24 July 1934

13th Parliament · 1st Session

The President (Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

page 553



Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

Senator SAMPSON:

– Will the Minister for Defence state when the award of the long service and good conduct medal to members of the permanent military forces will be resumed ?


– The award of the long service and good conduct medal was discontinued by Royal Warrant, and a new medal instituted in lieu of it. The Royal Warrant prescribed, inter alia, that regulations governing the new award were to be submitted for His Majesty’s approval. The regulations have been so submitted and, on receipt of notification of His Majesty’s approval, will be issued. The matter of awards will then be considered.

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– I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister -

  1. Has the Government accepted the recommendation of the Commonwealth Grants Commission “ that Western Australia should lose £200,000 per annum from its Commonwealth grant on account of this State’s own mistakes,” a similar sum being provided “ on account of the Commonwealth’s moral responsibility “ ?
  2. Has this fine of £200,000 been im- posed on the State of Western Australia in pursuance of Mr. Lyons’s threat made in Adelaide on the 3rd April, 1933, and reading as follows: -

It should be clearly understood that while the Commonwealth Government is prepared to treat with Western Australia us part of the Commonwealth, and to discuss such matters as a convention as a means of fixing State grants, an entirely different position would arise if they were to vote in favour of secession and any government or parliament of Western Australia should take any steps to put such a decision into effect. If. unfortunately, such a position should arise, all questions affecting Western Australia would have to be considered from a new point of view,and it would not be possible to treat the State on the same footing as those which continued to recognize their duties to one another and the Commonwealth. -(West Australian, 4.4.33.)


– As regards the honorable senator’s first question, the intention of the Government will be revealed in the budget. As to his second question, the Prime Minister was indicating the conditions that would obtain after secession had been accomplished and the State had separated from the federation.

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The following papers were presented: -

Air Force Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1934,No. 81.

Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointment - Department of the Treasury - V. L. Steffanoni.

Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1934, No,80.

Copyright Act - Regulations . amended - Statutory Rules 1934, No. 78.

Bankruptcy Act - Regulation - Statu tory Rule 1934, No. 77.

Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1934, No. 79.

Commonwealth Grants Commission Act - Report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission on the Applications made in 1933 by the States of South Australia. Western Australia, and Tasmania, for Financial Assistance from the Commonwealth under Section96 of the Constitution.

Dairy Produce Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1934, No. 82.

Norfolk Island Act -

Ordinances of 1933-

No.8- Electrical Wiring.

No. 9 - Interpretation.

No. 10 - Crown Lands.

No. 11 - Importation of Plants.

Ordinances of 1934 -

No. 1 - Education.

No. 2 - Sellheim Grave.

No. 3 - Crown Lands.

No. 4 - Executive Council.

No. 5 - Motor Car.

No. 6 - Companies.

No. 7 - Customs.

No. 8 - Ordinances Revision.

No. 9 - Slaughtering.

Motor Car Ordinance - Regulations amended.

Sellheim Grave Ordinance - Regulations.

Papua Act -

Ordinances of 1933 -

No.9 - Immigration Restriction (No. 2).

No. 10 - Public Service (LieutenantGovernor’s Leave).

No.11 - Native Labour.

No. 12 - Immigration Restriction.

No. 13 - Land.

Ordinances of 1934 -

No. 1 - Superannuation (1933).

No. 2 - Copra Producers Assistance.

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The Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs laid on the table the report and recommendation of the Tariff Board on the following subject: -

Cotton Lint and Yarns.

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Senator SAMPSON:

– I ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General -

  1. What arrangement, if any, has been made by the Federal Government with Tasmanian Steamers Proprietary Limited to ensure that the turbine steamer Nairana will resume her running in the first week in August between Melbourne and Launceston?
  2. Is the Minister aware that anxiety exists in the minds of Tasmanians on this matter, owing to no official pronouncement having yet been made ?
  3. Has the annual overhaul of the Nairana been completed, and if so, will the Minister endeavour to get her into the service at the earliest possible date?
Senator McLACHLAN:
Minister in charge of Development and Scientific and Industrial Research · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · UAP

– Arrangements have been made by the Government for the TS Nairana to resume the running in the Melbourne-Launceston mail service commencing with the trip from Melbourne on Wednesday, the 1st August.

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Senator Sir HARRY LAWSON.On the 4th July, Senator J. B. Hayes asked the following question, upon notice: -

What is the total internal debt of Australia, and how much of it is held by savings banks, insurance and assurance companies, and friendly societies, respectively?

The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -

The total internal government debt of Australia is £629,285,000. Of that sum it is estimated the following amounts are held by the institutions named: -

What is the total public debt of(a) the Commonwealth, (b) the States, including treasury-bills?

What is the total annual interest payable since the recent loan conversions?

Is the Commonwealth Government responsible for the interest and sinking funds on all State debts?

What is the total amount of loan funds advanced by the Commonwealth Government, or through the Loan Council, to the various State Governments, and/or local governing bodies since the present Government assumed office”; and what are the terms on which the advances were made?

The answers to the Senator’s questions are as follow : -

The public debt of Australia is as follows: -

  1. The total annual interest payable at present is £45,380,000. This amount excludes £3,920,000, payment of which to the Government of the United Kingdom under the Funding Arrangements Act has been suspended.
  2. The Commonwealth Government is responsible to bondholders for the payment of the interest on the public debts of the States, but has the right of recourse to the States for recovery of the amounts paid. As regards sinking funds, the Commonwealth is responsible for sinking fund contributions of 2s.6d. for each £100 of the debts taken over from the States and of 5s. for each £100 of new loans raised for the States.
  3. The following loans have been raised inthe Australian market by the present Government on behalf of the Loan Council : -

The purposes for which this total was raised are : -

In addition treasury-bills have been issued from time to time by the Commonwealth Government on behalf of the States. The amount of treasury-bills so issued for the States has increased from £31,535,000 at 3lst December, 1931, to £48,469,000 at 30th June, 1934. These bills are now discounted at 2¼ per cent. per annum.

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Amendmentof Act - Evictions

Senator McLACHLAN:

– On the 12th July, Senator Dunn asked the Minister representing the Minister administering War Service Homes, the following questions : -

  1. Is the Government prepared, before the dissolution, to introduce a bill to amend the War Service Homes Act by inserting the following new clause: - “In the event of the death of a returned soldier who is the purchaser of a war service home and who leaves his widow in necessitous circumstances, the widow shall retain the home free of rent until such time as it canhe proved that she is in a position to pay rent or until she re-marries.” ?
  2. If not, why not?

I am now able to furnish the following replies : -

  1. The War Service Homes Act does not contemplate that homes shall be made available free of rent to any person whether the widow of a returned soldier or otherwise. As the widow would not be the purchaser, the commission could not make it available free of rent until such time as the widow was in a position to pay or be re-married. Either contingency might not arise.
  2. See answer to No. 1.
Senator McLACHLAN:

– On the 12th July, Senator Dunn asked the Minister representing the Minister administering War Service Homes, the following question : -

Is it a fact that the Returned Soldiers Conference recently held in Hobart passed the following resolution:- Congress protests against the eviction of soldiers’ widows from war service homes, and urges that the present Federal Government bring in a scheme of reduced payments for soldiers’ widows.”?

I am now able to furnish the following reply:-

I have no knowledge of a resolution in the terms quoted by the honorable senator having been passed recently by a conference of returned soldiers in Hobart. The War Service Homes Act provides that the widow of a returned soldier may be granted up to 50 years in which to repay a loan. Subject to the “life” of the dwelling, this term is granted and the instalment reduced accordingly. It is not possible to arrange a longer term.

Senator DUNN:

– Did not the VicePresident of the Executive Council, in common with other honorable senators, receive within the last seven days a copy of the resolution mentioned?

Senator McLACHLAN:

– I have not received a copy of the resolution referred to by the honorable senator.

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Will he state how many sheep, and the sex and breed of every variety, have been so exported during the last twelve months, and the countries of their destinations?

I *»aa* now in a position to furnish the desired information, which is set out in the following statement : - {: .page-start } page 556 {:#debate-8} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-8-0} #### ASSISTANCE TO PRIMARY PRODUCERS {: #subdebate-8-0-s0 .speaker-JZ6} ##### Senator O'HALLORAN:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister if tlie Prime Minister is aware of the uncertainty which exists in the minds of South Australians, as evidenced by the questions asked in the South Australian Parliament, with respect to the assistance to be given by the Commonwealth Government to the primary producers? Can the Government intimate if such relief will be for the protection of farmers, and not for the purpose of stabilizing their creditors' securities? If lie is not in a position to make such an intimation, when wi 11 he be able to do so? **Senator Sir GEORGE** PEARCE.The right honorable the Prime Minister lias already announced that after the receipt of the interim report of the Royal Commission on the Wheat Industry, he will make a statement of the intentions of the Government. {: .page-start } page 556 {:#debate-9} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-9-0} #### BARKER ELECTORATE {: #subdebate-9-0-s0 .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN: -- Has the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council been drawn to a paragraph which appeared in a Sydney newspaper within the last 24 hours referring to his probable resignation from the Senate? Will the honorable senator deny or confirm the report that should he receive the selection hu proposes to contest the Barker electorate in the interests of the United Australia party? {: #subdebate-9-0-s1 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator MCLACHLAN:
UAP -- My attention has not been drawn to the valuable contribution in the Sydney press referred to by the honorable senator. I neither confirm nor deny the report. {: .page-start } page 556 {:#debate-10} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-10-0} #### BANK DIVIDENDS >What dividends and percentage rates Iia ve been paid during tlie years 1931. to 1934 inclusive, to the shareholders of the following banks: - Bank of New South Wales, Bank of Australasia, Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, Union Bank of Australia, English Scottish and Australian Bank, National Bank of Australasia, Bank of Adelaide, Queensland National Bank? The information required by the honorable senator is published annually in the *Finance Bulletin* issued by the Commonwealth Statistician. The latest figures published are for the year 1932, and will- be found on page 41 of *Finance Bulletin,* No. 23. {: .page-start } page 556 {:#debate-11} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-11-0} #### WAGES OP COMMONWEALTH BANK EMPLOYEES >In view of the private trading banks of New South Wales increasing the wages of their employees by 8 per cent, of the total reductions of the 10 per cent, cut under the Premiers plan, will the Prime Minister approach the Commonwealth Bank Board with a view to the employees of the bank having restored to them the .10 per cent, which was taken from them in accordance with the Premiers plan; if not, why not? The question has been brought under notice of the Commonwealth Bank which advises that the remuneration of the bank's employees is a matter for consideration by the Commonwealth Bank Board in the exercise of the powers and obligations laid upon it by act of Parliament. {: .page-start } page 557 {:#debate-12} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-12-0} #### RELIEF OF UNEMPLOYED {: #subdebate-12-0-s0 .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN: -- I ask the Minister for Defence if, in view of the fact that there are over 3,000 persons unemployed in Broken Hill, New South Wales, he will issue from his department blankets for the relief of such persons and their dependants ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE: -- In the last three years, the whole of the surplus military stores have been distributed for the benefit of the unemployed. As blankets, clothing and boots become unserviceable, they are handed over to the State governments for distribution to the needy. {: .page-start } page 557 {:#debate-13} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-13-0} #### ROYAL MINT >At what centres in Australia are branches of the Royal Mint in operation? > >What is the average time taken at each to complete an assay and post a cheque for the proceeds to the consignee? > >What are the hours *(a)* daily, and (6) weekly, worked respectively by the assay and clerical staffs at each centre? The replies to the honorable senator's questions are as follows: - >At Melbourne and Perth. > >In reply to requests for information, the Deputy Masters of the Mints have replied as follows : - > > *Melbourne.* - Payments for deposits at Melbourne are usually made on the fourteenth day after receipt, but occasionally earlier, if requested, a small additional charge being made. Owing to the large number of deposits, early payment can be made for a limited number only. *Perth.* - This branch has paydays for deposits of gold twice a week. Payment is made from nine to eleven days after deposit. Thus deposits received J 16th-18th July, 1934, will be payable 27th July, 1034. Deposits received on Saturdays have the- same date of payment as those received on the following Monday. The normal method of obtaining payment is for the depositor to make personal application on the due date, but depositors at a distance can arrange for cheques to be posted. In the case of districts where there are no banking facilities, arrangements are sometimes made to forward payment partly in bank notes. > > *Melbourne.* - The hours worked daily are - Assay Department: Industrial staff, 8 a.m. to 5.30, ; assayers, 0 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., Monday to Thursday. On Friday work ceases at 4.30 p.m. Half an hour daily is allowed for lunch. Hours weekly (excluding lunch time) are: Industrial staff, 44 hours; ass,ayers, 39 hours. Operative departments - Hours for industrial staff and technical officers are similar to assay office respectively. Normally no work is done in these departments on Saturday. Clerical staff: Monday to Friday, 0 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to midday. Hours, weekly, are 38, excluding lunch time. > >The above are the normal hours, and the temporary clerical staff are seldom more than fifteen minutes late in leaving. The permanent staff have worked a very considerable amount of overtime during the last two years, but, as payment is not allowed for this, no record has been kept of the exact number of hours. This does not apply to the industrial staff. {: .page-start } page 557 {:#debate-14} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-14-0} #### CHARTERED COMPANIES IN NORTH AUSTRALIA {: #subdebate-14-0-s0 .speaker-JY7} ##### Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- I ask the Minister administering the Development Branch whether there have been any developments since last year in connexion with the proposed establishment of chartered companies in Northern Australia; and, if so, whether he will now make a statement on this matter ? {: #subdebate-14-0-s1 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator MCLACHLAN:
UAP -- Some negotiations are taking place, but the Government is not yet in a position to make a statement in regard thereto. I can assure_ honorable senators, however, that these negotiations are taking place with persons who are, themselves, already interested in the north of Australia. {: .page-start } page 557 {:#debate-15} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-15-0} #### DIAGRAMS IN HANSARD {: #subdebate-15-0-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT:
Senator the Hoa. P. J. Lynch -- On the 12th July, **Senator Sampson** asked the following questions: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the cost of reproducing in *Hansard,* No. 3, issued on Saturday, the 7th July, 1934, the diagrams shown therein between pages 220 and 227, alleged by **Senator Elliott** to have been prepared by him? 1. Is the President aware that these diagrams, except for colour, are a facsimile of a chart published by the Buckingham press, London, and marked " Copyright strictly reserved ", of which honorable senators received copies last year, with the compliments of P. Malcolm Stewart, 38a Park-lane, London, W.U 2. Was it necessary to incorporate these diagrams in *Hansard ?* 3. If so, was the expense justified? 4. Is **Senator Elliott's** action an infringement of copyright? I arn now in a position to inform the honorable senator as follows: - - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The cost of setting up three pages of a speech in ordinary type is between £0 and £7. Three pages of tabulated matter would cost a little more. In this instance the blocks for the diagrams were supplied by **Senator Elliott** and their substitution for ordinary type involved no additional expense. 1. I have compared the diagrams appearing in *Hansard* with diagrams on a chart published by the Buckingham Press, London, and, in my opinion, the reproductions in *Hansard,* if not exact copies of the others, bear a close resemblance to them. 2. The purpose of *Hansard* is best served by conveying to readers, in the clearest possible manner, the m'eaning of the member whose speech is recorded. For many years, it has been the practice to permit the inclusion of tabulated matter, if, by so doing, the intention of the speaker is made clearer. It is only a slight step forward to substitute diagrams for tabulated statements. 3. In my opinion, the expense was justified in this instance, but the inclusion of diagrams in *Hansard* is an innovation which must lie closely watched in order to avoid its abuse in the future. 4. As this question involves a point of law I do not feel disposed to express an opinion upon it. {: .page-start } page 558 {:#debate-16} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-16-0} #### EXPORT OF APPLES {: #subdebate-16-0-s0 .speaker-KOF} ##### Senator J B HAYES:
TASMANIA asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, upon, *notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Minister read the cable in the Melbourne *Herald,* of 4th July, 1934, from London headed " Apple Export. Pressure on British Markets ", which stated, *inter alia,* that a Liverpool merchant, emphasizing the evils of irregular deliveries on the market, points out that Liverpool, after being left without apples for a. m'onth, is now flooded with five ship loads, and that other markets are simultaneously over supplied? 1. Will the Minister in any future dealings with ship-owners, emphasize the necessity of arranging that the shipments should be landed at regular intervals, thereby eliminating, as far as possible, unnecessary gluts ? {: .speaker-KQZ} ##### Senator Sir HARRY LAWSON: -- The Minister for Commerce has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator's questions:- {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. While the fixation of sailing schedules is a matter for arrangement between the industry and the ship-owners, the Commonwealth Government has, on several occasions, urged the ship-owners' representatives to do their utmost to ensure the regular arrival of shipments, which are of great importance to satisfactory marketing. The ship-owners' repre; sentatives state that a satisfactory programme waa arranged this yea r, and that no general complaints had been made. The Government will continue to use its efforts towards securing greater regularity than has been achieved in tlie past. {: .page-start } page 558 {:#debate-17} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-17-0} #### VICTORIAN CENTENARY PLAQUE {: #subdebate-17-0-s0 .speaker-KN7} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
through Senator Sampson asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In the interests of Australia does the Government intend to enter any protest against the so-called death's head design for the plaque which has been recommended for adoption for the centenary of Victoria? 1. If this design is to be used to endeavour to impress upon the people of the world that Australia is a land of drought and desolation, and that the garden State of Victoria is dead, will the Postmaster-General take steps to prevent the plaque or prints of same being carried by the Postal Department? 2. If the design is persisted in, will the Minister for Trade and Customs take steps to prevent such an article or any print of same being sent or exhibited outside the Commonwealth ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE: -- The Prime Minister has furnished the following replies to the questions of the honorable senator : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. It is understood that another design is about to be submitted by the sculptor to the State authorities concerned. 2 and 3. In the circumstances, there does not appear to be any need to consider these questions. {: .page-start } page 558 {:#debate-18} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-18-0} #### POSTAL VOTING {: #subdebate-18-0-s0 .speaker-KP8} ##### Senator E B JOHNSTON: asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the present postal voting sections of the Commonwealth Electoral Act do not permit electors resident in the far northern portions of Western Australia to apply for and receive postal ballot-papers from the Divisional Returning Officer at Kalgoorlie in time for the election ? 1. If so, is it the intention of the Government to rectify this position before the coming election ? **Senator Sir GEORGE** PEARCE.The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator's questions: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The Commonwealth Electoral Act provides that an application for a postal ballotpaper may be made after the issue of the writ to any Divisional Returning Officer if the applicant has reason to believe that the application may not, in the ordinary course of post, reach the Divisional Returning Officer for the division for which he is enrolled so us to enable him to receive a postal ballotpaper from that officer in sufficient time to permit the applicant voting at the election. Moreover, the act as amended in 1928 contains the provision that where a postal ballotpaper would not reach the Divisional Returning Officer for the division in respect of which the elector claims to vote, before the close of the poll, the envelope in which the ballotpaper is enclosed may be addressed to, and posted or delivered to any Divisional Returning Officer or to an Assistant Returning Officer, or may be delivered on polling day to any presiding officer. It is, therefore, considered that reasonable facilities are available to unable the electors concerned to record their votes. 1. Soc answer to No. 1. {: .page-start } page 559 {:#debate-19} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-19-0} #### RELIEF TO WHEAT-FARMERS {: #subdebate-19-0-s0 .speaker-KP8} ##### Senator E B JOHNSTON: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that from the payments made to the States under the Wheat Growers Relief Act 19113, necessitous farmers are being paid 4s. Cd. per acre in New South Wales, 4s. per acre in Victoria and South Australia, and "is. fid., per acre or less in Western Australia? 1. Has the Minister received a protest from the Wheat-growers Union of Western Australia asking why wheat-growers in Western Australia ure receiving from 8d. to ls. 2d. per acre less than wheat-growers in the eastern States V 2. Is it a fact that wheat-growers in Western Australia are worse off than in other States, and that they are receiving less relief per acre than in other States? 3. Will the Government adjust the grants under the act so as to provide assistance to necessitous wheat-growers in each State on the same basis per acre; if not, why not? **Senator Sir HARRY** LAWSON.The Minister for Commerce has supplied the following replies to the honorable senator's questions: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Under the Wheat Growers Relief Act 1933 the total amount to be made available by the Commonwealth to each State is laid down, the basis of allocation being the acreage sown to wheat in each State during the season 1932-33. The basis of distribution to individuals is a matter for determination by the States, provided that distribution must not be on the basis of production. It is understood that the States are making distribution to individuals on the basis of .acreage sown to wheat, but the Commonwealth Government has not yet been advised as to the rates per acre at which the final distribution will be made in each State. 1. Yes. 2. The Commonwealth Government has no precise information on the point. The rate per acre payable in each State will depend upon the total acreage represented in the claims of growers eligible to receive the grant. 3. It would not be possible to do this without amending the act. Obviously, that course is impracticable, as distribution to individuals in the several States is actually in progress. {: .page-start } page 559 {:#debate-20} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-20-0} #### SECESSION MOVEMENT {: #subdebate-20-0-s0 .speaker-KP8} ##### Senator E B JOHNSTON: asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the committee appointed to oppose the " Case for Secession " of Western Australia yet lodged its report? 1. If so, when will same be available to Senators ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE: -- The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator's questions : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. The reply is now being printed and copies will be available at an early date. {: .page-start } page 559 {:#debate-21} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-21-0} #### STATISTICAL INFORMATION Release to Newspapers {: #subdebate-21-0-s0 .speaker-JYH} ##### Senator ELLIOTT:
through Senator E. B. Johnston asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that a decision was made recently by the Commonwealth Statistician to release statistical information to press representatives at Canberra, instead of posting it to all newspapers in Australia, as previously? 1. If so, is it a fact that much valuable information will now bc withheld from the general public because newspapers will curtail relevant press messages from Canberra owing to the heavier telegraphic charges involved? 2. If the system of distribution has been altered what was the reason? 3. Will instructions be issued for a reversion to the former system? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE: -- The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator's questions : - >The Commonwealth Statistician has supplied the following information: - > >Decision was made by the Commonwealth Statistician to release statistical information to press representatives at Canberra. In addition the same information is posted, as formerly, to all newspapers who have asked for it. > >No. The information is posted also as in the past. > >The reason for the change was the frequent complaints that one newspaper or another had published information before the release date. The change prevents inadvertent premature publication. > >The change was made after discussion with press men. All press representatives in Canberra were invited to discuss the matter with the Commonwealth Statistician. All metropolitan newspapers were representedat the discussion, and also many of the largest provincial papers. The change was agreed upon unanimously. > >Under the old system the release date for all newspapers was deferred until the information could reach, by post, the more distant States - Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia. By the new method no paper receives the information later by post than it did formerly, whereas the great bulk of the public has the information earlier than it did under the old system. {: .page-start } page 560 {:#debate-22} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-22-0} #### NEWNES OIL SHALE {: #subdebate-22-0-s0 .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN: asked the Minister administering the Development Branch, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been drawn to the press reports that the Stevens Government of New South Wales has turned clown the idea of assisting to open the shale mines at Newnes ? 1. If so, what does the Commonwealth Government intend to do in the matter if it is a fact that it has made no effort within the last eighteen months to get Newnes going? {: #subdebate-22-0-s1 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable senator's questions are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. I have not seen the press reports referred to. 1. In an endeavour to bring about the development of the Newnes shale oil undertaking, the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New South Wales jointly appointed a technical committee to inquire into various factors associated with the project, including the general economics of the proposition. The record of failures at Newnes had created a feeling of suspicion in the minds of investors which had militated against development, and the appointment of the committee mentioned was part of a policy designed to restore confidence. The committee has now submitted its report, and after a very close examination both governments have decided that joint negotiations should be entered into with persons considered to be possessed of the necessary technical and engineering qualifications with a view to bringing about the development of Newnes on the lines recommended by the committee. The Commonwealth Government is prepared, in co-operation with the Government of New South Wales, to provide financial and other assistance which may be necessary to induce development on the lines proposed. Pending the result of negotiations, it is not possible to disclose the extent of the assistance which will be necessary. In the opinion of the governments, it is essential that the development of Newnes should bo undertaken by persons possessing the necessary technical, engineering and other qualifications, which are pre-requisites of success and stability. It is regarded of outstanding importance that another failure at Newnes should be averted, therefore it is imperative that caution should be exercised in the selection of a company to undertake development. {: .page-start } page 560 {:#debate-23} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-23-0} #### PUBLIC EDUCATION Commonwealth Assistance {: #subdebate-23-0-s0 .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN: asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Prime Minister's attention boon drawn to a circular from the Federated State School Teachers Association of Australia, requesting Commonwealth assistance for the following objects: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Assistance by the Commonwealth Government in providing and distributing educational films for use in schools, colleges and universities? 1. The establishment of a Commonwealth bureau of educational statistics and information. 2. The development of a national university at Canberra devoted to post graduate teaching and educational research. 3. Financial assistance by the Commonwealth to State endowed and controlled institutions, e.g., universities, technical colleges, teachers' colleges, agricultural colleges, schools of mines, art schools (music and art being of national value). 4. Consideration by the Commonwealth Government of such matters affecting Australian education as may from time to time arise. 5. The right of access by teachers to the Federal Arbitration Court. 1. If so, what action, if any, docs the Government intend to take to help in the foregoing objectives, if it is a fact that during the last two and a half years requests have been made to the Commonwealth Government without success? **Senator Sir GEORGE** PEARCE.The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator's questions : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. As education is controlled by the State Governments it is considered that the question of the provision and distribution of educational films is one for consideration by the State Governments. The question of providing right of access of State schoolteachersto the Federal Arbitration Court is involved in the general question of an amendment of the Constitution to extend the powers of the Parliament of the Commonwealth in respect of conciliation and arbitration. The representations in the other questions have been noted and arc receiving consideration. In some cases, however, policy is involved, and it would be contrary to established practice to make a statement of policy in answer to a question. {: .page-start } page 561 {:#debate-24} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-24-0} #### WESTERN AUSTRALIA Special Grants - Secession {: #subdebate-24-0-s0 .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN: asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the Commonwealth Government is continuing to pay special grants to the Government of Western Australia pending the results of the inquiry by the Commonwealth Grants Commission? 1. Is it a fact that the Western Australian Government is spending large sums of money in printing documents and holding special sessions of Parliament to pass legislation for the purpose of sending an expensive delegation to London to secure secession from the Commonwealth of Australia? 2. Is it a fact that, under the provisions of the Constitution, the methods of the Western Australian Government will be abortive? 3. If so, is it fair to the rest of the people of the Commonwealth that financial assistance should be given to Western Australia, whilst that State utilizes its finances in this manner? 4. Is ho prepared to deduct from future grants to Western Australia an amount of money equivalent to that used in this direction; if not, why not? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE: -- The Prime Minister has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator's questions: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. to 5. So far no payments have been made to Western Australia on account of the year 1934-35. The report of the Commonwealth Grunts Commission in respect of applications by the States of South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania for financial assistance has just been received, and the honorable senator will have an opportunity to make any representations when the Senate is asked to approve of the grant to Western Australia for 1934-35. {: .page-start } page 561 {:#debate-25} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-25-0} #### BANKRUPTCY OF MR. P. A. ROBINSON {: #subdebate-25-0-s0 .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator RAE:
NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon *notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Can he inform the Senate as to the facts concerning the enforced bankruptcy of **Mr. P.** A. Robinson, of Morton-avenue, Dulwich Hill, New South Wales? 1. Is it a fact that frequent demands by **Mr. Robinson** for information as to the section or sections of the Bankruptcy Act under which he had been made bankrupt have not been complied with? 2. Will the Minister inform the Senate the reasons for the course adopted, and also the reasons for the arrest and imprisonment of **Mr. Robinson?** {: #subdebate-25-0-s1 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
UAP -- The answer to the honorable senator's questions is as follows : - 1, 2 and 3. On the 12th January, 1931, **Mr. Robinson's** estate was sequestrated on the petition of a judgment creditor. The outline of his case, as set out by Mr.Robinson, comprises nine pages of closely-typed matter, which I do not propose to read. It contains allegations of murder, forgery, corruption of courts and court officials, &c. In my letter to the honorable senator, dated the 5th June, 1934, I stated that I was quite prepared to make all the departmental papers available for his inspection, and this offer still holds good. These papers will show that full information has, during the past three years, been furnished to Mr.Robinson, and to the various members of Parliament who have made representations on his behalf. Certain letters Written by **Mr. Robinson** himself have not been replied to, because it is not the practice to answer letters couched in insulting terms or accusing the courts or its officers of corruption. {: .page-start } page 561 {:#debate-26} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-26-0} #### GOODWILL MISSION TO EAST Cost of Cablegrams {: #subdebate-26-0-s0 .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator RAE: asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* >What were the costs of the cables between the Right Honorable J. G. Latham, M.P., and Australia during his recent tour? {: #subdebate-26-0-s1 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
UAP -- The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following information in answer to the honorable senator's question : - >Cost of cablegrams -From Australia, £44 13s. 4d.: to Australia. £64 14s.6d.; total, £109 7s.10d. {: .page-start } page 562 {:#debate-27} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-27-0} #### PREMIERS PLAN {: #subdebate-27-0-s0 .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN: asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, *upon notice- -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact, as reported in the *Canberra Times* of5th July, 1934, that the Premiers plan is to operate longer than three years? 1. What are the reasons advanced by the Prime Minister why the Premiers plan must keep on operating throughout the Commonwealth? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE: -- The Prime Minister has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator's questions: - 1 and 2. The Premiers plan, agreed to in 1931 by representatives of the then Commonwealth and State governments, including **Mr. Lang,** the then Premier of New South Wales, embraced the following measures: - >Reduction of expenditure; > >Conversion of internal debt with reduction of interest; > >Additional taxation; > >Reduction of bank interest on deposits and advances: and > >Relief in respect of private mortgages. > >The plan aimed at national rehabilitation and progressive reduction of deficits, and it was not specified that its measures should operate for three years. It was generally considered that there would be a marked increase in prices of Australian products, which would assist recovery. As indicated on more than one occasion, the Government has stated that relief from some of the emergency measures should be made as and when practicable. In accordance with this policy restorations have already been made in respect of salaries, wages, old-age pensions, war pensions, superannuation, &c. Remissions have also boon made of some of the heavy emergency taxation. On the other hand, interest reductions secured under the plan are stilloperatingfully, and have, in fact, been considerably extended since 1931. {: .page-start } page 562 {:#debate-28} ### CUSTOMS TARIFF (PRIMAGE DUTIES) 1934 Assent reported. {: .page-start } page 562 {:#debate-29} ### BILLS FROM THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES The following bills were received from the House of Representatives, and read a first time: - War Service Homes (South Australia Agreement) Bill 1934. Wheat-growers Relief Bill 1934. Flour Tax Assessment Bill 1934. Land Tax Assessment Bill 1934. Colonial Light Dues Collection Bill 1934. {: .page-start } page 562 {:#debate-30} ### STATUTE LAW REVISION BILL 1934 {:#subdebate-30-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from the 12th. July (vide page 466), on motion by **Senator McLachlan** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-30-0-s0 .speaker-JY7} ##### Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES:
South Australia -- The first thing that strikes one with regard to this comprehensive bill is the fact that it must have involved a great deal of minute work on the part of the draftsmen, because it contains 24 pages of matter so detailed that months of study would be required to understand the amendments which it makes to the various acts. Inotice, for instance, on page 14, this amendment of section 40 of theCommonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act: " (b) Omit award), make' insert 'award, make'." In other words, the purpose of this amendment is to omit a bracket. It is obvious that the law officers who prepared this measure spent laborious days and nights over the business. The fourth schedule runs into nine pages of alterations to 54 groups of acts. In this matter I am sure we can rely on the assurance of the law officers that the alterations, which are set out in this measure have in fact taken place already, and that this amending bill simply places those amendments on record. Nevertheless, I should have liked a little more definite assurance from the Minister on this point, because the Senate must, to a great extent, be guided by his assurances in respect of a bill so complicated as this. The honorable gentleman said: "It is believed", and "I think I may say, that the fourth schedule, which I regard as a most important part of the bill, and the bill itself, respectively make no substantive amendment in the law ". I should like the Minister to say definitely that it does not make any substantive amendment of any law except as set out and itemized in the fourth schedule. His statement as it stands is, I suggest, a trifle noncommittal. I presume the Minister will discuss the various groups of acts affected by this bill when we are considering it in committee. The point that strikes me, and really the only point to which I desire to direct the attention of the Senate at this stage, is that as the amendments made by this bill affect no less than 54 groups of acts, it is probable that some legal practitioners will be unaware of a number of amendments made- in this way to the respective laws. It would have been better if all the alterations in the fourth schedule had been made by different acts, that is to say, if each group had been taken separately. For example, alterations to the Commonwealth Public Service Act which has been amended repeatedly between 1922 and 1933, should have been submitted in an amending bill of the same name. To me it seems to be unnecessary, as well as confusing, to make alterations to that act in a measure to revise aud consolidate the statute law. The same remark may be applied to the other groups of acts which are amended by the fourth schedule to this bill. Why, for example, should we, in this bill, make amendments to the Defence Act or the Excise Procedure Act, which have always been altered by amending nets of the same name? It is perfectly obvious that if a legal practitioner wished to study amendments of a particular law, he would look through the alphabetical list of the Commonwealth acts passed between 1901 and 1933, and expect to find therein all references to it. Unfortunately, they will not bo found there. My concern is that the alterations which are being made to these 54 groups of acts shall be readily available to legal practitioners, and others who may wish to consult the law. As the Minister pointed out in his second-reading speech, this is the first statute law revision that has been attempted in Australia. Since there has been a number of similar revisions in Great Britain, I daresay lawyers in the Mother Country are accustomed to referring to the statute law revision measures when they wish to inform themselves of alterations made in various laws. As this is an innovation in the Commonwealth, we should do everything we can to facilitate the work of those whose business it is to study or consult the law. I think **Senator Daly** will agree with me that, in its present form, this bill will increase the difficulties of lawyers, and that there will be some risk of amendments of the various acts being overlooked. The difficulty could, I think, be overcome by including in the alphabetical table of acts, a memorandum in italics, indicating, in addition to the amendments made to a particular law by acts of the same name, the amendments made by the Statute Law Revision Act. Attention would thus be drawn to the amendments actually made. I realize that a great deal of the time of Parliament would be taken up if 54 groups of bills were passed through Parliament in the ordinary way. From another viewpoint, this bill -is comprehensive in that it amends no fewer than 54 groups of acts as shown in the schedule. {: .speaker-K7P} ##### Senator Collings: -- And we are to pass the bill without knowing what it contains. {: .speaker-JY7} ##### Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES: -- We ought not to do that. {: .speaker-K7P} ##### Senator Collings: -- We ought to remain here until next year, if necessary, to study it intelligently. {: .speaker-JY7} ##### Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES: -- If the honorable senator wishes to study the measure in detail, he should commence by taking a law course. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator Daly: -- Why not refer the bill to a select committee? {: .speaker-JY7} ##### Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES: -- I think we can rely upon the assurance of the Crown law officers that the first three schedules simply place on record amendments which have already been made, and that the fourth schedule is the only one containing new amendments. I hope that we can obtain from the Minister a definite assurance that the amendments mentioned in the first, second and third schedules have already been made, and that wo are now merely placing them on record for the purpose of convenience. I agree with **Senator Collings** that to go through the fourth schedule in detail would necessitate weeks of work. If the Minister will give the Senate the definite assurance for which I have asked, I shall be satisfied; but I suggest that he should prevent these amendments, which are so full, and which cover such a wide field, from being overlooked by those anxious to know what the law is. Debate (on motion by **Senator Daly)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 564 {:#debate-31} ### ESTIMATES AND BUDGET PAPERS 1934-35 {: #debate-31-s0 .speaker-KQZ} ##### Senator Sir HARRY LAWSON:
Assistant Minister · Victoria · UAP [4.9]. - I lay on the table - >Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure, and Estimates of Expenditure for Additions, New Works, Buildings, &c., for the year ending the 30th June, 1935. > >The Budget 1934-35 - Papers presented by the Right Honorable J. A. Lyons, P.C., M.P., on the occasion of the Budget of 1934-35. and move - > >That the papers be printed. In the House of Representatives this afternoon the Treasurer **(Mr. Lyons)** is presenting the budget. His speech surveys the internal and external economic situation since the Government assumed office. It sets out many evidences of improved internal conditions and contrasts the internal improvement with the almost stationary position of the outside world. In 1933-34 revenue receipts amounted to £73,942,000, and expenditure to £72,640,000. The excess of receipts over expenditure was thus £1,302,000 as. compared with the anticipated deficit of £.1,176,000. Revenue exceeded the estimate by £5,362,000. The principal increases were - The flour tax, which was imposed after the budget was introduced, yielded £1,254,000. This tax was abolished on the 31st May, in view of the buoyancy of other revenue. Expenditure exceeded the estimate by a net amount of £2,884,000, the chief factor in this increase being the amount paid for relief to wheat-growers, namely £3,045,000. The revenue of the PostmasterGeneral's Department exceeded the estimate by £406,000, while the expenditure was £454,000 below the estimate, so that a total improvement of £860,000 was shown. Since October, 1932, loans amounting to £109,849,000 have been converted in London, reducing the average interest rate on that amount from £511s. per cent. to £3 17s. 8d. per cent. The Government confidently anticipates the com pletion of further successful conversions during the next eighteen months. Loans raised in Australia during the last two years amounted to £39,000,000, of which £12,650,000 was devoted to the funding of treasury-bills. All loan services are now being met from long-term loans and the yearly funding is slightly in excess of the bills provided for revenue deficits. Since June, 1932, the Commonwealth public debt has decreased by £5,800,000, while that of the States has increased by £40,600,000. State deficits show an improvement over the last few years as follows : - Coming to the year 1934-35, the improvement in the Commonwealth finances enables the presentation of a balanced budget. Certain considerations have influenced the Government to refrain from drawing against past accumulations for the purpose of financing the budget of the new year. The budgetary positions of State governments continue to be difficult and the Commonwealth proposes a non-recurring unconditional grant of £2,000,000 to the States from the accumulated balances of the last three years. From these balances also an allocation of £4,160,000 will be made for the development of national defence. The expenditure and taxation concessions provided last year to an annual value of £9,000,000 are being maintained and supplemented by the liberalization of old-age and war pensions, adjustments of salaries, and further relief in respect of sales tax and primage. No. variations of rates of taxation are proposed in respect of income tax, land tax or estate duty. An income tax bill is being introduced to simplify taxpayers' returns and administration. Sales tax relief, which includes exemptions of certain articles under the heads of building materials, requirements of primary industries - including mining and pearling - foodstuffs, and miscellaneous headings, amounts to £220,000. Reductions of primage duty to the value of £400,000 are proposed. Of this amount £250,000 is in respect of cotton piece goods of United Kingdom origin. This concession will give direct benefit to consumers in Australia and increase the preferential advantage to British goods. Summarized, the revenue adjustments for 1934-35 are- New national stations are being installed for wireless broadcasting and fees will he reduced from 24s. per annum to 21s. per annum. The total estimated revenue for 1934-35 is £72,193,000. Apart from the remissions and reductions already set out, there are practically no important changes from last year, except that no flour tax will be collected. Despite the allowance of 10 per cent, for increase in taxable incomes, income tax will probably show a moderate reduction due to the diminution of arrears and the " averaging " provisions of the law. The total expenditure is estimated at £72,179,000 as compared with the actual expenditure of £72,640,000 in 1933-34. In addition to the distribution of £2,000,000 already referred to, the special grants to smaller States will be increased by £270,000, of which £250,000is for South Australia and £20,000 for Tasmania. The total payments to States this year will then be as follows: - Other expenditure concessions are being made as follows : - During the past three years direct assistance provided for primary producers totalled £9,000,000, including relief to wheat-growers, £5,130,000, and sales tax concessions, £1,640,000. Compared with the expenditure in 1933- 34 the defence programme for 1934- 35 entails a gross increase of about £1,900,000. This will be provided partly from the £4,160,000 to be set aside for defence purposes from the accumulated excess revenue of previous years. The Commonwealth will take over from the British Admiralty a new cruiser of the *Leander* type and will construct a naval sloop in Australia. The sum of £1,000,000 will be provided from the Loan Fund for reproductive postal, telephone and wireless works. The total expenditure on new works will be increased from £1,668,000 in 1933- 34 to £2,845,000 in 1934-35. In addition, £1,160,000 will be expended on new works from the Defence Equipment Trust Account as against £360,000 expended from the trust account last year. The total amount available for new works for 1934-35 will thusbe £4,005,000. The increased expenditure provided in the budget, which will assist in relieving unemployment, amounts to £3,767,000; Summarized the budget results for 1934- 35 are- These figures give honorable senators a bird's-eye view of the budget. Debate (on motion by **Senator Barnes)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 565 {:#debate-32} ### STATUTE LAW REVISION BILL 1934 {:#subdebate-32-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from page 563. {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator DALY:
South Australia -- While I appreciate the anxiety of the Government to consolidate, as far as possible, the legislation of this Parliament, I consider that the bill is of sufficient magnitude to be referred to a select committee. Alternatively, I ask the Minister not to proceed with the bill but to leave it to be dealt with by tlie next Parliament. The bill is not so simple as the Minister in his secondreading speech represented it to be, and I can quite understand that honorable senators have difficulty in comprehending the alterations which the measure will effect in the existing law. The fourth schedule is more than a mere consolidation; it proposes alterations of the law. For instance, the Gold Bounty Act is being amended by the omission of sections 2 and 3, and alterations are being made in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. If we are to debate these matters item by item in order to ensure that while driving in one nail we are not loosening a dozen others, we shall not have time to consider this measure fully before the election. There is no urgent need for the bill. **Senator Duncan-Hughes** has correctly pointed out that the fourth schedule involves a material alteration of the existing law. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- Mention one material alteration which this measure will make in the law. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator DALY: -- It alters the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and redrafts the industrial provisions of the Gold Bounty Act. Also, I am reminded by **Senator Collings,** the amendment proposed to the Cotton Bounty Act, will alter the law. In any case what harm could be done by referring this measure to a select committee? I make no complaint against the Crown Law officers. I do not question their competency, but. over and over again even the Crown Law Department has had to submit to Parliament alterations to acts in order to meet circumstances that were not envisaged when the original measures wore drafted. Here we are asked- to alter the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and to strike out of the Defence Act a provision relating to the retirement of officers without considering either the effect such alterations will have on the law appertaining to them, or the incidence of a principle which we may be forced to carry right through other legislation. {: #subdebate-32-0-s1 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator MCLACHLAN:
President of the Executive Council · Vice · UAP -- When moving the second reading of the bill I did not hesitate to commend the bill to the Senate, and to assure honorable senators that there was nothing in it that could be regarded as contentious. I repeat that assurance on the basis of information given to me by the Crown Law officers who have been engaged on this work, not only under the present Government, but under the preceding Government. It has been a colossal work and it would be disheartening to them if the enactment of this revision web further delayed. The bill has been on the tapis for some time, but it has been delayed in order to extend consideration to some members of the profession who, not knowing that this work was in progress, had also compiled a consolidation of the statutes. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator Daly: -- Has this bill been referred to any law society in Australia ? {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN: -- No, and I Jo not think it is necessary to do so. This work has been held up too long already, and I give to honorable senators the assurance that if, when dealing with this measure in committee any substantial alteration of the law is pointed out, I shall defer its further consideration. I am prepared to explain every item in the schedules, and I am assured by the Solicitor-General that the measure proposes no material alteration of the law. In the United Kingdom similar measures have never been examined by a select committee, nor have detailed explanations been sought by members before the committee stage. To illustrate the difficulties of the Crown Law administration I point out that nineteen amendments of this bill have been drafted since it was introduced into the Senate, and that fifteen of these have been necessitated by amending legislation introduced in the" House of Representatives. When the fourth schedule is reached I shall be prepared to give a complete explanation of what is proposed. **Senator Duncan-Hughes** said that this measure will cause a great deal of difficulty to the legal profession. I assure the honorable senator that the Crown Law officers propose that, immediately legislative effect has been given to this bill, the statutes shall be reprinted as revised to date. In the present congested state of the statute-book, the various amendments, references and cross references make the law complicated, not only to members of the legal profession, but also, undoubtedly, to the layman. It will be possible to obviate difficulty on the part of the practitioner who does not choose to purchase the revised and consolidated statutes by an italicized reference in the alphabetical list of acts that prefaces every volume of statutes, as **Senator Duncan-Hughes** has suggested. But already a complete reference to all amendments made to any act may be. found in the chronological table of acts which is included each year in the annual volume of acts. Therein are set out the act, the amendments and a reference to the acts making the amendments. It might be advisable, also, to embody some reference to this in a short prefatory note to future volumes of statutes. I shall see that something of the kind is done, because it is important that members of the profession and the public generally should know how the various acts have been affected by this revision. I repeat that if we discover in this measure any substantial alteration in the law, I shall consent to postpone its further consideration. The first and second schedules are non-con tentious. They merely clean up the statutes by removing the dead wood from the trees. {: .speaker-K7P} ##### Senator Collings: -- What is the immediate hurry? {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator MCLACHLAN: -- This work has been going on for two or three years, and has cost about £2,000. A tremendous amount of re-printing has to be done. I think it would be a vary poor compliment to our Crown Law officers, after their strenuous work, if this legislation were further delayed. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator Daly: -- Why not give their work the consideration it merits? {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN: -- Is there any better place than the floor of the Senate to deal with this matter? The Crown Law officers have worked most arduously on this measure, and at my request and their solicitation, I had it placed at the head of the notice-paper. {: .speaker-K3L} ##### Senator Sampson: -- Has the legal profession been pressing for it? {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN: -- I have pressed for it for a number of years, as have many other members of the legal profession. That pressure was relaxed somewhat when two private gentlemen prepared a consolidation of the statutes; but they were not in a position to clean up the statute-book. If this bill is passed, it will be possible to issue a consolidation of the acts of this Parliament under the authority of this statute. I repeat my assurance that no alteration of the law is involved. The officers of the Crown Law Department know their duties too well, and are too honorable to arrogate to themselves the prerogative of the legislature. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator Daly: -- They would not do it deliberately. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN: -- So confident am I that no alteration of the law is involved in this bill, that if, perchance, an alteration is found, I shall not proceed further with the measure. In view of the assurances which I have given, I ask the Senate to pass the bill. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. {: #subdebate-32-0-s2 .speaker-K7P} ##### Senator COLLINGS:
Queensland .- I move - >That the bill be referred to a select committee for consideration and report. My motion is in no sense a reflection on the Crown Law officers, nor should it be regarded as evidence of any hesitation on my part to accept the assurance of the Minister that he himself is certain that no alteration of the law is involved in this measure. I 'take this action because, as a member of the Senate, I am paid to do certain work, and I object to taking that payment under false pretences. I am asked to vote for a bill, not one line of which I understand: Indeed, I have not had an opportunity to form an opinion about it, the bill having been placed before me only this afternoon. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- The bill has been before the Senate for some time. It is a simple measure. {: .speaker-K7P} ##### Senator COLLINGS: -- It may be simple, but it renal res some study. For instance, in the fourth schedule. T -find - >Cotton Industries Bounty Act 1030-1032, section 12 - > >omit "that (o) lint produced from seed cotton on which bounty has been paid; or (6) cotton yarn on which bounty has been paid." insert " that lint produced from see:l cotton on which bounty has been paid " ; ami (6) omit " and cotton yarn." - I know something about cotton, but I do not know what is intended in regard to section 12 of the Cotton Industries Bounty Act. I did not speak to the second reading, because I did not feel competent to discuss the measure at such short notice, and because I do not wish to be incapable of explaining my vote on this omnibus measure to those who sent me hero I am proposing to refer it to a select committee. It is an insult to our intelligence and to that of the electors, as well as derogatory to Parliament, that in the dying days of a session we should he asked to pass so comprehensive a measure, even though the Vice-President of the Executive Council **(Senator McLachlan)** has given us certain assurances. If we pass this bill we shall have no time in this Parliament to correct any harm that might have been done. The Senate is probably too large to grapple with the details of this measure, and for that reason I have moved for the appointment of a select committee to consider thom. I understand that certain private individuals have already prepared a comprehensive consolidation of the statutes, and it has been represented to me that the haste in regard to this measure is due to a desire to forestall them. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- That is not so. The individuals referred to have been treated generously by the Government. {: .speaker-K7P} ##### Senator COLLINGS: -- I object to such unseemly haste, particularly as Parliament has been sitting only a few weeks and intends to adjourn again not many clays hence. The balance of the legislation to be brought forward before the prorogation will, probably, be dealt with in the absence of half the members of this chamber. I strongly protest against the procedure which is being adopted. {: #subdebate-32-0-s3 .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator DALY:
South Australia -- I second the motion. I have already entered my protest against the bill being rushed through in this way. The Minister said that the Crown Law officers have no desire to arrogate to themselves the prerogative of Parliament, and I concur in his remarks. The position confronting us is rather illogical. The Minister says that the Crown Law officers say that this bill is right; that he thinks they are right, and that, therefore, we should accept his opinion that they alE right. That is not the way to deal with, legislation. I have no doubt that the motion will be defeated, because the Government has the numbers. The Opposition, having made its protest, must rest content with the recording of that protest in *Hansard.* Before this legislation was introduced, the law societies of the several States, the trade union movement, which is vitally concerned with any amendment of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, as well as every other person whose interests are affected by the fourth schedule, should have been consulted. With all due respect to the Crown Law authorities, I venture the opinion that, before long, Parliament will be asked to correct some mistake in this ' measure which has resulted from the haste associated with its introduction. {: #subdebate-32-0-s4 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP -- **Senator Collings** suggested that undue haste was being shown in connexion with this measure because of a desire to injure two young men who had prepared a consolidation of the statutes. I assure the honorable senator that, so far from that being the case, the introduction of this bill has been delayed in order to give those men an opportunity to dispose of their production. This bill is brought forward, not to injure any one, but to do something which will be of value, not' only to tho legal profession, but also to the general public. **Senator Daly** said that the Government has the numbers to carry the .bill: I want it to be carried, not by weight of numbers, hut by weight of reason. Honorable senators may accept my assurance that the first, second, and third schedules are merely formal. With regard to the fourth schedule, I have already promised an explanation of each item, if it is sought. The Cotton Industries Bounty Act, to which reference has been made, will be dealt with in an amendment which I shall move in committee. This bill is not a subject for a select committee. In the first place, no principle requiring examination by a select committee is involved, for the measure merely seeks to clean the statute-book of obsolete legislation. As 1 have promised an explanation of every item in the fourth schedule, I cannot conceive of a select committee accomplishing more than this Senate can accomplish. {: .speaker-JZ6} ##### Senator O'Halloran: -- In South Australia it is the practice to refer such measures to a select committee. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN: -- The South Australian Parliament has never dealt with a similar measure. Something similar was attempted in Victoria, when **Sir Leo** Cussen was consulted, and assurances, supported by certificates, were given by the Crown Solicitor of Victoria. The practice of the English Parliament was followed. I cannot conceive of any better way of dealing with this bill than by the Minister explaining the various items and seeking to convince honorable senators that no alteration of the law is involved. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator Daly: -- But the honorable senator finds it necessary to amend this bill. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN: -- The reason is that since the bill was drafted - and this shows the necessity for making a start somewhere - measures, which have rendered certain clauses altogether unnecessary, have been introduced in another place. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator Daly: -- Introduced by whom ? {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN: -- The honorable senator will be given all that information as we proceed with the bill. I ask honorable senators not to carry the motion, because it would mean goingover and checking the whole matter again. If we adopted that course, we should find that we had no starting point. Honorable senators, if they study the amendments which I shall move, will see the difficulty we have already had in getting the schedules into line even with the amending legislation that is now before this Parliament. {: #subdebate-32-0-s5 .speaker-K09} ##### Senator PAYNE:
Tasmania .- I do not wish to give a silent vote on the motion, because the honorable senatorwho has moved it has endeavoured to make out that the bill is of sufficient importance to warrant the creation of a select committee for the investigation of its principles. I have not had much time to look through it, and have done so only since I arrived this morning, but I am quite satisfied with the explanation given by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator Daly: -- But the honorable senator is always satisfied with explanations given by Ministers. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator PAYNE: -- That is by no means correct. It is patent to me that this bill is what the Minister says it is - a revision bill to repeal enactments which have ceased to have any force, or which have been rendered unnecessary. That is its main feature and purpose. If the honorable senator who has moved for its reference to a select committee turns to schedule 4, he must be impressed with the fact that the main part of it relates to legislative enactments which no longer exist except on paper, and which have no force whatever. Naturally, they should be eliminated from the statute-book. The Minister has made a fair statement and a fair offer. There are one or two items in the fourth schedule of which I should like an explanation, but I feel sure that all such explanations can be given by the Minister in committee, just as in the case of an ordinary bill. I cannot understand why an attempt should be madeto delay this measure, which should have been passed long ago, because it is evident to everyone who cares to wade through the statutes that they have contained for a long time hundreds of laws which are now inoperative, since they have either expired or been rendered unnecessary by subsequent events. The object of the bill is simply to wipe those obsolete acts out of existence, and at the same time to make certain necessary amendments, many of which are consequential on a large number of sections having been rendered unnecessary by the lapse of time. {: #subdebate-32-0-s6 .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator RAE:
New South Wales -- I should hesitate to express an opinion on a matter which is apparently one purely for the legal mind to understand, although two other honorable senators who are not lawyers have ventured into the arena. I rise, not for the pur pose of pretending that I have any legal knowledge, but rather to make some inquiries into the reasons for this legislation, and to ascertain, if I can do so, what possible good can be expected from it. I should not hesitate to support any proposed modernizing of our laws, or revision of those which have become obsolete. I am glad to assist in every possible way to make the law more simple or more easily understood, but I cannot understand why this enormous number of measures is listed here for repeal. Take, for example, supply acts, or acts making monetary grants to various States, all of which measures, in the nature of things, exist only for one specific purpose, and fall dead when that purpose is effected. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- The Government Printer will have to include them in every volume of the statutes that he reprints, if this bill is not passed. SenatorRAE. - We cannot remove them from the statute-books that have already been printed, so that they will still remain on record. If any good purpose can bo effected by clearing the statute-books of dead wood, well and good, but it seems to me to be a contradiction in terms to speak of repealing a thing which is already stone dead, and which no longer exists in fact. Why not pass a bill providing that whenever in the nature of things an act has no further application, it shall be considered dead? If, for instance Parliament passes a Supply Act, the money is granted by it and expended under it, and the measure then has no more existence than the shadow that passes across the surface of a lake. I do not know whether there is any legal term for an act which ceases to exist when its one definite purpose is served, but, if there is, why not use it? There is surely no necessity for reprinting a Supply Act, or an act making a grant of money to a State. It ceases to operate by the very fact that its object has been achieved. I should like the Minister to state what results are expected from this measure. It seems to me that it is only legislation to fill in time, seeing that federation has continued now for 34 years without anything of the kind having been found necessary ere this. {: #subdebate-32-0-s7 .speaker-KS9} ##### Senator MacDONALD:
Queensland -- I think I remember the Minister in charge of the bill giving the Senate a solemn assurance that there was nothing to be afraid of in the measure, and that it would reduce printing costs. I do not know whether that is a complete or sufficient summary of the Minister's remarks, but in view of it I was ready to allow the bill to pass. If I am mistaken in my recollection of what the Minister said, 1 am prepared to support the motion to refer the bill to a select committee. We have been informed by the Minister that all the acts listed in the schedule are so much dead wood, and that he simply requires our assistance to relieve the treasury of further printing costs, because the existing law requires that acts which are still on the statutebook shall be reprinted. What I heard the Minister say to-day confirms that. He has assured us that there is nothing in the bill to interfere with the laws that have been passed by both Houses. I am, however, naturally suspicious of anything that comes from the front bench on the other side. We are warned always to suspect a Highlander - or so the AngloSaxon version runs - and one must always be prepared for a certain amount of Gaelic subtlety in all that the Minister does, but in this case I am quite ready to be a victim to any concealment that may be practised, especially as the Minister's assurance is reinforced by the Crown Law Department, which, after all, is the common property of all parties in the chamber. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator Daly: -- Do you know who they are? {: .speaker-KS9} ##### Senator MacDONALD: -- I have a fairly good idea. Some of the officers of that department I have met personally. I respect them, and I do not think they would be a party to anything which, to use a billiard term, is " under the cushion." This bill is recommended by that department as a means of economy, and if the Minister will confirm my impression of what he said previously, I shall vote against the motion to refer it to a select committee. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- I confirm it here and now. {: .speaker-KS9} ##### Senator MacDONALD: -- That is enough for me. {: #subdebate-32-0-s8 .speaker-JY7} ##### Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES:
South Australia -- In general terms I agree with **Senator Collings** in disliking any attempt to force bills through without consideration, although I suppose that if there was any gentleman in the recent history of Australia who did force legislation through without proper consideration, it was the former Premier of New South Wales **(Mr. Lang).** I seem to remember some bills of his which were brought in and passed through all stages in a few hours, without any real consideration or discussion. **Senator Collings** says that we should have time for consideration, but this bill was introduced twelve days ago, and. in view of the interest which the honorable senator appears to take in it, he should have spent the whole of the intervening period in urgently and keenly scrutinizing and criticizing it, but this, I gather from his speech, he has not done. I cannot seethat any useful purpose would be served by the appointment of a select committee to consider the bill. I initiated the discussion of this matter, and do not in the least regret having done so, because this is a work of sufficient importance to deserve at least some attention, but I am satisfied with the assurances that the Minister has given. He rather suggested that he had already given those assurances in his second-reading speech, but he was more emphatic and definite to-day, and I am perfectly satisfied Avith what he has said. As regards the chronological table, it certainly appears in the statute-books, but in my experience, and I think in the experience of others, it is very seldom referred to. The ordinary alphabetical list of acts is all that most practitioners use. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- That is so, but wo can draw attention to the fact that the amendments made by the Statute Lau Revision Act are embodied in the chronological table, a place into which they can be worked quite easily, whereas if they are put into the alphabetical list, they will make it too bulky. {: .speaker-JY7} ##### Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES: -- I am not desirous of creating any difficulty. I wa'nt to assist the lawyer and the layman to find the law, and I am quite prepared to leave it to the Crown Law officers to decide the most convenient place in which to draw attention to the changes. If Ave appoint a select committee, or take any other unjustified action to hold up this work, there will be a possibility of it being absolutely wasted, j. suggest to **Senator Collings,** who is, I am sure, desirous of doing what is fair, that as the Crown Law officers have worked for several years to produce a very intricate and detailed document, representing an enormous amount of labour, it is not right to hold the bill up and risk the loss of all this valuable work unless very good reason for doing so can be shown. I am prepared to listen to the Minister's explanation. He has told us that he intends to submit nineteen amendments. Unless they are of a minor character, we should have until to-morrow to consider them. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- With the exception of three, they are technical alterations. {: .speaker-JY7} ##### Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES: -- I understand that the purpose of one amendment is to cancel 'the alterations proposed to one group of acts. That can hardly be regarded as a minor alteration of the law. But if the Minister assures me that, the amendments are not important in character, I shall not detain the Senate further. I do suggest, as a general rule, that before Ave are asked to vote upon amendments, we should be furnished with copies and given an opportunity to consider them. **Senator DUNN** (New South Wales) [5.8j. - The Minister **(Senator McLachlan)** has told us that he intends to submit nineteen amendments to the bill. Surely this indicates that there is something wrong in the drafting of the Government's proposals. **Senator DuncanHughes** made a veiled attack on **Senator Collings,** because he had moved that the bill be referred to a select committee. In the course of his remarks the honorable gentleman also attacked **Mr. Lang,** the ex-Premier of New South Wales. He Avas at great pains to show that **Mr. Lang** had introduced and passed certain legislation expeditiously, and he blamed the Labour party of New South Wales for its support of those proposals. The honorable senator had nothing to say about legislation that Avas rushed through this chamber by his own leader, **Senator Pearce,** in a way that wouk almost shame a bootlegger. Now he wouk like Labour senators to support the Government's proposals to amend or repeal certain statute laws of the Commonwealth. The explanation given is that some of them have become obsolete. Notwithstanding the drastic amendments to a large number of acts made by this bill, the leader of the Senate has intimated, by way of interjection, that he proposes to submit nineteen additional amendments. This bill reminds me of a " cash and carry" outfit. On the assurance of the Minister we are expected, without further delay, to accept all that it contains. I am not prepared to do that, because I would not trust Ministers in this Government as far as I could throw them. It is only right that honorable senators should, tl rough inquiry by a select committee, ascertain precisely what is in the mind of the Government in seeking to amend so drastically certain laws and repeal others. **Senator Duncan-Hughes** suggested that **Senator Collings** should have devoted the twelve clays during which the Senate has been in recess to the study of this bill. **Senator Collings,** like other Labour senators, has other important work to do for the people he represents in this chamber. In any case, why was not the Senate kept in session to deal with the Government's measures? Had that been done, **Senator Collings** and other members on this side would have been able to give the bill the detailed criticism which its importance demands. Amendments are being made to a long list of acts, including laws relating to the Pacific Islands. This being so, the bill should not be passed without detailed examination. I am sure that **Senator Daly** would be glad to give the Senate tha benefit of his legal knowledge by accepting appointment to the proposed select committee. What is **Senator Duncan-Hughes** afraid of? I object to giving too much power to this Government to alter the statutes. It is true that the Minister has promised to give honorable senators an opportunity to consider the proposed further amendments; that is not enough. We should be furnished with a copy of the proposed alterations, so that we may know what they mean. The select committee could, if appointed, consider the bill ,this week. When the Leader of the Senate **(Senator Pearce)** was in opposition, he and his supporters secured the appointment of a select committee to consider the Scullin Government's central banking proposal. That measure, like the one now before us, was drafted by the Crown Law officers. We have every right to be given the opportunity to examine the Government's proposals. I hope that the amendment will be carried. {: #subdebate-32-0-s9 .speaker-K7P} ##### Senator COLLINGS:
Queensland -- I am not responsible for any suggestions that have been made by other speakers regarding the motives that prompted me to move that the bill be referred to a select committee. I have already said that I do not question the ability or honour of the Crown Law officers. Nor do I challenge the assurance given by the Minister. I merely submit that better results could be expected by referring the details of this bill to a select committee. Will the Minister give honorable senators all the information they require when the measure is in committee? {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- Yes; on every item in the schedule, if necessary. {: .speaker-K7P} ##### Senator COLLINGS: -- In that case we may be here for a month. A select committee such as I have suggested would be able to see the effect of the proposed amendments and deletions by comparing them with the appropriate sections of the acts. That we shall 'be unable to do when the 'bill is in committee. The eliciting of information by detailed inquiry of the Minister is a cumbersome and impracticable method. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- The information will be brief and clear. {: .speaker-K7P} ##### Senator COLLINGS: -- The position is, of course, clear to the Minister who has had an opportunity to study the proposed amendments. I do not profess to be able to follow all legal phraseology, and therefore am unwilling to accept the bald statement of the lawyer that everything is all right. Are we to shut our eyes and accept whatever the gods choose to offer? I am sent here to do a job, but, in the circumstances, I am prevented from doing it to the best of my ability. Question - That the bill be referred to a select committee (Senator Collings' motion) - put. The Senate divided. (The President - Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch.) AYES: 7 NOES: 14 Majority . . . . 7 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Motion negatived. *In committee :* Clauses 1 to 5 agreed to. Clause 6 (Repeal of War Gratuity Acts 1920). {: #debate-32-s0 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP -- All the departments concerned had concurred in the repeal of the War Gratuity Acts of 1920, but later, notwithstanding that the privileges provided under those acts have been preserved, the Treasury officials represented that, as occasionally belated requests are received for war gratuities, the act should not be repealed. In these circumstances the Crown Law officers have suggested that this clause should he negatived. Clause negatived. Clauses 7 to 9 agreed to. First schedule. {: #debate-32-s1 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP -- I intend to ask the committee to leave out of the schedule the references to the Electoral Act, Public Service Act, Cotton Industries Bounty Act, and the Wine Export Bounty Act. Legislation amending these statutes is before the Parliament and the alterations proposed in the schedules will be effected in the new bills. On motions by **Senator McLachlan,** scheduleamended by leaving out reference to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1921-29, the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1922-33, the Cotton Industries Bounty Act 1930-32, and the Wine Export Bounty Act 1930-32, and by inserting after " Customs Act 1901-30", the words " (as amendedby the Customs Act 1934)", and after "Designs Act 1906-33 ", the words " (as amended by the Designs Act 1934) ". Schedule, as amended, agreed to. Second schedule. On motions by **Senator McLachlan,** schedule amended by leaving out reference to the Defence Equipment Act 1924, Defence Equipment Act 1928, and by inserting after " Commissioner Validating Act" the figures "1921", and after "Sugar Purchase Act (No. 2) 1920", the words " Sugar Rebate Abolition Act 1903". Schedule, as amended, agreed to. Third schedule agreed to. Fourth schedule. {: #debate-32-s2 .speaker-JY7} ##### Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES:
South Australia -- Will the Minister explain what is intended by the proposed omissions from the Audit Act? {: #debate-32-s3 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP .- Section 21 of the Audit Act provides for the manner of keeping the Commonwealth public account, excepting moneys held by the Treasurer in gold coin, for the purpose of the reserve provided for in section 9 of the Australian Notes Act. The Australian Notes Act has long been repealed, and the reserve is no longer held by the Treasurer. The exception is, therefore, now unnecessary. Section 71 contains the regulationmaking power, sub-sections 2 and 3 providing for the notification of regulations in the *Gazette* and their tabling before both Houses of the Parliament. As these provisions are already covered by section 10 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1904-1930, it is unnecessary to retain them in the Audit Act. {: #debate-32-s4 .speaker-JZ6} ##### Senator O'HALLORAN:
South Australia -- It would appear that some fairly substantial amendments to the Dairy Produce Export Control Act are proposed. The proviso to section 2 which is to be omitted relates to the taking of a poll of producers before certain proclamations are issued under the authority of that act. It is also proposed that section 5 which deals with the election of members of the board, and section18 which has reference to certain contracts, shall be repealed, while section 19 is to be amended by omitting sub-section 4. I take it that the necessity for these provisions no longer exists, but I should like to hear the Minister's explanation. {: #debate-32-s5 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP -- The proviso to section 2 of the Dairy Produce Export Control Act has reference to the holding of a poll before the commencement of the act, and section 5 permits the election of the board to be made in conjunction with the taking of that poll. A favorable poll having been taken, and the board having been elected, these provisions have exhausted themselves and are no longer necessary. Sections 18 and 19 refer to contracts in existence at the time when the Dairy Export Control Board was constituted. The legislation proposed to be omitted or repealed is no longer necessary. {: #debate-32-s6 .speaker-K7P} ##### Senator COLLINGS:
Queensland .-I should like an explanation of the intention to repeal section 3 of the Dried Fruits Act 1933. {: #debate-32-s7 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP .- Section 3 of the Dried Fruits Act 1933, provided that certain amendments of the Dried Fruits Act 1928 should not commence until a favorable poll of the growers had been held. That favorable poll has been held. {: #debate-32-s8 .speaker-JY7} ##### Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES:
South Australia -- What is the explanation of the repeal of only portion of the States Grants Act 1927. {: #debate-32-s9 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP .- The States Grants Act 1927 provides for certain specified grants to be made to the States, and by section 5, for the distribution of surplus Commonwealth revenue. Apart from section 5, the whole act might have been repealed in the same way as other acts making grants to States have been, but it is the preservation of section 5 that necessitates the bill being put in this schedule, instead of being repealed in one of the earlier schedules. On motions by **Senator McLachlan,** schedule amended by leaving outreference to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-1929, the Cotton Industries Bounty Act 1930-1932, and the Wine Export Bounty Act 1930-1932, and by inserting " Customs Act 1934, section 1, omit subsection 3 ", " Designs Act 1934, section 1, omit sub-section 3 ". Schedule further verbally amended, and, as amended, agreed to. Schedules 5 and 6 agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported with amendments. *Sitting suspended from 6.10 to 8 p.m..* {: .page-start } page 574 {:#debate-33} ### EXCISE BILL 1934 {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP -- I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. This bill inserts a new section in the Excise Act 1901-1923 to remedy the unsatisfactory position which exists in connexion with persons who have been convicted by a court for offences against any excise act and released upon finding security for payment of the pecuniary penalty imposed. Section 147 of the Excise Act 1901- 1923 provides that where any pecuniary penalty is adjudged to be paid by any convicted person the court may - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Commit the offender to gaol until the penalty is paid; or 1. Release the offender upon his giv- ing security for the payment of the penalty ; or 2. Exercise for the enforcement and recovery of the penalty any power of distress or execution possessed by the court for the enforcement and recovery of penalties in any other case. In instances where a person who has been convicted of an offence against the act is released upon finding security for the payment of the penalties, the giving of the security operates as a complete discharge of any order for imprisonment in default of payment of the fine, and no further action can be taken against the offender. This has created a very difficult position for the department, particularly in connexion with cases, which are very rife, of illicit distillation of spirits. In most of these cases the offenders are released upon finding security for payment of the penalty. In some instances, the sureties accepted by the court have been persons of small, or relatively small, means, and when the release of the offenders has been secured, strong representations have been made that no action bo taken to enforce the security given in view -of the hardship which would be entailed on the surety. It is considered that in cases of this kind, where the enforcement of the security is impracticable or would occasion real hardship to the surety, there should be some provision to enable the actual offender to be dealt with. The object of this bill therefore is to provide authority so that in cases of this kind the court may be approached for an order to commit the offender to gaol until the full penalty has been paid. I may mention that the law in most of the States is that offenders are not relieved of their liability to imprisonment if their sureties make default in payment of the fine, but these provisions are not applicable to offences under the Excise Act. It is also proposed that the provisions of section 149 of the Excise Act shall apply to the imprisonment of an offender for whose committal to gaol an order of this kind has been made. That section provides for the discharge of the defendant at the expiration of a certain period if the penalty remains unpaid, and in calculating such period any terms of imprisonment served by the defendant prior to' his release upon security and also any portion of the fine which may have been paid will be taken into account. Honorable senators will realize that it is of the utmost importance to the Administration that the powers sought in this bill should be granted. Without such powers, proved offenders may escape the penalties laid down in the act. In the administration of this department I have found it extremely difficult, when mothers or females had come to the rescue of perhaps undeserving sons or relatives, to enforce the penalty. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator Daly: -- Would the Minister limit the scope of the bill to cases in which the person charged with an offence has proved unworthy? {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN: -- The honorable senator knows, from his own administration of the department a few years ago, that there is another method of dealing with such cases. In one case which caine under my notice a mother had gone surety for her son, her security was vouched for by officers of the court, and the young man was released. Subsequent investigations disclosed that the means of the unfortunate mother were so limited that enforcement of the security would have involved the sacrifice of her household furniture. It is felt that effective steps should he taken to prevent the law from being flouted. A similar provision was inserted in the Customs Act recently. I hope, therefore, that honorable senators will pass the bill. Debate (on motion by **Senator Barnes)** adjourned^ {: .page-start } page 575 {:#debate-34} ### EVIDENCE BILL 1934 {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 4th July *(vide* page 151) on motion by **Senator McLachlan** - >That the bill bc now read a second time. {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-K1L} ##### Senator BARNES:
Victoria .- I understand that the intention of the bill is to enable certain evidence prepared by the Commonwealth Statistician to beplaced before the court, thus facilitating its deliberations. This is highly desirable. I have known of persons who desired to appear in support of certain claims, but in the state of the law, their evidence could not be accepted. The amendment, proposed will remove a very great disability from which a considerable number of people are suffering. {: #subdebate-34-0-s1 .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN:
New South Wales -- I should like to have an assurance from the Minister that provision will be inserted for the acceptance of statistical evidence compiled by authorities connected with the trade union movement, such as, for example, the Australasian Council of Trade Unions. This could be done by adding to clause 2 the words " and also the Statistician of the Australasian Council of Trades Unions, or any other organization or prescribed authority ". {: #subdebate-34-0-s2 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator MCLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP -- The purpose of the bill is to enable the court to take cognizance of official records of the Commonwealth Statistician. It is open to any one to submit evidence, but he will have to produce the authority who was responsible for the figures. As this bill goes no further than amending the Evidence Act I cannot accept the suggestion of the honorable senator. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In committee:* Clause 1 agreed to. Clause 2 - >After section ten of tlie principal act the following section is inserted: - 10a. - (1.) Evidence of any statistics or abstracts thereof compiled and tabulated pursuant to section 20 of the Census and Statistics Act 1905-1930, may be given in all courts by tlie production of a document containing those statistics or abstracts and purporting to have been published by thu Statistician. (2.) In this section "the Statistician" means the Commonwealth Statistician . . . and includes any person to whom the Statistician lias under section five of that act, delegated tlie power to compile, tabulate and publish the statistics collected pursuant to that act. {: #subdebate-34-0-s3 .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN:
New South Wales .- I move- >That the words " and also the statistician of the Australasian Council of Trades Unions or any other organization or prescribed authority" be added to proposed subsection (2). Under the clause as it stands only evidence tabulated by the Commonwealth Statistician will be accepted by the Federal Arbitration Court. As the figures upon which the Commonwealth Statistician bases his calculation in regard to industrial matters are obtained from officials of the trade union movement, the statistical experts attached to representative industrial organizations should also be authorized to submit evidence in tabulated form. The addition of the words suggested would improve the bill and strengthen the hands of the Commonwealth Statistician. It is unfair to the members of trade organizations that the figures supplied by them are not accepted by the Arbitration Court, while those supplied by the Commonwealth Statistician are admissible. I trust that the Minister will accept my amendment. {: #subdebate-34-0-s4 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator MCLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP -- The honorable senator will see that the proposed section relates to the production of a document containing statistics or abstracts purporting to have been published by the Commonwealth Statistician. I submit that it would be unwise to extend the scope of the section which at present is confined to official and independent figures and facts. Sub-section 2 also provides the power of delegation. No one other than the Commonwealth Statistician, or persons nominated by him, has any power or authority to collect statistics, and while he may rely to some extent upon the figures supplied by organizations such as those mentioned by **Senator Dunn** there must not be any possibility of conflict between the figures he supplies and those compiled by any other authority. The Commonwealth Statistician may delegate certain of his powers to some other persons, but the information collected is always open to challenge. This amending measure is merely to facilitate proof of the results at which the Commonwealth Statistician has arrived. {: #subdebate-34-0-s5 .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator DALY:
South Australia -- Having had 20 years intimate experience of the Commonwealth industrial arbitration system and the Commonwealth Statistician's figures as supplied to the Arbitration Court I realize the difficulties with which the Government is confronted. There was a prosecution in Adelaide some weeks ago for a breach of an award in which provision was made for a basic wage to increase or decrease according to the index figures contained in the bulletin issued by the Commonwealth Statistician. The court held that as the bulletin issued by the Commonwealth Statistician was not a *Government Gazette* it was not admissible under the Evidence Act, and that it had to be strictly proven. If this provision related only to the strict proving of the document I would have no objection to it, but while the amendment moved by **Senator Dunn** will not overcome the difficulty the Minister will see that there is something to be said in favour of the points raised by the honorable senator being considered. If this provision is passed in its present form not only the document but also that which it contains will be admitted as evidence. The production of a notice in the *Commonwealth Government Gazette is* evidence that such notice was published by the Commonwealth. This clause is open to the interpretation - I do not say that that is the only interpretation - that the admission of such a document is proof not only of the document but also of its contents. At times I have had occasion to challenge the results arrived at by the Commonwealth Statistician. If such documents are to be conclusive proof of the facts contained in them, the trades union movement will not have the opportunity to check, challenge or possibly qualify the figures submitted by the Commonwealth Statistician. I can understand the motive behind those who have asked **Senator Dunn** to move this amendment. The Australasian Council of Trade Unions and other organizations, including the organization of which my honoured leader is the president, have for years been collecting statistics, and in several cases have brought them before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. Although there was a possibility of qualifying the information supplied by the Commonwealth Statistician that right has been denied to the organizations. **Senator Dunn** wishes to make it as easy for the trade union movement to prove such figures as it is for the Commonwealth Statistician to do so. I suggest that the Minister report progress and consult with the Crown Law officers in order to see whether the measure can be so amended so that the document itself and not its contents shall be admitted. If the bill makes the production of a document proof of its contents, then the right to challenge should be given. We are laying down the new principle that the Commonwealth Statistician's figures shall be accepted by the Arbitration Court as proof of a particular fact. I do not suggest that the Commonwealth Statistician's Department is in any way inefficient, but other recognized authorities should have the right to submit similar information. I am anxious that the proving of the Commonwealth Statistician's bulletins shall be facilitated, but the Evidence Act should not be extended further unless organizations such as those suggested by **Senator Dunn** are placed on the same footing as is the Commonwealth Statistician. {: #subdebate-34-0-s6 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
Vice President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP -- This measure does not go so far as **Senator Daly** suggests. The Evidence Act of 1905 contains a series of sections, dealing with tho proof of proclamations, orders, regulations, published books, documents and the votes and proceedings of Parliament. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator DALY: -- Those sections do not relate to the bulletins issued by the Commonwealth Statistician. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN: -- It is proposed that such bulletins may be used without calling the Commonwealth Statistician to prove their contents. If honorable senators opposite do not like the bill we shall not proceed further with it, but I remind them that it has been introduced entirely in the interests of the trade union organizations which have had great difficulty in proving matters of this kind. The amendment of the law has been proposed to enable the figures contained in such bulletins to be accepted without the Commonwealth Statistician being compelled to travel to distant cities to prove them. The contents of every document mentioned in the Evidence Act is open to argument. The figures of the Commonwealth Statistician are used in framing awards of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court and the bill permits such figures to be accepted by the court. In a case before **Mr. Kelly,** sitting as a special magistrate under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, it was necessary to prove the index numbers tabulated by the Commonwealth Statistician. The *Quarterly Summaries of Australian Statistics* containing the index numbers were tendered as proof of the index numbers, counsel contending that mere production was sufficient proof under section 9 of the Commonwealth Evidence Act. He relied, also, upon sections 5 and 0 of that act. The magistrate held that the documents were not admissible, and the figures were held not to have been proved. This meant that, either the Commonwealth Statistician must be brought from Canberra to verify bi3 compilation of the figures, or that the case must be abandoned. The case was of importance to the trade unions. This proposed new section carries the proof of Commonwealth statistics no further than the proof of any other official document under the Evidence Act. **Senator** DALY (South Australia) [S.32. - I assure honorable senators that the Minister is wrong. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- "Would the honorable senator like progress to be reported and the bill not brought on again ? {: .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator Dunn: -- That is bluff. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- This amendment has been proposed at the request of many trade unions. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator DALY: -- What the trade union movement wants is to facilitate proof of the Commonwealth Statistician's documents, and I think it is unworthy of the Minister to threaten us, because he knows that, if he wants to carry the bill, he can do so by weight of numbers, and that wo have to accept it. I repeat that his view of this clause is wrong. If he will consent to refer to the Solicitor-General the point I have raised I shall be prepared to abide by the opinion of that officer. I submit that this clause makes the statistics themselves evidence, and the document containing them, whereas the provision in the Evidence Act, to which the Minister has referred, provides for the proof of the document and not its contents. The issue of a proclamation is proved by producing the *Gazette* in which the proclamation is published, but that is not proof of the facts contained in the proclamation. I want to give to either party the opportunity to challenge the Statistician's figures. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- If my statement that the production of the figures will lie only prima facie proof is not correct, I. shall have an amendment proposed in the House of Representatives. {: .speaker-JTL} ##### Senator DALY: -- I accept that assurance. **Senator** DUNN (New South Wales) accept the crumbs which fall from the table of the rich man, ably represented in this chamber by the Vice-President of the Executive Council **(Senator McLachlan).** I resent the threat of the honorable senator. This has been provoked, apparently, by the plea made by members of the Opposition that consideration be extended to the trade union movement in connexion with the compilation of statistics. Neither **Senator Daly** nor I has suggested that there is any disagreement with the Commonwealth Statistician's figures. We are pleading on behalf of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions, which represents well over 1,000,000 trade unionists in this country, that any statistics which might be produced by a prescribed authority, shall be admissible as evidence. We accept the assurance of the Minister that, if necessary, he will give equal opportunity to the representatives of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions to present their figures alongside those of the Commonwealth Statistician in hearings before industrial tribunals. {: #subdebate-34-0-s7 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator MCLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP -- I do not propose to allow the honorable senator who has just resumed his seat to put words into my mouth. My assurance was that, if this clause *goes* further than providing that the tendering of index figures compiled by the Statistician shall be prima facie proof of them, I shall support the modification suggested by **Senator Daly.** My undertaking does not extend beyond that. . {: #subdebate-34-0-s8 .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator RAE:
New South Wales -- It seems to mc that this clause clearly conveys that the mere production of the Statistician's figures is to be regarded as proof of their accuracy. If that is so, we are conferring infallibility on the Commonwealth Statistician. No matter where he may have to go for the raw material from which to compile his statistics, we are to accept his published figures as absolutely correct and beyond question. In the proposed new section " Statistician " means the Commonwealth Statistician, or any one to whom he has delegated power to collect and compile statistics. The documents produced in court are to be taken as absolutely correct, although they may not. have been compiled by the Statistician himself. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- They would be compiled under his band by someone to whom he had delegated his power under the act. He cannot be expected to do all the work himself. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator RAE: -- I realize he must have a staff, of course. Even if the Statistician himself is above suspicion of making mistakes, are we to suppose that every one to whom he delegates his power also is infallible? I cannot see how any legal quibble can surmount the provision in this proposed section that the Statistician's figures must be taken as absolutely correct. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator RAE: -- If the honorable senator himself compiled statistics under power delegated to him by the Statistician, those figures would purport to have been compiled by the Statistician himself, and would be accepted as correct. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- They must bear the Statistician's hallmark. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- The Government Gazette purports to be published by the Government Printer and that makes it evidence. The Statistician's figures purport to be published by him and this bill will make them evidence. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator RAE: -- During the war, I was accused of making false statements. In ray defence I produced a small volume of statistics relating to the matters under consideration, and the lawyer in charge of the prosecution tried to make out that those statistics were not reliable, although they bore the endorsement of the then Commonwealth Statistician, **Sir George** Knibbs. Are we to assume that any figures purporting to have been compiled by the Statistician will be accepted as evidence of their correctness? {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLachlan: -- That is the point at issue between **Senator Daly** and myself. If **Senator Daly** is right in his contention that such figures must be accepted as conclusive evidence, I shall take steps to modify the clause; if I am right, the bill will not be altered. Amendment - *by leave* - withdrawn. Clause agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. {: .page-start } page 579 {:#debate-35} ### DISTILLATION BILL, 1934 {: #debate-35-s0 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Aus tralia · UAP -- I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. This is a bill to amend section 59 ofthe Distillation Act 1901-1931, which provides, *inter alia,* that no Australian wine shall be fortified under the act so as to contain more than 40 per centum of proof spirit. Certain countries, such as the United Kingdom, allow the importation of wine fortified in excess of 40 per cent. proof spirit. There is a demand in the United Kingdom for Australian wines fortified up to a strength not exceeding 42 per cent, but owing to the provisions of section 59 of the Distillation Act it can be met only to the extent of supplying wines fortified up to 40 per cent. As a result, trade in wines of higher strength is lost to the Commonwealth: it is being captured by other countries, such as South Africa, where similar restrictions are not in force. There seems to be no valid reason for limiting to 40 percent. the strength of Australian wines for export. The Federal Viticultural Council, which has been consulted, strongly supports the proposal to raise the limit to 42 per cent. in respect of wine for export in view of the loss of trade to the Commonwealth as a result of the existing limitation of strength. In the event of this measure being agreed to. wine fortified up to 42 per cent. proof spirit will not be made available for home consumption, but will be kept under customs control until exported. The object of the bill is the encouragement of our overseas trade in wine. I commend it to the Senate. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- It may be well to anticipate further requests to raise the strength still higher. If we remove the restriction altogether, we shall avoid the necessity for introducing fresh legislation from time to time. {: .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN: -- Our wines stand high in public estimation overseas; but I understand that there is a difficulty in carrying wines which are noi sufficiently fortified. The Viticultural Council suggests that our wines he fortified to 42 per cent., but I do not think that Parliament should raise the percentage further without first consulting those engaged in the wine trade. There may be a danger in making the percentage too high. Question resolved in the affirmative Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment, or debate; report adopted. {: .page-start } page 580 {:#debate-36} ### WINE EXPORT BOUNTY BILL 1934 {:#subdebate-36-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-36-0-s0 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator MCLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP -- I move - >That the bill hu now read a second time. This bill is designed for the purpose of continuing the assistance which is given by way of bounty to certain wines exported from the Commonwealth. The existing Wine Export Bounty Act will expire on the 2Sth February, 1935, and unless Parliament makes provision for the continuance of the system no bounty can be paid on wine exported from Australia after "that date. It will, I think, assist in the consideration of this measure, if I outline the history of Commonwealth wine bounty legislation. Under their respective repatriation schemes, the governments of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia placed large numbers of returned soldiers on the land to grow grapes for wine-making. The scheme, although excellent, was overdone,and, as a result, there has been serious, overproduction. The only means of providing an outlet for the surplus grapes was by export, and in order to develop overseas markets for Australian wines a bounty of 4s. a gallon on fortified wine exported was agreed to in 1924. That amount included ls. 3d., which represented the drawback of the excise duty on the fortifying spirit contained in the wine exported. In 1927, the bounty was reduced to ls. 9d. a gallon, exclusive of ls. 3d. a gallon drawback. It was, therefore, equivalent to 3s. a gallon on the wine exported. Although the reduction was assented to in April, 1927, it did not operate until the 1st September in that year. During the interval abnormally large quantities of wine were exported to Great Britain on consignment, in order that the benefit of the higher rate of bounty might be obtained, but that action on the part of wine-makers built up such large stocks of Australian wines in London that the orderly marketing of our wines in Great Britain was prejudiced and untold harm was done to the industry. In March, 1928, the bounty was further reduced by 9d. a gallon. In June, 1930, the position of Australian wine-makers and grape-growers became critical, and, in consequence, the present act was passed by Parliament. The bounty was restored to ls. 9d. a gallon, as was the case in 1927. Until 1930 the bounty was paid out of Consolidated Revenue, but in that year a departure was made when part of the burden of financing the bounty was placed on the domestic trade. That was done by increasing the excise duty on fortifying spirit by 5s. a gallon and placing the extra collections into a trust account out of which the bounty was paid. It was also provided that if the amount in the trust account was at any time insufficient to pay the bounty, any deficiency was to be made up from Consolidated Revenue. The Financial Emergency Act of 1931 further reduced the bounty by 20 per cent., making the rate ls. 4.8d. a gallon. In 1932, on account of the prevailing financial stringency, the Wine Bounty Act was further amended to restrict the payments from Consolidated Revenue in respect of the bounty on wine to £96,000, plus the amount received from the extra excise duty of 5s. a gallon imposed on fortifying spirit in 1930. It was further provided that the money available for payment of the bounty should be distributed pro rata amongst exporters, and, to this end, provision was made for the distribution of the bounty by progress payments. Since the commencement of the Financial Emergency Act a first payment of ls. a gallon has been made, further payments being dependent on the amount of money available in the trust fund at the end of each year. In 1932-33 the bounty paid was at the rate of ls. 4.2033d. a gallon; in 1933-34 the maximum rate of ls. 4.8d. a gallon was paid. In June, 1934, there- was approximately 14,000,000 gallons of fortified wine in bond in Australia, a quantity far in excess of local requirements. Moreover, there is little prospect of increasing the local consumption of wines to any appreciable extent in the immediate future. It is therefore incumbent on Australia to find overseas markets if the surplus production is to be absorbed and the wine industry saved from disaster. The continuance of assistance by means of a bounty is essential. If the bounty were discontinued our export trade in wines would suffer, the making of wine would be severely restricted for at least three years, and grape-growers would be faced with ruin. It should also bc remembered that the Governments of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, particularly Ibo last-mentioned, have invested large sums of money in irrigation settlements on which the growing of wine grapes i3 a very important feature. The withdrawal of the wine bounty would undoubtedly result in those governments suffering heavy financial losses. Although the Government is convinced that the continuance of the wine bounty is essential, it is of the opinion, that the present rate is too high. Competent authorities in the trade consider that Australian wines could be sold in London, without loss of trade, at a higher price than is now being realized. South African wines, which are certainly of no better quality than Australian, bring higher prices in London. The present fixed minimum price of the Wine Overseas Marketing Board is 3s. 7d. a. gallon, less prescribed quantity discounts, whereas South African wine realizes approximately from 4s. to 4s. 3d. a gallon on the London market. Moreover, there are good grounds for the belief that some Australian makers arc selling at a figure below the board's minimum price. The present rate of bounty encourages that undesirable practice. The Government, in the legitimate interests of the industry has decided to correct the position by reducing the existing bounty. Such action will at least make price cut-, ting more difficult, and will probably result in the Wine Overseas Marketing Board, without loss of trade, being able to increase its minimum price for wine to a figure more in keeping with its real value. The resultant stabilization of price would enhance the prestige of Australian wines on the United Kingdom market. Moreover, a reduction in the rate of bounty will allow for considerable expansion of the export trade without *any* additional burden being placed on the finances of the Commonwealth or the industry. The proposed act is to operate for five years, and there is every prospect of development of the export trade during that period, particularly as the United States of America market is now open to Australian wines. The Federal Viticultural Council has expressed the view that the rate of bounty should be stabilized at not less than *ls.* a gallon. The present rate is ls. 4.8d. a gallon. The Government, however, realizes that a heavy reduction effected suddenly would considerably disturb trade, and would probably result in loss of business, while sellers and buyers were adjusting contracts and prices. It is, therefore, proposed to make the reductions by gradual stages, so as to cause a minimum of disturbance to the trade. Briefly, it is proposed further to vary the rate of bounty from ls. 4.8d. a gallon to ls. 3d. a gallon for the first two years, and thereafter, by the operation of a sliding scale, a reduction in the rate of Id. a gallon per annum is to be made until the rate of bounty has been reduced to ls. a gallon. Reduction of the bounty in this manner will also tend to discourage exporters to rush large shipments overseas before February, 1935, in order to take advantage of the higher rate of bounty under the existing act. The original Bounty Act of 1924 had two main objects, namely, the protection of the interests of growers by the fixation of minimum prices for grapes, and fortifying spirit, and the encouragement of the exportation of wine. Since 1927 the Minister for Trade and Customs has fixed the prices to be paid for grapes and fortifying spirit each year. Up to 1933 winemakers who operated in both the local and export markets, and who claimed bounty on wine exported were called upon to pay such prices for all grapes and fortifying spirit purchased for the domestic and export markets. This action was considered necessary in order to satisfy the Minister that reasonable prices had been paid for the grapes used in the production of the wine on which bounty was claimed. In April, 1933, a prominent wine-maker advised the department that during the 1933 vintage 'he proposed to purchase grapes up to a certain date for use in the manufacture of wine for export under bounty conditions, and pay approved prices for such grapes, and after that date to purchase grapes for wine for the domestic market at prices mutually agreed upon between himself and the growers. This maker kept the two classes of wine separate, which rendered it impossible for the department to hold that fixed prices had not been paid in respect of grapes used in making wine exported under bounty. Other makers quickly followed suit. As the Commonwealth Government has no authority to control the prices of grapes used in the manufacture of wine for the domestic market, the new procedure adopted by wine-makers forced the department to recede from the position which it had previously taken up. It was obliged to acknowledge claims for bounty where approved prices were paid in respect of the wine exported, irrespective of the prices paid by the maker for grapes used in the manufacture of wine for the Australian market. The lack of power to enforce the protection hitherto afforded grape-growers with respect to prices for grapes used in making wine for the domestic market has seriously impaired the efficacy of price fixation. It lias been suggested, however that, as the State governments have power to fix prices within their respective States, action should be taken by the wineproducing States to ensure that wine-makers shall pay prices considered fair and reasonable by the Minister for Trade and Customs for all grapes purchased, and that the States should make the manufacture of wine illegal except under licence - a condition of which should be that -prices considered fair and reasonable under the Wine Export Act be paid for all grapes purchased. If the price of grapes for the domestic market is left uncontrolled, and the present Commonwealth policy with respect -to grapes for the export market is maintained, there will be a tendency on the part of some makers to average the prices paid for their grapes each year by reducing the price of their domestic requirements to a low level. This prospect is most unsatisfactory. It circumvents one of the principal objects of the Wine Export Bounty Act, by forcing growers to accept an uneconomic price for grapes, and gives to the wine-maker who buys' grapes for the domestic market at low prices an unfair advantage over competitors who either pay the prices fixed by the Minister for all grapes or who do not operate on the domestic market. Wine-makers, generally speaking, dc not desire to purchase grapes from growers at uneconomic prices, but the unfair and favored position enjoyed by a few makers who have taken advantage of the strict legal position will gradually force all makers who are interested in the local market to pay low prices in order to retain their domestic trade. Numerous conferences with a view to co-ordinating State and Commonwealth powers, so far as price fixing in the wine industry is concerned, have been held between the Commonwealth and State governments, but the desired result has not yet been achieved. South Australia has approved a draft bill. New South Wales has not yet expressed its concurrence, and the attitude of Victoria is uncertain ; but it is believed that it will come into line with South Australia. Price fixation is a very contentious question, but it. is hoped that, at an early date, all the States concerned will fall into line and give the grower the necessary protection to ensure that he receives a reasonable price for all the grapes he produces. To ensure that growers received a reasonable price for grapes, all claimants for bounty have, since 192'7, been required to give an undertaking that they would pay fixed prices before bounty was paid to them. The time within which payment was to be made, however, was not fixed, and although most makers have honoured the undertakings given within a reasonable time, there are some companies which have not paid growers in full for several years. Provision is made in this bill for payment for grapes used in the production of the wine upon which bounty is paid by a system of quarterly instalments. As regards payments for fortifying spirit purchased by claimants for bounty, the bill provides that payment shall be made within six months from the date of delivery. It is considered that makers should pay growers within a reasonable time, and the terms of the bill in this respect should not embarrass wine-makers to any appreciable extent. As this bill provides for a system of deferred payments for grapes and fortifying spirit, there is a danger that some makers may be tempted, through a shortage of finance, to dispose of large quantities of wine at low prices, and consequently, at a later date, be unable to meet their obligations to grape-growers. A provision has, therefore, been made in the bill which will enable bounty to be withheld unless the Minister is satisfied that the price at which the wine was sold was sufficiently high to enable the winemaker to meet his commitments to both grape-growers and suppliers of fortifying spirit. I may add that the bill makes specific provision for - (a) the fixation of prices of grapes used in making wine exported under bounty; (t) vesting in the Minister power to withhold bounty in cases where a claimant fails to observe the prescribed conditions in respect of past, transactions on which bounty had already been paid; and (c) empowering the Minister to insist on vignerons paying reasonable wages and observing reasonable conditions of employment. Similar provision is contained in the existing act, but. it has been found by experience that the system needs tightening up in respect of wages and conditions of employment. For instance, some vignerons in South Australia are able to evade the requirements and are thus competing unfairly with other vignerons. In addition to the bounty, the Government has rendered valuable assistance to the wine industry in other directions. For example, the excise duty on fortifying spirit has been reduced from 10s. and lis. a gallon to a flat rate of 6s. 6d. a gallon. Another valuable concession granted to wine-makers is the provision for the manufacture of wine in bond. Prior to 1927 winemakers were required to pay excise duty on fortifying spirit when it was added to the wine. If the wine was subsequently exported, a drawback of the duty was paid. In 1927. owing to a large expansion of the export trade in fortified wine, and to the general financial stringency, wine-makers ware permitted to manufacture wine in bond for export and home consumption. Under this provision wine-makers are not required to pay duty on fortifying spirit used until the wine is actually delivered for home consumption, and if the wine is exported no duty is payable. Makers are thus saved a great deal of worry and expense in interest payment in finding large sums for the payment of excise duty in respect of wine which may be stored for long periods pending delivery for home consumption or export. This concession has created many administrative difficulties, but recently the conditions governing the procedure have been improved, and provision has been made to allow wine-makers to make a deduction of 2£ per cent, from the excise on fortifying spirit added to wine in bond to cover losses due to evaporation and cellar operations. I have dealt with the essential principles underlying the measure. Details may require to be explained in committee, but I feel sure that enough has been said to enable honorable senators to appreciate the importance and usefulness of the bill. I, therefore, commend it to the favorable consideration of the Senate. Debate (on motion by **Senator O'Halloran)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 583 {:#debate-37} ### ADJOURNMENT Country Party in Victoria: Selection of Candidates. Motion (by **Senator McLachlan)** proposed - >That the Senate du now adjourn. {: #debate-37-s0 .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN:
New South Wales -- I desire to bring under the notice of the Leader of the Senate the following item which appeared in the *Sunday Sun and Guardian* of the 22nd July, 1934:- {: .page-start } page 583 {:#debate-38} ### REVOLT BY THE CP. IN VICTORIA " Sinister Sham " is Charge. {:#subdebate-38-0} #### Melbourne, Saturday The uncompromising attitude of the four Victorian Country party members of theFederal Parliament towards the Victorian Central Councils nomination pledge has led to the affairs of the Country party here becoming, hopelessly tangled. The Central Council has determined to fight the * domination " of the Leader of the Federal Country party, **Dr. Page.** The four members who have fought the nomination pledge have declared their intention of contesting their seats independently as Australian Country party candidates, and four members of tho Victorian Central Council have already been mentioned as official Victorian Country partycandidates to oppose them. {:#subdebate-38-1} #### Left Association The treasurer of the Victorian party, **Mr. Stable** said to-day that the Central Council had decided to sever completely the connexion of the Victorian organization with the Australian Country party association of which **Dr. Page** is leader. This was being done, he said, because tlie Victorian organization would no longer tolerate the domination by **Dr. Page.** " Several months ago," said **Mr. Stable,** " Victoria withheld its affiliation fee when it suspected that the Australian Country Party Association was a sinister sham. Victoria has revolted against **Dr. Page's** domination, which has crippled Country party politics in New South Wales. The party has only a 2s. membership, consisting principally of farmers, settlers and country townspeople, who are shamelessly snubbed. {:#subdebate-38-2} #### Hardy's Position The Graziers Association contributes largo amounts to the party funds and calls tlie tune. The recent selection of a Senate candidate to represent the New South Wales Country party in conjunction with the United Australia party was scandalous. **Senator Hardy** was crossed at every turn because he stood four square and he is being hounded out of politics by his colleagues." My reason for quoting this extract from the *Sunday Sim,* which has a fairly large circulation throughout the metropolitan area of Sydney, and the country districts of New South Wales, is that we have often been twitted by **Senator Pearce** with the existence of dome-9 tic troubles in the Australian Labour party. This newspaper report shows that the Country party is in a state of revolt. The New South Wales Country party's nominee for the Senate is a legal practitioner in Sydney. He has admitted, in effect, that the Graziers Association, at a conference recently, urged the Government to make a trade treaty with Russia in order to improve the chances of marketing Australian wool and wheat. Apparently, the Graziers Association and its supporters are willing to accept Russian gold when it suits them to do so. If it is true, as was stated by **Mr. Stable,** the treasurer of the central council of the Victorian Country party, that the Graziers Association is contributing to the funds of the Country party, that body will naturally call the tune to which **Dr. Earle** Page must dance. Frequently we see in the newspapers, reference to the domestic troubles of the Australian Labour party. There is now trouble in the ranks of nonLabour parties, and there are " wigs on the green " all over Australia in connexion with the nominees of the United Australia party and the United Country party for the forthcoming election. I have had placed in my hands a copy of the Castlemaine *Mail,* published in the town of which **Senator Lawson** is an esteemed citizen. I note that, in its leading article, it is boosting the claims of **Senator Elliott.** {: #subdebate-38-2-s0 .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN: -- I have no official information on that point. The *Mail* states that the recent election in Tasmania cannot be ignored on the mainland. **Senator Sampson** and **Senator Herbert** Hays will fully appreciate what this means. It is obvious that the people who control all these newspapers have their ears to the ground listening to the political rumblings, and are scared by the result of the election in Tasmania, which State is now under a Labour government with **Mr. Ogilvie** as Premier. {: .speaker-JZ6} ##### Senator O'halloran: -- Is the honor-, able senator suggesting that that is a reason why **Senator Lawson** will not be a candidate for the next election ? {: .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN: -- **Senator Lawson** ha3 shown good judgment in deciding to leave the sinking ship. Under the joint control of **Mr. Lyons** and **Senator Pearce,** this Government is heading straight for the rocks, and is threatened with destruction. Other prominent members of the Government are looking after their own welfare. The Attorney-General **(Mr. Latham)** is about to leave the crew. **Senator MassyGreene** got away some months ago, and if we may place any reliance on newspaper " write-ups " our friend, the VicePresident of the Executive Council **(Senator McLachlan),** is also on the move. All these wise men are getting off the ship before it sinks. A visitor to our shores, reading the principal newspapers, would come to the conclusion that there was continual discord and wrangling among members of the Labour party. That, of course, is not true. It is, however, a fact that all these Simon Pures, who criticize us, are taking part in a Donnybook Pair of their own. The Prime Minister and **Senator Pearce** are continually hurrying to secret caucus meetings and **Dr. Earle** Page is rushing round the country like a ringtailed 'possum- >The **PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. P. J. lynch).** - Order! The honorable senator must moderate his language. {: .speaker-K3L} ##### Senator Sampson: -- "What is all this about? {: .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN: -- If the honorable senator were . a candidate at the forthcoming election, he would not need to ask that question. I have not yet seen any press announcement that **Senator Pearce** intends to go to "Western Australia to open the campaign on behalf of the United Australia party. Perhaps that is because **Mr. Watson,** the chairman of the secession movement in Perth, is on the warpath and is waiting for him with a political shillelah. Nearly all the newspapers in the Parliamentary Library - including the Sydney *Sunday Sun* and *Guardian,* the Perth *Sunday Times,* the Adelaide *Advertiser,* and the Melbourne *Age, Argus* and *Herald* - are continually referring to this Donnybrook Fair, in which the' political intelligentsia of vested interests is taking part. The following appeared in the Sydney *Telegraph* of to-day: - >NEW SOUTH WALES COTERIE. > >Melbourne, Monday. " Tlie Australian Country party now appears to be directed by a small coterie of vested interests in New South Wales," said Ure Treasurer of the Victorian Country party, **Mr. Stuhl,** to-night. "All the other States are out of the picture except Queensland, whose sugar-growers pay for a voice. " We have at least taken a stand to break the dominance of these people in Australian politics. Victoria will bc ready to help the re-constitution of the Australian Country party on sound lines and with an up-to-date platform. "lc will bc interesting to note the attitude of the public to Victorian federal members who may be endorsed in a left-handed manner by a skeleton organization. This would result in a reaction which may relieve the Australian public of a monopolistic incubus such as no other nation in the world has been called upon to support. " I was always under the impression that our friends opposite believed that " Jack " Lang was the worst man in Australian politics. This afternoon a question was addressed to the Leader of the Senate with reference to the Premiers plan, and the right honorable gentleman could not answer it without referring to " Jack " Lang. This of course is part of the game. These Simon Pures arc always talking about dissension in the Labour movement. It is true that we have strong differences of opinion, but we are big enough to fight our disputes to a finish. We get our mandate from the rank and file in the movement. Our opponents are running round the country endeavouring to dope the electors with the belief that the antiLabour candidates are the only people who have an intelligent grip of Australian problems, and will, if returned, bring this country out of its present trouble. Within the last few days, **Mr. Stable,** has charged **Dr. Earle** Page and the Graziers Association with foisting candidates upon the Country party organization in Victoria. Vested interests, as represented by the Graziers Association and big business, dominate the policy of the United Australia party throughout the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister is merely a puppet in the hands of the people who are staging these fights. {: #subdebate-38-2-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- The honorable senator must withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-JYB} ##### Senator DUNN: -- I withdraw it, and will say that vested interests aro the masters of the Prime Minister and his Government. This being so, the newspaper critics of the Labour party might very well leave us alone. We can wash our own linen and deal with the differences that arise in our movement without outside assistance. {: #subdebate-38-2-s2 .speaker-KTR} ##### Senator McLACHLAN:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · UAP .- I do not doubt the ability of **Senator Dunn,** and his fellow members in .the Labour movement to wash their own dirty linen. **Senator Dunn** has ' referred to ships heading for the rocks and members of the crew hurrying to desert the doomed vessels. It is obvious, however, that the speech he has just delivered is the first of the political " swan songs " that we shall hear from him and his colleagues during the next few weeks. I do not propose to reply to the honorable senator's statements concerning newspapers, which are quite capable of looking after themselves, or to refer to the disturbances within certain political parties. The reasons for the honorable senator's observations are obvious; but the subject he has discussed has nothing to do with the business of the Senate. Question resolved in the affirmative. Senate adjourned at 9.32 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 July 1934, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.