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    Next Fragment
Friday, 12 July 1946


Mr Fadden n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   What account or accounts, fund or funds, special or otherwise, have been established or have existed since the 7 th October. 1941, to date, from which (a) the AuditorGeneral has not been allowed to audit the disbursements in detail, and/or to which there is no Auditor-General's certification in detail, and/or (b) receipts for moneys disbursed are not either (i) kept and/or (ii) demanded from recipients of moneys therefrom ?

2.   What amounts of ' public moneys have been (a) paid into or (b) disbursed from each of the above accounts or fluids seriatim, which have been kept secret from the AuditorGeneral or his officers in the manner mentioned in paragraph (a) and/or paragraph (b) respectively? 3. (a) What are the names, if any, of all accounts mentioned in either 1 (a) or 1 (b). respectively; (6) how many of such accounts are there which are identifiable under 1 (a). 1 (b) (i) and/or 1 (b) (ii) respectively, and (c) what are the names of (i) the departments, and (ii) the Ministers of State involved in either the appropriation, payment, control, handling, authorization of or having any other connexion in any way whatsoever with the funds in or from any of the abovementioned accounts and/or funds ?

4.   Have moneys from any of the abovementioned accounts and/or funds been used either directly or through any Commonwealth instrumentality or otherwise to control, police or investigate communism or communistic activities; if so, what is the total amount involved?

5.   Was it found necessary to promulgate a National Security (Supplementary) Regulation on or about the 2nd July, 1945, to authorize the AuditorGeneral to obtain free access to accounts, books, documents and papers relevant to expenditure of. public moneys in the possession of authorities established under National Security Regulations?

6.   Was this regulation passed as the result of a complaint by the Auditor-General referred to in paragraph 102 of his report for the year ended 30th June, 1943. in which he stated. inter alia thatmuch delay was occurring in the completion of the audit of a large amount of expenditure?

7.   On how many occasions has it been necessary for the Auditor-General to invoke the regulation mentioned, and what were the occasions?


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

1.   The only funds coming within this category were those approved for the Allied Intelligence Bureau and the Far Eastern Liaison Office. Both were established" by the CommanderinChief. South-West Pacific Area, and were under . his own control, until the Far Eastern Liaison Office was transferred, at General MacArthur's request, to the control of the Australian authorities, the functions being primarily associated with special intelligence in the operational areas, for which the Commander of the Allied Land Forces was responsible. The funds of these organizations were provided by contributions by the Australian, United States of America and Netherlands Governments. In view of their highly secret nature and association with operational plans, the approved rules of procedure provided that the expenditure of the Commonwealth's contributions should not be subject to detail audit by the Auditor-General. Provision was made, however, for the furnishing of annual financial statements showing the expenditure under broad headings, which were certified to by the directors of the Allied Intelligence Bureau and the Far Eastern Liaison Office. In the case of the Allied Intelligence Bureau, General MacArthur. as Commander-in-Chief, South- West Pacific Area, undertook personally to be responsible to the Governments concerned for the proper utilization of the funds provided. The statements relating to the Far Eastern Liaison Office were submitted by the Chief of the General Staff, for whose guidance the following rules were laid down: -

(a)   An officer of the branch of theChief of the General Staff, who is familiar with the activities of the Far Eastern Liaison Office, is to periodically inspect the accounts and satisfy himself -

(i)   that there is evidence that all expenditure has been authorized by the Director,

(ii)   that all expenditure appears to be of a regular character.

(6)   The officer to report the result of his inspection to theChief of the General Staff.

(c)   Any queries raised by the Inspecting Officer to be taken up by the Chief of the General Staff with the Director.

Both funds were closed following the termination of hostilities.

2.   The total expenditure from these funds was - Allied Intelligence Bureau, £149,739 10s.1d.; Far Eastern Liaison Office, £20,441 6s. 6d. The proportion of the expenditure in each case charged to Commonwealth public funds ' was - Allied Intelligence Bureau.. £49,913 3s. 4d.; Far Eastern Liaison Office. £10,327 l1s. 3. (a) and (&) The accounts coming within No. 1 are. those relating to the Allied Intelligence Bureau, and the Far Eastern Liaison Office, (c) (i) The Departments of Defence, Army, and the Treasury, (ii) Ministers for Defence, Army, and the Treasurer.

4.   The functions of the Allied Intelligence Bureau and the Far Eastern Liaison Office were -

Allied Intelligence Bureau. - To obtain and . report information of the enemy in the South-West Pacific Area, exclusive of the Continent of Australia and Tasmania, and in addition, where practicable, to weaken the enemy by sabotage and destruction of morale and to lend aid and assistance to local efforts to the same end in enemy occupied territories.

Far Eastern Liaison Office - .

(   1 ) To lower the morale of the enemy forces by all possible means so that his fighting efficiency may be impaired. '

(2)   To mislead the enemy regarding our military intentions.

(3)   To assist in the rescue of Allied airmen from enemy-occupied territories;

(4)   To influence subject populations in enemy-occupied territories to (a) refuse co-operation to the enemy forces by denial of labour, food and supplies; (b) to give full co-operation to our own forces during the period of reoccupation; and (c) to instigate subversive activities against the enemy.

5.   Yes.

6.   The last sub-paragraph of paragraph 102 of the Auditor-General's Report for the year ended 30th June, 1943, states - "The matter has been referred to the Solicitor-General for advice". The regulation mentioned by the honorablemember was passed as the result of representations made to the Treasurer in ' March, 1945, by the Auditor-General following upon the receipt by him of the SolicitorGeneral's opinion.

7.   Since the passing of the regulation free access to books, documents, &c., has been given to the Auditor-General by the authorities referred to in No. 5.

Tobacco and Cigarette Papers.


Mr Forde e. - On the 4th July the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Chambers) asked a question regarding the shortage of tobacco, and I promised to make an early statement on the position.

I have- conferred with the Minister for Trade and Customs on the matter, and now inform the honorable member that inter alia thatmuch delay was occurring in the completion of the audit of a large amount of expenditure?

7.   On how many occasions has it been necessary for the Auditor-General to invoke the regulation mentioned, and what were the occasions.


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

1.   The only funds coining within this category were those approved for the Allied Intelligence Bureau and the Far Eastern Liaison Office. Both were established" by the CommanderinChief. South-West Pacific Area, and were under his own control, until the Far Eastern Liaison Office was transferred, at General MacArthur's request, to the control of the Australian authorities, the functions being primarily associated with special intelligence in the operational areas, for which the Commander of the Allied Land Forces was responsible. The funds of these organizations were provided by contributions by the Australian, United States of America and Netherlands Governments. In view of their highly secret nature and association with operational plans, the approved rules of procedure provided that the expenditure of the Commonwealth's contributions should not be subject to detail audit by the Auditor-General. Provision was made, however, for the furnishing of annual financial statements showing the expenditure under broad headings, which were certified to by the directors of the Allied Intelligence Bureau and the Far Eastern Liaison Office. In the case of the Allied Intelligence Bureau, General MacArthur, as Commander-in-Chief, South- West Pacific Area, undertook personally to be responsible to the Governments concerned for the proper utilization of the funds" provided. The statements relating to the Far Eastern Liaison Office were submitted by the Chief of the General Staff, for whose guidance the following rules were laid down: -

(a)   An officer of the branch of the Chief of the General Staff, who is familiar with the activities of the Far Eastern Liaison Office, is to periodically inspect the accounts and satisfy himself -

(i)   that there is evidence that all expenditure has been authorized by the Director,

(ii)   that all expenditure appears to be of a regular character.

(b)   The officer to report the result of his inspection to theChief of the General Staff.

(c)   Any queries raised by the Inspecting Officer to be taken up by the Chief of the General Staff with the Director.

Both funds were closed following the termination of hostilities.

2.   The total expenditure from these funds was - Allied Intelligence Bureau, £149,739 10s.1d.; Far Eastern Liaison Office, £20,441 6s. 6d. The proportion of the expenditure in each case charged to Commonwealth public funds was - Allied Intelligence Bureau.. £49,913 3s. 4d.; Far Eastern Liaison Office. £10,32711s. 3. (a) and (b) The accounts coming within No. 1 are. those relating to the Allied Intelligence Bureau, and the Far Eastern Liaison Office, (c) (i) The Departments of Defence, Army, and the Treasury. (ii) Ministers for Defence, Army, and the Treasurer.

4.   The functions of the Allied Intelligence Bureau and the Far Eastern Liaison Office were -

Allied Intelligence Bureau. - To obtain and report information of the enemy in the South-West Pacific Area, exclusive of the Continent of Australia and Tasmania, and in addition, where practicable, to weaken the enemy by sabotage and destruction of morale and to lend aid and assistance to local efforts to the same end in enemy occupied territories.

Far Eastern Liaison Office - .

(   1 ) To lower the morale of the enemy forces by all possible means so that his fighting efficiency may be impaired. '

(2)   To mislead the enemy regarding our military intentions.

(3)   To assist in the rescue of Allied airmen from enemy-occupied territories;

(4)   To influence subject populations in enemy-occupied territories to (a) refuse co-operation to the enemy forces by denial of labour, food and supplies; (b) to give full co-operation to our own forces during the period of reoccupation; and (c) to instigate subversive activities against the enemy.

5.   Yes.

6.   The last sub-paragraph of paragraph 102 of the Auditor-General's Report for the year ended 30th June, 1943, states - "The matter has been referred to the Solicitor-General for advice". The regulation mentioned by the honorable membeii was passed as the result of representations made to the Treasurer in ' March, 1945, by the Auditor-General following upon the receipt by him of the SolicitorGeneral's opinion.

7.   Since the passing of the regulation free access to books, documents. &c, has been given to the Auditor-General by the authorities referred to in No. 5.

Tobacco and Cigarette Papers.


Mr Forde e. - On the 4th July the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Chambers) asked a question regarding the shortage of tobacco, and I promised to make an early statement on the position.

I have conferred with the Minister for Trade and Customs on the matter, and now inform the honorable member that inquiries have recently been made in New South "Wales and Victoria, the two main manufacturing States in regard to both, tobacco and cigarette papers, with a view to ascertaining the reasons for the present shortages of these products. The inquiries disclosed that reasonable supplies of tobacco leaf and paper for the manufacture of cigarette papers are available and that the present shortages are due in both cases to a decline of production due to a shortage of female labour in Sydney and Melbourne. In an effort to overcome this difficulty, the two largest tobacco manufacturers are taking steps to establish tobacco factories at Forbes (New South Wales) and Healesville and Shepparton (Victoria) in order to tap new sources of supply of female, labour. Similarly, the only New South Wales manufacturer of cigarette papers has commenced production at a new factory at Rutherford and, provided labour is available, full production will be reached next month. The firm concerned states that production at Rutherford will go a fair way towards relieving the present shortage. On the 27th June, the. Minister for Trade and Customs approved of the issue of import licences for reasonable quantities ofcigarette papers, subject to production of evidence that the papers are available for reasonably early shipment. A temporary prohibition has also been placed on exports of cigarette papers. These measures, together with the commencement of manufacture at Rutherford, should eventually improve the position regarding supplies of cigarette papers.

Ambulances fob Country Districts.


Mr Chifley - On the 4th July, the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) addressed the following question to me: -

In view of the patriotic action of many country communities during the war in subscribing funds for the purchase of ambulance vehicles for presentation to the armed forces, will the Government consider, as a matter of policy, allocating to such communities in need of ambulance services suitable vehicles from existing army stocks?

The Government has a full appreciation of the generous gifts of ambulances which were made available during the war, but is unable to see its way .to depart from the principle of not returning these donations as any such departure would involve the Commonwealth in many claims which would be impossible to meet. The Commonwealth Disposals Commission, which is charged with the disposal of all surplus vehicles, will give sympathetic consideration to any application to purchase an ambulance from the limited number of vehicles available.

New Guinea: Copra.


Mr Ward d. - On the 4th July, the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Adermann), asked the following questions : -

Have any quantities of copra been forthcoming from New Guinea in recent months? Have any quantities been held up for want of shipping, or is sufficient shipping available for the demands of exporters ? Will the Minister for External Territories supply figures relating to the tonnages exported from New Guinea?

I replied as follows : -

Some quantities of copra were held up because of the lack of shipping, but that position has been cleared up recently. As soon as the requisite information is obtained, I shall furnish the honorable member with particulars of the quantities exported in recent months.

The particulars of the exports of copra from the Territory of . Papua-New Guinea, since the 1st January, 1946, are as follows: -

 

Repatriation : " Montevideo Maru " - Pensions for Dependants of Victims.


Mr Ward d.- On the 3rd July, 1946, when the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony), asked a question regarding the application of the benefits of the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act to the dependants of New Guinea civilians who lost their lives when the Montevideo Maru was torpedoed, I replied that action had been taken some time ago to provide pension benefits equivalent to those paid to the dependants of privates in the Australian Army, and that the latest information regarding the question of providing additional benefits under the Repatriation Act would be secured and made available to the honorable member.

I am now in a position to advise the honorable member that the question of extending to dependent children- of the New Guinea civilians mentioned, educational benefits similar to those available under the Australian' Soldiers' Repatriation Act, is at present under consideration.

Royal Australian Am Force: Deten- tion op Members awaiting. Court- martial.


Mr HARRISON (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Air, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that an investigation was promised into the recent detention' qf an airman, A.C.I. Jones, for 111 days, while Awaiting court-martial on a charge of being absent without leave?

12.   If sp, what is the outcome of that investigation, and what compensation docs' the Government propose to make to A.C.I. Jones for the pay forfeited by him while in detention awaiting trial ?

3.   Is it a fact that many members of the Royal Australian Air Force have been kept waiting months for trial by court martial, and that an Air Force spokesman has admitted that- one airman, L.A.C. Smith, of the Care and Maintenance Unit, Narromine; was kept waiting more than .100 days for court martial ?

4.   What action does the Government contemplate to ensure that personnel awaiting court martial are not kept waiting for long periods before being brought to trial T

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

1.   Yes. The investigation was conducted by a specially constituted ' court of inquiry composed of Air Commodore A. L. Walters (President) and Mr. J. 0'Driscoll, barrister at law.

2.   The court found that (a) a period of 111 days elapsed between the dates of arrest of A.C.I. Jones by the civil police and of bis trial by court martial; (6) an unreasonable delay did occur in bringing the airman to trial and that responsibility, in varying degrees, rested upon six Boya! Australian Air Force Officers, whose cases are now under consideration by Air Board. It has been the usual practice for courts martial to award sentences of not less than 120 days in cases of unlawful absence from duty similar -in character and for approximately the same periods of absence -as that of A.C.l. Jones. Although the court martial' awarded A.U.I. Jones, 28 days additional to the 111 days be had already served in open arrest, directions were given that that . airman should . not undergo any sentence in excess of the normal period awarded for similar offences (i.e. 120 days) in consequence of which biB discharge was then arranged after his having spent a total of 118 days in custody. ' He thus suffered no injustice as the result of the delay in his being brought to trial and no compensation is payable.

3.   No. In comparison with the number of courts martial held, the instances in which members have been kept waiting months for trial have been few. It is a fact that, in the case of L.A.C. Smith, a delay of about 100 days occurred between the times of his being charged and of his appearing before court martial. This airman was never in close arrest during that period, throughout which he continued to perform his normal Air Force duties..

4.   Air Board is taking appropriate action, in conjunction with Commands, to reduce, to the absolute minimum, delays in future in the bringing to justice of members charged with offences.







Suggest corrections