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Friday, 28 June 1946

Mr Anthony y asked the. Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   When did the Mortgage Bank Department of the Commonwealth Bank commence business ?

2.   How many applications have been made for loans since the department's inception, to the most recent date for which figures are available?

3.   How many were rejected and how many were accepted?

4.   How many applications were approved, and what were the total amounts advanced, for (a) rural properties connected with farming and grazing, and (6) city and urban properties?

5.   Howmany of the loans made are in respect of (a) mortgages taken over from other banks and financial institutions, and

(b   ) original new business ?

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

1.   27th September, 1943.

2.   2,535 to 25thJune, 1946.

3.   Declined 936, approved 1,398, under consideration 201. 4. (a) 1,398 loans for £2,924,105.(b) nil. In accordance with the act, loans are made only against the security of farming and grazing properties. It is not a function of the Mortgage Bank Department to lend against city and urban property.

5.   It is not possible to supply the information required, as invariably each loan is made for several purposes. Amounts advanced have been for the following purposes: - To pay off other banks, £525,79 1; to pay off private mortgages, £905,002; new business, £1,493,252.

Armed Forces: Liverpool Camp; Special Leave for ex-Prisoners of War-; Waterfront Employment.

Mr Holt (FAWKNER, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for the fnterior, upon notice -

1   . What contracts, if any, for the supply of sand or other, building material have been lot by the Commonwealth Government or any person acting on its behalf since the 1st September, 1944, to Mr. Raymond E. Fitzpatrick. contractor of Bankstown, New South Wales?

2.   Has Mr. Fitzpatrick been allowed regular access through the Liverpool Main Camp area to secure sand from the George's River?

3.   Whenwas permission given to Mr. Fitzpatrick, by whom, and with whose authority?

4.   Over what period of time has Mr. Fitzpatrick been traversing this area with his vehicles ?

5.   What fee is charged to Mr. Fitzpatrick for this right of carriageway?

6.   What other applications have been received from contractors to obtain access to George's River through the camp area; and, if any, when?

7.   What other contractors, if any, have been given similar rights or privileges of carriageway?

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

1.   No contracts have been let by the Commonwealth Government. Mr. Fitzpatrick dredges sand from the bed of the George's River, which is not Commonwealth property but under the control of the Department of Mines, New South Wales.

2.   Yes.

3.   In December, 1944, Mr. Fitzpatrick was granted access to the river bed within restricted limits by the Army authorities, who gave permission for the erection of a sand pump on Commonwealth property on the river bank to obtain sand required for defence buildings. He continues to obtain sand, which it is stated is largely for government and municipal contracts.

4.   Since December, 1944, to the present day.

5.   Three-pence per ton, which is paid as royalty.

6.   Mr. J.Mawby applied for access through Commonwealth property to dredging rights in Tudera Creek which he waa seeking simultaneously from the Mines Department, New South Wales. His application, dated 0th June, 1040, was referred to the Army authorities. A reply is awaited. Mr. C. Skevington applied to the Army authorities on o"r before the 17th December, 1945, for dredging rights. This was referred to the State department concerned. Mr. Fitzpatrick applied to the Army authorities for an extension of his dredging area. This was also referred to the State department.

7.   The Sydney City Council has held a licence to take sand from the river bank since the 6th January, 1944. An application to extend its area was recently approved. Cement Mortars Limited applied for the right to take sand from the river bank. This has also been approved. Approval in each case was given by the Department of the Army.

Mr Francis asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice, -

1.   Is it a fact that many former Australian prisoners of war who had a leave entitlement of 112 days' recreation and disembarkation leave and were discharged after 10th September, 1945, were limited to. GO days' special prisoner-of-war leave, thus losing 52 days' leave or at least £20, ite cash equivalent?

2.   ls it a fact that prisoners of war discharged between )5th August and 10th September, 1945, were limited to 28 days' disembarkation leave, thus losing 84 days' leave or about £42?

3.   Is it a fact that those discharged before 15th August lost 84 days' recreation leave, plus 30 days' re-establishment leave, totalling 144 days' leave, or about £57?

4.   Is it a fact that under the Government's present policy these men will lose more than. £1,000,000 cash in disallowed leave credits?

Mr Forde e. - The answers to thu honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   No. With effect from 10th September, 1945, leave amounting to 00 days was granted to all prisoners of war irrespective of their period of service, in addition to any leave accrued and not taken prior to date of capture. This decision was not made retrospective to returned prisoners of war who had been discharged prior to' that date. No other credit was authorized in respect of disembarkation leave or recreation leave for the period from the date of capture to the date of disembarkation in Australia. Prisoners of war, in common with all members of the forces, were entitled, in addition, to seven and a half days' war service leave, in respect of each period of six months' service outside Australia; and for the purpose of calculating the total period of this leave, the Government directed that the period during which a member of the forces was a prisoner of war in enemy hands should be included. The above basis of authorizing special leave to prisoners of war differed, how-' ever, from that which operated in the case of members of the forces serving in the South west Pacific Area, who, from 1st July, 1942, were entitled to recreation leave at the rate of two days per month, and any leave taken during service was debited against this entitlement. Thus, a member serving continuously in the forces from 1st July, 1942, could accumulate leave at the rate of two days monthly, and would, in September, 1945, have accumulated a total of 78 days' leave, less any leave taken within that period. As the majority of serving members would have had at least one period of 24 days' leave within that time, the maximum credit of recreation leave would be in the vicinity of 54 days, but the majority of serving' soldiers had a lesser entitlement. 2 and 3. No. Prior to 10th September, 1945, members recovered from the enemy and returned to Australia received special leave of varying periods applicable at the time to the circumstances of each party returning. For instance, those who were recovered from the torpedoed Japanese transport Rakuyo Maru in September, 1944, were granted leave on disembarkation in Australia totalling. 90 days, because of the special circumstances in this particular instance. Recovered prisoners of war -who returned to Australia prior to the cessation of hostilities in 1945 were in two categories, namely, those who continued their army service after return to Australia, and those whose services in the Australian Military Forces terminated after their return to Australia because of medical unfitness or other reasons. The former personnel received a minimum of fourteen days' disembarkation leave prior to resuming duty. In special cases, as indicated above, this leave was extended 'to 90 days. The latter personnel, the majority of whom were medically unfit, were given hospital and other treatment on the expiration of disembarkation leave, which, as in the ease of those who continued serving, was a minimum of fourteen days and extended in some cases to 90 days. In addition to any recreation leave granted on disembarkation, members who continued to serve became eligible for the credit of recreation leave at the rate of twu days for each 'month of service, and on discharge any credit of recreation leave that remained due was made available to them. Likewise, the period of service between the date of return to Australia and the date of discharge of returned prisoner-of-war personnel who' were given a period of hospital and other treatment prior to discharge, counted towards recreation leave. It was important that, in considering this question, it was ensured that members of the forces who served continuously overseas should not be. treated less favorably than members of the forces who, during their service, were taken prisoner of war. This is particularly applicable to the re-establishment leave of . 30 days for which prisoners of war, along with all other members of the forces who were discharged after 15th August, 1945, became eligible. No member of the forces who" was discharged prior to that date, whether a prisoner of war or otherwise, received reestablishment leave.

Mr BERNARD CORSER (WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND) asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   What amount of money was earned by

Australian servicemen during and since the war, over and above their service pay, while engaged at the waterfront in the loading and unloading of ships?

2.   What amount was earned over and above that which was paid the servicemen performing these duties?

3.   To what fund has this balance been credited?

4.   Is it now proposed to make this amount available to servicemen, and, if not, for what purpose is it intended?

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

1.   A soldier, in addition to his pay, receives free rations and quarters or payment in lieu thereof, clothing, medical and dental attention, concession fares and considerable taxation concessions, and provision is made for his dependants by payment of dependant's allowance. Members of Docks Operating Companies and Employment Companies, when used in waterfront work, were employed as military units, and as such they were liable for duty associated with their units in operational or other areas. No action was taken to maintain costing figures for these or any other units of the Australian Army, as no good purpose would have been served thereby in comparison with the staffs that would have been required for the purpose. If such costing figures had been maintained, it would have been necessary, in determining the cost of any individual units, to have taken into consideration all overhead costs including Army administrative and maintenance staffs.

2.   See reply to question 1.

3.   Amounts due to the Commonwealth for services rendered by Docks Operating Companies and Employment Companies were, on receipt, credited to Consolidated Revenue of the Commonwealth.

4.   No. Members of these units received their full entitlement for their ranks and trade groupings under Army Regulations for the services rendered by them, and it would be contrary to the policy of the Government to make payment to one section of the Australian MilitaryForces additional to the regulation pay and allowances of their rank and trade grouping, merely because of the fact that by reason of such service Commonwealth revenue had received a direct benefit.

Mr Abbott asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   What specific principles govern thegrouping of goods into different classes forsales tax purposes, with special reference to the percentage of sales tax payable on each?

2.   What is the rate of sales tax on gas and electrical equipment, including vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, washing machines, clothes wringers, floor polishers, carpet sweepers, cutlery, tooth paste, fountain pens, clocks and lawnmowers?

3.   What is the rate of sales tax on equipment, apparatus and accessories used in horse lacing, greyhound racing, boxing, cards, dice, roulette and betting tickets?

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

1.   The maximum rate of tax was applied during the war period to goods which were regarded as coming within the category of luxuries, or as of a less essential nature.

2.   Sales tax is payable at the rate of12½ per cent. in respect of household gas and electrical equipment, including vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, washing machines, clothes wringers, floor polishers, carpet sweepers, cutlery, alarm clocks and business time-recording machines, and lawnmowers. Tax is payable at the rate of 25 per cent. in respect of toothpaste, fountain pens and watches and clocks other than alarm clocks.

3.   Goods for use in sports and games, including the goods specified in paragraph 3 of the question are subject to tax at 12½ per cent.

Mr Fadden asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   What was the total paid in (a) salaries, and/or wages, (b) allowances and/or out of pocket expenses, to persons employed in connexion with the Security Loan?

2.   What was the cost of publicity for the loan by (a) advertising in city and country newspapers, (b) broadcasting,(c) films, (d) booklets, (e) pamphlets and posters, (f) other publicity media ?

3.   When was the " keep-prices-down " campaign launched?

4.   What was spent on this campaign to the end of May?

Mr Chifley y. - The answers to the right honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1. (a) Approximately £64,700; (6) approximately £12,000. 2. (a) £41,600. (b) £10,750. (c) £2,453- production cost only; no charges were made for screening. (d) £3,710 - this includes pamphlets; it isimpracticable to give separate figures for booklets, (e) £4,944 - posters only; pamphlets are included under(d) .(f) £2,482.

3.   Middle of December, 1945.

4.   £54,747.

Public Service : Ex-SERVICE Employees.

Mr Francis asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Will he consider the restoration of Section 84 (9) (c) of the Commonwealth Public Service Act, which provided for the granting of permanent status to temporary returned soldier public servants who have been favorably reported upon after two years' service?

Mr Chifley y. - The Government does not propose at present to restore this section of the Commonwealth Public Service Act. The order . of preference foi' appointment given by former section 84 (9) (c) did not always operate in the best interests of the Public Service and did not always operate fairly as between ex-servicemen. Men secured priority in permanent appointment merely by the fortuitous circumstance of having been available for temporary employment. Capable and highly efficient returned soldiers who baf] not sought temporary employment but wished to secure permanent appointment in the Commonwealth Public Service were debarred because of the preference given to those who happened to have been available earlier for temporary engagement.

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