21st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. WENTWORTH (Mackellar) [10.55]. - In the few minutes that remain for this debate, I wish to associate myself with the remarks of the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) and the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) about the necessity to complete swiftly the short standard guage rail link between Broken Hill and Port Pirie. At present, the 4-ft. 8?-in. standard gauge Commonwealth line which goes from Port Pirie to Kalgoorlie, and also from Port Augusta up towards LeighCreek, is isolated from the rest of the standard gauge transport system. If we could provide the small link that is missing,we would be able to move rolling-stock on and off that line in case of emergency, and that is important. Let me say also that we should, concurrently, do something about providing a standard gauge line from Port Pirie to Adelaide. I think that could be done by converting one ofthe two 5-ft 3-in. lines which at present run down virtually in parallel. It would not be a very difficult matter to arrange. As the committee knows, the line running northwards from Port AugustatoLeigh Creek is at present being converted from 3 ft 6 in. to 4 ft.8? in. to permit coal traffic to be handled with greater economy. If, as I say, we had a standard gauge line from Port Pirie to Adelaide, that would give us a clear flow of coal traffic from Leigh Creek to Adelaide. It would also allow the rocket range at Woomera to be connected directly with the workshops at Salisbury which service it. Then if we completed the link, as I have suggested, from Broken Hill to Port Pirie, we would be also able to run standard gauge trains from Brisbane and Sydney right to Adelaide. I know these are matters which require money, but I do not believe they require an exorbitant amount of money. I believe that the works I suggest are economically desirable and stand by themselves as commercial propositions, but far addition, they would add considerablyto the defence potential of Australia.
There is just one other point that I should like to make in the couple of minutes that remain. I agree with the honorable member for Blaxland that one of the great features in the operation of the Commonwealth railways has been the introduction of diesel-electric locomotives.
There is a good story to. be told in that regard, andI believe that the Government and the Commonwealth Railways. Commissioner have something tobe proud of. The lessons learned should be applied more generally to the railway systems of the various States. There is one other factor. The trans- Australian railway is a long through run, and the railways should be concentrated much more on the long through runs, rather than on the short hauls. It is probable that, for short hauls, other forms of transport can operate effectively. It is particularly on the long uninterrupted runs that the railway comes into its own, and we should be concentrating on that aspect.
Proposed votes agreed to.
The following papers were presented: -
Lands Acquisition Act - Land,&c., acquired for Defence purposes -
Kingswood, New South Wales.
Papua and New Guinea - Ordinances - 1953-
No.56 - Lands Acquisition.
No. 72 - Mercantile.
No. 77- Plant Disease and Control.
No. 88-Probate and Administration (No. 2).
No. 93- New Guinea Land Titles Restoration (No. 2).
No. 12 - Town Planning.
No. 13 - Stamp Duties.
No. 18- Regulations Publication.
No. 24. -ordinances Interpretation.
Public Service Act - Appointment- Department of Works - E. W. N.Oxlad.
Public Works Committee Act-Twenty-third General Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works.
House adjourned at 11 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
On how many occasions has(a) the “guillotine” and (b) the closure been moved by the
Government in the lifetime of each of the following Parliaments - the nineteenth, twentieth and the twenty-first?
Nineteenth Parliament (22nd February,1950, to 19th March, 1951 ) . - “ Guillotine “ moved by Government, five occasions; closure moved by Government, 41 occasions; closure moved by Opposition, one occasion.
Twentieth Parliament (12th June, 1951, to 14th April, 1954).-“Guillotine” moved by Government, ten occasions; closure moved by Government, 209 occasions; closure moved by Opposition, six occasions.
Twenty- first Parliament (4th August, 1954 - ). - “Guillotine” moved by Government, one occasion ; closure moved by Government, eight occasions.
Will he lay on the table of the Library all relevant documents involved in the negotiations with the United States of America regarding the retention of Marius Island as a base by the United States forces?
Can the Prime Minister say whether it is a fact that the travelling allowances payable to the judges of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court were increased and made retrospective, with effect from the 1st December. 1953? Are these the same gentlemen who refused the application of certain unions for the adjustments of margins for skill in their respective awards on the ground that the state of the national economy did not justify the granting of such increases? If so, will the right honorable gentleman say whether this factor was taken into account by the Government when .considering the adjustment of the judges’ travelling allowances! Finally, have any of the judges declined the increased payment on the ground that, having regard to the state of the national economy, such increases should not be approved?
I promised the honorable member that I would ascertain the facts and make them available. I now find that full details of the action taken were conveyed to the honorable member by the AttorneyGeneral on the 29th March, 1954. There has been no variation in the position since that date.
On the 7th September, the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) asked the following question : -
Will the Prime Minister cause inquiries to be made into the recent stipulation - of the authorities which control Commonwealth scholarships, that these arc not to be paid unless they reach a minimum of £10? Is he aware that the decision permits of payments of fees of part-time students who Are attending the universities in New South Wales and Victoria to study one or two subjects but the students who are doing the same subjects at the university in South Australia, where fees are being kept low, are deprived of their scholarships? Will the right honorable gentleman ensure that South Australian students shall not he penalized merely because they happen to live in South Australia?
The Universities Commission has decided not to award benefits under the Commonwealth scholarship scheme to students undertaking a part-time course in any year in which the benefits are less than £10. As a result of this decision scholarships which would be taken up by such students may now he awarded to students who can derive substantial benefits from the scholarship as, for instance, full-time students entitled to a living allowance. Generally the type of student who is excluded from benefits under this decision is a part-time student who either has private means or is in employment. The Universities Commission, however, has discretion in this Hitter and v prepared to ‘ consider, with the students’ interests in mind, the case of able students whose studies are being prejudiced because of financial hardship. This would include cases in which a student is in employment and is having financial difficulty in meeting his commitments. Such cases may he referred to the Universities Commission by the Education Departments who are responsible for the detailed administration of the scheme. The honorable member can be assured that South Australian students arc not penalized by the operation of the minimum benefits rule. Tn general, students at the University of Adelaide are required to pay more than £10 in fees whether their courses are on a full-time or a part-time basis. If, however, there are special circumstances which result in students being required to pay less than £10 in any one year, students concerned should, if they feel that their studies are prejudiced through financial difficulties, raise the matter with the Education Departmentof South Australia who may, after examination, refer it to the Universities Commission.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 September 1954, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1954/19540921_reps_21_hor5/>.