17th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 3.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– by leave - I omitted yesterday to inform the Senate that, owing to the unfortunate illness of Senator Leckie, who is unable to attend the sittings of the Senate, I have been requested by the members of my party to act as Leader until such time as he has recovered. I saw Senator Leckie in hospital to-day and am happy to inform the Senate that he is making good progress and hopes soon to be with us again.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear!
Semi-Permanent Military Camps
– Will the Minister for Supply and Shipping instruct the Commonwealth Disposals Commission not to dispose of semi-permanent military camps until local governing authorities, or such organizations as the National Fitness Council, have had an opportunity to tender for them?
– The Commonwealth Disposals Commission invites local-governing authorities, as well as State authorities. to submit offers for camp buildings which are available for disposal before submitting them to the public.
Transport of Milk
– On the adjourn ment of the Senate on the 29th June, Senator Mattner raised the question of the relaxation of restrictions which prevented lorries engaged in the road transport of milk in South Australia, from entering farming properties to pick up milk supplies on the properties of producers. I promised to take up the matter with the Minister for Transport, who has now furnished me with the following advice : -
The matter referred to concerns a scheme organized by the Director of Emergency Road Transport, South Australia, to promote efficiency and economy in the transport of milk, to ensure that road transport in this sphere would be maintained in the face of the wartime shortages of man-power, liquid fuel, tyres and tubes, replacement parts and deficiencies in facilities for the maintenance and repair of motor vehicles.
Similar rationalization schemes operate in all States of the Commonwealth, and before anything is done to interfere with the milk zoning scheme in South Australia in the manner requested, it will be necessary to consider the matter on a Commonwealth-wide basis. It is, therefore, proposed to submit the whole question for discussion by the Commonwealth War Road Transport Committee, constituted pursuant to the National Security (Land Transport) Regulations, at the next meeting which will be held on the 6th August.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for the Army aware that, in spite of repeated requests for information regarding conditions at Army detention camps, no answer has yet been supplied to questions which I have asked on this subject? Further, is he aware that a statement on this subject was made recently by the Minister for the Army? Will the Minister draw the attention of his colleague to the discourtesy shown to the Senate in this matter? Unfortunately, the habit of ignoring questions raised in this chamber is developing, although information on the same subjects is frequently given in the House of Representatives. I ask the Minister to take precautions to ensure that in future replies will be furnished to questions asked in the Senate before ministerial statements are made on the same subjects in the House of Representatives.
– I have no knowledge of what the honorable senator has said with regard to the investigation of detention camps. Some time ago I intimated that a Supreme Court judge would be appointed to investigate detention camps throughout Australia. The Government had a judge in mind for the the purpose.
– Judge Reed’s name has been mentioned.
– He was the judge wo had in mind, but I am not aware that the appointment has been made though the Minister may have made a statement to that effect.
Synthetic Fibre - Woollen Piece Goods
– On the 20th July, on the motion for the adjournment, Senator Allan MacDonald asked me to make a statement about the Government’s attitude towards the synthetic fibre industry. This I promised to do. First, however, I ask the honorable senator to realize the full complexities of this problem, which is one of the major questions facing industry in the post-war period, not only in Australia but abroad. The problem affects the interests of Australia too vitally to be made the football of party politics. The origin of Government action in the matter goes back some eight years, when importations of spun rayon, piece goods, particularly from Japan, came under notice, imitations of certain classes of woollen piece goods were being sold at much lower prices.
The then Minister for Trade and Customs took action to protect the woollen industry by the issue of a substitute notice, directing that certain piece goods of spun rayon fibre which were considered to imitate woollen piece goods ordinarily used in the manufacture of outer clothing should bear the same rates of duty as such goods. However, the satisfactory administration of this substitute notice presents many difficulties, owing to the wide range of synthetic fibre piece goods and their varying uses. Some of these goods do not appear to compete with wool, but rather are complementary to wool. As a result of these difficulties the Government has referred to the Tariff Board for inquiry, the question of the tariff classification and rates of duty which should appropriately be imposed on synthetic fibre piece goods. I am awaiting the board’s report. The honorable senator can rest assured that, in its consideration of the report and in any decisions taken, the Government will not lose sight of the interests of the wool industry. lt is true that during the war there has been an increase in imports of synthetic fabrics in proportion to woollen goods. This has occurred because of the- acute shortage of cotton materials, which is partly due to the cessation of imports from Japan and partly to reduced production of cottons in the United Kingdom. Moreover, available supplies of woollen piece goods were curtailed by heavy service requirements, both here and abroad. In order to maintain stable price levels and to guard against the danger of a vicious circle of cost and wage inflation, the Government introduced a prices stabilization scheme, by which prices o-f goods were pegged to the levels of April, 1943. This scheme, however, in relation to textiles applies to wool as well as to synthetic piece goode, and it is not true, as has sometimes been stated, that the Government has offered special subsidies to encourage the importation of synthetic fabrics. In any case, these factors are temporary and will disappear with the abnormal war situation which occasioned them.
In considering the future, we need to take a broad view. Whatever is done in Australia, the synthetic fibre industry has come to stay and will undoubtedly undergo a tremendous expansion in the United Kingdom, America, and in other industrialized countries. It follows, therefore, that, in the long run, the future of the wool industry must depend upon its capacity to face and meet the competition of synthetic fabrics. This, I believe, it can do if the natural properties of the raw material are exploited to the full by intensive scientific research, backed by a far-sighted marketing organization. It was to ensure the operation of these factors that the Parliament recently passed the Wool Use Promotion Act. A further point that is often overlooked is that many fabrics are now being produced in which synthetic fibres are combined with wool and it seems likely that this usage will develop so that to an increasing extent the two industries will become inter-dependent. I would also point out that many synthetic fabrics are, by their nature, quite unsuitable for the purposes for which woollen fabrics are used. Such materials compete with silk and. cotton rather than with wool. These factors should be kept in mind in considering the possible establishment of the synthetic fibre industry in this country, towards which plans are already in hand. It would be contrary to Government policy to place obstacles in the way of the establishment here of any new industry which will make use of local raw materials and will open up valuable avenues of employment. Moreover, it is my view that the development of a local industry in synthetic fibres will offer competition, not so much to the wool industry as to the present imports of synthetic textiles.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Is it a fact that the absence of tweeds and worsteds from the Australian market is due to an embargo and not to British restrictions t
– The following answers are supplied to the questions: -
Since 1043 only a limited poundage of woollen yarns has been allocated in the United Kingdom for the manufacture of woollen piece goods for export to Australia. Under the arrangement it is an Australian responsibility to determine the types of cloth which it is desired to import under the yarn quota
The first aim has been that of ensuring sufficient supplies of woollen materials of the types used in making infant’s wear. These are not manufactured in Australia in sufficient quantity to satisfy requirements.
The imports needed to cover the deficiency absorb about half of the Australian yarn quota.. The balance of the quota is taken up in other essential woollen materials such as alpacas, haircloth, lustres, Sicilians and various industrial cloths not available from Australian sources.
While the yarn quota .system operates in the United Kingdom, importations of suiting materials cannot be effected except at the expense of cloths needed for infant’s wear and other essential purposes.
At the Australian end, the yarn quota arrangement has been administered through a system of import licences. Pending a clarification of the present position with the United Kingdom authorities I am authorizing the Division of Import Procurement to issue import licences for any quantities of woollen suitings that may be available from tha United Kingdom provided the importer is able to secure the materials without debit against the yarn quota allocated to Australia for other and more urgent woollen needs.
It will be the responsibility of each importer to ensure that his Importations are effected under conditions which enable him to comply with the prices regulations.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers : -
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that Mr. Johnson had been discharged from attendance on the War Expenditure Committee, and that Mr. Russell be appointed to serve on such committee.
Bill received from the House of Represenatives and (on motion by Senator Keane), read a first time.
In committee: Consideration resumed from the 25th July (vide page 4510).
Clause 16 -
From the amount of any war gratuity to be credited there shall be deducted -
any amount due to the Commonwealth by a member in respect of any period of service as a member unless, in the case of a deceased member, the war gratuity is to be credited in whole or in part to a person who, in the opinion of a prescribed authority, was totally dependent upon the deceased member at the date of his death or is in necessitous circumstances.
– I move -
That paragraph (c) be left out.
Paragraph c is a provision which, as the result of a discussion in the House of Representatives has been reconsidered. In view of the fact that it was not recommended by the committee appointed by Parliament to report upon the matter, and was not contained in the War Gratuity Act passed after the last war, the Government is now seeking its omission from the bill. It provides for deduction from a war gratuity because of circumstances arising from shortages of equipment or because of fines imposed as measures of discipline. Its omission will not prevent a deduction being effected where there is an element of fraud or improper dealing.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, further verbally amended, and as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 17 to 32 agreed to.
Schedule and Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended ; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill is intended to increase the amount made available for the relief of cereal farmers in drought areas. In November last, the Parliament approved of £3,000,000 being granted, the money being shared on a£1 for £1 basis with the States. An extra £710,000 is now to be provided in the same way, with a small amount for growers in the Australian Capital Territory. The Commonwealth’s share of the payment will be increased by £355,000 to a total of £1,855,000. Drought relief for cerealgrowers was provided as the result of an agreement reached at a conference of Premiers last October. The amount to be granted was decided then, and a tentative allocation was made among the States. At the time, it was evident that no State was in a position to estimate accurately what relief was needed. An allocation was not made for Western Australia, although it was agreed that that State would participate if the season took a turn for the worse. The allocations made then have proved sufficient for New South Wales and South Australia, but Victoria needs an extra £460,000, whilst Western Australia requires £250,000 for relief. In that State, fortunately, the drought was not general. It was confined to a few districts, and as a result the total amount of relief needed there is far less than in the eastern States. It will be seen, therefore, that this bill is supplementary to the drought relief measure which the Parliament approved a few months ago. It is necessary solely because the information available then did not permit full provision to be made. The bill deals with one specific problem which has had special consideration by the Governments of the Commonwealth and States and is designed to carry out the agreement reached at the time. It simply provides, in the terms of the original agreement, for two States whose cereal-growers were found to have suffered more than was evident last October. The present proposal means a substantial addition to the amount first granted, but the alternative was an overall reduction of the scale of relief by about 20 per cent. That would mean that each grower would get less. The Commonwealth and State Governments consider that the scale of relief should not be cut down, and that all farmers affected by drought should receive grants on the scale needed to carry on farming this season. For that reason, it has been decided to supply the additional funds, which will give an adequate measure of relief to the growers whose crops were badly affected by drought. The Government is not reducing farmers’ needs to fit in with a limited fund; it is adjusting the fund to meet the needs. The extra money will be supplied on the same conditions as were determined when the original act was passed. The money will be a grant to drought-stricken growers for the special purpose of enabling them to carry on their normal farming activities this season. The grant is not intended as a general payment to all who have suffered loss of crops, and it is not suggested that the payment represents the full loss that has been sustained. It represents aid on a reasonable scale which will allow farmers to remain in production. A great change has taken place since this additional assistance was approved. Only a few weeks ago Australia was faced with another disastrous year over its main cereal areas, but the rain which fell at the end of June altered the outlook entirely. My colleague, the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully), speaking four weeks ago could do no more than talk in terms of cautious optimism about the seasonal prospects, but even while he was speaking rain was falling over hundreds of thousands of acres of our best cereal land. Every drop of it was balm to our farmers. Since then, more rain has drowned the drought in three States, so that we can now say definitely that, there is a good season in sight
Since the rain, farmers have planted as large an area as possible. Thousands of them had sown dry, taking the risk of loss. Those crops will be saved, but several millions of acres had not been planted at all. That planting has since been undertaken, and it would appear that there will be a much greater area under crop this year than for several years past. One indication is that wheat licences have been issued for over 13,000,000 acres, which is equal to the normal pre-war wheat acreage. This indicates that the rain of the last few weeks has allowed wheat-growers to plant several millions of acres more than last year. The crop, of course, will depend on the weather during the next few months, but it is now off to a very good start, even if that start be late. We can say that the drought has passed, but its effects will be with us for a lone time to come. The millions of bushels of production lost cannot be restored. Our farmers must depend on their own hard work and the help of the weather to provide the crops and the feed which are required to carry us through next year. After & great drought more than one good season is needed to put our farmers on their feet again, and their future depends on their own toil. This bill will make the effort a little easier for them. The Government presents it as a measure to help our farmers to recover after a disastrous drought.
– The assistance to be provided under this measure will be supplementary to that provided some months ago in respect of drought relief. All honorable senators will support the bill. We greatly deplore the circumstances which render this assistance necessary. This is an opportune time for the Parliament to consider proposals designed to minimize losses caused by drought. In the. past, these losses have been tremendous; and droughts invariably have caused widespread tragedy among primary producers. It is estimated that losses resulting from the recent drought approximate £60,000.000. It is difficult, of course, to say what the actual losses were. However, it is clear that it will be many years before a great seel ion of our primary producers will recover from that disaster. Pastoralists have lost a substantial part of their flocks and herds, though we know that wheat farmers invariably are the worst sufferers in times of drought. Therefore, we should evolve measures with a view to minimizing losses resulting from drought. We cannot prevent droughts. Our history shows, that droughts recur in cycles ; years of plenty are followed by a series of adverse seasons. We should enlist the aid of science in attacking this problem. We could make a start by making adequate provision for fodder conservation. Following years of abundance, Nature, apparently, seeks to rest the soil and to renew its fertility by restoring its heat. For instance, a few years ago the Nullabor Plains, which were regarded as a barren waste, were covered with luxuriant grass. Just as a man insures his home and property against fire, the nation should ensure its economic welfare against drought. It can do so to some degree by evolving a plan for the conservation of fodder in years of abundance, and using those reserves in time of drought.
To-day, wheat is regarded as an excellent concentrated feed for stock. I can see no reason why the Commonwealth could not, in conjunction with the States’, build up reserves of wheat to a total of, say, 100,000,000 bushels, for use in adverse seasons. One season’s wheat crop would be sufficient to supply an adequate reserve for this purpose. Obviously, we should be in a far better position to-day had wo not limited the production of wheat in recent years. I go so far as to say that primary producers or pastoral lessees and other people on areas subject to drought should be compelled to conserve a portion of each season’s fodder crop. Despite our immense productive capacity, we are to-day importing grain from overseas for stock feed. Such a position is almost incredible. We have almost reached the stage at which we shall have to import wheat.
– In America the individual cuts and stores hay. He does not wait for his government to do it.
– But he is not interfered with bv his government.
– I do not say that that is not done in America, but I do say that it is not done here. Is it not the duty of either the Commonwealth Government or the appropriate State government, to encourage fodder conservation, even to the extent of subsidizing such activities ?
– Immediately we did so the honorable senator, and probably Senator Gibson also, would say that we were interfering with the liberty of the individual.
– I say it now.
– The Minister is no more entitled to anticipate my remarks than I am his. Under this bill and the States Grants (Drought Relief) Act, financial assistance will be provided for the drought-stricken grower? of wheat and other cereals. Some thought should be given to the need to assist the primary producers not only financially but also with sound advice.
– That is right.
– The land is the legacy that we inherited from our forbears and must pass on to posterity in an improved condition if possible. The rural areas of Great Britain, under cultivation for centuries, axe in better condition to-day than ever. In Australia, however, much of the pastoral land is held on lease, and the pastoralists only concern is to get as much out of it as he can, with the result that, when the price of wool is high, he overstocks to the detriment of his’ holding. His pocket may benefit immediately, but both he and the nation suffer eventually from the consequent depletion of the productivity of the soil. There ought to be some control over thi1 matter.
– Now the honorablesenator is asking for control. In one breath he is against control and in the next in favour of it.
– I am not so hide-bound as the Minister is. I come into this chamber with an open mind. Because I oppose one thing and support another does not mean that I am. inconsistent. I am- not. My mind is not regimented as are the minds of honorable senators opposite. I am free to express my own views. I return to the point I was makins when the Minister interrupted me. What objection could there bc to the State Departments of Agriculture or the Commonwealth Department of Commerce and Agriculture advising the people that over-stock and otherwise engage in bad pastoral practices that they are injuring themselves and the nation as a whole by pursuing such methods? Tasmanians can be proud that they have a most excellent Department of Agriculture staffed by men with theoretical and practical knowledge.
– Mostly practical.
– Yes. They help” the primary producer with the best advice. The Minister may jibe at me as much as he likes, but the time has come when these great problems must be faced by this or some other government. “When drought comes, the pastoralists that have over-stocked are left without reserves of fodder. Wind erosion “occurs with the disappearance of the grasses that bind the soil. This is a direction in which the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research could give valuable help. This Government in collaboration with the States could appoint a group of persons well versed in the best methods of primary production to devise a plan whereby our problems might henceforth be avoided. In 1914 er 1915, as the official records will confirm, Tasmania was forced to import wheat from Argentina. I think some other States were forced to do likewise.
– With that experience behind us we were foolish enough to let ourselves drift into our present predicament because no authority was charged with the duty of taking such steps as were necessary to protect us against it. Measures such as this are merely a palliative and in no way a cure, f welcome the measure and am in no way critical of it for what it is designed to do, but I am critical of the failure of the State and Federal authorities to grapple with the greater problem of ensuring by the application of a wise agricultural policy in Australia that such measures shall not again be needed. T am not decrying what has already been accomplished in agriculture. The application nf scientific methods of farming fostered by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, has yielded beneficial results in every branch of primary production.
The carrying capacity of our pastures has been improved enormously as the result of pasture improvement. The yield of wheat per acre has also greatly increased. I remember when the average yield in South Australia was only two and a half bushels to the acre, but to-day it is very much greater. That is the result of dry farming, the application of superphosphate and the cultivation of better drought-resisting, but stronger varieties of wheat. In the orchards the trend has been gratifyingly similar. This measure emphasizes once again the necessity to take steps to mitigate the effects of droughts in the future. Droughts cannot be prevented, but we should be like the prudent man who insures his home and his crops against fire or other damage. If a fire does not occur, he is not any worse off, but should the adversity which he envisages eventuate, funds will be available to recoup him for his losses. The safeguard required by the man on the land is the development of water conservation schemes. Nature has provided the great Murray River, flowing through hundreds of miles of this continent. In the spring of last year, I made a trip down the Murray Valley, and the line of demarcation between irrigated and nonirrigated lands was most apparent. On one side of a fence one could see the luxurious growth of lucerne and other green crops, and on the other side, nothing but desolation. What is there to prevent the substantial extension of existing water conservation and irrigation schemes in that valley? Periodically this country experiences devastating floods. Why should our river waters flow to the sea unchecked when natural facilities for great water storage schemes exist? We should learn the lessons of the past. Whilst no one will oppose the appropriation of this money for the relief of drought-stricken farmers, it behoves us as public men to give some thought to the great problem caused bv periodical droughts, provision - against which lags far behind the advances th.it n rp being made in almost every other branch of industry. In our secondary industries science has played a great part in improving methods and increasing production. It remains for public men, both in the Commonwealth and State spheres, to deal with the problem of supplying water to the man on the land, and ensuring in the future that he shall not be exposed to the calamitous depredations of drought. The more fortunate areas of this Commonwealth more than compensate for the shortcomings of other regions in which droughts are frequent. Following a serious drought, such as that which certain areas of the Commonwealth have just experienced, the restoration of production to normal takes years, and unless steps are taken to deal with this problem, history will repeat itself, and by the time normal production is restored, the land will once again be in the throes of a disastrous drought, for the relief of which further appropriations will have to be made by this Parliament. The principle of limitation of production of crops is wrong. Especially is that true of wheat, for the growing of which this country is so admirably adapted. We should build up reserves of cereals and fodder to tide us over adverse seasons which occur from time to time. We must make full use of scientific developments which were not available to preceding generations in an endeavour to extend the benefits of water conservation and irrigation. We shall be failing in our duty if we do not do so.
.- I do not propose to criticize the sum of money proposed to be voted for drought relief in this measure, but there are one or two points in the second-reading speech of the Minister for Health (‘Senator Fraser) to which I shall refer. That speech was one of the most optimistic I have ever heard. Apparently, the Minister knows very little about conditions in the wheat-growing areas of this country. This measure makes available £460,000 for drought relief in Victoria, and £250,000 in South Australia in addition to the money previously voted. In his second-reading speech the Minister said -
Only a few weeks ago Australia was faced with another disastrous year over our main cereal areas, and although it was very late in the season, the drought had not broken. The rain at the end of June has altered the outlook entirely.
Can it be said that that rain has altered the outlook entirely? How any one can say in June that there will be a good harvest in December is beyond my comprehension. The Minister went on to say-
My colleague the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture speaking four weeks ago could not do more than talk in terms ot cautious optimism . . . Since then, moTt rain has drowned the drought in three States, so that we can now say definitely that there is a good season in sight.
Can we say that? I was speaking to the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Wilson) yesterday and he 3aid that in many areas sufficient rain had not fallen to give the wheat a good start ; yet, here we have an optimistic statement by the Minister that we are to have a good season. Estimates are even .being made of the number of bushels of wheat that will .be harvested. The Minister said -
That is not so. Scores of farmers haveapplied for licences to grow wheat in order to maintain their right in case they wish to grow wheat at a later date. A farmer informed me the other day that he had not made an application for a licence to grow wheat this year as a previous application had been refused. He asked whether he should make an application this year merely to establish his right. 1 said, “ Certainly. They still have the dog collar on you, so you had better make an application for the licence.” The Minister further said that the drought had passed. Imagine any one saying that at this stage of the season ! I only wish that the drought had passed. At present, fodder for my sheep is costing me £20 a week. The Minister also said that our farmers had to depend on their own hard work. That is so. They work eight hours twice a day. This bill will amend the act of 1944, only by increasing tho amount of money to be paid from £1,500,000 to £1,855,000. That act applies only to growers of wheat, oats and barley, or to those who grow wheaten or oaten hay. The principle underlying the bil] is entirely wrong. Why should the relief be restricted to those classes of primary producers especially when the loss of a crop of wheat represents a loss for only one year ? What about the man who loses Mb stock as the result of drought? The cattle and sheep that die are lost forever. That man is just as much entitled to assistance as is the grower of wheat, oats, or barley. I say nothing against assisting the primary producers covered by this bill, because I know how hard their lot is, but I remind the Senate that the drought has caused the loss of 20,000,000 sheep. Many men in the northern parts of Victoria have lost practically the whole of their flocks. In the Camperdown, Colac and Warrnambool districts, many thousands of sheep from the drought-stricken northern districts of Victoria have been depastured. They artstill there because there is not sufficient grass in the districts from which they came to feed them should they return. I know something of the effects of drought. The feeding of my sheep has cost rae about 10s. a head. Many sheepowners travel their sheep on the roads in order to keep them alive; others have expended in feeding their sheep more than the total value of the animals. These people are just as much entitled to assistance as are those who have lost their wheat crops. In addition to the losses of sheep the lambing prospects this year are not good. We shall be fortuntate if the lambing is half what it is in a normal year. Losses of wool due to the drought have been estimated at 1^000,000 bales. In a letter to me recently exSenator Guthrie said that the losses of wool will amount to 1,000,000 bales, which represents approximately £20,000,000. It will be seen that many primary producers besides the growers of wheat, barley and oats, have suffered, and are suffering, from the drought. In Victoria alone, 81,000 head of dairy cattle have been slaughtered because feed could not be provided for them, but there is no provision in this bill to help dairyfarmers, or men engaged in raising sheep or castle.
The Government is not justified in restricting assistance to the primary producers covered by the bill. Honorable senators on the Government benches, who seem to spend their time looking for sunshine, whereas the man on the land prays for rain, should know that the man on the land has many difficulties to contend with, such as droughts, floods, fires, grasshoppers, rabbits, caterpillars, rust, frost, hail, stock diseases, and an interfering Labour Government. The man who receives his salary regularly knows what his income is, but the man who is dependent on the weather for a livelihood never knows what will happen next. In this legislation, the Government is dealing with only one section of sufferers from the drought ; others have to take “ pot hick “. It is true that some primary producers have funds on which they can draw to meet their losses. I agree with Senator Herbert Hays on the need to conserve fodder. The honorable senator’s views are sound, whereas those of the Government are unsound.
– The present Government has done more for primary producers than did any previous government.
– What has been done for one section of primary producers has been done at the expense of other sections. The Senate should know that it is impossible to conserve as ensilage oaten hay, or any hay with grain in it, although grass hay, which has no seed, can be conserved. Last year, when there were tens of thousands of tons of meadow hay in my district, I appealed to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) to permit four or five hay pressers to be used to press that hay, but permission was not granted, because it was said men could not be obtained to work the machine. I submit that the harvesting of that meadow hay was just as essential an operation for the feeding of the fighting forces as were other forms of primary production which the Government encouraged. Experienced men should have been released from the Army for one month to press that grass hay. Such hay will keep for years. At the present time I am feeding my stock with meadow hay which I have had stored for seven years. Senator Herbert Hays referred to stocks of wheat being held. Wheat can be held arid protected against weevils and mice, but oaten hay cannot be so held. I have tried it, and I know what I am talking about. Although the Government has made attempts to help some primary producers, the Department of Commerce and Agriculture is as dead as Julius Caesar so far as the man on the land is concerned. In Great Britain, a process for drying grass hay has had excellent results. The machine used for the purpose, costs about £1,000. If the Commonwealth Government really desired to assist primary producers it would import some of these machines, and make a determined effort to conserve fodder.
– The honorable senator did not do anything towards the conservation of fodder.
– I have done a good deal in the matter of fodder conservation. It is 34 years since there was a drought in my district.
– The honorable senator has not much to complain of if he has experienced only one drought in 34 years.
– The grass which is treated in the machines to which I have referred is cut when 4 inches or 5 inches high. After it has passed through the drying machine it will keep indefinitely. Moreover, for feeding purposes it is equal to bran or pollard. Scores of such machines are operating in Great Britain, hut there is not one of them in Australia. The Government could do something to assist primary producers to conserve fodder by financing the purchase of such machines. Another machine which is being used in other countries is one which compresses wheat into pills, or cubes. Fodder in the form of nuts which some sheep-owners have fed to their sheep is not nearly so good as is the compressed wheat to which I have referred. When drought conditions exist farmers use wheat as the main fodder for their sheep. No other fodder is so easy to handle, and nono is its equal in feeding value.
– What would happen in ordinary seasons if large quantities of fodder were conserved?
– I answer that interjection by reminding the honorable senator of what has happened in the past. There has been an export market for fodder, and there have been various ways of using it. For instance, crushed wheat is a valuable feed for pigs.
– The honorable senator said that he was using grass hay which had been stored for seven years.
– The Government is still paying £750,000 a year to farmers not to grow wheat. That is criminal. Its action has the effect of starving large numbers of sheep, as well as depriving human beings of food. The sooner the Government realizes that people should be allowed to grow wheat wherever they can grow it, the better. Moreover, the Government has prevented farmers from growing wheat on land which does not require superphosphate. Tens of thousands of acres of good land which does not require superphosphate could be used for the growing of wheat, but the Government does not permit wheat to be grown on it. About a fortnight ago, men who had expended large sums of money to keep their sheep alive were told that no more wheat would be made available for feeding sheep. As grass has not grown much since the recent rains, that decision means that men who have kept their sheep alive at great expense will lose them and the cost of the feed they have bought to date to save them.
– The Government has not made any such decision.
– I say definitely that it has, because I, myself, made application to the-Department of Commerce and Agriculture for wheat to feed sheep, and was referred to the Australian Wheat Board in Melbourne. When I rang that body, I was told that no more wheat would be supplied for sheep feed.
– This year 13,000,000 acres more than last year will be planted with wheat.
– I do not know how sheep-owners will keep their sheep alive until the grass grows. On numerous occasions, Senator James McLachlan and I have urged the Government to remove the restrictions which it has imposed. When I predicted that before the end of this year Australia would have to import wheat, Government supporters laughed at me. But what is the position to-day? The Government had to cancel its arrangements to export many millions of bushels of wheat, and it is importing ats and barley from New Zealand and the United States of America.
– The people of this country are lucky to have land on which to grow anything.
– We on this side are just as aware as are honorable senators opposite that this country is at war. The Government ought to know why no oats is available in Australia, and so I shall tell it. The price of oats was fixed at 2s. 3d. a bushel on farms, which is equivalent to £6 6s. a ton. Oats cannot be grown “at that price. At the same time the price of chaff was fixed at £7 12s. 6d. a ton. Farmers mixed their oats with the chaff and sold’ it for £7 12s. 6d. a ton, instead of £6 6s. a ton. That is the scientific way in which the Government fixes prices! The Government also fixed the wages of rural workers so high that farmers could not afford to grow oats. The sooner - the Government lifts the restrictions which have been placed on farmers, the better. If the Government thinks that 13,000,000 acres above the quantity sown to wheat last year will be sown this year it is making a great mistake. Licences in respect of that area have been applied for, but the licence does not bind a farmer to sow all the land in respect of which it is granted. As a matter of fact ; even if that 13,000,000 acres be put under wheat, sufficient superphosphate will not be available to enable the land1 to yield a normal crop. The only remedy is to abolish the licence system, and allow farmers to plant wheat on all areas suitable for that purpose. In the existing circumstances, t support the bill.
I visited those areas. All of that wheat has been distributed in the eastern States to offset drought and losses. Years ago when travelling through South Australia I saw large stacks of hay, perhaps, two or three chains long, but a different picture is presented in that State to-day. At present, one sees only little stacks containing possibly 50 or 60 tons of hay. The explanation is that adverse seasons have reduced crops. I am certain that our farmers as a whole will, as the result of the recent drought, realize the necessity to conserve adequate feed for their stock. In the past, they have not given serious’ attention to this matter. Yet hay will last for ten years, if it is perfectly stacked and looked after. I again ask Senator Herbert Hays . to explain how fanners could be expected to conserve fodder during adverse seasons, when they were unable to grow normal crops. One cannot eat his cake and have it. 1 again express the belief that as the result of the losses suffered during the recent drought, our fanners will realize the necessity to conserve as much stock feed as possible.
Senator MATTNER (South Australia) [4.5:J . - I regret the circumstances which make it necessary to increase the assistance granted some months ago in respect of drought relief. Under this measure the sum of £1,500,000 previously voted for drought relief, will be increased to £1,855,000. Great: as that sum may be, it docs not give a true indication of the hardships confronting primary producers to-day. Incidentally, the repercussions of the drought have not yet been felt by the community generally. It would appear that our people as a whole have no desire to acquaint themselves with what the future holds for us on the food front. I am not a pessimist, but I should like to know where the Government anticipates obtaining adequate food supplies for our own needs during the next twelve months. I regret that the Minister for Health (Senator Eraser) has allowed his optimism to obscure his judgment. He said that the drought has broken. I cannot agree with that view. The wheatfarmers will not be able to recover their position within the next twelve months. Last year, unfortunately, was dry, and most farmer? had no fallow. The best crops are grown on fallowed land. This year is unusually dry, and there will be very little fallow for next year’s crop. Except in a few favoured localities, there is little prospect of a bumper harvest next season, no matter how propitious the weather may be during the next few months. Wheat has not yet .been «own in many areas, and in many places where it has been sown it has not germinated. I hope that we shall have bountiful rains during the next few months; but even should this prove to be so, our harvest will not be very great.
Unfortunately, we are prone to exaggerate the value of wheat. There is another crop which we grow all over Australia which is far more valuable. 1 refer to the humble grass. Grass is the most valuable crop we grow in Australia. I share Senator Clothier’s view that owing to lack of rainfall, normal quantities of grass have not been grown during the last three or four years, and “i see no evidence that much grass will be grown in the near future. In addition. I do not think that we have previously experienced such severe frosts as we are experiencing to-day. Continuous frosts, are usually the portents of drought. Because we have had two or three disastrous droughts, we should not run away with the idea that the coming year must, necessarily, be (bountiful. If we do not get good rains within the next few weeks, and also in September and October to top off crops which are sown, we shall be obliged to import wheat to feed our own people. Owing to the shortage of grass in recent years, tremendous losses of -hiM-ji, and dairy and beef cattle have occurred, and these losses will be reflected in our general economy during the next few years. Even if we get good seasons it will take us many years to rebuild our flocks and herds which are the real basis of the wealth of this country.
I commend the Government for making available this assistance for the purpose of keeping experienced men on their holdings. That is our immediate problem. I am sure that no primary producer would expect the Government to make good all losses which are caused by drought, fire or flood. It is to be hoped that the recent drought will have taught organizations the value of fodder conservation. Too many men go on the land and fail to realize the importance of fodder conservation, hut their experiences during the dry seasons of the last few years should teach them to conserve their fodder wherever practicable. However, the conservation of fodder is not so easy as it might appear at first glance. We all make mistakes. Nearly two years ago, when conditions in South Australia were very bad, I thought it good policy to sell practically all my hay reserves, thinking the next year would be bountiful, because many other farmers were much worse off than I was. I have always had it drilled into me, “ Your stock of hay is your best insurance against an empty pocket in the cold days of winter”. Fortunately, 1 still have fairly good hay reserves. This is one year in my district, which previously has enjoyed an annual average rainfall of 30 inches, when we are not able to sow except on ground worked last year. The ground is so hard that we are not able to plough it. We have reverted to the old single-furrow plough in order to turn the surface. Many generally good districts are experiencing the worst drought in their history, but this is the first drought my district has known. We realize that we are share-farming on a 50-50 basis with the Treasurer. We realize, too that we must provide the sinews of war, but that does not alter the fact that about half of the profit on our harvests is taken by the Treasurer. We are unable, therefore, to put by sufficient to tide us over difficult days. If the Treasurer takes half of our profit, it is fair that he should share some of mir losses. The £1,850,000 to be given by this Government as drought relief to the farmers is a return of a part of the profits taken from them before.
As to what we can do in the future, I will make a statement that may be ridiculed. I do not mind if it is. We have had rammed down our throats for a long time that we must conserve fodder and water. I agree. I should also like to see the producers plant on their properties trees suitable to the localities. That is a direction in which the Government may be able to assist. [ speak from experience when 1 commend a policy of tree planting to pastoralists. One of my farms is reputedly among the best in South Australia, but the general public does not know that it is practically bereft of timber. Ever since we have been on that property, we have been trying to grow vines to provide shelter for our stock. We have half ‘a mile away another property that is well timbered I bought it for the timber and I will keep the timber there as long as I can. The stock sheltered in the timbered paddock comes through ibc winter 50 per cent, better than the unsheltered stock on the property supposed to be among the best in the State. The sheltered stock do better with considerably less feed. I do not ask for very much in this matter, because it is the settler’s job to do what I think he ought to do. He ought not to be spoon fed. He ought to have initiative and courage. I deprecate the growing habit of every section of the community crying to the Government for aid.- We are fast losing our self-respect. The farmer can do the job if the Government will grant him one concession, namely, the deduction for income tax purposes of the cost of his tree-planting operations. That would be a material aid. I emphasize that the trees planted must suit the locality. I also emphasize that it is of no use to plant a narrow lane of trees. The plantations must he big enough to provide shelter from the elements. One of the best examples of tree shelter in Western Australia, is on the Ruddock property, near Waddy Forest. It is a wonderful district. But the majority of the settlers cut out the trees. Ruddock left breaks of timber from one-quarter to one-half a mile deep. Other men left breaks only a couple of chains wide with the result, that the winds from both sides killed the outside trees and gradually killed the rest. I know it is not practicable on most holdings to emulate Ruddock’s example, but breaks must be sufficiently wide to provide adequate protection of the inside trees. Afforestation is one of the measures that will help us to conserve fodder.
The speech of the Minister in charge of the bill (Senator Fraser) was too optimistic. It reminded me of the optimism of the Chairman of the Production Executive, the Minister for Postwar Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman), who, on the 10th February, 1944, said -
Australia’s wheat stocks, without the 100.000.000 bushel crop just harvested are sufficient to meet the needs for four years. Under nil predictable conditions, it is quite impossible to conceive of a. shortage in this country.
That optimism was not justified by events and I doubt whether the optimism of the Minister for Health will be justified. We see optimism everywhere. We read in the press that the drought had broken. But has it? I hope so, but I am doubtful. Senator Gibson mentioned the losses occasioned by the drought not only to the wheat farmers, but also to the pastoralists and small graziers. In South Australia the fruit-growers have suffered ‘cry heavy losses from frosts. If the frosts continue much longer the fruit crops in many areas will be very light. That will mean more loss of revenue. I hope that the Government, in its wisdom, will see fit to extend to the fruit-growers that have suffered disastrously from frost damage, assistance similar to that proposed in this bill. I may be asked why the State governments do not do more for the primary producers. The Government of South Australia faces a deficit this year, and money for any advance to fruit-growers by the State Government would have to be borrowed. Fortunately, the other States have agreed that all South Australia’s claims for drought relief shall be met. We appreciate their generosity. To include fruit-growers in the relief scheme, it would be necessary to get the sanction of not only the Commonwealth Government, which has expressed a desire to help South Australia in this respect, but also the other States, [f the Commonwealth Government went to the State Government’s aid in this matter and provided money at per cent., it would be much more acceptable to the State, the finances of which are straitened, than if it had to borrow through the Loan Council at 3;i per cent, and make an annual payment of 4 per cent, to the sinking fund - a total of 7£ per cent, per annum. A scheme of relief for orchardists should not involve the State Government in a loan requiring interest and sinking fund payments totalling 7 J per cent. I hope that the Commonwealth Government will realize the necessity to help the Government of South Australia in this matter.
In this bill, the Commonwealth Government is doing the right thing by the wheat-farmers, who appreciate what is being done for them. I do not agree with Senator Clothier, however, that this Government has done more for the primary producers than has any previous government. There is a. world shortage of food, and I do not believe this Govern- ment has returned to the wheat-grower; as much money as they would have received had there been an open market for wheat: I am not advocating an open market by any means at present, but if such conditions were operating wheat would be bringing considerably more than the Government is prepared to pay to the producers, who are well aware of that.
– Doe3 the honorable senator know what the world parity for wheat i3?
– I do not desire, Mr. President, to raise a controversy about wheat prices at this stage.
– Sales were made at fs. a bushel, and the shipping was available, but we cancelled deliveries.
– Yes. I very much regret that we are not in the fortunate position of having 100,000,000 or 200,000,000 bushels’ of wheat to export. I do not blame any one for the fact that we have not but if we could get about 7s. a bushel, which is world parity, for that quantity of wheat, it would be the greatest possible boost to the prosperity of Australia. I hope it will not be necessary to provide drought relief for much longer, because, with all other senators, I am looking forward anxiously for rain so that we shall have, not only a bountiful wheat-crop, but also grass in our pastures in order that we may grow the other commodities needed to feed our own population and to help to feed the starving millions overseas.
– I am prompted to speak on this, measure by the misrepresentation indulged in by certain honorable senators opposite. For instance, .Senator Gibson made certain statements which conveyed the impression that this relief was being given because of losses sustained hy wheat-growers.
– That is so. If they had not lost, money owing to the drought, they would have been able to plant thisyear’s crop without assistance.
– That is not the object of this measure. Its purpose is to assist wheat-growers to plant crop.this year.
– But if they had harvested a crop last year they would not now be in need of this money.
– This relief is being granted not to recoup any losses which the farmers may have suffered, but because of the necessity to grow more wheat in this country. This grant is on the basis of approximately 12s. an acre. Surely, the honorable senator will not suggest that the loss on last season’s wheat was 12s. an acre. I repeat that the aim of this measure is to give to the farmer an opportunity to plant thi3 season’s wheat, and not to recoup him for past losses. Senator Gibson argued that losses were suffered by stock-raisers and that those losses should be recouped. That matter iB beyond the scope of this bill the object of which is, by agreement with the States, to make payments on the basis of 12s. an acre, for the planting of wheat. How could stock-raisers be given money to assist them to plant something to replace the stock which they have lost? As Senator Mattner has said, stock losses are suffered on grasslands. Stock-raisers are able to recoup drought losses in two years or so.
– A crop will grow in one year, but sheep and cattle cannot be replaced in one year.
– Wheatfarmers cannot recoup their losses in ona year. However, this bill does not seek to compensate for losses. Senator Mattner also said that if the present frosts continued, there would be more damage in fruit-growing areas. Surely, he is aware that frosts damage only growing trees, and cannot harm dormant trees. When the trees are dormant is the time for pruning as the sap is not flowing. The danger of frost damage arises when the trees are budding, and the fruit forming, or, sometimes, after the fruit has formed. It is not the function of the Commonwealth Government to compensate orchardists for such losses. Such action must be initiated by the States. It is a matter over which the Commonwealth Parliament does not have any control. Drought relief payments also were initiated by the State governments; but this Government has departed from the practice followed by antiLabour administrations of advancing money to farmers at the behest of the States, and insisting upon repayment at some time in the future. This money is a gift to the farmers. That is an innovation which is a credit to the Labour Government.
Senator Mattner said that in the district in which he lives, there has never been a serious drought. There was drought in that area in 1913-15, when the price of a 56-lb. bag of chaff rose to 22s. 6d.
– Twenty-two shillings and sixpence for a bag of chaff !
– Yes. I had land there at that time, and I know what I am talking about. Chaff was brought from the lower end of Oakbank, towards Woodside and the price was 22s. 6d. a bag. Some men who were operating on a black market held stocks of chaff, hut others did not.
– That is £40 a ton!
– Yes. I paid that price. Senator Mattner has said also that on the open market wheatgrowers could obtain 7s. a bushel for wheat. Of course they could. Probably they could obtain more; but the honorable senator should bear in mind that under “ open market “ conditions the prices of other goods and services would soar. For instance, higher freight rates would be charged, both for internal transport, and for shipping space. We would have to ask the Japanese for an armistice for a while to allow “open markets” to operate. Does the honorable senator believe - that at this crucial period, when wages and prices are pegged, and man-power controlled, transport charges would be as low under “ open market “ conditions as they are at present? Of course they would not. Would the people of this country be able to buy petrol at its present price - dear as it is - if there were an open market for petrol throughout the world? They would not. The primary producers of this country would be back to the horse and dray days and conditions generally would be much worse than they are now as the result of the drought. Honorable senators opposite should lie fair. If there is to be an open market for wheat, then there should be an open market for other commodities, and wage-pegging regulations should be removed.
– Nobody is suggesting that.
– Senator Mattner advocated an “ open market “ for wheat.
– We are prepared to face an “ open market “.
– The honorable senator knows quite well that because of the exigencies of war certain restrictions have become essential.
– At one time on the “ open market “ the price of wheat was ls. lOd. a bushel.
– That is so. Senator Gibson should remember what he obtained for his mutton and wool when Bawra ceased to operate after the last war.
– Bawra did not sell a bale of wool.
– That is a technicality. Bawra handled the wool, and when that organization ceased to exist, “ open market “ conditions operated. What return did Senator Gibson get for his products during the depression years? Honorable senators opposite should be fair in their criticism of this Labour Government.
– They are playing party politics.
– Yes ; hut surely there is a standard of ethics which should be observed amongst parliamentarians. If ‘there is not, I shall be sadly disillusioned.
We have been informed that we on this side of the chamber are super-optimists.
– -So you are !
– -I admit that I have always been an optimist. All my life I have been advocating reforms, some of which are only now being made.
– I always hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
– We should all look for the silver lining, but the honorable senator accused the Minister of having made unduly optimistic statements in regard to the weather, and the possibility of a good wheat harvest.
– The Minister said definitely that the drought was over.
– Senator Gibson criticized the Minister for stating that the rain had “ drowned the drought “. In June, of last year, no one could have given an assurance that there would be a good harvest, .because at that time there had been no rain, and there was no grass. This year there is some grass, although the growth has not been great.
– The two years cannot be compared. This year is worse than last year.
– I am speaking generally. Last year there was no rain in the Riverina district, and in some parts of South Australia conditions were just as bad. In June of last year, people were lucky not to be blinded with sand in many portions of South Australia, but this year, because of a light fall of rain in April, the position is different. Crops are growing where nothing at all grew last year. Many farmers planted early both last year and this year, but last year they had no crops, whereas at the beginning of June this year, it was possible to be optimistic regarding the prospects for the season. That being so, why take the Minister to task? Every one was pleased when the rain fell in April, May and June. Optimism was justified. I have not met any man who, when the rain first fell, was not prepared to take off his hat to experience the sensation of feeling the rain fall on his head. In every wheat-growing State estimates of the harvest prospects are made early in the season. Later, particularly if good rain has fallen in the meantime, the estimate is altered. As the harvesting season approaches, another estimate is made. By that time, it is possible to say with some accuracy whether the crop will be greater or smaller than in other years. Estimates are made three or four times during the growing season. When the Minister made his statement he was justified in saying that the prospects were good. He had reason to be optimistic.
– He said that the drought was over.
– Since then there has been general rain, and the harvest prospects have greatly improved.
Even in the pastoral areas in the northwest of .South Australia, and in the western district of New South Wales, there has been wonderful rain. In some pastoral districts of South Australia, where the country is barren in dry seasons, it is difficult to walk through the grass six weeks after two or three inches of rain have fallen, because the grass is then three feet or four feet high, or even higher. Senator Gibson said a good deal about the losses of stock-raisers, but they will replenish their flocks within two years.
– -That is not possible.
– It is possible. The honorable senator will admit that in a normal season a 70 per cent, lambing is not unusual. Two good seasons would enable sheep-owners to replenish their flocks.
– Breeding stock does not comprise more than one-third of the 3heep on a holding. Many of the sheep are wethers.
– Statistics do not support the honorable senator’s contention. It is true that they show that in certain areas losses have been heavy, but statistics covering the whole of the Commonwealth do not show the losses to be as great as 50 per cent. Those losses can be recouped fairly quickly. Should it be necessary to assist stock-owners to replenish their flocks, I. submit that that assistance should be given, by State governments. These people should not always come to the Commonwealth Government for assistance, particularly when it has no power to follow up what it has done. Superpessimists like Senator Gibson criticize the Govern ment, knowing that their remarks will ho given publicity in the press. What Senator Gibson has said to-day will be given prominence in the newspapers to-morrow, but no publicity will be given to my remarks. The people will read what he has said, and the honorable senator hopes that the blame for existing conditions will be laid at the door of the Labour Government. The honorable senator mentioned what has happened in Western Australia, but he conveniently forgot to say that there was a grave danger at one stage that the people of Australia would not have any land on which to plant wheat.
– That is not a fair statement. The honorable senator ought not to have made it.
– Perhaps 1 ought to have said, not that the honorable senator forgot this matter, but that he was careful not to mention it.
– Why mention it?
– I mention it because recognition of facts sometimes places a different construction on a story.
– It is so obvious that it does not need to be mentioned.
– It is not obvious. The honorable senator is dealing with only one phase of the subject. In Senator Mattner’s view, there should be an open market for wheat, but not for other commodities.
– I am not advocating it.
– The reason why the honorable senator is not advocating an open market is that the “ cockies “ of South Australia know that they are better off under present conditions. The honorable senator is afraid to advocate an open market. The farmers know that when there was an open market they received only from ls. 2d. to ls. lOd. a bushel for their wheat, whereas to-day they are receiving a clear 4s. 3d. a bushel for it. Even the farmer on the far west, coast of South Australia gets 4s. 3d. for his wheat, the same price as is paid to the man who delivers his wheat to the stores at Port Adelaide, because he has not to pay freight on it. Previously, the west-coast farmer had to pay freight, as did also the farmer in the Mallee districts of that State, whereas growers in the district with which’ I am associated did not have to pay any freight. They took their wheat to the seaboard and obtained the full price for it. To-day, wheat whether grown at Loxton or Ceduna, or in th, Snowtown district brings the same price. If Senator Mattner were to tell the wheat-growers of South Australia that he favours an open market for wheat he would have no chance of re-election to this Parliament. L shall make certain that the people of South Australia know his views when he again appeals to the electors. I suggest that, in future, honorable senators opposite should be more careful to make accurate statements, and to deal with all phases of the subject. I. hope that the bill will have a speedy passage.
– In his second-reading speech the Minister for Health (Senator Fraser) said that the intention of the bill is to increase the amount of money made available under previous legislation for the relief of cereal farmers in drought areas. I welcome the granting of relief to those primary producers, but I regret the necessity for the introduction of the bill because I know what drought means to the man on the land. I know of the tremendous strain on men and women who’ see their crops withering, their stock getting thinner and thinner, and their pastures disappearing. They look out each morning to see steely blue skies, or clouds which form only to disperse quickly. Finally, they see their stock die; or, if not, when the drought breaks the animals are too weak to withstand the changed conditions, and either die from cold or get bogged in the mud from which they are too weak to escape. It is because I have experienced droughts that I welcome this assistance to those primary producers who have had a similar experience during the last few years. But there are other primary producers besides growers of cereals who have suffered from droughts. Senator O’Flaherty said that the assistance provided by this bill is an allowance to farmers for replanting their crops. I agree with him. It certainly is not an amount to compensate them for their losses. The bill provides that a sum shall be made available for drought relief. That sum would not compensate the large number of cereal-growers who have completely lost their crops. Senator O’Flaherty said that such losses were very much greater than the losses sustained by raisers of sheep and cattle. In my view, it is just as important to assist stock-raisers to rebuild their flocks and herds as it is to help the cereal-grower to replant his land. In one good season the cerealgrower, provided he has the necessary labour and implements could plant double, or treble, the area which he had under crop during the previous season, and in one season thus recoup all his losses. Senator O’Flaherty gave some extraordinary figures with regard to sheep losses. If they be correct, they must relate only to stock-raisers in very favoured areas in which stock-owners are not obliged to combat drought, stock diseases or pests. He said that a stock-owner could very easily obtain a 70 per cent, lambing in one year and a similar lambing in the following year, and thus recoup all losses in a couple of years. That statement is not in accordance with fact. I speak from practical experience as a grazier who suffered loss as the result of the drought in north-west Queensland which lasted from 1926 to 1935. In thos* nine years, large sums of money were expended in feeding stock artificially and moving stock for distances up to 700 miles to agistment country. When that drought broke, many sheep-owners did not have 10 per cent, of the number of the sheep they owned at its commencement, and of the sheep left many were drowned or died of cold or from being bogged in the mud. However, let us examine the matter on the conservative basis that a grazier had 10,000 sheep of which only 1,000 were left when the drought broke, and that the sheep left consisted of 500 ewes and 500 wethers, although, normally, the proportion of wethers would be greater. Senator O’Flaherty contends that that grazier would be able, from only 500 ewes, to build up his flock to 10,000 sheep within two years. Such a statement is ridiculous. Tn those circumstances, the original flock would not be rebuilt in less than ten years, and we must remember that within the following ten years another drought would probably occur. I admit, of course, that many owners could rebuild their stocks more quickly by buying a few thousand ewes. The point I make is that losses suffered by cereal-growers as the result of drought are no more severe than those suffered by stock-raisers who, therefore, are entitled to the same measure of assistance as is being given to cereal-growers. Senator O’Flaherty also said that it was only recently that any Commonwealth Government had provided assistance to farmers in respect of losses suffered from drought. I remind him that in 1935 the government of the day, which was not a Labour government, passed the Loan (Farmers’ Debts Adjustment) Act under which it made available to the States the sum of £12,000,000 for the sole purpose of relieving primary producers
– That relief was not in respect of losses caused by drought.
– Although most of that money was disbursed in order to enable the farmers to reduce their debts, it is obvious that in many cases drought caused them to get into financial difficulty. I admit that the fall of prices at that time was .partly responsible for those difficulties. However, I know personally many farmers in Queensland who received assistance under that act in respect of losses resulting from drought. The sum made available on that occasion was intended to be advanced through the States as a straight-out gift to the States, [f some States did not distribute the assistance on that basis, those States themselves were responsible for that fact. [ do not know on what basis, the distribution was made in South Australia, but in Queensland the State Government did not distribute the money as a free gift. However, other States distributed it as a free gift. Of course, there were certain tags to that assistance, one of which was that the money was not to be used by the farmers to pay off specific debts, but primarily to reduce their overall indebtedness. For instance, some farmers through this assistance had their total indebtedness reduced from, say £5,000 to £2,500, a reduction of 50 per cent. As I have said, some States distributed that assistance as a free gift tothe farmers, whilst others insisted on repayment of portion of the money. I am pleased to note that the amount mentioned in the bill is to be a straightout grant to the Treasury. Therefore, Senator O’Flaherty has no ground for saying that previous Commonwealth governments did nothing to assist primary producers in this way in times of adversity.
– Was not the Loan (Farmers’ Debt Adjustment) Act passed as the result of an inquiry into the wheat industry?
– Yes. That assistance was made available chiefly because the wheat industry was in such a precarious position; and on that occasion the Government made available not £3,000,000, but £12,000,000. Previous governments have also greatly assisted primary producers in other directions. A previous government established the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, which has rendered incalculable assistance to our primary producers as a whole. A previous government also provided fertilizer subsidies. Therefore, it is useless for Senator O’Flaberty, when speaking on a measure of this kind which all honorable senators support, to try to makeout that this is the first occasion on which a Commonwealth Government has ever made assistance available to primary producers in respect of losses resulting from drought. The honorable senator should be more careful of his facts.
Instead of being content to grant assistance of this kind periodically to our primary producers, the Government should give urgent consideration to the problem of drought, and endeavour to evolve a scheme to minimize losses caused thereby. This is not the first occasion on which I have addressed myself to this subject. Particularly in the sheep industry, a great deal could be done by the storage of cereals in good seasonsBoth wheat and maize are excellent fodders and can be stored indefinitely. I am informed that by treatment with bi-sulphate of carbon, these cereal? can be protected from the depredations of weavils and rodents. I do not suggest that such a scheme should bp financed wholly by the Government. Primary producers could be levied on a varying scale, higher levies being made payable in districts where droughts occur most frequently. These reserves of cereals could be stored at strategic points where they could be made available at the shortest notice in time of drought.
Sitting suspended from. 6 to 8 p.m.
– In the years of bountiful harvests surplus cereal production ought to be stored as .a safeguard against the periodical droughts that afflict the country. I am speaking now ii bout the areas that I know - central, north-west, and south-west Queensland, most of which .are watered by artesian and sub-artesian bores and suffer few water problems in droughts, but do suffer from the lack of fodder. In other areas of Australia, the lack of water is a greater problem than the lack of feed. In the latter areas, it may not be so profitable as in the former to store cereals against a drought. Stacks of grain can be fumigated and kept for years without danger of deterioration from the effects of weavils and rodents. Many of the areas are far from the districts where most of the grain is grown and long haulages and heavy freight charges are involved, but, if grain were stored in those areas, we should go a long way towards ensuring against the fodder shortage that they have suffered from in the present drought, which, it is estimated, has already cost Australia about £61,000,000. Only a fraction of that amount would be required to store feed as I have suggested. Although rain has fallen and the drought may have been broken, reliable authorities estimate that south-west Queensland lias not seen the end of its losses. It is thought that another 1,000,000 sheep will die from the cold and wet weather in their weakened condition, especially those shorn recently. So we not only have to count the losses in the drought itself, but also the losses when the drought breaks in winter, as droughts so often do, and sheen ‘and cattle die from the cold or in bogs or from any other afflictions to which they are subject when in a weak state. More now than ever before does the primary producer need to look to the Federal Treasurer for aid. Owing to the high rate of income tax, it is very difficult for them, even in good years, to put by enough to tide them over such a period of difficulty as they have experienced in the last couple of vears and consequently, many are heavily overdrawn financially. I admit the existence of the income tax averaging system under which the incomes of primary producers are averaged over a fi ve- vear period.
– That applies only to the rate of tax.
– Yes, I am coming to that. Owing to the present high taxation, little income is left to the farmers to reduce the overdrafts incurred as the result of causes over which they have no control and, at the same time, maintain themselves and their families. The Federal Treasurer is the only man with the cash needed to help them out of their plight. I regard this bill as an admission by the Government that the people whose living is on the land are at a disadvantage compared with the city dwellers and that it is necessary from time to time to assist them, when the vagaries of the climate put them in difficulty, in order that they may be able to prepare the ground and sow their crops m the hope that the yield therefrom, will bring fresh wealth to the country. This is a sound method of assisting them. We have achieved something in getting the admission that they need assistance.
I realize that this bill applies only to cereal-growers, but I take this opportunity to state the case of the fruit-growers whose crops have been damaged by frost for somewhat, similar assistance. One or two nights of frost can do untold damage in orchards. For instance, frosts that occurred as late as October last year caused the loss of up to 100 per cent, of the apples on orchards in the Stanthorpe district, Queensland. In one night, all the orchardists’ labour went for nothing. The orchardists are deserving of consideration and I appeal to the Government to make inquiries as to the best means of assisting them. I support the bill. My criticisms have been directed at obtaining necessary aid for other primary producers to carry them through the difficulties forced upon them by circumstances ‘beyond their control.
– I am astounded that this bill has been debated: at such length. A measure of this kind presents no legitimate opportunity for a debate on the problems of rural industries. This bill must be considered in conjunction with an act passed a few month? ago to give effect to an agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the. State Governments that drought rel, pf should be given to growers of cereals particularly wheat, as Senator O’Flaherty said, to enable them to get their land into production again. Tt is not fitting to use this occasion for attack on the Government’s rural policy. [ would have been better pleased had the Government shown a little more imagination in its rural policy a year or two ago, but. this is not the occasion on which to °debate the subject. There is no difference of opinion on the need for this measure, and I hope for the opportunity some day to discuss all matters affecting the future of this country, particularly its primary industries. I would not have risen now but for the amazing speech made by Senator Herbert Hays. Since the beginning of this session, the honorable senator and other honorable gentlemen opposite have constantly repeated their intention to fight every clause of every measure that interfered with private enterprise. They have declared that everything they regarded as interference with private industry would he strenuously contested. Yet the honorable senator made a most eloquent speech to-day in favour of socialism and demanded that this Government should force the farmers to conserve fodder and water. What is that but interference with the liberty of the individual? The only time the honorable senator opposes what he regards as interference with the individual’s rights is when he considers the measures introduced by this Government for the general welfare of the country as being opposed to the interests of the minority. The honorable senator out-shines all other political acrobats. I am with him to the full if he believes that the Government ought to interest itself in industries so as to assist private enterprise. The honorable senator’s view is that the farmers should be compelled to do the things he thinks they ought to do, whereas the Government’s policy is one of encouragement and assistance. As I have said over and over again in this chamber it is the duty of the national government to associate itself with the industries of this country. It has done so in many instances. Its policy is to do much more in that direction. This is a simple measure, to add a substantial sum to the money already provided for drought relief, and I see no reason for a full-dress debate upon the problems of the rural industries of this country generally. Apparently Senator Herbert Hays now supports the principle of government support for, and association with, private enterprise, wherever possible. It is unfortunate that he and his colleagues opposed the referendum, because the granting of those additional powers to the Commonwealth would have enabled the Commonwealth Parliament to legislate for better marketing arrangements, and for the application of scientific developments to primary industries generally. It is characteristic of the Australian Country party that it gives only half-hearted support to any measure which is- of real value to the working farmers of this country.
– I thank the honorable senator for his lecture.
– If it is a lecture it is a friendly one. It is necessary that the members of this Parliament who profess to represent country interests, should come closer to those of us who represent the masses of the people. If we represent the masses of the people, we must know something of rural industry and if members of the Australian Country party are sincere in their desire to improve conditions in primary industries, they should associate themselves more closely with the Labour party, and dissociate themselves from vested interests which always are opposed to any proposal which will be of benefit to primary producers. I am pleased indeed to know that there is at least one honorable senator opposite who is prepared to congratulate the Government upon itassociation with private industry. However, I do not altogether approve of the suggestion made by Senator Herbert Hays that farmers should be compelled to do certain things. We should rather encourage farmers to understand the methods by which they can best safeguard their interests. I disagree even with members of my own party who claim that country people are all of the “ gimme “ type. I believe that there is ample scope for an improvement of conditions in every rural industry. As the result of my association with primary industries and with politics, I believe that this Government has done more for the primary producers of this country than any previous administration.
.- Senator Courtice has a most vivid imagination if he believes that Senator Herbert Hays advocated a policy of socialization. I was particularly interested to hear Senator Courtice say that he did not favour compulsory obligations being placed upon primary producers of this country.
– I did not say that. I hope that they will be organized compulsorily
– Then I misunderstood the honorable senator. I point out that Senator Courtice himself is, compulsorily, a member of a farmers’ organization in Queensland. He has no choice but to belong to the Queensland Cane-growers Council and to pay certain levies upon his production to that body for the purpose of organizing the industry. In spite of what Senator Courtice has said, I believe that the debate upon this measure has been most useful. All parties in this chamber support the bill, because they recognize that circumstances have arisen in the primary industries of this country over which no government could have had any control. T. refer, of course, to the unfortunate drought conditions. It is most interesting to hear the various suggestions offered by honorable senators in regard to combating the depredations of droughts; but we must all bear in mind the fact that no matter what steps wo may take in that direction, droughts will continue to occur in some parts of the Commonwealth. I do not think that at any time in the history of the Commonwealth has there been a season in which a drought has not been experienced in one area or another. Some day a government may be far-sighted enough to constitute a permanent authority to deal with drought relief on a continuing basis, rather than in the haphazard manner that has been followed in the past of making grants for drought relief as the necessity arose. Last year we passed through this chamber a measure relating to social services, and I understand that further legislation on that subject will bc introduced shortly. The measure passed last year provided that a certain percentage of the revenue of this country derived from direct income tax, should be paid into a special fund, the sole purpose of which would be to finance the social services of this country. In a vast continent such as Australia, where droughts are inevitable at least in some localities, we should allocate a percentage of our national revenue to finance a permanent drought relief scheme, so that when the need for drought relief arose, the money would be available, and the measure of that relief would not depend upon the condition of the country’s finances at the time.
– That scheme operates in Russia to-day.
– I should like to know more about it, because obviously it is a very sound scheme. I believe that there is much we could learn from Russia in relation to the organization of primary production. Generally speaking, in the construction of roads and railways in this country, too little attention has .been paid to the importance of drought relief facilities. In Queensland, many million? of pounds could have been saved during adverse seasons had there been a connexion between the western extremities of the railway lines running from the coast. An announcement was made rerecently that in the programme of public works to be undertaken after the war, high priority would be given to the standardization of railway gauges. High priority should he given also to the connexion of the lines which I have mentioned, and to the provision of a line running from one of those western ex tremities down to, say, Bourke, in New South Wales. Although such a line might not be a paying proposition in good seasons, it would pay for itself many times over by carrying stock during droughts. Queensland is a huge State, and a season in which there is not a drought somewhere in the western areas which, of course, arp great wealth-producing districts, is rare. I look forward to the day when there will be a permanent drought relief fund, administered by a commission, the fulltime job of which will be to tackle this difficult problem. Such an authority could allocate drought relief payments as the need for them arose, and could advise the Government in regard to the construction of railways and roads which would assist in the alleviation of drought conditions.
Water conservation is one of the most pressing needs of this country. In the western areas of Queensland, the difficulty of obtaining water is not so great as it was some years ago, because of the tapping of artesian and sub-artesian basins, but I believe that when the time comes for the implementation of & public works programme aimed at providing employment and developing this country, consideration should be given to the damming of creeks and rivers in the outback areas. Almost’ every waterway provides suitable sites for the construction of dams, which, although not required in good seasons, would provide permanent water holes for stock m time of drought.
– In America, sufficient country has been irrigated to settle 40,000,000 people on the land.
– That is very interesting, because the climatic conditions of the American continent are not unlike those of Australia, in that in certain areas, droughts occur at almost regular intervals. Until we are prepared to face the fact that the alleviation of drought conditions is something which must be tackled on a permanent basis, it is no use to talk of migration schemes. Before migrants can be brought to this country in substantial numbers, water must be supplied to new areas suitable for settlement and cultivation. During the last depression, many millions of pounds were spent on useless work in the cities, such as carrying sand from one place to another. By spending money in country areas on reproductive works, such as water conservation and irrigation, development could be materially assisted. It would not be necessary to undertake the construction of huge reservoirs. Small dams could be built on creeks and rivers, containing sufficient water to carry stock over a prolonged dry period.
Although this debate may have departed somewhat from the real purpose of the bill, I consider that it has been most useful, and I hope that the time is not far distant when this Parliament will have an opportunity to consider a scheme of drought relief on a permanent basis.
The amelioration of drought conditions is one of the most important problems facing Australia to-day.
– The aim of this measure is to provide relief for the wheat-growers of Australia, whose task is the production of the gr.ain from which the staff of life is made. Why is the granting of relief necessary? Is it because wheat-growing areas were restricted by the Government? No. Only in one State has there been any serious restriction of acreage, and even there wheat-growers have not planted to full licensed acreage.
– Restrictions were imposed in every State.
– The restrictions have not affected any State except Western Australia. The other States were able to plant their normal acreage. Although by this bill the Government was only endeavouring to do something to assist the wheat-growers of this country, honorable senators opposite seized this opportunity to bring before the Senate the grievances of wool-growers, stock-breeders and other primary producers. In my opinion, the time was not opportune to bring those matters forward. During the debate on this bill statements have been made which should not be allowed to pass unchallenged. Senator Cooper said that in 1935 drought relief assistance was given to farmers, but that was not so. It is true that in that year legislation was introduced to assist farmers, but only in the direction of liquidating their liabilities to the banks. Those debts had been incurred because of the low prices paid for wheat. Actually, the farmers were working, not for themselves, but for the banks.
– I said that portion of the money was for drought relief.
– That was not so. The legislation introduced in 1935 was to provide loans to farmers to meet their debts. The money was distributed amongst the States as follows: -
It was paid to the State governments to meet the debts of farmers. I repeat that that money was paid, not because there was a drought, but .because low prices had been paid to farmers for their wheat. Figures which I shall disclose will show that during that period production was up to the average, whereas last year the Australian production of wheat was only 53,000,000 bushels. No government should be held responsible for an act of God. The present Government was committed to provide cereals for the maintenance of our forces overseas, and to supply the people of Britain. As a result, we in Australia had to go short by many millions of bushels. No one objects to that. On top of that came two years of severe drought. The Government is to be commended for what it is attempting to do to assist farmers and to give them a fresh start with next year’s crop by supplying them with seed wheat and manures. That is what this money will he used for. The £12,000,000 of which Senator Cooper spoke was granted not for that purpose, but to liquidate debts which farmers had incurred with the banks over a number of years.
– The money was provided to give farmers a fresh start.
– During the period that non-La,bour governments were in office the price of wheat did not allow wheat to be grown at a profit. The result was that farmers got farther and farther into debt, until ultimately the government of the day became alarmed and decided to do something for them in order to keep them on their holdings. It did not give grain or stock to the farmers. Indeed, it ascertained what they owed to the banks. The £12,000,000 that was paid went, not into the pockets of the farmers, but into the coffers of the private banks in order to liquidate liabilities incurred by farmers.
– That is wrong, as the honorable senator knows.
– That is what the State governments were instructed to do in giving assistance to farmers. I do not think that any one can say that that was assistance in the form of drought relief.
Section 7 of the Loan (Farmers’ Debt Adjustment) Act 1935 reads - (1.) Any moneys granted to a State under the last preceding section shall be paid upon the following conditions: -
– What is wrong with that? That money enabled them, to make a fresh start.
– The honorable senator is trying to split straws. He is trying to show that in 1935 the then government attempted to give relief to farmers in the form of drought relief, such as providing them with seed and manures. Nothing of the kind was done.
– I did not mention seed. Many of the men who were assisted then are in a sound position to-day because of the help that they were given.
– The assistance given at that time helped to keep the farmers on the land because sufficient money was paid to the private banks to prevent them from foreclosing on the farmers. If we analyse the position at that time we shall find that the 1934 wheat harvest was fairly satisfactory. There was practically an average yield in every State. The average for Australia amounted to 11.90 bushels to the acre, compared with 13.57 bushels for the previous year, and an average of 11.85 bushels for the decennium ended 1933-34. The total production of grain for the year amounted to 177,300,000 bushels, compared with the record harvest of 213,900,000 bushels in the previous year. As, obviously, there was no shortage of grain then, why was it necessary to assist the farmers? The present. Government has done everything possible to provide farmers with a reasonable standard of living. For every bushel of wheat delivered at the nearest siding, 4’s. 3d. a bushel is paid.
– Does the farmer get that price for all his wheat?
– No. For a certain production of wheat he is paid
1 emphasize that those were the export prices. Honorable senators will be able to estimate what prices the farmers were paid for their wheat. The bill before us is an honest endeavour on the part of the Government to assist farmers to get back into production as soon as possible. It will enable them to obtain the wheat, manures and other things necesary to supply the wheat which Australia and the Mother Country need. I have been astonished at the turn which the debate has taken. Some honorable senators appear to have been trying to mislead the Senate and the public as to what was done by a previous government to assist farmers in 1935. I rose chiefly to refute what was said in that connexion. I hope that the bill will have a speedy passage, for I believe that it will be of great benefit to farmers.
– in reply - 1 shall not attempt to reply in detail to the various speeches which have been delivered in connexion with this bill. Like Senator Courtice, I was astounded that Senator Herbert Hays, who has not hesitated to condemn the Government for setting up boards and issuing regulations, should advocate the establishment of a board to tell farmers what they should do and whether or not their land is overstocked. I remind the honorable senator that the States are interested in agriculture, and that there is in existence an Australian Agricultural Council, on which all the States are represented. At a meeting of that body about two years ago, the Commonwealth Government intimated its willingness to provide £250.000 to assist in establishing a scheme for the conservation of fodder, but the States rejected its proposals. During the first two years of the war no attempt was made to conserve fodder, but the present Government has tried to assist farmers who have suffered from drought conditions. At the last conference of Commonweatlh and State Ministers, it was agreed that drought relief should be provided by the Commonwealth and the States on a £1 for £1 basis. At the time of the conference the situation in some of the States could not be accurately estimated. That is why, in connexion with this measure, revised estimates of the amount necessary to cope with the situation have been presented to the Parliament.
A lot could be said on the subject of insurance, but I assure the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Foll) that that is a most difficult matter. Its difficulty was realized in connexion with the scheme for the acquisition of fruit. Growers in some districts, such as the Stanthorpe district of Queensland, were subject to losses caused by frost, whereas in other districts the fruit was liable to harm from other causes. It was most difficult to arrive at a uniform basis. I hope the day is not far distant when a plan for that purpose will be implemented. One difficulty, of course, will be the fixation of premiums. Such a scheme, however, is the responsibility of the States as well as of the Commonwealth. Each State has established an agricultural bank, and the Commonwealth has now established the Mortgage Bank Department. Therefore, I hop, that in the near future something along the lines mentioned by the Acting Leader of the Opposition will be done.
The system of licensing of wheatfarmers has been a heartache to Senator Gibson. However, I ask him to recall its origin. In Western Australia we had to compensate farmers who were not permitted to grow wheat; we were unable to issue licences to them because of the shortage of fertilizers. The objective of the Government was to maintain the equilibrium of our agricultural economy. The farmer is guaranteed a fair price for wheat. Having regard to the shortage of man-power and supplies of fertilizers due to war-time conditions, the Government had to adjust the production of primary products on a basis that would enable us to meet the needs of the services. It restricted the production of one commodity in order to increase the production of another more urgently needed. When I was a member of the Opposition, I said that I would never stand for a reduction of primary production in this country. I still affirm that principle, but war conditions made it imperative to maintain equilibrium in our agricultural economy in our efforts to supply foodstuffs to allied servicemen in Australia, and also to Great Britain. For this reason, adjustments of the kind [ have described, had to be made. I can reasonably claim that the Government has done a good job by the primary producers. That is admitted by the primary producers themselves. With the exception of certain statements made by some honorable senators, I have been pleased with the debate on the bill. Had Senator Herbert Hays analysed the position carefully he would not have made some of his statements. One day the honorable senator wants allboards abolished, and the next he suggests that a board should be created to prevent farmers from overstocking and, if necessary, to force them to reduce their flocks and herds. Such a policy would not be acceptable to primary producers.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended ; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Fraser) pro posed -
That the bill be now read a third time.
. In the course of my remarks on the second reading, I said that Crown leases in many cases were overstocked, and I urged that it should be the responsibility of a board to ensure that such leases were maintained at a certain standard of production in order to preserve them as national assets. Every honorable senator is aware that one condition of an ordinary lease is that the tenant shall maintain it at a proper standard. The Minister distorted my statement. He said that I had advocated that a board should he appointed to direct all farmers as to what they should grow, and what stock they should run on their properties. I said no such thing. I said that this rule should be applied in respect of Crown leases, bearing in mind that they are the nation’s assets. The Government, as the trustee of the nation, should ensure that such properties are handed over to succeeding tenants in proper condition. I said that the best way to do that is through the supervision of a land board. I contradict the statement attributed to me by the Minister. I did not say that farmers should be directed as to how many sheep they should run, or what crops they should grow. I am surprised that the Minister should distort my statement.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this measure is to provide £13,000,000 out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the payment of war pensions. The balance of appropriation now remaining is sufficient only to meet war pension payments to the end of August. The expenditure for the current financial year is estimated at £13,000,000. Expenditure in 1944-45 was £12,021,000. With the passing of time the amount required for payment of pensions arising out of the 1914-18 war is declining. As might be expected, however, pension payments brought about by the present war are increasing yearly. The following table indicates the trend in both cases : -
Although Parliament is being asked to approve of the amount of £13,000,000, this sum will not be withdrawn from revenue immediately.Revenue is only drawn upon for payment to the trust account as required to enable pension payments to be made as they become due. The rates of pension have already been approved by Parliament and this measure simply appropriates the amount required to effect payment at those rates.
– The Opposition supports the bill, and will expedite its passage. We look forward to the day when it will not be necessary to increase this appropriation for the reason we now increase it, namely, the fact that the country is still at war.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
.- I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this measure is to obtain a loan appropriation of £150,000,000 for war purposes and also to authorize the raising of an equivalent amount of loan moneys to finance war expenditure. War expenditure, in the year just closed, totalled £460,000,000, of which £194,000,000 was met from revenue and the balance of £266,000,000 from loan. The whole of this latter amount was provided by public raisings and Treasury cash balances. It was not necessary to have any recourse to bank credit. An examination of the Estimates of departments has not yet been completed and it is therefore too early to give honorable senators a reliable forecast of the war expenditure for the current financial year. It is expected, however, that the amount required from loan will be less than last year and the authority now sought, to gether with the balance of loan appropriation of £90,000,000 at 30th June. 1945, will go a considerable way towards providing for the loan requirements of the current financial year.
– The Opposition supports this bill and will expedite its passage. I hope that the forthcoming loan appeal will receive from the party leaders the enthusiastic support that they have accorded previous appeals and that it will be equally successful. I assume that before the campaign opens the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) will have brought down the Budget, stating the receipts and expenditure last financial year and his anticipations and the Government’s financial policy for this financial year. One of the greatest helps towards the successful flotation of this loan would be an indication by the Government that it intends to ease not only the direct taxes, but also the indirect taxes that bear so heavily on the people. Some indirect taxes are impeding the carrying out of certain essential works. Obviously, in war-time the people must carry tax burdens that they would decline to accept in normal times, but if this country is to develop, there will need to be considerable reduction of the present rates of direct taxation. The great bulk of subscriptions to war loans has come from insurance companies and big commercial and industrial undertakings and persons with private fortunes, butI think that source is rapidly drying up. It is regrettable that hitherto the number of individual subscribers to the war loans has not been so great as it ought to have been in view of the full employment that operates in Australia. My view is that almost every family in Australia could subscribe something towards war loans. We should have at least800,000 or 1,000,000 individual subscribers. Henceforth, the Government will need a greater response from individuals because of the drying up of the principal source from which it has raised earlier loans. The substantial subscriptions to war loans made by industrial and commercial enterprises have been rendered possible because they have not been able to expand their operations, owing to the war-time restrictions, but, if, us the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) said on the Banking Bill yesterday, the bulk of the employment of the people is to continue to be provided by private employers, who, in the past, have provided 80 per cent, of it, their funds will have to be diverted to the expansion of their operations. That will mean a dwindling of the stream of money from that quarter into war loans. The resultant discrepancy will have to be supplied by a greater number of smaller subscriptions.
Indirect taxes, like the sales tax, will have to be eased on building materials especially if the people are to build homes of the type that one would wish them to have. Building costs must fall considerably. It is estimated that the construction cost of a wooden or brick cottage has risen since the outbreak of war by from 35 to 40 per cent. It is of no use to say that the aim is to supply the people with cheap homes if the cost of construction remains 35 or 40 per cent, higher than it was before the war. Building construction was never cheap in Australia and the cost of houses has always been out of proportion to the income of the occupants.
I hope we shall have an assurance from the Treasurer that there will be « thorough investigation of all departments to ensure that there is no unnecessary waste of money or extravagance. We know that in war-time millions of pounds is wasted, a lot of it unavoidably, but we have reached the stage at which we must ensure that it shall not continue. I hope, too, in connexion with my desire to eliminate unnecessary government expenditure, that the committees appointed by the Government to examine the strength of the services will have the full hacking of the Government to ensure that no obstacle shall be placed in the way of its carrying out its job. It is not difficult for even a lawman to realize that there is waste not only of money, hut also of men in the armed services. The complaints we receive bear out the belief that in bases and in areas where there is no fighting, large numbers of men and women have little or nothing to do. That is an indication that investigation is overdue. I trust that the committee will do their job with dispatch. We are aware that, owing to’ the curtailment of air force activities with the cessation of European hostilities, the Air Force is overstaffed and ought to be reduced in order that as many men as possible may be transferred from the payroll of the Government to the payroll of private enterprise. The greatest incentive to investment by the people in war loans will be an indication by the Government that, in the interests of the Australian economy, it is setting to work in dead earnest to eliminate the waste of men and women and money.
– Notwithstanding that he said he would support this bill, the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Foll) expressed some unjustified thoughts. He practically accused the Government of wastefulness and extravagance. The second-reading speech of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) clearly indicated decreased war expenditure last financial year. Like Senator Foll, I receive complaints about overstaffing in certain places. It is all very well for him to charge the Government with wholesale extravagance, but neither he nor I know the circumstances. Often I hear people ask of service men and women walking in the city streets, “What are they doing?”, but who is to know whether they are home on leave from abroad or a part of the large army of men and women needed to administer the services? The occasion of the submission of this measure to the Senate is not the right time to give the people the impression of unwarranted governmental extravagance. Senator Foll also questions whether the Government would be wholeheartedly behind the committees that it has set up to inquire into the strength of the Army and the Air Force.
– I expressed the hope that it would be.
– There was no need for the honorable senator to express the hope. The Government set up those committees to ascertain the true position and there is no warrant for any senator to suggest that it was insincere in the action taken.
SenatorFoll. - I will not yield to the honorable senator the right to dictate what I shall say.
– The honorable senator may say what he likes, but I will not yield my right to reply. I did not like the faint praise given to this measure by the honorable senator when the Government still needs every penny it can get from the people to carry this conflict to a victorious end. No one occupying a high position ought to make even the merest suggestion to the people that, with the war in Europe over, they need not be so enthusiastic as they have been for the last six years in supporting the war effort. This country is still in danger. It will be in danger until Japan has been beaten and it is the duty of every Australian to support up to the hilt the Government’s prosecution of the war. I should like an assurance from Senator Foll and all honorable senators opposite that they will wholeheartedly support the impending loan appeal.
– I have already given that assurance.
– The remarks of some honorable senators opposite would lead one to believe that this loan was being floated merely for the sake of floating a loan, and that if certain things were done there would not be any need to float a loan at all. This Government would be only too pleased to reduce taxation if that were possible; hut it has had to ask people - not individuals who have large sums of money available to invest in loans, ‘but Labour supporters who are in receipt of low incomes and have substantial family responsibilities - to continue to make sacrifices by meeting heavy taxation assessments. To suggest that the Government is levying high taxation for any other reason than sheer necessity, is ridiculous. Undoubtedly, it would be pleasing if taxation could be reduced. I personally would welcome it, and I am sure that as soon as the time is opportune the Government will ease the burden of those who are least able to bear it. [ hope that this measure will be passed, and that we all shall be prepared to tell the people of this country that sacrifices have yet to be made before victory is finally won.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from the 25th July (vide page 4505), on motion by Senator Collings -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– I am pleased to have an opportunity to say a few words in regard to the Territory ofPapua, and the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. Papua has been under our administration for 40 years - I think, from memory, that the original Papua Act was passed in 1905. Australia’s mandate over portion of the mainland of New Guinea, and adjacent island Territories including New Britain, New Ireland, the Admiralties, and portion of the Solomons, dated from 1920. It is no overstatement to say that the geographical existence of New Guinea was forced upon the attention of the majority of Australians in recent years by the grim possibility of invasion. These Territories, remote from Australia and whose people knew little of the Australian way of life, rarely entered into political consideration. They were far away, white settlers were few, and no one in this country, except those who were really interested in missions or who had relatives or friends in those Territories, took very much interest in them. They have always been starved for funds, yet their administration has been splendid. Article 2 of the Mandate under which Australia took over the administration of New Guinea from our defeated enemies, the Germans, who had been there since1882, states, amongst other things -
The Mandatory shall promote to the utmost the material and moral well-being and the social progress of the inhabitants of the Territory subject to the present Mandate.
Any one who has studied the administration by Australia of this Territory knows that a fine record has been established. Until the outbreak of this war each year the administration had to give an account of its stewardship to this Parliament, to be forwarded to the League of Nations at Geneva, and its reports were very interesting documents. The Australian Government had to answer any questions that might be addressed to it from Geneva.
Very few people in Australia know much about these Territories, and I confess that although I was privileged in 1933 to spend nine weeks in them, and saw what could be seen in that limited time, I know very little, particularly about the native races. I made that visit alone, and not as other members of this Parliament have done from time to time, as a member of the Public Works ‘Committee, or the Public Accounts Committee which made inquiries into expropriated properties. I bad many friends there, and the Administrator of the Mandated Territories, Brigadier Tom Griffith, was an old friend. I also had the honour of meeting that great man, Sir Hulbert Murray, and to see a little of Papua. It is a country which is very hard to describe because of its huge area and its variety. It includes coastal lands, swamp land, jungle country, wonderful mountains - I wish that we had some of them in central Australia - rising to 13,000 or 14,000 feet, and amazing rivers. I travelled up the Sepik River for 250 miles to a place where the district officer was a Tasmanian, and an old friend. lt is an amazing country, not only because of its climate, and the variety of its flora and fauna, but also because of its many peoples and dialects. In Papua alone, there are more than 200 dialects, and a native living in one locality, may be quite unable to converse in native language with another who lives only 20 or 30 miles away. In these cases, pidgin, which is the language of all the islands, is used. It is a country of hard living and food scarcity. I saw evidence of that on many occasions. There is malnutrition amongst the natives, particularly those who are not indentured, and do not receive the better food supplied by employers in the settlements. All kinds of horrible diseases and sores are rife because the natives have practically no knowledge of medicine. One sees most dreadful sights. Many of the native? suffered from an enlarged spleen resulting from malaria, and altogether, their existence is miserable. They are a most primitive people. With the district officer at Gasmata, who, unfortunately has since been slain by the Japanese, I visited several villages in the course of a short patrol, and I was amazed at their filth and beastliness. On one occasion I saw a native woman smoking a pipe and suckling what I believed to be a baby, but which, upon a closer examination, proved to be a pig. That is a common practice amongst the natives, because pigs are very precious.
When one thinks of the rugged nature of that country, and the difficulties of existence due to the scarcity of game one can understand why, in that vast island of New Guinea and in the surrounding islands, cannibalism was rife not many years ago, and, in fact, is still practised in some remote places. They are a primitive people with the minds of children, and as the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Collings) said in his second-reading speech, our task of administering those Territories is one of great magnitude and complexity. It will take all the wisdom and understanding of the white man to do the right thing by these people. The process will be long and slow; possibly, five or six generations will pass before these people can be brought to a state in which it will be wise to allow them to participate in their own government. They live in small communities which are scattered over the island, much of which is as yet unexplored1; their tribal jealousies are strongly developed; and they are without a leader. It is said that out of evil good may come and I believe that out of this war good for these peoples will come. Great things have happened1 in these Territories, particularly in regard to aerial surveys. The men of New Britain have been the eyes and ears of our American Allies during the past two and a half years. Two great men have been associated with the Territory of Papua - I refer to Sir William Macgregor and Sir Hubert Murray. Forty years is a short period in the history of any country, but in that short space of time the Papuan Administration has ‘wrought some notable achievements. Papua is practically four times the size of Tasmania and has a population estimated at 350,000 native people. The administration of that Territory and its’ people has been carried out by only 170 officials. At its peak, the revenue at the disposal of the administration was only £190,000 a year. Of that amount the contribution by the Commonwealth Government was a meagre £42,500. The district officers, some of them native born, as was the late Jack Hides, have accomplished wonderful things. Numbers of them have given their lives for the people of the island among whom they worked. Papua is not yet civilized. Nevertheless, the achievements to the credit of the Administration are remarkable. The story of that Administration is one with which I wish the people of Australia were more familiar. Sir Hubert Murray, who died “ in his boots “ in Samarai in 1940, did. much for Papua. Indeed, that Territory is frequently referred to as “Murray’s Papua “. Members of that fine body of men known as the Papuan Constabulary, some of whom I inspected when I visited1 Port Moresby, are proud to be known as “ Murray’s men “. Their uniform is described by them as “ Judge Murray’s clothes”. Sir Hubert Murray was a great administrator. The native people listened to what he said’ because his words were full of understanding, sympathy, and trust. He never disappointed them, and his name will live inPapuan history for all time. I pay my humble tribute to a very great man by whom I had the honour to be entertained and with whom I corresponded for some time.
I endorse the hope expressed by the Minister that it will be possible to restore the civil administration in ‘Papua by October of this year. The whole of that Territory has been freed from the Japanese. I want to see men who understand the natives back there to carry on the work that has been so well commenced. Unfortunately, many of them will not go back because they either were killed in action or died from wounds inflicted by the enemy. Before the war, the Administrator of each of the Territories presented a report to this Parliament annually. Recently, I re-read one of Sir Hubert Murray’s reports. It was indeed an extraordinary document of great human interest, which brought its reader in touch with the native life of the Territory. The missions have done a great work in the Territory, as have also the district officers and many of the planters, traders and miners. I have had a good deal of correspondence recently with many of these men. Some of them are on active service elsewhere. In both Territories efforts were made to give to the people some part in the administration of their homo1 and. Each Territory had its Legislative Council, some of whose members were nominated whilst others were elected to office. The people were learning the rudiments of democracy. What was done was a step in the right direction, because, at least, local opinion had an opportunity to express itself. The people could bring their grievances to the notice of the administration. When I was there the local administration was connected with the Prime Minister’s Department, but I believe that later it came under the Department of External Territories. I should like a select committee of this Parliament to be appointed to visit the Territories to consider on the spot the policy which should be put into operation there because I believe that a personal acquaintance with the Territories would be of much greater value to the members of this Parliament than a study of ‘books or reports written by. others could possibly be. I have visited the Territory on only two occasions, and then not for long periods ; but mention of the places which I then saw recalls scenes and happenings associated with my visit, and I believe that because of my visits I am better fitted to deal with the problems associated with the Territory and its people. I hope that it will not be long before we can restore these Territories to the status that they had before the civil administration was suspended after the Japanese came into the war. The bill makes no attempt to do that. In the title of the measure - the Papua-New Guinea Provisional Administration Bill - note particularly the word “ Provisional “. I hope that it will be possible to set up a civil administration in both Territories in the near future. The bill proposes that an Administrator of the Territories shall be reappointed. This is a sound proposal. Only a small portion of one of lie Territories has yet been freed from the Japanese.
I wish now to refer to the strategic importance of these Territories to the defence of the Commonwealth. In prewar days the relationship of these Territories to the Commonwealth in defence matters was absolutely ignored by this Parliament. The first and foremost consideration in dealing with the problems of New Guinea is related to its defence. I remember the cheap sneers of the present Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward) when, just after the outbreak of the war, he expressed his views with respect to the defence of New Guinea. These Territories are of great military value to Australia, though to-day their economic value is more or less problematical. As soon as practicable after the war, we should give to the residents of Papua and New Guinea representation in this Parliament, perhaps on the basis of the present representation of the Northern Territory, although I fail to see why such a representative should not be given a vote. Through such representation, the Parliament as a whole would obtain at first hand information regarding local affairs in Papua and New Guinea. Although the time factor involved in travel has been greatly reduced under modern conditions, members of the Parliament generally still find it inconvenient to visit those Territories to see things for themselves.
Under the bill the previous civil administration is to remain suspended, and I take it that the new administration will supersede “ Angau “. I should like to know whether the new administration will operate in Papua, whilst “ Angau “ will still continue in certain parts of New Guinea, Much has been said about our failure in the past to provide for the adequate defence of the Territories. We could have made such provision in respect of Papua, but, unless we (broke our trust, we could not have done so in New Guinea because we held it under mandate from the League of Nations and were bound not to fortify it or to introduce more troops than were necessary for the policing of the country. The Japanese, of course, held similar .mandates over islands north of the equator, such as the Carolines, and we now know to our cost that they lost no opporunity to fortify them. However, we could not take any step for the defence of the Mandated Territory and, at the same time, honour our bond.
There is no economic necessity for the native to work. He needs no work other than a little fishing or hunting, to meet the needs of the members of his tribe. It was for this reason that the indenture system, of labour, which has been the subject of so much abuse by people who do not know very much about it, was introduced. I emphasize that the indenture system, has always been operated on a voluntary basis. From -what I saw on my visit to these countries, the natives were always keen on the indenture system, because to them it reduced itself to a matter of kai-kai, that is, “good tucker”. A native got much better food when he was working for a planter, or a company, than he received in his native village; and the conditions under which he lived as an indentured labourer greatly improved his physique and general health. The indenture system had always been strictly supervised by magistrates and district officers. We must remember that the native makes of all his work what he calls “ work-play “. He does it in a desultory manner, and in his own time. In this respect I speak from what I saw during my stay on a plantation which also operated a desiccated coco-nut factory. Each boy was set a certain task to do each day. For instance, his task might be to deliver one hundred nuts a day; and he pleased himself when he brought in that number. Perhaps, he would make the most of a moonlight night, and finish his work very early in the morning, so as to be able to spend the rest of the day fishing. The native does not like to stick to a job continuously. I also had an opportunity to see the natives at work in the mining industry. I journeyed by plane from
Lae to Bulolo and Wau. On my trip, the big Junkers aircraft took up 40 hoys. The native, incidentally, calls the plane “ barlus “ the native word for dove, and a boy who has not had a trip in a plane is very small “ pum pkin “ among his companions. I am reminded1 of a story I was told on that trip by a Methodist missionary. At the mission they had learned that the Great Master was up in the sky, in Heaven One lad who had flown by plane to Wau created quite a lot of discord among the other native boys upon his return to the mission when he said, “ The missionary says that God is up there in the sky. He is a damned liar, because I have been up there, and there is no one up there “. When I accompanied a district officer on one patrol, he told me what the boys- were talking about around the camp-fire at night. Although a native boy is halfdevil and half-child, and has the mentality of a child about eight years old, I had to blush at some of the things which our boys were saying about the white man.
In the debate on this measure in the House of Representatives, the statement was made that the mining companies, with their great dredges on the rivers, are turning the country into a desert. T. have not visited Papua for twelve years, but while I was there, apart from the ordinary mess caused by tin dredging, or dredging of any kind, .blocking up the river, I saw no sign of such destruction. We have talked a lot about trusteeship, f believe that we are the trustees of the native people of these Territories. For some years I was in Matabeleland. in South Africa, and although I lived among the tribes in those countries for many years, I do not pretend to have any knowledge about them. As the result of that experience, when people who have never been among the natives of Papua and New Guinea, and have not studied the wealth of literature about them, talk about what is best for these natives I take their views with a grain of salt. Talk about a new order for the natives in Papua and New Guinea is all nonsense. We must do the best for them that we can. It is going to be a slow and important job which will cost a lot of money. I do not know whether we are prepared to foot the bill. In the past we were not prepared to do so.
Papua is a poor country. Apart from the fillip which was given to it with the advent of gold-mining; its revenue was never very great. The natives in Papua and New Guinea have received the greatest care under the supervision of the Civil Administration. So far aB I know, it has always been the practice under the indenture system for boys to return to their native village after serving their indenture. The indenture is voluntary. The interests of the boys are well looked after. A boy in the first year of his indenture is rather raw, and rarely capable of doing work other than that of a houseboy. His value improves in the second year; and in the third year he becomes a valuable employee. However, he must be carefully watched in order to make him work. The ration scale prescribed when I visited the Territory was rather costly for employers. The plantation on which I stayed employed 60 boys, and they were a very happy family and got on very well with the planter and his wife, who was an Englishwoman. The problems inherent in native labour will .prove very difficult in the future, should we endeavour to go in for intensive development, because the supply of local labour is very limited. About 40,000 natives were indentured before this war began, and that was about the limit, because to draw on all the villages scattered over the vast country would upset the local economy. That is what happened in New Ireland when the Germans were there. They denuded the country of its labour in order to build the road from one end of the island to the other. Natives that should have been working in their gardens and on plantations were pressed into service and the population was decimated as the result. The application of the Government’s policy will be very difficult. It was difficult to find enough labour to keep up with the expanding industries of the Territories before the war and if the Government reduces the indenture period from three years to one year, and if Australia is to do anything with New Guinea after the war, it will require labour. Any one who knows anything at all about the Territories will laugh when people talk about slave labour. This talk about slave labour - I have heard quite a bit lately - is utter nonsense. There was never anything approaching slave labour in either Territory under Australian administration. Except possibly in some mines and in certain other directions, it will be impossible to work a 44-hour week. It is ridiculous to say natives have been worked 56 hours a week. The natives work in fits and starts. They get the work done after a fashion, but, unlike the white men, they cannot he kept at it constantly. They have to have their hit of play. But, by looking after them well and treating them justly but firmly, some work can be got out of them’
I now desire to say something about the wild and loose statements made recently and given prominence in the press that when trouble came the white men - the planters and others - ran away. The record of the white men in New Guinea and Papua, many of whom were from there, will bear the closest scrutiny. I knew three who were born in New Britain - magnificent young fellows they were when I last saw them. One is dead and the other two are still serving. I have in my hand an honour roll covering only the months of May and J une. It contains the names of more than 300 men from those Territories either killed or died of wounds. Some of them were born in Papua, New Guinea, New Britain and other islands. It is easy but mean for people who have never stood or never intended to stand between the enemy and this country to cast cheap and cruel sneers at those who have done so.
– A lot of the evacuees are in Sydney.
– They were compulsorily evacuated by the Government.
– The answer to the honorable senator’s aspersion is this letter written only last -week -
The men of New Guinea and Papua have a war record that is second to none. In 1930 and early 1940, every able-bodied man who could, left the territories to join the Australian Imperial Force, Navy or Royal Australian Air Force. Many of them paid their own fares to Australia to do this; others enlisted in New Guinea contingents in the territories. They served in Africa, Syria, Greece, Crete, over Europe, and on every ocean. Many will never return. Those who remained in the territories were mostly over-aged men, the majority of them returned men from World War I. Almost to a man they joined the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles, and when the Japanese invaded the territory, they stood to fight in the truest tradition of Anzac. Other members of the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles on the mainland were for months employed as scouts. Located in enemy-occupied territory as far afield as Aitape and the Sepik River, they risked their lives hourly to keep allied head-quarters posted on Japanese movements. These men were the spearhead of the allied advance in the area; they led patrols wherever it was humanly possible to take patrols, and their peculiar knowledge of the country was of incalculable value to our cause. Many of them them have since been decorated for this work. When the Australian Imperial Force returned from the Middle East to fight in New Guinea, many members of the territories’ contingents were detached for special work. Over the last two years not. a month has passed without one, sometimes several, of these men receiving decorations for gallantry in the field or for services rendered their country under conditions of incredible hardship and endeavour. Exact figures are not available, but there is every indication that the number of decorations awarded these men in proportion to their numbers must he close to a world’s record.
It is true that men left the territories after the Japanese invasion - left because they were compulsorily evacuated. Many of them on reaching Australia immediately set about getting themselves back up north, and where Australia could find no work for them, joined the American Army as scouts, or the United States small ships section, or the Red Cross.
The mainland referred to is the mainland of New Guinea. That is the answer to the calumny. It should never have been uttered. It is not true. The white men of New Guinea and Papua have a war record second to none. Let honorable senators be honest about this. It is dreadful that one has to drag that sort of thing into debate. I do not know how the planters will get on; no one does. The expropriated properties that were taken over from the German settlers in the last war were, in the main, purchased by returned soldiers. At that time copra fetched about £28 a ton, but it’ went down to about £6. The then Government, after investigation, decided not to insist upon payment of instalments for a period.
I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
.- I move -
That the Senate do sow adjourn.
Earlier to-day Senator Amour asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
The answers to the questions of the honorable senator are as follows: -
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.11 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 26 July 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1945/19450726_senate_17_184/>.