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Tuesday, 2 June 1942

Mr MORGAN (Reid) .- I was pleased to hear the remarks of the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Baker), and I trust that the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) will take up the matter mentioned by him. Instances have come to my notice of discharged soldiers experiencing difficulty in getting their deferred pay. I hope that action will be taken promptly to provide them with allowances until employment can be obtained. Some department should be charged with the duty of attending to the requirements of the men after their discharge.

I rose particularly to draw attention to the need for a drive for increased war production. 1 have referred to this matter on several occasions, and I again bring it to the notice of the Government before the conclusion of the present sittings. I should like an intimation that this important matter will receive immediate attention. I do not reflect on any of the service Ministers, because they and their officials are doing good work, as are also the men and women engaged in war industries generally, but we are not obtaining 100 per cent, production. We have a host of boards and governmental directors, as well as a labyrinth of government departments, yet one of the most important matters of all seems to have been entirely overlooked by this and previous governments. In the United States of America steps have been taken to step up war production by the appointment of Mr. Donald Nelson as Director of Production, whilst in Great Britain Mr. Oliver Lyttleton has been chosen to supervise the work of speeding up and co-ordinating war production generally. The Prime Minister (Mr. Our tin) has pointed out that a production committee of Cabinet has been set up to deal with the matter, and that is a step in the right direction. That committee was appointed six months ago, but Ministers cannot attend to details of administration. Some board or administrative staff is required to implement decisions reached. The Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) indicated to-day that delay in production will be dealt with by Mr. Chippendale, the Director of War Organization of Industry. He is busily engaged in the rationalization of industry, which involves the closing down of many industries, and also in zoning the delivery of bread and other commodities. I have in mind particularly the speeding up of existing war industries. A complete survey of industry is required to ascertain the reasons for hold-ups in industry and to decide what practical steps could be taken to speed up production. Many cases have come to my notice in which idle men and machines could be put to useful work. In one industry there are twenty machines out of use at present. In another large industry adjoining my electorate, S00 men are employed in supplying equipment vitally necessary for defence purposes. This establishment has had an order for some time for pistols. After it had manufactured 90 of the parts required for the pistol, it lacked certain machine tools, and could not complete the remaining parts. Until recently, it had not produced one complete pistol. Yet pistols are urgently needed by the Army authorities. I believe that a few have been produced lately, but that was not until the factory had held the order for a considerable time.

I could tell some hair-raising stories to honorable members regarding aircraft production, but obviously it would not be fitting for me to go into detail on that subject. The Minister for Aircraft Production (Senator Cameron) has, however, admitted publicly that aircraft production has been delayed in this country owing to the attitude of certain vested interests. All I can say is : " Thank God the United States of America is now with us This problem needs proper handling on the administrative side. At a deputation on this subject not. long ago the director of a branch of the Munitions Department said that he had received many applications from persons with organizing ability for work in an honorary capacity. He said. " The place is lousy with people offering their services ". One man who had been receiving a salary of £3,000 a year prior to his retirement, offered his services and when he was told that they could not be used he said, " I was never so insulted in my life ". Many men with organizing ability are prepared to assist in the stepping up of war production. We need both skilled tradesmen and men with executive ability who are able to place men where they could work to best advantage. This week Mr. Donald Nelson and Mr. Oliver Lyttleton are conferring on the subject of the co-ordination of Allied war industries, in order that a 100 per cent, production output may be reached to give us victory this year. It is certain that they will survey the situation in Australia. It is vitally necessary that our industries shall be working at full capacity if we are to get the assistance from abroad which the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) is seeking. Mr. Nelson said in a broadcast address recently that his object was to utilize all existing war industries on a 24-hours-a- day basis, seven days a week. By that means he hoped that the American output of military supplies would be doubled. He said, " Idle tools work for Hitler ". He had in. mind war plants which were operating at only 20 per cent, for five days a week, plants which were closed on Sundays, and plants in which second shifts worked at only 40 per cent, capacity and third shifts at only 20 per cent, capacity. Such plants had idle machinery which could be employed with much more advantage every week-end and from eight to sixteen extra hours daily. We have plants in the same position in this country. I hope that the Production Committee will take immediate steps to bring all these plants into full production. It is essential that machines shall be working at the fullest capacity, and that they shall be working in the right place. I have visited many industrial plants in my electorate and I know that there is a lag in production which could be overtaken. The Joint Committee on War Expenditure made certain recommendations concerning the control of machine tools. In particular it advised the appointment of a committee to control machine tools. In my addendum to the report T expressed the view that a person or persons with engineering knowledge not associated with trades manufacturing supplies for the government or contracting with the government itself, should be appointed to this office. I hope that that recommendation will be adopted.

I wish now to refer again to the unsatisfactory situation in connexion with the manufacture of the Wales differential. This device, which is designed to overcome single wheelspin a major defect in conventional motor vehicles, was brought to the notice of the Army authorities a long time ago. It was thoroughly tested and approved not only by the Army but also by the officers of the Department of Supply and Development. All the experts who investigated the device have been satisfied with its technical qualities. They have formed the opinion that the device would be invaluable in the Middle East and, in fact, in all heavy or sandy country. Our own forces may be engaged in active warfare in the not distant future in North Australia and we shall be in grave difficulty if our vehicles become bogged in the heavy soils in the far north. If the Army vehicles were fitted with Wales differentials the likelihood of such a happening would be greatly reduced. The Army authorities tested a Wales differential on vehicles which travelled thousands of miles and they subsequently requisitioned for all possible supplies through the Department of Supply and Development. The device was examined by the Central Inventions Board which was functioning at the time it was submitted to the Government, and it was approved by that authority. The Department of Supply and Development placed a definite order for 800 differentials which were estimated to cost about £38 each. I have little doubt that if the device could be placed in mass production the price would be halved. This differential has also been tested by General Motors-Holdens Limited and the Ford Motor Company of Australia Proprietary Limited, which might be regarded, in a sense, as competitors, because the adoption of the Wales differential might mean the partial dismantling of General Motors and Ford vehicles. But this fact did not prevent the experts of those companies from issuing a favorable report. Following a speech which I made on this subject in the House some time ago I received a letter from the DirectorGeneral of Ordnance, Mr. L. J. Hartnett, in which he stated that he was quite satisfied that the device was sound, and that he favoured its adoption. Unfortunately the Board of Business Administration made an unfavorable recommendation in connexion with the device and referred to the fact that it was proposed that the inventor should receive a royalty of £2 on each differential. It is amazing to me that a man lite Mr. Sydney Myer should object to an inventor receiving a royalty on a device which he has spent a lifetime in perfecting.

I did not know Mr. Wales when this matter was first brought to my notice and C had no personal interest in the matter, but a few days ago 1 received the following letter from him, dated the 19th May-

I have refrained from writing to you earlier as I realized that you would be very busy.

However, as apparently matters concerning the differential appear to be again at a standstill, I thought that you might wish to know the position.

Some time after I saw you in Melbourne, Chas. Bingham advised me that he had been informed by a representative of the Board of Area Management, Munitions Department, that the differentials on order were No. 1 priority and that he was to expedite the completion of the order with all haste. He was told that if any delay over which he had no control occurred, he was to immediately inform the Board of Area Management, when every assistance would be given. He was, also asked if he was in a position to manufacture further units.

Four differentials were completed and forwarded to the Seymour experimental shops for test.

Then Bingham was again visited and told to cease manufacture as no more units were needed. This was done in spite of the fact that many parte were partly finished and some hundreds of pounds had been spent on tools and jigs which could have been used for future production. Bingham was also paid up for all work done to that date.

Later he was advised that he was to complete the outstanding units at hie leisure.

The four units have now been lying at the experimental shops for many months without being tested: in fact for a considerable time no advice relative to them was forwarded to the shop, although the routine practice Was to advise the shop immediately equipment was forwarded for test.

An officer who was associated with the original tests, and who was a strong supporter of the device, has recently returned from abroad- He told me that he fully expected to find my differential installed in trucks abroad and was very surprised that this had not been done. I advised him that it was the opinion of certain people in the Army that single wheel spin was so seldom encountered in actual practice that these people did not consider the use worth while. He replied that these people should have been in North Africa with him. You will recall that the four-wheel drive vehicle was adopted to attain this end amongst others, but is still very prone to single wheel spin.

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