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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>1956-03-22</date>
<parliament.no>22</parliament.no>
<session.no>1</session.no>
<period.no>1</period.no>
<chamber>REPS</chamber>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
<proof>0</proof>
</session.header>
<chamber.xscript>
<business.start>
<day.start>1956-03-22</day.start>
<para>
<inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy SPEAKER</inline>
<inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. C. F.</inline>Adermann) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers. </para>
</business.start>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>ATOMIC WEAPONS</title>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>K5L</name.id>
<electorate>WATSON, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">COPE, James</name>
<name role="display">Mr COPE</name>
</talker>
<para>- I direct a question to the Minister for Supply. Does the Minister not think the abnormal weather being experienced in Australia and Europe at the present time may in some way be associated with the atomic bomb experiments that have been conducted during the last few years? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1021</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>- I answered a question about this matter in the House the other day. The best scientific advice that the Government has been able to obtain is quite emphatic that there is no connexion between the present unpleasant weather in Sydney and the atomic bomb explosions. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>DWARFISM IN&#34; CATTLE</title>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KDT</name.id>
<electorate>FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">FAIRBAIRN, David</name>
<name role="display">Mr FAIRBAIRN</name>
</talker>
<para>- I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether active steps are being taken to keep out of Australia cattle suspected of being carriers of the disease known as dwarfism. Is the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization investigating this disease, and is it keeping in touch with research being done on this subject in other parts of the world ? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MA</name.id>
<electorate>LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role>Minister for Primary Industry</role>
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MCMAHON, William</name>
<name role="display">Mr McMAHON</name>
</talker>
<para>- Some weeks ago, I interviewed representatives of sections of the Hereford Breeders Association, who referred to the problem of dwarfism in cattle in the United States of America. Subsequently, I asked that investigations be, made to ascertain whether cattle with a propensity to produce dwarf offspring could be imported into Australia. Unfortunately, the problem proved to be a little more intractable and difficult than I thought. We were advised that it was well nigh impossible to detect, in both males and females, the propensity towards dwarfism. The matter has been referred not to the Commonwealth Scientific- and Industrial Research Organization but to the relevant Standing Committee of the Australian Agricultural Council, which deals with these problems. That body has studied the problem and has referred it to a scientific committee. I hope that the scientific committee will shortly be able to make a report to the Australian Agricultural Council itself. There is one other aspect of the problem that may interest the honorable member, who is one of those who are deeply interested in the problems of cattle breeding and wool growing in this country. It sometimes happens that the misfortunes of one country can be of advantage to another, and particularly to Australia. If the honorable gentleman would like to discuss that aspect of the matter with me later, I shall be happy to tell him what I have in mind. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>KASHMIR</title>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1021</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>- I address a question to the Minister for External Affairs. Is it a fact that the Australian Government has received from the Indian Government a note of protest about the manner in which the Kashmir dispute, which is now before the United Nations, was raised and discussed at the recent South-East Asia Treaty Organization conference at Karachi ? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWE</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role>Minister for External Affairs</role>
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CASEY, Richard</name>
<name role="display">Mr CASEY</name>
</talker>
<para>- Yes, an <inline font-style="italic">aide-memoire</inline> has been received. I saw it this morning for the first time, but I have not yet had an opportunity to read it. From what I am told about its contents by officers of the Department of External Affairs, it will not be a difficult document to reply to, so far as the Australian Government is concerned. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1021</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>- Will the Minister bring it before the House when be has considered it? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWE</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CASEY, Richard</name>
<name role="display">Mr CASEY</name>
</talker>
<para>- I see no immediate necessity to do so. but, not yet having had an opportunity to read the document, I cannot give any offhand judgment on that request. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>INEFFICIENCY IN INDUSTRY</title>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1021</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KCD</name.id>
<electorate>DEAKIN, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">DAVIS, Francis</name>
<name role="display">Mr DAVIS</name>
</talker>
<para>- Has the Minister for Labour and National Service had an opportunity to check the accuracy of the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition, to the effect that a spokesman for the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures said that 90 per cent, of the inefficiency in industry was due to the inefficiency of manufacturers themselves? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MC</name.id>
<electorate>HIGGINS, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HOLT, Harold</name>
<name role="display">Mr HAROLD HOLT</name>
</talker>
<para>- I have not taken any particular steps to check the statement, tt happened that the general </para>
</talk.start>
<para class="block">TnnnMgr.1- of the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Curphey,</inline> was listening in to the broadcast of the speeches made in this House on Tuesday night last, and, while I was sitting at the table waiting to speak when the Leader of the Opposition had concluded his speech, a message was handed to me from <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Curphey,</inline> the general manager, saying that the statement made by the right honorable gentleman was entirely without foundation, repudiating it in the strongest terms, and authorizing me to make that fact known to the House. When I sought to do so, in the course of my own speech, I think it was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition who interjected and said that the statement had been made by a spokesman of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce. I have since seen in the press statements attributed to <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Curphey,</inline> in which he repeated, in effect, precisely what he told me in the message that I received. As to the general tenor of the right honorable gentleman&#39;s comment, I suppose we are all capable of improvement, management, labour, and governments for that matter, but I am sure that all honorable members in this House who have any first-hand knowledge of Australian industry and its development over recent years would reject any suggestion that Australian industry is not, in the main, efficiently conducted. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</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>- I ask a short supplementary question of the Minister for Labour and National Service. I apologize to the Minister, as I was speaking to a colleague while the Minister was answering the last question. Did the Minister make it clear that the statement was made by the president of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce? He did not do so on Tuesday night. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MB</name.id>
<electorate>MURRAY, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>CP</party>
<role>Minister for Trade</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>- The right honorable gentleman did not make that clear. </para>
</talk.start>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</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>- No, I did not. I made a mistake. I said the Chamber of Manufactures, but I meant to say the Chamber of Commerce. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MC</name.id>
<electorate>HIGGINS, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HOLT, Harold</name>
<name role="display">Mr HAROLD HOLT</name>
</talker>
<para>- It is unfortunate that the right honorable gentleman was not listening when I gave my answer a few minutes ago, because I said in the course of it that when, having received the message from <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Curphey,</inline> I repudiated on his behalf the statement said to have been made by him, the right honorable gentleman&#39;s colleague, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, interjected and said that it was a spokesman for the Victorian Chamber of Commerce. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</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>- <inline font-weight="bold">Sir John</inline> Allison. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MC</name.id>
<electorate>HIGGINS, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HOLT, Harold</name>
<name role="display">Mr HAROLD HOLT</name>
</talker>
<para>- I do not think the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said that. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</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>- Well, I say that. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MC</name.id>
<electorate>HIGGINS, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HOLT, Harold</name>
<name role="display">Mr HAROLD HOLT</name>
</talker>
<para>- If the deputy leader did say that, I did not hear it. But I did hear him say that the statement emanated from the Victorian Chamber of Commerce. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1022</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>EMPLOYMENT</title>
<page.no>1022</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWR</name.id>
<electorate>ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CHAMBERS, Cyril</name>
<name role="display">Mr CHAMBERS</name>
</talker>
<para>- I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question on the statement made yesterday regarding the monthly, report on employment and unemployment. The right honorable gentleman gave some figures which undoubtedly show an increase in the number of persons receiving unemployment relief since the previous monthly report was made, but he said that most of that increased unemployment was due to strike causes. How does the Minister work out the proportion of unemployment that is due to strike causes, and how many persons are, because of other reasons, unemployed and receiving unemployment relief in Australia to-day? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MC</name.id>
<electorate>HIGGINS, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HOLT, Harold</name>
<name role="display">Mr HAROLD HOLT</name>
</talker>
<para>- I can supply the honorable member with more details, and I shall seek to do so, but I can say that the total number of persons still receiving the unemployment benefit represents only a fraction of the total work force, and what was said in my statement covering the month of February has been confirmed, in effect, by the experience of the first few weeks of March. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWR</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CHAMBERS, Cyril</name>
<name role="display">Mr Chambers</name>
</talker>
<para>- The Minister did say that the increase in unemployment was due to strikes. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1022</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>009MC</name.id>
<electorate>HIGGINS, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">HOLT, Harold</name>
<name role="display">Mr HAROLD HOLT</name>
</talker>
<para>- Principally due to strikes, yes. There was one quite serious strike in Queensland. The period of the waterfront strike escapes me for the monent, and that might have been one of the factors, but there have been a number of industrial disputes in the early part of this year which would have affected the position. Over the last couple of weeks, taken on the weekly statements which have reached me, there has been a tendency for the number of persons in receipt of the unemployment benefit to drop again, but the figure overall is still, I repeat, a minor fraction of the total work force. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1023</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>INTERNATIONAL WHEAT AGREEMENT</title>
<page.no>1023</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1023</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KZW</name.id>
<electorate>WIMMERA, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">LAWRENCE, William</name>
<name role="display">Mr LAWRENCE</name>
</talker>
<para>- Can the Minister for Trade tell us the stage to which the discussions on the proposed new international wheat agreement have progressed ? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1023</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>- The discussions have rather deteriorated in respect of the prospect of having a satisfactory and acceptable international wheat agreement. The position is that importer countries, which, in this context, do not include the United Kingdom, have stipulated quantities which would be acceptable to them as quotas within an agreement, substantially lower than the existing quotas, and only within the last few hours, as a matter of fact, they have indicated an idea of prices which is not satisfactory from the point of view of exporters. There is a quite substantial disparity between what would appear at the present time to be acceptable to the importers and what would be acceptable to the major exporting countries which are parties to the present agreement and, I believe, which would be acceptable to exporting countries not parties to the present agreement but which might conceivably be prepared to join - the Argentine and Sweden. Therefore, the position is not promising at the present time, but it is by no means conclusive. The United Kingdom Government has made certain additional explanations of its original statement, and they are the subject of study at the present time. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1023</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>UNITED NATIONS</title>
<page.no>1023</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1023</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JVA</name.id>
<electorate>REID, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MORGAN, Charles</name>
<name role="display">Mr MORGAN</name>
</talker>
<para>- In addressing my question to the Minister for External Affairs, I should like to welcome him back to these shores, despite what appears to be a rather sad home-coming for him. I ask the Minister whether it is correct that he. has publicly announced that he regards the United Nations as a broken reed. If so, is he advocating cutting the painter from that organization and relying in future solely on the negative process of regional defence pacts, or is it merely an expression of his or the Government&#39;s sense of futility in the international sphere, and lack of will or energy to strive further for ultimate co-operation and goodwill among all the nations of the world? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1023</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWE</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CASEY, Richard</name>
<name role="display">Mr CASEY</name>
</talker>
<para>- I did not. get all the undertones of the honorable gentleman&#39;s question, but I got the general drift of it, I believe. I do not often shield myself behind the claim that I have been misquoted, but in this instance I must protest. I made no such general sweeping condemnation of the United Nations at all. I was giving an explanation to a pressman, at his request, of the reason for the formation of Seato. As I explained it, and I believe it to be the truth, it is a fact that this group of eight nations has been driven to the creation of Seato - a regional mutual defensive arrangement - by reason of the fact of the Russian veto in the .Security Council, which may be expected, I think confidently, to inhibit any possibility of joint action by the members of the United Nations in opposition to any Communist aggression that might conceivably happen in the future. Against that background, which has happened in the past, the nations have been obliged to create regional mutual defensive arrangements such as Nato, Seato, the Baghdad pact, Anzus and the rest. </para>
</talk.start>
<para class="italic">
<inline font-style="italic">Conversation being audible,</inline>
</para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1023</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 ! If the honorable member for East Sydney, in particular, together with other honorable members on the Opposition front bench, does not maintain silence during question time, I will order him out of the chamber, because I shall not allow question time to be used for making a series of comments or interjections. </para>
</talk.start>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1023</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWE</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CASEY, Richard</name>
<name role="display">Mr CASEY</name>
</talker>
<para>- I am obliged to you, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker.</inline> In answer to a subsequent question, I said that there was no doubt that the usefulness or perhaps the main purpose of the United Nations - the prevention of wars and the stopping of wars once they had broken out - had been broken down to a large degree by the- prolific use of the veto by the Russians. That statement was interpreted by one newspaper as my saying that the United Nations was a broken reed. I specifically stated that there were very many directions in which the United Nations still retained its original usefulness, but I further stated that there was no doubt that its ability to perform the major task to which I have referred had been broken down to a great degree. That statement, as I have already said, was bowdlerized into this all-embracing condemnation of the United Nations, which I would be the last person to give expression to. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1024</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>SALE OF AMERICAN FARM PRODUCE</title>
<page.no>1024</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1024</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>- Can the Minister for Trade say whether it is a fact that the President of the United States of America has asked Congress to authorize the sale to foreign countries of American farm products now in store in America? Will those products be sold below the cost of production? If so, what will be the effect upon the sale of Australian primary products overseas? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1024</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>- Since the last war, the Administration of the United States of America has been making surplus agricultural products available to needy nations, but since 1953 it has been pursuing a well-defined and explicit policy of making concessional sales of such products. In some cases, it has made a gift of the products; in some cases, they have been sold on terms; and, in other cases, they have been sold for payment in the local currency of the buying country. The attitude of this Government has remained constant. The Government not only raises no objection, but also is prepared to give every encouragement to the generosity of the United States in making available such commodities as foodstuffs and cotton to needy people, who otherwise would not be in a position to acquire them. But, at the same time, we object to the distortion of normal world trade hy using any of the concessional devices that I have mentioned for the purpose of directing products into countries that normally would be able to purchase, and would purchase, those goods at the prevailing world parity. No one, I believe, can point exactly to the dividing line between the two principles to which I have referred. This Government has never sought to do other than to persuade the United States to accept the principle and then to apply it by establishing an adequate system of consultation between its own Administration and the governments of the countries that could be adversely affected. At the last conference on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which I and my colleague the then Minister for Trade and Customs attended, the United States was persuaded to adopt the principle and to make declarations, but the actual mechanism of consultation has not been adequately established. The seriousness of the situation to countries such as Australia that depend on exports is illustrated by the fact .that, since 1953, concessional sales or gifts by the United States have totalled 1,400,000,000 dollars. That represents a tremendous incursion into ordinary world trade. At the present time, we are concerned about the disposal of .American surpluses of cheese and all coarse grains, but, in particular, wheat and flour. American stocks of wheat and flour now total 1,000,000,000 bushels, and 40 per cent, of America&#39;s exports of wheat and flour fall within the area of concessional trading that I have mentioned. I repeat that nothing that we say or do will ever be designed to deprive people who are in need, and who otherwise could not purchase such commodities, of the benefits of the generosity of the American people, hut on numerous occasions we have made most vigorous protests against concessional sales when otherwise there would have been normal trading. It is our intention to continue to press for an adequate basis of consultation between this Government and the American administration on this issue. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1024</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>SUPERANNUATION</title>
<page.no>1024</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1024</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KVT</name.id>
<electorate>PORT ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">THOMPSON, Albert</name>
<name role="display">Mr THOMPSON</name>
</talker>
<para>- Can the Prime Minister inform me whether any consideration has been given to an alteration of the value of the unit rate of superannuation paid to former members of the </para>
</talk.start>
<para class="block">Commonwealth Public Service? I have been asked to discover, if possible, whether any such consideration has been given to that matter and, if not, whether consideration could be given to it, as it is pointed out that the present value of the unit is held to be below the value it had when present recipients became entitled to superannuation. Recipients who have approached me on the matter wonder whether there is any possibility of anything being done for them in this connexion. Can the Prime Minister say whether anything will be done in this direction ? </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1025</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>- I cannot answer that question offhand without consulting with <inline font-style="italic">the</inline> Treasurer, but I shall be very happy to discuss the whole of that problem with him. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>PETROL TAX</title>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KWP</name.id>
<electorate>MALLEE, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">TURNBULL, Winton</name>
<name role="display">Mr TURNBULL</name>
</talker>
<para>- I address a question to the Prime Minister. In his recent statement on economic measures the right honorable gentleman said - </para>
</talk.start>
<quote>
<para>We propose an additional tax of 3d. a gallon on petrol, which is expected to yield an additional &#163;12,000,000 per annum. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">The Prime Minister stated that of this amount an additional amount of approximately &#163;4,000,000 would be paid to the States for road construction and maintenance. Will the right honorable gentleman consider the payment of that &#163;4,000,000 to the States in accordance with the proportion in which it is derived from the individual States, instead of in accordance with the formula that is at present used in connexion with the distribution of petrol tax, under which Victoria suffers, although other States, Western Australia and Queensland especially, have difficulty in expending all the money they now receive from that source ? </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1025</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 formula under which these payments is made has lasted for many years. It does, of course, give some much-needed benefit to States with large areas and small populations. I know that there is some complaint in my own State about the division of the proceeds, but I do not share the belief that it is an unjust division. I believe that the formula is just, and we propose to maintain it. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>CYCLONE DAMAGE ON LORD HOWE ISLAND</title>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JUX</name.id>
<electorate>WEST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MINOGUE, Daniel</name>
<name role="display">Mr MINOGUE</name>
</talker>
<para>- Has the Prime Minister&#39;s attention been drawn to the severe cyclonic storm which hit Lord Howe Island on Saturday of last week, damaging power and radio installations, and causing considerable damage to Leander Lei Guest House? Will the Government consider payment of a grant similar to that paid in the case of flood and storm damage in other parts of the Commonwealth ? If the Government will not grant some assistance in this particular case, will it consider exempting residents of Lord Howe Island from the payment of income tax, for the following reasons : - That the Government has refused to assist the island&#39;s shipping service in any way; and that it has refused to consider the building of an airstrip on the island? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1025</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 very well informed on this matter. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JAG</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CREAN, Frank</name>
<name role="display">Mr Crean</name>
</talker>
<para>- The right honorable gentleman is now. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1025</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>- Well, I am better informed on it than I was. I know nothing about the matter at present other than what I have just learned from the honorable member for West Sydney, but I shall look into it. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>RUSSIA</title>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>4U4</name.id>
<electorate>MORETON, QUEENSLAND</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">KILLEN, James</name>
<name role="display">Mr KILLEN</name>
</talker>
<para>- Has the Minister for External Affairs any information to give to the House on recent reports of unrest within the Soviet Union? Further, in view of the possible significance and the novelty of the reports, will the right honorable gentleman consider the preparation of a statement on the matter? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWE</name.id>
<electorate />
<party>LP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CASEY, Richard</name>
<name role="display">Mr CASEY</name>
</talker>
<para>- We have no direct means of ascertaining the truth of the reports, or the extent of any trouble that may have arisen. We are dependent for that on other people. As far as it is possible to collect reliable information on the subject, I will endeavour to do what the honorable member suggests. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>MONEY ORDERS</title>
<page.no>1025</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1025</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>- Will the Treasurer confer with the Postmaster-General on the subject of the amount of money leaving Australia each year for investment in overseas lotteries by way of money orders issued by the Postal Department? As this is a considerable amount, will he request the Postmaster-General to consider making it necessary for a declaration to be made as to the amount to be sent, a restriction which would be similar to that on money orders which are issued for many other overseas purchases ? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1026</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>F4T</name.id>
<electorate>MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND</electorate>
<party>CP</party>
<role>Treasurer</role>
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">FADDEN, Arthur William</name>
<name role="display">Sir ARTHUR FADDEN</name>
</talker>
<para>- I desire to assure the honorable member that the Treasury and the Postmaster-General&#39;s Department exercise constant vigilance over the aspect of the transfer of money to which he refers. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1026</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>COURTS-MARTIAL APPEALS ACT</title>
<page.no>1026</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1026</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KWR</name.id>
<electorate>BRADFIELD, NEW SOUTH WALES</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>- I desire to ask the Minister acting for the Minister for Defence a question relating to the CourtsMartial Appeals Act. I remind the right honorable gentleman that that legislation was passed by this Parliament about twelve months ago, and has not yet been proclaimed. Can the right honorable gentleman explain the long delay and can he give any indication as to when effect will be given to that act? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1026</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>- If my memory serves me correctly, this measure was passed by this House early in June of last year. Since then, there has been quite some difficulty in framing the regulations necessary under the act. From what I can gather from my inquiries in regard to progress made in the drafting of the regulations, it is proposed to proclaim the act within the next two or three weeks. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1026</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>BRIDGE IN HUNTER RIVER DISTRICT</title>
<page.no>1026</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1026</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KJQ</name.id>
<electorate>HUNTER, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">JAMES, Rowland</name>
<name role="display">Mr JAMES</name>
</talker>
<para>- Is the Vice-President of the Executive Council, who is acting for the Minister for Defence, aware that, following the recent heavy rains in the Hunter River district, the bridge over Iron Bark Creek, which is a tributary of the Hunter River, has collapsed, and that there is now no means of getting to vital defence places such as Williamtown aerodrome or even to the harbour of Port Stephens which was used extensively during the last war? There is no way for vehicular traffic to reach these places except via Wallsend and then proceeding right away round through Hexham. There is no hope of getting over the Iron Bark Creek, which normally has only a one-way traffic bridge and carries only very light vehicles. In view of the fact that there is now no bridge at Stockton, will consideration be given to the construction of a bridge from the Newcastle side of the Hunter River to Stockton as a defence measure in order to ensure that defences in the area are adequate for the protection of Australia, and particularly of Newcastle, which is the Birmingham of the southern hemisphere? </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1026</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>- It seems to me, following the revelations made by the honorable member for Hunter, that the New South Wales Government has grievously let down the surrounding district by not taking the necessary action. Insofar as the defence content of this matter is concerned, we will certainly have a look at it. But I suggest that the need for servicing the civil population, as was mentioned by the honorable member, is something that is surely the prerogative of the State. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>IMPORT LICENSING</title>
<page.no>1026</page.no>
<type>miscellaneous</type>
</debateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1026</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KMD</name.id>
<electorate>Evans</electorate>
<party>LP</party>
<role>Minister for Customs and Excise</role>
<in.gov>1</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">OSBORNE, Frederick</name>
<name role="display">Mr OSBORNE</name>
</talker>
<para>. - <inline font-style="italic">by leave</inline> - I have been concerned about recent complaints from businessmen and importers that some holders of import licensing quotas have been abusing their advantageous position by charging excessive commissions to import goods on behalf of other merchants who have no quotas. This practice is erroneously called &#34; trafficking in import licences &#34;. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>Specific complaints are carefully investigated by the department and, more generally, the knowledge that some dissatisfaction exists has been taken into account in a continuing review of the import licensing systems. However, it is not enough that the Government should be satisfied that the system is properly administered. It is also necessary that the commercial community should have confidence in it. as its satisfactory conduct depends in some measure on their co-operation. </para>
<para>For that reason I propose to examine the complaints in some detail and to state the steps which are being taken to counter abuses. Complaints of alleged trafficking relate almost exclusively to B category licences. B category comprises the less essential or &#34; luxury &#34; class of goods to which the heaviest cuts have been applied. Only 30 per cent, of the basic imports of B category goods are now permitted and B category itself comprises only 14 per cent, of the total volume of the country&#39;s import trade, so the field of complaint is restricted to a small volume of nonessential goods. </para>
<para>Importers of essential goods frequently urge that in times of severe import restrictions luxury goods should not be admitted at all, but many people earn legitimate livings through the sale of luxuries. If they were stopped altogether many of these people would be ruined. Also, there would be no competitive check on the prices of Australian manufactures of these goods, and we have obligations to other countries, some of which are good customers for our products, not to interfere with their trade any more than we are compelled to. The present restrictions have caused difficulty enough. To prohibit the import of luxuries altogether would, in my opinion, be quite unjustifiable in times of prosperity such as we now enjoy. </para>
<para>A necessary characteristic of B category is that quota holders may take out licences at their choice to import any of a wide range of goods. This gives B category quotas a considerable value to their holders - a value of which some of them have taken unfair advantage. </para>
<para>I wish to explain the steps that are being taken to prevent this. The Customs (Import Licensing) Regulations provide that the importation of any goods is prohibited unless a licence to import them is in force at the time, and the terms and conditions of the licence are complied with. The regulations give the Minister wide discretionary powers to grant, or refuse, or cancel a licence. To overcome the necessity for individual examination of every application for an import licence - a task which would be beyond the physical capacity of the department and would result in wholesale disruption of commerce, the quota system was adopted. Regular importers were granted quotas determined by their base year imports.- A quota holder may take out licences to import specific goods up to the quarterly value of his quota.- Varying degrees of cuts are imposed from time to time as a percentage reduction of the <inline font-style="italic">amount</inline> of the quota. </para>
<para>Some goods can be, and have been from time to time, removed from the quota system and then dealt with on an administrative basis. In these cases each individual application for an import licence is examined on its merits. The quota system <inline font-style="italic">is</inline> a convenient administration device. Among other things, it enables a regular importer to know in advance the approximate volume of goods that he may import. It also facilitates, as I have explained, the issue , of licences. Quota holders simply apply to a Customs House and are given licences up to the value of their quota. </para>
<para>I must emphasize that the holder of a quota enjoys no legal right to its continuing use. It is not a right of property. It can be cancelled or reduced at the Minister&#39;s discretion, and this is done whenever it is established that a quota was improperly obtained or that the quota holder is abusing his advantage. </para>
<para>Two particular difficulties arise, about which the commercial community complains. The first is that some holders of B category quotas, instead of dealing in the course of their established trade with their regular customers, go seeking some one who will pay them a high premium for their goods. This is given emphasis by advertisements from would-be importers seeking a quota holder who will import the goods they need. There is nothing illegal in this practice. It would not be practicable to make it illegal by regulation, because it is in many cases legitimate commerce. There is nothing inherently wrong in an importer seeking a buyer for goods before he imports them, and agreeing with the buyer as to the rate of commission to be paid. If this were stopped, it would be a grave interference with trade practices which existed long before import licensing was thought of, but it is wrong to use the advantage of a quota to extort an excessive commission. </para>
<para>Import licensing was imposed only to preserve a balance of payments abroad, without, which our economy could not function. It is justified only by necessity, it inevitably involves hardship for some individuals, and it creates opportunities for abuse which have to be carefully watched. My object in this statement is to assure the commercial community that these facts are recognized, but that steps are being taken to limit and prevent them. Import licensing is nothing less than the rationing of imported goods. If a quota holder charges an excessive commission for the goods which he imports, it is regarded by the department as an abuse of his quota, and when discovered, the quota is cancelled or reduced. </para>
<para>Special investigation officers of the department &#39; continuously investigate alleged abuses, and in the last year quotas to the value of approximately &#163;3,000,000 have been cancelled. Where it is discovered that an importer who himself holds a quota has paid an excessive premium for the advantage of another&#39;s quota, his own quota is debited in the next quarter by the amount of the advantage which he unfairly gained. </para>
<para>The other complaint sometimes made is that where a business fails or the owner dies or retires, the business, even though it may have no substantial assets, is sold for the value of its import quotas. It should be known that in every case of this sort, the facts are examined on their merits. An import quota is not necessarily regarded as transferable. There was recently a notable case in which negotiations for the purchase of a business in difficulties were conducted very much under the public eye. It is frequently quoted to me as an example, but the fact is that the quotas of this particular company were drastically reduced some time ago, when the department became aware that they were not being used by the company in its own normal trade. </para>
<para>My ministerial control of import licensing will end next week, on the 2Sth March, when it will pass to my colleague the Minister for Trade <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. McEwen),</inline> in accordance with the administrative arrangements of the 11th January. As a result of my experience of the last two months, and after consultation with the Comptroller-General of Customs, I have given directions that there is to be a systematic examination of all &#34; B &#34; category quotas to ensure that they are only used in legitimate and normal trade. The process of cancellation or reduction of quotas of which unfair advantage is being taken is to be continued. I have also directed that, in cases where legal action is taken to establish the respective rights of quota holder and buyer, the transaction involved is to be carefully examined, and action taken if necessary. </para>
<para>I must emphasize that, while the Government has an obligation to ensure that its administration measures are as effective as possible, there is an equal obligation on the commercial community to refuse to take part in transactions where excessive commissions are demanded, and to inform the department of cases of serious abuse. Only too frequently those who complain about the abuse of the quota system are the people who are themselves paying excessive premiums to other quota holders. They refuse to disclose names because they themselves intend to continue to take advantage of the practice. As I said earlier, the proper operation of the licensing system requires the cooperation of the commercial community. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1028</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>
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</talker>
<para>. - <inline font-style="italic">by leave</inline> - Nine-tenths of what the Minister for Customs and Excise <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Osborne)</inline> has said is, I think, well known. He has clearly stated the position. We are dealing with a class of nonessential or luxury goods. Therefore, there is no reason why the importer who does not wish to import the quota for which he has a licence should be permitted to assign the quota to someone else without the consent of the Department of Customs and Excise. I agree that one cannot get at the facts of these cases merely by examining disputed cases in the courts. It may be that those who complain are themselves guilty of similar practices. I suggest to the Minister that the quota for luxury goods be made incapable of assignment or transfer except with the consent o.l some proper officer. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1028</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KMD</name.id>
<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>- The licence itself is not transferable. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>DTN</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">EVATT, Herbert Vere</name>
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</talker>
<para>- It is not technically transferable, but it would be possible for the quota to be assigned to some one else. If the regulations were amended to make the provision that 1 suggest, the abuse would be eliminated. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JUQ</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">CLARK, Joseph</name>
<name role="display">Mr Clark</name>
</talker>
<para>- The practice referred to adds to the cost of goods. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>DTN</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">EVATT, Herbert Vere</name>
<name role="display">Dr EVATT</name>
</talker>
<para>- I am aware that the present abuse of the system increases the cost of luxury goods and of articles on which a very large profit can be made. I suggest that the Minister adopt the course that I have proposed, and I am obliged to the House for granting me leave to make the suggestion. I wish to move that the statement be printed. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>10000</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">DEPUTY SPEAKER, Mr</name>
<name role="display">Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER</name>
</talker>
<para>-Order! Such a motion is not in order unless the statement has been tabled. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KMD</name.id>
<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>- I table the statement. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</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>- Will the Minister move that it be printed? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KMD</name.id>
<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>- There is no need to do so. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</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>- We wish to have a debate on this specific matter. The Minister has tabled the paper. May I now move, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> that it he printed ? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</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>- The honorable member will have to give notice of his motion. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</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>- Then I ask for leave to give notice that I shall move that the paper be printed. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</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 honorable member may give notice in the normal way. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</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>- There will not be another sitting day before the Easter recess. Therefore, I ask for leave to give notice now. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</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>-Is leave granted ? </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KMD</name.id>
<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>- No. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<para>Leave not granted. </para>
</speech>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>VIET NAM</title>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<type>miscellaneous</type>
</debateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</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 P Adermann</name>
</talker>
<para>- I desire to inform the House that I have received the following telegram from the President of the Constituent Assembly of the Republic of Viet Nam: - </para>
</talk.start>
<quote>
<para>The Constituent Assembly of the Republic of Viet Nam, which is holding its first sitting at Saigon, sends greetings to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the Australian people. </para>
<para>Hie people of Viet Nam intend to work in close co-operation with all the other peoples of the world in the task of strengthening democracy, and in the defence of freedom and of universal peace. </para>
</quote>
</speech>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>Saigon, 13th March, 1050</title>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<para class="block">A suitable acknowledgment will be forwarded to the President of the Constituent Assembly. </para>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT</title>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<type>special adjournment</type>
</debateinfo>
<para>Motion (by <inline font-weight="bold">Sir Eric</inline> Harrison) agreed to - </para>
<quote>
<para>That the House, at ite rising, adjourn until Tuesday, the 10th April, at 2.30 p.m. </para>
</quote>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO ALL MEMBERS</title>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<type>miscellaneous</type>
</debateinfo>
<para>Motion (by <inline font-weight="bold">Sir Eric</inline> Harrison) agreed to - </para>
<quote>
<para>That leave pf absence be given to every member of the House of Representatives from the determination of this sitting of the House to the date of its next sitting. </para>
</quote>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>FLOOD DAMAGE AND RELIEF</title>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<type>miscellaneous</type>
</debateinfo>
<para>Notice of motion by <inline font-weight="bold">Sir Earle</inline> PAGE relating to the matter of financing methods of flood prevention and providing future means of relief called on, and (on motion by <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Turnbull)</inline> postponed until Thursday, the 19th April. </para>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY LEASES REGULATIONS</title>
<page.no>1029</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1029</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>. - I move - </para>
</talk.start>
<quote>
<para>That Regulation No. 3 of Regulations 1955, No. 13, being regulations under the Leases Ordinance 1918-1955 of the Australian Capital Territory, be disallowed. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">At the outset, I suggest that, when the vote on this motion is taken, honorable members should exercise their votes in accordance with their knowledge of land use in the Australian Capital Territory. I suggest that it be not a matter of recording a vote to support either a decision by a government or a protest by an opposition, but that the vote be exercised by honorable members as members of a parliament charged with the responsibility of administering the national estate which is the Australian Capital Territory. It has been my duty from time to time in this House to refer to questions of land usage within the Australian Capital Territory, and, indeed, to protest from time to time at what I consider have been abuses of the ordinances and regulations that the Government is charged to administer. </para>
<para>The area comprising the Australian Capital Territory was ceded, of course, by the State of New South Wales in the&#39; early years of this century, and was formally accepted by the Commonwealth in 1911. Such lands as were Crown lands of New South Wales were ceded to the Commonwealth without charge, and the Commonwealth purchased certain freehold lands at a price of about &#163;3 15s. an acre. At present, within the Territory there are held under leasehold 310,304 acres, and under freehold 107,081 acres, largely contained in four station properties and in smaller holdings throughout the Territory. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1030</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>- Is the honorable member referring to freehold? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1030</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWX</name.id>
<electorate></electorate>
<party>ALP</party>
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">FRASER, Jim</name>
<name role="display">Mr J R FRASER</name>
</talker>
<para>- I refer to freebold in connexion with the 107,081 acres, as compared with 310,304 acres under leasehold. There are also, of course, in the Territory some hundreds of thousands of acres withheld from occupation, comprising mainly the watershed for this city&#39;s water supply. The leasehold areas are administered by the Government and the Minister for the Interior under the Leases Ordinance and the regulations made under that ordinance. In the early days, subdivisions were made and leases granted for various purposes and for varying terms. Some short-term leases were granted. In later years the tenure was, in general, extended, so that at present the majority of rural leases, which are the leases concerned under the ordinance that we are discussing, are for periods of 25 years. In general, those leases expire in the year 1958. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>There have been from time to time in the history of the Territory discussions as to land usage, and it has been suggested by rural lessees, who are associated here, that terms of leases were not long enough, and the conditions of lease were too onerous. There have been inquiries from time to time into these matters, and the records of proceedings of those inquiries are readily available. The leasehold lands held under the Leases Ordinance are controlled by the Minister through the Ordinance and the regulations. Those regulations were framed originally in 1911, and have been amended from time to time since then to provide proper safeguards so that what may be called the national estate should be administered and used in the national interest, rather than in the interest of any greedy landholder who might seek to acquire land within the Territory. A duty is laid upon the Minister for the Interior to adjudicate, from time to time, in the allocation of leases or in the transfer of leases from one lessee to another, and the Minister&#39;s responsibilities are set out, in the main, in regulation 9, which reads as follows : - </para>
<list type="decimal">
<item label="(1)">
<para>Upon receipt of an application from any person for the grant of a lease or for the consent of the Minister to the assignment of a lease the Minister after making such inquiries as he deems advisable upon any one or more of the following matters: - </para>
<list type="loweralpha">
<item label="(a)">
<para>the ability of the applicant or proposed assignee to carry out the conditions of the lease; </para>
</item>
<item label="(b)">
<para>other lands (whether within or outside the Territory) owned, leased, or managed by the applicant or proposed assignee; </para>
</item>
<item label="(c)">
<para>whether the applicant or proposed assignee resides or intends to reside in the Territory; </para>
</item>
<item label="(d)">
<para>whether the applicant or proposed assignee is a returned soldier; and </para>
</item>
<item label="(e)">
<para>any other matters which he thinks fit, shall determine whether the applicant or the proposed assignee as the case may be is eligible to become a lessee. </para>
</item>
</list>
</item>
<item label="(2)">
<para>A lease shall not be granted to any person unless the Minister previously determines that he is eligible to become a lessee. </para>
</item>
</list>
<para class="block">Regulation 20 (1.) casts the following responsibility on the Minister : - </para>
<quote>
<para>Consent to the assignment of a lease shall not be given unless the Minister previously determines that the proposed assignee is eligible to become a lessee. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">I stress the word &#34;previously&#34; in that regulation. </para>
<para>Those are the considerations that the Minister must have in mind in granting an application for a lease or for the transfer of a lease from one person to another. There is an overriding regulation, regulation 7, which has existed since the regulations were first drawn up. It places a limit of value upon the lands that may be held by any lessee. Originally the limit was an assessed value of &#163;6,000, and that figure remained until, I think, the 7th March, 1929, when it was altered, by amendment, to &#163;8,000. It remained at &#163;8,000 until 1941, when a further amendment resulted in the figure being changed to &#163;10,000. Regulation 7, as it stands at present, reads as follows: - </para>
<quote>
<para>No person shall hold under lease land of a greater assessed value than &#163;10,000 (exclusive of the value of buildings, fences, dams, ground tanks, wells and bores). &#34; Assessed value &#34; for the purposes of this regulation shall mean the assessed value as at the date of commencement of the lease. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">I have suggested previously, and I suggest now, that the regulations I have cited have been frequently and fragrantly broken in this Territory, that leases have been granted to men who were not entitled to become lessees within the Territory in the terms both of the ordinance and the regulations, and that something has been permitted that was never envisaged when this national estate was established, that is, the aggregation of estates under leasehold. In effect, leasehold has been treated as freehold within the Territory. It was envisaged, and indeed it was laid down, in effect and in principle, that areas granted here for rural lease were to be reasonable living areas. It was intended that a rural lease should consist of an area upon which a man could expect to follow the farming pursuits of his choice and make therefrom a reasonable, comfortable living. Protests have been made from time to time by lessees that the areas that were allotted to them were not adequate as living areas, and evidence to that effect was given in 1929, when the Public Accounts Committee of this Parliament considered the use of leasehold land within the Territory. But in recent years, as I have said, some- people in the Territory have been given the opportunity to accumulate estates in leasehold far in excess of the areas that would be allowed to them under the living area provisions, and in excess of the limited value that is contained in the regulation that it is proposed now. to amend. Other conditions of lease also have been set aside. </para>
<para>I have from time to time in this chamber, and directly, brought to the notice of the Minister cases which in my view represented violations of the regulations that the Minister was charged to control and administer. I refer now to one case that was brought to the attention of the Department of the Interior, and subsequently of the Minister, in 1951, in which the transfer of a lease in the Tuggeranong area was approved by the Minister. The lease was one of some 1,100 acres on the Kambah-road. It had been allotted to an applicant in, I think, 1923, or about that time, as part of a soldier settlement sub-division. Admittedly, it was a living area. The lease carried certain &#34;conditions, one of which was that the leaseholder must reside on the lease as his only bona fide habitual place of residence. The holder of that lease was not a man who earned his living from the lease; he was a man in a highly salaried position in the adjoining town of Queanbeyan. He held the lease until 1953 when, with the consent of the then Minister for the Interior, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Kent</inline> Hughes, and over protests which I made, the lease was sold and transferred to the adjoining lessee. </para>
<para>The 1,100 acres, on which no house had been erected, was sold to the adjoining lessee for the sum of &#163;9,500, I believe. The adjoining lessee was not then entitled to become the lessee. He already held a living area under lease and he himself was not living on the land he held. He was living on a freehold property of some 1,500 acres in the district of Bungendore. I suggest that the whole transaction violated the regulations the Minister was charged with administering. </para>
<para>In the first instance, the original lessee had not complied with the terms of the lease. Perhaps some dispensation had been extended to him, hut if it was, I suggest it was extended to him wrongly. He had not complied with the terms of the lease in that he had not lived on the area. The transfer of the lease to the adjoining land-holder was also, in my view, a breach of the regulations, because the adjoining land-holder was a man who held an adequate area of freehold outside the Australian Capital Territory as well as a living area inside the Territory. He was not living on his own lease. Admittedly, he had a manager living there while he resided on the property at Bungendore. That was one case. </para>
<para>We had a similar case a couple of years ago in connexion with the disposal of the Booroomba property in the Australian Capital Territory. Booroomba was an estate of some 13,000 acres of freehold and some 13,700 acres of leasehold land. The condition that I have quoted to the House - that is, in regulation 20, which has a bearing on the regulation we are discussing - is that consent to the assignment of the lease shall not be given unless the Minister previously determines that the proposed assignee is eligible to become a lessee. When the Booroomba Station was put up for auction, it was publicly advertised that the successful bidder for the freehold would have 13,700 acres of leasehold given in. Eventually, that property was sold over protests made in this Parliament when, indeed, the proposal was made the subject of an urgency debate. The freehold was purchased for a total of, 1 think, &#163;122,500. The purchaser, having that money, or being presumed to have the money to purchase a freehold property, was given 13,700 acres of leasehold land ! </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1032</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>- What was the name of that property? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1032</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>- Booroomba Station, formerly the property of the late <inline font-weight="bold">Sir Keith</inline> Murdoch. I suggest that any man who has &#163;122,500 in hand or in sight to purchase 13,000 acres of freehold is not entitled, and was not entitled then, to become a lessee under the terms of the regulations which the Minister was charged to uphold. There have been other cases more recently. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>Not long ago, I put to the Minister the case of a small lessee in the Ginninderra area who holds some 500 acres of leasehold land and who, for years past, was able to agist his sheep on forest areas and for that reason was able to shear 1,000 sheep. The areas he had for agist ment have been withdrawn from him because of forestry development, and for other reasons, with the result that he has had to reduce his flock to between 500 and 600 sheep. He cannot secure adjacent land or, indeed, any land in the Territory unless he is in a position to pay at auction the inflated prices that are being obtained to-day. Again, that presumes that adjacent land-holders are prepared to sell. The reason why he cannot secure land is that there has been what I have referred to as the aggregation of estates in leasehold. By that, I mean that owners have spread themselves out by buying adjoining areas to the complete exclusion of the small man, thus leaving that small man without any hope of ever securing more land. </para>
<para>It has always been assumed in the Australian Capital Territory, and indeed it has been specifically stated, that this problem would be reviewed when leases expire in 1958. On the 20th September, 1951, the then Minister for the Interior wrote to me on this subject in these terms - </para>
<quote>
<para>All suitable Commonwealth-owned rural land is at present under occupation and will not become available until the expiration <inline font-style="italic">ot</inline> leases in 105S, when it is proposed to review the conditions under which these lands will be utilised in the future. </para>
</quote>
<para>The proposal now before the Parliament completely vitiates that promise made by the Minister. The proposal that we are discussing - regulation 3 of regulations 13 of 1955 - repeals completely regulation 7 which I have quoted to this Parliament, and that is the regulation which imposes a limit on the value of leasehold land that any one man may hold. If that regulation is repealed, there will be no bar at all to the accumulation of the national property in the private hands of land-holders in the Australian Capital Territory. It will be possible for one man, or one family, subject only to the limitations of finance, to acquire the whole of the land in the Australian Capital Territory.. That, I believe, is wrong, and should not be permitted. </para>
<para>I have just told the House of the promise given that these leases would be reviewed when they expired in 1958 and that the future use of the land would then be considered. The regulation we are discussing also proposes, in the place of regulation 7, to insert this regulation - </para>
<quote>
<para>The period for which a lease may be granted for grazing, fruit-growing, horticultural, dairying or agricultural purposes is a period not exceeding fifty years. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">The existing leases were granted for 25 years, and it has been the hope of those who wanted to get land in the Australian Capital Territory, who wanted to get it for purposes other than those of grazing sheep, who wanted to get it for the development of agricultural pursuits for which this land is suited and for which it should be used, that the leases would be reviewed in 1958. But the regulation - which, incidentally, was signed by the former Minister on the 5th December, 1955, five days before the general election and assented to, I think, five days after the election - proposes to extend the term to 50 years. I have <inline font-style="italic">no</inline> objection at all to the extension of the term to 50 years with respect to a living area, provided there is some condition that the leasehold land shall not pass to a greedy land-holder who is seeking to obtain more of the national estate than he is entitled to have. But the position is that present holders of 25-year leases are being asked by the Department of the Interior whether they will accept 50-year leases as from now. </para>
<interjection>
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<page.no>1033</page.no>
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<para>- In addition to the 25 years? </para>
</talk.start>
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<speech>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>1033</page.no>
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<para>- They are being asked whether they wish to convert their 25-year leases to 50-year leases as from the present time. If my assumption is correct - and I believe it is - this means that the regulations have been broken by those who are charged with the responsibility of administering them; that if estates in leasehold have been aggregated, if transactions outside the terms or spirit of the regulations have been broken, the proposed new regulation will confirm all those irregular practices for the next 50 years. What hope will there then be for the small land-holders and the sons of farmers to secure leases in this Territory? The Territory was. dedicated to the leasehold system. It was dedicated to the use of the people, and it should be so maintained. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>Other honorable members will speak during this debate, but I again direct the attention of the House to the cases that I have placed before it. and to the proposals that are embodied in the regulation now under discussion. When the division bells are rung, honorable members will enter the chamber and will proceed to either the Government side or the Opposition side to vote on the question. Many honorable members who are not now in the chamber, and who have very little or perhaps no knowledge of land use within the Australian Capital Territory, will enter the chamber and will vote automatically one way or the other on this proposal, which I believe is vital to the future development of the Territory. I ask those honorable members who have not a knowledge of land use within the Territory to credit me with at least some knowledge of it, and with the sincere belief that what is now being done is wrong and that the regulation should be disallowed. If, in the final analysis, the motion is defeated, I ask the Minister to review the whole question of the leasehold tenure of land within the Territory in the light of the statements that I have made within the House and in the light of any other evidence he may obtain. If the Minister were to withdraw the regulation until an examination were made, that might be a worthy step to take. If he does not feel able to follow the course that I have mentioned, I suggest to him most strongly that the whole question of leasehold tenure within the Territory be again referred to that estimable body, the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts. I point out that that was done originally in 1929 during the life of the Bruce-Page Government, and subsequently during the life of the Scullin Government. I shall once again state my belief quite simply. I am not speaking in any political sense, but am simply saying that, for the benefit of the Territory, and for the benefit of present and future residents, the regulation should be either withdrawn by the Minister or disallowed by the Parliament so that the practices to which I have referred shall not be allowed to continue and so that proper use will be made of land - the people&#39;s land, the national estate - in the Australian Capital Territory. </para>
</speech>
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<page.no>1034</page.no>
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<para>- Is the motion seconded? </para>
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<page.no>1034</page.no>
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<para>- I second the motion. </para>
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<page.no>1034</page.no>
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<para>. - I think it will be quite understood why the honorable member for the -Australian Capital Territory <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. J. R. Fraser)</inline> has brought forward this particular problem. We are all appreciative of his great concern that the Territory, which he represents in this place, shall be dealt with in a way that protects the interest of the Commonwealth and the rights of the people who live within the Territory. I think we all appreciate, too, that a number of people have sought his good offices in having themselves established on the land. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>The situation with which we are now dealing is not exclusive &#39;to the Australian Capital Territory, because all over Australia are people who are eager to establish themselves on the land for the particular purposes to which the honorable gentleman has referred, and who find themselves prevented from so doing because the land is already occupied or because of economic barriers. The honorable member has given to the House a very valuable historical review of the development of the land tenure system in the Territory, and we are grateful to him for having directed the attention of honorable members and of the public to the background of the land problem. He has directed attention, quite rightly, to the fact that safeguards were written into the ordinances and regulations to provide for the preservation of the national interest, but, when we consider a subject like the national interest, there is room for a very wide divergence of opinion. It may well be that, in the opinion of the honorable member, closer settlement or fragmentation of the land into small living areas best serves the national interest. Doubtless there are other honorable members who will point to modern agricultural development and direct attention to the need for the aggregation of areas - to which the honorable member objects - so that a more economical use of power and mechanized farming methods may be made. It will be seen, as I have stated, that there is room for a divergence of opinion in relation to this problem. </para>
<para>The honorable member has directed attention to old regulation 7 and to the fact that the limit on the unimproved value of land holdings had risen from &#163;6,000 to &#163;8,000, and later to &#163;10,000. There is not the slightest doubt that, if this regulation had not been repealed, there would have been very great need to raise the limit on the value of lands that could be aggregated. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>1034</page.no>
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<para>- There would be no objection to that. </para>
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<page.no>1034</page.no>
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<para>- I appreciate that, but the figure has never borne any real relation to a living area. It has been purely arbitrary, and I suggest that even if it were reviewed, we would still be left with an arbitrary figure which had no real relationship to any of the facts that ought to be considered. My own view is that the whole system of land tenure in an area like this, which was determined, as the honorable member has stated, in 191.1, ought not to remain frozen. It ought to be sufficiently fluid to take care of changes in industry and in agricultural practice. The best evidence of that is the fact that, from time to time, as the honorable member has again pointed out, there ha vh been great departures- from the regulations and some winking of eyes at the general application of conditions. The honorable, member directed attention to a particular case in which a leaseholder had not been compelled, as was provided by the ordinance and also in the lease, to take up residence on the block over which he had a lease. I point out that the lease in question was signed by a former Minister for the Interior who was a member of the party that is now in opposition. I do not say that in the spirit that would lead some people to say, &#34;Well, you have done that sort of thing and we are entitled to do it too &#34;. I am not approaching the matter in that carping manner; I am merely pointing out that it has been done by Ministers from both sides of politics. That indicates, beyond any shadow of doubt, in that respect, the regulations were too tightly drawn, and that there were conditions under which the best interests of the Commonwealth and of the residents within the Territory might have been injured if the regulations as drawn had been applied. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>The honorable member also directed attention to one or two violations, as he described them, which have not so far come under my purview. I assure him that I shall be&#39; pleased to look at those cases and to take them into consideration in the constant review of this matter that is made by myself and officers of the Department of the Interior. Of course, I can assure the honorable member that no one on this side of the House will take second place to him in ensuring that the interests of the Commonwealth in relation to this important matter are well preserved. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>1035</page.no>
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<para>- And very objectively, too. </para>
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<para>- I thank the honorable member for his interjection. The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory also referred to an area at Ginninderra, part of which was used for grazing purposes and was withdrawn from lease. I am sure there is no argument about that. Both the leaseholder and the honorable gentleman are well aware that every lease provides that the Commonwealth may withdraw areas, or alter leases, as it requires for Commonwealth purposes. He points out that the leaseholder of that particular area, of land has not been able to secure adequate other areas for the agistment of his stock. I merely point out again that, that is a condition which is not entirely divorced, or absent, fr.om land use and land transactions of this type. It applies all over the country. People are not able to secure adequate areas of land because the land is already completely occupied. So I do not think that there is any basis for complaint in that regard. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>The honorable gentleman took exception to the modifications of the rules. But this matter was looked at with particular care by my predecessor in office and I am bound to say that I find no very great objection to what has been done in this connexion. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>1035</page.no>
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<para>- The Minister said &#34;very great &#34; ? </para>
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<page.no>1035</page.no>
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<para>- I said &#34;not very great &#34;. </para>
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<para>- Would the Minister have &#34; great &#34; objections? </para>
</talk.start>
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<para>- Do not bind me down to the precise meaning of terms. Let me say that I do not object in general terms to what has been done in this matter, but I shall qualify that statement in a moment. The amendment by the Government of the regulations which prevent aggregation of land, forgetting the value for the moment, is the burden of the honorable gentleman&#39;s complaint. He says that there will be no power at all to stop aggregation, and that it might even be possible for one individual to buy up the whole of the Australian Capital Territory. Of course, exaggerations of that type can be of little value to the honorable member&#39;s argument. I am bound to point out to him, as is quite obvious from the whole conduct of this matter over the years, that those who have occupied the post of Minister for the Interior have always been responsible people - I hope I may be included in that description - and that the Minister for the Interior has full rights under the ordinance, which still remains in force,&#39; to approve, or fail to approve, the granting or transfer of leases, and the subletting of leased areas. I suggest to the honorable gentleman that we are not unaware of the dangers to which he has referred, and the mere fact that a very narrow protection has been provided does not mean that we have done away with protection of all sorts. My own belief is that it can be left to the good sense of responsibility of the Minister for the Interior for the time being, and his departmental advisers, to see that the horrible picture that the honorable gentleman has painted does not come into existence in the future. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>I think it is well understood that the whole system of land tenure in the Australian &#39;Capital Territory came about because it was needed to protect what the Government of the time felt to be the national interest. How is this national interest to be protected? My view is that the national interest is protected when the Treasury secures from landholders or lease-holders the economic value of their land and of their opportunities to produce, by way of rents based on valuation. When that happens, I should rather hope that the valuation will bear a very true relation to the economic capacity of the land to produce. Arising from that fact will be the incentive to the owner of the land to see that it does produce to its full economic capacity. Otherwise, he would find himself obliged to surrender his lease. </para>
<para>When we get down to the question of this extension of the lease period, I draw the honorable gentleman&#39;s attention and, indeed, the attention of the House, to the fact that this matter has been looked at with particular care by the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council. I found the members of the council to be quite responsible people who are, I think it may be claimed, as well versed in connexion with land matters in the Australian Capital Territory as is the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory himself. The fact that the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council has recommended the extension of the lease period is adequate ground upon which the department, the Minister and the Government are entitled to make this extension. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>1036</page.no>
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<para>- That is, as to the terms? </para>
</talk.start>
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<para>- Yes. Even if there were not other grounds for making this extension, we have that ground. We are in a period when the development of land and the application of better and &#39;more efficient methods of agriculture, and the provision of fixed improvements, are rising in cost, and the time has come when there is a need for greater security of tenure before people can be persuaded to undertake complete natural development of the land over which they hold a lease. For my part, I believe that 25 years is all too short a period to encourage lease-holders to develop their land fully, and the one thing we must depend on at all times, and demand, is that land shall be subjected to full economic development. This is a question that has been looked at from time to time, and 1 am bound to say that the standard of land use in the Australian Capital Territory is not one whit below the general level of development in the States. So I do not think there can be much ground for argument there. I suggest that there will be great impetus to land improvement if the security of tenure is lengthened. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>So it i3 on that ground, very largely, that we propose to extend the. period of leases. There is also brought into the matter the fact that if we are going to ask lease-holders to add greater improvements to their land, we must also give them greater latitude in the ultimate transfer of their equity in the improvements, if the time should come when they want to surrender their leases. If their leases are pinned down to a short period it will be found that men who have been asked to increase improvements to their properties, and have been encouraged to do so; will find themselves tremendously handicapped because the security of tenture will not be sufficient. I see every justification in the extension of the lease period. I think it ought to.be drawn to the attention of the House that the leases which are going to be affected by this lengthened period are those which are outside the areas that are earmarked for development in the reasonably near future, and, therefore, the question of the disturbance of those leases will not arise. Every influence that can be brought to bear towards the greater development of leasehold areas ought to be put into operation. </para>
<para>There has been some discussion, not raised by the honorable member for Australian Capital Territory, on which I should like to make some comments. There is some concern, of course, that the equity of lease-holders in their areas is being expanded by this increase of tenure, but I want to point out that the length of lease has been taken into consideration in the assessment of rents, and therefore nothing like that will obtain. It seems to me that, having regard, to all those facts, the interests of the Commonwealth and the Australian Capital Territory have been very well preserved, and I can see no grounds on which I can reasonably suggest that the regulation should either be withdrawn or disallowed. But I shall give the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory this undertaking, that, while I occupy the office of Minister for the Interior, he may rest assured that these matters will be looked at from the point of view of extreme responsibility. </para>
<para>I share, with the honorable member, some objection to the aggregation of lands beyond an aggregation which will permit economic use and reasonably easy handling under modern methods of agriculture, which include top-dressing, pasture improvement and so on. I assure the honorable member that it will be my objective to handle applications for the transfer of leases so that no untoward aggregation of lands can occur. I point out again to the honorable gentleman, in conclusion, that there are cases where the failure to have a sufficient land area in one mass for easy working may well react against the best interests of the Commonwealth and the lease-holders, and, indeed, of all the people who live in the Australian Capital Territory. Therefore, I am not prepared to embark on any segregation of those people into classifications of small and big leaseholders. I merely regard all of them as users of land, and, provided there are adequate safeguards, such as are written into, and retained, in the regulations to see that the national interests are well preserved, I am well satisfied. </para>
</speech>
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<para>.- I support the motion by the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. J. E. Fraser)</inline> to disallow the regulation under the Leases Ordinance which was signed by the former Minister for the Interior <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Kent Hughes)</inline> on the 5th December last, and notified in the <inline font-style="italic">Gazette</inline> of the 15th December last. The Minister for the Interior <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Fairhall)</inline> has not agreed to the motion for disallowance &#187;;nd has not consented to withdraw the regulation. His first reason for doing so was that there are many people in Australia who desire to settle on the land and who cannot find land to settle on and that people in the Australian Capital Territory are in no worse position than are people elsewhere. I regret to say that that attitude was very reminiscent of that of the Minister&#39;s predecessor, who seemed all too often to believe that the inhabitants of Canberra should not have anything unless the inhabitants of all the States already had it. That was shown in regard to this very <inline font-style="italic">matter</inline> of closer settlement just over two years ago, when the member for the Australian Capital Territory moved that the Booroomba Estate be acquired for the Commonwealth for the purposes of soldier settlement. On that occasion the former Minister said, in. effect, that because there were plenty of ex-servicemen in the States who could not get soldier settlement blocks, people in the Australian Capital Territory should not get them either. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>The next point the Minister made was that, under modern conditions, the aggregation of allotments was more economical in the utilization of men, machines and power. He also said - and one would think it was a contrary consideration - that modern techniques had made farming more intensive. One would think, therefore, that smaller blocks would suffice, and more people could be settled on the land. Throughout the Minister&#39;s speech, however, there seems to be the attitude that the onus lay on the Opposition to move for the disallowance of this regulation and to expose it and to show that it is not justified. Let it be plainly understood that this regulation followed very close, as I will presently show, on the amendment of the ordinance. It was the first time on which the ordinance had been amended in eighteen years. An ordinance in a territory is in exactly the same position as an act is in a State. However, if a bill for an act is introduced, the Government has the onus of justifying it and there is a discussion Ou the bill, as of right, in several stages. In this case, where one moves to disallow an. ordinance or regulation, there is no discussion, as of right. There would have been no discussion at all if the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory had not initiated it. The onus does not lie on him or on any member of the Opposition to show that the regulation is not justified. Surely the onus lies on the Government, as it does in any other normal statute, to show that it is justified. </para>
<para>The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory has made several very serious allegations against administration of leases in recent years. Royal commissions have been appointed in the States on several occasions to inquire into matters which are of less gravity and have been specified less precisely. This is a serious matter. Let me refer to the history of it. </para>
<para>The present Leases Ordinance, which, incidentally, does not apply to the city area at all but which applies only to rural leases, was first introduced in 1918, and under section 3 of the ordinance leases were granted for such periods, not exceeding 25 years, as the Minister determines. That phrase &#34; not exceeding 25 years &#34; has stood in the ordinance since 1918. It may have been in earlier ordinances. I have not checked on that. The phrase remained unaltered until the former Minister, on the 23rd November last, signed an ordinance omitting the words &#34; not exceeding 25 years &#34;. After that ordinance had been amended, the regulation was signed by the Minister, as I have said, on the 5th December, and it was gazetted on the 15th December. The regulation replaces a former one, regulation 7, which was in these terms - </para>
<quote>
<para>No person shall hold under lease land of a greater assessed value than &#163;10,000. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">The figure has stood at &#163;10,000 since 1941. It had previously stood at &#163;8,000 since 1929. The alteration of the amount, which might well have been justifiable because of the inflation in the intervening years, is one of the simplest processes that could have been undertaken. When it was done in 1941 by <inline font-weight="bold">Senator Foll,</inline> it took two lines and to show how simple the process is, I will read them. They state- </para>
<quote>
<para>Regulation 7 of the Leases Regulation 1929 is amended by omitting the figures &#34; 8,000 &#34; and inserting in their stead the figures &#34; 10,000 &#34;. </para>
</quote>
<para>If the Minister wished to bring up to date the permitted values of properties - that is if he wished to see that people were given an adequate living area - he could, by a two-line regulation in the <inline font-style="italic">Gazette,</inline> have brought them up to date. The whole purpose of regulation 7 has been altered, because now it bears no relation to the previous matter which was described in the marginal note as &#34; value of land which may be leased &#34;. The new marginal note reads &#34; period of leases &#34;. The period has been increased, now that the overriding provision of the ordinance has been removed, to a period not exceeding 50 years in the case of leases for grazing, fruit-growing, horticultural, dairying or agricultural purposes, and 99 years for other purposes which, by reading the regulations, one finds to be shopping and residential purposes. </para>
<para>The Minister took refuge, it seemed to me, behind the decision of the Advisory Council. Let it be quite plain that the Advisory Council, on my information, had no objection to the increase of the term of the lease from 25 to 50 years but it was never consulted on the removal of the limit of &#163;10,000. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1038</page.no>
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<para>- I did not make that point. I did not extend the Advisory Council approval other than for .the extension of leases. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
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<page.no>1038</page.no>
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<para>- I noticed- that and it is partly for that reason that I comment on it. If I understand the present Minister&#39;s attitude, it is that he does not mind the modernization of the value but he, himself, would not have sponsored the aggregation of properties. I give him credit for that attitude. It is not his fault. It was not his regulation or ordinance. He was not responsible for the amendment of an ordinance which had stood unchanged for eighteen years and, in this respect, ever since 1918; and he was not responsible for the repeal of a regulation which has stood since 1918. He would not, I believe, have sponsored the aggregation of leases. In his administration of this regulation, if it is not disallowed, I hope that he will continue that attitude. But let it be made quite plain to the citizens of Canberra and the citizens of the Commonwealth that the Advisory Council, the Parliament of the Territory, was never consulted on the question of aggregation of leases. They were consulted, and approved the extension of the leases from 25 to 50 years. The last time that this matter was considered, it was considered very carefully by the Public Accounts Committee in 1929. On the committee, at that time, there were two men, at least, who achieved a great deal of subsequent fame, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Chifley,</inline> the former Labour leader in this place, and <inline font-weight="bold">Senator O&#39;Halloran,</inline> the present Labour leader in South Australia. The report by the committee on the tenure of leases said - </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<quote>
<para>With a view to encouraging orderly development and to promoting a feeling of security and confidence amongst lessees, the Committee recommends that, where possible, leases he extended to 25 years. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">That was carried out, aud it was a very careful report. At least twenty witnesses were called before it, and reasons were given for every recommendation, but nowhere is it suggested that the aggregation of leases was necessary, or, in fact, that it was necessary to have a larger average holding than say 1,200 acres, which was regarded as a perfectly satisfactory living area at that time. The committee said that some of the earlier leases of 500 acres were insufficient but those granted later, of 1,000 to 1,200 acres, were adequate. This was carefully considered in 1929. Is there any reason at all why it should not have been considered by the present Public Accounts Committee, which has also shown its skill in such governmental matters ? This is something which again should have been considered by the same process before there was any alteration at all. The significant thing that emerges, surely, is that there has been recently, since the war probably, a considerable desire to come to Canberra by people on the land, not only for pastoral, and still less for horticultural, dairying and agricultural purposes, but for social purposes. </para>
<para>The provision of the regulation which requires residence has been &#34; winked at &#34;, to use the Minister&#39;s term. It has been notoriously winked at. A great number of people with leases in the Territory come here when the court is in residence at Yarralumla or when the Parliament is in session. They are not here at other times at all, and when it is too cold for the Governor-General or the parliamentarians to be in Canberra it is too bleak and frigid for them to be here either. In making reference to those matters, I am not referring in any way to any aggregation by the honorable member for Calare <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Howse)</inline> or the former honorable member for Henty, <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Gullett,</inline> whose return to this chamber was sought, very convivially, last evening. </para>
<para>Now, speaking on general lines, in Australia the Commonwealth is not in the position that the Federal Government ?.s in in the United States of America, where all the land outside of the thirteen original States belongs to that government and is disposed of as it wishes. Only certain portions of Australia are at the disposal of the Australian Government. They are the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. The Northern Territory leases, as we know quite well from legislation that has been discussed in this House, are beyond the means of the individual settler. There still remains the Australian Capital Territory. The Australian Capital Territory should be a show place for the rest of Australia. The Commonwealth cannot complain of the obduracy of the States, or the irresponsibility of the Premiers, or of its own lack of powers in any action in the Australian Capital Territory, whether it is industrial conditions, financial conditions, town planning, or the development of the countryside. The development of the countryside, which the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory has brought before the House on several -occasions - and on which he speaks with singular authority - is a matter in which we should show a lead to the whole nation. The Labour party&#39;s attitude, as I understand it, is that if a man feels a vocation, and has the capacity, for country life, he should have the opportunity of raising his family on his own living area. In the present instance we do not object to longer leases but to larger leases. </para>
<para>In conclusion, I would state what should be a truism, but which has certainly ceased to be one under this Government, which relies so much upon the support of monopolists and pastoralists: no one should have too much land while anybody else who is willing and capable of working land has none, or has too little. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1039</page.no>
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<para>.- The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. J. R. Fraser)</inline> has moved that regulation 3 of the amended leases regulations introduced by the honorable member for Chisholm <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Kent Hughes),</inline> as Minister for the Interior, on the oth December, 1955, be disallowed. This regulation contains two amendments. First, it repeals regulation 7 which provided - </para>
</talk.start>
<quote>
<para>No person . . . shall hold under lease land of a greater assessed value than &#163;10,000 (exclusive of the value of buildings, fences, dams, ground tanks, well and bores). </para>
</quote>
<para>The second alteration relates to the length of tenure. Under it, pastoral leases are to be held in the Australian Capital Territory for 50 years, and leases in the actual capital itself - that is for shops, homes and the like - for 99 years. I congratulate the honorable member for Chisholm upon this extension, which was one of his last acts as Minister. I believe, as I am sure all honorable members do, that we get greater development of land, and greater usage of land, where there is a reasonable security of tenure. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1040</page.no>
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<para>- Did it increase the value of Hill station? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>1040</page.no>
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<para>- I could not tell the honorable member that one way or the other, not having it at the present moment. I believe that freehold is the best tenure. After that, I believe that a long leasehold is the best. Therefore, 1 feel that n 50-year term. such as was recommended by the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council, is the most satisfactory because, under the old 25- year term, the people were loth to put in additional buildings, and everything else which nowadays goes to improve the landholdings. With a secure tenure for 50 years, they will certainly know that they can go ahead and put money into the land without perhaps losing the lease of it. I do not think that we could reasonably have expected anything more than a 50- year lease, because it is hard to tell what is going to happen in the Australian Capital Territory. The city is expanding and areas of land on the outskirts will have to be taken over for housing. For that reason, it would be unfair to offer too long a lease, or to convert to freehold in those areas, because the Commonwealth would be up for certain compensation if it found itself in the position of having to resume the land. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory has alleged that the regulations have been flagrantly broken by the present Minister for the Interior <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Fairhall)</inline> and by past Ministers. He alleges, first of all, that there are in all leases clauses under which people are .obliged to reside on the land that they have under lease. That is not so. Most of the leases in the Australian Capital Territory have no residential clause. Where they have, the Minister has a discretion as to whether his authority in regard to that clause shall be exercised. I have here a copy of a lease from the lease ordinances of 1918- 1937. Section (ifc) reads- </para>
<quote>
<para>The lessee shall and will reside continuously and bona fide on the said land as his usual home without any other habitual residence during the whole term of the lease or, in lieu thereof, shall duly and faithfully perform any other conditions as to residence previously approved in writing by the Commonwealth. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">It is quite obvious that there is no regulation binding a lease-holder in the Australian Capital Territory to live on his land. Secondly, the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory has alleged that the Leases Ordinance has been flagrantly broken by the Minister because leases in the Australian Capital Territory have been granted to people who own land outside the Territory. There has never been any regulation providing that people who own land outside the Territory shall be prevented from obtaining land within it. That can be checked by looking through any of the past leases. Thirdly, the honorable member has alleged that the lease of 13,000 acres at Booroomba, which was &#34; thrown in&#34; with the sale of the freehold land on that property should not have been thrown in at all; that it should have been given separately to people requiring land, and who did not already have it. I just want to make this point to the honorable member: The land up there, as he well knows, is of very poor economic value. The main part is in the Booroomba mountains. It is steep, heavily timbered, very poor grazing country - so poor that, for most of it, the cost of a lease is Id. per acre per year. The maximum charge is 3d. per acre per year. That is not the sort of country on which we can put a man with any hope that he will make an economic proposition of it. For that reason, I think the Minister was perfectly right in this case in saying that the freehold land from Booroomba should be sold and, when it was sold, that we should allow&#39; the leasehold area to run in with the freehold area. </para>
<para>What will happen when the new regulation comes into operation? Will there be greater aggregations? I do not think there will be. The Minister still has power to prevent that, and he has made it quite clear that he will use that power if he feels there are undue aggregations of land in the Territory. Let us face the fact that there are a number of properties in the Territory to-day, the unimproved value of which is more than &#163;10,000. They contain some freehold areas, in respect of which the ordinance will have no effect at all. If we look at properties such as Lanyon, Cuppacumbalong and Booroomba, we see that they are well-run properties, among the be3t in the Territory. They have not been regarded as undue aggregations. Throughout Australia there are many properties of an unimproved value much greater than &#163;10,000. Some of the best stud stock-producers in Australia - who have made their stock available to others and on whose stock the cattle and sheep populations of this country have been built up - own areas which are considerably greater than that, but their properties are not regarded as undue aggregations. </para>
<para>The previous system was unreal, and it was impossible to administer it fairly. I think that the Minister and the depart ment are to be congratulated for having taken a broad view. Had the system been retained, it would have been necessary to increase the value enormously. What do we think that value should be? The last leases were issued in 1933, and the last rise on that unimproved value occurred in 1941. Since that time, there has been a considerable increase of the value of land. We might find it necessary to say that, to enable a man to make a living, he must be allotted land of an unimproved value in the vicinity of &#163;30,000. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>1041</page.no>
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<para>- Or &#163;25,000? </para>
</talk.start>
<continue>
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<page.no>1041</page.no>
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<para>- Let us say &#163;25,000. to &#163;30,000. I say again that, if aggregations do occur, the Minister still has power to do whatever he believes to be necessary about them. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>The honorable member for Werriwa <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Whitlam)</inline> has mentioned the possibility of war service land settlement in the Australian Capital Territory. That matter has been looked at. In fact, the property that he mentioned, Booroomba, was looked at, before it was sold, by a person who was well qualified to decide whether it was suitable for war service land settlement. It was looked at by <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Colquhoun,</inline> the Director of War Service Land Settlement. He is a man who is very well qualified in agriculture. He is a master of science. On one occasion, he was a research student at the Waite Institute in Adelaide. I think he was a lecturer in biology at the Adelaide University. He is a person who is well fitted to decide whether land is suitable for war service land settlement. </para>
<para>
<inline font-weight="bold">His</inline>report was that Booroomba is not suitable. Are we to take his word that the land is not suitable? Or are we to take the word of the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory or the honorable member for Werriwa that the land is suitable? <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Colquhoun</inline> said, first, that the leasehold area was quite hopeless from an economic point of view, and, secondly, that the freehold area would have been over-capitalized - in other words, by the time it was cut up and given to soldier settlers the value of the buildings on each block would have been far greater than a war service land settlement block could carry. We must remember that many ex-servicemen of the World War I. went on to the land in the Territory just after the end of that war. If we put new people on to the land here, probably we should have to reduce the size of the blocks held by those men, or put some of them off the land. Every person in Australia eligible for land under the war service land settlement scheme could apply for a block of land in the Territory if blocks were made available. So the chance that a resident of the Australian Capital Territory would get a block here would be about one in 1,000.- I cannot see how we could possibly exclude a person who lived in, say, Sydney from taking part in a ballot for land in the Territory. </para>
<para>I feel that the Government has done the right thing in this case. I am certain that the extension of the period of leases will encourage the greater development of the Territory. It will encourage people to come here and put their money into farms, which they will build up in every way possible. Nothing has been lost by taking out this provision, which was futile in any event, because the Minister has the necessary powers. I support the remarks made by the Minister, and I oppose the motion proposed by the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory. </para>
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<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1042</page.no>
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<para>. - This matter has assumed such importance that the House should look at the proposal very carefully. As to the comments of the Minister for the Interior <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Fairhall)</inline> on the very effective speech made by the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. J. R. Fraser),</inline> I only want to say that the Minister did not appear to be unfavorably disposed to the case made by the honorable member. The Minister said that he had no very great objection to what had been done. I think those were his words. That was not exactly enthusiastic support of the action taken by the Department of the Interior in curious circumstances, just before the general election last December. I do not want to pin the Minister down to a phrase, but his speech showed that he took a rather reserved view of what had been done. Towards the end of the speech, he said that he was against what he called untoward aggregation. I am certain that, in administering whatever ordinance is in force, the Minister will act in accordance with that principle. But the purpose of the regulation now repealed is to save the Minister from the difficulty of determining what is an untoward aggregation and to establish a general rule. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>The extraordinary feature of the new regulation is that it was made five days before the general election. No publicity was given to it, as far as I know, and it was not confirmed by the GovernorGeneral until later. It was only because of the vigilance of the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory that the matter was raised and discussed at a meeting of members of the Opposition. The regulation that was passed reminds one of the notorious midnight leases that were granted just before an election in the United States of America. The regulation that was repealed dealt only with the question of aggregration. Accordingly a person would not be aware, from reading the new regulation, which deals only with the term of leases, that the old regulation restricting aggregation was gone. The old regulation provided that no person could hold, under lease, land of an assessed value greater than &#163;10,000, exclusive of improvements. Broadly speaking, that is land to the value of &#163;10,000 unimproved. That refers to land with high unimproved valuation. It does not include the value of improvements. It is the value of the property less the value of virtually all relevant improvements. The limit is &#163;10,000. Is that figure too low? What evidence is there for saying that it is too low? </para>
<para>That was the effect of regulation <inline font-style="italic">1,</inline> which dealt with aggregation and which was repealed on the 5th December. What was inserted in its place? There was no new provision about aggregation but simply a provision authorizing extension of the period of a lease. Some honorable members on this side, too, may agree that the extension of the period of a lease may be justified. But the question is whether the House is to permit the removal of a safeguard against aggregation, without substituting any other safeguard against aggregation, so leaving the matter entirely to the discretion of the Minister, who has said that he is against, untoward aggregation. I should like the word &#34; untoward &#34; to be defined. If the figure of &#163;10,000 is considered to be too low, let that be proved. </para>
<para>The manner in which the matter has been handled is really very bad. It is bad for the administration. I believe that the cases cited by my colleagues, especially the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory, suggest that there have been many breaches of the existing regulation, and the substitution of a new lease for an old lease is intended partly to waive all prior breaches of the regulations and of the terms of the lease. </para>
<para>For that reason I should like the House to consider this matter more carefully. There has been a very small attendance in the chamber during the debate. Very important matters were referred to by the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory. It seems to me that the least that the House can do is to consider the matter judicially. The new Minister intends to carry out the regulations in accordance with their spirit as well as the letter in order to have an administration of these leases which will be valuable to the Territory. </para>
<para>What is the broad background of this matter? The Territory, compared with the great areas of the States, is of a pocket-handkerchief size. There will not be large estates in the Australian Capital Territory in the distant future. As the years go by, it will be developed to an enormous extent. We do not desire to have in 90 years, or in 50 years, enormous claims for compensation made for property which has had to be taken over and used for other purposes. A narrow view has been taken of this problem. If we were dealing with New South Wales, Queensland or South Australia, the position might be different. But the danger here is that we shall have a repetition of the same type of situation which existed in New South Wales and which led to many serious cases of maladministration of lands. Land which really belonged in the first place to the people was subject to a short lease, the lease was extended, there were all sorts of pressures, and the interests of the public were neglected. The Minister is a trustee for this land, but the members of the Parliament are also trustees. We cannot condone and explain an ordinance or regulation which tears up a provision restricting aggregation, which places nothing similar in its place but which deals with an entirely different subject-matter, that is, the extension of a lease. Indeed, this alteration would be completely unknown to most people, except those who were interested. It looks to me as if persons interested knew what was being done. I understand from the remarks of the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory that some of these people who received the benefit of the longer leases did not want the land for development. They wanted to sell the leases, and some have sold them. Is this House to condone such action? </para>
<para>Debate interrupted under Standing Order 108. </para>
<para>Ordered - </para>
<quote>
<para>That the time for discussion of motions be extended until 12.45 p.m. </para>
</quote>
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<talk.start>
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<page.no>1043</page.no>
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<para>- I have almost completed what I wish to say. I shall not analyse the Minister&#39;s speech which, on the whole, was not unfavorable to the case put by the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory. We must consider what action should be taken, and whether the present provision should be retained. Some inquiry should be instituted. We must not let the position be worsened by the creation of new vested interests through the medium of a regulation which was passed five days before the general election and confirmed by the Governor-General some short time after the general election. Let us see what was done after that. The public could not have been made aware of this change. Looking at the new regulation alone, one could not know what on earth the old regulation had contained. The subject-matter, as indicated by the notation at the side of the regulation is, &#34; Period of Leases &#34;. The notation at the side of the regulation which was repealed simply read, &#34; Value of land which may be leased &#34;, which is an entirely different topic. It seems as though the persons drafting the new regulation wanted to get rid of the provision relating to aggregation and substitute in its place this entirely different topic. It is not only confusing but it might be very deceptive. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
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<page.no>1043</page.no>
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<para>- How many persons have sold properties since they received extensions? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>1043</page.no>
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<para>- I do not know. The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory mentioned that cases have occurred since the 5th December. </para>
</talk.start>
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<interjection>
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<page.no>1043</page.no>
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<para>- The honorable member for Farrer can tell the honorable gentleman of one case. </para>
</talk.start>
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<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1043</page.no>
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<para>- All I -ask is that the House examine this matter a little more carefully. I do not know whether the Public Accounts Committee is the appropriate body for the purpose. The. matter might be- better considered by a committee of the Parliament, but that is a question of detail. The Minister does not support untoward aggregation - he says so quite frankly and fairly. He was not completely satisfied with what was done. The careful language which he used was a clear illustration of that. He has to administer the ne&#39;v provisions. How can he determine what is an untoward aggregation unless there is a general rule? Who is better qualified to determine the policy than the Parliament, members of which are trustees for the proper administration of land development in this Territory? It is not an easy task. I ask honorable members to look ahead in order to see what this Territory is to become 20, 50 or 100 years hence. Let us not allow the dead hand of long leases to interfere with the future development of the Territory, as it might easily do as natural development continues. I think that a narrow view is being taken and that the circumstances should be more fully examined. When I commenced my speech, I said that I was concerned with the action to be undertaken. What is to be done? Very few honorable members were present when the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory presented his case or, indeed, when the Minister replied. I -thought that the Minister dealt with the matter fairly, but was bound by a sense of loyalty to decisions of the previous administration. I do not think that is the proper approach. I agree with his view that untoward aggregation must be prevented. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>The figure appearing in the previous regulation was altered from time to time, but &#163;10,000 seems to be a reasonable limit, because it excludes buildings, fences, dams, ground tanks, and so forth. Why should that figure be altered unless one can show clearly that the figure is wrong? If the House is convinced that it is wrong, it should substitute another figure, so that the Minister will not have to determine policy piecemeal but will have the general policy determined for him. I regard this matter as of great importance, Apart from the interests of the Territory, we must consider the point of view of the whole of Australia. This capital is developing rapidly, and it is bound to develop much further. In the Territory, land development in places distant from Canberra will be progressively of an agricultural character. Therefore, this unlimited power that is intended to replace the old carefully considered power should not be agreed to by the House unless it is convinced it will allow fair representation of all interests. </para>
</speech>
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<talk.start>
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<page.no>1044</page.no>
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<name role="metadata">BATE, Henry</name>
<name role="display">Mr JEFF BATE</name>
</talker>
<para>. - I support the remarks of the Minister for the Interior <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Fairhall).</inline> I thought he was most careful in the choice of his words in dealing with this matter. </para>
</talk.start>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1044</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>- Go thou and do likewise ! </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1044</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JOE</name.id>
<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 do not know whether the honorable member for Melbourne <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Calwell)</inline> even bothered to come into the chamber to hear the Minister, who stated that he did not approach the problem in the spirit that he would do something merely because it had been done by some one else. He stated that he was acting in the manner that he believed to be correct. The administration of lands in the Australian Capital Territory has been wise, and the officers of the Department of the Interior have given wise advice to the Minister. This is evident to rural people in the Territory. <inline font-weight="bold">Sir Ian</inline> Clunies-Ross, the head of the Commonwealth Scientific and&#34; Industrial Research Organization, in a speech made at the Dickson Experiment Station last year, mentioned what he called the agricultural revolution in the Australian Capital Territory. He stated that we have now reached a point at which improved land will carry seven sheep to the acre. We have now passed the first phase of land development in the Territory. If honorable members take the trouble to look at the painting hanging beside the steps inside the main door of this building, they will see a representation of Canberra as it- appeared before it came under the administration of the Commonwealth and improvement began. The painting shows stony ground with sparse . vegetation growing upon it. Originally, it probably carried only one&#39; sheep to four acres. The best of the improved land in the Territory will now carry seven sheep to the acre. This is 28 times the original carrying capacity, and, with further improvement, it will carry even more sheep to the acre. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1044</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>- Does not that mean that smaller holdings would suffice? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1044</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JOE</name.id>
<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 am very grateful for the intelligent interjection. One does not always get the best results from the application of scientific methods to the improvement of land by cutting it up into small areas. The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. J. B. Fraser),</inline> to his detriment, is a member of the socialist party. The socialists have always <inline font-style="italic">completely</inline> failed to get the best use from the land. Their ideas, carried to their logical conclusion, result in fiascos such as the gigantic failure of the land socialization programme in Russia, which has caused Malenkov and Bulganin to go grovelling to the people of Britain. The Russians are too weak to defend themselves, because they cannot produce enough food. Labour, being socialist, could easily make a mess of land administration in the Australian Capital Territory if it interfered with the Department of the Interior. Opposition members are socialists at heart, and they cannot get away from socialist methods. &#34;We have been fortunate enough to have the advice of the honorable member for Farrer <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Fairbairn),</inline> who is a good farmer and who knows much about the proper methods of land use. He has told us that the methods being adopted in the Territory are correct. &#34;We should accept his advice, because he knows what he is talking about. Any one of us who take pride in the Australian soil, and who want to see it used wisely and effectively, knows that it must be improved by the application of fertilizers and by judicious grazing methods. The carrying capacity must be improved, and that has been done in the Territory. I again refer honorable members to the painting hung near the front door of this building. The worked-out soil depicted in it has been tremendously improved and now gives enormous yields of clover. The administration of this area has produced excellent results. In the first phase of land development in the Territory, large aggregations of land and considerable financial resources were necessary for the application of fertilizer and the improvement of the soil. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>The sheep men came in originally, as they always do in new areas, and improved the soil. It is now rich land, owing to the adoption of the superphosphate and clover cycle of cultivation. Even more important than the addition of superphosphate is the introduction of nitrogen into the soil bv tha clever plant. </para>
<para class="block">This enriches the earth tremendously. This type of cultivation has been widely adopted in the Australian Capital Territory. If honorable members wish to see the results achieved by it, I suggest that they examine the property worked by the honorable member for Farrer for several years with his delicate, almost magic, touch. The soil on that property is rich, whereas directly across the road may be seen rather bare and poor soil on another property. &#34;We have ample evidence of the way in which the earth can be and has been improved. In the clover cultivation cycle, not only do the nitrogen and the humus from the clover transform reddishbrown poor earth into rich, black, highly productive and greatly enriched soil, but also the rich yield of clover feeds stock. </para>
<para>I have described the first phase of land development. The Australian Capital Territory is now entering the second phase. The population of Canberra exceeds 30,000 and we are looking forward to a population of 60,000 in this city. The greater population will require increased quantities of foods such as milk and fresh vegetables. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1045</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KFG</name.id>
<electorate>SHORTLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES</electorate>
<party>ALP</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>- &#34;What is the use of producing <inline font-style="italic">more</inline> milk when one cannot sell it on three or four &#34; block &#34; days in each week? </para>
</talk.start>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1045</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JOE</name.id>
<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>- Milk and fresh vegetables should be produced on the spot in the Territory. Does the honorable member understand that? I have heard residents of Canberra complain that they have to pay 4s. or 5s. each for cabbages. Vegetables should be grown in the Territory for sale at lower prices. The sheep men having improved the land, we reach a stage at which we can produce more food, and especially milk. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1045</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KFG</name.id>
<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>- It is of no use to produce more milk if one cannot sell it. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1045</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JOE</name.id>
<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>- The House should consider the process of development. The first phase is the enrichment of the soil and the second is the settlement of small land holders. &#34;We must undertake that second phase of development. The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory did right to raise the matter, but his judgment on it is wrong. I support the administration of the Department of the Interior. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1046</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KGX</name.id>
<electorate>Parkes</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>
<inline font-weight="bold">.- Mr. Deputy Speaker-</inline>
</para>
</talk.start>
<para>Motion (by <inline font-weight="bold">Sir Eric</inline> Harrison) agreed to - </para>
<quote>
<para>That the question be now put. </para>
</quote>
<para>Question put - </para>
<quote>
<para>That Regulation No. 3 of Regulations 1955, No. 13, being Regulations under the Leases Ordinance 1918-1955 of the Australian Capital Territory,be disallowed. </para>
</quote>
</speech>
<division>
<division.header>
<time.stamp />
<para>The House divided. (Mb. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C.F. Adermann.)</para>
</division.header>
<division.data>
<ayes>
<num.votes>39</num.votes>
<title>AYES</title>
</ayes>
<noes>
<num.votes>55</num.votes>
<title>NOES</title>
</noes>
</division.data>
<para>Majority . . 16 </para>
<para class="block">
<graphic href="009131195603224_25_1_3_P.jpg" />
</para>
<para class="italic">
<inline font-style="italic">In division:</inline>
</para>
<para>AYES</para>
<para class="block">
<graphic href="009131195603224_25_1_1_A.jpg" />
</para>
<para>NOES</para>
<para class="block">
<graphic href="009131195603224_25_1_2_N.jpg" />
</para>
<division.result />
</division>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1046</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>- <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Deputy Speaker,</inline> I ask for your ruling whether the member for the Australian Capital Territory, who is entitled to vote on a motion for the disallowance of an ordinance of the Territory, is entitled to have recorded bis vote on a motion for the disallowance of a regulation made under that ordinance. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1046</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 ! Sub-section (1.) of section six of the Australian Capital Territory Representation Act 1948-1949 provides that, subject to sub-section (2.), the member representing the Australian Capital Territory shall not be entitled to vote on any question arising in the House. Sub-section (2.) provides that he may vote on any motion for the disallowance of any ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory and on any amendment of any such motion. In my view, his right to vote does not extend to a motion for the disallowance of a regulation made under an ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory, and I so rule. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>Question so resolved in the negative. </para>
<para class="italic">
<inline font-style="italic">Sitting suspended from 12.58 to 2.15 p.m.</inline>
</para>
</speech>
</subdebate.1>
</debate>
<debate>
<debateinfo>
<title>QUESTION</title>
<page.no>1046</page.no>
<type>Questions</type>
</debateinfo>
<subdebate.1>
<subdebateinfo>
<title>AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY</title>
<page.no>1046</page.no>
</subdebateinfo>
<para>Debate resumed from the 21st March <inline font-style="italic">{vide</inline> page 1017). on motion by <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Menzies</inline> - </para>
<quote>
<para>That the following paper be printed: - </para>
<para>National Economy - Economic MeasuresMinisterial Statement. </para>
</quote>
<para>Upon which <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Crean</inline> had moved by way of amendment - </para>
<quote>
<para>That all words after &#34; paper &#34; be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: - &#39;&#34;so far as it discloses a policy of increasing interest rates on bank overdrafts is injurious to the large majority of the people of Australia and should be rejected &#34;. </para>
</quote>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1046</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KBH</name.id>
<electorate>Sturt</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">WILSON, Keith Cameron</name>
<name role="display">Mr WILSON</name>
</talker>
<para>. - I wish to congratulate the Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menzies)</inline> upon the magnificent survey that he has made of Australia&#39;s present economic position.I hasten to say that I entirely agree with his diagnosis of our economic ills. Ills can arise in an economy in a time of prosperity just as they can in . a time of depression. Such ills, however, as the Australian economy is suffering from arise notout of a depression, or an impending depression, but out of Australia&#39;s great prosperity. The Prime Minister has shown his determination to take such measures as are necessary to preserve that prosperity. The Prime Minister in his statement said - </para>
</talk.start>
<quote>
<para>We are, as a nation, enjoying a high measure of prosperity. Our purpose is to preserve and consolidate it. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">Some sections of the press have suggested that the Prime Minister is afraid of prosperity. On the contrary, he is, as he has stated, determined to preserve and consolidate it. </para>
<para>In examining the economic ills of Australia in a time of prosperity, we must first look to see whether our own house is in order. I think it is generally recognized as a sound economic proposition that in a time of prosperity a government should budget for a surplus, and in a time of depression it should budget for a deficit. As this is a time of prosperity, we must look to the Commonwealth revenues and expenditure to see whether the Australian Government is playing its part. The budget papers disclose that revenue for the year ending June, 1956, is expected to amount to &#163;1,114,000.000, and estimated expenditure is &#163;1,066,000,000. The Commonwealth, therefore, is expecting a surplus of income over expenditure to the amount of &#163;48,000,000. Therefore, I think it can be said without fear of contradiction, that the Commonwealth, even before the introduction of the measures now being debated, has carried out a sound economic policy, not only of living within its means, but also of budgeting for a surplus in a time of prosperity. In addition, the Commonwealth is financing practically all of its loan works programme out of revenue. Whether that is sound economics or not, it is clearly safe finance in a time of prosperity. If, therefore, we could look at Commonwealth finances in isolation we could say quite definitely that the Commonwealth is following a sound economic policy, and that there is no need for additional taxes. If, however, notwithstanding our expected budget surplus, it was decided, as a deliberate policy, that the Commonwealth would save an extra &#163;100,000,000, I certainly would not quarrel with that pro posal at a time as prosperous as the present. Therefore, I should be quite prepared to support the present tax proposals, if they did no more than provide an additional surplus, or additional savings, in a time of prosperity. Unfortunately, however, we cannot look at the finances of the Commonwealth in a state of isolation. </para>
<para>We live in a federal system. Our lives are controlled by Commonwealth and State governments and instrumentalities. When we examine the State finances we find that the position is not nearly so happy. Almost every State this year has budgeted for and is likely to have a deficit. Nothing could be more inflationary in a time of prosperity. The Commonwealth, however, cannot stand by and do nothing, and finance must be found from some source to meet these expected State deficits, which tend to have such a bad effect on the economy in a time of prosperity. It is obvious that the Australian Government will have to accept the odium that will be cast upon it as the authority responsible for raising taxes to meet the deficits of the States, and I suggest that an immediate review of Commonwealth and State financial relations should be made. I suggest that no time should be lost in holding a conference between Commonwealth and State representatives, for the purpose of making the States responsible for the collection of the moneys that they spend. </para>
<para>The position of the Australian Loan Council is highly unsatisfactory. The Loan Council is comprised of a number of members from the States and from the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth has two votes and the States have six. Therefore, for practical purposes, the Australian Loan Council is controlled by the States. They decide each year how much money they will endeavour to raise for capital works. This year they have decided that &#163;190,000,000 should be raised from the people to finance State public works. It is quite obvious now that the people of Australia will subscribe <inline font-style="italic">&#163;67,000,000</inline> less than the Loan Council expected they would. As the Commonwealth has been paying this money to the States in monthly instalments, it is quite obvious that the Commonwealth again must carry the baby for the State capital works. </para>
<para>The most serious illness in. our economy co-day is lack of saving. The Prime Minister has made this perfectly clear. He said in his statement - </para>
<quote>
<para>On the capital side, we are, in Australia, crying to spend on investment twice as much as our current savings. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">That is the reason why there will he a deficit this year of &#163;67,000,000 in loan raisings. What I suggest to the Government is that when our problem is one of lack of savings, surely the remedy is to obtain more savings. That brings us to an examination of the question of why we are not, at this time of great prosperity, saving enough. I think all will agree that taxation, at the best, can be only a temporary palliative. It cannot cure the ill of lack of savings. Next year, &#163;250,000,000 worth of loans will mature. Are we to meet that from taxation sources? Are we to go on taxing the people more and more and more year by year because we cannot get enough savings to meet our loan commitments? </para>
<para>I suggest that the real problem into which we have to inquire is why savings are insufficient., The first reason is obvious. It has been referred to already by other speakers. I referred to it as far back as 1950, when I said that the means test was a blot upon our social services legislation, and that unless the Government took steps to abolish the means test, it would not be many years before we would be unable to get the savings that we require. Unhappily, we are in that position to-day. I do not blame any one government for it. The Labour party was in office for eight years, and did nothing at all about the means test. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1048</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JPE</name.id>
<electorate>BATMAN, VICTORIA</electorate>
<party>ALP</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>- The Labour Government eased the means test a lot. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1048</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KBH</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">WILSON, Keith Cameron</name>
<name role="display">Mr WILSON</name>
</talker>
<para>- The Government which I support has been in office since 1949, and I still say we have not got to the root of the problem in Australia. The real trouble is that we are not getting enough savings. We are not getting those savings because the people will not save when they realize that when they reach old age they will be penalized for having saved. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>A married man would have to save &#163;10,000 during his working life to get a return equivalent to the present age pension. The average man says that he cannot save that amount and, therefore, questions why he should save at all. We must give urgent consideration, first, to the question of a national retiring allowance on a contributory basis, free from the means test. As a means of getting out of our immediate condition of urgency, I put forward the suggestion that we should introduce a contributory scheme immediately under which we could raise &#163;60,000,000 or &#163;70,000,000 a year, and defer the abolition of the means test for two years. I suggest that this or any other government will always be faced with this problem of lack of capital and lack of savings so long as we penalize the thrifty person by depriving him of all benefits under our social services legislation. </para>
<para>If governments are not prepared to introduce a contributory scheme for national retiring allowances, I suggest that consideration should be given to methods of increasing savings by either voluntary or compulsory means. When our problem is one of lack of savings, as the Prime Minister, in his statement, has said it is, I suggest that we should adopt the measures necessary to increase savings. We should try the voluntary means first. If voluntary means are not successful, then surely a compulsory loan is better than confiscation by taxation on a continuing basis. </para>
<para>Even if it is suggested that the savings of the Australian community are sufficient, one thing that is perfectly clear is that those savings are not going into government bonds. It is only by attracting investment in government bonds that we can hope to obtain enough money for such State capital works as the building of schools, hospitals, and things of that kind. That being so, we must ask ourselves what is wrong with the bond market. First of all, I suggest that those who control the issue of government bonds are looking at the problem from the point of view of conditions that obtained during war-time when we had man-power control, capital control, and indeed controls of every kind. Then there was no alternative investment to government bonds. To-day, there is an alternative investment. </para>
<para>We can safely say that the time has now arrived when it is an investor&#39;s market. Under war-time controls, when the Government could get all the money it wanted, the duration of bonds was from ten to fifteen years, and very often the Commonwealth had the option of paying investors off at any time it liked, or at certain specified times. Those conditions have completely altered. To-day, we must be prepared to meet the market. We have competition from finance companies, we have competition from all sorts of people who are wanting money, and we must make bonds more attractive. We need to shorten the term. Do not let us merely say, &#34; If you lend to us, we will pay you back in fifteen years&#39; time&#34;. We should say, &#34;Lend us your money; you can have it back in three months, six months, or twelve months, at short-term rates of interest, or you can have it back in four, five, six or seven years at the higher rate, just as you like&#34;. The maturity of the loans has got to be shortened considerably. Then, I believe that we must give people a guarantee that if they invest money in future loans, they will not lose their capital. I agree with those honorable members who say that we must give the bondholder the option of converting his loan into any new issue that might be launched at a higher rate of interest. I also believe that we should give such investors the right to use bonds for the payment of income tax up to a limit of &#163;100 a year. There should be some limit to this, and &#163;100 a year is reasonable. I realize the effect of trans.fering income to capital and vice versa, but the primary objective at the moment is to induce people, who are putting their money into other avenues of less useful investment, to buy government bonds, so that it will be used for the building of schools, hospitals and other essential works. </para>
<para>The&#39; biggest investment in government bonds comes from insurance companies and superannuation schemes. That being so, let us increase the present allowable deduction for income tax purposes from &#163;200 to &#163;300 per annum. I believe that if we do this, we shall attract another &#163;50,000,000 or &#163;60,000,000 to Commonwealth loans every year. </para>
<para>I should have liked to deal further with these particular matters, but as time will not permit that, I shall conclude by referring to another statement made by the Prime Minister. He said - </para>
<para>To put it quite clearly, we cannot have increased development and increased individual consumption without increased individual production, saving and investment. </para>
<para class="block">The Prime Minister has said that he will take such actions as are necessary to increase production, and we know he will, but, in addition to that, we must carry out the remainder of his advice and &#34; take such measures as are necessary to increase savings and investment&#34;. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1049</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JUP</name.id>
<electorate>Bendigo</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">CLAREY, Percy</name>
<name role="display">Mr CLAREY</name>
</talker>
<para>.- Any document that deals with the economic state of the nation is worthy of the very serious consideration of the House. This, of course, naturally applies to the statement which has been made by the Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menzies).</inline> In that statement, he has set out certain procedures to be followed which he believes will achieve certain results. In the preamble, the right honorable gentleman said - </para>
</talk.start>
<para>We are, as a nation, enjoying a high measure of. prosperity. Our purpose is to preserve and consolidate it. </para>
<para class="block">So one looks for ways in which that prosperity is to be preserved and consolidated, and one finds that the Government proposes to -adopt five measures to achieve that end-=-increased petrol tax, increased excise duties, increased sales tax, increased company tax, &#39; and increased interest rates. We have been assured that, as a result, the following five objectives will be attained : - Increased production, both in the mass and in the unit; lower costs; increased exports; stabilized prices; and, by the end of June, a balanced trading account. It is in the light of those five measures and those objectives that, the Prime Minister&#39;s statement must be analysed. I hope, in the few minutes that are at my disposal, to bo able to demonstrate that none of those objectives will be attained, but that rather will we have in the year 1956 a repetition of the conditions that so seriously affected the economy in 1952 and 1953. In the main, the steps that were taken by the Government in 1952 and 1953 to correct an inflationary situation are similar to the steps that are now being taken. I regret to say - and I think that, in relation to this particular point, the Prime Minister has not- been frank by any means - that in the very near future unemployment will again raise its head in Australia as it did in 1952 and 1953. </para>
<para>In order to demonstrate that none of the Government&#39;s objectives can be attained, but that rather is a downward trend bound to occur, I wish to refer briefly to some of the taxes that have been imposed. I shall deal, first, with the imposition of a further tax of 3d. on every gallon of petrol used in this country. That additional tax must inevitably cause costs to rise, because it affects, not only the primary producer, but also the transport service&#39;s, every enterprise that uses motor vehicles, public transport in the form of buses and aeroplanes and, very adversely, the general haulage business. In addition, the costs of persons and organizations that run taxis, ambulances, and other public vehicles will be affected. I suppose the best evidence of the immediate increase of costs following the imposition of the additional petrol tax is contained in a statement made by <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Talbot,</inline> the secretary of the Victorian Road Transport Association, to the effect that as from the 1st April all carriers will increase their haulage charges by ls. 3d. a ton. That statement was published yesterday. <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Talbot-</inline> gives as the reason for that sharp rise the increase of 3d. in petrol tax, and increased sales tax on new vehicles and spare parts. At a later stage, I propose to refer again to the effect of those additional charges upon costs generally. </para>
<para>I now refer to the increased excise duties. Not only are the increased excise duties being passed on to the public, but also something else in addition. Although the Prime Minister stated that increased excise duties would mean a rise of 2d. in the cost of a 10-oz. glass of beer, the public is actually being charged an extra <inline font-style="italic">2id.</inline> We were told, in relation to spirits, that the increased duties would mean a rise of Id. a nobbier, but the prices that have been published by the various licensed victuallers&#39; associations indicate that, according to the brand, the price of whisky will rise by 2d. and 3d. a nobbier ; in the case of brandy, hy </para>
<para class="block">Id. and 2d. a nobbier; and, in the case of gin and rum, by 2d. a nobbier. Corresponding increases have been made in respect of bottled spirits and bottled beer. The right honorable gentleman also assured us that the increase would mean a rise of 3d. for each ounce of manufactured tobacco and each packet of cigarettes, yet the figures published in Victoria indicate that the increase will be 3d. on some kinds and 4d. on others. The price of tobacco sold as tobacco has risen, not by 6d. on a 2-oz. packet, as was indicated by the Prime Minister, but by an average of 7d. for a 2-oz. packet. Those figures indicate that, in addition to the increased duty, something else is being added to the price. How can any one . say that the increased tax on petrol or the increased excise duties on other commodities will increase production, lower costs, increase exports, stabilize prices, or balance our trading account? </para>
<para>Let me now refer to the increased sales tax on motor vehicles. The tax on commercial vehicles has been raised from 12^ per cent, to 16$ per cent, and, on private cars, from 16&#167; per cent, to 30 per cent. I shall deal, first, with commercial vehicles, which are essential to industry. No one will deny that statement. If it is the desire of the Government to effect a lowering of industrial costs, could it choose a more inappropriate means than the raising of sales tax on commercial vehicles and spare parts? The increased cost of new motor vehicles, spare parts and petrol must lead to a rise of costs generally, which will filter its way through the price structure m a thousand different ways. When we come to a consideration of the increased tax on private vehicles, we come to a matter that tests the expressed desire of the Government to preserve and consolidate prosperity. The increased sales tax on private cars has been imposed for the express purpose of reducing demand. As has been stated by the Prime Minister, the Australian motor industry is now firmly established, and its roots run deep in our economic life. Any attempt to depress that industry and to cause a reduction of the demand for cars immediately affects costs, because reduced production leads to increased costs rather than to decreased costs. In addition, a diminution of the demand for cars affects every section of industry that is associated with the production or servicing of motor cars. A falling off of the demand for cars will be followed by a falling off of the demand for employment in establishments that produce those vehicles. At least two establishments are wholly manufacturing cars in Australia, and a number of others) are assembling cars, and they give employment to large numbers of men and women. If the demand for employment in those establishments falls off, all subsidiary establishments and industries that manufacture tyres, tyre cord, upholstery, batteries and other accessories, will be affected, and a gradual ripple of unemployment will commence to pass throughout the community. If it were associated with, and restricted, to the motor car industry only, we might be able to hope that the problem could be kept within bounds. But we have to look at the Prime Minister&#39;s economic statement, not only from the standpoint of what is being said by the Government now, but also from the aspect of what the Government has done and said during the last six to nine months. I remind the House that in September last the Prime Minister made a statement on the financial position of the nation, from which there emerged the fact that it was the intention of the Government, though this was not mentioned in last week&#39;s statement, to trim expenditure on Commonwealth public works by &#163;10,000.000. In addition, the Prime Minister said that the purchase of &#163;19.000.000 worth of imports which the Government proposed to bring into the country, was to be&#39; cancelled. So there was an immediate increase, at any rate, of &#163;29,000,000 in the Government&#39;s expected surplus. We know that, as the Commonwealth will have to provide the funds for State public works, it is certain that the money made available to the States for that purpose will be treated in the same way as the Commonwealth proposes to treat its own public works expenditure - it will be reduced by i0 per cent. As a consequence of that, we shall have a further ripple of unemployment, which will run right through the Commonwealth, so far as Commonwealth construction work is concerned. This, in turn, will reflect itself in the employment position in industries that produce the raw materials used for construction. </para>
<para>So, in addition to the effects that may be felt in the motor car industry, there will be the effect on employment in the construction industries as the result of the curtailment of Commonwealth and State public works. But it will not end there, because we must look at the whole picture. What does the whole picture show? Two other factors are to operate. First, bank credit has been restricted. The effect that that action has had on building has already been amply demonstrated by other honorable members on this side of the House. They have shown that, as a &#34; result of the restriction of credit, the number of houses now being built is lower than it was twelve months ago, the number completed being also lower than it was twelve months ago. They have shown that the rate of private construction of homes is declining. It is obvious. that restriction of bank credit produces a tendency to dampen down production, to dampen down building activity, with the inevitable result that we shall have further unemployment. Whether we like it or not, the opportunities of employment will be decreased. We also have to take into consideration other factors that are part of the Government&#39;s plan. One of those is the increase of interest rates; another is the imposition of increased company tax. As the Prime Minister made clear, the imposition of both increased company tax and increased interest rates has a common objective - the cutting down of investments in the private sector of the economy. A diminution in investment will inevitably mean that fewer people will be employed on construction work and on the production of the plant and equipment that is itself necessary to enable us to increase production. The cumulative effect of those factors - the restrictions on the motor car industry, the curtailment of public works, the increase of interest rates, the restriction of bank credit, and the imposition of higher company taxation - amounts to a general attack on employment throughout the Commonwealth in order to reduce purchasing power and achieve the effect that the Government wants to achieve. 1 simply point out that we had the same state of affairs in 1952 and 1953. We saw then, that, despite everything the Government did, prices still rose and unemployment grew. The cumulative effect of the factors I have mentioned will be that within the next twelve months we will see unemployment here on a very large scale; indeed, it is within the bounds of possibility that by the end of this year, if the Government continues with its present tactics and policy, unemployment will be the lot of between 75,000 and 150,000 people. That would be in line with what we had in this country in 1952 and 1953. </para>
<para>Finally, I want to say that I believe that this Government could well be described as the government of lost opportunities. It had an opportunity, in September, 1953, to stabilize the economy when the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration froze the basic wage. I can remember sitting in my seat here on many occasions and listening to the replies of honorable members on the Government side of the chamber to our requests for some control over the inflationary factors that were disturbing the community. The outburst that always came from the Government side was that nothing could be done until wages were pegged. The occupants of the Government benches seemed to be hypnotized by the idea of wage-pegging as the be-all and end-all of the solution to inflation. In 1953, the Government could have said, after wage-pegging had been introduced, &#34; Here is the opportunity, in cooperation with the States, to utilize, in a common effort, the powers of the Commonwealth and the States in an attempt to check inflation and put the community back on a stable economic footing &#34;. But the Government did nothing. Time went on and it still did nothing. It was only when the adverse trade balance again became evident that the Government started to take some steps to try to relieve the position. Now we have the suggestion, at the last moment, that a conference be held between the States and the Commonwealth to deal with the dual question of hire purchase and capital issues. I say that the Government ha3 missed its opportunity. It has allowed inflation to grow unchecked - and the only trouble about that is that it is the great, mass of the people who have to suffer as a consequence of the Government&#39;s policy. I conclude by saying that the measures adopted by the Government are puny in character, and are totally incapable of dealing with our economic problems. </para>
</speech>
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<para>-Order! The honorable gentleman&#39;s time has expired. </para>
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<para>.- It is always interesting to listen to the honorable member for Bendigo <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Clarey),</inline> and his speech this afternoon was no exception. It is a pity that his argument was not more convincing. The trouble was, he was treading a welltrodden path. We have heard these prophecies of gloom, misery and depression in the offing since the Government took office in 1949. The cry then was, &#34; You&#39;ll be mighty cool in Hytten&#39;s pool &#34;. I also remember that, in 1952, the honorable member for Melbourne <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr.</inline> Calwell) said, with great glee, &#34; There is going to be a bigger depression this year than in 1930 &#34;. More recently we have had the Leader of the Opposition <inline font-weight="bold">(Dr. Evatt)</inline> talking about a manufactured depression. The theme has been consistent &#39;right through the piece for the last seven years. We have not had a depression yet, and I cannot see any chance of having a depression in the future under the administration of this Government. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>There is one thing that I believe we should bear in mind in these discussions, and that is that this Government is a low tax Government which has persistently pursued a low tax policy. It has steadily reduced taxation since it took office, following the Labour regime in 1949. Taxation has been steadily reduced, especially in the lower income brackets. I think that some figures that were quoted by the Minister for Immigration and Labour and National Service <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Harold Holt)</inline> in this debate are worth repeating as an example of the reduction. In 1949, the last year of office of the Labour Government, the taxpayer earning &#163;600 a year, paid &#163;26 5s. in tax. To-day, that man would pay only &#163;11 5s. It is indisputable that taxation, in terms of real income, has been reduced substantially since this Government took office in 1949. </para>
<para>In spite of the fact that the economy of the country has expanded enormously and that our commitments have also grown in the field of defence and in social services especially, we have been able to enjoy lower taxation than is paid by taxpayers in our sister country, New Zealand, and substantially lower than is paid in the United States of America or the United Kingdom. That is something for which due credit should be given to our Treasurer <inline font-weight="bold">(Sir Arthur Fadden)</inline> and to the Government. </para>
<para>Prosperity has been maintained. An expanding economy has been encouraged and enterprise has been stimulated by this policy, and in spite of the fact that we have met with checks such as the Korean war, and a fall in the price of wool, we have been able to ride out these storms while still maintaining a policy of full employment and a very high standard of living. The troubles for which the Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menizes)</inline> has proposed some remedies in his statement, have been evident for some time. In the budget speech which the Treasurer delivered in this House last year, he told us that we were facing a difficult period. He said that labour shortages had become general, and in some fields, acute. He said - </para>
<list type="lowerroman-dotted">
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<para>. this caused a slowing down in various works and industries. Wages and other elements in costs began to rise again and this in turu led to upward pressure on prices. The deficit in our external trade, which hat&#34; already appeared before the financial year began, widened rapidly and our overseas ex change reserves ran down. By the end of the financial year we had around us the unmistakable signs of active inflation. </para>
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<para class="block">On the 29th September last, the Prime Minister pointed to these dangers even more significantly and strongly. So the public has had ample warning of the present measures which are designed to remedy this position. The obvious conclusion to be drawn from our difficulties is that Australia must consider its costs in relation to those of the rest of the world. We cannot operate in this country quite separately from other countries with whom we trade. We urgently need to keep our economy strong. </para>
<para class="block">The position is apparent to every one. Japan, Germany and the great industrial nations of Europe which were affected by the war are now back in their stride, are producing at full tilt, and are bringing costs down throughout the world. That is the principal difficulty that we have to face. We cannot sell our primary products at the prices that we should like to obtain and which we need to obtain in order to produce at a profit because of the fall in world prices and also because of the price support schemes that have been operated by other primary producing nations such as the United States. These factors have tended to depress the market, and we have had great difficulty in selling any other commodity but wool for which we have a corner of the world market. I believe that that is the basic reason why we must put. our house in order. We must consolidate our position, bring down costs, and endeavour to sell our goods overseas at a lower price. </para>
<para>There are three steps that can be taken to remedy this position, and the Prime Minister indicated two of them. He said that we must produce more and consume less. I prefer to say that we must produce more, buy less and save more. We are taking steps to do all these things. We have applied import restrictions, so that we shall not be able to purchase so much. We have stimulated actively our primary industries, and we a&#39;re endeavouring to open up export markets. I believe that much more could be done to save exchange by developing industries which are now either non-existent or which are in a very small and struggling state, such as the tobacco industry. I believe that tea is now being produced on an experimental basis at South Johnstone, in Queensland. If we could assist industries of that nature, we would not only diversify our agriculture and thereby strengthen it, but also save exchange on a national basis. We must produce those commodities that we now need to import and, in doing so, use our valuable foreign exchange. </para>
<para>One of these commodities is coffee. In 1952, we spent &#163;7,000,000 on coffee. I was pleased to see a statement by the Minister for Territories <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Hasluck)</inline> the other day to the effect that the value of coffee grown in New Guinea would be &#163;500,000 in four years&#39; time. But there is <inline font-style="italic">a</inline> big gap between &#163;500,000 and &#163;7,000,000 which we expend on coffee imports. Probably, much more could be done to save exchange by stimulating the coffee industry in New Guinea. The same may be said of tea. It is proven that tea can be grown in Australia; but I believe that much more could be done to investigate its production in Australia on an economic basis. We spent &#163;54,000,000 on tea from overseas in 1952. </para>
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<para>- Is the honorable member&#39;s ultimate aim to buy nothing from anybody else? </para>
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<para>- That is. a very good question. Obviously it is impossible for a country to isolate itself, as Germany attempted to do before the war. I do not think that at all. We must trade with other countries, but in Australia we have set out to establish secondary industries, both as a defence measure and as a means of saving ourselves from the effects of economic disturbances in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, controls beget controls. The fact that we have created a large and thriving secondary industry behind a tariff wall means that we must now take steps to encourage our primary industries, as has happened in the United States, where price support schemes have been pursued for many years. We must not only match the costs of our competitors in the markets of the world, but we must do our best to improve upon them. That applies not only to primary industry, but also to secondary industry, and it is very reassuring to know that quite a few of our secondary industries are now able to export at a good price in the face of competition from other countries. I believe that that is an indication that, by employing better methods in industry, we can sell a much wider range of commodities overseas than has been the case in the past. </para>
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<para>It is quite obvious that the import restrictions that this Government placed upon the community, in order to stop money from going abroad, and to correct the exchange position, have resulted in too much money chasing too few goods in Australia. That, in turn, has encouraged inefficiency in industry. There has not been sufficient incentive to apply efficient methods and so bring down costs. As the result pf the measures that have been taken by the Government, the money freed by import restrictions will be absorbed, and industry will be compelled to institute efficient methods and to bring down prices, so that supply within our country matches demand. </para>
<para>A great deal has been said about profiteering. &#34;Profiteering&#34; is a very good catch-cry, but there is not much weight to it in this country because, before the introduction of import restrictions, we found that the world was able to sell goods in Australia at a very attractive price, and this provided our industrialists with effective competition. While that competition continues, and while the. tariff wall remains low, there is not much danger of profiteering in any section of the community in Australia. As my colleague, the honorable member for Hume <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Anderson),</inline> pointed out last night, the average return on shareholders&#39; funds in Australian companies is only 8 per cent., which is substantially below that earned by companies in the United States. There is not much evidence of profiteering there. </para>
<para>Hire purchase has come under a great deal of fire in recent years. Most honorable members who have spoken during this debate appear to agree with the principle of hire purchase; but it has diverted a great deal of money from the loan market, and from more solid and substantial forms of investment. I believe that, in this matter of hire purchase, there is an opportunity for the Government to apply a little of the native political genius of Australia. We have demonstrated this genius in the past few years - in the broadcasting industry, in the banking industry itself, and in the aviation industry, where private enterprise is coupled with public enterprise. That system has worked extremely well. One has proved to be a check on the other, and I suggest that the system could be adapted to the hire-purchase field. Government hire-purchase facilities could compete with, and so control the interest rates of, private hire purchase. This is not so novel as it might seem, because the Commonwealth Bank has been operating a hire-purchase section for some years now. Last year it financed 20,000 retail transactions, totalling &#163;13,800,000. Most of those transactions were to help primary producers purchase agricultural implements, earth-moving machinery and transport vehicles. There seems to be a case for a wider application of government hire purchase to other types of equipment. If the Commonwealth Bank finds it possible to offer hire purchase on agricultural machinery, surely it can enter the wider field and advance money on motor cars, wireless sets, refrigerators and all the other commodities that are now the sole prerogative of the hire-purchase firms. The Commonwealth Bank could offer money at a more satisfactory price than that at present charged by the private companies. In that way it could act as an effective check against the operations of the private companies. Any profits earned would go back into this government, or semi-government, instrumentality. Large profits would not be made, and an essential service would be provided for the community. </para>
<para>Although I have said that the primary cause of our troubles lies overseas - the fact that the countries with which we trade have reduced their costs - the real remedy, the long-term remedy, as opposed to the measures which the Prime Minister himself describes as short-term, is undoubtedly the raising of the level of productivity in Australia. </para>
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<para>-Order! The honorable member&#39;s time has expired. </para>
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<para>. - A consideration of the financial statement read to this Parliament by the right honorable the Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menzies)</inline> clearly indicates this Government&#39;s lack of consistent policy, and characterizes the conduct of this Administration since it first came to office. It is not, of course, unusual for financial statements to be made from time to time. On rare occasions supplementary, budgets are presented to the Parliament to cover emergencies and exceptional circumstances. Such was the case quite recently in the United Kingdom. We are considering now something that undoubtedly is a supplementary budget. In the course of World War II., it was found necessary to bring forward supplementary budgets in order to finance our contribution to the war and the measures necessary for our survival. I believe that the first supplementary budget to be presented to the Parliament was presented by <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Spender,</inline> a member of a former Liberal party administration. My predecessor in the Macquarie division also found that it was necessary during the war to present supplementary budgets to provide for the nation&#39;s survival. But most of the financial statements of this kind which were made in the course of the recent history of the Parliament were made by Labour Treasurers, for the purpose of reducing taxation during a postwar period. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>In 1949, the present Government parties, with a full knowledge of the circumstances and conditions then prevailing, promised the people glibly that they would put value back into the &#163;1. They declared that an Australian Country party-Liberal party coalition was better fitted to rule the nation than was a Labour government. The people accepted their statements. One would have expected that, in view of those statements, this Government would have had a clearcut policy, that it would have known precisely the course it would take and that it would have legislated in accordance with that policy. I feel that I touched upon the real kernel of the matter recently when I referred to the pressure groups which exert influence upon this Government - first, the wealthy supporters of the Government who demand their pound of flesh, who want to retain their privileges, and who seek advantages; and secondly, the bureaucrats, the professors and the advisors, who feel that they know best what is required. The constant warfare between those two groups necessitates supplementary budgets and financial statements such as the one we are considering at present. </para>
<para>It is amazing that the members of the Australian Country party have adopted such an unfortunate attitude to this matter. Having read their utterances on the hustings and having listened to their speeches in the debate on the AddressinReply to His Excellency&#39;s Speech, I hoped that those champions of the rural industries would declare in no uncertain terms that the&#39; Government&#39;s proposals, especially the proposal to increase interest rates, were not in the best interests of the people whom they represented, and that they would fight the proposals to the last ditch. But they have chosen to talk about everything under the sun rather than to address themselves to the problems facing the country at the present time. </para>
<para>In the financial statement submitted to the House by the Prime Minister, there was one important statement. The right honorable gentleman said - </para>
<quote>
<para>To achieve economic health we must, clearly, increase our output, or reduce our demand, or both. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">How will production be increased by the measures we are considering at present? Do honorable members who represent farming interests and rural constituencies really believe that measures to increase the tax on motor vehicles and petrol and to raise interest rates will help to reduce production costs, so that we shall be able to produce goods at prices at which we shall be able to sell them in the markets of the world in competition with goods from other countries? I do not think that that will be the case. </para>
<para>We have been told that the proposals are designed to deal with an inflationary situation. It seems clear to me, and I think it must be obvious to most honorable members, that, instead of preventing inflation, they will inevitably feed inflation. They will lead to an increase of production costs. Such an increase will cause greater difficulties for those engaged in industry and will make it more difficult for the community generally to live. Wage earners will be obliged to go to the arbitration courts to seek variations of their awards. In those circumstances, it is quite obvious that commodities produced in this country will inevitably become dearer. The newly appointed Minister for Primary Industry <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. McMahon),</inline> addressing a sugar cane growers&#39; association, referred to the difficulties of primary industry when he said - </para>
<quote>
<para>Primary producers have been caught in an unfortunate squeeze between rising costs and falling prices for their products. For the past five or six years, the interests of primary industry have been overlooked. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">I think we can agree entirely with the Minister that this Government has overlooked the interests of primary industry during the last five years. There is nothing in the proposals now before the House to indicate that primary industry will get any assistance from the Government in its attempts to meet the challenge from other countries of the world. </para>
<para>I am particularly concerned about the attitude of this Administration to. motor vehicles. It appears to treat the motor vehicle as something that is not wanted in this country. It treats the motor vehicle with hostility, and fails to realize that people engaged in primary industry must have motor vehicles for the purpose of taking their goods to the nearest towns and taking their children to school. Motor vehicles are essential for commerce, industry and development. But, despite the importance of motor vehicles to men on the land, this Government has increased the sales tax to such a degree that it will be more difficult to obtain them. The Government&#39;s method of assisting men on the land is to increase the excise on petrol, which will have the effect of increasing charges generally, and, last but not least, to increase interest rates. If those measures will assist men on the land in any way, I think that honorable members who represent rural constituencies should explain to their constituents at the first available opportunity how they will be assisted. </para>
<para>I am very concerned about the increase in interest rates. In view of the expressions of opinion by members of the Australian Country party, I thought that we should have them as our allies in this fight, standing side by side with us and voting for the amendment moved by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Crean).</inline></para>
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<para>- There is not a member, of the Australian Country party in the House now. </para>
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<para>- As the honorable member for Werriwa <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Whitlam)</inline> has said, they are not even in the House. They are not prepared to accept their obligations and their responsibilities in this matter. They are not prepared to accept the challenge by the Labour party to deal with this matter in the proper way. The Government has not tried to deal with the forces and pressures which, in its estimation, have rendered it necessary to increase interest rates in order to obtain money on the loan market which cannot be obtained from that source at present. Instead of coming to grips with the problem, instead of dealing with the firms which are lending money for hire-purchase transactions, the Government proposes to enter into competition with the hire-purchase companies by increasing the rate of interest paid on Government loans. It wants to share in the spoils rather than see that justice will be done to the people of this country. I have in my hand a copy of an agreement between a hire-purchase firm and one of my constituents. It records that my constituent agreed to buy a motor vehicle for &#163;385. He paid a deposit of &#163;85 and, in the ordinary course of straightforward business methods, one would expect that that would leave a balance of &#163;300 to be paid, but according to the practice of the hire-purchase firm, such was not the case. Taking interest and charges into account, he was eventually called upon to pay &#163;135 in interest and charges on an actual indebtedness of &#163;300. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1057</page.no>
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<name role="metadata">EVATT, Herbert Vere</name>
<name role="display">Dr Evatt</name>
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<para>- Over what period? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>1057</page.no>
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<name role="metadata">LUCHETTI, Anthony</name>
<name role="display">Mr LUCHETTI</name>
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<para>- Over a period of two years. The name of the company is Pacific Acceptance Corporation Limited. Its associate selling organization trades under the slogan &#34;Pacific is Terrific&#34;. Pacific is certainly terrific when it comes to the exploitation of the people of this country! I say, and I want it to go on record, that this Administration has a responsibility to protect the people. It has a responsibility to seek the powers necessary to prevent such things, happening. It is not good enough to say that the State governments ought to deal with these matters. One knows the difficulties of the various State governments in try ing to reach a uniform policy in regard to other matters which have Australiawide application. This Government, which has responsibility in fiscal matters, should have initiated discussions with the State governments, and if agreement had not been reached the proper course was to submit the matter by referendum to the people in an effort to obtain the powers to deal with these persons who are exploiting hard-working farmers and other members of the community. </para>
</talk.start>
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<page.no>1057</page.no>
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<name.id>JLU</name.id>
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<name role="metadata">ANDERSON, Charles</name>
<name role="display">Mr Anderson</name>
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<para>
<inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Anderson</inline>
<inline font-style="italic">interjecting,</inline>
</para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
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<page.no>1057</page.no>
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<name role="metadata">LUCHETTI, Anthony</name>
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<para>- Any interjection is out of order and unfitting in a discussion of this kind, especially interjections from Australian Country party representatives, who betrayed their electors in regard to this matter. I hope that consideration will be given to my remarks. The increase in interest rates will bear heavily upon the people. When one considers that private trading banks have on loan over &#163;700,000,000, for which they will receive at least an extra one-half of 1 per cent., one can readily appreciate that a great rake-off will be available to the financial houses. What good will that do this country? Will it produce another bale of wool, additional vegetables, or goods from our manufacturing industries ? It will produce nothing at all. It represents profits in the hands of the owners of the private banking institutions. Yet the Prime Minister, supported by representatives in this House of the Australian Country party and the Liberal party, upholds a condition of affairs like that. The division between Labour and anti-Labour forces is clearly and brilliantly defined in a debate of this character, wherein the Labour party speaks for the people against exploitation, and calls upon the Administration to legislate in the interests of the mass of the people. If this debate has done nothing else, it has given the Parliament an opportunity to consider these matters. The Prime Minister said that the average interest rate will be 5^ per cent., that the increase will be only one-half of 1 per cent. I should like to know what mechanism the Prime Minister has for regulating the interest rate. How is he to control it? What organization has he for the selection of the types of persons who are to pay, respectively, 5^ per cent, and 6 per cent. ? Does any such organization or mechanism exist in the Government? Is there any definite undertaking from the private trading banks that they will observe a certain limit with regard to interest? No such assurance has been given in this House, and I cannot believe that any assurance will be given. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>I am concerned to ensure that money be found for homes. All honorable members understand just how serious and grave is the housing problem. In the course of a year, half of the representations . which are made to me relate to housing. Yet this grave problem of overcrowding and slums exists without any positive action being taken. A rise in interest rates is to be permitted, and the poor unfortunate persons who need homes will be obliged to pay increased amounts in the form of interest in order to obtain homes. One can appreciate just how heavily interest weighs upon those who purchase homes. Any responsible government would take action to ease the position. On a house worth &#163;3,000, interest at 1 per cent, on the diminishing balance over twenty years amounts to about &#163;311, and monthly repayments exceed &#163;12 15s. Surely, that is a burden which should not be borne by those persons who are in search of homes. The provision of housing is one of the gravest problems facing the country, and no government worthy of the name should evade responsibility for meeting it. I consider that this Government has failed, especially because it has not been selective in handling its problems. .To increase interest rates indiscriminately is certainly bad in its effect on the whole community. </para>
<para>To-day&#39;s press contains reports about the irregularity of the bond market, lt is not at all surprising that the bond market should be irregular, and that &#163;1 00 bonds should be sold for as little as &#163;86. A group of returned servicemen, who fought for this country, responded patriotically to the call of the Treasurer <inline font-weight="bold">(Sir Arthur Fadden)</inline> by investing &#163;10,000 in Government loans, believing that they were helping the country and that the country&#39;s credit would remain good. They thought that when they wanted the money they would be able to receive it and build a club room. However, when they sought to turn into cash their &#163;10,000 worth of bonds, they found that &#163;100 bonds were worth only &#163;90. Such was the experience of one group of returned servicemen. That position must now be aggravated. It must inevitably become worse as a result of the increase in interest rates, yet the Government does nothing at all. When questioned on the matter, what does the Treasurer say ? In effect, he says that those persons who invest money in bonds must accept the consequences, that they invested with their eyes open and they must be prepared to accept the current market rate if they fail to allow the bonds to mature. That is a most tragic state of affairs. The result is that the bond market has become depressed and great hardship and suffering have been caused to those who have held bonds for years. Consequently, one can only conclude that this Government is not very much concerned with such persons who helped the Government in other days, lt is more concerned at the moment with satisfying its friends who are responsible for its occupying the Government benches in the Parliament at present. If the Government were really concerned about those persons who made their money available to carry it over in the past, it certainly would not have permitted the interest rates to rise. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1058</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KCQ</name.id>
<electorate>St. George</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">GRAHAM, Bruce</name>
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<para>.- This afternoon, we have heard a number of interesting speeches made for political purposes by Opposition members. Honorable members, and those who listen to the parliamentary broadcasts, are, of course, accustomed to hearing speeches made with a view to winning votes or changing the political allegiance of the audience addressed. The honorable member for Macquarie <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Luchetti)</inline> might have been a little fairer in his review of the economic problems. The debate has been in progress for some days now, and this would be an appropriate time to bring it back on to the rails by returning to the first definition given to us by the Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menzies).</inline> We should return to that definition and should stop talking about profiteering and the like. </para>
</talk.start>
<para class="block">Referring to a statement made by himself in September last, the Prime Minister said - . . I said that we were experiencing a high and growing moi:ey purchasing power, not capable of being satisfied by Australian production, and that wc had, therefore, developed a vast demand for imported goods, putting an immense strain upon our external balance of payments. I pointed out that our level of wages and costs, partly arising from the competition for scarce labour, generated by excessive demands, was threatening our export capacity. I added that the terms of trade were tending to move adversely to us and that, in consequence, a greater volume of exports was needed to pay for a fixed volume of imports. This led to the conclusion that our economy was tending to become unbalanced, with a disposition in favour of a permanent debit on our international trading account. We proceeded, in September, to impose further restrictions upon imports, in order to help to arrest the fall in our international reserves and therefore to check the threat that would otherwise, arise to our exchange rate. </para>
<para class="block">I am sure that, when honorable members recall that that definition is the essence of this debate, they will have some difficulty in relating a number of speeches made by Opposition members to the matter that we are supposed to be discussing. We must come back to that matter, consider it and analyse it as the Prime Minister did. What is the economic problem? Why are we worrying about it ? What is the basis of the action that has been taken ? </para>
<para>Some Opposition members have implied that they doubt the moral integrity of the Government and of the Prime Minister and those associated with him. I should like to say at once that I very much doubt whether one Opposition member would rise in his place in this House and say specifically that he does not consider tie Prime Minister to be a man of integrity. On the contrary, all honorable members would say that the Prime Minister is a man of integrity and that, therefore, he should carry out the policies that he considers to be in the best interests of Australia. We assume that the Prime Minister and his colleagues believe the Government&#39;s policies are in the best interests of Australia, and we should analyse those policies and determine whether they are right or wrong. But let us not question the moral, background of the Government&#39;s effort. Let us not believe that it is acting in order to benefit profiteers and such people. That accusation has been made, not specifically, but, by implication, clearly. </para>
<para>The Australian problem, as I stated several weeks ago, is a problem of effort. Somehow, we must induce the nation to make greater efforts, </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1059</page.no>
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<name.id>JF7</name.id>
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<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
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<name role="metadata">BEAZLEY, Kim</name>
<name role="display">Mr Beazley</name>
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<para>- Is that not really a problem of purpose? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1059</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KCQ</name.id>
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<para>- The honorable member may describe it as a problem of purpose. The Prime Minister, who is not without a certain capacity to make these descriptions, stated - </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<quote>
<para class="block">An increase in national and individual output is clearly essential to the raising of the material standards of living. What does increased output mean and involve? The answer is - greater productivity per unit. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">That means greater productivity from each, person, each city and each State, in all forms of industry. Greater productivity is vital. Certain aspects of the problem are of great interest. During the last 50 years, Australia has had a rare and fortunate experience. Two great world wars have passed over us and left the country unscathed. Australia has benefited enormously from the decimation of other countries and the great efforts that they were called upon to make during the wars. Those efforts served to protect Australia. In that sense, we have been particularly fortunate- </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1059</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JWR</name.id>
<electorate />
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<role />
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<name role="metadata">CHAMBERS, Cyril</name>
<name role="display">Mr CHAMBERS</name>
</talker>
<para>- We benefited by our own efforts, too. Many Australians suffered and made sacrifices during the two world wars. </para>
</talk.start>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1059</page.no>
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<para>- The honorable gentleman speaks of individuals. I do not. I speak in terms of relativity. Anyone who has the faintest conception of what Germany suffered, for example, will agree that, by comparison, Australia was untouched by the two world wars. The point I wish to make is that, on the cessation of hostilities, Australia was in a position similar to that of an athlete who receives a good start in a race. Australia could have used its opportunities to great advantage during the last tcn years, hut we have not taken the fullest advantage of them. We went some of the way, but we did not go as far as we could have gone. In the ten years since the end. of </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para class="block">World War II., Europe and Asia in general, and especially nations such as Germany, Japan and Prance, have rehabilitated themselves. The effect of their competition in the race for world trade is being plainly felt. They are becoming increasingly efficient and are working harder. They are producing more, and their increasing production is making itself felt more and more in competition with Australian trade. Therefore, there are good reasons why Australia must increase personal and national effort. To get on in this world, a nation must compete with other peoples. The other peoples with whom we must compete are rapidly overcoming the effects of war and increasing their efficiency. </para>
<para>In the Pacific area, of course, there are other factors. Australia, one might say, is a pedal extremity of Asia, which is awakening, and, in due course, will become fully conscious of Australia&#39;s value. If we desire to retain this country for ourselves, we must meet that situation effectively. That is the aim of the policy reflected in the Government&#39;s present economic measures. The Prime Minister and his colleagues consider that the interests of Australia and its people will be. best protected by these measures. They call for a little more effort and for the payment of a few extra pennies for a glass of beer and for a packet of cigarettes. The effort required will be, in truth, so mild that the average Australian will make it with the greatest of ease. I do not for a moment believe that the Australian who thinks of the welfare of his country will be upset by these economic measures. The late <inline font-weight="bold">Mr. Chifley,</inline> who was the member for Macquarie in this. House, stated that the most sensitive nerve is the hip-pocket nerve, which causes people to complain for a time when their pockets are affected. But, after all, not one Opposition supporter has yet claimed that there is no problem. They all agree that a problem exists and that something must be done about it, but they will not suggest a policy that we might follow in order to overcome the problem. </para>
<para>There, is another aspect of this matter to which I wish to refer. If we say that taxes are too high, that our economy is crippled, that the people of Australia are carrying a great burden, then we should sec some signs of those things. The truth is, however, that consumption figures have never been higher. This economy of ours can he likened, not to an old, bent-up man, but to a vigorous young man racing around the track like John Landy. It is an economy of great prosperity, an efficient economy, but not efficient enough. It must become more efficient if we are to maintain our present standards. It is not the problem of the people living in 1956 that matters, but rather the future of the people who will live in 2,000 a.d. That is what matters, and it is the basis of the considerations of the Prime Minister and his colleagues. </para>
<para class="block">If we call upon the people of Australia for greater efforts to overcome our economic problems, we should say something to them about the assistance they are receiving from the people of another country, who are also making similar efforts. When posterity writes the story of what we owe to the United States of America - and I hope that it will be written within the next 50 years - the people of this country will appreciate the enormous effort made and the burden carried by the American taxpayers. It is not because there are certain world councils to which the right honorable member for Barton <inline font-weight="bold">(Dr. Evatt)</inline> can go and influence a few colleagues from Nicaragua or Paraguay or some other country to vote with him, that there has not been a world war; it is because of the fact that for every minute of every hour of every day in every week 40 per cent, of the aircraft in the United States Strategic Air Command have been airborne. That is the reason why there has not been a global war. It is one reason that the Russians understand. We all should bear those things in mind, and we should realize the burden that is being carried by the American taxpayer and how much is owed to him by every man, woman and child in this country. Realizing that, we should examine our own effort and see how much more we can contribute, and how much more we can do to help the team. If Australians will think as members of a team, I am confident that there will be no great threat to our future, or at least no threat that cannot be answered. Therefore, I commend the measures that have been brought forward by the Prime Minister. They call for a greater effort on the part of the people, I agree, but I believe that never before has the community been better able to carry an increased burden. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1061</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>JF7</name.id>
<electorate>Fremantle</electorate>
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<name role="metadata">BEAZLEY, Kim</name>
<name role="display">Mr BEAZLEY</name>
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<para>.- The Government, in recent statements, has revealed the central point of its thinking about the economic position in Australia to-day. The Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menzies)</inline> in his statement, said - </para>
</talk.start>
<quote>
<para>To achieve economic health, we must, clearly, increase our output, or reduce our demand, or both. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">That statement is made much more specific when one considers the last paper, <inline font-style="italic">National Income and Expenditure,</inline> 1954-55, presented by the Treasurer <inline font-weight="bold">(Sir Arthur Fadden),</inline> in which he said- </para>
<quote>
<para>During 1054-55 gross domestic expenditure continued to outrun the value of gross national product. Table 1 shows an increase of &#163;507,000.000 in gross domestic expenditure. In contrast gross national product increased by &#163;272,000,000. This excess of domestic expenditure is reflected in the excess of import payments over export receipts and has been financed by the running down of international reserves and by borrowing overseas. </para>
</quote>
<para class="block">Both of those statements reveal a serious position of unbalance in the Australian economy. It is possible to discuss the financial proposals that are before the House as representing merely a revenueraising expedient, or it is possible to discuss them as an instrument for correcting that gravely unbalanced situation that has been described by the Prime Minister and by the Treasurer at different times. As these proposals were introduced by the Government as a means of correcting what is wrong in the Australian economy, it is quite important to be specific in analysing them against that background. If we merely look at them as revenue-producing proposals, they will produce &#163;115,000,000, and that is&#39; all there is to be said about them. One may argue that one form of taxation would be better than another, but it is not a very broad subject. As an instrument for correcting what is wrong in the Australian economy, I think that the proposals deserve very close examination. </para>
<para>I have- been studying the budget speeches made by the Treasurer over the years since the budget of 1950-51 was introduced. It is extremely interesting to observe that in every one of his speeches the right honorable gentleman touched upon the same four problems. The first one is that we are importing more than we are exporting, which constitutes the problem of the balance of payments. The second is that there is too much investment flowing into nonessential industries. Those are two factors that have been mentioned in almost every budget speech by the Treasurer and in quite a number of statements made by the Prime Minister. The question of the balance of payments is related by the Prime Minister, in this latest statement, to the tremendous banking up of demand within Australia because of our great purchasing power. I remember that the Government justified its action in allowing an enormous inflow of imports in 1950 by saying, &#34; There is considerable purchasing power in Australia, and if we allow these goods to pour in they will satisfy that purchasing power, and this heavy drawing on our international reserves is an anti-inflationary step &#34;. I quite accept that argument, as long as Government supporters will also accept the logical and necessary corollary, which is that every time we put an impediment in the way of imports by imposing restrictions, we aggravate inflation, and that, in Australia&#39;s present circumstances, we cannot balance our overseas trade by cutting down imports without immediately aggravating inflation. It is, therefore, a selfcancelling expedient. What is more serious is that it shows the fundamental purposelessness of our economic thinking in the Western world. A representative of the Australian Country party, the honorable member for Gwydir <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Ian Allan)</inline> who spoke a short while ago, remarked on the necessity to reduce our imports, and suggested that we should start producing tea. I asked him whether his ultimate purpose was to stop buying anything from anybody overseas at all. He did not answer the question. I do not think that was his ultimate purpose, but I do think it is important for us to take a look at this whole question of our trade and ask ourselves what purpose it has, because I feel that at every international conference to which we have gone, whether it is the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade or any other conference, there has been this perpetual niggling about what this level of tariffs will be. It has almost become accepted as normal that every country tries to export its crisis and export its unemployment by devaluations and trade restrictions. If we apply the Kantian test to this question of trade restrictions - the Kantian test being if everybody was doing what I am doing, the world would be a better place - it is obvious that if every nation starts these policies of trade restrictions, the only thing that would result would be, not stability, but economic crises, and economic crises of the first order. </para>
<para>I think we ought to take a look occasionally at the purposes of trade. When I Bay &#34; we &#34; I mean the governments of the free world, and by &#34; the free world&#34; I mean those countries which have certain qualities in their civilization such as the right to dismiss a government, which is a great safeguard against tyranny, and certain civic rights which are of such value as to be immensely worth preserving. If they are to be made stable in the face of the present world threat, we must get some kind of common purpose in trade, and some means whereby we regard our trade as a means of not merely producing a good situation within our own country but .also of transmitting economic health throughout the world, our trade being the reflection of sound economy, assisting the backward areas, and by that assistance from sound countries, transmitting sound values throughout the world. That, I think, is the ultimate purpose of trade and it certainly ought to be our approach to international trade in- the threatened world of to-day. I do not think it is. Nearly every financial debate I have heard has been an exercise in blaming - blaming the Government and blaming the Opposition and also the Minister for Trade <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. McEwen).,</inline> blaming the British trading methods, .and finally complaining about American gifts, which have been an immense factor in stabilizing the Western world over the last ten years. None of these things is real. None of them is a real analysis of the problem which we face to-day. </para>
<para>The budget speech of the Treasurer <inline font-weight="bold">(Sir Arthur Fadden)</inline> in 1952 was one of the most interesting he has ever delivered because, in it, he looked back to what he himself called his horror budget, the budget in which he faced an inflationary crisis when the government of the time decided to increase income tax by 10 per cent!, and to increase sales tax. Looking back on that budget two years afterwards, the Treasurer had this to say, and I quote it because it shows that what we have to-day is, in some respects, a repetition of that time, but with one important difference - </para>
<quote>
<para>May I recall briefly the history of economic developments during the past two years. At this time two years ago the Australian economy was approaching the peak of a violent inflationary boom which had been gathering strength during the preceding years. Retail prices&#34; had risen during 1950-51 by 20 per cent, and wholesale prices by 24 per cent. All around a frenzied struggle for resources was going on, a struggle which nevertheless wag defeating itself by intensifying shortages of labour and key materials. On the financial side, defence expenditures were soaring and so were works . programmes. Worse still, even greater commitments were banked up ahead. Meanwhile, the market for public loans had collapsed and a great flood of imports from abroad was moving towards our shores. </para>
<para>In the budget of that year the Government faced the need to impose heavy additional taxation to reduce excessive monetary demand for goods and resources. By so doing it was able to achieve a budget surplus which was subsequently used to finance essential State works. But for that action it would have been necessary to issue treasury-hills on a huge scale, a step which, under the inflationary conditions of the time, would have led certainly and quickly to the most appalling disaster. Besides increasing &#39;taxation, the Government tightened capital issues and credit controls, as important elements in a comprehensive campaign to stem the threatening tide nf inflation. </para>
<para>These measures were drastic and they proved to he unpopular; hut they have also proved to be wise. </para>
</quote>
<para>That is what the Treasurer said two years later, when the inflationary crisis, he held, had been corrected by the financial proposals that he had introduced. They were certainly unpopular, and it can be said for the Treasurer that the wool levy was a straight levy on the element which supported him - the wool-growers. He was a Country party Treasurer, and he put a heavy tax on .the elements which supported him. Whether we agree or disagree with the tax, we have to admit that it was a courageous action, and that, to a considerable extent, he was politically disinterested. </para>
<para>The other measure which the Government took to deal with that crisis was a heavy rise in income tax. The important thing about income tax is that it is graduated according to ability to pay; that is, the wealthiest sections of the community paid the greatest price towards the Government&#39;s then battle for stability. I, in my time, criticized those proposals, and I am not going to stand up and pretend that all the economic thinking I have ever done has been infallible. There have been many instances when, in the course of time, I have seen T was wrong; and I think that many of the lines of criticism I then directed at the Government&#39;s proposals were wrong. T think that, in the ultimate, a certain important section of the community anyway, what we might call the decisive swinging vote, would at least appreciate that income tax was graduated according to ability to pay and at least appreciated that the Treasurer was not playing for the support of the particular economic group which the Australian Country party represents, most distinctively, by his wool levy. </para>
<para>These actions of the Government did produce a result. I feel that there is a certain softening of what I may call the Government&#39;s moral fibre and determination in dealing with the present crisis, I am not saying this to score a party political point, but in an effort to analyse what is the Teal situation. The Government&#39;s present actions do not seem to me to be as directly related to the root problem as were the proposals of the earlier budget. Take, for instance, this expedient of raising the interest rate on overdrafts. Are overdrafts an important factor in the present inflationary situation? If they are, then raising the interest rate to discourage overdrafts, provided it is sufficient to discourage them, is obviously a factor answering inflation. If overdrafts are not an important factor in the present situation, then this adjustment of the interest rate means very little. </para>
<para>The truth is that the private trading banks, over the last year, have lent very little by comparison with their advances in 1950-51 and 1952-53. At that time, their advances were of the order of &#163;150,000,000 whereas, from November, 1954, to November, 1955, they totalled &#163;60,000,000. </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1063</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>6U4</name.id>
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<name role="metadata">WHITLAM, Gough</name>
<name role="display">Mr Whitlam</name>
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<para>- Increased advances. </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
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<page.no>1063</page.no>
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<name role="metadata">BEAZLEY, Kim</name>
<name role="display">Mr BEAZLEY</name>
</talker>
<para>- New advances are increases, that is, t 3t advances ; and &#163;60,000,000 in an economy with a national income of &#163;4,000,000,000 is not a major factor. It is important to realize that the existing level of overdrafts is not new inflation. If I already owe the bank &#163;10,000 and have done so for a number of years, and if I am paying interest on that money, that overdraft is not injecting new credit into the economy; it has already done so. If, on the other hand, I increase my overdraft from &#163;10,000 to &#163;12,000, it is the new advance that constitutes the new inflation. If I am already heavily in debt to the bank, it may raise the interest rates or it may try to force me to reduce my overdraft, buu that would not be a new inflationary factor. If we are speaking in particular of the landed interests - the farmers who have overdrafts - I doubt whether the raising of the interest rate will lead them to any considerable retraction of their overdrafts and to a reduction of their purchasing power by paying back their debts out of their earnings at a time when the prices obtained for agricultural products are falling. If they -were getting their maximum advances at a time when there was a wool boom, it is unlikely that they would be seeking major advances at the present time. So the raising of the interest rate, especially when the rise is very slight, is not, as was once believed by classical economists, a major weapon in countering inflation. </para>
</talk.start>
</continue>
<para>John Maynard Keynes once analysed the argument that to raise interest rates discouraged unsound investment. By analysing what happened following the raising of the interest rate in the United Kingdom during the &#39;twenties, he d is.covered that the more irresponsible speculator who invested in luxury industries that returned a high rate of interest con: tinned to borrow, and that the direction of investment to the older, sounder and more stable industries was discouraged. If honorable members look at the rate of dividends that are paid in Australia to-day, they will note that the retail trade pays much higher dividends than do industries that are producing basic commodities like steel. In the steel industry, a manufacturer has a heavy obligation to re-invest in plant that might be colossally expensive, as in the case of the &#163;39,000,000 plant that was opened recently. I do not believe that raising the interest rate hy 1 per cent, will discourage hirepurchase firms which make a much higher percentage of profit than the bank interest rate. It may discourage investment in certain struggling industries, but it i3 not a weapon of discrimination to encourage the things that we want to encourage, such as basic developmental works, and to discourage the things that we do not want to encourage. The Treasurer <inline font-weight="bold">(Sir Arthur Fadden),</inline> in almost every budget speech that he has delivered, has stated that too much money is being invested in non-essential industries and that not enough investment and effort are going into essential industries. If we really want a weapon to direct investment, in the national interest, into the developmental industries, it must be the weapon of capital issues control. To raise the interest rate as an expedient is not an efficient weapon for the purpose that is sometimes suggested. I do not believe, therefore, that a reduction of imports is a weapon that may bo used to bring us back to real health. Secondly, I do not believe - not because the Government has proposed it, but for the reasons I have advanced - that raising the interest rate on overdrafts by 1 per cent, is a weapon to use in overcoming the kind of crisis that the Government says is before us. </para>
<para>The other proposals about which I wish to speak relate to indirect taxes. I am sorry that the Government, having diagnosed a condition of excess purchasing power in the country, has not imposed direct taxes such as additional income tax, which are the fairest form of taxes. Rather has it adopted the course of selecting certain trades that it possibly regards as being undesirable, and has placed on them an impost of Id. a nip, 2d. a glass and 3d. a packet. It seems to me to be rather a <inline font-style="italic">non sequitur</inline> to make a very deep diagnosis of the economic ills of the country, as did the Prime Minister, when he stated that our basic problem was the need to increase our output or reduce our demands, or both, and then to impose on the people an additional charge of Id. a nip, 2d. a glass and 3d. a packet. Let me say, to the credit of the Government, that to this degree its proposals are anti-inflationary, but I do not believe them to be the most antiinflationary proposals that could be advanced. The Government will raise additional revenue. To the degree that it uses that additional revenue to bridge the gap between what it raises in loans and what it spends on public works instead of using treasury-bills to bridge the gap, it will be adopting an antiinflationary measure; but to the degree that that becomes an impost on certain costs that are taken into account in the basic wage regimen and the C series index, the problem of inflation is aggravated. </para>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1064</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>10000</name.id>
<electorate>Mr. Lawrence</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata" />
<name role="display">Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER</name>
</talker>
<para>- Order! The honorable member&#39;s time has expired. </para>
</talk.start>
</speech>
<speech>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1064</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KKU</name.id>
<electorate>Corangamite</electorate>
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MACKINNON, Ewen</name>
<name role="display">Mr MACKINNON</name>
</talker>
<para>. - I listened with interest to the remarks of the honorable member for Fremantle <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Beazley),</inline> and I think that the line of argument that he has taken in relation to the economic measures announced by the Prime Minister <inline font-weight="bold">(Mr. Menzies)</inline> more or less fits into the argument that I had proposed to advance. During the course of the debate, far too much attention has been directed to the individual features of the measures that have been announced. Rather should that attention have been directed to the overall economic situation and to the best method by which the Government could deal with it. Therefore, I think it would be profitable at this late stage of the debate to examine once more the decisions with which the Government was faced. It seems to me that two obvious decisions were open to the Government. First, it was open to the Government to adopt a policy of optimism in the future of the country, to continue with a scheme of expansion and development, and to devote a considerable amount of revenue to the strengthening of the defence forces. We know that, by so doing, it would be permitting a continuance of the pressure of the inflationary forces that exist at the present time. We know, moreover, that, because of the very nature of our expansion, those pressures must and will continue to exist. But what is the alternative? I believe it is reasonable to say that the alternative would be to cut our suit according to our cloth and not only to reduce expenditure on governmental projects, but also to put a dampener on both the public and the private sides of the economy. </para>
</talk.start>
<para>The Government has adopted the former policy, and history alone will reveal whether it has been right or wrong in so doing. It has stated that it will continue to adopt the policy of development, and that it has faced up to the responsibility that that policy imposes upon it. The measures that have been adopted - and I think that this statement fits in with the remarks of the honorable member for. Fremantle - are not measures of panic. Bather are they measures that have been adopted to try to adjust the circumstances of rapid expansion to the obvious existence of highly inflationary forces within the economy. I think that, looked at in those terms, having regard to the troubled state of the world to-day, and our obvious necessity to increase our population and strengthen our industrial economy and our commerce, it must be admitted that, by the use of this policy, we are probably playing just as important a part in strengthening our future security as we would be were we devoting our attention to purely defence measures as such - although both kinds of defence measures, direct and indirect, must naturally be correlated. At the same time, the Government has adopted certain fiscal and monetary policies that have been explained, not only in the statement now before us, but also by the measures that were taken during the last Parliament in regard to the restriction of imports that was considered necessary to restrain the forces of inflation from getting out of hand. </para>
<para>There is another consideration which ia sometimes lost sight of; that is, that we must provide from taxation revenue sufficient funds to bridge the gap between our capital works expenditure and the amount of money available from ordinary investment sources in the country to-day. I remind the House that a great portion of the finance required for capital works throughout Australia represents an obligation that the Federal Government has undertaken on behalf of the governments of the various States. Now, it could easily be argued by anybody who adopted a pessimistic view of the future that public works should be cut down, and I think that this Government has to some degree given a lead to other governments in Australia by its announcement of a 10 per cent, cut in its own capital works. I would carry that even further by saying that it seems to me also an obvious necessity, while the financial conditions in Australia are such that we have difficulty in attracting money to the loan market, that, as a corollary of that action, the Commonwealth should, in co-operation with the State governments, make another examination of the various projects under way, and planned, in the States, in order to arrive at a far more reasonable and realistic basis of priorities. The rapid expansion of our population and the necessity to overtake the backlog of works that fell into arrears during World War II. constitute a real problem, particularly for the State governments. Who, in this place, is to say whether it is a good or a bad thing that we should have more schools, more hospitals, better distribution of services and, with the growing housing problem, the building of houses and all the additional services that housing requires? </para>
<interjection>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1065</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>- But it would be a good thing, would it not? </para>
</talk.start>
</interjection>
<continue>
<talk.start>
<talker>
<page.no>1065</page.no>
<time.stamp />
<name.id>KKU</name.id>
<electorate />
<party />
<role />
<in.gov>0</in.gov>
<first.speech>0</first.speech>
<name role="metadata">MACKINNON, Ewen</name>
<name role="display">Mr MACKINNON</name>
</talker>
<para>- Honorable members will realize the difficulty of trying to select from that list of items which ones should be cut out. I believe it can be done only through some form of cooperation between the various governments. </para>
</talk.start>