House of Representatives
6 February 1952

20th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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Prime Minister · Kooyong · LP

– It is my very sad duty to bring officially to the notice of the House the fact that since we last met one cf our number has gone from us - Mr. Eldred James Eggins, the honorable member for Lyne, having died recently in Sydney. Mr. Eggins had not been a member of this House for very long, but he had a very notable record of public service. He had been Mayor of Lismore for four or five years during the ‘thirties, and a member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales for nine years. Among many other public activities, he had been a member of the council of the Royal Agricultural Society, in Sydney, for something in the order of eleven years, and he was the chairman of the Australian Country party (New South Wales) from 1944 to 1949, in which year he entered the Commonwealth Parliament. That is a remarkable record of unselfish public service.

The late honorable member for Lyne had been a member of this House long enough for those of us who had previously known him in only a sketchy way to get to appreciate his great qualities of mind, and heart and character. He was a very fine man, of great public spirit, strong views and great determination. He came to this House, as his record indicates, remarkably equipped in an allround way to approach the task of government in the National Parliament.

Being in Sydney at the time of his death, I attended the funeral service and the funeral on behalf of the Government, and I conveyed to his widow and his family the deep sorrow and sympathy of honorable members generally. With genuine personal end public sorrow I move -

That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of Mr. Eldred James Eggins, who at the time of his death member for the division of Lyne in the House of Representatives, and was formerly a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.

Leader of the Opposition · Barton

– On behalf of the Opposition, I second the motion proposed by the Prime Minister. Mr. Eggins had a very distinguished public career in New South Wales and, for a considerable period, was regarded by members of all parties as one of the leaders of the Legislative Council in that State. As the Prime Minister pointed out, the late honorable members association with the north coast of New South “Wales, and the great primary industries, was a long and distinguished one. It is always a sad and tragic thing when a member of this House, apparently in full strength and vigour, is taken away from ns by death. “We, on this side of the House, had a very great respect for the late honorable member. He was a man who was strong in his convictions. We appreciated his great knowledge, especially of certain rural subjects, but extending far beyond that. We join in expressing our deepest sympathy with his relatives in their loss. I especially extend the sympathy of the Opposition to those who were his colleagues in this House and to those who were his friends for many years before he became a member of the Parliament. I have in mind particularly his very close associate, the Minister for Health (,Sir Earle Page).

Mr McEwen:
Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · Murray · CP

– On behalf of the former colleagues of the late Mr. Eggins in the Australian Country party I associate my party with the motion moved by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and seconded by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). Our late friend, Mr. Eggins, was a man of outstanding character who devoted his whole life to the national interest and whose personal qualities, experience and force of character resulted in him being invariably chosen for leadership in every group with which he was associated. As the Prime Minister has said,, he was successively, the leader of his own municipality, as’ mayor of the City of Lismore, for a very lengthy period a most prominent member of the upper house of the New South Wales Parliament, and as we knew him better, a member of the House of Representatives in the National Parliament. He had an unsurpassed knowledge of country affairs, and a deep human interest in the problems of rural people. He unselfishly and unremittingly devoted his life to an attempt to understand and solve the problems of rural people and rural industries, and endeavoured in every way to meet rural needs. His association with the Australian Country party was uninterrupted, and in that sphere he was chosen for leadership, as the Prime Minister has said, for he became its chairman, the biggest branch of the party. His activities extended to a most prominent membership of the Royal Agricultral Society of New South Wales. Wherever he moved, he made friends. In this Parliament, notwithstanding the conflicting views expressed and represented here, he was the friend of members of all parties, and the confidant of all of us. He earned the respect of every honorable member. My colleagues join with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in expressins; their deep sympathy to his widow and his family.

Minister for Health · Cowper · CP

.- r As representative for 30 years of the constituency represented by the late Mr. Eggins when it formed part of the Cowper electorate, and as one very near of kin to the late honorable gentleman - I knew him all his life - I thank the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) and the Acting Leader of the Australian Country party for the moving, eloquent and generous words that they have spoken about him to-day. Their remarks will undoubtedly bring solace to, and will be greatly appreciated by, his wife and family and colleagues as well as the many thousands of people with whom he had been able to come in contact during his very full life. He was the son of a very distinguished pioneer of the north coast district who was chairman of directors of one of the first butter factory organizations to be established in Australia and remained in that position right from its inception until his death. The late honorable member was also the grandson of another pioneer who distinguished himself by the practical work that he did to found public institutions in his district.

It is not strange, therefore, that Jim Eggins, as all his acquaintances knew him, should have entered public life when he reached manhood, following the example of his forefathers and that he should have become ‘the youngest Mayor of Lismore in the history of that municipality. As. the Prime Minister has said, he served on the Lismore Municipal Council .for four or five years, during which period he succeeded in .bringing electricity from the Clarence to the Richmond district, a boon that is now enjoyed in thousands of homes and -on thousands of farms. He. was also president of the North Coast Pastoral and Agricultural Society and by his organizing ability made the annual .show of that organization one of the highlights of .country shows in Australia. In fact, because of his anxiety to help every >one on the land, he .maintained :at his .personal expense on the Lismore .showground a large plot of new grasses of all species where they were available for every one to inspect. Later, when Tie toured South Africa, Europe,, and the United States >of America, he made a point of visiting every show that was held in those countries during the course of ‘his sojourn in them. He believed that Australia could best be advertised in that manner; and the stories about his experiences that he was a’ble to tell upon ‘his return were most interesting.

Tie -previous speakers have mentioned details of his activities in public life. In all these he was greatly assisted by the co-.operation of his wife and family. He was for many years .a member of the .Legislative Council of New South “Wales and .president of the Australian Country party in New South Wales. Finally, he was elected to this House. I am sure that all members of the Parliament who made contact with him here must have realized that he .brought to all problems .that confronted this House not merely a profound and intimate knowledge of .rural problems, but also a very fair and sane mind. I am .sure that .his record of public service, which is a fitting monument to him, will not fade from our memory. I .thank -all honorable members for the sympathy .that they have evinced on this occasion.

Mr. DRUMMOND (New England).As one who served with the late honorable member for Lyne in the Parliament of New -South Wales ‘and in other spheres of public ‘life. I take this opportunity <to place on record my deep personal regret a t the passing of one who was a very loya] colleague and a very true friend. Both :of us ‘entered this Parliament in 1949. Prior -to that year, he was a member of the Legislation Council of New South Wales and I was a member of the Legislative Assembly in that State, and we were very closely associated in the work of the oldest Parliament in Australia. I had an excellent opportunity to see the “work that the late Mr. Eggins performed in that sphere. I also had the opportunity to assess his work as a member of the executive .committee .of ‘his own party. .’As chairman .of the Australian Country party (New .South Wales), .a position that he ^occupied so .capably, he brought to ‘the .services of has party the qualities that distinguished Mm as >a member of this House - an ordered mind, dispassionate judgment , complete control of himself and others. I knew his capacity, too, as a businessman. .’In the north coast district he built up one of the finest .seed businesses in any country district an New South Wales. La’ter, he transferred this business .activities to the wider sphere of Sussex-street, Sydney. The attribute -of perfect integrity in his approach to private business also distinguished .him in public life in both .the State .and Commonwealth .’Spheres. I endorse the :expressions of sympathy that .’have been voiced to Mrs. Eggins :and to the members of .the family .of the deceased gentlemen. .From my own long association with the late Mr. Eggins I wish ito place on record my opinion that the State of New South Wales has lost ia distinguished citizen, that the Commonwealth has lost ta -wise .and very just counsellor, and that the people who, like myself, knew him personally have lost a very loyal and worthy friend.

Question resolved in the affirmative., honorable members standing in -their places.

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Prime Minister · Kooyong · LP

– It is with very great regret that I convey to the House officially because, unfortunately, we -all were well aware of it personally, the fact that since we last met, the Parliament and the Senate have lost, by death, the services of Senator Richard Harry Nash, one of the senators of Western Australia. Senator Nash had a career and a history which, perhaps, is characteristic at its best of the history of many men who have done service in this Parliament, particularly on the Labour side of it. As far back as 1904, he was on the staff of the Kalgoorlie Miner and, thereafter, he had experience not only in connexion with that newspaper but also, later, as a tramway man. He became a union official, and occupied various appointments of a responsible kind in the trade union world. By 1939, he had become the secretary of the metropolitan council of the Australian Labour party, and was the secretary of .the Perth Trades Hall. So, he had a notable and distinguished career in the industrial sphere and in trade union circles. But he did not confine his activities to that field. He did a great deal of work on the advisory committee of the Perth Public Hospital. He was a good and loyal citizen. He was a representative on the man-power appeal tribunal in Western Australia during a period of the war, and he was a member, and did very useful work as such, of the State advisory committee for the Army Education Service in that State. It will be seen, from what I have said, that Senator Nash had a very busy, active and useful life. He was elected to the Senate in 1943. He was, at one time or another, a member of the Broadcasting Committee and the Public Works Committee, the chairman of the Senate Rules and Regulations Committee, and a temporary Chairman of Committees.

I believe that that, very tersely stated, is the record of a life of great usefulness and service, and one to which members of this House would desire to pay a very sincere tribute. But the story is not completed at that point. Senator Nash not only had this record of useful and willing service to his fellow men; he suffered a double blow during the war itself. He has been survived by a widow and by three sons and a daughter, to wl om the genuine sympathy of every member of this House will go out ; but in 1942, he lost two sons on active service. That was indeed a very great blow which might have unmanned many men. But he continued with his work and, as everybody who knew him will recall, he carried on that work with great courage and devotion. The news of his death was received with profound regret by every member of both Houses of the Parliament. I move -

That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of Senator Richard Harry Nash, who at the time of his death represented Western Australia in the Senate, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.

Leader of the Opposition · Barton

– On behalf of the Opposition, I second the motion and, in so doing. I thank the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) for his tribute to Senator Nash - “ Dick “ Nash, as we all came to know him - particularly insofar as it concerned the family bereavement to which the Prime Minister has referred, and Senator Nash’s fortitude in bearing that loss. As the Prime Minister has said, Senator Nash was active on the trade union side of the Labour movement from his early days when he worked as a journalist at Kalgoorlie. He continued his union work when he moved to Perth, and ultimately was elected to the Senate. All I wish to add to the Prime Minister’s remarks is that, notwithstanding the great loss that Senator Nash suffered during the war. and perhaps partly because of that loss, he always took a keen interest in the attempt to found a successful world peace organization through the United Nations. In 1945, when the Charter of the United Nations was being drafted, the then Prime Minister, John Curtin, appointed Senator Nash to the Australian delegation to the San Francisco Conference. That Charter was finally adopted, and Senator Nash maintained his interest in the work of the United Nations until his death. He was a man of strong views, but gentle in the expression of them while maintaining his firmness. His loss is a great blow to us. We did not expect it, and I have no doubt that it was hastened by the events to which the Prime

Minister has referred. Senator Nash’s family will, I am sure, derive some comfort from the tributes that have been paid to him in this chamber, and those that will be paid in the Senate by his colleagues who knew him even better than we did. Again I thank the Prime Minister for his kind references to our former colleague whose passing ha3 brought a deep sense of bereavement, particularly to honorable members on this -fide of the chamber.

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · Murray · CP

– I associate members of the Australian Country party with the motion of condolence and sympathy that has been submitted by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and seconded by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). My colleagues and I were deeply shocked to learn of the death of our parliamentary associate and friend, Dick Nash, as he was known to us all. He bad lived a life of service to his fellow men. Throughout the whole of his career he never swerved in his devotion to the principles in which he believed so strongly. He was a most humane man who had had a rich experience. Because I was a member of the Australian delegation to the San Francisco Conference, I had the kind of opportunity that honorable members do not frequently have of coming to know the late Senator Nash on a personal basis. I was associated with him on that delegation for many weeks. The more one knew Senator Nash the more one respected him. Members of the Australian Country party feel very deeply the loss of such a man to Australian national life and join in extending their most profound sympathy to his widow and family.


– I knew the late Senator Nash very well. I worked with him closely for many years, and I can say that the tributes that have been paid to him were most justly earned over the years of his life. In addition to the long list of service to which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) referred, the late Senator Nash was for many years a member of the Subiaco Municipal Council. He rendered very valuable service in that capacity, as he did in connexion with all activities with which he was associated.

He served on many honorary organizations in Western Australia such as the Metropolitan Markets Trust and others that I could name. Notwithstanding the diversity of his activities, his work as a member of the metropolitan council and the State Executive of the Australian Labour party, to which the Prime Minister referred, was very faithfully carried out. The late Senator Nash was a leading, vigorous, active and valuable figure in Labour circles in Western Australia. His death came as a very profound shock to all of us. Some of us had seen him the day before he died. We had met the Perth City Council with him on the Monday and we saw him again on the Tuesday. He appeared to us then to be in robust health. On the Wednesday morning, about 9.30 o’clock, be was dead. The shock was severe. The greatest shock, of course, was to his wife and family. His wife suffered a very severe blow in wartime in the loss of two of her fine and noble sons, who fell in battle. Now she has been called upon to bear this sudden and heavy blow. It is to her that our sympathies go out. She has borne her tragic loss very bravely. The full severity of that loss perhaps was not felt immediately because it was so sudden hut Mrs. Nash has withstood the blow very bravely. The future for her as the result of the loss of her husband must, however, appear very unhappy indeed. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen) has well described Senator Nash as a kind and humane man. Our sympathies go out to Mrs. Nash and her family. Dick Nash earned the goodwill of the Australian people by the work that he did over the years of his life. His wife deserves our very deepest sympathy. I know that it is accorded to her by all members of the Parliament.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places

Air. Menzies. - I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that, as a mark of respect to the memory of’ the deceased honorable gentlemen, the sitting of the House should be suspended until 8 o’clock.

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– I have received the following letter, dated the 17th January, from. His Excellency the GovernorGeneral : - -

Dear Mr. Speaker,

I refer to your letter of the18th October, 195.1, conveying the. remarks of The Right Honourable The Prime. Minister and The Right Honourable the Leader of the Opposition on the. occasion of the death of the late Right Honourable Liaquat Ali Khan.

I now have to inform you that I have received the following message from His Excellency the Governor-General of Pakistan : -

The Government and the People of. Pakistan have been deeply touched by the feeling references made in the Senate and in the House of Representatives on the death of the Late Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan. It is to us no’ small consolation that our loss is shared by a sister Dominion which has shown1 keen and. practical interest in sharing our difficulties and our griefs.

May I request you to convey to the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the grateful thanks of the Government and the people of Pakistan for the sentiments expressed in the Senate and the House of Representatives in our national loss.

I have advised the President of the Senate similarly.

Yours sincerely,

  1. J. McKell.

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– I have received the following letter; dated the 28th November, 1951, from the President of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea : -

Dear Mr: Speaker,

On the occasion of the first meeting of the: Legislative Council of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, the Council had much pleasure in receiving a. visit from a delegation of Members of the Parliament of the Commonwealth. The delegates from the House of Representatives presented to me as President of the Council a resolution of congratulation which was passed by the House on 20th November last:

It is my honoured duty to ask you to convey to the Members of the House of Representatives the following resolution of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea: -

That we, the Members of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, thank the House of Representatives most sincerely for. its Resolution of Congratulation which was presented’ to Council on the occasion of itsFirst Meeting.

May I express to you how greatly appreciated was the message of congratulation, confidence and encouragement from the House of Representatives.

There is here a very deep sense of obligation to our Commonwealth for the protection given to the Territory over a long period of years and for the generous assistance granted. This feeling of gratitude and obligation is not one confined to Australians who are resident here, but is common to all. sections of the community, including the increasing number of native people who realise the enlightened, constructive approach of the Australian Government’s in relation to the dependent peoples.

There are, as you know, one and a half million people in the Territory - about as great a. population as there is. in the State of Queensland or the. Dominion of New Zealand - and I am sure that your message will always be treasured by us all as it is now by the Legislative Council.

The Council, for the first time,has native members sitting in it. You will be interested to know that one of them, Mr. Aisoli Salin, addressed the Council in English, and very good English, on its opening day.

We remember the heroic part played in this country by all branches of our Armed Services, and by our Allies. The three War Cemeteries at Bomana, Lae and Bitapaka, are a constant inspiration: to us and a reminder of the price paid to keep this Territory as a bastion for the defence of these ideals which the Australian Parliament guards and cherishes for us all.

May I send you my kind personal regards?

Yours sincerely,

  1. K. Murray, President.

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Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.,

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Assent to the following bills reported : -

Appropriation Bill 1951-52:

Appropriation (Works and Services): Bill


Beer Excise Bill 1951.

Broadcasting Bill 1951.

Coal Industry Bill 1951.

Commonwealth Employees’ Furlough Bill 1951.

Commonwealth Grants Commission Bill 1951.

Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. (No. 3). 1951.

Cotton Bounty Bill 1951.

Customs Tariff (Export Duties) Bill 1951.

Customs Tariff Validation Bill (No. 2) 1951.

Customs Bill 1951.

Defence Bill (No. 2) 1951..

Defence (Transitional Provisions) Bill1951.

Excise Tariff Validation Bill 1951.

Hospital Benefits. Bill 1951..

Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Bill 1951.

Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Bill 1951.

National Debt Sinking Fund (Special Payment) Bill 1951.

National Service Bill (No. 2) 1951.

Public Accounts Committee Bill 1951.

Public Service Bill (No. 2) 1951.

Public Works Committee Bill 1951.

Re-establishment and Employment Bill 195 1.

Sales Tax Bill (No. 1) 1951.

Sales Tax Bill (No. 2) 1951.

Sales Tax Bill (No. 3) 1951.

Sales Tax Bill (No. 4) 1951.

Sales Tax Bill (No. 5) 1951.

Sales Tax Bill (No. 6) 1951.

Sales Tax Bill (No. 7) 1951.

Sales Tax Bill (No. 8) 1951.

Sales Tax Bill (No. 9) 1951.

Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill 1951.

Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Power Bill 1951.

States Grants (Universities) Bill 1951.

Stevedoring Industry Charge Bill 1951.

Superannuation Bill 1951.

Superannuation Bill (No. 2) 1951.

Tea Importation Bill 1951.

Transferred Officers’ Allowances Bill 1951.

War Service Homes Bill 1951.

Wheat Bounty Bill 1951.

Wool (Contributory Charge) Assessment Bill 1951.

Wool (Contributory Charge) Bill (No. 1.) 1951.

Wool (Contributory Charge) Bill (No. 2) 1951.

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– I desire to announce to the House that, during the absence abroad of Sir A rthur Fadden, I shall act as Treasurer.

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– I wish to direct a very important question to the Prime Minister. Will the right honorable gentleman inform the House whether it is a fact that J. and A. Brown and Abermain Seaham Collieries Limited intend to extract pillars of coal from under the township of Pelaw Main. I point out that as there is coverage of only from 25 feet to 30 feet there, such extraction would undoubtedly cause subsidence and the consequent ruin of the homes of thousands of people living in that area. Will the Prime Minister request the Joint Coal Board to take steps for the proposed extraction of pillar coal at Pelaw Main to be deferred until the completion of negotiations for the provision of alternative housing for the people that I have mentioned?


– I am not aware of the facts that have been suggested by the honorable member. However, I shall direct the attention of my colleague, the Minister for National Development, who administers theCommonwealth aspect of the Joint Coal Board, to the terms of the question, and ask whether he can provide any information about the matter.

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– Will the Minister for Air advise the House whether it is true that approximately 30 commissioned officers of the Royal Australian Air Force, who were non-commissioned officers or airmen of the permanent Royal Australian Air Force prior to World War II., may be now retained in only a noncommissioned category?

Minister for Air · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I understand that the honorable member’s question relates to certain non-commissioned officers of the pre-war permanent Royal Australian Air Force who were commissioned during World War II. When the post-war force was being established it was found that, due to medical reasons, age, or for other reasons, they could not be retained in the commissioned ranks. The decision of the Air Board in this connexion was conveyed to them in 1947, and they were given the option of leaving the force and entering civil employment, or of staying in the force as non-commissioned officers. The delay in making this information public has been due to the fact that we have been endeavouring to do the best possible for them financially, particularly in regard to retention of their pension rights. Now that we have discovered a way in which we can get the greatest possible benefit for them we have made the decision known. I should like to make it clear to the honorable member that the decision that we could not keep those men in the air force as commissioned officers was made in 1947. They were then told that if they wished to remain in the air force they would have to do so on non-commissioned rank. The decision is not one of recent date.

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– Will the Prime Minister give favorable consideration to the payment in April this year of double rates of pension to age and invalid pensioners, to mark the occasion of the visit to Australia of Their Royal Highnesses Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, and so that the pensioners may have happy memories of that visit?


– I appreciate the honorable member’s suggestion, but I am not able to hold out to him any hope that during the currency of this financial year any alteration will be made in the provisions in relation to age and invalid pensions.


– Is the Minister for Social Services aware of the great hardship that is being endured by pensioners and recipients of superannuation who are having increasing difficulty in living on their present meagre incomes? Is he aware that recently the Government of New South Wales increased superannuation payments to a large number of recipients by 20 per cent, and that the Australian Government reduced the amount received by age and other pensioners who are in receipt of superannuation by a like amount? In one case a recipient was 3s. a week worse off after the adjustment had been made. Will he recommend to the Cabinet that the whole matter be considered with a view to granting substantially increased payments to pensioners, and to easing the means test so that those in receipt of superannuation benefits will not continue to suffer as some of them are suffering now?

Minister for Social Services · DENISON, TASMANIA · LP

– I shall reply to the last part of the honorable member’s question first. He has assumed that the payment of more money would solve the problem that confronts pensioners, but that is not so. I am acutely aware of the hardship suffered by some pensioners at the present time. However, I could take the honorable member to a number of private and semi-private institutions where pensioners are living quite comfortably on their pensions, and still enjoying as pocket money as much as £1 a week. The honorable member comes from New South Wales, and I point out to him that whereas in Victoria, which is much smaller than New South Wales, the State Government subsidizes institutions of the kind that I have mentioned to the amount of £578,000 a year, the

Government of New South Wales allocates a mere £81,000 for the same purpose. I remind the honorable member that the welfare of pensioners depends, not so much on an extra hand-out of money, as upon the provision of food and shelter, and that is largely the concern of State governments. As for the means test and superannuated persons, I assure the honorable member that the officers of my department and I have devoted a considerable amount of time to the preparation of a scheme to abolish the means test. We have made some real progress, and at the appropriate time, and in the appropriate way, a scheme will be announced.

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– Is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture aware that the action of the Western Australian Parliament in rejecting, on principle, the legislation requiring payment by wheatgrowers of freights on shipments of wheat from other States to Tasmania and Queensland has received the general endorsement of wheat-growers in the rest of the Commonwealth? Is he aware that the Australian Wheat Growers Federation has carried a resolution which requests the Australian Wheat Board not to pay freight on the wheat, concerned? Can he say whether that request has received the consideration of the board, and, if it has, what the board’s reaction to it, or decision in relation to it, was? If the board declined to pay the freight, and if the Governments of Queensland and Tasmania declined to make arrangements to provide for the payment of the freight as a local charge, what would be the effect on the Commonwealth subsidy on wheat ?


– I am aware of the rejection by Western Australia of the legislation to which the other States have agreed. I am also aware that the Australian Wheat Growers Federation has carried a resolution which protests against the whole concept, and has conveyed its views to the wheat-growers’ representatives on the Australian Wheat Board. To-day, at the request of the board, I met the chairman and a grower representative on the board from each of the States. They conveyed to me the news held by the board and by the wheatgrowers’ representatives, and asked me to convey them and certain matters that the board had in mind to the meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council that will take place in Canberra on the 1.5th February. The members of the board made it quite clear that they recognize that the requirement that, in a certain price contingency, the board shall pay interstate freight on wheat, is embodied in State legislation. It was for that reason that they asked me to put the views of the board and of the growers before the representatives of the State governments when I meet the State Ministers for Agriculture here on the 15th February. If one State should at any time revoke its legislation within the terms of the general agreement between the Commonwealth and the States, the Commonwealth subsidy on wheat would cease.


– My question is directed to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. “What price is the Australian “Wheat Board charging for stock feed in each of the Australian States at the present time?


– The Australian Wheat Board is charging the legal price for stock feed. That price is determined by State legislation. It is 10s. a bushel in Western Australia, and 12s. a bushel in all the other States for stock feed for the pig, poultry and dairying industries. For any other stock purposes it is 16s. Id. a bushel.

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– I ask the Prime Minister whether representatives of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development have been invited by the Government to visit this country, and, if so, what the nature of the inquiries that they will make here will be. Will a copy of any report that they propose to make to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development be made available to the Government and, subsequently, to this Parliament?


– The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, of which this country is a shareholder, is established with its head office in the United States. It was from that bank that the Government secured a loan of 100,000,000 dollars in 1950. The Government announced at that time that it desired to obtain an even more extensive dollar loan. The matter has been partly discussed in the United States of America. It was then arranged that, at some future time, the bank would send representatives to Australia in order to investigate our conditions and needs. The Australian Government intimated that it would like such representatives to come to Australia and I think that the people of Australia will be very glad that they are coming bemuse the people realize that dollars are vital for the procurement of many materials which are in extremely short supply in this country. I am delighted that the bank is sending its representatives to Australia. Those representatives will make their own inquiries and will, no doubt, make such report as they think fit to the Directors of the Bank, not to the Australian Government, which will put its views before them and conduct its own negotiations. From the Government’s point of view, it will be the result of the negotiations that will be important, not the report that some officer will make to the bank.

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– I ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of the continuing and extreme danger from bush fires, he will ask all government departments to remain on the alert in order to assist bush fire victims wherever possible. In view of the enormous and widespread damage to life and production that has taken place, will the Prime Minister consider holding an inquiry on the highest level into the causes of bush fires, including the possible effect of rail and road diesel transport, high voltage transmission lines, forestry policy and camping. Will he state what can be done in order to assist these sufferers by the waiving of provisional taxation?


– I think that the honorable member may take it for granted that, government departments, will, to the limit of their capacities,, render assistance: in> connexion- with these very dreadful, tragedies’. I. am. not prepared to say that the. Government will establish a royal commission to inquire into; the. causes, of: bush fires’ as: this matter falls,, primarily, within the knowledge and. jurisdiction of the States. After some very dreadful bush, fires in Victoria, the then, government of that State- appointed a; royal’ commission: to investigate the cause of the fires and. a lot of extra. ordinarily interesting information was made available as a result of that investigation’.. If any other State arranged for such an inquiry to be held the Australian Government would be willing to assist in every way in order to ascertain the causes of these fires:

The position of those, who have suffered in the recent fires, both in New South Wales and in Victoria, has given the Government a very great deal of anxiety. Some people have suffered the most ruinous and unbelievable losses and the Government sympathizes with those people. Wishing to translate its sympathy into practical terms, and realizing that the necessity to meet their provisional taxes- presented many of the sufferers with a real problem, the Government decided to cut a great deal of what might be called red tape by sending officers of the Taxation Branch and of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture to the affected areas in order te meet the sufferers and enable them to establish a prima facie case for the granting of some relief from their provisional taxation. That was instantly decided, and the visits by those officers are now under- active organization.


– Will the Prime Minister consider the establishment of a national’ insurance fund for the purpose of compensating and re-establishing persons who have been affected by national calamities, such as bush fires, floods, and droughts, which are constantly recurring? I suggest a scheme similar to the War Damage Fund Under that scheme the premiums charged were very moderate and a fund amounting to. millions of pounds was very quickly accumulated. In New South

Wales alone bush fires- have, recently caused-, damage amounting, to millions of pounds. A national fund should be established for the purpose of making available, money with which, to repair damage, caused by such calamities:. Will the Prime Minister do everything possible to rehabilitate sufferers from national calamities of this kind?


– The suggestion that an. insurance, fund be. established for the purpose mentioned has, as the honorable member knows,, been made in several quarters of late, and reference has. been made to the War Damage Fund as an example in point. I am directing my attention to this proposal,, but I want to say at once that it has not very much analogy to the war damage insurance scheme. While there, was practically a nation-wide willingness to accept the obligations of that scheme, I doubt, very much whether it would be possible to secure the same willingness to. undertake obligations under a scheme such as that suggested by the honorable member. However, this is an important matter which cannot be dealt with offhand. All I can say is that the proposal, Laving come before me in one form or another during the last week from various quarters, I have naturally been directing my attention to it.


– Can the Prime Minister say whether donations, made by the public to bush, fire relief funds that are organized by municipal authorities are allowable deductions, for taxation purposes? If he is not sure what the present position is, will he, as a. matter of urgency, give consideration .to the subject and, if. possible, make a public pronouncement of governmental approval in order that municipalities and shires which have not already done so will be encouraged to open public appeals for funds?


– I do not carry the provisions of the taxation law on those matters in my mind and, in any event, the law is not one that can be. altered by administrative direction. I shall ascertain what it is, and shall be happy to inform the honorable member of the position, and to make the result public.

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– I ask the Minister for Supply whether the Department of Supply is considered to be an essential adjunct to Australia’s defence? If so, will the Minister give the reason for the recent dismissal of from 200 to 300 employees of the Stores and Transport Section of his department in Victoria t

Minister for Supply · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The Department of Supply is considered to be an essential element in the defence of Australia, but not every section of the department is necessarily concerned with defence matters. The Stores and Transport Section is one that not only is not wholly concerned with defence, but indeed some sections of it are not concerned with defence at all. Soon after the Government assumed office it promoted an inquiry by an outside body into the organization of the Stores and Transport Section, it having been asserted that that section was being too lavishly administered and was costing the taxpayers more than it should. In due course that body reported to the Government that there were economies which could properly be introduced, and which would reduce expenditure by about £250,000 a year. The Government immediately put into effect some of the recommendations of that body, and deferred some of its other recommendations for further consideration. At about that time the Government decided, as a matter of major policy, that the Public ‘Service should be reduced by 10,000 employees. In some sections of the Department of Supply, because of defence needs, no reduction could be made, but in the Stores and Transport Section it was found that substantial reductions could be effected. For instance, one part of the section in which 80 or 90 men were employed was devoted to the removal of the furniture of officers of the Public Service. We found that this work could be done effectively by private enterprise, and we so arranged. The services of the officers hitherto doing that work were then terminated. The combination of the the report that we received after the Government assumed office, plus the arrangements for the reduction of staff in the Public Service, enabled us to make these reductions. The matter is not quite as has been mentioned by the honorable member for Bendigo. In Victoria, between May and December of last year, there were 214 terminations of employment in the Stores and Transport Section of the Department of Supply. Of that number, 88 were resignations. I agree that the services of a substantial number of persons were terminated, but that action was taken for the reasons that I have indicated and without damage to our defence effort.

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– Will the Minister for External Affairs inform the House whether any Australian lives or property have been affected by the recent riots in Cairo ? If so, will the Minister say, first, whether any claim has been made for compensation, and, secondly, whether steps have been taken to protect the lives and property of Australians in the event of any further disturbances in Egypt?

Minister for External Affairs · LP

– No Australian lives were lost in the Cairo riots of the 26th January, or on any other date, nor were any Australian casualties suffered. So far as I know, no Australian property in Cairo was damaged. About three months ago I asked the Australian Minister in Cairo to remind the Egyptian Government of its obligations to afford all possible protection to Australian lives and property in Egypt. The Government of Egypt gave a satisfactory reply at the time and I believe that no further action in this regard is necessary as no suffering has been caused to Australian interests in Egypt.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Health. In the back country gold-fields areas of Western Australia, powdered milk and baby food are constantly in short supply. As fresh milk is unobtainable, this shortage causes grave hardship particularly to mothers with small children. Will the Minister for Health take action to ensure that adequate supplies of powdered milk and baby food are made available to those areas, if necessary by reducing the quantity allowed for export or even for city areas where fresh milk is available?


– The Government has always recognized that in certain regions of Western Australia and other outback parts of Australia fresh milk is not always available. Consequently this Government’s agreement with the States in respect of free milk for school children provides that dried milk may be used for that purpose. During my visit to Western Australia last month I discussed this matter with the Minister for Health in that State and as a result I hope that a pilot station will be set up to ascertain the best way to accomplish the objective that is sought by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie.

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– My intervention is quite irregular as no question has been put, but on behalf of honorable members t wish to express our delight at the return of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Johnson) to his place in thi? chamber.

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– The Minister for Supply may remember that during the last session of .the Parliament, I asked him about the supply of steel posts of Australian manufacture. Has the Minister anything further to add to the answer that he gave me on that occasion and has the position in relation to the supply of steel posts improved?


– I remember the honorable member asking a question on this subject at the end of the last session and I answered him then as the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. The Australian Government does not control the manufacture of steel fencing posts or, in fact, any steel products, but concurrently with the bush fires which did such grave and tragic damage in New South Wales and elsewhere, the Government made representations to the manufacturing companies. There is a serious lag in the supply of steel fencing posts, numbering some millions, but the companies have promised that they will do their utmost to ensure that as posts become available they will be sent to the areas where they are needed most. The companies have suggested that State governments and local authorities should inform them of their needs and where the posts are required. They will do their best then to send the posts that are available to local distributors in those areas.

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– Can the Minister for Supply confirm reports concerning the discovery of valuable bauxite deposits in the Northern Territory? If the deposits have been discovered, can the Minister say what effect the discovery will have on the Australian aluminium industry?


– Some information is available on this subject. A year or two ago it was rumoured that valuable bauxite deposits had been discovered off the coast of Arnhem Land in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Australian Aluminium Production Commission arranged with the Bureau of Mineral Resources to have a survey made of the area. That survey was made, and in due course a very promising report was received. It indicated the presence of the largest deposits of the highest quality bauxite yet discovered in Australia. We believe that we should have further confirmation of the report, and arrangements have been made for a vessel to go to the spot carrying a party of geologists and others who will make a detailed survey over a period of several months. If, as we expect, the survey proves the presence of valuable deposits of high-grade bauxite, it will open up a very important and encouraging prospect to the Australian aluminium industry. It will mean that high-grade bauxite will be available, in quantities to meet all our requirements of aluminium, and that there will be a surplus for export to other countries. There might also be striking and dramatic results in connexion with the development of New Guinea. At present, a joint British and Australian company is exploring the development of New Guinea, especially in regard to hydro-electric power. If this should prove fruitful it may be that hydro-electric power in New Guinea can be used for the development of another great aluminium industry using the newly discovered bauxite from Arnhem Land.

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– Can the Minister for Civil Aviation say whether it is true that Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited has told the Government that unless there is an amalgamation of Trans-Australia Airlines and Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited it is the intention of Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited to go out of business ? If so, will the Minister say whether that was the only answer received from Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited in response to the offer of government business to that company? Is it a fact that the terms of the merger suggested by Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited provide that TransAustralia Airlines would lose its identity, and would be gradually absorbed by Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited? What is the policy of the Government regarding this matter?


– It is not in order to ask questions about government policy.

Postmaster-General · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– The proposals put forward by the Government concerning Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited and Trans-Australia Airlines have been considered by Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited, and discussions are still taking place.

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– In view of the com ments that have been made by exservicemen’s organizations, I ask the Minister for Immigration whether there exists provision for the migration to Australia of ex-servicemen of allied countries, particularly the United States of America, similar to that for the migration of the nationals of former enemy countries such as Italy and Germany? I understand that schemes for the assisted immigration of ex-enemy nationals are either in operation or are in contemplation, and I should like to know whether similar facilities will be extended to ex-servicemen of the United States of America.

Minister for Immigration · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

– I am acquainted with the official attitude on this question of organizations of ex-servicemen as expressed at a recent congress, and I am glad to say that not only do they cordially sup portthe policy of the Government, but that they have also shown commendable public spirit in their attitude to former enemy aliens by urging that suitable settlers should be brought to Australia from former enemy countries. As for the nationals of former allied countries, the conditions applicable to them are much more favorable than those which apply to the nationals of former enemy countries There are in existence schemes assisted migration of ex-servicemen,not only from the United Kingdom, but also from Holland and the United States of America.

Mr Calwell:

– They have been in existence from the beginning.


– That is so. They were instituted by the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), when he was Minister for Immigration. There is an important distinction, which is frequently overlooked, between the schemes which apply to the nationals of former allied countries and those of former enemy countries. Former enemy aliens are brought here under a scheme towards the cost of which their own governments make substantial contributions. The immigrants themselves also contribute, and upon arrival here they are subject to direction for two years into any category of work required by the Government. No such restriction is placed on those who come to Australia from former allied countries.


– Has the Minister for Immigration received a report on the conditions alleged to have existed on the immigrant ship Corsica, which arrived in Melbourne last Monday, during its trip from Cyprus to Australia? What action does the Government take to ensure that on ships carrying immigrants to Australia normal amenities shall be provided for passengers? Does the Government provide facilities for the education of immigrants en route to Australia so that they may become acquainted with the laws and customs of this country? Was a service of that kind provided on Corsica? It would appear from what we learned on Monday that such was not the case. Did the Minister notice the statement reported to have been made by the captain of the vessel that the ship carried troublesome elements from the slums of Cyprus, and a later statement by an alleged senior public servant of the Government of Cyprus that an amazing lot of people were being imported into this country ?


– The ship to which the honorable member has referred was not :b vought to Australia by or under the auspices of the Australian Government. The immigrants carried on the ship were not assisted immigrants who were brought to Australia by the Australian Government; they were British subjects who came from Cyprus after having been nominated by friends or relatives who are already established here. They were screened in the ordinary way by the British consular representatives in Cyprus. The Australian Government is naturally interested in the conditions under which persons who come to settle in Australia are brought here, but it has no control over them. Under international convention ships which carry certificates of seaworthiness in the countries in which they are registered must he accepted for admission into Australian ports. That was the position with Corsica. I repeat that the persons concerned were not assisted immigrants in the ordinary sense of the term.

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– Is the Minister for Supply aware that the shortage of ‘ copper in Queensland is gravely affecting the electrical and allied industries? Is it a fact that Australia receives only 50 per cent, of its normal requirements from the Washington council for the allocation of materials? If so, will the Minister try without delay to obtain a larger quota of copper for Australia so as to relieve the acute shortage in Queensland, and to ensure continuity of production and employment in the electrical industries in that State?


– I am aware of the shortage of copper in some parts of Australia including Queensland. The Government has taken what I might describe as most vigorous steps to secure a larger consumption quota of this very important metal. For the last quarter of 1951 we obtained a quota from the International Materials Conference of 8,900 metric tons, which was claimed by us, and admitted by at least some others, to be insufficient for our needs. The Government “then pressed the matter .further at the next conference which ‘took place in the United States of America a few weeks ago to allot quotas for the first quarter of 1952. We sent a very strong delegation fortified “by two of the most able men in the copper-using industries in Australia, whose services were lent to us by private industry. Partly due to the wide knowledge and skill of those gentlemen we were successful in obtaining a substantially larger allocation, namely, 12,500 metric tons. We are now .preparing our submission for the second quarter of 1952, and the honorable member may be assured that we shall press our representations just as vigorously as we did before. It is true that it is difficult to obtain copper, but primarily that is a problem for industry, and it is a world-wide one. The ‘Government is doing its utmost to assist those whose job it is to procure copper on the markets of the world.

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– Will the Acting Treasurer clarify the position regarding the special taxation deduction of 40 per cent, in respect of the purchase of farm machinery ? Is it yet operative, and will it continue to apply?


– An indication was given by the Treasurer in the budget speech that the special initial depreciation allowance of 40 per cent., which was to have endured until the end of 1952, was to cease to apply as from the end of June, 1951. A few days ago, I announced two modifications of that matter. In order that I may be quite precise in my statement of them I shall secure a copy of the statement I made and convey it to the honorable member. One modification relates to the .accounting period where it differs from normal financial years. In the other case a special concession from the general rule was made in relation to plant which had been ordered, and appropriated to a contract, and which was therefore a specific article subject to a contract, and which is installed before the end of June, 1952. It is thought that the modifications may well deal with certain cases which, on examination, appear to be cases of hardship. No specific subsequent decision has been made relating to initial depreciation on farm implements as such. The rule that I announced applied to plant generally which came within the words used. I shall secure a copy of my statement on the matter and see that it is made available to the honorable member.

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– Can the Minister for Supply state why no nickel silver sheet is available in Australia to manufacturers in Sydney ? Why is it necessary for Australian manufacturers to have to place orders in Germany for nickel silver sheet, which is mined in Noumea and refined in Canada? Will the Minister ascertain why Germany is given preference over Australia in obtaining this materia] from Canada?


– I have no personal knowledge of the matter raised by the honorable member or of the accuracy of his statements. I shall make inquiries and furnish him with a reply to his question as early as practicable.

page 17




– My question to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture concerns British import duties on Australian wines. Will the Minister take advantage of the change of Government in the United Kingdom to raise the matter again and press strongly for some reduction of these duties as a means of restoring the pre-war volume of Australian wine exports to Great Britain?


– It was, and is, the desire of the Government to secure an amendment of the British import duties on Australian wines which would have the effect of facilitating the entry of Australian wines into the United Kingdom. Very strong representations were made on several occasions to the Attlee Government to that end but without success, because we were advised of the implications of such amendments in respect of the United Kingdom Government’s budgetary provisions. I shall act upon the honorable member’s suggestion and examine the matter in order to see whether it will be practicable to make a further request to the present British Government.

page 17




– Will the Minister for Labour and National Service prepare and submit to the House a statement showing the number of workers who have been dismissed from the textile and clothing trades during the last six months and also the number of persons who have secured employment in coal mines, timber mills, the building trade and primary production or other occupations that the Government considers to be more essential than the manufacture of clothing?


– I shall see whether it is practicable to prepare a table along the lines that the honorable member has indicated. I can indicate in a general way - not this evening but at some suitable time, probably during the course of tomorrow’s debate - the movement of labour that has taken place in Australia during recent weeks. However, I inform the honorable member - I am sure that it will be some re-assurance to him - that with the exception of Queensland, where there is a seasonal and local problem, the total number of persons at present in receipt of unemployment benefit throughout the whole of Australia is less than 500. In a work force of 3,500,000 people that figure is a remarkably small percentage, which I contrast to this Government’ advantage with the position that obtained when the Labour party was in office in the ‘30’s.

page 17




– I ask the Minister for Health whether the sirex wasp is a serious menace to the timber industry of Australia? Is it also a fact that last year a consignment of approximately 100,000 super, feet of pine was imported from Sweden and that this timber was not only completely at variance with specifications, but was also infected by sirex wasp and the whole of the consignment had to be treated by quarantine officers at the importer’s expense? Will the Minister ascertain whether it is a’ fact that this timber, which is a potential menace, is lying in store? Will he take steps to see, if possible, that it is returned to Sweden at the original consignor’s expense ? In view of the fact that Sweden is negotiating a further treaty of trade with Australia, will the Minister take all possible steps to ensure that infected rubbish of the kind to which I have just referred shall not be permitted to be exported from Sweden to the detriment of the timber industry of this country ?


– It is true that last year certain ships brought to Australia timber that was infected by sirex wast). All those cargoes were thoroughly disinfected and were not allowed to be used until such action had been taken. Honorable members will recall from a statement that the Prime Minister made that a committee was appointed to examine the whole problem of sirex wasp in timber. That committee, which is continuing its inquiry, left for New Zealand during the last few days to examine the position in that dominion. When the committee furnishes its report the matter will be fully considered.

page 18




– Is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture aware of the world-wide acute shortage of sulphur and the effect that this shortage is having upon the production of superphosphate which is urgently needed to boost primary production in this country? If so, will he undertake to explain to the House why the Government exempted gold producers from income tax when that concession has had the effect that smelting and mining companies that were treating sulphide ore for gold are not now producing sulphur, which they could do at little additional cost, because they would thereby lose the tax exemption applicable to gold producers? In view of the urgent need to increase sulphur supplies will he explain the Government’s policy on this matter?


– I think that every one is aware that the Government is conscious of the problem that has arisen for Australian agriculture as the result of the shortage of elementary sulphur.

At the moment the shortage is not so acute as to impede the production of superphosphate, but there is every probability that such a shortage will occur. The Government has been making every effort through all its agencies and through its representatives at the International Materials Conference to obtain an adequate supply of sulphur for Australia. The supply which will come forward will not be adequate for all purposes. That has been obvious for some time. Consequently, the Government has been engaged in making alternative provisions to convert existing plants to produce sulphuric acid from Australian pyrites. The Government has concluded an arrangement with Australian manufacturers of superphosphate, who, with the aid of Government finance, where necessary, and by virtue of certain assurances against the possibility of loss through, perhaps, adequate quantities of cheap sulphur becoming available at a later date, propose to convert their plants at great expense to themselves for the treatment of’ indigenous sulphur-bearing ores. These provisions extend to the encouragement of the production of adequate supplies of sulphur-bearing ores. It is known to the Government that certain taxation benefits, which, I think, were introduced by much earlier governments, extended to mining companies which have as their principal purpose the production of gold. An arrangement, which is now nearing completion, is being made in order to avoid any limitation, through taxation provisions, of the production of pyrites.

page 18



– Honorable members will recall that in July, 1951, the Government requested Mr. Henry Basten, C.M.G., to inquire into and report upon the factors affecting the turn-round of ships and congestion in Australian ports, and the measures which might be taken on both a short-term and a long-term basis to effect an improvement. I now have pleasure in laying on the table the following paper: -

Shipping - Turn-round of Ships in Australian Ports - Report bv Henry Basten, C.M.G.

page 19



-On the 13th November last, I advised honorable members that the Government proposed to refer cbe matter of parliamentary and ministerial allowances to a committee of three representative and responsible men who would conduct an independent, impartial inquiry into the problem and make recommendations to us. I now have pleasure in laying on the table the report of that committee of inquiry. In doing so, I should like to place on record the thanks of the Government and of all honorable members to the members of the committee, who have made a very thorough and impartial review of the problem, and who, moreover, have rendered this service in an honorary capacity. Subject to further consideration of some minor points in the report relating to administrative matters, the Government has decided to accept the recommendations of the committee. The one constitutional point that is raised affecting parliamentary under-secretaries is under investigation. I lay on the table the following paper: -

Parliament of the Commonwealth - Salaries and Allowances of Members - Report of Committee of Enquiry.

page 19


Motion (by Mr. Casey) - by leave - agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act to approve the Treaty of Peace with Japan and to make provision for carrying that Treaty into effect.

Rill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for External Affairs · La Trobe · LP

by leave - T move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to secure the approval of this House to the Japanese peace treaty that was signed in San Francisco on the 8th September of last year. The general content of this treaty has been known to the Parliament for many months. Honorable members will recall that on the 21st June of last year T was able to forecast its’ main provisions as they were taking shape at that time in the process of drafting through the medium of consultation among the principal Allied governments concerned. At that time we debated the matter at some length, and the character of the treaty as it subsequently emerged was substantially unchanged. On the 13th July, a draft text of the treaty was made public, and on the same day, I made an explanatory statement in this House. A month later, namely, on the 13th August, an amended draft text, substantially the same as the one published on the 13th July, but containing the results of final polishing and last-minute consultation, was issued to the public; and it was this text that was signed in San Francisco three weeks later by Japan and 48 other nations.

I have already explained to the House the Government’s general attitude towards this treaty, and the reasons that have led us to sign it. It might be useful to recapitulate some of the points that I made when I addressed’ the House on the 21st June and the 13th July of last year. In the course of those statements, and on subsequent occasions, I have made it clear that the Government is by no means wholly satisfied with this treaty. But then, the same can be said of every one of the 47 other Allied governments that have signed it. All of us are aware of its shortcomings; all of us have misgivings about it in one way or another. The governments of some countries believe that the treaty is too harsh; others of us feel that it is too soft. We in Australia - and this applies to the Government as well as to honorable members of the Opposition and, I think, the great majority of the Australian people - cannot avoid some doubts at the prospect of Japan being restored to the family of nations without certain controls over its conduct in the future. We are not convinced that democracy has taken firm root in Japan; we are not sure that the Japanese, can be fully trusted to steer a course in the future away from the aggressive military and economic policies that have threatened our very existence in the past.

But we must approach this problem realistically. We must look at it in the context of the present situation throughout the Far East, and, indeed, throughout the world. Whatever we may fear from Japan and the Japanese, the fact is that we are faced at this point with a mush more pressing and immediate danger than Japan is likely to be for many years to come. It could well be that the Japanese, with the patriotism, discipline, skill and industry for which they are well known, could once again, in a comparatively short period, build up against us a threat similar to that which reached its climax in 1942. But the simple fact is that, as things are to-day, Japan is quite incapable of threatening anybody - indeed the Japanese are incapable of defending themselves - and, meanwhile, the whole of Asia is subject to strong and immediate pressure, in one form or another, from Communist aggression.

Up to the present the principal handicap under which communism has suffered in Asia has been the lack of the modern industrial facilities and techniques, that are the basis of power in the world to-day. Japan, as the most highly industrialized Asian nation, must inevitably appear as a tempting prize to world communism, and particularly to the Chinese Communists. Having in mind the progress that the Communists have made in Asia in the last few years, it does not require much imagination to consider the threat they could mount to South-East Asia, to Australia, and to the other democracies bordering on the Pacific and Indian Oceans if they had al their disposal the industrial resources of Japan. On the one hand, if we face this honestly, we must agree, I am sure, on the importance of preventing the Japanese from falling under Communist domination, and thereby becoming an active partner in the campaign to subjugate the whole of Asia as a preliminary to striking out towards Australia. On the other hand, I will admit that honorable members could quite legitimately entertain fears that a revived and once-more powerful Japan, assisted in its recovery by a tolerant and benign peace treaty, might in due course itself either embark alone on fresh adventures of aggression or, at the worst, might voluntarily join forces with and give direction and impetus to Asian communism, and in fact use it in another attempt to achieve hegemony over the whole of Asia and the Pacific. I agree that we are faced with a dilemma. As 1 said in this House on the 13th July last, we have to contemplate the alternative perils of an aggressive and fully rearmed Japan, which could again threaten us single-handed as it did before, and of a defenceless and economically prostrate Japan that will present an easy prey to communism and might become an important part of the general Communist threat to world peace. It is not easy to steer a course midway between these dangers. We have done our best to do so; but common prudence demands that we give first thought to the more immediate threat, and therefore that we avoid above all the creation of a “ power vacuum “ in Japan.

It might be helpful if I were to explain some of the main features of the treaty, particularly those that affect Australia. In doing so I may be able to anticipate some criticisms and clear away some misunderstandings. Perhaps the most important provision of the treaty is Article 5 (c), under which the Allied Powers “ recognize that Japan, as a sovereign nation, possesses the inherent right of individual or collective selfdefence referred to in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations and that Japan may voluntarily enter into collective security arrangements “. This provision, in fact, restores to Japan the right to re-establish its army, navy and air force, and this right is made subject to no restrictions. The Australian Government has not been happy at the fact that Japan’s right to rearm is to be restored without any limitations. We tried, without success, to have specific limitations written into the treaty, particularly limitations on naval rearmament and longrange military and naval aircraft. But, of the countries principally concerned with negotiating the treaty, Australia and New Zealand were virtually alone in pressing for these restrictions ;. most of the principal Allies were, for one reason or another, not in favour of them. I should emphasize at this point that the fact that we favoured a definite limitation of Japanese rearmament did not mean that we were opposed in principle to some re-establishment of Japan’s defence forces. We have fully agreed that, the Japanese must hear, the main responsibility for the defence of their own country ; they must not expect to be protected indefinitely by the United States and others of their former enemies. As. it is they are virtually defenceless but for the presence of United States troops, and have not so> far shown much eagerness to assume responsibility for their own. self-defence. This situation could, of course,, easily change; the ten years preceding, Japan’s entry into the. war showed how quickly and intensively the Japanese- can prepare, given the necessary stimulus.

But in considering the possibility of a revival, of aggressive militarism in. Japan, we. should at least bear in mind that the situation in the. Far East and the Pacific has changed substantially since the days before the war. Japan will have lost the military advantages of control, over all its former territories outside the home islands, and adjacent minor islands. It has lost its former access to raw materials on the Asian mainland. United States troops will continue to have the use of military bases in Japan itself, and will remain for a period, at present, undetermined, in effective occupation and control of many of Japan’s island territories. Finally, we, for our part, can now contemplate our future as a Pacific nation more happily from the added security of our relationship with the. United States, and New Zealand in the Tripartite Pacific Security Pact signed last September.

There will be some criticism of the fact that, while under the terms of the peace treaty Japan suffers some immediate deprivation of resources, it has had no continuing economic controls imposed upon it in the future. Furthermore, as regards payment of reparations for damage and suffering inflicted on the Allies, while the treaty recognizes Japan’s obligation to pay reparations, it also recognizes that Japan’s resources are not sufficient, if it is to maintain a viable economy, to make anything like complete reparations and at the same time meet its other obligations.

I shall deal first with this matter of reparations, which has been the subject of long controversy. There is, I think, no escaping the fact that Japan simply is not. in a position to pay in full: - or anything approaching it - all the claims that could be submitted to cover the devastation and loss inflicted throughout the whole of the Far East by the Japanese forces. It is not through any feeling of charity towards the Japanese that we Have reluctantly come to the conclusion that it is useless and illogical to try to exact even appreciable reparations. Any other conclusion would ignore entirely the heavy economic burden that the Allies - mainly, of course, the United States - have had to carry since the end of the war in merely keeping the Japanese people’s heads above water. It is quite clear that the United States cannot and will not continue to carry this, burden indefinitely. Japan will have to be given a chance to rebuild its economy to a point where it can maintain its people at a reasonable standard of living without outside assistance. The exaction of large reparations at this stage would inevitably delay recovery and prolong Japan’s dependence on economic aid from abroad.

Nevertheless,, the Japanese have by no means been let off. scot free. The Australian Government has been particularly insistent that Japan should make some atonement for the personal suffering and. hardship’ caused to many thousands of Allied prisoners-of-war, and to the wives and families of those who succumbed to the harsh treatment they underwent. We were able in the end to secure the agreement of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and other Allied governments to the insertion in the treaty of a provision that Japan be deprived of its assets in neutral and former enemy countries, and that these be liquidated and distributed among former prisonersofwar and their dependants by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Japan will thus be shorn of practically all its overseas assets, since it had already been agreed that Japanese property held in Allied countries should, with certain defined exceptions, be available for use by the countries concerned in any way they might choose.

Japan has also agreed in principle to pay reparations in the form of services to be provided by Japanese labour in the processing of raw materials, the salvaging of ships and similar forms of production and restoration. It is expected that Asian Allied countries will make use of this opportunity to benefit from Japan’s industrial resources and techniques.

I referred a short time ago to the absence from the treaty of any provision for continued supervision of Japan’s production and control over Japan’s trade. Apart altogether from the difficulty of policing such controls, however, it could safely be assumed that restrictions of this kind would cause widespread irritation find resentment throughout Japan and would, if indeed they could be made effective, offer a further hindrance to the economic recovery that Japan must achieve if it is not to be a burden on the Allies and a weak link in the general defence against the spread of communism. In this matter of economic controls some risks have had to be taken, as in the matter of rearmament. But whether or not the Japanese will repay the trust that we have reposed in them, it is questionable whether a treaty of peace is the proper instrument through which to try to establish and enforce permanent economic restrictions. I might mention that in the House of Commons debate on the Japanese peace treaty’ at the end of last year, leading speakers on both sides of the House fully agreed that, however desirable it might be to take steps to protect United Kingdom industries against the possibility of unfair and injurious competition from Japan, the peace treaty was not the means to use. Finally, we should not forget that at least a partial safeguard against a revival of warlike industrial activity in Japan will exist in the presence of United States of America forces in the Japanese islands as a result of the treaty signed at San Francisco by the United States of America and Japan at the time of the peace settlement.

There is one further aspect of the treaty that is of some particular importance to us at this time; it concerns the control of “fishing areas. By Article 9 of the treaty, Japan undertakes to enter promptly into negotiations with the Allied Powers so desiring for the conclusion of bilateral and multilateral agreements pro- viding for the regulation or limitation of fishing and the conservation and development of fisheries on the high seas. In the course of this sessional period of the Parliament the Government will be introducing legislation to establish measures for the conservation of fishing and the control of fishing operations in fishing grounds adjacent to the Australian coast but outside our territorial waters. At this stage I shall merely refer to the significance of this legislation as it will affect our future relations with Japan. Honorable members, and indeed most of the Australian people, will remember the anxiety to which the activities of Japanese fishermen off the Australian coast and in New Guinea waters gave rise in the years immediately before Japan’s entry into the war. Since the surrender in 1945 Japanese fishing vessels have been compelled by the Allied occupation authorities to restrict their activities to defined fishing grounds north of the equator.. Once the peace treaty becomes effective, however, the Japanese will be fully within their rights under international law in resuming fishing operations anywhere on the high seas, including those off the Australian coast. The only way in which these activities can be limited in practice is by obtaining the agreement of the Japanese Government to respect conservation measures that we might impose and enforce in defined high seas fishing areas that are important to us and lie close to our shores. Although the Constitution gives to the Australian Government the right to enact fisheries legislation, no Australian Government has yet done so. This omission is now to be repaired, and it is the intention of the Government, when this has been done, to enter into negotiations with Hie Japanese Government for an agreement under which Japanese fishing activities in the region of Australia will be limited to the requirements of Australian law. The United States Government and the Canadian Government have already concluded satisfactory arrangements with the Japanese for the protection of their own fishing industries, based on their existing domestic fisheries legislation, and the Japanese have let us know that they will be quite willing to begin negotiations with us at any time.

I do not believe that it is necessary to go into detail on the rest of the treaty. The remaining provisions are generally self-explanatory, and honorable members will no doubt have studied them. Among other things, Japan renounces all rights to the bulk of its former overseas territories, and its administration and control are restricted to the home islands and a few small adjacent islands. Japan promises to accept any proposal made by the United States to the United Nations for the placing of the Ryukyu, Bonin and other former Japanese islands in the North Pacific under sole United States trusteeship. Japan undertakes to restore all Allied property, to grant mostfavourednation treatment to the Allies in matters of trade on a reciprocal basis, to respect patent rights and copyright, and to accept liability for pre-war debts. It undertakes to enter into a civil aviation agreement with any Allied nation at the letter’s request. All Japanese claims arising from the war are waived.

Whilst the original draft of the peace treaty was prepared jointly by the United States Government and the United Kingdom Government, the successive stages through which the draft passed before emerging in its final form show the imprint of other Allied Powers that took part in the drafting process. I have already mentioned that Australia was mainly responsible for securing the insertion of the provision for payment of compensation to prisoners of war from the proceeds of Japanese assets in neutral and ex-enemy countries. In addition, we were instrumental in strengthening the provisions pertaining to the renunciation of territory, particularly in relation to possible Japanese claims in Antarctica. The reference in the preamble to the treaty, and again in Article 5, to Japan’s acceptance of the obligations set forth in Articles 2, 55 and 56 of the United Nations Charter were included at our request.

I shall refer briefly to the proceedings at the San Francisco conference in 1951, when Japan and 51 Allied nations assembled early in September to consider the treaty in its final form at a conference of which my predecessor, Mr. Spender, had the honour of being chosen vice-chairman. The proceedings of that conference were all public and I need not describe them to the House in detail. The main impression that emerged from it was that of the remarkable degree of unanimity evident among the great majority of countries represented. At the end of the conference, Japan and 45 of the 5.1 other countries signed the treaty as it stood - all of them, it is safe to say, with some misgivings, but all of them making it clear that they regarded this as the best compromise that could be found and that a settlement ought not to be postponed any longer. It is to be regretted that India and Burma felt unable to attend - India, I emphasize, not because it regarded the treaty as too soft, but because one of its main objections to the treaty was that it was too harsh. However, Asia, which suffered most from ruin anc] devastation at Japanese hands, was well represented. The only other absentee was China, whose participation, of course, presented special difficulties. It can be assumed that, having regard to existing international differences about which is the true government of China - the People’s Government at Peking or the Nationalist Government at Formosa - a substantial number of countries would have stayed away from the conference had either Chinese government been invited to attend. In the end it was decided that the only way to overcome the problem was to invite neither government, but to make provision in the treaty itself for Japan to conclude a separate bilateral treaty in the same or substantially the same terms within the next three years with the government of any other State that had been at war with Japan. I understand that the Japanese Government has now indicated that it proposes to sign a separate peace treaty with the Chinese Nationalist Government.

A second impression left from the San Francisco conference is that of the relative ineffectiveness of the delegation of the Soviet Union and the delegations from the Communist countries of Poland and Czechoslovakia. Admittedly, as it turned out, they were heavily outnumbered, and could perhaps not have expected to effect much change in the final draft, as they had ignored an earlier invitation to participate in the preparation of the draft in the formative stage. While making due allowance, however, the presentation of Soviet views’ was unusually lacking in purpose and in appeal to other signatories from which Russia might have thought it could receive some support. The Communists’ main trouble seemed to be that they were trying to spread their net too wide. On the one hand, they sought to impose on Japan additional restrictions and controls to which, it had become clear, other nations of Asia were not willing to agree. On the other hand, whilst trying to place rigid limits on Japan’s right to rearm, they sought to please the Japanese by insisting that Japan’s island territories - the Ryukyu, Bonin and other islands which Japan found so valuable in its last adventure in aggression - should remain in Japanese hands. In the end, they failed to please any one.

The position now is that as soon as the United States and five others of the eleven principal signatories of the treaty - a group which includes Australia - have ratified it, the treaty will come into effect. The United Kingdom Government has already deposited its instruments of ratification, the United States Congress is at present in course of consideration of the treaty, and certain other signatory governments have indicated that they will ratify at about the same time. It is therefore possible that the treaty will be put into effect in the near future - perhaps next month. This may happen whether Australia ratifies it or not, and the Government feels that no purpose is to be served by our delaying a final decision to ratify.

When I spoke to the House on the 13th July of last year, I said that I hoped that the Parliament would be given an opportunity to debate the treaty in its final form, and this opportunity is now being given. It is the Government’s hope that honorable members will approach this debate objectively and with a full appreciation of the problems involved in producing a settlement acceptable to a large number of Allies spread throughout the world. I know that it can be criticized at many points. Numerous misgivings were expressed in the course of the debate in the House of Commons, but

I remind honorable members that the Commons ultimately accepted the treaty by an overwhelming majority. In the New Zealand Parliament, leading spokesmen for the Opposition have indicated that they regard the treaty as the best settlement that can be obtained in the circumstances.

If honorable members are not willing to accept it, I would ask them what alternative they would propose, what other course they would have followed had the decisions of policy been in their hands. Let me emphasize again what I have said before - that the Government’s policy has not been based on the naive assumption that the reforms that have been initiated in Japan will necessarily be maintained indefinitely and that Japan has established itself for ever as a peace-loving democracy. There is some chance that a democracy may evolve in Japan, even though not necessarily a democracy on the American and European models. But whether or not this happens - and we must at least give it the chance to happen - the immediate problem that we have to consider, from the point of view of the security of Australia and the stability of Asia and the Pacific, is the security of Japan, even more than security against Japan. I commend the bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Dr. Evatt) adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 9.29 to 9.50 p.m.

page 24


Prime Minister · Kooyong · LP

– It is my very melancholy task to inform the House that the news that ran in rumour a few minutes ago has now been officially confirmed. HisMajesty the King died this morning. I, and I am sure every other honorablemember, feel quite incapable at thismoment of saying what should be said. Therefore, I consider that the Houseshould adjourn until to-morrow, when we can express our feelings as they should’ be expressed. Meanwhile, all that I need say is that the thoughts and prayers of all their subjects in this country are with the now Queen Mother and the new Queen. I therefore move -

That the House do now adjourn.

Leader of the Opposition · Barton

– I shall add nothing to what the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has said. It is quite impossible for us to transact any business when we have heard the news of a loss that is so great and so poignant to all of us.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 25


The following papers were presented : -

Banking Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 147.

Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 154.

Conciliation and Arbitration Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 155.

Customs Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, Nos. 141, 159.

Customs Act and Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, Nos. 145, 146.

Customs Tariff (Export Duties) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 163.

Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, Nos. 148,149, 150, 151, 152, 158.

Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act - National. Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (11).

Dried Fruits. Export Control Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 142.

Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 157.

Jury Exemption Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 164.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land, &c., acquired for -

Defence purposes -

Bendigo, Victoria.

Bullsbrook (Pearce Aerodrome), Western Australia.

Garbutt, Queensland.

Mareeba, Queensland.

Port Pirie; South Australia.

Puckapunyal, Victoria.

Department of Civil Aviation purposes -

Adelaide, South Australia.

Bankstown, New South Wales.

Coen, Queensland.

Marble Bar, Western Australia.

Roma, Queensland.

Postal purposes -

Bool Lagoon, South Australia.

Burnie, Tasmania.

Chullora, New South Wales.

Cressy, Tasmania.

Exton, Tasmania.

Geeveston, Tasmania.

Gum Creek, South Australia.

Harden, New South Wales.

Moltema, Tasmania.

Mount McIntyre, South. Australia.

Toorak, Victoria.

Why alla, South Australia.

National Service Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, Nos. 156, 162.

Nauru - Ordinance - 1951 - No. 5 - Lands.

Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, Nos. 140, 165.

Navigation Act Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 138.

Papua and New Guinea Act -

Ordinances - 1951 -

No. 42 - Criminal Code Amendment (New Guinea).

No. 43 - Criminal Code Amendment (Papua).

No. 44 - Native Administration (New Guinea) .

No. 45 - Native Regulation (Papua).

No. 46 - Arbitration.

No. 47 - Commissions of Inquiry.

No. 48 - Judicial Proceedings (Regulation of Reports).

No. 49 - Life Policies Protection.

No. 50 - Sea-Carriage of Goods.

No. 51 - Town Boundaries.

No. 52- Goods.

No. 53 - Hire-purchase Agreements.

No. 54 - Partnership.

No. 55 - Sale of Meat.

No. 56 - Slaughtering.

No. 57 - Standard time.

No. 58 - Statutes of Frauds and of Limitations.

No. 59 - Administrative Districts.

No. 60 - Bills of Exchange.

No. 61 - Criminal Code Amendment (New Guinea) (No. 2).

No. 62 - Criminal Code Amendment (Papua) (No. 2).

No. 63 - Defamation.

No.64 - Insolvency.

No. 65 - Insolvency (New Guinea) (No. 2).

No. 66- Land (Corrected Titles).

No. 67 - Noxious Plants.

No. 68- Pounds.

No. 69 - Private Tramways.

No. 70 - Transfer of Land Control.

No. 71 - Weights and Measures.

No. 72 - Customs.

No. 73 - Laws of the Territory (Proof and Printing).

No. 74 - Ordinances Revision.

No. 75 - Ordinances Interpretation.

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 160.

Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -

Attorney-General’s - O. Beran, H. Warner.

Civil Aviation - H. P. Acocks, G. E. Archibald, K. M. Goodson, C. K. I. Hosken.

Interior - B. S. Courtenay, W. M. Tweedie. Labour and National Service - J. G. Carroll.

National Development - G. A. M. Taylor.

Prime Minister’s - P. McCarthy.

Repatriation - J. M. Bostock, L. A. Langley.

Supply - I. R. Angus, D. A. Arnold, R. P. Bonnell, V. J. M. Bosher, B. C. Hind, S. B. Jackson, G. C. Lowenthal, F. H. McColl, K. N. McFarlane, D. C. Mills, J. L. Stanier, R. F. Treharne, W. R. Watson, W. K. Wood.

Works and Housing - E. C. Foss, A. J. Frost, P. R. Gilmour, W. V. Mason, R. M. J. Nowak, L. Tully.

Public Service Arbitration Act - Determinations 1951-

No. 117 - Peace Officer Guard Association.

No. 118 - Federated Clerks’. Union of Australia.

No. 119 - Common Rule re Sick Leave.

No. 120 - Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen.

No. 121 - Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.

No. 122 - (Postal Overseers’ Union of Australia.

No. 123 - Australian Journalists’ Association.

No. 124 - Hospital Employees’ Federation of Australasia.

No. 125 - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.

No. 120 - Amalgamated Engineering Union and others.

No. 127 - Musicians’ Union of Australia.

No. 128 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.

Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 161.

Science and Industry Endowment Act - Report by Auditor-General on Accounts of Science and Industry Endowment Fund -Year- 1950-51.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-

Ordinances -


No. 12 - Court of Petty Sessions (No. 2).

No. 13 - Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

No. 14 - Crimes.

No. 15 - Juries.

No. 16 - Rural Workers Accommodation.

No. 17 - Motor Traffic. 1952-

No. 1 - Careless Use of Fire. Regulations - 1952 -

No. 1 - (Juries Ordinance).

No. 2 - (Education Ordinance).

No. 3 - (Building and Services Ordinance) .

No. 4 - (Adoption of Children Ordinance and Court of Petty Sessions Ordinance) .

Supply and Development Act - Regulations -Statutory Rules 1951, No. 139.

War Gratuity - Third Report of the Committee of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives appointed to review the provisions of the War Gratuity Act 1945-1947.

Wool Products Bounty Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 144.

Wool (Reserve Prices) Fund Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules - 1951, No. 153. 1952, No. 1.

Wool Use Promotion Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1951, No. 143.

House adjourned at 9.52 p.m.

page 26


The following answers to questions were circulated: -


Mr Peters:

s asked the Prime Minister,. upon notice -

  1. What amount of the annual allocation for university scholarships was unexpended last year?
  2. Will the Government allocate moneys unexpended on university scholarships for the purpose of providing full or part scholarships to enable students in secondary schools to do second year matriculation courses?
  3. Is it a fact that such second year courses have immense educational value but that, in many cases, they cannot be undertaken on account of expense?
Mr Menzies:

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

The Commonwealth scholarship scheme only came into operation as from the 1st January, 1951. The appropriation for the period, the 1st January to the 30th June, 1951, was £350,000 and expenditure for the same period £316,097. Secondary school courses, as an integral part of the educational system, are of undoubted importance. It is also true that some students are deterred from completing them because of the expense involved. However, the main object of the Commonwealth scholarship scheme is to provide the opportunity for training at the tertiary level. It is not agreed by the Commonwealth Government that funds unexpended on the scheme should he devoted to secondary education. This field of education is the responsibility of the State governments.


Mr Mulcahy:

y asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Has his attention been directed to the report of the Monopolies Commission submitted to the British Parliament regarding the operations of a cartel controlling the prices, output and distribution of electric light bulbs by the Electric Lamp Manufacturers Association?
  2. Do the findings state that the manufacturers have adopted a 1,000 hours life for bulbs and are fined if the bulbs last too long?
  3. Is it a fact that the lamp agreement included Australia and involves both British and Dutch manufacturers?
  4. Will the Government consider the establishment of a similar monopolies commission in Australia to investigate the operations of international cartels operating in this country t
  5. Will he include in the terms of reference proposals that the commission should formulate protective measures for consumers as the basis of uniform anti-monopoly legislation to be adopted by State parliaments or used as the basis for the alteration of the Australian Constitution ?
Mr Menzies:

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

Extensive inquiries have failed to locate any - copy of the report referred to in Australia and it seems unlikely that any copy has yet reached this country. On the basis of reviews of the British Monopoly Commission’s report (which have appeared in newspapers and periodicals) it would appear that the Electric Lamp Manufacturers Association strictly controls the manufacture, distribution and sales of electric lamps in the United Kingdom. Standards are set for lamps produced, but the commission found that the upper limit on the life of a lamp had now been abandoned. The Government has no’ knowledge that any of the practices of the type which appear to be specified in the Monopoly Commission’s report are being carried out in Australia. The Commonwealth Government does not consider that the setting up of a similar commission in Australia is warranted.


Mr Griffiths:

s asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that negotiations for the importation of prefabricated houses have been broken off in several States because of (a) the difficulties experienced by State governments in obtaining sufficient loan accommodation through the Loan Council and (6) credit restrictions imposed on importing interests by the Commonwealth Bank?
  2. Have representations been made by any State government with a view to the financial policy of the Commonwealth being liberal i;: so that more orders for prefabricated houses might be placed overseas?
  3. Is it a fact that, pending a clarification of the attitude of the Commonwealth Government, few orders are at present being place abroad 1
Mr Casey:

– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following information : - 1. (a) The housing authorities in all States have been negotiating with numbers of overseas firms for supply of imported houses. In some eases, these negotiations have been successful and contracts have been let for approximate! 17,000 houses. In other cases it is understood that the negotiations have not yet been concluded or have terminated without an order being placed. The reasons are not known for termination of negotiations in each case. Thi’ position as to funds to be made available under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agree ment during 1951-52 is that the Commonwealth’s borrowing proposals for this purpose were submitted to the Loan Council in August this year together with other requests for States’ works. The Loan Council - not the Commonwealth - decided that in view of loan market prospects, the total sum required could not be borrowed this year and made an overall reduction of 25 per cent. The Commonwealth agreed to make good from special Commonwealth sources any short fall between the approved borrowing programmes and actual borrowings. How each State chooses to spend the money it receives under the approved Loan Council programme, as between housing and other forms of works, is entirely a matter for itself. (6) If the question refers to the provision of credit to pay overseas for imported houses before their erection, it is true that the Commonwealth Bank, like other institutions financing housebuilding, has been prepared to make advances only for work done on the site in Australia. Thus some non-governmental importers of houses have had a problem in obtaining finance for importation of the component parts of the house as distinct from their subsequent assembly in Australia.

  1. Yes.
  2. Tt is believed that few orders for imported houses are at present being placed by State governments.
Mr Minogue:

e asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -

  1. How many houses have been erected in Australia since this Government came into office?
  2. How many prefabricated houses have been imported in the same period?
  3. Does the number of houses completed and imported meet the annual needs of the people and make any contribution to overtaking the lng in house construction due to a cessation of building in the war years and the partial cessation during the depression years?
  4. If not, to what extent does the number ot houses completed and’ imported since the Government came into office fall short of meeting the people’s needs in respect of (a) annual requirements and (6) the lag?
Mr Casey:

– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following information : -

  1. From January, 1950, to June, 1951, it is estimated than 95,000 houses and flats were erected in Australia.
  2. About 7,000 imported houses have been delivered to date.
  3. The annual housing needs of the Australian people, including migrants, total approximately 75,000. In the year ended June. 1951, nearly 70,000 dwellings were built. This rate of construction, together with deliveries of imported houses under orders now totalling more than 20,000 is for the time being meeting Australia’s annual housing needs. In addition to annual needs of about 75,000 dwellings there is a housing shortage accumulated over a number of years, whose extent to-day is not known. The census of June, 1947, showed that about 100,000 houses would have been needed to eliminate home-sharing.
  4. See answer to question 3.
Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -

  1. What was the backlog in regard to home construction in Australia at the termination of thewar in 1945 and what is it to-day?
  2. What is the total of homes constructed in each of the States for each of the years since the war ended by (a) private enterprise, and ( b) governments or governmental agencies ?
  3. How many people are at present residing in emergency housing settlements in the various States ?
  4. How many applications are on hand in the various States from families desirous of obtaining emergency accommodation?
Mr Casey:

– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following information : -

  1. No official figures are available for either period. The census of June, 1947, showed that about 100,000 dwellings would have been needed to eliminate home-sharing at that time.
  2. Houses and flats built in each State since the war were as follows : -
  1. Persons residing in emergency housing settlements -
  1. Applications on hand for emergency accommodation -


Mr Mulcahy:

y asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. The applications made to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board for transfer of shares in commercialbroadcasting stations, (b) the applications approved and the names of the applicants, and(c) the applications refused and the names of the applicants?
Mr Anthony:

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

Since the establishment of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board,companies holding licences for the under-mentioned commercial broadcasting stations have consulted the contemplated transactions in their sharehold Postmaster -General or the Board concerningings as under: -

An application covering transactions in Shaws in Broadcasting Associates Pty. Ltd. (which holds shares in a number of Broadcasting Stations) is under consideration

Mr Ward:

d asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that, following the recent discovery of an. irregularity, Actors and Announcers Equity Association of Australia lias requested the Government to institute a thorough investigation into the conduct oi what are known as Radio Quiz sessions?
  2. If so, has this request received consideration, and has any decision been arrived at?
Mr Anthony:

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

  1. Yes:
  2. A. full statement on the subject was made in the House.

Telephone Services

Mr O’Connor:

r asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. What is the number of outstanding applications for telephones in the WA and WB areas, Sydney?
  2. How many new telephones were installed in these areas for the years ended the 30th September, 1949, the 30th September, 1950, and the 30th September, 1951 ?
Mr Anthony:

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

  1. On the 31st October, 1951, in the WA and WB exchange areas in Sydney there wererespectively 533 and 493 applications for telephone services outstanding.
  2. During the years ended the 30th September, 1949, 1950 and 1951, there were respectively 207, 236 and 178 new telephone services provided in the WA exchange area and 183, 259 and 327 respectively, provided in the WB exchange area.

Methylated Spirit

Mr Andrews:

s asked the Minister foi Supply, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that methylated spirits is practically unprocurable?
  2. If so, does the shortage of methylated spirits arise from its export to New Zealand, where it sells at 2s. a gallon above the price procurable in Australia?
Mr Beale:

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

  1. There has been a shortage of methylated spirits during recent months. The reason for the shortage was originally a mechanical breakdown of the ship which brings molasses from Queensland. Molasses is the main raw material used in refining methylated spirits and the quantity available has been insufficient to enable all demands for methylated spirits to lie met. However the principal refiner, Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited, has been able to supply the full requirements of essential industries and all major drug houses. The shortage has been felt mainly by firms who bottle the commodity for retail sale.
  2. The shortage has not been caused by exports to New Zealand, the quantities supplied to that country during recent years being as follows: - 1949-50, 4,729 gallons; 1950-51, 688 gallons; quarter ending September, 1951, nil.
Mr Swartz:

z asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that an investigating committee in the United States of America recently submitted a report to the House of Representatives stating that the use of DDT as an insecticide for crops was dangerous to human beings?
  2. If so, will lie arrange for a further investigation of the use of DDT in Australia as an insecticide for crops, for fruit and vegetables growing and for home use?
  3. Will he report to the House when the investigation is concluded ?

page 30


Sir Earle Page:

– Inquiries have been made regarding such a. report but no authoritative information has yet been received from the United ‘States. The matter will be investigated as soon as reliable information is available.


Mr Ward:

d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. Has the Government abandoned ito proposals, confirmed by repeated assurances in this House by the Prime Minister and by himself, to introduce an excess profits tax and to make the tax retrospective to the 30th June, 1950?
  2. If so, what are the specific reasons for this decision?
Mr Menzies:

– The attention of the honorable member is invited to the budget speech delivered by the right honorable the Treasurer on the 11th October, 1951. The relevant extract from the speech is as follows : - ‘ .Success Profits Tax. - In my last budget speech I stated that, as part ‘of a balanced [dan to bring inflationary forces under control, measures to draw off some part of abnormal profits were being considered. This statement has been interpreted in some quarters to mean that the Government proposed an excess profits tax on all forms of business profits. Clearly, however, an excess profits tax is unnecessary in the case of individuals because the graduated rates can be adjusted to draw off the desired amount in taxation. Similarly, an excess profits tax on private companies is not necessary because the individual graduated rates apply both to dividends distributed and to profits retained by those companies. Hence, to give effect to the announced intention of the Government it is necessary to find a means of dealing with the profits of public companies. The methods that might be adopted to implement the Government’s intentions in regard to public companies were referred to the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation. After ‘ thoroughly examining many different plans, the committee found it impracticable to recommend a scheme in any of the recognized forms that would serve the desired purpose and, at the same time, be reasonably free from anomalies for taxpayers and difficulties of administration. Tn particular, the more usual forms of tax would be ineffective for a period of up to two years after the profits had been derived. In the light of the committee’s report, the Government proposes that the additional contribution to revenue, by public companies shall be in the form of a special levy at the rate of 2s. in the fi.”

The special levy of 2s. in the £1 was imposed by the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Act 1951 (Act No. 45 of 1951). This special levy commenced to apply to taxable incomes derived by public companies during the year ended 30th June, 1951. For the answer to the second part of his question the honorable member should consult the reports made by the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation and tabled in this House on 10th October, 1951.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 February 1952, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.