Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    
Thursday, 4 July 1946
Page: 2256


Mr Rankin n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

1.   When were contracts originally entered into with the United Kingdom Government for the purchaseof Australia's principal primary products ?

2.   What was the actual value of exports to the United Kingdom under these contracts of (a) wool, (6) butter, (c) cheese, (d) eggs, (e) beef and veal, (f) mutton, (g) lamb, (h) pork, (i) sugar, and(j) other commodities, in each year since the contracts were first entered into?.


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

1.   Contracts with the Government of the United Kingdom for the purchase of Australia's principal primary products were negotiated during the latter part of 1939.

2.   The information sought by the honorable member in regard to values of exports of various commodities over a period of seven yearsis not readily available.

Food for Britain.


Mr Chifley y. - Onthe 20thJune, the right honorable member for Darling Downs {Mr. Fadden) addressed a question to me concerning the export of fats and oils to Great Britain to alleviate the present shortage in that country.

Very close consideration has been given to the methods by which exports of fats and oils may be stimulated, particularly for export to the United Kingdom, with a view to relieving the present shortage of these commodities, primarily for food purposes. The present position is - as follows : -

Table Margarine.- Four thousand tons of table margarine manufactured from coco-nut oil are already being produced on behalf of the British War Office. A further 1,000 tons were offered to London in May, but have not yet been accepted. It is expected that an additional 1,500 tons of margarine can bo made available, if required, to the British Ministry of Pood by the end of this year. In addition all supplies of table margarine ยป declared as surplus from Australian Army stock are offered from time to time to the Ministry of Pood and disposed of according to its instructions.

Tallow and Soap.- The International Emergency Fowl Council , allocated to Unrra ' for supply from Australia 5,000 tons of soap. The United Kingdom advised its approval of this. Tenders for supply of the first half of this amount are about to be called. In addition the Commonwealth Government is offering to make available to England 5,000 tons of soap for direct purchase. The amount of tallow involved. in these two allocations is approximately (5,000 tons. If the United Kingdom accepts the offer of 5,000 tons it will directly assist the edible fat position there, as it is understood that quantities of edible fats are being used in the United Kingdom for the manufacture of soap. Tin's would not be the case with soap from Australia, which is made from inedible tallow. The position regarding edible animal fats in Australia is very serious and the majority of industrial margarine factories which supply the bulk of fats used for shortening for all industrial purposes are operating on a very reduced scale. In fact, the largest plants arc to-day supplying only 30 per cent, of the quantities which they supplied in 1942. In these circumstances the Government has . not agreed to release any commercial quantities of edible fat for export to the United Kingdom, although it is not restricting the export of fats in gift parcels, &c.

Sweet Edible Oils.- As a result of the cancellation of the Australian allocation of 8,000 tons of peanuts from India, which was intended for oil expression, and the improbability of alternative oil being supplied in the near future from overseas sources, we are unable to make any positive ' contribution to the world position in this regard. Iti fact the Commonwealth Government is at present considering the diversion to the production of peanut oil of half of the Queensland peanut crop which would normally be sold on the Australian market. This will involve considerable Government expenditure by way of subsidy in view of the disparity in prices between peanuts used for ordinary consumption and peanut butter and for . oil expression.

Butler.- A survey was made recently of the present and estimated future production of factory butter in Australia during 1940. There is every indication of a striking improvement in the over-all production, which is expected to reach the figure of 100,000 tons. After making provision for known demands by the Australian services, the British Admiralty and the British War Office, together with requirements for Australian civilian consumption and other export orders approved by the British Ministry of Food, it is anticipated that at least 05,000 tons of butter will be available for shipment to the United Kingdom during this calendar year. This quantity compares very favorably with the 45,300 tons shipped during 1943, 40,136 tons during 1944, and 40,647 tons during 1945.

Meat Industry : Pig Meat : Appointment of Inspector in Victoria - Queensland Strike.


Mr Scully - Yesterday the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) referred to the appointment by the Controller of Meat Supplies of an inspector in Victoria to supervise pig sales, and mentioned that the officer appointed was also a buyer of pigs.

The facts of the position, are as follows :- -

Owing to the excessively high prices which were being paid for pigs in Victoria in May and June of last year, representatives of certain sections of the industry requested the Controller of Meat Supplies to police markets in order to ensure that prices be related to the prices determined by the' Commonwealth Government under the pig-meat plan. The Controller of Meat Supplies endeavoured to obtain the services of a competent independent man to carry out these duties, and ultimately accepted a recommendation from a committee of bacon curers and exporters that Mr. J. M. Wilson, a pig-meat exporter, be appointed. Mr. Wilson took up duty on the 10th June, 1945, and ceased duty on the 19th July, 1945, a period of less than six weeks. He carried out his duties to the complete satisfaction pf the Controller of Meat Supplies and at financial loss to himself. I am unable to understand, why the honorable member has raised this matter twelve months after the person concerned ceased duty with the meat control organization.


Mr Abbott t asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that the Commonwealth Meat Controller (Mr. Tonkin) recently visited Brisbane and met representatives of the meat . workers and the meat employers with a view to bringing about a settlement of the meat workers' strike in Queensland ?

2.   If so, will he say what were the results of the conference, and what suggestions Mr. Tonkin made to bring about a settlement of the dispute?


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

1.   The Controller of Meat Supplies visited Brisbane recently and met separately representatives of meat workers and of the meat employers.

2.   A conference between the parties was not held, but after discussions with the interested parties, the Controller submitted the following proposals as a basis for the settlement of the meat dispute: - (I.) The Queensland Meat Industry Board.

1.   The Brisbane Abattoir to re-open.

2.   Men to resume work in accordance with the direction of the order of the Queensland Industrial Court, of 2nd May, 1940.

3.   There will be absolute protection for the retention of jobs of employees, including transport drivers, who have remained at work or who have been engaged since the commencement of the strike. There will be no victimization of former employees, who' will be reemployed according to the requirement of .the Queensland Meat Industry Board.

4.   The board ' agrees to confer with representatives of the employees, not later than fourteen (14) days after the resumption of work on any matters outstanding, or which either party wishes to bring forward for discussion. The conferences will be presided over by a chairman acceptable to the parties to the conference, and who, if possible, will be selected from within the meat industry.

5.   Failing agreement on any point by the conference, such' matter may be referred by either party to the Industrial Court for determination.

6.   Re-employment of labour generally will follow the course of the engagement of those previously employed at the Brisbane abattoir with due regard to the nature of the vacant positions.

7.   The board agrees to deal justly and fairly with employees in conference on any matter, but it is suggested that there are certain agreements, customs or practices which will not be difficult of re-adoption.

8.   It is agreed that union officials will not be excluded from employment because of their official connexion with the union, and- it is unders'tood that the board will re-employ all union officials.

9.   In regard to employees of unions affected by the dispute, other than the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union, Federated Engine Drivers and Amalgamated Engineers Union, it is agreed that, the board will reemploy members in accordance with the rates of pay and the terms of the existing relevant awards, and will apply to these unions the provisions of clauses 3 and 4 above.

10.   With regard to the seniority agreement which the board entered into with the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union prior to the commencement of the strike, but which agreement has now lapsed, the board is' prepared to confer with the union with a view to the establishment of some form of just protection for its employees when necessary for .the staff to -be reduced.

11.   The employees' proposal that the break in their service due to the strike period be not counted against them for the purpose of seniority was considered, but whilst the board is of opinion that a break has occurred due to the strike, it is willing that it be a subject for the conference.

12.   It is understood that all black bans will be lifted automatically immediately the dispute is settled. (TI.) Meat Export Companies.

1.   Res'umption of work by the men on the award now existing in accordance with the direction of the court's order of 2nd May, 1940- No. 109 of 1940.

2.   There will be absolute protection for the retention of jobs of employees, including transport drivers, who have remained at work or have been engaged since the commencement of the strike. There will be no victimization of former employees, who will be re-employed according to the requirements of the employers.

3.   The employers agree to confer with representatives of the employees not later than fourteen days after the resumption of work on any matters outstanding or which either party wishes to bring forward for discussion. The conference must he a State conference and not sectional. The conference will bc presided over by a chairman acceptable to the parties and who will be selected" from representatives nominated to attend the conference.

4.   Failing agreement on any point at any of the conferences, such matter may be referred to the Quensland Industrial Court for determination.

5.   The employers agree to deal justly and fairly with the employees in conference on any matter, but it is suggested that there are certain agreements, customs and practices which will not be difficult of re-adoption.

0.   It is agreed that former' employees will not be excluded from employment "because they have been union. officials. The companies will recognize two representatives elected by the employees on the works.

7.   In regard to employees of unions affected by the dispute, other than the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union, Federated Engine Drivers a.nd Firemens Association and Amalgamated Engineers Union, it is agreed that the companies will re-employ members according to the employers' requirements in accordance with the terms of the existing awards and will apply to those unions the provisions of clauses 2 and 3 above. This understanding does not apply to certain private contracts and agreements as between certain members of the Clerks -Union and their respective employers. 8.It is understood that all black bans will be lifted automatically immediately the dispute is settled. (III.)Bacon Employers and Meat Preservers.

1.   Resumption of work by the men on the award now existing in accordance with the direction of the court's order of the 2nd May, 1946- No. 109 of 1946.

2.   There will be absolute protection for the retention of jobs of employees, including transport drivers, who have remained at work or have been engaged since the commencement of the strike. There will be no victimization of former employees, who will be re-employed according to the requirements of the employers.

3.   The employers agree to. confer with representatives of the employees not later than fourteen days after the resumption of work on any matters outstanding, or which cither party wishes to bring forward for discussion. The conference must be a State conference and not sectional. The conference will be presided over by a chairman acceptable to the parties and who will be selected from representatives nominated to attend the conference.

4.   Failing agreement on any point at any of the conferences, such matter may be referred to the Queensland Industrial Court for determination. 5.Re-employment of labour generally will follow the course of the engagement of men previously employedin the industry, but decisions in this regard will be influenced by the nature of the vacant positions.

6.   The employers agree to deal justly and fairly with the employees in conference on any matter, but it is suggested that there are certain agreements, customs and practices which will not be difficult of re-adoption.

7.   In regard, to bacon factories and meat preserving works, the award does not provide fur recognition of any union officials employed on the works. The bacon employers and meat preservers will not exclude any officials as such from re-employment, but they are prepared to give the m a priority of re-employment over other former employees.

8.   In regard to employees of unions affected by the dispute, other than the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union, Federal Engine Drivers and Firemens Association and the Amalgamated Engineering Union, it is agreed that the companies will re-employ members according to the employers' requirements in accordance with the terms of the existing awards and will apply to those unions the provisions of clauses 2 and 3 above. This understanding docs not apply to certain private contracts and agreements as between certain members of the ClerksUnion and their respective employers. 9.It is understood that all black bans will be lifted automatically immediately the dispute is settled.

Telephone Directories.


Mr Calwell l. -Recently the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral whether it would be possible, now that the war is over, to have the telephone directories printed in a type more easily read and toinclude more detail as to street names.

The Postmaster-General has supplied the following information: -

The matter of increasing the frequency of the issue of telephone directories and the adoption of a larger type for subscribers' entries is being examined, and it is hoped to reach a decision in regard thereto at an early date.

Machine Tools: Agents' Commissions on Sales.


Mr Harrison asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that during the war certain shipments of machine tools from America were made direct to the Commonwealth Govern- ment and that commission payable to agents in Australiawas included in the purchase price?

2.   Is it a fact that these commissions have been paid when claims have been lodged, and that, in many cases where agents have not been advised by the manufacturers, such commissions have lain dormant in the hands of the Commonwealth Government?

3.   Will he make available to the House a list of individual unclaimed commissions to Australian agents in relationto machine tools supplied by American manufacturers to the Commonwealth Government?

Mr.Chifley. - Inquiries are being made and a reply will he furnished as soon as possible.

Buffalo-fly.


Mr Fadden n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Has the Government recently given consideration to official reports regarding the imminent threat. of the buffalo-fly to the southern States of the Commonwealth, which is causing graziers and. dairymen great anxiety ?

2.   If so, can he inform the House of the result?

3.   If the position has not already been examined, will he arrange for an immediate investigation to be made concerning a proposal from the United Graziers Association of Queensland that the Commonwealth Government should assume responsibility for administering the. control and eradication of this pest?

4.   Will he moke an early statement on the result of such investigation ?


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

1.   The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research keeps constant watch on the movements of the buffalo-fly. The fly now appears to have reached a line fromInjune in the west to Roma, Miles, Dalby, Proston and Maryborough on the coast. It occurs in northern Western

Australia, the Northern Territory and in Queensland.

2.   the Council tor Scientific and" Industrial Research is constantly assisting State Department's of Agriculture in investigations and tests. As a result of recent trials in the field, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is satisfied that practical methods, by means of sprays, dips and the use of traps, exist for effective control of the fly on individual properties.

3.   The practical application of these trials is a matter principally for the State Departments of Agriculture and for individual station owners. The Commonwealth, through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, will continue to give the assistance of which it is capable. Had. those in opposition to the referendum proposals of 1944, particularly in Queensland, not been so successful, the Commonwealth would have had, for a term of years at least, powers and responsibility of the more direct sort which the United Graziers Association of Queensland have in mind. In fact, the Commonwealth has no such powers.

4.   See answers to Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

Australian Army: Courts-martial and Detention Barracks.


Mr Forde e. - On the 20th June the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan) asked whether the report of the Board of Inquiry set up toexamine the conduct of courts-martial and detention barracks had been received.

I understand that the boardhas completed the final draft of the court-martial . section of its report,' which is now being typed. The final draft of the section of the report dealing withdetention barracks will be completed within a few days, and the typing of that section will then be undertaken. I understand that the report is a lengthy one and that typing, editing and assembling will take some weeks, before which the report cannot be made available.







Suggest corrections