8 September 1948

18th Parliament · 2nd Session

The President (Senator the Hoa. Gordon Brown) took .the chair at 3 p.m., and re;ad prayers.

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Senator AMOUR:

– Some time ago I -requested the Postmaster-General to pro-

Tide a telephone exchange at Revesby, and he subsequently .supplied an answer to :me. I now ask him whether the department has ^acquired the requisite land, -whether plans have been prepared for the -proposed telephone exchange .-and when we can hope that this very urgent facility will be provided ?

Senator CAMERON:
Postmaster-General · VICTORIA · ALP

– I shall supply as soon as possible the information which the honorable senator seeks.

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Senator LARGE:

– Some time , ago, I understand, steps were being taken to draft an amendment to the lunacy law in order to make uniform the provision now operating in some States that lunacy is a sufficient ground for divorce. Can the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral say when the relevant legislation is likely to be introduced?

Senator McKENNA:
Minister for Health · TASMANIA · ALP

– The law relating to lunacy is a matter for the States and not for the Commonwealth. The honorable senator, apparently, is referring to the ‘possibility of some uniform divorce law being introduced by the Commonwealth under the power it enjoys in that behalf. The Attorney-General has examined the possibility of a uniform divorce law operating throughout Australia and has had the divorce laws of the various States collated with the view of a general review of the whole situation. The matter has not come to my notice as his temporary successor in the office of Attorney-General, but I understand that he is keenly interested in the proposal. It is not easy to solve. There are all kinds of difficulties to face and a great number of interested bodies to be consulted. I can assure the honorable senator that the Attorney-General has the question of a uniform divorce law in mind ; but, to my knowledge, there is no prospect of the legislation being introduced this year.

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Senator MURRAY:

– In view of the proposed reduction of the petrol ration in this country to operate from the 1st October, will the Minister for Shipping and Fuel give favorable consideration to the needs of fishermen, particularly those engaged in catching barracoota or other shoal fish ? I point out that in the fishing industry there is a flush season during which fishermen frequently have to pursue shoals for a considerable distance.

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

– In the implementation of the rationing proposals consideration will be given to the needs of fishermen. Theywill be assured of ample supplies ofpetrol during the flush season in orderthat their livelihood will not be endangered, but in the off seasons, of course, supplieswill be reduced.

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– Is the Minister for Shipping and Fuel aware that many primary producers who use power kerosene are complaining both of its quality and thedifficulty of securing sufficient for their requirements? If so, will the Minister order an inquiry into the reason for the poor quality, and the possibility of making adequate supplies available in the near future?

Senator ASHLEY:

– I have not heard any complaints about the quality of power kerosene, but representations have been made to me regarding the shortage of supplies in certain districts. This matter has been investigated by my department, and if the honorable senator knows of any particular district in which power kerosene is not readily available, or of any consumer engaged in primary production or any other industry who is not receiving sufficient power kerosene to meet his requirements, I shall be glad to attend to the matter.

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Senator ARNOLD:

– Is the Minister for Shipping and Fuel aware that the Newcastle works of Lysaghts Limited are to close at the end of this week owing to a shortage of zinc? Is he further aware that zinc producers in this country have achieved almost a record production? Are these producers withholding zinc supplies from Australian manufacturers in order to obtain the higher price ruling for this metal overseas? If so, will the Minister take steps to ensure that the Australian manufacturers of zinc products such as galvanized iron shall be able to continue production?

Senator ASHLEY:

– Lack of zinc supplies at the Newcastle works of Lysaghts

Limited has caused unemployment on several occasions during the past five or six months. First, an attempt was made to place the responsibility for the shortage upon the lack of shipping, but subsequently that excuse was discontinued. As most honorable senators are no doubt aware, the real reason for the absence of zinc supplies from the Australian market is that the Australian price for this commodity is £20 a ton whereas world parity is more than £100 a ton. Consequently, producers are endeavouring to export as much zinc as possible. An examination is being made of the possibility of restricting export licences for zinc until there has been accumulated in this country a stock pile sufficient to ensure the continued working of establishments such as Lysaghts Limited, which are engaged in the production of galvanized iron and other zinc products.

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– In view of the real and growing fear of the intrusion of bureaucratic dictation into the personal lives of the people, will the Minister for Health state whether or not he approves of the ultimatum delivered by a State Minister in New South Wales that doctors employed at the Herne Bay housing settlement must use the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Formulary or resign their positions?

Senator McKENNA:

– I fear that the honorable senator has been reading certain newspaper reports when he refers so glibly to bureaucratic control. That term is generally applied to activities in the Commonwealth sphere by people who are politically opposed to the Government. Apart from the fact that it is a gross reflection upon people who must carry on essential public services, I point out to the honorable senator that what has happened in New South Wales is a matter of State activity and has no reference whatever to action by or on behalf of the Commonwealth. I do not propose to comment upon any activities that a State has undertaken, hut I do say that the action of the New South Wales Government was taken without any request being made by the Commonwealth Government.

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

That leave of absence for three months be granted to Senator Tangney on account of absence overseas.

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

That leave of absence for three months be granted to Senator Cooper on account of absence overseas.

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– I ask the Minister for Trade and Customs whether the supply of meat to the United Kingdom has been maintained or increased, since meat rationing was abandoned in Australia ?

Minister for Trade and Customs · QUEENSLAND · ALP

– The Government received an assurance from the meat industry that the discontinuance of rationing would not affect the supply of meat to Great Britain, but it is too early yet to say whether there has been any increase or reduction of meat exports.

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Senator RANKIN:

asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact, as alleged in the New Zealand House of Representatives recently, that Australia has cancelled orders for large quantities of sawn timber as a result of the New Zealand adjustment of its exchange rate?
  2. If so, will the Minister supply the Senate with details of these and any other order* which have been cancelled for a similar reason?

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

  1. The Department of Trade and Customs has no information regarding the cancellation of orders on New Zealand for large quantities of sawn timber as alleged. It would be regarded as natural, however, that Australian importer* would review outstanding orders on New Zealand following the appreciation of the New Zealand currency which will of course have the effect of increasing the costs of importation. Departmental inquiries have disclosed that the terms of sale of some shipments which have come to hand since the exchange adjustment was made are under negotiation with the Nev Zealand suppliers and that arrangements for forward buying of some kinds of timber have been suspended temporarily in order that the position may be re-assessed. On the other hand it was’ ascertained that as regards some special kinds of New Zealand timbers there has been no interruption in existing import arrangements as a result of the exchange position.
  2. See answer to No. 1.

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Merchant Marine


asked the

Minister for Shipping and Fuel, upon notice - 1, Is it a fact, as reported in a. Brisbane paper recently, that Communist influence is interrupting Australian coastal shipping and causing many merchant marine officers to leave the service?

  1. Is it a fact, as reported by a former officer, that one Sydney-based coastal vessel has not completed two Rockhampton-Sydney voyages in the last six months? 3, Is it a fact that every member of the

Commonwealth shipping service is obliged to join the Merchant Service Guild of Australasia in which, it is alleged, there are distinct communistic tendencies?

  1. Is it a fact that the guild’s aims and objects, to which every member must adhere, include a ban on private ownership on land?
Senator ASHLEY:

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : - 1.I have not seen the report referred to by the honorable senator and am not aware of any Communist activities which are. at the present time, interrupting shipping services. I cannot speak for the private shipping companies, but so far as Commonwealthowned vessels are concerned no officers have left the service for this reason.

  1. I have been unable to secure any confirmation of the report that a Sydney-based coastal vessel completed two RockhamptonSydney voyages in six months. However, if the honorable senator can furnish me with the name of the vessel concerned I shall have inquiries made.
  2. All deck officers on the Commonwealthowned ships are required to be members of the Merchant Service Guild.
  3. So far as I am aware the Merchant Service Guild has no Communist affiliations. I have no knowledge of the view of the union in regard to the ownership of land.

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– I lay on the table reports of the Tariff Board on the following subjects : -

Aviation sparking plugs.

Circuit breakers or switch units.

Gloves (Interim Report)

Gloves n.e.i., including mittens.

Hand and breast drills and carpenters’ braces.

Spectacle frames and mountings, optical lenses and blanks.

Ordered to be printed.

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Debate resumed from the 2nd September (vide page 28), on motion by Senator O’Byrne -

That the following Address-in-Reply be agreed to: -

To His Excellency the Governor-General - May it PleaseYour Excellency:

We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition · Queensland

– I congratulate the mover and the seconder of the Address-in-Reply on their speeches. “Whilst I do not subscribe to all the statements which they made, or to all the conclusions that they reached, I say in all sincerity that their speeches were in keeping with the highest traditions of this chamber. I associate the Opposition with the expressions of loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, the King, and, in particular, with the sentiments expressed by Senator O’Byrne in regard to the forthcoming visit of Their Majesties the King and Queen and the Princess Margaret. Apart from the pleasure which the Royal visit will give to the Australian people and the opportunity which it will afford them to entertain Their Majesties, the occasion will also enable us to demonstrate to the world that we are a united people. It will afford us an opportunity to show a troubled and distraught world that not only are the Australian people united in a common loyalty to the Throne, but also that our country is a vital, cooperative and loyal member of the British Commonwealth. I do not know to what particular press reports Senator O’Byrne referred in his address, but I dissociate myself completely from any expressions which tend to be discourteous to, and which reflect upon His Excellency the Governor-General in any way. Any criticism which I may make of the Speech delivered by the Governor-General should not be taken as any personal reflection, because it is known that the common practice is for such speeches to be prepared by the government of the day. Should any one not know that that is the practice, iti would! be apparent on reading the speech. Each of several Ministers wrote a little testimonial- “ little” in all else except modesty - in regard to his own department, and put on. record a tribute to the administration of the particular department. The speech was lacking in fire, in imagination, and in any real interest. The one consolation that the people of Australia, can draw from the trend of events is that very shortly His Excellency will be- favoured with wiser and more statesmanlike advisers. Satisfaction seems to have been expressed in the Speech at the expansion of civil employment. Without looking at the figures one would have reason to be satisfied that people are being absorbed in civil employment, but a close examina-tion of the method by which these people have been absorbed gives us great cause for worry. On a subsequent occasion, when dealing with the budget, I propose going more fully into other matters, upon which I shall touch but lightly now. I draw the attention of the Senate to the colossal rise in the number of persons employed in the Commonwealth and State Public Service, and by other statutory bodies. Three years have elapsed since the whole of the man-power,, of the country was mobilized to resist the enemy which threatened us, yet many more are now employed in the Public Service than then. I submit that it is an anomaly that the number of persons employed in governmental activities three years after the cessation of hostilities should be higher than during the war, and that far too great a burden is being placed on the taxpayer in the form of administrative overhead expenses. Approximately 575,000 persons are now employed by government, semi-government and municipal authorities. Of that number the Commonwealth employs 162,000, which is more than double the number so employed in 193S-39. According to no less an authority than Colin Clark, the percentage of public revenue which can safely be absorbed in public administration is 25 per cent. The figure in Australia has recently risen above that limit, it being now over 30 per cent. In that respect we have passed breaking point. Unless we effect a substantial economy in government adminis- trative expenditure something, must break. It is not a question of putting public servants out, of employment. There is a tremendous shortage of manpower in private enterprise, and while that shortage exists, we have an excellent opportunity to cut down our present huge expenditure on public administration and allow many persons now employed by government departments to be profitably and gainfully employed in private enterprise. We have the- extraordinary anomaly of a Commonwealth employment agency, a government utility, or enterprise, which costs this country approximately £1,000,000 a year. That work absorbs the. time and effort of capable men who now have ample opportunity to obtain profitable and gainful employment in private enterprise. Those employees are occupying valuable office space which private enterprise sadly needs. At a time of full employment, when every available man will be readily snapped up by private enterprise, what is the sense of having a Commonwealth employment agency? Yet, we incur this colossal, needless and wasteful expenditure.

Reference is also made in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech to the International Trade Organization and the work done by the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) at Havana. All I wish to say in respect of that matter at this juncture is that in chasing about the world looking for multilateral agreements with nations which, however worthy they may be, have little in common with us geographically, racially or economically, we should take great care that, whilst we are prepared to make a contribution to a better economic rearrangement of the world, we do not lose the substance for the shadow. We should realize that our economic welfare and future greatness are interwoven with Empire unity, fiscally and in every other respect.

The Governor-General’s Speech also refers to defence. It is difficult to appreciate how anybody can be satisfied with our attitude on defence and the progress that we have made in that sphere. On this matter 1 propose to quote certain remarks made by General Blarney, who led our forces in this part of the world to victory. So far as I know, General Blarney nas no political affiliations. He is held; in the. very highest esteem as a military leader, and as one who is well versed in and familiar with the requirements of a war of either offence or de- fence. These are his remarks made as recently as the 16th July last -

Australia will soon find she has a contemptuous military force- which will be unable to put one division of thoroughly trained men in the field in an. emergency. Australia’s so-called defence plan is as tall’ a defence plan as the story that there is a man in the moon. “… The volunteer system was an unreal approach to defence, and would bog down this time as it had in the past,” the war-time CommanderinChief of the Australian Army (General Sir Thomas Blarney) said yesterday.

Sir Thomas said that any defence scheme that did not allow for the requirements of industry, the supply for the services, and the services themselves was unrealistic and doomed to failure.

There was little or no time lag to-day between the declaration of war and the start of an offensive, and all nations had to be prepared to swing their industrial, supply and fighting machines into immediate action. “In my experience the voluntary system has never been a success, and it will not be a success this time”, he said. “ Apart from being unrealistic it is unfair that a handful of enthusiasts should be trained and suffer the ordeal of taking the shock of the enemy for the benefit of all. “ It is obvious that all young men should be trained to defend their country in the sphere in which they can serve it best. To ignore that is to ignore fate and the lessons of history.’”

Sir Thomas said that he welcomed the news that New Zealand was considering the introduction of universal training, and he hopes to see a planned programme for Australian defence, taking in all spheres of civil defence, industry, supply and aggression, put into operation. “ The time is here already for the adequate training of all men whose duty it is to defend Australia “, he said. “ There must be no playing around with small voluntary schemes or any scheme which does not seek to gear the whole nation for war if it is forced on us.”

I again urge the Government to take a more realistic view of our obligations with respect to defence and to the part we can play in a co-ordinated scheme of Empire, American and Australian defence. ‘This is not a matter of party politics. There should be the greatest co-ordination between Great Britain, the United States of America and ourselves !based on the considered advice of the experts of those countries in consultation with our own experts.

Senator FRASER:

– Does the honorable senator suggest that that is not being done ?


– If that is being done, there is very little to show for it. Another point which I again emphasize, having mentioned it on previous occasions, is the puerile attitude adopted by the Government with regard to Manus Island. That island was drenched with British, Dutch and American blood. The Americans expended, up to £40,000,000 in defence installations on the island, and they were prepared to continue to accept the responsibility for the maintenance of those defences. However, this Government iai a big-little Australian way said, “ No, we will look after it.” I submit that we are not capable of looking after Manus Island. We could have relied upon the generous gesture made by the American people when they offered to maintain it as a bastion in the Pacific against any future aggressor. Instead’, we shall probably make a mess of that task. We have not. the manpower, or the ability, to maintain Manus Island as a defence outpost. In the event of another war in the Pacific we shall probably shriek out again to the generous American people to come over and defend that island as well as ourselves, When we had the opportunity to show our appreciation of a generous ally whose fighting men shed their blood freely in defence of Australia when safeguarding that island, instead of adopting a realistic attitude in the matter we acted like a small spoiled boy and told the Americans that they would ha>ve to get out, because Manus Island is within our mandate. Yet, as I have said, in the event of another war in the Pacific we shall probably shriek to the Americans to come over here again and take over that island which- we refused to. hand over to. them when they requested us to do so.

The Governor-General’s Speech refers to- the great contribution which Australia has made to the deliberations of the United Nations. With all the small peoples in the world, I pray most earnestly that the United Nations organization will be a success. It has ideals which, if they could be put into effect, would guarantee to a suffering world a just peace and prosperity for a considerable time. But any one who believes that that will i.o::.e a Lout soon is hopelessly unrealistic. In the first place, there has been a surrender to a power that does not subscribe to the moral code which might restrain and direct a nation of the western civilization. “When, at the original meeting of the United Nations, it was suggested that proceedings be opened with a prayer, the proposal was rejected because the name of God might be offensive to the great Russian people who are not only atheistic but also anti-God. So the whole organization started with virtually its members resigned to the fact that the moral law as we of the western civilization know it, would not necessarily play any part in the deliberations and the conclusions of the various assemblies. The settlement of the world is not an economic matter; it is essentially a moral matter. Et is a question of justice, and in terms of western civilization, justice can be found only in the observance of the moral law. It is true that that law has never been fully observed by even the western nations; in fact it has been betrayed frequently by them. Nevertheless it is the law on which western civilization is based, and there cannot be a just or lasting peace until that law is again acknowledged by ‘the world. While Russia continues to proclaim its public and unashamed renunciation of all that that moral code stands for, there is little prospect of the United Nations giving to a war-weary and frightened people that sense of peace and security which we all pray they will one day enjoy. In regard to the United Nations, again I urge that we should not sacrifice the substance for the shadow. From the British and Australian point of view the greatest contribution to world peace can be made by a strong British Empire. This necessitates the closest collaboration and co-operation between the units of that Empire. In complete harmony between the British Empire and the United States of America lies the best prospect of the peace that we all desire.

I add my congratulations to the Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator

Ashley) for his attempts to straighten out the difficulties that confront a very important group in our industrial life, namely, the coal-miners. I read with interest the report of the approach made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) and by the Minister for Shipping and Fuel to the miners. That approach was wise indeed. If there is reasonable ground for complaint or discontent amongst theminers, it is a wise and courageous government that will go to the men,, ascertain what is worrying them, and, if possible, have the causes of discontent removed. I urge, however, that once having settled the points in dispute, removed the causes of irritation, and decided on what is a fair bargain, that bargain should be adhered to by both employers and employees. Unless that is done we shall have nothing but industrial anarchy. If there is an injustice then by all means let us find it and have it removed; but having donethat, the law as then decided should heobserved . I call upon the Government to ensure that that shall be done.

I note that notwithstanding the firm plank in the Labour party’s platform that there shall be no appeal from the High Court of Australia to the Privy Council, and in spite of the fact that the people of this country have shown many times that they are not socialist minded and do not favour government monopolies, the Australian Government has decided to appeal to the Privy Council against the High Court’s decision on the nationalization of banking. All I can say is that the Government and its supporters are tigers for punishment. If they would direct even a fraction of their zeal and energy to a worthy cause, they would deserve the highest commendation of the Australian people. Before the expensive litigation on the Banking Act started, I urged the Government to include one further question in the last referendum. What I had in mind was an expression of the will of the people on the question of Constitution alteration. I pointed out that the addition of another question would not add to the cost of the referendum and that an affirmative vote on that question would enable the Government to go ahead with its nationalization proposals without fear of their rejection by the High Court. However, my proposal was turned down in spits of its advantages of a saving of expense and time. It is said that already litigation over the Banking Act has cost more than £100,000, and people of this country still do not know how far the Government is prepared to go, or what the ultimate decision of the Privy Council will be. This is a matter which vitally and intimately effects the people of Australia, but the Government, although it has had an opportunity to consult them, has refrained from doing so for two reasons. The first is that the Government has the grossest contempt for the people of Australia. It does not care two hoots what the people of Australia think. Its attitude is: “We have the numbers j we shall do what we like”. It is true that the Government has the numbers for the time being, but the real reason why the opinion of the Australian people was not sought on the banking issue was that the Government knew very well that hd ulan would be turned down even more emphatically than the recent referendum proposals were rejected. However, that is a matter upon which the people of the Commonwealth will have something to say at the next federal elections. I am sure that they will resent very keenly the needless expenditure of £100,000 for a purpose which they would never tolerate.

I was pleased to hear the tribute to the excellent work of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, but I do urge the Government to take a more generous view of the remuneration paid to the able and talented men associated with that organization. They are a credit to Australia and are outstanding leaders in the particular branches of science to which they have devoted their lives. Unfortunately, we are losing some of the best of these men. Others apparently stay merely because of love of their country and devotion to their work. Those are qualities which should not cost a worthy man financial sacrifice and worry. A recent Commonwealth Gazette invited applications for positions for which university degrees were a prerequisite to appointment. The commencing salary for each post was less than £400 a year. Yet boy porters, from the age of nineteen years upwards, can get almost the same amount from the Victorian Railways Department. It is a sad state of affairs when men who have sacrificed themselves, scorned delights, and lived laborious days for the purpose of equipping themselves mentally to make some worthwhile contribution to their country, are not given an adequate monetary reward.

Senator Nash:

– Do they not suffer because they follow Liberal policy?


– The Labour party has been in power now for about seven years and, whatever ills it may have inherited, it has had that length of time in which to cure them instead of making bad infinitely worse.

It is an absurd fact that the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, like “ death with the tail-light on “, is still flickering. The Minister for Health (Senator McKenna) may be able to give us additional details about the scheme, but, from the little information that is available in Queensland and New South Wales, it appears that the people do not want free medicine.

Senator Nash:

– That is only what the honorable senator says.


– If the people wanted free medicine there would be a public demand for it. The suggestion that the scheme has not been successful merely because of the attitude of the British Medical Association - an association composed of men who are outstand-ing in their sense of public service - is ridiculous. There is some reason much more deep-seated than that. I submit that it is that the people do not want this sort of thing. If they did want it the scheme would be a success. There was no public demand for it before it wasintroduced, and that is borne out by the fact that there is no demand for it now. Subject to anything that the Ministermay have to say, I regard the scheme as a colossal and pathetic failure. There is a limit to which the paternalism of the State can go. No self-respecting man wants the State to usurp his place as a father and the provider for his home. The duty of the Government is to legislate so that industry can afford to pay decent wages which will allow the breadwinner to bring a good income into his home, provide reasonably for the requirements of his family, and raise his children so that they may have every opportunity to express their personalities and find their own niches in the world according to their desires, capacities and industry.

I refer now to another matter of which the Senate should take a very serious view. The Governor-General’s Speech indicated that the Government intends to establish a Commonwealth shipping line. People have short memories, and they, may have forgotten that the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers sustained an operating loss of £2,500,000 and was eventually sold at a capital loss of about £7,000,000.

Senator LARGE:

– That amount has not been paid yet.


– That is by the way. I come now to the point to which I take strong exception. Whereas I commend Ministers for getting to know the requirements of men engaged in industries over which they have temporary control, I object most strongly to matters of policy, which should be debated in this chamber, being notified to people, whether they be firemen or captains of ships, before any reference to such matters is made in this House. The proposal to establish a shipping line should have been mentioned in the first instance in the Senate and we should have had an opportunity to debate it. However, the first intimation to the public of the Government’s intention was contained in a note from the responsible Minister to a fireman on board a ship. Nothing is more calculated to bring the Parliament into disrepute than this acknowledgment of so-called responsibility to people outside the Parliament. Nationally, at all events, the Minister is responsible to us in this chamber, not to anybody outside it, whether he be a fireman or a captain employed on a coastal ship. Nothing is more calculated to damage the prestige of the Parliament than such an acknowledgment of mastery where there should be none.

I congratulate the Government and the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) upon the splendid work that is being done under difficulties to foster immigration. Grave difficulties have to be overcome, and I consider that the attitude of theGovernment towards immigration is highly commendable. I am sorry that most of the criticism of its immigration policy that has come to my notice hasbeen very ill-founded and ill-considered. Recently, some splendid types of displaced persons arrived in Australia from countries which have suffered the ravages of fascism and nazi-ism to start life anew and with the idea, of living here under our free institutions and becoming Australian citizens in due course. However, a very powerful organized body of industrialists is prepared to deny these unfortunate people a means of livelihood in this country. I urge theGovernment to ensure that these migrants shall be afforded opportunities to live a free and open life here in keeping with the laws of our land and in accordance with our standards of living. I trust that it will take strong action against any individual or any body of men which attempts to frustrate the immigration policy that it has pronounced.

The Postmaster-General (Senator- Cameron) also wrote a very nice testimonial for himself for inclusion in the Governor-General’s Speech. I congratulate the officers of his department upon the excellent work that they do. My personal experience of postal officials throughout the eastern States has been one of high efficiency and great courtesy. However, I consider that we should berelieved of. the postal surcharges introduced d urinE the war. The profits of the department are substantial, and too much of its income is being diverted to capital expenditure. Instead, thevery heavy charges levied upon people who have occasion to use the postal and telegraphic services should be reduced.

Senator Nash:

– The honorable senator .considers that the facilities should be reduced ?


– No, I donot. On the contrary, I consider that more facilities could be provided because of the profits which the Postal Department is making. The Speech of the Governor-General contains reference to the Government’s intention to increase the amount of warpensions, and it is suggested that an extra- 5s. a week is to be paid. In my opinion such an increase is, in the light of the present conditions, wholly inadequate. During the last 25 years the basic wage has been increased by 46 per cent. I do not complain of that; perhaps the increase should have been greater. However, that is a matter which depends on the value of work done, and on how much the workers can earn, but the fact remains that during that period war pensions have been increased by only 19 per cent. For a period of twenty years until 1943 there was no increase whatever of war pensions.

Senator Nash:

– What were the antiLabour governments doing, during that period ?


– They were not solely responsible, and, in any event, the cost of living spiralled much more sharply in the last four or five years than it did in any preceding period. However, my purpose is not to defend any former government which failed to make adequate recompense to those who served this country in its hour of need. The Australian Labour party has been in office in this country for the last seven years, and although during that period the basic wage and the cost of living have risen in an unprecedented manner, the rate of pension payable to men who were maimed in their country’s service has not been increased. I consider that the Government’s proposal to increase war pensions by 5s. a week is quite inadequate and is in no sense commensurate with the merits of their case.

Senator Large:

– I think that the honorable senator is on the wrong side of the chamber.


– The honorable senator need not worry about me, because I shall be on that side of the chamber after the next election.

Senator Sandford:

– We shall still occupy the government benches.


– It is a pity that the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Barnard), who administers the rehabilitation scheme for ex-servicemen, has not a little more political acumen. The rehabilitation scheme is a good one, but unfortunately it is not effective. One reason to which I attribute its ineffective ness is that the Government is not prepared to insist upon a fair thing being done. The reason for its apathy is the resistance offered to the scheme by certain trade unions. The fact that 2,359 ex-servicemen who availed themselves of training benefits under the rehabilitation scheme last year, abandoned their courses of training for reasons other than failure to pass examinations indicates that there is something rotten in the State of Denmark. In New South Wales there are about 5,000 ex-servicemen whose applications for courses of training in the building trade have been approved, but so far none of them has been absorbed by that industry. Whether the same state of affairs characterizes other industries I do not know, but in no other industry can more good be done for the greatest number than in that of building homes. Every conceivable effort should be made to increase the number engaged in erecting homes for the people, yet we find that in New South Wales alone between 4,000 and 5,000 ex-servicemen, who are anxious to be trained for work in that industry, and whose applications have been approved by the Repatriation Commission, have been prevented from doing so by the trade unions concerned. That is a shocking state of affairs, and one which should not be tolerated or allowed to continue.

I associate myself most cordially with the concluding paragraph of the GovernorGeneral’s Speech in which he expressed the sincere hope that Divine Providence may guide our deliberations and further the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth. I believe that there are many matters of internal and external concern which can, and should, be raised above the hurly-burly and contentious atmosphere of party politics. For instance, the matter of strengthening the association between ourselves and the other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations should not be made the subject of party political controversy. I am sure that a policy of close association with our kindred States of the British Commonwealth, and of increased cooperation with the great Republic of the United States of America, would obtain the support of an overwhelming majority of the Australian people. At the moment it is difficult to say what our foreign policy is because the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) is abroad. However, matters of foreign policy are essentially subjects for discussion and debate in this chamber and in the House of Representatives. By full and free discussion of such matters we might be able to attain unity and continuity of foreign policy regardless of the political complexion of the government of the day. Continuity is the distinguishing feature of British foreign policy, and whether the conduct of that policy be entrusted to Anthony Eden or to Ernest Bevin, its application is clear, connected and continuous. Because of that continuity of policy on international matters the views of Great Britain are listened to with respect in the councils of the world.

Perhaps our greatest need in domestic matters is the attainment of peace in industry. I have no doubt that a common basis of approach could be devised for employers and employees whereby the provision of just terms of employment could be arranged by the people immediately concerned in an entirely non-political atmosphere. The conduct of industrial relations should be removed altogether from the realm of party politics, so that neither side will be actuated by any political motive and so seek to obtain some unfair advantage over the other. The intervention of political considerations in industrial relations must inevitably react to the detriment of the country. I believe that we are essentially one people. “We are the inheritors of a common tradition, and Ave must face, as a united people, the dangers and difficulties which lie ahead of us. The solution of our difficulties will certainly not be found in the petty bickerings and the wild rantings which we hear from time to time. The only effect of such conduct is to engender bitterness where none should exist, and to revive old hatreds which should long ago have died. In the interests of all Australians we must strive to direct our steps along the path of unity and co-operation.

Senator LARGE:
New South Wales

– It is with great pleasure that 1 express my appreciation of the splendid ‘ Speech which His Excellency the

Governor-General delivered in this chamber only a week ago. With all respect to the previous occupants of that high office, I have never heard a speech delivered with such clarity and purpose as that which characterized the present Governor-General’s address. It was also a splendid speech because of its matter. The legislative programme outlined in the Speech is probably the finest ever to have been presented to any Englishspeaking Parliament, and I am sure thai. His Excellency must have enjoyed delivering such a comprehensive and bene.ficient programme. I join with Senator O’sullivan in expressing appreciation of the manner in which the AddressinReply was moved and seconded in this chamber, but I join issue with him on one point in which he dissociated himself from certain utterances by Senator O’Byrne. I feel almost like Don Quixote. I got up in all my armour ready to tilt at windmills, but found that they had disappeared. I anticipated from Senator O’sullivan a barrage of hostile comment such as we have been accustomed to hear from him in the past, but evidently, in the few months that he has been associated with us the honorable senator has seen the light. He is coming more and more our way each time he speaks and I expect that his next move will be to stand either as an independent, or as an Australian Labour party candidate. He says that he will be on this side of the chamber.

Senator O’sullivan:

– As a supporter of another government.

Senator LARGE:

– In joining issue with the honorable senator in his dissociation from Senator O’Byrne’s criticism

Senator O’Sullivan:

– I dissociated myself from any discourtesy extended to the Governor-General.

Senator LARGE:

– I beg the honorable senator’s pardon. I understood that he had said that he dissociated himself from Senator O’Byrne’s criticism of the press for its lack of courtesy to the GovernorGeneral. I am sorry for that misunderstanding, and withdraw my remarks. It is another notch in favour of Senator O’Sullivan. I thought that the honorable senator was dissociating himself from

Senator O’Byrne’s remarks regarding the awful heading which appeared above an article in the Sydney Daily Telegraph of last Wednesday. The heading was, “ McKell Opens Parliament “. That was terrible. Later, it is true, that paper referred to him as “ His Excellency “ and “ the Governor-General “. I have heard a lot of howling about the subversive actions of the “ Comrades “ - I never call them “ Communists “ - from time to time, but that heading on an article in a daily newspaper was an insult to the King through his direct representative.

Senator Ward:

– They might treat the King the same way!

Senator LARGE:

– I do not think even the Daily Telegraph would be so base as to do that. Opposition senators in this chamber, and members in another place, frequently base questions on what appears in the Daily Telegraph, but honorable senators have never known me to do that. I have frequently noticed honorable senators of the Opposition referring to copies of the Daily Telegraph and then asking a Minister if his attention had been drawn to such and such an article. 1 have before described the Daily Telegraph and other newspapers-

Senator Lamp:

– As sausage wrappers!

Senator LARGE:

– I have regarded them as a source from which honorable senators of the Opposition are fed with the questions which they ask at question time. Without those newspapers to quote from, and without their rounds? men collecting something of dubious origin, I am sure our friends of the Opposition in this chamber, and in another place, would have very little upon which to frame their questions. It is tragic that their source of information is poisoned. Honorable senators will remember that to-day Senator O’sullivan asked a question based on an article which appeared in the Daily Telegraph, and that it proved to be a “ phoney “ as usual. It is high time that our press recognized that it has a moral responsibility, because, after all, it is an educational medium, a channel through which people’s politics have been only too frequently moulded. I am sorry to have to offer such criticism, but I am not afraid of any attack that the press can make on me. I know that it is only by tearing some words out of their context that they can ever get anything on which to base a charge or an imputation against any member of this chamber. They have become expert in the lawyer’s art of lying by inference. So much I have to say with regard to that article, and I deplore it very much.

If Senator O’Sullivan is going to remain in opposition, I sympathize with him that he could find so little to criticize in the Governor-General’s Speech. He had to make much of very little. He referred to the- fact that there had been a great increase in the number of federal public servants, and added that the Commonwealth Employment Agency was now costing about £1,000,000 yearly to maintain. He seems to have delved back into the history of politics and economics in this country. By delving a little deeper the honorable senator would realize that it was a far more expensive proposition to maintain 250,000 unemployed, which was necessary during the time that the party he supports was in power.

Senator Ashley:

– That was the position at the outbreak of war.

Senator LARGE:

– Yes. At the outbreak of war there were 250,000 unemployed in this country whose maintenance cost far more than £1,000,000 a year. I consider that an expenditure of £1.000.000 a year in order to put people in their right niches and to keep up our standard of full employment is fully warranted. Then the honorable senator went on to discuss something outside the Speech, and he regretted that it had not been included in the Speech. He referred to General Blarney and that officer’s criticism of what he termed the imperfect state of our army. He stated that General Blarney had said that in the event of war he was afraid Australia would be unable to put 1,000,000 men in the field. We have more people in Australia now than at the outbreak of war, and I know that when the Curtin Government took over the reins of government and organized a full 100 per cent, war effort in Australia, the strength of our forces was so close to 1,000,000 that it did not matter. I challenge Senator O’sullivan to point to any other dominion whose combatant forces exceeded one in six of the population. We exceeded that proportion in this country. I regard that as a little bit of unwarranted criticism. Indeed, the honorable senator’s criticism as a whole was very weak. He said that although the United Nations was doing good work and he favoured it, he hoped, although he had fears in this respect, that it prove to be a means to end war. He immediately added that our best safeguard lay in the grouping of our forces with those of the United States of America, the Dominions and Great Britain. Tha”t statement reveals a bad state of mind. I have no illusions about the United Nations organization. I know that following World War I. the nations established an instrument which they hoped would be the means of preventing future wars. I refer to the League of Nations, which, on previous occasions, I described as a bull-dog without teeth, because it had no punitive power. However, the United Nations, apparently, will possess a degree of punitive power. Even should its teeth not be well developed, it will have some teeth, and, therefore, it will have some prospect of becoming an instrument which will make war most unprofitable to an aggressor. However, I say to Senator O’Sullivan that I do not look upon preparedness and the grouping of powers as means to end war. Instead, we must destroy the causes of war; and we shall not do so by continuing along the path we are travelling to-day. The causes of war lie deep down in man’s acquisitiveness. That causes not only international trouble but also most of our domestic troubles. How can we cure that defect? I am proud to belong to a party which is moving along the right line. We are endeavouring to provide so comprehensive a scheme of social welfare that when it is implemented it will guarantee economic security to our people. Let us see what that means. To-day many young people going into industry have before them the examples of parents and acquaintances who have found it necessary to work beyond the age of 60 years, and consequently, they start their industrial life with the fixed determination to trap every penny. Without exception, all of us started our industrial life with that determination, realizing the necessity to put- by a nest-egg in order to protect ourselves against want and suffering in the evening of our lives. Our people still have the urge to do that because of their fear of to-morrow. Consequently, throughout their industrial life they have that fixed determination. However, if we can guarantee to our young people comfort and security in the evening of their lives as well as economic security during their industrial life on the one condition that they live a decent, clean life as lawabiding citizens, we shall destroy the desire to acquire, the grasping avarice of man. How many of us, looking back upon our lives, could say that we have not taken a very fine point with Tom Jones, or another of our acquaintances, trusting that he would not discover our deception? We have done that in order to get the best of a deal. It is that attitude which encourages the worst elements in our nature. I venture to say that by guaranteeing economic security to the average youngster, pro- vided he lives a clean, decent life, we shall build up a higher morale in the community, and the nation as a whole will be composed of better citizens. That is the only way to meet this problem. I am sorry to admit that it may be a slow process; but that is the only way we can destroy the elements which cause war. Provided we guarantee to our people decent living standards and give to them an assurance that so long as they live decent, clean lives, they need have no fear of to-morrow, we shall become a better nation and be a beacon light to the rest of the world. In that way we shall make great strides towards destroying the causes of war. I commend those sentiments to Senator O’Sullivan and ask him to ponder over them, because his demeanour is such that I fear he needs more coaching. I am sure that with such coaching he will dissociate himself . not from Senator O’Byrne but from the party with which he has been consorting for so long.

Senator Collings:

– “ Consorting “ is good.

Senator LARGE:

– I intend to stress that point, because I believe that Senator O’sullivan is of a much better type than the crowd he is associating with appears to be. He howled about the Government’s intention to appeal to the Privy Council in the banking case, and said that we must be gluttons for punishment. He is an optimist. I, and I believe all of my colleagues, are quite happy about what the outcome of that appeal to the Privy Council is likely to be. I believe that it will destroy a lot of the hopes of the Opposition parties. I believe that the Privy Council’s decision will .be favorable to the Government. Indeed, I am only concerned about how soon will it be given. The sooner the better ; because the reaction of the people towards the putrid press of this country, the insincere Liberal party and the “ money bags “ manipulated by the banks, will be to dash the hopes of those elements of ever again winning popular support. That decision, I believe, will also- dry up the source of the Liberal party’s election funds. The private banks once they have lost their resources, will not be interested in the least in putting money into the Liberal party’s funds. I do not know where it will then get its funds. Indeed, already I visualize that party running around, a rabble. That is why I am hopeful that Senator O’Sullivan and his gracious and charming colleague, Senator Rankin, will in the not distant future be with us; and we shall then fight a common enemy. Supporters of the Government are quite happy about what the outcome of the appeal to the Privy Council is likely to be.

Senator O’Sullivan said that the Labour part had been in power for seven years. Obviously, his statement is incorrect. If he looks up the record he will find that it was not until 194.4 that the Labour Government had a majority in both Houses of Parliament. At the moment, I am excluding the Labour government which was in power in 1910. It was not until 1943 that the Labour Government obtained a majority in the House of Representatives, and it was not until the 1st July, 1944, that it obtained a majority in the Senate as well. Labour is proud of its achievements during the two and a half years it held office prior to 1943, when it did not have a majority in either chamber. We are proud of the fact that, in spite of that state of affairs, we were the only government of any country at war that was able to improve the social conditions of its people during the progress- of the war. I commend those facts to Senator O’Sullivan. That period of four years to which I have referred, and the three and a half years regime of the Fisher Labour Government were the only two occasions that Labour has been in power in the Parliament. That fact is not generally recognized. When reference is made to a Labour government, such as the Scullin Government, most people fail to realize that such governments were merely in office and not in power. I repeat that Labour has been in power on only two occasions since federation. I shall distinguish between power and office. During the dark days of the depression between the two world wars the Labour party was in office, having a majority in the House of Representatives only. At that time, the Treasurer, Mr. E. G. Theodore, introduced legislation providing for a fiduciary issue of £18,000,000. At the moment, I shall not discuss how the government of the day intended to expend that money. That measure was passed through the House of Representatives, but, when it came before the Senate “ die hards “, the most conservative men in Australia, it was contemptuously thrown out. On a previous occasion, the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper), said that he was proud he was a member of the Opposition majority of the Senate which took that action. I could not be proud of such action, which was responsible for causing a more disastrous state of affairs than existed during the 1914-18 war, and more malnutrition and loss of life, and a greater lowering of the standards of our people than occurred during that war. The aftermath was that when we were obliged to call for volunteers at the outbreak of the recent war we found that the physical standard of our manhood was many times below that of our manhood during World

War I. I could not be proud of contributing to an action which caused such devastation and conditions so appalling that men threw themselves over Sydney Harbour Bridge and over “ the Gap “, and committed suicide by throwing themselves in front of trains rather than face the horrors which the future held foi them. The misery caused during that depression was worse than war itself. 1 could not be proud of associating myself with the government that was responsiblefor those conditions. I recite those facts for the benefit of Senator O’Sullivan. For his edification, I also emphasize that every piece of advanced legislation that, has been placed on the statute-book in Australia has resulted from the efforts of the Labour party when it has been either in office or in power, or, as was the case in the “ Chris “ Watson period of from 1905 to 1908, when it held the balance of power in the House of Representatives, and acted on the principle of support for concessions. By the latter means Labour helped to introduce such social reforms as early closing, invalid and oldage pensions and other measures which they wrested from a non-Labour government. The administration then in office was the Lyne Liberal or Tory Government - I think “ Liberal “ was the term then used. Now after many changes, the Liberal party has returned to its old name, no doubt having been convinced that a rose by any other name smells as sweet. As I have said, although Labour did not hold office at that time, it was “ Chris “ Watson, and his four or five Labour followers who managed to wrest that beneficial legislation from the Government. I could cite many other measures of which we in this country are proud, that had their origin in the Labour movement.

There is one matter for which I take Senator O’Sullivan to task and I do this merely to show him the error of his ways. Referring to the suggestion that the Australian Government should acquire a shipping line, the honorable senator worked himself up into a frenzy and recounted the fate of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers, known as the “Bay”, line. However, if he examines the details of the operation of that line, he will find that, although the ships cost the government of the day a considerable annual sum in subsidies, their operation kept shipping freights at a reasonable level. Within a month of the sale of the “ Bay “ steamers to the Inchcape interests, freight charges on all lines operating to this country increased by 17s. a ton. So, even if the subsidies were costing the Commonwealth Government £50,000 or so a year, there was a net profit to the people of this country because of the low freight rates then operating. Similarly, I could show that the existence of many other frequentlycondemned State enterprises including the New South Wales Government brickworks and the Monier pipe works, also in that State, was of benefit to the people generally because of the control that they exercised over the price of the commodities that they manufactured.

Last week we all had the privilege of listening to one of the finest addresses ever delivered at the opening of a British parliament. The Speech was couched in the most appropriate terms, and the manner in which it was delivered has never been excelled in this chamber. I also congratulate the mover and seconder of the Address-in-Reply, and, in conclusion, 1 again’ express my pleasure at finding in Senator O’Sullivan a near convert to the Labour cause. I had intended to say much more, but with the numbers in this chamber at 33 to 3, that. would hardly be fair “shooting”. 1 had intended to deal with some of the “ red “ propaganda that has been uttered in the House of Representatives, but I shall content myself with saying that the Government should feel complimented at the Opposition’s concentration upon communism, because it shows complete inability to find fault with the Government’s economic policy.

Senator KATZ:

.- Listening to the Speech of the GovernorGeneral in this chamber last week one felt proud that he was an Australian. I consider that some of the finest opening speeches ever made in this Parliament have come from Australian citizens. I call to mind particularly some of the memorable addresses of the late Sir Isaac Isaacs. The opening of the present session of the

Eighteenth Parliament’ by another illustrious Australian, who rose from the workshops, through the university, eventually to become Premier of New South Wales was an auspicious occasion. I agree with Senator O’Sullivan that the speeches of the mover of the AddressinReply (Senator O’Byrne), and the seconder (Senator Cooke) were worthy of commendation. A continuance of th’e high standards that have been set in this chamber in recent times will augur well for the future of the Commonwealth. A notable paragraph in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech was that in which he said -

In the Pacific, my Government is closely linked with British and American policy and the measure of co-operation obtained in many matters has been most gratifying. My advisers have not relaxed their efforts to obtain an early peace settlement in the Pacific with Australia having full rights as a party principal in keeping with her war-time efforts.

In paragraph 50, His Excellency said -

My predecessor spoke to you of the great opportunities for expansion in Australia and [ repeat his request that all Australian men and women should play their part worthily. My advisers believe that the programme they have laid down will contribute much to the future of Australia as a nation. . . .

During the recent parliamentary recess I was a member of the parliamentary delegation which visited Queensland. That delegation included representatives from various part of Australia. We were Australia-minded, and, like most people, we realized from events of the last six or seven years that an. injury to one Australian is the concern of all Australians. Had the Japanese succeeded in landing in Queensland it is quite evident to those who know that State that they would very soon have over-run the Commonwealth. As a visitor to Queensland, “I. was greatly impressed first by its size. I found that its greatest length was 1,300 miles, or about the distance from Brisbane to Adelaide via Sydney and Melbourne by air, or from London to Leningrad. Its greatest width is 940 miles, or 50 miles farther than the distance from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney by air, or 20 miles more than the distance from London to Warsaw. The area of Queensland is twice that of New South. Wales, eight times that of

Victoria, and six times that of New Zealand. The British Isles, France, Germany and Italy could easily be encompassed within its borders. The population of Queensland is 1,105,193, whereas the population of Victoria is 2,055,000, although, as I have said, its area is only one-eighth of that of the northern State. Six thousand miles of railways provide transport services in the vast territory of Queensland, whereas, in Victoria, which has a much larger population and a much smaller area, the length of the railways is only 4,748 miles. Queensland’s railways mileage is the greatest of any State in the Commonwealth. It is a productive territory, and its potentialities are enormous. It is rich in natural resources such as timber. During our travels we had pointed out to us, in one of the large forests, a cedar tree of great height and’ 2,000 years old. We visited various country towns, where we saw timber mills using some of the most up-to-date machinery in Australia. We inspected one mill where plywood is being manufactured for export as well as for the use of Australian citizens. That industry is serving a dual purpose. It enables credits to be made available from overseas clients and it helps to supply the requirements of Australian homebuilders. One of the towns which we visited was Maryborough. There we saw a very impressive engineering workshop, which had its beginnings about the middle of the last century, when two or three men established a small smithy. That led to the establishment of a small engineering shop, which has since been developed into a large and efficient undertaking, operated by Walkers Limited, where engines and ships are made. We saw diesel oil engines of 5,000 horse-power there. The establishment helped the Australian Government during World War II. by manufacturing naval craft. Thirty-three classes of skilled tradesmen are employed in it. After interviewing members of the Queensland Parliament, business men, and workers engaged in various secondary industries, I am convinced that the people of that State played a great part in the protection of Australia in its time of danger.

Secondary production in the southern States is greatly hampered at present by lack of coal. Victoria has very few coal mines, if they can properly be called mines. There are mines at Wonthaggi, and, of course, there is the great open-cut at Yallourn from which brown coal is obtained and used to generate electricity to supply the light and power requirements of cities and towns throughout the State. Apart from these undertakings, Victoria must depend on other States for its coal supplies. The Queensland Government, in an attempt to provide much-needed coal for the people of Australia, recently undertook a survey of its coal-bearing areas and began to open up a rich field at Blair Athol. Goal is being won there by the open-cut method, and progress has been so satisfactory that Blair Athol has become the subject of frequent refer.ences in our newspapers. A remarkable feature of this coal deposit is that it is covered by an over-burden only about 40 feet deep. The seam has a depth of between 65 feet and 70 feet. One report on the seam which I have seen states that the indications are that a large body of coal lies outside the present leases. One bore recently disclosed a seam 72 feet deep. Extraction at the rate of 3,000,000 tons a year would take 60 years to work out the one basin alone. Experts have declared that there is between 180,000,000 tons and 200,000,000 tons of coal in that area. The Queensland Government has made it possible for a company to work the Blair Athol coal-field, and it has protected the interests of the people by providing for payment of royalties at the rates of 6d. a ton for the first 1,000,000 tons, 3d. a ton for the next 1,000,000 tons, and Id. a ton for all coal won thereafter. The greatest disability at the moment is the difficulty of transporting the coal from Blair Athol to the seaboard. The port which is considered to be most suitable as an outlet is Rockhampton, approximately 240 miles distant from Blair Athol. There is no necessity for the miners to go underground there. We saw 3,500 tons of coal blasted from the side of the mountain within two or three minutes of the charges being laid. All that had to be done then was to carry it away in motor lorries. While Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia are badly in need of coal stocks are accumu- lating at Blair Athol because, even though production has not reached its peak, there are insufficient means of transport to remove even the small quantity that is being won. Almost every industry in Australia is dependent upon coal. Therefore, if we cannot obtain sufficient in one State, we must seek to obtain it elsewhere. Queensland will be able to supply all of our needs when .an efficient transport system is brought into operation. Tests have already shown that adequate quantities are available in the ground and that the heating quality of the coal is up to the required standard.

All governments in Australia have a duty to co-operate with the Government of the United Kingdom at this time when the Mother Country is in need of aid. The Labour Government in Queensland, like the Australian Government, is doing its best to help the United Kingdom. It has undertaken a scheme to devote between 900,000 and 1,000,000 acres to the production of fodder for pigs that will be slaughtered to provide meat for the British people. In that region we saw land being cultivated with huge ploughs drawn by tractors. Some of these machines are able to plough over a width of about 40 feet at a rate faster than a man could walk. Recently, nine men operating this machinery ploughed an area of 14,000 acres in less than nine weeks at Peak Downs. Sorghum and lucerne will be grown in that area. The proposal is to rear 750,000 pigs annually for export to Great Britain when the scheme is in full operation. This project also indicates the great potentialities of Australia.

I saw an inspiring illustration of cooperation in the fruit industry in Queensland. In 1923, the Labour government of the day enacted a law for the control of fruit-marketing. About 24 years later, men imbued with the co-operative spirit realized the advantages that could be derived from the act and immediately put a co-operative scheme into operation, with financial assistance from the Government. The result is that to-day, in Brisbane, a committee operating in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture directs the marketing of fruit. Although this scheme has been in progress for only about two years, thousands of wises of pineapples will be canned this season. In four months last year, 3,952 tons of fruit were processed. That quantity yielded a total of 4,203,000 cans of fruit. Much of that fruit, including pineapples and pineapple juice which is exported to Canada, is sent overseas, and many of the fruit retailers in Queensland and New South Wales receive their supplies from that concern, where 300 persons are at present employed. The establishment of the undertaking was made possible by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock with the assistance of those who were interested in advancing the co-operative processing of fruit. The Queensland Government made available the sum of £330,000 to establish the undertaking. I consider that its successful operation affords another illustration of the earnestness of the desire of Labour administrations, whether national oi’ State, to advance the best interests of primary producers. Sugar growing and refining is another of Queensland’s great industries, and those of us who remember the story of the terrific battle which the pioneers of the sugar industry waged to preserve that industry for the white people of this country, must always be grateful to them. The sugar-growing industry in that State also operates on the co-operative principle, and exemplifies the success which attends real cooperation and trust between those engaged in a common enterprise. The economic security of the Queensland cane-growers is assured to-day, and, notwithstanding the trials and tribulations which still beset them, I venture the opinion that they were never better off than they are under the present Labour Governments in the Commonwealth and the State.

Senator Clothier:

-. - The cane-growers themselves told the honorable senator that.

Senator KATZ:

– Yes, and Senator Clothier was with me when that statement was -made. We witnessed machine-cutters operating in the cane-fields, and those machines are doing a wonderful job. However, with the progress of mechanical science, improved machines should, in a comparatively short time, accomplish five or even ten times more than the present machines do. While we were in northern

Queensland inspecting the sugar industry, complaints were made to us by some people of lack of shipping transport. I investigated those complaints to ‘the best of my ability, and I am satisfied that the fault does not lie entirely with the Government. Complaints were made by some growers that they were unable to obtain shipping to transport sugar to the south, but when Ave investigated their complaints Ave invariably found that there was no sugar at the ports awaiting shipment. As an example, it was alleged that the delay in shipping at Mackay was due to the waterside workers at that, port. However, when I made inquiries, I found that instead of the wharf labourers being instructed to commence loading at 8 a.m. on a particular Tuesday morning, they were told to report at 9.30 a.m. The individuals who supplied this information were not Communists or extremists, but reasonable men. Indeed, I would not waste any time speaking to Communists. Although .the Port of Mourilyan has only a small entrance channel it could accommodate vessels of 5,,000 to 6,,000 tons, but when we visited it we saw two small lighters, as they are called in Queensland, of approximately 260 tons and 350 tons respectively, loading the shipment of sugar at that port which was awaiting transport. Although the combined tonnage of the two vessels was only approximately 60.0 tons two sets of wharf labourers were required to load the vessels, which then sailed to Cairns, where the sugar had to be unloaded and transhipped into larger vessels for shipment south.

Senator Nash:

– Those larger vessels could have been loaded at Mourilyan.

Senator KATZ:

– Certainly. When I saw those two old tubs being used for the transport of sugar, which is .so badly needed in other parts of Australia, I realized at least one of the reasons why sufficient sugar is not being distributed. That recalls to my mind the criticism made by Senator O’Sullivan of the paragraph in the Governor-General’s Speech, which referred tq ,the acquisition of a line of steamers by the Government. My short experience of conditions at the sugar ports in Queensland convinced me that the provision of improved shipping facilities is necessary in the interests of industry generally.

I do not view Queensland’s industries from the economic viewpoint, as Senator O’Sullivan does, but from the standpoint of the country’s defence. In the near future the Government must, in the interest of the defence of the whole of Australia, develop the ports not only of northern Queensland, but also of the north-western coastline of Western Australia. While I was in northern Queensland, where more than 1,000,000 troops were stationed at various times during the recent war, I learned for the first time of the part played by northern Queensland in the battle of the Coral Sea. Statements made to me by responsible men engaged in commerce and industry in northern Queensland made me realize how close we came to being invaded by the Japanese. By developing northern Australia we shall make a most important contribution to the defence of our country. The need to develop the northern portion of our continent is even more apparent when we remember that there are hundreds of millions of people within two or three day’s flight of northern Australia. The time has come for us to cease thinking of ourselves in terms of the particular State in which we reside; we must all get together in the national interest. The establishment of the coal industry in Queensland, is I believe, a step in that direction. That State is richly endowed with mineral deposits. At Mount Morgan 80,000 tons of sulphur are extracted every year, and the belt of mineral wealth extends as far as Mount Isa. Queensland also has immense agricultural potentialities, and because that .State has been so richly endowed, the expenditure of unlimited money to develop its great resources would be more than justified in the interests of the whole of Australia.

In the course of his Speech, His Excellency made reference to banking, and although Senator O’Sullivan adverted to that matter I do not propose to say anything in regard to it. However, as Senator O’Sullivan made pointed reference to the result of the recent referendum and also of certain by-elections, I propose to bring to his notice some statistics concerning the recent ‘State elections in the island State of Tasmania. They demonstrate conclusively that no candidate outside the Australian Labour party has a “ look in “ in Tasmania. As a preliminary to my remarks, I point out that Tasmania is divided into five electorates for both Commonwealth and State elections, but whereas each of those constituencies returns only one member to this Parliament, each returns six to the State Parliament. The statistics which I am about to quote are extracted from the Melbourne Argus. The votes cast in the constituency of Franklin were: for Labour 14,782, for the Liberal party 10,472.


– What was the result of the previous election?

Senator KATZ:

– I am quoting the statistics of the last elections, which are the latest statistics available. In the electorate of Bass the Labour candidates obtained 14,0S2 votes, against 11,123 votes obtained by the Liberal candidates.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– Another Liberal gain !

Senator KATZ:

– In the constituency of Denison the Labour candidates polled 11,690 votes, against 5,397 votes polled by the Liberal candidates. In Darwin Labour gained 13,075 votes, and the Liberal party only 9,552. In Wilmot we obtained 12,337 votes, against 10,937 gained by the Liberal party. The aggregate result was: Votes cast for Labour candidates 65,966, votes cast for Liberal candidates 47,481. Compare those statistics with the votes recorded in Tasmania at the recent referendum, which were “No” 91,845, “Yes” 50,437. At the referendum we were “ down “ approximately 41,000 votes, but we are now “ up “ approximately 20,000 votes.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– The honorable senator is making an issue of the referendum results?

Senator KATZ:

– I referred to the statistics of the recent State elections, because they may have some influence in converting Senator O’Sullivan to Labour, as Senator Large suggested earlier.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– Do not be mistaken; I do not dislike honorable senators opposite, I am merely sorry for them.

Senator KATZ:

– I refer now to statements made by the President of the Liberal party. Under the heading “Flaming Torch of Liberalism - R. G. Casey’s Message”, a report published in the press two days before the recent Tasmanian elections stated -

We have to carry the flaming torch of liberalism into every home in the land - a flaming torch and not just a flickering ‘candle.

Fancy that coming from such a responsible officer as the federal president of the Liberal party of Australia ! He went to Tasmania and made the statement, and that is how the people of Tasmania responded.

Senator O’Sullivan complained that the Commonwealth Government is employing more persons in its departments now than ever previously.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– Three times as many 1

Senator KATZ:

– The honorable senator mentioned 162,000 persons so employed. Of that number almost half, approximately 73,000, are employed in the Postmaster-General’s Department. Is that a wealth producing department? My word it is ! That department made a profit of about £14,000,000 & few years ago. The Post Office brings in the revenue, and so great a job has it done that to-day, it is impossible to supply the demand for telephones. When the party which Senator O’Sullivan supports was in power the Postmaster-General’s Department could not get rid of the telephones. It used to publish drawings of telephones in the press, stating that the telephone rental was £2 3s. 6d. a half year, together with captions such as “ Install a telephone in your home and be modern “. Now that the Australian Labour party is in power-

Senator O’Sullivan:

– The department cannot supply telephones.

Senator KATZ:

– We cannot meet the full demand for telephone services, which demonstrates that full credit should be given for the results achieved by the Postmaster-General’s Department. Senator O’Sullivan later made reference to government instrumentalities, but he did not mention the Commonwealth Bank.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– It is not included in the figures I cited.

Senator KATZ:

– Why not?

Senator O’Sullivan:

– Because the Government Statistician did not include them.

Senator KATZ:

– Well then, I shall include the profits that the bank made. A profit of over £5,000,000 was made last year, which is very creditable.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– How much did it make out of the note issue ?

Senator KATZ:

– The honorable senator is treading on very dangerous ground.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– I think so, too.

Senator KATZ:

– During the bank crash in Victoria in the ‘nineties a man could not get a pot of beer for a bank note. I wish also to refer to other government bodies. The State Electricity Commission of Victoria employs thousands of workers at Yallourn. In addition,’ many men are employed in the Kiewa Valley project, and by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board, which is a State instrumentality.

Senator Ashley:

– We must not forger the munition workers also !

Senator KATZ:

– If we go fully into the question of the number of government employees raised by Senator O’Sullivan it will be seen that a large proportion of them are employed in useful undertakings. As the Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) suggested by interjection, we must also take into account the number of men employed on the manufacture of munitions. Their labour is being utilized for the production of armaments, and the assembly of aeroplanes at Fishermen’s Bend. Many other men are employed at Maribyrnong, producing films and projectors similar to the one in use in the Senate clubroom. A large firm in Victoria producing Servex products employs many men in premises previously occupied by the Department of Aircraft Production. They have manufactured many thousands of heating stoves which are in use to-day.

I shall reply to the statement that 4,500 trainees under the Commonwealth

Reconstruction Training Scheme were not accepted into the various building and other skilled trades, because they had not been accepted by the unions. In Victoria - and I understand that this applies also in New South Wales - all available space was secured and utilized in technical colleges for the training of these men in the building and/or other trades. As it was almost impossible to put all of them into technical schools, it was necessary to enter into agreements with various firms to take them in for the first six months of their training. The Industrial Committee, composed of employees and employers, determined the quota. The officer-in-charge of the committee was a State director of the Apprenticeship Commission in Victoria. He is now a Commonwealth officer. Targets are established, with the object of absorbing as many men as possible in the building trades. I can assure all honorable senators and the people of Australia that every opportunity is grasped to place these young fellows in various establishments. It has happened that trainees have been sent to jobs to fix fibrous plaster sheets, .but on arrival at the jobs have found that fibrous plaster for use on the building was not available. The result is that union representatives say, “ What is the use of trying to place these young fellows in that industry when there is no possible hope of their being trained because raw material is not available?”. At the end of the initial six months these young fellows are paid according to the various award rates which cover their occupations. I was a member of the committee from its inception. Another member was Mr. Burn, who represented the Master Builders Association. He happened to be the representative for all trades on the committee. Such men try to look after their own economic interests, for which I do not blame them. They have to see to it that trade training is properly carried out. To have a surplus of trainees, but no material .available for them to use, would, I think, be undesirable not only to the men themselves but to the rest of the community.

The manner in which His Excellency delivered his Speech gave me, as a member of this Senate, a great deal of pleasure, and I think all honorable senators will agree with me that it was a credit to the Government.

Senator ARNOLD:
New South Wales.

– Together with other honorable senators on this side of the chamber, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to congratulate the Government on the Speech that was prepared for delivery by His Excellency the Governor-General, who deserves the approbation of all honorable senators for the splendid manner in which he opened the Parliament last week. One could elaborate at great length on this matter, but honorable senators have already expressed themselves very fully in extending congratulation to His Excellency. To the two honorable senators who moved and seconded, respectively, the Address-in-Reply, I add also my meed of praise for the very excellent way in which they exercised that privilege. Honorable senators on the Government side of the chamber are justifiably proud that such a paper, setting out the achievements of the Government, should have been presented to us at the opening of the Parliament, for there have been few occasions when a government has achieved the things that have been achieved by the present Government, as set out in the prospectus on Australia.

One thing in particular which must evoke a feeling of pride in the Australian people is that so soon after the cessation of hostilities in the recent war, Australia has been able to offer to the Mother Country £10,000,000 as a gift towards its rehabilitation. That is a magnificent gesture, at a time when a great economic struggle is proceeding in Great Britain. I suggest that that is indicative of the manner in which this Government has been able to handle the affairs of Australia. Set out in that document are very many matters which one could elaborate, but my colleagues have already dealt with most of them in great detail. I intend this evening to touch on one or two points only. I agree with Senator O’Sullivan that one of the major tasks to which the Senate might well devote itself is a consideration of the foreign policy of this nation. I believe that many honorable senators, provided they are given access to the requisite information, ave capable of formulating a policy, and acquiring a knowledge of foreign affairs which will enable them to render a valuable service to the Government and the nation. I agree, in part at least, with Senator O’Sullivan’s statement that Australia must have some continuity of foreign policy. However, I cannot agree entirely with his conception of what that policy should be. In his address to-day I detected a tendency to sit back within ourselves, to isolate ourselves, and a desire to rely solely upon a strong Empire and form a bloc with another powerful nation, and, in that way to make ourselves independent of the rest of the world. I hope that I have not misinterpreted the honorable senator’s remarks. I trust that from month to month, honorable senators opposite as well as supporters of the Government, will take the opportunity to clarify their minds on this important subject. However, if I have interpreted Senator O’Sullivan’s remarks correctly, I disagree with his approach to it. He said that the “Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) is the only responsible exponent of the Government’s foreign policy. That is not correct. It is evident that the honorable senator has not given to this problem the study that he should have given to it. Time after time the Government has expressed its determination to adhere to the principles laid down in the Atlantic Charter. It has proclaimed its allegiance to the United Nations and its determination to uphold the principles and to implement the machinery of the United Nations organization. That is a concrete policy which every one can easily understand. It has the virtue of continuity, and is a policy upon which, I believe, all parties in the Parliament can agree. However, it is not always easy to implement the principles of the United Nations organization. In the earliest days of the League of Nations, when I was a great deal younger, I pinned my faith to that organization, and believed that_ it would usher in an era of peace which would lead ultimately to the establishment of a world government. Unfortunately, the League of Nations was not sufficiently’ powerful to prevent Avar. Nevertheless, Ave must not be blind to the fact that although it failed to prevent war it contributed much to the cause of world co operation. We must take a similar view of the United Nations organization.

Some of us despair of the ability of the United Nations organization to maintain world peace. First, I point out that the organization has not yet had a chance to work. It has no right to determine the peace treaties; but until those treaties are signed, and the victor nations are prepared to lay down conditions designed to establish an era of peace, it will remain frustrated. Therefore, we must first work for an equitable peace. Unfortunately, the nations which were our allies in the recent Avar and were prepared to trust one another in a time of great stress, are now prey to prejudice and suspicion. With regret we have noted during the last few weeks the victor nations fighting over the spoils in Germany, apparently with no feeling for the 80,000,000 conquered inhabitants. I admit that Germany was responsible for inflicting great hardships upon the world. However, until Germany is rehabilitated and is able to feed its people and again take its place in the community of nations, the peace of Europe cannot be assured. Yet, to-day, the victor nations are almost at one another’s throats, trying to divide the spoils and, apparently, are prepared to play off the suspicion of one against that of the other, whilst, all the time the peoples of the world, are waiting for the nations as a whole to come together in one organization. That is the hope of the ordinary people, the little people whose brothers, sons and fathers go out to fight wars. They pray for the day when the nations will get together and succeed in preventing war. Senator O’Sullivan said that the first thing Ave have to do is to build up a strong Empire and band together with the United Sates of America and the white peoples of the world against the rest of the world. Immediately we commence to form blocs and counter-blocs and throw : aside the principles of the United Nations we shall head straight for war. I ask the Senate to give the most earnest attention to this problem. Whilst events from week to week in the Commonwealth may be important to us as Australians, surely nothing is more important than that we should prevent another conflagration that would destroy the nations as a whole. Therefore, we should give of our best in determining what our foreign policy should be. I ask that honorable senators in the months and years ahead shall give their most earnest attention to this problem of determining how Australia can continue to carry out the principles of the Atlantic Charter and support the endeavours of the United Nations organization to prevent another war.

The second matter with which I wish to deal is more mundane, but it has agitated the people in the district in which I reside. It is a matter in respect of which 1 cannot help exhibiting some feeling because it shows the absolute callous disregard of certain sections of the community for their fellow citizens. All honorable senators are aware of the seriousness of the housing shortage. All of us know that throughout the Commonwealth people are living in stables and hovels, crying out for houses, for a place in which they can lay their head. We know that all the materials and sub’stitute materials we can obtain are being made available for that purpose. During the recent war, leaders of all sections of the community appealed to our youth to fight in defence of the nation promising them that the nation would give to them a better world when they came back. To-day, I am pained to find that there are responsible citizens in this country who are withholdina from the Australian people the materials which are required to build homes. In the district where I reside is the firm of Lysaght’s which is the only firm in Australia that possesses rolling mills for the manufacture of galvanized iron. That factory has a production capacity of 300 tons a day, but it has been held uo repeatedly during the last few months because it has not been able to obtain supplies of zinc. On Friday next, that factory. I understand, is to be shut down again for the same reason for at least ten days. If that hold-un occurs 3.000 tons of galvanized iron will be withheld from the Australian people.

Senator Nash:

– It will not be withheld by the workers.

Senator ARNOLD:

– No. When a coal mine situated in another locality in the district in which I reside is closed down for a day for safety purposes, the press alleges in screaming headlines that the miners refuse to work and are holding up production. However, we never read anything in the press about the particular industry to which I am referring. What is the truth of the matter ? I have made exhaustive inquiries, and find that the production of zinc is controlled by Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia Limited, which is a Tasmanian company. For zinc sold in Australia that company receives £22 a ton but in Great Britain the product brings £80 a ton-, and £105 a ton is the price in the United States of America. Last week I saw hundreds of tons of zinc lying on the wharves at Newcastle, yet another industry was preparing to shut down because it could not obtain supplies of zinc for the manufacture of galvanized iron.

Senator Grant:

– Private enterprise again !

Senator ARNOLD:

– I do not object to private enterprise making a reasonable profit. If Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia Limited were not able to make a reasonable profit, perhaps it would have some excuse for the action it has taken. However, I perused the company’s balance sheet and found that last year it paid a dividend of 17^ per cent. Its production this year will be much greater. I repeat that when Lysaght’s works are forced to close down next week because the company cannot obtain supplies of zinc. Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia Limited will have hundreds of tons of zinc lying on the wharfs at Newcastle awaiting shipment overseas; and at the same time our people will be crying out for galvanized iron for roofing for houses. This position exists simply because some people want to increase their profit.

Senator Nash:

– They regard that bp good business.

Senator ARNOLD:

– A few years ago the people who are now crying out for homes were induced by these same interests to risk their lives in defence of the nation, and they were promised a new order when the war was over.


is the cost of production of zinc?

Senator ARNOLD:

– I do not propose to deal with that aspect in detail ; but last year when the production was less than it is this year, Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia Limited paid a dividend of 17£ per cent. The profits of that organization have always been extremely high. Even last year when the company paid such a big dividend, nearly 3,000 tons- of galvanized iron was lost to the nation because the company withheld supplies of zinc from Lysaght’s. That sort of thing threatens tis -again.

Senator Courtice:

– Apparently, the Government will have to stop the exportation of zinc.

Senator ARNOLD:

– I have brought this matter to the notice of the Government, and I believe that it will take effective steps to deal with the problem.

Senator Large:

– That would be called socialism.

Senator ARNOLD:

– It might be called communism. Men who are supposed to be Communists said to me, “ “We will ask the wharf-labourers not to load this zinc for shipment overseas”; but their leaders have replied. “ Do not do that at th is stage ; let the Government handle the problem “. Those wharf]abourers are far more patriotic than the people who own the zinc and prefer to ship it overseas in order to make a greater profit rather than make it available to meet the needs of home-seekers in this country. Wo would not have any communism in Australia if people of that kind were not allowed to do that sort of thing. That is the example that the Communists will hold up to the people of Australia. They will say “ Look what the privileged citizens of this country are doing. If the Government cannot prevent this, your political and economic system is not worth fighting for or supporting”. Because of their privileged place in the community, one would expect the leaders in our commercial world to do their utmost to protect this country; yet they are doing everything possible to destroy it. I stress this matter to-day in the strongest possible terms, because I believe that it is not only a great tragedy for this country but also is most unfair to the people generally. There is an urgent need for galvanized iron products throughout the Commonwealth to-day. We have the men and machinery necessary to produce them, but one section of the community is withholding from the Australian people the means by which they may be properly housed. I urge the Government to take every possible step to overcome this problem.

Sitting suspended from 547 to 8 p-m.


.- It is with a great deal of pride and satisfaction that I speak on the AddressinReply to the Speech delivered in this House last Wednesday by His Excellency the Governor-General. I join with my colleagues in expressing gratification at the appointment of an Australian to the post of Governor-General of this Commonwealth. Whilst we are not unmindful of our good fortune previously in having a member of the Royal family as Governor-General, we appreciate the fact that an Australian has again been elevated to that exalted position. His Excellency’s announcement that we are to be privileged next year to have a visit from their Majesties the King and Queen and Her Royal Highness the Princess Margaret also gave pleasure to all of us. The visit will undoubtedly give Australians an opportunity to express their loyalty and devotion to the Crown, the symbol which binds the British Commonwealth of Nations together in a system that is an example to the rest of the world. We are very grateful in anticipation of the Royal visit.

I have heard speeches delivered by some members of the Opposition in the House of Representatives during the AddressinReply debate in that chamber, and I have also read reports of others made by their colleagues. I was impressed chiefly by (he unimaginative nature of their utterances. I heard one speech, for instance, by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender). He expressed himself- very vociferously.


– Order! The honorable senator is out of order if he is discussing a debate that has taken place in the House of Representatives during the current session. He should try to avoid such references because they are contrary to the Standing Orders.


– I bow to your ruling. Mr. President. I was merely about to say that those speeches confirmed my belief that, if members of the Opposition were to be hanged for being politically honest and politically consistent, they would most certainly die innocent. The speech of the honorable member whom I mentioned was delivered with so much belligerence that I consider a suitable title for him would be “ Pistol Packing Percy “. We all know that, when he was Minister for the Army in an anti-Labour government, the most colourful thing he did was to elevate himself to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He was only a pseudo lieutenant-colonel, because that rank was quite inappropriate. We all know that he has never faced an enemy or successfully faced an issue. Speeches by members of the Opposition generally have been marked by continual references to the use of force to quell disturbances in various parts of the world. Their criticism of the programme of legislation outlined in the Governor-General’s Speech related only to extraneous matters, although in this chamber I was pleased to hear Senator O’Sullivan compliment the Government upon some of its legislative proposals.

The point to be considered about the Opposition’s attacks upon the Government is that they have been based on the contention that there is no incentive to produce. One member of the Opposition particularly declared throughout his speech that there is .no incentive to produce. That statement was absolutely false and misleading. I have taken a number of reports at random from the financial pages of the Melbourne Herald of the 3rd September, 1948, and each of them indicates that production and profits are increasing. This is one of the reports -

Profit Jump bt Hume Pipe.

Profit of Hume Pipe Company (Australia) Limited jumped to £77,000 in the year to June 30th. . . . This was after providing nearly £40,000 for depreciation and £53,000 for taxation.

Other reports are headed. “ Strachan’s Best- for 20 Years”, “Sutex Profits Doubled “, and “ Tyre Company Nets 11) per cent.”. The Opposition’s asser tions are ludicrous in the light of those undeniable facts. The financial page of any newspaper anywhere in Australia on any day will show reports that trading companies are making, record profits. Furthermore, those profits are invariably reported after allowances have been made for taxes and heavy depreciation.

Opposition attacks upon the Government have been based principally upon the subjects of coal production, taxation and housing. The Opposition is well aware of the fact that, although fewer men are working in the coal-mining industry to-day, they are producing more coal than ever before. Obviously the demand for coal also is greater than ever before, and therefore we must experience shortages until we can bring new schemes for coal production into operation. The only consistency about members of the Opposition is in their inconsistency. They blame this Government for housing shortages although they know perfectly well that it has ‘no power to build houses except under the War Service Homes scheme. We also remember that the Opposition parties, masquerading under various aliases, were in control of this country for many years prior to 1941. All right-thinking Australians must realize now that the severity of the housing shortage is attributable largely to the inaction of those anti-Labour governments. Their record in this field was calamitous. There was no shortages of labour or materials when they were in power, but in spite of that the housing shortage was shocking when the Labour party gained power in 1941. During the years of the depression, teng of thousands of men, including many skilled building tradesmen, walked the country looking in vain for work. Anti-Labour governments made no attempt to take advantage of the opportunity to provide houses and, at the same time, to give work to the unemployed. The reason for that neglect was that their aim was to gain profits for employers. They were concerned” with their orthodox method of finance, and the manipulation of the financial system of the nation was more important to them than the - provision of comfort for the people. Members of the Opposition who are so critical of the Government’s efforts to-day could well “be more constructive. Their criticisms are nebulous and have no basis in fact. They are merely destructive.

Taxation, of course, is a great bugbear, and always has been so. The most consistent advocate of tax reduction has been the Leader of the Australian Country party, Mr. Fadden. As I have said in this chamber before, he should be classed as 4F’s - “Fadden the Futile Farmers’ Fuhrer”. All he seems to do is to tour the country and, whatever tax reductions are proposed by the Government, claim that they are inadequate. An examination of the agenda prepared for the recent State conference of the Australian Country party in Queensland discloses the inconsistency of the party’s policies. Motions advocating huge increases of all pension rates, including particularly war pensions, were included with motions proposing substantial tax reductions. They were in direct negation of each other. One very important financial responsibility that was never discussed by any of the advocates of reduced taxation is the interest bill arising from our national debt. Everybody should realize that the national debt has more than trebled since 1.939. It is significant that Opposition critics of the Government never refer -to our -obligation to pay interest on that indebtedness. 1 was very pleased to hear Senator O’Sullivan say that he dissociated himself from a newspaper report which could be construed only- as a rank dis- courtesy to His ‘Majesty the King and an insult to His Excellency the Governor-

General. Senator O’Byrne referred to it in his speech, and quoted the headline “ McKell Opens Parliament “. Senator

O’Sullivan said that he did not know which newspaper published that headline. I shall tell him. The guilty journal is the Melbourne Herald. One cannot imagine that, during the regime of the previous Governor-General, any newspaper would have published such a heading as “Gloucester Opens Parliament.” Of course I do not suggest that the press should have done so, but I deplore the fact that sections of the press have made disrespectful references to the present

G overnor-General.


– Perhaps they wanted Mosley to open the Parliament!


– Perhaps they did. Senator O’Sullivan also said that the Government’s policy is lacking in fire, imagination and effectiveness. That is simply nebulous criticism, and I remind him that the people of Australia realize that they can hope to enjoy a continuance of the present prosperous conditions only while Labour remains in office. Every section of the community is enjoying better conditions than ever before. All that we can expect from anti-Labour governments is unemployment with the attendant doles, misery and degradation. The honorable senator also contended that it was desirable to hold a referendum on the control of banking. However, the Constitution contains no provision for taking a referendum on that matter, and, in any event, the contention has been answered so many times that I do not propose to discuss it any further.

Members of the Opposition object to the Government’s proposal to establish a government shipping line, but I remind them that the former Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers saved the people of this country many hundreds of thousands df pounds. It was an anti-Labour government which allegedly sold, but in reality gave away, those vessels to a shipping combine. At the time the Government was criticized for having sold the ships for a song; but we did not even get a song - all we got was a part of the chorus. During the recent war, this country would undoubtedly have given much to possess those ships.

I was pleased to hear Senator O’Sullivan congratulate the Government on its immigration policy, because immigration is a matter of vital importance to Australia. As an integral part of the British Commonwealth of nations, our defence commitments have increased considerably. “When Mr. Randolph Churchill visited Australia recently he stated in unmistakable terms .that we would have to be prepared to accept greater responsibility for the defence of the British Empire. The people of Australia realize that fact, and the course of recent events has emphasized that our responsibilities will be greater than ever before. At the same time we must realize that the increased financial commitments involved must result in the imposition of higher taxes. Although the present Government is fully conscious of its obligations to maintain the defence of the country, it has striven to reduce taxes, and since the cessation of hostilities every section of the community has benefited from the reductions of taxes which it has made.

I said earlier that the long terms of office enjoyed by anti-Labour governments in this country can only be termed as calamities. Their regime was characterized by large-scale unemployment, with all the human suffering that unemployment entails. Even as late as 1939, when war occurred, there were still about 300,000 people unemployed. We are all aware of the human misery associated with large-scale unemployment, but I think that it is as well to recall to our minds some of the unpleasant facts connected with it. Even to-day a recital of some of those facts is enlightening, because we are apt to think that such conditions cannot recur in this country. I propose to read portion of an article which gives some idea of the conditions which obtained in New South Wales during the period when antiLabour governments were in office. Similar conditions prevailed throughout Australia. The article states -

The following press report tells its own story, and to properly understand the conditions we have to realize that the country town referred to is at an elevation of 4,000 feet and is one of the five coldest in the State of New South Wales. “Camp situated about twenty miles from Oberon, near Jenolan Caves. Country very mountainous and intensely cold. The men employed are single and married men from the metropolitan area, and work two weeks in eight. “ Most of these men were supplied with two blankets up to two or three years ago, and have since been issued with one more blanket. The cold is so intense that these blankets are totally inadequate, and the men suffer torture from the intense cold. “Men who have not the necessary clothes and bedding are leaving the camp because of their inability to stand the cold. Men are ill, but, in order to get their wages, are working on. Complications may easily develop, which would endanger their very lives. “ The men sleep in tents and huts. It can bp imagined how cold the tents would be. The huts are even worse, as they are made of just bare iron, without any lining whatever, and with cold earth floors. The galvanized iron roof sweats, and water drips’ over the men. “ The men’s clothing is totally inadequate, lack of good woollen garments having its effect. “ Men who lose time through sickness on this job (and there has been a number of them) have to wait until their next period, a matter of six weeks, before they can make up the time lost. In the last period men lost up to a full week through contracting influenza in camp. This means they have to live seven weeks on one week’s wages. “ Food supplied to the men on the last period was so bad that the mcn had a meeting and decided to only pay 17s. Gd. for the week’s food, instead of the 22s. Cel. charged. The matter was eventually settled by the camp restaurant-keeper giving the men a promise that there would be an improvement. Even then he allowed them 3s. off the 22s. Od.”

I emphasize that the conditions detailed in that report prevailed, not in a concentration camp in Europe, but in Australia only a few years ago. It is the aim of the Australian Labour party to ensure that we shall not- experience a recurrence of such conditions. We must bear in mind that there are many ways of killing a man, for, “he takes my life who takes the means by which I live “. However, the people of Australia can prevent a recurrence of those disastrous conditions by retaining Labour in office.

Reference was made previously to the fact that many people still regard Labour as having been in power in the National Parliament during the early years of the depression. The truth is that the Scullin Government was in office but not in power. At that time it had to contend with a hostile majority in this chamber, and every effort which that Government made to alleviate the distress which was general throughout Australia was frustrated by the controllers of private, finance. When the Scullin Government appealed to the Commonwealth Bank, which was then functioning under a board, which was, in turn, under the control of the private banks, for the issue of £18,000.000 to enable it to alleviate the national distress, its appeal was refused. The late Sir Robert Gibson, who was then chairman of the board, simply declined to make the money available. Yet members of the Opposition criticize the Government for having introduced in 1945 legislation to ensure that there would not be a repetition of the calamitous events of the ‘thirties. We wanted to ensure that money would not again become the master of the people instead of their servant. Following the passage of the banking legislation of 1945 the Labour party contested the general elections of 1946, and was returned to office. It is now a matter of history that the Melbourne City Council challenged the validity of the 1945 legislation, and because certain sections of that Act were declared to be invalid, the Government decided to introduce legislation to authorize it to nationalize banking. Although the announcement of the Government’s intention only appeared in the newspaper stop press columns on a Saturday evening, the newspaper headlines the following Monday morning suggested that there was already a nationwide protest against the Government’s decision. That was merely propaganda. We must remember that the interests of the press and of the private banks are interwoven. Wc must face the facts, and I wish that members of the Opposition, when they criticize the Government, would recognize that conditions in this country are better than those in any other part of the world. If our critics were honest they would admit that between 1939 and 1941, when this country faced the gravest crisis in its history, and the anti-Labour Government of that time had a majority of supporters in both Houses of the Parliament, it utterly failed the nation, and the Australian Labour party was entrusted with the government of the country. Labour accepted office on the 7th October, 1941, and governed the country until the general elections in 1943. During that period it did not possess a majority in either House of the Parliament, yet it did its job so well that at the general elections held in that year it was returned to power with a bigger majority than it had ever had previously. Labour introduced the banking legislation of 1945, and was returned to power after the general elections in 1946. Yet because it introduced legislation to nationalize the financial institutions in 1947 there was a terrific outcry in the press, which sought to persuade the people that the

Government was seeking to establish some kind of dictatorship. Can any one imagine anything more dictatorial than the attitude adopted by the propagandist press when the banking legislation was* being debated in the Parliament? Can any one imagine any more dictatorial action than that taken by the Legislative Council of Victoria when it forced the Government of that State to a general election last year on matters which did not concern the State.

One of the principal contentions advanced by the banks and their supporters is that the nationalization of banks would result in political interference with banking. Although the banking people do not like to be reminder] of it, because they contend that it happened too long ago, the fact remains that in 1893. when the banks closed their doors and repudiated their obligations to their depositors, they were only too glad to seek political assistance in order to protect themselves. That was so that they could, as they put it, reconstruct their businesses. But. we have to remember that in spite of the fact that they were given legislative protection at that period to reconstruct their businesses, tens of thousands of people in Australia were deprived of the use of their money, and thousands were ruined. Thousands of people died without having had the use of their money, whilst under political protection for supposedly reconstructing their businesses, the banks declared dividends up to 12 per cent., and carried on. It was only a couple of years ago that the last of the money owing to depositors since 1893 was paid, yet the banks had the colossal effrontery to say, solemnly, that they were going to guard the people’s interests when nationalization was proposed. The conditions which applied in 1893 have applied since then. It will be remembered that, working under the same system of finance, the banks failed in England in 1914. What did. they do then? They sought political protection from the British Government of that time. They were given protection and a three-day bank holiday was declared. Following that bank holiday there was a fiduciary note issue of £250,000,000. The notes were known as “Bradbury’s” after John Bradbury.

Instead of being endorsed with a promise to pay gold on demand, as previously, the notes were merely endorsed “Legal Tender”. The banks then opened up their businesses, and lent the Government something like £6,000,000,000 during the war, on which they charged 5 per cent, or 6 per cent, interest. That system of finance is farcical. During the years between 1920 and 1933 - I am referring to England, but we have been operating under a similar system of finance in this country - the people of Great Britain paid no less than £8,300,000,000 in interest and debt redemption. At the end of that period they were £300,000,000 deeper in debt than when they started. Yet that has been called sound finance! Is it any wonder that the Government cf this country wants to nationalize the banking system to ensure that money shall be made the servant instead of ing a ruthless master, as in the past?

In 1932, when the late Mr. Lyons was Prime Minister, he said in Adelaide, “It is only because the banks had confidence in my Government that we were able to carry on”. Yet honorable senators opposite deny that we have had financial dictation of politics in Australia rather than political interference in finance. Speaking at Deniliquin on the 19th November, 1932, the then Premier of New South Wales, Mr. - now Sir Bertram - ‘Stevens, as reported in the press on the 21st November, 1932, said, “ My Government has ‘been endeavouring to cope with the unemployment problem in the State of New South Wales as courageously as the banks will allow”. That is financial dictation of politics, not political interference. There is clear evidence that two prominent and responsible statesmen of the day admitted that it was only because the banks had confidence in them that they were able to carry on. In 1939, just before the outbreak of war, we had further evidence of the “ rule of gold “. Mr. Montagu Norman was then Governor of the Bank of England. A few months before war was declared between England and Germany, the Bank of England lent Germany £50,000,000. On that occasion Mr. Montagu Norman said, “ We may never get it back, but it will be a less loss than the fall of nazi-ism “.

There we have conclusive evidence that in spite of the fact that the Opposition is still urging that we should have had a referendum on the proposed nationalization of the banks, we have had financial dictation of politics in the past. This Government does not stand for that. It has a humanitarian policy. Members of the Labour movement know that everything necessary to meet human needs exists in abundance in Australia. We believe that every man, woman and child has an inalienable right to the fruits of Nature, and that the heritage of man should be a common heritage, not reserved for a privileged few. That we have gone a long way towards ensuring that right, within the limits of the Constitution, is quite evident to every right-thinking Australian. Everybody realizes that this Government did a remarkably good job during the period of the second world war, the greatest war in history. It successfully prosecuted the war and also laid the foundations for the post-war period. Legislation has been introduced providing for the people of this country much better social services than exist in any other country in the world. Every person in the community is assured of some degree of social and economic security. It must be remembered, also, that the task of government is much more difficult in the post-war period than during the waryears, when there was a firm and common resolve by everybody successfully to prosecute the war. History teaches us that immediately after the last shot has been fired, people split up into interested sections. Carlyle spoke truly when hesaid, “ Peace hath greater tests of manhood than battle ever knew “.

Something has been said about thepress during this debate. We hear a great deal about the freedom of the press. On that subject I would say that if the main section of the press - particularly themetropolitan press - were found to beguilty of being free, or even impartial, then it would be a distinct miscarriageof justice, because the press, on every possible occasion, prints only that whichsuits the policy of the particular paper.


– That would! suggest that the press is biased !


– I have experienced press bias. During the passage of the banking legislation, in spite of the fact that newsprint was rationed, a prominent part of the Melbourne Herald was devoted to a report of what was supposed to be a challenge to me. Big black headlines appeared in the Herald on the 22nd November, 1947. The newspapers were complaining about a shortage of newsprint, yet Mr. G. W. Sneddon, who claimed at that time to be chairman of the Bank Employees Protest Committee, took me to task and wanted me to supply proof of the statement that the banks at that time had agents going around the schools at playtime getting signatures of children to petitions. During my second-reading speech, I had quoted a letter received from an elector stating that his sister, who was fifteen years of age, and five or 3ix other juveniles, had been compelled to sign a petition of protest. I read the letter in this chamber and went on to say that it indicated that there might be some truth in the statement that agents of the private banks were going around the schools at play-time getting the signatures of children to petitions of protest. In dealing with the duplication of signatures on petitions I also said at that time that some people were so anxious to sign anything which looked like a petition, that it was not safe to leave a lunch paper down or it would be promptly signed. It is a wonder that Mr. Sneddon did not want me to produce some signed lunch papers.

The Age reported my remarks fairly, but the Herald published that ridiculous statement by Mr. Sneddon. This is just an indication of the depths to which the newspapers - or most of them - will descend in order to mislead the people. When it suits them, they will publish misrepresentations and half truths as well as lies. Yet, in spite of that, not long ago Sir Keith Murdoch of the Melbourne Herald said to share-holders, “ We have to seek the truth out wherever we find it, and give it to the public “. Although I sent a reply to both the Herald and the Sun, neither newspaper published it. Yet there are people who declare that the press is free and impartial! If they were found guilty of being free or impartial it would be a distinct miscarriage of justice.

In Victoria last year an election was forced on the people because of something with which the State Government had nothing to do; it was all because of proposed legislation in this Parliament. The Legislative Council in Victoria forced the election on the people by refusing supply. Through their propaganda they confused the people of Victoria who really did not know what they were doing because they defeated the best government which Victoria has ever had, the Cain Labour Government. The Legislative Council of Victoria, whose decision forced that election, is elected by only one-third of the people in that State. In .order to qualify for membership of that council a person must fulfil certain conditions, one of which is that he mustbe the owner of unencumbered property to the value of £500. Yet, we repeatedly hear members of the Opposition parties in this Parliament talking about democracy, and referring to the potential dictatorship of the Labour Government should certain legislation be enacted. Was anything more dictatorial ever done in any supposedly democratic country than the action taken by the Legislative Council in Victoria last year ? So successful did such tactics prove in that State that the Opposition parties tried the same thing in Tasmania ; but with what result ? The recent election in Tasmania was engineered by anti-Labour leaders in Victoria. I understand that a leading Victorian King’s Counsel was sent to Tasmania to advise the anti-Labour parties what to do, and that Sir Frank Clarke, the leader of the anti-Labour majority in the Legislative Council in Victoria, who has been described by some people as Sir “Bank” Clarke, was also sent to Tasmania for that purpose.

Senator Nash:

– Did not the . antiLabour parties also send a gentleman named Casey to Tasmania for the same reason ?


– Yes ; they also sent Richard Gardiner Casey, who is commonly referred to as the “ Bengal tiger “, to give a hand to the anti-Labour forces in Tasmania. They forecast that the

Tasmanian election would be a debacle for Labour. They proclaimed .that the result would bo a pointer to the result of the next federal elections. I hope that that is so, because the actual result of the Tasmanian election indicates that this Government will remain in power for many years to come. The experience of the anti-Labour forces in Tasmania proves the truth of the words of Abraham Lincoln that you cannot fool all the people all the time. It indicates that the people of Australia, commencing with the people in Tasmania, have at last awakened to the pseudo-Liberal party, and to the numerous changes of name that that antiLabour party has made from time to time. First, it was known as the Nationalist party. Later, it became the United Australia party, and now it is the Liberal party. I have heard it said - and I hope I am not challenged here - that the sole purpose of a special sub-committee within it is to coin new names for the party in emergencies.

Senator Large facetiously invited Senator O’Sullivan to join the Labour party. I remind my colleague that Senator O’Sullivan is still in the political kindergarten, the Liberal party, and that there is not much chance of his graduating for some considerable time, to the university of Labour. Honorable senators opposite, as usual, have indulged in nebulous sweeping statements and have offered no constructive criticism with respect to Australia’s foreign policy. Members of the Opposition parties who have criticized the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) because he is overseas, have also criticized the Minister, when he has been in our midst, for not being overseas. How can the Government satisfy such critics? We must realize that only since a Labour Government has been in power has Australia evolved a foreign policy of its own. Previously, antiLabour Governments were content to follow in the wake of other countries. They never had the intestinal courage to evolve a foreign policy. However, I believe that the criticism levelled against the Minister for External Affairs is, as has been said in the House of Representatives, inspired largely by jealousy, because he is held in the highest esteem in the councils of the world. Since he has represented Australia in those councilshe has lifted the name and prestige of this country higher than it had ever beenbefore. We can depend upon him to dowhat is best for Australia in his negotiations with the representatives of other nations. We must realize that somecohesion and understanding among thenations of the world must be achievedif we are to avert a third world war. I shudder at the thought of destruction inherent in the application of science towarfare in a third world war. When, we recall the devastation wrought at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the atomic bomb, and when we realize that that” weapon is being constantly improved,- - if we can use the word “ improved “ - surely we must make every effort, great or small, to help the United Nations toestablish world peace. Following World’ War I. an effort was made in that direction with the establishment of theLeague of Nations, but the greatest difficulty confronted that organization from its inception when the nation whichactually sponsored its establishment declined to join it. The United Nationsorganization offers an infinitely betterchance of maintaining peace than wasever previously offered to the world.

I must refer to the old bogy of communism, which members of the opposition parties never fail to raise. Regardless of what legislation the Government introduces, or what the subject under discussion may be, honorable senators opposite always rake the old “ red “ bogy,Supporters of the Government havedeclared that the Labour party has noassociation with and will refuse to haveany truck with the communists, but, invariably, members of the Opposition parties dwell upon the ramifications and themisdeeds of Communists throughout theworld. They endeavour to create theimpression among our people that the Labour party is responsible for theexistence of the Communist party in Australia. I say without hesitation that the greatest impetus ever given to the Communist party in Australia was given by anti-Labour governments in the past. When such governments were in; office they did what honorable senators- opposite now advocate that this Government should do. A government formed of the present Opposition parties declared the Communist party to be illegal; and with what result? The membership of the Communist party grew enormously, and its members circulated their propaganda in roneoed or typed form to a degree which they would not have attempted had they not been declared illegal. Prominent Communist officials stood as candidates for election to the Parliament a3 independents. Yet, honorable senators opposite never fail to endeavour to tag the Communist party on to the Labour party. The fact is that the Labour party is the only political party in Australia whose rules specifically debar a Communist from membership. The anti-Labour parties cannot say that they have such a rule in their constitutions. It is absolutely impossible to change a person’s political opinion by legislation. Measures of the kind advocated by honorable senators opposite will only drive the Communists underground. The best bulwark we can erect against communism in Australia is to ensure the continuity of Labour governments, because under conditions which Labour governments establish in the interests of the community the people will realize that there is no need for communism or any other “ ism “. Under such conditions, the people will be contented. The anti-Labour parties in this country are wholly and solely concerned with the preservation of their power, profit and privilege, whereas the Labour party seeks to ensure a peaceful, prosperous people. That is the aim of all legislation introduced by the Government, which is constantly striving to give economic and social justice to our citizens. “We believe that every person in this country is entitled to a higher standard of living than he or she now enjoys. “We must remember that thousands of the young lads upon whom we depended for the safety of Australia during the recent war left school dunnar the depression years and attained manhood without ever having been able to obtain a job. Anti-Labour governments were in power during the whole of that period. Furthermore, many of the beneficial acts done by previous Labour governments have been promptly undone by anti-Labour governments. For example, following “World War I. an anti-Labour government disposed of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers and the Commonwealth woollen mills, whilst in 1924 the Bruce-Page Government handed over control of the Commonwealth Bank to the private banks. In 1931, when the Commonwealth Bank was under that control, it refused assistance to the government of the day to enable it to relieve the distress in the community. In 1924. as soon as the private banks got control of the Commonwealth Bank, they refused to finance the Australian wool clip, until the Commonwealth Bank undertook to guarantee to them the right to draw £10,000,000. What did the private banks do? They were supposed to pay interest at the rate of 4 per cent, on money actually drawn. They did not draw any of that money, but operated solely on their right to draw, and although they did not pay any interest at all they charged borrowers the current rate of interest.. In 193S. when Mr. B. G. Casey was Treasurer in the Lyons Government, he brought down legislation which would have irrevocably transferred the control of the Commonwealth Bank to private banking interests. Fortunately that legislation was noi put through. We must realize these things in spite of the fact that the paTty responsible for them has often changed its name. Originally, it was the United Australia party whose initial letters U.A.P. incidentally stood for “Unemployment and Poverty “. Now it is masquerading as the Liberal party; but the personnel, the interests and the policy of the people concerned are the same. We must be realistic. We know what the present Government has done. It has fulfilled every promise it has made; but that cannot be said of antiLabour governments which wish to get back to the “ good old days “. During the recent war, no one was more vociferous than were the leaders of the antiLabour parties in promising service personnel that when the war was won they would return to a “ new order “. To-day, however, the only aim of those parties is to get back to the old order. They criticize every move made by the workers of this country to improve their wages and conditions of employment. When the workers make such efforts, members of the Opposition parties lay down a barrage of criticism alleging that the workers are controlled by the Communists. But we are never told anything about the strikes which are instigated by employers, particularly on the coal-fields. All we read in big headlines in the press is that the miners have failed to produce so much coal. They do not state the reasons for the losses. It is easy to criticize. During the last election campaign I had an opportunity to go down into a coal-mine. I did not want to stay there. I was shown what was called a “ good “ job, but I would not do the work for £50 a week. Some of those people who are so loud in their criticism of the miners should work a couple of shifts underground. If they did, I can guarantee that there would be a stopwork meeting before they had worked for 25 minutes. Many stoppages occur on the coal-fields because the mine owners are not prepared to expend money on safety devices. The number of coalininers in this country is falling rapidly. We cannot blame miners for not wanting to send their sons into the occupation that they have followed, and in which there is always the grim possibility of an early death from one of the diseases to which underground workers are subject. We should not forget these things. Many of the disabilities that obtain in the coalmining industry are also encountered in gold-mining. I heard it suggested on one occasion that instead of sending men into the bowels of the earth to dig for gold, a gold-field should be surveyed by experts, and enclosed with a .fence bearing the notice “ Bank of England “. Why is it necessary to bring the gold to the surface and send it overseas only to be buried in another hole under a bank in Great Britain or the United States of America ?

The legislative programme of the Australian Government outlined by the Governor-General in his address to the Parliament on Wednesday last is a monument to the Labour administration. It covers every phase of our national life and touches every section of the community. It cannot be argued with any truth that Labour caters only for certain sections of the people. Industrial workers, primary producers, and small business people alike are all provided for adequately in the Government’s plans. The task of the Government is not easy, and [ appeal to the Opposition to be realistic and fair. The people of this country know that the Labour Government has done a good job both in the provision of social services and the granting of tax reductions to all sections of the community. Australia has had Labour rule since October, 1941. In that period this country has developed into one of the foremost nations of the world. The Government has given every possible encouragement to the expansion of secondary industries. It has also fostered scientific and industrial research. It has provided social services hitherto undreamed of. The present advocacy by the Opposition parties of substantial reductions of taxes is reminiscent of a similar clamour- just prior to the depression years of 1929-32. At that time there was a nation-wide outcry for a substantial reduction of governmental expenditure; but such a reduction, can have only one outcome and that is widespread unemployment with all the human misery and suffering that it entails. The demands of honorable senators opposite for tax reductions could be met only by a severe curtailment, or, in some instances, a total elimination, of social services. Again I commend the Government’s programme to the Senate and to the people of Australia. We have our feet on the road to social progress, but we can keep on that road only by a continuance of Labour administration in this country.

Debate (on motion by Senator O’Flaherty) adjourned.

page 188


Senator ASHLEY:

– I lay on the table the following papers : -

Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure, and Estimates of Expenditure for Additions, New Works, and Other Services involving Capital Expenditure, for the year ending the 30th June, 1949.

The Budget. 1948-49 - Papers presented by the Bight Honorable J. B. Chifley, M.P., on the occasion of the Budget of 1948-49.

Motion (by Senator Ashley) put -

That Standing Order 14 be suspended topermit the moving of a motion for the printing of thu papers before the Address-in-Reply is adopted.


– There being an absolute majority of the whole number of senators present, and no dissentient voice, I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.

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

– I move -

That the papers be printed.

To-night in the House of Representatives the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) has delivered a statement on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 1948-49, together with details of actual revenue and expenditure in 1947-48. I propose to inform Senators of the main features of this statement, and to give details of certain proposals affecting revenue and expenditure contained in it. The total revenue in 1947-48 was £457,000,000, which was £60,000,000 above the budget estimates. The main revenue increases were -

Defence and post-war charges in 1947-48 were £1S0,000,000, or £12,000,000 greater than the estimates. Other expenditure was £276,000,000, an increase of £16,000,000 over the estimates. The total expenditure in 1947-48, therefore, was £455,600,000, which was £1,400,000 less than total revenue. This is the first surplus since 1939-40, and it is cause for gratification that, three years after the end of the war, it has been possible to achieve this result, because it means that the huge war-time gap between revenue and expenditure has been eliminated and that budget equilibrium has been attained

A review of economic prospects for this financial year indicates that there may be .some further rise in national income. Whilst the general supply position is improving, the improvement has been uneven and inflationary pressure is still exceedingly strong. Serious concern was expressed at the rate of increase in prices and costs during the past twelve months. We must increase the volume of our exports, but we can do this only by producing more, not only of exportable commodities but of all commodities. Certain factors are limiting output, in particular the shortage of labour to do heavy manual work, and measures are being taken by the Government to deal with this problem. These measures include placement of migrant labour in basic industries and special housing schemes in key districts. In general, however, the main responsibility for increasing total output lies -with producers, both employers and employees, and the solution must be sought in greater output per worker and higher efficiency on the part of management.

In surveying the present world economic problem, special weight must be laid on the importance of further recovery in the United Kingdom. The problem as a whole is essentially one of production. Despite ‘great efforts, many war-devastated countries have not reached pre-war levels of output. Most of them have been concentrating on home production at the expense of exports. At the same time, they have been seeking the materials and equipment for reconstruction from abroad, especially from Nort/h America. From this has arisen the great demand for dollars. We have .a clear responsibility both to economize in the use of dollars and to earn as many more dollars as possible. The dollar budget for this financial year will keep dollar imports much below last year’s figure. The limit will be firmly maintained.

The present problem of intra-European payments arose from the fundamental fact that the progress of various European countries towards recovery has been uneven, so that while all countries are unable to buy as many American goods as they require, some are also unable to buy essential goods from neighbouring countries. This creates demands for various currencies, particularly sterling. The United Kingdom has already done much to support European countries which have been critically short of sterling, and it is now clear that, as a result of discussions now proceeding in Paris and elsewhere, a further large contribution will be made by the United Kingdom towards the sterling needs of Europe. Australia has important markets in, Europe aud it also stands to gain from any measure which, by increasing the level of European production, assists the trade and general prosperity of the United Kingdom. Accordingly, after full consideration, the Government has decided to make a grant of £10,000,000 to the Government of the United Kingdom as a means of assisting that country to carry its burden whilst also helping European economic revival. The payment will be made from balances held by the Commonwealth Bank in London arising from our favorable trade position last year. Repayment will be made to the Commonwealth Bank in Australia from Consolidated Revenue. Legislation to give effect to the proposed grant will be brought down later in the session.

In considering the financial outlook for this financial year, it is emphasized that present comparatively easy financial conditions can not be taken as the sole guide to budget policy. If export income fell, there might be a. drastic effect on revenues. Delayed sources of revenue, as from income tax arrears, will diminish in later years and on the expenditure side, rising costs have to be faced. Considerable saving will result from the termination of certain subsidies but apart from this, no major reduction can be expected in charges carried over from the war. There are strong reasons for providing now against commitments due to be met in later years.

On the basis of existing commitments net expenditure on defence and post-war charges in 1948-49 is estimated at £166,000,000. Expenditure last year was £1S0,000,000. Provision is made for gross expenditure of £65,000,000 on defence and allied services, as= against £75,000,000 last year, and £112,000,000 for post-war charges, as against £144,000,000 last year. Credits for 1948-49 are estimated at £11,000,000. Last year credits were £39,600,000. Expenditure on post-war charges in 1948-49 is estimated at £112,000,000. In 1947-48, expenditure was £144,000,000. Price stabilization subsidies are expected to cost £10,300,000 this year, compared with £35,000,000 last year. Primary production subsidies this year are estimated at £9,400,000 as against £10,S00,000 last year. Total subsidy payments are therefore estimated at £19,700,000, which is £26,100,000 lower that the actual expenditure in 1947-48. Estimates of expenditure on international relief and rehabilitation in 1948-49 show an increase of £1,400,000 above last year. The total amount of £3,600,000 includes £1,000,000 for the International Children’s Emergency Organization. £S00,000 for the International Refugee Organization, and £1,800,000 for general post-Unrra relief.

On the basis of existing legislation and commitments, total expenditure other than defence and post-war charges in 1948-49, is estimated at £303,000,000. which is £28,000,000 more than the expenditure in 1947-48. The main increases are £7,000,000 in, payments to the National “Welfare Fund, £3,500,000 for postal services, £12,700,000 for capital works and services, £1,000,000 for the territories, and £1,300,000 for other departments. Statutory payments to the National “Welfare Fund are estimated at £95,000,000. of which £77,000,000 is from the social services contribution and £18,000,000 from the pay-roll tax. These payments totalled £88,000,000 last year. Provision of £38,000,000 for capital works and services, excluding defence works, includes £10,500,000 for the Post Office! £5,500,000 for civil aviation, £9,100,000 for war service homes, £1,500,000 for immigrant hostels, £1,000,000 for conversion of migrant ships, and £3,200,000 for capital works and services in the territories. Expenditure on other departments for the year is estimated at £26,900,000, which, compared with £2o’,600,000 in 1D47-4S, is an increase of £1,300,000. Of the total expenditure budgeted for this year, £16,000,000 is for salaries and £10,900,000 is for general departmental charges. On existing legislation and. commitments, therefore, total expenditure in 1948-49 is estimated at £469,000,000, compared with £455,000,000 in 1947-48.

On the basis of existing rates, of taxation, it is estimated that revenue in 194S-49 would be £498,000,000. Income tax and social services contribution at present rates are estimated to yield £268,000,000, sales tax £38,350,000, payroll tax £18,000,000, and customs and excise £115,000,000. Therefore, on the basis of estimates which do not allow for proposals affecting both revenue and expenditure, to be detailed presently, revenue for 1948-49 would exceed expenditure by £29,000,000.

In keeping with its policy of reducing taxation as the position warrants, the Government proposes to make further reductions of taxes to operate in this financial year. It is proposed to reduce rates of individual income tax and social services contribution for the current financial year. The reduced rates will apply as from the 1st July, 1948, but it will not be possible to vary instalment deductions from the earnings of employees before the 1st October, 1948. Any consequent adjustment of the amount deducted will be made after the close of the year, when the returns of employees are lodged and assessed. The cost to revenue of the proposed reductions will be £26,000,000 in a full year and £20,000,000 in the current year. This reduction is approximately 16§ per cent, of the total amount at present paid by individuals. The percentage reduction is substantially greater in the lower and middle income groups. The combined ceiling rate of tax and contribution will be retained at the present figure of 15s. in the £1. In respect of income from personal exertion, however, the ceiling rate will apply to that part of the income in excess of £9,000 instead of the present figure of £5,000. Taxpayers with property income in excess of £5,000 or personal exertion income in excess of £9,000 will benefit by the reduction of rates on die first £5,000 or £9,000, respectively, of their incomes. Tables showing the total levy of tax and contribution that will be payable by various classes of taxpayers at different income levels, and comparing these amounts with the amounts payable at war-time and present rates, will be circulated to honorable senators.

Certain other measures affecting the liability of individuals are also proposed at an annual cost of about £750,000. The concessional allowances are being expanded to include gifts to the United Nations Appeal for Children and to increase rebatable amounts in respect of funeral expenses from £20 to £30. Cash living-away-from-home allowances paid under industrial awards will now be completely exempt up to 50s. a week and the remuneration of visiting industrial experts in the third and fourth year of the visit will not be subject to Australian tax to a greater degree than the tax would be payable in the country in which the expert is ordinarily resident.

It is proposed to reduce the flat rate of tax on companies from 6s. to 5s. in the £1 on the first £5,000 of taxable income at an estimated cost to revenue of £1,500,000 per annum. The reduced rate, which will apply in assessments based on incomes derived during the year ended the 30th June, 1948, will operate in conjunction with amendments to the special provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act relating to private companies. These amendments, although they will not affect the volume of revenue, will remove several anomalies from the legislation and place the private company tax on a simpler and more equitable basis.

It is proposed to make certain sales tax concessions, which will cause a loss of revenue estimated at £475,000 in a full year, and approximately £350,000 in the current financial year. The concession will consist principally of additional exemptions from tax. It is proposed to reduce excise on matches by 9d. per twelve dozen boxes. This will allow more equitable margins to manufacturers and distributors while avoiding the necessity for an increase of the retail price of matches. It is estimated that the annual cost to revenue of the reduction will be £130,000. It will operate retrospectively from the 1st July, 1948. It is proposed also to abolish excise on petrol produced in Australia directly or indirectly from coal and shale mined in Australia. This reduction will take effect as from to-morrow, the 9th September, 1948. It is estimated to cost the revenue £85,000 in a full year and £56,000 in this financial year.

In all, therefore, the proposed tax reductions whiCh I. have outlined will cost £29,000,000 in a full year and £22,300,000 in this financial year. A comprehensive statement has been prepared covering the full tax reductions made by the Government during its term of office. This paper will be available to honorable senators. It shows that the total yearly value of these reductions to taxpayers now approaches £140,000,000. In passing, it may he pointed out that, if the earlier reductions were calculated upon the present level of taxable income instead of upon taxable income at the time they were given, this total figure would be very greatly increased. In addition to its proposals for reductions of taxes, the Government proposes to increase the rates of a number of social service benefits and also to grant a further easement of the means test.

It is proposed to increase age and invalid pensions by 5s. to £2 2s. 6d. a week, and to ease the means test by raising from £1 to £1 10s. a week the income from other sources which a pensioner may enjoy without any reduction of pension. At the same time, the amount of property, apart from the pensioner’s dwelling and other exempt property, which the pensioner may have without reduction of pension will be increased from £50 to £100, and the property limit above which no pension will be payable will be raised from £650 to £750. The additional expenditure involved is estimated at £7,600,000 in a full year and £5,100,000 in this financial year. The combined, effect of the increase of pension and the liberalized means test will be to allow a man and wife, if both are eligible for age pension, a maximum permissible income plus pension, of £7 5s. per week. The proposed easement of the means test will be the second made by the Government in the last two years. The complete abolition of the means test for age and invalid pensions at the rates now proposed would, it is estimated, cost an additional £54,000,000 a year. It is also proposed to increase widows’ pensions by 5s. a week for all classes of widows, thus raising to £2 7s. 6d. a week, the pension payable to a widow with a dependent child. The income test also will be eased from £1 to £1 10s. a week, and for widows other than those whose property limit is now £1,000 the property limits will be the same as those proposed for age and invalid pensioners. Expenditure, it is estimated, will be increased by about £700,000 in a full year, and by £400,000 in this financial year.

It is proposed to increase to 10s. the present child endowment of 7s. 6d. a week. The additional cost is estimated at £6,700,000 in a full year and £4,500,000 in this financial year. Since the 1st January, 1946, the Commonwealth has been paying to the States an amount of 6s. a day for each bed occupied in. the public wards of public hospitals. A condition of this payment is that no fees be charged to patients in public wards. It is proposed now to increase this payment to 8s. a day. A similar increase to 8s. a day is proposed in the Commonwealth contribution towards the fees payable by patients in the intermediate and private wards of public hospitals and in private hospitals. These increased payments are expected to cost an additional £1,400,000 in a full year and £1,300,000 in this financial year.

In collaboration with the States, the Commonwealth is planning a campaign to reduce the incidence of tuberculosis in Australia. The plan envisages the provision of facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease and the aftercare of those suffering from it. On behalf of the Commonwealth, the Government has offered to meet all approved additional maintenance costs and to provide all approved new capital moneys required. Additional maintenance under the new plan, tuberculosis allowances, and other expenditure under existing legislation will cost £600,000 in 1948-49. Payments on account of maintenance are expected to rise to £1,500,000 per annum. Total capital expenditure under the scheme will be very substantial, but it is not yet possible to give an estimate.

The Commonwealth is at present negotiating with the States on a scheme under which fees will no longer be collected in respect of patients in public mental institutions. The Commonwealth has offered to recoup to the States the amount of revenue they would thus forgo. Legislation introducing the scheme will be submitted to the Parliament when agreement with the States has been reached. Expenditure in a full year is estimated at £500,000 and in this financial year at £300,000.

A scheme for assisting and rehabilitating disabled people will be the subject of legislation shortly to be introduced. Expenditure under the scheme is estimated at £600,000 for a full year, and £250,000 for the current financial year.

The total annual cost of the proposals outlined will be £18,000,000. In the current financial year the estimated additional expenditure will be £12,000,000. This will, of course, be met from the National Welfare Fund, and together with the increased costs of existing benefits, will increase estimated cash expenditure from the Fund in 1948-49 to £88,500,000, as compared with cash expenditure of £68,600,000 last year.

The Government ako proposes to increase war and service pensions. General rate war pensions will be increased by about 10 per cent., which will mean an additional 5s. a week for pensioners whose incapacity has been assessed as “total”. An increase of 5s. a week is proposed in the present special rate war pensions for cases of total and permanent incapacity, wai1 widows’ pensions, and the maximum rate pensions for dependent parents, brothers, sisters, &c, of deceased members of the forces. For some classes of dependants of deceased members, the increase will be greater than 5s. a week. For example, the pension of. certain widowed mothers will be raised from £2 10s. to £3 a week.

As the same rate and means test conditions apply to service pensions as to age and invalid pensions, the maximum :service pensions will be increased by 5s. to £2 2s. 6d. a week, and the property and income-plus-pension limits will be raised to £750 and £3 12s. 6d. a week, or, for a man and wife, £1,500 and £7 5s. a week respectively. The pension for the wife of a special rate or full general rate war pensioner and also for the service pensioner’s wife will be increased by approximately 10 per cent. Other proposals include the payment of the special rate war pension, which is at present limited to permanent total incapacity, to cases of temporary total incapacity. Free medical treatment, including in-patient treatment, will be made available, as far as practicable, to the widows and children of deceased members of the Forces, and to certain classes of widowed mothers of deceased -members of the Forces. A further extension of the educational and training allowances under the Soldiers’ Children’s Education Scheme will be made. The additional full year cost of the war and service pension increases and other repatriation proposals is estimated at approximately £2,100,000. The increase for 1948-49 is estimated at £1,500,000.

It is proposed that the allowances now being paid to Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme trainees, to exservicemen being re-established on the land and in business, and to university students under the Commonwealth financial assistance scheme 3hall be increased by 5s. per week. The estimated cost will be £500,000 for a full year and £340,000 for the current financial year.

The total estimated liability for war gratuity payments is £80,000,000. Whilst limited payments are being made to meet special cases which come within the provisions of the act and the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on War Gratuity, the main liability will fall due in the financial year 1950-51. To provide sufficient funds in one year to meet such a large commitment would be very difficult, and it would certainly be wise to make provision in preceding years to cover at least part of the liability. Accordingly, the Government proposes to establish a war gratuity reserve, into which will be appropriated the revenue surplus of £1,400,000 in 1947-48, a further £5,000,000 from this year’s revenue, and £17,000,000 representing part of certain trust balances. The total appropriations to the reserve in this financial year will therefore amount to £23,400,000.

During the war and the period which has elapsed since, substantial balances have accumulated in certain trust accounts, and consideration has been given to sums which are no longer required for the purposes for which those accounts were established. The Parliament will be asked to amend the Audit Act to permit unrequired balances in trust accounts to be transferred to Consolidated Revenue Fund or to Loan Fund, as may be appropriate. The moneys available in certain trust accounts are not directly attributable to war loan expenditure, but have a’ccumulated through provision made against certain war-time risks and contingencies such as war damage to property and marine war risks. From those balances the £17,000,000 which it is proposed to appropriate to war gratuity reserve will be transferred. Sufficient balances will, however, remain in the accounts to cover any coramitments likely to accrue. An additional amount of approximately £19,000,000 which has accumulated in trust accounts financed from war loan expenditure, and which has arisen mainly from recoupment of cost of manufactures and from proceeds of the disposal of materials, will be transferred to Loan Fund in reduction of war debt.

It is also proposed to increase the payments made to the States in respect of tax reimbursement and roads, and to provide for the reimbursement to the States of the cost of controlling prices, rents and land# values. These increases are tentatively estimated to amount’ to £10,500,000 in the current year.

Under the uniform tax legislation passed in 1946 it was provided that the aggregate reimbursement grants should be £40,000,000 in each of the years 1946-47 and 1947-4S. The legislation also provided for a formula to operate in 1948- 49 to increase the basic aggregate grant of £40,000,000, in accordance with variations of population and increases of average wages. However, last year, it was found necessary to increase the grant to £45,000,000. The operation of the formula in the current year would increase the basic grant to only £43,200,000, rendering it necessary to make an additional grant of £1,800,000 to bring the aggregate to £45,000,000. In other words, under present legislation, the aggregate grant this year would be £45,000,000, the same amount as for last year.

The Commonwealth has conferred with the State Premiers, and has reached the conclusion that in view of the effect of rising costs upon State budgets it is necessary to increase the tax reimbursement grants payable to the States. At the same time the Commonwealth has made it clear to the Premiers that, in its view, the States might reasonably be expected to make greater efforts to exploit their own revenue resources, and, in particular, to ensure that the costs of business undertakings shall be covered as far as possible by the charges for the services rendered.. It is now proposed to amend the formula incorporated in the existing legislation toincrease the aggregate tax grant in 1948-49 to £53,700,000, an increase of £8,700,000. On the basis of present trends in population and average wagesthe amended formula would result in a further increase next year of possibly £6,000,000. The Premiers expressed their satisfaction with this proposed revision of the formula, and the Government trusts that if this revised formula is brought into operation, the States will bein a position in future to assume complete financial responsibility, and to formulatetheir budgets without making yearly requests to the Commonwealth for special’ assistance.

It is also proposed to increase by £1,000,000, the amount made available each year under the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act 1947 for the construction and maintenance of roads through sparsely settled areas, timber country and districts not otherwise served by adequate transport facilities. This will bring the amount provided for that purpose to £2,000,000 per annum, and the estimated total of the Commonwealth Aid Roads Grant this year will be £7,300,000. An amendment of the act will be necessary to give effect to the proposal.

In 194S-49 the States will incur additional expenditure by reason of their assumption of the control over prices, rents and land sales. To assist the States, it is proposed to make a grant to each State equal to the additional costs in which the State will be involved by reason of its administration of those controls. A tentative figure of £750,000 has been included in the Estimates for this purpose.

After making provision for those proposals, and for some increase in other grants, the total payments to or for the States this year are, in the aggregate, estimated at £78,000,000, which is an increase of £11,300,000 over the amount paid last year. Payments to the States from the National Welfare Fund in respect of hospital benefits and similar items are not included in this total. Under the proposal to increase the hospital benefits rate to Ss. a day the States will receive an increase this year of £856,000.

After allowance has been made for the revenue and expenditure proposals which I have outlined, the budget for 194S-49 may be summarized as follows : -

The foregoing summary excludes certain self-balancing items of revenue and expenditure. Furthermore, the foregoing statistics of additional expenditure do not include the cost of the health and social service proposals which are, of course, met from the National “Welfare Fund.

In the past three years the Government has succeeded in reducing war costs to a minimum. It has reduced the incidence of direct taxes on the majority of taxpayers by more than half. It has made provision for ex-servicemen and women and has established many valuable services for the community. This has been, possible because industry has expanded, production has increased and employment has been maintained at a ceiling level. Those facts bear tribute to the essential soundness of the financial and economic policy which has been followed by the Government. The keynote of that policy has been security, in the largest sense, and will remain so. The worker will do his best when he knows that his job is secure and that he has protection against sickness and the disabilities of old age. The employer can proceed with his enterprise when he knows that the demand for his product will be maintained. Those are advantages which the Government may fairly claim to have given to the economy in the course of its post-war economic administration.

Debate (on motion by Senator O’Sullivan) adjourned.

page 195



Motion (by Senator Ashley) proposed -

That the Senate do now adjourn.”

QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Opposition

– I was very pleased to hear the remarks of Senator Arnold on the need for ensuring continuous supplies of galvanized iron and other zinc products, during the Address-in-Reply debate. I think that we all agree that profits should not be allowed to stand in the way of anything that is likely to contribute towards or accelerate the provision of houses for those who need them. But notwithstanding Senator Arnold’s remarks - and I have no doubt of his sincerity - I happen to have read a little bit about this pending dispute, and my information is that the supply of zinc to Newcastle has increased considerably over the last two or three years. From 7,700 tons in 1945-46 it has increased to 8,900 tons in 1946-47, and to 12,300 tons in 1947-4S. For the months of July and August this year a thousand tons have been made available, with an assurance that a like amount will be made available from month to month. That is sufficient to keep the works in Newcastle going to capacity.

I suggest that the Government should make a report to the chamber.

Senator AsHLEY:

-The honorable senator seems well able to get all the information he requires.


– I make it mv business to be informed before I speak on a matter, but in this instance I should like some further information. I do not know whether £22 a ton is a fair price, or whether . £100 a ton would be a fair export price. The Government is in a position toascertain what would be a fair price for overseas purchases. I believe that half the people who are producers of zinc supply the whole of the Australian requirements, and that the other half of theproducers are allowed to export their entire output. Whether that is so or not I do not know, but the matter is one into which I urge that the Government should make a full inquiry and inform the chamber of the facts. I believe also that the works in Brisbane are functioning at only 85 per cent full capacity, which I am informed is due to the slow turnaround of ships. That is a matter, also, on which the Government should inform the chamber. Nothing should be allowed to stand in the way of an accelerated programme of home building, but at the same time people should not be treated unjustly merely because they happen to be producers. I have no idea whether £22 a ton is above orbelow the cost of production, but justice ought to be done all round.

Senator ARNOLD:
New South Wales

– I do not wish to delay the adjournment of the Senate, and I thank Senator O’Sullivan for the very fair way in which he has replied to the statement which I made in this chamber earlier to-day. I am not sure of all of the facts, find because of that I am not prepared to make any further statement that might react unfairly on the company. I have pointed out to the Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) that an industry, vital to Australia, is now being held up; the works are to be shut down and men laid idle. I have been informed that this is because they are unable to obtain zinc. The facts have been placed as fairly as possible before the Senate. I hope the Minister will make a full inquiry into the matter, and inform the Senate of the real position at an early date.

Senator ASHLEY:
New South WalesMinister for Shipping and Fuel · ALP

. - in reply - Senator O’Sullivan has made reference to the shortage of zinc for the firm of Lysaghts at Newcastle, and like the publicity officer of that company he has claimed that a shortage of shipping has been a contributing factor. That is not so because, as I mentioned earlier to-day in answer to Senator Arnold, it was definitely proved some time ago that theshortage was not due to shipping. To those who are endeavouring to blame the Government for the shortage of shipping, I point out that shipping was derequisitioned some time ago. If there is a shortage of shipping to transport the zinc, it is because the company is unable to make arrangements with private shipping companies.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– Nobody blamed the Government.

Senator ASHLEY:

– It is not the fault of the Government. Senator O’Sullivan says that he does not know whether £22 a ton is a reasonable price for the product. I point out that it is competent for the company to make application to the Prices Commissioner for an increase; it is not the responsibility of this Government at all. . I admitted to-day that there is a big disparity between the local price of £22 a ton and approximately £100 a ton world parity. The reason for the shortage at Lysaght’s works at Newcastle is the quantity of zinc that has been sent abroad. The Government has examined the position with a view to curtailing export licences until sufficient provision has been made for the manufacture of adequate supplies of galvanized iron and other commodities for home-building in Australia.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 196


The following papers were presented : -

Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -

Defence - D. J. Richardson.

Health - F. R. Cawthorn, H. B. Cump- ston, J. J. Gard, R. S. Martin. A. T. Stocker.

Postmaster-General - W. E. Beard,

D. A. W. Bluett, W. A. Brooker, G. D. R. E. Edmonds, P. 0. Gillard,. E. A. King-Smith, K. E. White.

Post-war Reconstruction - J. E. Brocksopp, R. Buchanan, R. J. M. Gordon.

Shipping and Fuel- L. W. D. Taylor.

Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act -

National Security (Prices) Regulations - Orders- Nos. 3333, 3366, 3373-3391.

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948, No.. 109.

Elections and Referendums - Statistical Returns in relation to the Senate Elections, and the General Elections for the ‘ House of Representatives, 1946 (including Detailed Return in relation to the Election for the House of Representatives, 1946, for the Northern Territory), and the submission tothe Electors of Proposed Laws for the Alteration of the Constitution, entitled: -

Services) 1046”;

New South Wales.


South Australia.



Western Australia.

Lands Acquisition Act- Land acquired forDepartment of Post-war Reconstruction purposes - Wingfield, South Australia. Department of Shipping and Fuel purposes - Onslow, Western Australia. Postal purposes -

Carrum, Victoria. Kadina East, South Australia. Monbulk, Victoria. Picton, New South Wales. Port Lincoln, South Australia. Tumut, New South Wales.

Norfolk Island Act - Ordinance - 1948 -

No. 2 - Advisory Council. Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-

Ordinance - 1948 - No. 2 - Workmen’s


Regulations - 1948- -No. 1 (Buildings and Services Ordinance).

Senate adjourned at 9.53 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 8 September 1948, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.