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Wednesday, 10 July 1946

Mr Abbott t asked the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, upon notice -

1.   Was an order accepted from New Zealand in 1944 for 500,000 yards of textile material?

2.   Have any subsequent orders from that country been accepted? .

3.   If so, what quantity of (a) double weft, and (6) single weft cloth was supplied in each instance?

4.   How much double weft cloth was made available to Australian civilians in 1944 and 1 945 ?

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

1.   The Commonwealth has never accepted any definite order from New Zealand for textiles. However, the' Government did agree that New Zealand could secure from Australia up to a maximum quantity of 500,000 lineal yards of materials during 1944. The actual quantity exported depends upon what arrangements New Zealand importers can make with Australian mills.

2.   A similar arrangement was made between the Australian Government and the New Zealand Government for the export of a maximum quantity of 500,000 lineal yards during 1945. This quota was renewed for the current year.

3.   No statistics are available of the respective shipments of double weft and single weft cloths during 1944. It is known however that during 1944, 27 per cent, of the total exports consisted of batter-grade cloths which included both woollen - and worsted materials. During 1945, 90,000 lineal yards of double-weft cloth were purchased by New Zealand buyers.

4.   Records are not maintained of the quantities of double and single weft cloth produced by Australian mills. However, the following quantities of worsted suitings were distributed for internal use by the Australian mills: - In 1944, 2,529,000 lineal yards: 1945. 3,478,000 lineal yards.

Australia's "War Effort : . Strength.. Equipment and Services of Armed Forces.

Sir Earle Page (COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

What was the date of the formation of («) the 6th Division, (6) 'the 7th Division,

(o)   the 8th Division, and (fi) the 9th Division of the Second Australian Imperial Force; and at what date did each first go into action against the enemy?

2.   How many 8-in. cruisers; 0-in. cruisers; armed merchant cruisers; destroyers; sloops; mine-sweepers; hospital ships: boom defencevessels; tribal-class destroyers; A.M.S. vessels, and corvettes were in commission by the 1st October, 1941?

3.   What was the number of service squadrons with ancillary units, and the total personnel of the Royal Australian Air Force on the 1st October, 1941?

4.   What was the total personnel of enlistments for the Empire Air Training Scheme up to the 1st October, 1941?

5.   What was the number of annexes and munition factories either built or being builtin country and city by the 1st October, 1941?

6.   In which towns or cities were these establishments situated? °

7.   What was the total number employed in government munition factories, annexes, and naval and merchant shipbuilding establishments on the 1st October, 1941?

8.   What was the total production of Australianbuilt aeroplanes delivered by the 31st December, 1941?

9.   How many Australian-built aeroplanes were sold or were on order for delivery to ' the United Kingdom and the adjacent allied countries up to the 31st December, 1941 ?

Mr Chifley y. - The information . is being obtained and will be furnished to the right honorable member as early as practicable.

Fuel Oil.

Mr Scully y. - On the 26th June, the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Turnbull) asked whether there was any prospect of a reduction of the price of fuel oil. I have been informed by the Minister for Trade and Customs that the prices of petroleum products are continually under review by the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner and those prices are periodically adjusted in accordance with changes of actual costs. I anr informed that the recent trend of costs has been downwards, and this trend, if maintained, should be reflected in due course in lower prices.

Steel Exports.

Mr Scully y. - On the 3rd July, the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Daly) asked for details of the quantity of steel ingots, &c., exported from Australia to the United Kingdom in the last twelve months.

The figures available are for the period ended the 31st May, 1946, and are as follows : - lion and steel ingots, slabs, &c, 1,711,540 '.".t.; .value, £1,01)3,624.

Bars and rods, 40,141 cwt.; value, £26,264.-


Mr Scully y. - On the 3rd July the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Langtry) asked for particulars of the guaranteed price for oats from the coming crop.

A price of 3s. a bushel at growers' sidings will be paid for feed oats delivered lo the Australian Barley Board. Delivery by growers is voluntary, and they are free to sell on the open market if they wish to do .so. This gives growers the choice of open sale or delivery at the guaranteed price.

Northern Territory : Disposal of Building Materials.

Mr Dedman n. - On the 3rd. July the honorable member for Northern Territory. (Mr. Blain) asked a question concerning the shipment of building materials from Darwin.

The Minister for Supply and Shipping has supplied the following answer: -

F.very opportunity is being .given by the

Commonwealth Disposals Com mission, through its local District Superintendent "in Darwin, to figure that stocks of building materials and other items required for use in the Territory are made available to local residents. Shipments out of Darwin would, in the main, be of goads not released by the holding departments to the Commonwealth Disposals Coin-mission for sale, these holding departments being the service departments, and the Department of Works and Housing. The representations of the honorable member will be brought to the notice of the Ministers in charge of the departments concerned.

Australian Memorial in Tobruk.

Mr Chifley - On the 28th June the honorable member for Parkes .(Mr. Haylen) directed the following questions to me : -

Has the Prime Minister any information concerning the completion of the memorial to Australian servicemen being erected by. the m iti:11 War Graves Commission in Tobruk? If the memorial has been completed have any plans been made for Australian representation at its unveiling, and if no decision has yet been made will the right honorable gentleman consider the claims of representatives of the Eats .of Tobruk Association to attend theunveiling?

Reports received last year from representatives of the Imperial War GravesCommission indicated that the memorial erected by Australian troops in the cemetery is marred by surface cracking and if allowed to remain in its present form will deteriorate further. In addition to the gradual deterioration of the memorial, its position is off the established axis of the central path on which i-t stands. After, full consideration of the position, the Commonwealth Government hasapproved the replacement of the existing memorial with one of a permanent nature at a cost of approximately £1,000 sterling. The approved design prepared by the principal architect of the Imperial War G raves Commission retains the essential character of the existing memorial. It is not expected that the. permanent memorial -will be completed for at least another six months, but advice is now being sought from the commission as to the probable dato of completion. When this information i3 to hand it will be conveyed to the honorable member for Parkes. To date no request has been received by the Government from any of the branches of the Bats of Tobruk Association for representation at an unveiling ceremony. Any such application will receive consideration when the memorial- is nearing completion in the light of conditions then existing.

German R e p a r a ti o n s .

Mr Chifley y. - On the 3rd July, the honorable member for Wide Bay, (Mr. Corser) asked the following questions: -

Will the Prime Minister inform me whether Australia is entitled to reparations from Germany, and, if so, -what is the value of them? Are reparations to be made in machinery, and, if so, what kind of machinery?

Australia is entitled to reparations from Germany in conformity with the terms of the Potsdam Declaration of August, 1945. This declaration allocates to the Allied Nations, excluding the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Poland, 75 per cent, of the removals from the Western zone. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Poland a'*e to receive 25 per cent, from the Western zone in addition to the removals from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics zone. German external assets also, are to be appropriately allocated. The listing of German plants, equipment, and general items available for the payment of reparations is in the banda of the Allied Control Council. As yet this authority has not completed its task of selecting factories for reparation, and so no official estimate of the total value is available. Australia is a signatory to the Reparations Agreement drawn up by- the Paris conference of December, 1945. This agreement divides the '75 per cent, of the reparations from the Western zone into two categories: (a) industrial capital -equipment and merchant shipping, of which Australia is to receive 0.95 per cent.;. (6) all other items, including Germany's external assets (excluding gold), of which Australia is to receive 0.70 per cent. As yet there is no clear indication .of the value of Australia's share in reparations. Though these percentages appear small and are no adequate measure of the burden of war on Australia, 'or of its contribution to victory, it must be remembered: (o) that Australia ' is but one of eighteen claimant countries; (2>) that these include several European countries which suffered such severe material damage at the hands of Germany that they must rely largely upon German reparations for even partial restoration of their pre-war economy. To date, twenty German industrial plants have been* listed for allocation by the Inter-Allied Separations Agency, .and. negotiations for their allocation commenced on the 1st July. ' Australia lodged claims for electro-generating power plants and a selection of machine tools- in urgent demand and unavailable from other sources. Whilst Australia has a wide variety of industries in urgent need of plant and equipment, it is necessary to give first consideration to such items as will be of the widest benefit to the country. This is particularly necessary in" view of the relatively small total value of reparations that will be alio;cated to Australia.

War Crimes: .Trial of Japanese; - Resignation of Counsel.

A£r. Makin. - On the 21st June the honorable member for Wentworth '(Mr.

Harrison) asked a question regarding the alleged resignation of certain members of the War Crimes Defence Section in Tokyo.

The present trial is being held before an international tribunal of distinguished judges, appointed by the Supreme Commander, and its conduct accords with due standards of international justice and equity. The indictment of the accused was drawn up by an international board of prosecutors, and its findings arc the result of a prolonged and exhaustive inquiry into the available evidence relating to the possible war guilt of former leaders of military, political and economic life in . Japan. , The indictment was lodged with the international tribunal on the 29th April last and the defendants were arraigned before the court on the . 3rd May. A month's adjournment was then granted to enable the counsel- to prepare the defence, and the tribunal reassembled - on the 3rd June. Concerning the reported '. resignation of certain, of the defence counsel, I can now advise -the honorable member that six members of the original American defence counsel assigned by General Head-quarters recently resigned. The circumstances were that additional

American counsel were engaged in the United ' States of America during. - the preparation of the defence and, arising from a failure to agree on matters connected with conduct of the defence, cer- tain members of the original group resigned. The honorable member will appreciate that these resignations in no way prejudice continued observance of the principle that the accused must have access during the trial to defence counsel.

Tasmanian Cable Service.

Mr Calwell l. - On the 5th July the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) asked the following questions : -

Will the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral ascertain the reasons for the long delays on the Tasmanian cable service and see if they can be minimized? If the line is subject to undue pressure, will the installation of the radio link between northern Tasmania and the .mainland be expedited J

The Postmaster-General, has supplied the following answer :-~

The need for- augmenting the telephone facilities between- the mainland ' and Tasmania ls fully recognized by the Post Office and work is now in hand to provide additional channels, rt is expected that within the next two or three months two extra circuits will .be provided in the Bass Strait submarine-cable, making a total of seven circuits available by that means, whilst four additional channels will he brought into service on the radio link. The twu existing part-time radio channels will be converted to full-time operation and d total of six full-time radio channels will then be in service. The total number of circuits between the mainland and Tasmania will therefore be increased from five full-time and two part-time to thirteen full-time channels in all. The extra facilities should enable a satisfactory service to be rendered to the public.

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