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Thursday, 21 May 1942


Mr Blackburn n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and. Customs, upon notice -

1.   What is the exact quantity, in gallons, of beer sold for consumption in Australia in the year 1941?

2.   What, in the same year, is the exact quantity, in gallons, of beer exported from Australia?

3.   What is the exact quantity, in gallons, of beer sold for consumption in Australia in (a) the month of January, 1942, and (ft) the month of February, 1942?

Mr.Beasley. - The Minister for Trade and Customshas supplied the following answers: -

1.   Beer sold for consumption, 1941 - 90,850,971 gallons.

2.   The quantity of beer exported during the calendar year 1941 was as follows: -

 

3.   January, 1942 - 9,225,273 gallons; February, 1942 - 8,201,215 gallons.

Mr. W.J. Smith.

Mr.Calwell asked the Minister for Munitions, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that as a result of a question asked in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly concerning the alleged actions of Mr. W. J. Smith, of Australian Consolidated Industries Limited, a police report on the matter was obtained by the Attorney-General of that State?

2.   Is it also a fact that for some reason or other the New South Wales Government does not propose to disclose the nature of that report?

3.   In view of the fact that Mr. Smith holds a high executive post in the Munitions Department, will he take immediate action to ascertain what the report contains?

4.   If it is found that the report contains information affecting Mr. Smith, will he seek permission to lay a copy of it on the table of the House?


Mr MAKIN (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) n. - Efforts will be made to obtain a report in respect of these matters.

Mortgage Bank.

Mr.Langtry asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   When will the Mortgage Bank legislation be brought before Parliament?

2.   Will he treat the matter as urgent in the interest of all primary producers, especially the wheat-growers, owing to the fact that the price received by wheat-growers is not returning more than 2s.6d. or 2s. 7d. a bushel?

3.   Will he see that interest on all overdrafts advanced by the Mortgage Bank will not exceed 2 per cent.?

Mr.Chifley. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. Negotiations are proceeding with the Commonwealth Bank, and I hope to bring down legislation at an early date.

3.   Consideration will be given to the honorable member's suggestion concerning the rate of interest on advances by the Mortgage Bank.

Clothes Rationing : Compensation of Displaced Employees.

Mr.Curtin. - Yesterday, the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Collins) asked a question relating to the payment of grants to persons who lose their employment owing to the rationing of clothes. I now desire to inform the honorable member that the Government has decided, as a temporary expedient, to make ex gratia payments to disemployed persons. The qualification for assistance includes -

(a)   Certification by the Department of War Organization of Industry that the claimant is directly disemployed as a result of government restrictions on non-essential production.

(b)   A strictly enforced work test, to be applied by the man-power authorities of the Department of Labour and National Service.

(c)   A rigorous means test applied by the Department of Social Services and taking into account all income, irrespective of its source.

The possession of cash or liquid assets exceeding £100 in the case of a married man, and £50 in the case of a single man, will disqualify a claimant from benefit.

 

Married male unemployed persons under 21 years will have the same rate of allowance as adult unemployed persons, viz., £2 per week. Where husband and wife living together are both disemployed and entitled to allowance, the total assistance for husband and wife will not exceed £3 5s. per week.

Assistance will not be given until a person has been unemployed for fourteen days and the maximum period of assistance will be three months.

Promulgation of Regulations.

Mr.Curtin.- On the 27th March, 1942, the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Falstein) asked whether the Government would arrange to publish in the press simultaneouslywith the issue of regulations, information indicating the authorities who are empowered to adjust any matter or furnish advice in relation to such regulations.

I desire to inform the honorable member that instructions have been issued that in the preparation of any press statements in connexion with National Security or other regulations a reference is to be made to the Minister by whom the regulations are administered and an indication given that any inquiries or representations concerning the regulations should be addressed to the department administered by that Minister.

Postal Department: Mail Branch.

Mr.GeorgeLawson. - On the 14th May, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) asked the following questions, upon notice : -

1.   Is it a fact that several registered bookmakers and bookmakers' clerks are employed in the Mail Branch, Melbourne; if so, how many of each class are employed?

2.   Was a special shift, from 7.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. introduced on Saturday mornings for the benefit of such employees so that they could participate in race-course activities?

3.   Has a new shift of five days, Monday to Friday, been introduced so as to avoid incon- venience to these employees in the pursuit of their race-course activities?

4.   Has permission been sought of the Public Service Board to permit these employees to engage in outside business or employment?

5.   Is it a fact that the Registered Bookmakers Association (a) advise their members to secure employment in the Mail Brand), Melbourne, as this, being a reserved occupation, will enable avoidance of the call-up for service under Man-power Regulations; and (6) advise them that the association will negotiate with Postal Department officials for the acceptance of association members as prospective employees ?

0.   Is it a fact that a paragraph, published in the turf newspaper Circle intimated that contact could be made with Melbourne bookmakers in the Mail Branch, Melbourne?

7.   What was the number of employees in the three sections of the Mail Branch, Melbourne, viz., Inland, Ship and Registration during the periods (a) 1st February, 1941, to 30th April, 1941; and (?>) 1st February, 1942, to 30th April, 1942?

8.   What was the total aggregate number of hours of overtime worked by employees in each of those sections of the Mail Branch, Melbourne, during the periods mentioned?

9.   What was the total number of postal articles handled in each of those sections of the Mail Branch, Melbourne, during the periods mentioned?

10.   Is it a fact that leave for physical fitness purposes is denied to employees of the Mail Branch, Melbourne?

11.   Is it a fart thai a senior supervisory officer has been granted leave for physical fitness purposes?

12.   Can it be stated when employees of the Mail Branch, Melbourne, will be granted leave for physical fitness purposes?

The honorable member was informed that the questions had been brought to the notice of the Postmaster-General, and that replies would be given as early as possible. I have now received from the Postmaster-General the following answers to the honorable member's questions: -

1.   Inquiries which have been made reveal that a number of men employed in a temporary capacity in the Mail Branch, Melbourne, are registered as bookmakers and bookmakers'' clerks, namely, seven and four, respectively.

2.   and 3. No.

4.   In view of the disclosure referred to, the question of these temporary employees being permitted to engage in outside business is being taken up with the Public Service Board. 5. It is not known whether the Registered Bookmakers Association has advised its members to this effect. It is pointed out. however, that no negotiations of the character referred to have been conducted between the association and the department. (. No such paragraph has come to the notice of responsible officers of the department.

1.   A statement is appended giving the information sought by the honorable member:

 

11.   Yes. A senior supervisory officer who was recalled from recreation leave during 1941 was permitted to avail himself of the remaining portion of leave due in respect of that year.

12.   See answer to No. 10. Owing to the release of officers for military service, the staffing position is such that it is impracticable at present to grant recreation leave for the normal period.

FOSTARS Shoes Proprietary Limited.


Mr Beasley y. - On. the 29th April, the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan) asked me the following questions, without notice, in connexion with the proceedings against Fostars Shoes Proprietary Limited : -

I ask the Minister acting for the AttorneyGeneral whether ho is aware that Fostars Shoes Proprietary Limited, and the management of that company, have been found not guilty on all counts before a police magistrate, a Supreme Court jury, and the High Court, and this despite the full powers of prosecution vested in the Crown by this Parliament, which provided for the laying of retrospective charges, and the placing of the onus of proof on the defendant? Will the Minister make a full report to the House on all the circumstances associated with the trial, and the failure of the Crown case? Will he inquire into certain evidence tendered at the trial, but not allowed by the judge, relating to a gramophone record purporting to be a record of an interview between a departmental inspector and the manager of Fostars. Will the Minister state whether the inspectors responsible for the laying of the charges are still in the employment of the Government, and whether Inspector Gill has been restored to his former position as Chief Inspector in New South Wales?

In reply, I informed the honorable member that I was aware of the decision of the court and that I would obtain a full report from the Solicitor-General on the matter and make the report available. I have now obtained the report in question and propose to lay it on the table of the Library, in order that it may be available to honorable members. The answers to the specific questions asked by the honorable member are as follows : -

Fostars Shoes Proprietary Limited was not charged before the Supreme Court. The company was charged before the High Court at Sydney (hearing lasted fifteen days) and before the Court of Petty Sessions, Sydney (hearing lasted 39 days) on separate charges under section 73e of the Defence Act, on which charges the company was acquitted. The charges were laid under legislation which acted retrospectively.

A full report of the proceedings is- contained in the Solicitor-General's report to me.

A gramophone record which made allegations against departmental officials was referred to by the managing director of the company before the High Court, but the presiding justice ruled that same was not admissible in evidence.

The Attorney-General laid the indictments in the High Court and directed the institution of the proceedings in the Court of Petty Sessions. The Minister for the Army should be referred to in regard to the position of the inspectors in question. They are under his control.

Issue of Pamphlet.


Mr Makin n. - On the 8th May, the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) asked the following question, without notice: -

Has the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs been drawn to a pamphlet entitled The Rationing of Money, written by Mr. C*. Dc Garis, and dated the 30th April, 1942T If so, does he not consider that this is an infringement of the order gazetted on the 17th March prohibiting the use of paper for the issue of pamphlets? Will the Minister say whether Mr. Dc Garis was given a permit to issue the pamphlet, and, if so, why the permission was given?

The Minister for Trade and Customs has now supplied the following answer : -

Application for permission to print the pamphlet in question was made by the printer concerned. It does not appear from a perusal of a specimen copy of this pamphlet that an infringement of the provisions of the recently promulgated Metal Foil and Paper Order No. 17 has occurred. This order was designed primarily to ensure an economic use of paper in the printing of books and pamphlets generally and this particular pamphlet appeared to conform well with requirements. Under such circumstances, no objection was raised to the granting of the authority as requested.

Statute of Westminster.


Mr Beasley y. - On the 7th May, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) asked me whether the bill to ratify the Statute of Westminster would be introduced this session.

I am now in a position to state that the necessary bill to ratify the statute has been drafted and its introduction during the current session will receive consideration.







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