the tobacco industry in Australia.
– There was a little patch of tobacco-growing country in the Wannon electorate. It was so poor that blue mould killed the crop. It appears also to have had a serious effect upon the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. McLeod). Throughout the war the experts of the British-Australasian Tobacco Company Proprietary Limited valued the leaf that was grown here. They were afraid not of the mahogany leaf, but of the good leaf that is produced in Queensland, the Gwydir electorate, my own electorate and Western Australia. They were afraid of the better type of tobacco leaf that was being grown here because they knew that when the war ended it would constitute a danger to the cheap, nigger-grown tobacco from Virginia unless something was done to discourage Australian tobacco-growers from growing it. This Government allowed the company to insist that Australian tobacco leaf should be graded into 38 or 40 different categories, which is a complete impossibility. The company paid Australian tobacco-growers only a half-penny per lb. more for the good leaf than it paid them for the mahogany leaf of which it was not afraid. The Government allowed the company to crush the Australian tobaccogrowing industry in my electorate, Queensland and Western Australia. It is only recently that Australian tobaccogrowers have received anything like a reasonable price for their product. If honorable gentlemen opposite are in favour of socialization, why did not they socialize the British- Australasian Tobacco Company Proprietary Limited and give the tobacco-growers of this country a fair go? The company was a foreign monopoly and, in my opinion, somebody received a “ cut “ from it. I do not think that there is any doubt about that.
The honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Hadley) has stated that, owing to the activities of the Government, our primary industries are in a wonderful position. What action did the Government take to assist the dairying industry? It sold our first-grade butter at a shilling a pound less than the ruling world price at a time when Britain was prepared to pay the world price for butter that it obtained from other countries, even for fifth-rate butter, in casks, from Bolshevik Russia. Honorable gentlemen opposite talk of what they have done for our primary industries. In my opinion, it is not a question of what the Government has done for those industries, but of what it has done them for. It has “ done “ them for more than Ned Kelly took from the bank at Jerilderie.
Except in time of war the world has never been in a greater state of instability than it is to-day. I think that it will be admitted that Russia is our potential enemy. The Russians have a philosophy that is completely opposed to ours: There are millions of fanatical persons in Russia who believe that they have been put on this earth in’ order to force their views down the throats of the rest of the peoples of the world, and they are prepared to wade through blood to do so. Russia has 178 divisions on a war footings, and is manufacturing 10,000 or 12,000 tanks and 18,000 fighter aircraft a year. What is Australia doing? We are spending a very large sum of money upon the guided weapons project in South Australia. I believe that a large proportion of that money is being provided by the British Government. I have no objection to the guided weapons project, but I must point out that it will not be of much use to have long-range missiles if we do not have an army that is capable of defending the sites from which they are fired or an air force that is sufficiently strong to prevent enemy aircraft from bombing the sites. It will be of little use for us. to spend large sums of money upon experiments in connexion with long-range missiles if we do not take steps to ensure that we have land, sea and air forces that are adequate for the defence of Australia. The target strength of the Regular Army is 19,000. According to the latest figures that I have seen,, the army is approximately 4,000 men short of requirements, and the number of discharges is much greater than the intake. The Navy is a very good organization as far as it goes, but it is very small. I believe that it is extremely short of men. The air force is short of pilots. The piloting of fighter aircraft is a job for young men, and the well of fighter pilots who served in the last war is beginning to dry up owing to the fact that the men are becoming too old to be efficient fighter pilots. Apart from the aircraft and the battalions that we have in J apan, we have not a squadron or a battalion that is fit to engage a modern air force or army. We have not sufficient men who have been trained in the use of modern weapons and modern methods of communication. At least four-fifths of the men in our Regular Army at present are office personnel and members of the transport services. They are necessary to ensure the efficiency of the Army, but the men who are most essential in war are the front-line infantrymen, with their rifles and bayonets, artillerymen, tank crews, fighter pilots and the naval men who maintain our sea communications. We must have forces in this country that will give us a chance to defend ourselves against a sudden attack which, if it were successful, would destroy our war potential and smash our great industries and centres of population almost overnight. The Government knows that we must have those forces, but it is not prepared to secure them for us because the Communist-controlled unions such as the Waterside Workers Federation, the Miners Federation and the Ironworkers Federation are opposed to compulsory military training. While every country in the world that is opposed to the “ red “ element is calling up its man-power for compulsory training, Australia alone is ignoring the needs of the moment. In New Zealand recently an overwhelming majority of about seventoone of the: electors voted in a referendum for compulsory training. That referendum was taken because the Labour Government in New Zealand did not have the courage to introduce compulsory training without taking a referendum. Trance calls up its nationals for two years’ compulsory service, and England for twelve months’ compulsory service. The United States also calls up a very large section of its man-power for twelve months’ compulsory service. How dare we stand out and expect others to defend us? Are we to stand back and wait for America to come to our assistance should we be attacked? It is perfectly obvious that in the event of a war Britain would be completely occupied with the defence of its own territory. Britain itself is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world. If the people of this country ever become slaves working in the rice-fields, if their womenfolk are ever the playthings of a brutal savage soldiery of a different race and with a different outlook, then it will be because we have been too cowardly, as this Government is, to face the facts and introduce compulsory training so as to teach our men to defend our country, our people, and our liberties. If we fail, the blood of many innocent victims will be upon our heads.
I turn now to the very serious devaluation of sterling. That devaluation was so great that I believe that even those who were exponents of the idea were shocked when they saw the degree to which sterling had been devalued in relation to the dollar. I believe that the Australian Government took the correct attitude when it decided that devaluation of the Australian pound must take place concurrently with the devaluation of the pound sterling. Britain is our greatest market. The British people are related to us by blood, ideals, and by everything that we cherish. I do not know whether the Prime Minister in his discussions with the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Stafford Cripps, favoured or otherwise the degree to which devaluation occurred. My own opinion is that devaluation was a bad mistake, and I consider that it was made necessary very largely by the mad, socialistic experiments of men like Sir Stafford Cripps, who said that the British socialists intended to continue with their socialistic policy and experiments, even if it meant the end of the British Empire as we knew it. They have achieved the end of the British Empire as we knew it. They gave away the Indian Empire. I believe that the Indians had reached a stage where they should have been granted a large amount of self-government, but I do not believe that the British Government was entitled to take its controlling hand entirely from India, as it did, and leave the country to be a prey to the massacres, misery and starvation which resulted from the British withdrawal. That withdrawal left two sections of that great subcontinent completely opposed to one another in religion, casts and races, like two tigers, each ready to leap at the other’s throat. The British Government sent Lord Listowel into Burma to investigate whether that country should have self-government. Lord Listowel met a few dozen people in Burma who had been to some university in Mandalay, or England or some other country and he reported to the British Government that those men were quite capable of governing the country. He said that there was no need for Great Britain to take any hand in the government of Burma. Those Burmese whom he met had a certain amount of culture and education, but the backbone of that country is the peasantry, the Karens, who are the greatest body of rice-growers in the world. Those Burmese gentlemen, who are like a lot of the long-haired gentry that we have in this country, advised the Burmese Government that the Karens should produce food for nothing, and that they were not entitled to the same conditions of life as were people living in Mandalay. The Karens naturally objected to that idea, and so commenced one of the bloodiest wars that Burma has experienced. The army of the Karens penetrated even into the outskirts of Mandalay. I would not doubt that Australia as well as other nations supplied this one little section of the world, that used to belong to the British Empire, with arms and munitions. The Burmese Government managed to drive the Karen rebels out of Mandalay, but the rebels still hold the great ricefields in the north, and they will continue to hold them, because they are the people who own the land and have the courage to fight for it.
The British Government also gave Egypt to the Egyptians. Our own troops have fought in that country in two wars, and the traitorous dogs of Egyptians were ‘behind us waiting to see if we were going to be defeated so that they could rush in and attack us in the rear, provided there were a thousand of them to every one Australian. By handing Egypt over to the Egyptians the British Government also handed over the great waterworks on the Nile, as well as the great improvements in production methods that were due to government officials like Kitchener and Wolseley. Before Great Britain went into Egypt the Egyptians were such a poor lot that they were defeated by the negroes of the Sudan. Great Britain went in there and established the Egyptians as a nation. It built great waterworks, railways and public works of every kind. Yet now Great Britain owes Egypt vast sums for the food and other supplies that British armies purchased from the Egyptians during the last war. But the Egyptians made no payment for those great works that Great Britain had established in the country and that were handed over by it to the Egyptians. Those works, particularly the great waterworks and irrigation projects, have been of tremendous value to Egypt, yet, I repeat, Great Britain now owes Egypt huge sums of money as a result of the last war. The British Government has allowed those people to force Great Britain out of the most strategic area in the world, the area that includes the Suez Canal and Palestine. It has lost for Great Britain the control of Haifa and the great supplies of oil in Asia Minor. That loss is one of the excuses, if excuses can be made, for the Australian Government’s present policy of petrol rationing. Cripps and his friends in the British socialist Government did not want those oil works to start operating again. That is part of their policy. In my opinion Sir Stafford Cripps is a very dangerous individual. I believe that he is a traitor to the British Empire and to the British people. That is my firm and considered opinion, and I do not see how anybody can read his history and have any other view. The British socialists say that they must socialize everything. Although the steelworks of England were producing at a rate previously unknown, the socialists nationalized them. British socialists also say that they must have production. The fact of the matter is that wherever the dead hand of the public servant is laid upon industry, production is reduced. Some of the members of the present Government say that they do not want extra production. We on this side of the House and sensible members on the Government side believe that our only hope in this country is to increase production, to provide the goods and services that the people and the welfare of the country require. But does the Postmaster-General (Senator Cameron) agree with that view? On one occasion he said -
Workers have nothing to gain and everything to -lose by increasing production beyond what would he necessary to maintain themselves and their families.
Increasing strike action, however, by workers nowadays in most countries in the world would indicate that the dangers of producing surpluses is being realized by them where the necessary provision is not being made to raise their standards of living and to provide for co-operative and peaceful trading among the nations.
Coal-miners, for example, have few, if any, illusions about the matter.
Recently, the Government was forced into a position where it had to put troops into the coal mines, because the coalminers, under their Communist leaders, would not produce coal. I believe that the trade unions are now going to cast out the Communists from their ranks. The workers learnt a bitter lesson from the recent coal strike when over 500,000 men employees in other industries in New South Wales were thrown out of work and people living in the capital cities suffered bitterly. Consequently, there is now ,an intense reaction on the part of the people against the Communistcontrolled unions of their leaders. Honorable members opposite must not forget that fact. However, even the Prime Minister has talked of this sort of thing. On one occasion in this House he said -
The honorable member for Balaclava (M.T. White) also referred to the socialist schemes of the Government. I remind him thai the Government has a mandate from the people, a political platform, principles and convictions. It proposes to carry out those principle* and its political platform irrespective nf the views of the honorable member for Balaclava.
On another occasion the right honorable gentleman said that communism wa> only another political philosophy and that the Government did not intend to declare the Communist party ari illegal body. He added -
The Government does not propose to place bans on any class of political philosophy or thought.
No one can deny that the aim of the Communists in Australia and- in every other country in which they have reared their heads is to destroy any one who is prepared to work and save in the interests of his family and to keep himself and hi 3 wife in old age. That is the philosophy of the Communist. I recall that when it was suggested in this House that the Government should assist the workers i» purchase homes the Minister for Postwar Reconstruction said that the Government was not interested in making little capitalists out of workers. 1 believe that Sir Stafford Cripps is a dangerous man. Mr. Ivor Thomas, a well-known and highly respected public man in Great Britain who parted with the British Labour Government over its proposals to nationalize the steel industry, had this to say about him -
Since 1947 Labour has been hell-bent on doctrinaire socialism at the expense of the nation’s key interests, and has bitterly disappointed millions of non-party electors, who voted Labour immediately after VE Day.
The fact that the party has called itself the British Labour Party, not the Socialist Party, or even the Social-Democratic Party, had encouraged the hope that it was not socialist in the Continental sense.
Many electors on reading Labour’s 1945 manifesto thought that while socialism was the ultimate goal, it was not the election issue.
But experience has proved that Labour in office is bent on achieving “ socialism in our time “, and the brand of socialism to which the party is committed is Marxist socialism.
That is the kind of socialism that made the Russian leaders believe that they were justified in murdering over a million kulaks in the Ukraine and Volga River areas in one year in order to enforce the acceptance of collective farming. That is the sort of socialism that made the Russion leaders believe that they were entitled to put war widows into compounds and force them to work in war factories. I do not think that in this country we have treated our war widows very generously. Their pension is a mere pittance, barely sufficient to enable them to subsist, particularly if they are obliged to pay rent. However, in this country we did not put war widows into compounds and force them to work in factories for the benefit of the Government. But that is the kind of socialism that Sir Stafford Cripps advocates. Mr. Ivor Thomas continued -
When the Attlee Government finally decided to nationalize the steel industry, its labour relations were excellent. Output, both total and per worker, was greater than ever and the price was only about 70 per cent, above the pre-war figure despite the doubling of wages and a 150 per cent, increase in the cost of coal.
The speech by Sir Stafford Cripps on the Iron and Steel Bill was marked by one characteristic - lust for power.
That is, lust for power over his fellow men. The same lust for power makes some members of this Government say that the Government is entitled to direct labour in this country. Some honorable members opposite claim that the Government is entitled, for instance, to say to people working in Melbourne, “ We are undertaking a project in Central Australia and we are going to draft 10,000 of you people up there. Whether you like it or not we will take you away from your homes and families “.
– During the depression the anti-Labour governments did that to workers; they sent them into the forests.
– That is a complete misstatement ; it is a cold-blooded untruth. The honorable member for Wannon (Mr. McLeod) knows that during the depression no workers were forced to go anywhere. They went of their own accord to districts where they could obtain work. Yet, honorable members opposite who said that they do not believe in conscription in any circumstances-
– An anti-Labour government introduced conscription.
– No. Non-Labour governments have never had any need to introduce conscription, because in both world wars they were able to’ attract sufficient volunteers to the defence forces. They did not introduce conscription, but this Government which objected very strenuously to the formation of the second
Australian Imperial Force in 1939 and to service personnel being sent to vital battlefronts during the recent war conscripted man-power in 1941 after honorable members opposite had had a nasty touch of the “ breeze “ and had been given a really good fright by the approach of the Japanese. I make no bones about the fact that I believe in conscription in war-time because I cannot see why men who have the courage to defend their country should fight for the loafer or the coward. The forces are entitled to be given the support of every fit and able man in the country. However, this Government conscripted not only young men but also men of all ages, and the halt and the lame as well, to load coal and work on the wharfs because the “wharfies” were too lazy, or too disloyal, to make their contribution to the war effort. At that time, honorable members opposite were too weak to force them to do their duty. When trouble arose on the waterfront or on the coal fields during the recent war the Government should have taken 200 of the ring-leaders and sent them not to the front line, because they would not fight in any event, but to forward areas and employed them in the transport and handling of munitions. Had the Government done that we would not have had so much trouble on the wharfs during the war because once the ringleaders in such disputes had got a touch of the jungle and had experienced a little bombing there would not have been any more applicants for jobs of that kind. Make no mistake about that. They would have been perfectly satisfied. Honorable members opposite eventually conscripted servicemen although such action was contrary to professed Labour principles. Fear restored common sense to the Labour Government. It realized that we had to fight to preserve this country.
– Anti-Labour administrations conscripted workers into labour camps in peace-time.
– That is not true. The only people who ever suggested that are the members of the socialistic Labour party.
– Nothing of the sort.
– Hansard will bear me out. Labour speakers have said that no government can carry out its duties properly unless it has the right to direct man-power. If that is not conscription of labour, I do not know what is.
– No government would direct man-power in peace-time.
– Labour supporters long for power with the same lust as possessed ‘Sir Stafford Cripps when he introduced legislation to nationalize the steel industry in Great Britain. Unfortunately, they also have the same lack of decency, and loyalty to their country.
– We are limited by a Constitution; Sir Stafford Cripps is not.
– We have a Constitution, it is true, but that will not prevent honorable members from introducing bank nationalization if they are returned to office at the next general elections.
– But that is in the Australian Constitution.
– It is not, but Labour would get round that difficulty easily enough.
– The AttorneyGeneral has explained how.
– What would the Opposition parties do with the Commonwealth Bank if they became the government?
– I had an account with the Commonwealth Bank at one time, but when the Government sought to compel local governing authorities and even individuals to deal with the Commonwealth Bank, I took my account to a private institution. With so many rogues and vagabonds around I would just as soon put my money in a tin and bury it as put it in the Commonwealth Bank.
I have mentioned some of the ills of this country which the Government has failed to remedy. It has failed also to reduce taxes to give an incentive to increased production. It has denuded vital primary industries of manpower. Honorable members opposite boast of what the Labour Government has done for Australian secondary industries. I am aware that many of those industries hare made remarkable progress and I am in favour of assisting secondary industries within reason, but there is a black day ahead of this country if wool gets back to 2s. per lb., butter gets back to ls. 6d. per lb., and wheat gets back to 5s. a bushel or less.
– That will be when an anti-Labour government gets back.
– That may be so. Inevitably the people of this country must awake from their present slumber and realize just how much damage the Labour Government and its sanctimonious supporters have done to the community. Overseas prices of Australian primary products must eventually fall, because younger generations now growing up in other countries will soon restore production in those countries to normal. The population of Japan proper is increasing by 1,000,000 each year. Similar increases are taking place in China, India, and other Asiatic countries. Obviously those people cannot afford the fantastic prices now being charged for Australian products. Their standard of living is such that they cannot pay £25 for a suit and £2 2s. for a pair of boots that nobody would want to wear in public anyway. When Australian manufacturers can no longer get these high prices, thousands of men will be glad to get four or five acres of land to grow food for their families. The Government need not imagine that this country can carry a vast additional population solely on expanded secondary industries. I wholeheartedly support the objectives of the Minister for Immigration. If the population of this country can be increased to 20,000,000, thus substantially expanding home markets, our secondary industries may be on a safe and sound basis; but to-day Australia, like the honorable member for Wannon, is on the sheep’s back, and Australia will be in exactly the «ame position as the honorable member will be should the price of our wool decline to 15d. or 20d. per lb. The honorable member will be scratching once again. He will not be in a position to pay the taxes that he now contributes to the national revenue. Similarly, Australian governments will not be in a position to expend the colossal sums that the present
Administration is expending. Should Labour be in office, we may then see legislation for a so-called compulsory loan which will amount to confiscation of at least portion of the capital built up over generations by Australians who have worked to make this country the great and wonderful land it is to-day.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I have listened attentively and with considerable interest to the case made by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin). I should like to reply to some of his arguments, but I shall certainly ignore his rabid remarks about conscription, and his alarums and excursions concerning the next war. The honorable member is a soldier of considerable distinction, and is to be listened to on almost every subject except that on which he is an expert, namely, military tactics. For that reason, and in view of the honorable member’s record and hia sincerity, I shall say nothing on that subject except that I utterly oppose everything that he said about it. To-day, the honorable member is the mouthpiece for anti-British propaganda that is now emanating from the Opposition benches solely because the British Government at present is a Labour administration. Nationalization, devaluation, in fact all the cares of the world, are laid at the door of the socialist Government of Great Britain. So, patriotism flies out at the door under the pressure of that very thing called free enterprise, and of the propagandists who say, “ No matter what you think, you must rub it into Great Britain at the moment because Great Britain has a Socialist Government. We must get rid of the Socialist Government in Great Britain, and we are waiting for other socialist governments in their turn “. What a paltry performance we saw here on the part of honorable members opposite who say that they know best. As my remarks will show, and as history has already shown, far from there being any truth in the statement of the honorable member for Bendigo that Great Britain’s prestige has suffered, the recorded facts are all to the contrary. Honorable members opposite have talked loosely about Mr. Attlee pulling the nation down and about Sir Stafford Cripps being a traitor to his country. I was sorry to hear in any dominion parliament such scathing criticism of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Whatever may be his views on. socialism, at least the people will remember that he was elected by democratic franchise and that his single-mindedness is one of the proud stories of the Empire to-day. Even admitting .that he may be wrong, honorable members opposite have no warrant to malign him as they have done in this chamber. Sir Stafford Cripps’s single-minded devotion to his ideas has earned him the respect of the world. He is a man of exceptional talents, and of great learning. His most outstanding characteristic is his devotion to what he considers to be the interests of the Empire. His example of austerity might very well be copied by those who ask for more work from the workers and more dividends for themselves. The statement of the honorable member for Bendigo that socialism is killing the United Kingdom, and that Sir Stafford Cripps and others are bringing the Empire down, is just a lot of gaggle which honorable members opposite have gathered together and spit out to the people. Too many Opposition members have made their election speeches in this chamber to-day. They have been giving themselves a run, or what is called in racing parlance, “ barrier trials “. There have been few potential winners so far. I commend to the honorable member for Bendigo the words of an impartial observer, Mr. Paul Hoffman, the Marshall plan administrator, on the question whether socialism is killing the United Kingdom. Reporting an interview with Mr. Paul Hoffman on this subject on Tuesday the 30th August, 1949, the Melbourne Herald said -
Mr. Paul Hoffman, Marshall Plan Administrator, today denied that Socialism was delaying Britain’s economic recovery.
This, of course, antedates decisions which have since been made, but it is as factual now as when it was written. The report continues -
Questioned at a press conference on his personal inspection of European recovery under the Marshall Plan, Mr. Hoffman was pressed to comment on charges that Socialism was responsible for Britain’s economic crisis.
Mr. Hoffman named industries nationalized by the British Government - coal, railroads and the Bank oi England - and added: “When you get down to cases, nothing the British Government has done as yet has affected the recovery programme. “ They nationalized the Bank of England, and nobody knew the difference.”
The only rebuttal of the statements of economists and leaders of finance and of governments we can get from Opposition members is the cry, “ We want more production; we must have more work from the workers “. This cry of “ More and more work so that our selfish comfort may be as it was before “, and all this nonsense about economic stability and better standards which has driven some honest people mad, and angered the people generally, is an attempt to ride on the back of the- worker. During the speech of the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. McLeod), the honorable member for Bendigo interjected, saying that the honorable member for Wannon was “ home on the sheep’s back”. If we in this nation are ever “ home “ on anything we are “ home “ on the back of the worker who produces the real wealth of the country. That is elementary. So this constant cry for more and more work is intended only to benefit those who make it. The right honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr. Fadden) is the worst offender in this respect. He talks in figures. He is a human adding machine. He simply stuns people with figures that in the final analysis show that he has added two to two and made five. These practices are resented outside the Parliament. There is a constant cry from honorable members opposite for more and more work from the workers. What they mean is more sweat from the already sweated. A Christian gentleman, the Bishop of Chelmsford, is reported in to-day’s Sydney Morning Herald to have said, in effect, “ We talk of putting the worker to work again. We put the 6ame old horse into the same old cart and give him the same old task, but if we urge him on to greater efforts I forecast that he will do one of two things - he will either fall down dead in the shafts or kick the cart to pieces “. Those people who like to rant about socialism, who adopt some ready-made formula in order to gain a little cheap publicity, should remember that one of these days the worker, who really carries the burden, will kick the cart to pieces -unless we give him the standards that they themselves enjoy. In rebuttal of the statement made by the honorable member for Bendigo that Britain is being dragged down by the Socialist Government we have the words of Mr. Paul Hoffman, an impartial observer who has weighed money spending in Europe - and no man is more cautious of his bank book and of his account books than is the man who checks up on what the capitalists euphemistically term “ outgoings “. “Under pressure from pressmen who were seeking a story, he uttered the words which I have just read to honorable members. That, surely, is a strong rebuttal of the statement that Sir Stafford Cripps is a traitor because he sees the light differently from the honorable member for Bendigo. There is perplexity about these formulas which are to bring about prosperity. Honest men on both sides of this chamber, and public men throughout the world, are searching for formulas. It is idle for honorable members opposite to repeat these outworn shibboleths about the output of the workers. The honorable member for Bendigo has also been answered effectively by the Bishop of Chelmsf ord whose words I have repeated. Having established the fact that there is another point of view in relation to the means by which Britain’s recovery may be brought about, I want to draw a comparison between the attitude of the Opposition towards Britain to-day and what is was in the past. From where is pressure being applied in this country to obtain newsprint from Russia? From where is the pressure coming to obtain petrol from behind the Iron Curtain? Is the patriotism of members of the Opposition only concerned with their economic safety? Is their imperial sentiment only concerned with their dividends; or is their imagination so jumbled that they do not know where they are in the new order, this new world which has emerged with all its troubles and tribulations? Now they urge that we should re-open trade with Japan. “Were the “socialists” of this country responsible for the collapse of the price structure, which precipitated inflation, and was the immediate cause of our problems, the solution of which will keep the lights burning in Canberra, and many other places, for some time to come ? Was it the “ socialists “ who broke down the very necessary controls that arose out of the war, including the provisions to restrict black-market operations, and all the other levels and checks that were introduced by what our friends call the “ planning departments “ ? All those controls were thrown away under the pressure which the Opposition parties brought to bear upon the people. The Opposition still complains of the petrol shortage, although its members have had the benefit of hearing the Prime Minister’s explanation of the reason for the present shortage. Now, I ask them, why .this sudden anxiety to obtain petrol outside the Empire? Apparently they are prepared to go anywhere to obtain petrol. They complain that we have not dealt sufficiently stringently with communism. They cry, “ The Labour party tolerates Communists within its own ranks “. The old socialistic tiger has had a dry-cleaning and now emerges as a “ Com “. We have been listening to this tale of the Communistic tiger in our midst for weeks and weeks. Yet, as soon as an opportunity presents itself to trade with the hated Reds, the Opposition, and the business interests whom they represent, cannot seize that opportunity soon enough. They complain, “ Why cannot we get newsprint from Russia ? “ In fact, newsprint is on the way from Russia, and it is the same newsprint as that on which Izvestia and Pravda are printed. Apparently, it doe3 not matter to the newspaper proprietors whence their newsprint comes. Private enterprise recognizes only one consideration, profit, and is not concerned about the source of the materials from which that profit comes. We hear a great deal from honorable members of the Opposition about other goods that are in short supply. As I have said, we have heard a great deal lately about petrol. The Opposition trumpets that Russia has petrol, and cries, “ Let us get it there “. Big business is not deterred’ because that petrol comes from behind the Iron Curtain. As with newsprint, its only concern is its profits. Where is the sincerity of honorable members opposite ? The honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale), who gave a most blatant exhibition of rehearsing his electioneering speech, attempted to prove several things, but, in fact, he only succeeded in proving what we already know, namely, that politically he is very naive and that as a logician he is most unconvincing. .He boldly asserted that all the social reforms that have been introduced in the Parliament had their genesis in the political parties that are at present in Opposition.
– Rubbish !
– I am just trying to prove that the honorable member’s assertions were nothing more than mere rubbish, and it is of no use for him to endeavour to circumvent me. He referred to the dark ages of federal politics in a desperate effort to prove that widows’ pensions, and many of the other benefits at present enjoyed by the workers, were introduced by the political forebears of the present Opposition parties when they were in office. In fact, he even asserted that all those reforms were originated by Liberal administrations. Even if we conceded that, we should have to qualify our acceptance of that .assertion by pointing out that those reforms were only introduced after pressure had been brought to bear by the Australian Labour party. However, after claiming all the political credit for the introduction of social services, the honorable member indulged, most inconsistently, in a terrific denunciation of all social benefits. The final result of social betterment plans, he said, was that everybody would be leaning on the Government. Of course, that statement completely repudiated the previous argument which he had laboriously built up, after the fashion of lawyers, that his political predecessors were responsible for the introduction of a formidable list of social reforms. He had claimed that those predecessors had been “good fellows “. Although they had amassed great profits, they had not, he stressed, forgotten the people, and while building up their fortunes they had found the time to introduce legislation for social betterment. But then, as I have pointed out, he completely abandoned that argument, by asserting that social services are creating a nation of “ leaners People, he said, would never again fend for themselves; they would look to the Government. The essential thing, he argued, was that people should be encouraged to go and dig their fortune out for themselves. Of course, that argument is all right for the honorable member personally, because he has been able, apparently, to dig out some sort of fortune for himself - although he has not yet. attained the status of King’s Counsel. However, I hope that it falls to him eventually. But what about those who are held down by the force of numbers, and are not able to dig out their own fortunes ? All this talk, this continual prating by members of the Opposition, of free enterprise leaves out of account those who are unable to amass a fortune.
I thought that the contribution of the honorable member for Parramatta was one of the poorest that he has yet made. Obviously, he had one eye on the possible effects of his speech on the people of Parramatta - not so much on the people of Northmead, however ! I am sure that his utterance will receive many echoes from his supporters in Parramatta, who will heartily agree with him that “ There must be no leaners “. In other words, every one must be made to depend completely on himself! I should like to be at the back of the hall during one of his election meetings in Parramatta when he puts that over so that I could remind the audience of the observation of the Bishop of Chelmsford that if you overburden the old carthorse too much, you run the risk of his kicking the cart to pieces. The people will no longer be misled by the recital of the wonderful enactments of the conservatives of 1908 or thereabouts, who increased oldage pensions by 2s. 6d., or some such figure.
Coming now to the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt), I shall deal with his zealous advocacy of free enterprise. Incidentally, the catchcry used to be “ private enterprise “, but “ free enterprise “ is a happier combination of words, if only because it is a little more confusing. After all, there is nothing so confusing as “ free “ enterprise ! Try to start something in opposition to the vested interests. Begin some enterprise, say, in competition with the Broken Hill
Proprietary Company Limited, and see how free is “ free “ enterprise. See what happens to your enterprise, your finance, and even to your family, the moment you begin to interfere with some organized racket which is dignified with the term “ cartel “ or “ monopoly “. It is sheer nonsense to speak of “ free enterprise “. The honorable member got up and said, in effect, “Life should be a glorious adventure. “We do not want social benefits “. Of course, he does not ; he is a successful barrister, and, I should say, is beyond worrying about the future. So, in that woolly atmosphere of comfort in which he finds himself, he says that life should be an adventure; that free enterprise enables the stalwart, sturdy, rugged individual to go out and do great things. Therefore, he contended, social enterprise is dangerous ‘because it takes away the sensation of struggle. And he invoiced that stupid phrase : “ Life for the young man should be a bold and glowing adventure “. He said the same thing some years ago, and he repeated it again only a few nights ago. Of course, life for the average young Australian was a bold and glowing adventure - until he was entangled in the depression; and then even his gallant adventurousness did not enable him to finish up as the chairman of directors of some capitalist aggregation! No; he finished up in a “Happy Valley” at La Perouse or “Waterloo. It is clear that the suggestion of a “bold and glowing adventure “ is just so much economic nonsense.
Another queer anomaly which we encounter in the utterances of members of the Liberal party is the distinction that they draw between cause and effect, between profession and performance. One member of that party makes a rugged speech in defence of free enterprise, whilst another advocates the introduction of improved social services, and, perhaps, even claims that all our social benefits were introduced by the Liberal party. Of course, its claim to have introduced our present social services is nothing more than lying propaganda. In endeavouring to steal the programme of Labour it bends over backwards. It claims that it will provide better social services, more generous treatment for the mothers of families, endowment for the first child of families, and so on. There is simply nothing underneath. They are not sincere about anything. Their policy is completely changed. They used to express their belief in the following terms: - “A man in business is entitled to his profit. The worker must go hungry to his task. If the luck of the draw favours him, and he is a good little boy, he will be recommended to the right clubs, and by the time he is 50, he will be one of us “. Now there are two stories. One is that which they tell in this chamber; the other is the Liberal party propaganda which is published in the newspapers. That propaganda is not of the kind that one would expect from a Liberal party, but members of that party are trying to “ sell “ themselves on any subject whatever. If the Labour Government has introduced a useful change or reform, honorable members opposite try, by means of advertisements, slides and phoney drama over the air, to outsell the Labour Government. Is it any wonder that the Prime Minister, with that sense of dignity which he possesses, decides that in this budget, as in the previous budget, he will not match the Opposition in terms of bribery, or attempt to seduce the electors by coloured photographs? One honorable member opposite tells the electors, “All these things are yours if you will return us to office “. But then, another Opposition speaker spoils the story, as the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) has done.
Last night, I was stretched on a bed of pain, but I happened to be listening to the broadcast of the debate. After I had heard the honorable member I came to the conclusion that everything is comparative. He possesses an entertaining if strident voice - but that is all. The announcer in the broadcasting box informed me that the speaker was Mr. Harrison, the honorable member for Wentworth, and added that the honorable gentleman was speaking on the budget. The honorable member made a passing reference to the budget, but he also made some references to blood. It was a blood and mud speech. He declared, “ Coal is the life-blood of the nation “. Shortly afterwards, he asserted, “ Steel is the life-blood of the nation “. He added, thoughtfully, “ Roads are the arterial lifeblood of the nation “. I thereupon came to the conclusion that the honorable member must be the life-blood of the Liberal party. That thought led me to a further conclusion, that it is no wonder that a former member for Parramatta, Sir Frederick Stewart, said that it is not worth 2d. a gallon.
The honorable member also made a statement about full employment. He may challenge me if I am misinterpreting his views on this matter, but I think that I am correct. The honorable gentleman launched an attack in echelon on full employment. He will know what I mean by that. He said that with an increase of production by 5 per cent., full employment would do this country no good. In other words, the honorable member considers that full employment on those terms would do Australia no good. I was reminded immediately of the seductive voice of Professor Hytten, who sang from the portals of the Bank of New South Wales the same song that every worker and every representative of the Labour party knows. The theme is “ Let us get a pool of unemployment “. I wrote a pamphlet upon that subject and,’ unfortunately for the honorable, member for Wentworth, copies of it have deluged his electorate. I hope that the pamphlet will have some impact upon his constituents, although I realize that it certainly has not had any impact upon the honorable member. One speaker for the Opposition says that socialism in Great Britain is killing that country. Another Opposition speaker says, “We must not be ‘ leaners ‘. All of us must be “rugged individuals”. However, the honorable member for Wentworth, who, as the deputy leader of the Liberal party, is a man of special distinction in his own field, says that, at the best, full employment is no good to this country. He echoed the words of Professor Hytten, who said that the proper economy was the economy with 5 per cent to 6 per cent, of unemployment. “ Big business “ in the United States of America to-day is experimenting in. order to ascertain whether such a policy is practicable, and whether a reservoir of unemployment is the answer to its problems. Economists of various political opinions are debating whether full employment is practicable. The Labour party is the protagonist which always asserts that full employment is practicable. Indeed, it is the No. 1 point of our policy.
The honorable member for Wentworth then told a little story about production. He knows that, at the present time, mere statistics do not mean anything. Money has inflated values, and statistics to-day do not mean the simple arithmetic that they have meant in the past. The honorable member then resumed his attack on full employment. He found himself in concert with a dulcet voice of Professor Hytten from the portico of the Bank of New South Wales.
– The honorable gentleman was certainly stretched on a bed of pain last night.
– I was, and my distress was aggravated by the fact that I was listening to the speech of the honorable member. As I have always been a martyr to the cause of Labour, I heard the honorable member’s speech from beginning to end. After that, I became unconscious for a little while.
The honorable member worked out all the old hatreds of the worker and the coalminer and then, to my consternation, this man, who had been talking like a tycoon about full employment, suddenly proceeded to ride the socialist tiger up and down this chamber. He cursed the socialists with bell, book and candle and incantation. When he had wearied of that, he asked us dramatically, “Who put the soldiers to work in the coal mines “. We read the same question in the Tribune every week. Of course, the publicists who have been employed by the Liberal party have put honorable members opposite offkey so much that they can no longer tell the old standard story. They leap, as it were, from crag to crag, one moment fulminating against the workers and the next moment pumping Communist slogans into us. When they say that we must get more production from the worker, they return to the old story. No matter what kind of promises they make in their published advertisements, they are still the old tories working for their pound of flesh.
Sitting suspended from 5.57 to 8 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting, I was making some remarks about the speech of the honorable member for Wentworth, who had remarked that socialism would be an issue at the forthcoming federal election. Apparently, he has received instructions to that effect. The honorable member commented on free enterprise, which is simply ordinary capitalism with a face lift. It is geared for profit, and knows no patriotism and no sensitivity to national interests. Thus, we have demands for petrol from behind the Iron Curtain. It is not the socialists who want the petrol, but the believers in free enterprise. The same interests are trying to get newsprint from Russia. I am reliably informed that 5,000 tons of newsprint is on its way now from behind the Iron Curtain. This newsprint will be used by magnates of the capitalist press, who, with their tongues in their cheeks, will publish criticism of the Communist regime. They will also publish stories issued by Investia and Pravda, the organs of the Communist party. The interests represented by honorable members opposite are crying for trade with Japan, careless of everything that has happened in the past. They pay lip service to democracy, but they cry aloud for a Japanese peace treaty so that trade may be resumed. Questions are directed to the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) asking him when it is proposed to sign a peace treaty with Japan, so that trade may be resumed with that country. The same interests &re prepared to condemn what they call socialism, and to attack the welfare state, offering in its place a system that stands condemned by its own ineptitude. That system stands for profit, and profit only.
The honorable member for Wentworth let the cat out of the bag when he cried for production and more production. He said that if his party was returned to power, civil servants would be sacked. Perhaps he did not make the statement outright, but he made it inferentially, because he said that civil servants were not producers. He said, in effect, that if or when the tories and reactionaries were returned to power they would have a look at the towering edifice of the Public Service. His idea is to dismiss public servants in order to get a pool of unemployed for the benefit of free enterprise. This pool is to be created at the expense of the public servants who, in the main, have served their country well, particularly during the war. However, according to the honorable member for Wentworth, the axe is waiting for them. This deputy leader of the tories has said so.
– What absolute nonsense.
– The honorable gentleman’s suggestion is that unemployment should be caused so as to make the workers humble. Thus, he persistently attacks the Labour Government in Britain on the ground that it is a socialist government. As I have pointed out earlier, he is of the same opinion as Professor Hytten, who has advocated an unemployment pool o’f from 5 per cent, to 6 per cent.
The honorable member for Wentworth went on to say that the Government had thrown the troops into the coal-fields. We can read that sort of thing in the Tribune. However, what we did was to bring the lights back to the cities, and to give the housewives gas for their cooking stoves. Seeing that we were opposed by a political conspiracy, we broke no rule of our party when we put the troops into the coal-field’s. The honorable member for Wentworth, in criticizing the Government for what it did, merely voiced the familiar Communist propaganda. Every one with a sense of decency and patriotism cheered the Government to the echo for what it did during the coal strike, but the honorable member for Wentworth can do no more than mouth a few outworn Communist slogans such as, “ They threw the troops into the coal-fields “. Of course, no one believes him, and I do not really think that he believes himself. The honorable member then said that tens of thousands of acres of land were going out of production, because the farmers did not find it profitable to cultivate them owing to mounting costs.
– I said they were going but of production because land-owners could not get essential materials.
– Only recently a pastoral company approached the High Court for an order to restrain the authorities from cutting up its land for closer settlement. Not long ago, a tory premier in South Australia had to take action to tear away from the squatters land upon which to settle ex-servicemen. “What annoys the honorable member for Wentworth is the fact that land is getting into the possession of small holders who have the will and the strength to work it, and have a sympathetic government behind them to offer assistance. Members of the Opposition talk about a balanced economy, but the system they support is the worst example of an unbalanced economy. As the Bishop of Chelmsford has said, they want to drive the worker as one might drive an old horse which, if pressed too hard, will either fall down or kick the cart to pieces.
The final absurdity of the speech of the honorable member for Wentworth was his complaint about zoning. He said that, under the zoning system, the householder had no choice. He had to be content with the same milkman and the same baker. Then, in his exuberance, he made a mistake. He said that the milk had dust in it, and that the bread was bad. In my innocence, I thought that the milk and the bread were produced under the system of free enterprise. I know that that system operates in Strathfield where I live, and free enterprise there is trying to cash in on the present situation. As a matter of fact, free enterprise has proved to be ineffective. It bails out when things get tough, and crawls to the government. That was the complaint of President Roosevelt. He told the champions of free enterprise that, once the danger was over, they came crawling out of their burrows, but that should danger arise again they would once more ask the government to take over. Free enterprise is not stable; it is opportunistic. It wants to have its own way when times are good, but in time of danger it asks the socialist state to take charge.
I now propose to refer to the attacks that have been made in this Parliament on Labour members, including myself. Others who have been subjected to such attacks are the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Daly), the Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) and an honorable senator. These criticisms have been a little more severe than those normally experienced in Parliament, and therefore one is amused, if at the same time distressed, to see the Opposition hoist with its own petard when, as at present, it is labouring under a great disability in the selection of its election candidates. Unbelievable things have happened to it. It is advertising for public relations officers and desire to obtain the services of young men with some flair for writing who will prepare the speeches of members of Parliament and be capable of preparing summaries for broadcasting and for the local newspapers. That shows how far the party has come down the scale in selecting its candidates. We find that things are considerably worse in the new electorate of Grayndler, even than that suggests. The party selected a man named Fryer, who had been prosecuted for wearing an air force uniform illegally. He has since been deposed and another man has been selected in his place, but the tories should have examined the capabilities and the previous conduct of their prospective candidates more closely so that such things could not have happened. This unfortunate man Fryer admitted that he had worn an air force uniform, and, when asked where he obtained it, he said that the shorts had been bought in a shop at Bowral, the shirt had been obtained when he was in the military signallers in 1932 and the socks when he was a scoutmaster at Double Bay, in the electorate represented by the honorable member for Wentworth. Another candidate for selection by the Liberal party was Mr. Percy McDonald. He was not selected. He was destined not to serve in this Parliament because His Majesty decided ‘that he should serve in another place. Dealing with his appearance in a court case, Truth, of the 26th June, 1949, reported -
Perce, completely at his ease in a role that is far from being unfamiliar to him, told the jury that ten years ago he came out of Parramatta Prison after having_ received a six months’ sentence. A proposition was put to him by a Communist representative-
Again, we see evidence of the Opposition’s affiliations! The report proceeded - that he should set fire to certain bushlands in Victoria, and that he be paid by results. He rejected the proposition. ‘
Now I come to the Literal party’s campaign director in the reconstructed electorate of Martin, which will be contested by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. O’Connor). We find that Mr. Dewley, disowned temporarily by the Liberals, but uproariously approved of by the local Liberal supporters because he donates £5 for a cup when the Labourite, who lives upon his salary, can give only 10s. 6d., had a little trouble with adulterated mincemeat in 1947. He was dealt with in due course and was .fined £2 with 8s. costs. Later he had more serious trouble over his income tax and was fined heavily. At one time, Mr. Treatt, the Leader of the Liberal party in New South Wales, suggested that the man should be removed from the party and I think that that happened. The point of my comment is that some of those men are still heroes amongst the Liberals.
I warn the Liberals, probably without avail, to “keep it clean”. They should make sure of their candidates. What sort of a statesman would be the man who got his socks at Double Bay or the man who was fined for adulterating mincemeat? Apparently the latter, feeling eager to try his strength after his offence with the mincemeat, took on the Commissioner of Taxation with the result that I have mentioned.
– The honorable member would adulterate the dead.
– The honorable member for Bendigo interjects in his usual . whimsical fashion, but if I were a past-master at adulterating the dead I should have dealt with him long since. I warn honorable members opposite that criticisms of members of Parliament who are attempting to do the job for which they, were elected often rebound. The Liberals are suffering to-day because of the difficulties that have befallen their candidates. Their troubles give point to the old adage that “ those who fly with the crows are likely to be shot “. There are others whom I could mention, but my time is limited and I cannot refer to all of them. There is a Mr. W. C. Wentworth, “who was told only a few days ago by a magistrate in Sydney that he was such a reckless driver that he should not hold a motor drivers’ licence. Yet he plans to come here to guide our deliberations concerning, for example, the expenditure of £500,000 a year for the promotion of road safety. What a tragedy that would be! There was another gentleman living in the salubrious atmosphere of Warringah, or the electorate to be called Mackellar, who was thinking of contesting the Liberal selection. He was the “pea”, I understand, until somebody discovered that he was involved in a little trouble over key money - a small charge of £500 to a returned soldier’s wife who was trying to get a flat. I say these things, without bitterness, because they must be said. Furthermore, it is only just that I should do so after what we on this side of the chamber have suffered.
Mr. Rankin interjecting,
– This bottle-scarred warrior is annoying me for the moment, but I shall ignore him. These things are important. I conclude on the note that brought me to my feet-
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN.- Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) ‘ has taken advantage of the sixteen minutes that he has had on the air since the dinner adjournment to dredge the gutter. It has been very entertaining, of course; and I could not fail to notice that a great number of his colleagues enjoyed his remarks; but I do not think that I have ever heard a more deplorable performance in my life. He has dredged the gutter to discover what may or may not be said against some persons who, I could not avoid noticing, had failed in most cases to secure selection as candidates for my party. I venture to say that, when the honorable member interlarded his deplorable speech with the unctuous advice to “keep it clean”, he might have taken the advice himself. After all, he is not invulnerable in such matters. I have a very vivid recollection of an honorable member for Parkes, who had been the editor of the Standard-
– The old one !
– Yes, and nonetheless true for being old. After all, the honorable gentleman will find nobody on this side of the chamber about whom the proprietors of a Labour newspaper have had to publish on their back page a crawling apology for a defamatory publication about a well-known man. That publication had been written by the honorable member for Parkes and the proprietors had to say that either it had been published recklessly, without care for its truth or falsehood, or that it was deliberately untrue.
– I rise to order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I would not interpolate at this stage except to correct a deliberate misstatement.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr. Burke). - Order !
– I rise to order.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN. - The Chair already has one point of order before it.
– Let us take a point of order.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN.- Order ! The Chair, not the Opposition, will deal with this matter.
– I have explained before that the apology was not written-
– Order ! The honorable gentleman may make an explanation later if he claims that he has been misrepresented.
– The whole point of my observation is that a very old and wise saying is “ Physician, heal thyself “.
I do not propose to occupy my time in correcting all the misstatements made by Government speakers in the course of a very remarkable debate - I would not occupy my time in that way - but I do want to make two comments on some earlier aspects of this debate, and each of them has relation to a very important speech made in this House last week by the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward). The Minister for External Territories, in the course of his remarks, touched on two matters in particular. One was communism, about which something has been said in this debate, and the other was banking. On the subject of communism, it was interesting to note that the Minister, speaking from his place at the table, with all the authority of a Minister, and speaking, as I have insisted time after time, on behalf of the Government, said this -
I do not share the opinion of some honorable members that there is a real menace of communism in this country.
That is the view of the Government - that there is no real menace of communism, in this country - and that remark was made right on the heels of a coal strike that was described by the Government itself, in numerous press advertisements, as the product of a Communist conspiracy. That coal strike lost this nation £100,000,000 worth of production and lost the employed people of this country probably more than £30.000,000 in pay. l’ should have thought that any movement that could produce those results in Australia should be regarded as a menace to the country. Yet, in spite of that experience, and it is the most recent of a long line of experiences, the Minister for External Territories says that there is no real menace of communism in Australia. His second statement had to deal with banking, and I quote his words merely to express my gratitude to him for having stated the position fully and clearly in words that I hope will become well-known all round Australia. A lot of people, who are bitterly opposed to nationalization of banking, are tempted to suppose that the issue is dead, but the Minister, I hope, has removed any misapprehension of that kind, because what he said was this -
It is quite true that Labour has not been able to go as far as it would have liked with its banking policy.
Later he said -
So, as long as the La,bour party stands by its decision, the nationalization of banking will be brought about. Tests of the constitutionality of Labour’s proposal may be made by certain authorities, but surely no honorable member opposite would argue that any authority is greater than the voice of the people. If the people continue to return Labour governments that are pledged to the nationalization of banking, why should not such a policy be put into effect? Could not all the obstacles be overcome at the will of the people? By answering the arguments of our opponents we hope to make it clear to the people that in their own interests the banking institutions of this country should be nationalized.
That is a characteristically clear statement by the Minister. He does not usually engage in ambiguous expressions. There is a clear statement that the nationalization of banking is at this very moment on the board, that it is a live issue and that a vote for the Socialist Government will be inevitably a vote for nationalization of banking. I am indebted to the Minister for having made that clear.
Beyond those comments, I do not propose to discuss the speeches that have fallen from members on the opposite side, but I want to make one comment on the budget as originally delivered by the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) and then to say something about the statement of the right honorable gentleman on the devaluation of the currency, which, of course, is a subject open for discussion during the budget debate. Every honorable member knows that frequent references are made to the national income. The rise in the national income, which has been very considerable in the last ten years, is claimed by honorable gentlemen opposite as a tribute in some way to their skill and as, of itself, an indication of rising prosperity in the country. It is therefore necessary that a brief examination should be made of what this national income is, because the term is constantly misused and, I am afraid, constantly misunderstood. If honorable gentlemen will look at the treasury statement, “ National Income and Expenditure 1948-49 “, which was circulated by the Prime Minister in conjunction with the budget, they will see what this expression “ national income “ means. It means the sum total of five items. The first is wages, salaries, pay of forces and so on. The second is company income. The third is surplus of public authority business undertakings. The fourth is income of unincorporated business, farms, professions and so on. The fifth is net rent and interest. Those are the five items that, on the treasury statement, make up what we are pleased to call the national income. If honorable members have those five items in mind, they will see that it is perfectly clear that if wages and other incomes rise, but the volume of goods from local production or import stay still, the only effect of the rise in the national income would be to create inflation and to put an immediate pressure on the prices level. In other words, a rise in the figure of the national income does not indicate a rise in living standards. It is, indeed, only a measure of inflation, and, therefore, something that will produce a fall in the living standards, unless, side by side with it, there goes a corresponding rise in national production and in the volume of goods coming from elsewhere and available to be sold. I can illustrate that in a perfectly simple way. So as to show the hollowness of this claim that the rise in the national income is, of itself, a good thing, we have had rents pegged in Australia for the last seven years, and, because rents have been pegged and because there has been, quite rightly, I think, up to the present time, a policy of low interest rates, which was begun at the beginning of the war, rents and interest have increased by only 23 per cent, since just before the war. They have risen from £59,000,000 to £73,000,000. That is a rise of 23 per cent. At the same time, wages and salaries have increased by 237 per cent., from £444,000,000 to £1,055,000,000. Of course, there are more people employed. I am not saying anything at all about that at the moment. I am taking the total figures. Wages and salaries have increased from £444,000,000 to £1,055,000,000, an increase of 237 per cent., and rents and interest have risen from £59,000,000 to £73,000,000, an increase of 23 per cent., which is only one-tenth or one-eleventh of the increase in the other category. Suppose to-morrow we unpegged rents and allowed them to run free, there would be a substantial addition to the national income. There would be millions and millions of pounds, no doubt, put on to the national income because rents had been unpegged. Yet, in the first place, at least, there would be no more houses and, therefore, no increase in living standards.
One could, to-morrow, without the slightest difficulty, put on to the so-called national income of Australia, hundreds of millions of pounds by increasing the basic wage by £3 a week. But, should we, thereby, have any more goods to buy? Should we have any more houses to occupy? Of course not! Therefore, the effect of the increase in the national income in those circumstances would be merely inflationary. Prices would rise and every one, to that extent, would be worse off.
I have mentioned that matter with some particularity, because I want to bring my argument back again to the point that the real index of national prosperity is to be found in the production figures. What can we buy with our money? The real index of national prosperity is how much value there is in our pound. I believe that the real task in 1949-50 is to bring back value to the pound. I am not going into the details of production. We all know that we have grave shortages of production in basic industries such as the coal, steel, and timber industries and in the output of bricks. Last night the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) related to the House some striking figures with relation to production, which I do not propose to repeat. All I emphasize is that we do badly when we talk so much in terms of national income as the index when the only real index of prosperity is what the average citizen can buy. The test is, what can he get?
Now I turn to the very important matter that was brought before the House officially yesterday by the Prime Minister, the devaluation of sterling, and the corresponding devaluation of the Australian pound. Decisions have been taken. The British Government has announced a very heavy devaluation of sterling in terms of dollars, under which the pound sterling instead of being worth 4.03 dollars is now worth 2.80 dollars, a devaluation of over 30 per cent. At the same time, or immediately thereupon, the Prime Minister announced that the Australian pound would continue to have the same relation to the sterling pound as it has had for some years past; that is to say, it would remain at a discount of 25 per cent. Those were decisions of the first magnitude, and of great importance, the result of which we cannot yet clearly estimate. I have no doubt that in each instance there were very weighty reasons, some known to us, and some quite intelligible to all honorable members. I should like to say that the Prime Minister had to make a decision on a very difficult problem, and honorable members on this side of the chamber do not desire to challenge the decision that he made. This was primarily a decision of Sir Stafford Cripps, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose position is not perhaps so immediately intelligible. He had created a curious atmosphere for months past in relation to devaluation. Time after time he has said that he would never desert the pound. Time after time he and his colleagues in Parliament have said there would be no devaluation. I might slightly adapt and apply the old tag, to him by saying that though he declared that he would ne’er consent, he consented. The particular terms of the recent Washington agreement that became known to us included, I thought, a series of rather vague statements perhaps very much lagging in definition. One concerned a reduction in the cost of sterling goods designed for the dollar market. In the face of that statement I thought that devaluation seemed quite inevitable,’ in order to produce quick results on the earnings of dollars by reducing the costs of British goods designed for the American market. However that may be, I think we can all say, with perhaps the exception of the Prime Minister, that the rate of British devaluation was unexpectedly high. A devaluation of 30.5 per cent, in the value of the pound in terms of dollars was, I think, a great deal steeper than most people expected to read about.
Be all these things as they may, what I want to discuss to-night, and I hope to do it with relative brevity, is what may happen in consequence of those decisions. What is going to be the effect of them? I am not at all speaking ex cathedra on this matter because my opinion, whatever it is, is no better than anybody else’s, but I think that it is most desirable to seek to discover what is likely to happen as a result. Assuming that the American market responds to lower prices for British exports, that American tariffs do not stand in the way of the entry of the goods into the United States of America, and that competing measures are not taken by business interests in the United States of America to prevent the benefits of devaluation from coming about, one would expect to see increased sales of British goods in the United States of America. As fewer dollars will buy the same number of pounds the prices of British goods in the United States of America will be less in terms of dollars. Therefore those goods will be cheaper on the American market, though standing at the same price on the British market. Therefore it is expected that buyers will be found who otherwise would not be interested in those goods. Sir Stafford Cripps gave an admirable example. He referred to an English motor car which, at the old rate of exchange, sold in the United States of America for 1,200 dollars, but which, at the new rate of exchange would be sold for 900 dollars. By reducing the consumer price for that car in the United States of America more buyers might be expected to come forward. Although in broad principles that is true enough, goodness knows it is by no means automatic, because there is more in selling than mere price. It cannot be treated as a simple sum in arithmetic. Let us assume that there will be increased sales of British goods in the United States of America as a result of devaluation. The increase will be necessary if this tremendous experiment is to succeed. I invite all honorable members to have a look at those figures. There has been a devaluation of over 30 per cent. That means that Great Britain has to sell in the United States of America 44 per cent, more goods to raise the same amount of dollars as it has been raising. A 30 per cent, cut in the rate of exchange - honorable members can check that figure by a simple calculation - means that 44 per cent, more goods will have to be sold. Let us consider a single line of goods, such as the Morris motor car. I emphasize I am not seeking to advertise any particular make of motor car. If the same amount of dollars is to be obtained from sales of Morris motor cars in the United States as before devaluation, 44 per cent, more of those cars will have to be sold. For every 1,000 Morris motor cars sold in the United States of America previously, 1,440 will have to be sold before Great Britain. breaks even. Having sold 44 per cent, more goods Great Britain will obtain the same volume of dollars under the new exchange rate as it was getting last week. Of course Great Britain will even then be no better off; in fact it will be worse off up to that point, because its people will have to do a lot more work and use a lot more materials in order to produce the same number of dollars. In point of fact less dollars may be received. A 44 per cent, improvement in sales would merely enable Great Britain to break even. But that is not what is wanted. What is being sought to-day is to increase very substantially the British earings of dollars, not merely to increase the export of goods, because up to 44 per cent, the increase that does not mean a thing. If there is to be a real improvement of the dollar position and if devaluation is to have any real effect upon it, British exports must increase by 44 per cent, plus - shall I say - another 100 per cent. I suppose it would be fair to say that devaluation will not help to solve the dollar problem unless British exports to the dollar areas increase by approximately 150 per cent. That ‘ is a tremendous undertaking. It means that certain internal re-arrangements will have to be made in Great Britain. I shall refer to them ‘ because they are all of great moment to us. It may mean that there will be a great production drive in Great Britain designed to increase the volume of British exports to the United States of America and at the same time to maintain the volume of British exports to countries like Australia, which are, of course, profoundly important markets for Great Britain, If there is to be a great production drive in a country in which there is already full employment, it is quite clear that drastic steps must be taken to increase individual output, whether it be on the managerial level, the scientific level or the level of the employee in the works.
Suppose that that does not happen, and that there is not a remarkable increase of production in Great Britain, but a substantial increase of exports to the dollar market as a result of devaluation. If that occurs, there will be a diminution of exports to the non-dollar markets. Great Britain will export less goods to Australia and to other countries that have bought in the sterling market. If British exports to Australia are reduced, there will be a gap in our imports. We need those imports. We are not introducing imports into Australia foolishly. Goods which come into this country are available to be bought, and without them the prices of our local products would rise beyond all reason. There would be an accentuation of our previous troubles when we had a lot of money chasing a limited1 supply of goods. I am sure that the Prime Minister will agree that at present imports are vital to our general economic structure. If they do not come in any degree from Great Britain, that is, if there is a marked reduction of imports from that country, we must get them from some other place or fill the gap by stimulating our own production. If we are to stimulate our own production at a time when we have full employment, and at a time when we have, on balance, a shortage of manpower, we shall have to resort to methods of stimulation against which, I am afraid, the Government has in the past turned its face. If we say, “If as a result of the devaluation of sterling Great Britain sells more goods to America and less goods to us, we shall get our goods from elsewhere “, we shall be confronted with a problem which I, for one, find extremely vexing.
From what other source could we get the goods that we have been getting from Great Britain? An attempt was made a little while ago to suggest that the leaders of the Opposition parties have a passionate desire to trade with Japan. Let me remind the committee that trade with Japan is reviving, and that this country, under the present administration, has had to recognize Japanese trade. In point of fact, we have had to import steel from Japan. Before the war, Germany and Japan were formidable competitors in world trade. They were both great exporters.” To-day they are trifling exporters. Does any honorable member suppose -nhat they are not going to become great exporters again? I am sure that they are. Whatever feelings people may have, nothing on’ earth can prevent Germany and Japan from once more becoming traders in the world, not necessarily to-day but in due course of time. That is a fact that we have to recognize. If Germany and Japan begin to supply the world’s needs again at a time when Great Britain cannot supply our needs, a state of affairs will arise that is calculated to give one furiously to think. If the United Kingdom share of our market were to be substantially reduced, our vital market in the United Kingdom would become imperilled in its turn. If there is a perfect example of two-way trade, it is the trade between the United Kingdom and Australia. The United Kingdom has been our best market and we have been one of its best markets. By reason of our lack of numbers, we could not hope to be its best market in the aggregate total of goods, but I am sure that per capita we have been, with the possible exception of New Zealand, the best market of the United Kingdom. If there were a serious replacement of British exports to Australia by exports from other countries, to that extent our market in the United Kingdom would be imperilled. I hope that I am not wearying the committee, but I have been trying to clarify my own mind on this matter and what I have said may, therefore, be useful.
Another result of devaluation is that British imports from dollar countries will increase in price in the United Kingdom, for the very converse of the reasons that I have been advancing. If dollars are to be dearer in terms of pounds, then dollar goods will be dearer in terms of pounds and American goods exported to Great Britain will increase in price in Great Britain. That is a very serious matter. I remind honorable members that one of the great reasons for the dollar shortage in the world is that Great Britain, as a big trading nation, has been earning less dollars than it has been spending. The value of the goods that it has been importing from dollar countries has been considerably greater than the amount of money that it has been able to earn by exporting goods to those countries. As a result, as the Prime Minister has explained, the dollar problem of Great Britain has steadily become worse. An increase of the cost in Britain of imports from dollar countries will be a very serious matter for the British people. The moment that happens, prices will rise in Great Britain. If there is an increase in Great Britain of ihe price of a variety of articles, including food, and I remind the committee that Britain has to obtain a great deal of food from the dollar areas, there must *be an upward pressure upon wages and the cost of social services. “Will that pressure be resisted? Sir Stafford Cripps, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, has so far been successful in imposing his will upon the trade union movement in Great Britain and in persuading trade unionists that they ought to call a holiday on wage increases until this crisis has been surmounted, but one of the troubles is that most of the unionists do not believe that there is a crisis. It is not very easy for a man to believe that there is a crisis in the world if his wages are coming in regularly. It is one of those hidden but almost devastating things that can happen in the world. I read in this evening’s press - and I read it without any satisfaction, because we are all interested in the problem of stability - that the Trade Union Congress in Great Britain has decided that it does not approve of the devaluation of the pound. If that is so, is it likely that British trade unionists will call a holiday on wage increases? Under the circumstances, is it not far more likely that rising prices will lead- to demands for increased wages, and that increased wages and greater expenditure upon social services will affect costs of production and result in higher costs ? If costs of production in Great Britain are to be higher, what becomes of the great idea that Britain is going to enter the dollar market in a big way and sell its goods to dollar countries at prices the people of those countries are willing to pay?
The circumstances that I have referred to are major elements in this problem, and there are many others that I have no time to discuss, that also show that devaluation doe3 not solve the problem. I am not offering to show that either the British Government or the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is a man of great ability in these matters, is wrong. All I am saying is that the devaluation of the pound does not solve the problem. On the contrary, it gives rise to a series of subsidiary problems, all of which will require very firm, and, perhaps drastic action if the devaluation scheme is to succeed at all. A few days ago I read in the House of Lords Debates a debate on a finance bill. It is quite a recent debate, because it occurred on the 25th July last. It is curious to realize that that discussion occurred only seven weeks ago. I read it because I desired to learn the views of Lord Brand, who is a man perhaps known to the Treasurer, because he was for many years head of Lazard Brothers, a banking firm in the City of London, and a man of great ability and experience. He said -
For my part, though I am not an economist, I have never been convinced that devaluation could do us any good; indeed, I feel that it might do a lot of harm, because the immediate result must be that whilst our exports could be sold for fewer dollars, so that they would be cheaper to the purchaser, we should have to sell many more exports in order to obtain the same amount of dollars as we obtained before. That would be a rather considerable undertaking. One other immediate result that would follow before we could achieve the increase of exports would be that we should have to pay much more for all that we imported. In view of these considerations . . .
Lord Brand continued in words which I quote more or less whimsically in view of later events - . .1 confess that I am glad that this Government has no intention whatever of entering into this rash experiment. And I am pleased to find that on all sides of this House that policy is supported.
I have merely quoted Lord Brand’s statement to show how extremely fluid those events have been. But what I desire to emphasize, and I am sure that the Treasurer will agree with me, is that although devaluation will give a breathing space, far from solving the problem out of hand, far from making high production less important, it unquestionably makes high production more important than before. To sum up what I have been putting to the committee I would- say that Great Britain cannot get away with this devaluation expedient successfully unless there is a rise of production in Great Britain sufficient to enlarge its American market very considerably and sufficient to maintain its exports to countries like Australia that, in the long run, are of immense and permanent importance to Great Britain. All these are considerations that affect Great Britain in the direct sense.
But there are some considerations that are of special significance .to Australia. Those that I have already referred to have an obvious bearing on Australia, but there are some others that are also of special concern to us. Some of the latter considerations are favorable, and some are not. I shall indicate them in the fewest possible words. First we shall have an increase of the cost of some imports from Britain. I mention that because I have found that some people are disposed to say that the devaluation of the pound will not affect the position between Great Britain and Australia, because our pound has been devalued in relation to the British pound, and that naturally trade between Britain and Australia will not show any effects of the sterling devaluation. But, of course, there will be effects. There are many British exports to Australia, such as cotton textiles, which have what the Treasurer has described in connexion with another matter, as a “ dollar content “. If dollar raw materials go into English factories, and the articles manufactured from them are exported to this country, then the rise in the costs of production in England as a result of the devaluation of the British pound will result in a rise in the price that we shall have to pay for these goods.
Secondly, we shall have a sharp rise in the cost of our own direct dollar imports, which cover a range of goods with which honorable members are familiar. I merely instance petrol, tobacco, timber and, to a limited extent now, I suppose, films, as well as machinery such as earthmoving equipment, tractors and other machinery which is very important to this country and which constitutes what we describe in the broad as “ capital goods “. On the other hand, we shall have some benefits, or at least we hope to have some. There may be some increase in the price of wool and in the quantity that we sell. We hope that as a result of America’s more favorable monetary position which is the result of devaluation the United States of America will come into our wool market more than it has done recently, and so not only become a big customer again but also, by increasing the competition, help to raise wool prices. We stall have some benefit in relation to wheat, as the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Pollard) pointed out this afternoon, as the result of the International Wheat Agreement being based on the Canadian dollar. We shall have a substantial net return from gold with, I hope, increased production from what are now marginal gold-mines. We shall have the maintenance of the Australian pound prices for other primary products which we have sold on a sterling basis. All those considerations including the first two that I mentioned, are favorable to us. Australian manufacturers will have the satisfaction of knowing that there is a maintenance of the productive incidence of the appreciated. British pound which is the invisible tariff that Australian manufacturers have been enjoying ever since the exchange rate between the Australian pound and the British pound was fixed.
Balancing these advantages and disadvantages, there are still dangers which we in Australia must realize and whch we must meet. Unless the American demand for our exports increases proportionately more than the percentage rate of depreciation, that is to say, unless America’s purchases exceed by more than 44 per cent, its present purchases, we shall be no better off in terms of dollars as a result of devaluation. If America makes a big increase of its purchases from us then we shall be better off. But it may well be that we shall find ourselves not making any greater contribution to the dollar pool but perhaps, to some extent, making bigger demands on it than before. I also point out, and I hope that the Treasurer will bear this constantly in mind, that to the extent to which devaluation of our currency increases our overseas income, to that extent there must be an inflationary pressure on the whole of the Australian price level, unless of course we counteract it by an enormously increased production. But if production stands where it is to-day, we shall have an inflationary pressure that will tend to force up prices, wages and costs.
Having all these considerations in mind, I believe that it is more than ever necessary that we should concentrate on the achievement of a sound national economy, that is to say, we should concentrate on the expansion of productive industry by every means available to us. “We cannot play around with this subject. Vastly increased production is absolutely vital to us, and that means that we must face up to the fact that we must get increased production by incentive payments wherever they can be applied and used. We must achieve a greater unit production, which means a greater production per man. I believe that there is a strong case in these circumstances for some revision of company taxation in order to encourage the establishment of proper reserves, and also expansion, particularly of small companies. There is also a strong case for the encouragement of savings out of which we can secure “ adventure “ capital without which there will be no “ adventure “ development of production in Australia. And, finally, but by no means least, we must have industrial peace because industrial disputes are, I suppose, one of the great factors operating to-day against a full stream of production in Australia. The consequence of these achievements would be a reduction in the unit cost of articles and a rise in real incomes and real wages through falling prices. Let us remember that. If we can by productive methods bring down prices in Australia we shall be putting value back into the pound. In addition to those things the adoption of such a procedure would mean that we should be maintaining not full employment merely in terms, but full and stable productive employment. These are not separate matters that can be dealt with as if they existed in a vacuum, they are interdependent. But I believe that they alone can produce for us in these circumstances, or in any other circumstances we can see, a higher real national income.
– The committee is indebted to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) for the analysis ho has just made of the consequences of certain action that was taken during the week-end. I agree with » great deal that he has said about the consequences of the devaluation of the pound sterling in relation to dollars, but it should be made clear that no blame attaches to Sir Stafford Cripps, the Chancellor of the British Exchequer, for the action that he took. I believe that that action was forced upon him by the pressure applied by certain interests in the United States of America. Like the Leader of the Opposition, I am not at all optimistic about the effectiveness of devaluation in meeting the problem of the dollar shortage. That problem was debated in the Parliament on a recent occasion in relation to certain other matters. I repeat that the problem of the dollar shortage in countries outside the dollar area springs from the basic disbalance between the productive capacity of the dollar areas, particularly the United States of America, and that of the rest of the world. Although only 6 per cent, of the world’s population is in the United States of America, 55 per cent, of the world’s manufacturing capacity is located in that country, and I do not believe that mere juggling with currencies will correct that basic disequilibrium in the pattern of production to-day. I repeat that the action that was taken by Great Britain was forced upon that country by pressure applied by certain interests in the United States of America. I am not over-optimistic about the result. Like other honorable members, all that I can do is to hope for the best.
I shall now deal with a matter relating to the decision taken ‘by the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) with respect to the devaluation of the Australian pound. I understood the Leader of the Opposition to say that he fully approves of what the Treasurer has done. In my opinion, following the decision that had been taken by the United Kingdom, the Treasurer could not have taken any other course. As the Leader of the Opposition has said, it was a decision of great magnitude and prime importance. I shall not follow the right honorable gentleman with an analysis of its consequences to Australia and to the United Kingdom. I shall contrast the wise and speedy decision taken by the Treasurer on this occasion with the weak and vacillating approach that was made on a previous occasion to the question of devaluing our currency.
This is the second time that our currency has had to be devalued in relation to the currency of certain other countries, the first occasion having been in 1931. The -whole sorry story of the inaction of the prescribed authority which had in its hands the making of the decision whether the Australian pound should be devalued on that occasion and the degree to which it should be devalued is told in paragraphs 115 to 121 of the report of the Royal Commission on Monetary and Banking Systems, which was made in 1936. I mention this matter because should the Opposition parties be returned to office at the next general election and have their way in relation to banking legislation, this country will find itself in the position that the Treasurer will not be able to take a firm and speedy decision similar to that which was taken during last week-end. On the contrary, the decision whether the Australian pound shall be devalued will rest with an outside authority, over which the Government will have no control whatever. Let us see how that position will arise. In 1924, the right honorable member for Cowper (‘Sir Earle Page), when he was Treasurer, introduced legislation under which control of the Commonwealth Bank was transferred from the Governor of the bank to the Commonwealth Bank Board. The result was that in 1931, when circumstances arose that necessitated a devaluation of the Australian pound, the decision in the matter rested with the Commonwealth Bank Board, and, because that authority was so slow in making its decision and because the Treasurer of the day had no authority to instruct the board to devalue the Australian pound, one of the private trading banks actually established an exchange rate of £A.115 to £100 sterling without the authority of the Commonwealth Bank Board.
The Leader of the Opposition has pointed out that the decision to devalue Australian currency in relation to the dollar is of prime importance, and he has examined some of the consequences of that decision to the economy of this country. In 1931, a similar decision of equal importance to the economy and currency of this country rested not with the Australian Government but with the Commonwealth Bank Board, which was a body appointed to represent private trading interests. The Opposition parties have pledged themselves that if returned to office they will repeal the Common wealth Bank Act in order to restore the board control of the Commonwealth Bank. In that event we should find ourselves in a position similar to that which existed in this country in 1931.
– This is the first I have heard of that.
– I shall read what the Leader of the Opposition said in this chamber on the 21st March, 1945, in the course of his second-reading speech on the Commonwealth Bank Bill. On that occasion he said -
On behalf of my colleagues and myself, I desire to make quite clear to the House and to the people that when we on this side of the chamber are returned to office, we shall take prompt steps to restore board control to the Commonwealth Bank.
– That is plain enough.
– Yes it is ? The right honorable gentleman continued -
I make that statement publicly, here and now, because it will he well that when the people of Australia come to pass judgment upon this matter, they should know exactly what is the issue, and where we all stand upon it.
– The last, time the Minister quoted me, he said that I had stated that we would repeal the entire act.
– I have referred to the important part of the Commonwealth Bank Act 1945, and whatever I may have said on a previous occasion, that quotation makes it perfectly clear that, should the Opposition have its way, future Treasurers will not be permitted to make decisions of the kind made by the present Prime Minister and Treasurer last weekend. That decision is of vital consequence to the economy of this country. Repeal of the 1945 banking legislation would mean that similar decisions would rest with an elected board which would, govern the Commonwealth Bank and control the exchange rate between Australia and other countries. That is the only point I wish to make in relation to the decision made last week-end.
The honorable member for “Warringah (Mr. Spender), who was the first Opposition speaker in this debate, said that this was a budget of no hope for the people of Australia. In my opinion, it is a budget of no hope for the Opposition parties at the forthcoming election. However, I am indebted to the honorable member for Warringah for his recognition of the fact that the budget that is presented to this Parliament every year is the most potent single factor which affects the welfare of the people of this country and economic activity in Australia generally. That, of course, is shown, too, by the fact that budgets are generally debated for a period of weeks in this chamber, and at the same time are subjected to a critical analysis by all sections of the community. If the budget were not of great importance, it would not be debated at such length in this Parliament. This budget is the ninth to be presented by the present Treasurer who has served for a record period in that office. Incidentally, the honorable member for Warringah was Treasurer for only eight months. The Parliament did not accept the budget that he presented, and I do not think that he will ever have the opportunity to present another. This budget, like every other budget presented by the present Treasurer, is designed to meet the economic circumstances of the time, and, again, like every other budget presented by the present Treasurer, it is designed to leave the finances of this country at the end of the twelve months period, in a sound position. That cannot be said of budgets presented by Opposition parties in the past. For example, tho right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page), who was dubbed by one of his own colleagues as “the tragic treasurer “ left the finances of this country in a parlous state after his term of office as Treasurer. He left the treasury coffers depleted, and Australian credit, both in this country and overseas, at a very low ebb. It stands to the credit of the present Treasurer that every budget presented by him has resulted in the financial position of this country at the end of the ensuing year being sound and stable. I have said that every budget presented to the Parliament is of great importance, and that all budgets are the subject of critical scrutiny and analysis by man) people in the community.
There is not better barometer for showing the effect of past budgets on the community generally and the way in which the community has accepted the current budget than press comments on the stability of our economy. I have prepared a number of indicators of economic activity, and I shall mention a few of them. First, however, I should like to read a few observations that have been made in Australian newspapers, a substantial preponderance of which, of course, are anti-Labour. The reports that I shall quote include statistics and statements by prominent people. They prove clearly to the people of Australia that this country has never enjoyed better government that it has had since the Labour party assumed office in 1941. The following report appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 3rd May: -
The financial supplement which we publish to-day - the first since the war - presents a truly remarkable picture of prosperity in Australia. Employment is at record heights, and so is the income of the community. Great activity is evident in all sections of the national economy, for there is no lack of urgent work to do, and no lack of money to finance it.
On the 18th June, the Melbourne Herald proclaimed in large headlines, “ Industry Shows its Confidence “. Under those headlines was the following comment: -
Australian industry continues to show its long-range confidence by having little inclination to modify seriously expansion programmes as planned during the last few lush years.
In the Melbourne Argus of the 18th June appeared the following report: -
In the six months to December 31, 1948, 129 manufacturing businesses in Australia contemplated expansion programmes amounting to £12,871,000. In the same .period there were 556 new projects proposed, the amount of nominal capital of the companies involved being £17,103,000.
These figures, which have been collated by the Commonwealth Division of Industrial Development, are in addition to previous estimates of £144,000,000 proposed to be invested in manufacturing industry from the end of the war to June, 1948.
Coming to a more recent date, I quote now from the Melbourne Herald of the 27th June-
Since 1939 the issued capital of 15 companies had increased from £57,000,000 to £81,000,000, and reserves, &c., from £27,000,000 to £46,000,000.
In the same newspaper, on the 29th August, was published an article headed, “Retail Sales Leap”. The Leader of the Opposition, quite rightly, drew a distinction between the increased value of production, and the increased volume of production. This article, together with a graphical illustration, deals not only with the value of retail sales, but also with the volume of retail sales. Allowing for the depreciation of the £1 since 1939 it shows that whereas as value of goods sold in 1938-39 was £467,000,000, the figure for 1948-49 was £550,000,000. The Melbourne Herald of Thursday, the 8th September - the day after the Treasurer presented the budget - expressed every confidence in the future of industry generally. It reported that Yellow Express Carriers Limited had had a better year and that tractor production at the Standard Motor Company’s factory could rise sharply. A perusal of the Herald share index, which shows how share values rise and fall in the Melbourne market, shows that on the basis of an index figure of 100 in July, 1937, the value of shares had risen on the 1st September to 133, and that on the day after the budget was introduced it stood as 134. There was not a ripple on the surface of the share market immediately after the introduction of the budget. A perusal of the Melbourne Herald of. a week later bears out the truth of that statement. A week after the budget was introduced the share index figure had risen from 134 to 135. I shall quote one other newspaper extract to prove my point. The Melbourne Argus of the 10th September, three days after the budget was introduced, published the following comment : -
Mr. Chifley’s budget contained no reductions in company or income taxation, but stock exchanges have maintained their buoyancy of the last two months. . . . The upward trend in company earnings is shown in the following summary of company results announced over the last week.
Then follow a list of 23 representative companies, the scale of their profits for 1947- 48 and their total profits for 1948- 49. The summary reveals a very considerable increase. All of these quotations from the newspapers of this country show very clearly that business interests generally throughout Australia have fared very well under the Labour
Government and that they have the utmost confidence in the soundness of our economy and the general expansion of economic activity that has taken place under the administration of the Labour Government. I propose now to deal with some of the indicators of economic activity that I mentioned earlier. The value of the gross national product rose from £949,000,000 in 1938-39 to £2,256,000,000 in 1948-49, an increase of 138 per cent. In the same period, the net national income increased from £814,000,000 to £1,955,000,000, an increase of 140 per cent. The term “ national income “ is used rather loosely. One interpretation of the term is that it represents the sum total of the incomes of every person in the community. The Leader of the Opposition has said that unless an increase of the national income be accompanied by an increase of the total quantity of goods produced, it does not mean anything, and that, in fact, all that is indicated is that the cost of living has risen by the same percentage as has the national income. That is not a true statement of the position. The cost of living index, which is compiled and kept under the authority of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, shows that the cost of living in Australia has risen by 49 per cent. For the purposes of my argument let us regard it as having risen by 50 per cent. If the sum total of the incomes of every person in the community rises by 100 per cent., and the cost of living ,-rises by only 50 per cent., it is obvious that there must be a net gain of 50 per cent, to the people of Australia. That, roughly, is what has happened. Such a gain was admitted in the Quarterly Summary issued by the National Bank of Australasia. The relative figures have previously been quoted from that publication by other honorable members including the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Burke). The writer of the article clearly indicates that in his opinion a net gain of 15 per cent, has accrued to the people of Australia during the period of the administration of the Labour Government.
– If there were no increase of production but an increase in the national income it would mean that prices had increased by the same percentage as had the national income. I assume that the right honorable gentleman will admit that there has been an improvement qf the standard of living of the people during the administration of the Labour Government.
– I do not know that I would admit that.
– That is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the figures I have cited. That conclusion was also arrived at by the writer of the article in the Monthly Summary of the National Bank of Australasia to which I have referred. The Leader of the Opposition had something to say about reducing company tax so that companies would have a little more profit to re-invest in new enterprises. In 1938-39 the income retained by companies and financial institutions amounted to £71,000,000. In 1947-48 it was £157,000,000. Thus, there was an increase of 121 per cent, in the income retained by companies and financial institutions. Those figures do not indicate that companies have not benefited greatly under the administration, of the Labour Government. In fact, companies are now retaining income on a greater scale than they ever did before. I am always rather diffident about quoting statistics of this kind because I fear that I might be criticized by members of my own party - not those in this chamber, but other outside it - because they disclose that private enterprise and business generally have proved so profitable under Labour’s administration. The statistics relating to private investments constitute another indicator of economic activity. In 1938-39 the gross private investments amounted to £140,000,000. In 1948-49 the figure had risen to £400,000,000, or an increase of 186 per cent. The gross value of rural production rose from £209,000,000 in 1938-39 to £627,000,000 in 1948-49, an increase of 200 per cent. Between 1938-39 and 1947- 48 the number of factories increased from 26,941 to 37,000, an increase of 37 per cent. The volume of electricity generated and consumed - and this partly explains why there is such a shortage of coal to-day compared with prewar years - was 4,692,000,000 kilowatt hours in 1938-39.. By 1948-49 it had risen to 9,085,000,000 kilowatt hours, an increase of 94 per cent. One reason for that situation is that all our factories are working full-time, and there are now many more factories than there were ten years ago. Because of abundant employment and the increased standard of living which people now enjoy, a great many more people are able to purchase and defray the cost of using electrical appliances in their homes. The daily average of ton-miles of freight transported by rail in 1938-39 was 13,085,000. In 1947-48 that figure increased to 18,510,000, which is an increase of 41 per cent. The registration of commercial motor vehicles between 1938-39 and 1948- 49 increased by 68 per cent. The number of people employed in factories last year was 823,000, compared with 542,000 in 1938-39, which is an increase of 52 per cent. Savings bank deposits increased from £246,000,000 in 1938-39 to £714,000,000 in 1948-49, which is an increase of 190 per cent. The Leader of the Opposition referred to the need to increase industrial output, and suggested that more goods could be produced if more capital were available for investment in industry. However, it is quite obvious that there is no shortage of capital for investment, because savings have increased by 190 per cent. Deposits in trading banks have increased by 375 per cent., and trading bank advances have also increased. The weekly average of bank clearings, which is a very good indication of the national prosperity, increased’ from £43,000,000 in 1938-39 to £131,000,000 in 1948-49, an increase of 205 per cent. The purchasing power of the public, which includes bank-notes actually in the hands of the public and bank deposits, increased from £612,000,000 to £1,786,000,000. That is an increase of 192 per cent. The value of merchandise exported’ during 1938-39 was £123,000,000. Last financial year it amounted to £547,000,000, which is an increase of 344 per cent. During the corresponding period the value of imports increased from £113,000,000 to £415,000,000, which is an increase of 267 per cent. Ten years ago Australia’s international currency reserves amounted to £56,000,000. Last financial year they totalled £451,000,000, so that our currency reserves have increased1 by 705 per cent. That is particularly interesting because, in the course of a debate some little time ago, the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) criticized the Government for allegedly building up too great sterling reserves in London. In my opinion the accumulation of substantial sterling reserves is one of the best achievements of the Chifley Government. The existence of those reserves means that if there is a recession and we are unable to sell our exportable surpluses, such as wool and wheat, for such high prices as they have commanded in past years, or we are unfortunate enough to encounter a severe drought which seriously reduces the quantity available for export, as happened a few years ago, we shall still have a large financial reserve in London and shall be able to continue to import on our present scale. The Leader of the Opposition has already pointed’ out that a sufficient flow of imports from the United Kingdom is essential to our economy. Labour’s administration, which has enabled Australia . to build up our sterling reserves in London by 705 per cent., is undoubtedly a major contribution to our future economic stability. Turning now to the value of retail trade sales, I have already quoted the Melbourne Herald in connexion with the substantial increase of 113 per cent, that has taken place. During the same period the value of the average monthly wholesale trade sales increased by 123 per cent. In the field of company investments, the index of preference share prices in Victoria shows that they have increased in value by 17 per cent. Ordinary shares have increased in value by 43 per cent. Another indication of the prosperity of our people is to be found in the value of industrial insurance policies issued, which increased from £18,500,000 to £29,800,000, an increase of 61 per cent. That particular increase indicates the prosperity of our secondary industries. During the same period the valueof ordinary insurance policies increased by 161 per cent. Further evidence of the greater prosperity of members of thecommunity is to be found in the number of telephones installed throughout Australia. Ten years ago there were approximately 662,000 telephones installed, but by 1948 that number had increased to approximately 963,000, which is an increase of 45 per cent. Although I realize that a large number of people who have applied for telephones cannot hope to have the service installed in the near future, I congratulate my colleague the Postmaster-General on the efforts that he has made to meet the demand of the community for more telephones.
A number of other statistics show the proportionate decrease of certain other indicies. Unemployment, for instance, has decreased by almost 100 per cent. [Quorum formed.] To-day practically no one is unemployed. However, the official statistics show that 9.3 per cent, of the total population was unemployed in 1938-39. Those statistics also indicate that the estimates of rural indebtedness decreased from £297,000,000 in 1938-39 to £224,000,000 in 1948-49, which is a decrease of 25 per cent. Our public debt redeemable overseas has decreased by 13 per cent., which indicates that a substantial amount of our indebtedness has been repaid. Bank interest rates on fixed deposits have been reduced by 50 per cent., and the rate of interest on first mortgages has been decreased by 20 per cent. The number of bankruptcies and registered arrangements made with creditors decreased from 1,889 in 1938-39 to 352 in 1947-48. That is a sure indicator of the prosperity enjoyed by the commercial community. The number of. suicides per 100,000 persons declined from seventeen to ten during the same period, which is a decrease of 41 per cent. Every budget that the present Treasurer has introduced has been designed to meet the circumstances of the day. The budgets which he presented to the Parliament during the war had for their purpose the mobilization of the resources of this country for winning the war. It is generally agreed by all who have examined the position that this country’s war effort was indeed a magnificent one. That was due, to a great degree, to the kind of budget that the Treasurer introduced during the war period. Later, in the post-war period, the budgets have been designed to facilitate an easy transition from a war-time to a peace-time economy. Those budgets necessitated the expenditure of large sums of money for the re-establishment of ex-service men and women, and the Government has not begrudged one penny of the amount that it has expended for that purpose. In the long run, the community will benefit from that expenditure. The point that I desire to make at the moment is that the budgets which the Treasurer has presented to the Parliament since the end of the war have been designed to facilitate the transition of our economy from a war-time to a peace-time basis, and in that, they have been eminently successful, as the extracts which I have read from Australian newspapers and the indicators that I have quoted, prove quite conclusively.
This budget is designed to consolidate the gains that we have made since the end of the war, and to begin the development of new resources throughout Australia. Provision has been made for beginning such enterprises as the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme. I have no doubt that, at a later stage, the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Lemmon) will tell honorable members about that project. The budget also makes provision for the development of the Northern Territory on a scale never dreamed of before. It also makes provision for the education of the young people of this country in years to come. This budget consolidates the gains that we have made, and provides for the development of our resources in the future. I believe that, just as earlier budgets which the Treasurer has presented to the Parliament served the purpose for which they were introduced and the circumstances in which they were introduced, and brought great prosperity to the community the budget now under consideration will have the same effect. It will consolidate the gains that we have made, and will lay the foundation for the further development of the resources of Australia.
– First, I shall examine the budget which the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) has presented to the Parliament, and, later, I shall reply to some of the statements that have been made in this debate. As a number of honorable members have already spoken on the budget, some repetition is inevitable. If I should touch on points to which other honorable members have referred I shall be brief. The Treasurer said -
Australia has been aided in these years-
The right honorable gentleman was referring to the post-war years - by good seasons, and export prices have been high because of the strong post-war demand for our products abroad.
That statement is perfectly true. The Treasurer proceeded -
But the main key to this post-war financial achievement - -as to many others - has been, I believe, that throughout the whole period full employment of labour has been maintained.
Other honorable members have already referred to that passage in the Treasurer’s speech, but I desire to deal with it in a different way. I believe that the right honorable gentleman has taken the wrong view of the real source of our present prosperity. Before I proceed I desire to make it clear that “ prosperity “ should not be confused with “ progress “, because the two words have a different meaning. Australia has been most fortunate during the last ten years. During, and since World War II., this country has been able to produce commodities which other countries that have been racked and wrecked by war have not been able to produce in sufficient quantities to meet their requirements. Every schoolboy is aware of that fact. In addition, the overseas prices for our export commodities have been high, and Australia has had the advantage of them. That, and not the Government’s full employment policy - a policy which would not have been possible but for our primary production - is the real reason for our prosperity. As I have stated, the Treasurer has taken the wrong view of the real cause of our prosperity. Of course, this Government is not responsible for the high prices that we have been able to obtain for our primary produce overseas, and for the productive capacity of our primary industries. The foundation of those industries was firmly laid long before the outbreak of World War II. I regret that the source of our prosperity has been neglected recently. The cities have come under government favour and their population has increased while that of rural areas has decreased alarmingly. The foundation of our primary industries was built through the efforts of free enterprise with the encouragement of a nonLabour government before the. war, and it cannot be neglected indefinitely without serious results to this nation.
Referring to migration and development, the Treasurer said that security, higher standards of living and the attainment of a more ample national life depend upon our ability to bring our indisputable wealth of resources into greater productive use. He proceeded-
We should have a population large enough to make the best use of our resources.
That statement is true, but we should make the best use of our existing population to bring those resources into greater production. Does the Treasurer consider that a country should wait until it has a bigger population before it makes the best possible use of its resources? I believe that we must make the best use of the existing population to bring our present resources into production. The Prime Minister considers that we need a larger population before we can bring our indisputable wealth of resources into greater productive use. Let me illustrate the situation by a simple analogy. If a young man decides to wait until he accumulates thousands of pounds before he begins his own business, he may never make a start. Successful businessmen all over the world have given the following advice : - “ Make the best use of whatever you have. If you do that, you may become prosperous and progressive “. Obviously, this Government has not been making the best use of our existing population to increase production. Much has been said about the Government’s policy of full employment, but members of the Opposition and many people throughout Australia have said very definitely that only a policy of full productive employment will benefit the nation. In that respect, the Government has missed the mark. It has not increased primary production and so has not taken full advantage of the high prices that, as the result of the war, we have been receiving for our export commodities.
Still referring to development, the Treasurer said -
In Western Australia, the Commonwealth is sharing with the State Government the cost of a plan to reticulate water to certain areas in the north-eastern portion of the main mixed wheat and sheep belt.
That is true, but in Western Australia they cannot get the materials needed for installing water reticulation projects. The Government talks about making money available, .but of what use is it to do that if materials cannot be obtained? The Treasurer said that the Government had plans for encouraging and developing the cattle industry in the Northern Territory. The Minister for the Interior (Mr. Johnson), who has just returned from there, spoke about the progress being made, and the feeling of optimism amongst cattle men, who hoped to supply more beef to the United Kingdom. It is a fallacy to suppose that production is about to be increased. The fact is that graziers cannot obtain the equipment necessary to increase production. Taxation is crippling those who could otherwise assist in the development of the Northern Territory.
– There is no taxation in the Northern Territory.
– The point I am making is that graziers in the Northern Territory and in North Quensland are being frustrated by their inability to obtain materials, and those materials are not being produced because of high taxation in other parts of Australia. This Government is committed to socialism, and graziers and fat cattle raisers do not consider that conditions justify making improvements even if materials and labour were available. Further on in his budget speech, the Treasurer said that discussions had been held with the Queensland Government on various developmental projects, including the Burdekin River scheme. The trouble is that there has been nothing but talk. No progress has been made. Some time- ago the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) said that the Government had a plan to increase production. During question time in the House next day, I asked the Prime Minister what the plan was. He said that there was such a plan, and that he would supply particulars about it later, but nothing has been produced yet. In spite of the claim that the Government has plans to bring the wealth of the country into fruitful economic use, I am convinced that nothing will be done in that direction until there is a change of government.
The Treasurer further said that a great programme of works had been undertaken in the Postal Department, and in connexion with civil aviation. The revenue of the Postal Department, he said, was expected to increase by about £5,000,000 because of increased postal telegraph and telephone charges, which are really methods of increasing taxation. In connexion with civil aviation it should be noted that departmental expenses for civil aviation alone have increased over the last four years by no less than £4,000,000. Thus, any improved service to the people increases taxation out of all proportion. Progress is not to be achieved m that way. In a publication known as the Digest of Decisions and Announcements, there is published a report of the speech delivered by the Prime Minister on the 12th June, 1949, in which he said -
I make this challenge here this morning. No government in the history of Australia has ever given to private industry so much assistance and advice and help as has been given by the Commonwealth Labour Government. Whether it is a matter of increased steel production at Port Kembla or Broken Hill or Newcastle, or whether it is in any other industry, no matter how small is the man or how large is the company.
A little further on in the same speech he declared -
One of the things that has held us up is our inability to produce basic materials in this country. Again I get back to bricks, coal, steel and all things necessary, not only for increased manufacture, but for housing which is so badly needed.
Thus, all the advice and assistance of the Government did not result in the production of the requisite quantity of basic materials. He issued a challenge, and then admitted his defeat in the same speech. The Government has not been able to produce the materials needed.
Indeed, production has been steadily declining, as the following figures show : -
The figures I have cited are those for the period before the coal strike. The lack of incentive, and the feeling among the workers that they are being paid in what might be termed counterfeit money wages that never catch up with the cost of living, contribute largely to the decline of production. Only by offering the workers a proper incentive can we hope to obtain greater production. In the speech from which I have quoted, the Prime Minister made a further reference to the “ Golden Age “. I was under the impression that he had used the expression only once, and had realized . later that it was an unfortunate expression, and had refrained from employing it again. I now find, however, that he has used the phrase more than once. For instance, only last June, he said -
In Australia to-day you have what I have probably said before - the Golden Age.
I looked at a dictionary to see what “ the Golden Age “ really means. The definition that I found was -
A prehistoric era of innocence and happiness.
That is very true because, if the people of Australia are happy to-day with what they see about them, they must be innocent indeed. Apparently the Prime Minister is something of a humorist ! Not content with the first definition, I visited the Parliamentary Library and looked at another dictionary. Its definition of “ the Golden Age “ was -
The first and the best age of the world in which, according to the Greek and Roman poets, mankind lived in a state of ideal prosperity and happiness free from all trouble and crime.
After hearing those definitions, surely the Prime Minister and his supporters must realize how ridiculous was his statement. People all over Australia knew that it waa inaccurate, and it is time that the Prime Minister withdrew it.
I refer to the increasing cost of administration revealed in the budget. Earlier this evening, national broadcasting stations announced that the Prime Minister of Great Britain was making a drive to decrease administrative costs. He has said that he wants them to be reduced by at least 5 per cent, within the next three months, and that they must keep on falling. What is the situation in Australia? In 1945-46, the cost of Commonwealth Government administration in this country was £8,520,025. By 1948-49, the last complete financial year, it had risen to £27,920,937. The estimate for the current year is more than that. The Government continually urges the people to “ save for security “, but its own administrative costs soar year after year. Something must be done about that. Unless the Government economizes, as it urges the people to do, the taxpayers will have to bear an increasing burden of costs. Discussing the social services contribution, the Prime Minister said, in his budget speech -
In March last, substantial reductions were made in the rates at which income tax and social services contribution aTe payable by individuals for this financial year.
The budget shows that that statement is not correct. The social services contribution is slowly, but surely, mounting. In 1947-48, the annual rate of contribution per head was £9 7s. 0¼d. In 1948-49, it was £11 Ils. 5-&d. This year the estimated rate is £12 5s. 2-Jd. The Prime Minister says that the rate is being decreased, but it is being increased continually. A great deal has also been said about “ substantial “ reductions of direct and indirect taxes. I have examined the figures, and I find that direct taxes have been reduced by less than 3d. per week per head of the population. Indirect taxes have been reduced by less than 7d. per week, or Id. per day, per head of the population. That is not much to sing about in a budget, but the Prime Minister has frequently referred to it and his supporters often boast about it. There is really nothing to boast about.
It is estimated that the Government’s attempt to nationalize our banking system will cost the country an amount of more than £200,000 in legal expenses.
– Who told the honorable member that?
– That is the estimate. I believe that the Labour party should pay those costs. The point is that the policy of nationalization is the Labour party’s policy. When the High Court of Australia found that the plan was not legal, the Labour party insisted that theGovernment appeal to the Privy Council, which has not yet announced its full finding. Therefore, the costs of the legalproceedings should be borne by the party. The referendum on prices and rent control cost the country a little less than £150,000. Would it not have been cheaper to put the question of bank nationalization to the people by referendum at a cost of less than £150,000 than to proceed at law at a cost of over £200,000? But,, of course, the Government would not do that! The impatience of Ministers and their supporters whenever we suggest that contentious matters be submitted to the people for decision is very noticeable. Their attitude is, “ Why should the people- have a chance to express their opinion? “. The Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) has said -
No man will argue that there should be any greater power than the will of the people, and, if the Government is returned pledged to the nationalism of banking, why should not the Government nationalize the banks?
The first part of his statement was correct. Nobody will argue that there should be any greater power than the will of the people. But the Government will not give the people a chance to express their will. When the Government and its supporters last went before the people at a general election, they did not say anything in their speeches about nationalization of banking. However, the people will know at the next election and, if they return to power a party that is pledged to the nationalization of banking, they will deserve to have the banks nationalized. Their eyes are open now. They had not been opened at the last election. As the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) pointed out earlier in this debate, almost every member of the Labour party tries to camouflage the socialization plank in the party’s platform. Labour candidates do not come out openly at political meetings and say, “” We stand for the implementation of a policy, to which we are pledged, for the socialization of industry, production, distribution and exchange “. That policy, to which all Labour party members are committed, cannot resound too loudly throughout Australia. Every Labour party candidate has signed a pledge to implement the socialization plan, but he does not tell that to the voters.
– Yes, he does.
– No. I believe that, when Labour party candidates go before the people at the next election, they will find that plenty of electors are ready to ask whether they have signed that pledge.
– Bank managers, for instance.
– -If they deny that they have signed the pledge, then they cannot be Labour party candidates. If they admit it, the people will know what to expect and, if they return the party to power, they must want socialization of industry, production, distribution and exchange. The Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell) has suggested that questions may be asked by bank managers. The Minister for Transport has pointed out that certain banking organizations have set up campaign committees in order to try to put the Labour party out of office. He said -
They are doing that because the banks know that the result of the next general election is of vital importance to them.
I wrote down what he said as he said it.
– The honorable member’s shorthand is not good.
– If the Minister for Transport says that banks know that the next general election is of vital importance to them, why is it of vital importance? The Minister knows why! He is the only Labour man who has come out in the open. It is of vital importance to them, because if the Government is returned, it will eliminate the private trading banks of Australia.
– Let us hope so.
– The honorable member for Martin says, “ Let us hope so “. He, too, openly admits that the private trading banks will be eliminated if the Government is returned to power. Other Ministers and Government sup-: porters keep private their intention to eliminate the private trading banks so that the people shall not know of it before the general election. They do not say anything about their intention, preferring to keep it hidden from the electors. I know what happens at general elections. I have attended election meetings held by Labour supporters and listened to the speeches of Labour candidates, and none has said that he is pledged to do this or that. They have kept their purposes secret and thereby tried to deceive the people.
– The honorable member listened to me at a meeting recently.
– Yes. I will tell honorable members about that shortly. The Prime Minister has said that he has given any amount of advice to people in industry; but let us see how the Prime Minister reacts when some one gives him advice. I quote the following extract from a newspaper article: -
The President of the World Bank (Eugene Black) warns dollar-debtor countries - which include ourselves, of course - that we must reduce government spending if we are to produce goods at a cost which will enable us to sell abroad.
What did the Prime Minister say about that? He merely asked whether the Opposition would say that it would withdraw any of the social services benefits that the Government was giving to the people. He has been advised to cut costs, but he cannot take advice from a man who knows more about world condition than he does. ‘Social services are like the wheat strewn within the noose to catch the rooster. When the people reach out too far for social services, they will find themselves caught in the noose of socialism. The Prime Minister has been very free with advice. At the conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers last year he advised the Premier of Victoria, Mr. Hollway, to raise freights and fares. That was his reply to a request for satisfactory reimbursement of the States under uniform taxation. Instead of getting more money, all that Mr. Hollway got was advice to raise freights and fares.
The Government of Victoria held out for twelve months. Then another conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers occurred and another unsuccessful attempt was made to obtain satisfactory reimbursements. So, of course, freights and fares have now risen in Victoria. The Prime Minister gave that advice, and freights and fares rose. The people of Victoria, especially those in the country districts, are very disturbed in consequence. I do not know whether we should blame the Prime Minister for having given that advice or the Premier of Victoria for having accepted it. At any rate, wherever the blame lies, the people of Victoria are alarmed at the set back that the rise of freights and fares will give to production and decentralization in the State. While the Treasurer is spending money on building up departments, against the advice of men who know, the States cannot get enough money to keep going. So he hands out a dole and advises that the States raise fares and freights. Although railways are instrumental in developing the country and bringing about decentralization and greater production, all that must be retarded by increases of freights and fares, for it is the country man who has to pay. The recent increase of telephone charges was another blow struck at the people in country districts. City men can conduct their telephonic business at 2d. a call, but country men have to make most of their calls over the trunk-line service. The city 2d. rate remained unchanged when trunkline rates were sharply increased recently. I do not want the city 2d. rate to be increased, but the increased trunk-line rates have forced up the costs of men in country districts. Men in places like Bairnsdale and Mildura are hit all the time.
– The honorable member voted for the bill.
– I was opposed to the increase, as the Minister knows.
– The honorable member voted for it.
– I flatly deny that. I did nothing of the kind. The honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden), who has always advocated greater telephone facilities for country districts in Victoria, pleaded some months ago that £500,000 be set aside for their provision. Later I said that the amount should be £1,000,000. The Minister for Information promised to submit the proposal to the Postmaster-General (Senator Cameron).
– And I did so.
– Yes, and the reply that came from the Postmaster-General was that it would be considered; but, instead of country people being given better facilities they have been mulct of increased payments for their means of communication. The man on the land, the man who is decentralized, always has to pay. The greatest monopoly in the country and the greatest spender of moneyis the Australian Government. How can private enterprise in country districts nope for any kind of help while this governmental expenditure continues ? The Government cannot pour money into departments and, at the same time, reduce taxation.
The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) referred to the buoyancy of certain company dividends. He must remember that those dividends and the high taxes that are levied by the Government on company profits are passed on to the public in the prices of the commodities supplied by the companies. If high dividends are paid, some one has to pay for them, and the payment comes from the public which purchases the dearer goods. The consumers are the people who pay for high company taxes and big dividends. If companies wish to pay big dividends, it is their concern, but the people who finally pay the cost are the buyers of their manufactures.
– That is an argument for bigger dividends.
– The Minister for Information is squirming in his seat. The position is that high company taxes must be passed on to the consumers. So must big dividends paid to shareholders be passed on to the consumers. Prices cannot be reduced while taxation remains high. That is logic with which the Minister must agree. That is the answer to the whole question. The Minister attended a meeting in Melbourne a little while ago.
– It was a big meeting.
– It was not so big.
– Two thousand five hundred people attended it.
– Order !
– If the Minister held a meeting in the Mallee, I should not care to be responsible for his safety. If he did get away scot free, it would only be because of the people’s sorrow for him. Anyway, the Minister attended that meeting in Melbourne. For the moment, I have mislaid my notes about that matter, but I can speak without notes.
– The honorable member can talk a lot of nonsense.
Mr. Holt. - I rise to order. Earlier to-night, I made one interjection. It was designed to clear a point raised by the Minister for Postwar Reconstruction (Mr.. Dedman). The Chair immediately rebuked- me for having done so, saying that other speakers had been heard in silence and that the Chair insisted upon that course being followed. The Minister for Information is constantly interjecting in a thoroughly frivolous fashion, and I ask that the same treatment be accorded1 by the Chair to both sides of the committee.
– There is no point of order. I have called the Minister to order time after time. If the honorable member for Fawkner wants members to be dealt with by the Chair for having made one or two interjections, the Chair will act accordingly. The practice is that if an interjection is made, the Chair may call for order, but does not intervene. The honorable member for Fawkner is as great an offender in the matter of interjecting as any one else. However, if he wants the Chair to take action on every interjection the Chair will oblige him.
– I interjected once to-night and was rebuked for having done sp.-
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I did not rebuke the honorable member. I was not in the chair at the time. The practice has been that the Chair takes action- only when there is concerted interruption of an honorable member’s speech by interjection. I do not think that that has happened to-night. However, I ask the Minister to refrain from making further interjections.
– On the 4th September the Minister attended a meeting of the Australian Labour party in Melbourne. I understand that that meeting was called in order to seek funds to -meet the Australian Labour party’s expenses in connexion with the forthcoming general election. At the time I was in the Wimmera electorate and listened to a broadcast of the proceedings at the meeting. First, Mr. Hayes, secretary of the Trades Hall Council, was introduced. He made a lot of noise and advised his audience not to vote for a change of government, but to be on the winning side. We know that the Government is not winning anything - galvanized iron, coal, or primary products. Shortly afterwards, the Minister for Information spoke. He told his audience that he would . be going to Canberra during the following week and that he would explain during the budget debate where tie Liberal party obtained its funds. He spoke at length about what he would do when he reached Canberra. Why did not the Minister make the information available at that meeting? The proceedings were being broadcast and he admitted that he had the information. Obviously he was unwilling to do so unless protected by parliamentary privilege.
– That is all rubbish.
– Honorable members will recollect that the Minister made a vicious attack upon the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Adermann) under the cloak of parliamentary privilege. Subsequently he said that if all of the workers voted for the Australian Labour party candidates, Labour would be in power permanently. Fortunately for this country the majority of the workers are intelligent people who may be relied upon to exercise their own judgment in this matter. The Minister also said that the Australian Labour party was keeping to the centre of the road and that he wanted the people to walk with the members of that party. How can it be contended that the Australian Labour party’s socialization policy is “keeping to the centre of the road “ ?
– That is where the red line is.
– Then, like many other members of the Australian Labour party, the Minister criticized what Professor Hytten had said in Tasmania and implied that the opinion expressed by Professor Hytten was shared by all members of the non-Labour parties. I remind honorable members that whenever the Prime Minister is asked whether views expressed publicly by his Ministers are the Government’s views, or merely their own personal views, the right honorable gentleman invariably replies that they are the Minister’s personal opinions. The Minister made many statements at that meeting that are not worth speaking about, and was subsequently cheered by those present.
I do not consider that this Government has given proper consideration to the interests of the primary producers of this country. Only last night the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) referred to the achievements of this Government and claimed that it was responsible for the high prices now being obtained overseas for our primary products. It is well, known, however, that it was the unfortunate occurrence of the war not the administration of the Labour Government that brought about this state of affairs. Although a measure of prosperity exists to-day, unfortunately Australia has not progressed. That can be likened to a man having had a good win at the races. His prosperity resulted from good fortune rather than from progress and it may disappear as quickly as it came. This country is not progressing. We all know that in order to assist both Great Britain and ourselves to overcome the situation that has developed as a result of dollar deficits, every encouragement must be given for production in this country to be increased. However, the socialist programme of this Government precludes encouragement being given to industry. I contend that this country should be allowed to progress normally by means of private enterprise.
During the course of his speech this evening the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) declared that the real index of prosperity is the value contained in the pound. To that I would add that the pound must be used to assure the permanency and growth” of the sources of our real income. Unless the Government pays adequate attention to the interests of the primary producers and the extension of primary industry full advantage cannot be taken of the high prices that are at present ruling for our products overseas. There is not at present any prospect of our primary producers increasing the production of beef cattle, fat lambs, dairy produce, wheat, or wool. In fact, the production figures with relation to many of these commodities are now lower than they were prior to the war, and are gradually decreasing. In addition “ counterfeit “ wages are being paid to the workers, which proves conclusively that this Government is not prepared to take positive action in the interests of the people of Australia. As has been amply demonstrated by other speakers on this side of the chamber, this budget will contribute nothing to the progress of Australia.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Although I listened attentively to the speech of the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Turnbull), I found it very difficult to follow. His statement that the money that the primary producers are receiving for wheat and wool was not worth anything was indeed astounding. Although I have spoken to many primary producers recently I have not heard anything that would substantiate his contention. My opinion is that the honorable member merely endeavoured to discredit the Australian Labour party, in the hope that some of the people listening to the broadcast of this debate would believe what he said to he true. I know many people who are anxious to obtain more of this money. Many of my constituents consider that their money is of the same value now as in 1921. Of course I do not think for a moment that the honorable member will agree with that contention. Like myself, many farmers have been able to liquidate debts that they contracted at that time. I calculated that it would take me until 1987 to repay a loan of £3,000 and interest. I have been able to discharge that debt with the pounds that I am receiving now. They are, theref ore, just as valuable now as they were in 1921. Many other farmers are in the happy position of having rid themselves of indebtedness. The farmers must consolidate their present position and not allow themselves again to be tricked as they were in the past by tory governments. The misfortunes from which the farmers have suffered were caused by men, not by nature. Man can prevent a recurrence of those misfortunes, but it is only Labour governments that will take action to prevent them. The land that was resumed by the Crown in 1921 for soldier settlement was purchased at a time when prices were inflated. Shortly after that, a process of deflation occurred and in order to maintain their incomes the farmers had to produce two bales of wool instead of one. The price of wool fell from approximately £20 to £10 a bale, but the interest payable upon the farmers’ debts remained at 7 per cent. Although the farmers were producing real worth, they were getting into debt. We must avoid a recurrence of those events. If the farmers look to the tories to protect them, they will look in vain.
The honorable member for Wimmera has suggested that when members of the Labour party speak at public meetings they do not say anything about socialism. At almost every meeting that I have addressed I have mentioned socialism and explained it to the audience. I ask the honorable gentleman, who apparently does not believe in socialism-
– Does the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. McLeod) believe in it?
– I believe in socialism, and I am sure that the great majority of the electors of the Wimmera division do so also. They are participating in the benefits that are derived from it. The superphosphate subsidy is pure and unadulterated socialism. If the honorable member for Wimmera were to say to the electors of the Wimmera division, “ I do not believe in the superphosphate subsidy and I shall urge in Parliament that it be withdrawn “, would he be returned at the forthcoming general election? Honorable gentlemen opposite must make it clear where they stand in regard to this matter. The nonsense in which they have indulged regarding socialism needs to be debunked, and T am going to debunk the “ windbag “ from Wimmera and other members of the Opposition.
Because the anti-Labour parties have no legitimate political arguments to advance against this Government, they have been forced to resurrect old bogies in an effort to scare the people. One that has been revived is the old “ socialist tiger “ of George Reid’s day. I remember that when I was a small boy I was rather frightened of the great tiger that appeared in the cartoons of that day. The tiger is moth-eaten, deaf, dumb, blind and without a tooth in its head. It is 44 years old and ought to be shot. Now that the people have seen socialism in operation, however, they realize that the socialist tiger is merely a bogy. Two years ago the private banks began to pour out money for propaganda against the Government’s bank nationalization proposals. The propaganda has been broadcast ad nauseam, and the people are sick of it. If honorable gentlemen opposite have any brains they will ensure that it is discontinued, because it is reacting to their disadvantage. The people have more intelligence than to believe the dreadful stuff that has been broadcast. Large sums of money were expended by the Opposition in an effort * to raise the bogy of communism, hut the subject has been dropped suddenly. Only the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony), who is mentally bankrupt, has attempted to resurrect it. I believe that the recent general coal strike was the result of a conspiracy between the tories and the Communists. The tories realized that they had no legitimate political arguments to advance against the Chifley Government. A general election was approaching. The tories, the hanks and the Communists desperately desire to destroy this Government. They asked themselves what they could do to destroy it, and they came tothe conclusion that the only thing that they could do in an effort to achieve their objective was to cause an industrial upheaval before the general election. The tories and their colleagues for the time being, the Communists, reasoned that if the Government settled a coal strike it would split the Labour movement, and that if it did not settle the strike it would lose favour with the people. Fortunately, the common sense of the miners prevailed in the end, and the Tory-Communist plan went awry.
As I have said, the Opposition has revived the old socialist bogy. The dairying industry receives an annual subsidy .of £5,500,000. Subsidies are a form of socialism. Is the honorable member for Wimmera prepared to tell the dairy-farmers of his electorate that he is in favour of the abolition of subsidies? If he did so, he would forfeit his deposit at the forthcoming general election.
– Has the honorable member for Wannon signed the socialist pledge ?
– I have. I have pledged myself to eliminate the middlemen who are the friends of the honorable member for Wimmera. There has been talk of the sources from which the Labour party derives its funds. I should like to know where the Australian Country party obtains its funds. It certainly does not get them from the ordinary people. Probably it obtains the greater proportion of its funds from the speculators, middlemen and members of the profession to which the honorable member for Wimmera belongs. The speculators and middlemen battened on the farmers in years gone by, as did the auctioneers, with their commissions. We have eliminated the middlemen completely. We have got them off the back of the farmer. The speculators have gone. Naturally, persons such as those will pour out their money in an attempt to defeat the Labour Government. That is why we find members of the Australian Country party in this chamber opposing stabilization schemes. They do not want subsidies to be paid. They do not want us to continue to pay an annual subsidy of £50,000 on nitrogenous fertilizers and £3,500,000 a year on superphosphates. Is the honorable member for Wimmera pre pared to advocate publicly the abolition of another form of socialism? I refer to the fact that at the present time I can arrange for my superphosphate to be carried for nearly . 300 miles by rail at a cost of 10s. a ton. The normal cartage rate would probably be £3 a ton. Is the honorable member for Wimmera game enough to say to his constituents that that is socialism, and, therefore, he does not believe in it? The honorable gentleman thinks that the humbug in which he has indulged in regard to socialism will scare the people, but let him see how he will get on if he attempts to abolish these forms of socialism. There are many forms of socialism in operation at the present time, and the people are enjoying them. The annual tea subsidy is approximately £5,600,000. Do honorable gentlemen opposite consider that the people would like to pay an additional 2s. 6d. per lb. for tea, as they would have to do if the subsidy were abolished? Is the honorable member for Wimmera game enough to advocate that the tea subsidy should be discontinued?
The war service land settlement scheme is yet another form of socialism. It has been of great benefit to individuals and to the nation as a whole. Under private enterprise, many men who are now settled on the land would have had no opportunity to acquire properties of their own. Millions of pounds were expended upon land settlement after World War I. Although the scheme that was in existence then was a bad one, some of those who were settled on the land under it survived the difficult times through which they passed. I was one of them. If that scheme had been administered properly, as the present scheme is being administered with the aid of financial assistance from this Government it would have been a complete success. Many men lost their land owing to the callousness of the governments of the day. Is the honorable member for Wimmera prepared to say that he does not believe that the great estates in Victoria, in which some of the best land in the State is situated, should be cut up into smaller holdings? Is the honorable- gentleman game enough to stand on a platform and say, “ We do not want this form of socialism. We want tie land to revert to the large landholders. We want conditions to he such that the settlers will not be able to carry on successfully “ ? After World War I., much of tie land that was made available to settlers reverted to the large land-holders. The humbug that honorable members opposite talk about socialism makes me annoyed. Opposition members should be game enough to get up and say on the hustings that they will not continue with the present Government’s so-called “ socialistic “ schemes. Let them tell the people that they will not carry out the great Snowy Mountains hydro-electric project. I am certain that they have not the courage to tell the people that. The Snowy Mountains scheme is another great form of socialism, as are many other great national works. It is complete and utter humbug to say that private enterprise could undertake such works. Does the honorable member object to the wool agreement by which the taxpayers’ money was pledged to the amount of £40,000,000.? That agreement involved pure and simple socialism, but Australia has reaped great benefits from it. The wheat stabilization scheme is socialism. We are told that we have a socialist government but any man with any sense knows that because of the limits allegedly imposed by the Constitution we apparently cannot even socialize some things that the Constitution gives us power to socialize. The Constitution says, in words plain enough for any ordinary man who may not be versed in law to understand, that the Commonwealth Government shall have power to make laws in regard to banking. That is written in the Constitution but laws that we have made regarding banking have been challenged. What hope have we of nationalizing farms? Under socialism this Government has put farming on its feet. To do so it has had to fight great opposition against its acquisition of big estates. To be honest, Opposition members will have to tell the people that if successful in the forthcoming general elections they will not continue with the present ‘Government’s schemes to make this country a great nation and to develop its primary industries, but will leave development of those industries to the big pastoral companies. The honorable member had a lot to say about taxation and production, which he connected in his remarks. He issued -a challenge to the Prime Minister. Just imagine! Unfortunately for him, when he spoke of production he chose to speak of the production of housing. He said that the Government is not producing houses for the people, or bricks to build houses. Yet in the twelve months up to the 30th June last 52,000 homes and flats were completed in Australia. The average annual construction prior to the last war, when antiLabour governments were in office, was 27,000 homes and flats, so that this Government has nearly doubled the rate of construction. In the 1930’s, when the present Opposition parties were in office, there were hundreds of thousands of tradesmen available, many of them without work, and there were also limitless quantities of materials to he had. What were the honorable gentleman and his party doing then? It would have been simple enough in those days to find the labour and materials for a great building programme. But the people in these days did not .have the money to build houses. To obtain finance for homebuilding they had to go to the ^private banks which lent them money on condition that they would obtain a good return from the loan. I agree with the remarks of the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) earlier to-night. He made a very pertinent point when he warned the people of this country regarding the devaluation of currencies between nations. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) has in effect pledged that if the Opposition parties are returned to office at the next general election they will destroy the Commonwealth Bank, which is the only institution that can save this country. Let that right honorable gentleman go up to the Wimmera country, where there are a lot of small farmers, and say that he will destroy the Commonwealth Bank and allow the financial control of this country to return to private banks, both Australian and overseas and he will find that many of those small farmers will ask him whether he believes in socialism or not. Many of them were put off their land when tory governments were in office.
Under the present Government Australia has achieved a great productive effort despite many disadvantages. In the days before the war imports of iron as well as of other goods were readily available, but the farmers did not have the means to buy the netting and other materials that they required. Now they have the money to buy these necessities. The accent in the States seems to .be on price decontrol, and only the privileged and the wealthy can obtain all the Australian materials that they require. The ordinary man cannot get his requirements. I considered myself fortunate only last week to obtain a few coils of Belgian wire.
It is necessary to increase the working population of this country and the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) is doing a splendid job in that respect. Australia is already enjoying the benefit of his efforts. The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction has also been responsible for increasing the trained man-power of Australia. As a result of the operation of the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme 20,000 skilled exservicemen have entered the building trade. Twelve thousand new Australians have also gone into industries connected with home construction. In the last six months the production of bricks has increased from 30,000,000 to 40,000,000. That increase was partly as a result of the employment of immigrants in the industry. So all this talk from the Opposition about falling production is not true. It is merely a lie which Opposition members hope that the people will believe if it is repeated often enough. All over Australia new homes are being built, but the parties opposite are trying to deny that the Labour Government’s rule has anything to do with their construction. I remind the people of Australia and honorable members opposite that antiLabour governments did not have any scheme such as the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, under which a total sum of £4:8,000,000 has been advanced to the States for home construction. We can remember the promises made in the early 1930’s by tory governments. One such government said it would spend £20,000,000 for housing, but in the end did not spend even £1,000,000. People in those years were without houses and shortly afterwards many of them were on the roads without jobs. Many people have become tenants of homes built by State housing authorities. The conditions that they enjoy as tenants are much superior to the conditions that they would enjoy as tenants of private landlords. I know of a man who fell sick after he had been a tenant of a State housing authority home for less than six months. He is unable to pay his full rent, but is still in that home. He is drawing a sickness benefit of 25s. a week, his wife is drawing £1 a week and they receive 10s. child endowment a week. Under the system of rental rebates which operates in regard to such homes, the rent is calculated on the income entering the home. On that basis that man pays a rent of only about 7s. 6d. a week. Where would that man have been prior to the introduction of the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement? He would have been ou* m the road with no home.
Another great project undertaken by this Government is the re-establishment of ex-service personnel, which has cost £108,000,000 since the war ended. Contrast that record with that of anti-Labour governments in this country following World War I. Let us see what this Government has done to benefit not only the individual but also the nation as a whole. Over 10,000 persons have completed courses at universities. Many of them are the sons of working men. That is socialism in action. However, honorable members opposite object to that scheme. They believe that sons of working men should not be given the privilege of going to a university. But is it not far better to train 10,000 young men in that way than to deny them such opportunities?
– To whom does the honorable member refer when he speaks of working men?
– I repeat that under the Government’s reconstruction training scheme sons of working men are being given the opportunities of higher education, whereas under non-Labour governments such opportunities were confined to the sons of wealthy people. However, the Government has been enabled to undertake this scheme only through the exercise of the Commonwealth’s defence power. The value of a scheme of this kind was emphasized during the recent war, when professional men, such as engineers and doctors, were urgently required for defence purposes. I know one brilliant young man who would have taken a job on a baker’s cart had he not been enabled under this scheme to go to a university. I have no doubt that much will be heard of that young man’s achievements in his profession in the future. This scheme is of real value to the community as a whole. Surely, the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) does not contend that only the wealthier section of the community have a monopoly of mental brilliance. In addition to professional men, we urgently require technicians. That need is accentuated to-day when we are undertaking housing and other construction programmes of great magnitude. Already, over 39,000 persons have completed their technical training under the government scheme. I recall that the tory reactionary government which was in office following the conclusion of World War I. offered the returned soldier only the job of building roads. At that time, most workers could get only relief work. In fact, three years after the conclusion of that conflict we saw the formation in this country of unemployed ex-servicemen’s associations. Under the present Government’s scheme approximately 15,000 persons are undergoing university type training, whilst over 34,000 are receiving technical training. Up to date, the scheme has cost over £35,000,000, and that cost is expected to rise to £80,000,000 before the scheme is completed. That expenditure represents a first-class investment from a national point of view. It is an admirable example of socialism pure and simple. I challenge honorable members opposite to go on the hustings and say that they object to that scheme.
The Government has also pledged itself to bear any financial losses that may be incurred in the settlement of exservicemen on the land. Recently, in company with the Minister for Post-waT Reconstruction, I had an opportunity to inspect a home which is typical of those being provided for soldier settlers. The dwel ling was a credit to the Settlement Commission in Victoria, and I readily agreed with one member of that commission when he said that if ex-servicemen were not provided with good homes now they would never get them. I can speak on this subject from personal experience. After World War I., the home built by the authorities on my block of land, at a cost which was very high even for those days, consisted of three rooms and had not been given a coat of paint. It did not have a bathroom. Apparently, the government of the day thought that ex-servicemen did not need to bath. However, during the preceding two years I had lived in a tent which I pitched under a gum tree, and with things as they were under an anti-Labour government at that time I thought that, perhaps, I was lucky. Each home that is made available under the Government’s land-settlement scheme is a national investment. The day will come when the taxpayers will have to bear a portion of the cost. Nevertheless, such expenditure is a first-class national investment. It is much better to undertake schemes of that kind than to permit conditions which force settlers off their holdings. I recall that under the anti-Labour government that was in office after the conclusion of World War I. many ex-servicemen settlers left Victoria and made good in other States. To-day, we have eliminated conditions of that kind. The Government’s scheme would be a good investment even if the land were made available free of charge to ex-servicemen, because having the opportunity to make a livelihood, the average man is willing to marry and rear a family, and the value of children cannot be indicated in figures in a national balance-sheet. Supporters of the Government are realists in their approach to this problem. We admit that such schemes are examples of socialism. However, members of the Opposition parties have not the courage to go on the hustings and tell the people that they do not believe in schemes of this kind. To-day, they have much to say about communism ; but the greatest bulwark against communism in this country is the provision of adequate social services benefits. The present Government has increased expenditure on such benefits from £16,000,000 to £100,000,000 a year. That expenditure also is a good national investment. As the result of the Government’s social services programme we have not in our community to-day what we used to call the poor. In years gone by, many dear old ladies thought it was their duty to go around and distribute cast, off clothing among the unfortunate sections of the people. Those old ladies who were typical of those times have no jobs of that sort to-day because no Australian needs to rely upon charity. This Government has eliminated the poverty that was prevalent in this country about 40i years ago. To-day, Australians as a whole are a happy people. They enjoy social security. That is why the Communists fear the Labour Government which is implementing its policy of social security and full employment. NonLabour governments bred communism in this country during the 1930’s, and did nothing to combat that evil. Honorable members opposite therefore know all about communism. The present Government is the enemy of communism. That is why Communists want to see the Opposition parties returned to office at the next election because those parties do not believe in a policy of full employment. If they are returned to office, what will be the result? Unemployment begets- unemployment, just as employment begets employment, and we shall have not 8 per cent., but 20 per cent, of our people unemployed. Unfortunately, some people will be misled by the arguments of honorable members opposite because they believe that under a non-Labour government they will be able to get cheap labour. But the wheatgrower, for instance, will soon find that he cannot get more than 2s. a bushel for his wheat. At the same time, however, many people will become wealthy under such conditions. In those circumstances the Communists will have no difficulty in attracting recruits to their ranks, because there will be many workers looking for jobs. Honorable members opposite object to the- Government’s taxation policy because- the Government places the heaviest burden on the shoulders of those best able to bear it. I had never paid income tax before I was elected to the
Parliament^ hut I used to pray that I would’ see the day when I would be able to do so. In those days when a man complained to me that he had to pay tax, I told him that he was lucky because he would not have to do so unless he had an income. Although during that period I was producing wealth by growing wool the interests represented by honorable members opposite took all my wealth from me. They left to me barely sufficient income to pay the interest on my loans. The average price received for Australian wool in 1939 was l’0d. per lb. Under the administration of antiLabour governments, it was not necessary to tax the small farmer. It was much simpler just to take his entire wealth. To-3ay, I pay taxes, and I was never better off in my life. Throughout the community, old people and widows are able to buy the necessaries of life,
– The honorable member is a capitalist now.
– No. I only hope that I. shall be. able to continue to pay taxes. After all, the important thing is not what one pays in taxes, but what one has left. I never thought, years ago> that. I would ever have an income as great as I had last year after paying taxes. Therefore,. I am not at all worried. The man on the land need have no fear as long as the prices of primary products keep up. A married man. with two children, receiving £400 a year - he could be regarded as an average income-earner - paid £6 5s. a year in tax before the war. To-day, he pays- £5 a year in social services contribution, and no income tax. In return for his social services contribution, he receives £26. in child endowment for a. start. Therefore, on. that item alone he is. showing a profit of £21. In effect, he is not contributing to national revenue but is drawing upon it. For the £6. 5s. a year that he paid under tory governments, he received nothing. There was no provision for the payment of 25s. a week to him and £1 a week to his wife should he become sick. His hospital expenses were not paid for him. If he died, it was just too bad for his dependants. There was no widow’s pension. All these things have come from socialization; yet honorable .members opposite object to socialization. They say that taxes are too high., yet they wonder why there is communism in this country. The greatest bulwark against communism today is social security. We can afford it. Company profits, after provision has been made for tax commitments, are still high. The Labour Government has not bled Australia white as Mr. R. G. Casey has alleged. Australia is prosperous; hut we must have more people, and, in this connexion, I am sure that even the tories will grudgingly admit that the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) has done a good job. I know that he will continue his excellent work. Population is one of Australia’s most serious problems. This is a vast country. I have travelled most of it. I shudder to think what could happen to us. At our near north, as it can now be called, there are millions of Asiatics. If we are to hold Australia, we must have a much larger white population. In world councils, we cannot defend the retention of this country by 7,000,000 people while millions of others throughout the world are hungry. Australia has vast tracts of fertile land. We must play our part in populating this country. Members of the whiteraces must be brought from overseas as quickly as possible. Fifty or 60 years ago, the United States of America drew migrants from all over Europe. To-day, that great nation which has 6 per cent, of the world’s population has 55 per cent, of the world’s production. In the early days of American expansion, immigrants were accepted freely from all European countries. Australia must adopt a similar attitude. Obviously we cannot get enough immigrants of British stock, so we must turn to good types of northern Europeans. I have great faith in this country. Under Labour administration it will progress rapidly. I am sure that the Australian people, when they contrast the record of the Labour Government with that of tory administrations which failed Australia in time of war, and, before that, in time of peace, will say, “Well done; we shall return a Labour government “.
Motion (by Mr. Dedman) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I wish to refer to a matter which was the subject of a question that I asked earlier to-day of the Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell) who represents the PostmasterGeneral in this chamber. The House will recall that, this afternoon, I referred to Mr. W. T. Dobson. I asked the Minister whether he had made representations to the PostmasterGeneral (Senator Cameron) to obtain a telephone for Dobson and whether, in those representations, the Minister had alleged that there were special circumstances in Dobson’s case which warranted the installation of a telephone in Dobson’s hotel room. I also asked whether it was true that the Postmaster-General had replied that in view of the special circumstances, he had consented to install the instrument within seven days after Dohson had paid his deposit. The Minister replied that he had made representations to the Postmaster-General and that he had considered, from what Dobson had told him, that Dobson was performing work of national importance - I understand that he was a clerk connected with the Australian Labour party industrial group.
– I rise to order. We on this side of the chamber wish to hear what the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) is saying, but the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) and several of his Ministers are interrupting with audible conversation. I ask you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to call them to order.
– The Minister said that Dobson had fooled him and then went on to explain his actions, some of which I have already indicated to the House. At the conclusion of his statement, the Minister said that -
Dobson was in touch with a lot of other people because the night that he dived into the harbour he came straight from the residence of Mr. W. C. Wentworth, a selected Liberal candidate for a Commonwealth seat in the Parliament at the next elections.
I do not object to the Minister saying that Dobson fooled him. Perhaps Dobson did fool him. Perhaps the Minister was easy to fool, because he wanted to be fooled by his industrial friend, Mr. Dobson; but how little I may object to the Minister’s confession that he was fooled, I wish to draw the attention of the House to the complete falsity of the rest of the Minister’s statement. I have had a communication from Mr. Wentworth on the matter and he informs me that the statements made by the Minister this afternoon are untrue. Mr. Wentworth states that on the afternoon in question, when this man Dobson dived into the Harbour, Mr. Wentworth’s wife and children were continuously at their home and that Dobson did not go there at all. Mr. Wentworth also states that he was out in his electorate all that day and evening. If I remember rightly, this incident occurred during the coal strike, and Mr. Wentworth was performing a work of charity occasioned by the strike in delivering firewood to poor people in the electorate.
– The Minister cannot take it. He slanders people and says all sorts of things under the cover of parliamentary privilege, but he, himself, cannot take it. Mr. Wentworth stated that he did not see Dobson on the day or night in question. He said that some days before Dobson had come to him, representing himself as an official of the Australian Labour party who was bitterly opposed to communism and was engaged in anti-Communist work. It is well known to honorable members that for many years Mr. Wentworth has been a bitter and vigorous opponent of communism in this country.
– That is why he was attacked in this House.
Government members interjecting,
– We note the squeals of honorable members opposite. Mr. Wentworth said that Dobson had made these representations to him and asked him for money, but that he quickly packed Dobson about his business and refused to have anything to do with him. That was some days before the harbour incident. I draw the attention of the House to the fact that Mr. Wentworth was not fooled by Dobson as was the Minister, on his own admission. The Minister’s statements in this House about Mr. Wentworth were deliberately and wilfully false. They could not be anything else. I make these comments in strong terms because somebody must defend the name of a man who is unable to defend himself against attacks made under the privilege of this House.
– How many convictions have been recorded against Dobson?
– He is under committal for having committed a public mischief. On his own confession he is a liar in connexion with the alleged happening near Neilson Park. In spite of that, he was able without difficulty to get the Minister to say to the Postmaster-General that there were special circumstances - mysterious circumstances - relating to his application for a telephone.
– Not mysterious circumstances.
– The only special circumstance appears to be that he wanted a telephone installed in his hotel bedroom to enable him to carry on his work as a member of the industrial group of the Clerks Union. Dobson was able to get from a Minister of the Crown very privileged treatment apparently merely because he is a Labour man. This matter was brought to my attention by a constituent of mine, not a Communist, who wrote to me in the following terms: -
As a business man in a small way, and as one who believes in the freedom of individual enterprise, I am amazed when evidence as plain and seemingly indisputable as the enclosed is presented to me.
I applied for a telephone service approximately five years ago and have since pursued my application on three or four occasions without success. Although reasons were given for the inability to supply this service, in view of the subject article, it would seem that obstacles can be swiftly and smoothly overcome if one is highly favoured.
That is the view taken by an ordinary citizen. The letter continues -
The nature of my work makes a telephone necessary. Due to the lack of this essential convenience, I have lost money and business, and through extra work caused as a consequence of having no ‘phone, I have suffered ill health and am now having medical treat ment. T consider this matter relating t<> Messrs. Calwell and Cameron to be of great public importance. If they cannot carry out their duties impartially it is better that they retire from public life.
He made a number of other assertions which the Minister may read if he so desires, but with which I do not want to burden the House. This incident reveals two things. The first is that a man like
Dobson can get privileged treatment over thousands of ordinary citizens and that he was able to get a telephone in seven days while others have waited five years for a telephone service. Obviously, this is a case of gross favoritism at the expense of the ordinary citizens of the community. Is it any wonder that people like my constituents and the thousands of others who are waiting for telephones feel sore about it? The second comment I have to make is that when a Minister was asked a simple question on this matter - a factual question, as he himself has admitted - he did not answer it fairly, but resorted to abuse of a person outside this House who was not in a position to defend himself. This incident is extremely discreditable to the Minister.
– The incident to which the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) has referred and about which he has talked so long, but on which he has thrown no light at all, concerns a man named Dobson, who came to see me about the time of the coal strike representing himself to be the assistant organizer of the industrial group of the Clerks Union in the. fight against communism. He was at that time what he purported’ to be. He came with another man who was also a member of the same organization. They said that they had come from the head-quarters of the Australian Labour party in Sydney, and Dobson said that he wanted a telephone installed in his room in order to help him in his activities.
– The Clerks Union is Communist-controlled.
– As the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Falstein) has remarked, the Clerks Union is under Communist control. Dobson said that he had’ been expelled from the Clerks Union during the previous week after what he described as a “ Moscow “ trial. He said that it was extraordinary that the evidence that had been given against him contained a lot of material which was a verbatim account of telephone conversations which he had had with leading members of the Australian Labour party. That seemed to be a very serious matter, and I immediately reported the facts to the Postmaster-General (Senator Cameron) and to the Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs, Mr. Chippindall. The inference was that some person in the Postal Department had been listening to telephone conversations he had had and had given the information to members of the Communist party. It was on that point that Dobson fooled me. I am now convinced that Dobson himself supplied the material which the Communist executive used against him, and that he did so to enable it to be used against him. There is an old Arab proverb which says, “ Who fools me once, shame on him ; who fools me twice, shame on me “. Dobson has not since fooled’ me. The honorable member for Parramatta cannot fool me. He may succeed in fooling members of his own party. Indeed that would not be difficult. However, I made the representations that I had promised to make to the Postmaster-General. In reply, my colleague wrote me a letter which I sent, together with a complimentary slip, to Mr. Dobson. My letter and the complimentary slip were reproduced in the Communist paper, the Tribune, and it was from that newspaper that the elector from the electorate of the honorable member for Parramatta got his information. It is on the publication in the Tribune of those documents that the honorable member for Parramatta based his case to-night. The Communist party-Liberal party tie up perfectly !
– The Minister admits that it was true.
– I said this afternoon that it was true. Unlike’ the honorable member for Parramatta, I always tell the truth.
– Tell us about Mr. Wentworth.
– I am coming to Mr. Wentworth, and I shall tell the story about him in the same way as the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holloway), who represents the Minister for Health (Senator McKenna) in this chamber, told the story of the drugs which a chemist in the electorate of the honorable member for Parramatta wanted, the cases of which the honorable member himself misrepresented in the House.
– That is not true.
– The honorable member was made to look very foolish on that occasion. He did not have the gumption to admit that the chemist had fooled him, as Dobson fooled me. Concerning the use of Mr. Wentworth’s name, I said that Dobson dived into the harbour immediately after he left the residence of Mr. Wentworth, who is the selected Liberal party candidate for a New South Wales seat in this Parliament. My authority for making that statement was that a leading Minister of the New South Wales Government told me that fact in the presence of the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan).
Opposition members interjecting,
– The honorable member for Griffith will verify what I say. I ask the honorable member for Parramatta and the totally irresponsible honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Turnbull) to hold their patience a little longer. I am assured by the New South Wales Minister to whom I have referred that these facts will come out in the course of the case against Dobson which will be heard later. I should like to tell the honorable member for Parramatta more. Since I was fooled by this brilliant young Mr. Dobson, whose brilliance has been perverted, I have ascertained from my officers that he is the same person who was in trouble in China and other places. When he was in gaol in China he threatened the then Australian ConsulGeneral, Mr. C. W. Fuhrman, and the Australian Vice-Consul, Mrs. K. Jones, that unless they did certain things for him he would come back to Australia and denounce them and the Government to the Liberal party. That is in the documents.
– I rise to order. Is the case of Mr. Dobson sub judice ? If so, is the Minister entitled to proceed with his castigation of Mr. Dobson?
-I think that the case is before the court at the present time, and it should be considered to be outside the bounds of discussion.
– The document to which I have referred relates to certain happenings in China and definitely ties up the Liberal party with Dobson’s attitude.
– I rise to a further point of order. Regardless of the identity of the individual who has been charged, the matter is sub judice, and I submit that the Minister is not entitled in any way to bring any information before the House that may reflect upon, or injure, any person who is under arrest.
– I think that the point might have been taken earlier, but the Minister has been attacked on this matter and he is entitled to defend himself.
– What the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) feared was that I was coming to the point that Dobson is tied up with the Century. He has also been in close association with Mr. Paddison and other people connected with the Century. As a matter of fact, that publication accepted an advertisement from him. It aided and abetted him because-
– You are a liar.
– Order 1 I do not want to have to deal with the honorable member for Reid, but he knows that his remark is entirely opposed to the Standing Orders. He must withdraw the statement.
– With due respect to the Chair, I withdraw.
– As a matter of fact, Dobson was pretending to he antiCommunist, whereas, in fact, he was a “ plant “ inside the Labour party, and he was also a “ plant “ inside the councils of the Liberal party. The honorable member for Parramatta has attacked me to-night and has said that I should not make these statements. I give my evidence, and I would not have mentioned Wentworth’s name had not the honorable member himself done so. However, now that he has given Mr. Wentworth an unsolicited testimonial, will he tell the House how many convictions that gentleman has for speeding? Because of those convictions Mr. Wentworth lost his driver’s licence, and a man who cannot :be trusted with a motor, car licence cannot be trusted to tell the truth on this matter.
– I rise to order. Surely it is utterly irrelevant to any answer that the Minister may be entitled to make to my remarks for him to embark on an attack on the character of a person outside the House.
– There is no restriction on the debate because honorable members may raise any matter they desire to raise on the adjournment of the House.
.- I refer to the unjust treatment extended to Red Cross personnel who were prisoners of war in Malaya. I address my remarks particularly to the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley), because they relate to a matter of high principle. I refer to the fact that a Red Cross field officer, who sailed overseas with the Australian Imperial Force in 1942, was taken prisoner, and served three and a half years in captivity. He has received a demand from the Commissioner of Taxation to pay taxation on his pay, which amounted to £594 14s. 10d., during the period of his incarceration. Honorable members are aware that troops who served overseas were exempt from income tax. This man was treated by the Japanese in the same way as the troops who were captured, but he has received unequal treatment from his own Government. The Commissioner of Taxation has demanded payment of tax not only on the man’s Red Cross salary but also on the separation allowance of £77 which was paid to his aged mother. I made written representations to the Treasurer on behalf of the man concerned, and in reply the the Treasurer stated -
I agree, indeed, that the work of such philanthropic organizations as the Red Cross, particularly during the war years, is beyond praise, and I can assure you that the Government has, at all times, been mindful of the meritorious service of the personnel of these organizations. I feel, however, that the Government has given the fullest possible consideration to the matter and that its attitude in adhering to the principle that a lino of demarcation should be drawn between members of the fighting forces and accredited persons as also with many other civilians who were directly engaged in the nation’s war effort is a correct, one and should be maintained.
The Treasurer has thus refused the request. It is a mockery to say that the Government recognizes the meritorious service of such personnel while it makes that serious distinction. Certain deductions were allowable under section 81 of the act in respect of persons in that particular category. The person to whom. I referred received a deduction of £47 only.
– The Commissioner of Taxation, not the Government, has made the assessment.
– The Treasurer knows that he can put this matter right by an ex gratia act. On other occasions, after I had referred to the position of certain officers of the Royal Australian Air Forée, who were- instructors, I have received discouraging replies from the Minister for Air (Mr. Drakeford). However, I persisted for three, years and my efforts were rewarded when the. AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt) announced that the Government would make ex gratia payments to the men. In the meantime, some of them had died. The Treasurer can put this matter right by a stroke of the pen to-night or to-morrow if he desires to do so. It is futile for the right honorable gentleman to say that the Commissioner of Taxation is merely giving effect to the provisions of the act. Some few other persons are in a. similar position to that of the man to whom I have referred.
I also direct attention to another injustice. The captain of a ship which was trading between Australia and Nauru during the war and which was sunk by the Japanese was held prisoner in Manila,, in the Philippines. He was treated so badly that, subsequently, he died in hospital in Melbourne. The Government callously - I say callously without any bitterness - took nearly three-quarters of his small estate as income tax. Although that man had been a prisoner, the Government would not extend to- him the rights that other men, with whom he had fought, had been granted. His widow was fined also for the late payment of the assessment. Although the estate was only £500; the Commonwealth Treasury took, some £400 of it as income tax. At tie present time, the Government is talking in millions of pounds, and is engaged in an orgy of extravagance. Surely, this matter can be treated on humanitarian grounds.
I realize that the hour is late, but the motion for the adjournment is the only opportunity available to a private member to raise these important matters. I Urge the Treasurer to abandon his rigid, obdurate tax-gathering technique, and ensure that justice shall be done to the former officer of the Red Cross whom I have mentioned. He is a good citizen, and he has given the best years of his life in the forces. He should not be punished for having done so.
– I direct your attention, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and also that of the House, to a matter that has caused me concern for many years. I refer to the question of matters which are sub judice.
– Order! Does the honorable member propose to refer to a ruling of the Chair?
– No. I do not intend to reflect on a ruling of the Chair.
– The honorable member is not entitled to discuss the matter upon which the Chair has just given a ruling.
– No, I am not doing so. I desire to direct attention to a most important matter. The presiding officer in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, with the proceedings of which I am most familiar, has always ruled that legal proceedings that are engaging the attention of the Arbitration Court, and, indeed, the courts of justice, are sub judice and has forbidden any reference to them. Consequently I was rather surprised when I heard-
– The honorable member must not canvass the ruling of the Chair.
– I intend to mention the observations that have been made by the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) relative to the case of Mr. W. C. Wentworth. I was rather astonished to find that the lack of principle usually exhibited by honorable members opposite when an attack made by them has proved to be false have been not only sustained but also elaborated by the Minister in another personal attack upon a person who is not here to defend himself. The honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale), who asked a question about a certain matter earlier today, had received some information from Mr. Wentworth that was designed to place before the House the true position relative to a statement by the Minister in answer to that question. That is the only way in which a member of the public has an opportunity to defend his name. The Minister should have done what any decent man would have done in the circumstances. He should have said, “Well, I made that observation in a loose way. The person so defamed has made out a case and has stated his position and I am prepared to accept his statement and to close the discussion”. But he was not prepared to do so. He went further and said that Mr. Dobson was known to the councils of the Liberal party. I say that that is a complete misstatement and a deliberate untruth.
– - Is the honorable member sure ?
– I am certain, because I am closely associated with the councils of the Liberal party. Any smear that the honorable gentleman has made in order to sustain his own mistake, his own misstatement and his own gross untruth in the House will consist of matter that he has dredged up from, the gutter; but he has flung it in good measure, to answer the statements made by the honorable member for Parramatta. A good deal of lip service has been paid to the need for honorable members to protect their own interests by safeguarding the privileges that are accorded to them as members of the Parliament. When a responsible Minister, in the presence of the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), repeats an untruth and attempts to support it by saying that he had received the information from, a leading Minister in the Government of New South Wales, ‘and adds that that information will be revealed in the course of evidence in the Dobson case he pays purely lip service to the principle that the interests of members of Parliament should be protected. We can get some idea from the Minister’s statement, which has such an authoritative note, of the source of his information. It must have been given to the Minister for Immigration by a Minister in the State government who was in a position to know what evidence would be adduced against Dobson.
– I rise to order. I ask you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, whether the honorable member for Wentworth is in order in canvassing the Dobson case.
– Order ! I think the honorable member for Wentworth is getting a little close to canvassing the case.
– I shall not canvass the Dobson case. I am merely saying that the Minister for Immigration stated in reference to Mr. Wentworth - not Mr. Dobson - that certain evidence would be revealed in a case that will come before the court. Obviously the State Minister who divulged that information divulged material that never should have been mentioned to any Commonwealth Minister or member of the Commonwealth Parliament. By so doing that State Minister has violated his oath of office. That is what has happened in this case, and yet the irresponsible Minister for Immigration, who from time to time commits the most flagrant breaches of common decency in this House and is guilty of maladministration in his own department concerning other matters, stands in his place and, in front of the Prime Minister makes a statement of that nature in which he repeats the gross inaccuracy that he had formerly conveyed to this House. He had no right to do so or to inform this House that he had received that information from a leading Minister in the State government, the source of which we are able to deduce. The Minister in the State government, who must have some knowledge of the evidence that will be presented to the court, had no right to give that information to the Minister for Immigration. In doing so he has obviously broken his oath of office. The Minister for Immigration has done a great disservice not only to himself and the Government, but also to honorable members who should jealously safeguard the parliamentary privileges that they enjoy. Instead of the Minister doing the decent thing and accepting the statement that has been made in perfect truth by a person whom he has defamed, he has aggravated his offence and has sought to impugn the prestige and standing of another man awaiting trial and so influence opinion outside the House against that man. All this has happened because the unfortunate person concerned succeeded in fooling him. So he has made this cowardly attempt to influence public opinion against the man. His conduct has been most outrageous.
– I rise to support the case advanced by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White). The Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) should look into it, and see that justice is done to the man concerned. The honorable member for Balaclava is deserving of our thanks in that he is always ready to help ex-servicemen. When Singapore fell, and the men of the 8th Division were marched out to Changi prison, the Red Cross men went with them. They played their part like the others. Some of them went out with working parties, whilst others attended the sick in a rough hut that was used as a hospital. I know one of these men, who is now living in Victoria, and he is not the man about whom the honorable member for Balaclava spoke, because I have compared notes with the honorable member. There are only a few men who would be affected by a favorable decision by the Government, and they should be treated fairly. I notice that the Prime Minister has walked out of the chamber.
-The honorable member is not entitled to reflect upon the Prime Minister whether he is in the chamber or not.
– We want the Government to reply to the case which has been submitted. We want justice to be done to the men. They should be granted this remission of taxation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. - 1949 - No. 64 - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.
No. 65 - Transport Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 06 - Association of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draughtsmen of Australia.
No. 67 - Commonwealth Medical Officers’ Assocation.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -
Defence - R. N. Thomson.
Works and Housing - A. E. Morrell,
W. Sando, W. H. Sloan.
Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Statement of Receipts and Expenditure for year 1948-49.
House adjourned at 11.43 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
s asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
What is the total number of personnel employed by the Department of Defence in (a) combatant and (6) non-combatant duties, and what is the nature of such non-combatant duties ?
– The answers to the honorable member’s . questions are as follows : -
The number of personnel employed by the Department of Defence is 249, including eighteen service officers. Their duties are not classified into combatant or non-combatant categories. These staffs are employed in accordance with the functions of the department on administrative, secretarial, research, communications, clerical and associated duties. In addition the department is responsible for the administration of 191 personnel employed as cleaners, boiler attendants, gardeners, telephonists and lift attendants as the maintenance staff for all departments located in the Victoria Barracks area.
t asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. An exhaustive search has been made of the records of the Department of Information, but there is no indication therein that
Mr. John Somerville Smith has ever been an employee of that department. I am advised also there is no record of Mr. Smith having been at any time an employee under the Commonwealth Public Service Act. As the honorable member is aware, there are many employees engaged temporarily by the Commonwealth or employed under authorities other than the Commonweatlh Public Service Act and he will appreciate that in order to reply to his question fully the way it is framed it would be necessary for each department as well as a number of statutory authorities to search their records covering many years. Owing to the considerable amount of work involved I have not asked that this be done.
s asked the Treasurer, upon notice - 1.Is it a fact that, during the war, certain persons who had retired from the Commonwealth Public Service were re-engaged in the Service, and certain other persons due for retirement were kept in employment after the date of retirement, on terms by which their superannuation was stopped during the postretirement period in which they continued to be Commonwealth employees?
– Inquiries are being made and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.
n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following information : -
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel, upon notice -
– The Minister for Shipping and Fuel has supplied the following information : -
The elements of cost in the price of motor spirit Bold at a uniform price in capital cities in Australia vary to some extent between companies and according to the proximity of the capital cities to the source of supply. The following is, however, a recent estimate of the cost elements in imported and locally refined motor spirit,- -
s asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel, upon notice -
– The Minister for Shipping and Fuel has supplied the following information : -
e asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel, upon notice -
– The Minister for Shipping andFuel has supplied the following information : -
Thirteen “A” class, two “B” class, nine “ D “ class, three “E “ class. 4. (a) Total cost ofships built £13,000,000;
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 September 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1949/19490921_reps_18_204/>.