12 September 1945

17th Parliament · 3rd Session

The Senate, on the 2nd August, 1915, adjourned to a date and hour to be fixed by the President and to be notified to each honorable senator. The Senate met pursuant to. such notification.

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

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Assent to the following bills re ported : -

Commonwealth Bank Bill 1945.

Banking Bill 1045.

Superannuation Bill 1945.

War Gratuity Bill 1945.

Drought Relief Bill 1945.

War Pensions Appropriation Bill 1945.

Loan Bill 1945.

Papua-New Guinea Provisional Administration Bill 1945.

Special Annuity Bill 1945. Matrimonial Causes Bill 1945.

Wine Overseas Marketing Bill 1945.

Darwin Lands Acquisition Bill 1945.

Science and Industry Research Bill 1945.

Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Bill 1945.

National Debt Sinking Fund Bill 1945.

Life Insurance Bill 1945.

Commonwealth Public Service Bill 1945.

Superannuation Bill (No. 2) 1945.

Australian National Airlines Bill 1945.

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

– I regret to inform honorable senators of the death at Sydney on the 6th September last of the Honorable David Robert Hall, a former member of the Parliament. The greater part of the public service rendered by the deceased gentleman was in the State political sphere. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales for Gunnedah, in 1901, which seat he held until the expiration of the Parliament in July, 1904,when he contested unsuccessfully the Liverpool Plains seat. He was elected to the House of Representatives forWerriwa, New South Wales, at the general elections in 1906 and 1910. He resigned in April, 1912, on being appointed Minister of Justice in New South Wales, with a Beat in the Legis lative Council. The late Mr. Hall also acted as Attorney-General for New South Wales from December, 1912, to June, 1913. He resigned his seat in the Legislative Council in November, 1913, and was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Enmore at the general elections in December, 1913. He again held the portfolios of Attorney-General and Minister of Justice from November, 1916, to July, 1919, when he become Minister for Housing, and he was appointed VicePresident of the Executive Council in August, 1919. He relinquished ministerial office in February, 1920. The late Mr. Hall thus had a long and varied parliamentary career, and he has left behind an honoured record of publicservice. His widow and family will find consolation in the knowledge that he rendered valuable service to his country.I move -

That the Senate records its sincere regret at the death of the Honorable David Robert Hall, a former member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Werriwa and a Minister of the Crown of the State of New South Wales, places on record its appreciation of. his meritorious public service, and tenders its deep sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.

SenatorLECKIE (Victoria- Acting Leader of the Opposition). - I second the motion with regret. It was my privilege to know the late Mr. Hall and I have had the opportunity to judge the value of his work during his long career in public life. He had a pleasing personality, and there is no doubt that in the performance of his duties he gave of his best. It is a matter of regret to me that a man who rendered such signal service to his country has passed away. I trust that the esteem with which he was held in all the spheres of public life in which he participated will be some consolation to those whom he has left behind.

Senator COOPER:

– The members of the Australian Country party in the Senate desire to associate themselves with the motion. The late Mr. Hall had a long and distinguished career, and his passing is a distinct loss to this country. We offer our deepest sympathy to his widow and family in their sad loss.

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

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Motion (by Senator Clothier) - by leave - agreed to -

That leave of absence for two weeks bo granted to Senator Tangney on account of ill health.

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Steamers “ Taroona “ and “ Nairana “ - Delay in Mail Delivery.

Senator LAMP:

– As the tourist traffic is of great importance to Tasmania, will the Minister for Supply and Shipping issue instructions that the steamer Taroona be returned to the run between Melbourne and Launceston before the next tourist season commences?

Senator ASHLEY:
Minister for Supply and Shipping · NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– I shall refer the honorable senator’s request to the Director of Shipping and will give consideration to his report.


– Is the Minister for Supply and Shipping aware that the steamer Nairana, which is the only vessel trading between Melbourne and the north-west coast of Tasmania, is now laid up for repairs, and that its withdrawal has caused great inconvenience to people living in the northwest of Tasmania ? Can the Minister say for what period the Nairana will be laid up and what steps, if any, have been taken to provide a substitute service?

Senator ASHLEY:

– I understand that owing to the withdrawal of the steamer Nairana for repairs additional passenger accommodation is being provided on airway services between Melbourne and Tasmania. I am unable to say for bow long the Nairana will be laid up.

Senator AYLETT:

– In view of the hardships experienced by miners and their families living on the west coast of Tasmania will the Minister for Supply and Shipping endeavour to restore the weekly service by the Nairana to Burnie as soon as possible? Can he indicate if, and when, that service is likely to be restored ?

Senator ASHLEY:

– I am unable to indicate that favorable consideration will be given to the restoration of a weekly service by the Nairana to Burnie. A survey of cargoes carried under the existing fortnightly service would indicate that the restoration of the weekly service to Burnie would not be warranted.


– Has the attention of the Postmaster-General been drawn to the fact that recently, mails landed at Devonport, Tasmania, by a cargo vessel from Melbourne, on a Sunday, were not delivered at Burnie until two days later ?

Senator CAMERON:
Postmaster-General · VICTORIA · ALP

– My attention had not been drawn to the incident to which the honorable senator has referred, but I shall have inquiries made and supply an answer to the honorable senator’s question.

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Senator LECKIE:

– Can the Minister for Trade and Customs say what steps are being taken to preserve those industries which started during the war, as for instance, the optical glass industry, in which Australian scientists developed an entirely new technique ? As it would be a pity to lose industries of value to Australia, can the Minister say whether any steps have been taken to ensure that they will be preserved?

Senator KEANE:

– In collaboration with the Secondary Industries Commission, my department is considering the position of some hundred industries which grew up during the war, and for the continuation of which some protection might be necessary. I remind the Acting Leader of the Opposition that under the Ottawa Agreement the Tariff Board cannot deal with new industries without reference to the United Kingdom Government, and that during the war that government has found it difficult to be represented at Tariff Board inquiries. Spokesmen for secondary industries in common with every member of the Senate are anxious that these new industries be retained. At present I am conferring with the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs with a view to initiating an interim tariff which would give to these manufacturers an assurance that if they continue manufacturing their commodities will be saleable. I assure the Acting Leader of the Opposition that urgent consideration is being given to this matter. It was the subject of a deputation which waited on me a few days ago on behalf of the Australian Chamber of Manufactures.

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Report of Public Works Committee

Senator LAMP:

– I present the report with minutes of evidence, of the Public Works Committee on the following subject: -

Proposed extensions to the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Sydney.

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Senator AYLETT:

– Has the Minister for Supply and Shipping read a report in the Sydney Daily Telegraph of the 11th September to the effect that with the approval of the Liquid Fuel Control Board Mudgee Shale Oil Proprietary Limited is advertising petrol ration tickets at 4s. each? Is the Minister in a position to clarify the report?

Senator ASHLEY:

– I have seen the statement to which the honorable senator has referred, and have made inquiries. The following information has been supplied : -

The report which appeared in a Sydney newspaper to the effect that an organization which produces shale oil from retorts at Emu Plains had advertised that it had petrol ration tickets for sale at 4s. each gave an incorrect impression of the situation. The position is that in 1942, when our petrol position was desperate, every encouragement was given to the production of indigenous fuels, including shale oil. In consequence, several small scale shale oil producing organizations came into existence. The type of fuel generally produced by these concerns was a heavy distillate which could be used as motor fuel only with the aid of a vaporizer. Some producers endeavoured to refine the distillate produced from their retorts to a grade comparable with imported petrol, but the cost proved prohibitive. As an alternative, one or two producers approached the Liquid Fuel Control

Board with a suggestion that shale distillate produced by them should be sent to the National Oil Company’s refinery at Glen Davis, the proprietors of which would issue a certificate as to the quantity delivered and the anticipated yield of refined motor spirit. The shale oil producing concerns, of course, had to pay for this service from the National Oil Company. The total cost of producing shale motor spirit in this way was in the vicinity of 7s. per gallon. Under the plan approved, those who had subscribed money towards the erection of the shale oil retorts were entitled to obtain this additional fuel. The refined spirit is delivered by the Glen Davis Company to the pool in the usual way, and the Liquid Fuel Control Board provides the shale oil producers with ration tickets equivalent to the gallonage to which they would each become entitled out of the total production. The shale oil producers then distribute the tickets among their subscribers, who. in order to meet the total cost of the spirit, must pay approximately 7s. as though they had had the actual petrol produced from the oil delivered to them. As the tickets used at the ordinary bowsers and the current price for petrol paid by these consumers for their share of the increased production, the balance of 4s. a gallon will be paid to the shale oil producers. No question of the sale of petrol tickets really arises. The only alternative method of achieving the same objective would have been to arrange for the managers of the shale oil enterprises to take delivery of the petrol produced from- their oil, arrange for it then to be transported to Sydney, and there distribute it among their subscribers at a price which would cover the costs of production and transport. This procedure would involve a costly and wasteful use of transport. The text of the circular issued by the organization concerned might well have created a false impression. It was not known whether there had been any deliberate misrepresentation, but inquiries were commenced immediately by officers of the Liquid Fuel Control Board in order to clarify the position.

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Publicity; Postal and Telegraphic: Disco ntin u ance.

Senator ASHLEY:
Minister for Supply and Shipping · New South Wales · ALP

by leave - Immediately the Japanese Government sued for peace, I announced that censorship of material for publication internally by the Australian press would be lifted as soon as the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) announced that the Japanese Government had accepted the terms proposed by the Allied Nations. This was done on the 15th August. At that time I also stated that censorship of broadcast material and outgoing press cables had to be temporarily maintained in order to meet the security requirements of Australian and Allied services, and that the question of removing those forms of censorship was being discussed with the appropriate authorities with a view to their removal when security requirements allowed. I now wish to inform the Senate that arrangements have been made for the cessation, as from midnight to-morrow, of publicity censorship of cablegrams and radio broadcasts. This means the total cessation of all forms of publicity censorship. For some time past there has been a progressive reduction of publicity censorship staffs, which will now be entirely dispersed.

At the request of the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde), I also desire to make a statement regarding the postal and telegraph censorship, which is under the control of his department. On V-E Day, the censorship of all communications between Australia and the United Kingdom, other British countries, and the United States of America discontinued. Since then the censorship of communications has been progressively and steadily discontinued until to-day postal and telegraph communications between Australia, China, Roumania, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden only remain. These controls are likely to be discontinued at a very early date, and have only been retained at the request of the United Kingdom.

All communications of enemy prisoners of war and civilian internees held in Australia are also being examined for the time being in security interests. Over 93 per cent. of the staffs engaged in the postal and telegraph censorship have been progressively dispensed with, and office space has been proportionately vacated.

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Aliens - Rubber Tyres

Senator BRAND:

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

  1. How many aliens were in the forces twelve months ago?
  2. How many aliens are in the forces now?
  3. How many requests havebeen made in the past twelve months for their release -

    1. by potential employers;
  4. How many applications for release have been granted on the score of -

    1. medically unfit;
    2. employment?
  5. Can the Minister furnish any information on the nature of the employment to which the aliens have gone, and could this be furnished in tabulated form ?
Senator KEANE:

– The Minister for Defence has supplied the following answers : -

  1. Number of aliens in the forces twelve months ago -
  2. The numbers of requests that have been made in the past twelve months for the release of aliens: (a) by potential employers and (b) by the men themselves -

No requests of this nature have been received from aliens serving in the Navy.

Both the Department of the Army and the Department of Air have advised that the information asked for by the honorable senator is not readily available so faras concerns the Army and Royal Australian Air Force and could not be obtained without a considerable amount of research?

  1. The numbers of applications for release which have been granted on the score of :
  1. medically unfit, (6) hardship, (o) employment -

    1. Information on the nature of the employment to which the aliens have gone -

As indicated in No. 4, no applications for the release of aliens from the Navy have been granted.

The Department of the Army has supplied the following information as to the employment for which releases of aliens from the

Army were granted: -

The Department, of Air has indicated that the desired information is not readily available so far as concerns releases of aliens from the Royal Australian Air Force and could not be obtained without a considerable amount of research.

Senator COLLETT:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Air, upon notice - 1. (o) Is it a fact that at some Royal Australian Air Force stations or depots considerable reserve stocks of car, truck and cycle tyres are held?; (6) If so, are these appropriately protected against deterioration? 2. (a) Is it a fact that these stocks, if any, are largely in excess of the probable requirements of the service?; (6) If so, will the surplus be released for the use of the civil community ?

Senator CAMERON:

– The Minister for Air has supplied the following answers : - 1. (o) Yes. Such reserves are, however, substantially in accordance with the approved provisioning policy and are necessary for the maintenance of the vehicles held in the service. (6) Yes. 2. (a) No. Stocks are reviewed at six-monthly periods, when any surpluses that may be revealed are transferred to other service departments (if required’ by them) or to the Commonwealth Disposals Commission for release for civilian users. (6) See reply t<> No. 2 (a).

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Senator SAMPSON:
through Senator Mattner

asked the Leader of th,Senate. upon notice -

  1. What amount per head of population wa» expended on education by each of the State* of the Commonwealth for the year ended th«- 30th June, 1945?
  2. What amount per head of population wa* expended by the Commonwealth for the same period in respect of the Australian Capital Territory?
Senator KEANE:

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are a? follows : -

  1. Particulars of the per capita expenditure on education in the States for the year 1944-45 are not yet available.

State expenditure per capita on education from revenue and special funds (excluding loan expenditure) for 1943-44. was at follows : -

  1. The cost per head to the Commonwealth for education in the Australian Capital Terri tory, including pre-school, primary, secondary . technical and university education, but excluding special training for Royal Australian Air Force and other service personnel, for the year ended the 30th June, 1945, and based on the total estimated population figure for that period was £3 13s. lOd.

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Senator COOPER:

asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister -

  1. Has the Minister any information to give the Senate as to ‘ when it is expected that legislation governing soldier settlement will be introduced into the Commonwealth and State Parliaments?
  2. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to an article in the Brisbane Telegraph of the 24th July in which the Minister for Lands, Mr. Jones, stated that it was expected the number of applicants would exceed settlement opportunities, and the Government desired that all members of the services, the main body of whom were at present still actively engaged in the services, be given an opportunity to submit their applications?
  3. Ifso, does this indicate “that lands for settlement will not be thrown open until all members of the services return to their respective States?
  4. Will the Minister make a full statement regarding soldier land settlement so that any misunderstanding might be removed?
Senator KEANE:

– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers : -

  1. The Premiers Conference agreed on the terms of the legislation to be submitted to the respective Parliaments and the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction proposes to introduce the legislation into the Commonwealth Parliament this session.
  2. Yes.
  3. No. Lands will be available for settlement as soon as investigations have proved that they offer prospects for successful settlement.
  4. The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction made a statement on the subject to the House of Representatives on the 20th July, 1945. A copy of the statement will be furnished to the honorable member.

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Senator GIBSON:
through Senator Cooper

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, upon notice -

  1. Is the statement by the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction to the effect that the Commonwealth Government intended to set up a Bureau of Agricultural Economics the opinion of the Minister, or was he expressing the policy of the Government?
  2. Is this proposed’ Bureau of Agricultural Economics to be superimposed on the present departments of agriculture that are now carrying out scientific research in the several States?
  3. What form is the proposed bureau to take?
Senator KEANE:

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

  1. The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction has asked me to state that the establishment of a Bureau of Agricultural Economics is a matter of government policy and follows on agreement between the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture and himself on the need for a bureau to carry out investigations of mutual concern to their departments. The Prime Minister has informed the State premiers of its establishment for purposes of Commonwealth policy and there have been general expressions of satisfaction with the step taken.
  2. The bureau is in no way superimposed upon the present departments of agriculture and will not be engaged in scientific research in the usual sense of that term. Its investigations will be economic in character and will relate for some time to come to the

Commonwealth responsibilities in respect of land settlement investigations, determination of economic prospects for primary industries, and the preparation of material for the use of the Government in considering the several reports of the Rural Construction Commission. Insofar as relations with the States are involved the division will work with and through State bodies. For example, a citrus industry survey to determine future prospects especially for war service land settlement, is being conducted by the bureau and the State departments of agriculture, these latter departments carrying out the detailed work in their respective States. At the recent meeting of the National Works Council it was agreed that the bureau should advise State governments on the economic outlook for primary industries which might be expanded as a result of post-war developmental projects.

  1. The bureau will operate within the Ministry of Post-war Reconstruction while its activities are largely directed to immediate post-war problems. At a later stage it will transfer to the Department of Commerce and Agriculture at which stage its functions will be a matter for consideration by the responsible Minister.

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Future Strength and Role

Order of the Day No. 2.- The WarFuture Strength and Role of Australian Forces and their Operational Control - Ministerial Statement - Resumption of debate on motion to print paper - discharged.

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Cessation of Hostilities

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

by leave - It is with great pleasure that I inform the Senate formally of the cessation of hostilities with Japan. By leave of the Senate, I incorporate in Hansard the texts of the various communications between the Japanese Government and the Governments of Britain, the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and China.

On the 10th August, 1945, the Japanese Government addressed the following message to the Governments of the United States of America, Britain, China and the Soviet Union : -

In obedience to the gracious command of His Majesty the Emperor, who is ever anxious to enhance the cause of world peace and desires earnestly to bring about an early termination of hostilities with a view to saving mankind from the calamities to be imposed upon it by a further continuation of war, the Japanese

Government asked several weeks ago the Soviet Government, with which neutral relations then prevailed, to render its good offices in restoring peace vis-a-vis the enemy powers.

Unfortunately, these efforts in the interest of peace having failed, the Japanese Government, in conformity with the august wish of His Majesty to restore general peace and put an end to the untold sufferings entailed by the war as quickly as possible decided on the following: -

The Japanese Government is ready to accept the terms enumerated in the joint declaration issued at Potsdam on the 26th July, 1045, by the heads of the Governments of Great Britain, America, and China, and later subscribed to by the Soviet Government, with the understanding that the said declaration does not include any demand which prejudices His Majesty’s prerogatives as a sovereign ruler.

On the 11th August, 1945, the following reply was sent by the United States Secretary of State (Mr. Byrnes) on behalf of the Allied Governments : -

From the moment of surrender, the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms.

The Emperor will be required to authorize and ensure the signature by the Government of Japan and the Japanese Imperial General Head-quarters of the surrender terms necessary to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam declaration and shall issue his command to all the Japanese military, naval and air authorities and to all the forces under their control wherever located, to cease active operations, to surrender their arms; and to issue such other orders as the Supreme Commander may require to give effect to the surrender terms.

Immediately upon the surrender, the Japanese Government shall transport prisoners of war and civilian internees to places of safety, as directed, where they can quickly be placed aboard Allied transports.

The ultimate form of government of Japan shall, in accordance with the Potsdam declaration, be established by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people.

The armed forces of the Allied Powers will remain in Japan until the purposes set forth in the Potsdam declaration are achieved.

On the 14th August, 1945, the following reply was received from the Japanese Government : -

With reference to the Japanese Government’s note of 10th August, 1945, regarding their acceptance of the provisions of the Potsdam declaration and the reply of the Government of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and China sent by the American Secretary of State, Byrnes,under the date of 11th August, 1945, the Japanese Government have the honour to communicate to the Governments of the Four Powers as follows: -

His Majesty the Emperor has issued an Imperial Rescript regarding Japan’s accept ance of the provisions of the Potsdam declaration.

His Majesty the Emperor is prepared to authorize and ensure the signature by his Government and the Imperial General Head-quarters of the necessary terms for carrying out the provisions of the Potsdam declaration. His Majesty is also prepared to issue his commands to all the military, naval and air authorities of Japan and all the forces under their control wherever located to cease active operations, to surrender arms and to issue such other orders as may be required by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces for the execution of the above-mentioned terms.

All dates given are London time. The reply from the Japanese Government was received in Australia on the 15th August. 1945, Australian time.

Address to His Majesty the King.

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

.- The motion which I have the honour to submit on this historic occasion is an Address to His Majesty the King tendered in a spirit of great relief and thankfulness.

We members of the British Commonwealth of Nations are free nations bound together with the King as the constitutional link. To us, the Throne in no way usurps the rights of the people. It is a symbol of the liberty of the people. With us, the prerogatives of the Crown have become the privileges of the people.

I now read to the Senate the message received from His Majesty on the occasion of the cessation of hostilities in the Pacific : -

The surrender of Japan has brought to a victorious end the war which has engaged our full fighting strength all over the world. I send my heartfelt congratulations to the men and women of my navies, armies and air forces throughout the British Commonwealth and Empire. Through the long years of the grim struggle with our enemies in the West and in the East your unflinching resolution and indomitable courage in the face of manifold adversity have earned you the eternal gratitude of your countrymen. Many of your comrades have fallen in the fight. With youI grieve for their loss, for the sufferings of the wounded and for the sorrows of the bereaved. With you I look forward to the safe homecoming of those who have had to endure captivity. By God’s mercy the forces of evil have been overthrown. But many tasks remain to be accomplished if the full blessings of peace are to be restored to a suffering world. It is the duty of each one of us to ensure that your comrades have not died in vain and that your own hard won achievements are not lost to the cause of freedom in which you undertook them. On ‘behalf of all my peoples I thank you. God bless you all. (Sgd.) George R.I.

Never before in our history have so many fateful and stupendous events occurred in what is actually so brief a space of time. Fascism and Nazi-ism have been destroyed, the Japanese menace has gone, and the ideals of democracy have triumphed.

The British Commonwealth and its great Allies are triumphant, and we have now before us the great task of bringing freedom and lasting peace to a war-weary world. At this moment, when we have emerged from a great peril, it is fitting that the Parliament should address the King with this expression of loyalty and gratitude which I now have the honour to submit. I move -

That the following address be forwarded to His Majesty: -

To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty:

Most Gracious Sovereign - We, Your Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects, the Members of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express to Your Majesty our heartfelt congratulations on the victorious conclusion to the World War.

We rejoice with Your Majesty in the deliverance brought to all the enslaved peoples by the triumph of your Majesty’s forces in conjunction with those of Your Majesty’s Allies.

We desire to express the feeling which exists among Your Majesty’s Australian subjects that Your Majesty and Your Gracious Consort have by unfailing courage and constancy set an inspiring example during our darkest days, and that your personal exertions, your determination to share the trials of your subjects, and your unfailing sympathy with them in the ordeal they have endured, have contributed to the high national morale which helped to ensure victory.

We devoutly trust that Your Majesty’s reign, so many years of which have been darkened by war, may long continue in a world at peace.

Senator LECKIE:
Acting Leader of the Opposition · Victoria

– I second the motion. It was with feelings of great relief, rather than of jubilation, that we heard the news that the war was over. In ordinary circumstances, there might have been some excuse for another Maf eking celebration, but on th is occasion we have been in such danger, and have had so narrow an escape, that our principal reaction is gratitude that we have been saved the experiences which people in many other countries suffered. It would be difficult to embellish the words of the motion, but on behalf of the Australian people generally, as well as of the Opposition in this chamber, I express gratitude that in their time of trial the people of the British Empire have had as their King a gracious man of simple tastes, who nevertheless was not afraid to visit the battlefields of Africa and France to encourage his men. It is a matter for pride that during the whole of the war period Their Majesties the King and Queen shared the life of their people, and went about unguarded and yet unharmed because of the affection in which they were held by all their subjects. In this hour it is well that we should signify to the head of the nation our appreciation of the high example set by him and the Queen.

Senator COOPER:

. I have the honour to associate the members of the Australian Country party in the Senate with the motion expressing to His Majesty the Kingour heartfelt congratulations on the victorious conclusion of the world war. We are indeed proud to be a part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, the members of which have served together and withstood the strains and stresses of two world struggles until victory has been achieved. The Throne has played a great part in both wars. In the war of 1914-18 the present King was on active service, whilst in the war which has just ended Their Majesties and their family have shared the vicissitudes of their people and have lived amongst them with sympathy and understanding. We can now thank God, who has been good to them and to us, that peace has been restored.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Motion (by Senator Keane) - by leave - proposed -

That the Senate offers to the Supreme Commander in the Pacific (General Douglas MacArthur) its warmest congratulations on the success achieved by the Australian and Allied forces under his command, and recalls with deep gratitude his outstanding contribution to the victory in the Pacific and to the defence of Australia during the most critical period of our history.

Senator LECKIE:
Acting Loader of the Opposition · Victoria

– I second the motion, lt is only fitting that the Senate should express to General MacArthur its gratitude for what he has done. At the time of our greatest danger Australian and Allied forces were placed under his direction, with the result that the war was brought to a successful conclusion. The name of General MacArthur will always be honoured in this country, not only because he waa the representative of a great nation which came to our aid, but also for his personal qualities. We gratefully express to him our appreciation of the part that he played in our deliverance.

Senator COOPER:

. -The members of the Australian Country party in the Senate desire to be associated with the motion, and endorse the sentiments which have been expressed by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) and the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie). The members of this Parliament have indeed been fortunate in that on a number of occasions they have had the opportunity to meet General MacArthur personally mid to assess his outstanding qualities. To him is due in great measure the successful termination of the war in the Pacific,

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Allied Leaders

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

by leave - The references that I have made on this historic occasion would not be complete if I did not recall the great leaders who brought exceptional ability and devotion to the cause of the United Nations. Particularly, do we think of Mr. Churchill and his deputy, Mr. Attlee, who led the United Kingdom throughout the darkest days into the strong light of victory. We think also of the late President Roosevelt, who gave his all, and of his able successor, President Truman. We are thankful that the other nations were led by men who were able to find ti common ground upon which to work for the salvation of freedom. Arid, at this moment, .our ..thoughts turn to another great man who gave everything that he had, Australia’s own leader, the late John Curtin.

Senator LECKIE:
Acting Leader of the Opposition · Victoria

by leave - The statement just made by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane) is in keeping with the other statements he has made. We should express our thanks to the great leaders of the United Nations; and in doing so we should remember particularly the most inspiring of them ali, Winston Churchill, who stood for everything that is great and inspiring in the British race. Happily, he is still alive and full of courage and tenacity. We remember also, as the Leader of the Senate has stated, the great services rendered by the late President Roosevelt, our own late Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, and the leaders of the Russian and Chinese peoples who made final victory possible. The peoples of the world as a whole are fortunate that when the world was in turmoil and civilization itself was in danger of extinction, such great men should emerge to lead the United Nations to victory and peace. I trust that we shall always keep before us their inspiring example, and that we shall crown the fruits of their leadership by succeeding in making the peoples of the world truly friendly and free.

RESOLUTION of Thanks to Services and Others.

Motion (by .Senator Keane)- fey leave - proposed -

That the thanks of the Senate be accorded to the officers, warrant officers, . petty officers and men of the Royal Australian Navy, for their heroic services in every theatre of war, for the guardianship of Australia from the attacks of our enemies, for their unceasing vigilance in the patrol of many seas, for their courage and skill in convoying their soldier comrades and supplies to operational areas, and for the prestige they have won for their country wherever they have been.

That the thanks of the Senate be- accorded to the officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers and- men .of- the Australian Military Forces.. in the Held for their courage and efficiency, their endurance in circumstances of unexampled hardship, for their magnificent achievements and’ for their undaunted spirit which has carried them through years of toil and suffering, to complete victory.

That the thanks of the -Senate be accorded to the officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers and men of the Royal Australian Air Force for their brilliant daring and conspicuous skill over land and sea, and for their calm courage and devotion to whatever dangerous and vital duties they have been allotted.

That the thanks of the Senate be offered to the men of the Merchant Navy, who carried out the vital task of keeping open the supply lines, always at great risk and imposing severe tests upon their endurance.

That the thanks of the Senate be accorded to the women of all the auxiliary services of the three arms of the fighting forces for their devotion and skill and solicitude for the sick and wounded of our sailors, soldiers and airmen.

That the Senate records its deep appreciation of the devotion and sacrifice of the lathers, mothers, wives and sisters of Australia’s sailors, soldiers and airmen.

That the Senate records its deep appreciation of the efforts, money and gifts from the women, men and children of Australia to mitigate the hardships of Australian fighting men, to alleviate the lot of our prisoners of war and to make more comfortable the sick etna wounded.

That the thanks of the Senate be offered to munitions and war workers generally in secondary and primary industries, to those mon of 1014-18 who gave valuable home service in garrison and other work, and to the Volunteer Defence Corps.

That the Senate acknowledges with deep submission and reverence the heroism of those who have fallen in the service of their country, and tenders its sympathy to their relatives in the hour of their Borrow and their pride.

Senator LECKIE:
Acting Leader of the Opposition · Victoria

– I second the motion on behalf of not only the Opposition but also every honorable senator. We cannot yet estimate the full significance of the services rendered individually in our cause, but I believe that when we are able to review the operations of war in their proper perspective, praise will be given not so much to our leaders of high rank, great as their services have been, as to the lower ranks. We shall recognize that in this war more than in any other war - and this will certainly be so in respect of the war in the Pacific - the greatest services have been rendered by our non-commissioned officers and men in the ranks who fought in the jungles of the Pacific islands, relying solely on their own individual initiative. In such circumstances, the great qualities of the Australian soldier were revealed. The heroism of our soldiers in the islands of the Pacific was shown particularly when they carried on in small parties Up to six mien, led by only a lieutenant, and very often by only a corporal. While we are praising our leaders of high rank we should emphasize the fact that privates and non-commissioned officers bore the biggest share of the fighting on the islands in the Pacific. I trust that their rewards will be commensurate with their energy, courage and endurance in battle. The people of Australia should always proudly remember that we had not only men to lead, but also men worthy to be led, who in the face of the greatest hardships revealed great initiative in carrying on when they were thrown entirely on their own resources. I trust that their rewards will be commensurate with their deeds. The gratitude of every honorable senator goes out to every member of our fighting services who has done so much to keep Australia free.

Senator COOPER:

– On behalf of members of the Australian Country party in the Senate, 3 support the motion which expresses the thanks and appreciation of the Parliament to all members of the fighting services on land, in the air, under the sea and on the sea, for the part they have played in achieving victory, as well as to those thousands of other people who in all walks of life played their part in supporting our services. Victory has at last been achieved, but not without loss and suffering. Many have paid the supreme sacrifice, whilst many others have been maimed and blinded, or rendered totally incapacitated. Parliament has now a great work to do. We have won the war. Victory has crowned our arms, but we must still win the peace ; and in winning the peace it will be necessary to show the nations who caused this world conflagration that war does not pay dividends. If we can do that, and, at the same time, evolve a formula which will prevent war in the future, all of the sacrifices and sufferings of the members of our fighting services and our people who so ably supported them will not have been made in vain.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Motion (by Senator Keane) agreed to-

That the President forward copies of the foregoing resolution to the various Ministers of State for communication to the personnel referred to therein.

page 5264


Australian Representation

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

by leave - I inform the Senate that advice has been received that the Council of Foreign Ministers, established as the result of the Potsdam Conference, will meet in London this month. The British Prime Minister, Mr. Attlee, has invited the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) to nominate a special representative able to speak with authority on matters affecting the preparations for, and the actual terms of, peace in Europe and in the Pacific. The Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) has been designated to undertake this important mission on behalf of Australia.

page 5264


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

by leave - I inform the Senate that, during the period that the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) will be in London, the extended term of office of the Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Mr. Bruce, will expire, and that Dr. Evatt has agreed to perform the duties of High Commissioner during his stay. When the Minister for External Affairs has completed his work in London, the Minister for Defence (Mr. Beasley) will proceed to London as Resident Minister, for a short period. During his long term of office, Mr. Bruce has served several governments with great distinction, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) has offered to him the thanks of the Australian Government and people for the great service he has rendered.

page 5264


Demobilization - Strength

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

by leave - I propose to lay on the table of the Senate a Parliamentary Paper in which is outlined a plan for general demobilization which is to begin to operate as soon as defence requirements allow, but not later than the 1st October.

The dramatic collapse of hostilities makes demobilization the immediate concern of the forces and also of the civilian public, who will want to know precisely what the plan is and how it will operate. Accordingly, the Government has taken the first opportunity to inform Parliament and the country. In some quarters there seems to be a notion that once fighting ceases demobilization is a simple matter of expeditious transportation of the forces to the depots and that after the completion of a few settling-up details, they are discharged. Fortunately, this idea is not very widespread. Members of the forces and the public seem to be aware that the demobilization of widely scattered forces is not a simple matter but a complex procedure involving many steps which must be carried through in carefully ordered stages if confusion and delay are not to result. I know that the great desire of the men and women of the forces is to come home as soon as possible, and I want them to know that the Government will do all that is humanly possible to assure them the earliest practicable release.

Whilst the 1918-19 demobilization is not without its lessons, that experience has only a limited application to the details of the present plan for demobilization because of new elements in the situation. We have at this time much larger forces to handle and they are differently disposed both at home and overseas. We have to recognize continuing responsibilities in connexion with the enforcement of the Japanese surrender, and our contribution to the forces of occupation. We have to link the release of the personnel of the forces with the transfer of scores of thousands of workers from war to civil occupations. By the end of September, the existing special release schemes will be well advanced. Those remaining after that date are to be incorporated as special classes under the general demobilization plan which will then come into operation. Under that plan, the discharges are likely to be comparatively light during October, but will increase throughout November until they are in full flow some time after the end of the year. Should numbers exceeding the normal discharge target of 3,000 a day be available provision has been made to increase the rate up to 4,500 a day for short periods. Apart from defence exigencies, the principal limiting factors in discbarges will be transport and the need to afford to members of the forces an adequate medical examination. All estimates of the rate of demobilization are, of course, subject to the condition that adequate transport facilities are available when required, and that the obligations of Australia for the enforcement of the conditions of Japanese surrender do not have a retarding influence. Any system of release must appeal to all arms as fair between man and man.

I think that honorable senators will agree that the points system adopted by the Government achieves this aim. As explained in the Parliamentary Paper, a careful review was made of such factors ms length of service, age, family responsibilities, individual wishes, physical condition, method of enlistment, nature and location of service, eligibility for training, availability of employment, and other occupational and compassionate grounds. Eventually this priority list was reduced to three - length of service, age, and family responsibilities. As mentioned earlier, eligible members with prescribed operational and other long services are covered by the long service release decisions. The release of men required in high priority industries in order to prepare employment for those still in the forces will also be accelerated. Similarly, those accepted for key reconstruction training occupations will be released, and accelerated discharges in other cases may be granted on compassionate grounds, but the number of exceptions will be kept to a minimum. Conversely, the discharge of any man may be deferred where his service is vital to defence. Prisoners of war and members of the Permanent Forces are, of course, excluded from the operation of the priority system. Special arrangements have been made for the early release of prisoners of war.

Another, feature of the plan which 1 hope will commend itself to senators is the provision for getting those listed for discharge into the speediest contact with their homes. While service arrangements are being completed for discharge, members will be released to their homes on leave wherever necessary until called back for final discharge. During this leave, their service pay will continue and they will be at liberty to take any action they please in relation to employment or any other re-establishment matters; that is, they may take a job if they wish, informing the employer that they will be required to return to the dispersal centre for a few days for final release. Thus this period of leave will give members an opportunity to resume their familiar contacts in a home atmosphere and generally regain their civilian bearings. On final discharge each member will be assured of a minimum period of leave at service rates of pay, for 30 days in the case of those with mere than six months’ service, and 15 days for those who have not completed six months. The Parliamentary Paper gives complete information for an understanding of the general features of the demobilization plan. If it is found necessary to amend it in the light of experience this will be done. I commend the plan to the Senate. I lay on the table the following paper: -

Demobilization of the Australian Defence Forces. and move -

That the paper be printed.

Debate (on motion by Senator Leckie) adjourned.

page 5265


POST-WAR Realizations.

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

by leave - I lay on the table the following paper: -

Post-war Wool Realizations - Report and Recommendations of Conference held in London, April-May, 1045. and move -

That the paper be printed

Debate (on motion by Senator Cooper) adjourned.

page 5266



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

by leavei wish to inform the Senate of developments in regard to the award of campaign stars of the present war to members of the Australian forces. The normal practice is that war medals are awarded under the same conditions to all members of His Majesty’s Forces who are eligible to receive them. The conditions of eligibility adopted by the Government of the United Kingdom when referred for consideration by the Commonwealth Government were found not to meet Australian requirements and, as honorable senators are aware, the Commonwealth Government made certain reservations on important questions of principle. These reservations, which are directed to adapting the general scheme to meet Australian requirements, were set out in the statement made by the then Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) on the 18th May, and were elaborated in his further statement on the 25th May. Negotiations in relation to the Australian reservations are still proceeding between the Commonwealth and United Kingdom Governments, and the Government hopes to be in a position to make a further statement in the near future. In the meantime, action is proceeding for the issue of campaign ribbons to members of the Australian forces eligible to receive them. The ribbons denoting the grant of awards are, in the case of the 1939-45 Star and Africa Star, now available, and are being issued to all serving members entitled to them. Sufficient stocks of the ribbons for the newly instituted campaign stars, including the Pacific Star, in which Australia is particularly interested, are now in hand to make priority issues, and it is anticipated that stocks to cover a complete initial issue to the forces will shortly be available. The urgency of the matter is fully appreciated by the Government and everything possible is being done to meet Australia’s requirements, [n regard to the manufacture of the stars themselves, the United Kingdom authorities announced in May, 1945, that consideration of the manufacture and issue of the stars had been postponed. It was not the practice to issue stars during the mar, but now that hostilities have ceased, it is expected that this will be reconsidered and the stars issued to all concerned as soon as they become available. As already stated, the ribbons are being issued now. In the conditions adopted by the United Kingdom Government, provision Was made for the award of European campaign stars to all those engaged in operational service on the cessation of hostilities in Europe. Following this precedent, the Pacific Star will bc awarded to all members of the Australian forces who were engaged in operational service in the Pacific theatre on the surrender of Japan. Immediate action if being taken to issue, as a first priority, the ribbon of the Pacific Star to those members of the forces so entitled who will participate in the occupation of Japan and in the acceptance of surrender by Japanese forces. Issue of ribbons to all others eligible will proceed tas stocks become available. As to the issue of ribbons to those who have already been discharged from the forces, it will be appreciated that the issue of the ribbon to men no longer in uniform is of lesser urgency than to those still serving, but all three services have arranged to consider applications from discharged members and to issue ribbons, as stocks may permit, at least in those cases where any uniform is worn in the ex-member’s civil occupation.

page 5266


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

by leave - During the absence abroad of the Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services (Senator Fraser) on government business connected with the meeting of the International Labour Organization, I will act as Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services. During the absence abroad of the Attorney-General and . Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) in connexion with the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, the Minister for Defence (Mr. Beasley) will act as Attorney-General and the Minister for the Navy, Minister for Munitions and Minister for Aircraft Production (Mr. Makin) will act as Minister for External Affairs,

page 5267


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

by leave - I inform honorable senators that the Australian Advisory War Council, which was established in October, 1940, has been disbanded. After a meeting of the council on the 30th August last, the non-Government members intimated that they considered that the purposes for which it had been established had now been achieved. I desire to place on record the Government’s appreciation of the services of the non-Government members of the council. They have always given of their best, and have contributed greatly to the conduct of the Australian war effort.

page 5267


Bill received from the House of Representatives.

Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.

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

Second Reading

Senator ASHLEY:
Minister for Supply and Shipping · New South Wales · ALP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to ask the Parliament to approve the Charter of the United Nations. The Charter, which takes the form of an agreement between governments, was duly signed at San Francisco on behalf of 50 nations including Australia. The Charter comes into force when it has been ratified by the five States which will have permanent seats in the Security Council, and by a majority, Le., 23, of the other 45 signatory States. In due course, Australian ratification will be an executive act, and will be carried out by depositing with the United States Government, pursuant to Article 110 of the Charter, a copy of an appropriate OrderinCouncil. Immediately after the approval of Parliament, the Government will ratify the Charter. I believe that the Charter is in no sense a matter of party politics,- and it should be approved. It ti as al ready been ratified by nearly twenty nations, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Soviet Union, and France. The House of Representatives has without dissent passed the bill for’ the ratification of the Charter. Honorable senators are familiar with the objectives of Australian policy which have been laid before the Parliament from time to time by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt). Both before and after the AustralianNew Zealand Conference at Wellington in November, 1944, opportunities were given to honorable senators to discuss the principles of world organization and the role which Australia should play in foreign relations generally. The decisions of the’ Wellington Conference regarding world organization were embodied in twelve resolutions which formed the basis for public statements made after the conference by the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Forde), the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) and the Prime Minister of New Zealand. These resolutions were approved by Cabinet on the 10th November, 1944, and became the foundation of the Australian delegation’s policy at San Francisco.

The world organization created by the Charter will be called .the United Nations. ‘ Its purposes and principles cover the maintenance of .world peace and the promotion of human welfare by international co-operation. The Charter provides for the setting lip of six main organs for the realization of the purposes and principles of the United Nations. They are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat. I propose to review in brief the main functions only of these bodies, details of which are set out in the Charter.

The General Assembly is composed of all member States of the United Nations working together on the principle of sovereignty equality. It will meet in annual and special sessions in which each member State will have the right to discuss any question within the scope of the Charter. The Assembly may call the attention of the Security Council to any situation likely to endanger the peace. It is to receive and consider annual and special reports from the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the Secretary General. There are two main limitations of the General Assembly’s powers. First, it has no power to make recommendations on any matters relating to the maintenance of security while those matters are being actively dealt with by the Security Council. Secondly, it will have no executive power.

The central organ of the security system is the Security Council. The Council has the responsibility of composing disputes between nations, of dealing with threats to peace, and of quelling aggression should it break out. The Council consists of eleven members, -five of whom are permanent members, and six non-permanent members. The five permanent members are the United States of America, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, France and China. The six nonpermanent members will be elected by the General Assembly for a period of two years. The Charier provides that when electing the six non-permanent members, regard must be specially paid, first to the contribution of members to the maintenance of international security, and secondly to an equitable geographical distribution. This provision is of obvious importance to member States like Australia, which have proven their will and ability to resist aggression.

In settling disputes between States the Security Council may call upon parties to reach a settlement by peaceful means, or the Council itself may investigate the dispute or any situation which might lead to a breach of the peace. If the parties fail to reach a settlement, the matter must be referred to the Security Council. If the council- considers that there is an actual threat to the peace, it may recommend that member States of the organization should take action against the party or parties in question. Such action can include complete or partial economic sanctions or the severance of diplomatic relations. If these measures fall short of what is required to keep the peace, the Security Council may take any military action necessary to suppress the aggressor. The military forces which will be used in cases of mill. tary action must, under Article 43, be made available by member States under agreement between them and the Security Council. Such agreement will govern the number and types of forces to be supplied. Each agreement is subject to ratification by each member.

I come now to the Economic and Social Council. The Charter has approved the principle consistently emphasized by the Australian Government that world security depends not only on the machinery for settling disputes, but also on creating economic and social conditions which will tend to remove ‘the underlying causes of war. Accordingly, member States pledge themselves jointly and severally to promote higher standards of living, full employment and economic progress, and to co-operate in dealing with international and social problems. To facilitate the carrying out of these pledges, the Economic and Social Council, consisting of eighteen members, will be established under the authority of the General Assembly.

Another important organ in the sphere of international welfare is the Trusteeship Council. All members of the United Nations accept the general obligation to promote to the utmost the wellbeing of the inhabitants of all nonselfgoverning territories, and to carry out certain related obligations. In addition to this general declaration, set out m Article 73, there are undertakings such as the obligation to protect native peoples against abuses, and the obligation to furnish the United Nations with statistical information relating to the economic, social and educational conditions of the native peoples.

The international system. of trusteeship established is applicable only to territories now held under mandate, or territories voluntarily placed under trusteeship. A Trusteeship Council is made responsible for certain functions related to the administration of territories coming under the trusteeship scheme. The functions of the council will include reporting on the way in which agreements on trusteeship are being carried into effect. The council will consist of, first, representatives from member States who are administering trust territories; secondly, those permanent members of the

Security Council who are not administering trust territories; and, thirdly, as many other members elected for threeyear terms by the General Assembly as may be necessary to ensure an equal division between those members administering trust territories and those which do not.

For the settling of international disputes of a legal character, the International Court of Justice has been established. The court can play an important part in the development and strengthening of international law. Although there is no compulsion, the Charter provides a general working rule that legal disputes before the Security Council should be submitted to the court. The decisions of the court are binding on the parties, and if. there is a failure by any party to carry out the court’s decisions the matter may be referred to the Security Council for appropriate action.

The final organ which I wish to mention is the Secretariat. The Secretariat is the permanent staff of the United Nations, and comprises the SecretaryGeneral of the Organization, who is appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council, and his staff.

Honorable senators have had an opportunity to read a detailed report on the work of the Austra’ian delegation at San Francisco. The report is comprehensive and includes, not. only an account of the San Francisco Conference, but also an outline of the historical background and a review of the meetings of the British Commonwealth held at London just prior to the San Francisco Conference. This report provides a fund of information on the issues which confronted the delegates at San Francisco, and I commend it to the attention of all who wish to understand the Charter and the purposes which (he Government has in view in seeking its ratification.

The San Francisco Conference had before it a draft constitution for the United Nations drawn up at the meeting of representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and China at Dumbarton Oaks, near Washington, D.C., in August-October, 1944.

As the report indicates in detail, the Australian delegates considered these proposals inadequate in a number of important respects, and in consequence 3S amendments were prepared at San Francisco by the Australian representatives, of which 26 were adopted without material change or in principle. Honorable senators will find the full list of Australian requirements set down in Annex H of the report. I shall refer here only in general terms to the more important changes which the Australian delegates sought and, for the most part, secured in the Dumbarton Oaks text -

  1. To require a pledge from all members to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of other member states.
  2. To declare that justice and the rule of law shall be the principles guiding the action of the Security Council and for this purpose to require the maximum employment of the International Court of Justice in determining the legal aspects of international disputes.
  3. To see that the Security Council is in fact composed of ‘ “ security “ powers, that is the powers which by their past military contribution to the cause of world security, have proved able and willing to assume substantial security responsibilities, or which by virtue of their geographical and strategic position are able to make a substantial contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security.
  4. To exclude the veto of the permanent members from all arrangements relating to the peaceful settlement of disputes, and to confine such veto to decisions involving the application of economic and military measures.
  5. To require all members to pledge themselves to take action, both national and international, for the purpose of securing for all peoples, including their own, improved labour standards, economic advancement, employment for all, and social security.
  6. To elevate the Economic and Social Council into a principal organ of the world organization.
  7. To give the General Assembly a wider jurisdiction over and a full share in, the general work of the organization.
  8. To lay down the principle that the purpose of administration of all dependent territories is the welfare and development of the native peoples of such territories, and to place an obligation on nations controlling particular dependent territories to report regularly to expert advisory bodies.
  9. To remove the possible veto of one of the Great Powers over amendments to the Constitution, providing any amendment is twice approved by a twothirds majority of the General Assembly, including three out of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

I desire now to deal with some of the more important general aspects of the United Nations Organization. Compared with the League of Nations, the new organization has some important advantages. Whereas the League of Nations began without the membership of either the United States of America or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Nations will include all the existing Great Powers. In addition there will be available to the Security Council, by special agreement with members of the United Nations, military forces and facilities, including contingents of national air forces, for instant use against possible aggression. The League had no such resources to deal with an aggressor.

It is obvious that the main responsibility for preventing future threats to the peace rests with the Security Council. It is equally clear that this responsibility must fall primarily upon those countries which have- the resources to cope with any situation likely to result in a breach of the peace. The new organization, therefore, preserves the war-time alliance of the “ Big Three “ powers, and has added to these. France and China. These five powers constitute the permanent members of the Security Council. It was in relation to the rights of these five powers that the controversial question of the veto arose. The voting procedure of the Security Council is briefly as follows.

First, the parties to . any dispute, whether they are’ Great Powers or not, cannot vote in relation to the peaceful settlement of a dispute. However, in all cases where the Great Powers are not parties to a dispute, one of these powers may exercise a negative vote, which would prevent action being taken in any form by the Security Council, either for a peaceful settlement of the dispute or for enforcement action. The Australian delegation adopted the view that no such right should exist on measures designed for the peaceful settlement of a dispute as distinct from enforcement action, on - which it was agreed that there should be unanimity amongst the Great Powers. Australia’s stand on the veto, though finally out-voted in committee by 20 to 10, with 15 abstentions, brought about an undertaking by the Great Powers that the veto would be used with discretion, and ‘ only in cases of necessity. It cannot be overlooked, moreover, that the main responsibility for preserving peace must fall on the “ Big Five “. Therefore their continued united leadership is a pre-requisite for the success of the United Nations Organization, since any attempt to enforce measures against the will of any one of the Great Powers would only precipitate another world war.

If we are to prevent war in the future, we must not rely only on preventive machinery. The peoples of the world do not seek merely the absence of war. If we are to have real security in the world, we must see that some of the underlying causes of war are controlled or removed. It is well known that the economic and social problems of employment, standards of living and exploitation of colonial areas and peoples by the forces of imperialism are among some of the fundamental causes of war. To help in the solution of these problems and in the curbing of imperialistic exploitation of native peoples, the Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council were established. The Australian delegation, realizing the importance of the welfare provisions of the Charter, succeeded in having the purposes of the Economic and Social Council amended to include the objective that “ the United Nations shall promote . . . high standards of living, full employment and conditions of economic and social progress and development

The Australian Government has not only pursued a national policy of progressive social legislation but, for a and social structures have, in many inperiod of some years, it has also striven to have the economic policy of full employment made the basis for international economic co-operation. This aim was followed both in formal and informal discussions in London and Washington, at Hot Springs, Philadelphia and Bretton Woods. The objective has the support of the United Kingdom Government, lt has been stated as an Australian objective on many occasions since early in t943, especially in connexion with the agreement between Australia and New Zealand. The central feature of the international agreement on full employment which Australia and New Zealand wished to have concluded is now written into the United Nations Charter in the form of the specific pledge of Article 56 which states that “All members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the organization for the achievement of full employment, better standards of living and other important welfare objectives.”. As I have briefly mentioned, one of the underlying causes of war lies in the exploitation of colonial and backward areas by self-seeking and powerful monopoly groups which place their own profit above all other considerations. Such an attitude made it all the more important that the principles on which these territories should be governed should be stated clearly for the whole world to see. It is true that most powers which have been responsible for the administration of backward and dependent peoples have professed that the purpose of their respective administrations is the welfare of the peoples in those territories. But it is also clear that as a result of their experiences under some colonial administrations certain native peoples in the South Pacific and SouthEast Asia Areas were ready to listen to Japanese propaganda falsely proclaiming freedom from so-called “ white man’s imperialism “ under the “ Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere “. To a certain degree some of these peoples will be suspicious of the motives of some, at least, of the returning powers now that Japan has been defeated. In addition to this is the fact that for nearly four year* the peoples of South-eastern Asia and Indonesia were under the barbarous rule of Japanese militarism. Their political stances, been completely destroyed. They will need help and consideration in their material and moral rehabilitation. In view of all these factors, it, is essential that the peoples of these countries should know the principles which will govern administration of their countries. For the first time in history, the major colonial powers have jointly and publicly declared in the world Charter the paramountcy of the interests of the native peoples and the determination to develop their political, social and economic well-being. The Trusteeship Council has the responsibility of seeing that these pledges will be carried out in relation to those territories which are placed under the trusteeship provisions of the Charter. Three categories of territory may be placed under the trusteeship scheme - mandates, territories “ detached “ from enemy states in the present war, and other territories voluntarily placed under trusteeship. The responsibility for seeing that the provisions of any trusteeship agreement which may be entered into are fulfilled will rest with the Trusteeship Council under the General Assembly. I desire to make clear how the trusteeship provisions will affect Australia. Once the Charter is ratified the Commonwealth will, of course, be bound by the general obligation under Article 73 to recognize that the interests of dependent peoples everywhere are paramount, and we shall be obliged to promote their political, social, educational and economic well-being. Mere ratification of the Charter will not. however, place the existing Mandated Territory of New Guinea, or any other Australian external territory, under the trusteeship system set out in Chapter 12 of the Charter. Before New Guinea, for example, can be brought within the trusteeship system, the Australian Government must enter into a specific agreement defining the terms of the trusteeship with the General Assembly, and this agreement must have the approval of the General Assembly. Should it be decided to bring the existing Mandate of New Guinea under trusteeship, we would assume the specific obligations laid down in Chapter 12 of the Charter. In practice, this would mean continuation of the Government’s consistent policy of improving the livelihood, educational and health standards and economic opportunities of the people of New Guinea and Papua with a view to encouraging their evolution towards self-government. Recent legislation introduced by the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward) provided for important improvements in the provisional administration of our island territories. In this way and also by the establishing of a Territories Research Council and a School of Civil Affairs for the training of administrative staffs, the Australian Government has already shown its determination to carry out in our own territories the principles we affirm as a member of the United Nations. As to security aspects, I remind honorable senators that under the mandate system as it existed prior to this war we were not able to fortify or provide in other ways for the adequate defence of what has become a bastion of Australian security. Should we choose to bring New Guinea under trusteeship, these former limitations would no longer apply, since the Charter clearly envisages that any trust territory should be able to make its due contribution to the security system of the United Nations.

I know that honorable senators will appreciate that no nation can expect to enjoy the advantages promised by the Charter without discharging its due share of the responsibilities. Therefore, I desire to review very briefly some of the more important obligations which ratification of the Charter will bring. In the first instance, Australia and every other member will be obliged to uphold the principles of the United Nations set out m Article 2 of the Charter. Secondly, and perhaps most important, are commitments in the sphere of security. If we ratify the Charter, Australia will undertake to make available to the Security Council at its call and in accordance with a specific agreement between ourselves and the Council, armed, forces, assistance and facilities including national air force contingents for use in the event of aggression. This agreement will be negotiated on the initiative of the Security

Council and will be subject to ratification. I draw the attention of honorable senators to the fact that the Parliament of the Commonwealth will have the right to review any military agreement entered into between Australia and the Security Council in the discharge of our obligations under the Charter.

I have referred earlier to important commitments in the sphere of welfare. We shall be obliged under Article 56 of the Charter to “ take joint and separate action in co-operation with the Organization “ for the purpose of achieving such objectives as full employment, higher standards of living, and respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. I have referred also to the obligations imposed by the Charter in respect of dependent peoples, and those which the placing of any of our external territories under trusteeship would entail. I remind honorable senators that when the Charter is ratified Australia will at the same time become a party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice arid will undertake to abide by the decisions of the court in any case to which we are a party. Finally, there is a financial obligation in that Australia will share in bearing the expenses of the organization as they may be apportioned by the General Assembly. Such are the more important commitments that ratification of the Charter will bring. They are not to be undertaken lightly, but they are small indeed in comparison with the opportunities which they offer to preserve a just and ordered peace in a world cleansed from the horrors of fascism and of striving to improve economic, social, and cultural well-being of all mankind.

Before I conclude, I wish to refer to one kind of criticism of the Australian delegates’ work at San Francisco which I believe is most misleading and exaggerated. I have in mind the allegation that the Australian delegates have in some way injured relations between the Commonwealth and the United Kingdom. In its extreme form this vein of criticism declares that it is wrong for a dominion government such as Australia to express publicly any real difference of opinion which it may have with the British Government. To state the criticism is to expose its entire lack of substance. It is entirely out of keeping with the whole character and spirit of the British Commonwealth, whose common purpose and ties are more than strong enough to permit of natural and necessary differences in interests and points of view, both on matters of detail and of principle. If honorable senators read the opening pages of the report on the work of the delegates at San Francisco, they will see recorded in brief the close and detailed consultation which took place between all members of the British Commonwealth during the London talks prior to the San Francisco Conference. The Government of the United Kingdom itself emphasized that the purpose of those talks was not to lay down any single binding common policy, but that each government must be able to pursue at San Francisco the policy which it thought was in the interests of ite own people. T am sure that at least some of the criticism suggesting that the Australian delegates wilfully alienated British sympathies at San Francisco is inspired merely by partisan motives. I would like to quote in this connexion from a press statement issued at San Francisco on the 23rd June by a member of the Australian delegation, the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber (Senator McLeay) - “X firmly believe that the results of nine weeks of laborious efforts by the delegates are greater than was anticipated by the most optimistic. A high note of sincerity and a genuine desire for the utmost co-operation was a feature of the deliberations, whilst the keenness and frankness in debating cleared the air and finally brought about a better understanding and appreciation- of each other’s problems. . . . The valuable contribution made by the Australian armed forces to the cause of peace was generally accepted as a ground for the recognition of our country as one of the middle powers. The Australian delegates played a prominent and active part in the deliberations and were responsible for several important amendments being made to the Dumbarton Oaks draft.”

The testimony of the honorable senator o who was present throughout the deliberations at San Francisco is a gratifying tribute to the contribution Australia was able to make to improve and strengthen the United Nations Or ganization. Whatever differences of approach on certain issues existed between the delegates of Australia and those of the United Kingdom they were incomparably outweighed by their mutual cooperation and sense of common purpose on other important issues.

I have endeavoured to set out some of the reasons why I believe honorable senators, regardless of party, should unanimously approve the ratification of the Charter. I emphasize, however, that even when ratified, the Charter itself does no more than create machinery. The governments, and above all, the peoples of the world, must see that the machinery serves the purposes for which it has been created - the maintenance and promotion of the well-being of all peoples. Therefore, the people of Australia must have every opportunity to become familiar with the Charter and the opportunities it offers, because only if the people whose interests the Charter seeks to serve are truly vigilant and active with their governments will the work begun at Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco be brought to fruition. I remind honorable senators that although the Covenant of the League of Nations fell short of the Charter in important respects, it did not fail so much because it was inadequate in itself, but rather because the governments of certain countries ignored or violated their obligations under it.

The peoples of the world must not allow this to happen again. We stand to-day on the threshold of a new era of civilization. The discovery of atomic energy, as yet brought into use for destructive purposes only, holds out unlimited possibilities for man’s future welfare. However, the ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki leave us no illusions as to the future should governments fail to honour the obligations which they assume under the Charter. Therefore, I urge honorable senators to consider the bill in this light, and to discuss it in the knowledge that upon the successful creation of the United Nations Organization the future of our civilization chiefly depends.

Debate (on motion by Senator Leckie) adjourned.

page 5274


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

– I lay oh the table the following papers: -

Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure and Estimates of Expenditure for Additions, New Works, Buildings, &c, for the year ending the 30th June, 1946.

The Budget 1945-46 - Papers presented by the Right Honorable J. B. Chifley, M.P., on the occasion of the Budget of 1945-46. and move -

That the papers be printed.

It has been customary for the Leader of the Senate, when submitting this motion, to read in abridged form, the Treasurer’s budget speech. This procedure has served to inform honorable senators ofthe contents of the speech shortly after the Treasurer had presented the papers relating to the budget in the House of Representatives. However, as also happened last year,a week has elapsed since the Treasurer delivered his budget speech for 1945-46 and copies of it have been supplied to honorable senators. In these circumstances, I am sure that honorable senators will again agree that no useful purpose would be served by reading an abridged addition of the speech.

Debate (on motion by Senator Leckie) adjourned.

page 5274


Senator Nash : Visit to United States and Canada - Tasmanian Shipping Services - Armed Forces : Prisoners in Detention Camps - Man-Power Regulations - Australian Prisoners of War - Japanese Surrender.

Motion (by Senator Keane) proposed -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

Senator NASH:
Western Australia

– On my first appearance in the Senate since my return from the United States of America I take this opportunity to make a few observations relating to ray visit abroad. Honorable senators will remember that the late Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, requested certain members of the Parliament and certain persons, chosen as representative of a cross-section of Australian public opinion, to accompany the Australian delegation to the

Uncio Conference at San Francisco. Our party crossed the Pacific in 38 hours actual flying time. That fact will give some indication of likely development* in air transport in the near future. The journey was not very comfortable, because we had to sit up for the whole of that period. I pay tribute to the skill of the air force pilot and crew of our machine. As the whole of the trip was made practically in darkness our lives were virtually in the hands of those men. They did a magnificent job. Arriving at Honolulu early in the morning, I had an opportunity to obtain my first impression of the tremendous war job which America has done in the Pacific sphere. Owing to heavy fog we approached the island at a low ceiling. It seemed that we were just skimming over the water, but as far as the eye could see, I saw warships, aircraft carriers, submarines and convoys. When the aircraft was about to land one could perceive tremendous activity on the island itself. Passing through the two towns which constitute the city of Honolulu,I was impressed by the tremendous stocks of munitions and war equipment of all descriptions. Australians have no conception of the tremendous war productive capacity of the United States of America. Honolulu was virtually packed with stocks of war materials sufficient to enable the American forces in that sphere to carry on the war for a very long time. On behalf of the delegation I expressed thanks to the officer commanding the American military forces at Honolulu for what he did in our behalf. Immediately our aircraft landed we were met by Colonel McCabe and Major Bird, who entertained our. party throughout our stay. While in Honolulu I was impressed by the native children I saw. They were bright, clean and intelligent, and all of them appeared to be well fed. I sincerely hope that in the near future the native peoples throughout the world will attain physique of an equal standard. In order to give some indication of the great war activity on the island, I point out that the population totalled approximately 300,000 compared with a normal population of 60,000.

Of all the cities I visited in the United States of America I regard San Francisco as the “queen city”. It has many distinctive features, and is justifiably named the “ Gateway to the Pacific “. Australians are proud of Sydney Harbour, Undoubtedly, it is very beautiful; but one is impressed by the capacity as well as the beauty of the harbour at San Francisco. It is capable of accommodating thousands of ships. On each occasion I visited the waterfront, I counted from 60 to 70 vessels waiting to berth, whilst thousands of ships were already berthed along the 100 miles of the waterfront.

I am satisfied from what I saw abroad that our own internal economy in Australia will eventually be proved to be the best in any country. The cost of living in the United States of America is very high. Whilst the American dollar is worth 6s. 2d. in Australian currency, I calculate that in terms of purchasing power it would not be worth more than 2s. 6d. in Australian money. In the United States of America, the average cost of a meal is from three to four dollars, that is, at the latter figure, about 24s. Sd. Australian. For a haircut and singe I was charged 2 dollars 70 cents, or nearly 18s. Australian. I noticed a definite shortage of nylon and silk goods as well as woollen goods, but with the exception of certain classes of footwear there was no rationing of wearing apparel in the United States of America. There was no shortage of essential goods, [n some cities it appeared that nearly every third or fourth shop was a jeweller’s shop. Coloured people particularly, spend lavishly in those establishments. There was a shortage of butter, sugar and meat. In some hotels meat which was sold on a coupon basis was eliminated from the menu on two days each week. Apart from these food shortages, and the inability to purchase nylon stockings or silk goods, Americans have suffered few disabilities on the home front. Undoubtedly, they have done a magnificent job in the war, but their home front deprivations have been few.

One undesirable feature of American life which I hope will never be introduced into this country is the pernicious system of tipping. The practice of tipping heavily is followed not only in tho United States of America, but also in

Canada. With two other Australians, 1 had a meal on one occasion in a New York hotel. One of us paid for the meal on behalf of the other three, but as we were keeping a tally of our own costs, we put our tips alongside the plates. Leaving the restaurant at the conclusion of the meal, we were about to enter a lift when the waiter who had served us came up and told us we could not get away with that. He said, “You cannot do this to me. You are not tipping me the right percentage “. He wanted at least 10 per cent, of the cost of the meal. One of us told him that if he had a look on the table he would see that we had left his tips. The fact was that the tips amounted to more than 10 per cent, of the cost of the meal. The waiter apologized humbly.

Senator Leckie:

– Tipping is not altogether unknown in this country.

Senator NASH:

– No, but I hope it will never reach the level it has reached in the United States of America. I hope that the payment for services in this country will make tipping unnecessary.

The American people were most friendly and hospitable, and were particularly anxious for information about this country. I found from my personal contact with them that their outlook is very much like ours. All they want is the right to live their lives in their own way as we do and to live in peace with one another as we do. Their economic outlook is very similar to ours, one notable difference being that they are more individualistic than are the people of this country who tend to view matters more from a social standpoint. Very little is known of Australia by the people of the United States of America. One sees practically no reference to this country in the American press. There is definitely a need for greater publicity of Australia in the United States of America. The ordinary citizen of that country has little knowledge of Australia’s war effort, and has no conception of the part that Australia has played in the prosecution of the war. Naturally, as so many American troops have visited this country in the course of their military service, much more will be known of the Australian way of life upon their return to their homeland, but the contacts that these men W1 make will represent only a small proportion of the population of the United States of America which is now more than 140,000,000, so that knowledge that American troops have gained of Australia’s part in the war, and of Australian conditions generally, can be expected to reach only a restricted circle of American citizens. We must make an effort to obtain publicity for this country in the leading newspapers of the United States of America. That is a most difficult problem, as I well know, but I believe that the American people have a right to know what the Australian nation has done in this war. I go so far as to say that in my opinion, as the result of the San Francisco conference, Australia to-day has a greater name in the United States than ever before. An incident which occurred soon after the Australian party landed at San Francisco emphasized the peculiar outlook of some Americans. I was invited by a broadcasting firm to participate in a broadcast from one of the Californian stations. I agreed to do so. The form of the broadcast was a conversation between myself and an American specialist commentator on international affairs. The broadcast opened with the announcement by the commentator that he was that station’s specialist on international affairs. He asked me several questions which apparently had been provoking considerable thought in the United States of America. One was, “Why does not Australia throw off th# yoke of old England?” Other questions indicated a belief in the United States of America that Australia had been forced into the war by the Mother Country, and that Australia paid taxes and bounties to Great Britain. The final bombshell was the suggestion that the British Commonwealth of Nations might disintegrate after the war. I am sure that all honorable senators know sufficient about me to form an idea of my answers to the questions. I quickly dispelled listeners’ beliefs, and indicated to the commentator that he had a lot to learn about Australia.

There i3 a lack of knowledge in the United States of America of Australia, politically, and physically. The people there do not have any conception of the territorial magnitude of this country, which they regard as “ some place down under “. I hope that the Government will increase appropriations for overseas publicity, particularly in the United States of America. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane), following his visit to the United States of America recently, spoke of the wonderful productive capacity of that country, particularly on the manufacturing side. I concur with the Minister’s views on that matter. The people of Australia cannot imagine the vast industrial potential of the United States of America. I visited the Henry Kaiser shipyards where the Liberty and Victory ships were built - at one time at the rate of one a day. The methods adopted by this huge organization are revolutionary in the shipbuilding industry.

Senator Nicholls:

– Did the honorable senator see any helicopters?

Senator NASH:

– Yes, and I should have liked to have brought one back with me. It is expected that these marvellous machines will be on the market in the United States of America in the notdistant future. Employees in the Kaiser shipyards numbered 90,000, of whom 40 per cent, were negroes. It was noticeable that the blacks and whites worked together just as amicably as white men worked together in this country. They performed similar work and received similar wages. The average earnings of workers in the shipbuilding industry is 60 dollars a week, or more, including overtime payments. It can be seen, therefore, that wages generally are high; but, on the other hand, although there is a limited system of price control in respect of certain commodities, rents are not controlled, with the result that throughout America extremely high rents are being charged. That, of course, is reflected to some degree in the high wage level. The American negroes earn big money and are great spenders. The owner of the most modern motor car, or the wearer of the most highly priced fur coat, is, in nine cases out of ten, a negro or negress. These people do not save anything for a rainy day. War expansion throughout the United States of America has been tremendous and hundreds of thousands of people, both black and white, have been employed in various war industries. In addition to huge organizations such as the Henry Kaiser shipyards, there are many tremendous industrial undertakings throughout the country, employing not 2,000 or 3,000 operatives, but 50,000, 60,000, or 70,000. Immediately the war with Germany ended - that occurred whilst I was overseas - the Government of the United States of America reduced war contracts drastically, and, with the end of hostilities in the Pacific, the remaining war contracts were further reduced immediately, with the result that hundreds of thousands of people are out of employment. In this country, employment can be maintained at a high level by the transfer of war workers to industries which during the war have been regarded as non-essential, and therefore have either gone out of existence, or have been producing only upon a very limited scale, In America, however, production of nonessential goods has not been restricted during the war - there is therefore not the great demand at present for these products that there is in this country. I believe that the United States of America will he faced with widespread unemployment in the near future. I hope that something will be done to meet the situation when it arises. The President of the United States of America has already forecast a measure which I understand provides for the payment of a certain sum for a period of weeks to relieve unemployment.

I have never seen so many motor cars in my life as I saw in America. America’s immediate requirement of motor cars is 20,000,000. Therefore, even if the United States of America recommences full-scale production immediately, that enormous demand by the home market may mean that we shall have great difficulty in obtaining American motor cars in this country for some time. However, I understand that the Henry Kaiser organization is considering the manufacture of motor cars. With that organization in the field, the difficulty may be eased considerably. In many towns in the United States of Am.erica the population is cosmopolitan. It is strange to an Australian to see public vehicles such as tram cars and buses driven by negroes, with white men acting as conductors. It was common to see coloured women driving motor vehicles throughout portions of America. In some localities the coloured people are living more or less separate from the white population, but in other parts blacks and whites, are gradually coming together. In fact, the black people are in many places ousting the whites from their residential areas. In Washington the negroes are living in areas right up to the heart of the city, and in some localities white people are living amongst them. When I visited Harlem, I was impressed by the modern buildings, and the apartment flats of five or six stories. The streets and- footpaths are very wide. I was informed that the negro population of Harlem is slowly but surely extending to the best parts of New York. As the black population in the United States of America is already 13,000,000, a serious problem has arisen.

The franchise has been extended in some electorates to the black races. I cannot see how one can object to that, because the black man is required to fight for his country and is able to perform the same work as the white man in the essential industries required for the prosecution of war. I was told that, whilst the negro has the franchise., the average American citizen does not worry about it, because voting is not compulsory; but the negro vote is becoming an influence in American political life. Some of the political representatives of tho people have to take notice of what the negro population requires.

I visited the Parliament of the State of California, in company with Parliamentary colleagues, and we had the privilege of being introduced to the members of both chambers. There are a House of Assembly and a Senate. I was particularly impressed during my visits to both the United States of America and Canada with the pretentious nature of all of the parliamentary buildings. Money has been expended on them without stint. The Parliament of California is situated in beautiful grounds in Sacramento. A feature which I should not like to see introduced in a British Parliament impressed me. I saw members smoking in the chamber, and the Chairman or the President conducted the proceedings with a cigar in his mouth. That might be regarded by some of my colleagues as a good democratic practice, but it did not appeal to me. The method of voting also impressed me. The presiding officer had a desk with a glass cover, under which were coloured lights indicating whether members voted for or against the questions before the Chair. The member pressed a button which registered his vote at the Chairman’s desk, but it seemed to me that mistakes could easily occur. This method permitted the reversing of a vote, if the member so desired. I saw an amendment put to the chamber and it was declared carried, but within less than five minutes the decision was reversed. 1 was interested to note that women were seated at members’ desks while the House was in session. In California, the Parliament sits for only one year of its two years’ life. For the first year it meets from 9.30 a.m. to about 5 p.m., and members find it necessary to have their secretaries or female typists in the House to attend to their correspondence.. Every member had a microphone before him when he addressed the Chair, and he usually moved from his desk to the floor of the chamber to do so. In debate each speaker addressed the House for about ten minutes, and then other members were permitted to question the speaker, It was interesting to see members being questioned by colleagues, the Chairman deciding whether the questions were or were not relevant to the matters under discussion.

At Winnipeg, I visited the Houses of Parliament, a beautiful edifice. I was also impressed by the University of Agriculture, a large institution which cost about 10,000,000 dollars. The Parliament House and the Government offices at Ottawa are impressive buildings, and no cheeseparing policy was adopted in their construction. The tower of the House has been converted into a beautiful shrine of remembrance in honour of the Canadian soldiers who fell in the last war. There is a register of the names of the fallen, and every day a fresh page of names is exposed to the view of visitors. Throughout Canada I heard unstinted praise of the Australian airmen. As an Australian I was proud of the good opinions expressed concerning them.

While in Washington, several members of the Australian party of parliamentarians, including myself, had the honour through the courtesy of Senator Connolly of taking a seat in the American Senate. The Senate was in session, and practically every senator shook hands with us and made us welcome. We inspected the House of Representatives, but as only its members are permitted to enter the chamber we viewed it from above. 1 hope that the Commonwealth Parliament will never attain a membership so large as that of the American Parliament. The chamber of the House of Representatives is long, the members sitting Bide by side like schoolboys in a class room. It is most difficult to hear what is being said, because the chamber is so large and the number of members so great.

Senator Grant:

– The salaries are good.

Senator NASH:

– Yes. That is a matter which could well be considered in Australia. The political capital of Washington is well worth a visit, and I hope that Canberra will eventually become the Washington of Australia. It is full of memorial buildings which have a utilitarian value and do not resemble the atrocity which stands in front of the parliamentary edifice in Canberra. The home of George Washington at Mount Vernon has been preserved, and the visitor can see the contents of the home just as Washington left it. This memorial shows something of the national life of the country, and Australian national memorials should have characteristics similar to those in the United States of America. We have made a good start in Canberra in establishing the National War Memorial, although I am not particularly keen on war memorials. The Arlington Military Cemetery is of interest in that work is now proceeding there in the construction of an unknown soldier’s tomb. This is a magnificent piece of marble work. Washington has solved the problem of noisy tram cars. There are no tramway poles in the streets and the trams are absolutely silent.

I visited the Australian offices of the Division of Import Procurement in San Francisco, and the Australian Legations at Ottawa and Washington, and I experienced the utmost courtesy from all of cbe officials representing Australia in the United States of America and Canada. I found the Washington Legation unsuitable for the accommodation of the staff, which is housed in pokey rooms which have to be approached by narrow back stairs. I hope that before long these officials will be provided with improved accommodation. The Australian offices should be situated in the very heart of the cities. Our offices in New York are well situated, and the staff is most efficient. I noticed that most of the staff, particularly the female section, was comprised of girls from Canada. Although their work is efficiently done, it seemed to me that it would be to the advantage of Australia to have Australian girls filling these positions. They would have a good knowledge of this country, and would be able to impart to visitors useful information concerning Australia. I hope that the Government will endeavour to appoint Australian girls to vacancies in Australian offices overseas. It would be to the advantage of Australia if arrangements could be made for all members of this Parliament and, indeed, business men and labour representatives to visit both the United States of America and Canada during the life of the Parliament. I am convinced that the best way to obtain information about overseas matters is by personal observation. The members of all political parties have much to learn’ with regard to overseas affairs, and the members of this Parliament should give more attention to international problems than they have in the past.

Senator AYLETT:

– After hearing Senator Nash’s interesting dissertation about his visit to the United States of America and Canada, L shall be a candidate for inclusion in the next delegation to visit those countries. I have three matters of importance to Australia which I wish to bring to the attention of Ministers. They relate to shipping, prisoners in Army detention camps, and man-power regulations. As most honorable senators are aware, the shipping service to the north-west coast of Tasmania has been considerably reduced after half a century of operation. At the present time, the main outlet for the large population of miners and their families and other residents of the west coast of Tasmania is through the port of Burnie. Large quantities of perishable goods which come from the mainland by the Bass Strait shipping service are discharged at Burnie and transported along the coast by rail. The ship which visits Burnie is at present in dock, but under the new schedule, when it is operating, it calls at Burnie and Devonport on alternate weeks. The necessity for unloading goods at Devonport and then transporting them to Burnie and thence further along the coast, involves extra expense to storekeepers and consequently to customers who buy their goods. Furthermore, the delay causes deterioration of perishable goods. I doubt very much whether the economy effected by the new schedule compensates for the inconvenience and deterioration of cargo which result from it. I suggest to the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) that, as a number of small ships will soon be made available through the Commonwealth Disposals Commission, consideration should be given to the purchase of a small. vessel to enable weekly services to be re-established between Melbourne and those ports which have enjoyed such services for many years. In addition to the reduction of the shipping service to Tasmania, the regular air-line service has been suspended after having been in operation for over nine years. Now that the war has ended, the Government should speed up its aviation programme and put Wynyard and Smithton aerodromes in a serviceable condition so as to restore to that part of Tasmania the service which it enjoyed for many years. If the air service were operating now, residents would not be so adversely affected by the reduction of the shipping service. Very little time and expense would be required to place the aerodromes in a safe condition for transport aircraft. The excuse given for eliminating the service is that the aerodromes are unsuitable for heavy Douglas aircraft. To my knowledge heavy 21-passenger Douglas aircraft have made use of the Wynyard aerodrome on a number of occasions. Little work would be required to make the aerodrome fully serviceable. There are thousands of pilots in Australia who could safely land and take off Douglas aircraft at the Wynyard aerodrome. My view is that the air service has been suspended because it does not suit the operating company to continue it at the present time. The restriction of the service is causing a great deal of inconvenience and expense to residents of that area.

I now refer to servicemen who are serving sentences in detention camps. A number of these prisoners are undergoing detention as punishment for being absent without leave. In many cases their defection was the result of nerve shock caused by service overseas, with consequent anxiety and dread of remaining in the forces. Now that the war has ended, such men should be granted pardons and released from detention. Numbers of other men are serving what I consider f> be long sentences considering the nature of their offences. Imprisonment for twelve months for being absent without leave for one week is unduly harsh punishment. Those who have already served half of their, sentences should be released immediately, and the remainder should be discharged upon completion of half of their sentences. Most of these prisoners are good, industrious young men who are anxious to return to civilian occupations, in which they would work to the best of their ability and become good citizens. I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Army to consider releasing men who are being punished for offences attributable to nervous conditions resulting from war service, and to consider remitting half of the sentences of other men who are being punished for being absent without leave.

Another matter which affects exservicemen, many of whom have served in battle areas, is the man-power control exercised over their civilian occupations upon discharge from the services. A number of Tasmanian ex-servicemen secured discharges in order to take up employment as timber workers, sawmillers or farm hands. In many cases their health has deteriorated as the result of war service, and they are not standing up to heavy work as they would like to do. Nevertheless, they are not allowed to leave their jobs without the permission of the man-power authorities. They should be permitted to leave jobs which are too strenuous for them. Some of them have already done so without permission and have come to me to obtain my advice and assistance. They are being threatened with prosecution if they do not return to work. It is wrong that this sort of thing should be allowed to happen while men in base jobs in the services and munitions workers, none ‘of whom have seen any fighting service, are being released and are permitted to obtain employment without being obliged to apply to the man-power authorities. I point out this anomaly in the hope that the Minister will examine the man-power regulations with a view to relaxing restrictions on men such as I have mentioned, who have fought overseas to the detriment of their physical well-being. They should at least be granted equal privileges with munitions workers and servicemen who have never done any fighting and be allowed to take such employment as they choose.

Senator MATTNER:
South Australia

– Publicity is being given in the press to the sufferings of our prisoners of war in Japanese hands. The emphasis being placed on these atrocities may cause a great deal of mental anguish to the parents, relatives, and friends of the prisoners. Would it be possible for the Government to suggest to the newspapers that articles dealing with atrocities should not be published until all of our prisoners have been recovered? Up to the present, only small numbers of these gallant men have been released. The welfare of the remainder should be our first consideration. Cessation of publication of such articles for a short time might be of advantage to them. The newspapers are also giving a great deal of attention to the attitude of General MacArthur towards our defeated enemy. Only to-day honorable senators passed a motion of congratulation to General MacArthur and his gallant forces for what they have done for Australia. Men such as General MacArthur have made peace possible. They are in a position to know what attitude should be adopted towards the Japanese. Peace came to us much quicker than we had dared to hope. Our occupation forces should be given time to marshal their strength in Japan, and we should give General MacArthur an opportunity to show what he can do. Until then, let us restrain our criticism. He should be given every chance to put his plans into operation.

Senator ASHLEY:
Minister for Supply and Shipping · New South Wales · ALP

Senator Aylett has drawn attention to several matters, including the shipping service to the west coast of Tasmania. Earlier to-day I answered a question which he had asked on the subject. Reduced shipping services are not common to the west coast of Tasmania alone. I arn well aware of the position in that State, because I have received representations from Tasmanian senators on both sides of the chamber and from Tasmanian members of the House of Representatives during the past few months. There is a shortage of shipping on the entire Australian coast and also in the river trade. From the way in which Senator Aylett spoke, one would think that the Government could easily obtain a ship and send it over to Tasmania in order to increase the service to the north-west coast from a fortnightly to a weekly one. I and officials of my department will be glad when this can be done. Although the war is over, there is much to be done before we can restore shipping services to their normal schedules. One of the greatest problems of the United Nations is the shortage of shipping.

Senator Sheehan:

– The return of prisoners of war involves a. big shipping problem.

Senator ASHLEY:

– As the honorable senator points ou;, there is a great demand for ships to transport released prisoners of war and returning servicemen to Australia. Senator Aylett was good enough to inform me that he intended to refer to this subject this afternoon, and I took the opportunity to obtain further information from my deportment.

The report received by the Director of Shipping from the Shipping Control Board shows that the cargo carried by the Nairana to and from the north-west ports in July, 1944, averaged 343 tons a trip as compared with an average of 51.2 tons in July, 1945. Under the newtimetable, notwithstanding the delay to the vessel by gale, rain and fog, during the latter period - conditions which did not exist in July, 1944 - the passenger bookings on the Nairana this winter have fallen off considerably, and although it is realized that some inconvenience may be suffered by passengers under the new time-table, it is understood that when the vessel called at both Burnie and Devonport, passengers frequently travelled from one or other place to the last port of call for embarkation. The board emphasizes that the overriding consideration must be the making of the best possible use of the vessel by enabling it to carry the maximum quantity of cargo, and it contends this objective has been achieved, as, indeed, the figures mentioned above disclose. In comparing the Nairana’** present programme with the service provided in 1942, it’ must be borne in mind that as the *Taroona has been taken away for war duties the whole burden of conducting the Bass Strait service has been thrown upon one passenger vessel - the Nairana. Cargo vessels operate between Melbourne and Tasmanian porte, and the board points out that the ships in the trade have been considerably augmented over the last twelve months by special vessels which have carried fodder, potatoes, fruit and other Tasmanian products. The recent alteration of the Nairana’s time-table was adopted to assist still further in relieving cargo demands. Although vessels sailing from Devonport and calling at Burnie travel only nine miles further than if they sailed direct to Melbourne, the board stresses that the important factor is not so much the extra distance, as the time taken in entering and leaving port. The time thus gained is now used in the landing of cargo, and has made possible the substantial additions to the quantity of cargo carried. That the shortage of shipping is not confined to Tasmania is shown by the following telegram received to-day by the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Johnson) : -

State shipping position to and from northwest has become impossible, machinery urgently required at Asbestos mine’ has been lying for months at Carnarvon. Ninety tons asbestos now Port Samson, no shipping space for same. Only solution is to place one or two more boats on service between Port Hedland and Northern Ports, would appreciate your assistance. (Sgd.)Westralian Blue Asbestos Fibres.

That telegram gives some indication of the problem which confronts the Government in regard to shipping. In this matter, the needs of the people of Australia as a whole, rather than those of one State, must be taken into consideration by the Government. I assure Senator Aylett that as soon as possible, the claims of Tasmania will be met.

The other matters mentioned by Senator Aylett, as well as the point raised by Senator Mattner will be brought to the notice of the appropriate Ministers. I agree with Senator Mattner’s remarks regarding the publication of sensational stories of the ill-treatment of prisoners of war by the Japanese, and that at least until it is known what men have survived imprisonment, the press should exercise-some restraint in the interests of their relatives.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 5282


The following papers were pre sented : -

National Debt Sinking Fund Act - National Debt Commission - Twenty-second Annual Report, for year 1944-45.

Ordered to be printed.

Commonwealth Bank Act -

Balance-sheets of the Commonwealth Bank Act and Commonwealth Savings Bank, as at the 30th June, 1945; together with Auditor-General’s reports thereon.

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1045, Nos. 128, 129, 130.

Commonwealth Grants Commission Act -

Commonwealth Grants Commission - Twelfth Report (1945).

Commonwealth Public Service Act -

Appointment - Department of the Interior - A. W. Bazley.

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1945, Nos. 118, 124.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for - Administrative purposes - Howard Springs near Darwin, Northern Territory.

Commonwealth purposes -

Bankstown, New South Wales.

Bundaberg, Queensland

Charters Towers, Queensland.

Drouin, Victoria.

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Marrangaroo, New South Wales

Nudgee, Queensland.

Oaklands, South Australia.

Rydalmere (near), New South Wales.

Townsville, Queensland.

Villawood, New South Wales.

Wentworth Falls, New South Wales.

Whyalla, South Australia.

Postal purposes -

Belalie North, South Australia.

Bordertown, South Australia.

Croydon, Victoria.

Deepdene, Victoria.

Melbourne, Victoria.

Muswellbrook, New South Wales.

Stockport, South Australia.

National Security Act-

National Security (Agricultural Aids) Regulations - Order - Hay, straw and chaff (Victoria) (No. 3).

National Security (Capital Issues) Regulations - Order - Exemption.

National Security (Egg Industry) Regulations - Order - No. 12.

National Security (Emergency Control) Regulations - Orders -

Papua and New Guinea (Administration) (No. 5).

Papua and New Guinea (Detention of native personnel). National Security (Food Control) Regulations - Order - No. 22.

National Security (General) RegulationsOrders -

Chronometers and chronometer watches - Revocation. Control of -

Cleaning agents (No. 3).

Hydrographical publications- Revocation.

Liquor (No. 4).

Fishing gear (Estimates and Re turns) - Revocation.

Immobilization of Vessels - Revocation.

Manufacture of baby carriages - Revocation.

Navigation (Brisbane River and Moreton Bay - Small craft) - Revocation.

Navigation . (Port Stephens - Private craft) - Revocation.

Prohibited places - Revocation.

Prohibition of acquisition and sale of censored envelopes - Revocation.

Prohibition of non-essential production (No. 18).

Refrigerator service - Revocation.

Restriction of cherry packing - Revocation.

Restrictions on new manufactures - Exemption.

Service munitions - (Safety precautions) (No. 2).

Taking possession of land, &c.. (16).

Use of land.

Use of land - Revocation.

National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations- Orders - Inventions and designs (134).

National Security (Land Transport) - Regulations- Orders -

Control of transport of racehorses by rail (No. 2) - Revocation. No. 21.

Rail travel (Priority booking) -


Revocation of certain road transport orders (dated the 7 th August, 1945.

National Security (Man Power) RegulationsOrder - Employment in rural industries - Revocation.

National Security (Prisoners of War) Regulations - Rules - Camp (6).

National Security (Rationing) Regulalations Orders - Nos. 100-103.

Regulations- Statutory Rules 1945, Nos. 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 131, 132, 133.

Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1945, Nos. 126, 127.

Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act - Ordinance - No. 6 of 1945 - Firearms Registration.

Papua and New Guinea Bounties Act -

Return for year 1944-45.

Raw Cotton Bounty Act - Return for 1944.

Re-establishment and Employment Act -

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1945, No.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act -

Ordinance - No. 8 of 1945 - Industrial Board.

Regulation - No. 1 of 1945 - (Meat Ordinance).

Sulphur Bounty Act - Return for year 1944-45.

Tractor Bounty Act - Return for year 1844-45.

Wine Export Bounty Act - Return for year 1044-45.

Wire Netting Bounty Act- Return for year 1944-45.

Senate adjourned at 5.49 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 September 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.