23rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question concerning Professor Gluckman. Is it a fact that the British Home Office and Colonial Office, the Commonwealth Relations Office, the London representatives of the Governments of South Africa and of Southern and Northern Rhodesia, and the Vice-Chancellors of the University of Manchester and the Australian National University, as well as the Australian representative of the Netherlands Government, have all stated that they know nothing against Professor Gluckman? If this is so, does the Prime Minister agree that the Australian security report may not give a completely accurate view of Professor Gluckman? In view of these circumstances, is the right honorable gentleman convinced that no further consideration should be given to the matter and, in particular, does he think that there should be more careful preparation and evaluation of Australian security reports in the future?
– The answer to the first part of the honorable member’s question is that, with the exception of the statement made by the Charge d’ Affaires of the Netherlands in Canberra, I do not know. I have read statements in the press, and I am in exactly the same position as the honorable member for Yarra is. Therefore, I have no comment to make on statements about which I have no authoritative information.
– Why not check them?
– If I were to engage in the task of checking every newspaper report I read, the shop would be open for no other business. As for the comments made by the Charge d’Affaires of the Netherlands, I said yesterday that I did not have the facts as to what he had said. However, I understand from my department that he says that the report in the Melbourne “ Age “ is an accurate account of what he said. I have no comment to make on what he said. As to the second part of the question, the decision has been given in this matter, and it stands.
– I address to the Prime Minister, or the Minister for Works, the following question: Will he lay on the table the file relating to the transfer of the Australian and New Zealand cavalry memorial statue, brought from the Suez Canal, its proposed recasting and the selection of the new site for it at Albany?
– -I will consider the request, but I must confess that I am completely at a loss to know what information the honorable member wants. If he wants any information I will be delighted to supply it to him.
– I desire to address a question to the Prime Minister. I hold in my hand a letter and other documents sent by the assistant secretary of the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Officers’ Association to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, in which allegations are made that at an assembly of 5,000 white-collar workers, many of them Commonwealth public servants, held in Sydney yesterday at lunch time to discuss their grievances on the question of marginal increases, two persons were present, one of whom took a shorthand report of all that was said while the other who, it is claimed in the letter, is an officer of the security service, stood beside him. I ask the right honorable gentleman: Will he investigate the charges made in this letter which, on the face of it, are made in good faith, and let the House know the result of his investigations? If it is found that some government officers, whether of the security service or some other service, were deputed to take a verbatim account of what was said at the meeting, will he indicate whether he thinks it desirable that any Commonwealth department should direct its officers to report speeches made at public meetings held in the legitimate exercise of a democratic right to ask for economic and social justice?
– I have no reason whatsoever to believe that the security organization of the Commonwealth has anything to do with this matter. If a charge of that kind is made, I am surprised that it has not been made to me, as head of the Government, rather than to a private member of the Opposition. If any statement of this kind is made to me directly by this association I will certainly have it investigated.
– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General and is further to a question that I addressed to him on 15th March last concerning the proposed introduction of a new Australia-wide telephone number 000 for police, fire brigade and ambulance service calls. I now ask the honorable gentleman: What is the present position in this connexion? Has consideration been given to using 111 as the emergency number since it is quicker and easier to dial than 000, even though, phonetically, the latter number may seem more appropriate for the purpose?
– It has been announced that the department, as part of its plan to improve services, and as a result of investigations which have been taking place for a considerable time, has decided that in some of the capital cities - not all of them immediately, although the system will be expanded to all of them later on - it will provide an emergency service telephone number 000. I should say, Mr. Speaker, that the department has investigated very closely the various combinations which might be used, so as to determine which is the most satisfactory and which would permit the fastest dialling. As the honorable member for Ryan states quite correctly, in a matter like this it is desirable to choose a combination of figures that will enable speedy dialling. I have had some technical advice as to the difficulties that could arise from the choice of any other number than the proposed 000. based on the fact that the department is building :n its various services, not only those to which I am referring, but also services calling for information and maintenance work on the amalgamation of the 000. 001, 002 numbers, and so on. I understand that it is better to continue with the procedure and the practice which, have been adopted already in these allied matters.
It is certainly right, as the honorable member has said, that there is much less trouble in dialling the figure 1 than in dialling the figure 0, but I feel sure that this proposal will meet the requirements of emergency calls because, immediately those three numbers are dialled, a special service from the exchange to the service which it is desired to call will be available to the caller.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Trade been directed to the statement which was made in Melbourne recently by the president of the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures to the effect that the action of the Commonwealth Government in lifting import controls was a bit of window dressing on inflation and that, in fact, it had not resulted in reduced prices? Has the Minister any evidence to show that there has been any decrease in prices since the lifting of import controls?
– I have seen a newspaper report along the precise lines that the honorable member has stated. I have also had complaints from a number of manufacturers, who I believe would be members of the Chamber of Manufactures, to the effect that they fear that imports which have already arrived, or are likely to arrive, in Australia will be so competitive with their own products that their industries will be damaged. It is rather hard to reconcile the two things. Overall, I think that the Australian economy is doing pretty well.
– I address my question to the Minister for the Interior. Is it a fact that when a re-distribution of electorates is taking place a quota is set and that it is permissible, under the Electoral Act, for the number of electors in each electorate to be varied to the extent of 20 per cent, above or 20 per cent, below the quota? What authority determines the extent of the variation? Will the Minister consider the advisability of applying the principle of 20 per cent, above the quota in metropolitan electorates, and 20 per cent, below the quota in country electorates?
– The Electoral Act at present provides for various matters to be taken into consideration in determining the boundaries of electorates. When a redistribution is decided upon, those boundaries are determined by commissions which are set up in each State. The commissions take into account many factors as directed by the act, other than the mere existence of a rural or a metropolitan flavour to an electorate. I do not think that it would be wise to restrict the various State commissions to any greater degree than they are restricted now because many factors other than the quota influence their judgment in regard to electoral boundaries.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. So that the home unit will be kept intact and employment created on the northern coal-fields for mineworkers who have been retrenched following the introduction of mechanization in mines, and for their children, will the Government consider subsidizing transport costs for any new industries which may be established in that area, as it did in relation to the carrying of coal from Leigh Creek to Port Augusta in South Australia?
– I shall convey the honorable member’s question to my colleague in another place, though I really doubt that it is a matter for the Minister for National Development.
– Has the Minister for the Interior any information on the sale of the Stuart migrant centre at Townsville? Has he seen a statement by the Queensland Minister for Education that this migrant centre was purchased recently by the Queensland Government?
– The Stuart migrant centre has been, in the hands of my department for disposal for a considerable time. The honorable member for Herbert has taken a keen interest in its disposal. I have had drawn to my attention the fact that it has been stated in Queensland that this centre has been purchased by the Queensland Government. That statement may be a little premature. The Queensland Government has entered into negotiations with the Commonwealth for the purchase of this hostel, for use by the University of Queensland. At the moment, I have for consideration a submission on the proposed purchase. I assure the honorable member for Herbert that I have not overlooked his personal interest in the matter. As soon as a decision has been made and has been conveyed to the Queensland Government, 1 shall certainly advise him of the decision.
– Can the Minister for Air add anything to the reply he gave to me on 15th March last when I asked what was to be the fate of the Royal Australian Air Force airfield at Mallala?
– Mallala has been closed as a Royal Australian Air Force establishment. I can now tell the honorable member for Wakefield, who has taken a keen interest in the future of this former base, that it will be formally declared surplus to the needs of my department in the very near future. I expect that the declaration will be made this week. Thereafter, its disposal will be a matter for my colleague, the Minister for the Interior. A number of the buildings on the base belong to the Department of Supply. There are two Bellman hangars which belong to my department, and they will be removed. The ultimate disposal of the base, however, will bein the hands of the Minister for the Interior.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral: Is the Government aware that the Australian tyre manufacturers have established a ring of subsidiaries engaged in wholesale and retail distribution and that these firms are allowed to evade the limitations on discount rates imposed upon the independent companies by the manufacturers? Does the Minister know that an independent firm desiring to submit tenders for government, local government and semigovernmental contracts is compelled to direct the tenders through the State secretary of the tyre manufacturers’ association? Has the Government in mind any immediate action to protect the remaining independent motor tyre wholesalers and retailers from the coercive and discriminating price arrangements imposed by the tyre manufacturers? May I add that this is a matter of real urgency for a few long-established firms which have been carrying on this business for generations and that a very important firm of this type in my electorate has already been put on the suspended list by these monopoly interests.
– Order! The honorable member is going a little too far.
– The honorable member scarcely expects me to accept as facts assertions that are made in the course of a question which is not asked colourlessly but is well bedecked with all sorts of adjectival phrases and adjectival descriptions. If the honorable member has any solid material to offer me and sends it to me in the ordinary course, I will examine it, test it to see whether it is right or wrong, and take any action that is appropriate.
– I preface a question to the Postmaster-General by saying that a couple of weeks ago the first co-operative aboriginal store in New South Wales, and probably the first in Australia, was opened at Cabbage Tree Island situated in the estuary of the Richmond River. I ask the Postmaster-General: Will he give consideration to a request for the establishment of a non-official post office there as, under the present circumstances, the 150 inhabitants, including more than 20 mothers receiving child endowment, have to use boats and walk at least 3 miles to visit the nearest post office?
– I shall be glad to give consideration to the suggestion that has been made by the honorable member for Richmond, particularly in view of the circumstances he has outlined in his question which seem to merit special consideration,
– Will the Minister for
Shipping and Transport inform the House what progress is being made in planning the vessel designed to assist the King Island trade? Further, will the vessel be constructed in such a way as to satisfy the immediate needs and the future development of King Island?
– I understand there is a vessel under specification, particularly for the King Island trade. I believe the matter is before the Australian Shipbuilding Board for attention and that subsequently tenders will be called.
– Where will it be built?
– I have said that tenders will be called. Price is a factor in the proposal. 1 have been given reason to believe that the vessel may be constructed in Tasmania, but the proposal has to be passed by the shipbuilding board and after that finance for the construction of the vessel must be provided. I cannot say exactly when the vessel will be ready for the King Island trade, but the project is under attention at present.
– I direct a question to the Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs. Is any information available to the Government which would tend to affirm or deny reports that this year a nuclear weapon will be test-fired by the Chinese Communists?
– We have no information on that matter at present, one way or the other.
– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. Earlier, in answer to a question concerning Professor Gluckman, the right honorable gentleman indicated that there was no possibility of his changing his opinion. Will the right honorable gentleman say, then, that there is no possibility of appeal against a decision of the security service? Is he aware that this matter is causing a great deal of concern in the community generally?
– I do not know that what I said had anything to do with an appeal from the security service. The Cabinet had a look at this matter when it was brought before it by the Minister for Territories, before whom it came in order to ascertain whether he was prepared to overrule the decision of the Administrator. We have taken our decision.
– I direct a question to the Postmaster-General regarding the express delivery service. Will the Minister inform the House why the PostmasterGeneral’s Department has discontinued the express letter delivery service between capital cities and suburbs - for example, between Melbourne and St. Kilda - and for that matter between any other metropolitan suburb and a capital city? Does the Minister know that this mail service was appreciated very much by business people who paid a surcharge when sending mail by express delivery, and that the service was discontinued only when letter rates were increased last year?
– Mr. Speaker, the subject introduced by the honorable member for Isaacs was discussed by me some considerable time ago with the department before the change was made. There are various aspects and various reasons for it which I have not in my mind at the moment. If the honorable member cares to see me later, I will be able to give him much fuller information than I can by attempting to answer him now.
– I ask the Minister for Immigration whether it is a fact that Mr. C. J. Syme, chairman of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, informed the annual meeting of the company last week that one of the company’s greatest difficulties was to get the many employees needed for its rapid development? Is it a fact that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited subsidiary, Australian Iron and Steel Company Limited, of Port Kembla, needs at least L000 employees for the steel works and collieries? Has the parent company made any approach to the Department of Immigration seeking more suitable immigrants to meet the increasing labour needs of Australian Iron and Steel Company Limited? Is the department at present planning to introduce more immigrants to the Port Kembla district? If so, will the Minister propose to his Government that extra finance for home building on the south coast be made available to the New South Wales Government to permit all present and expected employees in the steel industry to be decently housed in accordance with family needs?
– Discussions have taken place from time to time, and occurred again early this month, between representatives of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and my department. The honorable gentleman may be interested to know that the company will shortly send a representative overseas to see whether it is possible to recruit the labour that it desires. I need hardly say that, in this quest, every possible facility will be made available by my officers abroad.
On the question of skilled labour, Sir, as the House will probably realize, on account of the rising prosperity in Europe and in the United Kingdom, we are finding it increasingly difficult to get the types of people we seek. Nonetheless, it is pleasing to be able to tell honorable members that, in the last financial year, we succeeded in bringing to Australia 47,500 male workers of whom 33,500 were skilled or semi-skilled. Considering the difficulties we are encountering abroad, that is an achievement which should commend itself to the House. In Port Kembla, there has been, since the war, a high proportion of immigrants to total population. I understand that the figure has risen as high as 45 per cent. That being so, the Government is anxious to co-operate as much as possible with the developmental plans of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and its satellites. I can assure the honorable member for Cunningham that we will do everything we can to enable them to realize their objectives.
– Will the Minister for Primary Industry state when he expects to release the report of the Dairy Industry Committee of Inquiry?
– I have not, as yet, completed my consideration of the matter. I cannot indicate a date to the honorable member, but it will be in the near future.
– Can the Minister for Territories inform the House when construction is likely to start on the Darwin High School which was recently the subject of a report by the Public Works Committee? Can the Minister state whether the plans conform to the recommendation of the committee with particular reference to the addition of an assembly hall to the original proposal? Will the Minister state whether there is any foundation for reports to the effect that the school will not now be built on the site that was originally selected?
– Taking the last point first, there certainly will not be any change of site. The site that was chosen, generally known as the old Vestey’s meatworks site, has been dedicated for education purposes, and it will be the site for the high school. Other matters raised by the honorable member are at present under examination by my colleague, the Minister for Works, myself and the Cabinet. I am not in a position at present to give precise answers to all the questions the honorable member raised.
– Will the Minister for Defence confer with the Minister for Civil Aviation with the object of arranging for a plaque to be displayed at the proposed new airport at Perth to commemorate No. 77 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force, which was originally established at the Perth airport during the war?
– I will be very pleased to confer with my colleague on the honorable member’s proposal. It has great merit. I think such a memorial would be a fitting tribute to a very famous squadron.
– I ask the Minister for the Army: Who was responsible for the initiation of the Army’s code of conduct course, in which personnel are subjected to treatment likely to be experienced by those who become prisoners of war in future operations? In what wayis it believed that undergoing such experiences voluntarily in peace time will assist a prisoner to survive when faced with the actuality of brutal and inhuman treatment? Does the Minister seriously believe that a man lacking in fortitude and courage can be trained to stand up to such treatment when called upon to do so? Does the Minister agree that the author of such a plan, and the person in authority who adopted it, are themselves cases for psychiatric treatment?
– The code of conduct course resulted from an investigation that the former Chief of the General Staff undertook in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada. Practices in those countries were thoroughly investigated, and the course was instituted as a means of training people in interrogation and counter-interrogation. Under present conditions it is considered throughout the world that this kind of tuition is essential in Army training. I make it perfectly clear that it is a purely voluntary course, that there is no obligation on any officer to undergo the course, and that at no time is there any physical interference with an officer’s liberty in any way. The members of the press have been invited to undergo the course, and some pressmen have done so. In all cases it has been eulogized1 by those who have taken part in it. All officers who have gone through it - I have spoken to many of them - have stated that it is a very valuable course. I repeat that it does not in any way interfere with the liberty of officers.
– My question, which is directed to the Postmaster-General, refers to the Sydney General Post Office clock tower. I ask the Minister whether he will give warm and sympathetic consideration to the proposal, supported on both sides of the House, to have exploratory work carried out - at trifling cost, I understand - to ascertain the strength of the foundations of the General Post Office in Sydney beneath the position formerly occupied by the now dismantled clock tower, so that a more accurate estimate may be made of the cost of restoring the tower and the Cambridge chimes, so appropriately set to the words -
Lord, through this hour
Our footsteps guide,
So by Thy power
No step shall slide.
Will the Minister take a firm step in the right direction?
– Some little time ago this matter was discussed in the House and at question time I undertook to arrange for any honorable members who were interested in the subject to be given opportunity to inspect the clock tower in its present position and find out generally what the position was. In my statement I referred to the restoration of the tower. Some honorable members took the opportunity to make this inspection. Later, I had notes from all the members who took part, expressing appreciation of the opportunity offered them. From the honorable member for Bradfield came an interesting suggestion regarding the possibility of the cost of replacing the tower being spread among the institutions really interested in the matter - the Post Office, the Sydney City Council and one or two other instrumentalities. That suggestion -interested me very much indeed. At any time when a serious suggestion like that is put forward by those bodies 1 will be glad to pursue it with them.
For the present, however, I undertook to have a further test made of the foundations below the post office so as to get the most up-to-date and reliable information about the possible cost of restoration. Following that undertaking my department has submitted a requisition to the department of my colleague, the Minister for Works, asking that this work be carried out. Tenders have been invited for the work and it is expected that it will cost in the vicinity of a couple of thousand pounds. As the honorable member for Bradfield said, it is not a very great sum. But as the result of that testing it will be possible to obtain a firm indication of what the ultimate cost of restoration may be under present conditions.
– -I ask the AttorneyGeneral: Will he have inquiries made as to the cause of what appear to be quite inordinate delays in the transfer of the titles of freehold land in the Australian Capital Territory when that land is sold or disposed of? I wish to make it clear to the Minister that the land 1 am referring to is land which was held under New South Wales freehold titles before the establishment of the Australian Capital Territory. I ask him to ascertain whether it is possible that the delays have been partly caused by the transfer of the register from Sydney to Canberra.
But in any case will he take whatever action he can to speed up the transfers of titles as hardship is being inflicted on people concerned in such transfers?
– 1 will be very pleased indeed to make the inquiries as soon as I can and to take any steps I can to accelerate the process of the verification of titles and the registration of transfers.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade. In view of the fact that there have been further discussions concerning the European Common Market and related matters, is he in a position to give later information about the situation and particularly to inform me what opportunity is taken to place Australia’s opinions before those concerned in these discussions and the effect that these moves may have on Australian exports to these areas, and especially the United Kingdom?
– I think I should answer the honorable gentleman’s question in two stages. The Australian relationship with the European Common Market is a matter which is being pursued by Australia in the forum of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. A session of Gatt has just commenced, or is about to commence. That conference will deal with our opportunities in the countries constituting “ The Six “ - the European Common Market. The honorable member has asked me about the effect on our trade of the relations between the United Kingdom and the European Common Market area. I think I should say that the situation has not yet been determined. It is being watched quite carefully. The honorable member and all Australians interested can be assured that the Government is very conscious of the need to reconcile its desire that Britain should have the necessary trade opportunities with the safeguarding of Australia’s own trade opportunities.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. What progress has he made in negotiations with the Prime Minister of New Zealand on the Tariff Board’s suggestion made in June last year that Australian shipyards should be enabled to build and repair New Zealandbased ships? I also ask him what progress has been made with the proposal that Australia and New Zealand should preserve the passenger service between the two countries by establishing a shipping line comparable to their jointly owned airline?
– I have in course of preparation some information on this matter. I will answer the honorable member’s question by incorporating the reply in “ Hansard “ so that he will have it before him.
– I ask the Minister for Social Services whether he will inform the House of the date upon which his department will begin to accept applications from those people who, although formerly excluded by the means test from receiving a pension, will become eligible from 1st March next, following the passing of amending legislation.
– I can understand and appreciate the enthusiasm of the honorable member for Lilley about the. merged means test. Although it would be wrong for me to take the passing of amending legislation for granted, I can say that there would be nothing to prevent a person from applying for the appropriate pension under the merged means test. However, I direct the attention of the honorable member for Lilley and of other honorable members to the fact that it would hardly be competent for the department to reach an assessment at this stage as the new rates of pension to be applied under the merged means test will not operate until 1st March, and the circumstances of people change from time to time. It would be much better in the interests of those who wish to apply, and of the Department of Social Services, if applications could be delayed until early in the new year. However, I answer his question by saying that it would be competent for any one to apply as soon as the legislation meets with the approval of the Parliament.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service and concerns the brief reference to productivity groups made by the Minister last week. Is there any possibility of some method being adopted by his department to tabulate information that may be gathered over a period by the productivity groups and, as a result of that examination, the stage being reached at which we can have a productivity index of some character - I know the Minister is opposed to this - produced by the Commonwealth Statistician and his staff?
– The productivity groups have a function that is not directly related to attempting to estimate increases in productivity in their industries. Their task is entirely different and is to ensure efficiency in management and particularly efficiency that can be achieved by adopting the best methods of production and factory management.
– How do they prove it?
– They get the results, but they do not try to assess the amount of increased production that is due to these causes. The whole question is one of efficiency of management. As to the question of a productivity index, I, as the honorable gentleman knows, have given enormous attention to this. I do not know of a single productivity index or group of productivity indexes that could be regarded as satisfactory. We are still continuing our investigations and, naturally, if we get anywhere, I will be the first to make known the fact. I want to make the point clear that productivity estimates are but one of the factors considered by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission before it reaches a decision either on the basic wage or on an application for an increase of margins.
– I address my question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I refer to the excellent work performed in the past by the Ministry of Labour Advisory Council, as exemplified by its report on productivity. Does the Minister believe that this council can perform most valuable work and indeed fill what might be regarded as a gap in the study of industrial problems generally, in conference and confidence by the three elements concerned - employers, employees and government? Could it also perform a valuable task in co-operating with productivity groups? If the Minister does believe that the council can perform these jobs, will he say what are the obstacles to its reconstruction?
– I am sure that what the honorable gentleman has said is correct and that the studies by the Ministry of Labour Advisory Council did fill a gap that appeared in the information available as between government employers and employees. In fact I would go as far as to say that some of the papers that were approved by the council formed the basis on which much of the thinking by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and by manufacturers on industrial problems has proceeded in recent years. 1 have in mind particularly the evidence recently submitted to the Coal Industry Tribunal in the 35-hour week case. The honorable member asks what is stopping the reconstitution of the council. The matter is now before the interstate executive of the A.C.T.U. I know it is being considered, and I have some hope that it will not be long before the A.C.T.U. is able to make up its mind as to whether or not the council will be reconstituted.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) agreed to -
That leave of absence for one month be given to the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) on the ground of public business overseas, and to the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Howson) on the ground of parliamentary business overseas.
– I move -
That leave of absence for one month be given to the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) and the honorable member for Grey (Mr. Russell) on the ground of ill health.
The House will be glad to learn that both honorable members are recovering and hope to be back in the House within the next month or so.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from 6th September (vide page 845).
Prime Minister’s Department
Proposed Vote, £3,681,000.
.- I want to pursue the line of thought concerning the activities of the Public Service Board, which was introduced last night by the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury). Before I came into this place, I used to spend a good deal of time lamenting the fact that we had a Public Service at all; I was not able to discern any function that it performed. Since then, I have had many reasons to alter my opinion, and it is not at all as a critic of the Public Service that I now claim the attention of honorable members.
I realize that the Public Service Board is an important part of the Public Service organization, but I do not know enough of its activities to be able to criticize it in any way. I should think that in some respects it is a product of the pressures that come from within the service from bodies representing the officers and also of the political pressures that come from outside. Numerous bodies, which are numerically strong, have as such a proper political power. The thing that is worrying me about this problem is simply that the Public Service Board does not seem to be equipped to oversee or govern the activities of the scientific personnel who make up a small but important part of the Public Service. Obviously, if the Public Service Board is looked at as a machine which is a product of the forces of the democratic system, it is a machine which is more fitted to deal with the problems of the ordinary public servant than the problems of scientific personnel, that applies.
I know that scientists do not constitute a large part of the service, but I think we will all agree that they are an important part of it. As I see it, Sir, the problem of the difficulty of the Public Service Board in overseeing, efficiently, scientists in the Public Service, will become greater as the Public Service itself becomes bigger. I admit that I have often lamented that the Public Service continues to grow, but I realize now that that growth is the inevitable result of the times we live in. It is not that I am criticizing the board, Mr. Temporary Chairman, it is just that I think we have to realize the existence of this particular problem of the efficiency of the board, that is, its ability to administer scientists. Although not numerous in the Public Service, scientists are likely to become even more important than they are, as we move into an increasingly technical age.
Scientists are different, in many ways, from the ordinary public servant. They are a bit queer, if you like. They are like farmers who are obviously a bit queer or they would not be farming. The fact that the scientist is a bit queer makes it more difficult for him to conform to the Public Service mould. He does not easily fit himself into the pattern that is the common pattern in the Public Service. This may be regretted and deplored by people who believe that in a proper democracy everybody should be the same. Anyhow, the scientist is not impressed by that argument. He says that he resents not being able to get as much money in the Public Service as he can get outside it. I do not think he is particularly queer in that. He also resents being expected to conform to the Public Service mould. Although we may deplore this, nevertheless that is how many scientists feel, and with the present demand for scientists right throughout Australia, by private industry and other sectors of the economy, they are able to find employment elsewhere than in the Public Service if they choose. Indeed, that is the problem to which, in the main, I wish to address myself - the problem of the ability of the Public Service, as at present constituted, to attract, and then to hold, scientists.
This problem is met in several ways. It is met by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, for instance, which is a separate authority outside the Public Service Board, and as such has the power to fix salaries and conditions which are not in conformity with Public Service regulations. Without any doubt, this enables it to attract the high quality of scientists that it has attracted. This has enabled that organization to do the kind of work which has earned it the gratitude of the whole community. The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority met the problem in the same way. It decided that it had to get the people it required, that it had to solve the problem of keeping a large number of first-class scientists on its staff. To do that it went outside Public Service Board procedures or regulations and established its own authority regarding conditions of employment. The Australian Atomic Energy Commission, which naturally has many scientists on its staff, also attacked the problem in this way.
So the problem can be overcome in the way taken by those authorities. However, the difficulty is that if it is solved in this way it is solved only as a result of separate authorities improving conditions for their workers. This makes it very difficult for the Public Service Board to get the scientists that it so vitally needs itself. So there has to be relativity between the Public Service Board and the other bodies which employ scientists. They have to keep in step. If they do not, the position becomes more difficult. It has been indeed difficult. All of us who know the State services well know that there is a continual drift from, for instance, State departments of agriculture to the C.S.I.R.O. The reason is that the C.S.I. R.O. has the ability to offer salaries which will attract the best men. Because the organization gets the best men it gets the best work done. The results are cumulative. There is a continuing public interest in the C.S.I.R.O. It has the goodwill of the community because of the quality of the work it does - and that quality is a reflection of the quality of the people it is able to attract to its service. So the position in the States regarding scientists is far worse than it is in the Commonwealth.
It is not my intention this afternoon to discuss what the States should do; but I think we should recognize that the weakness of the Commonwealth Public Service in this regard is not so much a matter of economy or money, but more a matter of emphasis. The difficulty is to get the Public Service Board to recognize that scientists are to some extent in a class by themselves. If they have a peculiar outlook we may regret it, but our real problem which, as I have said before, is not a serious one in regard to actual numbers, but is serious in regard to the efficiency and the results of the work that is done.
I could easily say that I have not time to answer the question posed by this problem. But that would, in effect, be begging the question in that I certainly have not the knowledge of the subject that would enable me to give an answer. But I want to put the position, to pose the problem clearly, and to say that I think it ought to be recognized as a problem which is at present important and is likely to be much more important as scientists become even more necessary. For that reason I hope that the Public Service Board will bear this problem in mind in its administration of the Public Service.
.- I wish to deal with the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department, especially in relation to the Office of Education. I want to refer particularly to the vexed question of additional Commonwealth aid for education, and I want to make some references to the present position of universities.
Education does not have a chance to compete in the public demand priorities of a free-enterprise economy. Education does not have the opportunity, in our economy, to compete directly with alternative community choices of capital investment such as mammoth insurance undertakings, banking and other business establishments. Nor are the people confronted directly with a choice between education and a whole range of consumer goods such as the latest, fashion in motor cars, the most up-to-date furniture and the newest fashion in clothing. In our society, governments are charged with the responsibility of interpreting the will of the people in relation to public expenditures. Indeed, because of the information and expert advice which is available to them, governments have the added responsibility of providing leadership for the people and of helping to create an informed public demand.
In the matter of educational aid, which is so intimately tied to our national development, socially, culturally and economically, the Commonwealth Government is failing lamentably, not only to provide leadership and inspiration but also to interpret or to respond to the sincerely and strongly felt needs of the community. Large representative and responsible sections of the community have expressed in clear and unmistakable terms their desires in the matter of increased Commonwealth participation in education. The expression of such a feel ing has not been tied to any particular political allegiance.
I should like to refer to the great conference which was held in Sydney on 21st May last. I suppose that this would have been one of the largest and most representative conferences ever held in the Commonwealth. About 3,200 delegates representing 30 organizations in our community attended the conference which assembled at the Leichhardt Stadium. One might well have expected the Teachers Federation, the Australian Teachers Council, parents’ organizations and mothers’ clubs to be represented, but in addition there were representatives of the Federal Council of University Staff Associations of Australia, the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Farmers Union of Australia, the Country Women’s Association of Australia, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Graziers Federal Council of Australia, the Australasian Trained Nurses Association, the Australian Journalists Association, the Australian Council of the Employers’ Federation, the Federal Council of the New Education Fellowship, the Fellowship of Australian Writers, the Australian Primary Producers’ Union, the Australian Veterinary Association, the Phamaceutical Associations of Australia, the Australian National Council of Women, the Farmers and Settlers’ Association, the National Union of Australian University Students, the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations, the Association of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draughtsmen of Australia, the Commonwealth Bank Officers’ Association, the Australian Bank Officials Association, the Australian Council for Child Advancement, the Arts Council of Australia, the Wheat and Woolgrowers’ Association of New South Wales, the United Associations of Women, the Union of Australian Women, the Parent-teacher Education Councils of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia and, in addition, the Premier and Minister for Education of New South Wales, as the Premier of that State was then known, and the Minister for Education of Victoria.
Apart from the Ministers, who had no direct vote in this matter, this conference of 3,200 people representative of such diverse groups in the community, whether they were tied or untied to any political allegiance, unanimously appealed to the Commonwealth Government along the lines of appeals which have been made during the last few years. The conference asked that the Commonwealth Government increase considerably financial assistance to the States in order to enable them to carry out their obligations in education as the people of Australia would like to see them carried out. This conference, which I had the pleasure of attending as an observer, was an inspiration as well as an example of unanimity.
Following the conference, letters were sent to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) requesting additional financial aid. On 9th August, 1960, the Prime Minister replied in these terms -
On the question of making additional finance available, it is not the Commonwealth’s intention to depart from its established financial relationships with the States, which make express provision for growth and development and thus for increased amounts of expenditure on education by the States.
I think that the Prime Minister is a realistic person. He must know - as apparently every one in the community knows - that the finance which is available to the States is grossly inadequate to meet the challenge of education which confronts not only this nation but also all the advanced nations of the world. To talk about the provisions which are made in the financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States for growth and development is to look at the matter only from the quantitative aspect of development. Equally important are the qualitative changes which are occurring in this process of growth and development.
I refer, first, to what has been called the “ younging “ of the population. A considerably increased proportion of young people now make up our total population. This is due partly to our immigration policy under which people in the lower age range are being brought to this country. In addition, there is our increased birth rate. These two factors - I can refer to them only broadly - account for this “youthifying”, if I may call it that, of our population.
Secondly, our population has a much greater multi-racial content than it had previously. Any person who has any experience in education knows that people of different races in our schools will pose a problem for educationists in addition to the normal problems which are associated with education.
Thirdly, there is the tendency of children to remain at school longer than they did previously. Not only have we more young people in the community but there is this added tendency which I think every one will commend. The January, 1960, report of the Australian Council on Educational Research indicated that in Victoria - taking one State as an example - whereas in 1954 the percentage of sixteen-year-old children still at school had been 24 per cent., by 1958 this figure had increased to 31.6 per cent. It is estimated that by 1965 the figure will have climbed to 42 per cent, which is slightly less than double the percentage in 1954. Likewise, the percentage of seventeen-year-old children still at school has risen. In 1954 it was 10 per cent, but in 1958 it had increased to 16.7 per cent. It is estimated that by 1965 it will be 20.5 per cent., which is double the 1954 figure.
These are problems which every one must be able to appreciate. They are qualitative changes in this process of growth and development, and they impose particular burdens on education. But I do not say that these burdens are restricted to education. They must be borne also in the field of housing and so on. But the States are unable to cope with the problem. Only the Commonwealth Government has the resources to do so.
Then there is the changed demand in our community in relation to skill. During question time a question was asked relating to bringing trained people to Australia from overseas. There is a demand for trained people to conduct research into primary and secondary industries, social sciences and the problems of governmental administration. Every advanced country must reach out and seek new knowledge and techniques, and engage in research. When you have the people to conduct research you must then have trained people to make use of the fruits of the research. All these manifold problems confront the community, but they are qualitative changes in our march of progress. We need this additional skill. Perhaps we have always needed it, but in recent years there has been an increased demand for skilled technologists, scientists, technicians and tradesmen. Not only on the economic level, but socially and culturally, our community demands it. The problem was well and truly recognized by the Prime Minister himself in 1945 when he referred to these different aspects of the community’s needs.
The real problem is that we have not enough teachers to carry on the task in our State educational systems to-day. We need more teachers - more qualified teachers. The ironical thing about it is that if all the teachers were diverted to do their training at the universities, they would probably be catered for a lot better than they are now. Many do go through the universities, but a very great many do not.
In our State and non-State schools to-day there are over 2,000,000 youngsters. More than 500,000 of them are in the non-State schools. When the Government says we cannot do anything about these problems, I wonder what would happen if the nonState schools decided one fine day to close down and their students swarmed into our public educational facilities. We would have to meet the problem. At this stage we are not asked to meet it, but we are asked to accept our responsibilities in connexion with the public schools at the moment. We need many more up-to-date buildings. There is a new concept of education. We need assembly halls, gymnasiums and so on. Above all, we want the basic things provided in a reputable way. Schools are unpainted - many of them are dingy places - and they are to be found in that condition all over the continent. Many of them are inadequate, overcrowded temporary buildings which have been classed as temporary for about twenty years. The State systems are crying out for our assistance. Only the Commonwealth can provide it.
There is a waste of talent amongst children in overcrowded schools for they are not getting the opportunity to develop themselves either for their own benefit or, what we might say is even more important, to fit an with the needs of our society, to assist in sustaining and developing the society in which they will be taking part. I have not endeavoured to describe all the problems - one could not do that in the time available - but I do not think anybody would seriously advance the proposition that the States could in any way reallocate the resources they have to-day in order to provide any significant increase in funds to meet those problems. The Commonwealth could make the funds available if it so desired. Whether it likes it or not, the Commonwealth is in a position where it can help. For instance, it could increase taxation in order to obtain the revenue necessary to carry out these tasks.
Unfortunately, as our constitution is framed, responsibilities in this nation are in compartments, as it were - some belonging to the State governments and others to the Commonwealth Government. We may well ask ourselves this question: If the Commonwealth can afford to allocate the money that it does for space research and other things such as defence and, through the constitutional division of authority evades responsibility for many other things, which the States want to do, and which the people would like them to do, is it not better to set aside some of the things the Commonwealth wants to do and for the Commonwealth to accept as a national project responsibility for our education? Let us give education its true priority in terms of our future and our national development. Whether it likes it or not, the Commonwealth is the taxing authority and is in a position to raise the revenue to carry out this task. The Commonwealth is in a position to divert the community’s resources to education rather than to some of the other projects which it is undertaking. I suggest that if the Commonwealth is looking for an opportunity to do something about this matter, it can take over responsibility for teacher training. I have mentioned before that if this responsibility had been taken over and student teachers were diverted to university education-
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Last night and to-day I listened with great interest to the debate on the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department. I recall that when I was a new member of this House the subject of education was hardly mentioned during the debate on the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department, but, as each year has gone by, more and more time has been devoted to that subject until on this occasion the debate is devoted almost entirely to the question of education.
Without going into constitutional issues, which I place in a separate category, I believe that the facts are that no State government is anxious to have Commonwealth grants ear-marked for education. Admittedly, there is a very strong private pressure on the Commonwealth to take this sort of action, as every member of this committee knows, from the propaganda that is directed to him from various quarters. But the States press the Commonwealth for more money to cover all their activities. Indeed, this is an annual exercise. They support their demands with evidence of the difficulty they experience in keeping pace with the requirements of education and other urgent activities. The fact remains that no State will happily surrender its full responsibility for this, one of its major activities. In my own State, Victoria, the budget vote for education is always outstandingly the largest vote. Victoria, as we all know, is the most firmly reluctant of all the States to surrender its rights in this matter of education.
At a recent national conference on education held in Sydney, from which most of this organized pressure emanates, by the way, the Victorian Minister for Education delivered an address, and I looked forward keenly to learning what he said to a conference of that kind. He expressed no enthusiasm whatever for specifically earmarked grants from the Commonwealth for any purpose at all. What the States do press for is a larger share of revenue to cover education and other activities.
There is another leg to this education campaign organized, if I may say so, by the Australian Teachers’ Federation. That is to press for a Commonwealth-sponsored inquiry into primary, secondary and technical education throughout Australia. For myself, I regard this as a grave reflection upon the competence and precise local knowledge which the State Governments possess.
– The Labour Government threw that idea out.
– Undoubtedly it did. I wonder whether this propaganda is accurate. Is education as restricted and as far behind as these people would have us believe? When the House met this afternoon, I looked up at the public gallery, which was then packed with school children, and I wondered whether those kids were receiving an education which was far less than that to which they are justly entitled from an advanced community such as ours. [Quorum formed.] We hear about the lack of facilities at schools, that schools are overflowing, that the children are being educated under all sorts of temporary measures of expediency and so on. I went to a public school in Victoria - it would be known in New South Wales language as a great public school - and when I hear criticism of classes averaging over 40, I think back to the days when I was at school. Certainly, that is some time ago, but it was no exception at my college to have classes of 45. Yet, to-day, a class of 45 seems to be considered an unutterable sin. Is this right or wrong?
I find that some of the people who approach me on these educational matters, and who represent the Australian Teachers’ Federation, are not the most desirable members of our community. I find that they are followers of most peculiar and, to me, most undesirable political faiths and leanings. I have no time for these people. I wish to make it clear that I have no desire to reflect on the teaching fraternity in Australia generally for whom I have the greatest admiration, but there are those among them whom I regard as most undesirable citizens and they seem to be amongst those who are agitating most strongly for this reform. It is easy for a schoolteacher to convince members of mothers’ clubs, parents and citizens associations and others that their children are being very badly dealt with in this matter of education. For myself, I do not believe it.
Certainly, any country which is experiencing the tremendous impulse of development that we are will find it difficult to keep pace with the needs of education. We are finding it difficult to keep pace with developments in every field, but in my own electorate within an area of 4 square miles, the Victorian Government has built four or five State schools, a high school and a technical school in the past five or six years. To me, this is a magnificent achievement and it is not confined to the electorate of Higinbotham but applies similarly to the whole of the State. The Commonwealth Government has done a great deal in the field of education and not only in its direct activities, such as the provision of assistance to universities, Commonwealth scholarships and so on, but also by making more money available to the States which they can devote to education as they see fit.
I rose mainly to speak very briefly about an anomaly which I believe exists as between universities. It appears strange to me that the matriculation requirements for particular courses vary from State to State. For example, the matriculation requirements for commerce at the Melbourne University differ from those stipulated by Adelaide University. A student who has completed his second or third year of commerce at Melbourne and who, for strong family or other reasons, wishes to continue his course at Adelaide, is not acceptable because he has not taken some special subject requirement of the Adelaide University matriculation statute.
I feel that it should be made possible for students, in proper cases, to inter-change between universities as a matter of procedure without this sort of obstruction. From inquiries I have made, it seems that some universities are unwilling to cooperate in a satisfactory arrangement whereby a student may change from one university to another and proceed with his course uninterrupted.
It is not within our province to interfere with the domestic arrangements and standards of individual universities, but the universities themselves should recognize this problem. I hope that this matter will receive the attention of the vice-chancellors of the universities when next they meet to discuss matters of common interest as I understand they do from time to time.
.- I wish to direct some remarks to the Commonwealth Office of Education estimates since I feel much as the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) must have felt in 1943 when opening the election campaign at Kooyong. At that time, he said that he desired to refer to two internal problems of reconstruction. The first was education which, he said he hoped, would increasingly become a Commonwealth matter. It is for these reasons that 1 wish to deal with this subject. In recent times, we have seen the manifestation of great advances in science and technology. This advance is symbolized by the advent of the Hovercraft, the sputnik and the lunik, the development of atomic reactors and many other great achievements. They have done a great deal more than simply make history. I believe we are in the process of unlocking the secrets of nature. We are about to exploit new forces for the benefit of mankind. We hope that, in the long run, they will provide for greater productivity, better living and more leisure for the Australian people and the people of the world generally. Obviously, education is the key to this situation. In Australia, we are able to find millions of pounds for foreign corporations who are searching for oil, but we are languishing for want of funds for education which may make oil unnecessary in the new society.
I went along to the great educational conference which was conducted on 2.1 st May last at the Leichhardt stadium. Some 3,200 delegates from all parts of Australia were in attendance. I must confess that I recognized a large number of my constituents, including parent and teacher representatives who would take affront at the remarks of the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Timson), who indicated that the delegates had some sort of Communist leadership. May I assure honorable members now that this was a spontaneous thing so far as the people of Australia were concerned and that the sort of recriminations I have mentioned will not discourage these people in their endeavours on behalf of education. The 3,200 delegates who attended were not ordinary people, but representatives of important organizations. They reported on the educational facilities available throughout the country and the deficiencies in each State. The story they told added up, in many respects, to a very proud achievment, but it also revealed that the current situation is somewhat pathetic. All the speakers said that the States had done very well in affording a high priority to education when allocating available funds.
New South Wales, for example, is spending £61,000,000 on education which represents 56.2 per cent, of the reimbursement from uniform taxation. More than £1,000,000 is being spent each week in that State on education. That reveals a scale of values that nobody can deny. 1 am not being parochial as honorable members opposite incline to be, and 1 say that every State has demonstrated a good scale of values in respect of education. What they have done compares favorably with the record of New South Wales as 1 have related it.
Despite these achievements, there is a great crisis in education in New South Wales and that statement could be applied also to other States. The political complexion of any State government is no criterion in this matter. The Liberal States of Queensland and Victoria have the same sort of problems as those facing the Labour States of New South Wales and Tasmania; so this is not a political party matter. I am not trying to make miserable distinctions in that regard; rather am I trying to get on a higher plane than are some honorable members opposite. Every State is languishing for want of money for education. It is true that there have been increased allocations from the Commonwealth to the States for education in recent years; but such additional allocations have been offset by inflated costs. There have been higher wages for teachers, higher building costs and greatly increased school enrolments. There has been a nation-wide demand for higher educational standards.
The great national education conference at Sydney has been a topic of wide discussion and has directed attention to a number of issues. Having considered those issues, the conference came to precise conclusions. The first issue to which they paid some regard was the fact that about 30 per cent, of the Australian population is under fifteen years of age and the pattern of population is changing very rapidly. Secondly, they considered that the increased live births and the arrival of half a million immigrants under the immigration scheme had resulted in an unprecedented increase in school population throughout Australia. Thirdly, they contended that the development of Australia under the great developmental programmes about which we are going to hear a great deal in the course of the debate on the Estimates, required improved educational facilities and standards. Fourthly, they contended that inflation was reducing the purchasing power of education votes despite the increase resulting from recent alterations to the formula. Then the conference, in consideration of these matters, resolved to seek a nation-wide inquiry into educational needs and to seek from the Commonwealth an emergency grant for educational purposes.
There has been a lot of contention that a Commonwealth inquiry should be initiated through the Commonwealth Office of Education, but some States have become impatient and have conducted their own inquiries. However, they are looking at different standards in each State which is most unfortunate. There is no effective dividing line between the Australian people. Obviously, we expect a good substantial standard to prevail regardless of State boundaries.
The report of the committee on State education in Victoria has recently come to hand. It is most interesting. Some honorable members opposite would do well to purchase it for the price of 7s. 6d. and acquire some knowledge of the Victorian situation. The honorable member who preceded me is obviously in need of the benefit of this most enlightening document. This, 1 emphasize, is an official document which was released by the Liberal Government of Victoria. It shows that Victoria needs £48,600,000 over the next five years in addition to its current rate of income. Expenditure needs to be increased from £41,500,000 in 1959-60 to £59,200,000 in 1963-64. In other words on average an additional £10,000,000 per annum is required in order to accomplish the educational objectives set out in this report. I have no doubt that the Prime Minister (Mr* Menzies), who has done us the courtesy of sitting in on this debate, has already received a copy of this report. Perhaps he will make some comment on it if he replies to this debate.
Victoria has about 400,000 children enrolled in its schools. New South Wales schools have an enrolment of 600,000. The report on education in New South Wales is not yet to hand, but, in view of the fact that Victoria will require an additional £10,000,000 per annum, it is fair to say that New South Wales may need an additional £15,000,000 per annum because school enrolments are 50 per cent, higher in that State than in Victoria. The Prime Minister and those who support him have steadfastly refused to yield on this point.
Let me illustrate the claim that there are serious problems in evidence in education. I can best speak of New South Wales - the report to which I have referred, and which is available to all members, speaks effectively in regard to Victoria. What is the staff position? Any one who can stand in front of a class is given the job of teaching. Many of us know of teachers who are 75 years old. I personally know of a teacher of 83 years of age who is responsible for a class in New South Wales. The same sort of situation prevails in other States. We have ascertained the teacher shortage in New South Wales. In order to reduce the size of classes, 3,000 additional teachers are needed now. At the moment, no relief staff is available. If a teacher is sick, the kids from one class go into another class. That is not a fair go. We need 600 extra teachers to provide a relief staff. In order to provide specialists we need an additional 2,000 teachers. In order to implement the Wyndham report, we require an additional 800 teachers. In order to replace casual teachers, many of whom are very old and have returned to work after a lifetime of service to the department, we need another 600 teachers. So, we need a total of 7,000 additional teachers in New South Wales. This is the immediate staff crisis and it is typical of the position in every State.
Many more teachers will be needed in the future. Although 4,750 teachers are in training at the present time they will not all represent an effective net gain. They will take care, to some extent, of replacements and there will be some net gain, but there will still be a deficiency regardless of the large number in training. In New South Wales, this year, we saw the sorry spectacle of 700 teacher aspirants being turned away from training colleges. They wanted to train for teaching, but because of inadequate finance for education and teacher training facilities they were turned away and not given the opportunity to pursue their chosen profession.
The standard of training leaves much to be desired. In 1950, 71 per cent, of secondary teachers were university graduates. In 1956, only 62 per cent, were graduates. This year, only 43 per cent, of secondary teachers in New South Wales are graduates. That sort of deterioration is fairly general around Australia. In South Australia, over 1,000 primary teachers are unclassified and many are untrained. So, a grave teacher shortage prevails throughout the community.
We can pay tribute to the New South Wales Government. In ten years it has provided 10,000 additional teachers, bringing the total to 22,000. But that is still not enough. The Commonwealth Government should smarten itself up a bit and recognize that the things for which the Commonwealth is responsible will be seriously impaired unless more teachers are trained. In Victoria, because of a teacher and accommodation shortage, many children are in classes of over 40 and up to 50. At the present rate of reducing class loads, about 450 years will transpire before the class load of 30 recommended by world education authorities is achieved. So the honorable member who preceded me has no cause for satisfaction in this respect. What is the position with regard to class loading in New South Wales? In the infants schools, 46 per cent, of classes have more than 40 and up to 50 children in them. In primary schools, 50 per cent, of classes have over 40 children. Of the junior secondary school students, 60 per cent, are in classes of 40 or over and of senior secondary students, 6 per cent, are in classes of 40 or over. There is a shortage of school accommodation in every State. Thousands of additional class rooms, assembly rooms and auditoriums are needed. In New South Wales every £1 raised by the local community for a school building hall is subsidized with £2 from the State Government. At the present time I am standing, with a number of others, as a guarantor for some hundreds of pounds for the local community which is trying to attract money for an assembly hall. Many communities cannot afford to raise the necessary money and have to go without an assembly hall or auditorium. There is a great deficiency of specialist rooms such as science rooms, carpentry rooms and sewing rooms. Washing and toilet facilities are in a shocking state throughout the country. We have had the benefit of a survey of playgrounds in New South Wales where 500 schools reported inadequate playing facilities. A total of 400 New South Wales schools reported that they had no lunch facilities. Then there are the problems of staff rooms, storage space and facilities for visual education. In New South Wales 1,000 class rooms are needed to accommodate existing classes, and 1,500 specialist rooms, 750 assembly halls and 280 staff rooms- a total of 3,530 - are required. This is the situation in New South Wales which spends 181.2 shillings per head on education. What is the position in other States which spend less? Accord1ing to the Commonwealth Grants Commission Victoria, for instance, spends 164.2 shillings per head on education and Queensland, 141.10 shillings per head.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- When the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) opened this debate on the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department, it was a pretty sure bet that Opposition speakers would concentrate on the subject of education. At first glance one might think that their interest in the matter springs from altruism, because honorable members may recall that when the Leader of the Opposition opened a conference in Sydney he said that his party would not be taken over by intellectuals or pseudo intellectuals.
– Quite true!
– Quite true, insofar as there are no intellectuals in the party. So far as pseudo intellectuals are concerned, I leave the members of this Parliament to judge.
As I have said, the approach of the Labour Party to the question of education might bc thought to be altruistic, but in fact it is political. Every Opposition speaker in this debate on the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department has harped on the matter of education, because education reaches right down to the grass roots of the community. It is a highly political question. Throughout New South Wales, for instance, education is constantly being used as a foundation for political propaganda because the Labour Government of that State wants to take the spotlight off its activities in other directions.
– What rubbish!
-“ What rubbish “, says the honorable member. I remind him that two months after the last Premiers’ Conference the Government of New South Wales was complaining because the Commonwealth was not giving enough money not only for education but also for housing, for roads, for land settlement of exservicemen and for many other activities which will all be spoken of later in these debates on the Estimates. The continual cry is that the Commonwealth is not giving enough money for education. Eloquent pleas along these lines have been made by the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) and others, but let us get down to brass tacks and see whether this question is not a political one, at least in New South Wales, from which we hear the main volume of complaints.
The States receive advances from the Commonwealth under the tax reimbursement scheme. They also have their own taxing fields, which are very wide. When they allocate their money, whether it has been received from the Commonwealth or raised by means of their own tax provisions, they are entitled to do so in any way they wish. The New South Wales Government, overriding a decision of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court, makes quarterly adjustments to the basic wage in accordance with movements in the C series index. In doing so, it pays out many millions of pounds which would otherwise be available for expenditure on education. This is done, of course, for political purposes. The Government of New South Wales takes money from the Commonwealth by way of tax reimbursement and spends it for political purposes, granting quarterly basic wage adjustments which are refused in the Commonwealth sphere.
It has followed this practice in various other ways. It has introduced legislation to provide for three weeks annual leave for New South Wales workers, although this amenity is denied to workers under Commonwealth awards. The granting of increased leave is, of course, a very worthy objective, but it costs a good deal of money which could otherwise be spent on education. Similarly, provision has been made in New South Wales for equal pay for the sexes. This again is a laudable objective, but the point is that while the Commonwealth abides by arbitration the State does not.
Honorable members opposite are asking the Commonwealth, which abides by arbitration, to provide more money for education in New South Wales, the Government of which State is constantly dissipating its funds in what are, no doubt, quite worthy directions, but is not abiding by arbitration. I live in New South Wales, and 1 am sometimes heartily ashamed of the Government of that State. The honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) said last year that the New South Wales Government spent £61,000,000 on education. 1 have here a copy of the New South Wales “ Hansard “ report for 16th September, 1959. In introducing the Budget on that day the Premier said -
The amount of money being made available for education this year will be £46,900,000.
The Victorian Government last year spent £45,600,000 on education. This was about £1,000,000 less than the amount spent in New South Wales, which has a population about 1,000,000 higher than Victoria. Yet we have eloquent advocates of the Government of New South Wales asking in this Parliament for more money for education in that State, while the Commonwealth abides by arbitration and the New South Wales Government does not. Do honorable members opposite believe that that is the correct attitude?
Large sums of money are made available to New South Wales for capital works. The New South Wales Government bought two coal mines for £4,000,000 for the State Electricity Commission. There are private coal mines situated alongside those two mines, which can provide coal at 45s. a ton, against 68s. a ton which is charged by the State mines. This higher cost of coal naturally increases our electricity charges, while £4,000,000 is used up that could have been spent on building schools and teachers’ colleges. The New South Wales Government adopts the view that it can spend money in this way because the Commonwealth will make more and more available to it.
When the last Premiers’ Conference concluded, the Premier of New South Wales left rubbing his hands, saying, “ We did very well that time “.
Order! The honorable member for Parkes is indulging in a continous stream of interjections which might almost be said to amount to a speech on these Estimates. I must ask him to restrain himself and cease interjecting.
– As I was saying, the Premier of New South Wales left the last Premiers’ Conference rubbing his hands, thoroughly satisfied with the result of his negotiations, because the Menzies Government has always been generous to the States. It recognizes the fact that the States have the responsibility of educating the children of the immigrants that are brought here, and so it always provides something in excess of the amount calculated under the formula that has been laid down. But it has also realized on every occasion that within a couple of months there would be more demands for money for education, hospitals, housing and so on. If we are to be forced to give more money for education, should we not say to the States, “ You will spend this money on education “? If we are to provide more money for education we’ must impose more taxes, and this means that the States will get more under the tax reimbursement formula. The States want it both ways; they want more money without the responsibility of imposing taxes to get it.
A by-election is to be conducted shortly, and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) will no doubt take part in the campaign and speak of education, housing and other matters in a highly dishonest manner politically. Every body believes in education. Adequate education facilities should be provided, and if the New South Wales Government cannot provide the necessary funds, then it should get out and make way for a government that can.
I feel very strongly about this matter, because these insidious statements, attributing money shortages solely to the Commonwealth Government, continually tend, to break down our federal system. If the taxing powers that the States had formerly were returned to them it would be a different story, because the States would have the responsibility of raising their money, and they could spend it as they wished. But while the States do not have these taxing powers, statements that are made by honorable members opposite merely tend to break down our federation, and ultimately to result in unification, which is, after all, the policy of socialist parties. When unification is brought about, socialism can very easily follow. It is this socialist objective, I believe, which is behind the constant drive to get more funds from the Commonwealth. If the New South Wales Government cannot shoulder its responsibilities, it should be replaced by a government that can.
.- It amuses me to hear the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) accusing those on this side of the chamber of being actuated by political motives, while he adopts an attitude of self-righteousness and detachment which has to be seen to be believed. He argues that if the Labour Party talks about education it is doing so for political motives, but that when he puts forward his ideas, which are mainly of the seventeenth or eighteenth century, he is not being political. Let me suggest that unless education is understood to be a political matter, and unless we accept that the present Government is not fulfilling its responsibilities in the field of education, then the education problem will not be solved. Education must be a political matter and it must be seen as a political party matter. This is very important. Those who are concerned to ask for more money for education must realize shortly that it is a political party matter. The submissions I want to make to this committee concern three main aspects of this debate. First, there is the point that more money is needed for education; secondly, there is the problem of providing that money, in the constitutional sense, and, thirdly, there is the problem of obtaining that money. I do not think any one can seriously deny that much more money is needed for education than is available at the present time. It is not a matter of whether Victoria is spending more or less than New South Wales on certain things, or whether there are no problems of this kind in Western Australia - which of course is not the case - and we could take up all the afternoon in arguing the successes or failures of the respective State governments. Such discussions would not achieve anything more than the avoiding of the real issue, which is that much more money is needed for education in Australia as a whole.
At the 1960 conference of the Australian Teachers Federation - the largest conference of its kind in Australia up to date - resolutions were agreed to unanimously, by the very many persons present, all of whom were experienced in education. They were resolutions which indicated a general agreement, among all those teachers, of the great need of education. I will refer the committee to some of those resolutions -
This conference of representatives of Australian teachers directs the attention of the public, Slate Governments and the various salary fixing authorities to the urgent need to grant proper recognition in terms of remuneration to teachers.
That there should be adequate allowances paid to all students in training for the teaching profession.
That there should be an adequate minimum salary sufficient to attract suitable and properly qualified teachers to the service.
That there should be adequate money for capital development.
Every one of those references made by the teachers’ conference indicates a unanimous conviction that insufficient is being provided at the present time. These resolutions stressing the need for adequacy in all these respects would not have been unanimously passed if the teachers were satisfied that to-day the situation was adequate. I suggest that the inadequacy of the funds is revealed by a great volume of evidence which it is quite impossible for me to present in any detail in a debate such as this. But one striking example of this came to me in the “ Teachers’ Journal “, a publication of the Victorian Teachers’ Union; and this issue was called “ The Conference Issue “. It relates that a deputation was taken to the Victorian Minister for Education, Mr. Bloomfield. Among other things, he told the deputation -
Perhaps 1 can give a simple illustration of what happens. You have spoken with mingled satisfaction of your salary application and of the three former members of your profession who constitute the Teachers’ Tribunal. At the same time you have spoken in terms of regret of various shortages which we find in the way of buildings, which come out of Loan funds. The plain fact is that, if the Teachers’ Tribunal in its wisdom increased salaries by 5 per cent., that is by about £1,000,000 a year, I am afraid there would be £1,000,000 less for capital works.
The Victorian Government and Education Department are therefore placed in a difficult position. An increase in salaries is justified on the ground of comparative wage justice, and added incentives for teachers, which the profession recognizes as necessary, should be given. But those additional costs could be met only if the allocation for capital works was reduced by £1,000,000. That, then, is the kind of standard which is being forced upon education in Victoria, and 1 suggest the position is very much the same in every other State. The Victorian Education Department recently put out a report. It is the report of the Committee on State Education in Victoria. At page 165 of the document we have this committee’s carefully arrived at estimate of what would be needed for education in Victoria from 1959-60 to 1963-64. The committee has indicated that over this period of four years the total additional amount of money required would be £46,800,000. The present level of expenditure in this field in Victoria is £41,599,000 and would have to be raised at the end of the period to £59,278,000. The aggregate would be increased over the period by £46,800,000. Before 1 try to evaluate that increase in the terms of other things, let me point out to honorable members that the committee said -
It is stressed that the above figures as set out in detail in Tables 2-4 of this appendix are based on minimum requirements and do not include less urgent works as set out in Table 5.
That is, this is the very minimum estimate of what is required in Victoria. It does not take into account any substantial reduction in the number of students per class, and an improvement in school accommodation. The report accepts the existing minimum standards and, most important of all, does not take into account any probable price increases over that four-year period. Prices are taken as constant, and anyone knows that with the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and his party in control of this country constant prices will never return. There will be continuous inflation so long as the Menzies Government presides. Therefore this minimum estimate ignores the probable 10 per cent, or 15 per cent, increase which will occur during the period to which it relates.
I think those factors show very clearly the urgent and very considerable need wnich is indicated by this Victorian estimate. For the period of four years, the increase is £46,800,000 for Victoria alone and, for Australia as a whole, the figure would be at least three times that amount - £140,000,000 or £150,000,000. To achieve those minimum standards the States would need to provide annually, for primary and secondary education, an additional £30,000,000. The Government prides itself on the fact that in the last financial year it increased payments to the States tor all purposes by about £30,000,000. So if this report is a suitable basis for calculation - as I suggest it is - and a minimum calculation at that, it would mean that over the next three-year period the increased am’ount of money paid to the States for education would have to equal, in each of those years, the increased amount that has been paid to the States for all purposes in the last twelve months. In other words, the needs of education alone will require an increased amount of money for the States equal, each year, to the increased payment to the States for all purposes in the last twelve months. That, I say, is some indication of the needs of education.
The next matter to which I should like to direct the attention of the committee is the way the money can be provided. Once this has been stated, however, the question of State rights or State responsibilities will be mentioned. This money has to come through the Commonwealth Government. Eight-tenths or nine-tenths of the total amount of revenue and loan money under the control of governments in Australia is under the control of the Commonwealth Government and so any increase of this nature has to come from the Commonwealth Government in the form of increased payments to the States.
That fact should not be disputed and any attempt to dispute it diverts attention - I suggest for political purposes - from the real issue. Once this is realized it is obvious that the question becomes a constitutional problem. I think it would be not unfair to say that the present Government takes the attitude that it has no power or no direct power with regard to education. Reference to the Constitution shows that since the amendment which added to the powers of the Commonwealth in 1946, the Commonwealth has, among other things, power with regard to the provision of benefits to students, and family allowances. The Commonwealth has, therefore, a very limited direct power under section 51 of the Constitution. But we find that under section 96 of the Constitution, the Commonwealth may grant financial assistance to any State on such terms and conditions as the Parliament thinks fit.
– “ May “!
– “ May “, but this Government will not do so. I do not think that reliance on the word “ may “ will give the honorable member much satisfaction. Clearly, this Government has power to make grants for any purpose that this Parliament thinks fit. Would it not be a simple matter to test the States? The answer given by the Prime Minister on a number of occasions is that no State Premier has ever asked for money. The Constitution does not provide that the State Premier must do so. That is not one of the requirements. The provision is that the Commonwealth may make grants to the States for any purpose it thinks fit. Let this Government choose to offer a grant to a State to enable it to raise the school leaving age to fifteen years, to reduce class numbers to 30 or to train teachers and see whether any State Premier will refuse to accept it. Has the right honorable gentleman ever thought of that? Does he think it worth while trying to give the Premiers a grant of, say, £50,000,000 to reduce classes to 30?
– Why not make it £100,000,000?
– I will come to that in a moment, and tell you where you can find the money, although it will offend a good many of your friends if you do so.
– Not my friends.
– I am sure they are your friends. Let the Prime Minister try the test that I have suggested. Here is a constitutional power that he can use. If, having used that power, any State Premier refuses to accept the offer of a grant, we will take that as an answer to our proposition; but I do not think that the Prime Minister will consider it.
In the course of his interjections, the Prime Minister said, “ Make it £100,000,000”. This, of course, is the classic answer, the dismal answer of the right honorable gentleman and his supporters. The Government holds such a poor view of Australia that it cannot afford an effective programme of education; but it can afford many other things. It can afford an economy that allows the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited to pay £32,500,000 in a bonus issue of shares. Of course, the Government back benchers who are now interjecting and who usually provide the obbligato to the right honorable gentleman’s speeches, would not be able to understand this proposition, but I shall do my best to explain it to them. In order to get more money for education, less money will be available for use in other directions. It is a matter of priorities. The Government’s priorities are the priorities of big business; ours are the priorities of education. Take the matter that has become the main item of news for this week. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, probably the largest private industrial concern in the Commonwealth–
Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– I shall take up the time of the committee for only a moment. I want to repeat what I have said on other occasions on this matter of education. Education is entirely a problem for the States. It is a State matter and the Commonwealth should be wary of intruding on the rights and obligations of the States. We have a federal and not a unitary system. Education, however, is also a problem for Australians. We should realize that people are young only once. The community is our greatest national capital and we cannot afford to see it eroded away by State incompetence or by other action or inaction. We cannot afford to have it fail to advance at the same rate as the human national capital of other nations advances.
This is at once a State problem and an Australian problem. It is not all a financial problem. Quite apart from the question of whether the States are using or misusing the very generous moneys allotted to them and the large sums that they raise, and even allowing that there is this amount of money available for education, there is the subsidiary, or perhaps even more important, question of whether the money is being spent on education in the way that obtains the best result for individuals and for Australia as a whole. This is a real problem that is over and above the financial problem, although I do not deny that it may have a financial ingredient.
In these circumstances, the initiative must come from the States. It is the State system that is wrong. The Commonwealth Government cannot go to a State and say, “ This is all wrong; we will clean it up for you “. That is not the correct federal concept. The correct federal concept is this: When the States conclude that they cannot continue in the education field in a satisfactory way, whether for financial or other reasons, it is for the States to come to the Commonwealth Government and ask the Commonwealth Government to chair a conference to decide what is wrong, whether it be finance or something else, and to conduct some kind of inquiry in a proper, constructive way covering all facets of the Australian system of education. That is the proper function of this Government and the proper action. The initiative must come from the States. Obviously, we cannot act without that approach, but if the initiative does come from the States, then I feel that we should work with them.
– One point that emerges clearly from this debate is that the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) is the exception on the Government side in his approach to this important question of education. Most other honorable members opposite who have spoken on this matter have merely confined themselves to the argument that has been advanced whenever this matter has been raised on the Estimates or on an adjournment motion. They say that education is a matter for the States and for the States alone. But they overlook the important fact that education authorities from one end of Australia to the other have advised this Government that, because of the insufficiency of funds provided by the Commonwealth, a crisis has now developed in education.
The honorable member for Mackellar pointed out that no State had approached the Commonwealth on this matter. I submit at once that at the Premiers’ Conference in 1959, this matter was raised by the Premier of Western Australia, Mr. Hawke. It was later supported by his successor and again supported by the Premier of New South Wales. They suggested that the Commonwealth should immediately consider establishing a committee of inquiry similar to the Murray committee. This suggestion is supported by the Opposition here. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in replying to the Premier of Western Australia, merely said that education still remained constitutionally a matter for the States and he was not personally attracted to the proposition. It is not true to say, therefore, that the States have not approached the Commonwealth. But it is certainly quite true that education authorities and parents and friends associations throughout Australia have made the issue quite clear. A crisis has developed in education and that crisis is due entirely to lack of funds.
During the debate on the Estimates in 1959 and in 1958, the Opposition asked the Government to explain why an anomaly should exist, in that the Government was willing to interest itself in tertiary education but was not willing to accept any responsibility for secondary and primary education. In other words, this Government concerns itself with the education of children whose parents have the financial ability to pay for their education to university standard, but is not concerned about the education of the children whose parents cannot afford to educate them to that standard.
During the debate on the Estimates in 1958 the Prime Minister and, in the similar debate last year, his deputy, again used the argument that, constitutionally, education was the prerogative of the States. I have too much respect for the experience and the knowledge of both of those right honorable gentlemen to accept that they really believe that this important matter can be set aside on the ground of constitutional difficulties. For instance, the Constitution does not mention tertiary education as coming within the Commonwealth sphere of power. But, despite the fact that university education is not mentioned in the Constitution, this Government is now accepting a great deal of responsibility in respect to university education.
There are many other things that might be said to be the sole constitutional prerogative of the States, but in respect of which this Government has shown more than a passing interest, because of their national importance. Health services immediately come to mind. They may be said to be the sole responsibility of the States, under the Constitution. But under section 96 of the Constitution this Government makes grants to tha States, to enable them to meet expenses arising from the provision of health services. Not only is there a Minister for Health in. each State, but there is also a Commonwealth Minister for Health. Except probably in relation to on: or two points of policy, there have been no difficulties between the Commonwealth Minister for Health and the various State Ministers for Health, so far as I am aware. They have been able to work together.
The same co-operation also exists in regard to transport, another field in which the Commonwealth assists by making grants to the States under section 96 of the Constitution. There has been no difficulty there, and again we have a Commonwealth Minister in charge of transport as well as State Ministers for Transport.
I submit at once that if this Government were prepared to establish a Ministry of Education, as it should do, it would be possible for the Commonwealth Minister for Education to work in conjunction with the various State Ministers for Education. Such a development is not impossible. The Government has approved of it in principle in respect to other matters.
Since w; are dealing with the bearing of the Constitution on this matter, I remind honorable members that in the debate on the Estimates in 1958 Government supporters and Ministers repeatedly referred to this aspect. The Prime Minister said in that debate -
Constitutionally, of course, we can make a grant to a State in respect of practically anything, attaching such conditions as this Parliament thinks fit.
The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) pointed out that section 96 of the Constitution provides that during a period of ten years after the establishment of the Commonwealth and thereafter until the Parliament otherwise provided, the Parliament might grant financial assistance to any State on such terms and conditions as it thought fit.
– The honorable member will Realize that it is under that section that we make our university grants. There is no novelty about that.
– I accept the right honorable gentleman’s point of view. I believe that 1 am endorsing that opinion, because I submit at once that we might just as well put aside this question of constitutional difficulties. The Prime Minister has already acknowledged that a grant to a State for educational purposes is already possible under the Constitution.
Reference has been made in other debates on this broad subject of education to the very generous assistance which the Commonwealth is giving in the tertiary education field. The Opposition does not deny that that assistance has been given. In fact, we applaud the great contribution that has been made in that field by the Murray committee of inquiry. Greater financial assistance is being made available for university purposes. I believe that there is only one fault on the part of the Government in this regard - that it acted exactly six years too late.
I am pointing to merely one aspect in which the Commonwealth has accepted responsibility since 1945 - tertiary education. Under the 1945 proposals the Commonwealth accepted responsibility for the provision of certain scholarships, known as Commonwealth scholarships. In 1956 this Government, through the Commonwealth Office of Education, awarded 3,107 scholarships. By this year the number of scholarships awarded by the Government had risen to 3.122 - an increase of fifteen. But on the other side of the picture there is the very great increase in applications for Commonwealth scholarships throughout the Commonwealth. In 1956 there were 8,995 applications. By 1959 that figure had risen to 13,248. So it will be seen, Sir, that in a four-year period in which there has been an increase of approximately 47 per cent, in the number of applications for scholarships, the number of scholarships awarded has increased by only fifteen. I suggest that the Government ought to review this situation in the light of the great increase in school population, which shows itself not only in the primary and secondary field but also in the tertiary field. At this stage the Government might also consider extending the award of scholarships to cover not only tertiary education but also technical education. There are many students doing diploma courses at technical colleges who are surely entitled to Commonwealth assistance. The Government should immediately review the position with a view to bringing the number of Commonwealth scholarships it awards into line with the very great increase in university enrolments and in applications for such scholarships, and also with a view to providing scholarships for technical education.
The situation in regard to primary and secondary education is much more difficult. I know that figures have been bandied about in this chamber with the object of showing that the amount of money expended on education, as given in the White Paper on National Income and Expenditure, has considerably increased each year in the States. Such figures are also quoted by various members when they want to compare the rate of social service benefits to-day with the rate in, for example, 1949. However, L believe it should be pointed out at once that circumstances have changed. For instance, in 1949 the basic wage was only about £5 6s. a week. To-day it is about £13 6s. a week. So I suggest that neither of the arguments I have mentioned either rejects or supports the Opposition’s contention that the Government should immediately consider entering the primary and secondary education fields.
I believe the Opposition’s contention is completely in line with the realities posed by increased school populations. In 1949, there were 810,000 children attending primary and secondary schools. By 1958, that figure had risen to 1,375,000 and, in addition, there was an increase of 432,000 children attending public schools. In the next decade the pressure will be greater than it has been. If we assume an immigration rate of about 1 per cent, of the population, and a continuance of the present high birth-rate, by 1970 the number of children in the five to fourteen years age group will have increased to about 2,300,000 and those in the fifteen to nineteen years age group to about 1,125,000. This great increase in the school population will have to be met against a background of inadequate buildings and a shortage of trained teachers.
The solution to this problem is obvious. On a per capita basis Australia is the fourth richest nation in the world, so it cannot be argued that we lack the finance to provide our children with adequate educational facilities. Our national income has increased from £797,000,000 in 1938-39 to over £1,600,000,000 in 1960. During this debate, and in others, the Opposition has pointed out that the Government should set up immediately a committee of inquiry along the lines of the Murray committee to investigate this matter.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The Opposition case seems to be that if you make enough noise about something for long enough the basic facts will be obscured. It is one thing to use the debate on the Estimates as a whipping horse and another thing to have regard to the facts. It would be as well to look at the official statistics, not the statistics which have been dragged out by the Teachers Federation and other organizations which are trying to make a case for a salary increase or for some other purpose. I should like to bring the facts to the notice of honorable members. The facts are that the States have responded very well to this problem. To argue, as honorable members opposite have done, that there is a crisis in education and that the States are helpless because the Commonwealth Government is not providing enough money, is to base the argument on something which is not true.
I should like to quote the official statistics as they appear in the “ Commonwealth Year Book “, not the statistics which are obtained from outside bodies. Let us take the period from 1953 to 1957, the latter year being the last for which complete figures are available. This was a period of moderately stable prices and there was only a fairly small increase in. the cost of living. The facts are that the net expenditure on the maintenance of government schools rose from £47,700,000 in 1953 to £74,242,000 in 1957. In 1958, this figure was over £80,000,000 - an increase of about 60 per cent, in six years. Taking now the expenditure on government school buildings - that is expenditure other than that to which I have just referred - in 1953 the amount expended was £11,600,000, but in 1957 the amount had increased to £20,500,000. In 1958, the figure was over £25,000,000. As I have said, the years which I have mentioned are the last for which complete figures are available. Let us turn now to the White Paper on National Income and Expenditure 1959-60. Expenditure on education by all public authorities increased from £104,000,000 in 1957-58 to £130,000,000 in 1959-60. In two years there was an increase of 25 per cent. What kind of activity, which is conducted on a nation-wide scale, could you expect to expand faster than that?
Let us suppose that the Commonwealth Government made another £50,000,000 available for education. Teachers’ salaries might be increased; a few more buildings might be erected despite the fact that the building industry is fully stretched, if not over-stretched, at present, and a few other results might follow. But what kind of foundation can be laid on an increase of national expenditure in a field which is so wide and diverse and has so many issues as has education?
I rose merely to point out briefly that if the Opposition wants to make a case it should produce more facts than it has produced. The States are not breaking down on this job. In fact, they have made a considerable response in relation not only to the absolute amount which has been spent on education, but also to the proportion of money in their total budgets which are devoted to this purpose.
.- I rise to underline briefly the very substantial points which have been made by my colleague, the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury). He pointed out, although he did not have to because Opposition members have already referred to it, that there has been a tremendous increase in State expenditure on education over the last few years. That is as it should be. But 1 want to add that one of the main reasons - if not the main reason - why the States have been able to increase their spending on primary and secondary education at such a tremendous rate is because this Government has recognized the importance and the needs of education. The States have been able to spend this tremendous amount of money because, year by year, the Commonwealth Government has made available to them increased grants from the taxation pool; because, year by year, the Commonwealth Government has under-written the States’ loan programmes, and because, year by year, the Commonwealth Government has increased the total of the States’ loan raisings. That is why the State governments have been able to achieve this objective.
The Commonwealth Government’s decision each year relating to the level of taxation revenue which will be returned to the States - the decision regarding the actual level and the under-writing of the loan programme - is not taken in a vacuum. Attention is given to all the factors which are involved in meeting the needs of the Australian community in the matter of education. This year - a year in which the Government is attempting to restrain expenditure and has, in fact, pruned severely its own expenditure on works - the Government has permitted a situation in which the States will receive £30,000,000 more than they did last year. In addition, the Government will underwrite an increase of £40,000,000 in the States’ loan programmes as compared with last year. That decision also was not taken in a vacuum. It was taken because the Commonwealth Government recognizes the needs of education. The point I am making is that in this year, when it is pursuing a deflationary policy, the Commonwealth Government has given priority, as it were, to State needs and requirements. This shows, not only a sense of the value of State activities, but also a sense of the relationship of those activities to Commonwealth activities. The suggestion made so consistently by Opposition speakers that the Commonwealth Government does not recognize the needs of education in the Australian community is disproved by those facts.
In addition to the extra amount given to the States, the Commonwealth Government is spending on university education £4,000,000 more this year that it did last year. Every £1 that the Commonwealth spends on university education relieves the States of some of their obligations in that field and makes that much more money available to them for primary and secondary education. I know that the States are required to match the grants, but, to the extent that the States are determined to keep university education at a particular level, this action by the Commonwealth assists them.
As anybody can see, there has been a tremendous amount of activity in the field of education in South Australia. My electorate extends over 350 miles and has one island included in it. In the whole of that area there is not one district in which either a school has not been built in the last two years, or in which one is not being built at the present time or in which it has not been decided to build a school within the next year or two. In one town in my electorate three new schools are being built now. Honorable members opposite talk about a crisis in education. I just do not believe there is a crisis.
– Before I refer to the principal topic of this debate, I should like to refer to two other matters that have been glanced at by other honorable members. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury), in a thoughtful speech last night, made reference to the Public Service Board and offered some criticism of the inordinate delay that appears to exist in presenting the final report of the board to the Parliament. I am impressed by that criticism, and 1 certainly propose to try to get a better performance in that field. I know the reasons offered for the delay, but I think that the delay is far too great.
The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) made reference to the
National Library. Perhaps I should point out for his information, because I know he is interested in this matter, that we have taken the steps necessary to appoint the Council of the new National Library, and I hope to be in a position to announce its composition within a few days.
Now I turn to the problem of the Commonwealth and education. I do not want to deliver a long speech on it, because the problem has been thrashed out more than once in this Parliament, either in the House or in committee. However, I think that I ought to say something - not for the first time - about the much-debated constitutional problem, the problem of power. My friend, the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard), pointed out that we seem to have no difficulty in making laws with respect to health, medical services and pharmaceutical benefits and in having Commonwealth Ministers in charge of these activities. I remind’ him that that is provided for in the Constitution. We have express powers in connexion with those matters as a result of the last successful constitutional referendum. So no problem of power arises in that field.
There is no question as to the power of the Commonwealth to make grants to the States under section 96 of the Constitution. I do not know whether I am supposed to have been dragged reluctantly to a knowledge of that fact. All I can say is that, over 30 years ago - on behalf, I think, of the State of South Australia - I advanced an unsuccessful argument in the High Court to the effect that the power under section 96 was limited to setting our financial terms and conditions. The High Court, with unaccustomed unanimity, disagreed with me. It rejected the argument and said that the terms of section 96 were as they stood - that money could be granted to a State on such terms and conditions as the Commonwealth Parliament laid down. That is now beyond all dispute, but honorable members opposite, as well as those on my own side, must have this in mind: If the Commonwealth proceeded to use its power to make grants under section 96 in such a fashion as to take out of the control of the States - in administrative detail if you like - some matter over which they exercise authority, then federalism would disappear in a few years. The position of the States could be undermined if that took place. Consequently, any sensible government has been astute to avoid such unnecessary interference.
On the very day when somebody in this chamber discovered section 96, and rather twitted me with not knowing about it, I presented1 a bill to make grants to the States, under section 96, with respect to universities. But although that legislation contains provisions for matching grants, for the distribution of the grants to the various universities and for financial assistance to residential colleges, nothing in it interferes with the internal management of universities by the university authorities. The autonomy of those universities, including the great State universities, is preserved. We have not interfered with matters of policy and administration which belong to the States.
I think it is essential to have that aspect of the matter in mind. It is quite true that if the Commonwealth Parliament wished to provide another £10,000,000, £20,00,000, £50,000,000 or £100,000,000 a year to the States over and above what it provides now, and if it could prudently do so, it could say, “ This is a grant to the States for the purposes of education - primary and secondary or scientific “. But that is no discovery. The essence of this matter is that if the Commonwealth starts to interfere with the educational policies of the States, with the way in which they go about their job in the educational field, that will be a very bad day for Australia. Although I have been very active in this field, as honorable members know, I have always made that approach, in principle, to this problem.
Although the argument varies a little in detail, it is always put in some way such as this: First of all, it is said that education is vastly important; it is a great national problem. So it is. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) was good enough to quote me as saying that it was a great national problem. I engaged in the trifling task of looking at what was said on that occasion, and it is interesting to note that I went on to say that land settlement was a great national problem and so also were water supplies and power supplies. These are all vastly important national problems. The whole aspect of the matter is that some of them have been given into the hands of this Parliament for this Parliament to do what it wishes in relation to them, both in principle and in detail, while other problems of great national importance, as I agree, have been left in the hands of the States.
But, Sir, some say education is a great problem; it is vastly important. I agree that it is. Indeed, I venture to say with great humility, that no Prime Minister of this country has ever taken such an active and constructive interest in it as I have myself. lt is a very great problem. The next step in this strange syllogism is that the Commonwealth, except in university matters, is accepting no financial responsibility in the solving of this problem; it is leaving the problem to the under-nourished State governments. The conclusion from this is that the Commonwealth Government ought to be condemned. Now, Sir, the answer to all that kind of argument is a simple matter of facts. I just state it in this way: The Commonwealth, by express legislation and by express grant under section 96 of the Constitution, has assumed large obligations in the field of university education. When I made my announcement in 1958 of our adoption of every recommendation of the Murray committee, the then Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Evatt, said that our attitude towards this matter was munificent. That was his own word.
Did we stop there, or do we stop there? It is quite true that we do not make an ear-marked grant to the States for secondary education or primary education; but we provide the States with tax reimbursement and with support for a works loan programme, and a very large and material factor in both is the needs of the States’ educational systems. They know it; we know it. Everybody knows it except those who want to pretend the Commonwealth is doing nothing about it.
Sir, it seems to be forgotten that only last year - in 1959 - there was a great conference with the State Premiers. The Premiers are not incapable, in my very long experience of them, of putting forward the claims and deserts of their own States, but in the 1959 conference, a discussion took place about the reimbursement rules or formula. A new agreement was made for a period of six years. This is an agreement - an arrangement - created to endure for six years and containing, in itself, all the elements of adjustment. It contains the basis on which the grant is to be increased, having regard to population and having regard to increases in wages, with a little accommodating factor in addition. That arrangement was made after a discussion in which the State Premiers put forward the problems that they have, among other things, in the field of education because of immigration and because of a rapidly increasing school population. All these things were put forward by the Premiers. They knew perfectly well that whatever figure was agreed upon, it would be a figure that paid regard to their educational needs.
Perhaps I might interrupt myself there to make one point, and indeed I ought to apologize to the committee for rehearsing matters that are already well known. Older members of this Parliament will remember that back in 1945 or 1946-1 forget the precise year - the then Prime Minister, Mr. Chifley, arranged with the States for a formula on which tax reimbursement would be calculated. It was a formula that was to pay attention to increases in wages and increases in population. It was worked out and it was unanimously accepted by the States. In my own term of office since the end of 1 949, my own Government has never held the States to that formula as adjusted on the basis that was worked out. We have always added to it. Year after year, we have made additional payments to the States, sometimes running to as much as £20,000,000.
– How could you avoid it?
– We do not have to worry about how to avoid it, but the honorable member would be none the worse for knowing the facts. Indeed, he would be greatly improved. The fact is that we did make those additional payments year by year, and we made them because we realized the pressures under which the States lived and recognized that they must be given proper treatment if they were to discharge their duties.
In 1959, the new arrangement was made. Its effect in the first financial year was this: Whereas in 1958-59 the States got £205,000,000 in reimbursement grants, under the formula grants for 1959-60 they would get £244,000,000. Every State Premier accepted the new arrangement. The Premiers did not accept it, as might be suggested, unwillingly - needs must when the devil drives - but each of them accepted it with great expressions of satisfaction, most of which are in the record of the Premiers’ Conference. Anybody who knows any of the Premiers knows perfectly well that they felt this was a fine deal and that it gave them a feeling of security over a period of six years. During that period they would not need to come back and argue about the basis on which reimbursement ought to occur. Indeed they could look forward to increasing resources to discharge their responsibilities., including their great education responsibilities.
What is the effect of all that? I would like those who think of the problems of education solely in terms of getting money over and above what is now provided from the Commonwealth to recognize something else. I take my own State as an example, not because I wish to compare the record of Victoria with any other State - so far as I am able to judge every State has a very good record in this field - but because the figures for Victoria have just emerged. As a result of this new agreement for six years which was entered into last year, Victoria, which had anticipated a deficit of over £1,000,000, actually had a surplus of over £300,000. That is an example of how beneficial this arrangement was. But here is the point: In Victoria it was announced only the night before last that the 1960-61 Budget for Victoria would provide a record education vote of about £54,000,000. The 1945-46 vote, when my friends opposite were in command of the exchequer, was £4,800,000. This year, over and above our universities grant which is, of course, a separate matter on our account, we have provided £54,000,000. By 1949-50 the vote had risen to £10,500,000; last year it was £45,600,000. This year the vote will rise from £45,600,000 to about £54,000,000. In other words, there will be an increase of between £8,000,000 and £9,000,000 in one year - in a year in which it is said that we are starving the States of resources to spend on their educational needs! I venture to say, with all moderation, that the statement that the Commonwealth carries no responsibility in the State educational field is utter humbug and the people who say it know that it is utter humbug. What they want to do is to deceive a lot of people into believing that primary and secondary education are being neglected. As I have just demonstrated quite clearly, we provide for those categories of education scores of millions of pounds every year through this fully accepted and well-received six-year agreement on tax reimbursements.
Apart altogether from tax reimbursements which deal with revenue matters, each year the States come to the Australian Loan Council, very properly, and say, “ We want to borrow money for a works programme “. The request may be for £300,000,000. The figure is usually a little high. We discuss between ourselves how much money can be borrowed on the market.It used to be the sole business of the Loan Council to decide how much could be borrowed on reasonable terms and conditions, and no other Commonwealth Government ever supplemented that amount out of Commonwealth revenue. In the last ten years however, we have supplemented borrowings out of the revenue of the Commonwealth every year. Instead of asking simply, “ How much can be borrowed?” we have tried to work out a reasonable figure which would give reasonable prospects to the States of carrying out their works programmes, including the construction of school buildings - a not inconsiderable item.
This year, as usual, we agreed to a larger loan works programme than in the year before and in effect, though not technically so, we underwrote it.I say “ not technically so “ because technically we do not underwrite this programme. We make a monthly payment to the States of onetwelfth of the agreed upon programme, whether the money is to come from the loan market or not. Theoretically, we review this in January but in practice the payments remain the same. So, in terms of capital and revenue provision, this Commonwealth is, by the financial machinery now existing, accepting and discharging enormous responsibilities in respect of every form of education that we have in this country. I do not complain about that.
I am proud to be able to say that this is so because nobody has a more vivid understanding than I have myself of the great importance of education to our nation.
.- In the last two years, during the debate on the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department and in urgency debates, the Labour Party has sought an explanation of this anomaly whereby the Commonwealth makes very large provision for university buildings and staff and students but makes no similar direct provision for other forms of education - tertiary, secondary, primary or technical. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), on this occasion, has given two explanations for that anomaly. The first is that universities, as distinct from schools, are autonomous institutions and that if the Commonwealth makes grants to universities it does not interfere with the policy and administration of the States. If, however, it were to make similar provision for schools it would be interfering. The right honorable gentleman pointed out that under section 96 of the Constitution our grants to universities, via the States, had not infringed the autonomy of the States.
There are, of course, many subjects upon which the Commonwealth has made grants under section 96. There are many subjects under section 96 in respect of which the Commonwealth has provided all or most of the State funds, yet in these respects the autonomy of the States has not been curtailed. All the money that every State housing authority spends comes from this Parliament and yet the State housing authorities are autonomous. Most of the money which is spent by the States on their roads is granted under section 96 from the petrol tax. Does any one suggest that the various State main roads departments are not autonomous? All the money which any State has spent in the last 30 or 40 years on standardizing railway gauges has been provided under section 96 of the Constitution, yet every State railway department is still completely autonomous. We have provided other sums of money either via the States to hospitals or to patients who insure with hospital benefits funds, sums which constitute the largest single source of hospital finance. Yet hospitals are still autonomous.
We have, through the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, provided all the money which is spent on hydro-electricity generation on the mainland. The electricity is sold through the New South Wales and Victorian electricity authorities. Yet in this respect, too, the States retain their autonomy. All that has ever been suggested by the Labour Party is that the Commonwealth should make similar grants under section 96 to enable school standards in the States to be modernized and co-ordinated. State departments of education could still carry out administration and policy. You would no more interfere with the autonomy of the States if you were to make loans for every form of education than you are interfering now by making grants for universities or other State activities to which I have referred.
The other explanation that the Prime Minister gives for the Commonwealth’s disinterest in other forms of education is that the States have not asked for Commonwealth interest to be taken in other forms of education. Nor did they ask for the Murray committee to be set up to inquire into university education. Yet we set it up spontaneously. There have been other subjects upon which the States, with governments of all political persuasions, have unanimously asked for further Commonwealth assistance. One with which the Minister for Health (Dr. Donald Cameron) is familiar is the unanimous request by the States year in and year out for the Commonwealth to increase its grant for hospitals. The Commonwealth has refused that request. Even if all the States were now to make a request for Commonwealth interest in other forms of education there is still no guarantee that anything would be forthcoming from it.
The Prime Minister gave an answer concerning other forms of education on 8th October last, when he said that the Commonwealth Government believed that the best interests of Australian secondary students desiring to proceed to higher studies are served through the operation of the Commonwealth scholarship scheme. In other words, the Prime Minister says, if your parents can afford to keep you at school until you matriculate, and if your pass is then among the first 3,000 matriculation passes in Australia, you will receive some assistance from the Commonwealth. In the meantime, child endowment payments will have ceased. If, however, you can afford to complete secondary education, then there is an incentive for you to do so, or for your parents to make it possible for you to do so, in that the Commonwealth will help the first 3,000 past the post.
When the Prime Minister last spoke on education in this Parliament he gave three different reasons for the apparent anomaly. The first was that the Commonwealth was interested in universities because his Government inherited the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme. The brief answer to that is, of course, that the scheme permitted returning soldiers to complete not only university education but also any other form of education which had been interrupted by their war service.
The second reason he gave was that the Commonwealth had already embarked on the Commonwealth scholarship scheme. The answer to that is that this Government implemented the provisions of one report which it received as a result of the efforts of its predecessor, with respect to university scholarships, while it scrapped the other report which it inherited from the Chifley Government advocating similar scholarships to prevent wastage at the secondary level.
The third reason given by the Prime Minister was that the Premiers had not sought help for schools. I have already given my answer to that proposition. When the States have sought help for other activities in which the Commonwealth is interested, the requests have been refused.
The real reason why the Commonwealth does not interest itself in other forms of education than university education is that amounts of money would be involved which may be substantial. The Prime Minister has shown very clearly that this is so by his impulsive and instinctive reaction when the matter has been raised at Premiers’ Conferences or in this chamber. At the Premiers’ Conference in March last year the then Premier of Western Australia raised the question of other forms of education and the Commonwealth assistance which was required for them. He asked that a Commonwealth-State commission of inquiry should be established to investigate the matter in the same way as the Murray committee had inquired into universities. The Prime Minister’s off-the-cuff reply was -
The proposal invites the Commonwealth into a very wide field which could easily have the most tremendous results on its own finances. Therefore I am not attracted by this proposal.
– The honorable member knows, of course, that all the Ministers and Directors of Education have decided against that proposal too.
– I know nothing of the kind.
– They did, in Hobart this year.
– The honorable gentleman from Perth who interjects asked the Prime Minister also in March last year a question on the same matter, and the Prime Minister told him he was unfavorably disposed, as was the Government, towards any such Commonwealth-State inquiry into other forms of education along the lines of the inquiry conducted by the Murray committee because of its far-reaching and entirely unknown budgetary implications. The real reason why the Commonwealth will not hold an inquiry into other forms of education is that it knows that such an inquiry would produce the same kind of factual and irresistible report on schools as the Murray committee presented on universities. The Commonwealth would then have to spend more money on other forms of education, just as it had to spend more money on university education after receiving the Murray committee’s report.
Australia needs to spend more money on education. Unfortunately, these debates so often degenerate into a competition to decide how the States are to split up the amount of money available to them. We know that the States no longer have the financial resilience or resources that they had before the war. They do not now impose direct taxation, and they do not have available to them the principal forms of indirect taxation, such as excise and customs duties and sales tax. They depend more and more on the Commonwealth for their funds. I have before me Professor Ratchford’s recent book, “ Public Expenditures in Australia “, in which he compared the proportion of the gross national product spent on education in Australia with the proportion spent in other countries. He said that Australia spent 1.8 per cent, of her gross national product on education, France 2.5 per cent., United States of America 3.1 per cent., New Zealand 3.4 per cent., United Kingdom 4 per cent, and Sweden 5.4 per cent. As we know, Russia and some of the countries in eastern Europe spend even larger percentages of their gross national products on education than do any of the countries in western Europe, North America or any of the countries which might be described as colonies of those countries, such as Australia. The gap that is apparent from these figures has not been closed since Professor Ratchford’s analysis was made.
It is quite obvious that more of our gross national product has to be spent on education if we are to keep pace with other countries. The only authority that can provide this extra money is the Commonwealth, but the Commonwealth is deliberately concealing the position and delaying a decision by refusing to hold the inquiry that we have asked for, and which everybody interested in education, including parents and citizens’ associations, teachers’ federations and academics and others have asked for. We are merely urging the same kind of inquiry that the Prime Minister himself urged by a resolution which he introduced in the House on 26th July, 1945. His resolution directed attention to the necessity for increased facilities for secondary, rural, technical and university training, special adult education, and the problem of the qualifications, status and remunerations of teachers. He said that effective reform may involve substantial Commonwealth financial aid and if this should prove necessary, such aid should be granted. He suggested that the Commonwealth should set up, in co-operation with the States, a qualified commission to inquire into the whole problem. Such a commission was later set up to investigate the question of universities. The report was irresistible. It was accepted by all parties in this Parliament. We are asking for a similar commission to be set up, as a co-operative CommonwealthState body, to inquire into other forms of education. We believe that its report would similarly show that more money is needed for those other forms of education, and that the Commonwealth would then have to accept our responsibility in this field.
It is not just a question of preserving the federal system. We believe that if one is confronted with the choice between federation and education, education must come first. Some inquiries have been made into these other forms of education, for instance by the Murray committee in a preliminary way, and by the Commonwealth Office of Education, which was set up by the Chifley Government largely as a consequence of the Prime Minister’s resolution of 1945. The activities of that office were halved soon after the Menzies Government came to power. If it had continued to submit its reports we would know the position with regard to other forms of education. However, the Murray committee did make a tentative finding on secondary education, lt reported, at paragraph 48 of its report, that less than a third of the students who could profit from university education ever entered the universities. At paragraph 279 it reported that the situation of technical education required a far closer examination than it had been able to undertake.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- 1 am very glad that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) has raised this matter. The only difference between him and me on this question is that I would advocate a permanent commission of revision rather than commissions set up ad hoc every now and again. A permanent body would enable us to make adjustments from time to time as required.
– I would not differ from the right honorable member on that aspect.
– That seems to be the only difference between us. I shall deal now with what I tried to discuss during last night’s debate. We have in existence the Commonwealth Grants Commission, for which provision is made in the set of estimates we are now discussing. And that body, which was appointed, it was thought, for a year or two in the early 1930’s, has been functioning ever since and has done extraordinarily good work in recommending to the Commonwealth Government how much money should be allocated to maintain the standards in certain of the States. It seems to me that since the introduction of uniform taxation the position of all the States should have been examined year by year, just as there has been an examination each year by the Commonwealth Grants Commission of the position of Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia under the present system. That should be done in order to ensure that the conditions in the various States are maintained at the level of the average or standard. Because of the progress that has taken place in the development of this country generally, I think we should revise the system we have had in the past.
Looking back over the financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States, we find that they have been changed on four occasions. They were made, first, by the convention that drew up the Constitution, which provided that for the first ten years of federation the States would receive three-quarters of the customs revenue. That arrangement did not work out because as soon as the Commonwealth started to pay pensions there was not enough money to be returned to the States. Next, the system of per capita payments to the States was brought in, but that arrangement, too, did not work very well. Arguments arose as to whether those payments should be increased or decreased. Next we had the Financial Agreement. In formulating that agreement we said we would settle the matter of borrowing and money grants for many years. Seven or eight years later we had to face the problem of the needs of what have been called the mendicant States. When the taxing powers were taken completely from the States the system was changed again.
I believe that the time has arrived when we have to set out to deal with the position in some lasting way. It is worth while noting what has happened regarding the committee which was appointed to examine the needs of our universities. It is to continue for all time in order to ensure that the differences which occur owing to our progress and development and the increase in our population are taken into account. Honorable members can see why I am against an ad hoc commission being appointed to deal with education. I advocate the appointment of a permanent body which will be able to deal with matters as they arise. That is especially necessary because, since the introduction of uniform taxation, the increase of production in Australia relative to the increase of population has definitely changed. The figures show that over the last eighteen or twenty years production has risen by probably 300 per cent, and our population has increased by 40 or 50 per cent. This illustrates that a very different position has now arisen.
I do not think we will get anywhere in dealing with these problems until we examine the question of what is necessary for the development of this country and matters such as education, the provision of water and electricity supplies and other essentials. We should face up to the situation. Instead of the Commonwealth Government saying to the States from time to time “We will give you £10,000,000 or £20,000,000 more “, the position should be determined by an impartial commission or committee which could sit frequently and take all the relevant facts into account. Such a body should have experts capable of dealing with all the various forms of development and such matters as education.
It is obvious .that if we are ever to get anywhere as a nation we must educate our children thoroughly to make sure that in the future we will have experts and leaders. We must train our young men in general to be the most intelligent workers possible. I find that the United States of America is dealing with the matter in this way, as a federation; and to quote an instance I refer to the way in which that country handles its water supply problems. I think America would have available eight or ten times as much water as is available here, and yet it is found necessary to have an organization to take into account all the factors I have mentioned, such as the rate of growth of production being faster than the rate of growth of population. America examines the position to see what are the benefits that come from the proper use of water-
– Order! I hope the right honorable gentleman can relate his remarks to the proposed vote for the Prime Minister’s Department.
– I am discussing how we should determine the amount of money which should be handed over to the States for education and other things with which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) has dealt. I am pointing out what has been done in America to solve the problems of water supply, education, transport and so on. We have managed to handle some of our problems because of what we did in 1926. We have not dealt in the same way with education; we have rather tackled it in a piecemeal way. We find that there are certain benefits which accrue to the people through the availability of water supplies, but there are also benefits which go to the States themselves. The States are running all sorts of undertakings such as railways. With more development and greater production the railways get more freight and passengers. In addition to that there are benefits that come to the Commonwealth at large. Owing to the development of the country and the increase in population the Commonwealth has more men for defence and receives a greater sum in taxation. I believe all these factors should be taken into consideration.
In the United States of America the authorities realize the benefits of an adequate water supply to the user of the water. They also realize that there are other benefits which go to the States and to the nation at large. For that reason they agree that the federal government should find a proportion of the cost of those services. The part of such projects which as a rule does not pay is the headworks and so the federal authorities pay their share of those costs.
I think it is time that we enlarged the machinery of the Australian Loan Council to bring in the men who handle local government matters throughout the Commonwealth, so that they will have some say in the decisions of that body. We should not try to deal with these matters in a piecemeal way. I am all for getting more money for education, if it is possible, but I would like the funds to be provided in a continuous flow to meet our needs as this country grows. With the growth of our population we have to provide not only more facilities for education but also water supplies and other necessities which will enable us to supply food to our own people and to export primary produce as well. The time has come for us to devise machinery for this purpose. There are in this country inventive people who have already devised all sorts of things, and I think we should try to invent some legislative device which would be satisfactory to Federal and State governments, the local government authorities and the people who, ultimately, are our masters and Who keep the country going. If we did that, I am satisfied that we would obtain some real results.
For many years, I have noticed that the recommendations of the Commonwealth Grants Commission have been passed by the Parliament without a division being taken. No matter what party has occupied the treasury bench, the decisions of the Commonwealth Grants Commission have always been accepted, without any change whatever. The commission is an impartial body, comprised of men who are not parliamentarians, and its decisions have always been satisfactory. I urge strongly, therefore, that my suggestion be considered so that this very urgent problem of education can be dealt with. This problem will be raised each year, because Australia is making rapid progress. Our expanding population makes education and other matters continuing and ever-increasing problems. We should, therefore, get on with the job straight away so that the best results may be achieved in the quickest time, and our financial resources distributed so that the men on the land, the pupils in the schools, youngsters seeking jobs and all other members of the community will receive the fairest deal that any government can give them.
Whilst I recognize that the subjects already raised in this debate are most important, they are not nearly as important as the growing menace of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. It has been said that we have a democratic form of government, and for many years we did not need a secret service. Everybody knows the circumstances in which such a service was established by a Labour government. Pressure was exerted from overseas and the action was forced on the Labour government of the day. But Labour recognized the dangers and took the precaution of putting the organization under the control of a judge, a civil authority. Since this Government has been in office, the control of the organization has been changed and it has now become a semi-military body. It has developed into a secret political police force and it is a real threat to the democratic way of life that we have enjoyed.
Each year, the Budget Papers show that this organization is becoming more expensive. We are not given any details of the organization, the number of employees in it or the salaries which they receive; we merely get a bald statement of the total cost! The items dealing with this organization are hidden away in the miscellaneous items of the Budget Papers. In doing this, I believe that the Government hoped that the item would not be noticed until the opportunity to discuss it had passed. However, we find that this year the Security Service will cost approximately £92,000 more than it did last year.
– On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Chairman. If this is in the miscellaneous items, is that not the place where it should be discussed?
Order! The subject raised by the honorable member is under the administration of the Prime Minister.
– I was only taking what the honorable member had said himself.
– The honorable member only wanted to delay me, because he hopes there will not be very much said about this secret organization.
– Nothing was further from my mind.
– In actual fact, there is real danger to democratic government in this country, because we not only have the establishment and development of a secret police force but we also have in control of the Government a gentleman who, on his past record, would not hesitate to set up a dictatorship and destroy democratic government, if he thought the circumstances warranted doing so. I shall quote from “ Hansard “ so that we will have complete accuracy. Yesterday I asked the Prime
Minister (Mr. Menzies) a question regarding a statement made by SirJohn Latham, who is a former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia and a former antiLabour leader in this Parliament. Sir John Latham revealed that in 1940 he had proposed the setting up of a six-man committee. Parliament was to be closed and democratic government destroyed. We would be governed by this dictatorial committee, of which Sir John Latham was to be a member and of which the Prime Minister approved. When I asked him the question, he replied -
The honorable member for East Sydney is inviting me to look up the records of twenty years ago in order to add to his knowledge of modern history.I really do not consider that to be part of my duty at this stage of my life.
It is rather significant that the Prime Minister did not deny what Sir John Latham said. Does any one believe that there was any possibility of the Prime Minister having forgotten such an incident? He would not have to look up any records; it is fresh in his memory that the suggestion was to set up a dictatorship in Australia. Here we have the paraphernalia. We have a secret police force and we have a Prime Minister who has admitted that at one stage in our history he was prepared to eliminate entirely our democratic government.
– I rise on a point of order. Is the honorable member for East Sydney in order in continuing with this tedious repetition, wasting the time of the committee?
Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– Let me deal with some of the criticism of the activities of this organization. Time will not permit me in this debate to go through the whole of the evidence available to show the malpractice engaged in by this organization and the wrongful use it has made of its authority. The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick), who is in one respect responsible for the activities of the Security Service, said that, although he was the responsible Minister, he refused to answer any questions about the organization or to give any details regarding its activities. I think the people of Australia want to know something of what the Security Service is doing.
We have the much publicized incident that has been mentioned in the Parliament on a number of occasions. I refer to the matter of Professor Gluckman. I think the Security Service is behind the rejection of his application for permission to enter the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It is perfectly true that the Administrator of the Territory made the order, but I believe that he did so on directions from the Security Service in Australia. We are now in rather a strange position. Here is a professor, a renowned scientist and scholar from overseas, who was invited to visit Australia by the authorities controlling the Australian National University. He is allowed to enter Australia. But if he is a security risk in New Guinea, as is now hinted by the Government - the statements made about this matter have not been very specific - why is he allowed to enter Australia? Is he not a security risk in Australia just as much as he would be in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea? It seems to me most extraordinary that this gentleman is permitted to enter Australia on the invitation of the authorities controlling the Australian National University and then, without any reason being given, is refused permission to enter the Territory. Even part of the antiLabour press that has backed this dictatorial Government for so long is now becoming alarmed at what is happening. We want to know something more about this matter. However, as certain action is shortly to be taken by the Opposition to ventilate this matter fully, I do not propose to take my remarks any further on this occasion.
I shall relate to the committee another extraordinary activity in which the Security Service has been engaged. A young man, in response to a newspaper advertisement, recently applied for a position as a legal officer in the Attorney-General’s Department. His application was held up for some weeks. There were several interviews–
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was dealing with the growth of this force known as the “ security service “, and the real threat it was becoming to democratic government in Australia. I made some reference to the case of Professor Gluckman, and I then proceeded to deal with a later incident concerning the activities of this organization. As I have only about six minutes left in which to speak 1 propose now to give some details of this case, which I believe should be immediately ventilated in this Parliament and investigated by the Government.
I refer to the case of a young chap who applied, in response to a newspaper advertisement, for a position in the AttorneyGeneral’s Department. The applications were invited in March this year. The vacancy was for a legal officer. The applications were under consideration for approximately ten weeks. In that time the applicants - certainly this one at least - were interviewed on several occasions. The man whose case I am discussing was the successful applicant. He was appointed to the position. I want to make it quite clear that the position to which he was appointed - and the man himself admits this - was definitely a position in which security was involved. The man himself makes no equivocation about that.
This man was attached to what was, or is, known as the “ advising section “ of the Attorney-General’s Department, as a Grade 1 legal officer. His was only a temporary appointment. He started on 2nd June, 1960, and he was assured that if he applied himself to his duties and proved to be an efficient officer he could expect a continuation of his employment, and also expect that eventually he would be made a permanent officer. However, after having worked in the position for about ten weeks, handling security files, many, according to him, of the greatest importance, and having been so successfully applying himself to his duties that he was recommended for promotion by his immediate superior, without warning at all he received a note delivered by a messenger on 24th August - some ten weeks after his appointment, I repeat - informing him that his employment had ended. He was given no reason for this interruption to his employment. He sought an interview with the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick), but the AttorneyGeneral refused to see him, and sent word through his secretary to the man concerned that he was to see Mr. Ewens, the acting secretary of the department. He saw Mr.
Ewens, and Mr. Ewens told him that his employment had been terminated for security reasons based on a security report.
Now, if this man was a security risk he should not for ten weeks have been allowed to handle security files of the utmost importance. The man asked Mr. Ewens whether any charge was to be preferred against him, whether any action was to be taken under the Crimes Act for any breach of trust. He was assured that there was nothing wrong with his work, but that his dismissal was based on this security report.
At no time was this man asked whether he was a member of the Communist Party or had previously been a member. Had he been asked this, he would have honestly answered the question, because some of his co-employees in the Attorney-General’s Department, whom he had known in his university days, knew that he had been associated with the Communist Party. He joined that party in 1947, and in 1956 he ran as a candidate for State Parliament. He was expelled from the Communist Party in November, 1956, after he had written an article critical of the suppression by the Australian Communist Party of Mr. Khrushchev’s denunciation of the Stalin regime. On this type of flimsy evidence this man was dismissed from the department with a smear on him.
I do not know what sort of a security service it is that takes such action after applications for a position had been considered for ten weeks, after an applicant had been interviewed several times, and after that applicant had succeeded in getting the position and had for ten weeks handled official files of the greatest importance from the stand-point of security. After working for ten weeks handling these important security files, without there being any question of his having committed a breach of trust in his position, the security service declares that, for security reasons, he is an unfit person to be employed in this department.
What sort of tyranny are we building up in this country? It is a well-known fact that reports are made on public servants, without their knowledge, and that these reports are made available to their immediate superiors and may prevent men from securing promotion. Many are dismissed from the Public Service on the basis of security reports, and are never advised of the reasons, nor are they given the right to answer those who may traduce them or besmirch their records.
I think it is about time that the people of this country demanded that something be done about this security service, which is not a security service in the sense that its members are engaged exclusively in protecting the security of this country. Nobody would object if they were. But since this Government has had control of affairs in Australia this has become nothing but a political police force. As I said earlier, the man leading the Government to-day has dictatorial tendencies, as he showed in 1940.
– Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman–
Motion (by Mr. Davidson) put -
That the question be now put.
The committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 35
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Department of External Affairs
Proposed Vote, £2,943,000.
– I am sorry to have to disappoint the Minister who gagged me a moment ago when I wanted to continue the discussion on this incident, but it so happens that the officer concerned was employed dealing also with documents of the Department of External Affairs. In the circumstances, it is most pertinent that I should deal now with the question that was raised by my honorable friend from East Sydney (Mr. Ward).
Here is an example of the security service, after ten weeks’ investigation, deciding that this man was a satisfactory person to be employed by the Commonwealth Government - not to be employed as a gardener, mark you; not to be employed washing dishes in the kitchen; but, according to the letter, to be employed by the AttorneyGeneral’s Department. He was, among other things, to prepare -
Opinions for various departments including .. . External Affairs Department also (to provide) all legal information required from Australia by various organs of the United Nations. On occasions, files marked “ confidential “ and “ secret “ were put in my care.
So this former member of the Communist Party, this man whose record, we assume, had been carefully searched for ten weeks by the security service in order to ascertain whether he was a fit and proper person for employment, was given the tasks to which I have referred. Any kindergarten child would know that this man was a Communist because he stood as a Communist Party candidate in a State election. Any one at all would have known–
– I rise to order, Mr. Temporary Chairman.
– Squealing already?
– No. Mr. Temporary Chairman, 1 do not want to interrupt the honorable member unnecessarily, but we are dealing with a section of the Estimates which is devoted to the Department of External Affairs. As I understand the honorable member for Hindmarsh, he is making a case relating to a public servant who was formerly employed by the AttorneyGeneral’s Department. We could easily develop a debate which would take up a lot of the time which has been allotted for the consideration of this section to the exclusion of honorable members who wish to speak on matters directly related to international affairs. In case this debate should develop at great length, I ask for your ruling whether matters relating to a public servant who was temporarily employed by the Attorney-General’s Department should be discussed under the proposed vote for the Department of External Affairs.
Order! I ask the honorable member for Hindmarsh whether the man to whom he has referred was employed at any time by the Department of External Affairs.
– I do not know. All I know is that he was handling top-secret confidential files of the Department of External Affairs. I think it is very important, therefore, that a person handling such files should be dealt with in a debate on the proposed vote for the Department of External Affairs.
– The point of order is upheld that the honorable member for Hindmarsh is out of order in referring to this matter in a debate on the proposed vote for the Department of External Affairs.
– Speaking to the point of order, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I wish to state that the honorable member for Hindmarsh did not say that this officer who has been dismissed had not been employed by the Department of External Affairs.
Order! I have given my ruling on this matter.
– But, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I think that your ruling is inaccurate because the honorable member for Hindmarsh did not say–
Order! The honorable member cannot canvass the ruling of the Chair.
– I am not canvassing it; I am merely saying that your ruling is inaccurate.
Order! I ask the honorable member to apologize for the remark that the ruling of the Chair is inaccurate.
– Surely he can say that.
The remark that the ruling of the Chair is inaccurate is a reflection on the Chair. If the honorable member for East Sydney desires to submit a motion of dissent against the ruling of the Chair he has the right to do so, as has every honorable member in the chamber, but he may not say that the ruling of the Chair is inaccurate.
– I withdraw the remark.
That the ruling be dissented from.
Order! Dissent from a ruling of the Chair must be submitted in writing. (The Leader of the Opposition having submitted his motion of dissent in writing) -
Question put -
That the ruling be dissented from.
The committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . … 33
Question so resolved in the negative.
– Mr. Tem porary Chairman, would you mind telling me how much time I have left?
– The honorable member has two and a hall minutes.
– I rise to order. The committee having decided that the honorable member for Hindmarsh was out of order, surely he should not be allowed to continue, and an honorable member on this side should be called.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh was out of order in referring to the subject about which he spoke. He is entitled to occupy the remainder of his time in dealing with matters relating to the Department of External Affairs.
– I think that most people in Australia are astonished at the amount of money we are spending on the Australian Embassy in the United States of America and on our High Commissioner’s Office in the United Kingdom, compared with the amount of money we are spending on diplomatic representation in the Asian countries, which are so important to Australia’s security. Surely, if Australians have any foresight at all, they ought to realize that this is a tiny–
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I hold a view opposite to that which, as I gathered from his remarks, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) holds with regard to the amount of money we are appropriating for the Department of External Affairs. It is estimated that in 1960-61 we shall spend £2,943,000 on the department. The appropriation for 1959-60 was £2,842,000, and the expenditure was about £2,725,000. There was an underexpenditure of the amount appropriated for last year, and I am glad to see that there is a slight increase in the appropriation sought for thisyear.
When we are addressing ourselves to the Estimates, honorable members on both sides seem inclined to criticize the amounts of money that the Government proposes to spend, but I suggest that it is necessary that we spend a little more money on the Department of External Affairs. If time will permit, I hope to be able to suggest ways in which extra money could be spent. I wish to say two things by way of introduction. First, I congratulate those who represent us abroad. I think we are very fortunate in the type of representative we have in the various countries where we have missions. The Department of External Affairs is reasonably young compared with other departments of the Commonwealth, but it certainly has grown since the end of World War II. We have increased our representation, particularly in the countries of free Asia, and I notice that we now have twelve posts in that part of the world. By comparison, we have only three posts in the Americas. We have a mission in the U.S.A., one in Canada and one in the United States of Brazil.
In the old days, the order of representation was first a reconnaissance by traders and then the establishment of a trading post. That was followed by a diplomatic mission to that country or area. To-day, that order has been reversed to some degree. In saying that, I do not detract in any way from the importance of trade between ourselves and other countries, and I hope to have an opportunity of saying something on that matter at the appropriate time; but I do believe that the importance of our representation on the diplomatic side has increased greatly, especially since the Second World War. That is why I make my plea that we should give consideration to increasing the number of mission posts we establish abroad and also encourage other countries to establish their posts here.
I believe it true to say that Australians are naturally good ambassadors, and we should use this natural trait to the greatest degree. There is a tremendous amount of friendship abroad for Australians, and considerable interest in Australia. This applies perhaps to a greater degree to the free nations of Asia than it does to some of the countries in other parts of the world. I am addressing myself to this particular item because I do not think we should allow this goodwill to fade and die; we should encourage it to grow.
If I might give two examples, relating my theme to the places in the world I have mentioned, I should like to see us establish a post in Borneo. At present we are represented in Borneo by our Australian mission in Singapore both on the diplomatic and trade levels, and I think the time has been reached when we could well have our own post established in Borneo in one of the four Territories of that country. Borneo is becoming a more important place in this section of world affairs. In addition, on the trade side, our trade with the four Territories of Borneo is expanding. I remind you, Sir, that only a few months ago a direct shipping service was established between the eastern and western coasts of Australia and the Borneo Territories. Therefore, I think it time that we gave serious thought to establishing a post there.
I should like to suggest also that we enlarge our representation in South America. At present, we have a diplomatic post in the United States of Brazil. I understand from information I have received from friends in that part of the world that the Argentine would be glad to establish a post in Australia if we could establish reciprocity with that country.
I believe one of the difficulties we have in enlarging our representation abroad is in the recruitment of suitable personnel. I think, therefore, we might give due regard to the methods we are using now to encourage people to join the staff of the Department of External Affairs and our diplomatic service. That is why, in the beginning of my remarks, I mentioned the amount of money we devote to this department. I believe it will be necessary for us to allocate larger funds to the Department of External Affairs than we are providing at present.
In his brief speech, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) voiced some criticism of the amount of money that is being devoted to our mission in the United States of America. I think all honorable members will agree that that is one of our most important posts. The honorable member should study the total amount we are devoting to these missions. While the mission to the United States of America has the highest vote, amounting to some £278,000, if the honorable member examines the schedule, he will find that the smallest amount we are spending on any one mission is £14,500. So, when we average these figures among the many posts we have abroad, the amount of money we are spending in this way is not large.
The second point I wish to make is this: I believe we should increase the number of personal visits from Australia to our neighbours, especially those 1 have described as the free Asian countries. We should also encourage their people to come here. At present we have a large number of students in Australia, both as students in school and as graduates of universities and those doing post-graduate courses. I think the largest number comes from our Commonwealth partner of Malaya. This is a good thing, but we should have more young people going to Asia.
When a mission goes to Asia from Australia, it should stay more than a fortnight, which seems to be the average time that most missions spend there now. I suggest that when their official duties are finished, arrangements should be made for the members of the delegation to have an informal tour of the country they are visiting. Such arrangements could be undertaken by the Department of External Affairs, but if it is to do this, the department will need more money for the purpose. The members of the various delegations we have sent abroad during the past decade were Australians of ability and have helped greatly in developing increased personal contact with the people of neighbouring countries. As you will no doubt know, Sir, the members of the delegations we have sent already were drawn from a wide section of the Australian community. Some belonged to the Public Service and others represented commerce and industry, both primary and secondary. Sometimes the churches and the cultural or social organizations have been represented.
I suggest that, in addition to this wide representation, all delegations should have one or two members of Parliament attached to them. The inclusion of a member of Parliament is not suggested lightly. I make the suggestion for this reason: In the first place, the election of a member to Parliament means that basically he has good personal public relations and a wide general knowledge. This in itself would be of help to a delegation when it consists partly of specialists in their own field. In addition, the inclusion of a member of Parliament would widen the field of contact that the delegation might have. For example, I point to his membership of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. This would immediately allow him to meet other delegates whom he would not usually meet and because of that personal contact he would be of assistance to the delegation of which he was a member.
Let me give an illustration of what I mean. During the last five weeks we have had in this country as a guest of the Commonwealth a distinguished personality from Malaya. He has been able to visit a number of organizations in this country. Because of his profession his visits have been limited to an extent, but nevertheless he has visited quite a number of organizations. He will leave Australia next Sunday. Yesterday I discussed his visit with him and he expressed a sincere and true appreciation of what has been done for him while he has been here. This was his first visit to Australia. He has attended a school in the United Kingdom but he realizes that the problems confronting Australia are similar to those that face his fellow countrymen. Therefore, he is grateful for the opportunity to come here and discuss with Australians, in an informal manner, the problems that face his country and ours.
My remarks to-night have been prompted by a belief that personal contact between Australians of all walks of life and people of other countries will contribute towards the peace of the world.
– The Opposition offers its sympathy to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in having to assume the role of Minister for External Affairs. We regret that he cannot find even one member on his own side to whom he can entrust the portfolio of Minister for External Affairs. The right honorable gentleman has many onerous duties as Prime Minister but a few months ago he became a split personality and took charge of external affairs. More recently he has become split three ways, because he is also the Acting Treasurer. The state of the Liberal Party is certainly at a very low ebb when the Prime Minister has to emulate a deceased leader of another country and take more and more control of the Government into his own hands. Either he distrusts those behind him or he knows very well that if he entrusts the External Affairs portfolio to one of those who surround him. that member will make a complete mess of it. I remind honorable members that the right honorable gentleman is not without great perception and ability to judge the character of men.
I am informed - I rely for my information on a newspaper report - that the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs yesterday summoned the Charge d’ Affaires of the Netherlands to his presence. Beyond that we know nothing. The secretary of the department may have invited Dr. Insinger to come in order to inquire from him what information the Netherlands Government had that entitled it to recommend the issue of a vise to Professor Gluckman to visit Dutch New Guinea. The secretary - this is the important aspect - may have wished to know what was the attitude of the Dutch Government with regard to the future of Dutch New Guinea, because I have heard on the radio and read in newspapers that the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Netherlands, before his departure for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, said that he proposed to talk to American, British and Australian representatives at the United Nations about the possibility of a trusteeship arrangement to control Dutch New Guinea. I hope that the Minister for External Affairs, or the Prime Minister in his minor role as Minister for External Affairs, will tell honorable members, while the Estimates are under consideration, what he knows about that matter, because it is of tremendous importance to the security of Australia and the future of our children.
The Australian Labour Party differs from the Government in its attitude to Dutch New Guinea. The Government has repeatedly said that if the Netherlands and Indonesia reach agreement with regard to the future of Dutch New Guinea, the Australian Government will stand aside. We of the Labour Party take a different view. We say that there should be a tri-partite agreement between Indonesia, the Netherlands and Australia, registered under the United Nations, for the maintenance of peace and security in the entire area of Indonesia and New Guinea. We do not believe that the Netherlands Government has the right to hand over the control of the indigenous people of Dutch New Guinea to Indonesia. We do not believe that the Indonesian Government has any right to control Dutch New Guinea and we certainly do not believe that Indonesia has any right if her claim is based on the right of conquest, because the right of conquest is no right at all. The Indonesian Government says that it is entitled to assume control over Dutch New Guinea because Dutch New Guinea is the last remnant of the old Dutch East Indies Company. We believe that government rests on the consent of the governed and we think that the status quo should be maintained in the whole of New Guinea against the day - a generation or two generations hence - when all the people of the island of New Guinea, as an educated democracy, will be able to determine their own future in their own way. Whichever way they determine their future must be accepted by the rest of the world. I hope that the Prime Minister will make some statement on this matter to-night.
A perusal of the Estimates shows that the Government does not intend to spend as much this year on the Colombo Plan as it spent last year. Under Division No. 628 - International Development and Relief - the sum of approximately £5,500,000 is to be appropriated this year compared with an appropriation last year of approximately £6,250,000. If we look at the total for Divisions Nos. 627 and 628 we find that the Government proposes to spend this year approximately £600,000 less than it appropriated last year for relief to people in other lands - to give them economic aid, enabling them to improve their conditions of livelihood and to climb upwards, as it were, out of the pit to a better life. This proposed reduction in expenditure comes at a time when the Government boasts of this country’s prosperity. On the general vote for the Department of External Affairs we will spend approximately £100,000 more than we spent last year. That is the vote for the maintenance of the embassies, the ministries, the legations, the high commissions and the commissions which we have established overseas. This is a time when we should be spending more money, and not less, in this direction, particularly in countries in our immediate neighbourhood, so that we may be better able to build up that goodwill without which our relationships with those neighbouring countries, reasonably happy at the moment, may not be satisfactorily maintained.
I believe also that we should consider the Colombo Plan in a new light. I am speaking for myself now because I have not consulted my colleagues on this question. I do not think we are getting the best results from the money that we spend in bringing students from other countries to Australia. I think we would gain much greater advantage if we were to subsidize the sending of teachers, doctors and scientists from Australia to other lands. In this way we could educate far more of our Asian neighbours in their own homelands than we can by bringing students from those countries to Australia, at very great expense in transport and maintenance costs in our universities, and then sending them home to tell their people about us.
There is one further matter I wish to mention. Reference was made last night to the Foreign Affairs Committee. We have never said that we are opposed to a foreign affairs committee. We have said that we are opposed to the Foreign Affairs Committee in this particular form, lt has become known as Casey’s study circle and has produced no results to date. Our main objection to it is that any members of the Opposition who joined that committee would be bound by agreement not to divulge in their party room any information they obtained at meetings of -the committee. They could not initiate any investigations or studies of foreign affairs of their own volition. They would be bound by the directive of the Minister and at all times under control of officers of the Department of External Affairs.
This study circle which is miscalled the Foreign Affairs Committee is a body from which not one member of the Government parties has yet graduated during the ten years of its existence. We would like to see a foreign affairs committee worthy of the name. We have always been prepared to discuss the matter in a reasonable way with our political opponents, but we have never met with anything but a take-it-or-leave-it attitude on the part of the last Minister foi External Affairs and his predecessor, and I am afraid they have been aided and abetted in their attitude by officers of the department, who do not want honorable members on this side of the chamber serving on the committee and being too inquisitive, too energetic and too enthusiastic in making that body play the vital role that it ought to in the life of this Parliament.
– I was unable to grasp the meaning of the statement by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) that no member of the Foreign Affairs Committee had graduated in the ten years of its existence. I seem to remember, for example, that Mr. Downer, Mr. Osborne, Senator Gorton, and perhaps others, have sat on that committee.
I would not in any way question the integrity, the earnestness and the general goodwill of the Leader of the Opposition when he speaks of New Guinea, but I am not at all certain that what he suggests is very practical. He says, “ Let us have a tripartite pact between Australia, Indonesia and the Netherlands, so that these Territories in New Guinea may be properly developed until their inhabitants are ready to vote on their own future “. That is exactly the offer that both this Government and the Dutch Government have been making and will continue to make. Our function, as we see it, is to allow the people of New Guinea to develop until they are ready to vote freely on their own future. But Indonesia, so far, has not seen fit to come to the party. The Leader of the Opposition suggests nothing more than we have already offered. We are doing what he says we should do, but Indonesia has not seen fit to co-operate with us. How do you make this horse drink when the water is already before it? As I say, I do not for one moment question the honorable gentleman’s sincerity, nor do I differ from him as to our objective, but I do feel that perhaps he is not being entirely practical in putting this forward as a new policy and believing it has some chance of success. Even if it had a chance of success, it is not new, and even if it were new, it has no chance of success.
The committee will forgive me if I say, on a personal note, that it is with pleasure and pride that I acknowledge my selection as a member of the Australian team to visit the United Nations. I realize that Australia does not play a dominant role in that organization, and I also realize that I will be playing only a small part in our team. However, I will do what I can to further the interests of Australia in my capacity as a member of the team.
I think the committee will also forgive me if I say something now about the United Nations. I believe that the assembly we are about to go to in New York will be, perhaps, the most significant and critical meeting of that body since the meeting which resulted in the formation of its charter. At the coming meeting, seventeen new nations, I think, will be admitted. This will change radically the character of the organization, and the assimilation of these new nations into its fabric will throw no small strain upon the organization. This one circumstance alone would be sufficient to make the assembly a distinctive and important one, but there will be other important considerations at this meeting.
The Soviet Union is at present endeavouring to develop its propaganda instruments, and it is trying to use the United Nations as a forum to further this end. I am sure that in the coming session at New York we will see an unexampled effort by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to use the United Nations as a propaganda forum. Indeed, I do not discount the possibility that while it is making that effort, the Soviet Union will also be deliberately engineering incidents throughout the world to fit in with its propaganda plan and make that plan more effective. It would not be surprising, for example, if, in the course of the next few months, the Chinese were to explode a nuclear weapon, not made by themselves but provided for them by Russia, with both the Russians and the Chinese pretending that it had been made in Communist China. The Russians have been threatening further action in Berlin, and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that they will take steps to create agitation in that city.
All these possibilities tend to make the coming assembly a critical one, but there are other matters of greater substance which will operate to make the meeting important. At this time we have to find some way of bringing international order into the world, because more and more the urgency of disaster presses on us all - not only on this side of the iron curtain but also on the other side. The time shortens at every meeting. We have to find some way of doing this, and it is probable that it will not be done by advances on one front only.
There is a number of things to be done and we have probably got to advance on a number of fronts. In so doing we have to make certain that the causes we espouse do not impede our final objectives and that we do not get in one another’s way. There has to be a co-ordinated advance and, realizing that, we know that we cannot get all the way in the one shot.
I want now to say something which I hope will be constructive, and I am not saying it now for the first time. I believe that one of the tasks before us is to find some authority for the world court which has been set up under the Charter of the United Nations and which has been virtually an ineffectual body. It has been ineffectual because it has no jurisdiction unless both parties to a particular case agree to accept its jurisdiction in advance of its judgment. This, one can see, would be the kind of concept which would make a civil court in Australia, America or Great Britain entirely unworkable. The court would be unworkable if its judgment could be enforced only when both parties to the case were agreeable that it should have jurisdiction. We have to change and find a way in which the court can be given real authority and can exert real authority. Even if this means some derogation of national sovereignty we have still to accept it, because there can be no effective world order unless there is a body whose word will apply the general principles of that world order to every particular case as it arises. The law is useless unless we have a court which can declare its applicationto this case or to that case. I am pleased’ to see that in recent weeks in the United’ States of America this thesis is being advanced and I am not without hope that under the lead of the United States this, may be one of the main questions brought before the next meeting of the General’ Assembly.
May I therefore make - not for the first time, because I think this is something, which I said in the House in 1957 - a constructive suggestion as to what should be. done in this regard. Let us get a nucleus around which the world court can grow, and let us do it in this way. Let a number of nations, each of goodwill - a small number at the start perhaps - come together, make a treaty between them and say: “ In our disputes with other signatories to this– treaty we will accept without reservation the judgment of the world court “. Let them also say: “ We will accept the decision of the world court as to which cases it is going to have jurisdiction in. We are going to accept it in toto in disputes as between ourselves or in disputes which apply to the nationals of any of the parties to this treaty.” Let us then say: “ Other nations can accede freely to this treaty and if they come into it they will undertake an obligation towards all the other signatories and we will undertake a similar obligation towards them “. This does not produce anything spectacular, because those who come into the court at the beginning will naturally be people of good will who will really not need the court between them to settle their disputes anywhere. But it does provide a viable nucleus around which the world order could grow. It is small, but it is capable of extension.
We failed a little bit in following expediency in the United Nations, and in not seeing to it that the things we set down were things which were capable of growth. We have been too concerned with their size and immediate effect and not sufficiently concerned with their capabilities of growth. I therefore put this idea forward as something practicable - something small at the start but which, because it is capable of growth, can go beyond the concepts of something merely expedient at the present moment.
I know it will be said that there are tremendous difficulties in this idea. It will be said that the world court has no prestige; that is largely our own fault. It will be said that the court has no statutes; and of course it has no statute-book. It will be said that this is our fault because we have not referred to the world court the cases that we should have referred to it and we have not been backing it with the weight of our national authority in the international sphere. It will be said that the court has no statutes to go on - of course it has not - and that it has no case law; but case law extends the fringes of the law gradually over the centuries. Here we have had only a few years in which to create a bit of case law, so the court will be making as well as declaring the law in an unusual degree.
All these things are true, but they must give way to the other and greater truth that unless we do something like this everything else will fail. The difficulties are formidable, but if they are insuperable our cause is lost. Let us at least believe that they can be overcome and let us make an honest attempt to overcome them, great though they be.
.- Now that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) himself is Minister for External Affairs we might get a directional beam on external affairs generally. The criticism raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) is quite valid regarding all we can see of the services of the Department of External Affairs and the Foreign Affairs Committee. I recollect that when the committee was formed some years ago the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) immediately indicted a well-known member of the staff of the then Leader of the Opposition and wanted him held for treason. That was a good start for a co-operative chat between the two sides of the Australian Parliament as to what sort of foreign affairs committee and what sort of bi-partisan policy we would have generally!
The present Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee has been telephone tapping, if one may use the term, on the radio, listening in to the kiddies’ serials. He came out with a story in which a chappie was touring in Germany and came to Prague. The honorable member found that the next morning this tourist and his children would be visiting behind the iron curtain, and he burst into flame. He came into this House and denounced the four corners of the Opposition for what had happened and denounced the Australian Broadcasting Commission for having broadcast such subversive material. On the one hand we have the irresponsible member for Mackellar wanting to put every one in a compound and charge people with treason and, on the other hand, we have another honorable member tinkering with the radio to find out what the kiddies have done, instead of leaving them to their rare enjoyments where the adults do not interfere, or discussing the Asian agony - it is not a situation or a problem but an agony - and referring very cleverly to cutting it in two.
The Prime Minister himself will have a lot to do. Seeing how the Foreign1 Affairs
Committee has been degraded, I suggest that he reform it at once and, if it ever reaches the proportions of a proper bi-partisan organization, he might approach the Leader of the Opposition and ask for our help, which could be given quite freely provided the situation was one in which we felt we could usefully participate. But up to the present it has been a very bad show, lt was called “ Casey’s study group “. It was used by ambitious members as a steppingstone to something better, but never did it throb with the vitality, the energy, the decency and the strength that would come to it if it were a proper reflection of the thinking of the Australian people on foreign affairs.
At the same time, the Minister for External Affairs will have to look to other countries. As he is the leader of the nation as well as Minister for External Affairs, he must give us advice and guidance on matters such as the slaughter in Congola. He cannot rest on the lucky gimmick that he used in regard to South Africa. When the Sharpeville, murders were perpetrated, he washed his hands of the matter and said, “ Of course, this is an internal matter “. Yet the whole of the black races were thrown into horror and confusion at the summary vengeance that was exacted because people had assembled on that occasion. We know of that horrible story. The same problem is bursting out in Congola, but what policy have we about it? No lead is given in this Parliament, no statements are made and no one knows whether we have been interested enough to do anything to help. Of course, medical supplies have been sent and the Australian Red Cross has acted.
But here is an agony created by a colonial power and a possessive power simply walking out and leaving the country to its own devices. We know the two sides of the question, and we do not argue them. Some say that a power can leave a colony too early and others say that a power can linger too long in a colony. The Prime Minister has had the benefit of both worlds, because he has held both opinions. In the past, he has held the opinion that you hang on to what you have. He followed the Churchillian idea that you do not break down the Queen’s domain. On his recent return from abroad, he said, “ T am convinced there is a case to be made for the idea that we should consider getting out earlier “. 1 shall deal with our responsibilities in New Guinea in a moment. All these matters are reflections of what is happening amongst the white races to-day. Their anxiety is our greatest concern, but we have no guidance, no policy and we are not told of the general matters that lead to the formation of a policy. As far as I can gather, no statement has been made.
What has happened in Congola is something that should exercise our minds, because this is the century of the Asian and the Afro-Asian races. What happens to them to-day has an extreme, almost a crucial, effect on our future existence. In Africa, we have played a very poor hand. We have been the man who passed by on the other side of the road. There has been no Good Samaritan part played by the Government in relation to the murdered men of Sharpeville, and the only interest we have taken in what is happening in Congola is a wringing of the hands and a suggestion that it is a bad thing. The members of the Australian Country Party, who are now interjecting, have never heard of foreign affairs. Foreign countries to them are only the countries that buy their wool.
Turning to nearer home, we find that the Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs must heal a grievous sore that has developed in New Guinea. He has to make us right with the rest of the world and with the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations for the egregious and fat-headed error we made over Professor Gluckman. There have been warnings from all sides that what we did was wrong, that there had been an error of judgment. The Opposition would have been the first to say to the Government, “ Well, you have at least had the moral fibre to say that you were wrong and to reverse your decision “. But no, the Government has not done this.
There should have been a solid foundation for the Government’s action, but this has been knocked from under the Prime Minister and the Minister for Territories by statements from the Home Office, from overseas security organizations and from the Manchester University, where the professor is Professor of Social Anthropology.
What have we done? We are supposed to be the custodians of a group of tender peoples, dependent peoples, whom we are attempting to develop until, as the Leader of the Opposition said, they are of sufficient strength - industrially, intellectually and educationally - to take over their own country. But we treat them as if they were rabble. They are not to be consulted at all. If any decision is to be made, the decision rests entirely with us. What we have done, to put a short point on it - this speech must of necessity be short - is that we have slipped back 100 years to the old power politics in relation to dependent territories and colonies. “ Give me no missionaries, give me no anthropologists “, is the cry. They get into the heart and the soul of the native; they know what he is doing and they help him along. So, some fool has blundered and no one has had the fundamental guts to say, “ This is wrong “. That is the problem that the Minister for External Affairs, a tyro in the job, has to solve. He has to mend our fences.
– On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Chairman: Ithink the honorable member is talking about a matter that should be raised on the estimates for the Territories, and I do not think they are under discussion.
– Order! The subject under discussion is the Department of External Affairs and the honorable member should confine his remarks to that subject. He should not deal with the Department of Territories.
– If I may, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I ask for your ruling. The Trusteeship Council and its concern with the future of New Guinea surely can be discussed now. New Guinea is a trust Territory, and that is under the Department of External Affairs.
– The opportunity for discussing the subject that the honorable member wishes to discuss will come when the estimates for the Department of Terirtories are before the committee. I ask the honorable gentleman at present to confine his remarks to the Department of External Affairs.
– With respect to you, Sir, would you give me a ruling? I understand that the opportunity to discuss this matter does present itself now. As happens in many instances, the discussion may be repeated, but am I out of order in discussing the trust Territory of New Guinea now?
– I rule that you are out of order in discussing that matter in the estimates now before the committee.
– I accept that ruling. The Government is on a spot and it has been extricated - by you, Sir.
The final point, if I may say so, in regard to the trusteeship is that we have to mend our fences in New Guinea. The Government will not get away from this problem by trying to crawl out of it.
Order! The honorable member for Parkes has already heard my ruling that he is out of order in discussing the estimates of the Department of Territories, and I have asked him to confine his remarks to the Department of External Affairs.
– I accept your ruling, of course, Sir. I have no intention whatever of transgressing. There is another catalogue of important decisions and statements for the Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs to make. I want to know what the position is with regard to the strategic reserve in Malaya, and what are our commitments in relation to the Butterworth aerodrome in Malaya and our forces generally in Malaya. Some months ago, the Government of Malaya declared that the state of emergency had ceased to exist. I do not know that we have ratified any new agreement.
-I rise on a point of order. Does the subject now raised by the honorable member come under the Department of External Affairs or the Department of Defence?
Order! I think the honorable member is in order. The forces in Malaya are maintained for external affairs’ reasons, and I rule that the honorable member is in order on this occasion.
– Thank you, Sir. We ask merely that the Minister for External Affairs advise us upon this matter, because everywhere we look we see that the Government has no definite policy on matters as important as this.
I have only a moment or two in which to conclude my speech. I want to say that the sending of Australian forces to Malaya was originally accepted by the Opposition, but there has been no comment and no general statement about the future deployment of forces in these areas, the amount of money spent in the preparation of aerodromes and so on. Are we to continue indefinitely with these activities or will some of them come to an end? I have in mind the commitments to Seato and many other matters, such as the amount of aid under the Colombo Plan. No information is given on these matters. We have only a collection of facts given haphazardly, and sometimes no statement at all is issued. The Prime Minister has a pretty big job to do, but I hope that he will realize that the most important job that the Australian people expect him to do is to take a wide interest in the Asian problem. He should not let it be bedevilled into the position that Asia will turn into a lake of hatred, with such nonsense as, “ I am for Formosa; I am not for red China “. As I said before, it is a problem of agony, and it should be met with understanding.
I hope that the Prime Minister, in measuring up to his new job, will not burk any of the issues that arise, particularly the issues that I mentioned in passing, relating to New Guinea, Malaya and the other matters. I have been badly sub-edited in this debate in regard to the points thatI intended to raise concerning New Guinea, but since the Standing Orders say thatI cannot proceed with them, I conclude merely by saying this: That the Government itself has no complaints about our not joining the Foreign Affairs Committee, because it is the most rag-time organization that has ever been established. It is not even a study group. It has been a sort of ladder for some careerists to climb a little higher on. As an expression of what the Australian Government and the Australian people think, and study, in regard to foreign affairs, it is the greatest joke in existence. And it could be that because it is such a joke things like the Gluckman incident can arise. Then honorable members opposite can sit mumchance and dumb on the Government benches and say, “ Well, we have got to stick this out “. The honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Erwin) took up the cudgels on behalf of the Government.
Order! The honorable member will confine his remarks to the proposed vote under discussion. He will not be warned again.
– But, Sir, I was talking about them in regard to–
Order! I know what the honorable member was talking about.
– It appears that all the delectable morsels of debate are denied to me, and I shall have to go back to the cold turkey of the Prime Minister’s job. I hope he will remember the advice from this side of the chamber, though I know he is not very keen on accepting advice. However, as the Minister for External Affairs of the future there are a lot of things to be done - a lot of fences to be mended - and our prestige in the world is one of them.
Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– I was not impressed with the criticism of the Foreign Affairs Committee voiced by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). After all, the Opposition has refused to join this committee, yet it feels free to criticize it, never having been part of the committee and not knowing anything of what goes on in the committee.
– I rise to order, Mr. Temporary Chairman. Foreign affairs does not come under the vote for the Department of External Affairs.
Order! The honorable member for Wills knows full well that the subject comes under the vote before the committee. I suggest that he restrain himself from being facetious.
– I was considerably less impressed with the meanderings of the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) who proceeded to voice further criticism of the committee. The committee does not make many public statements of what it is doing because its members have taken an oath not to divulge matters that come within their knowledge as members of the committee. I am proud to say that that oath has been observed without exception, and I believe that that, to some extent, is why the Opposition feels that it has reason to criticize the committee.
The financial provision for the Department of External Affairs is mainly connected with administrative costs and the costs of maintaining embassies, legations and other foreign posts. There is another section concerned with other responsibilities of the department. I should like to say at the outset that Australia’s representation overseas gives a very true indication of the stature of this nation in the world. The appreciation shown to Australians travelling overseas, I believe, is a reflection of the work of our foreign posts. We have about sixteen embassies, three legations, nine high commissions and many consulates, as well as other representation overseas. These posts are spread throughout the old world and parts of the new world. Our representatives at them have great responsibilities.
With the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Dean) I wish to pay tribute to the stature of our representatives in these various posts. They have upheld the name of Australia particularly well. They are men of integrity who are trained well in their jobs, which they carry out very satisfactorily. I point out, however, that in addition to our overseas posts controlled by the Department of External Affairs we have other posts controlled by the Department of Trade and1 the Department of Immigration, many of them tin the same areas as are our diplomatic posts. I think it is a pity that there is not some concentration of effort in respect of these different kinds of Australian representation overseas. For instance, in Rome the Australian Embassy is in one part of the city, the Department of Trade’s post is in another section and the Department of Immigration office in still another. To my mind we are not making full use of the opportunities which present themselves to have all these various sections of our repre sentation housed, df not together, at least close to one another.
The position I have described is not peculiar to one city. I understand that in London we missed a grand opportunity some years ago when Bush House, adjoining Australia House, could have been purchased by us. The two buildings together would have been an excellent place in which to house the Agents-General of the various States, our various trade and1 other organizations, and so on. We have many committees constantly in London or travelling through London, and we have many departments there which could comfortably have been housed in the one building, which could well have been an island that was Australia - an island surrounded by the Strand, Fleet-street, Kingsway and Aldwych That opportunity was lost. It is very easy to be wise after the event, but I deplore the loss of that opportunity because I believe if we had grasped it the results would have been very good. In fact, I think that it is an objective still worth striving for.
Much the same position applies in New York, where the Department of Trade and the Consul-General are housed in one building and in another block, not very far away admittedly, but in an entirely different building, we have the representative of New South Wales. In Washington the same thing applies to some extent.
I have no desire to speak for any length of time on this section of the Estimates, but I wish to point out that a grand opportunity has been missed and is still being missed. I refer to the opportunity of concentrating our efforts in these various overseas capitals in order to get the most out of the departments there which mean so much to us. We do not spend very much money on our overseas representations, and I think we can afford to spend considerably more. In some places other nations which admittedly have considerably more money than we have, have built places which are a credit to them and which must obviously improve their stature in the eyes of the countries in which these places are built. Unfortunately, whilst our buildings are quite good, they are in many cases rented. There is no permanency in our occupancy of them, and whilst we have in a great number of cases sites worthy of a legation or an embassy as the case may be, they are still not good enough to represent this country of which we have every right to be proud. So I suggest that consideration be given by the department to this matter. I believe that our people working in these various posts would agree with me that Australia should do something about establishing permanent buildings for them. This could be done without considerable expense and could result in a saving. In other ways it could be of considerable benefit to us.
.- 1 hope that the force of one of the points made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) will register with the Government, because I think it is a very serious point. Referring to the Colombo Plan the Leader of the Opposition asked whether it would not be wiser in many instances for the Commonwealth Government to assist countries which need Colombo Plan assistance by financing the training of some of their students in their own countries. It is tragic for students from India, Burma and Malaya who have not a strong background of English to come to an Australian university and attempt to do their studies in a language with which they are not completely familiar. There has been a great deal of distress and, in some instances, an unduly high failure rate where the pupils, who may intellectually be very brilliant, have not an adequate background of English.
An officer in one of the States who was responsible for the administration of the Colombo Plan took a good deal of time to speak to me about the sheer misery of Asian students in this country who, for various reasons of religion - being Sikhs or members of certain sects of Moslems - had certain dietary problems. They were living in Australian boarding houses - this is typical of us as a nation - which had a completely rigid menu. European meals were always placed before the students. Of course, the students could not eat them and this contributed to unhappiness and upset.
I am not saying this as in any sense a criticism of the plan to bring Asian or any other students to Australia under the Colombo Plan. I think it is a very good thing, but I think that the suggestion of the
Leader of the Opposition was based on common sense and was well adapted to assisting Asian countries. He suggested that some form of assistance should be provided to enable Asian students to study in universities in their own countries, with their own linguistic backgrounds. Some universities, like the University of Malaya, can give as good a level of education as can the Australian institutions.
The Leader of the Opposition barely touched upon what I consider to be a very important problem. It is the problem of the end of empires and the national structure that follows the end of the authority of a former sovereign power. This is a very grave problem. A great deal critical of Belgium has been said because of the disorders which have followed the abdication of Belgian authority in the former Belgian Congo. But we ought, in our smugness, to remember that the transference of power in India cost the lives of 1,000,000 people. Had there been a general attack on Europeans, there would not have been such applause of Lord Mountbatten’s handling of the transference of power. But, because the transference of power led to the death of 1,000,000 people who were not Europeans, we rather tend to believe that a very good job was done.
Indonesia’s claim to West New Guinea raises a problem which was really implicit and at least partly solved in the transference of power in India. It is time that we were clear on certain facts. Because an area of land was once under the authority of an imperial power, it does not necessarily follow that after the transference of power the territories which were held together by foreign authority should be held as one nation. For instance, the Indian Empire of 1937 consisted of what is now India, Ceylon, Burma and Pakistan. No one suggests that there has been any outraging of any one’s rights because the former British Empire in India is now four nations. But there is a great deal of assertion that the Belgian Congo ought all to be one territory, or that because Dutch authority extended over what is now Indonesia and West New Guinea there is a clear Indonesian title to West New Guinea. It is just the same as saying that Canada has no right to be independent of the United
States because there was a time when what are now the United States and Canada were both under the British Crown.
It would be a very good thing for this country to learn the important lesson that when the time comes to transfer authority over any of our colonial territories there should be a stage at which it is handed over to an impartial body, such as the United Nations, which would conduct plebiscites or elections to enable the peoples of those territories to express their own desires. Had Belgium, for instance, made a condition of the transference of power that she should hand over authority immediately to the United Nations to conduct an election which would determine whether Katanga and Kasai wished to be part of the Belgian Congo, a lot of the trouble which is occurring in that country now would have been avoided. The United Nations has attempted on thirteen occasions to arrange plebiscites to determine whether Kashmir should be part of India or part of Pakistan. Had the transference of power in India included a determination of problems of this kind before power was transferred, much misery and current bitterness between India and Pakistan would have been obviated. In all these cases of colonial territories gaining their independence there is a clear need for an impartial authority to give the people themselves the chance to determine their future instead of having the Lumumba’s, the Tshombe’s and all the contending parties for authority bedevilling international relations and getting the support of various great powers for their own purposes. If the people were given the opportunity to state their wishes, there would be a clear, concise and orderly transference of power.
We have seen a better settlement of these problems in some of the former French territories. Apparently Mali will not hold together as one nation. The great powers are not fishing in those troubled waters, so Mali has not become an international issue. I do not think that the people of Mali will lose anything if that country becomes two States and if their future freedom is retained in smaller units than were formerly administered by the French sovereign power.
I wish to make one or two observations about the Department of External Affairs and to speak in particular on recruitment and training. The Commonwealth Government, for the sake of the Department of External Affairs, ought to be interested in some aspects of education in Australia. 1 speak of training in oriental languages. It , is a fact that the Department of External I Affairs recruits from an educational system which does not teach the languges which are vital, and likely to become more vital, to Australia in the near future. If you can find for me more than perhaps one high school in Australia where students can learn the rudiments of Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Malay, Hindi, Thai or Arabic - all languages which are very important to us - I would be glad to know where it is.
Several methods of training in oriental languages are available. It is a fact that the conversational bases of these languages can be absorbed quickly by people who are prepared to absorb them by the direct method and go over and over linguaphone conversations and so on. For the purposes of the Department of External Affairs, there is no reason why the Commonwealth Government should not sponsor education in oriental languages and in oriental studies generally. If these studies are to be undertaken, they must be commenced before the university level. It is true that people will be trained in these subjects at the university level. It is true that from time to time the Army and the Air Force train their staff in these subjects because they are important from the service intelligence point of view, but it would be a real contribution to the Department of External Affairs and to Australian trade - which is not a subject under discus-‘ sion under this proposed vote - if the Government, faced with a structure of education which does nothing to teach oriental languages, were to set to work and sponsor within the State systems this form of training which could be of vital advantage to Australia in a dozen ways
There is one other thing which I feel the Department of External Affairs should be used to do. The Department of External Affairs itself gets, for the use of its key officers, precis and translations, where necessary, of opinions of the vernacular press of the world - countries like India, and, as a matter of course, the advanced western European countries. Those translations and precis of foreign press opinions should be made available also to the Parliamentary Library. We are very dependent upon what the newspapers say is foreign opinion, yet all of us who have had the experience of travelling abroad will recognize, I think, that the Australian press does a comparatively poor job of assessing trends in foreign countries. Particularly is that true of the dominant press of this country, the New South Wales press. The Department of External Affairs would be rendering an important service to this Parliament if the precis and translations which are made available to its own officers as a matter of course were made available also in the Parliamentary Library. After all, there is nothing secret about them. They are views which appear in the foreign press.
Again, the diplomatic background of Asia and Asian diplomatic history are almost unknown. Certainly they are almost unknown to this Parliament. It is very easy to get the whole of the background of European diplomatic history. The whole of our educational system is biased in that direction, and it would be a very good thing if basic information on Asia were also prepared for the Parliamentary Library by the Department of External Affairs.
The Department of External Affairs does not serve this Parliament in anything like the way in which the American State Department serves the Congress of the United States. The information transmitted to Parliament concerning non-secret aspects of diplomacy - after all, the whole of the vital work of the United Nations is non-secret - should be made available for the Parliament. Sometimes this Parliament is called upon to make very serious decisions in connexion with decisions by the United Nations. For instance, there was the question of the despatch of forces to Korea. Again, there is even the possibility that at some time we might be invited to despatch forces to the Congo. There was even a possibility that Australian forces would have been policing the plebiscite, had there been one, in Kash-mir. That, of course, was not acceptable to India, but it was suggested in the United Nations. Comparatively little information is made available to this Parliament on the subject of the background of United Nations affairs.
I feel that the whole situation that is developing with regard to Indonesia and New Guinea is unsatisfactory. The press of this country has intermittently interested itself in the state of affairs and opinion in Indonesia, but it is vital to this Parliament that full information be available at all times with relation to affairs in Indonesia. I feel that on the subject of our immediate neighbours the kind of background information and precis that I have been referring to should be made equally available to this Parliament through the Parliamentary Library.
.- To-night, we listened to a typical speech from the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen). I am sure all those who listened to it will realize that such a speech could do nothing other than assist to undermine our prestige and standing in the eyes of our friends overseas and assist our enemies. A speech such as that is no contribution to the debate in this committee. The honorable member spent most of his time speaking about matters not related to the subject before the committee, and the comments he did make on those matters which did have some relation to the subject were completely off the mark.
The honorable member for Parkes accused the Government of not stating its foreign policy, especially that relating to South Africa as well as other parts of Africa. He also stated that this Government had not announced its policy with relation to New Guinea. It was quite evident that the honorable member waa endeavouring to mislead the committee because he knows that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) who is also the Minister for External Affairs has made a number of clear statements in this Parliament on our policy with regard to the situation in Africa and South Africa. He also knows that quite recently the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) made a statement relating to the position in New Guinea.
Our position is quite clear. We believe in the charter of the United Nations. We endeavour to protect the principles contained in it, and we have commitments to other friendly nations in the free world. We have security treaties with other nations in the Pacific and we believe in the
British principle of preparing new nations beforehand for their independence, and afterwards giving them every possible assistance in the early development of their new nationhood. Those are only some of the things that have been made quite clear in this House in statements of government policy.
In contrast to the speech delivered by the honorable member for Parkes, we heard the reasoned, constructive speech from the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). He mentioned two points to which I should like to refer. First, he suggested that, rather than continue to bring students, particularly students from Asian countries, to Australia and educate them here under somewhat difficult circumstances at times, under the Colombo Plan, it would be better to concentrate on the provision of educational facilities in the countries concerned. That is a very sound suggestion and it is being partly carried out at the moment. It is part of our ultimate intention in respect of the Colombo Plan aid.
As honorable members know, the new university just completed in Kuala Lumpur in Malaya was constructed to a substantial extent by external aid. It is now providing tertiary aducation to many Asian students. Another example I can call to mind of the direct result of Colombo Plan aid is the provision of a secondary school called the Dragon School a few miles outside Kuching in Sarawak. That has been provided solely out of Australian Colombo Plan aid funds and it is staffed to a substantial extent with Australian teachers. Secondary education is being provided in that area for the local population, which is comprised mainly of Dyaks and, to some extent, Chinese. It is also our ultimate aim under the Colombo Plan to provide additional assistance in the way of facilities for direct education within the countries concerned, but I still believe it is advisable to have a steady exchange of students especially between Asian countries and Australia. Perhaps, as more facilities are provided in the Asian countries, we may be able to send some of our students to study in the secondary schools and universities in those countries, under a system of exchange of students under the Colombo Plan. 1 also agree with the suggestion by the honorable member for Fremantle that greater emphasis be placed on the teaching of languages in our Australian educational system. In the past there was perhaps not the requirement that there is to-day for the teaching of languages, but I do feel that it is very necessary, more particularly languages of Asian origin. 1 do hope that greater emphasis will be placed on the teaching of these languages in our secondary and tertiary education policies in future.
I agree with those of my colleagues who directed attention to-night to the growing importance of the work being undertaken overseas in the interests of Australia by officers of the Department of External Affairs. I should like to pay tribute to the splendid work being done by our embassies, commissions and legations overseas where the standard of representation is particularly high. Our officers certainly are rendering a high standard of foreign service.
Here I should like to emphasize the increasing importance we are placing on contact with other nations. A few years ago, in fact up to the commencement of World War II., we might have been in a position to remain in partial isolation in respect of external affairs and to depend upon the United Kingdom to look after our external arrangements for us.
But the situation has changed. We are a growing nation living in a region of new nations. We are also in a world where speed has made all the difference in relation to distances, and we can no longer consider Australia as a country in isolation. Anything that happens in any part of the world to-day is of vital importance to Australia, as other honorable members have emphasized in this debate. So it is necessary to have a very close look at our foreign policy.
It is a fact that the central problem of Australian foreign policy is how to reconcile our geography with our history. Historically we belong to Europe, but geographically be are a large island lying off the coast of South-East Asia. History in the past has determined the way any country acts by determining its national character, its racial composition and its traditions. From an historical point of view, the Australian people are a European people. They have cultural ties with Europe and especially with the United Kingdom. Of course, sentiment and tradition are powerful influences at work in any country, and the result of this background of tradition and sentiment was made very obvious when two great wars broke out and Australia alined itself immediately with its Mother-country and other parts of the then British Empire, which later became the British Commonwealth of Nations. That action was based on the ties of sentiment and tradition. We have also close economic ties with the United Kingdom and, to a growing extent, with our great and friendly ally, the United States of America.
But a country’s economy policy can be altered and modified, and in recent months we have seen some modification and alteration of our basic economic policy in relation to our own internal structure and our relationship with countries overseas. That can be changed, and it has been modified as the years have gone by, but the facts of geography, like those of history, cannot be altered. We often hear that significant phrase “ continuity of foreign policy “ and in its application to Australian foreign policy, as to the foreign policy of the United Kingdom, that is indeed a simple truth. United Kingdom policy has changed little in relation to external affairs because of its geographic position off the north-west coast of Europe and its position in relation to British Commonwealth countries. The same situation - though probably in different circumstances - applies to Australia.
In this world of to-day - a world of power politics - Australia is known and ranks as a middle power. It is our foreign policy to preserve the security of our British character and position. Yet at the same time, of course, we must more than ever establish friendly relations with our Asian neighbours. I think you will agree, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that these two aims are in fact not opposed but inter-dependent. If we fail to achieve the latter, we are not likely to achieve the former. The Second World War brought many vital changes to both East and West, and the change it brought to Australia was the growing emphasis on our relationship to South-East Asia. Today, we regard South-East Asia - or free
Asia as the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Dean) described it - as our neighbour and friend.
A brief study of the situation indicates the significance we are placing on our relationship with the South-East Asian area. Before the Second World War, Australia had no diplomatic representatives in South-East Asia except a small commission in Singapore. Now there are thirteen diplomatic posts in South-East Asia and South Asia, in addition to posts in Japan and Hong Kong. Nearly half our total diplomatic missions to-day are in the Asian area. At the same time, this increasing emphasis on South Asia and South-East Asia in our foreign policy has brought us into closer relationship with the United States of America. Obviously, that is because of our common interest in the Pacific region.
These closer ties with the United States and our more friendly relationship with the Asian countries have really done nothing to affect our basic ties - cultural and traditional - with the United Kingdom and Europe. We must always remember, however, that Australia geographically lies in the Pacific region. Indeed, our communications with the rest of the world pass through this region. Australia, like many other Asian countries, is a young and developing country. We are taking part in great aid programmes such as the Colombo Plan, for the assistance of under-developed countries. At the same time, we are taking part in other international development schemes such as the projects under the International Development Association. We are also participating in the schemes under the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, known as Ecafe, and are directly assisting in the development of the Mekong valley. That scheme is of economic assistance to four countries in that region.
We also have at present about 5,000 Asian students studying in Australia and making friends here. When they return to their own countries, they will carry with them some idea of the friendship Australians have for the people of their own lands.
Australia is increasingly becoming an important venue for international conferences. Early last year we had the great Ecafe conference at Broadbeach in Queensland at which representatives of all the Asian nations were present. Many of them were visiting our shores for the first time and made their initial contact with our people. Later, an important Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference was held here. Again, many Asian people representing their parliaments visited our country to attend the conference. Australia and Asia want peace, security and freedom and their destinies for the future are closely bound.
I wish to refer now specifically to our nearest neighbour - Indonesia. In viewing the world situation to-day, we tend to raise our sights a little, and sometimes we overlook the problems facing Indonesia and the importance of our relationship to that country. Indonesia, at its closest point to Australia, is within 400 miles of our northern shores. It is already important to Australia although it is a young State, and our relations with Indonesia in the future could become a dominating issue in our foreign policy. I think it reasonable to assume that we can live amicably together in the future, but there are some important differences at the moment in relation to our foreign policy as it concerns Indonesia.
Indonesia has some obvious geographical difficulties in developing a modern centralized state. It is a country of islands. There are more than 2,000 islands in the territory under the republic, and great barriers of sea, jungle and distance to deal with in overcoming the problem of centralization of government. The territory of Indonesia covers an area 2,500 miles long with a width of 1,500 miles. As I have said, in that area there are more than 2,000 islands, so the internal administrative problems are obvious. Village life forms the basis of society in Indonesia, and in such circumstances, illiteracy presents one of the greatest problems for the administration.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- In 1957, I was one of the Australian representatives at the United Nations. Our representatives on that occasion included also the former Minister for External Affairs, now Lord
Casey, and the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock). They were the only other parliamentarians in Australia’s delegation. But the meeting of the United Nations was attended by a vast number of Australian representatives. There were representatives who belonged to the permanent mission to the United Nations who had their offices in New York and remained there throughout the year. Australia’s representatives in the Netherlands, India, the Philippines and Canada also were present at that meeting. They were flown to the United Nations to take part in the discussions. In addition, a number of public servants were flown to the United Nations from Australia. They included the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs, an assistant secretary and two clerks. They were present at all meetings and took part in the discussions. I do not object to the number of people who represented Australia at the United Nations on that occasion but I do not suggest that we should spend any more than we are spending at the present time on representation at the United Nations.
I do believe, however, that on the occasion about which I am speaking more representatives of this Parliament should have been present and fewer representatives of the Department of External Affairs. After all, Australia’s representative at The Hague was flown to the United Nations, leaving Australia without representation at The Hague. Australia’s representative in India was present at the United Nations meeting and probably during his absence Australia was represented in India by a junior clerk. The same thing applies to our representation in the Philippines and Canada during that meeting of the United Nations. I contend that the knowledge and information gained by a member of Parliament who visits the United Nations are of greater subsequent value to Australia than knowledge or information that may be gained by a public servant. After all, members of Parliament have access to information that often is not available to members of a department.
While I was away at the United Nations with the honorable member for Lyne I travelled throughout the United States representing the United Nations. On United Nations Day the honorable member for Lyne visited a number of schools and addressed the pupils. In the evenings and at other times he addressed people from other sections of the community. I performed! similar functions but the public servants who were present at the United Nations did not. Some of them may have addressed bodies and organizations had they been invited but apparently they were not invited. I assume that my friend and I were invited because we held representative positions on the Australian delegation to the United Nations. An honorable member opposite is muttering in his beard and is probably disagreeing with me. He is entitled to disagree if he wishes.
When the meeting of the United Nations concluded the Government of the United States arranged for the honorable member for Lyne and me to travel throughout America and meet representatives of the trade union movement there. We met, among others, the secretary of the motor workers’ organization - Mr. Reuther - and a union official named Mr. Lovelace. We also visited a number of industrial undertakings. I feel that such visits can be very useful to a member of Parliament. I do not expect to be sent to the United Nations again, but I am firmly of the opinion that members of this Parliament can do much to promote the work of the United Nations by being present at its meetings. I suggest that at no added expense we could send more parliamentary representatives than we send at present.
– Let them all go.
– The honorable member for East Sydney suggests that all of us should go. I do not know that the honorable member would do much to promote the interests of peace at the United Nations. He has not done much for the peace of this Parliament in the last few days. Apart from the honorable member for East Sydney, I think it would be a good idea if most honorable members were able to visit the United Nations and see it in operation. I know that South American republics have greater parliamentary representation at the United Nations than Australia, possibly because they are situated closer to New York than we are. When I was at the United Nations most of the 87 member nations, many with populations smaller than that of Australia, had larger delegations than we. The United
Kingdom was represented by quite a number of members of Parliament from both sides. Eire was represented by members of Parliament, as were South Africa, Malaya and other countries in South-East Asia. Those countries may have had large delegations of officials at the United Nations also.
Australia’s representation was a little out of balance. There were twenty or more public servants but only three members of Parliament. The Minister for External Affairs was there for only three weeks. He took part in the important discussions in the General Assembly and then flew back to Australia. The parliamentary representatives remained there for the entire session and took part in the discussions at the committee level. The committees are composed of a representative from every member nation of the United Nations. Those committees meet every day in the week. I was a member of the economic committee and the honorable member for Lyne was on some other committee. Australia was represented on other committees not by members of Parliament but by officers of the Department of External Affairs. I do not object to officers of the Department of External Affairs going to the United Nations, but I think that Australia would be much better represented by members of Parliament than by public servants. As I said, the secretary of the Department of External Affairs was present for a period, and the assistant secretary of the department was there for the whole time. This assistant secretary has been present at every session of the United Nations, with the exception of one, since the inauguration of that organization.
– He should know the form.
– Of course, he should. He should have known so much that it would have been advisable for him to stay at home and let somebody else go, even somebody from his own department, to learn something about it also. I should imagine there would have been very little left for him to learn about the organization.
– But it is handy to have a bit of knowledge, occasionally, is it not?
– I have not the slightest doubt that he is now either on his way or packing his bag ready to fly to New York for about the thirteenth or fourteenth time in so many years, and that he will spend three months there. The expense involved in sending a public servant, whether junior or senior, would be as great as that necessary to send any member of this Parliament.
– But the public servant would know more about it.
– I suggest that the average public servant would know more about the United Nations or any other subject than a member of the Australian Country Party would, even if he had no close or lengthy contact with the subject. But I think that other members of the Parliament would acquire, after a similar association with the organization, as much knowledge of it as would a public servant. Far be it from me to under-rate public servants. I myself was one for 30 years. That is why, looking around this chamber, I suggest that there are some people here who would do as good a job as a public servant would, and who would be better fitted than the general public servant to transmit to their fellow Australians the benefits that they acquired from their visit to the United Nations.
I therefore suggest that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) should consider having a wider representation of parliamentarians at future sessions of the United Nations. I do not suggest a larger overall representation or a more costly one, but I do suggest there should be more parliamentarians, who would be of greater use in that sphere than public servants. I know that the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock), perhaps because of his peculiar temperament, was a most effective ambassador when he visited the United Nations, and was well received by representatives of other nations. I would go into the lounge at the United Nations and find him surrounded by a bevy of South American beauties, discussing international problems and peddling the Australian line.
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I was interested in the remarks of the last speaker, the honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters). He put forward a very novel point of view. However, I believe the work that Australia has to do in the three months in which the United Nations Assembly sits demands the services of some person other than a rather unskilled member of Parliament. After all, we have men who make their careers in the diplomatic service, and the career man is vital in matters of delicate negotiation. While I believe it is important that members of the Commonwealth Parliament should go to the United Nations, the main work there must always be done by career men, and I would not like to see our career men in the Department of External Affairs being replaced at the United Nations by outsiders.
I would like to say a few words about the remarks of the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). He has suggested that a great deal of the damage that was done at the time of the partition of India and Pakistan would have been avoided if some outside body - I think he said a neutral body - like the United Nations had been in charge during the transition period. We must recognize the probability that the United Nations will, during the next ten years, be going through some grave and difficult times, and I do not think we should regard it as a completely neutral organization. Power blocs will develop, such as, perhaps, an Afro-Asian bloc, peddling their own particular interests. While the United Nations will remain the one hope of the world, we must regard with some suspicion any suggestion that it will always be successful in all its endeavours.
– When the trouble developed with India and Pakistan we ended up by sponsoring the idea of the United Nations plebiscite. Had that plebiscite received sufficient support before the partition there would not have been such grave problems.
– I still believe that the reason why the trouble arose was that self-government was granted too soon. You may remember the debate that occurred at about that time when I criticized the then Leader of the Opposition who boasted about the socialist party’s objective of granting autonomy to such countries, and I said that it was being done too soon. Similar remarks apply in the case of the Congolese Republic, which was suddenly granted self-government because of pressure by the socialist Opposition in the Belgian Parliament. The socialist is a theorist. He is not a realist, nor is he an individualist. One result of socialist theories is the present suffering in the Congo. Autonomy is being granted to these nations before their people are fully trained in wise government.
Let me now say a few words about the Summit meeting that was scheduled to take place some months ago. I very seldom hand bouquets to the Opposition, but I must hand it one bouquet for its reluctance to engage in extensive criticism concerning the failure of the Summit Conference. I think Opposition members realized that the failure of the conference was not due to any fault on the part of the Western World. Two or three years ago continuous pressure was being exerted by the Opposition for the Western powers to arrange Summit talks at all costs. I think the then Leader of the Opposition will be remembered for his many pleas along those lines. When the Government finally agreed to support a Summit Conference Opposition members said that it should have taken place long before. Events have shown that the Summit Conference had no chance of success in any case. As soon as the Russians realized that the Western World was completely united it used the U2 incident as an excuse for wrecking the conference. I do not regard the U2 incident as a failure from our point of view. I regard it as a very important propaganda item for the Western world. The Australian press, and, indeed, the press of the free world, made great play on the propaganda value of the U2 incident from Khrushchev’s point of view, but I did not agree with the newspapers’ assessment of the situation. I contend that the incident highlighted the great secrecy surrounding the Russian nation. This is a point which is not sufficiently appreciated.
In the world as we know it to-day, should a nation having great technical skill and able to produce weapons of great destruction be allowed to preserve a screen of complete secrecy? I say it should not. I ask honorable members to put themselves in the position of the Americans, whose country is the one bastion of safety in the world to-day. Could they allow Russia to maintain this secrecy without doing something to find out what was going on? Apparently America has been trying since 1952 to learn something of what is happening in this secret nation.
Two main points have emerged, therefore, from the U2 incident. First, we realize that although the Russians have been succeeding in practically every field of endeavour they have failed to halt these probing flights. Secondly, the spotlight has been brought to bear on the question whether we should allow Russia to hide behind a shield of secrecy. Has any honorable member of this Parliament ever heard of a civil aircraft, or a military aircraft, crashing in Russia? Is it just that such things do not happen there? If an aircraft crash occurred in Australia we would see members getting up in this chamber, saying that our Air Force or our Department of Civil Aviation was badly controlled, and demanding courts of inquiry. But the news of these things never comes out of Russia. Are the Russians such supermen that these things do not happen in the Soviet Union? Is it not dangerous to let a nation thus conceal itself in this age of nuclear weapons? I say it is. I say that the U2 incident was a fine bit of propaganda on our side, but unfortunately we have a very difficult Western press. I regard our press increasingly as a menace to our security.
Let us examine how we are getting along in the free world to-day and what success we are having. Only the other day we were fighting the Communists actively in Malaya and in Burma but in both of those countries the Communist terror is now finished. That is some success that we have achieved. We know that the Communist aggression in Asia has been contained, but we do not read any press commentator proclaiming that it is a success for the Western world. We are having some success in the working of the SouthEast Asia Treaty Organization in SouthEast Asia. The Communists are being contained in Asia.
It is only two or three years ago that the Communist Party was tremendously powerful in Indonesia. It was one of the strongest influences supporting President Soekarno. Where are the Communist leaders in Indonesia to-day? Half of them are in gaol and the remainder are banished to some islands and are highly suspect.
So sometimes it does no harm to count our blessings.
India has a very important influence in Asia. After all, she is a country with over 400,000,000 people and Prime Minister Nehru is a man who does not like war and who believes in negotiation. We can recall the suspicion that he had of the Western world. He would never consider joining a military bloc or an alliance of any kind and had more leaning towards appeasement in relation to the rest of Asia and China. That attitude must have been a source of worry to any one who was counting the heads of his friends. But is India in the same position to-day? I think not. I say India is coming round to our way of thinking and should be regarded now, not as a neutral or a nation suspicious of our methods, but as one which realizes the danger of communism. The mutual risk to both Pakistan and India has done much to heal the damage that had been done between those two great nations, and so we can go on counting our blessings.
We can remember when the King of Iraq was murdered and General Kassim came to power entirely on the backs of the Communists. Russian technicians were poured into that country in an effort to achieve a Communist revolution there, but they got nowhere and communism is at a discount in Iraq.
Then there is Egypt. I am not a great admirer of General Nasser, but at least he has banned the Communist Party in Egypt and is filling the air with anti-Communist propaganda. France and Italy are two countries in which the national Communist Party had the greatest number of supporters, but in both those nations to-day communism is now at its lowest ebb.
When we examine our blessings I think it is high time for us to show greater confidence. Previously it was the practice to say that we should try to ease the cold war, but I think that that is quite a wrong policy. I believe our policy should be directed towards winning the cold war. Russia has her problems and we must not clothe the Russians with supernatural powers. Every satellite country of Russia is restless. I think the signs are good and that the United States of America has begun to realize that to try to ease the tension of the cold war is a mistake and that the thing to do is to win the cold war. I believe we are on the eve of doing so and, therefore, I regard the future with much more confidence.
The great problem facing us to-day is the tremendous trouble in Africa. As one with some small knowledge of that country I deplore the fact that some African nations are being freed too soon. The Belgian Congo is an example. I think that the United Nations, under the SecretaryGeneral, has so far done a very good job indeed. But there we have a fishing pool for the Russian interventionists, which will cause us a great deal of worry and I would like to see the strongest possible line taken on the assistance that Russia is now giving the Congo.
I have nothing to add except to say that 1 feel it would be more heartening to the Western world if the press started to take up a new attitude and did not always deride the work done by our own people. I believe that with all their muddlings, our people are succeeding and that the time will come when we will look around the world with a great deal more confidence than we do to-day.
.- The debate, at this relatively late hour, has taken place in the presence of the Prime Minister, Minister for External Affairs and Acting Treasurer (Mr. Menzies). He has indeed been here for a great deal of the time both yesterday and to-day - for more time than we have seen him in this chamber for many a long day. That indicates his great responsibility as Prime Minister, Minister for External Affairs and Acting Treasurer. We have certainly never seen him in the chamber during the Estimates debate nearly as much as we have seen him yesterday and to-day.
The point made by the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) that we should win the cold war and not try to ease it, indicates that he is a danger to the security of Australia. He is a man who obviously - if he had the ability and wit - would involve Australia in war if it suited his purpose to do so. He said we should win the cold war and not ease it, but what he really means is that we should turn the cold war into a hot war whenever it suits the kind of views that he possesses.
– You insult him.
– 1 say that after plenty of consideration, and, after having listened to this point of view for a long time, I throw it back to you. You people who talk war in the fashion that you do are a danger to the security of the country. 1 submit that the foreign policy of Australia is negative, isolationist and illinformed, and I believe it is based on a number of basic propositions that will not stand up to analysis. The first proposition on which it is based is a fear of communism, which involves an assumption that the Communists have miraculous powersas though they have powers with which we cannot contend. The Communists have had victories. They have had victories in the development of nuclear science, in the provision of nuclear weapons and rockets, and now in the development of space research. I find it very difficult to work out what is the value of space research. In what conceivable way can countries justify the spending of millions of pounds - or roubles, as the case may be - in research which is of very little value?
Russia’s victories have been very great in the field of physical science. The Communists have had victories in terms of economic production, and in some fields very significantly. They have had victories in some places in the world where the people of the countries concerned have been compelled by circumstances and very often by the neglect of the Western powers to live in poverty and distress. In those circumstances the Communists have had victories, but in no circumstances can it be said that the Communists in the Soviet Union, China or anywhere else are allpowerful and intelligent. Some of their victories are due to the failures of the leaders of the Western powers - failures by leaders who represent, perhaps, the extreme point of view of the honorable member for Hume, or that of the Prime Minister. Any one who claims that the U2 incident was a victory for the Western powers is stupid. Any one who will claim that the outcome of the Summit Conference in Paris in March was a victory for the Western powers ought to have his brains examined. Any one who thinks that is utterly stupid.
The situation was that the Summit Conference had resulted from agitation for a conference not only in the Soviet Union but also in the rest of the world. The Australian Labour Party was effective in taking an early part in this, and was proud of the part it took, lt was joined at a later stage by the Prime Minister, who supported a Summit Conference. But not so the erratic back-benchers who constantly, in trying to heat up the cold war, opposed his change of mind on a Summit Conference and said so openly in this Parliament. Having reached the situation where a Summit Conference had been arranged and where something might have come from it, we found that the Western powers were not in complete agreement but were in considerable confusion, not only about nuclear tests, which they recommenced underground before the conference, and not only about Eastern Germany, but also about a good many other matters. There was no uniformity of views amongst the Western powers.
In such a situation, the American authorities were responsible for sending an aeroplane at high altitude over the Soviet Union to observe and to test the defence and war installations of that country. Had the situation been reversed and had the Russians sent an aeroplane of a similar kind over the United States, the American reaction would have shown how wrong it was.
– Such planes are over England every day.
– Wherever they are sent, there is the same kind of objection, and if they could be reached, they would be shot down, as presumably the plane which flew over Russia was shot down. This situation, whatever be the rights and wrongs of it, occurred a fortnight before the Summit Conference. Instead of saying, as has been said in diplomacy for countless decades, that these actions were not the responsibility of the government, the United States Government immediately assumed responsibility. It was pretty obvious that this would lead to a situation which would endanger the Summit Conference. Any one who takes a one-sided view and says that this was solely the responsibility of Russia and that the American leaders did not contribute to it, is in disagreement with the Democratic Party leader of the American Senate and a great many other very conservative observers in the United States. The failure of the Summit Conference was no victory for the Western powers; it was a defeat for everyone. The U2 incident was no propaganda victory or any kind of victory; it was a tragedy.
The Communist powers have achieved a certain measure of success in a number of other directions. They have taken a role in disarmament and in the abolition of nuclear tests, which the Western powers have not been prepared to match. Why is it that the Western powers have not been prepared to reach agreement on disarmament and nuclear tests? For the very reason that is fundamental to the foreign policy of this country! The foreign policy of this Government is based upon fear of communism and. entertaining that fear as strongly as it does, the Government cannot give up a weapon or a test but must maintain strength all the time. Tt cannot afford to disarm. How can it say that it is genuine about disarmament when its fear of communism is so great that it cannot afford to give away a rifle or to disarm at all?
This shows that the situation is not quite so one-sided as the interjectors now chattering like parrots would suggest it is. Just to conclude this point, I submit that the Communists are not all-powerful and that much of their success arises from the stupidity of our own leaders, who have made one mislake after another and who will continue to make mistakes as long as they are supported by sycophants on the back benches, who regard the failure of the Summit Conference as a success and the U2 incident as an important propaganda victory. As long as the leaders have sycophants praising them, they will continue to make mistakes.
– Whose side are you on?
– I am not on your side!
A Minister recently said that we live in a time of suspicion, uncertainty and doubt in this Commonwealth of Australia. This is a basic assumption in the Government’s foreign policy. I do not believe that we live in a time of suspicion, uncertainty and doubt. We live in an Australia of which I am confident, and I have confidence in the Australian people. This doctrine of fear, suspicion and doubt is un-Australian and those who subscribe to it have no confidence and no faith in their own country and have adopted an ideology that is basically not Australian. It is an ideology that is imported from another country, not England, which has never really understood the Australian outlook. You are basically un-Australian in propagating this doctrine of fear and suspicion that you are supposed to hold. Rather than allow people to come from Communist countries and to see what we have in Australia, confident of Australia and Australians, you try to keep them out. Rather than allow Australians to go to China or to Russia to see for themselves what is there, and to allow any statements they make on their return to be examined as critically as they can be, you want to keep the iron curtain down.
– Order! 1 suggest to the honorable member that he address the Chair.
– The Government of Australia, whose foreign policy I am now discussing, wan is to keep the iron curtain down. It exhibits a lack of confidence in Australia and a lack of appreciation of Australia. The people of this country are sound in all respects. The Government’s policy assumes that they are not sound, that they have to be watched by the security service, that they must be reported upon here and there and that these reports must be taken into account in making appointments and in issuing permits, although the reports are never brought out into the open and never examined. That is fundamentally un-Australian and we do not want it to become a part of the Australian way of life.
The Government’s foreign policy is based also upon a wrong evaluation of new nations and of new forces in older nations. I shall give one or two examples. It is based upon a wrong evaluation of Egypt. It is not long since the Prime Minister was bitterly opposed to Egypt and called for full-blooded economic sanctions, and for more, in dealing with the problem that had arisen as the result of the nationalization of the Suez Canal. The right honorable gentleman was on the side of those who believed that Nasser, with all his faults and weaknesses, could be easily pushed over with a few brigades of paratroopers. He did not understand that Nasser was the symbol of the national development of Egypt.
Order! The honorable member for Yarra will please resume his seat. There is too much noise in the chamber. I ask the committee to come to order. The honorable member may now resume.
– I know that honorable members opposite find it very difficult to take the truth–
Order! The honorable member for Yarra will resume his speech.
– They must listen to it, nevertheless. I am suggesting thatour foreign policy is based upon a wrong evaluation of what people like Nasser represent. They have a good deal of support in their own countries and they represent efforts to achieve national independence, which involves gaining control of the fundamental economic assets that are necessary for such independence. Without control of the Suez Canal, there could be no self-dependent and self-reliant Egyptian Government. Then we look at Cuba. It is not more than a few weeks since the Prime Minister referred to Castro as a worthless fellow. Well, that worthless fellow, like Nasser, has a great deal of support in his own country. He has the support of all of those who are involved in the nationalist movement in the country, of all those people who know that to have independence in Cuba they have to have a greater share in the operation of the economy of the country - of the sugar industry and of the petroleum industry, which are Cuba’s main industries. Instead of being prepared to co-operate to some extent with Nasser and Castro, theWestern leaders, whose policies have played so much–
Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– Whatever ideas I had about the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) when he was a backbencher whose motives I always suspected in this place, my judg ment has been pretty accurately confirmed by his remarks in this speech. He presented a line of argument on policy, when we are discussing mainly the question of administration. This led me to believe that perhaps he was a little more dangerous than I thought before.
I do not want to get into any argument on foreign policy. I do not think foreign policy comes within the ambit of the debate, which is concerned with administration. We are discussing the proposed vote for the Department of External Affairs. I want to refer to something in regard to which Australia can play an influencing part - the South Pacific Commission. Obviously, in the mind of somebody like the honorable member for Yarra, or in the minds of other people not quite so well informed as he, the South Pacific Commission would probably bring forth a picture of something like a scene in a well-known musical comedy by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein III. But Australia is vitally concerned in the activities of the South Pacific Commission. While this commission is not a very prominent body, honorable members will see at page 99 of the Estimates that this year our participation in the commission is to cost us £76,800. This is not a large amount. At the same time, however, the commission has some activities in which Australia can play an important role.
In February, 1947, during the term of office of the Labour Government, the South Pacific Commission Agreement was signed, with the objective of encouraging and strengthening international co-operation in promoting the economic and social welfare and advancement of the peoples of the non-self-governing territories in the South Pacific, which were under the administration of the various signatory parties. The regional area embraced that section of the Pacific east of and including Dutch New Guinea south of the Equator and extending practically over to the South American coast. Included in that area are our own Territory of Papua and New Guinea, the British Solomons Condominium, the New Hebrides, Fiji, New Caledonia, the Society Islands, including Tahiti and the other lovely islands in that area of the French Archipelago. In 1951 the region was enlarged to include, just north of the Equator, the island of Guam and the trust Territories of the Marianas, the Carolines and the Marshall Islands. These scattered groups, within a very vast area that covers that whole wide expanse of sea, are grouped administratively into eighteen separate territories with varying needs and in varying states of development.
The administration of the Territories remains within the control of the various signatories to the agreement, and is supported by the economic control of the participating governments. Each of those countries has its own programme of economic and social development. Naturally, each retains its individual control of the political development. I should like to stress that point, because the South Pacific Commission is purely an advisory body which, at this stage at least, does not attempt to take any part in political development. This purely advisory body assists with economic and social programmes in these vast territories, by bringing people together for discussion and study, by research into some of the problems common to the whole region, by providing expert advice and assistance, and by disseminating technical advice throughout the area. The commission, with its head-quarters in Noumea, works within an annual budget of about £200,000 Australian. Australia’s contribution this year, as shown in the Estimates, is £76,800, which includes, as well as our contribution towards the administrative costs, provision for respresentation at meetings of the commission.
Australia is the largest contributor to the costs of the South Pacific Commission. The member countries, and their contributions on a percentage basis as agreed to in the document of agreement, are as follows: - Australia, 30 per cent., France, 12+ per cent., the Netherlands, 15 per cent., New Zealand, 15 per cent., the United Kingdom, 15 per cent., and the United States of America, 12i per cent. In order to avoid the natural development of Parkinson’s Law, on this occasion there has been a determination to avoid overexpenditure on administration, and the attention of the secretariat of the commission is constantly drawn to the proportional relation of administrative expenses to the finance available for the works programme. A limit is set so that the maximum finance possible within this very limited budget of £200,000 Australian annually is available for the works programme. However, it will be readily seen that, in this world of rising costs, if the work of the commission is to be of the effective nature which will receive the recognition 1 believe it should receive, regard must be paid to rising costs. Financial limitations obviously restrict the capacity of the commission to undertake original research, and recourse is had to assistance from outside bodies. That is part of the set-up of the South Pacific Commission, lt has associations with the specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and various other bodies of that nature. It also receives assistance from some of the well known charitable organizations like the Rockefeller Foundation.
The executive functions of the commission are exercised through the meeting:, of the commission itself, which normally take place annually at Noumea, in New Caledonia, and at which each participating nation is represented by two commissioners with their advisory delegates.
There are in the organization of the commission two advisory bodies. One is a research council appointed by the commission, and including the senior executive officers of the commission and of the secretariat, as well as persons from other spheres with specialized knowledge applicable to the problems of the area concerned. The three executive officers who are the main persons concerned in the carrying out of the duties of the commission in conjunction with the SecretaryGeneral are an executive officer for health, an executive officer for economic development, and an executive officer for social welfare. They are responsible for the general supervision of the activities within their branches, under the overall administration of the Secretary-General.
The other advisory body which is also concerned with the activities of the commission, and which, under the agreement, meets at intervals of not more than three years, is the South Pacific Conference. This conference met in Rabaul early last year. It was attended! by delegates from the whole area who discussed their problems and formulated a number of resolutions. Those delegates were drawn from the indigenous inhabitants of the area. In other words, they were people who had been brought up to study their own problems and bring them to the level at which they could be introduced into the research and study programme of the commission.
This conference meets at three-yearly intervals. It does very valuable work and submits various recommendations to the commission for reference later to the research council and, if the recommendations are thought by the commission to be suitable for implementation, they are implemented within the bounds of the commission’s financial capacity. The commission’s activities embrace a wide range of instruction, for instance, in health, sanitation and hygiene, and investigation into nutritional problems and local diseases, particularly mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria.
In the economic sphere investigationis carried out into the problems associated with the introduction of suitablefodder plants and plants for catch crops, and also into pests and diseases’ of plants and animals. In this connexion I had the opportunity quite recently to go to Keravat which is near Rabaul - some honorable members may have been there - where research work is being carried out. One of the problems that concerns the whole of this area vitally, and which affects the economy of the district because it touches on production, is the infestations which have occurred, largely in the post-war period, of the rhinoceros beetle which is a killer of the coco-nut palm. The coco-nut palm is the basis of a large part of the economy of the South Pacific area. I was fortunate enough to be there when an insect from Nigeria and Africa, which has the capacity to attack the grub of the rhinoceros beetle, was made available for further investigation. I can only hope that this research work, which is the direct result of the suggestions which have been made by the South Pacific Commission, will be of general benefit to the whole area and to the coco-nut-producing area in particular.
Then there is the problem of communications. I think that the commission is doing a lot of very valuable work in encouraging the native people. It has started schools to instruct native carpenters in boat-building. As honorable members will realize, in such a vast area the boat is the main form of transport and the means by which the people’s supplies of fish are obtained. The school that has been started recently in the Solomon Islands, with the encouragement of the United Kingdom Government, has already been given a guarantee that the boats which are built will be taken over by the United Kingdom Administrator in the Solomon Islands. I believe that everything is on a very practical basis.
In the sphere of social development, there has been a co-ordination of the latest developments in education, and information is disseminated through the various departments of education in this vast area. Social activities also have been encouraged. I believe that these activities touch the basis of democracy. We sometimes tend to think that people can be presented with a form of democracy and that they can take it away, but until you get them into some social atmosphere through their own clubs or municipal councils, the working of democracy, as we understand it, is a complete mystery to them. Happily, we have had experience of democracy extending over hundreds of years, but for the people in the South Pacific it is something new. The education of these people in the workings of democracy is one of the most valuable exercises that the South Pacific Commission is encouraging.
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, before progress is reported, I should like to make a very brief personal explanation. Last night I delivered a speech during the debate on the Estimates. People who heard that speech and people who read the account of it in” Hansard “ have misinterpreted a certain section of it and have gained the impression that I was implying that the Brisbane “ Courier Mail “ representative in the press gallery was the journalist to whom I was referring in that part of my speech relating to the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms. That is not so. The journalist to whom I was referring is the feature writer. Mr. Cox, whose articles are published in the Brisbane “ Sunday Mail “.
In another part of the speech when I was referring to the photographers and journalists who were sent to the airport to photograph members of Parliament arriving in Commonwealth cars, the newspaper to which I was referring was not the Brisbane “ Courier Mail “ but the Brisbane “ Telegraph “.
Power Stoppage in Melbourne -
Motion (by Mr. Adermann) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I wish to refer briefly to a matter which was raised by the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) on Thursday, 1st September, during the Budget debate, and which was reported in the Melbourne “Sun” of Friday, 2nd September, under the headline, “ City Blackout Due to Reds at Yallourn “.
– That is quite true.
– If the honorable gentleman will listen to me he will see how untrue this is. If he wants to preserve his reputation for veracity, I suggest that he listen. The honorable member was not concerned to do any harm to the reds by his statement. He was concerned to do harm to the Labour Party and to the trade unions. If honorable members refer to the introduction to his remarks they will see that my statement is borne out. The honorable member is reported in “ Hansard “ in this way -
The reds’ victory on unity tickets at Yallourn is hardly over before there is a dislocation of industry by blackouts in Melbourne this week.
He did not say that the blackouts in Melbourne were caused by anything that the reds did at Yallourn. He made the kind of vague statement for which he is well known and which is a little difficult sometimes to disprove or to prove. This is a case of the occurrence of things in time. He said -
The reds’ victory on unity tickets at Yallourn is hardly over before there is a dislocation of industry by blackouts in Melbourne this week.
He did not say that there was a cause and effect relationship. This was one of those vague insinuations of the kind for which members on the Government side are noted. Indeed, they are continuously at work with these vague insinuations. The position is that the black-out in Melbourne last Tuesday, to which the honorable member referred, had nothing whatever to do with Yallourn. As the news item indicates, it was caused by a stoppage of work at the Melbourne City Council’s power house in Spencer-street. It was caused by a stoppage of work 130 miles away from Yallourn - a stoppage of work by members of the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen’s Association. They were concerned in a dispute at the power station in Spencerstreet in connexion with shift rosters, and the dispute did not concern Yallourn in any way. Not one employee at Yallourn was concerned even in the remotest way with the dispute. I repeat that it was a dispute confined to the Melbourne City Council’s power station in Spencer-street. The stoppage referred to took place after three weeks of negotiations - negotiations are still going on - and the men returned to work very soon.
I ask the honorable member for Chisholm: In what way was this related to Yallourn? Can he explain that? Can he show that there was a mysterious connexion, along 130 miles of power line, between events at Yallourn and events at the power station in Spencer-street?
What is the situation at Yallourn? We heard a great deal about it just before the by-election at Bendigo. No doubt the matter was raised then purely for political purposes. No unity ticket was involved in the election at Yallourn recently. Of the nineteen members elected, only one was a Communist. He was a man named Gardiner. I challenge the honorable member for Chisholm, who is so ready with his allegations, to produce proof that more than one Communist was elected. I point out also that there are 102 delegates to the Trades Hall Council at Yallourn. Of those 102 delegates, only five are Communists. Of the thirteen members of the executive, which controls the affairs of the organization between council meetings, ten are members of the Australian Labour Party, two are members of the Democratic Labour Party, and one is a Communist. We know what miraculous powers honorable members on the Government side continually attribute to Communists. They certainly must have miraculous powers if one Communist can control affairs at Yallourn. Between meetings of the executive, meetings of the council are held at Yallourn, and invariably the Democratic Labour Party has a substantial majority at those meetings. Invariably, the work of the executive is frustrated and made ineffective by that Democratic Labour Party majority. This is the organization which is controlled by Communists, according to the accusation by the honorable member!
If the facts are examined, several points emerge clearly. The first is that the dispute to which the honorable member referred was a dispute confined to the Melbourne City Council’s power station at Spencer-street. It was a dispute in which members of the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen’s Association were concerned. I spoke to the secretary of the association on Friday and he told me that the statements made by the honorable member for Chisholm were entirely wrong, that the dispute was confined to the power station in Spencer-street and that it had nothing whatever to do with Yallourn. He told me that no one at Yallourn was concerned in the dispute and that no one there took any part in it.
The second fact that emerges is that Yallourn is not a centre which is controlled in any way by Communists. There are only five Communists among the 102 delegates to the council, and only one Communist among the nineteen members of the executive and the disputes committee. Only one of the thirteen members of the executive is a Communist. At the meetings of the council, there is invariably a D.L.P. majority and the executive is continuously frustrated by this majority in attempting to carry out its work.
The third point that emerges is that the honorable member for Chisholm, anxious to make political capital at the expense of the Labour Party and the trade unions, is prepared to make loose statements, not caring whether they are true or false, or is prepared to make statements which he knows to be untrue. I do not know what the position is. I should like him to explain his attitude. What inquiries did he make before making the allegation? From whom did he make the inquiries? Why did he make the allegation? Why did he make it in such a vague manner? He did not suggest that the reds were directly responsible for the dispute; he made the vague statement -
The reds’ victory on unity tickets at Yallourn is hardly over before there is a dislocation of industry by black-outs in Melbourne this week.
There was no definite, manly statement, no clear allegation. There was only an insinuation upon which was built a headline which would harm the Labour Party and the trade unions in the minds of people who believe that the honorable member for Chisholm is a man of veracity and care. He certainly did not take any care when making the statement of which I complain. 1 should like him to tell us the background to it. I should also like him to tell us what inquiries he made and where he got his information. Did he check it with anybody? Had he checked it with the secretary of the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen’s Association he would have had the reply that his information was entirely wrong.
– I am delighted to know that remarks of mine, even though torn from their context, have caused perturbation on the part of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). Knowing his very leftist tendencies, I am delighted that he is disturbed because I have said something which might wake the public up to what is happening in this country.
During the course of that speech, I reminded the members of the Labour Party of what had taken place eighteen months or two years ago, when the World Federation of Trade Unions, representative of red trade unions - the Australian Council of Trade Unions is not affiliated with this body although it often walks arm in arm with it - had a meeting in Budapest, Prague or the capital of one of the satellite countries in Europe and decided to start infiltrating non-Communist unions. It was decided to discard altogether the general strike, which it said was out of date, and to go in for the rolling strike - for a disruption of services such as we have seen on the waterfront and in the shipping industry lately - and by this method to cause dislocation of the economies of the countries of the free world. We have only to compare what has happened over the last twelve months with what happened in, say, the previous two years to see the effect of putting this campaign into operation in Australia.
I know that some members on the Opposition side do not understand how the subtle poison of Communist direction and propaganda works. The Communists did not need a majority on the council. I did not say they had a majority. The honorable member for Yarra forgets that I was at one time Minister for Electrical Undertakings and Railways in the State of Victoria. To say that the Melbourne City Council’s power-house has nothing whatever to do with Yallourn is just plain bunkum. It is nonsense. This dispute was not started at the Trades Hall. The men did not go to the Trades Hall. They just walked out for 24 hours in order to cause dislocation and disruption of industry, and they did cause it. The dispute may not have been directly caused or led by Communists, but it is strange that it occurred just after there had been a unity ticket at an election and the Communist on the unity ticket had been returned as a delegate to the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council.
That is the start of it. Then they get another and possibly still another, and then they start to use their influence in the Trades and Labour Council in order to go on with strikes or stoppages of this kind affecting power supplies. That European conference said that they were going to do it in the case of power, in transport and in the heavy industries. That is the way the three sections said they were going to start this campaign, not only in Australia but in other places also, in order to disrupt our economy.
It has been happening ever since. You see it in the Victorian railways and in the tactics of the Seamen’s Union and the Waterside Workers Federation. I do not know whether 1 will ever claim my honorary membership of the Waterside Workers Federation, but I was the dear old sergeant with the Greasy Point push in Williamstown in the First World War. They gave me honorary membership but I do not think, if I claimed it now. they would say it was still in operation. But those things are happening now. It goes on, and nobody can convince me that it is not part of general world Communist strategy. If the honorable member for Yarra wants to try to cover up on behalf of the Communists, or claim that this has nothing to do with the matter, that is his business; but what I said was true - it is part of the general scheme. If this is merely a coincidence and has nothing to do with the matter, it is a very strange coincidence.
.- I do not want to follow the statements that have been made by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) and the alleged rebuttal by the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes). Obviously, the honorable member for Chisholm is in a very bad way and is using propaganda and like asseverations instead of answering the charge from this side of the House. The honorable member for Chisholm made a most reckless statement about a situation which did not exist. When that fact was brought before him in this House, he did not have the courage to apologize or admit it but labelled himself as a red-baiter and a man who has lost a lot of prestige in this House for that very reason. He is becoming obsessed with the idea that there is a Communist on every corner and that there will be a general breakdown of communications and electricity supplies. You can trace his reading and his attitudes from these things and I think, in fairness to the honorable member for Yarra, it can be said that the honorable member for Chisholm has not given an adequate reply. He has not made a case and the statements he made, which were published, were not true. He has not been able to refute the challenge of the honorable member for Yarra.
But I rose on a much more pleasant task, to spend a few moment with the Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson) in relation to the job I believe we are jointly undertaking of getting dead cowboys out of our television sets before morning. I refer to the consistent television programmes which are mostly cowboys and westerns. I note with great pleasure that a progressive television organization in Sydney - Channel 7 - has an organization which is attempting to produce dramas and variety shows and features in Australia which will vary our television fare. Everybody knows that at present you get repeats on television. I do not know of any other organization that can calmly give you something on Saturday that you have had the previous Thursday, but it happens on television. The repeats are numerous and then it is said that the television medium is such a voracious thing that the stations have run short of programmes.
We on the Opposition side have begged for an Australian content in the programmes, and had we been listened to earlier, you would not have had this dilemma to-day. Were it not for the actions of honorable members on this side of the House, you would have had all-American programmes. You would have been waiting on the goodwill and good humour of Americans to enable you to have a sufficient supply of entertainment. It seems a very good thing if another organization of British and United States origin is going to do something here that we need to have done.
What we need to-day is enough money lo have the proper mounting and stage decor to have our own productions. The Postmaster-General referred to this in relation to the problems that country licensees will be facing. To make productions for television, you need a great deal of money and we have not the vast population to absorb the cost of producing them that America has. Television is essentially part of mass communications, and we cannot have just American productions and American stuff alone or only a trickle of English stuff that comes here; so the next answer to the problem is what Channel 7 is doing, and I congratulate it on its enterprise. I have a lot of goodwill for the Minister for trying to roll the ball along. He is not doing that as quickly as we would have liked, but he has a definite Australianism in view. Although the Minister will not agree to a quota - and we believe it is the only sensible thing to aim at - we will eventually between us get a strong Australian content in television and not only that, it will be high-class entertainment. I know the scoffs that have come from the dilettantes on the Government side who say, “Well, of course, if it is not highclass entertainment, I am not going to look at it “. Nobody is going to catch me on the catchcry of Australian production, “ If it is no good, I don’t want it “. It is a pretty weak-kneed attitude because we are at the end of the line so far as mass propaganda is concerned, as well as syndication and all those evils, and we have to fight like the very devil itself to get our representative stuff on films, the theatre, radio or television. Naturally, that has been the work of an Australian party like the great Australian Labour Party and we see it coming.
What Channel 7 has done in Sydney is wise and sensible. The Government should assist it either financially or through other companies when the new licences are issued and television has the extra problem of distribution of the right type of drama and entertainment for broadcasting at night. We cannot go on having this preponderance of westerns which are good of themselves. There is an over-plus of them. Every second play at night is a western, but you must have variety.
It seems that it is a useful thing to bring out producers, script-writers, mechanics and others to train our people even at this late stage. If you do that, at once you do what we have been agitating for - you pick up the slack in employment. This thing provides for no importation of artists. If you are going to do a popular show - perhaps an overseas special - you make it in Australia as you do a motor car - under licence. You use Australian talent. Very soon Australian actors in first-class productions of world class have the confidence, the understanding and the bearing to go to bigger and better things and eventually they have an international market for themselves.
The next thing - and the most important of all - is to develop the Australian writer. I want the Postmaster-General to look at this matter most carefully because we are well on the way when we can have an organization which will say, “ All right, the scripts, the production and the costs which are lavish will be shared by us individually and we will use Australians to get the tempo and the feel of first-class shows lavishly mounted to world standards “. The next thing is to get our writers to produce those very things which are the essence of good television. Then we will have, on a comparative basis and on the standard of art without any apologies for being an Australian, a South Australian, or a Western
Australian, the very stuff in the shape of good entertainment that our people are seeking. If you do not do that, all the money that we have expended, all the opportunities we have made and all the words that have been spoken in this House about television will be proved to be simply so much hot air because we will not have produced anything of artistic value or continuity. If we do not give to our television, our drama, our radio and our writing a touch of Australia, we have lost the race.
Several honorable members have referred to their letter-boxes being filled with a flood of overseas propaganda. That is very true, but you do not see Australian propaganda in the written word or in television or elsewhere. So I ask the Minister to continue this fight for the development of Australian programmes, particularly when the ATN link is likely to give us a chance for firstrate standards. I know the Minister has tried very hard to get the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to supervise these things and I think there is a great future for them providing we act with courage and faith in Australian script-writers and producers generally. Although I detest attempts at censorship of any kind I am compelled to direct the Minister’s attention to the types of programmes that some youngsters are watching on television to-day. Some programmes are far from good for young people to watch and are most embarrassing for their parents. Some beach scenes and scenes depicting scantily clad women are by no means home entertainment. I do not want to be puritanical or foolish in any way, but I think that television programmes must be censored for the sake of the young people watching them. The Minister would be well advised to view some of these programmes that creep in occasionally because the reward of eternal vigilance is freedom from this cheap smut.
When licences are allocated for country television stations we will have a further opportunity to discuss this matter. I hope that those country stations that receive licences will be able to obtain the best programmes that the world has to offer. However, I would like to see them televising a quota of first-class Australian productions.
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I think it is appropriate for a fellow Victorian from south of the Murray River to join issue with the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), who has just returned to the chamber after having temporarily fled the battlefield. I am always greatly disappointed when the honorable member, who has had what you might call titular distinctions showered upon him in the course of a long and what appears on the surface to be a useful life, descends at this period of his political career to the kind of things to which we have become accustomed. This is, of course, one of the unfortunate afflictions with which the Liberal Party is at present beset. We know that he and those of his colleagues who are in this place because of the activities of a subversive organization - the Australian Democratic Labour Party - have to surrender to the influence of McCarthyism which has been created. Although, fortunately, a few honorable members opposite have acknowledged this danger, one of Australia’s most distinguished sons, on paper, indulges in this practice here. Since I have been in this place I have been continually disappointed at this state of affairs.
The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) has referred to the actual numerical position in Yallourn. The strength of the local federal member perhaps is shown when he allows one Communist on a trades hall council there to control the entire power supply of Victoria. That is the weakness of the argument of the honorable member for Chisholm.
I suggest that the honorable member, who has some sense of discipline and unity, and everything else that comes from his background, would appreciate the Waterside Workers Federation. That is one body in the community that has some spirit and sense of unity and purpose to which other honorable members opposite might well direct their attention, and study. I know Labour men who are in the Waterside Workers Federation in Victoria. They tackle with the greatest vigour some of the most ruthless opponents in our community - the Communist Party, the Democratic
Labour Party and the shipowners. They take them on without assistance and with the greatest possible discouragement from some honorable members opposite. It would be a good thing if honorable members opposite were to study the trade union movement.
The honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden), who is interjecting, disagrees with what I am saying. I know that the trade union movement supplies part of his bread and butter because it chooses to battle for most of those things and h; is able to join battle with it on a most profitable level. The trade union movement is part and parcel of our national structure, and honorable members opposite, who should be appreciative of the sense of discipline in the trade union movement, continually attempt to besmirch it and reduce it to nothing. In the long run all they are doing is using their political attitudes and superficialities to prejudice the very thing that they claim to treasure.
I thought that it might not be a bad idea to deal with the odd political philosophies of some honorable members opposite. Take the honorable member for Ballaarat (Mr. Erwin). He comes into this House representative of the very spirit of revolutionary ardour in this community. The spirit of Eureka perhaps lies in the bosom of Ballarat. He represents the foundation stone, so to speak, of the revolutionary ardour in the struggle against authoritarianism in the community. A monument stands in Ballarat which he would do well to visit every week-end.
We in this House admit that the honorable member has a very pleasing personality. He cannot help that - he inherited it. He has chosen three causes to espouse on the political battlefield. First, there is his great friend and comrade, Syngman Rhee. He is a man who has been disgraced before the eyes of the world as one of the creators of the best modern example of a police state. He is the friend of the honorable member for Ballaarat. The honorable member has chosen Syngman Rhee as one of his principal exemplars of the political spirit of modern times. He has spent much of his political career extolling the virtues of Syngman Rhee. His next great essay in the political sphere was his support of General Motors-Holden’s
Limited. That organization may well be a great commercial enterprise and the honorable member has chosen this House as the place in which to sponsor the greater glories of General Motors-Holden’s Limited - the very symbol of monopoly capitalism which the honorable member espouses. Then the honorable member rushed in where angels fear to tread. Only last week he chose to support, against the silence of the cavalcades and phalanxes on the opposite side, the decision to refuse to grant a permit for Professor Gluckman to visit New Guinea. All this adds up to a rather odd triumvirate of political points of view - Syngman Rhee, General Motors-Holden’s Limited and the exclusion from New Guinea of Professor Gluckman. Apparently the honorable member is one of the voices in this place of the security service and the very spirit of it.
I do not have much time left in which to analyse these political philosophies and backgrounds properly so that honorable members opposite may appreciate them. There are some honorable members opposite, who, unfortunately, have chosen to follow the example of the honorable member for Chisholm and become associated with those things. Let us consider the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Aston). In the past he has always associated himself with these things. I do not know why he is strangely silent about the position in Yallourn. He knows nothing about it, but that consideration has never troubled him before. The honorable member for McMillan (Mr. Buchanan) has chosen to indulge in these things, and others have also. I will deal with them later. I hope that they are starting to become conscious of the feeling in this community against telephone tapping, the security service, the banning of visits to overseas Territories, monopoly capitalism and all the insidious characteristics in the international field. All those things will react to their political disadvantage in the future. We socialists on this side of the House are very tolerant people and we will create employment for honorable members opposite after December next year so that they will not suffer when their presence is removed from this House.
.- Far be it from me to want to delay the House at this hour, but in view of some comments that have been passed to-night I think somebody should defend honorable members in this parliamentary institution. I take very strong exception to the remarks passed by the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant), who, having said that the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) had a distinguished record, hesitated and then added in a most sarcastic manner “ on paper “. I am not concerned with any argument or discussion in which honorable members on either side may be engaged, but-
– I would not say it about you-
– The honorable member may howl as much as he likes. I will still be here to do battle with him. Whether we be men or women representing the people of Australia, at least we should have a certain respect for each other. There are 124 of us in this chamber. We are the elected of 10,000,000 people of this country, and it is a great honour to be one of those 124 and to represent the people. When we find honorable members coming into this chamber and casting aspertions, as the previous speaker did, on another member, I think it is up to somebody to take exception. I am one who will demand my right to speak in defence of that honorable member for the time allotted to me.
The honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) as a very young man enlisted in the first Australian Imperial Force. He is hanging his head at the moment and probably saying, “ Don’t talk about this, Len, you are making me feel embarrassed “. But we must protect our fellow members. As I say, he enlisted in the first A.I.F., and while serving overseas he gained the distinction of becoming one of Australia’s Rhodes scholars. He continued to serve and later continued his education in England, and he came back here as a very young man to give us the benefit of his inherent ability and the added knowledge that he had gained from his education and training overseas. He then joined-
– The wharf labourers!
– One thing is obvious about the honorable member for KingsfordSmith; his hands do not show the effect of even one day’s hard work, let alone one week of the 35 hours that his party is advocating at the present time. He reminds me more of the long-haired violinists that I have seen in various places. The honorable member for Chisholm came back and engaged in business on his own account. He then entered State politics and served the people right royally in the State parliament. When the Second World War broke out he offered his services and rose to a very high rank, and for a number of years was incarcerated in a Japan:sc prisoner-of-war camp. He returned to Australia still undaunted and carried on his former job of work in Victoria, eventually becoming a Minister of the Crown. When the banking schemozzle occurred in the Commonwealth sphere, the Labour Government trying to take away the savings of the people by nationalizing the banks, he resigned from his position in the Victorian government and came to this place, later becoming a Cabinet Minister, in which position he served the people exceptionally well. To-day, as a back-bencher and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, he is still rendering excellent service. When the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant), and the others who are howling at present, try to destroy the reputation of a man who has always endeavoured to do the best he can for the people, I think some one should take exception, and I have the greatest pleasure in doing so.
.- I do not propose to buy into this argument centering on an exchange ot views on personalities, because I am of opinion thai the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) has been completely destroyed by his defending advocate. 1 want to raise another matter of great interest to me and about which I have been trying to get some satisfaction from the PostmasterGeneral. It refers to the peculiar circumstances surrounding the granting of a radio broadcasting licence at Darwin. I wrote to the Minister about this matter, and I will read the letter I wrote because his reply to me is rather a strange one. As a matter of fact I have my doubts as to whether he should not obtain some form of treatment.
– Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it, and I will read the letter. I wrote on 29th July, 1960, in these terms -
My dear Minister,
Many thanks for arranging, in accordance with the terms of your telegram of the 30th June last, for me to be furnished by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board with a transcript of the evidence given in support of applications for the issue of a Commercial Radio Broadcasters licence for Darwin, N.T.
On perusing the evidence, I discovered that the Memorandum of Association in respect to the successful applicant, Darwin Broadcasters Pty. Ltd., was signed on behalf of Eric White Associates (Holdings) Pty. Ltd., and Stuart Brewery, the original application having been lodged by Northern Territory News Service Ltd., on behalf of a company to be formed.
I noted that Eric White Associates Pty. Ltd. were stated to have a controlling interest in Northern Territory News Service which they had formed in 1950.
I presume that this evidence was to establish a connection with local activities and an interest in the area to be covered by the broadcasting service which, I understand, is one of the factors taken into account by the board in reaching its determination.
Now I have been informed that Eric White Associates Pty. Ltd. had already disposed of their interest in the Northern Territory News Service Ltd. some considerable time prior to the Control Board’s inquiry to Swan Brewery, of which Stuart Brewery is a completely owned subsidiary.
If the information passed to me is factual, it is obvious that the board was misinformed as to the actual situation existing at the time.
I should be pleased, therefore, if you would have urgent inquiries made into this aspect of the matter, and let me have advice as soon as you are in a position to do so.
Let me now read the Minister’s reply -
I refer to your letter of 29th July, 1960, in connection with the grant of the licence for the commercial broadcasting station (8DN) at Darwin to Darwin Broadcasters Pty. Ltd.
I must say I am rather surprised that you should ask me to institute inquiries into allegations concerning the truth of which you seem to be in some doubt yourself when you preface your request by the words “ if the information passed to me is factual “.
So it appears that I have to be able to prove that these are facts before I can have an investigation, and this is how the Minister suggests I might obtain this evidence -
I do not feel disposed to cause inquiries to be made into the matter you mentioned in your letter unless some real evidence is produced, for example a statement by the Swan Brewery or the Stuart Brewery or a statutory declaration, to suggest that there are good grounds for presuming that the facts of the matter are as stated in your letter.
So I make a complaint which involves the Swan Brewery, or the Stuart Brewery, its subsidiary, and the Minister wants me to get a statutory declaration from the people who, I claim, should be investigated. It seems to me a rather strange suggestion. The Minister’s letter went on -
Perhaps I should say that it is apparent from the report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and the transcript of the proceedings at the public inquiry, that the Board went into the whole matter with great care. The application was originally made by Northern Territory News Services Ltd. on behalf of a company to be formed, from which at that time it appeared that Eric White Associates (Holdings) Pty. Ltd. held a majority of the shares in the newspaper company.
Evidently the Minister himself was in a bit of doubt on one or two of the statements in his letter. He continued -
Eventually a company was formed, namely Darwin Broadcasters Pty. Ltd., in which the shareholders were Eric White Associates(Holdings) Pty. Ltd. (51 per cent, of shares) and Stuart Brewery Ltd. (49 per cent, of shares).
I remind the House that the Minister said the board was satisfied it had gone into the matter thoroughly. I had the transcript in my possession, the Minister having arranged to make it available to me. The hearing of the application was held in two places, in Darwin and in Melbourne. At the Darwin hearing John Thurgate Taylor, a company director, and James Frederick Bowditch, managing editor of the “ Northern Territory News “, gave evidence on behalf of the successful applicants, but on page 103 of the transcript the chairman of the board which heard the application, Mr. R. G. Osborne, had this to say at the conclusion of the Darwin hearing -
Mr. Lyons, the board wishes me to say that, if you wish, we will be happy to afford you an opportunity to submit further evidence, because we are far from satisfied with the evidence on some of the questions, that we have the necessary information. They are some relevant matters which have not been put to us.
The transcript continues -
Mr. Lyons ; I am fully aware of that, Sir.
Chairman: - Both Mr. Taylor and Mr. Bowditch were unable to answer some questions. You had witnesses who knew nothing about what we obviously desired information on.
The board then adjourned to Melbourne. At Melbourne Mr. Lyons did not appear. Northern Territory News Services then secured the services of a new advocate, Mr. R. L. Taylor, Q.C., advised by Mr. H. H. Mason. By the time the hearing commenced in Melbourne ?35,000 had been paid into a bank to meet the financial contribution to be made by one of the parties to the successful application. The board wanted to know who supplied the £35,000. Mr. Eric White did not give evidence either at the Darwin hearing or at the hearing in Melbourne. Mr. Lyons said -
The interest for whom I am acting is composed principally of local people.
He wanted to establish the local connexion. In fact, when the application was being heard by the board the interest of Eric White Associates Proprietary Limited in Northern Territory News Services had been sold to the Swan Brewery, of which the Stuart Brewery was a completely owned subsidiary. I understand that Eric White Associates Proprietary Limited had disposed of their interests about twelve months previously. So, when somebody was giving evidence on behalf of that company, it had no Northern Territory interests at all. Of course, the applicant wanted to avoid any further examination of that aspect of the case.
At the Melbourne hearing Mr. Taylor, Q-C, said on behalf of the successful applicant -
May I say that it was felt, following the adjournment of the hearing in Darwin, that perhaps the applicant had been to some extent wanting in not having available for the Board all the information necessary as to the financial standing of the company to carry out the undertaking …. It was felt that although Mr. White of Eric White Associates had given the company’s undertaking as to its share of the capital, the Board were not. for good reason, altogether satisfied with the matter. For that reason, and to comply with Mr. White’s undertaking, we have taken steps to restore order to our house that may have been described when we left Darwin as being somewhat dishevelled.
The chairman said -
The Board is concerned to establish the identity of the applicants and their financial position. We feel at this stage at any rate some uncertainty as to the identity of the major shareholder in Darwin Broadcasters Proprietary Limited. We think we should give the applicant, Northern Territory News Services Limited, an opportunity to submit evidence on this matter, which apart from what Mr. Greenwell has said, the Board itself would like to test by asking some questions. If the Northern Territory News Services Limited applicant does not wish to do this, we will of course proceed on the evidence that is already available.
The Board had to proceed without that evidence which it regarded as essential, and for some strange and unknown reason, it granted the application of Darwin Broadcasters Proprietary Limited, of which Eric White Associates Proprietary Limited and the Stuart Brewery were the principal shareholders.
– Order! The honprable member’s time has expired.
– I regret that I have to ask the House to grant me a few minutes in which to refer to the statements which have been made by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). Let me immediately assure the House that I have not the faintest intention of trying to follow the attempt of the honorable member to suggest, more by inference than by anything else, thai there was something improper about the investigation of the applications for a broadcasting licence for Darwin and the subsequent recommendation of the Broadcasting Control Board. Honorable members who have listened to the honorable member for East Sydney will have realized that in his short speech he saw fit to choose just a few irrelevant quotations from a transcript of the evidence of the investigation made by the Broadcasting Control Board to which, as the honorable member stated, he has had recourse as a result of wiring me and asking for authority to have a look at that transcript. I do not know why he wanted to have a look at it, because there was nothing important about the whole matter. I can only conjecture about what caused him to think there might be something improper.
The honorable member quoted my reference to a statement which he made in his letter to me after he had looked at that transcript. He then wrote to me and said, “ If my information is factual . . . “. I thought it rather strange that he should use those words after he had had the opportunity to look right through the transcript. I make that point; honorable members may consider its implication.
I shall give a very brief summary of what transpired in connexion with this matter. Originally four applications were received for a broadcasting licence at Darwin, but by the time the board was ready to hear the applications two of them had been withdrawn. Of the remaining two, one was an application by a representative of Melbourne interests on behalf of a company to be formed, and the other was an application submitted by Northern Territory News Services Limited on behalf of a company to be formed. By the time the board commenced its inquiry in Darwin one company had been formed. It had been incorporated as Darwin Broadcasters Proprietary Limited with a paid-up capital of £35,000. The shareholders were Eric White Associates (Holdings) Proprietary Limited, with 51 per cent, of the shareholding, and Stuart Brewery Limited, with 49 per cent, of the shareholding. At that time Eric White Associates Proprietary Limited had a controlling interest in Northern Territory News Services Limited.
– They did not. You have no evidence of that; you said so in your own letter to me.
– You have made your speech, and I will now make mine. Both those applicants stated that if their applications were granted they would be prepared to offer to the public up to 49 per cent, of the shareholding in the companies. In fact, the company has since put its shares on the local market.
After thoroughly investigating this matter, the board was convinced that there was greater local interest in the application by Darwin Broadcasters Proprietary Limited than there was in the application by the group of Melbourne business men. Therefore, the board recommended that the application by Darwin Broadcasters Proprietary Limited should be granted. The recommendation was thoroughly considered by Cabinet and agreed to by it on 3rd February, subject to my being satisfied with the articles of association of the company and its constitution. On 21st June, the Broadcasting Control Board, having been instructed by me to see that those requirements were satisfied, reported that the articles of association were satisfactory and also advised at that time that Eric White himself had applied for permission for the shares which were originally in the name of Eric White Associates Proprietary Limited to be transferred to himself. As this constituted no major change in the control of the company, permission was granted. That was done before the licence was issued. We knew that was to be done before we issued the licence. Therefore, I say that any attempt to suggest or imply that there has been somethingimproper about this matter will not bear investigation by any competent authority.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.48 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
m asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
m asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
From the forty-fourth meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council in February, 1957, to the fifty-third meeting in July, 1960, the council has recommended legislation on the following subjects: -
Wheat industry research - Commonwealth legislation
Wool industry research - Commonwealth legislation.
Beef industry research - Commonwealth legislation.
Meat promotion in Australia - Commonwealth legislation.
Dairy research and sales promotion - Commonwealth legislation.
Wheat industry stabilization 1958/59- 1962/63, both inclusive - Commonwealth and State legislation.
Australian Wheat Board, Queensland grower representation - Commonwealth legislation.
Undistributed fractional balances from early wheat pools - Commonwealth legislation.
Margarine quotas - States legislation.
Margarine labelling - States legislation.
Filled milk - prohibition of the manufacture and sale within Australia - States legislation.
Foot and mouth disease eradication fund - Territories and States legislation.
Contagious bovine pleuro-pneumonia - control and eradication - Territories and States legislation.
Prohibition on the importation of ruminant animals - Commonwealth legislation.
Control of artificial insemination of animals - Territories and States legislation.
d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
d asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
am asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
Which countries at present fall within the term “ the free world “ as used in the Mutual Weapons Development Programme Agreement between Australia and the United States signed on 23rd August, 1960?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The free world includes all nations other than those which are parties to international Communism and those which are under their domina tion. Any proposal to supply to other countries of the “ free world “ any items developed under and agreed project, or any proprietary rights or information or assistance under Articles IV. and VIII. of the agreement requires the agreement of both the United States and the Australian Governments.
On 24th August, the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) asked me, amongst other things relating to the Mutual Weapons Development Programme Agreement, whether the agreement will impose any restrictions on the use by Australia of projects and weapons developed with United States assistance. I now give the honorable member the following information: -
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will by now have had the opportunity to examine the text of the Mutual Weapons Development Programme Agreement which was tabled in the House on 24th August. The agreement provides the framework for the development of specific projects on which agreement is reached between the Governments of the United States and Australia. The development of any individual project will necessarily invove mutual agreement between our two Governments on their respective financial and technical contributions. Funds made available by the United States will, of course, be used only for the development of the agreed projects to which they are allotted, but there will be no restrictions on their use for such projects. Under Article VIII. (f), Australia undertakes to ensure effective utilization of the assistance furnished under the agreement. We do not regard this undertaking as a restriction in any sense, but rather as a declaration of purpose. As to the use of weapons or processes developed by Australia under agreed projects, there are no restrictions on the use of the developed item by the Australian Government. There is a restriction in Article VIII. (g) on the transfer to third parties of any United States equipment and materials, information or services furnished to Australia under the agreement: the consent of the United States Government is required before such transfer can be made. This is an entirely natural and reasonable requirement which is fully consistent with the spirit of co-operation and mutual agreement underlying the programme as a whole.
s asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
What has been “ mutually agreed “, as provided under Article VIII. i. of the Mutual Weapons Development Programme Agreement between Australia and the United States, in respect of furnishing equipment and materials, services or other assistance to the United States or to and among other nations to further the defence capabilities of the free world?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: - -
Nothing has yet been “ mutually agreed “ under this section because there has so far been no occasion for the two Governments to consider any action along these lines.
m asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
On what date and on what aspect did communications Jost pass between (a) the Commonwealth and South Australia concerning th; standardization of the railway between Port Pirie and Broken Hill and (b) the Commonwealth and Western Australia concerning the standardization of the railway between Kalgoorlie and Fremantle?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
m asked the Minister tor Labour and National Service, upon notice -
Will he table the last annual report which Australia made to the International Labour Office, pursuant to Article 22 of the Constitution of the International Labour Organization, on the measures which it has taken to give effect to the provisions of conventions to which it is a party?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The Australian Government does not submit a single annual report under Article 22, but submits separate annual reports in respect of each convention which Australia has ratified and which is in force. For the period ending 30th June, 1959, the Australian Government submitted 63 such reports. lt is not thought that the cost of reproducing all these reports would be justified. However, if the honorable member wishes to see a copy of any particular report ( shall be happy to arrange it.
m asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The honorable member has already put me in possession of his assertions in this matter. I can assure him that the general consideration of restrictive practices upon which I am presently engaged will include consideration of the matters and views to which he has called my attention and of which he has given me the advantage.
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
n. - On 25th August, the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Curtin) asked me the following question without notice: -
Will the Minister for Labour and National Service be kind enough to tell the how many persons were unemployed in the north Queensland towns of Gladstone, Rockhampton, Bowen and Townsville up to 23rd July, 1960? Will he also give me the corresponding figures up to 23rd August, 1960?
In reply I indicated to the honorable member that I would be only too happy to provide him with the figures as at the end of July and said that the figures for the end of August were not yet available. I now inform the honorable member as follows: -
The numbers of persons registered for employment with the Commonwealth Employment Service, and the numbers receiving unemployment benefit in the District Employment Office areas of Rockhampton, Townsville and Ayr at the end of July, 1960, were -
Separate statistics are not maintained by the Department for Gladstone, Rockhampton, Bowen and Townsville. The Rockhampton District Employment Office area comprises the city of Rockhampton, the town of Gladstone and the Shires of Banana, Bauhinia, Belyando, Broadsound Calliope. Duaringa, Emerald, Fitzroy, Livingstone, Monto. Mount Morgan, Peak Downs and Theodore. The Townsville District Employment Office area comprises the cities of Townsville and Charters Towers, the town of Hughenden and the Shires of Barkly Tableland, Cloncurry, Dalrymple, Flinders, McKinlay, Thuringowa and Richmond. The Ayr District Employment Office area comprises the town of Bowen and (he Shires of Ayr, Proserpine and Wangaratta.
The statistics of persons registered for employment relate to those who claimed when registering that they were not employed and who were recorded as unplaced at 29th July, 1960. The statistics include those who had been referred to employers and in respect of whom the results of the referrals had not then been ascertained and those who, since registering, might have obtained employment without notifying the Commonwealth Employment Service. Recipients of unemployment benefit are also included in the figures.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 September 1960, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1960/19600907_reps_23_hor28/>.