20 September 1944

17th Parliament · 2nd Session

The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

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Senator McLEAY:

– In view of the importance to Australia of the decisions made by the technical experts atthe United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, held recently at Bretton Woods, United States of America, will the Leader of the Senate state whether the Government will consider making arrangements for the economic adviser to the Commonwealth Bank, Mr. Melville, who attended the conference, to give a public or a confidential report to members of the Senate, or to an all-party committee of the Senate or of both branches of the legislature?

Senator KEANE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · VICTORIA · ALP

– I shall ascertain whether the honorable senator’s suggestion’ can be adopted.

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Senator FINLAY:

asked the Leader of the Senate, upon notice -

  1. Will he inform the Senate of Cabinet’s decision regarding the building of a complete motor car in Australia after the war?
  2. Will the Government favorably consider the matter of making sufficient skilled labour available to motor body building firms forthwith so as to enable them to commence their tooling programme for the production of motor bodies immediately on the cessation of hostilities?
  3. Has any proposal been made to the Government to allow motor car chassis to come into Australia for a period of time after the war; if so, what is the Government’s attitude towards such a proposal?
Senator KEANE:

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions . are as follows: -

  1. Cabinet’s decision was released to the press and was as follows: -

    1. Repeal the Motor Vehicle Agreement Act.
    2. Repeal the Motor Engine Bounty Act.
    3. All interested parties be requested to submit proposals for the consideration of the Government.
    4. When considering these proposals the question of utilization of government factories for the production of component parts on a scale adequate for maintenance of the factories as efficient units for future defence production should be examined.
    5. Failing satisfactoryproposals being received the Government should set up a corporation to manufacture a complete car.
    6. With a view to decentralization, financial assistance be given to enable freight equalization to be given effect.
  2. This will be considered having regard to the man-power required for the war effort and the claims of industry generally.
  3. The Government has under consideration arequest that it should announce its policy relating to the importation of chassis for a period of time after importations can be resumed.

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Frequency Modulation Service

Senator SAMPSON:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Does the Government contemplate issuing commercial broadcasting licences for frequency modulation transmitters; if so, when?
  2. Does the Government propose immediately to provide a national frequency modulation broadcasting service?
  3. If so, does the Government propose to make this service available to country listeners ?
  4. Will private manufacturers of radio receivers be granted permits to manufacture frequency modulation and/or amplitude modulation receivers?
  5. Is the manufacture of sets of any kind for civilian use prohibited by the Government at present ?
Senator ASHLEY:
Postmaster-General · NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– The replies to- the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -

  1. The Australian Broadcasting Act: 1942 states definitely the Government’s powers with regard to the issue of such licences.. Section 103 of the act reads as follows: - “ Notwithstanding anything contained in the Telegraphy Act 1905-1936, theMinister administering that act shall not. -

    1. grant any licence for any purpose for which a licence may be granted under this Act; or
    2. except on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Broadcasting grant licences in respect of facsimile, television- or frequency modulation services.”

The subject is under reference to the parliamentary standing committee, which has not furnished its report.

  1. Until the committee’s report is received the Government is unable to indicate its intentions or its policy with regard to incorporation of frequency modulation in a national broadcasting service.
  2. See answer to No. 2. In any future plans the interests of country listeners will certainly receive the utmost consideration.
  3. See answer to No. 2.
  4. No, subject to control by the Department of Munitions.

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Senator J B HAYES:

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

  1. What acreage of flax was planted in Tasmania last season ?
  2. What tonnage of flax was accepted by the mills?
  3. What tonnage of fibre (other than tow) was produced from the flax straw?
  4. What is the cost of production per ton of fibre?
  5. What did the fibre realize per ton?
  6. What tonnage of flax was burnt in the bush fires in Victoria?
  7. What tonnage was burnt at other times andplaces?
Senator KEANE:

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

  1. 0,257 acres.
  2. 4,457 tons.
  3. Up to the present time only 2,213 tons of the straw referred to in No. 2 above have been completely processed, resulting in the production of 147 tons of fibre. The processing of the balance of the straw will be completed before delivery of the present crop and it is estimated that a further 150 tons of fibre will be produced from the balance of 2,244 tons of straw still to be processed, making a total of 297 tons of fibre from the 1943 crop in Tasmania.
  4. Excluding depreciation plant and machinery the cost of production of the 147 tons fibre already produced was £252 per ton.
  5. The average price received for the 147 tons fibre was £246 per ton.
  6. 8,938 tons of straw were destroyed by bush fires in Victoria this year.
  7. It is not possible to give information regarding losses of flax straw held by growers in respect of period prior to 1st January, 1944. Since the formation of the Flax Production Committee in December, 1940, until the present date, the total recorded losses by fire in all flax-growing States were 12,746 tons.

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Senator FOLL:

asked the Leader of the Senate,upon notice -

  1. Has the Government received any authoritative information concerning the treatmentof Australian prisoners in the hands of the Japanese?
  2. Has the Government any information as to the conditions and accommodation in Japanese prisoner of war camps?
  3. If such information is in the possession of the Government, will it be made available to the Parliament and the public?
Senator KEANE:

– The replies to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. Through the International Red Cross information has been received concerning the treatment of Australian prisoners of war, and the conditions and accommodation in certain camps in Japan Proper, Korea, Formosa and Manchuria in which camps only relatively small numbers of Australians are held. No such information has been received concerning camps in Malaya, Burma, Siam, Borneo and other places where large numbers of Australians are held because the Japanese Government refuses to permit International Red Cross delegates to visit those camps.

  1. Information received from the International Red Cross Committee has been regularly made available to the public through the Australian Red Cross Society. It is not in the interests of the prisoners of war themselves that information received from other sources should be made public at this stage.

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Motions (by Senator Keane) agreed to -

Standing Orders Committee

That a Standing Orders Committee be appointed, to consist of the President, the Chairman of Committees, Senators Cameron, Crawford, Herbert Hays, Keane, Lamp, McLachlan and Sheehan, with power to act during recess, and to confer with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives..

Library Committee

That a Library Committee be appointed, to consist of the President, Senators Armstrong, Collett, J. B. Hayes, Lamp, Sampson and Tangney, with power to act during recess, and to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.

House Committee

That a House Committee be appointed, to consist of the President, Senators Amour, Aylett, Brand, Cooper, Nash and McLachlan, with power to act during recess, and to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.

Printing Committee

That a Printing Committee be appointed, to consist of Senators Arnold. Cooper, Courtice. Gibson, J. B. Hayes, Allan MacDonald and Tangney, with power to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.

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PAPERS 1944-45

Debate resumed from the 19th Septem ber (vide page 955), on motion by Senator Keane -

That the following papers be printed: -

Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure, and Estimates of Expenditure for Additions, New Works, Buildings, &c, for the year ending 30th June, 1945.

The Budget 1944-45. - Papers presented by the Honorable J. B. Chifley, M.P., on the occasion of the Budget of 1944-45.

Upon which Senator McLeay had moved by way of amendment -

That there be added to the motion the following words: - “and that the Senate considers that the action of the Government in using public funds for Labour party propaganda, and the utilization in the role of public speakers of members of the civil service as advocates of government policy, particularly in relation to the recent referendum, is contrary to established practice and dangerous to democratic public administration”.

Senator NASH:
Western Australia

– The comparative freight figures which I gave last night show the advantage of Esperance as a port for the eastern gold-fields, and the effect that cheaper freight rates would have on the cost of living in the gold-fields areas. The official Year-Book, No. 34 of 1941, shows that, for the years 1936-40 inclusive, the value of gold production in Western Australia was as follows: -

Those figures indicate that up to 1940, the value of gold production has been steadily increasing on the eastern goldfields of Western Australia. The value of gold production since that year has been seriously affected, because of the necessary depletion of man-power on those fields, and I hope that the Government will give most sympathetic consideration at the earliest opportunity to restoring to those fields at least as much man-power as was available there before the war. It has been stated authoritatively that, as the result of having shipping facilities at Esperance, instead of at Fremantle, one of the large mining companies effected an average saving of 30s. a ton on all commodities shipped, which, I suggest, is a considerable sum. It was also stated that, the Central Norseman. Gold Corporation Limited, , by reason of the shipping facilities at the port, saved £1,200 in the erec- t ion of its plant. The effect of those savings on freight was that more money was available for use in the development of the mines, thus giving a longer life to the industry. The saving would also permit of the purchase of additional plant for extensions, which, in turn, would give increased employment. On the assumption that gold maintains its present price, or that a reasonable price rules after the war it appears to me that the future of gold-mining is secure. I believe that it is anticipated that the Norseman district, which is about 60 or 70 miles from Esperance, will most likely become the next largest gold producing district to Kalgoorlie.

From 1936 to 1939 inclusive, an average of 15,000 persons were employed in the gold-mining industry, and it can be confidently anticipated that the number will increase after the war. Examining the electoral roll for the Kalgoorlie division, I notice that, for the subdivisions of Boulder City, Brown Hill, Dundas, Hannans, Kalgoorlie, Kanowna, Mount Leonora, Mount Magnet, and Mount Margaret, there are 26,510 persons enrolled. Those figures, of course, exclude persons under 21 years of age. They give an indication of the savings in freight which would follow the utilization of Esperance as the natural port for that area. The provision of labour for loading and unloading ships there would not constitute a difficult problem, because numbers of men who have acquired small holdings in the district would be glad of an opportunity to handle cargoes brought to thatport. For back loading, felspar and other minerals would be available. The greater use of Esperance as a port would he of value to other industries besides gold-mining; For instance, within a short distance of Esperance, there is an inexhaustible supply of the purest salt obtainable in the world. Those deposits could be developed economically. West of Esperance there are valuable deposits of vermiculite and graphite. The graphite deposits are equal to any other deposits in Australia, whilst the flake graphite obtainable in the district is of special value because of its high, carbon content. As it may be thought that the district which could he served by the greater development of Esperance aa a port consists only of mining country, I point out that within 80 miles of Esperance there is a large tract of country suitable for the production of wool, raising fat lambs, pigs and cattle, a3 well as the growing of wheat. Records obtained from a farmer whose holding is situated about 12 miles from Esperance show that, during the summer of 1943-44, the rainfall was as follows : -

Senator Keane:

– Is there any Crown land in the locality?

Senator NASH:

– Yes. In the Salmon Gums area, which is about 60 or 70 miles from Esperance, rainfall is not a major problem. Returns supplied by a wellestablished farmer in that district show that, during a period when there was an acute shortage of water elsewhere in Western Australia, necessitating the hand-feeding of stock and the cartage of water, his land produced the following : -

The 1940-41 season was poor throughout the whole State because of drought conditions. In the Salmon Gums aTea, where the rainfall averages between 13 and 14 inches a year, the land is cropped with wheat only once in four years. I agree with the Government’s announced policy of decentralization, if only as a means of providing for Australia’s defence. I hope that the Minister will give earnest consideration, to the claims of Esperance.

Reference has ‘been made during this debate to the nationalization of industry and the losses incurred in connexion with state-controlled enterprises. The losses on, governmental undertakings in Queensland and by the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers were cited. It is true that instances of this kind can be found, but there are many examples of government concerns being conducted successfully. The Postal Department is an example. Further, Australia’s governmentowned railways have proved of incalculable worth during the war. For political reasons, the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers was sabotaged, but while it operated the primary producers of Australia were saved hundreds of thousands of pounds in freight rates.

As an attempt has been made by some honorable senators opposite to associate the Labour party with the Communist party, I emphasize that the Labour party has, on a number of occasions, definitely excluded members of the Communist party from affiliation. In any case, it would appear that the Communist party in Australia is an almost negligible body, its estimated strength being only about 20,000 members. As the laws of the land prevent a union from excluding any person from membership, the industrial unions of Australia no doubt include some communists, as well as some outandiout conservatives. But because these persons are members of unions it does not necessarily follow that they automatically become members of the Australian Labour party. In Western Australia any person desiring to be associated with the councils of the Australian Labour party must sign a pledge that he does not belong to any other political party, including the Communist party.

Senator Allan MacDonald seemed to be obsessed by his dislike of what he termed the Trades Hall group. He commenced his speech by referring to collective farming and seemed to be under the impression that the Labour party wanted to establish in Australia a system of collective farming similar to that of Russia. The honorable senator then went to some pains to show that collective farming in America had proved to be a failure. I would like to know what is wrong with the idea of the collective ownership and use of farm machinery.

Senator Gibson:

– There is a lot wrong with it.

Senator NASH:

– Many of the difficulties of farmers in Western Australia have been brought about by heavy expenditure on the purchase of expensive farm machinery. On many farms I have seen valuable machinery lying idle for considerable portions of each year because there has not been enough work for it to do. Collective ownership would reduce the capital expenditure of individual farmers.

Senator Gibson:

– It simply cannot be done.

Senator NASH:

– I disagree with the honorable senator. Can he say that there is anything wrong with a system under which land is cleared, and homes built on it, before being taken up by settlers? In the past, we have expected men to develop virgin land, and their womenfolk to live under most primitive conditions. A system under which land would be prepared for settlement would lessen the privations of those who engage in primary production and would tend to check the drift to the cities. Senator Allan, MacDonald made no reference to the ghastly failure of the Peel Estate soldier land settlement scheme of Western Australia, which cost the people of Western Australia more than £7,000,000. Senator Allan MacDonald said that the Trades Hall group in Western Australia had expended up to £20,000 on a political election. I have been associated with the Perth Trades Hall, and as a member of that body have taken part in election campaigns. It has never been able to lay its hands on anything like £20,000 for election purposes. The honorable senator is totally astray in this matter. In Western Australia, every member of a union pays to the Trades Hall, through his union, a capitation fee of 3d. a month. From this source the greatest sum made available to the Trades Hall is approximately £6,000 annually, and that is the total fund normally available to the Labour party in thatState from which it must meet all its expenditure whether it be incurred in elections or for other purposes. The only way in which the Labour party in Western Australia can augment those funds is by donations from unions. Although several unions have a large membership, some of them have no more than 25 members. At a very liberal estimate, the most that could be obtained by the Labour party from the unions in any one year would be approximately £9,000, but out of that sum the party must meet, in addition to special election expenditure, all its normal expenses. The point I make is that in respect of any political election it would not have available more than £9,000.

Dealing with the Government’s expenditure in connexion with the “ Yes “ case in the recent referendum, Senator Allan MacDonald said that the honorary secretaries of several sub-branches of war loan committees in Western Australia had resigned because of the Government’s expenditure in this direction. I have had some association with those committees in Western Australia, but I know of no case of that kind. Looking up the files of the Daily News I found in the issue of the 14th September last the following report : - “ I have no knowledge of a Western Australian War Loan Committee having resigned for any reason “ said Deputy Director of War Loans, C. 6. Latham, to-day.

He added that he had received the resignation of the secretary of the War Loan Committee.

He was referring to a question asked in the Federal Senate yesterday, by Western Australia Senator MacDonald, as to whether Government Leader Senator Keane knew that a Western Australian Loan Committee had resigned as a protest against Government expenditure on the recent “ Yes “ campaign.

Before an honorable senator makes a statement so definitely as did Senator Allan MacDonald on this matter, he should be sure of the facts.

Senator James McLachlan had much to say about what has been done by certain people towards the war effort, and as he enumerated various sections he concluded each of these references with the statement, “ These people did not go on strike “. I appreciate fully everything that has been done by the people to whom the honorable senator referred. However, the honorable senator’s addendum was entirely irrelevant. He sought to condemn those workers who had gone on strike. I have no desire to deprecate the contribution made by any section of the community to the war effort; but it is only just that this Parliament should record its appreciation of the sacrifices that have been made by the workers. A fair and thorough examination of the position reveals that the majority of the sacrifices entailed by the war have been made by the workers on both the industrial and the fighting front. Without them we could not have produced the requirements of war, or filled our ranks in the front line.

Senator Collett:

– ‘Who are the workers in this case?

Senator NASH:

– Everybody who doss his bit. I use the term in its broadest sense, and not in the narrow sense in which honorable senators opposite have used it. When honorable senators opposite hold up to scorn and ridicule workers who have gone on strike during the war, they should remember that that argument cuts both ways. I remind them that people coming within the professional classes are not giving to the nation to-day the same degree of service that they gave in pre-war days, simply because they decline to increase their earnings in order to avoid additional tax. .Some workers refuse to work excessive overtime because their overtime earnings render them liable to higher rates of tax. They are unjustly penalized. In some cases, workers have netted only 6d, from overtime pay.

Senator Gibson:

– That is not correct. They only imagine that.

Senator NASH:

– It is correct in many cases, as the honorable senator may find out for himself by an examination, of overtime and income tax rates. Many workers who have given of their all towards the war effort have, after so many years of war, become tired as have other sections of the community. However, a careful analysis of absenteeism reveals that it has not increased unduly among those people whom honorable senators opposite generally describe as the workers. The pronounced increase in. absenteeism has developed among those who have entered war industry, particularly women, in an emergency. I am reliably informed that absenteeism in. war factories has risen largely because of the determination of women employees to have at least one day off a week for shopping. Whilst n is easy and cheap to accuse the workers of failing to pull their weight, the fact remains that when the Government sought to make available to workers in war factories the benefits of modern lighting in order to protect their eyesight, the interests represented by honorable senators opposite opposed that reform. In Western Australia the Labour party has been requested to seek an amendment of the .Workers’ Compensation Act to provide benefit in respect of impairment of eyesight due to strain under bad lighting conditions in factories. When this Government: sought to remedy that evil, and enacted a regulation that private enterprise engaged in war production, install efficient lighting, the employers concerned contested the regulation at law, and, on the ground that the matter was not associated with the war effort, the High Court ruled that the regulation was void. Thus, those people who are so loud in their criticism of the workers, do not in fact wish to benefit them.

Senator COOPER:

– I wholeheartedly support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay). The Government has set a very bad precedent, to say the least, in using public money during the recent referendum for propaganda of a party political character. However, as the people rejected the Government’s proposals so decisively I do not propose to say any more on that point. I intend to take advantage of the latitude which is allowed to honorable senators on a debate on a motion of this kind to deal with several matters of paramount importance to the future of this country. To-day every one in not only Australia, but also all of the United Nations must feel very cheered by the wonderful turn, which has taken place in the war in favour of the United Nations during the last twelve months. We are now able to fill in the jigsaw puzzle of the war as a whole, and explain many of the blanks -which puzzled us in. the early stages of the conflict. We can now take pride in the fact that members of our fighting services participated in the campaigns in Greece and Crete. I feel sure that, had not those decisions been taken and our men been made available in the early part of the war, we should not be in nearly so favorable a position as we occupy to-day. Instead of the powerful German forces being met and held for a time, despite heavy odds, in Greece and Crete, unfortunately at serious loss to our forces, they would have been free to surge forward and overrun North Africa and Egypt, and probably to threaten India. The intervention of our men probably helped greatly to save those countries. The war has receded considerably from these shores, and we can be thankful that the enemy did not actually invade Australia. At that critical time precautionary measures were taken, essential controls were instituted, and large areas, particularly in North Queensland, were put more or less into a state of readiness to meet the invaders, but the position has now entirely changed and the time has come when some of the controls which were necessary at that time should be relaxed. I speak particularly of the taking over of school buildings in the northern part of Queensland for occupation by members of the fighting services. I mentioned this matter in the Senate some months ago. The urgent need to utilize school premises for that purpose has now passed, and I appeal to the Government to accelerate the release of the scholastic establishments which were then taken over. I refer more specifically to St. Anne’s School at Townsville. It is a Church of England girls’ school, which was taken over with a great many others in north Queensland when Japan entered the war. The girls were moved to the small township of Ravenswood, some 50 miles west of Townsville, where the school has been carried on under very difficult conditions ever since. Numerous representations have been made to the hirings authorities of the Army and Air Force for the release of the school, to allow the scholars to begin the first term of next year in the premises formerly occupied which are at present used by members of the Air Force. The latest report from Mr. Cecil E- Smith, the Diocesan Registrar at Townsville, is contained in a letter dated the 16th August to myself, as follows : -

Despite the assurances given by the Minister that every effort will be made to accelerate construction of alternative accommodation, which would permit the return of the school premises, our information is that no authority has yet been given to the Air Force to go ahead with a scheme which would enable the return of our school.

The Central Hirings Committee has been in Townsville recently and I am waiting to hear from the D.A.D. Hirings as to what progress they have made with regard to the return of the school.

The Bishop, the Sisters, the staff and the parents are most anxious that the school should not remain in Ravenswood next year and 1 would urge that every effort should be made to have some finality reached as soon as possible.

So soon as I hear from the D.A.D. Hirings I will let you know the position, which appears to depend, to a large extent, on the matter of the alternative accommodation. This, of course, is where the Minister could exert his authority to hasten on the work by approving of the necessary finance to carry out the scheme.

It is now September, and the new school year begins in January next, so that there is little time for the Air Force to provide alternative accommodation and evacuate the buildings which may need repairs before the school can re-open. I trust the Minister representing the Minister for Air will use his influence to see that the inconvenience which is suffered by the school authorities, and mare particularly by the pupils, is minimized as soon as possible. “We are fighting this war in order to give future generations better opportunities. Unless we provide every facility for education, there will be little chance of giving to the children of the present generation proper opportunities in the post-war period:. The girls of this school have already lost over two years of proper and continuous training, and every possible priority should be given to enable them to return and to carry on their studies in the best surroundings.

Other schools in the north are affected. I take this opportunity to thank the Army authorities for accelerating the release of All Souls’ School at Charters Towers about the middle of this year. The school authorities are now in occupation, but I have received from the Bishop of north Queensland a letter, dated the 1st September, in which, while expressing his thanks for what the Army has done, he mentions the hope that it may be prevailed upon to vacate the adjacent buildings. He adds -

We are threatened with about 400 boys next year, and can take them easily if those buildings come into our hands. If not we can hardly exceed .the present number of 320.

As the bishop points out, the evacuation of the buildings mentioned would enable the school to accommodate 400 boys instead of 320.

Another school which has been affected is Somerville House, a girls’ high school in Brisbane. It was taken over at the beginning of the war, and there are so far no signs that it is to be handed back to the school authorities. It is one of the’ largest girls’ schools in the Commonwealth, and lias been in existence for many years, having done a great deal of work in advancing the education of girls in Queensland. The time has come when the Government should show its appreciation of the great and willing assistance which all the school authorities gave when Australia was faced with the danger of invasion. They did not quibble in any way about making school buildings available at great inconvenience, and moving to station homesteads or shearing sheds in different parts of the country, splitting up their schools and scholars to suit the requirements of the armed forces. Now that the immediate danger has passed, J. ask the Army authorities to make some return for what the school authorities did and suffered and the generous way in which they surrendered all the buildings required of them. These should be restored immediately, to enable them to start the new school year in their own premises.

I wish to speak about the wool industry* of which the general public hears very little. It is Australia’s great primary industry, and has played no mean part in the war effort. It has been able to supply sufficient wool not only for the carrying on of the war in this country, but also for the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and other United Nations. It has also been able to supply for many years the great bulk of the finance which has been necessary to meet our overseas commitments. Little thought is given by the Government or the people to those who are carrying on this great industry. These people are regarded by a majority of Australian citizens merely as individuals who are carrying out their ordinary work in the backblocks of this country; but throughout this war they have had many problems to face. One of their greatest difficulties has been the scarcity of labour, due mainly to heavy enlistments in the armed forces. The pastoral industry employs a relatively small number of individuals, but it has contributed more than its quota to the fighting services, with the result that many farmers have had great difficulty in carrying on. Maintenance and repair work has been neglected. The industry has been carried on during the last two or three years mainly by members of the older generation, and by boys and girls of school age. In addition, petrol rationing and the difficulty of obtaining motor tyres have created a serious problem, especially in areas where long distances have to be travelled. The effect of these restrictions upon country people is much more serious than it is upon city dwellers, who can use alternative means of transport. Schooling, also, has suffered. As I mentioned previously, many Queensland schools, particularly in the northern areas, were taken over for military purposes, with the result that mothers have had to attend to the schooling of their children in addition to their other work.

The withdrawal of firearms from residents of the back country when Japan entered the war has permitted the dingo and wild dog menace to assume serious proportions. The number of these animals has increased tremendously and extensive damage is being caused, particularly in sheep areas. From time to time I have made representations to the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) for the release of older models of the .303 military rifle, and of the .310 single-shot rifle previously issued to cadets and more recently used by the Volunteer Defence Corps. There must be a large number of these firearms in the hands of the military authorities, and as they are of no further use for military service, I see no reason why they should not be released to farmers.

Senator Gibson:

– Ammunition is the main trouble.

Senator COOPER:

– There is ample 310 ammunition.

Senator Gibson:

– It is impossible to buy .22 calibre “ shorts “.

Senator COOPER:

– lt is most difficult to obtain ammunition for .32, .22, and 32.40 calibre rifles, but adequate supplies are available for the militaryrifles which. I have mentioned. It is true that some of these firearms have been released, but the number is insufficient. Many farmers who handed their rifles over to the military authorities when requested to do so a couple of years ago, have not had them returned, nor have they been able to obtain firearms of any other type. . The number of kangaroos, also, has increased greatly and, although they are not a menace to flocks, they eat large quantities of grass which should be held in reserve for cattle and sheep. I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Army to ensure that the distribution of suitable rifles and ammunition shall be accelerated. I know of certain business firms in Queensland which have on hand orders for between 200 and 300 rifles, but are unable to procure them. One firm wrote to me stating that it had orders for 25,000 rounds of 303 ammunition and could not obtain it. In the north of Queensland particularly, the wild dog has become a serious menace. I know of some graziers who have had to remove their entire flocks from certain areas because of the depredations of these pests. Others have had to give up breeding and raise dry sheep only. Although that generally is a less profitable undertaking, it is a better proposition at present, owing to the losses suffered by breeders. It would be of great assistance if the Commonwealth Government were to pay a bonus upon dingo and wild dog scalps all over the Commonwealth. Even if the bonus were only £1 a head it would help, although it would induce “ doggers “ to work only on lands where dingoes and wild dogs were plentiful.


– - Is that not done in Queensland at present?

Senator COOPER:

– In Queensland at present 10s. a scalp is paid, but in most sheep areas the pastoralists themselves pay a. bonus of £2, making a total of £2 10s. In fact, in areas where these pests are not so plentiful, the bonus is as high as £5. If a pastoralist is fortunate enough to secure the services of a “ dogger he has to pay the award wage of £3 10s. a week plus keep, in addition to bonuses. The grazier himself is doing everything possible to keep down the dog menace in his own locality.

Senator GIBSON:

– He has to keep Crown lands clear as well?

Senator COOPER:

– Yes. The main breeding grounds of dingoes and wild dogs are in the wild back country, much of which is Crown lands. I suggest that the Commonwealth pay a further £1 a scalp. That would induce men to go on to Crown lands and into wild cattle country and kill the dogs before they are able to reach the sheep country. Even then, a number of these animals would reach the sheep flocks each season, but the menace would be considerably reduced. The job of eradicating these pests might attract some young men who are being discharged from the armed forces and have a liking for the land and for an adventurous life. Many of them would be good shots and they could undertake this work not only as a means of livelihood, but also with the object of seeing some of Australia’s back country. Some attraction is needed to induce men to go into the remote areas of Australia after the war, and many exservicemen would be keen on this type of life. Whilst I do not suggest this scheme as a means of absorbing large numbers of our ex-servicemen, it would offer profitable employment to quite a number, and at the same time be a means of assisting pastoralists whose properties are menaced by wild dogs. Unless the depredation of these animals be checked soon the position may become extremely serious.

Last year, the sale of 3,606,6S4 bales of wool realized £74,000,000. At present, under the United Kingdom wool purchase scheme, the sale of Australian wool does not present a problem. However, throughout the world there are accumulated stocks of all grades of wool, totalling approximately 16,000,000 bales. A similar problem confronted the woollen industry of Australia after the last war, but on this occasion it will be much greater. After the last war, the Government of Great Britain contracted with the Commonwealth Government to take all the wool produced in Australia for the duration of the war and for one season after it, and that worked out at three and a half wool seasons. The price fixed was 15d. per lb. Even after that short period, the wool left over at the end of hostilities totalled 2,691,000 bales. The present contract is for the duration of the war and for one full season after the season in which the war ends, and the price is lo£d. per lb. Even if the war were to end next year, or during the 194’4-45 wool year, there would be seven wool seasons, and the turnover would be about 25,000,000 bales’ of an approximate value of £470,000,000. The whole of that purchase has been made by the -Government of Great Britain, and it is the largest individual purchase of any kind in the world’s history.- The carry-over of wool is bound to be very much greater than it was in the last war, and the industry, in conjunction with the Government, should make plans immediately to meet the situation.

When hostilities cease, the world will be short of wool and of manufactured goods, and the shortage will probably be far greater than after the last war. During the last 25 years, the manufacture of woollen goods in this country has increased enormously. Efforts should be concentrated on building up our woolmanufacturing industry, so that, instead of relying entirely on the sale of our raw material in the post-war period, we. may also manufacture and export woollen goods. It is inconceivable that, with its small population, Australia could manufacture all of its wool, and export the manufactured goods; but there is no reason why it should not aim at manufacturing and exporting a certain quantity of those goods. We could do that only by manufacturing an article which could compete in price, quality, durability, and appearance with similar articles produced in any other part of the world. We must be prepared to meet intense competition from goods manufactured from artificial fibres and synthetic materials which have been produced under pressure of war conditions. It will be necessary for Australia to undertake research work, in order to discover means of improving the durability, resistance to shrinkage, and texture of our woollen goods. It is also necessary to undertake publicity work, in order to bring to the notice of the rest of the world, the high quality of Australian woollen goods. In the last seven years, the growers themselves have provided a fund of over £500,000 for publicity and research. That has been provided on the basis of collection at the source, 6d. having been paid in respect of every bale of wool produced. Looking to the future, and visualizing the competition that the industry will have to contend with after the war, it seems to me that that 6d. might be increased to ls. a bale. That would yield £190,000 a year. The present contribution, although not large, indicates that the growers realize some of the difficulties of the industry, and are prepared to assist it by supplying part of the money needed for publicity and research purposes. A. great deal has been done already, on the research side, even by the growers themselves. Over the years they have been able to increase the quantity and quality of the wool produced. That has been done by careful breeding methods. Many pests and diseases have been overcome, and great credit must be given to ‘officials of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Some of them are still working in the sheep areas, in conjunction with the stock-owners. Considerable assistance could be given by the manufacturers. There is no reason why Australia should not produce the finest grades of woollen goods obtainable, because the local manufacturers have first choice of all wools sent in for appraisement. They can look over the whole of the wools of Australia, and can make their selections before the other wools are sent overseas.

Many complaints have been heard, especially since the introduction of rationing, about the inferior quality of woollen cloths and suitings manufactured in Australia. That has had a bad effect on the prospects of the industry, because once an article is noted for inferior quality, or inability to stand up to hard wear, it is difficult to overcome that objection when the industry is exposed to world competition. The wool associations have asked the Government to take action in this matter, and have submitted certain proposals. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) took notice of their representations, and was good enough to call for a report regarding them from the Tariff Board. The report was asked for in April of this year, and was tabled on the 19th May. The great majority of the witnesses summoned by the board stated, in evidence, that woollen materials made in Australia, particularly worsted suitings and cloth of that type, were not of the quality previously produced, and not of a character which would enhance the value of the wool industry to Australia. Mr. D. T. Boyd, a wool-grower, and chairman of the Australian Wool Board, made the following statement, in evidence, in reply to questions about the quality of woven piece goods : -

Local mills have provided a growing outlet tor the wool clip and it is in the national interest to foster their development. The restriction of Australian output to woollen and worsted cloths of comparatively poor quality is damaging to the goodwill of the local industry ‘built up over a number of years.

Wool-growers are likely to be faced with many problems in the post-war period. The main factors appear to be the accumulated stocks of wool in all parts of the world, and the rapid’ growth in the manufacture of synthetic fibres.

Production of higher quality wool textiles would be of distinct advantage to the industry, justifying the provision of more manpower, if necessary. It is suggested that the change be gradual, commencing with 15 per cent, or 20 per cent, of the output of cloth.

Senator Keane:

– Effect has been given to that.

Senator COOPER:

– I. am glad to hear that. Other witnesses gave reasons why the quality of our woollen goods should be improved. The report of the Tariff Board states -

Witnesses were unanimous that clothes made from the best present-day cloths do not last nearly as long as those from the best pre-control productions. The representative of the Textile Workers’ Union said that officers of the Union had assessed the life of controlled single-fold weft worsted suitings at not more than 80 per cent, of those produced with twofold weft. Other witnesses said that the ratio might be as low as onehalf or one-third. Examination of witnesses, however, showed that it is impossible to fix any such relationship to apply generally’ over even one class of cloth.

There were other witnesses from all walks of life. In its report the Tariff Board continued -

However, witnesses were unanimous that short-lived clothes are wasteful to the buyer, and of the trimmings and linings and labour needed to produce them. Tailors who gave evidence complained of the shortage of labour, linings and accessories, and it is obviously desirable that these should be used in garments tha.t give the longest possible life. It is possible that the present shortages are accentuated by the fact that lower-grade cloths have, except for stocks, been the only ones available for two years.

Public Morale. - Many .witnesses contended that “ public morale “ is suffering f rom the non-availability of high-class clothes. None of the witnesses was able to explain the significance of this, and the board prefers to think that nearly all Australians accept the deprivation cheerfully, as necessary to the most effective prosecution of the war.

A strong case may, however, be made in the case of textile-workers who take a pride in their work. Opinions were expressed by the Controller of Woollens and representatives of manufacturers and the members of the union that the re-introduction of higher grade and more varied cloths might well stimulate increased production per employee.

Prestige of Australian Cloths. - Most of the witnesses pointed out that, for twenty years Australian worsted aud woollen manufacturers have been fighting to secure recognition of the high quality of Australian production. This had been largely achieved by the time of the hoard’s review of the industry in 1938. At that time, imports represented only about 10 per cent, of the value of cloths used in Australia, and consisted mainly of patterns and designs additional to the wide range produced locally. Even at that time, however, there were still suggestions that the best imported cloths were of higher quality than the best Australian.

I am glad that the Minister for Trade and Customs has already acted on the board’s report, because it is important that Australia should already be manufacturing for export and able to hold its own in competition with goods from other countries.

Senator Keane:

– In order to assist the Australian industry, the Government banned the importation of English materials.

Senator COOPER:

– I am aware of that. Before the war only 10 per cent, of the cloths available in Australia was imported. We have in this country the best wool in the world; technicians are continuing their research into such matters as the prevention of shrinkage, and so on ; Australian manufacturers are keen to seize every opportunity to develop their industry; and, therefore I have no doubt that in the post-war period the woollen industry will develop greatly and will ab-orb large numbers of workers. As I shall have an opportunity later to deal with other aspects of the budget, I shall Heave any further remarks until then.

Senator AMOUR (New South Wales) 1.12.4]. - The people of Australia should be grateful for the relief from sales tax on materials required for the building of homes and of the factories which will be required for the development of this great country. I suggest that this concession should cover such items as electrical equipment for installation in the homes to be built. It is good also to know that in the event of sickness in the home, necessitating the incurring of medical expenses some relief from taxes will be obtainable. I regret, however, that the Treasurer’s budget speech did not contain a promise that invalid and old-age pensions would bc increased. I hope that at an early date legislation to that effect will be introduced.

I was pleased to see in the speech that the Government proposes to pay a gratuity to ex-service personnel. After the last war I received a gratuity and as I was married at the time I obtained it in cash. My brother, who was then single, received his gratuity in the form of a bond, and eventually he suffered a considerable loss when he had to cash it. I trust that on this occasion the Government will not give bonds to ex-service men. or grant to thom extended leave, but that all gratuities will be paid in cash. I hope, too, that the Government will review the situation in relation to the numerous advisory bodies which now exist. I have in mind such bodies as the Utensils Board and the Timber Board, which operate not for the good of the people, but for the benefit of vested interests. But the board which I most desire to see abolished is the Commonwealth Bank Board, because until the Commonwealth Bank has been restored to the position which it occupied when it was controlled by a governor, it will not be a people’s bank. Almost from its inception the Commonwealth Bank was able to exercise a considerable influence. When the private banks were unable to assist in fulfilling the promise that Australia would be made “ a land fit for heroes to live in”, the Commonwealth Bank, although then in its infancy, came to the rescue. In 1920 Australia suffered a depression which continued until 1923. Conditions became so bad that, representatives of various sections of the community - trade unions, chambers of commerce, chambers of manufactures, and aged people - asked the then governor of the Commonwealth Bank, Sir Denison Miller, to receive a deputation. He agreed to do so, and at the meeting he was requested to make money available for national works in order to provide the people with employment. After the deputationists had presented their case he gave them a simple answer ; he said : “ Yes “. But the then Prime Minister, Mr. Bruce, decided to hold a referendum; and strangely enough that was the only occasion on which an alteration of the Constitution was agreed to by the people. Section 9 of the Constitution was altered to provide for the setting up of a loan council and the establishment of a Commonwealth bank board. Since that time the bank has been under the control of the private banking institutions of this and other countries. To-day the people are clamouring that the Commonwealth Bank shall be restored to its original position as a people’s bank under the control of a single governor, as in the days of Sir Denison Miller, who had u truly Australian outlook and a thorough knowledge of banking. Surely, in these days, we can find a worthy successor to that great man. Only by restoring to the Commonwealth Bank its original charter as a people’s bank can we hope to pay in cash a gratuity to ex-service personnel, increase the amount payable to invalid and old-age pensioners, or ensure that this great country shall be properly developed.

Recently a paper relating to the International Monetary Conference, held at Bretton Woods, United States of America, was tabled in this Parliament. Senator McLeay, a representative of the private banks, has urged that an all-party committee be established to examine the report with a view to acquainting the Parliament with its meaning. The Government has promised that Parliament will be given an opportunity to discuss this matter. I trust that the Senate will unanimously reject any measure that may be based upon the contents of that paper, and, on the contrary, restore the Commonwealth Bank to the basis on which it was originally established as the people’s bank. In the meantime, I urge honorable senators to give some attention to this matter.

Much has been said by honorable aura to rs opposite concerning the Government’s expenditure on the “Yes” case in the recent referendum campaign; and a question has also been asked as to the expenditure incurred on the “ No “ campaign. I propose to deal with the character of some of the “No” publicity. Some years ago the Daily Telegraph published a cartoon showing the head of a well-known public man attached to the body of a dog. The caption read, “Shoot the mad thing”. That was the first time in the history of this country that a newspaper had publicly advised the people to assassinate a public man. On this occasion those in control of the “No” campaign also issued a dodger which contained several cartoons. One of these shows a mother interviewing a man-power officer. Holding her daughter by the ham), the mother, addressing the man-power officer in a threatening manner, shouts, “ My girl has to work in a cannery, has she ? “ Women of the type represented by that, woman could very well be asked - “ What about, the man next door whose son is wallowing in the mud in New Guinea ? “ - “ What about the woman next door whose son is buried in the sands of the desert? “ - “ What about the woman next door whose son lost his life at sea when serving in the Merchant Navy?” Apparently, the people responsible for that sort of propaganda do not believe that any one should assist to ensure the maintenance of the nation’s food supplies in time of war. Another cartoon showed a crowd of women in a butchery in which there was no meat on display. The caption to it read, “ To-day - to-morrow - and for five more years unless you vote No “. What sane person in the community believed that there would be no meat in Australia had (he powers sought by this Parliament been granted to it at the referendum? Another cartoon, entitled, “ Abolish bureaucrats “, shows four women attacking a man, presumably a bureaucrat. I) advocated the assassination of a public servant and could easily have caused serious unrest in the community. However, the interests which sponsored publicity of that kind have never sought to build up our country. They did not hesitate to .play upon the fears of the people. That was the tone of all their propaganda through the press and over the air. I am disgusted when I find men who have been elected to this Parliament as the leaders of the nation are prepared to lower themselves to such a degree as to support that kind of propaganda.

I now propose to deal with a recent debate which took place on the 23rd August last in the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s session known as “ The Nation’s Forum of the Air “, when the subject discussed was “ Population unlimited?” The four speakers- in that debate were the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons), Mr. Colin Clark, Dr. Norman Haire, and Mrs. Jessie Street. Dr. Haire had previously given public lectures on the subject of sex which, to say the least, were of such a character as to make him unfit to participate in such a broadcast. On this occasion he stirred listeners to considerable resentment. I can understand a man making deprecatory remarks about another person ; but it passes my comprehension how in such a debate any person could sink so low as to discredit his mother. On that occasion, Dr. Haire said - . . I nin the youngest of eleven - and I know the disadvantages of being one of a too-large family. I know, too, what my poor mother had to endure for eighteen years. She was always either pregnant or suckling, usually both at the same time. For eighteen years she had scarcely a night’s unbroken sleep. At the age of 40 she, who had been an exceptionally strong and healthy young woman, had through her excessive and uncontrolled fertility become a. devitalized, irritable, cantankerous, prematurely old woman.

Some of our finest women are the mothers of large families. They may have aged prematurely; but they have done a wonderful service to this nation. It is beyond the comprehension of all decent men to liken such a woman, as Dr. Haire did on this occasion when referring to his mother, to an “old cow”. Dealing with that debate, Smith’s Weekly published the following: -

page 1023


Anyone who listened-in to “ Forum of the Air “ when Unlimited Population was the subject, would expect repercussions.

Four speakers - Dame Enid Lyons, Mr. Colin Clark, Mrs. Jessie Street, and Dr. Norman Haire - had nothing to say that hasn’t been saidbetter.

All, except Dr. Haire, whose breaches of taste were staggering, appeared inhibited by their part in the discussion. And well might they have been.

For it required tactful treatment which none contrived. Result was crudity to the point of unpleasantness.

A.B.C. should have learnt a lesson on the selection of a debate for mixed audiences.

A quietrebuke was administered by the Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph next morning by eliminating what was not fit to print. Both papers edited the discussion to decency.

Many protests were made to the Australian Broadcasting Commission following that broadcast, but although the press also adversely criticized it, the commission published the discussion in a booklet which is now selling at 3d. a copy. I trust that the Government will order the commission to stop the sales of that booklet.

I now propose to deal with a matter which has caused considerable concern in not only this Parliament, but also outside. I refer to statements recently attributed in the press to me as chairman of the Broadcasting Committee in respect of frequency modulation transmission and the part it will play in Australia in the future. A number of questions on the matter have been directed to the PostmasterGeneral (Senator Ashley), and several newspapers have published distorted statements which I am alleged to have made. The Canberra Times published the following report: -

page 1023


Broadcasting Committee’s Aim

The chairman of the Parliamentary Broad casting Committee (Senator Amour) said yesterday thatshortly after the war, they were hopeful that people would be able to purchase at small cost a standard wireless chassis with a life of ten years incorporating television and “ the new perfect system “ - frequency modulation.

The present medium wave and short wave bands would also foe included in the one set.

Senator Amour warned people not to be too precipitate in buying wireless sets immediately they became plentiful, because within a short time through the introduction of frequency modulation, those sets would become outmoded.

Manufacturers had been asked to prepare the proposed new sets, but the committee had not got’ very far.

He was hopeful that national stations would give a lead and adopt the frequency modulation process which was operating in the United States. Investigations showed that in the system man-made noises and electrical disturbances were eliminated.

Its particular benefit was that it permitted an illimitable number of radio stations to take the air, whereas at present radio allocation had reached saturation point because of the natural restrictions of the present processes. In addition, frequency modulation did not necessitate international sanction, whereas medium wave did.

Senator Amour said that frequency modulation would mean that broadcasting equipment would have to be altered to take the new system, but the committee was not so much concerned with this cost as it was with the cost of the new radio sets to the people. For thisreason, they wanted manufacturers to have the sets ready immediately the conversion was made.

Although frequency modulation would mean that any number of stations could be licensed, Senator Amour said that the PostmasterGeneral’s Department would control the issue.

That is the only statement which was made. The committee which was investigating the matter did not go very far with it, because the war intervened.Unfortunately, the members of the Broadcasting Committee were not members of the investigating committee whose task was to examine possible new systems, but I trust that the committee of which I am chairman will have an opportunity at an early date to secure information from persons who have the necessary expert knowledge of the progress which has been made since the investigating committee ceased to function. Mr. Bean, representing the Chamber of Manufactures, and Mr. Allan Fairhall, the ex-vice-president of the Federation of Commercial Broadcasting Stations, are wide of the mark in the criticisms which they have offered. They have “ missed the bus “. Instead of worrying about what I say, according to some distorted report in the press, they would be doing some service to the nation if they tried to help to improve our knowledge of the subject. Mr. Fairhall, in his long letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, talked about increased power, but every technician knows that this would not improve the position unless a clear channel were available. But if two stations shared one channel on a 200-watt system, and both were increased to 2,000 watts, the noise element, disturbance and distortion of the programme would still be there, as everybody knows except Mr. Fairhall. In hi s attack on me, he also attacked the Government. I have not at any time mentioned the policy of the Government, and the Postmaster-General said that matters of policy could not be stated in answer to questions. How could it be the fault of government policy that the investigation had to cease when the war began? I could tell honorable senators how far developments had then gone in the Postal Department, which is not, as many people imagine simply a place where letters and parcels are posted, postal notes or money orders issued and cashed, and telephone accounts paid. I regard it as the most advanced scientific institution in the world. I place it second to none. I have had an opportunity to visit the department’s laboratory and I know what work is done there for other institutions, which take the credit. The publication of a book showing what this great national concern does is long overdue. Already the department has done an exceptionally good job. When Mr. Bean, of the Chamber of Manufactures, and Mr. Allan Fairhall attack me, and the Sydney Morning Herald in a sub-leader attacks me, I reply that they are still asleep. They have “ missed the bus”, because when the war began the Postal Department was doing most valuable research work. The following is an extract from the evidence of Mr. S. H. Witt, supervising engineer of the Research Branch of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, given to the Broadcasting Committee on the 17th July, 1941:- .

Frequency modulation is impracticable except on the ultra-high frequency band, that is, of 40 megacycles or more. That is well outside existing receiving technique in Australia, and new receivers would have to be built to take it. I am convinced that the use of this ultrahigh frequency band will grow rapidly in the future because it is particularly suited to local broadcasting.

Frequency modulation, ns compared with the conventional amplitude modulation, has two advantages. In the first place a high quality of reproduction may bc readily obtained and, in the second place, frequency modulation is less susceptible to the effects of electrical noises. The net result of these two factors is that the service area of a frequency modulation station is larger than that of a corresponding amplitude station. My department regards the matter as of great importance to the future of the broadcasting system.

We believe that, when the manufacturers are able to make receivers in quantity, the new system will be of great value for broadcasting iii the cities. In fact, future broadcasting in the cities may be done exclusively by this system. However, that position must be approached gradually, because the change-over involves a revolution in the art of building receivers. Every listener would have to get a new receiver. And probably most people would have two receivers, one for working with the new system, and one for working with the old. However, minor revolutions of this character have been taking place all the time, and people have been throwing out their old receivers in order to replace them with others which are more up to date.

General adoption of frequency modulation will have the effect of making more channels available for use by commercial and national stations.

The post office broadcast a national programme of GO megacycles some years ago for survey purposes. We have made measurements throughout Melbourne to inform ourselves of the nature of the service that would bc given by stations operating on those frequencies. The experiments were quite successful.

We have been constructing in the laboratory an ultra-high frequency transmitter of high power in order to continue the survey, but the war intervened, and the work was not complete:!. For many years past we have made use of ultra-high frequency waves in the national broadcasting system for certain kinds of outside pick-up where the commentator had to move about over a wide area, such as when describing a golf match or a yacht race.

These waves have immediate use in the general communication system of the Commonwealth, and they are already being used by the department as links in the telephone trunk-line system. Magnetic Island is now joined to the mainland by such a link which can operate as a trunk line, and a similar link is being installed between Flinders Island and Tasmania.

Who are these other people who set themselves up as experts? What right have they to criticize me for drawing attention to what was being done and waa stopped in 1941 because of the war, and advocating that the system should be brought up to date? In support of that contention, Sir Ernest Fisk, chairman and managing director .of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, gave the following evidence to the Broadcasting Committee on the 17th January, 1942 :-

Frequency modulation, in a lot of the publicity, particularly in the United States of America, has been confused a great deal with what we call ultra-high frequency transmission. They are really two quite distinct tilings, except that frequency modulation is impracticable on other than ultra-high frequency transmission.

Therefore, may I suggest that for the moment we set aside the question of any form of modulation, and look at that which most certainly will come and change everything in time, eventually -putting all the medium-wave stations out of action, not by the wicked designs of any manufacturer or trader, but by virtue of development, increasing knowledge and the unavoidable facts. That will come because .of ultra-high frequency; or, putting it more in laymen’s terms, very short wavelengthsultrashort, 10 metres and less. To-day. we broadcast on roughly between 200 and 600 metres wave-lengths. Long-range broadcasting for overseas, roughly speaking, is very largely between 20 and 50 metres wave-length.

Sitting suspended from- .72.45 to 2.7.5 p.m.

Senator AMOUR:

Sir Ernest Fisk continued -

The new field of broadcasting, which is going to revolutionize everything in comparison with what we know to-day - it will not be an overnight revolution, but it will certainly come in time - will be broadcasting on wave-lengths of 10 metres and less. That would give you a very greatly increased number of wavelengths available over a given area, particularly densely populated areas. In order to illustrate flint, I can give you a few figures: Take the present-day broadcasting bands, which are between 200 and GOO metres, and consider our present-day broadcasting bands, which are kilocycles separation. You can get in 1U0 stations within a margin of 400 metres. If, instead of having from 200 to 000 metres, you get down to between 20 and CO metres, a margin of only 40 metres, you can get 1,000 stations. If you come down lower still, to between 2 metres and 8 metres, a margin of only 4 metres, you can get in 10,000 stations with 10 kilocycles separation. If you come down lower, as we shall eventually, to between .2 and .0, which is a separation of less than 1 metre, you cun get in 100,000 stations. That is coming, without the faintest scintilla of a doubt. It will come because of television.

That is why there is opposition from the commercial stations. We have a federation of commercial stations in this country, and the pool of advertising is spread over 100 stations. If another 100 licences we’re allocated following upon the introduction of frequency modulation, the profits of the federation would be reduced by half or even more. I have here an article on frequency modulation prepared by Mr. J. E. Brown, the assistant vice-president of the Zenith Radio Corporation of Chicago. I have made inquiries about this gentleman’s qualifications, and I am informed that in the United States of America he is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on this subject, and that this document is considered to be a most balanced treatise. I do not propose to read it, but I shall refer to certain matters contained in it. It relates to what was done by the Federal Communications Commission - a body set up by the Parliament of the United States of America similar in character to our Broadcasting Committee - -upon the introduction of frequency modulation into that country. All available channels under the new system were snapped up immediately by far-seeing individuals, both inside and outside the broadcasting community. The Federal Communications Commission promulgated a complete set of regulations for frequency modulation broadcasting, establishing it on the same business basis as the present system. It laid down that frequency modulation receiving sets could not be built unless frequency modulation transmitters also were built, and I suggest that the Broadcasting Committee could take the same precaution in this country. A recent survey in the United States of America indicates that 1414 companies plan to open frequency modulation stations as soon as possible after the war. This is not a party matter, but one which must be dealt with by the Parliament as a whole. In the United States of America there are 51 stations broadcasting on the frequency modulation system, serving a papulation of 5,000,000. When the construction of frequency modulation stations ceased at the outbreak of war there were 120 applications on the waiting list. Applications for broadcasting permits in the United States of America are made to the Federal Communications Commission just as applications in this country are referred to the Broadcasting Committee. I believe that radio manufacturers in this country are capable of building receiving sets to take all broadcasting systems. At present wireless broadcasting in this country is carried out mainly on what is known as the amplitude modulation system, namely, on the medium wave band, and modern receiving sets can operate not only upon this band, but also upon the short wave band. I believe that Australian technicians will be able to evolve a receiving set which will be suitable for amplitude modulation, frequency modulation short wave, television and facsimile reproduction. Frequency modulation cannot be introduced in one sweeping change. There will be many people who will not be able to purchase a frequency modulation set immediately, and, therefore, it will be necessary to continue the present system for some time at least. I have asked many people about this matter and there is general agreement that a combination set such as I have mentioned could be made. The people of this country should not be forced to scrap their present radio receiving sets immediately upon the introduction of the frequency modulation system, and, then perhaps twelve months later, be forced to purchase improved sets capable of receiving television and facsimile reproduction broadcasts. I believe that after 27 years of experimenting in Great Britain and the United States of America, television is now sufficiently advanced to enable radio manufacturers in this country to prepare for its introduction. Frequency modulation has been tried successfully for many years in the United States of America and its worth has been proven. I believe that our commercial broadcasting interests are as keen as any in the world, and that at an early date they will be anxious to secure licences for ultra-high powered broadcasting, including frequency modulation, . television and facsimile reproduction. However, I have no doubt that certain individuals who are financially interested in the present medium wave system, under which the number of stations which can operate simultaneously is considerably limited, will wish to see it retained and will resist developments. Talking pictures were a commercial possibility twelve years before they were actually introduced, simply because vested interests controlling silent films brought strong pressure to bear to prevent the new invention being used. Eventually, Warner Brothers, an American film organization, decided to make talking pictures and it was not long before silent films disappeared almost entirely from theatres throughout the world. Vested interests will try their best to prevent the introduction of frequency modulation, television and facsimile reproduction, but when, the new systems are introduced they will spread Iike a bush fire.

It is claimed that high-frequency broadcasting will have only a limited range; but that is not so. Frequency modulation transmission is given unlimited range by the use of small appliances known as boosters, every 36 miles. These contraptions can be manufactured cheaply, and have only to be attached to a pole or some such fixture. They are not connected by wires. This system has been used for telephonic communication right across the American continent, and its use in this country would serve to reduce the isolation of Western Australia and other remote areas of this continent. It will be a great boon to this country. It is not anything new and it should have been here long ago. Had the war not intervened, the broadcasting system of this country would now have been conducted on the ultra-high frequency band.

Senator FOLL:

.- Repeated appeals have been made by honorable senators opposite for a complete alteration of the constitution of the Commonwealth Bank. They have suggested from time to time that the present board should be abolished and that the bank should be under the direction of a governor, who, in turn, should be under the immediate control of the Minister who happens to be the Treasurer. I have no desire to disparage the excellent work done by the late Sir Denison Miller, the original governor of the bank, but we should display a sense of proportion, and remember that the operations of the bank were not nearly so extensive in his time as they are to-day. It is not fair to say that the bank has ceased to be what honorable senators opposite call a people’s bank. I regard it as an excellent institution as a people’s bank. The large number of depositors, both large and small, indicates the extent to which it is availed of by the community, and we may truthfully say that it is a people’s bank. Certainly, in its capacity as

  1. central bank, it exercises control over the private banks, for the purpose of having a steadying effect upon those institutions ; but it would be regrettable if any government heeded the repeated request of some honorable senators opposite and certain honorable members in the House of Representatives, to chance the present constitution of the Commonwealth Bank by abolishing the Commonwealth Bank Board.
Senator FRASER:

– What would have been the present position had the Government not used national security regulations in order to control the private banks ?

Senator FOLL:

– Any government would have found it necessary to do what was done by the present Government in that regard.

Senator FRASER:

– A government which the honorable senator supported did not do that from .1929 to 1931.

Senator FOLL:

– I am advocating the retention of the present constitution of the Commonwealth Bank, as opposed to reverting to control by a governor. The existence of the Commonwealth Bank Board, in addition to a governor, increases the confidence of the people in the bank. The greatness of the bank is determined by the confidence of the community in it. The readiness of the people to deal with the bank, and to trust their deposits with it, thus enabling it to render valuable service to Australia in raising loans and making finance available to the Government for war expenditure, is due to their confidence in it. Ti would not be in the best interests of the Commonwealth to nationalize the banking system, and to give to the Commonwealth Bank power over banking, to the exclusion of the private banks.

Senator FRASER:

– That could be said of the Postal Department.

Senator FOLL:

– There is a great deal of difference between the Commonwealth Bank and a public utility like the Postal. Department. I have always had my accounts with the Commonwealth Bank, and I have witnessed its progress for many years. It is constantly opening new branches, as the demands of the people render them necessary. It is far better to allow the bank to progress steadily by an evolutionary process, and retain the full confidence of the people, as at present, than to take precipitate action to alter its constitution radically. The disaster which overtook the State Savings Bank in New South Wales was due largely to political interference and loss of faith in the institution on the part of the people.

Senator FRASER:

– There was a similar occurrence in Western Australia when the government in power was not a Labour Ministry.

Senator FOLL:

– I lay the blame. for the failure of the State Savings Bank in New South Wales at the door of the Government then in office. Now I am stressing the fact that the failure resulted from the people’s loss of confidence in the institution. We witnessed the spectacle of the bank’s customers being ready to sell their deposits for half of their face value, and many were obliged, unfortunately, to suffer that loss. We should be careful not to do anything that would cause loss of public faith in the Commonwealth Bank. I hope that it will progress even further than it has up to the present, and I have no doubt that the present steady progress will be maintained. Since the bank is doing valuable work for the people, I hope that the Government will not agree to the suggestion that its constitution should be changed, unless every possible investigation be made to ensure that the faith of the people in the bank will not be shaken.

A complaint was made this morning by Senator Amour regarding the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) in connexion with expenditure incurred by the Government during the recent referendum campaign. I have never experienced an election or a referendum campaign where one could approve of all of the advertising done by the various political parties. Over-enthusiastic advertisers often do more damage to their own cause than do their opponents. Some of the most extravagant advertisements were those embodying utterances by Ministers themselves. I regard the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) as an eminent constitutional lawyer. But when he attempted to frighten the people by saying that, unless the proposals of the Government for increased constitutional powers were agreed to, child endowment and pensions would be in danger, knowing full well that they had operated in Australia without legal challenge for many years, he brought the campaign down to a deplorable level. Ministers of the Crown, who held out threats that jobs, pensions, and child endowment were in danger, injured rather than helped their own cause. The result of the referendum clearly disclosed that the people did not “ fall “ for that kind of propaganda. We saw the heads of departments created for post-war rehabilitation purposes making statements as to what the result would be if the referendum proposals were defeated. For the first time, officials who were never expected to enter the political arena did so during that campaign. The Government must abide by the result of the vote of the people and carry on as best it can with its present constitutional powers.

Reference was made by Senator Finlay to the manufacture of a complete motor car in Australia. I may say in passing that his speech kept the debate at a high level, and was full of common sense. We should not be led away by false ideas of what Australia can and cannot do in connexion with great secondary industries. Before making declarations that we could set out on the manufacture of a’ complete motor car in Australia, we should consider what is involved, and what the effect would be on the people who buy and use motor cars. Criticism has been levelled against the previous government because of an arrangement into which it was about to enter with Australian Consolidated Industries Limited for motor car manufacture in this country. At that time, Australia had a huge adverse trade balance with the United States of America. We were selling very little to that country, but were sending large sums of money there in payment for petrol, motor cars, films, and other goods. The situation was becoming serious because of its effect on employment, and, accordingly, the government of the day, of which I was a member, announced to the world that it was prepared to consider proposals for the manufacture of motor cars in Australia. In response to that invitation, no organization of any magnitude, other than that which I have mentioned, submitted a proposal. Senator Finlay referred to this matter as it affects South Australia. I understand that the position is that unless something be done quickly serious unemployment will occur in the motor-body building industry of that State, because General MotorsHoldens Limited and other companies whoso business “is the building of bodies for motor vehicles have practically completed their war contracts. In the near future, the Government must come to a decision in this matter. For the last three or four years, no motor cars have been imported into Australia, and consequently there is a great shortage of such vehicles in this country. In the years immediately before the war, about 86,000 cars were required annually for new owners and to replace vehicles taken off the road, so that it would appear that, if the importation of motor cars were resumed immediately, about 350.000 cars would be required to make good many of the vehicles which should be scrapped. There may be scope for the manufacture of complete units in Australia, but, in my opinion, the Government would be unwise to adopt a policy which would prevent motor cars from being imported.

Senator Keane:

– That would be impracticable.

Senator FOLL:

– I am glad that the Minister for Trade and Customs realizes the position. The public of Australia will not be satisfied to buy only one type of motor car, any more than they would be satisfied to buy the same kind of hat, or suit of clothes. It may be possible to manufacture in this country some of the lighter types of motor vehicles, but it must be remembered that hitherto no manufacturer of motor cars has made complete vehicles.

Senator Keane:

– There are no motor car assembly lines operating in either the United Kingdom or the United States of America for cars for private use.

Senator FOLL:

– ‘Certain units used in motor ear manufacture are installed on cars of various types. I remember that when I visited the works of Lucas and

Company, in England, about eight or nine years ago, I saw electrical equipment being manufactured for cars of many makes. That company then employed about 20,000 workers manufacturing electrical equipment for practically every British make of motor vehicle. Some people are inclined to think that by waving a magic wand it will be possible to commence in Australia the manufacture of complete motor cars, but I repeat that it would be unwise to exclude Imported cars. In my opinion, motor cars have always been far too expensive in this country. Prices here arc out of proportion to the prices of similar cars in the country of origin. I realize that allowances must be made for the rate of exchange, shipping freights, and so on, but even taking those and other items into account the difference is too great. I want to see every person in this country - every man in receipt of wages or salary, however small - able to own a car, because we are Teaching the stage where a motor ‘car Ls becoming as necessary as is a mangle or a wash tub. A point worth remembering is that most of the employment in the motor car industry starts when a car is purchased. That is to say, unless cars travel our roads much of the employment in the industry will disappear. Australia’s (many .excellent roads and the existence of large numbers of country garages are the direct result of the development of motoring among the Australian people. I agree with Senator Finlay that it is essential that the Government shall come to an early decision in this matter. I have no doubt that the Minister for Trade and Customs has already given consideration to it. The motor car industry is probably the greatest employing industry in the world. Next to it, in Australia, I should put the building industry. For many years after the war the building industry will be kept busy, and, therefore, I welcome the announcement of the Government that sales tax will be removed from building materials required for the construction of homes. This industry should be encouraged in every way. I hope that in giving effect to its policy of providing homes for the people the Government will not set out to establish its own house-building organization, but will have regard to the fact that efficient private organizations already exist in the States. My memory goes back to the time when the government of the day engaged in the construction of war service homes. In connexion with that undertaking many grave mistakes were made. I have no doubt that any government which undertakes work of a similar nature in the future will make mistakes, but I admit that on the occasion to which I have referred a big blunder was made. I hope that the Government will content, itself with regulating the supply and cost of materials, and by granting assistance, in the form of finance, to homemakers. One of the worst features of the recent referendum was that the Government forced the people to vote either “ Yes “ or “ No “ to a number of proposals. Had it allowed them to vote on the questions separately, I believe that some of the powers, such as that to control prices, would have been granted. 1 trust that the Government will not attempt to set up a huge organization under its own control to purchase materials in large quantities and to engage in the building trade in a big way, because in such an event I am convinced that results will be similar to those which followed the policy adopted in connexion with war service homes. Much the same can be said on the vexed question of land settlement. I understand that, in the near future, a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers will consider problems associated with land settlement after the war. Although I do not advocate that this matter be left entirely to the State governments, I hope that the Commonwealth Government will realize the wisdom of consulting with various authorities in the areas in which land settlement is contemplated. We hear a good deal, from time to time, about the richness of Australia’s undeveloped land, and of the millions of people which that land would carry, but we must remember that, because of periodical droughts, much of Australia is not suitable for closer settlement. If land holdings are too sim al] the disasters of the past are likely to be repeated in the future. While at Bundaberg, Queensland, during the recent referendum campaign, I attended a meeting of the local branch of the Rotary Club, at which the president suggested that in all matters associated with post-war developmental undertakings in any area persons with a knowledge of the district should be consulted. He thought that if those persons were consulted in connexion with po3t-war schemes many of the mistakes of the past would be avoided. Throughout Australia there are many reputable citizens who would be willing to act in an honorary capacity and to give valuable advice to the Government, and I hope that in its planning the” Government will take heed of their advice and not rely solely on the opinions of men fresh from the universities with academic degrees as practically their only asset. By following this course much trouble will be avoided in the post-war period.

I regret that the subject of immigration also was not given prominence in the budget speech. Although we are still at war, we should immediately prepare plans to increase our population. A great- deal of misunderstanding exists in the minds of some of our Allies concerning the White Australia policy. I refer particularly to the coloured nations who are fighting with us .in this struggle. They regard the White Australia policy as an insult to them. We refuse to allow unrestricted entry to coloured people. That is not because we regard them as racially inferior. The White Australia policy is based on economic grounds. It is clear that if we allowed coloured people unrestricted entry to Australia, the white population would be swamped within a very short period. We should not be afraid to explain the reasons for the White Australia policy. Some people hesitate to say why we believe in it, and what it involves. We maintain the White Australia policy because Australia would not remain our land for very long were we to throw our doors open to migrants of all kinds. In view of the greater birth-rate among coloured people, we should soon find ourselves in a minority in this country were we to abandon our present policy. However, the point I am leading up to is that we must put our bouse in order before we really justify the White Australia policy before the coloured people of the world. I believe that after the horrors of war are passed, great numbers of people in the devastated countries of Europe will want to migrate to this country.

Senator Keane:

– If they are allowed to leave those countries.

Senator FOLL:

– That point must be considered. The Mother Country, with its population of about 40,000,000, will be confronted after the war with a tremendous reconstruction problem, and will not be able to afford to lose many of its people by migration. Consequently, we shall have to look to other countries for migrants. Migration is economically sound from Australia’s point of view. Every migrant, who comes here will be an addition to the population of the Empire; whereas, should we confine migration to our kith and kin, we shall not achieve that advantage. All of us rejoice over the recent turn of events in Finland. It has always been a source of great regret to many of us that the Finnish people have been arraigned against us in this struggle. I have come in contact with many Finns in Queensland, and, invariably, I have found them to be honest, hard-working people. We should encourage more of their compatriots to come to Australia, because they make admirable citizens. In fact, the same observation applies to all the peoples of the northern European countries. For the time being, however, we must establish the quota system in relation to foreign migrants along the line* adopted by the United States of America. At the same time, we must avoid the difficulties which confronted that country before it. established that system. Therefore, we should, as soon as possible, improve our publicity service overseas in order to make known to prospective migrants the attractions offered by Australia. We can learn much from our acquaintance with the members of the armed forces of the United States of America who have come to this country since the outbreak of war. Their names indicate that their forbears migrated to the United States of America from practically every country in Europe. However, with very few exceptions, those men have shown themselves to be 100 per cent. American. That fact proves that when their forbears went to the United States of

America everything was done by the people of that country to encourage them to love America. Whether we like it or not, we must face the fact that in order to hold Australia for the white race we must welcome white migrants to this country, and after their arrival here we must treat them as comrades and fellow Australians and give them no cause whatever to isolate themselves from the Australian community. I realize that considerable opposition will arise to any migration proposals during the early stages of the demobilization period ; but bearing in mind the recent advancement of the coloured races in the use of modern weapons of war and 1.7 pla means of transport and communication, we must set to work to increase our population as rapidly as possible.

I was glad to hear Senator Amour, and other honorable senators, deplore the broadcast recently of views expressed by Dr. Norman Haire in advocacy of birth control. I did not hear that broadcast, but I have heard sufficient about it to endorse the criticism uttered by those honorable senators. Instead of facilitating the dissemination of birth-control propaganda, we should be doing our utmost to encourage people to have larger families. Only yesterday, I read in a book published by an American war correspondent who spent many years in Japan, in which he pointed out that although we have been led to believe that Japan with a population of 100,000,000, is already over-populated, the leaders of Japan have set a population target for Japanese in Asia of 400,000,000. The author of that book also points out that one method by which the Japanese authorities encourage the increase of population is to grant loans to couples upon their marriage; and a proportion of the loan is cancelled in respect of every child born to that couple,, the total loan being liquidated on the birth of the fourth child. This Government could very well give consideration to a proposal of that kind. I was particularly interested in that book because many of us have been led to believe that Japan has become rather concerned at its overpopulation, whereas the Japanese leaders believe that the more Japanese who are born the better it will be for the world at large. Japan has adopted the policy in all the territories over which it has gained control during the last ten or twelve years to despatch large numbers of families in the wake of its conquering armies. It has followed that policy in China. Immediately the Japanese soldiers cleared the way they were followed by large numbers of civilians, who immediately settled in the conquered territory and took over control of the trade and commerce of those areas. Thus, Japan has built up its population not only in Japan itself but also in all territories under its control. I agree with the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) that it is only wishful thinking to say. that the war, particularly in the Pacific, is now as good as over. We must still undertake a tremendous lot of hard fighting and hard work before we shall” defeat the Japanese. W« must remember that the Japanese are concentrating on the mainland of China. Consequently, although we are recapturing many of the islands overrun by the Japanese in the early stages of the war, the Japanese will remain a powerful force on the mainland of China. Yet, the United Nations are as much obliged to liberate China as any other territory occupied by the Japanese. Statements’ that the war is now almost as good as over must be countered by warnings of the kind uttered by the Prime Minister during the last few days.

The Government seems to regard postwar rehabilitation as something which must be taken up entirely by the Government itself. I believe that post-war reconstruction must, as far as possible, be the job of the individual, whether he be engaged in business, or a profession, or as an employee in industry. Instead of increasing the burden of taxation on the individual and particularly on companies, the Government should allow companies, during prosperous periods, to reserve funds to enable them to make their individual contribution in the general work of post-war reconstruction. There is a terrific task ahead of many of the great business organizations of Australia in relation to their post-wai activities. Industries which have been converted to meet war requirements find that much of their machinery has become quite unsuited to their former methods of production. New types of machinery and, in many cases, new types of men will be required, because those hitherto employed have been engaged on more or less standardized war production. Just as we see the railways, tramways and other government activities building up certain reserves to be used for making good those shortages which have occurred during the great stress of war work, so the Government should allow private industries themselves to set aside a reasonable measure of reserves for their own post-war rehabilitation, because rehabilitation is not a task which belongs entirely to the Government. Industries themselves should be given an opportunity to provide for it, thus creating a great avenue of employment which will be open when the demobilization of the forces takes place. The Government, however, seems to cencentrate entirely on the creation of new boards, with new individuals upon them, for the purpose of advising it upon government postwar reconstruction. We want firms and individuals themselves to have a substantial measure of relief from high taxation, so that at as early a date as possible, both individuals and companies may be able to assist greatly, as they are, undoubtedly, prepared to do, in the community’s post-war reconstruction problems. 1 submit these proposals to the Government for its consideration. There is very little that we can discuss in the budget itself. It is very similar to the budget presented to us last year, inasmuch as the bulk of the expenditure which is required for war purposes is quite unavoidable. From time to time suggestions are made to the Government that extravagance is growing in certain departments. I believe that that is so, but I recognize that the Government has still to provide for a huge war expenditure, and that it must have the money. I hope, however, that it will not look all the time to government departments to overcome its post-war problems, but will give greater encouragement to individuals who attempt to rehabilitate them.selves.

Senator McKENNA:

.: - I have read the budget speech of the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) - which is the first that has been presented since I have been a member of this chamber - with a great deal of interest. I think it is safe to say that there is no governmental activity which does not have its effect on the finances of the country, and this view I find confirmed in a perusal of the Treasurer’s speech, in the course of which, he has held up to us, as it were, a mirror in which we find, in retrospect, a record of governmental activities for the past twelve months, and see, in prospect, a foreshadowing of the Government’s future legislative activities. It would be well if every elector in Australia who wishes to obtain a bird’seye view of governmental activities read the Treasurer’s speech. I congratulate him upon its brevity, its clarity, and the power and scope of the speech. I desire also to commend the Treasury officials, whose efficiency has produced the voluminous documents which accompany the- budget, and which enable the Government’s proposals to be brought before Parliament so early in the financial year.

In the course of his review of governmental activities the Treasurer, has drawn attention to the mobilization of man-power in the country. In his statement that, of people between the ages of 16 and 60 years, 71 per cent., at least, are either fighting or working, he draws a very fine and powerful picture of the war effort of Australia generally. In the remaining 29 per cent, of persons between those two ages, there are married women with families, children still at school and invalids. Despite that fact, it has been announced that the reduction of the fighting services in the past year amounted to 25,000, ana that munitions worker? were reduced by 18,000. making a total reduction of both services of 43,000 in twelve months. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin), in his announcement on the subject, has intimated that there will be further reductions in both those directions by reason of the fact that Australia is called upon to provide additional man-power to increase the supply of foodstuffs for use by the services in the South- West Pacific area.

The outstanding impression made on my mind by the budget and its proposals. is the colossal figures with which it deals. On looking through .the document I find that war expenditure for the past year was £544,000,000. For the current year the Treasurer foreshadows that the expenditure on war alone will be £505,000,000. Lend-lease

Mid. from America reached the sum of $741 ,000,000 for the year ended 30th June, 1943, and we may be sure that the figure has been very considerably increased in the interim. Reciprocal aid to the United States of America from Australia amounted last year to £110,000,000, and the Treasurer believes that it will amount to approximately the same figure in the current year. Last year taxation from all sources amounted to £271,000,000, and income from other sources to £38,000,000, making a total of £309,000,000 for the year. Of that amount £169,000,000 was diverted directly to war expenditure. I (mention these figures merely to draw attention to the size of the sums dealt with by the Treasurer, and I think I may conclude that portion of my speech with the rather staggering statement that the total public debt of Australia amounts to £2,367,000,000, of which £1,476,000,000 is owed by the Commonwealth and £S91,000,000 by the States.

Apart from the fact that the Government has had the responsibility for the ex;enditure of those huge sums, it has boon faced also with very great problems. The first, of course, is the vigorous prosecution of the war. Then the Government is concerned with matters of foreign policy, which are of great delicacy under present-day conditions. There is also the matter of production, allied with which are the difficulties of nin n- power ; there arc the problems of war organization of industry, price control, stabilization, rationing, and, last but not least, post-war reconstruction, which has been intensified and made more complicated by the fact that the referendum proposals have been rejected by the people. The thought which emerges from the ‘ consideration of the matters that I have put to the Sen a to is that the electors of Australia have reason to be proud that they have in this Parliament men capable nl” directing these huge financial under takings, men chosen by themselves, and able to handle these vast problems.

It is well to remember also, that, with taxation at the present high level, Ministers, by way of remuneration, receive a net return which is completely out of proportion with both the services which they render to the nation, and the demands that are made upon them personally. It is false economy to pay to Ministers, who have the responsibilities which fall upon the members of a war Government, a net amount which leaves them embarrassed with personal and domestic financial problems when they are concerned with these major affairs of state. It is obvious that the remuneration is not the attraction to Ministers, and that here we find a degree of national service of which ‘the electors should be made aware. To the list that was furnished by Senator Grant of those who render service without the inspiration of profit-making, I add the names of Commonwealth Ministers of any party which happens to be in power during war years. Having regard to the size and development of Australian financial problems, I feel that this is a matter that may well be taken up by this Parliament in post-war years. 1 have certainly made no reference to Ministers personally on this subject, because I feel that they would, perhaps, not welcome a suggestion that they should be placed upon a different footing from the rest of the community in war-time, when there is a heavy burden of taxation to which all of us are subject, but I think that both Ministers and private members of Parliament are worked particularly hard, and that the time has arrived when either private members should receive a remuneration adequate to enable them to employ paid secretarial assistance, or Parliament should provide that type of assistance for them. I say that, of course, after only a brief opportunity for observation of the working of the National Parliament, but. I have seen sufficient of the activities of members, particularly those with large electorates, to recognize that the time has arrived when something along those line? should he done.

A further thought that emerges from the debate is that the Opposition has congratulated the Treasurer upon the budget proposals. The Opposition recognizes, as in fact we all do, that there can be no great relief from taxation under present conditions. Its criticism was really concentrated upon certain matters of local administration, and I suggest that it was more important for what it omitted than for what it embraced. I draw the attention of the Senate to the fact that there has nOt been one word of criticism of the conduct by the Government concerning the actual hostilities in which Australians have been engaged, and, of course, the activities of servicemen sent from this country are not undertaken without the prior concurrence of the Government Again there has been no criticism from anybody of the part that the Government has played in allied global strategy. These two matters are of such vital consequence to Australia at war, that all others, important though they may he, fade into comparative insignificance. I suggest to the Senate that the present Labour Government has been tested in the crucible of total war, which has been carried right up to the shores of Australia, and it has not been found wanting. I venture to say that its war performance will leave upon the pages of Australian history an indelible record of which every Australian may be proud. I also draw attention to the fact that the war administration of this country in recent years has not been marked by public scandals such as those which occurred during the last war. Honorable senators may remember matters such as the Randwick wireless station scandal, the Kidman-Mayo food contract frauds, and the Howell Price frauds, which were very much in the news and in the public eye during the last war. Happily, up to date, there has been a complete absence of anything of that kind in the course of this war.

Despite its preoccupation with the war, the Government has found time to concern itself with social services, and to ensure a greater degree of economic security for the people of thi3 country. The Government’s record, and its proposals in regard to this matter, are set out in the budget speech under the heading “Estimated Expenditure (other than war) 1944-45 “. Although Senator Aylett has drawn attention to some of these matters, the list is imposing, and I think it would be well if I were to draw brief attention to others. Provision is made for maternity allowances, funeral benefits for invalid and old-age pensioners, and for unemployment, sickness, and pharmaceutical benefits, to operate from the 1st January, 1945. Invalid and old-age pensions have been stabilized at 27s. a week. Special allowances also are payable to the wives and unendowed children of invalid pensioners, and provision is made for widows’ pensions. The Treasurer foreshadows hospital benefits based on the payment by the Commonwealth of a subsidy of 6s. a day in respect of inpatients, and also a campaign for the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis. Under the heading “ Price Stabilization “ light is thrown upon the Government’s concern for the primary producer. The system of subsidies, marketing schemes, and guaranteed prices, set out in detail, provides for the primary producer of Australia a measure of economic security which he has never previously known. The Government’s policy in regard to that matter amounts to a clear recognition that the primary producer cannot pay adequate wages to his employees unless he is assured of a reasonable return for his products. It indicates, also, that the Government is not concerned with sectional interests, and I have no doubt that everything possible will be done for secondary industries in the post-war period as soon as circumstances permit.

The taxation concessions set out in the budget have met with general approval by all parties. They include more liberal provisions in. respect of medical and dental expenses and the extension of dependants’ deductions in respect of children over sixteen years of age who are undergoing full-time education. However, to my mind the most important concession is that relating to deferred expenditure on maintenance. This provision is fair and is a sound business proposition. It will bring into the Treasury interest-free mon:y, and at the same time it will make spending power available to the community at a time when the need for absorbing labour services will be at its height. This concession relates only to incomeproducing property and plant, and I believe that the amounts that will be paid into the Treasury will total many millions of pounds, and that even in the current period the rebate of tax will amount to several millions. 1 do not envy the task of the Commissioner of Taxation in the post-war .period. He will have to ensure that the money is expended entirely upon repairs and maintenance work, and not upon capital improvements such as new dams, fences and similar improvements. If this fund be allowed to accumulate for several years, it may be that the entire amounts contributed will not be required solely for maintenance and repairs, and I am afraid that some individuals will be tempted, at least, to expend some money on capital improvements, whilst charging the total expenditure to maintenance for taxation purposes. The task of the Commissioner of Taxation will be difficult. I suggest that any moneys not expended on maintenance should be charged at the high taxation rates obtaining to-day. That would he a fair provision. One honorable senator suggested that interest should be paid upon the deferred maintenance payments. Apparently, the honorable senator believes that these people should be allowed to eat their cake and have it too. The concession is based upon the assumption both by the Commissioner of Taxation and by the taxpayer, that the money has been expended on maintenance, and that is the basis upon which it is allowed as a taxation deduction. It would not be right for a taxpayer to have his deferred maintenance contribution treated as having been spent, and therefore allowable as a taxation deduction, and at the same time, have that amount regarded as money still in his possession, capable of earning interest. That is not a reasonable proposal, and I have no hesitation in saying that if taxpayers bad the option of lodging money with the Treasurer ut current interest rates or obtaining a taxation concession in respect of it, they would prefer the latter course.

The proposals to allow expenditure on alterations to plant and machinery and on the demolition of air raid precautions structures as taxation deductions are both steps in the right direction. Also, the removal of sales tax from building materials used in house construction is something with which honorable senators cannot quarrel. Although the Treasurer intimates that this concession will afford relief from tax to an amount of £500,000 in the present year, in the post-war period it will mean many millions of pounds to home-builders and will be a great stimulus to the building industry.

The more important part that Australia is playing and is about to play in the international sphere is indicated, peculiarly enough, under the heading “ Other Financial Matters “. I applaud the action taken to bring about a reduction of the rate of interest on trading bank overdrafts from 5 per cent, for 4$ per cent. The proposed contribution of £12,000,000 to Unrra, and the possibility of a payment to the International Food and Agricultural Organization, are evidence of Australia’s widening role in international affairs.

The budget concludes on what I consider to be a particularly happy note. lt expresses gratitude for the valour and devotion to duty of members of our fighting services, and foreshadows the payment to them of a war gratuity. I am sure that not only members of this chamber, but also all parliamentarians, will agree with the suggestion that the details of such a proposal should be determined by a parliamentary committee, presumably one in which the Senate will participate.

I should like now to say a few words upon the recent referendum. The proposals put before the people represented Australia’s most ambitious attempt at constitutional reform. The referendum was defeated by 340,000 votes, and one must accept the result as the decision of the people. However, it is worthy of note that a majority of members of the fighting forces were in favour of the referendum proposals. The reasons for the defeat of the referendum are many, and I do not propose to embark upon a discussion of all of them. However, I shall refer to a number of them, although it may be that the ones to which I shall direct attention were not predominant. My purpose in dealing with’ this matter is tol lead tip’ tb two recommendations which I sha’ll make. At the outset, I must say tHat I regard the referendum result as having Keen’ reasonably close’. It is reasonable to assume that if 1T0,000 people who voted “ No “ had voted “ Yes “, :i majority of States would also have favoured the proposals and the decision would have been reversed. It was Udt easy for the average elector to make up his mind in regard to airy of the proposals, even if ho could under-, stand them. Each bf them had legal, political, SOCIal, economic, arid practical implications, and it was most difficult for the ordinary citizen tb survey them thoroughly and quietly, whilst his ears were filled witu propaganda from both sides. Incidentally, there were all the distractions of war to prevent concentration upon the issues. In the course of an intensive campaign which I conducted in Tasmania, I was literally appalled at the Jack of understanding of the proposals on the part of a great number of electors, and also by the lack of understanding of the simplest constitutional issues. I believe that not one elector in 5,((6’6 in Australia has read the ‘Commonwealth Constitution, and I am sure that very few people have a clear perception of the distribution of powers. between the States and the Commonwealth. To illustrate that fact, I shall quote from » letter which I received recently from a friend who was actively concerned1 with the referendum campaign, lie said -

I was returning officer ffor this area, and 1 would say “5 per cent. oof th’e voters had no ‘Mea of what the vote meant oor any knowledge ‘of the subject, matter ‘of any of the points at issue.

I should not be prepared to go quite so far as that, but even if we acknowledge that 10 per cent, of the people who voted did hot understand the proposals, w’e Srri ve at a figure which is far greater than the majority aachieved by the “ No “ advocates throughout Australia. I believe that that lack of understanding was one of the major causes of the defeat of the referendum. If one examines the psychological aspect, one finds that people who ‘do not understand a a proposal are usually not prepared to take the positive step required to vote “ Yes “, and so they take the negative course and vote “ No “. Fear of the unknown iscommon to every one of us. If any honorable senator has ever seen an; elderly person Using the telephone for the first time he will grasp what I mean, by fear of the unknown. It is something that affects Us all, and I consider that it played an important part in the defeat DE the referendum.

Whilst analysing the results of the referendum, I should like to say that there Whs h not inconsiderable body of electors who believed themselves, and not the State parliaments, to be the repository of powers, and who were Completely unable to resist the opportunity to increase their own feeling of self-importance by saying “ No “ to such an august body as the Commonwealth Parliament. That too, was a consideration in the defeat of the referendum.

The referendum was another instance of history repeating itself. Except on very few issues, all referendum proposals in this country have been defeated. The factors that I have mentioned have had a great, deal more to do with the result than the propaganda of either side. I view with a good deal of alarm the postwar period when there will be no rationing, no organized marketing, no price control, and no price stabilization. That will foe a period of real danger which should be avoided at all 00. t, particularly in the immediate post-war years. Many people who voted “ No “ on the 19th August last, are now a little dismayed at lbc result of the decision of the people. The tumult and noise having died down, i hoy can .=ce danger when it is too late, Even at tin’s stage, I am prepared to suggest that if the vote were taken again, and if ‘the “No” side won, its majority Would not be so great as it was du the last, occasion. There seems to bc an agreement, between all parties that sortie degree of rationing is desirable, and some measure of price control in the post-war years when the National Security Act will not operate.

T have, embarked on a discussion of the referendum, not so much to hold a post-mortem on the result, and certainly hot so much to ‘traverse the issues covered during tthe campaign, as to see what lessons mmay bc drawn, and “to discbrer whether We may get any profit from a consideration of the problem. My view is that the broad lesson df the referendum is that it has displayed a defect in the educational system. We have failed to educate children f6r citizenship. The present system concentrates oh training children for individual careers, and fails to draw attention to the fact that they live, not for themselves, but as members of society, in which they have responsibilities as well as rights, and that there is a Useful sphere of community service for them. If we want them to accept their responsibilities, they must be acquainted with their responsibilities. My recommendation is that a remedy would be found in a compulsory study of civics in all of the schools of Australia. If that were done, it would not only be a useful experiment in the interest of young Australians) but it would also enable them to realize that they a re controlled by systems of government from the time of their birth till they cease to exist. That basic knowledge would have advantages, but it would also suggest lines of thought and study which the child could follow on leaving school. It would at least let him know that there is an interesting field of knowledge that could bp explored, and it would provide him with means of exploring it intelligently. It would ais” <-r«ate loyalty to his municipality, to his State, and to the Australian nation. If wi> want to build those qualities of citizenship, we can make the quickest progress bv commencing vith the child.

Honorable senators may ask how the Commonwealth Parliament could help to bring about that result. I suggest that tins Parliament will soon be approached by the States for grants to assist in education. In Tasmania, it has been decided that the school leaving age shall bt- raised from fourteen years to sixteen years, and the change will become operative when the war ends. That will involve greatly increased expenditure on education. There is talk in other State* of a similar increase of the school leaving age. If this Parliament decided to make grants for this purpose, they should bc conditioned by a provision for the study of civics a? a compulsory subject. Whilst I am urging that children should he dealt with first, be cause I believe that the quickest progress would be achieved in that direction, I am not unmindful of the need for adult education in the same sphere, and I believe that the referendum campaign Was df considerable educational Value ;to the people generally. This Parliament might well foster and develop schemes for adult education. Many people in the community were not aWare Until recently that they should take a close interest in the activities of government, but the impact of war restrictions and the personal effect of them in the homes Of the people has led them to realize that governments play a vital part in their affairs. They are becoming more politically minded day by day, and that tendency ought to be fostered by this Parliament. I join with Senator Finlay in expressing the hope that the Government will not abandon all thought of forking necessary constitutional changes, but; will embark on a long-range policy of educating the people regarding the need for them.

I shall speak comparatively briefly on one aspect of national health. That brings me to the consideration, first, of the constitutional position with regard to the matter. When ohe refers to the constitution, and looks for the basis upon which health is dealt With by the Commonwealth Parliament, one finds nothing that even remotely touches public health except the power with regard to quarantine. I suggest to the Senate that quarantine itself does not enable this Parliament to embark on the extensive field of health activities on which it has ventured. Yet, we have a Commonwealth Health Department Which is con.cerned with matters such as national fitness and the National Health and Medical Research Council. The department has established research institutes.including tropical institutes, in some parts of Australia. Perhaps its most important activity relates to the serum laboratories at Royal Park, which have been established for a quarter of a century, r regard the establishment of those laboratories &fe one of the most important acts of this Parliament in the sphere of health. We hear little Of them. and that is because they are a paying proposition. They are a very successful commercial venture. They make all kinds of sera and vaccines, and even now are engaged in the production of penicillin, enabling quantities of it Co be distributed for the benefit of the civil population. Those laboratories have not only forced other products in chat field off the Australian market, but they have also captured the -New Zealand market, and supplied their products to India and the East. They are one of the trading concerns in the Commonwealth of which more should be heard. Probably this trading activity has very little constitutional foundation, and is a conspicuous example of a successful governmental activity in the trading sphere. [ draw attention to these matters in order to show that, despite an apparent lack of constitutional power on the subject of health, thi3 Parliament has, nevertheless, embarked on very wide health activities. Presumably, they are justified under section 81 of the Constitution, which provides the appropriation power. The impression nhat I formed in coming into this Parliament is that the appropriation power is perennially as elastic as the. defence power becomes in war-time. It seems to embrace all kinds of activities for which no other constitutional foundation can be found.

Senator Sampson:

– It has been well stretched in the past.

Senator McKENNA:

– I agree with the honorable senator, and T dare say that it will be well stretched in the future. It is profitless, at this stage, to embark on a legal dissertation on the subject, but, as the Senate well knows, there are two views as to how far this Parliament may go under that appropriation power. The first is that the Parliament is restricted solely to those matters in relation to which power has been conferred upon it, and alternatively to the other proposition that the Parliament can do anything it likes with its own moneys. To express a personal view I’ favour the earlier interpretation as more likely to bo the one adopted by the High Court, should the matter ever come seriously before that body. It may be that questions of national health are of such consequence to the future of this country and have such a close relation to defence that some constitutional authority over them may be found in the defence provision. Of course, had the proposals submitted at the referendum been accepted, this Parliament would not have been in any better position to deal with this matter than it is to-c’ay, because the power sought was to be exercised merely in co-operation with the States. That could be done to-day without any doubt. The only difference is this: if the referendum proposals had been agreed to this Parliament would have been in a better position to take a lead in the matter rather than follow behind the States with their, perhaps, six divergent policies.

I was interested in what Senator Foll said about the need for increased population, and to bear the theory developed by him on the subject of immigration. The need for more population in Australia is generally recognized in this country, and a great deal of concern i.c felt at our falling birth-rate. Experience has shown that reliance upon immigration alone is insufficient. Our experience in that direction has not been particularly happy. It gets back to this: that substantially we must rely upon ourselves if we are to obtain the population that is so greatly needed. The very continuance of our existence as a nation depends on that. There Ls no civil matter which has a more urgent claim on the attention of the Government than has the subject of population. As recently as March of this year a royal commission on population was set up by the British Parliament. In an address to the Royal College of Physicians on the 2nd March, 1944, the British Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, said -

We have to-day announced the names of the Royal Commission on Population. The destiny of our country, which after all has rendered notable services to mankind in peace and latterly in war, depends upon an everflowing fountain of healthy children, born into what we trust will be a broader society and a less distracted world. Science, now so largely perverted to destruction, must raise its glittering shield not only over the children but over the mothers, not only over the family but over the home. In all this field again you must be active. Your services will bc given with devotion, and your voice will bc heard with respect.

The royal commission on population consisted of 15 members, of whom six were mothers; of four men members two were the fathers of fairly large families. I suggest that this Parliament also should set up a royal commission to explore the field of infant and child welfare, population, birth control, abortion, and allied subjects, which are vital to Australia The Government proposes to expend a considerable sum of money in subsidizing the States in health matters. ‘Should this Parliament decide that it has not the constitutional authority to embark primarily in the field of infant and maternal welfare, I suggest that grants to the States ought to be subject to the following conditions : - That maternity hospitals shall be established not only in the cities, but also in every rural centre so that all mothers may have the necessary facilities; that such hospitals be equipped with the most modern antiseptic devices and every comfort for the mother; that they be adequately staffed with efficient personnel ; that they provide facilities for both pre-natal and post-natal treatment of mother and child ; and that facilities be provided for a mother to convalesce for a reasonable period. I suggest, also, that it is necessary to impose a condition that help for the mother be provided in the home during her confinement and also for a reasonable period after that. If such a royal commission were set up, I consider that its members should include, in addition to experts, women trained in welfare work, so that the views of mothers and potential mothers may be given due weight. The commission should investigate causes, set standards for hospitals, determine the standard of training for nurses, and inquire into the other matters that I have mentioned. In my opinion, the National Health and Medical Research Council is not the proper body to conduct these investigations, because it consists almost entirely of experts, and the views of women generally might be lost sight of. Finally, in this’ connexion, I have to say that Australians generally must adopt a different outlook in connexion with both marriage and motherhood. The urge to reproduce one’s kind is one of the primal instincts of man planted deep in his nature by the Almighty, Who has provided a proper outlet for that urge in marriage. I suggest that children are the high purpose of marriage - the link that binds the parents together. I noted with regret that in Hobart last week there were only 14 children of 16 marriages which were dissolved in one day by divorce. 1 regard that as only one manifestation, although a very clear one, of the mistaken selfishness that is abroad in Australia to-day. There must be a change of heart and outlook on the subjects of marriage and the raising of children. In my opinion, no government action will achieve much until motherhood is regarded by Australians generally as not only an honour to the woman herself or the fulfilment of her duty to her family and her country, but also ae bringing her an unlimited dignity arising from the fact that in bringing new life into the world she is co-operating in the most intimate way with the Creator in the great miracle of creation. When Australians look upon the mother as the handmaid of the Lord, then, and only then, will women- be regarded with the respect, the reverence, the care, and the consideration that are their due.

I wish now to refer to the plight of certain prisoners of war in the hands of the Japanese. Communication with many of these men is exceedingly difficult, and no one can be sure that communications addressed to them do, in fact, reach them. In some cases, the men who are away have made wills in favour of their wives, and even had they not done so, their wives would derive benefit out of their intestacy should they be reported dead. When 20,000 men are involved, it is inevitable that a number will die, if only from natural causes, during the period of their captivity. Several cases have come to my notice in which the wives of these men either have committed adultery or are, in fact, living in adultery. Even if the men be advised of that fact, they cannot do anything about it-; they cannot petition for divorce; they cannot alter their wills; they cannot make any effective testamental disposition. In some cases there are children, the products of these marriages. I ask the Senate to envisage the position of a prisoner of war whose wife is living in adultery. Although he cannot do anything about it, his adulterous wife may benefit from his estate. If he could do something in the matter, he might divorce his wife and dispossess her. I suggest that should a man die while in the hands of the enemy, and if there be clear proof of his wife’s adultery, she should not be allowed to benefit from his estate, whether by will or otherwise, unless she is in a position to set out plainly that the husband either connived at, conduced to, or condoned the adultery in some way. The position would then be that, if there were children of the marriage, they would benefit, or if there were no children ;the next of kin - either the man’s brothers and sisters or his father and mother - would benefit. This is a matter which may well concern a large number of men in the services before the war ends, and therefore I ask the Government to -rake note of my remarks, and to deal with the matter simply by the issue df £ national service regulation. This is a matter which badly needs rectification.

Senator COURTICE (Queensland) 4.10]. - I regret that more senators were not in the chamber to listen to <the interesting address delivered by ^senator McKenna, who set out some of the responsibilities and obligations which this country must face in the future. [ endorse what the honorable senator said when referring to the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley). It is remarkable that, lifter five years of war, there has not been during this debate one word of adverse criticism of the budget as a budget, or of the methods which the Treasurer proposes to adopt to meet the situation confronting Australia. It will in? appreciated by all thoughtful people that when a country of only about 7,000,000 people sets out on the great task of financing a stupendous war effort, and baa accomplished as much as Australia has accomplished, it has a remarkable achievement to its credit. In Hie circumstances confronting Australia, the Treasurer has adopted the only possible policy. We have been told repeatedly < bat the limit has been reached in faxing the people, and we know that, in addition to imposing heavy taxes, the Government has asked the people to contribute by way of loans in order that money required for the war effort may bc provided. Unfortunately, however, (heavy taxes and generous contributions to war loans still leave a dangerous gap, which has to he bridged by what is known as central bank credit. Senator Foll suggested that private enterprise should be allowed to set aside reserves to meet circumstances which will arise after the war, hut he did not show how that could be done. He said that taxation was already at the maximum, and he repeated his earlier warnings about the use of central bank credit, but he did not indicate how the gap could be bridged other than by the means which the Treasurer proposes. We are all agreed that extensive bank credit should not bv resorted to if it can bo avoided, but the Government is sorely taxed to finance the war, and no other course seems to be open to it. If it were possible to lighten the burden on the. people, particularly the family man. the Government would be only too happy to do so. I do not propose to deal with the result, of the referendum except to say that I believe that many people, including some honorable senators opposite, who opposed the Government’s proposals are already beginning to realize that they made a mistake. One of the most regrettable features of the campaign was the fact that some members of this Parliament urged die people not to entrust to the Common wealth Parliament jio we rs which arc essential to enable it to deal effectively with post-war problems. However, so far ns the referendum is concerned, we ‘can leave the post-mortem to a later date. I agree with Senator McKenna that we shall preserve our democracy only by educating our citizens, particularly our younger people, to their civic responsibilities. Only an intelligent people can enable a. democracy to function as it should.

We shall not be able to attain economic security in this country until we considerably increase our present population. The Government’s first step in dealing with that problem should be to encourage family life. I should like to see the Government make it unprofitable not to have families. We shall not be able to undertake the responsibilities of nationhood, or develop this country fully, unless we increase our population. As a first step, the Government should grant as much relief ae possible from tas to taxpayers witu families, and enable the youth of this country to marry secure in the knowledge that they will not find it beyond their means to maintain a home and a family, so long a3 they aru prepared to work to the ;best of their ability. Therefore, the Government should establish liberal social services. The Treasurer is to be complimented on the fact that, notwithstanding the present high rates of tax and the Government’s heavy war commit’ ments, he has been able to provide for better social services. Honorable senators opposite have not criticized the budget proposals for financing the Government’s expenditure; and, being at a loss in that respect, they have indulged in .party politics generally. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) criticized the Government’s handling of the man-power problem. I repeat that when the Curtin Government assumed office it was confronted with very great difficulties, chief amongst which was the problem of switching over from a peacetime to a war-time economy. In such a transition, it was inevitable that anomalies would arise. In many cases,, perhaps, the Government’s man-power policy could have been more sympathetically interpreted by those ©barged with administering it. I do not blame the- Government in that respect, because I know its intentions. However, the implementation of’ the Government’s policy WaS: on-tnts’.ed to officers, who, perhaps, in many cases, did not faithfully interpret the Government’s intentions. Thus arose many anomalies which could have bren a voided.

The Sunday Telegraph, Sydney, in its last issue published a list of profits made by companies during the past year, which showed that, despite the present record rate of tax. half a. dozen companies made record profits during that period. All of us recall that a few years ago we thought we should be lucky to survive the war with what we stood up in. However, despite the difficulties arising from the war many people are enjoying the greatest prosperity they have yet experienced.

Much loose talk is indulged in regarding; schemes for settling ex-servicemen on the land. Should those who abandoned rural pursuits during the war return to primary production, the problem of land settlement as a means of rehabilitating ex-service personnel will be most difficult. In such circumstances we shall find it necessary to increase our exports of primary products, Therefore, the Government, before undertaking any scheme of land settlement, must ensure adequate markets at payable prices for our commodities* Having such a small population, we must, as a primary producing country, export a substantial proportion of our primary produces; but, so far as overseas markets are concerned, we. cannot control prices. Nevertheless, it is the duty of the Government to guarantee to all primary producers such prices’ as will give to them a standard of living comparable with that of those engaged in secondary industries. I again warn the Government that, should it undertake schemes of land settlement along the lines” advocated by honorable senators opposite, it will only make trouble for itself. I have in my hand an article which shows that similar problems confront other countries iti this respect. It reveals that. before the war over 5,000,000 people were engaged in primary production in the United State.* of America, whereas, to-day, only 1,!)00,000 people are so engaged. At the same time, owing to mechanization and the adoption of improved farming methods, production has been increased substantially. Indeed, the authorities in the United States of America ave discouraging people from going on the land. The article states’ - . . After’ the last war both countries (Australia and America) settled veteran’*-, ma’ny of them former white-collar workers? on plots of land, with disastrous effects.

If the effect’s were disastrous after the last; war, they will be doubly so after this war.; for the following; reasons: Mechanization of farming has increased crop yields while reducing necessary man-power. . . .

We have had that experience in Australia. Although marl-power in rural industries hae been considerably reduced many tff those industries have doubled’ their’ production. Thus, mechanization together with the adoption of improved farming: practice, is revolutionizing production. This factor must’ VW carefully considered before the Government embarks upon any scheme of land settlement. The article continues -

  1. . In America, the Administration recognizes this, and has started a campaign t,o discourage nien from taking up farms after the war.

The Government points out that with 1,000,000 workers withdrawn from agriculture, the yield has been much higher than in pre-war years. At the moment, America has a two-years’ food surplus, and is storing egg powder in caves .because all refrigerated storage space has been taken up by fresh eggs and meat.

The situation is pretty grim. For twelve months after the war, America can get along fairly well by sending huge amounts of food to European areas, but after that the authorities can see nothing but trouble for the small farmer.

They point out that the day of the small holding is finished. The Russian .plan ot collectivized farms has pointed the way to a new agricultural era. . . .

I agree with those views. Great danger exists in any haphazard system of land settlement. At the same time, Australia must be developed; and with our small population, we shall find it extremely difficult to attain economic stability. For that reason, I again deplore the decision of the people in rejecting the Government’s referendum proposals, because, in doing so, they have denied to the Commonwealth Parliament the power essential to enable it to establish orderly marketing, and to stabilize prices. It will be criminal to settle people on the land without taking all precautions to ensure to them a payable market. We must always remember that a product is of little value until it is sold. Any confusion arising in primary production owing to our inability to market surplus commodities, will rapidly adversely affect our economy as a whole. Our experience in primary production during the war has been a revelation. I repeat that, notwithstanding a reduction of man-power in primary industries, production in many of those industries has been greatly increased. The only remedy is to ensure that the primary industries have a market for what they produce. Secondary industries, of course, can make articles, for a time at any rate, which do not deteriorate when kept in stock, but that cannot be. done with perishable products. Sufficient attention has not been paid by previous governments to this aspect of our economy, but I feel sure that the present Government, if it has the power, will consider the needs of the primary producers when dealing with world affairs, including world markets. Here again I regret that, owing to the rejection of the referendum proposals, the Government will not have full power to do these things when meeting the representatives of other nations. I fear that we shall have the spectacle of our representatives, when asked what they can do to further trade relations with other countries, unable to give any definite undertaking. This is a matter of tremendous importance, because all the loose talk and wishful thinking about settling people on the land can have no practical result unless we can secure stability in marketing and a standard of prices commensurate with the energy employed in production.

Very little has been said so far about, the Treasurer’s policy of financing the war. When the nation realizes what has really been done by the Government in that direction, many of those people who are greatly interested in monetary reforms and think that we are on the wrong track will be surprised to find that, in a time of great difficulty, the Government has made sure that no undue profits were made at the expense of the people. It has been a great task to direct the energy of the nation to war and at the same time to prevent banking institutions and. private enterprise generally from using the resources of this country in a manner which they might think justified, simply for profit-making purposes. The Government has used to the very maximum Australia’s resources in the war effort at a time when it was imperative to do so.

We sometimes hear criticism, particularly from honorable senators opposite, to the effect that the Government discourages private enterprise. Private enterprise has had a fairly good run and has proved beyond all doubt that it is not capable of solving some of the problems which must be dealt with, not only in this country but also in others. Consequently, even honorable senators opposite, when they have been in office, have found it necessary, to some extent, to interfere with private enterprise. I do not believe that it is capable of undertaking the task which confronts this country so far as developmental work is concerned. I am sure that Senator Leckie will admit that it would be foolish to expect it, for instance, to establish large water conservation or irrigation works so as to bring about stability of production. Those are essential works which must be undertaken by the Government, and particularly, in my opinion, by the National Government. “We have not at any time indicated that we would discourage private enterprise. I have heard from honorable senators opposite from time to time criticism of Queensland’s State enterprises, going back perhaps a quarter of a century. They do not mention the state of affairs which existed before those enterprises were undertaken by the Queensland Government of the day. During the last war, the establishment of State butcheries in that. State enabled the people of Queensland to procure meat at cheap rates, to the great benefit of the State, and with advantage to everybody so far as the wage problem was concerned. The accounts may show that losses were incurred by those government enterprises, but the people, in many instances, derived great indirect benefits from some of them. We have now reached the stage when the problem of the development of Australia has to be faced. In my opinion, that will have to be done by increased government action. Whatever is done in regard to the development of industry must be carried out on efficient lines and those engaged in industry must receive a reasonable return for their labour. I know that there are great difficulties in that regard, because, if we go on producing a commodity greatly in excess of our own needs, we must depend on outside markets, and shall be at a great disadvantage if our costs greatly exceed the cost of production in other countries. During this war, owing to shipping conditions, we have not been able to engage in many branches of production, which has prevented producers from selling in the world’s markets, and consequently they will be at a great disadvantage after the war. I am most concerned, for example, about the sugar industry, the nativities of which have been greatly restricted. Its success after the war will depend greatly on it3 export markets, which it has been unable to supply during the war years. After the war those countries which has produced and exported the commodities required to supply the world’s needs will expect and be given priority. That is one of the difficulties with which we shall be confronted in regard to many other industries. It is one of the prices that we shall have to pay for the war. We have had to restrict industries to save our own freedom, and we shall be greatly handicapped in the world’s markets in future. If America, with its large population, is concerned about its outside markets, particularly in regard to primary products, then it is necessary for us to take stock of the situation. It is a terrible state of affairs that the Commonwealth Government will not have full power to control marketing. The result will be that the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin), when asked what Australia can do about supplying certain commodities for a number of years to enable other countries to establish industries, will have to reply, “ We shall have to consult the State Premiers about that”.

Senator Leckie:

– He will be able to say at once that he can do what is wanted, because the Commonwealth controls all overseas trade.


– It would be satisfactory if the Government could guarantee a certain production to serve foreign markets, but I question very much whether it could. I fear that in present circumstances it will be largely a matter for the domestic policy of the States. If that is so, this country will be tremendously handicapped. With our small population, our development as a young country will depend greatly on our relations with other nations. With the advances in science and mechanization, we shall not require nearly so many people in farming pursuits to produce our own needs, and we shall have to export a greater quantity. We must therefore have markets to which to export. Perhaps for a few years after the war the problem of markets will not be serious, but that condition of affairs will not be stable. Not being a pessimist, 1 believe that things will eventually evolve upon the right lines, but in the meantime I fear that we shall have a great deal of suffering in our rural communities, when producers, after growing crops with great effort and at much expense> find themselves without a market. As I have said, the position in secondary industries is different. I am in favour of establishing secondary industries, because the only possibility of good and stable markets for pur primary produce is the greater development of Secondary industries, which provide for an increased population and increased consumption. We must have population before we can develop our very wide spaces, and we have large areas still awaiting development. I direct the attention of the Government, not so much to the problem of production itself, because science and private enterprise should be able to bring about efficient production, but to the necessity of ensuring outside markets for all our surplus products. It is primarily the function of the National Government to see that out primary producers are protected. We are going to be a unit in a Commonwealth of nations, and I believe that that is the first step. I cannot visualize all the nations of the world sitting round the table discussing their economic needs and difficulties, but I can visualize a commonwealth of nations meeting with a full understanding of how they can best serve themselves and each other. Ti is indeed unfortunate that we, as a nation, will not be able to meet these people with the same powers as they possess, and to be able to say what obligations we can undertake in the interests of all. In the future, we shall be in much closer touch with other nations than we have been in (she past. Our experience in the last five years of war kas made ns a nation and our record of achievements has given us the right to take our place alongside other members of the commonwealth of nations. But a country is not developed by wishful thinking, and it is of no use to tell the workers that they ought to have better education, better housing and improved conditions of living, unless our production and our economic standards oan provide them. It is ©f vital importance that this should ibo done. We can protect our interests by developing; mis country , and increasing our population. We cannot develop within- ourselves to any great degree. There must be a new understanding on the part of the people of this country of their obligation to this nation and to themselves. The only real life is the healthy family home life, and our only hope of security lies in the youth of this country marrying and bringing up healthy well-educated children. These things must be done, but they can be done only if we arrange the affairs of this country - our economy, our productive capacity, and the return that men receive for their energy. These thingsare the real concern of the nation, but until now, they have not been given the consideration that is due to them. Hitherto, we have been content merely to settle men on the land. Too often the primary producer has been forced to carry an unfair burden of economic ad versity. This nation can best be served by a healthy, educated, contented and well-housed people. Our national economy depends upon those factors. Our young men and women must be trained in useful avocations, and must be given good homes in which to bring up their families. Unless these things be done, we shall become a backward nation.

It is gratifying indeed that the Commonwealth Government has associated itself so closely ‘with the health of the people of this country. In the past we have allowed things to drift, and medical attention has been sought only when it has been absolutely necessary. In Canberra recently, an excellent address was given by Sir Howard Florey, the codiscoverer of penicillin. To hear certain honorable senators opposite speak, one might believe that the profit motive -was the only possible incentive to work ; but the invaluable medical research carried out by men such as Sir Howard Florey is an effective counter to any such suggestion. His work has brought about a revolution in the scientific treatment of disease. Such men are not actuated by the profit motive. I believe that the ‘era of profit-making has gone. I have mo great objection to the making of profits, provided that they are used in the -development of industry and the advancement of the country, but we cannot permit the continuance of what has happened in the past when huge concerns have ‘exacted too high a profit from industry at the expense of the workers engaged in it.

The Government has been subjected to undeserved criticism because of the present man-power position, particularly in rural industries. I deny emphatically that the responsibility for the scarcity of farm labour rests with this Administration. In the first two years of the war I protested frequently in this chamber against heavy enlistments from country areas. However, recruiting campaigns amongst the rural community continued, with the result that farm labour to-day is totally inadequate. The position cannot be remedied overnight. The problem confronting the Government is a difficult one, and I believe that this Administration is imbued with an honest desire to meet the situation in the best possible manner. Unfortunately, not only in the man-power department, but also in other instrumentalities, there are men in high administrative positions who are not fully aware of the responsibility which rests on them.

Dealing with the budget generallyI believe that the Treasurer has done an excellent job, and that he has a full understanding of the financial requirements of this country. The policy which the Government is pursuing is in the best interests of the nation.

I trust sincerely that the war will soon be ended. It is gratifying indeed to be able to discuss this budget in an atmosphere of approaching victory, after five years of anxiety and danger. We have much to be thankful for. When faced with a situation unparalleled in our history the Government and the people of this country rose to the occasion magnificently and every section of the community played its part in a most creditable manner. We are thankful indeed that we have been saved from the horrors of invasion which have been suffered by so many unfortunate nations. We should count our blessings. When the war ends it will be possible for us to switch our industries immediately from war production to peace production, whereas in many countries which have suffered the ravages of war a start will have to be made from the very foundations.

Senator ARMSTRONG (New South clearly in facts and figures the great burden which war has placed upon the people of this country. However, as SenatorCourtice has said there are signs that the burden is already becoming lighter. I believe that so rapid will be the changes within the next six months, that war expenditure in the current financial year will he considerably less than that for which we are budgeting, just as last year we did not expend the full amount appropriated.

I wish to deal mainly with the publicity which is given to this country overseas. There isno doubt that Australia has approached the subject of overseas pub-‘ licity in a very niggardly manner. If we believe that we can take our proper place in the world by employing one man and a typist in London, the centre of the Allied Nations, as we have done for many years past, we are living in a fool’s paradise. The ignorance concerning this country overseas is incredible. I was fortunate to travel through the United States of America, Canada, and England a year ago, and it is quite a shock to one’s ego to find that people overseas know so little about us. Unfortunately, they seem to know only about those matters about which we do not want them to know. They have seen considerable publicity about Australia’s two armies, about certain phases of Australia’s war effort, and about the AustralianNew Zealand pact. These matters were handled badly, because we did not have the organization overseas to ensure that the facts were properly presented. Almost every individual who returns from a visit overseas stresses upon the Government that Australia’s story is not being told adequately overseas. When one checks the general knowledge of the average Britisher about Pacific affairs, one finds that he is in general agreement that there must be an all-in effort to defeat Japan, but when one refers in precise detail to the Pacific war, one finds that the ignorance of the average Britisher is amazing. That is a problem which overseas people will not solve for themselves. We must solve it. With some of the money which will be saved during the next twelve months because of reduced war expenditure, a good job could be done in exploring an avenue of exploitation which has not been properly used. The Department of Information has a films division with five persons on the staff, but their duties are so many that they cannot possibly be carried, out. ‘They have to get all Commonwealth productions into the picture theatres. They must try to arrange for the overseas distribution of the films and also handle war loan, referendum, and other internal activities of the Government. In addition, they must try to “sell” Australia abroad. That work cannot be done properly, unless increased staff is made available.

The first essential is to set up a Commonwealth film unit which could proceed to do all the things necessary to produce

I he films required by the Government. If we could produce films of the best quality, we could easily sell them overseas. Already we have produced epics of the war in the Pacific. We think of “ The Kokoda ‘Trail “, which was awarded the Academy prize at Hollywood for the best documentary film of the year. Another excellent picture which comes to our mind is “Jungle Trail”, which was made a few months ago. Another is “’ South- West Pacific “, but unfortunately politics spoiled the film. Another good picture, which is being made at present in collaboration with the United States of America Army authorities, is entitled “This is Australia “. When these films are made, they are sent to the Newsreel Roto Pool in New York, where 75,000 feet of film is examined weekly, and unless the product i.o -good, it receives only a cursory examination. If it be good, it will be distributed throughout America, but it bout 65,000 feet of film is rejected every week. Therefore, the first thing necessary is to ensure that our films are good.

The Department of Information is labouring under great disabilities, because its equipment is out of date. Orders have been sent overseas for the most modern cameras and lighting effects, but, owing to the war situation, the necessary equipment cannot he obtained. Despite that fact, films of quality are being produced and our work shows that we can reach the top in documentary films of short length; but the Government must set up its own Commonwealth film unit. The money expended in that direction would not be wasted, because there’ is hot one up-to-date film unit in Australia that could be used if British or American producers came here to make films. They would not be prepared to wait for proper cameras and other equipment, but they would expect all of those things to be ready for them on arrival. Mr. Harry Watt, of Ealing Studios, has been in Australia for twelve months, and has decided to make a film - “ The Overlanders” - giving the story of cattlebeing driven south from the Kimberleys and then across to Queensland. The man in the street has no idea of the difficulties Mr. Watt will have to overcome before he can start to turn the handle of his production unit. Australia desires to accord a welcome to him, but at present it can do nothing beyond help him. We should be able to say to him, “Here is the most modern film equipment available* to enable you to make an Australian film “. I can remember various film “ stars “ and producers coming here to make pictures. “ Bangle River “ comes to my mind, but the difficulties experienced are such that those actors do not return to this country. The Motion Pictures Distributors’ Association works in close conjunction with the Government. Australians like Mr. Norman Rydge, Mr. Ernest Turnbull and Mr. Bernard Freeman, by reason of their overseas connexions, can assist in the distribution of worth-while Australian films in Great Britain, Canada and the United States of America. Other Australians, such as Mr. Mclntyre, of Universal Films, and Mr. Harry Hunter, who represents Paramount Pictures in Australia, are anxious to help. If Australia would produce films which would be acceptable in the United States of America, Paramount Pictures alone could put Australian films into 1,500 theatres which they own and control in the United States of America and Canada. The National Theatres Corporation controls 1,800 theatres in America, and all would help us if we could supply a suitable product.

Films are the greatest single medium available to-day for advertising Australia. When I was in London, I found that an organization there showed small Australian films. They were sent to the schools for educational purposes, but they were inferior films made fifteen years ago. Everything about them was wrong. They were so out of date that I could not expect any English school-teacher to show them to the pupils. Australia must be prepared to spend money in order that it may occupy a proper place in the world. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) has lifted Australia to a proud position among the nations. He has done that by reason of his attitude in this war, and, particularly, because of the way in which he faced up to the problem of the Pacific. By his talks in Washington and London he has given this country a proud place in the world, but it is a position from which it can rapidly fall, as was shown last week at Quebec, when the representatives of Australia were more or less ignored. One of the best means of keeping the name of Australia to the fore is to ensure that documentary and educational films of the right kind are produced in this country, and distributed throughout the United States of America and Great Britain. The point of distribution is most important. It is of no use to make the greatest film in the world if it is shown ito only a small proportion of the people. In Australia alone, 3,000,000 visits to picture shows are made every week.

The value of the film must be exploited for its educational advantages. If the Government considers that the expenditure of a few thousand pounds will be sufficient it will not even begin to cover the field of film publicity. Admittedly, the estimated expenditure on film publicity shows a substantial increase, but the position is still most unsatisfactory. For cinema and photographic services, the estimated expenditure for 1944-4.5 is £9,800, as compared with £4,500 last year. The official war correspondence and official war photographic services are estimated this year to cost £2,900 as against £2,144 last year. It is interesting to note that last year only £2,144 was expended, although £2,900 was provided. Even the small sum appropriated was not all expended. On general publicity, which covers every activity of the Department of Information except films, the estimated expenditure is £45,000, as against £11,000 last year. The tendency is in the right direction, but the Government is pro ceeding too slowly. The European war will be over soon, and there will be a great race between the nations; but 1 am afraid that Australia will be left very far behind as the race progresses. Vast sums are expended in .the United States of America on publicity every year. For example, a special publicity officer is attached to each air arm, so that the achievements of the airmen can be spread throughout America and the rest of the world. A similar story is true of Great Britain. Britishers may appear to be slow in many directions, but the money expended by them on propaganda runs into extraordinarily large sums. When Mr. Leslie Howard, the famous British film actor, was shot down by an enemy aircraft when flying from Spain to Great Britain, he was employed on a propaganda tour of Spain and Portugal. No expense was spared to ensure that the British point of view would bc thoroughly understood by the people of those countries. The British method of publicity is different from that of the United States of America, but it is just as expensive and just as effective. Newspaper executives think nothing of paying one of their representatives £200 a month to cover his expenses, in order that he may obtain good stories for his papers. If he gets an allowance of £200 a month he is expected to spend it. The Government might consider that such expenditure would be extravagant, but the pace has been set for us overseas, and we must endeavour to keep up with our competitors. My heart almost bled in London when I saw Captain Smart working in a back room at Australia House with one typist. He was doing an extremely good job for Australia. and he obtained amazing press cover for members of the Commonwealth Government who visited London. It is absurd that the whole of Australia’s publicity should pass through one little office at the rear of Australia House. I realize that the position has been materially improved since. Mr. Keyes, formerly employed in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library, has been sent overseas, as has also Mr. Dawson, of the Prime Minister’s Department. Unless the Government adopts a wide national outlook on publicity matters, this country will be left far behind. In London and in other great cities Australia should have pressmen who can move around and make contacts with other people, and they should have efficient staffs and sufficient funds to tell Australia’s story as it should be told. The position in London when I was there was better than it was in Ottawa or Montreal. Possibly that was due to the untiring efforts of Captain Smart in London. The ignorance that I found in Canada concerning Australia’s efforts in the Pacific war was astounding. We must have good men in charge, and they must have good men to help them, otherwise we shall not accomplish the work that should be done. Let us consider the field that lies open to us in India. In that country there is almost a universal hatred of Australia because of its White Australia policy. The people of India say that, although they, too, are members of the British Empire, they arc not allowed to enter Australia. The answer must be made plain. It is not that Australians think that they are better than Indians, but that they realize that the future of the white race in this part of the Empire would be jeopardized if there were unrestricted immigration of Indians a 11 ‘ Chinese to Australia. The natural increase of population of these people is ?o great that with unrestricted immigration they would soon constitute threequarters of the population, and Aus tralians would bc the hewers of wood and the drawers of water. They must be told that the White Australia policy is not based on any sense of superiority, and is not due to any hostility to them, but exists merely because Australians believe that the future of the white race in this part of the world depends on effect being given to it. In India there are 400,000,000 customers for the products of other countries; only the future will tell whether the suppliers of those Goode will be people in Australia, Great Britain, the United States of America, or elsewhere. Australia must have in India competent men who can “sell” Australia to the Indians; otherwise we =hall not be “ in the race” for the Indian trade when the war ends. A similar course of action is necessary in China; we must have both political and trade representatives there ; and they should not be restricted to a paltry allowance. In those countries thecost of living is so high that frequently Australian public servants overseas have serious difficulty in meeting thedemands made on them. Therefore, wemust be generous when fixing their remuneration. Only by having competent; mon in other countries can we hope to> find markets for the products of thesecondary industries which we must establish if we are to maintain a largerpopulation. That brings me to the subject of immigration. If we think that nil we have to do is to say that we should like some Finns, or Germans, or Swedes, or other nationals, to come to Australia, and they will come, we are making a. great mistake. Recently 1 had a talk, with a German anti-Nazi, who, at theoutbreak of war went to the country as a”jackeroo” and subsequently joined his wife in the United States of America. ITe told me that if Australians thought that it would be easy to induce people in Germany, or in any northern European country to migrate to Australia they would be greatly mistaken. He said that although the people of those countries had had no rest for many years, and had been through a terrible experience, large numbers of the younger generation had been killed in the war, and that the older people would rather stay in their own country, and live in a state of poverty, than take the risk of going to an unknown country where they might not get a job. He added that they would not go to Australia unless they knew exactly the conditions under which they would live, and unless they could be assured of a job when they arrived. The only way to reach these people is by the exhibition of suitable films. These films should be made now, and be available for exhibition when required. They should set out clearly the possibilities of* their making a success in this country. The same thing applies to Great BritainWhile bombs were falling on England there was much talk of people leaving” that country after the war, but I do north ink that many Englishmen will comehere unless the inducements are attractive. England can be a very pleasant, place, and although the wages paid there- are not as high as are paid in Australia, most men and women in the Old Country live contented lives. They will not come to Australia unless something definite be offered to them. Yet wo need them here so -badly in order to make this part of the world reasonably safe from aggression. If Australia is to be capable of defending itself, its population must be built up; but we shall not cause a great flow of immigrants to this country by merely saying, “ Come out to Australia and start a new life”. The people of England and of other countries must have something definite presented to them.. The only way to reach them is by Australian publicity overseas, per medium of films prepared under the direction of the Department of Information. They will not be reached by the adoption of a parsimonious policy in connexion with publicity. Indeed, publicity which is blatant will do as much harm as if there were no publicity at all. We must have at the head of Australian publicity men who know how- to reach the people whom we want to come here. One thing that is necessary is that we in this Parliament shall make every effort to raise our standards in the eyes of the world. There is one aspect of our political life which should no longer be ignored; we should set up in this Senate a foreign relations committee on the lines adopted by the Senate of the United States of America. That committee should have access to nil cables in the possession of the Cabinet, and its members should be under the same oath of secrecy as are Cabinet Ministers. They should make a close study of international affairs, and be free to make recommendations to the Prime Minister. Should the Prime Minister not accept the committee’? recommendation, that would ‘be his business. . No longer can the people of Australia live in isolation. After the war it will be possible to fly to the United States of America in 30 hours, and to Britain in 50 hours. The time has come when we must express ourselves in regard to international affairs; and the best way to do that is by the appointment of such a committee as I have mentioned. The Minister for Supply and Shipping (Mr. Beasley) told us on bi.« return to Australia that the mis understanding in the United States of America and Canada of political affairs in Australia was astounding. The samistory is told by every Australias who returns from overseas. He went on to say that he found the greatest difficulty in breaking down hostility towards Australia when speaking to business men and others in those countries.

Senator Keane:

– Even New Zealand seems hardly to have heard of Australia.


– That is so. Although portions of New Zealand are closer to Australia than is the home of Senator Tangney or Senator Nash, in Perth, the people of New Zealand look past Australia to England. That is because they do not know about Australia and Australians, and because Australia’? publicity in New Zealand has not been of the right kind, and has been badly i handled.

Senator Keane:

– During the nine days that I was in New Zealand the only reference to Australia in the newspapers related to the “Pyjama Girl” murder.


– Those in charge of Australian publicity in New Zealand do not stress the right things. In Canada and the United States of America I found a great deal of concern regarding the Australian-New Zealand Agreement. The people there did not understand its implications; they thought that Australia and New Zealand wanted to go off on their own account, and to ignore America and Great Britain and other countries which had interests in the Pacific. But, when the true nature of the agreement was pointed out, they said, “ That is right ; we agree with what has been done “. Australia has not been represented in those countries by a sufficient number of publicists, nor has sufficient money been made available to them to explain what the agreement really means. We must attend to this matter quickly, because publicity will become more and .more important in the future. Indeed, upon our handling of this matter our future will la. reel y depend. We must let the people of other countries know of the potentialities of Australia. When in England I wa3 approached by a representative of a big chemical concern, who was anxious to know the prospects of setting up business in Australia after the war.

We should have in England men who (30Ula give such information, and follow it uo with further facts until the business is started here. If that were done, I am confident that many business houses in the Old Country would transfer some of their business to Australia. [ repeat that Australia cannot carry a greatly increased population unless its secondary industries are developed. In this speech I have dealt with only one aspect of this subject; there are other aspects which I should like to deal with. However, at this stage I am content to confine my remarks to this phase because of its importance. I urge the Government to recast its approach to overseas publicity, particularly in the matter of the money to be expended in advertising Australia. “We must no longer continue our niggardly policy in regard to this matter. Before we can educate the world, we must educate ourselves as to the returns which we are likely to gain from this expenditure. Only this week the discoverer of penicillin, Sir Howard Florey, addressing a representative gathering, pointed out that the remuneration of scientists in Australia was so low that they were forced to go abroad to continue their research. Thus, we have been chasing some of the most intellectual men out of this country, because we approach too many of these problems in a niggardly fashion. Let me also instance the propaganda in respect of wool. That should be a direct government responsibility. The growers of wool should not be obliged to worry about it, even though they reap the profit from growing wool. Wool is a national asset, and we should approach it from that point of view. The Government should accept the responsibility of obtaining the fullest publicity for Australian wool throughout the world. It should have officers in occupied countries following in the footsteps of the Allied armies, as it were, in order to tell the world about Australian wool. The people of Prance and other European countries will want our wool so soon as they are convinced that Australian wool is far superior as a clothing material to synthetic product?. Publicity in respect of wool is a national obligation. I cannot see why the growers themselves should have to come cap in hand to the Government for financial assistance to enable them to publicize their product. That job should be given to the Department of Information, and I urge the Government to undertake it as soon as possible.

South Australia

Senator Foll was the only honorable senator opposite who did not have something vitriolic to say of the Government and the Labour party. He offered constructive criticism. In some instances he did not go far enough, probably because he is not cognizant of all the facts. I am certain that if he studied the banking system thoroughly he would change his views on that subject. I agree with the eulogies he paid concerning the management of the Commonwealth Bank, but is it not necessary to find out just what is the charter of the Commonwealth Bank, and whether it should not be enlarged ? Apparently, the honorable senator cannot envisage a wider charter for the. Commonwealth Bank. However, I commend him generally on his speech.

The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) said that the Opposition would stand behind the Government provided the Government had the courage to enforce the laws of the land. That is a noble statement, but it comes strangely from a man whose followers want the Government to break the laws of the land in its dealings with workers who have differences with their employers. Honorable senators opposite want the Government to conscript workers, and to that degree they want it to go beyond the law in order to give effect to their opinions. Unfortunately, some are a little lopsided to the disadvantage of the worker, and whilst it is necessary to administer the laws as they stand, I say frankly that I, and my colleagues in the Labour party, have entered this and other Legislatures with the object of restoring equilibrium in such laws. In South Australia, for instance, a number of railwaymen questioned the right of the Railways Commissioner to be the prosecutor, judge and jury in dealing with allegations of misdemeanours against employees. The law, which places in the hands of an employer, in this case the Railways Commissioner, the power to try and judge employees for offences of omission or commission is entirely wrong. Every employee in every other industry who is charged with a misdemeanour can be haled before the court and stand his trial. Whilst the prosecutor may, in some degree, represent the employer, the employee himself has the right of being represented by counsel, and the charge is tried impartially by a judge and jury. The by-laws of all railways departments are similar to the South Australian by-laws in this respect. I believe that to be entirely wrong. As another instance of a lopsided law, I point out that judges in State and Federal arbitration courts invariably, in the case of a strike, order the men to go back to work, but, at the same time, issue no order whatever in respect of employers insofar as they may be culpable. That practice causes great resentment among the workers. Should a dislocation occur, and the undertaking involved be such as to call for an immediate instruction to the men to go back to work, the court, at the same time, should also issue an order restraining the employer concerned until the case be finally adjudicated upon. It takes two people to make a quarrel, and that principle applies in all industrial disputes. lt is the duty of this Parliament to restore equilibrium in laws which are lopsided. L shall deal with this subject more fully at a later date. I mention it at this juncture because of the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition that be and his colleagues will Stand behind the Government so long as the Government has the courage to enforce the law of the land. In making that promise, the honorable senator placed very great stress upon the word “courage”. Let us see how honorable senators opposite displayed that virtue. When the Government which they supported was in office, they said that price-fixing during the war was essential, but to-day they squeal like stuck pigs in their protests against price fixation. They supported propaganda during the referendum campaign urging the people to vote against the Government’s proposals on the ground that the Commonwealth Parliament should not retain the power to fix prices in order to prevent inflation following the cessation of hostilities. Where was their courage during the referendum campaign? Why did they not defend measures which the Government which they supported introduced and declared to be essential. When this Government sought other powers essential to enable the Commonwealth Parliament to deal effectively with post-war problems, they raised all sorts of side issues. ‘Senator Sampson said that the first of the fourteen powers sought by the Government was simply window dressing. After the last war, I came in close contact with many returned soldiers and I know of the experiences which confronted them. I know what happened when they endeavoured to obtain land under governmental land settlement schemes, and when they endeavoured to obtain homes under the War Service Homes Scheme. I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.

Leave granted ; debate adjourned.

page 1051


Motion (by Senator Keane) agreed to-

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to Tuesday, the 20th September, at 3 p.m.

page 1051


Constitution Alteration Referendum : “ Yes “ Campaign - Reafforestation - Resignation or Senator Uppill

Senator KEANE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · Victoria · ALP

– I move -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

On the 13th September Senator Allan MacDonald asked me whether I had any knowledge of certain resignations tendered by some honorary secretaries of War Loan Sub-committees in Western Australia a3 a protest against the expenditure by the Government of public moneys in support of the “ Yes “ campaign at the recent referendum.

As the result of inquiry into the matter it. has been ascertained that the Deputy War Loans Director in Perth has been advised of one resignation, the reason for which was stated to be that mentioned by the honorable senator. The resignation in question was that of an honorary secretary of a country war loan committee. These committees are comprised of voluntary workers in the districts in which the committees are formed and are not part of the paid war loan organization staff.

This morning Senator Sheehan asked me, as the Minister representing the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, the following questions, upon notice: - .

  1. Is it a fact that reafforestation is vital to the future welfare of Australia?
  2. If so, have any arrangements been made, in conjunction with the various’ State Governments, to enter into any plans to achieve this object?
  3. If not, will the Government give favorable consideration to proposals designed to assist in the development of Australian forests ?

The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction has supplied the following answers : -

  1. Yes.
  2. The State programmes of urgent and important post-war works submitted to, and approved by, the last meeting of the National Works Council, included forestry proposals (including forest roads) estimated to cost £8,348,000. The plans to carry out these proposals have been prepared by the State Governments or are in course of preparation.
  3. See reply No. 2.

– Yesterday you, Mr. President, announced the receipt of the resignation of my colleague, Senator Uppill, owing to ill health. I desire to place on record my regret that he has found it necessary to sever his connexion with the Senate. My close friendship with Senator Uppill dates back to school days, and it has been continued without interruption ever since. As a representative of the primary producers of South Australia in this chamber, he has always kept before the Government the importance of those engaged in rural pursuits, and by his resignation they have lost an able advocate who has an extensive practical knowledge of the needs of the man on the land. Although of a quiet, unassuming nature, he was firm in his considered opinions on all matters introduced in this chamber. His genial and friendly demeanour with members and others with whom he came in contact made him a friend of all. It has fallen to the lot of few, after Herring ten years in the National Parliament, to leave it with an assurance that every member, regardless of party, was his friend. We regret his leaving us, and are unanimous in the wish that he will make a speedy recovery and will long be spared to enjoy the company of the citizens of the State which he has served so well.

Senator KEANE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · Victoria · ALP

in reply - I express the regret of the Government that SenatorUppill’g indifferent health has compelled him to tender his resignation as a member of the Senate. I join with Senator James McLachlan in his tribute to his colleague. Every member of this Parliament agrees that the retiring senator is a man of ability, especially in matters relating to primary production. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber always listened very carefully to his observations, particularly on the wheat industry and other subjects upon which we regarded him as an authority. I agree also with Senator James McLachlan that Senator Uppill has been a very hard worker in the Senate. He possesses a charming, quiet personality. I can assure the honorable senator who has brought the matter so appropriately to the notice of the Senate that we share with him all the regrets that he has expressed concerning his colleague, whose health, we hope, will so improve that he will be spared for many years to look back with pleasure upon the important work that he rendered to this nation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 1052


The following papers were pre sented : -

Immigration Act - Return for year 1943.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for -

Commonwealth purposes -

Albany, Western Australia.

Annerley, Queensland.

Postal purposes -

Cann River, Victoria.

Marlborough, Queensland.

York, Western Australia.

Telephonic purposes -

Broken Hill, New South Wales.

Senate adjourned at 5.49 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 20 September 1944, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.