12th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Eon. W. Kingsmill) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
Employment of Mr. W. Mahony
– On the 22nd November Senator Foll asked the following questions, upon notice -
I am now in a position to furnish the following replies: -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
– I have on the notice-paper the following questions: -
I regret to state that it has not been put in the exact form intended. I desire to ask -
Whether in view of the fact that restrictions on communication by sea with the State of Queensland are. seriously hampering the progress of that State through the operation of the Navigation Act, will the Government consider the advisability of repealing the part of the Act which imposes this disability on Queensland ?
– The Government was not aware that the honorable senator wished to put his question in the amended form. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Fenton) has supplied the fol lowing answer to the honorable senator’s questions as they appear on the noticepaper : -
Western Junction Aerodrome
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– Inquiries will be made and a reply will be furnished to the honorable senator as early as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
Is it a fact that -
the Attorney-General has said that the only remedy for bringing to an end the recurring troubles in the coal-mining industry of Australia is the nationalization of coalmining;
the report of the Mines Department of New South Wales reveals that in the present coal-working area of 1,000 square miles in that State there are 20,000,000,000 tons, or according to the present rate of extraction enough to last for 2,000 years ;
there is a further area of 15,000 square miles of potential coalbearing country in that State of which no attempt has yet been made to calculate the contents?
If so, will the Government recognize the opportunity there is here for setting up a State coal-mine to be worked directly or by proxy alongside that of John Brown, and so bringing a lasting peace to the industry?
– The Honorable the Attorney-General has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -
The following papers were presented : -
Railways Act - Report on Commonwealth Railways Operations, for the year ended 30th June, 1929.
Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Fifth Annual Report of the Federal Capital Commission for the year ended 30th June, 1929.
Ordered to be printed.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Daly) read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Daly) read a first time.
Debate resumed from 28th November (vide page 416), on motion by Senator Dooley -
That the following Address-in-Reply to His Excellency the Governor-General’s Speech be agreed to: -
To His Excellency the Governor-General -
May it Please Your Excellency:
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
– Last evening when I obtained leave to continue my remarks, I was about to direct attention to certain outstanding events in connexion with the public life of this country. I now invite honorable senators to consider the record of Mr. Theodore, the present Treasurer. As every one knows, for some years he was the Premier of Queensland, a State which for thirteen years enjoyed the doubtful blessings of Labour rule. When he was in power in the northern State, he defied the wishes of the people and abolished the Legislative Council, which has always been regarded by Labour as the chief obstruction to the attainment of its political ends. Notwithstanding that the people, by a majority of 50,000 or 60,000, decided against the proposal, Mr. Theodore was not deterred. He took prompt steps, when he had the necessary majority, to abolish the Upper House in the Queensland Parliament. And what has been the result? Mr. Theodore and his party enjoyed the confidence of the people for many years. Labour was returned on three successive occasions, but there came a time when the people were ripe for a change, and after thirteen years of Labour administration, they rejected Labour candidates.
Before the inception of Labour rule the production per head of population in Queensland was higher than in any other State. Under Labour rule, however, it sank from the premier position among the States to a bad second lowest, the increase in production per head during this period being only about £4 as compared with £25, £35, or £40 in the case of New South Wales. When it suits Labour leaders, they conduct their affairs in a strictly business way; but when it does not suit them to do so they dodge that necessity.
The budget statement presented by the Treasurer the other day emphasizes that, owing to the lean season which is now being experienced throughout Australia, and because also of the unwillingness of foreign buyers of our surplus products to pay the price expected, the Commonwealth is in for a bad time financially. It is reflected in the finances of the Commonwealth, and the Treasurer has drawn special attention to it in his budget speech. In Queensland, under Labour rule, the production per head declined so seriously that the position of the workers in that State is far from enviable. Taxation, on the other hand, increased from £1 8s. 2d. a head in 1914-15 to £5 2s.1d. a head in 1926-27, an increase of nearly 400 per cent. All this bears witness to the fact that under Labour rule the worker in that State has been too long in the wilderness of neglect. The decline in his material well-being is further reflected in the records of the State Savings Bank, the deposits per head being the lowest in the Commonwealth. Thus, judged by these three tests, Labour has failed even in a magnificently endowed State like Queensland. There is no State in the Commonwealth to equal Queensland, and only a fraction of our people realize the extent of its fertility. I am certain of my facts when I speak of Queensland’s resources. I have first-hand knowledge for I have walked through large portions of it. Nature must have been intoxicated or doped when it endowed Queensland with its wonderful natural resources which, in comparison with the other States, are truly magnificent.
I have already referred to the result of the engagement on the political battleground of Queensland a short time ago, and when, by the way, it was discovered that in one centre there were 22,000 more voters on the Queensland State roll than there were on the Federal roll. The records showed that 60 voters were accommodated in one particular boarding-house which, when inspected, was found to contain only six beds. Apparently ten occupied each bed; that possibly accounted for the extra number of electors to which I have referred; when, however, the last appeal was made to the people, thousands of persons who had never previously voted anything else but Labour, gave their support to the Nationalist candidates. The reign of Labour rule brought such dire results in its train that they had no hesitation in voting for the anti-Labour candidates in an endeavour to restore Queensland to a financial position such as should properly be enjoyed by so fertile a State. The people realized that the time had arrived when they must abandon support of those for whom they had previously voted, who had been the means of bringing this rich territory to an impoverished state, and even to the verge of bankruptcy? The electors in no uncertain way tossed out many of their former representatives, and sent their baggage with them.
When a rich State such as Queensland cannot any “longer stand prodigal Labour rule, surely we are justified in assuming that other States not so richly endowed by nature can not stand it either. As every one knows, the Treasurer (Mr. Theodore) was for some time a prominent figure in the public life of Queensland ; but it cannot be denied that as the result of the administrations led by him and his predecessor this veritable Garden of Eden has been reduced to a stricken land, where taxation has mounted to such an extent that the people cannot afford to pay more. Under proper administration the people of such a fertile State should be prosperous, and the taxation per head of the people lower than in any other State. Public opinion was so incensed and outraged that the electors sent these people about their business. Under the Theodore regime Queensland has been reduced to almost a state of bankruptcy, and by reason of the Labour government’s policy the people lost confidence in their leaders and sent them about their business.
Dealing with this matter from a business viewpoint and with strict regard to commercial principles, we can imagine the Commonwealth as a huge business undertaking with six interstate branches conducted by branch managers. If a branch manager of this all- Australian undertaking had to submit a financial statement to his general manager to the effect that his branch was on the verge of bankruptcy, what would the general manager do? He would immediately dismiss him. But this gentleman who brought about financial chaos in the State which he controlled for years, has not been sacked. Nothing of the kind. He has been made, shall I say, the deputy general manager of the central organization where, if he applies the same principles which he employed in the branch business, bankruptcy will probably face the whole concern. On the other hand, Senator Barnes, a worthy member of the Government, and one of its representatives in this chamber, has reached his present position and popularity amongst his fellow men by virtue of his proved qualities. He has brought the Australian Workers Union, that tremendous organization, of which he is the president, not to the verge of bankruptcy, but to a state of prosperity. That is an instance of how principles are reversed, and is in keeping with what I said at the outset, that it is past compre hension why the Labour party should ever have committed some of the acts of which it is guilty.
I should now like to say a word or two concerning the White Australia policy - a policy that is dear to every Australian who loves his country - and the attitude of Labour to it. What is the principle ingredient in the store-house of Labour’s household - an ingredient which it has used with so much effect in the past? Trade unionism, as every one knows, is the backbone of the Labour party; if it were removed its frame would collapse. What has the Labour party done in regard to this vital and cardinal feature of public policy? Let me quote from the PanPacific Worker, the official mouthpiece of the Pan-Pacific Secretariat. On page 4 of the issue of 15th January, 1929, I find this paragraph -
The Australasian Council of Trade Unions is officially affiliated with the Pan-Pacific Trades Union Secretariat. The Australasian Council of Trade Unions was officially represented at the Shanghai session of the Secretariat in February, 1928. The Australian Trades Union movement was, in fact, the initiator of the Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat.
How does the trade union movement treat the White Australia policy? [Extension of time granted]. I thank honorable senators for granting me an extension of time, But as there have been some murmurs from the opposite benches, I presume some honorable senators are afraid to hear what I am about to quote. It is, however, very gratifying to me to be able to express my views in silence after the experience I had during the election campaign. A paragraph concerning the PanPacific Trade Union Secretariat contained in a pamphlet issued by the Labour Research and Information Bureau of Sydney reads -
We are less concerned with . . . the anti-working class campaign unfolded by our open class-enemies than by the need of counteracting the poison of reformism, class collaboration and rank nationalism and jingoism spread by a certain brand of so-called leaders within our own Labour movement. We have in mind such men as Grayndler and Bailey, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Walsh and others. They are the people who are openly opposed to unity in our ranks (Messrs. Bailey and Grayndler have cynically rejected the Australasian Council of Trade Unions’ proposals for trades union unity). They are people who work hand in hand with the bosses in promoting “ class “ peace and “ industrial peace “ schemes (Mr. and Mrs. Walsh and Co.) to the detriment of our working-class interests, and to the joy and direct benefit of the capitalist class. . . It is to offset the pernicious activities of these reptiles in our own ranks and in order to make it clear to all workers of this country that their interests as a class are indissolubly bound up with those of the workers of other countries, most immediately with those of the Pacific countries, that this pamphlet has been written and published.
A little later we have these statements : -
We find men, Labour leaders in our own trades unions, who would deliberately perpetuate the dangerous division of the working class into “ white “ and “ yellows “, and “ tans “ and “blacks “.
And then come all the jackals of our labour movement who attempt to confuse and disorganize our working class with the two wild cries of “ White Australia “ and “ class peace. “
This comes from the Trades Hall in Sydney. Does it not deserve our very serious attention ? Disparaging references are also made in this pamphlet to the Labour Office at Geneva, to which Australia ‘has sent its representatives. I quote now the opinion of Mr. E. C. Gibson, one of the Victorian trade union representatives, who opposed the motion for the affiliation of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions with* the PanPacific Secretariat. “ There are three white men on the Red Executive and a heterogeneous mob of Asiatics with unpronounceable names, who have got the impertinence to lay down a policy for the Australasian Council of Trade Unions. If you will blindly accept that, that is your responsibility, not mine.” - Sydney Morning Berala” report, 23rd July. We presume that the “ three white men referred to by Mr. Gibson are Messrs. Garden, Ryan and Jeffrey.
The Sydney Worker, of the 20th June, which, I am glad to say, expresses a robust Australian opinion, states -
In 1925 the Red International Labour Union in Moscow decided that the time was ripe to organize the Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat in China, in order to establish “ methods of contact “ between the Chinese and other workers, and to set out the “ fighting tasks “ of the Communist unions in the various countries bordering the Pacific. It was further decided that the official launching of the organization should be performed by the Labour Council of New South Wales, as an affiliated section of -the Red International Labour Union. The Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat is a purely Communist organization. It functions solely in the interests of the Communist International, and is financed from Communist sources. The members of its executive are all members of the Communist party. The organization is openly hostile to the “ White Australia “ policy, and is pledged to fight against this and other planks.
And again in the same newspaper of the 20th June, 1928, this appears -
What is the Federal Labour party going te do about this state of affairs? Is it going to face the electors at the forthcoming Federal elections handcuffed to the Communistcontrolled Australasian Council of Trade Unions, which in turn is pledged to piebald principles? Or is it going to repudiate it, lock, stock and barrel, and drive it back into the Communist camp, to which it rightly belongs?
I could go on and on quoting matter of a similar type. I have also heard of Mr. Theodore receiving money from Mr. Garden; where he got it I do not know. It is, however, recorded in the Sydney Sun that he received money for prosecuting the labor political campaign prior to the last general election.
I have clearly linked up the trades union movement as represented by the Australasian Council of Trade Unions in Australia with the Pan Pacific Trades Union Secretariat and have shown its views on public questions which are vital to the welfare of Australia. Do we sleep or do we dream? “What is likely to happen? During the recent election if a Nationalist candidate breathed or sneezed on the White Australia policy he was vigorously attacked; but organizations with which the Labor party are associated are endeavouring to bring our White Australia policy to the dust. It is high treason to the White Australia policy, and the party knows it; yet this kind of thing goes on and on. I sometimes wonder whether it is worth while for a man to maintain his self respect. With such things happening, it almost seems a waste of time to be decent. Yet an overwhelming majority of the people who themselves believe in the White Australia policy are prepared to support this kind of thing. .That policy is the only thing which preserves the six and a quarter million people in Australia from being reduced to the low-level standards of other countries. The Labour party, however, can do these things and make these statements concerning this vital policy, and not one word of censure is heard, but should the Nationalist party even sneeze at the same thing, there is an outcry.
We frequently hear from members of the Labour party that that party’s ultimate object is the socialisation of industry.
– Hear, hear !
– The honorable senator’s interjection saves me the necessity of proving my case. It is possible to assess to a fractional part of a penny the product of capital in this country. The incomes of the people can be determined with as much exactness as can the profits of a fish shop in Brisbane, the Newcastle steel works, or even Kidman’s cattle stations. If the incomes of all the people of Australia were averaged how much more would a man getting less than £150 a year receive? Honorable senators opposite will probably be surprised to know that it would be only 10s. 5d. Will they foment a revolution for 10s. 5d.?
– The net profits of Australian manufacturing concerns are well known to the authorities. If, during the period 1914 to 1918, when it was alleged that a great deal of profiteering took place, all the profits then made by the manufacturing industries of Australia had been divided among the employees in those industries, their average income would have been increased by from 7s. 4d. to lis., an average of 9s. 2d. But if that. 9s. 2d. had been paid to the employees there would not have been a penny piece left with which to purchase a brick or a sheet of iron to extend the factories in order that more employment might be provided. I ask Senator Rae whether he is prepared to start a revolution for 9s. 2d. If not, why go on in such an irresponsible fashion? It is not worth while to cause a “ nine and tuppeny “ revolution. These are facts ; yet some men find it convenient to ignore them. If they took notice of facts, their case would be as flat as a tyre that is punctured.
In one part of the world dreams have come true. Russia is now an industrial paradise - the Mecca of industrialists! There is a new form of society there.
What is happening in that paradise ? On page 450 of the Soviet Union Year-Book 1928, published in Moscow under the authority of the Soviet Government, the following appears: -
During the last few years the number of unemployed has increased from 848,000 in 1924-25 to 1,354,000 in 1926-27, in spite of the fact that industry and transport are absorbing large numbers of workers …. The average wage paid to the unemployed workers is about 1 rouble 50 kopecks per day.
A rouble is worth about ls. 10d., and a kopeck about one farthing or a third of a penny, according to the rate of internal exchange. Thus it will be seen that a worker on the roads in Russia receives about 3s. 3d. per day. In another portion of the book there is a declaration regarding the formation of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. It commences -
Since the time of the formation of the Soviet Republics, the States of the world have divided into two camps: the camp of Capitalism and the camp of Socialism. There - in the camp of Capitalism - are national enmity and inequality, colonial slavery, and chauvinism, national oppression and pogroms, imperialist brutalities and wars. Here - in the camp of Socialism - are mutual confidence and peace, national freedom and equality, a dwelling together in peace and the brotherly collaboration of peoples.
I emphasise the word “ equality.” Let me show the equality that exists in that elysium! Even the Soviet Government cannot get on without revenue. Apparently there are some persons in Russia whose incomes are fairly considerable. On page 404 of the publication I have mentioned particulars of the scale of taxation are given -
Incomes up to 1000 roubles pay 3 per cent.; from 1000 to 1200 pay 30 roubles, and 5 per cent, on the amount above 1,000 roubles. . . Taxpayers with incomes of 24,000 roubles and above are taxed at 8330 roubles and 54 per cent, of the amount above 24,000 roubles which last is the highest rate of income tax.
An income of 24,000 roubles is equivalent to about £2,400. Apparently even in the land of equality there were some persons receiving that high income at a time when the workers on the roads got only 3s. 3d. a day. What do honorable senators opposite think of that as an instance of equality?
If there is any place in the wide, wide world where a fight for equality might be justified, it is
Russia. When I read about that country, I think that- some of the men who are wasting their time fighting a shadow in Australia, where the lowest wage is four or five times that paid in the free laud of Russia, should don a red shirt, tie bowyangs round their trousers, and transfer to Russia. They stop here only because they know in their heart of hearts that Australia is the grandest and freest country on God’s earth. They do not believe 25 per cent, of the things they say on the public platforms of this country - and in making that estimate, I am dealing liberally with them. I could go on almost indefinitely in the same strain. I could, for instance, say a great deal about rates of interest. The Federal Treasurer (Mr. Theodore) complains that he has to pay £5 14s. 4d. per cent, for the money he wants. But the Soviet Government has to pay a great deal more. In that land of liberty and equality, that Mecca of all the deluded peoples of the earth, the rate of interest is from 8 per cent, to 12 per cent.
But the saddest aspect of that land, which so many regard as an earthly paradise, is seen in the conjugal relations of its people. The sanctity of the married state is the foundation of society. But what is the position in Russia? Any certificate given by a religious body is ignored. Should John Smith wish to marry Mary Brown, he merely says - “ I take this woman for my wife,” and the woman says, “ I take this man for my husband “ and the deed is done. Thereafter they are regarded as a married couple. It is so easy. And it is just as easy to secure divorce. Should a man tire of his wife, or desire to change her for another, he merely expresses his desire, and on his “sayso” alone the marriage is dissolved. That is in Russia.
– Divorce is nearly as easy in Australia.
– It is not. When in a so-called civilized country this almost barbaric form of promiscuity obtains, it is time to consider where the world is drifting. When religious principles are tossed to the wind and ignored in a socalled court of law, something is wrong. Was it for that that the Redeemer came to this earth and was crucified ? In Russia a handful of illiterates, with’ no respect for the traditions of the past, formed themselves into a body of iconoclasts and overthrew the ethical and religious foundations of society. If there was a possibility of a handful of similar undesirables dominating the affairs of Australia and reducing this country to the depths to which Russia has been degraded, 1 should prefer to see it sunk beneath the waves and never recovered.
Let me examine the economic position of this country. First of all, what does “ economic “ signify ! It means successful national housekeeping. Australia, the last discovered of Britain’s possessions, has a heritage that it is difficult accurately to measure in point of potential wealth. The Commonwealth Year-Booh indicates that our urban . population is 62 per cent, of our total population, while that of Canada, certainly a country of greater civilized age, has an urban population of only 49 per cent. And here pre the comparative figures of wheat production of the two countries -
In 1926, 25 years later, the position was -
From practically the same beginning as Australia, Canada now has a wheat yield almost three times greater than ours.
– The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I listened with some attention to the speech of Senator Lynch. In it he wandered, figuratively, all over the world, and resorted mostly to abuse. In turn, scoffing, sneering, and laughing, he fulminated against the world in general, and the Labour party in particular. The honorable senator quoted from the whitebook, the blue-book, the red-book, the green-book, and the black-book. And then he floundered into the quagmire of illusion; and wondered pathetically how the apple got into the dumpling. The honorable senator endeavoured to besmirch the Queensland electoral system, claiming that it had been abused by a certain section of the community. I was a member of the special committee of investigation which visited Queensland and exhaustively inquired into similar charges made by individuals as irresponsible and as irrepressible as Senator Lynch. The chairman of that committee, the ex-member for Macquarie, Mr. Manning, a political friend of Senator Lynch, recommended that a witness should be prosecuted for perjury for making allegations similar to those which emanated from . Senator Lynch. I wonder how the honorable senator would have fared had he given evidence before us. Senator Thompson was also a member of that committee, which heard witnesses throughout Queensland, and was unable to find any proof of irregularities.
– “We found that there were more names on the roll than there should have been, but we could not trace any double voting.
– So far as we could discover, no one voted who was not entitled to do so, which proves how groundless are Senator Lynch’s wild charges.
– Were there not more names on the State than on the corresponding Federal roll?
– That may have been so, but there was no evidence of improper practices. If any people in that State were aware that illegal voting had occurred, they should have made it known to the committee.
Senator Lynch also made some sweeping charges concerning Russia. I have heard and read a good deal about that country, some things to .its credit and others of a most damnable character. Neither I, nor Senator Lynch, knows which version is correct. It is yet merely a matter of guesswork. I have come to the conclusion that those who write and talk most about Russia know least of it. I am waiting to learn something authentic about that remarkable country. In all probability serious mistakes have been made in its administration, just as in other countries, including Australia. Those who never make a mistake achieve nothing.
We heard from Senator Lynch a good deal about revolution. Revolution is foreign to the Labour party of Australia. Only an idiot would preach it in this country, where the glorious freedom of the franchise affords us ample opportunity to right our wrongs. The only way to bring about any needed reform is by educating the people. All desirable innovations must come through knowledge, and not by force. What is gained by force must be held by it.
The honorable senator also dilated upon our White Australia policy. Who has done more for that ideal than the Australian Labour party? That party introduced the principle, in1 spite of the gloomy forebodings of its opponents, who dragged forth the bogey of international complications. The late Andrew Fisher and his Government said, “Never mind about international complications. It is imperative that Australia should have such a policy, and we shall proceed to put in into practice.”
– Sir Henry Parkes initiated the policy before there was a Labour party.
– He may have approved of the ideal, but it was first put into practice as the result of effort by the Labour party. Senator Lynch referred to the alleged cast-iron laws of the Labour movement, but he omitted to say anything about the rigid discipline of the Nationalist party. No longer can that party claim to be the apostle of freedom of action, or that it is not caucus bound. It has even gone to the length of expelling its founder. Senator Lynch’s greatest worry was how, in the name of fortune, the Labour party achieved its great victory at the recent general election, and he displayed considerable ingenuity in advancing various excuses for the defeat of his party. I shall give my version of the downfall of the Bruce-Page administration. First, it is an accepted truism that no leader can lead his party successfully to victory unless he has the absolute confidence of his followers. I admit that Mr. Bruce began well, from a Nationalist viewpoint, but as time passed he began to revel in his newlyacquired power; he became a dictator. He adopted a Czar-like attitude and, instead of consulting the wishes of his followers, used the mailed fist and forced measures of his own choosing through Parliament. Had he retained a proper perspective of the importance of his position and shared the obligations of office with his colleagues, there would not have been an election, and a Labour party on the Treasury bench. “ Had he pursued a wiser and more democratic course he would have discovered that he was a vote or two short in some of the measures that he proposed to introduce.
– “Which indicates that he was not caucus bound.
– But his party was.
– The Ministry was not caucus bound.
– It was that attitude that brought about his destruction and the downfall of his party.
– The honorable senator is merely proving that we have freedom of action.
– The honorable senator’s party has not. Immediately the principle of freedom of action was put into practice by some members of the Nationalist party they were expelled.
– That is quite true.
– Actually, there is not as much freedom of action in the party opposite as there is in the Labour party. The Nationalist party brought to heel the recalcitrants in its ranks and cast them out. Even though honorable senators opposite and their colleagues in another place had promised the electors of Australia that they would stand by the principle of arbitration, Mr. Bruce ruled otherwise, and they had, perforce to obey.
– There were a lot of white ants in the party.
– I shall be generous to the honorable senator and disregard his interjection. Undoubtedly the extreme ideas of the Bruce administration brought about its downfall. There is no room for extremists on either side. They are a menace to progress. When Mr. Bruce became an extremist on the conservative side, he met his downfall, and in his fall dragged down his administration and his party. The pathway of a politician is seemingly very slippery. He is in to-day and out to-morrow. As Senator Lynch says, public opinion is very fickle. But it is also very democratic. Once a man becomes an extremist he soon finds himself among the “outs.”
Senator Payne spoke in very distressful tones about the manner in which, at the recent election, the Public Service employees had worked and voted for Labour. Their reason for doing so is not far to see. The bill that was introduced just before the election to deprive the Public Service employees of their right of appeal to the Public Service Arbitrator was sufficent to induce them not only to turn against the Nationalist party, but also to work for the return of Labour. In my humble opinion 95 per cent, of the employees of the Commonwealth Public Service voted for Labour at the election, because they considered that the Bruce-Page Government had become extreme in its ideas, and in many ways demonstrated that it was opposed to the freedom of the public servant. The opinion of the Public Service organizations on the bill, which was introduced by the Bruce-Page Government is set out in the following : -
The bill is termed “ a bill for an act relating to the settlement of certain matters arising out of employment in the Public Service.”
It would be much more honest to term the measure “ a bill to dispossess postal and Public Service employees of their existing arbitration rights, and to throw them to the tender mercies of a hostile and autocratic Public Service Board.”
The bill is a scandalous frame-up on postal and Public Service employees, which is designed to deprive these employees of the right of appeal to any tribunal in respect to the arbitrary decisions of the Public Service Board relating to conditions of employment apart from salaries or wages.
The bill is flagrantly dishonest inasmuch as it professes to give employees the right of appeal to an arbitration tribunal for the settlement of differences relating to their employment, whereas it does no such thing.
It would be much more honest for the Government to move for the straight-out repeal of the arbitration system relating to postal and Public Service employees, without the substitution of a “ sham “ tribunal, possessed of very limited jurisdiction, such as it proposes to set up.
The bill has all the appearances of having been drafted at the dictates of the Public Service Board and postal officialdom, nominally the employers, who, jealous of place and pay, are prepared to sacrifice the employees on the altar pf their own personal ambitions.
The bill also provides that registered postal and service unions shall cease to be registered organizations after the expiration of three months from the commencement of the act.
These unions must thereupon apply for reregistration to a committee termed a “ registration committee “.
The appointment of this committee is unnecessary, and the manner in which it is to be constituted is grossly unjust. This unjustly constituted committee is calculated to lead to considerable dissatisfaction, and is a serious challenge to the principle of “ freedom of association “.
Organizations now registered should not be required to apply for re-registration. Furthermore, proceedings of this nature should be left entirely to the judiciary.
The bill is wholly rotten, and it would require a multitude of amendments to make it any way acceptable to the interests of those it professes to serve.
– Who is the author of that?
– I cannot for the moment say, but I take it that it was the secretary of one of the federal organizations.
– In any case it is not worth much.
– It is worth a good deal. I quote it to show why the public servants at the last election voted against the Nationalist party, and worked for Labour. In the circumstances it is not surprising that they did.
I have taken very little interest in military matters; they do not appeal to me, but I have no quarrel with those who, like Senator Sampson, take a keen interest in them. It is characteristic of Senator Sampson to do so. From his youth upwards he has studied militarism from many aspects, and to-day he thinks it a splendid idea to hold on to compulsory military training. He may be right, I do not know, but the Labour movement, which was responsible for placing compulsory military training on the statutebook of Australia is now of opinion that it made a mistake in doing so.
– Surely Labour does not admit that it made a mistake in bringing in compulsory military training?
– I think it does. If it still thought compulsory military training good, why should it be seeking its abolition? It has exercised its right to alter its opinion on the subject.
– It is an indication that Labour is now influenced by the extreme wing of the party.
– That is not so. No one can claim that I belong to the extreme section of the Labour movement.
– Apparently the honorable senator is shifting in that direction.
– The honorable senator knows that he is not honest in making that statement. He has often heard me speak, and he knows perfectly well that I belong to the moderate section of the Labour movement. It is my personal opinion that military training should be of a voluntary character. If the future proves that Labour is wrong in its present attitude it will probably take the opposite stand.
– Labour is taking a terrible risk.
– It may be; but many people think that the days of “ form fours “ have gone by, and that future wars will be fought on scientific lines. Of course, no one can say with any degree of accuracy on what lines the next Avar will be fought. It may be by the use of electricity or poisonous gasses and such like means; but I should say that the tendency will be to get the biggest guns to enable an army to stand off the greatest distance from his enemy and blow him to pieces. Although Senator Sampson says that he is not a militarist, I claim that, unconsciously or otherwise, he is. I agree with him that the League of Nations is a fine body of people watchful to do the right thing. I used to think it was a useless body that would accomplish nothing; but I have since changed my opinion. I now think1 that, eventually, it will bring peace to a war-stricken world.
Much has been said about arbitration. Senator Payne went to great lengths in an endeavour to prove that Labour does not believe in arbitration, and Senator Lynch quoted a great deal from the literature of the Pan-Pacific crowd. As a matter of fact Labour has nothing to do with that particular section of the community. The laws of the party prevent communists from joining the Labour party, and if there are in the ranks of Labour men who term themselves communists, I do not know how they overcome the laws that debar them from membership. If Senator Lynch holds Labour responsible for what is done by the Pan-Pacific section we might just as reasonably hold him responsible for something that has occurred in Ireland-
Labour does believe in arbitration. It has always been a principle of the Labour movement. I have said some very queer things about people who have broken the arbitration laws of Australia. When these laws have been amended by the present Government I trust they will prove more acceptable to employer and employee. After all, it is a matter that affects both sides. A law must be binding upon all parties. No party can have it all its own way. If it is right for the “ boss “ to accept the terms of an arbitration award, it is equally right for the worker to accept those terms, even though they may be against him. If one side is not prer pared to accept an award, why have arbitration at all? I believe that 95 per cent. of the unions of Australia obey awards. All the trouble has been caused by the 5 per cent. of the trade unionists who disobeyed the awards of the court.
SenatorFoll. - Those trade unionists who obey subsidize those that disobey awards of the court.
– It may be as the honorable senator states. This Government proposes to amend our industrial legislation, and will, I believe, prevent lawyers from appearing in the Arbitration Court. With all due respect to my leader (Senator Daly) I think that this will make for economy and be more satisfactory to trade unions.
Senator Ogden declared that the moving picture combine had spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in propaganda and advertising for the purpose of securing the return of Labour. Why did not the party to which Senator Ogden belongs get some of the money which he alleges was spent so freely during the campaign? I have no doubt that in previous elections his party was helped by those connected with the film industry. Naturally the moving picture combine used its influence to swing votes in favour of the party which was most likely to assist it.
– We do not get any financial assistance in New South Wales, at all events.
– The combine did spend money on behalf of Labour party candidates.
– I think it did. In fact, to be honest, I know that it did.
– Tell us how much the Labour party in South Australia got from the combine.
– The Labour party itself did not get any money from the picture show proprietors in South Australia. On the contrary it had to pay for the hire of picture show halls in which to conduct meetings.
– Then how does the honorable senator know that the combine gave financial assistance to the Labour party?
– It did not give the Labour party any financial assistance. But it did spend money in displaying advertisements on the hoardings everywhere.
Several honorable senators opposite have criticized the increased Customs duties imposed in the revised tariff schedule introduced in another place last week.
– It is scandalous.
– The Labour party made no secret of the fact that, if it were returned to power, it would use every endeavour to build up Australian industries, and Customs duties have been increased to that end. It has been stated that even these higher duties will not prevent imports. Of course they will not if we continue to borrow abroad on the same scale as hitherto. If we raise a given sum of money overseas, we must expect imports to the amount of the loan. For example, if we raise £20,000,000 in Great Britain, we must expect to receive £20,000,000 worth of manufactured goods, though the whole of the imports may not come from the Mother Country. Great Britain may have financial relations with India, China, Japan, or some other country, and to balance the trade position, some of our imports in payment of a £20,000,000 loan from Great Britain, may come from those other countries. But from whatever source they come, we may expect imports if we continue to borrow overseas. This is not the way to build up Australian industries. No one, I hope, is stupid enough to believe that Australia or, for that matter, any other country, can become absolutely selfcontained in the sense that it can dispense entirely with imports. We cannot hope to dispose of our surplus productions unless we are prepared to accept in return and in payment for them, some importations. There must be reciprocity in all trade relations between the nations of the world. But we can improve our financial position by raising within the Commonwealth all the money we require. It might be objected that this would have the effect of raising interest rates. Even if it did, the interest payments would be made to our own people, and we should be able, in this way, to reduce the flood of manufactured goods coming in from abroad. There can be no doubt that our credit resources are ample for all our needs: During the war, When the total of the money available in Australia was only £53,777,126, we succeeded in borrowing from our own people no less a sum than £300,000,000 for war purposes. Actually we did not raise that amount in cash, but we drew upon our credit resources for it. Will any honorable senator say that we couldnot do the same in time of peace?
– The money raised during, the war is still unpaid.
– To the best ofmy recollection, our war loans had! a currency of about five years. Since then the credit has been released again, and numerous’ conversion loans have been negotiated. In 1926-27 we imported £164,000,000 worth of manufactured goods. At least £80,000,000 worth could have been manufactured in Australia. If they had been manufactured here the industries concerned would have given employment to an additional 100,000 people, and at least 300,000 persons would have been benefited directly or indirectly, from the increased volume of employment. The wages bill alone would have meant the circulation in Australia of millions of pounds.
Our present financial position is most unsatisfactory, owing to the maladministration of the Bruce-Page Government. When that Government; came into power there was an accumulated surplus of over £7,000,000, and when it was defeated a few weeks ago, after having been in office for six and a half years, there was a deficit of over£3,000,000.
– Donot forget that the Bruce-Page Administration reduced taxation.
– Perhaps it did, but it increased bur financial obligations in the Overseas money market, and the figures show that the Commonwealth went to the bad to the extent of approximately £11,000,000. Some people appeared to fear that immediately the Labour party came into power it would turn Australia upside down, but disaster has not yet overtaken the Commonwealth. If the present Ministry is given a reasonable chance to administer the affairs of this country in accordance with Labour ideals, the peoplewill have good reason to rejoice that they rejected the BrucePage Administration.
Senator McLachlan yesterday had something to say concerning the waterside worker’s’ strike, and claimed for the Bruce-Page Government that it had brought about peace on the waterfront. If the ruining of business people in Port Adelaide means peace, then the honorable Senator was right.
– Business people everywhere are suffering from the effect of that long strike.
– Senator McLachlan stated that the volunteer workers at Port Adelaide were more efficient in the loading and discharging of ships than were the members of the Waterside Workers’ Federation. The record of work done byvolunteers and the regular waterside workers on the steamer Nolisment, at Port Adelaide in March of this year, does not bear out the honorable senator’s statement. The following are the particulars of the number of bags handled by the respective gangs: -
Cargoes; loaded by volunteers in Melbourne have had to be re-stowed on arrival at Port Adelaide. Take one case among many, that of the City of Canberra. On
Tuesday, 2nd April, a gang was engaged from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. re-stowing wool loaded by volunteers at Melbourne, while other gangs were employed for eight hours. For the information of Senator McLachlan, who referred to this subject, I should like to say that the waterside workers at Port Adelaide have been treated very badly by the representatives of British ship-owners. It was agreed when the licensing system was introduced that a fair proportion of the work would be given to the waterside workers; but during a period of three months no less than £44,000 was paid to volunteer workers, who do not live in the Port Adelaide district. The effect of this has been that practically all that money has been spent in the metropolitan area, with serious disadvantages to the business people of Port Adelaide.
– But it has benefited business people in other areas.
– That is so. But the business people of Port Adelaide, who were not in any sense responsible for the dispute, have been seriously penalized, and in some instances compelled to discontinue business. During the period in which £44,000 was paid to the volunteer workers, the amount earned by the waterside workers was £47,000, but the average for the waterside workers was £31, and that for the volunteers £88. .The representatives in the Federal Parliament were asked by the business people of Port Adelaide to endeavour to bring about a better system. Visitors to Port Adelaide are struck by the number of empty shops, business in which has been discontinued owing to the disastrous effect of the volunteer system. As the waterside workers have made a mistake, which they have since regretted, there is no reason why they should be further punished.
– Will they obey the law in the future?
– -I think they will, but they should not be further punished. From figures I have quoted, it will be seen that the volunteers are quite unable to perform the same volume of work as is done by the waterside workers, and the services of the- volunteers would be dispensed with by the South Australian Stevedoring Company if it were mot for the influence of British shipping interests. Senator McLachlan should visit Port Adelaide and make the same statements as he made in this chamber yesterday.
– The basher gang might get me.
– -There is no basher gang in Port Adelaide.
– I should like to ask Senator Hoare a question, through you, Mr. President.
– The honorable senator will not be in order in asking a question at this stage.
– Reference has been made to the activities of the Development and Migration Commission and to the (message despatched by the Prime Minister (Mr. Scullin) to the Imperial Government concerning the suspension of assisted migration. It is unnecessary for me to repeat that there is no justification for bringing migrants to Australia when we cannot find employment for our own people. We are safe in assuming that the British Government did not offer to loan £34,000,000 to the Commonwealth Government on easy terms for philanthropic purposes, but merely because Britain . was anxious to alleviate its own unemployment difficulties by shifting many of its workless people to Australia.
– The suggestion was first made by Sir James Mitchell, of Western Australia.
– Was it not made by the Nationalist Government?
– The matter was followed up later by the Bruce-Page Government.
– When a bill dealing with this matter was under consideration in the House of Commons a Mr. MacDonald - not the present Prime Minister of Great Britain - said that he had very little sympathy with the British Government’s proposals, as it could not send settlers suitable for rural work to the Commonwealth when they had insufficient agricultural workers in England to harvest their own crops. He further stated that one redeeming feature in the bill was that it would have the effect of saving the expenditure of some millions of pounds annually to feed and clothe the unemployed. Great Britain should carry the responsibility of its own unemployed problems, which are an aftermath of .the war, instead of placing the burden upon the Australian Government. During the Great War statesmen and big business mcn in England promised the soldiers that when they returned from the war work would always be found for them, but soon after the Armistice it was apparent to every one that that promise was not going to be honoured. It is the duty of the British Government to take possession and subdivide some of the large estates and deer parks in Great Britain for the purpose of closer settlement, and thus ensure a comfortable living for many of those who rendered service to the nation.
– The average deer park in Britain would not prove very productive.
– I understand that some of them consist of good agricultural land, and could be used for poultry raising and other similar purposes.
– The deer parks, particularly in Scotland, consist of rough moor lands.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that they are totally unsuitable for settlement?
– What I have seen are unsuitable.
– If we could find employment for our own people there would be no objection to British migrants coming to Australia, but when we have approximately 200,000 unemployed in the Commonwealth, it is cruel to bring out others to join their ranks. It is not morally or legally right, and if a thing is morally wrong, no power on God’s earth should endeavour to make it legal. The argument of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Sir George Pearce) has always urged that additional population gives an impetus to trade and employment generally; but if that is the case, why are the conditions in Great Britain, where the population is large, not brighter than they are to-day?
– The conditions are not the same.
– They have not the room.
– I am speaking of the population. If the contention of the right honorable gentleman is right there should be unbounded prosperity in Great Britain and in the United States of America. The same argument would also apply to India and China with their teeming millions.
Sitting suspended from 12.^5 to 2.15 p.m.
– The prosperity of a country does not depend on the number of its people. If it did, the most thickly populated countries in the world would be the most prosperous; but we know that that is not so. Australia, if not the best country in the world, is certainly one of the best. There is, of course, room for improvement. The enactment of good legislation will assist in that direction. The wave of depression which Australia is now experiencing is largely due to seasonal conditions, but heavy importations from overseas have had their share in causing it. If, instead of importing so big a proportion of our requirements, we manufactured them ourselves, employment would be found for more people, and we should build up our own industries. Senator Pearce said that by increasing the tariff we were practically placing an embargo on the importation of goods of English manufacture. He said that the Government expected England to buy Australian wool, but that it was not prepared to accept anything in return. I remind the right honorable senator that, although Britain purchases large quantities of Australian wool, she does not do so to oblige the Australian people. Manufacturers in Great Britain buy Australian wool because it is the best in the world. Later they send it back to Australia in the form of manufactured goods. If it paid them to buy their wool elsewhere they would do so. Sentiment would not cause them to buy Australian wool if they could get an equally good article elsewhere at the same price. British manufacturers and financiers would not care a great deal about the effect on Australia of their purchasing elsewhere. The Labour party is not opposed to Britain; but it believes in putting Australia first. It believes that charity should begin at home.
I agree with. Senator Payne that much of the existing unemployment is due to the high cost of production. But what is the reason for that high cost? Wages in Australia during the war period and since have always been chasing the prices of commodities. If at the commencement of the war action, had been taken to deal with profiteers who raised the prices of commodities unnecessarily, the cost of production might have been kept down. After all, wages should be judged, not by their nominal value, but by their purchasing power. No one would be injured by a reduction of wages so long as there was simultaneously a corresponding reduction in the price of commodities. In 1914 the purchasing power of the pound began to decrease. That was the time when the Government of the day ought to have taken action in the interests of the people of Australia. I know firms .in South Australia, which bought galvanized iron at about £16 per ton before the war, and sold it later to returned soldiers and others at £80 a ton. No attempt was made to prevent actions of that kind. If anyone is to blame for the present state of affairs it is the Government which controlled Australia during that period. Many merchants showed their patriotism by exploiting the public.
Senator Sampson had a good deal to say yesterday about militarism and patriotism. If raising the prices of commodities to returned soldiers and others is patriotism, the less of it we have the better. There is not a great deal of genuine patriotism among our people; at least, very few of them seem to be overburdened with it. Most of the citizens of Australia would be the better for a little genuine patriotism. When Senator Sampson said that Senator Rae would abolish the military system lock, stock and barrel, he was somewhat unfair. When it was pointed out to him that Senator Rae lost two sons in the war, the honorable senator ought to have apologized. No father could have made a greater sacrifice for his country.
Honorable senators opposite have said that Australia’s credit has been injured by the Government’s cable to the British, authorities suggesting a suspension of assisted migration. Has not Britain admitted her inability to solve her own un- employment problem? Was not that the reason underlying the offer to Australia of £34,000,000 at- a low rate of interest?
– At the time we were discussing national credit.
– Britain admitted that she could not solve her own unemployed problem; but was her credit impaired? Honorable senators opposite have not said so. If the national credit of Britain has-been unaffected by the inability of the authorities there to find employment for the people, why should Australia’s credit be injured by the statement that in this country there is a considerable army of unemployed ? lt has been contended that the Government’s cable to Britain will make it more difficult for Australia to borrow money in England in the future. Even .if it does have that effect, it might not, after all, be so great a disadvantage as some honorable senators would have us believe, for it might help Australia to stand on her own feet. Necessity may know no law, but it has sometimes conferred benefits on the world. If financiers in London refuse to lend Australia any more money some other way out will have to be found.
– Where will we get the money?
– Why not get it in Australia, and cease this continual borrowing? It cannot go on for ever.
– We shall have to wait for more prosperous times before we do that.
– During the regime of the Bruce-Page Government Australia experienced some of the best seasons in her history.
– And two of the worst.
– It is true that the last one or two seasons have been bad; but that Government was in office during many prosperous years. It had a golden opportunity to build up Australia’s credit in the eyes of the world.
– Portions of Australia have, during the last three or four years, experienced some of the most, severe droughts ever known.
– I am aware of that; nevertheless, fora number of years while the Bruce-Page Government was in office Australia had a run of good seasons, and obtained record prices for her wool.
– During those years the Government had surpluses.
– That may be; but it squandered them afterwards.
– The price of wool has nothing to do with governments.
– -It makes a great difference to a government whether the price of wool is high or low. Do we not continually hear it said that the present wave of depression is due to the low price of wool? Seeing that the sheep of Australia are carrying the country on their backs, I say that wool has a great deal to do with governments and people in Australia.
Senator Guthrie said that he hoped the proclamation placing an embargo on the export of stud sheeep had not been issued too late. I agree with him that action ShOUld have been taken years ago. Australia has built up her wool industry by careful breeding, and we should not be too ready to lose the advantage we have gained. I admit that climatic conditions have much to do with the splendid quality of our wool; but, in the main, careful breeding is responsible for its preeminent position. Unfortunately, there are in our midst some breeders of sheep who would enrich themselves at the expense of the nation. Australia would do well to heed the example set by the Government of South Africa in not making available to the world the means of competing with its own people.
Many Australians are not fair to articles of Australian production. In many establishments in our capital cities a person who asks for Australian-made goods is likely to be told that there are none in stock. That has been my experience on several occasions. But, when I have started to walk out of those establishments rather than buy imported goods, I have been shown Australian-made goods in abundance. Nor is the purchaser of commodities always fair to the products of his own country. Australians will go into, a shop and take the first article offered, although it may come from a foreign country, without even asking to be shown Australian-made goods. Only by placing Australia first can we hope to build up our industries. Australia should be manufacturing the whole of her woollen requirements, instead of only about 25 per cent, of them. We are already employing many thousands of people in the manufacture of woollen goods, but if Australians would only buy and wear the other 75 per cent., the industry would provide three times as much employment as it now does, and there would be a greater circulation of wages, to the immense benefit of the whole community.
– What would be done with the output of the mills?
– I am speaking of Australian requirements only, and not of an export trade. I know perfectly well that we could not hope to export manufactured woollen goods.
– The industries referred to by the honorable senator are being gradually built up. They could not provide the other 75 per cent, of Australia’s requirements within six months.
– Quite so. It could only be a gradual development.
– Then the honorable senator must admit that his suggestion would not provide immediate relief for the unemployed.
– It will certainly take time to build up those industries, but if, years ago, the Australian people had been patriotic enough to make a start in this direction, the woollen industry would have been affording a great deal more employment to-day. I believe that a greater consumption of locally manufactured woollen goods would have a tendency to reduce costs. When, we send our wool to England, and re-import it made up into goods, it stands to reason that there is a considerable addition to the cost of the article. I am of opinion, therefore, that we could successfully compete against the overseas manufacturer, who has to load his goods with these transport costs. I am further of opinion that, given the machinery and the men, and I believe we have them, we should be able to produce the best woollen cloth in the world. We produce the best wool, why cannot we produce the best woollens ?
– The best woollens in the world are already being produced at Albury.
– It is one of our great troubles in Australia that all our locally manufactured goods must filter through warehouses before reaching the retail purchasers.
– That does not apply to-day.
– It is only an infinitesimal portion of the output of the mills that goes through the warehouses to-day.
– That is not the case in South Australia, and I guarantee that the honorable senator could not go to any Ballarat woollen mill and buy his requirements at the mill door.
– Warehouses must be available as a medium for distribution to country centres.
– Investigation has shown that a suit length purchasable at the mill door for fi 10s. when made up into a suit is sold at £6 10s. When, however, the material had to go from the mill to the ^warehouse before reaching the tailor the cost of the suit was £11 10s to the purchaser. This is an apt illustration of the profits made by the middlemen, whom I would cut out. Distributing agencies are certainly necessary, but retailers should be able to deal directly with the mills. The price they would pay would be less than they are called upon to pay to the warehouse. Under the wasteful system now in operation, the output of the Ballarat woollen mills is sent to Melbourne, 75 miles distant, placed in warehouses there and then railed back to the retailers of Ballarat. Why should not the Ballarat retailers be able to buy direct at their local mills?
– Does the honorable senator mean that if a person wants 1 lb. f nails, he should go direct to the manufacturer and buy them?
– I mean that every retailer should be able to send his orders direct to the manufacturer. The retailer usually buys on sample and it is not necessary for him to make a personal visit to the factory; he can order by mail.
Senator Guthrie has told us that picture show proprietors are importing tinned music. It would be a wise step to pass a law to prevent this importation.
– A conference is to be held oh Monday, dealing with that matter.
– I do not see why picture people who are making enormous profits should be permitted to import tinned music and deprive thousands of Australians of employment. The sooner Australian music replaces this imported tinned music, the better it will be for the Australian people in general. I understand that this displacement of Australian musicians means to them a loss of wages to the extent of about £624,000 a year.
Loss of employment means depriving a man of his purchasing power. Unemployment is like a snowball; the further it goes the bigger it grows, and the greater drop there is in the purchasing power of the citizens. It is, therefore the duty of the Government to endeavour to provide employment for its people. An army of unemployed is an economic waste. I am hopef ul that the Government will be able to do something to relieve the unemployed problem. The remedy cannot be found in a day. Already an endeavour has been made to do something to relieve the position by increasing the duty on goods that can be made in Australia, in the belief that it will help to build up Australian industries. The Government, trusts that the manufacturers of Australia will play fair and will not take advantage of the increased duties to increase their prices. I see no reason why they should. As a matter of fact high protective duties should lead to increased production and as we all know, mass production means reduced costs. It would be most unfair on the part of the manufacturers of Australia to raise the price of the Australian manufactured goods. I am inclined to think that they will be patriotic enough not to do so, but that on the contrary it will be their endeavour not only to build up their own industries, but also to help in the establishing of others that will provide employment for Australians.
.- Unlike some previous speakers, it is not my intention to take up much of the time of the Senate in discussing the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, particularly because I realize that ample opportunity will be afforded to honorable senators to discuss the programme of the Government, when the Budget, the Estimates and various measures are under consideration.
Like other honorable senators, I congratulate Senator Daly on the position he occupies as Leader of the Government in the Senate, and I hasten to assure him that when I used the term “half-baked Ministers “ the other day, it was not with any idea of casting a reflection upon him or upon the office he holds. I was trying to convey the impression that I thought the Government had not- treated the Senate fairly in alloting to it only two Ministers, neither of whom holds a full portfolio. The work that the representatives of the Government in the Senate will have to do during the years the present Government will be in office, will, I am sure, be sufficiently arduous to require, the services of more than two Ministers in this chamber. I think the Government should have alloted three Ministers to the Senate and that one of them should have held a full portfolio. The Bruce-Page Government was represented in the Senate by four Ministers, and one of them was Minister for Defence. This is the first occasion since I have been a member of the Senate on which a Government has not been represented in this chamber by a Minister with a full portfolio. Senator Barnes has been considered by the Australian “Workers Union to have sufficient ability to warrant his re-election as its president year after year, yet Mr. Scullin, apparently, does not consider he is worthy of a portfolio.
I am considerably disappointed at the Speech delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General. In view of the promises made a few weeks previously by the Leader, Deputy Leader, and every member of the Labour party, I expected that it would contain a comprehensive programme. Instead of that it was a very short document containing practically no solution of the problems that Labour said it would solve if given the opportunity to form a government after the last election. In the first place, I feel sorry indeed for the thousands of electors of Australia who, during the election campaign, accepted the promises of the Labour party in good faith, believing that if it were returned to power it would take immediate steps to remedy many of the social and economic evils that exist in this country. What a disappointment it must be to Labour supporters to find that the party in which they placed so much faith has done practically nothing to carry out its election promises. The Governor-General’s Speech is painfully short and shows that the Government have been hard put to frame a constructive policy. It is remarkable that Government supporters have found so much to talk about during this debate, but that, of course, can be explained to some extent by the fact that on the Address-in-Reply honorable senators are given an absolute latitude to speak on any subject. The penultimate paragraph of the policy speech states that shortly after the Christmas recess the Government will submit a more detailed statement of its legislative programme. I trust that the’ Government will then take steps to give effect to its promises made at the last election.
One cannot help being struck with the silence of the representatives of New South Wales, both in this chamber and in another place, in respect of the Government’s attitude towards the coal-mining industry. At the end of last session I took the opportunity to listen to the impassioned appeals of the representatives of the coal-mining constituencies in this Parliament, and what impressed me most was the way in which they charged the Bruce-Page Government with being responsible for the coal deadlock. I cannot help comparing their attitude then with their attitude to-day. Senators Dunn, Rae and Dooley, particularly, -at the end of last session, urged upon the Government the pressing need to bring to an end the frightful conditions existing on the coal-fields. To-day they sit calmly and silently behind the Government, saying not one word in protest of its inaction. It makes one wonder what has caused this change of front. Why are honorable senators behind the Government so inactive?
– We are certainly active.
– The honorable member’s activity is not yet apparent to me. The members of the Labour party, when speaking on the hustings, promised from every platform that if they were returned to power, inside of fourteen days after the election prosperity would return once more to the coal-mining industry. I question, seriously, whether it was right and proper for candidates to make election promises which evidently they did not intend to carry out. Nearly two months have elapsed since those promises were made and the coal mines are still closed down. What has the present Government done that was not done by the BrucePage Government to bring about an end to the coal deadlock? I recognize that the Commonwealth Government is somewhat embarrassed and hampered by the limitation of power under the Constitution, but honorable senators, like Senator Daly and other prominent members of the Labour Government, were sufficiently acquainted with the Constitution to know that they were not acting fairly to the electors in stating that within fourteen days of the Labour party being returned to power the mines would reopen and the coal districts once more return to their former prosperity. The Labour party knew perfectly well that because of the limitation of powers under the Constitution it could not possibly carry out its election promises.
When great national issues are at stake it is a pity that a party descends to the use of subterfuge and misrepresentation in order to win an election. The Bruce-Page Government did its utmost to bring the coal dispute to an end. The Labour party was aware of that, but for political purposes it censured that Government on every occasion for its alleged inaction. That was the deciding issue at the last election. I am pleased that Senator Daly, in answer to a question by Senator H. E. Elliott, admitted that the late Prime Minister in withdrawing the prosecution against John Brown did so with the best of intentions, and in order to bring about the opening of the mines. I think Senator Daly said that there was no question of corruption on the part of the Bruce-Page Government. Why was not that attitude taken up prior to the election, when the late Government was doing its utmost to bring about peace in the coal industry? The position in regard to the coal industry remains unchanged, although the Labour Government has been in office nearly two months. Much of the difficulty of the coal industry has been brought about largely because the coal-mining business is being conducted from the wrong angle altogether. Not only in Australia, but also in every other part of the world, there are far too many people engaged in the coal industry, and far too much coal produced. What this Government should do in the interests of the coal-mining industry is to absorb in other occupations as many as possible of the coal-miners and others engaged in the industry. During recent years there has been a tremendous reduction in the consumption and utilization of coal for fuel purposes. Oilburning vessels are gradually taking the place of coal-burning vessels, and this has resulted in a decreased consumption of millions of tons of coal. Unfortunately, the production of coal has not been reduced. In fact, during the last ten or fifteen years new mines have been opened, and the number of workers in the industry has been considerably increased, with the result that the production largely exceeds the -consumption.
– The coal strike is making the position worse, because new coal-fields are being opened all over Australia.
– A far greater quantity of coal is being produced in Queensland to-day than previously. The coal mines there are working full shifts to produce coal for the other States and for export. A great deal of it is being sent to the southern States, so that industries which would otherwise be compelled to close down may continue to operate. I trust that during the next session of Parliament the Government will pay close attention to the production of byproducts from coal, and, if found necessary, give some assistance to those companies that are prepared to use those by-products.
– That was foreshadowed in the policy speech of the Prime Minister.
– I am glad to hear it, and I hope that that portion of the Government’s policy will be given effect next season. Let me make one suggestion, the adoption of which, although it may be considered fairly revolutionary, would enable us to absorb our surplus coal. To-day the most favoured mode of transport throughout the world is by the internal combustion engine. We have become accustomed to seeing thousands of motor cars about the streets of the cities and in the country districts. They are using millions of gallons of petrol, all of which has been imported into this country. This is a matter of great importance to Australia. I do not wish to discourage the work that is being carried out in the Roma district; but, from what has transpired up to the present, it seems problematical whether we shall discover flow oil in Australia in the near future, and I suggest that we should concentrate on the manufacture of a substitute fuel from the by-products of our primary industries. It should not be constitutionally impossible for the Government to introduce legislation requiring the addition of 5 per cent, of substitute fuel oil to every gallon of petrol used in the Commonwealth. An addition of 5 per cent, may be considered somewhat small; but it would be a start, and it would stimulate the industry. I understand that legislation . along these lines was introduced in France some years ago.
– A large proportion of the motor vehicles in France are propelled by fuel other than petrol.
– I do not know what is the law in France to-day; but some years ago, at all events, a measure was introduced requiring the owners of all motor vehicles to use a certain percentage of oil fuel locally manufactured.
If we adopted this proposal and encouraged the manufacture of power alcohol from sugar cane, and the manufacture of benzol from coal, we should be doing something to safeguard the interests of this country. In northern Queensland to-day there is a distillery producing a spirit known as “ Shellkol,” for use in motor vehicles, and I understand that it is now being introduced in the southern districts of that State. Every one who has used it speaks well of it, declaring that it is more efficient than pure benzine; that it does not carbonize so readily, and that, when it is used, it is easier to keep all induction pipes free from grit and other particles that obstruct the free flow of the spirit. It should be possible for the Federal Government to do in a large-way what is now being done in Queensland in a small way. I suggest that the Government should introduce legislation requiring all owners of motor vehicles to use a certain percentage of this substitute fuel, which is being sold at the same price as imported petrol. We all know that the Newcastle steel works is producing a large quantity of benzol as a by-product in the manufacture of coke, and any one who has travelled down the south coast of New South Wales must have observed millions of gallons of benzol being sent skywards in the smoke from the coke ovens in the various coal-mining districts. But I am afraid that we shall not make any substantial progress in the development of these by-products until federal legislation makes their use compulsory in all internal combustion engines. If we had flow oil wells in Australia the incentive to manufacture a substitute spirit would be lacking, because, no doubt, the profits from the sale of flow oil are much larger than those from the sale of manufactured products. If federal legislation were introduced along the lines I have indicated a vast area of country in Queensland” which at present is lying idle would be put under cultivation for sugar cane, not for the purpose of manufacturing sugar but for the production of power alcohol alone. At present the Government will not allow that country to be brought under sugar cultivation, because already our production of sugar is greatly in excess of our needs. It is regrettable that because of this overproduction in sugar such a large area of fertile land is not being utilized. If we could start with a compulsory addition to petrol of 5 per cent, of power alcohol or benzol, it should be possible to build up a very important industry in the northern State. As the distilleries became more efficient and production increased, the Government could raise the percentage until eventually we should be producing sufficient for the whole of our needs. I make the suggestion in the hope that the Government will give it careful consideration. With the information available in the statistical branch it should be an easy matter to ascertain how much petrol is imported and what the suggested new industry would mean to Australia.
– All the information is on the files now.
– And I can promise the honorable senator that it will not remain there much longer. We intend to bring this matter under the notice of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
– I am glad to have that assurance from the Leader of the Senate. Anything that the Government may do in the direction indicated will have my heartiest support. A great deal of work has been done in the Roma district, and although flow oil has not been discovered there yet, I am hoping that eventually those interested will meet with success. I would point out, however, that even if flow oil is struck, there is a limit to the quantity that may be available, whereas if we build up the manufacture of power alcohol and benzol there would be practically no limit to our output, and moreover, in the case of the manufacture of power ‘alcohol we should ensure the settlement of hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile land in Queensland.
– What about manufacturing power alcohol from prickly pear?
– The possibility of utilizing the prickly pear in that way was carefully investigated by scientific authorities some time ago, but it was found that the cost of handling was so great that the alcoholic content of the pear was not sufficient to make the scheme economically sound. In any case I believe the destruction of the prickly pear by the cactoblastis is the best way of dealing with that problem. Many other primary products might also be grown for the manufacture of power alcohol. There is no reason why, eventually, we should not be able to produce the whole of the motor fuel required for internal combustion engines in Australia, and incidentally we should provide employment for a large number of people.
There is another matter to which I should like now to direct attention. I regret that in his references to the Empire Marketing Board yesterday the Leader of the Senate (Senator Daly) should have attacked a public servant in the person of Mr. MacDougall.
– I did not attack him. I was asked to mention the name of the particular officer concerned, and did so.
– I regret that the Minister mentioned the gentleman’s name before the whole of the facts were before us. It is a pity that his otherwise excellent speech was marred in that way. I have made inquiries, and I find that Mr. MacDougall is- held in high esteem in Great Britain. His advice with regard to Empire marketing problems is eagerly sought by a large number of people in the Mother Country as well as in other parts of the British Empire. It was only after I had left the chamber last evening that I found on my table a statement issued by the Minister for Markets and Transport (Mr. Parker Moloney) indicating what had been done in London in connexion with the marketing of Australian butter. Honorable senators who have any knowledge of this subject will recall that prior to the appointment of the Butter Export Control Board Australian producers experienced great difficulty in obtaining a decent price for their butter because of the lack of any organized system for the marketing of our primary products in Great Britain.
– Mr. MacDougall receives extra remuneration for attending meetings.
– I do not wish to go into details in connexion with the matter, as I understand the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Sir William Glasgow) intends to make a statement on the matter on the motion for the adjournment. I raise the point merely to direct attention to the benefits which the Australian primary producers have received as a result of the operations of the marketing organizations in Great Britain, with which Mr. MacDougall is associated. In conversation with Senator Sampson, and other honorable senators who have visited Great Britain recently, I have been informed that this gentleman has rendered great service as a member of the Empire Marketing Board, and in other directions.
– I do not deny that.
– His advice is 30ught generally in connexion with the marketing of Empire products, and he has numerous duties to undertake. I trust that no ill-considered action will be taken by the Government which might have the effect of depriving Australia of the services of this gentleman. I have been assured that he has performed wonderful work in assisting the disposal of Australian primary products, and that in connexion with butter particularly the marketing conditions are infinitely better than they were prior to the advent of the Butter Export Control Board. Before the establishment of that organization, Australian butter was sold in Great Britain at a lower rate than butter from New Zealand, and although it was generally conceded that the quality of the Australian product was quite as good as that exported from New Zealand and Denmark, Australian butter producers were at a great disadvantage owing to the absence of a proper marketing system. Years ago, there were practically no cool storage facilities overseas for Australian primary products, and consignments of Australian butter were often placed on a market which was flooded with Danish and New Zealand butter. The result was that not only was our own market affected, but the glut had a serious effect upon the prices realized for the New Zealand and Danish product. Under the organized marketing organization set up by the Bruce-Page Government, a better system of selling now obtains, and if there should be a glut on the London market, the Australian consignments are now held over until such time as’ they can be marketed at a profitable price. Further, the provincial markets of Great Britain are exploited. Australian butter is not sold only in the London market; provincial centres are now able to obtain supplies.
When the tariff schedule is under consideration in this chamber, it is not my intention to oppose every high duty, or to support others which may appear low. I have always been a consistent protectionist; but I sincerely trust the Government, in the pursuance of its fiscal policy, will not do anything to injure the marketing of Australian products overseas. As Senator Hoare stated, there should be a spirit of compromise in the matter of trade between countries. We are looking to Great Britain’s millions to purchase our wool, wheat, dried fruits, wine and other products; but, if we are to impose high duties on British products, we cannot expect Britain to purchase our goods to any considerable extent. Senator Hoare said that the British people purchase our primary products only because they cannot obtain their equal from any other source.
– I said that they bought them, because it paid them to do so.
– That is not so. Surely the honorable senator recalls the effort made by the previous administration in the interests of the Australian wine grape-growers to get the Imperial Government to grant a preference, which would enable their product to compete with the cheap wine from Portugal and other European countries. As a result of the representations then made, concessions were granted by the Imperial Government, which were of benefit to the Australian producers. We have also received from the British Government a certain amount of preference in connexion with Australian sugar, and my colleagues from Queensland will agree with me that that preference has been of great assistance to Queensland sugar producers in disposing of their surplus stocks.
– Have not we given Great Britain greater preference than we have ever received from that country?
– Australia has been a good customer to Great Britain, and has given considerable preference to her products. I am extremely anxious that nothing shall be done to injure the present trade reciprocal arrangements between Australia and the Motherland. Our primary products exported overseas are the life-blood of Australia. In giving such prominence to our primary products, I do not wish to discount the value of our secondary industries, which I shall always endeavour to assist.
For a considerable time the British Government has granted a certain preference to Queensland sugar.
– Australian sugar is not sold there ; it is given away.
– At what price is it sold in Great Britain?
– At about £12 or £13 a ton.
– That is a much lower price than that at which it is sold in Australia, but I remind honorable senators that Queensland sugar marketed overseas has to be sold at London parity. The representatives of the Queensland sugar industry are hopeful that the present preference will be increased not by a heavier duty being imposed on foreign sugar, but by reducing the duty on Australian’ sugar. If we adopt the attitude of practically prohibiting the importation of British goods into Australia, and also suspend assisted migration, what consideration can those engaged in the sugar industry hope to receive from the British Government?
The Government is taking a somewhat narrow view of the subject of migration. Do honorable senators opposite suggest that migration should be totally suspended until every one in Australia is profitably employed ?
– Our objection is to migrants being subsidized.
– Most of the migrants who come to Australia have been nominated, and those that have been assisted consist principally of domestics and boys.I ask Senator Daly how he thinks we are going to obtain a market for the products of our secondary industries with a population that is practically stationary. It is our duty to extend a welcome to our own kith and kin from overseas. A few days ago when it was announced that the United States of America had imposed an increased tariff upon some of our primary products there was a great outcry, and it was said that we were not getting a fair deal, considering the large quantities of American goods we buy.
– A duty of 34 cents a pound on Australian wool has been imposed.
– Yes. There is always an outcry concerning the adverse trade balance between Australia and America. I shall support any action taken by this or any other Government to remedy the adverse trade balance with the United States of America. How is that country in a position almost to dictate to the world? With all its faults, the United States of America must be admired for the progress it has made in its industries and for its economic strength. Its greatness did not result from the adoption of a narrow-minded policy. It threw open its doors to the people of other countries, and by increasing its population it made it possible for its industries to develop.
– The United States of America did not pay migrants to go there, as we are asked to do.
– Canada also encouraged people to settle in that country. She had in London officers who were authorized to offer employment to migrants. The payment of about £2 covered the passage money to Canada of people with agricultural experience in Great Britain, and landed them on their farms. They were given the freehold of 160 acres of land, and every encouragement to go ahead and make good. That system is still in operation. I agree with Senator Rae that we should not go to the cities of Britain for migrants, and place them in our outback country; but that does not mean that we should close the door to all migrants.
– Does the honorable senator know that the Bruce-Page Government discarded the idea of a farm settlement scheme under the £34,000,000 agreement ?
– The difficulty was in finding markets for our products. Migration depends on requests from the State Governments.
– The nominations of the State Governments were largely for a class of migrant suited only for work in the cities.
– If that is so, it is the first I have heard of it. Not every migrant will settle in the country; some of them will drift to the city and find employment there. Australia cannot develop by adopting a dog-in-the-manger policy. I regard it as a privilege to be an Australian citizen, for no other country offers such, great opportunities. We should not confine those opportunities to the 6,000,000 or 7,000,000 people now in Australia. We are building up a number of secondary industries in this country, but where are we to find markets for their products? Already in the boot and shoe manufacturing industry, saturation point- has been reached. Some of the factories are already working short time because the production is greater than the demand. With the exception of a few exclusive lines there is practically no importation of boots and shoes.
– We could export our manufactured goods if the costs of production were lower.
– That is our great difficulty. When the home market has been satisfied, production must cease, for our goods cannot compete with those of other countries in the world’s market. What solution of this difficulty do the economists opposite suggest?
– Does not the honorable senator think that more boots and shoes could be sold in Australia if work were found for the 180,000 men now unemployed ?
– That’ is obvious, but there was over-production in the boot and shoe industry before unemployment became so prevalent. The outlook is not particularly hopeful for our secondary industries unless we can do’ more than supply our own requirements. If we increase the home market by increasing our population we shall improve the position to some extent. The United States of America has a home market of about 120,000,000 people. Their requirements must be met before there can be any fear of over-production.
– Even in that country there is over-production in some industries.
– That may be; but when the home market there has been supplied, the industries have reached a stage which enables them to export their product at a price which will compete with those of other countries. Therein lies the difference between Australia and the United States of America. It cannot be said that American goods find a market in other countries because of the low wages paid in the country of manufacture. Artisans and skilled workers in the United States of America receive wages which are as high as those paid in Australia. Most of them own their own motor cars. I see no prospect of Australia emulating the greatness and prosperity of the United States of America unless there is a substantial increase in our population. We must make it possible for our goods to compete in the open market with those of other countries. If we could increase our population to 12,000,000 persons, our unemployment problem would soon disappear. I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Daly) agreed to -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn till Tuesday next at 3 p.m.
The Marriage Tie - Commonwealth Officer in London: Payments to Mr. Macdougall - Motor Cars fob Tasmania.
– In moving -
That the Senate do now adjourn,
I desire to refer to a matter which might give rise to a misconception in the minds of those persons who read Hansard. The cause of such possible misconception was an interjection which I made through the Chair while Senator Lynch was speaking.
– I point out that no honorable senator can make an interjection through the Chair. Interjections are disorderly. The making of an interjection with the statement that it is made through the Chair does not make it orderly.
– Senator Lynch suggested that the Labour movement stood behind some movement in Russia whose object is to break down the sacredness of the marriage tie. I assure the Senate that I personally regard the ‘marriage tie as most sacred. I regret that it can be dissolved so easily as is possible even in Australia.
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW (Queensland) [3.44]. - Yesterday the Leader of the Senate (Senator Daly) made a statement regarding the emoluments received by a person in the employ of the Commonwealth Government in London. In reply to an interjection, he said that the person referred to was a Mr. MacDougall and that he received emoluments amounting to £5,000 a year. At the time I felt that that was an exaggeration, and I have therefore ascertained the true position. Mr. MacDougall is the London representative of the Commonwealth on the Empire Marketing Board and on the Imperial Economic Committee. For those duties he receives £1,000 per annum. He also receives £500 a year from the Development and Migration Commission and a similar sum from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. As Vice-Chairman of the London agency of the Dried Fruits Export Control Board, he receives a further £500 a year from that body. Mr. MacDougall is a very efficient officer, one of the ablest exponents of the policy of imperial preference and inter-empire trade. He has secured a lot of useful publicity in English journals, including the London Times for able articles which he has contributed on economic questions affecting Australia. His pen is absolutely tireless and his articles are exceedingly instructive. As an advocate of inter-Empire trade and preference to the dominions he has made quite a name for himself. His work at the Economic Conference at Geneva. in setting out the Australian viewpoint that the tariff should be regarded as a matter of domestic concern was invaluable. His knowledge also was invaluable to the ex-Prime Minister at Imperial Conferences and I am sure that when the present Prime Minister goes to London next year he will find in Mr. MacDougall a very wise counsellor. In making statements from the Government benches Ministers must be accurate. The other day Senator Daly asked us to give the Government credit for sincerity, but if he is to justify our trust in him to that ex tent he should see that the information he supplies is correct. The statement he made in regard to Mr. MacDougall was most misleading.
– The honorable senator does not suggest that the information was not supplied to me by officers ?
– I suggest that the information given to the Senate conveyed the impression thai Mr. MacDougall was in receipt of emoluments amounting to £5,000 a year.
– That was the impression I formed.
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.That impression was justified by a statement appearing in the press this morning which I do not think Senator Daly has taken steps to contradict. If on inquiry at the Commonwealth offices he found that his statement in the press was wrong, in justice to the officer concerned and to the Senate, I think he should have contradicted it.
.- Yesterday I asked whether the Government had received from the Hobart Chamber of Commerce a communication stating that a consignment of motor cars, fully equipped, had arrived in Melbourne prior to the tabling of the new tariff schedule in the House of Representatives and that these cars were on a through bill of lading to Tasmania. I then asked whether the Tasmanian importers would receive some consideration with regard to the duties payable on these cars in order to place them on an equality with the Victorian importers. The reply I received was to the effect that the communication had been received, but my attention was drawn to the fact that an Act of Parliament provided that the duty liable to be paid was that which was ruling at the time when the goods were entered for home consumption. Our tariff applies to Australia as a whole, and not to any part of it in particular, and although I am aware that the” Customs Act provides that the duty applicable to any goods is that which is ruling at the time the goods are entered for home consumption, that is, when the entries are passed, yet under the Constitution the Federal Parliament’s power in regard to taxation does not allow it to discriminate between States. We certainly have to take the Customs Act as we find it, but we have also to take the Constitution Act as we find it, and I suggest, therefore, that the matter should be investigated immediately in order to see whether it is not contrary to the letter, if not the spirit, of the Constitution that there should be discrimination with regard to the rate of duty imposed on goods arriving by the same vessel in Australian waters and in the same Australian port, some destined for one State and some for another. I trust that even now, notwithstanding the fact that the Customs Act provides that the duty ruling at the time of the entry being passed is that which has to be paid, some provision will be found by which the Minister for Trade and Customs can afford the relief which the Tasmanian importers seek. The Tasmanian importers are engaged in the same business as the Melbourne men, and consequently any considerable increase in the tariff on motor cars immediately places them at a disadvantage in the circumstancesI have outlined.
– The matter referred to by Senator Payne will receive the consideration of the Government.
With regard to the point raised by. Senator Sir William Glasgow the statement I made in the Senate yesterday was based upon information supplied to me.
– Do not blame the officials.
– I am blaming no one. If the honorable senator would listen ho would hear what happened, but the trouble is that when anyone tries to tell Senator Ogden anything he invariably walks out of the chamber. I was dealing at the time with the matter of co-ordinating the work of departments with the idea of bringing about a reduction in the cost of administration. After mentioning the Australian organization and the British organization, I went on to point out that in addition to the Australian, we had the MacDougall organization, and I said that the cost of having Mr. MacDougall in London was £5,000. I made inquiries again this morning to see whether that figure was correct, and was again informed that it was accurate.
– Was not the honorable senator referring to the emoluments received by Mr. MacDougall?
– I did not use the word “ emoluments “.
– 1’ am quite aware of that; nevertheless the impression the honorable senator conveyed was that the figure he mentioned applied to the emoluments received by Mr. MacDougall.
– If anything Isaid gave the impression that the return to Mr. MacDougall was £5,000, such was not my intention. When Senator McLachlan was speaking yesterday I made perfectly clear what I had previously said, and Senator Sir William Glasgow is quite welcome to inquire into the accuracy of my statement. What I said was that we have in London the Development and Migration organization, the High Commissioner’s office, and Mr. MacDougall, and that Mr. MacDougall was costing the Commonwealth £5,000.
– That is not so. The honorable senator knows very well that the impression he conveyed was that the emoluments received by Mr. MacDougall amounted to £5,000.
– I did not mention emoluments.
– Does the senator admit that Mr. MacDougall does not himself receive £5,000 in emoluments?
– I do, so far as the actual emoluments paid to Mr. MacDougall are concerned.
– That is satisfactory.
– But it does not alter the point I was making that the late Government allowed these three organizations to exist side by side in London practically doing the some work, and that when a man is appointed to a branch of a department he gets a secretary, an accountant, a chief clerk, and a typist. Whatever Mr. MacDougall did at Geneva, or elsewhere, may be necessary, and if so his services will be retained, but my complaint as a Minister was that if Mr. MacDougall is necessary, certain other officers in London are not necessary.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.55 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 29 November 1929, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1929/19291129_senate_12_122/>.