15th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers,
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Defence seen the following paragraph which appeared in the Sydney Sun of the 8th June?
A senior military officer to-day denied that the rifles used by the militia were inefficient. All those in use had been converted for the now ammunition,he said, and were quite efficient. The only conversion necessary had been in the sights as the new ammunition had a flatter trajectory.
Is it usual for a senior military officer in the Defence Department to make a statement to the press upon matters raised in this chamber by an honorable senator before aMinister has replied? Does the Minister approve of this procedure, does he endorse the statement referred to, and is he prepared to accept responsibility for its accuracy?
– I propose to make a statement on the subject later in the day. I shall then give to tie honorable senator the information he desires; otherwise I suggest that he should place the question on the notice-paper.
– A statement later intheday will be sufficient.
Senator LECKIE brought up the fifth report of the Printing Committee and - by leave - moved -
That the report be adopted.
SenatorMcLeay. - The conditions under which government contracts are let cannot be discussed on this motion. I suggest that the honorable senator should raise the point mentioned on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate.
SenatorArthur. - I shall do so.
Motion agreed to.
– Has the attention of the Leader of the Senate been directed to a paragraph which appeared in the Melbourne Sun Pictorial on the 8th June headed “ Senators may settle dispute with rifles “ ? Will the Minister see that the Government’s policy for the settlement of disputes by arbitration is carried out in this instance?
Question not answered.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Assistant Treasurer has supplied the following answers: -
Contractors and Contracts
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained.
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained.
asked the Minister for the Interior, uponnotice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
Retirement of Miners
-asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In view of the proposed scheme put before the Prime Minister with regard to the retirement of coal miners at the age of 60 years to make room for younger men in the industry, and if it is a fact that Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania supported such a scheme, is it intended, if the scheme is adopted, to extend it to all coal-mining States of the Commonwealth ?
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answer: -
The Government has not yet had an opportunity to fully consider the scheme to which the honorable senator refers. The Prime Minister proposes, However, to discuss the matter with the Premiers of the States when they visit Canberra next week.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– Inquiries axe being made, and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The AttorneyGeneral has sup-plied the following answers : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice-
– A reply will be furnished to the honorable senator as early as possible.
asked the Minis ter representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has furnished the following answers : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence,. upon notice -
– The information will be obtained and a reply willbe furnished to the honorable senator as early as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice-
– The Minister for Supply and Development has supplied the - following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
With reference to a list of B class broadcasting stations in Victoria and the companies operating them, supplied by the Minister in reply to a question on the 1st June, will the Minister supply the names of the directors of each of these companies?
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answer : -
The directors of the companies are: -3AK, W. H. Edgar, W. Harrison; 3 AW, J. H. Tait, G. Syme, G. Sutherland, F. Daniell, F. Tait, O. J. Syme, F. H. Allan; 3BA, J. H. Davey, C. P. A. Taylor, K. Taylor, S. W. J. Clark; 3BO.Sir Ernest Fisk, C. P. Bartholomew, W. M. Hughes, J. D. Millen, T. J. Parker, J. F. Coates, F. Strahan; 3CV, G. V. Lansell, W. J. Stephens, E. Holloway; 3DB and 3LK, Theodore’ Fink, Thorold Fink, Sir Keith Murdock, H. D. Giddy, G. A. Caro; 3GL, B. B. Cook; 3HA, D. Syme. G. S. Featonby, G. Sutherland, Sir Ernest Fisk; 3KZ, D. L. McNamara. H. E. Foster, R. G. Large, J. J. Peterkin, W. H. Webber, W. H. Turner, C. Crofts, A. E. Monk, H. Henderson, A. Caldwell, J. J. Holland,J.S. Toohey ; 3MA, G. S. Baxter, R. D. Elliott; 3SH, W. C. Cornish, E. Wendel; 3SR, 3UL and 3YB, Sir Dalziel Kelly, J. B. Aitken, K. A. Henderson, Sir Harry Lawson, A. Spowers; 3TR, D. Syme, M. A. Syme;3UZ, 0. J. Nilsen. C. T. Cromie,O. V. A. Nilsen; 3XY, R. C. Staughton, R. W. Tovell, E. F. Herring.
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
With reference to. a question asked by Senator Collings, upon notice, on the 1st June, 1939, relating to the renovation and redecoration of the Prime Minister’s Lodge, which matter- the Minister stated was receiving consideration, will the Minister now state -
Whether, if it is a fact that the Lodge provided adequate and suitable accommodation for the late Prime Minister and his family, any expenditure of the nature now being considered can be justified?
In what way the present accommodation is unsuitablefor the present Prime Minister?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. The Lodge has never been regarded as entirely satisfactory for occupancy by a Prime Minister. Considerable alterations were necessary to accommodate Mr. Lyons and his family, but there has never been adequate provision for official entertainment that might be given by the occupant of the Lodge in his position as Prime Minister.
Accommodation for the reception of guests has always been unsatisfactory.
Notwithstanding this, the present Prime Minister is not proposing that any additions should be made to the Lodge other than a woodshed.
Naturally renovations and renewals of worn out articles, as in the case of any other house, will be provided for to maintain the building and furnishings in a suitable state.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
What is the amount now paid annually in interest on the total public debt of Australia, and also the amount a head of the population?
– The Treasurer has furnished the following answer : -
The total amount payable annually in interest on the public debt of Australia, as at the 30th June, 1938, was £45,469,783, or £611s.11d. a head of population.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The following answers have been supplied hy the Minister for Social Services : -
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers : -
Location of Staffs
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, and Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for Supply and Development has furnished the following answers : -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
In view of assurancesgiven by former Ministers in charge of the Postmaster-General’s Department that a regional wireless station would be erected in north-western Queensland, will the Government advise the Senate if provision is being made for same in the 1939-1940 Estimates?
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answer : -
No decision has yet been reached as to the provision which it will be possible to make during the coming financial year in respect of broadcasting requirements, but the honorable senator’s representations will be borne in mind.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made, and a reply will befurnised as soon as possible.
asked the Leader of the Senate, upon notice -
– An amending Commonwealth .- Bank Bill, embodying provisions - for the establishment of a mortgage bank department of the Commonwealth Bank has been introduced in the House of Representatives, and is awaiting consideration by that chamber. If the progress of business does not permit of the debate being resumed during the present sittings, the bill will be proceeded with when Parliament reassembles after the recess.
If a stabilized wheat price of 3s. 9d. a bushel had been in operation for the 1938-31) harvest, what amount of money would have been required (exclusive of revenue from flour tax) ?
What is the approximate annual cost to the Government of the implementing of the flour tax?
It is difficult to make an estimate at a time when thu selling season is still in progress. The present indications aru that the supplementary finance needed would bc not less than £7,000,000.
Approximate cost for thu year 1039-4(1 and subsequent years is estimated at £5,000 per annum. For 1038-39, thu cost is estimated at £12,300. The additional cost in this year is due to the initial expenditure for checking stocks of flour held at the dato of commencement of the act.
Debate resumed from the 8th June (vide page 1505), on motion by Senator Foll -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- I had not intended to speak to this bill, important as it is, but having for many hours listened to the idle talk and tarra-diddles which emanated from honorable senators of the Opposition, I feel constrained to offer a few observations in reply. One thing stood out clearly in the remarks of honorable senators opposite; they seemed to have read everything but the bill itself. I suggest that when a cognate bill comes before this chamber, honorable senators should devote less attention to newspaper clippings and statements made by cranks outside the Parliament, and pay more attention to the measure. I desire to make brief reference to a statement read by Senator Ashley, who, unfortunately, refused to disclose its author. I regret that some honorable senators are, unwittingly, being used by outside propagandists and cranks to place their views before the Senate.
– I rise to a point of order. The honorable senator said that I have been used by cranks and propagandists.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes). - There is no point of order; Senator Dein did not refer specifically to the honorable senator.
– He did refer to me, Mr. President.
- Senator Dein spoke of “ some honorable senators “.
– He mentioned my name; 4ie said that I had refused to disclose the author of a statement which I read.
– A point of order must relate to some supposed contravention of the Standing Orders. There is no point of order.
– I said that it is extremely unfortunate that some honorable senators use this chamber to give publicity to statements by outside propagandists and cranks.
– Name a senator!
– I should have to name practically the lot.
– I rise to a point of order. It will not be conducive to orderly discussion if the honorable senator is allowed to persist in this way. He also included me in that category.
– I did not.
– Am I to understand, then, that I am left out? If that be so, I protest on behalf of those who have been included and ask that the. statement, which is very distasteful to me and my colleagues, be withdrawn.
– There is no point of order.
– On a point of order. If n statement made by an honorable senator is offensive to senators generally on this side of the chamber, must it not be withdrawn?
– If a statement is declared by any honorable senator to be personally offensive to him, the usual practice is for the statement to be withdrawn. Honorable senators will realize, however, that any statement may be regarded by some one as offensive and, if every such statement had to be withdrawn, there would be an end to debate. If a statement is personally offensive to an honorable senator and doubt exists as to whether or not it should be withdrawn, the Chair leans towards the honorable senator who considers himself aggrieved. But the Chair cannot order the withdrawal of any statement merely because some honorable senator regards it as offensive. After all, debate is really a series of statements and corinterstatements.
– On a point of order. Surely the Chair is the judge of whether or not a statement is offensive. An individual senator should not have the right to decide that a statement is objectionable and should be withdrawn. If that “were so, a senator could object to anything and debate would be stifled. I take it that in future, Mr. President, the Chair will be the sole judge of what is offensive.
– On a point of order. May 1 suggest very respectfully, Mr. President, that when a point of order is taken by an honorable senator in this chamber he be at once required to relate it either to parliamentary practice as laid -down in May or to one of our standing orders? Time after time in this chamber points of order are made the excuse for statements of opinions or refutations of statements. A very loose practice, the like of which I have never seen in any other parliament, has been followed in this chamber in this respect ever since I have been a member of it.
– What is the honorable senator’s point of order?
– That a point of order must have some substance and not be merely an objection to an opinion expressed by another honorable senator. At times we feel sore when we consider that we are being unfairly attacked, hut the proper remedy in such circumstances is to discuss the matter upon the motion for the adjournment, or by way of personal explanation. I ask that that procedure be rigidly enforced by the Chair in the future.
– The statement made by Senator Dein that honorable senators on this side of the chamber are being used by outside propagandists and cranks is personally offensive to me, and reflects upon the character of honorable senators generally on this side of the Semite. I ask that it be withdrawn.
– If that statement had been applied to any individual senator, I would have asked for its withdrawal. It was, however, only a general statement which might apply equally to honorable senators on both sides.
- Senator Dein used my name in association with the statement to which objection has been raised.
– I did not hear it.
– The honorable senator used my name in association with the statement that honorable senators in this chamber are being used by outside propagandists and cranks. I am not associated with any propagandists and cranks, and I am prepared to accept responsibility for any outside opinions to which I give expression in this chamber.
– I did not hear Senator Dein use the honorable senator’s name. If he did so, I ask him to withdraw the expression.
– When exception was first taken to the statement, I repeated exactly what I had said in order that the Chair could determine the point of order. No honorable senator’s name was mentioned by me at that stage.
– Did the honorable .senator associate Senator Ashley’s name with the statement?
– No. I mentioned Senator Ashley’s name earlier, but not iu connexion with the statement to which exception has been taken.
– If the honorable senator used Senator Ashley’s name, the statement must be withdrawn.
– For the last two days, i have sat in this chamber and listened to insults being hurled at me by the thin.skinned gentlemen opposite, and it is most remarkable that, immediately I make a statement which they know to be true, they rise in a body and demand that it be withdrawn.
– Order 1 I ask the honorable senator to resume his speech.
– Before the honorable senator resumes his speech, Mr. President, may I ask this question: Am I to understand that if an insulting remark is made general in its application, it need not be withdrawn, but if it is related to an individual senator, it must be withdrawn ?
– In this instance, the remark to which exception has been taken was general, and was not applied to any honorable senator in particular, or to any particular party.
– Yesterday, when my colleagues- and I were referred to as the “ tools “ of vested interests, I said nothing. I repeat that these thin-skinned gentlemen opposite come here and act as propagandists for outside people whose names they are not game to disclose.
– Order ! I ask the honorable senator not to continue along those lines.
– I claim that it is my right to reply to attacks made upon me by those thin-skinned gentlemen. I ask honorable senators to take notice from which side of the chamber these insults are hurled. I have nothing to withdraw and nothing for which to apologize; but. f would apologize to the Senate and to the country if some one outside, possibly a crank or a spy, or a person with a grievance against somebody else, sent me a defamatory statement, and I read it in the chamber-
– On a. point of order, Mr. President.
– The honorable senator bus not now referred to Senator Ashley.
– He referred to my statement.
– If I used a defamatory statement in those circumstances, I would regard my action as reducing the Senate to a level to which the people never intended it ‘to be reduced. If a person wished to have his opinions expressed in this chamber, and I believed that he had a legitimate grievance, I would do that much for him, but I would give his name so that the light of day could be shed on the whole matter. When I asked Senator Ashley yesterday who prepared the statement which he read in the Senate, he refused to disclose the author. The writer criticized the Government’s proposals regarding the aviation industry in Australia, of which we have heard a little of late. He may possess a very wide knowledge of the subject, but why, if he is so well informed, was his name not divulged? Means are available to him to ventilate his grievances in the interests of the nation. Why should he send a statement to any honorable senator who does not know whether its contents are true or untrue? The answer is obviously that he wants to create suspicion and distrust in the minds of the Australian people. This Senate is not the right place for any crank to air his views.
While Senator Arthur was speaking yesterday, I contradicted his statement regarding the directorates held by Sir Frederick Stewart. I do not suggest that the honorable senator endeavoured to mislead the Senate. The honorable senator stated that Sir Frederick Stewart is a director of the Associated Newspapers Limited. At. the time I contradicted the statement, and said that he had retired from the directorate of that organization in 1934. I was wrong; ho. terminated Ids connexion with that- concern prior to 1934. As a matter of fact, he terminated his association with the other industrial undertakings referred to by the honorable senator immediately he became a member of this Parliament, certainly before he became a Minister in 1934.
– My information was based on the information contained in the latest edition of Who’s Who.
– I have already said that I absolve Senator Arthur from any blame for the incorrectness of his statement. I merely say that I corrected him. But if I prove wrong the statement of any honorable senator, although made in good faith, that is «not a reason why honorable senators should take points of order against me.
– The honorable senator does not tell us who has Sir Frederick Stewart’s shares now, and whether or not somebody is “ dummying “ for him.
– Unfortunately, suspicion and distrust permeate the mind of the honorable senator.
– Of course; what do you think we are here for?
– Every person or every association is regarded by him with suspicion and distrust. Is it any wonder that Labour governments . that have been in power in this country, particularly in New South Wales, have been disrupted and broken from within ? Every man in the Labour movement suspects his fellow, and in New South Wales this unsatisfactory state of affairs is at its worst. When you have in a party men who distrust everything that another man says or does and who are always looking for ulterior motives, is it any wonder that the people will have nothing to do with it?
– Does the honorable senator think we are bubbling over with affection for our opponents?
– It is regrettable that suspicious and distrustful men always look for the sinister in everything. With all respect to honorable senators opposite I suggest that, instead of always looking for the bad, they should sometimes look for the good in somebody or something. Whatever our political differences may be we should still be able to appreciate that there is at least a little good in every man. We are living in a world in which too much stress is laid on the bad in men; let us try to lift ourselves up and look for the good. It appears that if Senator Collings sees 99 per cent, of good in anything, he passes it by and concentrates on the remaining 1 per cent, that is bad.
The purpose of the bill is to create a new Department of Supply and Development. T. believe that that department is destined to play a very important part, not only in the defence, but. also in the development of Australia, irrespective of the colour of the government that may be in power in future. The new department is to have power to control and regulate profits, particularly the profits made from the manufacture of munitions. I readily admit that it is an exceedingly hard task to regulate and control profits. The Government does not minimize the difficulty that confronts it in attacking this question, but because it is complicated, and has not been solved before, is that any reason why a government in 1939 shou’ld not make a start to solve it? The opponents of this measure have denounced the bill all along the line because profits in the past were not regulated and controlled as honorable gentlemen opposite think they should have been. Let us make a start, and see if we can regulate the profits made from the manufacture of war requisites. This is an honest attempt to tackle the problem, and I do not suppose that it will be found to be completely effective. No legislation is at first, but as time goes on, experience will show where amendments to improve the act will be required. I believe that, no matter what the colour of the government may be, effective amendments will be forthcoming, designed to remove any defects or loopholes which experience has disclosed. Admittedly, the bill is framed on -general lines. It does not contain a great deal apart from the framework; but? legislation of this nature cannot be detailed and specific. Regulations are to be made under the measure. Some honorable senators opposite think that every provision should be set out in the bill.
– I did not say that the honorable senator said so.
– We say that principles shou!ld be contained in the bill, and not verbiage.
– Pronounced objection to the bill was made because it provides for the making of regulations. The Leader of the Opposition will not deny the accuracy of that statement. If regulations are not to be made, then there should be a provision to cover every contingency, but I contend that that is impossible. Regulations will be framed as experience and necessity demand. All the necessary details could not possibly be incorporated in the bill. Let us take the question of leases. Senator Armstrong evidently thought that the conditions to be included in the leases should be set out in the bill, but that is absurd. At any rate, his inquiry on the point showed that he was alive to what might happen; unfortunately, when the Minister explained that the provisions inserted in the lease would adequately protect the Government, he failed to realize that the consequences he fears have been guarded against.
– Could not the bill set out the method for limiting profits ?
– The bil] could have contained a great deal more than it does, and then, no doubt, the regulations to be issued might have contained less. Because that procedure has not been followed, I am not prepared to view with suspicion the authorities who will make and administer the regulations. Some will be made as a matter of course, and no matter what government introduces them, I believe that they will be administered in good faith. If a regulation be not suitable, the Senate will have its remedy and be able to reject it. That is one of the prerogatives of this chamber, and there is nothing wrong with that.
The bill also covers the establishment of advisory committees to assist in this work. Provision has been made to compensate certain members of the advisory committee, should such a course be deemed necessary, and I agree with that proposal. If there is a wholly honorary committee, then all the members do the work without fees ; but a competent man in a very humble walk in life may be selected, and as he could not give his services in an honorary capacity, provision has been made in the bill to reward him. Senator Armstrong did not recognize that. The best man is not always one who can afford to do without some remuneration for his services. Objection to the bill was taken by many honorable senators on the Opposition side because in the past huge profits were made from the manufacture of war materials. I know that that is true, but it has not happened in Australia ; we have not previously produced war materials on a large scale. We are now making our first attempt to do so. This bill has been introduced to circumvent greedy manufacturers, . who are prepared to sacrifice everything for profit. A measure similar to this is being discussed in the British Parliament at the present time; its purpose is to prevent unreasonable profits, such as have been made in the past, from being made in the future. Profiteers have operated in the past, and we cannot permit them to continue in future.
During the debate many honorable senators referred to the erection of annexes adjacent to existing industrial undertakings. Those honorable senators condemned that plan, because the annexes will be on private property, and will probably be worked by private enterprise. Various industrial undertakings, including the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, to which I shall refer later, are prepared to cooperate with the Government, and will make a portion of their land available for the purpose. The Government does not wish to use the land for nothing, and will pay the nominal rent of fi a year. I approve of that arrangement. Some industrial undertakings have been sufficiently patriotic and far sighted to erect annexes at their own expense. The leases are to operate for ten years. At the end of that period the Government may deem it advisable to dispose of the annexes. In that event the lease provides that the Government may sell the annexe at valuation. The Leader of the Opposition scorned the idea of “ at valuation ‘!. We do not know what the valuation will be ten years hence; it will be determined by the Government on the advice of its experts. If the parent firm is not prepared to buy at the valuation, the Government can sell the annexe to somebody else or demolish it and dispose of it as building material. The lease covers every possibility in that direction.
It is unfortunate that since the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and other concerns have offered to play their part in the national safety campaign they are viewed by many honorable senators opposite with distrust and suspicion. I say that it is unworthy of senators to hurl bricks at men who are doing very valuable service for Australia. It is not fair and it is not cricket. In speaking of the establishment of annexes the Minister stated to-day that more would be established. I sincerely hope that the smaller States will come in for their share of benefits under the scheme. When referring to the Broken Hill Proprietary Company limited one honorable senator read a list of the directorships held by certain mcn who have been appointed to the advisory panel. Because they are associated with the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and other organizations they are suspected of becoming members of the panel in order to gratify their greed. It is entirely unworthy of senators to suggest such a thing. I hold no brief for the Broken Hill Proprietory Company Limited, I have no shares in it, and I know no one connected with it, but I fully realize that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited is an industrial organization of which any country might be proud. It has played a distinguished part in the development of Australia. It has thousands of men working for it at award rates, and is now contemplating the establishment of an additional industry - the manufacture of tinned plate - on which it is to expend £4,250,000. The company expects to provide employment for another 2,000 men. Mr. Essington Lewis, who is associated with the company, is held up to scorn and ridicule here, although he is doing so much to advance industry in Australia. The mcn who have financed and built up that organization are providing work for thousands of employees. When I look at the Opposition benches I see a body of men who pay no wages because they have nobody working for them. They provide a living for nobody because they are not employers; yet those senators cavil at those who are paying wages to thousands of good Australians. Who do more for the workers - men of the type of the directors of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and Mr. Davis of the Davis Gelatine Company Limited, or honorable senators of the Opposition? When artisans seek jobs do they obtain them from the honorable senators opposite? Not at all. The workers might interview honorable senators to obtain advice as to whom they should approach for work. I am sure that working men will recognize the part which these industrial magnates, as Labour senators call them, are playing in the development of Australia and in providing employment for the people. They know how badly they would fare if they had to depend upon Labour senators to provide work for them. All that Labour senators can do is to cavil and condemn these men who are playing such an important part in Australia’s industrial prosperity.
I also put this point’ to the Senate: During the last few years the members in industrial unions throughout this country have contributed by way of union fees, millions of pounds to their respective unions. It is not an exaggeration to say that had this money been used in the true interests of the workers, as it should have been, the workers could by now have secured control of many important major industries in Australia. Then there would have been workers’ control of industry. Instead this money has been paid away for the maintenance of union bosses who tell the alleged representatives of the working classes in this Parliament what they must do and say in criticism of the industrial leaders who are finding jobs for Australian workmen.
Some honorable gentlemen have directed attention particularly to the constitution of the advisory panels whose duty will be to see that armaments manufactured in Australia on Government orders are turned out at a reasonable price for a reasonable profit, or, in some cases; no profit at all. The most difficult and the most costly of the munitions requirements to be manufactured in the proposed annexes is the 18-pounder shell case. ,1 understand that one annexe will be attached to the establishment of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited at Newcastle. I believe that on an order to the value of £50,000, the profit allowed will be 4 per cent., or £2,000. Will any honorable senator opposite say that that profit is excessive? It is very easy for Opposition members in this chamber to talk about profiteering and, in more or less general terms point: to what had happened in Great Britain during the Great War when huge and unfair profits were made in connexion with the supply of war equipment. They ignore the Government’s specific proposals to prevent that from happening in Australia. They allege that the Government will not be in a position to limit and control profits under this hill. I say that it has full power and that it will do what it sets out to do. These 18-pounder shell cases have been manufactured in Government munitions factories for some time now, and the Government knows the cost. I claim that there is little possibility of profiteering. Labour senators know that it is not possible* but because the eyes of their union bosses are on them, and because of the instructions which they have received, they have to criticize this bill and say extravagantly untrue things.
I agree with all honorable senators who have spoken on this subject that in peace or in war an adequate supply of fuel oil is necessary for Australia’s security. I also claim that this Government has expended a great deal of money and has done much in other ways to encourage the discovery of flow oil in Australia, as well as the production of oil from shale. I admit that perhaps the need now is greater than it was a few years ago; but I repeat that the Government has been fully seised of its obligations and has done all that was possible. While one honorable senator opposite was speaking yesterday, I interjected that all Labour members in this Parliament have consistently opposed every attempt by this Government ,to develop the Newnes shale deposits. I exempt some of the present Labour senators, because they were not then in this chamber; but 1 repeat that Labour to a man opposed the Government in this matter.
– That is untrue.
– It is the truth, and honorable senators opposite know it. Senator Keane, who was in the House of Representatives in 1931 and who is an opponent of private enterprise, knows that the Scullin Government, which he supported, set aside £100,000 for the examination of proposals to develop the Newnes shale deposits, and that that Labour Government, strange to relate, provided for the undertaking to be conducted by private enterprise.
During the. debate on the bill this week, veiled reference was made from time to time to the part played by Mr. Davis, of Sydney, the principal of the well-known gelatine company. This gentleman, npt many years ago, commenced the manufacture of gelatine and in a comparatively short time built up an organization of which people of any country should be proud. This company, besides supplying Australia’s requirements, now sells its commodities to the markets of the world. It has made wonderful progress. In 1932-33, the Cockatoo Island Dockyard, then under government control, was in a deplorable condition. There was little work being done and the 400 men who were employed there were more or less idle, whilst the machinery was deteriorating. After carefully considering the situation, the Government concluded an agreement with Mr. Davis allowing him to take over and carry on the dockyard as an engineering establishment. Almost immediately the whole outlook improved. Within a few weeks, as the result of the progressive policy adopted by Mr. Davis, and the encouragement given by the Government, the number of employees rose to 900 - an increase of 500. The taxpayers of the Commonwealth also had immediate relief. Instead of having to foot the bill for the huge losses that were being incurred in operating the yard the Government was paid a fair rental and the workers were ensured steady employment at full award rates of wages. Altogether the arrangement made was a most commendable one. T understand that the number of employees has recently increased to about 2,000. Do honorable senators opposite realize what this means to the men whom they allegedly represent? These workmen are now getting good wages and are able to maintain their families in a reasonable degree of comfort. Yet Labour senators and their colleagues in the House of Representatives, as well as in the New South Wales Parliament, would, if one can believe what they say so often, rather see this establishment under government control even if employment be lessened. I am sure, however, that the average working man has different ideas. He does not need to be told that. it is better to work for private. enterprise at full award rates of wages than to risk unemployment in an establishment under government control.
I come now to the negotiations between Mr. Davis and the Government for the development of the Newnes shale deposits. Four or five years ago the Government invited tenders throughout the world from firms that might be prepared to undertake the development of these deposits. The representatives of several organizations examined the proposal but would have nothing to do with it. Realizing the urgent need for its development from the point of view of ‘probable defence requirements and employment, the Commonwealth approached Mr. Davis and suggested that he should consider the scheme. This gentleman did not wish to undertake the work, but when the suggestion was put to him that he might undertake it as a patriotic duty he readily acquiesced. The company formed by Mr. Davis has already invested £160,000 in the venture, and it is operating in co-operation with the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New South Wales. When the bill to implement the agreement was under discussion in the House of Representatives, it was resisted to a man by these alleged representatives of the working, classes, namely, the Labour party. Now, as the result of the. vigorous forward policy adopted by the Government, nearly 600 men are in employment at Newnes.
– That is not true; the number is only about 350.
– I am stating the facts, and the workers know that I am speaking the truth. Is it any wonder that at the last federal election, the candidate of the United Australia party (-Mr. J. N. Lawson) got a record vote in Lithgow? Mr. Hamilton Knight, the representative for Lithgow in the State Parliament, had received orders to vote against the bill when it was being dealt with in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. But he knew the facts and though he had not the courage to vote for it, he did refrain from voting against the proposal. So did Mr. Gus. Kelly, the State member for Bathurst, an adjoining electorate. although he, too, had been directed by his bosses to vote against the bill. It is a standing disgrace to the Labour party that when an opportunity was given . to them in this Parliament and in the State Parliament to support proposals to develop this vital industry and also provide employment for thousands of men, they, acting under instructions, fought the proposal tooth and nail clause by clause. They were opposed to it for this reason : Labour believes that, in order to live as a political force, it must capitalize the unfortunate position of the men who are unemployed or whose employment is uncertain. Labour leaders believe that the more unemployed there are the more votes will be given to their candidates at elections. It is my firm conviction that they did not support this scheme for the development of Newnes shale deposits, because they knew that men would getjobs there and would be able to keep their families in reasonable comfort. This would mean fewer votes for Labour.
– Don’t talk such rubbish !
– That is the reason why Labour senators here and their colleagues in the House of Representatives oppose every proposal of the Government to develop enterprises which will provide employment for the workers. When we put the true position before the workers of Lithgow eighteen months ago, they gave a record vote for the candidate of the United Australia party. The. plain truth is that Labour representatives in this Parliament do not want to help their fellows. We on this side, the supporters of the Government, .are the party of action. There, on the Opposition benches, sits the party of words. We have had nothing but words and words during the last two drays from Labour senators whose sole purpose has been to offer destructive criticism of .this bill. Practically every Labour senator, after speaking for an bour on the second reading of this measure, obtained permission to speak for an additional half hour. Honorable senators opposite occupied a good deal of their time in reading statements of cranks and others outside of this Parliament instead of discussing the bill. As the urgent need for the discovery of flow oil in Australis! has been mentioned so frequently during the debate, I felt justified in devoting some time to that subject. An honorable senator opposite attacked this Government because of the failure to produce flow oil at Roma in Queensland where he alleged the land is locked up by the major oil companies, thu3 preventing successful exploitation. Does he not realize that a Labour government in Queensland has absolute control of the land within the borders of that State? If there is anything in his allegation, why does not Mr. Forgan Smith, the Labour Premier of Queensland, move in the matter? I do not believe that the land is locked up in any way or that the major oil companies are trying to prevent the production of oil in Australia. That was only one of the idle statements - one of the sparkling tarradiddles- we have heard from honorable senators opposite during the last few days. 1 did not intend to speak on this bill, but I know honorable senators opposite wished me to do so. Some of them actually asked me to speak. They have given various reasons why this measure should not be passed, but I am optimistic enough to believe that under good administration, as there is likely to be under this Government, much good will be achieved by this bill. It is probable that amendments will have to be made from time to time, but eventually we shall have a measure which will play an important part not only in the effective defence of Australia, but also in its successful development.
– Listening to the speech of Senator Dein, I thought that the bill should be named a survey and development bill, because that honorable senator devoted practically the whole of his speech to a general survey of the speeches made by honorable senators on this side of the chamber. Apparently Senator Dein thought that their charges were so grave that he considered it his duty to endeavour to reply to them. Honorable senators on this side of the uh amber, many of ‘ whom have had a very hard row’ to hoe, knowing the deplorable conditions in which the workers live, feel justified in putting the position from the standpoint of those whom they represent.. Some honorable senators opposite have commented on the references by the members of the Opposition to statements appearing in the newspapers; but ‘surely they recognize that many of the opinions cited on defence are worthy of the earnest consideration of the Senate. We all realize that during September and October last the international situation was particularly acute. The position is now much easier, and it is earnestly hoped that every effort will be made to secure a lasting peace. Recently the Government strengthened the militia forces, but its organization is such that it is not yet able to equip many of the trainees. Would it not have been better to have called up 25,000 men and given them work at £5 a week in providing defence requirements? Had that been done they would have had an opportunity to earn a living and at the same time assist in the defence of this country. Under the present policy practically all of the employment provided is in New South Wales and Victoria, and very little is being made available in the other States, which have a just claim to consideration. The Government should realize that Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia are still on the map, and are entitled to benefit .from defence expenditure. We all earnestly hope that the world will not be involved in another great war, but should such a catastrophe occur, the Australian people will again be prepared to respond to the call. Every consideration should be given to young men, many of whom are unable to obtain work, and consequently cannot marry. A larger population would mean an increased consumption of our primary products. It is said that many primary producers are experiencing difficulties, and that if a more progressive policy were adopted their position could be improved. The Labour party has always advocated the adequate defence of Australia. We are living in a state of tension, and newspapers should be compelled to publish the truth concerning the international situation. The people do not want war ; international disputes are . encouraged by vested interests. Only those who become wealthy in consequence of war foment trouble.
– Australia does not do that.
– I am not referring to Australia. When a member of the Western Australian Parliament, I urged Commonwealth and State Ministers to submit a scheme of works to benefit all States. There should be comprehensive planning for public works. Practically all the defence expenditure is being incurred in Sydney and in Melbourne.
– Hear, hear !
– It might be all right for the .honorable senator to say “ hear, hear “, but the representations of the people- of Western Australia, who occupy a very important portion of the Commonwealth, should be considered. Commonwealth and .State Ministers should ask those controlling the large industrial undertakings in Sydney .and Melbourne to establish branch industries in the less populous States, and in that way help to provide work for many, who, through no fault of their own, are now idle. Travelling from Western Australia recently I met two young men who were leaving Western Australia, where they had. been employed in workshops, for Sydney. That is not right. Such young mcn should be retained in Western Australia. Complaints have been made from time to time concerning the number of men, and women, too, who leave Tasmania for the mainland because of the lack of opportunities afforded in that State. In one of the first speeches delivered by Senator Wilson in this chamber, he complained of the migration of South Australians to Sydney and Melbourne. Artisans and other workers should be kept in their own States. In Western Australia we have railways workshops second to none in the Commonwealth ; there is ample room for the erection of an annexe, and we have men sufficiently qualified to carry out the work- which the Government now proposes to undertake in the Eastern States. This bill deals Avith the present situation, and it is the primary duty of the Government to act in the interests of the whole of the Australian people. We have been informed by the Minister who introduced the measure that the department to be established under it will have the best possible expert advice. . An advisory panel - on industrial organization, economic and financial committees, and a standing committee on liquid fuel, have been appointed, and some effort is apparently being made to co-ordinate activities in the interests of peace. The visit of the King and Queen to Canada will, I am sure, assist considerably in welding the Empire together. Their visit to the United States of America is a wonderful gesture, because, if a war should occur in which the Empire was involved, and we had the assistance of that great nation, our position in the Pacific would be strengthened. The action of the. British Prime Minister in September last has been applauded by some and condemned by others, but I believe that he was instrumental in preventing another international upheaval. We have to consider the position, not only of the men, but also that of the women and children. Girls who were fourteen and fifteen years of age during the Great War are now mothers, and they arc anxious to know what is to become of their sons. Assistance is being offered by all sections of the community, and on this occasion as on others, the women of Australia are willing to do. their part. I trust that the Government will make a determined effort to prevent profit-making in the manufacture of munitions, and that the work will be distributed as widely as possible. Is it not time that the Commonwealth Government expended more money in Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia?
– And in Queensland.
– Queensland is a prosperous State and does not require assistance to the same degree as do some of the States.
– And it has a good government.
– Yes. I have always advocated the development of scientific and industrial research. When I was a member of the State Government in Western Australia I frequently spoke of these things; but as sufficient has already been said on the subject, I shall not say’ more at this stage. I hope that the Commonwealth Government will cooperate with the smaller States, as well as with the more populous States, and thus do its duty to the whole of the people of Australia. A few nights ago the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), speaking in the Sydney Town Hall, said -
We have a positive function to make a real contribution to the problem of employment in Australia. We have also a negative function to see that in these years of crisis no people will grow rich in the defence preparation of Australia.
Notwithstanding the splendid response to the call for recruits, Australia, with its population of about 7,000,000 people, should have its own permanent army, along the lines of the territorials in the Old Country. In addition to being a safeguard against attack, the existence of such a force would offer opportunities for lads who now have no prospect in life. I shall not say more on the subject of profiteering, for sufficient has already been said to indicate the determination of the Opposition to do its utmost to prevent any section of the people from growing rich out of the country’s necessity. I should, however, like to know how the Government expects to be able to ascertain and control the profits of such large organizations as the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited, and others which will make munitions. I am afraid that, if adequate checks on the making of undue profits are to be provided, the new Department of Supply and Development will be the largest of all Government departments. I say emphatically that if wealth were conscripted, and profits eliminated from the making of munitions, wars would cease, for vested interests would then have nothing to gain from such manufactures.
This bill aims at obtaining some degree of national planning. In my opinion, Australia needs a definite programme for the manufacture of naval requirements. At present it is forced to rely too much on supplies from overseas. We have in this country the men and the materials necessary to do the work. Australian artisans are as capable of undertaking work of this nature as are the workers of any other country. I enlisted for active service during the last war, but shortly after my enlistment I was taken from among the other volunteers so that 1 could return to the factory of which I had charge at the time, and supervise the manufacture of boots for the soldiers. The bill sets out distinctly that, in time of war, the Government could take charge of all factories. There is no need for such a provision, as that power already exists.
– I know what happened in the factory in which I was employed during the last war. I was told to get the machinery ready in case it was needed. The Government could have taken control of it.
– Under the War Precautions Act.
– If this new Department of Supply and Development is to function efficiently its personnel must be carefully supervised. The bill provides for the transfer to the department of the function of providing supplies for the defence forces, and to that end the department will control all factories established under the Defence Act, together with the personnel of those establishments. I said just now that that power already exists. That may not be completely correct; but I repeat that in 1.914 I was instructed to get machinery ready to manufacture- boots for soldiers-. During the war that factory made thousands of pairs of boots for the Defence Department.
– -Did it make any profit?
– Those bootswere recognized as the best made in Australia. It may not be generally known, that I. learned my trade under mypresent Leader in this chamber. He will, be interested to know that two pairs of Queensland boots have been offered in exchange for one pair of boots made in. Western Australia. We do good work in.-, my State.
I hope that the new department will, take full advantage of every opportunityto establish new industries in areas leastlikely to be attacked by an enemy. In my opinion, that is essential. In this connexion, I ask the Government not to overlook Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia. I fear that the new industries will be concentrated in the vicinity of Sydney and Melbourne. The Government should consider encouraging those in charge of big industries in the eastern States to establish branches of their businesses in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
I appreciate the need for secrecy, but 1 have no doubt that the Japanese authorities already have photographs of the places in Australia where munitions are stored and made. Japanese people are constantly taking photos in different parts of Australia, even inside Parliament House. On one occasion when I attended a picnic held at Garden Island, Western Australia, a Japanese vessel was in the harbour. One of my friends said to me, “ Look what is happening over there; a chap is taking a moving picture of us. I wonder what is his object ? “ I told him that the man with the camera was a Japanese who would take . those pictures back to his own country as illustrative of the happiness and prosperity of the Australian people. The Japanese authorities know rauch more about our country than we think they do. I congratulate the Government on realizing the need for secrecy in these matters.
We are told that the Government proposes to guard against undue profits being made on. Government contracts for the supply of munitions. To that end, it has appointed an advisory panel of accountants. Sufficient has been said on nhat subject to make it unnecessary for mo to do more than refer to it in pass ing. I am afraid that the Government will find difficulty in controlling profiteering. I agree with those who say that because of its large area and small population Australia must have the fullest use, in productive employment, of all available skilled workers. Unfortunately, the state of the labour market at the present time is such that full use is not being made of all the available labour. Not only are many artisans out of work, but also numbers of them have recently left Australia to. obtain lucrative employment in New Zealand. As, however, that subject also has been fully debated, I see no necessity to repeat what has already been said.
It is estimated that seven times as much cargo is carried between Sydney and Melbourne by sea ‘as by rail’. We must therefore consider the capacity of our railways to handle traffic should coastal shipping services be interfered with by an enemy. The existence of several breaks of gauge is a matter of national importance. Those honorable senators who have travelled to Western Australia by train know of the frequent changes that have to be made, because of the different gauges of the railways over which they pass. It would be interesting to know how long a division of soldiers would take to reach Western Australia from the eastern States in order to protect the women and children of the western portion of the continent, who are just as deserving of protection as are those in the other States. The journey from Sydney to Perth by rail takes four and a half days. The distance cannot be covered in less time unless air travel is resorted to. I, like many other honorable senators, do not like travelling by air The only Western Australian senator who likes air travel is Senator Johnston. I am willing that the honorable senator shall have any aeroplane trips that may be offered to me. I have several reasons for not liking air travel, the chief of which is, perhaps, that I am afraid of an accident. If I were killed, a good man would be missing. Unfortunately, many more would be killed in the rush to get my job.
– Is that why the honorable senator would pass on his trips to Senator Johnston?
– I urge the Government to give consideration to the standardization of the railway gauges. The frequent changes which have to be made not only cause discomfort to travellers, but also occasion delay in the handling of merchandize. Not all people in the community, however, believe that the standardization of railway gauges is desirable from a defence point of view; there are some who believe that there are distinct advantages in having a number of different gauges. I do not agree with them. I understand that a new railway line between Kalgoorlie and -Perth has already been surveyed.
– A rough survey has been made.
– I regard such action as wise. In my first speech in this chamber I gave some figures relating to the cost of converting all our railways to the standard gauge. I could repeat them here this morning, but no good purpose would be served thereby.
I again stress the wisdom of maintaining secrecy in regard to the manufacture of armaments. Many persons are inclined to talk too freely of what they know of these things. I have always believed that it is unwise to divulge information which may possibly do a disservice to my country. When other people speak too freely I do my .best to persuade them either that they are wrong or that such talk is unwise.
The new Department of Supply and Development might well give consideration to the development of the iron ore deposits at Yampi Sound, particularly as it has recently been reported that in the vicinity of Southern Cross there are other deposits of ore estimated at 72,000,000 tons.
– Whose estimate is that?
– The information was supplied in answer to a question by Senator Allan MacDonald. Sitting suspended from 12.J/S to 2.15 p.m.
– The Government has not been wise enough to plan ahead. It has engaged in a recruiting campaign to establish the nucleus of an army for home defence, but it has made no arrangements to store food for its use in case of emergency. The whole of last year’s wheat crop should have been acquired and stored for use in this country and in Great Britain in time of war.
– Or it could have been converted into oil fuel. i
– That is so. What is the use of having a volunteer army if no food is stored for its use in time of emergency? If the Government had taken over the whole of the wheat crop at a fair price it would have rendered a very valuable service to the primary producers who are experiencing bad times. We all know that to-day the wool and wheat industries are at a very low ebb ; yet they are the largest employers of labour in the Commonwealth. The economic position of many people in Australia at the moment is deplorable,- but this Government has made no plans for their future. Thousands of young men and women have nothing but. the prospect of unemployment, and more are leaving school every day. The Government should make some serious effort to deal with this problem. Works could be undertaken for the absorption of the unemployed, even those which are not reproductive, as a means of alleviating the evil. In “ his secondreading speech on this bill the Minister said -
A development which will receive the earnest and immediate attention of the department is the manufacture of fighting aircraft in Australia. The railway workshops in the various States will, under contract, arrange for the manufacture of the various component parts of the air frames, either in the workshops themselves, or through the established factory plants in the respective States, whilst the department will, as its own plants in Sydney and Melbourne, undertake the assembly and completion of the aircraft.
Honorable senators will note that the assembly and completion of aircraft is to be undertaken in Sydney and Melbourne. In Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, we have engineers ‘ and fitters whose efficiency is equal to that of artisans in New South Wales and Victoria; yet we are told that this work is to be done only in the two more prosperous capital cities. It should be spread evenly over the whole of the Commonwealth. Because of the lack of opportunity for employment, young engineers and apprentices have to leave Western Australia in order to find work in Sydney and Melbourne. During the course of his remarks, Senator Dein said that Labour senators are pleased that so much unemployment exists to-day because it enables them to secure votes.
– The honorable senator did not say that.
– His remarks were positively indecent. We all know that the man who is in work and is able to take home his wages to his wife is happier than the poor unfortunate on the dole.. It is to those men that we look for support. It has been stated that £32,000 is to be expended on annexes in New South Wales, £40,000 in Victoria, and £22,000 in South Australia. There again Queensland, Western Australia and
Tasmania are ignored. Now that the Cinderella State has a representative in the Ministry, we hope that in future we may look forward to a more equitable share of Commonwealth expenditure being allotted to Western Australia.
A good deal has been said regarding the control of profits earned by State enterprise in the manufacture of defence materials. In the Glasgow Forward Duncan Graham, Labour member of Parliament, writes-
War andProfits :how the Nation is Plundered. “ There is surely nothing more astounding in our modern world than the fact that the £1,298,205,000 spent on defence by the National Government (so-called) since1932 should apparently have gone down the drain. For we were told on all hands during the recent crisis that we were actually defenceless.”
By way of enlightenment on the posi tion Graham quoted the following figures showing, not the actual profits, but the increase of profits in 1937 over those of 1936 made by those” professional patriots, the armament firms, as under: -
Similarly in the aircraft industry. The eight firms concerned in it made profits in which the increase ranged from 14 per cent. for the lowest to 353 per cent. for the highest.
Graham, in concluding, said -
A Government which would allow this increased plunder in the nation’s hour of necessity, a Government that for all its expenditure cannot get the goods delivered, stands condemned at the bar of history.
From another source it is learned that, as a sequel to the Munich Pact and the consequent hurry-up in the armament race, shares in British armament firms alone have risen by ,.more than £20,000,000. The chief gains are Vickers Limited, £8,000,000, and Baldwins Limited, £5,000,000. The head of Baldwins Limited is Stanley Baldwin, the former British Prime Minister. Those are profits of overseas manufacturers.
– Mr. Stanley Baldwin gave away his fortune during the war.
– All of the firms which I have mentioned are now operating on the interest on the capital they amassed out of the blood bath of the world war.
– Not Stanley Baldwin.
– In 1921 a subcommittee of the League of Nations made the following charges against the armaments ring: -
This is merely a skeleton bill. There are certainly many aspects of the defence of this country with which the new department will be called upon to deal. It is likely to become the largest department in the Commonwealth. I trust that those who control it will not overlook the claims of the smaller States, and that some attempt will be made to divide the work evenly between the States. Owing to its remote position, Western Australia is liable to be forgotten by those who,guide the destinies of the nation from Canberra. If this bill be passed the Parliament will be giving merely a blank cheque to the Executive.
– First of all I wish to congratulate Senator Clothier on the very moderate way in which he has expressed his opinions of this bill. The honorable senator was so moderate that until he had uttered the final sentence of his- speech 1 was optimistic that he would vote with honorable senators on this side of the chamber in favour of the measure.’ I am disappointed that an honorable senator who could express in such moderate terms the objectives of the bill, should finally allow party affliliations unduly to influence his decision. The Government, having seen fit to bring down a measure of this character, is not that sound evidence that it appreciates the magnitude of the problems that confront this country at the present time ? It also appreciates the complexity of the organization which’ must be set up to provide adequately and efficiently for the defence of Australia. All honorable senators will appreciate that apart altogether from the. immense quantity of equipment, munitions and all the other necessaries that go to make up proper defence preparations, one condition imposed upon us which renders the task even more difficult is the necessity for expeditiously bringing all these things into being. Any person who has had experience of organizing projects realizes that it is much easier to bring them into being if sufficient time is available thoroughly to investigate the probable requirements; but if a problem has to be tackled without sufficient time to permit of full and thorough investigation, the task is rendered considerably more difficult. Consequently in these circumstances, we realize that the very best we can do is to hand over the important job of supply and development to those in whom we have the utmost confidence and who are most fitted to undertake it.” We appreciated that the former Minister for Defence had a tremendous job, and I pay a sincere tribute to the energetic1 and untiring manner in which Mr. Thorby tackled it. We realized, and I am sure he realized, the impossibility of any one man properly undertaking and bringing to a” successful conclusion the many tasks that had been imposed upon him. So this Government has decided to divide the defence problem into three branches. The bill has been brought in with the object of furnishing one of these departments with statutory powers which it otherwise could not have. During the debate members of the Opposition have suggested that the Government had full powers before the introduction of the bill to do what it intends to do under this measure, but I maintain that through the submission of this legislation the powers and functions of that department will be clearly defined, and there will be no cause for criticism or complaint of the statutory powers under which the department and Minister will operate. I do not propose to go over all the ground that was covered by various members of the Opposition. I confidently leave that to .the Minister in his reply, but I shall make a few comments on some of the matters that will come under the control of the Minister for Supply and Development. As I have, already mentioned, in formulating the necessary defence for this country a good deal more is needed than the mere training and equipping of men, because we have to ensure that not only will the necessary things be available, but also that in case of need there will be a continuity of those supplies. In order to achieve that, it hasbeen decided that all the commercial, industrial and economic life of the community shall be organized so that in case of need the Government will have no fear about obtaining the necessary supplies. I am, of course, referring to the time when this country might be subject to invasion, or called upon to co-operate with some other part of the Empire that was being attacked. Consequently, we have to revise our ideas as to what is desirable in .the manufacturing life of Australia.
I make no apology for the attitude that I have adopted in the past in regard to the establishment of secondary industries in Australia. I have realized that they must be developed. I have no illusions as to the limitations of primary production alone to ensure the fullest possible welfare of a country. The only difference between my view of the matter, and that of some other honorable senators, is as to the degree of . assistance and protection that should be extended to the establishment or continuance of industries in this country. I have firmly held the opinion that it is not desirable unduly to stimulate the development of industries that cannot eventually stand on their own feet, or cannot eventually produce economically. Now we are faced wi;h. ti different set of circumstances. Apart from the economic aspect of industries, we have to consider their defence aspect. Consequently, I have no hesitation in giving my full support to the establishment of industries to which, but for their defence value, I should not have felt justified in helping. It is the object of the Government to have a very wide range of industries examined in order to see which of them should be established to furnish commodities for the fulfilment of our defence programme. One of the duties of the Department of Supply and Development will be to cooperate with the Department of Commerce, ‘making an initial investigation iri industries of a primary character. The two departments will co-operate also in setting up certain industries in this country. It is recognized that there are various commodities which ure vitally necessary to any defence programme. A good deal of comment has been made on the question of oil supplies in Australia. I agree with the honorable senators who have urged that proper’ provision should be made to ensure that in an emergency we shall have sufficient oil fuel for both military and civil needs. I cannot agree with honorable senators who have asserted that the Government has taken no action to ensure that provision. They cannot forget the efforts made in various ways by previous governments of a similar political .character to this one. Those governments set out, first to stimulate and promote the search for flow oil ; secondly to the distillation of oil from shale; and, thirdly, to investigate the possibilities of extracting oil from coal. In many definite ways they have shown that they were cognizant of the need for developing the home supplies of this essentia] commodity. I am sure that Senator Ashley, who has displayed great interest in the development of the Newnes deposits will not deny- that the Government has made a. solid contribution towards the development- of the shale deposits. He is unfair to himself, as well as to Ministers in suggesting that what the Government has done has been of little value. I remind him that the Government has made substantial loans to the organization that at present is setting up the necessary machinery to develop those deposits. The Government has granted concessions which will cost this country about £300,000 a year in rebates of excise in order to enable that company to function satisfactorily and produce some of Australia’s requirements of oil fuel.
The alternative to producing our own supplies is storing the supplies brought from overseas. The Government has taken the initiative in order to ascertain what storage facilities exist here. When the necessary investigation has been made and the Government has ascertained what quantity can be stored, it proposes to extend the storage facilities so that in the event of war, Australia will not immediately be in want of an essential commodity. I believe that the proposal of the Government that the oil supplies shall not be concentrated in any one spot, but shall be spread over various parts of Australia, will meet with the approval of honorable senators and of people outside Parliament. It is realized that this large defence expenditure to which we are committed will undoubtedly have a beneficial effect on the labour market. I cannot understand the contention of honorable senators opposite that the steps already taken by the Government and the expenditure already incurred, have had little or no effect upon the industrial life of Australia. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition gave some figures which purported to show the sole benefit to the employment position resulting from our expenditure. I am sure that with his industrial experience he knows very well that the figures he cited do not represent ‘ the full effect of this outlay on the employment position. I am not questioning his figures as to the extra number of men engaged, but I suggest that the fact that orders have been placed has caused an extra number of men to he employed. He will recognize that if those orders had not been put in hand, instead of extra men being employed, extra men would have been unemployed.
– How is it that in every capital city except Brisbane, the’ figures relating to unemployment are increasing ?
– I shall come to that matter. My point is that if the expenditure had not been undertaken, the unemployment position would have been worse. The Minister gave a very accurate survey of what our expenditure does mean to this country. He said that the men already employed under our defence programme total over 5,000, and we know that every person in employment provides work indirectly for several other persons. I therefore put it to the Senate that although the Government’s proposals are as yet in their initial stages, they have proved beneficial, and their effect in the near future will be even more pronounced.
The Leader of the Opposition has asked me to explain the increase of unemployment figures within recent months. The honorable gentleman knows .as well as I do why these figures have risen slightly. He knows that the economy of Australia very largely rests upon our export primary production.
– The State of Queensland is affected in the same way as other States are.
– But, as regards primary production, Queensland is one of the most sheltered States of the Commonwealth. I ask the honorable gentleman what would be the position of his State if the protection given to the sugar industry were withdrawn ? I am not suggesting that the withdrawing of that protection is desirable or that I would approve of such a step. The point I make is that, in its primary production, Queensland is receiving solid support from the other States, and I think its representatives should show some appreciation of that fact.
– What about the help that is extended by the Commonwealth to the other States ?
– No other primary industry receives the same measure of protection as is given to the sugar industry of Queensland. Since the point has been raised, it is fitting that I should mention that the experience gained during the depression years, and the somewhat altered economy, due to the development in both the size and the variety of secondary industries, have enabled us to resist the downward trend of export values to a much greater extent than we did in 1930, 1931 and 1932. At the present time, prices for our main export commodities are falling, and are down to about the level of 1933 or 1934. Wool to-day is being sold at about 10£d. per lb. and wheat at about 2s.. 6d. a bushel. In. 1934-35, wool was selling at 9$d. per lb., and wheat at 2s. 7½d. a bushel. An examination of the unemployment figures for those years - 20.5 per cent. - will show that the resistance to the unfortunate impact of low prices on the economy of the country is very much greater at the present time than it was in 1934. The unemployment figure of 9.8 per cent, for the March quarter of this year bears out what I have said regarding the benefit we have derived from the experience gained in the last depression.
– But we have further to go yet.
– I .agree with the honorable senator that we do not yet know all there is to know about the unemployment situation; but surely no one can doubt that our position is much better than it was in the depression years. I think we are entitled to claim some credit for the Governments that have occupied the treasury bench for the last seven years. No government of itself can bring in the millennium, but I believe that the Government’s policy of encouraging the establishment of new industries and the expansion of existing industries, together with the confidence of the people, have had very beneficial results on the Australian position. The confidence felt by investors and industrialists, and even by the workers, in the Government during the last few years, has enabled them to give free rein to their ideas and encouraged them to work in harmony for the development and expansion of industries* in a manner hitherto unknown in the history of this country. I say without equivocation that if the control of the affairs of the Commonwealth had been in the hands of a government representing parties other than those behind the recent Commonwealth Ministries, there would not have been the same progress in Australia.
Much has been said about the measures to be taken under this bill to police the very important functions of the proposed Department of Supply and Development in connexion with the limiting and control of undue profits from the manufacture of defence requirements. The Government, after giving careful consideration to the matter, decided upon the appointment of advisory panels to scrutinize all phases of defence works with a view to their efficient and economic performance. The fact that the men appointed to these panels will act in an honorary capacity has aroused suspicion in the minds of honorable senators opposite. They seem to doubt the bona fides or sense of obligation for public duties on the part of the gentlemen who have accepted appointments to the various panels.
– We say that in nine cases out of ten they can be linked up with the exploiters.
– Although the men appointed to some of the panels may be associated with certain industrial activities, their function, as is provided in the bill, will he purely advisory. For instance, the proposed industrial panel will advise the Government as to the best method for the organization of industry to achieve the results desired. Once advice has been tendered on a particular phase of government work, the work of the committee will have ceased, unless further advice is requested. When the Government has received a recommendation from one or other of these advisory panels, the implementing of it will be entrusted to full-time employees of the departments concerned. I feel sure that if honorable senators opposite had. decided to establish an industrial organization and desired expert advice as to the best means to be adopted, they would have sought this information from those most qualified to give it. That is what this Government has done in connexion with its defence programme. We believe that we are much more likely to get sound advice from competent experts than from per sons lacking a thorough knowledge of all phases of industrial activity. Undoubtedly one of the most difficult tasks of the department will be to check the making of undue profits. We make no secret of this difficulty. It has been mentioned not only in the Senate but also in the House of Representatives, and I think all parties are in agreement upon this point. Under modern factory management, one of the most important features of organization is costing, and as Australian industry has only recently entered the field of mass production, cost accounting is a comparatively new branch of accountancy in this country. The number of men experienced in this higher branch of the profession is limited, but the Minister for Supply and Development (Mr. Casey) has been untiring in his efforts to obtain the services of the very best experts available for appointment to the accountancy panel. Again I would emphasize that this body, like other panels, will be purely advisory. The implementing of any recommendation which it will make will be entirely in the hands of departmental officers. Honorable senators have urged that it will be impossible to evolve a satisfactory system to prevent the making of undue profits. I am not quite so pessimistic as honorable senators opposite. Although I appreciate to the full the difficulties, I believe that it will not be beyond the capacity of those who are to study factory costs to recommend to this department methods which, when implemented, will ensure a reasonable measure of success. When this department has been functioning for some time and has achieved success, honorable senators opposite will realize its value. I do not propose to answer all of the criticisms levelled by the Opposition against the Government or against this measure; but I direct attention to the fact that in matters of defence the members of the Opposition have changed their ground almost completely during the last five or six years. One of the greatest changes occurred in the last federal election campaign. The Leader of the Opposition set out in his policy speech what he claimed to be the defence policy of the Labour party, but before the elections were held he made many qualifications. If we study some of the utterances of the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber we see how he has changed his ground. On one occasion he took the Government to task for not getting on with the job of defence.
– Anti-Labour governments have been in power for 21 years.
– If the interjection of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition means anything at all, surely it means that the people of Australia have had implicit confidence in the governing parties for 21 years, and that is a complete justification of the programme now being undertaken. I have taken the trouble to refer to some of the speeches made by the Leader of the Opposition, who has insisted that in matters of defence the Government has had the full support of the Opposition. On the 9th November, 1932, the Leader of the Opposition said, “ I favour a progressively reduced defence expenditure “.
– Hear! Hear!
– Is the honorable senator still of that opinion ?
– Yes, in the circumstances which then prevailed.
– The honorable senator now complains that the Government has not gone on with defence.
– The circumstances are now totally different.
– The honorable senator cannot have it both ways.
– I believe what I said in 1932.
– Then the honorable senator does not blame the Government for not acting earlier to introduce a more comprehensive defence scheme? When the position became urgent action was taken immediately. The work of this Government and the preceding Government compares favorably with what has been accomplished in Great Britain and in other countries. In November,1933, the Leader of the Opposition said -
The Government should consider the effect of its preparation for what is termed defence and not defiance, upon the people of other countries, who, I take it, are just as honest as we are, and believe that their defence proposals arc also intended for defence and not defiance.
Does he suggest that the preparations we are now making are for aggresive purposes? I hope that the people of other countries will take cognizance of what the Government is doing. The Leader of the Opposition also said -
I would advocate that not one gun or one individual be transported from this country for use in any other land.
– Hear, hear ! We still stand by that.
– I am surprised to hear that. Statements have been made in this chamber and in the House of Representatives that the Labour party does not now support a policy of isolation.
– That is not a policy of isolation.
– I can place no other interpretation upon the honorable senator’s words. Apparently, the Labour party still believes in a policy of isolation, but it was not game to stand up to it during the last election campaign. I am reminded of a statement made by Senator Cameron just before he concluded his speech, when he said, “ I am finishing where I started “.
– I did not say that.
– The Leader of the Opposition will continue this boxing of the compass until he reaches the point at which the Labour party stood in 1911 when it had a defence policy acceptable to the Australian people.
One of the subjects that has exercised the attention of the Government is the manufactufe of munitions, in order to ensure that an adequate supply will be available to meet the needs of the nation in an emergency, and to ensure that no undue profits shall be made by those engaged in their manufacture. This problem is not peculiar to Australia because it has been exercising the minds of governments and peoples in other parts of the world. During the Great. War, munitions were not manufactured on a large scale in Australia, and consequently huge profits were not made here, but in Great Britain and in the United States of America and other countries unsatisfactory conditions prevailed. Consequently governments all over the world have been endeavouring, wherever possible, to prevent a recurrence of profitmaking. In Great Britain, a royal commission was appointed to inquire into the private manufacture of, and trading in, arms, and reports were. published in 1935-36. That commission investigated the problem in all its ramifications. I do not propose to weary the Senate with long quotations from the report-
– We know it all by heart.
– I am surprised to hear that because the report was not cited by honorable senators opposite. If they were conversant with it they did not give us the benefit of their knowledge. For the benefit of honorable senators who are not so well informed on the subject as is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, T shall read certain portions. I do not propose to take anything from its proper context, but wish to condense my remarks as far as possible. On the subject of State monopolies, the commission states -
Apart from the question of practicability, however, we do not consider that a change to a system df universal State monopoly of the manufacture (if arms is desirable whilst the present international situation obtains. We <]’(> not think that the establishment of such a system would entirely remove the objection which is entertained to making a profit out of the trade. Tt is, we think, difficult to assume that producing governments would bc prepared to supply arils to non-producing governments at cost price. . . . We are accordingly unable to recommend that, while present conditions obtain, the promotion of general State monopoly should be accepted as part of the international policy of this country. .- . In conditions of modern warfare the need of the country on. an outbreak, of war is for a system which ensures the most rapid and effective mobilization nf the whole of the industrial resources of the country. Neither State enterprise nor private industry ran alone secure this. It can only be secured by the utilization of both and to’ this end we would urge that there should be the greatest measure of collaboration between the State and private industry in peace time-
That is exactly the policy which this Government has adopted, and that is why it is establishing annexes. Another paragraph in the report reads -
The complete removal of the profit motive from private industry which alone would satisfy the more ardent of those who feel moral objection to its continuance is. in our opinion, neither necessary nor desirable, and it is far from our purpose to -propose that profits should be so restricted as to discourage private firms from undertaking the supply of arms. . . . The abolition nf private indus try in the United Kingdom mid the substitution for it of a State monopoly may be practicable; but it is undesirable.
No sufficient case has in our opinion been made out for taking so drastic a step. We believe that the reasons for maintaining the private industry outweigh those for its abolition. We are of the opinion that the necessities of imperial defence cannot be effectively met, in existing conditions, except by the maintenance in peace-time of a sytem of collaboration between the Government and the private industry of the country in the supply of arms and munitions.
– Was there not a minority report?
-I have not looked to see if there is a minority report, but I am not aware of one. The document is available to honorable senators who desire to peruse it. I suggest that this commission had greater opportunities to ascertain the fact3 relating to the manufacture of munitions by private industry in not only Great, Britain but also France and the United States of America than honorable senators opposite have had. I believe that the quotations that I have read reflect,- in general terms, opinions based upon evidence which was placed before the commission. Honorable senators will agree that the Government has acted in conformity with the recommendations contained in that report in deciding to extend its own munitions factories and to co-operate with private firms and individuals in order to ensure that in a time of emergency Australia will have the supply of arms and munitions necessary to prevent it from becoming a prey to any country which might feel inclined to invade it.
– The measure before us is one of the most important with which this Parliament has had to deal for a long time, and for that reason I believe that the manner in which it has been handled in both branches %of the legislature has prevented that due consideration to which it is entitled. Government supporters have complained that speakers from this side of the chamber have introduced matters foreign to the bill. I believe that the subject of supplies is one of the most important associated with warfare,’ or defence. It is probably the greatest problem that any nation or army which has engaged in warfare since the world began has had to face. If honorable senators will study history, they will find that the great problem of various contending forces has been that of supply. I believe that a full and free discussion of every phase of this important matter is the right and duty of this legislature. I desire briefly to refer to the manner in which this great problem has been dealt with by the Commonwealth Government. Last September, within 48 hours of my becoming a member of the Senate, I was faced with the prospect that at any moment there might be an outbreak of war. Honorable senators will not easily forget the feeling of tension that existed throughout Australia at that time. But the days passed, and war did not come. Since then the Government has considered steps for the defence of Australia, with the result that proposals for the establishment of a new Department of Supply and Development were introduced into Parliament. After some discussion in the House of Representatives, the Government suddenly decided to rush the bill through, and by the application of the “ guillotine “ the measure was eventually agreed to.
– After three weeks.
– Three weeks is not too great a time to devote to the consideration of methods by which vast sums of money for the defence of Australia shall be expended, and to ensure that, as far as possible, every point is covered, and no loophole allowed to exist. This is not a subject to be dealt with hurriedly; it involves the expenditure of vast sums of money on which future generations would have to pay interest even as this generation is paying interest in respect of the last war. Unfortunately, there has been a reluctance on the part of Government supporters, both in this chamber and in the other branch of the legislature, to listen to the suggestions that have been put forward. I emphasize the amendments which have resulted from criticism of the measure by the Opposition. When the bill was originally introduced in the House of Representatives, it contained seventeen clauses; it left that chamber containing 28 clauses. If honorable senators opposite claim that we on this side have gone to a great deal of trouble to submit evidence of the machinations of various trusts and combines that are interested in “the manufacture of armaments, I reply that they have brought it on themselves by their reluctance to agree to proposals to prevent the exploitation of the people by such organizations. Some honorable senators opposite take credit to themselves for the provisions now in the bill for the elimination of profits. I nsk them to reflect on the form of the measure when it was introduced into the other chamber. It then contained no definite provision to control profits. There certainly was power for the GovernorGeneral to order investigations and to do this and that. It is because we on this side know what, has taken place in the past that we desire that the bill shall set out in unmistakable terms the intention of the Parliament to prevent exploitation. As the result of amendments moved by members of the Labour party in the House of Representatives, the bill does now contain some such provisions. For the edification of honorable senators opposite, I shall compare the present bill with the measure which was originally placed before the Parliament. In its present form, the bill rectifies an omission from the original bill by directing that plans for the decentralization of secondary industries, particularly those relating to defence, shall be included. In the original bill, there was no such provision.
– The purpose of taking a bill into committee is to improve it, if possible.
– Clause 5 of the original bill read -
Subject to the directions of the GovernorGeneral and to the next succeeding subsection, the matters to be administered by the department shall be matters relating to -
the provision or supply of munitions;
the manufacture or assembly of aircraft or parts thereof by the Commonwealth or any authority of the Commonwealth ;
arrangements for the establishment or extension of industries for purposes of defence ;
the acquisition, maintenance and disposal of stocks of goods in connexion with defence;
arrangements for ascertaining costs and for the control and limitation of profits in relation to the production of munitions; and
the arrangement or co-ordination of -
surveys of Australian industrial capacity and the preparation of plans to ensure the effective operation of Australian industry in time of war; and
the investigation and development of Australian sources of supply of goods, which in the opinion of the GovernorGeneral are necessary for the economic security of the Commonwealth in time of war.
T hat is the form in which that clause appeared when the bill was introduced into the House of Representatives by the responsible Minister who, according to some honorable senators opposite,” is the only Minister capable of presenting a policy for the defence of Australia. As it reached the Senate, the clause read -
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. . . .
It is now mandatory on the department, and not, as previously, subject to the whim of the Minister, or the executive.
– I take it that the honorable senator will now support the bill?
– If the measure is at all worthy of support, it is because of the inclusion of amendments proposed by Labour. Moreover, the only amendments which have so far been circulated further to improve this legislation have come from this side of the chamber. Yet honorable senators opposite decry Labour’s defence policy. The following words were added to paragraph e i : -
Including plans for the decentralization of secondary industries and particularly those relating to defence.
In sub-paragraph (ii) of paragraph e the following words have been added : - “ and, in particular, the investigation and development of additional oil resources, the production of power alcohol from sugar or other vegetable crops, and the production of oil from coal or shale “.
– There is nothing wrong with that. Why complain ?
– I mention these amendments because honorable senators opposite, particularly the Assistant Min ister (Senator McBride), declare that Labour has no defence policy and, indeed, is incapable of formulating one. I remind the Senate of what Labour’s defence policy really is; but first I propose to compare the attitude of this Government to that of the Labour Government when it faced the vital problem of providing for the defence of this country. When the Fisher Government came into power in 1910, it set about dealing with the defence of this country in a manner that brought credit to itself. Some of the establishments set up by that Government remain in existence to this very day. Instead of talking about things, it did things. But to-day we have only the remnants of the establishments set up by the Fisher Government. The rest have been discreetly done away with.
– By whom?
– By our friends opposite. What government was responsible for the establishment of the munitions factories at Maribyrnong and Footscray, and the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow ? What government was responsible for the construction of the Cockatoo Island Dockyard?
– What governmentwas responsible for closing down the defence establishments at Duntroon and Jervis Bay?
– The Labour Government. It was left with insufficient money to carry them on.
– As the result of the maladministration of the successive an ti -Labour governments, the finances of this country were left in a perilous position with the result- that the Scullin Government inherited an empty Treasury and was forced to close down the establishments at Duntroon and Jervis Bay.
– And the electors put it out of office.
– That is true. Why did the electors lose faith in the Labour movement at that time? Simply because the opponents of Labour have always been masters of the art of exploiting the fears of the people. The actions of all human beings are prone to be guided by fear rather than by reason. Ever since the Labour party has been in existence, the forces opposed to it have played upon the fears of the people. Even to-day honorable senators opposite are relying on that policy to keep them in office; but it has not always succeeded, and will not succeed in the future.
– The invalid and old-age pensions legislation has always been used by the Opposition as an instrument for instilling fear.
– The Labour movement has always had good cause to use it as such. Consider for a moment what happened in connexion with the Government’s proposal for .national insurance.
– Who cut the rate of invalid and old-age pensions?
– An honorable senator opposite suggested to-day that during the discussion, of this bill, practically every subject but national insurance had been dealt with.
– Why not discuss the bill ?-
– I hope that my remarks have something to do with the bill. Certainly it contains no reference to invalid and old-age pensions. I have no doubt that that matter has been referred to in order to divert me from dealing with Labour’s activities. Ever since the day when Sir George Reid first trotted out his socialistic tiger and told the people that if Labour was elected to office their very homes would be destroyed and the sanctity of the marriage tie- would be at stake, this policy of fear has been used by our opponents. To-day the same tactics are still employed, hut not so successfully. When we consider Labour’s contribution to the defence of this country, it will be seen that Senator McBride’s remarks are completely unjustified. When the Labour Government was faced with the problem of setting our defences in order, it did not hesitate to bring into being government establishments that would prevent the people from being exploited by those who fatten on war and the manufacture of munitions of war. It immediately set about the establishment of munitions factories. When it realized that if we were to have soldiers they would need artillery and rifles, which, in turn, would need ammunition, it immediately set out to manufacture those things. When it realized that Australia needed a navy it began to build one, and it laid down a plant to effect ship repairs. When it realized that Australia would need artillery, and that in order to be effective our artillery forces would need horses, it established the Remount Depot at Maribyrnong. When it realized that horses would need harness, it established the Government Harness Factory. When it realized that soldiers needed clothing, it established the woollen mills to weave cloth, and the clothing factories to convert the cloth into uniforms. When it realized that it needed finance ‘to carry on the activities of the country, it established the Commonwealth Bank. But what do we find to-day? All that is left to this Government is but a. remnant of what Labour established; the rest of these wonderful institutions have been destroyed. Where does the Government propose to get its munitions? Does it propose to make their manufacture a matter of national concern ? Not at all ; it proposes to allow those very interests which honorable senators know have grown wealthy on war and on preparations for war, to step into the breach. I ask honorable senators opposite as reasonable men, is it not fair that we should believe that blame for the unsatisfactory position of Australia at the present time can be laid upon this Government and the Governments that have immediately preceded it? Individually, honorable senators opposite are most estimable men, but they cannot get away from the fact that they represent interests which in the past have become rich on war and preparations for war. It is to honorable senators opposite that those interests look for protection. If we are suspicious of what is happening and what is likely to happen, can we be blamed, having regard to all the circumstances? If honorable senators would be above suspicion, let them make doubly sure that any legislation introduced to deal with this important matter of supply and development is itself beyond suspicion. The application of the guillotine in the House of Representatives prevented that full and frank discussion that should be permitted in respect of a measure of such importance as this. During the debate in this chamber honorable senators on this side have been subjected to a continuous fire of interjections. We have been accused of delaying the passage of the bill. My remarks are directed, not only to our friends comprising the Ministry, but also to their colleagues in the Country party. The Senate being a House of review, one would have thought that there would have been no objection to a full review of the position confronting Australia in relation to supply and development. When honorable members, on this side have put forward suggestions to the Government, they have been charged with insincerity. Having regard to the facts that the general charges in the last war amounted to £393,000,000, that the interest bill was £297,000,000, that pensions and repatriation charges up to date have cost £171,000,000, bringing the cost of the last war to Australia up to £861,000,000, and when it is remembered that those who invested money in war loans received considerably more than was paid to those who gave their lives - when we realize the great cost to Australia - then we recognize that this is a subject that must be discussed. We have given authority for the expenditure of vast sums of money within the next three years. As the measure had left the House of Representatives only a few moments before it reached us, I expected the difficulties that the Minister for the Interior (Senator Foll) had in making his secondreading speech. I thought that after the adjournment other responsible Ministers would rise and give to us further information on the subject. This chamber has been in session since Wednesday afternoon, and only just now did another Minister rise to supply further details. Was the information he gave of the nature that we expected?
Exception has been taken by some honorable senators to a statement on the manufacture of aeroplanes used by Senator Ashley during the course of his speech. It was suggested that because he had put the matter before the Senate in a certain way he had acted in a manner detrimental to British interests. In my opinion, the statement submitted by Senator Ashley merits very earnest consideration. I have had an opportunity to peruse the document and to read the Hansard report of his speech, and I can see nothing that justifies the remarks made by Government supporters.
– Is the honorable senator referring to the Whackett report?
– I do not know whose report it is. The statement read by Senator Ashley said -
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.
– As we do not know who the author is, that, statement carries no weight.
– It does not matter on whose authority the statement was made. Even if the document emanated from one of the Government supporters, it would be worth considering. What is wrong with looking into this particular problem? It is the protest made by honorable senators opposite that creates the suspicion of which they are complaining. Surely, as the Australian taxpayers will supply the money to be spent, we as their representatives have a right to make these inquiries. What is wrong with investigating this matter since we are preparing for the defence of the country? We should see that the machines used are the best procurable. Government supporters should realize that the developments in aircraft manufacture and the improvements in internal combustion engines are so rapid that when we build, at great expense, the air force it should be up to date. The report stated further -
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.
– Who said that?
– The question is - Is the statement true or not? Complaints have been made in the past about the aircraft used in Australia. Have there not been investigations, and has not doubt” been expressed as to the airworthiness of the craft in operation? What is wrong with finding out whether we have been the victims of English manufacturers ?
– What is wrong with the honorable senator giving his authority for his statement?
– What more authority does the Minister want than the present conditions?
– Probably a nonAustralian influence is behind the statement. Certain people do not want this industry in Australia.
– You killed fifteen men, and you know it.
– Senator Keane has made a remark that the Government killed fifteen men. It is a distinctly offensive remark, and it should be withdrawn.
– I withdraw. I meant to say eight men.
– That also is offensive.
– The remark must be withdrawn.
– In deference to you, Mr. President, I withdraw, and I shall make other references to the matter later.
– I draw attention to Senator Dein’s remark, which creates suspicion.
– I know the suspicion is there. The honorable senator is full of it. He would suspect his own mates.
– Suspicion ever haunts the guilty mind.
– I wish to continue. I draw attention to the statement -
Australia has boon a very convenient dumping ground.
Is there anything wrong with inquiring into that statement? Certainly not!
– Why should there be these suspicions ?
– Surely honorable senators are solicitious for the welfare of the young Australians who are offering themselves for the Air Force. We should have the best machines procurable for them. I do not say that all these things are true, but he’re is the statement.
– Surely the statement is worthy of investigation.
– The arguments used are designed not to destroy an Australia industry, but to create an Australian industry. I draw attention to the last few words in the sentence that I have just quoted. I shall examine that statement in the light of what has been suggested by Government supporters. When I heard their comments, I feared that Senator Ashley had said something terrible, and so I went to the trouble of reading the statement.
– Why should Australia be used as a dumping ground?
– I understand that the Australian National Airways have American engines.
– We want to manufacture our own engines in Australia. > Senator SHEEHAN.- This is a question of engines. The statement continues-
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.
Is that sufficient?
– That is only somebody’s opinion.
– This is 1939. After all the urgency cannot be so great when we read that even in the most optimistic circles the full output is not expected earlier than in 1942. The statement continues -
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?
– How does the writer’ know that they will be obsolescent ?
– The honorable senator knows what is happening in the world, and how rapidly improvements are made. The statement continues -
It is suggested that Australia. New Zealand and. “ possibly “, South Africa, would bc “ 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 lias agreed with the Bristol Company to produce in addition to airframes, engines (atno matter what cost), provided they are of British origin.
I have no objection to that, but I wish to be sure that they are effective. That is the gravamen of the charge. A further comment is -
It is submitted that the following facts should bc examined before it can be said that the Bristol “ Taurus “ sleeve valve engine is the type mostsuited 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 might be a piece of propaganda, but it is worth investigating.
The statement adds-
This engine is at present making history by flying the Consolidated flying boatGuba 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-
– That is American propaganda.
– Is the statement true or is it not true?
– Does it matter ?
– It matters very much.
– It does matter whether the Australian aeroplanes kill people or carry them safely.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator James McLaohlan). - Order!
– I do not think that this letter was written for propaganda purposes. At all events I do not regard it in that light.
– I object to any man, especially one who does not sign his name to a letter, trying to kill an Australian industry.
– “Would the adoption of the suggestion contained in this letter kill an Australian industry?
– Obviously it is an attempt to prevent the creation’ of an Australian industry.
– On the 18th May, Senator Keane asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence how many Avro Anson aeroplanes have been involved in accidents during the last two years and what was the total number of casualties, killed and injured. The answer given by the Minister was as follows : -
Avro Ansou aircraft have been involved in five fatal accidents during the last two years resulting in 15 deaths and injuries to 36 persons.
– I said that there had been eight deaths and the Minister asked for a withdrawal of the statement.
– I did not ask the honorable senator to withdraw any statement with’ regard to the fact that there had been accidents, but I did ask for a withdrawal of his unfair allegation that we had killed men.
– And one honorable senator supporting the Government said that it did not matter anyhow.
– I cannot allow the Leader of the Opposition to put into my mouth words which I did not utter, and construe them in a way that was never intended. I ask that he withdraw that statement.
– If any words that I have said are not true, I shall promptly withdraw them; but I want you, Mr. Deputy President, to understand thoroughly what has occurred. Senator Sheehan was reading a letter to which attention had already been directed by Senator Ashley, in which mention is made of the number of air accidents, and while he was making his point as to the need for care with regard to aircraft, Senator Hays interjected, “ Does it matter ? “.
– I did not say that, nor should my words be so construed. I insist on the withdrawal by the Leader of the Opposition of the remark to which I take exception. He construed what I said in such a way as to give the impression that I was indifferent to the death of fifteen men, who, it is alleged, were killed in aeroplane accidents. It was an unfair attempt to misconstrue my words.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - If the honorable gentleman regards the words as offensive, I am sure that the Leader of the Opposition will withdraw them.
– I shall certainly withdraw them, but I want you, Mr. Deputy President, to know that I did not connect the interjection of the honorable senator with the statement about the accidents. Senator Sheehan had challenged the right of this Government to buy second-hand or obsolete aeroplanes, and Senator Herbert Hays said that it did not matter, anyhow. In deference to your ruling, Mr. Deputy President, I withdraw the statement.
– I think it is due to the Senate that this subject should be discussed dispassionately, because it affects a very important branch of the Commonwealth defence establishment.
– Why does not the writer sign his name to the letter?
– I cannot say.
– I would not read the letter of any man who was ashamed to sign his name to it.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order !
– I do not desire further to discuss the merits or demerits of the particular machines mentioned in this letter, but I put it to the Government that the points raised should at least be’ investigated by experts before the people of Australia are committed to such a. huge expenditure.
– The advisory panels will investigate all such matters.
– If that is so then perhaps everything will be all right.
Other honorable senators have referred to the development of the Australian industry. This is what the writer of the letter has to say on that subject -
I consider the building of an aircraft factory and then the manufacturing of engines and air frames such as has been accomplished at Fisherman’s Bend in the last two years is an achievement of which any country in the world should be proud, and it seems to me as nothing less than shameful that such an industry should be virtually pushed out of existence by the almost unscrupulous methods by English manufacturers.
Is that correct? Are these people being pushed out. It is only a few weeks ago since we learned, with a great deal of satisfaction, that the first aeroplane had been manufactured at Fisherman’s Bend and had been seen circling over Melbourne. The issue involved is of supreme importance. We should be satisfied with nothing but the best in Australia, in view of the large amount of money that is being expended.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that we are not getting the best?
– Nothing should be too good for us, and we should make quite sure that wo shall get the best.
I come now to the subject of oil supplies for Australian industries and defence purposes. It is not my intention to deal with the matter at length beyond replying to some comments made by Senator Abbott last evening in which he referred to the services rendered by a former Minister for the Interior (Mr. Paterson) in connexion with the development of oil-fields at Lakes Entrance in Victoria. During the recess I, together with Mr. Drakeford, a member of the House of Representatives, visited that oilfield. We were both much impressed with the possibility of developing the oil wells there. All Australia’s defence measures depend largely, if not entirely, upon an adequate supply of fuel oil . within our own borders. If we can establish that flow oil exists in sufficient quantities in Australia, so much the better. Even if we possess vast measures of brown coal and shale, and even if we may be able to extract petrol from other mineral or vegetable products, flow oil is the cheapest form of fuel and therefore the most to be desired. During our inspection of the oil wells at Lakes Entrance we were informed that the attention that had been given to that field had been negligible. The fact that more interest is now being shown by the honorable member for Gippsland is beside the point. It is believed that if the Lakes Entrance oil-fields had received the attention which those who are interested in them claim they should have received, the position to-day would be different. Possibly at the moment the honorable member for Gippsland desires the support of these people, and is now making efforts which should have been made many years ago. As honorable senators may know, Gippsland as an oilfield is not new. The existence of flow oil there has been known for very many years, but, as so often happens, the pioneers in its development have been broken not only in spirit but also in pocket. Again we find good old private enterprise at work. The Government, knowing what has happened in other parts of the world, should take control of the oil-field in the interests of the people. It should take over and develop all oil-fields and not allow them to fall into the hands of private enterprise. There exists the fear that as the result of intervention by monopolies outside Australia the actual discovery of flow oil in this country has been delayed. Go where you will, the feeling uppermost in the minds of the people is that the development of Australian resources in flow oil is being retarded. There is a firm conviction that oil-fields do exist in this country. We have been told of what has happened at Roma, in Queensland, the suggestion being that because of the intrusion of these outside influences, the oil wells there have not been proved to their capacity, ft is stated also that boring operations at Lakes Entrance have been conducted in such a way as possibly to destroy that field. We were told that the drills passed through the oil sands in bo the water below, with the result that the pressure of oil was lost and possibly has disappeared altogether.
– Whose fault was that?
– I hope to be able to tell the Senate. The work, as I have said, was done in an unskilled manner. There is a definite feeling that the Government should intervene and see that these wells are developed efficiently in the interests of the Australian people. The belief is strongly held that oil will soon be discovered in Australia and it is important that we should know whether or not it exists in payable quantities.
– At the request of the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) the Government proposes to send a drilling expert to Gippsland within a few days.
– I am pleased to hear that that is to be done.
I regret that the Government has omitted from the bill any reference to the standardization of railway gauges, particularly as transport will be one of the most important problems which the Department of Supply and Development will handle. I was pleased to read in to-day’s Melbourne Argus a leading article directing attention to the subject of transport. The article suggests that the Government should give consideration to this matter at the meeting of the Loan Council next week. In these circumstances, the standardization of gauges should receive immediate consideration. Amongst other reasons why this work should be proceeded with is the necessity to absorb the unemployed. [Extension of time granted^ The article in the Argus stated -
Ordinary concrete or bitumen highways, though excellent foi’ motor cars or even commercial transport, would be speedily ground to pieces by heavy and continuous military traffic. Railways must be the backbone of wartime transport; but railways which entailed a long halt at State borders for the transfer of every soldier and every package of munitions to a different railway system would bc a serious handicap. The delays incidental to such a system might make all the difference between victory and defeat.
Those views have been expressed by honorable senators on this side of the chamber for a long time, and it is very refreshing to find a newspaper such as the Argus supporting the contentions of the members of the Labour party. On previous occasions we have said that the opponents of a standardized railway system have an axe to grind and are solicitous for other forms of transport. Some contend that we speak only on behalf of the particular interests with which we are associated. For instance, if Senator Keane, the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Drakeford) and I refer to this subject we are charged with bringing it forward simply because we have a knowledge of, and an interest in, railway matters. Surely the Argus does not speak on behalf of any particular section of the community ; yet it stated that the standardization of our railway gauges is one of the vital problems which should be considered at the Loan Council next week. I trust that when an amendment is moved in the direction foreshadowed, the Government will support a proposal to bring the standardization of railway gauges within the scope of the bill. Over twelve months ago the Sydney Morning Herald directed attention to the inadequate means of exit from the city of Sydney. One could cite numerous instances of work which should be under the control of this organization. I deplore the fact that the Government simply threw this measure before us, and that since the secondreading was moved only one Minister has endeavoured to elaborate the Government’s proposals. The security of this country depends upon its protection and development. We give’ place ro no one in asking that Australia be defended in the most effective manner. The record of the Labour party proves most conclusively that whenever it has been entrusted .with the defence of Australia it has acted wisely.
– In 1914?
– War broke out in 1914 and a general election was held. The then Prime Minister (Mr. Joseph Cook), appealed to the people of Australia not to “swap horses in midstream “, but the record of the Labour party in preparing for the defence of Australia was such that the people deliberately decided to “ swap horses “, and entrusted the government to the Labour party.
– How long did the Labour party last ?
– Until such time as dissension arose within its ranks. If the party to which I belong be given an opportunity, which I feel sure it will be in the near future, it will provide for adequate defence. It will handle the problem in such a. way that the people of Australia will know that the money expended will be used for the purpose for which it was appropriated, and not to increase the dividends of those who wax fat in the hour of a nation’s need.
.- Senator Sheehan in his opening remarks praised the bill, and had we not known that he was a member of the Labour party we would have expected him to support it. The honorable senator proceeded to refer to the way in which “ we “ - referring to the Fisher Government - established a clothing factory, a munitions factory and a horse-breeding establishment. The honorable senator did not, however, say that “ we “ trained the men who wore the uniforms produced at the clothing factory, or that “ we “ used the arms and munitions manufactured in government factories. Moreover, he did not mention the fact that the Labour
Government introduced compulsory military training. Does the honorable senator support that plank of the Labour party which was in force at that time? The Labour party is now opposed to compulsory military training. I do not propose to speak at length on this measure, but I intend to give it my blessing. Some honorable senators contend that -there is no necessity for it. For instance, Senator Clothier said that the Government has already sufficient power to take over factories, and do everything it wishes in connexion with defence. Apparently, the honorable senator forgets that a state of emergency must exist and a War Precautions Act be passed before factories under private control can be acquired. Such an act ceases to operate at the termination of war. If, as Senator Clothier says, a factory was taken over, it was taken over under that act.
– It was not taken over ; we were told that it would be taken over.
– It could be taken over only under a War Precautions Act. As the Government proposes to expend approximately £70,000,000 on defence within the next three years, it is only reasonable to provide that the money shall be used economically. Should a war occur in which Britain is involved in some part of the world Australia will be affected, and every effort should, therefore, be made to ensure our protection. It is proposed to establish annexes at railway workshops, which are State instrumentalities, in some of the States, and at efficient private establishments. Does the Labour party think that the Commonwealth Government should set up its own establishments for the manufacture of munitions? If that were done, the services of men who were employed in them would have to be dispensed with at the conclusion of a war, and the labour market would be upset. We cannot go on manufacturing munitions for ever, but we can install in various factories machinery belonging to the Government, and establish a nucleus of trained men, so that necessary requirements may be provided in an emergency.
– Why not build more annexes in connexion with government workshops ?
– In all the States there are railway workshops for the manufacture of railway rolling-stock. If plant for the manufacture of armaments were installed in them, there would he trained men on hand to manufacture munitions in time of war. The plan of the Government is both effective and economical ; it is a proper step in the defence of this country.
Senators Clothier and Fraser said that this bill contains no adequate provision for the control of profiteering, but Senator Sheehan accepts that part of it.
– Thanks to labour amendments made in the other chamber.
– I do not care who put a desirable amendment into a bill, so long as it is there.
– The bill, as originally introduced, showed the mind of the Government in regard to profits.
– Clause 5 definitely provides for the control of profits. I agree that no profits should be made out of the manufacture of munitions; but I say that a person who gives his buildings and land for the establishment of an annexe, is entitled to 4 per cent, on the capital value of such property. He is not, however, entitled to 4 per cent, profit on the turnover of any factory erected thereon. It is true that high profits were made in the United Kingdom during the last war out of the manufacture of munitions; that must not be allowed to occur in this country.
– High profits were made out of gas masks during the September crisis.
– My one objection to this bill is that it provides for government by regulation. Nearly every honorable senator has at some time expressed opposition to government by regulation, but this measure provides for it to a degree not embodied in any other act of Parliament. In all other legislation, regulations must be consistent with the act; that provision is absent from this bill. However, the life of this measure is limited to five years.
– Eighteen months !
– We are now dealing with legislation which, if passed, will bc administered by whatever government, or governments, are in office dur ing the next five years. We do not know what the complexion of the next govern-: ment will be. It may be red, or pink; or it may be a government actuated only by a desire to serve the best interests of the people. Of whatever political party its members are composed, we can only hope that it will be a truly Australian government. The bill definitely limits profits in relation to manufacturing, but I admit candidly that difficulty will he experienced in controlling profits where the manufacturing concern obtains its raw materials from subsidiary companies. The Government must take steps to ensure that the subsidiary companies shall not make undue profits. I am confident that it will do so.
The bill empowers the Department of Supply and Development to establish new industries in this country. I know what is in the mind of the Assistant Minister (Senator McBride) in this connexion ; his ideas and mine on this subject are largely identical. If industries not essential for defence purposes be established - and many such have been suggested - we shall do an injustice to the exporting industries of this country. If, for instance, we bring in to Australia each year goods valued at £20,000,000 less than we now import, the value of our exports will also be £20,000,000 less. Practically the only outlet for our primary produce is the United Kingdom market. That position would have to be watched closely.
– If that position had been met as it should have been met ten years ago, some of the present difficulties would not have arisen.
– If people will come here and establish industries, thereby forming additional consumers of Australian primary products, I shall have no objection. Our population should be increasing, hut, unfortunately, it is not. In the manufacture cif defence requirements, we must make Australia as self-supporting as possible, but it is not essential to establish, under the authority of this measure, industries that will not be required for defence purposes. There has been a statement in the press that 75 men are to be sent overseas to be trained in the manufacture of aeroplanes. In my opinion, that would be entirely wrong. Instead, the Government should bring a number of experts from the Old Country to Australia, in order to train Australian artisans. If men be sent overseas for training, the industry, for the manufacture of aircraft will not be established in Australia for two years; but if the experts be brought here, it will be established immediately. Time is of the essence of the contract, and I hope that the Government will not send men overseas, but will bring experts to Australia.
As to the advisory councils, I say that the best men possible should be obtained to give advice to the Government. I do not think that any man who may be selected will have regard to any other factor than the safety of Australia. Each will give of his brains and experience to the Government, and the cost to the country will be slight. The Government, acting on the advice- . of these bodies, should be on sound ground.
I entirely agree with Senator Sheehan’s remarks regarding oil supplies, but, unfortunately, the honorable senator did not give to Mr. Paterson, the honorable member for Gippsland in the House of Representatives, credit- for what he has done. The honorable senator has evidently talked to a number of employees and obtained from them the idea that the oil supplies of Australia should be nationalized.
– I talked to the leaseholders.
– The re-pressuring process for the extraction of oil is new, but its effectiveness is shown by the fact that, in the United States of America and other countries, bores which had gone out of production have been made to yield payable supplies of oil. -I agree with Senator Sheehan that the Government should watch the process closely. It should also encourage’ the use of diesel engines rather than the present internal combustion engines which use petrol as fuel. I have had some experience with diesel engines. As honorable senators know, they use as fuel, crude oil, which not only is non-explosive, but also is much cheaper than petrol, the prices being about 8d. against 2s. a gallon. For three years I have run a diesel engine almost continuously, doing heavy work, and it has not cost a shilling for repairs. The cost of operation is very low. Moreover, as the fuel is non-explosive, such engines are safe.
– Charcoal gas is cheaper still.
- Senator A. J. McLachlan knows of the experiments in connexion with charcoal gas which have been carried out by the post office in conjunction with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. For a year, my son carried out experiments with charcoal gas with a tractor for an engineering firm. ‘ As a fuel, charcoal gas is satisfactory, but the cost and the weight of the generator are too great, and a mechanic is required to run the plant. However, it may be necessary, in the interests of aircraft for motor transport to use charcoal gas before long. In laying in stocks of oil, the Government should obtain crude oil. Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited has its own refineries, and. if necessary, could convert the crude oil into petrol at little co3t. Senator Fraser said that the Government was not putting its munitions or its petrol supplies underground.
– I suggested that they should be put underground; I did not say that they were not being put there.
– The Defence Department is not telling the world what it is doing, but it is getting things done. Senator Keane raised the subject of finance and the mythical millions expended by the Bruce-Page Government. The honorable senator may be interested in the facts. During the seven years that it was in office, the Bruce-Page Government added £2,500,000 a year to the national debt; but the Scullin Government, during the two years that it was in office, added £13,000,000 to the national debt, and would have added £20,000,000 more had not the Senate prevented it.
– The last two loans floated by the Bruce-Page Government in London failed.
– No; every loan floated by that Government was successful.
– Of the amounts of the last two loans, 65 per cent, was left with the underwriters.
– But they were underwritten, and that is the most important thing. I am glad that this bill, which is long overdue, has been introduced, and I hope- that members of the Opposition who have spoken so favorably of it will cross the floor and support it.
.- At the outset I wish to thank the Minister for having made available to honorable senators copies of his second-reading speech on this bill. His courtesy has enabled us to realize exactly what the Government proposes to do under it. However, many things were omitted hy the Minister to which he might well have referred. At first glance one would form the opinion that the objective of this bill is to deal with a state of emergency over a period of five years, whereas it is nothing of the sort. Once this legislation is enacted it will be of a permanent character, and operations commenced under its provisions will result in Australia becoming the munitions-producing country of the Southern Hemisphere. As a matter of fact Australia will become the arsenal of the Southern Hemisphere. I have no doubt that in replying to the debate, the Minister will tell us that provision is made in the bill to forbid the manufacture of munitions by private enterprise after a period of five years. That, however, is not so; that provision applies to government orders only. It does not require a great measure of imagination to realize the position with which we shall be faced in the not-far-distant future if this bill becomes law. Countries bordering on the Pacific and those whose shores are on the Indian Ocean, will purchase from this country raw materials for defence and other purposes. What is to be the position of Australia in relation to ‘these other countries ? Do we agree to be turned into the munitionsmanufacturing country of the Pacific? Are we prepared to accept moneys accruing from the production of munitions to keep this country going? This bill means neither more nor less than that Australia is to enter the armaments race. Quite a lot has been said and written concerning the desirability or otherwise of participating in the armaments race. If this bill be passed we shall be right in it, and we shall be so with the authority of the supreme governing body in Australia, the National Parliament. It is well for us to realize that. I am not surprised that this bill has been brought down by the Government because, on the return of the Australian trade delegation from’ England not many months ago, we were told by each member of that delegation that the trade outlook for our primary products was very serious, meaning that we have a poor chance of disposing of increased quantities of our surplus primary products, and that in the future we will have to look to the expansion of the secondary industries to enlarge the market for our primary products. In conformity with the announcement of the trade delegation, the Government has formulated its policy concerning the establishment of secondary industries. That is the purpose of the bill now before the Senate. Need I remind honorable senators that, whereas we in Australia are called upon to take a most serious view of international affairs, our view is not shared overseas, even in England? That was” proved only yesterday when the Australian Government floated a loan of £6,000,000 in London to meet its commitments in the United Kingdom. The floating of that- loan afforded an opportunity for investment in Australian securities to those people who had contracted with the Australian Government for the supply of certain munitions. They refused the opportunity to invest other than to the extent of 20 per cent, of the total loan. That demonstrates that in respect of our attempts to provide adequate defence for Australia, the people of the Old Country are quite indifferent. They have said, in effect, “‘Get the money to pay us where you like. We, as the investing public, are prepared to subscribe only 20 per cent, of your requirements.” The balance was, of course, left on the hands of the underwriters. But who are these underwriters? I mention this loan merely in order to demonstrate to honorable senators that whereas we in Australia are taking a very serious view of our position from a defence point of view, it is apparently no concern of the investors of Great Britain, otherwise they would have responded more, generously to the appeal for subscriptions to the loan.
It is desirable that some measure should be introduced for the stimulation of efforts- for the development of our resources as a defence measure. Money could be expended wisely in exploiting (he possibilities of the discovery of mineral oil. Considerable sums of money could also be profitably expended in opening up known coal seams throughout Australia in places removed from the great centres of coal production. The development of these remote fields would prove invaluable in a time of national crisis. In Western Australia there are various areas where coal has already been discovered, but the seams have not yet been tested. The quality and the quantity of the deposits are, therefore, unknown. This is one of the sources of latent wealth that should be investigated, in order to ascertain where additional supplies of coal which might be found necessary in the event of aggression can be obtained. Another subject which might well be inquired into is the development of harbour facilities around the Australian coast. Of course, I realize that there is a difference of opinion in connexion with this matter. We are advised - and perhaps with some justification - that the more harbours we construct the greater expense we incur for their fortification and upkeep. That may be so in some parts of Australia, but there are other portions of our coastline that badly need development. I refer to Bunbury in Western Australia as an instance. Having regard to the large quantities of coal deposits available there and the possibilities of the reduction of crude iron ore to pig iron and the production of steel, the provision of harbour facilities at Bunbury is of great importance. The provision of harbour facilities would enable the greater development of the Collie coal-field, situated fifteen or twenty miles away. By the generation of electric power at Collie, Bunbury could be supplied with cheap electricity for the development of its industries.
I have had ample time to study this bill and to consider what might be included in it under the heading “ Munitions “. ‘ The very essence of munitions in my opinion is foodstuffs. Without food, clothing and the equipment necessary, for our defence forces, shells and guns would be useless. The Government should take into consideration the possibility of making available such munitions as surplus wheat that would provide for the future requirements of the nation and our overseas allies as well as the self-governing dominions making up the British Commonwealth of Nations. ‘ Senators may smile at the idea of classing wheat as munitions, but I .can tell them that that is a practical project. Last September we were on the verge of an international eruption that would have involved the whole world. We know that without’ foodstuffs an army cannot exist. Therefore the Government should see the advisability of not permitting the wealthproducing wheat industry to go out of existance, even if it be necessary to store up a portion of the wheat yield of the Commonwealth. Cannons, shells and other instruments of destruction are to be manufactured, and in all probability they will be stored for five years without a shot being fired. We hope that we shall not be called upon to take part in a war inside of five years. At the end of that period we shall be told by the military authorities that the munitions are out of date and must be jettisoned. They will admit that enormous expense is involved but they will ask, “ Are we not fortunate that we have not had to. resort to those’ instruments of destruction in order to defend Australia ? “. The citizens will be glad to jettison those instruments without firing a shot. If we stored wheat, and, after holding it in readiness for a national crisis had to sell it at a loss, would the nation be any poorer than it was in having to discard unused munitions?
– Can wheat be stored safely?
– For a time, but probably not for as long as we can store ammunition. There is “an end to the life of even those things, because new guns are invented, rendering the old ones obsolete. The Mark “VT. rifle and the cartridges to fit it had to be discarded, and so would wheat if weevil got into it, but we must take that risk. Under the bill the Government will have a wonderful opportunity to do good, but at the same time there will be opportunities to do a great deal of harm to the people of Australia if the provisions be not handled carefully and judiciously. The measure has been amended but there is still room for further improvement. In reality this is a committee bill, and it can be moulded without much talk to meet the needs of cbe Australian people. The bill can be made useful if the Government is prepared to be reasonable, but apparently it is unbending, not only in this chamber, but also in the House of Representatives. No encouragement is given to the Opposition that its amendments will receive the consideration to which they are entitled. I advise the Minister to take a broader view of the business of the Senate. We should not be bound hand and foot to agree to the proposals embodied in a bill. When the debate on the second reading is over the fight is over, and the Minister has got his bill through. The measure then becomes the property of the committee which should have an opportunity of moulding it to meet the needs of the nation. I ask the Minister to give the amendments proper consideration. We have any amount of time, and the weather will improve. When the measure is in committee I propose to support the amendments to be submitted by the Opposition.
– Without making comparisons with other speeches, we can all agree that the speech made by Senator Sheehan was a substantial and interesting contribution to the debate. The measure is one that properly calls for the fullest discussion. The subjects contained in it, and its general purpose, encourage the widest deliberation. Senator Sheehan complained that the Government had attempted to burke discussion, and he also criticized the attitude of members of the United Australia party in the House of Representatives. Whatever was done there, the fact must be remembered that they are masters of their House, as we are of ours. We have equal rights, and the Standing Orders of the Senate permit us to have the widest debate. Although the bill may not have been discussed as fully as Senator Sheehan desires, the debate has not been curtailed in any way. No honorable senator can complain that he has not been allowed the widest freedom. When any senator sought an extension of time not a voice was raised in objection. Senator Sheehan also described the bill as incomplete, and he said that it did not meet with the approval of the Opposition when it was introduced in the House of Representatives. I remind him that the Leader of the Opposition and other members, as well as Ministers, have responsibilities for the moulding of legislation. The Government is responsible for the introduction of a bill, but every senator is under the obligation of seeing that the legislation leaving this chamber is framed in such a way that it will he for the benefit of the people to be governed by it.
I shall refer to an incident that happened in this chamber during Senator Sheehan’® speech. In the heat of the moment I accused the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) with having deliberately misconstrued an interjection by me. I withdraw the word “ deliberately “, because I do not think he would deliberately misrepresent what I said. I should like my remarks to be recorded. This afternoon, Senator Sheehan read a statement, the author of which I am not concerned about. He was dealing with engines for aeroplanes, and, among other things, said that English aeroplanes are being used with American engines. Then he turned towards this side of the chamber and said, “ Is it true or is it not true ? “. I interjected, “ Does it matter ? “. I say again, “ Does it matter if English manufacturers are using American engines in their planes ? “. It is well known that Great Britain has placed orders for American engines, and Australia is to import some. Senator Keane had earlier interjected that fifteen men had been killed as a result of accidents to a certain make of aeroplanes. He was required to withdraw that, but he passed a note to Senator Sheehan who pursued the matter in his speech.
– Cannot the honorable senator see the connexion between the two things?
- Senator Sheehan put his query to us, “ Is it true or is it not true ? and I said, “ Does it matter?”. Senator Collings declared that my question referred to the death of those men. . I did not say, or infer, that it did not matter whether the men were killed.
– It matters what sort of aeroplanes the Government buys.
– That matter was not under consideration at the moment.
– It was.
– The Leader of the Opposition connected my interjection with the death of the men and, whilst I acquit him of any intention to misrepresent me, I make this explanation in order to remove any misunderstanding.
Much has been said about the Government’s proposals to co-operate with big manufacturers in Australia. and to spend money on annexes for private enterprise. If honorable senators’ fears as to opportunities for profit making are removed, I do not think that any of them will deny that this is a sincere and honest attempt by the Government to prevent such incidents as those of which they have complained. The bill, “I understand, will soon pass its second reading, and be taken into committee for further discussion. Honorable senators opposite spent much time on the second reading, but did not bring forward many useful suggestions for its improvement.
– We did.
– They urged that the Government should control profits, but ignored the provisions that had been inserted in the bill for that purpose. The munitions annexes will be used, I take it, only in an emergency to supplement the supply of munitions from Commonwealth establishments or State factories under Commonwealth control. In a national crisis the facilities of every industrial establishment in the Commonwealth will, I presume, be placed at the service of the Government for the successful defence of this country.
– Does not the honorable senator know that, profiteering is being and has been indulged in ever since this Government announced its intention to expand its defence programme?
– Surely the Leader of the Opposition realizes that if no profits were made there would be no industry and no employment. So much has been said by our friends in opposition about the strangle-hold which, according to them, a certain section of the community has on other sections, that it is desirable to point out that if undue profits are being made by any section of industry this Parliament has the remedy in its hands. It could deal with excess profits by means of the income tax or other taxation measures. May I also remind the Leader of the Opposition that these large public companies which have been so severely criticized in this debate are doing a most useful work in manufacturing commodities for everyday use, and in providing employment for thousands of our people. If profits are made, those profits are distributed amongst many thousands of shareholders, some of whom are small investors. Shares in the great Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, and many other similar organizations, are now comparable to investment in recognized trustee companies. Thousands of people draw some portion, at least, of their income from dividends on capital which they have saved and invested in these enterprises. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, with its subsidiary companies, may be regarded as Australia’s first line of defence, because it is primarily engaged in the development of our iron and steel resources. So successful has the enterprise become that for some years now it has been exporting some of its products to other countries. We have every reason to look with pride upon this great industrial organization whichhas made such phenomenal progress. It was my privilege to attend the opening of the steelworks in Newcastle in 1916. Prior to the establishment of this industry the land on which the works stand was a swampy area which had to be reclaimed. Although the man who was responsible for the initiation of this great enterprise was not an Australianborn citizen, this company and its subsidiary industries are being carried on by Australians. On a recent visit I was much impressed by the attention given to the welfare of its employees, particularly the youths and cadets. Lecture rooms are provided and the lads are compelled to attend lectures in order better to equip them for their daily work. All employees receive full award rates of wages and everything is done to make their conditions all that one might expect of such an organization. The industry is probably one of the greatest in the southern hemisphere and, as it is developing our resources of iron and steel, it may be regarded as our first line of defence.
Senator Gibson and other honorable senators pointed to what they regard as a defect in the bill - the provision relating to the making of regulations. This lias been the tendency in much of Commonwealth legislation in recent years. It is looked upon as a convenience by the beads of departments who have to advise their Ministers in the administration of the laws. But I am afraid that we are drifting somewhat dangerously from the course of true democracy, and L hope that this chamber, at least, will i>e vigilant. The bill is no exception to the rule in this respect. It gives the widest powers for the making of regulations. Under the Defence Act, the Government, in a national emergency, is given complete control. I hope that the Government, when framing regulations under this measure, will pay regard to the danger that may arise from governing by regulation. As this is essentially a committee bill, any further suggestions which I have to offer I shall reserve until the committee stage. I am sure that if honorable senators opposite submit amendments that are helpful and likely to improve the bill, their proposals will have careful consideration. I hope also that honorable senators opposite, having had ample opportunity to discuss the measure in all its aspects, will assist the Government in expediting its passage.
– in reply - I appreciate very fully the searching investigation which was made by honorable senators generally in their secondreading speeches, and I am confident that when the bill is placed on the statute-book it, will prove a useful piece of legislation. I am sure that all’ honorable senators genuinely desire the establishment of a new department of supply and development to do the important work which the Government considers should be done.
The bill was introduced, as I explained in my earlier speech, because the Government believes that it is absolutely necessary to bring under the control of the Minister for Supply and Development certain sections that are already under the Defence Act, and to introduce into it further sections which may arise as the defence programme proceeds.
Since it will be impossible, in the limited time at my disposal, to reply to all of the points that were raised during the debate by honorable senators from both sides, I hope that the Leader of the Opposition will not think me discourteous if I seem to overlook some of the matters to which he directed attention.
I am particularly anxious to clear up the misunderstanding that appears to have arisen as the result of a statement made by Senator Ashley in connexion with the construction of aircraft engines. I cannot help thinking that it is a pity that the honorable senator read the statement which he gave to the Senate this afternoon. I am not blaming the honorable gentleman, because I believe that he honestly thought that he was ventilating some grievance of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation; but 1 do not approve of the methods adopted by the gentleman who, apparently, is a fairly high executive of the corporation, in using this Parliament for the ventilation in public of matters relating to future construction works that are being dealt with by consultation. The statement read by Senator Ashley was to the effect that the Taurus engines to be manufactured at Fishermen’s Bend would be obsolete by the time the factory is in full production. That statement was quite inaccurate. The Taurus engine is approved by the British Air Ministry for the Beaufort fighting planes and the British Government is willing to buy half of the first order placed with the Australian factory. This surely is ample proof that the British Air Ministry is quite satisfied that the Taurus engine will not be obsolescent by the time the factory is in full production. As a matter of fact, it is the latest engine used in British production. Is it likely that the British Air Ministry would take one half of the first order from the Australian factory if it thought that the engine would be obsolete?
With regard to the merits or demerits of Taurus and twin-row Wasp engines, it might be stated that neither engine has yet been manufactured in Australia and, in any case, it is a matter purely for the experts of the Air Force. Whether the twin-row Wasp engine, which is an engine of American ‘ design, or the Taurus engine, which is of British design, be adopted, the engines will be manufactured in Australia. In any case, the efficiency of the twin-row Wasp engine as compared with’ the Taurus is a matter for experts to determine. As emphasized by Senator Dein, it is regrettable that when discussions between the representatives of the executive of an organization, such as the Aircraft Corporation, are proceeding, a disgruntled senior member of the executive of that organization should apparently ask an honorable senator to express his opinions on the subject.
– I am glad that the Minister said “ apparently “.
– The object being to get American engines.
– Yes, to prejudice the Government and the Senate in favour of American engines and against the British Taurus engine. The merits of the latter engine are under consideration at present.
Senator Ashley made another state ment in connexion with the efficiency of service rifles which, if not corrected, might be regarded by the public as accurate. When Senator Ashley stated definitely that he knew that one half of the Australian rifles were inefficient, I immediately approached the Minister for Defence, who stated -
T emphatically deny the assertion that newtype ammunition now in use quickly ruins the barrels of service rifles which had not been converted for its use. The most generous explanation I can give of Senator Ashley’s remarks is that he cannot be aware ot the facts. The adoption of Mark VII. as the standard ammunition for service rifles in place of Mark VI. necessitates only an adjustment to the sights of the rifles. No question of converting the actual barrels arises since both types of ammunition are designed for use in thu same barrel. Senator Ashley’s misconcep-tion that the barrels of the rifles had to be converted to enable the new type of ammunition to be fired was probably the basis for his statement reported at Lithgow recently that half the rifles in Australia are inefficient. No other explanation could be given for such an unwarranted and untrue assertion, for the workmanship put into the armament was oi the finest quality. The rifles have been highly praised by the leading experts of many countries. If Senator Ashley really means that half the rifles are inefficient because they had not been altered to Are the new ammunition, he was still woefully wrong, for the sights of nearly the whole of the huge stocks of rifles or. hand had been adjusted. Rifles sighted to1’ Mark Vfl. ammunition arc sufficient for mobilization and essential reserves.
Supplies of modern service rifles held by the Commonwealth are adequate for the requirements of mobilization and of essential reserves.
That statement, made by a responsible member of the Government, must necessarily be accepted before one by a member of this- chamber in a moment of heated debate.
Honorable senators opposite are under the impression that some sinister effort is being made by Australian manufacturers to secure excessive profits on the production of defence requirements. For instance, Senator Clothier said: “Vested interests want war “. What does the honorable senator mean by “ vested interests “ ?
– There are no armament racketeers in this country, and this measure has been introduced to prevent any evil of that nature. We heard a tirade of abuse against some of the greatest industries in Australia. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber know the valuable work that is being performed in Australia by what are termed our “heavy” industries; but listening to the speeches of honorable senators opposite one would imagine that every one engaged in any form of manufacture in Australia - whether in iron and steel, in boots or in clothing or in any other industry - is committing a crime against society.
– We did not say that.
– The honorable senator and those supporting him said that the manufacturers of armaments and munitions are out to make all they can out of production. What, a change has come over these honorable senators. When a tariff schedule is before this chamber we do not hear Australian industries condemned; on the contrary, continual reference is made to the valuable service they are rendering the community.
– Hear, hear!
– Customs tariffs to assist Australian industries always receive the support of the Labour party, yet listening to the Opposition on this bill, one would imagine that these great secondary industries, instead of being important employing agencies rendering valuable service to Australia, are a menace. The Leader of the Opposition also referred to the rise of the value of shares in companies in Great Britain, particularly shipping companies, and those engaged in the manufacture of armaments and munitions. Many of the companies mentioned are engaged in the shipping business, and as honorable senators should be aware, ammunition is manufactured, principally at the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. Prior to the re-armament programme, due to the fact that many heavy industries had completed the work that they had in hand, n great slump occurred in Great Britain.
– That .is why they want war.
– Many of these great ship-building concerns laid down expensive plants for the construction of ships, and when activities slumped, they were given an opportunity to engage in other work. Naturally their financial position improved considerably. It is easy for honorable senators opposite to cite the dividends paid by armament firms in Great Britain, but the situation in Britain has no bearing whatever on the position in Australia. The Government has introduced this bill in an endeavour to prevent excessive profits, and an earnest attempt is being made to regulate and control those engaged in private industries which may be asked to serve Australia in an emergency. The construction of annexes has been dealt with very fully by- Senator McBride, but there are several points in connexion with these buildings upon which I should like to touch briefly. The annexes will remain the property of the Commonwealth Go vernment so long as it requires them. In respect of those constructed on land owned by private companies, a properly prepared lease will be signed by a representative of the Government and the company concerned, and in order to ensure its validity, a rental of £1 per annum will be paid by the Government to the company for the use of the land. The leases will be for ten years, the Government having the right to renew the lease for any period for which it requires the annexe. Honorable senators opposite have said that these annexes are not to be used. We hope that they will not have to be used; but they will be held in reserve for use when required. If they are not required, so much the better for Australia. If, at the end of ten years, the Government no longer requires them for national defence purposes, it has reserved to itself the right to use them in whatever way it pleases. They will be the property of the Government, which can sell them to the companies concerned. These companies can also purchase the machinery for use in conjunction with their own plants if they so desire. Should the Government wish to dispose of its property, it can do so al a valuation. Annexes have been erected adjoining existing workshops as an economical proposition, in that the cost of erecting a huge arsenal such as would be necessary if the Government manufactured shells and other equipment in its own factories is avoided.
Senator Sheehan said that the bill appears in its present form largely in consequence of new clauses and amendments placed in it by members of the Labour party in the House of Representatives. The honorable senator said that the measure as presented to that chamber contained seventeen clauses, but owing to amendments moved by the Labour party, it now contains 28 clauses. The facts are that Part III. which relates to aircraft assembly was, for certain reasons, not embodied in the bill as it was originally introduced. Part III., which contains ten clauses, was inserted as a government amendment. A government amendment was also responsible for clause 26. No new clauses were inserted as a result of amendments moved by members of the
Labour party. The Government, however, accepted certain Labour amendments, not because they were considered necessary, but because there was no objection to their inclusion, since they merely specified in detail what was already covered in the broad terms of clause 5 relating to matters to be administered by the new department.
Senator Collings referred to the action of the Government in seeking the assistance of outside experts in connexion with its advisory panels. He said that the Government seemed to think that there was no person in the Public Service with sufficient brains to carry out this work. With the rapid development of our defences, it is impossible to find in the Public Service specialists in this kind of work. Some of it is entirely outside the duties carried out ordinarily by public servants. Fortunately, however, we have in Australia, many men of experience in business and industry some of them are connected with the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, of which we have heard so much during this debate - with a wonderful knowledge of the manufacture of the things required in connexion with our defence expansion. As representatives of the people, the Government is wise in obtaining, in an advisory capacity, the services of these specialists. Has the Government committed any crime in asking Mr. Essington Lewis, Mr. Harold Clapp, and others, to be associated with it in the defence of Australia? These men will get nothing for their services. V take this opportunity to pay a tribute to Mr. Essington Lewis of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company “ Limited. Those who know of the work that he has done in connexion with the Government’s defence programme marvel that he has any time to deVote to other affairs. I emphasize that, in a purely honorary capacity, he has given much constructive advice to the Government. I shall not hesitate to advocate the setting up of more panels if we can secure the services of such men. In spite of speeches which imply that every man who engages in industry is a profiteer-
– The Opposition has never said that.
– I believe that many scores of men in the commercial and industrial life of this country are ready to assist the nation at any time, without seeking something for themselves in return.
– Such men are found in all walks of life. The workers offer their lives.
– The Leader of the Opposition wanted to know what would happen to the officers of the Department of Supply and Development at the end of the five years for which this legislation is to remain in operation. I give the assurance that the provisions of clause 11 fully protect the rights of the officers affected by the establishment of the new department. Men from the Defence Department who will take up duty in the new department will still remain in the service, and their seniority will not be affected.
– We shall find that juniors will be appointed over their heads.
– Among the other questions that have been asked was one relating to the construction of annexes by the Commonwealth Works Department. All the manufacturers who have agreed to the establishment “ of annexes are leasing the land to the Government at the nominal rental of £1 per annum. Several companies, however, are willing to do more than that; they are prepared to erect buildings free of cost to the Government. Others desire not only to give the land and buildings, but also to equip the annexes with all the machine tools necessary. In every case, however, the annexe will be erected for the sole use of the Commonwealth Government.
Senator Collings desired information about the Contract Board. This is a statutory body already established under the muntions supply regulations, which are regulations under the Defence Act. Regulation 10 reads -
The Contract Board shall be constituted as follows: -
The Chairman and members of the Munitions Supply Board shall be ex officio members of the Contract Board.
Members approved by the Minister as follows:–
A person nominated by the Munitions Supply Board, who shall be chairman of the Contract Board ; (b)a person nominated by theNaval Board ;
aperson nominated by the Mili tary Board;
a person nominated by the Air Board;
a person nominated by the Secre tary, Department of Defence, who shall he Executive Member and Secretary of the Contract Board.
In the absence of the Chairman, the Deputy Chairmanshall be the senior member of the Contract Board present, provided that the Secretary shall not be eligible to act as Deputy Chairman.
I particularly emphasize that point, because I know that the honorable senator was anxious to obtain the information. The Contract Board consists of permanent officers of the Commonwealth Public Service.
SenatorCollings. - I thank the Minister. That is what I wished to know.
SenatorFOLL. - Senator Gibson referred to the proposal to send 75 Commonwealth employees to England to learn the construction of aircraft frames. He Said that it would be better to bring some experienced men from England to Australia to train men in this country. I am informed that men with the knowledge and experience necessary to give such instruction cannot at present be spared to come to Australia. Further, while factories and plants are being established in this country, it will be pos sible for Australian artisans to work in British factories and to learn at first hand the art of aircraft frame construction. When they return to Australia, they will instruct other men in the factories which by that time should be ready for production.
– What about the conversion of the Kalgoorlie to Perth railway?
-I suggest that the honorable senator should communicate with the Government of Western Australia and remind it of the undertaking given by that State to broaden the gauge when the trans-continental railway was constructed.
In spite of the criticism which has been levelled against it, I believe that this bill will prove to be of much value in the defence of Australia. I commend it to the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes). - In conformity with the sessional order, I put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator McLeay) agreed to-
That the Senate,at its rising, adjourn till Tuesday next, at 1 1 a.m.
Motion (by Senator McLeay) pro posed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
SenatorKEANE (Victoria) [5.59].- I wish to refer to an incident which occurred during the course of the debate just concluded. I was asked to withdraw an interjection which I made when the Minister representing the Minister for Defence (Senator Foll) was speaking. I did not suggest that the Defence Department was in any way responsible for the death of the airmen who had been killed while flying Avro Anson machines. My interjection was based on the replies which I had previously received to a question as to the number of Avro Anson aeroplanes that had been involved in accidents during the last two years, and the total casualties, both killed and injured. On the 18th May, I asked -
How many Avro-Anson aeroplanes have been involved in accidents during the past two years, and what were the total casualties, both killed and injured?
To that I received the following answer : -
Anson aircraft have been involved in live fatal accidents during the last two years, resulting in fifteen deaths and injuries to three others.
The object of my question was to ensure that early consideration would be given to the flying qualities of that class of machine.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented:-
Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act -
Ordinances of 1939 -
No. 9 - Mining.
No. 10 - Buffaloes Protection.
No. 11 - Darwin Rates.
No. 12 - Birds Protection.
Marine Ordinance - Port Darwin Har bour Regulations.
Bankruptcy Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1939, No. 41.
Judiciary Act - Ruleof Court - Statutory Rules 1939, No. 43.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules1939. No. 46.
Senate adjourned at 6 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 June 1939, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1939/19390609_senate_15_160/>.