9 September 1948

18th Parliament · 2nd Session

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

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Senator CAMERON:
Postmaster-General · VICTORIA · ALP

– Yesterday, Senator Amour asked the following question : -

Some time ago I requested the PostmasterGeneral to provide a telephone exchange at Revesby, and he subsequently supplied shi answer to me. I now ask him whether the department has acquired the requisite land? Have plans been prepared for the proposed telephone exchange! When can we hope that this very urgent facility will be provided?

I now inform the honorable senator that a site has been selected and action » now ‘being taken to acquire it. A temporary building will be erected on the land and the automatic equipment will then be installed. It is expected that the exchange will be brought into operation in about six months’ time.

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REPORT of Public Works ‘Committee.

Senator LAMP:

– As Chairman, I lay on the table the report of the Public Works Committee .on the following subject : -

Proposed erection of tubercular block and additions to sisters’ quarters, Lady Davidson Home, Turramurra, New Soufi Wales’. .

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Senator FINLAY:

asked the” Minister for Shipping and Fuel, upon notice - 1, ls it a fact that certain trade union officials were not granted permission to interview their members at the rocket range, Woomera; if so, why?

  1. Is it a fact that other officials were selected as suitable persons to interview employees at the range with respect to their rates of pay and the working conditions operating there 7
Senator ASHLEY:
Minister for Shipping and Fuel · NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– The answers to the honorable senators questions arc as follows : -

  1. Yes. The reason was that the persons nominated did not satisfy security rules.
  2. The department did not select any trades union officials for the visit to the rocket range. Various unions nominated representatives to take advantage of the facilities provided by the department. Some were given the facilities and some were refused for security reasons. There . was nothing to prevent the unions nominating other representatives.

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Senator NASH:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice. -

In relation to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Act 1947, and the regulations made thereunder

When prescribing under the formulary, can a -medical practitioner a) increase the dosage of an ingredient in a compound or mixture; (i) prescribe more than one brand of penicillin without prescribing outside the formulary?

Does any penalty apply to medical practitioners if they prescribe outside the formulary?

Senator McKENNA:
Minister for Health · TASMANIA · ALP

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows . - 1. (a) Important ingredients, in compounds marked with an asterisk in the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Formulary, may be increased to the maximum British . Pharmacopoeia dosage; (6) the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Formulary does npt restrict the prescribing of penicillin to any particular brand.

  1. No.

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

by leave - In response to an inquiry by Senator Aylett, I informed the Senate last Thursday that I would make an early statement regarding the Government’s decision with respect to current restrictions on petrol consumption. The Government is faced with the necessity for limiting the consumption of petrol in Australia, largely because of the dollar shortage. Payment for petrol is not made always or wholly in dollars, but a proportion of the total cost must be met directly in dollars, and this expenditure is provided for in the strictly limited Australian dollar budget. However, the effect on the dollar situation goes farther than that. The total volume of petrol available from sterling sources is insufficient for the requirements of the countries comprising the sterling group, and therefore petrol must be bought from dollar areas. As a result of that, the consumption of petrol in Australia constitutes a charge against the total amount of dollars available to the sterling group. Honorable senators are aware how acute and difficult is the situation iri regard to dollar exchange faced by the sterling bloc, to which Australia belongs. Apart from this aspect of finance, there are supply problems to be overcome. These are associated principally with a world-wide shortage of refining facilities. They are so marked that at present the United States of America, formerly a considerable exporter of petrol, is now a largescale importer. The closing of the Haifa pipe-line some months ago has diminished tha. supply of petrol by 4,000,000 tons’ a year. Therefore, as honorable senators will appreciate, there are limits to the quantity of petrol which may be consumed in Australia. Although the Government would prefer to have more petrol imported and produced locally, and takes all possible steps in that direction, it is forced to ensure, by means of rationing, that the available petrol is equitably distributed to consumers. The number of petrol users is continually increasing. As the quantity of available petrol cannot be increased proportionately, it is necessary to adjust the ration scale in order to spread the supply over the increased number of consumers. The following statistics of motor vehicle registrations indicate the upward trend in the number of petrol users. Of course, people other than vehicle operators also use petrol, but the statistics of vehicle registrations illustrate the increase of petrol consumption generally: -

Civilian petrol consumption over recent years and months has been as shown in the following tables: -

The increase of the number of petrol users is apparent from the foregoing statistics, which give some idea of the number of commercial vehicles, which are heavy consumers of petrol, now operating. It will be observed that con sumption is being stabilized at the present level, and the problem is to devise’ a method to meet the continued increase from available supplies.. A reduction of 20 per cent, of the petrol available to owners of private motor cars, and of 10 per cent, of the petrol available toother consumers would result in an overall saving of 9 per cent., and would restrict consumption to approximately 382,000,000 gallons for the period October, 194.8, to September, 1949. Various alternatives have been considered, but the scale approved by Cabinet provides for conservation of petrol stocks for civilian and defence purposes, having in mind the difficulties associated with dollar shortage and the supply problem generally. A review is at present being made of licences issued to users of motor cars used for business purposes, and a similar review will be made later of petrol consumed by commercial vehicles. That review will be made irrespective of the decision for a general reduction of petrol. It is intended to eliminate excessive consumption by reviewing consumption licences already issued in order to prevent licence holders from drawing more petrol than their present needs warrant.

The Government is taking steps, in collaboration with the State governments, to strengthen the administration of petrol rationing. It believes that the majority of tho people of this country will recognize the need for the reductions which are about to be made in ration scales. By resorting to illicit methods a minority may attempt to secure more petrol than their equitable share. Offenders against the regulations and orders will be vigorously prosecuted, because it is only by a universal acceptance of necessary restrictions that justice can be done to all classes of consumers.

The Government has taken the special step of deciding to issue a Liquid Fuel Order, which will provide that unless the special sanction of the State Liquid Fuel Board is first obtained, supplies of liquid fuel for race-horse floats are not to be made for journeys exceeding 50 miles in each direction.

The Government has dealt also with aviation fuel, and has set an upward limit which it is considered will allow subsidized internal services in operation on the 1st

July, 1948, to be continued, and nonsubsidized internal services as at the 1st July, 1948, less 5 per cent. A reduction of 10 per cent, on usage as at the 1st July, 1948, has been approved for other purposes, including private owners, aero clubs, aircraft manufacturing and repair, organizations, as well as commercial operators, internally, non-scheduled, and primary producers, users of tanks, &c. The question of reserves for defence and civilian purposes is being specially examined, and a report will be submitted to Cabinet when the departmental inquiries are completed.

Earlier I referred to the administration of the Liquid Fuel Boards being in the hands of the State governments, who act as agents for the Commonwealth Government. Immediately prior to the decisions of Cabinet being taken regarding the present reductions in ration scales, representatives of the State Liquid Fuel Boards were called together in conference in Melbourne, and they reviewed many aspects of rationing administration. Reports of the proceedings of that conference were available to the Cabinet subcommittee, which investigated the whole question prior to Cabinet making its present decision.

Mr. J. B. Cumming, Director of Rationing, has recently been appointed Controller of Liquid Fuel, in succession to Mr. W. H. Tucker. Mr. Tucker, who is now Public Service Inspector for Victoria, had filled the office of Controller of Liquid Fuel while he was a member of the staff of the Department of Supply and Shipping. His present duties preclude him from giving the necessary time and attention to petrol rationing matters, and Mr. Cumming has been appointed in bis place. “With the cessation of certain other forms of rationing, Mr. Cumming, who will be assisted by a Deputy Controller, will be able to devote the major part of his activities to petrol rationing.

Although Cabinet has prescribed ration scales it has provided, in its decisions, for continuance of the present method of issuing special licences where necessary, and it has also decided that special consideration is to be allowed in those instances in which the full cut in rations would involve dislocation of essential transport or cause undue hardship.

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Debate resumed from the 8th September (vide page 188), on motion by Senator O’Byrne -

That the following Address-in-Reply Inagreed to: -

To His Excellency the Governor-General - May it please Your Excellency :

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

South Australia

.- The Speech delivered by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral in this chamber last week was one of the best orations I have heard at such functions, and he is to he congratulated. His enunciation and delivery were excellent, and the fact that emphasis was placed upon the exact phrases requiring emphasis made the Speech well worth while listening to, apart altogether from the subject-matter of the Speech itself. I am sure that every honorable senator who was in this chamber, as well as members of the public who were present, heard every word clearly and distinctly. I was very pleased with that aspect, but I cannot say the same of similar speeches delivered in days gone by.

It is rather a remarkable thing that in the eyes of those people who oppose the Labour party, whatever the Chifley Labour Government or any member or supporter of the Australian Labour party does or says is wrong. The Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) quite recently aptly described those people as “ squealers “. We have had one or two “ squealers “ in this chamber in connexion with some of the things mentioned by His Excellency the Governor-General and some of the actions of the Australian Labour Government in the past. For instance, according to the Opposition parties, the Government was absolutely wrong in introducing its banking legislation in 1945. Interests affiliated with those parties challenged that legislation in the High Court which decided that certain sections of the Banking Act of 1945 were invalid. Subsequently, the Government introduced legislation providing for complete control of banking. The Opposition parties described that legislation as nationalization of banking and, again, they said that the Government was wrong. I admit, of course, that those who challenged that legislation had a perfect right to do so, although the decisions of the High Court have held up the legislative programme of the Government. To-day, however, when the Government proposes to appeal to the Privy Council against the decision of the High Court, the Opposition parties proclaim that the Government is wrong again. They contend that it is against Labour principles to appeal to the Privy Council. That contention, of course, is absolutely incorrect, because the Labour party accepts as a principle that it will use all constitutional methods available to it for the purpose of implementing iia policy. No one can say that in appealing to the Privy Council it is violating that principle. But, no matter what the Government does, it is wrong in the eyes of the Opposition parties. When Labour was in office, but not in power in the Parliament, its taxation methods were held by the Opposition parties to be wrong. During the war, however, those parties and the interests which they represent, agreed that the Government should be given all the revenue it required for war purposes, but only so long as it did not interfere with their capital. Those interests emerged from the war with their capital unimpaired. Indeed, in some instances their capital position was strengthened as the result of the war. Following the cessation of hostilities they were mainly instrumental in starting an agitation for the reduction of taxes, whilst, during the war, they were prepared to endorse any promise made by the Government in order to obtain a 100 per cent, war effort, and although those promises involved the Government in expenditure which it would have to’ shoulder after the war was ended, those interests now adopt a different attitude. The Opposition parties now say that the Government imposed unjustly high taxes during the war, and claim that it should have raised a greater proportion of its revenue requirements in loans. Whilst the Government raised certain loans, it adhered to its policy that expenditure should be met as far as practicable out of revenue.

The Opposition parties now say that the Government is wrong again in attempting to meet war-time commitments out of revenue instead of by raising loans for that purpose. In this respect I mention war gratuities. The policy of the Government is that that commitment should be regarded as a charge against production. Accordingly, it is establishing a fund from which it will meet war gratuities when they fall due in 1951. The Opposition parties say that that policy is wrong. They question the reduction of taxes made by the Government last year, and they are squealing about the reduction of taxes proposed in the budget now before the Parliament. They claim that the reductions are not adequate. Another criticism is that the reductions are being made in the wrong way; but whether honorable senators opposite like it or not, the Labour Government believes in the principle of placing the burden upon the shoulders of those best able to bear it. If relief from taxes is to be granted, it will go first to those members of the community who can least afford to’ pay them. Many low-wage earners, particularly those with numerous dependants, now pay no tax at all. This trend has become more pronounced with each successive budget. That is why we hear members of the Opposition parties in this Parliament “ kicking up a shindy “ about the alleged wrong methods used by the Government to effect tax reductions. These protests remind me of similar representations which resulted in the defeat at the polls of the Scullin Labour Government in 1931. People of this country were promised substantial tax reductions if the then Opposition parties were returned to power. Labour was defeated, but the great bulk of the people of this country did not receive the promised tax reductions. Instead, substantial concessions were granted to landowners and other wealthy interests.

The tax remissions announced in the budget will be implemented by legislation to be introduced into this chamber shortly, and I shall have more to say about this subject when the specific proposals come before us. To-day I wish only to emphasize that the Government is determined wherever possible to grant tax reductions first to those members of the community who are in the greatest need of relief. This policy, according to our critics, is wrong. We are told that we should have reduced the company tax, for instance. It is argued that this tax robs business people of incentive to produce; but company statistical records such as those published in the I.P.A. Review tell a different story. They show that big companies have not ceased to employ labour, nor have they curtailed production because of high taxes. In fact, production has increased as have company profits and dividends. These trends do not indicate any lack of incentive. Private companies enjoy similar prosperity, although, of course, it is most difficult to ascertain their exact financial position. “We know, at least, that few private companies are going bankrupt. Prom discussions I have had with company executives, I have ascertained that the greatest obstacle to production to-day is not a lack of incentive but a shortage of labour. Most of these people are commending the Labour Government for its efforts to swell the ranks of labour by bringing immigrants to this country. Unfortunately, however, there is considerable opposition among our political opponents to the Government’s immigration policy. No matter what the Government does, somebody squeals, or seeks to discredit it. So far, these people have met with little success. When the Govcrnment’3 most recent referendum proposals were rejected by the people of this country, anti-Labour interests claimed that that was the starting point of the disintegration of the Labour movement. They set out jubilantly for Tasmania, hoping, by securing the defeat of the Labour Government in that State, to prove that Labour was on the downward path, but they received a shock. The President of the Liberal party, Mr. E. G-. Casey, said, in the course of the Tasmanian election campaign, that the people of that State should vote against the Labour candidates because they were associated with Labour men in the Commonwealth sphere who did not deserve the support of the people of this country. Mr. Casey must have been greatly disappointed when the election results were announced. The count was not completed until the following

Thursday, but Mr. Casey did not wait, for that. On the Tuesday he said that, after all, the” Tasmanian elections were only a local matter and had nothing to do with the Commonwealth. Intense anti-Labour propaganda has been going on for some time, but it has not been very successful up to date. I warn the people of this country to be wary of that propaganda. Misleading and inaccurate statements are appearing every day in advertisements in the daily and weekly press, both metropolitan arid provincial. I have in mind particularly a quarter-page advertisement which appeared iri an Adelaide newspaper during the recent referendum campaign. It accused the Commonwealth Government of being bureaucratic; but no mention was made of the State governments. Apparently this fault lay solely with the Commonwealth Government. It was also stated that federal politicians were dipping their hands info the public treasury, and paying themselves £10 a week upon their retirement from the Parliament. That, of course, was a reference to some pension scheme. The fact is that no bill has ever been introduced in this Parliament for the purpose of taking from the Commonwealth Treasury pensions of £10 a week for members who are defeated at elections, and no agreement has ever been made to do so. That is the sort of propaganda which is used. It is untruthful and unfair, but its sponsors do not understand fairness. They have no idea of the meaning of fair play. The producers of this country, in both primary and secondary industries, must be very careful of the propaganda which will be issued in future against the great Australian Labour movement as represented by this Government. These misleading articles and advertisements will have to be taken with a grain of salt, and I advise ‘the people to listen as often as possible to the debates which are broadcast from this Parliament so that they will be able to hear the facts presented in answer to the misstatements made from time to time by the Government’s opponents. They have m>ade a great mouthful of the coal shortage in this country. Scarcely a debate passes in this chamber without some member of the Opposition criticizing the coal-miners either directly or by implication. The coal situation is usually their first ground of attack upon the Government. When that subject is exhausted, they fall back upon the shortage of shipping or something of that kind.

This propaganda against the coalminers is also very untruthful and unfair. For instance, newspapers in some of the eastern States and in South Australia reported yesterday that a certain number of coal mines were idle again and that thousands of tons of coal production had been lost. Of course, as Senator Sandford pointed out last night, they never mention the actual causes of stoppages in the mines. That is the last thing they would want to do, because that would be fair. Machinery often breaks down in coal mines and the miners are prevented from working, but one sees very little mention of such things. Occasionally the causes of such interruptions are reported, perhaps because the newspaper executives have become hypersensitive all of a sudden, but no details are given. Whenever a stoppage occurs in a coal mine, the newspapers leap to the conclusion that the miners are on strike again. That sort of thing happens every day. The Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) visited the northern New South Wales coal-fields recently to talk with the miners, and it is noteworthy that. he. was not stormed out of the district like a previous Prime Minister. He was received politely and listened to carefully. But the day after !his return from the coal-fields and before he had time to deal with the matters which he had discussed with the miners, the newspapers again published headlines declaring that his efforts had been useless and that the miners had taken no :notice of him. These false declarations were based on reports that a certain :number of mines were idle and that coal production had been lost.

The newspapers never seem to report “the great productive efforts of coalminers in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, except occasionally when the Premier of South Australia secures a little publicity for the purpose of boosting the opposition to the Labour party by endeavouring to show what

Liberal and Country party administrations can achieve. The fact is that the quantity of coal produced in New South Wales last year was greater than the quantity produced there in any previous year except 1942. It was almost the most successful coal production year in the history of the State. This Government’s political opponents ignore this fact and concentrate attention merely upon the shortage of coal in industry. The reason for the shortage is not difficult to find. An examination of recent history brings it to light. For instance, in South Australia, in 1938-39 approximately 24,000 men were out of work and 11,000 nien were engaged in part-time work and therefore not earning full wages. That state of affairs meant, of course, that the demand for power, and therefore for coal to generate, it, was not so great as it would have been had all those men been in employment. There is no unemployment in South Australia to-day. Spasmodic employment has reached the extraordinarily low proportion of 1 per cent. This is accounted for principally by men leaving jobs and taking a rest of a few weeks before entering other employment. Some of them register as unemployed in the interim period. Leaving out of account any population increase, the obvious fact’ is that the 24,000 men who were unemployed in South Australia in 1938-39 and the 11,000 who were only partly employed are now engaged in industry. This means that industry now needs more power to supply its greater demands, and therefore needs greater quantities of coal. In 1939, only 9,000 tons of coal was required to supply the weekly requirements of South Australian industries. However, the demand is now so great that the Premier has declared that the State cannot carry on with less than 19,000 tons weekly. Because sufficient coal could not be obtained from New South Wales, the State Government decided to begin coal-mining operations at Leigh Creek and gradually, with the aid of this Government, it is winning a little extra coal for local needs. The Commonwealth has facilitated the supply of materials and machinery for the work and is also granting reduced freight rates for the carriage of South Australian coal on Commonwealth railways.

In addition we must take into account the increased number of men who are engaged in new industrial enterprises’ in South Australia. Statistics show that the proportion of people engaged in industry in South Australia is higher, by nearly 1 per cent., than in New South Wales. Although South Australia needs more coal for its industries it is not the only State which is short of coal. Bunnerong powerhouse in New South Wales, which is apparently under the control of an individual known as “ calamity Cramer “, about whom I read something in the press recently, produces most of the electric current used in the metropolitan area of Sydney. The quantity of coal consumed by that powerhouse in 1939 was 450,000 tons, which was sufficient to generate all the electrical current required in that year. The coal supplied to Bunnerong in 1947 amounted to 807,000 tons, which is nearly twice as much as in 1939, but even that quantity was not sufficient to produce all the electrical power required. The increase of the demand made on the Bunnerong powerhouse indicates the degree to which the general demand for electrical power has increased. The generation of additional power involves, of course, the supply of more coal.

Senator Grant:

– Fewer men are working in the coal-mines to-day than in 1939. It is now more difficult to obtain labour for the mines because men can get jobs elsewhere.


– That is true, but I am not concerned with it for the moment. Although a much greater quantity of coal is being mined it is still not nearly sufficient to meet the demands of industry. The point which I am making is that the reason for the inadequacy of the present rate, of production of coal is .not that the miners are not doing their job, but that the expansion of industry has outstripped the supplies of coal available.

I intend to say something with regard to employment generally throughout Australia. In 1939 there were more than 250,000 persons unemployed, and that does not include the large number who were engaged on part-time work, like those in South Australia to whom I ref erred previously. The plain fact “is that more than a quarter of a million people were unable to “get a job of any kind. Employment throughout Australia has increased since that time by 70 per cent., and we must realize that there are fewer people working at the coal faces today than in 1939. Nevertheless the miners are producing more coal than they produced in any previous year, with the exception of the record established during the war. A few days ago the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) went to the coalfields in northern New South Wales and spoke to the miners in order to explain to them the extent of Australia’s coal requirements and the need for them to produce even more coal than they are now doing. He pointed out that the coal-miners were not the only “ pebbles on the beach “ and that there were other workers throughout Australia who were suffering because of the shortage of coal required for the expansion of industries on which so many families depend. The purpose of his visit was not to dissuade the miners from pressing their claims for better conditions, but simply to increase the production of coal in the interest of Australia generally. The following day the large daily newspapers in the capital cities appeared with big headlines stating, “ Mr. Chifley unsuccessful “, but they did not mention that the Prime Minister had made his appeal . only the previous day. I remind our critics that it has taken the Labour movement 45 years to attain to the position which it occupies to-day. Some honorable senators who are older than I am may be able to recall the struggle which was waged even prior to 45 years ago. During all that time the Labour movement has been fighting to remove the disabilities, injustices and anomalies under which the working people in this country have laboured. I repeat that it has taken more than 45 years to remove some of the worst of those disabilities ; yet, apparently, the press expected the Prime Minister to rectify all our accumulated troubles on the coal-fields in one day. Of course, they did not want him to succeed. Like some individual coal owners and colliery companies they often place obstacles in the way of the adjustment of differences. I have in mind a colliery which, as the result of continued protests from its employees, undertook to provide certain amenities for the men engaged underground. For eighteen months the colliery owners made all sorts of excuses for not fulfilling their promise, alleging that no copper urns, which were required for making tea for the men underground, were available in Australia. At last the miners got sick of it and stopped work for one day. The colliery proprietors, who had previously assured the men that copper urns were unprocurable in Australia, managed to obtain them on the very day the men- stopped work, with the result that the men returned to work the following day. That stoppage was certainly not the fault of the coal miners, but was caused by the coal owners. In nearly all disputes of that kind there are two sides to the question, and in my experience the employers often try to throw a spanner into the works. In condemning the Prime Minister’s appeal as being unsuccessful, I am convinced that the newspaper proprietors are deliberately seeking to obstruct the improvement of industrial relations on the coal-fields in order to bring about the downfall of the Labour Government. As I said previously, production has increased to such a degree that industry is now employing 70 per cent, more people than it did before the recent war. The number of persons unemployed in Australia at present is less than 1 per cent., and most of them are either unemployable, or are transitional workers. According to the newspapers, whatever the present Government does it is wrong. If it decides to reduce taxes, the reduction is not sufficient, or the reduction is not made in the right way. Similar criticism is made of the Government’s foreign policy. Our critics say, “Members of the Labour Government do not know anything at all about foreign policy; they leave everything to the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) “. When that Minister goes abroad to deal with some matter he is criticized on the ground that he should be in Australia, but when he is in this country and something happens abroad the critics contend that he should be overseas to deal with the matter. Whatever he does it is wrong. Recently, it was whispered that the Minister, because of his legal eminence as a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, had advised the Government, and was really responsible for the legislation to nationalize banking, and his critics contended that the recent judgment of the High Court, which declared certain provisions of the Banking Act 1947 to be invalid, was a “knock in the eye “ to the Minister, as well as to the Government. I have heard criticism of this kind for some time, and so far as the recent judgment of the High Court in the Banking case is concerned, I point out that, although individuals are not allowed to criticize the members of the High Court, they are certainly entitled to their own opinions of the decisions reached. We must not make any mistake about that. Many years ago, I dreamed that I was living in the day when the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia was supreme, when there was no High Court, and when the interpretation of all acts of Parliament was carried out by a committee set up and answerable to the Parliament itself.

Senator Large:

– That would be the day!


– I believe that some day that dream will come true, and that there will be such a committee representative of all shades of political opinion answerable to the Parliament.

It has been said that the AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt), who is a Privy Councillor, has gone to England to arrange for presentation of an appeal to the Privy Council. The press criticism of the Government, to which I have referred, has as its object the maligning of the right honorable gentleman. The Labour movement has always had a foreign policy, the principles of which have been laid down. The political opponents of this Government said that its defence policy savoured of isolationism, but when war broke out and that policy was put into operation, everybody agreed that the policy was splendid and that the Government did a magnificent job. When the policy of the Australian Labour party was enunciated by the late John Curtin before he became Prime Minister, his opponents laughed at him and said that he was a dreamer. Yet that policy - the policy of the Australian Labour party - has stood the test of time, and I am confident that there is not any officer of the Navy, the Army, or the Air Force, or indeed any of our opponents’ armchair critics who would contend otherwise. At one time doubt was expressed as to the extent of the area in the south-west Pacific in which Australian troops should be called upon to serve, but the Australian Labour party eventually saw the wisdom of extending the area. “We have had a similar experience with other measures that Labour Governments have introduced. In many instances some years have elapsed before the men entrusted with the administration of legislation placed on the statute-book have understood its purpose. Time and again that has occurred; yet when the Prime Minister went to the coal-fields for only one day to seek the miners’ co-operation to increase production, the press claimed that he was unsuccessful. We believe in a policy of full employment, and have tried to put that into operation. The I.P.A. Review says that it is all right up to a point, but beyond that, all wrong. It was suggested in an article recently that it was a fallacy for members of the Australian Labour party to think that a policy of full employment could operate successfully because under it men would be independent and could leave a job if they liked and go to some other job. It advocated that there should be a pool of approximately 8 per cent, unemployed, so that the men in the industry would have an incentive to produce more, realizing that they could be replaced from the unemployed pool if their services were unsatisfactory. That is the argument used against the full employment policy of the Australian Labour party. We say that that is wrong. We nave pursued that policy successfully, but the “ squealers “ are still with us, and tell us that we are wrong. In the same breath they seek reductions of taxation on the higher incomes, to create the same incentive ! They are not going to get it. I am satisfied that the people of Australia are getting a better deal than ever before and that they will think very seriously before changing the Government of this country. I do not for one moment think that the propaganda of the Opposition will succeed.

Nowhere in the I.P.A. article did I see any mention of primary production. It only dealt with secondary industries. Judging by the names it would appear that the people on the directorate control some of the greatest monopolies in Australia. That prompted une to refer to the statistical records again. I found that in 1939 an amount of about £300,000,000 was employed in secondary industries. In 1946 the figure was approximately £900,000,000. The 1946 figures are the latest available. Despite the extraordinarily high taxation imposed in 1942-43, with which the captains of industry were in accord at that time, and all that has happened since, we find that they had trebled their stocks by 1938-39. Those statistics disprove the contention that our people have no inducement to produce and that the Government’s full employment policy has tended to destroy any incentive to private enterprise to expand industry. Indeed, they prove that the reverse is the case. However, the Opposition parties cannot seethat. They would sooner have a permanent pool of unemployed as a means of disciplining the workers. Those parties want to go back to the old days when private enterprise, in order to get greater production and therefore greater profit, used to use the unemployed as a whip over those who had jobs. Not only is that policy advocated in all the literature and press articles written from the point ofview of the interests which are represented by the Opposition parties; but one also finds that executives of big industries invariably complain about theworkers being too independent to-day. A statement typical of their views is, “ I dare not say anything to Bill Jones. “ If I do he will leave me, and I will not be able to get another man as good as he is “. That is the only trouble they have, and they blame the Labour Government for it. The fact is that the mass of the workers of” Australia are much better off to-day than they have ever been in the history 0f this country; and the same can be said about our primary producers. I admit that to a degree the present prosperity of the latter is due to the high prices now ruling overseas for primary products. Nevertheless, the fact remains that our primary producers are better off than they- ever have been before. Therefore, neither the workers nor the primary producers will take much notice of the propaganda to which I have referred.

Reference is made in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech to the possible reestablishment of a Commonwealth shipping line. The present is an opportune time for the Government to extend its existing limited shipping services, particularly for interstate trade. I realize that it is blamed for the present shortage of shipping. Consignors who are unable to obtain shipping space invariably request the Government to shift their goods in Government vessels, although at present the Government owns, or has under charter, only a few ships. The moment consignors cannot get private enterprise to ship their goods they ask the Government to arrange such shipment. Representations of that kind have been made to me, and when I have replied that they are advocating some sort of socialism they are a little horrified. When I tell them that they are advocating an idea, which honorable senators opposite would describe as communistic, they are more than horrified. However, those interests invariably adopt the attitude that they should be enabled at all times to transport their goods interstate, and if private enterprise cannot do the job, the Commonwealth Government should do it. I repeat that the time is opportune for the Government to expand its present limited shipping services, particularly for interstate trade. Therefore, I commend the Government for even taking the matter into consideration, particularly when we remember what happened to the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers. It is said that that line was sold for a song and that the Government did not even get the song.

The Governor-General’s Speech also refers to the activities of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in the Government’s post-war reconstruction programme. I have taken a keen interest in some experiments which the council has carried out in South Australia, and I compliment it upon that work of which I have first-hand knowledge. I refer particularly to soil improvement in which sphere the council has done a magnificent job. In the Kingston and Robe districts in the south-east of South Australia, certain facilities were made available to the council to conduct experiments with a view to improving the soil for the raising of stock. Whereas, hitherto no stock could be raised in those districts due to some lack in the soil, experiments conducted by officers of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research showed that by treating it with cobalt and copper in infinitesimal quantities and other minerals, it Was possible to produce wool in those areas. Recently, the Adelaide Chronicle published a picture showing a sheep which had been treated with minerals, and another which had not been so treated. Although both sheep had been pastured on the same holding the latter was a miserable creature almost bare of wool, whereas the former was well-formed and had a healthy fleece. Honorable senators from South Australia are aware that parts of those districts are water-logged, and that, normally, the land there is useless as pasture. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has solved that problem. As the result of its experiments it is estimated that the value of wool produced up to date in those districts has been increased by approximately £500,000. The council has also undertaken experiments in what is known as the Ninety-Mile Desert. For years, I have quarrelled with people who so described that area. I have been through it, and have camped in it at various times. I have gathered beautiful wild flowers there. That district would not carry stock, and in many places cereals would not mature, until officers of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research treated the soil with small quantities of certain minerals and thus succeeded in producing healthy crops and in laying down pastures, including subterranean clover. That work has made available for cultivation and grazing 3,000,000 acres of land in a fair rainfall area. It is capable of producing some of the finest wool grown in this country. These developments have resulted from the excellent work of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and scientists of that organization are to be highly commended for their achievements. I trust that the work will be carried further afield. In the Commonwealth there are many large areas which because they are just outside the Goyder rainfall line, are unproductive at present, or are capable of only limited production. Application of scientific treatment to these areas following the pattern of the work of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in the south-eastern district of South Australia would increase considerably the primary production of this country. Even if this land were unsuitable for cereals, it would probably be ideal for stock fodders, and for grazing.

I am Whole-heartedly in favour of every possible assistance being given to the United Kingdom. The proposed gift of £10,000,000 by the Australian Government will be a valuable contribution towards the economic stability of the Homeland.

I am looking forward keenly to the introduction of some of the legislation outlined by the Governor-General in his opening speech, and I hope that it will be possible for the Government to proceed step by step with the implementation of the policy of the Labour movement so that the people of the Commonwealth may be assured of a better “ deal “ than they have ever had before.

Senator LAMP:

.- I wish to add to what has already been said my small measure of praise of the simple, quiet, dignity of the opening ceremony that took place in this chamber last week. I also congratulate my Tasmanian colleague Senator O’Byrne upon the able manner in which he moved the Address-in-Reply. A word of commendation is due to the officers of the Parliament who organized the function. A notable feature of the ceremony was the appearance of the Canberra City Band. I know that certain members of this chamber were most interested in the formation of a band in Canberra, and it is gratifying to know that their efforts have been so successful.

I am rather disturbed at times by the smallness of the Opposition in this chamber. At one time, in the Senate one could build up a very good speech on the interjections of members of the Opposition, but unfortunately to-day we must manage without that assistance. In that connexion, I am reminded of a meeting, that I attended in Tasmania during the recent State election campaign. One candidate was explaining to the small audience that the speeches made by candidates at election meetings were not their only duties and that they had to travel around the country-side visiting constituents. He then told of a visit that he had made, to one farm where he found that the owner was working in a distant paddock. “I was crossing the paddock to speak to the farmer,” he said,. “ when I was chased by a jersey bull. The bull chased me faster and faster and when I saw that he was gaining on me, what do you think I did ? “ A voice from the audience said, “ About 60 miles an hour So apparently the thoughts of members of an audience, including even interjectors, do not always run parallel to those of a speaker. Knowing the man who told the story, I quite believe that he did do 60 miles an hour.

Senator O’Byrne emphasized the &&herence of the Labour Government to the principle of full employment. I believe that a fundamental duty of any government is to provide suitable employment for its people. I believe also that when people cannot work there is an obligation upon their government to provide pensions sufficient to keep them in reasonable comfort. Further, it is my view that individuals in the community who are able and willing to work, but cannot find employment, should receive an unemployment payment, and that any worker who meets with an accident in the course of his employment should receive free hospital treatment and a sickness allowance while he is away from work. We must plan ahead to provide employment for the people of this country, and for the migrants who will come to Australia to assist us in the task that confronts us. One of the most important undertakings that lie ahead of us to-day is the standardization of our railway gauges. The present breaks of gauge are a serious impediment in our internal transport system, and must be corrected. I know that the Government has that matter well in hand, and that work will be commenced as soon as the requisite man-power is available. Another important job is the diversion of the waters of the Snowy River. To-day untold energy is going to waste. I am convinced that the waters of the Snowy River could best be used by their diversion to the Murrumbidgee River for irrigation purposes as well as the generation of hydro-electric power. The Australian Government is prepared to assist in that scheme, and will co-operate fully when the time comes. Farther north, in New South Wales, there is the Hunter River project. When the Public Works Committee- was inquiring into the shale oil deposits at Baerami, we met at Singleton a deputation which urged upon us the importance of irrigating the Hunter Valley. I am convinced that that is an essential work to which the Government should give attention. Farther north still, there is the Clarence River scheme so ardently supported by the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page). This, too, is a valuable project worthy of early attention. Another water-conservation proposal is the diversion of the waters of the northern rivers of Queensland down through the centre of -that State to the black soil plains. No work could be of more importance to this country than the irrigation of fertile lands which to-day are unproductive. We have a splendid example of the possibilities of irrigation in the Murray River and the Murrumbidgee River irrigation schemes. I urge the Government to give consideration to the establishment of a Commonwealth Irrigation Commission to advise the States, collect data, and assist in irrigation projects.

The development of the Northern Territory and the northern part of .Western Australia would be of immense value to this country, and I am pleased that the Commonwealth has accepted the offer of the United Kingdom Government to provide £25,000,000 for the expansion of the cattle industry in those areas. I understand that the increased production of beef resulting from the expenditure of this money- will be absorbed by the United Kingdom. Cattle will not graze more than seven or eight miles from water, and the Australian Government, I understand, will use the £25,000,000 to increase grazing areas by sinking water bores.

I have outlined briefly some of the projects which I believe to be necessary for the development of Australia. I know that the Government will undertake them as soon as the opportunity arises; but what of the man-power necessary for them ? Under its free and assisted passage scheme, the Government hopes to bring 70,000 migrants to this country each year. I am pleased to know that the Commonwealth is providing financial assistance to ex-servicemen of the allied countries, notably France, Belgium and Holland, who wish to come to Australia. I have no doubt that they will be worthy migrants and will be of great assistance in the development of this country. It is gratifying also that the Commonwealth proposes to continue to bring displaced persons to Australia from Europe. This is a vexed question with some people; but I believe that the Government has adopted the right attitude. It is a very worthy scheme indeed. At the hotel in which we live in this city are men and women from Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, and other countries. They are making worthy Australian citizens. The same may be said of European immigrants who have gone to work in Tasmania’s hydro-electric schemes.

The Australian Government is to bo. commended for the introduction of a scheme whereby information regarding employment can be made available readily to industrialists, trade unions and the public in general. I refer to the Commonwealth Employment Service. This is a valuable organization which should be maintained indefinitely. In the last sixteen months 608,000 persons have registered for employment and 384,000 have been placed in jobs. In addition, employment has been found for 4,000 displaced persons from Europe. At one time the Commonwealth . Employment Service had 644,000 vacancies on its books ; at. the end of June of this year, there were 100,000 vacancies. That shows clearly that there is no danger of creating an unemploymentproblem by bringing displaced persons and other immigrants to this country. I have been informed that displaced persons who have immigrated to this country are competing with Australian-born citizens for houses. This may be happening in a small measure, but I remind the

Senate that it is the desire of the Government that immigrants should either enter camps upon arrival in this country or undertake employment where accommodation is provided. I know that in Tasmania the State has provided accommodation for these people. Some migrants of course ‘have become dissatisfied, and have broken their agreement by leaving their place of employment! These people may be competing for houses in the civilian community, but I am sure that they are not numerous. We need these migrants to help in the building of homes. I. heartily approve of the splendid work that has been done by the Department of Works and Housing, and I congratulate the Government upon the success with which this instrumentality has discharged its responsibilities. We are very fortunate to have a man of the calibre of the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Lemmon) in charge of its operations. He lias done an excellent job in directing the affairs of a department engaged on difficult undertakings which require a high degree of technical and administrative skill.

Despite the many post-war problems confronting the building industry, the Australian housing programme is well established and the present rate of construction of homes is greater than in 1939. In 1947-48, over 40,000 houses were completed and 50,000 were put under construction. That is a highly commendable effort. Under the CommonwealthState Housing Agreement, the Commonwealth had advanced over £31,000,000 to the five participating State governments up to the 30th June, 194S. Y*et some people have the audacity to say that the Commonwealth Government is doing nothing to promote home construction ! This year, over 15,000 homes have been completed and 10,000 are under construction. Under the provisions of the War Service Homes Act over 5,500 ex-servicemen have been granted financial assistance and have become home owners. The situation has improved so greatly that in the near future we shall be able to provide homes for exservicemen who are migrating to Australia.

The amount of rent paid annually by the Commonwealth Government for office accommodation in various parts of

Australia causes me great concern. At present, this expenditure totals £1,500,000 a year. This is a serious burden, and it casts a grave reflection upon the socalled statesmen of the past who failed to provide offices for the purposes of the Commonwealth as well as homes for the people. Since hostilities ended in World War II., this Government has approved many new projects. In Melbourne they include an Arbitration Court building, a tribophysics laboratory in the grounds of the university, a telephone “exchange in Russell-street to cost £1,500,000, and another exchange building at Batman. A scheme for a new post office building in Post Office Place is under consideration and plans are being made for a complete block of new offices in Spring-street and Exhibition-street, Melbourne, to satisfy the remaining accommodation requirements of the Commonwealth. Similar progress has been made in Sydney. Today, as Chairman of the Public Works Committee, I presented in this- chamber, the report of the committee on the plans for the new tuberculosis hospital at Turramurra. The committee has also completed a report upon the projected school of tropical medicine and the Government is considering the construction of a comprehensive block of offices in Phillip-street, Sydney. In Queensland, additions to government offices in Brisbane have just been completed. The Public Works Committee has recommended that the Repatriation: Commission acquire land and erect a building for its purposes in the same city. I understand also that plans are being prepared for a new general post office, and I shall be very pleased if that work is not long delayed. The Committee has also recommended the construction of a repatriation building in Perth, a long-standing need which deserves early fulfilment. Plans have also been prepared for the completion of the block of Commonwealth offices in Perth. In Tasmania, the Western Junction Aerodrome has just been completed. It is a very satisfactory work. Next week the Public Works Committee will proceed to Hobart to investigate the proposal for construction of an aerodrome there. A new aerodrome at Par do near Devonport and blocks of offices at Hobart and Launceston are also in contemplation. These facts- show that the Government is doing everything possible to overtake the serious lag in public works.

I was very pleased to notice that the Governor-General’s Speech contained a reference to the establishment of the aluminium industry in Tasmania. This work has been greatly delayed. The Minister for Supply and Development (Senator Armstrong) visited Tasmania not long ago and selected a site for the undertaking. I consider that the choice was a very satisfactory one, and I hope that the necessary construction work will proceed as soon as possible. I understand that the Government wishes to produce aluminium which will compete in the sterling Moe with aluminium from the dollar area, from which we obtain most of our aluminium supplies at present. If this project is successful we shall be able to provide the British Empire with large quantities of cheap aluminium which is urgently needed. The associated hydroelectric scheme,, which has already been commenced, will be a very great asset to Tasmania. It will have great scenic value and will provide a lake which should be a great tourist attraction.

Senator O’Flaherty has referred to the Government’s plans for the establishment of a Commonwealth line, of ships. I have made a study of the activities of the former Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers and I say without hesitation that that line did a very good job and that the fact that it was not entirely successful was not the fault of those in charge of it. I know of many instances in which ships of that line were obliged to wait for mails and cargoes when privatelyowned ships should have been held back instead. All delays of that kind were put upon the Commonwealth line. If the new line operates as efficiently as TransAustralia Airlines does, it is certain to be a success. All honorable senators will join with me in expressing sadness at the deaths of the worthy citizens who lost their lives when the airliner Lutana crashed in New South Wales a few days ago. I knew Mrs. Mclntyre, who was a passenger, and I pay my earnest tribute to her great qualities as a citizen who took a prominent part in the social activities of her home city of Launceston.

Residents of that city are very sad indeed to have lost such a gracious lady. I extend my deepest sympathy to all with whom she was associated.

I believe that the airlines of Australia do a very good job. The development of air .transport in this country has outpaced that in .any other part of the world. In 1939 Australian air services covered 15,000,000 passenger-miles. Last year they covered more than thirty times that distance. In 1939, they carried 330 tons of freight. Now they carry 22,000 tons annually. Tha.t is a noteworthy record. The technicians and administrators responsible for that achievement deserve high commendation indeed. TransAustralia Airlines has done excellent work since its establishment in 1946. Its routes cover 8,812 miles, the greatest distance served by any Australian airline. I sincerely believe that it is giving the best service in Australia and I hope that it will continue to do so. I congratulate the Government on allowing the Australian National Airlines- Commission to purchase Convair aircraft. I understand that one of these machines is already in Australia and will soon be placed on exhibition. The ‘Government also deserves congratulations for taking over the Qantas service between Australia and the United Kingdom. ‘The company which pioneered the route did excellent work, and we owe a debt of gratitude to it, but I consider that it is the business of governments to operate the service between New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Some critics of the Civil Aviation Department have been most unfair to it in recent discussions of the safe operation of air services in Australia. Through the newspapers, representatives of one company in particular have been complaining that the department has not done certain things. I ask those people whether all the airlines operating in Australia at present pay the department for the services it provides for their benefit. If they would pay for those services, I am sure that the department would do its best to provide everything that they need. The Department of Civil Aviation has two special branches which are concerned solely with the study and prevention of accidents. The Chief Inspector of Accident Investigations and his staff of experts make a thorough investigation of every serious accident which occurs in Australia, whilst the Superintendent of Accident Studies concerns himself mainly with minor incidents which may indicate potential hazards. The department is more concerned with preventing accidents from happening, than with determining the cause of accidents which have already occurred. For that reason it has inaugurated a system whereby any of the persons connected with civil aviation, including pilots, air traffic control officers, ground staff and departmental officials, is required to report any occurrence which may contain the seeds of danger. I consider that the Department of Civil Aviation is doing a very good job, and I am confident that if the private airlines pay for the services which the department renders to them, they will be provided in future with all the services which they require.

I should also like to commend the Department of Information for its publication, the South-West Pacific. During my visit to the United States of America in 1946, I met people who were considering emigrating to Australia, and I supplied them with certain information. Since my return to Australia I have regularly forwarded to them each issue of the South-West Pacific. Recently I received a letter from Anacortes, in the State of Washington, from a school-girl in which she informed me that the issues of the South-West Pacific were regarded by the headmaster of her school as being so informative and so much more valuable than their lessons on Australia that she was requested to make them available for the benefit of the other children. The object of that publication is to create understanding of Australia abroad and to cultivate goodwill in the countries in which it circulates. I consider that the publication is a very fine one, and that the Department of Information, which issues the journal, deserves commendation.

The Government is doing a good job in fostering education, and I commend particularly its decision to establish an Australian National University at Canberra, which will include a medical research institution to be named the John Curtin School of Medicine. The estab- lishment of such an institution will fulfill a long-felt need, and will enable medical graduates to continue their studies after they leave the State universities. In Tasmania we have a system of area schools, and we have just opened a community school at a little place called Newnham, a suburb of Launceston. The Australian Government would be well advised to pay regard to the results of the experiment, and if the community school proves successful I consider that the principle should be applied throughout Australia. Money spent in that way would be well spent.

I regret that the Postmaster-General (Senator Cameron) is not present, because I wish to acknowledge, on behalf of the people of Tasmania and myself, the co-operation and assistance which we have received from the Minister and his departmental officers. I understand that the Postal Department is the largest business concern in Australia to-day, and that the volume of business which it transacts is greater than that of any large private firm or other government instrumentality. I can appreciate the difficulty which confronts the department in obtaining the necessary equipment to extend its services, but I hope that before long the telephone branch of that department will be able to obtain sufficient equipment to enable it to install automatic exchanges, which are so badly needed throughout the country.

I also commend the Government for the splendid work of the Repatriation Commission, which has conferred most liberal benefits on ex-service men and women of both world wars. The Government’s policy towards ex-servicemen generally has been most liberal. I support the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, which was moved by Senator O’Byrne in a very able address indeed.

Senator HARRIS:

– I desire to convey my congratulations to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral on the manner in which he delivered his Speech at the opening of the second session of this Parliament. I understand from reports which I have received in Western Australia that the broadcast transmission of the Speech was heard very distinctly even in that State. I consider that it is important that our people should be encouraged to listen to the broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings, and the splendid delivery of the Speech by the Governor-General, and its clear reception over such a long distance, will undoubtedly encourage people to take more interest in broadcasts from the Australian Parliament. The people of Australia are proud of the fact that His Excellency is an Australian-born citizen and has spent his life here. The Australian Labour party has always considered that the person chosen to represent His Majesty the King in Australia should be an Australian.

I am sure that the people of Australia were delighted to learn that Their Majesties the King and Queen and the Princess Margaret intend to visit this country next year, and I am confident that the Royal visitors will enjoy their stay in Australia and that when they leave our shores they will carry away with them happy memories.

His Excellency’s Speech contained a complete review of Australian affairs, and a forecast of the Government’s plans for the future. The second paragraph refers to a gift of £10,000,000 to the Government of the United Kingdom, and I am pleased that the Government has seen fit to include this proposal in the Speech. It is not long since we presented £25,000,000 to the British Government and I am sure that this additional gift will be most acceptable. Undoubtedly, we shall reap the reward of our generosity in the future. We all realize the gravity of the situation which confronts Great Britain to-day, and while that danger remains Australia is not safe. Until Great Britain can regain the economic position which it occupied before the war the British Dominions will not be safe. We hope that Great Britain will regain its position in the economic world soon.

The Governor-General’s Speech mentioned that the Government has decided to launch a large-scale attack on the scourge of tuberculosis, and . I commend the Government for its decision. The control and treatment of that dreadful disease is beyond the financial resources of the State governments. Negotiations have been going on, and I understand that the State Ministers of Health are co-operating with the National Government, which has decided to make funds available for the construction and maintenance of buildings for the accommodation and treatment of sufferers from tuberculosis. I have always considered that the treatment of tuberculosis is a matter for the National Government, but the present and preceding Labour Governments were occupied for most of their term of office with the prosecution of the war, and it was not practicable to devote attention to this matter. I point out that none of the preceding governments made any attempt to deal with this problem. The scheme now proposed will operate on a nation-wide basis, and many thousands of sufferers will receive treatment. I accompanied the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Barnard) when he visited Wooroloo sanatorium and other hospitals in Western Australia which treat tuberculosis cases. I was informed by members of the medical profession that there were men walking the streets of Perth and the towns of Western Australia who were aware of their tubercular condition, but would not report it because they feared that their families would suffer hardship while they were undergoing treatment in hospital. Now that the National Government has undertaken responsibility for the treatment of sufferers from tuberculosis I trust that it will go further and provide for the welfare of their wives and families while they are undergoing treatment.

In the course of his Speech the Governor-General stated -

My Government proposes to introduce legislation to set up a permanent authority tomanage vessels owned by the Commonwealth so as to assist Austral ian shipping both on the coast and overseas . . .

The former Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers was established, I believe, in 1916, when the shipbuildingoperations were undertaken for the. first time in this country. The subsequent development of the ship-building industry proved that we have the men and materials available, and are capable of building vessels equal to the finest in the world. The ships on a cost-tonnage basis compared very favorably with those from other countries, and the shipbuilding industry flourished for some years until the war ended. Then the shipping combines found that the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers was a thorn in their side and they had to find ways and means of getting rid of it. I well remember the history of the “ Bay “ liners, and the “ Dale “ ships. They were almost given away when Mr. S. M. Bruce became Prime Minister in 1923; he found ways and means of abolishing the shipping line, which had been a great asset to this country, not only for ordinary mercantile carrying, but also from a defence point of view. I hope that the Government will continue to build ships similar to the “ River “ class of steamers, which are of 10,000 tons, and suit the requirements of Australian ports. They are cargo vessels, built for the job, and, according to the Western Australian waterside workers, are the finest ships at present coming intoFremantle. They are also the quickest on a turn-around basis. Dealing with the sale of the Commonwealth line, Senator O’Sullivan said yesterday that the Government had to get rid of the ships because they showed a deficiency of approximately £2,000,000. On the book value basis perhaps that was so, but Hansard of the 15th March, 1945, page 643, records that Mr. Wilson, who was independent member for Wimmera at that time, furnished a full report on the sale of those ships. I shall read extracts from Hansard of that date, which reveal the underhand work which took place during the period that Mr. S. M. Bruce was Prime Minister of this country. Mr. Wilson quoted at length from an article in a pamphlet relating to the history of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers. In it the following appeared : -

In Britain, Lord Inchcape had formed the “Shipping Conference “ to keep all British ship-owners in line. In America, Morgan had formed a similar body to unite all steamship companies operating from the United States of America. At a banquet held to celebrate the birth of this trust, Morgan is alleged to have said: “We are the advanced socialists; we have discovered that combination, not competition, means success in the trade, and we are going to take the profits of combination until the people are sufficiently intelligent to take the profits from us.”

Those words were attributed to a very wise American shipping magnate and millionaire. The article went on to say -

A year and eight months elapsed before the policy foreshadowed in the Governor’s Speech could be put into effect. In June,1916, W. M. Hughes, who had meanwhile replaced Fisher at the head of the Government, found that there was a fleet of fifteen cargo ships for sale in England. He arranged for an overdraft of £2,000,000 with the Commonwealth Bank and bought the vessels. Those fifteen boats, built between 1906 and 1915, and averaging 3,500 to 4,500 tons apiece, became known as the Austral Line. By the end of August, 1917, they had all arrived in Australia and were supplemented by 21 vessels, ranging between 1,000 and 6,000 tons, which had been seized or captured from enemy powers.

In respect of the sale of the vessels the article continued-

Fifteen months later, in February, 1923, the Bruce-Page Ministry came into office. The interests represented in this Government were closely interwoven with English banking, shipping, and insurance companies. Things looked brighter for Lord Inchcape and Co. Bruce had barely dusted the treasury bench with the seat of his Savile Row trousers before he announced, “he did not think that what had been done by the Commonwealth Line justified its continuation as a government venture”. Soon afterwards he produced a financial statement purporting to outline the situation of the fleet. Long association with the importing and warehousing concern of Paterson, Laing and Bruce had taught him how to manipulate price tickets, and the urbane Mr. Bruce had no trouble in converting an actual gain of £2,000,000 into a book-keeping loss of £3,000,000, to impress the bovine back-benchers and the loobies in the lobby. He followed this up with a bill “ to remove the fleet from parliamentary control “. Under this measure both the fleet and the dockyards were handed over to a Commonwealth Shipping Board, which had power to dispose of any of its assets, subject only to the approval of the Treasurer, S. M. (“Spats”) Bruce.

To make doubly sure that the Line could not carry on, it was saddled with a highly paid and superfluous executive and subjected to crushing taxation. The ships began to besold. Bruce carried on like a mad floorwalker at a remnant sale. The eleven remaining Austral ships, whose market value was £550,000, were sold up for £248,000. Bruce valued the ex-enemy vessels at £197,000. The British Government valued them at £337,000. He finished uppaying the British Government something like £310,000 to gain a clear title to these ships, which were then sold for what they would fetch, mostly scrap iron prices. The “ D “ boats, which cost £271,000 to build, were sold for £84.000 and the “ E “ boats, which cost £2,600,000 were given away for £380,500. By the beginning of 1927 all that was left of the once proud Commonwealth fleet, were the five “ Bay “ lines and the two “ Dale “ boats. These seven ships were the pick . of the fleet and even . Bruce dare not ?ell them out of hand.

Tl;e tactic of setting up a Public Accounts Committee, to advise on their retention or disposal, was resorted to. In May, 1927, this committee reported - “ Not only has the Commonwealth Line been responsible for actual reductions in freight, but the presence of the Line has exercised a material restraining influence against proposed increases. The committee, therefore, recommends that in the interests of Australia the Line be continued “.

This, of course, was just the opposite of what Bruce wanted. He then fell back on the method of tendering evidence in camera, a device often used by employers in the Arbitration Court, when some particular judge finds. their arguments in favour of wage reductions a little abstruse. The chairman and four other Bruce-Page appointees to the board were called on to interview the Public Accounts Committee behind closed doors.. Nobody knows what transpired at this stage, only the people concerned. But the upshot was that in November, 1927, the committee reversed its previous finding and urged that the Line be disposed of. Bruce announced that he would sell what was left, to the “Shipping Conference “.

Referring to costs the article stated -

The cost of construction of the seven ships’ had been ?7,527,504. Allowing a very. generous 33 1-3 per cent, for depreciation, their value in 1927 would not be less than ?5,018,330. In real fire salvage bargain style Bruce disposed of them for ?1,900,000, to bo paid off in instalments. It was not even a lay-by transaction. The ships went overseas, to augment the tonnage of the “ Conference “, but all that Australia received was the first instalment of ?580j000. Lord Kylsant, who handled the business for the “ Conference “, very conveniently went bankrupt, and Australia now has neither ships nor money.

I hope that the Government will carry on and build more Commonwealth liners, because we require them here. They will be a valuable asset to the country from a defence point of view, and I hope that they will be safeguarded in case in years to come the parties composing the present Opposition are elected to power, when we would have a repetition of what happened in 1927.

Senator Ward:

– They will never, get in again!

Senator HARRIS:

– I do not think that the Opposition will ever again occupy the Government benches in this chamber. T hope that the Government. will continue to build ships. We have the men, dockyards, and material, and we are independent of any overseas equipment, for building vessels of this description. Their construction would provide work for our own men, who are proud of their craftsmanship.

I, like other honorable senators, congratulate the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) on his handling of the immigration scheme. On ‘ a recent visit overseas he travelled through Great Britain, Holland, Denmark and Norway, making arrangements for citizens of those countries to come to Australia. People who have already migrated to Australia from those countries have made excellent citizens. We want the right sort of immigrants - men who are prepared to work. Persons who come to this country would be prepared to stay here, if we provided proper facilities for them and I have not a shadow of doubt that they would ever desire to return to their war-torn countries in Europe. In regard to the immigration scheme generally I am very pleased that the Minister has extended privileges to ex-servicemen of countries other than Britain and the United States of America. That scheme now embraces ex-servicemen from Prance, Belgium, Denmark and Norway. When it is in full operation, I hope that we shall receive many thousands of migrants of the best type from those countries. From time to time we read reports in the press of migrants returning to Great Britain because they cannot obtain housing accommodation in Australia. The Minister for Immigration has stated repeatedly that departmental officials at Australia House, London, do not paint a glowing picture of Australia and do not in any way misrepresent the facts in order to entice migrants to this country. When it was reported recently that several families had returned to Great Britain whilst the fathers had remained in Australia, the press did not miss the opportunity to attack the immigration officers at Australia House. alleging that they had induced those families to come here under false pretences. I have first-hand evidence that the officers at Australia House disseminate only accurate information about housing conditions . in. Australia.

They do not paint glowing pictures of this country. All applicants for passages are informed of the conditions actually existing here. Two cousins of mine, who live in Wales, recently applied to Australia House for passages to this country. Both of them are ex-servicemen. I have not seen them for twenty years. One is 30 and the other 27 years of age. They wrote to me informing me that they had made application to come out to Australia and enclosed the letter which they had received in reply from the immigration officers at Australia House. I propose to read that letter in order to refute the allegations which are repeatedly made in the press that Australia House misleads intending migrants as to conditions existing in Australia. This letter, which shows that those officers explain the real position to all applicants, reads -

I desire to acknowledge, with thanks, the receipt of your application for emigration to Australia.

Unfortunately, the selection of migrants under both the free and assisted passage schemes must necessarily lie restricted for the time being owing to the scarcity of passenger shipping and the shortage of houses in Australia. In their own interests, migrants will he approved for settlement in the Commonwealth only when housing accommodation will lie readily available to them.

This moans that at present we must confine selections to persons who have been nominated by friends or relatives resident in Australia who are able to provide them with somewhere to live. Others who arc single and are urgently required for essential employment may also lie selected.

Applicants who have friends or relatives in Australia would find it n considerable advantage if they could arrange to he nominated. Peo pi o in the Commonwealth who wish to

Humiliate migrants, should communicate with the State Immigration Department in the capital city of the State in which they reside. Persons who have been nominated have no occasion to take any further action until advised by this office that their nomination has mint: to blind.

The difficulties now being experienced will be overcome in the future. In the meantime, you may rest ‘ assured that Australia is most anxious to encourage new settlers from this country, and advice will be forwarded to you n« soon as it is possible to give further consideration fcu your application.

That letter was signed by Mr. Lamidey, Chief Migration Officer, Australia House, and it entirely refutes the allegations made in the press.

We are aware of the difficulties that, confront the Immigration Department in. arranging berths for applicants. Recently, I received a letter from a Dutchman whomarried a Perth girl. The couple went to Holland, and they are now anxiousto return to Australia at their own cost; but they inform me that they cannot obtain a berth for a married couple on any vessel leaving any port in Holland for Australia. This man served as an engineer in the Dutch Navy and is of thetype we like to see coming to Australia,, because we need all the young men wecan get who are willing to work. Conditions in. Australia are ideal compared with those in other countries. We haveno unemployment. Indeed, all our industries are screaming for labour.


– Is that why the Government has set up the Commonwealth Employment Service?

Senator HARRIS:

– Apparently, that . is the only complaint which the honorable senator has to make. There might be a little bit of dead wood in certain government departments but not so much as he would have us believe. The Opposition parties have a grouch because theworkers of Australia to-day are enjoying ‘ a greater measure of prosperity than they have ever enjoyed before. That doesnot suit honorable senators opposite. Prior to 1939, when anti-Labour governments were in office, the only freedom which the worker enjoyed was the freedom to be unemployed. Yet, to-day, the Opposition parties allege that this Government is robbing the worker of his freedom. Prior to 1939 thousands of “ Australians were unemployed, but antiLabour governments did nothing to help them. Honorable senators opposite would like us to return to those conditions. They do not like to see the workers well fed and prosperous. They want to return to pre-war conditions when it was common to see groups of from 20 to 30 men waiting daily at factory gates in search of employment. The Government is honoring the promise it made during the war that after victory was won it would establish a new order for the workers.

Reverting to the problem of immigration, the Government,, apart altogether - from the difficulties presented by the shortage of shipping, would be unwise to increase the flow of migrants until it has overcome the housing shortage. When that time arrives we shall be able, with the help of migrants, to double our present rate of production. Our industrial production is already approaching pre-war volume. Abundant supplies of bricks, tiles and other building materials are now available in Western Australia whilst timber production in that State will soon exceed the demand. The rate of production in other industries is also rapidly increasing. From 1938-39 to 1946-47 the production of coal in Western Australia increased from 557,535 tons to 730,500 tons. Since the latter year the number of miners engaged on the Collie coal-field has decreased because housing accommodation there, even for single men, is inadequate. In addition, the Collie miners do not wish their sons to follow them down the mines. That is also the outlook of the miners on the coal-fields of New South Wales. They wish to give their sons the best education possible to fit them to earn their livelihood in other industries so that they can get away from the environment of the coal-fields. Knowing that coal-mining is unhealthy, they wish to spare their sons the experiences they have had to endure.

Undoubtedly the housing situation is serious throughout the Commonwealth, but as Senator Lamp has said the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Lemmon) is doing an excellent job. This is confirmed by conversations that I have had with various architects in Western Australia. The Minister is co-operating generously with the State housing authorities, and doing bis best to find a solution of this grave problem. The main trouble in Western Australia - I have no doubt that a similar situation exists in some of the eastern States - is the lack of galvanized roofing iron, roof -ridging, guttering, and home fittings, such as baths and stoves. Yesterday, Senator Arnold told us what was happening at the works of Lysaghts Limited at Newcastle. He pointed out that the zinc companies were selling their products overseas for over £100 a ton instead of sending it to the local market where the price was only £20 or £25 a ton. I hope that the Government will take steps to ensure that exports of zinc will be curtailed until adequate supplies are ensured for local use. An abundant supply of galvanized iron products would do much to ease our housing shortage.

A frequent criticism of the Government that one hears from the Opposition benches is that it is not doing sufficient for ex-servicemen. I am a returned soldier and I know something of the activities of the Repatriation Department; however, 1 agree with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator O’Sullivan), that not all ex-servicemen are getting a fair deal. For instance they have not had a fair deal in regard to pensions. Men who returned to this country physical wrecks have not received the treatment to which they are entitled, nor have they been paid an adequate pension, which, I consider, should not be less than the basic wage. However, I point out that repatriation benefits have increased considerably since Labour assumed office in 1941. In all the years that anti-Labour administrations held office in this country from 1918 until the outbreak of World War II., they did very little for ex-servicemen; yet, today the president of the Liberal party, Mr. R. G. Casey, and his colleagues are trying to make themselves good fellows with ex-servicemen by making all sorts of extravagant promises. We heard the same promises years ago, but nothing was done. I know the treatment that has beeen accorded to men of World War I. who returned to Australia wounded, or with their health destroyed by their war service. Some of them are still in hospital.

Senator Large:

– Ex-servicemen of World War I. were given preference at the end of a pick.

Senator HARRIS:

– Yes, they were generally regarded then as having strong arms and no brains. The Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Barnard) has supplied me with a brief statement of the improvements of repatriation benefits that have taken place since 1941 when Labour came to power. The statement shows that, in that period, the pension payable to totally and permanently incapacitated, blinded, &c, ex-servicemen has risen from £4 a week to £5 6s. a week. The special rate ‘for tubercular–.class “ B’?’- ^members has increased from £2 -10s. a week to £4 a week, whilst;the pension -payable to a member suffering complete incapacita- tion has : risen ‘ from -‘£2 ‘2s. a “week ‘ to £2 15s. a week. Prior to 1941, a service pensioner received 18s. a week; now he receives £2 2s. ‘6d. a week. Similar increases have been made in. allowances for the education of children of .exservicemen. A university student living at home formerly received £1 5s. a week, but now he receives £2 .a week, the corresponding figures for a student living away from home being £2 10s. and £3 5s. a week. It can be seen from this scale that the Government has not forgotten the exservicemen, although, as I have said, I believe that more consideration could be given in certain directions. The Minister for Repatriation is most sympathetic to any representations that are made to him, and .has done his best to meet the wishes of ex-servicemen’s organizations. The Labour Government is the only administration which has held office since 1918 that has made any real attempt to improve the conditions of this most deserving section of the community, and I hope that it will remain in office for many years to carry on its good work.

To-day, one hears constant anti-Labour propaganda over the air. The daily newspapers, too, are filled with criticisms of Labour’s administration. In the House of Representatives. Opposition members are using the Address-in-Reply debate to attack the Labour party by endeavouring to associate it with the Communists. We know that the - antiLabour forces in this country have, for many years, “ hung their hats on the Communist peg”; but when they held office in this Parliament they did much to foster communism by refusing to improve working standards. This Government is doing its best to rectify that position, and to give to the people of this country the ‘security to which they are entitled. If we can provide economic security for all, there will not -be any room for communism. That is the only effective means ‘by which communism may be attacked. Mr. Casey has been strutting around Australia endeavouring to convince the people of the incompetence of the Labour Government. He claims that Labour’s ‘financial policy ‘will run Australia on ,to the rocks, and that the Communist party controls the Aus- tralian Labour party. He went to Tasmania to help the Liberal party during the recent election campaign, but SUeceeded only in losing the elections for its -candidates. It was noticeable that, in contrast to their pre-election declarations, the Opposition parties had very little to say when the results became known. 1 did not read of any congratulations of the Tasmanian Labour Government upon its victory. Realizing that the people of Tasmania were alive to the inaccuracy of Liberal party propaganda, Mr. Casey decided that the next best thing to do was to offer the olive branch to the workers, ‘.^cording to a newspaper report, he promised help for moderate unionists to regain control of their union? from the Communists. However, I have not heard of any union officials being killed in the rush to accept Mr. Casey’s offer. I believe that the result of the Tasmanian elections came as such a shock to the Liberal party that its organizers will seek some new form- of propaganda.

I support the motion for the adoptionof the Address-in-Reply because I believe the Government’s record is worthy of commendation, and that the legislative programme outlined by the GovernorGeneral will be of immense benefit to the people- of this country. : Senator NASH (Western Australia) [5.41.]. - As an ordinary citizen of Australia, and as a member of the Senate, I felt proud indeed at the dignified manner in which the Governor-General opened this Parliament last week. His delivery of the opening address was beyond .criticism, and the Speech itself left no doubt as to the- Government’s intentions. His Excellency laid particular emphasis upon the points which the thought were of most importance. Once again we have’ had brought .home to us the fact that the task of finding amongst the citizens of this country. some one who can fulfil the office of Governor-General with dignity and ability is not difficult.

It has been argued that the GovernorGeneral’s Speech lacked worthy material. That allegation, to my mind, is merely an attempt, -not only ‘to decry -the Government’s achievements since Labour came to power in 1941, but also to disparage its future programme. .1 believe that the Speech was so full :of promise for the future that it exasperated Labour’s political opponents and left them completely without an effective reply. .1 join with other honorable senators in expressing pleasure at the prospect of the visit to Australia early next year of Their Majesties the King and Queen and Her Royal Highness the Princess Margaret. The visit will be of tremendous importance, particularly in view of the suggestion that has been made in some quarters recently that Australia is inclined to be influenced by foreign ideologies. I am confident that the people of Australia will welcome our Royal visitors with open arms and, like the citizens of other nations of the British Commonwealth, 3how a spirit of loyalty to the Throne. [ sincerely trust that ‘ Their Majesties and Her Royal Highness will leave this country believing that our Commonwealth is the brightest jewel in the diadem of the British Empire.

There has been a congratulatory note in many speeches made during this debate, and I propose to add one which, [ believe, will be greatly appreciated by the people of “Western Australia. I notice that His Majesty the King has graciously elevated Sir James Mitchell, who ha3 been Lieutenant-Governor of Western Australia for many years, to the position of Governor of that State.

Senator O’sullivan:

– On the recommendation of a Liberal government.

Senator NASH:

– I have no intention to take away any credit that is due to the Liberal government. The recommendation was made by the Government with the full approval of Labour party members of the Western Australian Parliament. 1 consider that, in making the appointment, His Majesty has conferred upon Sir James a well-merited .reward. I have vivid recollections of the circumstances in which he became LieutenantGovernor. I remind Senator O’sullivan that Sir James Mitchell’s original appointment to the position of LieutenantGovernor arose ‘from a recommendation made by a Labour Premier, Mr. Philip Collier, after Sir James, as leader of a government of a different political colour,, had been defeated at the election in 1933. That created a unique situation* in British history. On no other occasion-. . has the leader of a political party, uponhis election to the -premiership of a State, recommended the elevation of his defeated opponent to the highest position available to .any citizen of that StateHowever, I do not wish to .have any political significance attached to my remarks. Since Sir James Mitchell was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Western Australia, he has not identified himself in any way with any political party. That fact is a very high tribute to him. He was perhaps just as rabid a supporter of his party as Senator O’Sullivan is to-day, and he had risen to leadership of that party in Western Australia. Nevertheless, when he accepted the position made available to him on the advice of Mr. Collier, he put aside his political affiliations. He has. always played the game since then and I fully believe that he has earned the highest respect of all citizens of Western Australia. I am more than pleased, particularly in view of his advancing years, that he has now been given this high preferment.

The announcement in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech that the Government intends to give £10,000,000 to the Government of the United Kingdom was very gratifying. That sum may not be very large in terms of international finance in modern times, but at least it shows that this Government is willing to go beyond the stage of talking and give practical help to the United Kingdom. Only recently Australia gave £25,000,000 to the United Kingdom Government, and this further contribution is a gesture which shows that Australia, as a part of the British Empire, is willing to do something tangible towards the relief of the suffering of the British people during their present period of economic distress. We have seen reports that Great Britain has exported to Australia commodities which contain butter and other products supplied to it by Australia. Those statemerits may be true. Nevertheless, I do not consider that they would justify any diminution of our efforts to aid the Mother Country. ‘We must continue to send as much food as possible to the

British people. They are not mendicants. They have not begged us to do anything for them, and they are prepared to pay for everything that Australia supplies to them. This is borne out by the fact that, despite all the protestations that we hear from time to time about overseas prices for primary products, our farmers are receiving top prices from the United Kingdom for the goods which they export to that country. In addition, the United Kingdom is helping Australia by investing millions of pounds in the development of agricultural projects to grow feed for the raising of pigs to provide meat for the British people. The United Kingdom Government is doing everything possible to help itself and, in the process, it is helping Australia. Therefore, we should do what we can to assist it in its struggle. It is putting up a great economic battle. Not only is it seeking to re-establish the United Kingdom on sound economic ground, but also it is fighting to recreate the economic welfare of peoples with whom it was at war not very long ago.

In the light of current international events, it is obvious that no country has much chance of becoming really prosperous until Europe is rehabilitated and brought back into the field of international trade and commerce. “We must elevate the people of Europe above the bread-line conditions under which many of them, exist to-day. I recall the promises that were made to the British people at the time when blood and slaughter were the order of the day and troops were being sent from Great Britain to fight the enemy in Europe. Mr. Ernest Bevin was then a member of a coalition government in the United Kingdom. The men, who were being sent to carry out an almost impossible task, said to him, “ Ernie, are we coming back to the dole?” He replied simply, “No. There will be a better life for the people after they come through this holocaust”. We have heard similar promises made in Australia. During World War I., the people were told that there must be n new order when peace returned, and we heard the same sort of talk during World War II. However, DOW that we are at peace again, efforts are being made to induce the people to forget all about the promises of a new order. The Labour Government had a strenuous task to perform after it came into office in 1941. It had to put the nation on a complete war footing, a. feat which it accomplished with the aid of our soldiers and workers’ And our friends overseas. When hostilities ended, it had to plan and carry out a change-over from a state of war to a state of peace and, up to date, its efforts have been crowned with success.

There is no unemployment in Australia to-day, a fact which calls for great praise. Unemployment is a factor which indicates, in my opinion, whether a nation is in a good or a bad economic condition. I recall that a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom asserted not many years ago that the only way in which a nation could prosper was to have some thousands of citizens out of employment. That attitude of mind i3 typical of the people who oppose the Labour party in Australia to-day. It is evident in many newspaper reports and articles whichappear almost daily. These opponents of the Labour movement are afraid lest a Labour government should remain in charge of the Commonwealth for many more years. They feared for the safety of their assets when war broke out in 1939, but at the same time they were prepared to send others to fight for them, and, to that end, they made all sorts of glowing promises to our fighting men. Those promises were easily forgotten when peace returned, and these people to-day wish only to defeat this Government so that they may return to the conditions of the “ good old days “. I remember something of the “ good old days “ in 1904, when I left school. I was employed in a transport industry, and I had the privilege of reporting for duty three and occasionally four, times a day.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.

Senator NASH:

– As I was saying when the sitting was suspended, I reported for duty three and four times a day, but often I received no work at all. When 1 managed to- become a permanent employee there was always some one waiting to take my place. If I reported a minute late for my shift I was stood off for the day and another man was given the shift.

That was the system which operated in transport generally, and some people would like us to revert to it.

The gift of £10,000,000 to the United Kingdom may result in other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations providing similar general assistance to that country in its hour of need. “When 1’ was in the United States of America in 1945 a person who was engaged as an international commentator on one of the Califfornian radio stations expressed to me the opinion that the British Empire would disintegrate as soon as the war ended. I told him at once that I did not share his view, and that I considered that, on the contrary, the members of the British Empire would inevitably become a more united family as the result of the common suffering, privation and loss of life occasioned by the war. Today, I believe that it is more than ever necessary for the members of the British Commonwealth to pull together. We should also strive to maintain friendly relations with the United States of America. I am led to that conclusion because of the presence of teeming millions of black peoples, only a. few days’ travel from our shores. Irrespective of the efforts we make to cultivate and to maintain their friendship, those millions constitute a perpetual threat to our security. The time may come when we shall have to fa.ce another invasion, not necessarily by the Japanese, but by some other nation which is not very far from our shores.

I was pleased to hear the statement, in the Governor-General’s Speech that the Government’s first concern is to maintain the economic stability of the country. I have already referred to the fact that, if we exclude the very small percentage of unemployable, we have practically no unemployed in Australia. Statistics show that less than one per cent, of our population is unemployed. The. Speech stated that the number of persons employed in this country had increased by 1.00,000 during the past year, and that since 1939 640,000 more people had been employed in industry than previously. It is impossible to avoid the inference that the state of economic stability induced by the policy and administration of this and the preceding Labour

Governments has resulted in the community generally enjoying better conditions and a higher standard of living than ever before. The Government was confronted with a problem of the greatest magnitude in demobilizing approximately 1,000,000 people from war service to peace-time service, but that problem has been very satisfactorily solved. As an indication of the state of prosperity of our industries, and the consequent shortage of labour, I mention the advertisements in large Neon lights which appear on the Victorian railway promises to the effect that youths of nineteen years of age can secure employment as clerks and porters, in a career occupation, at a commencing rate of £7 10s. a week. I cannot help contrasting the state of affairs indicated by those notices with that which obtained in years gone by, when, because of the number of people unemployed, employees had always hanging over their heads the threat of regression or dismissal. To-day, in place of large-scale unemployment, we have a constant clamour for labour. Industry has expanded enormously, and there has been a remarkable flow of overseas capital to this country.

Reference was made in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech to the Government’s policy in regard to immigration, and I think that we should congratulate the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) on the splendid effort which he has made to bring immigrants to this country. Migrants are urgently needed, not only to develop our present industries, but also to establish and develop new ones. In the course of his Speech, His Excellency stated -

It is confidently anticipated that the target of 70,000 migrants a year will be exceeded in the next twelve months.

That is no mean objective, particularly when one considers the difficulties associated with the transport of large numbers of people to Australia from overseas. In view of certain criticisms made of this Government and its policy, it is interesting to note that the migrants come from three main sources; first, and primarily, the United Kingdom; second, Empire and allied ex-servicemen in the United States and other countries; and, third, displaced persons in Europe. Other migrants’ are coming to this countrywith.OUt any assistance from the Government. Whilst the ‘Government has raised no objection to eligible persons coming to Australia “ under their own steam it has emphasized that it does not make itself responsible for their welfare. If, on arrival such people find that they cannot obtain accommodation, or that they have to suffer some other disability, they have no complaint against the Government. The scheme initiated by the Government provides that before assisted migrants leave the Old Country they must have accommodation available for them in Australia. That is a fact which should be borne in mind when considering criticisms of the Government’s immigration policy. The number of British people who have settled in this country in the last couple of years is a matter for satisfaction.

I was pleased to note that the Government is maintaining its interest in international affairs and has consistently adhered to the United Nations and its auxiliary bodies. Continuation of such adherence should result in the attainment of lasting peace. I had the honour to be present at the inaugural plenary session of the United Nations, which was held at San Francisco, and I recall the many inspiring speeches made by the representatives of the various nations which sent delegates to that conference. As the result of the genuine effort made by, all the delegates to that conference, regardless of the countries they represented, the United Nations organization was inaugurated. That organization offers to all the peoples of the world a strong hope that peace shall be maintained and. war banished from the earth. It is unfortunate that disagreement has developed amongst some of the former allied powers. However, I believe that the continued efforts of the United Nations will enable those ‘ difficulties to be overcome. Unfortunately, endeavours have been made$ particularly in the: United States of America, to bring about a rift in the relations between that, country and the Soviet Union, but I consider that those efforts are. diminishing. It seems, clear that the Soviet, has been pursuing a policy of infiltration, of European countries,, designed to cap- ture their- legislative bodies in order to establish- the dominance of’ Communist ideology: However, I agree with the view expressed by the Prime Minister (Mr., Chifley) that Russia is not prepared, to go to. war against any power. It seems that Russia is prepared to go as far as it possibly can to achieve its ideological aims, short of war. I do not think that we should endeavour to foster in this country a feeling of antipathy towards the Soviet. Union, but that, on the contrary, we should make every effort to remove the difficulties and differences between our respective countries, and establish and consolidate friendly relationships in their place. The working class organization in the countries of Europe is not in any way similar to that in Australia or in Great Britain, and it can safely be asserted that the common people of Europe have been subjugated, by powerful political parties. History shows that in some European countries labour and socialistic ideas for the betterment of the people have undoubtedly made great advances, but something has always occurred to prevent their application. The power which has frustrated the implementation of: humanitarian ideals has invariably been a political party. Because the common people of those countries have been virtually deprived of a voice in their political or economic life they have turned to communism. We in Australia should view all these difficulties dispassionately and endeavour if possible to try to find some way out of the dilemma. I am opposed to communism because the Communists believe in the attainment of their objectives regardless to the methods used. I have heard it alleged that the party to which I belong, the Australian Labour party, is more or less dominated by Communists, but the fact is that it is the- only political party in Australia which will, not accept as a member, any person who is a Communist. During recent months, there has been an effort on the part, of organizations associated with the Labour’ movement to displace’ persons with Communist leanings by people who are prepared to abide by the platform and constitution, of the Australian. Labour party, and. almost daily our newspapers inform us that in. a. certain election so many of the “ reds “ were defeated and ^replaced by so many of the “ moderates “ ; ‘whether that is good or bad remains to be seen, .but the fact that I wish to stress is that the .Australian Labour party is .in no way associated with the Communist party. .The . Australian Labour party has always stood for the attainment of its objectives by “ moderates “. Whether that is good or constitutional action. It -would be safe to say that communism in .Australia arose out of the mass unemployment which obtained during the depression years, and because of repressive legislation placed on the statute-book of the Commonwealth. Those measures ‘were not introduced by a Labour government, but by governments opposed to Labour. Communism has made no headway in this country, and I have sufficient faith in the good sense of the Australian people to believe that it never will do so.

International co-operation has become more pronounced since the formation of the United N’ations organization, and it can be claimed to the credit of Australia that in the consummation of the Charter of the United Nations this country played a very important part indeed. When we remember that of 26 proposals submitted by the Australian representatives, the majority were carried, and that the remainder were accepted, in some portion of other, it will be seen that Australia has played a very important part in the constitution of this world-wide organization. The policy followed by the Australian Labour party in respect of international matters is to endeavour to keep the Australian foreign policy strictly in conformity with the Charter of the United Stations.

I was pleased to notice in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech that it is intended to establish a joint war production staff to co-ordinate strategic plans for production requirements, particularly from the angle of development of Australia as a main support area in the Pacific. When Senator O’Sullivan was -speaking in this connexion, he made a statement to the effect that it was difficult to understand how anybody could be satisfied with our efforts at defence. .1 point out that iri a. five-year post-war defence pro gramme, Australia is proposing to expend £250,000,000, designed to secure a balanced scheme of defence, providing for the Navy, Army and Air Force, defence research and development, and munitions and supply, in proper proportions within the limits of the available resources that can be devoted to defence. Spreading that £250,000000 over five years indicates that Australia is prepared, under this proposal in relation to defence, to expend £50,000^000 for each of the five years. As Senator O’Sullivan referred to this item, it is only fair that 1 should remind honorable senators of the budget introduced into the Parliament for the year 1937-38 by the then Treasurer, Mr. Casey, reported in *Hansard, volume 154, page 267. Mr. Casey made these remarks in relation to defence -

As has-been announced by the Prime Minister, the Government has decided to make substantial provision in this budget for a further stage in the strengthening of our defences.

The total financial provision for defence from all sources in 1937-38, including commitments is £11,531,000.

The actual expenditure for defence from nil sources in 1930-37 was £8,067,000. The increased provision in this financial year is formidable, but the Government is convinced that it is no . more than is essential in the world conditions that exist.

I refer to that because the comparison is important. According to Senator O’Sullivan nobody could be satisfied with :our efforts at defence, yet in the 1937-38 budget, when world conditions indicated that at no very distant date there would possibly be another world upheaval, all that the then government of this country could do was to provide a budget of £11,531,000 for defence.


– said that was far too much.

Senator NASH:

-.- I shall not argue about what was said then, but the Opposition now makes a lot of noise about what this Government is attempting to do and says it is not satisfactory. Yet, when the Opposition ‘was in power it could only provide £8,000,000 to meet a situation when it knew, or had very good reason to believe, that, in the not far-distant future, Australia would be involved in another war. It was because of the inability of the members of the previous government to agree amongst themselves and, because of their ineptitude, that the late Mr. Curtin formed a government in the National Parliament of this country. The Labour party did not have a majority but lie was able to carry on with the aid of two independents. I suggest that when the honorable senator makes a criticism of that character he should at least be prepared to admit that an expenditure of £50,000,000, as envisaged to-day, is a vast improvement on £8,000,000 or £1.1,000,000 provided in 1938.


– The Aus Labour party has obviously changed its mind .’

Senator NASH:

– The Australian Labour party has always believed in the defence of Australia, and has never spared any effort to defend Australia. It never will. The honorable senator also made reference to the occupation by Australia of Manus Island, and he told us, v ery deliberately, that we were not capable of looking after it, and particuarly, that America was willing to keep it.


– H Australians are there at the moment?

Senator NASH:

– There are not many Australians there at present. Negotiations have not long been concluded in respect of Manus Island. The Government has decided to establish a naval base there, and preliminary steps towards that end have been taken. It will be established at the end of the year. While this may not sound very much, I stress that Australia to-day is a nation and no longer to be regarded as a piece of land divided into six States which are continually fighting among themselves. We have to look at things from an Australian national view-point, and recognize that fact.

Senator O’sullivan:

– Hear, hear!

Senator NASH:

– As a nation, Australia is committed to certain obligations in the Pacific. Conditions have changed a great deal since the fall of Singapore when the British Navy could not render the service to Australia that was contemplated. Those changed conditions call for a new outlook in respect of the defence of Australia. I submit that we have to rely on the help of both the United Kingdom and the United States of

America to ensure the safety of this country. If we are to have a national outlook we must be prepared to play our part in providing the money, the men, and whatever else is necessary for the defence of Australia. I mention those points because I think that the honorable senator offered hie criticism without thinking very far ahead.

Reference was made in the Speech to prices control, and the defeat of the Government’s referendum proposals. The decision of the people must be accepted, but I repeat my previous assertion in this chamber, that in my opinion the people of Australia made an unwise decision on that occasion.

I am pleased to know, particularly in view of the criticism that hae been offered, that the Government, without any hesitation whatever, and following quickly upon the decision of the people, arranged for the transfer to the States of price-fixing powers. The Government has offered to place at the disposal of the States the machinery it built up during the period it administered prices control. When that control is completely transferred to the States, prices will increase considerably, particularly when we remember that in order to stabilize prices the Commonwealth ha? been making available the sum of £40,000,000 a year in respect of certain commodities. At the recent conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, the State Premiers requested the Australian Government to continue paying those subsidies for a. further twelve months. They said that if they were withdrawn the cost of living must increase substantially and would result in an increase of the basic wage of 53. 6d. During the referendum campaign, I and my colleagues in the Labour party stated clearly that the States could not control prices effectively. We emphasized that State control would involve six different systems of price fixation, and that, having regard to the provisions of the Constitution, it would be most difficult for the States to co-ordinate their systems.

Senator Ward:

– Particularly with their legislative councils.

Senator NASH:

– That is true. I agree with the Prime Minister that the

Australian Government could not properly’ make available public moneys to subsidize prices which it had no power to fix. Those who have studied this problem will admit that the outlook is not rosy. Apparently, the States could control prices effectively provided the Australian Government made available the subsidies necessary to stabilize prices. Those who opposed the Government’s referendum proposals did not have the honesty to tell the people of that fact. Instead, they led the people to believe that with the transfer of prices control to the States “everything in the garden would be lovely” and no difficulty would arise. Those who participated in the referendum campaign’ will recall that the opponents of the Government’s proposals raised catch-cries such as “ socialism “, “ extremisms “, “ bureaucracy “ and power-hungry Canberra “. In that way, they succeeded in stampeding the people into rejecting the Government’s proposals. I shall give an example of the propaganda indulged in by the Opposition parties and the interests they represent. £n Western Australia there is an organization known as the Citizens’ Rights Association of Western Australia.

Senator Amour:

– That is the old New Guard reformed.

Senator NASH:

– That may be so. I believe that similar organizations exist in the other States. I have in my hand a pamphlet which was issued by that body in Western Australia during the referendum campaign. It carries a photograph of the Premier of Western Australia, Mr. McLarty, and also a replica of that gentleman’s signature. It reads -

We will have price and rent controls no matter which way we vote but the catch is who is to control them . . . our own State or the extremists and bureaucrats in Canberra?

With Canberra turning into a socialistic dictatorship, to give Canberra such vital powers for ever would be highly dangerous not only to ourselves but to our children and our children’s children. Say “No” to powerhungry Canberra.

That pamphlet was widely distributed in Western Australia. It is interesting to note that on the 4th of this month, Mr. McLarty, upon his return to Western Australia from Canberra after attending the recent conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, made these remarks to the press -

I am deeply concerned at Mr. Chifley’s refusal to continue subsidies on certain commodities that were part of the price-fixing policy, lt was inevitable that very considerable increases in the prices of the goods concerned must follow.

Thus, although during the campaign Mr. McLarty and the political party with which he is associated and its affiliated bodies as well as a section of the press played upon the fears of the people by raising such catch-cries as “powerhungry Canberra “ and “ bureaucracy “, they now tell the people that they fear something is going to happen. I have no doubt that their prediction with respect to prices control will be proved to be true in the near future. However, 1 sincerely hope that the States will be able to cope with this problem, and that they will be able to co-ordinate their systems of price fixation so that our people as a whole will escape the hardships they must otherwise suffer. Opponents of the Government’s proposals were actuated solely by the hope of gaining some party political advantage. It would be quite nice for the States if they could “get away” with their idea of controlling prices provided the Australian Government paid the bill. However, as I have said, it would be quite wrong, ethically and politically, for any Australian Government to make available for that purpose subsidies amounting to £40,000,000 annually when it would have no say whatever in the fixation of prices.

The Governor-General’s Speech referred to the introduction of the 40-hour week. Opponents of the Government contend that that reform is retarding industrial production in this country, and that the 40-hour week was introduced mainly because a Labour Government was in office in the Commonwealth. Neither of those statements is correct. The 40-hour week was introduced as the result of the decision of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. In those proceedings the Commonwealth Government and four State governments intervened. The court gave the following reasons for its judgment: Employees are entitled to more leisure; the national economy can bear the added burden; any reduction of output will be speedily overtaken,; and the application for a shorter working week had the support of the governments of the Commonwealth and four of the States. The court in its judgment also stated -

One hundred years ago in England a 10- hour duy or a CO-hour week was- enacted. In Australia 00 years ago an eight-hour day. or a 48-hour week was achieved in limited cases. Twenty years ago this court awarded a 44- hour week. There is no reason to assume that the- capacity of industry has ended at 44 hours.

The view expressed by the court should refute the contention that the introduction .of the 40-hour week is crippling, industry. Nobody is more capable thanthe Arbitration Court of giving an impartial decision on. such an issue. The learned judges would not” have given that decision unless they were perfectly satisfied that the national economy could stand the strain involved. Nevertheless,, an organization of employers has since applied to it for a reversion to a 48-hour week with the qualification that time worked in excess of 44 hours shall be paid for at penalty rates. The workers of Australia, in their fight for better conditions, took twenty years to have the working week reduced from 48 hours to. 44, and a much longer period to have iti reduced to 40 hours. We must continue to progress in. that respect. I say without hesitation that as time goes on the working week will be further reduced as theresult, of. industrial progress and the further strengthening of our national! economy to shoulder the extra cost involved.

I note that the Government is cooperating with the Government of. Western Australia in the conservation of water in the wheat-growing areas of that. State: I take this opportunity to: emphasize, the. need to develop the north-western part, of the continent. I. admit that. I have not. an intimate knowledge of those areas. Whilst I am. familiar with the area, from Kalgoorlie-! to Geraldton, I have not- first-hand knowledge of conditions in. the Sharks Bay or.. Derby areas or. the. Kimberleys.. However, I do. know, that those areas offer; tremendous possibilities for development if their, need of water* conservation, and irrigation, is. adequately met. Obviously it a physical, impossibility for the 500,000 people of. Western Australia to provide the finance’ necessary to’ give an impetus to the development of the north-western portion of’ that State. 1 point out; .too, that that area is vital to the defence of this country. I. recall that; during. World War. II., arrangementswere made to blow up the meatworks at Wyndham should a Japanese invasion seem imminent. If we could popu-late this remote part of our continent, and develop its vast mineral and agricultural potentialities, we should be performing a valuable national service. The Commonwealth Government has created what is known, as the Northern Australian Development Committee, but I fear that that body is concerned more with the Northern Territory than with the north-western portion of Western Australia. I have referred to this matter on previous occasions, and I mention it now in the hope, that the Commonwealth Government will give all possible assistance to the Government of Western Australia to develop the vast unpopulated areas of that State.’ Since my election to this chamber repeated, representations, have been made to me, and to other honorable senators including members of the Opposition parties, by Mr. J. C. Duncan Baine, who has advanced a scheme for the develop^ ment of the north-western part of Western Australia. Some people are inclined- to. regard Mr. Raine as a “ crank “, but 3 am convinced from talks that I have had with him that his proposals are by no means fantastic.- On, the contrary, they seem to me to be quite practical. I understand that Mr. Raine has some engineering ability, and has followed’ that occupation in other, parts. of the British Empire.. His plan envisages the development of thecattleraising industry- on the’ Ord River in particular.. He has shown me how this, could be done. He. claims, that 120- square miles of irrigated, land could be made available on- each side of the. river for- catties-raising, and fon agricultural pursuits.. He has: practical ideas- about the manner in which water- could be conserved in -that, area. Although Mr. Raine:is.not. accepted as- an- *authority by the engineering) proffessiona1 believe that his proposals have some. merit-. Certainly they are worthy of considera-Hon by, the Australian Government.

Senator MURRAY (Tasmania) [8.50J. - In- supporting the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral at the opening of the second session of the Eighteenth Parliament, I take pride in the fact that, for the second time in Australian history, one of our native born, sons has attained the highest position in this great and growing country. I take pride also in the dignified manner in which the Speech was delivered by the Governor-General, lt was a message of hope and progress, and a record of achievement by this Government. I am disappointed, however, at the treatment accorded to the opening ceremony by the press of this country. Disrespectful headlines appeared in our’ newspapers, and not one picture of the GovernorGeneral’ or of the opening of the Parliament was published. So far as I have been able to ascertain, this is the first, time that that has happened since the inauguration of the Commonwealth Parliament. The position of GovernorGeneral - the direct representative of the King in this country - is, during its occupancy by Mr. McKell, entitled to the same consideration and respect as it would be if it were held by a duke or an earl:

I share with the Governor-General and the people of Australia great pleasure at the prospect of an early visit to Australia by Their Majesties the King and Queen, and the Princess Margaret. I am sure that all Australians will extend to the Royal visitors a most cordial and affectionate welcome: We trust that their stay in this country, will be enjoyable.

The Governor-General’ referred to the proposed grant1 by the Australian Government of £10,000,000 to assist the United’ Kingdom in the-magnificent effortthat that country is making along the> path1 to economic recovery; This- gift will assist! the- maintenance- and; stabilization of sterlings balances, and will- minimize inflation wi t,h its- consequent: reduction of. the purchasing,; power, of. the- British, people? Anything that this country can. do in that- connexion is. to be most commended.

Last year, in- the- face of strong opposition, the Government secured the passage through the Parliament of a banking measure which we. hoped would prevent inflation in this’ country.. 1 have with me to-night some bank notes that 1 obtained while I was visiting the Far East with the all-party parliamentary delegation during the recent recess. The face value of the bank notes is 1,000,000 Chinese dollars, but in Australian currency all this money would scarcely pay for a hair cut. It is worth approximately “two-bob”! This is the kind of thing that we. have been fighting to prevent in this country. While dealing with the activities of that delegation - a matter to which the Governor-General himself referred- and our position in Pacificaffairs; I should like to impress upon the Senate and the people listening to this debate to-night, the objectives of the visit. It- was felt that the people of this country could not know too much about what was going on in the countries of the -Far East, and that a delegation representing the rank and file of’ parliamentarians should go to Japan tosee what was really happening; It was felt too that an inspection should’ be made of the work and conditions of the Australian members of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces now stationed in that far-off land. The intention was that the delegation should let our- troops know that they were not forgotten in Australia, and, at the same time- should gather a true picture of’ conditions in Japan for- presentation to the Australian people. Unfortunately* the true- objectives of the mission were distorted by the press as were the activities of the-occupation troops themselves. The delegation was subjected to a barrage of criticism by- newspaper correspondents iri- Japan. First1 there was the incident of the hand-shaking with- the. Japanese Emperor; I propose to tell honorable senators* and the people of this- country to-night1 what- actually happened at that meeting. T believe- that it was my duty tomy country to> the- Australian people who sent me away; and; to» my conscience. to see everything possible in order that I could give a full report upon my return. The meeting with the Emperor was arranged for us by General MacArthur, before we had even reached Japan. I have no reason to love the Emperor or the Japanese people, but we felt that we should see this little man who had led his Empire into a war with unsuspecting nations. We met him on our own terms - informally and casually - but the “gentlemen” of the press considered that that was not the right thing to do. Apparently, we should have asked their opinion of what we should do. I can assure the people of this country that if ever I have to bow to the opinions of press correspondents or anybody else who has not the best interests of Australia at heart, I shall leave the Parliament and return to the work that I was doing prior to my election. To me, it was an experience to meet this little man in a white linen suit, with spectacles, brocade tie, silk shirt, platinum watch chain across his waist, silk hose, and -brand new buckskin shoes. Through an interpreter we asked him questions and he asked us questions. They related only to minor matters. It is most difficult to carry on a conversation through an interpreter, t can recall almost word for word all the questions and answers. Certainly I know the questions that I asked, and the replies that the Emperor gave. The matters referred to were of no great import. However, it was reported in the press that we had invited the Emperor to visit this country, and in so doing had done a great wrong. No such invitation was ever issued, nor was it contemplated. When we arrived back in Australia the delegation was again ridiculed. A remarkable outburst was made by Mr. Richard Hughes and another pressman, Mr. Dennis Warner, who reported the activities of the delegation in rather derogatory terms. Any one who knows the background of these men will not wonder at the condition of mind which brought about the publication of the articles to which I have referred. I do not blame the journalists so much, but I do blame the Packers, the Pentons, the Murdochs and other people higher up for printing such “piffle”. After all the working journalist has to earn a living. My complaint is directed at theattitude of the press of this country generally. Our great newspapers have a duty to Australia. They should by precept, example, and the presentation of factual news lead this country along the right lines of thought. I believe that during the war, the Australian press rendered a great service to Australia by its publication of the deeds of our fighting men; but to-day the repeated printing of ill-considered views, and distorted facts is doing a great deal of harm both at home and overseas. By wilful misrepresentation our newspapers are deriding the Parliament, and the individuals who are elected to it to do their best in the interest of their country. The prestige of Australia overseas is high to-day. One has to go abroad to appreciate that fully. An article published in the Sydney Sum likened the delegation that visited Japan to a circus. It stated -

The full record of folly and blunder of this buffoonery will now perhaps he unveiled.

I remind the Senate that of the seven “ buffoons “, five were ex-servicemen, one. the leader, having “buffooned” his way into the first Australian Imperial Force at the age of fifteen. Another was honoured by the King with the C.M.G., and, in World War I., won the D.S.O. Another one “ buffooned “ his way through the Middle East and over the Owen Stanley Range and was awarded the O.B.E. But apparently these things amount to nothing! We were alleged to have inspected guards and done all sorts of other things in a state of disarray. I point out to the Senate that this was not a military mission but a parliamentary delegation. It was reported that we attended functions in our shirt-sleeves. Of course we did. We were invited to do so by senior officers because the heat and humidity of the Japanese climate in summer time are very tiring. Furthermore, two members of the party were suffering considerable discomfort. One of them had to seek medical attention on several occasions, and, in removing his coat he was doing exactly what the doctors had advised him to do. According to Mr. Hughes, we inspected a Royal Australian Air Force guard of honour at Iwakuni with coats over our arms, braces fluttering in the sunshine, and collars and ties stuck in our pockets. Upon reading that, my feelings were, first, amusement and then a rather mild resentment. The adjectives “ ridiculous “, “ absurd “ and “ fantastic “ could be applied to all of those statements. The fact that this report was published in the newspapers and believed by some people is rather amazing. “We were also accused of having attended a formal dinner in an officers’ mess without coats. General Robertson attends his mess without a coat. He wears a safari jacket open at the neck, and many other senior officers do likewise. It is a custom in the United States Army at all times in the summer to wear uniform without coats.

We were reported to have arrived late at an important function. It is remarkable that such a trivial thing should attract the attention of a daily newspaper. As a matter of fact, we arrived late at many functions because our schedule was so tight that it was impossible to time our movements accurately. We attended 365 engagements, including visits to factories and many unofficial gatherings. It was not our duty at all times to attend official functions. We had to move about and let the men see us. We visited corporals’ clubs, sergeants’ messes and officers’ messes, and, as far as possible, went wherever we could meet Australians. I repeat that this was not a military mission. I have dealt more or less in detail with all of the allegations of misdemeanours. 1 feel in my heart that the delegation was one of the best that has been sent away from this country. We learned a great deal, and our vision has been broadened. We have visited a country about which we knew very little. We had read a great deal about J apan, of course, but we found that, many of the articles that we had read and the things that we had been told were entirely inaccurate, out of date, and without relation to the true state of affairs in Japan to-day.

Our object in leaving these shores wau to gather accurate information, and I commend the Minister for the Army (M.r. Chambers), who was responsible for the tour,- and the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), who approved of it and made it possible. 1 also take this opportunity to thank the Australian officers and men, from . General Robertson down to the humblest driver, who were so kind to us during the tour. I also express my thanks to the Americans, from the Supreme Commander, General MacArthur, down to the military governors and members of teams in the provinces and regional areas who are doing a good job in carrying out the great experiment of the democratization of Japan. If this experiment fails, we shall have a very serious problem to consider. To the north of Australia there are over 1,000,000,000 people of various colours and creeds, and they are increasing rapidly. We are very few. We shall have to make some very important decisions in the future. The more wellinformed we are about the problems that will arise in that; area the easier: will it be for our Ministers to make considered judgments. Without such information, it might be possible for the Prime Minister or his next senior colleague, the Minister for External Affairs (“Dr. Evatt), to make a mistake when called upon to give a “ snap “ decision. 1 believe that thu knowledge that we have brought back from our tour will be of inestimable value to this Parliament. In dealing with matters of this nature, the press of Au.tralia should give n lead to the people. We need a revival of national conscience. The newspapers should do good things for the reason that they are good, instead of attacking people merely for the sake of creating news. We are not all bad. We have done a lot of good. I am sure that, as time passes, the value of the knowledge and experience gained by members of the delegation will be appreciated in this Parliament.

When we arrived in Japan, we were immediately taken to meet the Supreme Commander, General Douglas MacArthur. We were briefed very thoroughly on the organization of the occupation. As a matter of interest to honorable senators, I point out that Japan is now controlled by the Far Eastern Commission. This commission consists of representatives of Australia, Canada. China, France, India, the Netherlands East Indies, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. It meets in Washington and its decisions are passed to the Allied Control Council, which meets in Tokyo. The council consists of three main groups comprising representatives of the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China, and the British Empire, countries of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India, which are represented very ably by the Australian Minister in Tokyo. Mr. Patrick Shaw. The decisions of the Far Eastern Commission and the Allied Control Council are transmitted to the Supreme Commander Allied Powers for implementation, and modification if necessary in the light of the existing political situation in Japan. Briefly, directives are received by General Macarthur from Congress through President Truman.

The main object of the occupation at its present stage is to prevent famine, disease and unrest. From my observations, I believe that that object has been accomplished. Next in importance are the political and economic aspects of the occupation and, on the other side of the picture, the military government, which is operated by the Eighth Army under General Eichelberger, and is broken down into provincial, prefectural, military and counter espionage teams. .That broadly, is the blueprint of the occupation. How does the occupation work? Having met the Emperor, whom we considered to be the keystone in the new structure of Japan, we were taken to the Diet, which is the Japanese Parliament. The Diet is operating under the direction of the Prime Minister, Mr. Ashida. Since the formation of the first Cabinet under the occupation on the 16th August, 1945, there have been five governments. The Ashida. Government is having an uneasy period in the saddle, and it is kept there by means of “ prods “ and directives, most of which come from the Supreme Commander. ‘It is doing a much better job than its predecessors and, from my observations and talks with Minister. J have reached the conclusion that it is endeavouring as well as it can to implement the new Japanese Constitution.

The Constitution is now the Japanese “bible”. In it, the Emperor has renounced all claims to be the supreme deity, and the state Shinto religion ‘has been divorced from government. Universal franchise has been granted and the age of qualification to vote at elections has been reduced. Incidentally, the women of Japan at the last election recorded an 87 per cent, vote and elected 39 women to the Diet. The main political parties are the Socialist party, the Demo- cratic party and the People’s Co-operative party, and there are eight or nine independent members of the Diet. There are eight Socialist ministers, two Democratic ministers and two People’s Co-operative ministers. The parliamentary system is similar to our own. It consists of 8 lower house and the House of Councillors. Several parties are represented in the House of Councillors, which is practically an offshoot of the former House of Peers. I was very amused by the. names of some of the parties. One, in ; particular, is called “The Green Breeze”, which is interpreted as “ The New Thought “ or “ The New Ideal “. When I looked for the ‘members of that new party, I .found that -most of them were over the age of SO years and were former earls and viscounts. One is the former Baron Madsudira. I do not understand the Japanese way of thinking, and I do not believe that anybody not born and brought up in Japan can acquire it.

The situation in Japan “must be examined from two points of view - those of the past and the present. In the past, 80 per cent, of the Japanese economy was controlled by the Zaibatsu. a Japanese slang name given to the moneyed group. The Zaibatsu included the Mitsuis, Mitsubishis, Yasudas and Sumimotos. They controlled about 80 per cent, of the nation’s agricultural and industrial resources. The Zaibatsu, working closely with the military caste, built up the Japanese war machine so successfully that they were able to wage war as a major power. They strove to perfect it for twenty years. When 1 talked to prominent Japanese business men about its defeat they showed no feeling of contrition or sorrow. They were only regretful that they had “ backed the wrong horse “. During World War I. the Japanese were our allies, and under the Treaty of Versailles they were granted the Carolines, -the

Marianas, the Marshalls and thousands of other islands in the central and northern Pacific. They consolidated these possessions and were building up a vast empire when war broke out. Today they realize that their dreams of expansion have ended. However, their resentment is directed, not so much at those who defeated them in the war, but against those who were responsible for their entering the war on the wrong side. The- state of mind of the Japanese people to-day is a remarkable object lesson. I repeat that they are not sorry that they waged war, but merely that they waged war on the wrong side. They believe that if they had entered the war on our side they would have been entitled to claim half of China, and to have their occupation of Manchuria, Formosa and Thailand confirmed. Undoubtedly they would have laid claim to half New Guinea and their claim might have been allowed. That is the psychology of the Japanese people. They are not really sorry that they waged war, but they are sorry that the great war-making machine which they had built has disappeared, and with it their hopes of imperialist expansion in East Asia. However, there is not one word of sorrow for their treatment of our prisoners.

The Japanese economy is peculiar. While we were in Japan we were presented with a copy of the report of the Johnston Commission, which was compiled by a number of American business men who were commissioned by President Truman to make a complete survey of the Japanese economy. The chairman of that commission was Mr. Percy A. Johnston, and associated with him were three Americans who were eminent in economics and finance. The report which they compiled recommends means of restoring the Japanese economy in order that the burden of feeding and maintaining the Japanese people may be lifted from the backs of the American taxpayers as soon as possible. Obviously a ‘ nation which is maintaining a defeated enemy country must expend huge sums of money and the American taxpayer, like the Australian taxpayer, does not believe in paying away large sums of money for which he cannot see’ any return. The supply of food to the Japanese people is costing the American Government 200,000,000 dollars a year. Three thousand metric tons of food are poured into Tokyo every week, whilst 2,000 metric tons of food have to be found for Osaka. Because of their huge population and the small area of arable land available, to them, the Japanese are able to produce only sufficient food to feed three-quarters of their people even om a minimum diet. That means that onequarter of their food requirements must come from abroad. Formerly, the deficiency was met from Korea and other countries which Japan had occupied and was in process of developing. However, under the terms of the capitulation the Japanese Empire has been reduced to Kyushu, Honshu, Shikoku and Hokkaido, the four main islands. The Australian Parliamentary delegation travelled many thousands of miles by special aeroplane, train and car, and even sailed through the inland sea for many hundreds of miles. Its members certainly saw a great deal of Japanese life; indeed, I doubt whether any visiting delegation has seen as much. They visited the northern-most island of Hokkaido, which they subsequently reported would be capable of absorbing 6,000,000 or 8,000,000 of the people in the southern islands. The delegation considered that the absorption of such a number of people would ameliorate to some degree the conditions obtaining in the over-crowded southern islands of Japan. “We went by ship through the inland sea and visited the port of Omonichi, a base from which whaling vessels operate. We had a particular interest in the Japanese whaling industry, because we realized the threat which their vessels constitute to our sovereignty in the territorial waters which have been assigned to us in the Antarctic. The Japanese whaling industry is ako of importance in relation to the important matter of reparations. Japan has very little which would be of value to Australia as reparations except its whaling fleets. If some of the mother ships and chasers of their whaling fleet were given to us as reparations they might form the basis of an Australian whaling industry. When we reached the port of Omonichi we found hundreds of men toiling like ants. They were working continuous shifts, with approximately 1,500 men on each shift. They were engaged in fitting out two whaling vessels which are to take part in the annual Antarctic expedition. Those two vessels were Toyadachi Maru and Nissin Maru, the latter a vessel of 18,000 tons, which were to leave in convoy for the whaling expedition. When we arrived at the port we were told, with characteristic oriental blandness, that the principal ship, Nissin Maru, which had been in the port until the day before, had had to leave in order to proceed to Osaka for refuelling: They could not very well remove the other vessel, and we took the opportunity to have a good look at it. Both vessels are equipped with refrigerated chambers for the carriage of green whalemeat, just as our vessels are fitted with refrigerated chambers to carry meat to England. They are also equipped with canning machinery so that certain delicacies, such as portions of the liver and the tongue, can be preserved. The Japanese whaling interests contemplate utilizing even the whale offal for the manufacture of cattle and poultry feed in the form of oil cakes and similar preparations. The Japanese who conducted whaling expeditions before the war were absolutely ruthless in their pursuit of whalemeat. They slaughtered cow and calf whales, took the best of the oil and simply threw the offal over the side. However, their modern whaling ships are equipped like Chicago abattoirs, and every part of _ the whale is utilized, including the hide, which is tanned for leather. Having regard to those matters I consider that we should make some effort to obtain a fair share of the Japanese whaling fleet, and the Government should give serious consideration to that matter when the Peace Treaty is drafted.

The present population of Japan is 80,000,000, and the number is increasing rapidly. The annual birth-rate is 1,000,000, and during the month of July 125.000 children were born. The size of the Japanese population, when contrasted with the smallness of their islands, certainly constitutes a big problem. What the United Nations proposes to do in that matter I do not know; but it seems anomalous that the nations which championed the cause of freedom of expression and a free way of life may ultimately be compelled to advocate the introduction of some arbitrary method of birth control in Japan. However, that is primarily a matter for decision by the Japanese people themselves. The people seemed to be reasonably well fed according to Japanese standards, although they were not particularly well clothed. Children swarmed everywhere, laughing and happy, their only concern being to obtain sufficient food. I emphasize that because of the assistance given to the Japanese people by the United Nations and the Americans the Japanese are at present receiving sufficient to eat.

The principal factor in the new Constitution, which aims at democratizing Japan, is the opportunity given to their women and to the rising generation to remould the Japanese ideology. Undoubtedly the older people are far too steeped in Shintoism and Buddhism for us to hope for any change of heart, but there is a wonderful opportunity for the younger generation to change the philosophy of the country so as to fit Japan to enter the brotherhood of nations. We made it our business to meet all classes of people in Japan. Amongst those whom we met were the trade union leaders. At Osaka we met the leader of the Japanese Federation of Labour, which has 1,350,000 members, and the secretary of the Subatim labour organization, who has been conn;;-ted with the trade union movement in Japan for twenty years. A peculiar feature of the Japanese industrial organization is that the unions are arranged on “ vertical “ rather than on “ horizontal “ lines. Every member of a Japanese industrial plant, from the manager to the office boy, including technicians, tradesmen, labourers, clerks and stenographers, belongs to the same union. Of course, our unions are organized on a “ horizontal “, or “ craft “ basis, and a workman engaged in a particular occupation in one place may belong to the same union as another man who is doing similar work 100 miles away. We also met a Mr. Hasegawa, the leader of the other big union, the Sobaki, which is the transport union, and includes the employees of the government railways. We were most interested in the efforts which they are making to improve the conditions of their members. The average contribution made by union members is 40 yen a month, or 480 yen a year, which amounts, in Australian currency, to approximately 10s. We spoke of the conditions of labour in the factories which we had inspected, and we commented particularly on the large number of young children employed in factories. We saw little girls of twelve or thirteen years of age who have to work eight to ten hours a day for six days a week. Little boys of from twelve to fourteen years of age have to work similar hours in chinaware and pottery factories. The trade union officials told us that they had approached the Japanese Government to induce the Government to prohibit the employment of child labour in industry. The Government introduced certain legislation, which was enacted, but it only concerned industries which were considered dangerous to children. The measure was not properly enforced, and, in many instances, it was abused. The delegation visited the bombed areas and saw the devastation which had been wrought by the American bombers. One area between Yokohama and Tokyo had been burned out and flattened. I was amazed at the accuracy of the American strategic bombing. When I remarked on this to General Eichelberger at Yokohama he said, “We did not knock over what we wanted to use “. Port facilities were intact, but the factory and residential areas had been burned to the ground by phosphorous bombs. When it is remembered that Japanese houses are constructed of wood, laths, bamboo and straw, an idea may be formed of the holocaust which took place at the time of the fire-bombing raids of the B29’s. A large area was devastated, and tens of thousands of people were killed. However, that is war. The way in which the Japanese have rehabilitated themselves is remarkable. Little backyard factories have made their appearance, and the Japanese were dashing thither and yon. They are producing an extraordinary range of articles. I brought back with me- a miniature precision camera. It is a highly efficient article which bears favorable comparison with anything of its kind anywhere, and is not a toy. It. was developed from a German lens, and processed during the war. They developed a similar article for espionage purposes. It has light filters, shutters, and all necessary accessories.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– Are similar cameras available for sale ?

Senator MURRAY:

– I obtained one. We saw the operations of their big factories which ,are making motor cycles and various other articles under American direction. The Japanese are getting things going, and the Americans are keen to see that they do. The more they work the more they will export and thus the burden on the American taxpayers and those of other countries who are supporting them with food and other necessities will be reduced. Large quantities of cotton goods are being produced. We went through silk warehouses and witnessed the processing of silk. The importation of raw materials is not necessary to maintain that industry, which is very important to the Japanese. They have mulberry trees and silkworms in abundance, but I stress that they do require Australian wool to be processed, and Indian cotton, to make goods for export in return for food.

We went to all of the main cities in Japan, and while in Kyoto, which is one of the finest cities in the country, I had the opportunity to deliver an address on Australian social service provisions at the university, which is the oldest and most famous seat of learning in Japan. It was rather difficult to do so through an interpreter, but I managed to convey to them the general idea of our pensions scheme, and the provisions we make for invalids and the aged. I had to skate around the subjects of maternity allowance and child endowment rather adroitly, because they do not seem to need such encouragement in Japan. The rising population needs no artificial stimulus in the way of financial aid. We also questioned the destruction of the Japanese war potential and we were told that a lot had been- disposed of or destroyed. The subject of their research, scientific and industrial workers cropped up and we were told- that they had been dispersed. By a remarkable’ coincidence I discovered amongst the staff of. the Kyoto University a professor who was busily engaged in the study of atomic cosmic raj’s and other associated matters. Yet the Americans said, “ We have dispersed them and there is no possibility of their carrying out any research whatever in the way of atomic warfare “. I also saw Professor Kimura, who was the first man to develop an electric microscope of 2,000 magnifying power, the first of its kind in Japan. Ee was engaged in various bacteriological studies embracing all the vermin. That is rather remarkable when we reflect on some associated horrors our scientists were developing towards the end of the war. This, despite the assurances we were given ! One of the weaknesses of the set-up regarding the control and organization of Japan is that because it is laid down that they shall not do these things, the matter is left there and forgotten. We cannot ignore the fact that Japan in its new state will have to be subjected to a great deal of scrutiny and supervision for years to come. There is a very great danger which we found in our investigations on a fairly low level, .that the old military classes, which went underground’ during- tho purge; are gradually getting back into positions of trust, including minor municipal posts. We found that some of the cleverest men we had met in the prefectures and municipal government bodies were far more able than those we< had met in the. Parliament. In several instances we found that they , were demobilized senior naval officers and. others; There is very grave danger that, if the occupation is not policed properly the military classes may rise, again as in Germany. If. we are to achieve permanent results and remove all danger, we must, give very serious consideration, to this menace, which, is more dangerous than communism at the. present, time, although there is. an active: Communist party in Japan-.

We also visited Hiroshima at1 8il5 a.m. om Friday, Ohe 6th. August, and attended: a ceremony on the occasion1 of the’ third”, anniversary, of the dropping of: the atomic bomb there. Hiroshima has. tq be. seen to be believed’. There has been a great’ deal of talk. on. the- effects: of- gamma, and’ cosmic.- rays-, supposed to be: moving around as a result, of.- the- dropping of the atomic bomb. It- was reported that the earth had been rendered sterile to a depth of 6 feet, and that women had been rendered barren and men sterile. All sorts of things were attributed to the atomic bomb. We found the paddy fields were lush with growth, and that themelons were growing as never before. The birth-rate has gone up due possibly to the return of soldiers, from overseas, and there did not appear to be any grounds for the reports. We found thai the city was. being rebuilt rapidly under the direction of town planners and civic engineers supplied by the Australian army. The Japanese are particularly grateful for the advice received from some of our army engineers with regard to hygiene, reconstruction of. hospitals, and town planning. The new Hiroshima will be of Australian design. Slums, which were a disfigurement of the former city, will be eliminated. The remarkable thing about the atomic bombing is thai the concrete and steel structures still stood. It was the blast of terrific searing fire which did the damage. We saw marks’ burned into the concrete of the bridge which showed where people had once stood; Unlike the damage caused to London, Warsaw, Rotterdam and. other places by the use of high explosive bombs and big. blockbusters, the damage caused to Hiroshima- by the atomic bomb was such as could be repaired’ quickly. Hiroshima, was destroyed pretty- thoroughly, because it was a- Japanese-built city, very fragile and inflammable.

We were also very interested in the’ port of Kure; which was the greatestnaval arsenal in the Japanese empire. So well equipped were the factories that it was said that they used to put in ore.metal and jam tins at one end and battleships would emerge from the other end. Towards the close of the war with- Japan, the; Americans bombed Kure with such accuracy that they destroyed only what’ they did- not want-to use themselves; The docks where, the great* mystery battleship Yamata was built,, are. still intact, but the Americans u stopped them puttingmeat into the; sausage”;- they stopped the work- at the production, end and left the- port facilities- fairly useable^ The- docks are being used by our troops. There- has not been a great deal destroyed in Japan that cannot be replaced more quickly than the damage caused in Europe, because the Japanese type of building construction is quickly replaceable. I saw workers build a habitable house in four clays. The Japanese authorities have promised their people that they will all have houses by the end of the year. I wish Ave could promise something like that in Australia. They have ample supplies of wooden materials but very little hardware such as “Western plumbing fittings, and it is quite easy for them to carry out a building programme of that nature.

No discussion bearing upon the Australian occupation forces in Japan would be complete without some mention of the wonderful bearing of those troops and the magnificent example which they are setting to the Japanese people. Members of the delegation met men in those forces from the highest to the lowest ranks, and those engaged in the various- auxiliary units, such as, the water transport unit, engineers, canteen workers. They also met the splendid women who are doing a wonderful job under the banner of the Young Women’s Christian Association in looking after the leave hostels as wellas those men engaged in the provision of housing for the families of our troops. The occupation- forces arrived in Japan in the middle of winter at the beginning of 1946. They were at the end of a long’ line of communications in a bleak, devastated area, with no amenities. Their conditions were such as would almost break the- heart of any body of soldiers, particularly men who had just been oni active; service for periods up to four years. Bearing those facts in mind one is astounded at the conditions, under which those forces operate, to-day. I. congratulate them on the work they have done, and the example they haveset to.- the Japanese people..

I take this- opportunity to emphasize that we in Australia have- an obligationto1 ensure- that our voice shall be heard in Pacific affairs: The status of Australia within the British- Commonwealth of Nations is clearly defined in the Statute of Westminster. We1 are independent’,, and if- we desire- it’ we can’ adopt an inde pendent role. I do not suggest for one moment that we should do anything at variance with decisions of the Imperial Defence Council. However, if we are to make any contribution to the Japanese peace treaty, we must have a bargaining weapon. We have such a weapon in our occupation forces. The Government intends to withdraw a considerable number of troops from Japan; but as it intends to develop Manus Island as adefence outpost it should also take the opportunity to develop another outpost in Japan. The presence of our troops in that country gives us an opportunity to train and maintain substantial fighting forces, the cost of whose upkeep can be recouped as part of the reparations we are entitledto demand from Japan. The members of the delegation which recently visited that, country witnessed magnificent exercises by the Royal Australian Air Force in a mock attack. That performance reflected the high efficiency of our air personnel in Japan. I believe that I have accomplished my object of reassuring the Senate and the people of Australia, particularly the relatives of our occupation troops in Japan, that those forces have not been forgotten. In the delegation’s view they are. doing a magnificent job, and I sincerely trust that they will continue to do so. In conclusion, I compliment’ Senator O’Byrne and Senator Cooke upon the manner in which they moved and seconded respectively the AddressinReply.

Senator RANKIN:

– I endorse Senator O’Sullivan’s expressions of loyalty to the Throne and share his pleasure in anticipation of the visit of Their Majesties and the Princess Margaret’ to Australia next year: I am sure that every Australian is looking forward eagerly to that visit, and I trust that as many people as possible, particularly the children in country areas’, will be enabled to join in the welcome which the nation will accord to Their Majesties and the Princess- Margaret.

I have’ listened carefully to the speeches’ of honorable” senators who have participated in this- debate. Supporters of the Government uttered glittering phrases’ in praise of glamorous’ legislalation ; But they failed’ completely tff get down1 to the fundamentals - what our people really need, the services that they should be given, the development of ,,/ 1 national resources that is vitally necessary to our national well-being and the responsibilities that we as a people arc called upon to shoulder. “What is the use of glittering and glamorous promises and high-sounding phrases when the performance is so limited? The Australian Government should always lead. It should always be the best employer;, it should provide the best amenities for its employees; and it should give the best service to the people in its business and governmental activities. Its activities should be stamped with the hall-mark of sincerity and simple justice. Yet, is that so? I shall give an example of what I mean by simple justice. The fare charged by Trans-Australia Airlines from Sydney to Brisbane is greater than that charged by the same airline from Sydney to Melbourne, although the distances by air are practically equal. Why should Queenslanders have to pay more per mile to visit Sydney than Victorians are obliged to pay? Is that right, or fair? ls that how the Australian Government shows the world how much better public bodies can conduct transport services? fs that how the Government persuades Queenslanders that they receive fair treatment from Canberra? If asked those questions, a Queenslander would undoubtedly point out that Queenslanders are obliged to pay twice for the Government’s air service to their State. First, as taxpayers, they contribute to the loss incurred bv Trans-Australia Airlines and, secondly, they pay more than do Victorians when they use that service. Can it be claimed that such administraMahon is based upon equity and fair play? Is that the best service that the Government can give to Queensland taxpayers ?

The Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) has proposed grandiose plans for the standardization of railway gauges. Has this Government ever earned the respect of the States by the manner in which it operates its own railways? How can it expect the States to follow its lead unless it shows that it can run railways more efficiently than can the States, and can give a better transport service at a cheaper price? Can this Government be proud of the transcontinental train service ? Can it point with pride to comfort in the coaches, to the speed and smoothness of trains on that service, the absence of noise and dust, air conditioning to offset the heat of the desert, or careful attention to the needs of passengers? Recently, I travelled to Perth on the transcontinental train and I endured considerable discomfort on my journey. Some time ago I asked theMinister if he would improve that service by providing hostesses, supplies of certified milk for babies and help essential to mothers travelling so great a distance with children. I am sorry for mothers who have to travel with children on that line. The Government of Queensland is now building railway carriages designed with the object of helping women passengers. Those carriages will include a compartment where mothers may nurse their babies, and a special compartment in which mothers can wash and change their children’s attire. Surely, the Australian government should give a lead in this matter. How much would it cost the nation to provide an adequatelytrained hostess on each of the transcontinental trains in order to help mothers particularly and women passengers generally ? Would it be really difficult to make available supplies of certified milk on the train for babies? How much would it cost to employ a trained woman to heat babies food when it was needed and to relieve mothers of the care of their children while they had a wash? It is essential that the Government effect improvements of that kind. Greater consideration should be given to women passengers, particularly mothers who travel with their children. Surely, the small cost which would be involved in providing such comforts would be justified. The Australian Government should also give a lead in the. provision of suitable living and working conditions for its employees. I was not impressed by what I saw in that respect when I travelled on the transcontinental train. The Government should make a sincere effort to house its railway employees and their families comfortably and in good surroundings. Whilst it has passed on to the States the responsibility for housing workers generally, it cannot escape the responsibility of providing model homes for its own railway workers. The Government, if it is sincere, will get on with that job and improve existing conditions.

I doubt very much whether this Government is really interested in the welfare of our people as a whole. Some months ago I urged it to help to organize facilities to enable parents and wives to visit the graves of their loved ones in New Guinea and the adjacent islands. It has failed to do anything in that direction. Civilian shipping services to New Guinea have been resumed, but civilians are not permitted to visit our war cemeteries there. Will not the Government assist in this matter by providing transport to these places. I am not asking it to expend the taxpayers’ money. The fact is that hundreds of parents are eagerly waiting for an opportunity to visit our war cemeteries in New Guinea. They are prepared to pay their own fares and expenses. Will the Government facilitate the organization of such visits? By doing so it would bring comfort to hundreds of homes. Although it could bring comfort to many sad Australian hearts simply by showing a little sympathy and understanding, and without incurring any expenditure whatever, it has failed to do anything at all in that direction. A really sympathetic government would have given attention to this matter long ago.

I shall give another example of the Government’s discrimination against the States. Its latest action reveals how small is its regard for’ Queensland. On the 1st September last, certain broadcasting wave lengths were changed because the New Zealand Government was increasing the power and number of its broadcasting stations. Of the changes made, eleven were made in Queensland, and consequently, radio listeners in Brisbane, Mackay, Maryborough, Cairns, Ayr, Rockhampton, Pialba and Longreach must now search all over their radio dials in order to tune in to their favourite stations. Tens of thousands of new dials will have to be bought for wireless sets, mostly in Queensland. . Certainly Queensland radio receivers will wear the “new look”, but it will be at the expense of the owners. Why was Queensland selected for this treatment? Simple equity demands that all States shall be treated alike, but in this matter, as in so many others, Queensland has not been treated with simple equity. This Government must get away from the glitter and glamour and get down to the fundamentals of better leadership, better performances, and much greater sincerity.

Those of us who were privileged to be present at the opening of the present session of the Commonwealth Parliament by the Governor-General. Mr. W. J. McKell, will long remember the occasion. His Excellency’s commendation of the work of various Ministers was most appropriate. I believe that a man who performs his duty faithfully and with distinction should be told so while he is still in office so that he may be encouraged to carry on his good work. I was particularly gratified to hear the tribute paid to the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley · Western Australia [10.1.]

. I cannot agree with Senator Rankin that there is need in this country for better leadership. In our present Prime Minister we have one of the finest leaders that Australia has ever had. As long as he remains in office we need have no fear about the economic security of thi? country. A special word of commendation is due to the Senate Ministers, who have a most difficult task to perform. As most legislation passed by the Parliament is initiated in. the House of Representatives, it is thoroughly debated before it reaches the Senate, with the result that senators have the greatest difficulty in finding new material. A similar problem confronts Senate Ministers who have to reply to second-reading debates. I trust that members of the present Ministry will remain in office to carry out their good work) for many years to come.

An outstanding feature of the budget proposals is a gift of £10,000,000 to the United Kingdom. The fact that it has been possible for Australia to make this gift is a tribute to the buoyancy of our revenues and to our economic stability. It is interesting to note that since 1939 employment in this country has increased by 100,000 to reach the record figure of 640)000. That is a great achievement. The greatest single employing organization in Australia to-day is the Postmaster-General’s Department which has 73,000 employees staffing 10,000 post offices. The department has undertaken a substantial building programme throughout the Commonwealth and I am pleased indeed to know that at last a new post office is to be built in Inglewood, in Western Australia. I first advocated a . new building at Inglewood while I was a member of the Parliament of Western Australia. Then when [ was elected to this legislature I carried on that work and, at one time I had the assistance of a Western Australian colleague, the late Senator H. B. Collett. [ regret that he is not here to-day to see the fruition of our work. Although much of the increased revenue of the Post Office is being expended on higher salaries for postal officials and improved working conditions and rightly so, I urge upon the Government the desirability of reducing telephone rentals and charges.

The Governor-General mentioned the shipbuilding industry. Much has been said during the debate about the sale by an anti-Labour. Government of the former Commonwealth-owned shipping line. I shall not dwell on that matter, but no one is more pleased than I am to see ships being built in this country for the benefit of the Australian people. When these ships are in commission, primary producers will have a better chance of getting their products carried overseas at reasonable freight rates. While I was in Queensland recently as a member of the all-party parliamentary delegation that visited that State, I saw small vessels carrying raw sugar from the cane-fields to the refineries in the various States, including Western Australia. Those ships are not big enough, but larger vessels arn now being constructed for that trade and their operation should result in cheaper freights. Unfortunately, in the shipbuilding industry as in almost every other industry, there is a shortage of labour. We want a greater population in this country, and immigration appears to be at least a partial solution of this problem. The Government hopes to bring 70,000 migrants to this country this year, but some difficulty is being experienced in finding people of the right type. I hope that every effort will be made to secure as many as possible from Great Britain. I recall that in -my younger days Danes were regarded as fine immigrants. I learned my trade in Queensland from a Dane who was a first-class workman. Many of his trainees subsequently took their places as leaders in various factories throughout Australia. Germans too have been found to be good settlers. There are many German families in Queensland, and some of the sons fought alongside Australians in World War II. I believe that Slav immigrants are preferable to Italians. They are splendid agricultural workers. However, we should do everything possible to bring people of British stock to this country. I congratulate the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) on his efforts to secure these people. I have met many immigrants from the Old Country. They are splendid types and they all seem to ‘be happy and comfortable in this country. The Baits, too, are settling down well in their new environment.* Recently, while travelling on the transcontinental railway, we encountered a washaway which delayed the train for many hours. We saw 25 Baits working in the repair gangs. They were all fine, upstanding young fellows. Some of them were working in water up to their chests. They were, of course, earning good money, and they seemed to be most willing workers. Obviously they liked Australia and I am sure that the reports that they will send to their own land will bring many of their compatriots to this country. The Bait girls, too, are excellent types. Some of them are working at the Hotel Kurrajong. Others are nurses, and we hear good reports about them. Australia is a land of opportunity for these people.

The parliamentary delegation which visited Queensland travelled as far north as the Atherton Tableland, Townsville, Cairns and Mackay. We saw wonderful land offering splendid opportunities for young men with initiative. We also visited southern centres including Toowoomba, Stanthorpe, Warwick and other dairying districts. One would have to travel a long way to see better ‘country. Lest I should be thought a too ardent

Queensland supporter I should like to point out that there is much similar land, available for settlement in Western Australia, particularly in the south-western districts. The main problem in that area is common to the whole of the Commonwealth, namely, a shortage of water. Water conservation schemes are vital to this country. Plenty of rain falls, but much of the water runs to waste. We must have more irrigation schemes before we can settle large numbers of people on the land. In Queensland I saw young men working in the cane-fields. They were making high wages, and apparently were content in their employment. There was no indication of communistic tendencies among them. They were working under a good government and they were happy. I remind the Senate that the delegation of which I was a member included representatives of all political parties. In Queensland we met other visitors from the southern States, including Senator Large and his wife, Senator Devlin and Senator Sheehan. Speaking in this chamber about a year ago I urged new members of the Parliament to visit the various States of the Commonwealth and see for themselves what was required to develop this great country. I do not know whether or not Mr. Hanlon read my speech, but he was the first to extend an invitation to visit his State. I intend to communicate with the Premier of Western Australia, Mr. McLarty, and notify him of the wonderful chances there are of letting people know about the great potentialities of that State. Although it has no big establishments and advanced facilities to compare with those of Queensland, Western Australia has many rich and attractive areas, particularly in the south-west, of which we can justifiably be proud. The less populous States of Australia are starved for secondary industries. This is not the first time that I have mentioned this subject, because- 1 have frequently deplored the concentration of industries in Melbourne and Sydney. Big manufacturing companies in those centres sell many of their products in South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia, and I have always held the opinion that it would be a good idea for them to establish subsidiary factories in those States with the.object of encouraging-the growth of population there. We want to develop our country, and that would be the mosteffective way to do it. I should be delighted if grants of land, in all thinly populated parts of Australia were made to large British and American firms so that they would establish industries there. I wish that the Government of Western Australia would give areas away in this fashion so as to establish new centres of population. However, nothing of that sort is being done and all new industries in Australia seem to go to Melbourne and Sydney, which take the plums from the other States, where many of their products are sold. There is nothing fair in such a system. The main centres of population want to have everything their own way and will not give other places a chance to develop as they should. There should be co-operation between all parts of Australia in order to increase our national wealth and help our people. If we undertook a thorough scheme for the decentralization of industry, Australia would never look back.

I was very pleased to hear the reference in the Governor-General’s Speech to the Government’s activity in connexion with the fishing industry. * We have always been too lackadaisical in allowing foreigners to take the cream of our fishing industry. Some attempts have been made to encourage trawling, but they have never met with success. However, I believe that the Government is now on the right track and will secure better results than have been obtained in thepast. I am particularly interested in whaling. I once had occasion to write to a Commonwealth Minister on behalf of a company in Western Australia which planned a whaling expedition. I do not know how far the company got with its plans, but I know that it had arranged for the use of vessels and was fully prepared to enter- the whaling business. As Senator Murray said earlier this evening, the industry has returned great profits to the Japanese, and I am sorry that Australia has not taken advantage of this source of wealth in the Antarctic.

Members of the Opposition have complained that this Government is not concerned about the welfare of our primary industries. I say, without fear of successful contradiction, that no other government in Australia has done as much for primary industries as this Government has done since it has been in office. For instance, it kept the. wheatgrowers on the land during the most difficult period of the war. At that time, superphosphate was unprocurable because the islands from which it came were in the possession of the Japanese, and there were many other shortages to discourage the farmers. This Government met the situation by paying large sums to them on an acreage basis so that they could carry on until they could obtain supplies of fertilizer and equipment and thus return tn thu full cultivation of their holdings and grow the food so badly needed by the world. That policy was highly successful, and the wheat industry to-day is in a better position than for a long time past. Western Australia, produces large quantities of wheat, and the farmers there have done remarkably well recently. This” Government has been the backbone of the industry. People may say and think what they like, but I recall the days when wheat was sold for ls. 3d. and ls. 9d. a bushel, prices which compare very poorly with the price which is guaranteed to-day by the Government. This guarantee assures the farmers of success. A good farmer can inspect his crop when it is in ear and make a reasonably accurate estimate of the “quantity of wheat that it will produce. Then, knowing that he will receive the price guaranteed by the Government, he can make his plans for the future confidently. If he needs tractors or other equipment, he can anticipate his returns without waiting to find out what wheat will bring in open competition. In the past, when grain was subject to market fluctuations, the “ St. George’s Terrace farmers “ in Western Australia, the “ town cockies “, took the spoils while the men who had done all the work received a miserable return for their labour. I have always declared that the best thing for the primary producers to do is to work in co-operation with the Government.

A variety of factors has contributed to the highly satisfactory state of affairs resulting from, current high prices for wool, wheat, fruit, metals and other com- modities. Although some of my hearers may disagree with me, I contend that every thoughtful person must admit that the prices now prevailing for wool and wheat are false. They must fall eventually, and when they do, the farmers will be glad to have the aid of the Government and will be satisfied that this Government has stabilized their industries in the right way. A man came to my office in Perth one day and told me that he was making arrangements to divide his farming operations so that his son would grow wheat and he would concentrate on wool-growing. I asked how he would fare, and he replied, “1 shall see that the shearing is done and I will get the profits from the wool “. He pulled from his pocket a cheque for £66 3s., which was the price of one bale of wool, and said, “ In the past I would have been lucky to get £19 or £20 for that bale”. I said, “Don’t you think that, that is a false price?” He replied, “ Yes, but I hare got it and I will keep it, and I will take all I can get.” When I was returning from my recent visit to Queensland I met on Southern Cross station a man who owns the second largest woolraising property in New South Wales. He told me that he had received £90 for one bale of - wool. I thought that my friend in Perth must have been rather unlucky to get only £66, a price with which he was perfectly satisfied. The same unreality affects the prices of all primary products, and a slump must eventually come. However, the farmers have nothing to fear while wool and wheat prices are guaranteed by the Government.

I refer now to one of the undertakings controlled by the Department of the Interior. In recent years, travelling to and from Canberra on the transcontinental railway line, I. have been impressed by the improvements which have been made in the conditions of workers employed in the Commonwealth railway . service. In this connexion I pay tribute to the work of Senator Collings and Mr. Johnson, who, as Ministers for the Interior have done a great deal to alleviate the hardships of the workers. When I first came to Canberra from Western Australia, 1 noticed the small shacks in which those men had to live. One could scarcely have swung a cat in any of them. At most of the sidings to-day employees live in. large bungalows fitted with refrigerators, and they are thoroughly contented. This Government is responsible for the building df those homes. Unless those improvements had been made, the department would have had great difficulty in keeping men employed on that work. I have great admiration for the way in which those workers repaired the line after washaways had occurred on the occasion which I mentioned earlier. The foremen co-operated with the men under their charge with the result that the work was completed in a remarkably short time. Several spans of the line had been undermined over a distance of 110 miles. The work of maintaining the line in a safe condition is never-ending. The workers never know when the next washaway will occur and they have to be prepared always for emergencies.

We Australians are very lucky people. We enjoy peace and happiness, and we may look forward confidently to an era of prosperity and high production if we all do our best. I include members of Parliament, employers, and unionists in that statement. We, as members of Parliament, are often told that we have little work to do, but if people knew of the inconvenience to which we are frequently subjected, and the amount of work that we have to do, they would give more credit to their representatives. People often say to me, “ Hullo, are you home on holidays again?” My colleagues probably have similar experiences. I am not afraid to say that the only time I have any sort of a holiday is when I come to Canberra where people cannot get at me but have to communicate with me by letter. When I am at home people are always interviewing me. For instance, when I returned from Brisbane recently f arrived in Perth on Thursday, I was “ shanghaied “ on Friday, and electors came to visit me on Saturday and Sunday. Yet people say that we have nothing to do! Members of Parliament who do their work properly should be given the praise that they deserve so as to encourage them to carry on.

The policy of this Government is straightforward and honest and is designed to benefit all the people instead of only a few. Tt does its best for everybody, whereas anti-Labour governments of other days were interested only in their political friends. In those days, if the master did not make big profits, he thought that something must be wrong and he usually discharged some of his employees and tried to get more money by making the others work harder. Bosses introduced all sorts of systems to increase their profits. They even tried out team systems. My employer once tried to get me to work in a team system so as to get his work done more quickly at less cost. I was a foreman and refused to work under the new scheme. We had a strike which lasted for only one hour, which was probably a record, and he returned to the old system. He was only greedy for profit. Night and day people hear over the radio all sorts of tales about the wonderfnl work that would be done by the party which Senator O’Sullivan represents if it were in power. The achievements of this Government are criticized and attacks are launched upon its members, particularly upon the Prime Minister, Mr. Chifley. But I shall be happy so long as he remains at the helm, because I cannot recall when the country ha? been on such an even keel as under this Government. Nevertheless, all sorts of slanderous statements are broadcast and published in the newspapers, and no doubt the campaign will be intensified before the next general election. It goes on day and night. Although the critics of the Government imagine that they are doing a good job by continuously attacking Labour in the DreSs and over the air, I think that their propaganda is so obvious as to turn any balanced man against them. People look at such criticism to see what lies behind it, and inevitably they find that the motive is the desire of the capitalist to make more and more profits. Heaven knows, the capitalists are making enough now ! One h as only to refer to the balance-sheets and reports of companies’ operations in the newspapers to realize that they are making tens of thousands of pounds. Yet members of the Opposition, who represent those interests, are continually telling the people what they will do when they are elected to office. They know they have no chance of carrying out their promises. nor .have they any intention to ‘do so. Contrast that attitude with the achievements of the Australian Labour party, which is continually doing something for the people. .Most members of the community are more contented now than they ever have been. I cannot help contrasting the present state of prosperity with the misery of the depression. I recollect very vividly, when I was a member of the Western Australian Parliament, going, in company with a colleague who has since died, to the old unemployment bureau at West Perth, where I held the record for attendance, in order to try to obtain work for some particularly deserving cases. At one place men were employed working full time for only 7s. a unit produced. The maximum rate of relief work for a married man with a family of a certain number of members was 49s. a week. I remember an individual who was dissatisfied because his family was not large enough to qualify him for the maximum rate, saying, “I shall see that before long I will be entitled to the largest unit “. True enough, in less than two years he was entitled to draw the larger unit! I saw men engaged on relief work cutting down trees. That was hard work, and other men who were offered relief work said they did not want to do it because it was too hard. However, when they learned that if they did not accept it they would only be entitled to 7s. a week sustenance money, they were glad enough to take it. Fortunately those days are gone, and nothing of that kind has happened since Labour has been in office.

The Government has done a fine job in rehabilitating our ex-servicemen. Not only has it benefited the ex-servicemen, but it- has also assisted the expansion of industry. In order to survive we must establish new .industries and expand our present ones. Dislocation of work by industrial disturbance or any other cause adversely affects the workers, and wo must strive to maintain industrial peace. An honorable senator from Western Australia referred to the good industrial relations which exist in the coal industry in that State, and I quite agree with his remarks. However, when I recently visited Blair Athol in Queensland I saw more coal of fine quality than I .have ever seen before. The coal is extracted from the seam by the open-cut method, and I saw 3’,500 tons of coal extracted from the .seam by the use of only two charges of explosive. That large quantity of coal was carried away very quickly, but the development of coalmining in Queensland is hampered, as in all other States, by the lack of sufficient transport. .Fortunately the Government of Queensland is not hampered by a superfluous second chamber, as are the other State governments, and I have no doubt that the progressive Government in that State will succeed in providing sufficient transport before very long. Indeed, Queensland may force the southern coal producing States to “ sit up and take notice” - and I particularly commend my remarks to the Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley).

The standard working week in Australia is the shortest in the world. Provided that employees apply themselves efficiently to their work I am convinced that a reduction of working hours does not result in a diminution of output. For years I argued with employers who contended that a reduction of the standard hours from 48 to 44 would reduce output. Eventually the hours were reduced to 44, and production did not suffer. The same considerations apply to the recent reduction of working hours from 44 to 40, and one has only to look around him to realize the benefits which have been conferred by the shorter working week. Every day I see working men and women going home at 4.30 or 4.45 p.m., happy and contented, and I hope that that state of affairs will continue. Although the critics of the Government continue to attack it in the press and over the air, the people cannot fail to realize the extent of the improvement which has been brought about in their conditions.

T propose now to say something with regard to my pet subject, the standardization of railway gauges. Those who travel from Western Australia to Canberra have to make six changes of trains. That is bad enough for a man travelling without his family, or accompanied only by his wife, but a man in the southern States who desires to take his wife ‘and children to Queensland for a holiday finds-it quite impossible to do so. Despite the setbacks which the proposal has received, I believe that railway gauges will .be standardized in this country before very long. Mr. Playford, the Premier of South Australia, who realized the benefit which the standardization of gauge would confer upon that State, had no hesitation in signing the agreement recently placed before the States. However, the Minister who represented the Government of Western Australia declined to do so. I interviewed him on his return to Western Australia, and told him that I considered he should not have obstructed the scheme. He replied, “ We can’t stand it, at least not for a while yet”. Undoubtedly, he should have signed the agreement, because all that Western Australia would be obliged to do would be to begin the work of standardization in that State, and the Commonwealth would complete the work. The need for standardized railway gauges is obvious even in normal times, but if war should occur again the need would be even greater. We have only to recall the delays and difficulties associated with the transportation of troops from one side of Australia to the other during the recent war to realize that. Great difficulties had to be overcome when it was desired to concentrate a large number of men in north-eastern Australia in the dangerous period which preceded the battle of the Coral Sea. Even in times of peace we cannot afford to lose sight of the importance of conserving our animal stock. The occurrence of droughts and floods and the inroads of pests frequently require that large numbers of cattle and sheep shall be moved from one part of the country to another. I have always said that houses are too dear to-day. It is not right that a working man should have to pay £1,200 or £1,400 for a house. ~No man should be required to pay more than one day’s wages a week under a home-purchase scheme. In Western Australia, timber and bricks for building are becoming more plentiful, as also are galvanized iron and tiles. Baths, troughs and geysers are still scarce. Here, again, the shortage of materials is aggravated by the broken railway gauges, and transport charges are, .for the same reason, higher than :they should be. If transport charges were reduced, and sales tax on building materials removed, it would be possible to provide cheaper homes. After the first world war, a great many houses were built in Western Australia for returned soldiers at a cost of about £600 each. A man paid a deposit of £50 or £60 on a house, and then, in some instances, bought furniture on time payment. Then the depression came, and many men were thrown out of employment. I know one man who lost his employment with the municipal council and was unable to keep up the payments on his home. Many others also had to surrender their homes for the same reason. I believe that we should encourage young men to marry and go on the land by offering inducements in the way of a reduction of the purchase price by £50 for the first child born, £75 for the second and £100 for the third. A scheme of this kind is working very well in South Africa, where it has resulted in the clearing and cultivation of many good farms, and the people are happy and comfortable. References have been made in this debate to Mr. Casey, who was reported in the Daily News, Perth, of the 16th August, as follows: -

Mr. Casey says that the next federal election will be the greatest test Australia has had to face.

He believes that unless the present Opposition parties’ win the election decisively, the country will go gradually or rapidly into the hands of extremists.

Referring to the increase of the Commonwealth Parliament by 70 members, Mr. Casey appeals to fellow Australians to recognize the importance of the legislature and to accept the responsibilities and sacrifices of political life. . . .

Parliament has immense power for good or evil, and it is highly important that it should be composed of men and women of intelligence and probity.

What does Mr. Casey mean by men of intelligence? I can remember when members of the Western Australian Parliament, who were university professors and lawyers, were afraid to accept the responsibility of office, but the job was undertaken and carried through successfully by the representatives of -the workers. It may be argued that they were seeking to benefit themselves, but they were also working in the interests of their fellow workers. Where have most of our leading statesmen come from? They have come from the ranks of the workers, and that applies even to Mr. W. M. Hughes. There may be some exceptions, but they are few and far between. The Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) has had something to say about the “ twelve evils “, the responsibilty for which he lays upon the Government. I suggest that he is a long way out of his reckoning, as will be proved before long.

It has been repeatedly stated in criticism of the Government that it has failed to honour its promises to exservicemen and women, but I maintain that its re-establishment record is very fine. The re-absorption of ex-service men and women into civil life in accordance with the Government’s plans is proceeding satisfactorily. Over 300,000 former members of the services have participated in financial benefits to the amount of £45,000,000 spent in the form of training allowances, reemployment and re-establishment allowances, business and agricultural loans and in land settlement. Industry has so far benefited by the addition of more than 25,000 men and women either fully or partially trained in skilled trades under the reconstruction training scheme which has contributed proportionately to the ranks of the professions. The numbers will eventually be augmented by many more thousands as trainees complete their courses in universities and technical colleges. This scheme is the greatest experiment in adult education attempted in this country and has been attended by marked success. Women as well as men have benefited under the reestablishment scheme. For instance, I know two young women who were practically invalid pensioners. They were trained and given employment in florist shops and now both own florist shops.

The Commonwealth Employment Service, which operates within the organization of the department, has been in operation for a little over two years. The following are the principal statistics relating to the operations of the service for the eighteen months ending the 30th June, 194S : - 608,000 persons registered for employment; 530,000 persons introduced to employers: 348,000 persons placed in employment; 18,000 persons registered for employment as at the 30th June, 1948; 644,000 vacancies registered during the whole period; 100,000 vacancies available as at the 30th June, 1948; 4,000 displaced persons placed in employment: 643,000 persons given advice and information regarding re-establishment benefits and other entitlements under Commonwealth legislation : 98,000 claims for employment , and sickness benefit and re-employment allowance handled : 113,000 claims for sickness benefit handled

In addition - and this is certainly no less valuable than the direct placement work - the service has been compared with the qualitative aspects of employment. In this connexion it has provided information and assistance to the community through psychological testing and vocational guidance, more particularly of those leaving school and younger persons generally, and has supplied expert reports on the labour market to business men and to Commonwealth and State Governments. Its value has been shown each year during the difficult period of crop harvesting when it has been able to marshal sufficient labour to ensure all crops being harvested. It has also been responsible for organizing the accommodation and employment of displaced persons and other migrants from Europe. This work will expand rapidly with the increasing flow of migrants from Europe to Australia.

With the concurrence of the Senate I shall incorporate in Hansard a statement setting out the activities of the Department of Repatriation. They include the following: -

Supplementation of apprentices wage? -£2,778,233. This has enabled men to revive their apprenticeships, which had been interrupted by enlistment, without detriment to their financial well-being.

Re-es t ablishm ent loans - £4, 269,550. This has been of inestimable value to those who were resuming or commencing business careers or professional practices as self employers.

Re-employment allowances - £1,022,828. These allowances provided the grantees with an income while awaiting placement in suitable employment.

Tools of trade, professional instruments and other articles of personal equipment. This form of assistance totalling £1,610,233, was granted mostly by way of gift, but there were instances in which a loan, in addition to gift, was necessary. The sum of £203,965 was expended in this way. It was a form of assistance which was necessary to enable discharged service personnel toresume occupations in which they were required to provide their own tools and equipment.

Removal expenses - £175,938. This provision empowered the granting of assistance to facilitate the taking up of employment in some distant locality within the Commonwealth. Where the serviceman is a married man, and it is his intention to establish his home in the locality, fares and removal expenses for household effects are granted.

Free passages to the Commonwealth for wives or widows and children of servicemen who married during the period of their service outside Australia- £287,421. The provision was one which was consistent with migration policy.

Furniture grants to widows with children and to blindedor permanently totally incapacitated servicemen. - £310,484. This was to assist the classes referred to in establishing or ‘ adding to the comfort of existing homes.

Medical treatment for widows and children, and widowed mothers of deceased servicemen - £68,895. By this means material aid is provided for the persons concerned because they receive treatment and medicine at departmental expense. costs arising out of the medical and surgical treatment of service personnel £6,879,554. The costs are spread over a number of repatriation hospitals, out-patient clinics, sanatoria, mental institutions and artificial limb factories.

Considerable difficulty is being encountered in obtaining additional buildings in medical institutions, ‘but this is not peculiar to the Repatriation Commission.

The lag in domestic residences for the civilian community, as a consequence of the war and other factors, makes it necessary, in some instances, for the commission to make the best of the institutional buildings available, and it is likely that the programme of desirable development will be delayed in its fulfilment for a considerable period. A system of priorities in building has been found necessary. Precedence is, of course, given to accommodation for the patients.

Annual liability in respect of war pensions and service pensions as at 30th June, 1948, is -

War pensions. - 1914 war, £8,475,915; 1939 war, £7,759,790; total £16,235,705.

Service pensions. - 1914 war, £1,113,717; 1939 war, £27,442; South African war veterans, £68,001; total, £1,209,160.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Presentation of Address-in-Reply.

Motion (-by Senator Ashley) agreed to-

That the Address-in-Reply be presented to His Excellency the Governor-General by the President and such senators as may desire to accompany him.


– I shall ascertain when His Excellency will be pleased to receive the Address-in-Reply, and when a time is fixed, I shall notify the Senate.

page 327


Motion (by ‘ Senator Ashley) agreed to-

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to Wednesday next,at 3 p.m.

page 327


Kerosene and Diesel Fuel

Motion (by Senator Ashley) proposed -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition · Queensland

– I have reada report in the Courier Mail of the 8 th September drawing attention to a very serious difficulty which is confronting cane-growers in the Innisfail district due to a shortage ofsuppliesofkerosene and diesel fuel. ThisaffectsvitallytheAustralian economy in general and the livelihood of some of Australia’s best citizens in particular. I. askthat the Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) shall do . all in his power to assist this worthy body of men by affording adequate relief.

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

– in reply -I wish that Senator O’Sullivan would furnish more information when raising matters such as this. There is dissatisfaction on the part of some petrol companies in this country regarding the quotas that have been allocated, pressure isbeing brought to bear on the Australian Government not only through the farmers of this country, but also through members of Commonwealth and Stateparliaments. Some of the companies, not being satisfied with the quotas allotted to them in an endeavour to defeat the object of rationing and secure an advantage over other companies in the sale and distribution of petroleum products, organized a pressure selling campaign to build up their figures and thereby be in a position to claim a bigger quota. The Government is not prepared to increase the quotas of such companies, because such an increase would be at the expense of other companies. In some instances users of petrol have exhausted their supply in one month and cannot obtain a further supply in the second month, although another local agent may have supplies. My department will certainly ensure that fuel required for essential services in the country shall be made available. I can assure the honorable senator that the campaign which has been instituted by one dissatisfied company in particular will not have any effect on me.

Question -resolved in the affirmative.

page 328


The following papers were pre sented : -

Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -

Interior - E. L. Sim.

Supply and Development - M. A. Condon, A. H. Debnam, R. S. Matheson.

LandTax Assessment Act - Applications for reliefdealt with during the year 1947-48.

Senate adjourned at 10.54 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 September 1948, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.