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Tuesday, 22 September 1942

Mr LAZZARINI (Werriwa) (Minister for Home Security) . - The honorable member for Lang (Mr. Mulcahy) - referred to the taking over of the new hospital at Canberra by the military authorities. The Department of the Interior had nothing to do with this; the decision was made by the military authorities themselves, acting in concert with the Department of Health.

Mr Mulcahy - Dr. Cumpston had something to do with it.

Mr LAZZARINI - Yes, as the representative of the Department of Health.

The honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Jolly) asked that returns be made available showing the results of the trading activities of the Department of the Interior. I agree with the representations of the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) and others regarding departmental delays in paying small shopkeepers and tradesmen. When I was a private member I myself made representations on behalf of such persons'. In these days the tempo of departmental activities is much faster than in peace-time, and that may bc one cause of delays.

The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) made representations on behalf of the agents for Isteg Steel. I am informed by the department that this steel can be used only on certain types of jobs. The agents for the product have asked the department to use it, and the department is doing so where possible. The steel can be used only at certain stresses. The company wanted the department to use it at higher stresses, and the Australian Standards Association was asked to give an opinion. The association advised the department that the steel should not be used at higher stresses; the department is acting on that advice. The specific case mentioned by the honorable member will be given immediate consideration.

Mr Calwell - Will the Minister also answer my question about the establishment of a tribunal to hear appeals by persons against call-ups for service under the Allied Works Council?

Mr LAZZARINI - I told the honorable member by interjection that I would ascertain whether such a body had been established. I shall refer his representations to the Minister for the Interior.

Mr Calwell - The Prime Minister said that a tribunal would be set up.

Mr LAZZARINI - I have been told that this has been done, but I have no knowledge of the matter. I assure the honorable gentleman that I shall inform him to-morrow whether such a tribunal is in operation or not.

Mr Calwell - I want a statutory right of appeal, not one to be given by ministerial action.

Mr LAZZARINI - I have made notes of what honorable gentlemen have said in general criticism of the Allied Works Council, and I shall bring their comments to the notice of the Minister. Obviously, I cannot deal with specific cases offhand; I do not suppose that the Minister himself could do so. However, I say that the Government is grateful to the Di rectorGeneral of Allied Works for his services. It considers that the council has done a good job. I know that mistakes have been made, but it would be impossible to avoid mistakes when working at such high speed. The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) asked whether I considered that a sufficient state of emergency existed to warrant certain things being done. I say to him that I cannot conceive of Australia being in a greater state of emergency than it is at the present time. Of all the allied nations I consider Australia is most directly threatened by the worst foe of all those alined against us. We are threatened by enemies who have nothing in common with us, but who are pagan and have all the attributes of barbarians.

Mr BRENNAN - Do not misrepresent me.

Mr LAZZARINI - I am not misrepresenting the honorable member. He asked me a specific question, and I have answered it. I have justified the appointment of the Allied Works Council and the actions which it has taken.

Mr BRENNAN (BATMAN, VICTORIA) - Doe3 the Minister approve of a husband and father being called up and sent to a distant State?

Mr LAZZARINI - I am not prepared to express an opinion on specific cases. I shall bring them to the notice of the Minister.

Mr Brennan - Has the Government as a whole no policy?

Mr LAZZARINI - Yes. Its policy largely supports the activities of the Allied Works Council. I shall say no more on that subject. I assure honorable members that their representations will be conveyed to the Minister for the Interior.

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