6 July 1950

19th Parliament · 1st Session

The Senate, on the 23rd June, 1950, adjourned to a date and hour to be fixed by the President and to be notified to each honorable senator. The Senate met at 2.30 p.m. pursuant to such notification.

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His Excellency, the Eight Honorable William John McKell,GovernorGeneral and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Commonwealth of Australia, entered the chamber, and, taking his seat on the dais, said -

Honorable Senators :

I am present to administer to senators elected to serve in the Senate from the 1st July, 1950, the oath or affirmation of allegiance as required by section 42 of the Constitution.

The Clerk produced and laid on the table the certificates of election for the following members elected, on the 10th December, 1949, to serve in the Senate for their respective States, from and after the 1st July, 1950 : -

New South Wales -

John Ignatius Armstrong

Donald MacLennan Grant.

Stanley Kerin Amour

Queensland -

Benjamin Courtice

Archibald Malcolm Benn

Gordon Brown

South Australia -

Sidney Wainman O’Flaherty.

Theophilus Martin Nicholls. Alaxander Finlay

Tasmania -

Nicholas Edward McKenna.

Norman Henry Denham Henty

William Edward Aylett

Victoria -

Donald Cameron

John Joseph Devlin

James Michael Sheehan

Western Australia - richard Harry Nash.

James Mackintosh Eraser

Victor Seddon Vincent

The above-named senators made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.

His Excellency the GovernorGeneral having retired,

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Minister for Trade and Customs · QueenslandMinister for Trade and Customs · LP

Mr. Clerk of the Senate (Mr. Edwards), I remind the Senate that the time has now come when it is necessary for it to choose one of its members to be President.

Senator ASHLEY:
New South WalesLeader of the Opposition

– I move -

That Senator Gordon Brown do take the chair of this Senate as President.

Senator McKENNA:

– I second the motion. As one who has served for six years in this Senate under the presidency of Senator Gordon Brown, I am very happy to pay tribute to his impartiality, judgment, ability, and strength of character in the discharge of the duties associated with the high office which he has graced. I believe it will be a further tribute to his quality if he should be returned unopposed. Perhaps I strike a. purely personal note when I say that I hope that no untoward incident will prevent me from continuing to serve in this Senate for another six years under the same President.

Senator Brown:

-I submit myself to the will of the Senate.

The Clerk:

– There being no other nomination, I declare Senator Gordon Brown elected President of the Senate.

The PRESIDENT, having been conducted to the dais, said -

I appreciate to the full the honour that has been done me. In the past, I have tried to be fair and to do justice to all. I hope in the future to do the same.

Senator O’SULLIVAN (QueenslandMinister for Trade and Customs). - I tender to you, Mr. President, my congratulations and good wishes, and those of all other honorable senators, upon your re-election to the high office of President of the Senate. In the hurlyburly of party politics, the duties and responsibilities of President are never light. Sometimes, they can be very onerous and difficult. I am happy to say that, in the overall, my own experience under your presidency has been that you have carried out your duties with the dignity, impartiality and courtesy that is consistent with the high traditions of the office.

Senator ASHLEY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition). - I associate myself with the sentiments expressed by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan). All honorable senators who have worked under you as President will agree that you have discharged the duties of your office in accordance with the traditions of your office. I am sure that, in the future, we shall receive from you the same good service as in the past.

Senator COOPER:
Minister for Repatriation · Queensland · CP

– Members of the Australian Country party in the Senate offer their congratulations to you once again, Mr. President, upon your reelection to your high office. We trust that you will be granted health and strength to carry on your work for a further term.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon Gordon Brown:

– I thank honorable senators for their kind words. I hope to conduct the affairs of the Senate in the future as I have done in the past. I believe that I have the goodwill of all honorable senators, whether they support the Government or the Opposition. It is always possible for a President to make a mistake, but I have tried to conduct the affairs of the Senate in the knowledge that I must be strict in applying the Standing Orders, while at the same time ensuring that every honorable senator, whether or not he holds the same political views as I do, receives a fair deal. After all, fair play is bonny play. I heartily thank honorable senators for the honour they have done me, and I shall try to conduct the debates in the Senate on as high a plane as is humanly possible.

Presentation to Governor-General

Senator O’SULLIVAN (Queensland-

Minister for Trade and Customs). - I desire to acquaint honorable senators that His Excellency the GovernorGeneral will be pleased to receive Mr. President in the President’s room forthwith.


– I invite honorable senators to accompany me to the President’s room, where I shall present myself to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral as the choice of the Senate.

Sitting suspended from 2.£7 to S.l 4 p.m.


– I have to report that, accompanied by honorable senators, I, this day, presented myself to the GovernorGeneral as the person chosen by the Senate as its President. His Excellency was pleased to congratulate me upon my election.

The PRESIDENT read prayers.

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Assent to the following bills reported : -

States Grants (Coal Mining Industry Long

Service Leave) Bill 1950. Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1949-50. Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill (No. 2) 1949-50.

Supply Bill (No. 1) 1950-51. Supply (Works and Services) Bill (No. 1)


Social Services Consolidation Bill 1950. Wool (Contributory Charge) Bill (No. 1) 1950.

Wool (Contributory Charge) Bill (No. 2) 1950.

Wool ( Contributory ‘Charge) Assessment

Bill 1950. Wool Realization Bill 1950. Wool (Reserve Prices) Fund Bill 1950. Nationality and Citizenship (Burmese) Bill

Tariff Board Bill 1950.

Supplementary Appropriation Bill 1948-49. Supplementary Appropriation ( Works and Services) Bill 1948-49.

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Motion (by Senator O’sullivan) agreed to -

That the Senate do now proceed to elect n Chairman of Committees.

Senator McKENNA:

– I move -

That Senator T. M. Nicholls be appointed Chairman of Committees.

Senator Armstrong:

– I second themotion.

Senator Nicholls:

– I submit myself to the will of the Senate.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon.

Gordon Brown). - There being only one nomination, I declare Senator Nicholls elected.

Senator O’SULLIVAN (Queensland-

Minister for Trade and Customs). - On my own behalf, and I am sure, on behalf of all honorable senators, I congratulate Senator Nicholls upon his re-election as Chairman of Committees. The office to which he has been re-elected calls for tact, courtesy and consideration. In my experience, Senator Nicholls has never failed to exhibit those qualities in a very generous measure. I assure him of the utmost co-operation of honorable senators on this side of the chamber in the discharge of his . onerous and important duties.

Senator ASHLEY:
New South WalesLeader of the Opposition

– On behalf of the Labour party, I join with the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan) in congratulating Senator Nicholls upon his re-appointment as Chairman of Committees. All honorable senators will agree that Senator Nicholls has carried out his duties impartially and capably and I am sure that, during the period for which he has been re-elected, his administration will be of the same high standard.

Senator COOPER:
Minis ter for Repatriation · Queensland · CP

– Members of the Australian Country party wish to add their congratulations to those already expressed to Senator Nicholls upon his re-election. “We trust that he will enjoy health and strength in carrying on his good work.

South Australia

– I thank honorable senators for having again elected me to the position of Chairman of Committees, and I assure them that in the future I shall endeavour, as I have done in the past, to discharge my duties to the limit of my ability.

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QueenslandMinister for Trade and Customs · LP

by leave - read a copy of the statement made in the House of Representatives by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) (vide page 4S36), and, moved -

That the Senate, having before it the Charter of the United Nations and the recent resolutions of the Security Council in relation to Korea, approves of the action taken by the Government in placing at the disposal of the United Nations the forces indicated in the statement of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’sullivan).

Senator McLeay:

– I. second the motion. ‘

Senator ASHLEY:
New South WalesLeader of the Opposition

– The statement made by the Leader of the Government (Senator O’Sullivan) is very important to the people of Australia. Its importance is emphasized by the fact that the Parliament has been called together specially to hear it. I regret that the Leader of the Government was unable to furnish me with a copy of the statement earlier than the time at which it was handed to me. However, I appreciate the position in which he is placed. I point out that the statement is practically a plain historical record. With the exception of the motion, it contains nothing that we have not already read in the press. The limitation of the information is rather surprising to me. The Opposition is prepared to assist in any way possible, but if the Government wants the Opposition to accept responsibility in this matter, then it should furnish the Opposition with the fullest information on this matter.

On behalf of the Opposition, I agree that there is a need for a united Korea. That aim has the full support of the Australian Labour party. Fifty-nine nations are honorably bound to give support to the views of the United Nations. The basic policy of the Australian Labour party is to support the United Nations and the Security Council of that organization. The Opposition has prepared a reply to the statement made by the Leader of the Government.

The Federal Parliamentary Labour party- has given consideration to the armed attack made upon the Republic of

Korea by the forces of North Korea. The Security Council of the United Nations determined that such armed attack constituted a breach of international peace within the meaning of the United Nations Charter. It called upon North Korea to withdraw forthwith its armed forces to the existing boundary between North Korea and South Korea at the 38th parallel of latitude. That direction of the Security Council was disobeyed. Accordingly, the Security Council decided that urgent military measures were required to re-establish peace and security, and recommended to members of the United Nations that assistance should be furnished to the Republic of Korea in order to repel the armed attack made upon it by North Korea. It is part of the basic policy of the Australian Labour movement to give “steady and unwavering support for the United Nations, and for the purposes and principles declared in the United Nations Charter “ and also to achieve “ co-operation within the British Commonwealth of Nations in support of the United Nations organization for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security”. These objectives have consistently been applied by federal Labour governments since the foundation of the United Nations in 1945.

The United Nations Charter aims ai the preservation of international peace by providing that force shall be employed by the organization in preventing and repelling breaches of the peace and armed aggression.. . The territorial integrity of the Republic of Korea has been infringed by the armed forces of North Korea. The Security Council was clearly warranted in deciding that armed force should be employed by the United. Nations for the purpose of restoring international peace in the area. Consequently, the actions of those members of the United Nations in complying with the request of the Security Council by placing at its disposal certain armed forces were entirely justified, and the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand acted in strict conformity with their obligations under the United Nations Charter.

In 1947, the United Nations intervened in the problem of establishing

Korean independence by the appointment of a General Assembly Commission the primary function of which was to take preliminary steps to establish a unified and independent Korea, in accordance with the promises made to the Korean people by the Allied leaders during “World War II. and endorsed subsequently by the General Assembly itself. The commission was continued in existence by the General Assembly in 1948 and 1949. The present objective of the Unied Nations is not only the restoration of international peace but alao the early establishment of a united, democratic, anc independent Korea which will itself, in due course, become a member of the United Nations. In the view of the Labour party it is essential that this twofold objective shall be kept constantly in view.

The Labour party has also considered the military contribution to the United Nations that Australia should be prepared to make in the present Korean situation. The United Nations Charter contemplates that the contingents to be provided by a member should be fair and reasonable, having regard to the total membership of the United Nations and to the capacity of the contributing nations. Accordingly, while approving of commitments already announced by the Australian Government in relation to Korea, the Labour party is strongly of the opinion that any additional commitments should be undertaken only with the approval of the Parliament. It is also strongly of the opinion that, parallel with the military action now being taken, the United Nations should also take action by way of meditation and conciliation to bring about the voluntary withdrawal of the forces of North Korea to their own territory and the establishment of a United Nations authority for the purpose of bringing into being an independent, democratic, and united Korea, in accordance with the Declaration of Cairo of 1.943 and the subsequent Declaration of Potsdam.

Whilst it is not always opportune to call the Parliament together, and it is realized that certain matters must be dealt with urgently, I stress that any future Australian commitments should have the approval of the Parliament. The Opposition desires to be furnished with as much information as possible about this matter, although it is realized that much of the information received by the Government in relation to international disputation is of a secret character, which should not be disseminated either amongst members of the Parliament or the community generally. The action taken by the Government was not an action of war but was in keeping with the decision of the Security Council. In effect, a police force is to be provided. It is the sincere wish of the Opposition that the police force that is about to take part in the present disputation will be able to restore peace on both sides of the 3Sth parallel and bring about a united Korea, because nothing is of such benefit to the members of a community or country as selfgovernment and self-control.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Motion (by Senator O’sullivan) - by leave - agreed to -

That leave of absence be granted to every member of the Senate from the termination of the sitting this day to the date on which the Senate next meets.

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Motion (by Senator O’sullivan) agreed to -

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to a date and hour to be fixed by the President, which time of meeting shall be notified to each senator by telegram or letter.

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Flour - Repatriation

Motion (by Senator O’sullivan) proposed -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

Senator McLEAY:
Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport · South Australia · LP

.- On the 10th May, Senator O’Flaherty asked me a question relating to the production of flour in South Australia. In previous replies to similar questions the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen) has stated that the Australian “Wheat Board is doing everything possible in an endeavour to sell flour overseas instead of wheat. The hoard, in this endeavour, has sold flour at a reduced price to ensure sales. A general reluctance to buy flour has been evident on the part of buying countries, which want to buy the wheat and mill it themselves in order to obtain the offals for feeding purposes. The volume of flour sales which the board has made recently is such as to enable South Australian flour mills to increase production above the volume being produced in recent months.

Senator MORROW:

– Some time ago I addressed a series of questions regarding Dr. James to the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Cooper). When I was in Sydney recently a man, who stated that he was a representative of the Melbourne Sun News Pictorial, spoke to me on the telephone and read to me alleged replies by the Minister to my questions. When he asked me to comment, I said that I would not do so until I had received the answers officially . Will the Minister inform me whether he has furnished replies to my questions to any individual ?

Senator COOPER:
Minister for Repatriation · Queensland · CP

– An official communication containing replies to the honorable senator’s questions was forwarded by post to his officially recorded address 24 hours before any note of the contents was supplied to the press. I told the honorable senator before the Senate rose for the winter recess that as soon as I received replies to the questions he would be informed accordingly. 1 posted the replies to him at his home address and if he has not yet received them neither I nor my department is to . blame.. The replies were released to the press 24 hours later.

Senator MURRAY:

– I should like to obtain an assurance from the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Cooper), if it is possible for him to give such an assurance at this juncture, that the members of the Australian armed forces now engaged in Korea and other places outside Australia will be covered in full by the provisions of the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act as it applied during hostilities in the last war. We all have in mind the tragic occurrence aboard H.M.A.S. Tarakan and the fact that many of the widows and dependants of the victims of that tragedy met with considerable difficulty in receiving any compensation whatever. In view of that fact will the Minister, if he can now do so, give the Senate the assurance that I have requested?

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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The following papers were pre sented : -

Commonwealth Bank Act - Appointment - G. J. F. Anderson.

Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department-

Interior - W. D. F. Caine, A. A. Dean, C. J. Harsh.

Social Services - E. F. Bennett.

Works and Housing - S. H. T. Abbiss,

H. Frost, D. A. Stockdill, K. J. Woodward.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquiredfor Postal purposes -

Holland Park, Queensland.

Port Augusta, South Australia.

Senate adjourned at 3.51 p.m. to a date and hour to be fixed by the President.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 6 July 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.