20 February 1942

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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Assent to the following bills re ported : -

Income Tax Bill (No. 2) 1941.

Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 2) 1941.

War Tax Bill 1941.

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Senator COLLINGS (Queensland-

Minister for the Interior). - by leave - I desire to inform the Senate that Senator the Honorable J. M. Eraser, in addition to his duties as Minister for External Territories and Minister assisting the Minister for Commerce, will also assist the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde). Senator Fraser will represent the Minister for the Army in the Senate.

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Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.Was the Minister for the Interior correctly reported in the press last week-end in the statement attributed to him to the effect that, owing to the greater importance of minerals such as copper, sheelite, &c, it may be necessary to transfer mining technicians and mining equipment from the gold-mining areas of Australia in order that they may assist in the recovery of other minerals which he considers to be more important than gold in the war-time economy of this country? If he did make a statement to that effect, is that the considered policy of the Government?

Minister for the Interior · QUEENSLAND · ALP

– I made no such statement, nor did I make any statement whatever regarding gold-mining, as that is not : i matter which concerns the Department of the Interior.


– In view of the Minister’s denial of having made such a statement, which I accept, I now address the question to the Minister for Information. “Will he endeavour to ascertain which Minister did make the statement to which I have referred, and is that the considered opinion of the Government with regard to the goldmining industry?

Senator ASHLEY:
Minister for Information · NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– It is not part of the duties of the Minister for Information to investigate the accuracy of statements made by Ministers or members of the Opposition or any body else.

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Use of Machine Tools

Senator McBRIDE:

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

  1. Will the Minister inform the Senate whether all machine tools in the tool-rooms of the government munitions factories are being operated on a full-time basis?
  2. If not, will the Minister state the reasons for such lack of full-time use, and what steps are being taken to ensure that the maximum productionis obtained from this essential section of our factories?
Senator ASHLEY:

– The Minister for Munitions has supplied the following answer : - 1 and 2. To the extent that the supply of skilled labourwill permit, the machine tools are being fully operated, but it cannot be said that all are being operated on a full-time basis. A conference is being arranged with the trade organizations with a view to establishing the full-time operation of the machine tools in question. The conference has been agreed to and will be held at the earliest possible moment.

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Secret Meeting of Senators and Members

Motion (by Senator Collings) - by leave - agreed to -

That a joint meeting of members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives be convened for the purpose of discussing in secret the present war and hearing confidential reports in relation thereto.

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Motion (by Senator Collings) pro posed -

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow at 11 a.m.

Senator McLEAY:
Leader of the Opposition · South Australia

– I have suggested to the Leader of the Senate (Senator Collings) that, after the secret meeting of members of both Houses, a statement be made in open session in this chamber by the Leader of the Senate, and by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) in the House of Representatives, on the war situation. I shall read to honorable senators the letter which I addressed to the Leader of the Senate giving the reasons advanced by the Opposition in support of its request that a statement on the war situation be made in open session. The letter is as follows : -

Canberra, 20th February, 1942

Dear Senator Collings,

I have been informed that the Prime Minister advised Mr. Fadden that the procedure for the meeting of Parliament commencing to-day will provide for a statement on the present war position being made at a secret meeting, and that no statement would be made in open session of the Parliament.

Concern was expressed over this attitude at a meeting of Opposition senators held this morning, and it was decided that you be requested to convey to Mr. Curtin our desire that a statement on the war position be made in both Houses of Parliament after the secret meeting.

The Senate feels that public tension is so great at the moment that nothing short of an open session of Parliament would relieve the situation. However bad the situation may be, the Senate Opposition feels that the public should be apprised of it without giving details of value to the enemy.

Mental suspense we feel would be relieved by a frank statement made in open session by the Prime Minister and yourself as Leader of the Government in the Senate.

We are firmly convinced that the people of Australia expect and are entitled to receive a full statement on the war position from the Government, delivered in Parliament.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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The following papers were pre sented : -

Air Force Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 29.

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

No. 39 of 1941 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.

No. 40 of 1941- Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia; and Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.

No. 41 of 1941 - Commonwealth Temporary Clerks’ Association.

No. 42 of 1941 - Commonwealth Telegraph Traffic and Supervisory Officers’ Association.

No. 1 of 1942 - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.

No. 2 of 1942 - Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.

No. 3 of 1942 - Australian Third Division Telegraphists and Postal Clerks’ Union.

No. 4 of 1942 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.

No. 5 of 1942 - Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.

No. 6 of 1942 - Commonwealth Telephone Officers’ Association; and Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia.

No. 7 of 1942 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.

Audit Act - Transfers of amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council - Financial year 1940-41.

Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, No. 305.

Bankruptcy Act -

Thirteenth Annual Report by the Attorney-General, year ended 31st July, 1941.

Rules - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 6.

National Security (Supplementary) RegulationsOrders - Deferment of Banking Business (10).

National Security (War-time Banking Control ) Regulations - Orders - Exemptions (2).

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, Nos. 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293,294 295, 290, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 314,316, 317, 318’, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 320; 1942, Nos. 1, 2, 4,9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 10, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 49, 50, 51, 52. 53, 54, 55, 50, 57, 58, 62,65, 66,67.

Nationality Act - Return showing number of persons to whom certificates of naturalization were granted during the year 1941, and the countries whence applicants came.

Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, No. 307; 1942. Nos. 8, 25, 20, 48.

Navigation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1941, No. 315; 1942, No. 30.

New Guinea Act - Ordinance No. 22 of 1941 - Appropriation 1941 - 1942.

Northern Territory - Report on Administration of the Northern Territory, foryear 1940-41.

Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act - Crown Lands Ordinance - Reasons for resumption of the reservation of certain lands near the Town of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, formerly reserved for slaughtering purposes (dated 6th February, 1942).

Papua Act - Ordinances of 1941 -

No. 12 - Matrimonial Causes.

No. 13 - Native Labour.

No. 14 - Post and Telegraph.

No. 15 - Customs Tariff (No. 3).

Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 5.

Quarantine Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules1942, No. 61.

Science and Industry Research Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 7.

Scat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-

Ordinances of1942 -

No. 1 - Careless Use of Fire.

No. 2 - Building and Services.

No. 3 - Enemy Raids Precautions.

No. 4 - Public Parks.

No. 5 - Cinematograph Films.

No.6 - Education.

No. 7 - Scaffolding and Lifts.

Regulations of 1942 -

No. 1 - (Police Ordinance).

No. 2 - (Building and Services Ordinance).

Supply and Development Acts - Regulations -Statutory Rules 1942, Nos, 3, 47.

Wine Overseas Marketing Act - Regulations -Statutory Rules 1941, No. 319.

Senate adjourned at 3.10 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 20 February 1942, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.