17th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 11.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Richmond Main Mine
– Has the attention of the Leader of the Senatebeen drawn to a statement published in the Sydney press on Tuesday to the effect that a false rumour that the price of explosives had been increased- led to the stoppage of work at the Richmond Main coal-mine? In view of the fact that the action of the miners caused a loss of production of 2,300 tons of coal, and that they had no valid reason for going on strike, what action does the Government intend to take to deal with them?
– The coal-mining position generally is under consideration by the Government, and, at an early date, legislation will be introduced dealing with the matter.
Report and Balance-sheet.
– I inform honorable senators that copies of the report of the directors and of the balance-sheet of the Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited, as at the 30th June, 1943, have been placed on the table of the Library.
– I lay on the table the following paper: -
Nineteenth Report on the Commonwealth Public Service by the Board of Commissioners, dated 31st December, 1943.
A report on the Commonwealth Public Service was not furnished for the previous year, owing to the heavy pressure of the work upon which the board was engaged.
Damage to Private Property - Transfer of Personnel
– Does the Minister representing the Minister for the Armyrecall that on the 15th October last, I mentioned in the Senate the case of Mr. B. J. Coath, of East Rockingham, Western Australia, and a claim for compensation made on his behalf for damage to property allegedly caused by troops? Does the Minister also remember that on that occasion he informed the Senate that the claim was being investigated by the Department of the Army ? Is the Minister now in a position to announce the latest decision of the Minister for the Army ?
SenatorFRASER. - The matter is still under consideration. There are several other claims of a similar nature and the whole matter is, I understand, being dealt with by the War Cabinet. I shall endeavour to expedite the decision.
– In the House of Representatives yesterday, the Minister for the Army said that 7,307 men had been released from the Army in order to engage in primary production. Will the Minister representing the Minister for the Army inform the Senate to which States those men have gone. From information which I have gathered in South Australia, I should say that not more than seven men released from the Army are employed in primary production in thatState.
– Evidently, the honorable senator hasbeen misinformed. If he has seen the statement made yesterday by the Minister for the Army he will know that the Minister stated that it would be impracticable to give the names and addresses of the discharged men.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation state when the Government will introduce a machinery bill to give effect to the policy of preference in employment to returned soldiers provided for in the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act passed by Parliament on the 1st April, 1943?
– I have conferred with the Minister for Repatriation on that matter, and he has supplied the following answer: -
The provision in the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act referred to by the honorable senator was forced upon the Government by the Senate during the last session of Parliament, despite the fact that the Prime Minister had given an assurance thathe would introduce a separate bill making adequate provision for preference to returned soldiers. The preference clause in the Repatriation Act has proved quite useless from the point of view of all concerned, and the assurance given by the Prime Minister, referred to above, will be carried out.
– Am I to understand, from the answer that has just been given, that it is the policy of the Government to ignore acts of Parliament that do not meet with its approval?
– The question is out of order.
– It seems to me that the answer given by the Minister for Aircraft Production constitutes a distinct slur on the legislative operations of the Senate. Does the Leader of the Senate approve of that, and is that to be the attitude of the Government towards any measures of which it does not approve that are passed by the Senate?
– Order ! Under the Standing Orders, questions must not contain comment. As I consider that this question comes within that category, I cannot allow it.
– I ask the Minister for Aircraft Production whether the stopwatch method introduced by General Motors-Holdens Limited is not part and parcel of the pernicious Taylor card system? Will the Minister take early steps to avoid a repetition of the calamity that befell this country in 1917 as the result of the introduction of that system?
– It is alleged that the stop-watch time study method was introduced by General MotorsHoldens Limited, and that a dispute occurred as the result of it. The men concerned were on strike for a number of days, but have now returned to work, and I understand that a case has been cited before Judge O’Mara and will be heard in Adelaide on the 7th March.
– The Minister’s reply to Senator Large implies that the use of the stop-watch at the factory mentioned was an innovation. Will the Minister say how long the system has been in operation there?
– If Senator James McLachlan had listened carefully to my reply to Senator Large he would know that I said that it had been alleged that the stop-watch time study method had been introduced, and that the matter had been referred to the court.
– Is it a fact that 5,000 workers are on strike at General Motors-Holdens Limited and that Judge O’Mara has said that the strike is illegal? Is it a fact that the stop-watch system has been in force in that factory for a number of years? Is it a fact that, yesterday, the Prime Minister ordered the men back to work under National Security Regulations ? If so, can the Minister inform the Senate if those instructions have been obeyed?
– I am not in a position to say whether or not it is a fact that the stop-watch system has been introduced in the factory mentioned, or that Judge O’Mara has declared the action of the men to be illegal,but it is a fact that the men were orderedback by the Prime Minister, and that they returned to work this morning.
– In answer to a question that was asked last night by the honorable member for Warringah in the House of Representatives, the Attorney-General said that the Government did not propose to submit the Australian-New Zealand agreement to the Parliament for its ratification.
Will the Leader of the Senate state whether or not it is to be the policy of the Government henceforth, in the belief that it has a subservient majority in the House of Representatives and that it will occupy a similar position in the Senate within a few months, that international agreements entered into by it are not to be subject to the ratification of this Parliament ? In view of the likelihood of the Prime Minister shortly visiting other countries, in which he may be called upon to make treaties involving Australia, does the Governmentpropose that any such treaties shall not be submitted to this Parliament for ratification?
– The question relates to Government policy, and is therefore out of order.
– Is it within the province of the President to say whether or not a matter relates to Government policy, or does that decision rest with the Minister concerned?
– It is within the province, not of the President, but of the Minister concerned to say whether or not a question relates to Government policy.
– Then why have you, sir, refused to allow certain questions to beasked ?
– Because, for the moment, I was under the impression that it was within my province. I was wrong in stating that the questions asked by Senators Leckie and Foll were out of order on that ground. If the Minister of whom a question is asked considers that it deals with Government policy it need not be answered.
– I appreciate the fact that you spoke a little hurriedly, Mr. President, and do not bear any ill will. Will the Leader of the Senate give the assurance that the Parliament will not be ignored and will not be refused an opportunity to ratify treaties merely because the Government regards itself as secure in that it has a subservient majority in the Parliament?
– I direct the attention of the honorable senator to the first question upon notice for to-day in the name of the Leader of the Opposition. I shall shortly be supplying an answer to that question.
Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.There has been a lot of correspondence from Western Australia in regard to the proposal of the Australian Broadcasting Commission to transfer its studios in Perth to new premises, entailing the ejection of a number of families that are now residing in the premises to be occupied. Will the PostmasterGeneral advise as to whether or not it is the intention of the Australian Broadcasting Commission to carry out this programme, or has it decided to suspend the proposed alterations for the time being?
– There will not be an ejectment of families. I cannot interpret the intentions of the commission.
– Is it >a fact that in an important factory in Adelaide the men have refused to work on urgent war work on Saturday mornings for a number of weeks, contrary to the law? Will the Minister say whether he has as much courage as the Prime Minister, and will ‘ order those men to observe the law and return to work?
– It is a fact that in another important factory in Adelaide, men have for some time refused to work on Saturday mornings. That stand has been taken on the ground that similar work is being done in Victoria and New South Wales by men working five days a week, and has been performed on that basis since those factories were established.
Lamb and Mutton Prices - Werribee Beef - Export Trade
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture state what steps the Government proposes to take to ensure that exporters of lamb and mutton pay reasonable prices for stock, seeing that they are guaranteed by the Government a certain price for the lamb and mutton which they process ?
– I shall ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture to furnish the honorable senator with a reply to his question.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say whether it is a fact that a large volume of unfavorable publicity, emanating from Victoria, has been given to the fact that beef measleshave been found in cattle from the Werribee Sewage Farm? Is he aware that the beef export trade is valuable to this country, particularly to Queensland, that Australian beef has to face world competition, and that any unfavorable propaganda concerning Werribee beef may damage the Australian beef industry?
– Werribee is not in Queensland.
– That is so, but overseas purchasers of Australian beef probably do not know whether the beef comes from Victoria or Queensland. Is the Minister taking steps to ensure that this propaganda in respect of Werribee beef is not injuring the reputation of Australian beef in overseas markets, and may affect the disposal of our surplus beef after the war?
– This is not the first time that propaganda of this kind has been circulated against Werribee beef.
– It is not progaganda, but fact.
-The so-called facts have not been substantiated. I have no doubt that the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture is taking all steps necessary to protect the Australian beef trade.
– In view of the statements of the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and. Agriculture and Senator Foll that reports of beef measles among cattle from the Werribee Farm were propaganda, I ask the Minister whether he is aware that the Victorian Minister for Health, Mr. Macfarlan, stated in the Legislative Assembly that, while 70S out of 857 carcasses of cattle from the Werribee Farm had been rejected for beef measles under Commonwealth reservation of forequarter beef, 664 of the rejects had been passed at the metropolitan abattoirs during the period from the 18th September to the 6th of November as sound and suitable for human consumption?
– I was not aware that such a statement had been made.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. When I used the word “ propaganda “ I meant that the statement of the Victorian Minister for Health, while undoubtedly correct, was very bad propaganda in its effect upon Australia’s overseas beef trade.
– Has the Leader of the Senate seen the statement appearing in this morning’s press that there is a likelihood of another hold-up of transport services in Sydney and Newcastle? Is he aware that during a recent hold-up of transport services in those cities many war workers were unable to reach their places of employment, that the Prime Minister issued an order that the men should return to work and that that order was ignored.? In view of the fact that there is a likelihood of the award recently made by Judge Drake-Brockman being returned to him with thanks and a request that it be amended, will the Government see that instructions which it issues will be carried out, and will it take steps to ensure that people who wish to travel to their legitimate occupations associated with war production will be able to do so?
– The Government will welcome any suggestions from any honorable senator which will help to maintain industrial peace in this country. It is true that a stop-work meeting is contemplated in the transport industry of New South Wales, but that is not sufficient evidence that a hold-up will occur. At the moment the matter is one for the court, and I suggest that in most industrial disputes more service is done to the community by refraining from making comments either by word of mouth or through the newspapers, than by making statements likely to foment trouble.
– What the honorable senator has asked can be done, but at this stage I think that it will suffice to say that the supply of tobacco leaf from America to meet the requirements of both the members of the forces and the civilian population is ample, but that man-power problems have caused the present difficulties in connexion with supplies. The suggestion that the distribution of tobacco should be made under the coupon system has been examined, but the report of the officers is that it would lead to an increase of black marketing. With that view I agree. It would be absurd to issue coupons to eight members of a family entitling them to obtain tobacco if only one member of a family was a smoker. In every State the distribution of tobacco is under the control of a State distribution committee which is presided over by an officer of the Department of Trade and Customs and on which both wholesalers and retailers are represented. Each application is dealt with by the appropriate State committee. The system has proved as satisfactory as is possible in the circumstances in every State except New South Wales.
– Is it a fact that prisoners of war working on farms in Australia receive an issue of 6 oz. of tobacco each fortnight, and that a highly paid military officer takes the tobacco around to them in a motor car?
– That is not true.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister states that it is the intention of the Government to make an early detailed statement on the Australian-New Zealand Agreement of 21st January, 1944, and to afford an opportunity for full discussion in Parliament of the agreement and the circumstances surrounding it.
Pay Day in Tasmania - Cost of Living Increase.
– On the 14th October, 1943, Senator Lamp asked the Minister representing the Treasurer the following question, upon notice: -
Will the Government make arrangements to pay the Public Service in Tasmania on Wednesday or Thursday instead of Friday, to enable the various employees to make their purchases for the week-end on Friday, in view oi the closing of shops in the south of the island on Saturday mornings i
The Treasurer has now supplied the following answer : -
Whilst it would be possible so to arrange payment of salary to officers of the Commonwealth Public Service, such a concession to salaried officers in Hobart would be followed by difficulties in munitions factories and in the departments in other States. Wages personnel in munitions factories are paid on Wednesday for a pay period which ends on the previous Saturday. If salaried officers were to be paid with a retention of only one day’s .pay, we should be faced with a request from munitions workers for pay on Monday or Tuesday. It would be impossible to grant such a request without a considerable increase of the accounting staffs of the factories. The adoption of the payment of salaries on Thursday throughout the Public Service would be extremely difficult to achieve in normal times in the larger States. During war-time, with the greater proportion of the Public Service employed on a temporary basis, the retention of the Thursday between the end of the pay period and the pay day as a full day within which the accuracy of the pay sheets may be checked is imperative in order to prevent the loss of public moneys. For these reasons, I am unable to accede to the request of the honorable senator.
– On the 24th June, 1943, Senator Collett asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister the following questions, upon notice: -
Correspondence on the subject subsequently took place between the Prime Minister and the honorable senator. The Prime Minister has now furnished the following reply: -
The principle of the Commonwealth superannuation scheme is a contract between Commonwealth officers and the Government, in which the officer contributes to a fund for units of pension and the Government undertakes to provide a fixed proportion of the pension. The main feature of the scheme is that the Government pays at least half the pension. Owing to concessions granted to officers over 30 yeaTS of age at the inception of the fund, in practically all cases of pensions up to four units payable at present, the Commonwealth pays from Consolidated. Revenue more than fi for £1, and in some instances the Commonwealth’s share is as high as 98 per cent, of the pension. The adoption of a method whereby the pensions would be varied in accordance with cost-of-living variatious would destroy the actuarial basis of the fund. The last valuation of the fund disclosed a deficiency of £309,000, and provision for an increase of the contribution rates had to bc made by Parliament last year. You will appreciate, therefore, that existing pensioners had an advantage over existing contributors in this respect. The suggestion would simply mean that the present contributors would be compelled to pay further increased contributions in order to enable higher pensions to be granted to pensioners. Moreover, such a proposal would necessarily involve a reduction of pensions as the cost of living fell, and an investigation into this aspect revealed that pensioners would have suffered considerable losses if the cost-of-living adjustment had been applied to pensions during the currency of the act. Turning to the alternative - that the Commonwealth might pay increased pensions from Consolidated Revenue - it is pointed out that assistance is already available for superannuated pensioners of small means, since the receipt of a superannuation pension does not preclude a pensioner, if otherwise eligible, from receiving an old-age pension. In fact, a superannuation pensioner 65 years of age, and his wife, if aged 60, may together receive a total income from superannuation and old-age pensions of £318s. a week. The amount ofpension payable to each male ex-officer of the Public Service averages £2 8s. a week, and to each female ex-officer £21s. a week; and, as I have already indicated, the Commonwealth is paying at least half the cost of these pensions. The grant of an increase thereon in present circumstances could not, in my opinion, be justified. I regret that it is not practicable to vary the incidence of the superannuation scheme as suggested.
– On the 15th October, 1943, Senator Sampson asked the Minister representing the Treasurer the following questions, upon notice : -
The Treasurer has now supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : - 1. (a) The Hotels Kurrajong and Ainslie and Gorman House are the only guest houses erected and operated by the Commonwealth Government in Canberra. There are no hotels and guest houses owned and operated by the Commonwealth Government at Jervis Bay.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Army states that the information desired by the honorable senator is contained in the annual report for 1942-43 by the trustee of the Australian Imperial Force Canteens Fund, a copy of which has been forwarded to him.
– I desire to inform the Senate that I have received from Lady Irvine and Mr. E. C. Riley letters of thanks and appreciation for the resolutions of sympathy and condolence passed by the Senate on the occasions of the deaths of the Honorable
Sir William Irvine and Mr. Edward Riley, respectively.
Order of the Day No. 1 - Estimates and Budget Papers 1943-44 - Resumption of debate - discharged.
Order of the Day No. 2 - International Affairs - Ministerial statement - Resumption of debate - discharged.
Appointment of the Duke of Gloucester - Illness of Lord Gowrie.
– by leave - I desire to inform honorable senators of the receipt by the Prime Minister on the 12th November, 1943, of a message from the Private Secretary to the King announcing that the King, on the recommendation of His Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth of Australia, had been graciously pleased to approve the appointment of His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia in succession to Lord Gowrie, whose term of office has been further extended for six months as from the 22nd January, 1944.
Australians will, I am sure, be deeply appreciative of His Majesty’s action in appointing a member of the Royal Family to be Governor-General of Australia. All in this country will look forward with affectionate and loyal interest to the arrival again in Australia of His Royal Highness.
I wish also to take the opportunity to express our concern at the indisposition of Lord Gowrie, who this week is confined to his room. All honorable senators together with the citizens of this country will, I am sure, wish for his early restoration to health.
Illness of Mr. Beasley, M.P. - Temporary Re-allotment of Portfolios.
– by leave - I desire to inform honorable senators that, during the absence owing to illness of the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Mr. Beasley), the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) has asked the AttorneyGeneral and Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) to act in Mr. Beasley’s stead. During this period the Attorney-General will represent the Minister for Trade and ‘Customs (Senator Keane) in the House of Representatives.
Arrangements have also been made for the Minister for Munitions (Mr. Makin) to assist the Attorney-General as may be necessary in carrying out the duties of Mr. Beasley.
I am sure honorable senators will wish me to express our sincere regret at the indisposition of Mr. Beasley, whose health has undoubtedly been affected by the heavy responsibilities he has carried as a Cabinet Minister during the past two years, and the hope that he will soon be restored to complete health.
– by leave - The Opposition joins with the Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane) in expressing sincere sympathy with the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Mr. Beasley) in his sickness. We trust that he will have a speedy recovery. Every one, I am sure, realizes the importance of the work entrusted to the Minister and the department which he controls.
– by leave - laid on the table a copy of the statement made in the House of Representatives by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) on the 9th February (vide page 14), and moved -
That the paper be printed.
Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Fraser) agreed to-
That leave be given tobring in a bill for an act to provide for the payment of unemployment, sickness and special benefits.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Keane) put -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) . - There being an absolute majority of members of the Senate present and no dissentient voice, I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the bill bc now read a second time.
This measure has been designed to provide for payments to persons whose normal earnings have been interrupted through unemployment or sickness. It represents a further instalment of the Government’s plan to afford social security for all who are in need in this country. Whilst honorable senators of all parties have evinced a desire to improve the social and living conditions of this country and are united upon the necessity for measures of this kind, there is a divergence of opinion upon the method to be adopted and the system to be introduced. The principle of providing finance from taxation unanimously recommended by the all-party Social Security Committee coincides with the Government’s views on this question.
It is the considered opinion of the Government that contributory insurance imposes an undue burden on the lowerpaid members of the community, while advances from general revenue spread the load more evenly in accordance with the ability to pay which is in the best interests of our national economy. In the conventional tripartite system, it is shown in the final analysis that the employee really pays more than a fair share because the employer can recoup himself by price increases and the Government’s contribution comes from Consolidated Revenue. Consequently, the wage-earning, tax-paying consumer must bear an unequal proportion of the cost. No contributory plan yet devised is self-supporting. From time to time grants must be made from the National Treasury towards the cost. In addition many groups are ex cluded, and both the amount of the benefit and the period are subject to severe limitation.
As has already been announced, the Government’s policy will be most actively directed towards assuring maximum employment, but we realize that there will always be a certain percentage needing financial aid. At present, unemployment is practically confined to the unemployable. This, therefore, is an opportune time to introduce a scheme of this nature, as the moneys set aside now for the purpose of paying benefits will build up a reserve which will be available should unemployment increase in the future. The incidence of sickness is fairly constant and a large number of persons will become entitled to relief immediately upon the commencement of any plan for paying benefit. The average absence from work due to sickness is estimated to be 4 per cent. Many of those absent from work because of sickness will not, however, need to be assisted by this scheme because they will be entitled to sick pay from their employers or will have sufficient resources of their own to maintain them over a period of illness.
The rates of benefit provided in the bill are identical for both unemployment and sickness. The scheme includes all females between the ages of 16 and 60 years and males between the ages of 16 and 65 years who have resided in Australia for at least twelve months immediately prior to application and who are not qualified to receive a service pension or an invalid, old-age or widow’s pension. To obtain unemployment relief a person, in addition, must be available for and willing to work. For sickness benefit the claimant must produce a doctor’s certificate and demonstrate that he has suffered loss of earnings up to the amount of the benefit he obtains. The rates of benefit provided for both schemes are as follows : -
A married person whether adult or minor, will receive an additional 20s. a week for a spouse and 5s. for one dependent child. Provision for children in excess of one in a family is made in the Child Endowment Act and no further payment in respect of such children is contemplated in these proposals.
All benefits are subject to the exercise of a means test, which disregards the value of the property owned by a claimant and permits the possession of income, without affecting benefit, up to the following amounts: -
For the purpose of calculating unemployment benefit, the income of the family group will be taken into account, whereas in the case of sickness the sick person’s income alone will be considered in determining whether there shall be any reduction of benefit because of the possession of other income. In both cases, in considering income only the amount in excess of 30s. a week contributed by other members of the family will be taken into account. There-is also a special provision relating to the sick pay of members of friendly societies which I shall deal with later.
The bill provides for the payment of benefit without limit of duration in the case of unemployment, and during the continuance of temporary incapacity in the case of sickness. Where incapacity through sickness becomes permanent, an invalid pension may be granted, subject to the conditions relating to the grant of invalid pensions. lt is customary for unemployment and sickness benefit schemes to provide for a brief waiting period during which no benefit is payable. The bill fixes this waiting period as seven days during which it is considered reasonable to expect an unemployed or sick person to subsist without payment of benefit. In some countries the period is 14 days. In New Zealand it is 7 days. Very many illnesses, due to common colds and the like, disappear in two or three days, and it is felt that, having regard to the small amount of benefit which would be payable, the work and cost involved in dealing with claims for such brief periods would not be warranted. It is mainly when sickness or unemployment extends for longer periods that serious hardship arises.
It has been found necessary to make special provision in the bill for persons who are normally engaged in seasonal or intermittent work. As the wages for such occupations are usually fixed on a higher scale than the normal wage because of the spasmodic nature of the work and the stand-down periods which necessarily intervene between periods of work, it is considered reasonable to average the earnings over a period, as is done in New Zealand. Before determining the period over which the wages of seasonal and intermittent workers will be averaged for the purpose of establishing entitlement to benefit, it is proposed to make an investigation of all aspects of this problem.
Where a person is entitled to some other payment, such as a war pension or workers’ compensation, for the disability for which he claims sickness benefit, payment will be made only to the. extent that the war pension or other compensation is less than the amount of that benefit. Where an incapacitated person has to wait for some time to receive workers’ compensation, sickness benefit will be paid promptly; but any amount so paid will be recoverable from workers’ or other compensation which may subsequently become payable. Where a person is entitled to a pension or other payment for a disability which is not the disability entitling him to sickness benefit, he will be eligible to receive sickness benefit as well as his pension or other payment which, however, will be taken into account as income in applying the means test.
In this country, there are over 600,000 members of friendly societies who may receive sick pay - usually an amount of 20s. a week - while incapacitated for work as a result of sickness. This entitlement has been built up by contributions paid in most cases for many years and the Government has no wish to deprive the members of these benefit societies of the fruits of their thrift by taking friendly societies’ sickness benefit into account as income. Consequently, in applying the means test, it is proposed to exclude from income any amount up to 20s. a week received by a claimant from a friendly or other approved benefit society.
It is proposed to deny benefit to those whose unemployment is due to direct participation in a strike. Refusal to accept employment in the place of any one on strike will not of itself disqualify a person from benefit.
PartIV. of this bill deals with the grant of special benefit at rates not exceeding those for unemployment and sickness. It will often happen that a person is disqualified from receiving either sickness or unemployment benefit because of inability to comply with one or other of the statutory conditions. For example, a young woman who is required to remain at home to care for aged parents unable to look after themselves could not qualify for unemployment benefit, as she is not in a position to accept employment which, in ordinary circumstances, may be available. There will be a variety of cases where it is essential that financial assistance should be rendered, and this benefit will give the administration the means of relieving many genuine cases of distress.
I need hardly tell honorable senators that the provision of the benefits envisaged in this legislation involves a great amount of work. The Department of Social Services has, within the last two years, undertaken a great deal of new work involving much organization and the employment of new and untrained staff. I mention, for example, the child endowment scheme, the grant of widows’ pensions, the provision of allowances for the wives of invalid pensioners, the extension of the Commonwealth maternity allowances to cover all births without regard to income, the grant of funeral benefits to invalid and old-age pensioners and the administration of war-time schemes to provide assistance for many classes. The staffing problem is accentuated by the fact that so many permanent officers are serving with the forces or on loan to war departments. Honorable senators will, therefore, appreciate that it is at present impracticable to fix a date upon which this scheme will come into operation, as it is essential to ensure that the administrative machinery and staff are available before the scheme can be commenced. It will be apparent that, where the payment of weekly benefit is concerned, action must be taken on the spot to examine and deal with claims for benefits, to obtain work for unemployed people where necessary, and to arrange for sick visitation with regard to the payment of sickness benefit. These tasks will necessarily involve the provision of local staffs throughout the Commonwealth.
The bill provides for payment of the benefits out of the National Welfare Fund. This provision takes the place of an appropriation of moneys which would otherwise have been necessary. It is estimated that the cost of unemployment benefits at the rates provided in the scheme will be about £2,000,000 annually for each 1 per cent. of unemployment. In the case of sickness benefit, based on a 4 per cent. absence due to sickness and after allowing for the waiting period and the means test, it is estimated that annual cost of benefit will be about £8,500,000.
The proposed legislation establishes a landmark in social welfare progress in this country. For many years there has been a demand for the provision of some sort of unemployment assistance by the Commonwealth and it has been a great privilege to me to have had the honour of introducing a measure of this kind.
Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Fraser) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Maternity Allowance Act 1912-1943.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Keane) put -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay.
– There being an absolute majority of members of the Senate present and no dissentient voice, I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The chief purpose of the bill is to authorize payment of an additional benefit in respect of multiple births. Section 5 of the principal act provides that a maternity allowance shall be payable in respect of each occasion on which a birth occurs and the child is born alive or is a viable child, but only one allowance shall be payable in cases where more than one child is born at one birth. Frequent representations have been made to the Government for additional payments to aid mothers in cases where multiple births occur, but in view of the provisions of the law it has not been possible to accede to such representations. Expenses such as additional clothing and other equipment are undoubtedly much heavier than in the case of a single birth and there is greater necessity for employing domestic assistance.
Honorable senators are aware that the Government last year liberalized the provisions of the Maternity Allowance Act for the purpose of assisting mothers to meet the heavy financial commitments inseparable from child-birth. The means test was removed, the minimum allowance was increased from £4 10s. to £5 and the intermediate rate was increased from £5 to £6. In addition, provision was made for the payment of an amount of 25s. per week in respect of each of the four weeks immediately preceding and following the birth of the child. The Government now proposes that where a mother gives birth to twins the weekly amount of 25s. shall be increased to 37s. 6d.,. and in the case of triplets to 50s. This will result in an additional payment of £5 in the case of twins and £10 where triplets are born. The estimated additional expenditure in providing this extra benefit is £10,000 per annum.
The rate of maternity allowance varies according to the number of “ other children” born prior to the birth in respect of which a claim is made, who, on the date of that birth, are under the age of fourteen years and living and are either the children of the claimant or of her husband by a previous marriage and are wholly maintained by the claimant or her husband or by both of them. The age limit of fourteen years is anomalous when compared with that of sixteen years for child endowment, widows’ pensions, war pensions, seamen’s pensions and allowances and compensation payments. It- may appear more inconsistent if, as seems probable, the normal school leaving age throughout the Commonwealth is eventually raised to sixteen years.
The introduction of a uniform age for Commonwealth benefits so far as children are concerned is most desirable and to achieve this object for maternity allowance purposes would be comparatively inexpensive - at the most the cost would not exceed £15,000 per annum. The bill, therefore, provides for an increase in the age limit for “ other children “ from fourteen years to sixteen years.
Section 9a of the Maternity Allowance Act, which relates to the payment of maternity allowance to selected classes of aboriginal natives of Australia, empowers the Commissioner to direct that payment of a maternity allowance to an aboriginal native shall be made to an authority of a State or territory of the Commonwealth controlling the affairs of aboriginal natives or to some other person whom he considers to be suitable for the purpose, for the benefit of the claimant. The term “ aboriginal native “ is regarded as meaning one in whom there is a preponderance of aboriginal blood. There are many cases in which half-caste aboriginals and, in some isolated cases, white persons are living as aboriginal natives on Government stations, reserves and settlements. In such cases, it would frequently be in the best interests of the claimant if the maternity allowance were paid to some other person for her benefit rather than that she have the handling of the money, which is at times misspent either by the claimant or her husband. Provision has therefore been made in the bill to give the Commissioner power to do this in such cases as he may deem desirable to ensure that the maternity allowance is used for the purpose for which it is intended.
I feel sure that the provisions of the bill will receive the whole-hearted support of honorable senators, and I therefore trust that it will have a speedy passage.
Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Fraser) agreed to-
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to make provision for the supply of pharmaceutical benefits.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the appointment of a joint committee to inquire into and report upon the advisability of basing the liability for income tax for each financial year on the income of that year, and requesting the concurrence of the Senate therein and the appointment of two members of the Senate to the committee.
.- by leave - In October, 1943, the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) announced to the House of Representatives that the Government was willing to appoint, in collaboration with the Leader of the Opposition in that chamber (Mr. Menzies), a special parliamentary committee to inquire into and report upon the advisability of substituting, for the existing basis of taxation, the income of the current financial year of assessment. This committee has been appointed under the chairmanship of the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley), and its members are: the Leader of the Senate and Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane), Senator Spicer, Mr. Anthony, Mr. Coles, Mr. Scullin, and Mr. Spender. It was arranged that the committee should function during the recent recess, pending formal constitutionby resolution of the Parliament on the re-assembly of Parliament. In accordance with that arrangement, the committee has met on six occasions - the 13th, 14th and 15th December, 1943, the 10th and 11th January and the 9th February, 1944. In order that the committee may be formally constituted, I move -
That, notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders -
the committee have leave to report from time to time its proceedings, and any member of the committee may add a protest or dissent to any report; and
three members of the committee constitute a quorum.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I have received a letter from Senator A. J. McLachlan resigning from the War Expenditure Committee.
Motions (by Senator Keane) - by leave - agreed to -
Motion (by Senator Keane) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to Wednesday next, at 3 p.m.
– I present the report of the Public Works Committee on the following subject: -
Additions to Government Offices known as West Block, Canberra.
Man-power - Tobacco Supplies and distribution- tasmanian transport Services - Australian Army : Administration; Senior Officers; Members of Australian Imperial Force Serving in Australia - Volunteer Defence Corps - International Finance.
Motion (by Senator Keane) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
.- I direct attention to the dissatisfaction among fruit-growers engaged in the canning industry with the Government’s lack of foresight in failing to provide man-power for the processing of their fruit. Although the season is well advanced and the crop is normal, only a percentage of the fruit is being accepted for processing, and many tons are going to waste. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) has declared on many occasions that every pound of fruit was required for canning purposes, yet no preparations have been made to meet the man-power requirements. I believe that the Minister has done his best to solve the problem, but other departments have to be consulted, and their co-operation sought. From May till January the Government had ample time to estimate the extent of the “pack”. Because of its failure to provide sufficient labour, thousands of tons of fruit have been wasted. I understand that this waste is not due to a shortage of tinned-plate. Canned fruit is essential to the diet of members of the fighting forces and the civilian populations of Australia and Great Britain. Hundreds of men and women, who have been employed in other industries, should have been diverted to this essential industry.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– Large numbers of persons, male and female, who have had experience in the canning industry, are now receiving big money in munitions factories, or in other war-time occupations. They are not in the fighting services, and I see no reason why some of them should not be diverted to canning work for three months at least, in order to produce food, which is now rivalling munitions in importance. By failing in this essential part of our war effort, hundreds of small growers are being penalized, and are facing considerable financial loss. They have been told that canneries can take only 50 per cent. of their crop, yet the larger growers are able to send 80 per cent. of their crop to the canning factories. Processing is about to begin. It is not too late to remedy the position and to remove the injustice to these small growers who are doing their best in our war effort. The fruit which is grown for canning purposes is not palatable in fresh form. It can be eaten, but so can a turnip. What is not taken by the factories will go to the pigs. I urge the Government to make a supreme effort to provide the man-power for this work.
– By combing out some of the industries in the cities.
– Would the honorable senator take employees away from aircraft production?
– I could find some. In the Goulburn Valley district of Victoria there are 758 fruit-growers, of whom 650 have holdings of less than 20 acres. A substantial majority of these small growers are ex-service men. It is these people, and not the big growers, who will suffer. The Labour Government claims that it looks after the small farmer. I know of a grower who has offered 50 tons of pears and 50 tons of peaches to a local cannery, but the cannery authorities have intimated that they can take only 15 tons of each type of fruit. What a reward for ten months’ hard work in pruning, spraying, manuring and cultivating his holding at considerable expense ! He, like scores of other growers, expected that the entire crop would be processed. What a setback for men who have done their utmost in the food production sphere of our war effort ! It is not the fault of the canning authorities. Months ago the Government was warned to prepare for the efficient handling of this industry. To-day one department is “ passing the buck “ to another. If no relief is likely to be afforded to these men within the next twelve months - and the war will not end in twelve months - the Department of
Commerce and Agriculture should tell growers what quantity to produce. Work on fruit holdings starts usually in May, and there is no slackening either in manual labour or expenditure, until the fruit matures in January. If the country needs canned fruit, it can be produced. In the present season it is likely that huge quantities of fruit suitable for canning will be fed to the pigs, solely because of lack of man-power.
– What does the honorable senator suggest should be done about it? Every industry is in the same position.
– The production of food for the fighting services has a high priority, and labour should be made available for this work. I urge the Government to make an effort to solve this problem, and to ensure that all fruit which is available for processing will be processed.
The second subject to which I wish to refer relates to the provision of employment for men discharged from the fighting services. I suggest to the Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane) that an instruction be given to the heads of all Commonwealth departments that they must advise the man-power directorate of any vacancies for employment which occur within their departments. I make this suggestion in the interests of men who are discharged from the fighting services. At the demobilization centres each man is asked if he desires that employment be found for him. Many say “ No “, because they are returning to the old jobs, or for other reasons, but a substantial proportion answer in the affirmative, in which case full .particulars are taken and application forms are sent to the employment officer of the Man-power Directorate. In the past, there have been many instances where departments requiring employees have not informed that office. If it were mandatory for all heads of departments to . acquaint the manpower authorities when a vacancy occurred, discharged servicemen would have a better opportunity to obtain employment. It has come to my notice that it is the practice of officials of certain departments - I am not referring to the permanent pre-war departments, but largely to the mushroom war-time de- partments - to give the man-power authorities the “go-by” when they require an employee, and to give the joh to somebody they know, in which case the vacancy is very often advertised after it has actually been filled. The issue of an instruction along the lines that I have suggested would eliminate this undesirable practice, and I ask that it be done in the interests of the fighting services. I know of one individual, a retired school teacher 60 years of age, who obtained a job with the food control authorities. The vacancy was not advertised until after the job had been filled. The Man-power Directorate had registered on its books two exservicemen of this war with experience of food control, either of whom could easily have filled the position, but instead it was given to a friend of some subordinate officer in the department. I urge the Government to act in this matter.
– I should Hire to refer to two matters, one of which I raised this morning at question time, and which may ‘concern more than one Minister, namely, the allocation of tobacco to prisoners of war in this country. I am fully aware that the rationing of tobacco is a difficult problem, but I have heard a number of complaints that prisoners of war employed on farms are receiving 6 oz. of tobacco a fortnight. The Minister for Trade _ and ‘Customs (Senator Keane) has said that that is not true, and I have no wish to challenge the honorable senator’s statement, but I consider that the time has arrived when a responsible Minister should make all the facts of this matter known, because if the complaints be unfounded, then somebody or some organization is making malicious allegations which certainly are not in the best interests of the country or of the Government in time of war. I have been informed by an Army officer that prisoners of war on farms do actually receive 6 oz. of tobacco a fortnight. The officer also told me that an Army official travels around in a motor car delivering the tobacco to these people. I have heard similar allegations from other quarters, particularly from individuals who are working on farms with these prisoners of war, and who sometimes find it most difficult to get any tobacco at all at times. Some men in Tasmania are smoking potato tops and others are smoking leaves because they cannot get tobacco. Waterside workers have great difficulty in obtaining 1 oz. of tobacco a week. If our own good Australians who are loading ships, or producing foodstuffs for our fighting services, are able to get only 1 oz. of tobacco a week, surely it is not fair that prisoners of war should be given 3 oz. a week. I am unable to say definitely whether that is the position or not, but I consider that it is a matter which should be investigated and should be made the subject of a public statement by a responsible Minister in order to clear the doubts from the minds of many people who are rather disillusioned at present.
Tasmanians are in a most difficult position with regard to transport to and from the mainland of Australia. We have to rely a good deal on the air services because there is an inadequate supply of shipping. We do not complain about that, but we consider that members of the fighting services who desire to visit their homes in Tasmania when on leave should be provided with the necessary transport. They are granted leave if they intend to spend it on the mainland, but if they wish to visit their home State they experience great difficulty in obtaining leave. Here is an extract from a letter from a resident of Tasmania whose husband has been fighting in New Guinea -
Having been in New Guinea since November, 1942, he was at last granted leave about the 21st January. The following is an extract from a letter which I received this week. “After being well on the first stage of our journey on leave we were told that no Tasmanians were to leave on this draft or the next. As we had been issued with our leave passes and sustenance money it was a great disappointment, and now all there is for us to do is to return to our units as soon as transport is available.” Considering my husband will have completed four years’ active service next month, and has only had five days home in all, I consider that transport should have been made available for him to get home on leave.
I agree entirely with the writer of that letter, because hundreds of persons travel weekly between Tasmania and the mainland for holiday and minor business purposes. During the course of a year there must be many thousands of such travellers between Tasmania and the mainland, and I contend that the members of the forces who are fighting for us in the north have more right to travel on the passenger planes to Tasmania than civilians who go merely for holiday purposes. Many travellers have admitted to me that when they obtained their passage they stated that they were going to Tasmania for a holiday. The Government should make every effort to have priority granted to members of the forces desirous of visiting their homes when on leave. If the private transport companies are powerless in this matter, the Government should step in and do what is necessary to make passages available to members of the fighting services. Members of the forces have informed me that they cannot take their leave in Tasmania, because transport cannot be guaranteed.
– Has the honorable member taken the matter up with the Minister for the Army?
– I have done that on several occasions, and I have also raised the matter in this chamber, but I think that it is one with which the Cabinet should deal.
.- In the Sydney Morning Herald this morning, and probably in other sections of the Australian press, statements by the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) were published in connexion with the transfer to other positions of certain divisional commanders and other high military officers in the course of the last year or two, and also the replies that have been made by the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) to the statements of the right honorable member for Cowper. I consider that the time has now come when the Parliament itself should raise its voice in relation to a matter that is causing grave concern to members of Parliament, irrespective of the political parties with which they are associated. There seems to be a continual transfer from fighting commands of officers who were brilliant leaders of our fighting forces overseas. The Minister for the Army states that he does not consider that this matter should be discussed publicly because it is inadvisable to give such information to the enemy, but there is no ground for such fear, because full publicity is given to service appointments in the newspapers. The right honorable member for Cowper approached the Prime Minister early this year on the subject of Army administration, and he raised the matter again in the House of Representatives yesterday. He asked that a secret meeting of the Parliament should be held, so that those not satisfied with Army administration should have an opportunity to discuss it. His request was not acceded to by the Prime Minister, and therefore I, as a representative of the people, consider that I should not remain silent on matters of such grave public concern. The efficiency of the forces is being impaired by reason of the fact that many of the senior officers do not know where they stand at present. We have already witnessed the spectacle of a number of generals with brilliant fighting records, who are beloved and trusted by their men, being transferred, one after another, to what are virtually non-combatant jobs, and in some cases being put out of the Army altogether. The matter should now be discussed, and a remedy should be sought for this apparently unsatisfactory state of affairs in connexion with the higher command.
Take first the case of LieutenantGeneral Rowell, who was Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East. Those who know him are aware that he is a most capable soldier; but for some unapparent reason he was sent back from New Guinea, and for a long time he was kicking his heels in Australia, not knowing what his future would be, until he was finally given what is virtually a liaison job in the Middle East. He has now been appointed to a very high position in the British War Office, showing that the British authorities at least appreciate the value of his services. I have no doubt that in Great Britain, where his ability is recognized, he will do a good job. Australia has lost the services of a man of high calibre, who was trained in our own forces.
– He will probably do a good job for Australia in Great Britain.
– Yes, but it is strange that an officer of such ability should have been sent to the Middle East when there were no Australian soldiers in that area.
– Was he not disrated?
– He was reduced to a lower rank.
I come next to the case of LieutenantGeneral Sir Iven Mackay. Since coming back from the Middle East most of the time of this brilliant leader of fighting men has been spent at head-quarters, which is all headquarters without any soldiers. His experience has practically been lost to the fighting services. I have no doubt that in his new position he will do a good job, but he was not trained in the diplomatic service. All his experience has been with fighting men ; he is one of the most brilliant soldiers that Australia has produced.
– His experience in India will be of great value to the Commonwealth.
– He would be of greater value to Australia as a fighting soldier in charge of troops by whom he is beloved.
I shall refer next to Lieutenant-General Wynter, a product of British and Australian staff colleges, who is recognized as one of the most brilliant tacticians in the preparation of plans and general strategy. He went overseas as a quartermastergeneral, but since his return to Australia he has been performing administrative duties, carrying out what is known as “ the paper war “.
The next case to which I shall refer is that of Lieutenant-General Sir John Lavarack, one of Australia’s most highly trained professional soldiers. He was Chief of the General Staff, and be left Australia as a divisional commander. While in command of the Australian forces in the Syrian campaign he carried out successfully in a few weeks a most difficult job which was expected to be a long and costly undertaking. He went in at a time when a new leader was needed, and he did a remarkably good job, which was only what was expected by those who knew him best.
– At the time the situation was delicate.
– That is so. When he returned to Australia that was the end of his fighting with the Australian Army, because be was put in charge of a headquarters in a certain locality in Australia. Gradually, his position became that of a man in charge of head-quarters with practically no troops; he is now little more than a seat-warmer. Instead of being given the opportunity to continue to lead men in battle, where his practical experience and training would be of the greatest value, this brilliant soldier has gone to Washington to carry out liaison duties. Knowing his fighting qualities and his wish to lead men in battle, I visualize him going to Washington a broken-hearted man. He would much prefer to be allowed to continue as the trusted leader of fighting men. This man, who is second to none in Australia in practical experience, is to be lost to our fighting services.
– Was there not a pathetic parting between him and his commanding officer?
– I do not know the circumstances of his leaving, but it is most unfortunate that a man of his capacity should be lost to the fighting services of Australia.
I come now to the case of LieutenantGeneral Sir Leslie Morshead, who is famous throughout the world for the brilliancy of his leadership of the Australian forces in the Middle East. As leader of the corps there he was beloved and trusted by all, yet the Minister for the Army now tells us that he is to be appointed to the position formerly held by Major-General Sir Iven Mackay. That means the end of his service to Australia as a leader of fighting men. I can understand how Lieutenant-General Morshead and his officers and men feel about this matter.
The trek of these brilliant soldiers to what is virtual obscurity is a matter which needs careful investigation. I do not profess to he an authority in Army matters - I have not had the opportunity to become a specialist, although I had some experience of Army administration while a member of the War Cabinet - but, for what it is worth, I express the opinion that the present set-up which provides for one commander-in-chief, who, in addition to being in control of our expeditionary forces overseas, is at the same time General Officer Commandingthe Home Forces, is an impossible state of affairs. Previous governments would not have allowed the present situation to arise. They recognized that the CommanderinChief of the expeditionary forces had sufficient to do without being responsible also for the administration of the home forces. To-day, we have one man in supreme command of the whole of the uniformed personnel in the Australian Army,both at home and abroad, and including members of the Australian Imperial Force, the Citizen Military Forces, and men in basejobs. From what I have seen, there are far too many head-quarters established in Australia for the number of fighting troops in this country. From the north to the south of the continent there is a string of headquarters in some of which there are practically no soldiers. The percentage of generals and senior officers to fighting troops in this war is far greater than in the last war.
– Does the honorable senator think that the Government has got rid of the wrong men?
– In my opinion, it was a mistake to let Lieutenant-General Sir Iven Mackay and LieutenantGeneral Sir John Lavarack go to jobs where their experience and ability as leaders of fighting soldiers will virtually be lost. This is not a party political matter. In all good faith I suggest that the Government appoint a very senior and experienced soldier to perform duties similar to those performed by the Inspector-General of the forces before that office was abolished. The CommanderinChief of expeditionary forces overseas should be relieved of a good deal of the administrative work that has to be done in Australia. I know from personal experience that undue delays are taking place because of the bottle-neck inherent in the present Army set-up. I cite a minor instance. WhenI applied for transfer from full-time duty in the Volunteer Defence Corps to part-time duty my commanding officer, who was a brigadier, had no power to grant the transfer. Although I was a very junior officer, my application had to go through Army Head-quarters in Melbourne; and nearly ten weeks elapsed before this simple transfer was approved. Honorable senators generally are being continually inundated with requests to help overcome delays with respect to discharges from the services. In many of these cases the men affected will obviously be discharged, but they are obliged to wait for a couple of months. This delay is very serious. Many coming within this category have reached the age limit, and are anxious to get back to their former occupations. In cases where it is clear that a man will be discharged, action should be taken to expedite such discharges. In that way we shall not only avoid causing inconvenience to the individuals affected, but also minimize the danger of confusion when the time comes for general demobilization.
Another matter which is the subject of repeated representations to honorable senators and is causing a great deal of concern is the fact that many men who joined the Australian Imperial Force three years ago have been retained in Australia. Although they are “ A “ class men, highly trained and fighting fit, they have not been given the opportunity to go into the fighting line. These men are becoming sick and tired of being moved from one camp to another in Australia. Such a policy is difficult to understand, particularly at a time when we hear complaints that leave is not being granted to many men serving in New Guinea. The explanation for such anomalies lies in the fact that our Army organization is too huge to be dealt with entirely by the Commander-in-Chief. I know that much room exists for the reduction of staffs in Australia. When I was liaison officer, and my duties took me to head-quarters in various parts, I found ample evidence that there is a great deal of room for reduction of many head-quarters. In some cases complete divisional headquarters exist without fighting troops under them. Only recently an instruction was issued that there was to be a reduction in one of these cases. That instruction is rather belated. We should never have permitted head-quarters to be established .unnecessarily.
I wish now to refer to the future of the Volunteer Defence Corps. Every one recognizes that that body, which came into existence as the result of the voluntary efforts and agitation of returned soldiers of the last war, has done a self-sacrificing job for Australia. The members of that corps came forward and gave their time and money in the interests of our defence. They asked for no reward except to be allowed to train themselves to defend Australia in the event of their services being required. To-day, fortunately, actual hostilities have moved farther from our shores; and the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) has reassured us that we are not likely to be invaded, or to suffer serious raids. We have been very fortunate indeed. We had a narrow escape, and, to-day, we are grateful to the powers that be to know that that danger has passed. There should be an entire change of policy so far as the Volunteer Defence Corps is concerned. In the coastal areas, members of the corps are now taking over the work associated with searchlights, coastal guns and anti-aircraft artillery, thus relieving for service in the north full-time duty soldiers who were previously engaged on that work. However, many of the units of the Volunteer Defence Corps in country areas could be allowed to go into reserve. Members of these units are finding it very difficult to obtain petrol and tyres for transport to parades. In addition, owing to the shortage of man-power, many of them find it difficult to give up work on their farms. They are not compelled to go to parades, but so long as their units remain active they feel obliged to do their part. These units are not likely to be called upon for actual combat service, and for . that reason they should be allowed to go into reserve, retaining their equipment on the understanding that they keep it in good condition. They should not be asked to continue what is to my mind a farcical situation. The case in respect of Volunteer Defence Corps units in coastal areas is, as I have said, a different proposition. Members of these units are being transferred to active coastal stations. That is essential work, and coastal units of the Volunteer Defence Corps will be amply employed in concentrating on it. I have raised these matters because I believe that the people and the Parliament are gravely concerned about them. I suggest that a debate on them is warranted. In the meantime I ask for reassurances from the Government on these subjects.
– I endorse Senator
Brand’s remarks with regard to manpower and transport difficulties, especially in river settlements, many of which exist in South Australia. I urge the Government to do all it possibly can to come to the assistance of producers in such areas. I should also like the Government to indicate to private members the proper method of applying for the release of men from the Army and protected industries. I suppose that every honorable senator has had much the same difficulty which I have experienced in endeavouring to obtain the release of men for urgent work in areas in which man-power is depleted. When we apply to the Army authorities we are told to apply to the commanding, officer. When we do this we are informed that we ought to have applied to the manpower authorities. When we apply to them, we are told that we should have gone to the Army, and so it goes on.
– They work in conjunction.
– They do. Nearly every time we get a reply from the man-power authorities it is that on account of Army requirements the man cannot be released or, vice versa, we receive a reply from the Army to the effect that the man-power authorities consider that he cannot be spared.
– Would the honorable aenator expect an applicant to be released from the front line in New Guinea because he was required in Adelaide?
– I am not dealing with that subject at all. I am speaking of the way we are treated when we make an application. I should like a lead as to some formula which we should follow in order to obtain a definite reply, even if it is unfavorable, within a reasonable time. In one instance I wrote to a certain Minister in the middle of December with reference to a man’s discharge. I asked if, failing his discharge, they would grant him some leave to return home owing to the death of his father. On the 28th January following the Minister wrote to me stating that the man had been granted leave until 31st January. That was six weeks after I had written to the Minister, and I did not receive his letter until the 4th February. I hope that that sort of thing will not be allowed to continue. When we make an application it should be quite possible for us to receive a courteous reply within a reasonable time, even if it is in the negative.
– Honorable senators will no doubt recollect that last year the sum of £30,000,000 was hypothecated from general revenue for the purpose of proposed social legislation, two bills for which were introduced this morning. It will also be admitted that taxation is imposed to pay the cost of government, but, notwithstanding heavy direct and indirect taxation, no government has yet been able to carry on without continuous borrowing. There seems to be an impression in the minds of many people that the Government has a pool of money which can be drawn upon at any time, and if people want something for nothing they apply to that pool. That is a fallacy. No government has had any money except that which has already been extracted from the pockets of the people by direct or indirect taxation, and therefore what appears to be free social service is nothing of the kind. There is a great deal of talk about post-war reconstruction, and about the currency by means of which it is to be carried out. Mr. Morganthau of New York has strongly advised a return to the gold standard. What will happen if the authorities are foolish enough to adopt any such policy can be gathered from the following extract: -
What DidMr. Churchill Say About It?
In 1918 before the end of the last war the “ Committee on Currency and Foreign Exchanges after the War “, popularly known as the Cunliffe Currency Committee, advocated a deflationary Monetary Policy with a view to a return to the Gold Standard as soon as possible. This policy was accepted and acted upon by His Majesty’s Government.
In 1924 another official committee was formed to report on Currency and Bank of England Note Issues. Its report issued on February 5th, 1925, was signed by Lord Bradbury, Gaspard Farrer, O. E. Niemeyer, and A. C. Pigou, and contained the following: -
Page 6: “We therefore recommend that the early return to the gold basis should forthwith be declared to be the irrevocable policy of His Majesty’s Government”.
Once again the Government acted on this recommendation and Mr. Winston Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was responsible for carrying this measure through the House of Commons. The following quotation from Hansard of April 21st, 1932, after the collapse of the gold standard in September, 1931, is of the greatest importance in view ofthe strenuous efforts now being made by certain interests to “ return to gold “ after this war: -
Mr. CHURCHILL (Col. 1662).; WhenI was moved by many arguments and forces in 1925 to return to the gold standard I was assured by the highest experts, and our experts are men of great ability and of indisputable integrity and sincerity-
Mr. WALLHEAD. ; And they are always wrong.
Mr. CHURCHILL. ; The honorable member is not always right - that we were anchoring ourselves to reality and stability; and I accepted their advice. I take for myself and my colleagues of other days whatever degree of blame and burden there may be for having accepted their advice. But what has happened? We have had no reality, no stability. The price of gold has risen since then by more than 70 per cent. That is as if a 12-inch foot rule had suddenly been stretched to 19 or 20 inches, as if the pound avoirdupois had suddenly become 23 or 24 ounces instead of - how much is it? - 16. Look at what this has meant to everybody who has been compelled to execute their contracts upon this irrationally enhanced scale. Look at the gross unfairness of such distortion to all producers of new wealth, and to all that labour and science and enterprise can give us. Look at the enormously increased volume of commodities which have to be created in order to pay off the same mortgage debt or loan. Minor fluctuations might well be ignored, but I say quite seriously that this monetary convulsion has now reached a pitch where I am persuaded that the producers of new wealth will not tolerate indefinitely so hideous an oppression.
Are we really going to accept the position that the whole future development of science, our organizations, our increasing cooperation and the fruitful era of peace and goodwill among men and nations - are all these developments to be arbitrarily barred by the price of gold? Is the progress of the human race in this acre of almost terrifying expansion to be arbitrarily barred and regulated by fortuitous discoveries of gold mines here and there or by the extent to which we can persuade the existing cornerers and hoarders of gold to put their hoards again into the common stock? Are we to be told that human civilization and society would have been impossible if gold had not happened to be an element in the composition of the globe?
These are absurdities; but they are becoming dangers and deadly absurdities. They have only to be asserted long enough, they have only to be left ungrappled with long enough, to endanger that capitalist and credit system upon which the liberties and enjoyments and prosperity, in my belief, of the vast masses depend. I therefore point to this evil and to the search for the methods of remedying it as the first, second and the third of all the problems which should command and rivet our thoughts.
That was shortly after the last war. Mr. Lloyd George told the soldiers that the Government would make Great Britain a land fit for heroes to live in. We know that the possibilities were there, and that it was easy enough to do so, but the money authorities said, “ No, we are poor ; we have spent thousands of millions of pounds on this war, and we have to take our belts in”, so they called up overdrafts all over Great Britain, and did a number of other drastic things, including the closing of the great Yarrow shipyards. Honorable senators can realize what it would have meant to Great Britain in this war if those yards had been in commission at the outbreak of hostilities. A member of the House of Commons said that when he came back from the last war in 1918 he found that Great Britain had the greatest army, navy and air force in the world,and the potentialities to produce wealth in abundance ; yet for twenty years the British people lived in the direst poverty, and the soldiers who were to return to a land fit for heroes to live in tramped the streets of British cities in rags. This happened because money power is stronger than all governments, and governments are misled by the orthodox economists. Mr. Winston Churchill himself accepted what the experts said, because he thought that they were men of great ability, indisputable integrity and sincerity. Yet time proved that men can have all those qualifications and still be entirely wrong. I want this Government to ensure that that sort of thing does not happen here. A return to the gold standard is implied in the Atlantic Charter, which contains Mr.Roosevelt’s four freedoms, but the Atlantic Charter will turn out to-be nothing but a string of platitudes if we go back to the gold standard. Who holds the gold of the world ? It is held by the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States of America. Many people believe that the gold is held by the American Government, but that is not so. It is in the hands of the Federal Reserve Bank, which is a private institution like the Bank of England.
Private financial institutions including the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States of America have succeeded in increasing the price of gold from approximately £4’ an ounce to more than £10 an ounce. When gold once more becomes the purchasing medium of the world, who will have ail the advantages ? The whole world will be in pawn to the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States of America, and to other private financial institutions which hold large reserves of gold. The Federal Reserve Bank has already loaned £300,000,000 gold dollars to China, and is offering now to rehabilitate the conquered countries of Europe once they return to the gold standard after the war. This is a most serious matter that we cannot overlook. If we return to the gold standard, it will be impossible to implement any practical plan of reconstruction. Any attempt at post-war reconstruction without a full utilization of the national credit must fail. We cannot possibly hope to succeed in our post-war plans by borrowing money in the ordinary way from the private banks. Honorable senators opposite have expressed fears over and over again in this chamber in regard to the use of national credit, but I say, emphatically, that it will be impossible without the use of national credit to put into operation any post-war plan which <vill be of any use to the people of Australia. After the war, we shall have plenty of man-power available for reconstruction work. Already our national production has increased to an enormous degree, and after all, the only real wealth of a country is what its people can produce. Unfortunately, under the present financial system bankers have power to say how much money shall be in circulation. I remember well, concluding my first speech in this chamber - it was during the- depression - with these words, “ The present monetary system has brought the world to poverty and chaos and is rapidly edging us into a war which will destroy our civilization “. I was laughed at by many honorable senators opposite. One honorable senator said that mine was a voice crying in the wilderness, and I replied that so long as this chamber was a wilderness so far as knowledge of finance was concerned, my voice would be heard. All these years, I have been trying to hammer into the heads of honorable senators opposite the necessity to understand our present financial system, because it is the greatest racket in the world. Unfortunately, bankers are able to send representatives to Parliament to look after their interests. I am afraid that, due to the ignorance of many members of Parliament of financial matters, the present system will continue in perpetuity. If it does, I can see no hope of ‘permanent peace or of a new order. A new order will have to be brought about by the people themselves. I remember telling an audience of 3,000 people in the Melbourne Town Hall that if they thought that the politicians who got the world into this mess could get it out again without any effort on the part of the people themselves, they were due for sad disillusionment. The destiny of the people is in the hands of their governments. If we cannot charge world conditions, dreadful as they are, to world governments, to whom can these conditions be charged? We have the most responsible job of anybody on earth, and I am sorry indeed to see this chamber so empty at the present moment. Apparently honorable senators opposite are becoming tired of hearing the truth about finance. I am afraid that some members of the Opposition have been sent here to look after banking interests, which, as I have said on many occasions, are not the interests of the people.
I have quoted Mr. Churchill’s statement of what occurred after the last war. It appears now that he favours a return to the gold standard after this war. I ask honorable senators to think seriously about what I have said in regard to gold reserves. I repeat that those reserves are in the hands of private banking institu-tions. Of the huge liberty loan which was floated in the United States of America upon the entry of that country into the war in 1917, only 5 per cent, was subscribed by the public. The rest was manufactured in Wall-street by financiers. These are the people to whom the money was owed. Great Britain sent Mr. Baldwin and one or two other men with little financial knowledge or experience to deal with the “ sharpshooters “ of
Wall-street, but they were very soon fleeced. They agreed to send £67,000,000 worth of gold to the United States of America annually. The strongest supporters of American isolationism before this war were men who said, “ Great Britain has not paid us for the last war “. The fact is that the United States of America did not send us any gold at all during the last war. It merely supplied goods, but strong objection was taken to repayment in goods. American manufacturers were getting 34s. for rifles which cost only 14s. to produce, but they insisted in being paid in gold. American financial institutions completely drained the British Government of its gold, and still were not satisfied. We have been informed by the press that conferences have been held between the Governments of the United States of America and Great Britain in regard to post-war currency. That is not quite true. It is not the governments that have been conferring, but the private financiers of the two countries. They have decided that we shall return to the gold standard, despite the disastrous results which followed the last war, when our “ diggers “ overseas were paid in notes known as “ Bradbury’s “, named after the gentleman whose name appears on the pamphlet which I have read. When it became evident that Great Britain would be involved in the last war, there was a great rush on the Bank of England, ‘and in four days the depositors drew out £10,000,000 worth of gold, of a total of £13,000,000. Those were the days, of course, when any one could present a £1 note and demand a sovereign for it. Mr. Lloyd George states in his memoirs that the directors of the Bank of England came crying to the British Government to save the situation. The British Government took a statesman-like view of the situation, and closed every hank for four days. In the meantime, legislation was passed giving the Chancellor of the Exchequer authority to print fiduciary notes to an unlimited amount. In fact, he still has that power. This war could have been financed by the use of national credit, but the private banking institutions which had to be saved by government action on that occasion, stepped in and said, “ Leave this to us “. At the start of the last war Great Britain’s national debt amounted to £750,000,000 and, strangely enough, the national debt of this country with its population at that time of only 6,000,000, was also more than £700,000,000. When the war was over Britain’s national debt had risen to £7,000,000,000, and in the words of the then Lord Privy Seal, Mr. Thomas Johnston, it was the greatest racket ever imposed upon any nation. The private financiers made legal currency notes and cheques for £5,000,000,000, and have been drawing £300,000,000 a year in interest ever since. Yet this racket is permitted to continue. We have been committed to the same old financial system by the Atlantic Charter and Allied conferences including the recent conference at Cairo. Unless something is done, events at the end of this war will be a repetition of what happened after the last war.
I hope that honorable senators who have listened to me will take notice of what I have had to say, because my statements are irrefutable and reveal the state of affairs which will be created should we return to the gold standard.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented ; -
Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act, Maternity Allowance Act, Child Endowment Act and Widows’ Pensions Act - Second Report of the Director-General of Social Services for year 1942-43.
Ordered to be printed.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. -
No. 29 of 1943 - Commonwealth Postmasters’ Association.
No. 30 of 1943 - Fourth Division Officers’ Association of the Trade and Customs Department.
No. 31 of 1943 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia and others.
No. 32 of 1943 - Heat Inspectors’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.
No. 33 of 1943 - Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen’s Association of Australasia.
No. 34 of 1943 - Commonwealth Foremen’s Association.
No. 35 of 1943 - Commonwealth Foremen’s Association.
No. 36 of 1943 - Fourth Division Postmasters, Postal Clerks and Telegraphists’ Union; Postal Overseers’ Union of Australia.
No. 37 of 1943 - Australian Journalists’ Association.
No. 38 of 1943 - Australian Journalists’ Association.
No. 39 of 1943 - Fourth Division Postmasters, Postal Clerks and Telegraphists’ Union; and Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia; and Australian Third Division Telegraphists and Postal Clerks’ Union.
No. 40 of 1943 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia and others.
No. 1 of 1944 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association ; and Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.
No. 2 of 1944 - Professional Officers’ Association,Commonwealth Public Service.
Australian Broadcasting Act - Eleventh Annual Report and Balance-sheet of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, for year 1942-43.
Australian Imperial Force Canteens Funds Act - Auditor-General’s Report on the Audit of the Accounts of the Trustees of the Australian Imperial Force Canteens Fund, for year 1942-43.
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Report of the Repatriation Commission for year 1942-43.
Black Marketing Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, No. 274.
Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, No. 270.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules - 1943, Nos. 271, 272, 301. 1944, No. 6.
Commonwealth Railways Act - Report on Commonwealth Railways Operations for year 1942-43.
Control of Naval Waters Act - Regulations -Statutory Rules 1943, No. 310.
Customs Act -
Proclamations prohibiting the exportation of goods (except under certain conditions) Nos. 589, 590.
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, No. 297.
Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules - 1943, Nos. 258. 287. 1944, Nos. 1, 22, 23.
Defence Act and Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, No. 10.
Dried Fruits Export Control Act - Nineteenth Annual Report of the Dried Fruits Control Board, for year 1942-43, together with statement by Minister regarding the operation of the Act.
High Commissioner Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, No. 300.
Lands Acquisition Act and National Security ( Supplementary ) Regulations - Orders - Land acquired for Commonwealth purposes -
Bathurst, New South Wales.
Birkenhead, South Australia.
Charters Towers, Queensland.
Clare, South Australia.
Cowra, New South Wales.
Darwin, Northern Territory.
Deer Park, Victoria.
Dubbo, New South Wales.
East Brighton, Victoria.
East Sale, Victoria.
Echuca, Victoria (2).
Eden, New South Wales.
Essendon, Victoria (3).
Fortitude Valley, Queensland (2).
Gawler, South Australia (2).
Gosford, New South Wales.
Guyra, New South Wales.
Homeville (Rutherford), New South Wales.
Kowguran (Miles), Queensland.
Lake Boga, Victoria.
Laura, South Australia.
Lindfield, New South Wales.
Lithgow, New South Wales.
Mallala, South Australia.
Mascot, New South Wales.
Merredin, Western Australia.
Miranda, New South Wales.
Muchea, Western Australia.
Mulwala, New South Wales.
New Farm, Queensland.
Nokaning, Western Australia;
Nowra, New South Wales.
Parkes, New South Wales.
Penrith, New South Wales (2).
Ramsgate, New South Wales.
Sale, Victoria (2).
Salisbury, South Australia.
South Yarra, Victoria.
St. Mary’s, New South Wales.
Swan Hill, Victoria.
Tocumwal, New South Wales.
Torbay, Western Australia.
Townsville, Queensland (2).
Upper Swan, Western Australia.
Villawood, New South Wales.
Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.
Wallaroo, South Australia.
Wellington, New South Wales.
Werrington, New South Wales.
Whorouly East, Victoria.
Wollongong, New South Wales.
National Security Act -
National Security (Agricultural Aids) Regulations - Orders -
Fertilizers and feeding meals (restriction of sales).
Nicotine Sulphate (No. 2).
National Security (Aliens Control) Regulations - Orders -
Enemy aliens’ communications.
Exemption of certain Indonesians.
National Security (Aliens Service) Regulations - Order - Exemption of certain Indonesians.
National Security (Apple andPear Acquisition ) Regulations - Order - Apple and Pear Acquisition 1943-44.
National Security (Army Inventions) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (2).
National Security (Cash Order and Hire Purchase Agreement) Regulations - Order - Maximum hiring period.
National Security (Chinese Seamen) Regulations - Order - Chinese seamen.
National Security (Economic Organization ) Regulations - Order - Economic Organization (Interest rates).
National Security (Emergency Control) Regulations - Order - Dental treatment for civilians.
National Security (Exchange Control) Regulations - Orders - Exchange control (Exemptions), (Money Orders), (Return of foreign securities), (Sale of foreign currency), and (Sale of foreign securities ) .
National Security (Food Control) Regulations - Orders -
Distribution of food (No. 2).
Grapes (Restriction of use).
National Security (General) Regulations -
Control of -
Building Materials (No. 2).
Lights - revocation.
Overseas postal communications.
Silk and synthetic fibres.
Egg vendors ( South Australia ) .
Navigation and anchor lights (No. 2).
Navigation (Control of public traffic).
Prohibited places (8).
Prohibition of non-essential production (No. 14).
Protected area - Revocation.
Protection of shipping (Accommodation for defence personnel).
Revocation of certain orders made under Regulation 59 - Dated - 5th October, 1943 (2). 30th November, 1943. 24th January, 1944.
Taking possession of land, &c. (787).
Use of land (25).
Orders by State Premiers -
New South Wales (Nos. 40-43).
Queensland (dated 1st October, 1943).
South Australia (No. 5 of 1943).
Direction dated 28th August, 1943.
Nos. 27, 28.
Exemption dated 21st December, 1943.
Western Australia (dated 15th September, 1943).
National Security (Hirings Administration ) Regulations - Order - Application of regulations.
National Security (Industrial Peace) Regulations - Harvest Workers Award, 1943.
National Security (Internment Camps) Regulations - Order - Internment Camp (No. 10).
National Security (Land Transport) Regulations -
Determination of border station ( Warrnambool ) .
South Australia No. 12.
Western Australia No. 6.
National Security (Man Power) RegulationsOrders -
Employment in rural industries.
Ex-Dairy Farmers and farm workers.
National Security (Maritime Industry) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 42-44.
National Security (Meat Industry Control) Regulations -
Direction regarding the Australian Capital Territory.
Acquisition of meat.
Meat No. 29.
Stock returns (County of Cumberland) No. 1.
National Security (Medical Coordination and Equipment) Regulations - Order- Emergency medical service.
National Security (Mobilization of Electricity Supply ) Regulations - Order - Electricity.
National Security (Potatoes ) Regulations - Order - No. 15.
National Security (Prices) Regulations-
Declarations Nos. 126-134.
Orders- Nos. 1210-1413.
National Security (Rationing) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 32-37.
National Security (Stevedoring Industry) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 28-38.
National Security (Supplementary) Regulations -
Order by Geeloug Harbour Trust Commissioners, Victoria (dated 18th November, 1943).
Orders by State Premiers -
Queensland (2) - dated 4th November, 1943, and18th January, 1944).
Western Australia (dated 24th September, 1943).
Statement of Australian Banking Statistics for the five quarters ended 30th September, 1943.
National Security (Timber Control) Regulations - Order - Control of timber No. 12.
National Security (Vegetable Seeds) Regulations - Notice - Returns of vegetable seeds.
National Security (War Damage to Property) Regulations - Orders - Public Authorities (4).
National Security (Wheat Acquisition) Regulations - Order - Australian Wheat Board (Selection of. wheat-growers’ nominees).
Regulations - Statutory Rules - 1943, Nos. 257, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265,266, 267, 268, 269, 273, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 288, 289, 290, 293, 294, 295, 296, 298, 299, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317. 1944, Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, Nos. 291, 311.
Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act-
Crown Lands Ordinance - Reasons for resumption of the reservation of certain lands near Alice Springs.
No. 4 of 1943 - Crown Lands.
No. 5 of 1943 - Aboriginals.
No. 4 of 1943 (Public Service Ordinance).
No. 5 of 1943 (Motor Vehicles Ordinance ) .
Peace Officers Act - Regulations - Statutory
Rules 1944, No. 12.
Post and Telegraph Act - RegulationsStatutory Rules 1943, No. 286.
Science and Industry Endowment ActReport by Auditor-General on the accounts of the Science and Industry Endowment Fund for year 1942-43.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-
No. 11 of 1943 - Noxious Weeds.
No. 12 of 1943- Canberra Com munity Hospital.
No. 13 of 1943- Motor Traffic (No. 2).
No. 14 of 1943- Police.
No. 1 of 1944 - Crimes.
No. 6 of 1943 (Cemeteries Ordinance).
No. 7 of 1943 (Public Baths
No. 8 of 1943 (Motor Traffic Ordinance ) .
Taxation Acts - Twenty-fourth Report of the Commissioner of Taxation, dated 1st November, 1943, together with Statistical Appendices.
War Service Estates Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1943, No. 292.
War Service Homes Act - Report of the War Service Homes Commission for year 1942-43 together with Statements and Balance-sheet.
Women’s Employment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules1943, No. 251.
Senate adjourned at 3.14 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 10 February 1944, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1944/19440210_senate_17_177/>.