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Wednesday, 1 October 1941
Page: 0

Mr Sheehan n asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice -

1.   What is the estimated cost of the proposed transfer of the Now Guinea capital from Rabaul to Wan T

2.   What government buildings is it proposed to erect at Wau?

3.   What town planning scheme;: are under consideration, and has any decision yet been reached regarding the lay-out of the town?

4.   Is it the intention of the Minister to refer the town planning scheme and proposed government buildings to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for report?

Mr McDonald (CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA) (Minister for External Territories) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The decision of the Commonwealth Government is that the Administrative Headquarters should bc transferred from Rabaul to Lae. The committee which investigated the question of the transfer estimated in 1038 that an expenditure of £370,000 would be involved. Reliable estimates of the cost under existing conditions arc not yet available.

2.   The transfer is to be made to Lae, noi. Wau. It is proposed ultimately to provide at Lae buildings sufficient for the office and residential accommodation of the complete personnel of the Administrative Head-quarters. For the present it is proposed to restrict expenditure to a minimum and to utilize existing buildings at Lac and Salamaua and to erect at Lae such temporary buildings as may bc necessary.

3.   The Administrator of the Territory has been asked to submit detailed proposals in connexion with the proposed transfer including plans for the layout of the settlement at Lae. The engineering member of the committee which investigated the question of the selection of a site for the Administrative Head-quarters submitted his views and a plan for a town on modem lines at Lae.

4.   The matter will be considered when the plans for the complete Administrative Headquarters at Lae are prepared.

Defence Forces: Dependants' Allowances; Accommodation at Darwin; Leave ; Commissions ; Allowances to Members of Parliament; Australian Imperial Force Enlistments.

Mr MORGAN (REID, NEW SOUTH WALES) n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

Will he take appropriate steps to ensure that deserted wives and dependants of members of the fighting services will receive their allowances as of right from date of enlistment and not ii.t the discretion of such member?

Mr Spender - The purpose of dependants' allowance is to meet current maintenance expenditure, and the question of payment to deserted wives involves the investigation of so many complicated questions of fact that it would not be a practicable arrangement to pay allowances from the date of enlistment as the honorable member suggests. The regulations provide that a claim by a deserted wife and dependants for allotment from the pay of a member of the Military Forces shall be subject to investigation as to the merits of the case. If claim is upheld an allotment is enforced by the prescribed authority. Payment cannot be made retrospective until the position of the soldier's pay-book is ascertained as he may have received pay himself at his full drawing rate, and in other cases an allotment may have already been paid on his behalf. Dependants' allowance is payable only from the date from which an allotment operates.

Mr Ward (EAST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) d asked the Minister for the. Army, upon notice -

What are the terms under which the Department of the Army is leasing part of Vestey's meat works at Darwin for the accommodation of Australian troops?

Mr Spender - An area of approximately 210,000 square feet has been occupied for the past two years under a lease which now operates from month to month. Compensation was at the rate of 5.8d. per square foot until the 30th June last. The question of rate and terms to operate from 1st July, 1941, is at present the subject of negotiation between the Department of the Interior and Australian Investment Agency Proprietary Limited, Sydney.

Mr George Lawson (BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND) n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

Has the Government yet come to a decision in respect to the granting of leave to members of the Militia «nd Garrison Forces serving at tropical operational stations such as Darwin. Cooktown and Port Moresby. If so, what decision has been arrived at?

Mr Spender - In addition to local leave, members of the Militia (including Garrison units) are granted leave at the rate of 24 days per annum on the conclusion of their tour of duty.

Mr Makin (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   Will he prepare a list of persons who have attained commissioned rank in the Australian Imperial Force and Militia Forces under the Eastern Command within one month after enlisting?

2.   Will he indicate in each case the reason why each of such persons received a commission, or any special qualifications be may have had?

Mr Spender - I appreciate the honorable member's desire to satisfy himself that equal opportunity to gain commissioned rank is afforded to all members of the forces according to their qualifications, and I am in accord with this principle so far as it is practicable. For some arms of the Army, certain definite qualifications are required, and persons possessing the necessary professional or technical qualifications are appointed to commissions in such arms as Field Engineers, Ordnance Workshops, Australian Signals, Army Service Corps (technical appointments) and Army Medical Corps, with little or no previous military service. I assure the honorable member that the matter raised by him is constantly under attention to ensure observance of the principle of equal opportunity, but as it is not apparent that any useful purpose would be served by submitting to the House the list he suggests and as a considerable amount of research would be involved in its preparation, I am unable to accede to the honorable member's request.

Mr Spender r. - On the 24th September, the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Martens) asked the following questions. upon notice: -

1.   What are the names of members of the Federal and State Parliaments serving with the Naval and Air Forces since the declaration of war?

2.   What amounts of pay and allowances has each received during that period and at what rates?

3.   Will hu supply the rates paid to members of the Military Forces asked for by the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Martens) in the question replied to on the 25th June, 1941 ?

I now furnish the following replies : -

1.   and 2. -

Naval Forces.

There arc at present no members of the Federal or State Parliaments serving in the Naval Forces.

Mr. T.D. Oldham, M.L.A., Victoria, who is a member of the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, was mobilized for service :i£ paymaster lieutenant on the 2nd September, 1939, and was demobilized on the 30th November, 1939. The total amount credited to Mr. Oldham during his period of service was £126 15s. 2d., and his rates of pay and allowances were as follow: -


Mr. G.A. Morris, who, until his defeat at the recent general election in Queensland, was a member of the Parliament of that State, was mobilized as a member of the Royal Australian Fleet Reserve on the 31st August, 1940, in the rating in which he formerly served in the Royal Australian Navy, viz., sick berth chief petty officer, and is still so serving.

The amount of pay and allowances received to date by Mr. Morris in respect of his service in the Naval Forces is approximately £302. Deferred pay standing to his credit is approximately £40. His present rates of pay and allowances are as under -


Air Force.

As far as can be ascertained, there are only two members of the Royal Australian Air Force who are also members of the Federal or State Parliaments, viz. - Wing Commander T. W. White, who is federal member for Balaclava. and Flight Lieutenant C. V. W. Brown, M.L.A., Queensland. The amounts paid to these officers and their rates of pay are as follow: -




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