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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<hansard xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="../../hansard.xsd" version="2.1" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
<session.header>
<date>1955-09-13</date>
<parliament.no>21</parliament.no>
<session.no>1</session.no>
<period.no>3</period.no>
<chamber>REPS</chamber>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<proof>0</proof>
</session.header>
<chamber.xscript>
<business.start>
<day.start>1955-09-13</day.start>
<para>
<inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. C. F. Adermann)</inline>took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers. </para>
</business.start>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>RELEASE FROM CUSTODY OF MR. R. E. FITZPATRICK AND MR. F. C. BROWNE</title>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<type>miscellaneous</type>
</debateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JLR</name.id>
<electorate>FISHER, QUEENSLAND</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">ADERMANN, Charles</name>
<name role="display">Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr C F Adermann</name>
</talker>
<para>- I have to inform the House that Raymond Edward Fitzpatrick and Frank Courtney Browne were released from custody on Saturday, the 10th September, pursuant to the resolution of the House of the 10th June. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION</title>
<page.no>563</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>DTN</name.id>
<electorate>BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">EVATT, Herbert Vere</name>
<name role="display">Dr EVATT</name>
</talker>
<para>- Can the Prime Minister say whether, following upon a recent statement by him and subsequent discussion, any decision has yet been reached with regard to the proposal which he originally made for the appointment of a joint committee on certain possible proposed constitutional changes ? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate>KOOYONG, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role>Prime Minister</role>
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>-Iowetheright honorable gentleman an apology in connexion with this matter. Following our oral exchanges, I should have sent him a memorandum in writing before now. Unfortunately, other matters occupied my attention. However, I shall do so within the next few days. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>DAIRYING</title>
<page.no>563</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JOE</name.id>
<electorate>MACARTHUR, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">BATE, Henry</name>
<name role="display">Mr JEFF BATE</name>
</talker>
<para>- I preface a ques tion to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture by stating that in the London market for butter and cheese uncertainty and hesitancy have now ended, and prices have increased by 3s. per cwt. for butter and 13s. per cwt. for cheese. There has been a dry season in the Northern Hemisphere and, together with the approach of winter, conditions ought to be favorable to the marketing of Australian products, at least until next Christmas. I now ask the Minister whether these facts, together with sustained consumption of butter and cheese in Australia, answer two im portant questions in his earlier statements. Can he say whether, even if the Commonwealth Dairy Produce Equalization Committee Limited wished to improve prices to farmers, it has funds for the purpose; and whether there is any way to guarantee temporary credit to the committee, so that the market buoyancy can be reflected in slightly improved prices to farmers for the first six months ? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MB</name.id>
<electorate>MURRAY, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>CP</party>
<role>Minister for Commerce and Agriculture</role>
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MCEWEN, John</name>
<name role="display">Mr McEWEN</name>
</talker>
<para>- I think that the points made by the honorable gentleman can be taken as indicators, rather than as certain assurances, in respect of the concluding portion of his questions. The only butter and cheese for sale in the United Kingdom at the present is, obviously, not butter and cheese of this season&#39;s production, but produce which is owned by the British Ministry of Food. So any price increases at the moment are not reflected in the return to Australian producers. On the other hand, there has been a firming of the market. That is heartening, and we hope that it will be permanent. At the same time, there are indications that the consumption of butter and cheese in Australia is being sustained at a satisfactory level, but there is a normal stocking up by merchants whenever some intending price increase is in prospect. That has probably occurred. The actual trend in Australian consumption cannot be judged with complete confidence for another month or two. So I would say that this indicates a heartening prospect, rather than a basis upon which some change in the returns by the equalization committee to the producers could be decided at this moment. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>REPORT OF THEWAR EXPENDITURE COMMITTEE</title>
<page.no>563</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KDX</name.id>
<electorate>BALLAARAT, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">JOSHUA, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr JOSHUA</name>
</talker>
<para>- In view of the undertaking that has been given to the House by the Prime Minister that he will table the report of the &#34;War Expenditure Committee, will the right honorable gentleman state whether he intends to table the report this week, or whether there is any change in his intentions? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>563</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- At the conclusion of questions, I shall make a statement on this matter. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>WHEAT</title>
<page.no>564</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KHY</name.id>
<electorate>CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HOWSE, John</name>
<name role="display">Mr HOWSE</name>
</talker>
<para>- Will the Minister for </para>
</talk.start>
<para>Commerce and Agriculture inform the House of the position regarding the No. 17 wheat pool? Will the Minister consider making a final payment in respect of this pool at the earliest possible opportunity so as to help the small wheat farmer who is looking for some money at the moment to enable him to finance the harvesting of this season&#39;s crop? </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MB</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>CP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MCEWEN, John</name>
<name role="display">Mr McEWEN</name>
</talker>
<para>- In respect of the No. 17 wheat pool, which relates to the 1953-54 harvest, a first advance of 10s. a bushel bulk basis, and 10s. 4d. a bushel bag basis, has been made. Sales have been slow, as every one knows, and payments subsequent to the first payment are made by the Australian Wheat Board on its own judgment and discretion after it has received from the proceeds of sales enough money to discharge the overdraft incurred by the first advance. Within a week or two a second advance will be made of1s. a bushel for bulk wheat and 1s. 2d. a bushel for bagged wheat. I gather that there is every prospect of further sales permitting a later substantial and final payment in respect of this pool being made at about the end of this calendar year. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>PETROL</title>
<page.no>564</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>K97</name.id>
<electorate>KINGSTON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">GALVIN, Patrick</name>
<name role="display">Mr GALVIN</name>
</talker>
<para>- I desire to ask the Minister for Supply whether it is correct that a decision was made recently to continue using standard grade petrol in government cars because scientific reports clearly showed that it was more economic to use this grade of petrol in preference to the higher priced, supergrade petrols. If this is so, will the Minister make available the reports concerning this petrol so that motorists will not be misled by what could be the false claims of petrol companies which have succeeded in obtaining higher prices for their products than those previously allowed by prices commissioners ? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JOI</name.id>
<electorate>PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role>Minister for Supply</role>
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">BEALE, Oliver</name>
<name role="display">Mr BEALE</name>
</talker>
<para>- It is true that, with respect to cars under the control of my department, a decision along the lines indicated by the honorable member has been made. The reason for that decision was that we have varying kinds of cars: some are late models and others are of older vintage. It was decided, after great care and close examination, that it would be better and more economical, in the long run, to use the ordinary grade of petrol. I do not think that the report to which the honorable member has referred would have any bearing on the subject that he has raised because the reason for the decision that was made arose out of the particular circumstances obtaining in my department. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE</title>
<page.no>564</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KVR</name.id>
<electorate>DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">SWARTZ, Reginald</name>
<name role="display">Mr SWARTZ</name>
</talker>
<para>- I ask the Minister for Air whether arrangements have been made for the Royal Australian Air Force to procure a number of Lockheed Hercules turbine propeller transport aircraft. If so, will the Minister inform the House of the special features of this type of aircraft which would make it suitable for use by the Royal Australian Air Force? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KWH</name.id>
<electorate>DENISON, TASMANIA</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role>Minister for Air</role>
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">TOWNLEY, Athol</name>
<name role="display">Mr TOWNLEY</name>
</talker>
<para>- The answer to the honorable member&#39;s question is &#34; No &#34;. The Royal Australian Air Force has not placed any orders for Lockheed 130&#39;s. This is a very good aeroplane of the transport type, having pressurized cabin and turbo-propellers, but no order has been lodged for them. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>PETROL TAX</title>
<page.no>564</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JPE</name.id>
<electorate>BATMAN, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">BIRD, Alan</name>
<name role="display">Mr BIRD</name>
</talker>
<para>- Has the attention of the Prime Minister been directed to the anomaly that exists in the operation of the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act under which a tax of 7d. is levied on every gallon of petrol sold whilst the fuel consumed in vehicles with diesel engines is not taxed at all? In view of the fact that vehicles with diesel engines are increasing in number and size, and are causing considerable damage to the roads in Australia, will the Government consider bringing them under the provisions of the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act for the purpose of assisting the States in their road and development problems? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I understand that the honorable member for Batman is suggesting that some additional tax be paid on diesel oil. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JPE</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">BIRD, Alan</name>
<name role="display">Mr Bird</name>
</talker>
<para>- There is no tax on it at all now. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>564</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- Then any tax would be additional. I shall have a look at that suggestion. Thank you very much. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>565</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>BUTTER</title>
<page.no>565</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>565</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KXW</name.id>
<electorate>CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">PEARCE, Henry</name>
<name role="display">Mr PEARCE</name>
</talker>
<para>- Has the attention of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture been directed to a statement made by a gentleman who occupies the position of chairman of directors of the Port Curtis Dairy Co-operative Association, who is also a member of the Commonwealth Dairy Produce Equalization Committee Limited, and who has advised dairy farmers that they should not expect any more than 3s. 5&#189;d. per lb. for their butter, even at the end of the season, and that if some final payment should be determined, there will not be any money available to meet it anyhow? The same gentleman stated that the consumption of butter in Australia had fallen to the alarming extent of 20 to 25 per cent. As that gentleman spoke in his official capacity as a member of the Dairy Produce Equalization Committee, should his statements be regarded as the considered opinion of the committee or are they rubbish? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>565</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MB</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>CP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MCEWEN, John</name>
<name role="display">Mr McEWEN</name>
</talker>
<para>- I have not seen the statement to which the honorable member has referred, but I have been told about it. The gentleman referred to is not a member of the Commonwealth Dairy Produce Equalization Committee Limited. Therefore, anything he says is not uttered with the authority of that committee. He is a member of a Queensland State committee. As to the trend in Australian consumption, the Department of Commerce and Agriculture has been told by the Dairy Produce Equalization Committee only within the past day that the figures for butter consumption in August are not yet available. Therefore, the committee itself cannot speak with authority on that matter. As I have stated in reply to previous questions, it was common knowledge that there was likely to be an increase of price, and that always results in some stocking up by merchants. The actual sales for consumption by butter factories in the first month of the year following the development of that situation are not a true indication of the general trend of consumption. I say confidently and with certainty that any statement that Australian consumption of butter has fallen by 20 per cent. is utter nonsense. Nobody could claim with any truth that that had happened. There is every indication at present that consumption will be maintained about the customary level, and I am confident of that result. The greatest single factor that could contribute to the ultimate returns per pound of butter being lower to dairy farmers than the present estimate would be a very large volume of production resulting from an exceptionallylush year. That would result in a quantity of butter greater than the present estimate being sold on the low export market. Frankly, that could reduce the return per pound slightly below the present optimistic estimates, but, by the same token, the dairy farmers would have more in their bank balances. That should be clearly understood by self-appointed leaders who are trying to stir up trouble in the dairying industry. They should have the decency to point out these facts to the working dairymen. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>565</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>CANBERRA MILK SUPPLY</title>
<page.no>565</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>565</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWX</name.id>
<electorate></electorate>
<party>ALP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">FRASER, Jim</name>
<name role="display">Mr J R FRASER</name>
</talker>
<para>- Can the Minis ter for the Interior say what progress has been made, or what result has been achieved, by an inquiry that he initiated into the production, distribution and sale of milk in the Australian Capital Territory? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>565</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEE</name.id>
<electorate>CHISHOLM, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role>Minister for the Interior</role>
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">KENT HUGHES, Wilfrid</name>
<name role="display">Mr KENT HUGHES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I understand that the report will be presented to me within the next week or two. There have been some unforeseen delays, but I have been informed officially that the report will be presented very shortly. I think it was intended to imply that it would be presented either this week or next week. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>565</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>MILK AND FRUIT FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN</title>
<page.no>565</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>565</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KCK</name.id>
<electorate>ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">DOWNER, Alexander</name>
<name role="display">Mr DOWNER</name>
</talker>
<para>- Is the right honorable the Minister for Health satisfied with the operation of his free milk scheme for school children? There have been many complaints of waste, not only in schools in my own electorate, but also in other rural districts of Australia. In view of the fact that many children are not drinking the milk that is given to them at school, will the Minister consider introducing amending legislation to enable both fruit juices and raisins to be substituted for milk during the summer months? As a doctor, the right honorable gentleman well knows the highly nutritive qualities of raisins ; as a Minister, he is also aware of the present economic difficulties of the dried fruits industry, which would be somewhat alleviated by assistance of this kind. May I say finally, speaking from my own experience as a family man, that children find raisins much more alluring even than chocolates? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>566</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>C7E</name.id>
<electorate>COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party>CP</party>
<role>Minister for Health</role>
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">PAGE, Earle</name>
<name role="display">Sir EARLE PAGE</name>
</talker>
<para>- In reply to the last remark of the honorable gentleman, I think he would find that a child who was brought up on milk would be much more likely to live than would one who was brought up on fruit juices or raisins. I have watched the growth of the free milk scheme throughout Australia very carefully, and I think it is working very satisfactorily indeed. I have taken many opportunities of visiting schools when the milk has been distributed, and I have noted that, where the teacher has been really interested in his job, there has been no waste. In fact, the teachers build up a sense of discipline and moral confidence in the youngsters when handing out the milk, which is a very good thing for the school as a whole. All the teachers concerned have told me that. I should say that, where there is waste, it is due largely to the lack of interest by either the parents ot the community. It has been stated that youngsters are allergic to milk, but one factory manager has said, &#34; We will put in various flavours &#34;. I think he has used twelve flavours altogether, including strawberry, and, if a child happens to be away from school, the other children fight for the remaining bottle. I do not think that the suggestion about children being allergic to milk has any substance in it. The State governments have evinced a very great interest in this matter, and where fresh milk has not been available, they have taken advantage of the permission that has been given by this Government to prepare milk from milk powder, or other substances, mixed with water. South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales are doing a very good job in this respect. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>566</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>SURF BEACHES</title>
<page.no>566</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>566</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JZB</name.id>
<electorate>PHILLIP, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">FITZGERALD, Joseph</name>
<name role="display">Mr FITZGERALD</name>
</talker>
<para>- Will the Prime Minister give favorable consideration to requests for financial assistance for the maintenance and development of our beaches, and grant a subsidy towards beach maintenance similar to those made for the construction of aerodromes and other national assets? As our beaches are of untold benefit to our people and a great attraction to overseas tourists, &#93; ask the Prime Minister to consider assisting in their maintenance and development. At present, it is almost beyond the financial resources of local authorities to continue doing this work without assistance </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>566</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I admit that I am a little shocked by this question. 1 understood that during the course of a year millions of people resort to these beaches and enjoy their benefits. I would have thought that under those circumstances those people might have done something about the matter themselves. If everybody is to come to the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and ask it to do such things as cleaning up Bondi beach, it will be the end of federalism. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>566</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>LLANHERNE AIRPORT</title>
<page.no>566</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>566</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEP</name.id>
<electorate>FRANKLIN, TASMANIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">FALKINDER, Charles</name>
<name role="display">Mr FALKINDER</name>
</talker>
<para>- I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation to indicate when construction will begin on the main aerodrome buildings at the Llanherne airport near Hobart. Can he say when the work will be completed, and when commercial flying on a regular scale will begin at Llanherne airport? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>566</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KWH</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">TOWNLEY, Athol</name>
<name role="display">Mr TOWNLEY</name>
</talker>
<para>- I am aware of the keen interest that the honorable member has taken for some years past in the Llanherne airport. I also remember the occasions when he has interviewed me about it. The airstrips have been completed and the underground reticulation system is also complete. We have just let a contract for the construction of the tower, but the difficulty of letting contracts is one of the limiting factors in this work. A number of works on this year&#39;s estimates has been approved. I believe that the work will continue progressively, and that some time this summer it should be possible to conduct limited operations at the airport. Full night-flying facilities may not be available, but limited operations will be possible. Perhaps in a year&#39;s time the airport will be in full use. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>CIVIL AVIATION</title>
<page.no>567</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KCM</name.id>
<electorate>MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">DRAKEFORD, Arthur</name>
<name role="display">Mr DRAKEFORD</name>
</talker>
<para>- Is the Prime Minister aware of any offer that has been made, or which is being made, for the purchase of Trans-Australia Airlines, or for its amalgamation with any other airline ? If any offer has been made will he inform the House of its nature, including the amount and terms of the offer? Has the resignation of a former vice-chairman of the board of directors, said to have been tendered some little time ago, been accepted, and did this offer to resign have anything to do with proposals to sell, purchase or amalgamate with any other airline ? If offers have been made, either tentative or definite, can the right honorable gentleman say whether consideration will be given to such offers? If so, will he, before a decision is arrived at to sell an important part of the people&#39;s assets, appoint a committee of this House consisting of representatives of the Government and Opposition clothed with power ro investigate fully the sources and conditions of all offers? I suggest that such a committee should report the result of its investigations to the Parliament so that it may be properly informed before any decision is made. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I am not aware of any such offer being made. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>DENILIQUIN FLOODS</title>
<page.no>567</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KZE</name.id>
<electorate>RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">ROBERTON, Hugh</name>
<name role="display">Mr ROBERTON</name>
</talker>
<para>- My question to the Prime Minister is supplementary to the question asked by the honorable member for Phillip. Is the right honorable gentleman aware that during the recent floods at Deniliquin, New South Wales, when the rivers rose to unprecedented heights, there was a most amazing community effort by people from the town and district, and surrounding towns and districts, when they threw up major levee banks 12 feet high for a distance of + miles in five days, and thus saved the municipality from a catastrophic disaster? Since an achievement of that kind merits the recognition of this National Parliament, will the Prime Minister express the appreciation of the Government to the mayor of Deniliquin and the presidents of the adjacent shires for the quality of the patriotism demonstrated in this heroic way by so many people? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- This does not surprise me at all. Only an electorate like that, so full of spirit and independence, could have returned so spirited and independent a member of Parliament. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>THE PARLIAMENT</title>
<page.no>567</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KXZ</name.id>
<electorate>BURKE, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">PETERS, Edward</name>
<name role="display">Mr PETERS</name>
</talker>
<para>- As the imputations of corruption that are made in this House and elsewhere against men holding public positions are damaging to our democratic institutions, will the Prime Minister, as I requested him some years ago, introduce a measure to make the incomes of public representatives subject to audit and report by the Auditor-General? Alternatively, will he instruct the Commissioner of Taxation to publish annually the incomes and sources of income of all members of the Commonwealth Parliament, and by this means help to protect the reputations of public representatives from the attacks of unscrupulous slanderers ? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- Any attack that is made on the character of an honorable member, without foundation and without proof, is to be deplored. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>BV8</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CALWELL, Arthur</name>
<name role="display">Mr Calwell</name>
</talker>
<para>- Hear, hear! In this House, or outside of it. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I quite agree, though I have known it to be done. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>BV8</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CALWELL, Arthur</name>
<name role="display">Mr Calwell</name>
</talker>
<para>- Only last week. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I have known it to be done well before then. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KX7</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">WARD, Edward</name>
<name role="display">Mr Ward</name>
</talker>
<para>- The Prime Minister has done a bit of it, too. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I have been at the receiving end when the honorable member for East Sydney has been in operation. However, I do hope that the honorable member for Burke will not pursue this idea that we should all have our financial position audited, certified and published. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KXZ</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">PETERS, Edward</name>
<name role="display">Mr Peters</name>
</talker>
<para>- I shall make an exception of the Prime Minister. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I should be very glad if the honorable gentleman would do so, because for some years now I have enjoyed the benefit of a slight overdraft and I would not like to lose it. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>ELECTORAL</title>
<page.no>567</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>567</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>K7O</name.id>
<electorate>HODDLE, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CREMEAN, John</name>
<name role="display">Mr CREMEAN</name>
</talker>
<para>- Is the Minister for the Interior able to confirm a report that maps of the new electoral divisions in Victoria have been printed and will be available for distribution this week? Will the Minister also advise whether the distribution of six copies of these maps for members of Parliament is specifically intended for those representatives whose divisions have not been changed in name? Is the Minister aware that present sitting members whose divisions have been abolished or amalgamated into newly named electorates are not to receive the six copies provided for other members? If this is correct, will the Minister investigate the matter with a view to ensuring that all sitting members, includ- ing those whose electorates have been amalgamated, redistributed, or, more importantly, re-named, receive six copies of the maps of the new divisions? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>568</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEE</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">KENT HUGHES, Wilfrid</name>
<name role="display">Mr KENT HUGHES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I quite agree with the honorable member that all members of this House are entitled to the six copies, and I shall see that they receive them. I do not know whether the honorable gentleman is quite accurate in saying that the copies are to be distributed this week, but I shall ascertain the facts, and I shall see that his wishes are carried out in accordance with the principles of the distribution. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>568</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>QUESTIONS</title>
<page.no>568</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>568</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KX7</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">WARD, Edward</name>
<name role="display">Mr WARD</name>
</talker>
<para>- Earlier in the present sittings, I asked the Prime Minister when I could expect a reply to question No. 2 appearing in my name on the noticepaper, which has been there since the 1st June last. The Prime Minister indicated, at that time, that a reply was about to be furnished, but I have not yet received it, and I ask the right honorable gentleman whether he can now tell me when that question will be answered. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>568</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I confidently anticipate that the question will be answered before the end of this sitting week. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>JAPANESE REARMAMENT</title>
<page.no>568</page.no>
<type>miscellaneous</type>
</debateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>568</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KOL</name.id>
<electorate>WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role>Minister for Defence</role>
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MCBRIDE, Philip</name>
<name role="display">Sir PHILIP McBRIDE</name>
</talker>
<para>- On the 6th September, the Leader of the Opposition asked whether there was any substance in press reports of increased Japanese armaments, following on the visit of the Japanese Foreign Minister to the United States of America. Since the outbreak of hostilities in Korea in 1950, the Japanese Government gradually has been building up defence forces to take over responsibility for the defence of Japan from the United States forces stationed in Japan under the United States-Japanese Security Treaty. The development of the Japanese defence forces has been very slow. The present strength of Japanese defence forces is approximately as follows : - Army, 139,600 men; Navy, 16,400 men- four destroyers, eighteen frigates and smaller vessels; and Air Force, 6,700 men - 145 aircraft, mostly trainers. On the 10th August, 1955, the Japanese Government announced that a defence programme had been drawn up for expansion of the three defence forces over the next five years. Under this programme, the strength of the three forces in 1960 would be as follows: - Army, 180,000 men; Navy, 33,000 men - twenty destroyers, sis destroyer escorts, eighteen frigates, two submarines and minor vessels; and Air Force, 3S,000 men- 1,284 aircraft. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>This five-year defence programme served as a basis for discussions in Washington between <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Shigemitsu</inline> and <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Dulles</inline> on when Japan would be able to undertake fully its own defence and so permit the complete withdrawal of the United States troops from Japan. Previous statements to this House by the Minister for External Affairs <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Casey),</inline> have clearly indicated that the Australian Government considers it reasonable that the Japanese should bear the main responsibility for the defence of their own country and that they should not expect to be protected indefinitely by the United States forces. At the same time, we believe that the armed forces of Japan should be for defence only and should not be of a size or type which could be used for aggressive purposes. We have no misgivings over the developments proposed so far. </para>
</speech>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>568</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>NATIONAL SERVICE</title>
<page.no>568</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>568</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KFG</name.id>
<electorate>SHORTLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">GRIFFITHS, Charles</name>
<name role="display">Mr GRIFFITHS</name>
</talker>
<para>- Can the Minister for the Army inform me whether it is the duty of officers of the Permanent Army to be present when national service trainees are carrying out combat training manoeuvres? Is live ammunition used on those occasions? If not, is the Minister aware that on the 21st July a national service trainee at Ingleburn was seriously wounded, having been shot in the upper right arm? Is the Minister aware that after five weeks in hospital, the trainee was sent home on leave with his arm in plaster and without any arrangement having been made for further medical or massage treatment? Does the Minister know that for the past seven weeks, no pay has been received by the trainee and that he has had to pay for his medical and massage treatment? If the Minister is desirous of keeping enlistments for the Permanent Army at a high level, will he call for a report to ascertain whether negligence has occurred in this instance, and why wages and medical treatment for this lad have been so neglected by the Army authorities? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWT</name.id>
<electorate>MORETON, QUEENSLAND</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role>Minister for the Army</role>
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">FRANCIS, Josiah</name>
<name role="display">Mr FRANCIS</name>
</talker>
<para>- If the honorable member will privately give me the name of the national service trainee to whom he refers, I shall have the case investigated immediately. I will investigate it myself. This Government has seen fit to provide for continuous payments to any national service trainee, or any service man, who meets with an accident in the course of training. If a national service trainee does meet with an accident in the course of training, the pay and allowances that he receives as a national service trainee are continued for one month after the accident has taken place in order to grant ample time for the delegate of the commissioner for Commonwealth employees compensation to investigate the claim and to continue such payment as it thinks fit until the decision on the claim has been finalized. In this case, the lad should not have been without payment for one moment. I will see that the matter is rectified immediately. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY</title>
<page.no>569</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>L0V</name.id>
<electorate>LILLEY, QUEENSLAND</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">WIGHT, Bruce</name>
<name role="display">Mr WIGHT</name>
</talker>
<para>- I ask the Minister for the Navy whether he can give any information to the House about the visit of H.M.A.S. <inline font-style="italic">Warrego</inline> to waters in the Gulf of Carpentaria on what was reported to be an investigation or search for a possible port in the north of Australia for beef exports. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWT</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">FRANCIS, Josiah</name>
<name role="display">Mr FRANCIS</name>
</talker>
<para>- I have not yet had a report of the results of investigations which have taken place. When I receive such a report I shall inform the honorable member. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>TEA</title>
<page.no>569</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KXI</name.id>
<electorate>SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">WEBB, Charles</name>
<name role="display">Mr WEBB</name>
</talker>
<para>- Can the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs inform the House whether it is a fact that the price of tea is likely to rise by approximately1s. per lb? If this is so, hearing in mind the hardship that will be caused to pensioners, basic wageearners and others on fixed incomes will the Prime Minister consider reintroducing the subsidy on tea in order to keep down the cost of living? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KNX</name.id>
<electorate>WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party>UAP; LP from 1944</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HARRISON, Eric</name>
<name role="display">Sir ERIC HARRISON</name>
</talker>
<para>- I shall see that the question is placed before the Minister, and that the honorable member receives a reply. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>COAL</title>
<page.no>569</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KID</name.id>
<electorate>MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">LUCHETTI, Anthony</name>
<name role="display">Mr LUCHETTI</name>
</talker>
<para>- I ask the Prime Minister, as head of the Australian Government, whether he will make a statement on the future of the coal-mining industry in New South Wales. Is the Prime Minister in a position to deny statements that a number of mines are to close, with consequent mass dismissal of mine workers? If the Prime Minister is not in a position to deny the disturbing statements which have caused grave unrest in the mining industry, will he immediately cause a searching investigation to be made? Will he assure those vitally concerned that there will be no dismissals, and that prompt and proper action will be taken to stabilize the industry? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- This matter is within the jurisdiction of the Minister for National Development, as far as it is within the jurisdiction of any Commonwealth Minister. I shall direct the Minister&#39;s attention to the question. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KID</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">LUCHETTI, Anthony</name>
<name role="display">Mr Luchetti</name>
</talker>
<para>- It is one of very great urgency. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I am sure it is. There are plenty of others, too. I shall convey the honorable member&#39;s question, with all urgency, to my colleague, andI am sure that, with equal urgency, he will provide us with an answer. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>PERSONAL INCOMES</title>
<page.no>569</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>569</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>BV8</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CALWELL, Arthur</name>
<name role="display">Mr CALWELL</name>
</talker>
<para>- I direct a question to the Prime Minister. In view of the fact that in the United States of </para>
</talk.start>
<para class="block">America the Secretary for the Treasury is obliged by law to publish a return annually of individual incomes which exceed a certain amount, giving the name of each person involved, his taxable income and the amount of tax paid, will the Prime Minister provide by law for the adoption of a similar practice in this country, so that the people may know just who are the lucky ones who benefit from this period of unexampled prosperity of which the Prime Minister speaks, as compared with the Prime Minister and myself, and perhaps other honorable members, who manage from month to month on an overdraft ? </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>570</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I venture to say, in all friendliness, that this is a deplorable suggestion. I do not at all agree with the American practice of publishing the names and incomes of income-earners. No doubt it gives great satisfaction to a few people, but it is an occasion of envy, malice, hatred and uncharitableness in others. I am very much more concerned to see that, whatever the income is, the earner of it pays his appropriate tax under the law of this country. As a matter of fact, when he evades the payment of tax he does get his name in the <inline font-style="italic">Commonwealth Gazette.</inline></para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>570</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>PAPUA AND NEW GUINEA</title>
<page.no>570</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>570</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KMD</name.id>
<electorate>EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">OSBORNE, Frederick</name>
<name role="display">Mr OSBORNE</name>
</talker>
<para>- Is the Minister for Territories aware that large areas of the coastal waters of Papua and New Guinea are uncharted, and that very few inshore coastal channels have been marked for navigation? Does the Minister agree that nothing could so quickly advance the development of our Territories as the encouragement of coastal shipping by providing known safe channels round the coast? Will he cause an investigation to be made as to the need for the charting of these waters, the cost of providing marked channels to all settled parts of the coast, and how soon this work could be carried out? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>570</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>ZL6</name.id>
<electorate>CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role>Minister for Territories</role>
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HASLUCK, Paul</name>
<name role="display">Mr HASLUCK</name>
</talker>
<para>- The honorable member for Evans mentioned this subject to me some time ago and I have pleasure in being able to inform him and the House that only this week I received from the Public Service Commissioner of the Territory a proposal based on suggestions put forward by the Marine Superinten dent of the Territory for the creation of a hydrographic division in the Public Service of Papua and New Guinea. I approved of that recommendation and steps will now be taken to create a hydrographic division. For the honorable member&#39;s information, knowing his deep interest in this subject, I may say that the proposal for creating these positions was accompanied by a plan of work showing, in stages of urgency, the various lanes of sea traffic that must be charted. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>570</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>PETROL</title>
<page.no>570</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>570</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEJ</name.id>
<electorate>YARRA, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">KEON, Standish</name>
<name role="display">Mr KEON</name>
</talker>
<para>- In view of statements, many of them from authoritative technical sources, and the growing feeling of motor users that there is little or no difference between the different brands of petrol, and that the so-called super brand is simply being marketed as a means of obtaining a higher price for petrol, will the Minister for Supply, with the facilities at the disposal of his department, immediately institute a test of the various brands of petrol in order to assure motor users that they are not being exploited by the oil companies and that the claim being made for the higher price for super petrol is warranted? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>570</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JOI</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">BEALE, Oliver</name>
<name role="display">Mr BEALE</name>
</talker>
<para>- I shall give consideration to the honorable gentleman&#39;s suggestion, but I point out again that what was done in this matter was a result of problems peculiar to my department. We have many types of cars and difficulties of distribution throughout Australia and to maintain uniformity we introduced this system of using one brand of petrol. It does not necessarily follow that the advertised brands of super petrol are not super. On the other hand, it does not follow that they are. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>570</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>POSTAL DEPARTMENT</title>
<page.no>570</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>570</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KDB</name.id>
<electorate>HERBERT, QUEENSLAND</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">EDMONDS, William</name>
<name role="display">Mr EDMONDS</name>
</talker>
<para>- My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. Honorable members are aware that during the war years post office clocks in most cities and most large towns were removed because it was considered that they would be a danger in the event of air raids. Is it the intention of the Postal Department to restore or re-erect those post office clocks, or is it intended that those conveniences, which were public land marks, shall remain out for all time? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JLZ</name.id>
<electorate>RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party>CP</party>
<role>Postmaster-General</role>
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">ANTHONY, Hubert</name>
<name role="display">Mr ANTHONY</name>
</talker>
<para>- I think that post office clocks and clock towers add to the architectural adornment of a city or a town, and the department is anxious to restore them where it can. The problem is one of priorities. The demand for telephones and facilities of a utilitarian character is so urgent that priority has to be given, in the finance available to the department, to those projects. However, I am hopeful that in the course of time it will be possible to restore those clocks and towers. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY DEVICES</title>
<page.no>571</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWX</name.id>
<electorate></electorate>
<party>ALP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">FRASER, Jim</name>
<name role="display">Mr J R FRASER</name>
</talker>
<para>-WillthePrime Minister, as a matter of national importance, consider the possibility of initiating an investigation into recent safety developments as applied to the interior and exterior of motor vehicles? I refer to the recent experiments in the fitting of safety belts and the provision of padded facia boards and head boards in motor ears. In view of the favorable results that have been obtained in the use of these devices not only in the United States of America but also in the recent reliability trial in this country, will he see whether action can be taken in this matter for the benefit of the general public. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I will discuss this matter with my appropriate colleague, but I am rather at a loss to understand how it becomes a federal matter. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWX</name.id>
<electorate></electorate>
<party>ALP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">FRASER, Jim</name>
<name role="display">Mr J R FRASER</name>
</talker>
<para>- They are Australian lives. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- Everything in Australia is Australian - lives, health, housing and well-being - but this happens to be a federal, not a unitary country, and the position will become more and more difficult if honorable members continue to take what are obviously State matters and place them at the door of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth does not have all power, and while it has not all power I see no reason why it should have all responsibility. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>FEDERAL MEMBERS&#39; ROOMS</title>
<page.no>571</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KCU</name.id>
<electorate>RYAN, QUEENSLAND</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">DRURY, Edward</name>
<name role="display">Mr DRURY</name>
</talker>
<para>- Can the Minister for the Interior say by whose authority the Federal Members&#39; Rooms in the various States have been re-christened &#34; Common wealth Parliament Offices&#34;? Will he also say, in view of the fact that members of Parliament are not, strictly speaking, officers of Parliament, why this has been done? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEE</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">KENT HUGHES, Wilfrid</name>
<name role="display">Mr KENT HUGHES</name>
</talker>
<para>- To be quite honest, though I am the responsible Minister and the change must have been made by the Department of the Interior, I do not know why it was done. I will make inquiries and ascertain who made the request, and why the change was made. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>GENERAL ELECTION</title>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<type>miscellaneous</type>
</debateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KXZ</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">PETERS, Edward</name>
<name role="display">Mr PETERS</name>
</talker>
<para>- There is a matter in whichI am particularly interested. I would be pleased if the Prime Minister would be so good as to inform me now, or privately later to-day, of the date of the next election for the House of Representatives </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I will be delighted to inform my friend of the date at the earliest possible moment, but I cannot positively promise that I will be able to tell him this afternoon. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>WESTERN AUSTRALIAN WATER SUPPLY SCHEME</title>
<page.no>571</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KXI</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">WEBB, Charles</name>
<name role="display">Mr WEBB</name>
</talker>
<para>- I note that the Prime Minister has agreed to increase the limit of its present grant in respect of the comprehensive water supply scheme for Western Australia from &#163;2,150,000 to &#163;4,000,000. However, for this financial year the Commonwealth will continue to make payments on a &#163;l-for-&#163;l basis within the limits of its existing commitment and the additional funds are to be provided from 1956-57 onwards. To enable the Western Australian Government to do more to assist the comprehensive water supply scheme during the current year, will the Prime Minister consider increasing the Commonwealth&#39;s contribution on a &#163;l-for-&#163;l basis for the year 1955-56? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>571</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- The Commonwealth Government has already informed the Premier of Western Australia of what it is prepared to do. This represents a handsome addition to the obligation that it accepted previously. I can hold out no hope that, in the financial year 1955-56, this substantially increased amount will be added. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>572</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>REPORT OF WAR EXPENDITURE COMMITTEE</title>
<page.no>572</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>572</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate>Kooyong</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role>Prime Minister</role>
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>. - <inline font-style="italic">by leave</inline> - Last week I told the House, in consequence of a certain debate that occurred, that I proposed to table to-day a report made in 1944 by the all-party committee which examined war expenditure during the war years. Towards last week-end, I received a communication from the solicitors for Raymond Fitzpatrick directing my attention to the fact that the War Expenditure Committee had not heard Fitzpatrick in the course of its investigations, had received no evidence from him, and had heard no submission by him or on his behalf. I am not at all SUre that I myself am not to blame for having failed to observe, or infer that fact from the report itself. However, it seemed to me to be a very serious item to be taken into account and I, therefore, caused investigations to be made into the record of the committee&#39;s proceedings. I found that Raymond Fitzpatrick, the person most affected by the contents of the document, had not in fact been heard either himself or through counsel and had had no opportunity of giving evidence or of questioning the evidence of other people. That caused me to re-examine the position, and I came to the conclusion, which I want to state quite simply to the House, that in the light of those facts - and they are facts, because investigation supports them - it becomes clear that the parliamentary committee, which was an all-party committee, was not intending to make a definitive finding of facts, as if it were sitting in judgment, but was determining -whether there was some prima facie case that required investigation, and in that sense its report was made. I had not previously appreciated that aspect <inline font-style="italic">of</inline> it. The committee made its report. It was mot a report of positive findings. It recommended that there should be further investigation and that the Crown Law authorities .should go into this matter to .find out whether further proceedings might properly be taken. The result was that the report, which, as it now appears, -was not in any sense a -series of findings but represented investigation up to a point, went to the then Prime Minister &#39;aird from him to the </para>
</talk.start>
<para class="block">Crown Law authorities. Thereafter, further investigations were made by the Commonwealth Investigation Branch. The Crown Law authorities invited counsel of standing from outside to advise whether any criminal prosecution would lie. Counsel advised that it would not. Then civil proceedings were begun against three defendants. Those proceedings went on in the interlocutory stages, as the lawyers say, from about the end of 1944 onwards. Two of the defendants demurred in the High Court on the ground that no case had been made against them that merited investigation. I am putting it in lay terms- </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>572</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>DTN</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">EVATT, Herbert Vere</name>
<name role="display">Dr Evatt</name>
</talker>
<para>- Portion of it did not. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>572</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- In one case the demurrer completely succeeded, and in tb&#39; other, it succeeded subject to a right in plaintiff to re-plead. In the upshot, one defendant was left. That was Raymond Fitzpatrick, and in February, 1950, on the advice of counsel who had been in charge of these proceedings for some years, the Crown Law authorities accepted the view that the case - this civil action - was not at all likely to succeed. In consequence, it was settled and struck out. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>That, in brief, is the position. I have given this matter very earnest thought. I have no feeling of reluctance at all about changing my mind on the production of a document of this kind if I have been satisfied in the meantime that its production would be improper, and I am so satisfied. I think that it would be all wrong, having regard to the history of events, to produce what now turns out to be not a judicial or quasijudicial finding, but merely a report given on prima facie .elements, unchallenged by Fitzpatrick and without the benefit of evidence by him.&#34; </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>572</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KX7</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">WARD, Edward</name>
<name role="display">Mr Ward</name>
</talker>
<para>- Did the right honorable gentleman not know that when he read the report? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>572</page.no>
<time.stamp />
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<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I did not know. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>572</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWU</name.id>
<electorate>EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party>ALP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">FRASER, Allan</name>
<name role="display">Mr ALLAN FRASER</name>
</talker>
<para>- But the Prime Minister read the report - of course he did. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>572</page.no>
<time.stamp />
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<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- Perhaps the &#39;honorable member for Eden-Monaro {Mr. Allan Fraser) might say that I am lying now. If the honorable member would come out of his panic and anguish sufficiently to be calm on this matter, he would realize that the simplest thing in the world for me to do would be to be dogmatic and say, &#34; I said that I would produce it and I will, and the devil take the consequences, because they will not effect me &#34;. I wish the honorable member would pull himself together and understand that I happen to believe in the principles of justice. I do not believe - my attention having been directed to this by the solicitors for Fitzpatrick, and my own investigation having confirmed it - that it would be proper- </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>573</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KX7</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">WARD, Edward</name>
<name role="display">Mr WARD</name>
</talker>
<para>- But you understand- </para>
</talk.start>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>573</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I did not understand this at all, but I received a letter which I read, and I paid so much attention to it that I sent for the original documents containing the records of the committee and satisfied myself it was right. . Having satisfied myself it was right - and it was much more important for me to satisfy myself than to satisfy East Sydney - I now tell the House plainly that I am not prepared to table the document, which turns out to be not a document of judgment, but in the circumstances quite naturally a document of allegation calling for further investigation. After an interval of eleven years it would be quite unjust to table it, and I do not propose to do so. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>573</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>DTN</name.id>
<electorate>Barton</electorate>
<party />
<role>Leader of the Opposition</role>
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">EVATT, Herbert Vere</name>
<name role="display">Dr EVATT</name>
</talker>
<para>. - <inline font-style="italic">by leave</inline> - During the week-end I also received, as the Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menzies)</inline> did, a communication from Fitzpatrick, and I also had the opportunity of perusing the report of the committee. What the Prime Minister says about it is correct. The War Expenditure Committee not only did not hear <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Fitzpatrick,</inline> but refused an application that he should be heard. That refusal was clearly on the ground that the committee was dealing with the matter only provisionally and did not intend to make a definitive finding. It actually recommended to the then Prime Minister, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Curtin,</inline> that the Crown Law department should make a full investigation of the subject-matter. The committee felt that there should be an examination to ascertain whether criminal proceedings should be instituted against <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Fitzpatrick.</inline> It is only right to repeat what I said last week, that after that reference, it was recommended by the counsel concerned, in a very long report - and they were assisted by officers of the Crown Law office, Commonwealth Investigation Service - giving reasons for their decision, that no criminal proceedings could properly be brought against Fitzpatrick. It is not so much a case of a differing view from that of the War Expenditure Committee which refrained from expressing a final and definitive view. The matter was determined bv a careful legal examination, as I have mentioned. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>Without discussing the technical, legal implications, let me point out that as a result of that report, civil proceedings were started, and as I told the House the other day I take full responsibility for that. It was thought - and I held the view strongly - that the Commonwealth revenues should be protected wherever possible, and consequently, civil actions were brought. A case was brought against Fitzpatrick. He was the subcontractor to a man who was a subcontractor to the main contractor to the Commonwealth. The purpose of the action was to determine whether the under-deliveries - if . there were underdeliveries - were recoverable. Delay occurred in the proceedings, but in the circumstances it was quite clear how that happened. Two of the parties took legal objection to the actions under a procedure known as demurrer. I assure the House, from my inquiries, that every effort was made by the Crown Law department, and by all those who were acting in ministerial posts during those years, to bring the matter forward. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>573</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr Menzies</name>
</talker>
<para>- It might remove any cause for argument if I remind the right honorable gentleman that I made the files on this matter available to him at the week-end. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>573</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>DTN</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">EVATT, Herbert Vere</name>
<name role="display">Dr EVATT</name>
</talker>
<para>- That is so. I asked the Prime Minister for these files, and a perusal of them revived my recollection of the matter and it confirms the general view I stated last week. When we examine the matter and find that during that period of five years there were something like 30,000 matters of litigation in the department, no blame whatever can be attached to the department or the Crown Law office or any person concerned with it. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>I could not say less than that, but I felt that I should say it. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>574</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEJ</name.id>
<electorate>Yarra</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">KEON, Standish</name>
<name role="display">Mr KEON</name>
</talker>
<para>- <inline font-style="italic">by leave</inline> - The attitude of the Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menzies)</inline> constitutes one of the most amazing somersaults that has been witnessed in this House for many years. Whatever material was available to the Prime Minister on which to base his statement to the House to-day, was available to him before he made his statement last week, and promised to lay the report of the committee on the table of the House. &#39; Far from the right honorable gentleman&#39;s statement solving or settling the Bankstown affair - or the Bankstown alleged scandal or whatever it may be called - the somersault of the Prime Minister will leave an even greater question mark in the minds of the general public concerning this matter than previously existed. When this subject was debated in this House in 1946, and the right honorable gentleman was Leader of the Opposition, he had this to say - </para>
</talk.start>
<quote>
<para>We have everything to gain, as an institution, by the most far reaching and searching examination of this most remarkable set of charges. All of these charges may be true. They may be false. They may have some truth and some falsehood in them. We do not know. But we are entitled to ask, and I press it upon the Prime Minister- the then Prime Minister was the late Right Honorable J. B.Chifley- that an investigation of them should be made. We do not take sides in this matter. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">That was the attitude adopted by the right honorable gentleman in this House last week when the urgency motion was moved. His speech in 1946 continued - </para>
<quote>
<para>All of us in this House who are affected, and who know the honorable members concerned, will sincerely hope that all of these charges are untrue. But it is quite certain that they cannot go uninvestigated; because, if charges of this specific kind become unchallenged commonplaces of parliamentary debate, than the parliament itself will have taken a very big step in the direction of destroying its own quality and its own authority. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">I can find no better words to express my sentiments than those of the right honorable gentleman on that occasion when he moved, as a matter of urgency, that the Government should take action to investigate certain charges, including some similar to those that were made during the debate last week on the proposal to table the report of the War Expenditure Committee. I suggest to the House and to the Prime Minister that this is not now a matter of anonymous charges, unknown to the public or made in a secret, confidential report to the Prime Minister. As I pointed out last week, these charges have been headlined in recent weeks in almost every metropolitan daily newspaper in Australia. They have been made in this Parliament, also. The Prime Minister can no longer say that the Parliament is not entitled to make public certain matters which may affect the character of individuals, because there is available the report of a committee, which has been sent to the Prime Minister for the purpose of deciding what action should be taken. Honorable members are not considering that matter now. They are asked to consider, among other things, what should be done with the report, and they are expected to consider also the statements made in this House by honorable members, including former members of the War Expenditure Committee, who furnished the report, who have not been loath to say what they thought of the activities of certain persons, and who, both in this Parliament and outside it, by medium of questions to the government of the day, asked that prosecutions should be launched against people because of the reports that they furnished, and who, since that date because of the failure of governments to take action which they, as members of the committee, thought ought to have been taken, have quite frankly and openly discussed the contents of those reports with members of the Parliament, with newspapermen, and with members of the general public. </para>
<para>We are not now dealing with a matter which has been kept secret, and which we ought to keep secret because the persons concerned have had no opportunity of answering the charges. If I were in <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Fitzpa</inline> trick&#39;s position, in view of the publicity which he has received, and in view of the fact that he has been described by, amongst other people, the honorable member for Melbourne <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Calwell),</inline> as a scoundrel - that is on record in <inline font-style="italic">Hansard</inline> - and by the Leader of the Opposition <inline font-weight="bold">(Dr. Evatt)</inline> as a man responsible for a security file, or a copy of it, getting into hands in which it did not belong in order that the recipients might attack the honorable member for Reid <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Morgan)</inline> - that, also, is in <inline font-style="italic">Hansard,</inline> if anybody desires to read it. &#91; would suggest that the report of the War Expenditure Committee be made public. If I were Fitzpatrick and those statements had been made, and if I had read newspaper headlines about the scandals in Bankstown and demands by 90 Australian Labour party branches in the western metropolitan area for an inquiry- </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>575</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KGX</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HAYLEN, Leslie</name>
<name role="display">Mr Haylen</name>
</talker>
<para>- There are not 90 branches in the western metropolitan area. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>575</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEJ</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">KEON, Standish</name>
<name role="display">Mr KEON</name>
</talker>
<para>- I am reading newspaper headlines. They include, &#34; Fitzpatrick called a crook &#34;, and &#34; Bankstown scandal &#34;. If I were in <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Fitzpatrick&#39;s</inline> position, in order to clear my name I should be demanding the fullest of publicity for the report of the committee, so that the allegations made in the Parliament, outside the Parliament, and in the press, would be scotched once and for all. It is not sufficient for the Prime Minister to say, in effect, &#34; You might do harm to these gentlemen if you divulge the contents of this secret report &#34;. It is no longer secret ; it is no more secret than is <inline font-style="italic">Hansard</inline> or copies of the daily newspapers. In view of the attitude of the Prime Minister last week and the fact that he had prior notice of the demand for the tabling of that report and should have examined it fully and all the papers in connexion with it, even if he did not do so, I can only express my amazement at the somersault that has taken place in his attitude now compared with his attitude last week, when he gave to the Parliament a solemn undertaking that the papers would be provided. When the Prime Minister gives an undertaking to the Parliament we are entitled to ask him to carry out that undertaking. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>575</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWX</name.id>
<electorate></electorate>
<party>ALP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">FRASER, Jim</name>
<name role="display">Mr J R FRASER</name>
</talker>
<para>- He gave it reluctantly. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>575</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEJ</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">KEON, Standish</name>
<name role="display">Mr KEON</name>
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<para>- That is true ; he gave it reluctantly. He gave it because it was said on this side of the House that, if he were not prepared to make the papers available, he, like other persons, would have to accept responsibility for refusing to do so and for failing to ensurethat this matter should be cleared up once and for all by a thorough and complete investigation of it. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>575</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr Menzies</name>
</talker>
<para>- The honorable member may save his breath. I gave the undertaking. I have failed to perform it. I have given convincing reasons for my changed attitude. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>575</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEJ</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">KEON, Standish</name>
<name role="display">Mr KEON</name>
</talker>
<para>- The only reason that I heard the Prime Minister give was that, after having given the undertaking, he had decided to read the relevant papers. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>575</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr Menzies</name>
</talker>
<para>- That is cheap and inaccurate. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>575</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEJ</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">KEON, Standish</name>
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</talker>
<para>- The right honorable gentleman said that he received a letter from <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Fitzpatrick&#39;s</inline> solicitors. I presume that he did not act on that letter. He said that when he received the letter he read the papers and, having read the papers and made himself familiar with all aspects of the case, he decided he would not carry out the undertaking that he had given to the Parliament. I think that is a most remarkable performance. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>575</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>N76</name.id>
<electorate>KOOYONG, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>UAP; LP from 1944</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MENZIES, Robert</name>
<name role="display">Mr MENZIES</name>
</talker>
<para>- I then sent for and read the minutes of the proceedings before the committee. One does not usually read the minutes of proceedings unless one has an abundance of time; one reads the end document. At least, I am pretty busy, and that is what I do. I sent for the minutes of proceedings, and, having read <inline font-style="italic">them,</inline> I had to <inline font-style="italic">concede that</inline> Fitzpatrick&#39;s solicitors were right. For me to persist then that they must be wrong would have been nonsense. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>575</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEJ</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">KEON, Standish</name>
<name role="display">Mr KEON</name>
</talker>
<para>- If the Prime Minister will allow me to continue, I shall simply say that if he thought the matter was as serious as he now apparently thinks it is, if he was so concerned with the protection of the names of individuals who might have been involved in the report, and therefore, after receiving the letter from Fitzpatrick&#39;s solicitors, he read the relevant documents, he should have been just as concerned about the reputation of individuals and about justice last week as apparently be is this week. If he had not then had the opportunity of reading the documents, he should have delayed giving an undertaking to the Parliament until such time as he was able to examine all the documents. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>In view of the fact this is not a secret matter but a public matter, I agree with the words of the Prime Minister - </para>
<quote>
<para>If charges of this specific kind become unchallenged common-places of parliamentary debate, then the Parliament itself will have taken a very big step in the direction of destroying its own quality and its own authority. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">In view of the debates which have taken place here, and the allegations that have been made here and in the press, that which the Prime Minister feared would be done will undoubtedly be done - we shall have destroyed our own authority. In the interests of the people themselves, we are entitled to have that question mark cleared out of their minds. &#34;We are entitled to have the question answered, &#34; Was it possible that a contractor, a man who has been described by the responsible honorable member for Melbourne as a scoundrel, who has been described by the Leader of the Opposition as a man who divulged secrets from security files so that people might attack an opponent who happened to be a member of the Parliament, a man who is still involved in contracts and whose name is still a matter of public controversy in relation to graft and racketeering - was it possible for a man like that to do the things which have been alleged and continue to flourish in this community because he is protected by political influence or for some other reason ? &#34; The people of Australia are entitled to have that question answered and to have every document made available and open to their scrutiny in order that the question may be answered. </para>
<para>There was delay in the taking of action in the courts. There was a delay of almost six years, from 1945 to 1950, before the matter came to finality in the High Court. Until this matter is cleared up, the people of Australia are entitled to ask, &#34; Are the persons who were responsible for the delay protecting this man? Are the persons responsible for not making these reports available protecting this man ? &#34; Apparently the questions are still to be left unanswered in the minds of the public, and the public is entitled to have them answered. I regret greatly that the Prime Minister, who, this week, is so concerned with justice and the possibility of injury to the names of <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Fitzpatrick</inline> and other persons, should now have changed his mind. If he were quite rightly and properly concerned with these matters he should have been just as concerned with them last week. I do not know that there has been any change of front, apart from the letter from <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Fitzpatrick&#39;s</inline> solicitors, because the Prime Minister could have read the documents before he gave his undertaking last week. </para>
<para>I assure honorable members that, as far as the forms of this House are concerned and as far as this public forum permits, we in this corner of the chamber do not - and I say this advisedly - intend to allow this matter to rest there. The Prime Minister has done neither himself nor the Parliament a service by refusing to make this document available, and I hope that sooner or later public pressure will compel the divulgence of the facts of this matter, in order, if one likes, that <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Fitzpatrick&#39;s</inline> name may be cleared, that the name of everybody who has been mentioned may be cleared, and in order that if any persons have made false allegations they shall be compelled to answer publicly for having done so. I hope that the Parliament will insist on the production of this report. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>576</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JRF</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">BOURKE, William</name>
<name role="display">Mr W M Bourke</name>
</talker>
<para>- I ask for leave to make a brief statement on this matter. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>576</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KNX</name.id>
<electorate>WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party>UAP; LP from 1944</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HARRISON, Eric</name>
<name role="display">Sir ERIC HARRISON</name>
</talker>
<para>- No. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<para>Leave not granted. </para>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>COURT HOUSE, DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY</title>
<page.no>576</page.no>
<type>miscellaneous</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>Report of Public Works Committee</title>
<page.no>576</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>576</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>K7J</name.id>
<electorate>BENNELONG, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CRAMER, John</name>
<name role="display">Mr CRAMER</name>
</talker>
<para>- As chairman, I present the report of the Public Works Committee on the following subject: - </para>
</talk.start>
<quote>
<para>The proposed erection of a court house at Darwin, Northern Territory. </para>
</quote>
<para>Ordered to be printed. </para>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION</title>
<page.no>577</page.no>
<type>miscellaneous</type>
</debateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>577</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JLR</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">DEPUTY SPEAKER, Mr</name>
<name role="display">Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr C F Adermann</name>
</talker>
<para>- I have received from the honorable member for Darebin <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Andrews)</inline> an intimation that he desires to submit a definite matter of urgent public importance to the House for discussion, namely - </para>
</talk.start>
<quote>
<para>The urgent necessity for the Government to repeal the penal provisions of the Arbitration Act, to which strong objection has been expressed by all sections of the trade union movement at the recent Congress of the Australian Council of Trades Unions. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">I have made inquiries about this matter. In find that the legality of the penal sections of the act has been challenged in the High Court. The arguments have concluded, and judgment has been reserved. Although I appreciate that the matter submitted for discussion deals more with the political aspect than with the legal aspect of the sections, I feel it is inappropriate that such an important matter should be discussed by the House now, while a judgment of the High Court upon it is pending. Therefore, I rule that the matter is sub <inline font-style="italic">judice.</inline></para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>577</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JLW</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">ANDREWS, Thomas</name>
<name role="display">Mr Andrews</name>
</talker>
<para>- I hope that your decision is not irrevocable, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker.</inline> We did not intend to discuss the specific question which is before the High Court. We intended to deal in the very broadest way with the whole of the penalties that can be imposed under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Only one section of the act, involving a certain kind of penalty, is before the High Court. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>577</page.no>
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<para>- Order ! Is the honorable member taking a point of order? </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>577</page.no>
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<para>- Yes. I shall be very brief in dealing with the matter. I feel that probably there has been a misunderstanding. I was saying that only one section of the act, section 29, is before the High Court at present. Our intention was to discuss the whole question of the penalties that can be imposed under the act. I point out that, since section 29 was challenged before the High Court, the whole subject of the penalties that can be imposed under the act has been discussed very widely. Indeed, I have reason to believe that the Minister for </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<para class="block">Labour and National Service <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Holt)</inline> has called a conference to consider the subject. </para>
<continue>
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<page.no>577</page.no>
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<para>- Order ! The honorable gentleman is going very much beyond the scope of a point of order. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>577</page.no>
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<para>- I am trying to explain the position. </para>
</talk.start>
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<continue>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>577</page.no>
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<para>- The honorable gentleman must keep to his point of order. In dealing with it, he is not permitted to debate the whole subject. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>577</page.no>
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<para>- I do not desire to debate the whole subject. I want to point out, in particular, that if we adopt such a broad interpretation of the meaning of <inline font-style="italic">sub judice,</inline> it will be very difficult for this Parliament to exercise rights that are exercised by people in other sections of the community. We ought to take a very narrow view in considering whether any matter that the Parliament wishes to discuss is <inline font-style="italic">sub judice.</inline> I feel, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> that you have dealt with the matter on the broadest basis imaginable and, therefore, have made a decision which will restrict discussion by the Parliament of a matter which has been discussed on more than one occasion outside the Parliament, without such discussion being regarded as in any way a contempt of the High Court. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>577</page.no>
<time.stamp />
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<name role="metadata">EVATT, Herbert Vere</name>
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<para>- The subject submitted for discussion relates to the penal clauses of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>577</page.no>
<time.stamp />
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<para>- Would the Leader of the Opposition have supported us in the discussion ? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>577</page.no>
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<para>- I would not have supported you in starting it, but if it is to be started, I shall not be kept out of it. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>577</page.no>
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<para>- Order ! That is not the question before the Chair. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>577</page.no>
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<name role="metadata">EVATT, Herbert Vere</name>
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<para>- My submission is that it is always in order for the Parliament to discuss the proposed repeal of a section of an act of Parliament, even though the particular section may at that time be under examination by the High Court, not from the viewpoint of its parliamentary merits, but from the viewpoint of its constitutional validity. At the present time, there is a case before the </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<para class="block">High Court dealing with a section of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, under which penalties can be imposed. The court will determine whether that section is valid. But a body referred to in the urgency proposal submitted by the honorable member for Darebin <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Andrews),</inline> namely, the Australian Trades Unions Congress, discussed this matter last week in public. Does any one suggest that the congress should not have discussed it in public? If the discussion had been an attempt to interfere with the case now before the High Court, it would have been regarded as a contempt of that court. Nobody has suggested that it was. </para>
<para>In this federal system, the powers of the Parliament are limited by the Constitution. There happens to be a case pending before the High Court in which the court has been asked to determine the validity of one of the penal sections of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The matter that the honorable member for Darebin proposes shall be discussed is, not the validity of the penal sections of the act, but whether those sections should as a matter of justice be retained. I submit, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> that your ruling goes too far. It is proposed that the House shall discuss, not a proposed act of Parliament, but the desirability of retaining certain sections of an existing act. I am not dealing now with anything other than the point whether the proposal is in order. I submit that it is not out of order merely because, in the <inline font-style="italic">Boilermakers&#39;</inline> case, a decision is to be given about the constitutional validity of one section of the act. I submit that it will be in order for the House to debate the subject submitted for discussion, so long as you do not permit discussion of the actual legal matter under argument in the High Court. </para>
<continue>
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<page.no>578</page.no>
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<para>- I want to say that, while I am in the chair, I intend to allow the utmost latitude for the discussion of all matters. But in relation to this matter, I have no desire to see the judgment that will be presented in due course prejudiced in any way. Furthermore, the judgment that will be given may affect the whole trend of thought on this important matter. So, because I feel that the matter before the court, as well as the political aspect that has been referred to, is definitely involved in the matter proposed to be discussed, I have ruled that the matter is <inline font-style="italic">sub judice.</inline></para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>OBJECTION TO RULING</title>
<page.no>578</page.no>
<type>miscellaneous</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>Discussion of Matter of Urgency</title>
<page.no>578</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>578</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEJ</name.id>
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<para>.- I move- </para>
</talk.start>
<quote>
<para>That the ruling of <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker</inline> that the urgency proposal is out of order be disagreed with. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">The reason I do so is that I believe this Parliament must take to itself, on every possible occasion, the fullest opportunity to discuss matters that are of public interest. Your ruling, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> would undoubtedly serve to narrow very considerably the range of matters of grave public moment that we can bring before the House under the urgency procedure. Surely it should be possible for us to discuss the desirability of legislation of various kinds, its wisdom in the light of industrial conditions and its effect upon industrial peace, without impinging in any way upon arguments advanced to the High Court in relation to the constitutionality or otherwise of some particular piece of legislation before the court. I put it to the House that we have a responsibility to preserve for this Parliament the right to debate, to the fullest possible extent, affairs of the day that are the subject of public discussion. </para>
<para>It may be said that the constitutionality of section 29 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act is <inline font-style="italic">sub judice,</inline> but if a general strike occurs to-morrow as a result of the penal provisions and causes grave industrial unrest in this community, is it to be said that this Parliament may not discuss the matter because there is before the court a test case upon the constitutional power of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court to do certain things ? I put it to you, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> that your interpretation is far too narrow and that your attention should be directed to widening the scope of discussion in this Parliament as far as possible. As the Minister for Labour and National Service <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Holt)</inline> knows, it could easily happen that, within the next few days, and before the court&#39;s decision is given, very grave industrial unrest could occur in the community as a result of the possible application of the penal section. </para>
<para>Surely you, sir, do not suggest that this Parliament may not discuss such a matter, which would be of grave concern to the people of Australia and would have an immediate effect upon their welfare, simply because the High Court of Australia is determining, not the advisability of legislation, not its effect upon industrial relations and not the question whether it promotes industrial peace, but one point, and one point only, for it is the only point that it is competent or is empowered to determine - the constitutionality of the particular provisions of the legislation. I submit that that is the matter that is <inline font-style="italic">sub judice</inline> - the question whether particular legislation is enacted within the power given to the Commonwealth Parliament under the Australian Constitution. &#34;We did not intend to trespass upon the province of the court. We intend to discuss, by all means, the desirability, in the cause of industrial peace, of removing the penal section from the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. I put it to you, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> that it is taking far too narrow a view of the powers of this Parliament to suggest that the discussion of the repeal of legislation is an interference with the powers of r,he court. Therefore, to make possible a discussion in this Parliament about a matter that could lead to grave industrial unrest and is poisoning industrial relations at the present time, I have moved that your ruling be disagreed with. </para>
<para class="italic">
<inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Keon</inline>
<inline font-style="italic">having submitted his objection to the ruling in writing,</inline>
</para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>579</page.no>
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<para>. - I second the motion, and I should like to state my reasons very briefly. Members of the party to which I belong have requested you. <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> to submit to the House a proposal for the discussion of a matter of grave urgency, namely, the necessity for the Government to take action to repeal the penal section of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. In the notice transmitted to you, sir, we did not refer to any case that is being heard before the High Court of Australia or is awaiting a decision by the court. Certain organizations have presented a case to that court in an attempt to prove that certain provisions of the act relating to penalties are invalid; in other words that the Commonwealth Arbitration Court has not power under the Australian Constitution to impose penalties upon unions that have disobeyed awards or agreements. We are not questioning the validity of that section. We do not propose to discuss its validity, but we do propose to discuss something that, in my opinion, is a matter of intense urgency - the question whether the act should contain penal provisions. It is our argument that those penal provisions should be repealed. We believe that those penal provisions, instead of having assisted- </para>
</talk.start>
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<page.no>579</page.no>
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<para>- Order ! The honorable member may not canvass the merits of that matter. </para>
</talk.start>
<continue>
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<page.no>579</page.no>
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<para>- Very well. I bow to your ruling, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker.</inline> I shall say merely that we desire to discuss, as an urgent matter, the necessity for the repeal of a certain section of the act. In presenting arguments in favour of such repeal, we should not in any way interfere with the powers of the High Court. We should not advance any arguments that would influence the minds of any of the judges of the court. In fact, we should not refer in any. way to the case that is at present before the High Court. </para>
</talk.start>
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<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>579</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MC</name.id>
<electorate>Higgins</electorate>
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<para>. - The House has before it a motion of dissent from the ruling that the terms of the proposal for urgent discussion, submitted, I understand, by the honorable member for Yarra <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Keon),</inline> are such as to render discussion of the matter out of order because it is <inline font-style="italic">sub judice.</inline> In discussing the ruling given by you, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> both the honorable member for Yarra and the honorable member for Wills <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Bryson)</inline> have strayed into the realms of discussion of the merits of the particular proposition that they proposed to advance. I feel that, although we should accept your ruling on that matter, it would be unreasonable to leave it just where those two honorable members have put it. Therefore, before I discuss the ruling that has been given, I wish to intimate that this </para>
</talk.start>
<para>Government does not seek to avoid debate on a matter that we appreciate is important. Indeed, as the Minister who represents the Government in these industrial matters, I myself have received a deputation of representatives of the Australian Council of Trades Unions. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>580</page.no>
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<para>- The Minister did not consider that he should not discuss the matter with that deputation on the ground that the subject was <inline font-style="italic">sub judice.</inline></para>
</talk.start>
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<page.no>580</page.no>
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<para>- No. That was not a public discussion, and it took place at an earlier stage in the proceedings relative to this matter. In fact, if my recollection is correct, the matter had not at that stage proceeded to argument before the High Court of Australia. I subsequently received a deputation from representatives of the employers. After I had heard what both sections had to say about the matter, I convened a conference at which these two groups and I were able to have a round-table discussion. I therefore indicate that the Government accepts the matter as being important and has already shown it3 interest in it. It is certainly a matter that, at an appropriate time, could very properly be debated in the Parliament. </para>
</talk.start>
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<para>I point out to the honorable member for Wills, who has voiced objection to the existence of penal provisions in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, that it was a government that he supported which, in 1947, constituted the Commonwealth Arbitration Court a court of record with disciplinary powers in relation to breaches of awards and agreements. Indeed, the legislation enacted by the parliaments of the States, in most of which at the present time there are Labour Premiers, contains provisions comparable with those that are now under challenge. Having said that, I do not propose to go beyond the ruling that you, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> have just given that we must not canvass the merits of the particular proposition advanced in the proposal for discussion. </para>
<para>I turn now to the motion of dissent from your ruling. I have some sympathy with the point of view advanced that rulings that matters are <inline font-style="italic">sub judice</inline> in this Parliament should be given a narrow interpretation, or, at least should be applied in a narrow sense. I have no doubt in my own mind that, on some earlier occasions, rulings by the Speaker have applied the <inline font-style="italic">sub judice</inline> rule in too broad a sense. There is every justification for this Parliament debating, with a minimum of inhibition, matters that are of lively public concern, and a presiding officer who is called upon to determine whether a particular matter placed before him is out of order for debate here, on the ground that it is before the courts, should, as I stated a little earlier, apply a narrow interpretation of the <inline font-style="italic">sub judice</inline> rule. But here I consider that we have an instance in which your ruling is amply justified, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker.</inline></para>
<para>Section 29 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, to which it is desired to direct argument, has recently been discussed before the High Court. Argument upon it has concluded and the court has reserved its judgment. I am aware that there was some debate about this matter at the recent biennial congress of the Australian Council of Trades Unions in Melbourne. Therefore, it might well be argued that if it is within the compass of such a congress, and proper for it, to thrash out a matter of this kind in public debate, this Parliament has no less competence on such a question. Presumably, the theory on which the <inline font-style="italic">sub judice</inline> ruling is based is that argument in this place by the representatives of the people could conceivably have some persuasive or influential effect upon the views of the judiciary. If that is the basis for the ruling, then surely the time at which the rule should be applied most strictly is at that point of time at which the judiciary is actually contemplating the judgment to be given in a particular case, which is the situation at which the matter stands now. </para>
<para>There is another aspect, if honorable members in the corner are sincere in their desire to have this particular issue debated in a sensible way, which I believe they should have in mind. The decision of the court will necessarily have some bearing upon the future of a provision such as this. If the validity of the section is upheld, we deal with the matter on its merits. If, on the other hand, its validity is not upheld, an entirely new situation is created and we all must be prepared to then look at it in the light of the decision of the court. So I say, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> that quite apart from the consideration which has led to your ruling, there i3 I believe the commonsense view of the matter, which should not be out of the mind of the Parliament, that if we are to discuss what is involved in the penal provisions of the arbitration legislation, then surely the sensible time to have that discussion is after the decision of the court has been pronounced. For these reasons, and for the particular reasons I mentioned in relation to the ruling itself, I feel that the House should support the ruling that you have given. </para>
<para>
<inline font-weight="bold">Mr. E.</inline>JAMES HARRISON (Blaxland) <inline font-style="italic">&#91;i.7~\.</inline> - I rise to say something on this matter mainly because the Minister for Labour and National Service <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Holt)</inline> has indicated that this question was discussed at the congress of the Australian Council of Trades Unions last week. I was privileged to lead a section of a delegation at that congress, and I want to put it quite plainly and simply, that the question that the High Court will determine was not an issue that was discussed at the congress at all. Neither, I suggest with respect, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> is the matter that you have ruled out of order in line with a decision that the High Court must make on this subject. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>581</page.no>
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<para>- What has this to do with it? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>581</page.no>
<time.stamp />
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<electorate>BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
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<para>- It has this to do with it, that in my view the ruling is wrong. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>581</page.no>
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<para>- Is the honorable member opposing the ruling of <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker</inline> ? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>581</page.no>
<time.stamp />
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<para>- Yes. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>581</page.no>
<time.stamp />
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<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<para>- Why ? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>581</page.no>
<time.stamp />
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<para>- I oppose the ruling because the decision that the High Court has to make is whether or not the Arbitration Court can exercise dual powers. That is the only decision the High Court will make in the matter. It is not concerned a bit about the <inline font-style="italic">Boilermakers&#39;</inline> case ; it will leave that case completely out of its consideration. The High Court will deal only with the one question as to whether the Arbitration Court can exercise dual functions, and it will give its decision accordingly. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>With all the experience I have had in the Australian trade union movement and arbitration work, I should not be fitted to rise in my place and debate that subject, because it is a matter for top-line legal brains to determine, and that is the level at which the matter has been argued. I know, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> that you desire to maintain public interest in the debates in this Parliament, as well as to do the right thing in relation to matters that are <inline font-style="italic">sub judice.</inline> However, I submit that you will consider, if you look at the legislation carefully, that it in no way impinges on the decision that the High Court must give in the <inline font-style="italic">Boilermakers&#39;</inline> case. Quite contrary to what the Minister for Labour and National Service has said, at the congress last week we did not attempt at any stage to discuss the issue that the High Court must determine. </para>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>581</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>10000</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">DEPUTY SPEAKER, Mr</name>
<name role="display">Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER</name>
</talker>
<para>- Order ! The matter is not before the Chair. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>581</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KNM</name.id>
<electorate>BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party>ALP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HARRISON, Eli</name>
<name role="display">Mr E JAMES HARRISON</name>
</talker>
<para>- I understood your ruling to be, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker</inline> - correct me if I am wrong - that you were not prepared to allow this subject to be debated because it was an issue that had been heard by the Arbitration Court - I think you meant the High Court - and you considered that it was now <inline font-style="italic">sub judice.</inline> What I am trying to point out is that the matter that is <inline font-style="italic">sub judice</inline> at the moment is not the issue of the application of sections 29, 29a and 78 of the Commonwealth act. As a matter of fact, the meaning of those sections is a matter which is quite distinct from the matter that the High Court must decide. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>The High Court is not testing whether, constitutionally, this Parliament has power to introduce legislation such as that covered by sections 29, 29a and 78. It is testing the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Court to exercise dual powers. I suggest that you should have ruled out of order any honorable member who attempted - I think the honorable member for Evans <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Osborne)</inline> would agree with this contention - to canvass the decision that the High Court should give in relation to determining the dual functions of the Arbitration Court. In the light of the knowledge that I have of this subject, and of the matters that the High Court must decide in relation to this issue, I suggest that the proposal is in order and that your ruling, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> was not right. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>582</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KNX</name.id>
<electorate>WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party>UAP; LP from 1944</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HARRISON, Eric</name>
<name role="display">Sir ERIC HARRISON</name>
</talker>
<para>. - This is a very interesting debate because it throws into perspective quite a number of facets of the House itself. You, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> have given a ruling to the effect, in broad terms, that if the House discusses this proposal there is a possibility that it may influence the decision of the High Court. The Leader of the Opposition <inline font-weight="bold">(Dr. Evatt)</inline> asks, in effect, &#34; How can that possibly happen, because the Australian Council of Trades Unions discussed this matter in public a little while ago?&#34; But might I suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that this Parliament, which is representative of the people of the country, is much greater in stature and much more important than the Australian Council of Trades Unions, and that it is much more likely to be taken notice of by the High Court than is that council. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>But there is another aspect of this matter that rather intrigues me, because in the course of the debate the honorable member for Yarra <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Keon),</inline> being rather persuaded by the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition, suggested that the right honorable gentleman might agree to support him in the proposal, to which the Leader of the Opposition immediately replied, in effect, &#34; No, of course I would not support the honorable member with regard to any matter &#34;, and it is a well-known fact that the Leader of the Opposition has instructed his cohorts that in no circumstances must they rise to support any proposal submitted by the Anti-Communist Labour party. But the Leader of the Opposition thought that here was an opportunity, that if he could show that the ruling was out of order, he might come in and gain a little political prestige by taking a stand and saying, &#34; Of course, this is completely out of order &#34;. He was not to know that the honorable member for Yarra would rise immediately and move dissent from the ruling, thereby putting the Leader of the Opposition right on the spot, because the right honorable gentleman, thinking that at last he had reached security and could support the proposal with regard to the penal clauses of the Arbitration Act, found that he had to support willy nilly the proposal of the honorable member for Yarra. As I have said, the situation intrigues me. The decision of caucus goes by the board because one whom the Leader of the Opposition would not in normal circumstances support must be supported by him or he shall stand forever condemned. It is an unwritten law of this House that it shall take no action whatever that would be likely to prejudice the decisions of the courts. And so, from time immemorial, it has been our custom not to discuss matters that are in course of hearing, or are likely to be adjudicated upon. Accordingly, we on this side have no hesitation in supporting the ruling of the Chair. </para>
<para>Question put - </para>
<quote>
<para>That the ruling be dissented from. </para>
</quote>
</speech>
<division>
<division.header>
<time.stamp />
<para>The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)</para>
</division.header>
<division.data>
<ayes>
<num.votes>33</num.votes>
<title>AYES</title>
</ayes>
<noes>
<num.votes>55</num.votes>
<title>NOES</title>
</noes>
</division.data>
<para>Majority ... . . 22 </para>
<para class="block">
<graphic href="007131195509130_20_1_3_P.jpg" />
</para>
<para>AYES</para>
<para class="block">
<graphic href="007131195509130_19_1_1_A.jpg" />
</para>
<para>NOES</para>
<para class="block">
<graphic href="007131195509130_20_1_2_N.jpg" />
</para>
<division.result>
<para class="block">Question so resolved in the negative. </para>
</division.result>
</division>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>PLANT AND SOILS LABORATORY. ST. LUCIA, QUEENSLAND</title>
<page.no>583</page.no>
<type>miscellaneous</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>Reference to Public Works Committee</title>
<page.no>583</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>583</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KEE</name.id>
<electorate>Chisholm Minister for the Interior and Minister for Works</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">KENT HUGHES, Wilfrid</name>
<name role="display">Mr KENT HUGHES</name>
</talker>
<para>.- I move- </para>
</talk.start>
<quote>
<para>That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1953, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report, namely: - Erection of a new plant and soils laboratory for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization at St. Lucia, Queensland. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">The proposal provides for the erection of a building within the area allocated for the development of the University of Queensland. The building is required to carry out research on the agricultural problems of tropical and sub-tropical Australia, and, particularly, of the development of improved pastures for the coastal and sub-coastal regions and the inland cattle country. The proposed building will be a semi-two-story structure designed to take advantage of the site contours. The lower floor will be of brick construction, and the upper floor will be of timber-framed construction. The estimated cost of the proposal is &#163;133,000, excluding roads and drainage, the cost of which is to be met by the State public works department. I table the plans of the proposed building. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>583</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>BV8</name.id>
<electorate>Melbourne</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CALWELL, Arthur</name>
<name role="display">Mr CALWELL</name>
</talker>
<para>.- The Opposition supports the motion and expresses the hope that, despite the fact, that the Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menzies)</inline> conferred with bankers yesterday about restricting credit, no action will be taken to prevent the construction of this building, should the Public Works Committee report favorably on the proposal. Works of this kind are of great importance to the nation, and it may be well to consider the advisability of extending the investigation to cover soils in Papua and New Guinea. These tropical and subtropical areas are danger spots, and the sooner we ascertain what can be grown there, so that people may settle in those areas and grow crops that it is known can be grown there, the better it will be for the future of those who are fortunate enough to live in the temperate zones, but sometimes are foolish enough to believe that, because they live there, they are safe from molestation now, and will be safe in the future. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>Question resolved in the affirmative. </para>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>583</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>BUDGET 1955-56</title>
<page.no>583</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<para>
<inline font-style="italic">hi Committee of Supply:</inline>Consideration resumed from the 8th September <inline font-style="italic">{vide</inline> page 560), on motion by <inline font-weight="bold">Sir Arthur</inline> Fadden - </para>
<quote>
<para>That the first item in the Estimates under Division No. 1 - The Senate - namely, &#34; Salaries and allowances, &#163;27,700 &#34;, be agreed to. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">Upon which <inline font-weight="bold">Dr. Evatt</inline> had moved by way of amendment - </para>
<quote>
<para>That the first item be reduced by fi. </para>
</quote>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>583</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KWR</name.id>
<electorate>Bradfield</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">TURNER, Henry</name>
<name role="display">Mr TURNER</name>
</talker>
<para>.- The Treasurer <inline font-weight="bold">(Sir Arthur Fadden),</inline> in his statement to the Parliament, known as the budget speech, has set forth, I think, quite a masterly analysis of the economic situation at the present day; and he has proceeded, in the light of that analysis, to indicate the policy that the Government intended to adopt in order to meet the trends that had been revealed. The Treasurer invited attention to two problems in particular. The first problem concerned the decline in our overseas balances; the second problem concerned the inflationary situation within Australia. The deficiency in relation to overseas trade balances was far above that which anybody had imagined until the Treasurer revealed it. It amounted to &#163;256,000,000, taking into account, not only imports, but invisible items as well. Overseas reserves at the 30th June, 1955, were disclosed at &#163;428,000,000 compared with an amount of &#163;580,000,000 at the 30th June, 1954. The White Paper, National Income and Expenditure, shows that imports and other payments for goods and services amounted in 1954-55 to &#163;1,035,000,000. At the same time, it has to be borne in mind that our wool receipts will be less this year. There is a large surplus of wheat, not only in Australia, but in the main wheat-producing countries ; and the competition that is being met by our meat and other export industries is much keener than it was. At present, our overseas reserves are only about 40 per cent, of our outgoings, in a normal year, for overseas payments. So it has been considered by all those who are able to speak with authority on this subject that our reserves cannot be allowed to deteriorate any further. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>I turn now to the inflationary situation within our own economy - a situation that is evidenced by rising prices, demands for higher wages, the emergence of some shortages, and the prospect within the next twelve months of reduced imports, in other words, a reduced quantity of goods available to the public. All these pressures upon our overseas reserves and upon our local resources have to be met by some means. The question that the Treasurer has posed is, &#34; What steps are to be taken in order to relieve these pressures on overseas funds and upon the resources of our own economy?&#34;. I suppose that, theoretically, we could seek to increase exports, mainly of primary products, and seek to increase the local production of manufactured goods, in order to replace those imports which we shall not be able to bring in next year. In theory we mav do that, and in practice, we may do that in the long run if certain steps are taken to which I shall refer later. But, in the short run, it is not likely that a great deal can be done along those lines. </para>
<para>The second measure that could be employed - and more immediately - is to reduce imports and to reduce excess spending in the community. By &#34; excess spending &#34; I mean spending power in the hands of the community which is in excess of goods available to the community at present prices. An excess of purchasing power tends to bid up the prices of goods and services, resulting in the inflationary situation that we have at present. </para>
<para>It has been suggested - not so much overtly as implicitly - by various authorities who are concerned with different aspects of the control of our economy, that the situation might be adjusted by allowing the exchange rate to float free. I agree that this measure would stimulate exports. At the same time, it would automatically reduce imports, because higher prices would have to be paid in terms of Australian currency by importers. Therefore, only those importers who were bringing in essential goods which were in keen demand would be able to pay the higher prices for the overseas currency. On the face of it, that might appear to be the perfect answer to the problem - to allow the currency to float free, and because it is almost certainly overvalued at present, it would automatically be devalued. </para>
<para>I suggest that that is not a course upon &#60; which the Government should lightly enter. There would be an immediate upsurge of wage demands if the value of our money declined. Considerable hardship would be experienced by pensioners and others in receipt of social services, and all social services payments would have to be increased. All prices and charges within the community would increase, or tend to increase. There would be great injustice to persons on fixed incomes and&#39; superannuation. The effect on life assurance, mortgages, and government loans could be quite catastrophic. People would cease to make investments of that kind, believing that the value of their money would further decline, and that it would not be worth paying good money in order to receive a promise of receiving bad&#34; money - that is, money of reduced value-&#171; at a later date. Finally, overseas confidence in our economy would be lost,which would result in the failure overseas of efforts to raise loans to aid a country which is underdeveloped and which requires overseas capital in order to be developed as rapidly as the situation demands. So, allowing the exchange rate to float free is not a solution that would commend itself to many honorable members. What, then, is to be done? </para>
<para>The Treasurer has indicated that there will have to be - in the short term - further import controls. That is a measure that can be adopted quickly. Of course, behind the barrier that is set up by such controls, there is a tendency for costs to rise tremendously in our economy ; and in any case, I hope that the Government is really a Liberal government which does not look to such short-term expedients as an ultimate solution of the problem. Surely an attempt must be made to get our resources into balance with our purchasing power. Some attempt must be made to bring about a situation in which, if the exchange rate were allowed to float free, we should find some approximation between the present purchasing power of our money and the purchasing power after that policy has been put into effect. </para>
<para>Much attention has been concentrated, and must be concentrated, on the problem of curtailing excessive spending power within the community, a matter to which I have already made reference. That applies to private individuals and also to governments. So far as private expenditure is concerned, it may relate to consumer goods or to capital equipment; that is, producer goods. The Treasurer has pointed out in his statement that there has been an increase of 9 per cent, in private expenditure on consumer goods in the past year following the increase of 12 per cent, in the preceding year. That is a tremendous outburst of consumer spending in the past two years. Again, so far as private investment in producers&#39; goods is concerned, there has been an increase of 15 per cent, in the past twelve months. That suggests that some steps must be taken, in the short term, to curb private expenditure on consumer and producer goods, but I wish to pay some attention to Government expenditure. </para>
<para>The Treasurer has suggested that the whole of the economic sins of the community are centred upon the private sector. Up to a point, he has been able to prove his case. For example, the White Paper shows that government expenditure on public works in three successive years was - </para>
<para class="block">
<graphic href="007131195509130_22_0.jpg" />
</para>
<para class="block">That is a relatively stable level of expenditure. It ha3 not increased nearly as much as expenditure of private people on consumer goods and producer goods. At the same time, however, the Government is seeking by persuasive means, according to the second part of the Treasurer&#39;s speech, to induce the community to exercise restraint in expenditure. If it seeks to do that, surely it should buttress its demand to the public upon a moral lead within its own sphere. Surely the Government should put its own house in order when it appeals to the public to do the proper thing so far as its spending is concerned. Therefore, it must apply to itself a standard even higher than the standard it would apply to private citizens. </para>
<para>It may be that the expenditure of governments has been fairly stable, relative to private expenditure, in the past three years, but that is not enough. If the Government wants to give a moral lead, it must be impeccable in its own affairs. The fact is that the Australian Government is proposing to spend, in the current financial year, &#163;SO,000,000 more than it did last year. It is true that there have been increases of expenditure on social services. That is inevitable, and certain other expenses of the Government are unavoidable also, but I believe that it has not cut its expenditure in certain directions to the extent that it might more effectively give that moral lead which is the very basis of its policy to meet the present inflationary situation. For example, the outlay of the Australian Government as it appears in the White Paper accompanying the budget is shown to have increased from &#163;763,000,000 in 1953-54 to &#163;811,000,000 in 1954-55. That is the outlay on all the various items of expenditure, for which the Government is responsible. It represents a very considerable increase to which the </para>
<para class="block">Treasurer, in view of the thesis he submitted, did not draw attention. Honorable members will notice that the States also have increased their expenditure, as the following table shows: - </para>
<para class="block">
<graphic href="007131195509130_23_1.jpg" />
</para>
<para class="block">Indications in the budget speech are that about the same level of expenditure will be reached by the State governments this year. There is a marked increase for which the Commonwealth Government must accept a considerable degree of responsibility, because it is only on account of the supplementation of public loan moneys by tax moneys from the Commonwealth Treasury that the States are able to carry out their public works at the present level. </para>
<para>I believe that the Commonwealth Government itself could cut some of its works. I do not profess to be able to give a complete account of the directions in which economies might be effected, but I agree with the honorable member for Corangamite <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Mackinnon),</inline> who spoke on the budget last week, that the decision to proceed with the St. Mary&#39;s project at full steam will obviously result in important inflationary pressures in the building trade, in particular. Building workers will be engaged on that project in close proximity to Sydney, and they will be drawn from other building construction, whether on factories or homes. That will tend to raise the bidding for labour and will cause inflationary pressure in that very sensitive sector of the economy - the building trade. </para>
<para>Probably I shall not receive much support from honorable members when I direct attention, in a critical way, to the proposed expenditure of &#163;32,000,000 by the Postmaster-General&#39;s Department this year on the extension of telephone and other services. It is highly desirable that all persons who apply for telephones should get them, but if the situation is that spending power in the community is outrunning its physical resources, and if the Government wishes to restrain expenditure all round, we must do without, for the time being, some of the things we would like. It could be that people, for the time being, should do without as many telephones as they would like, just as they are being asked to do without refrigerators and other consumer goods they would like to have. </para>
<para>I believe the Government proposes to make a start with a vast building project in Melbourne to provide Commonwealth offices. <inline font-style="italic">&#34;No</inline> doubt it would be convenient to have those offices, but we cannot do everything at once. Spending power is outrunning our physical resources. The expenditure of money on the proposed structure in Melbourne will have the same effect as the St. Mary&#39;s project in Sydney. Expenditure must be restrained. The Government has appealed to the public in that direction, and the Government should give a lead. </para>
<para>I direct attention to an agency of the Australian Government - the Commonwealth Bank - which has been engaged in an aggressive policy of opening branches all over Australia. The banking facilities in Australia are fairly adequate and, in my opinion, there is no need at this time to swell the vast building programme of the Commonwealth Bank. All the examples I have given refer to the building industry, but I am sure that a proper examination of all the expenditure of the Government would show that it could give a lead in many other directions by exercising restraint in expenditure, as it has called upon the public to do. </para>
<para>I direct attention also to the spending programme of the States. Since the Australian Government provides a great deal of the money obtained from the taxpayers for State public works, it could properly exercise the persuasive power that arises from the situation in relation to State works by indicating priorities. I have been studying the last works programme given in official documents of the Government of New South Wales, and have discovered some extraordinary statements. As an example, I have selected expenditure on various water conservation and irrigation works. When the Burrinjuck Dam was authorized, the estimated total cost was &#163;1,852,000. The expenditure to the 30th June, 1954, was &#163;3,721,783, which, of course, was vastly in excess of the original estimate. That gives an idea of the degree of inflation during that time. The amount still required, even on to-day&#39;s values, is &#163;1,400,000. The estimated expenditure for the year 1954-55 was &#163;700,000. That project might be drawing towards completion ; but I now direct attention to the Keepit storage scheme. The estimated total cost was &#163;1,340,000, the expenditure to the 30th June, 1954, was &#163;3,S12,957, and the amount required to complete the work is &#163;4,600,000. The estimated expenditure for the year 1954-55 was &#163;800,000. Quite obviously, that work will take very many years to complete. </para>
<para>I need not go right through the document that I have before me, but the same remarks apply to the Glenbawn Dam, the Burrendong Dam and certain other works such as weirs on the Barwon and Darling rivers, the Menindee Lakes storage, the Blowering Dam and the Warkworth Dam. The Burrendong Dam and subsequent projects to which I have referred have been started, and a total of &#163;3,631,308 has been spent on them. Apparently they have been discontinued because no money was voted for them in 1954-55. So those projects are not likely to be completed within the foreseeable future. I suggest that there should be a concentration upon works that could be completed fairly soon so that they could be brought into production, and thus increase the productive power of the community. I suggest, moreover, that the Commonwealth should be able to exercise some influence on the priority of State works, because without aid from the Commonwealth Treasury those works could not be carried on. </para>
<para>In regard to private spending, the Government envisages some natural decrease in the liquidity of the banks due to the decline of our exports, and apparently it is seeking to persuade the banking system to reduce, even further, the money that is available to the community. I suggest, too, that there may well be a case - although we have not in Australia the bank rates that obtain in England - for increased interest rates all round. Higher interest rates would, of course, reduce the amount of money that is available within the economy. Reference has been made to hire-purchase finance. I wish to direct attention to a significant statement that appears in a paper entitled <inline font-style="italic">Economic Monograph No.</inline> 180, which was produced in July, 1955, by the Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand. After setting out the degree of hirepurchase business in the United States of America and Australia, the paper had this to say - </para>
<quote>
<para>The interesting feature of table 3 is that from 1949 to 1952 H. P. as a percentage of national income grew by 26 per cent, in United States of America compared wi&#39;th 22 per cent, in Australia but since then the Australian figures have grown by 77 per cent, compared with 38 per cent, in United States of America i.e. twice as fast. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">That statement indicates that, in this field, there is a great pressure of spending power upon our limited resources, and it may well be that the brake should be applied. </para>
<para>I am not one of those who believe that there is anything morally wrong with hire purchase or that drastic measures should be taken to restrict it, but, quite plainly, it is time that a brake was applied. 1 suggest that this Government has certain pressures that it can apply against the State governments. After all, if the State governments want money for their public works, and if some of that money is being siphoned off into hire purchase transactions, surely the States should take some action to ensure that they get the money they need. Therefore, the Commonwealth Government would be perfectly in order in saying to the States, &#34; Unless you are prepared to help by passing legislation to provide, for example, for a higher deposit on hire purchase goods and a shortening of the term of repayment, there is no reason why we should dig deeper into the taxpayers&#39; pockets to provide you with money that could come from the loan market if you were prepared to take such action &#34;. That is a lever that the Commonwealth could use. </para>
<para>Now I come to the positive side of the matter. I wish to refer to something which I think is lacking in the budget proposals. I have already referred to State loan works and to the necessity to bring productive resources into operation at the earliest opportunity. I suggest that the import licensing policy should give high priority to the import of producer goods, that is to say, equipment that would enable us to increase our production of manufactured goods. It seems clear to me that in the future we shall not be able to import on the same scale as we have imported in the past, and that, therefore, we must either do without some of the goods that we have imported hitherto or produce them here. We can produce them here at reasonable cost only if industry is given such facilities a3 the most modern equipment to produce them. I suggest, as I have already pointed out, that the licensing policy should be used to assist in the mechanization of our industry. </para>
<para>Moreover, our economy lacks an efficient transport system. Transport costs represent perhaps one-quarter of the total cost of goods. When we look at the State programmes, we find that money is being spent on works that will not be completed for very many years. On the other hand, when we look at the expenditure on the railways system, roads and harbour works, we find that those projects have a very low priority and that the expenditure is very small indeed. I see no reason why we should not bring in more diesel-electric locomotives and effect other similar improvements. Above all, there is need for a policy of coordination in regard to rail, road, air and 3ea transport. I believe that it is the duty of the Commonwealth Government to give a lead in formulating a policy as a result of which such things may be co-ordinated. Considering the great influence that it has in regard to public loans and the great pressure that it can bring to bear upon the States in the placing of priorities, the Commonwealth, having set down a policy of co-ordination, should bring the States into line. By developing our manufactures by using the most effective equipment, by permitting their importation and using our limited overseas resources especially for that purpose, by concentrating our public works programme on projects that can become productive within the immediate future, and by concentrating upon our transport system, we can bring ourselves, in the long term, to a point where I hope the exchange rate might be allowed to go free. </para>
<para>I feel that I should not conclude my remarks without some reference to the admittedly difficult task of the Australian </para>
<para class="block">Government in controlling our economy. The economy is like a chariot to which is harnessed a team of horses. Some of them are within the shafts and give some direction, but others are out on the flank out of control and pulling the chariot first to one side and then to the other. I mean that we have, not only the Commonwealth Government, but also the State governments, the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, the Tariff Board, the banks, which are not always working in complete harmony for reasons that I have not time to explain just now, and various other controlling influences in our economy often operating in diverse directions. 1 concede that this Government has the utmost difficulty in controlling the economy - a greater difficulty than has a unitary government like that of the United Kingdom or of New Zealand - but that is no excuse for shelving its responsibility of leadership. The Treasurer, indeed, has given a lead to the community, but I do not think that he has fortified himself sufficiently to perform the task as effectively as he might have done. The Government must use every power that it has - its financial powers are very great - to give a lead and not only state what ought to be done, but also, if necessary, exercise pressure to formulate and carry out a logical policy for dealing with the economic problems that confront us to-day. If I seem to have been critical in this speech, it is not because I do not believe that the budget is an excellent document. I think that the approach of the Government towards our economic problems is the right one. If I have been critical, it is because the Government has not gone as far as I should have liked it to go. However, the psychology of people is a most difficult thing to deal with. If the business community should, through panic, gain the impression that our economy is in an unhappy position, the consequences could be grave. The Government has sought not to give that impression, and I believe that, through its budget, it has succeeded. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>588</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JRJ</name.id>
<electorate>GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">BOWDEN, George</name>
<name role="display">The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Bowden</name>
</talker>
<para>- Order! The honorable member&#39;s time has expired. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>589</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KZX</name.id>
<electorate>Brisbane</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">LAWSON, George</name>
<name role="display">Mr GEORGE LAWSON</name>
</talker>
<para>. - I desire to comment briefly on the budget which is now before the committee. In doing so, I wish to make my position perfectly clear; therefore, I say that I wholeheartedly agree with and support the amendment that has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition <inline font-weight="bold">(Dr. Evatt).</inline> The budget is on all fours with the budget of 1951-52, which was also presented by the present Treasurer <inline font-weight="bold">(Sir Arthur Fadden).</inline> Honorable members, of course, will recall how lamentable that budget was. The present budget is the most dismal, gloomy, futile and disappointing budget that has been introduced in this Parliament during my long term of office. Indeed, there is only one redeeming feature in it, and that is the increase - although it is paltry - that will be granted to those receiving age, invalid, widow, war, and war-widow pensions. At a later date, when the appropriate measure is before the Parliament, I hope to have a further opportunity of expressing my opinion about that increase granted. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>The budget offers not one gleam of hope to any section of the community. On the contrary, in my opinion and in the opinion in many thousands of people, it is a most alarming document. We know that the Government represents big financial interests and combines, and that it has allowed the economic and financial position of this country to deteriorate to such a degree that even the Treasurer himself has become alarmed at our position. Only one remedy has been suggested to rectify this most unfortunate position, and that suggestion came from the Treasurer himself. He stated that the activities of hire-purchase organizations should be curtailed. Every honorable member on this side of the House realizes that if such a suggestion were put into effect it would not much affect people on higher incomes, but it would seriously affect the workers who we represent. </para>
<para>Because of the smallness of the basic wage, the majority of the workers find it impossible to pay cash for those things which are necessary in all households, and therefore are compelled to have recourse to the hire-purchase system. As the honorable member for Bradfield <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Turner)</inline> said, refrigerators are one such item. I believe that in the State which I have the honour to represent, a refrigerator is an essential item for every household. The same applies to washing machines, and to an even greater degree, to household furniture. I am sure that the Government must realize that in order to get essential requirements, such as those that I have mentioned, it is imperative for many people to use the hire-purchase system. As I have said, washing machines are essential to all women, particularly housewives with large families, and it is very important that people should also be able to obtain household furniture. That applies particularly to young couples who are starting homes of their own, because in many cases it is impossible for such people to obtain the furniture that they need unless they can get it on hire purchase. </para>
<para>The alleged remedy for our economic ills that has been proposed by the Government is to curtail hire purchase activities. However, I believe that, instead of restricting hire purchases, the Government should ensure that those who need to use the hire-purchase system should be able to get accommodation more readily than is at present possible. The Government should require hire-purchase organizations to reduce the deposit required, and also to reduce the interest rate on hire-purchase accommodation. Because this Government has allowed inflation to run riot, the workers, the pensioners and those receiving lower incomes are suffering financially, and finding it practically impossible to make ends meet. </para>
<para>Honorable members on this side of the House, as well as the electors, remember the promises made by the members of this Government during the 1949 general election campaign. The Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menzies)</inline> and the Treasurer were particularly active in promising to put value back into the fi if they were elected to office. We all know that they were elected, and we all know that they have not yet restored value to the &#163;1. In 1949, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer told the people that the Chifley &#163;1 was worth only 12s. 6d. compared to the prewar &#163;1. They said that they would restore the full value of the fi. However, after five years of office by non-Labour parties, we find that instead of increasing the value of the &#163;1 they have reduced it to about 6s. Sd. or 7s. compared to the pre-war &#163;1. I think it is untrue to say that the &#163;1 was worth only 12s. 6d. in 1949. In my opinion, the value of the &#163;1 at that time was nearer 20s. than it was at any other time in the history of Australia. </para>
<para>The Government has failed to honour its promise to restore value to the &#163;1, which, as I have said, is now worth only about 6s. 8d. Inflation has been allowed to run riot. In 1949, and since then, the Government promised that, in order to halt the inflationary trend, it would cease to control prices. I remember, and no doubt other honorable members do too, that this Parliament effectively controlled prices prior to 1949. When a referendum was held on that subject, the present members of the Government, who were then in opposition, opposed the referendum and advised the people to vote against it on the ground that the States could control prices adequately. The people of Australia appreciate now just how foolish they were to be gulled by that advice. Since then, prices have risen by leaps and bounds. It is true that a number of the States continued to exercise prices control, and during the last two or three months, some States which abolished prices control have again introduced it in order to prevent the cost of living from increasing still further. </para>
<para>The wages of the workers have been pegged for the last eighteen months, and quarterly adjustments of the basic wage have been suspended. Although the cost of living has increased considerably, the workers and others on fixed incomes have received no help from this Government. Profits and dividends, on the other hand, have increased out of all proportion of recent years. It is only necessary to refer to the financial pages of Australian newspapers to see that profits made by practically every industry and business undertaking in Australia have increased considerably, some by as much as 50 per cent. Dividends have increased also. Companies which, two years ago, paid dividends of 5 per cent, or 7^ per cent. are to-day paying 15 per cent., 20 per cent., 25 per cent., and even as much as 30 per cent. I do not wish to weary the committee by giving the names of companies which have made large profits, but it is very hard to overlook the case of General Motors-Holden&#39;s Limited, which last year earned a net profit of approximately &#163;10,000,000. I do not know what, dividend that company is paying, but the profits made by it contrast vividly with the pegging of wages and the abolition of quarterly basic wages adjustments. </para>
<para>Although members of the Government, particularly the Treasurer, have appealed to the people of Australia to increase production, I suggest that there is very little incentive for the workers to do so whilst wages remain frozen and practically every business organization operating in Australia to-day is allowed to make huge profits. I believe in industrial peace, but that result cannot be achieved while such a state of affairs continues. </para>
<para>Between September, 1953, and June last, the workers have been robbed of a considerable amount of money as a result of the freezing of wages. Workers in Sydney have lost &#163;16 8s., in Melbourne &#163;9 2s., in Brisbane &#163;30 lis., in Adelaide &#163;24 ls., in Perth &#163;83 4s. and in Hobart &#163;40 19s., or an average, for the six capital cities, of &#163;34 10s. That is bad enough, but, in addition, we find that the cost of living has risen, according to the index figures, by 2s. a week in Sydney, 3s. in Melbourne, ls. in Brisbane, 4s. in Adelaide, 6s. in Perth and 2s. in Hobart, or an average, for the six capital cities, of 3s. a week. It is only necessary for honorable members to read the newspapers to see that the cost of living is continuing to increase. For instance, I understand that the price of tea was increased by approximately ls. per lb. yesterday. That will add at least ls. a week to the cost of living in the average household. The prices of other commodities have risen also. For instance, in Queensland the price of potatoes has increased, during the last two or three weeks, from about 6-kl. per lb. to ls. per lb. All of those increased prices will make the cost of living, during the current quarter, much higher than it has been for many years. </para>
<para>This is an alarming budget. There is not one gleam of hope in it for any section of the community. I wish to compare the economic position of Australia to-day with that of 1949, when this Government took office. At that time, Australia was regarded, by practically all the financial experts of the world, as having a very sound economy. Indeed, quite a number of people visited Australia for the purpose of ascertaining the prospects for investment of overseas capital in this country. They visited every State in Australia. They also visited Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand. Every one of those visitors - there were at least eight or nine of them - went back and reported to their principals that they were satisfied. They said to their principals - these are not my words ; they appeared in the press - &#34; We have visited these countries and we are satisfied that Australia to-day is the most economically sound, financially and otherwise, of any country in the world &#34;. That was the position in 194S-49 when the Labour Government was in power. Today, according to the budget we have before us, this country is on the verge of bankruptcy. </para>
<para>As proof of this, we need take only our overseas trade balance. Some time ago, when I was speaking in this chamber, the Vice-President of the Executive Council <inline font-weight="bold">(Sir Eric Harrison)</inline> said that he doubted the accuracy of some of the figures I had quoted in support of my views. I say most definitely now that when the Labour Government replaced the Menzies-Fadden Administration in October, 1941, the position was indeed desperate. Our overseas balance was down to zero. Notwithstanding the fact that the Labour Government, during the terms of Prime Ministership of the late <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Curtin</inline> and the late <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Chifley,</inline> had conducted an all-in war effort, it was able to improve that position. That Government&#39;s legislation and activities were admired all over the world. No government in any other part of the world did what the Australian Labour Government did for the boys who returned from the front. They were rehabilitated, and put into industry, on a very sound footing indeed. Despite the fact that the Labour Government of that day spent millions of pounds upon the rehabilitation of these men, the overseas trade balance rose from zero in 1941 to the favorable figure of approximately &#163;600,000,000 in 194S-49, and continued to increase for some time. To-day, the position has seriously deteriorated, yet this Government does nothing to retard the downward trend. All it does is to aggravate the position. </para>
<para>For those reasons, I say that this is a gloomy budget, which offers no incentive whatever, especially to the workers whom we represent. I believe that this amendment should be carried, because of the sins of omission and commission on the part of this Government. The electors should be given the opportunity to say whether they are satisfied with what has been done. I feel that the Government has fallen down on it? job. It made all sorts of promises, and its eyes were not shut at the time, because it knew the exact position. It was fully aware of the implications of its promises ; but so long as it thought it might gain a vote or two, it was prepared to promise anything, and to publish all sorts of poisonous propaganda and untruthful statements. I am confident that when the election is held, whether it be sooner or later, the people of Australia will not forget the position in which Australia finds itself to-day, and will place the blame on the shoulders of the Government. The Treasurer admits that the position i. alarming, and I am convinced that it is. To my mind, the position is similar to the situation in which the Scullin Government found Australia after the defeat of the Bruce-Page Government in 1929. We all know what happened at that time, and I believe that the position is just as bad to-day. And it is not as bad now as it will be in another two or three months, because it is gradually getting worse. When the Labour Government took office from the Bruce-Page Government in 1929, Australia was bankrupt. There was not sufficient money in Australia to pay even the public servants and pensioner? their next fortnight&#39;s dues. </para>
<para>Unfortunately, the Scullin Government had no opportunity to remedy that position, or to put into operation the legislation which it proposed, and which it believed would safeguard the interests of the Australian people. It was defeated; but before being defeated, it had been in office long enough to demonstrate sufficient foresight to bring Australia back to a fairly even keel. Even though it did not have control of the Senate, it was able, by its foresight and legislation, to correct the adverse overseas trade balance. Because of the maladministration and bad management of the Bruce-Page Government, the Scullin Government, unfortunately, was compelled to do certain unpopular things, and, supported by some of the honorable members who are now members of the present Government, reduced certain social services and other benefits in order to try to make ends meet. I repeat that the position to-day is similar to what existed in 1929, and if it is allowed to become more acute, Australia once again will be on the verge of bankruptcy. </para>
<para>Mr.OPPERMAN(Corio)&#91;5.23&#93;.-The honorable member for Brisbane <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. George Lawson)</inline> has devoted a good deal of time to speaking about past performances. I should like to call attention to one or two of the matters to which he referred, especially the state of the country to-day compared with the position when the Scullin Government was in office between 1929 and 1930, and when, almost overnight, the prices of our export commodities fell, and the country experienced a severe economic depression. I point out to the honorable member that one can learn from experience, and irrespective of whether any other government would have treated the situation differently in those by-gone days, we do know that this Government faced a similar position when wool prices dropped overnight in 1950 or 1951. Although there was great apprehension at that time as to how Australia would emerge from the situation, the Government, even in the face of strong criticism, did handle the situation firmly and efficiently. </para>
<para>We know also that this Government has brought the country through difficult times to its present state of prosperity. So, despite the anxiety of the honorable member for Brisbane about the future of Australia because of the recession in our export trade, I can assure him that at least this Government, which is comprised of members bound by a common policy to a common purpose, will certainly do better for the country than could a government composed of members of the Labour party, who are divided in their policy, and who do not know where they are going. Every budget that has been brought down by the Treasurer <inline font-weight="bold">(Sir Arthur Fadden),</inline> since the Liberal and Australian Country parties have been in office, has been condemned by the Opposition. My recollection is that every one of those budgets has been greeted as a forerunner of doom and disaster for our industries, our rural production, and the economy of the country generally. If honorable members care to cheek the speeches made by Opposition members when those earlier budgets were debated, they will find that the forebodings of the prophets of doom did not come to pass. To-day we have full employment; we have a record amount of money per head in the savings banks; we have a flourishing immigration programme, which is essential for this country; and we have an expansion of our rural and secondary industries. Admittedly we have suffered some headaches in achieving those things, but no country can progress and expand without having its problems. To say that Australia is in the same situation to-day as it was in the pre-depression days is to exaggerate the economic position for political purposes. It has been necessary to impose commercial and financial controls which, at the time of their imposition, were certainly resented and disputed ; but time, which is a great healer, as has so often been said, has proved those controls to have been equitable, desirable and progressive, and in the best interests of the country, especially at a time when our defence commitments are fluctuating because the threat of war has apparently receded, and at a time when good and stable government is most difficult. Therefore, when it has been found, after previous budgets have been brought down, that the decisions of the Treasurer and the Cabinet have been, in the main, quite correct, I suggest that the House can accept the present budget as being sound and logical, and be assured that it will eventually be as welcome as were earlier budgets introduced by the present Treasurer. &#34;We can be guided by past performances, and I venture to say that the thinking and outlook of this Government now are the same as they were in regard to previous budgets. </para>
<para>While this budget is not spectacular in some respects, we can at least say that one section of the community has not been overlooked. The budget could, perhaps, be readily described as the pensioners&#39; budget. Before I refer to that aspect, perhaps I should pay a tribute to the Minister for Social Services <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. McMahon).</inline> He has not a portfolio which is particularly easy to administer, ft is one which takes a lot of study, and a high degree of sympathetic consideration and determination. He is liable to be subjected to a great deal of criticism by persons who do not understand the difficulties of his portfolio, and the manner in which he is doing his best for our aged people. The same remarks, of course, apply to the Minister for Repatriation <inline font-weight="bold">(Senator Cooper).</inline> Honorable members on both sides of the chamber who have been in touch with those Ministers from time to time understand the intense study that they have made of their portfolios. </para>
<para>The problem of the aged is not peculiar to Australia; it is world wide. It is not a problem with which we in this country have failed to grapple. It is a problem that the whole world to-day is trying to solve. With the life-saving drugs now in use, and with a better standard of medical attention, the span of life is longer, and it is necessary to study this problem more closely than ever before. Last year, when I was abroad, I had the interesting experience, by a fortunate circumstance, of meeting a doctor from Indiana, who was travelling from Edinburgh to London to attend a congress that had been convened especially to deal with the problems of the aged. I found that the circumstances that exist in the United States of America are similar to those in Australia, and that that country, like ours, is grappling with the problem. There are some people, of course, who, as in all countries, are indifferent to the situation, but, as a balancing factor, there are those who are prepared to devote their time and energy to its solution. The shift from rural to urban living has created a necessity for more care and attention for the aged. There are not so many houses of large size as there used to be, in which aged people can be accommodated. In these days, when young people marry, they build small houses. Their families are smaller than were the families of their forebears, and so there are fewer children to care for the older people, and the cost of maintaining the aged members of the family must be spread over fewer children. Because of the war, there is a further shortage of adequate accommodation. One of the problems we have to face at present is to decide how much to pay in pensions or social services. An article which was published in the <inline font-style="italic">Social Services J</inline><inline font-style="italic">Journal</inline> of December, 1948, contained the following statement: - </para>
<quote>
<para>A point, however, is reached when it has to be decided whether the needs of the individual and the community cannot better bc met by providing amenities and services rather than further or increased cash payments. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">I believe that in Australia we are closely approaching that point, and it is not a question of how much money is given, but of how adequate accommodation and services can best be provided for the aged. </para>
<para>At this stage I wish to refute the implication contained in statements by Opposition members that consideration is not being given to the needs of the pensioners simply because honorable members on this side of the committee happen to belong to the Liberal party. It is easy for the Opposition to say that we on this side have unlimited amounts of money, that we live in ivory castles and are not conscious of the needs of the people. Although I give Opposition members credit for a genuine interest in, and sympathy for, the pensioners, they would give more practical expression to their sympathy, and, I am sure, obtain much more co-operation, if their statements were not weighted with extreme party considerations. Their statements are so often made for their sheer political value, so much so that they must be regarded as irresponsible, and, therefore, they lose any virtue which they may have had. Opposition members should remember that every increase of one shilling in the rate of pensions means that an additional &#163;1,250,000 must be found from taxation. If the Opposition had the responsibility of finding the money, then perhaps it would not suggest vast increases in the pension rate. I think that the most cogent criticism one can make of the Opposition is that it is prepared to make a political football of this acute question of the amounts of money that should be provided for pensioners. When every shilling increase in pensions means that an extra &#163;1,250,000 must be found, it is essential that every shilling increase should bc closely watched, in order to obtain the maximum benefit for those to whom it is granted. I do not think that any one would quibble at that statement. Therefore, the Government has decided to grant hospital benefits of 8s. a day per person. If the extra 8s. were given to the pensioner in money, to be set aside for use when medical attention might be necessary, it is quite certain that it would not be put aside for that purpose. The knowledge that free medical benefits and free medicine is available if required gives them a sense of security. We have come- to the stage where services are better than cash payments. </para>
<para>Probably one of the most forward steps that the Government has made in its effort to help the aged was the introduction last year of the &#163;1 for &#163;1 subsidy to charitable organizations. These organizations which are desirous of erecting buildings for the aged and invalid say without equivocation that this subsidy is the best thing that has been given to them during the time they have been carrying on their charitable work. There are innumerable cases which cannot be covered by government regulations which cater for only the average type of person. Therefore, it is necessary to have organizations which can select and cater for specific cases. I have frequently felt that organizations such as Legacy, which cater for widows and children of deceased ex-servicemen, can study individual cases and use to the best advantage any money they receive. These organizations deal with individual cases which do not come within the normal regulations. Because their own money is invested, their outlook is such that they will not permit to be wasted any moneys they receive from the Government. The community also is responding to this kind of activity. </para>
<para>The Brotherhood of St. Laurence at Carrum Downs is making remarkable progress. It has built its own homes. It selects the aged inmates and is catering for them. It provides them with reading material, and voluntary workers pay visits to the homes and carry out necessary repairs and maintenance. In addition, some of the aged people who have been tradesmen give their services. Doing their own work and planning it not only gives them an interest but also indicates what can be done with a specific sum of money. Therefore, I feel that organizations such as the Brotherhood of St. Laurence have obtained better results than could have been obtained by governmental administration. As a result of their experience they can give advice in regard to planning, accommodation, operating costs, selection of staff, types of buildings and layout and the stage when people should be selected. The Freemasons&#39; homes in Melbourne cater for inmates right from the time when they enter the homes to which hospitals are attached so that there is no necessity for any one to be taken from the homes in the case of sickness. There is also the Association for the Advancement of the Blind at Brighton and the Queen Elizabeth Benevolent Home at Ballarat which are examples of the best types of effort by citizens who provide voluntary aid and assistance. </para>
<para>In this day and age such activity is a challenge to the younger people who are benefiting as the result of shorter hours and higher pay. In this sphere they can find an outlet for their energies and can put back into the community something in return for the benefits they have received. In America, which claims to have the highest standard of living, young people have been appealed to in this way. There are many examples in hospitals in that country of young people working to a voluntary roster performing work which could not be carried out by a paid staff because of the expense that would be involved. I believe that in Australia, with our better conditions and with the necessity for the aged to be taken care of, this community spirit should be developed. We have the examples of Legacy, Apex, Rotary, the Lions&#39; Club, Junior Chambers of Commerce and church organizations, all of which are carrying out unselfish work on behalf of the aged. I have no doubt that this is due to the change that has been brought about as a result of our settling down after the war and because of the prosperity that we enjoy. People feel that it is their duty to help those who are not as well off as themselves. In Geelong a club for elderly citizens has been commenced. It started with a donation of &#163;3,600. The local council has given the land on which a building will be erected to provide a club to which elderly citizens can go. Many of these aged people have sufficient money to provide for themselves but they need some place to which they can go to get away from their environment and mix in their own circle. That is a big factor so far as the aged are concerned. There should be no need for the flambuoyant gestures that we saw a few days before the budget was brought down when pensioners were led to Parliament House to express their viewpoint. Parliamentarians on both sides of the House know that the implication that the aged people are neglected and need to apply for assistance is completely erroneous. It was ridiculous for them to come here the day before the budget was brought down, at a time when it had already been hammered out, thinking that it could be altered. Those who associated themselves with the gesture were misleading these people. Perhaps, I should not reproach the pensioners in that respect because even in the business world the same thing happens. For instance, I received a letter from the electrical trades interests the day before the budget was brought down. Those interests put forward an excellent case for the reduction of sales tax on washing machines but it was dated the day prior to the budget announcement. It was not a matter of my receiving the letter too late, because it was postdated. Probably, we can excuse the pensioners for feeling that the budget could be altered, but there can be no excuse for a section of the business world adopting a similar course and showing a similar lack of knowledge. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>595</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>K8B</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CURTIN, Daniel</name>
<name role="display">Mr Curtin</name>
</talker>
<para>- Does the honorable member think that sales tax should be reduced ? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>595</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KMB</name.id>
<electorate>CORIO, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">OPPERMAN, Hubert</name>
<name role="display">Mr OPPERMAN</name>
</talker>
<para>- Even if it can be reduced that is not the way to approach the matter. It is something that Cabinet has to decide. The economy of the country has to be very carefully watched. There has been a lot of discussion about hire purchase, but that again has to be balanced very carefully and very cautiously. Hire purchase plays a fundamental part in the economy of this country by keeping the production lines rolling. Very often in times when labour is in short supply labour-saving devices are essential to the health of the womenfolk of the community. The main thing to watch is that people are not induced to purchase goods on hire purchase at too low a deposit. In some cases persons have been enticed into buying too many things at the one time because they have been able to obtain them on low deposits. If a deposit is required, and purchasers know that they must have a certain amount of money before they can hope to obtain an article, it will do much to adjust the present position. The motor car industry is very dependent upon hire purchase finance, but it contributes in many ways to the buoyancy of the economy, and towards the solution of our transport difficulties. At one time it would have been considered extravagant to go to work in a motor car, but our trams, trains and buses simply could not carry the available passengers if the number of motor cars used for this purpose fell to any great extent. Australia is, above all, a motoring nation. I hope that the Government will be careful before it restricts too greatly the ability of the people to purchase on terms goods that are essential. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>Good roads are essential in Australia. I am reminded of a deputation that came to Canberra some time ago and said that the provision of &#163;5,000,000 for roadbuilding was imperative. In the following budget a sum of &#163;8,000,000 was set aside for that purpose. There is a school of thought that believes that money alone will get us good roads, but the construction work itself is of far greater importance. Probably roads are not being built any more quickly to-day than they were before the war. At Guthega construction continued 24 hours a day. Floodlights were used at night, so that the job would be finished within the specified time. The state of our roads justifies speedy construction of that type. Between Canberra and Melbourne traffic is constantly held up because of repairs to the roads. Such emergency work should be done round the clock with the aid of floodlights, and not compressed into eight hours each day. But in conclusion I say that the apprehensions of honorable members opposite concerning the economic state of the country are unfounded. The budget is&#34; the right kind for present conditions&#39; and I feel sure that under this Government Australia will continue to progress as it has in the past. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>596</page.no>
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<name.id>KID</name.id>
<electorate>Macquarie</electorate>
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<name role="metadata">LUCHETTI, Anthony</name>
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<para>.- This debate, and the feeling of the electorate^ clearly indicate that the budget should be withdrawn and recast. It solves no problem, and decides no issue. The&#39; honorable member for Corio <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Opperman)</inline> said that the members of Her Majesty&#39;s Opposition were forever speaking of gloom and disaster. I remind him that similar views on the economic situation are widely held throughout this country. Almost every newspaper- </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
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<page.no>596</page.no>
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<name role="metadata">BIRD, Alan</name>
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<para>- Every Minister says it! </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
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<page.no>596</page.no>
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<para>- Cabinet Ministers also have expressed the view that Australia is facing a grave crisis. Something tangible should be done to deal with this problem. Just how does the Government intend to deal with it? The honorable member for Corio says that there is no need for gloom or despair, but in the last few days the Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menzies)</inline> has been closeted with the bankers of this country in order to find out what they are prepared to do to assist his Government in the present crisis. One would expect a responsible government itself to solve the problems confronting it. The Treasurer <inline font-weight="bold">(Sir Arthur Fadden)</inline> is not at this Parliament where he should be during a budget debate. He is not even in Australia. He has gone abroad, cap in hand, to the International Bank to plead for money with which to conduct the affairs of this country. Australia has reached a sorry pass when its Treasurer must absent himself from the </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para class="block">Parliament at such an important time when he should be here to listen to the&#39; views of honorable members and to order his conduct in conformity with the will of the elected representatives of the people. That, of course, is more than one could expect. Members of the Opposition know that no matter what the circumstances may&#39; be, one cannot hope that the Government will withdraw the budget and recast it. The Government is so case-hardened and lacking in policy that it is determined to go along willy-nilly, as it has in the past. The only course I can take in interpreting the will of the people is to support the amendment moved on behalf of the Opposition by its leader for a reduction of the first item by &#163;1. Our purpose is to indicate the nation&#39;s disapproval of the Government&#39;s lack of planning and its failure to do what even the Government itself suggests should be done. The first statement made by the Treasurer in presenting the budget was - </para>
<quote>
<para>The budget always is, and ought to be, an occasion for stocktaking on the economic side of our national affairs. This year, I believe, circumstances are such that we must perform the stocktaking with particular diligence, candour and thoroughness. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">The Treasurer&#39;s way of dealing thoroughly with the budget is to be absent from Australia when it is discussed ! What the press of this country thinks of the Government, and of this budget, has been made abundantly clear by leader writers and writers of special articles. The <inline font-style="italic">Sydney Morning Herald</inline> of the 25tb August, 1955, referring to the right honorable the Treasurer in a leading article, said - </para>
<quote>
<para>His own budget - the most inert ohe presented to Parliament in living memory - is an attempt to maintain an admittedly disastrous <inline font-style="italic">stains</inline><inline font-style="italic">quo.</inline> In fact, it seems more likely to worsen matters; if the new estimates can be accepted at face-value, they may well make an absolute addition to this year&#39;s inflationary pressures. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">I agree with the point of view expressed in that leading article. When considering the reliability of figures presented to this Parliament by the right honorable the Treasurer, one has only to turn back to the budget speech for 1954-55 when the Treasurer intimated that there would be a budget surplus of &#163;-251.000. In fact, there was a surplus of &#163;70,200,000. If the Treasurer could be so far astray last year as the difference between &#163;250,000 and &#163;70,000,000 in assessing the income and expenditure of this nation, one might well ask how much credence can be given to the present document. I suggest that the figures in this year&#39;s budget should be accepted with a great deal of reserve, for the T reasurer apparently has no clear understanding of the revenue he is likely to receive, or is likely to spend on the various projects now in hand throughout the Commonwealth. </para>
<para>The Treasurer has always held the view that he is better able to look after the people&#39;s money than they are, and the sum of &#163;70,000,000 is neither here nor there. That is a mere bagatelle to him. The Treasurer pointed out the dire peril facing Australia, and in his customary manner referred to the question of costs, and particularly its relation to wages. Other items were unimportant in his reckoning. He disregarded entirely the fact of dearer money and higher prices and the various components in the Australian economy such as high building costs and allied matters. They were of no moment. </para>
<para>The Treasurer made an analysis of Australia&#39;s difficulties in regard to its overseas trade balance, and told us how badly our nation was faring. This is a vitally important matter, but the Government has refused to act. It has failed to take any practical steps to solve the problem. According to the Treasurer, during 1954-55 the cost of imports, including freight, exceeded the value of exports by &#163;173,000,000. He said- </para>
<quote>
<para>When net payments abroad for other items such as interest, dividends, remittances and the like are reckoned in, we had a deficit on current, as distinct from capital account of no less than &#163;250,000,000. </para>
</quote>
<para class="