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Wednesday, 24 July 1946

Mr TURNBULL (WIMMERA, VICTORIA) l asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

1.   Has his attention been drawn to the recent resolution of the Australian Wool Board expressing dismay at " the long continued delay in implementing textile labelling legislation in Australia"?

2.   If so, when does the Government intend to take action to amend the Customs regulations to permit Australian and overseas manufacturers being placed on an equal footing in regard to the sale of textiles within this country ?

Mr Forde - The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers : -

1.   The resolution of the- Australian Wool Board referred to had not previously been brought to my attention but I have read in the press a statement on similar lines by the chairman of the, board. 2.. I refer the honorable member to the reply given to a similar question asked by the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. McLeod), which appears in Hansard of the 16th. July, in which it was made clear that action is to be taken to amend the Commerce (Imports) Regulations so as to provide for the more comprehensive labelling of woollen textiles.- I now inform the honorable member that, in respect of textiles other than those of wool orcontaining wool, a proposal is being made to the State Premiers that they should proceed with the enactment of uniform legislation for labelling of these textiles on the understanding that the Commonwealth will take full supporting action in respect of imports immediately the existing difficulties in the procurement of Australia's essential supplies from overseas have been overcome.

Mr Forde e. - On the 26th June, the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) asked a question concerning the export of woollen cloth. The honorable member especially referred- to shipments to Russia and asked why such exports were permitted and whether they were to be allowed to continue.

The Minister for Trade and Customs has now informed me that the shipment to Russia, which was on account of Unrra, consisted of woollen material of the heavy over-coating and blanketing . types. There have been no exports of worsted cloth to Russia. Exports of worsted cloth, including single- weft material, also of cloth of woollen and worsted mixture, have for some time past been controlled within rigid limits. It has now been decided to suspend, for the time being, the issue of permits to export worsted-content cloth, with the exception of small token shipments already authorized.

Austria: Russian Reparation Claims.

Mr Chifley y.- On the 10th July, the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) asked a question regarding the alleged seizure by Russia of industrial plant in Austria on the plea of reparations.

I am now able to supply the following answer : -

The present allied authority in Austria is the Allied Control Council, which consists of representatives of the United Kingdom, United States of America, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and France. Detailed reports of the incident referred to have not been received by the Australian Government but it is in possession of general information regarding differences of interpretation between members of the Allied Control Council concerning German assets in that country .and their allocation as reparations. The matter is being dealt with by the proper authority, viz., the Allied Control Council, with a view to resolving the differences which have arisen. In due course Australia, like other active belligerents, desires to have the opportunity to. participate in any final settlement with Austria.

Suits for ex-Servicemen: Method of Disposal.

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

1.   How many suits of the type subsequently known us " zoot-suits " were manufactured under contract for the Commonwealth Government for issue to servicemen?

2.   What was the total amount involved in these contracts?

3.   Blow many of these suits were issued to servicemen and how many remained unissued?

4.   What happened to the suits which were not issued to servicemen?

5.   If any were sold, what was the total amount received from such sales?

0.   With reference to the 44,000 suits manufactured under contracts made in 1944, and not issued to servicemen, will he inform the House - (a) to whom were, they disposed of, (6) at what price, and (o) what was the total amount received from such sales?

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

1.   22,300 two-piece suits; 64,218 three-piece suits.

2.   £202,4:39 14s. 2d. 3. (a) Two-piece - 21,484 issued, 816 unissued; (lt) three-piece - 52,063 issued, 12,155 unissued. 4. ('a) Four hundred and fifty-seven twopiece suits were issued to internees who were being repatriated to the United Kingdom. A further 359 wove retained for the same purpose; (b) 12,155 three-piece suits were declared to the Department of. Supply and Shipping for sale through the Commonwealth Disposals Commission.

5.   £32,980 ls. 0. (a) A total of 43,373 suits were received by the Army and they were disposed of to. the . trade throughout the Commonwealth ; (6) at prices determined by the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner varying from £3 4s. to £3 7s. 6d. each; (c) £141,239.

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