16th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. J. Cunningham) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I have to inform the Senate that, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, I notified the Lieutenant-Governor of the State of Western Australia of the vacancy caused in the representation of that State in the Senate by the death of Senator Edward Bertram Johnston, and that I have received through His Excellency the Governor-General a certificate of the choice of Charles George Latham as a senator to fill such vacancy.
Certificate laid on the table and read by the Clerk.
Senator Latham made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
Assent to the following hills re ported : -
Statute of Westminster Adoption Bill 1942.
War Service Estates Bill 1942.
Dairying Industry Assistance Bill 1942.
– I have to inform the Senate that, owing to the retirement of Mr. R. A. Broinowski from the position of Clerk of the Senate, the following changes have been made in regard to the officers in attendance in the chamber: - Mr. J. E. Edwards to be Clerk of the Senate; Mr. R. H. C. Loof to be ClerkAssistant; Mr. W. I. Emerton to he Usher of the Black Rod and Clerk of Committees.
– It is with regret that I inform honorable senators of the death of the Honorable William Henry Laird Smith, a former member of the House of Representatives. He was first elected to that House in 1910, and he retained his seat for a period of twelve years, being defeated in the 1922 elections. He was Minister for the Navy from the 28th July, 1920, until the 21st December, 1921, and prior to that period held office as an Assistant Minister and as an Honorary Minister. Upon his retirement from politics he used his talents to promote the well-being of Tasmanian agriculture. It may be said that lie died in harness, because his sudden death in his 73rd year occurred whilst on the platform at a public meeting held at Burnie, Tasmania, on the 21st October last. I move -
That the Senate expresses its deep regret at the death of the Honorable William Henry Laird Smith, a former member of the House of Representatives for the division of Denison, and Commonwealth Minister, places on record itS appreciation of his meritorious public services, and extends its sincere sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.
– On behalf of the Opposition I endorse the remarks of the Acting Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane) with reference to the meritorious service rendered to the Parliament and to the people of Australia by the late Mr. Laird Smith. We also join with the Minister in extending sympathy to the bereaved widow and family.
– The Country party desires to be associated with this motion. It seems to me that, at the commencement of every new series of sittings, a motion of condolence engages the attention of honorable senators, as members and former members of this Parliament pass to “the undiscover’d country, from whose bourn no traveller returns “. I remember the late Mr. Laird- Smith quite well. When he was Minister for the Navy he did good work and was closely associated with the affairs of Tasmania. Members of the Country party join in expressing sympathy with his widow and family.
– I support the motion. After the retirement of the late Mr. Laird Smith from politics, he did not relinquish his interest in public life, for he always played an important part in the activities of the district in which he lived. Towards the latter part of his career he was closely associated with politics outside Parliament. I have no hesitation in saying-that the deceased gentleman met the kind of death he would have desired. Not ten minutes before he collapsed at a public meeting, at which I was present, he was submitting” a vote of thanks to one of the present members of the Commonwealth Government and he had the whole of the large audience in laughter. I had never seen him in better form and spirits on the public platform, but, within about seven minutes, he collapsed and died. He served Australia well, and I extend my sympathy to his widow, whom I knew well, and to his adopted son, who was very devoted to him.
– I also desire to associate myself with the motion, and to express regret at the passing of such a worthy citizen as the late Mr. Laird Smith. It was my privilege to know him when he was a resident of the district in which I lived for many years. It can be truly said of him that, whilst a member of this Parliament, he was a conscientious worker for his State, and he always set a high standard of good citizenship.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
– I ask you, Mr. President, who gave permission f or the King’s Hall to be used for advertising purposes? I notice that a number of boards are displayed in the hall to-day, on which are photographs depicting the remarkable part being played in the war by Australian soldiers, but stamped on every board is the word “masonite”. Will you, Sir, see that the King’s HaD of this Parliament is not used for the purpose of commercial advertising?
– Permission was given for the display of the photographs referred to by Mr. Speaker and myself, but we were not aware that the boards placed in the King’s Hall were to be used for the purpose of advertising any product. This is the first, I have heard of the matter.
– Is it correct, as stated in the Sydney Morning Herald, of yesterday, that the Federal Labour caucus, on the motion of Mr. Rosevear, carried a resolution providing for the reinstatement of four clerks who had recently been dismissed from service with the Allied Works Council? Is it also correct that the resolution stated that reinstatement should be made immediately, without loss of pay, and that it contained an instruction that a general inquiry into theoperations of the Allied Works Council should be made? Can the Minister say whether, prior to an investigation being made as to the reason for their suspension, it is the intention of the Government to reinstate the men who were suspended by the Director-General of the Allied Works Council ?
– It is not usual in reply to a question to discuss the internal operations of the Labour party. As to the second portion of his question, I inform him that complaint has been made that certain men were dismissed from the service of the Allied Works Council and that an inquiry will be conducted into the matter immediately.
Harvesting Award - Price of1 Wheat1 - Compensation to Growers.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce if, in view of the heavy financial burden which the wages and conditions of harvest employees fixed by the Wheat Harvesting Employment Commission recently will place on wheat-farmers, the Government will give consideration to the removal of the 3,000-bushel limitation in its latest wheat plan, and pay to every farmer 4s. a bushel for wheat grown by him ?
– The policy of the Government is to pay 4s. a bushel on the first 1,000 bags produced by each farmer.
– In view of the number of emphatic protests received from various country roads boards in Western Australia regarding the whole circumstances surrounding the issue of the recent harvesting award, will the Minister for Trade and Customs ask the Prime Minister to give instructions for the whole case for wage fixation in the agricultural industry to be referred to the Arbitration Court for its consideration and determination?
– The Government has already referred the matter to a tribunal, and an award has been made. That, award will become operative.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce state when compensation will be paid to Western Australian wheatgrowers in respect of the reduction of wheat areas arranged between the Government and the growers?
– I shall obtain the information for the honorable senator.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce say when the sum of money appropriated by Parliament last session for the assistance of the dairying industry will be made available to the industry, and on what terms it will be made available?
– The inquiry by the Tariff Board into that matter is still proceeding.
– I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister if he has read the report in the Sydney Homing Herald dealing with a conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations held at Quebec on the 4th instant? Was Australia represented at that conference? If so, who were Australia’s representatives ?
– I shall have inquiries made into the matter raised by the honorable senator.
– In view of allegations that cigarettes have recently been sold at auction sales held under instructions from the Department of Trade and Customs at prices ranging up to 6d. each, will the Minister for Trade and Customs inquire whether the rates paid at these sales are subject to the Prices Regulations, and whether such sales facilitate the supply of cigarettes to black marketers?
– I shall obtain the information asked for by the honorable senator.
Banning of Sunday Afternoon Broadoasts - Political Broadcasts
– In view of the widespread indignation at the action of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in discontinuing the broadcast of speeches made at ‘Wesley Church, Melbourne, “ Pleasant Sunday Afternoons “, can the Postmaster-General give any reasons for the commission’s action, and will he make representations for the withdrawal of the ban?
– by leave Anticipating a question on this subject, I wrote to the commission on the 3rd December, and have received the following report dated the 8th December: - Referring to your letter of the 3rd December regarding “ Pleasant Sunday Afternoon “ in Melbourne and Dr. Benson’s session, “ Questions and Answers “ : since its appointment, the new Commission has been engaged in a review of programme policies and has discussed fully with senior officers many of the problems relating to programmes which have been outstanding for some time. It was inevitable that sessions which were not under the direct control of the Commission and moreover had enjoyed a long tenure in the programmes, such as the “ Pleasant Sunday Afternoon “, should come within the scope of this review.
For a very long time, the Commission’s officers, both in Victoria and in head office, had felt that the P.S.A. session was of a nature which did not entitle it to a regular place in the programme and that the relationship between the Commission and the organizers was in need of revision.
There was friction between Dr. Benson and the Commission long before the incident of the non-broadcasting of Professor Woodruff’s P.S.A. talk on the 20th September, 1942. Thi* incident, however, certainly served to emphasize the necessity for a reconsideration of the whole situation.
Apart from the fact that the Commission had no voice either in the selection of speakers or of the subjects discussed at the P.S.A., there had been a growing conviction that with the inevitable changes in broadcasting technique, the form taken by the P.S.A. was not in line with modern broadcasting practice. A recent survey of religious broadcasts in the Commonwealth has revealed, for example, that a great many clergymen now consider that the regular service from a church is not adapted to radio and that the best results come from services specially arranged from the studio. Also, in the political field broadcasters throughout the world have found it preferable to have “ studio “ or “ fireside “ talks rather than speeches from the political platform itself.
Our bulky files relating to the “ Pleasant Sunday Afternoon “ and “ Questions and Answers “ reveal constant difficulties encountered by the Commission’s officers in dealing with Dr. Benson, due almost invariably to his resentment of every suggested or necessary interruption of what he apparently regarded as his broadcasting rights. For some years, there was an understanding that the Commission from time to time would have to delete the P.S.A. broadcast in favour of certain other programmes which the Commission felt it desirable to broadcast. Indeed, only by recognition of such a principle was it possible to continue a regular association with the P.S.A. for so long, but although Dr. Benson frequently made it clear that he accepted this principle, he met every attempt to apply it with strong opposition. One case will illustrate this: on 6th September last, an Interdenominational Conference was held at Newcastle. It was an important gathering, which Dr. Benson himself attended. The Commission desired to give a national broadcast from the opening proceedings and give Dr. Benson live weeks’ notice of its intention to replace the P.S.A. for that afternoon. In response, Dr. Benson accused the Commission of “ heavyfooted inconsiderateness “.
In the course of u long series of unhappy exchanges with the Commission, Dr. Benson more than once suggested to us that he had important political and other backing.
More than once, he informed us that he was under pressure from commercial stations for the broadcasting rights of the P.S.A. It seems strange then that with this alternative avenue open to him, Dr. Benson should have felt obliged to resist so strongly the Commission’s right to freedom of substitution for the P.S.A. when occasion demanded.
It was clear that the Commission had to question whether, in view of its obligation to provide “ adequate and comprehensive programmes “ having regard to the community as a whole, it could continue to prolong indefinitely an arrangement whereby the promoter of any particular programme feature could claim prior rights and consistently offer resistance to the free choice by the Commission of programmes, as provided for in ite charter.
The Commission decided that the position was untenable and wrote to Dr. Benson on 2nd November (copy attached) in order to establish a clear relationship with him regarding the P.S.A. The misuse of the word “ ban “ in relation to the P.S.A. is a construction placed on the Commission’s letter which was neither expressed nor implied. We desired nothing more nor less than that future relationships with Dr. Benson should be specified in such unmistakeable terms as would dispel the notion that the Commission was not in complete charge of its own broadcasting arrangements and further, that the broadcasting of the P.S.A. would be placed in the same position of acceptance or rejection as any other programme matter on which the Commission exercises its judgment and discretion in accordance with its needs.
If anything more or less than this were expected in its treatment of the P.S.A., then the Commission would be guilty of discriminating in favour of a particular feature merely because the sponsoring body brandished its professed influence in quarters both vocal and political.
It was clearly stated in our letter to Dr. Benson that the requirements set out were fundamental to the Commission’s programme policy. The Commission further stated that if he consented to meet these requirements, an officer of the Commission would discuss with him details for future programming of the P.S.A.
The question at issue simply is whether the broadcasting of the P.S.A. should be regarded as an established right held by the organizers, or whether it is to be accepted by the Commission on the same programme basis as any other item.
So far as the abandonment of the talks series, “ Questions and Answers “, is concerned, the Commission - after thorough examination of Dr. Benson’s scripts and listening over a long period to his actual broadcasts, is convinced that good reasons exist for its discontinuance.
It is proper to note that “ Questions and Answers “ has been conducted for many years by Dr. Benson as an engaged “ artist “. The Commission has paid Dr. Benson over £1,000 in fees and cannot accept the contention of some critics that the Commission should have placed a seal of perpetuity on this broadcast.
The exposition of theological subjects over the air is, in the opinion of the Commission, fraught with danger of misunderstanding and painful controversy. It is true that the series has continued for a long period without official objections being raised, but the Commission has received complaints from individual listeners. In examining scripts of the “ Questions and Answers “ session, the Commission detected a tendency to give answers so innocuous as, in its opinion, to render the session valueless for wide listener interest. Furthermore, the Commission came to the conclusion that the national broadcasting service was not the proper channel for the interpretation of theological and related subjects on the restricted basis achieved in the “ Questions and Answers “ session.
Some years ago, Dr. Benson informed the Commission that questions had been received by the “ thousand “ and that letters “ keep pouring in “. Recent advices indicate that there has been a great falling off in the correspondence: the latest figures available (week ended 31st October) show a total of six letters. Three separate checks during this year show an average of less than four letters weekly.
The Commission, being satisfied that the “ Questions and Answers “ session no longer engaged the attention of a substantial audience and recognizing the dangers inherent in religious material of a controversial nature, advised Dr. Benson in its letter of 2nd November (copy attached) of its intention to discontinue this item in its Victorian programme.
– Can the PostmasterGeneral inform me whether the Australian Broadcasting Commission has complete freedom of choice in respect of political matter broadcast from national stations?
– I should like the honorable senator to explain what he means. So far as I am concerned I do not in any way direct the broadcasting of political matter or news of any description.
– That is not the point. Has the Australian Broadcasting Commission complete freedom in the selection of political matter which is broadcast from national stations ?
– It has complete freedom so far as I am concerned.
– Under what Minister’s authority does the Australian Broadcasting Commission operate?
– Under my authority.
– Has any other Minister the right to instruct the Australian Broadcasting Commission in respect of political matter which is broadcast from national stations?
– I have no knowledge of any instruction being given by any Minister in that respect.
– Has any Minister the right to give such instructions?
– I shall not deprive any Minister, or any member, of his right in this matter. To my knowledge no instruction of the kind referred to by the honorable senator has been given.
– Has any Minister the right to instruct the Australian Broadcasting Commission in respect of any political matter which is broadcast from national stations?
– I suggest to the honorable senator that if he studies the Broadcasting Act he will understand what I have said.
– As Chairman, I present the fifth and sixth progress reports of the Joint Committee on War Expenditure.
Ordered to be printed.
Some time ago I asked the Minister for Trade and Customs a question relating to the scientific survey which had been made of the possibilities of growing tea in Australia and the territories of the Commonwealth, and he then furnished mewith a detailed reply. I now ask whether further inquiries can be made with a view to bringing that survey up to date. I have no doubt that additional avenues have been explored by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Possibly, that is the reason why the Minister has been able to announce an additional ration of 2 oz. of tea weekly for each person for a limited period as a Christmas gift.
– I shall endeavour to obtain more up-to-date information with respect to that survey. That factor has no bearing whatever on the extra issue of tea to be made over the Christmas period. The policy of this Government in respect of rationing generally - and I have no doubt that it would be the policy of any government - is to relax rationing to the degree by which the supply of a commodity improves.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answer: - ] and 2. The information is supplied in the following table: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
As the season for cutting hay is now at hand in some of the States, will the Government make a public statement as early as possible setting out in some detail exactly how the new wheat proposals will affect farmers who will have crops in excess of the 3,000-bushel basis, including family companies, sharefarmers, and the like, to enable them to decide what areas they will cut for hay?
– The Minister for Commerce has supplied the following answer : -
Publicity has been given to the details of the wheat quota proposals so that growers are now aware of the basis on which payments will be made.
– by leave - read a copy of the ministerial statement delivered inthe House of Representatives by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) (vide page 1685), laid on the table the following paper: -
Review of War Situation, Ministerial Statement, 10th December, 1942 - and moved -
That the paper be printed.
– I am sure that honorable senators have listened with a great deal of interest to the statement read by the Minister for Trade and Customs (SenatorKeane) as acting Leader of the Senate. I wish at the outset to take the opportunity of paying a special tribute to our American friends for the splendid performance that their marines and, in fact, all those engaged in the battle of the Solomons have put up in that area. I sometimes feel that perhaps sufficient credit has not been given to the marines for the splendid work that they have done there. We are all thrilled, too, with the heroic stand madeby our Australian soldiers and our American allies in the terrific struggle now going on to capture the village of Buna. I understand from the statement read by the Minister that Gona has now been captured. That news gives very great satisfaction, I am sure, to the members of the Senate and to the people of Australia. I must confess that I am very disappointed to find that, after members of Parliament have been brought from all parts of Australia to meet and discuss the war position, the Government does not propose to take any action at these sittings to improve Australia’s war effort. The report delivered to-day on the war is all very interesting, but what the people of Australia and our allies are looking for is for Australia to play its part. During the last twelve months we have listened on many occasions to statements and orations about Australia’s all-in war effort, but I suggest to the members of the Government that Australia is not doing all that it might do in this terrific struggle.
– Australia is doing more in proportion to its population than any other country in the world.
– That is not true. We have had the opportunity recently of hearing of some very important defeats inflicted on the Japanese, which have given considerable satisfaction to the people of Australia. I draw attention to the last few lines of the document, where the Prime Minister stated -
We must realize that we are up against a powerful fighting machine. It is backed by a people whose training and discipline produce a national morale which willingly accepts the utmost sacrifice, including death itself, for the national cause. Such a race can only be beaten by actual physical defeat. We, therefore, must be prepared to make such sacrifice for victory as will enable us to match and overcome a foe so thoroughly trained to the needs of total war. This is the prescription for victory which I adjure all Australians to observe.
I agree with the recent statement of Mr. Churchill and prominent authorities in the United States of America that there is still too much complacency in this country. The time is ripe for immediate action, because Australia should do more than it has done in the past. I do not wish to belittle what has already been accomplished, hut I hear my friends on the Government side of the chamber say that Australia has done more in the war effort than any other of the allies. I have heard people in high places claim that Australia’s war effort is second to none, but that statement is not true.I shall draw the attention of the Senate to some of the facts. For some years members now in Opposition have told representatives of the Labour party that their attitude to war has been ostrich-like, but I do not wish to go back over the past other than to draw attention to what has happened during the brief period since 1938. I recall that in a debate in that year the Labour party criticized the then Government because it was proposing to expend £30,000,009 or £40,000,000 on the defence of Australia. The present Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) then said that members now in Opposition were war-mongers, and were concentrating on the defence of this country when money should be expended on social services. In 1940 we had the sorry spectacle in this Parliament of the Prime Minister moving an amendment and protesting against the attitude of the Government of the day in making provision to send the Australian Militia to New Guinea and other territories outside Australia. I draw attention to that merely because I do not desire the Government to make a similar mistake in regard to the immediate task that lies ahead. I hope sincerely that the ostrich-like attitude that has been adopted by some prominent men in the Labour movement will be overcome by the Prime Minister and the other members of the Government.
In reply to the statements made from time to time that Australia’s war effort is second to none, I shall draw attention to one or two facts. A close examination of what has been accomplished by Great Britain and New Zealand shows that Australia’s war effort falls far short of the efforts of those countries. What are the income-earners of this country contributing to the war effort by comparison with Great Britain and New Zealand? Ninety-five per cent. of the income-earners in Australia are contributing, by way of taxes, considerably less than those in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Those facts have been supplied to the Government by officials in the Treasury. In New Zealand there is a flat rate of 2s. 6d. in the £1 on all incomes, which necessitates a real sacrifice by the civil community. Australia’s effort falls far short of that made in that dominion.
– That is the fault, not of the people, but of the Government.
– I quite agree with the honorable senator. The Government has displayed a lack of courage. In proportion to the population, the civilian casualties in Australia are not comparable with those experienced in Great Britain. The sacrifices made by the Australian mercantile marine are infinitely smaller than those of the mercantile marine of Great Britain. A similar statement is applicable to the sacrifices of this country and of those of Great Britain as represented by Army and Air Force casualties. The Australian Navy has rendered splendid service, and I shall make no comparison in that regard. Considering these points, and the fact that Great Britain has conscripted all of its man-power to serve anywhere in the world and that the conscription of women in Great Britain is considerably greater than in Australia, I am surprised at some people in high places allowing themselves to get into a condition of smug complacency over Australia’s war effort. If the Prime Minister and the other members of the Government wish to lay the flattering unction to their souls that Australia’s war effort is second to none, I say that that is not true, for there is a lot more that we should do. This is a time for action. Australia should do all it possibly can to roll the enemy back and to hold the positions that we are now holding and that are being held by our allies who have been conscripted, and have come here to aid us in this great struggle. It has been said by Senator Sampson, Senator Collett and other returned soldiers on this side of the chamber, in season and out of season, that the immediate need of Australia is to have one army. I recently read a statement in the Adelaide Advertiser that at last the Prime Minister had taken his courage in his hands and intended to see that the right thing was done in this matter. He said that the Militia and the Australian Imperial Force should be welded into one army and one organization, with one set of conditions and one objective. The Adelaide Advertiser, of the 18 th November last, published the following report headed, “Melbourne, 17th November”: -
A suggestion that the Labour party should agree to the Government merging the Australian Imperial Force and the Australian Military Forces to form one Australian army for service abroad was made by Mr. Curtin at the Australian Labour Party Conference to-day.
– An insult to Parliament.
– That is an unreliable newspaper.
– It is more reliable than the honorable senator. The report of the newspaper continued -
In his statement to conference, Mr. Curtin said that the present defence act provided that Militia could be used only in action within Australia or mandated territories. Because of this, the war plans of the allied command in the South-west Pacific were being hampered. They were faced with the ridiculous position of having all Australian forces available for use in parts’ of New Guinea, and only the Australian Imperial Force could be put in service in other parts of the territory.
Since then I have noticed from reports in the press from time to time that what Mr. Curtin proposed was not to merge the Australian Imperial Force and the Militia into one army. He has shifted from that objective, or if he has been misrepresented in the press reports, I challenge the Government to state the true position, because it is a matter of the utmost importance to all of us in Australia. In order to give concrete evidence of the attitude of memhers of the Opposition in this matter, I propose to read a letter, which honorable senators in opposition were partly responsible for, which was sent to the Prime Minister on the 17th December, 1941, nearly a year ago. Although the letter is fairly lengthy, it is important, and expresses opinions to which I still subscribe. It reads -
At a meeting of the Opposition to-day a discussion centred around the dangerous position in which Australia finds itself, and which you have publicly stressed in many of your recent utterances. The Opposition took into full consideration the difficulties that confront you and your Government in the defence of Australia and gave very careful consideration to the disabilities that may arise in Australia’s defence from the fact that your Government is unable to send Militia troops abroad or to the neighbouring islands or the Dominion of New Zealand owing to the provision in the National Security Act.
It appears to the Opposition that it is all important to create an Australian army for the defence of the Commonwealth which the Government can employ anywhere without any statutory restrictions whatsoever. Malaya and the Pacific Islands are as truly part of Australia’s defences as are our own coastal forts. In our opinion the Government must be able to employ as it may wish, and as the necessity demands, any Australian troops anywhere, be they voluntarily enlisted or raised under the Defence Act. As the law stands at present it would be impossible to reinforce the sister dominion of New Zealand, or even to send troops to Timor, other than Australian Imperial Force personnel.
The Opposition stresses the importance of meeting the enemy outside the shores of A us- tralia as well as within and the distinction which must be drawn between Australian Imperial Force and Militia at the present moment may seriously hamper the strategy of your Government and interfere, the Opposition feels, with the adequate defence of this country.
While having no desire to raise any controversial political question, but animated with a sincere wish to free the hands of your Government, the Opposition would be prepared to give unanimous support to a measure amending the National Security Act in such a manner as to enable the Government to employ any of our troops in any area vitally necessary for the defence of the Commonwealth. The Opposition unanimously desired me to convey the intimation to you in the friendliest possible spirit, and we are animated, I was asked to assure you, by the single desire to assist the Government and to free its hands of what may prove an embarrassment.
Swift action may be necessary, and it appears to us that whilst Parliament is still in session the opportunity should be taken to amend the act so that the Government will not find itself hampered by lack of power, but may by regulation as it thinks fit meet a situation which we all hope’ will not arise.
– We have not had a reply yet.
– On the 1st May, 1942, Mr. Fadden, as reported in Hansard, page 797, moved, on behalf of the Opposition the following amendment to a motion submitted by the Prime Minister -
In order that the Australian Imperial Force and the Australian Military Forces may be effectively welded into one fighting army available for offence as well as defence, this House is of opinion that all territorial limitations upon the power of the Commonwealth Government to employ the Australian Military Forces should be removed.
A study of page 847 of Hansard will show that the motion was defeated by four votes. I am sorry to say that two members, representing Victorian constituencies, who put the Government in office and have kept it there, “ ratted “ on their party and also on their principles on that occasion. The time is ripe for this Parliament to take action which will enable Australia’s two armies to he welded into one, so that the Militia and the Australian Imperial Force may serve in any part of the world in this world war. Such action is only fair to our allies, to Australia itself, and to the thousands of Australians who are now prisoners of war in Malaya, Singapore and the Netherlands East Indies. It is only fair also to the civilians who are suffering untold hardships in countries dominated by the Japanese. When such a serious task confronts us, promises made in the past and the attitude adopted in years gone by should be forgotten. We should face the issue which confronts us, animated by the one desire that Australia shall pull its full weight in the titanic struggle that lies ahead.
The document before us contains no mention of the statement made ‘by the Prime Minister on the 17th November in relation to the merging of the Militia Forces with the Australian Imperial Force. There is no mention of an alteration of the law to enable the Militia to serve in the islands of the South-west Pacific. It is monstrous that the Militia cannot be sent to the Solomon Islands or to Timor. I am at a loss to understand why there is no clear statement on that subject, particularly in view of the contradictory reports that have been made, and, therefore, I ask that, during this debate, the Government will answer the following question:. Is it proposed to merge the Australian Imperial Force and the Militia into one army; if not, where is it proposed that the Australian Imperial Force and the Militia shall serve? The suggestion has been made that the Defence Act shouldbe amended to enable the Militia to serve in the South-west Pacific, hut I understand that the Solomon Islands, Singapore, the Netherlands East Indies and New Zealand do not come within the definition of “ Southwest Pacific “. I urge the Government to take the bold step which will allow Australian soldiers to serve wherever they are needed in this war. The time may not he far distant when Australians will be needed to fight in Burma, or to release
Australian prisoners of war in Malaya and elsewhere. They may even be required to fight in Japan.
My first objection to the Government’s proposal is the most staggering situation in which the Prime Minister has placed Australia in a time of national crisis. The right honorable gentleman has thought it necessary to refer this important matter to the Australian Labour party caucus.
– That is a travesty of parliamentary government.
– I offer the strongest objection possible to the representatives ofthe trade unions of Australia being asked by the Prime Minister whether this or that can be done.
– The trade unions were not asked what could or could not bo done, as the honorable senator well knows.
– According to press reports, six trade union delegates from each State met in Melbourne recently, and the Prime Minister thought it necessary to tell them secrets in connexion with the war which members of Parliament have not been told.
– That is not correct.
– Even Labour members of this Parliament are not allowed to have a say in the matter of deciding where the Militia shall fight until this outside junta gives its decision. That is a most remarkable position in a country which boasts of responsible government. On behalf ofthe Opposition in the Senate I enter a most emphatic protest against the attitude adopted by the Prime Minister, and the delay that is taking place in settling this question. The Parliament has been summoned to discuss important questions, yet no action is proposed to be taken because the Labour caucus has said that it will not be in a position to give a decision until the 4th January, 1943. It is my considered opinion that the Curtin Government has subordinated responsible parliamentary government to an irresponsible party political organization whose main concern is the introduction of its long-cherished desire to establish compulsory unionism and socialize the means of production, distribution and exchange. Many trade union officials appear to be more concerned with the adoption of Labour’s industrial policy than with the task of defeating the nation’s enemies.
– We can finish our game and beat the Spaniards too.
– The honorable senator is back in the 16th century.
– My second reason is that I believe that, even if the Defence Act be amended, the Government does not propose to establish one army. My third objection to the attitude of the Curtin Government is that if this restriction be removed so as to limit the area in which Australians may fight to the islands around Australia, and excluding Singapore and Burma,’ they may not be able to fight where they will be wanted. That is an insult to Great Britain, the United States of America and China. The statement read by the Minister this afternoon contains a reference to the gallant stand of China, but, apparently, the Government is not prepared to send men to Burma in order to help the Chinese in their struggle. In a statement which appeared in many Australian newspapers on the 30th November last, Mr. Churchill said that it was possible that the war in Europe would end before the war with Japan was concluded, in which event the British authorities would immediately bring all the forces at their disposal to the aid of America, China and, above all, their own kith and kin in Australia. Honorable senators should compare that statement with the statement of the Prime Minister of Australia. Should the Government fail to take immediate action, or should it restrict the area in which the Militia may fight to the area around Australia, it will place an indelible stain on the good name of Australia. We must remember that it was the Australian ImperialForce which, on Gallipoli, in Flanders and elsewhere, helped to make Australia’s name. I sincerely trust that this Parliament will not allow the Government to carry on in a way which will spoil Australia’s good name. The Government should change its mind before Parliament goes into recess and deal with this matter. It should not continue to adopt an ostrich-like attitude, but should face realities and go forward with Mr. Churchill, Mr. Roosevelt and other leaders by deciding that Australians shall fight wherever they are needed until the victory, which I am sure will be ours, is won. When representatives of the nations sit around the peace table to consider questions of vital importance to Australia in the post-war period, will Australians be able to hold up their heads, and put their case for a continuance of the preference for Australian primary products that Australia now enjoys in the British market? We know that the United Kingdom market absorbs 95 per cent, of our export trade. We know that when the battle is over we must rehabilitate our soldiers in industry. It is obvious that if Ave do not continue to enjoy preference on the United Kingdom market, we shall not be able to find employment for our fighting men on their return, even though increased constitutional powers be given to the Government. The loss of the United. Kingdom market will mean economic ruin to Australia. I urge the Government to do the right and decent thing. It will stand to our undying disgrace if we are obliged to wait until 1943 for the Labour caucus to decide what this Parliament should decide.
.- I extend a welcome to Senator Latham, who was my comrade in the Great War. He served in the 16th, a famous Western Australian battalion. He is the sixth former member of the 4th Infantry Brigade to take a seat in the present Commonwealth Parliament. The knowledge and experience which he has gained as a practical farmer, and as leader of the Country party for several years in the Western Australian Parliament, will be of great value when matters concerning the man on the land and primary industries generally are under discussion in this chamber. I assure the honorable senator that any honorable gentleman who is sincere, and knows what he is talking about, will receive a good hearing. Whether the advice he might tender will be accepted is another matter. I hope that Senator Latham, whom I knew as a gallant soldier, will grace the Senate for many years to come.
To-day’s war news’ is very heartening after three years of depressing communiques, telling of epic defeats and strategic withdrawals. The first milestone along the road to victory and peace has been passed. Many more miles of steep grades must still be traversed before that goal is reached. The United Nations in North Africa are preparing the way for an approach to the final battle-field, which must be on German soil. This time the war must be carried right into Nazi territory. We can rely upon Mr. Churchill, Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Stalin not to commit the same mistake as was made on the 11th November, 1918. There is only one place where peace should be signed and that is Berlin. Before Hitler’s white flags go up, three largescale Allied offensives will have to be carried out, regardless of losses: First, from North Africa into Europe; secondly, across the 200 miles of German occupied Soviet territory by the Red armies; and, thirdly, from the Southwest Pacific against Japan. All these are interlocked, each looking to the other to make a supreme effort.
Australia is vitally concerned in the lastnamed offensive. A good beginning has been made; but the encounters so far are not to be compared with what will follow before Japan, sues for peace. The smaller yet still efficient Royal Australian Navy, the Royal Australian) Air Force and units of the Australian Army are playing their part. Driving the Japanese out of New Guinea has been a tougher job than any one anticipated. Veteran units of the Australian Imperial Force and less experienced Militia units have fought side by side, showing great courage, great powers of endurance and great capacity to deal with a hardfighting, ruthless enemy. Truly, a feeling of comradeship has been developed in the Owen Stanley range; but underneath the surface, a very real distinction exists between the two forces. Within the ranks of the Militia itself, differences arise between those who have volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force for service beyond Australian territories, and those who are holding back. All this is bad for morale, subversive of discipline and detrimental to that cohesion so essential to success in battle. What will happen when the two territories under our control, New Guinea and Papua, are freed of the enemy? Before any further offensive operations are undertaken in conjunction with the United States land forces, a re-grouping of our New Guinea formations will have to be made. As the law stands at present, the Australian Imperial Force units will part company with the Militia units. The Australian Imperial Force personnel in the latter units will return to their original units. Can anything more stupid be imagined? Can anything be more exasperating to the officers and men?
What of these veteran Australian Imperial Force units who fought in Libya, Greece, Crete, Syria and New Guinea? Are they, because they are volunteers, to be expected to carry on without rest, without relief? Any old soldier knows that it is imperative to provide relief for troops, campaigning as these veterans have done under frightful conditions - the steaming, stinking, squelching, primeval New Guinea forests, hacking and fighting their way through. Add to these hardships, the chance of contracting malaria. Is history going to be repeated? Battalions of the First Australian Imperial Force, reduced to under half strength, went into action time and again. So did British battalions. Pressure on the Germans had to be maintained at all costs. The situation, in the South-west Pacific is similar to that on the Western Front in 1917-18. The Japanese are being pressed back. The pressure is on, and it must be kept on. Weary, depleted divisions, however brave and experienced, make little impression. They must have relief. For every division in action, another should be available close handy to take up the attack. Why should not the Militia divisions, now well equipped and bored stiff by inaction, be used as relief divisions? There might have been some reason to oppose conscription to ease the strain on the depleted Australian Imperial Force divisions in 1917-18; but, to-day, the situation is totally different.
All parties have approved compulsory military service for the adequate defence of Australia. Those who keep harping on the word “ conscription “ will divide the nation when unity is so essen tial. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) is pleading for a broader interpretation of “ adequate defence “, based on the advice of his responsible service chiefs. The Japanese are hovering around the lands adjacent to Australia and our territories like a pack of dingoes looking for an entrance in a boundary fence. There should be no controversy over merging the Australian Imperial Force and the Militia into one composite army, available for driving these human dingoes beyond the danger zone. The tragedy of it all is that the Prime Minister should have to delay giving effect to what he is convinced is necessary for the adequate defence of this country. An avalanche of National Security regulations, more or less concerned with our war effort, has been proclaimed at a day’s notice, yet here is a momentous decision hanging in the balance until a minority of citizens says “ Go ahead “. It is true that a decisive Japanese defeat in the Solomons and New Guinea areas will remove to some degree the menace to Australia. What about Dutch New Guinea, Timor, and Java? They are strongly held by the enemy, from whence Australia could be attacked. Naval bases and air bases have been developed. What for? It is strategically unsound to have such an aggressive enemy waiting to pounce down upon us. Intensive bombing of Tokyo will help to defeat the Japanese; but this war has proved that the bombing of capital cities is not enough. It has to be followed up by hard solid fighting by land forces. We are inviting a hostile attack by leaving the Japanese in possession of those lands. What of the splendid Australians, a band of guerrillas, who have defied capture in Timor and Java? What of the thousands of young Australians, prisoners of war, who are now eating coolie food and doing coolie work? What will they think of any half-strength efforts to release them? Is Australia to stand by and see the constitution of these splendid specimens of manhood undermined ?
The time will come when the Japaneseoccupied lands to the north-east must be recovered. Are we to allow the United States of America to tackle the job, while Australia co-operates with a restricted force, leaving behind several overtrained divisions anxious for service of a more active nature ? No one in his right senses would suggest employing the whole of our land forces in such operations. The Commander-in-Chief wants to be sure that he has a reserve on which he can draw should the situation so demand. Are there to be more Australian Labour party conferences, more arguments as to the use of units of Australia’s unified army in that zone? Opponents of a one-army policy can have no knowledge of war, or war organization, or the vast amount of detailed administration required to despatch even one division across the sea, no matter how short the voyage may be. Japan knows our military strength. How pleased it will be to hear that only a portion will be employed alongside the United States troops. Advocates of non-amalgamation and restriction, if amalgamated, to its use outside Australian territories, are playing into the enemy’s hands.
In this war, more so than in the last war, tactics are continually changing. Our military leaders have to adopt tactics similar to those of the enemy in order to counter bini. A leader who cannot reorientate his ideas Ls doomed to failure. The same principle applies to strategyJapan’s strategy is spreadeagling its forces on a 5,000-mile perimeter with thousands of miles of sea communications to her central base. That is against all principles of sound strategy. Australia, too, has to recast its strategy based on the known or contemplated intentions of the enemy. All Japan’s movements have been unexpected and unorthodox. In the Solomon Islands area the initiative is with us. Who can forecast where Japan may launch elsewhere another offensive? The Commander-in-Chief in the South-west Pacific Area has to bear these contingencies in mind, and, therefore, he must know beforehand what forces he can use without being hampered by political considerations.
It has been stated officially that about 40,000 members of the Militia Forces have applied to join the Australian Imperial Force. What is 40,000? Barely three divisions. Where are these 40,000? They are still in the Militia divisions in which a few Australian Imperial Force units and Australian Imperial Force specialists are temporarily attached as “ stiffeners “. What a hotch-potch army! The disentanglement and re-organization necessary to separate the overseas fighting units from the “ stay at home “ units would cause delays just when an expedition is vitally important. Must General Douglas MacArthur wait for these much-needed divisions? The Prime Minister is acquainted with such an unsatisfactory situation. Hence his plea for one composite army ready at short notice to answer General Douglas MacArthur’s call. He, with the advice of the service experts, is responsible for the successful prosecution of Australia’s part in this theatre of war. What contribution to victory is a well-organized home front - overorganized to my mind - should the fighting front be disorganized, and not ready for immediate action? We seem to be getting a home-front complex, and obsessed with its importance; but it is secondary to the fighting front.
It is encouraging to find that most of the Prime Minister’s followers and admirers can face realities. They now interpret “ adequate defence “ in its widest and broadest sense, just as the Opposition did when, in May last, in the House of Representatives, its leader, the right honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr. Fadden), moved for one army and the unrestricted use of it as General Douglas MacArthur might deem necessary for the protection of Australia. No previous hard-and-fast resolution at any political conference could forecast what might happen in this abnormal war so far as the safety of this Commonwealth is directly concerned. The enemy’s course of action, and his proximity to our shores, rules out any musty resolutions of that kind. I hope that even before Christmas it may be possible for the Government to call Parliament together instead of waiting until January. Who knows what will happen in the meantime?
.- I endorse Hie protest made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) this afternoon against the action of the Government in calling Parliament together without having anything of a concrete nature to present to it. I believe that the Government is right in honouring the promise it made to call Parliament together, but I venture to suggest that it is of very little use to bring the members of both Houses of Parliament back from all parts of Australia, where many of them have been engaged in active war and patriotic work of various kinds, and in looking after the welfare of their constituents, merely to serve up to them a re-hash of facts that have been appearing for weeks past in every daily newspaper in Australia. “We all endorse the sentiments expressed by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) in the tributes that he paid to the men of our fighting forces and of the allied fighting forces. It goes without saying that we all join with him, and with the Government generally, in acknowledging the work that is being done by our men. We are grateful to them for the fact that they are fighting to keep the war away from the homes of the Australian people, but never in our history have we been confronted with such a spectacle as Australia is faced with at the present time. I pray that we shall never have another Government acting as this Government is acting in relation to the defence of the nation. Senator McLeay pointed out that nearly a month ago the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) first attended a conference of the machinery section of his own party, and stated that it was necessary to amend the Defence Act in order to meet the wishes of the CommanderinChief of the South-west Pacific Area. The Prime Minister then went to that conference, and made statements which surprised many of his own supporters, because they thought he was never likely to raise the issue, in view of his previous utterances. We know, however, why be was compelled to go to that Labour conference and make suggestions for an amendment of the Defence Act. It was because the CommanderinChief of the Allied Forces, and the CommanderinChief of the Land Forces in the South-west Pacific Area, had pointed out the handicap under which they were operating in carrying out the adequate defence of Australia. One does not have to be a member of the Executive Council, the Advisory War Council, or the War Cabinet to know that representations were made to the Prime Minister by the highest military authorities.
– The Prime Minister said so.
– He said that the CommanderinChief was handicapped by the disadvantages under which he was operating through the wording of the Defence Act as it at present stands.
– Where did the honorable senator get that information from?
– Why did the Prime Minister raise this point, if it was not represented to him by the military authorities? Who else would recommend it to him? Certainly the honorable senator would not, nor would some of the Prime Minister’s colleagues in the Cabinet. It was the CommanderinChief, aud others who went with him to the front line and saw the fighting.
– The honorable senator may be right, but he has never seen that in print. It is a shot in the dark.
– It is not a shot in the dark. It is common sense. We know perfectly well that those representations must have been made by the people who advise the Government. But what answer did the Prime Minister of Australia give, at a time when the forces of Japan were only a few hundred miles away from this country? He said, “I know that this power is necessary, but I dare not give it to you, although I am Prime Minister, and although I have a nominal majority in the lower house, and have supporters on both sides who will stand by me and are pledged to support me in a measure of this kind. Still. I dare not go to Parliament, the place where the people’s representatives are sent to voice the opinions of democracy. I must go to a secret Labour conference “. The Prime Minister had to go cap in hand to that body and say, “ Dear sirs, will you give me permission to amend the Defence Act, so that I can go back to the commanders of tho military forces, which are defending this country, with the powers they need, in order that the troops may be properly deployed and the defence of Australia properly carried out?” What a pitiful exhibition of craven weakness! I expected, in view of some of the Prime Minister’s ‘utterances, something greater from him than that. I am very disappointed that he did not call Parliament together immediately - he could call his party together also if he liked’ - and say, “ These things are necessary for the defence of Australia”. Instead of that, he went to the Labour conference first. A month has gone by and the conference has not yet reached a decision. Nearly another month must pass before it meets again, and then Parliament will have to be called together, and a majority will have to he secured before the necessary powers can be given. In the meantime young Australians are dying in the defence of this country, and reinforcements that are. wanted in certain areas cannot be sent.
– The honorable senator knows that that is not true.
– It is true, otherwise why was it necessary to seek additional powers? These men are required to do certain work in connexion with the defence of Australia, and the offensive action that is being taken against the Japanese. It is a tragedy to think that in Australia, a country which we pride ourselves is the most democratic in the world, the Government goes to its Gestapo to get its instructions instead of coming to Parliament. It is, indeed, a tragedy that Australia in the hour of its greatest need should be saddled with the weakest and most vacillating government that has ever been known since the inception of federation. Casting one’s mind back over the record of many governments, including Labour governments, one cannot recall a more humiliating spectacle than Australia beholds at the present time with a government holding up the defence needs of the country for two months waiting for a Labour conference to say, “ Yes, Mr. Curtin and Ministers, you may go ahead “.
– And the spectacle of Ministers fighting Ministers.
– I was coming to that point. “We have the spectacle of the Prime Minister and some of his Ministers going to conferences together, not exhibiting Cabinet or party unity, but fighting each other both in the conference and in public.
– Did not the honorable senator hear something like that a couple of years ago?
– Possibly, bat if the honorable senator stays here much longer he will hear a great deal more of it. I hope that the people outside will hear a good deal of what is being said here, and begin to realize what sore of men are directing the destinies of Australia. We have the Minister for Aircraft Production (Senator Cameron), a Minister controlling a department producing war equipment, making announcements that he is opposed to the policy of the Prime Minister. Although he is opposed to the policy of the Government, he does not resign from the Government. He does not take the action that is taken in most countries where responsible government obtains; he does not decide that, being out of step with the rest of his colleagues, he ought to resign. He is much too comfortable in his ministerial position. No matter how strong his views are, they are not strong enough to make him resign his seat in the Cabinet. This afternoon Senator Brand gave one of the best expositions that I have ever heard of the position of the two armies that we now have, and the difficulties with which the officers and others associated with the organization of Australia’s defence are faced, because of the fact that the whole of our forces are not merged into one army. It is all very well for honorable senators on the Government side to ask on every occasion when a speech is made from this side : “ What did your Government do? Why did you not do this when you were in power ? “ The state of affairs then was totally different from, what it is at the present time, because the Australian Imperial Force then had a definite task allotted to it in an overseas theatre of war. It was not fighting alongside, or associated with, members of the Militia Forces, as it is at present. Japan was not then in the war, and the circumstances were entirely different. The Australian Imperial Force was an expeditionary force raised, as such, to go abroad and do certain jobs overseas. The Militia was an army that was being kept in Australia, with certain reinforcements for the Australian Imperial Force raised by voluntary enlistment to be sent overseas. There is no parallel between the position then and now. Two divisions of the Australian Imperial Force, having returned to Australia, and their depleted forces having now to consist of men who have served overseas and those enlisted in Australia, it is nonsensical to keep two armies in existence. Even in individual companies and platoons we find that one man is a member of the Australian Imperial Force, whilst another is a Militiaman. As Senator Brand has pointed out, this anomaly creates considerable difficulty, and a good deal of feeling which should not exist is engendered among the troops themselves. As Australia is not now required to send entirely independent forces overseas, there is no reason why the two armies should not be merged into one. The whole of the men on full-time duty should serve in one great army. The Volunteer Defence Corps, which I am pleased to learn, according to a statement hy the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde), is to be further increased, is a part-time force, and of course falls within a different category from the rest of the Australian forces; but all men on fulltime duty should be merged under one command. Until this is done, we shall not have the efficiency which is demanded under present conditions.
I am naturally disappointed that, at a time like the present, the Government is not prepared to do the right thing, and amend the Defence Act to provide that Australian soldiers may be called upon to serve in any theatre of war. I regret that the Opposition will not have an opportunity to record its vote in favour of such a proposal. What surprises me is that the Prime Minister, although it has been clearly represented to him that it is necessary to merge the two forces, is prepared to wait two months until a conference of the Australian Labour party has decided whether it will permit him to adopt that course. Suppose the conference is not prepared to do that! Will the Prime Minister bow the knee to that irresponsible body, or heed the call of our military leaders? What will be the result if, on the 4th January, this irresponsible body does not approve of giving to General Douglas MacArthur and to General Sir Thomas Blarney the right to utilize our forces in the territories adjoining Australia? Will the Prime Minister return to Parliament, and say: “Despite what I have told the Labour Conference, and what I have said in the party room, this conference has decided that we must allow the .present impossible state of affairs to continue “ ? Every time a change of policy is needed in Australia, is the conference of the Australian Labour party to be consulted? Is its permission to be sought on every occasion when the necessity arises for extending the use of the Australian armed forces to a new area? Will the Government refer to thi3 irresponsible body on all questions of policy that arise in future? I wonder whether, on St. Valentine’s Day, the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) will ask the Australian Labour party conference if he should prohibit the exchange of the usual greetings, or whether, at Easter, the children may receive Easter eggs. In view of the fact that the Minister has decreed that Father Christmas must not visit the children during the coming festive season, what will happen at Easter? Will the “Dedman blight” be a subject for discussion at future Australian Labour party conferences ?
– If so, we might get results.
– We might have a little relief. We must regard the position with a good deal of concern, because nobody can truthfully say that the present Government has not had a fair deal. No government in Australia has received better support in the Parliament, in the press, and on the air, than the Curtin Administration has had throughout its period of office. The Opposition in this Parliament has given to it wise and constructive advice. It must be admitted that the Government has had real support from the members of the Opposition parties. Whenever contentious problems have arisen, the Opposition has willingly given a helping hand to the Government, but no opposition could continuously assist a ministry that conducted the affairs of the country in the way in which the Curtin Government is proceeding to do. We have seen the spectacle of ministerial squabbles in public, such as have probably never been previously witnessed in this country. We have seen the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward) on the platform in the Sydney Domain attacking the Prime Minister, if not directly, almost directly. We have witnessed the spectacle of the Minister for Aircraft Production (Senator Cameron) making utterances in public which are at complete variance with those of his colleagues. We have heard the Minister for Labour and National Service state on various platforms that all of the people are waiting for the introduction of socialism, and that they would ‘hail its introduction with delight. Senior Cabinet Ministers, however, have admitted that the policy of the Government is to carry on Australia’s war effort in preference to the introduction of the particular brand of socialism advocated hy some members of the Cabinet.
Some time ago the present Government appointed an ex-member of the Labour party, in the person of Mr. Theodore, as Director-General of the Allied Works Council. I understand that a large number of valuable works have been put into operation expeditiously, because of the driving power of Mr. Theodore, although I hold no brief for him. The Director-General and the Director of Personnel, Mr. Packer, both of whom, I understand, are doing this job for the Government in an honorary capacity, found it necessary to suspend several men in the office of the Allied Works Council for a breach of discipline, in order that some irregularity might be investigated, but a motion was carried in the Labour caucus demanding the immediate reinstatement of the men. The Government might well have stood by the DirectorGeneral and agreed to the holding of the inquiry. The Government might have 6aid that if the men were not guilty of any breach of duty they should then be reinstated, and given all back pay due to them, all records to their suspension being obliterated. If we are - to have discipline, the men at the head of a large organization like the Allied Works Council should not have their authority taken from them by resolution of the Labour caucus.
– The honorable senator’s information is not quite correct.
– I asked the Acting Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane) to-day what the circumstances of the matter were, and I was unable to elicit that information. The suggestion made was that action was to be taken to have an inquiry held, and I do not object to that, but the press reports indicate that action is being taken to restore these men immediately to their positions. I trust that they will be restored to their jobs without a slur on their character after a proper inquiry, and that the authority of the Director-General will be maintained.
The type of publicity we have had in Australia in relation to war activities overseas is often difficult to understand, and bad in its effect on the people. We see blazing headlines in the press stating that there has been a huge allied success, and the people are often buoyed up with the hope that the war is practically over. That is bad for the people, because we know that there are long dark days ahead before the struggle will be finished. Every body knows that, even if big advances are made by the United Nations, still bigger successes remain to be accomplished. Having regard to the huge area of territory occupied by our enemies we must realize that the effort required of us is stupendous, and that the help of every man and woman available will be required. Sometimes we read cabled messages relating to brilliant achievements, but a day or two later we are informed that our forces have retired, according to plan, to a mountain stronghold to enable them to be regrouped. That indicates that the achievements were not so great as we had been led to believe. I am not in favour of giving the people information likely to be of use to the enemy, but w© should not “ pull their legs “. After what members of the British race, as well as their allies, have gone through during the last three years, it is quite unnecessary to place such nonsense before the people. They can stand the truth and they should !be told that struggles and difficulties lie ahead, and that our armies are bound to be held up from time to time. They should not be told, as they have been told recently, one story by one Minister and another story by another Minister, and something quite unintelligible by yet another Minister. The people are entitled to ‘know the truth, and they are not afraid to hear it. Just as our men in New Guinea are bravely facing untold difficulties, so the people on the home front are prepared for whatever they have to face. I agree entirely with the protest that has been made by previous speakers. I have been a member of the Senate for 26 years, but never ‘before have I known of a Government which, while admitting its duty, is afraid to bring before Parliament an important matter of policy until an outside organization has voted on it. On many occasions the Prime Minister has urged the people to act promptly, and to do their utmost; I now urge him npt to wait until the Australian Labour party holds its meeting in January, but to amend the National Security Act now in order that the Militia may be employed wherever they will serve Australia best.
– I listened with great interest to the statement read by the Acting Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane). The document was interesting in parts, particularly the paragraph relating to casualties sustained in New Guinea. I had hoped that the document would enlighten us regarding the future of Australia’s two armies, and would indicate the areas in which the Government intends that the Militia shall operate, but we are still in the dark in that connexion. I had hoped that, long before this, the Australian Imperial Force and the Militia would have been merged into one army, under the same conditions of service and pay, and under one unified command. I had hoped that, as good Australians, all our fighting men would have been locked together in this struggle for survival. But from what I read in the press and hear in and about this building, it i3 proposed that there shall be an extension of compulsory military service to the South-west Pacific Area, whatever that may mean. I confess that I do not know what is meant by the term. The term “ South Pacific Area “ is one of many high-sounding terms of which I am heartily sick and tired. We hear over and over again that this place, or that place, is a “ bastion of democracy “. The word “ austerity “ is being overworked until we are all tired of hearing it. I do not understand how such a word can be used in the way that is so frequently heard. I have heard of an “ austerity ball “ and of an “ austerity carnival “ in Canberra, but how austerity can be associated with a carnival passes my comprehension. People sometimes think that by using certain words they have accomplished something, even though they may not know the meaning of the words they use. Some time ago, while at Collie in Western Australia, I listened to a broad.cast by the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde). He had not long previously attended a meeting of the War Cabinet and had been subjected to some press criticism. The language used by him in his broadcast was so striking that I wrote down what he said. I admit that the speech sounded well, but I shall be glad if any one can tell me what the words meant. Mr. Forde said, “ Earnest consideration was given to the implementation of the cohesion of the Pacific and the operational area “. As a commongarden soldier-man, I confess that such language was beyond my’ comprehension. What is meant by the South-west Pacific Area? If it means that the operations of the men compulsorily enlisted in the Militia Force are to be confined to a circumscribed area, I say that that is deplorable. If this war be, as the Prime Minister says, a global war, Australian troops should be prepared to serve anywhere in the world. A war cannot be fought successfully with two armies. For over two years I have been worried because of the distinction between the volunteer Australian Imperial Force and the conscripted Militia-man. There is undoubtedly a lot of friction between the two armies. That should not be so, but, in my opinion, it is inevitable. Another point of importance is that the training of the Militia has not been so advanced as that of the Australian Imperial Force. Many members of the Australian Imperial Force who have returned to Australia after hard service abroad have had to carry more than their fair share of the burden. That has caused friction, although the Postmaster-General (Senator Ashley) denied that that was so when he interjected this afternoon. Like many other honorable senators who receive correspondence from men on active service, I receive letters which throw some light on this subject. One such letter, from which I propose to read, came from a man in the Australian Imperial Force who served on Salisbury Plains for some time and later served in Libya, Greece, Crete and Syria. He came back to Aus* tralia early this year and is now serving in New Guinea. In a letter to his father he said -
The worst aspect of the show here is th, using up of all the returned Australian Imperial Force infantry in New Guinea whilst there are hundreds of thousands of Militia infantry who have not, and are not likely to fire a snot. The inequality of sacrifice between volunteer and conscript is most glaring, and a veteran Australian Imperial Force man’s chance of surviving the war are very slim indeed. Reports indicate not more than one Militia infantry unit at Milne Bay as against two Australian Imperial Force brigades, the ratio in the other sector, Moresby-Kokoda about the same. All 6th and 7th division infantry now in Now Guinea plus 18th independent brigade. A case of a willing horse doing all the work all over again. Funny how a man can keep sane and laugh at the whole bag of tricks. Personally, I think the soldier is better off if he does die with his boots on and fails to see the glorious peace.
– Did that letter come from an officer?
– No; it came from a “ full-blown pukka “ private.
– Then how did he get the information?
– He is on the spot, and he knows. The Minister for Aircraft Production (Senator Cameron) knew many things while he was soldiering in South Africa.
– We knew more than the authorities thought we knew.
– Here is another letter from a corporal who has returned to Australia after having fought in Greece, Crete and Libya. It shows that at times there is friction between the two armies, although, when they get near to the front line all differences disappear, as they did between the Australians and the New Zealanders in the last war on Gallipoli. I am just trying to prove how pitiful it is that we have two armies. I was hoping that the merger was coming.
The letter from the second chap shows what goes on when members of the Militia and the Australian Imperial Force are together. He writes -
Yesterday, I had an unpleasant go in with some Militiamen; three of them started it for no reason at all. These three gentlemen, they were running us down in no uncertain terms. I had to say something. They spotted the puggaree, and the cove nearest let a couple go. I saw red and was lucky. He went down and his rats of mates cleared out after a halfhearted attempt. Inferiority complex I put it down to; mean rats are always like that. Very fed up, as it’s the first time I’ve been in a common brawl and it had to happen in my own country with my own people. Having mixed on good terms with Tommies, New Zedders, Poles, Norwegians, Egyptians, South Africaus, Arabs, Jews, Syrians, Turks, Greeks and French, one has at last bumped into a type obviously worked up by a kind of propaganda which Dr. Goebbels and Haw Haw are so good at. Well, I wish I’d waited a day or two before I wrote this, then the above incident wouldn’t have been mentioned. Fact is, I am still boiling.
What I am trying to show in passing is that it is a very bad thing to have two armies, each composed entirely of good Australians, serving under different conditions. It is had from the point of view of organization and discipline, and for the co-operation which must exist to-day if we are to achieve any good with our Military Forces. This policy is ripe for reform. The only way that can be done is by merging the two forces in a unified command. Quite apart from any other disadvantage, the existence of two armies results in considerable waste. To run them, we must have, for instance, two sets of administrative head-quarters, and two sets of quartermaster-general services. The sooner that arrangement is abandoned, the sooner we shall have a really efficient Army.
Should we now insist in taking only a limited part in our own defence, when we are fighting for survival, we shall be placed in a most humiliating position should we again he obliged to ask for help from the United States of America, or any other country. If Australia follows the advice of men like Mr. Lang, whose newspaper I was reading only this morning, it will be despised. And we should deserve to be despised. What we require in our Army is unfettered mobility of all our forces. We should enable them to go wherever the High
Command deems they should go in carrying on the war against our enemies. That is only common sense. Can we face our allies without shame if we deliberately impose limitations upon our fighting strength? “We possess some fighting strength; hut should we impose limitations on the use of our forces despite the requirements of the tactical situation, we shall be covered with shame. The objection to employing members of the Militia outside Australia has lost whatever logical force it had; that is, if it ever had any. .Such abjection had its roots, and still has, in the belief of a hide-bound section of the Labour party that any war that does not immediately threaten Australia must necessarily be an imperialistic or capitalistic war, in which Australian volunteers might help Great Britain for sentimental reasons, hut in which no Australian must be compelled to serve. That is unsound reasoning at any time; hut it is particularly unsound at present because Australia is fighting for its survival against the Japanese aggressor who now threatens us, and whose grim shadow has darkened Australia’s skies for many years. That is what we are up against. Therefore, to place limitations on the use of our armed forces is utterly stupid and foolish, and most dangerous. In modern war there can be no territorial limits. There are no territorial limits in this war. To-day, a country’s defensive positions are not its coastline, hut those bases, islands and places from which it can be attacked by air or sea. An offensive strategy is the greatest defence. That has been proved over and over again. It is proved, for instance, in boxing. I recall the advice given to me by an old chap, Mick S’heedy, who taught me boxing when I was a boy. He had a tumbledown shack at Invermay which he called an academy of the fistic art where he gave lessons in boxing. After my first lesson I almost decided not to go back. However, when I returned to him on the second night he said to me, “ There are only three things in this: First, .stop a blow with a blow; secondly, keep your temper; and thirdly, do not squeal.” I am now talking about the first point. An offensive is the best defence. It is in most situations. However, if the bulk of your armed forces are to sit down in their own country waiting for what is coming to them, you will not strike blow for blow, nor will you get in the first blow. That is why I want to see the Labour party drop all its old shibboleths in this matter and face realities. I ask it to cut out all that nonsense, and all that funk and fear of the word conscription. There is nothing to be scared of about the word conscription. I have been a conscriptionist all my life. I believe in conscription. No doubt, honorable senators opposite will say, That is all right, but what about conscription of wealth?” My answer is that we already have conscription of wealth in this country. Our people are taxed and taxed; and they can be taxed to a still greater degree. If that is not conscription of wealth I should like to know what it is. To-day, we have conscription of labour - man-power and woman-power Therefore, there should not be any haggling over this matter. “We should not throw the responsibility for our defence onto the volunteer. The effect of this policy is bad. Only two days ago we read in the press that the Japanese radio was gloating over the fact that the Victorian Labour party had turned down the Prime Minister. That is good propaganda for Japan. The Japanese say that we arn weakening and, therefore, the war is over. They say that we are not going to let certain sections of our armed forces serve outside Australia. No justification whatever exists for this Government to wait until the 4th January before it gives an answer to the Prime Minister on this matter. He has announced plainly what he wants; and he should get his answer immediately. If he does not receive it immediately, or if there be any quibbling, or haggling, over this matter, it will simply mean that the Labour party stands for party before country. We cannot get away from that. That is the only interpretation we can place upon such an attitude.
I shall now deal with the volunteer. An irresponsible body of .people over in Tasmania have decided, by four votes to three, to support the Prime Minister’s proposal. Dealing with that body to-day’s Canberra Times reports -
It is also resolved that encouragement should be given to youths to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force before being compulsorily enrolled in the Militia. Also members of the
Militia desiring to transfer to the Australian Imperial Force should be encouraged and assisted.
That is getting back to the old policy of letting the volunteer do the lot. That policy is, “Let the volunteer carry the heat and burden of the day. Let him box on until he is tired, worn and weary ; and let him continue doing it “. That policy is not only unfair, but also unsound. In the utilization of our manpower it i3 uneconomic. In the last war - my war and the war of other honorable senators - we went through the vale of bitterness in grim fashion in 1918 because the war-worn and battered Australian Imperial Force was gradually bleeding to death. It was overworked. Why? Because of lack of .reinforcements. Battalions had to be broken up; and the end was in sight so far as we were concerned. If we had had to fight for another year it would have been the end of the Australian Imperial Force. War-worn diggers on the battle-field were deserted by their country to struggle on with their depleted battalions as best they might. This situation has not yet arisen in this war; but if the opponents of one army have their way it will arise inevitably. Their troubles about the worn and weary men who arc fighting to protect them, so long as they do not fail and the threat of invasion does not come closer! Australia has conscription now. We sent members of the Militia forces to various battle stations in Australia, and to the fighting front in New Guinea. If our conscripts go forward with the same allies in the same cause to fight the same enemy on other frontiers, as they should until he is beaten, what will be the difference? It is merely a matter of political frontiers which our enemies absolutely ignore.
Silting suspended from 6 to S p.m.
– I was very interested to get some idea of the casualties which have taken place in the Owen Stanley-Kokoda region of New Guinea, but, as the Minister mentioned, the figures in the Prime Minister’s statement did not include the sick. Those of us who have been to New Guinea, although possibly only for a short tour, know perfectly well what dreadful wastage there must be amongst the troops there, on account of dysentery, malaria and other diseases peculiar to the country. I am sure that, in the unbelievably terrible conditions in which they are fighting, our troops must be suffering very heavy wastage, and I believe that that applies both to our own side and to the Japanese. The question of relief for our men is important, because I am inclined to think that quite a number of them are being over-tried. That is why I am of the opinion that there should be no distinction as to service. We cannot have watertight compartments in which to lock up troops who are to serve only in certain zones, whilst others who volunteer are to be sent anywhere. One point that I should have liked the Prime Minister to have mentioned in his statement regarding the war position, and particularly New Guinea, is the extraordinarily fine work being done there by men of the Australian Imperial Force in dockoperating companies. I have had letters from some of them, one only last week, informing me that for quite a time they were working unloading ships in that climate twelve hours on and twelve hours off. The winches of the ships were never silent for the whole 24 hours. The work they have done there is amazing and of tremendous value. My latest information is that they are now working six hours on and twelve hours off, but, in that climate, even that is a tremendously severe task for white men, especially now that the rainy season is on them, with its stewing, enervating heat and its dreadful nights. We have sustained in this war a loss of prisoners of war ten times greater than we suffered in four years and more with the old Australian Imperial Force. These men are in captivity in Malaya, Java, Burma and Japan itself. Are we going to say to certain portions of our troops that, when the time comes to go forward to liberate these prisoners, they are not to go, but that we shall put territorial limits on them ? . If that comes to pass, we shall suffer everlasting shame. Do we intend to hand over the job of liberation to our allies - men not of our own race? That is unthinkable. Such a counsel, is a counsel of cowardice and shame. Section 49 of the Defence Act provides that no man shall fight outside Australia unless he volunteers for the job. That act is over 40 years old. It is moth-eaten, worn-out, and a shibboleth that we cannot maintain in a war of this nature. It is amazing that we should have an extra-parliamentary body to which the Prime Minister must defer before he can do what he knows to be his duty, according .to the advice of the Commander-in-Chief. The Prime Minister’s masters will not give him their answer until the 4th January. Will the war he held up in the meantime ? Will the Japanese mark time until that decision is made? Of course they will not. Is the Australian Imperial Force being asked to do too much? I suggest that at this juncture it is. What we have to face unflinchingly is that we must have one army of good Australians, with no distinctions as to where they will serve or go. We must be prepared to send our men wherever the strategical or tactical situation demands that they should throw in all their weight in our cause, because this is a war for survival. If we are to pull our weight, and not be covered with shame, the present ludicrous position must be ended. I deeply regret that no mention was made by the Prime Minister in his statement of a merger of our forces into one Australian army under a unified command, lt will come. The force of circumstances will bring it about, but each and every one of us should realize the position as it is to-day, face the stark facts, and act accordingly. If it is our job to defend this country anywhere, seeing that the Prime Minister has said that this is a global war, the natural corollary is that our men should, if and when it is necessary, serve in any part of the globe.
– I listened carefully and with great interest to the statement read by the Acting Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane) this afternoon. We have reason to congratulate ourselves on the position in which we find ourselves at the present moment. During -tie last six weeks the war has changed somewhat in our favour, but when one looks at the enormous territory that the Axis powers have acquired and held during the last three years, it gives one strong reason to be doubtful and to feel much concern for the future. This is no time for us to sit back and think, because we have gained some successes in the Pacific zone and North Africa, that the tide has definitely turned in our favour. It makes me realize the enormous volume of work, organization, sacrifice and unity that lie ahead of us before we are able to say that we are on the way to a successful conclusion of the war. To my mind, this war differs very considerably, so far as Australia is concerned, from that of 1914-1S. Australia then was not in danger of invasion and our people were not made to realize, by restrictions or austerity measures such as now exist, that a grave war was being fought on the other side of the world. We were at that time in such a position that we voluntarily gave our best men, our womanhood and our material and money to help the Old Country and other European nations against Germany. In this war, Australia itself is> and has been for the past twelve months, in grave danger of actual invasion. We have been in such grave danger that we have had to ask for assistance from other nations. That is why I say that we are in an entirely different position from that which we occupied in the previous war. We have had to ask other countries, which thought it best to conscript all their man-power immediately, to come to our assistance, and they have willingly come to our aid. They have sent the best of their men, munitions and equipment thousands of miles across the sea to help us. I do not look upon the present situation as involving the principle of conscription. At the beginning of the Avar I realized that the party now occupying the Government bench did not believe in conscription for overseas service, but I maintain that the entry of Japan into the war has entirely changed the Australian outlook. The time has come when we must take stock of ourselves, and decide whether the principle which some members of this Parliament espoused three years ago have not now to be cast aside for the benefit of the people of Australia. We read in the press from time to time that men in certain age-groups are to be called up for compulsory military service. We have conscription and regimentation throughout the civil population, and to a large degree wealth has been conscripted by heavy direct taxation. Therefore, I see no reason why we should not have not only conscription of men for the fighting services, but also power to send those men to the assistance of our allies who, at our request, have come thousands of miles to assist us. I am in favour of the military forces of Australia forming one army. I do not know whether the Labour party is not ‘big enough to admit that it has made a mistake and that changed conditions demand different methods.
What better name could we have for a unified Australian army than the Australian Imperial Force? Such an army would represent the whole of Australia. Australian soldiers gained great distinction in 1914-191S and are rendering splendid service in the present conflict. The great advantage would be that the general officer commanding the forces would have a full knowledge of the resources available to him. He would know that he could draw on a certain body of men and send them to the places where their services were most needed, whether it were New Guinea, Timor, Singapore or any other place where he desired to drive back the enemy. As the result of the course of events in the last few weeks, we have realized that a large body of men may be required at short notice in some theatre of war, and the Commander in Chief should not be handicapped by having to refer to the Government, which, in turn, consulted some outside body, before be could make full use of the whole of the forces under his control. According to Mr. Churchill’s statement the offensive in North Africa was planned last June or July. I presume that the general in charge of those operations was not subjected to limitations as to the forces he could command. I do not imagine that Mr. Roosevelt or Mr. Churchill specified that certain troops could not leave the United States of America or Great Britain before receiving permission from an outside body not responsible to Parliament. The offensive, as we know, was highly successful.
If the two branches of the Australian forces were placed under a single command and used as one army, the effect on the members of the forces would be most heartening. I know” how the Australian troops overseas felt towards the end of 1918, when reinforcements were urgently needed and were not available. Men who were war-weary could not then be taken out of the line. They had to carry on, although their units were much under full strength. When recruits came forward the seasoned troops felt that they were not being let down, and that the people at home still realized what they owed to the men in the firing line. High morale and good comradeship result from the feeling that one is part of a united body of men, all of whom are ready to do what is asked of them. If a law were passed merging the present Australian forces into one army, the troops would welcome the decision. The effect on the morale of both our troops and those of our allies would be highly beneficial. Our allies would realize that we were willing to play our part in this great struggle. The decision would also have a depressing effect on the enemy which at present must derive infinite pleasure from the fact that we are divided. Unfortunately we have not unity in either the Commonwealth Parliament or the Army. The enemy has taken advantage of that fact for propaganda purposes. Some months ago, at secret meetings of members of this Parliament, the Prime Minister stressed the fact that this is a global war and that global strategy is necessary, but I fail to reconcile that statement with the present attitude of the Government to the question as to who should decide where the war should be fought. From what one can gather from the press and from what has been said by the Prime Minister, an outside body not elected by the people has been consulted on what I should regard as a major issue with regard to Australia’s war effort.
– That body was told, not consulted.
– It may have been told what the Prime Minister wished to do, but there is a great difference between asking for approval of a certain action and saying to it, “ This is what I and my Cabinet have decided to do. We think this course is in the best interests of Australia, and that the Commander in Chief of the Australian forces should have full power to say where the troops under him are to serve.” Instead of doing that the Prime Minister explained the position and then asked, “ Have I your approval to do this ? “ I understood from press reports that that approval would be granted after the matter had been favorably considered by the organization representing Labour in the several States. They have been asked to approve the action which the Prime Minister proposes to take, and we are waiting till the 4th January next to have that approval endorsed by a conference of the Australian Labour party. I maintain that Parliament is supreme and is answerable only to the people who elect it. The Government should have the courage to do what it thinks is right, and should not submit such an important matter to the decision of an outside body, particularly at such a critical stage of the nation’s history. Had such action been taken by a non-Labour government the supporters of the present Government would have been the first to condemn it. Particularly in war-time, the Prime Minister should be prepared to say what he thinks is right, without consulting any outside organization.
– He has said so.
– He has not. The Prime Minister has merely said what he wishes to be done; he has not said what he will do. He has said that he will not act until he has consulted an outside body which will give a decision six weeks hence. A good many things may happen in those six weeks. I believe that a great wrong has been done to Australia, and I am confident that the action of the Prime Minister will be so regarded by the people of this country.
– Is democracy wrong?
– The people elect this Parliament to carry out their wishes; they do not expect the Government to consult an outside body in a time of crisis and ask what it shall do. The duty of the Government is to govern in the best interests of the people. Democracy does not mean that the Government of the day shall consult the people at every crisis and ask what ought to be done. Democracy says to the members of the Government, “ The people have put you in office and they expect you to do your job “. The Government is not doing its job.
– Tell us what should be done.
– I have been trying to do that. The Labour party should be prepared to cast overboard some of the planks of its platform which were placed there in good faith. One such plank is its idea that men should not be conscripted to serve overseas. At a time like this the Labour party ought to be big enough to cast that idea aside. Surely it realizes that Japan and Germany cannot be defeated by fighting inside our own territorial boundaries, or even by fighting in New Guinea, Timor and Singapore. Our armies must pursue the enemy to Tokyo and Berlin. If our men are to do their job as they wish to do it they must be free to go wherever the CommanderinChief thinks that they can serve best. The Commander-in-Chief should not be told that his wishes will be conceded bit by bit, and that when New Guinea has been conquered he may possibly be permitted to use Australian soldiers elsewhere. Such a policy would be sufficient to disorganize any group of men. If men do not know what their job is, how can they be expected to do it? Their job is to clear the Japanese out of the Pacific. “We have a CommanderinChief in whom Ave have every confidence, but how can he lead us to victory if he is hamstrung by having control of only some of the men who are available?
I am in agreement with what has been said about Australian prisoners of war, but as that subject has been dealt with, I shall not discuss it now. The best form of defence is offence. I believe that the time will come - I hope that it will not be long - when in every theatre of war the United Nations will be on the offensive; but so long as our armies are not operating as one body it will be impossible to carry that offensive to a successful conclusion. Success can be obtained only by enthusiastic troops who know their job and will not be satisfied until the nation’s enemies are defeated wherever they are to be found. I am confident thatAustralian men will do their part. I only ask the Government to do its part by freeing them from existing restraints and by letting the Commander-in-Chief have full control of the men, equipment, and everything else needed to ensure victory. If that be done, I am confident that before long the day of victory will dawn.
We must have regard to the position after the war. If we persist with our present policy, we may find when hostilities cease that our allies, who have held back nothing, will say that we have been somewhat sparing in our war effort.
– Does the honorable senator say that?
– What will our allies think if we are not giving all of which we are capable? Can it be said that we are giving all if we restrict the freedom of movement of our troops?
– Australia is doing a wonderful job.
– Admittedly it is, but there should be no restrictions put in the way of doing a better job. British and American troops are prepared to serve wherever they are needed. It may be that at the peace conference Australia will be told that it was not prepared to give everything. That is a position which I ask the Government to consider carefully. I hope that in the near future Australia will have only one army.
– The statement on the war position read to-day by the Acting Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane) is certainly the most pleasing summary of the war position that we have yet heard. That improved position has been made possible only by the combined efforts of the United Nations. Previous statements on the war situation have revealed the United Nations acting on the defensive; to-day it is clear that they are on the offensive on almost every front. That the position has changed considerably means that an even greater effort must be made in the future than in the past by all the United Nations, otherwise the war will be prolonged. Opposition senators have scarcely touched on the matters referred to in the Minister’s statement; they have confined their remarks to the merging of Australia’s two armies. No honorable senator opposite will deny that the present Government has done a remarkably good job in mar shalling the human and material resources of Australia for the successful prosecution of the war. One would have expected honorable senators opposite to refrain from endangering the safety of Australia by giving information which may be of value to the enemy, yet some false statements have been made here today which might prejudice Australia’s interests. Honorable senators opposite will admit that Australia’s resources of man-power are being strained to the utmost and that many thousands of women are now producing war equipment of various kinds, and therefore, they could not have been sincere when they said that the Government had not done all that it should have done. Some of the remarks of honorable senators opposite almost justify the conclusion that’ they have access to expert advice which is not available to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. The advice of the Government’s military experts is available to the Prime Minister, and he is sufficiently wise and courageous to take that advice when he considers it to be sound. If he were advised to abandon a large portion of this continent to the enemy without firing a shot, he would, not be wise to take that advice. However, that was the advice given to the previous Government by its military experts. That Government which was supported by honorable senators opposite, accepted that advice. Yet honorable senators opposite criticize the defence policy of this Government. No one know-3 ‘.better than they, that if the Japanese were allowed to obtain a foothold on this continent, and to establish bases on Australia’s coastline, it would not be very long before they would overrun the whole of the continent.
– We were not at war with Japan then.
– But Japan was then lined up with the Axis, and when that plan of defence was made no one knew better than members of the then government that Japan would soon be at war with Australia.
– Who told all this to the honorable senator?
– It is common sense. If the previous Government had not been advised along those lines by it* military experts why did it plan to evacuate portion of Australia without firing a shot?
– Who told the honorable senator that? His ignorance is alarming.
– It is not so alarming as that of some honorable senators opposite who have spoken in this debate. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) stated that troops were not available for service in the islands adjacent to Australia. He said that no troops were available for service beyond the territorial waters of Australia. At the same time, however, we have sent troops to Crete, Greece, the Middle East and other parts of the globe. The Leader of the Opposition endeavoured to give the public the impression that to-day we could not send troops to Singapore although we have lost thousands of Australians there. He also said that we could not send troops to Malaya.
– Those troops were volunteers.
– Yes ; but the Leader of the Opposition did not make that distinction. He simply stated that troops could not be sent there to-day. He also declared that dissension existed between members of the Militia Forces and the Australian Imperial Force in New Guinea. He said that members of the Militia Forces resented the fact that they were not members of the Australian Imperial Force. There is nothing to prevent members of the Militia Forces from joining the Australian Imperial Force.
– Only some officers in the Army.
– Yes, that could be the only thing to prevent them from joining the Australian Imperial Force. We know that some officers would not give members of the Militia Forces permission to join the Australian Imperial Force. That was not the fault of the Government, because the Government’s policy is that any man who wants to join the Australian Imperial Force can do so. So many members of the Militia Forces joined the Australian Imperial Force at one stage that recruiting for the Australian Imperial Force was suspended. However, honorable senators opposite are not anxious to see the Militia Forces merged with the Australian Imperial Force in order to protect Australia and the territories of the Commonwealth. The Leader of the Opposition did not hide the fact that the main object of the Opposition in this matter is to conscript Australian troops for service in any part of the world. However, the Government which honorable senators opposite supported chid not introduce conscription for service in any part of the world, despite the fact that it had a majority in both houses of this Parliament. Itis obvious, therefore, that, had they believed conscription to be necessary, they did not have the courage to introduce it, despite the fact that at that time Great Britain was fighting with its back to the wall, and was fighting practically alone.
– The honorable senater did not suggest that the previous Government should do anything along those lines.
– No, because I held an opinion different from that held by honorable senators opposite. Some of those honorable gentlemen held the view that Japan was Australia’s friend, i rejected that view. I realized that, from the time Japan lined up with the Axis, it was inevitable that Australia would have to fight Japan. That is why I did not advocate the sending of large contingents of Australians overseas. I realized that we should require all our available troops for the protection of Australia itself. But honorable senators opposite held no -fears concerning Japan at that time. I venture to say that if conscription had been the law at that time, the previous Government would have conscripted hundreds of thousands of Australians and despatched them to European battlefields, leaving the door to Australia wide open to the Japanese.
– That is why the honorable senator opposed compulsory military training.
– Since the outbreak of the war I have not opposed any proposal dealing with compulsory military training. Had honorable senators opposite, when in office, taken the advice of the Labour party and prepared
Australia for war we should not have found ourselves in such difficult circumstances when Japan attacked us. We should not have found it necessary to revise our defence strategy on the basis of protecting the whole of Australia instead of abandoning portion of the continent without firing a shot. That is how honorable senators opposite prepared for the defence of this country when the previous Government was in office.
– The honorable senator should read the speeches of his colleagues on that subject.
– I suggest that the honorable senator should read the speeches delivered by the Prime Minister when he was Leader of the Opposition during the election campaigns in 1937 and 1940. He then advised the Government of the dangers threatening Australia, and outlined an effective plan for the defence of this country. Honorable senators opposite ridiculed our leader when he declared that an adequate air force was essential to the defence of Australia. They said that it was ludicrous to talk about fighting a war in the air. I merely refer to that phase of the matter in order to refresh the memory of honorable senators opposite. The Leader of the Opposition based his speech this afternoon upon two points: First, the merging of Militia Forces and the Australian Imperial Force; and, secondly, the need for despatching Australian troops for service on strategic islands adjacent to Australia. I again remind him that the Prime Minister relies absolutely on the advice of tho Government’s military experts; and since he assumed office he has done a magnificent job in preparing the defences of this country. Due largely to his leadership, we have been able to hold the Japanese; and now are beginning to push them back. On every occasion on which our military commanders have asked for troops for service in the existing theatres of war those troops have been made available. At the same time, however, our military leaders do not make plans tonight and ask for troops to be made available to-morrow in order to execute those plans. Our military leaders do not make and execute military plans overnight.
– Don’t they? The honorable senator should learn the ABC of military strategy.
– The honorable senator should read the speeches of the Prime Minister of Great Britain when he explained the plans that were made for the recent offensive in North Africa. Hh will see that those plans were not made over-night. To-day, Australia has at its service military strategists who are just as competent as any to be obtained overseas. Those men do not make up their minds over-night. They advise the Prime Minister of their requirements well in advance in order that the forces and th, equipment they need can be supplied to them. It is simply political propaganda on the part of honorable senators opposite to declare that men are dying because reinforcements are not available. No greater untruth has been spoken in this r-h amber, and Senator Foll, who made that statement, knows it to be untrue. Such a statement casts a slur upon General Douglas MacArthur and General Sir Thomas Blarney, our two able military commanders who have done such a magnificent job for Australia. Honorable senators opposite know that that is a slur on those able military leaders.
– The honorable senator is not doing our cause much good by talking like that.
– And neither is Senator Foll doing our cause much good by making the statement he did. The Japanese will eagerly seize upon his statement that the Commonwealth Government will not allow troops to serve in the islands adjacent to Australia, and that troops already serving there are dying owing to lack of reinforcements. That is just the kind of propaganda the Japanese are waiting for. I was never more surprised in my life than when I heard Sena-, tor Foll make that statement. He knows that it is not true. At present, the law will permit every member of the Militia Forces to be sent on active service to the islands to which the honorable senator referred.
– What about the Solomons?
- Senator Foll was not referring to the Solomons.
– Who said he was not referring to the Solomons?
– Apparently the honorable senator wants me to divulge information given to us at a secret meeting. The honorable senator heard in secret session how the Pacific was laid out in sections, and the troops which had to defend certain sections. Why does he drag in all that in an effort to mislead the public, when he knows better ? The Leader of the Opposition further said that our failure to bring in conscription to send troops to any part of the world was definitely an insult to Great Britain, the United States of America, China and all the other United Nations. Is it an insult to Great Britain, the United States of America and China to know that we have about 400,000 men voluntarily enlisted in the fighting forces?
– Who is giving information now?
– What about the information given by Senator Brand, that only 40,000 members of the Militia had joined the Australian Imperial Force, although he knows that that is not half the number? I am giving the Senate correct information, not filthy lies. Is it an insult to the Allied Nations to know that we have seamen, airmen and members of the Australian Imperial Force fighting in all parts of the world totalling 400,000? Is it an insult to them to know that there are more waiting, if it were possible for Australia to put them in the field, and if it were safe to let them go? Is it an insult to the other nations to know that the voluntary system was so successful, and the number of enlistments from the Militia Forces in the Australian Imperial Force so great, that it was not necessary to take all that were offering to go to any part of the world to fight for the United Nations? The members of the Opposition will not even be fair, although they talk about the support they are giving to the Government. Instead of quoting facts, they make direct misrepresentations that can be used against Australia by our enemies. Senator Foll criticized the Government for calling members together from all parts of Australia to learn the war position, without having any business to put before Parliament. The honorable sena tor was assured before the Senate rose that Parliament would be called together before Christmas so that members could hear a review of the war position. He also knew before he left for his fardistant tropical State, or for the army in which he is supposed to carry out his duties as a captain, that that was all the business that would be placed before Parliament. If he knew all that the House would be told, as he says he did, he was at liberty to refrain from attending, if he considered that he could do better service somewhere else.
– He did not get a full statement.. That is the complaint.
– He got all the information that could be put before the Senate at the close of this period of the session.
– He was not told anything of what Mr. Curtin placed before the Labour Conference.
– The honorable senator will probably be told all that before I sit down. Senator Foll went on to say that the Prime Minister wanted to do a certain thing, but had to consult an irresponsible organization outside the Commonwealth Parliament. Let me tell him what that organization is. Members of the Labour party are elected upon a definite policy. The whole world knows the policy of the Labour party. It is declared publicly and, if altered, is altered openly. It is not made up in Little Collins-street in a secret session of big business men - a meeting held in secret, a policy that nobody knows, and that can be altered next day. Its framers are the greatest reactionaries in the world. The policy of the Labour party is framed in public. If it is altered, the whole world knows it. There is no secrecy and no Gestapo about it. The alleged irresponsible organization to which the honorable senator referred is the executive, drawn from each State, of the body to which I belong. I have no regrets because I belong to it; in fact, I am much prouder of belonging to it than the honorable senator is of the organization of which he is a member. What is the personnel of this alleged irresponsible organization of the Labour party? The Premier of Queensland and another Queensland Minister, in the person of Mr. Hanlon - two reputable men who have proved themselves and been supported for years by a big majority of electors of their State as outstanding men - represented Queensland, and were supported by four other prominent citizens from their State. From Western Australia there came no less a person than the Prime Minister himself; apparently the Opposition are calling him an irresponsible person because he is a member of that body. He was accompanied by the Minister for External Territories (Senator Fraser), and also by the President of the Senate (Senator Cunningham). Another senator and two other reputable citizens completed the Western Australian delegation - all men with characters beyond reproach. These are the irresponsible people to whom the honorable senator refers to-day - some members of the House of Representatives, some of the Senate, and some of the Government, including the Prime Minister himself. Tasmania was represented by the Premier, the Deputy Premier, and the Chief Secretary, who has been supported for a number of years by a big majority, and at the last election by a bigger majority than ever, together with three other representatives, including two other prominent citizens of Tasmania and myself. The other States were just as fully represented. I shall not go through all the names, but I know that Premiers and Leaders of the Opposition in other States were among the delegates. All those constituted what Opposition members are calling an irresponsible Gestapo organization, which the Prime Minister went outside Parliament to consult. These are some of the persons whom they are branding to-day as irresponsible members of a Gestapo.
– Tell us what they did. They referred the matter back to the States.
– For the benefit of the new senator, who is entirely ignorant of Labour’s democratic principles and ideals, and no doubt opposed to the Fascist attitude exhibited by members of the Opposition to-day, I shall tell the Senate what happened. The Prime Minister foresaw that he must have in the future a big percentage of the Militia
Forces enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, or alternatively an amendment of the Defence Act to allow the Militia Forces to accompany the Australian Imperial Force to any part of the Pacific islands in the defence of Australia. I should say that he could foresee that from what he was told by the experts who advise him well ahead. He did not take the stand of Hitler or of a Fascist; he did not play the role of a dictator. He said, “ I belong to a democratic organization. I was elected on democratic lines, laid down by the organization which I represent, and I shall proceed in a democratic way “.
– And go outside Parliament.
– He never went outside Parliament. He came to that conference and as a delegate put up a proposition which was not on the agenda paper, and therefore no States had instructions on it. It was, however, not a matter of grave emergency. Had it been, an immediate decision would have been made. In order to observe the democratic principles and ideals for which we are fighting and sacrificing the lives of good Australians, the matter was referred to the States, with instructions to them to come back to the conference with a recommendation for a change in the policy of the Labour party if necessary. If it is considered desirable by the supreme governing body of the Labour party of Australia, the change will be made. The advice of the Prime Minister as a delegate and as Prime Minister will not be ignored by the organization of which he is a member. On the other band, what do our opponents want? They want total conscription of life and manpower, but they do not want total conscription of wealth and material for an all-in war effort. Where is the honorable senator on the other side who is game to get up and move a definite motion for an all-in war effort, providing for conscription of wealth, material and man-power? The Opposition talk about their all-in war effort. They have the numbers, but they lack the courage to act. They know perfectly well that their Little Collinsstreet organization, which gives them their instructions, not in the open but in secret, would not allow them to conscript wealth and material. I will support any motion brought forward in this chamber for an all-in war effort to conscript all wealth, material and manpower. The Opposition have the numbers, but are not game to move a motion. They want to conscript men to go to any part of the world to shed their blood, but they will not support a motion to conscript the wealth and materials necessary to supply them with the weapons to fight with. The Opposition have never put forward a proposition for the conscription of wealth. They ask the subscribers to the loan not to give their wealth but to lend it at interest.
– That is this Government’s policy.
– It was the policy of the previous Government. If the Opposition do not approve of our policy in this respect they have the numbers to alter it. They do not ask wealthy persons sitting back in comfort as a number of Opposition members do, to lend their money without interest. They say, “ Lend us your money and we will pay you interest on it, and when the soldiers who have been conscripted to go to any part of the world come back we will tax them to pay the interest to you “. If this is to be an all-in war, let us see whether the Opposition is sincere, and is prepared to submit an amendment to the motion before the Senate with the object of providing for the conscription of money, materials, and man-power for an all-in war effort. Senator Cooper claimed that Australian troops at the front should not be prevented from going as far as Tokyo or Berlin, if their commanders wish them to do so; but he declared that they were being prevented from going on, and that the Government, by its present policy, was preventing them from doing what they wished to do. I claim that, under the Defence Act, it is open to the fighting forces of this country to go on to Tokyo or Berlin, if they wish to do so. All that they have to do is to transfer from the Militia to the Australian Imperial Force.
– That is very sensible !
– It is so sensible that I would not support the conscription of the members of the fighting forces so that they could be sent to any part of the world, for fear that the Opposition might get back into power. If the Opposition had been returned to office, and general conscription had been brought into operation, 300,000 or 400,000 of our men would have been sent away overseas and Australia would have been denuded of its man-power.
I dislike correcting Senator Brand, but I do not think we should have his statement placed on record without challenge, that only 40,000 members of the Militia have joined the Australian Imperial Force. That is only half the number. If the members of the Militia were approached in the right manner and were not bullied into transferring to the Australian Imperial Force, as the Opposition, when in power, tried to bully them into it, 98 per cent, of the men would join it. If there are not sufficient Militiamen willing to join the Australian Imperial Force, in order to meet military necessities in the South-west Pacific Area, the Labour party is big enough and game enough to amend the Defence Act to meet any situation that may arise.
– The honorable senator does -not believe in planning ahead.
– If it were not for the fact that the present Government has planned ahead - and nobody knows it better than Senator Collett - it is quite certain that the Japanese would have been in charge of the affairs of this country to-day. It is well known that there were not half enough rifles to go round in the Militia Forces when the present Government came into office. There were very few guns, little ammunition, and very little general equipment; but, shortly after the Labour Government took office, the Japanese were on their way to Australia. Which Government failed to make preparations ahead? What was the cause of the fall of Malaya and Singapore? The former Minister for the Army (Mr. Spender) and the former Minister for Commerce (Sir Earle Page), who visited Singapore, declared that the defences of that island were impregnable, but what was the result? The present Labour Government was left the work of re-organizing the defences of this country and clearing up the mess left by its predecessors. The present Government speedily got our defences into such a state that we could resist the well-equipped and highly mechanized forces of Japan.
– We could have put up a better resistance if we had reinforced Singapore.
– The previous Government had left the Labour Government with no supplies with which to reinforce the troops. How many uptodate fighting or bombing planes did it have with which to defend Singapore or Australia? The shocking record of the neglect by the last Government of the defences of Australia will never be forgotten by those who read it.
– That is not in accord with the Prime Minister’s statement.
– That depends on which statement the honorable senator refers to. Referring to the general situation, and not to what the honorable senator as an individual may have tried to do, my statement is quite accurate.
– Was not the honorable senator’s leader a member of the War Cabinet?
– If it would not be giving out secrets I would tell the Senate some of the things which the Prime Minister forced the War Cabinet to do. Had it not been for his influence hundreds of thousands of Australians would have been away in the Middle East when the Japanese entered the war. One of the greatest services which the Labour party rendered to the Opposition when it was in power was to allow the present Prime Minister and others to join the Advisory War Council. In that way the Labour party forced a little common sense upon the present Opposition.
It is untrue for members of the Opposition to say that reinforcements required in New Guinea or any of the islands to the north of Australia have been denied to our fighting forces.
– Nobody has said that they have been.
– Since Senator Foll has become a captain his intellect seems to have left him.
– I am not a muckraker for the Minister for Labour and National Service, as the honorable senator is.
– A few moments ago the honorable senator sent out to Tokyo the statement that Australian soldiers were dying in New Guinea for the want of reinforcements, which were not allowed to ‘bc sent to them. That is a dirty untruth.
– What the honorable senator now says is a dirty untruth.
– Now that the honorable senator has denied making that filthy statement, it will have to be pointed out to him in Hansard. It ought to be expunged from the records. I am not trying to hold down two jobs at the same time and failing to do either of them. I did not jump like Senator Foll from the position of private to the rank of captain and get an extra two or three guineas a day in addition to my parliamentary allowance. I have not left myself open to have my seat in the Senate forfeited by doing such a thing.
.- An extraordinary spectacle has been witnessed in this chamber to-day. We were invited to come to Canberra for the purpose of hearing a report on the war situation and discussing all matters relevant to the war which particularly concern Australia and the Australian people. We have seen from the newspapers - it could scarcely escape us - that one of the most important problems facing us at the moment in relation to the war is the question whether the Defence Act shall be so amended that we can make use of our forces outside the territories of Australia. When one honorable senator referred to the fact that the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) had consulted the conference of the Australian Labour party in relation to the matter, the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) interjected, “ He told them what he was going to do “. One complaint I have is that, in making his statement on the international situation to-day, the Prime Minister has not told this Parliament one word of what he proposes to do. This, surely, is the place in which the people of Australia, through their elected representatives, should be told what the Prime Minister’s considered opinion is on this matter. The members of this Parliament are the people who should be invited by the Prime Minister to assist him to carry out what he believes to be necessary for the proper defence of Australia. Why has this course not been followed? It is because the Prime Minister belongs to a political party which is not democratic in principle, but adopts a set of rules which require matters of policy of this kind to be decided in secret by a conference of the party. I suggest that the state of affairs demonstrated by the actions of that party during the last few weeks deserves the serious reflection of every member of the community because it means that if a responsible Minister of the Crown, even the Prime Minister, comes to the conclusion that a particular course of action is necessary in the public interest he is unable to follow his own judgment without the consent of a conference of the Australian Labour party.
– How often has that occurred ?
– It occurred in 1916, and something like it occurred in 1931. It has now occurred again in 1942. On each occasion the difficulty which a Labour Prime Minister got into has demonstrated that the Labour party is so constituted that its members are unfit and unable to deal with the problems of a crisis. Here we have a responsible Minister of the Crown charged with the responsibility of determining what the policy of Australia shall be in regard to a particular matter. He has reached a conclusion, probably on the advice of his military experts, but he dares not give effect to that conclusion. During this debate we have heard various references to democracy. At one stage there was an interjection, “ This is democracy in practice”. I say that it is the very antithesis of democracy. A Minister of the Crown, whether he be the Prime Minister or any other Minister, owes a responsibility to this country and to no one else; but a Minister of the Labour party is unable to discharge that responsibility.
– Present Ministers have not done badly.
– They are doing badly in this matter, and they have done badly on other occasions also. They are unable to discharge that responsibility because of the hide-bound rules of the party to which they belong. I could well understand a Prime Minister who had given a pledge to the public that he would not introduce a particular policy and had come to the conclusion that it must be brought into operation, saying that he would consult the people and ask for their endorsement of his changed views. That, however, is not the proposal before us. The position is that the Prime Minister attended a meeting of 36 individuals, sitting behind closed doors, and asked whether they would permit him to do what he thought ought to be done. What is to happen if they say ““No”? In that event, is the Prime Minister to adhere to the policy of the Labour party, regardless of the public interest and of the consequences which would flow from his action? If that be not so, and he is not bound by the decision of the Australian Labour party conference, whatever it might be, why approach that body at all? Why not come to the elected representatives of the people in the Parliament and ask for their endorsement of the policy which the Prime Minister believes to be necessary in the interests of Australia? Honorable senators on this side of the chamber have never attempted to hide their views on this subject. Fortunately, we are not bound by a policy which is 30 years out of date.
– Honorable senators opposite have no policy.
– In dealing with the problems of 1942 we do not rely on a policy which was laid down in 19.16; nor do we seek to apply to the problems of this war in the Pacific a policy which we might have applied to a war fought on the continent of Europe. That is what the Labour party is doing to-day. It is so hide-bound by old conservative out-of-date doctrines that it says that because some resolutions were carried on a certain subject in 1916 the party, and even Ministers of the Crown, are unable to give effect to a different policy notwithstanding that it is necessary for the salvation of Australia in 1942.
– There was a conference in 1940.
– Yes, but it adopted the old policy of 1916. The Labour party has made no progress in nearly 30 years. In that respect the attitude of the party was not different from its attitude towards matters of defence in 1916, so far as I can see. The Labour party has made no progress on important items of policy in the last 50 years. It is still tied to the old hide-bound doctrines dictated by the Trades Hall.
– ¥e have heard that for the last 50 years.
Senator -SPICER. - It is just as true to-day as it was at the commencement of this century. As I have said, we on this side have not attempted to hide our attitude on this matter. Twelve months ago the .Senate was discussing a motion similar to that under discussion to-day, and, as the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) has reminded us, the Opposition then offered to co-operate with the Government in doing the very thing it is now asking the Government to do. At that time, it was said that it was nonsense to suggest that Australian troops might be needed in Timor and New Guinea. It was suggested that such a possibility was merely a figment of the imagination, and that no difficulties would arise by continuing to distinguish between the Australian Imperial Force and the Militia Forces. That attitude is typical of the Government and its supporters towards all matters associated with the war. The Government does not display leadership in these matters; it does not decide what is a proper policy for Australia to follow, and then endeavour to obtain the support of the people. Instead of attempting to lead the people, it follows public opinion. That is because the Government is not game enough to try to lead the people. The result is that after twelve months’ experience of a Labour Government the country is still in the same position in regard to this issue as it was in 1941. “During this debate we have been reminded that on many occasions the Prime Minister has described the -present conflict as a global war which must be conducted on the basis of global strategy. With that statement I entirely agree. And because we believe that that is so we on this side believe that Australia’s fighting forces must be available for the purpose of conducting war in any part of the world. What does the Government propose to do in relation to this problem? The immediate difficulty confronting us has arisen because of the existence of two armies - the Australian Imperial Force and the Militia Forces. Does the Government propose that those two armies shall be welded into one? If so, does that mean that the Army so welded together shall be available for service anywhere as the Australian Imperial Force is now available? ‘Or is some strange distinction still to be maintained between the two armies? Ministers have been strangely silent in relation to these matters. I should like the Minister in charge of the Senate to give some information as to what the Government proposes to do in ‘relation to these questions. As a member of Parliament I believe that I am entitled to be told at least as much in relation to this question as . is told to a secret session of the Australian Labour party. We came here to discuss this subject, but no Minister apart from the Minister who introduced the subject has so far contributed to the discussion although the debate has occupied approximately six hours. Honorable senators belonging to the Labour party seem to have been pre-occupied most of the afternoon with other subjects. Only four members of that party have been present during most of the debate. I should like to know what the Minister for Aircraft Production (Senator Cameron) has to say.
– I shall enlighten the honorable senator in due course.
– I am sure that the public would like to know the Minister’s views. The Parliament is the place in which the public should learn the attitude of the Ministry and of individual Ministers towards important national problems. From what one reads in the press no common policy exists even in the Ministry in relation to this subject.
– We are solid.
– I do not doubt that if the Acting Leader of the Senate and myself got together on this matter we would reach entire agreement; but I have some doubts about some of the other Ministers. Will they remain in the Ministry after the Government has carried into effect - if it does so - the policy which the Council of the Australian Labour party allows it to carry into effect?
– Do not get domestic.
– These matters may be domestic in the eyes of the Australian Labour party, but they are of great importance as a matter of principle. I become a little distressed when I find a member of the Ministry criticizing the Prime Minister’s policy. That seems to be a rather serious matter from the point of view of the public. Indeed, that Minister endeavoured to use the wireless for the purpose of criticizing his own leader. Yet he still remains in the Cabinet, and still maintains an apparent show of Cabinet solidarity.
It seems to me that we have been brought here by the Government on this occasion just to waste our time. This important problem is confronting the country, yet no proposition has been placed before members who have been summoned from all parts of the Commonwealth. Not even a suggestion in relation to this matter is put before us by the. Government. We are asked to await the decision of the Fascist grand council of the Labour party, which will meet on the 4th January next; and if that council permits the representatives of democracy to introduce a measure which is considered by the Prime Minister to be urgently necessary for the defence of the Commonwealth, the Prime Minister will be prepared to place it before this Parliament. Our democracy has reached a pretty sorry state. I have said before that I have seen clear signs developing for a long time in the Labour party of the totalitarian method of politics. That method, ultimately, will lead to one party putting over the community one policy through an elected leader or Fuehrer.
– A tyranny.
– Exactly; and there is much evidence of that tyranny imposed by Ministers who are prepared to make use of war powers for the purpose of giving effect to purely party political policy.
-Give one instance.
– Do not ask me for one; I shall give half a dozen instances.
– Just one.
– I cite the treatment of members of the Permanent and Casual Wharf Labourers Union.
– What has happened to them ?
– All of them have jobs.
– They have jobs, but no representation on the committees which have been appointed by the Government for the purpose of controlling work on the waterfront.
– How have they lost by that?
– They have not gained by it. That union is incapable of increasing its membership, because this Government has made it the law that any new member of that union may be refused work on the waterfront because he is a member of that union.
– How many unions are there in the honorable senator’s profession ?
– There are several; but membership of all of them is voluntary. We do not believe in compulsion. The treatment of the members of the Permanent and Casual Wharf Labourers Union is an example of the totalitarian policy adopted by the Ministry. The same policy is applied with a view to driving all workers into unions associated with the Trades Hall. So-called representatives of democracy say “Hear, hear” to that. Even the Prime Minister must bow to the dictators who determine the policy of the Labour party - the 36 men who sit behind closed doors, and who are going to determine what the future policy of this Government shall be.
– Just as the honorable senator’s party does.
– There is no comparison between our party organization and the hide-bound organization represented by the Labour party. Every member of this party is perfectly free to cast his vote as he wishes in relation to every matter coming before this Parliament. There has never been an instance of a Prime Minister at the head of our party going along to some secret junta to find out whether he can introduce a particular policy. That is the distinction between the Opposition party and the Labour party j and that is the reason why the Labour party is unfit to govern. Its members cannot decide questions on their merits. They must go to an outside junta to find out what it thinks. That is not my idea of the duties of a member of Parliament, or a Minister. When a man accepts the responsibility of a Minister of the Crown he should cease to be the agent of one section. He is charged with the responsibility of carrying out public policy in the interest of the public as a whole ; and he is under oath to do so. How can he possibly do that if the policy he must follow is to be determined by men who are not in the Ministry, or are not members of Parliament, and are not even elected by the public? They represent only a section. Honorable senators opposite have argued that the Australian Labour party is representative of the great majority of Australians. There are no anti-Labour forces represented in the Australian Labour party conference. At best, it can be claimed that the Australian Labour party represents fifty per cent, of the people. That would be a gross exaggeration. However, that is the greatest percentage of the people which the Australian Labour party could possibly represent. Consequently, if this procedure is to be maintained the representatives of not more than 50 per cent, of the people are to determine what policy this Government shall adopt. That is deplorable. I regret very much that the Government has not taken the opportunity afforded on this occasion to make a comparatively simple amendment to the National Security Act. We have never asked for more than that. We have asked merely that the Government remove the obstacle which prevents Australia from raising forces for overseas service. We do not ask that the Government immediately put that policy into operation ; although it should do so. We have simply asked that the Government take the power by regulation to bring that provision- into force whenever it is required. The Government could have done that twelve months ago.
– And bring Australia into line with our allies in the United States of America and Great Britain?
– Yes; but because of these old party shibboleths, and because the Government is more concerned with party politics than the solution of this problem in the public interest, the public of Australia must wait for that matter to be determined by the Australian Labour party conference. The people of Australia are not a lot of blind fools. This experience will serve to reveal to them the real character of the party now governing this country. It may serve to bring about some alteration, ultimately, of the political situation which will restore to the Government bench men who will be responsible to the people of this country.
, - The statement read by the Acting Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane) reveals that effect is being given to the Government’s policy and to the desire of the people so far as the conduct of the war is concerned. Much publicity has been given in the press during the last few days to a report that the Opposition intended to propose at this sitting of Parliament that the Militia Forces be merged with the Australian Imperial Force. However, following a caucus meeting, members of the Opposition decided not to proceed along those lines. Obviously, they realize that the people of Australia generally do not desire conscription, and they are not prepared to test the feeling of the public on that issue. I remind honorable senators generally that all members of this chamber were elected specifically on the guarantee to the people that they would not introduce conscription. What has happened since 1939 to alter that position? Members of the previous Government stated in both chambers that during this war Australia would not be denuded of its man-power by sending our men to servo overseas. However, when Japan entered the war twelve months ago Australia found itself denuded of man-power, because we had sent several divisions to the Middle East and one division to Malaya.
We soon learned that the division in Malaya was lost to Australia, and the Government made representations to the Government of Great Britain, which then returned to Australia the major portion of those Australian Imperial Force men who were in the Middle East. It was not able to return all of them, because many of the very best of our soldiers had been taken prisoners of war or had died from wounds or exposure. We were unable to bring back all of our men to defend Australia in its hour of dire peril, particularly in February and March of this year, when Darwin was being bombed, and we found that we had little with which to defend Australia. When I hear charges made against the Government for not merging the Australian Imperial Force and the Citizen Military Forces, I am reminded that, if the late Government had remained in power, the Japanese would have invaded Australia, because that Government proposed to leave part of our northern shores undefended. When the present Government took office there was very little petrol in Australia. Our aeroplanes had insufficient petrol supplies.
– That is not correct.
– It is correct, and I challenge the honorable senator to disprove it. He was the responsible Minister at the time.
– I was not.
– At any rate, he was a member of the Government, and he played a very small part in defending Australia. This move on the part of the Opposition is mere camouflage. They have not sufficient courage to move an amendment, but are simply shadowsparring. Senator Spicer said that if he and the Minister for Trade and Customs could get together they would soon agree; but that is absurd, because they were brought up in different schools and their opinions are as far apart as the poles. All the practical sympathy that Senator Spicer would mete out to the public would be to reduce his professional fee from 25 guineas to 20 guineas. The people of Australia should be grateful to the Labour Government for its war effort during the last fourteen months. When the Government took office, nothing was being done. The then Government supported Mr. Menzies, who had men fined for refusing to ship scrap iron to Japan. In return Japanese midget submarines attacked ships in Sydney harbour. I heard a comedian say that Australia should thank Japan for returning the Menzies scrap iron. Senator Sampson said that in the last war the troops in France were deprived of adequate reinforcements. If conscription had been carried in 1916, would the position have been any better? The honorable senator said that I returned to Australia in 1917. That is quite true. I returned to Australia wounded, and was discharged as medically unfit. Before I returned many with whom I served at Gallipoli and France had been killed. I was seventeen years of age when I returned to Australia. I voted against conscription in England when I was sixteen, and I voted against it in Australia when I was seventeen. I opposed conscription from the 1st August to the beginning of October in New South Wales. I also opposed the move to conscript the railway men of New South Wales, when it was proposed to introduce the Taylor card system in the Randwick workshops. I have been opposed to conscription in any form.
– Like compulsory unionism.
– I believe in compulsory unionism. Those who enjoy an award should help to pay for it. Nonunionists want the full award wages, but are too mean to contribute towards the cost of securing awards. The members of the Opposition want the Government to amend the Defence Act in order to merge the Citizen Military Forces and the Australian Imperial Force, to include certain islands in the area to be defended, to extend operations to China and Tokyo, and to send young Australians there, although they said that they would not denude Australia of its man-power. We lost a division in Malaya. What would be the position if we sent our men out of Australia, and by some means they were encircled, and a powerful Japanese army invaded Australia? The members of the Opposition have not stated all that they really desire. They want to conscript men for the Army, and then others to work under the Allied Works Council. They want to ship men who are the fathers, in many instances, of the boys serving in the forces, to the islands to work. They would follow that up by industrial conscription of the men in the workshops. That is what they want, but they do not say so. I admit that men are now being called up by the Allied “Works Council; but their services are utilized in Australia for the defence of Australia. That is conscription for service in Australia; but men or women are not sent beyond Australia, where the Opposition wants to send them.
– So does your Prime Minister.
– I am not concerned with what the leader of our party wants to do. He is elected by the people of a Western Australian division.
– He is your leader.
– For the time being he is, and I say that he has done an extraordinarily good’ job for Australia; but I do not agree with what he suggests ait the moment.
– The honorable senator will vote for the amalgamation.
– I do not support the move of the Prime Minister, because I do not think it is necessary, and I do not know what influences have been at work to bring it about. I am opposed to conscription.
– The honorable senator questions the Prime Minster’s sincerity?
– I do not know what he wants. I am waiting to hear just what the Prime Minister means. I have not heard any statement about it.
– The honorable senator will hop into line with the majority.
– I am where I stood in 1916 and 1917. Certain reasons were then advanced why Australians should be conscripted. To-day we are told that action is proposed in this direction in order to hold certain places which the
Americans will occupy. The Opposition would take the youth of this nation and send them there. Is not that an insult to the Australian Imperial Force?
– They have been fighting pretty hard for three years now.
– They are able to go wherever the Commander-in-Chief determines.
– They might want a little relief.
– If the members of the Opposition get their way, all the boys of the Australian Imperial Force will become conscripts also. They do not tell them that, but we know what they mean. That is the reason for the attitude of the Opposition. The Royal Commission of the Constitution, of which Sir John Peden was chairman, stated on page 125 of its report, presented in 1916, as follows : -
In the year 191G a referendum was held on the 2Sth October, when the following question was submitted to the electors, as prescribed by section 5 of the Military Service Referendum Act 1916: - “ Are you in favour of the Government having, in this grave emergency, the same compulsory powers over citizens in regard to requiring their military service^ for the term of this war, outside the Commonwealth, as it now has in regard to military service within the Commonwealth?”
It is now said that members of the Citizen Military Forces can be sent as far as the Mandated Territory of New Guinea but no further. That is what was said during the referendum campaign in 1916, hut the people rejected the proposal then submitted to them. At the next referendum a different proposal was placed before the people. A referendum was taken under the provisions of the War Precautions (Military Service Referendum) Regulations of 1917, and on the 20th December of that year the following question was submitted to the electors : “ Are you in favour of the proposal of the Commonwealth Government for reinforcing the Australian Imperial Force overseas?” Early in 1917 I was at the Burtpore Barracks at Tidsworth and I saw 22 men sentenced to two years imprisonment because they had taken part in a riot at Wareham. They were members of the Sixth Australian Division which was camped there. The division was composed of men who had seen service in. the front line, some trouble occurred because the officers refused to pay them, and a riot lasted for three days. Those who chased the men around for three days squirted red ink on their clothing, and those whose uniforms were so marked were brought before ProvostMarshal “Williams and sentenced to two years imprisonment. At the referendum held in 19.17, on the question of reinforcing troops overseas, it was pointed out, very effectively to the then Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) by opponents of conscription that it was desired to build up a sixth division and to use the new reinforcements to build up the remaining divisions in Prance. Mr. Hughes denied that. People said that he was a liar, and so he was, because he knew that a sixth division of storm troopers was to be formed. When I hear the statement that conscription is required for a particular reason, and recall the statements made in 1916 and 1917 as to the purpose for which those referenda was held, a new thought comes into my mind. I say to those who did not go to the last war, or are too old to be at the present war, but now desire to impose conscription on the people, that they are simply cowards. I wish good luck to those who stand to-day to their anti-conscriptionist. principles, as they did when they voted against conscription previously. I have no respect for those who cry for conscription to-day. The present Government prohibits workers from leaving one place of employment to go to another, because this prevents men engaged in small industries from carrying out contracts. Men have been called up compulsorily to work on civil jobs for the Allied Works Council. Women have been called up to do certain war work and more men and women are to be called up. T shall support all such action, if it be necessary for the defence of Australia; but I shall not support the conscription of men to enable them to be sent beyond the shores of this country, because I challenge anybody to show that it would be wise to send the present members of the Australian Imperial Force in this country away from our shores.
– The Prime Minister has made such a recommendation.
– I have yet to learn what he desires to do in that matter. I challenge the members of the Opposition to say that they would be willing to send overseas all members of the Australian Imperial Force now in this country. A considerable number of men in the Militia Forces have been desirous of joining both the Australian Imperial Force and the Royal Australian Air Force, but because of the action of military officers they have been prevented from doing so. If volunteers are required for the Army recruiting should be resumed. I have seen on the news gazettes at the picture theatres a march of the members of the Air Training Corps, which comprises thousands of lads from the age of sixteen to eighteen years who have volunteered for service in the Royal Australian Air Force. It would be wrong and undemocratic to deny to these lads the right to volunteer for service with the Air Force. It was wrong to stop recruiting for the Australian Imperial Force merely for the purpose of attempting to introduce conscription. The members of the Militia, if they are given a proper opportunity, and are not coerced, will voluntarily join the Australian Imperial Force and those who do not wish to join it can be utilized for the defence of our vast coastline.
I should like to know why the remarks of an important citizen of the United States of America, whose speech was broadcast last Sunday night, were not reported in the daily press. I searched the newspapers of Australia but failed to discover a line regarding the broadcast made by Mr. Lowell Thomas. The reason why no reference was made to his speech is that the newspapers of this country desire conscription to be introduced. The whole of the capitalist press is prepared to fight for it, but the newspapers have published leading articles in favour of it, and are willing to give considerable space to advocates of conscription. At 8 p.m., Sunday, the 6th December last, Mr. Lowell Thomas said -
I was with Australians in various parts of the globe and one keen impression that I obtained was this - that in no other country did I find it quite so easy to feel at home as in your Australia; and I hope my countrymen who are with you now feel the same way. In fulfilling our duty of understanding the viewpoints of the other United Nations, we Americans should be able to see things somewhat as Australians see them. Not that our two countries are alike in all respects, far from it. You for example have a vast land with a small population, much of your continent still a desert. Well, considering your small population you Australians have done more in proportion towards winning this war than any of the other United Nations, as you undoubtedly know. You have given a greater percentage of your men to the battle for liberation than any one. We have a country about the same size as yours in area, but with a huge population, and we will feel up to you Australians only when we have given as much in proportion of our human material, . and of our resources as you have, and not until then. We intend to do it. We hope to equal the pace that you have set.
That was a glowing tribute, not to any political party, but to the Australian people. It was a tribute to the men in the fighting forces, to the men and women in the munitions factories, and to all of those who have played a part in our war organization. I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Science and Industry Research Act - Sixteenth Annual Report of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, for year 1941-42.
Ordered to be printed.
Air Force Act; - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, Nos. 416, 440, 441, 470.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. -
No. 34 of 1942- Australian Postal Electricians’ Union and others; Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association; Commonwealth Storemen and Packers’ Union of Australia; Commonwealth Naval Storehousemen’s Association; and Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.
No. 35 of 1942 - Commonwealth Temporary Clerks’ Association.
No. 30 of 1942 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.
No. 37 of 1942 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.
No. 38 of 1942 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.
No. 39 of1942 - Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.
No. 40 of 1942 - Postal Overseers’ Union of Australia.
No. 41 of 1942- Australian Third Division Telegraphists and Postal Clerks’ Union.
No. 42 of 1942 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.
Australian Imperial Force Canteens Funds Act - Auditor-General’s Report on the Audit of the accounts of the Trustees of the Australian Imperial Force Canteens Fund, for year 1941-42.
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 462.
Canned Fruit Export Charges Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 433.
Commonwealth Bank Act - Balance-sheets of Commonwealth Bank and Commonwealth Savings Bank and Statement of the Liabilities and Assets of the Note Issue Department, at 30th June, 1941; together with Auditor-General’s Reports thereon.
Commonwealth Public Service Act -
Appointments - Department of Defence - M. E. Flower, J. I. Price, L. W. Southwell, and N. G. Turner.
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, Nos. 465, 466.
Commonwealth Shipping Act - Australian Commonwealth Shipping Board - Balancesheets and Liquidation accounts of the Cockatoo Island Dockyard, certified to by the Auditor-General, for years ended 28th February, 1941, and 28th February, 1942.
Customs Act -
Proclamations prohibiting the exportation (except under certain conditions) of - Beer (dated 2nd December, 1942).
Bentonite; Drugs and chemicals (dated 29th October, 1942).
Cane and rattan; Dextrine; Waxes (dated 9th October, 1942).
Grass tree gum (dated 13th November, 1942).
Yarns of silk or synthetic fibre; Piece goods wholly or partly of silk or synthetic fibre; Wearing apparel including footwear and head wear; Handkerchiefs; Articles of household drapery of cotton, silk or synthetic fibre; Waterproof sheeting; Oil baize and oil cloth other than linoleum; Window blinds, and awnings (dated 14th October, 1942).
Defence Act- Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, Nos. 417, 477, 506, 507, 508, 521, 522.
Entertainments Tax Assessment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 421.
Judiciary Act - Rule of Court- Dated 13th October, 1942.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired -
For Commonwealth purposes at -
Berowra, New South Wales.
Cowra, New South Wales.
East Maitland, New South Wales.
Essendon, Victoria (2).
Greta, New South Wales (2).
Lidcombe, New South Wales.
Lorn, New South Wales.
Merredin, Western Australia.
Midland Junction, Western Australia.
Mile End, South Australia.
Northfield, South Australia.
Nowra, New South Wales.
Parkes, New South Wales.
Preston Point, Fremantle, Western Australia.
South Fremantle, Western Australia.
St. Mary’s, New South Wales.
West Maitland, New South Wales.
Windsor, New South Wales.
Wollongong, New South Wales.
Wolseley, South Australia.
For Defence purposes at -
Rhodes, New South Wales.
National Security Act -
National Security (Army Inventions) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and Designs (3).
National Security (Cash Order and Hire Purchase Agreements ) Regulations -
Order - Maximum hiring period.
National Security (Economic Organization) Regulations-Order - Share prices.
National Security (Emergency Control) Regulations - Orders - Military powers during emergency (3).
National Security (Emergency Supplies) Regulations - Rules - Queensland (4), Victoria.
National Security (General) Regulations -
Bread Control (South Australia).
Control of -
Canned Pineapples and Pineapple juice.
Clothing (Feminine outerwear), (Knitted outerwear) (2), (Knitted underwear), (Male outerwear), (Shirts, ‘ collars and pyjamas), and (Women’s, maids’ and children’s hosiery).
Production and distribution of Footwear.
Second-hand Jute goods.
Wholesale Cream Distribution ( Victoria ) .
Ice Industry (New South Wales).
Machine Tools Requisitioning.
Navigation (Aquatic racing on Sydney Harbour), (Brisbane River and Moreton Bay - Small craft), (Small craft).
Prohibited Places (5).
Prohibiting work on land (12).
Prohibition of Non-Essential Production.
Restriction of Cherry packing.
Restriction of Employment in
Retail Shops (Adelaide).
Taking possession of land, &c. (1,005).
Use of land (45).
Orders by State Premiers - Queens land (8), South Australia, Tasmania (6), Victoria (2), Western Australia (2).
National Security (Internment Camps) Regulations - Order - Internment Camp.
National Security (Landlord and Tenant) Regulations - Rules - Australian Capital Territory.
National Security (Land Transport) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 7-10, South Australia Nos. 5-9, Western Australia No. 4.
National Security (Liquid Fuel) Regulations - Order - Liquid Fuel (Alternative Fuels).
National Security (Man Power) Regulations - Orders - Protected undertakings (171).
National Security (Munitions) Regulations - Order - Railway locomotives, rolling-stock, plant and equipment.
National Security (Potatoes) Regulations -Orders- Nos. 8-9.
National Security (Prices) Regulations - Declaration No. 108.
Orders- Nos. 769, 791-869, 871-875.
National Security (Prisoners of War) Regulations - Orders -
Prisoners of War Camp (2).
Prisoners of War Correspondence.
Prisoners of War (Pay Arrangements).
National Security (Supplementary). Regulations -
Balance-sheets of Commonwealth Bank and Commonwealth Savings Bank and Statement of the Liabilities and Assets of the Note Issue Department, as at 30th June, 1942; together with Auditor-General’s reports thereon.
Statement of Australian Banking Statistics for the five quarters ended 30th June, 1942.
Balance-sheets of Commonwealth Bank.
Provision of first aid facilities.
Orders by State Premiers- Queens land (2) South Australia, Tasmania (2), Western Australia.
National Security (War Damage to Property) Regulations- Order - Public Authority.
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, Nos. 413, 418, 419, 420, 422, 423, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 434, 435, 436, 437, 438, 442, 443, 444, 445, 446, 447, 448, 449, 450, 451, 452, 453, 454.
455, 456, 457, 458, 469, 457, 468, 469, 470, 471, 472, 473, 474, 476, 480, 481, 482, 484, 485, 486, 487, 488, 489, 490, 491, 492, 493, 494, 495, 496, 497, 498, 499, 600, 501, 502, 503, 510, 612, 513, 514, 615, 516, 517, 518, 519.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 414, 509.
Navigation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 511.
Pay-roll Tax Assessment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 483.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 439, 604.
Rabbit Skins Export Charges Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 432.
Sales Tax Assessment Acts (Nos. 1 to 9) - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 478.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act -
Ordinances of 1942 -
No. 18 - Cemeteries.
No. 19 - Liquor.
Regulations of 1942 -
No. 11 (Building and Services Ordinance).
No. 12 (Motor Traffic Ordinance).
Seat of Government (Administration)
Act - Statement of Receipts and Expenditure of the Australian Capital Territory for year 1941-42.
War Service Homes Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, No. 463.
War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1942, Nos. 460, 461.
Senate adjourned at 10.29 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 10 December 1942, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1942/19421210_senate_16_172/>.