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
Thursday, 26 March 1942

Senator CAMERON (Victoria) (Minister for Aircraft Production) . - I regret that I was called out of the chamber to answer an urgent telephone call and was not privileged to hear just what the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) did say in regard to this matter, but I can well imagine some of the objections which h© would raise, and I shall endeavour to answer them. First, however, I should like to deal with what has been said by Senator McBride. Obviously, the honorable senator spoke in ignorance, which is nothing new for him. When I was appointed Minister for Aircraft Production, not one woman was employed hy the Government in the aircraft industry, although negotiations for the employment of women were in progress with the various trade unions. These 'negotiations were not finalized when Japan declared war on the British Empire and opened hostilities. I was in Sydney on the day after war with Japan broke out. Members of the then Aircraft Production Commission were there also and we held a meeting. The question of employing women in the aircraft industry was submitted to me, and it was explained that negotiations were pending, but that no finality had been reached. I said that I did not propose to wait for these negotiations to be finalized. Time was of the essence of the contract, and I gave my immediate approval to engage as many women as were required under conditions similar to those operating in munitions industries in which women were already employed. Senator McBride said that I should have waited and adopted the normal procedure. Just what is meant by that? Presumably, he means that I should not have authorized the employment of women until a decision had been given by the Arbitration Court.

Senator McBride - I said nothing of the kind.

Senator CAMERON - That is the implication of the honorable senator's words.

Senator McBride - I said that we were waiting to hear some reason why the normal procedure could not have been adopted.

Senator CAMERON - The honorable senator knows as well as I do that the times through which we are now passing are abnormal and we cannot be expected to act in the same way as we would act in normal times. However, I take it that there could have been no objection to what I have done up to that point. I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later hour.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

Senator COLLINGS(QueenslandMinister for the Interior). - by leave - I have been informed that on the 25th March, Statutory Rules 1942, No. 92, containing the regulations which were the subject of the debate which has just been adjourned, were repealed and new Statutory Rules 1942. No. 146 substituted in their place. Therefore, a continuation of the debate is quite unnecessary. Copies of the new regulations are not yet available. Information regarding the repeal of Statutory Rules 1942, No. 92, came to me only a few moments ago, and as I do not believe in wasting time, I thought, it advisable to interrupt the debate. I thank the Senate for affording me an opportunity to make this explanation.

Suggest corrections