16 December 1941

16th Parliament · 1st Session

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

page 1066


Assent to the following bills reported : -

Australian Soldiers’ RepatriationBill 1941. Land Tax Bill 1941. Estate Duty Bill 1941. Gift Duty Assessment Bill 1041. Gift Duty Bill 1941. Post and Telegraph Rates Bill 1941. Income Tax Bill 1941. War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Bill 1941. War-time (Company) Tax Bill 1941. Income Tax Assessment Bill 1941. States Grants Bill 1941. Appropriation Bill 1941-42. Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill 1941-42. Supplementary Appropriation Bill 1939-40. Supplementary Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill 1939-40. Loan Bill (No, 3) 1941. Superphosphate Bounty Bill 1941. Apple and Pear (Appropriation) Bill 1941. Petroleum Oil Search Bill 1941.

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Senator BRAND:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence Coordination, upon notice -

  1. Has the Government any idea when the Man-power Priorities Board will complete its survey of the man-power available to the fighting services?
  2. Will the Government instruct that committee to embody in its reportan estimate of the number of men of military age occupying positions which could be filled by women, older men,and youths?
Minister for the Interior · QUEENSLAND · ALP

– The Minister for Defence Co-ordination has supplied the following answers : -

  1. A number of surveys of the Australian man-power position has already been made. These are in the hands of the Government.
  2. Action is being taken in this matter, and the Man-power Priorities Board has been requested to report along these lines.

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Senator LARGE:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice- -

  1. Is the Minister correctly reported as saying in the news bulletin broadcast at 7.15 p.m. on the 20th November, 1941, that there had been trouble between the Capital Issues Advisory Board and the Baerami shale mine, and that if u decision was not made soon, the Government might be prepared to take direct action to develop the field?
  2. If the Minister has been correctly reported, will he state what direct action he has in mind?
  3. To what end would such action lead?
Senator FRASER:

– The Minister for Supply and Development has supplied the following answers: -

  1. I invite the attention of the honorable senator to the information furnished by the Minister for Supply’ and Development to a question asked by the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner) on the 20th November. This is reported on page 637 of proof copy ofHansurd on the 20th-21st November, 1041. To the extent that the news bulletin broadcast referred to varied from such information, the news bulletin broadcast is incorrect.
  2. and 3. The Commonwealth Government is in consultation with the Government of New South Wales to ascertain whether that Government has any proposals in hand or in mind for the development of the Baerami field, and whether Commonwealth co-operation is desired. The matter is being followed up urgently. The action is regular, and is; in fact, necessary because mining, except within the territories controlled by the Commonwealth, is a State function, and all mining leases and conditions governing mining, therefore, come within the scope of the State authority.

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Annual Reports

Senator COOPER:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for’ Repatriation, upon notice -

Will the Minister inform the Senate when the annual reports of the Repatriation Com- missionand the War Service Homes Commission will be available?


– The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following answer : -

The annual report of the Repatriation Commission for the year ended the30th June, 1941, was tabled in the Senate on the 25th November, 1941. Theannual report of the War Service Homes Commission for the same period will be tabled shortly.

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Order of the Day No. 1 - Estimates and Budget Papers 1941-42 (Revised) - Resumption of debate - read and discharged.

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War With Japan, Finland, Hungary and Rumania

Senator ASHLEY:
Minister for Information · New South WalesPostmasterGeneral and Minister for Information · ALP

by leave - read a copy of the ministerial statement delivered in the House of Representatives by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) (vide page 1084), and laid on the table the following papers: -

Documents relating to United States of America-Japanese Conversations, NovemberDecember, 1941.

Declaration of existence of state of war with Finland, Hungary, Rumania and Japan, 8th December, 1941- Documents relating to procedure of His Majesty’s Government, in the Commonwealth of Australia.

Motion (by Senator Collings) proposed -

That the papers be printed.

Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.

Minister for the Interior · Queensland · ALP

.-by leave - I move -

That the Senate approves of the action of His Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth in having advised the issue of proclamations declaring the existence of a state of war with Japan, Finland, Hungary, and Rumania. Further, the Senate hereby pledges itself to take every step deemed necessary to defend this Commonwealth and its territories, to carry on hostilities in association with our allies, and to achieve final victory over our enemies.

Senator McLEAY:
Leader of the Opposition · South Australia

– I second the motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Newspaper- Attacks on Service Chiefs.

Motion (by Senator Collings) proposed -

That the Senate flu now adjourn.

Senator FOLL:

.- I direct the attention of the Leader of the Senate (Senator Collings) to certain articles which appeared in the Sydney Daily Telegraph yesterday and to-day in which scathing references are made to the officer in command of the British Far Eastern Forces, the Chief of the Australian General Stall, the Chief of the Air Staff in Australia and others associated with our war services. I should be the last to suggest that any deficiencies in the matter of equipment or in relation to all of our war activities in the Far East should not be subject to criticism, or investigation, but I do not think that such damaging attacks should be permitted in the early stages of a campaign such as that in which we arc now engaged, when, as the Minister for Information (Senator Ashley) pointed out, the initial advantage gained by our new enemy, Japan, resulted from a base, cowardly, and treacherous attack. Whether we be members of Parliament, contributors to the press, or other members of the public, if we desire that Australia should put forward its full war effort, it is unwise at this particular time to indulge in a campaign against the leaders of our land forces or our air forces, unless we are sure that they have committed blunders. If they have made Blunders, it is then the duty of the Government to act. In my opinion, statements such as those published in the press this morning have a very disturbing and a disquieting effect upon the community at this time of crisis.

Senator Collings:

– Would it not be better for the honorable senator to discuss the matter to-morrow? Is he not anticipating a subsequent debate?

Senator FOLL:

– I have mentioned the matter with the sole desire to assist the war effort. 1 wish to be sure that statements which are not fully founded on facts, or which have a disquieting effect upon public morale, are not made at a time when it is necessary for the whole of the people to stand unitedly behind their leaders.

QueenslandMinister for the Interior · ALP

. - in reply - Articles of the kind to which the honorable senator has referred are not new or unusual, as far as the newspaper mentioned byhim is concerned.I assure the Senate that the. matter is receiving the attention ofthe Government, and that an announcement will be made later.

Question resolved in the affirmative. PAPERS.

The following papers were presented : -

Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. -

No. 34 of 1941 - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.

No. 35of 1941- Fourth Division Postmasters. Postal Clerks andTele- graphists’ Union.

No.36 of 1941 - Australian Third Division Telegraphists and Postal Clerks’ Union.

No.37 of 1941 - Arms Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.

No. 38 of 194 1- Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.

Commonwealth Public Service Act -

Eighteenth Report on the Commonwealth Public Service by the Public Service Board, dated 11th December, 1041.

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, No. 284.

Customs Act - Proclamation, dated 26th November, 1941, prohibiting the exportation (except under certain conditions) of Binoculars.

Defence Act and Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, No. 285.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired at - Archerfield, Queensland - For Defence purposes.

Darwin, Northern Territory - For Defence purposes.

Dural, Now South Wales - For Postal purposes.

Ingleburn. New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Redbank. Queensland - For Defence purposes.

National Security Act -

National Security (General ) Regulations - By-laws - Controlled Areas (2). orders -

Inventions and designs (JOS).

Motor Spirit War Reserves Storage.

Prohibited Places (8).

Prohibited Places and Protected Areas.

Protected Areas.

Taking possession of land, &c. (40). Use of land (20). Regulations - Statutory Rules, 1941, Nos. 273, 274, 275, 270, 277, 278, 279, 280. 281. 282, 283, 280.

Papua Act - Ordinances of 1941 -

No. 10 - Native Crown Servants.

No. 11 - Superannuation.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Scat of Government (Administration) Act - Regulations of 1941 - No.9 - (Motor Traffic Ordinance).

Senate adjourned at 3.52 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 December 1941, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.