15th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to direct a question to you, Mr. President, concerning the lifts operating in Parliament House. Is it a fact that the operation of the lifts used to convey honorable senators to the floor on which this chamber is situated costs £2 a day? You were good enough to make arrangements for lifts to be run on Saturdays and Sundays for the convenience of those using” the building, but a cost of £2 a day for such a service is prohibitive. In these circumstances, I ask if you will be good enough to bring ‘before the House1 Committee the advisability of arranging that one of the central lifts he fitted with an. alternating current instead of a direct current motor so that -it can be controlled under the electrical system operating in the city ofCanberra. Electricity supplied in this city is alternating current and the motors which drive the lifts in Parliament House are operated on direct current. - Under this system it is necessary to employ an engineer to start a 75 horse-power motor in order to operate one of the lifts between the two floors in Parliament House. If- you could bring this matter before the House Committee, and arrange for one lift to be adapted to alternating current, the cost would be a fraction of a penny instead of what itis reported to be at present.
– The honorable senator was good enough to acquaint me of the position, -and I agree with what ho has said. I shall bring the matter under the notice of the House Committee.
SenatorCOLLINGS. - I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister -
– The Government is doing all in its power to push on with new works. It is fully conscious of the position of the unemployed, -and the passage of the Supply and Development Bill now before the chamber will assist very materially in providing work for the unemployed.
– On the 1st June Senator Darcey asked the Minister representing the Treasurer the following questions, upon notice: -
The Assistant Treasurerhas supplied the following answers : -
– On the 31st May
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer the following question, upon notice: -
From what fund or source, or by what method, was money obtained by the CommonwealthBank and subscribed by it to the last three internal loans, including the conversion loan?
The Assistant Treasurer has supplied the following answer: -
The bank operates as a savings bank, a trading bank and a central bank and the subscriptions were made from its resources resulting from these different functions.
Tax and Benefits
– On the 1st June Senator Collings asked a question regarding the benefits received by residents of Canberra who contribute hospital tax at the rate of1s. 6d. fortnightly in accordance with the provisions of the Canberra Community Hospital Ordinance. The Minister for Health has supplied the following particulars regarding the benefits : -
The Hospital Tax Ordinance 1939 provides for the payment of the tax in accordance with the following table: -
In addition to accommodation in the wards of the Canberra Community Hospital at the rate of £2 2s. a, week, the following services are free of charge to qualified taxpayers and residents: -
Massage and diathermy treatment:
Sera, vaccines, biological extracts, hypodermic injections, oxygen and other special requirements;
Ionization, sutures, dressings and instrumentation examination;
The following additional benefits are available:
The Canberra Community Hospital Board may, at its discretion, pay up to £2 2s. a week for a period not exceeding eight weeks in any twelve months for public, intermediate or private ward accommodation in a hospital approved’ by the board in any State, incurred by a bona fide taxpayer or resident provided that the board is satisfied that - (a.) effective treatment of the person or his dependant was not possible at the Canberra Hospital, or
– On the 30th May, Senator Brown asked the following questions, upon notice: -
The Minister for Defence has supplied the following answers: -
– On the 17th May, Senator Cameron asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice–
Has the Minister’s attention been directed to a report which appeared in the Age of the 25th April, which stated that the Prahran Council (Victoria), in consequence of no provision being made by the State Government for sustenance workers who had enlisted in the militia and wore required to go to camp, had recommended that such workers be paid an allowance equal to the basic wage while they were in camp? If not, will the Minister direct that inquiries be made as to the correctness or otherwise of the report, but, if so, has he taken any action in the matter?
The Minister for Defence has supplied the following answer: -
– On the 1st June. Senator Arthur asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister the following questions, upon notice : -
The Prime Minister has furnished the following replies: -
– On the 31st May. SenatorFraser asked the Minister representing the Treasurer the following questions, upon notice : -
The Assistant Treasurer has supplied the following answers: - 1. (a) Sir Claude Reading, K.C.M.G. (Chairman) ; (b) Alex F. Bell, Esq., C.M.G.; (c) R. S. Drummond, Esq.;(d) M. B. Duffy, Esq.; (e) Professor L. F. Giblin, D.S.O., M.C., M.A.: (f) S. G. McFarlane, Esq., C.M.G., M.B.E., Secretary to the Treasury; and (g) Sir Harry Sheehan, C.B.E., Governor of the Bank. 2. (a) Commerce and industry; (6) commerce and industry; (c) agriculture; (d) commerce and industry; (e) finance and agriculture; and (f) and (g) directors ex-officio.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answer : -
By a judgment of the High Court delivered this morning, this legislation was held to be valid.
Employment of Aliens - Proposed Journal : Advertising - Appointment of Editor - Fees Paid to Madame Lotte Lehmann
– On the 17th May, Senator Eraser asked the following questions, upon notice: -
The following information has now been furnished by the Australian Broadcasting Commission: -
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The Postmaster-Generalhas supplied the following answers: -
The Australian Broadcasting Commission has furnished the following information: -
Yes. but with certain exceptions. While section 21 of the act provides that the commission shall not broadcast advertisements, it then goes on to say that - “nothing in this sect. on’ shall be construed as preventing the commission from broadcasting, if it thinks fit (o) any announcements of its own future programmes; (f>) a programme supplied by any organization, firm or person engaged in artistic, literary, musical or theatrical production or in educational pursuits; or (c) a programme supplied by any organization, firm or person, provided the programme, is not, in the opinion, of the commission, being used as an advertisement.”
It will be seen from the answer to No. 2 that Parliament has recognized the right of thu commission to advertise in connexion with its own activities, and it is therefore not inconsistent for the commission to accept advertisements in its own journal, especially as the act also imposes on it the obligation to “exercise the powers and functions conferred and imposed upon it by this act, in such a manner that its operations will be financially selfsupporting.”
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
With reference to the reply given to the question asked by Senator Collings on the 30th May concerning the appointment of Mr. S. H. Deamer, as the editor of the journal proposed to be published by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, is the commission entitled to make such an appointment, requiring outstanding journalistic ability, without reference to the Australian Journalists Association, and without pub’ic advertisement to give other pas sib’ e applicants of equally high qualifications, the opportunity to apply for the position.
Senator McBRIDE (through Senator Collett). -
The Australian Broadcasting Commission has furnished the following information: -
It is not necessary, or even advisable, to advertise vacancies in all cases. Where the position is of such a kind that the advertisement may bring to light desirable candidates who might not otherwise be known to the commission, the commission’s policy is to advertise. Where, however, the position is such that the candidate must be a man of proven experience and ability, all the potentially desirable men will be already known to the commission. In this case, for example, the commission needed an editor for an important task. He had to be an experienced and tested man. Men answering this description would, by the very nature of their calling, be well known. From among these the commission made its choice of Mr. Deamer
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Senator McBRIDE (through Senator Collett). - The Postmaster-General has supplied the following answers: -
The Australian Broadcasting Commission has furnished the following information: -
It is undesirable in the business interests of both the commission and the artists to make such information public.
New National Stations in Western Australia - Existing National Stations - Listeners’ Licence Fee.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The Postmaster-General has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
Senator McBRIDE (through Senator Collett). - The Postmaster-General has supplied the following answers : -
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The Postmaster-General has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers: -
Duty on Motor Chassis - Bounty on Production.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice - .
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers: -
Assistance to States - Employment Provided
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.
Cancellation of Naturalization
asked the Leader of the Senate, upon notice -
Following the introduction of legislation in Canada automatically cancelling the naturalization of aliens convicted of spreading subversive propaganda, will the Commonwealth Government consider introducing similar legislation in Australia?
– The suggestion of the honorable senator will receive consideration.
Senator ABBOTT (through Senator
Will the Government consider the advisability of protecting the public from financial panic in time of war or other sudden emergency by making a pronouncement before and not after such event that the Commonwealth stands fully behind all our present banking institutions ?
– The honorable senator can rest . assured that in the event of a sudden emergency, the Government will take all action that may be necessary in the interests of thecommunity.
Percentage of Successful Applications
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
What percentage ofapplications to the New South Wales Branch of the Repatriation Department has been successful since the amendment of the. Act in 1937?
– The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following answer : - -
The principal amendment of the Act in 1937 was that which permitted the grant of war pension to wives married or children born to incapacitated soldiers on or before 30th June. 1938. Including such applicants, the percent-“ age of successful applications in New South Wales for war and/or service pension is 65.13 per cent.
asked- the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Is it a fact that the Defence Department is finding it extremely difficult to secure a suitable supply of remounts for training recruits?
– The Minister for Defence has supplied the following answer : -
Although it must be recognized that good types of cavalry and artillery horses are becoming scarce throughout Australia, very little difficulty has been experienced so far in obtaining the small number required for army purposes each year.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The Minister for Defence has supplied the following answers : -
Sir Colin Fraser.
Sir Alexander Stewart.
The Honorable F. P. Kneeshaw, O.B.E.. M.L.C.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notices-
– The Postmaster-General has furnished the following information : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The Minister for Defence has supplied the following answers : -
Victoria (two annexes). - [a,) Land being provided by the Government of Victoria without expense to the Commonwealth; (6) Estimated cost £56,500 for two annexes; and (c) Estimated cost £20,500 for two annexes.
South Australia (tool room annexe). - (a.) Land being provided by South Australian Government without expense to the Common wealth; (6) Estimated cost £22,000; and (c) Building will be provided by South Australian Government without expense to the Commonwealth.
Contracts have not yet been executed in all cases, nor are details of the actual expenditure available, as these are dependent on certain factors, such as the’ final costs of buildings and of plant being obtained from overseas, which are not yet known. In view of these circumstances, the Government does not consider it is in the public interest to disclose details at this stage.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for Supply and Development has supplied the following answer : -
Definite contracts have not yet been executed in all cases, nor are details of actual expenditure available. In view of these circumstances, and bearing in mind that negotiations arn in progress, the Government considers that it would be contrary to the public interest to disclose details at this stage.
Bill received from the House of Representatives and (on motion by Senator MoLeay) read a first time.
Proposed Additions: Motion for Inquiry by Public Works Committee.
Debate resumed from the 1st June (vide page 1054), on motion by Senator
That, in the opinion of this Senate, the proposed work of the erection of additions to the General Post Office, Sydney, should be at once referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for early inquiry and report, and in the meantime no action should be taken to enter into any contract in relation to this work. upon which Senator Allan MacDonald had moved, by way of amendment -
That the words “in the opinion of this Senate” be left out; that the words “the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works “ be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ a Select Committee of the Senate consisting of Senators A. J. McLachlan, Keane andE. B. Johnston “.
Order of the day discharged.
Debate resumed from the 1st June (vide page 1058). on motion by Senator FOLL -
That thebill be now read a second time.
– I must first definitely register the feelings of the Opposition on the usual end of the session rush. I understand that the Government intends to try to conclude the session on Friday next. I desire to make the position of the Opposition perfectly clear on tin’s matter, because we shall not allow our rights and privileges to be interfered with in any way. We certainly shall not agree to any shortening of this debate. The Opposition is in no way responsible for the adjournment of the Senate from last Thursday until to-day. Although we did ask for an adjournment of the debate for one day, we were quite prepared to resume the debate on Saturday or Monday, had the Government so desired. This bill was debated for nearly three weeks in the House of Representatives. On behalf of the Opposition, I made an arrangement with the Leader of the Senate that he should move the second reading on Thursday night and that I should secure the adjournment of the debate. Prior to that I had sent the following letter to the Leader of the Senate: -
As it is not possible to get a talk with you at. the moment. I think it is right that I should inform you that if the Supply and Development Bill 1939 reaches the Senate to-night, as I understand it may,I am not prepared to proceed withthe second reading to-morrow.
To expect mo or other members of the Opposition to make themselves intelligently acquainted in a few hours with the provisions of a bill which has occupied the attention of the House of Representatives for three weeks, and is now not by any means the same as when there introduced, is either to overestimate our capacity or it is an insult to the Senate as a whole and to myself as Leader of the Opposition.
The honorable senator was at a Cabinet meeting. I desire the support of honorable senators who are opposed to the continued belittlement of this branch of the legislature. This is not the junior branch of Parliament; it is the senior branch, and we are entitled to all our rights. Besides, we have the further responsibility of preventing any additional encroachment upon them. The Opposition has no intention of submitting to any all-night sittings, and if the Government uses brutal methods to force them on us, we shall resist to the last. Nevertheless, there will will he something- doing in the interim. I suggest definitely that this is a measure in respect of which the Government should see that we are allowed to carry out the functions for which the Opposition exists so that we may render satisfactory service to the taxpayers of the community.
– Will the honorable senator preserve us from tedious repetition ?
– It is not my province to instruct any member of the
Opposition what he should do. I hope that the fight will be carried on vigorously and, of course, decorously by my colleagues. In no circumstances whatever shall we submit to sit any later than 11.30 p.m.- On previous occasions I have simply threatened, but now I am able to tell the Government emphatically what the decision of the Opposition is. It is the Minister’s responsibility to use his influence with the Government to see that business is ready for the Senate to function in a proper way. During the recent recess the present Prime Minister said in a broadcast address, “I am just a plain Australian.” Then w<e had his war cry - “ full steam ahead “. Ahead to where ?
– It is full steam ahead to the high lights of Sydney and Melbourne, full steam ahead into recess; but the Prime Minister will not get into recess as early as he thinks he will. He is fighting to enter the haven of recess in order to protect himself from justifiable criticism by the Opposition in this chamber and in the House of Representatives.
– To protect himself from the criticism of his followers.
– It is a Donnybrook Fair on the Government side, but on our side there will be no complaint from dissatisfied office seekers. We are content to wait until the electors appoint us to undertake ministerial responsibility.
– What about the bill?’
– When my colleagues and I have completed our comments the Minister will not have his present happy smile.
This is a unique occasion. There never was a greater need or a better opportunity for this chamber to fulfil its historic mission as a bouse of review than that presented by the consideration of this bill. I. can assure the Ministers that we shall search every line of this measure, and we shall submit it to effective constructive criticism. Every member of the Opposition stands pledged by his personal signature and his political faith to the proper defence of the Commonwealth against aggression to the full limit of the capacity of its people and its resources. I am registering that statement now in order to circumvent untruthful and cowardly propa ganda after the debate has been finished. In general the bill provides for the transfer to the Department of Supply and Development of the function of providing supplies for the defence forces, and to this end the new department will control all the factories established under the Defence Act, together with the personnel of those establishments. I suggest that those to be charged with the administration of the act should see that the new department does not become a slave of routine, but that it should proceed from the outset to master routine. It should not have the circumlocutory methods of many departments that are almost strangled with red tape. The new department is to continue m existence so long as the legislation remains in force, and the period specified by the bill is five years. The defence establishments that are to be taken over are- The Ammunition Factory, Footscray, Victoria ; the Commonwealth Clothing Factory, South Melbourne, Victoria; the Explosives Factory, Maribyrnong, Victoria; the Ordnance Factory. Maribyrnong, Victoria; the Small Arms Factory/Lithgow, New South Wales ; and the Munitions Supply Laboratories, Maribyrnong, Victoria. In addition, eighteen- industrial annexes now in process of being established will also pass to the Department of Supply and Development. I understand that about £1,000,000 has been allocated for them. The new department is to have the advice of various panels and committees, several of which are already functioning. In other words, it is suggested that there is nobody inside the department capable of carrying on the intensive work required by tie amalgamation of a portion of the defence forces. Accordingly, the Government has gone outside for the Advisory Panel on Industrial Organization, the Economic and Financial Committee, the Standing Committee on Liquid Fuels, and the Advisory Panel of Accountants.
– All the committees are doing good work.
– Is it that the Public Service is not qualified to undertake the work to be done ? Is it necessary on every occasion to go outside the Public Service, allegedly because the talent required is not inside that Service? I deny that such a state of affairs exists. It must be remembered that often these bodies emerge greater than their creator and dominate the Government of the day.
I propose to deal in some detail with the statements made by the Minister for the Interior (Senator Foll) when moving the second reading of the bill. I may add that this chamber got exactly what I expected it would get from the honorable gentleman, but not what was due to it. The Minister, referring to the proposed expenditure of £26,000,000 on defence for the present year, said -
This immense expenditure, however,has imposed upon the defence administration, as now constituted, an increasingly heavy burden, which has been carried up to the present time by Ministers for Defence and by the department in such a manner as to evoke the unstinted admiration of this Parliament and of the people.
That is a deliberate misstatement of the facts. “We know that one Minister for Defence was defeated at the poll by his own party. So far from the Government’s defence proposal evoking the unstinted admiration of the Parliament and the people, we know that they have been responsible, for internal wrangling and dissension. The elections for Wakefield and Griffith have disclosed the opinion of the people on this Government’s policy, because in both electorates the Prune Minister made his policy for the defence of Australia the issue and the Government candidates were defeated. The more recent by-election for Wilmot is another instance of the Government’s incapacity to satisfy the desires of the people. The Minister went on to say, referring to this proposed new department -
The function of this associate department to the Defence Department will be not only to supply munitions and allied equipment as required by the fighting services, but also to co-ordinate the industrial development and, indeed, to survey and develop to the maximum the great resources of our continent.
The bill does not contain a single provision for investigating the resources of the Commonwealth as regards the health of the people, and that, I contend, is one of the prime needs of defence.
– We have -a- Health Department.
– That is true, but there is nothing in the Commonwealth law regarding public health to make possible an investigation of the nation’s resources in respect of the health of its people. Nor does the bill contain one word about employment or the construction of strategic roads or railways.
– We cannot include everything in one bill.
– It is apparent that this Government does not know the needs of the continent. The Minister went on to say -
The staffs to be transferred to the new department will carry with them all the rights and privileges accruing to them, and, at the end of the period of operation of the act, will be taken back upon the strength of the Defence Department.
I am asking the Minister now what provision there will be with regard to the security of men who may be transferred from one department for employment in the proposed new department. We know what happens so often in the case of officers seconded for service from one department to another. In many instances junior officers are appointed to higher positions and the officer who has been seconded finds, upon returning to his own department, that he has lost a certain amount of status and seniority. Is the Government determined to preserve the rights of all officers in this respect, and also will officers transferred to a higher qualification for the performance of higher duties receive higher pay? In the Queensland Public Service, an officer temporarily ‘transferred from one department to another for the performance of higher duties receives the higher salary while he is so occupied. I also wish to know what will happen to officers appointed to this new department at the end of the five years fixed in the bill. Will they be treated as some were treated who transferred from existing Common- . wealth departments to the national insurance branch? The Minister said further -
In the meantime many thousands of tools, jigs and gauges have been ordered both in England and in Australia.
When were these goods ordered in England? I have in my mind questions asked by Senators Brown and Ashley not so long ago, and I know exactly what steps have been taken to have them manufactured in Australia. The Minister cannot for ever evade- answering questions of this nature , on the ground that it is inadvisable in the interests of the Commonwealth to disclose for example where anti-aircraft guns are located on the Queensland coast. We know for a fact that they are not there. The Minister said further -
Similarly, with regard to cartridge-making machinery for the ammunition factory, more than 200 machines are being made in various Australian engineering shops.
There is not a railway workshop throughout Australia that is not competent in respect of both equipment and man-power, to make any article in connexion with the munitions supply. Referring to the Government’s decision to establish annexes, the Minister said -
In all cases the manufacturer will make the land available; in nearly all cases the Government will erect the building; but in some isolated cases, the manufacturer will erect the necessary structure.
Is not the Commonwealth Works Department capable of carrying out this work in any par,t of Australia? The Minister went on to say -
At the end of the ten-year period, the contract may be renewed at the option of the Government.
The bill fixes a five-year period for the functioning of this proposed new Department of Supply and Development. This being so, what is the meaning of the Minister’s reference to a ten-year period ?
Sena>tor Foll. - .The bill does not prevent a. contract from being, made for a longer period than five years.
– Of course it does not. That is why I am asking for information. Does the Minister expect that this arrangement will be continued for ten years?
– We hope not.
– I am not so sure that the Minister and his colleagues have, that hope. He told us further that -
On completion of the educational order, the annexes will be closed down until such time as it becomes necessary to proceed with further government orders.
What will happen to the employees who have been educated in these annexes? Will they be paid waiting time for the period when their services may not be required for work on government contracts? We are told by the Minister that it is the intention of the Government to place small orders in order to educate men to do certain work. What is likely to happen to these men - when they are not engaged on that- particular work? In Queensland there is provision for the payment for waiting time of unskilled workers in wet weather. Will the Commonwealth Government give its skilled employees in this new department the same measure of justice or will they be sent into the wilderness of unemployment and be forced to exist on the dole or relief work?
The Minister stated further -
Reference to clause 5 of the bill will also impress upon honorable senators the intention of the Government fully to inquire into costs, and to control profits of those people engaged in the manufacture and supply of goods for defence purposes. The Government is determined to exercise to the full all of its powers in this connexion.
How can the Government exercise this power? The Senate and the House of Representatives has been told over and over again that the Government has no power under the Constitution to control prices or profits. I see no provision in this bill to give it authority to do any of the things which it claims that it will do in this direction. Where will it get this power? And what will it do with respect to State powers? The Commonwealth may control prices and profits in the Australian Capital Territory. But will it. need to wait for ‘ another ‘ High Court decision? We on this side are twitted sometimes because we favour the taking of a referendum to decide whether or not Australia shall participate in a war overseas, but waiting for a decision of the High Court as to our constitutional powers would surely be disastrous? This Government is not providing in this bill any of the machinery necessary to do what it claims that it will do. The Minister went on to say further -
In the first place all purchases from Australia for the defence forces are arranged through the Contracts Board, which is a statutory body. * v*
Who comprise this board?’ Under what act is it constituted? I demand to be enlightened on this point, because we have had an illustration recently of gross bungling in connexion with the letting of contracts. But that is a matter which I may not discuss in the debate on this bill. The Minister also said-
For various reasons, the Government has allowed for the. working of only two shifts, and the most, therefore, that would be payable in respect of any one annexe would be approximately £100,000, which, on a 4 per cent, basis for profit, would allow £4,000 for profit.
Four per cent, on what, proportion of capital? The Minister was eloquently silent as regards these essential details. Of course he was, because the gentlemen who are to get this 4 per cent, profit are the people who keep this Government in power, and they have become expert in extorting exorbitant profits from the people of this country.
– What utter nonsense!
- Senator Dein 1 know would hold that view. Need I reply that, for a long time, I have held the opinion that he is capable of nothing else but nonsense? The Minister also said that some classes of goods would be obtained under the “ cost plus profit “ system. Why this provision for profits at all?” I remember Senator Leckie, himself a manufacturer, telling us not so long ago that’ as regards defence contracts the manufacturers of Australia would work without one penny of profit. If what the honorable gentleman said is true, where is the need for the provision in this bill to limit profits?” We know, of course, that the only patriots over which the Government will exercise control are the young fellows of military age who will be required to do the fighting. The Minister also said -
Several advisory panels and committees, which have already been formed, have furnished valuable advice to the Minister for Defence.
Again I have Several queries to put to the Minister. Who constitute these committees ? When did they furnish this information ? What are they doing ? This morning we were told “” that they were doing a very fine work voluntarily. They will get either extravagant fees, or travelling allowances which no member of this Parliament receives. Of course, they are such disinterested patriots that they would never, in any circumstances, use their inside knowledge to secure contracts for firms in which they are financially interested. I could name honorable senators and members of the House of Representatives who are involved in this sordid business, as disclosed ill a publication recently issued,
Who owns Australia? The Minister’s speech proceeded -
This provision does not necessarily imply the holding of stocks by the Government. Rather will the object be to survey industry generally in order to ascertain the stocks necessary to ensure the continuance of essential industries, and to provide as far as. practicable, that sufficient stocks of imported raw and semi-manufactured goods aru held by users against a time of emergency when regular imports could not be relied upon, due to possible interference with shipping.
Is it proposed to acquire these stocks ? If not, that statement is so much piffle. In Queensland, to avoid profiteering, every sheet of galvanized iron was commandeered during the Great War, and trading in that material was illegal; but this Government proposes nothing of that kind. Will it find out whether these stocks were purchased before or after the passing of this measure ?
Already profiteering is rampant in this, country, and has been for many months, because certain people knew that the Government was embarking upon a policy of preparedness. We know that commodities are being sold and resold, and then finally held by the firm which has sufficient financial strength to retain them in order to make further profit. The bill contains nothing to indicate that the Government is “contemplating effective action to check profiteering. Every honorable senator who supports the Government represents, directly or indirectly, the individuals who are culpable in the rigging and cornering the markets. The Minister .for the Interior, after referring to “necessary information regarding the industrial capacity of Australian industry to assist in the manufacture of munitions “, went on to say -
The Government is convinced that the information being sought should be furnished. An endeavour has already been made to obtain this information by circulating to manufacturers, for voluntary completion and return, a questionnaire, but the results have not been satisfactory.
They were not satisfactory, because a large section of the employers sabotaged the questionnaire, and I may add, in anticipation of another bill which will be placed before us shortly, that the Opposition objects to the compulsory registration proposals of the Government. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has already threatened the Opposition with what will happen to supporters of the Labour party if they refuse to comply with the proposed law, but we have been told by the Minister for the Interior that the response of manufacturers to the voluntary questionnaire was. not entirely satisfactory.
SenatorFoll. -We are proposing to tighten up the law, in order to make the position satisfactory.
– I have seen no evidence of that. The speech continued -
The bill suggests and provides great opportunities for constructive co-operation in a work of great magnitude, involving the mobilization of all the industrial resources of the country, and their extension in certain directions to meet the needs of the country if we arc to he prepared to withstand a. state of war.
The mobilization of all the industrial resources of the country! This Government can see the wisdom of mobilization only when we are threatened with a national emergency; in times of peace haphazard methods are employed. The chaos and anarchy of private enterprise is never interfered with, but as soon as the Government is faced with a difficulty, it considers the organization of the industrial resources of the country.
I may say, in passing, that the secondreading speech of the Minister for Supply and Development (Mr. Casey), in presenting the bill in the House of Representatives, was no better than that delivered in this chamber by the Minister for the Interior. Mr. Casey stated -
The normal objective in a democratic State is a community organized to provide for the well-being of its citizens in time of peace.
That statement was made a few weeks ago, and I shall now consider how this Government proposes’ to organize to provide for the well-being of its citizens in time of peace. A day or two ago I received the following letter from Mr. Alfred A. Lewis, P.C.S., L.M.C.S. (Aus tralia), M.C.S. (United States of America) : -
At6.30 a.m. I was walking through the Fitzroy Gardens and Yarra Park and found all the seats occupied by old-age pensioners sleeping with only a newspaper covering. I spoke to one of them and was informed that the pension of £1 weekly was insufficient for food and shelter. The price of meals had gone up to1s. each, which makes 21s. for the week, leaving nothing for shelter, which is 10s. weekly for a room.
When it rains, they have to get up and stand under the trees. Why not tax the huge net profits of £1,000,000 made by the Australian and British Tobacco Co., and £1,000,000 by the Colonial Sugar Co. last year and other industrial concerns and so provide for these unfortunate people?
I have written to the Prime Minister.
I also draw attention to the following matter to which publicity has been given in the press during the last few days : -
SHARING STABLE WITH COW.
Maitland, Wed. - A West Maitland mother and her seven children were forced to share a stable with a cow and its calf to-night.
Mr. George Rowland and his family were evicted from their home in Devonshire-street, West Maitland, yesterday.
Last night the father, a relief worker, and one of the children slept in the stable, accommodation being found by friends for the rest of the family.
That . shelter was not ‘ available to-night, and as Mr. Rowland’s search for another house failed, his wife and the children had to move into the stable.
Although the stable is 24 ft. x 10 ft., the cow, calf and furniture take up the greater part of it.
The space the eight people had to occupy was about 4 ft. x 3 ft.
Mr. Baddeley (Labour) moved in the Legislative Assembly to-day for the appointment of a select committee to inquire into the capacity of industry to employ permanently youths and females.
He said that it was now found that 30 per cent, of the boys and girls of New South Wales were unable to secure employment.
– Those reports grossly exaggerate the true position.
– I cannot imagine any statement describing frightful misery on the part of the people, due to starvation and lack of housing, evoking from the honorable senator any comment other than that it is a gross exaggeration. The following statement was made by the Reverend J. Faulkner, in the course of a recent address at the Rotary Club, at Cessnock: -
Present economic conditions, he said, created child slaves - boys and girls of 14 who were compelled to leave school and work for £1 a week or so, because their fathers, elder brothers or sisters were out of work.
The only solution on the coal-fields, he said, would, be the establishment of secondary industries.
This ‘bill makes provision to meet a state of national emergency only; but, if such an emergency does not arise, what will the Government do?I do not object to one penny of essential defence expenditure, but why should expenditure on every social service be drastically reduced because of defence needs? The Opposition will fight the Government to the full extent of its powers, if every proposal submitted in connexion with social services is answered by the statement: “We cannot agree to it because of the needs of defence “. I submit for the serious consideration of the Government that, even if war does not occur - and I sincerely hope that it will not - we shall experience a state of war with regard to the national finances. We shall have all the horrors of war except the actual destruction of human life. There will be hunger, starvation, lack of homes and dreadful unemployment. Unemployment is already increasing by leaps and bounds. This, is attributable to the fact that the present Government has neither the ability nor the desire ‘to provide for the security of the people in time, of peace. I submit, however, that this provision could be made.
I suppose that New Zealand as much as Australia, is threatened with a. state of national emergency.
SenatorFOLL. - That dominion appears to have a. few troubles.
– It has none, except those existing in the depraved minds of the political opponents of the Government in power, and a politically biased press; but New Zealand has not curtailed its social services because of defence needs. It has extended them enormously. The Labour Government, in that dominion is building 100 homes every week, and also a number of pensioners’ flats, which will be let at rentals 60 per cent, lower than the average rental demanded by anti-Labour governments and private enterprise.
Queensland, like New Zealand, is also under a Labour regime. I shall give a few facts from the latest statistics available in Canberra. In 1936-37, the number of factories in Queensland, as com pared with the. 1935-36 figures,., showed an increase of 16 per cent., although the average increase for Australia was only 3 per cent.
– Queensland has the lowest number of factories in the Commonwealth, in proportion to its population.
Sena tor COLLINGS.- That is a foolish interjection. Queensland has a population of only 1,000,000, compared with 1,500,000 in the capital city of New South Wales. I am showing very forcefully, I hope, that there is no need to destroy everything, and to bring about another financial and economic depression in Australia. The Government is actually destroying the morale of the Australian people by telling them over and over again that there is a prospect of war, when the present international situation is more favorable than at any other time in the last twelve months. The Government knows that that is so. Let me compare the employment in factories in Queensland with that in other parts of Australia. In March, 1939, as compared with March, 1938, the Australian record factory employment -for Australia showed a decrease of 3 per cent., but in Queensland there was an increase of . 9 per cent. Moreover, figures supplied by the Commonwealth Statistician show that Queensland has the shortest average working week, the highest average weekly wage, with the exception of Western Australia, where also a Labour government is in power, and by far the lowest percentage of unemployment. Under the psychological effect of war hysteria created by a sensation-mongering press, subsidized “ blah “ merchants on the air, national economic rivalries, and the pressure of those great financial and industrial agencies, whose profit blood stream is best fed when war talk is abroad or war is threatened or actually in progress, the very basis of our personal liberty and freedom, and the existence of our democratic faith and forms of government may be destroyed. Again, I direct attention to the fact that this measure makes no attempt to solve the difficulties with which we are confronted. The Government has the people scared stiff, and is deliberately and definitely creating a state of war hysteria for a deliberate and definite purpose. There are war mongers and profiteers in every corner of the country, scaring the people into the belief that war is imminent, and that huge expenditure must be incurred for defence purposes. This Government is getting the people into such a state of mind that they do not know where they are. It is trying to influence them by what is happening in Europe, but as I have said, the conditions throughout the world are better now than they have been for some time. It would not suit the purposes of this Government to tell the truth to the people, and so it will not tell the truth. If this bill proposed to do anything new or to get away from orthodox methods I should be inclined to give it some consideration, but war and the threat of war is not new. We are informed by declaration after declaration by responsible authorities that we are confronted with a. state of national emergency. All countries, including every portion of the Empire, have right down the ages been through that which we are now experiencing. The sponsors, of the bill, have not shown that the Government is prepared or intends to do anything but display the oldfashioned, stereotyped, disastrous methods which operated during the world war a quarter of a century ago. There is no indication of any new devices; there is nothing fresh. The members of the Government, like the French Bourbons, forget, nothing and learn nothing. It is now proposed to mobilize the man-power of Australia, but there is nothing original in the bill. In one direction, however, the Government has let the “ cat out of the bag because a statement has been made that Australia has now reached the stage which Great Britain- has reached. Apparently we are doing what Great Britain has done. Are we always to be governed by decisions leached at No. 10 Downing-street? When is the Government likely to develop’ an Australian outlook and attitude? When are we as a nation of 7,000,000 persons going to stand on om own feet? When is the Government going to recognize that it is time it developed some virility and originality instead of continually consulting Downingstreet before acting ? Changed methods of warfare mean nothing to this Government. The fact that armies are now mechanized means nothing to it. What has the Government done in the matter of oil?
– Nothing. 1 know something about the Government’s lack of activity in the search for flow oil, because I have watched practically everything that has been done, commencing with the search for oil at Roma, in Queensland. Only this morning I received a letter from the north, stating that new oil storage tanks are being painted white, and, my correspondent suggests, in order to make them certain targets for enemy bombs. I raised this subject eighteen months or two years ago in the Senate, and only a few days ago I said that the Government was still not doing anything about it. What has been done to produce flow oil in commercial quantities at Roma, in Gippsland, or in New Guinea? What is being done to develop the oil shale industry at Newnes? All these operations appear to be controlled by the major oil companies, all of them foreign companies, including Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited”, in which the Commonwealth Government has a controlling interest. From the time the Government purchased a majority of the shares in that concern, it has not done anything to protect this country from the nefarious operations of the major oil companies, lt says “ yes “ to every proposal submitted. Every time the major oil companies increase the price of petrol Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited also increases “ its prices. The Government does not wish oil to be discovered in this country, and it will not be discovered while -it is the willing tool of the major oil companies, whose main objective, appears to be to exploit Australia.
– I rise to a. point of order. I take strong exception to- the statement of the Leader of the Opposition that this Government- is the willing tool of the major oil companies. The statement is inaccurate, and unfair, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– In order to avoid, delay, I shall, withdraw it.; b 11 I regret that the Minister has asked for its withdrawal. If the Government is not the willing tool of the major companies it must be the innocent tool and if the Government is the innocent tool, it has no . right to ministerial responsibility. Apparently this bill is an attempt to crystallize activities which have been considered necessary in consequence of what has happened since last September. What has been done in regard to defence? Nothing, except panicky, ill-considered, inefficient, extravagant budgeting, ill-regulated expenditure, and internal wrangling between the various defence arms. There has been no proper concentration of effort or cooperation between the various departments scattered over this vast continent.
– Who wrote that?
– I did. The Assistant Minister appears to think that I have said something that is not right. Let me give him an example of the lack of co-ordination that exists to-day. Recently a naval rating, whom I do not know personally, but of whom I know, was discharged from the Navy for a minor offence. A strong attempt was made to permit him to return to the Navy, which ho was anxious to do, but the reply of the naval authorities was that, in view of the offence which he had committed, there was no possible chance of his re-entry to the Navy, but there was nothing to prevent him from joining the Army. The naval authorities say, “ We of the Navy must have blue blood in this arm of the service. Our men must be 100 per cent. pure. Those who commit offences cannot be retained in the Navy, but they are good enough for the Army “ ! I suppose they would also be good enough for the Royal Australian Air Force. Does the Government deny that its activities are panicky, illconsidered and inefficient? If they do, I refer them to the following paragraph concerning the conditions in which members of the Darwin mobile force are living : -
Darwin, Monday. - Mouldering remains of abandoned meatworks for a home.’
Insufficient water to maintain bodily cleanliness.
Lack of laundry facilities.
Lighting system so poor that they are unable to read at night.
No chairs, notables, no writing facilities.
Nothing in which to keep clothes and their belongings. ,
No sick bay.
Scarcely anything to amuse them during their leisure hours.
In support of that statement a cartoon is published showing the conditions in the shack in which a member of the mobile force is living. In the shack there is a picture of his girl friend, under which is written, “ The girl we left behind for this “. That is something which the Minister for Defence should study. Should he do so he will then realize the truth of the statements I am making. Clothes are hanging up anywhere, the bed is propped up on fruit cases, and, according to the paragraph, these men have nowhere to go and nothing to do in -their leisure. In these circumstances, am Inot justified in saying that the activities during the last few months have been panicky, ill-considered and inefficient? I shall cite further contemporary evidence - I am not going back into the dark ages to bolster up my case. The information I just gave concerning Darwin was taken from the Brisbane Courier Mail ‘ which is not an organ of my party, but supports this Government. In last Sunday’s Sunday Sun the following paragraph appeared: -
A distribution of oddments of military uniforms to about twelve men is the sum total of the efforts made to date to equip 200 recruits who several months ago joined the 1st Cavalry Divisional Signallers of the Militia.
The paragraph concludes by saying that there is no prospect of equipment being received in time for the review, with the result that very few of the unit will be present.
– I do not know why the honorable senator should attack the press because he could not make a speech without its assistance.
– The Minister does not like to hear what I am saying. There is nothing in this bill which shows that the Government or the Defence Department has any capacity to handle the problems with which it is confronted. I have here a reproduction of a recruiting poster published in Great Britain and depicting fine’ young men and a long row of boots, under which are the words, “We want feet for these boots “. The authorities there have the boots ready for the feet; here we have the feet but not the boots. As evidence of . how little we can trust this Government, and whythe Opposition views every line of this bill with suspicion, I quote the following letter, addressed to the Minister for Defence, by Robert B. Bousfield, M.A., J.P.. F.R.A,S., on the 16th May last:-
While not an expert, or a strategist, as a fellow-soldier, I feel well disposed towards you. Certainly not disposed to offer hostile criticism. On the other hand, as a Queen slander, I feel certain that I know better than you could do just where criticism lies, as far as the Queensland public is concerned and I think ‘it is a fair thing to acquaint you with its real nature, as Ihave no doubt that your statement in the House last Wednesday will not satisfy the Queensland public - : -
Honorable senators will remember- that that statement was that everything in Queensland was all right.
– The Minister said that in making it he was following the advice of the expert committee.
– Then I say that, if this is the best the Government can do, its advisors are inefficient. The writer continues -
From a parliamentary point of view it is strategical to ascertain whose voices are moulding public opinion in this State; and what is being contended by those voices.
Without that knowledge, you cannot answer the fear - or suspicion - which hangs over this State; and I submit that failure to appreciate its intrinsic nature has rendered your reply unsatisfactory to the large public here, which has achieved the million, north of the Tweed River.
Two factors are present:
The Premier’s voice, which has stressed communications by rail and road and their vulnerability-
The Government refused in the House of Representatives to include in this bill provision for the improvement of rail and road communications..!
No man’s voice rings with such authority in defence and international affairs, as his voice; and to ignore its potency is as dangerous to federal leaders as we think it is to the country.
J’: take this opportunity to bring to your notice the real issues put forward by him and supported by all the people of this State - issues which do not find, a satisfactory answer from Canberra.
Every January and February, our railway communications are cut by monsoonal floods, washaways and land slides which cut roads and jails and put the bridges under water.
The quantity of available troops from southern States would not avail at all against those conditions. If an attack by troops occurred it would be a wet season attack, since these facts must be as well known to potential enemies and their intelligence staff as they arc to us. It would occur in January or early February, and it would cut off troops and artillery from the south, by land, completely.
Any such attack would be accompanied by attempts to bomb or to blow up petrol storage depots along the coast with the object of paralysing assistance from the air for defenders in the north cut off by floods from other help.
Such attacks upon surface tanks of petrol at Rockhampton, Bowen and Mackay would have that effect upon air squadrons based along our northern coast.
A coast bristling with long-range guns and anti-aircraft guns is beyond reasonable planning: but vital points are another matter. I take the liberty of naming such points- [ Extension of time granted.’]
These are the views of a soldier.
– He is creating hysteria.
– Not at all; he is justified in complaining of the utter ignorance displayed by the Government in regard to the defence needs of the northern State. He goes on to say -
Mackay has a £1,000,000 harbour, whose outer wall could be destroyed in less hours than ithas taken years to develop. But behind that port is something more vital to -our defence. It is Sarina, and power alcohol factory, which, with the sugar supplies, could stand between a paralysed air arm and a blockade depriving us of petrol when a nation’s freedom depended upon it.
It is well enough known that at least one admiralty besides our own has full knowledge of the unknown entrances through the Barrier Reef; and without modern guns and antiaircraft guns, Sarina might he laid in smoking ruins before any help could come, and if it did conic, and revenged the raid, an enemy gunboat’s lose would be a cheap price to risk to achieve such a strategical end. So also would it be a cheap loss, if it shelled our open oil tanks; while a mother ship outside the reef could destroy tanks. Sarina factor)’, railway lines, harbours and bridges with little risk of failure, whatever the risk to itself as a fighting unit of a hostile country.
In view of the immense value of our [lower alcohol reserves from sugar. Dr. Goddard has similarly urged that our aircraft be converted to use for that fuel as well as petrol, as a precaution against the temporary cessation of sea-borne supplies.
I beg. further, to put forward a criticism that has been broadcast repeatedly by Dr. Goddard against the functioning of the militia campaign. It is of such a nature as to profoundly stir Queenslanders : and that indignantly.
I ask the Minister for Defence to take notice of the fact that a fortnight ago the news was broadcast over Queensland wireless stations that 40 militia volunteers had been sent home in a block, rejected on the grounds that, they lived too far from a military centre: and, further, that similar bodies of militia volunteers have since reported to Goddard - as those men did - that they have met with the same treatment. It may be said that uniforms and equipment are not ready: but this cannot bo said of instructors, although ithasbeen so said. As a fellow-soldier’, the Minister must know that sergeants and noncom missioned officers of the old Australian Imperial Force, strew the countryside; and probably a dozen reside where such bodies of rejects live out west and in the Queensland hush. Old non-commissioned officers who could render these men fit for the stage they should now be doing atEnoggera camp. Is it any wonder that bitterness exists, when large bodies of young men are sent home as unwanted?
In this matter I sympathize actively. I was the first recruit from the Northern Territory in1914 when no depot existed. I. paid my passage south and interviewed the Minister For Defence in Melbourne; and I pointed out what applies to all these militia rejects - that these men of the bush and buffalo country were Australia’s finest sharp-shooters, and riders and bushmen, but lacked a recruiting depot.
May these men obtain the . same answer that was given to me on their behalf in 1914. “ If,” said the Minister, “ they are all of the same type of -which you. are a sample, they shall have their depot.” He kept his word, and the result was the Darwin contingent, and, Sir, the Darwin honour roll.
The turning down of men such as these by the score is most regrettable.
I think that these facts . will give you to understand the atmosphere of dissatisfaction in Queensland.
I think that they will also serve to show how Queenslanders regard the Honorable Forgan-Smith’s “ Inland Rail and Strategic Road Proposals.”
These facts cannot be numbered among “ groundless and inaccurate . statements, or jaundiced and distorted criticism from Brisbane “, such as you mentioned in the House on the 10th May.
The Queensland public looks rather to you with goodwill, as a soldier, occupying a difficult post, in a difficult period; and deserving of our sympathy, and our co-operation. But if you can satisfy the people of this . State in the broadcast facts I have related, from the floor of the House, you will render Australia a service; and an assurance that these facts will be remedied at an early date, will produce more confidence in your administration, than any statement which omits to take note of the true causes of alarm and dissatisfaction in Queensland.
The remarks of this gentleman buttress my statement that the Defence Department is inefficient and support my belief that the new Department of Supply and Development will he no less inefficient. The Prime Minister recently declared publicly -
My Government feels that it has a positive function to make a real contribution to the problem of unemployment in Australia, and also a negative function to see that in these years of crisis no people grow rich in the defence preparedness of Australia.
Yet this bill does neither of those things. In the financial news columns of the Sunday Sun of the 4th June it is reported that the value of the shares in the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited is soaring. Up to that date the shares had risen in value by 9s. 6d., up to 64s. ex-dividend. The capital of that company has been increased four times in three years by the issue of bonus shares. No new money has been invested in it. When Australia was in the position to do something for itself, a government of which the present Government is but the lineal descendant, sold everything it could lay its hands on to private enterprise, and, as I said on a former occasion in this chamber, despite all the Government’s professions to the contrary, left Australia in 1939 naked to the world as far as defence is concerned. Profits on the manufacture of defence requirement’s should be limited. In order to impose a check on exorbitant profits we should not require the establishment of an extensive and expensive costing department, or the setting up of a panel of accountants; all ‘ that is needed is to do what Mr. Menzies said ought to be done, to exercise the Government’s “ negative function to see that in these years of crisis no people grow rich in the defence preparedness of Australia “. The Government only needs to do what the British Government was forced to do, namely, take over by Act of Parliament the control of the whole of private enterprises engaged in the manufacture of war material, operate them in the interests of the nation until the state of emergency has passed, and then hand them back to the people to whom they belong. Honorable senators opposite know that it is imposible to limit profits by any other means.
Rilling suspended from 1245 to 2.15 p.m.
– I shall quote from an article published in the Aeroplane in the spring of 1933. That newspaper is the recognized mouthpiece of the aviation industry, and, according to some authorities’, of the Air Ministry itself. The comments are apropos of my contention that we can do nothing in respect of profits except exclude them completely -
The manufacturer of both aeroplanes and engines may hope for increased turnover and profits a year or so hence, when the Disarmament Conference has faded out of the programme and expansion is allowed to proceed.
This cynical prophecy, made six years ago, seems to he coming true, thanks to the aid of the Jingo press and other “ patriots “. In another journal the following appropriate comments are made:: -
Would the Stavisky scandal in France have been so ably exploited in favour of a nationalist and intransigent foreign policy, had it not been for the violence of the newspaper campaign conducted by the newspapers which the Comite des Forges control? The well known M. Coty manufactured both scent and poisongas, and while lie owned Le Figar and JJ Ami du Peuple he did untold harm to FrancoGerman relations. M. Wendel, who is president of the Comite des Forges, and whose family has long possessed important iron works on both sides of the frontier, owns Le Journal des Debats and Le temps. Not content with backing Japan against the League of Nations and securing thereby vast orders for Schneider - Creusot and the Skoda works in Czechoslovakia, which are under the same control, these papers have worked their readers - up to a frenzy of nervousness because of .German rearmament.
There is no patriotism about those concerns which I mentioned at the opening of my address, and which are responsible for the Government’s extravagant expenditure, its inefficient control of that expenditure, and its inability to plan anything. According to a message published in the Sun -
The value of British armament shares has risen £128,000 per business hour on the stock exchange since 10th February. The values of the ordinary shares of nineteen shipbuilding, aircraft, armament, and steel firms have risen by £4,640,000 to £68,168,000.
It is utterly impossible for this or any other Government satisfactorily to control the cost of this nation’s defence preparations on any basis of profit, whether it is called a 4 per cent, limitation, or a “ cost plus profit” scheme. There is only one thing to do and it is the Australian way - the Government should take the works over until any trouble has gone by. In 1919 Mr. Lloyd George stated -
The profiteering of the armament firms was checked in three ways - first, by a system of costings and investigation; secondly; by the establishment of competing national factories;, and thirdly, by the excess profits duty. The huge sum of £440,000,000 had been saved by these means.
Those words were not spoken by a Labour man ; they express the experiences of Mr. Lloyd George during the Great “War. He continued -
A ‘system of costing and investigation was introduced and national factories were set up which checked the prices, and a shell for which the War Office at the time the Ministry was formed paid 22s. 6d. was reduced to 12s. 6d. Then you have 85,000,000 shells that saved £35,000,000. There was a reduction in the price of all other shells and there was a reduction in the Lewis gun. When we took them in hand they cost £165 and we reduced them to £35 each. There was a saving of £14,000,000 and through the costing system and the checking of the national factories we set up before the end of the war there was a saving of £440,000,000.
This Government proposes to start now to find out what the costs are, but profiteering has been going on for many years.
– We have introduced the costing system.
– The Minister for Defence (Mr. Street) must think that the Opposition is composed of a lot of children who know nothing. Not a man on this side of the House has attended a university, and some of us have had little more than public school training, but we are not entirely ignorant. The Minister for Defence said that the contracts relating to the provision of annexes would rigidly limit the percentage of profit. He also mentioned that the following items would be excluded from the overhead charges : - “ interest on capital “ - their capital expenditure is already incurred. “ advertising expenses “ - they do not need to advertise because the Government is going to them. “ bad debts “ - there will be no bad debts. “ income taxes “ - the concerns should not include the income tax ; it would add to their profits. “ reserves, commissions, and insurance premiums on life policies “.
There was no need to specify any one of those items in the circumstances. The ordinary man in the street readily knows when a government wishes to prevent robbery, but if it desires to connive at one it mentions all those things as evidence’ of its sincerity. Thus the Government hypocritically pretends to be looking after the public interests.
I should like to refer to what has been done by this Government and its predecessor in destroying Labour enterprises. In 1910 the Fisher Government made provision on the Estimates for the establishment of the Geelong Woollen Mills. Then the Geelong Harbour Trust, with the consent of the Victorian Government, gave ‘ the Commonwealth thirteen acres of land as a site for the mills. For six years 1916-17 to 1921-22 the mills made a gross profit of £347,000. . Depreciation amounted to £85,000, and interest paid to the Treasury to £71,000, leaving a net profit of £190,000. After the war the Government mills sold wool to the Returned Soldiers Association which enabled returned soldiers to procure a suit for £515s.;. 6d. whereas they had to pay £1111s. to private enterprise. A prominent engineering plant in Melbourne valued the land, machinery, &c, at £267,000. In any sale the goodwill of the concern would have been added to that amount. The machinery and the building cost £208,000, but the Government sold the whole concern for £155,000. If these and many similar activities were functioning as they should be, Australia would be better prepared than it is, and defence would not be in its present neglected state. I have not mentioned that most of the worth-while portions of the defence policy announced by this Government was purloined from the Opposition. I have proof of that statement. A good deal more might be said about the Commonwealth Woollen Mills, but I shall leave it to my colleagues.
– The mills that were stolen from the nation.
– Yes, they were stolen from the nation and handed as loot to the Government’s “ cobbers “. The Government took from the Commonwealth Clothing Factory the right to manufacture clothing for the police. Then there was the scandal of the KidmanMayo shipbuilding contract. Senators are familiar with that matter, but some of my colleagues may go into the details. There was also the sacrifice of the Australian Commonwealth line of steamers. All those activities were conducted by the Government, but the history of their treatment is a story of sordid graft , and fraud, perpetrated to the detriment of the taxpayers. Such actions have put the nation in its present unsatisfactory state. No matter what may be said to the contrary on the Government side of the House, the only issue is whether the Government is capable of defending this country. Should not this Government retire and make way for an administration that is really capable of doing the job ? Where are the safeguarding details that this bill should declare? They are not contained in the measure. Every senator is aware, of the . fact that an applicant for the old-age pension, or the invalid pension, or the maternity allowance, has to answer an elaborate questionnaire. It is a scandal when that questionnaire is originally submitted, but it is a greater scandal that it has to be answered every year by these people. The most intimate details have to be furnished by the pensioners. “When a worker gives evidence before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court he has to declare just exactly on how little he lives.
– How are those remarks connected with the bill?
– I am contrasting the inquisition to which the workers are subjected with the fact that the profiteers are not to be asked to disclose anything. When we come to the information to be required under this bill we find that secret processes must not be pried into. The Arbitration courts may go into intimate details regarding the worker’s wage and the price paid by his wife for her clothes, but when it comes to tackling profiteers and preventing people from waxing fat out of the needs of the nation the Government hesitates. Bankers, financiers, great insurance concerns, wool and stockbroking companies with their watered stock, bonus shares, holding companies, trade combines, councils and committees are all to go on their own way plundering the nation. Some concerns pay men £5,000 a year to enable them to dodge taxation, and they are not to be interfered with in the search to eliminate profits. Then we . are to have advisory panels, and they really mean that the Government is setting the burglar to watch the policeman and the tax dodger to watch the Taxation Commissioner. It is not doing it and it cannot do it. That is the extent to which the Government pretends to he trying to limit profiteering. It will not take any notice of companies’ watered stock and bonus shares. The Government does not propose to inquire into the trade combines, councils and committees. It is asking the Opposition to take the bill on its face value and to be satisfied that the nation is being protected against profiteers, but we know the Government will do nothing effective. There is nothing in the hill about the storing of vital foods supplies and other necessaries in readiness for an emergency. The bill contains nothing covering the problem of transport by rail, road, sea and, air in’ our huge area. An intelligent Australian government . composed of Australians legislating for other Australians would appreciate that, we should have no idle hands, particularly among the skilled artisans, yet tradesmen are leaving this country and going to New Zealand.
This is my last thought. It was admitted in the House of Representatives that the powers sought by the bill are very great, but the Government has urged that there is always control by Parliament. However, there is nothing of the kind; there cannot be control by Parliament if for two-thirds of the year Parliament is in recess. We cannot have control by parliament when we have government by regulations. The bill contains a series of platitudes,but no detailed provisions to deal with the matters with which it is supposed to deal. We on this side are told sometimes that speeches which we deliver may be all right for the Yarra bank or from a soap box but that they are not suited to the discussion of serious measures on the floor of the Senate. I say of the bill that it is the blankest of blank cheques. It contains nothing that is worth while. It enacts that certain things shall be done. I shall deal with these aspects of the measure when we are discussing it in committee. For the present, I content myself with saying that platitudes have no place in a legislative proposal placed before honorable senators for their serious consideration. They may be all right as electioneering propaganda, and that, I suggest, is what this bill mostly is. Instead of expecting us to sign a blank cheque, the Government should have presented to us for our endorsement a cheque properly filled in. As the discussion proceeds, and especially when the bill is in committee, honorable senators will discover that it is not the same measure as was introduced in the House of Representatives, and in every instance to the extent that it is not the same bill, the improvement is due to the acceptance of the Government of amendments moved in the House of Representatives by members of the Labour party.
SenatorE. B. JOHNSTON (Western Australia) [2.33]. - I listened with- a great deal of pleasure to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator
Collings). The honorable gentleman is always interesting and leaves one in no doubt about his meaning. But on thi3 occasion he appeared to me to be engaging’ in the somewhat pleasant task of shadow fighting. He allowed his verylively imagination and eloquent tonguefull rein, conjured up a number of dreadful possibilities and then immediately proceeded to destroy them to his own complete satisfaction.
– The honorable senator would not have said that of the Leader of the Opposition when he himself was a member of the Labour party.
- Senator Ashley has taken my memory back nearly a quarter of a century. Need I remind him that the Labour party of that day had somewhat different ideals from the Labour party of to-day, and also that there was then no Country party in “Western Australia? I became a member of the Labour party because I preferred it to the only other party of that time - the Liberal party, which has ‘ now disappeared. Every person who took an interest in public affairs at that time belonged to one or the other of the two parties, and it is no more of a reproach to me that I joined the Country party from the ranks of Labour than it would be a reproach to any other man that he joined the Country party from the ranks of the other political party. Therefore, I make no apology for my political record in that respect.
– Order !
– The Leader of the Opposition expressed the fear that senators on this side would not permit the proper discussion pf this and other measures that may come ‘before us in the course of a few days. I wish to make it clear that I. at least, believe in full and proper consideration being given to every bill that is presented. Despite the suggestion of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) about a fortnight ago that Parliament might adjourn on the 9th June, I have no reason to think that Ministers in this chamber wish to restrict the right of honorable senators to consider, in the ordinary working hours, all the legislation that is sent to us from the House of Representatives.
– Who suggested that there might not be proper consideration?
– The Leader of the Opposition at the outset of his remarks this morning. I have already stated that I believe that, if necessary, the Senate should sit till the end of this month in order to deal adequately with the legislative programme that is being presented by the Government, and I shall be very disappointed if, in addition to bills now before the Senate, a proposal for the establishment of a mortgage branch of the Commonwealth Bank is not also submitted. I am willing to sit until all these government proposals have been dealt with. I am sure also that the Senate Ministers do not wish unfairly to curtail discussion of the Government’s proposals. Since we have had only seven sitting days in this period, I would not approve of any attempt to cram into the next three days consideration of the whole of the legislation that has occupied the time of the House of Representatives for more than six weeks, nor do I think that Senate Ministers wish to do this. In my opinion, the prestige of the Senate has been enhanced under the leadership of Senator McLeay - I am sure that a similar tribute would have been due to Senator A. J. McLachlan had he continued as the Leader of the Government in this chamber. On no occasion in recent years has the Government attempted to stifle discussion^
Senator Collings suggested this morning that this Government should retire from office and make way for another administration that would give full effect to its declared policy. But the honorable gentleman left us in a most embarrassing state of suspense as to what was in his mind. I imagined that probably he was considering the desirability of a Country party government on the lines of the Government of Victoria, or perhaps the re-entry into the ministry of half a dozen Country party members.
– I was not thinking of a Country party government at any rate.
– The honorable gentleman did not declare for a Labour government, with its dangerous isolation policy on defence. He referred to what he described as a lack of Australian outlook in the “bill. He complained that it seemed to be framed on the lines of similar British legislation. In defence measures - and the bill certainly is a defence proposal - I see no reason why it should not be in line with British defence legislation. Great Britain is the best market for Australian primary products, and we have other and more valuable ties with the Mother Land.
Australia has given Great Britain a lead in many democratic reforms, including women suffrage and the secret ballot, but in the essentially defence matters, this country, probably, has everything to gain by adopting a defence policy consistent with that of the Mother Country. I say this as an Australian of the third generation. When the Lyons Government appealed to the electors nearly five years ago, the late lamented Prime Minister urged- that Australia should tune in with Britain. I hope that Australia, whatever government may be in power, will continue to tune in with Britain -in regard to international and defence policies, because I am convinced that the security of this country will be best assured by so doing. 1. do not support the objections raised by the Leader of the Opposition to what he regards as a British outlook in this measure. It has been introduced as part of the Government’s programme for the defence of Australia in the event of any act of aggression.
As a member of the Country party, I have no brief for this Government, although I have promised to consider all legislation submitted to us on its merits and to give it my full support if I approve of it. This bill was actually drafted during the regime of the late Lyons Government, a composite administration, when the course of international events appeared to threaten the security of the British ‘ Empire. I stood firmly behind that Government, as I shall stand behind this Administration in regard to its defence policy. I supported the proposals of the Lyons Government to spend £63,000,000 on defence over a period of three years. That programme is now being accelerated. I feel sure that what the Government is doing in this respect will commend itself to the majority of those who are associated with the party of which I have the honour to be a member. The Country party has suffered no loss at any of the recent by-elections. Reference has been made to the wide powers proposed to be granted to the Minister under this measure. I confess that I look upon the proposed powers with some concern, and I shall be prepared to support any limitation of them which can be shown to be justified without radically affecting the measure. However, we must remember that this bill is designed to deal with an emergency and the preparation of our defences in unusual circumstances. Should Parliament decide to give to the Minister wider powers than it would ordinarily bestow upon him, I take it that its decision will be influenced by the psychology arising in respect of defence at the present time. The Government has found it necessary to divide the Defence Department into three departments, namely, the Defence Department, the Department of Supply and Development and the Department of Civil Aviation, and. to place each of those departments in charge of a separate Minister. In addition, it has appointed an Assistant Minister in that sphere. All of this work, I point out, was previously performed by the exMinister for Defence (Mr. Thorby). Under this measure, the Department of Supply and Development will be established primarily to supply munitions to the Defence Department, but it will also be charged with the responsibility of surveying, registering and developing the resources of Australia. The bill also, aims at national organization and planning for a defensive war, and to ensure the protection of our people in an emergency. Its objective is on the lines of a plank of the Western Australia Country party organization, the Primary Producers Association -
Preparation of plana for the organization of man-power and the financial and industrial resources of the Commonwealth for use in the event of war. Provision of adequate war supplies for the equipment of the defence services. Organization of control of all of the. resources of the Commonwealth on the outbreak of war.
I am in the happy position, therefore, of being able to congratulate the Government on putting into effect a cardinal plank of the Country party’s policy. To that extent, this measure will have my full support. In certain respects, however, it seeks to give to the Government an extraordinary measure of dictatorial power which cannot be justified except in a time of crisis. I propose to refer to this aspect later.
The bill charges the new Department of Supply and. Development with, the duty of providing munitions and supplies to the defence forces. It will take over the following defence establishments : - Ammunition Factory, Footscray; Clothing Factory, South Melbourne; Explosives Factory, Maribyrnong; Ordnance Factory, Maribyrnong; Small Arms Factory, Lithgow; and Munitions Supply Laboratories, Maribyrnong. Since the inception of federation, the head -quarters of the Defence Department have been situated in Melbourne, and I think it is remarkable that five of the six establishments which I have just mentioned are situated in Victoria, whilst the sixth is in New South Wales. This is conclusive evidence of the tendency of successive Commonwealth Governments towards a policy of centralization. I entertain dire forebodings that this policy generally, but particularly with respect to defence expenditure, will be accentuated in the future. Examining the composition of the present Ministry, we find that six of the Ministers in the House of Representatives are Victorians, more or le3S associated with Melbourne, and six come from New South Wales, being mainly associated with Sydney. The four other States have not one Minister between them so far as representation in the House of Representatives is concerned. In view of that fact, how can we expect the Government to adopt a policy of decentralization? I do not deny that in this chamber the less populous States enjoy valuable representation in the Ministry. In fact, in the Senate the constitution of the Government from a geographical point of view is most equitable. But in the House of Representatives no honorable member who does not come from either Victoria or New South Wales need apply for ministerial preferment. Apparently in the House of Representatives to-day men like Griffith, Kingston and Forrest would have little chance of obtaining ministerial recognition for those States which they represented so ably during their parliamentary careers. Residence in either Melbourne or Sydney seems to be the main qualification for ministerial preferment among honorable members in the other chamber. When introducing thi3 measure in the House of Representatives on the 11th May, thi Minister for Supply and Development (Mr. Casey) said - .
One development on which the Government intends at once to concentrate, and which will he an important branch of the new department, is the manufacture of fighting aircraft in. Australia. This will entail the development of an extensive organization, but the Government proposes to use in the ‘ fullest possible way the existing industrial resources of the country for the manufacture of the component parts, and to confine its own activity to the establishment of large assembly centres in Sydney and Melbourne.
In addition to the six establishments which I have already mentioned, the Government, despite its professed policy of decentralization, now intends to establish two large assembly centres in Sydney and Melbourne. I wish to know why the claims of the other four States have been overlooked in this matter. All of these establishments apparently will be situated in Victoria and New South Wales and will be confined practically to Melbourne and Sydney.
– Yet the honorable member keeps on congratulating the Government. He should help us to fight the Government.
– I shall help the Opposition whenever it is right, and oppose the Government whenever it is wrong. On its main principles I certainly intend to support this legislation. I cannot understand why the outlook of the Ministry should be so prejudiced in favour of the two great congested cities of the Commonwealth. If an attack were centred upon those cities, the absence of defence factories and assembly centres in the western and northern portion of the Commonwealth, would prove disastrous, if not fatal to our defence. In regard to the manufacture of munitions - and I refer to munitions in the widest possible sense - the defence of Australia demands that these factories should be decentralized. In connexion with the annexes, or shadow factories, which the Government intends to erect for the highspeed manufacture of munitions in a time of war, we have the same spectacle of centralization run mad. Speaking on this measure in the House of Representatives .an honorable member, who appeared to be in possession of official information, said - /,1.6 companies which have agreed to contribute land, building and practically all of the plant include Stewarts and Lloyds, of Newcastle, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. Sydney, and the Commonwealth Steel Proprietary Limited, Newcastle, in respect of aircraft bombs. Those which have agreed to contribute land and building, include Charles Ruwell Proprietary Limited. Melbourne; Australian Glass Manufacturing Company, Melbourne; New South Wales Government Railways; South Australian Government Railways: Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company, Sydney; Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, Sydney; General Motors-Holdens, Adelaide; and Johns and Waygood, Melbourne; whilst the companies which have agreed to contribute land only include the Victorian Government Railways; H. V. MacKay, Massey Harris Proprietary Limited, Melbourne; R. B. Davies Proprietary Limited, Sydney; MacKenzie and Holland Proprietary Limited, Melbourne; Duly and Hansford Proprietary Limited, Sydney; Commonwealth Steel Proprietary Limited, Newcastle, in respect of shells; and the Ford Motor Company of Australia Proprietary Limited, Geelong.
Is that lis* exhaustive? Of the twenty annexes mentioned, eighteen are to be established in Victoria and New South Wales, and two in South Australia. Apparently approval has not been given for the establishment of any annexes in Western Australia, Queensland or Tasmania. I protest against this policy of centralization run mad. It is the act of a big-city government. Promise after promise has been made that defence expenditure will be decentralized, but no sign has yet been given that the Government intends to give effect to that promise. On the contrary, the list of annexes which I have just read will be established in the south-eastern corner of the Commonwealth, and will be practically confined to Melbourne and Sydney, with a few in Newcastle. The railway workshops at Midland Junction in Western Australia are second to none in the Commonwealth in size and equipment, and in respect of equipment and the efficiency of its engineers, workmen and mechanics. We were given to understand last year that an annexe would be attached to this establishment. If there is one direction in which State-owned utilities should be given preference over private enterprise, it is in the manufacture of munitions. We do not want profiteering in the manufacture of armaments or munitions, either in a period of war or when we are preparing for war. From the list which I have just read, it appears that two annexes are to be established at railway workshops in New South Wales. Two annexes are to be established at the Victorian railway workshops and one at the South Australian railway workshops. Of course, an annexe is not to be erected at the modern and well-equipped railway workshops in Western Australia, and this reprehensible policy seems to apply to the well-equipped railway workshops in Tasmania and in Queensland. Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide are all within 700 miles of Canberra, and Commonwealth money is to be poured into these favoured cities where it is to be expended lavishly in works controlled by private enterprise. According to the information supplied to me in answer to a question last week none of this defence expenditure is to be incurred on the ‘erection of factories, shadow factories, or annexes of this nature in Western Australia. The Minister for Defence has informed Parliament that £26,000,000 is being expended on defence this year, but I should like to know how much of that amount is to be expended in Western Australia or in the other two less populous States which so far have been overlooked. We know that two annexes are to be added to the railway workshops in New South Wales, two to the Victorian railway workshops, and one to the railway workshops in Adelaide; but no such additions are being made in Western Australia. I protest against the unjust omission in this respect which might have the most dangerous consequences if an attack were concentrated on the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth. I should like to know, too, why discrimination in so many directions is always exercised against Western Australia when Commonwealth money is being expended, and particularly in the matter of defence expenditure, which provides and maintains employment. Under this legislation a Department of Supply and Development is to be established, and surely the people of Western Australia are entitled to a fair share of the work of manufacturing supplies and of balanced development. It is entirely wrong that employment resulting .from our huge expenditure on defence should be confined mainly to Victoria and New South Wales, and to Melbourne and Sydney in particular, whilst one-third of the continent in the west is left exposed and undefended.
– What is wrong?
– Because of the weight of numbers in the House of Representatives, the administration is largely in the hands of Ministers representing Victoria and .New South Wales who apparently are unable to be fair to the other States.
– State boundaries do not influence the policy of this Government in any way.
– I have already referred to the fact that the eight defence establishments or munitions factories mentioned by the Minister for Supply and Development are established in Victoria and New South Wales, and that of the eight, seven are erected in Melbourne or Sydney. The main defence requirement is balanced development over the whole of those areas of Australia which will carry a fair distribution of population. There are under 500,000 persons on the western side of the continent and over 6,000,000 in the eastern States. Does the .Government consider that such a position is safe or assists the maintenance of national security? Yet the Government has so far refused to supply an air squadron for a vulnerable part of Australia, namely, the north-west portion of Western Australia, and has denied the provision of a western naval base as recommended by Admiral Henderson on which over £1,000,000 was expended by a previous Commonwealth Government. Even ordinary militia units are refused in important towns such as Wiluna, which has a population of 7,000 persons, because it is said that sufficient money is no* available. Is there a city or town in the eastern States with a population of 7,000, a large proportion of whom are men eligible for service which has been denied a militia unit, on the score of expense? So far the Government has refused to utilize Western Australian State-owned railway workshops for the manufacture of munitions by providing an annexe. The ridiculous grounds of the refusal are set out in a reply to questions asked by me and by Senator Fraser. The Minister for Supply and Development said -
Raw material for the production of munitions is at present produced only in the eastern States of the Commonwealth, and the filling of shells with high explosives and the assembling of munitions is carried out in Victoria.
Apparently that is to be the final word. . That is what the representatives of Western Australia in this Parliament have complained of. We cannot see any reason why such work as the assembling of munitions should not be carried out in Queensland, Tasmania or Western Australia as well as in Victoria where the head-quarters of the Defence Department and the clerical staff are situated. The Minister continued -
It would be, therefore, uneconomic to pay heavy freight charges on the transport of raw materials, and the return transport of the finished shells to be filled in factories in Victoria.
No one asked the Minister to do anything of the kind. Has any one ever read a more futile reply ! Apparently it did not, occur to the Minister or to the Defence Department that explosives could be both manufactured and filled into shells in Western Australia, and also in other States. Should an explosive factory in Melbourne be bombed a valuable safeguard would be provided by having other complete units in other States where explosives could be made and filled into . shells. If we wish to ensure national security such units should be duplicated, triplicated or oven quadrupled, and the complete plants should be decentralized over Australia. Powerful modern locomotives have been manufactured at the Midland Junction workshops, and I know of no reason why an establishment could not be provided to undertake the manufacture of munitions of every kind. By declining to undertake the manufacture of munitions in Western Australia, the Federal Government is accentuating congestion in the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth, particularly in Melbourne and in Sydney. The Government should use some of the money appropriated for defence purposes to assist Western Australia and other States similarly situated, and in that way carry out a policy of decentralization.
– Why does not the honorable senator compel the Government to do what he suggests?
– -That is the only object of my present remarks. I used my influence on the Bruce-Page Government, the Scullin Government and on succeeding governments-
– And the honorable senator has failed.
– I hope that as the result of the passage of this hill some measure of success will be ami red by the establishment of munitions factories and by other defence expenditure in Western Australia. The bill ‘provides the organization by which my repeated requests for decentralization can be carried into effect. A wise distribution of a portion of our industrial activity over the whole of Australia will render our population and our industries more secure from attack .and tend towards greater national safety. 1 remind the Government that the Premier of Western Australia, Mr. J. C. Wilcock, in replying to a request from the ex-Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons), assured the Federal Government of the full co-operation of his State. In doing so, Mr. Wilcock urged that the defence programme should be utilized to expand secondary industries in Western Australia. This Government has accepted his co-operation, but it has not complied with his request to assist in the expansion of secondary industries, because since that request was made two contracts for the manufacture of military uniforms previously held by Western Australian contractors for some years were lost to that State in open competition. If Ave are to accept the statement made by a prominent member of the Victorian Legislative Council, that is probably due to the fact that industrial conditions in Western Australian factories are on a higher level than those of similar factories in Melbourne. The Commonwealth Government should not allow discrimination against Western Australia in such contracts, merely because our industrial conditions are maintained at a standard slightly higher than those of some, other States. Up to the present, Mr. Wilcock’s plea has not met with any response whatever from a distant government functioning in Canberra. The additional employment resulting from increased defence expenditure is being confined entirely to the great cities in Eastern Australia. Apparently, this Government forgets that the people of Western Australia are taxpayers and have responsibilities equal to those of people in the eastern States. We should have treatment from the Minister for Defence equal to that extended to others. I agree broadly with the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition in regard to profiteering in the manufacture of munitions, because I believe that that should be rendered impossible. I trust that the bill will be tightened up adequately and that when it becomes law it will be policed efficiently by the department.
Our primary industries are our first line of defence, and their assistance in time of emergency, or indeed at any time, should be the first responsibility of the Government. The provisions of this measure extend to all industries, both primary and secondary. I hope that the powers to be given to the Government under this bill will be utilized for the assistance of the primary industries, and not to the detriment of the wheat industry, as was done during the Great War under the War Precautions Act, of which Australian wheat-growers have such painful recollections. Under that act the whole of the wheat production of the Commonwealth was compulsorily acquired by the Government for several years, and the price paid to the growers over several years proved to be less than one-half of that which they would have received had they sold their product at world parity.
– That is, if they could have transported it.
– A. certain quantity was transported, part of it under the protection of British and Japanese cruisers. It is possible that, under war conditions, a blockade of our trade routes would render the export of both wheat and wool difficult and hazardous. National action would then bo necessary in the interests of the growers of those products. I commend the Government for giving consideration to the desirability of taking steps for the storage’ and acquisition at a fair price of the whole of our wheat production in the event of a national emergency. It has been stated in the press that the advice of leading experts in wheat handling, some of whom have the confidence of wheat-growers, has been sought in this matter. Perhaps the main recommendation of this measure, from the producers’ point of view, is that it enables long-range planning to be undertaken for their protection in times of emergency and war. The blunders and maladministration in connexion with matters pertaining to wheat that took place during the Great War should thus be avoided. I know that in the present Leader of the Senate (Senator McLeay) the wheat-growers of Australia have a very good friend, who is anxious to secure for them a fair return by the establishment of a stabilized price for wheat in time of peace and in time of war. The wool industry also should be similarly provided for. The objective of this bill is to make preparations to meet an emergency. During the last war the prices paid for wool, which was compulsorily acquired, were very much below world parity; so much so, that the agreement made between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of Great Britain to share the profits from the disposal of acquired wool subsequently enabled the Commonwealth to receive many millions of pounds as its half-share of such profits. The woolgrowers remember with some satisfaction the wonderful efforts made by Sir John Higgins and “ Bawra “ to compensate them for some of the amounts of which they were in the first instance deprived. Other phases of this measure deserve the attention of honorable senators. For instance, the storage of oil for use in war time is of major importance. The Go vernment may well assist in any legitimate search for flow oil in Australia or its territories. I commend to its notice the efforts being made, to discover oil by boring in the Kimberley district of Western Australia, which Dr. Woolnough has indicated to be one of the most likely places for ‘the discovery of this essential commodity.
In the event of a blockade, or of interference with the interstate carriage of goods by sea, the existing breaks in our railway gauges would assume tremendous importance. I desire at this stage to make a constructive suggestion to the Government with regard to action which should be taken to meet the unsatisfactory position of our broken railway gauges. An outstanding example is the break of gauge at Kalgoorlie. It is perfectly clear that Western Australia cannot afford to construct a standard gauge line from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle. Under our existing tariff and other disabilities the responsibility of adequately developing one-third of Australia is too heavy a burden for Western Australia’s limited population of 465,000 people to carry without generous Commonwealth aid. Yet a standard gauge railway from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle would be essential in time of war for the transportation of troops, equipment, munitions and the requirements of the civil population, from one side of the continent to the other. The present financial position and necessities of Western Australia not only preclude that State from building a standard gauge railway, but also, in my opinion, prevent the State from giving to the Commonwealth permission to take over or duplicate the existing railway from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle if it desired to do so. If I am any judge, Western Australian public opinion would never submit to that line, which is the very backbone of our State railway system, and its most profitable carrier of traffic, passing into the hands of the Commonwealth, while the State was left with the burden of running and extending its railway system throughout the length and breadth of its comparatively sparsely populated agricultural, mining and pastoral areas.
– All of the other States have had to do it.
– Bui this is the most important line in the State and its greatest source of revenue, and the railways in Western Australia could not be carried on without the revenues received from the Kalgoorlie to Fremantle section with which so many of the other railways junction.
– The Western Australian Government undertook to convert the line to standard gauge.
– It has not the money to undertake the work. As a matter of fact I say definitely - and I am in a position to know, because I was a member of the State Parliament at the time - that no unconditional promise was made in that regard. A bill to authorize the construction of a broad-gauge railway from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle, was passed by the State Parliament, but Western Australia has never been able to afford to undertake the work. I am opposed to any extension of federal control or ownership of our State railway system; but the necessity for a broad gauge railway from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle, from a defence point of view, is both urgent and insistent. In these circumstances, and since this is a measure for the present development of Australia to meet future conditions of emergency, I strongly urge the Commonwealth Government to make a free grant immediately to the State of Western Australia of the funds necessary to duplicate or convert the railway line from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle to the standard gauge, and to provide the necessary new rolling stock. On the 17th November last, Mr. McEwen, then Minister for the Interior, said that the official estimate of the cost of this work, including the necessary adjustments to rolling stock, .was £6,211,000, and that the work was planned to occupy five years. The Commonwealth Government should recognize its plain responsibility to make an unconditional grant of this sum to Western Australia for the carrying out of this work. This action would give to Australia a clear railway on an unbroken 5-ft. 3-in. gauge from Albury, through Melbourne and Adelaide to Port Pirie, and thence a 4-ft. 8^-in. gauge to Fremantle. It is an urgently necessary step for the real defence of Australia and would be a welcome intimation to Western Australians that, at long last, Canberra recognized the development and defence of the Cinderella State as a vital duty of the nation.
.- The Minister has told us that this bill is made necessary for the development and control of the manufacture of arms and munitions for the defence of Australia. There is, however, a vast difference of opinion as to what is the best method of procuring the armaments and munitions required for the defence of any country. The three methods which have been tried in almost every country in the world are: manufacture by Stateowned and controlled factories, subsidized factories, and private manufacture. But the only method which has been successful in any country, and has been beyond any suspicion of graft and profiteering, is the manufacture of munitions by the State. One of the major purposes of this bill is to ascertain the costs of the manufacture of munitions and to prevent excessive profiteering in relation thereto. That objective is a most laudable one, though I very much doubt whether it will ever be achieved by the Government. If it be achieved, the Government will have accomplished something which has not yet been accomplished in any part of the world. I draw the attention of honorable senators to clause 5. It reads - (1.) The matters to be administered by the Department shall be matters relating to arrangements for ascertaining costs and for the control and limitation of profits in relation to the production of munitions, and, subject to the directions of the Governor-General and to the next succeeding sub-section -
Honorable senators on this side of the. chamber believe that if the Government is sincerely desirous of limiting profits it will accept any amendments designed to render this clause more effective in preventing a recurrence of the excessive profiteering which was indulged in during the last war. In endeavouring to ascertain the costs of production, the Government will be faced with a., very difficult task by reason of the fact that many of the organizations which . are to operate the annexes are affiliated in some way with a large parent company. I doubt very much whether it will be possible to analyse the production costs of these concerns.
– We do not propose to do so.
– I suggest that the Government’s appointment of an advisory costing panel is not an indication that the work will be done competently. If the members of the costing panel were servants of the Government one would expect the work to be done competently.
– The work will be done competently.
– The costing proposal places the Government in an invidious position. In effect, the provision has been designed to police and control an evil for which the Government will be responsible. I am opposed to the manufacture of arms, munitions, or defence requirements by private enterprise. I contend, as all members of the Opposition contend, that when the people of any nation have to make great sacrifices either in preparing for an emergency or in a time of emergency, individuals or private firms should not be allowed to make any profits. Moreover, I maintain that the facilities that the Government has in its own factories are ample for the production of arms and munitions. All inquiries made in Great Britain and other parts of the world have revealed the profiteering that has taken place in the manufacture of arms and munitions by private enterprise. This Government disregards the world-wide experience and knowledge. Senator Johnston declared that the Government had tuned in with Great Britain in regard to its policy for the defence of Australia, and that practically the defence policy of the Commonwealth is formulated on the British policy. I cannot agree that the Government is tuning in with Great Britain, when it is not regarding the knowledge gained from the experience of the manufacture of arms and munitions in that country.
– The clause provides for the limiting of profits.
– My only conclusion is that when its wealthy friends are likely to be affected, the Government rejects world-wide experience and is immune and insulated against the welfare of the people. Its first consideration is the call of its wealthy friends.
– What, does the honorable senator think is a reasonable profit to ‘be made out of the manufacture of munitions ?
– The Government wishes to confiscate the manhood of the community, so why not confiscate the wealth ?
– When the interests of its friends are at stake the Government seems to be indifferent to the welfare of the Australian people - the people whom it claims to represent. The Government’s friends are the big business institutions and financial concerns in the community. Look at the list of companies who will be privileged to have annexes. We find among them the Commonwealth Steel Company Proprietary’ Limited, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, H. V. “McKay Massey-Harris Proprietary Limited, and General MotorsHoldens Limited. The directors of those industries and the shareholders interested in them are controllers of the policy of the ‘ United Australia party. The Government is subservient to their dictation, and their influence extends to this Parliament. Last year I. asked the then Leader of the Senate whether it was the intention of the Government to erect buildings to house the annexes. The reply I received was that the Government did not propose to erect such buildings, but that the annexes would be placed in structures already standing. To-day a different policy is to be followed. According to the Minister’s second-reading speech -
In all cases the manufacturer will make the land available; in nearly all cases the Government will erect the building, but in some isolated instances the manufacturer will do so.
I wish to know why there has been a change of policy and why this deception has been practised on senators. Last year the definite answer given by the responsible leader of the Senate was that no buildings would be erected by the Government. I had a specific purpose in asking that, question.
– I should like the honorable senator to quote from the Minister’s speech.
– The speech was delivered in the Senate. The honorable senator, must have a defective or convenient memory if lie does not remember it. 1 arn concerned as to why this change of policy has taken place. Surely we members of the Opposition are not to be treated as children. Now the Government is going to provide machinery valued at- £1,000,000 for its wealthy friends, and it is also going to erect buildings for. them. Here is an extract in” which Mr. Lloyd George indicts the trade in armaments -
When in 1014 it came to the need for increasing our supply of munitions on an enormous scale, private firms broke down completely “, said Mr. Lloyd George in his evidence before, thu Anus Commission on the 6th May. He prefaced his written evidence by expressing his general agreement with the powerful case made by Mr. Noel Baker, corroborated by Dr. Addison, for a Statu monopoly of the manufacture of arms.
Among the reasons given by Mr. Lloyd George for advocating the abolition of private manufacture was the existence of powerful vested interests whose prosperity depends on war preparations. He instanced the enormous increase, amounting to tuns of millions, in a few weeks in thu value of armament shares on the intimation of the Government’s rearmament programme.
After quoting instances of the propaganda engaged in by private armaments interests prior to 1914, Mr. Lloyd George referred to the failure of private enterprise to cope with the situation when the war came. “ It is a lamentable story of failure “, he said. “ Dr. Addition has given you striking figures of tin: promises and performances of the first few months of war. No one who peruses them will fail to realize why we were not only unable for nearly two years to make any attack on the German trenches without appalling losses due to the lack of artillery and. high” explosives; our troops had not enough ammunition to defend themselves by retaliating upon the enemy’s guns.
State Control Saved the Situation.
Mr. Lloyd George added that while private firms were wailing to execute orders for the British Government, they were actually accepting orders from Russia, and not even an appreciable percentage of the obligations undertaken were discharged. “ When the Government took in hand the organization of all our engineering resources for the production of munitions “, he said, ! we had no difficulty in securing the fullest co-operation and the largest output under complete Government control.”
Further evidence in support of Stale ownership and control was given by Captain L. G. H. Llewelyn, Royal Navy (retired), who for ten years was Inspector of Naval Ordnance at Woolwich. Hu said: “It is often stated that private enterprise can produce more cheaply than State enterprise. That is not true. Woolwich Arsenal can and docs produce at costs below the trade. The price per pound of State-produced cordite would astonish trade producers. Many millions have been saved in past years. “ Private monopoly is a decided disadvantage. So complete is the monopoly in heavy armour-piercing shells that the manufacturer* can dictate their wills.”
Mr. Lloyd George’s comments show the experience of Great Britain during the Great War, and every other country engaged in the production of defence requirements has had similar experience. This Government goes further in its efforts to assist its wealthy friends than any other government in the world, and it discounts the world-wide experience that it is inadvisable to rely on private enterprise for defence requirements. The Government also rejects the advice of its own experts. Only a few weeks ago, Mr. A. E- Leighton, the ControllerGeneral of Munitions Supply, said in an address to members of the Australian Chemical Institute -
It was an illusion to suppose that civil factories could be converted quickly to produce weapons and munitions in an emergency.
– Nevertheless, it was an authoritative statement from the Government’s leading expert on munitions supply, and it should be noted. I have still to be convinced that Stateowned factories and railway workshops in the various States, as well as other semigovernmental instrumentalities, are not as capable of producing defence requirements as is any establishment under private control. The Government proposes to set up annexes in privatelyowned factories controlled by its wealthy friends. Modern machinery for the manufacture of munitions is as nearly foolproof as it is possible to make it, and does not require the services of skilled operators. Almost any youth after a few hours’ training could be entrusted with it. Having regard to the capacity and resourcefulness of the average Australian there would be no difficulty whatever in securing workmen for the operation of these machines in government factories.
We are told that at least one of the annexes to be set up in private factories will be utilized for the manufacture of shell cases. I am at a loss to understand why the Government does not install this machinery in its own factories, in order to eliminate entirely the profit element fi om the manufacture of shell cases. This morning the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) showed how the Government of Great Britain dealt with profiteers in connexion with the manufacture of munitions during the Great War. An official report of the action taken states -
The profiteering of armament, firms was checked in three ways; first, by a system of coating and investigation; secondly, by th, establishment of competing national factories; and thirdly, by the excess profits . tax. In a speech which Mr. Lloyd George made in the House of Commons in 1.918 when surveying the work of the Ministry of Munitions, he revealed that the huge sum of £440,000,000 had been saved by these means. He began by referring to the arch profiteering prices charged by the armaments firms for 18- pounder shell cases. When the Ministry for Munitions was established these cost 22s. Gd. each. A system of costing and investigation was introduced and national factories were set up which checked prices. Shell cases for which the War Office, at the time when the Ministry was ‘formed, paid 2’2s. Od. each were reduced to 12s.
This Government is supposed to be formulating its defence policy on the lines adopted by Great Britain.
– We are setting up a costing panel.
– The Government first makes provision to .create an evil, and then ‘ appoints a costing ‘panel to act as a check on excess profits. The action taken by the British Government during the war was directly responsible for tie saving of the huge sum which I have mentioned. The reduction of the prices of shell cases from 22s. 6d. each to 12s. was a complete justification of the Government’s policy and condemnation of .private enterprise.
In September last, when the dark clouds of war were alleged to he hovering over Great Britain and when the Government became feverishly active to meet the situation, the profiteers’ were again in evidence in Britain. Prices for some essential commodities increased by 500 per cent. The following statement appeared in the Canberra Times: -
The Home Office called a conference “of contractors to consider the 500 per cent, increase in the price - of air raids precautions material at the peak of the recent crisis. Manufacturers have informed the Government that they would assist to prevent future retail profiteering.
What happened in Great Britain a few months ago was clear evidence that profiteers do not wait till war actually breaks out. We know how the people of Great Britain were exploited during that crisis. We know also that the British Government discovered that its plan for the defence of the nation was totally inadequate, and that there .was not sufficient necessary spare parts for anti-aircraft guns and other defence equipment. Altogether Great Britain was in a perilous position. Because of the ineptitude of successive Commonwealth governments, Australia is in much the same position to-day. Sir John Gellibrand, speaking at the annual gathering in connexion with the Anzac Day march in Melbourne, in April last, said -
One can only be struck by the leisurely manner in which Australia is tackling the work of developing the national strength in comparison with the energy displayed 25 years ago.
The unpleasant fact has to be faced that today the validity of treaties and pacts depends on mutual interest and relative strength.’
What reliance can be placed on the word of a dictator, or the promise of a democracy?
Australia has doubled its land forces, and within three weeks some of them could be fighting - clad in their civilian clothes.
True, we have made our first plane, but one plane is little better than a promise of more to come.
We could have organized a reserve force, and had uniforms and equipment ready, not only for present recruits, but for mobilization requirements.
Developed our shale oil and given our defence organization the reform and recasting on national lines that it so badly needs.
We could have trained the leaders of ali ranks to requisite standards.
I forgot to mention that we have placed many contracts and that if war conies we have little chance of getting delivery.
That statement is a serious indictment of the Government’s defence plans. I go further than this distinguished soldier. I charge this Government with wilful neglect of, and complete disregard for, the necessary provisions for the defence of this country. I make this statement with the full knowledge and responsibility of my position. The particular charge which I level against the Government is that more than one-half of the rifles in stock in Australia are inefficient. I am prepared to substantiate that charge either here or outside of this chamber.
– Does the honorable senator say that half the military rifles are inefficient?
– Yes, and I accept full responsibility for that charge. If Australia were called upon to defend itself at an early date, the Government would have a far more serious charge to answer in this respect. Five years ago the department changed over from Mark VI. ammunition, which is of low velocity, to Mark VII., a high velocity ammunition. Up to that time all of the rifles, including sights, fittings and adjustments, were made for Mark VI. ammunition. No new rifles have been made since then. Approximately 40,000 have been converted to take Mark VII. ammunition. These rifles were converted for use by rifle clubs. A further 10,000 rifles have been converted by shortening the, valves, an operation which would not affect their efficiency.
– After departing from Gallipoli the Australian Imperial Force was issued with rifles firing Mark VII. ammunition. I am under the impression that 200,000 of these rifles were brought here in 1919.
– Some of those rifles might have been converted. You cannot use Mark VII. ammunition in a rifle which has been made and chambered for Mark VI. ammunition.
– I agree with, that.
– The majority of the rifles now being used by our militia forces have been chambered and fitted for Mark VI. ammunition. Firing at a target at 600 yards with a rifle that has been chambered, sighted and fitted for Mark VI. ammunition, you could get a bull’s eye. But using a Mark VII cartridge in the same rifle, without changing the position of the rifle or adjusting the sights, you would fail to hit the target at all. The bullet would go above it. The reason for that is that the Mark VI. bullet, being of low velocity, travels 200 yards before making its trajectory, whilst the Mark VII. bullet, which is of high velocity, does, not make its . trajectory until it has travelled 300 yards. You would get a direct hit with a Mark VI. bullet at 200 yards and a direct hit with a Mark VII. bullet at 300 yards. Last Saturday I had this tested and proved on a rifle range by firing at a target at 600 yards. Another feature of the ammunition is its effect on . the . rifle. I have a bullet of each of these.’ two kinds in my hand. The Mark VI. bullet is bullnosed and fits right into the chamber of the rifle. The Mark VII. bullet tapers to a point. When placed in a Mark VI. chamber it allows too much clearance with the result that it tends to explode prematurely and tear the chamber of the barrel. When I first heard of this complaint, I immediately made inquiries. I have no doubt that the answer which the Government will make to my charge is that it is only a matter of adjusting the rifle and the sights in order to make the rifles efficient for the use of Mark VII. ammunition. I contend, however, that mo.re than that is required. In order to convert a rifle for the use of Mark VII. ammunition, the following operations , are necessary: - Disassemble rifle - Distribute components to be converted to the departments concerned. Body - The magazine clearances to be deepened in section M; “bullet lead to be polished in assembly department; inspect fore ends and handguards for serviceability; serviceable fore ends to be machined for copper reinforcing plates in section O; copper plates screwed to fore ends in assembly department. Trigger guard - The swivellug, if partially machined, to be cut off and loop cover breech brazed on. Barrel - Remove the leaf, spring backsight and axis pin., then forward barrel to final view for examination; after inspection barrels considered unserviceable will be returned to assembly department for the removal of remaining sight components, the stripped barrel will then be sent to the forge shop and destroyed; barrels considered serviceable are retained by the final view; when a demand is made known orders are issued to have the chamber and lead corrected, and on to assembly department to convert sights from Mark VI. to Mark VII.
Reclaimed block bands - After reconditioning and polishing, they will be ready for fitting to barrels. Reclaimed bed backsights - On a partially-worn Pee. 1 barrel the bed can be converted from Mark VI.” to Mark VII; when a Pee. 1 barrel is replaced a new bed is required. Reclaimed spring bed backsight - To be shortened and taper reground at rear end to gauges supplied ; the shortening is done in the assembly department; the regrinding of taper is done in the polishing department. Reclaimed slide backsight - To have two clearance cuts machined on underside to gauge supplied in section I. Reclaimed leaf backsight - Will be reconditioned in its completeness ready for further service, i.e., Mark VII. sighting. Some idea of the work entailed in adjusting only the magazine for the use of Mark VII. ammunition can be gained from the following operations: - Magazine case - Back strip to be machined and piece 68£ spring rib magazine to be riveted; figure 3 stamped on rib below bottom end of spring; rivetholes to ‘be punched in left side of case and piece 65^ lip magazine riveted to case. Spring auxiliary magazine - To bereset. Platform magazine - A clearance to be filed, to jig supplied, on left side to clear spring lip. Screw rear nose cap - Co be shortened. Screw protector - To be shortened. Components to be browned - nose cap, magazine, screw nose cap front, screw nose cap rear, trigger guard if loop is brazed on, protector backsight, outer band, pin axis backsight, washer pin axis backsight.
– Has this difficulty been brought under the notice of thedepartment?
– Only three weeks ago I brought this matter under the notice of the Minister for Supply and Development (“Mr. Casey), but he did not seem to regard my charge as serious.
– Who says that the rifles are inefficient?
– I do. No doubt, the department will claim that the rifles it now has in stock can be converted for use of Mark VII. ammunition simply by altering the sights. In view of the list of operations which I have read as being necessary to make such a conversion efficiently, honorable senators will agree that si. good deal more is involved than the department might suggest. In fact, the comprehensiveness of those alterations justifies my charge of incompetence against the Government in this matter.
– Where are these rifles ?
– The department has them in stock all over Australia. The Government may contend that rifles are not a vital weapon in modern warfare.
– That argument was put up by one of the honorable senator’s colleagues not so long ago.
– I have never advanced it. I contend that the rifle is a vital weapon in any war. Any honorable senator who doubts that statement should read The Epic of the Alcazar, which describes how, in the recent Spanish war, 1,500 people held out with only rifles and machine guns in the palace of the Alcazar at Toledo against overwhelming forces. That force was bombarded from the air and heavily shelled, yet a much greater and better-equipped force failed to dislodge it. The story told in that book proves conclusively that the rifle is just as vital in modern warfare as it proved itself in past wars. Furthermore, the rifle is essential to enable infantry to hold captured ground. The charge that I have laid against the Government is sufficiently grave to warrant ‘an immediate investigation of the whole matter, particularly in regard to the stock of rifles now held in Australia. Although I have been assured on the most reliable authority that the position is as I have stated, I would be pleased to learn that there is a misunderstanding somewhere.
– It would not be due to bad workmanship ?
– Not at all. The Assistant Minister (Senator Collett) knows what I mean, and Senator Dein should be capable of understanding a plain statement.
– The honorable senator said that one-half of the rifles are defective, and I asked whether that would be due to bad workmanship.
– It is due to a change of ammunition.
– Then the rifle is not defective.
– Until a few years ago it was customary for the Defence Department to hold a. stock of at least 5,000 rifle components. This stock has now been exhausted, and, should an emergency arise, Australia would be in a position similar to that in which Great Britain was placed in September last. In the New South Wales factory there are thousands of rifle parts - many of which have been through only one operation -in an unfinished state. Some of these parts have to be handled many hundreds of times before they reach a finished state, and a complete rifle has to go through at least 4,000 operations before it can be regarded as fully efficient. In the rifle factory in New South Wales, the machinery has been lying idle and rusting for years. In the interest of defence, arrangements should be made for the manufacture of at least 10,000. rifles yearly, in order to allow for depreciation and to ensure that rifles which are lost or have become inefficient may be replaced immediately. Money should be spent in manufacturing rifles rather than in constructing a large number of annexes. Apparently, this Government displays little interest in the New South Wales factory, and, as Senator Johnston stated, confines its defence activities to Victoria.
– Rifles are not manufactured in Victoria.
– Over 4,500 persons are employed in the manufacture of arms and munitions in Victoria, whilst in New South Wales only 500 are employed.
– And 29,000 are waiting for work at the munitions establishments at Maribyrnong.
– Of the 500 now employed in New South Wales, 120 have been engaged within the last two or three months. The Government confines its defence activities to Victoria, not only in the manufacture of arms and munitions, but also in the manufacture of other defence requirements, as will be seen from the following complaint made by clothing manufacturers in Sydney in January last-
“UNDRESS” UNIFORMS FOR MILITIA.
Clothing manufacturers in Sydney ‘ are annoyed because the defence authorities in Melbourne have had a large batch of military uniforms cut out in Melbourne and sent to
Sydney to be sewn together, instead of having the whole process of manufacture carried out in Sydney.
The factories in Victoria being too busy to undertake the manufacture of complete uniforms, they were cut out in Victoria and sent to Sydney to be made into the finished garments, thus throwing the New South Wales factories out of balance. A contract for the assembling of garments in a factory intended for their complete manufacture is always unsatisfactory, in that garments cut by one manufacturer have to be made up by another. That throws the cutting staff idle whilst the assemblingstaff is working at high pressure.
– Only in showing the great disparity in the allocation of defence works between New South Wales and Victoria. Over twelve months ago the Government said that it proposed to expend from’ £30,000,000 to £40,000,000 on defence, and that this would provide employment in practically every State of the Commonwealth. I know that such an assurance was welcomed by every member of this Parliament, because it was thought that the expenditure of such a large sum would provide employment and security for at least three years, or until the money was exhausted, for many deserving men who had been out of work for years. During the last period of this session the amount proposed to be expended was increased to over £63,000,000, and had effective measures been taken for the defence of Australia, and employment made available, no one would have complained. [Extension of time granted.] Unfortunately, the major portion of that amount is being expended in Victoria and abroad, whilst New South Wales and the other States have been practically disregarded.
– A vessel is being launched in Sydney this week.
– What of the development of the shale deposits?
– The honorable senator inspected the idle machinery at Lithgow, and if he desires I shall accompany him to Newnes to enable him to see what is actually happening . there. When the Government’s defence policy was announced some time ago, we thought that when it was being implemented there would be a fairly equal distribution of defence expenditure between the States. Although I do not suggest that an even distribution is practicable, there should be a reasonable allotment, say, on a per capita basis, and with some regard to the responsibilities of the States.
– The honorable senator should deal with this matter from an Australian point of view and not merely from the standpoint of an individual State.
– That is what I am doing. Much of the work which is being done in Victoria could be economically and efficiently performed in other States. New South Wales in the most highly industrialized State in the Commonwealth, because the manufacture of steel and iron and the production of coal are carried out within its borders. I do not think that any honorable senator opposite will argue that it is economically sound to transport raw materials produced in New South Wales to Victoria to be manufactured into the finished article. The Government and its supporters who believe that Australia’s defence policy should be a replica of the defence policy of Great Britain, should remember that some of the work formerly undertaken at the Woolwich Arsenal is now being done in Scotland and in other parts of Great Britain. Notwithstanding that, this Government confines the bulk df its manufacture for defence purposes to one State. When it is desirous of assisting its wealthy friends it claims that for more efficient operation it is necessary to concentrate these factories in Victoria. New South Wales contains 40 per cent, of the population of the Commonwealth, and as the taxpayers of that State will be called upon to contribute that percentage of the money to be expended on defence preparations, surely they are justified in claiming that a fair share of defence expenditure should be allocated to New South Wales. In his second-reading speech, the Minister, referring to the manufacture of aircraft in Australia, said: -
A development which will receive the earnest and immediate attention of the department is the manufacture of lighting aircraft in Australia.
I have made some inquiries in regard to this subject, and have had prepared for me the following statement: -
Referring to the proposal to build Bristol Beaufort aircraft, and Taurus or Pegasus engines in Australia, a few very pertinent points should be carefully considered before committing this country to an aircraft and engine-building programme which appears to have been formed solely for the benefit of English manufacturers, to the detriment of local industry.
Australia has been a very convenient dumping ground for obsolete British manufacturers’ surplus, and it appears that these manufacturers realize that a locally-owned and controlled aircraft industry would destroy for them this dumping ground.
The main point raised by the British Government was, of course, the precarious state of world affairs, and the need for rapidly building up a production and a reserve of British service aircraft, greatly in excess of the number in service last September.
The proposal to build Beaufort bombers in Australia would be welcome if the scheme of production and scale of output had been of reasonable proportions. As it at present stands the scheme is so large that full output is not expected even in the most optimistic circles earlier than “ some time “ in 1942.
By that time the Beaufort will be most certainly obsolescent, to say the least; and will the British Air Ministry then be so anxious to take off our hands large numbers of bombers no longer in the first line?
– That could be said of any particular make.
– The statement continues -
It is suggested that Australia, New Zealand and, “ possibly “, South Africa, would be “ invited “ to absorb the surplus. “ Possibly “ South Africa, because they have their own ideas about aircraft, witness the fact that all their internal air-lines are operated with German Junkers aircraft.
Our present Government sponsoring this scheme has agreed with the Bristol Company to produce in addition to airframes, engines (at no matter what cost), provided they are of British origin.
It is submitted that the following facts should be examined before it can be said that the Bristol “ Taurus “ sleeve valve engine is the type most suited to Australian conditions.
An alternative type of engine submitted to the Government was the Twin row Wasp “ C “ engine at 1,050 B.H.P. for take off, when using fuel of 87 octane rating.
This engine is at present making history by flying the Consolidated flying boat Guba across Australia non-stop, and then blazing a new Empire air route to East Africa. These Pratt and Whitney engines have an enviable record of service all over the world for dependability - flying the Pacific weekly, round the South American continent, over the Andes and over desert conditions - and have recorded many millions of miles of trouble-free service.
On the other hand, what has the Taurus engine done? How many hare been built? How many have been used for thousands of hours in conditions similar to those found in Central and North Australia?
How many Royal Air Force squadrons can report on the conditions after complete overhaul? At what period have these complete overhauls been carried out? Information on the above points is delightfully vague, and the answer to each and every one is still “ None “. Even the weight of the Taurus engine is not announced in the Bristol Company literature.
Another important point is “ Would a licence to build be granted to an Australian manufacturer, or would the Australian factory bc under industrial control by the British manufacturing company? . The latter seems inevitable, as the Minister for Supply and Development proposes to import no less than 200 technicians to show Australian workmen how to build the Taurus. These same workmen, with only two American technicians, are already building the Single row Wasp engine.
– This is great antiBritish propaganda.
– Not at all: it is not anti-British, hut pro-Australian. I am giving the facts. The Minister will have an opportunity to reply to them. The Opposition welcomes constructive criticism of anything submitted by its members, but abhors sneering remarks such as that which the honorable senator has just made. The statement continues -
Does the British manufacturer and our own Government officials really consider good Australian workmen and technicians so’ dumb and unintelligent? Furthermore, all tools and jigs are to be imported from England. Ninety per cent, of the tooling for the Wirraway and its engine have been designed and made in Australia by Australian workmen and technicians. Why take this all-important work from them? The same story also applies to materials. Steel manufacturers have already carried out a considerable amount of research and experimental work, and have produced steels to the satisfaction of the Pratt and Whitney technicians^ This work covers a period of some two to two and a half years. Owing to the fact that the Bristol engine specifications call for British steels, it looks as though this work has been done in vain, and wc will be again committed to importations of British steel - another outlet for surplus materials, and less opportunity for Australian workmen and raw materials.
– From whose statement is the honorable senator quoting?
– I am merely giving to the Senate information which was compiled for me during the course of my inquiries into this matter.
– It would he very interesting to know who prepared the statement.
– There are quite a number of things which the honorable senator would like to know.
– The honorable senator must accept responsibility for its accuracy.
– I do so.
– If the honorable senator is reading a letter any honorable senator may move that it be laid on the table of the Senate.
– I am not reading a letter, but merely giving to the Senate information which was obtained on my behalf. The statement continues -
Appended is a tabulation of comparisons of the two engines:’ -
The only figures given by the Bristol Company for ‘comparison with a poppet valve engine are figures comparing the Taurus “ with the Bristol “ Pegasus “, an engine ten years out of date, inasmuch as it needs two exhaust and two inlet valves to each cylinder, all valve and rocker gear exposed to the atmosphere, three valve springs to each valve, and a most elaborate valve compensating mechanism. This valve gear needs overhaul and adjustment after a maximum of twenty hours service, as against a modern engine’s 200 hours.
Surely this whole subject should be thoroughly investigated by experts before the Australian people are committed to such a huge expenditure of money.
Many other facts could be brought to light should such a committee of experts be set up and the whole matter ventilated.
I consider the building of an aircraft factory and then the manufacturing of engines and airframes such as has been acomplished at Fishermen’s Bend, in the last two years, is an achievement of which any country in the world could be proud, and it seems to me nothing less than shameful that such an industry should be virtually pushed out of existence by the almost unscrupulous methods adopted by English manufacturers. lt is quite patent that the British Company do not wish Australian people to build engines, either British or otherwise, lest we become too independent and self-reliant.
– Will the honorable senator lay the document on the table of the Senate?
– As it is my .private property I do not intend to do so. 1 do not profess to know the intricate details associated with the manufacture of aeroplanes and other defence requirements, and I have had this statement prepared in order that honorable senators may have an opportunity to consider it. if the statements made in it warrant investigation, the Government should be prepared to inquire into them.
Reference has been made during this debate to the necessity for adequate reserve supplies of oil. Only last week I asked a question regarding the latest methods of producing oil from coal. A demonstration by the Phoenix Oil Extraction Company in Sydney only a few days previously had been witnessed. T understand, by a member of the Senate and by members of the House of Representatives. The company conducting the experiments claimed that it could produce oil from coal and place it on the market at. 5d. a gallon. In a reply that I received from the responsible Minister. I was referred to reports on oil submitted in 1937. I was just as cognizant of those reports as anybody else, because for many years I have been constantly advocating the production of oil from, coal and shale. I was connected with a development league in the western district for fifteen years, and I saw every report, whether it emanated from Sir David Rivett or any one else. Does this Government intend to investigate this project to put oil on the market at 5d. a gallon? Surely a proposal of this nature is of sufficient importance to the defence and the commercial life of this nation to deserve the Government’s attention. The production of oil from coal would not only ensure that we should be selfreliant and self -con tanned in respect of fuel supplies but would also mean that many thousands of unemployed would be re-established in industry. The subject is of great importance, and the Government should investigate the claims recently made by the Phoenix Oil Extraction Company. Interjections have referred to the Newnes shale industry which, I understand, is providing work for 350 men. It has been stated that 500 men are in employment there, of whom 150 are constructing roads. It is a disgrace to the New South Wales Government and this Government, which is subsidizing the company, that the present conditions are tolerated. Under-nourished men are transported by lorries from Sydney to work for two weeks, after which they are returned to their homes to remain idle for another six weeks. If the Commonwealth and the New South Wales Governments were determined to have an independent supply of oil, or even a parrial supply, for the defence of this nation, they would see that proper facilities were provided for the relief workers connected with this activity. A certain amount of developmental work has taken place, but I can assure the Senate that there is no prospect of oil being produced on the date that has been mentioned.
When I first heard of this bill, I expected to see proposals to develop the national life of Australia. Although the question of defence is paramount to-day, side by side with it there must be social progress. We must not lag behind in the development of national life. I am disappointed to find that the Minister does not provide for the extension of social services. At two elections nationalist governments told the people that they would abolish slums and build homes, but the slums remain, and not a penny has been contributed by the Government for the purpose of building homes. As Senator .Brown has interjected, there are slums right here in Canberra. There is need for ‘ the development of new roads and for the standardization of the railway gauges. Other work.– could be undertaken that would create employment for the people, and they ure wo’rks essential for the defence of Australia.
More attention should be paid to the technical education and vocational training of youths, and assistance should be given by the Commonwealth Government to this movement. A problem of great importance is caused by the unemployed youth in the community. Special efforts should be made by the Government to assist the States in some way to minimize the evil existing today. I was glad to hear Senator Brand’s appeal to the Government to do something in this matter. I trust that side by side with the defence movement something will be implemented to give the lost legion - the unemployed youth - an opportunity of being rehabilitated. One could deal with many other matters on this measure, but I shall refrain. During the last war Australia pledged itself to the last man and the last shilling. We nearly got to the last man, but we hardly got to the first shilling. Huge profits were made in Australia during those years. Fortunes were made overnight while men were dying on the fields of Flanders. To-day we all are paying income tax to meet the loans on which subscribers are paying no income tax. The citizens generally are paying income tax for the benefit of those profiteers.
Before the Government carries out its ‘ intention to allocate annexes, it should be guided by the experience gained in other parts of the world where munitions production by private enterprise has invariably resulted in exploitation. This Government seems to he determined to create and foster that evil. I trust that the Government will give due consideration to my remarks, especially to those referring to the rifle stocks of Australia. If it does so, the people will know that the Government is honestly attempting te do something for the defence of this nation.
– On a point of order I draw attention to Standing Order No. 364 with reference to a document from which Senator Ashley quoted extensively. Incidentally, I request that the document be laid on the table of the Senate.
– Standing Order No. 364 says-
A document quoted from by a senator not a Minister of the Crown may be ordered by the Senate to bo laid upon the table.
If Senator Dein wishes to have the document laid upon the table he must move to that effect.
– I do not wish to go to that extent.
– I also raise a point of order. I desire to know what is behind the point of order raised by Senator Dein?
– That is not & point of order.
– Senator Dein should move to have the document tabled. It will be tabled.
- Senator Dein asked me a question and I answered him.
– He raised this question. Why is he afraid to go on?
– I protest against the attempt to rush this bill “ through the Senate. In doing so I direct attention to a statement which appeared in the Melbourne Age on Saturday last, concerning the measure we are now discussing. The paragraph is headed “ Senate . Rush,” and referring to the Supply and Development Bill, it states -
It is a recognized fact, however, that when the occasion demands quick action, the Senate can outstrip almost anything.
That indicates the press’s view of the Senate. The only construction I can put on the comment is that the press views this chamber with the greatest contempt. The Senate is the senior branch of the Commonwealth Parliament, but according to the press its members consist of marionettes - figures pulled by strings. I protest against such a comment, and I appeal to the self-respect of honorable senators. Have they any sense of the dignity of the office they occupy when the public press can hold them up to contempt in this manner? If no protest is made by the members of the other side it will be an admission by them that they are so many “yes men “ - so many marionettes.
– The honorable senator must not allude to other senators as marionettes.
– I do not desire to reflect unnecessarily on ‘Government supporters and Ministers. On the contrary, I wish to treat them with all the respect that is due to them and the office which they occupy. I am merely directing attention to a statement, for which I am not responsible, that appeared in a newspaper.
– The honorable gentleman should direct attention to his colleague, Senator Arthur.
– At the moment I am inviting the attention of Government supporters to this matter.
– Order ! Does the honorable senator intend to connect his remarks with this hill?
– Yes. The statement published in the’ newspaper referred to has special reference to this measure. _It declares that the hill is to be rushed throughthe Senate.
– It does not appear to be rushing through this chamber.
– We on this side are doing our very best to prevent it from being passed without full con- sideration, as no doubt was intended by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), who declared that Parliament would adjourn on the 9th June. This newspaper statement is founded on the Prime Minister’s pronouncement.
– Order ! The probable date of the adjournment of Parliament has nothing whatever to do with the bill. I have given the honorable senator every opportunity to state his views in his own way, and I have extended the same privilege to other honorable gentlemen. I shall be glad if he will confine his remarks to the subject matter of the bill.
– I appreciate the fairness of your treatment, Mr. President, but I felt that you, as the presiding officer of this chamber, should know what was being said in some sections of the press about the conduct of business in the Senate. I enter my protest against the obvious intention to hold up the Senate to public contempt.
In my opinion the bill had its origin in an artificially-created war atmosphere. To me it seems to be a cow-cud-chewed collection of legislative provisions, largely the result of the capitalization, by the press, of the fear of war in the interests of . that section of the community which profits enormously from armed conflict among the nations. Whenever this war atmosphere is created, the representatives in Parliament of private interests and profit, ask for increased powers approximating a dictatorship. This bill is subtly worded. On its face it appears to be a perfectly innocuous legislative document; but if passed in its present form it will give to the Government powers approximating to a dictatorship. Enormous powers-are to be delegated to the Governor-General, who will act, as he should do, in accordance with the advice of his Ministers, and for all practical purposes the Minister will be a dictator.
– Did the honorable senator say Minister or Ministers?
- Senator Dein may read the statement in the singular or plural - whichever he pleases.
– If it is to be read in the plural, the honorable senator cannot mean a dictator.
– YesI can. As an ex-school teacher Senator Dein should know that the word “ dictator “ approximates a. collective noun and may be used in the plural.
– It is not a collective noun.
– I say that in the circumstances it is. And -I repeat that as it approximates a collective noun, a dictator could consist of the Minister or Ministers, acting through the GovernorGeneral.
– That argument will not stand examination.
– I cannot further help the honorable gentleman if he lacks comprehension and fails to understand sound dialectics.
– Order ! The honorable senator is entitled to express his opinion in his own words and without, interruption.
– I merely wished to put Senator Cameron on the right track.
– I do not need his assistance. Unlike the honorable senator, who has been vacillating from one side to another- in politics, I have been travelling on the right track all my life.
But let me resume my argument. In this war-created atmosphere, democracy is liable to harden to a dictatorship or an oligarchy. That is what we on this side of the Senate, fear will result from the passage of this bill which, as I have explained, delegates to the GovernorGeneral powers approximating a dictatorship. For example, the subject of profits from defence contracts is to be dealt with by regulation, hut there is nothing to indicate how the inquiry will be conducted. Nor is there in the schedule to the hill any provision to limit the rate of profit. As one honorable senator said recently, this bill may be regarded as government by regulation in excelsis. That is my fundamental objection to it.
Possibly it will be said by those who support the Government, that the powers which it is proposed to delegate, will not be abused. I nave no doubt that many who say this, are quite sincere in their belief that no harm will be done; but experience teaches us to be cautious. “We need not go back to Magna Charta for support of this view. We know how these powers were abused during the Great War. We know what enormous profits have always been made out of war-time activities and how the regulationmaking power is abused in the interests of those who profit from war industrial activities to the detriment of the workers and soldiers on whom the nation depends to supply the materials of war and to defend the nation against the enemy. The proof is abundant and overwhelming. Scandal after scandal has been exposed in connexion with wartime activities. Therefore we are fully justified in opposing the bill and in declaring, with all the emphasis at our command, that the powers to be delegated to certain authorities under the measure will be abused.
What is the object of these regulations? I suggest, and here again we have experience to guide us, that these regulationmaking provisions have been inserted in order to enable the Government to go into a long recess during which Ministers will be practically laws unto themselves.
– The honorable senator knows that regulations, if obnoxious, may be disallowed by either House of the Parliament.
– I know there is that safeguard. Either House of the Parliament may disallow a regulation to which objection is raised. But of what avail would that be, after the damage had been done? Those who were making profits out of war activities would have reaped the harvest.
– The honorable senator is drawing on his imagination.
– I speak from bitter experience, as I propose to show before “I resume my seat. If the honorable senator cares to search the history of this matter, he will discover that scandals have always been associated with war-time activities.
– This bill contains provisions to remedy that state of affairs.
– But it does not provide an effective remedy. That is my reason for objecting to it. As I and other honorable, senators have pointed out, the measure does not contain precise details of the steps to be taken to prevent profiteering from war activities. It does not tell us what is to be done. ‘That is to be left to the alleged good sense or judgment of Ministers, and I have yet to learn that Ministers are possessed of greater ability than the average member of this chamber. The Minister for Supply and Development (Mr. Casey) said that the bill is drafted in broad terms. They could not be broader. He added -
In preparing the measure alternative courses were open to the Government. It could have attempted to set down in precise terms the exact functions that this new department would perform, or it could have stated general objectives and relied on its experience and good sense as a Government to deal with the problems that have to be faced. It was decided to adopt the latter policy which it believes to be the right one. What I have just said applies in particular to clause 5 of the bill.
The Government has made a choice; it has declined to set down in precise terms exactly what it intends to do. When we view the record and actions of the Government in the light of the verdict of the people given quite, recently, we should be foolish to believe that the Governwill do the right thing. I am perfectly certain, for reasons which I shall give, that it will not do the right thing from the point of view of the workers and soldiers involved, but will do the right thing - which will ‘be the wrong thing - from the viewpoint of the financiers, the Army contractors, and the rest of those who have their money invested in activities pertaining to war.
– That is the Trades Hall speaking.
– If the honorable senator had graduated from the Trades Hall he would have a little more of that commodity which is very rare, although it is called common - common sense - -ana which can only be acquired by experience; he would never be inclined to take everything for granted or at its face value. The Trades Hall is a hard school; it is not a hot-house like some of our universities.
– Order ! The honorable senator must confine his remarks to the bill.
– Reverting to the remarks made by the Minister, I suggest that the Government is operating on the principle of make-believe. It will not attempt to perform the tasks which it would like the people to believe it will. It has conveniently adopted the soporific term “ national planning,” a verbal narcotic which, more or less, anaesthetises people who do not know better. National planning as applied by the Government in this instance actually amounts to using Parliament to stabilize private enterprise at the expense of the people. The Government does not propose national planning in the real sense of the word.
This measure is entitled, “ A bill for an act relating to the supply of munitions and the survey, registration and development of the resources of Australia, and “ - most significantly of all - “ for other purposes “. “We must do more than just take notice of the measure put before us. We must consider who will be charged with the responsibility of administering it. We find that it will he by a Government which has proved itself incompetent, and is now suspect by the people.
– The honorable senator would like to think so.
– I- do not merely think so; the facts speak for themselves. Can the Austraiian people have any confidence in a government that is so callously indifferent to the condition of the unemployed, that wasted nearly £140,000 on a useless piece of legislation known as national insurance, and that is so lacking in initiative that it has to import experts from overseas in order to carry out the ordinary functions of government. By its own actions, and admissions, the Government has shown itself to be incompetent, and on that fact alone, I must vote against the bill as it stands. Reference has been made in this debate to the incompetence of the Government to manage defence. Let me give an illustration in that respect. At the fort at Queenscliff are three guns - very good guns in their day, but inadequate to cope with the heavier guns of modern warships - and situated on either side of them are a lighthouse and a signal station, which provide all the guidance necessary to enable a warship, standing miles out to sea, to blow the fort to smithereens. Senator Sheehan and I, feeling that we should combine business with pleasure, visited that fort last February, and after noticing these things, we thought it our duty to direct the attention of the Minister for Defence to the fact that the signal station and the lighthouse made the fort an easy target for an enemy. The Minister replied courteously enough to our representations, but asked whether we should pit our opinion against that of the experts who were responsible for the location of the forts. Personally, I would not accept at their face value the experts who were responsible for that state of affairs. Any one who has had military experience, particularly on active service, knows that the last thing a combatant should do is to expose himself unnecessarily to the enemy.
– ‘Barbed wire entanglements have been erected in the water -in front of the fort.
– Yes, and the fort has a moat in the medieval manner. It. is supposed to occupy a strategic position. I failed to find any evidence that provision had been made to meet a gas attack, or an attack from the air. In fact, the fort was most conspicuous from both the air and the sea, and offered a splendid mark to an aeroplane. Yet when we directed attention to these facts, we were told, in effect, that the experts were ex-cathedra, and that we were just despised laymen.
-Could not modern camouflage be provided very quickly in a case of that kind?
– As the roof is of red tiles and the building is painted in bright colours, it would take considerable time to camouflage the fort. In fact, a small army would be required to carry out such a task. I suggest that the only way to camouflage this fort would be to blow up the signal station, the lighthouse and other targets.
– Modern camouflaging can be carried out very quickly.
– My point is that -when Senator Sheehan and I directed attention to this state of affairs, the Minister asked us whether we were prepared to pit our opinion against that of experts. In this instance I reply, “ Yes “.
– Has the honorable -senator any experience in camouflaging?
– I am not a lawyer; I do not know how to browbeat drunks in a witness box, or to humiliate a timid witness. I know nothing, shall I say, of dialectical camouflage. I object to the delegation of such enormous powers to the Minister as is proposed in the bill. Furthermore, any hard-headed business man will agree that the Government cannot hope to implement its proposals unless it controls finance, because without control of finance it cannot possibly be master of those things which are governed by finance, such as labour, power, raw materials and manufactured goods. No suggestion is made in this measure that the Government should con- trol finance. It will not take any step in that direction unless the position becomes so acute that it will be forced to do so. Should war be declared the Government would be compelled by pressure of public opinion and of public need to control finance, and if it did not it would be replaced by a government that would. If the Government does not intend to control finance it will be dictated to by the money masters. Its policy will be directed by financiers who control the raising of loan moneys. If the
Government does not submit to the dictates of financial institutions it cannot get the money it needs. That happened recently. I emphasize and repeat that this bill will not be worth the paper on which it is printed if the Government does not control finance. It appears that this Government, like previous governments, has to be driven by the needs of the people. It is not prepared to go forward of its own volition and improve conditions in the light of experience.
– What does the honorable senator mean by the ‘control of finance?
– The Commonwealth Bank should be responsible for financing all defence works in Australia, and this Government should not need to go on to the London market in order to raise a paltry £6,000,000. Had the Government control of finance it could raise that amount in Australia. Loans have failed in the past because this Government is not trusted. Investors remember the reduction of interest made under the Premiers plan.
– This Government did not make that reduction.
– Shrewd investors refuse to provide money to a government which reduced the rate of interest on previous loans. Australian investors prefer to invest their capital overseas.
– They must be afraid of a Labour government coming to power.
– They are; that is the most sensible thing that the honorable senator has said. Most persons are cont rolled by fear rather than by reason, and the persons most fearful of all are those possessing capital. They are afraid of a Labour government and spend huge sums of money in endeavouring to prevent a Labour government from coming into power. The control of finance as well as such other resources as we have at our disposal will be of paramount importance in the defence of a country. To prepare effectively for defence wc should have control of finance. When the Great War broke out in 1914 the financial institutions in Great Britain were the first to collapse, and the British Government had to take control throughout the war period. The same thing happened in Australia. At that time one of the first acts was to issue three £1 notes for each sovereign, and when a person deposited a sovereign in a bank his account was credited with £1, the bank appropriating the other £2. The difference has never been made up. That was one of the most colossal pieces of trickery ever attempted in the name of constitutional government.
– The Honorable senator does not believe that?
– I do and I can prove it. The Government proposes to raise a loan of £6,000,000 to be issued at £98 10s. - carry interest at 4 per cent., and have a currency of 25 years, and, according to a published statement by the Prime Minister, the money is to be used to purchase defence requirements overseas. If the Government had control of finance that amount could be raised in Australia and expended on goods manufactured in Australia instead of in Great Britain. Although over 29,000 men have registered for employment at the munitions works at Maribyrnong because they are seeking the privilege of earning a living in producing defence requirements - I suppose that a similar number would apply in New South Wales and a smaller number in the other States- £6,000,000 is to he raised and expended overseas. We have sufficient men and material in Australia to manufacture what we require, but the equipment received will probably be useless or obsolete in Great Britain.
– The honorable senator does not believe that?
– I do. I am not one of those peripatetic polygraphs, who, masquerading as politicians, repeat word for word what they have read in the press and then congratulate themselves upon having made a statesmanlike utterance. Aeroplanes purchased in Great Britain, for use in Australia have been condemned by experts as unsafe and unsuitable in other respects. When the Government proposes to raise and expend money overseas, we must seek the motive. Knowing big business as I do, I have no hesitation in saying that the motive is profit. If the money be. raised and expended overseas more profit will be made by those to whom the Government is responsible. It has been stated that if a loan were not raised overseas the Government might have to impose a capital levy and that is the last thing that this Government would like to do. Should war occur the Government would find it necessary to impose a capital levy.
– Does the honorable senator support Mr. Savage who proposes to borrow money in the United States of America ?
– A Labour government would provide defence requirements minus profits, whilst antiLabour governments provide for defence plus profits.
– Apparently it is right to borrow in the United States of America but wrong to borrow in Great Britain.
– The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) said that the Government will not develop our oil resources . while foreign interests hold a dominating position. He suggested that the Government is subservient to foreign interests. I believe that to be a fact. I cannot conceive of our resources of oil, coal, iron or any other commodity being developed to anything like the degree to which they could be developed while foreign interests control the Government of this country.
– That is absurd.
– It is a fact. Senator Collings very properly directed attention to the need for the cultivation of an Australian outlook. Why not rely on Australian initiative, Australian ingenuity, Australian capacity for consistent and sustained effort, to do all this? Again I say those splendid attributes peculiar to Australians will not be relied upon while there is profit to be made by importing oil fuel from overseas; our resources will remain in their present undeveloped state. I may be pardoned for . again referring to the fact that this Government, imports its ideas from overseas. It does not appear to be able to formulate any ideas of its own.
– Some good union leaders have come from overseas.
– That is perfectly true. Some have come from overseas on their merits; they were not imported at high fees. The Lyons Government imported an actuary from overseas . to do the simple job of laying down a system of national insurance. The Government is so dependent on people from overseas that it never thinks of appointing an Australian to the high office of Governor-General. In every conceivable direction where it is possible and profitable to do so we have to rely on overseas men. We are expected to regard Australia as more or less of a cabbage patch, as a result of which there is a school of thought overseas which still (regards this glorious country of sunshine and plenty as a convict settlement and regards us, as we were regarded years ago, as people who exist only for their convenience. For the re-organization of our defence forces and for the reorganization of our economic resources, the first thing the Government thinks of is to import some adviser from overseas.
– The New South Wales Labour movement has imported people from several other States to straighten out its differences.
– That is an entirely different proposition. In this bill we find that the Government is not prepared to rely upon itself to carry out the most important task of preparing for the defence of this country, and that it depends mainly upon imported people to advise it. That is another reason why it is attempting as far as possible to govern by regulation instead of legislation. All of its bills are couched in the broadest terms possible in order to allow that to be done. In these circumstances it cannot be expected that honorable senators on this side of the chamber who know these things, will support the bill now before them. This bill proposes to ascertain costs and to limit the profits of those supplying defence requirements; but again there is a complete absence of any precise details as to how this is proposed to he done. No method is laid down. In the absence of any such information I am entitled to place my own construction on what is stated in the bill. These costs, which are to be ascertained, will be loaded right up to the very limit. Ostensibly the persons concerned will be supplying goods to the Government at cost, but actually the profits will be included in the cost. How does the Government propose to limit profits? Profits cannot be limited under existing conditions in which the means of production are privately owned. There is such a thing as indirect profit. The statement that the Government proposes to ascertain costs and to limit profits is only so much political eyewash. What is the actual cost of any commodity, a ship, a railway or anything else needed for the defence of this country? The actual cost is measured in terms of labourpower necessary for its production, and in terms of gold, which is the standard of value throughout the world. The Government would assess costs in terms of highly depreciated currency. It was admitted by the Treasurer in November last that the currency of this country had been depreciated by 46.57 per cent. I asked a question last week as to whether any change in those figures had taken place. The Leader of the Government (Senator McLeay) did not answer “ No “, but referred me to the answer given to a previous question. The effects of the depreciation of currency can neither be concealed nor controlled. This matter may be lied about; it may be misrepresented to the people by those occupying responsible positions; hut the effects are there all the time, to be seen and understood by those who are capable of seeing and understanding. According to my figures the currency of this country has been depreciated by nearly 57 per cent.
– With what clause is the honorable senator dealing now?
– I am dealing with the clause which provides for the ascertainment of costs and the limitation of profits.
– Would the honorable senator restore Australian currency to parity with gold ?
– Yes. The fundamental principle of every honest and sensible monetary system is value for value; only upon that principle can a successful and honest monetary system be established. So I would restore Australian currency to parity with gold. This Government is depreciating the currency of this country practically every day in the week in order to suit its own ends. The exchange rate and the price of gold disclose that that is so. The higher the price of gold, the greater is the depreciation of the currency. When we ascertain costs in connexion with this bill - such an innocent term - we shall ascertain costs to satisfy the perfectly innocent and unsophisticated person who does not know what is represented by them. The Government proposes to assess costs in terms of depreciated currency. I say, without reservation, that that is a corrupt practice, because the alleged costs would not. be true. The currency and the political machine have been juggled in an effort to get this bill past persons like ourselves. I know perfectly well that under this bill costs will not be ascertained as they should be ascertained, and profits will not he limited as they should be limited.[ Extension of lime granted.’] Profits cannot be controlled unless you have control of the means of production. To say that they can be controlled while private owners have command of the means of production, or the machine of production, call it what you will, is simply to try to mislead intelligent persons who know . better.
– When was the currency juggled?
– -It was juggled from the very moment we went off parity. Juggling first commenced in 1914, and the depreciation has fluctuated in degree ever since. I notice in the press that some of our war material is to be imported from Germany. So, we find that some of the money proposed to be raised either in Australia or in England for defence purposes will be sent to Germany to pay for war material.
– What, does the honorable senator mean by war material?
– I mean tools, machines, and anything -which is necessary in order to carry on a war. Money will be sent to Germany for machinery ostensibly because it cannot” be obtained here, but actually because it will be cheaper in Germany. Capital, is always directed to where labour power is cheapest, where the people are nearest to the bread-line. Only this year, a deputation consisting of represen tatives of employers and manufacturers of war materials, and a representative of the Trades Hall Council, waited on the then Minister for Defence and suggested that the Government should provide £30,000 to establish an annexe at the Melbourne Technical College. It was pointed out that there are thousands of young men capable of becoming expert workers, and that it would be an excellent, opportunity to enable them to qualify themselves to manufacture tools, jigs, and gauges, which are being bought abroad. The request made for £30,000 to train these young Australians to do this work was refused by this Government. I notice that the Leader of the Government says that in the meantime many thousands of tools, jigs and gauges have been ordered from England and in- this country. Those young Australians are the men on whom we should have to depend in the event of war, or of a blockade which prevented us from importing such goods. Nevertheless, this Government declined to facilitate any chance of these youngmen becoming trained artisans, but it asks us to trust it with powers that, as Senator Johnston says, would amount to the establishment of a dictatorship. In the light of that fact the Government can expect nothing else but sustained opposition to the bill. Expert employers told the Minister as plainly and convincingly as possible that these tools could be manufactured in Australia, and. that the workers were here who could be trained to do these jobs. When the deputation took place most of these essential tools had to be imported from abroad, and yet. the Government would not provide a paltry £30,000 for the establishment of an annexe to the Melbourne Technical College. That is one of the biggest technical colleges in the Commonwealth, and it is training skilled workers. What have we to say to a government that sends money overseas in preference to helping local artisans?
– Did the Victorian Government request the erection of an annexe there?
– No. The request was made by the Technical College authorities, and it was supported by employers and employees through their respective organizations.
– The college is the State Government’s property. Did that government offer to have the annexes established?
– The State Government requires £600,000 to bring the Victorian technical schools, including the Melbourne Technical College, up to date, and it cannot obtain that money.
– Is it not a fact .that Great Britain is importing certain kinds of machinery from Germany?
– That may be a fact. Goods are being imported because labour is cheaper in Germany than it is in England. Where labour is cheapest the profit is highest. Any qualified engineer will admit that practically all kinds of machinery, without exception, could be manufactured in Australia, but objection is raised all the time on the score of the cost. No one doubts the capacity of the Australian working man to produce any machinery required, but there are peo r, who complain that the local wages arttoo high. When they say that they mean, in effect, that the profits are too low. Then the capitalistic interests concerned see, through their political henchmen in the legislative halls, that Government orders go to Japan or Germany or any other country where wages approximating a bread-line standard are paid. I repeat that this Government is guilty of depriving young Australians of the right to qualify to produce instruments of war necessary for the defence of their country, and it i3 doing so because of the loss of profits involved.
– Did the Victorian Government support the request ?
– It was not asked to support the request. The Victorian Government hopes to raise £600,000 in order to improve the technical schools and colleges throughout that State.
– And the Australian Loan Council will prevent that money from being raised.
– When Mr. Dunstan submits his request for that amount, the Loan Council by a majority will say that it cannot be raised. If it makes that decision, it will, in effect, be adopting a policy under which orders which should be fulfilled in Australia will be fulfilled in other countries where labour power is cheaper and that cheap labour power will be used to reduce to the bread-line level a great number of Australians.
– That is rubbish !
– Those who have qualified as scavengers always appear to judge everything they hear and see a3 rubbish. But what I have stated is true. Business men and workers know that the man who is prepared to do the work cheapest always gets the job. Some of the European refugees, whose distress is being capitalized by certain people in the Commonwealth, will offer to supply their labour power at a cheaper rate than Australians - especially Australians who do not wish to have their standard of living lowered, and the offer will be -accepted. Government orders always go to the cheapest merchant, unless they are interfered with as has happened in the case ‘of the additions to the Sydney General Post Office. Such orders go to the cheapest firm, even as orders from countries like Australia go to Germany or Japan where labour power is cheaper. All the machines that require human ingenuity to shape them could be manufactured in Australia.
– The time element has to be considered.
– It can be overcome. There are 40,000 men in Victoria now asking for jobs. Thousands of others are registered at the labour bureaux, and there are thousands who do not register. Many young men are walking the streets of Australia, and all these unfortunate people are being used by this Government for the purpose of making the preparations fc i, the defence of the country profitable to those who send orders overseas.
I regard this measure as similar to legislation introduced in this Parliament during the Great War. We had the War Precautions Act, and the Unlawful Associations Act. There was also the Daylight Saving Act, but the Government found it impossible to control the crowing of the roosters. This legislation has been introduced to make it appear that the Government is doing something in the interests of the people. None of the measures to which I have referred effected any useful purpose, and when it was no longer possible to trade on the credulity of the people the legislation was either repealed or forgotten. This bill is one of those proposals that are submitted in war time. “When peace is declared, the Government relies on a measure such as this kind to prevent what it is pleased to call an insurrection, but is actually the inevitable reaction to coercive legislation, and the fraudulent practices connected with it. We all know how as an aftermath of huge expenditure on defence, thousands, of men employed in the manufacture of munitions, and thousands of others, no longer required as soldiers, are thrown on the streets. I have not one word to say in favour of the bill; nobody who understands the economic position as it should be understood - not as it” is taught by alleged authorities - would accept this measure.
– Who was the honorable senator’s teacher?
– I was taught in the school of practical experience where the fees are highest. The school of experience is hard, but it is effective. I challenge Senator McLeay to deny that the Australian currency is being depreciated in the interests of private banks and others. I challenge him to deny that the leading authorities condemn that practice as. fraudulent and corrupt. I challenge him to deny my statement that it will not be possible to ascertain costs or to limit profits through the medium of this precious bill. I leave the challenge with him. He has the right to speak, but I am sure that when he addresses the Senate he will not be able to give an intelligent answer to my challenge. I conclude as I began by pointing out that this measure has been designed to grant greater powers to the Government, but they should not be -given. While my expression may have appeared to be a paradox to the eyes of the unenlightened, the truth of all things is to be understood in the light of their variations and contradictions, and not by the laughter of empty minds.
.- In my approach to the consideration of this bill I admit at once that if a Labour government were in power, a measure, similar in many respects to the one now before the Senate, would have been introduced for the purpose of more efficiently organizing supplies and material for defence purposes. But I join with other honorable senators on this side in declaring” that we have good reason to suspect that this proposal is loaded. In view of the Government’s critical position - it is very doubtful if Ministers can command the support of members of the House of Representatives on all major issues - it is not justified in forcing this legislation through Parliament. Formerly members of the Country party were associated with the Government. Now, on some occasions they threaten the ministry ; at other times they support it. An important measure of this character should be submitted only if the Government has the undivided support of its followers, and, as I have shown, that cannot be said of the present Ministry. This afternoon Senator Johnston went perilously near to a declaration of hostility.
Thi3 bill could have been initiated in the Senate instead of in the House of Representatives, where the debate on one clause alone occupied about 26 hours. Yet the Government expects the measure to be disposed of by the Senate in two or three days. This Government is not representative of the electorates. The last three by-elections have resulted in the complete rout of Government candidates. The division of Wakefield, for many years strongly held by Government supporters with majorities ranging from 3,000 to 5,000, and Wilmot, represented for many years by the late Prime Minister, have been won by Labour. Griffith, a seat held alternatively by United Australia party and Labour representatives, has once more been captured by Labour.
In September last the late Prime Minister emphasized the gravity of the international situation. Because of the fear in the minds of the people about the possibility of war, the Government had no difficulty whatever in passing defence measures involving the expenditure of £63,000,000 spread over a period of three years. Since then a definite change has taken place in the international situation. We have evidence of this in the fact that our esteemed King and Queen are at present visiting a sister dominion and the United States of America. This suggests that the danger of another world war, about which we heard so much in September last, was not so real as we feared.. I join issue with my leader (Senator Collings) and Senator Cameron when they say that some action should be taken to control scaremongering sections of the press and certain broadcasting companies. I repeat what I have said on other occasions that, in a time of war, the Government should take definite action to check any attempt to alarm the people unduly. I know of only one newspaper that has taken a stand against what I regard as the dangerous trend in newspaper enterprise, whose chief purpose appears to be to publish extravagant and unreliable statements about the world position.
Notwithstanding that, in my opinion, the gravity of the world position was over emphasized in September last, I believe that some expenditure on defence was necessary in order to ensure the security of this country. I cannot lay claim to any military knowledge, but I have reached the conclusion ‘ that if it were advisable for Soviet Russia to incur enormous expenditure to strengthen its defence, it also was necessary for the defence of Australia to be improved. On this issue the Labour party has always been sound. One plank of our platform always has been the adequate defence of Australia. On this aspect of Commonwealth policy our feet are down, and they will stay down until we see where the next jump is likely to land us. We say that since the Government has secured approval for the expenditure of a huge sum for defence, its programme of works should be so planned as to lead to an increase of employment. So far there is every reason to be disappointed with the results. I understand that between 400 and 500 additional men have secured employment at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, that 534 more men have been employed at the munitions works at Maribyrnong, and that 74 women were engaged for the three months ended the 28th February, 1939, at the latter works. In answer to a question which I addressed to the Leader of the Senate, recently, I was informed that no fewer than 29,000 persons had registered for employment at Maribyrnong, in the hope that the enlarged programme of defence expenditure would make jobs available there ; but despite repeated requests for a definite statement on this subject, the Government will not say that no additional work is available at these establishments. I will be quite frank about this matter. I am not very much concerned, about the actual amount expended on defence provided the work, even the building of battleships, is carried out in Australia. In my opinion there is no reason why defence expenditure should be incurred outside this country. We all know that if the Government placed an order in Great Britain for the construction of a cruiser or battleship, British shipyards are so busy that delivery could not be guaranteed in less than three or four years. .Therefore, all this work should be done in Australian shipyards. What is wrong with rehabilitating the Williamstown Dock in order to equip it for naval construction? I do not suggest that it would be capable of building very large vessels, but it could efficiently meet many of the Commonwealth’s naval requirements, especially in the matter of repairs. 1 agree with senators from Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania that an effort should be made to distribute this defence expenditure more equitably among the States. Again I emphasize that I do not possess military knowledge ; but as a layman it seems to me that should Avar occur and Australia become involved, an efficient enemy bombing squadron might very quickly destroy the whole of the Maribyrnong works. In view of this danger, the Government should take steps to decentralize defence establishments.
– It would not be so easy for an enemy bombing squadron to destroy those works.
– The news from China does not support the honorable senator’s view. I believe that a concentrated attack by an aerial fleet might destroy many of our key munitions establishments. This being so, it seems to me that the Government should consider the selection of other- locations further inland for some of its defence factories.
So far as I have been able to ascertain, the only additional employment provided by the Government’s defence expenditure is -400 men at Cockatoo Island Dockyard and SOO at the Maribyrnong Munitions Factory.
– I think the honorable senator has under-estimated the increase of employment provided.
– I believe that my information is accurate; but the Government has not made a definite statement on this point.
Another unfortunate aspect of the Government’s defence programme was disclosed yesterday in the House of Representatives by the Minister for Defence, in reply to a question asked by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). The Minister admitted that machinery to the value of £40,000, intended for defence purposes is being procured from Germany. This admission is not very encouraging to the people of this country. We learn also that quite unexpectedly the Government this week placed a loan for £6,000,000 on the London market without having first consulted either the House of Representatives or the Senate. The loan will have a currency of 25 years at 4 per cent., which means that at the end of the term Australia will have paid £6,000,000 in interest and will still owe the original sum borrowed. We protest against this borrowing overseas for defence and also object to the expenditure of £40,000 in Germany for defence equipment, especially when so many Australian artisans are out of employment. In New South Wales alone between 1,500 and 1,600 iron-workers are out of work, and in Victoria the blacksmithing industry is almost extinct; from 300 to 400 blacksmiths in that State are without employment.
In view of the fact that more recently there ha3 been an easing of the tension in international affairs, the Government should give more attention to those de fence works which would provide employment for unskilled workers. We are especially concerned about the position of the bread-winners in workers’ families.
Shipbuilding is definitely a part of the Government’s defence scheme. 1 know of no reason why naval shipbuilding should not be undertaken in this country. If Australian workmen in State railway workshops can build a train like the Spirit of Progress, which runs regularly between Melbourne and Albury, and if they can construct the fine types of locomotives that are running on railway lines in other States, Australian workmen could be profitably employed in Australian ship-yards.
The proposal to construct annexes is one of the worst features of the bill.
– Is the gear to which the honorable senator refers made in Australia ?
– Ninety-five per cent, of it is Australian made.
– The German order referred to by the honorable senator represents only 1 per cent, of the gear required for this work.
– My argument in that connexion is that we have the artisans and the equipment to do this work in Australia. If we lack equipment essential for the carrying out of any work the natural country in which to purchase it is Britain. Britain is the next best place ; there can be no question about that. However, if we cannot expect delivery from Britain for three or four years, I suggest that, in view of the achievements of our own artisans, the Government should set about the job in this country. A lot has been said about annexes to railway workshops. The Government had not the slightest justification for approaching private enterprise in connexion with its proposal for “ the establishment of “ shadow “ factories. As an advocate for many years for the railway workers in the Arbitration Court T became familiar with every railway workshop in Australia. I know its equipment and capacity, and I would question the opinion of any expert, even if he be the Victorian Commissioner for Railways, that the building of annexes is necessary. We have up-to-date workshops at Newport, Jolimont, Eveleigh, Ipswich and
Midland Junction, which could quite easily supplyall of the requirements of the Government.
– If it is not necessary to build annexes at these works, none will be constructed.
– Repeated reference has. been made to the fact that two annexes are to be built at railway workshops in New South Wales and Victoria, and one in South Australia, and the point 1 am emphasizing is that no necessity exists to seek the aid of private enterprise. Government-owned workshops are fully equipped to cope with all this work. I do not propose to cite figures showing the enormous profits which have been made by armament manufacturers. Thefactthat these interests do make immense profits is well known to honorable senators. The Government calmly suggests that it will be able to check profiteering in connexion with the supply of its defence materials. As one possessing some knowledge of accountancy, I say that this is impossible. Governments cannot hope to get behind the machinations of big business in this or any other country. We know that big profits have been made even in this country out of the manufacture of defence materials.
– Australian firms will, only be able to sell armaments to this Government; they will not be able to sell them overseas.
– I submit that what happened in England and in other parts of the world in connexion with the manufacture of armaments will happen here.
– No; because the Government will be the only buyer.
– The Government has no right to enter into any transaction with private enterprise for the supply of materials necessary for the defence of this country.
– But the Government must buy a lot of equipment from private enterprise.
– Does the honorable gentleman suggest that the Government should have its own boot and clothing factories, for instance?
– As the honorable senator knows, the Commonwealth once possessed such utilities, but during the 21 years in which his party has been in power, governments got rid of those establishments which were supplying governmental requirements. For 21 years anti-Labour governments have allowed Australia to slip nearer to the edge of the precipice; they . have disregarded the advice of military experts to prepare for emergencies in the future. In that period, except for three years when the Labour party was in office but not in power, anti-Labour governments enjoyed a majority in both chambers.
– The worst blow to the defence of this country was struck by the Scullin Government.
– It was struck by the Bruce-Page Government in 1925, when it rent the community assunder on a bogus issue as to whether British seamen should be paid £7, instead of £8, a month. Mr. Bruce made that an issue in this country. After anti-Labour governments have been in power for 21 years in the Commonwealth honorable senators opposite now turn round and lay the blame at the door of Labour for our unpreparedness to defend Australia. In that time, Government supporters in this chamber were quite content to allow the Senate to become subordinate to the House of Representatives. With the help of a strengthened Opposition, however, I believe that honorable senators opposite to-day will effect an improvement in that respect. I repeat that governmentowned railway workshops now offer this Government all of the facilities required for the production of the defence materials it needs. There is no need to construct annexes. If required, additional facilities can be provided by re-adjustment of existing Government workshops. I- suggest that if this measure did not contain the proposal to bring private enterprise into this matter, it would not have met with the opposition with which it was confronted in the House of Representatives. Again, I say it will be impossible for the Government to check profiteering on the part of private enterprise in the manufacture of armaments. Many honorable senators are acquainted with the accountancy problems involved, and must realize that private -enterprise will get away with profits, just as it does elsewhere. I need only mention one commodity - tea - to emphasize the truth of that statement. Honorable senators know that a firm which enjoys practically a monopoly of that commodity in this country, pays an annual dividend of from 30 to 40 per cent. Yet the price of tea is allowed to remain at 2s. 6d. per lb. and no attempt is made by any public authority to prevent such rapacity. It may be suggested that the profits of such a concern are controlled through taxation. One can do anything with figures. This measure does not protect the interests of the people against the activities of private enterprise. We were hoping that unemployment would be eased through this defence programme. I ask the Minister to state in round figures how many men and women have obtained employment as the result of the Government’s huge defence expenditure. Senators Cameron, Sheehan, Brand and 1 were told by the ex-Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby) just prior to the adjournment last Christmas that works to the value of £700,000 were to be undertaken in Victoria. On that information we called a meeting of Labour organizations in Melbourne. We issued the list of works supplied to us by Mr. Thorby to 400 organizations in Victoria.- We were anxious to spread the glad news that at last a job was in sight from this Government. But, lo and behold, when the list was examined, it was found that one of the works had actually been completed, and that all of the others were to be done by contract. No provision was made for the employment of day labour, with the result that not one extra job was provided in respect of those works. Ministers should be careful not to issue loose statements of that kind to representatives of the people either here or in the other chamber. I am glad to see that the exMinister for Defence is not now a member of the Government, and has not charge of a department which should be an excellent labour-giving department. On that fact, I congratulate the Government; it is well rid of the honorable gentleman. Undoubtedly he was a zealous worker, but he does not possess the right touch to handle a crisis such as arose last September.
Under this measure, as is also the case under the Arbitration Act, ‘drastic penalties are provided for failure to comply with its provisions. Here again we have further evidence- of the Government’s policy of dragooning and threatening the people. In this respect, the bill is on all fours with the emasculated Arbitration Act. By regulations under the Transport Workers Act, 8,000 waterside workers were deprived of their employment, and these men are still seeking work. The same mentality and the same gang which perpetrated those laws are still influencing the Government, and take every opportunity to frighten the people.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that the effect of the licensing regulations was to deprive 8,000 waterside workers of employment?
– Yes, and that number included 980 diggers. When I was a member of the House of Representatives, I asked the then Attorney-General, who is now the Chief Justice, Sir John Latham, how, in view of those regulations, his Government could justify its claim that it stood for justice for returned soldiers? I pointed out that under those- regulations it was prepared to penalize digger unionists. These men .are still seeking work on the waterfront in Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland ports.
– Were they not replaced by other men?
– They were replaced by men who are described in terms which I should not like to utter in this chamber. Non-unionists were given preference over dinkum unionists.
-. - And preference was given. to Southern Europeans.
– Preference was given to any one who came from overseas. The system of licensing waterside workers which, was introduced in what the then government called a national crisis, has been continued to the present day, with the result that dinkum unionists have no chance even now of securing work on the waterfront. I mention this fact as evidence of the psychology which influences this Government to browbeat and bulldose the people.
– Like the unions build 086 the workers.
– The unions and the Labour party stand up for the rights of the workers; that is why we won the Wilmot, Griffith and Wakefield seats. It is said that this measure aims to improve industry in Australia. All of us remember the lengthy discussion which took place in this chamber on our iron ore deposits. We recall the reasons advanced by the Government why the export of iron ore to Japan should not be allowed. It was said that we did not have sufficient reserves to meet our own requirements. That was in August of last year. At that time, we agreed that our only deposits of iron ore worth speaking of were those at Iron Knob in South Australia, and Yampi Sound in Western Australia. Senators Fraser and Clothier have bombarded the Minister with questions as to what progress has been made in the exploitation of those deposits, and have been informed that tunnelling is in progress. The Minister for the Interior (Senator Foll) knows very well that it is absurd to tunnel iron. Yet the Government declares that surveys of those deposits are now being carried out. If that is the bestattempt which the Government can make to develop these deposits, Heaven help us in respect of essential supplies of minerals if ever we are called upon to resist an aggressor. Members of the Opposition in this chamber are definitely of the opinion that the iron ore produced in Australia should be used for our own purposes instead of being sent to foreign countries for use in the manufacture of weapons of war. The following paragraph, relating to a shipment of iron ore from Great Britain, appeared in the Melbourne Herald:-
Two minutes after sending out an S.O.S., tlie British steamer Temple Bar (4291 tons), of London, sank near Carroll Island off the coast of the State of Washington, recently.
The crew of 35, including the wireless operator, who was told to “ lock the key,” had just time to take to the boats and reached land safely before other ships came to the rescue.
The Temple Bar was on her way to Yokohama from London with a cargo of scrap iron and was to call at Victoria, British Columbia.
She struck a rock aird was Tipped from stem to stern and went down at once.
While we are preventing ‘the export of iron ore to Eastern countries, Great Britain is busily engaged in shipping scrap iron to Japan.
– Scrap iron is still being shipped from Australia.
– It will not be when a Labour government is in power. Although this bill is supposed to f have been framed with the object of developing Australian industries. I am afraid that the desired objective will not be achieved. When tlie Scullin Government was in power in 1929-31, it introduced a prohibitive tariff in order to assist the building up of industries in this country, and- those who opposed it in this chamber and in the House of Representatives, later went on the hustings as the supporters of Australian industries. Some of the achievements of the Scullin Government will bear repetition. After an antiLabour government had been in office for seven years and had borrowed £70,000,000, it left .an adverse trade balance of £32,000,000. Senator Gibson was a member of the Government at that time.
– The money was borrowed for the States.
– The honorable senator was an all-round - all round the world - Minister. The Scullin Government reduced the value of imports from £140,000,000 to £45,000,000. Later the adverse trade balance of £32,000,000 was converted to a favorable balance of £30,000,000. As a result of the Labour Government’s conversion loan, the Labour Government gave to the Lyons Government the use of £16,000,000. It also presented it with £14,000,000 in customs revenue. Labour went ahead with the good work of loan conversion and the stabilization of industry until the introduction of the unfortunate Premiers plan which an honorable senator representing Queensland said that I supported. I did not. The Premiers plan was introduced by a government in which the late Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) was Treasurer. The interest on £30,000,000 was reduced from 6 per cent, to 4 per cent., but when we went to the people in 1931 the electors foolishly flocked to the United Australia party banner. Some of
-What was the per- centage of unemployed ?
– The honorable senator lost his employment in one sphere and entered this chamber.
– And the honorable senator followed him.
– Yes, after six years’ rest. During a two-weeks discussion on the Scullin Government’s high tariff, our opponents reduced, the duties on thirteen of eighteen items and God knows what they would have done had they handled 1,000 items. When the political history of this country is written the name of Scullin will stand higher than that of any other Prime Minister. ,We have already been committed to the expenditure of ±’63,000,000 on defence and an additional £15,000,000 is to be added as a result of the recommendation of Major-General Squires who has been appointed InspectorGeneral to teach Australians bow to conduct warfare by English methods. As a result of that gentleman’s first report, our expenditure on defence will be increased to approximately £78,000,000. Where is that amount to be obtained? Our national debt is now £1,245,000,000, upon which we are spending in interest £3.SOO,000 a month and £128.000 a day. [t is now proposed to raise a loan of £6,000.000 in Great Britain, because it is impossible to raise the .money in Australia. I suggest that Senator Darcey will have the laugh of his life on the Ministers in this chamber who have refused to disclose any information concerning the Commonwealth Bank Board, which has underwritten £16,000,000 of the last three loans, and the Government is not sufficiently courageous to say that the board has shouldered that responsibility on behalf of the nation. The Government has nothing to be ashamed of in that respect. The Scullin Government was prevented from giving effect to its banking policy, and its proposals were referred to a select committee. Many of those who were most active on the ministerial side of this chamber at that time are now occupying snug jobs provided by the Government or losing their deposits in contesting State elections. Under an amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) in the House of Representatives, provision has been made in this measure to encourage the search for flow oil in Australia. Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber have discussed this subject, at great length. We know that oil exists at Roma in Queensland, in Gippsland, and in other parts of Australia. In Western Australia there is an excellent chance of obtaining flow oil; I believe that the Government of that State is doing its best. I do not know what the major oil companies are doing in this matter, but I know that the Government should exercise more diligence in the search for a commodity so essential for defence and for commercial purposes. A. supply of oil is one of our most urgent requirements. Supplies should be obtainable in Victoria, Queensland, or in Western Australia, but it is a matter of indifference to me in which State supplies are discovered. A mechanized army, the navy, and the enforce could not carry on in time of war for more than three months unless we had a guaranteed supply of oil fuel. I believe that the Government has made an honest effort to encourage the search for minerals, but unfortunately without very satisfactory results. The Government should make a more determined effort to develop our iron-ore resources in Western Australia and in South Australia; if it does not I shall be sorry for the country. I regret that the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives relating to railway construction was not, embodied in the bill, because I realize the importance of railway communication in this country, particularly in time” of war. I do not propose to discuss the question of a standardized gauge, but, as one with some knowledge of railway matters, and having, in company with Senator Sheehan, travelled over most of the important lines in Australia, I know, regardless of what military experts may say, that any system of land defence is impracticable without a. modern railway ‘system. Tanks and heavy field guns would tear up the best of roads to such a degree that they would be impassable within a few days. A standard gauge on our main lines is most essential, and I am wholly in accord with Senator Johnston’s suggestion that the present railway from Kalgoorlie to Perth should be converted to the 4-ft.8½-in. gauge. As Western Australia has insufficient money to carry out this important work the Loan Council should favorably consider the granting of loan money for the purpose. Reductions could be made in other directions in order to make sufficient money available for such an important defence work. Already £318,000,000 is invested in Australian railways, on which £11,000,000 in interest is paid annually. Even if the railways were not used, the interest would still have to be paid. Provision should be made for standardizing the gauges of all main railway lines, and in that way ‘employment could be provided for an array of men for from five to seven years. The standardization of railway gauges is necessary for the rapid transport of troops and mechanized units of the various arms of the service. Provision should have been made in this bill for this work to be undertaken, but when members of the House of Representatives sought to have this work covered by the bill, the Government turned down the proposal. The cost of standardizing the gauges has been estimated to be £21,000,000. I believe that . the work could be done for considerably less than that. It could be spread over a number of years and it would remove from eleemosynary aid, probably from 16,000 to 20,000 workers. I point out the gravity of the decline of the State railways, to cover the employees of which one organization, the Australian “Workers Union, has a separate branch of 20,000 men who, at any time, may be doomed to unemployment. Every State would get its fair slice of the money expended on the standardization of railway gauges. The Commonwealth Government would find a proportion of the money and the States would have to find the balance. That work would be worth while, and would contribute in no small measure to the adequate defence of this country.
– The State of New SouthWales would have to find nothing for that . work.
– In my opinion it should. In that State this year the operations of the railways have resulted in a colossal deficit. But I remind the honorable senator that New South Wales is controlled by a government of the same political complexion as the present Common wealth Government. Its deficit last year on the operation of its railways amounted to no less a sum than. £1,492,000.
– That is not so, but the State had a deficit of £4,500,000 in 1930-31 before the advent of the present Government.
– We cannot be held responsible for the actions of groups over which we have no control.
– What is the deficit in Victoria?
– About £883,000. but the position is improving. The deficit has been reduced by £3,000 in the last three months. If the old pioneers of this country had had as much sense as they had courage the interest bill on our railways would not still have to he met; a sinking fund would have been established to liquidate the debt over a period of years. Only yesterday this Government went on to the London market to raise £6,000,000 for 25 years at 4 per cent. At the end of that period it will have paid £6,000,000 in interest and still owe the original £6,000,000. I mentioned earlier that the Tariff Board will play a very important part in the establishment of new industries in this country. What is the board supposed to do under this bill? Is it to be asked to investigate every industry ? The fact must be remembered that reports of the Tariff Board are usually acted upon by this Government without comment. This practice was instituted by the Lyons Government, with the result that the duties on over 1,100 items in the tariff schedule were reduced.
– Hear, hear!
– The honorable senator says “ Hear, hear,” but that is the reason why so many people in the State represented by the honorable senator are out of employment. If the Government wants a battleship, it goes overseas for it, because it believes that Australians cannot build it. Then we have the effect upon this country of the Ottawa Agreement; another masterpiece of a United Australia party Government! Before this country cun- increase the duty on any item mentioned in the agreement, it must first consult the British Government. Yet that agreement is not mentioned in this bill. Evidently the Government realizes that, the Ottawa Agreement is the worst thing that could possibly have happened to this country. The Minister responsible for conducting the negotiations which resulted in the Ottawa Agreement has been in and out of the Cabinet several times. He is in the Cabinet now, but he will .be out of it again in a month or two. The Ottawa Agreement, however, is still in force. Contrast the difference between the Ottawa Agreement and the more statesmanlike arrangement made by the Scullin Government which brought hundreds of thousands of pounds into this country without doing any harm to established industries.
I have said that under this bill I am unable to see how profits can be regulated or checked. The Government may appoint all the advisory panels it likes; it will never be able to impose a satisfactory check upon the profits of private enterprise engaged in the manufacture of munitions. The Government is making a grave error in handing over this work to private enterprise. That statement is borne out by the experience of practically every nation in the world which has handed over to private enterprise the manufacture of war materials. Greece, Japan, China, France and Germany have had the same experience in this regard. During war hysteria, when the people are driven mad with fea>r, profits mount up ; governments have their hands full and cannot devote proper attention to this important matter. I repeat that there is no necessity to ask private enterprise to control these annexes. In the State utilities are skilled men capable of doing this work, as capable as any employed by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited or any other private enterprise in this country. These State utilities are operating with the peoples’ money. If State enterprises are decadent, then by all means let us revive them by allowing them to share in this important work of providing war materials for the defence of this country. We are told that £63,000,000 is to be expended on defence preparations. It is said that £8,000,000 is in circulation for that purpose now, but there is no evidence of more than two or three million pounds being in circulation at present. I suggest that the Minister should, at an early date, give to honorable senators a statement showing in a general way, what money is being expended for defence purposes, how much is being spent on material, and how much on labour. Incidentally, the Leader of the Senate (Senator McLeay) said that, for the ensuing year he estimated that, one million pounds would be expended on labour alone. I should like to know how he arrives at that figure. The number of employees engaged at Cockatoo Island Dockyard has increased by only 400 men, and 534 men and 74 women have recently been added to the staff at the M Maribyrnong Munitions Factory. I cannot find that any other additional work is being provided. Some work is obviously being done on the coast, but I am unable to see how this” money is being expended. Is the Government still going on with the expenditure of £63,000,000? If so, the Government will be able by regulations under this bill to get this department going on all sorts of external things. Surely the Government must know that every State is complaining of a dearth of money for urgent works. Even at this late hour, I -suggest to the Government that the best possible provision for the defence of this country can be made by placing men and women in work under decent conditions. Senator Brand is ons of the very few senators on the other side of the chamber who has given consideration to this subject of unemployment. He attends at the Federal Members’ Booms in Melbourne and is in touch with the people. Yet the honorable senator is prepared to support the Government’s proposal for the expenditure of this colossal sum of money for defence purposes. I wish, however, that some of his colleagues on the opposite side of the Senate shared his views in relation to the necessity for the provision of work for the unemployed. Recently in this chamber we had a discussion on world peace, during which
Senator Abbott and other honorable sena: tors opposite made excellent contributions to the debate. But when honorable senators on this side of the chamber sought tol obtain some relief for the unemployed, those honorable gentlemen did not get up and say anything that would be regarded as unkindly by the Government which they support. That- is the acid test of sincerity. Surely honorable senators opposite will agree that the international outlook is more hopeful to-day than it was in September last when the Government’s defence programme was announced. The King and Queen are at present in Canada ; Hitler is at the end of his tether. The Government knows these things. It knows very well that Hitler dare not go into Poland. If he does, I shall not be much concerned, because I do not expect that Poland would bother about the integrity of Australia.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that the Government should abandon its defence programme?
– Not all, but I contend that with the change in the national outlook, some at least of the £63,000,000 voted for defence purposes should be diverted into other channels, some of which we have discussed to-night. The Government, however, has a majority in this chamber and I notice that it makes sure that it always has its majority present. The position in the House of Representatives has been made more difficult for the Government by Labour’s recent successes in Wilmot and Griffith.
– What portion of the defence programme does the honorable senator suggest should be abandoned?
– If this party is given a fair statement of what the Government is spending the money on, I shall be prepared to reply to the Minister’s, question. Obviously, it is not spending the money on munitions. Senator Ashley, who is familiar with conditions at Lithgow, tells us that there ere only 500 men employed at the small arms factory there. On the figures given in the Senate this afternoon by Senator Ashley it is apparent that the production of rifles is not being speeded up. Not many extra men are being employed at Maribyrnong. The Government will not build
ships in this country, nor will huge concerns like the Broken Hill Proprietary . Company Limited. If that firm wants a ship to haul its wretched metal, it goes overseas for it. Burns Philp and Company Proprietary Limited also buys its ships overseas. . Australian tradesmen are second to none in the world. We have that on no less an authority than Sir John Monash. Mr. Harold Clapp and others have endorsed that testimony. The Australian workman has greater initiative than is possessed by workmen in any other country in the world. The Government should see that no work is sent out of Australia that can be well done in this country by our own workmen. The Minister has stated that SO per cent, of the defence expenditure will remain in Australia. Why should it not be frank and give to the Opposition full details of defence expenditure on the various arms of the Services? I suggest that a plain statement in this regard should be made every month.
– The Government has given a full statement of its entire defence programme.
– I admit that during the last six months we have had four or five statements by the Minister in charge of the Senate, and, frankly, I contend that they contained the most frightening implications of impending disaster. I cannot see where the money is going. Estimates are being brought down into this Senate and we are asked to pass them without having sufficient time to consider them properly. This chamber has been asked to pass Estimates at the rate of about £500,000 a minute. Some honorable senators have not even known what the Estimates were to cover. [Extension of time granted.]
In referring to the weakness of the defence of this country, I mentioned the fact that Australia found itself in September last completely unprepared for any eventuality. At that time we could not have stopped a dog fight, but that was not the responsibility of the Labour party. I emphasize the fact that for 21 years ministerial supporters have governed the Commonwealth, and the whole responsibility must rest on their shoulders. Is this measure to suffer the same fate as the National
Insurance Act that was bludgeoned through the House of Representatives ? The gag was applied to our leader in that chamber and to every other honorable member who tried to improve the measure. Mr. Casey, the ex-Treasurer, was complimented on his handling of that legislation, and the present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) left the Lyons Government on account of it.
– What clause says that?
– If the Government will do stupid things with regard to national insurance it will do still more stupid things with regard to this measure. The national insurance legislation has exposed the Government to more ridicule than any other proposals I recollect. I have seen governments make errors in submitting supply bills, but in connexion with this measure the Government’s major fault is that it has not the confidence of the people; in fact, Minister’s have no right to be ‘bringing down any legislation. I have to admit that the history of the bill in the House of Representatives has been graphically described in the Federal Labour party’s official bulletin in these words - “ By the use of the guillotine, the Supply and Development Bill, which creates the new Federal Department of Supply and Development and defines its functions, has been bludgeoned through the House of Representatives. In the face of protests by the Labour party, that was effected by the Menzies Government accepting terms dictated by the Country party as the price of its support for the guillotine,” said the leader of the Labour party (Mr. Curtin) to-day. “The Government, by this method, not onlyprevented an adequate and proper debate of the measure but also precluded amendments that had been circulated by the Labour party from being voted upon, let alone debated, said Mr. Curtin. “ The nature of some of those amendments were such that had they been put before the House a number of Government supporters would have been embarrassed. They would have found difficulty in voting against those amendments. The guillotine blocked the amendments and saved the face of those members. “ I remind the country that the National Health and Pensions Act was also guillotined through Parliament. It was not properly debated and the passage of time revealed its shortcomings. It had to be scrapped.”
I forecast that time will also expose the shortcomings of the Supply and Development Bill and that its provisions will have to be re-examined by Parliament in the near future. “ The part, played by the Country party in this matter is typical. After posing as the champion of full and free debate, it dictated its terms to the Government. When the minority Menzies Ministry accepted those terms, the Country, party then resumed, its usual role of political gagsters. “ As an example of the nature of the debate on this bill, I point to the fact that not one constructive proposal emanated from antiLabour members. On . the other hand, amendments put forward by the deputy leader of the Labour party (Mr. Forde)’ were of such a nature that the Government was left with no alternative but to accept them.”
That is illustrative of what happens when a government brings down a halfbaked measure - it always ends by getting its best clauses from the Opposition. During the debate, it was only amendments proposed by the Labour party that gave the new department control over the search for oil deposits, the production of power alcohol, the production of oil from coal and shale, and the decentralization of secondary industries. I wish to tell Senator Johnston that we subscribe to his decentralization cry, but how can he praise the Government in one breath and in the next breath repudiate it? His statement that most of the defence money has been spent in Victoria and New South Wales is substantially correct, and the representative of the Minister for Defence in the Senate has to answer to Senator Johnston and the other three members of his party.
An Honorable Senator. - Who is the leader ?
– That is not disclosed. The work should be and can be spread over the continent, but at present Victoria and New South Wales are getting the bulk of the work. The present system does not absorb any of the workless in Queensland or Tasmania or Western Australia, and if Senator Johnston wishes to do his State a turn he will vote with the Opposition against the motion for the second reading of the bill.
– Senator Abbott will support New South Wales.
– The bill has reached, this chamber in a hostile atmosphere. Members of- this party have to tell the Senate what they think. The Senate will be divided and the Government will probably win the division.
Still I say that the bill is ill-advised and has not the confidence of the people; in fact, the Government should not be bringing down any legislation, and the Ministers should get right out of office while their skins are whole.
– Strangers coming into the gallery of the Senate would have difficulty in knowing what subject we were discussing. Even if they heard that the Supply and Development Bill was before us, they would be inclined to think that this was a no-confidence debate. I usually sympathize with the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) at the end of the session when he complains about rushing business through the Senate as he did to-day. Still, I do not know that up to the present there has been, any necessity to talk on that subject. We have the whole month before us, and I do not feel like going away from Canberra if we have any work to do. I think that he was unkind in complaining of the adjournment of the Senate on Thursday last, ‘because he had notified the Leader of the Senate that he would not be ready to proceed with the debate on Friday. We missed Friday for his convenience. If we missed Tuesday, then each side was responsible for the ‘missing of a day. The bill covers a wide range of subjects.. If it be agreed to, -it will bring into existance a new department. It is going as far as it can to prevent any profiteering in the manufacture of munitions or armaments.
– Thanks to suggestions made by the Labour party.
– The bill does not confine itself to that matter, but it goes further and deals with the control of trade and commerce in relation to the commodities that would be essential to this country during a war. When introducing this bill in the House of Representatives the Minister in charge of it summed up the matter in this way -
Tt provides amongst other things for the taking of what is in effect a census of material resources in Australia as distinct from the national register of man-power.
Everybody will agree that the manufacture of munitions is a big and important undertaking. It is a huge task and we are expending £63,000,000 on it. We desire every control possible not only to ensure efficiency in the manufacture of munitions but also in order to regulate the price that we pay for them. The bill provides also for the separation of supply and development from defence. This is a good move. Every one agrees that the defence portfolio, as it was pre.viously held, was too large a job for any one man. We know the criticism that was levelled at the ex-Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby). We also know that he is only human, and makes mistakes even as other people do. I do not think that anybody doubted his sincerity. If there was cause for dissatisfaction, probably it was a. matter of the staff rather than any deficiency on. his part as head of the department. The separation of the activities has been adopted very much on the same line as that followed by the British Parliament. If it is necessary to separate supply from defence in Great Britain, I consider that it is more necessary in Australia, where we have such a great area to defend with so sparse a population. The bill also provides for supervision by bodies acting in an advisory capacity. Several questions have been raised as to the cost of that supervision. Up to the present we have learned that the cost will not be great, but when we take into consideration the fact that the defence programme involves £63,000,000 -it will be £73,000,000 before it is finished - the cost of an advisory committee will be infinitesimal, and will be amply repaid by the work done.
There is another feature, and it is that the making of armaments in any country might be termed a waste product financially. While they are being made they provide a good deal of employment, but. as soon as they are made, whether or not they are put to actual war use, they are absolutely useless so far as the permanent interest of the nation is. concerned. Therefore, I think we should, guard more carefully any expense incurred in the manufacture of munitions, and we should make all the savings we can. The munitions are being manufactured for the safety of our people, and we should keep the costs as low as we can. The removal of these activities from the Defence Department should convince a number of our people that the Government’s objective is defence and defence alone. It is not going in for the mill.tarization of the people of this country. Those of us who did. not hear the exMinister for Defence in the other chamber refer to some of the managers in the Defence Department have read that he said they were not doing their jobs. We know that the Minister in his position had an opportunity to see whether they were doing their work. If they were not they should have been dismissed, but there was a hint that they were beyond his control. If that was a fact, the queries might be raised, “Under what system are we living? Are we living under military or civil law?” If the occasion required it every person in this country would be prepared to be subservient to military law, but under the existing conditions we are governed by civil law. Therefore, we will not tolerate a military department dictating to the people what they are to do. I say that with all deference to the present Minister for Defence (Mr. Street), who is doing his job well. He has seen active service, and has distinguished himself on the field of battle. But that is not the only qualification required of a Minister for Defence. A study of recent Australian military his- torY discloses that the late General Monash, a civilian soldier, was the real Australian hero of the Great War. When he died, it was truthfully written of him -
When tradition and convention perished in the holocaust of battle, this non-professional soldier rose to the highest rank that was within his reach and built for his country a new heritage of glory. He was the new type of soldier - the scientist at war.
It is just possible, therefore, that the introduction of the civilian element into the defence scheme will be of material assistance to the Commonwealth, because we have in this country a great number of civilians whose services will perhaps be as efficient as that performed by the professional ranks.
At the present time, we have in the Commonwealth an advisory panel on industrial legislation, an economic and finance committee, and a standing committee on liquid fuels. Under this measure, the Government will appoint an accountancy panel to supervise the costing of defence contracts. There will also be a number of State departments, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research will function under the new Department of Supply and Development.
In the debate on this bill, all these committees have been subjected to some measure of criticism. It has been urged that they will be unable to prevent profiteering, or. the- expenditure of money unnecessarily. One of the faults found with this measure is that more specific reference has not been made to specific subjects which will come under the control of these various committees.
– Everything will come under control.
– Is it suggested that every phase of defence from, war planes to waterbags should be itemized before they come within the purview of these committees? The Government has done the right thing in giving wide powers to these advisory committees, whose duty will be to discover leakages in expenditure or profiteering on the part of the contractors.
– Is this the first time in the history of war preparations that advisory committees have been appointed ?
– I cannot say; but I consider that it is wise to include this provision in the bill as a safeguard against unnecessary or wasteful expenditure.
Senator Keane said this evening that before long this measure will come before the Senate for review and amendment. I believe that that is likely, because as time goes on, the administration of the new .department will probably disclose leakages, and it will be the duty of this Parliament to pass amending legislation in order to prevent further waste. That, as I have explained, is the purpose of these advisory committees. They may not be able to stop leakages, but they will advise the Government of legislation which should be passed to correct faults that may be discovered.
The argument of the pacifist is that any threat of war provides an opportunity or excuse for armaments manufacturers to profiteer at the expense of the people. One honorable senator to-day - 1 think it was the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) - referred to Government supporters as being the representatives of private interests and profits. I admit that I am in that category. I claim to represent the private interests of this country - the interests of the millionaire and the man on the basic wage - just as faithfully as any honorable senator opposite claims to represent the working classes. Much has been said about profits earned by manufacturers during a time of emergency. Certain people in every community do not wake up until they hear the guns thundering at their doors. Then it is a bit too late to prevent the slaughter of women and children, and ignominious capitulation.
Another section of the people assumes that defence measures such as the one before the Senate are necessarily a step towards conscription; such people argue that it will restrict individual freedom. Every honorable senator will agree that Australians enjoy more freedom of speech and action than is permitted to the people of any other country. No government elected by the people would seek to alter that condition of affairs. Those who see in this measure some sinister purpose, and claim that it will lead to conscription, accuse its supporters of some ulterior motive. They suggest that our idea of military training, which is to equip the manhood of this country for its effective defence, necessarily means the conscription of Australia’s man-power. I am quite sure that those who advocate the military training of our youth have no such, idea in their minds. The sole purpose is to educate and train our young men so that they may be better equipped to defend this country. Under the law, every available man is liable to he called upon to fight for Australia in a. time of emergency. This being so, is it not wiser to train our young men in the use of arms, so that they will be better able to defend themselves and this country if, unhappily, war should occur in Australia? Under the voluntary system of training, only those who enlist will he trained for defence. Why should these men, in a time of emergency, he hampered by other men who refused to volunteer, and having no knowledge of military movements or arms, would be unfitted to co-operate in defence measures? It is much to be regretted that some people spend so much time in poisoning the minds of the people and intimidating women and children by declaring that military training means conscription for military service instead of, as is true, the training of men to fight efficiently in a time of emergency.
– If the Commonwealth Government had treated exsoldiers properly, there would be not so much criticism of this measure now.
– That is from a returned soldier.
Senator JAMES McLACHLAN.Let me tell that returned soldier that no country has treated . its ex-soldiers more- liberally than Australia has done. All accounts received of the recent terrible war in Spain, which lasted for over two years, show that although the nationalist forces were in the majority, because they were untrained they were defeated by General Franco’s army of trained and experienced soldiers. If, unfortunately, Australia were one day invaded, we should be in a much better position to defend this. country if our own men had had military training. However, I leave that matter now.
These consultative bodies that have been appointed will examine and check costs of war material and all defence commodities. ‘We have heard a good deal of criticism about profits that were made in the last war; but I would point out that such a charge could not be levelled against Australian manufacturers in respect of munitions, because we were not then producing munitions in this country.
– What about the interest on the many millions of pounds of war loans?
Senator JAMES McLACHLAN.That could not be regarded as profit.
– Yes, it was.
– 1 do not agree with the honorable senator. Although no profit was made on the manufacture of armaments in Australia during the last war, a great deal of profit was made on everyday commodities in use by the people. Official figures show that a commodity which could be purchased for I2s. 7d. in 1914, cost 21s. 3d. in 1920. That phenomenal increase indicated the necessity for an effective check in any future time of emergency.
– There is nothing in this bill to check the profiteers.
– The advisory committees will, I am sure,, work effectively.
– This Government has declared, time after time, that it has not the power to control profits.
– The honorable senator’s colleagues have said that. I contend that under this measure the Government will be able to exercise control’.
– The Minister for the Interior has told us that Australian manufacturers would work without profit in a time of emergency.
– I said that many of them had offered” to do so.
– Can the Minister give the name of one firm that has made that offer?
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes).- Order! The frequent interjections are unfair to the honorable senator who is addressing the Senate and to me. I ask that they be discontinued.
Senator JAMES McLACHLAN.Reference has been made to our oil supplies. Immediate attention should be given by the Government to this problem. We have heard of propositions for the production of liquid fuel from coal, molasses, wheat and grapes. In order to tackle this problem effectively, the Government should first build up reserves of 300,000,000 gallons of petrol which represents our requirements for twelve months. When it has done that there will be time enough to talk about producing oil in this country. Investigations of all of the propositions for the production of oil in this country reveal that the cost of production would be prohibitive. The Commonwealth Standing Committee on Liquid Fuels has thoroughly investigated these proposals. Dealing with the production of oil from coal the committee reported that no technical advance has been made since Sir David Rivett and the Hydrogenation Committee reported in 1936 and 1937, respectively. It was then shown that the cost of a plant capable of producing only 45,000,000 gallons of petrol a year from brown or black coals by hydrogenation would be between £11,000,000 and £12,000,000, and the cost of production 17.3d. to 18.12d. a gallon on the basis of a return of 6 per cent, on capital, and 13. 8d. to 14.4d. on the basis of a 3.5 per cent, return. For the same capital expenditure 300,000,000 gallons of petrol - a year’s supply - could be stored overground. The estimated cost of such storage, allowing for all capital charges and the purchase of petrol, is 8d. a gallon. Moreover, distributed storage would be less vulnerable than a concentrated extraction plant. Low-temperature carbonization processes are regarded by the committee as unattractive because of the lower per ton production of petrol and the difficulty of marketing byproducts.
Dealing in the extraction of oil from Yallourn lignite, the committee stated that the information available is insufficient to check the figures submitted by a German organization as to the costs by a particular process in operation abroad. But accepting the figures as they stand, and making adjustments in respect of moisture content of the Victorian lignite, the cost would be 13d. a gallon of petrol. With plant expenditure on an Australian price basis, that estimate would be increased. In any case, the price is three times that of imported petrol. If this industry produced 18.000,000 gallons a year and employed 600 men, the estimate, it would cost £750,000 a year or £1,250 for each man.
Reporting on the production of power alcohol from grain and grapes, the committee expressed the opinion that the most economical source of power alcohol among products of the rural industries, is molasses, but even from this material the cost of the spirit produced would be four times the cost of imported petrol. Taking the value of power alcohol at I2d. a gallon the price that could be paid by the distillery for wheat would be approximately 12d. a bushel, and for barley and maize something less, after due allowance, in each case, for the value of by-products. At 12d. a gallon the distillery could not afford to pay anything for fresh and dried grapes in the volume in which they would probably be available.
– What about the oil-fields in Gippsland?
– That proposition has been thoroughly investigated also. The mine manager estimated that the Lakes field would produce 1.50,000,000 gallons of oil.
– That would be half of our annual requirements.
– But the mine manager pointed out that production of that quantity would take twelve years, that at the rate of 1,000 barrels a day for seven days a week. It is also estimated that 12,000,000 gallons is the capacity of the Queensland oilfields. I urge the Government to take immediate steps to build up reserves of oil sufficient to meet our requirements for twelve months, and then to press on with investigations of our natural resources. Although I am aware that this measure is not perfect, I shall support it.
– This measure is absolutely unnecessary. I shall endeavour to show that if the proper action had been taken at the proper time Australia would have been saved’ the. expenditure contemplated in the Government’s defence programme. When about to set out to attend the Munich Conference in September last, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Chamberlain, made the following quotation from Henry the Fourth: -
Out of this nettle, danger, I will pluck this flower, safety.
It would have been more in keeping with British tradition had Mr. Chamberlain quotedHenry V. before Agincourt -
He which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart; his passport shall be made, And crowns for convoy put into his purse. if the right action had been taken at the proper time no nation would now be preparing to defend itself. In order to show the state of mind of the English people prior to the Munich Conference I summarize the public assurances given and broken by Herr Hitler -
May 17th, 1933 : “ Germany will tread no other path than that laid down by the treaties. The German Government will discuss all political and economic questions only within the framework and through the treaties. The German people have no thought of invading any country “.
October, 1934: Germany leaves the League.
January 30th, 1934: “After this ques tion (the Saar) has been settled the German Government is ready to accept not only the letter but also the spirit of the Locarno Pact “. (Hitler, Reichstag speech.)
March 10th, 1935: General Goering announces the existence of the German Air Force (forbidden by the Treaty).
March 16th, 1935: Conscription decreed by Hitler (forbidden by the Treaty)’.
May 21st, 1935: “The German Government will scrupulously observe every treaty voluntarily concluded. In particular, they will hold to and fulfill all obligations arising out of the Treaty of Locarno, so long as the other partners are ready to stand by that “Treaty “. (Hitler, Reichstag speech.) “ Germany neither intends nor wishes to interfere in the internal affairs of Austria, to annex Austria, or to conclude an Anschluss “. (Same speech.)
March 7th, 1936: Germany denounces the Treaty of Locarno and reoccupies the demilitarised Rhineland zone.
March 7th, 1936 : “ Germany will never break the peace of Europe. After three years, I can regard the struggle for German equality as concluded to-day. We have no territorial demands to make in Europe “. (Hitler, Reichstag speech.)
August 27th, 1936: Germany adheres to the Spanish Non-Intervention agreement.
August 30th, 1936 : Twenty-eight German ‘planes arrive at Cadiz. They and the thousands of pilots and planes which followed, are still there.
January 30th, 1937: “The period of so-cailed surprises is over . . . Peace is our dearest treasure”. (Hitler, Reichstag speech.)
February 12th, 1938: Hitler, in an agreement made with Dr. Schnuschnigg, re-affirms Austrian sovereignty.
March 11th, 1938: Hitler annexes Austria.
March 14th, 1938: Mr. Chamlerlain assures the House that Germany had given assurances that she had no hostile intentions against Czechoslovakia. General Goering “gives his word of honour” to the same effect.
September 26th, 1938 : Germany sends her seven-day ultimatum to Czechoslovakia.
Those were the incidents which led up to the Munich Agreement, and Mr. Chamberlain had them in mind when he set out for Germany in order to negotiate with Herr Hitler. He knew full well that the word of Germany was not to be trusted. Popular opinion in Great Britain favoured the conclusion of a pact between Britain, France and Russia, and I suggest that had that pact been concluded - it is still the subject of negotiation - Australia would not be faced with the necessity to make preparation for its defence along the lines proposed in this measure. Under such a pact the peace of the world would have been guaranteed. According to the latest issue of Current Notes, published by the Department of External Affairs, opinion in England is crystallizing in favour of such a pact. But the conservative government now in office in England refuses to conclude that agreement, simply because it deems it to be beneath its dignity to enter into a pact with a socialist country. However, the people of Great Britain are slowly waking up to the position and I am certain that such an agreement will be concluded in the near future. In that event all of our expenditure on armaments will be unnecessary. The latest bulletin issued by the Department of External Affairs quotes the London Daily Herald as follows : -
Why is it, the Russians must ask, that the British Government declines to enter into this proffered alliance? The answer, it seems to them, must be because there are serious reservations and qualifications in British support for the collective system; because the British Government is not in deadly earnest in resisting aggression. And they may well suspect that the British ‘ Government ‘. still secretly nourishes the hope that it may be possible to revive the disastrous old policy of pre-Munich times. Such suspicions are natural. And the one straight and speedy way of killing them is to make the alliance not merely asked for by Russia but demanded by the urgency of the international situation itself. The country is determined to have’ a Russian alliance. The country must have its Russian alliance. It is the one thing that will deter Hitler. Germany dreads war on two fronts above all else.
If given sufficient time, Great Britain will, I am sure, conclude a satisfactory agreement with the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, thus making it fairly certain that war can be avoided for at least some years. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber are convinced that there is nothing in this measure to prevent profiteering by those engaged in the manufacture of munitions and other defence requirements. During the war scare in Great Britain in September and October of last year, conditions existed which I hope will never prevail in this country. I cite the following paragraphs which appeared in the Daily Herald, a Labour newspaper, but I shall also read extracts from ‘ anti-Labour journals : -
The Loudon Daily Herald was the first newspaper to draw attention to this scandal. On September 30, the day on which the Munich Agreement was signed, the Dail)/ Herald published the following facts: - “ Profiteering on A.R.P. materials has arisen during the crisis. Prices have been forced up from 200 to 400 per cent., and even more, on materials needed for shelters. “ Pickaxes, which could be bought for about 3s. before the crisis, were offered yesterday at prices as high as 10s. “A consignment of sandbags, offered u few weeks ago at 2jd. each, were offered yesterday at 74d.”
The Mayor of St. Pancras told the Daily Herald that an artificial shortage had been deliberately created when the crisis arose, in order to increase prices. He added: “ A ring of buyers outside the ordinary dealers seems to be operating and to have cornered, or is trying to corner, available supplies. “ The Local Authorities, in conjuction with the Government, should have the power to acquire stocks for re-sale to householders at cost price. A premium must not be placed on human safety.”
Since the Daily Herald’s exposure of this ramp; further facts have been given in other papers, and in official reports by Local Authorities. Following are typical instances: - “ On October 14, Sir Charles McGrath, Clerk to the West Hiding Council, presented a report to the Council and to the Home Secretary, on the air raid precautions and other emergency measures taken iu the West Riding of Yorkshire. Dealing with tlie supply of sandbags, he stated : “On October 1 I was officially informed by the Home Office that stocks would not permit of any sandbags being issued nt. that time. “ ‘ There was considerable profiteering in this- commodity, the price of a sandbag mounting from 1 Jil. to lod. in thu course of a few hours. “‘Similarly there was profiteering in corrugated sheeting and other like materials, the price per tori advancing hourly. “ ‘ It is not known how far this flagrant attempt to bleed the public in a time of national difficulty interfered with the supply nf sandbags from the Home Office, but thu circumstances clearly call for early legislation against profiteering in times of emergency.”’
The report added that the tradesmen who supplied the bags locally did so at normal prices
Should an attack bc made upon this country it would, I believe, be mainly by air raids or by battleships shelling from a long range. The Department of Supply and Development would, therefore, have a big responsibility in controlling the materials used in air-raid shelters, as well as in keeping up an adequate supply of munitions. If the ‘ Government believes that this bill is necessary, its stocks of essential commodities should be kept in places where they would be available for immediate use. In the construction of shelters galvanized iron, timber, and other materials -would be necessary, . A report of the Air Raids Direction Committee, in England, dated the 14th September, reads -
The report of the Chief Officers for A.R.P. in Kensington, dated October 14, states: “ The ‘ timber required for reverting and covering tlie trenches . . . had to lie obtained by the council. lt may be mentioned that in ordering the timber, the price was increased from £16 10s. per standard to £20 per standard within 24 hours of placing the first order.”
That is a concrete example of what might happen if we do not provide the equipment necessary to protect the people.
– I do not think that adequate protection can be afforded under this measure, particularly in respect of u rise of prices. Some time ago I mentioned the national defence contributions scheme in operation in Great Britain, under which a portion of the profits made in time of national emergency are paid to the Government. Prices of materials used in providing against air raids, such as sand bags, galvanized iron and pick axes, increased in some instances by 500 per cent., and it is reasonable to assume that if such conditions existed in England., the Australian profiteer would not” be slow in following the example of his fellows on the other side of the world. An excess profits tax also should be imposed. The following paragraph shows the profits and rate of percentage made by British armament and munitions manufacturing firms : -
That shows clearly the necessity to impose an excess profits tax, and also to introduce a national defence contribution scheme.
– What percentage of the excess profits tax was returned in the form of taxes 1
– In Great Britain a national defence contribution of 5 per cent, is paid into Consolidated Revenue. I do not know what the excess profits tax in Great Britain is, but I believe that it is absolutely essential to follow Great Britain in that respect at least. I do not wish to criticize the measure unduly, because if the Government believes that a state of emergency exists, some such precaution as this measure provides, may be necessary. We should, therefore, give some assistance to the Government in doing the job. There are, however, certain portions of the bill that are contrary to the principles of democracy - I refer to government by regulation, several instances of which we have had recently. For instance, the ex-Minister for Works (Mr. Thorby), speaking of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) said, in the course of a press interview, “ I hope that the time soon comes when I have the power to put traitors like that up against a wall and shoot them “. That statement, which has not been contradicted by the exMinister, shows clearly what some persons would do if they possessed sufficient power. There is also the case of the ex-Postmaster-General (Mr. Archie Cameron) who closed the 2KY wireless station, because a commentator at that station criticized the action of the Government. Under government by regulation Ministers can exercise power to an unwarranted degree. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) was responsible for the introduction of a regulation to prohibit employees’ representatives on the Industrial Board from policing awards. That is a flagrant breach of democratic principles. In these circumstances, it is easy to assume what would be done in an emergency, and the action that would probably be taken would lead to industrial strife, and ultimately to civil war.
It has been said that the Government has done fairly well in assisting in the search for fuel oil, but much more could be done. An oil proposition in Tasmania should be carefully considered. Our varying railway gauges militate against the rapid transport of troops from one point to another. We also have a road system which should operate in conjunction with the railway system, but I do not think that any anti-Labour government will ever attack the problem of standardizing our railway gauges. I direct attention to the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of tons of shale in the Latrobe deposits, which could be treated commercially and converted into bitumen for use on our roads. The Tasmanian Government imports £10,000 worth of bitumen each year, apart from that imported by other States and local governing bodies. If the Government desires to benefit the community, it should assist in the development of the Latrobe shale deposits.
I should also like to know why an annexe has not been established at the railway workshops in Launceston, where are the necessary machinery, men and cheap power to carry out manufacture for defence purposes? The Chief Secretary and Minister for Railways in Tasmania informed me recently that his government is prepared to co-operate with the Commonwealth Government in every way, but is of the opinion that this Government is not making any attempt to undertake the manufacture of munitions in Tasmania. If we are to adopt a policy of decentralization of industry, we should take into consideration the opportunities afforded by the supply of cheap electricity in Tasmania. The charges for electricity in that State compare more than favorably with those made in other parts of the world. The rate is as low at §d. a unit for industrial users of power with a 24-hour demand. These specially low rates give Tasmanian industries an added advantage over those established in other States of the Commonwealth. We believe that if the Tasmanian Government were given the opportunity to do so, it could manufacture many classes of munitions’ in its railway workshops. The Tasmanian Government is ready to cooperate with the Commonwealth Government, and has offered to place at its disposal all the available skilled labour for the manufacture of defence requirements; Tasmania has done a remarkably good job in the training of young men in technical colleges and area schools. That State has an education system which is unique in the Commonwealth. Area schools have been established in which the children are taught the fundamentals of primary, secondary, industrial and technical education. From the area schools the children are sent on to technical colleges. 1 believe that, in proportion to population, Tasmania produces more skilled tradesmen than any other State in the Commonwealth, yet insufficient industries are established in which these skilled workmen can be profitably employed. When young men have learned . a trade they go to Victoria and New South Wales to earn their living. In justice to the people of Tasmania, a greater share of defence expenditure should be allocated to that State. Some, at least, of the defence requirements should be manufactured in Tasmanian workshops. Why should not defence annexes he constructed in that State?. We have the necessary skilled tradesmen to produce whatever is required. I trust that the Government will look into this matter and see that Tasmania is allotted a fair proportion of the total defence expenditure.
– I wish to make it clear at the outset that no honorable senator on this side of the chamber opposes the amount being expended this year on defence preparations; but there are several anomalies in this bill which give us grave reason to doubt the sincerity of the Government. There has also been a remarkable conflict between the statements of the former Ministers and those of members of the present Government. Owing to this conflict of opinion, I am at a loss to know whether or not this bill is necessary. In September last, when this country was facing a grave crisis, Mr. Thorby, the then Minister for Defence, said that he had the satisfaction of being able to assure the Cabinet from his own personal investigations that the Australian military organization was complete to meet, any emergency. A few weeks ago, the late Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) was reported in the West Australian to have said that Australians should know that the defence programme was being carried out with the greatest possible expedition, and that when complete it would assure to them reasonable sescurity against aggression. A little later the present Minister for Defence (Mr. Street) was reported in the Daily Hews as having said that if war involving Australia occurred, the Commonwealth was prepared to meet it. I can put no other interpretation upon his remarks than that the Commonwealth was then prepared to meet any eventuality. Quite a different interpretation has been placed upon them by the present Government, otherwise this bill would not have been introduced. Senator Johnston has accused the Labour party of “ shadow sparring” in connexion with this bill. I assure him that honorable senators on this side of the chamber are anxious only to elicit information about the bill which will enable them to pass judgment upon it. . As that information has not so far been forthcoming, we have no ‘alternative but to press for it until we receive it.
– The Minister was content merely to read a typewritten speech ; he had no original thoughts of his own.
– That is so. If honorable senators opposite will follow me to the conclusion of my speech they will find that we require quite a lot of information, and I have no doubt that when the bill reaches the committee’ stage a great deal of additional information will he asked for. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber, will be only too happy if the Minister can supply it. Much has been said by Government supporters in this chamber and in the House of Representatives in regard to the annexes and the aircraft factories which are to be constructed. Even if we manufactured thousands of aeroplanes in Australia, of what use would they be if our oil supplies were cut off by an invader? What does the Government propose to do in regard to storing adequate reserves of oil fuel for the use of its aircraft and mechanized units in time of emergency? A great deal has been said about the possible oil resources of this country; if the Government had sufficient courage to tackle this problem in a proper manner much might be done. What has the Government done up to the present to encourage the extraction of oil from shale and coal?
Certainly a little assistance has been given to the Davis Company which is developing Newnes; but in my opinion, the Government should tackle this problem. By leaving it to private enterprise we shall have a repetition of what happened in the past in connexion with oil-boring operations. Immediately gas has been tapped it has been found that the drill has broken in the bore. Why has that happened? We are entitled to know the full facts. The Government should put the bores down and prove to the satisfaction of the people of this country whether or not oil exists in payable quantities. Every avenue should be exploited to determine the possibilities of the discovery of flow oil in Australia and its territories. So many conflicting reports have been made in regard to this matter that we do not know what to believe. It was rumoured some time ago that oil was already on tap in New Guinea, and that the bores had been sealed. Can the Government make any statement in regard to that matter? If it be found that flow oil does not exist in this country are we to leave it to private enterprise to pioneer the extraction of oil from coal and shale? Much has been said about the storage of large quantities of oil. At present we have in Australia only a few months supply of this essential commodity. If our supplies from overseas were held up, industry and commerce would be paralyzed. Even if we stored a sufficient quantity of oil to meet our requirements for twelve months, is there any guarantee that if this country were attacked we would be able to keep open the trade routes in order to replenish our supplies at the expiration of that period ? Considerable quantities of oil fuel would have to be stored to enable us to resist, a lengthy invasion, and any successful invasion of this country would necessarily have to be a long one. Australia’s position is not unlike that of China, which has been able to present such formidable opposition to the Japanese invaders. It is impossible to estimate for how long the trade routes might be effectively blocked if this country were ever attacked.. When we have such valuable deposits of shale in Tasmania, at Newnes, and in other places, it is the duty of the Government to develop them. It should establish refin- ing plants so that essential operations could be carried on with locally-produced oil. Until the Government is prepared to take steps along these lines, it cannot expect anything but opposition to its proposals from honorable senators on this side of the chamber. If Labour were in power it would not lose time in developing to the fullest degree the production of oil from coal and shale. The Minister has told us that of the six factories to be taken over by the Department of Supply and Development, five will be in Victoria and one in New South Wales. Why are these factories established in these two States alone? One of the great objections of the Labour party to the defence policy of this Government is that it is proposed to establish these annexes in the thickly-populated centres of those two States where they will be’ vulnerable to attack. I have no doubt that every country knows exactly where these munition factories and annexes are to be located. If they were demolished in the first assault of an enemy, where would we obtain our future supplies? What a terrible plight this country would be in if that happened. What chance would we then have of repelling an invading force? Then we come to the that part of the Minister’s speech where he speaks of establishing - annexes associated with suitable existing private industrial establishments to supplement the production of the government factories.
He said further that he was following the plan adopted in Great Britain. The policy of this Government has been generally to wait and see what is taking place in Great Britain. Under this measure, we find that the Ministers are following the British lead. The only reason advanced by the Minister for the establishment of the annexes for private industries is that the system has been a success in Great Britain. We find also that arrangements have been made to erect 24 more of these annexes. Where are they to be built ? Are they to be built in Queensland, Western Australia or Tasmania, or are they to be built in New South Wales or Victoria, where the dense populations are? The ramo thing might .happen to these annexes as might happen to the armament and munition factories established in those areas. 1 claim that all the light required has not been thrown on the bill by the Government. There is more in it than we have been told. The concentration of the population in . these centres is not the only danger. By the concentration of populations in those centres, Labour supporters will be drawn . from the three States which have Labour Governments. Those are the only States in which annexes are not to be erected. These proposals will draw an industrial population into States where the Labour party has safe seats, and they may gain seats for the ministerial party in other States where it is weak at the present time. It might well be suggested that the centralizing of the annexes is more in the interests of the Government than of the defence of the country. The Minister also stated -
In all cases the manufacturer will make the land available; in nearly all cases the Government will erect the building.
Are we to believe that private enterprise will make land available and that the Government will build annexes on it and not own any portion of the property? When the annexes are erected on private land, who will own them, the Commonwealth Government or. the proprietor of the land? The law is that if a private person erects a shed on another man’s land, he does so for the benefit, of the land-owner.
– The Minister explained the arrangement in the next paragraph.
– When the annexes are built on private property, they will belong to the land-owner. If the erection of these annexes is warranted, surely there is ample room for them to be added to State workshops, such as railway workshops, and other government establishments? If there is not sufficient space for the placing of them in such positions, then it is the duty of the Government, first to purchase the land, and afterwards to erect the annexes so that they will become the property of the Commonwealth Government, and not of private enterprise.
It is said that contracts are to be entered into by the Goveirnment with private manufacturers for a term of. ten years.
What provisions are made in the bill as to what is to happen to the annexes and the machinery placed on private property at the expiration of that period? Will the Government obtain a. renewal of the contracts? If the psychology created by the war scare has completely disappeared by that time, will the Government turn over the annexes to private enterprise as a gift, as it did with the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers and the woollen mills, or will it make an agreement under which the manufacturers will compensate the Government? We can only conclude that when there is no grave danger of war in Australia, the annexes built on land belonging to private enterprise will be presented to the land-owners.
– Where did the honorable senator get that information?
– -That is the only conclusion to which we can come in view of the United Australia party’s dealings’ with the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers, the woollen mills and other institutions set up by the Labour Government to prepare for the defence of Australia in the event of an invasion.
– If the annexes are Government property, the Government will be able to do what it likes with them.
– The Government might take steps to include the Commonwealth Bank in its scheme.
-We have not sold the Common wealth Bank.
– The Government might do so. The subject of profits has been dealt with by several of my colleagues. There is still time to point out to Government supporters why we have grave reasons to doubt their claim that there will be a definite limit imposed on the profits to be made from the manufacture of armaments and munitions for defence purposes. The contracts are to be let to private manufacturers, and they will be interwoven with the supply of every kind of material necessary for defence purposes. If honorable senators trace the matter hack, they will find that concerns like the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited that will have a contract for the supply of munitions will have their own raw materials. Who is to say what will be the charge for raw materials used for the purposes of manufacturing munitions? Who will say what is a fair and just price? Which clauses in the bill enable the Government to fix prices of raw materials? The manufacturers will have a free hand as to the prices they will’ charge on their own raw materials when they sell to themselves for the manufacture of munitions. To show how essential it is that every care be taken so that there will be no repetition of past events, I shall refer to the Kidman-Mayo contract. In 1918, the Nationalist Government let a contract to’ Messrs. Kidman and Mayo to construct six wooden ships. In 1919, they had made some progress with the construction ot two of them. When the war ceased, the Government released the contractors from their contracts and compensated them. Messrs. Kidman and Mayo received £52,000 for the four ships that were not to be* proceeded with. They were allowed to construct the two boats, and were paid £114,000 in progress payments. When the vessels were completed, Burns, Philp and Company Limited who had decided to purchase them, refused to take delivery of them as they were totally unseaworthy, and would be veritable death-traps for any one who put to sea in them. Experts who examined the craft pointed out among other things that dummy bolts two inches in length had been utilized instead of bolts of approximately 2 feet. That is the class of workmanship that was put into the construction of ships by private enterprise.
– I did not think that there were such scoundrels in this community.
– When the Commonwealth had its own clothing factory in operation, it was able to manufacture its requirements for army purposes. The more we read of the speech delivered by the Minister in moving the second reading of the bill the more reason we have to doubt the sincerity of the Government. There has been reference in this debate to the operations of the Australian Commonwealth Line of steamers, which during and after the war saved the primary producers of this country many millions of pounds in freights and other charges. Later the ships were practically given away to the ship-owning friends of the Nationalist Government.
– The line was being operated at a loss of £500,000 a year.
– But by keeping down overseas freights and fares it saved the people of this country many millions of pounds. Shortly after it was disposed of there was a sharp increase of the freights and fares charged by the other companies. The Minister also stated that as a safeguard against undue profits in respect of defence contracts, the system of tendering would be adopted, and he mentioned that recently the Contract Board had received 64 tenders for the supply of a quantity of clothing. Every one knows that tenderers always allow for themselves a good margin of profit, and we on this side claim that much the better policy would be for the Commonwealth Government to manufacture its own defence requirements, thus saving the profits now being paid to private manufacturers.
Although, the Minister said that the Government intended to limit and control profits, the bill does not specify how this shall be. done, and in the absence of any adequate safeguards we may be sure that the tenderers will allow themselves a good margin of profit. The Minister stated that where competition was not available, as in the case of copper, zinc and lead, supplies would be purchased in bulk from manufacturers on the basis of world parity, plus exchange. Those who have any knowledge of the manner in which metal prices are ‘controlled will have no doubt of what will happen in connexion with these commodities. Copper, zinc and lead are controlled by a monopoly which will be able to fix its own prices to the Government. There will be no means of checking or controlling prices.
– The price of purchase will be world parity, plus exchange.
– That, no doubt, is true; but this Government will discover that world prices of these metals are controlled by practically the. same ring. Therefore there will be no effective check on prices. In the circumstances the Government should itself develop the known resources of these minerals in Australia… and thus become independent of the combine. I assume, however, that this is too much to expect of the Ministry, which is kept in power by profiteering manufacturers, of whom Government supporters are the representatives in this chamber.
Referring to costs, the Minister said that private manufacturers would not make any charge for general oversight of administration, management and utilization of staff and offices and accountancy facilities in connexion with the munitions annexes which it is proposed to install in a number of establishments. This may be the intention, but there is nothing in the bill to prevent private manufacturers from including their costs in the allowance to be made- for profits on the operation of these annexes. How many accountants, managers, assistant managers, secretaries and assistant secretaries will be required to supervise all of the annexes? As, in the long run, these officials will all be paid by the Commonwealth Government, how can an effective check be made of costs in annexes? And how can any of these officials say whether the staffs employed are in excess of actual requirements ?
Another objectionable feature of the scheme is the complete disregard of the requirements of some of the States. The Government appears to have concentrated its attention upon Victoria and New South Wales, to the neglect of the other States. Recently Sir Ernest Clarke, the Governor of Tasmania, issued a warning about the unpreparedness of that State in the event of an air raid. He pointed out that Tasmania is only a couple of hundred miles distant from the mainland and within five days’ flight from Germany. If the Government considers defence from air raids essential in New South Wales and Victoria, such precautions are equally necessary in Tasmania where no preparations whatever have as yet been made. The same position obtains in Western Australia and Queensland. Apparently the four other States do not exist in the eyes of this Government. The ‘ majority of the members of the present Ministry are drawn from Victoria and New South Wales, and I am afraid that in respect of defence expenditure the Government will be able to see only those two States.
I propose now to deal with Labour’s defence policy. The bogy of isolation, like the Lang bogy, is dead. That fact was proved by the result of the Wilmot by-election, which was fought on the defence issue. The defence policy of the Government and that of the Labour party were fully expounded to that electorate.
– What is the Labour party’s defence policy?
– In order to answer the honorable senator I should be obliged to recapitulate the speeches which I delivered in the Wilmot by-election. It is also clear that the people of Australia no longer rely on this Government’s policy of “ tuning in “ to Great Britain, as Senator Johnston put it. They expect an Australian policy from an Australian Government. I do not ask honorable senators to accept my opinion of this matter, but merely draw their attention to the verdict of the people in the recent by-elections in Wilmot, Griffith and Wakefield in favour of Labour’s policy. The issue at each of those by-elections was defence, and it can be said that the verdict given in each case represents the opinion of the people of Australia as a whole.
– I have been disappointed that honorable . senators opposite have not seen fit to reply to the criticism offered in this debate by honorable senators on this side. The Minister in charge of the bill (Senator Foll) did not give us any information as to the intentions of the Government. This measure is really a blank cheque which this Parliament is asked to sign. We are entitled to know exactly what is in the mind of the Government. The only honorable senator opposite who has addressed himself to this debate is Senator Johnston, and I am sure that the Government is not pleased with his speech because he was severely critical in many respects. The attitude adopted by honorable senators opposite towards this discussion is indicative of the interest, which the Government displays towards the real problems confronting this country. The Minister stated that the purpose of this bill is to enable the Government to give effect to’ its policy of preparing our defences. He described it as an enabling bill, giving the’ Government wide powers to take stock of the actual resources of Australia with a view to national planning. If I had any confidence in the Government I should welcome this measure, but never since I have been a member of this chamber has the Government made an attempt to adopt any plan in respect of defence or any other matter. This measure is really the first inkling it has given during my career as a senator that it intends to address itself to any of the real problems confronting Australia. It has * not hitherto attempted to initiate discussion on any of those problems. To the extent that this measure is an indication that the Government realizes its responsibility in that direction, I welcome it. As I have already said, however, I entertain grave doubts concerning the real intentions of the Government. Honorable senators opposite, repeatedly declare that the Labour party has no defence policy. My colleague, Senator Keane, has pointed out that anti-Labour governments have been in office in Australia during the last twenty years, and, therefore, if we now find, our defences in a bad way, honorable senators opposite must accept the blame for that state of affairs. 1 believe that had it not been for the international crisis which arose last September, this Government would not have introduced this measure; it would not have taken any step whatever to prepare the defences of this country. It has still failed to make any preparations for the. defence of the northern portions of the Commonwealth, and it has not yet given any evidence that it intends to do so. Premiers’ conferences have broken up time and again because of the failure of the Government to meet the request of the States to initiate a sound policy for the preparation of our defences. The soundest foundation for defence is the development of our industries. We’ cannot afford for very long to incut expenditure at the present rate. We are now being stampeded into huge expenditure for defence. I believe that the present position is serious, and that we cannot escape considerable expenditure to ensure the security of the nation. The Government, however, should not become a prey to the obsession that all of its expenditure in respect of. defence must be confined to the production of munitions. Adequate- supplies of other articles, such as food and blankets, are just as essential. To-day many thousands of our people have not the wherewithal to purchase the necessaries of life. Our first line of defence,, therefore, lies in providing employment for all of our people, and in developing our industries. Some honorable senators opposite hold the view that Australia should for ever remain a primaryproducing country. That is a rotten. foundation on which to build for the future. Surely it cannot be maintained that we should stake our future on the production of commodities for export when we have no control over the prices of .such products.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that we should cease exporting sugar?
– That might be a good thing for the grower, but it would prove a bad deal for this country .as a whole, because our sugar exports help us to meet our overseas commitments. The export, market., however, is of very little value to the sugar-grower. In fact, if our exports of sugar are further increased to any great degree, the industry will be faced with disaster. This observation applies to every other exporting primary industry. The Australian Labour party earnestly desires that, this country be developed, and that the standard of living be improved. If we continue to depend on primary production our standard of living will bo jeopardized. A satisfactory standard cannot be maintained on the prices at present ruling for exportable commodities. The Assistant Minister (Senator McBride), who believes that, our primary industries should shoulder all of our responsibilities, has very little consideration, for those engaged in secondary production with the exception of those in his own electorate.
– That is a mere assumption.
– I trust that I am wrong. Does the Assistant Minister believe in the encouragement of our secondary industries?
– Our secondary industries must keep pace with primary production if our population is to be maintained. With a greater number of Australian-born people, conditions will become sufficiently stabilized to enable young men and women to marry and. rear families. They are not doing so to-day because of the insecurity of employment.
– In Sydney, where wealth predominates, children are barred.
– I am always pleased to answer an interjection I can understand, but in this case I am at a disadvantage. I regret that a greater number- of honorable senators opposite have not spoken on this measure, and thus given the Senate some indication of their intentions regarding the development of Australia. When Senator Wilson was elected to this chamber, he had a certain degree of independence which he has since lost. He blamed this Government because thousands of people in South Australia were migrating to Victoria. Has he lost all the ideas he once- held on this subject as well as his independence?
– Does the honorable senator not realize that a new government is in power ?
– I favour a more vigorous policy of development and of decentralization, because the greater the distribution of population the better for all concerned. Many honorable senators favour the expenditure proposed under this bill because huge profits will be made by those engaged in industries in the electorates which they represent.
– I still adhere to the opinions which I expressed some time ago.
– Those engaged in primary production are at present carrying too heavy a load. When some persons refer to the market prices of the products of certain industries they forget that- the individuals engaged in such industries are bearing the burden.
– How would the honorable senator lighten that burden?
– I would focus a searchlight on the interest and profits collected by some members of the community. This Government appoints judges to determine -the wage to he paid to a man who has a wife and two or three children; but no additional assistance is afforded to a man who has to maintain a wife and a family of six. Attention should be devoted not only to the wages of the workers but also to the profits made by those controlling industry.
– Would the honorable senator be prepared to tackle those engaged in the production of sugar?
– Yes. Even under this measure we may be entitled to mention sugar, the introduction of which might sweeten the discussion. Despite the discussions which have taken place over a period of years concerning the sugar industry, there are few who know much concerning it. I have been engaged in the industry for 30 years and, although I have one of the best farms in the district in which I live, I am very glad to be a member of the Senate. We hear a good deal of the wealth of those engaged in the production of sugar, but sufficient consideration is not given to that and many other primary industries. Is the Government paying any regard to the overseas prices of our export commodities, and does it realize the difficulties associated with marketing? Where does the Government propose to obtain the £70,000,000 or £80,000,000 which it is expending on defence? How is that amount to be repaid? I asked the Minister representing the Treasurer if any difficulty is being experienced in borrowing money abroad, and if so, is it because commodities can be purchased overseas at prices lower than those for which we can afford to sell our export products. Our problems will increase if we do not increase production, but we cannot do so when-. we cannot dispose of all we are now producing. What does the Government propose to do in the matter? One of its first acts should be to encourage secondary production in every possible way.
Reference has been made to ‘the necessity to obtain supplies of fuel oil, but in spite of adverse economic conditions greater attention should he given to the production and use of power alcohol. At present Australia is importing 350,000,000 gallons of petrol annually; the local production is insignificant. At a comparatively low cost to consumers, 10 per cent, or 15 per cent, of power alcohol could be used in conjunction with other oil fuel, and in that way assist to make this country self contained. That is the policy which Labour would adopt. Additional employment cannot be provided unless we increase the number of our secondary industries. Saturation point in primary production has been reached.
– More persons are now employed in our secondary industries than have ever been employed previously.
– Yes, but a greater number still could be employed. Had legislation embodying a definite system of industrial planning been introduced eight or ten years ago it would have been a great advantage.
Honorable senators opposite say that the problem of unemployment and underdevelopment are matters for the States, but in the same breath they speak of the power and dignity of this Parliament. If the Government is really sincere this bill is a welcome indication of a change of outlook. If I could believe that the Government is endeavouring to deal with national problems as it should, I would feel more inclined to view this measure favorably. If a solution of the problems I have mentioned is the responsibility of the States the sooner this chamber is abolished the better. I believe that the Commonwealth Government has sufficient constitutional powers to solve these problems, and had it exercised those which it possesses this branch of the legislature would be held in higher regard than it is to-day.
SenatorFoll. - The Commonwealth Government is in constant co-operation with the States, and prior to the last referendum had a long conference with State authorities.
– It is the responsibility of the Senate to take a bigger part in national affairs. Although I was a strong uinficationist before 1 was elected to this Parliament, my views have changed to some degree. I look, however;, with a certain amount of doubt upon the way in which the Government proposes to expend money and its’ policy of centralization. This chamber should exercise the power it possesses to assist in the development particularly of Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. I am pleased to find that at least some honorable senators recognize that unemployment and the development of Australian industries are matters which this Senate should tackle. Apparently this Government cannot be moved until an international crisis arises, and then it commences to borrow and expend money for defence purposes at the expense of social services. Approximately 100,000 men are out of work and thousands of young men have never had a job. Is not this a problem of sufficient importance to move the Senate, or have we to await a war before anything is done? In recent years the wool cheque of this country has been reduced greatly.
– It was reduced by £41,000,000 in eleven months.
– Notwithstanding the fact that we exported a larger quantity of wool last year, our export return was down £28,000,000. Surely these things make honorable members opposite wish that a Labour government were in power. Judging by the way in which the two other parties have been squabbling among themselves all the time, I believe that the advent of a Labour government is not far distant. I feel sure that if the people were given an opportunity to express their opinion of this Government they would quickly relieve it of the responsibilities of office.
– Only recently the people reduced Labour’s majority in Griffith.
– I do not speak very often in this chamber, but I assure honorable senators that I think quite a lot. I have not reached an advanced age, but I have been given credit in many places for thinking along right lines. As a matter of fact, the first time I submitted myself to the people they returned me to this chamber. Silence, however, is not always golden-; there are occasions when even the most reticent member of this chamber feels impelled to speak. One of the greatest needs of this country is the decentralization of industry. I remember that in the early days of the sugar industry in Queensland, there was hut a small population in the sugar areas, and a few wealthy growers. To-day we have a greatly enlarged population in those areas, and an increased number of planters. It is of great advantage to any country to have alarge number of people settled in country districts, rather than having large masses of people congregated in the cities far away from where the primary industries are being carried on. The primary industries of Western Australia suffer very severely by reason of their remoteness from the large centres of population of Victoria and New South Wales. The home market is the only safe market for our primary products. We should, therefore, do everything in our power to enlarge our population. Australia could support many millions more people without running the risk of the introduction to this country of the bad conditions that exist in many of the older countries of the world, many of whose people live in misery and want. It is a dangerous policy to foster unduly industries which depend for their existence on overseas markets. Unkind references are frequently made in this chamber to the sugar industry of Queensland. I remind honorable senators who criticize that industry that overseas countries subsidize their primary industries in order to enable them to dump their surplus products on the markets of the world.
The Government should do everything in its power to encourage the establishment of the power alcohol industry in Australia. Our position will always be unsatisfactory so long as we have to depend on other countries for our supplies of oil.
– What is the alter native?
– I believe that the production of power alcohol would, to some extent, get over the difficulty.
– To some extent, but not wholly.
– I agree with the honorable senator. The Government should also do everything possible to encourage the discovery of flow oil in Australia. The manufaettire of power alcohol is a practicable proposition. If the surplus production of sugar were utilized for the manufacture of power alcohol we should be a little more independent of other countries for the supply of oil fuel. A suggestion was made by the Minister for the Interior (Senator Foll) that secondary industries in Queensland had not been developed because of the attitude, of the Labour Government in that State.
– I made no such statement.
– I regret if I have misunderstood the honorable senator. If the Commonwealth Government were a little more sympathetic towards the demands of the Queensland Government, I ‘believe that secondary industries could be satisfactorily established in the northern State.
-Secondary industries in Queensland are carrying a bigger burden than are those in any other State.
– I agree with the honorable senator.
– Due to the heavy taxation imposed by the Queensland Government.
– I agree that taxation in Queensland is heavy, but the masses of the people are not overtaxed. Only those industries which are making large profits are required to pay heavy taxes. So far as the general body of people in Queensland is concerned, taxation is easier in that State than in any other’ State in the Commonwealth. Labour’s policy in regard to the incidence of taxation is that the burden should be placed on those best able to bear it.
During this debate we have heard quite a lot about annexes. For a time I scarcely knew what was meant by the word.- I began to think that if there are any annexes in the Commonwealth they must be the States of Queensland, Western Australia or Tasmania, and that the remaining States represent the Commonwealth. Protests have been made about the establishment of annexes mainly in the two more prosperous States. I give no thought to State boundaries. We should bring to the problems that confront us an Australian outlook. I realize that many of the problems that beset the State governments await sym- pathetic action and co-operation by the Commonwealth Government. For too long have we heard it said, “This is a
State matter,” or “ That is a Commonwealth matter “. We have never made an honest endeavour to have a clear understanding with the States. An attempt to solve our constitutional difficulties, is long overdue. I suggest that this Senate, instead of sitting only a few weeks in the year, should apply itself to the discussion of constitutional problems. Representing the States as a whole - anc not comparatively small constituencies, honorable senators are perhaps better equipped to discuss these matters than are members of the House of Representatives, t regret that it is customary for discussion of constitutional matters to be initiated in the House of Representatives. I consider that the Senate was constituted for that very purpose. This branch of the legislature should exert every effort to give encouragement to industries which ere retarded because of constitutional difficulties.
This Government should give more encouragement to the tobacco industry, f believe that eight or ten years hence it, should be possible to provide that the whole of the smokers of Australia shall smoke Australian tobacco. If people think tb-t Australian tobacco is not good enough they should do as I do - not Smoke at all.
– Then the honorable member cannot claim that he is assisting the tobacco industry.
– Encouragement should also be given to the cotton industry.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes). - There is nothing about tobacco or cotton in this bill.
– This bill is practically an open cheque. Apparently, the Government believes in Hitler’s policy of “ Guns before butter “. Although I realize the necessity for defence preparations, I remind the Government that there are other things equally as important as munitions of war. If the people are to be fit to defend their country, they must be given decent food, shelter, and clothing. Whilst the workers of Australia are quite prepared to defend their country they would be better equipped to defend it if they were given continuity of employment during peace time. 1
The time is long overdue for the intro1duction of a scheme of. child endowment by the Commonwealth Government. In my opinion the Government is not making satisfactory preparations for the defence of this country while it compels a married man to keep five or six children on the basic wage. That urgent social reform is one of the first which this Government should tackle.
– What did the Labour Government do in this regard ?
– The Labour Government had to face a difficult task in unparalleled circumstances. Labour’s chance will come again. A Labour government will be in office again’ very soon. When the Scullin Governmentwas in power it thought that prosperity would follow the adoption of its proposals. Unfortunately it remained in office for only three years, when the people were so dissatisfied with the retrenchment effected that they could stand it no longer and the Government went out of office. The people of Australia will realize that this Government is neglecting its duty and is destroying the benefits that were conferred upon them by the Scullin Government. There is no doubt that that Labour administration planted the orchard and that this Government gathered in the fruit without fertilizing the land at all. When another Labour government takes over the reins of office it will again cultivate the orchard, and I hope that it will soon have an opportunity to do so.
Debate (on motion by Senator Leckie) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator McLeay) agreed to-
That tlie Senate, at its rising, adjourn till 11. a.m. to-morrow.
Motion (by. Senator McLeat) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I rise to a personal explanation. This evening while Senator James McLachlan was speaking the Leader of the Opposition (Senator
Collings) implied by interjection that I was a returned soldier. ‘ I do not wish it to go out to the world that I had accepted that honour, because although I served in munitions works overseas during the Great War, I was not classified as a soldier. I take the opportunity of correcting my leader’s statement.
– The honorable senator was doing military work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determination by the Arbitrator, &c. - No. 13 of 1930 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointment - Department of the Interior - J. Johnston.
Canberra Cost of Living Inquiry - Reports (First to Sixth) by Sir William Clemens on his inquiries into the Cost of Living in Canberra.
Science and Industry Research Act - Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1939, No. 45.
Nauru - Ordinance No. 1 of 1939 - Motor Traffic Ordinance Amendment.
Senate adjourned at 11.35 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 June 1939, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1939/19390607_senate_15_160/>.