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Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Mr Hutchinson (DEAKIN, VICTORIA) n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

1.   Has his attention been drawn to a report appearing in the Melbourne Argus of the 1st May that Mr. Justice Martin, in the Victorian Banco Court, observed that if all bulk beer were sold in pots a profit of approximately 100 per cent, on the purchase price would be made, and if sold in glasses the profit would be nearly 200 per cent.?

2.   In view of this statement and His Honour's further observations that the profit on spirits and wines was 120 per cent., on aerated waters 500 per cent., and on bottled beer sold to be taken from the hotel 60 per cent, on each bottle, will he call for a report from the Prices Commissioner, and inform the House what margins of profits have been fixed for these commodities?

Mr. BEASLEY- The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers : -

1.   Yes.

2.   'J he observations by Mr. Justice Martin relate to a country hotel where the profit margins are wider than in the cities or in large towns. In the case under notice, the margins referred to a gross profit margin, not net margins, and they are lower than the margins that were in operation at the outbreak of war. The extent of the gross profit margin on certain lines is not a measure of the profitability of the whole business. Margins in different size drinks and different brands vary widely, but the following are indicative of representative brands and sizes in most Victorian hotels : -

Per cent.

Spirits -

Bottles . . 25

Nobblers 60 Wines . . 66-100

Aerated waters - Sold with spirits, no charge. Hold separately 60 Bottled beer . . 30

Bulk beer - Pots .. .. 06

Glasses . . . . . . 150

It should be added that price increases allowed since the war have been limited to increases justified by increased customs and excise duty, whilst gross profit margins have been reduced.

Mr Beasley y. - On the 20th May, the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner) asked the following question, without notice : -

In relation to the powers of the Minister for Trade and Customs in the direction of relaxing the regulations with respect to the rationing of liquor supplies in certain instances, I refer to a town at the northern end of my electorate, close to which a large military establishment has been recently set up, with the result that a very large number of men is now looking to the hotels of the town for their liquor requirements. Will the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs ascertain whether the ten hotelkeepers of that town sent to the Collector of Customs a statement of their case on the 27th April, and a telegram on the 15th May, to neither of which, so far, have they received a reply, with the result that a very large number of soldiers cannot obtain supplies of liquor?

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

On the 18th May, 1042, the ' Collector of Customs, Sydney, following investigations into


the representations made to him, authorized an increase in the monthly quota of beer to each of the ten hotels concerned to meet the requirements of a large influx of population into the town.

Food Rationing : Activities of W ae Organizations.

Mr Beasley - On the 19th May, the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan) asked the following question, withoutnotice: -

Is the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce aware that numbers of voluntary women's organizations which are doing valuable war work in providing cheap meals for members of the fighting services, having been in operation for less than twelve months, are being deprived of their ration quotas in certain respects; will the honorable gentleman see that these organizations arc placed on the same ration footing as similar organizations which have been operating for more than twelve months?

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

The honorable member is informed that whatever tea ration is decided upon for women's voluntary organizations will apply On a common basis regardless of date of establishment.

Department of Information : " Hate " Campaign.

Mr George Lawson n. - On the 21st May, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) asked the following questions of the Minister representing the Minister for Information : -

1.   Which officer or officers of the Department of Information wrote the script for the advertisements and the radio broadcasts in the recent popularly described " hate " campaign against Japan ?

2.   What are the salaries paid to such officers ?

3.   What was the cost of the campaign in respect of (a) press advertisements, and (6) radio broadcasts?

4.   How many officers are employed in the department, and what is their weekly salary bill?

The Minister for Information has supplied the following answers: -

1.   The advertisements were prepared by the Advertising Division of the Treasury in collaboration with the Department of Information from radio scripts which were written by the editorial staff of the Department of Information.

2.   Salaries as set out in the Australian journalists' award. .3. (a) £4,408; (6) aM station time was provided free, the only cost being for land-lines, which is noi yet available.

4.   One hundred and seventy-one - £1,14G.

Rural Production.

Mr CURTIN (FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) s.- On the 29th April, 1942, the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) asked me a question, withoutnotice, concerning proposals which had been submitted to .the Government relating to the creation of a national organization for the co-ordination and planning of rural production in war-time.

I desire to inform the honorable member that since the outbreak of war the Commonwealth Government, in association with the State authorities, has sought to direct production along channels necessary for the effective prosecution of the war. The Australian Agricultural Council, consisting of the State Ministers of Agriculture, and presided over by the Minister for Commerce. has met at frequent intervals to consider the problems that have arisen in connexion with our primary industries. In putting the plans formulated at these gatherings into effect, the Commonwealth lias received the whole-hearted co-operation of the State authorities. Every effort lias been made to meet the needs of our own and allied services, and of the civil population, and to supply the United Kingdom with essential foodstuffs and other primary products. The policy generally followed in these matters has been that of limiting control within primary industry as far as possible to those products which are regarded as essential, or which have been seriously affected by the war, at the same time, allowing to growers as much freedom of action as possible. It was considered that this was the quickest and most effective way in which the Government's objects could .be achieved. Apart, from control of specific commodities, however, advice has been tendered from time to time by the Commonwealth Government to producers generally regarding the best course of action to be followed in the national interest. The Commonwealth Government recently established an Australian Food Council which is charged with ensuring adequate supplies of food for service and civilian needs. The council is at present engaged in making a review of the food requirements in order to determine whether any action i.« necessary to increase production of commodities in short supply. Xt is hoped that with the machinery now in existence it will be possible to organize primary production upon an increasingly efficien basis, so that not only will the food needs of the nation be met, but also producers will be enabled to overcome the serious difficulties with which the war has confronted them. If experience shows, however, that further administrative changes are necessary, these will be made promptly by the Government.

Enemy News Broadcasts.

Mr George Lawson n. - On the 20th May, Dr. Price asked me a question, withoutnotice, as to how it is that Berlin, Tokio, and Rome are able to report immediately important items of Australian news such as the Prime Minister's declaration against strikes, the protest of the Leader of the Opposition against clothing regulations, and Sir Keith Murdoch's statements in the press?

I am advised . that the three items referred to were passed by censorship before being cabled abroad. It is presumed that they were then transmitted to the enemy from a neutral country. As the news items referred to were not subject to censorship on any security ground there would have been no justification for withholding them from publication.

State Financial Statements.

Mr Chifley y - On the 20th May, the honorable member for Lilley {Mr. Jolly) asked the following question, without notice : -

Can the Treasurer state whether it will be possible to make available to honorable members the statement setting out the estimated revenue and expenditure of the State governments in the current year, on which the formula included in the uniform .taxation proposals is based? I understand that this information is available in the Taxation Department. It would be of great value to honorable members.

The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : -

The compensation set out in the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Bill wa» not based on the revenue and expenditure of State governments in the current year. The basis of compensation is the average collec-in cost of collection and the estimated cost oftions of income taxes in 1939-40 and 1910-41 widows' pensions in the current year. The from which is deducted the estimated saving figures areas follows:-

Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics ; Finance, 1939-40, Bulletin No. SI, Page 24 ; Press Notice T N 1167 Commonwealth and State Taxation. 1940-11 ".

Civil Lv.ASB-I-.ENn Goons.

Mr Beasley - On the 21st May, the honorable member Tot Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) asked the following questions, upon notice.' -

1.   What firms are acting as agencies for the disposal of civil lease-lend goods in Australia?

2.   Has the list of such agencies been closed?

3.   On what financial terms do these agencieseperate

4.   What was the method of choice of such agencies T

5.   Were any offers to act as agents rejected; if so, why?

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

Up to the present, tin-plate is the only commodity obtained under lend-lease for which arrangements have been completed for employment of agents to distribute on behalf of the Commonwealth.

So fur as tinplate is concerned the answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   Such firms as were actively engaged as agents and/or importers of the commodity under pre lease-lend conditions and at the time of conclusion of agency arrangements were, in the opinion of the Government, sufficiently organized and possessed the knowledge to render to the Commonwealth service requisite to the proper distribution of the commodity.

2.   No.

3.   On the basis of a remuneration that will represent no more than a fair return for the services rendered in the work of distribution, in accordance with the principles laid down in the British White Paper of 10th September, 1941 , on export policy and distribution of lendlease poods.

4.   See answer to 1.

5.   No offers to act as agents f for distribution of tinplate were rejected. . Employment of Women

Mr Drakeford (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) (Minister for Air) d. - On the 21st May, the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) asked, without notice, what percentage of the male base rates was being paid to females at present engaged in government aircraft factories.

The Minister for Aircraft Production has furnished the following answer. -

The female adult base rate was originally approximately 60 per cent, of the adult male base rate, but it is now 62.5 per cent.. owing to a slight difference caused by variable incidence of the cost of living adjustment clause. In addition, adult females employed on work formerly done by males are paid the full male margin for the various classifications.

Gifts to MEMBERS of Forces.

Mr. CALWELLasked the Minister for Air, upon- notice -

1.   Is it a fact that Squadron-Leader Keith Truscott, who recently returned to Australia, was debarred by certain regulations from accepting a gift of £500 from a leading Melbourne sportsman; if so, does the Minister approve of such regulations?

2.   Is it a fact that 'during the last war the late Captain (then Corporal) Albert Jacka, V.C., was permitted to receive a gift of a like amount from the same gentleman?

3.   Are the regulations governing . these matters different in respect of the Air Force and the Army; if so, will he have the regulations of his department amended to accord with those of the Department of the Army!

Mr Drakeford - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows ; -

1.   Yes. Air force Regulations forbid the acceptance by a member of the Royal Australian Air Force of .presents in money from public bodies or private individuals in recognition of services rendered in performance of bis duties. In the interests of discipline, morale, and to guard against discrimination between members of a fighting force, retention of that regulation is regarded as important.

8.   During the last war, Mr. John Wren gave ?500 to the Department of Defence to be awarded to the first Australian to win the Victoria Cross. This amount was subsequently handed, by the then Minister for Defence to the mother of the late Captain (then Lance-Corporal) Jacka. 3. (a) Yes. (6) I will discuss the points of difference in the two sets of regulations with the Minister for the Army.

Army Magazine "Salt."

Mr Calwell l asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

2.   la the Armymagazine Salt still being published I

2.   If so, what staff is engaged on the publication and what are the names, ranks, and salaries of the officers concerned?

3.   What is the cost of the publication - (a) to date; (6) in respect of each of the lost three issues t

4.   Is he satisfied that the money spent on this publication is worth while?

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

1.   Yes.

2.   The staff engaged consists of seven officers and fifteen other ranks, with five civilian typists. The ranks, names and salaries of the officers concerned are as follows : -

* Including subsistence and deferred pay, but excluding dependants allowance. 3. (a) The cost of the publication to the 18th May, 1942, is ?16,700; (5) the publication cost of each of the last three issues is as follows: -


Major M.ErskineWyse Captain M. B. MacCallum Captain E. H. Valkenberg

Lieutenant W. L. Lee

Lieutenant R. A. Paul!

Lieutenant J. Littlewood

Lieutenant H. Gilchrist

? 028 491 491 400 400 400 400

? s. d.

Vol. 3. No. 5- 4th May, 1842 578 5 0 Vol. 3. No. 6- 11th May, 1942 0B5 5 0 Vol. 3, No. 7- 18th May, 1942- 544 0 0 4. The matter is now under consideration.

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