17th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent to the following bills reported : -
States Grants (Tux Reimbursement) Bill 1946.
Superannuation Bill 1946.
Income Tax (War-time Arrangements) Bill 1946.
Entertainments Tax Assessment Bill 1 946.
Entertainments Tax Bill1946.
Income Tax Assessment Bill 1946.
War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Bill 1946.
War Service Homes Bill 1946.
Nationality Bill 1946.
Judiciary Bill 1946.
Sugar Agreement Bill1946.
Safes Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill 1946.
Sales Tax Assessment Bill (No. 9) 1946.
Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1946.
National Security Bill 1946.
CommonwealthPublic Service Bill 1946.
– I have receive from Lady Best a letter of thanks and appreciation for the resolution of sympathy passed by the Senate on the occasion of the death of the Honorable Sir Robert Best.
– In view of the probable immediate rationing of bread in Great Britain, will the Government, without delay, give further consideration to an increase of Australia’s food exports to the Mother Country?
– The Government is at present giving every consideration to the export of food to the United Kingdom.
Tasmanian Service - Delays at Towns- ville - Dutch Vessels - Sales - Western Australian Service.
– In view of the acute shortage of shipping between
Tasmania and the mainland of Australia, ‘ and the representations that have been made for an improved service, is the Minister for Supply and Shipping in a position to make any announcement w hich will encourage the people to believe that in the near future some relief will be given in respect of the carriage of both passengers and cargo to and from Tasmania?
– The provision of additional coastal shipping has been the subject of representations by honorable senators on both sides of the chamber. Every endeavour is being made by my department to meet the position which has arisen, and recently a number of ships were chartered from the British Ministry of Shipping. I hope that the position will be relieved within a couple of months.
– Will the Minister for Supply and Shipping indicate what steps are being taken to facilitate the sailing of the steamer Allara, which, with a full cargo of sugar for Adelaide, is at present held up at Townsville as the result of still’ another pernicious “black” ban?
– I was not aware that the ship mentioned by the honorable senator was being held up at Townsville, but I presume that the delay is as a result of the meat workers’ strike in Queensland, where the miners have gone on strike in sympathy with the meat workers. I understand that certain negotiations are taking place in Queensland in regard to this matter, but the Commonwealth Government has no control over the position. The dispute is under the control of the State Government, and the matter isbeing dealt with by the State court. The Commonwealth Government is not in a position to intervene at the present juncture.
– Will the Minister for Supply and Shipping state whether it is a fact, as reported in the press, that during this month certain trade unions have prevented Australian workmen from repairing a Dutch destroyer which is in an Australian port?
– As this matter has been given much press publicity, I anticipated that questions would’ he directed to me regarding it. I take it that the honorable senator refers to the Dutch destroyer Piet Hein. This vessel required certain repairs due to damage which occurred at some distant location from Australia. It is reported - although the Government has no confirmation of this* fact - that the destroyer went aground in the English Channel, near Chatham, -and subsequently was in collision with a smaller vessel at Ambon. lt is thought, therefore, that repair facilities might have been available nearer to the place of damage than Australia.
Since its arrival in Australian waters an endeavour was made to secure repairs at the Port of Fremantle, and I am informed that all unions with the exception of the Carpenters Union were prepared to undertake the work. The matter, as it affected the Carpenters Union, was submitted to the Arbitration Court, but before a determination was received Piet Rein sailed from Fremantle, under instructions from the Commander-in-Chief of the Netherlands ‘Navy.
At the next port of call - Melbourne - repairs were sought from the firm of Duke and Orr. This ship-repairing establishment was, I understand, prepared to undertake the work, but certain members of the unions in its employ indicated their unwillingness to do so. The Commonwealth Government now has no control of the ship-repairing industry, other than that which directly affects Commonwealth Government establishments. Those powers which were exercised as a wartime provision have ceased to operate. Therefore, it would seem that such private firms employing men who refuse to undertake work could have taken appropriate action before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court to have clearly defined the responsibility of those concerned in regard to any breach that has arisen. All Commonwealth ship-repair facilities which come directly under Commonwealth control are at present being utilized to the utmost limit, and, as a proof of this fact, I may mention that representations were recently made by two sister dominions of the British Commonwealth, asking whether we , could undertake certain work of reconverting vessels for their shipping services. We have had to indicate our inability to undertake this work, in view of the full utilization of our government facilities for urgent work required in connexion with our own Australian shipping needs.
– The Minister for Supply and Shipping had prepared an answer to the question last submitted to him. I wonder if he has an answer ready about the Dutch vessel which was to be loaded under Australian conditions, by Australian workmen, and sent with Australian goods to Singapore? Surely that vessel did not require any repairs?
– Order !
Question not answered.
– I know that the Minister can please himself whether he answers questions or not. Does he know the vessel to which I refer? Will he take action in the matter which I have mentioned, in order to preserve the fair name of Australia ?
– In the first instance the honorable senator made a statement but did not ask a question. He now asks if I know the vessel referred to by him. I am prepared to answer a question regarding Dutch ships generally, but the honorable senator now requires information regarding a specific vessel. If he places his question, on the noticepaper, a reply Will be furnished to him.
– I understand that a number of Australian ships has been sold to foreign countries. If that be so, will the Government take action to prevent the sale of any further vessels?
– 1 am not aware that Australian ships have been sold to any country. If the honorable senator will specify the names of vessels referred to by him, I shall take action to ensure that no ship that is seaworthy, or has any prospect of being made so, is disposed of in the manner indicated by the honorable senator.
– Is the Minister for Supply and Shipping aware that Western Australia is experiencing some of the greatest shortages ofvarious commodities that have occurred in its history? Does he also know that, especially in the gold-fields area, there is a great shortage of galvanized iron? In order to overcome this disability, will the Minister endeavour to increase the shipping services to Western Australia, particularly those from New South Wales? Will he also give early consideration to arranging for the return to the Australian coastal shipping trade of the vessels which formerly plied between various Australian ports from Brisbane to Fremantle so that the carriage of passengers and goods may be properly organized?
– I am aware that there is a general shortage of both interstate and coastal shipping as I have already explained to Senator Herbert Hays in answer to an earlier question. I would, however, be deluding the honorable senator and myself if I said that thoi* was any immediate prospect of restoring shipping services to their pre-war level. Such a restoration is impossible because of the grave shortage of shipping resulting from the war. Lost vessels cannot be replaced immediately, but all possible steps are being taken to re-establish the fleet. The Commonwealth Government has been in consultation with the British Ministry of Shipping, which has been generous enough to allow the Commonwealth to charter a number of vessels so that a better service may be provided between the Australian States, and particularly that the needs of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania may be met.
– Many of our interstate vessels are still afloat.
– They are being used for more important work.
– Can the Minister state whether there is any truth in the statement, which is repeatedly made at public meetings, that numbers of ships which were used during the war are tied up at Sydney and Melbourne and could easily be converted to cargo vessels?
– No ships which could be used immediately in the Australian shipping service are at present tied up at Sydney w Melbourne, or any other Australian port. Some vessels may be held up temporarily pending their reconversion from war service to their original purpose, but otherwise no ships are held up.
– Is the Minister aware that numbers of ships, which to an onlooker appear to be seaworthy, ure tied up at Oakland and San Francisco in the United States of America ? Can he say whether the Government of the United States of America has been approached with a view to assisting the Commonwealth by arranging for the purchase or charter of such vessels so that they could be made available to’ Australia? I saw a, number of idle vessels in American ports recently.
– -Statements have’ appeared in the Brisbane press and elsewhere to the effect that ships are tied up in American ports, and I understand that Senator Foll is reported to have said that they should be utilized to bring immigrants to Australia.
– That is so.
– My department has already made inquiries as to the availability of ships in the United States of America, but after careful investigation it has come to the conclusion that, the best way to meet the situation is to charter ships from the British Ministry of Shipping. As I have stated in reply to an earlier question that ministry has been generous enough to make a number of vessels available.
– In view of a report which appeared in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph that the Treasurer had estimated that the expenditure for defence purposes for the coining year would be between £45,000,000 and £70,000,000 and that according to the Canberra Times the sum of £125,000,000 is being earmarked for the same purpose, will the Minister representing the Treasurer say which figure is correct?
– I have no intention to check the accuracy- of various newspaper reports, ‘but if the honorable senator desires information regarding estimated defence expenditure, 1 shall endeavour to obtain it for him.
– Will the Minister representing the. Minister for Commerce and Agriculture take steps to ensure that permits for growing wheat shall be issued immediately, as many growers receive their permits only after they have sown their wheat and have incurred the risk of a heavy penalty for so doing?
– I shall bring the honorable senator’s question to the notice of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture.
– Can the Minister for Trade and Customs say how many licences have been issued for the importation of refrigerators? I understand that a number of such licences has been issued, whereas Australian manufacturers claim that they can manufacture sufficient refrigerators to meet all requirements in Australia.
– As the honorable senator is no doubt aware, I have not. yet had an opportunity to become acquainted with all of the activities of the department which I now administer. However, to-day I have been inquiring into the matter which he has raised, and I shall supply to him, as soon as possible, the information he seeks.
– In view of the acute shortage of telephones and telephone equipment I ask, the PostmasterGeneral what steps has his department taken, or does it propose to take, to catch np with the arrears which accumulated during the war years? Is he in a position to say that the leeway will be made up in the near future?
– I assure, the honorable senator that, consistent with the- resources at the disposal of the department, we are doing all that is humanly possible to overcome the lag to which he has referred. Generally speaking, supplies are coming along fairly satisfactorily, but we find ourselves in difficulty in connexion with the erection, or acquisition, of buildings required for the installation of exchange equipment. We have almost achieved our pre-war- capacity,. and we hope soon to exceed previous records in respect of the installation of telephones.
Appointment to Cabinet of .Senator McKenna - LEADER and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate - Representation of Ministers.
– by leave - I inform the Senate that Senator McKenna has .been elected a member of the Cabinet. The Prime Minister recommended to His Royal Highness the Governor-General that, Senator J. M. Fraser become Minister for Trade and Customs and that Senator McKenna become Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services. The Government is now constituted as follows: -
Minister for the Array and Acting Minister for Defence - ‘the Right Honorable F. M. Forde.
Resident Minister in London - The Right Honorable J. A. Beasley.
Minister foi- the Navy, Minister for Munitions, and Minister for Aircraft Production - The Honorable N. J. 0. Makin.
Minister for Supply and Shipping - Senator the Honorable W. P. Ashley.
Minister for Commerce and AgricultureThe Honorable AV. J. Scully.
Minister for Post-war Reconstruction and Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research - The Honorable J. J. Dedman.
Postmaster-General - Senator the Honorable D. Cameron.
Vice-President of the Executive Council - Senator the Honorable J. S. Collings.
Minister for Trade and Customs - Senator the Honorable J. M. Fraser.
Minister for the Interior - The Honorable H. V. .Johnson.
Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services - Senator the Honorable AT. E. McKenna.
I will be Leader and Senator Cameron will be the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Ministers will be . represented in the respective chambers as follows: -
In the Senate I will “represent the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Minister for Defence, the Minister for Labour and National Service and the Minister for Information; Senator Cameron will represent the Minister for Air, the Mi.n_ister for Civil Aviation, the Minister for Aircraft Production and the Minister for Repatriation; Senator Collings will represent the Minister for Transport, the Minister for External Territories, the Minister for Works and Housing, the Minister for Immigration and the Minister for the Interior; Senator J. M. Fraser will represent the Minister for the Army and the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture; Senator McKenna will represent the Attorney-General, the Minister for External Affairs, the Minister for the Navy, the Minister for Munitions, the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction and the Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
In the House of Representatives Mr. Forde will represent the Minister for Trade and Customs, M’.r. Holloway will represent the Minister for Health and the Minister for Social Services; Mr. Dedman will represent, the Minister’ for Supply and Shipping and Mr. Calwell will represent the Postmaster-General.
– The reason for my absence from the Call of the Senate yesterday was that I met with a slight accident in Sydney yesterday morning and was .detained until after the departure of the train for Canberra.
– As most honorable senators are aware, I returned, to Australia from overseas by air last Saturday. Because of the holiday week-end I did not receive my notice of the Call of the Senate. Overseas, one unfortunately does ‘ not get as much information on Australian affairs as one would like, and I expected the Senate to meet on Wednesday according to its usual custom. I ask, therefore, that the Senate excuse me for my non-attendance at the Call of the Senate yesterday.
Motion (by Senator Ashley) agreed to-
That Senators Crawford and Foll having made satisfactory explanations of their failure to answer the Call of the Senate, and having apologized for their absence, they he excused for failing to answer the Call.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior make a statement to this chamber of the Government’s policy oil the re-planning of Darwin? In formulating that policy will consideration be given to the exclusion of church properties from the proposed annexation of Darwin lands?
– I .remind the honorable senator that it is not usual to make statements of Government policy in answer to questions.
– Will the Minister advise the Senate of the position with regard to all church property at Darwin, as the result of the Government’s action . in replanning that area ?
– Some difficulty occurred with regard to one particular church property, but that has been satisfactorily overcome. I believe that no similar difficulty is likely to arise.
– During the last sitting I asked the Minister for Supply “and Shipping a question relating to the supply of tinned plate to this country in view of the importance of the food canning industry. The Minister assured rae that the Government would take steps to ensure that this country would be adequately supplied with tinned plate for the canning of meat and fruit. Is the Minister in a position now to give any further information in regard to this matter, because I understand that there is a. likelihood of a grave shortage of tinned plate in Australia?
– The supply of tinned plate to this country is somewhat limited at present, but everything possible is being done by my department to alleviate the position. Officers have been ?ent to Great Britain and the United States of America in connexion with this matter. Supplies are limited by reason of the industrial trouble that has occurred in America. However, every effort is being made to improve the position in Australia, and certain action will be taken which I believe will enable us to secure a better quota than we receive at the present time.
Dr. H. V. EVATT, M.P.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs keep the Senate informed concerning the movements of that Minister and his official activities while abroad?
– If, from ,time to time, the need for exact information as to the movements of the Minister for External Affairs should arise, such information, may be obtained from me from day to day in this chamber.
Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.Will the Minister representing the Treasurer investigate a report which recently emanated from Canberra regarding the proposal to transfer the Mint at Perth to Canberra? Will the Minister also ascertain whether negotiations have been undertaken with the Imperial Government, to which the Perth Mint belongs, and advise the Senate of the result of any such negotiations?
– I shall have, inquiries made and endeavour to furnish the honorable senator with the information which he requires.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture in a position to say when full supplies of superphosphate will be available to primary producers throughout Australia? If so, is he able to say whether those supplies will be made available at pre-war prices?
– I am not in a position .to give any information to the honorable senator on that matter. Some action, is being taken to expedite the supply of the full quantities of superphosphate required. I shall make inquiries and supply a statement on the matter later.
– Will the Minister for Health and Social Services inform the Senate if he is aware that persons over 65 years of age, who are still working in industry and are not eligible for the old-age pension, have no claim for unemployment benefits under the social services legislation? Where application has been made by such persons for benefits under that legislation their application has been refused, and they have been referred to the old-age pensions office for relief, with no hope of success. Will the Minister endeavour to have such persons protected, either under the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act or under the social services legislation?
– I am not aware of the position as set out by the honor- . able senator. I think it will be appreciated by him that I have not yet had an opportunity to acquaint myself with the details of all of the legislation affecting the department of which ‘I ha ve just taken charge. However, I shall make inquiries regarding the matter, and at an early date I shall advise the honorable senator of the result of that investigation.
– Can the Minister for Supply- and Shipping say whether there is any prospect of substantial quantities of galvanized iron for roofing purposes becoming available in the near future? Will he make a statement on the subject?
– Probably as the result of the present Government’s wise administration, there is great prosperity in Australia, and consequently there is a heavy demand for all consumer goods, particularly those used in the building of homes. There is great activity inthe building trade in every State; at the present time more homes are being built than ever before in the history of Australia. There is a keen demand for galvanised roofing iron as there is for all goods which have been in short supply. The Government appreciates the need for this material, and is endeavouring to distribute the galvanized iron that is available as equitably as possible between the States. Unfortunately, the industrial dislocation at the end of last year did not improve the position, but it is hoped that in the near future the situation will be relieved in some degree.
asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The Acting Minister for External Affairs states that the following information has been furnished by the Australian representative on the Unrra Council at Washington : -
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice - 1.Is it a fact that independent housetohouse investigations of city and country rentals are to be launched by the Rent Control Division in Queensland?
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers : -
– On the 11th April Senator Lamp asked the following questions, upon notice: -
I am now in a position to say that inquiries are being made and the information desired by the honorable senator will be. furnished as soon as possible.
– I lay upon the table the following paper : -
Conference of Prime Ministers, London, April-May, 1946 - Report to Parliament by theRight Honorable J. B. Chifley, M.P., Prime Minister of Australia, 19th June, 1946. and move -
That the paper be printed.
Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 18th June (vide page 1498), on motion by Senator
That, the bill be now read a third time.
.- On the motion for the second reading of this bill we dealt with this measure and its two kindred measures together. Probably the debate on the third reading of each of these measures will be comparatively brief, and, that being so, I believe that we shall facilitate matters by dealing with each bill separately at this stage. The measure now before us ‘ is to alter the Constitution by empowering the Parliament “ to make laws for the provision of maternity allowances, widows’ pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services, benefits to students and family allowances “.
Members of the Opposition are agreed upon two points with respect to these measures. First, the Government has gone about, the matter in the wrong way in its desire to alter the Constitution for the purposes set out in each of these measures. It is attempting a piecemealalteration of the Constitution; and such an approach to the problem is unwise. Previously, we contended that it would be better that these matters be submitted first to an elective convention, which would examine the Constitution as a whole. That convention would be representative of all sections of the community, in addition to political parties. It is generally admitted that after a lapse of 46 years some alteration of the Constitution has now become necessary. However, attempts to alter the Constitution have, unfortunately, been made partypolitical questions. The only way in which these matters can be divorced from party politics is to submit them to an elective convention ‘ which could consider the problems free from party-political bias. However, the Government does not propose to follow that course. It prefers to confront the people with proposals which it has drawn up itself exclusively.
The second objection taken by the Opposition is against the decision of the
Government to hold the referendum in conjunction- with the next general elections. It is obvious that at election time the whole of the electorate of Australia will be divided by sectional feeling. In such an atmosphere the people will find it almost impossible to make a fair estimate of the powers which they will be asked under these measures to give to the National Parliament. In following that course the Government is doing a great disservice to Australia. In view of these facts there must be some reason why the Government insists on holding the referendum in conjunction with the genera] elections. The Government must hope -for some advantage to be gained at the general elections by following this course. Apparently, it intends to tell the people that existing social services are in danger, and that any who oppose its referendum proposals are trying to destroy existing social services. That, of course, is a very clever trap. We on this side say that none of the existing social services is in danger; but if the people want to be assured that these social services will be made permanent for all time by making specific provision for this purpose in the Constitution. I, personally, have no objection to that, being done. However, -as I have already said, the Government hopes, by placing this proposal as the first question to be submitted at the referendum, that its political opponents will make the mistake, because they object to some of these proposals, of urging the people’ of Australia to reject all of them. The Government hopes to manoeuvre- the Opposition parties into that position, and thus give it ground for the contention that the Opposition parties want to abolish existing social services. We do not want to do anything of the sort. None of the existing social services is in danger. Obviously, the Government is simply seeking an advantage in its election campaign. It is not fair to the people that such grave problems affecting the whole future of this country should be brought forward for decision by the people at a time when the. electorate as a whole will be in turmoil.i.,,
In dealing with this measure I speak solely for myself and not on behalf of the Opposition. I shall vote for this bill, although ‘ it contains one or two matters which 1 do not like. At the same time, the Government says that doubt exists as to the constitutional validity of existing social services. Although constitutional lawyers assure us that no such danger exists, the Government insists on its alarmist attitude in an endeavour to panic the people to do things which they would not do in their calmer moments. Whilst I shall support the bill, .there are some items in this measure to which some of my colleagues strenuously object. ‘No doubt, they will take a different stand towards this measure. I again protest against the Government’s action in presenting these proposals for alterations of the Constitution, and also its decision to submit these proposals to the people in conjunction with a general election; and I again indicate that I do not intend to fall into the trap which the Government is so astutely and cleverly endeavouring to set for its political opponents in thi* matter.
– I spoke at length on the motion for the second reading of this measure and its two kindred measures. I proposed an amendment to this particular bill with the object of deleting certain proposals, but, unfortunately, my amendment was defeated. I agree with Senator Leckie that the Government’s decision .to hold the referendum in conjunction with the general elections is a clever trap designed to mislead the people. Usually, language is used in order to make thoughts clear; but the language of these measures is designed to confuse the people. We are all in favour of social services. I do not think that any member of this chamber could be accused of standing in the way of the provision of invalid and old-age pensions, child endowment, and other most desirable social services. The Constitution Alteration (Social Services) Bill is described as “ a bill for an act to alter the Constitution by empowering the Parliament to make laws for the provision of maternity allowances, widows’ pensions, child endowment . . .”. Up to that point, I am in agreement with the objects of the bill, but when it comes to “ pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services . . .” I strongly object to governmental control. The aim of this measure obviously is to facilitate the nationalization of the medical profession, and I am not in favour of that. I am obliged to oppose the bill in its entirety, because it includes these objectionable proposals. 1
Senator SAMPSON (Tasmania) [3.57 j. - I do not wish to delay the passage of these measures through the Senate, or to cover the ground that I traversed in my second-reading speech. The people of this country are to have an opportunity to vote on these constitution alteration -proposals separately. It is apparent that, by means of this legislation, the Government is seeking power to implement the policy of the Labour party with, of course, the approval of Parliament. Perhaps it is not inappropriate for me at this stage to ask whether the Government used wisely the almost limitless powers that it undoubtedly possessed under the National Security Act during the war. If not, should the Government now be given power to act in time of peace as it did under the National Security Act in time of war? The answer is emphatically “ No “. . We know how the numerous regulations promulgated daily under the National Security Act tied up producers and consumers. In one year - I think it was in 1942 or 1943 - the number of regulations issued exceeded even Bradman’s best cricket score. Time after time, the High Court has been called upon to protect the victims of governmental incompetence. It is a poor outlook when supporters of the Government urge that it should legislate regardless of its constitutional power. The result inevitably has been to force oppressed persons to go to the trouble and expense of appealing to the High Court for justice. Such legislation is a gross abuse of the legislative power of this Parliament. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Act is an example of unconstitutional legislation.
The Constitutional Alteration (Social Services) Bill proposes to ask the people to confer upon the Commonwealth Parliament authority to legislate for what we generally term social services. I am convinced that there is no. real doubt about th,e constitutionality of most social services now operating, and that these matters are only mentioned in the bill to form a cloak for other very dubious proposals.’ The Attorney - General (Dr. Evatt) has “admitted quite frankly that this bill will enable the Commonwealth Government to utilize doctors and dentists in a national medical and dental service. Undoubtedly that is the main purpose of this measure, and to my mind, the nationalization of medical and dental services would be a most serious infringement of individual liberty. “We should heed what has happened in the Dominion of New Zealand in regard to the very proposals that we are now considering. Dr. G. M. Smith, the medical superintendent of the Hokianga public hospital has stated -
The New Zealand system of taxfinanced free medical carehas resulted in the debasing of medical practice in this country.
Dr. Smith also said ;
The nation is becoming addicted to the habit of swallowing valueless nostrums from bottles.
If the electors of Australia , want the “ government stroke “ in the medical and dental professions in this country they will undoubtedly vote for this bill; but I suggest that such services are notoriously inefficient and expensive because they are divorced utterly from the natural responsibility that competition requires. In any profession or calling, efficiency is essential if one is to survive in the field with one’s competitors.
The Constitution Alteration (Organized Marketing of Primary Products) Bill is, of course, our old friend organized marketing about which there was so much talk when I first was elected to this chamber twenty years ago. It was then hailedas the solution of most of our problems. Its vital defect, of course, is that it proposes to force - I stress that word - organized marketing, either by the State or by special authorities set up for the purpose. That would mean, in effect, a marketing monopoly. For any industry - for instance the wheat industry - to organize marketing of its product on a voluntary basis is all right, because the essential principle of competition is retained, but farmers had experience of organized control during the war. Their freedom to produce and dispose of their product was taken from them by regula- tion. The. inefficiency of boards and other controlling authorities in various branches of primary industry is notorious. Producers and consumers have had to suffer, needlessly in many cases. The continuance of so-called organized marketing, would mean the perpetuation of these things. Voluntary co-operation amongst primary producers would not necessitate an alteration of the Constitution. That is obvious. Voluntary cooperation does not require the passing of
State or Commonwealth laws because it involves an association of free men with a personal interest in the industry in which they are engaged. Such organizations can operate successfully because the members understand their own requirements and are part and parcel of the industry. In order to succeed they must be efficient, instead of depending upon doles from the taxpayers. Voluntary co-operative organized marketing would be wholly beneficial to the industries concerned.
Section 92 of the Constitution provides that trade between States shall be absolutely free. Before federation, as we well know, the various states imposed border tariffs; Victoria, I believe, had the worst system of tariffs, and New South Wales had probably the best. Interstate free trade and the requirements of defence were the two main factors that induced the Australian colonies to federate. This bill is designed to sidestep the provisions of. section 92 of the Constitution. That fact cannot be successfully denied. By this means, interstate free trade could he abolished by the Commonwealth, but not by a State. Organized marketing, if the bill in its present form becomes law, will not be restricted by the condition that interstate trade must be absolutely free. It is obvious that the bill has been designed for that very purpose. Organized marketing, as we saw it operating during the war, was a cumbersome and expensive process. If this measure becomes law, the organization of marketing will mean the dragooning of primary producers into producing and selling according to official ideas, not according to the ideas of the men engaged in production. Unlike the restrictions which give monopolies to protected manufacturers at the consumers’ expense - that is what is done with tariffs that protect our manufacturers - the purpose pf this system of organized marketing is to exploit producers so that in the possible bad times in years to come there will be a fund, provided by the producers themselves, out of which they will be given a dole. It would pay the farmers better to receive the full value of their production, from year to year and to make their own provision for bacl years.
There are two main features of the Constitution Alteration (Industrial Employment) .Bill. The first proposes, according to the Minister for Supply and Shipping, to give to the Parliament power to fix standard hours of labour in any industry, “ though not in occupations that are not industrial in character”. Thus, this Parliament could decree a. 40-hour working week or a 35-hour working week in response to sectional clamour, and there is not the slightest doubt that, if Parliament had such power, there would be plenty of sectional clamour from pressure groups anxious to advance their own ends regardless of the economic effects upon industry generally. That must be obvious te the meanest intellect. This exposes the fatal facility of present-day members of Parliament for tackling questions from the wrong end. I submit that this matter of hours of labour is being tackled from the wrong end. A 40-hour working week may be practicable in a State or a part of a State, but quite unsuitable elsewhere. Like many of the Government’s administrative acts, this bill disregards the fact that Australia cannot live unto itself;’ the nation cannot be absolutely self-contained. If we impose restrictive conditions in industry, we shall handicap our producers and limit their ability to trade profitably with other countries, which is essential if we are to survive as a nation. It should be the object of Commonwealth legislation to remove taxes and restrictions so as to n-duce living and production costs. This would certainly make for increased production and employment. We need results, not idle talk. If we enable a working man to get all that he earns, he will not worry much about a 30-hour, a 40-hour, or a 44-hour working week. If he obtains the result of his labour, we shall not have much trouble. That is why we must lighten the burden on the working man as soon as possible. By doing so, we shall automatically increase his real earnings. Parliament would be a most incompetent authority to fix hours of labour, because it would be influenced by pressure groups representing all sorts of interests. The other main feature of the bill proposes to give to the Parliament power to fix the basic wage. This proposal is open to the same objection as I have raised to the proposal to grant power to fix hours of employment. Parliament may fix certain wages for workers in an industry. It may also impose a protective tariff on the product of that industry to force up the cost. of competitive goods imported from other countries. But Parliament cannot enable the industry to obtain inflated prices for its product in other countries. Furthermore, Parliament cannot understand the multitude of varying conditions governing employment iri an industry operating in all parts of the continent. Parliament would not have time to sift the matter thoroughly, and no rule-of-thumb method of fixing wages would be satisfactory. Under this proposal, Parliament might, fix rates of wages for an industry which would prevent the industry from carrying on, and it certainly could not compel an employer to continue in business at a financial loss. That can be done, and, in fact, is done, in “ government-stroke “ industries, because the .bureaucrats know that the taxpayers can be exploited to make up losses. I again say that such legislation would make the Parliament subject to pressure groups which would benefit at the expense of the consumers. The intention of these proposals is to continue certain harassing restrictions which operated during the recent war. The intention is to maintain governmental control which in the public interest should cease. These restrictions will involve the employment of many non-producers, and will reduce the effectiveness of the productive powers of industry in this country, thus diverting trade from its natural and profitable channels, entrenching vested interests, and accentuating difficulties in many branches of industry, but doing nothing to enable ex-servicemen to acquire land, homes or farms. If the electors wish to promote the undesirable trends in presentday public life, they will vote in favour of granting increased powers to a Parliament which has shown itself singularly incapable of making good use of the powers it already has, and has had from the establishment of federation. If the electors desire to check the undesirable drift towards a totalitarian state, they will vote against these proposals and induce as many others as they possibly can to do likewise.
.- No sound argument can be advanced against the proposal to legalize the payments of such desirable and indispensable social services as maternity allowances, widows’ pensions and child endowment. For many years these payments have been made, and they will still be made irrespective of the results of the forthcoming referendum. Why tag on to them other benefits which could well be placed within the, scope of a national insurance scheme?. They could be dealt with adequately by extending or clarifying the Commonwealth’s insurance power under the Constitution. Despite the uncertainty of the Government’s intention with regard to medical and dental services, I propose to cast a vote in favour of this proposal, so as to ensure the validity of the payments for the social services to which I have just referred.
– in reply. - Senator Leckie, in hiscontribution to the debate, said it was preferable to deal with the matters proposed to be submitted to the people by way of a non-party convention. I do not know of any convention at which political issues were not involved and unanimity was obtained. I have a recollection of a convention attended by the Premiers of the various States, at .which the transference of certain powers to the Commonwealth was agreed to; but even on that occasion the decision of the delegates was frustrated by the action of the Legislative Council of a certain State. Although the elected representatives ,of the people of that State in the popular branch of the legislature agreed to the transference of certain powers to the Commonwealth, which they in their wisdom- thought would be to the advantage of that State, their decision was negatived by the action of the Upper House, which had been elected on a limited franchise. On those grounds I do not believe that a convention would be successful. We should also consider the urgency of the legislation now proposed. We are all aware of the fate of the measure providing for pharmaceutical benefits, the validity of which was tested in the High Court. Reference has been made by -Senator Leckie to the confusion that would occur at the general elections if the people were asked to vote on the present proposals, but it is a sad commentary on the intelligence of the electors if they would be confused by three simple questions. One of the grave fears expressed by Senator Sampson and also by Senator James McLachlan was that there would be conscription of medical services. I need only remind honorable senators that this measure relates specifically to maternity allowances, widows’ pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, and medical and dental services, “ but not so as to authorize any form of civil conscription “. . . . Those words should allay the fears of Senator Sampson and Senator James McLachlan. . Specific provision is made in the bill to meet precisely what is feared by those honorable senators. The intention is certainly to provide services for the people of Australia, but there is no intention to conscript the medical services. Reference has been made by Senator Sampson to the industrial powers sought.
– I rise to order. I understand that you indicated, Mr. President, that each of these bills, would be taken separately, but the Minister is now replying to arguments advanced regarding the whole three of them. May we debate each bill as it comes before us or is the Minister in order in referring now to the debate on all of the bills, and repeating his arguments when the other measures are under discussion? 1
– Strictly speaking the discussion should. be confined to the Constitution Alteration (Social . Services) Bill at present before the Senate, but, on the second reading of this measure, discussion was allowed on the Constitution Alteration (Organized Marketing of Primary Products) Bill and the Constitution Alteration (Industrial Employment) Bill. I did not object to Senator Sampson referring to those measures, and I decided that I would not make any comment unless objection was taken. When the other bills come before us and points are raised which have not been referred to by honorable senators in the present discussion, it will be competent for the Minister to reply to any arguments that may be advanced.
– The fact that Senator James McLachlan had referred to the three measures led me astray, but I shall have an opportunity to reply to the debate on each of the other bills.
Question put -
That the bill be now read a third time.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown.)
Majority . . . . 28
– There being an absolute majority of the members of the Senate voting in the affirmative, as required by the Constitution, I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from the18th June (vide page 1498), on motion by Senator
That the bill be now read a third time.
.- When the Australian Labour party set out to prepare its programme for the general elections it decided, first, that the people generally would be promised all sorts of benefits, and then that something must be done for the farming community. Consequently, it is proposed to submit to the electors a question relating to the control of primary products. The benefit that the carrying of the referendum will confer on primary producers is that of being conscripted! In respect of the other two questions to be submitted to the electors - those relating to social services and industrial employment, - there is a specific provision that there shall be no conscription, but that safeguard is absent from this bill; primary producers are to be conscripted willy-nilly at the whim of the Government. Hitherto, farmers have been protected by section 92 of the Constitution, which provides that trade and commerce between the States shall be absolutely free, but this bill, if agreed to, will give to the electors the right to remove that safeguard. The proposal before us relates to the organized marketing of primary products. If that means anything, it means thatproduction is to be controlled from before seeding until after harvesting - from the time that the land is tilled until the produce is in the hands of the consumers. In other words, primary producers are to be subjected to constant supervision, because there cannot be organized marketing without some restriction of production. The present Government has already placed restrictions on primary production, and it proposes to continue to do so. Where will this policy lead us? Among other things it will mean that the system of licensing, which now applies to such primary products as wheat and potatoes, will be extended to cover all primary products. That being so, what will be the position of the returned serviceman who wishes to engage in primary production? Is he to be debarred entirely from becoming a primary producer? At the present time, no person may grow wheat unless he is licensed to do sc. So strict is the control that a. licensed farmer may not grow wheat in a paddock other than that which has been licensed. We are now experiencing the evil effects of the policy of restricting production. Millions of people in various countries are facing starvation; and Australia has assisted in bringing about that state of affairs by deliberately restricting production. . That policy has been pursued even to the payment of n subsidy to people not to grow wheat. The Government itself probably realizes that that policy has been a mistake, yet, further restrictions are to operate in the future. A returned serviceman who wishes to settle on the land will not be able to grow potatoes, or wheat, without a licence, and probably he will nOt be permitted to milk more than a certain number of cows as, otherwise, the production of butter may exceed the Government’s estimate of what is necessary.
– Would the honorable senator go so far as to say that a man may not be permitted to grow cabbages in his back yard?
– For about another three months Senator O’Flaherty will have an opportunity to influence the government of the day, and I advise him to use his opportunities well, because the time is not far distant when he will not have the same influence. What is the object of this bill ?
– It aims at the organized marketing of primary products.
– On many occasions I have heard the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Collings) declaim against the evils associated with the middle man, but. now he is a member of a government which proposes to set up additional middlemen, and even supermiddlemen. Every new board which is created seems to require a fairly large and expensive staff. Moreover, each such body seems to be entitled to a priority over all other persons in respect of rake-offs. After it has had its rake-off, the wholesaler, and then the retailer, comes in for. his rake-off. The Government is continu ing the evil practice which it has always condemned. Farmers should have some say in the -control of the industry in which they are engaged, but it does not appear’ that they have been consulted regarding this legislation. The object of this bill is to take the control of primary production out of the hands of primary producers, because growers do not control the various boards which have been set up by the present Government. The majority of the members of most of the boards which it has established consists of representatives of unions and of the Government. Control of a primary product by the growers is a good thing, but for the Government to say that farmers must obey in every detail the orders of a body on which the growers have minority representation is not a good thing. They should control the commodities that they produce. When the farmers of this country realize what this bill means their opposition to it will be overwhelming. Should, however, this proposal be approved by the electors, a man who now. uses his land to grow potatoes may be told that, in future, he must plant some other primary product as well .as potatoes. Every one knows, or should know, that just as manufacturers confine their operations to the manufacture of certain classes of goods, so primary producers concentrate on the growing of certain products. One man may l>e an expert in the growing of potatoes, another in the production of milk; others may specialize in raising pigs, . and growing wheat, and so on. Should men’ who have specialized in certain lines be compelled to switch over to other forms of production, the result will be disastrous. I realize that this proposal may be attractive to primary producers who do not consider it carefully. Many men on the land have only vague ideas of what, this proposal means, but they should know that organized control of any primary product, must mean control from before the time the feed is planted until after the crop has been harvested. Should the referendum be carried, Australian primary producers will wake up to realize that they are no longer free men developing their holdings according to their own desires, but that they are the slaves of the Government.
Sena to r Clothier. - In the past they have always been slaves; I was one of them.
– The honorable senator may have been a slave. In fact, he carries that attitude into his allegiance to his political party. I have met primary producers in all parts of Australia. I have had an opportunity to compare them with people typical of people who live in the cities, and I say emphatically that the primary producers are the most independent section of our community. I admire them for their independent spirit. Most of them carry on farming pursuits mainly because it places them in an independent position. Now, the Government is sick of their independence and says that they must “ kow-tow “ to it and the principles of the Labour party. It intends to destroy the independence of our farmers and to make them mere chattels of the government of the day regardless of its party political affiliations. I issue a grave warning to the primary producers of Australia that should this proposal be agreed to at the referendum their position will be worsened ten times. Instead of being free men they will always be at the beck and call of the government of the day. They will always be under the influence of pressure politics, living probably on a subsidy extorted from the rest of the community. Instead of being able to call the tune - and, after all, they pay the piper, as they will continue to do - they will not be able to call the tune.
– The honorable senator does not believe that.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council knows that I believe it; and if he knew anything a bout the farmers of Australia he also would believe it. I believe that the people of Australia are opposed to this proposal, and that when they really wake up, as I believe they will, they will sweep this proposal entirely aside. 1 believe that they will insist on retaining the protection they now enjoy undersection 92 of the Constitution. If any primary producers desire to organize their own industry in their own way, let them do so; and governments, regardless of party political affiliations, can help them in that purpose. But to take the manage ment of their industry out of their hands is foreign to a free people. I hope that the people of Australia will have none of this proposal.
I have had no answer to the proposition which I put up earlier that this proposal means the conscription of the farmer. Why should the primary producers be singled out for conscription of this kind? Is there one board set up in this country during the war that has not increased the prices of primary products to the consumers ? Not one. Yet the Government proposes to perpetuate the present system by setting up a new middle-man who will enjoy a new “ rake-off “. This proposal has my intense opposition. I believe that the people of Australia will reject it. The farmers of Australia would he committing economic suicide if they allowed any government to control the industries which it is the business of the farmers to understand from the point of view of both production and marketing. I cannot conceive of ‘ the farmers of Australia willingly placing themselves under the heel of the government of the day. That is something which no independent body of primary producers would consider doing for a moment. I am totally opposed to the bill. I shall advise the people to vote against it, and I hope that they will accept my advice; I believe that they will.
– As this measure was fully debated on the motion for the second reading there is very little to be said about it now that was not said earlier. However, since the motion for the second reading was agreed to honorable senators have had an opportunity to meet many of their constituents and to obtain their opinions on the Government’s referendum proposals. I opposed the second reading of this hill. Prom a State’s point of view, particularly that of Tasmania; I am satisfied that if the people agree to give effect to the proposal embodied in this measure they will strike a vital blow at the welfare of our primary producers. No representations have ever been made to the Government to bring forward a proposal to give to the National Parliament power to control primary producers in this way. Can it be said fur one moment that the primary producers of Australia have not played their full part in the development of this country? Their achievements during the war will remain a monument to them. At all times they have battled courageously in the face of drought, fire, flood and other hardships. In spite of adversity they produced not only sufficient to Iced our own people but also our allies in the last war. The sale of our primary products has always contributed considerably towards the financial strength of Australia, particularly in helping us to meet our commitments overseas. Our primary producers have not lagged behind. Our primary industries have gone forward step by step, and developed from the point of view of skill and utilization of scientific methods as much as producers in other countries. Does any honorable senator opposite say that organized marketing of primary products as we have known it up to date has failed ? Does any honorable senator opposite say that those engaged in the marketing of ou’r primary products, either at home or overseas, have levied undue toll of the producers of this country?
– They have farmed the farmer from time immemorial.
– If what the Vice-President of. the Executive Council says be true, I do not see why we should change- present conditions in order -to enable the Government to farm the farmer; because under this proposition that will be the alternative presented under this measure. This is one of the most serious problems which this Parliament has ever had to deal with. Attempts have been made from time to time to vest in the Commonwealth power to take control of trade and commerce in this country, but this is the first time .that this Parliament and the people have been asked to destroy absolutely the basis upon which the colonies joined in the federation. Every honorable senator knows that the two great factors which brought the then colonies together into one federation were defence and freedom of trade and commerce between the colonies. Complete, freedom of trade between the States is the very basis of federation, and the degree to which honorable senators support, or oppose, this proposal will be the gauge whereby they can be judged whether they believe in federation or in unification; because it must be crystal clear to every one that once the effect of section 92 of the Constitution is destroyed the very basis upon which the federation rests will be destroyed. The need to establish absolute freedom of trade and commerce between the colonies brought them into the federation for their mutual benefit. Prior to federation, as most honorable senators will know, the States of Victoria and New South Wales treated each other in respect of trade and commerce practically as foreign countries. Each of those colonies had its customs officers stationed along the border. Under conditions existing at that, time endless disputes arose with the result that much hatred was engendered in the relations between the two colonies. The need to establish absolute freedom of trade and commerce between the two peoples who spoke a common language, and who sprang from the same stock and hoped to achieve a common destiny, was realized. That was’ the mainspring of federation. For this reason I do not believe that the people will accept this proposal to override section 92 of the Constitution.
Control of marketing must involve control of production. No honorable sena: tor will deny that. If this proposal be carried every person engaged in primary production will be subject to- complete control by the Government, and will have to have a licence to produce. Honorable senators opposite will not deny that. The question then arises as to who is to be the judge so far as control of interstate trade is concerned. Who is to decide what commodities shall be distributed interstate? Who is to judge how much of any commodity shall be produced? Who is to judge how many acres shall be sown for a certain crop? Who is to anticipate what the seasons will produce? Senator Leckie, in his reference to the wheat industry, has given an illustration of this difficulty. We should profit by the. lesson of the restriction, of wheat acreage in this . country. To-day, the people of many countries are starving, and we have little wheat to send to them. I believe that the Government should give every possible assistance to the primary producers of this country, particularly by finding markets for their products. When disaster has overtaken primary industries in the past, governments have always been ready to go to their assistance by providing financial aid. That, too, is a proper function of government; but the issue now before us is governmental control of primary industries. The people of this country are being asked to take a fatal step by placing in the hands of the Executive, their mean’s of earning a livelihood, and by subordinating themselves and their industries to governmental control. The people who will be most affected by this legislation do not reside in the metropolitan areas. They are the pioneers of our country districts who, throughout the war have not enjoyed the benefits of a 44-hour week, or a sixday week, but have been called upon to work round the clock, seven days a week, planting, harvesting, and preparing their -crops and products for market. Are we to say. to these people now, “ You have fallen down on your job, and are no longer capable of handling your own affairs”? If so, people living in cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth will have nothing to look forward to, but a continuance of the doling out of the necessaries of life in quantities totally insufficient to meet, ‘heir needs. The Government, has based this legislation upon entirely false premises. The people are being persuaded to accept a picture which is not a true reflection of the position. They are being led to believe that the high prices ruling in primary industries to-day have resulted from governmental control of the products of the soil. That is not so. Present, day prices cannot possibly be maintained under any scheme of organized marketing. During the war, the Government was forced to intervene because of the urgent necessity to produce the maximum quantities of foodstuffs, not only for our own civilian population and members of our fighting forces, but also for the people and armed forces of our allies overseas. To remove all elements of risk from primary production, prices were guaranteed and every ; possible encouragement was given to farmers to increase production. This state of affairs cannot be maintained. High guaranteed prices for primary products during the war caused an immense increase of production, but the need for this production is gradually disappearing. For instance, in the war years, potato acreage in Tasmania increased from 30,000 acres to 90,000 acres; but production is now falling. I remind honorable senators of the position in Queensland.
– There is organized marketing in Queensland.
– Yes ; but to introduce organized marketing in that State it was not considered necessary to repeal or to render ineffective section 92 of the Constitution. Does the VicePresident, of the Executive Council suggest that section 92 has been an impediment to organized marketing in Queensland? He has never said so in this chamber. What has been achieved in Queensland can be done in any other State if the people so desire. It has been said that a previous government - a non-Labour administration - held a referendum on the introduction of organized marketing schemes. That is quite true, but the proposal then was for co-operative marketing between the Commonwealth and the States. The overriding of the safeguards, in section 92 of the Constitution would establish firmly in this country not the true federal spirit, but the spirit of unification. Take, for instance, the State of Tasmania, which is small in area and population, and yet has a high productive capacity. What would be the position of that State under the Government’s organized marketing proposals? Is anybody foolish enough to suggest that if a. product were available in abundance on the mainland that Tasmanian produce could be sent to and sold in the mainland States, in competition with even an inferior local product? Of course not. Even if the Tasmanian producers desired to send their products to the mainland, I have no doubt that the authorities conducting shipping would refuse to provide the necessary shipping space. We have before us to-day the example of the apple and pear acquisition scheme. The only fruit, that Tasmania can send overseas is fruit of the highest quality. Tasmanian apples and pears can only find a limited market in New South Wales or Victoria in competition with the locally grown products. This year Tasmania will produce up to 8,000,000 cases of fruit, hut only a very small proportion of that will ever find its way to the mainland States. I say to the people of this country, as I have said to the people of Tasmania, “ If you believe in the spirit of federation, oppose this proposed amendment of the Constitution which will render, ineffective the provisions of section 92 of the Constitution “. I favour organized marketing, but let it be brought about by co-operation, and with the assistance of governments in finding markets. Let the primary producers control their own industries in their own way. Encourage them as they are encouraged in Queensland, where there has never been any suggestion that section 92 - one of the very foundations of federation - is an impediment to organized marketing. The proper function of a government is to govern. Other functions should be left, to. the people themselves, either collectively or individually. Let them work out their own destinies with the least possible interference. Let the primary producers play their full part as they have done under the Constitution in its present form. They are the people who have made Australia what it i? to-day. Instead of interfering with the great commercial organizations that have played no small role in the development of the- country, we should permit them to continue, their good work, and,even assist them by finding markets. To those who claim that these organizations have exploited the public, I point out that the shares of public companies may be purchased by any one. I am convinced that this alleged exploitation is a myth. The sugar industry of Queensland is a- tribute to those engaged in it. I am not aware of all the details of its organization, but I venture to say that in no other country is sugar-growing so firmly established, or so efficiently carried out, as it is in Queensland. That has been achieved, not by government control, but by government co-operation. The canegrowers and sugar producers control the industry in their own way, and a high peak of efficiency has been reached in spite of section 92 of the Constitution,, which this Government now claims is an impediment to the- proper- development of our primary industries. I have been associated with primary production ali my life, and I know many of the problems that have to be faced. The greatest service that this Government can render to the man on the land is to let him mind his own business. By all means let us keep a close watch on primary production and’ give assistance where necessary ; but only if primary producers are permitted to control their own affairs can Australian primary industries be expanded as they could and should be expanded to make this country one of the great food storehouses in the world. This Senate will render a great disservice to the country and destroy the true spirit of federation if it passes the bill in its present form. The people of Australia will not agree to give to the Government power to take out of their hands control of primary industries which they have managed successfully in the past. They will prefer to continue to handle the produce of their primary industries, the success of which has done much to bring about - the development of this country.
– I shall speak only briefly on this motion; I do not want my vote to be misunderstood. I shall vote against the .bill. I believe in organized marketing, but organized marketing should be controlled by the producers themselves, not by the Commonwealth Government. I am aware that this measure would not give to the Government power, without further legislation, to implement its policy of controlling production, distribution and exchange. However, if this measure be passed, and the people agree to the referendum proposals, the Labour party will immediately endeavour to put into effect that part of its programme. This Government has endeavoured to control production ever since it came into power, and it has succeeded fairly well lip to date. What has been the result of this system of control, added to the effects of droughts? Seven days’ travel by ship from Western Australia, there is a country where millions of people are dying from starvation, namely, India. Yet this Government has paid the
Western Australian farmers £1,500,000 not to grow wheat.
– There was no man-power for wheat production.
– If the Government had left the farmers to themselves they would have grown wheat. It would have paid them better to do so than to allow their land to remain idle. This Government must take upon its own shoulders the responsibility for failure to produce food which might have saved the lives of millions of people. Such restrictive control is criminal. To restrict production in the midst of war, and to continue it in the aftermath of war, was entirely wrong. The Government should have known that there would be a world famine after the war. I recall the howl raised by members of the Labour party when the Government of which I was a member licensed waterside workers. However, the Labour party was so inconsistent that, when it came to power, it turned round and licensed every farmer in Australia. A man must have a dog collar round his neck before he may grow even one acre of wheat. I know a man who wanted to grow a bare twenty acres of wheat, but the Government refused to grant him a licence. About a month ago, I attended a meeting of about 60 farmers. Two men present stated that they had bought farms for their sons, who had returned from the war, but the Government had refused to allow them to grow wheat. In these times, a man should be permitted to grow whatever he wants to grow.
– No plan - just anarchy !
– This Government’s plan is an extremely bad one. Things plan themselves much better than this Government can plan. If control of production was to be exercised by the growers, I should have no objection to it whatever. Take the example of the sugar industry in Queensland. The growers themselves control that industry through the mills. No man in Queensland can grow sugar to-day unless he has been a grower for years past. Australia is a great undeveloped country. Are we to stand still and prohibit production in all classes of primary industry? It seems to me that this Government con siders a population of 7,000,000 to be sufficient for Australia. We have room for probably 70,000,000 people, but the Government will not listen to reason and persists in restricting production. Recently it appointed a Rural Reconstruction Commission, which stated that 51,000 ex-servicemen would apply for land. But the Government will not heed the commission and proposes to prevent these men from growing wheat. What will they grow? The Government’s policy gives a “ slap in the eye “ to every ex-serviceman who engages in primary production. Australia can grow wheat competitively with any other country. It can do better than Canada. No doubt some honorable senators will say that Canada is only a week’s travel from Great Britain. But t-hat does not matter. Canada’s inland freights are equivalent to the freight rates from Australia to Great Britain by sea. Australia’s climatic, conditions are infinitely better than those in Canada, and Australian farmers can grow and harvest wheat much more cheaply than producers in Canada and in the United States of America. In spite of all these advantages, the Government says to the farmer: “No. If you have wheat land, you must put sheep or cattle on it, or grow anything but wheat.”
– I presume that the honorable senator can substantiate his statements?
– That is the simplest thing in the world. I am not like the honorable senator, who said that during the war this Government paid 1.0s. a bushel for wheat sent to Great Britain. That statement was absurd and ridiculous. The honorable senator learned it from the election propaganda published by the Labour party before he became a member of the Senate. I hope that he now has sufficient sense to analyse such wild statements as may be made by the Labour party at election times.
Let us examine other forms of government control of primary production. The potato-growing industry affords an example. As Senator Mattner can vouch, scores of men had prepared ground to grow potatoes when the Government stepped in and said, “ No, you cannot do that. You must restrict production by 25 per cent.” What could the farmers do with their land at that stage? It was too late in the season to plant other crops, and the labour involved in preparing the land had to be wasted. This action cost the Government £2,500,000 in compensation payments to growers. Yet potatoes are scarce to-day. The Government paid £12 a ton to the growers for potatoes, and I was able to buy potatoes from the Government at £3 a ton for use as sheep feed. I have no doubt that the taxpayers had to make up the difference. All forms of control introduced by this Government have been bureaucratic. The Australian Wool Board, which was appointed not long ago, controls the greatest industry in this country. What representation have the growers been granted on that body? One-third of the members are wool-growers, and the remainder are public servants, or others who have nothing at. all to do with wool production, and do not know anything about it. I believe that, if the primary producers are wide a wake, they will reject the Government’s proposal, and that will be the end of the matter. As an illustration of the incapacity of this Government in business matters, I refer to the contract, for the sale of meat and meat products to Great Britain. ‘The “Government considered that it had arranged extraordinarily good conditions of sale and tried to convince the producers that they were receiving a very satisfactory price for their mutton. That is very far from the fuels. For instance.., the price of tallow in Australia is fixed at £30 a ton, and producers are forbidden to export it. Argentina tallow is bought for £93 a ton in Great Britain. That is how Argentina producers thrive. What does the Australian grower receive for a 50-lb. lamb sold to,. Great Britain, under the Government’s contract? The contract price, Government to Government, is 5$d. per lb., which amounts to £1 4s. 5d. for the carcass. An amount of fis. Id. exchange added to that, plus 3s. for the skin, brings the price to £1 13s. 6d. The exporter in Australia receives Id. a. Ib. for killing the lamb, which amounts to 4s. 2d; I believe that he pays the man who kills the beast ls. That, leaves £1 9s. 4d. for the grower, who is required to pay’ freight to the works. In Great Britain the lamb is sold wholesale for. £2 12s. Id., Australian, currency. There is a difference there of £1 2s. 9d. Who gets that?
– The shipping companies.
– Does the Ministermean to say that a shipping companyreceives £1 2s. 9d. for transporting that lamb to Great Britain?
– That is what weare asking the honorable senator.
– The freight chargewould be nearer 2s. 6d. The Government has made a foolish agreement, somebody is slipping. That amount of £1 2s. 9d., less freight, rightly belongs to the grower, ft is a bad contract. If the lambs weresold retail in Great Britain by the carcass,, they would bring £3 Ss. lid’, each, Australian currency. That is what theBritish consumer has to pay for his lambby the carcass while the Australian producer is receiving only £r 9s. 4d’. The Argentina producer obtains the- fullLondon price for his lamb, and therefore gets a very much better deal than theAustralian grower. The Government looks after the exporter very well’. Hereceives Id. per lb. for killing the- lamb, and is allowed to keep the offal. The Government gives him a fixed price of l£d. per lb. for the livers,’ ls. 2d’.- per lb. for sweet-breads, 3-kl. for Hearts-,, and 6d. per lb. for tongues, which areexported. He also gets the whole of thefat, the head, and the brains for nothing. The exporter is certainly on a very good: wicket.
– Brains are cheap-.
– If this Government had tetter brains, the growers would get a better deal. I should like the producer to get some of his own back.. The Government of Great Britain is asking to-day, not for charity, ‘but for meat, and the Commonwealth Government could supply it,, if it would give areasonable price for it. The Government fixed ceiling prices but.not floor prices for commodities such as hay, oats and chaff. To-day those commodities are fetching’ prices below the cost of production, but, the .Government does not care, about that.. It thinks more about consumer, goods,, which affect a greater number of voters*-
– That is why Australia lias a better- economy than any other country in the world.
– But at the expense of the primary producers. The Government never thinks of seeking markets overseas for our primary’ products. It is sending ambassadors all over the world, but what will they do?
– They will seek market’s. That is one of the jobs of the trade commissioners.
– I hope that they will. The people of Great Britain plan to produce almost- sufficient food to meet their own requirements, and they are on the way to the achievement of that object. Unless the present Government, or some other government, finds fresh markets for our primary products’, God help the producers. I shall oppose this measure, because of its unfairness. The object behind it is the control of production, distribution and exchange, which the present Government, if it remains in power, will introduce at a later date.
– The framers of the Constitution took great care to define clearly the functions of the Commonwealth. Equal care was exercised to protect the rights of the individual and the rights of the States. These matters were considered so important that I believe a period of about ten years elapsed before unanimity was reached. That the framers df the Con- stitution acted wisely is indicated by the fact that the Constitution has stood the test of time. Whilst at various periods over the last 45 years attempts have been made to amend it, the people have invariably rejected the proposals, and the original measure remains almost intact. Clearly then, the Constitution is regarded by the people of Australia as something not to be lightly tinkered with. In view of history one would like to think that no further attempt to amend the Constitution would be introduced, unless it were clear that there was a pressing need for such amendment, that there was no satisfactory alternative, and that the section of the community most likely to be affected had not only indicated its approval of the proposals, but had individually and collectively pressed the Go vernment and their parliamentary representatives for the proposed amendments.
As far as I can ascertain, there is no demand for the ‘proposals now before this chamber. Regarding what is. outlined in the Constitution Alteration (Social Services) Bill, I have nothing to say, for I find- myself in agreement with much that is- .contained in it, and I am quite content to allow the issue to be decided by the people at the referendum. I am most concerned, however, about the proposals contained in this measure. Whilst I am strongly in favour of organized marketing, I vigorously object to the proposals in the bill for the following sound reasons : - (1) The “proposed amendments are at least twenty years top late; (2) there is at present a satisfactory alternative; (3) the proposals outlined in the bill, if accepted, would interfere with the rights of the States; and (4) the proposal if adopted would rob the primary producers of” the Commonwealth of what has always been regarded as their heritage, that is, the right to dispose of and market their produce where and how they see fit.
The purpose of this bill is obvious. Let it be said to the credit of the Leader of the Government in this chamber (Senator Ashley) that in his secondreading speech on the measure he made its purpose quite clear, for in simple language he indicated th.it the sole object of the proposal was to continue indefinitely the system of war-time control of the sale and disposal of primary produce. I was astounded to find that the Minister had made such a frank admission, and wa.3 inclined to think that be had misinterpreted the purpose of the bill.” ‘On referring to Hansard, however, I ‘ find, that no less an authority than the AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt), speaking on the bill in the House of Representatives, expressed himself in identically the same terms. Strangely enough, the only argument advanced in support of the proposal was some figures which purported o show that the financial position of primary producers throughout the Commonwealth had improved during the war years, and a further statement conveying the suggestion that such improvement was due mainly, if not wholly, to government war-time control of marketing,. Those of us who have some knowledge of the marketing of primary produce, of organized marketing and of government control, realize that such a -suggestion is totally erroneous and equally untrue. That the financial position of many producers throughout the Commonwealth may have improved during the last six years is not denied. If that is the case, it is due to seasonal conditions, and to improved marketing values, but not to government marketing control.
There are many in the community who could argue with much merit and justification, that had there been no marketing control, and the primary producers throughout the Commonwealth had been allowed, during the last six years, to market their produce on the basis of world values, their financial position would have been much better than it is to-day. However, the primary producers, so far as I know, have no great complaint to make in this matter. It is realized that during war-time, and a period of national emergency, the control of prices and the sale of primary produce is necessary in the interests of the national economy, and that the regulation of the control or the disposal of the produce becomes more important when a commodity is in short supply and rationing is necessary.
Because of these things, primary producers, realizing that during a period of national emergency sacrifices must be made by all sections, gladly accepted wartime restrictions, but that is no reason why it should be proposed that these restrictions should continue indefinitely.
I indicated earlier that in my opinion the present proposals were at least twenty years too late. It will be remembered that following the first world war we had one or two boom years. At that particular time, prices in Australia throughout the greater part of the year were, adjusted on the basis of world parity and because of the shortage of supplies in Europe the value of many of our primary products reached previously unheard-of high levels. But as Europe recovered from its war scars, and production in Holland, Denmark and cither countries increased, Australian producers were faced with fierce’ competition on the London market, and prices rapidly declined. About 1925, just 21: years ago, the primary producers of
Australia,’ through their organizations, were pressing the then government to introduce legislation authorizing a system of organized marketing. It was found, however, that this was not possible, owing to the provisions of the Constitution, and, in particular, section 92. At that time certain of our primary producers found some relief as a result of the Paterson Plan, but this being a purely voluntary agreement, they had jio security of tenure. Because of the inability of the Commonwealth ‘Government to give to primary producers the type of legislation they asked for, the States then met the position, and marketing acts were passed in each State.
This brings me to my second objection, wherein I indicated that a satisfactory al tentative to the present proposal already exists. , Whilst it is true that, under the marketing acts, State marketing boards can control only intra-state sales, nevertheless, as a result of a common agreement between various State boards, a common policy can be adopted throughout the whole of the Commonwealth, so that a corresponding advantage is obtained: by the producer of a particular commodity in all States. This is demonstrated clearly in the marketing of dairy products. Butter is controlled by .State boards, and as a result of quota agreements and the equalization plan, producers in all States’ accept their fair share of responsibility- as regards export. Then again, under Commonwealth legislation, the Australian Dairy Produce Board was established in 1924. This board is controlled by producer and industry representatives, and the board itself controls the marketing of Australian dairy produce exported overseas.
The State marketing legislation provides for a number of safeguards. Before any commodity comes under the marketing act, it is necessary for the majority of those engaged in producing that commodity to signify their willingness for a marketing board to be established. This having been agreed to, the producers then elect the members of the board with one representative appointed by the Government, and in this way orderly marketing is achieved by complete producer control. A further safeguard is supplied by a provision that the producers themselves can, at any time by a: majority of votes, abolish the machinery that has been established for the purpose of marketing their commodity.
It may be said, of course, that, if the proposal contained in this bill is given effect, the marketing machinery established by the Commonwealth will provide for similar safeguards, but this is not enough. If that is the intention, then it should be clearly stated in the proposed amendment of the Constitution. Then again, whilst it might be the intention of the present Government to provide for producer control, this Government cannot bind its successors in office. In the proposal now under consideration, I see many dangers, including those of nation- ii ligation, socialization, rationalization and the ruination of the primary producers through bureaucratic control. My difficulty with regard to the present bill arises, not so much from what the measure contains, as from what is omitted from the proposed amendments. As I have said earlier, if the. proposed alterations of the Constitution provided .the necessary safeguards which would ensure producer control similar to that provided under the State legislation, the bill would have my support, and I venture the opinion that it would be supported by the primary producers throughout all of the States. To my mind however, once what is proposed is thoroughly understood, it will be strongly resisted by the primary producers, and the people of Australia generally.
It is proper to point out. that, prior to legislation being passed by the States authorizing orderly marketing, cooperative companies throughout Australia were doing much in this direction. Large cooperative selling companies are established in all States, and they are linked with a Commonwealth co-operative company. This method probably provides the best possible means for organized marketing, for if all producers were linked with their own co-operative selling organizations, all the advantages that could be obtained as a result of government legislation would be available to. them. The Australian co-operative selling companies ha vo not only established their own Australia-wide organizations, but also, in conjunction with producers in New Zealand. South Africa and Canada, they have established their own company - the Overseas Farmers Federation, in London. Some years prior to the war a further advance was made by the establishment of Empire Dairies, which is probably the largest selling organization of dairy produce in the world to-day. The Overseas Fanners Federation, in addition to dealing with consignments of dairy produce which are sold on behalf of Australian producers through Empire dairies, in normal times disposes of large quantities of wheat, maize, honey, dried fruits and ‘wines, on behalf of producers in not only Australia, but also South Africa, and, when supplies are available, Canada and New Zealand as well.
When the Constitution was framed, it was agreed that domestic matters would be left to the States and that the Commonwealth would confine its activities to national problems. such as defence, postal services and trade and customs. For the Commonwealth now to enter the field of organized marketing, it must override present State rights, and the safeguarding provisions of section 92 of the Constitution must be destroyed. I cannot believe that the electors of Australia will agree to such a proposal. However, the person most concerned with what is contained in the bill is the primary producer himself. So far as I know, he has not been consulted aud from my close contact with many primary producers in Victoria I know well that they are sick and tired of government interference and war-time controls. During the period of great national emergency, primary producers, in common with other sections of the community, ‘ were prepared to accept limitation and handicaps, but they, too, are now seeking the discontinuance of war-time controls and restrictions as early as circumstances will permit.
From the beginning of time it has been the primary producer’s birthright and heritage to dispose of his produce where . and how he thought fit, and whilst he is prepared to accept organized marketing under producer control, he is not prepared to relinquish his birthright under any system of government control. I believe that the present proposals, if given effect, may go much beyond the ordinary sphere of marketing control and. that for the purpose of meeting the wishes and whims of some bureaucrat, we might’ find production being limited, to- the serious embarrassment of not only those already engaged in industry, but also ex-servicemen who are seeking an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves on the land. I have no objection to these proposals being submitted for the decision of the people of Australia, but, in view of the strong views that I hold on this vitally important subject, I believe that I should express them in this chamber. As F have said, I am in favour of orderly marketing, but I am, not in favour pf government control.
Silting suspended from 5.50 to S p.m.
– I. fully endorse the stand which has been taken by some of my colleagues with relation to this measure. I intend to vote against this bill, and to oppose the proposals which it embodies. It has been made perfectly clear by all honorable senators on this side of the chamber who have already spoken that they are not opposed to organized marketing. Any one who has been associated with marketing organizations in Queensland knows that organized marketing has meant a great deal to the economic stability Of that, State. It has done much to improve the position of the primary producers in Queensland, and the quality of products exported from this country. It has also been the means of achieving uniformity in the preparation of goods for markets overseas, including their make-up and labelling. This system has undoubtedly proved of great advantage to the primary producers and to Australia as a whole. I do not know of any particular reason why the Commonwealth should now try to superimpose itself upon those organizations in each of the States which have been in existence for so long and have operated completely satisfactorily. Senator Gibson and Senator A. J. Fraser, who dealt with this matter this afternoon, made it clear that there is not one reason why the Commonwealth should seek these additional powers at this time, particularly when organized marketing is already being handled satisfactorily by State bodies. The Opposition has unanimously decided that it will oppose the’ motion for the third reading of the Constitution Alteration (Industrial Employment) Bill because it is designed to give to the Commonwealth complete control of secondary industries by enabling it to prescribe terms and conditions in industry. I mention that in passing because I fail to see how an honorable senator can consistently oppose an attempt by the Commonwealth to gain complete control over secondary industries yet at the same time agree to this measure which seeks to give to the Commonwealth complete control over primary industries. I admit that a need exists for greater uniformity in the marketing of our products overseas. On this point I should like to say what a great, advertisement has- been given to Australian products during the last few years in respect of goods sent from this country, not only to Great Britain, but, also to feed the armies of our allies during the war. The result has been that, to-day many Australian goods are better known throughout the world than they could possibly have been made known by advertisements in magazines, on the motion picture screens or over the air. As the result ‘ of our efforts on the food front during the war many of . our goods to-day have found their way. into the homes of people in many countries, and as the result, Australia’s products are better known than they have ever been known previously. The quality of these goods is very high. During my visit overseas recently, when I travelled in Europe -and the United States of America, I perceived a very keen demand among the peoples of many countries for more of our goods which have become so favorably known during the last few years. From what I saw in my travels during the last four months 1 am satisfied that the economic condition of this country is better than that of any country which I visited. That is due, not to any ‘ action on the part of this Government, or previous governments, but - principally to the common sense of the Australian people in realizing the difficulties of the times, and being prepared to submit to the restrictions which they shouldered during the war. I can only hope that as time goes on our productionwill be speeded up to a greater degree than it is at present. There is no doubt that organized marketing as it is now being carried on by various organizations and associations formed voluntarily by the primary producers themselves and others engaged in the industries concerned is effective. I can only hope that they will continue with their efforts, particularly in view of the world demand for Australian goods. When one of my colleagues was speaking the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) referred by interjection to the ‘ fact that we are appointing additional trade commissioners in different countries. It is useless for us to appoint those officers unless we follow up such appointments by actually inaugurating trade with such countries. At present, we are spending large sums of moneys overseas; we are increasing our appointments of new ministers to different countries, and we have representatives of the Department of Information in various countries. The point I emphasize is that the work already being performed by primary producers organizations in the various States has had splendid results. Now, this Government, desires to curtail the powers of those organizations. It wants to exercise too great, a measure of control over those organizations which are doing such splendid work. So long as the States, as such, exist, the Commonwealth is not justified in seeking such powers; and who knows that the time may not come when the people may decide to alter the whole set-up of the States. The people may decide to institute a ‘system of unification which we know is the policy of the Labour party. That decision, however, rests with the people themselves. Under these proposals the Government is merely filching certain powers which the States now enjoy and in the exercise of which they have pioneered organized marketing and have been responsible for the present high standard of our marketing organization. I have yet to be convinced that the Commonwealth could do a- better job in this field than is being done by the existing organizations through various pools and associations. .Until the Commonwealth can show that it can do this job better than it is being done at present, 1 am not prepared to support proposals of the kind, now placed before us which have for their object the breaking clown of competent organizations and substituting for them a. system about which we know nothing. When one recalls the record of the Commonwealth during the last fifteen months in relation to soldier settlement and land settlement generally one would hesitate to give to it the power it now seeks under this measure.
– The Commonwealth has done a pretty good job up to the present so far as soldier settlement is concerned.
– What has it clone? I do not know of one ex-serviceman who has yet. teen settled on the land. Only this week-end I had brought to my notice the case of a young ex-serviceman who’ settled on the land. Although he applied to the Government for assistance in January last he has not yet received advice as to whether he will be granted assistance. Six months have gone by since he lodged his application, yet he has received no word from the department whether he is to receive any assistance under a measure which this Parliament passed eighteen months ago. When that measure was being debated we were told by Government supporters that great estates were, going to be subdivided in order to provide laud for. ex-servicemen. 1 should like to know whether one estate has yet been subdivided for that purpose, and whether any land lias yet been offered to any ex-serviceman. The Government issued a handbook which it distributes to service personnel upon* their discharge. That handbook tells service personnel what the Government proposes to do for them. In .it the Governmentpromised that land would be made available for settlement, that ex-servicemen would be given an opportunity to produce certain products and that the Government would take care of the marketing of such products. In that handbook the Govern-, ment emphasized that the land settlement was in the forefront of its programme, yet I do not know of one man who has been put on the land since he has been demobilized. Having failed so miserably to honour those promises how could the people now be justified in granting to, the
Commonwealth the power to take complete control of the production and marketing of primary products as well as the organization of our primary industries generally. The Government’s record certainly does not warrant the people giving to it the powers it seeks under this measure. For these reasons I shall oppose this proposal when the referendum is taken, particularly, as the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) has pointed out, as it will, if agreed to, completely destroy the safeguards which -were deli berately provided in section 92 of the Constitution in relation to freedom of trade between the States. There is no need for me to emphasize further the danger inherent, in this measure in that respect. I shall certainly not support a measure which will give to the Commonwealth power to conscript the primary producers of this country, particularly when the Government itself in respect of the Constitution Alteration (Industrial Employment) Bill undertakes not to conscript workers in secondary industries. This is merely . an attempt to implement the- Labour party’s plan for the nationalization of production which has always been in the forefront of its programme. I do not know why the Labour party, while pressing this part of its programme, continues to deny that it intends to socialize the means of production, distribution and exchange. This proposal, has been designed deliberately for the purpose of regimenting the primary producers. Senator Gibson pointed out how the Government is dealing with the export of lambs and showed what a poor return the producers are receiving under Government control. No business man could continue to operate under the methods employed by the Government, and no privately controlled organization would be allowed to do what the Government is doing, namely, charging to the community, as costs of the scheme, over 100 per cent, of the amount which the producers actually receive. I do not say that the Government is making a profit on the transaction; the difference U due to expenses arising from inefficient handling of the product., That is..the sort of .thing that happens in the fat lamb industry. What would happen .if the Government were .given com plete po wer over primary production and the marketing of primary products? Reference has been made to restrictions on the production of wheat. We know that these restrictions are a mistake. Probably when control was first imposed on the industry the situation was entirely different from what it is to-day, when continuation of the restriction can no longer be justified. I remind honorable senators of what has occurred in connexion with the sugar industry. No other primary industry in Australia has been better organized, from production to domestic consumption, than the sugar industry. This organization has been achieved without Commonwealth Government interference. The Commonwealth Government’s part has been merely to sanction what is called the Sugar Agreement and also to provide protection against the importation of cheap sugar in competition with the local commodity. This .can continue to be done under existing powers. Without securing additional power the Commonwealth can make Use of tariffs, en1bargo.es, and the other powers which it possesses to assist the State governments to organize and protect primary industries. Lt is State organization which has made the sugar industry successful. In that industry, the producers own the mills. What will happen if the power sought by the Commonwealth Government is granted to it by the people? Under a Labour government, with Ministers having the same outlook as those at present in office, we should know what to expect, having in mind what has been done in connexion with the Commonwealth Bank. and interstate air-lines. Such a government would not be satisfied to allow the producers to control the mills. One of its first steps would be to secure government ownership of the mills, and the result would be the same a,s we haveseen in other businesses tha.t. have been taken over by the Commonwealth Government. There is no need for the Government to seek additional powers in relation to primary industries. We all will help it to secure a favorable verdict, from the people in relation to social services in case there should be any legal doubt as to the validity of existing Commonwealth social services. However, 1 am not prepared .to go further than tha.t.
When I was in California a few days ago, an Australian primary producer arrived there to tell the story of his farming achievements to farmers in the United’ States of America. Later, he will go to Great Britain to tell of his work to English farmers. That man won an Australiawide contest for one-man farming. He ha.d not been told by the Government whether to grow wheat, lettuces, beetroot, or rhubarb. He was successful because he used his own knowledge and decided from his own practical experience what the land could best produce. He used his own initiative and worked hard. With the unfortunate set-up of boards anc commissions and professors of economics tying the Government hand and foot, by the time government departments decided what farmers should plant on their land, the growing season would, be over and the farmers would be left twiddling their thumbs. If departmental decisions were i no more prompt than they have been in relation to soldier settlement, producers would stand idle waiting for instructions, until finally they would be driven to the cities to live on the dole. As other honorable senators have pointed out, the primary producer is an individualist. He knows the land. Many farmers draw on the experience of preceding generations, and they know exactly what their properties can produce. State governments, particularly the Queensland Government, have given every encouragement to improved methods of production and organized marketing schemes, and will continue to do so as long as the Commonwealth Government refrains from interference. Unfortunately, this Government is surrounded by ambitious public servants who were engaged for ‘ war-time service but who now want to retain their positions. They have been ordering the lives of people during the war and want to continue to do so. Therefore, they are urging the Government to secure more and more power so that they may continue to exercise authority which was given to them merely as a war-time measure.
– The honorable senator has a great imagination.
– It is not, imagination at all. This riot of bureaucracy is not by any means limited to Australia. I found exactly the same conditions in the two countries which I recently visited. There is the same general desire on the part of governments and public servants in those countries to continue to direct the lives of people as they did during the war. lt is unfortunate that governments always seem to be reluctant to shed emergency powers which have been granted to them. This Government is being influenced by pressure from its employees to retain obnoxious controls.. Thc< people will be very foolish if, at, the referendum, they grant to it. powers which State organizations are already exercising satisfactorily. Australia, with its wide variations of climatic conditions and crops, can be far better controlled by existing local organizations than hy a top-heavy central organization at Canberra. For instance, control of butter production and distribution under the stabilization scheme which has operated through the States, with the assistance of various Commonwealth governments, has been very successful. The grade of Australian butter has improved and the price has increased. Previously, our butter obtained a lower price overseas than New Zealand butter, but. now our butter compares favorably with butter from any other country. Why does this Government always seek more and more power when it uses so badly the power which it already has? We might have been more tolerant if, during its term of office, the Government had shown more efficiency and common -ense, but it has gone from blunder to blunder and has failed so dismally to fulfil its promises in relation to the land settlement of ex-servicemen and similar projects that now Ave cannot trust it.
-lay. - The people will give their verdict in a few weeks.
– -If the people, in spite of our advice, decide that the Commonwealth Government shall have the powers which it seeks over the lives of primary producers, we shall be obliged to accept the result whatever it may be. At any rate, I shall do my best to urge the people not to grant those powers, because the primary producers will suffer greatly if they are granted.
– If this . proposed amendment of the Constitution he sanctioned by the people, it will be a step towards unification in this country, and to that I am strongly opposed. It would take from the. States much of their control over trade and commerce. The rights of the States are safeguarded in section 92 of the Constitution, but clause. 2 of the measure now before the Senate states -
The power of the Parliament to make laws under paragraphs (i.a) sub-section (1.) of this section mar be exercised notwithstanding anything contained in section 92 of the Constitution. lt. is clear that approval by the people of the proposals contained in this measurewould result in the virtual overriding of section 92, and that the States would become almost entirely subservient to Common weal th dictation. The argument advanced by honorable senators. opposite during the second-reading debate on this measure, was that the primary producers of this country were much better off to-day than ever before because of the huge success of organized marketing schemes implemented during the war, and that the Commonwealth Government therefore was quite jusified in seeking power to carry on these organized marketing schemes in time of peace. There is no doubt that primary producers generally benefited substantially during the war, but to suggest that their improved position was clue to the National. Security Regulations is ludicrous. If the war-time marketing schemes were successful- we all admit that they did achieve some degree of success - it was because the war produced an increased demand for the limited supply of goods available. Anything that could be produced was’ eagerly sought by other countries. I point out that just after the war pf 19.1 4-18 prices of primary products were very much on a par with presentday figures. In fact, the prices of some commodities, including wheat; wool, butter. .eggs,. &c, were even higher. That i as because of the heavy demand for the limited -.quantities of goods available. Owing to certain restrictions the production of some commodities was reduced.
It is true that some foolish things have been done. I admit that I was a supporter of the Government which introduced restrictions on wheat acreage, but at the time, that seemed to be the sensible thing to do. Since then, of course, we have learned that it was not the proper thing to do. However, I was not a supporter of a subsequent government which paid £1,500,000 to wheat-farmers in one state not to grow anything at all. Had the production of wheat continued at its former level, we would have had an additional £3,000,000 worth of wheat to-day, instead of having had to pay £1,500,000 in the manner which I have described.
Marketing schemes of the kind contemplated in this legislation can serve only to stifle production at a time when maximum production is imperative. The people of almost every country are inadequately fed and this country has a vast capacity for the production of foodstuffs.! Surely this is not the time to talk of restricting production. Probably 50 per cent, of our ex-servicemen will wish to settle on the land, and I fail to see of what assistance the Government’s proposed organized marketing schemes will be in that direction. Up to the present ex-servicemen have not been given anything but promises. They have been told that the Government will do all sorts of things for them, but so far as I am aware, not one ex-serviceman has been’ established on the land.
In my opinion the object of this measure is unification. Co-operative marketing schemes could be established, now without an amendment of the Constitution. Previous speakers have drawn attention to what has been done already in several States, especially Queensland, in this direction. The . Government claims that it cannot legislate for organized marketing unless it has increased powers. If that is so, how was it able to legislate for the wheat stabilization scheme now in operation? Legislation inaugurating that scheme was passed through this Parliament constitutionally, and was implemented with the consent qf the States. What is there to. prevent similar action being, , taken in regard to the marketing of other primary products? Some years ago the people of this country refused to sanction the then Government’s proposals for the organized marketing of dried fruits, but despite that refusal, the organized marketing of dried fruits has been carried on successfully ever since. The Sugar Agreement too appears to be operating most successfully. In view of the refusal of the people of Australia to accept the previous organized marketing proposals which provided for the inauguration of marketing schemes in conjunction with the States, how can the Government possibly expect, an affirmative vote on this occasion? The earlier measures were designed to assist the primary producers; this one aims to assist the consumers. It is true that primary producers have benefited considerably under war-time marketing schemes, but it is also true that the consumers benefited more’. If the Government’s proposals be accepted by the people, the primary producer can give up all hope of independence or individuality in the future. His share of the wealth .of the nation will be insignificant, and his role will be that of a mere cog in the wheels of industry. His job will be to provide chia g bread, butter eggs, &c, for members of the aristocracy which enjoy a. 40-hour week.
– Does the honorable senator really believe that.
– Yes, and if the honorable senator himself does not, believe it, 1 suggest that he have a talk with Mr. J. F. Maloney, who recently returned from. Russia, and knows something about the role of the primary producer in that country. Apparently the objective of this measure is; to impose’ upon the primary producers of this country the same conditions that operate in Russia. This country has had 5 or 6 years of control by boards and commissions. The people have submitted to the authority of those Bodies because of war conditions. It is not hard to imagine how- many more boards and commissions would be required to implement the Government’s marketing proposals. Senator Herbert Hays asked who were to be the judges of production averages, localities, and so on. T do not know why the honorable senator asked that question because it bad already been answered. Earlier to-day the Leader of the -Sena.te (Senator Ashley) read the names of those, holding ministerial office in the present Government. If Senator Herbert Hays peruses that list, he will find the names of the men who will dictate where primary producers shall work, and what they shall grow. Our success as a nation has been due largely to our thrift and initiative. lt was the primary producer of Australia who laid the foundations of our secondary industries. Our primary industries are capable of still further development, but we can hold our own in world trade only if our primary producers are allowed full scope for their activities, not only in thehome market, but also on overseas markets.
– I have listened to this debate with interest and disappointment. I wa3 sorry indeed to note the absolute failure of honorable -senators opposite, particularly those who claim to represent country interests in this chamber, to approach this problem from a real national standpoint. 1 am afraid that honorable senators are living very much in the past. The future of this nation is bound up with the further expansion of its primary industries, and that in turn is related, directly to the marketing of primary products. The time has passed for the production of this country to be governed by six or seven governmental authorities. If we are to increase our population as we must do to prosper, primary production and the marketing of primary products, will have to bc handled in a national way by a national government. Trade negotiations on behalf of this country as a whole will have to be carried out by our national leaders such as the Prime Minister. Successful marketing . of primary products is the most important factor in determining the value of those products. Obviously . honorable . senators opposite have no real recollection of the long struggle of the primary producers of this country for conditions approaching reasonable stability. Rural industries have had a. severe time in the developmental stages. I was amused by the speech made to-night by Senator Leckie, who, although possibly a competent authority on manufacturing ‘ obviously knows little about primary industries.’ The secondary industries of this country have been able to progress and develop only because of the success of the primary industries. Manufacturing interests have been protected by successive governments, find have-enjoyed governmental assistance in the marketing of their products, whereas for many years primary industries were sadly neglected. To say that this Government stands for the restriction of primary production is ridiculous. Obviously, the people of Australia would not be prepared to countenance such a policy. We stand for the rapid development’ of all industries, and we realize that the only way to bring about reasonable stability in primary industries is to inaugurate organized marketing schemes. Such schemes can be successful only if the Commonwealth and the States reach a common understanding about the manner in which our primary products are to be marketed. I have had a lifetime of experience as a primary producer, and I know that in many cases he is an individualist. That is why he is in the position that he is to-day. Too many primary producers in the past have been satisfied with a humble standard of living. In any city or town throughout the Commonwealth one finds that the big business interests occupy the palatial buildings, whereas farmers’ organizations meet in barn-like structures; yet they are the ones who have produced the wealth of this country. I have.no doubt that during the war certain, individuals who were not, capable of discharging their responsibilities were placed in certain positions of authority, and that in some cases mistakes were made, but it is foolish to assume that it is the desire of honorable senators on this side of . the chamber to strangle industry. If the primary industries of Australia are to reach a state of stability organized marketing must be provided. There has been a long struggle. Senator Fell and others have mentioned State marketing legislation and other methods <;f handling the primary production of the various States. How could we control the marketing of a product, in Queensland, if producers in the other States could flood the market with that very product?
The day has gone when the people of Australia should speak wilh half a dozen voices. We can receive proper recognition in other parts of .the world only by talking and acting as Australians. I see no harm in closer co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States, and in asking the people to grant power to thi> Parliament to organize industry in such a way as to protect their best interests and obtain a reasonable return to the primary producers. What happened after the first world war, and after the big depression? When the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) was Prime Minister, he urged the producers to grow more -wheat, and they took his advice, but they were brought to ruin. Many growers lost the savings of a lifetime, because they believed that acceptance of the advice of the then Prime Minister would enable them to prosper. At thai, time the price of wheat dropped to ls. Gd. a bushel. Would it, not be wise to maintain a reasonable price for the farmer’s product, and protect the industry by having a fund “ in kitty” as an assurance against bad seasons? The time has gone when we should be influenced by petty arguments. 1 had hoped that the recent world war would have brought about, a changed outlook. Those engaged in industry should have a powerful voice in the control and marketing of their own produce. The suggestion that a few people are to be allowed to determine what the primary producers of Australia shall grow is absurd.
The Government is expending thousands of pounds in scientific investigation. Many millions of pounds will be disbursed in water conservation and irrigation, and in the maintenance df an increased population, yet it is said that the present Government stands for restriction of production. Admittedly I have supported the restriction of the production of certain commodities in the past. Instead of producing goods which we cannot sell, I believe in a reasonable policy of organized production ; but there is no justification for the claim”’ that the present Government favours a policy which would stifle industry. No intelligent person in the community would stand for that. One object of the Government is that the industries of this country shall be developed, and that those engaged in them shall have a reasonable return for their labour. Why .should not the farmers be placed in a stable and businesslike position ? Why should the employees in manufacturing industries, such as those in which. Senator Leckie is interested, work only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4.30 p.m., whilst the primary” producers have to slave from daylight to dark? All that the Government asks is that the States should co-ordinate their activities with those of the Commonwealth, and organize the marketing of primary products in such a way that stability will be obtained and that those engaged in primary industries will get a reasonable return for their labour. Ten years ago, when the Opposition was in power, it asked the people to support a proposal similar -to that now before the Senate. How, at the same time, can there be nation-wide organization and observance of the provisions of section 92 of the Constitution? It is all wrong. The time has arrived when we should think as Australians. If large irrigation schemes are to be put into effect, we must ensure that, the primary producers shall.be placed on a stable footing. I urge honorable senators to support this measure. I am sure that the farmers of Queensland will be heartily in accord with it.
– We always give Senator Courtice, who is himself a primary producer, full marks for his exposition of the case on behalf of the growers, but in his speech to-night he did not mention the one primary product, of which he is well qualified to speak. He would have been well advised to dilate upon the production of raw sugar, because that industry furnishes one of the outstanding instances of efficient organization by primary producers. When the Sugar Agreement Bill was. ‘before us some months ago, I mentioned how far the sugar industry had advanced without any alteration of the Constitution, but, Senator Courtice was significantly silent this evening regarding that industry. Instead of referring to it, he selected the wheat industry. If there is a glaring example of the incompetence of an alleged organized wheat stabilization scheme, we have ‘ it in connexion with the 1945-46 wheat harvest. .Senator Courtice made the fatal blunder of referring to the socalled Scully Plan for the stabilization of the whea t industry. He also spoke of the time when the right honorable member for -North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) was
Prime Minister and to the encouragement which the bight honorable gentleman offered to the producers of wheat. In the great wheat-growing districts of the southern portion of Western Australia, during World War I., the name of William Morris Hughes was anathema, because he was charged by some growers as being the head of the greatest wheat steal then known in Australian politics, but Mr. Hughes as an alleged wheatstealer was a blanched angel compared with the present Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully). Mr. Hughes had not learned the elementary steps in taking down “ the farmer compared with the author of the present government scheme.
Out, of the 1945-46 harvest of about 123,000,000 bushels, 62,000,000 bushels will be consumed in Australia, for which the farmers will get 4s. lid. a bushel. The balance Of 61,000,000 bushels will ‘be exported at, an export realization value of 9?. 9d. a bushel. The grower will receive only 7s. 8d. a bushel of this export parity, and the balance of 2s. 5d. a bushel goes into what is called the stabilization fund. It goes into the fund, but nobody knows how it will come out. Under this scheme, the fanner, on the realization of his export wheat, has no right or title to that money. It will be a government-controlled fund, to be used allegedly for the ‘stabilization of the wheat industry when the export parity drops to our home consumption price, which is less than the cost of production. The fanner who has had this 2s. od. a bushel deducted from his returns has no right to it unless he stays on his farm until the export value drops. That is why the farmers will lose about £1 5.000,000 on the 1945-46 harvest. Farmers corning into the industry later, who will have contributed nothing towards the fund, will be equally entitled to receive a certain amount of government help from the stabilization fund. The farmer who is to-day contributing to the fund is thus paying an insurance against the failure of a farmer who will later come into the industry and will have contributed nothing towards its stabilization. To say that the scheme is a good one, as stated by Senator Courtice, shows that the honorable senator, who may know a lot about sugar, knows nothing about the wheat position. By making a dead letter of section 92 of the Constitution, a great disadvantage would accrue to the so-called weaker States. As a representative of Western Australia, J view with grave alarm this attempt to remove what has been well described as the lion in the path, protecting our interstate free trade, namely, section 92. The present Government proposes, not only to remove the lion, but to destroy it. For these and many other reasons, I am opposed to this bill.
Senator ASHLEY (New South WalesMinister for Supply and Shipping) 18.58]. - *in reply - The argument of honorable senators opposite - has been mainly upon the restriction of production rather than the real purpose of the measure, which is the organized marketing of primary products. I see no reason why reference should be made to the restriction of production. This is a bill for an act to alter the Constitution by empowering the Parliament to make laws providing for organized marketing of primary products, unrestricted by section 92 of the Constitution. Senator Leckie made particular reference to his belief that the proposals, if agreed to, would restrict production, and Senator Herbert Hays almost worked himself into a frenzy about them. He even went back to the time when trade between the then colonies was restricted. This bill does not deal either directly or indirectly with production ; it deals with marketing, which means the distribution of goods. Much has been said about controls, especially in relation to wheat, but I remind honorable senators that those controls were first established by the Menzies Government in 1940. The scheme has since been amended and liberalized by the present Government. Honorable -senators may be interested in some of the provisions of the proposal which was introduced by the Menzies Government. One of these provisions read -
The following shall be the conditions of every licence- granted under these regulations:- ‘(a) that the wheat-grower will not sow with wheat a greater number of acres of land than the Board determines.
As during the debate reference was made by Senator Foll to bureaucrats. I take this opportunity to refer to the wonderful service which these “ bureaucrats “ rendered to their country during the war. Many men occupying high positions in industry gave their services free. It ill becomes an honorable senator to criticize them us Senator Foll did to-night. The’ Public Service generally rendered wonderful service during the difficult years of war. Other conditions- imposed by the Menzies Government on wheatgrowers were - [ob) that of the acreage so sown with wheat the wheat-growers shall, before the ear develops beyond the milky stage, cut for hay such of the crop, if any, as the Board determines; and (f>) such other conditions as the Minister notifies by order published in the Gazette. (4.) A licence under this regulation shall, unless sooner cancelled by the Board, continue in force until the first day of March next following the granting of the licence, but may hu renewed by time to time for a period of one year. (5.) A licence under this regulation shall be in respect of a registered farm, and if that farm ceases to be registered, the licence shall thereupon, by force of this regulation, be cancelled.
– Why perpetuate a. wrong ?
– The present Government, has not perpetuated a wrong; it has amended and liberalized those provisions. Primary producers know that without organized marketing their industry would have collapsed. As an indication of what would have happened Senator Courtice reminded the Senate that just prior to the outbreak of war wheat was sold in Australia for as low as ls. 6d. a bushel. The following table shows the benefits which primary producers have received as a result of the controlled marketing -
The fact that Australian primary producers were able to reduce their debts by £60,000,000 during the war is evidence of the value to them of organized marketing.
Senator Gibson also referred to the export price of lambs. He said that a lamb for which the Australian primary producer received 29s. 3d. was sold wholesale in Great Britain for £2 12s., and that its retail price there was £3 6s. Sd. The honorable senator omitted to tell us that those prices in Great Britain were the result of an agreement between a previous government and the British Ministry of Food. Since the present Government came into office; prices have increased by 16^ per cent.
– The figures cited by me were given to me last month by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture.
– I am sure that Senator Gibson believed that the figures mentioned by him were accurate. I have great respect for anything that the honorable senator says,- as have other honorable senators on this side. We know that he would not willingly make an incorrect statement in this chamber, but I regret that on this occasion I have to correct his statement. In referring to the limitation placed on the production of wheat the honorable senator mentioned that at a meeting of farmers recently two farmers had said that their returned soldier sons had been refused permission to grow wheat on land which had been bought for them. .During the suspension of the sitting I took up that matter with the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully), who told me that both last year and this year there has been no restriction at all on the growing of wheat.
– That is wrong.
– I make that statement on the authority of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. The decision to allow unrestricted production of wheat was advertised widely, but, probably the men mentioned by Senator Gibson live in an outlying district and may not have noticed it.
– Can - a nian sow a’s.much wheat as bc likes?
– I think that a licence is required.
– I said that the farmers’ sons to whom I referred had been refused licences.
– Senator A. J. Fraser said that the Constitution should not be amended except in a case of pressing need. Our experience of marketing projects reveals that need. The honorable senator also said that the present proposal is 20 years late, but I remind him that for the past 25 years, with the exception of two years, anti-Labour governments have been in office. He also said that, there was a satisfactory alternative to the Government’s proposal, and lie then referred to the Paterson scheme. The honorable senator should know that that scheme failed because it had no security of tenure. The trouble to-day with many primary industries is that there ,is no guarantee of stability, and it is. for that reason that the Government submits these proposals to the Senate.
– I wish to make a personal explanation. Despite what the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) has said in reply to my statement, what I said is perfectly correct. I cited the ‘case, of two men who could not obtain a licence to grow wheat. They were not given a licence to grow wheat on the land which they bought.
Question put -
That the bill be now read a third time.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown.)
Majority . . . . 7
– There being an absolute majority of the members of the Senate voting in the affirmative, as required by the Constitution, I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from the 18th June (vide page 1498), on motion by Senator Ashley -
That the bill be now read a third time.
.- We now get down to the real reason for the forthcoming referendum.
– What was the honorable senator talking about before?
– The other two measures were simply “ eye-wash “. The first. measure is a trap, and the second is designed to tangle up primary producers. This’ measure, the third, is the real reason why the Government proposes to hold a referendum ; and the bill itself also shows why the Government has decided to hold the referendum in conjunction with the general elections. During the debate on the preceding measure Senator Courtice asked us to talk nationally. He was referring to our contention that the adoption of the second proposal would mean ‘the destruction of section 92 of the Constitution. Is it not clear to the honorable senator that that section was provided deliberately in order to make us think nationally by ensuring the utmost freedom of intercourse in trade and commerce between the States? The honorable senator’s statement illustrates the confused thinking of honorable senators opposite on these matters”; and now, when we come to consider the real reason for holding the referendum, we shall do well to expose this confusion. This proposal is the most clumsily drawn of the three proposals. No explanation has been given as to how it will work, or as to what the Government intends to do. If the Government said that the object of this proposal, is to enable this Parliament itself to fix hours and wages in industry that would be an honest explanation, but the Government does not do so.
– It would not be the truth.
– I am seeking the truth. What is the truth? The present Minister for Health (Senator McKenna) said that Parliament would not do that, but he did not speak for the Government. Now, no Minister speaks for the Government; he speaks only for himself. I am anxious to learn, what this proposal really means. This proposal, if accepted by the people, will riot cancel the existing conciliation and arbitration power provided in placitum (xxxv.) of section 51 of the Constitution, which enables the Commonwealth to deal with disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State. That power will still remain in the Constitution. The new power sought under this proposal to deal with the terms and conditions of employment in industry will be superimposed upon the existing power. The Government says that Parliament is not going to fix the hours and conditions of employment should the new power be granted to the Commonwealth. That statement was made by a responsible Minister; at least, I assume that he is responsbile. That being so, what does the Government really intend to do if it he granted this power? What line would a court take on this particular matter? How would it differentiate between the two powers - on the one hand the arbitration and conciliation power to deal with disputes beyond the limits of any one State, and, . on the other hand, the power now sought to deal with the terms and’ conditions of employment in- industry? If the new power be granted, I should assume thai as soon as any need, or desire, for an alteration of the terms or conditions of employment arose in industry a dispute would automatically be created, and that dispute would relate to the arbitration and conciliation power already provided under the Constitution. Thus, ‘ the Government is getting us into a pretty pickle in this matter. It does not know where it stands. If it’ took steps to remove, or amend, the existing arbitration and conciliation power, or to cancel it, we should be able to understand this proposal; because under the new power, if it be grunted, the Commonwealth could then set up a particular body to implement such power and avoid the necessity to superimpose this power on the existing power. The Government is not attempting to amend, or remove, the existing conciliation and arbitration power, lt is true that under the existing conciliation and arbitration power it could amend the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, but under the new power, it will not be able to deal with the conciliation and arbitration power already in the Constitution. This reveals the clumsiness of the Government’s present proposal. If 1 am safe in taking the statement of a Minister that. Parliament itself is not going to fix the terms of employment in industry under the new power, what does the Government intend to do?
– Which Minister said that? ‘
– The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell). He made that statement, on behalf of, I hope, a responsible government. As soon as there is any feeling in a. particular matter a dispute will automatically arise, and having become a dispute it will come under the existing conciliation and arbitration power. If that is not the position why is the Government leaving the existing conciliation and arbitration power untouched? Why hn.« not some attempt been made to amend it? This reveals the clumsiness of the Government’s proposals; or it indicates an attempt on the part of the Government to deceive the Parliament and the people as to how it. intends to act should the power it now seeks be granted to it. The measure provides for the granting of this new power to the Commonwealth “.=o as not to authorize any form of industrial conscription “. I do not think that any Minister, or any honorable senator opposite, has attempted to define “industrial conscription”. I assume that that provision means that the Government shall not have power to order men to work either in a particular industry or to work at all. As the wage- pegging regulations and kindred regulations will automatically lapse when the National Security Act lapses, I assume that if this proposal be carried at the referendum the Government will be strictly forbidden to order men to work at .all, or in any particular industry.
The Government,, then, will not have the power to order mcn back, to work, because that would be industrial conscription. If all the coal-miners decided to go out on strike, they could not be ordered to return to work. If that, is not ihe meaning of the bill, then what is its moaning? It certainly has not been explained to mc. Does the reference to conscription mean that the “Government may ner enforce compulsory unionism? The bill simply says that there shall not be industrial conscription, and that must mean that the Government will not .be able vo compel nien to join union?. If that is not. the case, T should like to know what “conscription” means. Is one of the conditions of employment over which the Government will have power to be that every man shall become a unionist? I do not know how the High Court would regard a matter of ‘.his kind, but. my view, as a layman, is that enforced unionism would he industrial conscription. Senator Courtice .produced a peculiar hypothesis to illustrate a point in which he referred to me and my factory. He said that if the wheat-growers had to take low prices for their wheat, they would “go broke”, hut that 1 could close up my factory and still continue to make .a lot of money. What an amazing idea of business - that a manufacturer can close his factory, with all of its expensive machinery, and still continue to make money. The fact is that secondary industries are. to a very great degree, dependent upon the primary industries for their prosperity. 1 have had just as long experience of primary production as the honorable senator has had. To return to the Government’s proposal in this measure, I should like to know what authority would adindicate in a dispute in any industry. Who ‘would decide the terms and “condition”! of employment, in that industry? Tt has been assumed - although I am still in the dark about the matter - that the Government intends to fix a sort of blanket basic wage and uniform weekly hours of employment through Parliament itself.. That would be a foolish thing to do, because conditions in every industry are different from those in other industries. If the Government does not propose to do that, does it. intend to deal piecemeal with every industry in which there happens to be a dispute? The’ powers, sought in this measure would clothe it with .authority to do so. In that event we should have the spectacle of the government of the day presenting a series of bills for the alteration of terms and conditions of employment in many different industries. The conciliation and arbitration powers in the Constitution are to be untouched. The Government and the High Court will have the headache of deciding under, which of these powers any particular terms and conditions of employment fall. It would he futile to claim that any determination of terms and conditions of employment in an industry was distinct from a dispute, because any such, variation automatically gives rise to a dispute. Since the Arbitration Court was established, any matter that has come before the court has immediately assumed the aspect of an interstate dispute. The bill is very badly drafted. If the Government intends to establish a new court, it should have abolished the existing Arbitration Court. However, it is not “game” to say outright that it does not approve of .the Arbitration Court. It intends to by-pass it if possible, at the same time trying to persuade the people that it intends to deal with industrial disputes by arbitration. The Government cannot have it both ways. Its intention could be clearly expressed, without the inclusion of the proposed blanket clause to which I object. The referendum proposal in relation to employment 111 industry is the most dangerous thing ever to be put before the people. If the. powers sought were granted, governments would be continually urged by pressure groups to interfere l?,y legislative act with the terms and conditions of employment in industry. This would be a very dangerous power in the hands of any government, possibly .more so ‘in the hands of an antiLabour i ‘government1 than’ “in the ‘ha’nds of a Labour government; a point which appeal’s to have been overlooked. The Government’s proposals are so ambiguous and so badly drafted, and the meaning of “ industrial conscription “ is so inconclusive, that the whole scheme should be rejected on those grounds alone. Anybody with imagination can visualize the “ log-rolling “ and vote-selling .and genera] pressure politics which would occur if Parliament had power to lay down terms and conditions of employment in industry. The result would he to bring our parliamentary institution into disrepute. When this proposal goes before the people, I believe that it will be defeated. This measure relating to employment in industry is the sole reason for the Government’s decision to hold a referendum. The Government has virtually promised the industrial unions that they shall have a 40-hour working week and an increase of the basic wage. I have no objection to either of those things being granted by a properly constituted court after a thorough examination of all relevant facte. But to ask a body of “amateurs” in Parliament, elected onaccount of various qualifications, to decide a matter of this kind would be very dangerous. Therefore, I shall vote against the granting of the power sought by the Government, and I shall ask tinpeople to realize the danger in the pr< portal and to defeat it by an overwhelming majority.
– I propose to make a very brief contribution to the debate. Senator Leckie has asked three questions. I believe that the answers to all of them were furnished by me in my second-reading speech. I do not propose to recapitulate them all now, but I invite the honorable senator to refer to the remarks which I made on that occasion. The honorable senator, if I understood him correctly, complained that ‘ the Government proposes to leave in the Constitution the existing power over conciliation and arbitration in relation to interstate industrial disputes. Am I to understand that he considers that that power should be deleted? If so, I direct his attention to the fact that the’ great “b’ody of awards and regulations that have been built up by the Arbitration Court since its constitution would, fall to the ground without - the retention of the power. There would be an interregnum between the time of the alteration of the Constitution and the making of fresh laws by Parliament during which there would be the most complete industrial chaos. I also direct his attention to the fact that the judges of the Arbitration Court cannot bc removed from office by a referendum or otherwise. The Constitution fixes them in their positions “during life and good conduct”. They could be removed only for gross misconduct, by resolution of both Houses of this Parliament. Therefore, the suggestion that the present power in relation to conciliation ami arbitration should lie deleted from the Constitution merely because the Government seeks to include a wider power over terms and conditions of employment in industry surprises me, coming as it docs from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. It would cause so much chaos the I arn amazed that he should have enunciated the proposition.
– That was not my proposition.
– That proposition is a fair inference from the honorable senator’s remarks. He complained that no action was being taken by the Government in the course of the referendum proposals to delete from, the Constitution the head of power dealing with conciliation and arbitration. In these circumstances, I .consider that I have drawn improper inference from the honorable senator’s remarks.
Sena tor Leckie. - No.
– One could readily imagine what the honorable senator would have sard - and he would have been justified in doing so - had this Government sought to interfere with the set-up of. the Arbitration Court and to abolish the power upon which it is founded. There would have been justification for criticism in that event. The honorable senator asked who would settle the terms and conditions of employment in industry under the proposed new power. I have no hesitation in saying that ‘this Parliament may do so.
– Quite so. The AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt) said so in no uncertain terms.
– That is quite clear. This Parliament may do so. It may fix the hours of work and conditions of employment and dispose of the whole relation of employer and employee, subject to the important qualification regarding industrial conscription. The honorable senator himself supplied the answer when he said it would be foolish for this Parliament to seek to embark upon a regulation of the varied relations that exist in industry. In the mining industry alone there are 30 thick volumes dea Iii with awards. It would be absurd to saythat the members of the Commonwealth Parliament would be competent, or would have sufficient time, to sort out all , details of all the industries in Australia. This leads one naturally to the conclusion that some competent judicial body must be set up for that purpose. The only way from a practical point of view in which this power may be exercised, will be that the Commonwealth Arbitration Court will function armed with more complete powers, and without having its jurisdiction impaired by the fictitious creation of interstate disputes, which, as 1 said during the last sittings, is a truly potent cause of industrial dislocation in Australia. On that occasion I also drew attention to the fact that in 1930 the Arbitration Court had been emasculated by the parties to which honorable senators opposite belong.
– We were not in power in 1930.
– I agree that honorable senators opposite were not then in office, but they unquestionably were in power in this chamber where they had a majority. They emasculated completely the excellent measure presented by the Scullin Government. Again, I put the proposition that in common sense, this Parliament cannot, embark upon the regulation of all the details of the relationships of employers and employees. It may, and should, in a proper case, accept the responsibility for determining ‘certain matters. It may. bc that viewing the development of mechanization in . this Country, ,in relation; to the employment position,;. this- Parliament should assume the responsibility of saying that the hours of work broadly should be so ami so, and that the basie wage should be determined in accordance with certain broad principles. These are matters for which this Parliament, should he prepared to accept its national responsibility. I am reminded by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator 3. M. Fraser) that the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Menzies) agrees with that proposition. I have a very lively recollection of a speech made in this Parliament by that right honorable gentleman in 1988, when he said that, he could not understand why power over customs and excise, and other wide powers that give to this Parliament control over the instruments that set up big industries, should have been committed to. this legislature, whilst industrial conditions ruling in those big industries were placed beyond its control.
– Is the right honorable member for Kooyong always right?
– This is one occasion on which, in my opinion, at least, he unquestionably was right. On an earlier occasion the right honorable gentleman drew a. picture of what a court armed with complete’ industrial power could do in this community. I shall not attempt, now, to repeat, what the right honorable gentleman said, because the script is not immediately available to me, but I venture to say that the people of Australia will bc acquainted with every word of it. at. the forthcoming referendum.
Again I point out that members of this Parliament must go before the electors at least, once every three years. If the powers which the Government seeks at the referendum be sanctioned by- the people, and if subsequently there is in office in this Parliament a government which exercises those powers in a way that disrupts the national economy, or is not in accordance with the will and judgment of the people.- the electors will have an opportunity to effect a change cf government within a reasonably short, time. Public opinion is very articulate in this community. Perhaps it is a little bit too articulate. I suggest too. that, governments of any political colour are very sensitive to public opinion. They realize that their fa.te as ‘governments, and their reputation as responsible men, depend upon their actions, and I have no more fear that honorable senators opposite would do stupid things under this legislation, if they were in power, than I have that the present administration will do stupid th i n.gs.
.- It is amazing to -me that at the very time when delegates to the New South Wales Australian Labour party conference are declaring war upon the Communist party, the Commonwealth Government should be seeking the passage of legislation which aims to do the very things that the conference opposes. The Minister for Health (Senator McKenna) said in effect that if these powers were granted to the Commonwealth Parliament, the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court would ‘ be relegated to second place in the handling of industrial affairs, because the Parliament would then have complete control over conditions of employment. If there is one section of industrial leaders in this country at present that seeks to break down the authority of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court, it is the communists. Many times they have declared their intention of dispensing with arbitration, and substituting direct approach to the Parliament. The Minister knows, quite well that that is the main difference between the leaders of the Communist section of the- Labour party, -and the more sane leaders of the great unions. Whilst, in America recently, Senator Finlay and I witnessed two of the greatest industrial upheavals that the world has experienced in the last few years. The greatest regret, of the people of the United States of America at present is that there is not in that country to-day an arbitration system similar to that operating in Australia. There is no recognized arbitration authority in the United States of America. Arbitration is utilized occasionally in the settlement, of disputes, but it is of a voluntary character. There is no judiciary to deal with industrial disputes as they are dealt with in this country. It is astounding, therefore, that at the very time when one would expect the Government of this country to he standing more firmly than ever behind arbitration’ it is .seeking powers to override the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court.
– The Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court will be strengthened.
– It may be weakened under the powers that the Government is’ seeking. I was hi the United States of. America when Mi’. John L. Lewis, the leader of the Coal Miners Union - a federation of something like 200,000 members - went to interview the President in Washington and to lay down the conditions under which, the support of his union would be given to the President. The same thing occurred in regard to Mr. Harry Bridges,, the leader of the Longshoreman’s Union. These organizations have brought their whole weight to bear upon the Parliament and the President of the United States of America. There is widespread alarm in America at the action of the President and of Congress in allowing increases of wages in industry without paying due regard to the repercussions of such increases upon the prices of commodities I repeat that this Government’s action in bringing down legislation to further the announced policy of the Communist party is inexplicable.
The Minister for Health claimed that this measure would give to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court an opportunity to review the basis upon which the basic wage is calculated, but I submit that that can be done now. If such a review is not now in progress it was conducted recently by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court itself. The Minister knows that quite well, yet he seeks now to justify the breaking down of safeguards which were introduced largely at the request of organized labour.. Under the Government’s proposals industrial disputes will bc brought to the Commonwealth Parliament by powerful organizations led by Communist leaders who will be able to threaten the government of the day with reprisals at the next elections if their demands are not granted. No one will deny that our arbitration system, has weaknesses, but although the widest possible publicity is given to major industrial ‘disputes, one hears little about the many problems that are settled by arbitration. These incidents are prevented by the Arbitration Court from reaching the stage of disputes ; yet the Government wishes to scrap this effective system of policing industry and to make Parliament itself the final arbiter of conditions of labour.
– in reply - Senator Foll has taken us to America to illustrate the alleged defects of the measure now before the chamber. The honorable senator claimed that because of the lack of an arbitration system in that country pressure was being brought to bear upon tha legislature and upon the President by powerful industrial organizations. I recollect that the’ government of which the honorable senator was a member appointed certain tribunals to supplement the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration. Court, without first referring the matter to the court itself. In addition, that administration granted a warloading without reference to the Arbitration Court.
– It was a very unwise action and one of which I did not approve. If there was any excuse for it it -was the fact that we were at war at the time.
– The Minister for Health (Senator McKenna) pointed to certain disabilities that existed, and referred to the number of awards covering the mining industry.
– I wonder that there are not 130 instead of 30 volumes of awards in connexion with that industry.
– If the honorable senator were in charge, there -would bo probably 500. I ask honorable senators to realize the impossibility of those volumes being examined and considered by the Minister in charge of a department. The fear of those tribunals being interfered with by a parliament can be disregarded. I am glad to have the admission of Senator Foll that he did not agree with the action of the Government to which he referred. Possibly as ‘ we progress we shall have further admissions from the Opposition that they were not in complete agreement with action taken by the various governments with which they were associated.
Question put -
That the bill be now read a third time.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator- the Hon. Gordon Brown.)
Majority . . . . 5
– There being an absolute majority of the members of the Senate voting in the affirmative, as required by the Constitution, I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Cameron) - by leave-. - agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to provide for the broadcasting of the proceed ings of the Houses of the Parliament, and for other purposes.
Bill, presented, and read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Ashley) proposed -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay.
– There being an absolute majority of the whole number of senators present, and no dissentient voice, I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
For several years there have been suggestions that the proceedings of the Commonwealth Parliament should be broadcast. In recent times the Government has been strongly urged by persons and organizations representing all shades of political thought to afford the community facilities for listening to the debates in both Houses of the Parliament. In view of the attention which had been directed to the matter, and the growing public interest in the subject, it was decided to ask the Broadcasting Committee to investigate the proposal, to report to the Parliament as to whether broadcasting of debates would be desirable; and, if so, to what extent and in what manner the broadcasting should be undertaken. The committee presented a most useful report to the Parliament containing the result of its deliberations. The committee recommended that the Australian Broadcasting Act be amended to require the Australian Broadcasting Commission to broadcast the proceedings of the Commonwealth Parliament in such manner as may be prescribed. It also recommended that legislation be introduced to provide for the application of absolute privilege to such broadcasts.
During the course of its inquiries the committee examined several alternative methods for the broadcasting of debates but reached the conclusion that the most satisfactory arrangement would be to broadcast the proceedings of the Parliament through the main national broadcasting stations in eachState capital city and all national regional stations in country districts. These stations comprise the main national network and embrace 22 transmitters out of a total of 29 national medium-wave broadcasting stations in the Commonwealth. The committee also suggested that short-wave stations should be used to supplement the service to listeners in remote areas. One of the alternative methods considered by the committee was the use of the second national station in the capital city in each State and in the City of Newcastle. [t was indicated in the evidence submitted to the committee that the primary service area of the seven stations concerned would embrace not fewer than 60 per cent, of the listeners in the Commonwealth, and . that this percentage would be substantially increased by means of the secondary service of the seven stations concerned.
The committee also recommended that provision be made in the proposed legislation for the overall control of the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings to be vested in the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives regarding broadcasts from their respective chambers. It was further suggested that in the preparation of the relevant regulations the Australian Broadcasting Commission, the Postal Department and the parliamentary authorities be consulted regarding the selection of mutually acceptable experimental periods fcu- broadcasts from both Houses of th-i Parliament. It. is perhaps pertinent to mention that, it. has been the practice since 1936 to broadcast regularly the proceedings of Parliament in New Zealand. According to the evidence tendered to the committee, it would seem that these debates are exceedingly popular and command a large listening audience, ft is stated that the broadcasts have played an important part in the political education of the people, enabling them to be better informed on the positive and negative sides of public questions, thereby ensuring more effective functioning of the democratic system of government. It is believed that the service has forged a link between the Parliament and the people of New Zealand.
The committee found that the weight of evidence in favour of broadcasting the proceedings of the Parliament in this country is so strong that, the innovation should be introduced as soon as circumstances permit. The committee shares the views of those who have expressed the opinion that the effect of the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings would be to raise the standard of debates, enhance the prestige of the Parliament, and contribute to m;better informed -judgment throughout the community on matters affecting the common good and the public interest, nationally and internationally. It is believed by the committee that the reaction of the listening public would be wholly favorable to the service. An index to public opinion in this connexion is the increasing demand for copies of the printed debates, indicating that there is a -widening interest in Commonwealth politics. The broadcasting of the proceedings of the Commonwealth Parliament has received the careful consideration of the. Government, and it has decided that arrangements should be made for these broadcasts to be introduced during the present period of the session. The investigations which have been made haw demonstrated that it is not practicable to establish a separate network of mediumwave stations for the purpose of broadcasting the proceedings of the Parliament. In any case, the establishment of such a network would involve an expenditure in the neighbourhood of £500,000
It is, therefore, necessary to make use of existing facilities. In this connexion, whilst there is much to be said in favour of the committee’s recommendation that, the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings should be radiated through the main national station in each State capital city and the regional stations in country districts, the Government considers that it would be preferable to commence the service on some modified plan which would not cause so much disturbance to existing programme arrangements. In this regard, it is important to mention, that the implementation of the committee’s recommendation would involve the substitution of parliamentary broadcasts for entertainments, commentaries on current affairs and other i tenia, which are normally broadcast through flip main- national network. Moreover, certain stations of that network provide the only reliable service available to listeners in some country districts. In the circumstances, the Government has reached the conclusion that the service should be commenced on an experimental ba.si=, the broadcasts of parliamentary proceeding.- being confined at the outset to the second national station in the capital city of each State and in the city of Newcastle. As already mentioned, the primary service ‘ area of these seven stations covers nol less than 60 per cent, of the total population.’ The secondary coverage of the stations will enable numerous country listeners to receive the broadcasts, and in this manner the percentage would be sub- stall ti ally increased. If, as expected, the innovation proves acceptable to the public, it will be necessary to determine from rime to time the extent to which the facilities it is intended to use at first should be expanded. Accordingly, provision has been made in the bill for the employment of such of the other national stations as may be prescribed. Consideration would, of course, be given to the use of shortwave stations.
With .respect to the control of parliamentary broadcasts, it is worthy of note that, according to evidence tendered to the standing committee, the Leader of the Government controls the arrangements for the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings in New Zealand. This is, however, a matter of such importance, especially in the initial experimental stages, that the Government, holds the view that the control of the broadcasts should be virtually exercised by the Parliament itself through a. joint parliamentary committee. The bill accordingly provides for the appointment of a committee consisting of nine members, including the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. It will be appreciated that a number of details has to be settled in connexion with the apportionment, of broadcasting time between both Houses of the Parliament when they are sitting simultaneously, and in regard to the rights of members, technical and programme arrangements, and other points mentioned by the Broadcasting Committee. It is the Government’s desire that the proposed joint committee should examine all these questions and recommend to the Parliament the general principles upon which the broadcasts’ should be undertaken. After the adoption of its recommendations, by both Houses, the joint committee will, in accordance therewith, control the subsequent arrangements. From time to time questions may arise which will require prompt attention and it is, therefore, desirable that the joint, committee should have authority to delegate, to a sub-committee, its powers to determine the clays upon which, and the periods during which, the proceedings of either House shall be broadcast.
The Government accepts the view of the Broadcasting Committee that the immunities and privileges applying to debates within Parliament should be extended to the broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings. The bill before the Senate embraces the foregoing conclusions and, in anticipation of its being acceptable to Parliament, arrangements have been made, with the concurrence of- the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the erection of a control booth in each House of the Parliament, and for the installation of such equipment as is necessary to enable the broadcasts to be undertaken. It should, therefore, be practicable in the event of the early passage of the bill, to commence the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings prior to the end of the present session, the actual date being determined by the joint committee, which will, of course, be selected as soon as the measure becomes law.
Debate (on . ration by Senator McLe a v ) a d j on rn cu .
Austrai.i an Army: Acquisition of Property; Woodside Camp; Occupation Troops in Japan.
Motion (by Senator Ashley) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I should like the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) to make a. statement soon regarding the acquisition power now being exercised by the Army in respect of many properties which it occupied during the war. I speak particularly of some properties in South Australia. The Army has decided that it would be cheaper to acquire them than to return them to their owners in the same condition as that in ‘which they were received. Although it may appear to be cheaper to acquire the properties, I’ believe that their acquisition would involve such high expenditure in up-keep as would more than offset the present gain. The decision of the Army authorities to acquire these properties is causing their owners much concern. I have in mind one property of 15 acres which a very gallant soldier owner made available to the Government for hospital purposes.
He served in New Guinea, and laterhe worked as a Red Cross Commissioner in Italy. He is now serving with Unrra in Germany. The decision of the Army authorities has placed his attorney in an awkward position, because he knows that the owner of the property does not want to dispose of it. In view of the special circumstances associated with this property, I ask that the acquisition be delayed until the owner returns from Europe in the near future. 1 shall furnish the Minister with any particulars regarding this property that he may desire, and will confer with him regarding it at any suitable time
The proprietors of the woollen mills at Lobethal, in the Onkaparinga district of South Australia, are experiencing difficulty in obtaining houses for their employees. They would like to house some of their employees in huts at the vacant, Woodside camp, about 4 miles away. They wish to increase the number of their employees, but cannot do so because of the lack of accommodation for them. I should be glad if arrangements could be made to make some of the military huts at the Woodside camp available for the purpose.
The Australian occupationtroops in Japan suffer by comparison with other occupation troops in many respects. They complain of the irregularity of mails from Australia, the quality of the food supplied to them, and of the arrangements generally in respect of canteen supplies. A more important matter, however, is the need for trained doctors to deal with a contagious disease from which some of the troops are suffering. During thewar, the Australian Army had many doctors trained in the treatment of this disease, but, unfortunately, they are notin Japan with our troops; in this connexion, the men. are under the British authorities. I suggest that the Government should take steps to send to Japan some of the Army doctors with experience in the treatment of this disease.
– in reply - I shall bring tothe notice of the Acting Minister for Defence (Mr. Forde) the remarks of Senator Mattner in regard to the acquisition of properties by the Army authorities, and also the treatment of a contagious disease among Australian troops in Japan. The latter is a most important matter, and will receive the earnest attention of the Government. The honorable senator also asked that Army huts at the Woodside camp be made available to employees of the Lobethal woollen mills.I do not know whether the camp has been completely vacated by the Army authorities.
– The camp is at present vacant.
– I shall have inquiries made, and will letthe honorable senator know the result.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Air Navigation Act - Regulations- - Statutory Rules1946, No.65.
Arbitration(Public Service) . Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator. &c. -
No. 7 of 1946 - Australian Third Division Telegraphists and Postal Clerks’ Union.
No.8 of1946. - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.
No.9) of 1946 - Fourth Division Postmasters, Postal Clerks and Telegraphists Union.
Nos. 10 and 11 of 1946 - Australian Third Division Telegraphists and Postal Clerks’ Union.
Nos. 12-14 of 1946 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 15 of 1946- Federated. Public Service Assistants Association and Fourth Division Postmasters, Postal Clerks and Telegraphists’ Union.
No.16 of 1946 - Fourth Division Postmasters, Postal Clerks and Telegraphists’ Union.
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Repatriation Commission - Report for year 1944-45.
Commonwealth Bank Act -
Appointments - -T. Beckett. L. M. Birch. J. D. Kelly, J. R. Kitto. G. R. Lambert. C. H. Macphillamy, R. Taylor.
Regulations - -Statutorv Rules 1940, No.80.
Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1946. No. 75.
Commonwealth Public Service Act -
Appointments - Department of External Affairs - A. L. Douglas; Department of the Interior - G. F. H. Gee; Department of Post-war Reconstruction - A. S. Brown: Department of the Treasury - S.W Caflin; Department of Works and Housing - W. C. Alexander.
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1946. No.68.
Customs Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1946,N os. 77, 90.
Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules. 1946, Nos. 72, 73.
Distillation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules . 1946, No. 76.
Excise Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1946, No.89.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for -
Commonwealth purposes -
Batchelor, Northern Territory.
Belair, South Australia.
Charters Towers, Queensland.
Cowra, New South Wales.
Currie, King Island, Tasmania.
Gawler, South Australia.
Geraldton, Western Australia.
Herne Bay, New South Wales.
Hillman, Western Australia.
Kelso. New South Wales.
Koombal (Cairns), Queensland.
Mascot, New South Wales.
Mount Isa. Queensland.
Mulwala, New South Wales.
North Fremantle, Western Australia.
Qoduadatta, South Australia.
Rathmines, New South Wales.
Robertson, New South Wales.
Rockhampton. Queensland (2).
South Deniliquin, Now South Wales.
Wagin. Western Australia.
Yass. New South Wales.
Customs purposes -
Postal purposes -
Bunbury. Western Australia.
Edwardstown. South Australia.
Farrell’s Flat, South Australia.
Garden vale. Victoria.
Largs Bay, South Australia.
Maddington. Western Australia.
Mena Creek. Queensland.
Mo rd i al loc , V i cto r i a.
Pallamallawa, New South Wales..
Peterborough. South Australia.
Pleasant Hills, New South Wales.
Salisbury, South Australia.
Temora, New South Wales.
Nationality Act - Return for 1945.
National Security Act -
National Security (Agricultural Aids) Regulations - Order - Bran and pollard - (Restriction of sales) - Revocation.
National Security, (Capital Issues) Regulations - Order- Exemption.
National Security (ExchangeControl) Regulations - Order - Exchange control (Exemptions) (No. 2).
National Security (General) Regulations - Orders -
Bread industry (Australian Capital Territory), “(Victoria), (Western Austral ia ) - Revocations.
Control of -
Elastic materials (No. 4).
Liquor (Interstate supplies of beer) - Revocation.
Paraffin wax - Revocation.
Radio broadcast receivers - Revocation.
Regulation of transport - Revocation.
Rubber (Relaxations) (Nos. 3, 4).
Order by State Premier - New South
National Security (Industrial Property) R egu 1 a t io n s -Ord e rs -Inventionsa n d designs (282)..
National Security (Maritime Industry) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 55-57.
National Security (Meat Industry’ Control ) Regulations) - Orders - Acquisition of meat - Revocations (2).
National Security (Prices) Regulations - Orders- Nos. 2493-2516.
National Security (Rabbit Skins) Regulational - Order - Returns.
National Security (Rationing) Regulations - Order- No. 123.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 June 1946, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1946/19460619_senate_17_187/>.