22 November 1944

17th Parliament · 2nd Session

TheSenate, having on the 29th September, 1944, adjourned until a date and hour to be fixed by the President and to be notified to each honorable senator, met pursuant to such notification.

The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

page 1931


New Senator Sworn


– I have to inform the Senate that I have received, through His Excellency the Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth, from the Lieutenant-Governor of the State of South Australia, a certificate of the choice by the Parliament of the State of South Australia, of Edward William Mattner as a senator to fill the vacancy in the representation of South Australia in the Senate caused by the resignation of Senator Oliver Uppill.

Certificate laid on the table and read by the Clerk.

Senator Mattner made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.

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Senator ASHLEY:
General · New South Wales Postmaster · ALP

– I regret to announce to the Senate the death at Sydney on Monday last of ex-Senator MajorGeneral Charles Frederick Cox, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., V.D. Major-General Cox was elected to the Senate as a representative of New South Wales at the general elections in 1919, 1925 and 1931. He was a member of the select committee which, in 1922, inquired into the claim of Captain J. Strasburg for a war gratuity and he was also a member of the Select Committee on the Central Reserve Bank Bill. The deceased gentleman retired from the Senate on the 30th June, 1938, on the expiration of his term of office. The late Major-General Cox had a distinguished military career. He commanded the Queen’s Jubilee detachment of New South Wales Lancers in 1897. In 1900 he served in the South African War as captain in command of the New South Wales Lancers. As a major, he commanded the3rd New South Wales Mounted Rifles in 1901. In June of that year, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenantcolonel, and was later awarded the Queen’s South African Medal and the King’s South African Medal. The honour of Companion of the Bath was conferred upon him in 1902. In 1914, he was appointed to command the 6th Light Horse Regiment in the Australian Imperial Force, and embarked for an overseas destination in December of that year. In 1915 he commanded the 2nd Light Horse Brigade and subsequently the 1st Light Horse Brigade. He was wounded in the Gallipoli campaign, and was five times mentioned in despatches. In 1918, he was made a Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George and aCompanion of the Distinguished Service Order. He was promoted to the rank of colonel in January, 1919, and in 1921 was appointed Major-General Commanding the 1st Cavalry Division. He relinquished his military duties in March, 1923.I move -

That the Senate expresses its deep regret at the death of Major-General Charles Frederick Cox, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., V.D., former senator for the State of New South Wales, places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service, and tenders its sincere sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.

Senator McLEAY:
Leader of the Opposition · South Australia

– On behalf of the Opposition I second the motion. I am sure that all honorable senators will agree that through the death of Major-General Charles Frederick Cox this country has lost a great soldier - a man who, in various spheres, rendered distinguished service to Australia, and, indeed, the whole British Empire. We, on this side of the chamber, have lost a loyal and valued colleague. I join with the Acting Leader of the Senate (Senator Ashley) in expressing sympathy with his widow and family.

Senator COOPER:

– It is the desire of the Australian Country party to associate themselves with the motion. The late Major-General Cox was one of Nature’s gentlemen. In his profession as a soldier he maintained the highest British traditions. During his lifetime he made many friends because his many high qualities endeared him to all with whom he came in contact. He had a distinguished record in both the South African war and the war of 1914- 18; in the Palestine campaign of the latter conflict he was one of the most outstanding figures. After that war, and particularly during his term as a senator, he travelled extensively, not only in New SouthWales, which State he assisted to represent, but also in other parts of the Commonwealth, renewing contacts with men who had served with him in the first world war, and strengthening the friendships which began then. His passing is indeed a great loss to this country.We extend our deep sympathy to his widow and family.

Senator BRAND:

– On behalf of the thirteen ex-service members of this chamber it is with sorrow that I rise to support the motion. I knew the late Major-General Cox for 44 years ; he had a long and meritorious military career. The deceased gentleman was closely associated with, and in no small measure responsible for, sustaining public interest in the earlier volunteer forces and, later, the militia forces of the Commonwealth. It was because of the enthusiasm and patriotism of such men as the late general that Australia was enabled to play such an important part in the South African war, and an even greater role in the war of 1914-18: Our departed comrade was a typical Light Horse man. He voluntarily gave up the whole of his leisure in order to improve the efficiency of that arm of the service, which eventually gained world-wide fame in the Palestine campaign. His success was due in no small degree to the fact that he studied the interests of his men. They respected him for his gallantry and fair-mindedness. Tall and straight, he was a big-hearted man with a keen sense of humour. If he could not say a good word for any one he forgot all that was bad. The nation is the poorer for the passing of such a fine character. On behalf of his old comrades in two wars, I support the motion expressing sympathy with his widow and family.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.

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Assent to the following bills reported : -

Appropriation Bill 1944-45.

Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill 1944-45.

Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 2) 1944.

War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Bill 1944.

Income Tax Bill 1944.

Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill 1944.

Income Tax (War-time Arrangements) Bill 1944.

Commonwealth Employees’ Furlough Bill 1944.

States Grants Bill 1944.

War Pensions Appropriation Bill 1944.

Loan Bill (No. 2) 1944.

Tractor Bounty Bill 1944.

Sulphur Bounty Bill 1944.

Wire Netting Bounty Bill 1944.

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Japanese Mal-treatment.

Senator FRASER:
Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services · WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP

by leave - War Cabinet has decided that, in view of the extraordinary privations suffered by the 92 Australian prisoners of war who were rescued from the Japanese transport torpedoed on the 12th September, 1944, and who have now returned to Australia, they should be given the option of discharge from their respective service at the expiration of the two months’ leave they are now enjoying. If they elect to remain in the armed forces and are medically fit, they will beposted to an appropriate unit.

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Re- Allocationof Ministerial Duties.

Senator ASHLEY:
New South WalesPostmasterGeneral · ALP

by leave - I regret to inform the Senate that owing to illness and in compliance with medical advice, the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) will not be engaged on his official duties for some little time. In the absence of the Prime Minister, and at his request, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) will occupy the position of Acting Prime Minister and Acting Minister for Defence.

Senator Fraser, in addition to his duties of Minister for Health and Social Services, will act as Minister for the Army, and during that period will occupy a seat on the War Cabinet.

The Treasurer and Minister for Postwar Reconstruction (Mr. Chifley) will fill the vacancy in the Advisory War Council due to the absence of the Prime Minister.

In the absence of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane), who has proceeded to the United States of America to discuss matters associated with lend-lease and reciprocal lend-lease, Mr. Forde has been appointed to administer the Department of Trade and Customs. I will represent the Acting Prime Minister and Acting Minister for Defence in the Senate.

The Minister for Home Security (Mr. Lazzarini) has been appointed to act as Minister for Air and Minister for Civil Aviation in the absence of Mr. Drakeford, who is visiting Canada and the United States of America for the purpose of representing Australia at conferences on aviation. Mr. Lazzarini has also been appointed to a place in the War Cabinet during Mr. Drakeford’s absence.

Senator McLEAY:
Leader of the Opposition · South Australia

by leave - On behalf of the Opposition I take this opportunity to express sincere regret at the serious illness of the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin). I am sure that all members of the Senate appreciate the difficult task that confronts the right honorable gentleman, particularly at present, and it is our wish and earnest desire that he will soon be restored to health. I should like the Acting Leader of the Senate (Senator Ashley) to convey our best wishes to him.

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Senator NASH:

– Has the attention of the Minister for the Interior been drawn to a pamphlet issued by the Native Welfare Council of Western Australia entitled The Tragedy of Native Affairs!

If not, will the Minister acquaint himself with this publication, particularly in view of the information set out, indicating that the best interests of Australian aborigines. and the descendants of mixed blood, are not being conserved ? Will the Minister institute inquiries regarding the allegations made, and give consideration to the request of the Native Welfare Council of Western Australia that the Commonwealth Government should assume responsibility for natives on a national basis?

Minister for the Interior · QUEENSLAND · ALP

– My attention has been drawn to the pamphlet in question, but I have not yet had time to read it. I shall do so at the first opportunity, and probably make a statement later regarding the situation. I should like to point out, however, in reference to the honorable senator’s questions, that recently the Government gave the people of this country an opportunity to say that they desired the aborigines of Australia to be committed to the care of the Commonwealth, but the people decided otherwise. I shall see what can be done in the matter.



– Will the Minister for the Interior state what the Commonwealth Government has done for the aborigines of the Northern Territory, where they have been under Commonwealth control for the last 44 years ?


– I do not suppose that the honorable senator expects me to tell him all that the Government has done for the aborigines, but I can say with confidence that those members of the aboriginal race who have been entrusted to the care of the Commonwealth have, because of that fact, received a better deal than those under any other control.

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Senator GIBSON:

– I understand that the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has an answer to a question which I asked some time ago concerning the wheat industry.

Senator FRASER:

– On the 27th September, Senator Gibson asked a question - without notice - concerning wheatgrowing licences. I am now in a position to inform the honorable senator that the conditions for next season’s “wheat sowing have been announced. Growers will be permitted to plant to the fullest extent, subject only to the need to maintain production of other essential crops.

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– I understand that the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has an answer to a question which I asked some time ago with respect to superphosphate.

Senator FRASER:

– On the 27th September, Senator Herbert Hays asked me a question without notice concerning the price of superphosphate for agricultural purposes. I now inform the honorable senator that the price of superphosphate to users has been stabilized on the basis of £5 ls. a ton. Heavy subsidy payments by the Commonwealth are necessary to maintain this price to consumers, and any relief in the way of decreased insurance or other charges must go in the first instance to reducing the Government’s liability in respect of subsidy payments.

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Telegram to Mr. Gahan

Senator LECKIE:

– I should like some information concerning a now famous telegram which the Minister for the Interior is reputed to have sent to a Mr. Gahan during the hearing of a certain legal matter. Does the Minister acknowledge that he sent that telegram? If so, will he consult the AttorneyGeneral to ascertain whether or not he has committed gross contempt of court by endeavouring to intimidate a witness into giving false evidence?


– I accept full responsibility for the whole of the telegram to which the honorable senator has referred. In regard to the second portion of the honorable senator’s question, I refer him to the answer which I have just given to the first portion.

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Senator McLEAY:

– In view of the ever-increasing seriousness of the coal position, will the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping make a statement to the Senate during this sitting, indicating whether any plans have been prepared to meet the difficulties that have now arisen, and, if so, what action is proposed?

Senator FRASER:

– I shall discuss the matter with the appropriate Minister to see whether the honorable senator’s request can be granted.

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Senator LECKIE:

– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping inform the Senate whether any figures are available showing the cost of building vessels of the 9,000-ton? class in Australia? If such information- be available, will the Minister obtain it for members of the Senate?

Senator FRASER:

– I shall endeavour to obtain the figures desired by the honorable senator.

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Government Ownership of Interstate Airlines

Senator ASHLEY:
New South WalesPostmasterGeneral · ALP

by leave- - The Government has decided that a wholly government-owned statutory authority shall be formed to take over, operate and maintain all interstate airlines. The Department of Civil Aviation will continue, as at present, to provide and maintain all services ancillary to the operation of air routes, such as landing fields, radio and other navigational aids and the like. The effect of this decision is that the Commonwealth Government will take over all interstate airline operations. All employees in the industry will be fairly and justly treated. The assets of present airline companies will be taken over on fair and just terms. This early announcement is made in order, not only that private operators may know the Government’s policy, but also that the Commonwealth may tackle the many pressing problems associated with civil aviation. Much work will need to be done in planning the acquisition of land, the building of runways, the erection of airport buildings and the provision of modern radio and radar ranges throughout the Commonwealth, so that domestic aircraft, and also the aircraft of other nations, may fly over properly established airways. The Minister for Air (Mr. Drakeford), who is at present attending an air conference in the United States of America, is fully in accord with this decision, and was a member of the Cabinet sub-committee which investigated the whole matter.

Senator McLeay:

– Does the Minister intend to lay the statement on the table, and move that the paper be printed, to enable the Senate to discuss the matter?

Senator ASHLEY:


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Australian Man-power.

Senator ASHLEY (New South Wales-

Postmaster-General) - by leave - read a copy of the ministerial statement delivered in the House of Representatives on the 15th November by the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Forde),(vide page 1788), laid on the table the following paper : -

Review of the War and Australia’s War Effort - 1 5th November, 1944 - Ministerial Statement, and moved -

That the paper be printed.

Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.

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Visits by Members of Parliament.

Senator COLLETT:

asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -

Will the Government afford members of Parliament opportunities and facilities for visiting the fighting forces at their posts and training stations?

SenatorFRASER. - The Acting Minister for Defence has furnished the following answer : -

The Government has considered the question of affording members of Parliament opportunities and facilities to visit the fighting forces at their posts and training stations and has obtained the advice of the Defence Committee on this matter. In the light of the committee’s recommendations, the following arrangements will apply: -

1 ) Training areas. - Members of Parliament will be afforded opportunities and facilities for making official visits to the fighting forces at their posts and stations in training areas, subject to the approval of the service Minister concerned.

Operational areas outside Australia. - With regard to operational areas outside Australia, the Government has accepted the recommendation of its service advisers that visits by private members of Parliament should not be permitted for the following reasons: -

Security considerations.

Difficulties in providing transport.

Shortage of accommodation.

The dislocation in service arrangements in providing suitable staff for conducting official visitors.

Operational areas on the mainland. - With regard to operational areas on the mainland, such as Darwin, subject to conditions at the time admitting and the prior approval of the service Ministers concerned, permission will be granted for a limited number of organized parliamentary parties to visit such areas. In view, however, of the difficulties with transport and accommodation, it is desirable that these parties should be small.

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asked the Acting Leader of the Senate, upon notice -

In order to obviate a share boom in stocks in the post-war period, will the Government give consideration to a gradual relaxation of control regarding the ceiling price of shares by a monthly revision, with a limit of not more than 10 per cent.

Senator ASHLEY:

– I am unable to give to the honorable senator any assurance that control will be relaxed gradually in the manner he suggests. I may mention, however, that recently an increase of the price of those securities, the present ceiling prices of which were less than the average price during the three years before the war, was authorized subject to a maximum increase of 10 per cent., or 10s. in the case of any individual stock. Control over stock exchange prices of shares is under constant review.

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Review of War Situation - Man-power.

Order of the Day No.1 - Review of the War Situation, 30th August, 1944- Ministerial Statement - Resumption of debate - read and discharged.

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Annual Report

Order of the Day No. 2- Tariff Board :

Annual Report - Resumption of debate - read and discharged.

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Bill received from the House of Representatives.

Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.

Bill (on motion by Senator Ashley) read a first time.

Second Reading

Senator ASHLEY:
Postmaster - General · New South Wales · ALP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this measure is to enable the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia to carry out its obligations to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. The Commonwealth Government’s obligations are to make available supplies for relief in countries once occupied and to make a contribution to the administrative expenses of the organization.

The Relief and Rehabilitation Agreement was signed by the 44 plenipotentiaries of the United Nations, and authorities associated with them in the present war. The general objective of Unrra is briefly stated in the preamble of the agreement. All the signatories declared that - “Immediately upon the liberation of any area by the armed forces of the United Nations or as a consequence of retreat of the enemy the population thereof shall receive aid and relief from their sufferings, food, clothing and shelter, aid in the prevention of pestilence and in the recovery of the health of the people, and that .preparation and arrangements shall be made for the return of prisoners and exiles to their homes and for assistance in the resumption of urgently needed agricultural and industrial production and the restoration of essential services.”

In pursuing this objective, the chief functions of the administration will be to plan, co-ordinate and administer measures to provide food, fuel, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities and medical and other essential services for the victims of war.

The policy-making body of the administration is the council. Each member government is entitled to nominate one representative to the council. The council meets twice a year, but may be called together for special meetings on the request of one-third of its members. Between sessions of the council a central committee is empowered to make policy decisions of an emergency nature. However, these decisions are open to reconsideration by the council at any regular session or special session. The central committee consists of (1) representatives of China, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, (2) the Director-General, (3) the Chairman of the committee of supplies when policy matters affecting supplies are being discussed, and (4) a representative of any member government whose special interests are under discussion.

The committee of supplies is empowered to make recommendations to the council or to the central committee on matters concerning provisions of supplies. A committee for Europe considers policy with respect to relief and rehabilitation within Europe, and a committee for the Far East considers policies with respect to the Far East. Both these committees present their recommendations to the council and central committee. Australia is represented on the committee of supplies and on the committee for the Far East. Provision is also made for the establishment of such other standing regional and technical committees as the council may consider desirable. Under this power technical committees on agriculture, displaced persons, financial control, health and industrial rehabilitation and welfare have been created.

The executive authority of Unrra is in the hands of the Director-General, who was appointed by the council on the nomination by a unanimous vote of the central committee. This office is occupied by Mr. Herbert H. Lehman, formerly director of the United States Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation. The Australian total contribution has been fixed in accordance with the terms of the agreement at approximately £12,000,000, of which at least 10 per cent, is to be available in foreign currency. This doe6 not mean, however, that Australia will be called upon immediately to supply goods to this value. Each request for supplies must be considered on its merits, and in relation to other commitments, and, in particular, to military requirements. In fact, it seems probable that Australia will be able to make only a small contribution until the war in the Pacific is won, and the immediate adjustments with regard to production and shipping have been made. Australia is to contribute £47,000 towards the expenses incurred by the administrative organization itself. Already this organization has over 1,000 paid personnel, apart from many voluntary field workers.

Widespread interest has been takenin Australia in the work ofUnrra. The Commonweatlh Government has set up an Australian council forUnrra, on which are represented over 35 private organizations. Because of this interest, and because of the receipt of many applications for work in connexion with the administration, the Government invited Unrra to send a representative to Australia to recruit Australian personnel. Mr. Osborne and Mr. Nugent have visited Australia, and have already seen many applicants. They are impressed by the number and quality of applicants, and are sure that Australians will play a large part, both on the administrative staff of Unrra, and in the voluntary field work.

A number of Australians are to be appointed immediately, and, whilst the selection of applicants is a matter entirely within the hands of Unrra, the Government is in a position to make recommendations and to arrange for the release, either from the Army, or from essential work, of the type of personnel which it considers suitable. The Government desires that, so far as possible, men who have seen combat service during this war shall be given the first opportunity to work with Unrra. In particular, it hopes that some of those who were helped by the Greek civilian population in a time of need will return to Greece under the auspices of Unrra, to help the Greek civilians.

The Director-General of Unrra has already announced that a branch office of his administration will be established in Sydney and this office will continue the personnel and supply work which Mr. Osborne and Mr. Nugent have commenced. Early next year, the regional committee for the Far East and its technical sub-committees will meet in Sydney. Representatives of the governments interested in this area are in Australia, and the Commonwealth is in close touch with military operations which open a way for relief to peoples who have suffered from the occupation of their countries by the Japanese. The enactment of this measure will make it possible for Australia to discharge its obligations as one of the United Nations to those peoples who have suffered long and terrible years of enemy occupation.

Debate (on motion by Senator Leckie) adjourned.

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Bill received from the House of Representatives.

Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.

Bill (on motion by Senator Ashley) read a first time.

Second Reading

Senator ASHLEY:
Postmaster-General · New South Wales · ALP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The creation of a permanent food and agriculture organization was recommended by a conference at Hot Springs, Virginia, United States of America, in May, 1943. This conference was attended by experts in nutrition, agriculture and economics from 44 united and associated nations. The conference examined the problem of freedom from want in relation to food and agriculture in four stages -

  1. Present levels of nutrition and health throughout the world ;
  2. means by which production can be increased and made more efficient ;
  3. means by which distribution can be improved ;
  4. international machinery.

After examining reports on levels of nutrition, the conclusion was reached that, whilst the goal of freedom from want could ultimately be reached, it would first be necessary to secure freedom from hunger. The immediate step to be taken by governments should be the adoption of measures to prevent violent fluctuations in prices of agricultural products, and to give producers stable and high incomes, so that the greatest possible use would be made of existing productive capacity.

Freedom from want, and levels of nutrition sufficient to ensure good health, could be secured only by very greatly increased production of all foods, and by a diversion of both existing and new production from “ energy “ foods such as cereals, to “ protective “ foods such as fruits and dairy products.

Working on the assumption that increased production is needed, the conference then considered means whereby production could be made more efficient and extended. The most important of these were considered to be -

  1. improvement in farming systems and practices:
  2. credit facilities;
  3. co-operative services ;
  4. land-tenure systems ;
  5. educational procedures; and
  6. research into agricultural problems.

Considerations such as this led the conference to investigate means of improving distribution. Evidence was given to show that in the past some consumers have never been in a position to buy the food they need, whilst there have always been some producers of food who have not been able to sell at prices above cost of production.

It was thus established that there is a close interdependence between the level of employment in all countries, and the level of consumption of food products. Whilst the conference was not called upon to conduct a detailed investigation of the general economic policies which should be adopted by governments, it expressed the view that freedom from want of food could not be fully achieved without an explanation of economic activity. It declared -

The first cause of hunger and malnutrition is poverty. The promotion of the full employment of human and material resources,based onsound social and economic policies, is the first condition of general and progressive increase in production and purchasing power.

The means for improving distribution recommended by the conference were -

  1. national and international action to eliminate deflationary influences on agricultural income in order to maintain equitable balance between the purchasing power of agriculture and industry;
  2. action to restrain monopolistic prac tices, the effect of which is to restrict production ; and
  3. machinery for taking care of the temporary gluts and shortages that are so typical of agriculture.

It became apparent during the discussions that whilst any effective steps to increase production and consumption must be taken by national governments, national action would require international coordination. Increased production in one country without increased consumption throughout the world, or greatly increased national production in one commodity alone, would lead to severe economic difficulty for agricultural producers. In fact, few aspects of the general problem could be dealt with on an exclusively national basis. There was general agreement, therefore, that the nations represented at the conference should establish a permanent organization to act as a centre of information and advice on both agricultural and nutritional questions. The conference recommended the establishment in Washington of an interim commission, one of the functions of which would be to draw up for submission to the Governments represented, a detailed plan for a permanent organization.

The Governments concerned accepted this recommendation. The commission met, and the Australian Government was represented by Mr.F. L. McDougall, the economic adviser to the High Commissioner in London. Mr. McDougall has taken a prominent part in the work of the interim commission which has been meeting frequentlyduring the last year. The commission has now completed its work, and has referred to governments for their approval the constitution for a permanent food and agriculture organization, which appears in the schedule to the bill now before the Senate.

The purposes of the organization are described in the preamble to the constitution. These are -

  1. to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living of all peoples;
  2. to secure improvements in the efficiency of the production and distribution of all food and agricultural products;
  3. to better the conditions of rural populations; and thus
  4. to contribute towards an expanding world economy.

The organization shall collect, analyse, interpret, and disseminate information relating to nutrition, food and agriculture. It shall also promote and, where appropriate, shall recommend national and international action with respect to -

  1. scientific, technological, social, and economic research relating to nutrition, food and agriculture:
  2. the improvement of education and administration relating to nutrition, food and agriculture, and the spread of public knowledge of nutritional and agricultural science and. practice;
  3. the conservation of natural resources and the adoption of improved methods of agricultural production ;
  4. the improvement of the processing, marketing, and distribution of food and agricultural products;
  5. the adoption of international policies with respect to agricultural commodity arrangements.

It shall also be the function of the organization -

  1. to furnish such technical assistance as governments may request;
  2. to organize, in co-operation with the Governments concerned, such missions as may be needed to assist them to fulfil the obligations arising from their acceptance of the recommendations of the United Nations conference on food and agriculture ; and
  3. generally to take all necessary and appropriate action to implement the purposes of the organization, as set forth in the preamble.

The general policy-making body of the organization will be a conference at which each member nation shall have one representative, and which shall meet at least once in every year. In addition to the conference it is proposed that there shall be an executive committee consisting of between nine and fifteen members. The executive committee shall exercise such powers as are delegated to it by the conference. The direction of the work of the organization will be in the hands of a director-general, who is to be appointed by the conference, and who will be subject to the general supervision of the conference and its executive committee.

The particular obligations, as stated in the constitution, to be undertaken by members are -

  1. to contribute to the expenses of the organization;
  2. to make specified reports to the organization;
  3. to accord diplomatic privileges to the organization and members of its staff; and
  4. to respect the international character of the responsibilities of the staff of the organization.

There are, besides, implied obligations which will arise out of the powers of the organizations to make recommendations and to refer conventions to governments. The success of international organizations, such as the International Labour Organization and the proposed Food and Agriculture Organization, depends on the intention of governmentstomake them work by carrying out, wherever possible, their recommendations and conventions. In general, the power of the organization on matters of policy is limited to the making of recommendations to governments ; and before a recommendation can be made, a two-thirds majority approval of the conference is required.

The interim commission estimated that during the first five years the average expenditure of the organization would be approximately 5,000,000 dollars per annum. During the first financial year, however, the expenditure is likely to be considerably less, due to unavoidable delays in the recruitment of staff and the preparation of plans. A provisional budget of 2,500,000 dollar’s for the first financial year was, therefore, accepted. Australia’s contribution for the first financial year, as set out in Annex 11 of the constitution, is 3.33 per cent, of the budget, or approximately £A.26,000.

The Food and Agriculture Organization should be of value to Australia, which is greatly affected by world standards of consumption of food and agriculture products. In 1938, 64,000 Australian workers depended on export markets for pastoral products, 50,000 on exports of wheat, and 32,000 on exports of dairying products. In addition, their dependants and persons employed in small towns in country districts are dependent upon the maintenance of our export markets. In 1938, 17 per cent, of our national income was derived from exports. The Australian people, and country dwellers in particular, will obviously benefit from improved nutrition standards and increased consumption of agricultural products throughout the world. Moreover, a plan to expand consumption and increase standards of living is wholly consistent with the Australian Government’s foreign economic policy, which centres on an agreement by nations to pursue domestic policies of expansion. The Government believes, and the Hot Springs Conference accepted its view, that the greatest single factor in increasing the consumption of food is the maintenance of high levels of employment. The Food and Agriculture Organization, in endeavouring to promote increased consumption of food, will urge governments and international organizations which are set up by the United Nations to make their primary objective the adoption of domestic policies of employment and increasing living standards.

The Government has been advised that twelve countries have notified the Interim Food Commission of their intention to adopt the draft constitution and to adhere to the proposals for a permanent food and agriculture organization. The Australian Government is the first to have the constitution adopted by Parliamentary action. The first conference in connexion with food and agriculture to which this Government will send accredited representatives will be held when twenty governments have notified their acceptance of the constitution. I commend the measure to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.

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The following papers were pre sented : -

Air Force Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, Nos. 146, 153.

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

No. 26 of 1944 - Commonwealth Telephone Officers’ Association.

No. 27 of 1944 - Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.

Bankruptcy Act - Sixteenth Annual Report by Attorney-General, for year ended 31st July, 1944.

Broadcasting - Composite statement of programme and technical service accounts of Australian Broadcasting Commission and Postmaster-General’s Department in respect of the national broadcasting service for year 1942-43.

Commonwealth Railways Act - Report on Commonwealth Railways operations for year 1943-44.

Customs Act - Proclamation prohibiting the exportation of goods (except under certain conditions) - No. 611.

Customs Act and Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, Nos. 139, 140.

Defence Act -

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, No. 154.

Royal Military College - Report for1943

Judiciary Act - Rule of Court, dated 7th November, 1944.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for -

Commonwealth purposes -

Archerfield, Queensland.

Bathurst, New South Wales (2).

Coniston, New South Wales.

Cressy, Victoria.

Hobart, Tasmania.

Lindfield, New South Wales.

Lithgow, New South Wales.

Mulwala, New South Wales.

Oodnadatta, South Australia.

Richmond, New South Wales.

Townsville, Queensland.

Warracknabeal, Victoria.

Postal purposes -

Bamawm, Victoria.

Darlington, New South Wales.

Melbourne, Victoria (2).

Port Melbourne, Victoria.

National Security Act -

National Security (Exchange Control) Regulations - Order - Sterling Area.

National Security (Food Control) Regulations - Order No. 10.

National Security (General) Regulations -

Orders -

Beef (Restrictions on sale and consumption) (No. 2).

Control of -

Automotive spare parts (No. 3).

Electronic vibrators (No. 2).

Essential materials (No. 9).

Maps (No. 2).

Newsprint (No. 1).

Office machines - Revocation.

Overseas postal communications.

Radio spare parts.

Stock foods and remedies (No. 4).

Wholesale cream distribution (Victoria) (No.2).

Disposal of dead bodies.

Evacuation of area.

Prohibition of non-essential produc tion (No. 16).

Restriction of celery planting (South Australia) (No.2).

Taking possession of land,&c. (146).

Use of land (7).

Orders by State Premiers -

Queensland (2 - dated 13th October, 1944, and 2nd November, 1944).

South Australia (Nos. 3 and 4 of 1944).

Victoria (No. 59).

Western Australia (2 - dated 27th

September, 1944).

National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (232).

National Security (Internment Camps) Regulations - Order - Establishment of internment camp.

National Security (Land Transport) Regulations - Orders -

Queensland (Nos. 2 and 3) - Revocation.

South Australia (No. 12).

National Security (Liquid Fuel) Regulations - Order No. 18.

National Security (Man Power) Regulations - Orders - Protected undertakings (68).

National Security (Maritime Industry) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 46, 47.

National Security (Potatoes) Regulations - Order No. 17.

National Security (Prices) Regulations - Declarations Nos. 145-148.

Orders- Nos. 1608-1746.

National Security (Shipping Coordination) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 71-74.

National Security (Supplementary) Regulations - Statement of Australian Banking Statistics for the five quarters ended 30th September, 1944.

National Security (Vegetable Seeds) Regulations - Order- Control of sale of vegetable seeds.

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, Nos. 148, 150, 151, 152, 156, 157, 159, 160, 161, 162.

Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, No. 155.

Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, No. 145.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Ordinance - No. 9 of 1944 - Industrial Board.

Regulations - No. 4 of 1944 - (Public Baths Ordinance).

Supply and Development Act - Regulations -Statutory Rules 1944, No. 158.

War Service Homes Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, No. 147.

Women’s Employment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, No. 149.

Senate adjourned at 4.36 p.m.

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