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Friday, 28 June 1946

Mr Calwell l. - Recently the honorable member for Warringah .(Mr. Spender) asked the following questions, upon notice -

1.   Will lie state to the House the general principles of national policy applied by him and/or his department in the issue of passports to people desirous of proceeding overseas?

2.   Under what legislative authority does he act in determining whether a passport should or should not be issued?

3.   Who gives the final approval for issue of all passports?

4.   Will he furnish to the House, with respect to Mrs. Sunderland-(nee Patricia King), of Darlinghurst, replies to the .following: - («,) Is it a fact that she was granted a passport: if so, when, and for what countries; (6) who approved of its issue; '(c) what business, if any, did she follow; (d) what was the purpose of her visit overseas for which a passport was granted; (e) did any member of this or any State Parliament support her application for a passport; if so, who; (/) 'did she travel by air or by sea; if so, when and in what circumstances; (

As promised, I now supply the following answers: - 1_ to 3. The issue of passports to people desirous of proceeding overseas is governed by the Passports Act 1938 and the regulations issued thereunder. Since the outbreak of war the grant of passport facilities has also been subject to the National Security (Passport) Regulations, under which it was necessary that every person leaving Australia should be in possession of a passport or equivalent document and have it endorsed f or the particular journey. The restrictions under the National Security (Passport) Regulations will be lifted generally as from the 1st July, and applicants will then be entitled to receive passports upon compliance with the usual peace-time requirements, provided also that they are eligible to proceed to the country of intended destination.

4.   The department received no application for a passport from any person whose maiden name was shown as Mrs. Sunderlandnée Patricia King; but there was an application lodgedat the Passport Office, Sydney, by Mrs. Phyllis Alice Sunderland, whose maiden name was shown as Phyllis Alice Weiske, which was verified by inquiry at the office of the RegisterGeneral. Evidence was also furnished that she was divorced from her husband. Her first stated intention was to proceed to the United States of America for marriage, but she obtained an American visa to proceed to that country for business. Evidence has been produced that Mrs. Sunderland remarried after her arrival in the United States of America and is now a resident of that country.Her application for a passport was sponsored by the managing director of the W. T. McClelland Company, for whom she had done work in campaigns for war-time amenities and health. The application was also supported by the Minister for Health for New South Wales on the understanding that Mrs. Sunderland would engage in certain research work in relation to advertising which would be of interest to his department. The passport was issued in October, 1945, by the acting passport officer at Sydney, in the absence of the passport officer on leave, without being referred to Canberra for my decision in accordance with usual practice. At the time of issue, there was no information available in the Passports Office to show that the applicant was identical with a woman known as "Patricia King".

Broadcasting : Government-sponsored Broadcasts.

Mr White asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General,upon notice -

1.   What is the total amount of radio time utilized by the Federal Government in the interests of Labour politics on both A and B class stations over the past three years?

2.   What Ministers and departments were concerned and on how many occasions?

Mr.Calwell. - The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers : -

1   . It is not the practice of the Government to utilize either national or commercial broadcasting stations in the interest of Labour politics. The position in this regard, insofar as the national service is concerned, was. fully explained by the Australian Broadcasting Commission on 3rd April when., in connexion with a question asked by the honorable member for Wilmot, the commission intimated, vide Hansard, page 935, that broadcasts by parliamentarians of all parties, for party political purposes between elections are not permitted. Full particulars of broadcasts by membersof the Government and of the Opposition from national stations during the months of December, 1945, and January and February, 1946, were given in response to a question by the honorable member for Warringah on the 14th March, vide Hansard, pages 356 and 357. If the honorable member will peruse thatstatement, he will,I am sure, appreciate that it would be hardly reasonable to require the Australian Broadcasting' Commission and the licensees of the commercial stations to supply similar information for the past three years.

2.   See answer to question 1.

Canberra: Destruction of Trees.

Mr Johnson n.- On Wednesday last, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) requested information from the Prime Minister as to why trees and shrubs are daily being destroyed in Canberra. The following information is supplied in answer to the honorable member's question: -

In creating the arboreal beauty of Canberra, the early planners and arboriculturists were faced with the problem of converting a sheep walk into what they hoped would become a garden city. In order to conquer the desiccating winds and the prevailing dust it was necessary to plant the avenues very thickly. It was realized that the trees and ornamental shrubs planted, in between the permanent avenue trees would later have to be removed before the competition of their branches and their roots became serious. That position was reached some years ago, and in order tomake sure that the work of thinning was carried out very carefully a committee was appointed to advise the department in this matter and on treeplanting in Canberra generally. The committee is called the Consultative Committee on Parks and Gardens, and consists of Dr. M. R. Jacobs, Director of the Australian Forestry School (Chairman), and Messrs. G. H. Romans and M. J. Moir. The Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, Mr. L. D. Prior, attends meetings of the committee. Its membership does not represent any particular interest, but it consists of men who have special knowledge of trees, landscapegardening and architecture and who consider the city and its beautification from a national point of view. Among its members is theSuper intendent of Parks and Gardens, who is directly responsible for the carrying out of all the work. All the thinning operations that have taken place since 1938 have been carried out on the recommendation of this committee in which the department has every confidence. A great deal more thinning will bo necessary before the avenue trees in Canberra may be said to be safe to grow into noble specimens. The removal of the golden cypress trees in Parliament House grounds, to which special reference has been made in the press, was a necessity. The growth of the permanent trees in the avenue has already been seriously retarded owing to root competition.

With regard to the pruning which has been carried out, the public must bear in mind that trees are living, growing things which must he led into their fullest development by the careful attention of the arboriculturists. Corrective treatment which has been and will be further carried out will ensure that in the future the trees will be well formed and stately, which they certainly never would have been had they not received attention. It is by the skill of the persons continually tending the trees that the ideal of the garden city will be attained in Canberra. It would be a shortsighted policy if unbridled development were allowed to ruin many fine plantings.

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