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Wednesday, 7 July 1920


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) . - I move -

That this Bill be now read a second time.


Mr Tudor - This is a hardy annual.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - The honorable member's interjection serves to indicate that this measure is not altogether a stranger to the House. For several reasons with which honorable members are fairly well acquainted it has not been found possible in days gone by to pass it into law.


Mr Tudor - Is this Bill exactly the same as the one introduced previously?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - There are several alterations, the reasons for which I will explain later.

The long delay in passing a Bill to establish an Institute of Science and Industry has only served to emphasize the necessity for such legislation and the creation of such an Institute, and to demonstrate that throughout tie length and breadth of the land, in many quarters, which," perhaps, have the best possible knowledge of the need for an Institute, there has been an insistent demand for the establishment of one. In some directions we are told that this proposal is simply an expensive fad of the Government which can serve no utilitarian purpose, but simply provides a means for spending money which the country needs sorely for other purposes. I entirely disagree with that opinion. The more study one gives to the subject the more one becomes convinced of the absolute necessity for Australia doing what is possible, at all events at the present moment, towards the establishment of an Institute of Science and Industry. "We are obliged to cut our coat according to our cloth. If we had unlimited funds at our command, no doubt we could launch out and do vast and useful work for Australia by spending a very large sum of money in this direction, but we cannot do that to-day. We must proceed slowly along the road. However, notwithstanding the present financial position and the enormous commitments ahead of us, I do not think we ought to refrain from making a start in a direction in which so much useful work can be performed. I was very interested a little while ago when I read a resolution passed by the American Federation of Labour dealing with this particular subject. No country in the world to-day, not even Germany, is spending more money in or devoting more attention to scientific research than is America. Presently I shall tell honorable members the extent to which America is subsidizing this class of research in many directions and in many fields, but nevertheless the last Federal Convention of the American Federation of Labour felt called upon to pass a resolution in such clear, concise, and comprehensive terms that, although it is lengthy, I propose to read it, because it sets out facte which show how necessary it is for

Australia to f ollow the example of other lands. The resolution was as follows : -

Whereas scientific research and the technical application of results of research form a fundamental basis upon which the development of our industries - manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and others must Test; and

Whereas the productivity of industry isgreatly increased by the technical application of the results of scientific research in> physics, chemistry, biology, and geology, iri engineering and agriculture, and in the related sciences; and the health and wellbeing, not only of the workers, but of the wholepopulation as well, are dependent upon advances in medicine and sanitation; so that the value of scientific advancement to the welfare of the nation is many times greater than the cost of the necessary research; and

Whereas the increased productivity of industry resulting from scientific research is a most potent factor in the ever-increasing 'struggle of the workers to raise their standards of living, and the importance of this factor must steadily increase since there is a limit beyond which the average standard of living of the whole population can not progress by the usual methods of re-adjustment, which limit can only be raised by research and the utilization of the results of research in industry; and

Whereas there are numerous and important and pressing problems of administration and regulation now faced by Federal, State, and local governments, the wise solution of which depends upon scientific and technical research; and

Whereas the war has brought home to all the nations engaged in it the overwhelming importance of science and technology to national welfare, whether in war or in peace time, and not only is private initiative attempting to organize far-reaching research in these fields on a national scale, but in several countries governmental participation and support of such undertakings are already active; therefore be it

Resolved, by the American Federation of Labour in convention assembled, that a broad programme of scientific and technical research is of major importance to the national welfare, and should be fostered in every way by the Federal Government, and that the activities of the Government itself in such research should be adequately and generously supported in order that the work may be greatly strengthened and extended; and the secretary of the Federation is instructed to transmit copies of this resolution to the President of the United States, to the President pro tempore of the Senate, and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.


Mr Riley - Labour has taken a strong lead in that direction.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I admit that, and that is why I am looking forward to a good deal of support from honorable members opposite, because science can do a great deal to improve the position of the workers generally. Scientific discoveries have been the means of reducing expenditure, which, has enabled employers to pay their workmen higher wages and provide them with better accommodation. The resolution, in its preamble, set out in clear and comprehensive terms the reason for and the desirableness of Australia proceeding on similar lines.

I stated just now that we have had evidence from the time when this project was originally mooted - I think in 1916 - that in many parts of Australia there is a general desire that the Commonwealth should proceed with the establishment of the Institute, to afford facilities for scientific and technical research. I do not think the necessity for the establishment of the Institute has been emphasized by any one more than by our organizations of primary producers, who are scattered throughout the Commonwealth. I believe this is largely due to the fact that they arc realizing more and more the extent to which it is possible for science to assist, them in the useful and sometimes difficult work which they are performing, and this has been borne home to them in a striking manner, particularly during recent years. Many honorable members will probably be able to recall a time when bullocks could be purchased at los. per head, and sheep at 5s. per head, and in those days it did not concern the owner very much - or, at least, not to the same extent as it does now - if disease entered their flocks and herds. Although they incurred losses, they did nor. feel them as they do to-day, when sheep and cattle are selling at such very high prices. I believe that many of the diseases that are common to our flocks and herd's are preventable, and Australian producers now realize that the chief assistance they can expect to receive is from scientists. Apart from the fact that the average grazier, pastoralist, and farmer has not the scientific knowledge to undertake research work on his own account, there are many reasons why it is almost impossible for him, even were he equipped with the necessary knowledge, to conduct the necessary investigations himself. For that' reason, if for no other, producers recognise that the Government can materially assist them by providing the means whereby scientific research can be undertaken, not only in their interests, but in the interests of the whole community. I do not desire to weary honorable members by reading a list of the associations which have passed a resolution in favour of the establishment of the Institute, but I think it necessary to submit some particulars to the House. They are as follows : - The Graziers Association of New South Wale3, the Primary Producers of New South W ales-


Mr Ryan - How long ago was the resolution passed?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I have not the dates before me, but I can assure the honorable member that the one from the Graziers Association of New South Wales reached me only last week, and the one from the Primary Producers Association of New South Wales about three or four months ago. Many of these organizations, the names of which I am submitting, have passed a resolution comparatively recently, and necessarily all of them since the original idea was mooted by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes)- These organizations have directly associated themselves with the request that the establishment of the Federal Institute of Science and Industry be proceeded with. The list continues : - The Sydney Chamber of Commerce, the New South Wales Chamber of Manufactures, Institute of Civil Engineers, Australian Industries Protection Board, Australian Chemical Institute, Australian Aero Club, Electrical Association of Australia, Engineering Association-' of New South Wales, Chemical Association, Master Builders Association, Institute of Local Government Association, Wireless Institute, Chemical Society of Technical College. Chamber of Agriculture, Society of Chemical Industry, Royal Society of New South Wale3, University Chemical Society, Linnean Society of New South Wales, and Master Process Engravers Association. Those associations passed a resolution in the following terms with the direct request that it should be conveyed to the Government: -

That this meeting of scientific and industrial organizations urge upon the Federal Government the desirability of passing into law at an early date the Bill constituting the Commonwealth Institute 'of Science and Industry.


Mr Ryan - Are all the resolutions the same ?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Yes, it was a resolution to which they all assented.


Mr Tudor - Who framed the resolution? It might be similar to resolutions which have been carried in various parts of the country but which have emanated from Collins House.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - These are representative scientific bodies, and those responsible would not give their support to such a resolution unless they believed it to be right.


Mr Jowett - They are all moved by the one impulse.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Yes.


Mr Ryan - But not acting on their own initiative.


Mr Jowett - That remains to be seen.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Requests have repeatedly been received from the various organizations of primary producers in the different States for the investigation by the Institute of Science and Industry of problems affecting their interests. The temporary institute which has been carrying out preliminary investigation work has been approached over and over again in this way. The Primary Producers Union of New South Wales has given its strong support to the proposed institute, and has called attention to the enormous preventable losses occurring amongst the flocks and herds of the Commonwealth. In April last, a conference of representatives of branches of New South Wales agricultural bureaux, which, as honorable members probably know, are made up of farmers and primary producers, in association with the Agricultural Department of the State, which carries on experiments in their districts in regard to the growing of crops and other matters, approved of Commonwealth action.


Mr Richard Foster - Have you a similar resolution from the other States?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I am not sure that the matter has been as cordially taken up in Victoria as in New South Wales. From the latter State repeated requests for investigations have been made.

In the past, it was objected that the Commonwealth Government proposed to create an institute whose work would overlap that of State Departments which were doing good service. But it was never intended that there should be any such overlapping-


Mr Richard Foster - Then you were unfortunate in the way in which you presented the measure twelve months ago.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I think that the provisions in thisPill to which the honor able member alludes are practically identical with, if not quite the same as, thosein the Bill of last year.


Mr Richard Foster - I am aware that there is the germ of considerable expansion here.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) -Far from desiring to create an institute whose work would overlap that of State Departments, wedesire quite the contrary. There is not the slightest doubt, however, but thatthere is to-day a great deal of overlapping. The six States interest themselves, to some slight extent, at all events, in the questions which the Institute of Scienceand Industry will eventually take up, and very often several State Departments are investigating the same matter.


Mr Richard Foster - Yes; but this work cannot be centralized. It is essential to carry out investigations in variouslocalities.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - In many other cases the work can be centralized, and the problem is often one to be studied as a whole, because it affects every part of Australia. To obtain the best results some matters must be studied from one end of Australia to the other, and the results of the experiments collated. That is not being done now.


Mr Jowett - Is it not better to have independent investigators for all scientific research work ?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I am not dealing with that point now. The establishment of an Institute of Science and Industry and the relation of that Department to the States was brought prominently before the Premiers' Conference which was held in May, 1918, when Mr. Holman, then Premier of New South Wales, moved the following motion -

That the Commonwealth Government be requested to cease the procedure at present being carried out whereby unnecessary expenditure is being incurred in the assumption of functions by the Commonwealth Bureau of Science and Industry which are at present being efficiently performed by the States.

On that occasion, Mr. Holman stood alone. Let me quote what was said on the motion by the other Premiers. Mr. Peake, who was then Premier of South Australia, and whose death we all lament, said -

In my view, this is one of the big questions which we might very well feel satisfied belong rather to the Commonwealth than to the States, because no scientific discovery will be purely a State affair. It is simply a question of whether the Commonwealth can show us that we are going to have increased efficiency without duplication of the cost of the State Departments. If it can show us, then I, for one, will heartily support the Commonwealth taking over the whole of the departments of scientific research, because I think they would do the work much better. ....

I would like to put another view from the stand-point of the States. I do not think any State stands more strongly for State rights than does South Australia, but we regard science as on an entirely different footing from practical adminstrative work. Science has no boundaries, and the operations of the scientific bureau could very well be spread over the whole of Australia, both from the point of view of more effective work and from the stand-point of economy. What is the use of five or six different State Departments pursuing inquiries on different lines when possibly one body could much more effectively perform the work of investigation and research?

I think that there must necessarily be greater strength in the scientific methods of the Commonwealth than in those of the States. The greater scientific knowledge which money will enable the Commonwealth to obtain will strengthen every Department, and I think that' in this case the Commonwealth can very well take over all scientific investigation on behalf of the general community.

Mr. Lee,the Premier of Tasmania, said ;

I think no very great harm can come of this departure, provided the Commonwealth Bureau exercises a reasonable amount of discretion - that is to say, that any matters which are being investigated by a State Bureau should not be undertaken by the Commonwealth, matters peculiar to the State in which the Bureau exists. If those are left to the States I can quite imagine there are many questions that can be well investigated by the Commonwealth. In matters that are common to all States, it appears to me, the Commonwealth Bureau can effect very essential service to the whole Commonwealth.

Mr. Lefroy,the Premier of Western Australia, said -

No, doubt, the question of scientific research is more important at the present moment than, perhaps, at any previous time in Australia. There are many diseases in stock that are common to the whole of Australia, and I am of opinion that better research work could be done by one central body. There are not many men in the world who are experts in these mattersthey are very difficult to obtain. If one State were able to get the services of the most experienced man to go into research work, the other States would be unable to avail themselves of his services. Although I am very jealous of the sovereign rights of the States, at the same time I think this research work could be better done through one central body. I should be prepared to fall in with any arrangement that might have that object in view, seeing that it is in the interests of my own State that it should be done. There are many different problems which we shall have to deal with in Australia in the future, and they could be better dealt with by one central body.

Mr. Lawson,the Premier of Victoria, said ;

I confess to a large measure of sympathy with the President's views as an expression of an abstract principle. It is, perhaps, possible that the Commonwealth, in the exercise of this right, might logically take over certain other matters which are specifically State functions, but I do not fear that. 1 think we might reasonably welcome this institution as capable of doing something which, unfortunately, the States have not succeeded in doing. In the State activities and State inquiries there have been overlapping and duplication; but, by means of centralization, more satisfactory results can be achieved. Mr. Swinburne's memorandum, which the Acting Prime Minister read, states the case fully. We want concentration and co-ordination, and we ought to leave it to one body to make specific inquiries, instead of all the States independently investigating the same subject, thus making for duplication. . . .

I say let us welcome the Commonwealth, and work hand in hand with it in this matter.

Mr.Richard Foster. - That is very fine, and, in view of it, this Bill is a mighty improvement on the last.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I am glad to hear the honorable member say that the Bill is an improvement on the measure submitted during last Parliament, and I hope that its second reading may be agreed to unanimously.

Let me try to give the House very briefly some idea of the extent to which other countries have subsidized scientific research. Before the war, there was no country which devoted more time, attention, and money to it than Germany. Had it not been for this, she would not have been able to keep going half as long as she did. Her chemists were able to produce substitutes for almost everything her people wore or ate. That circumstance is not a reason why we should support scientific research, but it is a wonderful example of what scientific knowledge has been able to accomplish. When, because of the war, the world was cut off from the material advantages she was enjoying as the result of Germany's scientific research and applied science, it was found impossible to proceed with many industrial operations until the scientists had been called in. Great Britain was amongst the first to recognise that, and has created, since the war, a Department which she endowed with ?1,000,000 to start with, and which she has voted this year £360,000 to maintain. She established this institution during the war, and is using it to-day to assist her manufacturers, because she then demonstrated the enormous amount of assistance that it can be to her people in times of peace.

We find that America is doing infinitely more even than Great Britain. I quoted in the opening portion of my speech tho resolution passed by the American Federation of Labour, and one marvels at the fact that they did pass that resolution in view of the tremendous amount that America annually votes for this particular class of work. Other countries were quick to perceive the wisdom of Great Britain's action, and to realize that immediately the war was over the international competitions of peace would be resumed. The United States, which, perhaps, with the exception of Germany, has done more .than any other country to subsidize and encourage research into industrial problems, was forced to the conclusion that her efforts in this direction, great as they had been, were insufficient. She not only increased her enormous subsidies, raising the amount expended on the many activities of the Department of Agriculture alone to £6,000,000, but she established a permanent organization called the National Research Council.

The principal reason which actuates the Government in promoting :the Bill for the establishment of an Institute of Science and Industry in this country is the desire to assist our primary industries. We realize that, unless something can be done to assist the man on the land, he is in for a bad time.


Mr Stewart - And so is the country.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - That follows. _ The difficulty that the primary industries of Australia are peculiarly up against is this: We have in ,the cities a constantlyrising level of wages. It is going up and up and up until, in competition for some kinds of labour, the primary industries have to pay more and more and more. Although there has been some rise in the level of prices which the primary producers are getting for their products, we have to realize at the same time that they are going back again into the old competitive conditions under which they will have to sell their produce in the markets of the world. The time, perhaps, is not very far distant when it will be found almost impracticable to compete with the rate of wages being paid in the cities, and keep the men on the land.


Mr Gregory - Why did you not bear all that in mind when you were bringing in your Tariff ?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I do not think it has any direct bearing upon that question, although I shall be quite willing to argue the point when the occasion arises. The problem I have stated is self-evident. All those who have any close acquaintance with the rural industries of this country know full well that that is the real difficulty which the farmer is up against every day in the week. I believe that by the application of science in its broadest sense to primary industries the farmer can be helped perhaps to a greater extent than through anything else. If by improved methods of cultivation, and of breeding, and by eliminating the preventable losses which he now annually sustains, we can add to the farmer's returns, he can meet far more easily that increase which is going on in the cost of wages than he can today. The results which have been obtained in other countries, and particularly of late years in America, encourage us to believe that a vast deal can be done in this country upon similar lines, and that the producer can be put into a better position through applied scientific research than perhaps by anything else that we can do. The Government hope that, when the Institute is established, the procedure will be, as seems inevitable, to divide its work into various branches. It is impossible to conduct the whole of the operations of the Institute as one branch. The work must be specialized. One special branch will probably be devoted to agricultural problems, another perhaps to stock diseases, another, again, to forest products, and so on. We must have that subdivision and specialization. When the Institute is established, while it cannot hope to do as much as America is doing to-day, if, on the agricultural side, it takes as a model the activities of the American Department of Agriculture-


Mr Richard Foster - It can appropriate the greater part of the results of what America is doing.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - It can, to some extent, but every country has its own peculiar problems. Take, as an example, the tick investigations in America. What they have done there is a help to us ; but, so far as our investigations have gone on the scientific side into that urgent problem, which is inflicting enormous loss on this country every year, they show that America's experience is not exactly ours, and that the problem in America is not exactly the same as the problem in Australia. These differences have to be studied from the scientific side, and only when the scientist has gone into them can he tell the agriculturist the right thing to do to get rid of his troubles.


Mr Ryan - Under what part of the Constitution, or what power in the Constitution, do you propose to establish this body?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - If the honorable member can show me anything in the Constitution which prevents us proceeding with it, it will be given very careful consideration.


Mr Ryan - I am merely seeking information.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - America, as I showed, has increased her total appropriation for her Agricultural Bureau alone to £6,000,000 this year. Mr. George Ellery Hall, the chairman of the National Research Council, writes as follows : -

Even if there had been no intellectual stimulus, the present great war would have forced science to the front. In the first days of the conflict the nations of the Entente were faced by problems soluble only through the aid of scientific research. Statesmen whose exclusively classical traininghad afforded them little or no means of appreciating the significance of science, were compelled to summon investigators to their aid in order to overcome difficulties demanding instant solution. The question of manufacture, serious as it was, frequently held second place to the necessity for research. Thus in England it was evidently impossible for the glass factories to produce the special kinds of optical glasses needed for periscopes, gun sights, field glasses, and many other military instruments, until the methods of making these glasses, previously worked out in Germany, had been re-discovered by British investigators. So with scores of other problems forced upon the nation under the stress of war. Scientific research was the first requisite, and both men and funds must be provided without delay.


Mr Mathews - That was not want of knowledge, but the craze for cheapness. Germany was producing those things cheaper than Great Britain.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - The honorable member is not altogether right. The position at that time was that the German scientists were working in connexion with the optical industry of Germany and Austria. They had worked out the scientific problems connected with the manufacture of these lenses in a way which the scientists had never been asked to do in Great Britain. When the war broke out, and the sources of supply were cut off, and the British makers of optical glasses were asked to produce these instruments, they could not do it, fox the simple reason that they had not the necessary scientific knowledge. They had to call in the scientists and ask them to work out the problems for them. When the scientists had worked them out, then, and only then, were the British makers of optical glasses able to produce the articles required.


Mr Mathews - They could have done that before the war; but the British people wanted cheap goods from Germany.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - That may have had something to do with it. So much for what America has done.

Canada first created a temporary Advisory Board, and then took steps to place the organization on a permanent basis. She has now a Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. She proceeded much on the same lines as we have followed, calling in a small Board, in the first place, to advise what was the best thing to do. She then created the permanent institution which she is now votinglarge sums of money to continue. France started with a preliminary grant of £250,000, and a large annual appropriation. Italy voted £250,000 as a first instalment for the work of the National Research Council, "a newly formed institution, whose duties are -

(a)   To further research in the sciences and in the application of these to industry, agriculture, hygienic alimentation, and to national defence;

(b)   to formulate and accomplish concreteprojects of researches in order to utilize the scientific, technical, and natural resources of the country;

(c)   to furnish technical or scientific information as required by public administrations, and perform experimental and theoretical researches as asked for by the same administration;

(d)   to establish constant liaison by means of Italian and foreign delegates with similar foreign organizations; and

(e)   to furnish to the Army and Navy scientific, technical, and industrial datarelating to national defence.

As regards Japan, thewar gave great impetus to manufacturing industries in that country; and to secure greater national efficiency the Government two years ago undertook the establishment of a National Physical Laboratory, with an initial endowment of £500,000, and a similar further sum at a later date. A Japanese dyestuffs industry has been established, with a capital of £800,000, on which the Government guaranteed 8 per cent. Similarly the glycerine industry has been handsomely subsidized.

South Africa, New Zealand, Sweden, Belgium, and other countries are all taking steps for the same purpose and with the same ideas as actuate us, for the development of their resources on scientific and economic lines.


Mr Higgs - How much does the Minister propose to spend on this proposal ?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I do not think that consideration should interfere in any way with the views of the House as to the passing of the Bill. The question as to how much we can wisely afford to grant this Institute, year by year, will have to be dealt with by the House when the Estimates are before us.


Mr Richard Foster - But there is no reason why the Minister should not tell us approximately the. expenditure with which the Government propose to start.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I am not in a position at present to give the House that information, since the Director has not yet been appointed. I am hoping that he will be appointed in time to enable us to obtain from him some idea of what he proposes to do in the first year, so that we can then consider what amount will be necessary to give him reasonable opportunity to carry out some useful work. Rather than spread the Director's activities over a very wide area in the first place - rather than that he should spend a little money here and a little money there - it would be better, I think, to give him sufficient funds to enable him to deal thoroughly with one or more matters.


Mr Bamford - Has the Minister in his mind at the present time the name of a suitable person for the position of Director?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I hope that we shall secure a competent man, combining in his own person, not only some scientific knowledge, but business ability and administrative skill. It is not possible for me to announce the name of the gentleman to be appointed,since the Government cannot make an appointment until Parliament has passed the Bill. One can only say, in answer to the honorable member's inquiry, that there are in Australia a limited number of men who possibly could fill the position if they were free to do so.


Mr Hay - Are the Government prepared to provide for an Advisory Board to make recommendations to the Director in regard to the agricultural section?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - We have not included in this Bill statutory provision for the appointment of Advisory Councils. The reason for this is that we feel that no one Advisory Council could cover the whole field of scientific research. It is contemplated that the Director, when appointed, will specialize his work, and that it will be necessary to appoint a special man to deal with such a subject as agriculture. That having been done, he would then call to his counsel men who knew something of the subject.


Mr Richard Foster - He will be able to associate with him in his work the existing State Councils.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - The State Departments of Agriculture have their experts, and the Director will be charged with the duty of bringing all these into cooperation with himself. I wish to make it clear that the terms of the Bill do not preclude the Director bringing into his counsels men from outside. If he deems it desirable to ask three or four practical pas- toralists to consider with him the details of his scheme dealing with, say, the tick pest, there is nothing in the Bill to prevent his doing so.


Mr Jowett - But that will be merely optional on his part ?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Yes. The Bill, as previously framed, laid it down that there must be Advisory Councils. If, however, these Advisory Councils were to cover the whole field of scientific research in agriculture, mining, forestry, and manufacturing in all its branches they would be so unwieldy as to render it impossible to obtain the best results. What is proposed is that instead of having Advisory Councils created by Statute-which would mean that certain interests would have to be left unrepresented, unless we were to make these councils altogether unwieldy - the Director shall be left free to call to his counsel in regard to the particular problems that have to be studied from time to time such men as may be considered desirable.


Mr Richard Foster - And he will be free to benefit from the existing work of the Universities.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Certainly . It is thought that in this way we shall secure better and speedier results, and probably incur far less expenditure, than if we created councils which, however large, within reason, they might be made, could not possibly cover the whole ground. That, briefly, is what we have in our minds and it was that consideration which actuated the Government in removing from the Bill the statutory provision for Advisory Councils. Under such a system it would have been necessary to have a large number of men on a council. Only one of that number might know anything of a particular subject with which the Director was dealing, when perhaps he should have eight or nine men gathered from all parts of Australia to advise and assist him in regard to it.

I am afraid that I have not been altogether a popular Minister with the gentlemen who have very kindly consented to act as an Advisory Council for some time past. Those gentlemen did a great deal of preliminary investigation work, and, naturally, having laid the foundation, they were very anxious to see the edifice raised. They wanted to proceed, but, as the Minister charged for the time being with the administration of the Department, I felt that until Parliament had definitely authorized the establishment of this institution, it would not be right for me, notwithstanding that we were not exceeding the vote passed by Parliament in respect of the year, to permit expenditure on work which would necessarily commit the country to expenditure in future years. Acting in accordance with that rule, I have pulled them up time after time. I have said to these gentlemen, " Your preliminary investigations have been very useful, but there you must stay until Parliament has authorized the establishment of the Institute. You must not start upon a career which, having been entered upon, will necessarily result in the country being committed to expenditure in years to come." I make this statement quite frankly.


Mr Richard Foster - They have rendered very excellent service.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - They have, and the country is indebted to them for the work they have done.


Mr Jowett - Were they not distinguished University men?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Most, but not all of them were. Mr. Delprat, for instance, was not a University man, and Dr. Cameron, who is connected with the Victorian Department of Agriculture, and others, were not associated with the University.


Mr Corser - They have paved the way for the future.

Mr. GREENE.They have at all events laid the foundations for future operations in respect of quite a number of investigations to which I hope to refer, and have done a great deal of most useful preliminary work. There has been only one exception to the general rule which, as I said a few moments ago, I have followed in regard to their expenditure, and that is in respect of the prickly pear investigation, to which the Commonwealth was committed some considerable time ago. Honorable members are no doubt aware that the Governments of Queensland and New South Wales agreed with us to expend some £8,000 a year on the prickly pear investigation. When one considers the enormous damage that this pest has done, and is doing, one must recognise that if by an expenditure of £1,000,000 we could rid ourselves of it, we should have paid very little for the solution of such a problem.


Mr Jowett - Is not the pest spreading in Australia to the extent of 1,000,000 acres a year?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - There are in Australia 23,000,000 acres of fine pastoral country covered with prickly pear, and practically useless. The pest is gaining at the rate of 1,000,000 acres per annum. I do not say we are going to spend £1,000,000 in the next five years in trying to rid ourselves of it, but if by such an expenditure within that period we discovered some means of effectively dealing with the prickly pear, we should have got off very cheaply.


Mr Mathews - The Economy party would not say " Hear, hear !" to such an expenditure.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I think it would. We have this pest creeping steadily over the face of the land. The honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) and others who have seen the prickly pear country know that it is practically useless. We have no means at our disposal of turning it to any account whatever unless the land be of great agricultural value. In that case it will pay to clear, but it will not pay to clear pastoral land of the pest.


Mr Jowett - Even agricultural land has not been cleared of the pest.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Some of the more valuable agricultural lands have been cleared.


Mr Fenton - What is the Government of Queensland doing toprevent the spread of the pest on private property?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - The Government of Queensland have done many things in connexion with the prickly-pear pest. Honorable members are, no doubt, aware that for country infested with prickly pear in Queensland many leases have been issued under pear conditions, and the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) will be able to say better than I can whether those conditions have been complied with or not. The investigations, so far as they have been undertaken, by the Queensland Government and our experience tend to show that there are no mechanical means by which the pest can be dealt with. They have also tended to show that there is no utilitarian purpose to which the pricklypear plant can be put. If the fibre were of use for industrial purposes, or if the plant contained, in sufficient quantities, a drug or any substance for which there would be a commercial demand, the problem of eradicating the pest would not be so difficult of solution.


Mr Bowden - Is it not used for fodder?


Mr Considine - Is it not being cultivated in California to be made use of?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - The honorable member refers to a different cactus altogether. If any commercial use could be made of the plant, something might be done with it; but all the investigations, so far, go to show that there is only one way in which the prickly pear can be dealt with, and that is by the introduction of some insect which will destroy it. The Queensland Government some little time ago introduced the cochineal insect into Queensland, in the hope that it would destroy the prickly pear. However, the cochineal insect proved to be somewhat of an epicure. There is one particular kind of pear which the insect liked, and it has wiped that plant out of existence; but it has left the true prickly pear severely alone.


Mr Corser - It has been found that ants liked the cochineal insects so much that they have killed them all.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - It is thought that investigation may show that some insect can be found which will destroy the prickly pear. A committee is busy investigating the problem in America from this* particular aspect, and it is hoped and believed that it will be possible for them shortly to announce some results. We can only go on trying to deal with the problem, and I hesitate to believe that science is so bankrupt of resource in this matter that we shall not ultimately find a solution. Though the solution, when found, may involve the expenditure of a good deal of money, there can be little doubt that it will be thoroughly justified, in view of the loss caused to Australia year by year through the spread of this national pest over vast areas of the country.

Apart altogether from problems connected with diseases in stock and pests of various kinds, most of which, I believe, were imported to this country, there is a vast field for research, which, I believe, will ultimately yield great results, in connexion with our forests and probably all our flora. Honorable members are aware that the flora of this country is, for the most part, peculiar to Australia, and is not found anywhere else in the world. The probabilities are that the establishment of. forest products laboratories in different parts of Australia will ultimately reveal that we have in our forests, as has been proved to be the case in other countries, vast wealth. I feel satisfied that in that particular direction there is not only a va6t field for research, but that in all human probability that research will reveal sources of great wealth to this country.

Then, of course, there is, to be considered the immense assistance that science can afford to our manufacturing industries. This proposal is primarily connected with assistance to our agricultural industries. Action in this direction was originally suggested in this Parliament through a desire to help agriculture, and honorable members will recollect that many years ago the present Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Groom) was associated in this House with the introduction of a Bill for the creation of an Agricultural Bureau. The purpose then in view is covered by the measure now under consideration, but I am satisfied tl: at scientists can also assist our manufacturing industries very materially in the future. I do not wish to delay honorable members by pointing out the many directions in which science can come to the aid of industry. Indirectly, in giving such aid we shall also be assisting our primary producing industries. The more readily the primary products of this country, varied as they are, can be turned to use, the better it will be for the man on the land in all his various activities.

I take, for instance, the manufacture of leather. The more leather that is tanned in this country, the better. But there are all sorts of problems connected with the tanning of leather in Australia from a scientific point of view which have never yet, been properly worked out. There are peculiarities in connexion with our tanning material, our climatic and other conditions, which create special chemical problems in connexion with the manufacture of leather. These are specially, difficult problems, which can only be properly solved by scientific investigation, and until they are solved the best results cannot be obtained.

Scientists can assist manufacturers in the working up of our metals. It is known that there are peculiarities associated with the metals of every country. One matter of considerable importance^ is the temperature at which various processes should be carried out. The temperature has to be assimilated to the particular class of material that is being dealt with. All these are matters of scientific research, and the ordinary manufacturer has not the apparatus or the knowledge to carry out this work of research. In scores of instances where bad work is turned out the manufacturer blames the material at his command, when, as a matter of fact, the fault is due, not to the material, but to the fact that the process of manufacture followed is not adapted to the material used.


Mr Mathews - The fault in many cases is due to the material.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I am speaking about our raw products. They are all right, but the processes of manufacture sometimes followed are not what they should be.


Mr Gregory - If our manufacturers are to depend upon a Government institute to supply them with that . sort of knowledge, they will be going back a long time.


Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - The State does not set out to teach those engaged in industries how to carry them on.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I say that these are matters that can 'be dealt with by scientific research. In such cases, the Director might engage an expert to carry out necessary experiments in a laboratory, or might call together those engaged in a particular industry, and say, " Here is a problem connected with your industry, and if you each contribute so much we can establish a laboratory at a certain' pointto investigate that problem."


Mr Laird Smith - That is done to a minor degree now.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - That is so. All that I suggest is that there are avenues in which scientific research can be made of immense assistance to our manufacturing industries, and indirectly to the primary industries with which they are concerned. If by applied science the manufacturer is enabled to use his raw material to better advantage, the primary industry supplying . the raw material will be benefited thereby.


Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - There is an excellent example in what the manufacturer has done for the sugar industry, but that has been done under private auspices.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Everybody knows that the chemical work done by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company in connexion with the manufacture of sugar has been of vast importance to the industry generally. Many persons engaged in manufacture to-day have not sufficient capital to employ technical experts to carry out the scientific work necessary to their industry. In those cases the Government can, through the proposed Institute, come to their aid. They can give them direct assistance, or, as I have suggested, by calling them together work in co-operation with them in the solving of their problems.

In reference to the subject of the cooperation of the Commonwealth and the States, I anticipate from the experience we have had in the past that we shall not find any great difficulty in securing the fullest co-operation of the various State Departments, in respect to the activities of this kind that have so far been carried on, and I am satisfied that, in regard to new problems, we shall also be able to secure their full co-operation.


Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - Has any definite basis for that co-operation yet been arranged ?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I must say "Yes" and "No" to that question.- The Advisory Council had no real administrative . power, but they worked in co-operation with the State Departments wherever cooperation was found possible. There has been no definite basis laid down. Each problem has been treated as it arose according to the peculiar conditions it presented. I give the following instances of matters in connexion with which the States have co-operated with the Advisory Council of Science and Industry in investigations that have so far been undertaken.

In New South Wales, in connexion with the prickly-pear scheme; the white-ant pest; cattle tick dips; worm nodules disease; forest products; sorghum for alcohol; tanning methods; yeasts and bread making; blowfly pest; and macrozamia.


Mr Richard Foster - What is that?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - The macrozamia is a kind of palm from which, I think, resin and alcohol are extracted.


Mr Hay - No, the macrozamia is another species altogether. The grass tree is the plant from which the gum is extracted.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - In Victoria the Advisory Council have co-operated with the State Departments in connexion with viticultural problems at Mildura; pottery investigations; contagious abortion in cattle; paper pulp investigations; and tuberculosis in stock.

We have co-operated with Queensland in connexion with the prickly pear; cotton growing; blow-fly" pest; castor beans; mangrove bark tanning; mechanical cotton picker; and the cattle tick pest.

In South Australia the subjects have been grass-tree resin, tuberculosis in stock, and paper pulp investigations; in Western Australia, clays and pottery, paper pulp, forest products, cattle tick pest, Kimberley horse disease ; and in Tasmania, tuberculosis in stock. Honorable members will notice that cattle tick, for instance, is a problem common to the States of Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia, each of which is acting in co-operation with the Commonwealth. Of course, there is no necessity for the States of Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, in which this problem has not yet arisen to any extent, to participate in these investigations. Generally speaking, we found the States not only willing but most anxious to cooperate with us.


Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - Some honorable members, whilst ready to support the Bill, are anxious to avoid financial duplication, and we thought that a definite basis of co-operation had been arranged.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - It is extremely difficult to arrange what the honorable member calls a definite basis of co-operation. 1 think that all that is possible is that when a particular problem arises, we shall approach the States, and say, " Can you co-operate with us in this matter?" Having got their answers we are then free to proceed.


Mr Jowett - Suppose that the States will not co-operate?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - The Director has then to determine, after consultation with his Minister and advisers, whether in all the circumstances it is desirable, in the public interests, that the Institute should proceed with a particular investigation.


Mr Mathews - In other words, if the States have determined to deal with this problem the Institute will co-operate with them ; otherwise, it will start on its own account.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Each matter must he determined on its merits.


Mr Richard Foster - Co-operation depends vitally on. the attitude of Federal Ministers to the States.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - A Federal Minister has so many other sins laid at his door that it is a hardship to make that additional charge against him. I assure honorable members that there is an anxiety on the part of the Commonwealth and the States to co-operate in these matters, and I have instanced problems in regard to which we have already had full cooperation. The tick problem is one of them. Both New South Wales and Queensland had been carrying on scientific investigations, and Western Australia was doing something, although not very much.


Mr Fowler - Western Australia was doing a great deal.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - At any rate, all three States were doing something, and they were only too glad that the scientific side of the investigation should be taken over by one body. This arrangement did not interfere for a moment with those active practical operations which the States were conducting. The Commonwealth did not attempt to take over from New South Wales and Queensland their tick administration.


Mr Bowden - Did the Commonwealth duplicate the work the States were doing ?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - No; it was agreed that certain scientific problems which the tick question presented should be investigated by the Institute of Science and Industry in co-operation with the State authorities. Such a co-operative effort must mean a concentration of brains, which will, in the long run,, give better results than would the continuance of independent investigations.


Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - If a State finds itself unable to meet the expense of continuing such investigations, does the Commonwealth, before taking up the problem, arrange to get the benefit of the past work done by the State?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - That has been done on all occasions. Once an agreement has been made to co-operate in respect of any particular problem, the whole of the ascertained data is placed at the disposal of the Committee of scientific experts who are called upon to deal with the matter. Armed with that knowledge, the Committee commences its researches. After all, scientific investigation is largely a process of elimination.


Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - That is so; but we wish to avoid the expenditure of money on ground that has been already trodden.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Expenditure of that kind is avoided. For instance," in dealing with the tick problem, the expert Committee will not start de novo, ignoring those results which have been already worked out. They will have regard to the history of previous investigations, which have given perhaps negative results, or results which, whilst not actually positive, yet give hope that further research along the same lines will lead to a definite discovery. At times it is right to go over a certain area of the ground previously covered in order to pick up the connecting link before proceeding. The Government are just as anxious to avoid unnecessary expenditure in the field of scientific research as anywhere else. I feel confident that if we get at the head of this Institute the right type of man - one who has the sense to discriminate between what may be called merely abstract scientific research, which will lead to no practical result, and other research, which is intensely practical, and aims at definite practical end3, a man with the necessary broadmindedness, scientific training, and business and administrative ability - we shall have very little difficulty in steering clear of that avoidable expenditure which yields no commercial result. Nobody recognises better than I do that in this field of scientific research it is possible to engage in an orgy of expenditure which will lead to no practical good. At the same time, one has to admit that the world owes to abstract scientific investigation some of the greatest discoveries of modern times. What we are actually aiming at is that all scientific investigation undertaken through the agency of this Institute shall be directed towards solving the practical problems which. Australian industries, primary and secondary, present to us every day in the week.


Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - The whole world is engaged in the solution of the problems of the secondary industries. Therefore this Institute will get the best results by concentrating its efforts on the problems of primary production.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I agree with the honorable member that, particularly in iti initial stages, the Institute should concentrate its efforts upon agricultural and pastoral problems as far as possible. At the same time, I would not for a moment suggest that there are not immediate and pressing problems in regard to the secondary industries which the Institute should, as far as its funds permit, investigate.


Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - In America each item of investigation i3 first justified, and than an apportionment for a particular investigation is made each year.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - If we were to present to this House estimates in proportion to our population, based on the American expenditure upon similar work, honorable members would hesitate a long time before voting the necessary -money.

I wish to refer briefly to the provisions of the Bill itself. This measure differs in two main particulars from its predecessor, which was passed through another place and explained in this House. Firstly, it provides for only one Director, instead of three. Reasons of economy have led to that alteration, and we also thought that possibly we should be overloading the Institute at the outset by appointing three directors. I do not mean to say that it will not be necessary for the Director to have one or two expert advisers; on the contrary, I think that such advice will be necessary.


Mr Tudor - Why have the Government adopted the principle of one Director in connexion with this Bill, when in the Repatriation Act they provided for three Commissioners ?


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - The two measures deal with entirely different problems. Moreover, the honorable member will recollect that the creation of three Repatriation Commissioners was at the special request of the returned soldiers.


Mr Bell - Pardon me.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - It was done at the special request of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League. I was present at the interview ait which that request was preferred. The deputationists asked for representation upon that Commission, and I understand that the man whom they themselves had selected has been appointed. However, that has nothing ito do with this measure.

The Government propose to appoint one Director. I hope we shall be able to find a man suited for that difficult post. We want a person of first class ability whose appointment will commend itself, particularly to , those various bodies with which the Director will be intimately associated, if his work is to be productive of the good anticipated. We have deleted from this Bill the matter of the appointment of advisory councils, for reasons which I have already given. The Government highly appreciate the services which quite a number of gentlemen rendered under very difficult conditions while working with a temporary institute, when it was found inadvisable to permit them to launch out in directions, possibly very necessary, but in regard to which it was felt they should not proceed until Parliament had given sanction to this measure.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Tudor) adjourned.







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