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Thursday, 25 July 1946

Mr Abbott (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) t asked the Acting AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -

1.   Has he seen the statement that in the report of the Canadian royal commission it is remarked that communism in democratic countries changed long ago from a political party into a Soviet instrument for creating unrest and provocation?

2.   Has he also seen the statement that the royal commission urged that Canada's security measures should be co-ordinated and strengthened to prevent agents ' infiltrating into positions of trust in the Government?

3.   Has any action been taken by the Government to investigate Communist activities in Australia?

4.   Has the Government undertaken counterespionage work in Australia?

Mr HOLLOWAY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

l.   and 2.I have seen the statement referred to by the honorable member and I have also received advice from the Australian High Commissioner, Ottawa, that he has forwarded a copy of the report of the Canadian royal commission by air-mail. I am informed that it is a voluminous report running into more than 700 pages and, when received, its contents will receive careful consideration.

3.   and 4. It would not be in the public interest to disclose whether the Government has or has not taken any action regarding these matters.

Wool-Realization Commission : Appointment of ex-Servicemen.

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

1.   Is it a fact that only 24 of 47 wool valuers selected for the Australian Woolrealization Commission are ex-servicemen?

2.   Is ita fact that all positions on the commission could have been filled by thoroughly qualified ex-servicemen?

3.   Is it a fact that the Chief Valuer for New South Wales has been granted a salary of £2,000 a year and that he is a nonserviceman?

4.   Is it a fact that this gentleman is a brother of the State Controlling Appraiser and Selection Committee Adviser?

5.   What superior qualifications had this gentleman over ex-service applicants?

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

1.   For the northern markets the Australian Wool-realization Commission has appointed 60 men of whom 34 are ex-servicemen.

2.   All applicants were required to state not only particulars of their qualifications, but also details of war service. All applications were considered by a special Advisory Committee consisting of the Chairman of the Central Wool Committee Technical Advisory Committee and the Controlling Appraiser for each State. The Advisory Committee made its recommendations to the Australian Woolrealization Commission having given due consideration to the qualifications required for the position of valuers, and also having at the request of the commission given special consideration to those applicants with a record of war service. It was not possible to obtain a properly qualified team of valuers composed wholly of ex-servicemen.

3.   Yes.

4.   Yes.

5.   The selection was made by the commission on the advice of the committee mentioned in answer to question No. 2 with the exception of the Controlling Appraiser for New South Wales. The Committee of Advisers stated he was the outstanding applicant for the position.

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