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Tuesday, 23 May 1939

Mr CASEY (Corio) (Minister for Supply and Development) . - I take the point raised by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn). As he has stated, the definition " time of war " contained in the Defence Act has been lifted almost textually and placed in this bill. There is no definition of " war " in this bill, for the good reason that the term " war " is not used, except when prefaced by " time of ". In other words we define that and it appears to be unnecessary to go further. I appreciate that the honorable gentleman fears that in the event of a war remote from Australia opportunity could be taken to proclaim a time of war in Australia, but I do not think that that is practicable.

Mr Blackburn - I understand that the Minister disclaims any intention to make this legislation apply unless Australia is affected by or is likely to be involved in a war?

Mr CASEY - Yes. The Government has no sinister intention. The definition of " time of war " in this bill has a broad significance. It might well be that in some unfortunate circumstance a war on the other side of the world would clearly forecast a war in Australia.

Mr Lazzarini - The right honorable gentleman says that Australia is in danger of war now.

Mr CASEY - There has been no proclamation. I propose to say a little about that later. I shall confer with the Government's legal advisers upon the point taken by the honorable member for Bourke. Meanwhile I suggest that the clause be postponed.

Clause postponed.

Clause 5 - (1.) Subject to the directions of the GovernorGeneral and to the next succeeding subsection, the matters to be administered by the department shall be matters relating to -

(a)   the provision or supply of munitions;

(b)   the manufacture or assembly of aircraft or parts thereof by the Commonwealth or any authority of the Commonwealth ;

(c)   arrangements for the establishment or extension of industries for purposes of defence;

(d)   the acquisition, maintenance and disposal of stocks of goods in connexion with defence;

(e)   arrangements for ascertaining casts and for the control and limitation of profits in relation to the production of munitions; and

(f)   the arrangement or co-ordination of -

(i   ) surveys of Australian industrial capacity and the preparation of plans to ensure the effective operation of Australian industry in time of war; and

(   ii ) the investigation and development of Australian sources of supply of goods, which in the opinion of the Governor-General are necessary for the economic security of the Commonwealth in time of war. (2.) The Governor-General may from time to time determine the extent to which or the conditions upon which any of the matters specified in this section may be administers I by the Department.

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