13 March 1936

14th Parliament · 1st Session

The President (Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch) took the chair at11 a.m., and read prayers.

page 119


Ministerial Statement

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for External the last few months, the subject of colonial territories has developed into a major international issue; and as Australia, by virtue of holding a mandate over the former German territory of New Guinea, is particularly concerned, it is opportune for me to indicate to honorable senators the general attitude of the Commonwealth Government in regard to the whole subject.

International prominence was first given to this matter at the outset of the Manchurian conflict in 1931, when Japan proclaimed that its action was primarily one of self-defence, for the protection of its national interests in Manchuria, which had come to be regarded by the Japanese as their “ economic life line, “ as a market for industrial products, a source of raw material, and, incidentally, a field for colonization.

Italy violated its obligations under the Covenant, and thereby incurred the condemnation of the League of Nations with its consequent penalty of financial and economic sanctions, rather than forgo its claim for colonial expansion and the satisfaction of what it regarded as legitimate aspirations.

Another prominent nation which is demanding colonies, or rather return of its former colonies, is Germany. For several years there have been in Germany organizations established with the object of working for the return of colonies, and these bodies have been responsible for widespread propaganda on the alleged injustice meted out to Germany under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles relating to colonial territories. In October, 1933, Germany left the League of Nations because it could not obtainwhat it regarded as “ equality “, and although the matter of colonies was not specifically raised, there was an implication that the right to hold colonies was an indispensable element of “ equality “. With the throwing off of the restrictions imposed by the disarmament clauses of the Versailles Treaty, and the rapid rearmament of Germany, these aspirations have now reached the stage of definite and openly-expressed demands by Germany, speaking officially and unofficially.

The three countries mentioned are now regarded as the leaders of the dissatisfied “ have nots “ in their claims against the satisfied “ haves “, and it is well to examine the grounds for the demands on which they base their contention.

The first main reason usually given is that colonial territory provides an outlet for surplus population.

At the time of the drawing up in 1905 of the Portsmouth Treaty, which secured Japan’s position in Manchuria, there wore 200,000 Japanese in South Manchuria. Japan’s population is increasing at the rate of 3,000,000 per annum; yet after 30 years of occupation of Manchuria, the total Japanese population is Still under 500,000.

Italy’s colonial Empire is seven times as large as Italy proper, and though some of these colonics have been held for 40 years, and some of them, such as Eritrea, possess climate and soil similar to what Italy is now seeking to obtain by force in Abyssinia, the total Italian population of Italy’s African colonies is still under 60,000, and of these less than 2,000 are Italian farmers. These figures are taken from Italian sources. Italy has an annual birth-rate of approximately 1,000,000.

Germany, before the war, was concerned with a rapidly increasing population, yet despite its 1,030,000 square miles of African colonies, it sent abroad annually to its colonies an average of only l,fi00 persons over a period of 25 years, and few of those remained as colonists. It is significant that at the outbreak of the great war, the large German colonial empire contained less than 20,000 Germans.

Belgium, one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, does not find the Congo of value as an outlet, nor can Holland place its surplus workers in tha Netherlands East Indies.

Groat Britain and France have the largest colonial empires, yet they cannot absorb their surplus population, and Great Britain still has 2,000,000 unemployed.

In fact, in all Africa, with a total area of 1.1,500,000 square miles, there are to-day less than 3.500,000 Europeans, of whom 2,000,000 are in South Africa. In this dearth of white population lies the fallacy that colonial territory represents empty spaces suitable for i.m- migration and settlement. The native populations of all colonial possessions are rapidly increasing, and the native populations already find the laud at their disposal insufficient.

Experienced administrators have recorded that land hunger is to-day one of the chief causes of tribal unrest, and the root of the gravest problems confronting administration. Apart from white leaders of enterprises, government officials and technical supervisors, the mass of the working population in all colonial territories, is, and so far as one can see, will remain, native. In the past, colonies have been of little avail as a means of absorbing surplus white population, and there is no reason to believe that the position will materially alter.

In considering the aspect of surplus population, I have laid emphasis on the position of Africa because it is the continent most often mentioned and most coveted. At the same time it might be noted that the sparsely populated and rich agricultural and pastoral countries of South America are never mentioned by propagandists - due, one may reasonably suppose, to the existence of the Monroe Doctrine and the knowledge that it will be implemented by the whole power of the United States of America.

The second ground upon which the claim for colonies is based is that they give access to raw materials. There seems to bo little substance in this contention. Every country to-day is only too anxious to sell its products, and there are no restrictions on the sale of raw materials to any country in a position to buy. Many countries experience difficulty in finding the wherewithal to purchase raw materials, and the tendency to restrict importations or to insist that purchases shall bc commensurate with sales, still continues.

So far as the mandated territories are concerned, equality of trade and commerce for all State members of the League is a condition of A and B class mandates and in the case of British colonies there is no restriction whatever as regards access to raw materials. Even to-day Italy is procuring materials other than those forbidden by the sanctions, for the supply of her African troops from British and other foreign colonic*.

The possession of colonial territory does not, and cannot, solve the problem of the supply of raw materials. Of Great Britain’s imports of raw materials, only a small percentage comes from ils colonies, apart from the self-governing dominions. Germany, before the war, obtained less than 1 per cent, of its total imports from its colonies. Manchuria ha3 not solved Japan’s problem for the supply of its vital needs of iron, coal, wool and oil. Not only that, but the possession of colonies by any nation, far from being an asset, Las been proved on the whole to be a great and costly responsibility, and few have reached the selfsupporting stage.

The third ground of the claims for colonial territory is that of prestige, and one cannot help feeling that the demands on account of over-population and need for raw materials are mere cloaks for psychological unrest. Colonies are still regarded in some quarters as symbols of superiority, as an essential adjunct of power. Germany, for example, mainly bases its claim on this ground, and considers that its national prestige and status suffer by virtue of the fact that countries with smaller population and resources possess colonies, whereas Germany’s colonies have been unjustly taken from it. A claim based on such grounds does more than anything else to perpetuate general uneasiness and tension, and in this respect a quotation from the report on “ The Demand for Colonies “ recently prepared by the Economic Section of the League of Nations Union, London, is pertinent -

If neither the problem of raw materials nor that of liver-population is capable of a large measure of solution ulong the lines of territorial expansion, what is it that is behind the persistent demands for such expansion? There remain* the sense of dignity and prestige which some members of the. “ ungated “ nations clearly believe that territorial expansion would living in its train, lt seems that in many instances the demand for territorial expansion springs from a desire, not for access to raw materials, but for control of them ; from a desire, not for economic, but for political opportunity, and from a solicitude, not for the ordinary course of peace, but for the possible eventuality of war.

Having reviewed the general considerations, I propose now to draw the attention of honorable senators to our own mandate in New Guinea. The late German terri tories in the Pacific were all classified as “ C Class “ mandates, under which no fortifications or military and naval bases shall be established, or the military training of the natives, other than for police purposes or. local defence, be permitted.

As the Japanese mandate in the North Pacific reaches to the equator and adjoins the Australian mandate, we have, by such provisions, an automatic demilitarized zone which introduces a considerable stabilizing factor in Pacific waters. So much so, that we see an extension of the principle by the introduction of the status quo clauses of the Disarmament Treaty of the “Washington Conference of 1922, which preclude the establishment of new fortifications or naval facilities or military defences in the specified territories and possessions of the contracting powers. The result has been, up to the present at least, equilibrium in the Pacific, with a consequent feeling of security and tranquility.

New Guinea, by virtue of its geographical position in relation to Australia, its natural harbours, its facilities for naval and military aircraft, is of considerable strategic value to Australia from a defence aspect, so long as the existing form of control and administration obtains. This value is emphasized by the fact that the territory is contiguous to the Commonwealth Territory of Papua, enabling common resources to be utilized and co-ordination of measures to be obtained in defence interests. Looking at New Guinea from a purely material aspect, we see that already there are 3,000 Australians in the territory engaged in various activities; the Commonwealth has expended approximately £300,000 in its administration and development; the territory absorbs Australian products to an annual value of about £400,000, with an increase year by year ; while its products are of increasing value in our economic fabric, the gold production alone amounting to approximately £1,500,000 a year.

The British people - and I strongly emphasize this - regard as firmly established the principle that colonial possessions are trusts to be administered in the best interests of the native population, and Australia has ever been actuated by this ideal. Under the mandate system, the natives are protected in a manner which would have been regarded as impossible under the old system of administration, and Australia constantly receives high praise for the way in which it is carrying out its obligations as a mandatory. The natives are safeguarded by the operation of ordinances relating to drugs, liquor and arms traffic, recruitment of labour and other humanitarian measures. The Native Labour Ordinance of 1922 made drastic changes in the treatment of natives as compared with that pertaining under the old administration. There is clear evidence that while, under German administration, the population of districts long open to recruiters declined, the present safeguards have not only arrested such decline, but have actually increased population. Whereas the native population in 1921-22 was 250,000, the total counted population in 1934-35 was 478,000. The large expansion of the medical service and the expenditure on medicines have materially raised the health standards of the natives, whilst the educational facilities established by the Commonwealth Government have increased the number of pupils attending schools by over 100 per cent, during the last ten years. The development of roads, shipping and air transport communications have all contributed to the well-being and contentment of the natives, and Australia can well be proud of the manner in which its trust is being discharged.

The considerations I have mentioned, however, are those of Australian national interest, and it is well also to take a broad international view of the matter.

It was to restrain Italy’s present act of aggression and to establish firmly the principle of collective security and action against future aggressors, that League members, including Australia, have accepted join! responsibility under article 16 of the Covenant, and have imposed various sanctions.

For the future peace and welfare of mankind, this principle of collective security must be definitely settled and firmly established before the revision of treaties or territorial and economic readjustment can receive proper consideration.

British policy, including Australian policy, is based on peace and international law and order, for which the League offers the only safe foundation. Therefore, any re-adjustment or general settlement in the interests of world peace must be within the framework of international justice and order, and not the result of a demand of right. At the same time, there is a general realization that in an intensely dynamic world, peace and stability cannot be ensured if the international structure is so static and so inelastic that it cannot meet constantly changing needs and circumstances. The framers of the Covenant realized this, by including article 19 which provides: -

The Assembly may from time to time advise the reconsideration by Members of the League of treaties which have become inapplicable and the consideration of international conditions whose continuance might endanger the peace of the world.

The indefinite maintenance of the status quo on the conditions prescribed by the peace treaties which followed the Great War has already proved unworkable in practice, and persistence along such lines will only lead to a further breakdown of the sanctity of international obligations.

Great Britain has given a lead to the world by stating at Geneva that it is prepared to examine and consider the subject of access to raw materials as a contribution to the alleviation of unrest and in the interests of world peace. A further declaration was made by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the House of Commons on the 5 th. December last when he stated: -

I then said, and I say it again now, that there is anxiety in the world, particularly in the countries which do not possess raw materials, lest they should lie held up to ransom and lest their national life should be endangered by a scarcity of the raw materials which they require. I -said then and I say it again now that I believe this problem to bc an economic and not a political or territorial problem. I believe that when it comes to hu investigated it will be found that the problem is one of selling raw materials rather than buying raw materials. At the same time, I admit the fact that there are these anxieties in the world and, as they exist, my own view is that they had better be investigated. As far as the Government are concerned we have already had such an investigation, but we take the view definitely that an investigation of this kind must take place in a calm, dispassionate atmosphere, and that you cannot discuss this question with any hope of finding a reasonable settlement in an atmosphere of war.

At the same time, Great Britain has emphasized that the prerequisite for any economic adjustments must be a non-war atmosphere, and that action must be taken within the framework of the League.

Honorable senators will no doubt agree that this is the correct view to take, for the authority of the League must be firmly established and recognized by all the parties concerned before Great Britain, or any nation could consider practical proposals for economic readjustment; otherwise the handing over of national rights and interests on the demand of a powerful nation could only result in international anarchy. In effect, it would amount to a submission to blackmail - the temporary buying-off of any aggressive nation. Participation in such a policy would mean the repudiation of all that the League is striving for in the present Ita.lo-Abyssinian dispute. It would never effect security, for immediately other nations similarly inclined would demand their price for non-aggression. International peace and order would become meaningless terms, and we would see the enthronement of might over right and the substitution of the rule of the jungle for the rule of law. Under such a regime the territorial integrity and independence of Australia, as well as that of all other weak States, would be in constant jeopardy.

For this reason alone, it is unthinkable that Australia should even consider the handing over of any territory.

Every country is entitled to examine any international issue in the light of its own security and national interests, and the inviolability and integrity of our Australian territories is as much one of the cardinal aims of our people as is the White Australia policy.

In this respect, I reiterate what the Prime Minister has already said in the House of Representatives, namely, that that the Commonwealth Government wholeheartedly concurred in the ministerial statement recently in the House of Commons that the British Government had not considered and was not considering the handing over of any of the British colonies or territories held under mandate.

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Sixteenth Assembly: Report of Australian Delegation

Minister for External Affairs · Western Australia · UAP

[11.20]. - by leave - I lay on the table of the Senate the report of the Australian delegation to the Sixteenth Assembly of the League of Nations, which was held at Geneva in September and October, 1935, and move -

That the paper he printed.

The Australian delegation consisted of the Rt. Hon. S. M. Bruce, CIL, M.C.; F. L. Mc.Dougall, Esq., C.M.G.; Professor T. Hytten, M.A.. and Mrs. B. M. Rischbieth, O.B.E., J’.P. The work of last year’s Assembly was naturally overshadowed by the Italo-Abyssinian dispute. It will be remembered that it was on the 10th October that the Assembly was called upon to record its opinion on the decision of the Council of the League that Italy had resorted to war in violation of the Covenant, and to co-ordinate, in conjunction with the Council, the appropriate measure? to he taken under article 1G of the Covenant in connexion with sanctions. This matter has already been dealt with in the Senate in connexion with the Sanctions Bill, so there is no need to touch further on this aspect of the work of the Assembly.

In connexion with the subject of women’s nationality, it was impossible, as anticipated, to obtain anything like unanimity as to the desirability and practicability of equality of nationality for women, and the Assembly resolution on the subject merely recommended the early ratification of the Hague Nationality Convention by signatory States, and directed attention to the recent treaty drawn up at Monte Video, providing for equality of nationality for women. This treaty is open to accession by all countries. Certain States, as will be seen from the report, were in favour of equality of treatment between the sexes in this matter, but there were many delegates who held that they could not accept, the principle that the nationality of a married woman should be independent of that of her husband. In this connexion, it was pointed out that the difference of nationality as between husband and wife might conceivably affect adversely the unity of the family and the wife’s civil rights and position in time of war. Owing to the obvious diversity of opinion on the whole subject, the Assembly took the view that no provision beyond that embodied in the Hague Convention appeared possible at the present time. Honorable senators are aware that the Commonwealth Nationality Bill, which was introduced last year, embodies the provisions of the Hague Convention in question. The Commonwealth Government intends to proceed with this measure at an early date.

A very important matter was raised by the Australian delegation, namely, that of the problem of nutrition in relation to public health. Mr. Bruce pointed out that this matter, which was primarily a public health problem, had now become also a social and economic ma tter closely related to the difficulties experienced by the farming industry in disposing of surplus foodstuffs. He suggested that the essence of the problem was to be found in the paradox of glutted markets for the farmer, while large masses of the population were not consuming as much food as was necessary to attain a reasonable measure of health. The problem, he said was accentuated by the economic crisis, which resulted in agricultural countries losing purchasing power through the destruction of markets in industrial countries, whose trade barriers had been increased and whose purchases of food had decreased. It appeared from the debate on this subject that the view was generally held that the root of the agricultural depression lay, not in over-production, but in under-consumption, and it was emphasized that efforts should be made to expand rather than to restrict markets. The Health Organization of the League reported that in many countries there was a very great danger that wide-spread under-nourishment would in the course of time involve serious health problems. The Health Organization was invited by the assembly to develop its work of investigation in relation to public health, and, concurrently with that study, certain other technical organs of the League, in collaboration with the International Labour Office and the International

Institute of Agriculture, are to examine the economic and financial aspects of the subject in connexion with, measures already adopted in various countries towards improving nutrition and mitigating the plight of agriculture. This investigation is now proceeding.

It will be remembered that the Australian Government delegate at the International Labour Conference last year, (Sir Frederick Stewart), raised this matter of nutrition in relation to agriculture, and was instrumental in focussing the attention of the representatives of over 50 countries on this important subject. When abroad last year Mr. Lyons drew international attention to this subject of nutrition and its relation to underconsumption of agricultural products.

In view of the social and humanitarian importance of this matter and its interest to Australia as a great producer and exporter of agricultural products, and the lead taken by Australia at the International Labour Conference and the League Assembly for international cooperation, the Commonwealth Government felt that it was incumbent upon it to take some action with a view to an internal survey, and consequent improvement of the general health and condition of our own people. Therefore, it has recently decided to create for this purpose a Central Advisory Council consisting of scientific and other representatives with the Commonwealth Director-General of Health as Chairman. It is also proposed to appoint local committees in all the States.

The other matters discussed at the assembly, which are of varying degrees of importance, do not require special mention at this stage, and honorable senators are invited to peruse the report for full information in connexion therewith.

Debate (on motion by Senator COLLINGS) adjourned.

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The following papers were presented : -

Reports by the Honorable Sir Frederick Stewart, M.P., embodying the results of his investigations abroad in relation to Employment and Social Insurance, dated 14th November, 1935, and 4th December, 1935, respectively.

Financial Emergeney Act - Regulations amended-Statutory Rules 1936, No. 24.

Sanations Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1935, No. 116- No. 117- No. 118.

Customs Act- Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1936, No. 27.

Excise Aot - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1936, No. 26.

Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Aot - Ordinances of1936 -

No. 1 - Brands.

No. 2 - Coroners.

No. 3 - Buildings.

Slaughtering Ordinance -Regulations amended.

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Senator COLLETT:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that regarding the importation of motor cars, or parts thereof, the percentage of those of British origin has shown, of late, a marked shrinkage?
  2. Is it a fact thatthe supply of Australianmade bodies for British cars is most irregular and unsatisfactory and that orders to factories are only filled after long delays?
  3. Is it a fact that orders for British bodies, placed by Western Australian distributors with eastern States manufacturers, are as much as six months in arrears and that the sale of cars has, in consequence, almost ceased?
  4. Is the delay mentioned in questions 2 and 3 above caused by a preponderance of American interests in the body-building factories, or through an arrangement between the manufacturers and vendors to give preference to American cars?
Senator A J McLACHLAN:

– The Minister for Trade and Customs informs me that the information is being obtained.

Senator SAMPSON:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that importers of British cars are unable to get delivery of Australian-made bodies owing to builders having more orders than they can cope with and being engaged almost exclusively on American cars?
  2. Will he take steps to give relief to British car manufacturers, who are reported to be sustaining serious loss awaiting bodies ordered months ago?
Senator A J McLACHLAN:

– The Minister for Trade and Customs informs me that the information is being obtained.

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Royal Commission

Senator HARDY:

asked the Leader of the Senate, upon notice -

Will the Government print and make available to senators, copies of the detailed evidence now being submitted by witnesses to the Banking Commission?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The Government has approved of the printing of such evidence as, in the opinion of the commission, is likely to be of permanent public value. Copies are being made available at a nominal figure to all who wish to obtain them. As the evidence is printed it will be made available in the Library for the information of members of the legislature.

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Senator BROWN:

asked the Leader of the Senate, upon notice -

  1. Has Sir Henry Gullett made a report to the Government of his activities during his recent tour of Europe?
  2. If so. when will the report be available to senators?

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. Sir Henry Gullett, immediately upon his return from the United Kingdom and Europe, submitted a full report to the Government uponhis trade treaty negotiations while abroad. His negotiations are still proceeding and as this report is a Cabinet paper it cannot be made public

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asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. Has the Government received an urgent request from the Premier of Western Austialia, the Honorable P. Collier, for further Commonwealth assistance to the pearl-shell industry at Broome, Western Australia, which, it is reported, has not yet recovered from last year’s hurricane disaster?
  2. If so, can the Minister give further financial assistance to this isolated industry in order to save it from extinction ?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The Treasurer has supplied the following answers : -

  1. Yes.
  2. The Commonwealth has already contributed£ 7,500 towards the pearling industry at Broome, including £5,000 for assistance in connexion with the hurricane disaster. The request for further assistance is receiving consideration.

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Second Reading

Minister for External Affairs · Western Australia · UAP

[11.30]. - I move-

That thebillbe now read a second time.

This bill relates to the amendment of sections G and 8 of the Loan (Farmers’ Debt Adjustment) Act 1935. Subsection 3 of section 6 of that act provides that no grant is to be made under the act to a State unless or until there is in force in the State legislation constituting an authority empowered, on application being made to it, and at its discretion, to take action having the effect of suspending, either wholly or in part, the rights of any secured or unsecured creditor of a farmer against that farmer. Each of the States has now passed legislation to give effect to the Commonwealth proposals for the composition of farmers’ debts, and an amount of £12,000,000 is being granted to the States by the Commonwealth for that purpose. An examination of the State acts has indicated that, whilst the acts afford farmers reasonable facilities and protection for relief in respect of debts owing by them, some of them do not strictly comply with the terms of sub-section 3 of section 6. There are certain debts, as, for instance a debt of alimony due by a farmer which could not legitimately be adjusted under a scheme of this nature, as they have no relation whatsoever to farming operations, and some States have provided for the exception of those debts. Some States have also made provision for an agreement being entered into between debtor and creditor whereby the debtor undertakes not to seek a composition under this act. That is a reasonable provision and does not militate against the general operation of the scheme. The State acts in question do not, however, deprive farmers of their generalrights to participate in the relief provided from Commonwealth funds.

Accordingly, it is considered desirable that an amendment should be made in section 6 by eliminating all words after the word “ legislation “ appearing in subsection 3 of that section and inserting in their stead the words “ which is declared by proclamation to be legislation which affords farmers reasonable facilities for relief in respect of debts owing by them “. Sub-section 3 as proposed to bo amended would read : -

  1. No grant shall bc made under this act to a State unless or until there is in force in the State legislation which is declared by proclamation to bo legislation which affords farmers reasonable facilities for relief in respect of debts owing by them.

It is further proposed that the amendment is to be deemed to have commenced on the date of commencement of the principal act, the reason being that actionhas already been taken under the act. It is necessary that the amendment should so commence as certain States have already received advances from the Commonwealth fund and certificates will have to be issued in respect of the act operating.

A slight amendment to section 8 which deals with certificates to be supplied by the Commonwealth Auditor-General is also proposed. There is some doubt as to whether the wording of that section, as it now stands, permits of the AuditorGeneral submitting his certificate within the time stated in the act. The amendment is being made in order to remove any doubts that may exist in regard to this matter. As one who has followed closely the action, taken in the various States, I am aware, as are other honorable senators, of the great difficulty which was experienced in some States in getting the two houses of the legislature into agreement on these measures. Although members of State governments attending a conference may agree to pass uniform legislation, they sometimes find difficulty in getting such legislation through both houses of their Parliaments. Nevertheless, the main principles laid down by the Commonwealth as a condition of this grant have been substantially embodied in the legislation of all the States. I give the Senate an assurance that that is so. In detail, however, the acts are not uniform, and the bill now before the Senate has been introduced in order to allow for greater elasticity. The Crown Law officers of the Commonwealth have advised that, in view of the lack of uniformity in the several acts, it would not be possible to implement certain provisions of the Commonwealth act. I confidently ask the Senate to accept the bill.


– The Opposition will not oppose the passage of this bill, because it is desirous that the primary producers of this country should, as early as possible, be given the measure of assistance which has already been agreed to.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate.

Standing and Sessional Orders suspended; report adopted.

Bill read a third time.

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Senator BRENNAN:
Acting Attorney-General · Victoria · UAP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This is a bill to effect certain minor amendments to the act of last year dealing with the establishment of a board to control the export of meat. With perhaps one exception, to which I shall refer presently, no principle is involved. If necessary, I shall explain the amendments in greater detail when the bill reaches the committee stage. I point out now, however, that the existing act provides for the appointment of a deputy in the event of the absence, through illness or otherwise, of a member of the board. That provision it is proposed to amend by ‘ a clause which sets out that, if the absent member ofthe board is a member of the committee, the powers and functions of his deputy shall extend to enable such deputy to carry out the duties of the person for whom he acts as a member of the committee also.

Section 11 of the principal act deals with the appointment of an executive committee. An amendment is proposed in order to bring the commencing date of the committee into the month of July. No principle is involved in the proposed amendment.

Perhaps the most interesting provision in the bill is that which has to do with, the fees payable to members of the board.

As most honorable senators are aware, the Constitution of the Commonwealth, as indeed is the case with the Constitutions of most of the States, prohibits any member of Parliament from accepting any office of profit under the Crown. It so happens that among the persons chosen as members of the Meat Board are two members of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, and one member of the Federal Parliament. It is feared that they would automatically vacate their seats in the Parliaments in which they sit if they accepted an office to which an emolument was attached. This bill guards against that danger. Under it, those members of Parliament who have been chosen as members of the Meat Board, and whose services it is desired to retain, may continue as members of the Meat Board since they have patriotically offered to forgo the fees payable to them. They will be entitled to only out-of-pocket expenses and therefore will not infringe the provision of the Constitution which precludes them from holding an office of profit under the Crown. There are two other minor amendments which can, if necessary, foe discussed in committee. As no new principle is involved, I trust that the bill will have a speedy passage.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

I n committee :

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 -

  1. 1 ) Sub-section eleven of the principal ant is amended - (b)by adding at the end thereof the following sub-sections : - “ (9) The Executive Committee may co-opt any member of the Board to attend such meetings of the Executive Committee as the Committee determines. “(10.) Any member who is co-opted in pursuance of the last preceding subsection shall act in an advisory capacity only, but shall be entitled to receive such fees and expenses as arc payable under this act to a member of a Committee.”. (2.) Upon the election of an Executive Committee in the month of July, One thousand nine hundredand thirty-six, the Executive Committee elected in the month on January, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-six, shall cease to hold office.
Senator BRENNAN:
Acting Attorney-General · Victoria · UAP

– I move -

That sub-clause 2 be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following: - (2.) Until the election of an Executive Committee in the month of July in the year One thousand nine hundred and thirty-six, the Executive Committee elected by the Board in the month of January in that year shall be the Executive Committee of the Australian Meat Board for the purposes of the principal act as amended by this act.

The act as it now stands provides for the election of an executive committee at the same time as the election of the chairman in July of each year, and it was thought by the draftsman that that might leave some doubt concerning the executive committee elected in January last. This amendment provides that the executive committee elected in January shall hold office until it is replaced by the new executive elected in July.


– Will the Acting Attorney-General (Senator Brennan) state whether under proposed new sub-section 10 the executive can co-opt a representative of the workers in the meat industry to attend meetings of the executive?

Senator Brennan:

– No. This provides that only members of the board may be co-opted to serve on the executive.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause as amended agreed to.

Clause 4 - (1.) Section thirteen of the principal act is repealed and the following section inserted in its stead : - “13. - (1.) Members of the Board and of any committee of the Board, and the deputies of any such members while acting as such, shall be entitled to receive fees and expenses as provided in this section in respect of attendance at meetings or whilst engaged (whether in Australia or overseas) on such business of the Board on the Board determines.” (2.) This section shall be deemed to have commencedon the second day of March, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-six.

Senator BRENNAN:
Acting Attorney-General · Victoria · UAP

– I move -

That the words “ secondday of March, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-six “ subsection (2.) proposed new section13, beleft out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ date of the commencement of the principal act”.

This clause deals with the payment of members of the board, and as a measure of greater precaution it is considered desirable to make the amendment which I have moved.

Amendment agreed to.

Clauseas amended agreed to.

Clauses 5 and 6 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments.

Standing and Sessional Orders suspended; report adopted.

Bill read a third time.

Silting suspended from 11.56 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.

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Minister for External Affairs · Western Australia · UAP

[3.30]. - As the business which we had expected to receive from the House of Representatives is not likely to be ready this afternoon, I move -

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Tuesday next, at 3 p.m.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjournedat 3.31 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 13 March 1936, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.