16th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator theHon. J. Cunningham) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– In view of the nature of the business to be brought before the Senate, and the amendment foreshadowed in the House of Representa- tives, I suggest that the sitting be suspended until the ringing of the bells, which will be not earlier than 5.30 p.m.
Sitting suspended from3.2 to 5.30 p.m.
Assent to the following bills re ported : -
Raw Cotton Bounty Bill (No. 2) 1941.
Cable and Wire Bounty Bill 1941.
– I have received from the Prime Minister a letter conveying, on behalf of General Sir Thomas Blarney, General Officer Commanding the Australian Imperial Force in the Middle East, and all ranks underhis command, sincere appreciation of the congratulatory message sent by the Commonwealth Parliament to the men of Tobruk. Sir Thomas Blarney embodied in his reply a special message of thanks from Major-General Morshead on behalf of the personnel at Tobruk.
– I have received from Dr. Ernest Culpin a letter of thanks for the resolution of sympathy and condolence passed by the Senate on the occasion of the death of Dr. Millice Culpin.
The PRESIDENT announced the receipt of a letter from Senator James McLachlan tendering his resignation as a member of the Library Committee.
Motion (by Senator McLeay) - by leave - agreed to -
That Senator James McLachlan be discharged from attendance on the Library Committee, and that Senators J. B. Hayes and Sampsonbe appointed to fill the vacancies on the Committee.
Motion (by Senator McLeay)- by leave - agreed to -
That Senator Cunningham be discharged from attendance on the Printing Committee, and that Senators Arnold and J. B. Hayes be appointed to fill the vacancies on the Committee.
. - by leave - I have to inform the Senate that, at the request of the Commonwealth Government, the Government of New South Wales has made available the services of Sir Percival Halse Rogers, a justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, to act as a royal commissioner to inquire into certain matters affecting public administration which were referred to in Parliament last week.
The Commissioner will inquire into and report upon -
A preliminary hearing of the royal commissionwill take place at the Supreme Court, Sydney, at 10.30 a.m. on Friday, the 3rd October, at which persons who desire to be represented before the commission should attend. As announced by the Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes) Mr. W. W. Monahan. K.C., and Mr.E. J. Hooke, of the Sydney Bar, have been briefed to assist the commission. It is anticipated that the taking of evidence by the commission will commence in Canberra on Wednesday, the8th October, at an hour to be fixed.
Motion (by Senator McLeay) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till a date and hour to be fixed by the President, which time of meeting shall be notified to each Senator by telegram or letter.
Censorship of Film “Love on the Dole “ - Aluminium Production - Questions on Notice - Australian Imperial Force: Butter Supplies; Cashiering in 1914-18 - Mr. W. J. Smith : Statement by Mr. Carlton M.L.A. - Fighter Aeroplanes - Compulsory Military Training: Medical Examination.
Motion (by Senator McLeay) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I ask the Minister for Information (Senator Foll) whether he will give me the reasons why a ban has been placed upon the public screening of the British film “Love on the Dole”? I notice from a. report in the Sunday Telegraph that the showing of this picture has been prohibited by the Chief Commonwealth Film Censor, Mr. Cresswell O’Reilly. I am informed that the film, which deals with the period of the last war, is most interesting. The following extracts from various newspapers support that opinion : -
The Observer. - “ ‘ Love on the Dole ‘ is a fine, wise picture . . . less of a show than a rich human experience.”
Sunday Dispatch. - “The film is one of the most moving and most significant ever made in Britain.”
Sunday Pictorial. - “ If every man and woman in Britain could see this film, I don’t think we would ever go back to those dreadful pre-war years when two million men and women were allowed to rot in idleness . . . the film is flawless and it will win world fame.”
I could cite similar opinions from other newspapers. I was born in the Old Country, and spent my early years there. From England I went to the United
States of America. I landed in Australia in 1912. During my life in Great Britain I came into close contact with the people there. I have slept in work-houses and have mixed with the bottom dogs, so I have an intimate knowledge of the fearful conditions of life of many people who lived in England years ago. I slept in workhouses not because 1 was compelled to - I could always get a good bed in my own home - but because, like Jack London and others, I was anxious to meet the people who constituted the submerged tenth of Great Britain. I knew the deplorable conditions under which millions of men and women existed. They travelled from town to town and from workhouse to workhouse. If they applied twice for accommodationat the same workhouse there was a possibility that they would be charged with vagrancy and have to go to gaol. I lived amongst the people and had intimate experience of the fearful conditions that operated in those days. Even prior to this war millions of men and women were on the dole. Certainly their conditions were a little better than those operating at the time of which I speak. At least they had the dole, whereas in the earlier days people had to beg for sufficient to maintain life; they had to go from door to door and from town to town, asking their fellow men for a few pence to buy sufficient food to keep life in their bodies. Subsequently a more humane government was able to bring in measures which made it possible to pay these people enough to buy the bare necessities of life. I cannot understand why the Chief Commonwealth Film Censor, Mr. Cresswell O’Reilly, should have banned this film, which deals so strikingly with the conditions of the poor. 1 should like the Minister for Information to tell the people of Australia why the film was banned. If it can be’ shown in England, where the people are in the very heart of the struggle which is now being waged against totalitarianism and know what is going on, why cannot it be screened in Australia ?
– Has an appeal been made to the Appeal Board ?
– I understand that such an appeal is being made, but surely an appeal can also be made to the Minister, who, I feel sure, will say, “ Certainly, this film shall be shown “. I am strongly of the opinion that the conditions under which people live in the Old Country should be shown to the Australian public. Our boys are going overseas to fight for democracy, and for a promised “ new order “, and we should understand something of the faults of the old order so that we may help to ensure that even in England men and women are given a fair deal and an opportunity to earn a decent livelihood. This film would be splendid propaganda, and I cannot understand why the censor banned it. 1 hope that the Minister will look into the matter and see that the people of Australia have an opportunity to witness this epic film.
– I should like some information from the Minister for Supply and Development (Senator McLeay) in regard to a question which I asked in this chamber last week. I asked the Minister if he had received a report from the Commonwealth representatives in the United States of America in regard to charges which were alleged to have been made against the great aluminium combine known as Alcoa. The Minister replied in the affirmative. I am interested to know whether the allegations were correct because only one-third of the capital of the Australian Aluminium Company Proprietary Limited is held in Australia, and only one-third of the directors are Australians, the other two-thirds in each case being controlled by overseas interests which indirectly are representatives of Alcoa. I should like to know if there is any truth in the props report that representatives of Alcoa were arrested and ‘ charged by the Government of the United States of America with having engaged in subversive activities, inasmuch as they had held up supplies of aluminium needed for the British war effort. If so, what were the findings? That is a matter of great importance to Australia in view of the interest which Alcoa holds in the Australian Aluminium Company Proprieta ry Limited.
I should like to know also if replies are available to questions appearing on to-day’s notice-paper, and, if not, will replies be forwarded to honorable senators at the earliest possible date.
– I have a number of answers to questions appearing on to-day’s notice-paper, and, with the approval of the Senate, I shall have them incorporated in Hansard. The answers to other questions will be forwarded to honorable senators at the earliest possible date.
With regard to the remarks of Senator Brown, I should like to point out that the censorship of, films does not come under the jurisdiction of my department, but is controlled by the Department of Trade and Customs. Films come under the purview of the censorship branch of the Department of Information only when questions of national security arise. T understand that the film “Love on the Dole “ has been rejected by the Commonwealth Censor, as has been pointed out by Senator Brown, but there is an opportunity for an. appeal to be made, and I have no doubt that those who desire to exhibit the film will make an appeal.
– National security is not the reason for the rejection of the film.
– In that case the matter would not come within the jurisdiction of the Department of Information. It would be entirely a matter for the Department of Trade and Customs.
Some days ago, Senator Sampson stated that a member of the Australian Imperial Force in the Western Desert had asked him to correct publicly a statement made by the Minister for the Army (Mr. Spender) that no margarine was being used or had been used by the Army, and that margarine did not appear on the contract list of the Australian Force or lists of supplies from British depot3 to Australian troops serving abroad. This statement appeared in the press on the 30th May last, and on the 6th June, it was amplified by the Minister for the Army who said: “Arrangements made by the Commonwealth Government with the British authorities for food supplies to the Australian Imperial Force do not include any issue of margarine. The actual position is that the Commonwealth Government, through the Military Board, has an arrangement with the British authorities for the daily supply of rations to the Australian Forces abroad. The daily scale of rations is adhered to whenever humanly possible, but the exigencies of modern warfare and the rapid movement associated with it, carried on over extended lines of communication and, in the case of the Middle East, in extreme heat, would frequently place the British supply depots in a most difficult position in respect of the supply of butter to our forces. Only in those cases when it is impossible to obtain butter would our troops be issued with margarine, but it must be understood that this is an emergency measure “. On behalf of the Minister for the Army, I now inform the Senate that the position is that supplies of butter are despatched to the Middle East on every transport which leaves Australia for that destination. These supplies are landed on arrival and handed over to British depots for distribution to Australian troops as required and when practicable. The honorable senator will readily understand that butter can be distributed to the troops only when conditions permit its transportation. Except when troops are located adjacent to suitable storage facilities, butter cannot be supplied to them in the hot weather, as it rapidly becomes unfit for human consumption, and transport difficulties frequently prevent its distribution to troops in the period which would unavoidably elapse between removal from storage and delivery in. the field. Margarine does not become unfit for human consumption under the same conditions, and the practice has been adopted of issuing vitamized margarine where, for reasons already stated, butter cannot be made available. However, butter is issued to the troops whenever it is possible to do so.
I am sure the honorable senator will appreciate that climatic conditions and the exigencies of the service must frequently prevent the distribution of butter to troops in the field, which, in hot weather, must be determined by the distance of the troops from suitable storage and the transportation facilities available. Adverse climatic conditions and transportation difficulties must frequently render delivery of butter to the troops impossible under active service conditions. At present the Department of the Army is, with the assistance of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, conducting experiments with concentrated dehydrated butter, and a quantity of this product has been issued to troops in various places to test their reactions to this type of butter. This product retains all the food value of fresh butter and without refrigeration can be stored for long periods without losing its palatability. Should this test prove satisfactory, it is anticipated that our present difficulties will he, to a great extent, overcome and that the necessity to use margarine, on occasions, as a substitute will in future be obviated.
On the 25th September, Senator Sampson asked the following question, upon notice : -
The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answer:-
No officer of the 18th Battalion was cashiered for cowardice, nor was any officer of that battalion charged with that offence.
On the 17th September, Senator Fraser referred to the matter of young men called up for service under the Defence Act being compelled to travel long distances in order to undergo preliminary medical examination, without being recompensed for the possible loss of wages involved, and asked if it were proposed to compensate these young men for time lost in this way.
The Minister for the Army has supplied the following reply: -
It has been the practice to send the Area Staff to centres, in order to enable those in distant places to have a minimum of time involved in reporting, and, wherever possible, not more than a ten miles’ journey for each person.Rail or transport warrants are provided, but no provision exists for the pay- ment of compensation for loss of wages or time.
Instructions are being issued to commands, that every effort is to be made at all times to bring examination centres as near as possible to the persons to be called up for service, so that it will not be necessary for these young men to travel any greater distance than can possibly be avoided.
I undertake to bring to the notice of my colleague, the Minister for Supply and Development (Senator McLeay), the remarks of Senator Aylett concerning aluminium.
In the Parliament of New South Wales last week, Mr. Carlton, in the course of a speech in which he made a charge against Mr. W. J. Smith, Director of Gun Ammunition in the Ministry of Munitions, said that a statement had been secured by a Mr. Ralfe from the Department of Information, and had subsequently been made available to Mr. Smith. I wish to make it perfectly clear that Mr. Carlton is in error, and that his attention has been drawn to the fact. He appears to have confused the Department of Information with the Department of Investigation which is attached to either the Army Department or the Department of the Attorney-General, because no statement of any kind was secured by any one from any officer of the Department of Information, nor has that department attached to it an investigation section. I make this clear injustice to the officers of the department.
– I regret that the Minister for Aircraft Production (Senator Leckie) is not present. Over a period of many months, both inside and outside this chamber, I have repeatedly asked for definite information to be furnished to me concerning the production of fighter aeroplanes in Australia, and the answer has always been that plans were in course of being completed, and that within a very few days the honorable gentleman would be able to announce details of production in Australia. I asked a question on the subject in this chamber only a fortnight ago. The Minister for Aircraft Production then informed the Senate that within a very few days he would make details available to the country. This matter is becoming more and more important as time passes. The most vital factor influencing the minds of soldiers returning from service abroad, arising from their actual experiences on the battlefront, is the need for more and more fighter aeroplanes. This country cannot be placed soon enough in full production of these most important adjuncts to our defence and a successful offensive. I should therefore like the Minister to make a definite statement at once. If the plans are not approaching completion, he should at least tell the country that the stage is not near when the production of fighter aeroplanes will be commenced. Why should he continue to hoodwink the people, by saying that within a very few days he will make details available, when it is apparent that such is not the case? I personally have been humbugged for nearly twelve months, particularly since the honorable senator in question became a Minister. A statement should be made as to whether the Government is or is not ready to commence the production of these machines.
– I thank the Minister (Senator Foll) for his statement in regard to compulsory military trainees, but I am still not convinced that the proper thing has been done by these lads. The setting up of medical boards, so that men will not have to travel more than 10 miles does not overcome the difficulty. I particularly instance the gold-fields, and the centres of rural industries, where men have to travel a far greater distance than 10 miles in order to reach the nearest office at which a medical examination may be conducted.These men are losing money thereby; they are not in receipt of wages during the period of their absence in order to undergo a preliminary examination. In the light of these facts, I ask the Minister again to bring the matter to the notice of the Minister for the Army (Mr. Spender). In Western Australia particularly, men are affected in the timber country, the mining areas, and on the different farms. The Government should grant compensation in respect of loss of wages. The men do not enter camp immediately upon passing the medical examination, but have to return to their work until they are called up.
That aspect of the matter should be stressed strongly with the Minister for the Army. I can see no reason for these men being obliged to lose their wages while engaged in the performance of a national duty.
-I undertake to do as the honorable senator suggests, and also to bring to the notice of the Minister for Aircraft Production the remarks of Senator Armstrong.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. -
No. 24 of 1941 - Australian Journalists’ Association.
No. 25 of 1941 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia and others; Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia; Commonwealth Storemen and Packers’ Union; and Commonwealth Naval Storehousemen’s Association.
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, No. 160.
Commonwealth Public Service Act -
Appointments - Department of -
Labour and National Service - G. G. Firth.
Postmaster -General - B. M. Kennelly.
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, No. 224.
Defence Act - Royal Military College - Report for 1940.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired at -
Benalla, Victoria - For Defence purposes.
Mortlake, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Narrabeen, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Nowra, New South Wales- For Defence purposes.
Point Lonsdale, Victoria - For Defence purposes.
National Security Act -
National Security (Exchange Control) Regulations - Orders -
Sterling Areas (Syria and Lebanon).
National Security (General) Regulations - Orders -
Control of lights and traffic (6).
Control of overseas postal communications (Prisoners of War).
Control of photography.
Taking possession of land, &c. ( 32 ) .
Use of land (9).
National Security (Internment Camps) Regulations - Camp Rules (3).
National Security (Prisoners of War) Regulations - Order - Prisoners of War Camp (No. 1).
New Guinea Act - Ordinances of 1941 -
No. 15 - Workers’ Compensation (No. 2).
No. 16 - Treasury.
Quarantine Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, No. 235.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-
Ordinances of 1941 -
No. 7 - Inflammable Liquids.
No. 10- Church of England Trust Property.
No. 11 - Juvenile Offenders.
No. 12 - Child Welfare Agreement.
No. 13 - Industrial Board (No. 2).
No.14 - Seat of Government (Ad ministration) .
No. 15 - Canberra Community Hospital (No. 2).
Regulations of 1941 -
No.6 - (Leases Ordinance).
No. 7 - (Canberra Community Hospi tal Ordinance).
No. 8 - (Workmen’s Compensation Ordinance).
War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, No. 237.
Senate adjourned at6 p.m. till a date and hour to be fixed by the President, and to be notified to each senator by telegram or letter.
The following answers to questions were circulated-: -
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answer : -
Men who are liable to be called up for military service are medically examined at the area in which they enlist. If classified there as Class 1 they are allotted to units. On arrival in camp they are required to go before’ a medical board for confirmation of Area Medical Officer’s classification. Men who are considered by Area Medical Officer to be temporarily medically unfit, but whom it is considered would be fit Class 1 within a definite period would be called upon at the end of that period to undergo further medical examination.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answers : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
What amount of money, if any, is being paid by the Army Department as rent to the Bendigo Agricultural Society for the use of its showgrounds as a military camp.
– The Minister for the Army state’ that compensation for use of the Bendigo Showgrounds for the year ending the 30th June, 1942, is £589, payable quarterly.
asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
With reference to the early departure of SirEarle Page for London, and having regard to the substantial increase in the costs of wool production in Australia - what action, if any, has the Government taken with the British Government to have a review of wool prices for the purpose of enabling continued production in Australia of wool without loss to the growers.
– The Acting Minister for Commerce has supplied the following answer: -
The arrangement made with the United Kingdom provides that either Government may initiate in May of any year a review of the agreement, particularly in relation to the price. In view of the great advantage conferred on Australian wool-growers by the guarantee of purchase of their totalwool clip for the term of the war and one year thereafter, and the heavy financial responsibility which will rest on the United Kingdom Government in respect of unsold stocks, the Commonwealth Government has not heretofore sought a review of the price. The right remains, however, to initiate a review in May of any future year. It is, of course, possible that, at any review, the United Kingdom Government might seek a reduction in price.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Air; upon notice -
Would the Minister inform the Senate what progress has been made with the education scheme organized by Flight Lieutenant McLean in the Royal Australian Air Force, the curriculum decided upon, and the tutors engaged upon this work.
– The Minister for Air has supplied the following answer : -
A rehabilitation scheme for members of the Royal Australian Air Force has been approved in principle. The implementationof the scheme, including the precise details of the curriculum and the tutors to be engaged upon the work is now awaiting the selection and appointment of a suitable person to take charge of the scheme.
The importance and nature of the scheme is such that the selection of a man to take charge of it is of the utmost importance, and it is expected that a suitable appointee will be obtained in the near future. In the meantime, certain preliminary work has been and is being done by Flight Lieutenant McLean who is a junior officer on the Education Staff of the Royal Australian Air Force. When the appointment of the officer to take charge of the scheme has been made, the preliminary work which has already been done will be Rifted and co-ordinated and the scheme put into operation without delay.
asked the Minister for Munitions, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
What are the salaries and allowances paid to members of the nursing staff of the Australian Imperial Force, and to Voluntary Aid Detachments ?.
– The Minister for the. Army has supplied the following answer : -
Nurses’ Dependants Allowance. - Amounts not exceeding 3s. where only one dependant, and not exceeding 5s. 6d. where there are two dependants, are payable, and, in addition, an amount not exceeding1s. 6d. is available for each additional dependant. The foregoing amounts are payable only in cases of satisfactory proof of dependence on the member.
Nurses and Voluntary Aid Detachments - Field Allowance. -1s. 6d. per day is paid when serving abroad or when in camp or bivouac in Australia.
Nurses - Outfit and Uniform Allowance. - If appointed - (1) For service outside Australia shall be paid £40; (2) For continuous fulltime duty in Australia - (a) At a camp dressing station or a military hospital, £20; (b) For employment on administrative duties at Army Head-quarters, or at the head-quarters of a command or military district, £13. An annual maintenance allowance of £5 is allowed.
Voluntary Air Detachments - Outfit and Uniform Allowance. - £37 is authorized for purchase, with an annual maintenance allowance of £5. against recently in a Tasmanian police court on a charge of gross disloyalty? Is it a fact that, in accordance with an instruction issued by the AttorneyGeneral of Tasmania, the proceedings in connexion with the prosecution were discontinued? If so. will the honorable gentleman endeavour to ascertain why such an instruction was issued?
R. - A prosecution was commenced by the State police of Tasmania against the man Paddon mentioned by the honorable member, and after an adjournment the proceedings were ultimately adjourned sine die. On whose instructions that was done I do not know, but the result was, I understand, the discontinuance of the action. I shall institute inquiries in order to ascertain on whose instructions the prosecution was discontinued.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 October 1941, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1941/19411001_senate_16_168/>.