11 November 1953

20th Parliament · 2nd Session

The President (Senator the Hon. A. M. McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

page 30



Senator BROWN:

– A few days ago the Premier of Queensland, in the Parliament of that .State, passed some very pungent remarks with regard to the conferring of honours upon certain people. Much misunderstanding appears to exist among the people with respect to this matter, and in order to clear it up I ask the Minister for Trade and Customs the following questions: - What method, or system, is adopted in the conferring of honours? Has the Prime Minister the sole right to recommend citizens to be honoured? Could and would the Minister give a brief account of the actual process and the reasons leading up to the conferring of an honour by the Sovereign? If the Prime Minister wanted a knighthood or a dukedom, would he have to nominate himself for that honour?

Minister for Trade and Customs · QUEENSLAND · LP

– I do not propose to answer that question, because the last part of it disentitles the honorable senator to a reply. If he desires to obtain information and couches his question in reasonable terms, I shall be happy to obtain the information for him.

Senator BROWN:

– I intended to add that I did not think that the Prime Minister would do anything of the kind. However, I resent the Minister’s tone. The Australian public has a right to be informed of the method that is adopted in the conferring of honours.


– Order! I ask the honorable senator to confine himself to his question


– If the honorable senator will place his question on the notice-paper with the exception of the last part of it I shall be happy to obtain the information that he seeks.

Senator BRowN:

– There is nothing wrong with the last part of my question.

page 31



Senator REID:

– Has the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs been drawn to a statement made, I believe, by the New South Wales Minister for Agriculture during a recent debate in the Parliament of that State, that aldrin, a grasshopper insecticide, is not available in New South Wales because applications for import licences and dollar funds for this insecticide have been refused by the Australian Government? Can the Minister say whether applications for import licences for aldrin have in fact been made this year on behalf of the New South Wales Government? If such applications were made, what was the result?


– The honorable senator was good enough to inform me that he intended to ask this question. L have ascertained that a statement, attributed to the Premier of New South Wales, that the Australian Government would not make available dollars to obtain special insecticide from America to destroy grasshoppers is not correct. No application for a licence to import this insecticide from America has been refused. In fact, import licences were issued to agents in August and again in September to enable them to obtain considerable quantities of the insecticide. I repeat that no application has been refused.

page 31



Senator SCOTT:

– Recently while travelling on the Trans-Australian train I heard complaints by many passengers about the quality of the wines served in the dining car. Will the Minister for Shipping and Transport take this matter up with a view to having Western Australian wines, which are equal in quality to any produced in Australia and are sure to meet with the approval of a travelling public, included in the wine list? .

Senator McLEAY:
Minister for Shipping and Transport · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– I know that the honorable senator is a connoisseur of wines and I shall have this important matter examined.

Senator TANGNEY:

– Approximately twelve months ago, when the new railway service between Port Pirie and Kalgoorlie was inaugurated, I asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport whether he would make available one of the older type lounge cars for use as a mobile chapel by members of the various religious denominations who travel on the TransAustralian railway. Can the’ Minister inform me whether anything has been done in that connexion?

Senator McLEAY:

– So far, the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner has been unable to make such a carriage available. However. I understand from recent discussions with him that he is favorably disposed towards the idea. He is going to Western Australia this week for the purposes of making a survey, and on his return I shall again discuss the matter with him to see if anything can be done.

On the 20th October last Senator Laught asked the following question: -

Is the Minister for Shipping and Transport aware that some discussion has taken place in the press and in parliamentary and business circles in South Australia concerning a suggestion that the Government may close the narrow gauge line from Brachina to Quorn when the new standard gauge line from Port Augusta to Brachina is opened? Will the Minister state what the position will be in relation to this old-established line when the new line is opened?

The following answer is now supplied: -

It was never intended by the Government that the whole of the existing 3-ft. G-in. gauge railway, which lies between Quorn and Brachina, should be . closed when the new standard gauge line from Stirling North to Leigh Creek North Coalfield is opened. Traffic now offering at places between Quorn and Hawker is enough to warrant the continuance of the narrow gauge train services on this section of the line. However, the traffic offering at places between Hawker and Brachina on the existing line is negligible, and the continuance of narrow gauge services on this section, when the standard gauge line is operating, would not be justified. In any case, what little freight is offering for transit on thi* section may conveniently be carried by the standard gauge railway. It is, therefore, proposed that the narrow gauge services from Quorn should, in due course, be terminated at Hawker, and that the section between Hawker and Brachina be abandoned.

page 32



Senator McKENNA:

– Can the Minister for Trade and Customs say whether the Government has decided whether or not cost of living adjustments of the salaries of Commonwealth public servants will be abolished? If so, what decision has been reached? If the adjustments are to be suspended or abolished, will the Government table in the Senate the necessary regulation before the Senate adjourns for the Christmas recess?


– The attitude of the Government in this matter will be made clear in due course. As a question of policy is involved, I do not think that this is an appropriate subject to be raised by question.

page 32



Senator COOKE:

– Will the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories furnish to the Senate full information in relation to the massacre of Cadet Patrol Officer Geoffrey Harris, aged 22 years, and Patrol Officer Gerald Leo Szarka, and six natives in New Guinea? Will the Minister say whether a statement contained in a report that appears in to-day’s Daily Telegraph is true? It is attributed to a former senior New Guinea District Officer, and is to the effect that it is the new policy of this Government under which untrained men are sent into uncontrolled territories, which has resulted in the deaths of Messrs. Harris and Szarka. Will the Minister furnish to the Senate full details of the new policy? On whose authority was the former practice departed from or altered ? Does the present Government accept responsibility for the shameful policy of sending officers with only twelve months training into hostile areas? Was the practice prior to the war in the Pacific area for an officer to devote twelve months to learning the routine and the “ feeling “ of the Territory and that, after three years’ training he would only be allowed to accompany a senior patrol officer into a well-protected area? This statement, also, is attributed to the former “senior officer to whom I have referred.

Senator SPICER:
Attorney-General · VICTORIA · LP

– The honorable senator seems to have accepted as fact- -

Senator Cooke:

– I have asked for the facts to be stated.

Senator SPICER:

– Unfortunately, the honorable senator’s question, as framed, is not quite clear. I do not think that he desired to convey the impression that he was accepting as fact a number of items that he quoted from a newspaper report. I want to guard against the possibility of that position being accepted. I, myself, have no personal knowledge of these matters, but I shall direct the attention of the Minister for External Territories to the questions that the honorable senator has asked and ascertain whether a statement can be made on the subject.

page 32




– Will the Minister for Repatriation inform the Senate whether the medical officers of the Repatriation Department have any knowledge of an effective cure for amoebiasis, which is also known as amoebic dysentery ? Is he confident that the medical officers of his department are kept fully informed on the latest treatment for this disease, with which many ex-Australian prisoners of the Japanese have been afflicted, necessitating frequent periods of hospitalization? Will the Minister consider sending abroad one of his department’s medical officers in order to glean the latest information available to the medical profession in connexion with combating this disease?

Senator COOPER:
Minister for Repatriation · QUEENSLAND · CP

– I have obtained some information about the matter that lias been raised by the honorable senator. Amoebiasis is a similar type of disease to dysentery. I have .been informed that patients can be cured in a number of cases, but, because of the nature of the disease, it is not always possible to be certain when the cure has been achieved. Vague symptoms sometimes persist which may or may not be due to amoebiasis and, in the interests of the patient, it is often deemed advisable to treat him for amoebiasis although amoebae may not be demonstrable. The medical officers of the Repatriation Department are definitely considered competent to treat this disease, and instructions concerning its treatment have been prepared on the advice of a committee of doctors who were themselves prisoners of war in Japan. These instructions have been issued to the offices of the department in each of the (States and a great deal of work has been done in curing those who suffer from this disease. One of the cures that has been effective is the May and Baker preparation which is known as Embequin. Sir Hamilton’ Fairley, an authority on this type of disease, has used a new compound known as Diodoquine which is made from iodine quinodine. This compound is manufactured in America. A British preparation which is akin to the American preparation is known as Dihaloquin. Both these preparations have been used with, good results. My department is keeping in touch with new methods of treating this disease and consideration will be given to sending an officer of the department overseas if such a course is found to be necessary.

page 33



Senator COOPER:

– On the 20th October, Senator Robertson asked the following question: -

I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health whether the Minister’ for Health has readied any decision in relation to my suggestion that persons in receipt of superannuation benefits should he included in the free medical benefits scheme in the same way as age and invalid pensioners?

The Minister for Health has now supplied the following information in reply to the honorable senator’s question : -

The benefits of the pensioner medical service ure available to persons in receipt of an. age, invalid, widow’s or service pension, or a tuberculosis allowance, and to the dependent wives and children of those persons. These pensions an.1 the allowance have one important thing in common, that is, they are granted subject to the application of a means test. In other words, the pensioner medical service covers those persons whose income is limited to a comparatively small amount. There is, however, no restriction on ,the income of superannuation pensioners. Consequently, it has not been found practicable to include them in the pensioner medical service unless they are also receiving, in addition to a superannuation pension, a full or partial pension or allowance of the nature indicated above.

page 33



Senator GUY:

– Is the. Minister for National Development in a position to give the Senate any information relative to the investigation of a plan to sustain the economic stability of the Australian copper mines which are working on lowgrade ores? Can he also inform me of the stage which the investigation has reached and when it will be completed ?

Senator SPOONER:
Minister for National Development · NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The question asked by the honorable senator concerns a matter to which it has been necessary for me to give a good deal of attention during recent months. Briefly, the outline of the problem is that the world price for copper has fallen, which has caused some difficulty as far as the Australian mines are concerned, particularly the mine at Mount Lyell, in Tasmania, which is operating on a low-grade ore. I understand that satisfactory arrangements have been concluded under which the mines will receive a reasonable price for their product until such time as a Tariff Board inquiry is held into the whole of the circumstances of the industry.

Senator ASHLEY:

– Does that mean that a subsidy will be paid?

Senator SPOONER:

– No, there will be no subsidy. The arrangement provides for purchase by the fabricators at a certain price and for the establishment of a stabilization pool. Although I am very familiar with the matter, it is somewhat difficult to keep all the figures in mind, and for that reason I ask the honorable senator to place his question on the noticepaper. I shall then give him a detailed reply.

page 33



Senator BENN:

asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

Is the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral aware that shortages of cables, galvanized iron pipes, copper wire and No. 6 pits are slowing down the installation of telephones in Queensland? Will the Minister investigate the reason for the shortages?

Senator COOPER:

– The PostmasterGeneral has furnished the following information : -

Inquiries do not disclose any present shortages of the items of line materials named. Temporary shortages of odd items do arise at times due to delays in supplies for various reasons but it is usually practicable to rectify the position without serious delays to installation.

page 34


page 34


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

That, during the unavoidable absence of the Deputy President, the President be authorized W call upon any one of the Temporary Chairmen of Committees to relieve him temporarily in the Chair, without any formal communication to the Senate.

page 34


Motion (by Senator O’sullivan) agreed to -

That the days of meeting of the Senate, unless otherwise ordered, bo Tuesday, Wednesday and ‘Thursday of each week; and that the hour of meeting, unless otherwise ordered be S [j.m. on Tuesday -and Wednesday, and 11 a.m. on Thursday.

page 34



Motion (by Senator O’sullivan) agreed to -

That, on all sitting days of the Senate during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, government business shall take precedence of all other business on the notice-paper, except questions and formal motions, and except that general business take precedence of government business on Thursdays, after 8 p.m.; and that, unless otherwise ordered, general orders of the day take precedence of general notices of motion on alternate Thursdays.

page 34


Motion (by Senator O’Sullivan) agreed to -

That, during the present Session, unless otherwise ordered, the sittings of the Senate, or of a Committee of the Whole Senate, be suspended from 12.45 p.m. to 2.1.3 p.m., and from i; p.m. to 8 p.m.

page 34


Motion (by Senator O’SULLIVAN agreed to -

That, during the present Session, unless otherwise ordered, at 10.30 p.m. on days upon which proceedings of the Senate are not being broadcast, and at 11 p.m. on days when such proceedings are being broadcast, the President shall put the question - That the Senate do now adjourn, which question shall be open to debate; if the Senate be in committee at that hour, the Chairman shall in like manner put the question - That he do leave the chair and report to the Senate; and upon such report being made the President shall forthwith put the question - That the Senate do now adjourn, which question shall be open to debate: Provided that if the Senate or the committee be is division at the time named, the President or the Chairman shall not put the question referred to until the result of such division ha* been declared; and if the ‘business under discussion shall not have been disposed of at such adjournment it shall appear on the notice-paper for the next sitting day.

page 34


Motions (by Senator O’Sullivan) agreed to -

Standing Orders Committee

That a Standing Orders Committee be appointed, to consist of the President, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Chairman of Committees, and Senators Brown, Guy, Kendall, McKenna, Nicholls and Vincent, with power to act during recess, and to confer with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.

Library Committee

That a Library Committee be appointed, to consist of the President and Senators Arnold, Cole, Kendall, McCallum, Robertson and Tangney, with power to act during recess, and to confer or sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.

House Committee

That a House Committee be appointed, to consist of the President and Senators Amour, Aylett, Critchley, George Rankin, Wedgwood and Wordsworth, with power to act during recess, and to confer or sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.

Printing Committee

That a Printing Committee be appointed, to consist of Senators Benn, Gorton, Hannaford, Sandford, Scott, Seward and Toohey, with power to confer or sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.

page 35


Motion (by Senator McLeay) agreed to-

That leave be given to bring in a bill for »n act to amend tha Navigation Act 1912-1052 to give effect to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1948, and for other purposes.

page 35



– I have received letters from the Leader of the Government in the Senate and from the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate nominating, in accordance with Standing Order 36a, Senators Arnold, Byrne, Guy, Seward, Vincent, Willesee and Wood as members of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances.

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

That a Standing Committee on Regulations mid Ordinances be appointed, to consist of Senators Arnold, Byrne, Guy Seward, Vincent, Willesee and Wood, such senators having been duly nominated in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 36a.

page 35



Debate resumed from the 10th November (vide page 30), on motion by Senator Anderson -

That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to: -

May it PLEASE YOUR Excellency:

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

Senator ARNOLD (New South Wales) 1 3.35]. - Before the debate was adjourned last evening, I had congratulated the mover and the seconder of the motion on their speeches and I had commented on the forthcoming visit of Her Majesty the Queen. I went on to say that the Governor-General’s Speech did not contain adequate information of the kind we might expect to have presented to us in a document that was prepared by the Government for the purpose of enabling His Excellency to outline the legislative programme for the ensuing session. As honorable senators have become accustomed to being given pep talks by Government supporters, I expected that the Government might have taken advantage of the Governor-General’s Speech to continue that practice. Documents of thi6 kind have been placed before us from time to time, and on such occasions the Government has taken the opportunity to tell the people how it was dealing witu emergencies and how it was tackling the problems that confronted it; and. invariably, the Government claimed that it had almost surmounted those problems. Its attitude was always such as to lead the people to believe that everything in the garden was lovely. We have heard that sort of thing for the last four years. The Government parties assumed omeo after an election at which they promised the people that if returned to office they would be able to cure all the ills that then afflicted Australia. They said, in effect, that they knew the answers to those problems and could overcome them. Year by year since then the Government has continued to claim that it had practically overcome all its difficulties. Qf course, it advanced various theories and explained various experiments that it made from time to time. Those experiment? invariably proved to be failures; but that did not seem to worry Government supporters, because following each failure they always had another cure up their sleeve and reassured the people that everything would be all right.

In the document that has now been presented to us we are told that we have reached stability. Although all the experiments that have been made by the Government have failed, it is confident that we have now reached a period of stability. I propose to examine that, claim. Within a few months, the Government will again go to the people, and, 1 have no doubt, it will again reassure them that it has all the answers to our national difficulties and will promise them that if returned to office it will do this and that. If the people are gulled a second time, the Government will reassume control in the Parliament and will continue for the following three years to make excuses similar to those that it has been making since it assumed office. When the Go- vernment claims that it has re-established stability, what does it really mean by that term? We are assured by Government supporters that in Australia to-day there is greater prosperity, greater productivity, and greater wealth than ever before. Indeed, apparently we are almost embarrassed by the prosperity that is in our midst, and we can look forward to reaping the benefits of the changes that have been made in our economic outlook as the result of this Government’s skilful handling of our problems. What is the evidence of that prosperity? In spite of Australia’s alleged economic stability the Government has been able to give to those sections of the community which are in the greatest need of assistance a pension increase of only 2s. 6d. a week. Is that convincing evidence of stability and prosperity? For the low income-earner also the outlook is hardly bright. His wages have been frozen by the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. Earlier to-day, the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) asked whether the Government intended to suspend cost-of-living adjustments of the salaries and wages of Commonwealth public servants. He was informed that this was a matter of government policy, and that the Government was not yet prepared to reveal its intention. However, it is perfectly clear to members of the Opposition that, in this period of so-called prosperity, the Government will follow the court’s example and apply the wage freeze to Commonwealth public servants. So, to those people economic stability will mean meeting rising costs out of their existing salaries and wages. That is the second evidence of Australia’s new-found economic prosperity. The third manifestation is the fact that rising prices continue. Throughout the Commonwealth to-day Australians are very worried about how their weekly remunerations can be made to eke out an ordinary existence for them. The prices of fruit and vegetables are so high that those essential commodities are denied to working-class families. What does- the Government propose to do about that? Four years ago, honorable senators opposite proclaimed that the most important problem facing this country was rising prices; but they have not done anything about that matter since they were elected to office, and we have yet to hear of any proposals by the Government to remedy the situation. Apparently, therefore, the period of economic stability and prosperity of which Government supporters boast envisages further price rises, The truth, of course, is that the present Government parties, in their bid for office in 1949 and again in 1951, were prepared to make all sorts of wild promises which they knew could not be fulfilled. Since they -have been in office not one of their promises has been fulfilled.

Senator PEARSON:

– That is not true.

Senator ARNOLD:

– It is perfectly true. Taxation is higher than it has ever been, and prices are the highest in our history. Government supporters cannot deny those facts, nor can they deny that the Government has no solution of those problems; yet they try to tell the people of Australia that a stage of economic stability has been reached! The Australian people are fed up with this Government’s empty promises and false claims. The Governor-General’s Speech failed to give the people any hope of early action by the Government to cure the economic ills that still beset us. Has the Government in mind any remedial action at all other than the freezing of the wages of people on low incomes? Does the Government intend to re-introduce Commonwealth prices control?

Senator GUY:

– The honorable senator has claimed that the Government has frozen wages. When did it do that?

Senator ARNOLD:

– During the basic wage hearing, the Government did nothing to protect the interests of low incomeearners.

Senator Guy:

– It did not freeze wages.

Senator ARNOLD:

– It did its best to have the present position established, and I venture to say that it will not hesitate to freeze the wages of Commonwealth public servants. We may expect the early presentation in this chamber of a regulation giving effect to that decision. That is the kind of economic stability that the Government has brought to Australia. The Governor-General announced that the main business of the current session of the Parliament would be a health bill. It is interesting to recall what was said by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in Ms policy speech on the subject of health. He said -

The real problem is that of the prevention of disease by adequate and proper food supply, by an attack upon causes, and the provision of those basic requirements without which no national medical service can succeed.

The first essential laid down by the right honorable gentleman for the raising of health standards was an adequate and proper food supply. What has the Government done about that? Instead of being assured of an/adequate and proper food supply, the people of Australia are to have their standard of living reduced by the suspension of cost-of-living adjustments of their wage’s. In these circumstances, what is the use of a medical scheme that provides only for a new method of paying doctors? It will not cure anything, and if will not make any contribution towards an improved standard of health. The medical profession, of course, will be well cared for, but nothing will” be done to ensure that the people of Australia shall have an adequate food supply. For those reasons Australians will find little comfort in the Governor-General’s Speech. It is my earnest hope that something will be done about, these problems before, the next Address-in-Reply is prepared, and that before the present Government parties go to the country they will endeavour to honour the promises that they have made to the people. I am confident that if it is proved that, those promises were empty, the present Government will, before long, bp replaced by a government that will do whatever is necessary to correct the present unsatisfactory state of affairs.


’. - I associate myself with the expressions of loyalty to Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second; that have been made by other honorable senators. We are all looking forward eagerly to her visit to this country. It will be the first occasion on which a reigning Monarch has visited Australia and I, in common with other honorable senators, hope that Her Majesty will have a very happy and enjoyable tour of Australia. I hope that as many as possible’ of our citizens will see Her Majesty while she is here, as I believe they will receive great inspiration from her visit. I take this opportunity to extend to Sir William Slim and Lady Slim best wishes for their happiness and good health during their stay in this country.

I shall direct the attention of honorable senators to two matters which are of vital importance, not only to the people of Queensland, but to Australia as a whole. I add my voice to the many representations that have been made to this Government and to previous Australian governments stressing the urgent necessity for greater speed and wider long-range planning for the development of north Queensland. In this atomic age reference is made frequently to matters such as perimeter defences, tracer organizations to detect and follow the course of approaching hostile aircraft, outer rings of interception, guided missiles, jet aircraft, and similar mechanisms for attack and defence. However, in the midst of all this novel, and as yet little known new science, I emphasize the necessity for us not to forget north Queensland. The defence of Australia depends on perimeters. If the first perimeter was to the far north, of the mainland, and the second through New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, the third and subsequent perimeters would pass through the northern, parts of Australia. Therefore the defence of. those parts of this country is a matter of paramount importance. Defence does not consist only in the establishment of air strips and military bases. Without good roads to provide for alternative means of transport, it would be difficult to keep our defence forces supplied with the goods necessary to enable them to carry out the tasks allotted to them. Of what use is it fo establish military bases without constructing good roads to them? We must face this matter fairly and squarely. Th? provision of such roads is vitally necessary in the interests not only of the people of Queensland but of Australia as a whole.

I am well acquainted with the condition of the roads in Queensland. Some honorable senators will be amazed to hear that a bitumen main road from Brisbane to Rockhampton has not yet been completed. It is true that there is an alternative inland defence road, but it is deteriorating rapidly. A few miles north of Bundaberg, I believe, the road has only a gravel surface, and farther north it is little .better than a track, whilst its condition beyond Mackay and Proserpine has to be seen to be believed. Each year the Commonwealth makes available to the States large amounts of money from the petrol tax which, presumably, is intended to be expended on the provision of roads of Commonwealth-wide importance and significance. Queensland, due to its geographical position, is strategically important in connexion with the defence of this country. Yet, as I have already mentioned, the main road from Brisbane to the north has not yet been completed. Even parts of the road between Brisbane and Gympie, a distance of 125 miles, have not yet been bituminized. Surely main roads, the construction of which is financed out of Commonwealth revenue, should fit in with the general defence pattern of Australia as a whole. I consider that the Commonwealth should apply pressure on the Queensland Government, in order to make it realize its responsibility in this matter. Queensland will be required to play a vital part in the defence of this country if we should be faced with real danger in the future. If ever that day comes - and we hope that it will not - it will be necessary to send large numbers of troops and vast quantities of supplies to the north by the arterial roads. I urge the Government to consider whether steps can be taken to make the Queensland Labour Government more conscious of its responsibility, not only to Queensland, but to the whole of Australia.

The State Labour Government is constantly attacking the Commonwealth Government, but Queensland should put its own house in order. The Commonwealth should ask the Queensland Government bluntly, but quietly and definitely, what it proposes to do in the matter of the provision of the main access and alternative roads, for which the Commonwealth is paying. That State government should be reminded of its obligation to the people of Australia in this connexion.

What I have said in relation to roads is true equally of harbours. There are many harbours on the long coastline of Queensland. Since the end of World War

II., little has been done to develop them. During the war period I was in Townsville on many occasions. I recall having seen as many as 40 cargo and transport ships lying off Magnetic Island waiting their turn to berth at the limited wharfage to discharge cargo or disembark troops. Despite the experiences of those days, no substantial development of Townsville harbour has been undertaken since the war. It was proposed to expend many millions of pounds on a harbour project at Cairns, in order to equip that port as a forward depot. The work was actually commenced, but no progress has been made in that matter since the end of the war. It was demonstrated very clearly to us during World War II. that our ports should be developed, so that alternative wharfage would always be available. I urge the Government to make strong representations to the Queensland Government in connexion with this matter, because that Government appears to have been interested only in attacking our policy. Yet this money is constantly being allocated to them. Have we not the right to say that something should be done in regard to a matter of such importance to the whole Commonwealth? 1 urge that the State governments be induced to recognize their responsibility and expend the money in the development of these important ports and the roads that I have mentioned.

In this atomic age we hear much about ‘ guided missiles and atomic bombs but we have not heard a great deal about atomic artillery. I invite the attention of honorable senators to the excellent articles that have been written by General Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States of America. It is obvious from these articles that the people of the United States of America are being made more aware of developments in atomic warfare than are the people of Australia. These articles which I have found of great interest deal with the subject of atomic artillery. It seems clear that atomic artillery will require good roads, railways and harbours. Any plan for the defence of Australia must include the development of roads, railways and harbours in that great far-flung northern State of Queensland which I am privileged to represent. A bold, long-term programme is necessary. I urge the Government to endeavour to awaken the Government of Queensland to its responsibilities. Where defence development is undertaken civilian development will follow. Queensland needs more population and I suggest that the outlying parts of the State will be populated much more rapidly if a pattern of defence preparation is formulated for Queensland which will constitute a real contribution to the defence of Australia.

I shall now turn to a subject which should be the concern of every citizen of Australia, namely, the housing of our aged people. One of the most difficult problems that confront aged people is that of obtaining somewhere to live for the .last few years of their lives. This, of course, is a problem which should be considered by middle-aged and young adults as well as aged people. It has received the attention of State governments and philanthropic organizations. The happiest aged people are those who are able to live in their own homes. Some aged people who have not their own homes are fortunate enough to live with families or friends with whom they have found some measure of comfort. But those aged people who have not their own homes and are unable to live with friends or relatives present a constant problem. They have to eke out a lonely existence and pay a disproportionate part of their income for rent. Little is left for adequate food, clothing, comfort and recreation. Any one who walks around any city in Australia with his eyes and mind open will see many such old people. I understand that only about 35 per cent, of age pensioners in Victoria own their own homes, and I should think that the position would be much the same in other States. The rest of them require assistance, and there is also a very real problem in relation to the aged sick. However, if we give some real thought to the housing of the aged, the problem of the aged sick will begin to take care of itself. How is Australia meeting this problem? In all States, large institutions house many hundreds f old people. Many of them are conducted or subsidized by State governments. At their best, they have a fine atmosphere of happiness, and excellent care is given to the inmates. Sometimes, because of their size, they may become impersonal, although some of them provide an outlet for the interests and activities of the aged.

Homes for the aged are also operated by private organizations and churches and I understand that there are about 150 such homes in the Commonwealth. Most of them are entirely dependent on the devoted support of those who are interested in the church or organization concerned. Aged people are living in these homes happily and contentedly. Some organizations have avoided the institutional atmosphere by building a number of small cottages where aged couples have a bedroom, living room and bathroom. ‘ Single old folk have a smaller unit. Community efforts are organized. The old people can do a little gardening and assist in the maintenance of the institution. Some institutions have a small hospital and some a chapel. Most of them have a communal dining room for the use of those who cannot prepare their own meals. In Brisbane we have the best example of an institution for the aged in the Marchant Garden Settlement for aged people at Chermside, but there is a long list of those who are waiting to gain admission to these homes. This, in itself, indicates the great need for housing for the aged. A few hours at the Marchant homes would dispel any impression that one might have of a dreary, sad, distressing existence in old age. The secret of happy old age has been found in this place, particularly for old couples. It is a tragedy that old people who have lived so many years together should be separated and sent to different places to live. The cottage system overcomes this. The South Australian Housing Trust is planning the erection of about 100 small, maisonettes for the accommodation of pensioners at a rental of £1 a week. These homes will be situated near transport and shopping centres and they will be of great assistance to old people. More low-rental housing schemes, old people’s homes and cottage settlements are required. Some countries have established hostels for elderly men who are still able to do part-time work. I do not think that that experiment has yet been tried in Australia. I believe that this is a job, not only for governments and voluntary bodies, but also for every member of the community. We must all work and plan vigorously if the problem is to be overcome. The Australian Government helps where it is possible to do so, but its main responsibility is to provide pensions and free medical and pharmaceutical benefits for the needy aged. I know that constant representations are being made to this Government for assistance to provide low-rental housing for aged people and also financial assistance for institutions to carry out new building programmes. Of course, such activities are the prerogative of the States. There are constitutional limitations which prevent the Commonwealth from taking an active part in housing schemes, except in specific instances, .such as in connexion with war service homes. But the States, under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, may include housing projects for the aged in requests to the Australian Loan Council for financial assistance.

I have spoken on this matter on many occasions, including past years when I was a member of the Opposition in this Parliament. I appreciate that the housing of the’ aged is (basically a matter for the States, but I remind honorable senators that the Australian Government finances the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement. The schemes which the States administer are, after all, financed by the Commonwealth. Recently I read with interest that the housing lag, particularly in Queensland, is being overtaken. If that is so, the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) might suggest to the State governments that greater financial provision should be made for aged people when future housing schemes are being planned. It may, perhaps, be possible to set aside a certain percentage of ‘ such housing for aged people.

I urge the Government to inform the people of Australia that housing is basically a State matter and that if the States are not providing sufficient housing, the. responsibility rests with the State governments. Some States are planning new housing ventures. Others are extending and improving govern- mental institutions and I understand that some are subsidizing voluntary organizations. The need throughout Australia for housing for the aged is a matter of paramount importance. I believe that insufficient thought and effort are being applied in tackling this problem. I urge the Australian Government to impress on the people the need for housing for the aged and the failure of some State governments to measure up to their responsibilities in that connexion. The financial assistance made available by the Commonwealth has not been applied in such a way that it could substantially benefit a most deserving section of the community. If honorable senators have worked amongst aged people, as I have, they will be aware of the loneliness and great hardships suffered by people who live in cold and barren accommodation, particularly when they are obliged to pay in rent far too great a proportion of their income. Those who have seen such conditions will, I am sure, agree that, the setting aside of a percentage of the housing constructed in the States under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement would be of immense benefit to those people. We should not close our eyes to the need for action. It is our duty to urge that further thought should be given by all State governments to their responsibility in this matter.

Senator CAMERON (Victoria) [4.16’J. - I wish to be associated with other honorable senators who have spoken in extending a very warm welcome to Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh. I trust that their visit to Australia will be both enjoyable and instructive. I preface my remarks by directing the attention of honorable senators to a report which appeared in to-day’s newspapers to the effect that the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Sir Winston Churchill, has said that the world is certainly in an awful muddle. Any one who studies international affairs will not wonder that such an awful muddle exists. Indeed, the world will be in an even bigger muddle unless there is a more intelligent approach to problems which appear most difficult but which are really not very difficult at all. The history of mankind demonstrates that although wonderful progress lifts been made in mechanics and in controlling the forces of nature, very little has been made in controlling, or even in understanding, socialcauses and relationships. If it were otherwise, poverty and war would be practically impossible. There is a lack of understanding of social affairs, mainly on the part of politicians, industrial entrepreneurs and others who claim to understand the position. They overlook the fact that economic science is the very basis of all social sciences. Economic science canbe defined as the production, distribution and exchange of wealth. All social sciences are based on economic science. Political science, of course, is the science of management. That is where the difficulty comes in. It is tragic to think that most honorable senators of the present day, like their predecessors, have yet to be educated in the hard school of practical disillusionment because they have failed to understand the social relationships and political problems arising from them.

Senator Kendall said that the League of Nations, which was formed about 1920, had not failed. I saymost emphatically that it did fail. It failed because the nations who comprised it were divided among themselves upon economic grounds. After the first world war, economic warfare for markets and raw materials was intensified. Article V. of the League of Nations covenant implied clearly that Mr. Woodrow Wilson, who was then the President of the United States of America, was to be president of a world economy. It was to be controlled from the United States of America, but owing mainly to the opposition of France and Great Britain, the League of Nations could not function. If the League of Nations had been based upon economic co-operation, its political superstructure would have worked successfully, but it was not; and the United Nations will fail for the same reason. Most people thought that the United Nations organization could survive and succeed where the League of Nations failed, but that is not so, and in the light of practical experience, critics in all parts of the world are directing attention to that fact.Reports and comments in the newspapers of the United Kingdom and the United States of America taken from authoritative sources reveal great dissatisfaction with the operation of the United Nations. The Sydney Bulletin published the following extract in its issue of the 30th September : -

London “ Daily Express”, Britain’s most outandout critic of U.N.O., quotes South African Prime Minister Malan, who urged that all British Commonwealth countries should “ stand togetherto drive the United Nations back within the borders of its own charter “. “That sound advice”, commented the “ Express “, “ should be taken a stage further. The Commonwealth should quit the United Nations’ altogether. For that body does more harm than any other to the interests of the British Empire… “ The experience of the last few years, reinforced by the events of the last few weeks, shows that the United Nations is going about its business in the wrong way. Its purpose is to settle international disputes and to lessen international tensions; but its machinery of public debate is being used for exactly the opposite purpose.”

That comment has been taken from a section of the national press of England. After hearing the speech of the GovernorGeneral and the references to the United Nations that have been made by Senator Kendall, I believe that the occasion is appropriate to direct attention to the fact that the world is learning by practical experiencein the most costly of all schools. The leaders in politics and others who occupy responsible positions should be able to understand the situation much better than they do. A state of affairs similar to that to which I have referred has arisen out of the KoreanWar, to which reference was made by the GovernorGeneral. On the 14th October, the Sydney Bulletin published the following extract : -

A New York “ Herald Tribune “ correspondent sets the questions : “ Is the long-professed U.N. aim of peaceful achievement of a united, free and democratic Korea a realistic goal at this time? And, is it a practical proposition?”… “Thus, each side is confronted with the prospect of renewed war in Korea - and very likely World War III. - to gain geographical advantages which no soldier or diplomat of either side, would seriously argue were really important from a strategic viewpoint.

The term “geological advantages” refers to additional raw materials and markets. The critics that I have quoted are not Communists, but an important section of the press in England and the United States of America. They are vitally concerned because most politicians and the capitalists have shut their eyes to current events. The Intelligence Digest of July, 1953, included this statement -


The United Nations organization has suffered a heavy defeat in Korea. All Asia knows this. Taken as a whole, the public in Europe and America do not. Some people, therefore, wonder why South Korea has made a fuss. The explanation is that both the Government and the public there know the truth.

The Intelligence Digest publishes comment from sources that specialize in the study of world events. They know that the United Nations organization, as it is constituted to-day, is divided by an intensified economic war for raw materials and markets.When the political superstructure is divided in that way, it cannot operate successfully. That is not understood generally. I regret that no reference to the matter was made in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech. Very properly, His Excellency referred to “ my advisers “. Obviously he said what he was advised to say. The Government is supposed to represent the people and to tell them the facts as it understands them, but nothing like that has been attempted. In fact, quite the reverse has been the case. The Governor-General’s Speech glosses over those things although the very dogs in the street are barking them. He said -

In the long run, peace canbe secured in a real sense only by honest and patient endeavours to remove the causes of misunderstanding and conflict.

I should add that peace can be secured only by honest, patient and intelligent endeavours to remove the causes of conflict. Up to date, intelligent efforts have not been made in that direction. Dealing with the Colombo Plan the GovernorGeneral stated -

It is with this basic truth in mind that my Government, having taken the initiative in the Colombo Plan in 1950-

That is true. The Colombo Plan was proposed on behalf of Australia in January, 1950, by Sir Percy Spender, who was then Minister for External Affairs. The plan was adopted. But it is not a Colombo plan now. Yet, no reference is made in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech to the significant change that has taken place in respect of it. Originally, it was a plan for a six-year developmental programme to benefit

India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Malaya, and British Borneo. It was inaugurated in

January, 1951, but in March, 1952, the Consultative Council which consisted of the representatives of seven British Commonwealth countries was increased by the appointment of additional member States which included the United States of America, Burma, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, whilst representatives of Indonesia, Siam and the Philippines were co-opted as consulters. In 1951, the American Secretary of State made it perfectly clear that the United States of America would have nothing whatever to do with the Colombo Plan. However, the London Economist, in its issue of the 29th March, 1952, stated-

It is unfortunate that while Washington takes part in the running of. the Colombo Plan. American influence in Djakarta is reported to be working against Indonesia joining the plan.

The fact is that nine additional member States having been brought into the plan, the United States of America itself decided to enter it. Commenting upon that development, Sir Arthur Morse. Chairman of the Hong Kong-Shanghai Bank, in an address at the annual meeting of shareholders of the bank held on the 7th March, 1952, stated-

The original report of the Colombo Plan, which was published in November, 1950, no longer accurately describes the scheme of things as now existent. The Commonwealth Consultative Committee has now become an International Committee in which the United States are taking part; and included in the general scope of the Plan are extensive measures undertaken by the United States Government in the same area-

Sir Arthur Morse implied that the United States of America had taken control of the Colombo Plan. He continued -

Thus the Colombo Plan has become an aggregation of various projects for the whole of South and South-East Asia.

In effect, Sir Arthur Morse said that the original Consultative Council of the Colombo Plan was increased by the admission of nine additional member States for the express purpose of enabling the United States of America to assume control of the plan to the detriment of the British Empire. That development was designed to further the expansionist policy of the United States of America by enabling it to penetrate the colonial empires of the European powers, particularly the British Commonwealth of Nations, in order to establish a stranglehold on the world supply of raw materials. Chat is one of the causes of the muddle to which Sir Winston Churchill has referred. Peeling behind the scenes is becoming more and more acute;; and I regret that no mention whatsoever has been made in the Governor-General’s Speech of developments of that kind. His Excellency 3aid -

During the twelve months ended 30th June, 1953, Australia’s international reserves were increased from £362,000,000 to £548,000,000. With this improvement in the balance of international payments, there has been successive relaxations of the restrictions on imports. The larger volume of imports resulting from these relaxations will add to the productive capacity of Austraiian industry and will contribute to the satisfaction of consumer demand.

Responsible businessmen in Australia differ from that view. The Financial Review, in its issue of the 5th November last, contained the following report: -

The Chairman of Prestige Limited, Mr. G. C. Foletta, considers that an assurance of the bulk of the market to local industry is a prime factor in low cost production.

Competition, admittedly, is another important factor, he believes, but most protected Australian industries have plenty of competition locally. In his own words:

To ask them to compete without adequate protection with the “ cut-throat “ competition of imports from lower standard of living countries is to ask the impossible. Such competition, by robbing industries of the bulk of the market, only increases costs.

Competition of imports can destroy local production and the fear of this competition is already seriously retarding development.

That is a sound statement, because Australia will be enabled to develop as it should only if it maintains a balanced economy. In order to do that, we must develop secondary a;3 well as primary industries. If existing import restrictions are lifted, we shall experience serious friction in this country. On this point, I direct attention to activities on the part of the United States of America. Mr. Truman, when he was President of the United States of America, declared -

To-day in the United States there is a grow ings - and dangerous - concentration of immense economic power in the hands of a few men.

Mr. James Stewart Martin, who was a high-ranking official in the American war department during World War II., and, subsequently, was appointed chief of the decartelization branch of the United States Military Government of West Germany, directed attention to the same point. He cited eight groups of monopolists consisting of 100 individuals in a book which he published under the title All Honourable Men. Mr. Martin resigned his position in July, 1947, because interests that were closely associated with monopolists in .Germany prevented him from breaking up cartels in Germany after the war, although he had been appointed -to carry out that task. On one occasion he wrote -

With the growth of economic giants operating in a world-wide economy, the Government has become involved in activities that used to be regarded as “ .business “. . . . It seems that the Government has become transformed in the process so that it now behaves like a big corporation.

Mr. Martin was referring to the Government of the United States of America, and reports that continue to come to hand substantiate that view. So far as Australia is concerned, the danger lies in the fact that a vast amount of American capital has been invested in West Germany and Japan because the object of such investments is to flood other countries with cheap-labour products. Having regard to those facts, the attitude that is now being adopted by responsible businessmen in this country can readily be understood. Those spokesmen foresee what will happen and, very properly, they are directing attention to the danger that lies ahead of us. I mention those matters because the Governor-General’s Speech would create the impression that everything is progressing favorably. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are in greater danger now than we were before the outbreak of World War II. Any one who studies current foreign affairs closely must come to that conclusion. Therefore, the Government has been remiss in failing to direct attention to what is happening in the direction that I have indicated. The Governor-General has directed attention to the fact that a Commonwealth Economic Conference will be held in Australia commencing on the 8th January next. His Excellency said -

My advisers are confident that the conference will contribute to the economic advancement of the Commonwealth countries

But this is what the London Economist had to say on the 28th January of last year -

A Commonwealth, whose development was financed predominantly from America, would not long remain a British Commonwealth.

The Economist, which as most honorable senators are aware, is a most important journal, has published quite a number of such comments. For instance, referring to the £937,000,000 sterling loan from the United States of America to Great Britain in 1946, the journal pointed out that that loan was followed almost immediately by a 28 per cent, increase of the prices of the American commodities that Great Britain required. Most of the loan was earmarked for rearmament, and for what purpose? One proposition was to establish 50,000 American service personnel on what virtually would be American territory in Great Britain. This meant that any Englishman who committed a serious crime on American territory in Great Britain would be tried by the Americans as would any American who committed a crime on such territory. But Americans who committed crimes on English territory could not be tried in English courts. At the American Embassy in Great Britain there are approximately 1,600 Americans, including advisers, observers, and administrators, who are virtually directing the economy of Great Britain. My fear is that the forthcoming Commonwealth Economic Conference will serve only to make matters worse than they already are, and consistent with the opportunities that will be presented to me, I shall not hesitate to say so. Many of- the industrial troubles in France and Italy to-day can be traced to the American domination of the economy of those countries. I have deemed it necessary to draw the attention of the Senate to those matters. If my remarks had not been made to-day they would have had to be made at a later stage. “‘Senator WORDSWORTH (Tasmania) [4.48]:- I join with other honorable senators :in expressing our loyalty to the Throne and our devotion to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, whom we shall be happy to welcome to Australia in the near future, and who will honour us by opening ‘ the Third “ Session of the Twentieth Parliament in this chamber:

I hope that the Queen’s visit will be the first of many that she will make to us during a long, peaceful and prosperous reign.

I shall confine my remarks to the defence policy of this Government as expressed in the Governor-General’s Speech. However, I should like to say first how fortunate the people of Australia are to have such a renowned soldier as their Governor-General. His Excellency, as we are all aware, served brilliantly in World War II., and made his name in a theatre not far from Australia and in the direction from which any future threat to our security may well be expected to come. It is a. great asset to the Government to have as its adviser such a capable soldier. His Excellency opened his remarks on defence by saying-

My Government’s defence policy has been directed to building up and maintaining the strength of the forces in order to sustain our part in the collective defence of - the free world.

The cost of building up and sustaining those forces is very great. Our defence expenditure this year is again estimated at £200,000,000. Many people are asking whether we can afford this substantial expenditure, and whether it is being expended to the best advantage. One view is that the money could be far more effectively expended in developing Australia in such a way that this country would be able to produce more food in the event of another war. That may be so. Some people want to know whether the defence vote is being expended on the right armaments,, and others are inclined to believe that the expending of . such a large sum of, money by a nation of only 8,500,000 people may affect our economy. Let us consider what other countries are doing and what other peoples are saying. Some weeks ago, the Chief of the Imperial ‘General Staff said in the course of his visit to this country that we - and by “we” he meant not only Australia but also Great Britain and the other western democracies - must expend as much as we can afford on defence, for in so doing lies our greatest hope of peace. In other words, the more money we spend on defence, the stronger “we shall become, and the more remote will be the risk of another ‘world war. The Vice-President of the United States of America, Mr. Nixon, said practically the same thing. He told us that we must spend to the limit on defence, but that defence expenditure must not be allowed to ruin our economy. Is our defence expenditure ruining our economy? I do not see any great evidence of unemployment in Australia and I do not think living standards are falling. So far as I am aware there is no widespread poverty. In fact, our standard of living is probably the second highest in the world and is exceeded only by that of America.

Senator Grant:

– .What about Canada ?


– Canada’s standard of living is higher than ours, but I was including Canada in America.

Senator Aylett:

– Is ours higher than New Zealand’s?


– I do not think New Zealand has a higher standard than we have. My son returned to Australia a few months ago after spending two years in New Zealand and he was very pleased to be back. He thinks he is far better off in Australia than he was in New Zealand.


– Taxation is higher in New Zealand than it is in Australia.


– That is so.

Senator Aylett:

– ‘Our living standard is the fifth highest in the world.


– That may be, but it is still very high, and I do not think that it is being seriously prejudiced by our defence expenditure. On a percentage basis, we are not spending as much on defence as are the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Surely as a nation we are prepared to face up to the situation and to carry our share of the defence burden. Are the chances of war any less than they were ? If they are, perhaps we can reduce our defence expenditure. What do other people think about the situation? Sir Winston Churchill believes that the threat of war has perhaps receded a little. That . opinion is shared by Viscount Montgomery,- but most authorities in the

United States of America are rather doubtful. It is extremely difficult, indeed, for back-benchers in this Parliament to decide whether or not there is less likelihood of war. We are not fully acquainted with the facts. We do not know the vital things that really count. Virtually all we know is what we read in the press.

Senator Aylett:

– The honorable senator’s colleagues have been quoting him as an authority.


– I do not pose as an authority but I am sure I know a little more about the subject than does Senator Aylett. If the threat of war has lessened, it is because the defences of the democracies have been greatly strengthened over the past two or three years. Many people believe that the Western Powers are still not strong enough, and almost all authorities agree that our forces must be at least maintained. The question, therefore, is. not whether we are spending too much on defence, but whether we are spending it correctly. Modern weapons are so intricate that the ordinary person is unable to appreciate considerations of tactics and strategy. Modern weapons are also very expensive and it is difficult to make our defence funds go .very far. What was a large sum of money a few years ago is only a comparatively small sum to-day. Can we forecast the form that another war would take? Unless we can do that we cannot really decide whether our defence vote is being spent correctly. In that matter we must rely upon our experts. Any future war might well be an atomic war, but my own view is that we may have a series of. lesser wars such as the Korean war. There is a possibility that the war in Korea will be resumed. Another trouble centre is Indo-China. Will atomic weapons be used in a future war? A consideration of that question affects the manner in which we should expend our money. Previously we believed that we had superiority in the matter of atomic weapons, and many people considered that it was due only to that factor that general warfare did not develop. However, the situation has changed. In those days we thought that only Great Britain and the United States of America knew the secret of the atomic bomb. Since then Russia bas exploded atomic bombs. We do not know whether that country has the secret of the hydrogen bomb. Recently mention waa made of another kind of bomb which, it was claimed, could wipe out an entire nation within several days. Can we, therefore, claim superior knowledge in these matters? Probably we have a larger stockpile of atomic bombs than Russia has, but have we thereby a greater advantage? I do not think so.

Senator Aylett:

– .We will not have an advantage if they become obsolete.


– I believe that the advantage would lie with our opponents in the event of war materializing, because we would not start a war. A repetition of the attack on Pearl Harbour, but by the use of atomic bombs, could be disastrous. It could even result in our opponents winning any future war. However, if we could withstand the first blast, I believe that the advantage would rest with us. On the other hand, we must realize that the more progress that is made in the development of powerful atomic weapons the greater will be the initial advantage of an aggressor, even if that aggressor should be a small nation rather than a big nation like Russia. Therefore we must continue to stockpile atomic weapons and maintain superiority from a numerical point of view. As far as atomic warfare is concerned, we would have the advantage of dispersal, compared with the position in Russia. In other words, we depend on exterior lines, whereas Russia depends on internal lines. Therefore, I consider that in atomic warfare we should enjoy a definite advantage, but we must continue to establish modern bases around our perimeter. We must also expend large amounts of money on research and the establishment of manufacturing facilities. Of course, atomic warfare may not materialize. It will be recalled that both sides were afraid to use gas during World War II., because successful retaliation by that means could have been disastrous to either one side or the other. The position is somewhat analogous as far as atomic weapons are concerned. I believe that as more powerful atomic weapons are developed so will the probability of their being used in any future conflict diminish. Perhaps tha greatest hope for the maintenance of peace in our time resides in the realization by the great powers that it could be suicidal for them to use atomic weapons in a future war. We must maintain two kinds of forces, that is the kind that was used in World War II., and atomic forces, in which we must maintain superiority. In the light of these observations, are we expending our money correctly? His Excellency stated -

Accordingly, my advisers arc sustaining the permanent Forces at their present strengths, while National Service, which is making a notable contribution to the physique and trained capacity of Australian youth, is building up the citizen forces and reserves.

I venture to say that the physique and trained capacity of our armed forces were never better than they are to-day. Although criticism may be levelled at the manner in which our national service training scheme is being administered, generally speaking the administration has been extremely efficient and has provided us with a better prepared reserve than has ever existed before in this country. I consider that the present-day forces are far better off than their predecessors. Coming to the scientific side of defence, His Excellency went on -

  1. . the joint United Kingdom-Australia long-range weapons project is proceeding very satisfactorily.

As we are only a relatively small nation, we cannot alone afford to develop atomic bombs and other atomic weapons. Recently, arrangements were concluded whereby the United Kingdom will share the cost of work at the long-range weapons establishment at Woomera. Therefore, I consider that, in this respect, we are beginning to expend a fair proportion of our money correctly in relation to the development of weapons essential to our safety. His Excellency continued -

The United Kingdom Minister of Supply recently visited the long-range weapons establishment at Salisbury and at Woomera . . During Iiib visit a new finance agreement was negotiated to cover the project, designed to ensure a more satisfactory basis for sharing costs in view of the increasing amount of scientific and industrial work now being done in Australia.

As we all know, an atomic bomb was exploded near Woomera recently, but until yesterday all that we had been able to learn about the result of the experiment was gained from newspaper reports. Sis Excellency gave us the first official information on the matter when he said -

During October, the first atomic tests ever to take place on the Australian mainland were made at a proving ground north-west of Woomera. The tests were highly successful and were carried out ‘in a spirit of close partnership between the two governments.

That observation demonstrates that the utmost co-operation exists between Great Britain and Australia in this matter. Itshows also that, to the best of our ability, we are preparing for any eventuality. Later, His Excellency said -

To provide as far as possible against the contingencies of the future, .plans for cooperation in British Commonwealth defence are being actively developed between the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand

It will be recalled that the Chief of the Imperial General Staff visited Australia several weeks ago. As Great Britain’s leading soldier, he came out here specifically for the purpose of conferring with the defence authorities in Australia and New Zealand. His Excellency also referred to the recent talks in the United States of America in ;connexion with the Anzus treaty, in which our Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) participated a short while ago. We are expending money on the- establishment of modern defence bases around the perimeter that I have mentioned, including establishments at Manus Island and Cocos Island. I believe that that money is being wisely expended. I consider that the Governor-General’s Speech was most re-assuring to the people of this country, because it showed that this Government is providing for the defence of Australia in a thoroughly scientific and modern way. I do not think that any one could sustain a complaint that we are not expending money wisely in this connexion.

Senator AYLETT:

– I congratulate the mover and the seconder of the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. I should also like to congratulate Senator Toohey on his splendid address. Since the honorable senator spoke, the debate has been lifeless. I can understand why that has been so, because His Excellency read out a speech that had been prepared for him by one of his advisers. The most pleasant part of the Speech was the part in which His Excellency referred to the impending visit to this country of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, during the early part of next year. The Royal visit will afford to the Australian people an opportunity for close association with Her Majesty. It is the maintenance of such close relationship that helps to sustain the great British Commonwealth of Nations. The great republics of the world are envious of the solidarity and loyalty of the peoples of the Commonwealth to the Crown.

Senator Wordsworth devoted all hi? speech to the subject of war. I agree that we must 3pend whatever is absolutely necessary, within the limits of our capacity, on defence. But I do not think that any one should announce publicly that we are going to fight a certain nation. We should strive to bring about peace. There are nations that do not see eye to pye with Australia, but what those nations do in governing themselves is their affair just as it is our affair how we govern ourselves. Probably those nations disagree with our method of governing ourselves just as much as we disagree with their system of government.

Senator Wordsworth:

– They have lined themselves up.

Senator AYLETT:

– What nations have lined themselves up? Does the honorable senator refer to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China ? If so, what part will Australia play in a war with those countries ? There are fewer than 9,000,000 people in Australia. It was reported in the press yesterday that an American senator said that the United Kingdom would be finished if it did not disperse its population to the Dominions. Australian senators have made statements to that effect for many, years, but they were not given publicity. I still consider that the United Kingdom will be finished if it does not disperse some of its population to the Dominions where a second line of defence can be formed because if a war of any great size breaks out it will be a world war.

What part will Australia play in such a war? Shall we place all our able-bodied men in the fighting forces ? If we do that, who will produce the food that will be required by the millions of men in the forces that will fight the war in the Pacific? Where will those forces get their food? The United Kingdom cannot even grow sufficient food to feed its own population. Shall we bring food to Australia across thousands of miles of ocean? Or will Australia be the bastion of food supply as it was in the last war? If we accept the prediction of Senator Wordsworth concerning the nations that we will fight, this country will have to play a major part in the production of foodstuffs for our allied forces. I do not say that that is the only part that we should play in the war. But this country should not put more men into the field, in proportion to its population, than our allies. In World War I. and World War II., we put a far greater proportion of our population into the fighting forces than did the United Kingdom or the United States of America. Senator Wardlaw made a good speech on rural production. In a global war the rural population of this country will play a major part because guns and aeroplanes and bombs are of no use without food for the nien who will use them. If there is a major battlefront in the Pacific it will not be possible to import from the other side of the -world all the food required by this allied forces.

What is the Government doing in order to stimulate rural production? Honorable senators opposite said that production had been increased. In terms of money it has been increased because, owing to the inflationary policy of the Government it now takes a lot more money to purchase a given quantity of goods than it took a little while ago. Rural production, in terms of money, has increased considerably because primary producers are receiving three times as much for their commodities as they received a few years ago. Senator Wardlaw was once president of a farming organization of which the great majority of farmers in Tasmania are members. He should bc able to speak with a little first-hand knowledge of his subject. He said that the great fear of the primary producer was insecurity and probably that is still I l-iKi. up t.n a point. Senator Wardlaw and the members of the organization of which he was president believe that there should be some scheme which would enable primary producers to place their products on the market at prices which are reasonable from the point of view of both producers and consumers. Such a scheme does not exist at present. For that reason, the position of primary producers is still insecure. They receive enormously high prices for their products but they do not know how long they will continue to receive them. . Farmers went through a boom period in the past which was followed by a time of recession and depression during which many of them were compelled to leave their farms because the banks foreclosed their mortgages. The farmers are afraid that those times will come again. Do honorable senators opposite contend that Australia is able to defend itself unaided? Surely nobody would be so stupid as to believe that! We have to depend on our powerful allies to assist us. Consequently, the producer must produce the food necessary to feed the allied forces.

What is the Government doing to increase production in this country? The soil in Australia is equal to any in the world. ‘ We have men with a pioneering spirit, but we cannot expect them to live as our fathers did, because of the higher standards of living that we now enjoy. In the days of the early pioneers one could start a farm with a small amount of money, but a considerable amount of capital is now necessary for that purpose. The amount of money that is now required for the purchase of machinery is greater than the amount that would have been paid for a first-class property twenty years ago. Consequently, a person has to have a lot of money before he can start operations on the land. What financial assistance is the Government providing in order to enable new settlers to do a little pioneering? Thousands of people in Australia would be prepared to live a pioneering life if they Were given assistance by a Federal or State government. One reason for the slight increase that has taken place in production is the introduction of mechanization into primary industry. This state of affairs has not been brought about by any particular government. Advances h) bo oth factory and farm machinery are’ continually taking ]>lace. The man who has sufficient money to buy improved machinery as it becomes available has a great advantage over, the man who cannot buy new machinery. Our production has not increased as much as it should have increased in view of the progress of science and the improvement of machinery in the last ten years. The Government should confer with the State governments in an effort to formulate a policy for increased production. Recently, an honorable senator stated that if Australia did not increase its primary production it would soon have to import foodstuffs in order to feed its own population. That is perfectly true. That circumstance illustrates the major problem that will exist if Australia is involved in a war. 1. am not as optimistic as the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). In 1949 he said that, we had only three years in which to prepare the defences of this country. He said that there would be a war within three years.

Senator Robertson:

– He did not say exactly that.

Senator AYLETT:

– He said that our limit was three years.

Senator Robertson:

– That was fairly true.

Senator AYLETT:

– Nearly four years have passed since then. Does anybody believe that a war will start in the- Pacific before the end of the, year ?

Senator Robertson:

– In any case, we now have a defence force.

Senator AYLETT:

– I am glad to health at the cadets who undergo military training two or three nights a week, the school boys who are not big enough to curry a full-sized rifle, and the militia between them have frightened potential aggressors away! Apparently the Government considers that our defence position is so secure that there is no need for it to retain the Commonwealth line of ships, and it is therefore hawking the ships all over the world. Does a,ny one really believe that ships are not a vital part of a defence plan? If a war broke out in this part of the world, would not ships be necessary for the transport of supplies and troops’! Would honorable senators opposite wait until the enemy had arrived on Australia’s shores ?

Senator Henty:

– The ships will not be leaving the coastal service.

Senator AYLETT:

– I have yet to hear an honorable senator opposite claim that ships are not a vital defence link. 3 suggest that if Senator Henty went out and purchased a fleet of buses he would please himself what he did with them. The same reasoning will apply when the Commonwealth ships have a new owner. Another essential part of our defence programme is increased production, but such production will be worthless if we have no ships in which to send away the goods which we produce. Honorable senators opposite should pay more attention to the newcomers in their midst, such as Senator Wardlaw. Unfortunately, the honorable senator was not given the hearing to which his speech last night was entitled. In my opinion he could give his colleagues on the other side of the chamber some sound advice concerning production.

Industrial harmony cannot be achieved unless We bring together employer and employee. Honorable senators opposite, particularly Senator Anderson, have claimed that all of iis should support the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration and its decisions. I shall do so if I consider that its decisions are just, but if I do not think that a decision is just I shall not be gagged and prevented from criticizing it. I ask honorable senators to consider whether the most recent decision of the court was a fair and just one. Before the court was established, a system of bargaining between employer and employee operated, and under it the stronger survived. We all remember the struggles which ensued for better living and working conditions. The court was established with the object of bringing more closely together employer and employee, in order to prevent disruption in industry. However, oven after its establishment strikes were fairly frequent because the court did not function quickly enough. Logs of claims were filed, and often employees went on strike because those claims were not dealt with promptly. Nevertheless, for u period of years the court performed good service in ironing out industrial problems and in improving relations between employers- and employees.

A boom period then arrived, during which there were more jobs than employees to fill them. It is well known that a few malcontents in industry continually resort to pin-pricking tactics with the object of causing -disruption. It was because of that fact that the previous Labour Government amended the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act with a view to streamlining the system by the appointment of conciliation commissioners. Those commissioners were given power to nip in the bud industrial disputes.


– But they did not prevent strikes.

Senator AYLETT:

– I have not said that they did so. If the honorable senator will allow me to conclude my remarks, I think she will find that the conciliation commissioners functioned reasonably well. I do not contend that any system is perfect. If a conciliation commissioner considered that an industrial dispute was imminent he had power to call the parties together. By that means many disputes were prevented.

The system operated in that way until a change of government occurred in the federal sphere. . The Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act was again amended, with the result that the conciliation commissioners were more or less pushed to one side and have since been treated almost as office boys. The amendments of the act gave to the court excessively wide powers. Honorable senators opposite may remember that, at the time the amending legislation was being debated in the Senate, the Opposition warned the Government-that the wide powers to be given to the court could react unfavorably towards industry. That warning has since been vindicated. Because of the failure of this Government to stabilize the economy, the court has taken upon itself the responsibility to do so. The Government has applauded its action. In its recent decision to suspend the quarterly adjustments of the basic wage, the court considered only one section of the community. Its decision will result in the rich becoming richer and the poor poorer.


– Nonsense 1

Senator AYLETT:

– The honorable senator should follow my remarks a little further. Did the court ask any section of the community, other than the workers, to make a sacrifice? For weeks members of the Government in this Parliament were non-committal concerning the nature of the court’s decision in the wages and hours case. They probably wondered what alternative the court proposed in place of the quarterly costofliving adjustments. They now know that there is to be no alternative. The automatic adjustments have been simply terminated. Therefore, I claim that one section -of the community is being penalized. The profits being made by big business interests were certainly not considered by the court in reaching ite decision. ‘ It did not have regard, for instance, to the fact that the Myer Emporium Limited made a profit of approximately £400,000 in 1951-52, and almost £1,000,000 in 1952-53. The court claimed that the economy of the country could not stand further increases of the basic wage. My contention is that th« economy cannot stand the kind of exploitation of which the big business interests are guilty to-day. Prices are still rising. Had the court pegged profits and prices at the same time as it pegged wages, nobody could have squealed. Why did it peg only wages? I think honorable senators opposite will agree that it would be grossly unfair for the court to peg profits and prices and to leave wages untouched. Surely, then, it is unfair to peg only wages. Then, it must be agreed, it is wrong to peg wages unless prices and profits are pegged also. The court has accepted the responsibility to stabilize the economy and has made an unholy mess of its attempt. Its decision has done more to kill the arbitration system than has any other action since Viscount Bruce, then Mr. Bruce, attempted to wipe out the court altogether in 1929.

At the present time, some State governments are enacting legislation to permit wages boards to make cost-of-living adjustments. Other States, which have State arbitration courts, are taking similar action. But some States are not doing anything in the matter. Unfortunately, the working class of Tasmania is worse off than that of any other State. The last cost-of-living adjustment announced by the court gave Tasmanian workers only an additional 10s. a week. Since that time, rents alone have increased by 20 per cent., which will have the effect of increasing the cost of living by approximately 8s. a week. Prices control has been removed. This Government handed prices control over to the States because it contended that the States could administer the control more efficiently than could the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Arbitration Court has failed in its object of bringing about peace in industry and improving relations between employer and employee, Its decision in relation to automatic adjustments of the basic wage may cause the greatest industrial disruption that this country has ever known. Does the court expect a worker in one State of the Commonwealth to accept with equanimity the fact that he is being paid £1 a week less than his fellow worker in another State who is performing exactly the same task? That position has already arisen. Even within the boundaries of individual States difficulties are arising because some workers are covered by State awards and others by Federal awards.

Sitting suspended from 5.1/5 to 8 p.m.

Senator AYLETT:

– When the sitting was suspended, I was speaking of the decision of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration to suspend the quarterly adjustments of the basic wage. Disruption of industry is likely to follow the court’s decision. A new responsibility has been thrown upon the State governments because some of them are trying to dispense justice to the workers by adjusting their wages through, the State wages boards. That is likely to cause dissatisfaction because workers in one State will be given their rights in connexion with cost, of living fluctuations and corresponding wage adjustments, while others have been deprived of their rights. The Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration was established to bring about uniformity in industrial conditions in Australia. The industrial unions fought for its establishment but now the court, by its own actions, has sown the seeds of dissatisfaction and disruption. That is the antithesis of the reasons for the court’s establishment. It was designed to bring employers and employees closer together but it is driving them further apart. The court is virtually futile now and with its dis appearance from the field of industrial arbitration only one alternative is left. There will be a reversion now to the position that existed before the court was established. Employers and employees will have to resort to straight out bargaining in an endeavour to iron out their problems. The employer always has the big end of the stick and we can expect to see a reversion to the law of the jungle in Australian industry.

Through its arbitration measures, this Government has brought about the undesirable position that now faces industry in Australia. That result was predicted by honorable senators on the Opposition side of the chamber when the Government introduced legislation affecting the system of arbitration. This Government is killing the court by back-door methods. It has not the courage that was shown by Viscount Bruce when he was the Prime Minister of Australia. He was then Mr. S. M. Bruce and he and his party announced that they proposed to wipe out the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. This Government did not have the courage to make such a bold declaration, but it has set out to kill the court by crippling the powers of the conciliation commissioners and by enlarging the powers of the court so that unions are put to tremendous expense in bringing their cases before it. In some cases they have been brought to the verge of bankruptcy. The court has gone into reverse gear. As a result, it virtually does not exist. The industrial workers will have to fight the employers directly or through their unions and if a settlement cannot be reached, the unionists will have to use the strike weapon. The employees cannot be blamed if they resort to direct action.

The court should have recognized that if the workers are to make a sacrifice, the employers who are amassing large profits should also bear sacrifices. If the court had pegged profits and prices there would have been some reasonable argument in favour of its decision to suspend wage adjustments, but it imposed sacrifices upon only one section of the community. If disruption follows the court’s action, the country can blame the Australian Government because it has taken sides and endorsed the court’s decision. It is asking one section of the community to bear all the sacrifice and that section is the poorest of the community. It is composed of those who are dependent entirely upon the basic wage. When the court’s decision was made known, Tasmania lifted prices control. Wages have been pegged there but prices are still rising. No one can foresee the end of such grave developments.

New South Wales

– I join with honorable senators who have preceded me in expressions of loyalty to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, and to express my joy at the prospect of the Royal visit to Australia next year. I believe that it will be a great event in the history of Australia and the British Commonwealth of Nations. I regret that Senator Aylett who preceded me saw fit to sneer at our defences. In the present state of world tension, I do not believe that it is wise to do so. If our defences are weak, we should be wise to strengthen them.

Senator Aylett:

– I did not sneer at our defences.

Senator McCALLUM:

– I repeat that Senator Aylett used expressions that any reasonable person would consider to be a sneer at our defences. He talked about the militia and the citizen forces and other arms as though they would be of no effect against an enemy. I point out that in addition to the militia, the cadets and other branches of the forces that are training, we have a fine navy and a magnificent air force. Only a few days ago there was a most effective piece of co-operation between the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force in exercises to deal with submarines. I know because some of the machines that were engaged passed by my window. So effective was the exercise that I had to assure an elderly member of my household that it was a practice and not the real thing.

I wish to. refer in particular to national development. I endorse all that has. been said by Senator Wordsworth . about defence. We must expend- an adequate sum upon our defence ‘ forces, . but I agree also with Senator Aylett that production is essential to. defence.1 It is not for us to define at this stage the allocation that should be made for the fighting services and the provision of food in the event of hostilities. That must be determined by the exigencies of the moment. I believe that after defence, our most important function is national development. I believe, therefore, in the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric project. It is a great scheme of national development which is non-partizan in character because it has been planned under various Ministries and has been supported by all the major political parties. I believe that the Deputy President (Senator Reid), when he was a member’ of the New South Wales Cabinet, took some of the responsibility for the preliminary survey that led to the scheme. I have just returned from a visit to the Riverina, a district to which I am no stranger. I have always been impressed by the contrast between the fine but somewhat arid country to be found in some parts of that district, and the lush green areas in the irrigation belt. I believe that we overdo the sentiment of a sunburnt country. Occasionally I wish that Dorothy Mackellar had-, written some of the lines of her magnificent poetry a little differently. I love the sunburnt country as much as any one but I like a little water with it.

The great need of this country is water. In the Darling-Murrumbidgee system, we have a fine water supply and the idea is to augment it with some of the water that flows through the snow-fed Snowy River. The area that is now being irrigated in . New. South Wales from the Murrumbidgee was merely ,a sheep station 30 years ago. It was a good sheep station but it employed only a few people. Now in that area there are at least 30,000 people who are engaged in numerous occupations. Instead of a man requiring a holding of some thousands of acres, he can make a living now on nineteen acres. The farms are close together and neighbourliness has replaced the terrible loneliness that the pioneers endured there and are still enduring inother parts of Australia. I am wholly behind the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme. I am not at all averse to criticism of it or to the searchlight of inquiry being thrown upon its finances. I believe that we should get value for the money that is spent but we should not allow the scheme to be blocked in any way.

The Australian Government has done and is doing all that is required of it. There is some hesitancy in other places but I shall not mention, them because I do not wish to turn what is possibly a piece of friendly bargaining into hostility. However, the Government of New South Wales must do its part also. Dams must be built with State finance’ to aid the diversionary work that the Australian Government has undertaken. It would be impossible to exalt too highly the advantages that will flow from the scheme. First it will lead to pleasant living conditions for all the people in the districts affected. During most of the year it is a pleasant climate. The people in that district endure a little heat in mid-summer but otherwise it is one of the most desirable areas in the world. This magnificent scheme will help Victoria as well as New South Wales. I can understand honorable senators from other States studying the scheme warily and reminding the Government that there are rivers in their States also. None of them has a river comparable with the MurrayMurrumbidgee water courses. When that water supply is reinforced by the flow from the Snowy River it will be one of the most magnificent water systems in the world. The Snowy Mountains scheme will benefit every section of the community. If this country happens to be smitten with a prolonged and terrible drought of the kind that we have suffered in the past, the Snowy Mountains scheme, when it is completed, will provide a magnificent oasis where fodder can be grown to be distributed to save thousands of sheep and cattle. In the event of another war, that area will prove to be a great source of food. It is not generally known that during World War II. an enormous amount of food was grown in the Mumimbidgee area and that much of that food was exported not only to feed our own forces but also to help pur allies. Of course, under war. conditions we shall be enabled to grow more food than we would grow in normal times. . We shall be able to use every acre of that territory after the Snowy scheme is completed. At the same time, the area will provide a counterpoise to the attractions of the big cities.

One of the misfortunes of our development during the last 50 years has been the drift of some of the best of our rural population to the capital cities. That is particularly true m respect of Sydney. Recently when I visited the country town in which I was born, I found that of the families that were there when I was a boy only three remained. All of the others had shifted to the cities. I come now to another matter upon which I congratulate the Government. I was pleased to hear the definite statement in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech that the Government is resolved to retain the Tariff Board, and that protection will be granted only to industries that prove their efficiency and worth to the community. I trust that no supporter of the Government or, indeed, any honorable senator opposite, will lend his ear to the voices of those who wish to boost particular industries from which they hope to derive profit, and who say that every kind of stimulus should be given to every kind of secondary industry. Of course, we must encourage secondary industries that are vital to defence and to national development but, at the same time, we must not neglect our primary industries. Otherwise, we shall build our house upon an insecure foundation. I emphasize the importance of irrigation, which will provide a firm and solid basis for the development of rural industry.

Another aspect of our development deserves notice. I may get little thanks for mentioning it because the people mainly concerned do not exercise a vote in the election of the Senate. I refer to the Northern Territory, which I regard as a magnificent heritage. The development of that part of Australia is the direct responsibility of this Parliament, and it behoves every honorable senator, regardless of the .State which he represents, to consider carefully the claims of the territory. When I visited that part of Australia I discovered that it was totally different from what I imagined it would be. Several cattle stations which I visited reminded me of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, because among the people on them Europeans were in a minority. Many features of life on the holdings conformed to the famous story. The first thing that impressed me was the climate. The water colours of Namitjira and other artists do not improve upon the reality of the McDonnell Ranges and the scenery in that region. I was not greatly impressed by the quality of the cattle that I saw. However, I am not a cattle man. In passing, I mention that every beast that I saw was described as a shorthorn, regardless of the shape, size or variety of the horns of the beasts. I have seen, cattle of better quality in other areas. Something must be done to improve the quality of the stock in the Northern Territory.

The development of this great area as a whole is primarily a matter of sound administration. I pay tribute to the public servants who work in those remote places. The officials who conducted the party of which I was a member and all the other officials whom I met were devoted and capable men who have the interests of the Territory at heart. It is traditional that we should not mention public servants by name in debate in the Parliament, because it would be unfair to do so. However, I could name several officials to whom this country owes an enormous debt for the work that they are doing in the interests of the Northern Territory. A great deal has been done there by private enterprise.

I desire to state clearly my views on the functions of government. When I say that national development is one of the main functions of government, some people might misunderstand me and claim that I am advocating socialism or a planned economy.

Senator Critchley:

– The honorable senator once advocated socialism.

Senator McCALLUM:

– I cannot see any point in honorable senators opposite continually raising that matter. I have never denied that in the past I advocated socialism. However, I have abandoned socialism because I believe that it is the great illusion of the nineteenth century. Indeed, socialism is being abandoned by members of the Australian Labour party, however much they may protest to the contrary. I believe that socialism will be abandoned by everybody who takes the trouble to examine the facts. The Government must pursue a policy that will give to all citizens an opportunity to perform their respective tasks, but the great driving force in enterprise and, in fact, in every department of life, must come from competent, honorable, and, in the long-run, big-minded individuals. When people of the kind to whom I have referred are available to do the work, Governments should not hamper or hamstring them, but encourage them. The first function of government in respect of national development is the provision of all essential services such as police, justice and so forth. The second function is the encouragement of scientific and industrial research. In this respect the Government has done magnificent work. I doubt whether any institution has done as much for Australia as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has done for it. Recently, we had a spectacular example of the work that is being performed by that organization in the combating of the rabbit pest. But that is only part of the work that it is doing. In the Northern Territory, officers of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization are experimenting with grasses, tropical fruits, vegetables, and every class of agriculture, and the result of those experiments must add to the wealth of the Territory. The Government must continue with that good work. It must also provide efficient means of communication. With my limited knowledge of the subject, I shall not commit myself to any particular form of communication. I have my own opinion on the subject but I shall willingly alter it if evidence is produced to expose erroneous thinking on my part. I believe that the fate and destiny of the Northern Territory will be determined by matters beyond the control of the Government.

As honorable senators are aware, the great State of Victoria made a magnificent leap forward in 1851 and for a time remained ahead of all the other colonies because of discoveries of gold. Those discoveries attracted population and, consequently, the industries required to feed the populaton were firmly established. I believe that development will follow a similar course in the Northern Territory and that that part of Australia will be developed through the ‘mining of not only uranium but also many other minerals; The Government must continue to make the necessary surveys’ and encourage genuine prospecting. As we shall have an opportunity to consider individually each of the measures that has been forecast in the Governor-General’s Speech, I shall not detain the Senate further at this juncture. I again emphasize the three points that I have made. My first point is that we should affirm our adherence to a tariff policy under which primary and secondary development will be properly balanced on the basis of investigations by the Tariff Board. My second point is that it is essential to make adequate defence preparations. My t’hird point is that national development, being the sister of defence, must be carefully planned and carried out. I have the greatest confidence in the future of this country. I believe that the prosecution of the policy that has been adumbrated in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech, particularly those parts of it which I have stressed, will ensure a great future for Australia.

Senator SHEEHAN:

– The motion now before the Senate is simple but important. It incorporates an address to His Excellency the Governor-General in which the Senate expresses, on behalf of the people, their loyalty to the Throne, and also the thanks of honorable senators to His Excellency for the Speech that he was pleased to deliver in this chamber yesterday afternoon. Speeches of that kind in the past have, in many instances, been most momenteous, because they indicated proposals which the government of the day .proposed to place before the Parliament. However, the GovernorGeneral’s Speech on this occasion has been remarkable for its omissions in expressing the Government’s intentions. The Speech opened with a paragraph with which not only members of the Parliament but also the people as a whole will agree, and that is that we shall welcome Her Majesty in person when she visit Australia next year and will be pleased to be present when she opens the next session of the Parliament. I trust, thai officialdom will give to the people of Australia every opportunity to meet and see Her Majesty and her consort. I am afraid, however, that many of our people will be denied that opportunity which they are eagerly awaiting. The Governor-General’s Speech told us little about the Government’s intentions. Ii mentioned only one bill in detail. ‘I refer to . the health bill, the contents of which have been the subject of speculation for quite a long time.

Senator Ryan:

– A mystery bill.

Senator SHEEHAN:

– Yes. It will probably be something like the potions that are dispensed by our pharmacists. Some of them are mysteries indeed. I have no doubt that people who need the assistance of such legislation will be very pleased to see this new measure put on our statute-book; but that is the only clear indication of the Government’s policy. Since this debate started last night, honorable senators on both sides of the chamber have addressed themselves to many subjects. The motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, of course, affords speakers an opportunity to discuss any matter that they deem to’ be important. It is within our competence to direct attention not only to matters contained in the Speech, but also to matters that have been omitted from it.

Senator Annabelle Rankin made a very interesting speech to-day. It was well constructed, and I detected in it an attempt to import matters of State politics into the debate. The honorable senator stressed the need for road construction and maintenance in Queensland. She rightly pointed out that Queensland covers a huge area, and that its road transport system is rather backward. The honorable senator stressed the need for improved roads and better harbours from a defence point of view. She told us that ships which carry the produce of Queensland to other parts of the world are unable to operate efficiently because of the lack of port facilities. That too, she said presented an important defence problem, and I agree with that view. However, it is not my intention to take up the cudgels on behalf of the Queensland Labour Government. I have no doubt that that will be done most effectively by my Queensland colleagues. My main interest is in the honorable senator’s claim that of the huge sums of money which the Commonwealth makes available to the States for road construction and maintenance and the improvement of harbours, the Queensland Government is not spending enough on those works. This matter, of course, affects not only Queensland t also the other States. From every part of the Commonwealth complaints are being made bv responsible authorities about the lack of money for road works. During the debate on the Estimates I drew attention to the fact that the Municipal Association of Victoria, which represents local-governing authorities throughout that State, had complained continually about the inadequacy of the allocations to the States from the revenue derived by the Commonwealth from the petrol tax. The Australian Government chu take no credit to itself for those allocations. The funds, as I have said, do not come from Consolidated Revenue, but from the tax that is levied upon motor spirit. Unfortunately, not ali the proceeds of the tax are paid to the States. The Commonwealth reserves to itself a very substantial proportion of . that revenue. I trust that Government supporters will heed Senator Annabelle Rankin’s remarks and that they will bring pressure to bear on the Government to provide adequately for the construction and maintenance of State highways and other roads that may be regarded as having defence value.

The debate on the Defence Estimates in this chamber began at 4 o’clock in the morning on the final day .of the last session of the Parliament. I do not recall any honorable senator opposite having urged the Government on that occasion to devote- some part of the proposed defence expenditure of £200.000,000 to assistin:; the States to play their part in de fence preparations. Surely if Senator Annabelle Rankin and her colleagues believe that not enough is being done from the defence point of view to extend and maintain our roads system, that was the occasion on which to air their grievances. Just imagine a nation of 8,500,000 people spending £200,000,000 in one year on defence in time of peace! It is regrettable, indeed, that the Parliament did not have an adequate opportunity to consider the manner in which, this huge sum is to be expended. As I have said, the debate on the DefenceEstimates in this chamber commenced at 4 a.m. In the House of Representatives, the Estimates were “ guillotined “, and members of that chamber were not able to discuss the Government’s proposals fully. Therefore, I believe it is idle for any honorable senator to criticize a State government whose source of income is strictly limited. The Commonwealth is the main revenue collecting authority and defence is its responsibility. I hope we shall hear no more of such criticism of State governments and that, regardless of our party affiliations, we shall all endeavour to induce whatever government is in power in the federal sphere to play fair with the State administrations within whose jurisdiction the construction and maintenance of roads falls.

Senator McCallum said that Senator Aylett had referred rather scathingly to the defence of Australia. I listened attentively to Senator Aylett’s speech, and I do not think he was scathing. He may have suggested better -ways of organizing our defence system, but that is the prerogative of any member of this Parliament. I claim that we on this side of the chamber can take great credit for the building up of Australia’s defences. Senator McCallum referred to our efficient Navy, Army and Air Force. It is not many years since I heard in this Parliament the severest criticism of Labour leaders who advocated placing our reliance substantially upon air power. Indeed, within the memory of many honorable senators, proposals by even earlier Labour leaders to establish an Australian army and au Australian navy were roundly condemned by people of the same political complexion as honorable senators opposite who now boast about our efficient military machine. In those days, advocacy of an Australian was virtually regarded as disloyal. Supporters of such a proposal were criticized as being anti-British, and in favour of cutting our ties with the Empire. They were told that the British Navy, the most powerful in the world, would always be available to protect us. To-day, of course, the Labour leaders who advocated such radical steps are looked upon as men of vision. They appreciated Australia’s isolation and they visualized the greatness that one day would be ours. They knew the difficulties that would lie in’ cbe path of future generations of Australians in keeping this country, not solely for British people, but for the white races, and planned accordingly. Being imbued with a spirit of nationalism - it could be called Australianism - they developed the policies which have brought about the position that exists to-day.

In His Excellency’s Speech, which was prepared by an adviser to the Government, it is stated that all governments of the past have been interested in the development of this nation. It is imperative for us to develop our natural resources. Senator McCallum has mentioned a book, in which the writer referred to Australia as a sunburnt country. I understand that a copy of the book will be presented to Her Majesty before she reaches Australia. Another book entitled Water into Gold could also, with advantage, be presented to Her Majesty. It deals with the wonderful irrigation system at Mildura in Victoria. The honorable senator also mentioned the development that completion of the Snowy Mountains scheme will make possible. It is true that completion of the undertaking will enable the wonderful potentialities of the land on either side of the River Murray to be developed. Truly will water be turned into gold ! It has been stated that, as a result of the development so envisaged, thousands of tons of dried fruits and citrus fruits will be exported, because our relatively small population will be unable to consume all of the fruit that will be grown in that area. I realize that the hungry millions of people in other countries will be very pleased to obtain our fruit: But will it be possible to place that fruit on the markets of the world at prices within the reach of those people? Already we are losing our markets for canned fruits in the countries to the north of Australia, as a result of the high cost of production in this country. Honorable senators opposite have stated that high labour costs in Australia have brought about the present state of affairs. I remind them that increased shipping freights have made it very difficult for our primary products to be placed on the world markets at competitive prices.

Senator Scott:

– Labour costs have risen tremendously.

Senator SHEEHAN:

– I realize that wages have increased. However, at the present time the Government is endeavouring to dispose of Commonwealthowned ships to private enterprise. By the use of those ships to convey our primary products overseas, shipping freights could be kept down. I consider that the Government deserves the utmost condemnation in this connexion.

Senator Mattner:

– But the Commonwealthowned ships are incurring losses of about £7,000,000 a year.

Senator SHEEHAN:

– Shipping is vital to the development of this country. Even though the government-owned ships incurred a loss during the early years of their operation, that loss was small compared with the loss of our overseas markets. It will be very difficult for us to regain those markets. We must not forget that, as Australia is an island continent, we need ships to carry our products to the markets of the world.

Senator Pearson:

– Irrespective of cost ?

Senator SHEEHAN:

– Yes, because it is obvious that Commonwealth-owned ships can carry products at cheaper freights than ships that are operated by private enterprise for profit.

Senator Mattner:

– Does the’ honorable senator apply the same line of reasoning to the government-owned railways?

Senator SHEEHAN:

– It is all very well for supporters of the Government to cry when they are wounded. I remind them of their attitude towards the primary producers, as expressed in this chamber several weeks ago. They cannot have it both ways.

Senator Mattner:

– Apparently some prominent members of the Australian Labour party think that that is possible.

Senator SHEEHAN:

– Supporters of the Government appear to believe that the primary producers of this country are being well provided for by the private shipping companies. Why, then, did they complain when Labour was in office, and ask for additional shipping facilities to be provided by that Government? I should like to deal more fully with the matters that I have mentioned, but, in view of the gentlemen’s agreement in relation to the time allowed for speeches during this debate, I am unable to do so.

His Excellency stated that legislation in connexion with the Tariff Board will he introduced during this session. I concede readily that, coincident with the expansion of our primary industries, there must be development of our secondary industries. Doubtless, persons engaged in secondary industries will await with interest the forthcoming debate on the Tariff Board. In the early days of this National Parliament, when the fiscal policy was debated, it was thought that the protectionists had won their battle against the free-traders. It has been suggested that some of our secondary industries should be abandoned.

Senator Mattner:

– Who suggested that?

Senator SHEEHAN:

– As an intelligent man, no doubt Senator Mattner studies the periodicals that are supplied to him. Consequently, he should have as much knowledge as I have of this subject. If the primary industries of this country are to be developed as they should be developed, it is imperative that we shall have a well-paid and well-conditioned army of workers in secondary industry to consume as much as is humanly possible of the primary produce of this land. Without secondary industries, Australia would be unable to fulfil the role that it is destined to play in the future. I was disappointed that His Excellency did not express any hope in relation to our future development. In the main, his Speech was a rehash of the things that have occurred during the last twelve months. The Government had a wonderful opportunity through His Excellency’s Speech, to provide the people of this country with a ray of hope and inspiration in relation to national development. In my opinion, the casual reference that was made to this subject by His Excellency was unworthy of a government that claims to have the development of this country at heart. I hope that before this debate is concluded a supporter of the Government will furnish to the Senate information about important matters that were not mentioned by His Excellency, and enlighten honorable senators on the policy that will be applied by the Government in relation to them in the future.

Senator HENTY:

– I strongly support the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, which has been so ably moved and seconded by honorable senators on this side of the chamber. I also associate myself with the expressions of loyalty and devotion to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second that have been expressed during this debate. His Excellency stated that the Government was fully aware of the delays that had taken place in proceedings before the Tariff Board, and that legislation would be introduced during this session to facilitate and expedite inquiries by that board. That legislation is very necessary in view of the fact that the Government has wisely followed a policy under which it refused to allow import restrictions to be used as a tariff measure. I commend the Government for taking that course of action. But we cannot overlook the fact that our overseas reserves have risen sharply to £548,000,000 from the level of £362,000,000 which obtained a few months ago. In many minds, that fact has raised the. question of the immediate relaxation of import controls. It has also brought to mind the position of some of Australia’s secondary industries. There will be a cry for more protection. I agree with Senator McCallum that every request for protection by our secondary industries must be examined by that impartial body, the Tariff Board. That action is vital because many of our primary industries are dependent upon overseas markets for the sale of their products. Primary producers are entitled to buy the Australian manufactured goods that they need at a price which will allow them to compete in the overseas markets. We must not permit inefficiency behind our. tariff walls if our rural industries are to prosper.

Two or three weeks; ago in this chamber I raised the subject of the exploitation of new settlers in Australia and the prices that had been charged by certain agencies in Australia to supply parcels of food to relatives behind the Iron Curtain. The charges that I made in this chamber were answered in the press a day or two later. All the agencies that I mentioned admitted to the prices that I said had been charged for those parcels. All the agencies claimed that they were strongly an ti- Communist. It appears to me to be a thin-blooded antiCommunist who charges £4 16s. for a parcel of food which, can be bought in Australia for £1 Os. 10£d. and who collects a 5 per cent, commission on . his exorbitant price. It is a well-known axiom that there can be no thief without a receiver. It is not enough for these agents to prattle anti-communism while they continue these practices. In South Australia a Mr. Alexander Eszenzi, the manager of the Swallow Trading Company, said that it was the Hungarian Government that was exploiting the new settlers and that his firm acted only as an agency and forwarded the money to a firm in Canada, which forwarded the Canadian hard currency to places behind the Iron Curtain. How can these agencies exchange Australian currency for Canadian dollars when Australia is starving for hard currency? I ask the Government to investigate this position and ascertain whether the Hungarian Government is willing to revise the prices for food parcels supplied to places behind the Iron Curtain or return to the system that was in vogue prior to 1952 when it was possible to buy food parcels in Australia and post them to addresses behind the Iron Curtain without attracting the enormous duties that are now payable in Communist countries. In order to protect . the many thousands of new settlers in Australia I also ask the Government to conduct an inquiry into the activities of the agencies that I have mentioned.

During the course of this debate and also during the course of the last budget debate, honorable senators opposite provided a very clear indication of the policy that they would follow if their party were elected to office. Honorable senators opposite have said that they completely support the United Nations organization. Their expression? of opinion were in such complete accord and harmony on this subject that they provoked interjections inquiring whether the harmony would last.

Senator Critchley:

– I am beginning to wonder about that now.

Senator HENTY:

– It will not last long. Section 20 of the Declaration of Human Eights reads as follows : -

  1. Every one has the right to freedom ofpeaceful assembly and association.
  2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Despite the fact that honorable senator* opposite have declared their support for the United Nations, the Labour Government of New South Wales intends to introduce compulsory unionism in that State. How can the Labour party subscribe to the principles of the United Nations Charter and introduce compulsory unionism? The Labour party is merely paying lip service to the United Nations. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber do not consider that the Labour party supports the United Nations. Government senators render full service, not mere lip service, to the principles of the United Nations. I think that Senator Toohey said that Australia should follow its own course in the councils of the United Nations and should refuse to be cowed by any major power. He said that we should do what we believe to be right irrespective of the opinion of other members of the United Nations. Coming from a member of a party which has consistently opposed national service training and expenditure on defence, that statement is sheer hypocrisy. It should never be forgotten that we should not exist as a nation but for the fact that we have powerful friends. Honorable senators opposite have asked for what reason any country would attack Australia. Have those honorable senators overlooked the immense potential of our uranium deposits which must be a strong temptation to any nation which believes that the Government will not provide strong defences for this country?

I listened with a great deal of interest to the remarks of honorable senators opposite on arbitration. I learned with amazement that they now advocate that the Government should interfere in the deliberations of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. Senator Toohey said that the Government should prescribe certain courses of

Motion for adoption by the court. I commend the Government for having respected the decisions of the court. The only function of the Government in relation to the court is to appoint its m embers. Having appointed the court, the Government must leave it to the court to arrange arbitration and conciliation between those who approach it. The nation will not support any action to make arbitration the football of party politics. It was suggested by honorable senators opposite that the Commonwealth Government should have intervened in the recent case before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. That court has considered the evidence, listened to the case that has been presented by both sides and given its decision. It has done the job that this Parliament appointed it to do. I suggest that the nation would be most averse to any interference with the judgment of the court by this Parliament. During the course of this debate another point of Labour policy has emerged. Honorable senators opposite have been agitating for permanent Commonwealth prices control. Why they think that the States, which have full sovereign powers, are unable to control prices, I have never been able to find out. There is no reason why the States should not be able to administer the control effectively. I suggest that when they really want to do so they can in fact do so. As every sane person knows, prices cannot be controlled effectively unless the factors which cause prices to rise are also controlled. During the time when Commonwealth control of prices was most effective, there was also control of investment, wages, hours and conditions, and direction of labour.

But the people would not tolerate for five minutes such controls in peace-time. This Labour catch-cry of permanent Commonwealth prices control presents no answer whatever to the problems of inflation.

During Senator Anderson’s speech last night, he stated that it is not wise, in politics, to prophesy. However, it is obvious to those who read, think and study that by early 1954 lower prices will be the order of the day. The time may soon arrive when honorable senators opposite will acknowledge, as the cost of living comes down, that the termination of the automatic adjustments of the basic wage has conferred a blessing on the workers.

Senator BYRNE:
QUEENSLAND · ALP; QLP from 1957; DLP from 1968

– And what will the honorable senator say?

Senator HENTY:

– I shall say, “I told you so “. During the course of this debate, andalso during the budget debate, we have heard another of the policy points which the supporters of the Australian Labour party intend to reiterate during the forthcoming general election campaign. It is apparent that the Australian Labour party, if elected to office, intends to indulge in a capital levy in order to raise money.

Senator Courtice:

– Where did the honorable senator get that idea?

Senator HENTY:

-From two honorable senators opposite, one of them a most senior member of the Australian Labour party and an ex-cabinet Minister. His statement was supported by Senator O’Flaherty. If that is Labour policy, honorable senators opposite are welcome to it. I do not think that the people will favour it. Indeed, I hope that the Australian Labour party continues to advocate that policy; if it does so, in my opinion it will be most beneficial to the Government parties at the next general election.

Labour policy includes violation of the Declaration of Human Rights by imposing compulsory unionism, a return to the Evatt policy of expressing Australian views in the councils of the United Nations, to the frustration and defeat of our powerful friends and protectors ; and the raising of money by capital levies. Compare those objectives with the policy of the present Government which includes defence through strength, industrial peace, in which respect it has provided an unequalled example, the return of democracy to the trade unions by the provision for secret ballots, increased production of coal and all basic materials, full and plentiful supplies of petrol, a magnificent national health scheme, increased social services and repatriation benefits, full employment, and reduced taxation. Compare present conditions with those which operated during the time of restrictions, blackmarkets, nationalization and socialization. Those who do so cannot fail to appreciate that all the benefits, to which I have referred have been brought about by the honest stewardship of the Menzies Government. I support the motion.

New South Wales

– I join with honorable senators on both sides of the chamber in congratulating the mover and the seconder of the motion before the Senate. The Speech of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral did not foreshadow great events, but by the time we have listened for a couple* of days to the speeches of honorable senators a good deal will have been made of it. I was particularly interested in the remarks of Senator Henty, who showed that he has a sense of humour, if nothing else. _ Any one who can speak of- this Government in the glowing terms which- he used during his peroration deserves full-marks for a sense of humour. Certainly, he has no sense of truth.

Senator Henty:

– I rise to order! Senator Armstrong’s allegation that I have no. sense of truth is offensive to me and I ask that it be withdrawn.


– If it is offensive to the honorable senator, I willingly withdraw it. I am sorry that he mistook my meaning. The honorable senator has referred to the Declaration of Human Rights in order to make a case in advance concerning legislation which he has not even seen and which it i3 suggested the Government of New South Wales proposes to introduce in the immediate future. The Declaration of Human’ Rights to which he referred abhors compulsion in any form. But there are things happening in the world to-day about which the honorable senator was conveniently silent. For instance, he made only a eulogistic reference to this Government’s health schemes. How anybody could attack compulsion in regard to trade unionism and applaud the GovernorGeneral’s reference to a voluntary health scheme amazes me. Let us have a quick glance at the health schemes of the Minister for Health (Sir Earle Page). Under the hospital benefits scheme, a benefit of 8s. a day is made available in respect of hospital treatment, but in order to obtain the additional benefits provided by the Commonwealth it is compulsory for persons to be insured with a private benefit society.

Senator Guy:

– The same principle applied in relation, to the friendly societies.


– If a person wishes to obtain the additional benefits which the Government hopes to give away, he has no choice; he must join a private benefit society. An even worse position applies in connexion with the Government’s medical benefits scheme. Unless a person is privately insured he is not entitled to any medical benefits at all.

Senator Robertson:

– That is all right !


– The honorable senator apparently thinks it is proper for the taxpayer to be asked to provide money for a so-called voluntary scheme which provides that he must join an outside organization in order to enjoy benefits which range from 6s. to £11 5s. I have referred to that matter in passing because it was the first thing that came to my mind when Senator Henty spoke about compulsion. It is obvious that if people do not join outside organizations, the benefits to be obtained from the Government’s health schemes are very small indeed and, in some instances, nonexistent.

Let us consider compulsory unionism, which the honorable senator so viciously attacked. He took great pains to read the Declaration of Human Rights. I suggest that he send that declaration to the Liberal Prime ‘ Minister of New Zealand who has lived with compulsory unionism for many years. We have often heard New Zealand praised in this chamber oh the ground that its economy is so much more stable and its standard of living so much higher than Australia’s. It has been claimed that the inflationary problem in New Zealand has been handled in a much better way than in this country. But New Zealand has a system of compulsory unionism. The State of Queensland has a similar system. Recently. in this chamber, when Senator Laught asked the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan), a question about compulsory unionism, the Minister replied in almost these identical words - “ I do not know what is worrying the honorable senator. The employers in Queensland are happy with compulsory unionism and have been so for the last 40 years. The employees in Queensland are also happy with it. I do not see the evils in compulsory unionism that apparently many of my colleagues behind me see in it.” Perhaps it would be a good idea if Senator Henty had the Declaration of Human Eights roneoed, because there are many people to whom he could send it who might read it with interest. Compulsion has become a part of our normal life, whether it is described by that word or in some other way.

Senator Maher:

– No ticket, no job - that is the effect of this rotten principle.


– It is interesting to hear Senator Maher’s interjection, because if I remember correctly, he was once either leader or deputy leader of the Opposition in the Queensland Parliament. I remind the honorable senator that compulsory unionism, rightly or wrongly, is a plank in the platform of the Queensland Liberal party.

Senator Maher:

– But it is not written into the Australian Country party policy.


– There are many Queensland senators gracing the Government benches. Do they agree with the policy of the Queensland Liberal party, or do they want to get up quietly and walk away from that also?

There are many compulsory aspects of our life. Indeed, compulsion in various forms has become part and parcel of the life of the Commonwealth. Throughout business and industry there is compulsion which, generally speaking, I admit is not good. In respect of certain trades, unless one joins the appropriate organization it is impossible to enter trades. I do not think it is fair to refer to specific instances, but I know of many aspects of industry in which membership of one organization or another is compulsory. For instance, if a trader in the grocery or the liquor trade does not belong to the appropriate organization, he loses the benefit of certain rebates. The result is that unless he joins the organization he is not able to carry on his business at a profit. I have referred to those matters because I think that Senator Henty was brave, to put it mildly, to raise the subject of compulsory unionism, knowing so little about it.

Senator Henty attacked Senator Toohey because Senator Toohey stated last night that the Australian Government should have been represented before the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration during the wages and standard hours case. Surely the court :as entitled to know the views of this Government in regard to the important matter with which it was dealing. Honorable senators may recall that the previous Labour Government sent along its representatives to state its views before the court in the course of certain litigation while it was in office. The precedent was therefore established.. I think that both the court and the people are entitled to know what is in the mind of the Government in connexion with these most important matters. I rose primarily to deal with a matter that is not connected with compulsory unionism, but I was led along that track by Senator Henty.

I shall turn my attention now to a matter that is vitally important and was brought to my mind by a reference in the Governor-General’s Speech. He spoke of South-East Asia and said that Australia had a close and growing contact with that area. After repeated requests, the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Senator McLea.y) has been good enough to write to me an interesting and illuminating letter upon the subject of overseas shipping freights. I thank him for that letter. For the first time, I have on paper a survey of the incredible and intolerable burden that Australian shippers are carrying in the shape of shipping freights that are charged for the carriage of Australian goods. So far as I can ascertain, those charges are largely unjustly placed upon Australian shippers. ! “nf fortunately, as the. Minister has admitted in his letter, there is nothing that the Government can do about it. Those shipping freights are arranged, not in Australia but in Great Britain. This matter is of such importance that I suggest that the Government should set up a parliamentary committee to examine it closely and ascertain if something can be done to ease the burden upon Australian exporters.

Senator McLeay:

– The Opposition could make Senator Ashley the chairman of the committee. He claims that he knows how to run such organizations.


– Possibly the Minister ‘for Shipping and Transport could be appointed chairman. The Opposition would not care who was chairman, but the matter is important as the Minister has admitted in his letter. I presume that he read it before he signed it. In 1949 when the Chifley Government went out of office the cost of sending bulk wheat to the United Kingdom was £3 ‘7s. 6d. a ton. The cost is now £5 10s. 2½d. a ton. The charge for shipping bagged wheat has risen from £3 5s. to £5 18s. 3d. In 1949 the cost of sending wool to the United Kingdom was ! 1.88d. a pound. Now it is 2.57d. In the past two years, the turn-round of ships in Australia has improved considerably. Further, following an inquiry that was made by Mr. Drury under the auspices nf the Minister for Shipping and Transport, the blame for the slow turn-round has been removed substantially from the waterside workers. Mr. Drury placed the blame for the rise in costs in the handling of goods at Australian ports upon the archaic methods of handling cargo, the old wharfs, and the poor entrances to the wharfs. The task of resolving those problems is too big for any authority but the Australian Government. It is just as important to have modernity in waterside facilities as it is to have the most modern machinery in factories.

Senator McLeay:

– That is the responsibility of the State governments.


– I know that, but the task is so big that only the Australian Government could handle it.

Senator McLEAY:

– The State governments would rather spend the money on the berths for the ships.


– I repeat that the problem is so big that the Australian Government must take action.

Senator McLeay:

– “When the Government drew attention to the need for development at Port Kembla and elsewhere it was told to mind its own business.


– The Australian Government does not give the States enough money.

Senator McLeay:

– They get more money from this Government than they received from the Labour Government.


– They receive it from this Government in inflated currency because £1 is worth only 8s. However, 1 was referring to the turn-round of ships. In the past two years, the average time for the turn-round of overseas ships has been improved from seven days to just under six days, but the primary producers, in particular, and exporters of manufactured products are facing a serious situation because of the high freight rates.

Senator McLeay:

– Have the overseas shipping freights risen more than the railway freights in New South “Wales?


– I could not give the Minister the figures from memory. Perhaps if he gave me notice of the question I could fail to answer it as he does. I shall quote extensively from his letter, and it may be of interest to him if he did not read it before placing his signature at the bottom. The letter was sent to me on the 23rd October and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of detail that it contained. It states -

I refer to the question asked by you in the Senate regarding the effect of rising costa ob Australia’s trade with Far Eastern markets. A most important factor in these costs is the divergent freight rates between Australia and those “markets as compared with the rates paid by our principal competitor countries shipping to ports such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Djakarta. For example, Australia’s share of the canned fruit market in Singapore has dropped from 42 per cent, in 1.B4P to 7 per cent, in 1952. Most of this business has been lost to South Africa, whose freight rates to Singapore are half those paid by Australian shippers.

I direct the attention of honorable senators to the fact that although the distance from South Africa to Singapore is far greater than the distance from Australia to that port, the South African freight rates are half those paid by Australian shippers. No wonder we are losing our markets. The problem does not rest only upon internal costs in Australia, including the growing and canning of fruit. Australian exporters have to pay twice the freight that is paid by South African producers although the Australian, fruit is carried only half the distance. The letter from the Minister continues -

Australia’s trade in condensed milk to Hong Kong has fallen appreciably in recent years. Our principal competitor, Holland, has a freight rate to Hong Kong for this commodity approximately <>0 per cent, of the. Australian rate.

The distance from Holland to Hong Kong is probably three times as far as the distance from Sydney to Hong Kong, but the Dutch freight rate is only 60 per cent, of the Australian rate.

Senator Guy:

– Those ships are not on the Australian register.


– No, they are overseas Conference liners. The Minister, in his letter, stated -

Australia is an important supplier of canned fruits to Hong Kong but is losing many of her outlets there to South Africa whose rate is only 60 per cent, of the Australian rate.

These examples are merely illustrative of a general policy which exists throughout the eastern area. Many of Australia’s principal competitors are able to negotiate specific freight rates which are considerably lower than the rates paid for shipping similar Australian commodities despite the far greater distance from Europe to the Eastern markets.

You will be interested to learn that the Federal Exports Advisory Committee set up a Sub-Committee to study this problem some time ago. The Sub-Committee consisted of representatives of the Chambers of Commerce and Manufactures, the Australian Exporters Federation and of appropriate government departments. This Sub-Committee met the Eastern Shipping Conferences on two occasions in an attempt to discover a basis on which this problem could be attacked. However, the result of these meetings has been negligible as the shipping companies have taken the view that they cannot reduce freight rates in face of present rising costs on the waterfront.

Although the shipping companies were appreciative of the difficulties which were facing some Australian industries, they could not undertake to do more than discuss with the shippers any cases of anomalies in freight rates which may bc brought to their attention.

You will appreciate that it is particularly difficult to negotiate any overall freight reduction on specific commodities, particularly asmost of the shipping companies which comprise the Eastern conferences are owned by overseas companies and final decisions on reduction in freight rates are made overseas ant! not in Australia.

As stated already, discussions have taken place between a Sub-Committee of the Federal Exports Advisory Committee and representatives of overseas shipping interests and it is proposed to continue these discussions with a view to placing Australia in a competitive position with other exporting countries as far as shipping freights are concerned.

I compliment the Minister .upon the letter. It is a fair statement of the problem and I am pleased that he has committed these facts to paper. Usually such information is kept secret, although its disclosure would be beneficial. I repeat that a parliamentary committee should be appointed to study this problem. Recently the Sydney Morning Herald published the following news item : -

The canning industry was concerned because £2,500,000 worth of canned vegetables was in store, the Food Preservers’ Union Secretary. Mr. J, E. Halliday, said to-day.

He said this was more than five year?’ supply for the Australian market, and unless stocks were disposed of there would be no canning of vegetables for the next five years.

One of the main factors in that problem is the disappearance of the overseas markets for canned vegetables. At the same time, the Government is seriously considering selling the Commonwealth ships. The Government should be taking the only action that the Conference shipping lines understand. Instead of selling the ships that are engaged upon the Australian internal trade, the Government should be preparing to carry Australian produce to all parts of the world in Australian ships.

Senator McLeay:

– And make the same losses as the Labour Government made when it was in office.


– The penalty that Australia is carrying as a result of increased freights upon goods carried inConferenceshipsfaroutweighsthe lossesthatweremadeintheinitialyears oftheCommonwealthshippingline. TheOppositionwouldliketoknowwhat thoselinesaretakingoutofAustralia butweareunabletoobtainthefigures Theshippinglineswouldhaveusbelievethattheyarelosingmoney,butall reportsthatareavailableindicateclearly thattheshippingcompaniesaremaking tremendousprofits.Theirprofitsfrom theAustraliantradearehigherthanthey haveeverbeenbefore.Itisimpossible, however,togetthefullstory.Why shouldcostsbegrowingsorapidly?The shippinglinesconcernedemployseamen oftheirownnationality.Someofthe linesemployCingaleseandLascars. TheyarenotpayingAustralianratesof payintheinternationaltradeandthey cannotblametheAustralianseamen’s wagesforthehighfreights.Ibelieve thatSenatorKendall,whoismoreclosely intouchwiththismatterthanIam, willagreethattheonlycomponentsof freightswhichcouldhaveactuallyincreasedarethecostofhandlingofcargo andthecostinvolvedintheturn-round ofships.However,ithasbeenshown thatsincethoseincreaseswereimposed in1939,theturn-roundofshipshas improvedfromanaverageof7daysto 5.9days.

Senator Mattner:

– What about the class of business that is done by the international line?


– By and large, 90 per cent. would be of the same type of business. Members of the international line hold periodical conferences.. That is why they are called the Conference line. At suchconferences, they determine freight rates; and those rates are placed upon the Australian exporter. Apparently, the Australian Government cannot do anything about the matter. It is obvious that the Minister is prepared to do something about it, but, unfortunately, he is powerless. For that reason, having regard to the stranglehold that the ship-owners now have on Australian exporters, the Government should appoint a select commititee to investigate current freights. Surely one does not need to warn the Government that the position will get worse in the future. We can foresee the circumstances that will arise with respect, for instance, to wheat, which is moving into the competi tive field. Obviously, theUnitedKingdom will buy its wheat in the cheapest market, and the price at which we shall be able to sell wheat in the United Kingdom will be influenced largely by the freight rates which our exporters are obliged to meet. If Argentinianor Canadian exporters are not obliged to meet similar costs, they will be able to undersell Australian wheat, and we shall gradually lose business. The shipping monopoly understands only one language, that of fear and force. It understands only competition about which it talks so much but which it hates. The only way in which competition can be provided is for theAustralian Government to build its ownbottomsfor the purpose of transporting Australian products to overseas markets. Only in that way shall we be able toexpandourexport trade withoutwhich we shall not be able to take our place among the nations of the world.

Western Australia

.-I heartily support the motion before the Senate. I associate myself with the expressions of loyalty which have been uttered by honorable senators who have already spoken, and on this occasion I express on behalf of the people of Western Australia their pleasure at the forthcoming visit of Her Majesty the Queen. Judging by the preparations which are being made and the interest which is being evinced in the visit, not only in the cities and larger towns, but also throughout; the rural areas, Her Majestycan be assured that her visit will evoke greater enthusiasm on the partof the Australian people than any previous visit by members of the Royal Family has evoked.

I was disappointed by the unusual display of resentment which characterized Senator Armstrong’s speech. He resented most bitterly Senator Henty’s exposure of the reluctance of members of the Australian Labour party to state clearly exactly where they stand on the many important issues that he mentioned. I cannot understand why honorable senators opposite should be so, resentful, in view of the fact that ever since this Government assumed office they have never missed an opportunity to snipe at it. At the same time, however, they have always refused to come out into the open and declare their policy on important national issues. For instance, they have not yet clarified their stand in respect ofthe imposition of a capital levy, government interference or non-interference with the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, prices control and general defence policy. It is amusing to witness the resentment displayed by honorable members opposite when they are asked to state clearly where they stand on national issues, because shortly they will be obliged to tell the Australian people where they stand on such issues. The last occasion on which they did so, they were resoundingly beaten at the polls, and I have not the slightest doubt that they will again suffer defeat at the general election which is to be held next year.

Senator Armstrong dealt at length with shipping freights. I have not available full information on that matter, but I suggest that an important component of the increased freights about which he complained is labour costs. Until we know the degree to which such costs have increased, it would be pointless to argue about the matter. However, Senator Armstrong placed his finger on one of the ills that now beset the Australian economy, namely, rising costs. I suggest that rising costs might be effectively held in check if both the political and industrial wings of the Australian Labour party accepted without demur the decision of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court to abolish the automatic quarterly adjustments of the basic wage. In fact, the reason why the court abolished those adjustments was the very factor which Senator Armstrong mentioned, that is, the rising cost spiral and ite effect upon the economy.

I turn now to a matter that Senator Toohey raised in the course of his speech last evening when he referred to the exportation of scrap iron to Japan. He said that the exportation of scrap iron was being adversely criticized by iron masters and certain unions. From his remarks one might be led to believe that the exportation of scrap iron to Japan was absolutely uncontrolled. That is not $c>. The exportation of scrap iron is pro- hibited except in certain circumstances. For instance, a licence will not be granted for the exportation of scrap that is collected within a radius of 50 miles of a city. That ensures that the only scrap that is exported is scrap that is recovered in areas where, normally, its existence would be totally ignored and it would be left to rust away. In the second place, an export licence will not be granted unless it can be shown that the local demand for scrap has been satisfied. For this purpose exhaustive inquiries are made. Of course, the absence of any local offer to purchase scrap is normally accepted as evidence that the local demand is being met. However, I know of instances in which iron masters have made ridiculously low offers for scrap merely in order to facilitate the issue of an export licence. The export prohibition provides a real protection to genuine local iron master? who desire to purchase any scrap that is available. In the press a few days ago 1 read a report that certain firms in Western Australia had expressed resentment over the quantity of scrap iron that was being exported to Japan. However, no details of that particular case have been published, and in the absence of such information one must reserve judgment. For instance, one requires to ascertain the offers that were made by firms for the scrap about the exportation of which they have complained. Were those offers reasonable ? In order to show that the Department of National Development is actively controlling the exportation of scrap iron, I shall read the following report which was published in the Sydney Morning Herald as recently a? the 6th November last -

page 66


Mr. M. S. Meagher, S.M., in the Special Court yesterday fined Sidney Goodwin, of Flinders Street. Darlinghurst, £100 with £19 costs, for exporting scrap iron and steel from Australia in breach of the Customs regulations.

Goodwin pleaded not guilty.

The Crown alleged that the Department of National Development had given approval to Goodwin to re-export certain steel which had been imported from the New Hebrides, but the iron and steel exported as scrap by Goodwin was purchased from a local firm in Sydney.

In his reserved decision, Mr. Meagher said the case was an unusual one, in which

Goodwin was charged with exporting iron and steel in the form of scrap.

Customs regulations prohibited the exportation of scrap iron and steel. lt is clear from that report that the exportation of scrap iron is being carefully supervised. I have mentioned the protests that have been made by one or two unions in connexion with this matter. It occurred to me that those protests might be an echo from the past. That belief is encouraged by Senator Toohey’s oblique reference yesterday to incidents connected with the export of scrap iron to Japan immediately before World War II., and by a similar reference by Senator Sheehan last session. To keep the record right, L shall recite the facts about the export of scrap iron and iron, ore to Japan. It will be recalled that the Willcock Labour Government of Western Australia granted iron ore concessions at Yampi Sound on the north-west coast of Western Australia for the export of iron ore to Japan. That was in the years just before the outbreak of World War II. The royalty to be paid by the Japanese in return for those concessions was the magnificent sum of 3d. a ton! The quantity of iron ore to be exported annually was limited - and I say “ limited “ with some amusement - to 10,000,000 tons. As the Yampi Sound deposits were estimated to contain 150,000,000 torts of iron ore, they would have been worked out in about fifteen years had that rate of export been maintained. Apart from the limit of 10,000,000 tons a year, no holds were barred. The proposition was that a minimum of Australian labour was to be employed. The plant required for excavation and loading was to be manufactured in Japan and shipped to Yampi Sound. The ore was to be carried in Japanese vessels, manned by Japanese. It was proposed also that the ships should sail in ballast from Japan, load at Yampi Sound and return. However, in May, 1938, the Lyons Government placed an embargo on the export Or iron ore. The present Prime Minister1 was the AttorneyGeneral in that Government. The reason given at the time for the embargo was that if the proposed concessions were taken up, Australia’s reserves of iron ore would be inadequate. However, there was a further reason which, in the national interest, the then Prime Minister and the Attorney-General could not reveal. International tension was mounting, the aggression of the Axis powers was growing, and the acquisitiveness of the Japanese was increasing. Obviously the Government could not give those reasons at the time. The embargo was strongly resisted by the Labour Administration of Western Australia, and also in this Parliament by the late John Curtin. In the House of Representatives on the 19th May, 193S, Mr. Curtin said-

I do not welcome proposals for the restriction of exports from Australia. I acknowledge that iron ore may he used for the manufacture of munitions, and for aggressive purposes by war-like countries, and I acknowledge also thu great difficulty of the international situation. I am cognizant of a state of public opinion which is inclined to believe that countries, by imposing blockades and embargoes of an economic character; can make war less likely. I recognize the public sentiment behind this matter, but I warn the country that the economic solvency of Australia depends very largely upon the maintenance of our export trade.

Those were the views of that prominent Labour leader. He acknowledged, so he said, the worsening of the international situation, and the possibility of Australian iron ore being used by the Japanese for the manufacture of munitions; yet he still suggested that the embargo should be lifted. Sometime later, as a sop to Japan, scrap iron and pig iron were exported to Japan from Port Kembla in quantities which were infinitesimal compared with the proposed exports of iron ore from Yampi Sound. That incident gave rise to the soubriquet “ Pig Iron Bob “ which for so many years was tagged on to the present Prime Minister, who of course was unable to defend himself by stating the true position, because at that time it would have been contrary to the national interest to make a public statement of the facts. At the time scrap iron and pig iron was being sent to Japan, Australia was receiving vital imports from that country. We were importing, for instance, Japanese machine tools which were subsequently used in munitions work. We were also importing parachute silk, which in the war years saved the lives of many Australians. I have taken the opportunity presented by this debate to place on record the true story of the export of scrap iron to Japan in the hope that the name “ Pig Iron Bob “ will be forgotten, and that the foolish charges which have been made by honorable senators opposite so often in the past will be dropped.I hada feeling from what I had heard in this chamber that, at the forthcoming elections, the Labour party would once again make the “ Pig Iron Bob “ attack upon the Prime Minister. I thought it desirable, therefore, that the facts should be made known so that every one in the Commonwealth, in addition to Western Australians, who, of course, are quite familiar with the whole story, may know exactly what happened.

In the little time that is left to me I shall not be able to speak at length on the matters referred to in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech, although I had intended to deal specifically with certain subjects. However, I shall refer briefly to that portion of the Speech which explained the Government’s attitude to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and Australia’s participation in the fight for the convertibility of sterling. Those interlocked subjects are of vital importance, not only to Australia but also to the whole democratic world. It is a matter of pride to me that, due to the efforts of the Australian Government, and particularly of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) himself, Australia has played a leading part in this matter of the convertibility of sterling, and also in straightening up the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade which is now operating to the detriment of some Commonwealth countries. The agreement, which at best, was a temporary one, was signed in 1947 in the high hope that it would free world trade. That unfortunatelywas only a pious hope which, as we now realize, had no real commercial basis and no immediate prospect of success. To-day, some of the provisions of the agreement are operating to the detriment of British Commonwealth trade and are militating against the convertability of sterling which is so necessary, not only in our own interests, but also in the interest, I believe, of the entire democratic world. Because the Australian Government and particularly the Austra lian Prime Minister has given such a strong lead in these matters, I am proud to have this opportunity to commend the Government and to express the hope that the negotiations will be successful.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Presentation of Address-in-Reply.

Motion (by Senator McLeay) agreed to-

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


– I shall ascertain when His Excellency will be pleased to receive the Address-in-Reply. When a time is fixed I shall acquaint the Senate thereof.

page 68



– Pursuant to Standing Order 38, I hereby appoint the following senators to be the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications: - Senator K. M. Anderson, Senator D. C. Hannaford, Senator A. Hendrickson, Senator P. J. Kennelly, Senator A. R. Robertson, SenatorC. W. Sandford and Senator R. H. Wordsworth.

page 68


Bill presented by Senator McLeay, and read a first time.

Standing Orders suspended.

Second Reading

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

.- I move-

That the bill be nowread a second time.

I am confident that this bill will be supported by every member of the chamber. There is not one controversial clause in it, and its only object is to bring up to date our legislation on safety matters connected with the construction and operation of ships. Honorable senators who are familiar with the Navigation Act will be aware that it was amended in 1934 to give effect to two important international conventions which the Commonwealth wished to ratify and which, in fact, it did later ratify. These were the Safety of Life at Sea Convention of 1929., and the Load Line Convention of 1930. The Load Line Convention has remained unaltered, but in 1948 a further conference was held in London to revise the safety convention. The desire for a revision was brought about by the great advances that were made under the stress of wai-, in safety methods and devices, and by new knowledge gained of the behaviour of ships when damaged, and of certain kinds of cargoes. Australia sent to the conference two of its principal technical officers, Captain N. G. Roskruge, the Director of Navigation, and Mr. S. P. Pollock, the Engineer and Ship Surveyor-in-Chief of the Marine Branch of the Department of Shipping and Transport. Mr. J. Dobbyn. a wireless expert of the Postmaster-General’s Department,- also attended. The Australian ship-owners were represented by Captain H. J. M. Phoenix, of Adelaide, and the Maritime Unions by Mr. A. EL Moate, of Sydney. As a result of the conference, at which 30 nations were represented, a completely new convention was adopted, to replace the 1929 convention. It has since been ratified by 26 countries, including all the other members of the British Commonwealth.

It might be thought that it would have been easier to amend the old convention than to adopt a new One, which must, in any event, repeat many of the provisions of the old convention. However, the conference of 1948 adopted a new drafting method. The convention itself is confined to fifteen articles, covering what might be called the political aspects, such as the agreement to adopt the convention, the ships to which it is to apply, power to suspend in time of war, abrogation of previous treaties and conventions, future amendments, the interim arrangements between the application of the old convention and the new, and some others. The technical provisions - more than 90 per cent, of the whole - were annexed. These .are divided into six chapters on general matters, construction, life-saving appliances, radio telegraphy and radio telephony, safety of navigation, and carriage of grain and dangerous goods.

A new departure is the method of securing amendments to the convention. Prior to “World War ti. the general procedure to obtain an amendment was to secure unanimity amongst all the nations which had accepted a convention. That procedure proved to be a great hindrance; because, apart from the disturbed state of the world since the war, even one small country having little interest in a particular question could prevent an amendment simply by not lodging agreement to it. The new safety convention may be amended by a two-thirds majority of the Assembly of the International Maritime Consultative Organization of the United Nations, and an amendment so agreed to will become effective for those adopting it. Until the Maritime Consultative Organization comes into being, however, this machinery cannot operate, and complete unanimity will be necessary, in the meantime, before any amendment can be made.

There is one important feature of the new convention which should be mentioned, because it adopted a practice that has been followed in Australia for many years. Some countries - by no means all - have required the hull, boilers, and machinery of cargo ships to be surveyed, but usually they have left the surveys to be carried out by great societies, such as Lloyds, which survey and classify ships for insurance purposes. The necessity to obtain insurance has, in fact, - been a compelling reason for having periodical surveys, even where these have not been required by legislation. In Australia, under the provisions of the Navigation Act, cargo ships have been compulsorily surveyed, but for those ships classification certificates have been accepted for hull, boilers and machinery. Australia has gone further than most other countries, by requiring also the survey of a cargo ship’s equipment, and “ Certificates of Equipment “ have been issued covering all life-saving and fire appliances. The new convention has now adopted the principle of safety equipment certificates for cargo ships on international voyages without, however, requiring governments to legislate for surveys of their hulls, boilers and machinery. It is not proposed by any provision of this bill that the compulsory legislation that we have in Australia in relation to survey of hull, boilers and machinery of cargo ships, shall become void merely because the convention has not adopted it. Those surveys will be required by law, as hitherto, and the existing provision for acceptance of certificates issued by classification societies will continue.

Another new feature that is being adopted internationally is the supply of stability information when a ship is built, and the keeping of that information on board. This will enable, a shipmaster to determine how loading will affect the stability of his ship.

Provision is made for some new kinds of certificates, in addition to the safety equipment certificates that I have already mentioned. Certificates for short international voyages will be provided for, as well as radio telephony certificates and exemption certificates where modifications are permitted.

For the first time, international agreement has been reached on some rules for the carriage of grain and dangerous goods, but as yet only a few broad principles have been so dealt with. In Australia, and in some other countries, very detailed regulations on these matters have existed for many years.

Other new requirements of a technical nature are -

New provisions to minimize danger on the outbreak of fire;

Higher standards of subdivision for ships carrying passengers under conditions involving special risks;

Protection of passengers from dangers connected with electric installations;

Application of certain life-saving provisions to cargo ships of 500 tons gross and over;

Tankers of 3,000 tons gross and over are to have four lifeboats attached to davits, two to be aft and two amidships ;

There has been an extension of the periods of wireless watchkeeping at sea. This is now to cover all passenger ships and cargo ships of 1,600 tons gross and over ;

Smaller cargo ships are to have radio telephony if they do not have a wireless installation and operator.

All passenger ships and all cargo ships over 1,600 tons gross are to have direction finders. Previously only the larger passenger ships were required to have .these.

It will be recognized that many of the convention requirements are extremely technical, and no attempt has been made to incorporate them in the bill. They will be included in regulations.

The new convention, which commenced in November last, has already received a sufficient number of ratifications to bring it into force, and this bill has been drafted to bring Australian legislation into line with the new provisions, or to permit regulations to be made to enable that to be done. A great deal of the new legislation has, in fact, been drawn to authorize regulations to be made, as it would be inappropriate to bring before the Parliament the great amount of detail that must be provided for.

During the process of drafting some corrections have been made to the original text of the act, and the opportunity has been taken in some instances to re-write a section to make it clearer and in conformity with modern drafting practice. Alterations of this nature are generally found to be necessary when revising old legislation, but all those that have been made are related to the subject-matter of the bill. Each of the clauses will be explained in detail at the committee stage. I have no hesitation in recommending acceptance of the bill by all parties. It does not represent any very great advance in our own safety measures, as Australia has not been behind the rest of the world in its maritime legislation. Ship-owners will have to incur little extra expense, and the measure will keep our rules and procedures in line with those of other countries which have adopted the new Convention. It will enable Convention ships from abroad to be surveyed here and issued with Convention Certificates if their owners and other governments so wish.

Debate (on motion by Senator MCKENNA) adjourned.

page 70


Motion (by Senator O’SULLIVAN ) agreed to -

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

page 71


The following papers were presented : -

Audit Act - Finance - Supplementary Report of the Auditor-General upon other accounts for the year 1952-53.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for - Defence purposes - Surrey Hills, Victoria. Postal purposes - Benalla, Victoria.

Meat Export Control Act - Fifteenth Annual Report of the Australian Meat Board, for year 1952-53.

Northern Territory (Administration Act) - Crown Lands Ordinance - List and plans of the hundreds of Gregory and Playford.

Public Service Act - Appointments - Department of National Development - J. H. Lord, D. A. White.

Public Service Arbitration Act- Determination by the Arbitrator - 1953 - No. 69. - Australian Third Division Telegraphists and Postal Clerks’ Union and Others.

Repatriation Act -

No. 1 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal- Report for 1952-53.

No. 2 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal - Report for 1952-53.

Senate adjourned at 10.27 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 November 1953, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.