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Thursday, 25 October 1956


Mr SPEAKER - Order! Interjections must cease.


Mr CALWELL - I realize that interjections are disorderly, Mr. Speaker, but I was endeavouring to enlighten the honorable gentleman. He, at least, among Australian Country party members, is capable of conversion to a broader view. For. that reason, I have wasted a little time on him. When World War II. broke out Australia could not make any part of the fuselage of an aeroplane. When it ended we were making Rolls Royce engines. The industry most concerned by this legislation is there already and we ought to gear our whole potential to the manufacture of everything that Australians can make, whether it be the motor cars that run on the roads or the tractors that work in the fields. It is no compliment to Australians to know that Standard Motors, Rootes and Nuffields still manufacture much of the components of their vehicles overseas and then put the completed product together in Australia for sale on the Australian market. If a final decision is called for, let us do what the Scullin Government did - prohibit the importation of many of these components and force companies that are manufacturing them abroad, for sale on the Australian market, to set up their factories here.


Sir Philip McBride - What happened to the Scullin Government?


Mr CALWELL - The honorable member, and other members of the Adelaide Club, distorted the position to the Australian people, and destroyed the Scullin Government. James Henry Scullin will h» remembered long after the Minister for Defence (Sir Philip McBride) has been forgotten. The late gentleman did something for Australia. He put Australian manufacturing on a firm basis. Though the Scullin Government was afterwards attacked and destroyed, its members were the real protectionists of Australia and set up our secondary industry in such a way that it could survive against outside competition. Let the Ministry take its courage in its hands and say that at least this is an industry that has established itself and which ought to be protected, and which wifi be protected.


Mr Osborne - If it has established itself why does it need the protection of which the honorable member is speaking?


Mr CALWELL - Because it has protected itself only insofar as it could protect itself.


Mr Osborne - What about other industries that do not need protection?


Mr CALWELL - What other industries?


Mr Osborne - There are plenty of other manufacturers.


Mr CALWELL - It is all right for th, Minister to wave his arms and talk about other industries that do not need protection.


Mr Osborne - Ask some of the Melbourne manufacturers.


Mr CALWELL - You ask them. The> are closer to you than to me.


Mr Cleaver - Does the honorable member support the principle of tariff protection alone, or tariff protection in addition to the bounty?


Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable gentleman must not interject.


Mr CALWELL - With your permission. Mr. Speaker, I shall answer the interjection I would say that I want protection against bounty wherever possible. I want to give protection and dispense with the bounty. I know the history of this particular factory. It is not just a mushroom show which started yesterday and needs some assistance to protect it improperly. It is a really established, running show. It was established in the war period and it has given a great deal of work to many people. It has trained many operatives and has many people on its pay-roll who are really competent mechanics and good engineers. II that industry fails, there will be no work anywhere else in Australia for the people who are at present employed in it, and Western Australia is one part of this continent that we ought to try to develop. 1 am not interested in what is done in Melbourne or Sydney, although I am the member for Melbourne, and have been for a very long time.


Mr Pearce - Too long!


Mr CALWELL - Not too long, I assure the honorable gentleman, and by the grace of God, and the votes of more than 50 per cent, of the electors, I hope to remain the member for Melbourne for a long time yet. I do not want to see Melbourne and Sydney grow at the expense of the rest of Australia. I want to see development in other parts of Australia, and even in Papua and New Guinea. I want to see this industry encouraged in every way possible, and I do not think that a bounty for another three years is the tribute that this Government, which protests that it is out to help develop Australia, should pay to an organization that has run many financial risks in establishing itself. The company has done a very good job for Australia, and has produced tractors under Australian conditions. It has been able, with the help of the bounty, up to date, to compete against tractors produced overseas.


Mr Brimblecombe - What can it accomplish?


Mr CALWELL - It can give employment to Australians in Australia. It can help in the development of Australia. I am not a farmer, although my grandfathers broke virgin soil in this country. Whatever developments are embodied in other tractors can be incorporated in this tractor, and unquestionably it is doing a good job for Australia. I hate to think that we have to use our hard earned balances in London to finance the importation of equipment of any sort that we can manufacture here.


Mr Turnbull - You cannot always sell and never buy.


Mr CALWELL - Oh, I know the old free-trade arguments about the law of supply and demand and all that kind of nonsense.


Mr Osborne - What the honorable member for Mallee said was that you cannot always sell and never buy.


Mr CALWELL - Of course we are buying. We have an adverse trade balance with London. Is not that the whole trouble that the Government is faced with to-day? Is it not because of the adverse trade balance that we have to suffer from import restrictions, credit restrictions and all sorts of other restrictions? But, of course, we want to sell as well as buy. But the whole trade set-up is operating to our disadvantage.

This may, of course, have some association with the Ottawa Agreement and imperial preference and all that sort of thing. AH I want to say is that under the Ottawa Agreement, as it operates at present, the United Kingdom gets advantages worth at least £100,000,000 a year and we are lucky if we get benefits worth £10,000,000 a year. It is time that agreement was revised. Perhaps, when the new agreement is brought before the Parliament we will be in a better position to judge the standing of the whole of our Australian industries.

I support what the honorable member for Swan has said in favour of an industry in his electorate. I regard it as not merely an industry in his electorate but as an industry in some part of Australia. The Government is certainly deserving of all the criticism that the honorable gentleman has offered. Admittedly he has offered it with bated breath. He has been rather sparing in what he has had to say. He could have delivered a full-blooded attack on the Government for destroying something of value to Australia in his electorate.


Mr Osborne - Destroying it?


Mr CALWELL - The Government is destroying it because it has not protected it. It is not destroying it outright, but is allowing it to die from inanition.


Mr Osborne - Nothing in the bill will have that effect.


Mr CALWELL - I suggest that the Minister for Air should get rid of a lot of his thinking. The old cry " Sydney or the bush " no longer applies. Let him go to Fremantle and look round there, and look at the rest of Australia and see what can be done to develop industries. Melbourne and Sydney are not Australia. They are not the only parts of Australia that count. The whole of Australia counts, and I support the honorable gentleman's advocacy of this industry. I ask the Minister for Air, now that he is no longer Minister for Customs and Excise, and therefore should be able to take a more detached view as Minister for Air-


Mr Curtin - Hot air!


Mr CALWELL - I did not say hot air, or that he was up in the air. I said that he should be able to take a more detached view of the matter now that he is Minister for Air. I ask him to consider this case from the Australia-wide angle and that of the future. Never mind the people living to-day - think of the kids and their descendants, the next generation, and the one after, and let us help these Australians of the future all we can. Imposing a tariff duty for the protection of this industry will not harm anybody in Australia. After all, it is Australia that counts. It ought to count first with all of us.


Mr Osborne - Is the honorable gentleman supporting the bill, or opposing it7


Mr CALWELL - I support the bill as the lesser of two evils, because I do not intend to oppose a measure which at least gives some assistance, however inadequate, to a deserving Australian industry. I am talking to the two Ministers in the chamber at present who really represent predatory wealth in this House. I am telling them that it is their bounden duty to try to do something for the people who are struggling for. a living. I am pleading to-day, not for the social upper stratum, but for the impecunious nine-tenths of the community whose chronic impecuniosity is due to the failure of this Government to protect Austraiian industry properly and satisfactorily.







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