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Tuesday, 8 November 1938

Mr Watkins (NEWCASTLE, NEW SOUTH WALES) s asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact, as asserted by the managing director of Airlines of Australia Limited, that equipment installed in the Douglas DC3 Kyilla for the reception of the Lorenz beacon was removed from the aeroplane by order of the Civil Aviation Board? 2.If so, what was the reason for the board's action, which, in regard to the safety and advancement of aviation, is a paradox?

Mr Thorby (CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows : -

In March of this year, it came to the notice of the Civil Aviation Board that ultra high frequency receiving equipment was being installed in the DC3 Ky illa. As the board's approval was necessary under the Air Navigation Regulations before radio could be installed, instructions were issued for this installation tobe suspended pending the necessary authority. On the 18th March, 1938. a request was received from the installing engineer to allow installation to proceed to enable certain tests to be undertaken in connexion with the installation of the beacon at Brisbane. This was approved by the hoard on the 21st March, 1938. Apparently, no action was taken to instal the equipment at that time as a further request was made on the11th May, 1938, to allow installation to be made on the 14th May, 1938. This also was approved on the 12th May, 1938, and it is believed such installation was made shortly afterwards.

Mr Watkins s asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   Did he state on the 28th October that he had given instructions to the Civil Aviation Board to do everything in its power to see that theLorenz homing beacons were put into service at the earliest possible moment?

2.   If so, why were these instructions not given when the beacons were first erected ?

3.   If the instructions were then given, what are the reasons for their not having been carried out?

Mr.Thorby. - The answers to the honorable members questions are as follows : -

1.   Yes. 2 and 3. The Civil Aviation Board is, and always has been, fully alive to the necessity for placing the beacon system in operation at the earliest possible date. As the honorable member is a ware, an investigation is now proceeding in regard to the various aspects associated with the installation of the beacons and the technical air and ground tests that are necessary before they canbe put into operation.

Mr Barnard asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   What progress has been made with the tests of wireless direction and ground control of civil aviation aeroplanes?

2.   When does he anticipate this system will be brought into general use?

3.   Will he make an early statement to this House upon this subject with the object of allaying the present public concern?

Mr Thorby y. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   I would refer the honorable member to replies I have already given to a number of questions on this subject, particularly my replies to the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) on the 19th October and the 4th November. Since those replies were given, the ground tests of the Essendon beacon have been completed and the Nhill installation is now undergoing such tests. It is expected that the air tests of theEssendon beacon will commence this week.

2.   In reply to the honorable member for Cook. I stated that I could see no reason why the beacons should not be placed in opera- tion progressively, commencing with the first about the beginning of December.I made it clear then, of course, that this estimate was subject to the condition that the beacons proved safe and satisfactory after completion of these tests. I should like to make it clear, however, that, although the beacons themselves may become progressively available as from next month, no general use can be made of the system until satisfactory receivers are available for installation in the aircraft. The fitting of such receivers is the responsibility of the airline operators, butI know that the two principal manufacturingfirms are actively engaged in producing models designed to meet t he requirements of the service.

3.   I have already supplied honorable members with a great deal of information on this subject in reply to specific questions. I would point out, however, that this whole matter is at present being closely investigated in conjunction with the inquiry into the loss of the Kyeema, and I think it would be improper for me to make any further statements on the. matter at this stage.

Sandy Hollo w-Maryvale Railway Line.

Mr Scully asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   Will fundsbe made available by the Commonwealth Government to the New South Wales Government to enable the construction of the Sandy Hollow to Maryvale railway line to be completed?

2.   Has application been made by the New South Wales Government to the Commonwealth for financial assistance for the completion of this line as a matter of extreme urgency in national defence?

Mr Casey y. - The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows : -

An application was made by the Government of New South Wales in 1 936 for assistance towards the cost of construction of the Sandy Hollow-Mary vale railway line, but Cabinet decided that, in view of other more urgent aspects of national defence, it would not be practicable for the Commonwealth Government to make a contribution towards the construction of the line. The position has not changed since 1936 and, although the railway line in question would he a valuable link in railway communication, it is not a strategic necessity for the concentration or maintenance of troops, as these operations can bo effected by existing lines in close proximity, even though a little longer time is involved.

Films of Sino-Japanese Conflict.

Mr HOLLOWAY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) y asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon, notice -

1.   Is it a fact that two films, known as "The Bombing of Canton"and "Nanking Captured," which were brought to Australia for the purpose of raising funds for the relief of starving Chinese refugees, have been so seriously censored as to render them useless?

2.   If so, why have they been so censored?

3.   Was either of them banned; if so. why?

4.   Will he ask for a report with the view of reviewing such censorship and removing such bans, so that this relief work may go on?

Mr Lyons - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   "Canton Bombed." -In this film, small cuts amounting to eleven feet, which did not affect the value nor the continuity of the picture, were made by the Censorship Board. On appeal, this decision was confirmed by the Appeal Censor."Nanking Captured."- This film was rejected by the Censorship Board, and, on appeal, the decision was upheld. Subsequently, the Chief Censor, under the authority given to him, sanctioned the reconst ruction of the film, which has now been released. Such modification enabled the film to comply with the regulations, but retained the impression of horrors perpetrated and outragescommitted. 2 and 3. The action taken was under the Customs (Cinematograph Films) Regulations, clause 14 of which provides (inter alia) that no film shall be registered which, in the opinion of the Censorship Board or, on appeal, in the opinion of the Appeal Censor, depicts any matter, the exhibition of which is undesirable in the public interest.

4.   It is not proposed to review the action taken. It is considered that the films, as released, are effective instruments for the purpose for which they were imported.

Borrowing Powers of Local Governing Bodies.

Mr.Ward asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

What powers are possessed by local governing bodies of raising loans without reference to the Loan Council?

Mr Casey y. - The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : -

The borrowing powers of local governing bodiesare determined by the relative legislation of the State concerned. The debts of such bodies and their subsequent borrowings wore not brought within the scope of the financial agreement between the Commonwealth and States, and the Loan Council therefore has no legal jurisdiction in regard to such borrowings. By a unanimous resolution of the members assembled in Loan Council - known as a "' Gentlemen's Agreement " - all borrowings in any one year by any authority constituted under the laws of the Commonwealth ora State, where the total amount to he raised by such authority in that year is £100,000 or more, should be submitted to the Loan Council for approval.

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