26 August 1958

22nd Parliament · 3rd Session

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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Address-in-Reply: Acknowledgment by Her Majesty the Queen.


– I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General the following communication in connexion with the Address-in-Reply: -


I desire to acquaint you that the substance of the Address-in-Reply which you presented to me on the 14th March, 1958, has been communicated to Her Majesty the Queen.

It is the Queen’s wish that I convey to you and honorable senators Her Majesty’s sincere thanks for the loyal message to which your address gives expression. 12th June, 1958.


G overnor-General.

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Senator PEARSON:

– Can the Minister for National Development indicate to the Senate whether the amending legislation relating to the River Murray Agreement is likely to be introduced during this session of the Parliament? What stage has been reached in negotiations concerning the preparation of the legislation that must be passed by this Parliament and three State Parliaments?

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

– I shall endeavour to have the legislation introduced before the Parliament rises at the end of this session. The situation, as I understand it, is that agreement was reached at the ministerial level and that there has been no variation of that agreement, but that it has been passed to the legal officers of the respective governments to be put into proper form. The latest information I have is that there have been discussions about the form of words to be used. I repeat that, as I understand the position, there has not been any variation of principle nor any departure from theministerial agreement. I was told this afternoon that there will be a conference of the legal officers in Sydney to-morrow. I asked my officer to see whether those concerned could sit in the conference room until final agreement had been reached so that the legislation could be introduced during this sessional period.

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Senator COOKE:

– I address a question to the Minister for National Development. On 6th August last,I asked the following question of the Minister representing the Minister for the Army: -

Is he aware that the Department of the Army is utilizing the services of private interstate road hauliers to transport goods and equipment which

Gould be transported adequately by State and Commonwealth railways’? Does the Minister know that the department negotiated with the private hauliers in order to obtain reduced rates for the transport of certain goods and equipment from Nungarin, in Western Australia to the eastern States? If these are facts, will the Government take action to ensure that Commonwealth departments consign freight by the available rail service wherever possible? Further, does the Minister realize that at present every railway system in Australia is experiencing deficits and is reducing staff? In such instances as I have referred to, the taxpayer must carry the burden not only of the deficit but also of the freight. In short, will the Minister see that this practice is stopped?

Does the Minister recollect that he assured me that he would have this matter inquired into and make a report to the Senate? Is he now in a position to give the Senate the result of his inquiries?

Senator SPOONER:

– Either the long arm of coincidence is working overtime or the honorable senator is to be congratulated on his knowledge of events that are going to happen, because only a few moments before I came into the Senate I received a reply from the Department of the Army. I have not yet had time to read it. The honorable senator apparently is a couple of steps ahead of me. If he asks me the question to-morrow afternoon, by that time I shall have caught up with him.

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

– I invite the attention of the Leader of the Government in the Senate to an important statement made in Brisbane on Sunday last, and reported in the press on Monday, by the Belgian Minister Plenipotentiary, Mr. W. Stevens. With the indulgence of the Senate, I shall read the following report of His Excellency’s remarks: -

Mr. Stevens said Belgians knew that Australia “ was very big, had a big harbour at Sydney, had kangaroos, and always won the Davis Cup “. He added: “ But they do not know much more. There is no Australian propaganda in Belgium. There is not even an ambassador in Brussels.” Mr. Stevens said that Belgium, like many other older countries, bad too much capital. It would rather invest in a sound country like Australia than African or Asian countries which were “not too safe “. He said: “ So what happens? The money is invested in South America or Pakistan or some other Asian country. We would like to send our heavy industry experts and our capital to Australia, but there is no information about your country.” Mr. Stevens said that there was no attempt to attract Belgian migrants to Australia.

In view of the obvious importance of the matters raised by Mr. Stevens, will the Minister place his statements before the Prime Minister, to be discussed with the Minister for External Affairs, the Minister for Trade and any other Minister who may be involved, so that appropriate action may be taken to remedy a situation which should receive the immediate attention of the Go,vernment, having regard to the availability of migrants and capital, both of which are needed so greatly and so urgently in this country?

Attorney-General · QUEENSLAND · LP

– I shall be happy to bring the remarks of the honorable senator before my colleagues, the Minister for External Affairs, the Minister for Trade and the Minister for Immigration.

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Senator SCOTT:

– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. I understand that Japanese pearlers fishing to the north of Australia are reported to have entered protected areas with the intention of raising pearl shell, and that an Australian naval vessel operating in the area arrested the Japanese vessels and ordered them to return to Darwin. It was later reported that the vessels were not Japanese trawlers but Australian luggers. Can the Minister advise me which report is correct?


– I shall take the matter up with my colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry, and let the honorable senator have the correct answer in due course.

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– I understand that the Minister representing the Minister for Territories has an answer to a question which I asked on 6th August last. If he has the answer, will he give it to the Senate now? My question was as follows: -

  1. Will the Minister explain why, in the case of Australian citizens domiciled in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, whose children of necessity come to Australia to school, it should be necessary to obtain for them every time they return home for holidays, entry permits, taxation clearances, customs clearances and so on? Since, in some cases, these tiresome formalities have to be complied with three times a year, would the Minister consider the possibility of obviating entirely these procedures for school children?
  2. Would the Minister also consider the possibility of instituting a school of the air on similar lines to that in Alice Springs which broadcasts on a radius of 300 miles, so that young children in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea could share the advantages of educational contact which is lacking in these isolated outposts of the Commonwealth?

– The Minister for Territories has supplied the following answers: -

  1. It is a statutory requirement that all persons entering the Territory of Papua and New Guinea for any purpose shall be in possession of a permit of entry issued by or on behalf of the Administrator. Permanent residents, and school children who come into this category, can, if they wish, obtain re-entry permits before they actually leave the Territory and thus avoid the need to apply for a fresh permit when they are ready to return. The income tax law provides that ship and aircraft owners shall not authorize a person to travel from Australia until a taxation clearance certificate has been presented. The provision applies to all persons intending to leave Australia and an exemption in the case of school children could be made only if the law were amended. Some school children are liable to tax, for example beneficiaries of estates or as members of a partnership. It would therefore be inappropriate to amend the income tax law on the assumption that school children are necessarily outside the scope of that law. Following an approach which I made to the Treasurer about five years ago the Commissioner of Taxation introduced a simplified procedure for the issue of clearance certificates to students intending to leave Australia. In lieu of personal applications by students the principal of a school attended by one or more students intending to leave Australia may, upon written request, obtain a single clearance for all the students named by him.

There are no special customs requirements other than the usual declaration.

  1. The Australian Broadcasting Commission provides schools broadcasts within Papua and New Guinea through stations 9PA and VLT6. These broadcasts are suitable for non-native children, but their value is restricted by reason of the poor radio reception during the day in remote areas. It is recognized that a school of the air, of the type operating from Alice Springs would be valuable for children in isolated areas. The technical difficulties, however, are considerable. Radio reception is poor in those parts where the service would be of value. At Alice Springs it was possible to establish the School of the Air effectively and relatively cheaply, because all points where children were living were already linked to a central point at Alice Springs through the Royal Flying Doctor Service radio transceiver network. In the absence of a similar network in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, the costs of establishing a school of the air service would be very high. It is not proposed, therefore, to develop such a service at present.

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– Three weeks ago, during the debate on the Middle East situation, I sought an amplification of the statement by the Minister for the Army that, as Australia was a member of two Pacific pacts, Australian troops would not be used outside the Pacific area, even as part of a United Nations force. I now ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Army if he has had an opportunity to ascertain whether the Government agrees to this interpretation by the Minister for the Army. If so, will he say which section of either the Anzus pact or the Seato agreement dictates to the Australian Government how and where Australian troops shall be used? Will he have the Minister for the Army either confirm or retract his statement, or has that gentleman been misquoted again?

Senator SPOONER:

– Though I listened intently I could not get the purport of the honorable senator’s question. I am not quite sure what target he is aiming at. That being so,I ask him to put the question on the notice-paper.

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– Will the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy ascertain and inform the Senate of the cost of removing the Royal Australian Naval College from Flinders to Jervis Bay?

Senator HENTY:
Minister for Customs and Excise · TASMANIA · LP

– I shall ascertain the cost and inform the honorable senator in due course.

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Senator PEARSON:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. What were the returns to growers on (a) wheat, and (b) barley, delivered to the respective marketing boards, in each of the last five years?
  2. Which of these pools have not, as yet, been finalized, and how much grain remains unsold in each case?
  3. What further payments may growers expect from the incompleted pools and when, approximately, are they likely to be paid?
  4. What amount per bushel has been required to meet the administrative costs of the Australian Wheat Board and the Australian Barley Board, respectively?

– The Minister for Primary Industry has furnished the following answers: -

The Australian Wheat Board has given the following information about wheat pools: -

Returns to growers for the last five pools have been -

  1. Pools 20 and 21 are not complete. The wheat unsold at 9th August, 1958, after allowing for local use up to 30th November, 1958, was: No. 20 pool, 2,649,000 bushels; No. 21 pool, 23,659,000 bushels.
  2. Latest estimates of payments per bushel still to come are: No. 20 pool - bagged wheat,1s. 8d.; bulk,1s. 4d.; with1/2d. extra in Western Australia. No. 21 pool - bagged wheat, 2s.; bulk,1s. 81/2d. For No. 20 pool a payment of1s. a bushel may be practicable before November, with the rest early in 1959. No. 21 pool payments are uncertain.
  3. Administrative costs have been -

No. 17 pool- 1953-54, £390,000 or . 511d. a bushel.

No. 18 pool- 1954-55, £406,000 or . 639d. a bushel.

No. 19 pool- 1955-56, £436,000 or . 578d. a bushel.

No. 20 pool- 1956-57, £468,000 (estimated) or . 935d. a bushel.

No. 21 pool- 1957-58, £450,000 (estimated) or 1.343d. a bushel.

The Australian Barley Board has. given the following information' about barley: - 1.- N.B. - In No. 18 pool the grading of barley was changed from " Malting, Milling and Feed " to "Malting, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 grades". No. 3 grade is approximately equal to milling grade, and No. 4 and No. 5 grades are feed grades. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. No. 18 and No. 19 pools are incomplete. It is anticipated that No. 18 pool will be finalized by October, 1958. No. 18 pool stocks are all sold; No. 19 pool stocks unsold at 13th August, 1958, were 779,716 bushels. 1. No. 18 pool: A final payment of 3.541d. a bushel is expected to be paid in October, 1958, for all grades. No. 19 pool: It is estimated that additional advances totalling 5s. 1.796d. a bushel (all grades) will be payable on the No. 19 pool, of which a second advance of 2s. a bushel will be paid on 2nd September, 1958. Future advances, will be made from time to time when proceeds of sales, already made and to be made are collected. It is hoped that this pool will be completed by June, 1959. 2. -- {: .page-start } page 196 {:#debate-9} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-9-0} #### CUSTOMS SEIZURE OF MOTOR CAR {: #subdebate-9-0-s0 .speaker-K6P} ##### Senator BROWN:
QUEENSLAND asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did customs officers on 19th November last seize a £3,000 car from a Brisbane businessman named: s. E. McCallum? 1. Is it not a fact (a) that this car was legally in- Australia, (b) that all customs duties had been paid on it, and (c) that **Mr. McCallum** acted in good faith throughout the whole transaction and: did not commit any breach of customs regulations?' 2. Would the car have been sold by the CustomsDepartment had not **Mr. McCallum** issued a writ which stopped its sale? 3. If the car had been sold by the CustomsDepartment would any money have been paid to **Mr. McCallum?** 4. Will the Minister examine this case with a view to returning the car to **Mr. McCallum?** {: #subdebate-9-0-s1 .speaker-KOW} ##### Senator HENTY:
LP -- I now answer the honorable senator in the following terms: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. A 1954 Cadillac car was seized fromMr. S. E. McCallum, of Brisbane, on 19th- November, 1957. 2, 3, 4 and 5. **Mr. McCallum,** on 31st July,. 1958, issued a writ from the Queensland Registry of the High Court of Australia claiming thereturn of the car and other relief. The matter istherefore sub judice. {: .page-start } page 196 {:#debate-10} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-10-0} #### AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING COMMISSION Victorian Symphony Orchestra {: #subdebate-10-0-s0 .speaker-JZI} ##### Senator O'SULLIVAN:
LP -- On 7th August, **Senator McManus** asked the followingquestion: - >Will the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral inform me whether the Australian Broadcasting Commission has- agreed to make its Victorian Symphony. Orchestra available for the forthcoming Elizabethan Trust opera season at Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne, thus causingthe unemployment of musicians who have been regularly employed at the theatre for many years? If the commission has done so, will the- > >Government confer with it and with the musicians union with a view to ensuring that the use of government-subsidized and government-sponsored symphony orchestras will not occasion unemployment with consequential loss of salary and other privileges to. musicians normally employed at the theatre? The. Postmaster-General has now supplied the following answer: - >The Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, which is the movement sponsoring the opera season referred to, was established to foster and encourage drama, opera and ballet in Australia on a permanent and national basis, and to provide opportunities in their own country for Australian writers, composers, singers, actors and dancers. The successful presentation of opera requires not only soloists of a very high standard, but also the very best possible orchestra if the full value of the presentation is to be obtained. The cost of marshalling independent players of the required technical skill and experience, if indeed sufficient are available, would be such as to render the price of entry entirely beyond the means of the average member of the public and the whole objective of the trust would thus be frustrated. The symphony orchestras maintained by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in conjunction with the State governments and local authorities are the only full-sized professional orchestras available in each State and are ideally suited to provide orchestral support for opera. For all of these reasons, therefore, and as the aims of the trust are in keeping with the commission's own responsibilities, the commission agreed to make its orchestras available to the trust, as required, for performances of opera in the various States, the theatres being selected and booked by the trust. It should be emphasized that Her Majesty's in Melbourne is the only theatre in Australia, where the trust holds its opera season, which maintains a group of musicians regularly employed. At those times when Her Majesty's is required for the opera, the management of the theatre normally endeavours to make alternative arrangements for the employment of the musicians, and attention is being directed to this aspect. {: .page-start } page 197 {:#debate-11} ### ESTIMATES AND BUDGET PAPERS 1958-59 Debate resumed from 21st August (vide page 191), on. motion by **Senator Spooner** - >That the following papers be printed: - > >Estimates of Receipts and. Expenditure, and Estimates of Expenditure for Additions, New Works and other Services involving Capital Expenditure, for the year ending 30th June, 1959; > >The Budget 1958-59- Papers presented by the Right **Hon. Sir Arthur** Fadden in connexion with the Budget of 1958-59; and {:#subdebate-11-0} #### National Income and Expenditure 1957-58 Upon which **Senator Kennelly** had moved by way of amendment - >At end of motion add the following words, viz. - " but that the Senate is of opinion that their pro visions inflict grave injustices on the States and on many sections of the Australian people - especially the family unit, and that they make no contribution to correcting seriously adverse trends in the Australian economy ". **Senator Dame** ANNABELLE RANKIN (Queensland) [3.25]. - Prior to the adjournment of the Senate last week I had been speaking of our imposing record in the housing field, and had commenced to discuss the great strides that have been made in the development of Australia, particularly of our mineral resources in the far north of my own State of Queensland. That development must surely mean a great future for this country. As a result of our stable Government we are attracting considerable overseas capital, and of this Australians generally can be proud. Although Australian men and women have always been prepared to accept the challenge of the outback, they have very often "in the past lacked the assistance of a sympathetic and understanding government, but this Government, and particularly the Minister for National Development **(Senator Spooner),** have exhibited a real understanding of the problems facing those people in the outback in developing this great country. We can now look forward to a peak of future development which perhaps we had not even dreamed was possible. However, one cannot speak of development without mentioning the tremendous part played by our immigration programme. We have seen, through the length and breadth of the land, new and old Australians working together to build a greater Australia. That is something of which we can be proud. Perhaps we are sometimes forgetful of the effect on this country of this flow of new Australians. We have seen an increase in population and an increase in production, and I believe that Australia's development must be bound up with the number of immigrants who have come and who will come to our shores. To remind honorable senators of the effect of this influx of people, let me refer to the steel industry, which is of tremendous importance to us. Some years ago the great shortage of steel was having an adverse effect on the development of our industries. We now find that 73 per cent, of the additional workers in the steel industry are immigrants, and in the past seven years our ingot steel production has increased by 150 per cent, and over 1,800,000 ions of steel more a year is being produced than previously. That steel is being produced at a lower price than the cost of the imported product. That is an important matter. Last year, as a result of the large number of immigrants working in the industry, Australia's iron and steel exports increased in value from £7,000,000 to £27,000,000, with a corresponding reduction in imports of the value of £13,000,000. Therefore, a saving of £33,000,000 was effected in our overseas trade balances in that period. Honorable senators opposite have mentioned on many occasions the grave problem of our overseas trade balances, and it is important that they should note this substantial improvement. New and old Australians are also working together on our major public works constructions, more than 20 per cent, of the total work force being immigrants. A- great percentage of workers employed on the Snowy Mountains scheme are new Australians, who are playing their part in Australia's development. They are also contributing greatly to production at Bell Bay, the works of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, the Mount Isa mines and the great oil refineries. As we think of the problems of the development of this country we are surely very pleased with the tremendously important policy that has been carried out in the immigration field and with the part that immigrants have played. Honorable senators will recall that when I spoke on housing last week I mentioned the great progress that had been made in this field and the tremendous number of houses that hari been built during the term of office of this Government. It is well to remind the Senate that in the post-war period 48,000 skilled building tradesmen have been brought to Australia under our immigration scheme. Together with other builders, they have built at least one-third of our new houses, hospitals and schools. They have played a part of untold value. We are all agreed on the tremendous importance of British immigration. Australia has sought and has obtained a high proportion of British immigrants. We sometimes hear rather mixed comments on this proposition, but it is interesting to know that Australia has more British immigrants than Canada and New Zealand combined. We are proud of that fact. We welcome British immigrants and are indeed glad that they have come to make their homes in this land. 1 had the privilege of visiting " Fairsea " and " Fairsky ", two ships which bring British immigrants to Australia. " Fairsky " had only recently been converted from an aircraft carrier. She previously was the gallant " Attacker ", with a great naval record. Now she is carrying British immigrants to this country. 1 think that we owe a very great debt of gratitude to the people who work on these ships. I know some of the welfare officers. They constitute perhaps the very first contacts that British immigrants have with the Australian way of life and the people of the community in which they are going to live. The welfare officers perform a very important task. They do much to make immigrants to this country feel at home, on arrival here, by explaining to them on the voyage out the conditions and the problems they will have to face when they arrive. These officers connected with the welfare work of the Department of Immigration are playing their part in helping to make newcomers happy in their new land. 1 am always glad when I hear of child and family immigration, because I think that is very important in our immigration programme. I appreciate the work that is being done by the Fairbridge Farms scheme, by **Dr. Barnardo's** Home, by the Big Brother movement and by the Shaftesbury Homes. We have all met young men and older men who came out here under these sch'emes and who to-day are contributing a very great deal to the future of this country. This, of course, is a young and new country and it is very important that we should be helped to develop it by men and women from our mother country across the sea - that little island set in the silver sea from which so many of our forebears came. I believe that the contribution being made by British immigration, and especially those movements which send young people and children to Australia, is something of which we should be very proud. Perhaps it would not be out of place to tell a story about a British emigrant. He is a man well on in years, and somehow his comment typified to me what Australia has to give to these people. Some one asked him why he was coming out. He replied, " 1 am coming out because 1 feel that Australia is a land of opportunity and freedom. It does not matter how old you are when you get there; there is a place in which you can live and do something that is worth while." That, surely, is a very fine tribute to this country by an immigrant coming here for the first time. In this Budget, as has been the case with its previous Budgets, the Government has given consideration to many aspects of our national life. Again special attention has been given to the subject of health. This Government can be proud of its health services record since it has been in office. I remind the Senate of what the Government has done in the great fight against tuberculosis, a scourge that has caused very much concern throughout Australia. Because of the Government's action, including the granting of assistance in the form of pensions and X-ray treatment, the death rate has been reduced by more than onehalf. We have made the world realize that Australia's fight against this scourge has been spectacular. We are also proud of the fact that the Minister for Health **(Dr. Donald Cameron)** has played an important part in the activities of the World Health Organization. The various matters to which I referred on Thursday last, in addition to those that I have mentioned to-day, demonstrate the Government's full appreciation of its responsibility to care for the needy, to assist further in the field of repatriation, and its realization of the need for a forward looking developmental policy. This Budget accepts the challenge of our current problems. How much better is a government that has the courage to present a Budget which is designed for the betterment of the country than a government that is interested only in presenting a popular Budget. May I end as I began and again pay tribute to the Treasurer **(Sir Arthur Fadden),** who has done so much for this country during his term of office? This and all the previous Budgets he has presented show that he appreciates the need of his country, that he has accepted his responsibility by putting his country and its needs first. Those Budgets show that he has a very deep love for this sunburnt country, your Australia and mine, and a very real desire to see the wish expressed in the words " Advance Australia Fair " transformed into reality. {: #subdebate-11-0-s0 .speaker-K1T} ##### Senator BENN:
Queensland **.- Mr. Deputy President,** I have before me several documents which include a copy of the Budget Speech of the Treasurer **(Sir Arthur Fadden),** the Budget for 1958-59, the Estimates for the same financial period, and the Treasurer's Finance Statement. It is usual for the Senate to have those documents before it at about this time of the year. 1 have had an opportunity to examine all the documents, and I have arrived at the conclusion that this was a year in which the Government seriously regretted having to present them to the Parliament. I feel sure that, if the Government had not been bound by Budget requirements and the Audit Act to furnish those documents to the Parliament, it would not have presented them this year, because of the evidence they contain of the sadly drooping condition of the economy and because they show that it is impossible for the Government to pursue its negative financial policy any further. Fortunately for the people of the Commonwealth, the Government is legally required to furnish such documents to the Parliament and allow the matters referred to in them to be reviewed and discussed. I indicated a moment ago that I had had an opportunity to examine the documents and had arrived at certain conclusions. I propose to mention some of those conclusions. I have deduced that Australia has developed into an important nation. One has only to peruse the documents to leant that internationally Australia's stature is growing and that she is an important trading country. In addition, her population is growing. I understand that at the present time it is approximately 10,000,000. Taking all those things together, we can say that Australia is now a nation of great importance. But we must ask ourselves, " How do we stand in the financial world? What is the financial position of the Commonwealth at the moment? " When we read these documents that have been placed before us, we do not feel at all happy. We know how governments collect revenues for certain purposes. The means adopted in Australia are similar to those adopted by other countries. When we examine our expenditures in the past and our anticipated expenditures for the current year, we see the difficulty, the crisis, with which we are confronted. The Commonwealth Government is like a weir across a stream. The stream flows towards the weir, bringing the revenues, and at the weir those revenues are converted into expenditures. I have analysed the sources of revenue to see whether the Government can possibly match its anticipated expenditure during the forthcoming year, but I am afraid I have been unable to ascertain how the Government can do so to the satisfaction of the citizens of Australia, in particular those who have a care about keeping Australia financially stable. When I say that, I realize just how many responsibilties the Commonwealth Government has. I know it plays an important part in the operations of the Australian Loan Council and that it has the important function of raising the loan funds that are to be spent by the six State governments. I do not know of an alternative to the operations of the Loan Council which would be any better. I realize the importance of raising adequate loan funds for the States. I have had an opportunity to help in framing the loan commitments of one of the States and I know that every project that is proposed is full of merit. And what happens in one State happens in all six States. Also, under the uniform tax system the Commonwealth Government is the sole collector of income tax and it makes reimbursements to the States for their purposes. I have also taken note of the fact that this year the Commonwealth proposes to expend approximately £1,300,000,000 and that sum includes an amount of £110,000,000 which is to be obtained from the central bank. 1 have heard some members of this Senate say that deficit financing, so far as the Commonwealth Government is concerned, is a virtue because by using central bank credit, which is really a treasury-bill form of -finance, an equivalent amount is left in the pockets of the people to spend in the various ways that they want to spend it. But, **Mr. Deputy President,** the issuing of £110,000,000 worth of treasury-bills -means that the Commonwealth Government incurs a debt of that amount, on which a rate of interest must be paid. If we were to apply the same principle to a private trader, we should say that if he had to negotiate a loan to tide him over to the next financial year, he had failed in his business and was on the point of bankruptcy. That, of course, is also true in the case of this Government. I see no virtue at all in treasury-bill finance. Resort to it is really an admission on the part of the Government that it is unable to obtain sufficient revenue by the orthodox ways to meet its commitments for the year. Let us have a look at some of the commitments of the Government. There is no doubt that it should have been aware of all of these matters earlier in the year. It should have noted the financial condition that was approaching and was about to envelop the whole of the Commonwealth, and it should have made provision to counteract those developments. One would have thought that this would have been a year in which the Government departments would have economized and reduced governmental expenditure, but we find that that has not been the case. For instance, in 1957-58, the Prime Minister's Department spent £2,825,000, and this year the Budget provides for expenditure of £2,931,000. That is just one increase, but when we examine the overall 'figures we find that departmental expenditure this year will be £4,250,000 more than last year. I shall paint -the picture of expenditure -first, and towards the end of my remarks I shall deal with the sources of revenue which the Government will have to tap in order to meet that expenditure. The Government has on its pay-roll 216,000 people whom we call public servants, and one of the obligations of the Government will be to meet the wages bill of its servants. It may be said that the number employed under the Public Service Act is not 216,000, but only 160,000. However, in addition there are 55,000 persons employed by instrumentalities established by the Commonwealth Government. It appears that some of the State governments will continue to get their money fairly easily, although they certainly are entitled to reimbursement by the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Government collects revenue from income tax, but it holds the money in custody for the States, which are free to spend it according to their own decisions. We find-, however,, that they are still living in the past, in respect of some old fashioned institutions. For instance, we find that the State governments between them have six Agents-General in London. Just imagine that, **Mr. Deputy** President! 1 think it was in 1942 that uniform taxation commenced to operate, and since then the States have not had to raise loans abroad, or to negotiate for loans with financial institutions in the United Kingdom. They do not' require six Agents-General in London while the Commonwealth High Commissioner's office is functioning there. The High Commissioner's office, in which 361 officers- are employed at the present time, is quite efficient and capable of dealing with every problem that the States might need to submit during the year. So there is no necessity for the six State governments to be wasting funds in keeping those offices in existence. That is a matter that the Commonwealth Government, whatever its nature after the forthcoming general election, could discuss with the State governments with a view to asking them to abolish those offices. The responsibilities of the Commonwealth Government are increasing annually and are not diminishing in any way. We have only to look around and note the number of Ministers there are to agree that that is so. We now have a Minister for Trade whose job it is to watch trade on an international footing, and we also have a Minister for Primary Industry. Because there are those two ministries, certain functions and responsibilities have been taken away from the States. The Commonwealth has the responsibility of administering the affairs of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. When one considers the grants that have been made in respect of that Territory, it almost seems that the Government is engaged in a game of poker with £1,000,000 rises. In 1956-57, the sum set aside for the Territory was £9,000,000. Last year it was £11,000,000, and this year it is £12,000,000. While Australia was more prosperous than it is at the present time, it was quite all right for Australia to make millions of pounds available for that Territory. We all know, I am sure, that the natives of New Guinea have a low standard of living and are fairly easily sustained. The time should have arrived when the people of that. Territory are. able, to support them? selves, and; I think that the time is fast approaching when the Commonwealth will be unable to make annual grants. Much of the money that has been made available has been spent, on improving roads, the construction of bridges and other public works, and the provision of plant and things of that nature to enable the developmental programme to be carried out; but the time has come for us to take heed of the financial condition into which the Commonwealth is drifting and to say, " Now youhave to support yourselves ". Another matter in respect of which the Commonwealth Government has felt obliged to act is the grant to the universities for the purpose, not only of improving their establishments in the physical sense,, but also of enabling them to employ adequate staff. We all are familiar with the contents of the Murray Committee report. We know what its recommendations were, and we know also that the Commonwealth Government was forced to make some millions of pounds available to all the universities in the States in order to prevent Australia from drifting into the position of a tenth-rate nation. I suggest we would have been a tenth-rate nation if something had not been done about the condition of the universities. Action has been taken, and the expenditure probably will be a recurring one. While I am dealing with this matter, I call to mind the condition into which the mental hospitals throughout the Commonwealth drifted over a number of years because of the inability of the State governments to provide sufficient funds to maintain those institutions at an appropriate level. The Commonwealth Government was obliged to make millions of pounds available to the State governments. This year, the sum that is being made available is £1,500,000, or £250,000 more than last year. Perhaps, in a year or two, that grant will be terminated, but what is demanding attention now is the dire need for the Commonwealth Government to provide further funds for the establishment of State schools. A- little while ago, I pointed out how our population was growing, not only because of the natural increase, but also because of a higher intake of migrants, and nothing is being done by this Government to- assist the States to meet the capital expenditure incurred by them in providing adequate school buildings for that bigger population. To my knowledge, the Commonwealth Government has never done anything about such matters as universities, mental institutions and so on until it has been absolutely compelled to take action. At this very moment, the Commonwealth Government has an obligation to provide the State governments with sufficient funds to enable them to erect adequate school buildings for their children. While examining the Budget documents, I notice the provision this year for the National Welfare Fund. This year it is proposed to provide £26,000,000 more than was allocated last year. We all agree that payments from the National Welfare Fund must be continued, irrespective of Australia's financial position. It is the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government to provide sufficient funds to maintain all the payments that have to be made from the National Welfare Fund. At the moment, I have in mind the inadequacy of child endowment payments. There was a great furore when payment for the first child was introduced, but we have heard nothing more about it since the enabling bill was passed. For example, the rate set in 1950 has never been increased, although the value of money has decreased. Notwithstanding the great increase in the cost of living which has occurred since that time, the amount set then for child endowment has remained static. Another matter about which I am also greatly concerned is the unemployment relief payments. Notwithstanding what the Government may say about the matter, the fact is that we have increasing unemployment throughout the Commonwealth. I speak with some knowledge of this subject, for I know that in Brisbane there are men who have been unemployed since last October, and they are still unable to obtain employment. The likelihood is that there will be an increase in this number, because of the big exodus of workers from the seasonal industries in the next month or two. The Commonwealth Government has made no provision for that situation and I know the State governments have not the resources to meet such an unenviable state of affairs. It is easy enough for the Commonwealth Government to sit back and appear smug about these matters, but the people of the Commonwealth are not complacent about them. The mothers feel that they are entitled to a higher endowment than 10s. for a child, and the unemployed worker finds it absolutely impossible to-day to meet the expense of travelling from one suburb to another in search of employment. The mere pittance he is paid by way of unemployment relief is inadequate; it does not meet the cost of feeding his family, let alone the cost of fares as he looks for work. These are all the effects of this Government's actions over the years. Certain moneys have to be found to enable the Government to carry on as a government, but this Government has prevented private industry from expanding and developing to the extent that will enable it to offer employment to additional hands. The Government is also drying up the sum that has been available in the community for private investment. This Budget will do nothing to correct the present serious situation. Local authorities are unable to find for themselves the funds necessary to carry out their ordinary work. Roads are deteriorating rapidly because the local authorities have not the finances to maintain them properly. The saddest thing of all about it is that many of the ratepayers in the Commonwealth, both in the cities and the country, are unable to pay their rates. When they receive their rate notices, they are obliged to make special arrangements with the local authorities to pay them off over a period. In many cases rates are paid by weekly instalments over a period of six months. That is typical of the situation that is developing throughout the Commonwealth. When the national income was high, when incomes of both private individuals and companies were high, this Government proudly said, "We are responsible for the prosperous condition which obtains throughout the Commonwealth to-day ". Having claimed responsibility for the prosperous condition back in the years when inflation was raging throughout the country, the Government must be held equally responsible for the present unsatisfactory state of affairs. Of course, this Government is adept at imposing hidden taxes. It is very fond of the form of hidden taxes for inflating its revenues. For instance, this year receipts from sales tax, according to the estimate, will increase by £9,250,000, excise by £11,000,000 and customs duty by £2,250,000. All this will have an adverse effect upon the employment situation. The rates of excise and customs are already high and manufacturers are greatly concerned about the huge amounts they have to pay in indirect taxes. This is affecting their markets seriously, and it is also affecting the employment situation adversely. According to the Treasurer, it is necessary for the Commonwealth to have something like £800,000,000 in reserve for overseas trading. We are told that the overseas reserves should be at least that amount. {: .speaker-K7A} ##### Senator Spooner: -- You are confusing this matter with imports. {: .speaker-K1T} ##### Senator BENN: -- Then say it is for imports. While dealing with imports, I remind the Senate that 70 per cent, of our imports are necessary to keep our manufacturing industries on an economic level. It would seem that if our overseas balances are not kept at about £800,000,000 this country is not in a safe financial position. According to the Commonwealth Government, it would seem that £800,000,000 is a fair economic ceiling, but I point out that, this being so, the Commonwealth is not in a sound economic position now because, since 30th June last, that figure has been reduced by £275,000,000. Our overseas reserves now stand at £525,000,000. {: .speaker-KNR} ##### Senator Hannaford: -- Your figures are a little bit haywire. {: .speaker-K1T} ##### Senator BENN: -- I took them from you. {: .speaker-KNR} ##### Senator Hannaford: -- If you studied my figures, you would be more correct. {: .speaker-K1T} ##### Senator BENN: -- I understand the honorable senator will be following me in a few minutes. That being so, I feel sure he will put my figures right! The situation is as I have described it. This economic condition has happened before, it is not a new happening at all. What makes the position even more serious is the Government's inability to ensure that primary products are exported at economic prices. I shall deal with those matters later. The Government also admits that it is unable to meet its financial liabilities this year. It has pointed out that the income tax to be paid by individuals this year will be only £207,000,000, which is £8,500,000 less than the amount paid last year. Company taxation also is expected to be lower. The Treasurer pointed out that last year farm income fell by £180,000,000. Not very long ago the Treasury produced a booklet entitled " 1957 And Beyond: An Economic Survey ". One of the chapters was headed " Growth of a Boom ". Now, perhaps, there could be another chapter headed "The balloon has been pricked ". The Government cannot be excused for allowing the Commonwealth to drift into its present unsatisfactory financial position. The Government has continued to hope that Australia's overseas balances would be supported in the main by the sale of primary products. Every one knew what our primary produce brought before the war. Every one knew that during the war sales were on a government to government basis, and that afterwards there must be a great fall in prices. It is interesting to examine some of the pre-war prices for primary products and compare them with last year's figures. It is equally interesting to compare last year's figures with those for this year. I repeat, the Government must have been aware of these things when it prepared its Budget. The Government is seeking sufficient revenue to tide it over the next year, but where is it to come from? I have here some figures which will give honorable senators an idea of the difficulty that is facing the Government. In 1936-37 the wholesale price of butter was ls. 3d. per lb. In 1956-57, the price was 4s. 2d. per lb., or approximately 233 per cent. more. However, since then, although the local price of butter has been increased, the overseas price has fallen further. It is now, I understand, 2s. Id. per lb. {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator Mattner: -- Is that in sterling, or in Australian money? {: .speaker-K1T} ##### Senator BENN: -- I assume that it would be in English currency. In 1936-37 the average export price for butter was 10id. per lb. In 1956-57, it was 3s. per lb., an increase of 242 per cent. Only recently a government appointed committee, which has functioned over a number of years, examined the cost of producing butter efficiently. It submitted a report to the Government. The dairy farmers might well have been in a much more prosperous position now if the Government had permitted a price increase. For three years it simply did not apply the increase found due to the dairy farmers. Effect was not given to the recommendations of the special committee, and during 1954, 1955 and 1956 the price of butter remained steady. We now find some dairy farmers looking for work as labourers. They are anxious to leave their farms. Clearly, the Government cannot hope to draw much income tax revenue from the dairy farmers of the Commonwealth. I pass now to another primary industry. Increases in wheat prices have been substantial. In 1936-37, the local consumption price was 5s. Id. a bushel. In 1956-57, it was 13s. 9d., an increase of 8s. 8d., or approximately 170 per cent. In 1936-37, the average export price of wheat was 5s. 2d. a bushel, and in 1956-57 it was 13s. increase of 8s. 7d., or approximately 166 per cent. The Government, watching all this, knew that there must soon be a serious fall in wheat prices on the open market. It was well aware that there was an excess wheat supply throughout the world and that the United States of America could dump its wheat in almost any country at ls. or 2s. a bushel. An examination of wool prices shows how difficult it will be for the Government to obtain sufficient revenue to meet its commitments this year. In 1936-37 the average price for greasy wool was ls. 4id. per lb. In 1956-57 it was 6s. 7id. per lb., an increase of 5s. 3d., or 381 per cent. Only this week there was a serious fall in the price. The Government will not be able to tax the wool-growers so easily in the future. They will thus contribute much less to the revenue of Australia .than they have in the past. Meat is in very much the same position as wheat and butter. One of the great bugbears of the industry is the high shipping freight. I understand that unless the shipping companies are assured of a return of at least 12 per cent, they will not undertake the transportation of meat. What is to become of the Government if it cannot meet its commitments? The sum of £11.0.000,000 which it will obtain from the central bank will be totally inadequate. The -Government has brought this situation upon itself. It should have anticipated falling markets. No one but a fool would have believed that the prices being obtained for primary products during the war years and since would continue indefinitely. Of course, it has happened before. The prices at present being obtained are the economic prices - the competitive prices. Precisely the same sort of thing is happening in the field of finance. The Government, in attempting to negotiate loans, encounters fierce competition from hirepurchase companies, of which there are about 40 or 50 to-day. They offer investors up to 12 per cent, interest, and are known to charge borrowers from 6 per cent, to 20 per cent. Insurance companies and other .financial institutions which, for years, were prepared to invest in Commonwealth loans now prefer to purchase shares in hirepurchase companies and thus obtain .a higher return on their capital. Even the smaller investor would rather do that than lend his money to the Government. If one looks at the income tax, and the hidden taxes, mercilessly applied by this Government, one realizes that the Government will find it very hard to obtain sufficient 'funds with which to carry on. The latest report of the 'Commissioner of Taxation shows that -the amount of income 'tax owing is greater than it has been for many years, and that more prosecutions than ever before have been launched against people who have been unable to pay their taxes. In 1953-54 there were 13,000 prosecutions under this heading, involving unpaid taxes amounting to £3,000,000, while in 1955-56 there were 23,000 prosecutions, involving an amount of £6,000,000. {: .speaker-K0L} ##### Senator Pearson: -- What for? {: .speaker-K1T} ##### Senator BENN: -- The prosecutions were in respect of .unpaid income tax. Surely **Senator Pearson** does not refute the information contained in the commissioner's report. I am referring to the failure to pay income tax - inability to pay. There was a record number of insolvencies in Australia last year. One afternoon last week a Government senator, in referring to the present situation in New Zealand, decried 'the recently elected Labour government's efforts to rescue New Zealand's finances from the wreck left by the previous government. That government 'had reduced New Zealand to a state of bankruptcy, and the new Labour government is endeavouring to restore financial stability so that the country will be able to meet its liabilities. I believe that we in Australia are approaching a state of bankruptcy, because the Australian Government has announced its intention to approach the central bank for financial assistance to the extent of £110,000,000 to tide over this financial year. That is evidence in support of my contention that we are on the verge of bankruptcy. Thank goodness that governments in this country are elected for only three years, and thank goodness there will be a general election this year, which will give the people of the Commonwealth an opportunity to change the government! {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator Mattner: -- But -they will not do it. {: .speaker-K1T} ##### Senator BENN: -- Unless the people change the Government, the present financial morass will remain. This Government has sat idly by and allowed hire-purchase concerns to function as they wish. They practise usury throughout Australia. Of course, the private banks are not concerned about the banking legislation that the Government so kindly brought forward last year. They are so deeply immersed in hirepurchase activities, and their profits are so large that they are not bothering to expand ordinary banking business; as I have said, their hire-purchase activities are far more profitable to them. I conclude on this note: The Government, being unable to obtain sufficient revenue to meet its liabilities, is being driven to borrow money through the central bank to tide over this financial year. If ever a government has brought this Commonwealth of ours to a point approaching bankruptcy, it is this Government. {: #subdebate-11-0-s1 .speaker-KNR} ##### Senator HANNAFORD:
South Australia -- I rise to support the motion for the printing of the Budget papers, and I want to say quite unequivocally that I oppose very strongly the amendment moved by **Senator Kennelly** designed to add to the motion "That the following papers be printed " the words- but that the Senate is of opinion that their provisions inflict -grave injustices on the States and on many sections of the Australian people - especially the family unit, and that they make no contribution to correcting, seriously adverse trends in .the Australian economy. I shall, during my remarks, refer specifically to the latter .part of **Senator Kennelly's** amendment. Before getting on to the main topic of .my speech, I should like to refer to a remark that was made by **Senator Kennelly** when speaking during this debate last week. He said that Australia enjoyed very great stability during the last year of the Chifley Government's term of office. Although I disagreed with him in the main, I must confess that I was in error when I interjected to the effect that the Chifley Government, in its last year of office, did not balance its Budget. I should like to correct that mistake. I find, on looking up the records, that the Chifley Government did balance its 1948-49 Budget. I never mind retracting any -mistake that I make. As I have said, ,1 was in error; ,my remarks should have referred to the 1949-50 Budget. In (that Budget, the Chifley .Government budgeted *, fer* a .deficit of ,£35;000,000. In other words, that .government did what this Government is -doing, that is, it budgeted for a deficit in -an election year. It is well -known that -the Chifley Government was defeated at the ..general election on 10th December, .1949, and that when this Government came to office it had to administer the -Budget that had been introduced by the Chifley Government. By good management, this Government was able to improve on the Estimates on which the previous government had based its Budget to such an extent that, at the end of that financial year there was a deficit of only £25,000,000. We effected an improvement in Australia's finances to the extent of £10,000,000. **Senator Benn** has made great play on the fact that this Government is doing something quite unprecedented as far as it is concerned in budgeting for a deficit of £110,000,000. As I have pointed out, the Chifley Government, in its last year of office, budgeted for a deficit of £35,000,000 in 1949-50. The circumstancse of to-day are entirely different from the circumstances of that year. Overseas prices were buoyant, and there was .every prospect of their remaining high. Why in the name of fortune the Chifley Government budgeted for a deficit at a time when the economy was expanding and overseas prices for our exports were buoyant is beyond by comprehension! Perhaps its action had something to do with the fact that an election was pending. Perhaps the Chifley Government wanted to avoid increasing taxation in order to gain more revenue because it was soon to face the electors. That is the only construction I can place on its decision. Apparently that government was loath to increase taxation despite the fact that overseas prices for our exports were buoyant and that there appeared every prospect of those prices obtaining during the ensuing year. **Senator Kennelly** opened the debate on behalf of the Opposition, and the picture he painted was the same gloomy picture that has been painted by the Opposition each year since I have been a member of the Senate. We have just heard another version of that doleful story from **Senator Benn** - the story of how this Government would bring Australia eventually to ruin; that we do not know where we are going and that ultimately we will run Australia on to the rocks. At the same time, the honorable senator acknowledged that overseas prices are falling, but he predicted dire trouble and ultimately economic collapse if this Government remained in office. He said that we are starving the States. I presume he referred to the income tax reimbursement formula and to the loan allocations that are made to the States from time to time. He forgot to mention that during this Government's term of office the reimbursements to the States to enable them to carry on their essential services, as laid down by the formula, have been exceeded by many millions of pounds. {: .speaker-K0L} ##### Senator Pearson: -- Which government introduced the formula? {: .speaker-KNR} ##### Senator HANNAFORD: -- The formula was introduced by the Chifley Government, but I do not think it has ever proved adequate, not even during the term of office of that Government. However, I am open to correction on that. Since this Government has been in office, the reimbursements to the States have been augmented by an amount in the vicinity of £20,000,000, and the States have benefited accordingly. **Senator Kennelly** mentioned the public debts of the States, and said that the Commonwealth public debt has been reduced by £182,000,000 to £1,589,000,000, whereas the States' public debts have increased from £894,000,000 to £1,965,000,000. Does **Senator Kennelly** complain because the Commonwealth is financing its public works largely from revenue, or does he complain becauses he thinks the Commonwealth is taking a mean advantage over the States? All loan funds are determined by the Australian Loan Council. Perhaps some honorable senators opposite have not heard a great deal about that body. The States, to my knowledge, have not complained about the loan funds that have been made available to them since this Government came into office. The Commonwealth has had to incur the hostility of the people by levying higher taxes to enable us to struggle along with our public works, but the States have received the benefit of the loan funds that have been made available. When one analyses **Senator Kennelly's** statement that the money allotted to the States to enable them to carry out their public works is raised by taxes from the people and by treasury-bills, and that the Commonwealth makes a considerable profit out of lending that money to the States, one must realize that the loan funds are made available at the current rate of interest. Even if the public loan indebtedness of the States is increased, have the States not spent the money to advantage? If they have not, that is their responsibility. They should have built up assets to meet the commitments they have entered into. The people should feel no alarm at the States' loan indebtedness, because if the money has been spent on reproductive works, their assets have been increased. That is good business. I repeat that the States have had the benefit of the loan funds while the Commonwealth Government has incurred the hostility of the people by imposing higher taxes to make that money available to the States, and to carry out Commonwealth public works. **Senator Kennelly** criticized the proposed expenditure on social services, which will be increased from £247,000,000 to £273,000,000. Is not that an astronomical figure to be devoted to social services in a country the size of Australia? Can criticism justly be levelled at a government which is willing to put aside £273,000,000 for the welfare of the aged and the sick? Can it be said that we are not playing our part in meeting our responsibility to afford social services to the community? This Government does not deny its responsibilities. It redounds to the credit of this Government that it is willing to devote the tremendous sum of £273,000,000 of our total revenue to social services. I think the people of Australia realize that. This Government has eased the means test. We know that while there is a means test anomalies will arise, but everybody must recognize the action of this Government in standing up to its responsibilities in the matter of social services. We have a record of which we can be proud. I do not have the exact figures available at the moment, but I am especially proud of what this Government has done in providing health services for the community. We have always believed in the principle of self-help, and that principle, as embodied in the legislation introduced by **Sir Earle** Page many years ago, is accepted by the people of Australia. This Government has rendered, and will continue to render, a great service to those people who are unfortunate enough not to enjoy good health. The proposed expenditure on repatriation services, capital works and reimbursements to the States, shows an increase on the figures for last year. One should realize that this Government, when in Opposition, was opposed to the principle of uniform income tax which was introduced by a previous government. I would rather see the States, to a certain extent at any rate, have the opportunity of raising their own revenue, but unfortunately the principle of uniform tax has been held by the High Court of Australia as a valid tax to be levied by the Commonwealth Government, and we have carried on the practice. I repeat that our allocations to the States have been at an increasing tempo since we assumed office. Expenditures set down for last year will be maintained for the present financial year. I suppose the Government, if it had followed the advice of some of the calamity howlers on the Opposition side of the chamber, could have reduced the proposed expenditure on the items I have mentioned, and could have equated the Commonwealth expenditure to the reduced income we are obtaining from our overseas products. Just what would happen under those circumstances? I visualize that if such a policy were carried out there would1 be a considerable increase in unemployment and a slowing down of the rale of expansion of Australia. We cannot afford to reduce our expenditure at the present time. We simply have to continue the expansionary policy that this Government has adopted throughout its life. It would be fatal to the welfare of the economy were we to reduce public expenditure. By maintaining it at its present level, we are .enabling all the factors that are operating at the present time to continue to operate. That will, of course, be reflected in employment, production and the general level of prosperity. I am a great believer in a principle that was enunciated by Professor Copland in a press article in the Adelaide " Advertiser ", published subsequently to the bringing down of the Budget. I thought the article was very good indeed, probably because it agreed with many of the ideas that 1 espouse. However, I do not think that anybody examining this article would come to any conclusion other than that **Sir Douglas** Copland was on the right track. He is a great believer in expansion for this country. He has always been game; he is not one of those people who would have us draw in our horns immediately a little cloud appears on the horizon. **Sir Douglas** pointed out that Australia is a young country in need of great development and that the Government is doing -the right thing by adopting an expansionary programme. He went on to say that, at first sight, the Budget might seem colourless and unimaginative. I will concede that it was not a Budget that struck me forcibly as being outstanding in one way or the other. Later in the article he said - >Among the more discerning- The members of the Opposition are not numbered among those, of course. **Sir Douglas** then went on to say that the Budget gives - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . substance and positive expression to the fiscal policy pursued by Australia in its recent phase of great expansion. For the person who places economic, expansion, population growth and rising standards of health and education as the key to progress, the Budget will be regarded as a landmark in the development of a fiscal policy that is itself essential to continued economic development. {: .speaker-K1T} ##### Senator Benn: -- Hooey. {: .speaker-KNR} ##### Senator HANNAFORD: -- There is no hooey about it. This is something that was written by a learned professor of economics, a man who is in the forefront of Australian public life and knows what he is talking about. **Sir Douglas** continued - lt is altogether to the credit of Australia that it is, as it were, " going it alone," with a fiscal policy involving the finance of so much of investment vital to nation-building without incurring debt. In the current Budget ?128,000,000 is being provided for Commonwealth works and ?102,000,000 for State works. Yet we parade the fact that we have a "deficit" of ?110,000,000. There is actually a surplus of over ?150,000,000 on current account which is a remarkable, achievement when one considers the loss of income through falling export prices. This surplus is being prudently used for investment, and the so-called deficit arises only because it will be necessary to borrow from the central bank to meet other works commitments and probably redemptions in the public debt maturing during the year. **Senator O'Flaherty** interjected and asked where the surplus had gone. We know where it is going. It is going into the great public works of Australia, State and Federal. Public works are going on throughout the length and breadth of Australia. A Budget of this kind can be brought down only because of the inherent strength of the Australian economy - a strength that has been built up during the nine years of this Government's sound management. No one can tell me that we have not managed the affairs of the country on sound lines. This country would not be as prosperous as it is to-day had not the Government seized every opportunity to promote expansion and development. It has built up magnificent assets right throughout Australia. Honorable senators opposite know that as well as I do. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator Hendrickson: -- Where are they? {: .speaker-KNR} ##### Senator HANNAFORD: -- All I can say is that **Senator Hendrickson** does not use his eyes, or his imagination. Honorable senators have only to go to various parts of Australia to see that we have built up magnificent assets throughout the land, in both the public and the private sectors. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator Hendrickson: -- Tell us some of them. {: .speaker-KNR} ##### Senator HANNAFORD: -- In my own State of South Australia - **Senator Toohey** will back me up in this, I am sure - we have built up very large public assets. I should' like to tell honorable senators opposite about a few of them. They have only to go up to Whyalla to see what has been built up there in the way of a. public asset. At Port Augusta there is one of the big, power stations of Australia. It is supplying electricity to a network covering South Australia: Great achievements have been made in the field of water1 reticulation. South Australia is a *dry* State, and' 80 per cent, to 90 per cent, of the people on the land obtain their water supplies through water reticulation systems. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator Hendrickson: -- All commenced by a Labour government. {: .speaker-KNR} ##### Senator HANNAFORD: -- I am speaking of South Australia at present. This has nothing to do with a Labour government. We have done an enormous job of expansion and have built up many assets. This year the Government is- able to present this Budget to the people and to say to them, " We have these assets. We have put our savings into worthwhile things. Surely we can, just temporarily, raise ?1 10,000,000 by treasury-bills, in view of the falling export income, which, of course, will reflect itself in our revenue." We are fully justified in telling the people that on this occasion it is justifiable and wise to raise money by that orthodox means. We recognize that it is an orthodox means of raising money. The Chifley Government did it in 1949-50. If it was orthodox in those days, surely it is orthodox under the present circumstances. In 1949-50 there was no prospect of a fall in overseas prices. In those days overseas prices were on the rise, so the Chifley Government had no justification on that ground for budgeting for a deficit of ?35,000,000 in its 1949-50 Budget. We are doing this year what the Chifley Government did in 1949-50, but the circumstances now are entirely different. We know why we are having recourse to deficit finance. We are doing it because of the short fall in revenue and because we are determined to maintain the rate of expansion that we have enjoyed in recent years. I think I have said enough to prove that the amendment moved by **Senator Kennelly** is not justified in the slightest degree. The amendment suggests that the provisions of the various documents that have been presented will inflict grave injustices on the States and many sections of the Australian people. I do not think the people of Australia will accept the suggestion, because they know that we are enjoying a state of prosperity, in spite of our just having passed through one of the worst droughts in the history of Australia. {: .speaker-KPK} ##### Senator Kennelly: -- Oh! {: .speaker-KNR} ##### Senator HANNAFORD: -- That is perfectly true. I do not think **Senator Kennelly** knows what happened during the last drought. He does not realize that almost no wheat was produced in New South Wales; and that wheat had to be got from South Australia and Western Australia. He does not realize that even in South Australia we had a very adverse season. Indeed, I do not think the famous Wimmera district of Victoria had such a successful season. There was a serious drought throughout Australia. In view of that fact, and in view of the fall in prices overseas, with a loss in revenue of approximately £180,000,000, it is remarkable that we should now be in such a favorable position and that the repercussions have not been greater. As honorable senators know, the employment level is still very favorable when compared with that of other countries. I would be the first to say that even the existing degree of unemployment is regrettable; but, I repeat, when compared with other countries, we are in a very favorable situation. When we think of the depression, or the recession if you like, in America and its effect on overseas prices, it is remarkable that we should be able to point out to the people of Australia that we have maintained employment. And we have done so in spite of our having brought in hundreds of thousands of people from other countries. I endorse what **Senator Dame** Annabelle Rankin said about immigration. All of us, in the course of our duties, attend naturalization ceremonies and we see the type of people who are being naturalized. I say without any hesitation that Australia can be proud of its immigration programme over the years, irrespective of whether it has been carried on by this Government or by a Labour government. The people who are being brought in are helping us, to develop this great country of ours, the resources of which are unbounded. I" have no great fear of the possibility of deficit finance causing any difficulty in our economy. Over the years we have been confronted by the problem of combating inflation. Inflation has afflicted almost every country. One of the things with which we have had to contend has been the rising price level. Now we propose touse. a method of finance that is notorious for causing inflation. We have avoided it like the plague in the past, but, in the effect of lower prices, I think we have a counter to any inflationary trend in treasury-bill finance. In view of what I said earlier in regard to the strength of the economy, I think the Government is perfectly justified in going before the people with such a Budget as this - a Budget which will, in the long run, maintain our rate of expansion, build up our assets and further strengthen the economy. I feel certain that in due course overseas price levels will rise, or at least recover, in which case we will be able to reap the benefit of a continuation of the policy we have pursued over the years. I now want to touch upon another matter which is of special interest to me and, I think, to other South Australians. I refer to the standardization of rail gauges. Any government that has the courage to undertake the standardization of our rail gauges will go down in history as having made a worth-while contribution to the welfare and development of Australia. I have looked upon this matter as being one of great importance. We all know the effect of transport costs upon the economy. Australian transport costs are extremely high in comparison with those of other countries, and we should take advantage of every opportunity to reduce them. I have always been a very keen advocate of increased transport efficiency and of trying to achieve it by standardizing our rail gauges. As you well know, **Sir, two** committees have inquired into this matter with great care. I had the honour of being on the Government members' committee - the Wentworth committee. I know that an Opposition committee also investigated the matter and brought down a report which, in substance, was almost identical with that of the Wentworth committee. The Wentworth committee investigated the matter most exhaustively. It travelled throughout Australia, saw the various railway systems for itself, and had for its main objective the presentation of a report that would contain proposals for a solution of our standardization problems. That committee did not set out to implement the Clapp report, which recommended the complete standardization of Australian rail gauges, but it wanted to influence the Government towards making a start. The committee submitted a report which recommended the standardization of the main trunk lines with the exception of the line from Melbourne to Adelaide. The standardization of rail gauges is not something that can be achieved overnight. Because every State has a different railway system and the Commonwealth, too, has its system, the standardization of gauges is a highly complex undertaking. Most honorable senators are aware of the fact that the various States have different gauges and that, consequently, there are breaks in the trunk lines that span Australia from east to west. The Government members' committee concentrated, as did the Opposition members' committee, on standardization of the Broken Hill-Port Pirie-Adelaide, KalgoorliePerth and Wodonga-Melbourne lines. I am glad to say that the Government has acted on at least one of the recommendations of the Wentworth committee, because, as you probably well know, **Sir, work** is being undertaken at present on standardizing the line from Wodonga to Melbourne, which will have a vast effect on transport costs between Sydney and Melbourne. I am looking forward to the time when that work is completed and those two major cities of Australia have the benefit of a standard-gauge line, without the iniquitous break of gauge at Albury. The break of gauge results in great difficulty for people transporting goods, and is a most expensive factor in transport costs. As far as South Australia is concerned, I am particularly interested in standardization of the Broken Hill-Port Pirie-Adelaide line, because that would enable the South Australian railways to link up with a transcontinental line, and thus give South Australia a through service, on a 4-ft. 8i-in. gauge, to Brisbane and, if necessary, down through New South Wales to Melbourne. I want to see the whole of the Australian trunk lines standardized. I should like to see the necessary work carried out between Kalgoorlie and Perth, and I think it is essential to standardize the line between Adelaide and Melbourne. But, as I have said, I am particularly interested in the standardization of the Broken Hill-Port Pirie-Adelaide section. For reasons of its own, in the past we have had rather a lukewarm attitude on the part of the South Australian Government to this matter, despite the fact that, from time to time, interested bodies in South Australia have raised the question and have supported the proposal to standardize the gauges. We have had the backing of such important bodies in South Australia as the Chamber of Manufactures, the chambers of commerce, and the Stockowners Association, all of which use the railways and know what an important adjunct it would be to South Australian trade and to the defence of Australia if the trunk line right through to Sydney were standardized. Consequently, I am very pleased to see that there seems to be a change of front so far as the South Australian Government is concerned, and that it is now definitely interesting itself in standardization of the line I have mentioned. The line between Broken Hill and Port Pirie is of the antiquated 3-ft. 6-in. gauge, and it is an enormous task to transport the hundreds of thousands of tons of ore that are required to be taken from Broken Hill to the smelters at Port Pirie each year. In my opinion, the present railway system for the transportation of the ore is both inefficient and very costly. Consequently, it is handicapping an industry that is vital to the welfare of South Australia. It has been estimated that if it were possible to standardize the line between Broken Hill and Port Pirie, without doing anything to the line between Port Pirie and Adelaide, it would result in a saving of from £800,000 to £1,000,000 a year. Great advantage would result from the construction of a good modern railway system, equipped with modern rolling-stock, on which to transport ore from Broken Hill to the smelters at Port Pirie, as well as the stock and goods that also must be carried on the line. The cost of that work would be about £14,000,000, but it would be a good investment. The benefits to be derived from such an undertaking may be judged by considering the standard-gauge Centralian line that runs from Telford, the coal centre, to the power station at Port Augusta. Enormous trains are being hauled on that line by big, modern diesel locomotives, with heavy bogie, high-speed rolling-stock. Trains of up to 4,000 tons are being used, on a grade that, admittedly, is slight. If the section between Port Pirie and Port Augusta were standardized, trains of a similar capacity could run on that line. I am not a railway man or a railway expert, but I have great confidence in the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** and his ability to undertake a survey and to report on this question. I have been astounded by his knowledge of railway matters, as well as by his knowledge of other matters concerning the welfare and progress of Australia. He is an authority on a good many subjects. At the moment, I am concerned particularly with his work in connexion with railway matters, and in this respect I want to pay the highest possible tribute to him. He is a very strong advocate of the need to standardize the main trunk lines of Australia. It would be to the glory of this Government if it were to go ahead with this work at the earliest possible moment and give effect to at least some of the recommendations of the Wentworth committee and the Opposition committee, both of which were formulated for the same purpose. I know of the support that this proposal gets from the people of Australia, particularly from the people of South Australia. In South Australia, we have a big industrial State due to development that has taken place over the years. That development has enabled us to become a wellbalanced State economically. We have products that we want to place on the markets in the eastern States at the least possible cost, but we cannot do that unless we have an efficient means of transport. If we had a standardized gauge between Adelaide and Port Pirie, and also between Port Pirie and Broken Hill, we should have a direct link with the eastern States. Think, **Mr. Acting Deputy President,** of the commodities that we produce in our industrial city of Adelaide and its environs. {: .speaker-K5K} ##### Senator Scott: -- What about Western Australia? {: .speaker-KNR} ##### Senator HANNAFORD: -- The representatives of Western Australia no doubt will have their say in due course, and I hope that **Senator Scott** will have something to contribute on this subject. At the moment, I am referring to the industrial potential of South Australia. I submit, **Sir, that** we must have an outlet for our production. Approximately 80 per cent, of our products go to the eastern States, and in order to get them there we have to contend with inefficient transport. We must have standardized railway gauges to provide the efficient transport that we so desire. I suggest that the Chamber of Manufactures would not come out so wholeheartedly in support of such a proposal if it did not think that the results would be worth while. If we consider the capital cost and the return from the expenditure involved, I think that we must agree that it would be money well spent. I support the remarks of **Senator Pearson** regarding the expenditure of the small amount of £50,000 for which the South Australian Government has asked for the purpose of carrying out a survey. I think that that money should be made available if it is at all possible to do so. Personally, I think that it is possible. Such an amount, compared with the overall governmental expenditure, is only a drop in the ocean, but it is essential that such a survey be undertaken. If the Commonwealth Government can make money available to a wealthy state like Victoria to carry out a survey of the Wodonga-Melbourne line, surely it can make available £50,000 to South Australia to enable that State to carry out a survey of this proposed work. I believe in the principle of standardization. I am even prepared to go so far as to say that if **Senator Scott** advocates standardization of the railway line between Kalgoorlie, Perth and Fremantle I shall give him my wholehearted support. It is essential that we tackle this transport problem with a sense of reality. We shall never overcome our difficulties so long as we continue to have the tragedy of broken gauges throughout the Commonwealth. I know the effect these broken gauges are having on the revenues of governments. I know that the losses incurred by State railway systems are due largely to inefficient methods. I believe that the breaks in rail gauges contribute very largely to the inefficiency of and the losses incurred by State Railway systems. When I make that statement, I am not referring now to any suggestion that the railway systems of the States are operating in uneconomic fields. We know that if the country is to develop, our railway systems must reach out into areas in which they cannot possibly pay directly, although such lines do pay handsomely by indirect means. I do suggest, however, that it is most inefficient to have breaks of gauges on main trunk lines. We cannot afford not to standardize the rail gauges. The important question is not how much standardization will cost but that we cannot afford to be without it. For that reason, I exhort the Government to do something about the question, at least to take some step towards standardization of the railway system from South Australia through to Sydney. I do not want to take up any more time. I believe that the Budget under discussion is a very worthwhile one indeed. I have never :been ashamed of .this Government's economic proposals. I know something of the work done by the men in charge of our great financial institutions; I know of the splendid work being carried out by Treasury officials and the excellent advice they tender to the Government on these matters. Whatever Opposition senators may say, I do not think the position would be different if -they were governing the country to-day. I do not think the Opposition would submit a Budget that would differ very widely from the one under discussion. I have been particularly (interested in following budget speeches over the years and I have been greatly impressed by the similarity of the financial proposals submitted by governments of all political colours. It is of no use Opposition senators saying that we are doing everything that is wrong. I can remember the time when we sai in opposition and said about a Labour government the very things the Opposition is saying about us to-day. The fact of the matter is that it is essential that we rely on and be guided by sound economic judgment. A government, irrespective of its political colour, must adopt a policy calculated to further the interests of this great country. I believe that we are doing that now. I also believe that the present Budget will maintain a high level of prosperity and I am confident that, in the short time between now and the elections, the people of Australia will come to realize that our policy is based on a sound foundation and that they will react accordingly. {: #subdebate-11-0-s2 .speaker-JZU} ##### Senator ORMONDE:
New South Wales -- I did think that at the beginning of my maiden speech I would be thanking all honorable senators for the courtesy that they have shown me here, but I am afraid that I shall have to exclude **Senator Hannaford** from an expression of appreciation. He has given me the most terrifying half-hour I have ever had in my life! It reminded me very much of the time when Tommy Burns sat in the corner while Jack Johnson kept him waiting. My predicament to-day was similar -to 'that of Tommy Burns. But I do want to thank you, **.Mr. President,** and all honorable senators on both sides and in the centre for their extreme courtesy to me. This is a strange experience .for me, and if, in the .next few minutes, I talk about things you have beard discussed -before, it is only because I propose to use the Senate as a forum for -saying what I believe. I come into the Senate -from an executive position in the Labour party. I was elected by my colleagues in the Labour party principally because of the things I have believed and principally because of the services I have rendered1. I have always thought that the economy of this country, the Budget, indeed the whole government of the nation, is very largely related to the state of the trade union movement and of the Labour party, more so than many people realize. If you .have a disrupted trade union movement or a disrupted Labour party, you cannot have a united Australia. It is about those matters that I wish to speak to-day. If I had the memory of **Senator Nicholls,** I should be able to speak .without notes, but as I am not blessed with that .gift, I must use them; and I must say that I would be much happier if I knew that some honorable senators would interject during my speech, for it can be quite an ordeal to speak for half an .hour without interjections. How- ever, I .know that it is customary to allow an honorable .senator to make his .maiden speech without interruption. I should like to deal principally with the question of Communism and I hope honorable senators -will not .think that this subject has been done to death, because it is a most important 'question to-day. The Labour party is implacably opposed to -communism in all its forms and activities. The Communist party is the enemy of the Australian Labour party. For thirty years, the Communist party has preferred non-Labour to the .Labour governments in Australia. It has helped to defeat Labour by supplying the conservative parties with evidence of an alleged united front - a united front which does not exist. I emphasize, a united front which could' not and does not exist. By pretending to support the Labour party, the Communist party has always done its best to defeat us. Every time the Communists ask the electors to vote Labour, they cost the Labour party thousands of votes. This is well known .to the Communists, to the Labour party, to the Liberal party and, of course, to the Democratic Labour party. 3f the Labour party had the slightest influence with the-Communist party, surely that influence would be used to insist that the 'Communist paTty cease trying to associate itself with the A:L.P. But the Labour -party has not any influence with the Communist party. That is why 'the Communist party continues to embarrass us. Why would the Labour party want to associate with a party like the Communist party, a party which is opposed by at least 90 per cent, of the people of Australia? The idea is too absurd for words, but, so long as the 'absurdity is used by our political opponents, the Labour party has to explain it to the public. We have to explain it because unthinking people do believe the allegations, and 'these unthinking people have the ability to change governments. I hope honorable senators .will not be "thinking that they have heard all this before, because, as "I stated .earlier, this is i-an important matter. In my opinion, the most important duty I have in:this Senate is to .clear Labour's name of the charge of communism. Until it is cleared, Australia can i never be a truly united nation .in the democratic sense of the word. I suggest that the matters I am discussing are very closely related to the Budget, 'and especially to the economy of the country. 'I should not have to tell the Senate that there -will never be real peace in industry, nor 'will "we ever have "full .capacity production while the Labour party and the unions are kept in a continual state of convulsion on what, at the most, is a miserable political pretence. Labour and the unions can never get down to discussing, sensibly and sanely in the interests of Australia, the problems that they should be discussing while they remain divided, particularly on the union front. For just so long as our opponents continue to foster disunity they will continue to stand in their own light and in the light of Australia. While the Communist canard remains, not only will peace in industry be impossible, but it will be impossible to get honest and democratic decisions at the polls. .1 do not think that Government supporters want political victories that are based on falsehoods, but many political victories are in that category. It will be a great day for Australia when the people can go to the polls and vote on the record of the Australian Labour party and the Liberal party. Now they are often asked to .make a .decision on very different issues. I know that Government supporters, as individuals, do .not believe to be true the smears placed on Labour; but the Liberal party machine uses them to further its political aims. I realize that, in the cut and thrust of politics, Labour politicians have said hard things about **Mr. Menzies** and his supporters generally, but I have never heard a responsible Labour man at any level accuse the Prime Minister, by implication or otherwise, of being in league with the enemies of Australia. Labour leaders have not been so spared. In my 30 years' experience in the front-line of Labour politics I have seen **Mr. Scullin, Mr. Curtin, Mr. Chifley** and **Dr. Evatt** alike suffer the -smear. Labour leaders, after they have died, have, in time, been honoured, but during their lifetime they were fought with the most contemptible weapons. I remember in 1937 the respected **Mr. Lyons** saying of John Curtin, " He was the ally of communism, revolutionary, atheistic and confiscatory ". We knew how wrong that was, but it took a few years for justice to be done. The same charge is being levelled at Labour to-day. The fact' that the charge is false apparently is df' no account. The fact that it misrepresents Her Majesty's Opposition and undermines respect for the Parliament, poisoning the relationships between the parties here and between the parties in industry, does not seem to mean anything. Those who perpetrate this sort of thing know that it frightens the ill-informed. They know that it misinforms, confuses and misleads those who do not understand the great history of the Australian Labour party in peace and war over a period of 60 years. They are the people who turn the election tide. Earlier, when I referred to Labour's implacable opposition to communism, I did not suggest that Labour men and women did not have to associate with Communists. They must do so. It is the only way in which they can keep the trade unions free of them. Labour men have to be with Communists in order to beat them. It is the only way to keep Australia free from Communist doctrines. Therefore we should not be attacked when we have to associate with them. As the political party representing, and speaking for, the workers in the mines, on the wharfs, in the workshops, on the farms and in the offices, our destiny is to rub shoulders with Communists. Of course we associate with them. The battle for the hearts and minds of workers, in political and industrial matters at any rate, is between the Australian Labour party and the Communist party - not between the Communist party and the Liberal party. Only this week the Sydney "Catholic Weekly ", which no one could accuse of being communistic, said in an editorial - >Communism is a problem for the Labour party to solve. Let us keep out of it and let them solve it. I am glad that it was said, and I wish that Catholic newspapers in other States would say the same thing. We might then have a different Australia. We would certainly have a different Labour party. I wish that our opponents could see that, and refrain from complicating our problems over communism. They certainly do not help. The Liberal party - I say this with all due respect - has no such responsibility. It is a party with very much more comfortable associations. It has not the great ideological problems that confront Labour. The Liberals belong to and support the status quo; we do not. If we did that we would fail miserably in our fight to keep Australia free from communism. If honorable senators feel that I am trying to educate them too much, or to preach to them too much, I assure them that I do so because I have been in the Labour movement for 30 years and no one knows better than I how workers react. I do not think any one would challenge that statement. The nation should not panic because Communists win positions in union ballots. In all parts of the democratic world you may see instances of thoroughly antiCommunist union memberships voting for union leaders who are Communists. It is a circumstance that people should hesitate to explain away by blaming Labour. Let me give some examples, and get down to particular cases. I might mention Parkinson, the Communist leader of the miners' federation, or Jim Healy, of the Waterside Workers Federation. Both men are regularly elected to their jobs by thoroughly Labour and anti-Communist union members. The political vote obtained by the Communist party in the mining districts of Cessnock and Kurri is almost negligible while the Labour vote is overwhelming. The same is true of the waterfront. If Healy were to run for West Sydney as a Communist candidate he would not save his deposit, but in a union election the same voters would put him into office with an overwhelming majority. A lifetime of experience in this field has helped me to provide the answer to this apparent anomaly. It is - as I said in the " Sydney Morning Herald " last week - that one must first understand how the worker ticks. It is the worker who is important - not the politician. Before the problem can be solved we have to understand how the worker thinks - not how **Senator McManus** or **Senator McKenna** thinks. You have to understand the fellow who swings a pick or shovel down a mine, or who works on a wharf. In my view, there is really nothing strange about his attitude. After all, only ten years ago we had the great trinity of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. That was a unity ticket if ever there was one! It was just as well that we had it, too, or the Japanese would have been here and there would have been no dinner next Friday! Consider the attitude of a mine worker who is swinging his pick under bad roofs, with bad air and the humidity around 80 per cent. In the next bord there is a Communist. You could not expect him to have the same venomous attitude towards Communists as have senators across the chamber. He sees nothing wrong with voting for a Communist. He might even be - I am serious about this - sorry for him. What he says is "Poor Jack ", or " Poor Joe ". Anyway, in Cessnock there are probably not a dozen real Communists. The Labour miner may see them in the hotel or at the races on Saturday, and they do not look anything like revolutionaries to him. I would not expect the residents of Toorak or of the North Shore to understand this, but I think it is important that members of Parliament should understand it. I particularly want the D.L.P. to understand it, because it is the failure of the members of that party to understand this that has caused so much confusion and trouble in our community to-day, particularly in the Labour party. The mine worker or the wharf labourer does not vote for a Communist because of his atheism. Not at all! Nor does he vote for a Communist because of his fanaticism for the revolution. He votes for the Communist, in my view, because generally, it will be found that the Communist has not any ambition other than for the revolution, and seeing that it will never come, nobody among the workers takes any notice of him - politically at any rate. I know that people who have bank balances and lots of shares and that sort of thing get a bit concerned about this, but I am talking about the average worker. That is what you have to understand. The same thing goes on in relation to the waterside workers. I put this point to **Senator McManus,** and I would say he has to work it out for himself. He has to ask himself - and so has his party - why, in West Sydney, the Maloneys, the Murphys, and the O'Reillys all vote for Danny Minogue at a Labour election - I would not like to count his majority - and then roll up for Jim Healy, a Communist, in the election of officers of the Waterside Workers Federation. Before **Senator McManus** is going to get anywhere, he must work that out. It is no use his telling the Maloneys, the Murphys and O'Reillys that they are all atheists. I do not know what they would do to him. Their voting for Communists has nothing to do with those things. If I know Jim Healy, he probably goes round the waterfront - as he does - not denying that he is a Communist, but apologizing for the fact and saying, "What does it matter that I am a poor hare-brained Communist? Give me a vote." And he gets votes! There is another point you must understand and if I am here long enough - you may not understand in one lesson - I think I will be able to make you understand. It is this: When a senator on the other side refers to a man in the Labour movement or in the trade union movement as a rightwinger - or the " Sydney Morning Herald " so refers to him - you are making votes for the Communist party, because no wharf labourer wants to be represented before his employers around the conciliation table or in a strike by fellows who are of the rightwing which, in the language of the workers, means in the boss's pocket. While you continue to do that, you will fail to solve the Communist problem in this country. You cannot solve it while you do that. If you get political advantage out of it, you have to examine that portion for yourself. I am not a .supporter of the Communists; I never have been and I never could be; but I think a lot of people in this country are unconsciously making Communists. There have been a lot of false propaganda, statements that are not true, and misrepresentations of the situation generally. My purpose in this Parliament is to try to alter that. I do not think it is communism so much that we have to worry about; it is the cure for communism. It is illogical to talk about communism; we must talk about the cure for it. We did set out in the Labour party, per medium of industrial group organization, to do just that in the trade union movement. I was the first man in Australia to move a resolution at a Labour conference forming an industrial group to fight communism, not the way **Senator McManus** wanted it fought - I say that with respect to him and to other people in Melbourne - but per medium of selling the idea of democratic socialism to the workers - not selling them some other ism, not stepping away from the problem, but keeping right up with it, and out-thinking and out-writing them and out-talking them on the job. But we failed. Why? I do not want to go too much into history at this stage, but I think there are a lot of people who have done things in the last five years in which they wish they had never been involved. I do not want to rake up the past. The facts are that, the industrial groups failed completely in Australia. In 1949, there was an. organization - a public relations organization - set up by the employers federation to examine the relationship of communism in the trade union movement. It chose ten unions. These matters do have something to do with the Budget, you know. As I said before, if we do not get peace in industry, if we do not get real sanity, we cannot get production, and we cannot talk about the things that we should be talking about, such as how to build Australia, and while men are defending themselves all the time from, the charge of being Communists, some union men were forced into association with the Communists. Why? Because they would not work with the groupers. The groupers have been robbed of their reputations, and the bulk of the group movement has been so discredited in the eyes of the workers, that in some cases it is not in the interests of Labour or the union to be with them. I am taking a risk in saying this, but as I said before I am saying what I believe, and I hope I am not misquoted. We are not allowing Communists to run on unity tickets. But I am not saying this is the cure; I am saying it because Labour's responsibility is to the whole of the people of Australia. We have to win the government, and if we are forced by weight of propaganda to make certain sacrifices to do that, and take risks, we will have to do it. But my personal view is that if on next Friday night, for instance, the waterside workers who are on a unity ticket are dealt with, such action will not necessarily bring a solution. What happens when they do? We probably hand the waterside workers over to the Communists, and no senator should think kindly about that. At the moment in the waterside workers union we have men who rub shoulders with the Communists and present our views to them. At least now we have some say in the running of the waterside union. When we expel our members, and they probably will be expelled, we do little to find a solution. When the Government and the newspapers mark men as associates of the Communist party and take action against them, often it is in the process of handing over the unions to the Communists. There is no room in our industrial set-up for a coalition between the Labour party and the Com munist party. The difficulty about unity tickets would not arise if there were sufficient tolerance in the community; if there were understanding about this great problem of communism and if the Government would say, as the " Catholic Weekly " said in. effect, " This is a Labour problem. Go to it, boys, and settle it. We know you are anti-Communist. Your methods are opposed to our methods which only make Communists." At the forthcoming election the Government will tab all Labour party candidates as associates of the Communist party yet, by their very actions, the Government forces will be taking the risk of building up communism on the Sydney waterfront. The industrial groups failed in every major union in which they were introduced. **Senator Spooner** knows the position. They even failed in the ironworkers union. That is an extraordinary statement to make, but in the classic case of the ironworkers union the Communists were not defeated by the industrial groups, so **Senator McManus** and his party cannot claim a victory in defence of groupism. The ironworkers put the Communist party out of the union per medium of the legislation introduced by the Chifley Government in 1949 - without the help of the industrial groups. That victory has been repeated since then. I do not say that there have not been victories against the Communists in the ironworkers union or in other unions. Honorable senators opposite may say that the Australian Railways Union is Communist-controlled, but I am referring to the industrial unions related to the economic situation in Australia. The industrial groups did not evict the Communists from the industrial unions in any instance. Honorable senators may say,. " That is a strange thing to say ", but it is strange only because the press has told untruths about the matter and has never presented the true situation to the people. As we know, the industrial groups failed because they committed the cardinal offence, the great error in judgment, of localizing their point of view to a single object - the defeat of communism. But communism cannot be defeated that way. It. can be defeated only by a broad policy which will bring security, happiness and comfort to the Australian) people. Communism is spreading: in Europe, without the aid of guns, without group methods and without ballots, but simply because it gives to every man, woman and child sufficient food and a feeling of security. In a slightly different degree, the same principle is being applied by the Communists in Australia. I have spent a lifetime trying to beat the Communist party, and I was sorry when my methods - they were largely my methods because I was one of the architects of the opposition to communism in New South Wales - were thrown out for the methods of people who knew nothing of the problem with which they had to deal. Although those people were genuine and sincere, genuineness and sincerity are not enough. Their methods were infantile, hence the trouble in the Labour party and the fact that the Liberal-Australian Country party Government is in office. If we had a Labour movement which was united on policy, strong, uninhibited and, might I use the term, " not whiteanted", the Labour party would be in office. However, I do not suggest that anybody has been insincere in this fight against communism. I believe that most people try to do what they think is best. I speak as a man who has been outside looking in, and as one who is in very strange surroundings: However, I hope, if I am spared, to be able to do a job in this chamber for Australia as a nation. Politically, our parliamentary system is the greatest thing in life. Our two-party system is the best form of democracy, and I will work always against small groups which do not believe in the policy of the whole and which set themselves up in a corner to dominate the government of the country That is wrong and undemocratic, and the Australian people should not stand for it Is it not a terrible thing that in this Senate there should be two or three people who can thwart the will of the Government, or the Opposition, in the interests of a minority point of view? The D.L.P., which broke away from the Labour party, and which used to be an industrial group, has a policy which was enunciated by Senaor Cole a few nights ago. That policy could not possibly be implemented. If I were seeking a name for the D.L.P. I should call it the " Defective Logic Party ". It is completely illogical. **Senator Cole** commenced his speech by saying, " I stand here in a dilemma ". I thought he was in a bigger dilemma when he sat down. He said, in effect, " *On the one* hand1 we have a government here which refuses justice to the people and refuses them a standard of living, but we have to support .that government because we disagree with the foreign policy of the Evatt Labour party ". That foreign policy, after all, is largely academic in this sense, if I understand foreign policy, that the major nations of the world implement and direct that policy. The Labour party lost hundreds of votes because it was stated that Soekarno was a Communist. Labour favoured Soekarno and suffered the Communist smear. Who is the Communist now - John Foster Dulles, because America is now sending guns to Soekarno? If we examine Labour's foreign policy - the infamous Hobart policy, as some people call it - we shall find that we have lived to see that policy adopted throughout the greater part of the world. I know that it has been made -good election fodder, but if we .are to make a new world we have to be brave and step into deep water. We cannot paddle around in the shallows all the time. The Labour party believes in stepping into that deep water. In conclusion, I wish to pay my respects to the man whom I succeed in this chamber, the late **Senator Ashley,** who was a man beloved of us all. I worked very closely with him; in fact, I wrote the first policy speech he made when he was trying to win the selection ballot in the Labour party - and that takes some doing because one must have the numbers in those ballots. Bill Ashley was a man of great generosity and kindness, and the Labour party can ill afford to lose him. If I can do for Australia what my predecessor did, and tried to do, then I will be carrying out my duty, I think, as most average Australians would want me to do. I thank the Senate for the hearing it has given me. In conformity with custom honorable senators did not interject during my speech. I am sorry they did not do so because it might have, helped a bit if they had. Sitting suspended from 5.46 to 8 p.m. {: #subdebate-11-0-s3 .speaker-KT8} ##### Senator McCALLUM:
New South Wales -- I intended to speak only on the Budget, but as we have just heard the maiden speech of a new senator, I should first like to congratulate him on the temperate way in which he stated his case and the clarity with which he expressed his opinions, but I am afraid that I must make one or two comments on his statement. Apparently it was an " Apologia pro Vita Sua " - a justification of his life and work in the Labour party. I am afraid it would be too much to expect the rest of us to agree to his thesis. Apparently he thinks that if only other people outside the Australian Labour party would cease talking about communism and would cease to attack members of the Labour party for their association with Communists, the Communist movement would cease. I protest, **Mr. Deputy .President,** against the interruptions by **Senator Cooke.** May I ask you, **Sir, to** say whether I have the floor or not? It is intolerable that when one begins to make a statement one gets, not an interjection, but a continuous running speech, as though the honorable senator had the floor. That is utterly intolerable in this chamber. It might be permissible in another place and it might be permissible in a Labour conference, but in the Senate of the Commonwealth I take it that a person has a right, and a duty, to develop a thesis. I intend to discuss, dissect and criticize a thesis that was put to us this afternoon. I do not think the new senator - **Senator Ormonde** - needs the clumsy, elephantine support of **Senator Cooke.** I would say that in one speech he has shown himself much more capable of debating in this chamber than has **Senator Cooke** in all the speeches I have ever heard him make. **His** thesis is quite unacceptable. It is true that the Labour party in its early days was a native product and was very barely influenced by continental socialism or even English socialism. There were a few people who called themselves Marxists; there were a few Fabian socialists like William Holman, who studied Shaw, Webb and other people in England, but in general the Labour party was a native product and existed to right certain definite wrongs that existed in this country. Now most of that work is completed. But after 1916, when there was a great division in the party on defence and foreign policy, new forces from the Continent came in and the Labour movement has never got rid of them. I do not doubt the sincerity of **Senator Ormonde,** who said that he had his own method of combating these forces, but it is simply not true that they are harmless and that all that the rest of us have to do is leave them alone. In the twenties, as everybody knows, there was a great conference in which the objective of the Labour party was changed, and it was changed very largely to suit the people who were absorbing the ideology that came from Russia. {: .speaker-JQN} ##### Senator Cooke: -- When you left the party. {: .speaker-KT8} ##### Senator McCALLUM: -- Since then there has been a continual struggle. There have been people who have attempted to make the socialist party in Australia an ally of communism. That is beyond doubt. I will give the honorable senators one instance. In the twenties and thirties, I was, as **Senator Cooke** quite unnecessarily reminds me - as though it were something I have denied and am ashamed of - a member of the A.L.P. During the whole of that time nobody suspected men like Scullin, Forgan Smith or Philip Collier, the Premier of Western Australia, of being Communists, but people did suspect Jock Garden of being a Communist. In New South Wales during the twenties and thirties, and right up to the time that he ended his career in this Parliament, Jock Garden was suspected of being a Communist, and it is believed that he was the liaison officer between the Communist party and the Australian Labour party. I know perfectly well the key place that he had in New South Wales because I attended as a delegate two conferences of the Australian Labour party. Jock Garden was the key man who represented what was then the New South Wales Labour party. He was the party's delegate at the conferences, and his whole tone was that of a dictatorial Communist. Those are the things that have to be explained away. It is idle to say that communism would cease if only we ceased to pretend it was there. **Senator Ormonde** said that foreign policy was largely academic. It is not. Our foreign policy is the most important part of our policy to-day. The only alternative to the policy we are following is a policy which would, instead of accepting the British Commonwealth, the European nations and the United States as allies, accept Russia and Communist China as allies. That is a real issue in foreign politics. Therefore, you cannot rule communism out of it. There is just one other thing I wish to say in reply to **Senator Ormonde.** I do not think that I or any one else on this side of the chamber needs the honorable senator to tell us how the worker ticks. The idea that the worker is a separate creature, an individual who is not an ordinary Australian, is one which is foreign to the point of view of the average Australian citizen. When I was a boy, the man who was working with his hands was no stranger to me. I spent a large part of my leisure in a coach-builder's shop. There were eight men working there. My father and his brother were the proprietors, but they worked as hard as, or harder than any one else there. They were not mere entrepreneurs. They were capitalists in that they supplied what capital the institution had, but everybody in the shop worked on a level of equality. I talked to what is called this strange being, the worker, then. From the time of my earliest years I have known the worker as well as anybody in this chamber. Apart from that, I spent some of the best years of my life in the first A.I.F. - in the ranks. And if you did not get to know the worker then, you would never get to know him. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator Hendrickson: -- And in the Labour party. {: .speaker-KT8} ##### Senator McCALLUM: -- No. In the Labour party I met capitalists like **Senator Hendrickson,** although I admit that I did meet a few workers there. Now I wish to come to the Budget itself. I would say that the real trouble between the Communists and the Labour party is that both are competing for the evershrinking number of votes that can be determined by class consciousness, because the Australian, whatever kind of work he does, is not class-conscious in the way that the Marxian and Communist theory presupposes. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator Hendrickson: -- We compete for them, but you get them. That is why you are here. Without them you would not be here. {: .speaker-KT8} ##### Senator McCALLUM: -- I was waiting to lel **Senator Hendrickson** finish his speech. I wish to compliment the Treasurer **(Sir Arthur Fadden)** on this, his last Budget. Few men in public life have worked so strenuously and acted so courageously as **Sir Arthur** Fadden. I believe that every one of his budgets has been a matter of conscience. No single Budget has been a mere vote-catching Budget. This Budget exactly suits the economy of the day. In fact, the Budget that was presented last year would have come much closer to being a vote-catching Budget than does this one. Last year, when we had plenty of time before an election and there was not the need to reduce taxation from the viewpoint of catching votes, we did reduce it and we made many of the changes that honorable senators opposite are suggesting we should make now. The effect of the concessions we made last year is now being felt, and we cannot take a further step in that direction at this moment. This is one of the most imaginative Budgets that have ever been produced. 1 simply cannot understand the viewpoint of those who describe it as being dull. This is a Budget of the new type. We are now budgeting for the new type of treasury finance that was talked about 28 years ago but which no government was able to carry out successfully. I am not criticizing either the Scullin Government or the Lyons Government because they were not able to adopt it successfully. When all is said and done, orthodox finance up to that time was fairly clear-cut. It was believed that you should always balance your Budget, that if expenditure became too great you should reduce it, and that if revenue was too small you should increase it. At about that time a number of very thoughtful people, notably the economist Keynes, were saying that that was not the way to meet a crisis, and gradually by experimentation in the United States and other countries a new technique was worked out. Now **Sir Arthur** Fadden and the Cabinet are applying that technique, and we are supporting him. Just imagine what would have happened if we had approached the present situation in the spirit in which the governments of most countries approached finance in. the time of the great depression and if we had reduced expenditure and increased taxation. Even Lang increased taxation. After saying that he intended to abolish the 3d. in the £1 wages tax, he increased it to ls. He was in a desperate plight, and I do not blame him. He felt he could do nothing else. But those days have gone. I can- understand the resentment and the feeling, of shame of many, honorable senators opposite because it was not the party of which they, are members that successfully tried this revolutionary method of finance but that it was adopted by the parties that they are pleased to call reactionary, conservative and so forth - the Liberal party and the Australian Country party. We have budgeted for a deficit, which is to be filled with treasury-bills. Those treasury-bills are both a short-term loan and something which puts currency into the country so that wages need not be reduced and so that demand may be kept up. That is a revolutionary concept. I know it was done in war-time, but in wartime you had a patriotic feeling, all kinds of controls and the propaganda machinery behind you. But we are doing it in peacetime. That is the essence of the Budget, and it is really the only thing that counts. I am amazed at the fact that in both Houses of the Parliament so few people have applied their minds to that point. The Budget has been criticized as though it were a balanced Budget. If it were a balanced Budget, it would be right to come forward and say, " You should reduce this piece of taxation. You should increase that social service benefit." But, when you have acknowledged an enormous debt of £112,000,000, when you are filling it with a> temporary loan - that is all treasury-bills are - and you are using that temporary loan to keep people in employment, to keep demand going, and to prevent the slump from coming, you are doing something that is revolutionary and all the other things are subsidiary. We are able to have recourse to deficit finance for only two reasons. First, we have faith in the future. We cannot live on debt. If we attempted to do that, we would' be like the old governments that used paper money of the bad old kind and spent it. But we are not doing that. We are staking all this against an increase of productivity in the future, an increase in our exports, and a rise in prices. We are able to budget for a deficit only because we have in the Treasury, in the Commonwealth Parliament and in the advisers that we have outside - people who can calculate the exact point to which we can go. Treasury finance is highly dangerous. To take it' too far: is to take a terrible, risk. When people come forward at a time like the present and say, " You must reduce taxation and you must raise social service benefits ", I wonder whether they know what they are talking about. I do not pretend to be able to ascertain the precise point at which you can stop this measure of debt, but I am prepared to accept the verdict given by experts and checked by other experts. I know that if you go too far you start inflation again. Then you do the very thing that you are attempting to stop. The only criticism that has been offered in this chamber and. in another place has been vague and general. The Leader of the Opposition in the other place suggested that it was our fault that the farmers' income was down. He said that categorically. But nothing could be less true, because nothing that this Government has done could affect the price of wool or of wheat overseas. Nothing that it has done could affect, the seasons. Farm income is down because of economic laws working overseas and natural laws working here. Some one has suggested that we should give more to the pensioners. That, of course, is a perpetual problem and is one that this Government has never shirked. In every Budget some concession has been made to make the lot of the pensioner easier. This time, we have limited it to those who need it most. In this the hour of crisis, when everybody must be prepared for something worse, it is only those most in need of help who should get it. It has been said that the States are not getting enough. That is another problem that is with us, but I do not think the Opposition is doing anything to help to solve it. I should like to see some kind of final solution to this question of Federal and State finance. I have never liked the existing system, but it is there. I believe that four of the States do not want it to be altered, and all we can do is to make the best of it. But I hope that eventually the Constitution will be amended so that adjustments of finance as between the Commonwealth and the States will be fairly applied at all times. But this Government certainly has not given the States less; indeed, it has given them more. When the Commonwealth itself is incurring this huge deficit, it is ridiculous to expect that we should do more for the States. What- serious criticism is there of the Budget? Does any honorable senator opposite say that we should drastically reduce taxation? It is easy to select a particular form of taxation and say that it is a bad tax and that it should be altered. During previous budget debates I have criticized the pay-roll tax. I do not like it. It increases costs and is inflationary. But this is not the time to throw away a large measure of taxation, because, if you do, either you must reduce expenditure or you must tax something else. Although there is that objection to pay-roll tax, I do not know of any tax to which some serious objection cannot be taken. Two really sound criteria of taxation have been put forward by people who have tried to base it on a principle. One is that you should make everybody pay according to his means. So we have income tax. The other is, as someone has said cynically, that you should pluck the goose with the least possible squeal - that is, you should have a tax which is simple, easy to collect, and which cannot be evaded. I am afraid that most of the indirect taxes fall into the second category, and there is some objection to them all. Nevertheless, I do not withdraw anything I have said against pay-roll tax. If this were a balanced budget and if this were a time when taxation could be reduced or altered, I would still urge that an alteration be made in respect of pay-roll tax; but in the face of an enormous deficit and this great issue of treasury-bills, I think the Government is wise to leave the taxation position as it is. There is one matter of policy on which we could perhaps reduce expenditure. We could reduce migration. I have given years of study to migration. I have been in constant touch with the Department of Immigration and in constant touch with migrants. I have discussed the matter with individuals and in party rooms, and I have come to the conclusion that it is our duty to keep- the level of migration as high as we possibly can. If, because of migration, we found we were being seriously incommoded, we might have to reduce it, but. the great objection to reducing the intake of migrants is that the supplies oversea might dry up, and all the agents that we had distributed for collecting purposes might go away. We might- break the magnificent machine that has- been built up. I want to pay the highest possible witness to the efficiency and the humanity of that machine. I believe that all the Ministers for Immigration have been good ones, whether from the other side of the Parliament or from our side. I believe, too, that the quality of the officials administering the immigration policy is steadily growing. The officials understand the problems that are involved. The first letter that I wrote to any Minister was about a migrant, and the last letter I wrote also was about a migrant. I have been doing that ever since I came here. Whereas, when I came here, I sometimes felt that I had to put a case very strongly in order to overcome official opposition, now I feel that my case is fully understood as soon as I place it. When it comes to humanity, no department is better than the Department of Immigration. We have admitted to this country a number of people whose net contribution has been valueless, but we have admitted them because they are the mothers, the fathers or the close relatives of the working people we have admitted. I fully approve of that policy, but we have to be very careful to see that the greater number of those who come are useful, not only economically but also as citizens. I feel that we have a limited time in which to make this country a sound1 country. Most of us here began our lives with the full protection of the British Empire and the British Navy, but those days have gone. We know that we must seek our safety elsewhere, and the final source of our safety must be a strong, capable population in this country. We must have the equipment, the plant, and the industry that can supply the background for the defence effort. We have to have the men and women whom we can trust. Failing that, there is very little hope for the future. I have said before in this chamber, and I do not want to be a bore about it, that I get tired- of hearing people say that we are part of Asia. Before we became a federation, Edmund Barton, the leader of the federal movement, one night at a little meeting-' at Ashfield said, " For the first time in history we have a nation for a continent and a continent for a nation ". U grew up in the belief that that was our destiny and' I will never depart from that belief. While we wish to be friendly with all the world, I say emphatically that we are the child of European civilization and that it is our duty to maintain the standards that we have inherited from Europe. For that reason, migration should go on at the highest possible figure, and I think that the figure that has been fixed for this year is not too high. What, **Sir, is** our general position? We are nearer stability than are most countries. The great United States of America, with all its wonderful plant and techniques, and its great flow of wealth, is not in nearly as happy a position as we are. We are in a happier position than most of the countries of Europe, and we certainly are in a happier position than the countries of Asia and Africa. We have a high standard of living, and it is continuing to improve. It is useless for people to tell men, who are living in better homes than they ever knew before, that they are being oppressed. They know that they are not being oppressed. While our social services could be improved, they are much better and in a much sounder position than is the case with most other countries. Therefore, what have we to fear? I can quite understand the criticism of honorable senators opposite. It is their duty to criticize, and they possibly wish that we had produced something worse. I do not suppose that whatever we produced they would praise it. But if we analyse all the criticism in both Houses it boils down to a few little items here and there that might possibly have been done differently. If we take the whole Budget, however, I think we will find that it is the kind of Budget that any responsible government would have brought down at this time. This is a time, **Mr. President,** when one likes to make a few constructive suggestions. Such a suggestion was made recently in another place by the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Bury).** It was a suggestion which I am not competent to criticize, but I accept, since he understands these matters, that there was some basis for it. There is, of course, an International Bank, and we have our own bank. The honorable member proposed that there be a British Commonwealth bank, in which all the members of the Commonwealth should become partners, so that if it should happen that one of the partners was experi encing bad times and needed assistance it could get assistance from the bank. I think that that is very sound, but I should like to carry the suggestion a little further. Now that the old conception of empire has gone, we have not merely to pay lip service to the British Commonwealth, or to think of it as something that defies analysis and that somehow keeps going when, according to all the general rules it ought to be dead, but we have to make it a living thing. The only way in which we can do that is by making it a partnership. We need partners elsewhere, of course. We need to be friendly with everybody; but the people who speak our language, who have our traditions and whose general way of life is like ours, are those with whom we can co-operate most easily. I would like to see not only a bank for the Commonwealth but a large number of other institutions for enriching our national life here and also that of the other members of the Commonwealth. I include all of them. We know that because of differences in tradition, in temperament and in history, it is easier for us to cooperate with the people of New Zealand and Great Britain than, perhaps, it is with the people of the West Indies, to take one example, but nevertheless the people of the West Indies are in the British tradition. They are of different races; there are people of European descent, people of Carib descent, and people of negro descent. But the West Indies is among the oldest of the British colonies and its people have worked out a way of life that is fundamentally British. I should like to see our meeting of parliamentary representatives a much more important and vital gathering than it has been. I should also like to see more frequent meetings of the Parliamentary Union. I would like to see the things that our delegates have discussed in India and other places discussed amongst us here, so that the British Parliamentary Association might become a real and vital link in the chain holding together all the peoples who accept the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth. {: #subdebate-11-0-s4 .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE:
Tasmania -- Before addressing myself to the Budget, I should like to congratulate **Senator Ormonde** upon his delivery of an excellent maiden speech. I appreciate what an ordeal it is for any member of any parliamentary chamber to deliver a maiden speech, and I compliment **Senator Ormonde** upon his outstanding effort. I was keenly interested in several of the points which **Senator Ormonde** made. One matter with which I thought he dealt very ably related to trade unionists coming into contact with Communists within the trade union movement. I agree with what he said. It is true that in the trade union movement are supporters of all schools of political thought. I know that there are good Labour party supporters in the trade union movement. I know, too, that there are also supporters of the Liberal party and of the Communist party. There are also supporters of the D.L.P. Whether that is good, bad or indifferent is entirely a matter for those who support it, but I do not think it is to their benefit to support such a party. {: .speaker-K6W} ##### Senator Cole: -- It would not be if you had anything to do with it. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- We expected interruptions from you. {: .speaker-K5K} ##### Senator Scott: -- And you got them. Now you need not feel disappointed. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- I am not disappointed, but I should certainly be disappointed if you did not interrupt. {: .speaker-K5K} ##### Senator Scott: -- That is why I interjected. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- We must have interjections from **Senator Scott,** otherwise we should not feel that we were in the Senate. {: .speaker-K8N} ##### Senator Toohey: -- But they are not very intelligent interjections, usually. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- They are not intelligent, but we do accept them because we realise they come from **Senator Scott.** I fail to see how **Senator McCallum** could congratulate the Treasurer **(Sir Arthur Fadden)** upon this Budget. The only thing I feel that the Treasurer is to be congratulated for is the fact that this is the last budget he will bring before the Parliament. I think he is doing a very good job by getting out of politics after presenting a budget such as the one he has presented on this occasion. I am not alone in that respect; it is the feeling of a considerable number of people throughout Australia. We all feel that **Sir Arthur** Fadden is doing right in getting out after presenting a Budget such as this, and how any member of the Government could support this thing that the Treasurer has called the Budget for 1958-59 is beyond my comprehension, especially when we realize that it proposes to give nothing to the needy. {: .speaker-K8N} ##### Senator Toohey: -- **Senator Scott** did all right. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- Yes, **Senator Scott** did all right. It is proposed to give some concessions to the primary producers, and I think they are warranted. {: .speaker-JQY} ##### Senator Courtice: -- But there is nothing for the dairyman. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- There is not so much for the dairyman, but some concessions are proposed for primary producers, and they are warranted. We appreciate that if the primary producer is having a good season more work is created in the community and, generally speaking, the country is fairly prosperous. Employment is usually high in those times. But I feel that the Budget now before us is nothing more nor less than a defeatist Budget. It is an insult to the intelligence of the electors, particularly those who are in receipt of social service benefits. Speaking of social services, I think it is appropriate now to examine the unemployment position in Australia. In doing so, I should like to refer first to a letter which I received recently, not in my capacity as a member of the Senate, but in another capacity, from the Building Workers Industrial Union of Australia, Tasmanian Branch, seeking information as to the possibility of employment in the building industry. Amongst other things, that letter says - >At the time of writing, we only have one carpenter out of work in Hobart. That is very good, but the letter goes on to state that there are over 30 out of work in the Launceston area and 56 are either out of work or have left the trade in the Devonport and Burnie areas, and that it is estimated that throughout the whole of Tasmania there are 100 carpenters out of work. The letter states that compared with the peak period of 1951, there are now 213 fewer employees in the building industry and that 466 working contractors and subcontractors have left the industry. One matter that concerns me greatly relates to the prospects for employment of apprentice carpenters. The letter which I received from the Building Workers Industrial Union points out that in Hobart there are six boys waiting to be apprenticed who are unable to obtain employment in the industry. It states also that many lads have been placed in other industries because no opportunities for apprenticeship have been available to them in the building industry. The letters asks what the position will be at the end of the year and points out that 2,479 employees and employers have been forced out of the industry but, as they have not left the State and have gone into other industries, their action has created unemployment in those other industries. The writer says - >There is no need for us to point out that this State needs homes, schools, hospitals, etc., but the Menzies' Government's policy is crippling the building industry. I think most of us will agree with that description of the Government's policy. Since receiving that letter from the Building Workers Industrial Union I noticed in the press a report from the Launceston sub.branch of ;that union stating that there are now some 58 members of that sub-branch Unemployed in the Launceston area. .It is significant to note that in another place on 20th July, 'the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt)** admitted in reply to a question by **Dr. Evatt** that the actual number of unemployed was probably substantially higher than the number registered for employment. That is the true position. For instance, a considerable number of men are not registered for the unemployment benefit because they do not quite qualify for it. There has been a considerable amount of unemployment on the Hobart waterfront since the end of the fruit season. Although I shall not weary the Senate with daily figures, honorable senators should be interested in the weekly statistics. For the week commencing 2nd June, 1958, there were 361 men unemployed. For the week commencing 9th June, there were 1,789 unemployed and for the week commencing 1 6th June, 1,111. For the week commencing 23rd June, the number was only 27, but in the following week it jumped to 2,273. At 7th July it was 1,051; 14th July, 1,314; 21st July, 502; 28th July, 882; 4th August, 1,363; 11th August, 2,214; and 18th August, 1,369 - a total for the period 2nd June to 23rd August of 14,256 men unemployed on the Hobart waterfront. {: .speaker-JZI} ##### Senator O'sullivan: -- Not counting the Hurseys. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- If the honorable senator wants to hear something about the Hurseys I can tell him, but as the matter is sub judice I do not propose to discuss it at this time. I am surprised to hear such an interjection from the Attorney-General, who should know better than to intrude a matter that is sub judice. {: .speaker-JZI} ##### Senator O'sullivan: -- I was inquiring about the numbers, not the merits. {: .speaker-K8N} ##### Senator Toohey: -- He was trying to be funny. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- If he was, he failed dismally. While these men were unemployed they received attendance money and thus could not obtain unemployment benefit. As a result, their standard cif living was reduced. {: .speaker-K6W} ##### Senator Cole: -- What was their average wage over the year? {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- If **Senator Cole** wants to find that out he has access to the necessary figures. A man may earn £20 or £22 one week, but if he is on attendance money next week :his living standard must fall. {: .speaker-K6W} ##### Senator Cole: -- What was the average wage paid throughout -the year? {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- **Senator Cole** should check that up for himself and not interrupt. {: .speaker-K6W} ##### Senator Cole: -- You are not being logical. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- If my logic is no better than that revealed in your policy speech last week I really have something to learn. It was the worst speech I have ever heard here, but exactly what one would expect from a member of the D.L.P., especially the leader of the party. I repeat, unemployment is making itself felt, in Tasmania especially. {: .speaker-K5K} ##### Senator Scott: -- Is it as bad yet as it was in 1949? {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- If the honorable senator wishes to find that out he should look up the figures himself. I am led to believe that fish canneries at Margate, Dunalley and Bridport have been obliged to close as a result of the importation of Japanese fish. According to latest reports the Government will take over the canneries, or at least assist them. Apparently the Government intends to employ a certain number of men in those factories so that the fishermen will have an opportunity to dispose of their catch. I have here the latest unemployment figures released by the Department of Labour and National Service. As at the end of July 1958, 1.6 per cent, of the total work force of about 4,000,000 was unemployed. At 2nd August the actual number receiving the unemployment benefit totalled 29,908, an increase of 490 since 28th June. The number of unemployed males rose by 292, and the number of unemployed females by 198. The position in Tasmania is very bad, because there has since been a further increase of 110 in the number of persons receiving the unemployment, benefit. {: .speaker-KNU} ##### Senator Hannan: -- Was- that the week when you and Jim Healy were in Melbourne? {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- I rather expected that remark to come from the D;L.P., but as **Senator Hannan** is in its pocket it is not surprising that it should have come from him instead. {: .speaker-KNU} ##### Senator Hannan: -- That hurt, didn't it! {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- It did not. I have nothing to hide, so far as speaking on the Melbourne, waterfront is concerned. I admit it quite openly. {: .speaker-KNU} ##### Senator Hannan: -- It is not much good doing anything else when your photograph has been in the newspaper. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- I have nothing to hide. But there is no point in explaining the situation to **Senator Hannan** because he is incapable of understanding it. {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator Mattner: -- It must be a weak explanation. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- **Senator Hannan** would not have the intelligence to understand it. A trade union official has a right to speak at any trade union meeting. There is apparently a move afoot to exploit unemployed persons in Tasmania. I am rather surprised that **Senator Cole** did not refer to this matter because it arose in his own district. The Devonport and Kentish councils have suggested that a road be built to the top of Mount Roland, and that unemployed persons should be employed on the project in order to cut out their social service benefits. That is getting back to 1929 and the early 1930's- {: .speaker-JYY} ##### Senator O'Flaherty: -- When they chipped grass. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- That is quite true. {: .speaker-K6W} ##### Senator Cole: -- How was the Mount Wellington road built? {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- You should know. In my opinion, more money should be made available for the building of homes. I referred a few moments ago to the number of tradesmen who have left the building industry. **Senator Anderson** stated that 74,333 homes were constructed in 1957-58, being an increase of 8.6 per cent, on the number built in the previous year. I have not checked those figures, but I accept them as correct. Although the honorable senator congratulated the Government on the number of homes that were built during 1957-58, he was very careful to avoid' quoting the figures for previous years. In- 1952-53, 77,538 homes were built, or some 3,200 more than in 1957-58; in 1953-54; 1,065 more homes were built; and in 1954-55. 5,500 more homes were built than in 1957-58. In 1955-56 there were 1,200 more homes built than in 1957-58. I am sure that any one who has taken the trouble to ascertain the number of marriages that occurred in Australia in the year ended' 3 1st December, 1957, will realize that too few homes were built in 1957-58. I mentioned the figure for that year a few moments ago. There were 73,696 marriages in 1957. Indeed, there were in that year very few more homes built than the number of marriages. {: .speaker-KOW} ##### Senator Henty: -- There would also be a number of deaths. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- Very true, but no account has been taken of the clearing of' slum areas or of the number of married, migrants who came to Australia. Therefore, the number of homes built in 1957-58 would be sufficient only for the couples who married, and for the married migrants who came to Australia during the year. While- I am directing my attention to housing, I should like to refer to several remarks that were made by Professor Downing in his talk to the housing conference of the Australian Council of Trade Unions that was held in Melbourne on 1st July. Professor Downing stated that, in the peak year, 118,500 workers were employed in the building industry. The number now so employed is 112,000. Many workers have left the industry. Professor Downing also stated that there is a lag in housing at the present time - this appears to be the figure that is acknowledged not only by Professor Downing but also by other authorities - of about 100,000 houses. He also made out a very strong case for the reduction of mortgage interest rates, stating that a reduction of the interest rate by 1 per cent, would bring about a reduction of about 10s. a week in the rental of homes constructed by various governments. Professor Copland, of course quite naturally came in for a lot of criticism from supporters of the Government on the very progressive policy that he advocated at the conference that the Government should adopt. He stated that our population is growing at a rate approaching *2i* per cent, per annum and that an important factor to keep in mind is that there will be a proportionately greater increase in the number of people who need homes during the next ten years. With an increase of the marriageable age group the rate of demand for housing will increase rapidly and will probably reach an annual figure of about 65,000 in 1965 and approach 80,000 by about 1970. That must give us and the Government scope for thought. {: .speaker-K6W} ##### Senator Cole: -- If you can think! {: .speaker-K6P} ##### Senator Brown: -- Do not be a pain in the neck. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- I thank **Senator Brown** for his very apt interjection. I desire now to refer to shipping, particularly in relation to Tasmanian ports. The Mersey valley fruit growers have tried for some years to get an overseas boat to call at Devonport to lift the apple crop to overseas markets. A committee was set up, composed of representatives of the Tasmanian Farmers Federation, the Waterside Workers Federation, the Devonport Chamber of Commerce and the Marine Board. This committee made representations for a ship to call at Devonport to lift the 1958 apple crop, but unfortunately its efforts were unsuccessful. The committee sought only one ship to take the fruit to the United Kingdom. It is significant to note that about 100,000 cases of fruit are transported annually from the Devonport district to Beauty Point for ship ment overseas. The distance from Devonport to Beauty Point is about 50 miles, and as the connecting road has a very rough surface it takes about two and a half hours for the motor trucks to make the journey. Naturally, this rough trip has a detrimental effect on the fruit for export. Freight of approximately ls. 4d. a case is charged for conveyance of fruit from the Devonport district to Beauty Point. If the growers in the Mersey valley could ship their fruit from Devonport, the freight payable would be only about 4d. a case, thus enabling a saving of about a shilling a case on fruit for shipment. In the main, the orchards in the Mersey valley are situated only from about four to eight miles from Devonport. I understand that the largest shipment of apples to be despatched from that port is in the vicinity of 30,000 cases. In 1956 about 20 per cent, of the apples shipped from Beauty Point also came from the Mersey valley. In the Devonport area cool storage facilities exist for about 60,000 cases of apples. The port itself can accommodate ships of a reasonable size, the depth of water at the river entrance being 21 ft. 3 in., the channel to the wharfs 22 feet, the swinging basin 21 feet, and the berth used by overseas ships 26 feet. Electric power is available to work the winches of the ships, and in addition there are ample telephones, sheds and facilities for handling fruit on pallets. I refer now to the increase of £15 in the income tax concession allowed to persons living in zone B, which covers the west coast of Tasmania. Whilst no doubt the increase will be appreciated by persons living in that area, I feel that the amount is far too small, particularly when one considers the climatic conditions with which they have to contend. For instance, over the last 30 years the average rainfall has been 101.34 inches. In addition, snowfalls are the heaviest in Tasmania, the area is very isolated, travelling facilities are particularly lacking, and considerable expenditure is entailed in providing waterproof clothing, boots and so on for men, women and children. The amount of such expenditure allowed as a tax deduction is also far too small. Quite naturally, because of the cold and wet climate, a larger amount of money must be spent on fuel for the home than in other parts of Tasmania. The majority of the people living in that zone are employed in a large developmental mine, the product of which is essential to the economy, not only of Tasmania, but also of the Commonwealth itself. Having regard to these factors the allowance is totally inadequate. With regard to the 10s. per week that the Government proposes to allow pensioners as a supplementary rent allowance, I wish to mention a case that came to my notice very recently of a lady who was unfortunate enough to lose her husband who had served in two world wars. That lady now receives a repatriation pension of 7s. 9d. a week. Because she is not entirely dependent on her widow's pension, she will not be able to avail herself of the proposed allowance. I feel that many similar cases must exist in the community, and the Government should give special attention to the question of at least augmenting the 7s. 9d. a week to bring it up to the proposed allowance of 10s. a week. Some landlords have already taken advantage of the Government's proposal. I know one lady who has received notification that her rent will be increased by 7s. 6d. a week as from 29th September. In his communication the landlord said he trusted that the increase in rent " will not occasion you any financial stress ", and he went on to point out that the Federal Government would be supplementing her pension to the extent of 10s. a week. When I was speaking on the subject of unemployment a few minutes ago **Senator Scott** mentioned the number of unemployed in 1949. When this Government came to power in that year child endowment was 10s. a week for the second and subsequent children. At that time the basic wage, based on the six capital cities formula, was £6 9s. a week. In May, 1958, the basic wage was £13 ls. a week, having more than doubled in nine years. If we apply to child endowment the same percentage increase as has taken place in the basic wage since 1949, child endowment for the first child should be at least 10s. a week, and for the second and subsequent children at least £1 a week, but all this Government has done is to provide child endowment of 5s. a week for the first child. Last Wednesday, **Senator Henty,** in referring to political levies, tried to throw the whole matter into the lap of the Opposition by saying that the Labour party is supporting the principle of compulsory political levies. {: .speaker-KNU} ##### Senator Hannan: -- Is it not? {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- No it is not. You go to Hobart and tell Jim Colraine what you think. I am telling this chamber that the Labour party never introduced a compulsory political levy. {: .speaker-KNU} ##### Senator Hannan: -- Why does it not repudiate the levy in Hobart? {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- I thank the honorable senator for his interjection. The Labour party had absolutely nothing to do with the political levy that was struck in Hobart, Admittedly it was struck by an organization that is affiliated with the Labour party, but the Labour party had nothing to do with the striking of that levy. The ACTING **DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Anderson).** - Order! The subject of political levies in Hobart is at present before the Supreme Court in that State, and therefore is sub judice. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- I did not intend to go - any further on that point, which was introduced as the result of an interjection. In connexion with levies generally, I refer to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, which makes provision for the striking of levies by an industrial organization. Part VIII. of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, Section 132, provides that both employee and employer organizations can be registered under that act. Having obtained registration under the act, an organization - be it an employee or employer organization - has the right to register its rules. In the rules of most industrial organizations provision is made for the striking of a levy, and the rules do not state whether the levy has to be for political or industrial purposes. Section 143 (1.) (e) refers specifically to levies and provides that if an organization does not register its rules so that it can make provision for the collecting of subscriptions and the collecting of levies, it can be deregistered. Section 148 of the act also makes provision that - >All fines fees levies or dues payable to an organization by any member thereof under its rules may, in so far as they are owing for any period of membership subsequent to the registration of the organization, be sued . . . lt is clear from that legislation that an industrial organization can strike levies. In view of the wording of the act and of the number of amendments that have been made to it since it was introduced in 1904, surely the judges who sit in the Arbitration Court, and the legislators of this country, must have realized that the provision for the striking of levies for a particular purpose would have been noticed by members of the trade union movement. If we study the history of the industrial movement we find that in the earlier years industrialists even paid the salaries of their representatives in Parliament. They levied themselves to do so. I know that occurred on the west coast of Tasmania. Men on the mining fields levied themselves so that they could have their representatives in the Tasmanian Parliament. Whether the same policy was adopted in relation to the Commonwealth Parliament, I do not know. Let me finish on this note: When a person joins an organization, he agrees to abide by the rules of that organization. First of all, he makes application for membership and in doing so agrees to abide by the rules. In the rules of every industrial organization there is provision for the striking of levies. Therefore, if a man after being accepted for membership of an organization, pays his contribution but then refuses to pay a levy because it has been struck for a particular purpose, in my opinion he should get out of the organization. {: .speaker-K5K} ##### Senator Scott: -- If he does, he will not have a job. {: .speaker-K19} ##### Senator POKE: -- That is up to him. Whether he has a job or not, if he is not prepared to obey the rules, he should get out. If the honorable senator, or any other honorable senator, is .not prepared to obey the rules or Standing Orders of this Parliament, he will find himself outside. That is where any man should be if he is not prepared to abide by the rules or regulations of his organization. **Sir, I** cannot find suitable words to condemn this Budget. The only words I can think of would not be .printable. {: #subdebate-11-0-s5 .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER:
South Australia -- I rise with a great deal of pleasure to support the motion moved by the .Minister for National Development **(Senator** Spooner) that the Estimates and Budget Papers 1958-59 be printed. I do that because I believe these Budget Papers deal with a Budget that is both sound and responsible. For those reasons I oppose the amendment moved by **Senator Kennelly,** who moved that - >At the end of motion add the following words, viz.: - "But that the Senate is of opinion that their provisions inflict grave injustices on the States and on many sections of the Australian people - especially the family unit, and that they make no contribution to correcting seriously adverse trends in the Australian economy ". The honorable senator did not produce one constructive argument to support his amendment. This is the eleventh Budget that the Treasurer **(Sir Arthur Fadden)** has submitted to the Parliament. I think it is safe to say that every Budget that he has presented has been sound financially and has been presented with the sole purpose of ensuring that the advancement and development of Australia will proceed on an even keel. I wish also to compliment **Sir Arthur** Fadden on the great work that he has done as a member of this Parliament since he first graced the House of Representatives. I am sure that whatever out political opinions may be, when he retires, as he has said he will do on 22nd November, he will carry away with him the best wishes of each and every member of the Parliament. I should like also to comment briefly on the maiden speech delivered this afternoon by **Senator Ormonde.** I can understand how nervous even an experienced man like **Senator Ormonde** is when he first rises to speak in this chamber. The honorable senator is not alone in his feelings of nervousness; it is something that only those who have delivered a maiden speech in this place can appreciate. Perhaps on some future occasion I shall have something to say about some of the matters he mentioned this afternoon. I was certainly pleased When he paid a tribute to our late respected colleague, **Senator Ashley.** {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator Hendrickson: -- A man is all right when he is dead; he is no good when he is alive! {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- I hope the honorable senator is referring to himself , because that remark would be most appropriate. Honorable senators opposite have not offered any constructive criticism of the Budget papers, nor have they put forward any data upon which they base their claim that the words proposed in **Senator Kennelly's** amendment should be added to the original motion. The Leader of the Opposition in another place, who had quite a lot of time in which to prepare his reply and who moved a motion of censure against the Government, delivered a speech which was a damp squib. The right honorable gentleman did not attempt to deal with the present economic situation in Australia. He did not dare to compare to-day's conditions with those of the so-called golden age during Labour's nine years of office. Fortunately for Australia, Labour's term of office ended in 1949. It would have been interesting if even the Leader of the Opposition in this place had compared conditions in 1949, or in any other year in which Labour was in office, with those of the present day. Of course, he dare not do that, because the comparison would have been unfavorable towards the Labour party. Judging by the speeches that have been delivered, I do not think one honorable senator opposite has taken a down-to-earth view of the Budget papers. If Opposition senators have taken such a view, how can they justify their claim that there is no real stability in the Australian economy? Has a more false accusation ever been levelled against a government than that which has been levelled against this Government by the Opposition? Surely honorable senators opposite are like the ostrich and have buried their heads in the sand. They are afraid to face up to the realities of life. I do not know why. {: .speaker-JYA} ##### Senator O'Byrne: -- How would you face up if you had your head in the sand? {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- Quite easily. That remark is typical of your attitude. If you want me to answer the question, I can put it in polite terms for you outside later. As I indicated earlier, that is where you are and how you look at things. Whether honorable senators opposite have their heads in the sand or in the clouds, they cannot see the good conditions that exist in Australia. I was very interested in some of **Senator Ormonde's** remarks this afternoon. He said, amongst other things, that there must be good relations between the employer and the employee. I am sure he will be one of the first to agree that it is because of the good relations that exist between the employer and the employee to-day that the economy is in such a satisfactory condition. We have had less industrial unrest during our nine years of office than the Labour party had during the so-called golden age. {: .speaker-K5X} ##### Senator Sheehan: -- Oh! {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- That is true. We have never yet had to call out the Army to settle an industrial dispute, but the Labour government had to call it out to settle a question on the coal-front. Labour has never been able to justify that action. Good relations between employers and employees constitute a major factor in the great development that is to be seen everywhere in Australia. How different the situation is now from what it was when the Communists controlled the key unions of this country! We heard a good deal this afternoon about the association. {: .speaker-K5K} ##### Senator Scott: -- And the unity ticket. {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- And the unity ticket, yes. During Labour's regime, the Communist-controlled unions deliberately starved the workers of this country. Those unions starved the country of supplies of coal, iron and power, and denied it transport facilities. No matter how much men wished to work during those years, there were numerous occasions when, because of the lack of transport and power, your fellow workers and my fellow workers could not get to their work. They were cut out most effectively, with the result that our production could not expand. Repeat1edly in this chamber the question of the supply of coal was raised and you people said that the supply could not be assured. We said that we would mechanize the mines, and that was done. In fact, to-day we are exporting coal, and I hope we will be able to export more. One of the most satisfying features of the coal industry is what this Government has done to mechanize the mines. {: .speaker-K1T} ##### Senator Benn: -- You have told us that plenty of times. {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- You have never been down a coal mine, my boy. {: .speaker-K1T} ##### Senator Benn: -- You have not, either. You stick to your potato farm. The **PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin).** - Order! {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- The honorable senator displays his appalling ignorance. Perhaps he does not know that I had a son working in the coal mines and that he did a great deal to help to mechanize them. I suggest to the honorable senator that, if one has a son working in a certain job, one likes to see where he is working. I am not so unkind that I would not go into a coal mine to see where my son was working. 1 think I have some knowledge of the coal mines. I am not unmindful of working conditions in the mines. One of the greatest things that this Government has done has been to improve the lot of the coal-miner by mechanizing the mines. When Labour was in office, it said the mines could not be mechanized. I realize that perhaps there were one or two obstacles to overcome. The older men were not by any means averse to the introduction of machinery, but their attitude was a natural reaction to having to accept machinery with which they were not familiar. {: .speaker-KNR} ##### Senator Hannaford: -- They did not like the change. {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- That is true. !t was a natural reaction, but once they saw the benefits to be derived from mechanization and became accustomed to it, particularly the younger men, they welcomed the mechanization of mines. That is one of the very good things that have happened to improve our industrial relations. I hope that we can expand1 the production and sale of our coal, particularly overseas, so that this wealth that we have in our coal mines can be fully utilized for the benefit of Australia. I like to hear interjections from **Senator Benn,** a man who knows so much and yet knows so little. If I were to be unkind, as I sometimes could be, I would say to him that if he kept quiet and did not say so much about things of which he knows nothing, he would be wiser. I can never quite follow why it is that our opponents paint a false picture of Australia's economic position. They go about this country like pedlars of gloom. {: .speaker-KNU} ##### Senator Hannan: -- Jeremiahs! {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- That is complimenting them. Not only do they go about the country with their gloomy ideas, but when they gaze in the crystal ball they forecast gloom for the future, although they know, like every other person in Australia, that we are living in wonderful times, times that we hope will always continue. {: .speaker-K1T} ##### Senator Benn: -- The honorable senator is speaking for himself. {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- I am speaking for myself and 1 am delighted to be able to say what I have just said. I can say it with truth and conviction. These prosperous conditions will continue because the Government has introduced a sound and safe Budget, a Budget that observes all the principles of true finance. There are no vote catching promises in this Budget. The proof that we think the public approves of it lies in the fact that we are happy to take our chance on 22nd November. It would have been rather easy for the Government, on an election eve, to dangle vote-catching promises before the public, but all the tax concessions have gone to the needy, less fortunate members of the community, such as the pensioners, the totally and permanently incapacitated soldiers, the widows and the orphans. We say without hesitation that we shall finish the year with a deficit of £1 10,000,000, to be financed by bank credit. Over recent years, this Government has had surpluses which have been used to assist the States and to pay for Commonwealth works. The fact that we have paid for public works from revenue during the last six or seven years has resulted in a saving of approximately £30,000,000 in interest alone, a most worthwhile saving, I suggest. Having built up an equity in this country over the last nine years or so, the Government is able to go to the central bank and receive sufficient finance to maintain the present rate of expansion in every industry in Australia. Does the Opposition want the industries of Australia to become dormant and to put off men? Does it want to see unemployment stalking the country? We certainly do not, and that is the reason we are using £110,000,000 worth of credit this year. Because we have guarded the finances of the Commonwealth so well during the last nine years, the central bank has confidence and can lend us £110,000,000. We have good security. We are a good risk. I know that it has been said in this chamber that the income of primary producers has fallen by approximately £180,000,000 this year. That is true, but as has been stated earlier in the debate, during the past two years, and particularly last year, most portions of Australia have suffered the most severe drought in the history of the country. It is natural that such a drought should have an effect on the quantity of grain to be reaped, the number of sheep to be shorn, and the amount of meat and butter to be exported. However, we have since had bountiful rains practically through the length and breadth of Australia, and the agricultural outlook is now bright. We have the chance to replenish reserve stocks of fodder that had run down to a dangerously low level, and it is reasonable to expect that exports of wool, meat, butter and grain will be considerably increased this year. Although the price of wool has fallen somewhat, I believe that it will rise in the near future. I am sure, too, that our grain will be sold on profitable markets. One of the achievements of this Government has been its consistent attempt to sell our agricultural products on the best possible markets overseas. In almost ail parts of the world we have trade commissioners and trade agents helping to sell our products at satisfactory prices. The Government has seen the necessity to sell our produce overseas and is leaving no stone unturned in order to do that. Recently, I received an answer to a question that I had addressed to the Minister for National Development **(Senator Spooner)** regarding the Export Payments Insurance Corporation. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator Hendrickson: -- When did he tell you to ask it? {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- He did not know I was going to ask the question. We have been talking about grain. I remind the honorable senator of the old adage that one must never measure the other fellow's corn by one's own bushel. I am delighted with the interjection, but I can give him an assurance that the Minister for National Development had no prior knowledge that 1 intended asking the question. It is most gratifying to know that, in addition to its Sydney office, the corporation proposes opening an office in Melbourne, and that by its activities we shall be able to get our produce into those parts of the world where markets are available. ' . 1 It is true that our export income fell by approximately £160,000,000, but we still have an overseas trade balance of £525,000,000, and unemployment is comparatively low. This Budget seeks to correct all these things. By the judicious release of credit from the special accounts, the wheels of industry are being wisely lubricated. After all, these credits or funds belong to the citizens of Australia. That is one fact which the Labour Opposition always overlooks. I emphasize that the funds held by the banks belong to the depositors. The Labour party wishes to be not only its brother's keeper but also the keeper of its brother's bank balance. {: .speaker-K5K} ##### Senator Scott: -- That is why the Labour government wanted to nationalize the banks, I suppose. {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- Exactly! I am sure honorable senators are delighted at the fact that much of this credit which is being released is being made available to stock and station firms to assist in the financing of primary producers. So far this year, the central bank has released, from the balances of the special bank account, £15,000,000 in February, £20,000,000 in April, £15,000,000 in May, and £15,000,000 in June, which, together with a further £10,000,000 in July, make a total of £75,000,000. That money was made available to the trading banks. {: .speaker-K4S} ##### Senator Sandford: -- To go into hire purchase. {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- I am glad you said that. That money is released to the trading banks of Australia to assist Australian industries, both primary and secondary, in the best possible manner. It was stipulated - and I hope **Senator Sandford** is paying attention to this - that no moneys should be made available to the hirepurchase market. The only stipulation made by the central bank was that no additional money was to be made available to hire purchase. {: .speaker-K4S} ##### Senator Sandford: -- They cannot enforce it. {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- Be that as it may, I repeat that it was the only stipulation made, and I think that stipulation will be upheld. Had the Labour party and the Democratic Labour party not defeated the Government's ' banking legislation some months ago, the rural development bank would have been operating now. Now let us compare Australia's present financial position with that of New Zealand. I feel that it is safe to say that our financial position to-day is the envy of not only New Zealand but also Canada. I am sure that honorable senators will be aware that recently our Government lent £10,000,000 Australian to New Zealand and has given an assurance that it will come to the aid of its sister dominion again. A Labour government has been in office in New Zealand for nearly two years and has followed the traditional Labour financial policy for that period. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator Hendrickson: -- It will not have been in office twelve months until next December. {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- It has now presented its second budget. I shall quote some of the results that government has achieved during its short term. So far this year, New Zealand has borrowed £19,500,000 in London and £8,000,000 New Zealand, or £10,000,000 Australian, from Australia, and is negotiating a loan from the United States, using its £6,000,000 gold reserve as security. The Prime Minister, **Mr. Nash,** said that he might borrow £60,000,000 sterling this year, and even then, New Zealand would be between £10,000,000 and £20,000,000 short of overseas expenditure. **Mr. Nash** said that he could have a deficit of from £55,000,000 to £75,000,000. Last year, New Zealand spent £32,000,000 more than it earned, so that by the end of 1958, the country could be £100,000,000 worse off than she was in 1956. It would seem that to **Mr. Nash** the only cure for New Zealand's plight is overseas borrowing, and it is interesting to note that the people of that dominion are paying double taxation on company earnings. They also pay heavy social security and income taxes. A New Zealander with a wife and three children, if he is earning £1,500 a year, pays £226 17s. 6d. in income and social security taxes. Although New Zealand is asking for outside aid, the Labour Government has pursued Labour's traditional policy in seeking to remedy the situation. Every concession the Labour party offered on the hustings it has cancelled or will cancel. Its action Will cause the prices index to rise, reduce the purchasing power of the people, increase the cost of living and reduce the value of savings. Its policy makes illusory the family allowance by taking higher taxes for beer and tobacco. Certainly, New Zealand faces a period of increased prices and unemployment. {: .speaker-K4S} ##### Senator Sandford: -- I thought we were talking about the Australian Budget. {: .speaker-KSS} ##### Senator MATTNER: -- The Australian Labour party - I take it that you are speaking on behalf of that party - alleges that we have caused the country to become insolvent because we are budgeting for a deficit of £110,000,000. That allegation is without foundation. It has no regard for the fact that during the current year we will provide from revenue £128,000,000 for Commonwealth works and £102,000,000 for State works. When we offset that total of £230,000,000 against the proposed deficit of £110,000,000, we are actually in credit to the extent of £120,000,000. **Senator Benn** says that because of the fall in overseas prices we have to borrow £110,000,000; and he states that the country is insolvent because of low overseas prices for our exports. I remind him and his supporters that in 1955, when prices were very good and Australia could sell her products overseas for an excellent return, his leader, **Dr. Evatt,** in his effort to woo the electors so that they would return him as Prime Minister, made certain promises, the fulfilment of which would have cost Australia between £300,000,000 and £400,000,000. The money would have been raised by the release of bank credit. That is what his party would have done in 1955. The Australian people said, " No ", at that time, and there is no reason to expect that to-day they would say, " Yes ". **Senator Benn** has suggested that the need to budget for a deficit this year has been brought about by the Government's neglect although, in fact, it has emanated from circumstances beyond the Government's control. He said, further, that the borrowing of £110,000,000 will make us insolvent, but in 1950, when prices were booming and we could sell almost anything his leader considered it quite all right to borrow £300,000,000 or £400,000,000 and inject it into the economy. Honorable senators opposite did not mention that last year this Government paid back £170,000,000 worth of treasury-bills because that would have destroyed their argument. It is perhaps too much to expect them to be fair and give the correct figures. We might have been pardoned for expecting that Labour, in criticizing the Government, would tell it how revenue might be increased without damaging the economy, or where savings in expenditure could be effected. Would honorable senators opposite suggest that social service payments be cut? Those payments will this year rise to £273,000,000 from last year's figure of £246,000,000. Would they cut defence expenditure? Honorable senators opposite accuse the Government of squandering money in that field, but I have never yet heard them say what equipment they would give our forces. One would expect the Navy, Army and Air Force experts to be conversant with the equipment of the free world, but apparently Labour does not think so. Would honorable senators opposite introduce Russian arms into this country? That is the crux of the matter. What do they really advocate when they stand up and say that the defence vote is not spent to the best advantage? We have heard not one accurate proposal for improving Australia's defence, though it is surely of vital importance to each and every one of us. I often wonder, when I hear some of the statements made by the Labour leader, whether he and his colleagues are suggesting that we should have Russian equipment in this country. We know that the Leader of the Australian Labour party has great ability, but his frequent failure to refer to what the democracies are doing for the safety of this world is most displeasing. I know, of course, only too well that he prefers the word of Molotov to that of three Australian judges. I often sit here and think, " Well, do you want Russian arms and equipment in this country? " Perhaps one day we will know. Would honorable senators opposite reduce the money to be made available for housing, a subject which is much discussed in this chamber? New South Wales, which has had a Labour government for many years, is recognized as having a worse housing situation than any other State in Australia. This country is said to be approaching insolvency, but 62 per cent, of the people either own their homes or are in the process of buying them. While we are on the subject of housing, I should like to pay a brief tribute to the Government for what it has done to provide war service homes. Last year £35,000,000 was set aside for this purpose - an increase of £5,000,000 over the previous year's figure. This year another £35,000,000 will be allocated to the provision of these homes. Last year 14,790 ex-servicemen obtained homes. They have to pay only 31 per cent, interest on the money that they have borrowed. Moreover, the waiting time for applicants has been considerably reduced. It is interesting to note that this Governments spend as much on war service housing as it does on State housing, in which field the members of the returned soldiers league enjoy a preference also. In the last nine years this Government has provided £242,000,000 for war service homes. This represents 82 per cent, of the total financial aid which has been given this scheme since its inception 40 years ago. In the same period this Government has provided 111,639 homes - compared with 54,541 homes provided by all federal governments in the 31 years from IWS to 1949. That is the answer to any question about what this Government has done in the housing field. Would our critics reduce expenditure on the provision of water for irrigation purposes, the supply of power, the improvement of our transport system, both road and rail? Would they cut down on health and education grants and the construction of homes, These are questions that they have to answer. They know perfectly well that expenditure on these items would not be cut down by any sane government and that, if it were cut down, unemployment would follow. Our critics know perfectly well that if the great irrigation projects that both this Government and private enterprise are developing are proceeded with, and if our road and rail transport systems are improved, we will be able to cut expenses, because 30 per cent, of our costs are represented by transport charges. I wasdelighted this afternoon to hear SenatorHannafordreferto the standardization of railway gauges . I know that the workthat has been commenced in this connexion willbe continued. If by any chance employment in this country slackens. Iwould wholeheartedlysupport the provision of funds by the Government to enable every man who needed a job and whose services could be utilized to be employed on the workof standardizing our railwaygauges.Iknowthatthe standard- izationofcertain lines is vital but, as a South Australian. I should like the AdelaideMelbourne line to be converted to standard gaugeassoonas possible. It should not be a very difficultmatter to convert the existing5 ft. 3 in gaugeline to the standard 4 ft. 81/2 in gauge. Logically, manyof the goods now transported by road should be carriedby the railways. If we have men available, we shallsee that money isprovided for the standardization of our railway gauges. The question ofroads isanother vital matter. One reason why we must develop our transport system is thatencouragement has been given to overseas investorsto establish industries inAustralia.It is pleasing tonotethat during the lastfew years rnore than £600,000,000 of overseas capital chiefly from GreatBritain, has been invested inour private-industries. What is the reason for that? The reason is that overseasinvestorshavefaith in this Government; and they realize that Australianisone of the safest countries of the worldin which to invest their capital.This is a tribute to Australia's economy Icome now to the subject of education. In the near future we will perhaps have to make more money availableto the States for education. It was gratifying that this Government some time agomade more moneyavailable to the Australiauniversities . It is extraordinary that we have to see that the top ofthe education system as it were, isflourishing beforewe can stimulate further activity inthe primary and secondary schools. Almost everyscience student who graduates this year and next year could be absorbed within the State education system.Onlyby sufficient numbers of graduatesin science, including physicsandchemistry,becoming available to teach the boys and girls in our secondary schools will increasing numbers of undergraduates go to the universities. If the Government intends to continue making grants to the universities, steps must be taken to ensure that the teaching standard maintained at the universities is of the highest level. I recently read a very disturbing article in a newspaper concerning the attitude of graduates to the universities, and discussing whether they maintain a continuing interest in the universities after graduation. Every graduate of a university should take some part in its management. The answers to the inquiries that were made of graduates, which appeared in the article, were rather disturbing. Many graduates said that their lack of continuing interest in the university was due to the kind of tuition they had received. Gone is the day when professors and lecturers adopted a take-it-or-leave-it Attitude. We cannot afford to ignore such a tragic loss of study hours, nor can we afford the graduation of our boys and girls tobe delayed by a year or longer due to faulty tuition. I believe that we should look not only to the scholastic attainments of our professors and lecturers, but also to their teaching ability. If this is done, I feel sure that many students, upon graduation, will embark upon teaching careers in the secondaryschools, thereby inducing increasing numbers of boys and girls to matriculateinorder to be able to take advantage of the higher education facilities at the universities. I should like to see residential colleges providedf orfirst year and second year university students.This would assist them to overcome the hurdle associated with their transfer from secondary schools, where they are taught, into university life, where undergraduates are expected to assimilate knowledge by hearing lectures. I think the absenceof residen tial colleges is responsible formany promising firstyear and second year university students discontinuing their studies. ThisBudgetwillgiveconfidencetothe manufacturer,theprimaryproducerand theinvestoranditwillalsoproducecon- fidenceontheloanmarket.Australiaisa landwherethereisrelativelylittleunem- ployment,andtheunemploymentsituation willbecorrected.Itisalandwhosepeople havemoremoneydepositedinsavingbanks than have the people of any other country of the world; where there are more motorcars per head of population, more privatelyowned homes and more amenities and comforts in those homes than elsewhere, and where money is spent on tobacco, entertainment, beer, lotteries and gambling. It cannot be said that Australia is a land where poverty stalks. It is a prosperous land. That prosperity has been built up by this wise and sound Government, which has encouraged free enterprise amongst its people in order that they may win just rewards from their labour. In this land where these advantages are available to each and every member of the community, I should like the Government to consider the position of many men and women who gave of their best in the defence of this country in the 1914-18 war and perhaps during the second world war. I refer particularly to those members of the armed forces who returned to this country perhaps with nothing on their medical history sheets to show that they had been wounded or had been sick. In many instances as they reach their declining years, the aftermath of war is catching up with the men and women who actually won the first world war. The exservicemen and women of the 1914-18 war, who are not in receipt of a pension, find it almost impossible to get treatment in our repatriation hospitals. I am sorry that the Minister for Repatriation **(Senator Cooper)** is not present in the chamber. Much has been done for our returned men and women, and it is fair to say that each and every government which has been in power in Australia has done everything possible to make the lot of our returned service personnel a little easier. But I should like a grateful country to say that the men and women of the 1914-18 war who are now physically cracking up can be treated in our repatriation hospitals. They can be accommodated in the hospitals at a very small cost to the Government. I know that one swallow does not make a summer, but recently I learned of a rather sad case of a returned nursing sister who had a wonderful record in World War I. but who is now in need of medical attention. However, that medical attention is denied her because she has no entry on her medical history sheet to show that she is suffering from a war-caused disability. It is not for me to criticize and it is not for me to ask the reason why, but when one sees certain people receiving treatment in repatriation hospitals, one wonders why these gallant women, particularly, are denied hospital treatment. I am sure every honorable senator will agree that if it is humanly possible we should allow them this concession. They are asking not for a pension, but merely for treatment. It may be said that the onus of proof has to be applied to these applications, and that the applicants may go before appeal boards. I am not criticizing the medical profession, but the younger generation has no conception of what ex-servicemen and women of my generation endured. Yet applicants for a pension, or for hospital treatment, are told that the condition from which they are suffering is due to civil causes. When the Minister returns I hope he will review this matter and perhaps, in the not-too-distant future, these ex-service men and women will receive hospital treatment. We have in Canberra perhaps the most glorious war memorial that exists in the world. Many thousands of people visit this memorial to Australia's service personnel, both men and women. On one occasion I asked for some recognition of the services rendered by **Mr. Napier** Waller. I now repeat my request. Another matter relating to the Australian War Memorial which I desire to mention is that some cafeteria or refreshment room should be provided in the vicinity - but not attached to the memorial itself - in which visitors from all over Australia may rest in comfortable surroundings, have some refreshments and then return to continue their inspection of the memorial. I should like to address myself to many other matters, but in the short time remaining to me I can only affirm that the Budget now before us is sober and sound, and will be approved by every section of the community. On 22nd November these remarks will be endorsed by every right-thinking man and woman in Australia. I oppose the amendment moved by **Senator Kennelly.** {: #subdebate-11-0-s6 .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON:
Victoria -- I have listened very carefully to **Senator Mattner's** contribution to the Budget debate. At the outset, I wish to say that this is the most tragic Budget that has ever been brought down in the history of the Commonwealth of Australia. {: .speaker-K5K} ##### Senator Scott: -- The honorable senator cannot prove that. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- We will prove it, and we will prove also our assertion of the reason why this Budget is being forced upon the people of Australia. **Senator Mattner** said that the Opposition had no alternative plan to improve the economic affairs of this country. I shall deal with that matter later in detail. My party had a plan for governing Australia long before 1941, but especially during those very trying years from 1941 to 1945 when the present Administration let down the people of Australia and when the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** and the Treasurer **(Sir Arthur Fadden),** on their own statements to the capitalist press, were stabbing each other in the back. The Labour party, during the years it was in office, gave the lie direct to the statement that we had no plan to govern Australia. At the eleventh hour, just a few days before the general election, **Senator Mattner** has wakened to the fact that the Government is not giving a fair deal to the ex-servicemen and women of World War I. He threatened this Parliament that when the Minister for Repatriation **(Senator Cooper)** returns, he will bring the matter before the Minister's notice. We have had this question before the Minister for many years, and the Minister's reply has always been that a woman in the forces is in the same position as a man in the forces; each receives the same treatment. The Government does not apply that policy in industry. **Senator Mattner** will not receive a reply from the Minister any different from the reply that I have received on many occasions. It is tragic that any woman who has almost sacrificed her life in caring for members of the forces, not only during the war but for many years afterwards, should now be left without medical aid which costs the Government so little. Just imagine, in a Budget of £1,300,000,000 the Government is not prepared to give medical treatment to the elderly nursing sisters of the first world war! Where does the Government think these gallant women incurred their disabilities? {: .speaker-KAW} ##### Senator Wedgwood: -- Provision is made in the Budget for medical treatment for nursing sisters. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- The Budget does not provide for medical treatment for nursing sisters. I should be grateful if the honorable senator would show me where that provision is included. For years I have been claiming that this Government has not recognized these sisters. {: .speaker-KAW} ##### Senator Wedgwood: -- The Budget does provide for treatment for them. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- If they are mentioned in the Budget, I am glad that at last, as a result of representations from honorable senators on this side of the chamber, the Government has done the right thing. I am very sorry that **Senator Mattner,** one of the honorable senators who supports the Government, is not aware of the fact. He just told us that he proposes to bring the matter to the notice of the Minister for Repatriation when the Minister returns. {: .speaker-KNU} ##### Senator Hannan: -- You are not often wrong. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- I am very seldom wrong. {: .speaker-KAW} ##### Senator Wedgwood: -- You can always be corrected by a woman. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- Thank you very much, **Senator. Just** imagine! After thirteen years there is an enormous list of returned soldiers waiting for homes. {: .speaker-KH5} ##### Senator Gorton: -- How many are waiting? {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- I would say in the vicinity of 14,000. I have not the figures for the last three months, but I have them for the previous three months. However, I shall not forget to bring the latest figures to-morrow. I will then tell **Senator Gorton** what they are. {: .speaker-KH5} ##### Senator Gorton: -- You should have brought them to-night. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- I have not got the latest figures, but, in round figures, 14,000 returned soldiers are waiting for homes. I shall bring the latest figures into the chamber to-morrow. After thirteen years thousands of returned soldiers, men who fought to make this country ours, are waiting to get a roof over their heads, and this in a year when a £1,300,000,000 Budget has been brought down! At the same time, what dp we see? We see people who are bringing money to Australia building in Melbourne and other cities huge offices costing millions pf pounds. Nobody worries much about the soldiers. **Senator Mattner** told us that last year the grant for the War Service Homes Division was £35,000,000, an increase of £5,000,000. But an increase of £5,000,000 was not nearly sufficient to meet the demand. It was not nearly what it should have been, because of the inflated price of homes. The increase should have been closer to £50,000,000. A sum such as that would have avoided a great deal of waiting for homes by returned soldiers. The honorable senator also said that ex-soldiers are paying only 31 per cent, interest on money obtained from the War Service Homes Division. That is quite true but he did not tell us that during the period of waiting for loans from the division, soldiers were paying up to 12 per cent, and 15 per cent, interest on money they had raised through their legal advisers -or agents. That is wrong. This country owes a debt to the men who went away and fought for it. Many of them have married and at present are rearing families. They should have a priority over any new Australian. I propose to deal with that matter later. The honorable senator also said that the soldiers have a claim on the State housing commissions. That is wrong. {: .speaker-K0L} ##### Senator Pearson: -- It is not wrong. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- Of course it is. A soldier has no right to make any claim on moneys that have been allocated for the building of homes for the workers in the States. {: .speaker-K0L} ##### Senator Pearson: -- He has. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- He has a right of access to the War Service Homes Division- That is the agency through which he should buy his home, instead of taking a home away from somebody who has nowhere to live. I had a case brought to my notice recently, and I visited the family concerned this morning before coming on to Canberra. The man, his wife and three children live in a condemned house in Prahran. Water is leaking through the house. When they went to the Victorian Housing Commission they were told that in three months' time they would be able to get a flat in Collingwood. Would any member of this chamber like to take a man, his wife and three children to occupy a flat in Collingwood? Surely the children are entitled to a yard in which to play, I say quite frankly that returned soldiers should not need to make any claim on moneys allotted to the States for the building of homes for people who need them. **Senator Mattner** said that there is plenty of coal in Australia. He told us that he had a son who worked in a coal mine. I wonder to what union he belongs. Is he a member of a Communist union or a non-Communist union? **Senator Mattner** did not tell us that, but he did tell us that because his son worked in a coal mine he knows all about coal. I walk past a jeweller's shop every night on my way home from the office, but I know nothing about making watches. I say that **Senator Mattner** knows nothing about the production of coal. If he did, he Would not have made such a stupid statement. {: .speaker-KH5} ##### Senator Gorton: -- To which union do you belong? {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- I am a financial member of the Clerks Union, and a life member of my own union. {: .speaker-KNU} ##### Senator Hannan: -- Do you pay affiliation fees to the Democratic Labour party? {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- Yes. In reply to my friend, I would point out that I believe in unions. I believe in being a trade unionist. I believe in carrying out the policy of the union to which I belong, although I do not always agree with that policy. I am doing everything I can to change the policy of the Clerks Union, but whilst I am a member of the Clerks Union I will stand up to any commitment that the union has made to any other organization. That is my answer to the honorable senator. {: .speaker-KNU} ##### Senator Hannan: -- Do you not know that you could contract out if you wanted to do so? {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- I probably know more about trade unions than **Senator Hannan** does. I know I have a right to contract out of paying a contribution to any political organization, but I have never exercised that right, and I do not intend to do so. If it is the policy of the Clerks Union to support the D.L.P., all right. I do not agree with that policy and I will try to alter it, but while I am a member of the Clerks Union I shall carry out the policy of the union. That is my position. I was speaking about coal. {: .speaker-KNU} ##### Senator Hannan: -- Cannot you do your endorsement for that? {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- I point out to **Senator Hannan** that the party to which I belong is a just party. **Senator Mattner** was talking about the production of coal. We know that there is ample coal in Australia to-day, because of the fact that coal is not used in as many industries now as previously. **Senator Mattner** knows nothing about that. We know that the oil cartels will keep on shoving in substitutes for coal, irrespective of the effect on the coal miners, many of whom gave loyal service to this country during the war years. In 1941 we found that there was no mechanization on the coal-fields. There was a great shortage of coal in Australia, and indeed all over the world, because of the war. We had to set about the job of producing coal in order to make our war effort possible. The coal industry probably should have been mechanized years before, but it was not, and honorable senators opposite know the reason why. {: .speaker-K3O} ##### Senator Buttfield: -- The coal miners would not allow it. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON: -- When the second world war broke out there were hundreds of thousands of tons of coal at grass, coal which could not be used, and coal miners were starving. You cannot deny that. There was no demand for this coal because there were practically no industries here. There were over 500,000 unemployed in Australia. That was the result of the administration of Liberal Governments from 1931 to 1941. We had to open up coal mines again. We had to increase the production of coal. It was not an easy job, and we had to send into pits people who were not coal miners. We did a meritorious job. In 1940 the friends of the Liberal party used what is known as slush funds to bribe the two Communist leaders of the miners in order to bring about the strike of that year. The fact was brought out by the Royal Commission that these people used the money of the taxpayers of Australia to bribe the miners' leaders in order to create a psychology that would enable the Liberal party to be returned to power in the Parliament at Canberra. The two men, a **Mr. Orr** and a **Mr. Nelson,** have never been seen on the coal-fields since. That was the position in 1940. When I interjected to-day, **Senator Mattner** referred to the late **Senator Ashley.** Honorable senators opposite have referred to the late Ben Chifley and the late John Curtin in the same way as they refer to Bert Evatt to-day. They have told us that John Curtin was pro-Communist, proGerman and anti-British. Debate interrupted. {: .page-start } page 238 {:#debate-12} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-12-0} #### Australian Broadcasting Commission: Victorian Symphony Orchestra {: #subdebate-12-0-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question - >That the Senate do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-12-0-s1 .speaker-KUD} ##### Senator McMANUS:
Victoria .- I wish to refer to an answer to a question that I received to-day. I had brought before the Postmaster-General the question of the regularly employed orchestra at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne, which is to be displaced during the currency of the coming opera season to be run by the Elizabethan Trust. That orchestra is to be replaced by the Victorian Symphony Orchestra, which is employed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission. This is a serious matter for the members of the orchestra at Her Majesty's Theatre, who have been employed there for many years. I asked that the commission and representatives of the Government discuss with the union and the theatre the future employment of these people, at any rate for the period of the opera season. In the answer that I received, I was informed that the reason why the Victorian Symphony Orchestra, a government paid body, was being made available was to save money during the currency of the season. A rather serious principle is involved. Let us suppose that the Elizabethan Trust organization were to say to the Government, "We have a large amount of scenery that is being brought out from England. It would save us money if the waterside workers were not to be employed to unload that scenery but if naval personnel were to be used for the purpose ". Of course, the Government would not consider that proposal for one moment. {: .speaker-KOU} ##### Senator HENDRICKSON:
VICTORIA · ALP -- Oh yes, it would! {: .speaker-KUD} ##### Senator McMANUS: -- I do not think it would, because of the circumstances of the particular union involved. I could quote other ways in which quite a lot of money could be saved by the Elizabethan Trust organization. I have every sympathy with the organization, which now finds it possible to employ government personnel, who are to be paid by the Government, instead of people in private employment who otherwise would get the work. In the reply to my question I was told that it was necessary to save costs and for that reason the orchestra which has been employed for many years was to be displaced. At the end of the answer there appears this statement - >At those times when Her Majesty's is required for the opera, the management of the theatre normally endeavours to make alternative arrangements for the employment of the musicians, and attention is being directed to this aspect. I do not think that that is entirely satisfactory. I feel sure that the management of Her Majesty's Theatre would try to obtain employment elsewhere for those concerned, but what of the situation of the men and women who are to be displaced after years of service in this theatre because money can be saved by the Government making available its own employees to perform a certain task? There is also this very serious angle: Members of that orchestra have long-service leave and other entitlements. Even though they may come back in three or four months' time, what will be the situation if they lose their positions? {: .speaker-JZI} ##### Senator O'Sullivan: -- For how long does the season run? {: .speaker-KUD} ##### Senator McMANUS: -- I am not altogether certain, but I understand that it will run for a couple of months. Probably all those concerned in the making of the new arrangement believed they were acting with the best of intentions. But I think that a very serious question is involved in regard to the employment of the orchestra and that the Government, if it intends to make its employees available in these circumstances, should insist that no harm is done to the employment of other Australians and in particular that no harm is done to their long-service leave and other entitlements. I would be glad, therefore, if the matter could be inquired into further and if assurances could be given to the people who have worked in the theatre for many years and who also are very good members of the musicians union. {: #subdebate-12-0-s2 .speaker-JZI} ##### Senator O'SULLIVAN:
General · QueenslandVicePresident of the Executive Council and Attorney · LP -- This matter was raised earlier to-day. If the answer furnished to **Senator McManus** is not satisfactory, I suggest that he should ask a supplementary question or, better still, that he should write to me so that I may submit to the Postmaster-General the matters which he considers have not been satisfactorily dealt with. Question resolved in the affirmative. Senate adjourned at 10.36 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 26 August 1958, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.