27 August 1941

16th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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The PRESIDENT read and laid on the table his warrant appointing Senator Sampson a member of the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications to fill a vacancy existing on the committee.

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Senator AYLETT:

– Six months ago the Minister for Supply and Development informed the Senate that Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited would be producing magnesium about the middle of this year. Can the Minister now inform the Senate how much magnesium, if any, has been produced? If none has been produced, has any factory,machinery, or other equipment been installed for its production? If not, have any plans been made by Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited or the Government for the production of magnesium in Australia ?

Senator McBRIDE:
Minister for Munitions · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · UAP

– Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited has a plant in operation, and it has produced magnesium. I shall ascertain the quantity produced, and shall supply the information to the honorable senator.

Senator AYLETT:

– Was the magnesium to which the Minister has referred produced by a pilot plant, or was it manufactured on a commercial scale?

Senator McBRIDE:

– It was produced by means of an industrial plant of a substantial capacity.

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Senator ARTHUR:

– Will the Minister for Information inform the Senate whether, during his visit to Bali and Singapore, he found that the flavour of peanuts was improved when eaten from agold plate?

Senator FOLL:
Minister for the Interior · QUEENSLAND · UAP

– The question is a stupid one.

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– I recently asked the Leader of the Senate if he could supply the names of those persons whose services were being used by the Commonwealth Government, but whose remunerations were not wholly paid by it. As the information is not yet to hand, I should like to know if the Minister intends to supply an answer to my question.

Senator McLEAY:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · UAP

– The matter has been referred to the Prime Minister’s Department, and I shall ascertain whether the department proposes to supply an answer. I understand that the reply formerly given was that the information would be supplied as soon as possible. An enormous volume of work is entailed by inquiries of this kind, and I dare say the department is putting first things first.

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Senator KEANE:

– Will you, Mr. President, examine the method by which pairs are listed in the Hansard reports of the proceedings in this chamber? On a number of occasions I have given a pair, but the fact that I have paired has not been shown in the Hansard record. On one occasion my name did not appear either in the division list or the list of pairs.


– I shall have inquiries made, and the honorable senator will be furnished with a reply later.

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Senator DARCEY:

– Will the Minister representing the Treasurer obtain the information sought by me recently regarding the Commonwealth conversion loan that was floated on the London market on the 21st June last? I asked to be informed as to the conversion costs, and why the loan was issued at £99 instead of at £100.

Senator McBRIDE:

– The information is not yet to hand, but I shall make inquiries regarding the matter, and endeavour to obtain an answer for the honorable senator.

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Assistance by Press and Radio Stations.


asked the Minister for Information, upon notice -

  1. What amount, if any, does the press of Australia pay to the Department of Information for the privilege of publishing photographs supplied by the Department?
  2. What amount, if any, do Australian commercial B class broadcasting stations pay to the Department of Information for the privilege of broadcasting material supplied by the department?
Senator FOLL:

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -

  1. The newspapers of Australia do not pay the Department of Information for the privilege of publishing photographs supplied by the department.
  2. The Australian commercial B class broad- . casting stations do not pay the Department of Information for the privilege of broadcasting material supplied by the department.

I desire to add that the department regards the publication of these photographs to be of great value as propaganda, and as a means of disseminating information. The B class radio stations also are assisting the war effort considerably by arranging for free broadcasts in favour of recruiting, the value of which cannot be assessed in terms of money.

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Senator ARTHUR:

asked the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -

  1. What was the price paid for firewood delivered duringDecember, 1940, and January and February, 1941, to military camps at South Head, Mosman, North Head, Showground, and other places within a 15-miles radius of Macquarie-place, Sydney.
  2. What is the present contract price for firewood delivered at the above camps?
  3. What is the present price paid for firewood delivered to the following defence camps: - Walgrove, Ingleburn, Liverpool, Holdsworthy, Narellan, Richmond, and Bankstown, all in New South Wales?
  4. Is the price paid for firewood delivered to military camps based on the cost-plus system of costing?
  5. If the answer to No. 4 is in the affirmative, what are the sectional costs paid in respect of royalty, cutters, bush to mill, sawyers, and delivery to eachindividual camp?
Senator McLEAY:

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -

  1. At South Head, Mosman and North Head prices for December, 1940, and January and February, 1941, were constant at 35s. a ton. At the Showground 26s. for December, 1940, and 23s. for January and February, 1941.
  2. All places, 30s.
  3. Walgrove 26s. 6d., Ingleburn, Liverpool, Holdsworthy, and Narellan 21s. The contract for Richmond was at the rate of 20s. until April when it expired. Since the date of expiration, firewood has been purchased under local authority on the open market at prices varying between 20s. and 24s. a ton. Bankstown, 28s.0d.
  4. No.
  5. See 4.

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Senator AYLETT:

asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. Has any regulation been made abolishing exemptions allowed over and above a wife and one child for income tax purposes?
  2. If not, who instructed the Commissioner of Taxation to circularize taxpayers to the effect that the only family deductions allowed are for a wife and one child; and under whose authority were such instructions issued?
  3. If the reply to No. 1 is in the affirmative, is it not a grave injustice to the taxpayers to disallow such deductions on last year’s return, seeing that child endowment was not in operation in 1940-41?
Senator McBRIDE:

– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers -

  1. No such regulation has been made.
  2. The Commissioner of Taxation did not so circularize taxpayers. The Treasury Department, however, has circularized all paying officers in the Commonwealth Public Service to limit the concessional deductions to the wife and one child when calculating the instalment deduction to be made for purposes of the Commonwealth Public Service group scheme. It has been done with the Treasurer’s authority. Pending an amendment of the law, however, deductions for all dependent children will be allowed in any actual assessments which may be made.
  3. The approval set out in No. 2 does not do any grave injustice to any taxpayer having regard to the group scheme of instalment deductions.

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asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

With reference to the proposed second telephone wire between Perth and Port Augusta, which has been approved, when will the extra wire be installed?

Senator McLEAY:

– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answer : -

It is not possible to indicate at present when the installation of additional telephone and telegraph channels between Adelaide and Perth can be undertaken for the reason that the War Cabinet in authorizing the project as a defence measure stipulated that the work could be carried out only if it did not interfere with or delay more important defence communication requirements which must be given priority in respect of supplies of essential materials. The position regarding the supply of materials for the Adelaide-Perth proposal is now being examined and the honorable senator may rest assured that the work will bo proceeded with at the earliest possible moment.

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Rehabilitation of Airmen in Civil Life.

Senator COOPER:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Air, upon notice -

  1. What provision is made for an airman of the Royal Australian Air Force who has given up his occupation, passed the necessary training and, while stationed at Canberra, has developed goitre, thus becoming medically unfit for service in any military capacity?
  2. If such a person is rejected by the Repatriation Department on the grounds of his disability not having been contracted on war service, what action is taken by the Government to rehabilitate such a case in civil life?
Senator FOLL:

– The Minister for Air has supplied the following answers : -

  1. If his service was wholly in Australia, even though enlisted for service at home or abroad, it would be necessary before there is any responsibility under the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act for the disability to be regarded as directly attributable to his employment as a member of the Forces, but if he served for at leastsix months, and the conditions of his war service contributed in any material degree to his incapacity (provided the disability was not due to his default or wilful act), responsibility may be accepted by the Repatriation Commission for treatment or war pension.
  2. Provision exists for assistance to obtain employment and for the payment of sustenance for members who have served overseas with satisfactory record and the Government is now considering the scope and nature of assistance in placement and training of other discharged members of the Forces.

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Motion (by Senator McLeay) agreed to -

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till to-morrow at 2 p.m.

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” Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918 “ - Conversion Loan - Port Augusta to Norseman Military Road.

Motion (by Senator McLeay) proposed -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

Senator FOLL:
Minister for the Interior · Queensland · UAP

– On the 21st August, Senator Lamp asked when volume No. 6 of the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918 would be published.

The following reply has been furnished by the Minister for the Army: -

The delay in the production of the final volume of the Australian official history of the last war has been largely due to the fact that the official historian was for some months employed by the Government on important work connected with the present war. He is, however, now completing the last chapter of the volume, most of which is already in the hands of the printer, and it is anticipated that the book will be published in December. For the information of the honorable senator it should perhaps be mentioned that the Australian . official history is, in comparison with histories of similar scope and quality, the most advanced of those of the belligerent nations of the last war.

Senator McBRIDE:
Minister for Munitions · South Australia · UAP

– Some time ago Senator Darcy asked the following questions -

  1. What were total conversion costs in connexion with the Australian loan in June last?
  2. Why was this loan converted at 99 instead of at par?
  3. How much was taken up by the British Government?
  4. Why was the interest rate raised to 4 per cent. ?

The Treasurer has furnished the following replies: -

  1. As the operation has only just been concluded, having been spread over the last few months, information regarding cost of conversion is not yet available.
  2. The decision to issue the conversion loan at a discount of 1 per cent. was made on the advice of the British Government and the Commonwealth’s financial advisers in London, having regard to market prices of similar securities.
  3. In a normal conversion loan new cash is sought to pay off those holders who do not convert. In view of the special nature of this transaction, new cash was not asked for, but the British Government has agreed to lend the Commonwealth the money required to redeem the securities of those holders who do not convert. The amount involved will be approximately £6,000,000.
  4. The interest rate on the new loan is 3½, per cent. The interest rates on the loans converted were 4¾ per cent. and5 per cent.
Western Australia

– Some months ago the Government made a pronouncement that a military road was to be constructed from Port Augusta to Norseman to connect the eastern States with Western Australia. That pronouncement was received with a good deal of pleasure. I understand that some progress has already been made with this work, but I recall that other main roads required for military purposes, notably the one connecting Port Darwin with the south were very rapidly completed and progress reports were issued from time to time giving details of the work. 1 trust that the Minister for the Interior (Senator Foll) will arrange for this important main military road to the western State to be constructed with the same expedition as was shown by his officers in connexion with other main military roads. I shall be pleased if the Minister will report to the Senate as to the progress being made with this work.

Senator Foll:

– I shall make inquiries and inform the honorable senator in regard to the matter.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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The following papers were pre sented : -

Nauru - Report to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of Nauru, during the year 1940.

Commonwealth Public Service Act - AppointmentsDapartment of -

Civil Aviation- C. H. Tuckfleld.

Commerce - W. M. Carne.

Customs Act - Proclamation, dated 20th August, 1941, prohibiting the exportation (except under certain conditions) of Antiques; Fur skins, dressed and goods manufactured from fur skins; Jewellery; Pearls; Platinum; Postage Stamps; Precious and semi-precious stones; Watches with cases of precious metal; Works of art.

Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, No. 205.

National Security Act-

Butter and Cheese Acquisition RegulationsOrder - Acquisition of cheese.

National Security (General) Regulations - Orders -

Control of bootmanufacture.

Control of flax.

Control of screw wire.

Munitions establishments (search).

Taking possession of land, &c. (83).

National Security (Liquid Fuel) Regula tions - Order - Liquid Fuel (Stocks of motor spirit and drums).

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, Nos. 189, 192, 193, 196, 197, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 206.

Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act-

Ordinances of 1941 -

No. 11 - Aboriginals.

No. 12 -Dangerous drugs.

Regulations of 1941 -

No. 7 (Marine Ordinance).

No. 8 (Public Service Ordinance).

Senate adjourned at 9.49 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 August 1941, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.