16th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes) took the chair at 10 a.m., and read prayers.
Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
With reference to the agreement for the sale of the Australian wool clip to Great Britain, and to the provision that Australia shall receive one-half of the profits from the resale of such wool -
Can the Minister state what amount is available as Australia’s proportion of such profits to date?
When will such moneys be distributed tothe wool-growers ?
– The Minister for Commerce has supplied the following answer: -
The amount of money payable to the Commonwealth Government out of profits made on the sale of wool for use outside the United Kingdom under the arrangement with the United Kingdom Government cannot be determined until the scheme is wound up at the conclusion of hostilities.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
If the Minister finds it necessary to override regulations under the Fair Rents Act in order to take possession of property for post office purposes, will the tenant who has to give up the property be entitled to compensation, especially if he should bo a cripple, and it takes away his only means of livelihood?
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answer : -
This is a hypothetical question which it is difficult to answer. If the honorable senator will give details of any specific case which he has in mind an endeavour will be made to secure information in regard to the matter.
Debate resumed from the 26th June (vide page 460) on motion by Senator McLeay -
That the bill be now read a first time.
– Last night when I obtained leave to continue my remarks I was referring to petrol prices. I now quote the following extract from a letter dated the 17th June that I have received from the secretary of the Moora Road Board: -
Re Petrol Prices.
Your favour of the4th June received, and also a communication from the Secretary of the Commonwealth Price Commissioner’s Branch, which states - “ The introduction of the cartel method of trading as a matter of government policy has eliminated that excessive competition and has enabled the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner to introduce a standardized petrol price structure which contains the following maximum prices for consumers in Perth: -
Prices to country consumers are Perth prices plus the existing freight differentials.
The removal of existing concessions did not confer any benefits on the oil companies as the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner had the matter thoroughly investigated and took into consideration the aggregate amount of those concessions which was introduced into the averaging calculations and thereby used to offset portion of the increased landed costs.”
Although my Board appreciates the need for economy and are certainly practising it we are still unable to understand why the difference in price to industrial pumps of under 250 gallons per month and against those over.
I hope that the Government will give me an indication as to the reason for this action, and take into consideration the protest made by the Moora Road Board.
I understand that a body was recently set up known as the Transport Coordination Committee, the personnel of which includes, I presume, the military officer mentioned yesterday by Senator Amour. In view of the great distance which separates Western Australia from the eastern States, this geographical disability is a very real one. Unfortunately, when committees are appointed by the Commonwealth Government, it invariably fails to include representatives of Western Australia.
– That is not so.
– I know that that State is represented onbodies connected with the primary industries, but I have othercommittees in” mind. Western. Australia shouldhave a representative on theLiquidFuel Control Board. ‘ - ‘ -
– And the Australian Tobacco Board.
– Yes. I also urge the Government to give serious consideration to theappointment ofa WesternAustralianto the. TransportCo-ordination’ Committee.
Some- time- agoI asked -whether the Minister ‘ for ‘the Army(Mr. S pender ) andthe” Ministerfor Air (Mr. McEwen) would give ‘ serious ‘consideration to fittingthe’ “motor, carsused “permanently for transport in connexion with’ their respective ‘departments with producergas units.’ Up to the presentI have not had a reply to my question. There is a military camp about 60 miles from Perth, and the stores required in connexion with it are transported to a central depot at Karrakatta. The goods are now carried by road, and I suggest that the vehicles used for this purpose should be provided with producer-gas units if the cartage cannot be done by rail. The Government should not delay in taking action in this matter. I brought it before the Senate months ago, and I have yet to learn how many of these units have been installed by the Army and Air
Departments. If the Government would give serious consideration to the appointment of a representative of Western Australia on the Transport Co-ordination Committee,valuable information in regard to this matter could probably be furnished to -the Liquid Fuel Control Board.
A few days ago I mentioned that young’ lads -are unable to join the . Royal Australian . Navy if they, have’.been found guilty of a. misdemeanour. Although an. applicantis not given the reason for his non-acceptance, “it is well known to me that in a dozen- or more cases the applicants were rejected, not after the medical examination or the educational test hadbeen made, but immediately- their applications had been submitted. The Perth Daily News of the 16th instant published an advertisement which read -
Vacancies exist in the Royal Australian
Navy (duration of hostilities ) for young men of good physique and education to enlist in the various brandies of the service set out hereunder : -
Seamen, 17 to 25; stoker, 17 to 25; steward, . 18 to 25; assistant steward. 17” to 25; assistant cook, 17 to 25; writer, 18 to 25; “supply assistant, 18 to 25; cook, 18 to 35; fitters and turners (for entry as engine-room artificers), 18 to 45.
One lad who applied, received the following reply : -
Naval Recruiting Office,
Cliff-street, Fremantle, 13th June, 1941.
With reference to your recent application for entry into the Royal Australian Naval Forces, you are advised that your application’ has received full consideration, but. it is regretted that you were not selected to fill one of the available vacancies. You are sincerely thanked for your offer, and whilst this Service was not able to make use of your services, it is suggested that you get in touch with one of the other Defence Forces.
He was not examined either medically or educationally. Yet Australia is at war!
SenatorFRASER. - He obtained the application form from the naval depot. He had passed the educational test of the sixth standard in the State. A month or six weeks ago, a few young lads were charged with having stolen apples.
The magistrate in the Children’s Court, Mr. Schroder, refused to impose a fine, because it was put to him that a penalty of any sort would destroy any . chance that these young people had of enlisting in either th® Royal Australian Air Force or the Royal Australian Navy.
– No. I know of officers in the Australian Imperial Force to-day whose record would not stand close investigation. That, of course, was the responsibility of the military authorities when the men enlisted. In a communication that I sent to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) nearly, twelve months ago, I said that, as a member of the Senate, I did not . stand for every Tom, Dick, and Harry with criminal records being accepted for service. The military authorities must accept responsibility for the promotion to commissioned rank of any men whose records are not without blemish. The cases that I have mentioned are entirely different. I hope that an investigation will be made, and that the Senate and the public will bc assured that the “ old school tie “ is put on one side, and that the son of the working man is given an equal opportunity with the son of the rich man.
– He has that to-day.
– I hope that the Minister gives me that assurance. .
– I do.
– The widest scope exists »for the inauguration of a new order. Let us see that that is brought about. As Senator Cameron has pointed out, a country cannot be built up on the dole system, if ‘ in war-time millions of pounds be raised and expended.
I congratulate Senator Collett upon having been raised to full Cabinet rank. Now that he has sole ministerial responsibility for the administration of the Repatriation Act, I hope that he will administer it according to the spirit and not the letter, and will display a certain degree of sympathy. If it be not sufficiently elastic, I trust that he will see that amendments are made.
– I shall always accept suggestions.
– I do not subscribe to the statement made last night by Senator Amour. The Minister for
Repatriation has clone a lot .for returned soldiers, and I hope that when he reaches the end of his term of office, he will still have the confidence of those who seek to be covered by the provisions of the act.
.- This bill offers to honorable senators an opportunity to air whatever grievances they may have, and the Government cannot complain if their views are expressed in no uncertain’ terms.
I propose to deal broadly with two or three matters which may be of interest to the Senate, and I trust that my observations will prove of ‘ assistance to the Government. I do not intend to range into- the more nebulous regions of the new order, about which we have heard so much, and which nobody understands. So far as I have been able to ascertain from’ exhaustive reading, the only concrete expression which has been made concerning it fell from the lips of Mr. Herbert Morrison, who said that “ Every fellow should have an equal opportunity “. To only one new order has practical effect been given. It is a new order that we do not like, and one that we are resisting. It is the order of blood, of force, and of slavery. Our first duty to this country is to endeavour to rid the world ‘of that curse, that menace to our freedom as a people. In the words of Tennyson -
The old order changeth, yielding place to new.
And God fulfils Himself in many ways.
Whilst we deplore that we may not have reached in our standards those heights to which the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) has referred, we should, nevertheless, look around us to see how best we can hold the standards that we have, after the present struggle in Europe has terminated. I commend to my friends on both sides of the Senate the study of - those interesting’ addresses which, from time to time, are delivered at the Harris Institute in the United States of America. There, they are endeavouring to search into the causes of nearly all wars, and particularly the present war, and have come to conclusions which,’ in some degree, shake one’s faith in certain fiscal views which one has held very closely, and upon which this country has been working for many years.
I deplore the speech which was made last night by Senator Amour in an attack upon individual officers. Surely that sort of address will not assist in the recruitment of men who are so greatly needed in certain branches of our forces ! If what the honorable senator has said be true, surely representations should be made to the Minister for the Army ! If they are not true, they should not be bruited abroad in a public assembly, such as this. Senator Amour has himself seen active service, during which he bore the brunt of a very difficult campaign, and should be the last openly to charge various officers, about whom I know nothing whatever, with any impropriety. Surely that is not conducive to assisting the war effort of the Government, particularly with respect to recruitment for the Australian Imperial Force ! I put it-to the honorable senator, that in his wiser moments he. should think of the effect caused by such statements by a responsible representative of public opinion in New South Wales.
The Leader of the Opposition touched last night on the fact that this Senate is somewhat ignored by the House of Representatives. It appears to me that there is a growing” inclination in that direction, and that it rests with the Senate to assert itself. In some degree, it is doing so to-day. Why should we not have the opportunity, on occasions of this sort, to voice our views regarding matters of more or less importance - of great importance in the opinion of some persons, and perhaps, of minor importance in the opinion of others? This is the opportunity and we should take it to the full. If the gentlemen in the House of Representatives are permitted to. debate a bill at great length, the Government should be prepared to allow this chamber equal opportunity to consider, it thoroughly. There should be no discussion of the merits of the bill now before us; its object is merely to provide for a continuance of expenditure on the -same scale as that set out in a bill which we passed a few months ago. It is for us to decide how much time we need in order to discuss it, and how much time we should have to ventilate all our grievances.
– The Government has no desire to curtail discussion.
– I do not think that it would have very much opportunity - to do so if it so desired. Nevertheless, I am glad of the Minister’s assurance.
With reference to the matter referred to by Senator Fraser this morning, if the honorable senator’s statements are true” - and I have no doubt that they are - there appears to be some laxity in naval recruiting. I understand that it has been customary in the past to make inquiries regarding the life history and health of candidates for the navy in order to save expense should they subsequently prove unsuitable. When young men are rejected they are perhaps merely told so in polite language without any reason being given. I do not suggest for a moment that that was so in the case cited. If that policy is not still being pursued it seems to me that the authorities are adopting a very casual way of declining a young gentleman’s application.
I should like to know if there is a sufficient provision of parachutes for our young men who take their lives in their hands day by day, flying in the air and performing all sorts of extraordinary evolutions which terrify one of more sober years when looking from the ground. Among the young men of the Royal Air Force and of the Royal Australian Air Force, there are many whose lives have been saved by the use of parachutes. Wc often hear of their planes being wrecked but that the pilots are safe. Too often in this country we hear of the loss, not only of the plane, but also of its personnel. In the interests of our flying men, who are perhaps the most courageous of our youths - and their number is great - we should dp everything in our power to give them as good a chance as we can.
– I assure the honorable senator that air crews are not allowed to fly without parachutes.
– Oan the Minister assure me that every pilot to-day is supplied with a parachute?
– I assure the honorable senator that no Royal Australian Air’ Force pilots fly without parachutes.
– I am glad to hear that. Rumours to the contrary are current and it is well that they should be scotched at once. I raise this matter because it was suggested to me within, the precincts of this building as late as last night that that was not the case.. I am glad to hear that the position is as the Minister has indicated.
Some suggestion has been made for the curtailment of production in this country. As I see it, two features’ of this subject emerge from the higher’ reaches of Government policy. The first is that there is to be a licensing of wheat production in this country, and the second is that there is te be a curtailment of supplies or increase of the price of superphosphate which contributes to the production of foodstuffs. I say to the Government in all sincerity that this country which is tolerably safe from” invasion, tolerably immune from destruc-tion owes a duty to civilization to provide the wherewithal to save the lives of those in Europe to-day who are inevitably threatened with, famine. Let us look at the position in Europe at the moment. Charging down on what may be regarded as the granary of Europe, the Ukraine, with its new methods of cultivation, and with its thousands upon. thousands of acres of collective farms engaged in the production of wheat and other grain, with the harvest almost ripening, is the vast German war machine. It used to trouble me when I thought that this country might be invaded, of what would happen in the heat of a summer day if the invader were to drop incendiary bombs in our midst. What is to happen to the Ukraine? However successful the Russians may be, it is inevitable that in the Ukraine thousands upon thousands of acres of the food of hungry Europe will be destroyed. If, unhappily, our Russian allies are not able to withstand the onslaught of the Germans, I venture to think that their psychology is such - and they have proved it to be so in the past - that they will destroy what they cannot take away with them, and Europe will be in famine.
– And the history of the retreat from Moscow will be repeated.
– Yes ; the Russians will do again what they did in Napoleonic clays sooner than see their country at the mercy, of the foe. We should pray for Russia’s success. In the interests of humanity, of famine-stricken Europe, and of our own people, I ask the Government to proceed carefully and to stay its hand before it commits itself to a policy of reducing the production of foodstuffs. To my mind such a policy is wrong in the sight of God-, -and if we adopt it we shall display less foresight than the Pharaohs of old. In a time like .this, with suffering millions in China, with Japan short of food, even if it be to our detriment we should produce a superabundance of foodstuffs in the interests of humanity generally. Whatever difficulties there may be in regard to finance or production, whatever difficulties the farmers may be facing “to-day, we must see it through. Heaven help us if we fail. How shall we appear in the eyes of mankind if we proceed with a foolish policy of curtailing the production of foodstuffs ?
The next matter to which I propose to refer will, ‘ I am sure, interest the Minister for Information (Senator Foll)-. I have been surprised and troubled at the apparent lack of; knowledge of the average man in the street as “to what Nazi-ism stands for, what it would mean to him if we had such a form of control in this country,, in the British Isles, or the dominions of Canada or South Africa. Those who are closer to it across the seas understand a good deal more about it. Here we have plenty of enthusiasm against Hitlerism and Nazi-ism, but our enthusiasm is not displayed by the man in the street. A little while ago I suggested to the Australian Broadcasting Commission that excerpts from a book, written by a very eminent man should be broadcast to the people of this country, so that they may have some appreciation of what Nazi domination means. Although the suggestion was well received it declined to broadcast any excerpts from the book, because its author had been sent out here to enjoy a period of rest in one of our internment camps. That decision was, to my mind, foolish. Here is a man who has escaped from the tyranny of Nazi-isan. He writes of it in all its crudeness and barbarity; he exposed individual instances of it which’ would make an ordinary human being’ shiver. He has endured the terrors of the concentration camps; He has been bruised, beaten and battered, until little of life remains in him. Because he belonged to that nation with which we are at war, he was sent out to this, country to be interned. Why not .use a book which provides some of the best propaganda against our enemies that has ever been written? Another book to which I refer is entitled A Mother Fights Hitler. I commend it to every honorable senator. The author is the mother of a member of the profession to which I’ have '’the’ honour to belong, and because her. son. had’ effectively crossexamined, the tyrant’ Hitler, ‘he was bounded ‘ and ‘ barbarously treated. He leaned a little to the” left, it- is true. He may’ have communist tendencies for all I know ; but ‘he never joined’ the Communist party. ‘ He- was- successful in the courts as an advocate. ‘ The German tyrants pursued him until, broken in health, he escaped by suicide. HU treatment was barbarous. His mother wrote th is his-tory of the greatest cruelties perpetrated by a nation of sadists and by its demented leader, I cannot understand how we can sit here and call for recruits, and preach the glory of our own system and the fight in which we are engaged, when our people do not really know what it would mean if we were conquered by this European monster. We have available to us an abundance of literature, not stuff written simply to sell, but the outpourings of people’s hearts and minds, written solely with the object of letting the world know what is really happening in Germany. I again urge the Minister to put over the air propaganda- along these lines, and it should be presented in such a way that will enable the people to understand what domination by the countries we are now fighting would really mean. Such propaganda would unite our people to a greater degree .than anything else, because this literature tells vividly of the cruelties of barbarism and sadism against which the British nature revolts. I was so much concerned about this matter that I took it up personally with the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). I hope, therefore, that something will be done along the lines I have suggested. The authenticity of this literature can be readily verified.
I do not suggest that we should put anything over the air merely to catch the people; we must tell’ them the truth as vouched for by the highest authorities.
– Considerable damage has been done by some authorities who have returned here and applauded what Germany is doing.
– It is not hard to understand bow “those people might have been genuinely deceived. Germany has painted a picture of great things for the world .when, at the same time, .it ‘ had- murder in its heart.. In view of the deception that Germany has practised -against every country that has had- dealings with it, I am not surprised that certain people have ‘come back thinking that all is : well in that country. To-day, peace overtures- are being made; but whereas we would have listened to such overtures’ a few years ago in the hope that something could be done in the interests of peace, we know now what the German system really stands for. It is useless to indulge in recriminations. We must face the’ position. I have no doubt that the men to whom the honorable senator refers were deceived, and honestly deceived, about Germany. Indeed, some of our own statesmen in Europe’ were similarly deceived. “We realize now the corruption that has been rampant throughout Europe for the last ten years. Let us state the facts to the people, and tell them the bare truth. .We need to do nothing else. Some of those facts are revolting, but they will agitate the minds of our people, and stir them to fight, as they are going to fight, for a fair deal for all peoples. I venture to think that we in Australia can play no small part in assisting in the dethronement of those responsible for this foulness in Europe.
I wish to refer briefly to what I consider to be a slight slowing down of our war effort. Senator Fraser touched upon one’ aspect of that matter this . morning, when he dealt with restrictions of the use of petrol. I shall not repeat what I have said so often on- this matter. Our defence services, particularly the navy and the air force, are dependent upon petrol. I wish to assist the Government in every way possible in this matter, seeing that we cannot keep our waters inviolate from attack, and prevent the sinking of tankers. I want to assist it in every way I can, in order to keep the wheels of industry going, because if the wheels of transport are slowed down our war effort must slacken, lt is not going to be easy for the Government to do what I believe it sincerely intends to do in order to build up sufficient supplies of petrol to enable the Air Force and Navy to meet all eventualities. No doubt, as Senator’ Fraser has indicated, many little economies could be effected. However, we- can hardly criticize Ministers because two or three trucks arrive at Spencerstreet station, or at any other station, to pick up packages which .could be handled by one truck-. That is the fault not of any Minister, but of some official who should look after the co-ordination of transport and see that economy is exercised in such instances. Admittedly, it is a little disconcerting when we see big motor vehicles moving down our streets and roads with nothing aboard. One often wonders what it is all about.
– The total consumption of petrol by the Army at present is about 2 per cent, of Australia’s total consumption; but the Minister for the Army has given instructions that every gallon possible must be saved.
Senator A. J. MciACHLAN. Instructions may be given, but the trouble is to see that they are carried out. I was surprised several days ago when a motor vehicle owned by the .Electricity Commission in Victoria, which by the way is doing an excellent job, called out to my home which is situated 13 miles out of Melbourne. The ‘ use of such a vehicle seemed unnecessary. The road boards are also guilty of waste of petrol. We see huge motor trolleys hauling timber from forests in Victoria for distances of from 30 to CO miles. The Government must insist upon the greatest possible use of alternative fuels in order to conserve supplies of petrol for our defence services. I know of one industry which has installed producer-gas units on all of its heavy trucks. Surely trucks used in the haulage of timber lend themselves to the use of producer-gas, particularly when they work in forests in which some of the best charcoal in Australia is readily obtainable.’ Such people should be compelled to install producer-gas units on their trucks and lorries. I also suggest that the Government should again examine the possibility of replacing internal combustion engines on. lorries and trucks with engines driven by steam. Quite recently the Dunlop-Perdriau Company announced in the Melbourne press that it had received from England blue prints of the mechanism necessary to convert internal combustion engines of motor vehicles to steam-driven engines. Possibly, because of the intensity « of its war effort, the Government itself cannot establish workshops for that purpose, but at least it should encourage private industry to concentrate on that matter even if such action should involve considerable expenditure. I repeat that if our transport is slowed down our war effort will slacken. There are also great possibilities in the use of the electric car. Most honorable senators know that in order to conserve petrol ‘in Germany, the butcher, baker, milkman and medical practitioner in. Berlin and other big cities in that country, use that means of transport for their daily rounds. Germany cannot afford to waste petrol, and it has, therefore, encouraged a greater use of the electric car. Similar means of transport have been adopted to. some degree in . London, particularly in delivery services. Such ‘an innovation should not present very great difficulty in a State like Tasmania, for instance, which has available the cheapest electric power in the world. I believe that electric batteries for the propulsion of the ordinary motor vehicle will give, a mileage up to 80 at one charging, and that they can be re-charged overnight on an ordinary power plug. Several days ago I was told by an engineer that the cost of electricity for running a car for 200 miles is le. I do not profess to be an expert in these matters. My main concern is that if we permit any slowing down ‘ of transport Ave shall do incalculable harm to our war effort and economic life generally. Several other means of propulsion for ordinary vehicles are also available. I have no doubt that they have been brought to the notice of the Government. J have been surprised at Germany’s success in the use of various means to overcome its increasing shortage of petrol. Perhaps, that country is now nearing the end of its petrol resources.
– Is there any private, motoring in Germany?
– No. But Germany produces a certain quantity of petrol from coal by the hydrogenation process. I understand that the Royal Air Force has recently blown up one of the biggest of those works in Germany. We know, of course, the havoc which a direct hit on such works would cause. The theory of hydrogenation is the- reversal of the process of nature, by supplying pressure backwards, as it were. Consequently, any weakness in stresses is bound to cause trouble. We are getting a trickle of petrol- from Newnes, for which we are very grateful ; but supplies from that source are not sufficient. When I was in the Ministry, the Government gave a number of concessions to large and small companies operating in the Pacific islands near to Australia, and from time to time reports have indicated that good results are being obtained by means of geophysical examinations and boring. The Government should be firm and say to these people now “ What is your position?” I have no doubt that in the face of the present oil shortage, the major oil companies are doing their utmost to locate new supplies, and I notice also that something is being done at the alleged deposits in Gippsland, but I think it is important that steps should be taken to ascertain what progress the licensees have made in their search for oil in the far more likely regions to the north-east of Australia.
I conclude by assuring the Government that- the views which I have expressed have been advanced in a spirit of helpfulness. I feel, as the Leader of the Opposition- does, that it is our duty to be helpful in such a time as this. I may be wrong in some of the views that I have expressed, and I may have a mistaken impression of the policy being pursued in the higher reaches of production, but there are indications abroad that an effort is being made to restrict production. I conclude on that note. It would be fatal to this country and to civilization if we. failed to assist humanity in ,its time of need.
– I am sure that most honorable senators will agree with the .remarks of Senator A. J. McLachlan. I agree with . him entirely on the subject of propaganda. My view is that propaganda is something more than mere information. If we are to approach the people, then we should do so in the best manner possible in order to make them understand completely the danger that this country is in.’ Mere information is not sufficient. We have a Department of Information, but it has failed in many directions. Probably the people concerned have done their best according to their lights, but money has been spent lavishly on huge advertisements in the press, which, in my opinion, are not worth a snap of the fingers. No doubt the advertisements have been written by well-meaning men, but from the point of view of an effective appeal to the people, the money might just as well have been poured down the. sink. It would have been interesting indeed to know just what amount of money has been expended on those useless advertisements. It would also be interesting, especially to honorable senators, on this side of the chamber, to know what charge is made for photographs supplied to the press by the Department of Information. Does the press pay anything for those pictures, or does the department pay the press to have them published ?
– The photographs are made available to the press without charge because we regard their publication as valuable assistance in our Avar effort.
– So does the press. The newspapers are making their wartime profits that way.
– As I see the position to-day, our main trouble arises from the fact that all the business of this war is conducted on a capitalist financial basis: That vitiates our war effort. Those engaged in war work are looking for profits and commissions. Of course, that is understandable in view of the fact that the Government is composed of men who have passed a lifetime under the capitalist system. I say frankly that the great conflict in which we are now engaged is a struggle, but between, two totalitarian- systems. It; is a struggle between Fascist totalitarianism, and Socialist totalitarianism. We shall never beat Hitler’s Nazi totalitarianism by the application of antiquated financial methods. This Government is failing, not because it lacks heart, morality or high integrity, but because it adheres to out-of-date ideas and conceptions, which do not allow it to make the best of its opportunities. In regard to propaganda and the dissemination of information generally, I point out that the main essential is not merely the provision of money, but a conviction that our. cause is right. An appeal must be made to the people not merely in order that the men engaged in making that appeal may have an opportunity -to earn commissions, but because we feel in our minds that we are right, and we want the people to believe us. What is a mere statement of figures made by some person over the air? Such statements do not influence the people at all. Only a few days ago, two men attempted to make a. recruiting appeal at a “Melbourne football ground. In the noise and hubbub, they could not be heard, and the money paid to them was merely wasted. If those conducting our recruiting campaigns go to football grounds and are- .unable to speak to the people as they think that they should be spoken to, why waste money in that- direction? It is worse than useless. In fact, it is anti-recruiting, when things are done which are not in the best interest of the Australian nation. What we need is a Minister of Propaganda, who understands the art of propaganda, because, after all, it is an art. If the people are to be addressed, they must be spoken to in the way that will give the best results. When I make a speech, except in my more facetious moments, my object is always to get the best results. I endeavour to present my views in such a way that they will carry conviction. A man can carry conviction only if he knows in his heart that he is right, and that he is not working merely for a few paltry pounds. I do not believe in the form of propaganda indulged in by Dr. Goebbels, although, undoubtedly, he is one of the greatest propagandists in the world to-day. But he has abused propaganda until - it has “ become one of the worst evils in the history of mankind. Dr. Goebbels contends that the truth and righteousness do not matter; the end alone is what he considers, and he will . sink to any vile depth to achieve that end. I agree with Senator A. J. Mclachlan that the people should’ know the whole truth. Why should we hide the truth from them? We are merely practising political bulldozing. When dealing .with the appointment, of additional Ministers, an ex-Minister said in the House of Representatives some days ago that when he was Minister for the Navy, lie had only about one hour’s work each day. Is he telling the truth in that regard i Was’ a Minister being paid for doing only one hour’s work a day? If the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) who made the statement is not telling the truth, he should be pilloried before the people of this country; if he is telling the truth, then the Prime Minister, should admit that there is no realneed for additional Ministers. The same gentleman also said that, after he had been Postmaster-General for a few weeks, he was yelling. out for work to do.- Is that true? I do not know whether it is true or not, but I should like a Minister to tell.- me if it is. I have always said that I should not like to be a Minister because of the arduous work that they have to do. I was under the impression that they had to work night and day, but now an ex-Minister,, who is now a member of the Army Intelligence Department, has indicated that I may be wrong. I do not think that the honorable gentleman would tell untruths, but such statements go out to the world in the form of propaganda against our war effort. What, can we say to the people ? When Colonel Holmes asks me to go on the platform to assist the recruiting campaign, what can I say to the people in view of the statement I have just quoted?
– I have been in five departments, and I have never yet had that experience.
– I am not saying that it is true. I recognize that, although the Minister has time to devote to the affairs of companies of which he is a director, he is a hard worker in the Government. But is the honorable member for Barker right?
– It is an amazing statement to me.
– If the honorable gentleman is wrong, the Government should publicly deny the statement and brand him as a liar. That is my view.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes) -Order! The honorablesenator i3 not in order in referring to amember of the House of Representatives in that manner.
– Well, Mr. Presi dent, I believe in speaking straight from the shoulder. When a man is telling an untruth, I am not going to say, as Mr. Churchill did, during a debate on the Chinese in South Africa, that some one had been guilty of a terminological inexactitude. . We want the truth. If a statement is not’ true, it is a lie, and the man who utters it is a liar. It may be that when the honorable member for. Barker was in the Ministry, he could not find work to do. I do not know the honorable gentleman’s motives in making the statement. Perhaps he is angry because he is not now a member of the Ministry. However, I shall leave the question of whether Mr. Archie Cameron was or was not telling the truth and turn now to the honorable member for Parkes (Sir Charles Marr). This is another question of great importance.” What can I say to the people when they point out to me that in the House of Representatives, on the 26th June, the honorable member for Parkes made what can only be regarded as a most amazing and staggering revelation and one which ideals one of the heaviest blows to recruiting that we have had.
– Order ! The honorable senator will not. be in order in referring to a debate which took place in the House of Representatives during the current session. Standing Order 416 is quite clear on that point.
– I assume that I may deal with, conversations which I had with the honorable member for Barker and the honorable member for Parkes ?
– I had a conversation with the- Honorable gentlemen this morning. I told Mr. Archie Cameron I was surprised that he should have made a statement such as that attributed to him in the Sydney Morning Herald. He replied that it was absolutely true. I told him in the course of the conversation - if I may add some words in a lighter vein - that many years ago, before I became a member of Parliament, and when I had a false conception of members of Parliament, there was elected to the House of Assembly in Queensland, a gentleman who attended a dinner given by the Australian Natives Association. He told the gathering that he was going mad through lack of work. I had been asked to arrange an exhibit for the eight-hour day procession which -was to take place shortly after that date, so T borrowed a wired-in van, placed, inside it an- old man with a moustache, and’ placarded it with these words: “-Exhibit from Good-na: a politician gone mad through lack of work “. Goodna is an asylum located about 30 miles from Brisbane. The . sequel to tha-t incident was that the gentleman who ‘ has said that he was going mad through lack of work nearly went mad as the result of the huge volume of work that he was called upon to perform: I admit that this was brought about by means of a conspiracy. When people came to interview other politicians-, they were referred to the gentleman who had made that unfortunate statement, and every day for months afterwards he had. a long queue of electors waiting- to see him.’ I am not sure whether I would play a trick like that on the honorable member for. Barker. He may be annoyed because he is not included in the new Ministry. I trust that the Senate will- pardon this digresr sion, but I believe that humour acts as a tonic in a debate. I say now, and I shall repeat it over the national broadr casting stations a few weeks- from now, that if Hitler had a highly-developed sense of humour,, the world would not be in the trouble through which it is passing to-day. Men like Hitler take life too seriously. I refer again to the statement which has been made by the honorable member for Parkes. He has made what I consider to be astounding revelations. I dp not know whether they are accurate or not, but I presume that a gentleman of his calibre would not make any untrue statements. He said that one of ten munition factories in New South Wales had been ordered to accept no further civil contracts becaue the whole of its plant, worth £100,000, was required for the manufacture of defence requirements, but that since the order was issued in November, 1940, not a wheel had turned in its workshops. I told that honorable member that I could not understand why a firm with plant worth £100,030 would close down completely from November until June without receiving payment of any sort. He told me that it was a good firm of the old-fashioned school, and that it had kept all of its employees on the payroll. It is scandalous in these days of strife that skilled men should be paid for doing nothing. Some of them are ashamed to take the money. Not many months ago I met in Parliament House a member of the Australian Journalists Association who told me that he had resigned his post in the Department of Information because he wa3 not given anything to do while he was in that department, and in the circumstances he was ashamed to take the country’s money. The Labour party supports the campaign to send reinforcements to our boys in the Australian Imperial Force. But what can we say to the people when we are told that a knight’ of the realm, who is a member of -‘the House of Representatives,- has said that a workshop has been closed down by order of the Government for nearly eight mouths. - I ask the . Government whether these statements’- “are . true. “ Not. only have they been made to me, but also’ they have been published. in the newspapers. .If they are untrue, the men who made them should.be called to account because they arc prejudicial to the war effort. I hope that the Minister will take to heart what has been said by Senator A. J. Mclachlan and myself. We must organize the people in order to carry on the fight to the limit of our capacity. One way of doing this is to make use of truthful propaganda. I do’ not ask for lies or exaggeration, but the people should be told the horrors of Nazi-ism and Fascism which would be inflicted on this fair country if, by some stroke of fate, the Empire should be defeated. - Senator Foll-. - I point out in regard to the earlier remarks of the honorable senator that the Department of Information publishes -advertisements’ only as the agent of other government departments. It pays for no advertising on its own account. The advertisement section of the Government’s activities is in the Department of Information.’ (Senator BROWN- Then the department merely acts as a go-between? The Minister for Commerce has published an appeal to eat more lamb. Did that advertisement come from the Department of Information?
– I . shall deal with that. These capitalist-minded people who are conducting our war effort are making mistakes every day. The people are asked, by advertisements in this morning’s press, to eat more lamb; they are told that an increased consumption of lamb is essential to the well-being of the fat lamb raisers; as a matter of fact, it would be conducive to the welfare of thousands of Australian children, who are not getting enough good meat.
– It would be a novel experience for many of them to eat lamb.
– That is true. We on this side of the chamber are very interested in the problem of putting more lamb on the dinner tables ‘of the people of Australia. ‘We would be very happy if those people who are to-day going hungry could have . more lamb, and if -those who are short of blankets could obtain- mo’re’- blankets.- -God knows ‘thatthere’ are .’plenty- of “people in need of blankets. “ ‘We! see advertisements iri the press on” behalf of relief organizations which ask for subscriptions to funds forthe purchase of blankets for distresesd people. This “ Eat more lamb “ campaign is’ futile. On the one hand, the Government curtails the purchasing power of the workers by increasing taxes arid allowing -prices to rise beyond reason, and on the other hand it asks* them to spend more money on meat. It has been suggested that the next budget will introduce a compulsory savings scheme. That would cause a further reduction of the purchasing power of the workers. If the workers spend more money on lamb they will be compelled to spend less on beef.
– ‘That is the desire of the Government.
– They will spend less on fruit, or some other foodstuff, and the men who produce those commodities will suffer in consequence. Tasmanians are appealing to the people to eat more fruit. I have even seen advertisements, “Drink more beer”. In Brisbane, on one occasion, there was a “ confectionery week “ when almost every shop window was placarded with appeals to eat more chocolates and lollies. This campaign started by the Minister for Commerce demonstrates the complete absurdity of the capitalist system of economy at a time when we are fighting a totalitarian State in order to preserve our existence. On the one hand a Minister of the Crown appeals to us to eat more lamb, and on the other hand, another Minister of the “Crown takes from the workers the wherewithal to purchase that commodity. Such paltry and futile propaganda will never help us to win the war. We must deal with these problems, not from the point of view of finance, but from the point of view of facts. If there are tons of meat and millions of barrels of apples, available in this country, we must devise means whereby the people who. are going short of meat and “fruit shall be able to obtain a- share of the surplus. Under the. present capitalist system of economy the surplus apples are destroyed and thou-sands of pounds are expended on futile advertisements urging people to eat more meat. The Government should do what the Governments of New Zealand and Great Britain have done, and arrange for fruit and meat to be distributed at cheap rates. Where .such commodities are sold at a loss the distribution costs could be borne by the State. The absurdity of this morning’s advertisements in the “ Eat more lamb “ campaign is sickening, and shows the stupidity of the present Government. . Our surplus fruit and meat can be distributed. The people will buy them if they are cheap enough.
– At present there is, a surplus ,of lamb and a, shortage of beef, and the Government is trying to regulate consumption on our local and overseas markets.
– I understand that, but I am endeavouring to explain to the ‘ Minister that the surplus of lamb can be distributed by the method which I have outlined. Thousands of people who should have plenty of meat are to-day obliged to go short owing to the reduction of their purchasing power by war-time taxes. We on this’ side of the chamber look at these problems from a social point of view, not from the capitalistic point of view; I appreciate the difficulties which confront the Government. They must be overcome in the near future by a change of our economic system. “One Minister of the Crown said to me in conversation recently: “.I realize- that the day is rapidly approaching when, we mustplace our economy on a socialist basis “.
I now refer- to a matter associated with child endowment which has been of absorbing’ interest to members of Parliament and to thousands of workei’3. Recently I asked in this chamber whether it was a fact that it was mathematically impossible to draw money, on account of any child up to the . age of sixteen. The Minister answered me in his own way, but he has admitted that he did not . know whether that was so or not. Many members of Parliament are wondering whether I was right or wrong. The Leader of the Opposition in this chamber (Senator Collings), Senator Courtice,, the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan) and others, considered that I was wrong, so I thought that I must be wrong ; .but, in order to be sure about the matter, I rang up the department, which, after due cogitation, stated that I was right. The press did not publish my question, but on the next day I read in the press of Queensland a statement to the effect that the Government was about to liberalize the child endowment scheme. The report, which appeared in the press on the -29th May, was as follows : -
Important provisions to liberalize the child endowment scheme are being evolved by the Federal Department of Social Services find will be submitted for acceptance to the Cabinet in a few weeks.
The Cabinet will be recommended to amend the Child Endowment Act ftp provide ,that the. endowment payments should be made to every child of a family other than the first child, irrespective of the age of the first child until the eligible children reach the age of sixteen:
Under existing legislation, endowment is payable only in respect of children, other than the first child, under sixteen.
The effect of the amendment would be that endowment would bc paid on every child but the first -in a ‘family until the second and all succeeding children reached the age of sixteen.
At present the second child in a family receives- endowment only until the first is aged sixteen, and the endowment payments for the second child then ends. Because of this, it is impossible for any child, except in cases of families containing twins or triplets, to receive endowment payments -until it reaches the age of sixteen. In most cases no child aged more than fifteen, and in many cases much less than this, can bc eligible for endowment payments.
The cost of the concession, which is now being compiled, is- believed to bo substantial and the acceptance by the Government of the recommendation -will depend on whether the extra cost can bo financed while heavy war commitments continue.
I rang up the Minister for Social Services (Sir Frederick Stewart), who told me that the report was not correct. On the 30th May I wrote a letter to the depart- ment, but received -no reply for a week or two. On two occasions I made inquiries by telephone and was told that an answer would be sent to me by air mail, but no reply came. A month having elapsed, I made further inquiry yesterday, and was told that- my letter had “been lost. Then, after the lapse of an hour or so, I received the following communication from the Minister for Social Services: - My dear Senator,
In reply to your inquiries concerning the Commonwealth Child Endowment Act. I wish to say that the present legislation provides that endowment shall be paid in respect of each child in excess of one under the ase of sixteen years, provided of course thu children ave being .maintained by the person claiming the endowment.
It has been suggested that the Act should be amended to provide, that once a child has been granted endowment that payment be conti lined until that child attains the- age of sixteen years. -This matter has been carefully considered by the Government but at present no alteration is contemplated for administrative purposes. It has been decided to exclude the youngest of the family in making calculations for endowment purposes.
For a month, the people of Australia were led to believe that a certain method would be adopted. Members of Parliament, including Ministers, and the general public throughout’ Australia-, thought that only the first child would be eliminated from the scheme, and that in respect of every subsequent child endowment would be paid until it reached the age of sixteen years. I am told on good authority that the Minister for Aircraft’ Production (Senator Leckie) was under that impress sion, and that you, Mr. President, also thought that that was the position. Now, after a month’s consideration, the Government has- decided that the youngest child shall not receive an endowment payment, but that endowment shall be paid in respect of every other child until it . reaches the age of sixteen years. It is also said’ that the cost of the scheme will not be increased.’
When the Minister for Labour . and National Service (Mr. Holt) was speak-, ing on the second -reading of the bill, he made it clear that the Government had decided that payment in respect of the first child was not warranted: He said - - The Government has. given a great deal of consideration to’ the provision of endowment in respect of the first child. While-it ‘approached the question sympathetically, . it has decided that payment in’ respect -of the first child is not warranted. . . . The inclusion of first children in the benefit would raise the cost of the endowment in Australia by over SO per cent.
The act provides that all children under sixteen years of age, except one, shall receive the endowment, and I agree that the Government is acting within the statute in doing what it has done. I could quote from the speeches delivered on this matter by the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, by the Minister for Aircraft Production and others, who disparaged other endowment schemes because they fell short of that adopted by this Government, which excluded only the first child. The Minister for Labour and National Service also said -
Another libera] feature of tlie Government’s proposals is the provision for endowment to continue until the age of sixteen years.
My point is that I believe that the Government, some members of Parliament, and the general public thought that, when the Minister referred to the elimination of the first child only, and said” that the subsequent children would receive the endowment up to the age of sixteen years, he actually meant that: Let us suppose that a family consists of three children aged fifteen years, ten years and one year respectively. Under the changed scheme, the child aged fifteen years will receive endowment for one year and the child aged ten years will receive it for six years; the youngest will receive nothing.
Let us take the second illustration, where the first child is eliminated. The second child becomes eleven years of age when the first is sixteen. It is then the first child under sixteen, and does not draw the endowment. The third child is now aged two years, and receives the endowment for five years, that is, until the child above it is sixteen. Altogether, the endowment is drawn for seven years. In the first case the two elder children are paid up to the sixteenth year, whereas in the second case endowment is paid in respect of one to the eleventh year, and in respect of the other to the seventh year, yet in both cases seven years’ payments are made. Let us- now return: to ‘ the original conception of the scheme. Suppose we drop out the first child and pay the subsequent two children up to the age of sixteen years. The second child receives endowment for six years and the third for fifteen years, making a total of 21 years. There is a difference of fourteen years between the payments under the present scheme and under the plan which the public thought was to be implemented. The difference in payment for fourteen years at the rate of £13 a year amounts to £182. I do not know whether the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden), or an officer of the department, was responsible. The Treasurer i3 a very clever handler of figures. On one occasion I described him as a ’ figure fiend “. I did for him one of the greatest services, ever done by one parliamentarian for another; I was partly instrumental in keeping him out of the State Parliament in Queensland, with the result that he subsequently became Acting Prime Minister. He sought election for the Mirani constituency, but the man elected was a protege of mine,’ named Walsh,, who is now a Minister in that State. During the election campaign, in order to illustrate what could be achieved by juggling with figures, I told the story of the Jew and the Christian’. . - The Jew was the employer, and the Christian the employee. The employee was entitled to a- week’s holiday a year. Because he had been working very hard, and his energies had become somewhat dissipated, he decided to ask for an additional week. He knocked on the door of his employer’s room, and was invited to enter. When he did so, the Jew said to him: “What do you want? “ He replied, “ I should like a fortnight’s holiday “. The J ew looked at him in astonishment, and said, “Sit down. Here is a pencil and paper. I want you to do a little calculating. You have already had a week’s holiday? “ He said, “. Yes ‘’. The Jew said, “ Put that down “. He did so. The Jew then asked, “ Do you work on Sundays ? “, and was told that he did not. He said, “ That is 52 days ; put that down. Do you work on Saturday afternoons ? “ The employee said “ No, sir “. He was told that that was another 26. days, and to put that down. When the employee was asked. “ Do you sleep ? “ his reply was “ Yes, I am a good sleeper ; I sleep eight hours a night.” He was told to add 122 days to his other figures, and was then asked, “ Do you play? “ He replied, “ Yes,- I have eight hours for recreation.” “ That is another 122 days,” said the Jew. To further questions, he’ admitted that he did not work on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Foundation Day, Anzac Day, a-nd other public holidays. He was told to ‘ total the figures he had put down. Having done so, he found that the result was 372 days in a year. The J ew said to him, “ You havenot been working at all, and you owe me a week’s wages “. I speak in this- lighter vein in order to illustrate a point that I wish to make. There is. more in my. speech than merely humour. I used this against the present Treasurer with good effect. He would have become the Leader of the anti-Labour party in Queensland had he been elected to the State Parliament, but we defeated him. I am sure he must be -very thankful to us, because he is now in a very much better position, and doubtless is doing splendid work. My point is that, with the manipulation of figures, almost anything is possible. At one time, while I was in the! United States, of America, I listened to one of the best “ turns “ that I have ever heard. In a few minutes, a darkie proved by the use of figures that he was his own grandfather. I hope that honorable senators will pardon me for taking’ such- a long time to reach my point. The Government claims that child, endowment is to be paid in respect of all children, with one exception, up to sixteen years of age, in every family. I am endeavouring to prove that the result of the application of its scheme will not bc what the country was led to believe It would be, and that, an a family of three, the difference will amount to £182. Mr. Ben Taylor, the father of nine children, eight of whom are. under sixteen yea.i’3 of age-, has shown in the excellent tables that have been published in *Hansard, that his loss will be £132. I have brought this matter .up, because I considered that it was essential to have it ventilated. I should, like to hear what the Government has to say in reply. I told one departmental officer that I suspected that the youngest, child would bo left out of calculation, and lie replied “I think that you are right.” No endowment will, be paid in respect of a child born on the 1st July next. At the rate of £13 a year, the total loss by the’ parents for a period of sixteen years will be £208. Some effort will have to be made in the near future to give to the family of the worker full payment for every child up to the age of sixteen years. During the coming months the cost of living is bound to increase. The wages of the workers will have a lower purchasing value as the result of tax and compulsory savings measures adopted by the Government. We should, therefore, tlo our best for the family man. I urge the Government to dispense with mathematical legerdemain, and to provide that, in respect of every family, a payment of at least £13 a year will be made for each child, without exception.
– With the Leader of the Opposition (‘Senator Collings), I voice an emphatic protest against the suspension of the Standing Orders to enable this bill to be passed through, all stages without delay. Senator- A. J. McLachlan has suggested that that is merely the usual practice, thus- implying that the .measure, does not need very much consideration. In my view, it is a very bad habit to cultivate. The circumstances are not usual. The bill has to be passed, of course, in order that the Government may be author– i zed. to expend a certain amount on its undertakings and services. But every bill should be considered on its merits, and that is not possible in the present- instance in the time at our disposal. The bill may contain anomalies which need rectification; there may be duplications, or other features to which attention should be drawn. I graduated in a political school which takes for granted no more than it, is obliged to take. The Senate has cultivated the habit of taking everything for granted, and that is helping to bring it into disrepute. The people are justifiably asking “ Why have a Senate if proper attention is not paid by it to the business of the nation?” Instead of having a three weeks’ adjournment, we could have dealt during that period with many matters with which we are forced to deal now. Had they been dealt with earlier, possibly the position to-day would, have been better than it is. In asking for the suspension of the Standing Orders in order to enable the bill to be passed without delay, the Government asked for too much. I shall never agree to the adoption of such a course unless good reasons are advanced in proof of urgency. Several Ministers have too many irons in the fire; they are engaged in private business, and with them, politics is merely a parttime job. They are thus prevented from giving to the affairs of the nation the attention that is necessary. That i3 another reason for my objection to the haste now displayed. Particularly in times like the present, Ministers should devote the whole of their attention to the affairs of the nation. If that would involve what they consider an unjustifiable sacrifice in connexion with the businesses in which they are engaged, they should resign their ministerial positions and lot them bc held by others who can fulfil all requirements. I shall voice a protest on these lines whenever I consider it necessary to do so. .
In September, 1939, the year ‘in. which war was begun and the bill to tax the price of gold was under discussion in this Parliament, I §aid that, in-time; pf war, :a nation should first mobilize its man -power and other resources. When I made that statement, I knew perfectly well that the position would not be viewed by others as I saw it. I knew perfectly well that man-power and resources would not be mobilized to the degree which they should have been, and as they ultimately will have to be. I knew that it would be a. case of necessity making and enforcing its own law. . That is exactly what has happened. As the exigencies of war became more acute, the tendency towards that mobilization has become strengthened, though not sufficiently, as I shall show, owing, primarily, to the policy of the Government. When I use the term mobilization of man-power and resources, I include in it national control of essential industries and services.
– And man-power?
– It follows that, if we control the means by which the people live, we control the people. That is the very source of the power of all employers and governments. If they control the means by which the workers live, for all practical purposes they control their very lives.
– Does the honorable senator believe in industrial conscription?
SenatorCAMERON.- Certainly not.
– In view of what the honorable senator has said it appears that he does.
– Industrial conscription involves employees working in industry under conditions similar to those which operate in the military forces. Under industrial conscription, employers would have the right to work their employees seven days a week and overtime under any conditions, and the employees would have no right to resist or refuse. I assume from his interjection that the Minister for Aircraft Production himself believes in industrial conscription.
– I do not. I was merely expressing surprise that the honorable senator believed in it.
– The honorable senator’s interjection, to my mind, suggests that the wish is the father of the thought. However, in spite of his disclaimer, I believe that industrial con scription is intended if this Government can possibly give effect to it, and I shall endeavour . to show that that is so as I develop my argument. In speaking of national control of essential industries and services, I should like to make a comparison with existing conditions. We see to-day that most industries and services are controlled by private owners with the result that duplication and multiplication of industries and services exist in every conceivable direction with consequent colossal wastage of man-power andmaterial resources. As a. matter of fact, it can be truly said that the enormous wastage under existing conditions constitutes the safety-valve of what we know as the capitalist system. If our economy were organized on the lines indicated by me it would mean, for example, as has been suggested during this debate, that in any country town, instead of having six different branches of six different banks requiring the services of six different staffs, there would be but one bank and one staff. What applies to banking applies also to insurance, grocers’ shops, public houses, and all sorts of industries and services. Under co-ordinated control it would be possible to produce the maximum at the minimum cost in terms of man-power and material. Under the existing state of affairs ‘a colossal wastage of man-power and material is going on all the time. In time of war, when we are forced to defend ourselves or submit, we have either to mobilize man-power and resources or be defeated. What is happening to-day? The Government is mobilizing man-power and materials practically under duress, almost to the degree that they can be driven by the inexorable law of necessity. The war sociologically, has a similar effect to an earthquake geographically. We have a state of society which is running along apparently quite all right in. the eyes of the orthodox, just as we have a geographical area in which also apparently everything is going on all right, when, suddenly, a convulsion takes place. As the earthquake smashes the earth’s surface and may subsequently render barren country fertile, so does the war smash existing conditions, laws and customs,’ and possibly result ina state of society .becoming better than it was previously. In this respect the only difference between wars and earthquakes is. that man has no control over earthquakes, but he has control over wars. I have said that the Government is mobilizing man-power and materials under duress. It has appointed more than 70 wartime authorities’ and, quite recently, it has set up . a number of committees. Most, of those represented on these war-time authorities, particularly the most important ones, are either the direct representatives of the leading monopolies of this country or persons closely associated with them. They make recommendations to the Government to .do this or that in such a way that nothing is -done, if it can possibly bc helped, to conflict with their interests as controllers of private monopolies. That, in my “opinion, prompted the Prime Minister to say at tlie beginning of the war that the slogan of the country would bc, “ Business as usual “. Now that the war has gone on for 22 months, we notice that the Prime Minister, in a recent speech, has been forced to say “ We cannot go on as usual “-. The function of these committees is to inquire into and report to the Government on all those problems that have been aggravated by the war and which are exercising the minds of Ministers. The functions of the Man-power and Resources Survey Committee and other committees are to inquire into and report to tlie Government as to how we can use our man-power to the best advantage. Then we have the Social Security Committee, whose task it is to advise the Government as to the best way in which to provide for the social security- of the people. The Government would rather appoint these war-time authorities and committees to go thoroughly and1 exhaustively into these things than get on with the job itself. The Government is not going along any faster or further than it can possibly help. As evidence of this I submit the utterances of it’s Ministers, who are practically fighting a rearguard action- all along the line, avoiding, as far as it is possible to do so, any encroachment on the right of a few individuals to monopolize. the means by which . the nation lives.
That is the policy which prompted the question put to me by the Minister for Aircraft Production regarding industrial conscription. The Government is thinking along these lines because man-power is becoming scarce, because industrial disputes and strikes are coming into being, and things generally are becoming much harder to manage than hitherto. Another proof that the Government’s policy is one of refusing, as far as it possibly can, to bring in a system of national control of essential industries- and services, is the fact that, a little while after the commencement of the war, when it became necessary to provide military forces and war material, the Government gave contracts to private owners of essential industries and services rather than develop those industries and services as national utilities. So, wo have .the Abbco bread scandal, the spectacle of soldiers being supplied with short weight and- half-baked bread, made from inferior flour. So it- is also that we find certain profiteering, grafting, and corrupt practices being indulged in to the detriment of the soldiers of the nation. Had the Government done what it will ultimately be forced to do if the war lasts long enough, and said, at least for the duration of the war, that the factory of the Abbco. Bread Company Proprietary Limited would be taken over as a national utility, the supply of bread to the soldiers would have been a direct responsibility of the Government and not a matter for pro7 fi tearing shareholders, grafters and. others more concerned about private, profit than supplying the needs of the Army. The Government did not do that, and-, consequently, the nation has been put to the expense of the long inquiry which has been held. The company, I understand, is still operating under similar conditions. As the result of the inquiry certain persons may be punished ; but that is only dealing with the effect. Tlie cause remains, and the Government, apparently, does not intend to remove it. As with the factory of the Abbco Bread Company Proprietary Limited, so it is with boot, factories that supply shoddy boots, and also those iri Sydney responsible for robbing the Government of something like 4,000 lb. of meat, d’aily! Under private control we cannot ‘ effectively mobilize our national resources. During the last war the Fisher Government realized that fact, and so far as it possibly could gave effect to a policy of national ownership and control of essential industries and services. Consequently, splendid work was done during that war. Certainly, we did not then see so many scandals arising out of conditions peculiar to war, as has been the case on this occasion. Another result of the Government’s reluctance, or refusal to give effect to a policy of national control is the lag in war-time production. Our needs of munitions, armaments and equipment are not being met as fast as they should be. Although the Prime Minister and other Ministers have said in general terms that something will be done, no specific statement has been made on behalf of the Government as to what it is going to do to overcome the lag in production. With other honorable senators and members of the House of Representatives, I visited the Maribyrnong munition works. In what is known as the key machine shop, which supplies tools for the whole of the works, I noticed a number of machines idle. When I asked the manager why those machines were not working, he replied that, they could not obtain the men. He added that they had had men working them, but they had left in order to go into private employment. What does ‘the Government propose- to do to remedy that position?
– The honorable senator opposed giving the Government power . to keep . skilled men iii that industry.
– No. What I did was to point out, as I pointed out to the Minister for Aircraft Production a little while ago, that I was opposed to industrial conscription. The power the Government asked for amounted to industrial conscription. I contended that if the Government took control of industry and the material resources of the nation, industrial conscription would not be necessary, because the Govern^ ment would then control the means by which , the workers live. However, this Government admits the right of private enterprise to continue during war time luxury and non-essential industries. Take, for instance, the manufacture of jewellery, which employs many skilled and capable technicians who could be employed to much better advantage by the nation. If an opportunity were given to those men to work under congenial conditions they would gladly offer to serve the Government. However, I refuse to support a policy of industrial conscription which would force them to accept any conditions which private employers might like to impose upon them, and, at the same time allow private enterprise to carry on luxury and non-essential industries and services. There are many mechanics available who have not previously been employed at the Maribyrnong munition works. It is natural, therefore, to ask why luxury and non-essential industries are allowed to operate. The answer is obvious. Too many of the supporters of the Government have their capital invested in those industries, and if those industries wore closed down those people would practically sacrifice their capital, profit and income. It would mean the confiscation of industry.’ The Government relies mostly upon private owners of industry for its support, and, therefore, it is not prepared to take action in that direction. Thus, luxury and non-essential industries are’ allowed to continue whilst national industries upon which we depend for armaments, munitions and equipment generally, are being starved. That policy also accounts for the present lag in production. But that lag is not peculiar to Australia. According to press, and other reports from authentic sources, a serious lag existed in England at the commencement of the war, and, to some degree, still exists, lt has required the war itself, the bombing of London and other big cities in England and great industrial centres, as well as the destruction of human life, to force the British Government to take action to make up that lag in production. In one instance alone 3,000 factories engaged in the export trade were closed down. The remaining factories not only carried on but also increased output. Nothing has been suggested by the Government that would facilitate the mobilization of our resources in order to bring about a total war effort beyond putting greater pressure on the workers. At tlie same time no greater pressure is to be put upon private owners of luxury and nonessential industries. The jewellery shops can carry on, and so can the manufacturers of all sorts of commodities such as refrigerators, lawn-mowers, gas-meters, and so on, because the Government depends upon the owners of those industries for support. But the Government might ultimately be forced by the people to take action which will alienate the support of those people.
Senator Brown directed attention to the prices of commodities, and to the campaign that is being organized to encourage the people to eat more lamb and fruit, and more of all of the commodities mi at we produce. Here again the Government is remiss because, as the honorable senator said, whilst it is appealing to the people to increase their consumption of those commodities it fails to provide them with the wherewithal to purchase them. On the contrary, it is reducing the purchasing power of the masses. Lamb could be sold at the minimum price ‘ of, say, 3d. per lb. in order to enable the man on the basic wage, and those who work in return for the dole, to buy more of that commodity. That, however, would mean a loss to the producer; there is no doubt about that. “What should be done in those circumstances ? If the Government really wanted the people to do what it is asking them to do it would fix the price of lamb at 3d., and say to the producer, “ We shall make up your loss “. That, is being done in England. It is another instance of the necessity of war compelling the Government to make up losses to producers . by compensating them out of Consolidated Revenue. Under such a system those who possess most pay most into Consolidated Revenue and thus help the poorer people to obtain more lamb and fruit, and more of the commodities they need. But this Government does not propose to adopt that system, although it has been adopted in New Zealand and in England. What is the Government doing in that direction? It is. allowing the small, men in both primary and secondary industries to be starved out. As the result of the apple and pear acquisition scheme, almost all of the small fruit-growers will be unable to continue to . work their orchards, and under the wheat stabilization scheme, small wheat.farmers will not be registered, and therefore will be. unable to grow wheat.
– Why will they not be registered ?
– The Government will not allow them to be registered.
– Nonsense. The scheme is already in operation.
– It is in operation, within limits laid down by the Government, and the small farmers will bo outside those limits. .
– They are not outside the limits.
– The Government will register only sufficient to cover a certain acreage. The position will be the same with respect to apples and pears, and meat, and. ultimately all that will come out- of the Government’s programme will be monopoly control of these primary industries just as there is monopoly control of the sugar, tobacco and other industries.
– Does Senator Courtice agree with the honorable senator in regard to the sugar industry ?
– I am not concerned at the moment with what Senator Courtice or any other honorable senator thinks. I am concerned only with expressing my views on .this question and pointing out that the result of the Government’s policy will be the establishment on a stronger basis than ever, private monopoly control of all the essential industries and services, instead of national control or a system of control under which the people themselves would lay down the conditions under which these industries should be carried on. At present the Government is permitting luxury and non-essential industries to use manpower and materials that could be used to better advantage for national purposes, and is starving out the small, -nian in primary and secondary industries. -There is a continuous drain on our manpower resources,, and a growing scarcity of labour. That is part of the Government’s policy. Records of the. depression years show that when the supply of labour exceeds the demand of private employers of labour, the best that the -Government is prepared to do is to provide the unemployed with the dole, lt will not reduce working hours, improve and extend social services, or increase the purchasing power of the people to meet the position. In time of, war, however, when man-power and material are being used up so quickly and the demand , for labour exceeds the supply, we have an agitation for conscription. So long as honorable senators opposite suppo’rt the system to which their’ Government is committed, they will hara 1o choose between demanding that luxury and non-essential industries shall cease operation or continue under national control on a more economic basis, and remanding industrial conscription. I believe that the majority of Government supporters will demand industrial conscription.
– The honorable senator is very gullible.
– I have in mind regulation . No. 128 and what has been said by the Prime Mi meter. There is ample evidence, to support my case. Then again, there is a demand that women should replace men in industry, but not at the same rates as the men are paid, otherwise there would be very little objection from the Labour party.
– The demand is not that women should replace men. but thatthey should go into industry and help the men.
– Surely the honorable senator does not suggest that where a man has a job, a woman should be sent to work alongside him and help him? The Government, through its responsible Ministers, is saying that there is a scarcity of man-power, and that many jobs which are now being done by men could easily be done by women. Therefore, it is proposed to replace these men with women and thus allow the men to do other work for which they are more suited.
– Put a jeweller on the 25-pounder gun? Tim I is what the honorable senator is suggesting.
– No. I am suggesting that in such places as a toolmaking shop, where highly skilled labour is required, a skilled jeweller would be a valuable acquisition. As a matter of fact, I am informed by a foreman at Maribyrnong whom I know very well, and who is recognized as an authority in his trade, that, quite a number of trainees are showing an extraordinary aptitude for their work, although many of them had no previous training. It can be imagined, therefore, what class of work can bc done by men. who have had some experience. Take, for instance, men making water meters, electric motors, refrigerators, lawn mowers and so on.
– The honorable senator, is out of date. A Minister has just been appointed to attend to all those things.
– I know that, but it is one thing for a Minister to be appointed to do a job, and another thing for that job to be done. What I am complaining of is that the job is not being clone despite the appointment of various Ministers in the past. The mere appointment of a Minister is no guarantee to the people that a job will be done. The only guarantee is to place the power in the hands of those who will do the j’ib.
– And who are they - the men on the honorable senator’s side of the chamber?
– The power should be placed in the hands of the workers actually engaged in industry. For example, when we visited Maribyrnong workshops, I said to the foreman “How are you getting along in the matter of material?” He replied that there had been a. hold-up. in the supply, and when asked for the reason, he said “ In our opinion, the Government is allowing it to be used in private industries not engaged on war work”. I then said I had heard that there was a lag in production and that certain shops
Were not producing as much as they had been. Again the foreman replied that material was lacking. Had the Government taken the advice of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions, there would now be <a shop committee in such establishments charged’ with the responsibility of maintaining production and seeing that the work is done properly. Then, should a difficulty occur in regard to the procuring of material or in the falling off in. production, that committee would have to explain the reason. At present, that is the job of the manager.. The foreman said to me, “ It is not my business; it is the manager’s responsibility “.
– ‘What did he say about strikes and stop-work meetings?
– He said exactly what I have said to honorable senators often, namely, that to tha extent that profiteering i3 encouraged, there will be strikes.
– Whilst lockouts are encouraged, too?
– Of course.
– By whom is profiteering being carried on?
– By those who control the commodities that the workers have to« purchase. But I shall deal with that later. ! Senator McLeay. - The honorable senator would not be “one-eyed” by any chance ?
– No. I am not like the Minister in that respect. I have a perfectly balanced outlook, and I can see clearly from both eyes. I would not assume, as the Minister for Aircraft Production probably would, that because a Minister is appointed to do a particular job, he necessarily possesses a monopoly of the intelligence and skill in connexion with that work. My view is, that the men who are responsible for doing the work are the men best fitted to see that it is done properly. During the last war, the then Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Lloyd George, found that he could increase production and eliminate industrial disputes and strikes just to the degree by which he placed control in the hands of the workers. Shop committees were appointed and in the event of a shortage of material or a holdup in production, the. manager concerned was asked for an explanation.. If the workers have no power, they cannot be charged with responsibility. As I have said, the scarcity of man-power’ is increasing. A demand is being made for industrial conscription and the replacing of men by women in certain jobs. It has been suggested over and over again that women could very well act as conductors on buses, trams, and in many other similar jobs, but it is not suggested that the women so employed should be paid the men’s rates. It is claimed that they should be paid less because they cannot do as much work as men.
I come now to a very contentious subject, to which quite a number of references have been made during this debate, namely the lag in recruiting. I have heard no suggestions by honorable members opposite as to what should be done to correct the position beyond an implied threat that unless the lag is made up very quickly conscription will have to be resorted to.
Sitting suspended from 1245 to 1.1,5 p.m.
– I regret that they made no attempt to establish the relationship between cause and effect. They ought to realize that the efficiency of the High Command in Great Britain and of the Common wealth Government i3 suspect. When recruiting appeals arc made, the average man in Australia remembers the disasters of Narvik, Dunkirk, Dakar, Libya, Greece and Crete, and he has no confidence in the High Command or in the Government. Referring to the disaster in Crete, tlie Melbourne Argus, of the 6th June, made the following statement: -
To put tlie matter even move bluntly, we have the right to demand that soldiers shall not be wasted in efforts which have not been carefully thought out and adopted as integral parts of the supreme strategy of winning the war. . . . Have we any warrant for assuming that blood, including Australian blood, has already been wasted in subsidiary or collateral enterprises? It is to answer this question, and not with any desire to be ungenerously carping or wise after the event, that we must review dispassionately, but critically the Grecian a.nd Cretan campaigns. The “forces and equipment put into Greece, particularly aerial, were wholly inadequate to influence to any degree the ultimate issue of the war, which is the only thing that should matter.
When a leading newspaper states that soldiers are being put into the field without proper equipment, one can. readily imagine the effect on the minds of the people. The average Australian also wants to know what is being clone about’ home defence. Does the Government intend that all. of the men who are available shall be sent overseas? It has made no pronouncement which would give a clue to its intentions in this connexion. Before, the outbreak - of war we were told by mein who have done good service for this country, and who areregarded as military experts, including the High Commissioner in London, Mr. Bruce, that in the event of war Australian troops would not be required to serve overseas. Subsequently, these statements were contradicted. All these matters are turned over in the minds of young Australians, and they are suspicious of those who appeal to them to enlist.
I now refer to regulation 75 issued under the National Security Act. I am astounded at the terms of this regulation, which reads as follows: -
After regulation 10 of the National Security (Supplementary)Regulations the following regulations are added: - “11. - (1.) The power of the GovernorGeneral to appoint officers of the Defence Force and to issue commissions to them shall extend to the appointment of such aliens, not being enemy aliens, to -
the Military Forces for service in the AustralianImperial Force, as the Military Board recommends,
the Naval Forces, as the Naval Board recommends, and
the Air Force, as the Air Board recommends, and the issue of commissions to them. “ (2.) An alien, not being an enemy alien, may be enlisted in -
the Military Forces for service in the Australian Imperial Force, subject to the approval of the Military Board or of the District Commandant of the Military District in which the alien resides at the time of enlistment,
the Naval Forces, subject to the approval of the Naval Board, or (c) the Air Force subject to the approval of the Air Board. “ (3.) An alien may be enlisted in the Military Forces, the Naval Forces or the Air Force without being required to take and subscribe an oath or affirmation of enlistment. …
Any alien who enlists in our armed forces should be required to take and subscribe an oath or affirmation of allegiance.
– Would the honorable senator object to a reputable American citizen enlisting in the Army without taking the oath of allegiance?
– I would object to any man who had not taken an oath of allegiance being put in command of Australian soldiers.
SenatorMcLeay. - But would the honorablesenator object to an American takingonthe job?
– If an American desires to enlist, he should enlist under the same conditions as apply to Australians. I would object to Americans, French, Japanese, Chinese or Germans who might have been released from an internment camp, being placed in charge of Australian soldiers without first having taken the oath of allegiance. They would not be under the same obligations as are our soldiers to serve the nation. They could commit acts detrimental to our cause if they felt so disposed, and we should have no redress, on paper at any rate.
– That is an exaggeration of the position.
– It is not an exaggeration; it is the only construction that can be placed on the regulation, which is worded in general terms. Why does not the Government use specific terms ? Is it going to say to the young men whom it wishes to enlist : “ We can appoint as an officer over you an alien who will not be under the same obligation as you are to serve the country “.
– The airmen are throwing up their hats because Ameri- . cans are prepared to come in and fight with them.
– That does not affect the matter. This is a question of aliens being given commissions over Australian soldiers.
– That is not the position at all.
– The regulation implies that we have not sufficient Australian officers in whomthe Government can place trust.
– If there are friendly aliens in Australia who have adopted this country as their home, but who have not yet been able to secure naturalization, should we deprive them of the right to help in the defence of the nation?
– No, but they should be obliged to take the oath of allegiance.
– Mightthat not be governed by the fact that they have not become naturalized ?
– Many Australians have enlistedin foreign forces, and have taken the oath of allegiance to the nationconcerned.
– Name one instance in which that has been done.
– There are some in the French Foreign Legion.
– Did Australians take the oath of allegiance to France?
– Of course they did. I do not know what the Government had in mind when it drafted this regulation, but I know the meaning that can and will be read into it.
– We know the meaning that the honorable senator will read into it.
– I am entitled to give to it any meaning which it is capable of expressing. This regulation was discussed by the Regulations and Ordinances Committee yesterday, and I voiced my objection to it then. Regulation No. 283 issued under the National Security Act, which deals with aliens, provides a clear contrast with regulation 75. Section 7 of regulation 233 states -
That provides that an alien must not be registered to hold the minor position of a patent attorney, whereas regulation 75 permits the appointment of. aliens to important positions. The lives of our soldiers might be endangered if an alien were placed in control of them. The lag in recruiting is caused by many things which should be explained by the High Command overseas and by the Commonwealth Government. If the Government does not mean exactly what is stated in regulation 75, it should take particular care to make known far and wide the meaning that it intended to convey. Most of the aliens in Australia who are eligible for appointment as officers have been trained in conscript countries, and no doubt they believe in treating soldiers as they are treated in Europe. If they were allowed to do so, they would cause disruption in the ranks, and a number of our men might be court-martialled and punished because of their opposition to alien officers.
– What about the squadron of American airmen in
– What is done in England has nothing to do with Australia. ‘We possess sovereign rights to decide what is best for the defence of Australia. Australian officers should be in control of Australian soldiers, and the Government should not be permitted to appoint aliens, particularly if it does not require them to take the oath of allegiance. Must we adopt a policy merely because it has been adopted in England? I am strongly opposed to many acts of the British Government, particularly in relation to the military forces. Ifwe followed Great Britain’s lead, Australian soldiers would be expected to fight for the same rates of pay as British conscripts.
– Would the honorable senator object to Americans fighting for this country?
– No, but the Government should make it clear that aliens who desire to serve in the Australian Imperial Force must serve under the same conditions as Australians. That is a reasonable proposition and I am certain that 90 per cent. of Australians would agree with it.
I wish now to refer to the proposal of the Government to take certain drastic action with the. object of preventing strikes. As dispassionately as possible, I inform the Government that unless it is also prepared to take drastic action against profiteers and others primarily responsible for industrial trouble, disputes and strikes will continue to occur.
– And the honorable senator will help them to occur.
– I would much rather no strikes occurred, and I am perfectly certain that the number of industrial disputes and strikes would have been less had the Government accepted our advice in the first instance and agreed to the panels proposed by the Australasian Council of Trade Unions, which provided for direct representation of the workshops. Under that system the first indication of a strike would have been apparent to the representatives, and the situation could have been dealt with immediately on the spot, and, if necessary, later referred to an appropriate tribunal. By that means it would have been possible to avoid a great deal of industrial dislocation. I desire the -wheels of industry to he kept movingwithout interruption. I consider it to he most important to the making of a total and successful war effort that industry shall be kept in operation. If the owners of private industry and services, and the controllers of prices, rents, and other matters affecting our economic affairs, were required to pay proper attention to the rights of the workers and were prevented from going along in their own sweet way, many industrial disputes would be avoided.
The evidence that profiteering is increasing is unanswerable. Every wellestablished monopoly is increasing its profits.
– That is not true.
– If it be not true, I ask the honorable senator to reply to certain statements that I shall now quote from the leaflet published weekly by Messrs. J. B. Were and Son, one of the highest and most reliable authorities on the subject in Melbourne. I direct attention to the following information which appeared in the company’s publication dated Melbourne, the 24th January, 1941-
Column “A” also shows thepresent yield in relation to cost assuming he had taken up all his rights; whilst Column “B” shows the average annual return on the original investment over the twelve years, assuming he had sold his rights and his bonus shares at the time of issue.
It will be seen from the table that a man who expended £1,600 in buying 1,000 Broken Hill Proprietary shares at 32s. at the peak of the market in 1929 and exercised all subsequent rights would now have 3.280 shares, costing him a total of £3,100. The market value to-day of his holding would be approximately £7,407, showing a capital appreciation of £4,307, or about 140 per cent.
Current dividends would give him a return of 7.9 per cent. on his cash outlay. If, however, he had retained only his original holding of 1,000 shares, but had sold his rights to new issues and bonus shares at the time of issue, his average return over the 12 years would work out at over18 per cent. per annum.
Looked at from another point of view, if the proceeds of the sale of all rights and bonus shares were used to write down the cost of the original holding of 1,000 Broken Hill Proprietary shares, the investor would still have 1,000 shares for nothing, a capital profit of £1,000 in cash and an income of £75 a year at current dividend rates.
In the case of Australian Consolidated Industries, the capital profit would bo £1,145, and the investor would hold 1,000 shares at no cost. returning him £70 a year.
If the same procedure were applied to Colonial Sugar Refinery the investor would have 50 shares valued at £2,406 in the market at a net cost of £850, giving a yield of 10 per cent. per annum.
From the above calculations, it will he seen that it has paid investors handsomely to put their money into the market leaders. With the tremendous industrial development now in progress in Australia, who can say what benefits will accrue to the holders of key stocks over the next 12 years?
– All done with the kindness of the good Australian tariff!
– I agree with the honorable senator. The workers have been wonderfully kind - much more so than I should be disposed to be. I take it that no objection will be offered to such kindness?
– Why does not the honorable senator deal with the war period ?
– What I am saying cannot be divorced from the war period. The plain fact is that the Government is allowing profiteers to use the war as a cover for making profits on an unprecedented scale, and this is militating against the nation’s war effort;
– That is definitely untrue.
– It is definitely and absolutely true. If the profits that are being made to-day by these monopolistic concerns were being used by the Government to provide better conditions for the workers and more materials for use in our war industries, our position would be better than it is. The Government cannot have it both ways. It cannot expect to allow increasing profits to accumulate in the coffers of the monopolies and in the hands of the investors, and, at the same time, to proceed with a total and successful war effort. The Government is, in effect, an accomplice of the profiteers in that it refuses to make a stand against them.
SenatorMcLeay. - Where would this country be to-day without the Broken Hill Proprietary Limited?
– It would be in a muchbetter position if the Government were game enough to say that that concern must be declared a national utility, and that, for the duration of the war, the whole of the staff must be held responsible to the Government. All question of profit should be eliminated. What is to happen after the war could be left for later decision. The Government should say to that monopoly : “ You will not be permitted to bleed the people of the country, and to militate against the country’s war effort”. If that were done the- Leader of the Senate would not need even to attempt to point the finger of scorn at the workers.
– What happened to the industries which the Labour Government nationalized?
– They were sabotaged by the succeeding anti-Labour Government. The Labour Government in office at the time of the last war nationalized the shipbuilding industry, so that shipping could be carried on successfully during the war. It also acquired a line of steamers but immediately it went, out of office the succeeding government sold the ships. The country has never been paid for them, and there is a scarcity of shipping to-day. An anti-Labour Government in New South Wales also destroyed the shipbuilding industry that was established in that State and sold the equipment, not to British or Australian interests but to the Japanese! It would cost £1,200,000 to replace the machinery that was removed from the Walsh Island Dockyard by the direction of the anti-Labour Government.
The Leader of the Senate has shown some anxiety to know what Labour intends to do in connexion with the war effort. Let me ask what this Government is doing? It is appointing aliens as officers in our forces, it is placing profiteers in charge of our war activities so that they may bleed the country white, and it is demanding that conscription shall be enforced on the workers in order that they may be compelled to serve under alien officers and to work for profiteers.
The quotations that I have made from the pamphlet of Messrs. J. B. Were and Son show clearly that profiteering is rampant and increasing. The information that I have placed before the Senate could be supplemented by other similar details from many authorities equally as reliable as that to which I have referred. If the wheels of industry are to be kept running smoothly, as we all desire; if strikes are to be prevented, and if there is to be harmony in the relations of employers and employees, the Government must be prepared to take drastic action, not against the workers, but against the profiteers. If that be done we shall be able to use our financial resources to the maximum, and to organize our industries for a 100 per cent. war effort.
Finally, I wish to say a. few words about the new order. The Prime Minister said, in effect, that after this war the world will not be the same as it was before. That is obvious to anybody who has studied the position, but, apparently, it was not obvious to the Prime Minister when he said, at the beginning of the war, that business should be carried on as usual. As a result of the war, the monopolies to which I have directed attention will either be reduced in number by the elimination of the smaller of them, and. will ‘become allpowerful, or they will have to be made the property of the people. I hope that the change will not be accomplished by bloodshed, but it remains for the Government to say whether the trial of strength to determine whether monopolies shall become national property shall take place without friction.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that, if the Government does not take over those undertakings, there will be bloodshed in Australia?
– I said that I trust . that the change will be accomplished .without bloodshed. Following the last war, the establishment df dictatorships in Italy, Germany and Russia caused bloodshed, but, in Australia, the people still have the franchise and. the right, on paper, to determine their- own industrial conditions. The change which I’ hope, to witness in this country will, I believe, he peacefully accomplished, and will prove highly beneficial to all.
– I congratulate the Government upon the appointment of standing and parliamentary committees for the purpose of assisting it in its onerous duties. I am fully aware of the large volume of work now devolving upon both Commonwealth and State Ministers. The committees that have been appointed will be able to carry out important investigations regarding many proposals, and their recommendations should be of great -value to the Government. I ‘believe that the right-men have been selected for the work that they will be called .upon to do, and I wish them every success in their new duties. My only criticism is that the committees should have been allowed to select their own chairmen. I suggest that attention be directed to industrial development in the less populous States in order to produce a better industrial and economic balance than now exists between those States and the rest of the Commonwealth. Such an adjustment would be most valuable in time of war. Senator Amour mentioned that there is a shortage of steel in Sydney. I remind him that Western Australia could make up any shortage of steel, copper, bauxite or tantalite.
I intend to express my views frankly regarding preference to returned soldiers. During and after the last war, I paid par.ticular attention of the operation of this principle. I agree that our returned men deserve preference, but I cannot overlook the claims of others who w.ere too young to serve in the last war and of those who were employed in munition factories. The latter should receive a certificate indicating their service in the production of munitions, and this should place them on an equal footing, with returned soldiers, when they seek employment.
– Of what use would the soldiers have been if the workers in the munition factories had not provided the necessary war materials?
– But who paid the bigger penalty
– The penalty would have been much greater, if no munitions had been produced.
– The honorable senator is on the wrong track.
– The man who is prevented from going to the war but enters a munition factory is entitled to privileges in time of peace similar to those of returned soldiers. .
Senator -Cooper. - -The munition worker has had an advantage over the -soldier, because he has had a chance to learn a trade during the war.
– I suggest that the honorable senator should make a careful calculation of the advantages enjoyed by munition workers as compared with those of the soldiers.
– I shall stick to my guns. I know several men in Western Australia who tried to enlist, but were not allowed to d’o so- because they were regarded as key men in certain industries. I. have nothing against the returned soldiers. I have worked hard in their interests, but I am now urging the claims of the men who are prevented from, going to the war.
Rifle clubs in Western Australia are charged for their ammunition at the rate of £2 Od. 8d. a thousand rounds, and also 15 per cent, sales tax. As these men are training for home defence,.! suggest that the ammunition they use should be exempt from sales tax. Every possible encouragement should be given to them.
Aircraft of various descriptions is being manufactured in Australia, but are machines of the lastest types being produced ? If we can build Wirraways, we should be able to produce the latest bombers. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has stated that Britain will require our help in the air, rather than by land or sea, and I hope that the Government will build the best, and not the worst, aircraft.
– Does the honorable senator contend that the Wirraway is the worst type of machine?
– It is certainly not the best.
When members of the Defence Forces are being transferred from Western Australia to the eastern States, whether they be airmen, soldiers, sailors or nurses, they are entitled to comfortable travelling facilities On the railways. They should be accommodated in special trains, and brought over in large parties, instead of in small groups. It is rather embarrassing to see officers and noncommissioned officers taking their meals with civilians on the trains, whilst privates have to stand aside. On one occasion, sufficient food could not be provided for soldiers travelling on the transAustralian railway, and special arrangements had to be made for the provision of meals at Rawlinna.
I have before me the case of a bricklayer who enlisted at Northern on the 4th March, 1941. After being in camp for a few months, he was sent to Sydney. Unfortunately, during a period of leave, he had more alcohol than was good for him, and he was struckby amotor car. He was placed in hospital in Newcastle and was subsequently transferred to a hospital in Sydney, where one of his legs was amputated. After a period, he was returned to Western Australia, and he has now been discharged. In his letter to me, he states -
I enlisted in December, 1939, and passed medical test in January, 1940, and went into Nort ham camp the 4 th March; was on the draft to go overseas in May, but was taken offand sent to Sydney to join the Engineers, as I was a bricklayer. From Sydney, I was transferred to Greta camp. On getting weekend leave,I proceeded to Newcastle, where I was injured in an accident, sustaining a frac tured leg which, through negligence, both by the Military and the Hospital Board, the leg hud to be amputated. If the Army had taken notice of my several requests for removal to a military hospital, then it would not have happened; but I was left for twelve weeks in General Hospital, Newcastle, then the Army Medical Officer discovered that I would have to havemyleg amputated, and I was transported to P.O.W. Military Hospital, Randwick, where the operation was performed by Colonel Vickers. After nearly four months longer in hospital, I returned west, and have had another operation since being hack. I still maintain, had the Army done their job, 1 would have still had my leg but instead they left me to be made a mess of in the Newcastle Hospital. On being discharged about six weeks ago, the discharge read:” Owing to misconduct by being absent without leave “, but on producing my leave pass, the discharge was lifted for fourteen days pending the arrival of my medical papers from the eastern States, then I was discharged medically unfit, not occasioned by my own default, and that discharge was waived aside for another month, until I was discharged on the 30th April with the same discharge, and since then I have applied twice for a pension, which was not granted, andI now have to go before a tribunal when next it sits in Perth. Mr. Spender (Minister for the Army) stated that no man was to be discharged until he was as nearfit ashe was on enlistment, yetI am discharged without an artificial limb even, ora job that a limbless man could do.Now, taking all things into consideration, it is not much thanks to a man who volunteeredearly in the war, and not conscripted.
A letter written to him by Major B. G. Rutledge reads as follows: - 18th July 1940.
Your several requests for removal to P.O.W. Hospital, Randwick, have been passed to H.A.R.T.D., and your case has had the” special attention of the Commanding Officer, 2/5 A.C.H., who has also made inquiries into the quality of the medical services being-givenyou at the Newcastle Hospital. Everything in your interest is being done. I sincerely regret that you are having such a bad time as the result of your accident, and trust your condition is not so serious as when, you last wrote.
This man has a wife and five children. He has no work, and has to receive assistance from the Child Welfare Department of Western Australia. That is not right. Because a man has a couple of drinks and is “ skittled “ by a motor car, he should not he made to suffer beyond what he has already suffered. He was neglected in Newcastle Hospital, with the result that, after three months, he had to be sent to a hospital in Sydney to have a leg amputated. The matter should be immediately rectified.
Another case that I have had submitted to me is that of a man of German descent, 35 years of age, who was born at Southern Gross, in Western Australia. He has a wife and one child. He has been denied entry to the ranks of the Australian Imperial Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, or any other defence service. For years he was in the Militia in Western Australia, and when war broke out was detailed to guard duty in connexion with the ordnance at Fremantle, for which, he received efficiency pay amounting to £2 2s. Had he not been a good man, he would not have been given those duties to perform. A month after war broke out he endeavoured to enlist, but his family record showed that his father had not been naturalized, and he was rejected. He asks why he is compelled by law to enrol and vote, and yet is debarred from military service. His father died twenty years ago. I intend to place the whole of the facts, which are contained in correspondence, before the Minister for the Army.
A typical case is that of a soldier from Western Australia, who was killed overseas on or about the 11th February, 1941. He left a widow and one child. The widow received military payments up- to the end of March, when they were discontinued. Up to the 23rd May, when the Repatriation Department was consulted, finality had not been reached in respect of a claim for a pension. Had it not been for the Soldiers’ Dependants Organization it is quite” likely that this woman would have been forced to apply for assistance to the . State Charities Department, which is doing wonderful work in Western Australia. The -matter has -since been adjusted.
.- I urge on the Government the desirability of arranging that the debate on supply bills, shall in future take place simultaneously in both Houses of Parliament. This is necessary because, on mOre than one occasion, similar arguments have been advanced in the two chambers, and honorable senators have been accused of merely repeating what had already been said in the House of Representatives,, and were therefore wasting time. If the debates took place simultaneously, credit for the propounding of an idea would go to the first member^ who made i,t. .. - . , ,
Some time ago the ministerial statement was made that publication of the sixth volume of the Official History of the Australian Imperial Force, for- which we have been waiting for so long, would be made in June of this year. I urge the Government to see that this record is brought up to date as early as possible. Returned soldiers’ organizations throughout Australia are keenly anxious that the last volume shall be’ completed.
When mcn in Tasmania enlist in the Royal Australian Air Force they are sent to schools on the mainland to undergo training. This is an injustice to Tasmania, which has . two part-training schools”, one at Cambridge in the.southern portion of the State, and the other at Western Junction in the northern portion of the State. Tasmanian- trainees would be more contented, and the work would be better done, if their elementary training were carried out at one or other of those schools, instead of their being sent to Victoria, South Australia, and other States, whilst South. Australians and. Victorians are taken to Tasmania for their elementary training. Cost of transport would be saved, and the present agitation would be avoided in connexion with the inability of trainees to take advantage of home leave when in States other than their own. It will be agreed that Tasmania has not had a proper share of the defence expenditure. ‘ This is one way in which its rights can be observed.
I have been requested by the St. Helens Progress Association to ask for the establishment of an air training school at St. Helens, which is on the east coast of Tasmania. It has a first-class aerodrome, one of the best climates in Tasmania, water, electricity, and everything else needed for the establishment of an air school. If this request were granted, there would be a triangle of aerodromes - Western Junction, St. Helens, and Low Head - which could be used in conjunction for air training school purposes. I see no reason why this should not bc done.
At Western Junction, excellent re- creational and canteen facilities are provided for members of the Royal Australian Air Force, but they are not available for. the ,use, pf the men who are engaged on garrison duty there. In the present fight for democracy, the men who are guarding this air training school should not be denied these facilities. I request the Government to remove this anomaly. It would be stupid to suggest that separate recreational facilities should be provided for the guard at. Western Junction .when they need only cross the road in .order to use those that are provided for members of the Royal Australian Air Force.
Some little time ago, I addressed a meeting at Ulverstone, and had put to me the request that the Government should take control of the blue pea crop of Tasmania. I did not take the matter further, because I thought that the request was not sufficiently backed by the producers’ organizations. In company with the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) I recently made a tour– of the eastern districts of the .State where numerous requests were made to us to induce the Commonwealth Government to control the’ marketing of - blue peas, if not throughout’ the whole of Australia,-, at least in Tasmania. When the crop is growing agents . go to the grower and say, “ We - will give ‘ you 15s. a bushel -for all the blue peas you can harvest this year. - If the war should “end suddenly there will be no market * for your crops.” On tlie Sydney market last year blue peas were sold for from 24s. to 26s. a bushel and at present the Launceston merchants are offering 21s. a bushel. These agents who ‘play on the credulity of the farmers are definitely engaged in a form of profiteering and the Government should take action to curb their activities. I ask the Government to give serious consideration to this matter.
Recently I placed a question on’ the notice-paper asking if tlie Government would fix a minimum price for potatoes. In the districts where they are grown potatoes are cheaper than in other areas. Recently, on the north-east coast of Tasmania, which is not a potato-growing district, silver-skin Bismarks of excellent quality grown from Government certified seed could be bought for 4s. a bag. It is impossible for farmers to make a living at that price. In failing to fix a minimum price for potatoes the Govern ment has fallen clown badly on its job. In order to induce the Government to fix a minimum price for potatoes, the following letter was sent to the Minister for Commerce (Sir Earle Page) by the Tas.manian producer’s .organization: -
On ‘behalf of the above organization, which represents a large percentage of potato growers in this State, we desire to bring to your notice the very unsatisfactory position of the potato industry at the present time, and the urgent need for Federal action’ to protect the growers from the ruinously low prices now ruling. -As you are probably well aware, potato growing is a very uncertain proposition, crops and prices varying greatly from season to season, and- as high prices are usually the result of low yields, the grower is lucky if he can show a profit over a period of years, as seasons of low prices predominate. Last year, potatoes. being scarce, the price was high,, and although this circumstance bad nothing whatever to do with war conditions, potatoes were declared under the National Security . (Price Fixing) regulations and a maximum price fixed, which prevented farmers from getting the full market value. Practically no exception was taken to this by the growers,” as it was understood that in the event of there being - a glut in future seasons, the [growers would be protected by minimum prices. A glut occurred early this year and since February last prices have been below the cost of production, and growers are facing a very serious position unless action is taken to regulate the market. lt is generally agreed that in the absence of any other outlet the only procedure is to keep the surplus on the farm and feed it to stock,and’ it is suggested that this could be effected by strict grading regulations in all States with a view to keeping off the market all but No. 1 grade. We understand from Professor Copland that he is attempting to bring this about, and we should greatly appreciate your co-operation in this direction.
No convincing argument can be advanced against the fixing of a minimum price.
I propose now to deal briefly with the position of apple and pear growers who have had surplus crops. In my opinion no fruit-grower whose crop has been damaged by hail and frost should be compensated, unless he has lost the whole of his crop. I know that some of the growers in the Lilydale and Huon districts, who arc orchardists solely, have lost the whole of their crops through hail and frost damage. Some time ago I attended a meeting at Cygnet regarding this matter at which the following resolution was carried unanimously: -
That in ‘ the opinion of this meeting it is essential for the apple and pear industry to receive Commonwealth financial assistance in regard to losses caused by climatic conditions. Such assistance to be on the same basis as that provided to wheat-growers for drought relief. Further that this meeting fully supports the State Government in its efforts to secure equitable treatment for the apple and pear growers.
As the Premier of Tasmania is now discussing this matter at the conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, I shall not discuss it further at this stage.
There is a constant demand in Tasmania for the installation of automatic telephone exchanges. I know that this is not an opportune time to make requests for the extension of facilities of this kind ;but I ask the Government not to lose sight of the importance of the matter. Recently, a deputation waited on me urging that automatic exchanges be installed at St. Helens, Branxton and Lilydale. I trust that as soon as the Government can find the necessary money to install additional automatic telephone exchanges in country districts the needs of Tasmania will not he overlooked.
I propose now to say a word or two in favour of increased remuneration for nonofficial postmasters. As the result of the introduction of petrol rationing and the child endowment scheme the work of these people has been greatly increased. In one or two cases the salaries of nonofficial postmasters have been increased by 2s. 6d. a week. That is little enough; but in the majority of cases they have not been compensated in any way for the extra work they are now called upon to perform. I trust that the Government will give this matter serious consideration.
Every endeavour is being made to develop the fishing industry in Tasmania. Unfortunately the operations of the canning factory established at Lady Barron, Flinders Island, have not been very successful. Some time ago, with members of the House of Representatives, I urged the Government to grant assistance to the company operating the Flinders Island factory, either by way of a direct loan or by a grant, to enable it to undertake the construction of a fishing fleet. The Government, however, could not see its way to grant our request and thecompany, finding it could not carry on, disposed of the business to a Tasmanian company.
If the necessary finance had been forthcoming the company would now have been able to supply practically the whole of the requirement of cannedfish for the Defence Department. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research reports that there is an abundance of fish in Tasmanian and Bass Strait waters. The Government would do well to foster this undertaking as a war-time industry. If the whole of ourrequirements of canned fish were supplied by Australian canners a considerable saving of dollar exchange could be made. Not long ago when crossing to Flinders Island by aeroplane we passed a very extensive shoal of fish. To give honorable senators some idea of the size of the shoal, although the aeroplane was travelling at 158 miles an hour, it took us eleven minutes to cross it. We were told by fishermen that in one catch they could take 500 tons of fish from that shoal and they would not be missed. The development of the fishing industry would be of immense benefit not only to Tasmania but also to the mainland. If a canning factory were established in Hobart the fish could be taken off the boats at Bridport, St. Helens or Triabunna and trucked to the factory in Hobart for treatment:
Yesterday, I directed a question to the Postmaster-General (Mr. Collins) with regard to broadcasting station 7NT. That station is satisfactory in every way except that there is a break in the transmission from 8.15 a.m. to 10 a.m. I asked if it were not practicable to have a continuous programme provided by station 7NT and was informed that the break is necessary to enable maintenance work to be performed. It is difficult to understand why that is necessary in view of the fact that maintenance work on the mainland stations is done at night. In the northern part of Tasmania reception from the Victorian stations3AR and 3LO is not satisfactory. A. relay station should be established in northern Tasmania so that listeners in that part of the State may have a choice of programmes. If that be impracticable, the transmission from 7NT should not be interrupted.
Recently, a contract was let by the Commerce Department for the construction for a lighthouse-keeper’s residence at Low Headat a cost of £2,130. I understand that a sixroomed dwelling is to be provided. Bricks and materials for the dwelling will have to be carted from Launceston, a distance of 40 miles. At Low Head there are ample supplies of the best concrete gravel and sand in Australia. It has been said that a concrete building cannot be made waterproof. As a structural engineer I say definitely that a concrete building can be made waterproof if proper care and sufficient time is taken in its erection. At least £1,000 of the cost of this new residence could be saved if it were constructed of reinforced concrete, and the concrete structure would be a better and more lasting job.
As honorable senators are aware, facilities for travel to Tasmania are limited owing to the exigencies of the war, and to overcome the difficulty Tasmanian members and senators are allowed six passes a year to enable them to travel by aeroplane. At present the steamer service is limited to three trips a fortnight, and it is almost impossible for honorable senators to make an uninterrupted journey to Tasmania. If they cannot travel by air, they have sometimes to wait three or four days for a boat. At the conclusion of the last period of the session honorable senators and others travelling from Canberra were provided with accommodation in the second division of the Melbourne express, which did not arrive in Melbourne until after the steamer had left. We are entitled to more consideration by the Transport Department when we have to catch a boat in Melbourne. If we did not use one of our limited number of aeroplane tickets in the instance I have mentioned, we would have had to wait a week in Melbourne for the next boat. As other honorable senators wish to speak . on this measure, I shall not delay the Senate longer, but shall furnish directly to the Ministers concerned the observations which I intended to make on several other subjects.
– It is so long since honorable senators have had an opportunity, to speak in this chamber that many of us are quite out of practice and unable to do justice to our subject. Now that ;we have a chance- to f speak on a> Supply
Bill, and many matters come to our minds, our opportunity to speak is limited because this legislation is being rushed through in circumstances which have led the honorable .senator who has just resumed his seat to cut short his remarks in order to give his colleagues an opportunity to take part in the debate.
The first matter with which I wish to deal is petrol rationing. The indecision and vacillation which has characterized the Government’s legislative programme, since the outbreak of war, have been in evidence in its handling of this subject. Its handling of the petrol rationing has been most unfair to not only motor car owners and users, but also to the industry generally. When the scale of rationing to operate to the end of June, was announced, the motor industry believed that the drastic reductions involved represented the limit to which the Government would go. In. those circumstances, motor users and traders generally entered into large commitments which to-day represent very serious losses to them. I read in the press last week a report by the managers of the agencies for De Soto and Pontiac cars that due to the. latest reductions announced, their businesses would be ruined, because they had purchased and paid for new cars which they would not now be able to sell. Apart from the question as to whether rationing on so severe a scale is necessary or not, the Government must have known for some considerable time exactly what would be its requirements, and also what degree of rationing would have to be enforced. However, it allowed the impression to be conveyed to the community that the present scale of rationing would finally satisfy its requirements. Furthermore, if it were sincere in its efforts to conserve supplies of petrol, it would itself have set an example to the people by exercising economy. Some months ago, it announced that producergas units would be installed in 10 per cent, of Commonwealth- cars. This week,, both Senator Fraser and I have asked what percentage of Commonwealth cars have been fitted with producer-gas units, but no answers have been made available to those questions. After all, they were not difficult questions. I ‘ believe that the Government can readily give1 the answers, but simply refuses to do so. Indeed, I do not believe that more than 2 per cent. of Commonwealth cars have yet been fitted with producer-gas units. From my own observations on visits to military camps, and from what I have been told by other people who are more familiar than I with the matter, I do not believe that one solitary military vehicle is fitted with a producer-gas unit. We have this extravagance on the part of a Government which does not hesitate to institute a scale of rationing which must involve the ruin of motor traders in Australia as well as many- private’ businesses dependent upon motor transport. It cannot be said that the Government has set an example in this matter: Its failure to do so is inexcusable, because it has at its disposal more means to install producer-gas units on its motor vehicles than are available to any private . business. Indeed, if necessary it could’ construct its own factories for the manufacture of such units. That would not be unwise, seeing that abundant supplies of charcoal are readily available to the Government. To-day, one gets a shock if he sees a producer-gas unit on any Commonwealth car. One can only concludethatour petrol position is not so serious as the Government would have us believe. Apparently, the Government’smain excusefor imposing the severe restrictions which- are to operate as from 1st J uly next is that tankers are not arriving. It would be interesting to compare the quantity of petrol shipped from the United States of America to Japan during the last ten months with that shipped to Japan during the preceding ten months.
– Does the honorable senator blame us for that?
– No ; but if
Japan canget all the petrol it requires from the United States of America, there must be something wrong with this Government if we cannot get what’ we want. All along, the man in the street has realized that some measure of petrol rationing would be unavoidable. However, the Government refuses to tell us what percentage of petrol is being used by military vehicles.
– That information was given.
Senator.ARMSTRONG.- I heard the Minister for the Interior (Senator Foll) say by way of interjection, but not in answer to a question, that the quantity of petrol used in military vehicles represented 2 per cent. of the total petrol consumed in Australia. I should like to see the figures on which that percentage is based. I suppose that it does not include the petrol used by the Air Force and the Navy. I recall that during a confidential meeting of senators and members in the House of Representatives, the Minister for Munitions (Senator McBride) refused to say what quantity of petrol was being used by military machines. To-day, nearlytwo years after the outbreak of war, we still hear responsible Ministers stating that the Go-“ vernment intends to deal with the position. The Minister for Munitions said only last week that substitute fuels will be produced. Such statements arouse uneasy thoughts in the mind of the man in the street. At this stage of the war, he wants to know, not what the. Government intends to do, but what it has already done. He wants to know what petrol substitutes have been produced, not what the Government intends to produce within the next twenty months or so. I need hardly remind honorable senators that many nations and flags which existed twenty months ago have disappeared. But the Government continues to speak of what it intends to do. The Minister said that the production of substitute fuels would be part of a. long-range programme. Instead of listening to talk about long-range programmes, we are entitled at this stage to hear something about the fulfilment of some of the programmes which the Government is always announcing, but none of which ever seems to produce results. A programme has now been announced for the production of substitute fuels to provide one-third of Australia’s requirements. I repeat that at this stage the man in the street does not want to hear any more about the Government’s intentions. He wants the Government to come along and say just exactly what has been done, how much petrol has been stored in Australia, and how many producer-gas units have been manufactured.
– Would the honorable senator tell the public, if he knew, how many gallons of petrol Ave have stored?
– I know how many gallons Ave have stored; but that information was given to us in secret. Nevertheless, I am obliged to raise this matter, when I hear such statements. still being made by Ministers, and find the Government still immersed in mists of doubt. In view of the latest severe restrictions announced by the Government, the man in the street must conclude that . our petrol position. is desperate. I remind honorable- senators opposite that in not only this chamber, but also, the House of Representatives, members of the Labour party, have for the past ten years- been urging the Government to- establish plants for the production of oil from coal. The necessity for that action has also been stressed in the daily press.’ The man in the street, who has been aware that, for many years past, oil has been produced from coal in European countries, including Great Britain, begins to wonder whether our failure to undertake that work is due to lack’ of initiative on the part of the Government, or to a lack of skilled men.- He is of opinion that we should have both. We certainly have men of sufficient skill for that work; so I leave it to honorable senators to say for themselves what, has been lacking. What is the position at Newnes to-day? It seems almost impossible to obtain a statement from the Government in regard to that undertaking. The Government has been pouring money into the Newnes project far in’ excess of the amount specified, in the agreement reached some years ago, yet no statement has been made either to members of this chamber or of the House of Representatives. It is ascandal. We have heard various figures of intended production varying from 10,000,000 gallons a year to ‘ 30,000,000 gallons a year. What I Avant to know is how many gallons have been produced since the company commenced operations at Glen Davis; how many” gallons are being produced each day now, and when will the objective of 10,000,000 a year be achieved? Further, I should like to know how much money the Government r has. put into this project, without the concurrence of Parliament, since the legislation providing aid to the company was passed?
I have read in the press that an electric car invented by a Mr. John Bowker, of South Australia, can do ‘approximately 100 miles for 9d. According to neWS.paper reports the Minister for Munitions (Senator McBride) has been interested in the project for some months and is discussing proposals for its exploitation with officers of the Department of Supply and Development. Under instructions from the Prime Minister the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has examined the proposals, but has withheld final decisions pending forthcoming trials of. the new car. Here again there appears to be delay and vacillation. Apparently, such a car has been on the road for twelve months in South Aust tralia. It has .been examined by officers of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and .by members of the Ministry, but still no definite action has been taken. Surely by now the Government must know whether the car is practicable for general use. If there be any value in this invention it should be exploited immediately because in the present crisis Ave must grasp at- everything which Will provide an alternative to the use of petrol in thi3 country. When the Government launched its campaign to convert motor cars and lorries’ so that the)’ could be propelled by producer-gas instead of by petrol, it ‘ undertook to -install producergas units on 10 per cent, of its OWn vehicles. Yet, despite the fact that the petrol ration has been’ so” cut that 90 per cent, .of motorists will find- it necessary to install producer-gas units, or cease to use their . vehicles there is little evidence of the Government having fulfilled its undertaking. I have not yet seen a single truck or ear on military duties fitted with a producer-gas unit.
– The honorable senator will not see them if they are engaged’ on military operations.
– Why should I not see them? ‘The job, which thesevehicles are doing in the military camps, is the same ‘as that being done by ordinary’ commercial “motor cars and trucks. They are attached to various military camps - throughout ‘ Australia, but they are largely engaged on the same jobs as they would do in civil use. They have to pick up. and deliver supplies, transport “officers and men, and the like’. I contend that if producer-gas units cannot be used on these army vehicles, the Government has a “ hide “. to ask the general public to install them.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the military requirements should have priority over pleasure needs ‘i
– I have not mentioned the word “pleasure” at all. In the absence of the Minister for the Interior’ (Senator Foll), I have been talking of the fact that the motor trade now faces ruination. More than 8,000 men will be thrown out of employment as a result of the latest drastic cuts in petrol quotas. The point I wish to make is that very soon neither pleasure nor business motorists will be able to use: their vehicles owing to petrol rationing. If the position is as serious as it, would appear to be military “cars and trucks stationed at the various military camps and” establishments throughout Australia -should be converted to -producer gas. The sooner the Government -goes ahead with the job of installing producer-gas units on at -.least ‘70 per cent, of the defence cars and lorries, -the. soo’ner. the public will take similar action. ‘ -.- “-. Senator LECKIE.- The honorable- sena- tor realizes, .of ^course;- that; .in the’ event of ,an invasion, those -vehicles would be used on military operations^ ; “Senator- ‘ ARMSTRONG. - And so would every other car and truck available in the country.
I should also like to say a few words with regard to the efforts being made to establish a reasonable system of defence in this country. At the outset, I should like to explain that these are not merely my own views in regard to this matter, but they are the views of” highly placed military - men who have done me the honour of expressing their opinions to me.’ The present system of compulsory military training is not producing the results that were anticipated. ‘ The greatest fault that military men have to find with the .system is that during the three months that the men are in camp, they reach an advanced stage of efficiency in their training, but they then return to civil life for three months. Originally it was intended that the men should be in camp for three months out of every twelve, but because of the Government’s desire to keep the forces up around the 250,000 mark, it has been found necessary to put the men in camp for six months out of every twelve. It has been found that when the men come in for their second three months’ term, their numbers are reduced to an extraordinary degree. Some camps expecting 5,000 compulsory trainees have received only 3,500 or 3,S00. The reductions are caused by enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force, exemption because of hardship, or exemption upon applications from employers. The result is that the entire organization of platoons, companies, battalions and so on, is upset, and the whole training has to be started over again. From what I can gather those in charge of training operations are firmly convinced that it would be far better to have a permanent army of 100,000 men than to try to train 250,000 young Australians as they are doing now. Under the present system a tremendous amount of work is involved in bringing new men up to the standard of efficiency of more experienced trainees, and’ the feeling -amongst the officers in charge is -out of. .futility,- because even ‘ with- the intensified training at’ present in operation, the soldiers, lacking modern equipment, are- not- reaching the standard of proficiency that they should attain.
– That is quite- a reasonable view.
– There is another aspect of the matter. Despite the fact that the jobs of young men going into camp are protected to a certain degree, quite a lot of Australians are very casual, and when they find they have been, displaced from their former positions, they do not approach the tribunal which has been set up to protect them. In fact many of them do not fully appreciate their rights in that regard, or do not know how to go about the matter. Consequently,many of them become unemployed. I have talked to some of these young fellows, and the possibility of losing their jobs is a great bugbears in their lives. Amongst the compulsory trainees are many hundreds of suitable young men who make every effort to stay in the training camps. Because of. their prolonged training they have risen from the ranks to the positions of corporals or sergeants, and they look upon the military work as their lives and future. They wish to be kept permanently in . the military organization. I do not think that the Government would have any difficulty at all in establishing a permanent home defence force of80,000 or 100,000 which could he kept in camp continually, and thus be ready for service should the occasion arise. If that were done, the officers in charge of training our home forces would be much happier about their work than they are to-day. I hope that the Government will consider my suggestion, because this is a. very important matter. It appears that at present the dislocation caused in homes and in industries by putting militiamen in camp for short training periods of three months is not being compensated by the attainment of a high degree of proficiency by those trainees.
There is another matter in connexion with which I feel that the Government needs a shaking up. The Government is being congratulated a shade too much upon the excellent speech made by the Prime Minister, and on the appointment of three additional Ministers. I am reminded a little of the methods used by the Baldwin Government in Great Britain. When attacks by opponents of that Government became severe and drew too much public attention, Mr. Baldwin would graciously admit that he saw the position clearly; and he would thereupon lay down a plan of re-construction. At the end of six, eight or ten’ months, however, it would be found that nothing had happened, and the same process would be gone through again.
SenatorCollings. - Mr. Baldwin’s slogan was “ Wait and see “.
– He was an expert at diverting criticism by the promise, of action, and the present Prime Minister of Australia reminds me very much of him, but at this stage I am not very much concerned with what the right honorable gentleman has promised to do. I am not convinced that the appointment of three new Ministers to the Cabinet will accelerate our war effort in any way. It is quite obvious that members of the Cabinet are not really running the country. . They are notmaking this country safe for democracy, but, rather, by the appointment of leading industrialists to key positions in our war organization, they are merely protecting the interests of Australian monopolies. The key men of practically every monopoly in Australia hold important posts in the Government’s war effort.
– Most of them are eminent . men of great knowledge and experience.
– But they are using their ability in a way that will not do much good to the country. A brief survey of the position discloses that appointees of the Government include, Mr. Essington Lewis, of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, Mr. W. J. Smith, of Australian Consolidated Industries Limited - which company, apparently, the Government intends to take proceedings against for alleged war-time profiteering - Sir Philip Goldfinch, of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited, Mr. Thorpe, Director of Machine Tools, and Sir Archibald Howie. There are too many others to mention now. The latest appointment, which was announced in the newspapers this morning, is that of the general manager of the British-Australasian tobacco monopoly to the post of DirectorGeneral of Supply.
– He offered to sacrifice his life for the honorable senator in the last war and was wounded in the fighting line. He is a big Australian.
– The honorable senator did the same, and so did the Minister for the Interior. Many Australians offered their lives for their country and came back.
SenatorMcLeay.-It ill becomes the honorable senator tospeak like that of a great Australian.
– The honorable senator cannot put me off the track by drawing ared herring like that across the trail.
– Apparently the appointment of a Communist or trade union agitator would have pleased the honorable senator.
– That man was in the last war ; so were 350,000 other Australians who- enlisted, and every one of them, whether he was a lieutenantcolonel or a private, was as good a man as he is. Many of them finished up on the dole.
– Would the honorable senator appoint a man on the dole, instead of a man who has made a success of business?
– I would not comb the land in order to secure the services of heads of monopolist concerns. Anybody who has watched closelythe development of Australia’s war effort must be amazedat the rapid growth of monopolies. Even the latest development in the field of aluminium production is shrouded in ‘ mystery, It appears as though the Government will before long have the greatest aluminium monopoly in * the world in possession of the industry. Are there no capable men in Australia, apart from the heads of these big industrial concerns? Because of these appointments every Australian is doubtful of the Government’s capacity to produce the maximum war effort. It will be interesting to learn who will be appointed Governor of the Commonwealth Bank. Sir Alfred Davidson, of the Bank of New South Wales, would be the ideal choice, if the Government is to be consistent. We can rest assured that the monopolists will not fail to look after their own interests. When this war ends and we look around among the shattered ruins - there will be devastation everywhere even if we are victorious - we shall see standing upright, with their chimneys smoking and huge profits accruing, the factories of all of these monopolist companies. Even though the morale and the health of the average man may be farbelow what they were when the war began, these concerns will have increased in power out of all proportion to their rights. It should be the bounden duty of the Government to prevent this sort of thing. The Government has established committees to superintend our war effort, and the Labour party has given the services of many of its members in order to assist it, but still we see monopolists being called in to take more control out of the hands of the men who should be conducting the affairs of the country. These industrialists are the men who are governing Australia to-day. If they were doing a good job for the defence of the nation I should acknowledge their right to hold the positions which they occupy, but these successful commercialists have definitely failed to direct Australia’s war effort to the best advantage. Mr. Aldridge, a representative of the Sydney Sun, who should have as much first-hand knowledge of this war as anybody, because he has visited many fighting fronts, asked when he returned to Australia recently, “ Why train your men with rifles and bayonets? The war is not being fought with rifles and bayonets, but with mechanized equipment “. We have no automatic fire power in our army. There are no Bren guns in our military camps, “we have very few Lewis and Tickers guns, and we have no heavy artillery or first-line fighter aeroplanes. We aremanufacturing Wirraway aeroplanes,but we should have progressed beyond that stage in the first eight months of the war to the manufacture of Hurricanes, Spitfires, and American Curtiss fighters. Without them we cannot defend Australia adequately. The Government has not attempted to take even the initial steps necessary for the manufacture of front line fighter aeroplanes. Until we can manufacture all of these things the Government is wasting its time by training 250,000 boys to defend our country. -They must have mechanized equipment and aerial support. How far has the Government gone with the production of tanks? The monopolist directors whom I have mentioned arc supposed to be getting on with this job. If they could build up the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, multiplying its capital many times in 30 years, why can they not build tanks, fighter aeroplanes and automatic weapons? About three- weeks ago I read that a’ young man had invented a tommy-gun, and that the Government intended to place a trial order for about 100 of them. It should have obtained licences from the United States of America at the outbreak of war for the manufacture of its full requirements of this kind of weapon. The manufacture of tommy-guns is not nearly so involved as is the manufacture, of Bren guns. Had the Government been alive to its responsibilies, it would have sent men to the United States of America in order to obtain licences and blue prints, so that our factories could - have been turning out these weapons in thousands by now. We are importing tanks to-day, and yet we are exporting Wirraway training aeroplanes. If we are making too many Wirraways, we should switch part of that branch of production over to the manufacture of front line fighter aircraft. Although we are supposed to have the services of the best brains drawn from the ranks of the monopolists in Australia in the direction of our war effort we have very few of the essential things that are necessary for the proper defence of Australia, and, worse than that, the Government cannot tell us when we shall have them. Until- we can see tanks, fighter aeroplanes and a wellequipped army with adequate automatic fire-power actually in the field we shall be suspicious of the bona fide3 of the Government and the monopolists who pull strings behind the scenes.
– ‘A great deal of interest would be added to this debate if supporters of the Government broke their silence and endeavoured to give satisfactory replies to the criticism that has been voiced by honorable senators on this side of the chamber. Since the debate began yesterday afternoon there has been a constant flow of criticism of the Government’s activities which warrants some reply from Ministers. Even honorable senators on the Government side of the chamber have spoken in a critical vein.
– The best speech so far has been made by Senator A. J. McLachlan.
– There is a conspiracy of silence.
– There has been no opposition to the actual terms of the bill, which provides for an appropriation of £15,141,000, but the discussion has revealed that dissatisfaction with the policy and administration of the Government exists throughout Australia. Sometimes I wonder whether the Labour party was wise in refusing to be associated with a national government and whether a transfusion of good red blood into this anæmic administration would not be good for the country.
– The Government’s offer still holds good.
– I hope so, but perhaps the best thing would be to allow the patient to die, and put a healthy government in power. I have no intention qf .causing disruption; my criticism is always intended to be constructive. However, there is a strong feeling throughout the country that all is not well with our war effort, and that excessive profits are being made by private companies. There is widespread unrest, misunderstanding and dissatisfaction. We have been at war for nearly two years now, and it is time that this state of affairs terminated.
I endorse fully the remarks of Senator A. J. McLachlan and Senator Brown regarding the propaganda activities of the Government. For a long time the Government paid far too much attention to misrepresenting the Labour party’s attitude towards the war effort. I am pleased to notice that there is now some evidence of a lull in that campaign. There are to-day some’ signs that the Government understands the position better, .and is prepared to deal more fairly with, the Labour party. I trust that the appointment of the committees announced last night will prove helpful in this direction. I have always contended that the Government has been “slow in the uptake “, but it may be that better days are ahead of it.
The manner- in which the petrol position of Australia has been handled shows that Ministers merely muddle their way through the problems that come before them. The petrol rationing scheme is a pure bungle. By enforcing drastic restrictions on city and country people alike, the Government has shown its inability to cope with the situation. To deprive city people of the use of motor cars does not mean very much, for other means of transport are available; but to deprive country people of the use of their motor vehicles is serious in the extreme. It was apparent to many people eighteen months ago that the position in respect of motor spirit and lubricating oils would become serious in this country, but the big oil companies declared that everything would be all right, and that rationing would not be necessary because ample supplies would continue to be available. That was not the view of the thoughtful sections of the community, but the Government allowed the extravagant use of private motor vehicles to continue, with the result that restrictions have now been imposed ‘ on both commercial and pleasure transport. Had a sound policy been adopted eighteen months ago, the worst of the difficulties of the present situation could have been avoided. But’ in this, as in many other matters, the policy of the Government has been “ wait and sec”. I realize that recriminations will get us nowhere, however, and that we must face the- facts as they are. We must all be prepared to suffer such inconvenience, and to make such sacrifice as may be necessary, in the national interest.
The Government would have been wise had it obliged private cars used for pleasure purposes to go. off the roads long ago. It would also have been wise had it taken effective action two or three years ago to ensure that Australia would be more self-contained in respect of motor spirit. We should have undertaken the production of power alcohol and other substitute fuels long ago. I am glad that, at last, I can congratulate the Ministry upon a decision to do something in this direction. It has been guided for too long by armchair economists in this and in other matters. Had the policies enunciated by these theorists been followed in every, way, Australia would still have been without any basic industries, and our position would have been desperate. The Government should even now implement a > bolder “policy than it proposes for the production: of power alcohol. The recommendations of the Power Alcohol
Committee of Inquiry provide among other” things for the manufacture of 50,000,000 gallons of motor spirit a year. That quantity could and should be produced. Tha proposals of the committee should be adopted more fully than at present seems to be likely.
I was pleased to hear the speech of Senator A. J. McLachlan, but his utterance could have been delivered more appropriately from this side of the chamber. For many years, honorable senators opposite have scorned and ridiculed the ideas enunciated by honorable senators of the Opposition, and the honorable senator himself has acquiesced in the “ wait-and-see “ policy of the Government. To-day he seems to realize that a more vigorous administration is necessary, and that everything possible should be done to prevent the dislocation of industry. Although the honorable senator contended that production should be increased, he did not say in what way finance could be provided for that purpose. It would be absurd for us to think that we can continue to produce profitably commodities for which we cannot find a market, and it is the responsibility of the Government to see that our resources are organized so as to provide work for all and to prevent the dislocation of industry.
Two or three years ago, we discussed the practicability of establishing a shipbuilding industry in Australia. I referred to the capacity of certain ship-building yards in Queensland to construct wooden ships that would be of service to the country in a time of difficulty. I said . that I believed that we could construct a large number of motor torpedo boats, and other small craft that would be useful for defence purposes. Yet, the Government is only now considering .these, possibilities. A few months ago, I was assured by a shipbuilder of Brisbane, whose plant was then engaged in the building of yachts for pleasure purposes, that he could build vessels that could he of great assistance to the Commonwealth in relation to defence needs.
It is characteristic of all anti-Labour governments, however, to delay action. Honorable, gentlemen opposite, like their political associates in anti-Labour State governments, are not blessed with constructive minds. They seem quite content to remain inactive until necessity forces them to do something. I have said on a. previous occasion, and I repeat it now, that for a long while the only defence policy that the anti-Labour parties had was to present a battleship to the Mother Country. The Labour party has always advocated the adoption of adequate defence measures for Australia. Now the Government is being stampeded into action, and our position is so serious that we are obliged to do things in a way that
Ave would not prefer. . If we had made proper provision for defence, we should doubtless have. been a more effective force in assisting to preserve the peace of the world. Although members of the Government have hitherto seen fit to criticize the Labour party,. I hope. that the present signs that -they are prepared to pay some heed” tq pur . proposals, is an indication that they have “experienced a change “of heart. Honorable gentlemen opposite have also habitually indulged in criticism of the Trade Union movement, but in this regard also they are, perhaps,” seeing the error of their ways. I hope that as they work with us. on the various, committees that are to bc appointed, they will appreciate that ‘ we desire, at least as much as they do, to promote the interests of Australia, and that we are prepared to contribute to the best of- our ability to that end. I hope .that in the future we shall hear less criticism of the workers of Australia from honorable gentlemen opposite. By our co-ordinated efforts, I trust that we shall be able to contribute towards the development of a far stronger British Commonwealth of Nations so that our enemies will be overcome and this disastrous war terminated . sooner than we dare to expect at present. If the Government will indicate to the workers of Australia that it really desires their co-operation, I am sure that it will find them ready to join in a maximum war effort.”
In conclusion, I wish to emphasize the necessity for providing additional storage for the. surplus primary products of Australia, so that they may be available to other parts of the Empire after the war is over. Tremendous financial obligations will be involved in providing adequate storage for our bountiful production, and the Government will need to give some consideration to this aspect of the subject, at an early date. Whilst it may be futile for us to produce goods for which we cannot find a market and for which shipping space is not available, there i? a great deal to be said for building sufficient stores to house our surplus products until they can be marketed. I trust that the Government will make finance available for this purpose.
.- The purpose of this bill is to provide a sum of £15,141,000 for Supply to the 31st August next. For reasons which ‘“will be obvious to honor- - able senators, I do not intend to oppose the measure ;. but I shall take this opportunity to make a -few- remarks concerning members of the Government, both as legislators and as administrators. The Senate has been called together for.’ two sitting periods since the 28th May, and it will probably be summoned to.meet again some time before the 31st August to provide . additional- finance for. governmental activities. On the occasions on which we . have met since the 28th May, we -have dealt with only two important bills. Oneof these related to child, endowment, and it canriot.be said that* the Government made .a good job. of it. It is now found that amendments will- have to be sub- “mitted to the Parliament to enable many anomalies to be removed.
During the present sittings only one measure of major importance, namely, the Ministers of State Bill, has been passed. It seems that when the Government finds that it is necessary to introduce one bill of importance,- members of the Parliament are called together from all parts of Australia at .considerable expense in order to deal with it. This Government has been long- enough in office to enable Ministers to be sufficiently well trained in the art of administration to be able to present to the Parliament a legislative programme, but it has failed to do that. On the return of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) from abroad, I thought that the representative of the Government in the Senate would have submitted a programme of works for the better development of Australian industries, as well as for an additional’ effort towards the winning of the war, but that has not been done. Naturally, on his return to Australia, the Prime Minister was very tired. He said that he had travelled- 42,000 miles by air, and that his trip ‘had been very interesting, but the most” interesting thing that the people of Australia wanted to know was what he recommended should be done in this country in connexion with the international situation. What is required of Great Britain and its allies with regard to the war effort was not made known to us, and up to the present the people have been denied that information. I am surprised that the Leader of the Senate (.Senator McLeay) has not seen fit to present to this chamber a statement regarding the present international situation. Surely the Government is advised of what is going on .throughout the world. We do not know where we stand with respect to our partnership in the British Commonwealth of Nations and our great effort to combat Hitlerism. Apparently we are not- to be advised- on that matter during the present, sittings. How can we give our best services to the people whom we “represent if we are working in the dark? We have had no advice regarding activities of Austraiian airmen overseas, and no request has been made with regard to what should be done to make up deficiencies in personnel. Nor are we advised as to an increase of air protection required by our troops, the need for which was. demonstrated in Greece and Crete. That debacle reflects no credit on the higher commands in either Great Britain or Australia. The British Government was attacked, in regard to that aspect of operations in that area, not by representatives of Australia in our own Parliaments, but by important and responsible newspapers in Great Britain itself, which drew attention to mistakes that should not have been made. That matter has been passed’ over quietly, but somebody must shoulder the blame for what occurred. I am giving away no secrets when I say that the Australian forces did not have sufficient protection in the Middle East. Statements by General Blarney were published in the press in
Australia indicating that what we needed most was,- not additional recruits for the Australian Imperial Force, but more fighters, bombers and tanks. That is the situation to-day. At the time of the withdrawals from Greece and Crete, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Spender) demanded a quickening of the recruiting efforts of the responsible officers of his department, and an appeal was made for more men, but the Minister had nothing to protect them with. Such an’ appeal by a man occupying such a responsible position as that of Minister for the Army shocked the people of Australia at that time, because he demonstrated that he had not closely scrutinized the press reports regarding the criticism of the higher commands in Great Britain and in the Middle East. It also showed that the Minister had not paid attention to the remarks of General Blarney. Instead of demanding more and more men, the responsibility lies on the Government to see that war planes are turned out in such large quantities, and with such rapidity, as will give to Australian fighting forces a chance equal to that of those against whom they are pitted in the Middle East and in other battlefields to which they have been sent. That is the work which we expect this Government to do.
Perhaps we have seen this week a flash of high-speed governmental action, because a bill has been passed to. increase the numerical strength of Ministers of State. I welcomed that measure, and was glad that the additional Ministers appointed are well qualified for the duties that they will be called upon to -perform. Whereas men of legal training are worthy of a place in ministries, it is Possible to have too many of them. Therefore I welcome the- appointment of men not associated with the legal profession. In view of the appointment of these additional Ministers the people of Australia will expect a speeding-up of the production of munitions and other materials required for the war effort and also a greater utilization of our national resources. Whether the Government- will accomplish that, is beyond my power to predict at the present time; because, so far, the delays that have occurred, and the inability and incapacity of at least some of those who hold, ministerial posts, have been such that I am given no encouragement to expect any great degree of improvement in the future. I need only refer to the confusion that has been caused in connexion with petrol rationing. There has been complete muddle since its inception. It would appear that, at the moment, not only the Government but also the users of petrol in Australia are most anxious to utilize producer gas units in order to obtain motor power for the purposes of their business. The Government, knowing that rationing was to be effected and that there would certainly be a scarcity of petrol in Australia, did nothing to speed up the production of producer-gas units to replace that of which the people were to be deprived. Until after the Parliament went into recess quite recently, it did nothing towards the standardization of producer-gas production in Australia. “What is the reason ? Why have delays occurred? Why has no action been taken ? Surely it was apparent to the Government and its responsible advisers that such action would have to be taken as would prevent the. dislocation of industry. ‘Honorable senators need only travel through the agricultural areas of this country in order to witness the depletion of population caused by the reduction of petrol supplies. Many places that were towns a few months ago are almost completely depopulated at present, and industries which were connected with their establishment have gone out of existence, as the result of petrol rationing.
Mention has been made of a “ new order “ which is to follow the termination of this war. The present order, or disorder, that has been allowed to grow up in this country has destroyed almost every semblance of industrial activity, not only in our country areas but also in some of our more important rural towns; yet nothing has been - done to correct the position. The Government does not seem to think that any responsibility rests upon it. Its most urgent cry is for men and more men to reinforce our troops overseas. I find no fault with that, provided that other important issues which concern the welfare of this country are not overlooked ; but the Government has been responsible for neglect in many respects, and that will have a terrific repercussion on the lives of the people in the very hear future, even before the war is over.
Unemployment is growing in some States. It may be said that many persons are unemployable, because they have not been fortunate enough “to receive training in trades or professions. Nevertheless, they are here, and many of them were following most useful occupations before the outbreak of the war. To-day, there is no place in industry for them and they cannot obtain work. My reason for mentioning the matter is to bring directly under the notice of responsible Ministers in this chamber the urgent need for the adoption of some means for the training of men, who to-day are unemployable, to do useful service for the Australian nation during the whole period of crisis. The Government is making no worthwhile effort. Some of the technical schools in the different States have undertaken technical training, but only to a limited degree. The Government is not handling the situation at all; it has entirely neglected that phase of administration. Although many Ministers have stated that some action should and would be taken, that has not been done. In my own State, over 100 young people who are capable of being trained have applied to be trained, but apparently proper facilities are not available. Nor. is there scope for training which would enable them to be employed in useful occupations in connexion with the present requirements of the nation. That is the condition not only in Western Australia but also in other States. Maybe the Government will .speed up its operations. It is to be hoped that it realizes that its responsibilities are enormously greater now than they were only a few months ago. As Ministers are to receive assistance, they should avail themselves of every moment of their time to do their utmost, to make a maximum effort. That is not yet being -done. Much could be done, to deal with matters that urgently require attention. For example, surely the Government does not claim that it is doing its utmost in connexion- with the production of aircraft for war purposes. Nor can it claim that it is exploiting available mineral deposits to obtain metals used in munition production.
The opportunity is present. The Government has not been short of money. It has had enormous sums; so much, in fact, that it has not been able to expend the whole of the amount voted. What is the trouble? Has the Government done anything in connexion with the training of administrators?
I want Ministers to reply to these observations. The. people of Australia are deeply concerned, and want to know why certain commodities of which mention has been made in this Parliament have not been produced in larger quantities. We have had almost two years at war. We have read in the press, and have heard it stated by responsible persons, that Australia has accomplished wonderful feats of progress and development since the outbreak of hostilities. Doubtless we have; but we could have done better. We are not yet utilizing the resources that are available to us. We are not training, on special lines, the young men who are ready to be trained, in order that they may undertake special work. It is of no use to say that we have not the necessary tools. Tools are being produced. There are lathes in different parts of Australia which could’ be requisitioned if they were required. Various parts of machines could be utilized for the purpose of tool production, but that is not being done. Huge factories in Australia are employed to-day on work, not for the purpose of assisting our war effort but in order to keep luxury trades fully supplied. The services of the machines, machinists and technicians in these factories should be utilized solely for the production of essential war supplies. The skilled technicians engaged in these luxury industries should be engaging in the task of training others in the production of goods necessary to enable the Government successfully to carry on’ our share in the war. Senator A. J. McLachlan said that we should pray for Russia’s success. I remember the time when some Labour people in Sydney carried the “ Hands off Russia “ resolution and how we had to stand up to the taunts and gibes of honorable senators opposite concerning it. To-day, however, Ave are asked to pray for the success of Russian arms. I am just as anxious as is Senator A. J. McLachlan to see Russia beat Germany because I want to see the dread spectre of nazi-ism banished from the earth. It is extraordinary that Ave should have been sneered and gibed at by honorable sena tors opposite at the,very timewhen the British Governmentwas attempting to arrange for its representation atMoscow with a view to the creation of better relations between the two countries. I mention this now because it is necessary to remind honorable senators of how they change their ground. We were not only flagellated by honorable senators opposite and asked to carry theonus of responsibility of decisions made by a tribunal with which Ave had nothing to do, but Ave. also had to stand up to libellous statements in the Australian press. However, we knew the situation much better than did the Government of the day.
The Governmentwould bewell advised to spread the expenditure of defence moneys throughout Australia proportionately to the raising of taxes and of revenues.
– The honorable senator knows that it is quite impossible to do that.
– Anything may be impossible until it is attempted. Why should the great reserves of men and materials in Western Australia be forced to lie idle? The reason is obvious. The Government is carrying out its usual formula of protecting its wealthy supporters in the more prosperous States without regard for the consequences to our Avar effort. Whenever Western Australians have endeavoured to establish a factory in theirown State, competing manufacturers in the eastern States have reduced the price of their commodities with the result that the industries in Western Australia have been strangled in their infancy.. We have adopted a new philosophy. It is no use crying in the wilderness. We know that we have to depend on ourselves. We realize that the people of the eastern States are too busy looking after their own affairs to give us a thought exceptwhen they need our raw materials to keep theirown industries going.
The Labour party has made it possible for this Parliament to beworkable. We expect the Government to get on with thejob. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber have co-operated with the Government in every possible way. We are prepared to assist it by taking our place on any of the Standing and Parliamentary committees which have recently been appointed to advise Ministers in connexion with the various phases of industrial and rural development, and to assist it in connexion with any other matter on which it desires our advice. In future, we want from this Government deeds not word.’. We do not want the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Senate to say, “We are going, to do so and so”. We are fed up with that. If the Government porposes to make appointments for the purpose of speeding up production, provided the selected men are wisely chosen, let it make them and tell us about it afterwards. It is useless for Ministers to tell us what they propose to do six months hence. 1 am glad that the office of assistant minister has been abolished. Although many assistant ministers were very good mon, they were hampered by lack of authority in carrying out the work of their departments. 1 trust that no appointments of this kind will be made in tho future. We have responsible Ministers now, and we expect them to do the work of the nation and to be answerable to Parliament for the work of their departments. 1 appeal to tlie Government to do the job instead of merely talking about it. .1 am prepared to assist the Government in every way to bring into being a total -war effort. “I shall do everything possible to block the depletion of our country towns and the smashing of our country industries. lt is a sad spectacle to see the residents of country towns forced into the metropolitan areas to earn a living. No good can come of it. Every effort must be made to k:ep country people in their own districts by providing them with occupations at a wage which will enable them to live decently.
– In view of the fact that a good deal of the criticism indulged in by the honorable senators opposite has been directed to service , departments, the Leader of the Senate (.Senator McLeay) has asked me to assure honorable senators generally that their representations will be brought to the notice of the service Ministers concerned. A good deal of the criticism which has been directed against the Government, in relation to the war effort is entirely unwarranted and unfair. Honorable senators opposite should ask their colleagues on. the Advisory War Council whether it is not a fact that since the outbreak of war a complete change has come over the scene in this country in relation to our defences. Listening to the speeches of some honorable senators opposite, particularly Senator Armstrong, and to a lesser degree, Senator Cameron, one would imagine that during the whole of the period of the war, the Government has done practically nothing in the interests of our defence. But honorable senators know perfectly well that that: is not the case. They know that, new life has been infused into our activities, of which they can see evidence at every turn. Every facility is given to honorable senators to see for themselves exactly what is being accomplished in the organization of our defence. If they would accept those opportunities they would learn of the new organization of industry, involving new classes of machines, and the manufacture of equipment which, a. few years ago, no one even dreamt could be made in this country. If they made such investigations they would not indulge in criticism of the kind that has been voiced this afternoon. One thing that strikes me very forcibly is that, apparently, the only way in whichwe can really hear of the good work thatis being done by the nation is when a distinguished person from overseas visits us and is given an opportunity to see what we are doing. Since I have been Minister for Information it has been my privilege to welcome many distinguished people from the United States of America and to provide them with facilities to’ go through our munition and aircraft factories. Invariably, they have expressed wonderment at the progress we have made in the establishment and development of our war industries, and on their return to the United States of America they have written of our work in the most eulogistic terms in the press of their country. Of course, this Government has made mistakes. But if honorable senators opposite, or members of , any t other political party, had been occupying the treasury bench during the last two months, mistakes also would have occurred. Our industrial accomplishments since the outbreak of war, have been marvellous, when we think of the new spheres into which we have launched, and the new kinds of manufacture we have undertaken. I say to Senator Armstrong that no one has done more to revolutionize industry in this country than Mr. Essington Lewis, of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, whom he has so thoughtlessly defamed. When the Government looks for guidance in the organization of its war effort, it must naturally utilize nien with the best brains and experience.. To the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings), I say that Mr. Brodribb, who is a brilliant man- and has been associated with the production of ammunition for many years, will tell him that the advice and organizing capacity placed at his disposal by Mr. Essington Lewis has been invaluable in the building up of our war industries. That observation applies also to many other men associated with various industries whose services have been co-opted by the Government in its war effort. I know ‘from personal experience that many of those gentlemen, who one honorable senator has said are most concerned about safeguarding their own affairs, have completely neglected their own interests in order to give their services to the country in the present crisis. We should now be in a very sorry plight had we not been able to utilize the brains and capacity of many of these leaders of industry. It is only natural that when we want jobs of this kind done, we should look to men of ability, as undoubtedly these men are. When Ave look at the industrial map of Australia to-day, Ave find that a complete change has come Over the scene during the last few years. Honorable senators know that in their respective States, huge Empire air training schools have sprung up, and that seaplane bases, on which men have worked day and night in order to complete the jobs to schedule, have been constructed. They also know the tremendous burden that has been placed upon our naval establishments since the outbreak of Avar. It is not hard to imagine the work involved in the fitting of ships with guns and paravanes, and the conver sion of small craft to mine-sweepers. A tremendous amount of organization has been necessary to accomplish those things. Honorable senators are aware that factories have been established from one end of Australia to the other, and are now engaged in Avar” production. They also know that Ave have been able to produce considerable quantities of munitions for not only ourselves but also other Empire countries and the Motherland itself.
No ground exists for the statement that shipbuilding has been neglected. The Government was urged by the imperial authorities to concentrate on naval shipbuilding in preference to commercial shipbuilding. We were asked to place our yards at the disposal of our Navy, and the British Navy, for the construction of ships of a certain class, which honorable senators know are now being launched at regular intervals. Every shipyard is being fully utilized, and every man skilled in shipbuilding is engaged in that work
– Would not- wooden ships be of advantage?
– I am now referring to ships which Ave have been constructing to specifications supplied by the British naval authorities. That work is proceeding at the greatest possible speed. We have been working strictly to a naval programme in preference to a commercial programme, and not only our own Navy, but also the British Navy has been greatly assisted by that work. In times such as these, no Government expects to be free of criticism, but whatever criticism is offered should be fair. Now that committees have been appointed, honorable senators, will have a greater knowledge of the activities of the Government than they have had in the past, and they will have an opportunity to acquaint themselves with what is being clone in Australia. Unfortunately, some of the speeches delivered to-day have not been good advertisements for Australia’s Avar effort, or a true reflection of what is being accomplished by this country at present.
– They will have a ^ bad effect on recruiting.
– That is quite true. I should like to express my appreciation of the references made by honorable senators to the work of the Department of Information. I am very much in accord with the statements made by Senators A. J. Mclachlan, Brown and others. Frankly, 1 do think that the propaganda side of the department - has been neglected, or at least has not functioned to the best advantage. There has been an effort to make the department a news bureau rather than a means of disseminating propaganda, but it has not the facilities for supplying either overseas or local news in competition with newspapers and broadcasting services. I believe that its organization can be much better utilized solely on the propaganda side, and, as Senator A. J. Mclachlan and others have said, by making known to the people all that nazi -ism stands for and what it would mean to this country or to any other country which came under its control. I .assure the Senate that the Department of Information is not an easy department to administer. Many of the difficulties which the British Department of Information has had to face also apply to the Department of Information here. For instance, there are difficulties in connexion- with the service departments which, in many cases, are not desirous of having information regarding their activities published. Whilst they cannot be blamed for that, because there are many things that should not be published, the public demands more and more information. In trying to supply that need, the Department of Information must not lose sight of the fact that the service departments themselves always endeavour to play safe under the National Security Regulations. I have effected many changes in the organization of the department, and I have cut down considerably some of its activities which I considered to be wasteful or unwarranted. I assure honorable senators that I shall endeavour to utilize the department along the lines suggested by- them. I repeat that I am in agreement with, the suggestion that the department should be used more as an instrument of propaganda than as a news service.
I should like’ also to express the Government’s appreciation of the good wishes expressed in the .speeches (qf some honor able senators concerning the new Ministers. I trust that with the active cooperation which we hope to obtain from the recently appointed committees, ..and from the new Ministers, our efforts will be even greater in the future than they have been in the past.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first and second time.
Clauses 1 to 5 agreed to.
, -Provision was once made - under the Department of Defence for subsidizing gliding clubs. I have brought this matter up on several occasions, because I believe that we should encourage gliding in this country. It is true that quite a number of people are opposed to the idea. It is generally recognized to-day that the Government would have been wise to encourage gliding clubs so as to develop airmindednessamongst young Australians. I should like also to have some explanation of the item relating to expenditure on rifle clubs.
– I cannot give the information offhand.
– I should like to have’ advice as to what. I should do in order to assist a returned soldier who has made repeated unsuccessful applications for a military pension. I know this man personally, and his case is worthy of favorable consideration. He served at the last war for four years, and had a very good record: On his return to Australia he was able to follow a civil occupation for a number of years, and did not make any demands on the Repatriation Department. However, one of his legs has withered, and he is now unable to obtain employment of any sort. He contends that his disability is due to war service, but the department requires him to produce evidence to that effect. He is unable to do so. It is extremely difficult to prove, by medical evidence, that his incapacity is due to war service. He is in receipt of a pension of £1 a week, which is not adequate. Special consideration should be given to such cases.
– Soldiers who are. incapacitated as the result of war service are provided for under tlie Repatriation. Act and regulations framed under it. A claim :for a pension is adjudged in the first instance by the Repatriation Board. After that, the applicant has recourse to the Repatriation Commission. If his claim should be rejected by the commission, he may appeal to a tribunal composed of his comrades, who decide the question on the evidence which he submits. Even if the decision of the tribunal is against his application, he may make a further appeal if he can produce fresh evidence relating to his incapacity. Unfortunately, no country in the British Empire has yet undertaken the responsibility of caring for returned soldiers to the end of their days. The procedure is definite as a general rule. The applicant must prove that his disability is due to war service before he can receive a pension under existing legislation.
– Several cases relating to destitute widows of returned soldiers have been brought to my notice, and I wish to know whether any provision is made by the Commonwealth for their assistance. I have in mind the case of Mrs. F. M. Simmons, of Parkdale, Victoria, to which I directed the attention of the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Collett) some time ago. Her husband was a returned soldier in receipt of a pension, and she also received a pension of 4s. 6d. a week. He enlisted for home service during the present war, but died at the St. Kilda Barracks. The widow appealed for an increase of her pension, but the appeal was dismissed on the ground that she was unable to produce fresh evidence to prove that her husband had died from war injuries. She is an elderly woman and cannot obtain employment. When I directed the attention of the Minister for Expatriation to her situation, he replied that the Government had no funds which could bc used for her assistance. The pension of 4s. 6d. a week which she is now receiving is far too small for her needs. Would not a pension for her be a fair charge on the nation? She is now dependent upon the charity of her relatives and any money that her two children can bring in to the home. . Until recently, both of the children were minors, and now one of them has enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. I should like the Minister to consider making provision for such cases. There .are not many of them and ‘the expenditure involved would not be very great.
– An amendment of the act would be necessary.
– I have been, informed of that fact, but I ask the Minister whether there is any 4special fund from which some contribution could be made. It would not be a dangerous precedent to establish.
– The details of this case are .very well known to inc. There is nothing in this bill which covers cases such as that of Mrs. Simmons, nor ‘has Parliament voted any money to a fund from which 3he could be assisted.. Some years ago, the Government of the day proposed to introduce a scheme of social insurance, which would have” provided for such cases, but the scheme was not put into effect. I suggest that the honorable senator address a letter to me on the principle involved, and I shall bring it to the notice of the Minister for Social Services (Sir Frederick Stewart) with a view, if possible, to having some action taken along the lines that he suggests.
Schedule agreed to.
Preamble and title agreed.
Bill reported without requests; report adopted.
Bill’ read a third time.
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till Tuesday next, at 3 p.m.
I remind honorable senators that at our next meeting honorable senators who were elected at the last general election will take the oath of allegiance in the presence of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Re-employment ofreturned Soldiers - Producer-Gas equipment on Go- vernment Vehicles - Valedictory -
Department of labour and national Service - Ban on Women Travellers - Militia: Exemptions; Senator Armstrong.
SenatorMcLEAY (South Australia - Minister for Supply and Development) [5.3]. - I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
To-day Senator Keane asked me, upon notice -
Will the Government consider the gazettal of a regulation to ensure that men who enlist in thefighting services are guaranteed their civilian position on discharge from service?
I invite the attention of the honorable senator to the National Security (Reinstatement in Civil Employment) Regulations, of which a consolidation is available in the Manual of National Security Legislation. I believe that these regulations will be found to meet his request. Senator Armstrong asked me, upon notice -
Is it a fact that some months ago the Government statedthat ten per cent. of Government vehicles were tobe installed with gas producers?
Will the Minister inform the Senate what percentage of Commonwealth vehicles have been provided with gas producers to this date 7
I am now able to inform the honorable senator as follows -
The Government has not instructed that any definite percentage of its vehicles shall be converted to gas-producer, buthas directed that each department should equip its vehicles to the maximum extent practicable and should report on its proposals.
So far the percentage of Commonwealth vehicles equipped with producer-gas units is low, but the matter of substantially increasing the percentage within a short period is now being actively pursued.
SenatorFraser asked me, upon notice-
What number of Army and Air Force transport vehicles arc fitted with producer-gas units?
Sixteen Army transport vehicles are fitted with these units. At present no Royal Australian Air Force transport vehicles are fitted, but the matter is under consideration and General Motors are at present conducting a test on a vehicle for the Air Force with a view to determine its suitability.
As this is the end of a period in the history of the Senate and certain senators will have retiredbefore our next meeting, I take the opportunity to pay a special tribute to one of our distinguished colleagues, Senator Grant, who is retiring of his own. accord. The honorable senator was first elected to this chamber on the 29th July, 1925, and he ha.3 served continuously as a senator since the 3rd March, 1932. We are all sorry to know that he has not enjoyed good health, mainly, I think because he has tried to do too much;but we are delighted to learn that his health has been restored sufficiently to enable him to visit Canberra for this sitting period. I am sure that all honorable senators believe as I do, that the honorable gentleman has displayed marked courage and interest in the work of the Senate by making what was for him a hazardous trip to be present at this sitting. We express our admiration of his fortitude. I am sure also that the people of Tasmania will appreciate the fact that during his long term as a senator he has rendered distinguished service not only to Tasmania, but also to the Commonwealth as a whole, and we are proud of what he has done.
I also pay a tribute to Senator Abbott and Senator Dein. Although their retirement is due to the fortunes of political warfare,wewish them good luck in the future.
We shall extend a hearty welcome to the senatorswho will replace the three who are severing their connexion with the Senate.Two of the gentlemen who will join uswill represent New South Wales, and. they will face a period inwhich a good deal of service will be required. The other newcomerwill be our old friend, Colonel Sampson.
I appreciate the kindness of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings),who, as soon as he learned that Senator Grant was seriously ill, undertook to provide a pair for him whenever it was impossible for him to be present in the Senate. That is only what we would expect from our Queensland colleague. On behalf of the Government I desire to thank the honorable senator for his gesture and to say that . I know his action was in accord with the wishes of his colleagues.
– There is little need for me to add to the remarks of the Leader of the Senate (Senator McLeay). It is an occasion for regret that an honorable senator feels that he must relinquish his parliamentary duties on account of ill health. When an honorable gentleman disappears from among us as the result of political defeat we accept it as a result of political warfare. As the subject is painful, in that we do not know when our own turn may come. I may perhaps be excused from saying any more on the subject. In respect of Senator Grant, I repeat the hope that I expressed on a less formal occasion yesterday, that his retirement from the hurly-burly of politics will result in an improvement of his health and that the years ahead of him will not be less happy than the years that have passed.
.- I feel deeply the eulogistic remarks of the Leader of the ‘Senate (Senator McLeay) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings), concerning the serviceI have been privileged to render in the Senate for some years. I sincerely thank the Government,and also the Opposition, for their kindness to me during my illness and I make special acknowledgment of the generosity of the Leader of the Opposition in arranging a pair for me whenever I have needed it. The fact that such action is usual does not lessen my appreciation of it for I have often required a pair during the past threeyears. I have felt very much the kindness of the Leader of the Opposition in meeting me onevery occasion in this regard, and I shall always remember it.
– All the members of my party agree with what was done.
– I express my thanks to you, Mr. President, and to all the members of the Senate for their uniform courtesy and kindness to me during my membership of the Senate. Although some of us differ politically, such differences do not affect the personal friendships’ which we form and I trust that I may call all who are now members of the Senate my personal friends. We have our individual political ideas, and I respect the views of members of the Opposition as I am sure they respect mine. I am leaving the Senate with great regret. I have been a member of it for many years, and had hoped to finish my career whilst still associated with it. Owing to indifferent health, I have not been in a position to give my best service to the State which I have had the honour to represent for so long, and I thought that it was time for me to make way for a representative who would perhaps be able to render better and more effective service than I. I have to thank the Hansard staff for’ the way in which they have reported my speeches in this chamber. Perhaps I have not always used classical English. I may have often employed good Australian instead, but my speeches have read practically as well as those of more fluent members of this chamber. The officers and officials of the Senate have been of great assistance to me, as to other senators, and I thank them also. We have to depend on them frequently for advice, and this has always been freely given. I wish the Senate Godspeed in its work, and leave with it my best wishes and also the clear conviction that senators will continue to uphold the honour and dignity of the chamber to which we have all been so proud to belong.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes). - I endorse the remarks of the Leader of the Senate (Senator McLeay) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) regarding the retiring senators, and I wish them well. I particularly desire to refer to my old colleague, Senator Grant. I am sorry that he is leaving this Parliament. He is held in the highest esteem, both in Tasmania and in Canberra. He has done outstanding work in the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Parliaments, and I am glad to join in the expressions ofgoodwill and friendship towards him. As I have reached the end of the three years for which I was elected as President of the Senate, I thank senators on both sides of the chamber for their kindly assistance in enabling me to discharge my presidential duties. I owe a great deal to senators on both sides of the chamber, and I appreciate their kindness and co-operation.’ I thank the Clerk of the Senate (Mr. Broinowski), Mr. Edwards, Mr.’ Loof and others, for the great assistance they have given to me. I also thank the Hansard staff and the other officers of the Senate for their helpful work.
– by loane - Although, Mr. President, you stated that you had come to the end of the term of three years for which you were elected President, I would remind you that -the president of a great republic has had, not only one term but also- a second, and’ has recently been elected for even a third period as president. I am sure that all of your friends in the Senate would be glad to know that you had not ended, your career as President, but only the first term of three years.
In the House of Representatives, the Minister for Labour and National Ser- vice (Mr, Holt) stated that additional officers of his department are to be located in Melbourne. I do not wish to add to what I said yesterday about the transfer of the Pensions Department from Canberra to Sydney, although I still think that such action is a crime against the National Capital. I understand that more than one-half of the existing staff of the Department of Labour and National Service at present located in Canberra is to be transferred to Melbourne. I believe that some of the members of that staff have purchased houses or aro purchasing them in Canberra. The .department is now undertaking work of great importance which has not previously been given to it, .and I understand that not more than half a dozen of its officers will be left* in Canberra. Will the Leader of the Senate represent to the Cabinet that thu Opposition asks for an assurance that the expanded reconstruction division, which was referred to by the Minister for Labour and rational Service, will not bc an appendage merely to the major department located in Melbourne? If the answer given by the
Government is what I anticipate it will be, it will be entirely unsatisfactory to every member of the Opposition.
I also direct attention to tha subject of granting permission to women to .travel overseas during war-time. It may bo imagined that I am referring only to women who wish to go abroad in connexion with war-time operations. Certain women have received permission to travel abroad since the outbreak of war. In what circumstances is such permission granted, unless it is given to all women who desire to go abroad? With the exception of Lady Blarney, the wives of men serving in the Australian Imperial Force have not be: n allowed to join their husbands. I am not now raising the point that Lady Blainey was allowed’ to go overseas, although her return was demanded and she refused to return. I wish to know whether the . ban on the wives of men serving abroad would prevent them from travelling to any part of the world during war-time. The wife of a soldier may desire to go to another country. I wish to know whether the ban applying to soldiers’ wives who wish to he near their husbands applies equally to those who wish to go abroad foi- other reasons! It ought to be possible for the wife of a soldier in the Australian Imperial Force to obtain permission to travel abroad, and there should be no ban on her leaving, if the country to which she desires to go is within the British Empire. I have in mind the ease of a person who has been refused permission to take up a position which is waiting for her in India. I can bring that particular case to the notice of the Minister concerned, but I desire to know the general application of tha ban regarding the wives of soldiers who wish to go to another part of the British Empire. If the Leader of the Senate will note these remarks, I shall .be very greatly obliged.
Senator BRAND (Victoria) [“5.30”). - I draw the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for the Army (Mr. Spender) to the excessive number of exemptions, granted to men called up for three months’ militia camp training. It seems to me that a tightening up is necessary in connexion with the reserved occupations. Recently a New South Wales brigade should have gone into camp about 4,000 strong, hut it was 1,000 short owing to exemptions. I wonder how many of these men were Commonwealth and State public servants! I ask the Minister to make inquiries, particularly in respect of public servants stationed in Canberra. Indeed, the whole question of exemptions by the Manpower Committee in each State requires an overhaul.
May I, in this connexion, compliment Senator Armstrong who, although exempt as a member of the Federal Parliament, is voluntarily going into a throe months’ camp with the 32-year-old draft. He has shown a patriotic spirit in preparing himself for any eventualities.
. - in reply - The points raked will be referred to the appropriate Ministers. I hope to have replies to them early next week.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Pay-roll Tax Assessment Act - Regulations - StatutoryRules 1941, No. 121.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Ordinances of 1941 -
No. 5- Stock.
No.6 - Industrial Board.
Regulations-No. 2 of 1941 (Industrial Board Ordinance).
(From 1st July, 1941.)
SIXTEENTH PARLIAMENT-FIRST SESSION : THIRD PERIOD.
President - Senator the Honorable James Cunningham.
Leader of the Opposition - Senator Joseph Silver Collings.
Senate adjourned at5.22 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 June 1941, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1941/19410627_senate_16_167/>.