18th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon.. Gordon Brown) took the chair at3 pm., and read prayers.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the amendments made by the Senate in this bill.
Assent to the following bills reported : -
Social Services Consolidation Bill 1949.
States Grants Bill 1949.
Supply Bill (No. 1) 1949-50.
Supply (Works and Services) Bill (No. 1) 1949-50.
National Emergency (Coal Strike) Bill 1949.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives without amendment.
Employees - Strike
– Can the Minister for Shipping and Fuel say how the number of young men who enter the coalmining industry to-day compares with the number that entered the industry before the war? Can the Minister inform the Senate how the average age of persons employed in Australian coal-mines to-day compares with the average age of those who entered the industry before the war?
– I cannot answer the honorable senator’s question off-hand, and, in any event, the Joint Coal Board, which is’ the appropriate authority to supply that information, has been in existence for only about two years. If the honorable senator will place the question on the notice-paper, I shall obtain an answer for him. From my personal knowledge of the industry,I should say that the number of young men who enter the industry now is not as great as the number which entered it in pre-war years. The uninviting and dangerous nature of the work deters young men from entering the industry
– Can the Minister for Shipping and Fuel say whether it is correct, as reported in the Canberra Times, that a Wollongong branch ofa leading private bank yesterday paid our largesums of money to the miners federation after the usual banking hours ? Is it a fact that normal banking practice requires that prior notice shall be given before substantial sum of money are withdrawn? In view of the legislation that has just been passed by the Parliament, does the Minister consider that it is clear that the banks are deliberately acting in concert with the Communist party to bring aboutthe defeat of the Labour Government?
– I am not aware of the incident alleged by the honorable senator to have happened at Wollongong, but if he will place his question on the notice-paper, I shall obtain an answer for him.
– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Fuel whether it is a fact that the Coal Industry Act makes provision for fining any organization £1,000 if it defies an order of the Coal Industry Tribunal and that any individual who commits the same offence is liable to a fine and imprisonment. If so. does the Government propose to take appropriate action against the miners’ federation or its leaders ?
– I understand that there are certain punitive measures in the Coal Industry Act. It is not the intention of the Government at present to prosecute the miners’ leaders. I am convinced, as I believe most people are convinced, that prosecution of the minerwould not produce any coal or help to solve the present industrial dispute.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Postwar Reconstruction inform the Senate of the number of ex-servicemen who have actually been settled on land in Victoria under the war service land settlement scheme? Can the Minister also indicate the number of ex-servicemen who have been settled on land throughout the Commonwealth ?
– As the honorable senator will realize, the figures are not readily present to my mind. However, I shall ascertain from the Minister the information which the honorable senator seeks and communicate them to him in the near future.
– Is the Minister for Health aware that in Western Australia, a new clinic is to be established at Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital for the after-care of patients who have suffered from poliomyelitis? Will the Minister see that the Commonwealth Government and its health authorities co-operate with the Western Australian health authorities to ensure that the most up-to-date and efficient clinic is established? Are the Commonwealth health authorities carrying out clinical service or research in that dreaded sickness? [f the answer to the previous question is “ No will the Minister take action to see that attention is given to both research and treatment?
– I was not aware that a new clinic was to be established at the Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital for the treatment of poliomyelitis patients. The provision of hospital treatment is at present the responsibility of State authorities, and no request has been received from the Government of Western Australia for assistance for the Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital. Concerning the third question asked by the honorable senator, whether the Commonwealth health authorities are conducting clinical research into poliomyelitis, the answer is “ No “. However, I point out that examinations are made of cerebro-spinal fluid at the Commonwealth research laboratories. At present no Commonwealth organization exists to combat the disease, but research is carried out by the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine to combat such diseases. That organization is in communication with overseas clinics that are conducting research on the most modern lines, and particularly with the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis of the United States of America. The most recent information received from that institution indicates that it is not likely that a cure for the disease will be discovered in the near future.
– I ask the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral how many female members there are in the Federated Ironworkers Association of New South Wales. On what types of work are they engaged? What are the necessary qualifications for membership of the union?
– The information that the honorable senator seeks is not available to me in any of my numerous capacities. I was not aware that there were female members of the Federated Ironworkers’ Association. I suggest that the information would be more readily available from my colleague the Minister for Labour and National Service than from the Attorney-General, whom I represent in this chamber. However, 1 shall take the matter up with the appropriate Minister and obtain the information requested by the honorable senator.
– Some time ago, 1 asked the Minister for Shipping and Fuel whether the Australian Government would join with the Government of New South Wales in providing financial assistance to the water brigade at Grafton. I have now been informed by the town clerk of South Grafton that £750 has been received from the State Government. He has asked me to inquire whether the Commonwealth will provide a similar sum to assist the carrying out of this necessary work.
– Grants for the relief of distress caused by calamities such as floods are usually made by the Commonwealth on application by the State governments concerned. The State governments actually expend the money and they are in a better position to ensure that it shall be used to the best advantage. I shall bring the honorable senator’s question to the notice of the Prime Minister and ascertain whether the Commonwealth will supplement the grant already made by the State.
– Has the Minister for Health received, as apparently most other honorable senators have, a statement from the British Medical Association which lays at the door of the Government the responsibility for failure to have the pharmaceutical benefits scheme operating? Is there any truth in the statement by the British Medical Association that the scheme would have been in operation long ago had the Government agreed to the doctors prescribing on their own forms instead of the governments forms?
– I have not received any further personal communication from the British Medical Association on the subject of pharmaceutical benefits, or any of the other services that the Government is seeking to implement. However, I have received a circular which, I understand, has been disseminated by the British Medical Association.
– Absolute propaganda.
– I should imagine it to be so, although I have not yet had an opportunity to read it. Quite a lot of propaganda has already been brought to my notice. Much of it is quite erroneous and completely misstates the position. In reply to the honorable senator’s second question, I need only state that the responsibility for the fact that the Pharmaceutical Benefits scheme is not yet in operation rests with the Federal Council of the British Medical Association and no one else. As the Senate is aware, the scheme was launched on an entirely voluntary basis. A doctor could enter it or remain out of it at will, or, having entered the scheme, he could leave it at any time. It left him free to write prescriptions within the formulary or out of it. Because of the rigid and non-co-operative attitude adopted by the British Medical Association at the instance of the Federal Council, the Government has been forced, with great reluctance, to insist that doctors who, at their unfettered discretion, decide to prescribe a medicine that is within the formulary, must write the prescription on the Commonwealth’s form and so make the medicine free to the patient concerned. The fact that there is that element of compulsion now in the law can be attributed entirely to the behaviour of the Federal Council of the British Medical Association. The responsibility certainly does not lie with the Government, which since 1943, has been endeavouring to obtain the cooperation of the British Medical Association in this matter. From 1943 up to the present moment, despite protestations by the British Medical Association that it favours the scheme, there has been the most complete hostility to it. Everything that could be done to prevent its implementation has been done by the medical profession, with the exception of approximately 120 doctors who have a very proper personal appreciation of their responsibility to the people of Australia.
TRANs-AUSTRALIA Airlines: Subsidy; Monthly Payments.
– An article published in last night’s Melbourne Herald states that there has been an increase of £75,000 in the subsidy paid to Trans-Australia Airlines for the carriage of mails. Will the PostmasterGeneral inform the Senate of the reason for this increase, and will he also say whether consideration has been given to the carriage of second-class mail matter from Tasmania to Victoria by air?
– The honorable senator was good enough to let me know that he would seek some information on this subject, and I am able to advise him as follows: The revenue received from the domestic air-mail fee of 3d., less onetenth, is credited to the Department of
Civil Aviation, which is responsible for arranging contracts for the carriage of air-mails and for paying the mail contractors. The amount paid to TransAustralia Airlines in respect of 1947-48 was £325,000 and the payment for 1948-49 will be £400,000. TransAustralia Airlines is the principal air-mail contractor and, apart from air-mails, that organization is required to transport any mail matter offered by the Postal Department. In addition to air-mails, Trans-Australia Airlines conveys ordinary letter mails between the mainland and Tasmania, and is frequently called upon to carry other classes of mail matter when normal surface communications are interrupted. In 1948, for instance, 473,328 lb. of unsurcharged second-class mails were conveyed by air by TransAustralia Airlines. The arrangements with Trans-Australia Airlines are satisfactory to the Government and to the Postal Department, and the basis of payment is equitable, having regard to the great volume of mails transported within Australia, and the fact that the undertaking must provide facilities when required to avoid serious interruption to the mail services on the long routes over which it operates. The proposal to transport all mail to Tasmania by air instead of by sea is still under consideration. Provided that the facilities available are adequate and that the cost will be reasonable, I hope that the objective to which reference has been made will be achieved in the near future.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
What amount has been paid to TransAustralia Airlines for the carriage of mail for each month from 1st July, 1948?
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following answer : -
An amount of £399,300 is being paid to Trans-Australia Airlines for carnage of mails on other than developmental routes during 1948-49. The amount required on the developmental routes has not yet ‘been determined.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the
Army whether it is a fact that the Australian Army Canteens Service is being wound up as from to-day? If so, is a new service being organized to cater for the needs of servicemen in Australia and Japan ? If such a change is taking place, will the Minister give consideration to the appointment of representatives of exservicemen to the new organization?
– I regret that 1 have no information on the subject, but I shall bring the honorable senator’s questions to the notice of the Minister for the Army and endeavour to supply answers as soon as possible.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Information been drawn to the report of the Royal Commission on the Press which was presented to the United Kingdom Parliament yesterday? Is it a fact that the commission found -
That no newspaper was attached to any political party except the Daily Herald, which supports the Labour Government, and the Daily Worker, which supports the Communist party, all other papers being responsible only to themselves, and the people who bought them ; and
In view of the fact that the royal commission in Great Britain was appointed as a result of charges made in the British Parliament against the press-
– Order I Honorable senators should understand that questions must be asked for the purpose of eliciting information. They should not fill their questions with extraneous matter and comments. Direct questions should be asked.
– Will the Government establish a similar commission in Australia to investigate the “curse the press “ attitude adopted by the Minister for Information and frequently supported by Government members in the Senate?
– The Leader of the Opposition, as usual, is trying to broadcast some of his propaganda. Not satisfied with using the press of Australia, he seeks to take advantage of something that has happened in Great Britain. Whatever relationship there may be between the press and political parties in the United Kingdom, the situation in Australia may be entirely different. The fact that the inquiry in Great Britain has disclosed that there need not have been an investigation does not necessarily mean that there is no need for an inquiry in Australia.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
With reference to the question asked by Senator Cooper on the 10th June, 1940, and the Minister’s reply thereto, regarding the employment of migrant displaced persons in the steel industry at Newcastle, will the Minister outline to the Senate the principles which’ have been adopted regarding the employment of such persons?
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has supplied the following answer : -
The principles adopted in connexion with the employment of displaced persons in the steel industry at Newcastle after consultation with the Federated Ironworkers’ Association and the management of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited steel works are as follows: -
Displaced persons will not be placed in employment if such placement would preclude Australian citizens offering for this work or would displace Australian workers.
Displaced persons will not be placed in any undertaking or section of any undertaking while there is an industrial dispute there.
In the event of an industrial dispute occurring in any undertaking or section of any undertaking where displaced persons have been placed, approval for such employment by or on behalf of the Minister for Immigration will be cancelled, and the displaced persons concerned will be withdrawn from such employment pending settlement of the dispute and, if necessary, placed in employment in a different industry. Provided that if the issue in dispute is, or is directly related to, the employment of displaced persons at the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited steel works, there shall first be an investigation and recommendation fay a committee to be set up for the purpose or a direction by the Industrial Commission.
Displaced persons employed at the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited steel works whose continued employment there is likely to cause industrial unrest will be transferred to other employment where they are less likely to cause unrest or will be otherwise removed from the undertakings where this is considered desirable by the committee referred to above.
Displaced persons selected for employment at the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited steel works will generally be under the age of 30 years except where all parties are satisfied that a displaced person over the age of 30 years is experienced in the industry.
Displaced persons seeking membership of the Federated Ironworkers Association will be allowed by the association two weeks after commencing employment in which to become financial.
The employment of displaced persons at the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited steel works will be subject to normal seniority and promotion practices of the industry, and if the employer or trade union claims that any displaced person is employed contrary to such practices, approval for the continued employment there of the displaced persons will be withdrawn .pending agreement on the issue.
Displaced persons will not be placed in undertakings where they are likely to be involved in demarcation disputes between workers’ organizations without prior consultation with the organizations concerned.
The management of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited steel works, on its part, has undertaken that when the foregoing principles cease to apply on displaced persons being granted permanent admission to Australia, and normally this will be after two years, the company will not engage any unnaturalized displaced persons to undertake work with the tools on normal award classifications as members of its operating staff. The company will take advantage of the availability of displaced persons to effect desired transfers of Australian workers, wherever practicable, to more attractive jobs.
Broadcasting ob* Proceedings : Report of Committee.
– I present the fourth report of the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Committee, which reads as follows: -
The Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings submits the fourth report for presentation to each House of the Parliament and recommends its adoption.
The Joint Committee has further considered the general principles upon which there should be determined the days upon which and the periods during which the proceedings of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall be broadcast, which were specified in the first, second and third reports adopted by both Houses on 5th and 17th July, and lath November, 1946, respectively. In accordance with section 12 (1.) of the Parliamentary) Proceedings Broadcasting Act 1946, the Joint Committee has now resolved that paragraph (4) of the general principles should be amended by the addition of two sub-paragraphs. Paragraph (4) at present roads as follows: - “ (4) Re-broadcast of questions and answers. - Within the limits of time available, the following Parliamentary proceedings shall be re-broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission between 7.20 p.m. and 7.55 p.m. on each sitting day -
Senate proceedings - Questions without notice and on notice and answers thereto ;
House of Representatives proceedings - Questions without notice and answers thereto.”.
The sub-paragraphs to be added are - “ (b) When a member makes a personal explanation in rebuttal of misrepresentation contained in a question asked that day or an answer thereto, the question and answer shall, subject to the next succeeding sub-paragraph, be excluded from the re-broadcast.
The Presiding Officer may, in his discretion, refer any case to the Joint Committee for decision as to whether such question and answer shall be excluded from the rebroadcast.”.
Honorable senators are aware that under the terms of paragraph 4 of the general principles, only questions and answers have been included in the rebroadcast that is made at 7.20 p.m. on each sitting day. Prom time to time in the House ofRepresentatives, honorable members have raised the subject of re-broadcasting personal explanations made in rebuttal of alleged misrepresentations contained in questions or answers included in the re-broadcast, and the matter has now been reconsidered by the committee. The effect of the recommendation submitted to the Parliament for adoption will he that whilst the rebroadcast will continue to be limited to questions and answers and. personal explanations, points of order, &c., will be excluded. Any question and answer which gives rise to a personal explanation will be excluded from the re-broadcast. It is provided that the presiding officer may, in his discretion, refer any such case to the joint committee for decision. It is not contemplated that there will be any departure from the present practice under which personal explanations are deferred until the end of the re-broadcast period of 35 minutes, and honorable senators are requested to continue to observe this procedure. In addition, and for reasons connected with the technical operation of the re-broadcast, it will be of considerable assistance if any honorable senator who proposes to make a personal explanation will do so immediately after the conclusion of the 35 minutes question period, and give the Chair prior notification of his intention.
Motion (by Senator Ashley) -by leave - agreed to -
That the report be adopted.
- by leave - In the House of Representatives yesterday, the honorable member for ‘New England (Mr. Abbott) criticizedme as the Commonwealth representative on the Flood Relief Committee established by the New South Wales Government, and endeavoured to secure cheap publicity for political reasons at the expense of people who had suffered loss by water and silt in the flooded areas of the Hunter, Hawkesbury, Nepean, George’s and Shoalhaven Rivers. At a meeting that was called by the Mayor of Maitland on Thursday, the 23rd June, Mr. Abbott’ said that if the Flood Relief Committee should give an amount of money to a committee that the Mayor of Maitland had established, he would give an assurance to the people of Maitland that His Majesty’s Opposition would support any validating legislation that would be required to secure a certificate from the Auditor-General. Mr. Abbott wanted the committee to hand out money and not know where it went. Obviously his idea was to gain cheap political propaganda. The committee toured the area by motor car and amphibious vehicle, visiting Maitland, the Lower Hunter Shire, Singleton, Cessnock and Raymond Terrace, and returned to Sydney on Sunday night. The committee met next day, considered a number of claims, and sent cheques to the distressed people that night. The committee, on which Mr. Abbott suggests that I should be replaced by a Minister, consists of Mr. Witheriff, the acting chairman ; Mr. G. J oily, representing the State treasury, secretary; Superintendent E. Clifford, representing the New South “Wales Police Department; Mr. L. Rath, of the Department of Social Services; Mr. Colin Smith, representing the New South Wales Division of Building Materials; Mr. E. L. Hedges, representing the Agriculture Department; and Mr. G. McGillivray.
The system adopted by the committee to protect the taxpayers of the Commonwealth is perfect. Householders and share and tenant-farmers who are’ in indigent circumstances secure forms from the council chambers in their respective areas. .When completed, those forms are returned to the shire or town clerk, from whom the committee collects them. Investigations are .then made in every instance with the least possible delay by specially trained officers, and cheques are forwarded as soon as possible to people in need. Share and tenant-farmers who are not in indigent circumstances apply to the Rural Bank for assistance. If the bank manager considers that a loan would be likely to prove too much of a liability on the farmer, because of the losses that he has sustained, his application is referred to the Flood Relief Committee to consider a grant. However, if the bank manager decides to grant the farmer a loan, the money is made available for seven years, and bears interest at the rate of 1 per cent. The bank does not require any repayment of principal during the first three years of the loan. Other farmers who have suffered by reason of the floods can apply to the Rural Bank for a loan at a rate of interest of 3 per cent, for a period of ten years for the purpose of restoring their farms. Such loans are available for the purchase of wire for fences, farm implements and dairy stock, and for the repair of dairy bails. Grants to municipal and shire councils for the repair of roads and bridges are being made in addition to the sum of £40,000 that is being made available by this Government and the State Government for relieving distress and the assistance being provided by the State Government through the Rural Bank. The honorable member for New England raised the same cry as the right honorable members for Cowper (Sir Earle
Page) and the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) raised when floods occurred in the Richmond and Clarence rivers in 1945 and 1948. From the remarks made by the honorable member for New England, one might be led to believe that no floods had occurred in this country prior to 1945. Many serious floods did occur before that year, but governments of the day took no action to relieve the distress which they caused. This Labour Government and a Labour Government in New South Wales were the first to assist victims of such calamities. Should more money be required to relieve distress on this occasion the committee controlling the distribution of relief need only approach both those governments, and I am sure that its requests will be granted. Following the criticism voiced by the right honorable member for Cowper and the honorable member for Richmond that the amount being made by the Government was niggardly the Maitland Mercury published a leading article in which it referred to the Prime Minister (Mt. Chifley) as “two-bob Chifley” and to the Premier of New South Wales as “ two-bob McGirr “. Obviously the writer of that article was not aware of the facts that I have just given. The honorable member for New England when criticizing the Government on this occasion was merely seeking cheap political publicity at the expense of those who suffered personal as well as financial loss as the result of the recent floods.
– I present the second report of the Printing Committee.
Report - by leave - adopted.
Debate resumed from the 29th June (vide page 1612) on motion by Senator Cameron -
That the bill be now read a second time.’
– The object of the bill is to prevent the use of telephone and telegraph lines for the transmission of broadcasts originating in studios of radio broadcasting stations direct to listeners’ homes. It will ensure that such broadcasts shall be received only by means of radio receiving sets. In some European countries, particularly Great Britain, telephone and telegraph lines are used for this purpose. That system is used in Great Britain in densely populated areas, and is favoured by the Postal Department in that country. Tinder that system persons living in tenements and flats do not use radio receiving sets but connect their amplifiers by means of private wires to a centre in their locality from which the broadcasts are re-diffused. The system involves the use of a considerable amount of private wire and a considerable proportion of departmental telephone and telegraph lines. Its first advantage is that users avoid the expense of purchasing a radio receiving set. However, on the average, within a period of five years they incur expenditure equivalent to the cost of a radio. In the United Kingdom, only three re-diffusion programmes are broadcast, and such a scheme could be implemented far more easily there than in Australia, where the commercial broadcasting stations have not yet been nationalized and people have the choice of listening to a number of programmes. In this country approximately eight sets of wires would be required to enable a receiver to exercise a choice between various programmes. I ask the PostmasterGeneral, who is probably in possesion of more detailed information of technical developments overseas than I am, to enlighten the Senate on this aspect of the matter in the course of his reply. I also ask the Minister to state whether any considerable demand has been made by the commercial broadcasting companies for permission to employ television? “Was any submission on the matter made by the Broadcasting Committee, or has any report by any authority been made to the department? When the bill becomes law, will it affect telephone subscribers? For example, under the present system many people use their telephones to receive broadcasts of such events as the running of the Melbourne Cup. When the bill becomes law will such persons be liable to a penalty for breach of the provisions contained in section 128 of the principal act? It would appear that the introduction of television will en till the installation of a considerable quantity of wireless equipment. We are all aware that the Postmaster-General’s Department is in arrears with the installation of telephones, and that many applicants for telephone installations have to wait considerable periods. Until those arrears are overtaken I suggest that the department would not be justified in diverting labour, material and equipment for the installation of television. I suggest that the introduction of re-diffusion might well be delayed until sufficient telephone equipment is available.
– in reply - The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) has asked me to furnish a short description of wireless rediffusion. Wire broadcasting, or rediffusion, is, as the name implies, a system of distributing wireless programmes to listeners by means of physical wires. The programme is received through loud-speakers. In other words, it is an alternative to the present broadcasting system. The principal method of distribution is for the programmes of broadcasting stations to be relayed over special telephone lines from the broadcasting studios to a central point, where it is repeated over special telephone lines to sub-stations in each area that is proTided with a service. In other words the programmes are distributed over “ feeder “ wire9, which are especially connected to subscribers’ premises. Those wires are usually strung along the outer walls of subscribers’ houses, or suspended from chimney to chimney. A separate pair of wires is required to receive each programme broadcast. Because the wires must be fed from house to house, re-diffusion has its greatest application in areas of closest settlement where children predominate. Overseas it is most frequently used in areas which present technical difficulties to the reception of broadcasts, either because of unsuitability of wave lengths, static interference or other technical considerations. In Great Britain each subscriber is required to pay to the companies which furnish the service a connexion fee of £1 and a service fee of 2s. a week. In addition, the listeners must hold a broadcasting receiver’s licence, which costs £1. The annual outlay involved is approximately £7 4s.
– Does that amount include the cost of installing a loud speaker ?
– Yes. In the capital cities and in other areas of concentrated population in Australia adequate alternative broadcasting services are already available. Almost every home in Australia has a wireless broadcasting receiver. There is, therefore, no need for wireless listeners to install an alternative service.
Apart from the fact that no real justification exists for the introduction of a re-diffusion service in Australia, the introduction of such a service would have the following adverse affects : (a) the Postal Department would be required to make telephone lines available at the present time, when it is claiming every resource to cope with the current demand for the installation of telephones; and (b) it would cause serious disturbance to the radio manufacturing industry, since people would be reluctant to purchase new receivers because of the uncertainty created by the suggestion that current wireless receiving equipment might soon be outmoded. The Leader of the Opposition inquired concerning the number of applications which have been received from individuals or organizations which desire to inaugurate wire distribution services. Twenty applications. have been received from commercial organizations which desire to inaugurate such a service as a business undertaking.
The honorable senator also inquired whether the matter had been referred to the Broadcasting Committee. The matter has never been referred to the committee for investigation. However, on several occasions details of the system, including overseas developments, have been communicated to the committee for its information. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board, which was recently established, has examined the matter and has reported thereon. The board will, of course, watch carefully any subsequent developments that may occur.
The Leader of the Opposition also inquired whether a telephone subscriber would be infringing the law if he used his installation to receive a broadcast from a re-diffusion service. I do not think that that would constitute an offence. However, that inquiry has no real significance to the people, because 90 per cent, of homes are already equipped with wireless receivers, so that very few householders would be tempted to employ telephones to receive a wireless re-diffusion broadcast.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from the 29th Juno (vide page 1643), on motion by Senator Armstrong -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– Last night, when I obtained leave to continue my remarks, I had pointed out that the proposal contained in this bill for developing hydro-electric power in the Snowy Mountains area would greatly benefit the States of New South Wales and Victoria by providing water for both power and irrigation purposes, and would be of vital importance to the whole of Australia. The Minister has given to the Senate a very complete picture of what is proposed in this measure. The task undoubtedly is immense. Construction work will be carried out in rugged mountain country, and when completed, the scheme will provide water and electricity over a vast area. The chief benefits, however, will accrue in New South Wales and Victoria, which are highly industrialized, and have substantial areas under irrigation. From the Commonwealth point of view, the project is of great interest to all honorable senators, and to all States. Therefore, I support the general principles of the bill. The measure sets up an authority which will be charged with the operation of the scheme. That authority is named the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. A commissioner and two assistant commissioners are to be appointed for a term of years under the authority of the Governor-General. That means, of course, that the Minister for Works and Housing will recommend to the Governor-General that certain persons be appointed to undertake this huge job. Well-qualified men will be required : men with vast experience and vision. Already in this country, we have successful hydro-electric and water conservation schemes in operation. In th<> employ of not only the Commonwealth, hut also the States, there are men with wide experience in the type of work that, the Snowy Mountains scheme will involve, and I hope that they will not bp overlooked when appointments are being made. In New South Wales alone, there are already three water conservation undertakings of considerable magnitude. I refer to the Burrinjuck, Hume and Wyangala dams. The Burrinjuck dam, of course, also supplies hydroelectric power. Those three undertakings have proved most successful, and they are a credit to the engineers who were responsible for them. Tasmania is further ahead than any other State with the provision of hydro-electricity. However, nothing in any State of the Commonwealth at present is comparable in magnitude with the Snowy Mountains scheme.
The decision to use the Snowy for both water conservation and hydroelectric purposes is most commendable, and in regard to the latter aspect particularly, one can only view the time chosen for the introduction of this measure as most opportune. To-day, the whole of Australia is suffering from a lack of coal. It is essential that an alternative method of producing electricity be employed. It is ‘ true that the Snowy Mountains scheme will take many years to complete, but when it is in operation, it will generate hydro-electric power equivalent to that produced by 4,000,000 tons of coal annually. The inauguration ‘of the scheme, therefore, will take up the estimated difference between the present production of electricity from coal and the current demand for electricity. Completion of this scheme will give a tremendous impetus to Australian industry, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria. Unfortunately, we are informed that construction work will take twenty years. That may be an optimistic or a pessimistic estimate, but we can be sure that the period will be very long indeed. The estimated cost of this scheme is between £175,000,000 and £200,000,000. That gives an idea of the work that it involves, and of the time that that work will take. We must look at this matter realistically. The scheme obviously will require an immense amount of labour. Where ari* we to get it? There is a severe shortage of labour in industry to-day, and indications are that the shortage will continue for some years. We have already undertaken important commitments that must be met as quickly as possible. First priority, of .course, is given to housing. It will be some years before the lag in the construction of homes is overtaken. The demolition of areas of sub-standard houses and their replacement by modern dwellings is a big task in itself. Industry too, is expanding. New industries are coming to this country from overseas. They will require premises, plant and labour. Repair and maintenance work in industry is lagging, owing to neglect during the war years. In the face of all these commitments, how are we to obtain the labour that will be necessary for a scheme so vast as that envisaged in this measure? An army of men will be required constantly on the job. I remind the Senate that two or three years ago, legislation providing for another huge national undertaking was passed by the Parliament. I refer to the standardization of railway gauges. The Government made quite a song about the merits of that proposal, the estimated cost of which is £200,000,000. However,- I think that it is correct to say that the project has not yet even been commenced.
– That is due to the opposition of some of the States.
– The important reason is .the labour problem, and I am afraid that that problem will prevent an early start with the Snowy Mountains scheme. Obviously the standardization of railway gauges is a long-term project. As I have said, it will cost £200,000,000. Now we are to superimpose upon it another tremendous undertaking involving the expenditure of a similar amount. If adequate labour is not available to carry out the standardization of railway gauges how can we hope to obtain labour for the Snowy Mountains scheme? In the 1948-49 budget, £78,000 was provided for the standardization of railway gauges. I assume that that was more or less a token vote covering, perhaps, some preliminary planning. I am afraid - I realize that in saying this I may be accused by Government supporters of harbouring bad thoughts - that the introduction of this measure so clOSe to election time has some special election significance as did the proposal to standardize the railway gauges. When the project i= eventually completed many years in the future, industry will have expanded to such a degree that the power output from the network, although it will be enormous, will be inadequate to meet the demand. In addition to providing electric power, the scheme will also give effect to a vast irrigation project. I understand that the Snowy waters will finally be discharged into the River Murray, which is already providing water for irrigation in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. With the addition of the water from the Snowy Mountains scheme, the areas under irrigation can be extended considerably. Irrigation is linked with immigration. We propose to bring large numbers of new citizens to Australia from other countries, and we must provide them with opportunities to live and work happily. The irrigation plan will release the productive capacity of great areas of farm land on which many new settlers may be established. However, once again, time is an important factor. If we have to wait 30 or 40 years before the Snowy waters irrigation scheme is completed, it will be too late for the immigrants whom we are now bringing to Australia.
– It will not be too late for the rising generation.
– I am not decrying the scheme. I am pointing out the disadvantages of delay and the obstacles that may impede the rapid completion of the undertaking. The scheme is highly commendable and should be wonderfully successful. However, we are approaching a critical stage in our history, and it is important that we should expedite the work as much as possible so that we shall be able to settle Australian-born citizens and immigrants on fertile well-watered farms as well as in secondary industries.
I hope that the huge electricity network that will be established in Victoria and New South Wales will enable us to disperse our industries and develop small country towns so that people who live in rural districts will be able to offer to their sons and daughters a choice of occupations in primary and secondary production. Many industrial projects should be attracted to the country by the prospect of obtaining cheap but efficient power supplies. The States of New South Wales and Victoria are the major parties interested in the scheme. Yet, according to the bill, the Commonwealth will have complete control of the undertaking under the defence power that is embodied in the Constitution. The preamble to the bill contains the following words : - whereas the consumption of electricity in the Australian Capital Territory and, in particular, at the Seat of Government within that Territory is increasing and is likely to continue to increase.
That is stated to be one of the main reasons why the Commonwealth will have control of the scheme. I admit that the use of electricity in the Australian Capital Territory may increase considerably in the future, but it will not increase to such a degree as would warrant the Commonwealth having complete control of the scheme unless the Government envisages vast industrial development in the Territory.
– Power attracts industries. Experience in Tasmania has proved that.
– That is readily understandable. I should like the Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) to give the Senate some indication of the Government’s intentions regarding industrial development in the
Australian Capital Territory. Is Canberra to be a great industrial city as well as the Seat of Government? If the increase referred to in the preamble of the bill is to arise only from the demands of householders and Commonwealth offices, it will be only slight, and there will be no justification for the Government’s decision to place the Snowy Mountains scheme entirely under Commonwealth control. The Commonwealth will be the smallest power-consumer of the three interested parties - New South Wales, Victoria and the Commonwealth. I hope that the Minister will tell us whether the policy of the Labour party is to attract large industries to Canberra. It can scarcely be claimed that the power will be needed for special defence factories, such as establishments connected with the development of atomic weapons, in Canberra. The Snowy Mountains area is situated a long distance from the guided weapons testing range in central Australia, and it is problematical whether power generated there could be transmitted efficiently over hundreds of miles to the range.
The reasons advanced in support of Commonwealth control of the scheme are very frail. Other great schemes of a like nature are contemplated elsewhere. For instance, the Bradfield scheme in Queensland provides for the diversion of the Tully, Herbert and Burdekin Rivers to the west in order to irrigate inland areas of that State. The Clarence River scheme in New South Wales is another great irrigation project. After examining this bill, one may be excused for wondering whether the Government will refer to the Snowy Mountains scheme as a precedent in order to justify Commonwealth interference in the Bradfield and Clarence River schemes. Does the Government intend to treat those projects in the same way as it is treating the Snowy Mountains scheme?
– Those undertakings are too big for private enterprise to handle.
– The States are the proper authorities to be in control of big schemes of that nature.
– What State should be in control of the Snowy Moutains scheme - Victoria or New South Wales?
– I suggest that New South Wales, Victoria and the Commonwealth should co-operate. We have’ already witnessed an example of co-‘ operation between the Commonwealth and a State.
– The bill provides for co-operation.
– But the controlling authority will be the Commonwealth. The Joint Coal Board was established by means of co-operation between this Government and the Government of NewSouth Wales. Whether that board did its work successfully or not is an unwelcome question at the moment, and I should not be in order in discussing it during ‘this debate; I refer to it only as an example of recent co-operation between the Commonwealth and a State in the administration of a great industry. There is no reason why there should not have been such co-operation in connexion with the Snowy Mountains scheme. The water-shed lies principally in New South Wales, and that State and Victoria will use most of the power that will be generated. I fear that, following the precedent of the Snowy Mountains scheme, the Commonwealth will take control of the Bradfield scheme in northern Queensland. It would then be administered from a seat of government about 2,000 miles distant. I point out that the seat of government is in very close proximity to this undertaking. Most of the States have their own machinery and plant, and have in their departments mcn who have handled a good deal more of this type of work than the Commonwealth has handled. I should like the Commonwealth and the States to co-operate in this matter by pooling their resources and machinery. In New South Wales huge water conservation undertakings have been constructed. If the machinery belonging to New South Wales could be utilized on this project, that may obviate the machinery lying idle for years. I contend that all of these huge projects should be undertaken in a spirit of cooperation with the States. I shall not hinder the passage of this measure. As I have said before, the scheme is sound and will be of great benefit to this country. Of course we are planning for at least twenty years ahead. In his second-reading speech the Minister said that the project may take 30 years to complete. Although nobody knows what will take place in the intervening period, it is clear that irrigation and large supplies of electric power will play a major part in the advancement of Australia. Ultimately this scheme will be the means of increasing the prosperity of this country.
– I have great pleasure in supporting this measure. It is indeed pleasing to me, also, that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) supports the bill, although it will implement a 100 per cent, socialist scheme. This is one occasion on which both the Australian Country party and the Liberal party agree with the Australian Labour party with relation to socialism; nobody could say otherwise in this instance. This project will mark a new era in the development of Australia. Only those people who have witnessed at first hand the development that can be accomplished by the use of electricity can envisage the wealth that will flow from this scheme. ‘Of course it is realized that many years will be necessary to complete the work. However, I understand that it can be developed in stages, as was done at the hydro-electricity plants in Tasmania. In that State it is reasonable to assume that hydro-electricity undertakings will be expanded progressively during the next 50 years. If electricity continues to be a major factor in industry it is probable that the Commonwealth and States will be developing hydro-electricity schemes in this country for the next century. It is indeed regrettable that this work was not undertaken in years gone by. Although the development of hydro-electric power in the United States of America has been considerable, and much has been achieved on a smaller scale in Tasmania, nothing of any magnitude has been done to develop major hydro-electricity schemes on the mainland of Australia. It is patent to everybody in this country that unless major developmental schemes are launched by the Australian Labour party they are never launched.
– What about the Trans-Australian railway?
– After a certain amount of work had been done on the
Trans-Australia railway line, the work remained dormant for many years. As honorable senators know, also, very little was done by anti-Labour governments to develop the Northern Territory. The Leader of the Opposition said that he did not know where the labour to carry out this project would be obtained. I agree that it is not available in Australia today. However, it is fundamental that if a government wishes to govern in such a way that the country will continue to prosper, it must lay its plans well ahead and must have vision and imagination when approaching these problems. We well remember the conditions that existed in this country in the nineteen-twenties If the anti-Labour governments that were then in power had had any vision they would have commenced .the work envisaged in this measure in the 1930’s when adequate labour was available. Had the work been continued until 1939, about half of the project would have been completed. However, the anti-Labour governments of those days preferred that men should be on the dole.
– What about the main roads that were constructed?
– Sufficient labour was then available to commence this work.
– What about the standardization of railway gauges?
– As the honorable senator knows this Government is already considering that matter. We are the Government to-day–
– And only to-day!
– This Government will be in office for a little longer yet, and can at least get this job started. If by a miracle the political parties now in opposition should be elected to office, they will be in duty bound to continue the work, and not throw 700,000 people out of work, as has happened in the past. We must plan ahead and make a start on the construction of these undertakings. There must not be a repetition of what has happened in the past when, upon a change of government, the policy has been altered and many people have been thrown on the “ scrap-heap “. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) is handling this Government’s immigration policy in a masterly fashion. Supporters of honorable senators opposite frequently complain that too many immigrants are being brought into this country, that the labour market will be flooded, and that it will not be possible to house them. I contend that too many immigrants cannot be brought into Australia, provided that we have long-range plans to absorb them in industry. It is hoped that before long a few thousand more immigrants will arrive, and that they will be engaged on this project. As a result of the additional electric power that will be available when the first stage of this project is completed, many industries in this country will be further developed. It is obvious to all that in the long run electric power can be produced more cheaply by the harnessing of the natural water resources of this country than by any other means. Considerable cost is involved in coal being hewn from the earth by the use of mechanical appliances and conveyed to the furnaces in order that electricity may be generated. When large quantities of electricity are available from hydro-electric schemes at a cheap rate, our secondary industries will be able to compete with those in other countries of the world. We will not then need high tariffs to protect those industries. As a faulty table in the centre of the floor is propped up under every leg, so are our secondary industries helped by protective tariffs and subsidies. Unlike the United States of America, we are not using the natural resources of Australia to the fullest advantage in the process of manufacturing goods for sale on foreign markets. That is another reason why we must develop this scheme, which will introduce a new era of productivity into this country.
At present many thousands of acres of land are not producing because of insufficient rainfall. As the Minister has already stated, these waters, after passing through the turbines, will be used for irrigation purposes, and thus bring those areas into greater productivity. In turn that will absorb hundreds of thousands of immigrants, and so increase the wealth of this country. That will be of untold value to Australia. The Leader of the Opposition has said that he would like to see a measure of co-operation with the States in connexion with this project. Had he listened intently to the Minister’s second-reading speech he would know that there is to be full co-operation between the Commonwealth and the Governments of New South Wales and Victoria. After the water has produced hydro-electric energy it will be the responsibility of the State governments to put it to the best use in connexion with the development of the productivity of the land. The whole of this scheme has been evolved in co-operation with New South Wales and Victoria. It was not until a conference between Commonwealth and State representatives was called that the joint scheme was launched. There is no reason for the honorable senator to think that the Commonwealth will exercise supreme power in this matter, and dictate to the States. This scheme is only one of many schemes that will be launched in Australia to develop the vast resources of this country. I emphasize that it remained for a Labour government to launch this huge scheme. It is not many years since Tasmania was solely a primary producing State. However, as a result of hydroelectric schemes which produce large quantities of electricity at a cheap rate, that State is now developing into a secondary-industry State. In fact the value of Tasmania’s secondary industries now almost equals the value of its primary production. That has been made possible only by harnessing waters which previously were allowed to run to waste. Had Tasmania been obliged to depend upon coal for the production of power, it would still he merely a primary producing State, whereas to-day secondary industries are being established there in increasing numbers. The main reason why the Government decided to establish the aluminium industry in Tasmania was because all power requirements could be met in that State at a much lower cost than power could be obtained elsewhere
– Who established the Waddamana scheme?
– That scheme was initiated by private enterprise. Subsequently, a Liberal government, implementing a policy of socialism, purchased the undertaking, but that Government allowed the undertaking to remain dormant. It was not until a Labour government assumed office in Tasmania that the scheme was developed. This Government is showing similar vision in undertaking this project. Power production i9 being increased year by year in Tasmania. Unfortunately, the stage has now been reached at which sufficient labour cannot be obtained to push ahead with that programme, with the result that sufficient power is not now available to meet the demands of industries which various interests seek to establish in that State. However, the nuclei of such industries are being set up because their promoters know that they will soon be assured of all the power that they require at rates cheaper than they can obtain power elsewhere. I repeat that under a Labour Government, Tasmania, which previously was regarded as a primary producing State, has become the centre of flourishing secondary industries.
– Labour has built upon foundations laid by Liberal governments.
– I do not quarrel with that statement. I have already pointed out that a Liberal government was sufficiently socialistic to take over the Waddamana scheme from private enterprise, although after doing so, it allowed that undertaking to stagnate. Had the non-Labour government in office in the Commonwealth sphere in the 1.920’s undertaken the scheme now before us, the work would now be completed and we should not have experienced the mass unemployment that occurred in Australia in the early 1930’s.
I urge the Government to scour the world to obtain the best engineering brains to supervise this project. I trust that it will not count the cost in that respect, because whatever that cost may be the loss that would be incurred should mistakes be made in a project of this magnitude would be infinitely greater. A nonLabour government failed to ensure proper supervision of the foundations of what was to be the biggest public building in Canberra. Because of the incompetence of the architects who supervised’ the laying of those foundations, it has been necessary to replace them com pletely. The government of the day failed to ensure that men who were capable of meeting all requirements were employed on that job. Under a project of this magnitude we can expect that many jobs will be undertaken by private contractors. Nevertheless, governmental engineers will be responsible for the supervision of such jobs in order to ensure that they will be carried out according to specifications. I repeat that this project calls for the employment of the best engineering brains that can be obtained, regardless of cost. The Leader of the Opposition supports the bill, and I note that to that degree he is coming more into line with Labour’s policy of socialism when such a policy is absolutely necessary for the development of our national resources.
– I am proud to be a supporter of a government which in a comparatively short time has done so much to develop our national resources in the interests of the people. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) supported the measure in principle. However, running true to form, he could not refrain from revealing himself in his true colours. He said that the scheme will take a long time to complete,, and he complained about the shortage of labour. We are aware of those facts. However, this will be the biggest job ever undertaken in this country, and it will be given No. 1 priority. The present shortage of labour is due mainly to the Government’s policy of full employment. In order to press forward with projects of this kind, the Government is bringing as many migrants as possible to this country. That is our only hope of solving the present labour shortage. The Leader of the Opposition said that two years ago the Government sponsored a scheme for the unification of railway gauges, but had allowed that scheme to lapse. In that instance the Government at least showed that itpossesses sufficient initiative to tackle national problems.
– That scheme still remains on paper.
– Non-Labour governments in the past did not even put a scheme of that kind on paper. They merely instituted investigations of the possibilities of standardizing our railway gauges. Although they were in power for nearly 30 years they did nothing to implement such a scheme. This project is vitally necessary to the development of Australia. The Leader of the Opposition endeavoured to throw cold water upon it by saying that the Government was now superimposing it upon the scheme to standardize railway gauges, and that it was estimated to cost £200,000,000, and he implied that probably this scheme would be thrown into the discard and would suffer a fate similar to that of the scheme to standardize railway gauges. I remind him that the Government is still eager to go ahead with the standardization of railway gauges and would do so but for the refusal of Western Australia and Queensland to co-operate in that project. Under the Constitution the Australian Government is prevented from proceeding with that project; it is obliged to act in such a matter in conjunction with the States concerned. The failure to proceed with the standardization of railway gauges is not a condemnation of this Government; it merely reveals a weakness in the Constitution. The Leader of the Opposition had the colossal effrontery to attribute party political motives to the Government in deciding to undertake this scheme. He said that it was rather strange that this proposal should be made just before a general election. Such a charge is unjust. The Leader of the Opposition, who professes to be concerned about the development of Australia, must realize that this project is of vital urgency. The agreement under which the scheme will be carried out is the result of co-operation between the Australian Government and the Governments of New South Wales and Victoria. Knowing how difficult it is to obtain agreement on the part of the States on such matters, as is exemplified by their failure to agree upon a uniform system of prices control, that is a noteworthy achievement. The Australian Government has decided to undertake this project in the exercise of the Commonwealth’s defence powers and it has won the complete co-operation of the two States concerned. The scheme marks a milestone in the development of this country and in the implementation of the Government’s policy of decentralizing in dustry. Tc-day, all our main industries are established in coastal centres. Their vulnerability to attack was emphasized during the recent war. In the future we must endeavour to make our major industries doubly secure, and we can best do so by decentralizing them. The potential output of power when the scheme is completed is estimated at 1,750,000 kilowatts. That will be an achievement unprecedented in our history. Some controversy has taken place over the diversion of the Snowy River waters. That subject has been a bone of contention between the Governments of New South Wales and Victoria. The former wants the Snowy River . waters diverted into the Murrumbidgee River whilst the latter wants them to be diverted into the Murray River. However, that point has been resolved, because it will be possible to divert some of the water of the Snowy, Tumut and Tooma Rivers into the Murrumbidgee River and some of them into the Murray River. Originally it was believed that those waters could be used only for irrigational purposes, but now it is realized that they can also be used to generate hydroelectricity. When the scheme is implemented the waters will be used to benefit the Commonwealth and the States of New South Wales and Victoria. When details of the scheme were announced those who lived on the lower reaches of the Snowy River, and particularly the residents of Orbost, experienced some anxiety because they thought that the flow of water would not be sufficient to enable them to irrigate their properties adequately. The Orbost district includes some of the most valuable land in Australia. However, they can be assured that by damming portion of the river they will be assured of the use of a reasonable proportion of the water.
When the scheme is implemented it is estimated that the cost of electric power to consumers will be reduced to one-third of the amount which they, pay at present. Power stations will be built underground, and will be separated from one another by many miles, which is a most important consideration from the defence point of view.
– railways also be underground?
– I repeat the observation that I made concerning Senator O’sullivan some time ago, which was that if he is to be hanged for making intelligent interjections he will certainly die innocent. In co-operation with the Governments of New South Wales and. Victoria, the Australian Commonwealth proposes to take a vast step in the develop-, ment of Australian industry. Great industries will be established along the banks of the various rivers, and, apart from other considerations, the establishment of those industries will contribute enormously to the defence potential of this country. The scheme cannot be criticized on the ground of the cost involved, because it will enable Australia to develop very considerable industrial enterprises. After all, the cost, which is estimated at from £180,000,000 to £200,000,000, is nothing nowadays, although I realize that the expenditure of such an amount of money worries the anti-Labour parties very considerably. Whenever those parties have been in office their outlook has been regulated by purely monetary considerations. In the view of our political opponents the development of Australia must always be subordinated to considerations of pounds, shillings and pence. I applaud the Government for having introduced the scheme, which will prove of inestimable advantage to this country should any economic recession occur. The implementation of the scheme will create employment for a very large number of people. Furthermore, I believe that the present is a most opportune time for the development of such schemes because Labour is in office, and I need hardly remind honorable senators that when the anti-Labour parties have been in office they have never availed themselves of similar opportunities. This project will reduce the demand for coal by 4,000,000 tons annually and will effect a tremendous economy in the consumption of fuel oil. That is a vital consideration when viewed in the light of current industrial developments. Advisory committees are to be appointed by the Governments of New South Wales and Victoria, which indicates that the Commonwealth Government is anxious to seek the co-operation of the States iri promoting the national development. This is the largest works project that has ever been proposed for Australia, and I conclude by expressing my commendation of the measure and my pride in the Administration which has introduced it.
– In my opinion the introduction of this measure marks a milestone in Australia’s history. I have examined the bill carefully and I realize the great amount of research that has preceded its introduction. It is an enlightened and courageous attempt to provide electrical power for the south-eastern portion of our island continent. It proposes to establish an authority with adequate power to undertake a far greater national work than has ever previously been undertaken. The work would be justified, if for no other reason, because it will make available electrical power on a scale never previousy contemplated. That power can be utilized to defend this country in war and to promote our industrial development in peace. Another important feature of the bill is that it will make available substantial quantities of water for irrigation. The defence plans of the Commonwealth are divided into four categories. Those categories embrace regional security, the armed services, scientific research in matters related to national defence, and the industrial capacity of the nation which must support the defence machine. I point out that it is not possible for this country to support a defence machine unless we have the materials and equipment to support the man behind the gun. That involves the utilization of enormous quantities of electrical power. This measure proposes means by which that power will be made available. When the scheme is implemented 1,720,000 kilowatts of electrical power, which represents 2,580,000 units of horse-power, will be available for the development of Australia and, should the occasion again arise, to defend this country.
I invite honorable senators to consider the physical features of the area concerned. The country is high, mountainous and inaccessible and the river flows with considerable speed and force. The scheme outlined in the bill envisages that the Snowy River shall be used for the generation of hydro-electric power. The power is proposed to be generated by sixteen power stations, most of which will be placed underground. The inaccessible nature of the country is important from the defence point of view because it means that an invading force would have the greatest difficulty in dislocating our supplies of power. I point out that that aspect of the Government’s proposal is based upon one of the chief lessons learned during the war, which is the importance, to any effective defence scheme, of dispersal of resources. Furthermore, the dispersal amongst inaccessible mountains of the various power stations will offset, to a considerable degree, the efficacy of rocket propelled missiles. Another important aspect of the scheme, from the defence viewpoint, is that only a comparative handful of men will be required to supervise the generation of electrical power. The course of events overseas has emphasized the necessity for making adequate defence preparations, and for that reason, if for no other, the scheme must commend itself to the people. Time is running out and we must get on with the important task of preparing our defence. I emphasize that one of the important factors in the victory of the allied nations in the recent war was ihe utilization of the industrial potential of Great Britain and, particularly, of the United States of America. I was in New Guinea when preparations were being made for the attack upon the Philippines, and I saw assembled there striking evidence of the industrial might of the United States of America. Yet only one-tenth of the production of America’s war industries was devoted to the Pacific campaign. American power in the European, Mediterranean, Burma and other theatres of war must have been tremendous. Such a vast war potential cannot be amassed “without horsepower, and to obtain horse-power all available means of producing electricity must be harnessed. Electric power is the life-blood of modern industry. It is estimated that the power to be produced under the Snowy Mountains scheme will be equal to that produced by 4,000,000 tons of coal a year. I shall not at this stage digress to deal in detail with the difficulties that now confront the Australian community as the result of the shortage of coal. It is sufficient to say that the people of this country are being subjected to hitherto unknown inconveniences and hardships. The coal shortage has succeeded in doing what our wartime enemies the Nazis and the Japanese failed to do. During the war, power black-outs were few, and of short duration, and the sufferings of the community were insignificant compared with those that the Australian people are called upon to endure now. The magnitude of the Snowy Mountains scheme can be gauged from the fact that its output of electricity will, be equivalent to that of 1,500,000 gallons of fuel oil a day, or 547,000,000 gallons a year. It is hard to imagine that this enormous power has been going to waste for so long. According to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) the only thing wrong with this proposal is that it has been delayed too long. My reply to that observation is that had the project been left to antiLabour administrations, it would never have been tackled at all.
Let us consider the scheme from the point of view of irrigation. In this country there are vast .arable inland areas that lack only water. Floods on the Darling River and Cooper’s Creek invariably produce a prolific growth of grass which increases enormously the carrying capacity of the land. Permanent supplies of water in those areas would mean a substantial increase of our stock numbers, with a resultant increase of the quantity of meat that is so urgently required in other parts of the world. The harnessing of the waters of the Snowy will make possible land settlement schemes, not only for ex-servicemen, but also -for other Australians and for immigrants. We shall have new thriving centres like the present irrigation area towns of Renmark and Mildura. 1 visualize the time when, as the result of the Snowy Mountains scheme, there will be new fertile tracts of land as big as the Riverina or the Wimmera districts, supporting prosperous towns which will provide all the amenities of life that electricity can bring. There will be cheap hydro-electric power for-lighting, heating and industrial purposes generally. I am a Tasmanian, and I am proud that as the result of the foresight of successive governments of that State, the Tasmanian people are to-day substantially sheltered from the hardships that aru being inflicted upon the Australian community generally ;by the lack of coal. Tasmania has well developed hydroelectric schemes, and is constantly undertaking new ones. In this time of crisis, the people of Australia, and particularly residents of the eastern States have my deepest sympathy.
Opposition speakers have complained that the money to carry out the Snowy Mountains scheme will have to come from the taxpayers. Of course it will; but I have yet to learn that the taxpayers are unwilling to invest .money, in projects that will be for the benefit of the people as a whole. I have never heard any man in the street, whether he be a waterside worker or a miner or an office worker, complain about expenditure which will provide a return to the community, and raise the standard of the Australian way of life. Surely money cannot be more worthily spent than on a project of this nature which will bring amenities to the people in country districts, and will assist greatly in the development of this country as a whole. It is not easy to estimate at present exactly what the Snowy Mountains scheme will cost, but we should remember that not many years ago we were able to devote £2,000,000 a day to the prosecution of the war, and to defend this country from an enemy who threatened our shores. Actually, war expenditure could have been increased but for the lack of physical resources including manpower and materials. The ranks of industrial workers were swelled by even dwarfs and other circus people. Employment was found too; for retired men and women, and invalid pensioners. Methods were found by which those people could make some contribution to the war effort. I pay a tribute to all those people for their willingness to assist. There was no shortage of money ; but our physical resources were strained to the utmost. If the war-time expenditure of £2,000,000 a day were applied to the Snowy Mountains scheme, the cost of the project could be met in six months. As I have said, Tasmania has got a flying start in hydroelectric schemes. Expenditure on those projects now totals £10,000,000. It has been my privilege from time to time to watch the progress of some of those undertakings. In fact, for a short period I assisted in a minor construction project. Naturally, Tasmania’s hydroelectric undertakings do not ‘approach the Snowy Mountains scheme in magnitude, but they are an example of what can be done provided we have the water, the determination, and the technical knowledge. The network of reservoirs in Tasmania is fed by an abundant flow of water from the highlands and the central plateau; but water of itself cannot create electricity. Static sheets of water such as the great lakes of America are of themselves unsuitable for conversion into electrical power. There must be a substantial fall. For instance, it is pointed out in an excellent publication relating to the Snowy Mountains scheme that has been placed before honorable senators that one gallon of water a second falling 1,000 feet will produce eleven kilowatts of power or sixteen horsepower. It is the fall of the water that creates the power. In Tasmania, for instance, the “Waddamana scheme provides a static head of 1,125 feet, and the Tarraleah scheme provides a static head of 998 feet. Many people are inclined to think of all water in terms of horse-power, but horse-power can be produced only by a harnessed fall of water. The water runs down through pipes to the hydroelectric stations, where it drives the blades of huge turbo-generators. Tasmania at present is hard put to keep up with tinindustrial development that is taking place. As fast as one project is completed, a start has to be made on the next. A huge dam has just been completed at Butler’s Gorge, and an additional power house is being erected at Tarraleah. The principal advantage of hydro-electric power is that once the dams have been constructed and the power houses built, there is no .recurring expenditure. “When coal has been burned to produce electricity, it is finished’; but water can be used again and again. A fall of water can give a certain output of electricity at one power station, and then be used again to give a similar or even greater output from another station at a lower level. Once the thermal units have been extracted from coal the coal is useless. The thermal units convert the water in the boilers to steam, and the steam drives the turbines.
The extensive snowfields of the Snowy Mountains will ensure a continuous flow of water all the year round. The production of electricity by other means depends on many factors. That is amply borne out to-day when there is not sufficient coal even to maintain essential services. The Snowy Mountains scheme will require the productive effort of many thousands of workmen, including immigrants. “While we have projects of this type in hand, -there will be little possibility of widespread unemployment in this country. The expenditure that the scheme involves will be spread ‘throughout the whole community. Materials required will include the products of cement works, timber mills, iron foundries and hundreds of other industrial establishments throughout Australia. Everyone in the community will benefit directly by the expenditure. I remind the Opposition too, that a substantial proportion of the moneys expended will find their way back to the Treasury in the form of taxes. Tasmania to-day is somewhat embarrassed by the large numbers of commercial organizations that wish to establish factories in that State. Already we have made arrangements to supply power to many industries, including the aluminium industry and the carbide industry. I learned recently that two other important industrial undertakings are about to be established. They will manufacture ammonium sulphate and other products needed’ for primary production and the chemical industry. Ammonium sulphate and superphosphate are of vital importance to our agricultural industries. It is true that much of our land is producing heavily, but eventually the soil will become worn out and will have to be revitalized by some moans. The source of its renewed vitality will have to be artificial fertilizer. Thus, hydro-electric power is going to play a very important part in the maintenance of a sound1 agricultural economy in Australia. Unless we can obtain sufficient superphosphate for our sugar, wheat and other primary indus tries, our soils will become poor and productivity will decline. The production of hydro-electric power in Australia affords us an opportunity to establish big factories. There is scarcely any limit to the number of uses to which hydro-electric power can be put.
I pay tribute to the pioneers of the present hydro-electric scheme in Tasmania, who expanded its scope tremendously after it was taken over from private enterprise. Men like Sir Herbert Gepp and Sir John Butters achieved magnificent results and interested themselves in the development of industry and production generally. The men who pioneered, the original project at Waddamana and their successors down to the present commissioner, Mr. Alan Knight, have played a great role in Australian history. I pay tribute to them and also to the large numbers of immigrant workers from the United Kingdom and continental Europe who have been employed on the scheme and have made possible the progress that was achieved in times of war and great shortages of materials and man-power. Their efforts have enabled the industrial capacity of Tasmania to be progressively enlarged and exploited. The Snowy Mountains scheme has been talked of for 70 years. The Government has firmly resolved that words shall be converted to deeds and that this great potential wealth must be harnessed for the defence of the country and in such a way that the continued flowing wealth of power and’ water will be enjoyed by future generations. In order to give effect to its resolve, the Government must make a determined effort. It cannot achieve the desired result merely by enacting legislation of the character of this bill and then sitting back and doing nothing. The successful completion of the project will require the co-ordinated efforts of hundreds of thousands of people, and, no matter how hard we may strive, our labour will be in vain unless we have the co-operation of all of the workers who will be engaged upon the. scheme. In the words of General Washington, the first President of the United States of America, “ it, is incumbent upon every person of every description to contribute to this country’s welfare”. If we all make our contribution to the development of the Snowy Mountains scheme, I am sure that we shall ensure its success. I have very much pleasure in supporting the bill.
– I support the bill, and I hope that, as this debate progresses, the doubts that have been expressed in some quarters regarding the ultimate success of the Snowy Mountains scheme will be resolved. A lucid explanation of the object of the plan should also dispel the fears of citizens who are worried about the effect that the irrigation project may have upon theirown affairs. Many Australian families who earn a livelihood on farms as far away as South Australia are concerned about the effect of the Snowy water storage and reticulation scheme upon the supply of water in the lower reaches of the river Murray, from which they irrigate their properties. They appreciate the importance to Australia’s economy of the generation of hydroelectric power in the Snowy Mountains region, but they gravely fear that the reticulation scheme, which will harness a great volume of water in the Snowy Mountains area, will cause a diminution of the flow to the seaboard in South Australia. Many towns have sprung up in South Australia during the last 30 years under the beneficent influence of irrigation schemes that have been sponsored by various State or Commonwealth governments. Irrigation areas along the Murray valley have become prolific centres of primary production. I can still remember the time when the swamps of the Murray stretched for miles on either side of the main stream. Those places to-day are green and fertile areas. Although I heard talk of such an undertaking as the Snowy Mountains scheme when I was still a young man, we had to wait for its development until an earnestly practical government came into power. This Government is the first in history that has seriously endeavoured to develop that great “potential source of national wealth. Honorable senators opposite have suggested that this bill has been introduced merely in order to gain a political advantage for the Government. They have alleged that the vital plan for the standardization of our railway gauges, which will have a tremendous effect upon the national economy, was introduced prior to the last general election for the same reason, and that, as soon as the Government was returned to power, it neglected the undertaking. The fact is that the Government has done everything that it could have done to give effect to the standardization programme. Those of us who have sought the real cause of the delay in that scheme know that it is not due to any neglect on the part of this Government but has resulted from the selfish parochial attitude of certain State governments. Because of the uncooperativeness of those governments, this Government, hampered by constitutional limitations, has been unable to go ahead with its schemes. That is merely by the way, but I mention the facts in order that certain honorable senators should be enlightened.
– We do not expect the honorable senator to be relevant;
– The “bubbling brook “ is alive again. The “ bubbler “ from Queensland still adheres to tradition. Clause 6 of the bill states - (1.) For the purposes of this Act, the Snowy Mountains Area shall be an area of land in the south-eastern portion of the State of New South Wales and the north-eastern portion of the State of Victoria defined in accordance with this section. (2.) The Governor-General may, byProclamation, define the boundaries of the Snowy Mountains Area and may, from time to time, by Proclamation, vary the boundaries as so defined.
It is necessary that the powers for which the clause provides should be wide in order that the work should not be impeded. Nevertheless, I believe that people living at some distance from the Snowy Mountains area, who will not benefit from the generation of the electric power but fear that the irrigation scheme will interfere with their livelihoods, should be reassured. Clause 20 states -
The Authority, or any person authorized by the Authority so to do, may, for the purposes of this Act-
after giving not less than seven days’ notice in writing to the occupier of land (including land owned or occupied by the Crown in right of a State), enter upon and occupy that land:
Clause 21 states -
The Authority may raise or lower the level of a lake, river or stream in the Snowy Mountains Area and impound, divert and use the waters of a lake, river or stream in that area.
As Senator Murray has pointed out, that power is essential to the successful completion of the scheme. However, it is understandable that people living near the river Murray below Mildura, where, the river is sluggish, may entertain fears about the depletion of their water supplies and will be anxious to obtain information about the probable effect of the undertaking upon their affairs.
The Minister for Supply and Development (Senator Armstrong) pointed out in his second-reading speech that Australia’s defence plans are divided into four categories: regional security; the defence forces, which include the Navy, the Army and the Air Force; defence research; and, finally, the industrial capacity of the nation to support a defence machine. It is in respect of the last two aspects of defence that the bill will have its greatest application, because it proposes to harness a potential power of 1,720,000 kilowatts. That is a very high ambition, and I am sure that it will command the respect and support of almost every Australian. Irrespective of our political views, I believe that we are all determined that the awful threat that loomed over this jewel of a young nation when it was attacked during World War II. shall not be repeated. The Minister stated in his introductory speech -
A brief explanation of the scheme recommended envisages the diversion of 235,000 acre-feet annually from the Snowy into the Tumut, which is a tributary of the Murrumbidgee, and the diversion of 334,000 acrefeet annually from the Tooma, which is a tributary of the Murray, into the Tumut, thence to the Murrumbidgee. The result of the two diversions would be that the Murrumbidgee would gain 569,000 acre-feet a year, or about two-thirds of the average annual flow of the Snowy. To make up the loss of the Tooma waters, at least one-third of the Snowy would have to be diverted to the Murray. Further investigation of the best way to use the final third is now being made, and the committee will report before the end of June on that aspect.
That explained clearly why some of the Murray waters will have to be diverted into the Murrumbidgee River by way of the Tumut River. I am sure that all honorable senators will await with interest the report of the committee. I sincerely hope that the diversion of waters will not have the effect of diminishing the water supply to the many orchards and dairying properties in South Australia. In long dry spells in the summer time, owing to the lowness of the river, irrigation has been at a standstill. To attempt irrigation in the lower reaches would mean ruin because of the salt content of the water. I am sure that honorable senators can appreciate the anxiety that exists in the minds of the settlers in that area. In his secondreading speech, the Minister said -
The net result of these proposals is that the power output which, even with a full diversion to the Murray, was estimated at 1,100,000 kilowatts, will under the new proposal he increased to not less than 1,505,000 kilowatts, and, if the final third is diverted to the Murray, to 1,720,000 kilowatts - nearly as much as all the power stations in Australia can produce to-day.
Although, that is very good from tue point of view of the generation of electricity, it will make a serious inroad on the waters that flow down the Murray to South Australia. Important though thi* project is, I hope that every consideration will be given to the claims of these people.
I shall explain some of the hydroelectric schemes that I inspected in the Province of Ontario in Canada. On a population basis, the conditions in those areas are comparable with Australian conditions. Although the Tennessee River project is a very wonderful undertaking, because of the large American population and the amount of capital available in that country it is out of all proportion to the project that we are now considering. Generating plants have been constructed at various places along the Ottawa River. As Senator Murray has pointed out, the necessity to have a fall has interfered with the settlers along that river. It is only as a result of artificial irrigation schemes that were implemented subsequently that they nave been able to carry on successfully. Obviously that entails a large expenditure of money. Before the work of rejuvenating the orchards and agricultural areas in the Province of Ontario was proceeded with, many settlers had suffered material loss. In his second-reading speech, the Minister also said -
With adequate and cheap power and adequate water, there is no reason why there should not be developed in the Mumimbidgee and Murray areas great inland cities, which can feed out their secondary production to the coastal capitals of Australia.
That hope is strengthened by the fact that in the vicinity of steam generating stations and hydro-electric plants along the Ottawa River, great secondary industries have been developed. They are of considerable importance to Ontario. When travelling through that Province, I was quite envious when I saw how it had been served by nature with a bountiful water supply. It is undulating country, and when travelling by aeroplane at a low altitude, or travelling by road by motor car, it had the appearance in many places of an inland sea. In considering the implementation of this scheme in Australia, we must bear in mind that Nature has been more bountiful in Canada than in this country. I look forward to the day that development such as I saw in Ontario will be achieved in this country. The Polymer steam generating station at Sarnia on the St. Clair River, a tributary of the Ottawa River, consists of one 4,500-kilowatt and two 10,000-kilowatt units, generating power at 6,600 volts, and one 6,250-kilowatt unit, generating power at 13,200 volts; the Stewartville generating station on the Madawaska River, another tributary of the Ottawa River, consists of a 60,000-kilowatt - 80,000 horse-power - plant; the La Cave generating station, on the Ottawa River, has a plant capable of generating 153,000 kilowatts- 204,000 horsepowerand the Chenaux generating station on the Ottwa River has a capacity of 119,000 kilowatts - 160,000 horse-power. The installation of the fourth unit of 5,500 kilowatts - 7,500 horse-power - capacity last year, raised the total output of the Ear Falls generating station to 13,460 kilowatts - 25,000 horsepower. Work on the tunnel generating station on the Mis.sissagi river was most interesting. The waters of that river will be harnessed to produce 42,000 kilowatts - 56,500 horsepower. After passing through the- turbines, the water will be discharged into a tailrace channel, which will be excavated in the bed of the river to a depth of 40 feet in some places, for a distance of approximately 1,800 feet downstream. In view of Senator Murray’s remarks about the necessity for height, I should like him to see the tunnel generating station. That project proves what human application and mechanical ingenuity can accomplish in the provision of cheap electrical power for industry. Apart from the Niagara power station the largest power generating station that I inspected, was the Des Joachims power development plant of the Ottawa River. It has a capacity of 360,000 kilowatts - 480,000 horse-power.
Sitting suspended from 5.59 to 8 p.m.
– The number of generating stations on the Ottawa River is being steadily increased. Although some of the existing stations were established only 30 years ago they have been the means of greatly increasing production in the areas in which they are situated. Complete information concerning those stations is set out in bookletswhich I received only to-day. These booklets make very interesting reading, and fortify me in my view that the project now before us will be of benefit to the nation as a whole. The province of Ontario is richly endowed with hydroelectric power resources. Those resource* are being developed by the Hydro-electric Power Commission, which is popularly known as “ Hydro “. It is a union of over 900 municipal authorities, which are cooperating in the generation and distribution of electricity to serve the needs of the province. The commission has been so successful that it is now one of the largest single enterprises in Canada, with a capital investment of over 500,000,000 dollars. As the result of its operations electrical service is provided throughout the province to almost every home, farm and factory, lightening the burden of the housewife and the farmer, bringing conveniences to urban and rural consumers, aiding manufacture, and pointing thiway to a new, modern “ design for living”. Much the sa-me conditions can be provided in Australia as the result of the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric project. During my visit to Ontario 1 saw electrical appliances employed to do work which we in Australia do with a pick and shovel. As a lay-man, I was bewildered by what I saw when I inspected the power station at Niagara Falls. Senator Murray dealt with installations of this kind from a technical point of view, and his remarks gave us much food for thought.
The booklets which have been forwarded to me include one entitled Hydro in 1948. which has been issued by the Hydro-electric Power Commission of Ontario, which has its head-quarters at Toronto. I recommend these booklets to members of the Opposition who never miss an opportunity to complain about shortages of labour and industrial turmoil and the lack of modern electrical appliances in this country. Australia is developing at a more rapid rate than is any country which I visited while I was overseas. In such circumstances the Government is to be commended for its initiative in undertaking this project. I take the following quotation from the booklet to which I have just referred -
Two encouraging features of the Hydro record in 1948 are the tremendous increase in demand for the service it supplies to the people of the Province and the spectacular progress made on its power development programme. The prosperous state of the Province, its greatly increased industrial activities, the building of new factories and homes, the influx of new citizens, the greatly increased electrical service to rural areas, these all combined to create an unprecedented demand for Hydro service. The noteworthy fact about Hydro service in 1948 is, not that certain power shortages occurred hut that the Province was so well served. Indeed had it not been for the smallness of precipitation which led to low stream flows and depletion of stored water, there would have been no need to resort to the general power cuts which became necessary for a few weeks in November and December. In spite of shortages ii» the supply of constructional materials - an inevitable post-war difficulty - excellent progress was made by the Commission in completing new plants at Stewartville, Aguasabon and Ear Falls, and in proceeding with fi v, other major developments on the Ottawa, Mississagi and Nipigon rivers. Stewartville supplies power to serve the growing demands in the Southern Ontario system. Auguasabon further augments the supply of power to the Thunder Bay system, but its immediate purpose is to supply the new pulp and paper industry at Terrace Bay. The extension of Ear Fails will supply additional power to the mining industries in the rapidly expanding northland. The shortage of electric power is world wide and for the most part has resulted from the insistent demand for electrical energy; a demand that has increased at a rate greater than it has been possible to keep pace with by new power-plant construction.
Honorable senators who represent States of which large areas are not favoured with adequate water resources will be interested in the following passage: -
In many countries dependent upon hydroelectric plants for their power supplies this condition has been aggravated by drought causing low water supply. In Canada the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia were those mainly affected.
I am pleased that the Snowy Mountains scheme embodies provision for the conservation of water. It is interesting to note that despite the magnitude and success of schemes of this kind in Ontario the controlling body has at times been obliged to appeal to the governments of various provinces to conserve as much water as they possibly could. The booklet continues -
The Commission has been striving by all possible means to give priority to features of its post-war plans that offer the maximum progressive alleviation of the Province’* power difficulties. The present construction programme has already given some relief and it is hoped that by 1952 power supplies in Ontario will have overtaken demands
That has been going on for some years. Apart from giving to the people of Ontario a “ design for living “, those schemes have increased agricultural production in that province ten-fold. That fact is remarkable when we remember that those stations were established only 25 years ago. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) more or less complained that it would take too long to complete the Snowy Mountains scheme. If he studied schemes of this kind which have been established in other countries, he would find that in all instances they have made so great a contribution to the general economy that they have been a vital factor in increasing population. As I said earlier, I have confined my attention to Ontario’s experience of schemes of this kind because the population of that province approximates that of the areas which will be served by the Snowy Mountains scheme.
I regard this project as merely a start in this sphere in this country, because the opportunity exists to implement similar schemes in many other parts of Australia. When I was inspecting the stations established on the Ottawa River [ visualized the great opportunities that exist in northern Queensland for the establishment of similar schemes. When I visited Queensland last year I noted the possibilities which the rivers in that State offer in that respect. I trust that my remarks have proved informative to honorable senators. As the result of my visit to the United States of America and Canada I am convinced that the three things most needed for the development of Australia are water conservation, increased population and irrigation. Some people object to the Government undertaking a scheme of this kind while certain essential commodities are in short supply. I point out that that even in densely populated areas of the United States the housing problem is just as acute as it is in Australia. The man-power problem is acute. Canada is confronted with similar difficulties to Australia, but having seen the enormous hydro-electrical projects that operate in that country I can appreciate the importance of hydro-electricity to Australia. There is no reason why similar projects should not be undertaken in this country. Because of the determination of the present Government to promote the development of this country, I have no doubt that we shall more than equal the achievements of Canada, and those of us who have the good fortune to witness the implementation of the Snowy Mountains scheme will wonder why the enormous resources of that area were not utilized earlier. Our inventive and industrial genius has been proved in time of war. Why should we not turn it to equal account in time of peace ? Fortunately the enlightened aims of the present Government cannot be stultified by constitutional difficulties because the Government proposes to carry out the scheme under its defence powers. I wholeheartedly commend the bill.
– The bill proposes to establish an authority to generate hydro-electricity in the Snowy Mountains and to divert the waters of the Snowy River into the Tumut River, and thence into the Murrumbidgee, which is a tributary of the Murray. The implementation of the scheme will enable 1,720,000 kilowatts of electrical power to be generated and will permit 2,350,000 acre-feet of water to be diverted for irrigation. The passage of the measure will mark the commencement of a scheme of national development such as has never previously been envisaged in Australia. The generation of large quantities of electrical power has become essential to our national life, and everyone will benefit from the supply of electrical power at cheap rates. Every factory and every home in Australia should be supplied with abundant electrical power. Water which is now wasted is to be used to promote agriculture and industry. In turn, that will foster closer settlement, and throw open wide the doors of opportunity to every individual who has ambition and an active mind.
One of the most important features of the scheme is that it will promote decentralization and will attract Australians to settle in an area which is one of the richest in the country, but is now suffering from a dearth of population. Those who settle there will also be fortified by the knowledge that they are playing an important part in developing this great land. It is tragic that action on a national scale has not previously been undertaken to develop this historic area. For many years New South Wales and Victoria have wrangled over proposals for the utilization of the waters of the Snowy River, but it has been left to the Commonwealth Government to launch a practical scheme. That scheme, which is embodied in the measure now before us, is calculated ‘ to bring the greatest good to the greatest number. The Government will seek the assistance of oveseas experts, particularly those in the United States of America which has had the greatest experience in this field, to implement its proposals. President Truman has promised to make available the services of officers to assist in the completion of the work. That promise is most important, because large quantities of American machinery will be required, particularly in the initial stages of the work.
Apart from the importance of the scheme from a defence viewpoint, the generation of huge quantities of electrical power will relieve the demand on coal supplies. The enormous area of land which will be irrigated by the waters of the Snowy River is also of considerable importance to our national economy. We know what has already been accomplished by irrigation along the banks of tho Murrumbidgee, where great tracts of land have been converted to closely settled areas, and vast quantities of primary produce are grown. We may rightly expect similar developments in the area encompassed by this scheme. Not the least important of the ultimate effects of the scheme will be the diversion of excess population from the cities to the Snowy Mountains area. The young, the ambitious and the diligent will inevitably make their way to the Snowy Mountains. Australia is power hungry. At present we are dependent upon the coal mines for the supply of power; but some idea of the power that will be available to the eastern areas of Australia from the Snowy Mountains area is gained when we consider the output of the hydroelectric undertakings of Tasmania. In that State the Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia Limited uses 40,000 kilowatts at its plant at Risdon, th<; Hobart District Electrical Supply undertaking uses 36,000 kilowatts, the Commonwealth Carbide Company’s undertaking at Electrona uses 7,000 kilowatts, the Launceston district electrical undertaking 15,000 kilowatts, the Goliath Portland Cement Company Limited 6,000 kilowatts, and the Australian Newsprint Mills Proprietary Limited undertaking at Boyer uses 8,000 kilowatts. Altogether the electrical undertakings of Tasmania uses 811,890,760 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. I mention that to give honorable senators some idea of the immensity of the scheme that we are now considering, because the total power produced in Tasmania represents only one-tenth of the power that will be generated by the Snowy Mountains scheme. Hydroelectric power is also important from the economic viewpoint. The price of a unit of electricity in Tasmania is only fiveeights of Id., and large industrial undertakings which operate continuously obtain it, at even cheaper rates.
The implementation of this vast scheme will entail most thorough organization and the utilization of our best minds and equipment. The Government is displaying real statesmanship in making such provision for the future. The scheme is an indication to the world of our supreme confidence in the destiny of our nation, and its realization will bring prosperity to tens of thousands of Australians. In two world wars the people of this country have demonstrated to the world their courage and initiative. In time of peace there is no reason why we should not display a similar spirit. The bill represents an example of democratic planning at its best. The project is to be completed by the people, for the people. Democracy is on the march! I commend the bill.
– I am quite sure that every Australian will hail the inauguration of the project that is encompassed by the measure. Personally, I feel that the scheme contains possibilities that may not be imagined now by even its most cordial supporters. It is fitting, too, that the National Government should implement this vital scheme of national development. However, I deplore that the proposal should be introduced in the guise of a defence measure. Only last year a measure was enacted to enable the Commonwealth to exercise its defence powers in peace as well as during war. The Government was authorized to extend its activities to embrace any matters connected with the supply of war material. Of course, war material may embrace almost anything. If the present measure is, strictly speaking, a defence measure, the Opposition would not cavil at it. However, it is clear that the bill is a gross violation of the defence powers of the Australian Commonwealth. It assumes that the Government’s proposals can be inaugurated, implemented and administered purely under the defence power of the Commonwealth. It is common ground that in the event of war the entire resources of the community are at the disposal of the National Government.
– So also they should be in time of peace.
– I challenge honorable senators opposite to say so now if they are not prepared to support the federal system.. Honorable senators are elected to represent their States. We are supposed to be a States’ house. We are obliged by the Constitution to preserve the sovereignty of the States. That is the principle on which federation was based, and if the Senate is not prepared to honour that obligation it should dissolve, or, at least, those senators who are not prepared to defend’ the integrity and the sovereignty of their States should resign. I repeat that we are elected to defend the rights of the States, provided that those rights do not conflict with the expressed will of the majority of the people. Those who are not prepared to defend those rights are here under false pretences. According to the concept of our Constitution, members of the Senate have a specific and definite duty to perform. If the Senate is to be merely an echo of the House of Representatives-
THE PRESIDENT. - Order ! What has that to do with the Snowy Mountains scheme ?
– I regard this bill as an unwarranted encroachment on the sovereignty of the States. I am in favour of the project, but I oppose very strongly the method by which it is to be undertaken. The very preamble of the measure shows clearly that it is. a gross violation of the sovereignty of the States.
– The High Court will determine that.
– I am quite sure that the High Court will blow this measure kite high if it is ever challenged by the States. It is gross distortion to suggest that the scheme can be justified under the defence powers of the Commonwealth. By all means let us have the Snowy Mountains scheme. The country needs it. The plan, when implemented, will be of great benefit to the people of Australia; but why tackle the task this way? I remind the Senate of the circumstances in which the standard gauge railway line from Kyogle to Brisbane was built. That was done under the Grafton and South Brisbane Railway Act, and in time of war at least, that line naturally is at the unfettered disposal of the Commonwealth for defence purposes. There has never been any question about that, but on that occasion, the Commonwealth did not try to bludgeon the project through -under, its defence powers. The defence powers of the Commonwealth are no wider to-day than they were then. The Commonwealth Government of that day behaved as every decent government should behave. It had some respect for the sovereignty of the States. An agreement was entered into between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of Queensland, and that agreement was made the schedule to a bill providing for the construction of the Kyogle-Brisbane line. I am amazed to find that there are some members of this chamber representing South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales who are prepared to sit idly by and permit the Commonwealth to submerge completely State rights and State interests. It is a mere sham to say that this scheme is a defence project. Obviously every thing that is vital to this country in a time of war can be classed as a defence project. Man-power, material, factories, ships, and railways must be made available for defence purposes if required. But what proportion of the power output of the Snowy Mountains scheme is to be used for defence purposes ? Obviously the measure is a sham, and an attack on the sovereignty of the States. By all means let us go ahead with the project, but let us do so with clean hands. It is claimed that some of the power to be generated will be for the Australian Capital Territory, but that will be as a mere drop in the ocean compared with the total capacity of the generating plant to be installed. Provision is also made for irrigation; but irrigation, too, lis no more a defence undertaking than is the man in the moon. The Government should approach this matter reasonably and enlist the co-operation of the States. The undertaking would always be available to the Commonwealth for defence purposes. Let us have another look at the preamble to the bill so that we may hang our heads in shame. It states -
Whereas the construction of further defence works and the establishment of further defence undertakings will require additional supplies of electricity-
One would think that this was a kindergarten instead of the senior chamber of the Commonwealth legislature. That preamble is an insult to my intelligence and I am sure to the intelligence of all honorable senators. I repeat that I have no criticism to offer of the scheme itself. lt will be of tremendous advantage in the development of Australia, but I am most disappointed that an attempt is being made to implement it under the defence powers of the Commonwealth. The honest approach would be for the Commonwealth to go to the States and say, “ Here is a plan. The Commonwealth will provide most of the money”. But let me stop there for just a moment. Where will the Commonwealth get that money?
– From the people of Australia.
– Precisely, but from the way that the Government is behaving, one would imagine that the Commonwealth itself was an incomeearner. Everybody knows that governments do not earn money. They collect it and spend it, yet the Government’s attitude is, “ We are providing this money “. One can easily imagine the taxpayers asking just who the “ we “ refers to. The money will be provided by the taxpayers. Naturally an undertaking of this magnitude will bring some degree of prosperity to the whole of Australia, but the people most vitally affected are those living in the States primarily concerned with the proposal. I am sure that there would be no difficulty at all in reaching an agreement with Victoria and New South Wales, and, as the Commonwealth is to supply a major part of the money, it is reasonable to expect that the Commonwealth should have the major voice in the conduct and control of the enterprise; but, are the States not to have any say at all? If there is any validity at all in this “ phoney “ preamble, there is nothing whatever to stop the Commonwealth from taking over and controlling any enterprise in this country. I see in this the pattern of socialism. Honorable senators opposite sneer at that remark. Ever since I have been in this chamber, I have been preaching the menace of communism, but Government supporters have merely said, “ The old Communist bogy ; he is on it again”. However, after three years, I find that I have a very good convert in the person of the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley). He apparently no longer regards communism as a bogy. In most of to-day’s newspapers there is a full page advertisement-
– I rise to order. I submit that newspaper advertisements have nothing whatever to do with the bill.
– I am afraid that Senator O’sullivan is straying from the bill, but if he can relate the advertisements to which he has referred to the measure now before the Senate he will be in order.
– You will observe, Mr. President, that I have not yet quoted from the advertisements.
– What does the honorable senator intend to quote?
– Perhaps the Minister would like notice of what I intend to say.
– Order ! The honorable senator must get back to the bill.
– I was nol aware that I had strayed from it.
– I was, and I ask you to get back to it.
– I repeatand this has a direct relation to the bill - that I see in the measure the pattern of socialism. When I said that earlier, there was a snigger from Government supporters. I expected that snigger. On previous occasions when I have charged honorable senators opposite with regarding far too lightly the menace of communism, they have sniggered, and interjected “The old Communist bogy”. Connecting my remarks with the bill, I say that I have apparently convinced the Prime Minister that communism is no longer a bogy. There is evidence of that in full-page advertisements published in to-day’s daily papers, stating - and here I am not quoting but merely remembering - that the present strike is Communist inspired. As we have been able to persuade even the Prime Minister to the belief that communism is no longer a bogy, I hope to be able to convince some honorable senators that socialism is not a bogy. The complete implementation of socialism means, of course, the destruction of the federal system and of the sovereignty of the States, so that those in power when that day comes, will have the whole of the Commonwealth under their thumbs. Evidence that the States are able to protect the rights of the people was given in the not far distant past. I shall conclude hy referring to another convert. He is Lord Milverton-
– Order ! The honorable senator has given a discourse on communism and socialism. The Senate has before it a bill relating to the Snowy Mountains scheme. I cannot see any connexion between the honorable senator’s remarks and the bill. While I have been President of this Chamber, I have often permitted honorable senators to stray somewhat from the strict terms of the legislation under discussion. I believe it to be essential at times, to permit passing references to matters that may not have a strict relation to the proposals under discussion. However, 1 remind Senator O’Sullivan that he is not entitled, when speaking on the second reading of this bill, to stray on to the by-path of communism or socialism, or to speak about advertisements relating to the present strike. The honorable senator must endeavour, as far as possible, to connect his remarks with the bill.
– To anybody who has read the bill and seen the manner of control for which it provides, the criticism of socialism is inevitable.
– Order! I shall slate the position clearly for the benefit of the honorable senator. If an honorable senator thinks that a particular measure will advance this country toward socialism, he may say so in passing. However, there is a big difference between dealing with the subject of socialism in passing and dealing with it in extenso. 1 have listened very carefully to Senator O’Sullivan, and his’ speech has related mainly to socialism and communism, not to the subject of the bill that is before the Senate. I should be pleased if the honorable senator would connect his remarks with the bill.
– Perhaps 1 did not make myself sufficiently clear at the outset. I said that I favoured this project. My objection to it is based upon the proposed manner of its operation. If you, Mr. President, forbid me to state the reasons why I object to it, I am wasting my time here.
– Order! The honorable senator will not waste his time if he will take notice of what I say. I am trying to put him on the right track. Plenty of opportunities occur for general discussions of communism and socialism, but when we are dealing with a particular bill the honorable senator should try to confine his remarks in a large measure, if not entirely, to the subject of that bill. I should not say that the honorable senator is wasting his time. I have a deep regard for his intelligence, but we all fall from grace sometimes, and I think that he has done so on this occasion. I want to return him to the right path, and I ask him to deal with the bill.
– I take it that I am confined to saying that, for reasons which I am forbidden to express, 1 oppose the machinery that will be used to implement this project.
– The honorablesenator is not forbidden to state his reasons, but he is forbidden to deal in extenso with the general theory of socialism when debating this bill, which does not deal with socialism. The measure does not refer to socialism, communism, miners’ rights, or anything of that nature. Its purpose is specifically stated, and the honorable senator should try to deal with that purpose in general. That is the idea of a second-reading speech.
– I still say that anybody who has read the bill must commend the project; but, if he has any intelligence, he must bemoan the method by which it is to be implemented and operated. The reason for that is that it is a socialistic enterprise. Socialism has proven a failure, and it will be a failure again in the operation and implementation of this measure because it has not been successful in any major project. As an illustration, I point to the fact that experienced men, including mon who have supported the Labour party all their lives, declare that, if the United Kingdom Government takesover the steel industry and socializes it, the project will be doomed to calamitousfailure. I say that, if the Snowy Mountains scheme is to be operated in such a way as to destroy the independent and1 active .participation of the States in its management under their own sovereign rights, it will be merely a streamlined form of totalitarianism under the pushbutton control of the Commonwealth Government and will be inherently doomed to failure. That would be a very sad state of affairs, and the responsibility would rest entirely upon this socialist Government. If a project of this magnitude, a project which offers such magnificent opportunities for the development of some of the best part of our country, is to be frustrated and wasted merely because of the avid hunger of this socialist Government-
– I rise to order, Mr. President. I ask for a withdrawal of the term “ socialist government “. It is offensive to me.
– The Minister for Shipping and Fuel has asked for a withdrawal of the remark “ socialist government “ because it is offensive to him. If an honorable senator finds that certain words are offensive to him, I can only ask the honorable senator who uttered them to withdraw them.
– I am delighted that the term is offensive to the Minister, and I hope that his conduct will bear out his assertion. I have pleasure in withdrawing the term “ socialist “ if it is offensive to him. I am glad to have his assurance that it is offensive to him. As a final warning to ‘the Government, I remind it of the words of Lord Milverton when he opposed the United Kingdom bill for the nationalization of the steel industry for much the same reason as I oppose this measure. He had no objection to a prosperous steel industry, any more than I have any objection to the complete implementation of this’ scheme. I hope that the project will enjoy success even beyond the wildest dreams of those who ;ire responsible for it. It can be of tremendous value in the development of Australia. However, I remind the Government of Lord Milverton’s declaration that he “ thought that he was in a crusade, but found himself a camp follower in a rake’s progress “.
.- The main reason for the introduction of this measure is stated in the preamble to the bill in these words-
Whereas additional supplies of electricity are required for the purposes of defence works and undertakings :
And whereas the construction of further defence works and the establishment of further defence undertakings will require additional supplies of electricity.
I was astounded to hear Senator O’sullivan say that, by attempting to implement the Snowy Mountains scheme, the Government was committing a gross violation of the defence power. I ask him what would be the situation of Australia to-day if it were subjected to attack. What is the main weakness in our defences ?
– The lack of power.
– Exactly. Just as fire was essential to the development of civilization and the evolution of man, so power is perhaps the most important requisite of modern civilization. Senator O’sullivan has said that honorable senators who support the Government are not prepared to defend the rights of the States that they represent. I am one of the representatives in this chamber of the State of Victoria. But for the kindness and good thoughts of this Government, what would be the position of Senator O’sullivan and his colleagues at the next general election ? The Government has altered the Senate voting system in order that the Liberals may have a chance of having some say in this Senate on behalf of their States. Yet they charge us with failure to represent the interests of the States from which we were elected. The object of this bill is to protect, not only the Commonwealth as a whole, but also every individual State. With halfhearted antagonism to the measure, the honorable senator said that it would never stand the test of the High Court for one minute if it were challenged by the States. What State would attempt to challenge the validity of this legislation? In Victoria, most of the electric power supplies are produced from local resources. There were Japanese bombers over the Yallourn electricity works during World War II. Senator O’sullivan did not criticize that undertaking on the ground of socialism or any other “’ ism “. Preparations are being made in Victoria to-day for the erection of a great generating plant in the Kiewa Valley. Six power stations capable of generating 209,000 kilowatts will be available by the end of next year. Every kilowatt will represent an additional 14 horse-power to be placed at thy disposal of the community. The State also operates power generating stations at Mildura and Morwell. Senator O’Sullivan has not described those projects as socialistic undertakings. They have been progressively developed, not by one government, but by a series of governments. As the result of those enlightened activities, the cost of electric power has increased less in Victoria than in any other State, and possibly in any other part of the world. Trams and trains will not operate in Melbourne next Saturday and Sunday. Why? Because of the lack of power.
It seems to me that the most serious shortage affecting every industry to-day is that of electric power. This Government is making use of the defence power of the Commonwealth to initiate the Snowy Mountains .project, not because it is fearful of an immediate attack upon the nation, but in order to prepare Australia for any future eventuality of that nature. Should we ever be involved in war again, we must have plenty of electric power. Very few people would have forecast a few years ago that a Commonwealth government would introduce a measure providing for the generation of electric power. In considering this bill, we must also take into consideration all the phases of human activity that will be associated with the scheme. This Government has made available to the people many classes of social services and is also trying to ensure that every citizen shall have readily available to him the necessaries and the ordinary comforts of life. Everybody who has visited Sydney in the last fortnight must realize that people living in that city are shivering from cold, not so much because of the lack of coal as because of the lack of electrical energy needed for heating purposes. Whilst the homes are equipped with electric light globes and radiators there is no light or heat available because there is insufficient electricity to go around. By introducing this bill the Government is trying to do something for the people of Australia. In the northeastern part of Victoria the waters of the Snowy River will be utilized on the lines of the Kiewa Valley scheme, but perhaps on a larger scale. Tunnels will be constructed to allow the water to produce the greatest amount of cheap electrical energy that is possible. By introducing this bill the Australian Labour party has laid the foundation for the provision of ample electricity for the use of future generations of Australians. The attitude adopted by honorable senators opposite is farcical. After saying that they were in favour of the bill they proceeded to attack it. They have not the courage to vote against this proposition, because it is in the interests of the Australian people. They know well enough that when election time comes around the people will endorse what this Government has achieved in connexion with the Snowy Mountains scheme, because it will safeguard their interests. Although this undertaking will probably cost from £180,000,000 to £200,000,000 it will provide untold benefits for the people of this country. Whilst the Government is preparing on the one hand to produce electrical energy from the waters of the Snowy, another part of the scheme is to provide water for irrigation purposes. That will perhaps he more necessary than previously to assist people in the Murrumbidgee area. In addition to making cheap electrical energy possible, this Government is also seeing to it that water for irrigation areas will be made available for farmers and fruit-groWers. The farmers in the Riverina will endorse the action that has been taken by this Government, because it strives to protect not only those people who are engaged in factories and workshops, middle-men and ordinary traders, but also the primary producers who today perhaps lack adequate water supplies in the various country centres. The Opposition says that honorable senators who represent New South Wales and Victoria should oppose this measure. I venture to assert that nine-tenths of the citizens of those States will endorse our action.
– Every sensible Australian will endorse it.
– I point out that the Australian Government assists Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania by other means. When those States lack funds to pay reasonable wages to their staffs they ask the Australian Government to make grants. This Government has never turned down applications from the States for grants where it has been shown that they were necessary ,to preserve the economy of the States. I heartily endorse every sentiment that was expressed by the Minister in his second-reading speech. This bill will make many social advantages available to the people. It is necessary for the development of this country, for social security generally, and to protect ourselves against any danger that may arise in the future. The Opposition can be assured that the scheme will have the support not only of the majority of honorable senators in this chamber, but also of the people who elected them.
– This measure may be termed the great potential. As has already been said, it envisages the provision of great electrical and water conservation schemes for this nation. In addition, water will be carried to supplement the Sydney water supply which is a very important matter. I am very pleased that the major portion of the work will be carried out by day-labour and that contractors will be invited to bring forward their plant to commence the work as soon as practicable. I suggest that all persons who have earth-moving machinery and plant should be asked to co-operate with the Government, and that the States should be requested to lend their best efforts to see that when this project is commenced the work will :be carried out speedily. Extra irrigation channels will be constructed from the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers, and additional water will be supplied to the existing channels. When these new channels are constructed the Government should resume the whole of the land on each side of them in the dust bowl or marginal country. In some districts land that would not bring 5s. an acre prior to the irrigation channels being provided was subsequently sold for £8 an acre, although the work was carried out at the expense of the taxpayers of this nation. As a result of the enhancement of land values by irrigation, land agents were able to charge that excessive amount for it. Having secured the land at £8 an acre the farmers and orchardists had to pay at least £5 to £6 an acre to skilled men to grade it. If something is to be done for the ex-servicemen and the sons of the farmers, the Government must ensure that people who desire to take up that land will have a good start. They should not be penalized as other people have been penalized. Although I have seen good lucerne crops in the Hunter River valley, I have never seen the equal of the lucerne crops on the land adjacent to the drain, previously known as the “ dust bowl “. I went to Werribee Farm and saw for myself how the value of that land had been increased. It was equal to the property on the Mulwala Drain owned by Mr. Hetherington. These matters are very important. If this nation is to survive we will have to decentralize and establish in hinterlands water for irrigation purposes and for industry, as well as electrical power. Good cities will then be built where to-day only small towns exist. Senator O’sullivan said that this is a socialist measure, and linked it with the miners’ strike. The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) has propounded a gorge scheme known as the Mulligan scheme. It was first suggested about 1886, but nothing has ever been done about it. Probably he considered that if he gave effect to that scheme while he was Treasurer of this country it would develop into socialism. That may be bis excuse. However, since this Government has been in office, Sir Earle Page has made the scheme to provide power, water and irrigation on tho north coast of New South Wales his cardinal point in election campaigns. I believe that something should be done there along the lines envisaged in this bill. That would greatly reduce the flood danger in the Grafton district, and provide water for irrigation purposes. A very valuable committee composed of representatives of Victoria and New South Wales has done a tremendous amount of research in conjunction with the Royal Australian Air Force in this connexion. Their work has enabled this Government to introduce this measure, which envisages an expenditure of £180,000,000 or more. The Minister should utilize the services of the men who formed the New South Wales part of that committee. They could be fully engaged examining the north coast watersheds. I am sure that such an examination would be of great value to the nation. Although the Snowy Mountains scheme electrical potential will be linked up with the grid system, it is not all that is required. Therefore this bill provides that other schemes may be brought into action. Power is already linked up from Nymboida to Taree, and from Newcastle to Taree. The ultimate object should be to link one scheme te another throughout New South Wales. Development of the water potential on the north coast of New South Wales would provide extra electrical power, and do a lot towards making Australia a great nation. As I have said before, this measure is a great potential, and its value will be recognized by generations to come. It is an important measure. I listened carefully to what my colleagues have said, and I concur with their views. I remind the members of the Opposition parties that although Liberal and Country party governments managed this country for many years they did not even dream of undertaking a project of this kind in order to promote the nation’s welfare. Senator O’Sullivan, claimed that the Government had shelved the proposal to standardize railway gauges and, apparently, derived much pleasure from that thought. It is obvious that the Opposition parties do not wish to see the Government proceed with that project. Despite the fact that their defence chiefs recommended that it be undertaken, non-Labour governments failed to do so even during periods when the requisite materials were available and hundreds of thousands of people in this country were unemployed. Those governments entirely ignored the defence value of that project. However, this Government has not shelved it. The simple fact is that that work ha9 been held up because of lack of co-operation on the part of the State governments. A transport expert who recently visited this country thoroughly examined the project and recommended that it be carried out. No doubt, it will be carried out by a Labour government if it is carried out at all, because the people cannot hope that should the Opposition parties ever be returned to office again, they would do anything that would make a major contribution to the development of this country. I commend the Government upon introducing this measure. This project will give a great fillip to the nation’s economy as a whole, and I sincerely trust that even while it is in progress steps will be taken to undertake similar schemes in other parts of the Commonwealth, such as the scheme to which I have referred. If that be done, Australia will be made an even better place in which to live.
– I regard this measure as one of the most important pieces of legislation that has ever been introduced in this Parliament. Much has been said in the course of this debate about the value and magnitude of the project embodied in the bill. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) admitted that the project inopportune. However, he gave it faint praise. He asked, “ Where is the labour to come from to carry out this gigantic proposal ? “ A similar objection could be advanced in respect of any project. Nevertheless, it is possible to find way3 and means of overcoming any difficulties that might arise in respect of projects of this kind. For instance, the present influx of migrants will do much to overcome the present labour shortage. I visualize the time when hundreds of thousands of migrants will have come to this country. They will, perhaps, include many of our kith and kin from the Mother Country. Will not those people give a hand in this work?
The Leader of the Opposition referred to the proposal to standardize railway gauges and said that this project was being super-imposed upon that proposal which was estimated to cost £200,000,000. He added that the proposal to standardize railway gauges had been shelved, and said that probably this project would meet a similar fate. Under the Constitution the Australian Government has not the power to proceed with the standardization of railway gauges without the concurrence of the States concerned. I regret that the Government of Western Australia by refusing its consent to the proposal has been holding up the commencement of that work. That project would contribute greatly to the prosperity of the people of that State who are now suffering tremendous disabilities in respect of not only passenger traffic but also freight traffic with the other States. The Leader of the Opposition said that although he did not wish to be unkind he believed that the Government had introduced this legislation just before the next election for party political purposes. Listening to him one might be led to believe that this project had just been proposed. He should refresh his mind upon the facts which were outlined in the second-reading speech of the Minister for Supply and Development (Senator Armstrong) who aid -
This is a work that has been talked of for TO years. This Government has- firmly resolved, that words shall be converted into deeds.
That statement contrasts the attitude of Labour governments with that of nonLabour governments in approaching projects of this kind. Although the project had been talked of for 70 years, nonLabour governments took no action to implement it. This Government is resolved to undertake it in the interests of New South Wales and Victoria whilst South Australia will benefit from it to some degree. As a Western Australian, I am somewhat envious of the State of New South Wales which is so much more richly endowed by nature. I only wish that some of the watersheds1 in New South Wales were situated in WesternAustralia. Non-Labour governments were guilty of criminal negligence in failing to make some attempt to undertake this project.
Senator O’Sullivan has astounded me on several occasions, but he excelled himself to-night in his contribution to this debute. First, he claimed that the decision of the Government to undertake this project under the Commonwealth’s defence power was nothing, more or less, than a sham. I recollect that he used the same term to describe another measure which the Senate passed earlier this week.
Does not the honorable Senator believe that this project will be of great value to Australia from a defence point of view? Is it not a fact that our production potential for war purposes, in the event of this country being attacked in the future, will be tremendously increased by the provision of the power envisaged under this scheme? I can only say that the honorable senator is most audacious when he describes this project as a sham. He also told us that all honorable senators should regard themselves as “ Staterighters “, and that any honorable senator who was not prepared to do so should resign from the Senate.. I challenge him to point to any provision of the Constitution that honorable senators are elected as “ State-righters “. The members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives constitute the Parliament. They are elected by similar methods, although honorable senators are elected for a period of six years whilst members of the House of Representatives are elected for a period of three years. However, all members of the Parliament have a common duty. The argument advancedby Senator O’Sullivan in that respect is! merely snide talk. Every member of the ministerial party in the Senate is just as> conscious of the rights of the State herepresents as is the honorable senator’ himself, and none of us will permit the interests of a State to- bedisregarded. However, we must deal with matters of a national character in the interests of the people of Australia as a whole. What would be the fate of Australia if honorable senators were to regard the States as separate entities and approach all matters arising in the Parliament from that point of view? Senator O’Sullivan was good enough towarn us that if this legislation should be challenged in the High Court the court would blow it sky high. In view of his statements it is appropriate to ask him where he stands on this legislation. Does he want to see this project scrapped? Does he want the history of the last 70 years to be repeated and no action at all taken in the matter in the interests of the people? Listening to Senator O’Sullivan one would think that the States were foreign to each other. For instance, he suggested that T. ns n Western Australian, should regard Western Australia as being foreign to the rest of Australia. I am not prepared to adopt that attitude. When I am considering legislation that comes before the Senate, I shall do what I consider to be right and best in the interests of Australians as a whole. What would hare been Australia’s fate in the recent war if the States had tried to defend themselves as separate entities? In that conflict Australians had to fight, work and sink or swim together. The existence of railway systems of different gauges in this country is an example of the work done by “ State-righters “. To-day, Australians are paying dearly for the lack of statesmanship and foresight which was responsible for, our present breaks of gauge. This legislation is designed to benefit the nation as a whole. I support it. It is alleged that Labour has introduced the scheme only because this is an election year. It has also been contend that the proposal could be upset by the High Court. For what purpose are we here ? Are we hern merely to discuss matters, and to have our decisions stultified? I warn the people of Australia that if Labour is not returned to office at the next elections the Snowy Mountains project will never be implemented. The Opposition have suggested that the proposal is tinged with socialism-
– Not the proposal, but the Government which proposes to implement it.
– I put this fairly and squarely to Senator O’Sullivan. Is he prepared to give the rights for the sale of electrical power and water to some individual or private corporation?
– I never suggested such a thing.
– The honorable senator may not have suggested that in so many words-
– I said that the States were the appropriate bodies to undertake the work.
– I remind Senator O’Sullivan that the waters of this country belong, not to any individual or group of individuals, but to the people of. Australia. They were provided by God, not by man. In the interests of the people the water must be distributed to the best advantage. That is what tha present Government proposes to do, and that represents the essential difference between what our friends opposite term “ socialism “ and the system of private enterprise which they espouse. I do noi believe that any progressive individual in Australia would suggest that such a scheme as that which concerns the di*tribution of hydro-electrical power and water for irrigation should be placed u> the hands of private enterprise.
Another criticism of the measure voiced by Senator O’Sullivan is that it will deprive the States concerned of thai: powers to dispose of the water. I point out to him that an advisory committee is to be established, which will contain representatives of the two States concerned, and through them those State* will be in continual consultation with the National Government. It has been estimated by experts that approximately £200,000,000 will be required to use the waters of the Snowy River to the best advantage, and it is obvious that finance for such an undertaking could not bf supplied by the States. If no action i» taken by the National Government te implement the scheme, we can be assured that neither of the two States concerned will be able to implement any scheme that will employ the resources of the area to the best advantage. As an instance of the financial difficulties that confront the State governments, I need only mention that the Government of Western Australia finds itself in considerable difficulties because it cannot provide the sum of £15,000,000, which is required to rehabilitate the railway* of that State. The Government of Western Australia cannot provide that amount of money, and therefore it must borrow at high rates of interest or increase State taxes, or request the Commonwealth Government to provide th« money. If money is not found the rail transportation system of Wester* Australia will suffer seriously. Honorable senators opposite are in the habit of criticizing Government pro posa 19 of all kinds on the ground that they are socialistic. Apart from th» fact that such criticism is, in the main, quite unjustified, I suggest that the, should exercise more restraint. I remind them that no private undertaking in Australia would undertake such a work as that envisaged in the bill.
– I never suggested that any private undertaking should do so.
– The point is that the honorable senator is opposed to the Government proceeding with the work, If it does not proceed with the scheme now its implementation may be delayed for another 50 years. The Government is seeking the co-operation of the two States concerned in order to proseed with the work as soon as possible.
At the outset of my remarks I said that f was envious of the watersheds that are available for the production of power in the eastern States, but I am more than pleased that at last some concrete proposal has been advanced to utilize the power that is latent in those watersheds. It is proper that the National Government should be the authority that will develop those assets. In years gone by a State government had the courage to develop the Kalgoorlie goldfields, which are to-day amongst the most famous in the world, by constructing a pipe-line nearly 400 miles long. Had it not been for the Commonwealth Government that pipe-line could never have been constructed and the goldfields would not have developed as they have. The project envisaged in this measure is essentially a national work, which in my opinion, can be carried out only by a national authority, backed by the financial resources of the nation. In conclusion, I express the hope that the work will be completed on the day-labour system. At the present time, when every one seems anxious to make high profits, regardless of the quality of work done, I believe that government works should be carried out by day-labour, subject, of course, to proper supervision.
– I congratulate the Government on having introduced a bill to implement a scheme of such great national benefit. That scheme is important not only to the defence of Australia, but also to the development of this country. If we are to attain our destiny and hold this country we must develop it and provide for its defence. I think that the preamble to the bill sets out its intentions very clearly. Those intentions are -
Whereas additional supplies of electricity are required for the purposes of defence works and undertakings:
And whereas the construction of further defence works and the establishment of further defence undertakings will require additional supplies of electricity:
And whereas it is desirable that provision should be made now to enable increased supplies of electricity to be immediately available in time of war :
And whereas the consumption of electricity in the Australian Capital Territory and, is particular, at the Seat of Government within that Territory, is increasing and is likely to continue to increase:
And whereas it is desirable that the generation of electricity for the purposes referred to in this preamble should be undertaken in such an area and in such a manner as to be least likely to suffer interruption in time of war:
And whereas, by reason of the foregoing, it is desirable that provision should be made now for the generation of electricity by means of hydro-electric works in the Snowy Mountains Area:
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) has objected to the terms of the preamble, although he cannot point to any flaw in them. I remind him that when the recent war occurred we were very inadequately equipped for war. Our power output was low, and our industry was poorly developed. I regard hil speech as an apology for the poor condition of Australia after 25 years of government by the political parties to which he and his colleagues belong. I consider that members of the Opposition should have at least had the generosity to compliment the Government on introducing this scheme, which proposes to utilize the waters of the Snowy River for the generation of hydro-electric power and for irrigation. The scheme envisages the expenditure of between £1S0,000,000 and £200,000,000. Although the Government does not expect the scheme to be completed in a short period, we cannot implement it too soon.
In Japan I discovered at first hand the reasons why that country was enabled to attain the immense industrial and military power which enabled it to challenge the British Empire and the United States of America. The basic reason for that country’s unprecedentedly rapid rise to power was the scientific utilization of the abundance of water with which it is supplied to generate cheap power. That development was due, in large measure, to the assistance of British and American engineers. Because of that development the manufacture of armaments expanded to such a degree that Japan’s defence needs were not only met, but were actually exceeded and the Japanese became extremely belligerent. Whilst Australia has no wish to become belligerent, Labour is extremely conscious of its duty properly to provide for the defence of our people. Members of the Opposition are quite wrong in claiming that this legislation should not be regarded as a defence measure. The proposals toprovide cheap electrical power and water for irrigation are intimately connected with preparations for the defence of this country. To return for a moment to Japan, I point out that one of the major causes of the downfall of that country in the recent war was its lack of coal, oil and other fuel materials. At the same time, the industries of that country were never deprived entirely of electrical power because the nation’s hydro-electric undertakings were, in the main, able to function.
This plant when completed will generate 1,720,000 kilowatts of electrical power and will reduce the demand on our coal stocks by 4,000,000 tons a year, which represents one-third of our present coal production. It has been estimated that 3,500,000 gallons of oil a day, or 547,000,000 gallons a year, would be required to generate the same quantity of electric power. Both oil and coal are in short supply in this country, and if defence is to be considered in the light of modern mechanized and scientific warfare we must utilize this latent power. From whatever angle we view the proposal it is obvious that we must develop our hydro-electric potential to make available power for commercial and defence industries. This scheme will allow Australia to decentralize industries in the interest of defence. It will also provide water for extension of irrigation projects and thus increase rural production. Thereis no practicable alternative to the present proposal. To say that this legislation infringes State rights is altogether wrong. The argument of the Opposition apparently is that if the scheme were undertaken by the States - I cannot visualize theStates ever being in a position to do it financially or otherwise - it would not be socialism, but, if it is undertaken by the National Government which is responsible for the security of the Australian people, and the defence of this country, and which has the money and plant necessary to implement such a huge project, it is socialism. The alleged menace of socialism has been the cry of the present Opposition parties for many years. Even during the war, when private organizations were fighting amongst themselves for defence contracts, intervention by the Commonwealth Government was described as socialism. When members of the Opposition parties were accusing the Labour Government of sending Australian troops into action without adequate equipment, the Midland Junction railway workshops in Western Australia were unable to obtain from private industry certain specifications for urgently needed munitions of war. Now, that an era of peace and prosperity hat returned, and money is available, honorable senators opposite oppose this vital developmental scheme and claim that it it a socialist undertaking.
There is another aspect of this legislation which is of vital interest to me. Part 5 of the bill deals with the finances of the authority that is to be set up to operate the scheme. We can assume that members of the authority will be the most competent persons available because their task will be immense.
Clause 25 provides - (1.) The Authority shall have power to borrow moneyon overdraft from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia upon the guarantee of the Treasurer. (2.) The Treasurer may, out of money appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of this Act, make advances to the Authority of such amounts and upon such terms as he thinks fit. (3.) Except with the consent of the
Treasurer, the Authority shall not have power to borrow money otherwise than in accordance with this section.
Clause 26 states -
The Authority shall open and maintain an account or accounts with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and may open and maintain an account or accounts with such other bank oi banks as the Treasurer approves.
Those provisions will overcome serious difficulties that have confronted and hampered some large public utilities in the past. I am confident that a start will be made on the scheme within a reasonable time. The project, when completed, will be a great blessing to the people of the States concerned, and willhave considerable defence value. It will provide cheap electric power for domestic and industrial use over a substantial area of the Commonwealth. By providing water for irrigation purposes it will also facilitate decentralization of population, a principle which this Government supports most heartily, but to which the Opposition has given only lip service. I. commend the bill.
– The project now under discussion has been the political football of the conservative parties in this country for 50 years. It has been a plank of their platform at every election, but after each election, it has been put into cold storage for future use. Opposition members have complained that the scheme is aimed at advancing the Government’s socialistic aspirations. But what are the facts? For more than half a century, the present Opposition parties, under various names, have been talking about this project. Immediately World War II. ended, however, the Labour Government took practical steps to bring it to reality. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) has alleged that this bill is mere window-dressing for the forthcoming general election. I point out that the Department of Works and Housing has been surveying and investigating this proposal for the past eighteen months. The Leader’ of the Opposition and his colleague, Senator O’Sullivan change their minds and their views almost as frequently as they change the names of the parties to which they belong. I have before me a report on the development of hydro-electric power in Australia that was obtained for the BrucePage Government, the only remaining member of which in this Parliament is the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page), who is a colleague of the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber. The report was made in 1929, and at page 45 it recommended -
– Was anything ever done about it?
– No. Apparently supporters of the then government had talked so much about the scheme that they felt that they had to take the matter seriously and obtain a report on it. The proposals contained in this measure are almost identical with the recommendations made in that report. Honorable senators opposite claim that the Government is furthering socialism in this country. The Leader of the Opposition has endeavoured to discredit the Government because of its failure to standardize railway gauges. I point out that the only impediment to that plan is the opposition of certain State governments which have declined to carry out their part of the programme. As Senator Nash pointed out, the breaks of gauge at State borders are a national tragedy. The standardization of railway gauges is necessary, not only for for defence purposes, but also to facilitate more rapid transport of goods from one State to another.
The Leader of the Opposition expressed some fears about the availability of labour for” the Snowy Mountains scheme. I agree that labour for a project of this magnitude does present a problem in a period of full employment. Naturally it would be much easier to obtain manpower if a pool of unemployed was available in the community. To have such a pool has always been the policy of the Australian Country party and of the Liberal party. Honorable senators opposite would like to see queues of men applying for jobs at workshops and farms. Fortunately the position to-day is quite the reverse. Instead of a pool of unemployed, there are many thousands of unfilled jobs, and I hope that it will be a long time before they are filled. However, there is no ground for the fear that the Leader of the Opposition has expressed in regard to labour, because the total labour requirement of the project will be only 4,000 men. There is a steady flow of displaced persons to this country. They cannot be employed immediately on this scheme because it will have to be inaugurated gradually, but I have no doubt that eventually the labour problem will not be difficult.
Both the Leader of the Opposition and Senator O’Sullivan claimed that the States should be given an opportunity to undertake this work. I invite honorable senators to imagine the chaos that would result if the two States concerned, Victoria and New South Wales, were left to their own devices. Agreement on many issues would be most difficult, and the work would be constantly impeded by lack of harmony. The Commonwealth Government has succeeded in reaching an agreement with those States. That is something that other governments could not do. The States would not have the capacity to do the work in any case. If the man-power is not available to the Commonwealth, surely it is not available to the States. Where would the States get the machinery and the plant that would be needed to carry out this gigantic project ?
– Where they got it for the Hume dam.
– That is only an ant hill compared with the Snowy Mountains project.
– The Minister should tell that to the people in New South Wales, whom he represents.
– Anything that I say here I am prepared to say elsewhere. I have been connected with negotiations for the Snowy Mountains scheme probably more intimately than has any other honorable senator. At the last public meeting that I attended at Narrandera, eighteen months ago, two members of the country party, Mr. Bruxner and Mr, Drummond, were present. They knew that this. Government was likely to become active i» the scheme and they wanted to get on the band-wagon. That is what always happens. The Opposition parties try to jump on the band-wagon when anything is moving. Previous Commonwealth governments did nothing to initiate thu scheme. This is the only Government that has even attempted to give practical application to a plan that is sorely needed in Australia.-
asked what effect the scheme would have upon the waters of the Murray River in South Australia, I have made inquiries on this subject and have been informed that the Snowy River does not flow into the Murray Rivet at present. Under the scheme, about 900,000 acre feet of Snowy River waters will be diverted to the Mumimbidgee River and the Murray River. Only that quantity of water will be used in addition to the quantity that is now available for irrigation in New South Wales and Vietoria. Therefore, the scheme will not affect South Australia. Senator Critchley also said that he was afraid that the power-generating scheme would necessitate the use of water in a way that would have a harmful effect upon the irrigation areas. The water used in the scheme will not be needed for irrigation purpose* until it enters the Murray River and the Mumimbidgee River. All power will be generated before the water reaches those rivers. When the project was first diecussed, I was concerned- about the possibility that it would affect the supply of water for irrigation purposes in the Riverina. Tens of thousands of acres of land from Narrandera to Balranald will be irrigated under the scheme, and I an> now convinced , that plenty of water will be available for that purpose. In reply to honorable senators who are concerned about the participation of the States in the work of the project, I point out that the services of both States will be co-opted and- that they have already agreed to co-operate. An enormous amount of work will have to be done by them in providing for the reticulation of the electricity that will be generated. They will also have the onerous responsibility of providing land for irrigation. T em sure that anybody who has visited the irrigation areas at such places as Renmark, Mildura, Leeton and Griffith will wholeheartedly support the project. We know what magnificent results have been achieved in those districts, which were once parts of large station properties upon which only a few men were employed, except at busy periods such 18 the shearing season. I know the Leeton and Griffith area fairly intimately. There are 20,000 people settled in that area to-day, and they are amongst the best of Australia’s citizens. The community is almost self-contained. It produces its own wheat, rice, mutton, beef, fruit and many other commodities. As a result, that region did not impose such a heavy drain upon the resources of the nation as did other communities during World War II. The great development that has occurred in Leeton, Griffith and Mildura will be possible in other large inland areas in Victoria and New South Wales when the Snowy Mountains irrigation project is completed.
The prophecy made by the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Lemmon) in the House of Representatives, that large inland cities will be established is almost certain to be fulfilled. We must always keep in mind the fact that the project will release great quantities of cheap electric power, which is fundamentally necessary to the manufacture of all sorts of commodities. The provision of cheap power will determine to a great degree the cost of living in this country. Power will be supplied to many country areas and, as many honorable senators have said, it will attract to thos, districts people who now live in the cities. As a result, the Government’s programme of decentralization will be intensified. I commend the bill to honorable senators. If they require any further information, I shall endeavour to supply it to them in the committee stage.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In committee :
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 (Act to bind States).
– I object in principle to this clause. The Constitution provides quit* clearly that, in the event of any State lawbeing at variance with a Commonwealth law, to the extent of such variance the State law shall be invalid and the Commonwealth law shall prevail. Thi.* clause represents a gratuitous overriding and denial of the rights of the States. If, as I suggested earlier, the States had been asked to co-operate, I am sure that the resultant agreement would have provided for a happier working of this most commendable project. It is because of the denial of the rights and interests of the States that I object to the clause.
– The Government considers that the clause is desirable and asks the Parliament to accept it.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 (The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority).
. - I do not want to harp unduly on this subject, but I point out that the clause provides that the commissioner shall be appointed by the Governor-General. In my opinion, the commission should consist of more than one person. It is quite fitting and proper that the Commonwealth, which will provide the bulk of the money, should have the major voice, but the States concerned should also have the right to appoint representatives to the authority which will have control of the Snowy Mountains project.
– The clause defines the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. Responsibility for the acts of the authority will be vested in one individual. The honorable senator is perturbed because the States that will be principally concerned in the scheme - Victoria and New South Wales - will not be represented so as to make a commission of three. Invariably, when three persons are appointed to * board or commission under such conditions, one member has to make all decisions because the other two are at variance. That third person acts as a referee and is obliged to make all final decisions. In this instance, the responsibility of the authority will be limited almost entirely to questions of design and construction and will not extend to matters of general policy. The proposed arrangement is considered to be more efficient than a board of three commissioners would be.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 8 (Associate Commissioners).
– My objection is somewhat similar to ‘the one that has been made by Senator O’Sullivan. In my second-reading speech, I said that it would be far better to have the full co-operation of the States than to place the Commonwealth in sole control of the hydro-electric scheme. Other honorable senators pointed out in reply that the Government had obtained the co-operation of the States. If that be so, would it not be a gesture of good faith to the States if the Commonwealth gave to each the right to appoint one of the associate commissioners? The Commonwealth would still have control of the project by virtue of having the right to appoint the commissioner.
– I point out to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) that the associate commissioners will probably be highly skilled technical officers. One will be an electrical expert, and the other an expert in water conservation and irrigation. The principal objection to the honorable senator’s proposal is that, if the associate commissioners were appointed by the States, they would be placed in the difficult position of having to try to serve two masters. The Government recognizes the interests of the States but considers that they will be best served as this clause proposes.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 9 to 18 agreed to.
Clause 19 (Power to enter land and take levels, &c).
– The clause provides that any person authorized by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority may - enter upon land (including land owned ox occupied by the Crown in right of a State)
I realize that the provision is included in the bill for administrative purposes, but, in view of the doubts entertained by South Australian citizens, to which I referred in the second-reading debate, I should like the Minister to inform me, if he can, whether the Government of South Australia has been consulted in connexion with this provision. What would happen if, in certain circumstances, the commissioner or any appointee of the authority had to go to South Australia or any other State apart from New South Wales and Victoria for the purpose of inspecting land, making surveys, taking levels, sinking bores, digging pits or examining soil! New South Wales and Victoria are specifically mentioned.
– The clause gives power only to the authority or its officers to enter upon land for the purpose of investigation.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 20 to 24 agreed to.
Clause 25 (Power to borrow money).
– This is not the first occasion on which a provision of this description has been inserted in a bill. It is a provision whereby a statutory authority created by the Commonwealth may borrow money on overdraft on the security of the Treasurer. That is bad in principle. It may be overlooked if the amount ‘contemplated is only a few hundreds of pounds, or a thousand pounds, or perhaps tens of thousands of pounds, but here the amount initially contemplated is £200,000,000. Rising costs and long delays may occur before the project is completely developed. Many hundreds of millions of pounds may be involved. If this provision is permitted it. will enable this authority to obtain all of that money without any reference whatsoever to the Parliament. That 1» a very vicious principle. There should be a limit upon the amount that the authority may draw on its overdraft account on the guarantee of the Treasurer. The Parliament alone should have the right to say what the amount should be, and the right to increase the amount if necessary. Under the clause as it now stands any amount may be spent on this project without any reference to the Parliament. That is very, very vicious. We shall be walking out on our job as custodians of the people’s rights if we allow this provision to remain.
– One would think from Senator O’Sullivan’s comment that a new order had been introduced. This clause makes it very clear that the authority has no power to raise loans for its works, except with the authority of the Treasurer. This may be done by nearly all commissions of this kind. It will not, on its. own account, be able to arrange loans as is done by certain State instrumentalities. The clause gives the Government an overall control of the authority. It protects the Government and the taxpayers of this country. This commission will not even be able to float its own loans, as is done by the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board in New South Wales, and by other similar State instrumentalities. Yet Senator O’Sullivan suggests that at the outset we should cripple the commission which will control this huge scheme. I am sure that.no further safeguards are necessary.
– The Minister misunderstands me entirely. I raised a similar objection in connexion with the Australian Shipping Board. It may be remembered that prior to the advent of the Labour Government, and until these instrumentalities had the right to get money from the Treasurer, there was a limit on the amount that they could draw without parliamentary sanction. I have no desire whatever to hamper this project through lack of finance, but I think that it should be under the control of the Parliament, not the Treasurer. Hundreds of millions of pounds may be spent without reference to the Parliament. . If the expenditure is necessary, by all means let the money be spent, but the Parliament not the Treasurer should have the authority.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 26 to 32 agreed to.
Clause 33 (Authority in execution of works to do as little damage as possible).
– The clause deals with the resumption of land. Doubtless very extensive areas will be resumed in connexion with this project. Land will have to be resumed compulsorily because much of it will eventually be under water. Probably some of the land in New South Wales will be old holdings that have been settled for many years. In connexion with compulsory resumptions of this type, where the land is put out of use altogether, is it proposed to give any specially higher value for resumption than in normal cases when land is resumed for other purposes?
– Sub-clauseI provides that the authority shall carry out this work in a manner that will cause a minimum amount of inconvenience and damage. This provision has been inserted’ because the area in which the authority will work, whilst largely mountainous, and relatively unimportant from an agricultural point of view, is nevertheless a major scenic and tourist attraction.
– There are several townships in the area.
– The main part of the clause provides for compensation to be paid by the authority for any damage caused in carrying out its works. This provision follows the lines of similar provisions in other legislation. I do not know why the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) considers that people whose land in those areas is resumed should be paid compensation at a higher rate than normally.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 34 to 41 agreed to.
Senator O’SULLIVAN (Queensland) part of the preamble which purports to bring this bill within the provisions of the defence power. In my opinion it is a gross abuse of the defence power. Furthermore, it would probably be open to serious challenge by the States at any time. Again I urge that this project be undertaken in collaboration with the States’, and not in the attempted and purported exercise of the defence power. There is no conceivable way in which the State right can interfere with the valid exercise by the Commonwealth of its defence power. The scheme would be given a much happier commencement if the Government did not purport to undertake it under the Commonwealth’s defence power. When I was speaking previously, Senator Nash said that I was a “ State-righter “. Apparently, like Alice in Wonderland, the honorable senator makes words mean what he wants them to mean. I do not know what he means by the term “ State.righter “. I am a federalist. That term has a definite and historic significance. I believe that the Australian Government has its proper functions, whilst the State Governments also have their proper functions. A matter of development is not essentially one to be undertaken under the Commonwealth’s defence power; it is a matter for the States. As the Australian Government is now practically the sole taxing authority it has a duty to finance projects of this kind, and for that reason I agree that it should have a major voice in the control of them. However, this project should be undertaken by the Australian Government in the capacity of a partner with the States.
– Senator O’Sullivan persists in his claim that under this measure the Government is having recourse to the Commonwealth’s defence power to the disadvantage of the States. He contends that the project should be undertaken on a basis of co-operation with the States. I should like to know when the Opposition parties decided that the responsibility for providing for the defence of this nation should be split up among the States. That is what the honorable senator has suggested. This Parliament has always had to accept full responsibility for the defence of this nation. Having regard to the importance of electric power in relation to modern weapons of warfare, this project is essential to th, future defence of the country. It is more closely related to defence than to th» State rights about which the honorable senator has had so much to say.
– I simply wish to dispel th* misunderstanding which the Minister fo* Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) ha* caused. My point is that the presence or absence, of certain words in the pre amble of the bill does not add one tittle to the power of the Australian Govern ment under the Constitution to under take a project of this kind.
Preamble agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Ashley) - by leave - agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for as act to provide, in the interests of defence, for the maintenance of stocks of liquid fu*l within Australia.
Bill presented, and read a first time..
Motion (by Senator Ashley) put -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the bil) being passed through its remaining stage* without delay.
– There being an absolute majority of the whole number of senators present, and no dissentient voice. I declare the question resolved in tha affirmative.
– I move-
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of the bill, as its title implies, is to provide, in the interests of defence, for the maintenance of stocks of liquid fuel within Australia. Prior to the last war it was the custom of oil importers to keep large stocks of motor spirit in Australia. Those stocks usually amounted to from two to three months’ requirements at seaboard, with further stocks at inland depots. During the operation of the National Security (Liquid Fuel) Regulation the Commonwealth had the ability to regulate the quantities which could be withdrawn from bond and distributed for consumption. As the result of the judgment of the High Court on the 6th June, 1949, declaring the Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act 1948, to be invalid insofar as it purports to extend the operation of the National Security (Liquid Fuel) Regulations, the power of £he Commonwealth in relation to motor spirit and other liquid fuels is restricted to control over importation, and this power does not include the power to impose legal duties in relation to internal consumption and use of the imported product.
Stocks of motor spirit held at seaboard in Australia in 1948 were, at one stage, less than one month’s rationed consumption, and over the year averaged only sufficient to provide for five and a half reeks’ consumption under rationing. It is conceivable, therefore, that with no restraint on withdrawals from bond or on consumption, stocks could become reduced to a level which would imperil the safety of the Commonwealth in the event of an emergency arising. The Defence Committee, comprising the chiefs of staff of the three services and the Secretary for Defence, gave urgent consideration to this matter following the termination of petrol rationing and has recommended, from the defence viewpoint, that the Government should take whatever steps are needed to ensure that adequate reserves of liquid fuel shall be held in Australia at all times to meet the requirements of the fighting services and essential civilian services in a national emergency, and should, if necessary, introduce legislation for this purpose. The Defence Committee also made recommendations as to the minimum holdings of aviation spirit and motor spirit which it considered necessary, and advised that consideration should be given to the provision of reserve holdings of other liquid fuels.
The bill gives effect to the recommendations. It will not impose any hardship on oil importers, as in the case of motor spirit at least, the quantity proposed to be required to be held is less than actual holdings on the 31st May last. In any event provision is made in the bill that an importer who is required to hold stocks by reason of this bill shall be entitled to fair compensation by the Commonwealth in respect of any loss suffered by him thereby. The bill is a logical sequel, entirely in the interests of the defence of the Commonwealth, to the loss of safeguards which the Government hitherto held under National Security Regulations.
.- There i» no doubt that the purpose of the bill is to maintain stocks of liquid fuel in Australia, but neither the bill itself nor the second-reading speech made by the Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) contains anything to show that it is necessary in” the interests of defence. It is becoming a practice with the Government to relate the purposes of measures to defence needs. It did so in respect of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Power Bill, which the Senate has just passed1, and also in respect of the Shipping Bill, which was passed last session. It would appear that the Government resorts to that practice in order to bolster up certain classes of legislation and to discourage any one from challenging such legislation in the High Court. The primary object of this measure is to surmount the difficulties occasioned by the hesitancy of the States to re-impose petrol rationing. The maintenance of liquid fuel stocks may be necessary to maintain essential transport services during the very grave industrial unrest which now exists. If the bill were introduced1 for that purpose, its introduction would be very laudable; but the Government is attempting to camouflage its purpose by relating its objects to defence.
The Minister said that it is most essen*tial that stocks of liquid fuel be maintained in this country for defence purposes. If this measure has really been introduced for that purpose, the Government must have in mind a potential enemy. Has information come into possession of the Government that Australia is likely to be attacked ? If so, the Minister should take the Senate into his confidence on that point and let us know exactly what we are to expect, and he should inform us who is our potential enemy. However, the real object of the measure is to reintroduce petrol rationing through the petrol companies. Has Australia’s position from a defence point of view become grave since the 6th June, on which day the High Court declared the petrol rationing regulations to be invalid ? The following day the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), apparently panic stricken, issued’ a statement that chaotic conditions would develop if the States did not reintroduce petrol rationing. Up to date none of the States has done so.
– -We are not yet at the end of the road.
– Permit me to develop my argument in my own way.
– I am merely trying to assist the honorable senator.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Courtice) is quite at liberty to place his views before the Senate at the conclusion of my speech, but in the meantime, I shall develop my argument in my own way. The Government stated that it feared that panic buying of petrol would develop, and the Prime Minister said that when petrol rationing was terminated by the recent decision of the High Court he feared that every one would be rushing to purchase petrol. The fact is that although a certain amount of excess petrol was purchased, there was no panic rush to buy it. Is Australia more vulnerable now than it was a few weeks ago ? At that time the general manager of Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited despatched telegrams to his agents asking them to increase the sales of the company’s petrol. The Australian Government owns more than half the shares in that concern, and had the Prime Minister desired to do so, he could, on behalf of the Government, have persuaded the firm to change its policy. It is quite clear that at that time the general manager of the firm believed that there was adequate petrol in the country to meet requirements, and that he would not be doing any harm by promoting the sale of his company’s product. Adequate resources of liquid fuel can be provided in two ways. Companies can be compelled to hold their present stocks and ration the sale of petrol to private motorists, or the Government can import larger supplies of petrol. If the emergency is so groat, the Government should not hesitate to increase the supplies of petrol in the interests of national defence.
– How does the honorable senator suggest that the Government should pay for it?
– I am coming to that. Perhaps the Minister can explain why the Government refused the offer made to it to supply 30,000,000 gallons of liquid fuel from a sterling area in British tankers. The sterling would be paid in London, with no dollar tags attached. As honorable senators are aware, any request to convert sterling currency into dollars must be approved by the British Treasury, which has power to reject any such application. If the present emergency situation were so grave that our security was endangered, surely the Government would have taken advantage of the offer of 30,000,000 gallons of petrol. I point out that at the present time Britain is supplying to Argentina 5,700,000 tons of petrol.
– In order that it might obtain a little meat for its people to eat.
– The fact is that Great Britain is supplying that petrol to Argentina.
– The fact is that the Leader of the Opposition has not given the matter any real consideration.
– The real point is that the Government alleges that under the defence power it is entitled to conserve petrol stocks, and that the present emergency that confronts us is so great that it is entitled to “ freeze “ stocks of petrol. I am demonstrating the ‘falsity of that contention by pointing out that adequate supplies of petrol from sterling areas are available to the Government, and informing the Minister of one source from which it can obtain a very substantial quantity of petrol. If the emergency which confronts us is so great, why should not Great Britain divert to Australia some of the petrol which it is selling to Argentina ?
– Great Britain is> doing all it can, and it is up te Australia to assist that country.
– The Minister is1 obviously not following’ my argument. That argument is concerned with the fact that the Government’s proposals are based on its defence powers. If petrol is so urgently needed, why does not the Government obtain it from some such source as- that which I have mentioned? It is- perfectly clear, however; that the Government does not contemplate the occurrence- of another world war, and that the petrol stocks which will be “ frozen “ by this measure are not required for the defence of this country. If the Minister- were honest-
– I rise to order. I resent the implication contained in the remark of the Leader of the Opposition that I have not been honest.
The. PRESIDENT. - The Minister resents the remark made by the Leader of the Opposition, and I ask the honorable senator to withdraw it.
– If my remark is objectionable to the Minister, I withdraw it. However, I suggest to him that the reason for the introduction of this measure is that petrol stocks are required for civilian reserves in the national emergency that has- been precipitated by the coal strike, and that that emergency is in no way concerned1 with the defence of the country. Whilst it is quite right that the Government should conserve petrol, stocks for the community at a time of such emergency and that it deserves the support, of. the Opposition in doing so, there is no reason why the Government should: adopt the subterfuge of invoking the defence power to do so. Since this legislation may be challenged in the High Court; I ask. the Minister whether the Government has sought the opinion of the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) c:n its validity. Does the AttorneyGeneral suggest that- the Government could1 sustain this legislation, which is based on the need to provide for the national defence? I fear that the result of any such challenge would be similar to the judgment in the recent petrol rationing case. If the Government desires to accumulate stocks of petrol to tide it over the present period of industrial disturbance, let it say so. There is no reason why it cannot obtain sufficient petrol from sterling sources. I repeat that, if the emergency were so great, the Government could have persuaded the British Government to divert to it some of the petrol which is being sold to foreign countries, including, former enemies. I believe that a certain amount of sterling petrol is now finding its way to Italy. In the philosophy of the Australian Country party, the end never justifies the means and, however laudable the object, it cannot be condoned, if the means of achieving it turn out to be illegal. I have no desire to obstruct the Government in any way in achieving an early solution of the coal strike or in alleviating, by whatever means possible, the suffering of millions of Australians as a result of that strike. However, these things can be achieved in an ‘ entirely legal manner by suspending the import regulations relating to petrol. At least, that is my view, and it will remain my view until the Government offers more cogent reasons for its present actions under the defence power.
. I’ have just heard the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) make one of the most amazing statements that I have ever heard in this chamber. He inquired why the Government should desire to conserve petrol for defence. Is it not obvious to any one that the Government must provide sufficient oil fuel for at least a portion of its defence forces in case an emergency should, arise? The Leader of the Opposition must be aware of the important part played by aircraft during the recent war, and the crippling effect which a shortage of oil fuel would have on our armed forces generally. If our defence services are to operate effectively, sufficient oil fuel must be available to them. That should be perfectly obvious to the Leader- of the Opposition, who was a soldier during World War I., and was a member of the Parliament during World War II. He ought to realize the gravity of the present international situation and the need to supplement our stocks of liquid fuel.
– I aim to obtain more petrol for Australia.
– The economy of Great Britain is in an even worse position than that of Australia in relation to dollar supplies. To enable us to obtain more petrol, the Leader of the Opposition has suggested that we should seek some of the petrol which Great Britain is selling to Argentina in order to obtain food for its people. He suggests now that Australia should have more petrol, and that as a consequence, the British people should go hungry. The honorable senator has also argued, as has the Leader of the Australian Country party in the House of Representatives (Mr. Fadden), that petrol could be imported from other sources. He said that additional supplies had been offered to us by the Bahrein Petroleum Company Limited. That organization, however, is an entirely American company, which has its head office in New York, and 90 per cent, of its products must be paid for in dollars. To obtain that petrol, we should have been required to pay dollars, and thus deplete the Empire dollar pool. Are we to continue to assist Great Britain or are we not ! Are we to sever our connexion with Great Britain and the other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations in this time of crisis? Are we going to stick to them or desert them? I have known members of Parliament to desert a political ship when they thought it was sinking; are we, as members of the National Parliament, to desert the ship in the hope that although it sinks we shall be able to float on part of it? That was the argument advanced by the Leader of the Opposition. Just imagine a man who has been for nearly 20 years a member of the National Parliament, and who claims to be one of the outstanding Britishers in this country, paving that we should desert the Empire ship!
– I rise to order. I have never said that I would desert the shin, and I ask that that remark be withdrawn.
THE PRESIDENT. - Order ! The honorable senator will have an opportunity to make a personal explanation later.
– I submit that I have placed the only possible interpretation on the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition. The honorable senator knows that if Australia consumes more petrol, there will be an increased drain on the Empire’s dollar resources. If ho reads the newspapers at all - and I remind him that they are not Labour newspapers - he must know that the dollar situation as becoming more serious than it has ever been since the cessation of hostilities. He must know too that the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) has been asked whether he will attent the urgent conference that has been called to deal with the dollar situation. Any further demand that we make on the dollar pool must inevitably increase Great Britain’s economic difficulties. An adequate reserve of petrol in this country is necessary for defence purposes. No one can tell when there will be a flare up in th* international situation. Many million* of gallons of petrol have been used in the Berlin air-lift in an endeavour to prevent another bloody war. Therefore, how can the Leader of the Opposition claim that it is not necessary to maintain a reserve of petrol in this country for defence purposes?
– I did not say that I said it was necessary to increase reserves.
– Even if stock* cannot be increased it is essential that we should take some steps to conserve the small quantities that are already in thi* country.
– That is what I have been urging.
– If those steps are not taken, the existing small stocks will be completely drained. The purpose of this bill is to ensure the maintenance of adequate supplies for defence purposes. The defeat of this measure would mean that within a few weeks there would not be any petrol in this country at all. la view of the deterioration of the dollar situation, Australia is unlikely in the future to obtain even the limited quantities of petrol that have been imported in recent years. If the Leader of the Opposition believes that defence stocks should not be maintained, let him declare himself by calling a division on the second reading of this measure.
. -The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) has apparently overlooked a very important part of this measure. Tha Minister said in his second-reading speech -
Stocks of motor spirit held at seaboard Ju Australia in 1048 were at one stage less than une month’s rationed consumption, and over the year averaged only sufficient to provide for five and a half week’s consumption under rationing. It is conceivable therefore that with no restraint on withdrawals from bond or on consumption, stocks could become reduced to a level which would imperil the safety of the Commonwealth in the event of an emergency arising.
That would be a desperate position for »ny country to be in. The Leader of the Opposition referred to the possibility of importing Ampol petrol into this country for sterling, but I draw attention to a statement recently made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) on that point. On the 16th June, the right honorable gentleman said in the House of Representatives - . . although payment for oil supplied from Bahrein is initially made in sterling, the Bank of England subsequently has to provide dollars to meet the dollar obligations incurred by the supplying company, the Bahrein Petroleum Company Limited, so that petrol supplied from Bahrein is, in fact, 90 per cent, dollar petrol.
The Leader of the Opposition knows that the United Kingdom is passing through the greatest economic crisis in its history, and that how the Homeland will emerge from that crisis depends upon the assistance that is given by other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations in the conservation of dollars. In his statement on the 16th June the Prime Minister also said1 -
To summarize the Government’s view of the position it is necessary because of the seriousness of the general dollar position, to continue to place restrictions on the quantities of petrol and other petroleum products that may be imported into Australia. This can be done by the Australian Government, but. in view of the High Court’s decision, the constitutional position ie now such that action to ensure equitable internal distribution of the limited supplies available can be taken only by the States.
Defence is a Commonwealth matter and the object of this bill is to ensure that an adequate stock of petrol shall be maintained in this country for defence pupposes, or for use in the event of an emergency. I was surprised to hear the Leader of the Opposition oppose this measure, because he knows that the Commonwealth must have power to enforce the holding of reserve stocks. At present it has no such power. I deplore the fact that this measure is being opposed on the ground that the Commonwealth is endeavouring to use its defence powers for purposes other than those stated in the bill. It has been pointed out that the conservation of petrol means the conservation of dollars, and that, in turn, the conservation of dollars may mean the difference between the solvency and bankruptcy of the United Kingdom and perhaps other sterling countries. If we can assist in any way to conserve dollars, and at the same time, ensure our own security by maintaining adequate petrol stocks in this country, we should do so. If we do not do that we shall be recreant to the trust that the people of this country have reposed in us. I commend the bill.
– in reply - lt is common for the Opposition to draw red herrings across the trail in the interests of the private industrial monopolists of this country. It is significant that the major oil companies are concerned in this matter. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) said that no reason for the introduction of this measure was given in my second-reading speech; but surely he is willing to place some reliance on the opinion of the Defence Committee which includes the Chiefs of Staffs of the three services and the Secretary for Defence. The honorable senator also alleged that the purpose of this measure was to get around the difficulty caused by the hostility of the States to the re-introduction of rationing. I deny that emphatically. The purpose of the measure is to ensure that adequate petrol stocks shall be maintained for the defence of this country. This Government does not propose to let Australia drift into a position of defence unpreparedness as an anti-Labour government did in 1939. This Government is not concerned with the interests of the oil companies. We realize, of course, that the price of petrol can vary and that the oil companies may be unwilling to build up substantial stocks in this country lest there be a fall in the price. Therefore, a measure such as this is necessary to ensure that adequate stocks shall be maintained so that we shall not be at the mercy of the oil companies. There is more behind this than meets the eye. The Opposition reminds me of a fowlyard. A fowl cackles in one corner and that is echoed by a cackle in another corner. The Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) has been bleating all over the country about petrol rationing. He has been complaining ever since I refused permission for the movement of a bus from Melbourne to Queensland for one of his friends. Rationing was in operation at that time yet the right honorable gentleman wanted me to provide from 100 to 150 gallons of petrol for that purpose. That is why the right honorable gentleman has been so hostile to this Govern^ ment’s efforts to conserve petrol for the defence of Australia. The Government realizes its responsibility to provide for the defence of Australia. The Leader of the Opposition said that shipping had no relation to defence. When disaster overtook us during World War II. and Japanese forces were pressing south to-r wards Australia, as the result of the policy of the conservatives and the country party we had no shipyards in operation. Existing yards had to be restored and expanded and new yards had to be constructed. This Government recently gave effect to legislation designed to retain our shipyards and maintain shipbuilding activity, which has an important connexion with defence. The Leader of the Opposition sniggered to-night because the Government had taken that course of action and also had decided to conserve adequate stocks of petrol for defence purposes. He also criticized the Government for using the defence power of the Commonwealth in order to introduce the Snowy Mountains project, one of the greatest undertakings that this country will ever know and which will create more prosperity and do more to develop Australia than any other single work.
– I rise to order, Mr. President. Is the Minister in order in referring to another bill?
– The Minister will continue his speech.
– The Leader of the Opposition has been briefed by the oil companies. That is made obvious by the language that he has used and that which has been used in the House of Representatives. The oil companies are discontented about the quotas that have been allotted to them and some of them have been trying to outdo one another. They have briefed the Leader of the Opposition to put their case here to-night, and he has supported their case in preference to voting for the adequate defence of Australia. This bill is necessary to protect the liquid fuel stocks of Australia for the reasons that I have stated, and I ask honorable senators to accept it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
– by leave - I wish to make a personal explanation. The Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) stated that I had been briefed by the big oil companies to put their case in the Senate. I think that the Minister made the statement in the heat of the moment; but I wish to state that I have no connexion with, have not been briefed by, and have not been approached in any way .by any oil companies, major or minor.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives without amendment.
Motion (by Senator Ashley) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to Wednesday next, at 3 p.m.
Parliamentary Library: FL0013 Covering.
Motion (by Senator Ashley) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I direct the attention of the Senate to the state of the carpet in the Parliamentary Library. Several people, including myself, have had to negotiate a hazard in the library to-daybecause the floor covering there is longoverdue for renewal. I asked the housekeeper whether he could repair it, and he told me that he was continually repairing it. As far as I can see, the only remedy is renewal. From what I have been able to ascertain, a new carpet was requisitioned for the library two years ago, and measurements were taken one year ago. The replacement is long overdue. The carpet has been patched and repatched until ragged portions of it which project constitute a serious hazard to persons who use the library. The carpet came into service 24 years ago. Honorable senators should not have to run the risk of tripping over the ragged patches whenever they visit the library for reference purposes. The situation would be excusable if there were a shortage of carpets, but beautifulcarpets are made in Australia and I cannot see why a new carpet should not be laid expeditiously. The delay should be investigated with a view to having the job done as soon as possible.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Tie following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. - 1949 -
Nos. 43 and 44 - Amalgamated Engineering Union and others, and Clothing and Allied Trades Union of Australia.
Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act - Regulations- Statutory Rules 1949, Nos. 35,37.
Lands Acquisition Act- Land acquired for Postal purposes -
Balwyn North, Victoria.
Burleigh Heads, Queensland.
North Albury, New South Wates.
Patents Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 36.
Superannuation Act - Superannuation Board - Twenty-fifth Annual Report, for year 1945-47.
Senate adjourned at 11.23 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 30 June 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1949/19490630_senate_18_203/>.