5 October 1949

18th Parliament · 2nd Session

TheSenate, on the 7th July, 1949, adjourned to adate and hour to be fixed by the President and to be notified to each honorable senator.

The Senate met pursuant to such notification.

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

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Assent to the following bills reported : -

Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Power Bill 1949.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Bill (No. 2) 1949.

Genocide Convention Bill 1949.

Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1949.

Liquid Fuel (Defence Stocks) Bill 1949. Cockatoo and Schnapper Islands Bill 1949.

Immigration Bill 1949.

War-time Refugees Removal Bill 1949.

Whaling Industry Bill 1949.

Census and Statistics Bill 1949.

Post and Telegraph Bill 1949.

Lighthouses Bill 1949.

Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Bill 1949.

Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Bill 1949.

Stevedoring Industry Bill 1949.

Supplementary Appropriation Bill 1947-48.

Supplementary Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill 1947-48.

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

– On the 6th July, Senator Finlay asked whether I would make a recommendation to the Treasurer that much larger sums of money than usual he allocated to the National Fitness Council to provide for the preparation of athletes to participate in the Oylmpic Games to be held in Australia in 1956. The Treasurer has furnished the following reply : -

The purposes of the National Fitness Fund are. to encourage the development of physical fitness and to promote physical education. The moneys ure expended largely on advice as to the organization and conduct of clubs end in the provision and training of qualified leaders. In this way the expenditure provides facilities of a permanent nature or influence to the broadest possible field in the community.

Expenditure of the fund in the physical training of individuals or even groups of athletes would merely confer a benefit on a limited few and is outside the purposes of the National Fitness Fund. The cost of the systematic preparation by means of special training programmes for these Olympic Games would appear to be the responsibility of the individual sports organizations or of a coordinating body of their number. The Government is not unmindful of the benefits which the Olympic Gaines to be held in Melbourne in 1950 will confer on Australia and has already made a grant of £1,000 to meet preliminary expenses.

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Senator MURRAY:

– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction aware that a disease known as brown rot threatens to destroy the apricot-growing industry in Tasmania? Have any requests been made by the State governments for aid from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, in conducting research into the .causes and prevention of this disease? If so, is there any information available concerning brown rot which could be passed on to the Tasmanian Department of Agriculture? If not, will the Minister give consideration to providing scientific help for an investigation into the means of combating this disease?

Senator ASHLEY:

– I regret that the Minister representing the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction is unavoidably absent from the chamber, although he is in Canberra at present. Therefore, I ask the honorable senator to place his question on the notice-paper.

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Senator LAMP:

– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture give the Senate any information about the marketing pf Tasmanian apples and pears during the coming season ? Will the Minister explore the possibilities of extending the present marketing arrangements for a further year?

Minister for Trade and Customs · QUEENSLAND · ALP

– I understand that negotiations are in progress with both Tasmania and Western Australia with a view to establishing an apple and pear marketing authority. I shall bring the honorable senator’s question to the notice of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture and arrange for a complete answer to be made available as soon as possible.

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new8papbb REPORTS

Senator LARGE:

– In view of the venomous opposition displayed towards the Australian Labour Government hy almost all Australian newspapers, will the Minister representing the Minister for Information endeavour to ensure that adequate publicity shall be given in this country to eulogies of the Chifley Administration, and of its 1949-50 budget, which appear frequently in the United Kingdom press? Although the London Times, the London Daily Herald and the London News Chronicle, have all praised the work of the Labour Government, I have not seen reference to those eulogies in Australian newspapers.

Minister for Supply and Development · NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– I shall most certainly convey the honorable senator’s request to the Minister for Information, hut I believe that I can say with assurance that the Government cannot guarantee that eulogies which we all know appear from time to time in the international press, will be reprinted in Australian newspapers. However, I do not think that matters very much because the Australian press has so overplayed its hand that the great power that it might have been able to wield as a formulator of public opinion has been destroyed.

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Senator ARNOLD:

– Is the Minister for Shipping and Fuel in a position to make a statement on the coal situation, and can he inform the Senate of the progress that has been made with the development of open-cut mines in New South Wales?

Senator ASHLEY:

– The miners have worked very well since the termination of the coal strike. Production has been satisfactory and just as good, I think, as at any other time in our history. The Joint Goal Board has been developing the open cut method of coal-mining for some time past, and that project is progressing as speedily as possible. The impediments to it, shortage of labour and shortage of machinery, are common to all industries in Australia at present. Large quantities of open-out machinery have been ordered abroad, and about £1,000,000. worth of such equipment has already arrived. Fresh consignments are continually arriving and being sent to the open-cut mines. I assure the honorable senator that the Joint Coal Board is doing everything possible to develop open-cut mines because it recognizes that this is the best means of exploiting coal deposits and is not so injurious to the health of miners as deep mining.

Senator COOPER:

– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Fuel what numbers of military personnel were engaged in open-cut mines during the recent coal strike. What was (a) the total output of coal from the open-cut mines during that period, and (7;) the output per manday? What was the output per man-day in the same mines immediately before the strike ? Was the Australian Workers Union asked to work those mines, and if not, “why not? What bonuses, if any, have been paid to members of the military forces for their work in the opencut mines?

Senator ASHLEY:

– A similar question was asked in the House of Representatives recently. I do not know whether the information is available yet, but I shall endeavour to have it in readiness when the Senate meets to-morrow.

Senator O’BYRNE:

– In view of tha discovery of a new open-cut mining field in Tasmania, can the Minister for Ship ping and Fuel inform me whether it is possible to have portion of the machinery now being imported by the Joint Coal Board diverted to that State for use in the development of the new field ?

Senator ASHLEY:

– I intend to take up with the Joint Coal Board the development of open-cut mining generally. I can see no reason why open-outs should not be developed in Tasmania, particularly should the coal available there he suitable for making gas because, at present, Tasmania obtains coal for that purpose from New South Wales. Another reason why we should develop open-cut mining is because that system of mining is more beneficial to those engaged in the industry. I have no doubt that if the Joint Coal Board can see its way clear to do so it will divert to Tasmania a portion of the machinery which it is now importing for open-cut operations, particularly as the Government of Tasmania desires to control coal-mining in that State under an arrangement similar to that now existing between the Australian Government and the Government of New South Wales through the instrumentality of the Joint Goal Board.

Senator MORROW:

asked the Minister for Shipping and Fuel, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that miners working in the Broken Hill mines have been “working a 35-hour week for over twenty years?
  2. Is it a fact that miners working in the mines in the State of Western Australia have been working a 35-hour alternative week for some considerable time?
  3. Is it a fact that the miners’ federation, on the 19th March, 1.048. lodged with the Central Industrial Authority a claim (No. 4) seeking a 35-hour week?
  4. Is it a fact Unit on the 21st May, .1948, thu miners’ federation lodged with the Coal Industry Tribunal a claim seeking a 35-hour week ?
  5. If the answers to the above questions are in the affirmative, why were decisions not given by the respective authorities to these long-standing applications ? (i. Is it a fact that the miners’ federation on the 21st May. 1948, lodged with the Coal Industry Tribunal a claim seeking long-service leave for miners?
  6. Is it a fact that that claim was rejected?
  7. Is it a fact that the executive of the miners’ federation was prepared to accept, in settlement of their claim lodged for long service leave, similar long service leave to that now in force at Wonthaggi ?
Senator ASHLEY:

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

  1. I understand that at Broken Hill a 35- hour -week applies, but this is not bank to bank. The men are lowered in the company’s time, but raised in their own time. I believe that as compared with the coal industry -the hours approximate 37* per week.
  2. In Western Australia the coal-miners work a 75-hour fortnight consisting ot ten days of seven hours per day and one Saturday of live hours. Average hours in Western Australia are therefore 374 per week. When the fortnightly hours in Western Australia were reduced from 80 to 75, rates of pay were also reduced proportionately. The present claim by the miners’ federation for a 35-hour week also demands not only that the rates of pay for shift workers shall be unaltered but that the rates for contract workers shall be increased.
  3. No. The Central Industrial Authority was not in existence on the 19th March, 1948.
  4. Yes. The 21st May, 1948, was the date upon which the miners’ federation asked the Coal Industry Tribunal to proceed with the hearing of the 35-hour week claim.
  5. The hearing was fixed for the 28th June, 1948, and actually commenced on the loth July, 1948. It proceeded in New South Wales and other States affected until the miners’ federation evidence was completed on the 11th May, 1949. The employers’ evidence commenced on the same day and the miners’ federation asked for an adjournment of the hearing on the 18th May, 1949.
  6. On the 21st May, 1948, the Coal Industry Tribunal asked the Joint Coal Board for a report on long service leave. This report was supplied and the question was listed for hearing on the 13th August, 194S. On that date the president of the miners’ federation said he would proceed with further argument but would indicate to the tribunal when he would be ready to proceed. The question was not raised again by the miners’ federation until the 2nd June, 1949, and the matter proceeded to hearing on the 0th June, 1949. The hearing was completed on the 9th June, 1949 and the tribunal was prepared to issue a draft award on the 14th June, 1949. Before this date the Central Council of the miners’ federation decided to proceed with aggregate meetings for the 16th, June.
  7. The claim was not rejected.

    1. The executive of the miners’ federation demanded that the claim should be granted under conditions not less favorable than those which applied at Wonthaggi.

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Senator RANKIN:

– “Will the Minister for Shipping and Fuel inform the Senate of the amount of the increased burden that has been placed upon the Australian people by the devaluation , of the English £1 in meeting the interest and sinking fund charges on loans made by the United States of America to the Commonwealth, the States, and semigovernmental bodies such as the Sydney City Council, the Sydney County Council, Victorian authorities, and the Brisbane City Council? Has any proposal been developed to alleviate the extra burden that has been thrown so unexpectedly upon the .States and semigovernmental bodies as the result of operations over which they had no control?

Senator ASHLEY:

– The question is rather involved, and the research that will be entailed in obtaining details of the burdens imposed upon government and semi-government bodies will occupy considerable time. If the honorable senator desires to have the information for electioneering purposes, I doubt whether I’ shall be able to obtain it in time. However, I shall endeavour to get the information as soon as possible.

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– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Fuel whether the Australian Government investigated the statement by a Victorian Cabinet Minister^ Mr. A. G. Warner, who is also managing director of Electronic Industries Limited, that he. could “ get all the petrol he wanted from Russia and rationing of petrol was not necessary “ ? If so,’ what was the result of the investigation? Oan the Minister inform the Senate whether it is thought possible that Mr. Warner’s statement was made with a deliberate desire to create doubts in the minds of petrol users as to the veracity of the Prime Minister and, at the same time, to give Mr. Warner an opportunity to partake of a helping of false political propaganda ?

Senator ASHLEY:

– Petrol has been a very hot subject in recent months. I understand that Mr. Warner, who is chairman of directors of Electronic Industries Limited, did say that he was able to get petrol either from Russia or from Poland. That, of course, would have involved dealings with Communists but Mr. Warner, like many of his conservative friends, is not reluctant to make use of Communists if he thinks that, by doing so, he can embarrass this Government. The Leader of the Australian

Country party in the House of Representatives, Mr. Fadden, also declared that Australia could obtain petrol from both Russia and Poland. However, after assurances had been given in the Parliament and in the press that the petrol was available, that tankers were ready to transport it, and that all that remained to be done was to secure the Government’s permission to proceed with the transaction, the company that was supposed to have arranged the deal appealed to the Government to assist it in persuading Russia and Poland to release the petrol. That situation has been fully explained in the House of Representatives. I doubt whether any reliable information is available concerning the availability of petrol in Russia or Poland for sale to Australia.

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Annual Pilgrimage of School Children

Senator NASH:

– Can the Minister for Shipping and Fuel inform me whether the suggestion that I made some time ago concerning an annual pilgrimage of school children from every State to Canberra was considered at the last conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers? If it was not considered, can the Minister inform me whether there is any likelihood of the proposal receiving consideration ?

Senator ASHLEY:

– I was present only on the first day of the last conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, and I cannot say whether that subject was considered. However, I shall make inquiries and will inform the honorable senator of their result to-morrow.

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Senator COOPER:

– Has the Postma ster-General read a report issued by the United Kingdom Information Service that during the last eighteen months telephones for farmers in the United Kingdom have ‘been installed at the rate of over 1,000 a month and that such increase of telephones in country areas has proved a boon to the British countryman and farmer? Will the Postmaster-General issue a statement setting out the number of additional telephones that have been installed in country areas in each of the States since the 1st January, 1949?

Senator CAMERON:
Postmaster-General · VICTORIA · ALP

– I have not read the ‘ report to which the Leader of the Opposition has referred. However, I intend to make a statement, possibly early next week, indicating the progress that has been made up to date, not only in the installation of telephones, but also in the construction of additional exchanges and post offices and dealing as well with other matters relating to postal and telegraphic services.

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– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Fuel whether the sums allocated last year from petrol tax revenue to the States for distribution to local-governing bodies for the construction and maintenance of roads in rural areas have been expended by those bodies. If so will the Australian Government consider making available increased grants to those bodies for that purpose in the current financial year? If those moneys have not been expended can the Minister inform the Senate of the unexpended balance of the allocation made to each State last year?

Senator ASHLEY:

– I am sure the honorable senator does not expect me to be able to answer his question off-hand. I ask him to put it on the notice-paper, and I shall obtain the information as soon as possible.

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– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport whether any progress has been made towards reaching agreement with the States concerned with respect to the standardization of railway gauges?


– While I cannot answer the honorable senator’s question in detail, I know that considerable progress has been made in negotiations with the Governments of South Australia and Western Australia. I shall bring the question to the notice of the Minister for Transport and supply the honorable senator with a complete answer as soon as possible.

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Senator MORROW:

– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether the price of jute has risen by 30 per cent, on the Indian market ? Is there any truth in the suggestion that wheat sacks will soon cost approximately 45s. a dozen landed in Australia? If the price of sacks is increased to approximately that figure will the Government, or farmers, be obliged to pay the difference?


– The price of jute has increased considerably during the last few years and the price of sacks has increased correspondingly. I shall bring the honorable senator’s question to the notice of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture and supply detailed information as soon as possible. However, I. can now inform the honorable senator that the increase of the price of sacks will be met by the users of the sacks, who will be the growers of wheat.

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Senator COOPER:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for “Works and Housing, upon notice - -

  1. Has the Minister seen n report by the British Ministry of Works that its special Held test unit lias, by the use of u special foamed slag concrete which can be nailed into place, developed a form of home building which it is estimated can save two-thirds of the timber formerly used for joists, flooring and roofing?
  2. Will the Minister investigate this process with a view to seeing whether it can he adapted for the construction of houses in Australia?

– The Minister for Works and Housing has supplied the following information : -

My department is aware of potentialities of tills material for the purpose mentioned and has informed me [vide a relevant extract from a. summary report of the British Ministry for Works published in June, 1949) of the developmental work being undertaken on this method of construction. Tests on the suitability of the material for home construction are, it is believed, still being carried out and you may lie assured that my department’s representative in London is maintaining constant liaison in this matter with the. Ministry of Works, field test unit. When final notes are received they will he made available to the Commonwealth Experimental Building Station, which will appropriately disseminate them. I might add that the use of foamed slag concrete for purposes other than housing is well known and well developed in England, where foamed slag is marketed by commercial firms as an aggregate. Foamed slag lias, of course, not yet been produced in Australia. You will appreciate in this regard that its full use would probably be economically restricted to areas reasonably adjacent to the centres of production because of the cost of transport, handling charges, &c.

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asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -

  1. As there are often important radio programmes on the air, such as the broadcasting of Parliament, to which air passengers may wish to listen, will the Minister inform the Senate as to the .possibility of installing radi i on Trans-Australia Airlines aircraft for the use of passengers ?
  2. If this is possible, will the Minister consider having this installation effected?
Senator CAMERON:

– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following answer : -

The Australian National Airlines Commission has advised that radio for the use <>f passengers was actually installed oil a TransAustralia Airlines Skymaster aircraft and operated over n period of twelve months on trial. Passenger reaction was carefully checked and was found to be predominant!)* unfavorable. Technical requirements were such as would have involved the carriage of an additional crew member to ensure satisfactory reception of broadcast programmes. The commission considers that chu value of the service does not warrant the reduction of pay-load capacity and the additional costs involved.

Senator MORROW:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that the chairman of the Joint Coal Boa I’d was given radio time over the Australian Broadcasting Commission network to explain the coal position as it appeared to him?
  2. Is it a fact that the miners’ federation also made an application for Australian Broadcasting Commission radio time for the purpose of enabling members to put their side of the case?
  3. If the answers to questions 1 and 2 are in the affirmative, why was the miners’ federation refused the same privilege as was granted to the chairman of the Joint Coal Board?
Senator CAMERON:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
  3. The matter of whether time should be made available for a broadcast by the federation was one for determination by the commission.

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Senator MURRAY:

asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister,upon notice -

  1. Has the Prime Minister seen the recent press reports which state that a large-scale flight of capital from Britain is now taking place?
  2. Is it a fact that Cow and Gate Limited, a large British dairy and baby food company, has recently bought out dairy and cheese factories in northern New South Wales: that Garfield Weston Limited, a large Empire baking chain,has bought out Gartrell White Limited, of New South Wales, and the Golden Crust Bakery in South Australia; that the London Daily Mirror has paid £500,000 for a controlling interest in the Melbourne Argus; and that other deals are being negotiated?
  3. If so, is the Government watching this position closely in order that the delicate financial position in Britain is not worsened, and that Australian capital reserves in Britain are protected?
Senator ASHLEY:

– The Prime Ministerhas supplied the following answers: - 1.there have been a great many press reports concerning recent developments in the United Kingdom financial situation. The Government is, however, not aware of any official basis for reports of any large-scale flight of capital from the United Kingdom.

  1. British companies are not required to obtain the consent of the Commonwealth to the purchase of a business or property in Australia or to give notice of such purchases. The information requested is therefore not available.
  2. The Government is in constant touch with the United Kingdom Government on the measuresto be taken to protect the external financial position of the United Kingdom and the sterling area. However, control of outward capital movements from the United Kingdom is primarily a matter for the United Kingdom Government itself.

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Senator TANGNEY:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -

In view of the appalling air tragedy in Western Australia on the 2nd July, will the Minister supply answers to the following questions : -

Are the DC3 aircraft at present being used by all commercial airways “over-age”? 2.Is it a fact that the two Douglas DC3 aircraft that were owned and operated by Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited and which crashed with loss of life, were the oldest planes operated by that company?

How old was the aircraft owned by MacRobertson Miller Airways which crashed on the 2nd July?

In view of the fact that all the aircraft which crashed with loss of life were Douglas DC3’s, will the Minister consider grounding all these and other aircraft which were constructed during the war years?

How many Douglas DC3 aircraft have been completely written off by the Taxation Commissionerand are still being used to convey passengers at the present time?

Senator CAMERON:

– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following answers: -

  1. An aeroplane such as the DC3 does not become “ over-age “ as the various component parts are replaced at specified periods which vary in accordance with the function of the part and the type of load carried.
  2. VH-ANK (Lutana) was constructed in 1942 and had flown approximately 10,000 hours at the time of the accident. VH-UZK (Kurana) was constructed in 1937 and had flown approximately 34,000 hours at the time of the accident. Many aircraft still operating are older and have flown more hours than VH-ANK and there are at least two older than VH-UZK.
  3. VH-MME which crashed at Guildford was constructed in 1942 and had flown approximately 9,000 hours. This is by no means a large amount of flying for a modern aircraft.
  4. No. The circumstances of recent accidents to DC3 aircraft are not considered to justify the drastic action requested.
  5. The Commissioner of Taxation is precluded by the secrecy provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1948 from disclosing information respecting the affairs of any person. Accordingly, he is unable to furnish the particulars desired. In any case, the Department of Civil Aviation fails to see any connexion between the safety of an aircraft and the extent to which it has been financially depreciated.

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Senator LAMP:

asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Whether, with a view to (a) advertising Australia and its national game of football in America as well as in the two northern States of New South Wales and Queensland, and (b) assisting the production of motion pictures in Australia, the. Government will consider (1) offering a substantial prize for a story suitable for a film centred around the Australian game of football, and (2) assisting financially in making the film?

Senator ASHLEY:

– The Prime Minister has advised that the Department of Information has already produced for the Australian National Football Council a highly successful short film on the Australian national game of football entitled,

High Mark That film is being presented to interested audiences in the United States of America by the Australian News and Information Bureau, New York, and has proved of considerable assistance to the Director of Athletics at Swarthmore University, Pennsylvania, Mr. Carl Dellmuth, who has introduced the Australian football .game to his own students and is attempting to have it adopted by other American universities with a view to arranging inter-collegiate fixtures. In addition to producing “ High Mark”, the Department of Information has made a record of all major phases of the game in still photographs for the information and instruction of learners, principally in America, but also in other countries. The department has also sent copies of the Australian National Football Code Rules Book to its representatives in America for distribution to directors of athletics at universities and colleges, to coaches and to other interested persons. In view of these positive efforts to publicize the game in the United States, it is not considered necessary at this stage for the Government to offer a substantial prize for a suitable film story built around the Australian game of football. The question of publicizing the game in New South Wales and Queensland appears to be one which can appropriately be left to the Australian National Football Council, which, I understand, has developed vigorous plans to that end.

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Benefits to Widows of Public Servants

Senator RANKIN:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation the following questions, upon notice -

  1. Did the Minister promise that the benefits applying to widows and dependants of exservicemen would also apply to the widows and dependants of former civil servants in New Guinea who lost their lives during the Japanese invasion?
  2. If so, are those widows and dependants receiving full benefits?
  3. If not, will the Minister see that an early adjustment is made so that those dependants will get the assistance to which they are entitled?
  4. Does some disagreement exist between the Departments of Repatriation and External Territories on this matter?
Senator CAMERON:

– The Minister for External Territories has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -

  1. Early in 1942, after the invasion of New Guinea by the Japanese, many of the public servants and other civilians of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea were detained by the enemy. It was first ascertained in October, 1945, after the surrender of Japan, that the majority of those people had lost their lives while held by the Japanese. Following full consideration of the circumstances in which those lives were lost, the Government approved, as a special case, of the New Guinea civilian war pension scheme. The approval of the Government provides for the rates and conditions of eligibility for pensions to dependants under this scheme to be determined linder similar conditions to those prescribed in the Australian Soldiers Repatriation Act. The grant of pensions was later extended to include full educational benefits applicable to children of deceased servicemen and the domestic allowance for widows with children, and any increases of repatriation pension rates have also been made available. The question of extending the New Guinea civilian war pension scheme to provide other benefits is still under consideration. 2, 3 and 4. Authorizations for the grant of benefits under the New Guinea civilian war pension scheme are necessarily a matter for the Department of External Territories, hut every assistance is received from the Repatriation Department, which actually arranges payment of all allowances. No disagreement exists between the Departments of Repatriation and External Territories on this matter and all benefits approved under the New Guinea civilian war pension scheme are being paid to the widows and dependants.

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Senator COOPER:

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

  1. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to an announcement by scientists of the Dairy Research Institute, Reading, England, that a few tasteless tablets of a new drug - L. thyroxine - has raised the average yield of each test cow by nearly five pints of milk daily?
  2. Will the Minister investigate the use of this new drug with a view to ascertaining the possibility of its use in dairy herds in Australia?
Senator ASHLEY:

– The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -

  1. Yes.
  2. A specialist officer of the Division of Animal Health and Production in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research

Organization, who is particularly interested in the use of L. thyroxine, is at present in England and lie will investigate the particular report mentioned by the honorable senator.

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Report or Public Works Committee

Senator LAMP:

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

Erection of a Wool Textile Research Laboratory at Geelong, Victoria.

Ordered to be printed.

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

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Act 11)48, Senator Brown and Senator Cooper be appointed trustees to serve on the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Trust.

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Senator LAMP:

– As Chairman, I present the reports of the Public Works Committee on the following subjects: -

Construction of a Sewerage Installation at Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

Erection of a Hostel for Officers at Darwin, Northern Territory.

Erection of a Primary School at Darwin, Northern Territory.

Erection of a Wool Biology Laboratory at Prospect, New South Wales.

Erection of an Automatic Telephone Exchange at St. Kilda, Victoria.

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

– I lay on the table the following papers : -

Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure, and Estimates of Expenditure for Additions, New Works, and Other Services involving Capital Expenditure, for the year ending 30th June, 1950;

The Budget 1949-50 - Papers presented by the Right Honorable J. B. Chifley, M.P., on the occasion of the Budget of 1949-50;

National Income and Expenditure 1948-49; and move -

That the papers be printed.

In his budget speech, the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) stated that, on the basis of exist ing rates of taxation, revenue in 1949-50 would be £532,600,000. This allowed for the reduction in rates of income tax and social services contribution which came into operation on the 1st July this year and was estimated to cost revenue £36,500,000 in a full year. Proposals are, however, made for certain reductions of taxes. Of these, the main items are -

Sales tax - reduction of the general rate from 10 per cent, to 8-J per cent., exemption of certain items and the transfer of certain other items from the maximum 25 per cent, rate to the new general rate of 8^ per cent.

Entertainments tax - reduction of rates by approximately 20 per cent, in regard to all classes of entertainments.

Primage - removal of duty from some 400 items and sub-items, mainly raw materials, semi-manufactured goods and industrial equipment.

Outside packages - abolition of customs duty and primage.

Passengers’ baggage - remission of duty on articles for personal use or gifts to a total value of £30 with a limitation on spirituous liquors and tobacco.

Ships stores - abolition of customs duty and sales tax on stores other than spirituous liquors and tobacco.

Aircraft stores - exemption from customs duty on aircraft trading overseas.

Radio valves - reduction of excise by ls. a valve.

Full details of those proposals are contained in legislation which will be brought before the Senate. It is estimated that their total cost to revenue will be £9,600,000 in a full year and £7,300,000 in 1949-50. The total expenditure in 1949-50 on the basis of existing legislation and commitments is estimated at £541,300,000. It is proposed to make a further grant of £10,000,000 to the United Kingdom Government in recognition of the further contributions which the United Kingdom will this year make to European revival, and as a measure of assistance to that country in its own great efforts towards economic recovery.

A special coal strike emergency grant of £8,000,000 to the States is proposed for 1949-50 and also an additional £1,000,000 under the Commonwealth Aid Roads and Works Act 1947-1948 for expenditure on roads in sparsely settled areas.

The Treasurer mentioned that under the formula embodied in existing legislation the tax reimbursement grants payable to the States in 1949-50 under the uniform tax scheme will amount to £62,500,000, an increase of about £8,750,000 over 1948-49. In all, payments to or for the States in 1949-50 will be approximately £101,000,000 - an increase of £22,500,000 over payments last year and £34,000,000 over 1947-48.

It is proposed that an amount of £6,700,000 representing a part of the balances in certain trust accounts shall be set aside in the War Gratuity Reserve which was established last year against the payments of war gratuities, which fall due mainly in 1950-51. This transfer will bring the balance in the War Gratuity Reserve to £36,800,000.

Taking into account the revenue and expenditure proposals which have been outlined, the total estimated expenditure in 1949-50 will be £567,000,000 and the total estimated revenue, £532,000,000. Thus there will be a gap of £35,000,000 to be financed from Loan Fund. The Treasurer called attention to the great improvement in national finances which had taken place under post-war conditions. He recalled that in 1944-45, the last full financial year of the war period, revenue had fallen short of expenditure by £266,000,000, which had to be borrowed.

In the four years since then -

Tax reductions have been made which, on present income levels, would be valued at £280,000,000 per annum.

Large outstanding war accounts, including the lend-lease settlement, have been met. £108,000,000 has been provided for repatriation and re-establishment of ex-service men and women. £184,000,000 has been found for interest and sinking fund on debt arising from the war.

Gifts totalling £35,000,000 have been made to the United Kingdom.

Contributions worth £30,000,000 have been made for the relief of wardistressed peoples.

Social services expenditurehas been increased from £39,000,000 a year to £81,000,000 a year and the National Welfare Fund has been built up to nearly £100,000,000. Social services expenditure this year is estimated at £100,000,000.

Annual payments to the States have been increased from £48,000,000 a year to £79,000,000 a year.

With proposals to be made in this budget, payments to the States in 1949-50, will be £101,000,000. £132,000,000 has been paid in subsidies to keep down the cost of living and to assist primary producers.

A post-war defence programme to cost £295,000,000 has been pushed forward, and great national works have been undertaken in the fields of the Postal Department, civil aviation and power development.

Whilst the budget has encompassed all these measures, the huge war-time gap between revenue and expenditure has been closed, and, in the past two financial years, no borrowing for current purposes has been necessary. Australia has been aided in these years by good seasons and export prices have been high. National income has increased and imports have flowed in strongly; but, as the Treasurer observed, the main key to this post-war financial achievement has been the fact that, throughout the whole period, full employment of labour has been maintained. Every available worker has had a job; every new worker has found a job ; and in June this year the number of wage and salary earners at work was 75,000 greater than in June last year and 720,000 greater than in June, 1939. More than anything else these basic facts explained why we have been able to throw off the burdens of war, reduce taxes, increase production, improve social services and find the way to our present strong financial position.

Senator COOPER:
Leader of the Opposition · Queensland

– I have had an opportunity to examine the budget speech and the budget itself, and I have come to the conclusion, that although there may bt- so:nc bright points in the Government’s financial policy, its main features appear to be a continuation of higher taxes and correspondingly high governmental expenditure. I should like first to associate the Opposition with the gift ‘ of £10,000,000 to Great Britain. We are fully in accord with that proposal. We know the great difficulties that the people of the Old Country have had to face and are facing at present, not through any fault of their own, but because of their tenacity in holding out, with the aid only of the Dominions, against the enemies of democracy in the early part of World War IT. During that period Great Britain’s world assets were liquidated and the country was reduced to its present unenviable situation. Therefore, the Opposition will support any generous gifts that may be made by this Government to the United Kingdom.

The budget holds out no hope to the harassed housewife, or the community in general, for any reductions of the cost of living or of the prices of building materials and other important commodities. Many thousands of Australians have been waiting for years to build homes, but they have been hampered by continuous shortages and high prices. It is very unsettling for young married couples to have their efforts to realize their ambitions frustrated at every turn. Even when they are able to secure the materials necessary for home building, they find that costs are almost prohibitive. For example, a house that would have cost £700 in 1939 now costs about £1,500 or £1,600. The Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) offered no hope in his budget speech that there would bc a reduction of the cost of living or even that the upward trend of prices would be arrested. He conveyed an impression that costs would rise to even higher levels during 1949-50. il could see nothing in the budget to give any encouragement to disabled ex-service men and women, whose pensions should be increased until they regain the comparative relationship with the basic wage that existed in 1920. The maximum pension, for disabled ex-servicemen in 1920 was about 80 per cent, of the basic wage. To-day the proportion is less than 40 per cent. Those men. and women are in a very serious situation as the result of the Government’s neglect of their numerous requests to restore their pension rate to its old relationship with the basic wage.

Senator Nash:

– Was it ever related to the basic wage?

Senator COOPER:

– The pension was not based on the basic wage, but we must try to link it with the purchasing power of money at some period during the last 30 years. The only fair way to do so is to relate the rate in 1920, when the pension was introduced, with the basic wage at that time. The pensioners were then satisfied with the rate that was paid to them. Costs have risen to an extraordinary degree since then, but the pension has not been increased, as wages and other pensions have been increased in accordance with basic wage increases.

Senator Nash:

– When was the proportion of 80 per cent, fixed ?

Senator COOPER:

– In 1920 the full pension for a disabled ex-serviceman represented 80 per cent, of the basic wage. To-day it amounts to only 31 per cent, of the basic wage. Those citizens who sacrificed so much in the service of their country, have a very strong case in favour of having the purchasing power of their pension restored to its original level. Age and invalid pensioners also have a just claim for relief from the continually rising cost of living. It is essential that individuals receiving such low incomes should be compensated for rising and inescapable costs.

Family nien must view the budget with despondency. They probably expected to obtain some measure of financial relief, such as an extension of child endowment to the first child in every family. However, the budget contains no such provision. There is no ray of hope for the thousands of public servants and employees of insurance companies, banks, and other big business concerns who subscribe to superannuation and retirement benefit funds. Many of them have been contributing to the National Welfare Fund since its inception, but they have been granted no consideration for their own efforts to provide for the future.

Senator Nash:

– Why was not child endowment made available for the first child in every family when the scheme was introduced by an anti-Labour Government ?

Senator COOPER:

– I am explaining how various sections of the community regard this Government’s budget. Honorable senators opposite are always bragging about the great volume of revenue that has flowed into the Government’s coffers during the last few years. The rate of flow has increased every year, and in some years the Government has had a surplus. I maintain that the people on whose behalf I am; speaking will say that, as the Government has had a consistently high income, it should have done something to help them in this budget. I can see no reason why disabled ex-servicemen should not receive as much now, in terms of purchasing power, as they received in 1920.

It is true that the Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) referred to a small measure of relief from the heavy burden of direct and indirect taxation, but that slight benefit is completely offset by rising costs. For example, the Postmaster-General’s Department recently increased charges for various services that are used constantly by the whole community. The cost of living has risen during the last quarter.

Senator Nash:

– That is because the Government has no power to control prices.

Senator COOPER:

– I expected that interjection, because it is a stock excuse used by honorable senators opposite. The fact is that an examination of cost of living statistics for the two quarters immediately prior to the prices referendum and the two quarters immediately subsequent to it, shows that a steady increase was maintained over the entire period. The increase during the first quarter of the current year was, in fact, less than the increase in the quarter prior to the referendum, when this Government had full control over prices. Therefore, the honorable senator’s assertion was incorrect. He can discard that bogy, although I have no doubt that he will try to make use of it during the election campaign. Statistics prove that it is not true to say that the cost of living would be very much lower than it is if the Commonwealth had retained prices control.

The rising cost of living is accentuated considerably by the degree of inflation that the Government has allowed to occur. The extraction by a government, of an enormous amount of money from, the national income is a well-known cause of inflation. The Treasurer hasestimated that the Government’s expenditure this year will amount to- £567,000,000. Although this is the fourth year since the cessation of hostilities in World War II., the Government’s expenditure continues to increase. The estimate for last year was £509,000,000, and, in fact, actual expenditure totalled £554,000,000. Using that as a guide, it seems likely that this year’s total expenditure will reach the £600,000,000 level. The Treasurer’s estimate of expenditure is usually exceeded. Estimated revenue for this year is £532,600,000. Last year, the estimate was £509,000,000, and collections actually amounted to £554,000,000. The Treasurer has probably decided in advance what he will do with any excess revenue. Our national income has increased to approximately £1,600,000,000 annually. The Government takes about 40 per cent, of that amount, or 8s. of every £1 of the people’s earnings.

Senator Nash:

– Who is called upon to pay most of that?

Senator COOPER:

– The community.

Senator Nash:

– What section of the community?

Senator COOPER:

– In 1939, when the national income was much less than it is today, only 15 per cent, of it wascollected in revenues by the Government. That proportion has increased progressively year by year until it now exceeds the danger mark of from 25 per cent, to 30 per cent. At the same time,, the degree of inflation in this country has increased in proportion to the percentage of the national income that hasbeen collected in Government revenues. In 1939, the note issue amounted toapproximately £50,000,000 and that volume of currency was sufficient to meet the general business requirements of thenation. I admit that since that year our population has increased to somedegree. At the same time, however, we- must realize that during the recent war a great strain was placed upon the note issue due to the presence in this country of hundreds of thousands of allied service personnel who received high rates of pay and expended their -income freely. Despite those facts, the volume of money in circulation during the war was only one quarter of the amount of approximately £200,000,000 in circulation to-day. That means that since 1939 the pocket money of the community has been quadrupled. The need for that increased volume of money arises from the fact that the purchasing power of the £1 has decreased considerably compared with its purchasing power in 1939. Unfortunately, that decrease of purchasing power has occurred during a period of boom revenues. To-day, the Government’s revenues represent 40 per cent, of the national income and, of course, it is quite natura] that a socialistic government will not expend the people’s money to the same advantage as the individual who earns the money would expend it. It is true that in terras of money, wages and social services benefits, such as pensions, are now higher than they were ten years ago; but in terms of purchasing power wages and social services benefits have decreased. Every householder who is confronted with great difficulty in balancing the family budget is aware of the rising costs of living. Unlike the Treasurer, the housewife is not in a position to raise unlimited funds by means of taxes. She has to balance her budget on the basis of the earnings of the family breadwinner.

When the recent war ended Australia was more favorably placed than any other country, with the exception of the United States of America, to change over from a, war-time to a peace-time economy; and in that respect our opportunities were, perhaps, equal to those enjoyed by the United States of America. The reason why we found ourselves in so favorable a position when the recent war ended was that with the exception of the damage caused by the Japanese raids on Darwin no da.mage had been caused to our mines, factories, shipyards or industrial undertakings. In addition, due to our peculiar position in the Southwest Pacific war zone, much modern machinery was sent by our allies to Australia for the manufacture of- war materials with the .result that we developed the most modern technique in all classes of industries under the guidance of specialists. Thus, at the conclusion of the recent war Australia was in a most favorable position to compete on the world’s markets in feeding a world that was practically on the verge of starvation. In addition, Australians themselves had available for expenditure great volumes of savings which they had accumulated during the war when they were not able to purchase the goods that they would normally require. Thus, conditions in this country were favorable to unlimited production. In those circumstances it was the duty of the Government to ensure that production was stepped up to the highest possible degree. Unfortunately, however, the Government did not take advantage of that opportunity, and it must now accept responsibility for letting that opportunity slip.

It may be asked why the Government failed to take advantage of that opportunity. It failed to do so because, flushed with victory at the polls, it was completely preoccupied in implementing its policy for the socialization of industry, production, distribution and exchange. With a hig majority in both the House of Representatives and the .Senate, the Government thought that the time was ripe to implement socialization which, of course, is the major plank in the Labour party’s platform. However, we do not hear quite so much talk about socialization to-day from supporters of the Government. With a general election approaching they are soft-pedalling on that plank of the Labour party’s platform. Ministers and leaders of the Labour party are going around the country saying that Labour will not socialize, or nationalize, industry unless the people give the Australian Government the power to do so. Nevertheless, after gaining a sweeping majority at the last general election the Government was prepared to ride roughshod over the people’s wishes in this matter. It commenced to do so by introducing legislation to nationalize the private banks, believing that it could completely nationalize those institutions before the next general election came round. However, we know that it failed in that objective because the High Court held its legislation to be ultra vires the Constitution and that decision was upheld by the Privy Council. But the Government has not given up the idea, of nationalizing the private banks. Its supporters who are quite honest with themselves will frankly admit that nationalization is still the first plank in the Labour party’s platform and that if the Government is returned to office at the next general election it will immediately endeavour to get round that decision of the Privy Council. The people should be made aware of that fact. I repeat that the first objective of the Labour party is the socialization of industry, production, distribution and exchange. That objective was endorsed by the triennial conference of the Labour party that was held in Canberra on the 28th September last year. It is interesting to note that paragraph 4 of the Labour party’s platform which deals “with nationalization enumerates the industries to be nationalized in the following order: - hanking, credit and insurance, monopolies, shipping, ^public health, radio services, and sugar refining. Therefore, it is clear that if the Government is returned at the next general election it will immediately make another attempt to nationalize the private banks. We know that it is going to nationalize radio services because it has already passed legislation giving it exclusive control over television.

In the industrial sphere, the Government has pursued a policy of appeasement of disruptionists. It has adhered to that policy in spite of the evidence provided by the experience of other countries that such a policy will ultimately lead to total industrial revolution. Thanks to that ‘policy, the communists have been enabled to infiltrate the trade union movement. They have captured important positions in many organizations. The Opposition parties repeatedly warned the Government that that would be one result of its appeasement policy. But the Government either ridiculed the advice or said that it knew all about it and that everything would be quite all right.

Senator Nash:

– This Government, knows how to govern.

Senator COOPER:

– I contend that it does not know how to govern. The Government also failed to deal with strikes and petty stoppages in the early stages. A strike was allowed to take place in the iron and steel industry. Although the Commonwealth Arbitration Court was divided on the matter the Government took no notice and allowed the strike to drift on until it was forced to take action, somewhat belatedly, by the general coal strike which brought the industries of this country to a standstill.

Senator Nash:

– That was a conspiracy of a political character.

Senator COOPER:
QUEENSLAND · NAT; CP from 1935

– It was only because industry came to a complete standstill that the Government took action. Had that action been taken three years earlier, production in the iron and steel and coal industries would not have been restricted, and we would have had a much higher rate of production in industry than exists to-day.

Senator Nash:

– That is not correct.

Senator COOPER:

– The Government was so obsessed by its desire for socialization that it lost touch completely with its real job of governing this country for the benefit of the whole of the people of Australia, rather than only one section of the people. In addition to losing an opportunity to develop the export trade, we have suffered a shortage of goods for our own use. That lag has not ‘been overtaken in the last three-years period.

Senator Nash:

– To what industries is the honorable senator referring?

Senator COOPER:

– In Western Australia alone, 3,000 miles of fencing are. required, but the necessary materials are not available. A survey conducted by a rural organization in Queensland showed the immediate need of primary producers in that State to he 7,000 tons of iron piping and 2,300 tons of bore casing for carrying out improvement to water supply installations, 10,000 tons of barbed and plain fencing wire, 5,500 tons of steel fencing posts, 2,000 tons of wire netting, and 5,000 tons of galvanized iron.

Senator Large:

– Their requirements ih ave never been satisfied.

Senator COOPER:

– I could cite similar particulars in respect of other States, but as I am a Queenslander, I prefer to confine my remarks to conditions in that State. I know what I am talking about in relation to the requirements of the “farmers in Queensland. They are able to procure -only one or two coils of fencing or barbed- wire each six months. If the Minister can do anything to relieve the shortage of bore casing he will earn the thanks of a big proportion of the Queensland farmers. Steel posts, also, are not available. These (materials are needed in order to provide facilities to assist to increase the production of food, so essential at present. In addition tractors, harvesters, combines, ploughs, trucks, and utility trucks are urgently needed. Stationary engines, also, are practically unprocurable. If Senator Nash were to get into touch with rural organizations in Western Australia he could very easily ascertain the requirements of the people in that State.

During the recent recess of the Parliament I travelled extensively in the back country of Queensland and spoke to many graziers who were pulling down internal fences in order to obtain wire with which to keep their boundary fences repaired.

Senator ASHLEY:

– Did the honorable senator call on some of the “ cockies “ - the “sma.ll fellows’’ ?

Senator COOPER:

– I spoke to many of the smaller farmers and graziers. They told me that they had had to take down internal fences and other installations in order to obtain urgently needed wire. I point out that the “small” men do not use immense quantities of these materials, and once a farmer starts interfering with subdivision fences his property suffers. It is far more difficult for him to ensure

  1. good drop of calves or lambs in large areas than in smaller paddocks where watering facilities have been provided ibr the economic handling and working of his property. This is retarding progress and putting the grazing industry back for many years. We all know of our responsibility to produce food, especially meat, for Great Britain. Owing to the devaluation -of sterling that country is at present in difficulties with Argentina about the agreed contract price of meat to be supplied from Argentina. It appears that Argentina intends to exact the last cent possible out of the devaluation of sterling. We should be doing everything possible in Australia to increase the production of meat in order to increase our exportable surplus. But because many of the materials that the graziers require are in short supply, they wre unable to increase the carrying capacity of their properties. In his article on “ Population and Meat Exports “, Dr. Clunies Ross stated-

Before the war, Australia exported about 13 per cent, of her total beef production, about 30 per cent, of her mutton and lamb, and 50 per cent. of her butter. With the necessity to feed some hundreds of thousands of United States servicemen in addition to providing a generous meat ration for her own troops, these surpluses dwindled rapidly, and, in spite of civilian rationing, the surplus of beef for export fell to about 2 per cent, of total production. To-day, Australia faces the likelihood of the same diminishing export surplus since, in place of a war-time invasion of allied servicemen, she is confronted with an influx of migrants on a. scale unparalleled in the history of this country. It would appear that, for some years to come, from migration alone our population will increase by at least 100,000 per annum, and probably for the next two or three years by as much as 150,000 or more. Natural increase may be expected to add another 75,000 to 100)000 so that the total increase could well amount to 200,000 per annum for at least tome years, and the prospect must be faced of the Australian population approaching 10,000,000 in ten to fifteen year.’ time. Given an increase of this order of magnitude, coupled with a return to pre-war *per capita levels of meat consumption, we shall, in the absence of rapid and continuing expansion of the live-stock industries, be unable to meet the needs of the British and world markets or even those of our own people. For example, in the immediate pre-war period, Australians were consuming 155 lb. of beef per capita, while total beef production was of the order of 530,000 tons. Meat consumption at this level by a population of 10,000,000 would require 080,000 tons, or 150,000 tons more than was available at the beginning of the war - or probably not loss than 120,000 tons more than is available to-day. While the situation with respect to mutton and lamb is not quite so critical, virtual disappearance of any export surplus may also lie envisaged under similar circumstances.

Dr. Clunies Ross is not a biassed politician, and has given us what he considers to be a true picture in relation to the meat industry in Australia at the present time. For many years I Lave thought that this condition of affairs would come to pass. I am very pleased that the population of Australia is expected to increase to 10,000,000 in from ten to fifteen years’ time. However, we must face the facts. Although there are huge pastoral areas in this country, considerable improvements will have to be effected if the carrying capacity of those areas is to be developed.

Senator Ashley:

– The honorable senator does not appear to have given any consideration to the Government’s proposals for the development of the cattle industry in the Northern Territory.

Senator COOPER:

– Although I give the Government full credit for those wonderful proposals, I point out that they exist only on paper. I want to see them advance beyond the blue print stage. Another wonderful proposal on paper is the Snowy River scheme. The Government knows that very little headway can be made with that scheme at the present time because of the shortage of labour and materials.

Senator Ashley:

– The present Government is implementing schemes, whereas the present Opposition parties, when they were in office, did nothing but talk about them.

Senator COOPER:

– Of course, we also know that the Government has blue prints for the development of the channel country in Queensland and of the Northern Territory. The point I make, which is also the view of Dr. Clunies Ross, is that if we are to increase production we must do more than prepare blue prints. We must begin at the beginning by providing the machinery and materials that are necessary for primary producers to operate and expand their activities. If the Government does that, then individual primary producers will invest their own money on their properties, and so develop the vast open spaces of this country. Indeed, they will make a far better job of developing the country than the Government, which takes their money from them for its own developmental schemes, can possibly do.

The Treasurer seemed to obtain great satisfaction from the increased revenue that he had extracted from the commu nity. It is true, of course, that the national income has increased, particularly during the post-war years; it is estimated that the national income during 1947-48 amounted to £1,600,000,000, which is a considerable income for a country with a population of about 8,000,000. However, in order to view these matters in proper perspective, it is necessary to examine the sources from which our national income is derived. Such an examination shows that whilst more secondary industries have been established, primary production has not increased proportionately. In respect of some communities the units of primary production, which are the real measure of comparison have actually decreased,, although it must be admitted that others have shown some increase. Furthermore,, the Treasurer rightly pointed out in thecourse of his speech that high pricesfor our produce could not be expected tocontinue, and that already there were signs of the .prices of our primaryproduce falling. The history of primary production in this country demonstrates clearly that very high priceshave always been followed by low prices. We are dependent very largely on thedemand for our produce in the markets of the world, and it is obvious that such high prices as 18s. 6d. a bushel for wheat and 100d. per lb. for wool cannot beexpected to continue. The price of wheat, wool and metals has already declined, although the price of wool recovered somewhat during the past few days because of the recent devaluation of sterling. An examination of the relevant statistics shows that the units of production of our primary industries have not increased since 1938. For instance, the total weight of greasy wool produced in 1938-39, which was not a good season, amounted to- 983,582,000 lb., and was valued at £47,000,000. Although the production of” greasy wool during the season 1947-4S- declined to 973,000,000 lb., we received £157,000,000 for it, which is an increase of approximately 400 per cent. It is obvious that such a substantial increaseof monetary return must contributegreatly to our national income. It must be borne in mind, however, that the national income does not represent thenet return to the producers of that wealth, because the Treasurer has to receive his “ cut “. The remainder is distributed to the producers, and most of it is spread through the community, .so that when the national income is high we all enjoy a measure of prosperity.

Turning to the comparative statistics of dairy produce, I select butter and cheese as good examples, because whilst the production of butter has decreased, the production of cheese has increased. The total weight of. butter produced in 1938-39 was 475,000,000 lb. and the total weight of cheese was 70,000,000 lb., a total production of 545,000,000 lb. But in 1947-48 only 362,000,000 lb. of butter was produced, whilst 93,000,000 lb. of cheese was manufactured, making a total of 455,000,000 lb. It will be seen, therefore, that the combined production of butter and cheese declined by 90,000,000 lb.

Senator Large:

– The decline was probably due to seasonal variations.

Senator COOPER:

– Whatever the cause, the decline was very considerable. Had such materials as barbed wire and fencing wire, bore casing and galvanized iron been available, I have no doubt that the production of butter and cheese, instead of having declined, would have increased.

Senator Nash:

– Can the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) tell us anything about the increased home consumption of milk?

Senator COOPER:

– I .admit that the home consumption of milk has increased, but that does not explain the serious decline of the production of butter and cheese. I refer the Senate now to the statistics of meat production. In J.93S-39, 1,253,000,000 lb. of beef and veal was produced, and in 1947-48 the production of those commodities amounted to 1,257,000,000 lb., which is an increase of only 4,000,000 lb. However, that small increase was more than offset by the decline of our total meat production, which includes also mutton, pork and lamb. In 1.938-39 the total production of meat of all kinds amounted to 2,163,000,000 lb., but in 1947-48 it declined to 2,111,000,000 lb., which was & decrease of 52,000,000 lb. I realize, of Course, that our population increased between 1938 and 194S, but I repeat that if materials that are still in short supply had been available to primary producers in sufficient quantity, and if the Government had taken positive action to develop this country, particularly the vast unoccupied tracts in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, our production of meat would have increased instead of having declined. Cattle require enormous quantities of water to maintain their condition, and water must be readily available to them. If stock have to travel considerable distances to water the mortality of their offspring is high, and their general condition suffers.

The production of sugar in 1937-3S amounted to 5,495 tons, but in 1947-48 it declined to 4,418 tons, which was a decrease of 1,077 tons. Turning now to wheat, whilst I admit that its production has increased, it cannot be denied that the increase has been most disappointing. The average annual yield from 1930-39 was 169,000,000 bushels. In 1939-40 it increased to 210,000,000 bushels, and in 1947-48, which is the peak year of wheat production, the crop amounted to 220,000,000 bushels. Although that crop was a record, it represents an increase of only 10,000,000 bushels over the crop of 1939-40. [Extension of time granted.”] Had machinery, including tractors, been available, the production of wheat would have been much greater. Our primary products, particularly wool and wheat have been bringing fantastic prices overseas. No one ever dreamed that prices would go so high. This flow of money from overseas has made a substantial contribution to our total national income, but in terms of quantity, production was approximately the same in 1947-48 as it was in 1938-39. The output of some items may have increased slightly, and that of others may have decreased; but, generally speaking, production has remained stationary. I appreciate that great strides have been made in the development of our secondary industries. Many new undertakings have been established, and the variety of goods manufactured in this country is much greater than it was before the war. That, as I explained earlier, is due to the fact that war-time factories, equipped with modern machinery, have now been leased to private manufacturers who are being encouraged to produce many commodities hitherto imported. Unfortunately, many of these goods are non-essentials which contribute nothing to the maintenance of essential industries, including the great primary industries, and those engaged in the building, furnishing and equipping of homes. Many commodities now being produced in this country may be described as luxuries.

Senator Ashley:

– To what commodities is the honorable senator referring?

Senator COOPER:

– One that comes to mind readily is ladies’ handbags. A brief examination would reveal many others. Those industries employ labour, and while they increase our national income, they do not produce materials for use in other more essential undertakings. There is a great need for expanded production in our basic industries. The population of Australia has increased. The Treasurer revealed in his budget speech that there are now 720,000 more people in employment than there were in 1939. The additional spending power in the community as a result of this expanded employment, even in terms of the basic wage, is considerable. It helps, also, to swell the national income. That is why I point to the danger of assuming that a high national income necessarily means that a country is prosperous. Money values can drop very quickly. The near future could easily bring a substantial decrease of the prices of our primary products on overseas markets. We can control prices in this country, but not overseas.

Production in our basic industries has not increased very much. Our entire industrial fabric depends upon the output of iron and steel. The Treasurer said that our manufacturing capacity had increased by 50 per cent. That may be ; hut are we producing to that capacity ? As far as I have been able to ascertain, production in the great iron and steel industries is only 70 per cent, of capacity. The utilization of the additional 30 per cent, that is available, would send production figures very much higher. Our heavy industries depend, of course, upon coal, the production of which is considerably below requirements. As soon as the war ended, the Government should have made a survey of Australia’s likely coal requirements, and then calculated the degree of open-cut production that would be required to supplement coal won from underground mines. Had that been done,, a start could have been made on the development of large scale open-cut production immediately. Unfortunately, noattempt was made until comparatively recently to exploit the vast quantities of open-cut coal now known to exist in Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania.

Senator Ashley:

– It was left to the present Government to discover and develop those resources.

Senator COOPER:

– The present Government must accept the responsibility for the coal shortage. It knew of our open-cut coal resources, but did’ not make any attempt to develop them until comparatively recently. That work could have been started at least three years ago. The Government must have known that underground production would not headequate. It would have been comparatively easy when the war ended to obtain all the heavy machinery required to undertake large scale open-cut production. The American forces had considerable quantities of that type of equipment in Australia and in adjacent territories. Naturally, it is much harder to obtain machinery now. Answering a questionearlier this afternoon, the Minister for Shipping and Fuel said that £1,000,000, worth of modern earth-moving plant had been ordered by the Joint Coal Board.

Senator Ashley:

– >No; plant valued at £3,000,000 has been ordered, of which £1,000,000 worth has already arrived.

Senator COOPER:

– Can the Minister inform the Senate whether that machinery has come from Great Britain or theUnited States of America?

Senator Ashley:

– I shall do so at the proper time.

Senator COOPER:

– I trust that the Minister will bear that matter in mind. I repeat that had the Government, threeyears ago, taken the interest in open-cut rnining that it is showing to-day, weshould now be producing some millions- of tons a year. Further, had the Government done its job thoroughly and ensured the smooth working of industry by enforcing arbitration decisions, there would not be the grave shortage of basic materials that exists in this country to-day.

Thora aru two open-cut coal-fields in Queensland, one in the Callide Valley and the other at Blair Athol. The latter has been in production for some years. It has ti coal seam of 90 feet, which, 1 understand, is the biggest of its kind in the world. Considerable attention has been devoted to this undertaking in the last eighteen months. Iiic Callide Valley field has come into prominence only recently. Here again we find dilatoriness. I understand that discussions were held not long ago between Queensland and Commonwealth authorities on the building of a railway lini; from the Callide Valley coal-field to thu r-oast. The Minister may argue that that is entirely a State responsibility, but 1 remind him that, since the imposition of uniform taxation, the Commonwealth has been the sole collector of taxes, and that the States are forced to seek Commonwealth aid for major undertakings such as this. I should like to know whether the negotiations to which I have referred have been completed, and whether Callide coal is to be produced in sufficient quantities to be of substantial benefit to Australian industry generally. At present it is being used in the City of Brisbane, particularly in the City Council’s electricity undertaking. It has to be transported by road from Callide to Gladstone on the seaboard where it is loaded on ships to be carried to Brisbane. This all means additional handling, and the cost of the coal , in Brisbane is £6 a ton. That, of course, means that the cost of electricity, not only to householders, but also to industry generally, is very high. In turn, production costs in industry are forced up, and the cost of living increases. The cost of Callide coal at the production site is very small, and full-scale production, with modern transport, should permit its sale in Brisbane at £3 a ton. The Government may have a blue print for the expansion of open-cut coal mines, but the project will probably never get beyond that stage.

The Senate has been gracious enough to allow me an extention of time, and I shall not trespass further upon its generosity. In conclusion, I say that the budget can only be described as depressing and unimaginative. It does not indicate how the Government intends to overcome the acute shortage of essential commodities, or to arrest the continuous rise in the cost of living.


– I welcome this opportunity to contribute to the debate on another budget presented by the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley). At- this time last year, we were promised that the next budget would be even more progressive than that then under discussion; that promise has been fulfilled. Listening to the criticism of the budget offered by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper), and to his repeated distortion of facts and figures, one realized just how anaemic is the political constitution of the Opposition parties. The Leader of the Opposition failed entirely to present a reasonable case. His final point was in relation to coal production, and it is on that subject that I shall speak first. Undoubtedly there is ample coal in the Callide Valley, at Blair Athol, and in many other parts of the Commonwealth. I remind the honorable senator, however, that, in all the years when governments of which he was a supporter held office, no effort was made at all to develop the coal deposits to which he has referred to-day. This Government was not unmindful of the fact that under its full employment policy, the development of secondary industries would lead to an acute coal shortage. The Labour party had to take control in 1941, when a government formed by the combined Opposition parties was unable to carry on after it had been given a mandate by the electors. The Labour party had not had control of this Parliament at any time between that date and 1914. As a result of the maladministration of the nation’s affairs by a long succession of antiLabour governments, we found, when World War II. ended, that there was a great shortage of man-power in essential industries. Proper development of those industries had never been contemplated before the Labour party came to power. But for that man-power shortage, our coal-fields would have become even more productive than they are now under the guidance of a Labour administration.

The Leader of the Opposition also kept in line with the policy of the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, Mr. Menzies, and the de facto leader of the Liberal party, Mr. Casey, when he shed crocodile tears for the people who could not obtain homes. I have warned the Senate on several occasions that honorable senators opposite are not sincere in their protestations of concern for the plight of homeless citizens. If they were sincere, they would tell the Parliament and the people the truth about the progressive programme that has been carried out by the various State governments in conjunction with this Government in order to provide the homes that were promised to the people in September, 1939. During the years when the anti-Labour governments that were supported by the Leader of the Opposition were in power, there was plenty of man-power, money and everything else that was needed for the building of houses. Nevertheless, in spite of the numerous appeals that were made to both. Commonwealth treasurers and State treasurers in those years, money was not released for the construction of private homes. I recall seeing four-roomed cottages in the slums of Collingwood, Carlton, Fitzroy and Richmond in which four or five families were crowded together. I have seen ex-servicemen of World War I. in country districts living in culverts and in brick kilns, which should have been used to manufacture materials for homes. Those people were told that there was no money available to finance the building of homes for the workers. I assure the Leader of the Opposition and the people of Australia that, in the very near future, homeless citizens will not only be able to obtain houses, but also will have every prospect of being able to pay for them. Under anti-Labour administrations the workers could not afford to pay for their homes, even if they were fortunate enough to obtain decent houses in which to live. This Government realizes that if there is any industry that will provide employment for all sections of the community, it is the building industry. Its recogni- tion of that fact has contributed largely to the success of its full employment policy. Anybody who cares to ride around any capital city, provincial city or country town can see plenty of evidence of the huge building programme that has been undertaken with the aid of this Government.

We on this side do not shed crocodile tears about the tribulations of the workers. We are sincere, and we believe that the people should he properly housed and fully employed. That is why we are carrying out the promises that were made to the people in 1939 by anti-Labour governments which never intended to fulfil them. The Leader of the Opposition has often referred to the pensions and conditions of ex-service men and women. The honorable senator knows very well that exservicemen’s pensions have never beer related to the basic wage at all. Had that been so, ex-service pensioners would not have received anything at all during the depression. He knows that anti-Labour governments were entirely unsympathetic towards returned soldiers after World War I. I shall tell the honorable senator later about some of the things that happened to many unfortunate men who returned to Australia after that war.

Senator Cooper:

– The honorable senator has told me before.


– And I shall tell the honorable gentleman again. I want the people of Australia to realize that the anti-social people who form the Opposition parties are trying to pull the wool over their eyes. That statement applies to all opponents of the Government, whether they are members of the Liberal party, the Australian Country party or the Communist party. There is a link between the three organizations. They have no sympathy for exservicemen when we are at peace, although, in time of war, they make a great fuss of “ the boys in khaki “. During the last war they waved our fighting men away to the sound of trumpets, but their lack of sincerity was revealed when hostilities ended. The people know that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and, in order to test the sincerity of the Opposition parties, they have only to compare the conditions that exist in Australia to-day with those that existed four years after the end of World War I.

The Leader of the Opposition said that he had hoped that the Government would ease the lot of the family man by extending child endowment to the first child in every family. This Government has been very careful to avoid misusing good legislation in a way that would take away from the workers something to which they are rightly entitled. Tha t is why it has not done as the Opposition parties suggest. Members of the Opposition know as well as we do that the basic wage is calculated according to the needs of- a man with a wife and one child. If child endowment were to be- extended to the first child in every family, the basic wage would be reduced. Instead of industry having to pay the full cost of the basic wage as we know it now, the taxpayers would have to pay directly the cost of providing for the first child in the family, which is now included in the basie wage. The honorable gentleman also said that, irrespective of any decisions made, by the High Court and the Privy Council, the Government would continue to pursue its intention to socialize the banks. I assure the honorable gentleman and the people of Australia that the Government will always comply with the Constitution that was framed and given to the people in 1901. It will also ensure that every section of the people shall comply with the requirements of the Constitution. I have in mind particularly the British Medical Association. Those plutocrats whom members of the Opposition represent in this Parliament, the leaders of the British Medical Association, must be forced to obey our laws. I am confident that, if they conducted a secret ballot of doctors in Australia, the decision would be in favour of providing the people with free medicine. But the leaders of the association will not conduct a secret ballot. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and, if the workers of Australia have to make their industrial claims to> the Arbitration Court and abide by its decisions, the doctors also should submit to arbitration and serve the- people according to the law. I know that th* doctors do great work for the people, but

I remind them that workers in industry are just as important to society as they are. Doctors are under an obligation to observe the law as the workers do. I must comment about the assertion by the Leader of the Opposition that the Government proposes to socialize the banks in spite of any decisions made by the High Court and the Privy Council. The people of Australia accepted the Constitution in 1901. It was up to date then. So were the horse and dray, but the horse and dray have given way to the aeroplane now. Had our fighting services continued to employ during World War II. the tactics that were effective during the Boer War, we should have been in a sorry plight indeed. Naturally we took full advantage of modern developments in warfare. We must keep pace with the changing times in all things.

It is ridiculous that the elected representatives of the people should bring down legislation for the good of the people only to have its effects nullified by five or six aged High Court judges. I hold nothing against those judges, and I respect them because I know that all decisions that they make are correct from a legal point of view. But the time has come when the people of Australia should no longer accept without question the Constitution that was adopted in 1901. The Constitution was set aside for the purposes of war. The interests whom members of the Opposition represent are quite willing for the Commonwealth to be all-powerful in time of danger; when their assets are threatened or their wives and families are liable to interference by foemen. But when peace returns and their assets are no longer at stake, those gentlemen, including the squatters whom the Leader of the Opposition mentioned this afternoon, say, “ Let us get back to the old days of exploitation, with the State governments exercising all the powers that are not given to the Commonwealth Government under the Constitution”. The “old birds “ - old villains I call them - who drafted the Constitution in 1900 realized that by hemming in the new Commonwealth with legal restrictions, they could protect the assets of their sons and daughters for all time. They knew that people following in their footsteps, who had never contributed anything towards the wealth that they enjoyed, would always oppose the working class, and they used the Constitution for the purpose of withholding certain democratic rights from the people. This Government will try to educate the people so that hanking can be nationalized in a constitutional manner. “Why are the representatives of big business in this Parliament opposed to the nationalization of banking? The answer is that they do not want to sacrifice the huge profits that they get under the private banking system. This Government is prepared to observe the Constitution but it will at all times try to educate the people to bring the Constitution into line with modern conditions.

The Leader of the Opposition said that production had not increased in certain fields. The honorable gentleman is not genuinely concerned about production and the shipment of food to the workers of the United Kingdom, for whose privations he shed only crocodile tears. He did not remind the Senate that, although production has decreased in some instances, the people who produce outgoods and services are now receiving, under the administration of a Christian, democratic Labour Government, the rewards that they are entitled to receive for their labours. The Opposition seeks to convince the people that it would increase production if it were in power, for the simple reason that it wants to gain control of the country, nullify the progressive legislation that this Government has enacted, and re-establish the conditions that existed in the old days. In that bad era, the Chamber of Commerce held a meeting in Melbourne at 11 o’clock on every week day throughout the wheat season to decide what the price of wheat should be for that day. After fixing a price of say, 2s. 2-J-d. a bushel or ls. 7£d. a bushel, or any other figure that pleased the profiteers, telegrams were sent to agents so that the wheat-growers who brought their wheat to rail in horsedrawn wagons would be obliged to accept that price.


– The honorable senator will actually believe that story if he is not careful.


– I experienced that sort of thing. I know that it hurts members of the Opposition to have the truth placed on record, but I must do so in order that such conditions shall not be allowed to return. Wheat purchased from the farmers on such terms was held by John Darling and Son, Dalgety and Company Limited, Younghusband Limited, and all the other interests that are represented by the Opposition parties until they could sell it at an unreasonable profit. Sometimes they gained by 100 per cent, over the price that they paid to the primary producer. The same system was used in purchasing wool. Many of the profiteers had never seen a grain of wheat on a farm or sheep grazing on. the pastures. Those are the things that the Leader of the Opposition is worried about. He also said that- the Government had pursued a policy of appeasement of the leaders of some trades unions. I remind him that during the recent war after .Russia had broken its alliance with the Axis powers he would have seen in every room in some of the biggest homes in Melbourne a photograph of Stalin - “ Our great ally “. However, the dustman who attended those houses told me that immediately the war ended the dustbins on his route were filled with photographs of Stalin. When Dickson, Sharkey and Thornton returned from Russia they called upon Mr. Warner, the Minister for Housing in the Victorian Liberal Government, and said to him, “Listen, brother; Joe will give you plenty of petrol “. They were pulling1 Mr. Warner’s leg, but he immediately made a public statement that Australia could obtain plenty of petrol from Russia. We know, of course, that Russia itself is short of petrol and that only occasionally will the Soviet allow a tanker to take away oil and then only in order to appease one of Russia’s satellite countries. I remind the Leader of the Opposition that during the recent war we did not hear any talk about so-called radical trade unions. At that time we were all in the one boat. One had to be very game indeed to say a word against Stalin or any. of his satellites when Russia was defending Stalingrad and helping in the fight for democracy. To-day, the Opposition parties completely forget those who fought for democracy. In 1940, just after France capitulated, the leaders of the miners’ federation, Nelson and Orr, attended the annual conference of the Australian Council of Trades Unions that was held in June of that year and declared that Great Britain also would have to capitulate. They said that they would pull the coal-miners out on strike. A general election was to be held in the following August. Hundreds of thousands of tons of coal was then at grass in Newcastle. They pulled the coal-miners out on strike, and the trade unions were branded as enemies of England. It was not surprising that the Labour party lost the general election held in that year. However, we did not discover the truth about that strike until sometime afterwards. We found that the anti-Labour government of that day had established a secret fund to provide slush money to bribe the miners’ leaders to get the miners out on strike in order to turn the electors against the Labour party. Thus, in 1940 the Liberal party and the Country party co-operated with the “ comms “, as they are still co-operating with them. The Opposition parties co-operated with the “ comms “ in engineering the recent coal strike. However, rather than allow women and children and aged people to continue to suffer in one of the coldest winters experienced in the history of this country, the Government determined to end that conspiracy; and we know how well it succeeded. I venture to say that there will not be any appeasement of the anti-social and antidemocratic forces represented in this country by the Liberal party and the Australian Country party any more than the Government will appease those who support Stalin. The Opposition parties are continuing the tactics that they employed in 1939. Ten years ago they did not want the miners to produce coal because not sufficient industries were operating to consume all the coal that could then be produced. The coal-mine owners could not provide full employment for the miners because they could not sell their coal. To-day, even if the miners worked eight hours a day on every day of the week they could not produce sufficient coal to meet the present demands of industry arising from the expansion that has taken place under the present Government. At the same time, however, the Government has assured the coal-miners of full employment at all times.

In the budget now before us the Treasurer estimates that expenditure for the current financial year will amount to £567,000,000. The Opposition parties in both the Senate and the House of Representatives have taken exception to the magnitude of that amount. However, they did not object to high expenditure by the Government during the war. At that time they would have been happy if the Government’s expenditure amounted even to £700,000,000 annually. In effect, they said to the Government during the war, “ Spend what you like, but save our hides. Save our sheep and cattle and all our property “. The fact of the matter is that the Government is incurring high expenditure to-day because it is fulfilling the promise made to our service personnel that they would be given a new order after the war had been won. The Government’s expenditure is necessary in order to provide for the rehabilitation of those who defended this country. The Opposition parties are upset because the Government has not further decreased income tax. I notice that when they deal with taxation they claim to speak out of sympathy for the worker and his family. They ask how the worker will be able to make ends meet if he has to pay high taxes. The Leader of the Opposition can rest assured that the great mass of the men and women of this country are not worried about the Government’s taxation policy, and in that respect the Opposition parties will receive a rude shock at the next general election. The Leader of the Opposition said that taxes to-day are much higher than those levied by anti-Labour governments of the past. Of course, collections of taxes are greater to-day because all of our people are working. However, under anti-Labour governments persons who earned only 16s. a week and had to keep a family were obliged to pay tax on that small income. The truth is that the Opposition parties are not worried about the workers. In this matter they are thinking only of the interests of the wealthy.

The Opposition parties find it difficult to accept the Government’s social services scheme. In 1941, when Labour assumed office our expenditure on social services amounted to only £18,000,000 a year, whereas to-day it amounts to £100,000,000 annually. Labour believes that those who afford to do so should be obliged to contribute towards the upkeep of ‘the workers who fall by the wayside. The Government has increased child endowment, the maternity allowance, and the age and invalid pension. However, it has not been able to increase those benefits to. the degree it would like or to the degree to. which it is determined to increase them when our economic conditions return to normal. Under the unemployment benefits scheme any person who becomes unemployed is eligible to obtain financial assistance from the National Welfare Fund. Thus, persons who happen to meet with that misfortune will not he left destitute. I have already touched upon the Government’s policy of full employment. Any one who has listened to statements made recently by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), the Leader .of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) and Mr. Casey, who is the leader of the Liberal party outside, must realize that those gentlemen hold the view that no country can become prosperous if it adopts a policy of full employment. They contend that in order to achieve full production conditions must be such that ten men will he available for every eight jobs waiting to be filled. They say that at least seven per cent, of the population of a country must at all times he unemployed. In advocating that view, of course, they are not really thinking of’ full production but merely of the interests of wealthy graziers who do not desire conditions under which there will’ be ten jobs available for every eight workers. The wealthy graziers always want to have a couple of men standing by so that should one fall sick he can be put to work in the woolshed and the other man can fill the job he’ vacates. 5 warn the elector? not to be. fooled by the Opposition parties. If by any mischance they “ fall “ for. an.ti.-L.abour propaganda they will soon experience a recurrence of the conditions which unemployment, starvation and misery existed in this land of plenty. I urge them to compare the conditions under which t’hey live to-day with those that existed in this country during the depression years when anti-Labour governments were in office. The ‘Government is determined to press forward with its policy of full employment. The manufacturers of Australia realize that it is doing a good joh in that direction, because they a-re receiving bigger dividends than they ever received ‘before. However, the manufacturers cannot come out in the open and say what they think because they fear that the private banks will sabotage their livelihood toy withdrawing their overdrafts. The manufacturers are now being circularized to contribute to the funds of the anti-Labour parties and they dare not refuse to respond to those appeals for fear that they will he blacklisted by the private financial institutions. However, the manufacturers are quite happy to see the Government go ahead with its f ull employment policy.

Let ug compare the Government’s migration policy with the attitude of antiLabour governments towards migration in the period following World War I. Under those governments migrants never knew what job they were going to. Many of them were sent to work on farms in the Mallee for a wage of 15,s. a week ana, of course, they soon found themselves out of employment. To-day, however, theGovernment can-not attract sufficient migrants to this country to supplement the man-power available for the development of great resources. The Opposition parties, can criticize the Government’s migration policy only by asking, “ Why don’t you get out English migrants ? v But they fail to tell the people that, due to the maladministration of antiLabour governments in Great Britain before the recent war, that country itself is now looking for man-power to meet the requirements of British industry. Therefore, they are taking immigrants from Italy and other countries into> England. Although hundreds of thousands of immigrants will be brought to Australia during the next five or six years, there will still be insufficient tradesmen to meet the requirements of this country. I remind honorable senators that after World War I. many ex-servicemen walked the roads of this country in search of work. They received sustenance, but many of them did not even have any soles on their boots. Yet the Leader of the Opposition has had the audacity to say that to-day the workers of this country are not receiving the -treatment that is their due, and that he wants to do something for them. If he is earnestly desirous of improving the conditions of the workers he -should sUppOrt this Government’s efforts to (maintain the full employment policy. However, I do not consider that he believes in full employment, because the leaders -of the Opposition parties in the House of Representatives, almost on the ewe of the forthcoming general election, have stated that they do not subscribe to that policy.

Senator Cooper:

– I can speak for myself.


– The leaders of the political parties sitting in Opposition in the House of Representatives have stated -that it is impossible to obtain frill production in industry unless 6-J per cent, of “the workers are unemployed. 1 contend, - however. that the workers are to-day producing more goods per man-hour than ever -before in this country.

Senator Cooper:

– It is unfortunate that these proceedings are not being broadcast.


– I have stated my views in similar words on previous occasions when the proceedings were being broadcast. I remember that on a previous occasion when I was speaking in this chamber, the Leader -of the Opposition interjected to the effect that he wished the electors of Queensland could hear my remarks, as that would mean thousands of votes for his party. At the time, I challenged him to have my speech printed in the Courier-Mail. Although not a line was devoted to my speech in the subsequent edition of that newspaper, what Senator O’sullivan said was fully reported under black head-lines. It is obvious that the Opposition are the tobies, the slaves of the people who control the daily press in this country. If they do not obey their masters they will not be permitted to again sit in this chamber. On one occasion Senator Foll thought that because the ‘Government was doing good work he would support it. In doing so he disobeyed his instructions, with the result that Senator Rankin now sits in this chamber in his stead. Honorable senators will also remember that Senator Crawford supported the Labour party’s move to keep the Japanese out of this country. He, also, is not now entitled to sit in this chamber. It is for this reason that honorable senators opposite do not support this Government. I realize that they cannot admit the truth of this assertion, but nevertheless it is significant that neither Senator Foll nor Senator Crawford has sat in this chamber since they disobeyed their masters, the daily press.

Sitting suspended from 5.54 t° 8 .p.m.


– The Government has .been severely criticized for the occurrence of strikes. I took the opportunity recently to listen to the speeches made by some of the members of the Opposition in the House of Representatives. One of them asserted that the ‘Opposition parties actually supported trade unionism.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– Supported good trade unionism.


– However, good trade unionists will not believe that. We know that the antiLabour parties have always been opposed to trade unionism. When I hear members of the Opposition in this chamber and in the House of Representatives speaking in the same strain as Senator O’Sullivan I recall the bitter and prolonged fight that the workers of this country had to wage to establish trade unionism. Its political wing, the Australian Labour party, was founded as long ago as 1895. I recall very vividly that in my youth a young man who lived near me left home to propagate the gospel of Christianity, which is true socialism. Time after time he returned to his home black and blue from the beatings that he received from the squatters and their hirelings. He was refused work throughout the Riverina simply because he advocated that rural workers, including shearers, had a right to certain conditions. He was boycotted by the graziers and others, who were amassing huge wealth from the sweated labour of the shearers and others. The wealthy pastoralists were dissipating fortunes at horse races and banquets and by gambling. Those members of the Opposition parties who pretend to support trade unionism to-day are the direct political descendants of those who boycotted any young friend many years ago. Members of the antiLabour parties are forever talking about communism and the menace that it presents. But who made the Communists in this country?

Senator Ward:

– The Liberals.


– Undoubtedly the growth of communism in this country was due to the anti-Labour parties and their supporters. Unemployment, misery and starvation .breed communism. After all, it was ‘because of the wretched, hopeless condition of the unfortunate peasants of Russia that the people of that country revolted and incited the workers in other countries to do the same. I recall the time of the Russian revolt, which occurred in 1917. At that time I was in France, fighting for this country, and I realized even then that the people of Russia had revolted because it had been brought home to them that they were being sacrificed in the cause of capitalism, fascism and other ideologies that are diametrically opposed to democracy. It is to defend democracy that the Australian Labour party exists to-day.

I was in Bendigo during the depression, and as president of the local trades hall council I played a prominent part in relieving unemployment in that district. In the course of my duties, I met and talked with thousands of men who had fought for this country in World War I. Many of them had served for three and four years, and many had also been on Gallipoli and had shed their blood in the fields of Flanders. What was their reward from a grateful country? A few years after the war, when the depression occurred, they were thrown on the industrial scrap-heap. Naturally they became disgusted with democracy; many of them became rebels and embraced communism. I appealed to thousands of them at various times to regain their faith in democratic government and to work for the return of a Labour administration, promising them that if Labour were returned to office conditions would improve until they became as prosperous as they are to-day. As men returned to work most of them dropped the philosophy of Communism’ and became good Labour supporters once more. Unfortunately, some of them, including a number of coal-miners and wharf-labourers who had formerly been keen Labour supporters, permanently lost their faith in democracy because of the treatment that they had suffered in their own country. Among them were some who are Communist leaders to-day. Communism was practically unknown in this country before the depression, although at one time there was a great deal of political capital made out of a handful of individuals who were stigmatized as “Bolsheviks “. It is a fact that some Communists hold office in the trade union movement to-day, and our friends opposite seek to exploit the political situation by suggesting that because there are a few Communists amongst the trade unionists, the Australian Labour party is completely dependent upon the Communists. There is nothing sinister in Labour’s association with the trade union movement. When the workers of this country first sought redress of their grievances they realized that they could not accomplish very much by industrial action, and the movement then inaugurated the Australian Labour party as its political wing. It took the workers many years to obtain the confidence of the people. Although the political party was formed in the ‘nineties, it was not until 1910 that Labour obtained a majority in the Australian Parliament. Under the leadership of the present right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes), Labour served Australia most capably until 1917, when the party was disrupted because of that right honorable gentleman’s desertion of its principles. The party was forced to expel him, and in consequence Labour ceased to govern the country. With the exception of a brief period in 1929-30, Labour did notagain assume office until 1941.

I recall for the benefit of honorable senators opposite the disgraceful conduct of the present Opposition parties, which contrived to win the election in 1940 by using public funds, through their “ slush fund “, to bribe miners’ leaders in order to induce them to call a strike before the election. The Opposition parties turned it to their advantage by branding the miners and other trade union leaders as disloyalists, and they succeeded in convincing the people that Labour was not fit to govern them. In consequence the anti-Labour parties were returned to power, but because of the incessant intrigues that occurred within their parties, even when Australia was confronted with the greatest crisis in its history, they disintegrated, and in 1941 Labour was called upon again to lead this country. Labour governed the country so well in its hour of peril that at the general election in 1943 it was returned to power with an overwhelming majority. At that time our spokesman promised the people that if Labour continued in office it would do its utmost to implement the party’s platform, which is founded on the principles of true Christianity. Since that time, and particularly since the war, we have done out utmost to fulfil our promise.

The claim of members of the Opposition that they are in sympathy with the “ good “ unionists, but not with the “ bad “ unionists, is nothing more than a naive attempt to pull the wool over the people’s eyes. Those interests which support the Opposition parties can no longer exploit the workers of this country, because, thanks to the untiring efforts over more than half a century of the organized workers of this country, the workers are now assured of a share of the wealth that they assist to produce. Consider for a moment what would happen if, at the forthcoming election, the people were foolish enough to give credence to the lip service paid to trade unionism by some members of the Opposition and voted the Opposition parties into power. Who would govern the country? Does any one imagine for a moment that the Liberal party and the Australian Country party could combine to afford stable government to Australia? I come from Victoria. The Liberal party in that State, which attained power because of some of the most insidious political propaganda that was ever circulated in this country, is most violently opposed by the Country party. Under the Hollway Government the State has certainly not enjoyed stable administration. Only a few nights ago I was present in the Victorian Parliament when a member of the Opposition openly stated that the Hollway Administration had given the spending of £1,000,000 to the member for South Gippsland, a Country party member on whose vote the Hollway Government relies for its continuance in office. What do we find in the National Parliament? Here, we have, at least outwardly, the most complete union between the Liberal party and the Australian Country party, which are so bitterly opposed to each other in Victoria. But in the Victorian Parliament we have the spectacle of the Liberal Premier of that State standing with an upraised axe ready to decapitate the Leader of the Country party at the first opportunity. En fact, the Premier has stated that he will do to his opponent what the Leader of the Australian Country party in the House of Representatives (Mr. Fadden) complains that the Leader of the Liberal party (Mr. Menzies) did to him on a former occasion. Yet those are the political parties that are asking the people to return them to power. If the people should be so misguided as to do so at the forthcoming election, we shall speedily return to the conditions that prevailed during the depression.

Consider the undemocratic attitude of members of the anti-Labour party and their political supporters outside the Parliament. A few days ago it was suggested that the franchise for the Victorian Legislative Council should be widened to give all ex-servicemen a vote in the election of members of that council. Of course, we all know what would follow the acceptance of that suggestion. Labour would have a majority in the Legislative Council, and would be able to withstand the attempts of vested interests to frustrate Labour’s aspirations. In other words, the people of Victoria would control the Government of that State. Therefore, the representatives of those interests which stand behind the Liberal Government of Victoria promptly replied to those who made the suggestion for widening the franchise: “No; you were paid to fight for us. The fighting is over ; now get back to your job. You cannot have a say in who shall represent you in

Parliament.” Honorable senators will recall that Labour was in office in Victoria from 1945 to 1947, and that the reason for Labour’s defeat at the State election in 1947 was the insidious propaganda that was circulated by the anti-Labour parties concerning a matter that had nothing to do with the issues before the people of that State. They said that if the Cain Government remained in office, the banks would be socialized or nationalized. We all know of course, that Mr. Cain had neither the constitutional power nor the necessary majority in Parliament to nationalize anything at all. That was typical of the insidious propaganda that was disseminated in an endeavour to defeat the Cain Administration. There was a plan behind it all. The Commonwealth’s rents and prices referendum had been defeated, and the Cain Administration was the only remaining obstacle to exploitation of the people. Labour’s opponents believed that they already had the McGirr Administration in New South Wales and the Queensland Government under control. They were seeking a majority on the prices control committee so that they could have a free hand to exploit the working people of this country. The people of Victoria are now paying for their folly. No one can deny that there has been a steep rise of prices since control passed from the Commonwealth to the States. Many people in the community, who are always preaching that the workers must accept arbitration, are unwilling to have arbitration on prices. The Labour movement believes that if arbitration is good enough to fix the wages of workers, it is good enough to fix the prices that the worker shall pay for the necessaries of life. Until prices are controlled effectively, increases of the basic wage are valueless. To-day there is a claim before the Arbitration Court for a basic wage of £10 a week. Even that wage, if granted, would not benefit the workers because the control of prices is in the hands of people who are opposed to the interests of workers. The granting of the claim would merely mean that prices would soar higher than ever, and that the workers would not derive any benefit whatsoever from their increased wage. If members of the Opposition parties in this Parliament are sincere in their support of the arbitration system they will do what they can to ensure that control of prices shall pass once again to the Commonwealth. Should that happen, prices would go down, and our standard of living would improve. The press of Australia expended many hundreds of thousands of pounds in its endeavour to defeat the Cain Government.

The Labour party has always been described as a socialist party. There are many things that I should like to socialize, but the story that Labour’s aim is to socialize private enterprise completely is merely insidious propaganda. I remind the Opposition that it was not a Labour Government that established the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. That undertaking was established by an anti-Labour administration. Labour did not establish the socialized Victorian railways. That too was the work of anti-Labour forces. Similarly, the Adelaide electricity supply was socialized by a non-Labour administration. Why were all these things done ? They were done because the governments concerned appreciated fully the necessity to develop this country. Obviously private railways could not have given the service to the people of Victoria that has been given in the past by the Victorian Railways Commissioners. No private concern would have built railway lines out into the Mallee, and other remote regions of the State; yet, had that country not been opened up our primary industries would never have grown to their present proportions. It is strange, therefore, that members of the anti-Labour parties complain that our railways do not pay. They cannot deny that the running of our railways at a loss has been of immeasurable benefit to the settlement of our outback regions. Opponents of socialism seldom mention the Postal Department. That undertaking of course was established not by Labour, but by a non-Labour government, and it has functioned extremely well ever since.

Senator O’sullivan:

– It was run at a profit until the socialists gained control of it.


– And I shall tell the Senate why. The huge profits amassed by the Postal Department prior to 1939 were used to ease the burden of taxation on the wealthier sections of the community. In one year, the profit was £8,000,000, but that money was not used to improve postal services or to increase the wages of underpaid postal employees. It was used as I have said, to lighten the burden of taxation on the wealthier classes in this country. I know, because I worked in the Postal Department. Ab an estimates foreman, on many occasions I prepared works estimates only to see them pigeon-holed indefinitely. I recall seeing a traffic officer - also a government employee - going out every morning to seek new telephone subscribers in the various towns. For each new subscriber he received a commission of 2s. 6d. In those days, postal employees were underpaid. In spite of the huge profits the department was making, telegraph, mail and line staffs alike were inadequately housed. The position to-day is vastly different. Labour regards the Postal Department as a public utility, and intends to use it as such. “We intend that any profits made by the Postal Department shall be used to improve postal services, and the conditions of postal workers. To-day, the Leader of the Opposition shed crocodile tears for people who were unable to get telephones. In the days to which I have referred, few people had sufficient money to pay telephone rentals. To-day, there is full employment, and almost every worker could pay for a telephone if he wanted one. Unfortunately, man-power and materials are in short supply, and the department is experiencing considerable difficulty in coping with the demand for new instruments. Equipment is difficult to obtain from overseas. However, I hope that, in the course of thi9 debate, the Postmaster-General (Senator Cameron) will tell honorable senators of the efforts that are being made by his department to overtake arrears of applications for telephones.

We are now on the eve of a general election and I should like to warn the people of this country of what will happen in the next few weeks. Thousands of pounds will be expended throughout the Commonwealth by anti-Labour forces in their effort to defeat Labour. I have heard it said that the Labour party is wealthy. The truth is that the only money that the Labour party receives is contributed by the unions that are affiliated with it. No Communist union is affiliated with the Australian Labour party, but I know of Communists in Bendigo who belong to the LiberalCountry party. They have their party tickets, which I can produce if my claim be denied.

Senator O’sullivan:

– We do not issue tickets.


– These people bought their tickets at the Memorial Hall in Bendigo. I repeat that no Communist-led union is affiliated with the Australian Labour party. Our funds are derived from the “ bobs “ and “twobobs” that are thrown into the hat at our meetings. I have before me a copy of a circular issued by a branch of the Chamber of Manufactures in Melbourne. This is somewhat reminiscent of the tactics of the Communist party. It states -

A special meeting of great importance to the industry is being held at - 312 Flinders-street, Melbourne on

Friday, Sth July at 11.30 a.m.

The matter coming before this meeting will be such as to cause you considerable concern respecting the future of your organization. You will realize, therefore, why I address a request that you, personally, attend.

It is of the utmost importance that the business head of each of the companies attends, and only if it is physically impossible for you to be there, would I suggest that you send a deputy.

Admission to the meeting can be obtained by tha production of this letter, or by personal recognition of the person attending.

Senator O’sullivan:

– I ask that the document from which the honorable senator is quoting be tabled.


– It will all go into Hansard.

It continues -

I trust you will be able to come along, as it is upon people of your standing that reliance is placed for guidance and assistance.

Senator O’sullivan:

– Who signed the letter?


– I shall give the names later. I believe in giving the fullest publicity to these things. I come now to a report of an unofficial meeting of representatives of commissioned dyers and bleachers, textile printers, and boilermakers, held at the Chamber of Manufactures, on Friday, the 8th July, 1949, at 11 a.m.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– Who signed the letter?


– Be patient. The report states -

Notice sent out to all members on plain paper (no letterhead) with business address of Chairman of particular section at head. Each notice signed by sectional chairman. This was done to avoid label of political partisanship being attached to Chamber of Manufactures ( non-political ) .

Of course, there are many manufacturers who are not partisans in the LiberalCountry party movement, but they are not able to express their views. They know what happened to Senator Foll and Senator Crawford. They know they would be put out of business. The banks would foreclose on their overdrafts. The report continues -

Purpose of meeting (Chairman A. Aird) to hear an address from a representative of Individual’s Freedom League.

Individual’s Freedom League consists of four Chamber members: -

Mr. Stewart of Hecla

Mr.Redwood of Myttons

Mr. Woods of Tilbury and Lewis

Mr. Campbell of Nettlefolds

The address consisted of an attack on the Federal Labour Government claiming that if was bent on introducing socialism which would necessarily ruin private enterprise. Statements of Labour members and Cabinet Ministers were also read in support of this thesis.

The importance of this political trend was stressed in its application to the growth and development of the manufacturing industries. The purpose of Individual’s Freedom League was to help defeat the Labour Government at the next elections. Individual’s Freedom League presented itself in the role of spark plug of the Liberal party, Liberal and Country party, Australian Constitutional League and similar bodies working for the overthrow of Labour.

It does not mention the “comms”, but they are there all right -

To carry out its work Individual’s Freedom League indicated it must feel free to make grants to those organizations which it alone decidedcould make most effective use of the funds. In making these grants, Individual’s Freedom League undertook to follow through with the respective organization in order to assure itself that the funds had been spent most effectively.

Individual’s Freedom League had set up a quota for all members of the Chamber of Manu factures which had been broken down for each section. For example Commission Dyers had a quota of £500 and Textile Printers £200. Although some members present at the meeting complained that they had already contributed to the Liberal party and Australian Constititutional League, Individual’s Freedom League nevertheless attempted to convince them that it could put money to use more effectively than any other organization. At no stage, during the address or after, was the question raised of Individual’s Freedom League submitting a statement of receipts and expenditures to members.

The Chairmen of the three sections indicated that they would again circularize the Sectional members in order to receive contributions towards the sectional quota.

All contributions would be addressed to: -

Individual’s Freedom League, c/o K. H. Walford & Co., 5th Floor, 27 Queen Street,


Senator O’Sullivan can check that address in the telephone book if he doubts its authenticity.

This again was to avoid having the Chamber labelled with political action.

It was suggested that the sectional quotas be divided up among individual members according to their rate of contribution to the Chamber of Manufactures, that is based on the number of persons employed by each member.

The above description of activities by I.F.L. should be applied generally to the whole of the Chamber of Manufactures with all Sections meeting during July at the request of I.F.L. Since there are almost 100 industrial sections within the Chamber, this means that often a number of sections within the Chamber must meet simultaneously in order to complete the programme of meetings before the end of July. At very few meetings therefore, will two or more of the persons constituting I.F.L. be present at the one time. The urgent pleas for political action were disguised as dire warnings that the very livelihood and existence of members were threatened by the nationalization plan of the Labour Government.

It is learnt from members attending meetings of other sections that speakers mentioned Churchill and Reed with approval as models on which to loose political action. Also, that the Victorian League ofRights was bracketed with the Liberal party and Australian Constitutional League as a suitable organization for ousting the Labour Government. It is more than a coincidence that Douglas Reed happens to be one of the leading anti-Semitic writers of to-day and that the Victorian League of Rights headed by Eric Butler is in the forefront of Australian anti-Semitic organizations. [Extension of time granted.]

That was given to me by a manufacturer in Victoria, who said that he was not prepared to have his name published because those who had attended the meeting had been threatened with annihilation from the manufacturing industry unless they contributed to that organization for the propagation of the insidious propaganda that would be used between then and the date of the general election. Senator O’sullivan, who interjected while I was reading the letter, can confirm the address-


– There is a postal address on the letter. The honorable gentleman can also confirm the fact that a meeting took place, that circulars went out and, because of his influence with the private banks, he should be able to find out also where the .moneys were deposited.

Senator O’sullivan:

– Will the honorable senator table the letter?


– Yes. Those are the tactics that will be used in an effort to defeat the Government at the next general election.

Advertisements have been published in the daily newspapers over the names of the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), and the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), asking for contributions towards the support of the Government. Some members of this Parliament have alleged that people who are not prepared to contribute towards the election expenses of the Labour party will be victimized if they ever want to gain any favours at Canberra. Members of the Government and their supporters in this Parliament represent the common people, and very few of the common people ever have the opportunity to come to Canberra. Therefore, the average elector does not come here to press for the granting of specific favours. The money that is contributed in response to those advertisements will be properly accounted for, and a balance-sheet will be presented to the executive of the Labour party and afterwards to its various branches so that members will know how and by whom the money was spent. We have to be careful, because we know that the Opposition parties will use any means at their disposal in their efforts to defeat the

Government, as they did in 1940. As a candidate for the Senate in that year, I was opposed by Dr. O’Day, who was a Communist, although at that time the Communist party had been banned by the Menzies Government. Propaganda such as was used against me and my colleagues then will be used again at the forthcoming election. The only difference will be that Hitler’s name will not be dragged into the fight on this occasion. In 1940, our opponents broadcast a representation of Hitler’s voice appealing to the people in broken German, and saying that, if Mr. Curtin became Prime Minister, Hitler would rule the world. That is the sort of propaganda that is used by the Opposition parties, which claim to have the sympathy of the workers. They will resort to any tactics in their efforts to grab the treasury bench, and they will spend any amount of money in the process. Therefore, we have to be exceedingly careful.

I refer the people who say that this Government is not doing its job properly to the financial pages of the Melbourne Herald. Not one of the business firms that publish their balance-sheets in the Herald has reported recently that business has been unsatisfactory. The Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial recently reported an interview with Mr. Dewsbury, a Melbourne hotel proprietor, who had been overseas, under these headings - “ World Traveller Back Again : Australia Best Country in the World”. Everybody who has come back from overseas declares that Australia is the best country in the world.

Members of the Opposition assert that full employment and full production, which have been achieved under Labour’s administration, have not resulted from the Government’s well-planned programme. They also say that full employment in the United Kingdom is not due to the efforts of the Labour Government in that country. They declare that all such circumstances are merely aftermaths of war. If that were true under a Labour Government here, what is wrong in the United States of America where, under an anti-Labour Government, there are over 5,000,000 unemployed? There must be some justice in our claim that prosperous conditions in Australia are due to the careful administration, of the labour Government, which has created a state of full employment. I recommend the budget to the Senate. It does not provide for all of our requirements, and that will probably be true of budgets for many years to come. Nevertheless, it will build upon the foundation that was laid by the late John Curtin in 1943, one more stage of the structure of a better and greater nation, which will be a monument to the leadership of our great Prime Minister.

Senator LARGE:
New South Wales

– I am pleased to have the opportunity to support this stupendous budget. When we look back over the events of the last few years and note the fact that our national income has risen to £2,000,000,000 a year, we realize that great progress has been made under Labour’s administration. Although the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) tried to he caustic in his criticism of the budget, we notice that great newspapers such as the Times and the Daily Herald, of London, have published nothing but eulogies of it. After subjecting it to analytical examinations, they could offer nothing but praise. I have mixed feelings about the Leader of the Opposition. He has an appalling task to perform. It must be extremely difficult to speak with one’s tongue in one’s cheek, as members of the Opposition so frequently do. It was pleasing to hear the honorable gentleman express sympathy with the poor people who, he declared, would be sadly disappointed at their failure to receive greater benefits than those for which the budget provides. However, my feelings receive a shock when I recall that, since I have been a member of the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition has consistently opposed every measure that has been designed for the benefit of the people. He has attempted at every opportunity to hamper the Government’9 social welfare programme, which has now been almost entirely implemented. For a long time the honorable senator was a member of a joint parliamentary committee on social security and, in that capacity, he expressed complete approval of the committee’s recommendations. However, he reverted to type later and opposed in this chamber the social welfare projects that the Government initiated.

The honorable gentleman complained that the degree of inflation in Australia had increased since the end of World War II. He is not a child. Surely he must know that inflation occurs naturally after wars. If he will study the history of the Crimean War, he will learn that, at that time, the average labourer in England worked for ls. a week, which was considered to be a good wage. But after that war, the average wage rose to 6s. a week. After the Boer War, wages rose again and prices naturally increased. That .process follows all wars. The honorable gentleman compared post-war reconstruction in Australia and in the United States of Amreica. He said that the comparison was fair because industries had not been seriously damaged by warfare in either country, and that therefore, both were in a favorable position to capture world markets. The honorable gentlemen overlooked one highly important difference between the situation in the United States of America and that in Australia. The United States of America already had a stranglehold on markets in most parts of the world before World War II., and was able to resume its industrial activities when peace returned, unhampered by any restrictions. Australia had to establish a footing in secondary industry and try to build up markets overseas. Furthermore, at no time in its history has the United States of America suffered from a lack of labour. That country has always had adequate man-power to meet its requirements. At no time has it ever been without any army of unemployed. On the other hand, Australia has suffered acutely from lack of man-power. The United States of America is the home of the capitalist system. It is the last bastion of commercialism as we know it to-day. We know that commercialist countries prefer to have available a reservoir of unemployed upon which employers can draw at any time. In such countries that reservoir always exists. One might liken it to the Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of those in employment spurring them on to work steadily and firmly at their jobs. Thus, the Leader of the Opposition made a bad comparison between Australia and the United States of America.

He had not been speaking for very long when, like his colleagues in the House of Representatives, he fell back upon the stock1 argument of socialism. 1 do not think that he understands what socialism really means, or what its purpose is. He merely gives lip service to the Opposition’s stock argument on that subject. He read a quotation from the rule book of the Australian Labour party. Apparently, that was the only part of that book that he did read. Perhaps, it would not be safe for him to read any more of its contents because if he did so he might be converted to Labour’s principles. He taunted Government supporters with the Opposition’s stock statements about nationalization and socialism. He said that supporters of the Government to-day did not talk so much about socialism as they did three years ago. He implied that the Labour party had lost interest in socialism, or, alternatively, that supporters of the Government were keeping socialism in the background because of the approach of a general election in the near future. I gained the impression that he had just discovered that the Labour party believed in socialism. I shall confirm him in that belief. We do not run away from socialism. We believe that all essential industries should be socialized. And, indeed, the Leader of the Opposition himself held that view during the recent war when he and his colleagues accepted the policy that every essential industry should be governmentally controlled, that is, that every industry essential to the prosecution of the war should be socialized. At that time, the Opposition parties believed in socialization up to the hilt. However, the Leader of the Opposition says that he does not believe in socialization now that we are at peace because the average citizen is not prepared to be regimented, pushed around or made to walk to work according to a set schedule. But, why not? If socialism was proved to be in the hest interests of the nation during the recent war why should we not continue it to-day? We resorted to socialism in order to get a 100 per cent, war effort because when private enterprise was put to the test it failed miserably to serve the vital interests of the nation. That was the reason why we applied the principles of socialism during the war. The same observation applies to the experience of the Allies in World War I. Germany took all the “ tricks “ in the early years of that conflict .because on the day that war was declared private enterprise ceased to exist in Germany. That country operated its war machine on the principle of socialism, and that was mainly the reason why it ran roughshod over the Allies. It was not until the Allies commenced to ‘nationalizeindustries essential to their war effort,, such as those associated with transport,, foodstuffs and munitions, that they wereable to take a “ trick “. That experienceshould convince the average man that socialism is better than capitalism or private commercialism when the destiny of a nation is at stake. If socialism is best in a crisis, why should we discard it when we are on an even keel? The Labour party is consistent in its attitude towards socialism. It believes in the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. The fact that the Leader of the Opposition was able to support his remarks by reading a quotation from the platform of the Australian Labour party does not mean that Labour’s adherence to socialism is something new. Socialism has been its policy for many years.

The Leader of the Opposition again raised the bogy of communism. He condemned the Government’s attitude towards the recent coal strike. As a rule I do not read quotations when I am making a speech in this chamber, but in view of what the Leader of the Opposition has said I am impelled to read the following article which was published as an editorial on Friday the 12th August, in the London News Chronicle which is a conservative and not a Labour paper -

page 883


Even in Australia, where industrial disputes are traditionally fought with a venom and bitterness almost unknown in this country, there is no precedent for the disastrous coal strike which has paralysed the nation for more than six weeks.

The effects of the strike have been almost as severe as those which followed our own fuel crisis in 1947.

By the way, the Opposition parties have not had much to say about that strike -

The absence of reserve stocks led to widespread unemployment throughout the Dominion within a few days of the miners’ walkout. Gas and electricity had to be severely rationed in wintry conditions. Public transport came to a virtual standstill. Hundreds of factories were forced to close their gates. The value of lost production lias been estimated at nearly a hundred million pounds.

The final collapse of the strike is a signal triumph for Mr. Chifley’s Labour Government and a heavy setback to Communist influence among Australian workers. If there was ever any doubt about the real inspiration of this dispute it was completely dispelled last week by the spectacle of the Communist leaders desperately trying to prevent the summoning of mass meetings at which the men themselves could decide whether they wished to return to work.

In’ the end the Communist officials were forced to give way. Almost to a mau the Australian miners voted to end the strike and to submit their claims to the Arbitration Court.

This was exactly what the Government had always insisted upon. Mr. Chifley has not only struck a blow for industrial democracy and for properly constituted methods of arbitration, he has discredited and exposed the Communists in a way which Australian working men are going to remember for a long time to come.

To do this he has had to act boldly and even ruthlessly. Six Communist leaders are now in prison. Their union funds were frozen (a decision which very nearly split the Labour Party) and troops were used to keep essential industries in Sydney supplied with coal.

And this is a gem -

Australian Labour has proved to the world that a Government based on working class support can deal with Communism as effectively as any other. That is a significant achievement. But it would bc folly to assume that the victory is final.

The Leader of the Opposition should take this passage to heart -

It is a truism that Communism thrives on, but rarely creates, the conditions which lead to disturbances, of this magnitude. The history of the coal mines in New South Wales during the last twenty years is responsible for the deep distrust and bitterness which prevail between workers and employers to-day.

Here is another gem -

The industry was described by a Royal Commission in 1945 as “not only inefficient but afflicted with a form of creeping paralysis “. Australian Labour was wise enough to see that nationalization alone would solve nothing.

Fundamentally the crisis is one of leadership - both among the men and the employers. If the Government is wise it will seize this opportunity to break with the past.

That is, it must break with the Gregory Forster’s and their crowd -

It will do all it can to inspire a new spirit of co-operation inside the industry.

That is precisely what the Government is doing -

That is much easier said than done. But moderate counsel and wise statesmanship are more likely to be effective now than later.

Honorable senators opposite should listen very carefully to this passage -

Mr. Chifley’s handling of this strike has brightened his Government’s prospects of retaining power at the forthcoming elections very considerably. If he can turn a negative triumph over Communism into a positive victory for common sense in industrial relations, his position will be assured.

I have heard a lot of talk about “ slush “ funds, but not much has been said about the Institute of Public Affairs, which provides the Opposition parties with most of their funds.

Senator Ward- Blackmailers !

Senator LARGE:

– I should say that they are the bosses of the Opposition parties.


– to order! No such funds are provided to me or my colleagues by that organization. I regard Senator Large’s remarks as a reflection on me personally.


– -The honorable senator is expressing his view and I do not see that reasonable objection can be taken to his remarks.


– He has made a statement of alleged fact which is grossly untrue.

Senator LARGE:

– It is not worth bothering about, although I realize that the private banks are prepared to spend considerable sums of money, to defeat a truly democratic party. Very little of Senator Cooper’s remarks could be regarded as real opposition to this budget. Although he did his best, his criticism did not amount to very much. He spoke about the shortage of commodities and instanced the requirements of farmers in Queensland, and cited a lot of figures. He referred specifically to wire netting, steel posts, and mechanical equipment for the farms. I can understand those demands increasing. I oan always understand a demand such as that when the country is enjoying prosperous conditions and the farmers desire to extend their mechanical equipment. They can afford to pay for mechanization when Labour is in power and prosperity rules. They want all of these things because they have the money to pay for them. That is the reason for the shortage. There is a shortage of man-power and we cannot increase production as we should like to do. As soon as commodities are manufactured they are snapped up by the men on the land or others who may feel disposed to buy those products. The honorable senator said a lot about wheat and meat. Primarily, wheat is a seasonal commodity. To compare one year’s production with production in another period is merely fallacious. However, the position in relation to meat is entirely different. Recently I spent a couple of months in northern Queensland, where I met and spoke to a lot of the cattle kings.

Senator Aylett:

– Did the honorable senator see any dingoes?

Senator LARGE:

– Yes, I saw dingoes, crocodiles and wild pigs. I went as far as Cooktown and. between there and Toowoomba I travelled south, I heard the cry that cattlemen were not going to concern themselves with producing beef for Great Britain because, “Chif” was not leaving them enough profit in hand. I remember speaking to a big cattleman named, I think, Brown, who introduced the Zebu cattle into this country. He is a very prominent man m the cattle industry and owns many thousands of head of cattle. Personal friends of his, who had been in his company several hours previously, told me that he had said that he intended to dispose of 75 per cent, of his cattle because the Government would not leave him alone. In the course of Senator Cooper’s speech, he said that if the Government were to leave the cattle men alone they would produce a lot more. This cattle man’s unwillingness to increase the production of meat on his properties was blamed on the Government, because it made him pay taxes. Therefore he decided to dispose of 75 per cent, of his herds. He was on strike, as the doctors are on strike. Of course, he was only one of many similarly disposed. When I visited Walter Reid and Company Limited, the big Rockhampton firm, I met a lot of interesting people with a somewhat similar attitude. They said that they were not going to produce beef to provide food for Britain because they were notallowed to do as they liked. While I was at Toowoomba, I met a man and his wife at the dinner table of an hotel. He told me that he had two properties, one of which comprised 16,000 acres, and that he would not extend his cattle-raising activities because if he did so a big percentage of his earnings would be taken from him by the Government. These are some of the patriotic people who, but a few short years ago, were telling us to “ tune in “ to London ! They do not do so now. In fact they are not even prepared to help to feed the people of London because they cannot make enough profit in the process. I am happy to say, however, that some of the cattlemen are possessed of a more patriotic spirit.

Senator Cooper:

– Apparently those men were pulling the honorable senator’s leg.

Senator LARGE:

– When I was at the Gladstone and Rockhampton killing yards, I was told that cattle were becoming scarce because the cattle kings were not now raising so many cattle.

Senator Cooper:

– Cattle are always scarce at this time of the year.

Senator LARGE:

– That is so, but the position is worse this year than normally, because of the factor that I have mentioned. Some action should be taken against these people. I contend that if the cattle man I have mentioned contemplates retaining only one-quarter of his cattle, three-quarters of his land should be taken from him and given to people who are prepared to utilize it fully for cattle-raising purposes. Such a course is necessary, not only in the interests of the development of Australia, but also in order to feed our kinsfolk overseas. Of course those reasons would be the last to enter the heads of these people who have preached patriotism. I contend that their patriotism is measured only by the number of pounds, shillings and pence that they will gain. In my opinion it is damnable that they should not be prepared to help to produce meat for Great Britain because of the reason that I have mentioned.

In the area between Cooktown and Laura, a distance of 67-j miles, there are two cattle stations that the owners have abandoned. To be fair, they had experienced difficulty of access. I point out, however, that they had lived under those circumstances for a long time. One of the stations is the famous Battle Creek Station.

Senator Cooper:

– I suppose that they could not get anything with which to carry on.

Senator O’Sullivan:

– And this, under a Labour government !

Senator LARGE:

– This criticism from the Opposition benches is because the Labour Government taxes heavily those people who can afford to pay. As honorable senators are aware, taxation on incomes up to £600 a year is no more severe now than it was in 1938. Furthermore, taxation on smaller incomes is now less severe than in 193S-39. It is a. common saying that if people partake of a good feed somebody must do the washing up. This Government has decided that the people who are to pay the piper shall be those that are best able to do so. For instance, the man to whom I spoke at Toowoomba referred to restrictions. I said to him, “ But you must be earning a big cheque if you are taxed to that degree”. Although hia good lady laughed, he remained silent. I told him that the Government based a man’s position on what he had left after paying his taxes rather than what he had before. I also said to another of the cattle kings, “ You get enough out of the Government now. If you were honest and told your accountants to submit complete and true records of your transactions for the year, I think that Mr. Chifley would collect quite a lot more from you “. And I mean that ! Yet those are the people that the Opposition seeks strenuously to defend. I say quite candidly that the cattle barons of North Queensland are not co-operating with the Government in order to improve the position generally.

While I was at Laura I was impressed with the opportunities that exist there for development. There is a natural aerodrome. To seal it, in order that it could be used in all weathers, would involve an expenditure of only a comparatively few pounds. A contour survey had been carried out two or three days previously. The surveyor who performed that work told me that he had surveyed a square mile, and that no more than a few drayloads of earth would be required in order to make it as level as a billiard table. I point out that an aerodrome at Laura could bo used by aircraft travelling between Brisbane and Thursday Island, Singapore, and other places in the East. In its crude state it has been used for forced landings on at least five occasions. Honorable senators will recollect the harrowing story recently published of a boy who was being taken by air from the inland to Brisbane for medical attention. The aircraft in which he was travelling had to make a forced landing. Subsequently, another aircraft in which he was travelling was also compelled to make a forced landing. One of those forced landings occurred at Laura. That centre is served from the coast by rail motor. It is my intention to approach the Minister for Civil Aviation and stress the claims of this natural aerodrome for development. If an abattoirs were constructed at Laura it would serve an area of about 150 square miles of beautiful cattle land. By the use of heavy freight aircraft the frozen carcasses could then be transported expeditiously to the seaboard. We must have people who are prepared to raise cattle to the fullest capacity of their land. We all know that to-day many cattlemen are content to raise only a limited number of cattle. That is dishonest. It is likewise dishonest for Senator Cooper to Say that if the Government left those cattlemen alone they would produce more. He condemns communism. He does not want us to exert any authority over those cattle barons. He wants us to leave them alone, as the doctors wish to be left alone. As we all know, they want to assume responsibility for the health and wealth of the community. That sort of thing is anarchy. Fancy the honorable senator hurling anathema at us for daring to believe in the principles of socialism !

He is anarchical.. He- warned; 11s to beware of a fall in prices; in other words to beware of a depression..

Senator COOKE:

– That was the- warning uttered’ by the Prime- Minister (Mr. Chifley).

Senator LARGE:

– Paney us accepting a warning from the Leader of the Opposition !’ Fancy Mm having the- temerity to warn a government that has’ been respondsible for placing in employment 760,0OO more people than were employed in 1939’! Our policy is’ full employment, and1 I believe that the real’ reason for the antiLabour parties’’ objection to- that policy is- that its’ implementation, deprives vested interests of. the reservoir of labour that they need to- exploit the: workers.

The- Leader of the Opposition- complained1 that the Government should’ have been able to estimate the production of coal more1 accurately. The truth is that no administration’ could! possibly have foreseen1 the expansion’ of- industry that has occurred’ under- our policy of full employment. The shortage of coal is due- not’ to insufficient production, but to- increased consumption-, and that increased consumption has occurred because of the huge industrial expansion that has taken place. Coal production lias’ not decreased - -

Senator Ashley:

– The consumption of coal’ has doubled.

Senator LARGE:

– That is the real explanation of the shortage of coal, I heard Senator Hendrickson speak of the harrowing, experiences that he underwent during the depression;, I think that my experiences- were even worse. Unlike the honorable senator, who was able to assist others- during the depression, I was- not able to assist any one. AIL I could do was to endure my own suffering. Had I been inclined to turn “ left “,. I saw enough, during the depression to- impel me to do’ so; For instance,, during the depression, there were tens of thousands of young men who’ never had a joh- from the time-they left school, until World War II. occurred;. I cannot forget that, from among those who enlisted in my constituency, the first fatal casualty was a young, man from Janalli, who- had never been; able to obtain a joh or to- earn any money until the war occurred amd: he joined one of the armed services-.. Facts such as that make one wonder how the people can be persuaded that the Opposition parties could be considered fit to be entrusted with office again..

A great deal! has been said by members of the Opposition about socialism.. I have already pointed out that during the last war we had to resort to’ socialism in order to obtain a 100 per cent,, producetive effort. Members of the Opposition, who are continually crying that socialism cannot be any good,, are- fond of raising the old. contention : “ Under socialism who is going to do the dirty work, to clean the drains and clear the sewers? “. Of course, that contention’ is- easily answered. Who does’ that unpleasant work now ? Our Mend* opposite- seek to bolster.’ their argument by implying that people will be forced! to’ perform work that is particularly unpleasant or- dangerous. We on this side of the chamber have- always rea’l’ized that some one must do that work, but we- contend that work that is patticularly ard’uous or unpleasant should be compensated for by higher pay of shorter hours’. However, our friends opposite strenuously deny the right of those who clean, the drains, deaf the sewers, cut timber and1 win coal’, in short’, those who take all’ the risks and1 endure all’ the unpleasantness,, to obtain higherpay of to work shorter hours. Members of the Oppossition complain that under socialism there is no incentive for the people. I cannot understand how people can conceive of incentive as implying only pecuniary gain. What is the incentive that urges a young man to jump into shark-infested waters in order to save life? Is it not the- natural action of a decent-minded young man to expend his energies in obedience to obey a natural impulse? I invite the Leader of the Opposition or Senator O’Sullivan to answer those questions. Irrespective of what answer they may give, it is plain that to members of the Opposition parties incentive implies only sordid financial gain.. In spite of the efforts of the Opposition to malign Labour”, they cannot deny that for many years Labour has stood as. a buffer between- the people and red r-evolution. If the conditions- of the people had not been ameliorated by social legislation introduced by Labour administrations, I am convinced that revolution would have occurred long ago. lit is dear, therefore, that Labour is a safeguard and a bulwark against revolution.

I repeat that the budget introdduced by the present Government has been eulogized by competent and impartial observers overseas who have analysed it critically, and I urge Senator O’sullivan, who will probably speak to-morrow at a time when the proceedings of this chamber are being broadcast, to endeavour to adduce more substantial criticisms of the Government than the necklace of negatives which characterized the speech of his leader. I should like to hear some constructive criticism of the Government. I did not hear any constructive observations from the Leader of the Opposition, nor, indeed, did he utter any outright criticism of the Government. All he did, in fact, was to indulge in a whining, whimpering derogation of the Government. If Senator O’sullivan will reflect upon my remarks and give them proper thought, he will have come one step nearer to seeing the light, and I promise him that when he does see the light I shall be prepared to sponsor the admission of himself and his charming colleague, Senator Rankin, into the Australian Labour party. I say that because I believe that fundamentally they are all right, and because I am convinced that the political party with which they are associated is not good enough for them. All they need is a little more political education. To return to the present debate, I appeal to Senator O’Sullivan to utter some really constructive criticism of the Government when he speaks to-morrow, otherwise I pity those who will have to follow him in the debate. If supporters of the Government are to maintain a proper level of debate they must be confronted with sound criticism of the Government; in other words, they must have something on which to chew, something to fight over. The task of supporters of the Government in maintaining the standard of dob-ate in this chamber is already sufficiently hard because of the paucity of n umbers of the Opposition, and therefore, because the number of representatives of the Opposition parties must inevitably increase after the forthcoming election I shall welcome the opportunity that will be presented by a stronger Opposition for more invigorating discussion. In fact, the proceedings of the Senate will then be much more interesting, and supporters of the present Government will have more incentive to speak effectively. I also believe that out of the composite mind of a larger and more diversified membership, more constructive thought will emerge. Then we shall be able to elevate the Senate’ to its proper status, which should be that of the finest debating chamber in Australia.

Senator KATZ:

– T am not so much concerned at the moment with the elevation of the standard of debate in the Senate, because I recall that until the Australian Labour party practically annihilated the present Opposition parties and obtained a majority of 30 members in this chamber, the present Opposition parties never tired of telling us what a wonderful chamber the Senate was. It was supposed to protect State interest? and thereby to enjoy a paramount prestige. Apparently it lost all that prestige when Labour obtained an overwhelming majority of its membership ! I challenge members of the Opposition who take part in the debate to-morrow to answer this question : Did the Nationalist party, the United Australia party, the Liberal party, the Country party or the Liberal-Country party ever produce to any Australian parliament a budget that provided for full employment in the community? .No anti-Labour administration has ever thought of providing full employment, because, after all, full employment is opposed to its basic principles. The idea of members of the anti-Labour parties is that any factory which employs 400 or 500 men should always have from 60 to 80 men waiting at the gate for the chance to obtain a job held by one of the employees. The present Government, however, believes in employment for all the people, and for the first time in the history of this country those who are willing to work are assured of employment. Those of us who have been through the industrial turmoil of this country know very well what it means to a man to receive a note in his pay envelope telling him that his job is gone. How does such a man feel when he reaches home ? Think of him breaking the news to his wife, and of the tears that are shed. Consider the un happiness that has been created in this country by unemployment. Whether or not workers of this country vote for Labour at the forthcoming election, I. do not want them to have to suffer again the miseries associated with unemployment. I saw the tragic consequences of widespread unemployment in more than omState during the depression. I saw Australian men and women with little kiddies sleeping on the banks of the Torrens River in huts built of kerosene tins. Do the people of Australia want a recurrence of those experiences?

The present Government will never permit such conditions to recur. Look at, the situation to-day in the United Spates of America, the wonderful citadel of private enterprise, the country about whose prosperity so much has been said. The United States of America is the world centre of “free enterprise”. To-day there are 5,000,000 unemployed in that country. A short time ago a great deal was heard in Australia about the coal strike that we experienced; we hear very little to-day about the 500,000 coalminers that are on strike in the United States of America. The Opposition parties complain about the shortage of steel in this country. The Leader of the Opposition said that the production of steel now was less than in the pre-war years; but we do not hear anything about the 1,000,000 steel industry employees in the United States of America who are on strike. Neither President Truman, nor even Mr. Dewey, who, prior to the last presidential elections, was tipped by the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Menzies) as the next President of the United States, has been able to settle the industrial dislocation in America. Tt is true that we have had industrial troubles in this country, but every country has them. If workers are prepared to take everything lying down, they will find that very soon they will be forced to lie down for ever. It is most gratifying indeed to know, that as a result of this Government’s full employment policy, every man, woman and child in Australia is able to enjoy a reasonable standard of living. Ever since federation, governments formed by the parties now in opposition in this Parliament have failed lamentably to provide employment for the people of this country.

I turn now from full employment to another feature of Labour’s work. The budget provides for the expenditure of substantial sums of money on immigration. What is the record of the Opposition parties in that field? A few years ago, with a great flourish of trumpets, and headlines in the press, a non-Labour government announced the arrival in this country of the Big Four. They came here to investigate Australia’s potentialities for immigration, and secondary industry expansion. What happened? An Immigration and Development Commission was set up. It included such eminent men as a former Premier of South Australia, Mr. John Gunn, and Sir Herbert Gepp. I do not blame them for the failure of the scheme, because, after all, they were merely trying to carry out the policy of a government which was not concerned with the best interests of the nation. The sole object of bringing immigrants to Australia at that time was to lower the standard of living of the Australian people. To-day, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are being brought to this country from the Baltic countries and elsewhere. Many of them cannot speak a word of English ; but every immigrant is paid award wages and works award hours. That is something of which the Government can be proud. Every national enterprise tackled by anti-Labour administrations failed. The attitude of Liberals and the Conservatives throughout the Englishspeaking countries is the same. Mr. Neville Chamberlain once said -

I do not imagine we can ever destroy unemployment.

But this Government has done it, and, as I said a few moments ago, that is a feat of which I am intensely proud. In an endeavour to detract from Labour’s achievements our political opponents say that we are socialists and are against private enterprise. I remind the Senate, however, that Labour’s policy on nationalization is apparently shared by many non-Labour governments. For instance, the Adelaide electricity supply was nationalizedby thePlayfordGovernment. Why? Because thepeople of Adelaide had to be protected from the private organization, which previously had control. Wherever one looks, one sees evidence of the fact that Labour’s activities are directed towards the improvement of the conditions of the people.

I was most impressed to-night by one phase of SenatorHendrickson’s speech. He said that, during his employment in thePostal Department, officials of that department were paid2s. 6d. foreach new telephone subscriber that they obtained.I venture to say that many people to-day would be prepared to pay as much as £10 to have telephonesinstalled immediately in their homes or business premises.. That is the state of affairs that exists to-day, mainlybecauseas the result of the Government’s full employment policy, every Australian worker can earn a reasonable wage.

The Leader of the Opposition said that the Australian iron and steel industry was workingtoonly70 per cent.of its capacity. That industry,ofcourse, is privately owned. There are signs everywhere that private enterprise, as we have known it, has broken down. The system under which we have been living for so long has ceased tofunction. The result is shortages. Oneofourgravest shortages is that of petrol - again a commodity controlled by private enterprise. When rationing ceased, the private oil companies urged people to fill 44-gallon drums.I heard an advertisement of this kind over the air. The result is, of course, that, to-day, thousands of these drums are stowed away. This overbuying was encouraged so that the oilcompanies could have a quicker turnover. Now men engaged in motor transport undertakings are unable to buy sufficient petrol toenable them to provide their normal services. The garages cannot supply the petrol, because they do not have it. That is an illustration of how private enterprise has failed. Othershortages can be similarly traced to the inefficiency of private enterprise.

In Great Britain., prior to the advent of the present Labour Government, there was a standing army of 3,000,000 unemployed. In addition 10,000, 000 people were living below the breadline. They were worse than on the dole because they were only receiving what was known as poor house relief. I believe therefore, that inGreat Britain, as in this country, Labour will not only be returned to power at the forthcoming general election, but. will never be displaced from office. I am confident that if Labour is returned on this occasion, there will never again be any other rule except Labour rule.

An endeavour has been made to lay the blame for rising prices at Labour’s door. That is absolutely false, and in this connexionI shall refer again to cartels. Take bread as an illustration. The priceof bread isdetermined by the bakers and distributors themselves. Itis true that price increases have tobe sanctioned by the State pricesauthorities.. But that is only a matter ofaccepting the figure that has already been agreed upon by the industry. In f act, the industry decides who shall supply bread to a particular neighbourhood, and who shall deliver it. A similar state of affairs exists with. milk. The workers have no say in determining; the price that they have to pay for their milk. They have to pay the figure that is fixed by the industry. The prices of others foodstuffs are fixedina like manner,

I shall not deal with taxation because that phase of theGovernment’s policy was adequately covered during thelast period of the present session.Iwishto point out, however,thatinspite of full employment and the 40-hour week, profits of private industries are greater to-day than ever before, even under the regime of Liberal-Country party government. For instance, it was mostillustrating toread yesterday thatBroken Hill South, a subsidiary of the Broken HillProprietary Company Limited, made a profit of £1,750,000 last year. Opposition senators will no doubt argue that the workers shared in the prosperity of that company. That may be so, but the fact remains tha t theworkers also produced thatprofit of £1,750,000forthe shareholders. Noyes Brothers (Sydney) Limited, anelectrical company, paida 90 per cent.dividend. Yet honorable senators opposite say that the workers are not working hard enough !

If incentives were paid by that company in order to increase its profits, I suppose that it would eventually increase its dividends to 1,000 per cent. The Melbourne Agc of the 15th September also reported an £87,000 bonus share issue. One of the principals of that company is Mr. A. G. Warner, who argued the point with the Prime Minister about the feasibility of obtaining petrol from soft currency countries. That incident provided an excellent illustration of the degree of integrity and ability of the men who are engaged in the oil industry. When Mr. Warner, who is a member of the Victorian Government, said that petrol could be obtained from Poland he caused a great deal of discontent amongst the electors many of whom criticized this Government. However, when the Government told Mr. Warner to go ahead and import as much petrol as he could obtain from Poland, he had to announce that he could not obtain even enough to fill a kerosene tin. That is what this Government is up against all the time. The financial pages of the newspapers report increased profits in all fields of industry. The Colonial Gas Association Limited recently announced a profit of £96,000. That is a private company which was granted a monopoly by a Liberal Government in Victoria years ago. The price of a £5 share in the Metropolitan Gas Company is now £10. Its business is conducted so effectively that, although it has been granted about six price increases during the last twelve months, it has had the effrontery to ask the State Government for a hand-out of £1,000,000. Furthermore its request has been granted. The money will be used to erect a plant at South Melbourne to use gas which will be produced at Yallourn. This will enable the company to compete with the State-owned electricity undertaking. That is how the Opposition parties would conduct the affairs of the country if they were returned to power. The sort of manipulation that I have just described is made possible by the fact that the Victorian legislature has an upper house whose members are elected by only onethird of the citizens of the State. I hope that democracy will be able to lay low such undemocratic bodies within the next few years. However, when Labour eventually annihilates them, the Liberals will say that they had nothing to do with such institutions. The Labour party has had to fight throughout its history to improve the status of the workers.

The Royal Agricultural Show was- held in Melbourne- recently. The attendance this year was not so great as usual because of an epidemic of poliomyelitis. This is an interesting extract from an article about the show under the heading “ pageant of progress by men and machines “ -

Take for example, the giant header harvester, some 18 feet long and 12 feet wide. With its tractor, it has been speeded up to “ gobble “ wheat, oats and so on at the rate of five and a half miles an hour.

It has the brains of an anti-aircraft predictor. It is equipped with an hydraulic lift for the cutting edge. This means that the farmer can cut his crop at any height.

That is only the beginning of the story. A large threshing drum separates the wheat from the husks and straw. And a riddle box makes the final separation. The pure wheat then pours into bags.

There are cultivator drills that perforin miracles. They cultivate, sow and spread superphosphate in the same motion. They perform more efficiently four times the work done by a team of 10 or 12 horses in by-gone days in the same time.

Members of the Opposition complain that men will not work on the land. The reason for that is that men are not required on the land in the same numbers as previously. Let us consider what this Government has done in order to provide our primary producers with the equipment needed for soil cultivation. In the last two years it has released 20,000,000 dollars for the importation of agricultural tractors and 10,000,000 dollars for other purposes and for spare marts for tractors, a total of 30,000,000’ dollars.

Because the United States of America to-day dominates the financial world, the Government has been forced to impose stringent restrictions upon the importation of goods from dollar countries. Therefore, it has declared that the only commodities that may be purchased from hard currency areas are capital goods. The entry of consumer goods is virtually prohibited. In spite of the seriousness of the financial situation, this Government, which is accused of being unsympathetic towards primary producers, has done more for men on the land than was done by any previous government in Australia’s history. By its efforts this year alone, the Government has provided 15,000 tractors for Australian farmers. Yet the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues charge it with neglect of the welfare of the man on the land! The normal yearly requirements of farmers amount to only 10.000 or 11,000 tractors. One can see large numbers of motor lorries on th« waterfront at Melbourne almost daily loading tractors for transport to various parts of Victoria. Many tractors aru also driven under their own power to country centres. That is evidence of what tie Government is doing to buttress the economic stability of the nation.

All of the talk that we hear from members of the Opposition about workers failing to produce goods in adequate quantities and the need for incentive payments is sheer nonsense. Only recently I quoted figures supplied by Professor Copland in relation to production which disproved all of the allegations that had been made by members of the Opposition. I shall not repeat them, but I shall refer instead to a statement that was made in the Arbitration Court last week by Professor Higgins, American economist and Ritchie Professor of Economic Research at the University of Melbourne. Thin is the report of his evidence - “ Wage earners in Australia receive a smaller share of the national income than in Canada, the United Kingdom, or the United States. I suggest that farmers are the group whose share should be cut.”

Professor Benjamin Higgins, American economist and Ritchie Professor of Economic Research at Melbourne University, expressed this opinion during the hearing of the £10 basic wage claim in the Arbitration Court yesterday.

The professor is no ratbag agitator or anything of that sort. He is a distinguished economist who has examined the subject carefully and who, under cross-examination, was able to prove his statements beyond all doubt. The report continued - ‘

Professor Higgins said it was highly unlikely that income received from private savings by workers made a significant addition to wages and salaries.

In America, workers earning 1,500 dollars a year were unable to save. Probably Australian families with incomes below £3:50 would be in the same position.

Statistics prove that the workers have been producing to the best of their ability hut have not been receiving in return a fair share of the wealth that they create.

I remember when wages were cut by 10 per cent. On that occasion the employers went to the Arbitration Court and said that the national income could not support the ordinary wage. Therefore wages were reduced by 10 per cent. During the next few weeks, members of the Opposition will tell the people to ignore the declarations of the Government. They will say, “ Perhaps you do not pay income tax if you earn £8 a week, and perhaps you do receive 30s. a week in child endowment. But they give no credit to the Government for that. We introduced child endowment “. I shall explain why an anti-Labour government implemented the child endowment scheme. The trade unions had applied to the Arbitration Court for a basic wage increase. The judges decided that workers could not be expected to live on thu existing basic wage and that they would have to be granted an increase unless the Government provided for their children. The Government of the day then decided to pay 5s. a week for all children after the first child in every family. That is why an anti-Labour government introduced child endowment. It was not influenced by any love for the children of those who work for a living. Its motive was to keep down the basic wage. That is the real story of the introduction of child endowment: It was alleged that by that means they would save approximately £10,000,000 per annum. The Government can be proud of many other achievements besides the provision of full employment. Whilst anti-Labour governments provided a. maternity allowance of only £5 with the application of a means test, this Government has increased that allowance, in respect of which no means test is now applied, to £15 for the first and second births and to £17 10s. for the third birth in a family. No doubt the Opposition parties will endeavour to claim credit fo’ the liberalization of the allowance. I remind them that the maternity allowance was introduced by the Fisher Labour Government. At the time that that ‘benefit was proposed, the anti-Labour parties referred to it as “ Fisher’s Baby Bonus “ and endeavoured to ridicule that reform in all their propaganda. They said that Labour was trying to destroy home life. Yet, the only objective of that reform was to give financial assistance to mothers in poor circumstances. My colleagues and I arc familiar with the trials that confronted the average worker in this country in the past when a new arrival was expected in the family. We recall the struggle that had to he made in order to save sufficient to meet the medical expenses for each confinement. Yet, because Labour has achieved reforms of that kind, our opponents, these champion’ of democracy, who have disfranchised two out of every three citizens in the State of Victoria, endeavoured to ridicule us! The same sort of propaganda is being disseminated to-day by such newspapers as the Melbourne Sun, which has a circulation of 419,000, and the Melbourne Herald, which has a circulation of 370,000. We read in those newspapers headings such as “ Moving towards the Soviet State - by simple socialist steps “, and alongside advertisements written in that strain we see depicted the hammer and sickle to denote that the Labour party is associated with the Communist party. Who provides the funds to finance the propaganda disseminated by Labour’s opponents ‘? Some branches of the Liberal party were unable to expend all of the money that was made available to them by the private financial institutions during th,last referendum campaign. Another heading typical of those published in the newspapers to which I have referred is, “ A Socialist victory is a Soviet victory “. Whilst members of the Opposition parties in this Parliament speak in glowing terms of the late John Curtin, one of the prospective Liberal candidates at the next general election speaks only in condemnatory terms of that great leader in a weekly broadcast over a wide network in this country. I refer to Trooper Warner. I suppose that members of the Opposition parties in this Parliament will deny that Trooper Warner ever existed.

Senator O’sullivan:

– Who is he? 1 have never heard of him.

Senator KATZ:

– Just as the members or the Opposition parties disown Trooper Warner and his propaganda, they will disown other Liberal propagandists. For the information of Senator O’sullivan. Trooper Warner has been selected as a Liberal candidate at the next general election. However, notwithstanding th, attacks of its opponents the Labour party will retain office in this country. Although their propaganda against the Government’s banking legislation was bad it was not new, because their predecessors indulged in similar propaganda in years gone by. I recall one anti-Labour placard that depicted a poor woman bending over a wash-tub and appealing to the workers by saying that she was afraid that the Government was going to take her hardearned savings. When I hear members of the Opposition parties and their socalled economists say that the workers are not producing as they should, I can only conclude that they do not know what is going on around them. Whereas a few years ago a female expert in the fruit preserving industry could peel and treat twenty cases of pears a day the same operatives, now using a machine, peel and treat 130 cases a day. But does the worker in that industry receive the increased profit that is derived from that increased production? Opponents of Labour have always fought Labour’s claims for equal pay for the sexes. I recall that when the Court of Industrial Appeal in Victoria was prepared to grant equal pay to the sexes in the clerks’ case an organizer of the Liberal party strongly opposed that claim. What is the lot of the great mass of the young women in this country? I refer to clerks and stenographers. Usually those who marry take their annual leave so that they can go on their honeymoon, and when their honeymoon is over they return to their jobs. That observation applies not only to female clerks, but also to women engaged in all classes of industry. Yet, whilst the Opposition parties and the interests they represent are not prepared to pay a fair wage to women workers they are the first to appeal to the women of this country to help the nation overcome its shortage of labour.

The present Governmenthas brought about conditions under which the worker need no longer be afraid that someday he will have to go hungry because of his inability to obtain a job. I have no doubt that at the next general election theGovernment will retain the support of the overwhelming majority of the people. So sparse are the numbers of the Opposition in this chamber at present that the Government has provided for future elections of the Senate on the principle of proportional representation. Otherwise, after the next general election the Opposition would have no representatives at all in this chamber.

Debate (on motion by Senator Finlay) adjourned.

page 894


The following papers were presented : -

Air Navigation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 70.

Apple and Pear Export Charges Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 52.

Apple and Pear Organization Act - RegulationsStatutory Rules1949, No. 67.

Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. - 1949 - No. 50 - Fourth Division Postmasters, Postal Clerks and Telegraphists’ Union and others.

Nos. 51 and 52 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.

No. 53 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.

No. 54 - Australian Leather and Allied Trades Employees’ Federation.

No. 55 - Non-Official Postmasters’ Association of Australia.

No. 56 - Commonwealth Works Supervisors’ Association.

No. 57 - Federated Ironworkers’ Association of Australia.

No. 58 - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.

No. 59 - Association of Railway Professional Officers of Australia.

Nos.60 and61. - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.

No. 62 - Civil Air Operations Officers’ Association of Australia.

No. 63 - Transport Workers’ Union of Australia.

No.64 - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.

No. 65 - Transport Workers’ Union of Australia.

No. 66 - Association of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draughtsmen of Australia.

No.67 - Commonwealth Medical Officers.’ Association.

No. 68 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.

No. 69 - Professional Officers’ Association,Commonwealth Public Service.

No. 70 - Federated Clerks’ Union of Australia.

No. 71 - Association of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draughtsmen of Australia.

Australian Broadcasting Act -

Order - Political broadcasts (Federal elections).

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 66.

Australian National Airlines Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 51.

Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 46.

Commonwealth Bank Act -

Appointment - J. H. Olfen.

Balance-sheets of Commonwealth Bank and Commonwealth Savings Bank as at 30th June, 1949; together with AuditorGeneral’s reports thereon.

Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 49.

Commonwealth Electoral Act and Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 62.

Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -

Army - L. G. Bishop, T. K. Fisher.

Commerce and Agriculture - J. V. Clark,

G. W. Edwards, G. J. Harvey, K. H. Ray, J. A. Zwar.

Defence - H. W. Berry, D. I. MacLean, S. J. Mayne, L. G. Reddy, A. W. F. Rogers, G. J. Stephenson, R. N. Thompson.

Interior - L. H. Coffey, R. G. Hewson, D. W. Johns, E. J. W. Juster, A. T. Munro, I. D. Robinson, E. Wigley.

Labour and National Service - G. D. Grant, E. M. Oxenham.

Parliamentary Library - C. W. N. Gilbert.

Postmaster-General - T. R. Allen, B. S. Backstrom,S. F. Brownless, R. W. Carmichael, K. R. Collyer, E. R. Craig, J. W. Foley, G. S. Goodman, R. W. Grimes, A. Hannah, S. Helm,. M. H. Jones, E. O’Hoy, E. V. Partington, J. Pyddoke, P. H. Richards, R. H. Shepherd, G. H. Sims,. G. W. F. Trask.

Repatriation - T. M. Gilbert, E. J. Haberfield.

Supply and Development - J. A. Dunn,. N. H. V. Hoyling, W. A. Rachinger.

Treasury - G. T. Wright.

Works and Housing - J. P. Birrell, F. H.

Brown, G. J. Harrison, J. M. Hawke, B. Hyland, N. D. Hyland, L. F. Lisconibe, A. E. Morrell, G. P. Radecki, J. B. Redmond, A. S. Richards. H. W. Sando, W. H. Sloan,.

R. G. W. Smith.

Customs Act - CustomsProclamations - Nos. 749-751.

Customs Act and Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, Nos. 53, 54.

Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, Nos. 55, 88. Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 86.

Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act -

National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (39).

National Security (Prices) Regulations - Orders- Nos. 3432-3442.

National Security (Rationing) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 161, 162.

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 48.

Immigration Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 45.

Income Tax Assessment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 50.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for -

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial ResearchOrganisation purposes - Deniliquin, New South Wales.

Council for Scientific and. Industrial Research purposes - Darlington, New South Wales.

Defence purposes-

Amberley, Queensland.

Benalla, Victoria.

Berkshire Park, New South Wales.


Colmslie, Queensland.

Diggers Rest, Victoria.

Garbutt, North Queensland.

Greta, New South Wales.

North Fremantle (Buckland Hill), Western Australia.

Prospect, New South Wales.

Regent’s Park, New South Wales.

Roth well, Victoria.

South Fremantle, Western Australia.

SouthPlympton, South Australia.

St. Marys, New South Wales.

Wallangarra, Queensland.

Westernport, Victoria.

Department of Civil Aviation purposes -

Albion Park, New South Wales.

Broome, Western Australia.

Carnarvon, Western Australia.

Ceduna, South Australia.

Cunnamulla, Queensland.

Devonport, Tasmania.

Eagle Farm, Queensland(2).

Essendon Victoria.

Guildford, Western Australia.

Mascot, New South Wales.

NorthCampbellfield, Victoria.

PortLincoln, South Australia.

Richmond, New South Wales.

Whyalla, South Australia.

Department of Supply and Development purposes - Watheroo, Western Australia.

Department of Trade and Customs purposes - Anguston, South Australia.

Department of Works and Housing purposes

Guildford, Western Australia.

Leichhardt, New South Wales.

Immigration purposes - Dundas, New South Wales.

Postal purposes -

Adelaide, South Australia.(2).

Armadale, Western Australia.

Arran, Queensland.

Avalon, New South Wales.

Ballan, Victoria.

Beresfield, New South Wales.

Blakehurst, New South Wales.

Bowral, New South Wales.

Buderim, Queensland.

Canley Vale, New South. Wales.

Castle Hill, New South Wales.

Charlton, Victoria.

Clayton, Victoria.

Coogee, New South Wales.

Darra, Queensland.

Drummoyne, New South Wales.

East Maitland, New South Wales.

Eden, New South Wales.

Ferny Creek, Victoria.

Forbes, New South Wales.

Gordonvale, Queensland.

Gosford, New South Wales.

Grafton, New South Wales.

Grenfell, New South Wales.

Kangaloon, New South Wales.

Kurrajong, NewSouth Wales.

LangLang, Victoria.

Lawson, New South Wales?

Marryatville, South Australia.

Metung, Victoria.

Mount Victoria, New South Wales.

Murwillumbah, New South Wales.


Nambucca Heads, New South Wales.

Nedlands, Western Australia.

Noble Park, Victoria.

NorthMelbourne,Victoria. North Sydney,New SouthWales.

Orange, New South Wales.

PrahranEast, Victoria.

Redf ern, NewSouth Wales.


Sale, Victoria.

Sandy Bay, Tasmania.

Sans Souci, New South Wales.

Singleton, New South Wales.

SouthGladstone,Queensland .

Springwood, New South Wales.

Stanthorpe, Queensland.

St. Marys, New South Wales.

Subiaco, WesternAustralia.

Three Springs, Western Australia.

Torquay, Victoria .

Unley, South Australia.

Victoria Park East, Western Australia.

Violet Town, Victoria.

Warragul, Victoria.

Willoughby, New South Wales (2).

Wingham, New South Wales.

Woodford, Queensland.

Woonona, New South, Wales.

Yeelanna, South. Australia.

Railway purposes - Potshot (Vlaming Head), Western Australia.

National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act - Regulations-Statutory Rules 1949, No. 43.

Nationality and Citizenship Act - Return for year 1848-49.

Nauru -

Native Administration Ordinance- Administration Order 1946, No. 1.

Ordinances -


No.1 - Ordinances Revision.

No. 2 - Census. 1948 - No. 1 - Commissions of Inquiry. Naval Defence Act - Regulations-Statutory Rules 1949, Nos. 58, 64, 69.

Norfolk Island Act-Ordinance-1949 - No. 1 - Matrimonial Causes.

Northern Territory (Administration) Act -

Ordinances - 1 949 -

No. 4. - Housing Loans.

No. 5.- Interpretation.

No.6. - Police and Police Offences.

No.7. - Licensing.

Regulations - 1949 -

No. 4 (Health Ordinance).

No. 5 (Aboriginals Ordinance).

No.6 (Alice Springs Administration Ordinance) .

Northern Territory - Report on Administration for Year 1947-48.

Northern Territory Representation Act, Northern Territory (Administration) Act and Commonwealth Electoral Act - Regulations- Statutory Rules 1949, No. 81.

Papua and New Guinea Act - Ordinances - 1949-

No. 1 - Ordinances Interpretation.

No. 2 - Supreme Court.

No. 3 - Public Service Ordinance Adaptation.

No. 4 - Liquor.

No. 5 - Liquor (Papua).

Papua and New Guinea Bounties Act - Return for Year 1948-49.

Papua-New Guinea Provisional Administration Act- Ordinance - 1949 - No. 4 - Snpply (No. 1) 1949-50.

Passports Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 41.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Act - Regulations -Statutory Rules 1949, No. 44.

Raw Cotton Bounty Act -

Regulations- Statutory Rules 1949, No. 57.

Return for 1948.

Postmaster-General’s Department - Thirtyeighth Annual Report, for Year 1947-48.

Sales Tax Assessment Acts (Nos. 1 to 9) - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 65.

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

Canberra University College - Report for 1948.

Ordinances - 1949 -

No. 5 - Districts.

No. 6 - Landlord and Tenant.

No.7 - Police Arbitral Tribunal.

Regulations - 1949-

No. 7 (Building and Services Ordinance).

No. 8 (Building and Services Ordinance).

Seat of Government ( Administration ) Act - Statement of Receipts and’ Expenditure for Year 1948-49.

Social Services Consolidation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 42.

Social Services Contribution Assessment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 47.

Sulphur Bounty Act - Return for Year 1948-49.

Supply and Development Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 59.

Tractor Bounty Act - Return for Year 1948-49.

Trade Marks Act- Regulations - Statutory Rules 1848, No. 40.

War Service Homes Act - Land acquired at-

Bankstown, New South Wales.

Nunawading, Victoria.

Wheat Industry Stabilization Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 56.

Wine Overseas Marketing Act - Regulations -Statutory Rules 1949, No.63.

Wire Netting Bounty Act - Return for Year 1948-49.

Senate adjourned at 10.10 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 5 October 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.