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Thursday, 25 May 1939

Mr Mahoney y asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

1.   What is the tenure of the new lease of Brassey House ?

2.   What is the weekly rental?

3.   Who are the members of the syndicate now leasing Brassey House?

4.   Are any members of the syndicate actively associated with other Governmentleased boarding establishments in Canberra?

5.   Has the Government power to terminate the present lease at any time ?

6.   Before leasing Brassey House, did the Government seek an assurance that the comfort and convenience of public servants and other hoarders would be given reasonable consideration?

Mr Perkins - The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers : -

1.   A new lease was not granted. The dealing involved the transfer of the existing lease, which terminates on the 1st December, 1940, and provides for a five years' option of renewal.

2.   The rental of the existing lease is £898 8s. 9d. per annum.

3.   The transferee is Miss V. N.Hillstead.

4.   The transferee was previously employed in Government-leased boarding establishments in Canberra.

5.   The Commonwealth has power to determine the lease in the event of the lessee failing to observe or perform any of the lessee's covenants.

6.   The transferee agreed to a variation of the lease conditions, giving preference to public servants at a tariff on a similar basis to that at present operating at a like establishment.

Liquid Fuels.

Mr Casey y. - On the 23rd May, the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) asked whether it was a fact that Mr. L. J. Rogers, Commonwealth Fuel Adviser, had informed Phoenix Oil Extractors Proprietary Limited that before he would make an investigation of the company's process for the extraction of oil from coal he desired to know what chemical catalyst the company was using. I have made inquiries into this matter, and I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that Mr. Rogers has not at any time sought information of this kind, nor would he need to obtain such information if he were able to witness a demonstration under strict test conditions.

International Labour Office: Maritime Conventions.

Sir Henry Gullett . - On the 10th May, the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) asked to be advised as to what steps were being taken towards the ratification of certain maritime conventions adopted by the International Labour Conference in 1936. I now advise the honorable member as follows: -

Two very full statements on this subject were made in this House by the then Minister for External Affairs on the 29th June, 1938, and the 13th October, 1938. The Minister pointed out that only one ofthe six conventions referred to concerned the Commonwealth Government alone, namely, Hours of Work on Board Ship and Manning Convention (No. 57). Ratification of this convention in respect of the Commonwealth Government was registered with the League of Nations Secretariat on the 24th September, 1938.

The remaining five conventions deal with intra-state as well as interstate shipping. When the subject matter of an international convention affects the Australian States as well as the Commonwealth, the practice is to send copies of the conventions to the States with the request that the Commonwealth be informed as to the extent to which -

(a)   the provisions of the convention are covered by State legislation, or

(b)   the State in question is ready to introduce legislation to cover such provisions.

Upon receipt of the Maritime Conventions in question, letters alongthese lines, enclosing copies of the official text of those conventions, were addressed to the Australian States. I am now awaiting replies from two of the States from which replies have not yet been received. Until the desiredinformation is received, no further action with regard to the ratification of the conventions in question can be taken.

So far as the Commonwealth Government itself is concerned, Iassure the honorable member that every consideration is being given to the possibility of securing for seamen under Commonwealth control, conditions corresponding with those laid down in the conventions, insofar as these conditions are not already enjoyed by suchseamen. An exhaustive analysis of each convention has been made by Commonwealth officers, andspecial regard was paid to the interests of seamen when the Seamen's Compensation Act 1938, and the National Health and Pensions Insurance Act 1938, were being drafted. The conditions of work prescribed by the maritime conventions are also being kept under consideration in the preparation of comrprehensive amendments to the Commonwealth Navigation Act.

A detailed statementhas been prepared, setting outin tabulated form, the present position under Commonwealth and State law in regard to matters covered by the maritime conventions. I am glad to be able to supply the honorable member with a copy of this statement,so that he may be in a position to form his own opinion regarding the extent of the inquiries already made on this subject. If, after perusal of this statement, he desires to put forward any further suggestions, I assure him that they will be welcomed, and given full consideration.





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