16th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. J. Cunningham) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I have received from Mrs. E. B. Johnston a letter of thanks and appreciation for the resolution of sympathy and condolence passed by the Senate on the occasion of the death of Senator Edward Bertram Johnston.
Motion (by Senator Comaros) - by leave - agreed to -
That two months’ leave of absence be granted to Senators Armstrong and Allan MacDonald on account of absence overseas.
– Has the Leader of the Senate read the report in to-day’s issue of the Sydney Morning Herald, in which Judge O’Mara made reference to an illegal strike? Referring to the strike at the Sydney engineering factory of Duly & Hansford Proprietary Limited, over ten non-unionists, the report states -
Judge O’Mara declared that the -strike of unionists against the non-unionists was illegal.
Judge O’Mara said that the Court on the 31st May directed that the papers in the case be sent to the’ Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin), after which the matter was taken up by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward).
It might have been expected, he added, that the efforts of the Government would hare been directed towards the strikers; but, instead, it appeared that the Ministry for Labour and National Service, mainly through the instrumentality of Mr. J. S. Garden, liaison officer between the Ministry and the unions, devoted all its attention to the non-unionists, the plan being that they were to bc faced with the choice of joining a union or of receiving a direction to proceed to some other less congenial employment. “Will the Minister state whether the Government proposes to take any action on receipt of the papers sent to the Prime Minister on the 31st May? If the Minister is not in a position to give an answer to the question, is he prepared-
– I rise to order. Is the Leader of the Opposition in order in making a statement under cover of asking a question?
THE PRESIDENT.- I remind the Leader of the Opposition that questions must not embody comment or argument.
– Will the Minister make a statement to the Senate on such a vital matter, and say whether the Government intends to enforce the law against persons who break it by striking?
– I have not read the report referred to. As to the second part of the honorable senator’s question, he has been a member of the Senate sufficiently long to know that matters of policy are not disclosed in replies to questions.
– As Chairman, I present the report of the Public Works Committee relating ito the following subject : -
Newnes and Baerami Shale Oil Proposals.
– Is the PostmasterGeneral in a position to reply to the representations made by me some weeks ago regarding the provision of a daily mail service between Melbourne and Smithton on the King Island air-mail route now in operation?
– The representations by the honorable senator have been passed on to officers of the department, and as soon as the information desired by him is available it will be supplied to him.
– With regard to the scarcity of tinned plate for the manufacture of kitchen utensils, which was brought to the notice of the Minister for Trade and Customs yesterday by Senator Aylett, will the Minister induce the Tinned Plate Board to make available sufficient tinned plate to overcome the shortage, so that the manufacturers of kitchen, utensils may be able to make sufficient to meet the requirements of the people who badly need them.
– Senator Leckie, as an ex-Minister, should know that tinned plate is imported, and that the first demand upon it is made in meeting the requirements of the defence forces. When this, material can be used for civilian purposes, appropriate action will be taken.
– The Minister credited me, as an ex-Minister, with some knowledge of tinned plate. I have some knowledge of this material, but not because I was formerly a Minister of the Crown. I now ask the Minister if he is aware that there is -now twice as much tinned plate in Australia as at any time previously, and if there is not enough of this material available to release the small quantity required to meet the urgent requirements of the civil population?
– The Government is aware that there is more tinned plate in Australia than at any previous time, but it owes an obligation to the fighting forces, which also are greater than when the honorable senator was a Minister. Having regard to that obligation, the
Government must accept the responsibility of either withholding or releasing quantities of tinned plate for use by the fighting services and the civilian population.
– Should tinned plate be made available for the manufacture of goods for civilian use, will the Minister endeavour to see that the most urgent and necessitous cases will be given first consideration?
SenatorFRASER. - I shall have the matter reviewed in order to ascertain if it is at all possible to release tinned plate for use in necessitous cases.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has supplied the following answers : -
No. 2 and 3. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has already announced the personnel of the Meat Industry Advisory Committee. The members are as follows: -
Dr. H. R. Seddon, Commonwealth Rationing Commission;
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In regard to the Commonwealth Public Service -
Is it a fact that £34 per annum costofliving increase has been added to the salaries of permanent officers?
Is there any objection on moral or technical grounds to an increased payment from Commonwealth revenue in order to bring pensions and other benefits payable under the Superannuation Act into conformity with existing economic conditions?
Will the Government take action in this direction? If not, why not?
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers : - 1, 2 and 3. Inquiries are being made and an answer to the question will be furnished to the honorable senator as soon as possible.
Debate resumed from the 25th March (vide page 2345, volume 173), on motion by Senator Collings -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– Since I securedthe adjournment of this debate I have had an opportunity to go through the various clauses of the measure. As all honorable senators have been supplied with a copy of the second-reading speech of the Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings), I propose to deal only with the main aspects of the bill. I remind the Senate that, in 1940, when Senator Foll was Minister for the Interior, this Parliament passed an electoral measure which provided machinery to enable all members of the fighting forces who were serving overseas or who had returned to Australia to cast a vote, at general elections, provided they were not under 21 years of age. In addition, machinery was set up in order to make voting easier for soldiers in military camps and to simplify the task of officers of the electoral branch in conducting the voting in such camps. Having regard to the fact that all soldiers over 21 years of age were thus enabled by the Menzies Government to cast a vote, it ill-becomes prominent members of the Labour party, for purposes of political propaganda, to circulate statements that the reason why the Opposition in this chamber postponed consideration of this measure last session was because we desired to deny votes to the soldiers. I do not say that those statements were made by any member of this chamber, or by any Minister. All who know the facts realize that our reason for postponing consideration of this measure was in order to consider it in circumstances that would enable us to deal with it more fully. Therefore, I hope that mem’bers of the Government will not allow that untruth to spread.
I take this opportunity to pay a tribute to the courtesy and the efficiency which have invariably been displayed by officers of the Commonwealth Electoral Branch. I have been directly associated with elections for this Parliament for the last 30 years, but I cannot remember one case in which any candidate complained of inefficiency, or unfairness, on the part of electoral officers. I mention that fact because all of us realize the importance of parliamentary elections. When Parliament is considering a measure of this kind in the present special circumstances due to war, every effort should be made to make easier the task of the electoral officers. Their difficulties will be pronounced at the next general elections, because we have soldiers scattered all over the Commonwealth, whilst the restrictions upon transport will make the task of electoral officers unusually difficult. Therefore, I hope that honorable senators will constantly bear in mind the arduous task that now confronts officers of the Electoral Branch.
The bill consists mainly of machinery clauses to enable soldiers in all parts of Australia and overseas to record a vote. With the exception of one or two minor matters, I have no objection to those provisions. The bill seeks to effect a vital amendment of the principle of adult franchise. I stall deal with that aspect later. I approve of enabling soldiers in the Northern Territory to vote on the same basis as soldiers outside Australia. The proposal that members of the Civil Constructional Corps who are situated for the time being in areas north of the 26th parallel should be allowed to cast their votes in their respective camps is a step in the right direction. I understand that in such cases departmental officers will use special forms which will obviate any unfair practices. The 26th parallel runs through a point south of Rockhampton. I ask the Minister why it is not proposed to provide the same facilities for voting to members of the Civil Constructional Corps who are in camps south of the 26th parallel. We must remember that these men are drawn from all parts of Australia. It would be to their convenience if they were afforded facilities to vote in their respective camps, particularly where large numbers of men are congregated. Such provision would also greatly assist the departmental officers. I should like to ask the Minister a question with regard to clause 7.
– The honorable senator is not entitled, on the second reading of a measure, to deal in detail with its clauses. He will have ample opportunity to do so in committee.
– In deference to you, Mr. President, I shall reserve my remarks on that point. I now propose to deal with the vital provision in the bill which seeks to effect an amendment of the principle, of adult franchise. In committee I shall move an amendment in this respect. I hope to have copies of my amendment circulated among honorable senators before we reach that stage. Generally, the purpose of my amendment is to provide that the extension of the franchise shall be limited to members o£ the fighting forces who have served outside Australia, or who have returned to Australia, regardless of age. I am at a loss to understand why the Labour party has decided that regardless of age or sex all members of the fighting services should have a vote. Why the Labour party, of all parties, should be prepared to confer the vote on smartly uniformed minors in the various women’s auxiliary services, but not on overalled girls of equal age and giving equal service in munitions factories, is as incomprehensible as it is unfair. The Opposition will not agree to allow that discrimination which would perhaps result in there being in the one family an eighteenyearold girl who would have the right as a member of the Australian Women’s Army Service to vote, whereas her sister, twelve months her senior, would not have that right. Boy messengers and girl typists in, say, the Prime Minister’s Department would not be allowed to vote, because they were less than 21 years of age, but their equivalents in uniform would he. Such discrimination must not be allowed in Australia. I commend the Government, however, for its decision to extend the franchise in as far as that extension applies to those members of the fighting forces who have served outside Australia. It is surprising that the Government should have decided to apply that policy in view of the fact that when in opposition the Labour party strove to prevent the Australian Imperial Force from leaving this country. The newspapers have been full of statements by Ministers in which they have praised themselves for having frightened Japan away from Australia. Speeches made by Government supporters in the House of Representatives during the debate on the motion of want of confidence consisted almost entirely of Labour Ministers taking a pride for, and Labour supporters giving praise for, a great victory over Japan. It is time that that nonsense ended and Labour Ministers and their supporters gave praise where it is due, not to themselves, but to the members of the Australian Imperial Force, who went from the Middle East to New Guinea, for it has been their splendid service, and not the words of politicians, that has kept the enemy at bay.
I have been, advised by the SolicitorGeneral’s Department that my amendment will embrace the boys under 21 years of age in the Royal Australian Air Force, who fly from Australia to the islands, because the limits of Australia legally are the land and the surrounding water to a distance of three miles from the shore. I hope that the Government will act wisely and accept the proposed amendment.
– I compliment the Government on having brought down this bill, which is designed to enable the members of the various fighting services of Australia to vote at the next general elections. I hope that they will at a very early date have the opportunity to cast their votes, because the time is overdue when the Australian public should have the opportunity to record its impressions of the activities of the Government in the last eighteen months. I am surprised, however, that in its exuberance the Government decided to confer the vote on minors, who, although they are members of the various branches of the fighting forces and of the women’s auxiliaries, have not left Australia. I agree with my leader (Senator McLeay) that youngsters who have had the initiative to enlist and to go overseas to fight are entitled to greater consideration than the other minors who have remained in Australia. I point out to the Government, however, that the adult franchise is based on mental, not on physical, qualifications to vote. Before proceeding to consider this bill in detail, we should be well advised to take note of what other civilized countries regard as being the age at which people should be enfranchised. On referring to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, I found that, in the main, 21 years of age is regarded as the appropriate age at which a citizen should first record a vote at elections for legislatures. There are some exceptions, from which we may be able to draw useful conclusions. For instance, in Russia, citizens are entitled to a vote or to offer themselves’ as candidates for elections at eighteen years of age. In Turkey, citizens qualify to vote at the same age, but the minimum age at which a person may offer himself as a candidate for election to parliament is 30 years. Most European countries fix the voting age at 20 or 21 years, but in Norway the age is 23 years, Finland 24, Sweden 25, Denmark 25 and Holland 25. It seems to me that we can draw certain deductions from the eagerness of the Government at the present time to reduce the voting age.
– This bill was brought down last March.
– Yes, but what I shall say was as pertinent then as it is now. It is apparent that, in providing for the extension of this privilege to members of the fighting forces, the Government is being influenced by the latest addition to its ranks, namely, the Communist element. It is well known that the Communists of this country are infiltrating more and more into the ranks of the Labour movement and the trade union movement, and are exercising a substantial influence. The people of this country are beginning to realize how the Communists are affecting the political life and industrial life of this country, and we on this side of the chamber will make it our business to see that the community generally knows more of what is going on before this session finishes. I have no doubt that the influence behind the Government in making this move is that of the Communists. As was pointed out by the Leader of the Opposition, to enfranchise minors in the fighting services merely because they are doing a war job will create anomalies. It would be a short step for this Government, again under the influence of the Communists, to suggest that the anomaly be removed by giving a vote also to minors engaged in war work in government factories, and then, no doubt, it would not be long before we found the Government advocating that all persons over the age of eighteen years should have a vote. I shall support the amendment that has been forecast by the Leader of the Opposition, and I trust that the Senate will accept it. We on this side of the chamber are just as eager as are honorable senators opposite to extend privileges to those who are fighting in the defence of this country, but I for one do not believe that merely because a person is doing his bit in a particular war industry, or in the services, but is not subject to the same danger and hardships that our fighting men have to face, should enjoy this privilege. I trust that the amendment will be accepted by the Government.
– In March last the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) said that the Opposition desired to have an opportunity to review the bill in order that they might have a better understanding of it. That ostensibly was the reason for the delay in dealing with this measure, but now, when the Senate is in session, and has no business to go on with, apparently it has been decided that the time is opportune to deal with the measure. Obviously, the honorable senator has felt the pulse of the electors of this country, and having made a mistake on a former occasion, he is prepared now to review the position. I say confidently that such tactics will not go down very well with the electors. However, I am pleased that he has repented. Knowing the reactions of the men of the fighting forces to this proposal, I cannot understand why the Leader of the Opposition persists in his refusal to give these people a voice in choosing the government of their country. The honorable senator believes that all our forces outside Australia, irrespective of age, should have a vote. I whole-heartedly agree with him. I pay a tribute to the men of the Australian Imperial Force returned from overseas and of the Royal Australian Air Force, who have played such a magnificent part in keeping the Japanese from our shores. I know something of the conditions under which our soldiers have been fighting in our northern areas. The Government has no desire to take other than due credit for what it has accomplished, but it is obvious that the Opposition cannot claim credit for anything. That has been made very clear by the debate that has taken place in the House of Representatives. I shall not apologize for any words that I may utter in my speech on this measure. The Leader of the Opposition has been very cunning, but I point out that members of the mercantile marine, who were denied the privileges of preference to returned soldiers by the Opposition, are excluded also from the amendment which has been foreshadowed. No one can deny that our seamen have played an important part in the defence of this country.
Judging by its present approach to this measure, it would appear that the Opposition is prepared to do something now that it would not do in March last. I point out that the women of our fighting services are not working union hours.
– Neither are the soldiers on the Sydney wharfs.
– I agree, but if we had not put them there honorable senators opposite would have been the first to cry out; now the Opposition condemns us for our action. To get the Opposition out of a difficulty, its’ leader had to rise this afternoon and admit that it had taken honorable senators from March until now to alter their views on this measure. I point out that in the past many more important bills than this have been passed through the Senate with very little discussion, or have been rejected by the Opposition without due consideration. This is one of the important measures, the passage of which has been hampered by the tactics of honorable senators opposite. The Leader of the Opposition cannot pull the wool over my eyes. I know from its members that the intention of the Opposition last March was not to allow other than those soldiers who served in the Middle East to have a vote. I agree that those men irrespective of age should have the right to vote. There is a reason for that. I know that in the last general elections they voted irrespective of their ages, and they were entitled to do so. This Government laid it down that young men of eighteen years of age should not be sent overseas.
– This Government did not want to send any Australian soldier overseas.
– That is something new. As a matter of fact the Government was accused last night by the Opposition in the debate on the motion ofwant of confidence in the House of Representatives of sending men to Singapore. Now we are told that we do not want to send men overseas. Is it not a fact that we sent reinforcements to the Middle East? We heard the apologetic way in which the Leader of the Opposition opposed our proposal that all those in the services should be allowed to vote when they reached the age of eighteen. He said that he did that not of his own wish, butbecause of public opinion. Is he prepared to give the girls in the Army a vote and on the other hand to deny it to those in the munitions factories? That is the dilemma in which the Opposition finds itself. Its members a.re in great difficulties. The spectacle which I saw in the last two days in the
House of Representatives was too pitiful for words. I saw the party of sweet seventeen of the National Service Group in full retreat. We all agree that the men in the services have saved Australia. In them I include the Australian Imperial Force, the Air Force, and all the Naval Forces. The Leader of the Opposition makes no provision in his amendment for the men under 21 who left by ship to go to the islands or anywhere else.
– Did the Government make provision for them in its bill?
– The bill embodies the whole of them.
– The Minister does not understand the bill.
– My friends knew the bill last March, but were not prepared to go on with it. The scenes we have witnessed in this National Parliament during the last two days have been too pitiful for words. The people of this country will express their opinion of the Opposition.
– Give them a chance to do so.
– We shall find many vacant seats on the opposite side of the chamber within the next twelve months.
– The honorable senator is more courageous here than he will be before the electors.
– It makes no difference to me. I am just as courageous in an election campaign. I have no fear of it. How can the people be expected to return to this Parliament a party consisting of three factions? There is the National Service group, the Spender group and the party led by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes). I am pleased that the members of the Opposition have repented of what they did last March and are prepared to recognize the services of those who are entitled to reward. They agree now to allow certain members of the forces under the age of 21 to vote as a recognition of the services they have rendered to their country. .
.- The Minister for External Territories (Senator Fraser) seemed to think that by raising his voice he would also be raising his courage. He became very excited, but I should not like to imitate him in that way. He seemed to believe that by a lot of noise and recrimination he would win his election. It is of no use to proceed on those lines. I was rather astonished at the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) and, to a certain extent, the Deputy Leader (Senator McBride) congratulating the Government on the introduction of the bill. I could hardly believe my ears when I heard them extending congratulations. What are the congratulations about? The Government has proposed to give a vote, without discrimination, to practically everybody who is in any way connected with the war. The lad who stormed the German lines at El Alamein is put on the same basis as the girl who storms a typewriter at Victoria Barracks. The claim of the Minister is that they both risk their lives for their country. Could there be any greater tommy rot? There is a medium in all these things. No one on this side denies that the man who actually left this country on active service is entitled to have a voice in its government, but it is absurd to claim that all and sundry, including the cabin boy on the small ship going down Port Phillip Bay, or in Sydney Harbour, or the girl who gets the afternoon tea for the officers at Victoria Barracks, are on an equal footing. The amendment proposes to give a just reward to those who deserve it, but when it comes to extending it to all this very wide group of almost children, one has to look for the reason behind it. A previous government gave the vote to all enlisted soldiers, whether they were on the rolls or not, but this Government, just before an election - I am sure we are within a month or two of it - immediately proposes to bring in a vast number of young people who have never had the responsibility of citizenship. Is it doing this on the ground that they are great patriots? Is it because, for the first time in their lives, they recognize that these young people are grown up and should have full national responsibilities, or is it because an election is pending? It is thought that the unthinking girl or boy is more likely to vote for the Government than for the Opposition.
Provocative speeches by Ministers, and threats of attacks on all and sundry, do not assist the Government in getting a bill through this chamber. The amendment submitted by the Opposition should be acceptable to all honorable senators. It provides for the granting of the franchise to all who have faced danger manfully, but it is quite a new proposal to give the vote to many thousands of young people who know nothing about matters of government and have no personal sense of responsibility with regard to the franchise. The Government proposes to grant the full privileges of citizenship to persons who no doubt do not realize that this privilege is to be extended to them. Having gone as far as it has, why does not the Government grant a vote to everybody under 21 years of age? Under this measure the vote is not restricted to persons not under eighteen years of age, but includes all members of the fighting services, some of whom, such as naval cadets, are only about fourteen years of age.
Senator AYLETT (Tasmania) [4.3J.- I am amazed at the objection from the Opposition, and particularly from Senator Leckie. Not long ago the Opposition desired to conscript all the men of this country and send them to any part of the world, when they reached the age of eighteen years, in order to fight to save the properties of the wealthy sections in this country. Yet at the same time Senator Leckie now declares that, at the age of eighteen years, young people are not entitled to full electoral rights. Could anything be more unfair than the honorable senator’s argument? The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) is quite prepared to give a young man serving in the Royal Australian Air Force the right to vote, if he takes part in operations more than 3 miles beyond the shores of Australia, but he thinks that a young man who takes a fighter into the air, and does not proceed beyond the shores of this country, should be disqualified. Australians under the age of 21 years have proved themselves in New Guinea to be as good soldiers as any in the world, but honorable senators opposite would deny the vote to members of the Militia who stand at their battle stations in Australia ready to repel the invader. The latter are to be treated as irresponsible children who are not entitled to full citizenship. Yet many men under the ‘ age of 21 years are fully qualified to lead companies, sections or platoons into battle. Surely a lad in the Air Force, whose sense of responsibility is regarded as sufficient to enable him to train an air crew, or take charge of an aeroplane, is entitled to a vote. Many of the women in the Army have displaced men who have gone overseas. Many of these women are doing men’s work, and in some cases they are probably doing it more efficiently than it could be done by men. Girls who can be trusted with the responsibility of handling secret code messages should not be denied the franchise. Young men are compelled to join the fighting forces and to go where they are sent. Therefore honorable senators opposite cannot fairly contend that they are not entitled to say who should be elected to make the laws under which their lives are regulated.
– Many men have been industrially conscripted, but they do not fall within the scope of this bill.
– Those who have been industrially conscripted already have the vote, and all of those under the age of 21 years who are physically fit for service in the Civil Constructional Corps are already members of the Militia. A man who is not fit for the Militia is not fit for the Civil Constructional Corps. Members of the Civil Constructional Corps should be entitled to vote, wherever they are working, rather than for the divisions in which they normally reside. It is a common practice for electoral officers to remove from the roll the names of men who have left their districts, and unless these workers are given the right to vote in the divisions in which they are situated at the time of the election many of them will find that they will not be able to vote at all. If the Opposition wishes to be generous it should agree to all munitions workers over the age of eighteen years having a vote. A man who is good enough to fight to protect our lives and property should be entitled to a vote:
– I cannot understand the attitude of the Opposition, which professes to believe in preference to returned soldiers. On that basis, young men in the forces who are above the age of eighteen years are entitled to preference in the matter of voting. A boy of eighteen is eligible to fight for his country, and he may be called upon to fight alongside a man over 21 years of age, and he should be entitled to the same privileges in electoral matters as are enjoyed by his comrades in arms. There was a time when there was a possibility of Western Australia being handed over to the enemy, but since then troops have been sent to the danger zone. Among them are many lads under the age of 21. I have visited them in many areas in Western Australia and I know the position. In my opinion, any man over eighteen years of age who is in uniform should be entitled to a vote, and to the same privileges as are now enjoyed by men of adult age. It is not sufficient to say that young men must have seen service overseas before being so entitled ; the fact that they are in uniform is evidence that they may be called upon to fight at any time. It is true that many young men. in various parts of Western Australia have not actually been called upon to resist an enemy, but the possibility has been there, although the danger is not now so great as it was. Why should a differentiation be made between two men occupying a trench, and fighting against an enemy, merely because one has not attained the age of 21 years? Both share the same dangers, and both should enjoy the same privileges
– We propose to treat them alike.
– Yes, provided that both go overseas. I claim equal rights for all sections of the people, but that does not exist to-day. It has been said that all persons in the community, both male and female, over the age of eighteen years should have a vote. Many young women between the ages of eighteen and 21 years are married, and have a great deal more sense than have many honorable senators opposite, yet, they are not entitled to vote. I hope that honorable senators opposite will. give further consideration to this matter. Young men in the forces, who may at any time be called upon to defend their country, are entitled to the same privileges as others who share their risks.
.- This apparent enthusiasm of members of the Labour party to provide votes for members of the fighting forces under the age of 21 years is something entirely new for that party. The matter now under discussion was before this chamber in 1940, when a bill was introduced by the then Government - it was not a Labour government - to provide that men who were fighting overseas should have a vote. That measure expressly provided that the vote should be enjoyed by members of the forces overseas who were over the age of 21 years.
– There was no war in Australia then; the Japanese were not at war against us.
– I appreciate the view expressed by the honorable senator that the war did not start until the Japanese commenced hostilities. According to the Labour party, there was no war until the Japanese struck.
– Do not be foolish !
– Until then, the Labour party was a party of isolationists.
– If the honorable senator must be frivolous, he need not be unfair.
– In 1940, the Labour party was not interested in votes being given to members of the Australian Imperial Force overseas, because the party objected to the Australian Imperial. Force being sent overseas. The bill to which I have referred came before the Senate. Its provisions expressly limited the privilege of voting to men over the age of 21 years. On that occasion did the present Minister for External Territories (Senator Fraser) indulge in what may be described as impassioned oratory, and urge that members of the Australian Imperial Force, because they had gone overseas to save this country, should be given a vote, whether or not they were under the age of 21 years? No; there was not a word to that effect from him. Now, the Minister attempts to misrepresent the views of the Opposition, and would have us believe that the only party that has any real concern for the members of the forces is the party to which he happens to belong.
– That is correct.
– The Minister would do well not to be too emphatic about his corrections, because I propose to indulge in some correction myself. The Minister suggested that the idea that a vote should be given to men under the age of 21 who had served overseas was something which had been conjured up in the mind of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) since March of this year, but I remind the Minister that that principle was accepted by members of the party on this side of the chamber as long ago as 1918. This is not something which was evolved since March last in order to get over what the Minister describes as a difficulty; it was a principle which was applied by this party to soldiers of the last war who had been overseas. It applied to general elections, the same as this bill will apply to general elections. The sooner an election takes place the better. I see no enthusiasm on the ministerial side of the chamber for that appeal to the electorate. It would be easy to put in motion the electoral machinery; but although we hear many brave words from members of the Labour party we do not see any action to hasten the appeal.
– It is a case of frozen enthusiasm.
– The principle of extending, as a special privilege, the vote to men who have served overseas was accepted by this Parliament in 1918, and the amendment proposed in this bill is in accordance with that principle. I believe that the basis on which this matter should be discussed is that of adult franchise; and until recently I always understood that that was the view held by the Labour party. I realize that the Communist party, which has already taken control of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions, and is rapidly taking control of the Labour party, is encouraging the Labour party to depart from the principle of adult suffrage. I accept that principle, and when I am asked to depart from it I must be given a very special reason for so doing. I can see justification for the acceptance of the view that, as a special privilege, the vote should be extended to a man who has gone so far as to serve overseas in the defence of his country. But I emphasize that whatever line of demarcation we adopt, there will be some anomalies. However, under the proposals put forward by the Government there will be hundreds more anomalies than under the proposal put forward by the Leader of the Opposition. It is sheer nonsense to suggest that, because a typist has ceased to work in civil employment, and has gone into the Army, and put on a uniform, and now, instead of taking a tram to her office she takes a tram to Victoria Barracks, and types all day, she is entitled to the same privilege as a man who has sacrificed everything and served overseas in the defence of his country. The two cases are not comparable. We can deal fairly and justly with this matter by following the principle that was applied in 191S.
– The conditions are entirely different.
– I- agree that the conditions existing then and now are different; but we shall get nearer to some principle that has a meaning in this matter if we adopt the proposal put forward by the Leader of the Opposition than if we seek to give the vote to thousands of people, many of whom will never be in any fighting area, and who are engaged in occupations which do not involve any risk at all.
– What about the merchant seamen?
– I am glad that the honorable senator has reminded me of the merchant seamen, because the Minister in charge of the bill disclosed ignorance concerning the provisions of the bill in relation to them. The bill does not provide that the vote shall be given to merchant seamen under 21 years of age.
– Why does not the Leader of the Opposition make provision for them in his amendment?
– I do not think that the vote should be extended to merchant seamen under 21. I am accepting the limits of the bill as it stands insofar as it deals only with members of the defence forces. We should extend this privilege only to those people who have taken very great risks in defence of the country, and have thus earned a special privilege from the community, and that objective will be achieved by the adoption of the proposal of the Leader of the Opposition.
– Senator Spicer said that under this measure the Government is introducing something entirely new, and that the Labour party has never in its history advocated the- granting of a vote to persons under the age of 21 years. I have been a member of the Labour movement for 43 years. I remember that when I first joined a Labour organization I and others advocated that all persons eighteen years of age and over should be entitled to a vote. Those who believe in that principle have not succeeded in having it placed on the statute-book of any country. However, I say plainly that a person of eighteen years of age or over should have the vote. I put this proposition to honorable senators opposite: If the right to vote is not denied a person on reaching the age of doddering senility, and who becomes childish in his old age, as many people unfortunately do - and probably some are honorable senators - why should a young man or woman, with all the intelligence characteristic of the average Australian of eighteen, nineteen and twenty years of age be denied that right? Unfortunately, some people, after passing a certain age, begin to slip mentally but retain their right to the vote. Not a word is said about taking the vote from those people who are not capable of giving an intelligent vote ; but there is the most bitter opposition to young men and women between the ages of eighteen and 21 being given a vote. Senator Leckie sees something sinister in this proposal to give a vote to men and women between the ages of eighteen and 21. With equal justification I could retaliate that there is something sinister in the objection which honorable senators opposite raise -to this proposal. I do not impute base motives to any honorable senator opposite. From what I can see of them as members of so many different parties, it is a political issue with them. There is nothing base in that. After all, we are politicians, or, to put it politely, we are parliamentarians, and under our democratic system of government, we live on the votes of the people. If we do not obtain a majority of votes at the ballot-box we do not qualify to come here.
– That is what is worrying the Minister for External Territories.
– It is worrying me, and also Senator McBride himself. It is worrying all of us. Of course, seventeen of our number are not worried at all. They are here for another three years; but the honorable senators who have to face the electors this year, despite their smiles and loud talk, do not feel as happy and contented as their more fortunate colleagues.
– The Queensland senators are looking very worried.
– I am not one who worries very much at all. By the grace of God and decent parentage, I have a happy disposition, freedom of mind, and a clear conscience, and I do not worry very much. If the Queensland electors turn me down I shall not cry out about it. When asked about the prospect of the forthcoming general elections recently, I pointed out that in 1931 Labour candidates in Queensland defeated two generals, ex-Senator Thompson and ex-Senator Sir William Glasgow; in 1937 we defeated two colonels, Colonel Cameron and Colonel Allen; on this occasion we are to be opposed by a lieutenant-colonel and a squadron leader, and we are confident that we can repeat the performance, although, no doubt, things might be different if we were to be opposed by privates.
– Order ! The honorable senator must confine his remarks to the bill.
– I agree, Mr. President, that we should not bring extraneous matters into debates of this character. The Minister for External Territories (Senator Fraser) mentioned the alleged threat of communism in the Labour movement. I remind honorable senators that in the days of the late Sir George Reid there was similar talk of the socialist tiger. It was claimed then that the socialists were out to break the marriage tie; that they believed that men and women should live with each other as they pleased and divide the kids at Christmastime. That is the kind of puerile stupidity that is put over the electors. Let us deal with the question fairly and squarely, without introducing vague talk of communism, the socialist tiger, or any other such rot. The electors will just laugh that off.
– The Australian Labour party conference in Melbourne did not laugh it off.
– When a man ceases to laugh he might as well be dead. I could answer the honorable senator’s interjection, but I should be out of order is doing so. Our friends opposite speak of anomalies and discriminations. I contend that no matter what we do there will be anomalies and discriminations. It is quite true, as has been said by way of interjection, that the position to-day is entirely different from what it was in the war of 1914-18. In those days all our soldiers were volunteers and the war was being fought many miles away in Europe.
– According to the policy of the party of which the honorable senator is a member, there would have been no enemy at all in those days.
– I would not say that. I have vivid recollections of the then Premier of Queensland, the late Mr. Ryan, addressing one of the largest meetings ever held in that State, calling for volunteers to go overseas and fight the war for Australia and for the British Empire. Hundreds of Labour men stood up on the public platforms in those days and urged that we should fight for our freedom. Labour has always stood for the defence of Australia and of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is silly for honorable senators opposite to keep chattering parrot-like, that we do not believe in fighting outside Australia. Was it not a Labour Prime Minister, the late Mr. Andrew Fisher, who, in the last war, coined the now famous phrase, “ the last man and the last shilling “?
– But that was not 1940.
– I have not much regard for the intelligence of the deputy leader of the South Australian breakaway party when he says that 1914 was not 1940. Even senile senators know that. I have my personal views on voting. I am a member of a party and I loyally abide by the majority decision of that party, unlike certain honorable senators opposite who are always attempting to push their leaders out of office and sink to the lowest depth of political trickery. The Labour party fought strongly for the granting of a vote for women. Many of our people were imprisoned and some even were killed in the battle for the right to vote for every man over 21 years of age. I recall the days before the introduction of the Reform Bill in Great Britain, when seven men at Ludershall in England had the power to send a representative to Parliament. Also there was one man - I think he was a duke - who had the right to nominate himself, vote for himself, and put himself into Parliament. It took many years of bitter fighting by those supporting Labour principles to secure the introduction and passage of the Reform Bill which merely extended the franchise to people who had certain property qualifications; hut we fought on and on until we secured the right to vote for every one over 21 years of age. I recall the time in Britain when if an individual were a lodger, he had to be paying so much rent and had to have the key of his room before he could have a vote. Only a few years ago in Brisbane, certain property-owners who did not even reside in that city, had seven, eight or nine votes. Labour has fought right down the years for the right of flesh and blood to have a vote; the right of every man and woman to have a say in the government of their country. During those years, gentlemen of the kidney and calibre of honorable senators opposite bitterly opposed Labour’s proposals. In Great Britain some women even died fighting for a vote, although I think that many of them were rather foolish. One woman threw herself in front of a horse during the running of the Derby. They believed firmly in the rights of women, hut the conservatives, the political troglodytes and mental cave-dwellers, were opposed to it.
– South Australia was the first place in the British Empire to extend the franchise to women.
– Yes ; but the honorable senator was not in charge of affairs in that State then. I say as I have written that in this land of ours or in any other part of the world for that matter, there is no one who is more conservative and tory-minded than the breakaway party of South Australian members of this Parliament. They cannot help it ; God has been harsh with them. I believe strongly that this measure is a step in the right direction. As Senator Aylett has pointed out, it would be grossly unfair to deny a vote to the airman who although based at Darwin, risks his life and limbs, and yet grant that privilege to another serviceman who is stationed outside the 3-mile limit. Such an anomaly would be absurd. The Government is doing the right thing. When a man or woman offers his or her services in the fighting forces of this country, the least we cando is to grant to him or her the privilege of a vote. I trust that this measure will be passed by the Senate in its present form. If the matter were in my hands, I should give a vote to every man or woman over the age of eighteen years. I would go further; I would not compel any manor woman to cast a vote at the polling booth unless he or she desired to do so. I have held these views for many years. I believe that this country, and every other country, should be controlled by representatives elected by free men and women casting their votes at the polling booths of their own volition.
– That is the honorable senator’s inherent conservatism.
– Yes. I believe that thereare certain things that we should conserve ; I believe in conserving the freedom of the individual. I believe that even in the break-away section of the United Australia party - the most bitter conservatives I know - there is an element of good and an element of intelligence, although their outlook may he a little backward. I recall speaking some years ago on this question. I admitted that I was a conservative, a liberal, a philosophic anarchist, and a socialist. I said that I was a conservative because I believe in conserving the best in society; I was a liberal because I believe in liberal and free institutions ; I was a philosophic anarchist to the extent that men should be free to follow their own bent; and I was a socialist because I believed in the social organization of the community in order to get the best from the community.
– There is no doubt that the Opposition never wanted this bill. It attempted to destroy it when it was previously brought in. It deferred consideration of the bill, but public criticism was apparently so strong against the action of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) and his colleagues that he had to make some apology to-day, and began his speech by referring to the delay that had taken place. I am sorry that Senator Spicer, the learned gentleman whom we read about so often as winning cases in the law courts, and who believes himself to be the representative of the intelligentsia of the legal profession in this chamber, has left the chamber because he had a great deal to say about what the Labour party had done, and wanted to know why that party had not given consideration to this matter when the war-time proposals in connexion with the Electoral Bill were before Parliament in 1940. I remind him that that bill was brought down by the Menzies Government for one specific purpose. The vote extended by it to the soldiers would not have made much difference in the numbers polled, and the motive in the mind of the then Government was to retain control of the Senate. The main feature of the bill, under the guise of giving the soldiers a vote as a war-time measure, was the alteration of the voting system as it applied to Senate elections. That, and not to give the soldiers a vote at all, was the real object. -Senator Spicer said that the Labour party had not done anything, and that honorable senators on the Labour side had not raised their voices against that bill. But the bill was under the control of the Menzies Government and its only purpose was to create chaotic conditions out of which no plan would emerge. All the Menzies Government wanted was chaos, and the continuation of the control of this Parliament, and especially of the Senate, by its own side. Something unexpected happened, however, and the Labour party under Mr. Curtin took control of the affairs of the Commonwealth. As soon as time permitted, this measure was prepared and brought in. There was no trickery in the Curtin Government’s proposal to give the soldiers a vote. There was no suggestion of amending the electoral system. There was simply a fair consideration of the facts as they stand. Senator Spicer claimed that in 1917 a bill was brought down to give all soldiers who .served overseas a vote. That is true. That act was put into force and then lapsed, and now. this bill proposes to deal with the situation in which Australians find themselves to-day. In the years 1914-18 the boys were called up to do compulsory military training. They were not called upon to serve outside Australia; but to-day boys of eighteen are called up, retained in camps until they are nineteen, and then made available for service outside Australia. That is a good reason why they should be entitled to vote. They are under military control until they can be sent outside the Commonwealth. They were not under such control in 1914-18. They will now be denied a vote by reason of the fact that there is a majority of Opposition senators, and for no other reason. I am sure that the people believe that if the boys are called up compulsorily to serve outside Australia they should be entitled to vote. I am confident that chaos and ill feeling will be caused if the Opposition has its way. That is in keeping with the fact that chaos was the policy of the Menzies Government, of which the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber was a member. We have in Australia a number of units of men who have served overseas. The wastage in the units caused through men having been injured or contracted disease or died, has had to be repaired by reinforcements of young men. If the amendment be agreed to, men in those units who have served overseas and are still under 21 will walk up to record their votes, but others who have done their “training and are prepared to do whatever the military authorities have called upon them to do, will have to remain in camp. They will feel that they are not accepted as responsible citizens who arc entitled to say how they shall be governed, and who shall be members of the Parliament. Of course, there is no desire on the Opposition side for peace in the Military Forces or anywhere else. The one desire of honorable senators opposite is chaos. Their plan is now, as it was before, to keep their opponents divided. They had no plan foi- fighting this war in Australia. They say there is no plan of a “ Brisbane line “. If there was no “Brisbane line”, there was no plan at all. There was chaos, which was characteristic of the Menzies and Fadden Governments. The Opposition would now divide the members of the fighting services on the question of their right to the franchise. That would cause uneasiness and bitter feeling among the troops. The Opposition, which has the necessary numbers to defeat the Government, will probably reject this bill and cause an unnecessary disturbance among young men and ‘ women in the services. The people will remember the action of the Opposition on this occasion and deal with it as it deserves to be dealt with.
– Many young men and women to-day have a much more intelligent conception of the part they are playing in society than they had years ago. The war itself has contributed to that attitude of mind. They say, “ If we, at the age of eighteen years, are expected to play the part of an adult, and at times do even more than adults are called upon to do, and if we are expected to pay taxes and obey the laws of the country, we should have a vote in connexion with these matters “. Senator McBride considers that the hill has been inspired by the Communist influence. War-time conditions compel not only youths but also persons over the age of 21 years to take a more intelligent interest than they have in the past in the conditions of society to-day. The Government is faced with the solution of post-war problems, and these cannot be solved by ignoring the young men and women in the fighting services and in the workshops, or treating them as they were treated after the last war. Senator Leckie referred to the “unthinking youth “. The implication was that young men and women of the age of eighteen years are incapable of holding or expressing ideas, but all our experience is to tie contrary. I am a member of the council of the Melbourne Technical College, and I have had the privilege of presenting diplomas to young men and women who have passed certain educational tests, and proved beyond all doubt that they are not only capable of thinking for themselves, but in many instances are far more capable of doing it than many persons over the age of 21 years. I have addressed classes of young men and women below the age of eighteen years, and have found that they think for themselves much more effectively than certain honorable senators opposite, who believe that young people can be ignored and denied reasonable opportunities to express their will through the medium of the ballot-box. I have also interviewed trainees in the aircraft and munitions workshops. There again, I have found in young people a capacity to think for themselves. Age is no guarantee of knowledge or. capacity to think, or of being able to vote intelligently. Yet we are told by Senator Spicer, in effect, that it is.
– It has not made much improvement in the Minister’s case.
– The honorable senator has qualified as a legal practitioner, but he would be an ignoramus compared with some of the trainees in workshops if he were given a brief to explain in court the conditions under which the trainees work. He would have no knowledge of his own on which to base a case in reply to a charge, but he would have to refer to his clients for information. Yet he would pose as an intellectual as compared with the trainees, if we accepted him at his face value. If we desire to act honestly towards young people, we should try to imagine ourselves in their places. The fact that they do their work successfully and effectively in the interests of the nation, whether in the lines or in the workshops, proves that they should not be denied the franchise. If strikes are to be avoided and industrial disputes settled amicably that can be accomplished only by negotiation at conferences where those who believe that they have a grievance are given an opportunity to prove their case, or through the medium of the ballot-box. If, however, honorable senators opposite think that they can force these people to do as they are directed and deny them the right to say how they shall be governed, they will bc disillusioned after the war. The conditions which are peculiar to this war are forcing people to think, and to gain more intelligent knowledge of many problems. If this small concession be not conceded, young men and young women between the ages of eighteen and 21 will force the granting of the concession by holding up industry and in various other ways. They will do exactly what has been done in the past, and they will do it more rapidly and more effectively. In the struggles of the past lives were lost and property wa3 damaged, until, making a virtue of necessity, the right to vote was given to them. The position has improved immeasurably since then, although the improvement has not been as great as some of us would like. My point is that as these young people are being forced into the fighting forces and into industry, if the mistakes of the past are repeated, and they are denied the right to express their opinions, there will inevitably be serious repercussions. Any subsequent attempt to adjust the situation will be more costly than if the right had been conceded in the first instance. Members of the Opposition have admitted, up to a point, the service rendered to the nation by these young members of the fighting forces; and if they were just they would admit also that excellent work is being done in the workshops. I have in mind the large body of trainees, who work all day in various occupations and at night undergo training at the Melbourne Technical College and similar institutions. It must be admitted that these young people are rendering to the nation a service greater than could be rendered by most honorable senators, if working alongside them. Honorable senators opposite should not imagine that these young people will be content to be gagged until they reach the age of 21 years. They will not be content with being told, in effect, that they do not count for anything in the scheme of things, and that persons like honorable senators opposite are the embodiment of all the wisdom and intelligence in the community, and therefore have the right to say what shall, or shall not, be done. If honorable senators opposite hold that view, and act accordingly, they must be prepared for the consequences. If, however, they view the situation in the light of existing conditions, they will agree that this concession should be made. From time to time Opposition senators have urged that disputes in industry should be settled amicably; they have contended” that .workers who believe that they have a grievance should avail themselves of the means provided for the amicable settlement of disputes. If, however, honorable senators also say that those workers are not entitled to express any opinion in an effective way, through the ballot-box, then they are merely assisting to bring about that state of affairs which they have so often professed to deplore and deprecate. We are living in unprecedented times; this is the world’s worst war. Most students of world affairs agree that the problems of the next post-war period will be much more serious and difficult than those which had to be faced after the last war. The only effective corrective is to give to those who are directly concerned an opportunity; to express their will through the medium of the ballot-box, or by negotiation around the table. The more opportunities that are given to the people to express their views regarding the various problems that will have to be faced, the easier will it be to bring about the necessary adjustments. But if we shut the door, as it has always been shut, and say to them, “ We are the only persons capable of judging, and you shall do what you are directed to do “, we shall be faced with a much more serious position after this war than has followed any other war in the history of the British Empire.
– I am sure that no honorable senator on this side is surprised by the opposition shown by honorable senators opposite , to this measure. What has surprised me is the weakness of the arguments they have adduced. They still seem to follow the dictum laid down by Lord Randolph Churchill that the duty of an opposition is to oppose everything, propose nothing, and turn the government out of office.
So far as my experience goes, every opposition in this chamber has followed that policy, the reason being that, because they have a majority, they believe that they can do what they like.
– Within the Standing Orders.
– The Standing Orders do not compel honorable senators to remain in the chamber during debates. Although honorable senators opposite are continually complaining of the terrible effects of absenteeism in munitions factories, they continually absent themselves from important debates in this chamber. However, I point out to them that when a munitions worker absents himself from employment he loses his pay. I draw your attention to the state of the Senate, Mr. Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown). - There is a quorum present.
– It is just a bare quorum. Dealing with the franchise, Professor Ashby said -
The secret of good citizenship lies less in knowing how to vote than in knowing how to behave towards your next-door neighbour and how to occupy your leisure.
The object of this measure is to give a vote to the members of the fighting services between the ages of eighteen and 21. We know that many of our most brilliant airmen are lads from eighteen to twenty years of age. They have performed deeds of the greatest valour. This measure represents some small recognition of their ability and courage, and the other great qualities these men possess. I have said on previous occasions that any man who is willing to give his life for his country should have the right to have a voice in the government of his country.
– At any age.
– Yes. As has been pointed out, old men of 80 years of age and over have a vote ; and there is no talk of depriving them of that right however incapable they may be of casting an intelligent vote.
– But how much in taxes have those men paid towards the revenues of the country?
– And the men who served at Tobruk are paying more than their share of the cost of governing the country. I have a son, who is a member of the Australian Spitfire squadron in Britain. Only last week he received his income tax assessment which amounted to £100. He, and thousands of others, will have to pay their share towards the cost of governing this country although they are risking their lives in its defence. That is due to our present rotten financial system. Honorable senators still believe that a policy which has robbed us of peace and plunged us into war, will bring us back from war to peace. I nave no chance of penetrating the conservative minds of honorable senators opposite. I strongly support the measure. Practically every aspect of it has been dealt with, and honorable senators on this side have advanced the stronger case.
, - I do not think that the bill contains any provision that should stir honorable senators on either side of the chamber to any great excitement. For that reason I was surprised to see the Minister for External Territories (Senator Eraser) work himself into a frenzy. There was no necessity for it. Any delay that has occurred in dealing with this measure has not caused injury to any one. Perhaps, the only advantage that would have been gained had we dealt with it earlier, is that it might have served the Minister for External Territories on the hustings. He will have many opportunities to appear on the hustings in the near future; and, for my part, the sooner the general elections are held the better. It is about time that this Government faced its masters, and we obtained a better government composed of men whose word can be relied upon. Only a short while ago I heard a statement made in the House of Representatives, following statements by responsible Ministers, which made me disgusted with this Government.
This bill will not accomplish very much. Certainly, it gives a vote to all members of the fighting services who may not have been enrolled at the time they enlisted, and who reached the age of 21 years after that date. It also gives the right to vote to all persons in uniform regardless of their age. The amendments forecast by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) are logical. We are making too great a fuss about this right to vote. Very few men in uniform will attach to it anything like the degree of importance that honorable senators opposite attach to it. I happened to be serving overseas when a vote was taken among our soldiers during the last war, and I know how indifferent the men were on that occasion. They were not concerned about voting power. Their only concern was to defeat the enemy, and return as soon as possible to their homeland. We shall do all that is necessary in this matter if we extend the franchise solely to those men who have served overseas, or serve in any theatre of war. It is easy to visualize what would happen should the bill be passed as it now stands. The right to vote will be given to young girls and men because they are now in uniform, although many of them are still working in the same offices in which they worked before they donned a uniform. They are not taking any greater risk than young men and women who work in government offices in Canberra. If we are going to give such people a vote, why not extend the same right to all persons whose work is associated with war services?
– Why not?
– The Opposition did not frame the bill. No doubt it was considered by the Cabinet, and the Minister for Aircraft Production (Senator Cameron) had an opportunity then to raise the point he is raising now. For whatever satisfaction this measure will give to members of the fighting services, let us give them a vote. However, I repeat that many of them will never exercise it. Why do we require to compel people to enrol, and vote, if the community places such great value upon the franchise as honorable senators opposite seem to think? All honorable senators will admit that if voting were not compulsory, only about 50 or 60 per cent, of those entitled to vote would go to the poll. That is an indication of the irresponsible attitude of many of the people who are entrusted with the provisions to be made for the election of governments. Therefore, I think that we are making too much of this proposal. I do not know what will be its value on the hustings, but 1 do not think it will carry much weight. The sins of omission and commission of the Government will carry far greater weight with the electors. The members of the fighting forces will give greater weight to the differential treatment which this Government has meted out to them with regard to their pay, and that of members of the Civil Constructional Corps. The men on active service are not paid overtime rates, as is the case with members of the Civil Constructional Corps, neither do they got hot buttered scones in the afternoon and at night. I admit that there has been a slight improvement in the diet of the soldier since I was overseas, but it has not been very great.
– There has been an increase of pay.
– I agree, but it has hardly compensated for the devaluation of the currency.
– I rise to order. I contend that the honorable senator is not in order in dealing with the subject which he is discussing on the bill now before the Senate.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown). - Senator Latham must confine his remarks to the bill.
– Senator Brown referred to the inauguration of reforms. If my memory be correct, most of the reforms have been initiated on the conservative side of Parliament. For instance, who was responsible for the introduction of adult franchise? It was not the Labour party. That reform was instituted by Sir George Grey. And who provided for old-age pensions? Not the Labour movement. They were initiated by Sir Richard Seddon, who was never a Labour man. ‘
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.Order ! This measure has no relation to old-age pensions. My recollection is that Senator Brown dealt with franchise and not with old-age pensions.
– I am merely making passing reference to some of the reforms that were spoken of by Senator Brown. That honorable senator claimed to have beaten many “brass hats” at the polls, including generals and colonels.
If I may be permitted to reply to Senator Brown, I should like to point out that these “ brass hats “–
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! If in the course of his .speech Senator Brown was out of order, that is no reason why the honorable senator should also be out of order.
Sena/tor LATHAM. - Do you rule, Mr. Deputy President, that I am out of order in pursuing my present line of discussion because Senator Brown was out of order in that regard?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I rule that under the Standing Orders honorable senators must confine their remarks ito the bill now before the Senate. The honorable senator may if he wishes make passing reference to the general question of voting or to any other specific matter relating to the bill.
– It can be assumed that the franchise is extended to people in order that they may elect to Parliament some one who is at least equal to or better than themselves. That is a logical conclusion. Surely, therefore, if a man happened to be a leader in the Army, or in any other walk of life, he should be well qualified to take bis place in Parliament. I am confident that if the franchise be extended to all men over eighteen yeai-3 of ,age who are fighting for their country, they will be well qualified to return to this Parliament the candidates whom they consider to he best able to represent them.
Senator Amour said that a division would be caused if the amendment foreshadowed by the Leader of the Opposition were carried. I claim, however, that that division -would be nothing compared with our divided army. The age limit of 21 years for voters was not fixed without the fullest consideration. In our courts of law any one under the age of 21 years is regarded as a minor, and for that reason is not subject to the same laws that apply to adults. I claim, therefore, that there is no more justification for granting a vote to individuals under the age of 21 years than there would be for bringing these people under ordinary criminal law.
– Minors in the Army are subject to the same punishment as older soldiers.
– Not always. 1 have known many commanding officers who have dealt very leniently with young soldiers because of their youth. I had a long association with the Army and that definitely was my experience. As a matter of fact I personally always gave most lenient consideration to youthful offenders, realizing that, not having had the same experience of life as older men, they could not be expected to have the same wisdom.
– There is no legal obligation upon a commanding officer to take that view.
– I realize that, but what is more important, there is a common-sense and moral obligation. I shall support the amendment that is to be moved by the Leader of the Opposition. If this issue be carried to the hustings I am prepared to stand up to it because I do not think that it will count the slightest bit with the men in uniform. They are more concerned about receiving adequate reinforcements so that they may return to this country as soon as possible.
– The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) said that honorable senators opposite accepted this bill in the main, and Senator Latham said that, he did not see anything in it which would justify a frenzied attitude to it. The only objection that I have to the amendment which the Leader of the Opposition has forecast is that it will deny a vote to men in uniform who, although they have been rendering valuable service in the defence of this country, and may even now be preparing to move beyond our shores, have not yet been overseas. I do not think that such a line of demarcation should be drawn. When a man, whether conscript or volunteer, accepts the task of defending his country, he accepts the greatest possible national responsibility. If he is prepared to fight and die for his country, he should be entitled, irrespective of his age, to vote for those who govern it.
– What about the women ?
– I am in accord with the vote being given to women, because, as honorable senators opposite should know, women in the forces to-day are serving in danger zones.
– Women under 21?
– I do not agree with the argument adduced by Senator Spicer, and I do not think it reflects any credit upon him. He referred to a young woman who joined one of the auxiliary services. I remind him that any young woman who does that has to be physically fit, like the men who join the fighting forces, she must have reached a certain educational standard, and must possess whatever qualifications are necessary to enable her to perform the duties of her service. For all this she receives a very low rate of pay. She is always liable to be called on to go to a danger zone. She accepts responsibility comparable with that of the men who are defending this country, and I consider that she is entitled to the vote. I agree with the assertion of an honorable senator opposite, that no one under the age of eighteen should be allowed to vote. I do not think that the judgment of any person, male or female, who has not attained that age is sufficiently matured to determine who should govern the country. Reference was made by Senator Latham to the frenzy into which the Minister for External Territories (Senator Fraser) worked himself; but the Minister discussed the bill and the amendment. On the other hand, Senator Latham worked himself into quite a frenzy over something that had been said or done in the House of Representatives. Opposition members are always ready to criticize those on this side, but immediately they rise to discuss a measure before this chamber they begin their propaganda, because they know that a general election is in the offing, and such propaganda may be helpful to them. I do not blame them for that, but if those tactics are good for the Opposition they are equally good for members on this side. Every member of the fighting forces to-day is a potential defender of his country. We all know that the theatres of war in Australia are moving towards the north and that all our forces might at any time be at short call to defend the country. It is logical and reasonable that those men in the fighting services who are between the ages of 18 and 21 should be entitled to vote to assist to decide who shall govern Australia. They are going to play their part in defending Australia, and they are entitled to claim a voice in determining who shall govern it. When the Leader of the Opposition began his speech, he indicated that he was in agreement with the principle of the bill, and I did not think that any major amendment would be moved. I am sorry that he has foreshadowed a major amendment, which if carried will create a division among our troops.
– The Government created that.
– I doubt if I could count the number of parties into which honorable senators opposite are divided. There is the National Service group, which some people think should be named the national capitalist party, the United Australia party, the Country party and other sections. Their members squeal on every possible occasion for unity and a national government, but they cannot achieve unity among themselves. Because there is a division among themselves they are trying to create division amongst our soldiers.
– We are trying to make one army, not a division at all.
– Honorable senators opposite had the opportunity for many years to form one army, but no attempt was made by the Menzies or Fadden governments, or previous United Australia party governments.
– We did form an army.
– I agree with that. I do not want to criticize the action of any previous government, or to diminish by one iota anything that it has done. I give it the credit due to it, but when honorable senators opposite say that the present government has formed two armies, I draw their attention to the fact that they had the opportunity for many years, if they had so desired, to form one army, not only in peace-time, but when war struck this country, yet they made no attempt to do so. Certainly nothing was done in that direction by the previous Government, of which Senator McBride was a member. Therefore, any defects in our defence, so far as the subject of one army is concerned, rests with the Opposition parties. I object to the amendment because of the division that will be created between men under 21 who will be entitled to vote, and others under 21 who will be left behind in the camps and denied citizenship rights. They will be punished because of their age, although they are old enough to defend their country.
– My sympathy goes out to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) and Senator McBride in being forced by their masters to move this amendment. I extend them that sympathy because I am afraid that they are, in a way, burning their boats. When the people outside realize what they have done, I am afraid that we shall no longer see their cherubic countenances here. Politically I shall regret it, because they are jolly good fellows, and I do not like to lose old friends. Senator Spicer spoke very briefly and proceeded in circles. He referred to anomalies that would be created by the bill, but omitted to mention the chief anomaly. I refer to the cases of young men in the Australian Imperial Force, eighteen years of age, who, having served in New ‘Guinea, would become entitled to the franchise, and of young men, eighteen years of age, who, not having served in New Guinea, would be unable to vote, although a week after the closing date for enrolment, some of the latter class might he sent overseas as reinforcements and might lay down their lives for their country. The honorable senator said that he accepted the limits prescribed in the bill. Why, therefore, does he oppose the measure?
– It is a sham-fight.
– It is, as far as Senator Spicer is concerned. He contended that we might as well extend the franchise to the munitions workers. What would be wrong with that ? If honorable senators opposite are sincere in their desire that the franchise should be granted where it is deserved, why do they not move to that effect, rather than seek to create an anomaly? A great deal more political intelligence is displayed in the ranks of the munitions workers and among the young men engaged in indus trial organizations than among the tottering old folk who support the Opposition. I remember how adult franchise was secured in England. The prototypes of honorable senators opposite fought “ tooth and nail “ against the granting of adult franchise in the Old Country. A deputation led by John Burns proceeded to the House of Commons, but it was refused a hearing. The members of the deputation decided to hold a mass meeting in Hyde Park, but, on arrival there, they found that a guard had been drawn up at the gates. The people broke down the fences and streamed into the park. A meeting was held in favour of adult suffrage, and within two hours of the breaking down of the fences the franchise was granted. Honorable senators opposite speak with their tongue in their cheek. Throughout the ages the franchise has always claimed the blood of its martyrs. In this democratically based country we still have a property-based vote in some parts of Australia. This form of vote is conservative in the extreme, and that conservatism is reflected in the attitude of honorable senators opposite. When the action of the Opposition becomes known to the people generally, the political doom of honorable senators who support the amendment will be sealed. I know that they are acting under the lash, but I hope they will repent and ask themselves, “ What allegiance do we owe to the party that has given us this instruction? Have they any right to give it ? “
– What does the honorable senator say to the Communists when they give instructions?
– Have honorable senators anything to say against communism ?
SenatorSampson. - Absolutely.
– I shall justify it before this chamber. I doubt whether any honorable senator opposite understands the basic principle of communism.
– The debate must be confined to the subject-matter of the bill.
– Throughout the ages the opponents of the Labour party have never been able to win an election without putting up a bogy. They hope to confuse the electors into voting for them. I trust that honorable senators opposite will be reasonable, and, disregarding their allegiance to the hotchpotch thing that they call a party, will support the bill in its present form.
– In reply - I express my gratitude to members of the Opposition for the spirit in which they have received this bill, and I confidently expect that that spirit will be reflected in their enthusiastic support of it. No serious opposition to this legislation has been indicated, although it is true that some remarks were made which, naturally, provoked repercussions from this side of the chamber. However, even those repercussions were not of a serious character. I was particularly pleased with the reference by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) to the excellent work performed by officers of the electoral branch. They have probably one of the hardest jobs that any of the officers under my control have to perform. I, personally, am grateful to them for all that they do. They had a tremendous amount of extra work during recent months, because, in addition to their ordinary work, they undertook the issuing of ration books, identity cards, &c, which war conditions have made necessary. In that work, as in their ordinary duties, they certainly did a good job.
Any information which honorable senators may desire regarding the various clauses of the bill can best be given in the committee stage, and, with the help of my officers, I shall supply it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 -
Section six of the Principal Act is amended by omitting the words “, a member of the Forces who is not under the age of twenty-one years and who -
is serving outside Australia with any unit; or
has returned to Australia but is not enrolled as an elector of the Commonwealth,” and inserting in their stead the following paragraphs : - ” - (a) a member of the Forces who is serving with any unit; or
a discharged member of the Forces in Australia who is not enrolled as an elector of the Commonwealth,”.
– I move -
That all the words after “ is “, first occurring, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - “ repealed and the following section inserted in its stead: -
– (1.) Subject to sub-section (4.) of section thirty-nine of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-1940, a qualified member of the Forces shall, during the present war and for a period of six months thereafter, be entitled to vote at any election as an elector of the Division in which, immediately prior to his appointment or enlistment as a member of the Forces, he was ordinarily resident, or, in the case of a member of the Forces appointed or enlisted prior to the third day of September, One thousand nine hundred and thirtynine, of the Division in which he was ordinarily resident immediately prior to that date. (2.) For the purposes of the last preceding sub-section a qualified member of the Forces means -
a member of the Forces who is not under the age of twenty -one years;
a member of the Forces who is under, the age of twenty-one years and is serving or has served outside Australia : or
a discharged member of the Forces who is not enrolled as an elector of the Commonwealth and who -
is not under the age of twentyone years; or
is under the age of twenty-one years and has served outside Australia.’ “.
– The Government is unable to accept the amendment, for reasons which I think need no great elaboration. The bill has been designed for a definite purpose, and has been introduced because of special circumstances arising out of the war. It is not a complicated piece of legislation in that it proposes merely to grant the franchise to all members of the forces, male or female, over the age of eighteen years.
– That is not in the bill.
– The bill provides that all members of the forces shall be entitled to a vote whether of the age of 21 years or younger.
– The bill does not provide for that. A member of the forces would be entitled to a vote if only thirteen years of age.
– There are no members of the forces, outside the Navy, under the age of eighteen years. I cannot see any need for the amendment, which would defeat the object of the bill. It imposes conditions which the Government thinks should not be incorporated in this legislation, because the Government believes that, regardless of age, every person, male or female, who serves in the forces, should be entitled to a vote.
– In other words, it covers every person wearing a uniform.
– It ill becomes Senator McBride to make a remark of that sort. I could say things in that connexion which probably he would not appreciate, but I shall not do so. If agreed to, the amendment would extend the right to vote only to members of the forces under 21 years of age who had served, or are serving, outside Australia. If we start to split straws there will be no end to the argument. I ask the committee to reject the amendment.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting, I think I had said practically all that need be said with regard to the amendment. Lt is entirely unsatisfactory -to the Government. In introducing the measure the Government had one idea only in mind, namely, to give to all members of the fighting services, male and female, the opportunity to vote, regardless of the age condition imposed . upon other electors. I doubt whether the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) has given any consideration to the difficulties that will obviously arise if his amendment be agreed to. For example, what is meant by “outside Australia”? Apparently airmen, for instance, who have flown outside the 3-mile limit are qualified, under the amendment, to vote; but what about airmen who have not flown outside the 3- mile limit? I am sure that the Leader of the Opposition does not suggest that each man should make a statutory declaration as to how far he has flown from the coast at any time, and when and why. I mention that instance in order to show that whilst it is quite easy to suggest an amendment to accomplish something which one might deem necessary, it is another question altogether to avoid creating further anomalies. I again suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that he give fuller consideration to his amendment. None of us know when an election will eventuate; but it must be between now and November. The Electoral Branch has made plans for the next- general elections, and we should not do anything, unless it be absolutely necessary, to dislocate those plans. I ask the Leader of the Opposition whether, even at this stage, he does not think it would be wiser to withdraw his amendment. I repeat that the Government will not accept it.
– I shall not withdraw the amendment.
, - I have been disappointed with this debate. Undue heat and anger has been infused into it although the issue is simple) I regret that honorable senators opposite have not exhibited the same degree of enthusiasm in respect of other proposals made by the Government in connexion with the war effort. I hope that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) will not persevere with the amendment. I do not view this matter with any prejudice at all. It is our duty to determine the issue wisely. The Opposition objects to giving a vote to a member of the fighting services who has not served overseas unless he is 21 year3 of age or over. We must admit that, owing to the stress and difficulties of our times, the young man of twenty to-day has as great a sense of his responsibilities as a citizen as did a man of 30 years not so long ago. The men who are called up do not know whether their services will be confined to the mainland, or whether they will be despatched beyond our shores. We are unable to assess the dangers that may confront them, and the risks they may have to run. In view of these circumstances, and realizing the necessity of interesting our younger people as much as possible in the future of this nation, it is only right to give a vote to members of the fighting services between the ages of 18 and 21, that’ is, to ask them to accept the responsibility of the franchise, and of a share in the government of this country.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that all persons of eighteen years and over should be given a vote?
– This measure extends the franchise solely to members of the fighting services and the demarcation of age is determined by the fact that a man upon reaching the age of eighteen is subject to call-up for military service. I view this matter fairly and squarely. I believe that whatever opinions honorable senators opposite hold on the matter they are sincere. But is it fair to a young man of eighteen years, after he has undergone intensive military training and faced great hardships and dangers as a soldier, to deny a vote to him because he is under 21 years of age, and, for that reason to declare that he is not competent to have a voice in the election of the Government of the country he is defending? I do not desire to sound a partisan note in this debate, but the attitude of honorable senators opposite seems strange to me in view of the fact that in the past they have so strongly advocated preference to soldiers. I believe in that policy.
– Why did not the honorable senator support us?
– I believe that future governments in this country will be sufficiently wise to order things in such a way that every one will have employment, and there will be no necessity for any talk of preference of employment for any one. Otherwise,we shall not be fitted to control the affairs of this nation. I again ask the Opposition to consider whether a young man who accepts the responsibility of defending this country is not worthy of a vote. This is not a party question. I do not believe that if the measure is passed as it stands, the Opposition will suffer in the slightest degree. How can we, as responsible representatives of the people, compel men between the ages of 18 and 21 years to fight, and, at the same time, deny them their ordinary right as citizens to have a voice in the election of the Government of this nation? For my own part, I should sooner trust the judgment of our young men* than that of many people who are much older in the development of Australia. I again ask honorable senators opposite to decide this issue on non-party lines. Surely, some honorable senator opposite believesthat these young men, who have given so much, have a right to be granted so little.
– In introducing this measure the Government was actuated by the fact that under the Defence Act, young men upon reaching the age of eighteen are obliged to render military service. Many who are under the age of eighteen have volunteered for active service, and they have been accepted mainly because they have represented themselves to be older. It follows that many soldiers who will qualify for a vote on the ground that they are over 21 years of age are actually under that age. In that way, they become liable, under the Electoral Act, to certain penalties. I know that many of our soldiers who voted abroad last year were under the age of 21 years. However, if under the Defence Act men are liable to military service on reaching the age of eighteen years, is it not logical to give those between the ages of 18 and 21 years the right to vote in the election of the Government of this nation?
– Under the Defence Act youths on reaching the age of twelve years are liable to be called up for training.
– That is entirely different. To-day, upon reaching the age of eighteen years, men a.re being called up for active service in the field. After a year’s training, they may be sent abroad.
– In that case they would get a vote.
– I agree with Senator Spicer that certain anomalies cannot be avoided no matter what proposal we adopt.
– That argument does not apply to the women.
– The Minister is including both men and women.
– Women who are members of the fighting services have voluntarily enlisted, and they can be directed to serve in any part of Australia. Some of them are serving at various outposts. At the same time, women employees in munitions factories remain in those factories. The case of the typists at Victoria Barracks, which has been cited by Senator Spicer, is one of the anomalies which cannot be avoided; but even a typist at Victoria Barracks can be directed to serve in any part of Australia. There is that difference between civil and military personnel.
– School teachers and postal employees also are liable to be sent to any part of Australia.
– Yes, but it is always open for them to resign. When a girl enlists in one of the fighting services she does not resign. I agree with Senator Spicer that whatever legislation is placed upon our statute-book it is bound to contain some anomalies. After all, what are we here for if it is not to ensure that there are no unfair discriminations in our legislation.
– That is why the Opposition has moved this amendment.
– No. The amendment will merely create greater anomalies and impose hardships upon young men of nineteen and twenty years, who, not because of their own desire, but because of military necessity, have been kept in this country instead of being sent to battle-fronts in New Guinea and elsewhere.
– The same may be said of munitions workers of nineteen and twenty years. Probably if many of them had their way they also would be in the fighting forces overseas.
– That is the position Honorable senators opposite have sought to demonstrate their sympathy towards our men in the fighting forces by advocating preference to returned soldiers. 1 also am in favour of preference to returned soldiers.
– The honorable senator did not vote for it.
-The Opposition’s scheme for granting preference to returned soldiers was too limited. I remind the Opposition also that when governments formed by the parties of which they are members were in office there were hundreds and hundreds of cases in which preference to returned soldiers was not enforced. The measure as it now stands provides that a vote shall be given to every man and woman who is called up for service in our fighting forces, whereas the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition will deny that privilege to many young men and women, who, through no fault of their own have not left the shores of this country. In my view, an adequate line of demarcation is laid down by the Defence Act, which provides that no man shall be called up for service in our fighting forces until he reaches the age of eighteen years.
– There is nothing about eighteen years of age in this bill.
– Many young men joined the Australian Imperial Force and saw service in Libya before they were seventeen years of age. My own son died overseas .before he was 21, and he was one of those who voted in the Middle East at the last general elections. He had beer brought up in a political atmosphere and felt that he was entitled to a vote.
– I am still hopeful that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) will see the wisdom, fairness and sense of not pressing this amendment. Its effect will be to create endless anomalies. I draw the attention of honorable senators opposite to the position that exists in our sister dominion of Canada. The Canadian Active Service Voting Regulations state -
In these regulations, unless the context otherwise requires, the expression -
It is not a had thing to be able to cite a sister dominion as an example of what should be done here. All we seek is that the same privilege be extended to the corresponding class of people in this country. But for the debate which has taken place on this amendment the bill could have been disposed of before now. Surely honorable senators opposite do not expect the Government to agree to the destruction of the very character of the measure and the circumvention of its real purpose? We claim that the carrying of this amendment would discriminate unfairly against many men who are doing a great job for this country. It is not the fault of these young men that they are not in the fighting line ; yet with one stroke of the pen honorable senators opposite seek to take away from them a privilege to which they are justly entitled.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be left out (Senator McLeay’s amendment) be left out.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator G. Brown.)
Majority . . . . 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 5 to 15 agreed to.
Clause 16 -
After section twenty-three of the Principal Act the following sections are inserted: - “ 23a. Notwithstanding anything contained in this or any other Act, a resident engineer, personnel officer, supervisor, foreman, member of the Civil Constructional Corps or other person employed under the authority or direction of the Allied Works Council on any pro ject, undertaking or work in Australia north of the twenty-sixth parallel of South latitude, who is a British subject not under the age of twenty-one years and not subject to any of the disqualifications set out in section thirty-nine of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-1940, may vote in accordance with the provisions of this Act, in so far as those provisions are applicable, as if he were a member of the Forces:
Provided that in the case of any project, undertaking or work in the Northern Territory the functions of a commanding officer and of a commissioned officer as set out in Part II. of this Act may be performed respectively by the engineer or other person in charge of the project, undertaking or work and by any person designated by him.
Amendment (by Senator Collings) proposed -
That, in proposed new section 23a, after the word “ work “, first occurring, the following words be inserted “ outside Australia or “. .
– I understand that the object of the amendment is simply to allow members of the Civil Constructional Corps outside of Australia, as well as those in Australia north of the 26th parallel of south latitude, to vote.
– That is so.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause further consequentially amended and, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 17 and 18 agreed to.
After section twenty-six of the Principal Act the following sections are inserted: - “ 26A. Between the dates of the issue of the writ for an election and the polling no person shall, without just cause, prevent the delivery to or distribution by a member of the Forces attached to any unit of any printed electoral matter relating to the election or to the issues being submitted to the electors.
Penalty: Fifty pounds or imprisonment for six months.
– Is any censorship or supervision to be exercised over the type of printed matter to be admitted to military camps or Civil Constructional Corps camps? I should like to know also whether election touts arc to be prohibited from having access to such camps. My own experience is that a great deal of harm, not con templ a ted by this measure, is done bylack ofstrict supervision over those two things. I should like the Minister to tell me what supervision is to be exercised over printed matter, and whether or not unprincipled persons are to be admitted to the camp areas for the purpose of touting for votes for candidates.
– In military camps, military officers who will be doing the duties of electoral officers will see that the type of literature that comes in, and the type of individual admitted, shall not he anything that they should not be.
– There is nothing in the bill to that effect.
– In Civil Constructional Corps camps our own electoral officers will be in charge. I can give the honorable senator no greater guarantee that both positions are entirely safeguarded.
– There are in the Electoral Act certain prohibitions of the distribution of printed matter, and penalties are provided, but it looks as though in this bill we are going to override those penalty sections. The proposed new section provides that “ No person shall without just ca use “ prevent the delivery or distribution of printed electoral matter. What is :he “ just cause “ ? Does this mean political matter, or simply voting-papers and things of that kind ? We should arrive at some understanding. As this legislation is not so urgently required, time should he taken to clear up these points. We cannot give the soldiers anything more than we give to the civilian population. Honorable senators all know that there is a class of undesirable literature distributed by irresponsible people. Probably the Army contains as many irresponsibles, in proportion, as the civilian population does.
– That is a nice statement to make.
– I do not say that there are many of them in the Army, but still they are there, because after all the Army is simply a cross-section of the public. Some soldiers are just as capable of putting up political dodges as any one else is. We should clearly understand fro-“’ the Minister that this bill will not ex -.’id to the men in uniform any greater privileges than civilians have in connexion with elections. What papers does the proposed new section refer to? If care is not taken somebody in the forces may libel a candidate so badly that he will not get a single vote -in the camps. That should not he possible. It may not be easy to hold a soldier who is guilty of conduct of ‘that sort responsible for matter so far removed from the central electoral control, which must be in Australia. I hope that we shall not encourage the introduction into any camp of electoral matter which gives an unfair advantage to one candidate over others.
– I am at a loss to understand what is in the minds of honorable senators who are criticizing this clause. I have read and reread it, and I can see nothing in it but quite simple language. It means exactly what it says.
– What is “printed electoral matter “ ?
– I do not suppose that the honorable senator suggests that we should attach to the hill a schedule setting out exactly what printed matter may or may not be allowed to be distributed m camps. What possible objection can there be to the clause? In the minds of the framers of the bill the literature referred to would very definitely include the policy speeches of all parties concerned iri the election. Nobody would suggest that the soldiers should not have access to those. Senator Latham says that he wants the soldiers to have the same rights, no more and no less, as the civilian population. The civilian population has access to any literature that anybody likes to print in connexion with an election. All that is intended and implied in the clause is literature which is electoral matter, for instance a direction how to vote for a particular party, or in some cases a document simply indicating that a certain number of people are standing for the Senate, the names not being given, but information stating that there are so many candidates representing Labour, the United Australia party, and the Country party, or something of that kind. Nothing more is implied in the words “ printed electoral matter “. The honorable senator also suggests in effect that soldiers are not all angels. I do not know what he is driving at, hut I am not prepared to contradict him, because I would not say that all senators are angels. From what is he trying to protect the men and women of the forces? The intention is to see that every voter who is brought within the ambit of the bill knows what he is voting for and against, who the candidates are, what parties they represent, what their leaders said in their policy speeches, and how to vote for their choice. If there is anything wrong in that, I hope to be absolved from any blame for it.
– The Minister is evidently not looking at the matter from the same angle as I do. I have some knowledge of life in the Army and of army organization, and I know the influences which affect bodies of men. If the Minister means to convey that only official electoral matter and the speeches of party leaders are to be admitted to the camps, I am with him, but does the proposed new section mean that?
– There will not be any unofficial electoral matter, although, of course, the newspapers, which are entirely unofficial, will not be kept out.
– Am I to understand that only official matter is to be admitted ?
– No propaganda by subversive organizations?
– Does the honorable senator want me to answer that?
– I do, and I also want to know whether election touts are to be admitted to camp areas for the purpose of addressing the troops.
– In reply to part of Senator Collett’s question, which I resent very strongly, if that is the kind of propaganda that he thinks the election campaign should be fought on, I cannot help it, but nothing official in the way of electoral matter will have anything to do with the organization that the honorable senator has in mind.I think I know what he has in his mind, and I tell him that, alongside the particular organization he is thinking of, I will put half a dozen that support his side whose unofficial literature would be just as unsatisfactory. There is a definition in the principal act of illegal practices. The Government has some conception of a clean way of fighting an election, and I object to the suggestion that in this bill it is making possible some of the nefarious practices at which the Government and its supporters are mere novices compared with honorable senators opposite. Section 161 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act states -
In addition to bribery and undue influence the following shall be illegal practices: -
Any publication of any electoral advertisement handbill or pamphlet or any issue of any electoral notice (other than the announcement by advertisement in a newspaper of the holding of a meeting) without at the end thereof the name and address of the person authorizing the same;
Printing or publishing any printed electoral advertisement handbill or pamphlet (other than an advertisement in a newspaper) without the name and place of business of the printer being printed at the foot of it; .
Any contravention by a candidate of the provisions of Part XVI. of this Act relating to the limitation of electoral expenses;
Printing, publishing, or distributing any electoral advertisement, notice, handbill, pamphlet, or card containing any representation of a ballotpaper or any representation apparently intended to represent a ballotpaper, and having thereon any directions intended or likely to mislead or improperly interfere with any elector in or in relation to the casting of his vote;
Printing, publishing or distributing any electoral advertisement, notice, handbill, pamphlet, or card containing any untrue or incorrect statement intended or likely to mislead or improperly interfere with any elector in or in relation to the casting of his vote;
Wilfully informing any elector on polling day that he is not enrolled, or that he is not enrolled for a particular Subdivision, when as a fact ho is enrolled, or is enrolled for that Subdivision, as the case may be;
Provided that nothing in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section shall prevent the printing, publishing, or distributing of any card, not otherwise illegal, which contains instructions how to vote for any particular candidate, so long as those instructions are not intended or likely to mislead any elector in or in relation to the casting of his vote.
There is a further section which provides penalties for those found guilty of illegal practices. Civilians and members of the forces alike are protected under the act, but the bill now before the chamber contains nothing bearing on that matter. The Government does not propose to encumber the measure with restrictions other than those already provided.
Senator COLLETT (Western Australia; [8.49]. - The Minister undertook to answer my question. What he has read largely answers one-half of it, hut I also desire to know whether election touts are to be permitted to pursue their calling in military camps.
– I am still unable to comprehend what the honorable senator has in mind. I should say that he would have no objection to the candidate himself appearing at a camp. If the honorable senator desires candidates to be tagged as untouchables during an election campaign, the idea is preposterous.
– The Minister should be prepared to give a straightforward answer.
– Clause 19 provides, inter alia -
After section twenty-six of the Principal Act the following sections are inserted: - “ 26a. Between the dates of the issue of the writ for an election and the polling no person shall, without just cause, prevent the delivery to or distribution by a member of the Forces attached to any unit of any printed electoral matter relating to the election or to the issues being submitted to the electors.
I draw particular attention to the words without just cause “. All imaginable safeguards have been provided. I have no fear that the military officers in charge of the camps would allow objectionable literature to he introduced. On polling day and during the scrutiny every candidate will be entitled to have his scrutineer at the counting and scrutiny of the votes. Surely the Government can bc given credit for a little political decency.
.- I am not satisfied that the proposed new section provides sufficient safeguards to prevent the distribution in camps of literature, the distribution of which might constitute an illegal practice within the meaning of the section read by the
Minister. This proposed new section prohibits persons from preventing the distribution of any printed electoral matter without just cause. The important words are that no person shall prevent the distribution of any printed electoral matter. My fear is that the proposed new section as printed could be read as overriding the provisions about illegal practices. In order to put the matter beyond all doubt, it should include a. provision which would ensure that the printed matter, the distribution of which would be illegal, should not be distributed. I do not know that any person with literature has free access to camps, but the provision seems to authorize the distribution in camps of any printed electoral matter. Somebody might come along with a document that was printed electoral matter, but it might not bear the name of the publisher on it, and it might not be authorized. It might be objectionable in some other way under section 161. AH that I suggest is that in order to put the matter beyond all doubt, we should insert, after the reference to printed electoral matter, the words, “ the delivery or distribution of which is not an illegal practice “.
– The latest suggestion of Senator Spicer is a striking example of how not to do anything. It is already provided that nobody shall, without just cause, refuse to admit into a camp any electoral matter properly signed and authorized. The principal act defines illegal practices, and the words proposed to be added would not be of the slightest value, as the necessary provision has already been made. If, after carefully reading this bill impartially, honorable senators opposite can truthfully say that the Government has endeavoured, in any line of any clause, to obtain political advantage, I shall agree to the scrapping of the measure. The Government merely desires to be sure that every man and woman in the forces, regardless of age, shall have an opportunity to vote intelligently and with a fully informed mind. At every stage we have surrounded the legislation with ample protection. I can see no reason for employing language which will only make confusion worse confounded.
, - Are we to assume from the remarks of the Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings) that it has been the practice to prevent election literature from being distributed in military camps, and, if so, who has been responsible? The Minister has not shown the necessity of this proposed new section, but the inference is that it has been inserted because the distribution of election literature in camps has been disallowed in the past. It is now proposed to impose a penalty of £50, or imprisonment for six months, for preventing the distribution of election literature which complies with the act. If there is evidence that attempts have been made to keep literature from entering the camps the provision is necessary, otherwise there is no need for it.
– In all sections of the community there are some people who, if given the opportunity, would do things which are eminently unfair. Such persons would not hesitate to prevent literature circulated by a particular political party to which they were opposed from entering camps or establishments -under their control.
– Has that happened in the past?
– It has happened. We propose to safeguard the situation by providing that, so long as the literature is official electoral matter properly signed and authorized as prescribed hy the act so that those who issue and distribute it can be traced should they contravene the act, it shall not be excluded merely because of the idiosyncrasies or prejudicies of certain persons empowered to exercise authority in certain areas.
– The principal act does not prevent the distribution of election literature.
– That act prescribes that certain literature is illegal. Under this proposed new section, its circulation among members of the services in military camps could he prevented. Officers in charge of camps, whether . military or civil, would he instructed as to the provisions of the act, so that they would not prevent the entrance and distribution of literature which did not constitute a breach of the act. That intention is set out plainly.
– The proposed new section does not meet the situation.
– It does not allow anything that is improper, but it does insist that, unless the literature proposed to be admitted is illegal, it shall be admitted.
– I hope that the Leader of the Senate (Senator Collings) will be patient with me in my search for knowledge. Each time he rises he shows a greater understanding of the situation. Are we to understand that under this legislation it is intended that candidates for Parliament shall be allowed to enter camps and address gatherings there?
– There is no provision in the act for anything of that kind, but, of course, candidates for Parliament do address meetings in military camps.
– I do not see any reason for this discussion. The Senate has already carried an amendment which restricts the right to vote to soldiers of 21 years of age and over with the exception of those who have served overseas. Now the Opposition wants to provide that literature which may be sent to camps in order to enlighten service personnel in regard to political matters may not be distributed in military camps. In the issue of subtle political propaganda the Government has much to learn from the Opposition. I have here a sample of the advertisements which are being published in newspapers throughout the country -
Well, what of it? He’s only one of many who have failed to make the grade under the present system of what our Chief Justice recently termed “ intricate and obscurelyphrased regulations “. Anyhow the bigger stores will be able to look after the customers who used to shop there and his failure will be a ten days’ wonder. bot
Tt will be an awful blow to Tom Brown, who, for the past ten years, has conducted a comfortable little business in your midst. It will be an awful blow also to his wife and youngsters, for every penny of his life savings has gone in the crash. And it will be a blow to Elsie Jones, his showroom buyer, lorn Eggerton his grocery manager, and Billy Black, his carter.
– The Minister must deal with clause 19.
– That is a sample of the election literature issued by the United Australia party and the United Country party. The advertisement continues -
It will bc a blow also to his six other assistants, who helped run the business, for most nf them will bc forced to leave their native town and seek pastures new . . . most likely they’ll all go to Sydney! Sooner or later almost every body seems to have to go to Sydney for a job, whether they like it or not!
It will bc a staggering blow to Widow Campbell, whose husband left her the shop that Tom Brown rented at £4 a week . . . for this was her main source of income.
And it will be a bad thing for the town, and for every ratepayer with a stake in it. Empty shops are becoming far too plentiful in every country town in our State.
They’re being closed by the hundred-and-one crippling regulations that make it so difficult for the small business man to keep going. Surely we can win the war without crushing innocent traders!
I am confident that the United Australia party, with its unlimited financial resources, would see that poisonous propaganda of that kind reached the men in camp.
I anticipate an amendment to prevent any election literature from entering camps; but if such action be taken political advertisements in newspapers also should be excluded. Any suggestion that election literature should not be allowed to enter camps would be wrong.
– There is no such suggestion.
– By its vote tonight, the Opposition has denied to certain soldiers under the age of 21 years the right to vote; now it says that soldiers generally are so ignorant that they should not be given literature on political matters. Apparently, men in camps are fit only to defend their country. The Opposition would penalize young soldiers by denying them a vote, and it would also debar all soldiers from becoming acquainted with the views of candidates for Parliament. In my opinion, legislation in relation to electoral matters which applies to the civil population should apply also to soldiers who are defending this country, and, therefore, no attempt should be made to prevent literature on election issues from reaching them.
Senator BRAND (Victoria) [9.11 J.If I remember aright, no election literature, and no political “ spruikers “ were allowed inside military camps at the 1940 elections.
– That is not correct.
– I think that 1 am right, because when travelling in the train one day about that time a soldier asked me if I had any “ How to vote “ cards. We engaged in conversation, during which he said that, whereas he could distribute such cards in the train, he was not permitted to do so in the camp area. In the vicinity of the Puckapunyal camp there were various temporary buildings from which election literature was distributed on behalf of the candidates representing the several political parties. Those buildings were not inside but outside the camp area. Party political literature should not be allowed inside military camps, where the atmosphere is supposed to be non-political. 1 should like to know who is to judge whether literature sent to a camp is good or bad.
– The officer in charge.
– Officers in charge of camps have other and more important duties. We should prohibit the distribution of such literature inside camp areas, and allow the men to obtain it and to hear the “spruikers” outside the camps.
.- The Commonwealth Electoral (War-time) Act 1940 incorporates the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-1940, which prohibits the distribution of certain classes of literature which are regarded as offensive. Senator Brand said that election literature was not distributed in the Puckapunyal camp at the last general elections, but I know that such literature was distributed in some camps on that occasion. Each political party should be allowed to distribute its literature in the camps; there should be no discrimination between parties.
– What about literature issued by the Minister’s colleagues, the Communist party?
– I have no colleagues in the Communist party. The principal act provides that all election literature, including advertisements in the press, shall be signed either by the candidate or by a person authorized by him. If this proposed new section be deleted, a position exactly similar to that described by Senator Brand will arise. I know that during the last federal elections the literature of one political candidate was admitted to certain camps and distributed therein, whilst the literature of another candidate was forbidden entry, or, if admitted, was destroyed. That is unfair.
– This provision does not prevent that.
– If it be deleted,
We shall possibly find, after the next general election, some candidates alleging that whilst their opponents were allowed to distribute literature in military camps they themselves were refused similar permission. Clause 19 provides -
Between the dates of the issue of the writ for an election and the polling no person shall, without just cause . .
– What does that mean ? Who determines what is “ without just cause “ ?
– Supposing that the honorable senator and I were political opponents and each of us arranged with some one in the camp to distribute literature which we forwarded to our respective man. In the absence of this clause, the commanding officer could refuse to admit my literature whilst, at the same time, admitting Senator McBride’s literature. It would be proper for the commanding officer to claim just cause for rejecting subversive literature. This clause is designed to prevent discrimination on the part of the commanding officer against any candidate.
– What would the literature consist of?
-Printed matter authorized by the candidate, the policy speech of his leader, how-to-vote cards, and material of that kind. Honorable senators opposite, when they were in office, recognized the danger which I am now emphasizing when their Government provided in the amending bill passed in 1940 that all electioneering literature shall bea* the name of either the candidate or his authorized agent.
– I am surprised that this matter has engaged the attention of honorable senators for so long. The bill provides that the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-1940, the Northern Territory Representation Act 1930-36, and the Referendum and Constitution Alteration Act 1906-1936, shall be incorporated and read as one with the bill. In the schedule of the principal act we find that penalties are provided for distributing any advertisement, hand-bill or pamphlet published in contravention of section 161. That language is almost identical with that which Senator Spicer suggested was essential.
– What is the Minister reading from?
– I am reading from the Consolidated Electoral Act 1918-1940, section 170, and the schedule on the opposite page. Therefore, we are simply beating the air in this discussion, because all the precautions that have been suggested are already provided.
– I believe that the Opposition cannot possibly accept this proposed new section. It plays right into the hands of the fifth columnists and would definitely be a menace to the security of Australia. It is hardly necessary for me to point out that we have secret defences in this country which, in many cases, arc guarded by a small number of men. If the clause be agreed to a fifth columnist could come along to a sentry at one of those defences, and by declaring that he was going to distribute election propaganda, could demand entry by pointing to this provision subjecting the sentry to a fine of £50 if he prevents any one from coming in to distribute election literature.
– Where would the sentry’s commanding officer come in?
– He would not come into the picture at all. I cannot understand how the Minister assisting the Minister for the Army can support a provision of this kind.
– The sentry would want to see the literatures.
– That is beside the point; the main object of the man distributing the literature which may be quite harmless, would be to see the fortifications. Obviously, therefore, this provision cannot be allowed to pass. However, what is the necessity for it? Does the Government suggest that it does not trust its own army officers? No honorable senator opposite has cited a single instance where an army officer has prevented the issue of bona fide literature.
– What side, politically, did the honorable senator take in the Army?
– I was in the ranks for eighteen months, and while overseas I received a printed copy of the present Prime Minister’s speeches, which were distributed in my unit.
– Did the honorable senator object to that?
– No. I was glad to get those speeches; but the point I make is that no officer stopped any of that literature from coming into the unit. Therefore, I am amazed by the suggestion that officers of the Australian Army would prohibit election literature from being distributed among their men. All matter going out of the unit is censored, but matter coming into a unit is not subject to unit censorship. All literature which has come to the units in which I have served has been delivered to the men to whom it has been addressed. There is another point: under certain conditions it is absolutely impossible to allow civilians to be in military areas. Assuming, for example, that an engagement, or an attack from the air, was about to take place at Darwin, and, just as the commanding officer is arranging his dispositions for the defence of the area, some “Johnny” comes along and says, “I am going to distribute election literature”. Perhaps the man would run for his life; but whether he did or not, we cannot do anything that may detract from the power of a commanding officer.
– That is not suggested.
– It is suggested that if a commanding officer prevented a man from coming into a camp to distribute literature he would be subject to a fine of £50. This Government has made a sufficient farce of this country by having two armies. It should not add to that farce by reducing the power of commanding officers.
– I should like to put Senator Wilson right in that matter, because I can see how earnest he is. If the position which he has so graphically described is to be contemplated seriously, we shall have some election agents who have much more courage than I have ever known them to possess, unless we provide them with tin hats. I point out to Senator Wilson that this proposed new section 26a specifically provides against the very contingency that he has in mind. It says -
The matter will be dealt with first of all by the guard at the gate. If a man comes along to him and says, “I am Jack Jones of the United Australia party and I want to deliver this literature “, the guard will first have a look at that literature. Then, if it be in order, it may be delivered by a member of the forces. The proposed new section provides that no person shall without just cause prevent that distribution. The provision does not give a person distributing election propaganda the right of entry into a camp. It merely places upon him the responsibility of seeing that the literature is handed to a member of the forces attached to a unit. Surely there could be nothing better than that. All that will happen in actual practice will be that the commanding officer will ask to see the literature, and if it be in accordance with the provisions that have been laid down, it can be distributed in the camp, but if it is not it will be rejected. He will be liable to a fine if he prevents the distribution of literature without just cause. However, as I am in a charitable mood, and I should not like to think that this clause might disturb the clumber of honorable senators opposite, I am prepared to move an amendment to provide that after the word “ matter “ in proposed new section 26a the words “ other than matter, the distribution of which is an offence under section 170 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-1940” be inserted. “Will that meet the objections of honorable senators opposite?
– No. Take the clause right out.
– To say that I am disappointed with the attitude of honorable senators opposite would be an understatement. I am satisfied now that there is no real reason behind the objections that honorable senators opposite are offering, and that they merely wish to be able to say that they knocked the bill about. After intimating that the Opposition approved of the bil] in the main, and congratulating the Government for introducing it, I am sure that the Leader of the Opposition must be rather displeased with his colleagues. I invite honorable senators opposite to say just what they do want, and if their demands be reasonable, the Government will be ready to meet them, provided that members of the fighting forces and of the Civil Constructional Corps will be given every facility to record an intelligent vote.
– When I rose to speak on this measure earlier to-day, I happened to know something about it; unfortunately, when the Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings) rose to answer me, he did not know anything about it, although his knowledge is improving as the debate progresses. I shall relieve his mind by moving the following amendment: -
That proposed new section 26a be left out.
I do that for two reasons. First. the section of the act referring to illegal practices provides for all that the Minister for the Interior claims that this proposed new section is intended to cover; and secondly, the provision as it stands has not been properly considered, and for that .reason is dangerous.
.- I am afraid that the Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings) has gained the impression that I wish to prevent Labour literature from being distributed to military personnel; I have no objection whatever to any Labour literature being distributed in military camps, so long a.s it is properly endorsed and conforms with the other provisions specified. I see no reason why the men of our fighting forces should not be fully informed on both sides of politics. However, in circulation in Western Australia there is to-day a pamphlet which I think could have been published only hy the Communist party. It does not bear the address of the printer or the name of the author. My fear is that if this clause be passed in its present form, illegal organizations will be able to place their literature in our military camps. We should do everything possible to avoid having the minds of our soldiers inflamed during election time. This clause only provides a penalty for preventing the distribution of authorized literature; no punishment is provided for the actual distribution of unauthorized literature that may be unwise or defamatory.
– That would be covered by the provisions of the principal act relating to illegal practices.
– They do not come into the matter. I agree with Senator Spicer that this proposed new section would override the principal act. The only individual liable to a penalty under this proposed new section is the person who prevents the distribution of literature without just cause and there is plenty of room for legal argument about the words “ just cause “. The forthcoming general elections will be held under such conditions that it will be most difficult to supply men in our forward areas with all the information which should be available to them in order for them to cast an intelligent vote. I personally would not raise one word of protest against the distribution of propaganda by the Labour party, provided that it was wholesome propaganda. As a matter of fact, I suggest that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition should prepare the case of their respective sides and submit it for distribution through the Chief Electoral Officer’s representative in each unit. Other parties or organizations could be given similar facilities. I assure the Minister for the
Interior that it is entirely wrong to suggest that we on this side of the chamber are desirous of preventing distribution of Labour propaganda amongst troops. I think that so far as possible we should let the men in our fighting forces get their news in the best way possible, say through the newspapers or, as I have suggested, let the Government and the Opposition state their respective cases.
– Apparently compliments are in order. Senator Collett admitted - and I am very grateful for the admission - that as the evening proceeds my knowledge of this matter is increasing. I thank him for the compliment although, unfortunately, I am unable to return it. Senator Latham overwhelmed me. He informed the Senate, with all the seriousness of a Solomon come to judgment, that he had no objection whatever to Labour literature being circulated in a military camp. I thank him for his generous attitude. Surely that is a wonderful admission in this year of our Lord 1943, by a legislator fromWestern Australia. I humble myself in his presence. Senator Latham also said that he was anxious to protect soldiers from having their minds inflamed at election time. I cannot imagine for a moment any man who has donned uniform, and is prepared to lay down his life for his country, becoming inflamed because some individual has arrived at the gate of a camp, seeking admission to distribute unauthorized literature. We have not such a poor opinion of the forces as to think that their minds could be inflamed.
– Then do away with this.
– We shall not because we are determined that people of the honorable senator’s type who may be in charge of camps shall not prevent the members of the forces from having informed minds. We do not want to inflame them, but we are determined that they shall not vote in the dark, because we do not want them to be deceived. We intend that, if they vote for the party opposite, they shall know what they are doing, so that afterwards they may not shed any tears of regret. The proposed deletion of the clause is entirely unacceptable. Like the previous one, it is a deliberate attempt, in spite of the nice things said by the Leader of the Opposition about the bill, to destroy provisions of value in it. We, therefore, refuse to accept it, and I warn the members of the Opposition that they will not get away with it.
Question put -
That proposed new section 26a be left out (Senator Collett’s amendment).
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator G. Brown.)
Majority . . . . 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– by leave - read a copy of the Financial Statement delivered in the House of Representatives by the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) (vide page 334), and moved -
That the paper be printed.
Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Air Force Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, Nos. 93, 119, 121.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinationsby the Arbitrator, &c. -
No. 10 of 1943 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.
No. 11 of 1943 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia and others.
No. 12 of 1943 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia; Commonwealth Temporary Clerks’ Association; and Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia.
No. 13 of 1943 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia; Amalgamated Engineering Union; and Australasian Society of Engineers.
No. 14 of 1943 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.
No. 15 of 1943 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 16 of 1943 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.
No. 17 of 1943 - Professional Radio Employees’ Institute of Australasia.
Customs Act -
Proclamation prohibiting the exportation (except under certain conditions) of-
Apricot and Peach kernels and stones (dated 2nd June, 1943).
Hemp, &c. (dated5th May, 1943).
Laundry blue (dated5th May, 1943).
Tungsten (dated 31st March, 1943).
Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, Nos. 126, 152, 157.
Excise Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, No. 140.
High Commissioner Act - Regulations -
Statutory Rules 1943, No. 73.
Income Tax Assessment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, Nos. 80, 127, 151.
Judiciary Act - Rules of Court - Dated 9th March, 1943 (Statutory Rules 1943. No. 74).
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Commonwealth purposes -
Alexandria, Now South Wales.
Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
Bacchus Marsh, Victoria.
Bayswater, Western Australia.
Bombi, New South Wales.
Botany, New South Wales.
Bowden, South Australia.
Ceduna, South Australia.
Cessnock, New South Wales.
Dubbo, New South Wales.
Evans Head, New South Wales.
Finsbury, South Australia.
Gepps Cross, South Australia.
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
Lane Cove, New South Wales.
Mascot, New South Wales.
Mortlake, New South Wales.
Moruya, New South Wales.
Mulwala, New South Wales.
Muresk, Western Australia.
Narrandera, New South Wales.
New Farm, Queensland.
Newport, Victoria (2).
Oodnadatta, South Australia (2).
Parafleld, South Australia.
Parkes, New South Wales.
Perth, Western Australia.
Port Pirie, South Australia.
South Guildford, Western Australia.
St. Marys, New South Wales.
Uriarra, Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales.
Victor Harbour, South Australia.
Werris Creek, New South Wales.
Western Junction, Tasmania.
West Footscray, Victoria.
Yass, New South Wales.
Nationality Act - Regulations - Statutory
Rules 1943, No. 158.
National Security Act -
National Security (Agricultural Aids) Regulations - Order - Feeding meals (Restriction of sales).
National Security (Capital Issues) Regulations - Order - Exemption.
National Security (Civil Defence Workers’ Compensation) Regulations -
Order - Eligible persons (PostmasterGeneral’s Department).
Order by State Premier, Victoria.
National Security (Economic Organiza tion) Regulations-Order - Share Prices.
National Security (Emergency Supplies) Regulations - Rules - Queensland.
National Security (Fertilizer Control) Regulations - Order - Fertilizer (Restriction of sales).
National Security (General) Regulations -
Control of -
Automotive spare parts.
Canned and Dried Apples.
Citrus Fruits 1943.
Citrus Fruits (Queensland), (Western Australia).
Footwear (Styles and Quality) (2).
Gas Producers - manufacture of.
Glass - manufacture of.
Navy Beans and Lima Beans.
Processed milk products (Civilian purposes).
Retail delivery of commodities.
Stock foods and remedies.
Heating and Cooking Appliances (Retail Sales).
Milk Industry (Queensland).
Prohibiting work on land (3).
Restriction of Cream’.
Restriction of Employment in Retail Shops (Adelaide).
Retail Grocery (Queensland).
Taking possession of land, &c. (842).
Use of land (39).
Order by Chief Warden - Victoria.
Orders by State Premiers - Queens- land, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia.
National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations- Orders - Inventions and Designs (343).
National Security (Land Transport) Regulations - OrdersNos. 14-15.
National Security (Liquid Fuel) Regulations - Orders Nos. 14-16.
National Security (Man Power) Regulations - Orders - Protected undertakings (107).
National Security (Marine War Risks Insurance ) Regulations - Order - Application of Regulations to Sodium Nitrate.
National Security (Maritime Industry) Regulations- Order - No. 37.
National Security (Meat Industry Control ) Regulations - Acquisition of meat.
National Security (Munitions) Regulations - Order - Automotive Spare Parts.
National Security(Potatoes) Regulations - Orders- Nos. 11-14.
National Security (Prices) Regulations -
Declarations- Nos. 108, 108a, 109-116.
Orders- Nos. 897-993,993a,994-1053.
National Security (Rabbit Skins) Regulations - Order - Returns.
National Security (Stevedoring Industry) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 13-15.
National Security (Supplementary) Regulations’ -
Statement of Australian Banking Statistics for the five quarters ended 31st March, 1943.
Orders by State Premiers - New South Wales, Victoria.
National Security (Timber Control) Regulations - Orders - Control of Timber (3).
National Security (War Damage to Property ) Regulations - Orders-Public Authorities (6).
National Security (War-time Banking Control ) Regulations - Order - Exemption.
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, Nos. 76, 77, 78, 79, 82, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 96, 97,98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 123, 124, 125, 128, 129, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 154, 155, 156, 159.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, Nos. 116, 118.
Naviga tion Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, Nos. 95, 153, 161.
Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act - Regulation No. 1 of 1943 - Crown Lands Ordinance.
Northern Territory - Report on Administration of the Northern Territory, for year 1941-42.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, Nos. 94, 122, 141.
Rabbit Skins Export Charges Act - RegulationsStatutory Rules 1943, No. 130.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-
Ordinances of 1943 -
No. 6 - Trespass on Commonwealth Lands.
No. 7 - Administration and Probate.
No. 8 - Rabbit Destruction.
No. 9 - Gun Licence (Fees Suspension ) .
Regulations of 1943 -
No. 2 (Police Ordinance).
No. 3 (Education Ordinance).
Superannuation Act -
Regulations- - Statutory Rules 1943, No. 120.
Superannuation Board - Twentieth Annual Report for year 1941-42.
Supply and Development Acts - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, Nos. 81, 117.
War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, No. 84.
Women’s Employment Act - Regulations - StatutoryRules 1943, 75, 92.
Senate adjourned at 10.7 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 June 1943, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1943/19430624_senate_16_175/>.