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Friday, 27 June 1941

Re-employment ofreturned Soldiers - Producer-Gas equipment on Go- vernment Vehicles - Valedictory -

Department of labour and national Service - Ban on Women Travellers - Militia: Exemptions; Senator Armstrong.

SenatorMcLEAY (South Australia - Minister for Supply and Development) [5.3]. - I move -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

To-day Senator Keane asked me, upon notice -

Will the Government consider the gazettal of a regulation to ensure that men who enlist in thefighting services are guaranteed their civilian position on discharge from service?

I invite the attention of the honorable senator to the National Security (Reinstatement in Civil Employment) Regulations, of which a consolidation is available in the Manual of National Security Legislation. I believe that these regulations will be found to meet his request. Senator Armstrong asked me, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that some months ago the Government statedthat ten per cent. of Government vehicles were tobe installed with gas producers?

2.   Will the Minister inform the Senate what percentage of Commonwealth vehicles have been provided with gas producers to this date 7

I am now able to inform the honorable senator as follows -

1.   The Government has not instructed that any definite percentage of its vehicles shall be converted to gas-producer, buthas directed that each department should equip its vehicles to the maximum extent practicable and should report on its proposals.

2.   So far the percentage of Commonwealth vehicles equipped with producer-gas units is low, but the matter of substantially increasing the percentage within a short period is now being actively pursued.

SenatorFraser asked me, upon notice-

What number of Army and Air Force transport vehicles arc fitted with producer-gas units?

Sixteen Army transport vehicles are fitted with these units. At present no Royal Australian Air Force transport vehicles are fitted, but the matter is under consideration and General Motors are at present conducting a test on a vehicle for the Air Force with a view to determine its suitability.

As this is the end of a period in the history of the Senate and certain senators will have retiredbefore our next meeting, I take the opportunity to pay a special tribute to one of our distinguished colleagues, Senator Grant, who is retiring of his own. accord. The honorable senator was first elected to this chamber on the 29th July, 1925, and he ha.3 served continuously as a senator since the 3rd March, 1932. We are all sorry to know that he has not enjoyed good health, mainly, I think because he has tried to do too much;but we are delighted to learn that his health has been restored sufficiently to enable him to visit Canberra for this sitting period. I am sure that all honorable senators believe as I do, that the honorable gentleman has displayed marked courage and interest in the work of the Senate by making what was for him a hazardous trip to be present at this sitting. We express our admiration of his fortitude. I am sure also that the people of Tasmania will appreciate the fact that during his long term as a senator he has rendered distinguished service not only to Tasmania, but also to the Commonwealth as a whole, and we are proud of what he has done.

I also pay a tribute to Senator Abbott and Senator Dein. Although their retirement is due to the fortunes of political warfare,wewish them good luck in the future.

We shall extend a hearty welcome to the senatorswho will replace the three who are severing their connexion with the Senate.Two of the gentlemen who will join uswill represent New South Wales, and. they will face a period inwhich a good deal of service will be required. The other newcomerwill be our old friend, Colonel Sampson.

I appreciate the kindness of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings),who, as soon as he learned that Senator Grant was seriously ill, undertook to provide a pair for him whenever it was impossible for him to be present in the Senate. That is only what we would expect from our Queensland colleague. On behalf of the Government I desire to thank the honorable senator for his gesture and to say that . I know his action was in accord with the wishes of his colleagues.

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