13th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Women in Unsuitable Attire.
– In view of the fact that you, Mr. President, have ruled that honorable senators may not smoke in this chamber, and also that, during hot weather, they may not appear without coats, do you approve of visiting females appearing in the King’s Hall and corridors wearing “ slacks “ or trousers?
– I decidedly object to women appearing in Parliament Souse attired in the manner described by the honorable senator. The admission of visitors to this building is controlled jointly by Mr. Speaker and myself ; but my own view is that it is most unbecoming for women not properly attired to enter Parliament House, and, if my will prevails, that will not be permitted. However, the matter will receive further consideration by Mr.Speakerand myself.
The following paper was presented : -
Navigation Act - Regulations amended -
Statutory Rules 1933, No.123.
– Has the attention of the Leader of the Senate been directed to the following statement which appeared in a recent issue of the Perth Sunday Times : -
The latest whispers concerning the Attorney-General (Mr. J. G. Latham) are that that ambitious man is doomed to disappointment if his eyes are directed at a seat on the High Court Bench, which is now occupied by the Chief Justice (SirGavan Duffy). Whether true or not, it is said that Sir Gavan Duffyand Sir Isaac Isaacs, a former Chief Justiceand nowGovernorGeneral, have talked over this affair, with a result that SirGavan Duffy has decided to be Chief Justice as long as the Lyons Government remains in office. It is recalled that shortly after Sir Isaacbecame Australia’s first Governor-General, Mr. Latham, with three other Ministers, ignored him by refusing to accept an invitation to a formal dinner at Government House, Canberra. If accounts are true, the snub has rankled in the breast of Sir Isaac’s best friend, Sir Gavan Duffy, and in repayment for this slur he has decided toretain his Chief Justiceship until Mr. Latham’s chance of appointment in his stead is past. This, of course, is mere rumour, but there are those at Canberra, who opine that Mr. Latham, talented and famous as he is, will never wear a full bottomed wig.
Will the right honorable gentleman ascertain from the Attorney-General how this journal obtains inside knowledge of political happenings at Canberra?
-I again impress upon honorable senators that, as it is not permissible to express opinions when asking questions, the quotation of expressions of opinion in newspaper statements upon which questions are based, give to outsiders a privilege not enjoyed by members of this chamber.
– I have not read the article referred to, and I have no intention of bringing it under the notice of the Attorney-General.
Is it a fact that for the six months ending the 30th June last, the United Kingdom imported fruit preserved in sugar, and jam, to the value of £1,845,722; if so, what proportion of this came from Australia?
In view of the plight of the fruit-growing districts of Australia, will the Government open up direct negotiations with the British Government with a view of finding means whereby Australia will secure a greater proportion of this market?
The Minister for Commerce has now supplied the following answers: -
The honorable senator’s figures are correct. The imports from Australia into the United Kingdom of these products for the period mentioned are not known, but the actual shipments from Australiato the United Kingdom for the six months ended 30th June were -
– Following the recent decision of the Arbitration Court in Melbourne, presided over by Chief Judge Dethridge, to restore the 10 per cent. reduction of wages to members of the Australian Flour Mill Employees Union, will the Government restore to all Commonwealth employees the 10 per cent. reductions of real wages made under the financial emergency legislation?
– The Government’s policy with regard to the matter mentioned by the honorable senator was announced in the budget.
– I ask the Leader of the Senate if the Government has received from the Quairading Roads Board a copy of the following resolution passed on the 18th instant at a combined meeting of the wheat-growers’ union, primary producers, and the general public : -
This meeting views with alarm the serious position facing the wheat-growing industry for the coming season, brought about by reduced prices and restricted markets, and calls upon the Federal Government to stabilize the price of wheat at the minimum of 3s. a bushel at country sidings, and thereby save the nation from further business stagnation and increased unemployment ?
Will the Government consider this request from an influential source for a guaranteed price of at least 3s. a bushel at country sidings?
– The matter involved is one of policy, and, as I have already announced, a statement on this subject will be made before the Christmas adjournment.
– Has the Minister for Development seen the following paragraph which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, on the 6th November : -
According to a recent trade report from London, a small plant tucked away in a corner of the vast works of Imperial Chemical Industries atBillingham-ou-Tees has been producing grade No. 1 petrol from ordinary coal for more than a year. The report states: “This petrol has been subjected to exhaustive tests and found excellent in quality. But a slight advantage in price held by the natural product, and a realization of the magnitude of the plant required to obtain petrol from coal in adequate quantities for commercial purposes, implying a heavy initial outlay, wore considerations which acted as a deterrent to this company failing some definite gesture of support, or guarantee, from the British Government. That support has now been given. Petrol from Coal’ -the dream of the coalfield populations of Northumberland and Durham for the past ten years - has become a reality. Accordingly, Sir Harry McGowan, chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries, announces that Billingham-on-Tees will become the centre of an industry aiming to produce 100,000 tons a year of grade 1 petrol, processing 400 tons of coal a day, and using altogether 1,000 tons of coal a day. This will give direct permanent employment to 2,500 men and to others indirectly. Over the next eighteen months 7,000 men will be engaged on building and erecting the plant. Imperial Chemical Industries will provide the whole of the initial capital required, two and a half millions sterling.”
In view of the fact that the expenditure of £2,500,000 will provide the necessary plant to produce No. 1 grade petrol, I should like to know how far the Government has proceeded in the matter of arranging for the extraction of petrol from coal?
– If the honorable senator gathers from the paragraph which he has read that an expenditure of £2,500,000 will besufficient to establish a hydrogenation plant in Australia, he is under a misapprehension. The facts mentioned in the first portion of the paragraph have been brought under the notice of those responsible for consideration in relation to both coal and shale deposits. I am afraid that I shall not be able to submit a report on the whole subject as soon as I shall with respect to shale oil, owing to the fact that two experts who are on their way to Australia, will not arrive here for a few days. I can assure the honorable senator that the matter is being most closely watched, and that the information concerningthe Billingham-on-Tees plant has been discussed by myself and the representative of Imperial Chemical Industries. When the inquiries have been completed the information will be made available.
– I have received from Senator Barnes an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, “ Whether it is the intention of the Government to go into a long recess without having formulated a comprehensive plan to provide employment for the workless”.
Four honorable senators having risen in support of the motion ,
.- I move -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn till to-morrow at 10 a.m.
I have moved this motion because I feel that it is my duty to direct the attention of the Government as forcibly as I can to the urgent need to provide work for the unemployed. The attention of the public should also be directed to the inactivity of the Government in this direction. Prior to the last general election, when all political parties were fighting for supremacy, numerous pamphlets were circulated stressing the need for reducing the number of unemployed, and in this respect the members of the United Australia party were particularly active. The members of that party said that if they were returned with a majority employment would be provided for the people. Some time ago, the British Prime Minister, Mr.Ramsay MacDonald, said, “What are we fighting for?” He answered that question by saying, “ The first issue was unemployment. The whole morals of the country were lowered because of it.” That applies in Australia to-day, as it did in England at the time when the statement was made. Since this Government has been in office two budgets have been presented, but in neither of these has any substantial proposal been made to provide work for the hundreds of thousands of men and women needing it. When the Scullin Government went out of office in December, 1931, the Statistician’s figures disclosed that 28 per cent. ofthe trade unionists of Australia were unemployed. At the end of the second quarter of 1933, that figure had been reduced to 25.7 per cent. Despite the optimism displayed during the election campaign by the party now in office, the position to-day is little better than in 1931. The problem of unemployment is much more serious than the Statistician’s figures disclose. They are prepared from returns furnished, by the trade unions, but ‘as many unions do not submit any returns at all, and as the Statistician does not take into account the many thousands of boys and girls who leave school each year for whom no employment can be found, the returns are incomplete. Never having been employed, these boys and girls have never been trade unionists, and are consequently not included in the returns furnished by the union secretaries. There are probably 300,000 persons unemployed in Australia .to-day. So serious is the position that every person in the community who has the interests of the country at heart should seek a remedy. Speaking at Bendigo in May, 1931, the present Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) said -
Budgets can lie balanced, but an essential preliminary is that the workless shall be re-employed in profitable employment.
Budgets have been balanced, but the unemployment problem remains. The Government prides itself on having remitted taxes amounting to £9,590,000 since it has occupied the treasury bench. It predicted that the effect would be the release of money to provide employment, but that prediction has not been fulfilled. In 1925 the then Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) said that a man with a family was one of the greatest assets of any country. The right honorable gentleman spoke truly; but that asset is valueless Unless use can be made of it. The Government has not been, active in finding work for the unemployed ; it would appear that it is hot interested in these unfortunate people. After careful consideration, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales decided that as no section of the people in England was more in need of assistance than the unemployed, the proceeds of a film depicting his life should be applied to their relief. The Government should give a lead to private enterprise in providing employment. If it did so, its example would immediately bo followed by private employers. The Go- vernment appears to be more desirous of balancing its budget by swelling its customs revenue than of establishing factories in which Australians could be employed. The problem of unemployment will never be solved if governments encourage the people to buy imported goods. The Government’s budget proposals confer a benefit on nearly every section of the community except the workers. Since ^ it assumed office, -the present Government has been responsible for the payment of bounties to the value of £5,500,000 to the wheat-farmers of Australia, yet the farmers are in a worse position to-day than for at least three, years. Time after time the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) has mentioned the Government’s intention to make a pronouncement of its policy with regard to the wheat industry, but it has not yet done so. This absence of any mention of relief to the wheat-farmers in the budget suggests that the Government had no intention to offer them any relief this year, and only agreed to assist them because pressure was brought to bear on it. Had the Government announced its intention to provide, say, £3,000,000, as a bounty to the wheat-growers, the effect would have been the employment of additional farm workers. In his policy speech, the Prime Minister said -
When confidence is completely re-established, as I believe it easily and immediately can be, I think we will be surprised at the rate at which we will achieve a substantial and partial recovery throughout industry and employment.
The right honorable gentleman spoke confidently; and T believe that had the Government been in earnest, his prediction would have been fulfilled. Even now, if the Government were really seri’ous, it could considerably reduce the number of unemployed. During the election campaign, the right honorable gentleman said that there was a lack of confidence, not in Australia, but in the Government then in office. He said that the people were so nervous that they would not invest their money in industry so long as the Scullin Government remained in power; but that, with a change of government, money would flow into industry and there would be a decline of the number of workers unemployed. Mr.
Bruce also said that it was only through Parliament that confidence could be restored, thereby, in effect, reiterating the statement made by the Prime Minister and showing that in his view, if the Government were removed from office and another government were substituted, the troubles of the country would be over. On the 18th March, 1932, Senator Pearce, speaking in this chamber, said “ The way to provide employment is to restore confidence in the Government of the country. When that is done, credits are naturally released “. Well, the present Government has been in office for two years. It has succeeded in balancing the budget. Indeed it has shown surpluses, and yet, judged by the present state of the unemployment market, there is no evidence that confidence has been restored. I well remember that when the first loan was placed on the market, about three-quarters of the amount for which the public were asked had to bc ‘ taken up by the underwriters. Yet only last week When a loan for £10,000,000 was launched it was over-subscribed in two days. As a mAtter of fact, wo are assured by the press of this country that the money was so freely subscribed that at the end of the second day the Government had to notify the public that it would not accept any more subscriptions. That fact clearly evidences a desire on. the part of the people to invest it in loans of this character, and that there is plenty of money available for profitable investment. Whether the over subscription was the result .of confidence in the Government or of confidence in the country itself, it is a fact that the people invested £10,000,000 in this loan within the brief period of two days. I understand that with this money, it is proposed to redeem treasury-bills to the amount of £5,000,000 and to expend the other £5,000,000 in the relief of unemployment.
In ‘all probability the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) will reply to ray indictment that the £5,000,000 “subscribed for the relief of unemployment is tangible evidence that the Government is endeavouring to do something concrete in regard to that problem. But it is rumoured that Ministers intend that at a very early dato Parliament shall go into a long recess. Actually,
I believe they contemplate a recess of six months. In this connexion I recall that when another government was in power, it was estimated that to restrict unemployment to reasonable limits, would require an expenditure of at least £1,000,000 a month. I admit that it is not the function of the Commonwealth Government alone to provide employment for the whole of the people of Australia, but I do insist that the job is one in regard to which this Parliament should set an example to the State Governments. If Australia can raise an army of 400,000 mcn, send it overseas and maintain it during four years of war, but cannot find an outlet for the energies of some 300,000 workmen who are on the verge of starvation, either it does not desire to relieve unemployment or the present Government is unfit to govern. Out of the proceeds of the loan just closed, the sum of £5,000,000 is to be devoted to the relief of unemployment throughout the Commonwealth. Obviously .that sum is expected to last until Parliament reassembles after the recess. Does the Government then propose to bring forward a proposal to raise another loan of £5,000,000 for the same purpose? What the country is waiting for, is a comprehensive scheme to absorb the unemployed of Australia. So far the Government has not formulated any such scheme. A month has elapsed since the budget was submitted and since Ministers, figuratively speaking, fell bead over heels in their endeavours to remit vast sums of taxes from certain sections of the community, but quite forgot to do anything to ameliorate the condition of the most distressed portion of it. - The prosperity of a country depends upon its spending power, and if there are 300,000 persons idle, while the majority of those in employment are in receipt of the basic wage, which is just sufficient, according to the dictum of the late Judge Higgins, to keep a man and his wife “in frugal comfort “, the position is indeed a serious one. When we are told- that the prosperity of the country depends upon its spending power, obviously the first duty of the Government is to get these men into remunerative work, so that they may become possessed of some spending power. la Victoria, a man upon the dole is obliged to go borne after working for only two days of the week, during which period he has earned .about 22s., and Upon that meagre sum he is supposed to maintain his wife and .children for a week. A single man gets only one day’s work a week. In. such circumstances, what spending power can these nien possess, .and what possibility is there of prosperity being restored to the country? Yet there is ample work waiting to be done. Before the depression manifested itself so acutely^ the Public Works Committee of this Parliament was doing a wonderful work for Australia. Its duty was to inquire into the soundness or otherwise of works submitted to it and to make recommendations to the Government. There were sufficient works to keep it going then, and as the conditions of the country have not Altered since, there is plenty of work for that committee to do now, in making recommendations for the absorption of our huge army of unemployed, thereby creating a spending power which will enable private enterprise to absorb an equally great army. That is the only way in which we are likely ever to solve the difficult problem which now confronts us.
In my opinion the Commonwealth Government must give a lead to State Governments in this matter. From the stand-point of finance it has occupied an enviable position as compared with that of the State Governments during “the past two yea.r.9. It is now able to come forward and say -to the people, “ Here is what we have done. We claim now and our budget justifies us in claiming, that confidence has been restored in this country. We were able to raise a loan of £10,000,000 within the brief period of two days “. If it is necessary to raise another loan of £10,000,000 ‘to absorb our army of unemployed, and to provide its members with profitable employwent. thereby enabling this country to get back to prosperity, the Government’s course of action is plain. If the Government will take such action it will command the support of every section of this House, and of the people of this country. Relief should be given also to many persons associated with primary industries, for they have been .drawing the dole, and now help to swell the ranks of the unemployed. What is most needed is continuity of earning power, and the fact that it is .easy to borrow at the present time-
– It is easier to borrow than to repay.
– We shall never be able to repay the public debt until we put the unemployed back to work. Seeing that £400,000,000 was borrowed for war purposes fifteen or twenty years ago, is it now contended that Australia cannot raise sufficient money to save a large percentage of the people from hunger and want ? The success of the latest internal loan shows that money is available for investment, and the Government should take immediate steps to obtain sufficient funds to relieve the position of the workless. A revival of the building industry is required. If the workers were in a position to buy more butter, -the dairying industry, which is in a distressed condition, would be assisted.
If the Government approached the market for a further £10,000,000, mid made it clear that the money would be expended in placing people in employment. I have no doubt that investors would respond readily. The Government should boldly .announce that Australia is the only country that ‘has stood up to its war debt liabilities. On this subject, the following statement was recently published in the .press: -
Australia is the only debtor nation on earth that has paid all its debts to date. Let us see how Britain treated the foreign nations who owed her money. Russia owed £911,000,000 lent during the war, and has paid nothing. Germany, Austria and Hungary repudiated all the debts they owed at the outbreak of war, amounting to £2,000,000,000. After the war ended France owed ‘Britain £053,000,000, and compromised by offering to pay £300,000,000 at 4i per cent, spread over 02 years. British investors lent France £65,000,000 when the franc was J0d., and it was paid back with francs worth 2d., or a loss to the English debenture holders of £13,000,000. Italy was in arrears to Britain for money lent amounting to £610,000,000. and Italy squared it by giving bonds due in 02 years for £a7fl,000i000, the loss being £334,000,000. Even these bonds in present-day money have fallen to £90,000,000 ! In fact, Britain released Italy from five-sixths of her debt. Lastly, Britain funded her own debt to the United States of £1.000,000,000 at 3 per cent. Surely she can do the same for Australia ! Her allies have defaulted their debts to Britain, her total lose being £3,011,000,000.
Britain should at least cancel and wipe out that £90,000,000 6 per cent, debt for the food and clothing of our soldiers !
A fact that “will stand to the everlasting credit of this country is that while it did not wish to participate in the last war, it is the only country that has stood foursquare to its heavy war liabilities. In view of Australia’s meritorious record in that respect, it should not be necessary for us to go cap in hand to the money market for a loan for the purpose of relieving unemployment. Although money can be borrowed in Australia at 3J per cent., tens of millions of pounds are available for investment in Great Britain at *2£ per cent. British investors would be glad to subscribe to an Australian loan.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that we should borrow some of the cheap money available in England ?
– We could ask Great Britain for a loan for the relief of unemployment if we found it impossible to raise the money here. Having regard to the manner in which the Old Country has been treated by other debtor nations, and the way in which it has dealt with the United States of America, Australia might fairly ask it to cancel the debt of £90,000,000 in respect of the maintenance of our troops abroad.
– I thought that the honorable senator was opposed to borrowing overseas.
– I object to borrowing for purposes which cannot be justified, but borrowing for the purpose of keeping our own people in employment would be economically sound. I urge the Government to give closer attention to this matter, with a view to a considerable reduction of the army of unemployed.
[3.49]. - I cannot refrain from drawing attention to the peculiar phrasing of the motion. The Government is asked whether it intends to go into a- long recess without having formulated a comprehensive plan for providing employment for the workless. Senator Barnes has addressed himself to this subject on the lines followed by him and other honorable senators opposite in discussing it on previous occasions, and it is clear that, when they speak of the formulation of a plan, they mean the borrowing of money and its expenditure on public works. That is the Labour party’s proposal for the solution of the unemployment problem, and it is advanced at every opportunity. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber do not regard that as a cure for unemployment. Do members of the Opposition realize that, in normal times, private enterprise provides 85 per cent, of all employment offering, and that government employment eaters for only 15 per cent, of the salary and wage-earners in Australia? An analysis of the figures shows that unemployment became widespread because private enterprise had become unprofitable. It follows, therefore, that when it again becomes profitable, the unemployment figures will improve. Public works are not a cure for unemployment. If the Government expended £1,000,000 of borrowed money on public works, the men employed on such undertakings would again be unemployed immediately the works were,, completed, whereas, if £1,000,000 were invested in profitable industry, it would give permanent’ employment. The Government, believing that the only sure cure for unemployment is to make private enterprise again profitable, has directed its policy to that end, and an examination of the figures will show that that policy has been operating successfully. This Government set out to re-establish confidence in public finance with a view to the employment of credit in profitable private enterprise. Unemployment in Australia reached its peak in the ‘second quarter of 1932, when the percentage of members of trade unions returned as unemployed was 30 per cent. In the third quarter of 1932, it had fallen to 29.6 per cent. ; in the fourth quarter to 2S.1 per cent.; in the first quarter of this year to 26.5 per cent.; in the second quartet to 25.7 per cent., and in the third quarter of this year, the latest figures for which have not yet been circulated, it is down to 25.1 per cent. These figures show that there has been a gradual, if slow, improvement of the employment statistics. I am not suggesting that the Scullin Government was responsible for the high percentage of unemployment in 1932. We know that the increase of unemployment in Australia, as in other countries, was the result of world-wide conditions. That is proved by the fact that all countries, irrespective of their forms of government, experienced these abnormal conditions. But unemployment in other countries has not decreased in. the same ratio as in Australia. This, I submit, is attributable to the fact that, in this country, public confidence is gradually returning. Further proof of this is provided by the figures which show a substantial decrease of the number of persons in receipt of sustenance from State Governments or employed on relief works. As these persons have not died, we are justified in assuming that there is more employment offering to-day than there was- in 1932, and this, I repeat, is due to the fact that some forms of private enterprise which were not profitable because of the lack of confidence in governments and public finance are again becoming profitable. That lack of confidence was reflected in. the slump of Australian stocks, but statistics mentioned in the budget speech show that, on the overseas and local markets, our stocks have made a remarkable recovery since the accession to office of this Government. The restoration of public credit is accompanied by returning confidence in business. It is remarkable that, although, with the exception of wool, our primary products have’ been realizing substantially reduced prices, returns from sales tax show an increase, despite the fact that last year a considerable number of items was added to the list of exemptions, involving a loss of ‘ approximately £300,000 of revenue. This, I suggest, is a true indication of returning confidence among the people, for it means an increase of the purchasing power of the people. Obviously, there could not be more employment in our factories unless the people were in a position to -purchase the output. The extension of buying shows that employment is returning. If we were merely to rely upon the expenditure of borrowed money on public work’s, and to ignore this other important factor, namely, the need for restoring confidence in industry, we should only be aiming to furnish a cure for unemploy- ment affecting 15 per cent, of the workers, and should leave untouched the problem as it affects 85 per cent, of salary and wage-earners. This Government has applied itself principally to an effort to make industry profitable, but, realizing that a large number of people have depended for employment on public works, it has not neglected that field. In 1930- 31, when expenditure on public works had decreased, although it - was still of considerable dimensions because of commitments entered into prior to the depression setting in, the gross loan expenditure by Commonwealth and State Governments, including expenditure from loan repayments, was £15,600,000; the relief from revenue, including food relief, involved an expenditure of £8,130,000, and Commonwealth expenditure, including assis’tance to States, works programmes, and special provisions for expenditure in all States and territories, amounted to £3,170,000, making a grand total for that year of £26,900,000. In 1931- 32 the gross loan expenditure was £10,700,000; the relief from revenue, including food relief, amounted to £11,060,000; and Commonwealth assistance to the States dropped to £1,240,000, making the total for that year £23,000,000. In 1932-33 the gross loan expenditure increased to £14,250,000 ; the relief from revenue, including food relief, amounted to £9,200,000; and the Commonwealth assistance to States, £2,200,000, making the total £25,650,000. For this year the estimated gross loan expenditure is £21,000,000; relief from revenue, including food relief, is put down at £7,900,000; and the estimated expenditure for assistance to States, works programmes, and special provisions in all States and territories, is £2,800,000, making the total for this year £31,700,000, which is nearly £5,000,000 greater than when the depression came upon us in 1930-31. When the Scullin Government went out of office the present Administration supplemented by £154,000 the provision which its predecessor had made for the relief of unemployment. In the following year it provided £1,150,000, in addition to accepting a contingent liability for loans amounting to £158,000, made available by the Common- wealth Bank as part of the winter relief programme of £1,800,000. The amounts provided for the relief of unemployment and for Commonwealth works programmes in the last four years have been -
the talk by the Scullin Government of nationalizing credit and inflating the currency materially helped to destroy our credit, both here and overseas; It is because investors believe that, under the present Government, they will get a fair deal, and that there will bc no confiscatory legislation of any kind,- that they are now feeling a certain amount of confidence in investments. In consequence of the return of confidence, credits are being released, as is reflected in the banking figures which I quoted a few days ago. These figures show that, during the period in which the Scullin Government was in office - I do not say that it was solely due to the fact that that Government was in office- the money on fixed deposit increased, and that on current account decreased. Money was not being used in business; timid investors placed their money on fixed deposit, because they were afraid to invest it. Now the position is
Putting it in another way, the provision made by the Scullin Government in 1930- 31 ‘amounted to £3,170,000, and in 1931- 32 to £1,083,000, or a total of £4,253,000. Then the Lyons Government assumed office, and provision was made in 1932-33 for £2,202,000, and in 1933-34 for £2,818,000. ‘To these amounts must be added the £154,000 by which this Government supplemented the provision made by the Scullin Government, making the total for the two years £5,174,000.
– The Scullin Government could not obtain the money.
– That is the point. The Scullin Government could- not borrow money, and, had it remained in office, and carried out its threats to nationalize credit, it would not have been able to get any money, even in. this year of grace. Quite apart from the depression, which, came upon Australia in common with all other countries, reversed; the fixed deposits are decreasing, and the amount on current account is increasing, showing that money is being used more freely in business. Facts such as these demonstrate that the policywhich we have steadily pursued, a policy slow but safe, is responsible for gradually restoring prosperity to this country, and decreasing the number of unemployed. TheGovernment intends to pursue that policy, which, although it may not be spectacular, is safe. It is better to continue such a policy than to borrow, say, £5,000,000, and spend it on public works that may not return even Working expenses, let alone intereston capital. There has been too much of that sort of thing in Australia. That is one of the reasons why some of the States are in such financial straits to-day. They are compelled to raise money by taxation to pay interest and working expenses on unprofitable public works, and that is hindering their return to prosperity. It is impossible to cure the evil by borrowing more money for public works which may not return interest upon capital expenditure. The adoption of that policy would delay still further Australia’s recovery from the depression. A survey of the world position shows that the policy of sacrifice, which Australia has deliberately adopted, has been the means of bringing it nearer to recovery than probably any other country. Competent judges here and overseas have expressed surprise atthe way in which Australia is recovering, and have pointed to this as the fruits of national sacrifice. The Commonwealth is pointed to as one of the first countries to emerge . from the depression from which the whole world is suffering. If we really desire to provide employment, and to overcome our financial difficulties, we must continue along the road of sacrifice and sanity upon which we have already started.
SenatorBROWN (Queensland) [4.12]. - The information given by the Leader of theGovernment in the Senate (Senator Pearce) may flatter the Government of which he is a member, but it does not encourage the hundreds of thousands of workers throughout Australia who are vainly seeking employment. The Minister’s statement reminds me of a story I heard concerning a Queensland politician who quoted a mass of figures to show how unemployment had changed in various parts of Australia. An unemployed man, who had been following this mathematician with great interest, said : “ I am still unemployed; but figures won’t feed me. How am I to provide food and clothing for my wife and children?” That is the position confronting hundreds of thousands of persons in Australia today. It is easy to say that unemployment has decreased, but there are hundreds of thousands of men and women who have not the slightest chance of obtaining money with which to buy the bare necessaries of life. When in Sydney a few days ago, I was in conversation with a friend’s wife who had been suffering from malnutrition. She applied to the authorities who gave her an order to obtain fresh milk, fruit and vegetables for six months to enable her to regain her health. After having been restored to health, the order was cancelled, and she has been informed by her medical adviser that if the supply cannot be continued her health will soon be as bad as it was before. Thousands of similar cases are on record, yet the Minister says that unemployment has been reduced and that the position of the worker is easier. If we have to await the development of the policy of the Government, as the Minister suggests, I am sorry for those who are in need of relief. I do not doubt for a moment that honorable senators opposite sympathize with the unemployed, but they are obsessed with the idea that the difficulty can be overcome by the oldtime method of restoring confidence. Confidence has been restored over and over again. Any one who has read of the development of capitalism or the history of industrial England knows that there have been boom periods and periods of depression. During periods of financial stress, politicians in asking the people to support the old-fashioned policy have said that, in a few years, all their difficulties would be overcome. Honorable senators opposite cannot point to a single instance where the problem of unemployment has been solved by the methods which this Government is adopting. It is useless to attempt to bulldoze the people. Unemployment cannot te solved by old-fashioned methods. We have to throw overboard old ideas and evolve a scheme under which we can provide people with food and clothing and the other essentials of life. It is a disgrace to this Parliament that so many thousands of our citizens are suffering. Honorable senators should endeavour to understand the problem and try to solve it. I propose to read to the Senate a statement made, not by a Bolshevik, a wild-eyed Labour man, or one who believes in releasing credits, but by Sir Harold Bowden, the president of the Federation of British Industries, and reads -
Purchasing power is in the main distributed as a reward for labour. If the labour is not needed, the purchasing power is not distributed under our present system except in the form of doles, charity, poor law relief, and by similar unsatisfactory and demoralizing devices.
The position in England is the same as it is in sunny Australia. Under the present system, we are compelled to act in this way. The Queensland Government is trying to reduce unemployment by proceeding with public works, which the Minister suggests may not pay interest or even return sufficient to cover working expenses. The building of the proposed bridge over the river at Brisbane will give employment to a large number of men. Instead of attempting to solve the problem of unemployment by indulging in “ hifalutin “ talk about the reduction of the percentage of unemployed unionists to the total number of trade unionists, we should construct bridges and other public works where they are needed. We have in this country the necessary materials and intelligence. Honorable senators may laugh ; but those who have never been unemployed cannot understand the suffering of those who are unable to find work. If the Government and its supporters would devote to the solution of the problem of unemployment as much energy as they do to maintaining the interest on bonds, every man, woman and child in the community would have sufficient to eat. I rejoice in the belief that the day is not far distant when the enthusiasm and courage of the people will ensure to all an ample supply of. these things that they require. Sir Harold Bowden also said -
The old “ laws “ of political economy no longer obtain. We have entered upon an era of new conditions that the old economists never foresaw, and it is necessary to think in terms of these new conditions. Not unemployment, nor even tho restoration of trade, but the distribution of purchasing power is the kernel of the problem. The products are there waiting to be exchanged for one another. If we can discover how to consume this idle wealth, there will be no problem of idle workers.
Unlike honorable senators opposite, Sir Harold Bowden does not indulge in a lot of talk about balancing budgets. The Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) said that the Government was intent on re-establishing confidence and balancing the national budget. Why, therefore, is it budgeting for a deficit- this year? The Government prides itself on the success of the recent £10,000,000 loan. Of that amount £5,090,000 is to be used to retire treasury-bills, and a similar sum is to be expended on public works for the relief of the unemployed, notwithstanding the claim of the Leader of the Senate that a public works programme is of little avail in solving the problem, of unemployment. We, on this side, do not say that a policy of borrowing, or even a comprehensive programme of public works, will solve the problem; but we do contend that if money can be poured out like water to prosecute a war, it should be found to provide work and food and clothing for the people in times of peace. In the third battle of Ypres, in 1917, the British forces fired 4,283,550 shells, costing £22,000,000, in the preliminary bom”bardment before the battle opened. Those shells weighed 107,000 tons, and represented 27 ship-loads, or 540 train-loads, or 35,666 lorry-loads of ammunition, while on the basis of 2s. 6d. per man per hour, that expenditure represented 176,000,000 man hours. During 1917-18 the British Ministry of Munitions expended £672,164,933. According to the Year-Booh for 1932, Australia’s participation in the war cost it £502,805,741. I agree with my leader that the national accountancy system should be employed to build up credits for the construction of those public works which are essential to this country’s development. Ex-Senator
Colebatch told the Senate that during the war for every £1,000 of real money £5,000 of paper money was issued, but that, when the war ended, there was noth-, ing -to show for the huge expenditure. If money could be found to prosecute a war which left no assets, the banking methods of the country should be utilized to finance the construction of bridges, roads and other public works which, when constructed, will be national assets, Unfortunately, our political leaders have been affected by an intellectual blight; they arc willing to finance the means of destruction, but not a programme which would increase the country’s productivity, and find work for its unemployed. If the people of Australia realized what a united community could do, not one person would be in need. We are within a few weeks of Christmas, yet the Government has done nothing to bring comfort to those thousands of Australians who are in need.
– The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
– I support the protest of the Leader of the Opposition and other honorable senators who have spoken against Parliament going into recess, probably for some months, without having done anything for the unemployed. I could not help likening the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) to one of those radio uncles who tell the children bed-time stories each evening. Probably no person in Australia knows better than does the leader of the Senate that the present international depression is man-made. He knows that throughout the world many hundreds of thousands of men and women are living on doles, or accepting charity, as the result of an artificially created depression. The problem of unemployment is the result of man’s breaking of fundamental laws. The throe sections of the people which are uppermost in our thoughts today are the employed, the unemployed, and the employers. Prom time to time, the parliaments of tho world provide palliatives; but until they legislate to socialize the means of credit, the scourge of unemployment will remain. This problem can be solved by the people through the ballot-box. The Leader of the Opposition was justified in submitting his motion to-day, because the Government is making the position worse instead of better. Addressing the Millions Club in Sydney recently, the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) said that the Government was prepared to spend- £12,000.000 on the defences of Australia. It is, however, unwilling to expend anything like that sum on public works which would relieve unemployment, or on extracting oil from coal, notwithstanding that industrial science has clearly demonstrated the possibility of obtaining oil from that source. Within, the last 24 hours, there was a demonstration by a number of unemployed in Sydney, many of whom had been out of work for five years. Some of them have children who have reached man’s estate without ever having been employed. The economic law of supply and demand is functioning in a capitalistic State to such purpose that £14,000,000 is being sent from Australia every year to the United States of America for the purchase of motor spirit and oil. It is a fact that we can restore these unemployed miners to profitable work if we concentrate our attention upon winning from the great shale deposits of New South Wales and Queensland the mineral oils which they undoubtedly contain.
The dole .workers in New South Wales number tens of thousands of men and women. Whilst I do not suggest for a moment that the State Government should not be called upon to shoulder its share of the blame for this condition of things, it is nevertheless a fact that the Commonwealth Government functions mainly through the Loan Council, and it is from that angle that honorable senators on this side of the chamber view the position. The statistics which have been supplied by Mr. Dunningham, the New South Wales “Minister of Labour and Industry, cut no ice so far as they apply to the argument advanced by the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce). The mere fact that these figures have been dressed up by the capitalistic press in the chief cities of Australia and re-echoed by subsidiary newspapers, such as the Sunraysed News at Mildura, and the journal published at Castlemaine, counts for nothing. Those provincial organs have practically no circulation, and are of no use -except for pasting on the hessian walls of country shacks. We know that the international news service disseminates a weekly report throughout the world of the condition of affairs «in Australia, and, as has been pointed out by Senator Pearce, it has been represented that everything is well in Australia. But everything is not well in Australia. As a matter of fact, everything is wrong in Australia. The manipulation that is going on in the financial markets of the United States of America, London and Berlin is not due to press publicity to the effect that all is well in Australia. It merely represents another turn of the wheel of international finance, a matter which has been so ably dealt with by many economic writers.
– Order ! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
. - I was astounded to hear Senator Barnes say that one of the methods by which unemployment could be overcome was by obtaining some of the cheap money which may be borrowed overseas at interest rates varying from 1-J per cent, to 2i per cent. If my memory serves me accurately, the speeches delivered by the honorable senator and by almost every member of the Labour party at the last election, and also at the previous election, when the Scullin Government was returned to power, stressed above all things that overseas borrowing must cease. All the honorable senator’s colleagues affirmed that overseas borrowing was chiefly responsible for unemployment in this country. I remember reading the speeches of leading members of the Labour party in which they pointed out that money borrowed overseas was remitted to us in the form of goods. All the leading members of the Labour party urged that this continued borrowing was detrimental to the interests of Australia, and was largely responsible for the unemployment that existed here. Yet this very policy which was so unreservedly condemned then, is-now seriously put forward by the leader of the Labour party in this chamber as the sovereign remedy for the problem of unemployment.
– I did not say anything of the kind.
– Senator Barnes referred to the money which was available in London at a low rate of interest, and stressed the fact that, cheap money was available on the other side of the world. I agree entirely with the view expressed by Senator Pearce, when he spoke of the inadvisableness of borrowing money to finance public works, irrespective of whether or not they were reproductive. Senator Brown has referred to the money which is to be spent upon the bridge over the Brisbane River - a work which, to my mind, may rightly be regarded as reproductive. The truth is that during the last 20 or 30 years, we ‘have, by reason of the borrowing policy we have followed, established in this country what I may term a “loan” population - a population which has lived entirely upon loan money. In many ways this has been an artificial method of living, but nevertheless there is a big percentage of people in our midst, who for years have been entirely dependent upon the ability of successive governments to borrow money. Immediately the capacity of governments to borrow became exhausted, these people were thrown upon the labour market. It is most undesirable that a large section of the community should live in such a precarious way and with a full knowledge that if the supply of loan money fails, they will be immediately thrown out of work. It is, I submit, a much sounder policy to afford encouragement to those who are prepared to invest their money in industry for the development of this country. Such a policy will provide a much safer and more permanent form of employment-
Senator Brown made certain references to public works which -are to be undertaken in Queensland. I have already made a passing allusion to one of them. Naturally everybody in Queensland is glad to see money made available to carry on that work which is undoubtedly both urgent and important: I refer to the bridge which is to be constructed from Kangaroo Point to Bowen Terrace.
– That is essentially a reproductive work.
SenatorFOLL. - It is. It will have the effect of relieving the congestion which has been growing for years, and it should have been undertaken long ago. However, Iam glad that it is being put in hand now. It is essentially a reproductive work and one which can be justified from that stand-point. But had it not been for the change that has come over Australia, and which has enabled a great insurance society to make available the sum of £2,000,000 for this work, it could never have been undertaken. Will not Senator Brown admit that the improved prices being received for our primary products, and the improved prospects of industries generally, are responsible for the granting of money to the Queensland Government for this purpose ? When Mr. Lang was in power in New South Wales, and a first class wrangle was in progress between members of the Federal Labour party and the Lang party, the Scullin Government was unable to raise any money, either in Australia or in Great Britain. When chaotic conditions prevail, it is practically impossible for any government, irrespective of its political colour, to obtain money for public works ; but, fortunately, the more settled conditions that now prevail in this country enable money to be secured for that purpose. During the Lang Government’s régime, the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Board in Sydney endeavoured to raise £2,000,000 for necessary extensions, and, although the interest rate offered was higher than that at which the latest Federal loan was floated, scarcely any response was obtained, and the transaction was a complete failure. The success of the latest Federal loan is due to the common sense that has been shown by all the Governments in Australia. The members of the Loan Council are anxious that this country shall honour its obligations ; they do not favour the policy of repudiation advocated by the Lang Government. The people generally recognise that all governments are now anxious to meet their obligations.
It is useless for Senator Barnes to allege that nothing has been done by the present Ministry to relieve unem ployment. I am as anxious as any honorable senator opposite to see every man engaged in useful work. Within the last six or eight months a revival has been noticed in practically every industry throughout Australia. In normal times, the building trade is of the utmost importance to the community because of the large amount of employment that it gives, both directly and indirectly. Although building was practically at a standstill a year ago, large numbers of private dwellings are now being erected, owing largely to the sane financial policy of the present Government. I am sure that the renewed activity in the building trade will soon be reflected in many other industries. I have received an interesting letter to-day from Mr. Lysaght in connexion with certain statements made regarding his firm in the course of the debate last week on the duties on galvanized iron. In the course of his letter he states-
Now that the duty is settled, we propose to proceed with all speed with the additions to the plant, which will cost not less than £60,000 and employ some 300 additional men.
That is one instance of the effect of the Government’s policy in increasing employment Nothing was more disturbing to industry than the fact that a tariff schedule introduced by the Scullin Government was not ratified for two years, during which the business community was kept in a state of uncertainty.
– Did the honorable senator also receive a letter from the manufacturers of rabbit traps ?
– I am prepared to justify my attitude to those who have to use rabbit traps to earn a living.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Herbert Hays). - The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.- According to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Barnes) and his followers, they alone are conscious of the deplorable condition of the unemployed throughout Australia, but every member of this chamber realizes the distress of the workless, and anxious to relieve them. Apart from the adult unemployed we are aware of the difficulty of finding work for the youths who are leaving school each year. We are convinced that there is no quicker way of destroying civilization than our present method of bringing up our young people without anything to do. While listening to the figures submitted by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), I was thinking that the position is even worse than is indicated by the official statistics. If we examine the quarterly returns to the 30th June last, we notice that, in the fourth quarter of 1930, the number of unionists registered in Australia was 447,822, and in the second quarter of 1933 only 415,559. Of course, the Minister furnished the only official figures that are available, but these relate only to registered trade unionists, to which must be added the number of youths leaving school who are unable to find employment. No doubt the proportion of unemployed is greater than 25 per cent. This is further confirmed ‘by the Commonwealth Statistician who in the quarterly return of statistics shows that in 1929-30, the wages paid in Australian factories amounted to £84,717,033, whereas in 1930-31 the total was £62,654,859, and in 1931-32, £55,931,818.
– What was the value of the product of the factories?
– In 1929-30, it was, roughly, £156,000,000; in 1930-31, £118,000,000; and, in 1931-32, £110,000,000. I assure Senator Barnes and his followers that the problem of unemployment is not the concern of his party alone, but engages the serious attention of every honorable senator. I have an office in Melbourne, and hardly a day passes without requests being received by me from a dozen, or perhaps, two dozen, persons who are looking for employment, and they range from professional men to unskilled labourers. The claims of this section are tugging at the hearts and minds of all honorable senators continuously.
In reply to a question asked by me last week, I was informed by the Minister representing the Treasury that Federal and State taxes absorbed an amount equal to 30 per cent, of the value of our total production - a legacy from the Scullin Government. The budget proposals presented to us recently represent the first step towards relieving Australian industry of the tremendous burden of taxation thrust upon it by the Scullin Administration. It seems to me that Australia has so far failed fully to realize the valuable opportunitiespresented to- it to supply primary products to the markets of the Motherland. The food bill of the United Kingdom,, represented by primary products such as can be produced in Australia, amounts to £640,000,000, of which 40 per cent, is produced in the United Kingdom, 39 per cent, is obtained from foreign countries and only 21 per cent, from the colonies arid dominions of the British Empire. If we go deeply into this matter and grasp the possibilities of increased Australian trade with the Motherland, we shall find a solution of the unemployment problem. Senator Barnes mentioned the importance of the people having a high purchasing power, but a higher standard of living cannot be obtained merely by a re-distribution of the accumulated savings of the people. The wellbeing of a nation depends upon continuous production of new wealth from the soil. A broad outlook and courageous action are essential to Australia in the securing of permanent markets available to us within the British Empire. I thought, in listening to his speech, that possibly Senator Barnes was beginning to see the light. If he will go more carefully into the subject of unemployment, he will realize that he and his followers should stand with those who claim that instead of developing uneconomic industries, definite preference should be given to Great Britain, in order to secure the increased trade which Britain is ready to accord to Australia. One reason why we have not obtained the trade benefits that we need is that we have not fully implemented the Ottawa agreement. Great Britain has negotiated with foreign countries, five or six pacts, spoken of by some as “black” pacts. If Australia and the other Empire countries had taken the longer view, there would have been no occasion, for negotiations between Great Britain and foreign countries, and the market of the- Mother Country would have been more readily available to Empire producers.
The Assistant Treasurer (Senator Lawson) replying this afternoon to a question which I had submitted to him in regard to Australian preserved fruit exports, admitted that while Great Britain’s imports of preserved fruit and jam for the six months ended the 30th June last amounted to £1,845,722, Australia’s proportion of it was valued at only £411,000. These figures indicate the extent of tho market that is available to the dominions if only they could be brought to realize their opportunities as units of the British Empire.
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Barnes) argued that the success of the £.10,000,000 loan should encourage the Government to borrow further money, thus imposing a still greater load on posterity, to put in hand schemes for the relief of unemployment. Personally, I was somewhat dismayed at the rush of applications for the loan, because it indicates that’ the people with resources hesitate to invest in industrial enterprises. Evidently they prefer to invest their money in Government securities, taking consolation from the thought that if the Government goes down, everybody goes down with it. This preference in investment is not, I suggest, a good advertisement for a young country like Australia. Many of our difficulties would disappear if only we had the courage to give effect to the resolution passed by the Senate eighteen months ago with regard to Empire markets. There would then be ample opportunity for the utilization of capital awaiting investment, with a consequent improvement in the unemployment situation.
I wonder if the Ministry will give consideration to proposals that have been adopted in some of tho older countries where the young men who are unable to get work are drafted into industrial camps for training. After listening to Senator Barnes, I believe that he would support such a movement in Australia, because of its beneficial effects upon the country and especially the young people. In some continental countries, the men who have been mobilized into these camps, besides being engaged in clearing and reclaiming land, road construction and other useful public works, are given a certain amount of military training, and each commanding officer is held responsible for making his camp pay. If employment is offered to any man in camp, he is released from training. I understand that the total cost of clothing and food for each man of the Australian Permanent Forces is £27 10s. per annum. Instead of providing sustenance, for which no return is received, the Government should establish camps for the training and employment, mental and physically, of Australian youths for their own and the country’s good. Such a movement would, I believe, attract the sympathetic interest of employers who would look to such camps for future employees. No harm - on the contrary, great good - should result from the adoption of such a scheme. The debate has served a useful purpose in that it has proved to members of ‘the Opposition that honorable senators on this side of the chamber are quite as much concerned as they are about the unemployment problem that confronts this country.
– The thought uppermost in my mind is how exceedingly difficult it is to get honorable senators supporting the Government to concentrate on the “ here and now” of this problem of unemployment. While they are prepared to discuss the conditions which obtain in every other country, apparently they are unwilling to give their attention to the seriousness of unemployment in Australia. Senator Elliott stated that Labour senators imagine that they have a monopoly of all the sympathy and regard for the unemployed. I assure the honorable gentleman that nobody on this side of the chamber said so, or thinks that others are without sympathy for their workers. Our complaint is that, while supporters of the Government express sympathy for the unemployed, they are not willing to vote for practical proposals to give relief. Unemployment cannot be cured by sympathy. Something more is needed. Senator Elliott alluded to the extent of the market in Great Britain for Australian primary products, and urged that it was not being exploited sufficiently. There was a time when Great Britain bad a monopoly of foreign markets for industrial products, but that day has passed, not because Britain was not unwilling to exploit those markets, it did that to the fullest extent, but because governments of foreign countries are now busily engaged in developing local industries, primary and secondary, for the supply of home markets. Thus the people in those countries are producing commodities which, for so many years, were supplied by Great Britain. The Mother Country is also giving more and more attention to the production of its own food supplies, with the result that the British market for Australian surplus products is becoming more limited. Great Britain is even demanding at the present moment a restriction of the exportation of certain forms of primary production from Australia. Senator Elliott also spoke of the increase of taxation in recent years as though Australia was the only country sinning in that regard. Actually, the same criticism may be directed against the financial policy of every country, including Great Britain. Only yesterday I read in the cable news that the estate of the late Sir John Ellerman, valued at approximately £40,000,000, paid probate duty to the amount of £20,000,000. We might, with profit, follow the example of the Mother Country in such matters.
Senator Elliott’s suggestion that the youths of this country should be conscripted into industrial camps, was so callous that it astounded me. Would he like to see his son conscripted for industrial purposes ? Of course not. Why then should my son or any other man’s son be treated in that way? No member of the Labour party would for a moment countenance such a policy.
The Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) began his speech by a misstatement, which I -believe was unintentional, of the whole argument of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Barnes). The right honorable gentleman said that Labour’s cure for unemployment was borrowing abroad. Nobody suggested that. We believe that further borrowing abroad would finally aggravate our difficulties. What Senator Barnes did say was that the recent loan of £10,000,000 was insufficient to alleviate the unemployment problem, because one-half of the amount will be utilized for the funding of outstanding treasury-bills which means that it will be a gift to private banking institutions. The Leader of the Opposi tion might have added that the balance of £5,000,000 was borrowed, not to finance a new scheme for the relief of unemployment, but to carry out the usual loan policy. Actually this Government is so lacking in constructive ideas that, up to the present time, it has been unable to do anything even for the 700 or 800 unemployed persons in Canberra, in order that they might earn a little money to enjoy the festivities of the Christmas season. The Leader of the Senate claimed that this Government had restored confidence in the community. What it is really doing is merely a resort to the same old confidence trick - attempting once again to patch up an economic system that must soon be ended because of the misery which it is inflicting upon millions of people throughout the world.
Senator Foll is always amusing, and I regret that he is not now present. I remind him that Senator Barnes’ allusion to overseas borrowing was part of his argument, that as Australia was meeting all its liabilities, it was reasonable to expect investors on the other side of the world to make their contribution to the rehabilitation of the Commonwealth by a remission of some portion of our interest bill, and by relieving us in this way, enable us more effectively to tackle the problem at home. Senator Foll spoke with considerable freedom about what happened while Mr. Lang was Premier of New South Wales, and Mr. Scullin was Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, alleging that because of what bad been done by Mr. Lang, and because of internal dissension in the Labour party, it was impossible for the Commonwealth to borrow £1 overseas. The honorable senator knows that the political situation in Australia at that time had nothing whatever to do with our difficulty in borrowing money on the London market. -He cannot be unaware that the credit of this country had been so badly damaged during the regime of the Bruce-Page Government, that it was not possible to borrow abroad. Senator Foll also mentioned the activity of the building industry as evidence of returning prosperity. It is untrue to say that the building trade is active in every capital city, but it is true that in every capital city buildings are being divided and subdivided, and that in many cases, several families are living in one bouse: Actually the building industry has slumped to such an extent that tens of thousands of building trade artisans are unemployed. According to the figures quoted by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Pearce), unemployment has decreased by only 5 per cent, since this Government introduced its policy of feeding private enterprise. If these figures are accurate, they only show that although this policy has been in operation for two years, only five additional men in every hundred have been provided with work. Encouraging private enterprise will not solve the problem created by private enterprise, which is responsible for the rotten conditions existing throughout the world to-day. The Minister has admitted that 85 per cent, of the employment available is provided by private enterprise. The failure of private enterprise furnishes the reason why desperate persons are almost daily throwing themselves from the Sydney harbour bridge, why there are more in our gaols than there have ever been before, and why workless youths are committing crimes. Many deserving young men have not had a day’s employment since they left school. I remind the right honorable gentleman that the first task of real statesmanship is that of substantially increasing the power of the working multitudes to buy the goods with which the markets, stores, and factories are congested, and thus clear the choked channels of trade and industry. In view of the present situation, and of the wonderful development of mechanized production, higher wages and shorter hours are imperatively demanded by common sense, justice, and humanity. I direct the attention of the Minister to the following statement made by the Archbishop of York, who, when speaking at Hull on Christianity and industrial problems, said - “ The irony of the tragedy of the present situation,” said the Archbishop, “was that so far as one could see, the immediate causes of the distress ought to be the occasion of universal comfort. One of the reasons why so many people were hungry was because it had become so very easy to produce wealth. The technique of production seemed to have outrun our machinery of distribution. Hie productivity of the world had been increasing in the last 30 years out of all proportion to the population. There was more for ali of us to enjoy, but it was meaning for a great many people that there was less. Obviously, something was wrong, and one of the ways out was not to reduce the number of persons employed, but to reduce the hours for which those who were employed were at work. That was what was meant by substituting leisure for unemployment. . . .
Labour has been preaching that gospel for the last half century, and now we are proved to be right. The difficulties associated with our present financial and economic situation cannot be overcome by tinkering. The raising of a loan of over £10,000,000 in two days is one of the most disquieting signs of the times. It will not assist in relieving unemployment. The fact that such a large sum of money has been invested by the people in this way means that it will not be available to industry, and cannot be used to relieve unemployment. The policy of this Government is making our economic position worse.
– The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
– The Minister (Senator Pearce) said that 85 per cent, of the work available in Australia is provided by private enterprise, but I do not know if that includes construction work on which loan moneys are used. Mr. A. L. Howse, in a work entitled Socialism To-day, published this year, said -
Capitalism insists that each industry in itself should make a profit. When prices are falling, profits in industry can be made only by reducing wages and costs and increasing hours, which is followed by a decreased demand for the commodities produced. With fewer employees, reduced purchasing power and reduced consumption, a vicious downward movement at once commences. The potential power of consumption should be in keeping with productive capacity of industry. We should find a way to short-circuit the defence of industry which operates purely for profit, and bring it into closer relationship with the rights of the people.
In view of the stagnation of industry and the fact that hundreds of thousands of men and women are unemployed, a properly balanced plan is necessary to relieve, if not to remove, the economic difficulties with which we are confronted. At present, hundreds of thousands are receiving the dole and many of those on relief works are not receiving a wage equal to the dole. I join with Senator Foll in condemning the policy in operation during the war, and later, in boom times, when trade was buoyant and when £20,000,000 to £30,000,000 was borrowed annually for so-called reproductive works and for other purposes. During prosperous years large sums of money should not be borrowed, but during periods of depression judicious borrowing may be a means of providing work and benefiting the country generally.
– Money was borrowed during the war years by Tory governments.
– Yes, and much of it was wasted on unproductive public works. Dr. Hugh Dalton, an exmember of the House of Commons, said that -
The unemployed are counted in tens of millions. Primary producers are everywhere ruined or on the verge of ruin. Everywhere feeble efforts are being made to restore prosperity by planless restrictions - not by restrictions having a plan behind them, but by planless restrictions - on trade, on exchange and on production. Such measures are seen in operation throughout the capitalist west, including in that geographical category the United States of America. In Russia they have succeeded, for the moment at least, in planning away unemployment.
We have cheap money in the city, so cheap that if it becomes cheaper, people will have to be paid to take it away. The one thing this Government has done well is its series of conversion operations of the public debt. It was almost impossible, even for a blind, deaf, dumb and mentally deficient chancellor of the exchequer, to fail to take great advanage of the prevailing cheap money conditions.
The statistics quotedby the Minister showed that the present Government has expended on the relief of unemployment only a little over £1,000,000 morethan its predecessor; this will not go far to relieve the distress in Australia to-day. The monthly circular issued by the Bank of New South Wales in May last states -
What can. we do to help ourselves? Two things are necessary; to provide money and to provide means of getting the money to work. The provision of the money is the easier of the two. It may appear an unorthodox statement but nevertheless there is no dearth of money awaiting investment in Australia at present, and that once there is opportunity for investment it will increase. Current saving has been in excess of current investment.
Plenty of money is available. The banks are bursting with it. The trouble is that the people are without confidence because of the domination of the money lords, and the feeling that the deflation period is not past. On page 9 of the circular, Mr. Davidson, in discussing the means of stimulating investments, says -
Increased Government investment forms another avenue of approach by setting up increased demand in two ways. It sets up demand directly for materials of all kinds, and indirectly through increasing the spending power of those re-employed.
On the following page, under the heading “ Public Investment “, he says -
Given a sound budgetary position, governments will have justification in going further. No one would suggest that we should return to “the bold developmental policy” which led to our downfall. But, without doing that, it is justifiable to expand the attenuated public works programmes of recent years.
SenatorFoll. - Would it not be better for the banks to lend their money to industries which need it, than to invest it in government stocks?
– Mr. Davidson says in his concluding paragraph -
World opinion is now coming to the conclusion that the first step in general recovery must come from government investments.
Private enterprise has failed; it cannot prosper without the aid of governments. To those who say. that the Labour party has no solution of these problems, I reply that it stands for the unification of the railway gauges, the development of the Northern Territory on semi-national lines, and a policy of public works which are essential for the development of Australia. The construction of a railway through Queensland to Darwin was advocated in 1914 by the Cook-Irvine Government, which offered to proceed with the work if the Government of Queensland would co-operate with it. The Labour party also believes in improving the harbours along our coast, and in constructing and maintaining roads which act as feeders to railways. All these things can be done. The trouble is that we in Australia have meekly accepted the domination of overseas financial lords. We should use our intelligence and set up our own financial house. Mr. Davidson has made it clear that there is no lack of money in Australia.We need only to throw off the depression complex for at least100,000 of our fellow citizens who are now out of work to find employment. I predict that when Labour again returns to power it will set up its own financial house. We should act for ourselves, and refuse to allow our fellow citizens to walk the streets through want of employment. William Jennings Bryan, a former candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America, said -
The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace, and conspires against it in times of adversity.
It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy.
It denounces as public enemies all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes.
It can only be overthrown by the awakened conscience of the nation.
That money power operates in Australia. It is the same power that throughout the world is preventing recovery from the depression in which the nations have been thrown by the money lords with the object of reducing wages, lowering prices of goodsand materials, and so making the interest on the thousands of millions of war and other loans of more value, and of greater purchasing power.
SenatorRAE (New South Wales) [5.41]. - I agree with a good deal of what has been said by honorable senators opposite. The Leader ofthe Senate (Senator Pearce) quoted a lot of figures which we have no opportunity to check. In any ease, figures can be handled so adroitly as to be capable of proving almost anything. Senator Barnes deserves the thanks of the Senate for having brought this motion forward this afternoon, but I do not agree with him that it is a matter for concern that Parliament is likely to go into a long recess, for under the present administration nothing more is accomplished when Parliament is in session than when it is not.
I agree with Senator Elliott that the Statistician’s figures relating to the number of persons unemployed are entirely misleading through no fault of that officer. Not only do some unions not furnish any returns at all, but there are also other unions whose members cease to be members as soon as they lose their employment. The result is that as the membership of those unions diminish through unemployment, so the number of members unemployed shows a reduction. Moreover, in New South Wales and probably in the other States also, persons who are given a little temporary relief work are shown as being in employment. If they receive only two or three days work they are not entitled to the dole for perhaps a fortnight. By various means, attempts are made to reduce the number of persons unemployed, in order to magnify the relief afforded by governments. Notwithstanding the official figures, I am of the opinion that there are as many persons unemployed in Australia to-day as there were two years ago. But even if we accept the figures of the Leader of the Senate, we find that during the two years for which the present Government has occupied the treasury bench, unemployment has fallen by only about 4 per cent.
I agree with SenatorFoll that it is unfortunate that for many years large numbers of the people, particularly the less skilled workers, have had to rely for their subsistence on a policy of borrowing for public works. During the war, the then Premier of New South Wales said that a stoppage of borrowed money from England would throw out of employment 20,000 men engaged on. railways and other public works. It is a. pity that we have to depend on the willingness of persons overseas to invest in Australian loans for the less skilled workers to obtain a livelihood. That is a fatal policy, especially if the money is expended on works which are not reproductive. The present Government has done nothing to alter that Micawber-like policy. The greater part of the relief work which has been undertaken by governments has been paid for with borrowed money, thereby increasing the burden which all along has been crushing us. The public debt of Australia, both Commonwealth and State, has increased by £104,000,000 during the last three years. There may be a revival of industry, but unfortunately Australia is still in the bog of depression.
Unemployed persons who obtain a few days’ work are expected to pay all their debts out of the money they receive. Their position is heart-rending in the extreme. Every clay we hear of persons who have been unemployed for years, ending their misery by committing suicide - men who have been driven to utter despair because they have had no work for years, andbecause they have been unable to see any glimmer of hope for the future. Honorable senators opposite have no reason to complain that we deny their possession of any sympathy with the unemployed. Everybody with a grain of common humanity in his composition, regrets to see this unemployed problem unsolved, regrets to find that honest and capable persons are prevented from earning a livelihood, and are haunted by the spectre of unemployment for years ahead. What we argue is not that honorable senators opposite are lacking in sympathy, but that they never propound anything more than the most superficial means for dealing with the problem. They refuse to go to the foundation of the trouble - to examine the system which is responsible for these conditions. Of course,we know that the war accentuated the existing world-wide crisis, but even without the war, it was creeping upon us as the natural result of the evolution of the capitalistic system. That system has now commenced to decline. It is making frantic efforts to stabilize itself, and, in doing so, has brought about this widespread unemployment and poverty, thereby reducing the standard of living throughout the world.’ Australia prided itself upon the high standard of living its people enjoyed, but to-day the average wage is very much lower than it appears to be, and thousands of persons are working for less than the award rates, but are compelled to sign receipts for the full rates which they never receive. I, therefore, say that any effort the Government has made to solve this problem has been of a superficial and ineffective character, and that it will never be solved by the application of such methods. Science and invention are continually displacing manual labour, and, to my mind, nothing would prove so useful as a palliative as a reduction of the hours of labour with a view to spreading employment over a greater number of workers. That, of course, would not provide a complete solution of the problem, but it would partially alleviate the position. I consider that the tory and reactionary attitude of those who are opposed to the Labour policy is criminal in its effect, and is accentuating, instead of alleviating the unemployment problem. The shortening of the hours of labour is one of the immediate remedies which should be applied to industry generally.
I agree with other honorable senators that a public works policy could be initiated, which would aid largely in that development which is so necessary to the future of this country, and that we could easily finance such a policy under a system which would free us entirely from domination by the British or any foreign bondholder. By means of our financial institutions we could raise the necessary funds without being required to carry any big burden of interest, and by developing our own resources we could make the country support a very much larger population. It is not the number of out people which is causing the depression we are experiencing, but the fact that our resources are being misused. Two or three years ago, honorable senators opposite were constantly preachingthepolicy of more production. Day after day, they urged that our people should produce more, and their followers, as well as the capitalistic press, preached the same doctrine. Suddenly, however, they changed their attitude, and they now suggest that we should destroy a portion of what we do produce.
Senatorfoll. - Who was it first introduced that policy - was it not a Labour Government?
SenatorRAE. - I would remind the honorable senator that Labour Governments do not exist in other parts of the world where the depression is severe, and where the destruction of crops has not only been advocated, but carried into effect. Why, in Brazil recently, thousands of tons of coffee were thrown into the ocean in order to keep up the price of the remainder of the crop, stocks of wheat and maize were burned in furnaces, and cotton plants were destroyed. Two or three years ago, in the cotton-growing States of America, a combination was formed to destroy every third row of cotton plants, and parties of night raiders went about burning the crops of those who refused to subscribe to this scheme. I might cite innumerable examples from different countries of the world, in which the same policy of destroying a part of the surplus production was adopted, whilst, simultaneously, tens of thousands of people were suffering from a shortage of these very commodities. This policy stands self-condemned, and yet the dyed-in-the-wool conservatism of honorable senators opposite, induces them to believe that by talking of the restoration of confidence, they can redeem the position.
– Order ! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.- The reply I shall make to the remarks of Senator Pearce and others will be very brief. The Minister said that apparently I expected the Government to provide employment for a much greater number of persons that it could reasonably be asked to provide for.
I do not expect the Government to provide employment for all who are out of work, but I did urge that its responsibility was to find employment for the greatest number possible, and I endeavoured to show that it was not doing that. Even if the Government found employment for 15 per cent, of our workless, I want it to go farther, because of the precedented circumstances which confront us, than it would be called upon to go under ordinary conditions. Senator Pearce stated that private enterprise usually pro,vides employment for 85 per cent, of the persons engaged in industry. I say that private enterprise has not done anything like that. There must be some reason for this, and one reason may be that which was put forward by the right honorable gentleman himself, when he stated that people will not invest money in industry or employ men if they cannot show a profit. My reply is that, if the Government employed 20,000 men on reproductive works, it would encourage private enterprise to absorb another 20,000.
When the Labour Government was in power, it thought that this unemployment problem would be easily manageable. Members were of opinion that they would not have to go overseas to secure the money necessary to solve it. They proposed to issue fiduciary notes for £18,000,000 to cover one year’s operation of the scheme, £12,000,000 of which was to be devoted to finding employment for the workless, and the other £6,000,000 to helping the farmers of this country. We planned to do that without borrowing at all. Everybody is familiar with the ridicule which was poured upon the proposal by the newspapers of the country, and by all who considered themselves authorities upon economies and finance. But what do we find to-day? The whole of the Commonwealth note issue is fiduciary. There is hardly any gold backing to the whole of the £45,000,000 worth of notes in circulation, which apparently suffice for our commercial needs. . At one time it was thought that we could not run the business of this country unless we had a gold reserve of £25,000,000 at the back of a note issue of £100,000,000. Years ago, Labour declared that that view was utter nonsense, and that all that was necessary was that the people should have confidence iu their own country. That is all that Labour has ever claimed. We told the people years ago that a largo amount of a gold reserve of 25 per cent, simply meant that gold was lying idle, and earning nothing. Experience has proved that our contention was absolutely true. We find that we can do a lot of financing by a method which was ridiculed when Labour first brought it forward. It will also be remembered that not so many years ago, we advocated the establishment of a national bank which would cost us nothing. Our claim was ridiculed at the time. Yet, a little while ago, in the replies submitted to a series of questions that I asked upon the subject, I was informed that the establishment of the Commonwealth Bank, which had saved Australia £30,000,000, had cost the nation nothing. We issued treasury notes and paid 2-J per cent, interest upon them. But what is a treasury note, after all? It is merely a guarantee by the Treasury to somebody who gives us credit. What sense is there in any such guarantee when we can issue our own notes backed by the confidence of the people? This system can be extended until every employable man and woman in this country is absorbed in useful work.
I know that Senator Foll has no desire to misrepresent me, but I think he misunderstood my remarks. I have no wish to go overseas to borrow, and in my speech this afternoon, I merely attempted to show that although there was plenty of money available in London at 5½ per cent., there was no necessity to borrow in that market, because we can raise in Australia whatever money we require. The flotation of the recent loan for £10,000,000 has shown that there is no dearth of money available for investment here. The banks are bursting with money, and they desire to invest it in profitable channels. If the Government is not courageous enough to raise a further £10,000,000 by utilizing the credit of the country, it could easily borrow that amount on the Australian market. Local governing bodies in Great Britain are able to raise loans at as low an interest rate as 2½ per cent., and Australian stocks are so highly thought of in Great Britain that British investors would be glad of an opportunity to invest in an Australian loan at 3½ per cent. Speaking on the Loan (Unemployment Belief Works) Bill on the 10th May, 1932, the Leader of the Senate said -
It was the desire of the Commonwealth Government that, in co-operation with the whole of the States, an endeavour should be made to evolve a well-conceived plan for dealing with the most tragic of our problems, that of unemployment, in both its long range and short range aspects.
He proceeded to say that any attempt to float a public loan under the circumstances then prevailing must surely fail, and because of that disability the Commonwealth was forced to limit the programme of unemployment relief to the expenditure of £3,000,000. The inference which I draw from that statement is that at that time the Minister would have been prepared to spend more than £3,000,000 in unemployment relief had the money been obtainable. The public fear manifested at that time was unjustified. Owing to wilful misrepresentation, it was thought that the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales would crash, but I entertained no such fear. It would have been just as reasonable to say that the Commonwealth Bank was in danger of collapse. The depositors were allowed to withdraw only small amounts at stated periods, and eventually the bank closed its doors. A number of the depositors who found it necessary to borrow money privately were charged interest upon their loans at the rate of 25 per cent. The Government has not attempted to carry out the promises made by it at the last election to relieve unemployment.
Question - That the motion be agreed to - put. The Senate divided. (President - Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch.)
Majority . . 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.
– HUGHES (through Senator Badman) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has furnished the following reply: - 1 and 2. The Minister has received a number of reports which have not yet been presented to Parliament.
There are well recognized reasons to justify the practice of all governments in not presenting Tariff Board reports to Parliament until the Government is in a position to propose any consequential legislative action.
The pressure of public business has made it impossible for the Government to consider and arrive at decisions upon these reports. The Government is anxious to avoid the alteration of duties by purely ministerial action, independently of parliamentary approval by legislation. The Government, therefore, does not propose to present further reports to Parliament until Parliament is in a position to deal with their subject-matter in both Houses. There at present appears to be no possibility of this being done before the approaching adjournment.
In view of the foregoing the Government considers that, as the fact that a report affecting an industry has been received often produces a feeling of instability and insecurity in that industry and in other industries which supply materials to or purchase products from that industry, no useful public purpose can be served by making public the items with whichthe reports deal at a time when it is not practicable to take action with regard to them. If the state of parliamentary business this year should permit parliamentary (as distinct from governmental) action to be taken in respect, to any of the reports, they will be presented to Parliament at the earliest opportunity.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The right honorable the Prime Minister has furnished the following reply: - 1.I am unable to say.
Inspections at Rabaul.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following reply: -
These inspections are carried out by persons who are not employees of the Commonwealth, but are licensed by the Civil Aviation Branch of the Department of Defence under theAir Navigation regulations.
The only licensed ground engineer at present in Rabaul, so far as the Department of Defence is aware, is C. Gatenby. That he is considerably experienced in aircraft and engines is indicated by the fact that he is licensed by the Civil Aviation Branch in divisions “ B “ (overhaul of engines), “C” (maintenance of aircraft), “D” (maintenance of engines) and “X” (welding).
Departmental records show that Mr. Gatenby has had five (5) years’ experience with aircraft, having been employed over that period with various civil aviation firms in Australia and New Guinea.
Transport for Administrator and Lieutenant-Governor
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The right honorable the Prime Minister has furnished the following reply: -
The question of providing the Administrator with additional means of transport has been receiving attention for some time past, and arrangements are practically complete for the invitation at an early date of tenders for the provision of seaplane transport in the Territory for Administration purposes.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following reply: - 1 and 2. The wages of employees in hotels and hostels controlled by the Government in the Federal Capital Territory are covered by an award of the Industrial Board published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No. 8, of the9th February, 1933. The question of bringing the employees of hotels and hoarding establishments conducted by private enterprise under the terms of the award is under consideration.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following reply: -
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Is it a fact that invalid pensioners are allowed to earn money to supplement their pensions?
Senator Sir HARRY LAWSON.The Treasurer has furnished the following reply:-
There are some cases where invalid pensioners are receiving occasional payments of a few shillings a week for small services rendered. These payments are not held to disentitle the persons to a pension on the ground that they are not totally and permanently incapacitated.
Powers of Minister
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers : -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has furnished the following reply :-
Bill read a third time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended, and hill (on motion by Senator Sir Harry Lawson), read a first time.
[8.13]. - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Provision was made in Supply Bill No. 2 for the requirements for approximately six weeks from the 1st October, including provision for salaries payable on the 10th November. When that supply bill was submitted, it was anticipated that the Appropriation Bill for the full year would have been passed, and it would not have been necessary for a further supply bill to be submitted to Parliament. The amount available under Supply Bill No. 2 is, however, insufficient for the payment of salaries due on Friday next. As it seems improbable that the Appropriation Bill will be passed in sufficient time to enable payment of salaries to be made on that date, a supply bill amounting to £1,485,550 to provide for essential services for a further period of one month, is now submitted for the consideration of the Senate. This amount includes the following sums for ordinary services: -
In accordance with the usual practice, provision has been made for “ Refunds of Revenue,” £100,000 being included under this head. No provision is made in this Supply Bill for any new expenditure or for any departure from existing policy. As it is essential that the bill be passed without any unnecessary delay, itis hoped that honorable senators will permit its passage without discussion in view of the fact that ample opportunity for full discussion will be given when the Appropriation Bill is before the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
– The provision for expenditure in Papua is £2,750. A few days ago I endeavoured to obtain information from the Government with reference to the proposed restoration of £6,000 to the grant for the administration of Papua. As the Government has decided to restore £6,000 to the Papuan administration, does it intend to restore to public servants in that territory the money of which they have been deprived by a reduction of salaries?
– This is merely an additional grant to meet ordinary administrative expenses, and has no relation to the salaries paid to Papuan public servants.
Schedule agreed to.
Preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported without requests; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from the 17th November (vide page 4776), on motion by Senator McLachlan -
That the bill bo now read a second time.
– In common with other honorable senators, I welcome the introduction of this bill, which is long overdue, to ratify a trade agreement between the sister dominion of New Zealand and the Commonwealth. Some honorable senators have said that we are not in favour with the New Zealand people. I was in that dominion five years ago, and my personal experience was to the contrary. I know of one bond between the men of New Zealand and certain Australian citizens that will be broken only by death. I had the honour to belong to the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade, which was a part of the New Zealand and Australian Division; our opposite number was the first New Zealand infantry brigade, and their first mounted rifle brigade, consisting of the Otago, Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington battalions. We trained together in the desert in Egypt, and fought together on Gallipoli, and an amazing bond of brotherhood sprang up between the men of those two brigades. We were part of the same division until the evacuation, and afterwards when the 4th Division was formed. Later, the men in my brigade were associated with the New Zealanders in France. They had the highest regard, esteem and affection for us, which was reciprocated. I sometimes think that, as soldiers, the New Zealand men were just a shade better than we were. However, all this is by the way. In matters of trade, there is very little sentiment and affection; but whatever may happen, I feel that the Commonwealth is bound to New Zealand in many ways. The New Zealand people are our neighbours; they are of the same blood, speak the same tongue, and have the same ideals and aspirations as we have. I welcome the introduction of this measure, which, I think, is a step in the right direction. I cannot agree with Senator MacDonald, who thinks that some day New Zealand may be governed from Canberra. If I were a New Zealander, I know what I should say to that. Our destinies are bound up one with the other, and, some day, there may be actual freetrade between the two countries.
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Barnes) mentioned the shotgun cartridge industry established at Footscray, in Victoria, where Kynochs and Eleys cartridges are loaded, and which is affected by this agreement. Shotgun cartridges manufactured in New Zealand are to be admitted here duty free, but those manufactured in Australia and exported to New Zealand will be subject to a duty of 3s. per 100. The ability of an industry to compete commercially is largely a matter of the cost of production. The Australian company is at a decided disadvantage in comparison with the New Zealand company. For instance, a 10 per cent, primage duty is imposed in Australia as compared with a 3 per cent, primage duty in New Zealand. The primage duty on tariff item 397 was maintained at 10 per cent, when recent reductions were made. There is also the extra cost of lead shot due to a customs protection of £5 a ton and a primage duty of 5 per cent. In addition, there is the extra cost of cardboard wads through the payment of a duty of 3s. a cwt. on cardboard. Shotgun cartridges from New Zealand are to be admitted into Australia free of duty, and free of primage, while the New Zealand duty of 3s. per 100 on both Australian and British cartridges remains. I suggest to the Minister that this Australian company, which is being efficiently conducted, should be relieved of the imposts on its component parts which are imported. I trust that the Minister will give consideration to that point, because the Australian company ‘is at a decided disadvantage as compared with its New Zealand competitor.
– The Government is gratified with the manner in which this measure has been received. Certain criticisms have been offered, and I shall deal first with that of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Barnes), who said that our wine industry has not been sufficiently safeguarded. While Australian wines enjoy a preference of 2s. a gallon, the preference afforded to South Africa is 2s. 6d. a gallon, but the difference in preference is not of much moment, so long as Australia secures the trade. During the years 1930-32 the importation of still wines into New Zealand has been as follow : -
The importation of sparkling wines in 1932 was negligible, being valued at less than £3,000. Of that amount Australia’s share was £1,034.
The Leader of the Opposition (‘Senator Barnes) and Senator Sampson referred to gun cartridges, and asked for sympathetic consideration of the claims of the Australian company in any future negotiations with New Zealand. I understand that the New Zealand Government has the same sources of supplies of shot for gun cartridges as has the Australian factories, and it may be possible to make some adjustment which will place Australian manufacturers on an equality with those in New Zealand. I promise that the representations made to-night will receive sympathetic consideration.
– There is a duty of £5 a ton on lead shot under our tariff. Locally-produced shot is sold at about the same price as the imported article, plus the duty.
– ‘Generally, Australian shot is used in this country, and I understand in New Zealand, also. Whatever the position, I undertake, on behalf of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White), that the matter -will be investigated carefully. The Government has no desire to injure any efficient Australian industry. Having in mind the spirit in which these negotiations have been conducted, I am. confident that any inequalities in the agreement can be adjusted, without prejudice to the existing friendly relations between the two dominions.
asked whether the exemption of New Zealand goods from primage duty, is in keeping with article 14 of the Ottawa agreement, which reads -
Hia Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth of Australia undertake in so far as concerns goods the produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom -
to reduce or remove primage duty as soon as the finances of Australia will allow.
I do not think that the agreement with New Zealand contemplates anything which is in conflict with article 14 of the Ottawa agreement. The remission of primage duty on British goods is estimated at £387,000 a year, and in respect of New Zealand goods, at about £55,000 a year. When the Ottawa agreement was being discussed, it was recognized that it would have no bearing on trade agreements between the several dominions. The exemption of New Zealand goods from primage does not offend against either the letter or the spirit of the Ottawa agreement. The exemption from primage of New Zealand goods has no influence on British trade, because the classes of goods imported into Australia from New Zealand arc different from those obtained from Great Britain.
The honorable senator also raised the novel point that the remission of the sales tax on New Zealand goods, where similar Australian goods are exempt, removes an advantage which Australian primary producers previously had. The sales tax is not a part of* the Australian protective policy, although it may affect that policy. The sales tax is regarded by the present Government, as by its predecessor, solely as a means of raising revenue. The goods which Australia buys from New Zealand are, for the most part, complementary to, rather than competitive with, goods of Australian production. That is so even where prima facie the New Zealand goods are similar to those produced in this country. For instance, timber is perhaps the most important of our imports from New Zealand, but SO per cent, of the timber we receive from that country consists of white pine used for making butter boxes. Australia’s importations from New Zealand have shown a rapid decline in recent years. In 1927-28 live animals, mainly horses and sheep, to the value of £68,000 were imported from New Zealand, but in 1931-32, the importations of livestock were valued at only £18,000. Similarly, our imports from New Zealand of wool, hides and skins and other animal products, such as bones and hair, were valued at £1,069,000 in 1927-28, but at only £188,000, in 1931-32. Australia bought from New Zealand vegetable substances, fibres, New Zealand flax, gums, plants and seeds, valued at £170,000 in 1927-28, compared with £84,000 in 1931-32. In view of that general decline in New Zealand’s sales to Australia, a partial exemption from the sales tax does not seem likely to reverse the trend of trade.
Senator Duncan-Hughes said that he saw no reason why the Commonwealth should not deal as freely with New Zealand as with Western Australia or Queensland. It might be ungracious to point out the honorable senator’s inconsistency.
The honorable senator also referred to the embargoes against theimportation of various goods which the governments of both dominions had imposed. In my opinion, there is need for greater honesty in imposing embargoes, supposedly for quarantine purposes. A country is justified in imposing an embargo for legitimate quarantine purposes, but not in order to assist local production. For instance, Australia’s action in placing an embargo on. the importation of apples from New Zealand is based on information supplied by the New Zealand Government itself, that the “ fire blight “ is a great scourge to the apple-growing industry of that dominion. I mention this instance in order to show that the quarantine power is sometimes used legitimately and not, as has been suggested, simply for the purpose of trade or as a means of protecting an Australian industry. I have little doubt that this quarantine power has, at times, been used without justification. I trust that the agreement will be the forerunner of better relations between the two dominions in that respect also.
Senator Dunn referred to the representation of Australia in New Zealand. As the result of having come into contact with New Zealanders overseas and elsewhere, I feel very strongly that it would be to the good of this country if we had a representative there who,to use a colloquialism, is “ a good mixer, “ one who could let the people of. New Zealand know the psychology of our people here. We and they are descendants of the same stock, we have everything in common, and our position in the Pacific almost calls aloud for the two countries to be brought closer together. Therefore I appreciate the suggestions that have been made by honorable senators in regard to the representation of Australia in New Zealand. It is important that we should have some outstanding figure there as our representative, just as New Zealand has been represented in this country by men who have made a lasting impression - an impression that has practically led up to this agreement which the Government asks the Senate to ratify.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In committee :
Clause 1 (Short title).
SenatorRAE (New South Wales) [8.48].- I take it that as this bill is to ratify an actual agreement between Australia and New Zealand it is not competent for any of its details to be altered by either party?
– Probably the honorable senator is right. It is, of course, competent for either party to this agreement to approach the other party in regard to any provision which is not quite in harmony with justice. But, if wealter one line or letter in it, it will not conform with what the New Zealand Government is probably doing at this very hour, and weshall not be implementing it as we should.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 agreed to.
Schedules and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment ; report adopted.
.- I move-
That the bill be now road a second time.
This measure is complementary to the earlier bill to ratify the trade agreement between Australia and New Zealand. Its purpose, is to carry into effect the alterations of the Australian customs tariff provided for in the agreement in so far as goods imported into Australia from New Zealand are affected. In previous instances, it has been possible to deal with the whole agreement in a single bill. The new agreement, however, covers sales tax as well as customs duties, and, as the Constitution requires that laws imposing duties of customs shall deal with duties of customs only, a separate bill covering the modifications in the customs tariff is necessary. It will be noticed that the amended duties will not operate until a date to be fixed by proclamation. This provision is inserted to enable arrangements to be made for the agreement to become effective in both countries simultaneously. As the bill merely provides for the imposition or removal of duties to conform to the agreement whichhas already been approved, I do not propose to cover the same ground again.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 -
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the words, “goods specified in the schedule to this act “, and insert in their stead the words, “ undermentioned goods “.
This amendment is really only a drafting amendment in order to ensure that the language of the sub-clause will be consistent throughout. It will be observed that, in the opening words of this subclause, reference is made to “goods specified in the schedule to this Act”, whereas goods referred to in paragraph b may be read as including goods other than those specified in the schedule. As it is intended that such other goods should be the subject of the clause, the request is proposed in order to remove any doubt which may arise when effect is being given to the clause.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 6 and 7 agreed to.
Clause 8 -
Cocoa beans the produce of Western Samoa shall notbe subject, upon importation into Australia, to any higher duties of customs than those paid on cocoa beans the produce of any British non-self-governing colony or protectorate or of any territory governed under British mandate.
– What check will the customs authorities exercise to ensure that cocoa beans, which are represented as being the sole produce of Western Samoa, are not the produce of adjacent islands in the South Pacific?
– I understand that the origin of all imported goods is known to the Trade and Customs Department. Goods are not allowed into this country except under certain certificates. In the majority of cases, the certificate of the importer is accepted, but naturally the department is not blind to the opportunities afforded for action which is contrary to the spirit of the law, and these things are policed from time to time, as the honorable senator knows. That is the way in which security is obtained. I do not know, however, that it matters very much in this case, as the same duties will apply to Western Samoa as to other British territories.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 9 to 12 agreed to.
Schedule and title agreed to.
Bill reported with a request.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
[9.2]. - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The object of this measure is to give statutory effect to article 11 of the proposed trade treaty with New Zealand. The article relates to sales tax on Australian goods imported into New Zealand and vice versa. The bill exempts from sales tax goods the produce or manufacture of New Zealand, being goods of the same class or kind as goods upon the sale value of which, if produced or manufactured in Australia, sales tax is not payable. Because of constitutional obstacles affecting as they do, the treaty, customs and primage duties and sales tax, could not be implemented by one measure. The bill will come into operation onadate to be proclaimed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
In 1932, a provision was inserted in the excise tariff proposals to increase the period of maturation of whisky from two to three years, and the amendment was to have taken effect from the 1st October, 1933. Owing, however, to the fact that this action would bo detrimental to certain smaller distilleries, it was decided to defer the operation of the three years’ period until the 1st October, 1935. In 1932, the Spirits Act was amended to bring it into conformity with the excise tariff proposals. As the tariff proposal has been postponed until the 1st October, 1935, it is necessary that the operation of the Spirits Act should be postponed until the same date; hence the introduction of this bill. Honorable senators will recollect that when the customs tariff was under discussion, they were informed that the necessary legislation would be introduced to bring the Spirits Act into harmony with the tariff schedule.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
The operation of sections 3, 4, and 5 of the Spirits Act, 1932, is hereby suspended until the first day of October, 1935.
– I move -
That the following words be added at the end of the clause: - “and sections, three, eleven and twelve of the Spirits Act 1906-1923 shall until that date have, and be deemed at all times to have had, effect as if that date were the date fixed by the Spirits Act 1932 for the commencement of sections three, four andfive of the last-mentioned act “.
On further consideration of clause 2, it was thought that certain words should be added to it in order to express clearly the intention underlying the proposal to suspend the operation of sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Spirits Act 1932. Sections 3, 11 and 12 of the Spirits Act 1906-1923, were amended by the act of 1932, have actually been in force since the date of the commencement of the amending act. The intention of the present bill is to defer the operation of the amending sections until the 1st October, 1935, and, it isconsideredthat the words mentioned in the amendment which I have moved should be added.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment.
Standing and Sessional Orderssuspended; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator McLachlan) proposed -
That the bill be now read a third time.
.-AmItounderstandthatthisbill will postpone the operation of the act so that there will be no fixed period of maturation ?
– It postpones to October, 1935, the application of the provision requiring the longer period of maturation. This is done in justice to the smaller distillers who have not the necessary supplies of three-year-old spirits to supply their customers.
Question resolved in the affirmative
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That thebill be now read a second time.
This bill amends section 3 of the Iron and Steel Products Bounty Act which provides that the rates of bounty payable under the act shall, after the introduction of a customs tariff bringing into operation increased duties of customs on the articles in respect of which bounty is paid, be decreased by an amount which, in the opinion of the Minister, after inquiry and report by the Tariff Board, corresponds to the amount by which the respective duties of customs are increased.
The principal act makes provision for reducing the bounty where a tariff duty is imposed or increased on the goods entitled to bounty; but, as it stands, it does not admit of the bounty being restored wholly or in part if the imposed or increased tariff duty is subsequently abolished or decreased. That was an oversight. The intention of the principal act was to provide protection to the Australian manufacturer by bounty in lieu of tariff protection, and the proposed amendment makes provision for an adjustment of the bounty rates to equalize the protection in the event of decreases of the rates of customs duties, but it does not authorize the Minister to increase the rates of bounty so as to exceed the rates set out in the schedule to the principal act. This amendment is being made in order that the Government may have power to restore bounties when customs duties are reduced or removed. The particular case the Government has in mind at the present moment is that of traction engines. The rates of bounty provided by theact for traction engines are - Internal combustion engine types, £40 to £90 per brake horse-power according to brake horse-power.
In July, 1930, primage was first imposed, the rate then being2½ per cent. Later in that year it was increased to 4 per cent. In July, 1931, itwas increased to 10 per cent. In July, 1931, the financial emergency reduction was also applied, with the result that, in the case of a tractor on which bounty was originally paid at the rate of £90, the rate was reduced to £43 4s. On the 2nd September, 1932, the primage duty on farm tractors was removed in the interests of the primary producer. The position then was that the manufacturer of tractors had lost over half of his bounty and had also lost the protection afforded by the 10 per cent primageduty. When this amending bill is passed, the Government will instruct the Tariff Board to inquire into the condition of the industry, and recommend the amount of bounty which should be paid on tractors. The object of the amendment is to remove a hardship now imposed on manufacturers of tractors, who have no protection on such goods when made in the United Kingdom.
Under the Iron and Steel Products Bounty Act 1922-1929 the following bounties are provided: - Fencing wire, £2 12s. a ton; galvanized sheets, £4 10s. a ton ; wire netting, £3 8s. a ton. Traction engines of internal combustion type, over 12 b.h.p. and up to 18 b.h.p., per tractor, £40; over 18 b.h.p. and up to 25 b.h.p., per tractor, £50 ; over 25 b.h.p. and up to 35 b.h.p., per tractor, £70; over 35 b.h.p., £90. With respect to other types, the rates will be fixed by the Minister after inquiry and report by the Tariff Board. In fixing the rates, regard shall be had to the relative cost of production of the engine, and an engine of internal combustion type, having the same brake horse-power rating. No bounty is at present payable on fencing wire or galvanized sheets owing to the fact that under the British preferential tariff there are duties on these products of 52s. a ton and 90s. a ton respectively. The bounty on wire netting at present payable is 9s. 7d. a ton. This industry, however, is well able to carry on under present conditions, the rate of exchange giving it a substantial protection.
Owingto the wording of the Iron and Steel Products Bounty Act it was necessary to enumerate the four items mentioned in the schedule, but it is the Government’s intention to restore portion only of the bounty on traction engines, if such be recommended by the Tariff Board. The act states that the bounty may be increased by an amount which, in the opinion of the Minister, after inquiry and report by the Tariff Board, corresponds with the amount by which the respective duties of customs are decreased. Before the subject of the restoration of tie bounty or a proportion of it is referred to the Tariff Board, it will be necessary for the industry to establish a prima facie case that additional assistance is necessary. At present a reference to the Tariff Board is warranted in regard to traction engines only. Under section 15 1 e of the Tariff Board Act it is incumbent on the Minister to refer to the Tariff Board for inquiry and report “ the necessity for granting bounties for the encouragement of any primary or secondary industries in Australia.”
Debate (on motion by Senator Barnes) adjourned.
War Service Homes: Administration in Tasmania - Sale of Inferior Wine.
Motion (by Senator Sir George pearce) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
.- On the 17th instant Senator Sampson requested information concerning a report in the Burnie Advocate of proceedings in the Tasmanian Parliament on the 14th instant. During these proceedings, according to the press report, the Minister for Lands and Works (Sir Walter Lee) criticized the Commonwealth for not re-employing two men whose services had been terminated by the State. Until October last the administration of the War Service Homes Act in Tasmania was controlled by the State Agricultural Bank.For some time the administration had been most unsatisfactory, and as promises to effect a substantial improvement were not fulfilled, it was mutually arranged to terminate the agreement with the State. After discussion with Sir Walter Lee it was decided that the bank’s administration should end on the 30th September. Subsequently the State, without reference to the Minister administering War Service Homes, gave notice of dismissal to two temporary clerks who had been employed by the Agricultural Bank of war service homes work. I wish to emphasize that these officers were not in any way employed by the Commonwealth.
– They were.
– Later representations were made to the Minister that positions should be found for those men in the commission’s organization at Hobart, but it was pointed out that no positions were available. The Minister then arranged with the Premier of Tasmania that, if the State would employ one man the Commonwealth would absorb the other. The State then gave temporary employment to one man in the Agricultural Bank at a salary equalling £215 per annum. The War Service Homes Commissioner offered the other man a position in Sydney at £212 per annum, reduced to £176 under the Financial Emergency Act, and, in addition, £13 per annum in respect of each child under fourteen years. It was made quite clear that the employment would be available until 31st January next, when the position would be reviewed, and that the cost of the officer’s passage to Sydney would be borne by the War Service Homes Commission. This proposal was accepted by the officer, and arrangements were made for him to leave Hobart on the 4th instant. Before that date, however, he declined the employment and stated that he required a permanent position and increased salary. He was informed that officers under the War Service Homes Act were employed during pleasure only, and that no officer enjoyed, or could be given, security of tenure. As he still declined the employment another returned soldier was appointed in his stead. These facts show that the two men were employed by the State and dismissed by a department over which Sir Walter Lee presides, and that the Common wealth offered employment to one man similar to that given by the State to the other. In the circumstances, there was no justification for the statements made by Sir Walter Lee.
. -I understand that the two officers referred to were employed by the War Service Homes Commission before the State Agricultural Bank took over the administration of war service homes in Tasmania. I know that one man was employed by the commission thirteen years ago, and that, with the change in administration, he went ever to the State service. I am not sure about the position of the other man, but I shall telegraph for information because I consider the statement made by the Minister is not satisfactory. Apparently, one of the men was offered a position in Sydney, but was guaranteed work for only about two months. A disabled soldier, with a wife and child to support, was not likely to take such a position, particularly when it was not as good as that obtained by the other man. I think that the Minister will find that both these men were employed by the War Service Homes ‘Commission when a Deputy Commissioner was stationed in Hobart, and that one was transferred to the State Agricultural Bank.
– Even if that were so, they were not permanent employees.
-Thatisa quibble. My personal opinion is that the whole business is shabby. The action taken by the State Government was also shabby; but I am inclined to agree with Sir Walter Lee. The whole business is unsavoury, particularly the statement just read by the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator McLachlan).
SenatorDUNN (New South Wales) [9.31]. - I direct the attention of the Government, and particularly the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator McLachlan), who represents a wine-producing State, to the danger confronting the wine industry in South Australia and New South Wales. According to information brought under my notice, immature wines are being sold in Now South Wales, and are also being exported. Perhaps honorable senators are not aware that in Sydney wine is advertised at 4d. a mug.
– The Commonwealth cannot control the internal trade.
SenatorDUNN. - Inferior wine is also being exported. If wine is being sold locally at 4d. a mug, it must be of inferior quality. I quote the following extract from a recent newspaper: -
Mr. M. J. Noonan (Federal President of the U.L.V.A. of Australia), speaking at the half- yearly meeting of the South Australian branch of the association, said the U.L.V.A. was heartily in support of the suggestion that the public should be encouraged to drink more wine.
Mr. Noonan, however, added that the U.L.V.A. stood for soundness and purity of the liquor supplied to the public, and they felt that not enough attention had been given to the quality of the wine sold. The result was that a class of cheap, immature wine was being offered, in fact, pedalled from door to door, and it was doing much harm to the health and the morale of the people. “This wine probably gives the maximum kick ‘ for the minimum cost,”said Mr. Noonan, “but its sale should not be encouraged without safeguards that certainly do not exist to-day. “The U.L.V.A. is convinced that a two years’ limit should be imposed on all fortified wines, and that the public should be protected by rigid inspection and analysis of wine offered for sale. “ In the advocacy of the two years’ limit, the U.L.V.A. is supported by the best brains in the industry. Professor Hicks, in a science article recently, said that immature wines and spirits have proved notoriously injurious, and that of their ill-effects there is every evidence. “ Mr. Bonsey, the head of a large English firm dealing in Australian wines, said recently that the London market for Australian wines had been spoiled by so much wine that was far too raw being put on the market.”
Mr. Noonan concluded by saying that: “ All this, coupled with our own experience as retailers, goes to prove that immature wine, having harmful effects, is being sold at home and abroad’.”
Prominent Wine Man in Support.
Mr. L. Penfold Hyland, of the well known firm of Penfolds Wines Ltd., in an address at the Constitutional Club, Adelaide, recently stressed the necessity for action by the Federal Government in connexion with the sale of immature wine. “ The restriction was necessary,” he said, “to safeguard the public health and also in the interests of the industry. “If the Federal Government considered the health of the community it would include wine in the age limit, now compulsory for brandy.”
I have been informed that those who indulge too freely in cheap -wine soon become so intoxicated that they attempt to fight the “silent cops” in the city streets ! As the wine industry is assisted by bounties and in other ways, the Government should see that only wine of good qualityis sold. If the present practice continues it will not be long before Australia’s reputation as a. producer of good wine will become so besmirched that our overseas trade will be seriously affected.
Recently I read in the Sydney Morning Herald that South Australian winemakers secured all the first prizes at an overseas exhibition - I think in Canada - and that South African wines were awarded most of the second prizes. As the wine industry is of considerable importance to Australia, the Government should prevent its destruction by the retailing of cheap wines.
SenatorRAE (New South Wales) [9.39].-The Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator McLachlan) interjected that the State authorities control the internal wine trade; but, as the Commonwealth pays a bounty on production, it should have the power to see that wine sent from one State to another is of a satisfactory quality. The exercise of that power would prevent the sale of immature wine.
– I am not a winedrinker, but I have known young men suffer more from drinking cheap wine to excess than from consuming too much beer or spirits. Something should be done to prevent this harmful stuff being retailed to the public.
[9.40]. - We all condemn the sale of cheap and harmful wine, but its control is entirely a matter for the States. The Commonwealth Parliament cannot control local sales.
– What of the inferior wine exported ?
– We have power to prescribe a standard for export, but I understand that the complaint concerns the retailing of inferior wines in Australia. No complaint has been made that inferior wine is exported.
– The newspaper article I have read says that it is.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.I do not think that the honorable senator can quote a complaint concerning the inferior quality of wine exported. The head of a large British firm said that some of the wine exported is too raw, which means that it has been insufficiently matured. Some deleterious wine is produced and sold locally almost the day after it is made, but that is a matter for the State Governments. If such a condition of affairs exists, the States should prescribe a standard ofquality as they do with respect to other intoxicating liquors. Those who have complained should make representations to the State Governments, which have ample power to deal with such matters.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 9.43 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 November 1933, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1933/19331121_senate_13_142/>.