House of Representatives
29 August 1961

23rd Parliament · 3rd Session

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

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Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Kooyong · LP

– With regret 1 must advise the House of the death last Sunday of the Hon. James Mackintosh Fraser, a former Senator from Western Australia. Ex-Senator Fraser had a most distinguished career in this Parliament. He was elected to the Senate in 1937 and served continuously from then until his retirement in June, 1959. During this time he held several portfolios. He was at various times Minister for External Territories, Minister for Health, Minister for Social Services and Minister for Trade and Customs, and was Minister assisting the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, Minister assisting the Minister for the Army and Minister assisting the Minister for Supply and Shipping. He served this Parliament well, Sir, through the crucial years of the war, and in fact was at various times an acting member of the War Cabinet.

Ex-Senator Fraser devoted himself to the public service and to this Parliament. At various times in his career he took part in important committee work and in overseas delegations. He led, for example, the Australian delegation to the twenty-seventh session of the International Labour Organization in Paris in 1945.

It is a most unhappy thing that exSenator Fraser should die so soon after he began a much deserved retirement. Unfortunately, this is too often the case with men who have devoted the best years of their lives to the service of their country. I therefore move, Mr. Speaker -

That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of ex-Senator the Honorable James Mackintosh Fraser, a former Senator for Western Australia, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service and tenders its profound sympathy to his wife and family in their bereavement.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– I desire to associate the Opposition with the sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister on this sad occasion. Ex-Senator Fraser was a humble man. He was born in Scotland and came to Western Australia, and married there and raised a family. He entered Parliament in 1937, as the Prime Minister has said, and it was his fate to become a Minister in 1941. He served with distinction during the war and, like quite a number of his contemporaries at that period, he suffered the great tragedy of losing a son in the war. However, he distinguished himself despite his great loss and bereavement, seemingly by throwing himself even more determinedly into the war effort. In that respect he was assisted by his devoted wife, now his widow. He had two other sons who also were serving in the forces then and who, happily, returned to Australia.

Ex-Senator Fraser had no enemies. I never knew him to have any in this Parliament, on either side. He went out of politics with the goodwill of all those who knew him. I am sure that all not only wished him well, but also hoped that he would live a long time and enjoy a welldeserved retirement. However, it was not to be; he was not spared to enjoy that long retirement. He died suddenly last Sunday night. Not only are his widow, his sons and other members of his family left to mourn his loss, but also those of us who were his friends - and they were on both sides of politics. We regret the passing of a very good man who gave of his best in peace and war to help his adopted nation. The late Mr. Curtin thought very highly of ex-Senator Fraser, and T think that his judgment was right.

Minister for Trade · Murray · CP

– I should like to associate my colleagues of the Australian Country Party with the motion proposed by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and supported by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). Those of us who knew Mr. J. M. Fraser very well during the many and often critical years of his service in this Parliament came to respect him as a man. He stood firmly by his political convictions at all times, but he was able to convey to all parliamentarians the firmness of his convictions without ever, in my experience, provoking any acrimonious thought or debate. So, we did respect him. During those years we knew Mrs. Fraser very well. I think that honorable members and their wives came to like and respect Mrs. Fraser as they liked and respected her husband. I extend to her the great sympathy of members of my party and of the Parliament as a whole.


– In the absence of the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), I should like to associate all Western Australian members with this motion. We regret the passing of a friendly gentleman, and we extend our warmest sympathy to his family.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

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Treasurer · HigginsTreasurer · LP

– I give notice that at the next sitting I shall move -

That Government business shall take precedence over general business to-morrow.

I mention for the information of honorable gentlemen that the purpose of this motion is to enable the motion standing in the name of the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr. J. R. Fraser) to be debated on Thursday morning.

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– I direct my question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Did the Minister, some three months ago, receive a deputation from the Australian Textile Workers Union? Did that deputation submit facts to show that a serious crisis had developed in the Australian textile industry and that urgent government assistance was necessary if a serious industry collapse was to be avoided? Has the Minister yet replied to the deputation? Has he, or have his ministerial colleagues, taken any action to assist this important industry in which 25,000 textile workers - that is, more than half the union membership-


– Order! The honorable member is proceeding to give information now.

Mr Haylen:

– It is about time the House knew something.


– Order! I ask the honorable member for Hughes to direct his question to the Minister.


– Has the Minister taken any action in regard to this matter, since more than half the membership of the union is now suffering reduced employment?

Minister for Labour and National Service · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I did receive deputations from both the Australian Textile Workers Union and representatives of management in the textile industry. I replied in full some weeks ago to the representations made to me by the union deputation, which included the president of the union. I shall have a copy of that letter typed and shall let the honorable gentleman have it.

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– Will the Prime Minister say whether the agreements recently concluded with the Western Australian Government on railway construction projects are in conformity with the financial agreements concluded with other States, and particularly with Queensland, in recent times?


– The short answer to that is, “ Yes “. The circumstances vary from State to State. The WodongaMelbourne standardization in Victoria is purely a standardization project. The Mount Isa line reconstruction in Queensland was carefully worked out as a complete commercial proposition. It was related not to standardization, but to a very material development in that part of the State and to the extent that we were asked by the Queensland Government to find the money. We have undertaken to do so. The Western Australian project is a mixture of the two considerations. It is, to a very large extent, a great commercial development - iron ore at Koolyanobbing and iron and steel at Kwinana - and therefore in part it resembles the Mount Isa project. From Kalgoorlie down to Southern Cross is a standardization project and there are elements of standardization in the rest of the line. We therefore worked out what I might call a mixed application of the two well-established rules. In the case of both the Victorian line and this one in Western Australia, it has been specifically agreed that the money to be found ultimately by the States is not to carry a sinking fund contribution by the Commonwealth. I think that there may be some misunderstanding in the mind of the Queensland Government, which may feel that while we have said we will not make a sinking fund contribution in relation to the Mount Isa line, we may have agreed to make such a contribution in the case of one of these others. We have not. We have applied the same rule in that respect to all three. I am writing to the Premier of Queensland to-day - the letter is now in the machine - and I have no doubt that this will clarify the position.

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– Will the Minister for Territories state whether he has been advised or consulted over the announced reconstruction of Territory Rice Limited, the company which holds concessions over 1,500,000 acres of rice-growing land in the Northern Territory, and whether, if he has been consulted, he has agreed to the terms of the reconstruction? Will the Minister also state whether the company, in its original form, has complied with the conditions of its agreement with the Commonwealth Government entered into when the concessions were granted? If it has not, is any action contemplated in respect of any breach of the agreement?

Minister for Territories · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– The Government has not been consulted, because there was no necessity to consult the Government. The affairs of Territory Rice Limited are the affairs of a private company and it is managing its affairs according to its own wisdom. We have been informed of what Territory Rice Limited is doing, as a matter of courtesy. Our interest in the matter is an interest chiefly in ensuring the continuation of rice farming by those farmers who are actually engaged in rice farming and we have co-operated in making that possible.

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– 1 direct to the Minister for Repatriation a question which I preface by saying that the Repatriation Commission used to issue a booklet on repatriation benefits, which set out in convenient form the somewhat complex range of pensions and benefits available to qualified persons. This was very useful to all persons interested in the welfare of ex-servicemen and their dependants. However, the booklet formerly used is now quite out of date. Will the Minister consider publishing a more up-to-date booklet on repatriation benefits?

Minister for Repatriation · EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I am glad to say that I agree with the views of the honorable member for Richmond on the usefulness of the booklet. It would have been valueless to have the old one reprinted, because it was out of date, so I made arrangements some weeks ago for the printing of a new booklet, which has now reached the proof stage and will be published soon. It had to be held up until the recent, quite considerable extensions of benefits contained in this year’s Budget could be publicized.

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– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. Does he know whether the Commonwealth Government co-operates with the State governments, and vice versa, in the administration of justice and, if so, to what extent? Is the Minister aware that many people - especially new Australians - become involved in litigation which cannot be resolved mainly because of the high cost entailed and inability to understand Australian law? Is the Minister also aware that many people dodge their financial responsibilities simply by moving from one State to another? Will the Minister discuss with the Minister for Immigration the desirability of appointing a Commonwealth legal consultant to advise and, if necessary, represent new Australians at law when they are the victims of legal procedure? Will he give consideration to establishing uniform law in respect of various jurisdictions, which vary so widely between one State and another?


– If I may say so, there are a number of questions involved, the answers to which I do not recall at this moment. If the honorable member will put his question on the noticepaper I will be able to give him a full answer. To deal now with the last of his questions first: I have been interested in obtaining uniformity in legal matters where there are no questions of party politics or anything of that sort involved. We have contrived a standing committee of Attorneys-General who are doing a great deal of work towards getting uniformity of procedure and of substantive law in a number of fields. The matter of adoption and the maintenance of deserted wives and the enforcement of orders made in their favour are two questions that are under close consideration, and it is the intention to add further topics as we make progress. So far as people moving from one State to another in order to avoid debts is concerned, the Commonwealth has an act - the Service and Execution of Process Act - which enables process issued out of one State to be served in another State. This procedure is very beneficial and does help people who want to collect debts from folk who have flitted the border, as the honorable member says. On the question of legal aid, some time ago the Leader of the Opposition asked me a question on this point, by writing to me, and I inquired of each of the States whether they had legal aid systems. 1 found that each State has a legal aid system, some administered by Bars or solicitors’ bodies on a voluntary basis, and some under statute. I rather thought at the time that those provisions were adequate but if, as the honorable member suggests, there are some special disabilities in the case of migrants I will be only too pleased to talk to my colleague the Minister for Immigration, not to counsel him in any way, but to see whether he has any suggestions to make which might usefully be followed. If I have not covered all the honorable member’s questions, I shall do so when he puts them on the notice-paper.

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– My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Will he give consideration to allowing a parent to claim a taxation deduction in respect of medical expenses incurred by a son or a daughter who is either mentally retarded or is an epileptic, irrespective of age, when he or she lives with and is wholly maintained by the parent?


– The Commonwealth Committee on Taxation, whose report I recently tabled in the Parliament, made some reference to, and recommendations in, this matter. My recollection is that although the recommendations did not propose an increase in the limit allowable by way of deductions, they did propose that the concession be extended to a person’s offspring who had become adult. As I have previously said, the Government will be considering the committee’s recommendations, and consideration will then be given to the representations which the honorable gentleman has made.

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– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question. Has he been able, since Thursday of last week, to ascertain from a perusal of the judgments of members of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission any evidence to support his view that the present basic wage is, in the opinion of the members of the commission, sufficient to maintain more than a man, wife and three children? If the Minister has been unable to find anything in the judgments to justify what he said here in answer to several questions on this matter last week, will he now apologize to the members of the commission for misrepresenting their views and to the House for trying to mislead it?


– I regret that the honorable gentleman has become provocative and used the phrase “ to the House for trying to mislead it”. The last thing thai I would wish to do is to mislead the House.

Mr Calwell:

– The Minister could not mislead it, anyhow.


– If I may continue, 1 should like to point out that I did give an explanation in answer to remarks made in the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the House by an honorable gentleman who is not present now. If the Leader of the Opposition wishes to find out exactly what I said, he can turn up “ Hansard “ and he will there find the answer to his question.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. I preface it by reminding the Minister that he recently announced that a sum of £2,500 had been approved to meet the expense incurred in bringing to Australia an overseas scientist with specialized knowledge of the techniques adopted in the artificial insemination of sheep. Will the Minister consider the possibility of inviting representatives of wool-growers’ organizations to be present at discussions on this subject with the scientist?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I shall be very happy to meet the honorable member’s wishes by trying to arrange that representatives of the various wool-growers’ organizations meet the scientist when he comes to Australia.

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– I address my question to the Prime Minister. This morning, there was a queue of well over 100 unemployed persons outside the office of the Commonwealth Employment Service at Coburg in Victoria. In the last few days, continuing and increasing profits of Australian industrial giants have been announced. Why does the right honorable gentleman in choosing corns to tread upon in his efforts to establish in Australia what he euphemistically describes as enough stability, choose the corns of those in the community who are most defenceless?


– This seems to be an argument rather than a question. We are all perfectly at liberty to conduct arguments during the Budget debate.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I ask: Has the Minister received from the States certified statements of expenditure for the financial year 1960-61 as required under section 8 of the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act 1959? If so, do the statements reveal that 40 per cent, of the funds allocated to the States is being spent on the construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of rural roads or in making payments to municipal and other local government authorities for the same purposes? Are all the States taking full advantage of the additional £1 for £1 allocation provided for in the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act?

Minister for Shipping and Transport · CORIO, VICTORIA · LP

– The honorable member has asked quite a number of ques tions. The audited returns which have been received indicate that the proportion of the allocations expended on rural roads is 40 per cent., and, in some instances, an even higher percentage. Will the honorable member repeat the last part of his question?

Mr Turnbull:

– It was about the additional £1 for £1 grants.


– That is so. Allocations are being made subject to the grants.

Mr Turnbull:

– Fully?


– Fully. Forty per cent, of these grants, also, is being spent on rural roads.

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Mr J R Fraser:

– I ask the PostmasterGeneral: Has some heavy-footed and soulless bureaucrat in the Australian Broadcasting Commission trodden, at least figuratively, on the neck of one of the brightest and most popular of the commission’s announcers? Has this announcer been told that he must no longer quip or jest in his sessions, “ Music Bright and Early “ and “ Yours for the Asking “? Have officers of the Australian Broadcasting Commission received hundreds of letters of inquiry and protest, particularly from people in country areas? Does the commission, by insisting on a dreary but proper level of effacement, increase the risk it runs of losing its brightest announcers to its commercial competitors?

Postmaster-General · DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– Naturally, I have no immediate knowledge of this particular matter of administration of the Australian Broadcasting Commission which, as I have said before, is authorized to run its own affairs. If the honorable member will put his case to me in somewhat less extravagant language than that which he has just used. I shall be glad to have a look at it.

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– My question, which is directed to the Treasurer, concerns his reply to a question asked by the honorable member for Phillip last week in which the Minister said that the Government would introduce legislation to prevent tax evasion that was shown by the report of the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation to exist in some fields. Can the right honorable gentleman inform the House whether this legislation will be introduced during the current sessional period? When the legislation is being prepared will care be taken to see that genuine family partnerships or companies are not unduly interfered with?


– I am glad to have this further opportunity to clear up some misunderstandings which obviously exist, largely, I fear, as a result of inaccurate reporting of what has been said by me or, in the case of my reply to the honorable member for Phillip, the omission to report fully what was said at that time. First, Sir, the Government has come to no decision regarding appropriate legislation. The report of the committee is with us. It is being carefully studied by the technical officers in the Treasury, the Taxation Branch and other relevant departments, but it has not yet received Cabinet consideration. I have already made it clear that while we have announced that any legislation which may be adopted, arising from this consideration, will date back to the date of the tabling of the report, it is not intended, except in cases in which fraud is involved, that the legislation should be given retrospective effect in relation to transactions entered into and arrangements made before that date.

While I am on my feet, Sir, may I make a further point, seeing that it has been claimed in a number of journals and in other places that there will be received this year an additional £14,000,000, which would reduce the estimated deficit on the Budget to about £2,000,000. It amazes me that people who claim to follow these matters should have fallen into such palpable error. To the extent to which legislation might be introduced and operate back to the date of the tabling of the report, it would refer to the income year 1961-62. The taxes would be collected, therefore, in the year 1962-63. There could be no cash effect whatsoever on the Budget for this year.

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– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. In view of public concern regarding the grave shortage of teachers and trained technicians in the Australian community, will the Prime Minis ter arrange for the terms of reference of the proposed inquiry into tertiary education to cover teacher training and technical education?


– I will be very glad to make available to the House the terms of reference to which the honorable member refers. I do not carry them in my mind, but they are quite short. I may have them available by to-morrow afternoon.

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– Has the attention of the Minister for the Interior been directed to the fact that the President of the United States of America has recently increased the federal allocation for civil defence in that country so that the amount to be made available this year will be 294,000,000 dollars, which is equivalent, roughly, to 13s. a head of population? Does he recall that actual Australian expenditure last year on civil defence represented about 2±d. a head of population, and that the Estimates for this year at about 7id. a head are the same as last year? Will the Minister endeavour, during the debate on the Estimates, to make a full statement to the Committee of Supply, explaining the reasons why expenditure per capita in Australia on civil defence is so low, when compared with expenditure in the United States of America?

Minister for the Interior · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– I am indebted to the honorable member for Mackellar for the information he has supplied in the form of the question he has put to me. The assessment of the risk in the United States of America could well be different from the assessment of the risk in Australia. Further, I do not think the honorable member, in his calculation of the per capita expenditure, has taken into account the expenditure incurred by the various State governments in this country. However, I will see whether I can produce something for him when the Estimates are being debated.

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Mr Allan Fraser:

– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Air about the failure to give sufficiently early notification of the funeral arrangements of the late

Colonel A. G. Fenton to his widow. The Minister will know that this gentleman’s body was recovered recently at the site of an aircraft crash which had occurred in war-time. Is it a fact that the Royal Australian Air Force was responsible for the burial arrangements? Further, is it a fact that the R.A.A.F. on 28th July informed dependants of R.A.A.F. personnel killed in the same crash of the funeral arrangements, but did not notify the Department of the Army until 31st July, when it was too late for that department to inform Mrs. Fenton, it then being the very eve of the funeral? If these are facts, will the Minister make inquiries in order to ascertain why this delay occurred and why the information was not conveyed to the relatives concerned in ample time? I may add that I am asking this question at the particular request of the lady concerned, as she wishes to ensure that others shall not suffer the distress that she has suffered, and as she has received information from the Minister for the Army exculpating the Department of the Army.


– The Minister for Air is in another place. I shall convey the question to him and see that the honorable member receives an answer.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade. What areas have been covered by trade missions or trade ships sent from Australia since 1956? How many of these trade missions or ships were sponsored by the Government, and what organizations sponsored the others? To what extent does the Government assist in the arrangements when missions have been organized by industrial or commercial organizations?


– Since the Department of Trade was established in 1956 eleven special missions have gone overseas. Three of these were initiated by private enterprise and eight by the Commonwealth Department of Trade. The missions have visited India, South-East Asia, South-West Asia, South America and North America, the Pacific Islands and a large part of the African continent. When a mission is being organized officers of the Department of Trade normally sit in on the arrangements from the outset. The mission itself is serviced by an officer of the Department of Trade, who travels with it. The various trade commissioners at the places visited always extend their full co-operation to the trade missions. In fact, all the resources of the Department of Trade that can help a trade mission are made readily available.

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– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service whether he met official representatives of the major Churches as a deputation on the question of unemployment. If so, did the Minister agree, in the course of the interview, that there could be a lot more co-operation between the States and the Commonwealth on the matter of hire purchase? What did the Minister mean by this, and how could such co-operation help to get the unemployed back to work? Perhaps he had in mind legislation to prevent–


– Order! I think the honorable member is now starting to offer comment.


– I shall ask a question. Did the Minister have in mind legislation to prevent reclamation of goods from the unemployed by hire-purchase firms?


– I did receive a deputation of representatives of the Christian Churches of Victoria yesterday. It dealt first of all with the question of unemployment. After that problem had been dealt with, the next question raised was whether or not it was thought that hire purchase encouraged young people to be extravagant and whether this over-spending on hire-purchase goods might be a contributory cause of unemployment. 1 was not able to express an opinion on that question, but I did state that the Commonwealth lacked the constitutional power to deal with hire purchase as such.

In answer to a further question as to whether I thought there might be greater co-operation, I did say, “ Yes, the State governments do have the power, and the question does open up the possibility that there could be greater co-operation between the Commonwealth and the

States “. I stand by that statement, but it had nothing whatsoever directly to do with the question of unemployment as such.

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– 1 address a question to the Minister for Supply relating to the successful space age exhibition which the Minister opened in Brisbane last week. Will this exhibition be displayed in all capital cities? Would it be possible for at least part of the exhibition to be shown in the major provincial centres? Also, could a pictorial record of the principal scientific developments be prepared for distribution to secondary schools and some public organizations as a means of showing Australian achievements and of encouraging interest in scientific studies?

Minister for Supply · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– It is my intention to take this exhibition to Sydney for a fortnight commencing on 18th September, and later to take it to Melbourne and, perhaps, the other capital cities. But since a good deal of time is taken up after one exhibition in making arrangements for another, I cannot with certainty state any time table for the other capital cities. To display the exhibit in provincial centres would present much greater difficulties, but I shall have a look at the honorable member’s suggestion that parts of the exhibition be made available to provincial cities.

As to the latter part of his question relating to a pictorial record or film, 1 point out that numerous films of many of the scientific aspects have been taken within my own department. These are available to the public. Some may be obtained through the National Film Library. I am also investigating ways and means of making scientific achievements known to the public in greater volume than is being done at the present time.

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– I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether he will inform the House of the number of bankruptcies that have taken place from the imposition of the credit squeeze of November, 1960, up to the present time. Will he also tell the House what the figures were for the period from November, 1959, to November, 1960?


– If the honorable member will put that question on the notice-paper I shall obtain answers although I should imagine that one could not pinpoint the causes of bankruptcies to the extent that would be necessary to answer such a question.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Health. Is it a fact that United Kingdom authorities have established from statistics a direct relationship between influenza and accidents on the roads, at work and in the home? As influenza vaccine, which I understand gives 80 per cent, protection throughout the winter, could reduce the high incidence of accidents, particularly during epidemic periods, will the Minister urge industrialists to facilitate the vaccination of employees, especially those engaged in transport duties?

Dr Donald Cameron:

– I do not know whether any relationship has been established between influenza and road accidents, but I think if you try hard enough you can establish all sorts of really unrelated facts about this kind of thing, and then attribute one thing to another, lt is a fact that vaccines are now available in this country for the prevention of influenza. It must not be thought that they prevent all sorts of respiratory infections, such as the common cold. They do not. But they do afford a very large measure of protection against influenza itself, and insomuch as they do that, they are, of course, of great value to industry. I think it has been made fairly clear over the last few years by the Department of Health and by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories that these vaccines are available for those who want them.

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– My question is directed to the Treasurer. Is it a fact that the Government expects no more than a very slow rate of reduction of unemployment over a long period? If this is not so, can the Minister explain why the Government, as was shown in the Budget figures, expects to receive in 1961-62 only £61,500,000 from pay-roll tax imposed at the same rate as in 1960-61, when the proceeds were £61,300,000?


– The calculations which have been made by the expert officers who estimate these matters have taken into account the fact that unemployment registrations at this stage of the year are higher than they were at an earlier point of the last financial year. Even assuming that there is some recovery as the year goes on, it could average out at the estimated figure. These are estimates which are made to the best of one’s ability in the light of events as they can be foreseen. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, the Government’s view of the present situation is that there is an up-turn. I would expect that up-turn to gather some momentum as we move further into the spring and the summer trading. We shall have a very substantial addition to the work-force early in the new year and it is, of course, the broad aim of the Government’s policy, not only through the Budget, but also in other directions, to create an environment favorable to the growth of employment opportunities. If, as the result of our combined efforts, we obtain a much higher rate of pay-roll tax collection than we have budgeted for, I am sure the honorable gentleman will be just as delighted as I am.

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– Is the Minister for Works aware of an assertion by a member of the South Australian Parliament that the specifications for recent Commonwealth works at Woomera, Maralinga and elsewhere involve a very high proportion of imported timber as against local timber? In view of the Minister’s recent statement that the Commonwealth would specify the use of local timber in its works, wherever possible, will he say what is the position in relation to this assertion? In particular, can he say whether these specifications give scope to the high-quality products of the great radiata pine industry in the south-east of South Australia?


– I know that the honorable member is tremendously interested in the development of the pine forests which grow so well in his electorate. Unfortunately the South Australian pine has not developed to a stage where it is entirely suitable for all structural purposes. The Department of Works, as a general practice, does specify

Australian materials, particularly Australian timbers, wherever they are suitable.

With regard to the works mentioned by the honorable member, in the case of the nurses’ quarters being built at Woomera the specifications were drawn up by an outside architect who was engaged by the department. Following the common practice in South Australia, where Oregon is used to a large extent, he specified Oregon. Special reasons exist, as I shall explain in a moment, why Oregon is so widely used in South Australia. With regard to Maralinga and the trans-continental line, no specified works are being undertaken there. Some ordinary maintenance and construction work, is being done by day labour, and either Oregon or Australian hardwoods are being used, as they prove to be suitable or become available. In no other works being done in South Australia, to my knowledge, has the use of other than Australian timbers been specified.

In South Australia there are no suitable indigenous hardwoods, and the general building practice has been to carry stocks of Oregon. Oregon comprises 80 per cent, or 90 per cent, of the total stocks of timber held in South Australia. Very frequently, although the department has specified the use of Australian hardwood in construction work, the builders approach the department and say that the only timber that can be procured within the time allowed is Oregon. The department is then forced to permit

Oregon to be substituted for Australian timber.

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Tariff Board Report


– I lay on the table the report of a deputy chairman of the Tariff Board on the following subject: -

Domestic Knitting Machines

The deputy chairman’s recommendation that no action be taken has been accepted by the Government.

Ordered to be printed.

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Presentation of Sand-glass.


– I have received a copy of the resolution passed by the Legislative

Council for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea on the occasion of the presentation of a sand-glass by the Commonwealth Parliament. The resolution was as follows: -

We, the Members of the Legislative Council for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, in Council assembled, express our thanks to the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia for the Sand-glass which they have presented to this Council for the timing of divisions in the same manner as is observed in many Parliaments.

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Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral’s message):

Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purpose of a bill for an act to increase the capital of the Commonwealth Development Bank of Australia by the sum of five million pounds.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Ordered -

That Mr. Harold Holt and Mr. Opperman do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.

Bill presented by Mr. Harold Holt, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Treasurer · Higgins · LP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

As I indicated in my recent Budget speech, the Government has decided that the capital of the Commonwealth Development Bank of Australia should be increased by a further £5,000,000. The bill now before the House provides for the necessary amendment to the provisions in the Commonwealth Banks Act 1959 dealing with the capital of the Development Bank and appropriates the funds required for the purpose.

The Commonwealth Development Bank of Australia was created under the Government’s 1959 banking legislation and placed under the control of the Commonwealth

Banking Corporation, together with the Commonwealth Trading Bank of Australia and the Commonwealth Savings Bank of Australia. The new bank was formed basically by amalgamation of the Mortgage Bank Department and the Industrial Finance Department of the former Commonwealth Bank of Australia. These two institutions had already proved their worth in the assistance of both agriculture and industry but the Government felt that they would be capable of meeting a somewhat wider range of needs and would have the best opportunity of doing so if they were combined in a single institution.

The Commonwealth Development Bank therefore took over the business of the two former departments and was given the prime statutory function of providing finance for the assistance of primary production or the establishment or development of industrial undertakings, especially small undertakings, in cases where in the bank’s opinion the provision of finance is desirable and the finance would not otherwise be available on reasonable and suitable terms and conditions. The reason for the latter part of this provision was, of course, that the Development Bank was envisaged as a lender that would supplement, but not compete with, other sources of financial assistance to agriculture and industry.

On its establishment in January, 1960, the capital of the Development Bank, including an additional £5,000,000 provided for under the legislation, amounted to just under £16,000,000. As well as this, the bank had substantial reserves and it also took over a long-term loan from the Commonwealth Savings Bank amounting to some £16,000,000.

The Government considered that with these funds the bank would begin its career with resources that would be adequate for the time being and which, if need be, could be supplemented by the negotiation of further loans, particularly from the Commonwealth Savings Bank. The Government also recognized, however, thai it would be necessary to watch the position closely from the viewpoint of a possible need for a further increase in the bank’s capital later in the light of the bank’s operating experience. Accordingly, the funds position of the Development Bank has been kept under careful review by both the Government and the Commonwealth Banking Corporation Board.

The Development Bank has now been in operation for about one year and eight months, and during that comparatively short period it has already made a significant impact in its important field of activity. By 30th June, 1961, the bank had approved loans to primary and secondary industry totalling nearly £15,000,000 and had also provided valuable asistance in the form of hire-purchase finance for producers’ equipment. Financial assistance provided by the Development Bank covered a very wide range of development .activities in both primary and secondary industry, from pasture improvement, clearing, fencing and water conservation to engineering, transport, storage and communications projects. In addition, the bank furnished much indirect aid through the supply of technical advice and the support of research efforts in appropriate fields. Demand for the services provided by the bank remains strong and may be expected to grow in line with the opportunities for worth-while development.

The Government is fully satisfied with the contribution to development that the Development Bank is making and, after careful examination of the experience of the bank and its present funds position, has decided that the time has now come to provide for a further increase of £5,000,000 in the bank’s capital. With this additional £5,000,000, the actual capital of the bank will be nearly £21,000,000, to which must still be added the bank’s substantial reserves which, each year, are increased by the amount of the bank’s net profits. In addition, of course, the bank will still have the use of considerable loan moneys.

I am confident that honorable members will share with me the conviction that the Development Bank will find ample scope for use of the funds available to it in discharge of its important statutory functions and, in this confidence, I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.

page 539


Second Reading

Minister for Social Services · Riverina · CP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The amendments to the War Service Homes Act contained in this bill deal with two separate and distinct aspects of the administration of the war service homes scheme. The first of these two matters concerns the principle that an ex-serviceman who makes payments to the War Service Homes Division in excess of his instalment during the term of his loan, may withdraw these excess amounts to meet the normal costs of ownership, to carry out repairs, make additions or alterations and conserve and increase his equity in his own property.

Section 29 of the act contains provisions relating to the payment of purchase money or repayment of advances by purchasers or borrowers. Section 29 (2) of the act provides that, in addition to making any payments in accordance with his contract of sale or mortgage, a purchaser or borrower may deposit with the Director of War Service Homes any sum not less than £1 and such sums are credited with interest at the same rate as is charged on the purchase money or advance.

It has been the practice of the War Service Homes Division since 1933 to permit purchasers or borrowers to use the amounts accumulated to their credit for the payment of items of expenditure directly related to their property. Under this practice, the owners of war service homes have been allowed to draw on their excess deposits to meet rates and taxes, to install water, electric light, gas services and sewerage, to make alterations and additions to their properties and to carry out repairs. Advice has now been received from the AttorneyGeneral’s Department that while section 29 of the act remains in its present form, deposits by purchasers or borrowers may not be used for any other purpose than the payment of instalments or arrears of instalments. For many years ex-servicemen acquiring a war service home have been encouraged to make excess payments and it has been the custom to advise them that they may withdraw amounts from their accumulated credits to meet costs and charges directly related to the property. Each year approximately 4,000 persons draw on their accumulated credits for the payment of rates and 500 or more use their credits to make additions and extensions to their homes. At 30th June, 1961, more than 70,000 purchasers and borrowers had established credit balances amounting in the aggregate to £4,127,326.

The Government believes that it would be contrary to the best interests of exservicemen if this practice were to be discontinued. This practice encourages ex-servicemen to make provision to meet future outgoings and expenses on their homes and provides a convenient means for this to be done. The interests of both exservicemen and the Commonwealth are better served when proper provision is made for the maintenance and improvement of wa.r service homes. Moreover, for many years owners of war service homes have been encouraged to establish credits in their accounts to use for the purposes I have mentioned, and the Government feels that it is under a moral obligation to take those steps which are necessary to ensure that ex-servicemen may continue to draw on their accumulated deposits for the purposes outlined. Accordingly, it was thought desirable that the act should be amended to put it beyond doubt that purchasers and borrowers may draw on their accumulated credits for the purposes set out in the bill.

The second matter concerns the principle embodied in the act which is intended to prevent the transfer of a war service home while the property is still subject to a security under the act, except with the consent of the director. The War Service Homes Act has contained provisions to this effect ever since the legislation which originated the scheme was introduced in 1918.

However, as I shall shortly explain, practices have developed which to a certain extent circumvent the provisions of the act. These practices enable ineligible persons to acquire a war service home on the beneficial terms intended only to be enjoyed by eligible ex-servicemen and their dependants. The relevant provisions regulating transfers of properties subject to the act are found in section 35. Section 35 provides that a transfer of a war service home or of an estate or interest in it shall not have any force or effect unless it -

  1. is made by a person acting in the capacity of an executor or administrator of the purchaser or borrower; or
  2. is made with the consent in writing of the director of war service homes.

Although section 35 does not require the consent of the director where the transfer is made by a person acting in the capacity of executor or administrator of the purchaser or borrower, the section empowers the director to call up the loan where the transferee is an ineligible person.

Where the transfer is one requiring the written consent of the director, that is to say, the transfer is made by some one other than a person acting in the capacity of an executor or administrator of the purchaser or borrower, the section prescribes various conditions to which the director must have regard in giving or withholding his consent. Briefly, where the proposed transferee is an eligible person approved by the director, the transfer may be approved on such conditions as the director determines. Where the proposed transferee is not an eligible person approved by the director, the director must be satisfied that the transfer is in the interests of the transferor and that the director is not aware of any other eligible person approved by him who is willing to become the transferee, and such other conditions as the director determines.

The section does not absolutely prohibit the transfer to an ineligible person, but nevertheless it makes it quite clear that transfers to such persons shall not be approved except under the special circumstances set out in the section. This is in conformity with the purpose of the act, which is to provide homes on concessional terms only for certain classes of persons as defined in the act. In accordance with these provisions, the general practice since the inception of the scheme has been to refuse consent to the transfer of a war service home where the proposed transferee is not an eligible person unless the purchaser or borrower first discharges his outstanding liability.

As I have already indicated, in recent years it has been found that, by the use of certain conveyancing devices, arrangements have been made which have the effect of defeating the policy that only eligible persons should derive benefits under the scheme and also of circumventing the restrictions contained in section 35 of the act. In substance, these arrangements provide for the payment by an ineligible purchaser of an amount of cash to the eligible purchaser or borrower for his equity in the home. This payment is made under an agreement which allows the ineligible purchaser to take occupation of the home and to pay off the balance of the loan to the division over the remainder of the term. Various kinds of arrangements have come to notice, some of which constitute a sale on terms of the interest of the purchaser or borrower. Others, in substance, amount to an agreement to let the home, coupled with an option to purchase.

Under these various arrangements, what in effect is happening is that ineligible persons are being substituted for the exserviceman purchaser or borrower, in that the ineligible person pays the instalments from his own resources and enjoys the benefits of the act, including the concessional interest rate, although on the face of it the eligible purchaser or borrower legally remains the contractual party with the director. These transactions have been examined by the Attorney-General’s Department, which advised that they are caught by the provisions of section 35 and do not have any force or effect unless they were made with the written consent of the Director of the War Service Homes Division. However, the fact that legally any such transfers have no force or effect has not prevented purchasers and borrowers from disposing of their homes in this way. This is due, in the main, to the fact that no effective remedies are provided at present in the act to prevent unauthorized dealings with respect to war service homes. There is no power under the act, as it stands at present, to call up the loan in these circumstances or to permit any action being taken in respect of the property constituting the security under the contract of sale or mortgage.

There is evidence that this practice is growing and indeed, in one State, agents are now openly advertising for war service - homes with existing loans. To prevent dealings with respect to war service homes in contravention of the provisions of section 35 it is necessary for the director to have the same powers as he has where a purchaser or borrower is in default. The amendments to section 35, section 36 and section 30a of the act contained in the bill will grant these powers. In effect where a transfer is made which, by virtue of subsection (1) of section 35, is of no force or effect, the director will be empowered to take possession of the property and to exercise his powers under section 36 to cancel the contract of sale in the case of a purchaser, or in the case of a borrower, to call up the loan and sell the property. At the same time the opportunity has been taken to make it clear that a transfer for the purposes of section 35 includes all dealings whatsoever - other than leases or mortgages - with respect to a home which is still subject to a contract of sale, mortgage or other security under the act.

I wish to emphasize that the amendments in the bill will not prevent a purchaser or borrower from sub-letting his home nor do the amendments apply to mortgages. The conditions under which a borrower may mortgage his home are already contained in the act and nothing has been done to alter the present position in this regard.

In conclusion, let me state again, in general terms, the objects of the bill and the methods employed to achieve those objects. In particular, I make it clear that these amendments do not, in effect, make any substantial changes to the general scheme for providing war service homes. On the one hand the bill preserves and continues a practice that ex-servicemen owners of war service homes have long enjoyed, that is, the right to draw on their accumulated deposits for purposes directly concerned with their homes. On the other hand action is being taken by this legislation to ensure that only eligible ex-servicemen, and their dependants, shall receive and enjoy war service homes benefits in accordance with the purposes and intention of the act, which are to provide homes on concessional terms exclusive to certain classes of qualified persons as defined in the act. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Barnard) adjourned.

page 542


BUDGET 1961-62

In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from 24th August (vide page 521), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt -

That the first item in the Estimates, under Division No. 101 - The Senate - namely, “ Salaries and allowances £34,250”, be agreed to.

Upon which Mr. Calwell had moved by way of amendment -

That the first item be reduced by £1.


– Critics of the Budget can usually be identified with various sections of the community. It is true that shortly after the introduction of the Budget, metropolitan newspapers interviewed people in the streets, but the comments that come from this source are usually no more than a repetition of statements that have already appeared perhaps in the same journals a day or two earlier. These comments, in effect, are inspired by the newspapers. General criticism coming from manufacturers, employers, employees, commercial enterprises, sellers, consumers and others is inspired in the main by the effects that the Budget will have on the industries concerned, upon pensioners or upon other groups.

But one section, the primary producers, is always affected to some extent by the Budget. It is rather significant that primary producers as a body, particularly in the current year, have not complained of the Budget; yet their circumstances could well justify some complaint. I shall quote the comments of the President of the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers’ Council, Mr. T. M. Scott. Perhaps no one is more qualified than is Mr. Scott to voice the opinion of this industry, which is of such vital importance to Australia. Mr. Scott has spent his life on the land and has come to be the leader of the industry, and he is leading it very well. He said -

Mr, Holt has brought down quite a normal Budget and the Government is to be congratulated for having resisted pressure to introduce measures which could result in a resurgence of inflation.

Restraint of inflationary pressures is the prime objective of the rural industries and this should be borne in mind before leaping to criticize the Budget

That is Mr. Scott’s reason for being tolerant of the Budget, although, as I said, the industry might well be expected to have some comments to offer. There are pro bably several reasons why primary producers seldom criticize budgets. They are accustomed to solving their own problems. They have had to battle their own way and fight hard to achieve the little success they have achieved, particularly in the last few years. They are not criticizing this Budget because it tackles inflation and, as Mr. Scott pertinently said, inflation is one of the great problems facing primary producers and one of the great tragedies of any country. They also have in mind that their problem is one of costs. This is not a new problem; it has existed for many years. Mr. Scott went on to say -

The grazing and other predominantly export industries are much more affected by the decisions of industry and commerce, the Arbitration Commission and the Tariff Board, than by the contents of the Budget

That is the opinion of a man who knows his business and the business of those he represents and who is quite outspoken about the problems facing the industry.

It is quite obvious from what we have heard and read that the Budget aims at stability and expansion. Stability is very necessary in a country such as this, which is, so to speak, just finding its feet. Many of our industries have developed their own stability. We have the wheat stabilization scheme, the sugar agreement and the butter agreement, and stabilizing factors are present in the sales of many of our products. But some of the causes of the troubles from which we suffer are beyond the stabilizing influence of industry, and the Government is attacking these causes.

We have been through a period of boom, which has created inflation. Those who have attacked the Government’s attempts to correct the boom have in large measure been the representatives of secondary industry. Do the secondary industries want booms? Is it their desire to take advantage of these unnatural booms which cause a depletion of our overseas funds, because of heavy buying? Do they want boomi which cause internal inflation? Is it their desire to develop their industries on an artificial basis or do they want stability? If they want the stability that the primary industries want, I cannot understand why they attack the Government for its handling of the problems. Secondary industries depend very much on the success of primary industries. They depend on the credits built up overseas by primary industries for the funds with which they purchase the raw materials and the machinery they need.

While a boom is artificial, the bust that follows the boom is inevitably tragic. It was with this idea of preventing such a bust that the Government stepped in to correct the boom. It has been felt in this country for quite some time that the Government did not understand the problems of the country people and of rural industry. That feeling has been growing and it was with great pleasure that I listened one evening to a broadcast by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on this very subject. He spoke on 8th June and pointed out that Australia is an exporting country and that its exports are primarily the products of the land. He pointed out that droughts and low prices cause falls in our income and said that the Government has the immensely complicated task of doing what it can in its own fashion to stabilize conditions. I was delighted to hear that frank public admission by the Prime Minister that the Government has this knowledge of conditions in rural industries. He went on to say that it was essential to get rid of a boom, because in a boom costs and prices rose. Whilst that is all right for some people it is no good for people such as those on fixed incomes, people drawing social service benefits and people with money in investments or in savings banks.

Above all - he said - and I quote - it is no good to our export industries because when the cost of their production goes up they cannot pass it on to somebody else. Their price is what the world will give them.

It must have been most heartening for primary producers to have from the Prime Minister of Australia that acknowledgment of the important part played by the export industries - mainly the rural industries, which are responsible for earning 80 per cent, of our export income - and of their place in the scheme of things in Australia.

So, Sir, this is not new. It is something which country people have felt for years. It is something that country people have been expressing for years, and if I may do so in all humility I will say now that I was delighted to find that the words which I used in my speech on the Budget last year have been justified by the statement made by the Prime Minister on 8th June last.

The Prime Minister went on to say -

It would be a terrible thing for Australia and a very bad thing for our future if some day we found that wool itself had been priced out of the world’s markets, or that taxpayers of Australia had to subsidize the production of wool. This would be a deplorable state of affairs.

It would be, in truth, a very deplorable state of affairs, Mr. Chairman, if this country ever had to subsidize wool. It has been forced to subsidize the production of some other export commodities so that the farmers in Australia may continue to produce for the ultimate benefit of the nation.

We should not overlook the fact that Great Britain has had to subsidize her agricultural population, and so has North America had to subsidize hers. We certainly do not want ever to reach the stage when we will have to subsidize the wool industry in Australia, which is no doubt the biggest of its kind in the world. But are we quite safe? Can we sit back and tell ourselves confidently that we will never have to subsidize this industry? So that the committee may form an opinion on that, I wish to quote from the White Paper, “ National Income and Expenditure 1960-61 “, which is one of the papers accompanying the Budget. I shall take as examples the years given in this paper. I have not selected them, because there are others that would suit my purpose better, but these are the years shown in the White Paper. I stress that, because people may say, and the Opposition does sometimes suggest, that figures are faked by the Government. These figures are produced by the Commonwealth Statistician. They show that the national income increased from £3,871,000,000 in 1953-54 to £5,825,000,000 in 1960-61 - an increase of about 25 per cent.

Mr Peters:

– Are these Menzies pounds or Chifley pounds?


– We find that most of the components of the national income, as shown in this publication, also increased. For instance wages have increased from £2,252,000,000 in 1953-54 to £3,570,000,000 in 1960-61- an increase of 60 per cent. Company income increased from £473,000,000 to an estimated £730,000,000 - an increase of 53 per cent. The income of other unincorporated businesses, professions, &c, increased from £435,000,000 to an estimated £555,000,000 - an increase of about 30 per cent. Net rent and interest on loans on dwellings increased from £101,000,000 to £223,000,000- or almost doubled itself. Other net rent and interest increased from £82,000,000 to £168,000,000- almost twice as much.

I point out to the honorable member who interjected a moment ago, asking whether these were Menzies pounds or Chifley pounds, that it does not matter what pounds they are. It is the comparative increase shown by these figures which is the basis of the argument. All the components of the national income which I have mentioned have increased - except the national farm income, which has fallen from £499,000,000 in 1953-54 to an estimated £467,000,000 in 1960-61 - a decrease of 7 per cent. So, against a general increase of 25 per cent, in the national income in that period we have a decrease of 7 per cent, in the national farm income - the income of the primary producers of this country. That is why I said a minute ago that we should not be sure that we will not have to subsidize the wool industry. If the state of affairs shown in these figures is not corrected - and it is not one which will be corrected by the Budget - we may find ourselves in the position of having to subsidize our rural production, as is done in the United Kingdom and North America, so that our rural industries will be able to continue to produce for export and earn us the income that is vital to Australia.

I point out that the figures I have given refer to a considerable number of years. However, if we take a shorter period we will see what is largely the reason for the decrease that I have mentioned. In 1958-59 gross farm income was £1,262,000,000. lt rose by £68,000,000 to £1,330,000,000 in 1959-60 and by another £16,000,000 to £1,346,000,000 in 1960-61 -a total increase of £84,000,000 over the three-year period. On the other hand, the costs incurred in the earning of that national farm income in that period showed a signi ficant rise. The cost of wages, depreciation and other costs in 1958-59 was £807,000,000. It increased by £51,000,000 to £858,000,000 in 1959-60 and by a further £21,000,000 to £879,000,000 in 1960-61. So, whilst in terms of actual money the national farm income increased from £1,262,000,000 to £1,346,000,000 in that three-year period - or by a total of £84,000,000- the people who produce that national farm income had to bear increased costs amounting to £72,000,000. So the net farm income, which was £455,000,000 in 1958-59 had, in fact, risen to only £467,000,000 over these three years. In other words, it suffered as a result of the increasing costs which have been continuing, not for a matter of two or three years, but for six or eight years or more, as 1 have pointed out in the previous figures I gave.

If any honorable member doubts the accuracy of the figures I have given - although I would not expect any honorable member to do so - and thinks that there is exaggeration on the part of the rural industries when they claim a better share of the prosperity that this country has enjoyed, I invite him to turn to the quarterly review of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, where he will find a significant statement on the aggregate volume of production of Australian rural industries in 1961. The review shows that this was 6 per cent, above the level of the previous year and 3 per cent, higher than ever before. But this is not reflected in the value of the production of Australia’s rural industries, because although the aggregate volume of production has increased by that amount the increase in the gross value of that production is only H per cent, higher, and the net farm income, on account of increasing costs, has fallen by more than 4 per cent, as against the previous year. That is a state of affairs which we cannot allow to continue. It is a state of affairs about which rural producers have complained for a great number of years. The rural community is not critical of the Budget. It has greater affairs to worry about, and these include the fact that there has been an increase in costs with which it has to put up. Whilst they are bearing these burdens, I point out that that is not because of a lack of efficiency in the industry. Since the pre-war years there has been an increase of about 60 per cent, in the volume of exports of primary products.

The Prime Minister, speaking of the boom, said -

These troubles are passing troubles.

Undoubtedly the boom and the inflation that we experienced last year were passing troubles, but I direct the attention of the committee to the fact that the primary industries’ trouble of rising costs is not a passing trouble. It has not passed and it has been going on for years. Although the boom rise in costs may have been checked, costs are still too high. On 8th June this year, the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann), speaking to the Australian Agricultural Council, said -

On the home front there are positive indications that the economic measures taken by the Government are arresting the costs spiral which is a threat to the primary producers’ competitive position on world markets.

We are delighted to find that that is so. The Government’s economic measures are arresting the costs spiral, but it is still with us. The Minister also said -

While a rise in gross returns is expected as a result of increased production, the impact of the upward movement in farm costs is unfortunately adversely affecting net farm earnings.

The figures that I have cited will bear that out. I will quote again from the speech of the Minister for Primary Industry to the Australian Agricultural Council, because it is well that the public should know the consideration that is being given by him to the great problems which confront us. He said -

I have been looking at the figures of net farm income over the last eight years and they do give some cause for concern. The answer is not easy to find but I am confident that the Government’s far-reaching economic measures will have remedial effects before long.

We must have those effects. If we do not, this country will surely be in trouble, not only in the conditions that we know to-day but also in the conditions that we can expect if the European Economic Community takes the United Kingdom - one of our great sources of export income - as one of its members.

What is the remedy? How can we deal with these problems that confront us? We have a problem which is growing and which is affecting us in many different ways. The Minister for Primary Industry, in his statement to the Australian Agricultural Council, also said -

I regret to say that in some directions there seem to be indications of a possible slowing down in farm investment.

That is quite natural. If farmers are not making enough money to allow them to plough back into their farms a part of their incomes, there will be a slowing down in farm investment. The Minister continued -

For instance, the impetus behind pasture improvement, which has been such a marked feature of the post-war agricultural expansion, is showing evidence of waning. It is to be hoped that this is a passing phase.

To-day a measure to provide additional capital for the Commonwealth Development Bank was introduced in this place. One way in which the farming interests and the producing interests can be assisted is by greater funds being available to them through the Development Bank. I intended to speak on this subject, but as the bill has been introduced I will conform to the Standing Orders and simply say that we appreciate the proposed addition of £5,000,000 to the capital of the bank, but we consider that it is not enough.

The Minister for Primary Industry made this further point -

Owing to recent wool price levels and the security of wheat stabilization there is undoubtedly a definite trend towards increased plantings of wheat. I suggest that this Council needs to do some heavy thinking on the policy aspects of the problem.

This problem cropped up once before when the price of wool receded and there was a tendency for graziers who had not engaged in wheat farming to turn over quite a lot of their land to the growing of wheat. The wheat industry has problems of its own. With additional production by the grazing interests because of the problems of the grazing industry, the wheat industry’s problems will be multiplied and Australia generally will not be better off. So it is very necessary that the Government should give every consideration to the present condition of the wool industry in order to prevent such a thing happening.

I asked what were the remedies for these problems. The first remedy is that more money should be available for improvements, such as pasture improvement and improvements in water supply and conservation. Primary producers are allowed taxation concessions for improvements put on their properties; but to-day they have not the money to put those improvements on their properties. So it is necessary to make funds available. One could talk for a long time about the reasons for this position. Money which normally might have been going into productive efforts by our rural industries - which are, I repeat, so vital to the Australian economy - has been diverted to the purchase of motor cars, hire-purchase transactions and things of that sort.

What is done by the big industries that are profiting from that diversion of capital to their enterprises? Did they play the game with us when things got tough? Was there any necessity for the big motor car companies, which have made colossal profits over the years, to throw men into unemployment just because a certain state of affairs was reached? I consider that that was a shocking example to the rest of the country by people who might well have set a good example. Was there any necessity for General Motors-Holden’s Limited to put men out of work, in view of the profits that it has made over the years? Was there any necessity for the Ford Motor Company to put men out of work after the end of the rat race between the two companies as to which company’s car should capture the market? Was there any necessity for the Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company Limited - to mention the name of another company - to stand men down for a fortnight because it thought it could not sell all its tyres? Those are not actions that will help Australia.

If I appear to stand up for the primary industries, I stand up for them for the very definite reason that they have played the game all through the piece. They have produced as fast as they possibly could and as much as they possibly could. They have sought their own markets, with the assistance of the Department of Trade, admittedly. They have set out to sell their products and they have set out to produce goods for export, whereas these other industries have been content to sit back and enjoy the home market, not caring about the export trade at all.

Freights, which are one of our great costs, are increasing all the time. They do not concern us in this place, but that problem must be tackled. We also have the problem of the tariff. The problem of protection for our secondary industries is a tremendous subject. No farmer would say that he would not like to see a young and developing industry protected until it could get its feet on the ground, but is there any justification for continuing protection after an industry is well established. If these industries had anything in them at all, in the good years they would have set out to establish their efficiency and so control their affairs that when the burst came they would not have been affected and would have been able to carry on without throwing men into unemployment, as they did.

So I make a plea once again for a greater co-operative effort by all industries in Australia. Our primary and secondary industries are complementary. Our secondary industries require the primary industries to export so that they can buy the raw materials and machinery for their industries; and the rural industries require the secondary industries and the people who work in them because that is the market for their products. Until our industries get together and work this matter out we will not get any farther ahead. I believe the time is coming when something of that sort will be done.

I support this Budget. I believe it is heading in the right direction because it aims to chop back the inflation that is occurring. However, it is not sufficient. We will have to go further and cut down the costs of our primary industries, on which not only the primary producers and the people in country towns but the whole nation depend so much.


.- One can sympathize with the approach of the honorable member for Lawson (Mr. Failes) in regard to the rural industry, because it is true that this country depends a lot on the exports of our primary industries. But one cannot sympathize with the solution that the honorable member propounded. He spoke as a member of the Country Party, very concerned with country affairs.

He said that secondary industries throughout Australia had caused some of the problems existing at the present time. But I should like to remind the committee that the honorable member for Lawson as a member of the Country Party supports this Government. He and his party have had an opportunity in the last twelve years that the Government has been in office to remedy the situation that has been allowed to develop. Members of the Country Party have sat here silently in their corner, year after year, saying nothing at all about the weaknesses that have been apparent to everybody. They have sat here and applauded when the Government has done anything that would put higher profits in the hands of country people. They have sat here and applauded the Government time and again, for instance, when it has gone into the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and opposed rises in the basic wage. The only costs that the honorable member for Lawson attacked during the whole of his speech were costs brought about by actions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.

Mr Failes:

– I did not mention it.


– The honorable member quoted the words of Mr. Scott, who said that the increased costs were brought about not by the Government’s actions but by the actions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The Country Party has always been a party of long hours and low wages. The only costs attacked by the honorable member for Lawson were the wages of the workers. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) said a few days ago that the basic wage was sufficient to sustain a man, his wife, and three or more children. Those standards were set in 1907; at that time they were fit only for a horse and to-day they remain fit only for a horse. Whilst the Country Party looks for low wages, the Liberal Party says that the present basic wage is sufficient to maintain a husband, wife and three children.

The Government and its supporters in this Parliament have failed to realize the weaknesses that have been developing in the economy. They have not been concerned with the overall picture. They have been concerned with the entrepreneurs, land speculators, and mostly with city interests. I mention city interests because the Government has failed to preserve and protect the interests of the country person. In that respect, I agree with the honorable member for Lawson, but I criticize him for having sat silently during the twelve years that he has been a supporter of this Government and allowed these things to happen.

There is no doubt that the dilemma that Australia is facing to-day has been caused by Government action or inaction. It has had no vision and no cohesive plan throughout the whole of its term of office. The portents of all our present weaknesses in the economy were apparent to everyone except the Government. The Opposition, time after time in debates in this chamber, indicated what would happen unless the activities of land speculators and share speculators were curbed and exorbitant profits ceased to be made by the use of capital for private gain instead of for the national welfare. The welfare of the nation was drastically affected because there was insufficient finance for national works that were so necessary.

This is the first of the seven Budget speeches that I have heard in this chamber in which the Government has admitted that there has been unhealthy speculation in land and shares. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) said-

The boom, which was running so strongly al the time of our last Budget, and gathered momentum in some directions later in the year, receded some months ago and with it went much unhealthy speculation in land and shares, the over-strong demand for goods, materials and labour, the rapid increase in costs and prices and the threat to our external position, which had been its worst feature.

The Treasurer, in his Budget speech last year, said that we had a very stable economy and could look forward to most prosperous years ahead. In his Budget speech this year, however, he said that at the time of the last Budget we had been facing a boom. This is because the Government has never had a cohesive plan. It has made no attempt to control the activities of land speculators and various other entrepreneurs, particularly fringe banking institutions. The Government has listened time and again to the dictates and demands of selfish sections of the private sector. It must be recognized that Aus- tralia is a young country which needs a planned economy and that the available finance, of which we have not sufficient, should be used in the best interests of the country, that land speculators and others should not be able to buy on the market, at the very highest cost, the finance that is available, and then sell the goods that they produce, or the land that they develop, at the very highest possible price in order to get the maximum return on their investments. During the last twelve months, the Government was forced to take action against the activities of those people in the community, but industry was entitled up to that stage to believe that the past activities of those people were condoned by the Government.

The only action that had been taken by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) or the Treasurer, or any other member of the Ministry, was to call various leaders of the community to round-table conferences and give them a general fatherly chat on the fact that they were not acting in the best interests of the community. The majority of those people were quite prepared to cooperate with the Government. They were quite happy to curtail their activities. But members of the minority, within a few short weeks, were again buying up money at high interest rates and engaging in all sorts of speculation. Because they would not co-operate, the Government found it essential to take action in November, 1960, but its action then was far too late to relieve the situation. The action was far too drastic, and to-day throughout Australia we have about 114,000 people unemployed. Since the war years, we have prided ourselves upon being a nation of full employment, but the Government, because it failed to curb some of the activities of the fringe banking institutions and speculators, threw that number of people out of work.

The restrictions that were introduced caused not only unemployment but also loss of confidence and indecision in industry generally. Those industries which have been developing rather rapidly do not know now how far they can go. No indication has been given by any member of the Government as to when the position will be rectified. Yesterday, at a press conference, the Prime Minister announced that he expected a very slow pick-up in the unemployment figure. Because the Prime Minister does not show confidence in the development and pick-up of the economic situation, industry cannot be expected to set a good example. The example must be given by the Australian Government. We are a young nation with a great future. Unless the Government gives an example to both primary and secondary industry and to the workers of this nation, we shall find that development will remain stagnant, because no one will be prepared to take a risk. The Government should be making a much more determined attempt to restore the confidence of the community. It should be working for the stabilization of our economy and the maintenance of our economy in that condition, but the Budget which we are discussing is a typical LiberalCountry Party budget. It is a stay-put budget. No vision is shown and no confidence is expressed either in the future of the country or the prospects of industry in Australia. In this Budget the Treasurer seems to envisage the time when it may be necessary - before the next twelve months have passed and before the next Budget is due - to bring down a supplementary Budget.

At page 4 of the printed copy of his Budget speech the Treasurer said -

Economic policy, while always keeping its main objectives in view, cannot fail to be concerned, as it is now, with short-term problems. Because conditions change rapidly and unpredictably, there must be an adaptation of measures, a varying of their content and emphasis, to suit them to the circumstances that arise. Even could we foresee, exactly and reliably, the conditions that will rule twelve months or two years hence, what we would do now would have to be related primarily to the needs of the present situation.

Apparently the Treasurer anticipates bringing down short-term budgets continually. This Government has done so now on four or five occasions; it has brought down short-term budgets from three to six months after the annual Budget. The 1951 horror Budget is perhaps the one that comes most readily to our memories, and the restrictions introduced last November are another instance. How can any section of the community make plans for the future if it does not know from one twelve months to another whether credit restrictions are to be re-applied or whether action will be taken in the fields of hire purchase or banking? Surely a government which has any vision is able to set an example and give an indication to the community of the policy which will be followed in the next twelve months.

The signs are all there. There are so many statistics of economic development throughout the country which can be seen and quoted that the Government’s advisers and Cabinet should be able to anticipate what is likely to happen in the next twelve months. They should be able to frame a budget which will lay the foundations of a firm economic policy over that period. Unless the Government does so it will find that the community is not prepared to cooperate, because it has already been caught on two or three occasions. In 1951 and 1956, and again in November, 1960, when things seemed to be running smoothly and Government spokesmen were saying that the economy was sound and that prosperous times were ahead, out of the blue the Government introduced economic restrictions which caused the withdrawal of credit, unemployment in the community, loss of confidence generally in industry and indecision everywhere.

Over the last twelve years the economy of Australia has gone up and down more times than a yo-yo. In order to prove that point it is only necessary for us to look at our international reserves since December 1949, when this Government came into office. I will quote the international reserves in round figures. In December, 1949, our international reserves were £528,000,000. In June, 1950, the figure was £629,000,000 and in June, 1951, £803,000,000. There was a drastic drop to £372,000,000 in June, 1952. In June, 1953. the figure was up to £561,000,000. In June, 1954, it was £570,000,000, and it dropped to £428,000,000 in June, 1955. There was a further drop to £355,000,000 in June, 1956, followed by a rise to £566,000,000 in June, 1957. There was a drop to £525,000,000 in June, 1958 and in June, 1959, a further drop to £516,000,000. There was a drop to £512,000,000 in June 1960, and a continued drop to £398,000,000 in November, 1960. In January, 1961, the figure was £375,000,000 but our international reserves Slave” 1 since gradually built up to £575,000,000. We see continually an expanding of the economy and then a withdrawing; a boom and bust economy the whole time.

One of the ways in which the Government was able to control the economy was by the use of import restrictions, which were introduced for the first time in 1952, when our overseas reserves had dropped in twelve months from £803,000,000 to £372,000,000. Owing to the introduction of import restrictions our reserves gradually built up until 1954, when they reached the figure of £570,000,000. Then there was a little relaxation of import restrictions and again our overseas reserves dropped. In 1956 they were running at the level of £355,000,000. The Government imposed severe import restrictions, and our reserves gradually built up again. In February, 1960, even though it had these figures which it could study - they were readily available - the Government went ahead with its plan to remove import restrictions completely. Once that was done we had a run-down in our overseas reserves.

Immediately on the complete removal of import restrictions various people in this country - retail and import houses and others - went overseas and bought all sorts of foreign goods which they brought back to compete with Australian manufactured goods. Many of those people, having spent so much money overseas, were not able to order Australian-made goods. Now we are at the stage when, because of the Government’s action in removing import restrictions and bringing down its credit restrictions in 1960, many companies which were on a firm footing and doing well and manufacturing goods at reasonable prices, have had to dismiss many of their employees, or work their employees only part time. Goods were stockpiled in warehouses and stores to such an extent that the Australian manufacturer was unable to get any orders at all. The Government’s policy of removing import restrictions in this instance has been proved to have been incorrect. The example I have quoted of our overseas reserves should have indicated that to the Government.

Now, because there are no import restrictions, the Government will have to watch our overseas reserves very carefully. The only way in which it can do so is by withdrawing credit from our importers and our industries every so often. Unless the Government is very careful in the application of its measures it will find that industry will not be prepared to take the risk of investing money in expansion, because it will not know how soon the Government is likely to re-apply credit restrictions, thus forcing industry to take up its overdrafts practically overnight and to decrease its liquidity to a dangerous extent.

In its twelve years of office the Government has failed to pay due regard to social priorities. During the last few years it was simple to obtain a home unit in as many blocks as one cared to look at. It was very easy for manufacturers and retail houses to obtain large sums of money for the building of factories or retail stores. It was quite simple for entrepreneurs to build large hotels, motels and so on. At the same time it was very difficult to obtain money with which to build private houses. It was difficult for local government to obtain money for roads and for State governments to obtain money for railways, hospital facilities and various other developmental works. A lot of the money which should have been used in the development of Australia has been used in our capital cities for what could be regarded as luxury purposes. The spending of funds for those purposes could readily have been delayed in order to make money available for water conservation, roads, railways and various other requirements.

A further subject with which I would like to deal this afternoon is the introduction into Australia of overseas capital and the establishment in this country of many overseas companies. The Australian Labour Party welcomes these overseas investors. We welcome the starting of new industries in Australia, because they offer our people further prospects of employment and a greater selection of consumer goods. But there is one thing which this Government has failed to do, and that is to lay down any terms which would safeguard Australian interests in this matter. The example of Canada ought to come readily to the minds of members on the Government side of the chamber. Canada allowed many millions of dollars of American capital to be invested in Canadian industries, and every fluctuation in the economy of the United States of America is reflected with much exaggeration in the Canadian economy. The result of the large investment of United States capital in Canada is that the Canadian people have very little say in the control of many of Canada’s industries. A similar situation could arise in Australia. Although we need the investment of overseas capital and although we welcome overseas investors to our shores, Australian control of our industries is of paramount importance, and the Australian Government should watch overseas investment very carefully in order to ensure that we retain control of our own industries.

Australia has a lot to offer investors. Overseas investors do not come here because they want to help us expand our economy. They come here because they see prospects of continuing returns and stability in the country itself. Some of the markets elsewhere in the world are war-torn and unstable because governments have been overthrown and changes of political attitudes have occurred.

Mr Forbes:

– The honorable member wants to destroy the stability that exists in Australia.


– I do not want to destroy it. I want this Government to lay down terms and conditions under which overseas investors and overseas companies will be allowed to make investments and begin operations in Australia. I do not for one moment consider that it is necessary to make those terms and conditions rigid. I suggest that perhaps taxation concessions and the repatriation of a great portion of profits and capital to the investor’s home country be allowed in the first three or four years of operations in Australia. But surely it is our right to demand that, after that, the Australian people have a just and equitable share in their national resources.

Mr Turnbull:

– In other words, nationalize them, you mean.


– Unless overseas investors invest in this country on our terms and co-operate with the Government and the people of Australia, there could easily come a day when, as the honorable member suggests, the industries in which overseas capital has been invested will have to be nationalized.

Mr Turnbull:

– I suggested that the honorable member and his colleagues would nationalize them. I did not suggest that they ought to be nationalized.


– This would not be the first country which had adopted the suggestion of the honorable member for Mallee - nationalization.

Mr Turnbull:

– 1 did not suggest nationalization at all. Do not say that I did.


– Order! There are too many interjections.


– The honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) suggested that there could come a time when it would be necessary to nationalize industries in which overseas capital had been invested. He said it quite plainly. I whole-heartedly agree with him. Such a time could come.

Another feature of our economy that we have to watch, Mr. Temporary Chairman, is the attitude of overseas principals to subsidiary companies in this country. Some of these subsidiaries manufacture goods which could readily be sold overseas, but embargoes imposed by parent companies overseas prevent Australian subsidiaries from looking for export markets for the goods manufactured in this country. If overseas companies are to be allowed to use our resources and the brains and talents of the Australian people for the purpose of accumulating great profits for themselves, surely we are entitled to demand that the goods that are manufactured here by their subsidiaries be allowed to compete in the markets of the world with the products of the parent companies, regardless of where those companies are located.

In the few minutes that remain to me, I should like to deal with the search for oil in Australia. I consider that this Government is far too tardy in its attitude to the search for oil. Admittedly, as reported at page 38 of “Hansard” of 15th August last, the Treasurer, in his Budget speech, stated -

The Government has decided to extend foi three years, from the 1st July, 1961, the pro gramme of subsidy assistance on an expanded basis, and in 1961-62 the amount of Government expenditures on oil search will be considerably increased. In 1960-61, total expenditure by way of subsidy to the companies engaged on oil search and other exploratory work being carried out by the Department of National Development was £2,300,000. The estimate of such expenditure in 1961-62 is £4,100,000.

Expenditure on the search for oil could represent a good investment by this Government. But 1 do not consider that the Government will do sufficient if it merely assists overseas companies or Australian concerns in the search for oil.

Mr Killen:

– What subsidy figure does the honorable member suggest?


– I do not suggest any figure at this stage. What I am pointing out is that the Government provides a subsidy to assist private companies in the search for oil, and I suggest that that subsidy ought to be given without any strings attached to it. We have before us the experience of oil-producing countries in the Middle East in which oil companies have used the national resources in their own interests rather than in the interests of the countries from which they take the oil. Admittedly, there is a great divergence of opinion about whether oil will be found in Australia or New Guinea. The indications at the end of last year, when oil in small quantity was found in Queensland, seemed to be that we were getting closer than ever before to finding oil on a commercial scale It is absolutely imperative that the Government lay down, before oil is found, the terms and conditions on which deposits may be exploited. The Australian Government ought to have some say in the use ot Australia’s oil resources. All the oil refineries that exist in this country at present are privately owned. If we allow any oil company which finds oil in Australia to control the crude product, the Australian Government will not have much say in the use of our oil resources.

Mr Makin:

– The majority of the oil companies are not Australian-owned, either.


– That is so. If the situation is not watched carefully, the oil industry in Australia could find itself in a position similar to that of many industries in Canada.

Mr Peters:

– What about the holding of oil rights?


– The holding of oil rights in any country gives a company tremendous power and affords it an opportunity to make enormous profits. The people of Australia are entitled to share in the power and the profits to be derived from the exploitation of our oil resources. I consider that the Government should, at this stage, lay down the terms and conditions for the use of our oil resources as a guide for the companies engaged in the search for oil.

I have not enough time remaining to make any further points, Mr. Temporary Chairman. I shall take the opportunity, during the consideration of the Estimates, and of the various items of budgetary legislation, to say more about the Government’s failure in various fields with which I have not dealt this afternoon, particularly about its failure to meet the needs of families and to restore the purchasing power of age, invalid and widows’ pensions, and about its shortcomings in the administration of repatriation matters, the provision of war service homes, and so on. This Budget, and the Government’s performance during almost twelve years in office, demonstrate that this Administration has no vision and completely lacks foresight and confidence in our great country. Australia needs a government which has confidence in Australia, its resources and its people. The speech made in this debate last Tuesday evening by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) indicated that he and the Australian Labour Party have the necessary confidence in Australia and its people. The electors will have an opportunity, at the end of the year or thereabouts, to endorse the approach of the Leader of the Opposition and the Labour Party to the country’s problems. T am certain that the Australian people will take that opportunity to cast aside the millstone that hangs round Australia’s neck.

Mr Turnbull:

Mr. Temporary Chairman, 1 wish to make a personal explanation.


Does it arise from something that has been said in this debate?

Mr Turnbull:

– Yes. I have been-


– I do not see how the honorable member could have been misrepresented, because he has. not yet spoken in this debate.

Mr Turnbull:

– I was misrepresented by the misconstruing of an interjection that I made.


Interjections are not recognized by the Chair. The honorable member will have an opportunity to speak later in this debate.


.- During the Budget debate, and in television interviews, the members of the Australian. Labour Party have been consistent at least in their repeated parrot cry of “ Depression”. The Labour Party knows full well that there is in this country no depression, such as we experienced in the 1930’s. Nevertheless, it is currently making an allout effort to have the people believe either that there is a depression, or that one is just around the corner. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) has set the tune by his almost tedious repetition of the word “ depression “. His predictions of doom and tragedy, so often made and so often wide of the mark, have been calculated to give rise to the fear that security of employment would be threatened, and to gain a cheap political point.

If, for the purpose of attempting to wm an election, there is a desire to weaken the confidence of the community and a deliberate attempt is made to retard reemployment, that is unpardonable. Surely there is manifest in all of us a desire to see every man and women who needs a job obtain one, but we could be pardoned for suspecting the attitude of the Opposition in this respect. To say that this Government has. deliberately created a pool of unemployed is obnoxious. This Government’s policy is one of full employment. Its proven and proud record during the twelve years that it has been in office has been in fact substantiated by the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart), who has just spoken. Never before in the history of this country have we had such a period of prosperity, expansion, development and full employment. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has reiterated again and again that the policy of this Government is one of full employment.

It is shameful to hear the Leader of the Opposition repeatedly saying that the unemployment figures have been “ cooked “, “ doctored “ or faked. He has received in this chamber the assurance of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) that the figures come from 184 different centres in the Commonwealth, and that the Minister does not come into possession of them until such time as the final compilation has been made. Yet, the Leader of the Opposition continues to make such accusations publicly; he did so as recently as Sunday night last, during a television programme. To my mind, Sir, that is a grave reflection on the Public Service of this country, as well as on the integrity of the Minister concerned. It does the Leader of the Opposition very little credit.

Mr Bryant:

– On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I direct your attention to Standing Order No. 61, which states that a member shall not read his speech. The honorable member for Phillip appears to be reading.


Order! The Chair does not recognize that a point of order has been raised.


– For the information of the honorable member for Wills, I point out that the notes I am using were made by my own hand, which is not always the case with the speeches he delivers in this place

The stimulus given by the Budget to the economy cannot be taken in isolation. For a full appreciation of the Government’s measures, we must also have regard to the steps taken prior to its introduction. The credit squeeze has ended. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) admitted this during a television interview (recently. Bank liquidity is higher than for many years. Action has been taken to have bornes built at the rate of 80,000 a year. A crash programme of works, to be carried out in conjunction with the States, has been approved. The savings of the people are rising. The amount of money on fixed deposit has reached an extremely high level. Tax reimbursements to the States of some £90,000,000 and the recent increase in the basic wage, which will amount to £60,000,000 in a full year, will make more money available and place more money in the people’s pockets. They all are expansionary factors.

It is interesting to note, Sir, the opinion of the Labour Government in New South Wales, which is my own State, and to contrast it with the gloomy predictions of the Federal Leader of the Opposition. At the recent opening of the New South Wales Parliament the Governor, Sir Eric Woodward, stated that New South Wales faced an era of great industrial expansion. He listed projects worth £79,000,000 that would be started in New South Wales during the next two years. That amount did not include the sums of money that the Federal Government would be making available to improve the coal loading facilities throughout the State. The new industrial projects contemplated in New South Wales will inject at least £34,000,000 into the State’s economy this year. The New South Wales Housing Commission will build 3,500 homes, or 300 more than it built last year. In addition, it will commence work on several multi-unit housing projects which will cost approximately £1,000,000.

Expenditure on expansion of the oil industry is expected to increase in New South Wales by an astronomical amount. It is expected that expenditure in this field will amount to £57,000,000 in the next few years. That will give a great fillip to the economy of the State and assist in providing more jobs.

It is interesting to recall that since the introduction of the Budget the Government has given a further stimulus to development, particularly in Western Australia. It has decided to allocate £41,000,000 for the standardization of the rail gauge between Kalgoorlie and Perth. It will also provide £150,000 to the Government of Western Australia in connexion with the survey of the railway line from Koolyanobbing to Kwinana. It has been announced that finance will be provided for the construction of roads in the cattle country of Queensland and for the development of the northern parts of Australia. In addition, the South Australian Government has been offered £1,350,000 to provide diesel rolling stock for use on the railways of that State.

That record, Sir, does not present to me a picture of depression. The incentives given in the Budget, and the fact that a deficit of £16,500,000 has been budgeted for this year, in contrast with a surplus of £15,800,000 last year, means that an additional £32,000,000 will be injected into the economy. That is in addition to the £31,000,000 made available to the State governments by the Commonwealth in respect of reimbursements, and a further £10,000,000 for State works programmes. Those steps were taken prior to the introduction of the Budget. The recent rise in the price of wool, the continuing flow of overseas capital, and the assured sale of our wheat, give the green light for renewed expansion along sound lines.

Let us have a look at the confidence of industry. I have here a copy of the “ Manufacturers Bulletin “, a publication prepared by the Associated Chambers of Manufactures. Under the heading “National Survey Reports Renewed Confidence by Manufacturers “, the following statement appears: -

Australian industry expects employment and production to recover during the next four months-

The document was published only this month - according to a survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia and the Bank of New South Wales. The survey, based on the opinions of the executives of 320 companies, reported a re-appearance of confidence.

Does anybody suggest that the chambers of manufactures are not aware of the conditions in this country and of the trials and tribulations of the economy? Their official publication states that a national survey indicates renewed confidence by the manufacturers of Australia.

The Leader of the Opposition has given us a Christmas tree Budget speech. In it, there is something for every one. I do not say that several of the suggestions he made would not be welcomed. There are few Australians who would not like to see pay-roll tax abolished, sales tax cut still further, tax reductions for private industry and more money for the Commonwealth Development Bank. Who would not like to see additional money provided for housing, our north developed as quickly as possible, and more money for war service homes. Who would not like to see income tax abolished for married couples on the basic wage, the availability of increased finance for the States, more public works, increased social service payments, and assistance to the motor car industry - presumably by means of tax reductions, though that is obscure in the speech of the Leader of the Opposition.

Some of these proposals are desirable, but they would be the more appealing if we were told in what set of economic circumstances they could be achieved. I think this is extremely important, because the Leader of the Opposition has conveniently forgotten to tell us how he will finance these proposals. He has also forgotten to say whether he still supports the pensioners in their claim for a pension rate equal to half the basic wage, and whether he still proposes to carry out the promise to double child endowment, which would add many millions of pounds to the already large deficit that would result from the adoption of his other proposals. I have estimated that the cost of implementing the promises of the Leader of the Opposition would be between £250,000,000 and £300,000,000 a year. Can the Leader of the Opposition give us his estimate of the cost to the nation?

One basic fact that the honorable gentleman seems to have overlooked is that governments do not spend their own money, but the people’s money. I believe the Leader of the Opposition knows full well that he will not be called upon to implement his policy of bribing and buying the electors, which he has so blatantly enunciated in this election year. He contents himself with saying that the Opposition would be more adventurous and enterprising. This is ail very fine, but at what cost to the nation? He has not told us that Labour is already committed to raising additional money by taxation, and I mention just a few ways of raising this money that have been suggested by the Leader of the Opposition, his deputy and other members of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Labour has decided that it will restore, at higher rates, the federal land tax which this Government abolished. It will increase death duties and institute a capital gains tax. It will increase company tax by ls. 9d. to 2s. in the £1, and it will increase direct taxation on the individual. These were the words of the Leader of the Opposition himself.

Mr Killen:

– Is this Labour policy?


– This is the policy that has already been enunciated. Why, then, was not the Leader of the Opposition honest when making his Budget speech, telling us that if his proposals were to be carried out, taxation must inevitably be increased? Was he afraid to mention these forms of revenue gathering in an election year? After all, these are some of Labour’s intentions, and I believe it is sheer political dishonesty to promise astronomical amounts of the people’s money as election baits without saying one word about the taxation increases that must automatically follow.

Does the Leader of the Opposition intend to cut the defence vote, as the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) would, and as has been advocated by the Opposition over a period of years? If he intends to do this, he should say so. I believe that the Australian people will want to see Australia’s defence, which is now on a higher standard for peace-time than ever before in our history, maintained.

Mr Bryant:

– Nonsense!


– It is very interesting to hear the honorable member for Wills greet with the exclamation “ Nonsense “ the suggestion that the Australian people want the defence of their country maintained. I think the honorable member should be ashamed.

The Leader of the Opposition does not say one word about our greatly improved balance of payments situation, which is at present better than it has been during the past seven years, our overseas balances standing at £491,200,000. Nor does he say whether his party would impose restrictions by licensing imports. Perhaps he has now become satisfied that import licensing is not necessary to ensure the maintenance of our overseas balances. But again, however, we do not know. Our overseas balances are in such a strong position to-day that the problems we faced a year ago have now been dissipated, and a sound basis has been set for further expansion and stability.

Another important subject is that of immigration, of which little has been said. Would the Leader of the Opposition further reduce immigration, as many of his followers have been advocating, or would be step up the immigration programme? Immigration is of the utmost importance to Australia, for no country has a more dire need to populate than Australia has, and surely the policy outlined by the Leader of the Opposition, involving expansion and development, would require an increased immigrant intake for its successful implementation. The Leader of the Opposition, a former Minister for Immigration, must be well aware of this, but why is he silent on this matter? Is this another example of political expediency. Members of the honorable gentleman’s party, and of the trade unions, are opposed to the immigration programme. Does he feel that it would be politically unpopular with the Communists and union bosses to advocate support of immigration? Is this why he has conveniently overlooked this necessary ingredient of a policy of expansion?

The Australian people, Sir, have a very high regard for honesty, and it is regretted that the Leader of the Opposition has been so blatantly evasive on this occasion. It must be agreed, by both Liberal and Labour adherents, that our Prime Minister has a record, above all, of honesty in politics. At no time has he attempted to act as Father Christmas and hand something to all in an election year for political gain. Nor has he made extravagant promises in policy speeches. He has, however, retained the confidence of the people by sound and workable policies followed by performance and achievement. Knowing full well that the credit squeeze and subsequent legislation would not win in a popularity poll, he did not hesitate to act in the national interest.

The policy propounded by the Labour Party, as I have shown, is in direct contrast to the sound policies that have been pursued by the present Government. It is both uneconomical and unworkable, and it would result in further inflationary pressures, which would unfavorably affect our position in overseas markets. It would dissipate savings, particularly of pensioners and those receiving fixed incomes, who are the hardest hit by inflation. It would result in higher taxation, and socialism would be given such an impetus, if by some mischance the Opposition were elected to occupy the Government benches, that Australian advancement would be retarded for several years.

It is apparent that the Leader of the Opposition, seeing his chance of becoming Prime Minister of Australia growing smaller and smaller, has become a desperate man, with a dangerous policy. The incredible decision of the Labour Party executive last week on unity tickets was a national tragedy, and I believe that only time will tell the degree of harm caused by the Leader of the Opposition failing to grasp the nettle on this issue. I believe it was his duty to give a lead for the taking of firm action to free the Labour Party of the tightening tentacles of the Communists, but the alternative Prime Minister has shown that, now more than ever, he puts electoral expediency before the national interest. His decision has shown quite clearly that he has no authority to speak as a representative of the people, but that he can merely expound a policy which has been decided by persons outside this Parliament, who have not been elected by the people and who have no direct responsibility to the people. This is a curious state of affairs in a democracy, and it might be as well to direct attention to the rules of the Australian Labour Party, which show conclusively that the leader of that party has no authority to formulate party policy.

The leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party, as is the case with other members of that party, is pledged to an outside body known as the Federal Executive. This executive is administered by the secretary. Mr. Chamberlain, who was a prime mover in the disastrous split that occurred some time ago in the Labour Party, and who again seems determined to wreck this once great party, for reasons which, to say the least, are highly suspect. The people, and the members of the Labour Party, can be assured that the long knives are now drawn, and it will be interesting to see where they are next to be plunged.

The A.L.P. decision on unity tickets is catastrophic for Australia.

Mr Peters:

– I raise a point of order, Mr. Temporary Chairman. The honorable member is continuing simply to read a speech which, to judge from the way it has been prepared, was written by the same representatives of Liberalism who> wrote other speeches we have heard. Is> the honorable member in order?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Hon. N. J. O. Makin). - Order! I have listened attentively to the honorable member, who appears to me to be referring to copious notes; he is not transgressing the Standing Orders.


– I repeat for the honorable member’s benefit that the A.L.P. decision on unity tickets is catastrophic for Australia. It has been proved, if proof were needed, that the Communists, by their constant white-anting, have been successful in the Labour Party itself, that they now have sufficient influence over the federal executive of that party, which it must be remembered’ controls the leader and members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, to ignore the appeals of senior members of the elected representatives for firm and telling action against their admitted intrusion into the Victorian branch of the Australian Labour Party. It is interesting to note that the Leader of the Opposition, as do aD Victorian Labour representatives in this House, depends on the whims and wishes of the Victorian executive, which, it must be remembered, has condoned Communist collaboration within the Labour Party and1 whose members choose the Labour candidates for seats in this House. That is to say, the Victorian executive chooses the Labour members who sit in this House. Will this executive tolerate any member who acts contrary to its wishes? And itswishes are, quite plainly, to see a continuation of unity tickets with the Communists. This is a tragic episode in the history of the A.L.P., and I believe that every member of the Labour Party should take stock of his, personal position on this question of unitytickets and decide whether he is going to be a party to assisting the Communists in their continuing policy to wreck the tradeunion movement, to destroy, crush and humiliate good Australian trade unionists and further contribute to the disintegration, of their own party. In the past, other members of this House have put the nation before self in their condemnation of this unholy alliance. Because they were men enough to put the nation first, they were expelled from the A.L.P., but they earned the respect of all anti-Communists in this community and all true Australians.

The spineless attitude of the Leader of the Opposition, who, had he been a leader in substance as well as in name, would have done excellent service not only to the A.L.P. but also to the people of Australia by coming firmly down against the proCommunist Victorian executive, like other members of the Labour Party, depends on this very executive for his seat in this House.

Mr Bryant:

– I rise to order. The honorable member’s statement that the executive of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labour Party is Communist-controlled is offensive to me, and I ask that he be called upon to withdraw it.


Order! There is no substance in the point of order. Any other honorable member, when he has an opportunity to do so, may refute the statement to which exception is taken.


– Has the alternative Prime Minister of this country subordinated his duty to the Austraiian people for personal gain, or for a promise of support after the next election to continue as the Leader of the Opposition? One might well be pardoned, in the light of recent events, if this proposition is more than a fleeting thought in one’s mind. The Leader of the Opposition looks upon capitalism as his greatest enemy, for his peculiar thinking on this matter was emphasized in 1953 when he told the conference of the New South Wales branch of the A.L.P. that capitalism was the No. 1 enemy in Australia and communism our No. 2 enemy. Does the Leader of the Opposition still subscribe to this view? His recent actions suggest that he does.

One thing is certain. He is a selfconfessed Socialist. Although the Labour Party is soft pedalling on the term “ socialism “ these days, he, like all other members of that party, has signed a pledge to socialize industry and the means of distribution and exchange. If I might elaborate, this means the control and nationalization of banks and credit, shipping, public health, radio, television, newspapers, and now insurance, and no doubt many other things which the Labour Party has in mind. If this socialist plan is ever to be brought to fruition, it will have a. tremendous effect not only on the economy but also on the individual, his rights, liberties and freedom of choice. In every way, the Socialist promise or threat, as I see it, can only mean disruption at every level of Australian life, from the higher realms of economic policy right down todaily home life. This, of course, has never worried the Socialists, for pushing peoplearound has merely been incidental to their worship of doctrinaire theories.

Inherent in the Budget speech delivered, by the Leader of the Opposition was the proposition that the Government should set up its own insurance company, but not a. word has been said as to how this is to be done. He gave no indication as to how the capital would be raised for this purpose. He did not say whether the Government would use unfair competition to force private enterprise out of business, nor did he say what compensation would be paid. Would the Government seize the assets of private enterprise, as the Socialists havedone in other countries, in their desire toachieve another step towards nationalization? He has not stated what the prospectsof such nationalized insurance would be of operating at a profit. Or would it be similar to our experience of Labour’s operation of shipping lines? Time is running out and) I cannot deal with shipping in detail now, but I remind the House of what the Labour Government did for shipping in the past.

I come now to the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition towards the private banks. If Labour got into power, its next step would1 be the nationalization of the banks. The attitude of the Leader of the Opposition towards the banks is well known, for we all remember the occasion when he said that private banks have a history of fraud, failure and corruption. Further, we have a recent statement by Mr. Chamberlain, the real boss of the A.L.P., that if Labour is returned to power in December its first consideration will bc the nationalization of the banks. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) has stated that the Labour Party will seek power to control other industries if those industries are not acting in the best interests of the people^ Who would be the judge of whether any business undertaking was being run in the best interests of the people? Would it be the left wing controlled executive of the Labour Party? Would they make this decision, aided by pressure and coercion from their friends, the Communist Party, whose only desire is to make all people and all things subservient to the State? What an absurdity it is for the Opposition to propose such sweeping, grandiose measures of economic nationalization.

The Labour Party proposes to reorganize the country at a time when its members cannot even organize themselves. What a paradox it is that a united socialist Australia should be the election platform of a disunited, Communist-infiltrated political party. It is a fundamental error of socialist doctrine in Australia that the Labour Party, and the Labour Party only, is in tune with the wants, needs, wishes and aspirations of the man in the street. It is also a fundamental error on the part of Labour’s leaders to believe that the washing hung on the line by the Leader of the Opposition in his Budget speech will be seen by the electors as the bright flag of sound policies. Labour’s policy would mean disruption and chaos. It would also mean a social revolution in our way of life. The average Australian enjoys an extremely high standard of living under private enterprise. He has also been accustomed, by his own efforts and labour, to pursuing and living his own life, and to guiding his own advancement. These rights must be zealously guarded. This Government has encouraged a free way of life. Our philosophy is to fix policies to further the needs of the people in their daily lives. We on this side of the House regard the people and their lives as supremely important. We do not impose theories upon them for the sake of experimentation and power.

In addition, the Labour Party, under the guise of constitutional reform, is endeavouring to seek additional power for the Federal Parliament. It is easy to see why Labour is anxious to gain these additional powers; it wants them in order that the socialists might have the opportunity to put into effect their policy of socialization, regimentation of the individual and the crushing of private enterprise. They would not hesitate to use the Communist technique in appointing commissioners or editors to their proposed newspaper commissions.


Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr Bryant:

– I wish to make a personal explanation. In the course of his speech, the honorable member for Phillip said that Australia had the best peace-time defence in her history. I interjected, “ Nonsense “. I point out that my objection applied to another passage of the honorable member’s remarks.


.- 1 was rather surprised that the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Aston) showed such concern about the domestic affairs of the Opposition. Perhaps he was concerned because the Opposition will be in office after the next election, or it may be that he was rehearsing the speech he intends to make during the election campaign. He will have to do better than he did to-day because he will not be able to read his speech in the dark.

I do not intend to launch a tirade against the Liberal Party or the Country Party. The coalition government has brought down this Budget which does not offer any hope to the people who have been forced out of work by the credit squeeze and the legislation passed by the Government in November last. Although things may not be as bright in my areas as apparently they are in the area represented by the honorable member for Phillip, I do not intend to paint a gloomy picture of conditions in north Queensland - the area I am proud to represent. The gloomy picture has already been painted by the Government. The area is subject to seasonal employment, and with sugar harvesting at full swing at present, there are still a number of unemployed. More than 300 are registered at the present time as far as I can gather. The officials are not allowed to release the figures. In the face of this unemployment why does the Government not take measures to protect the plywood industry in this area? Nine plywood mills in the Leichhardt division have been forced to close since November. Had these mills been operating they would have given employment to some of the seasonal workers not engaged in the sugar industry.

The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) has stated on many occasions that seasonal workers are paid a higher wage to offset unemployment during the slack season. Has he taken into consideration the mechanization of the sugar industry which is shortening the harvesting period and thereby lengthening the slack season for the workers? If he had, I am sure he would have made every effort to see that these plywood mills remained operating so that people who were not employed in the sugar industry could have found employment in them.

The natural wealth - I was about to say potential, but I hate the word potential - of the north has been extolled by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and other members of his Cabinet, including the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner), who recently visited that area. We have been told of the great potential of the area and what should be done to improve it and why it should be done. I prefer action to words. Nothing of a consequential nature has taken place in the north although Ministers have visited the area during the past three to five years. It is true that Comalco is to develop the bauxite deposits. As honorable members are aware aluminium is produced from the raw material, bauxite. As the bauxite industry is national in character, and could make a great contribution to the economic condition of the country, it should be watched closely by the Federal Government. The industry should not be allowed to develop in such a way that our raw materials will be taken out of Australia.

It is probably essential that for the time being a certain quantity of this raw material should be allowed out of the country for testing and other scientific purposes, but the aim of governments, both State and Federal, should be to make sure that from this raw material alumina at least is produced. The alumina could then be sold overseas and manufactured into aluminium. If at all possible aluminium should be manufactured in Australia. However, I know that a vast amount of power is required in the manufacture of aluminium. Alumina could be produced here and we should ensure that it is. The situation should be watched by the Federal Government. I say this not only because this industry is a north Queensland project, but also because it is vital to the economy of Australia.

Over the years the north has produced many minerals important to the economy of this country. This mineral wealth has been extracted by gougers using very primitive methods. No company such as Mount Isa Mines Limited exists in this area, yet the total mineral production of the Cairns hinterland from 1880 to 1960 was as follows: - Gold, 2,881,000 ounces; tin, 120,000 tons; copper, 53,000 tons; lead, 31,500 tons; silver, 10,000,000 ounces; tungsten, 11,000 tons; and iron, 50,000 tons. Other minerals include fluorspar and molybdenite. All that mineral wealth has been extracted by primitive methods, and vast mineral wealth can still be won which will make an effective contribution towards Australia’s economic prosperity. If the Australian people do not try to develop the natural resources of this area some one else will be willing to do so. If we neglect to develop these resources we will also merit the criticism of the United Nations for not developing the natural resources at our disposal. Some people very close to us are interested in our raw materials. Japan has indicated that she is interested in developing some of our resources. She has already indicated her willingness to help if we have not the financial resources of our own.

I propose now to return to a discussion of the Budget. Many of the speeches I have heard have had little to do with the Budget itself. I do not think the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) handled the sales tax problem to the best advantage. The concessions he has granted are of very little help to those out of work and to those whose dismissals are pending. Even those who still have jobs, but who are dependent on primary industry, are very cautious in their spending because they have been affected by the credit squeeze and the legislation brought down by the Government since November last. Cabinet Ministers have made statements similar to that made by the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) at a luncheon in Rockhampton, in which he said -

Lack of confidence by business people and consumers was all that was preventing Australia from returning quickly to economic good health.

Such a statement reminds me of a man stricken with a malignant growth. He has been told by his medical adviser that he has only three months to live, but his cobbers come to him and say, “ You are all right, Joe, you will be good for another ten or twenty years”. I repeat that the Treasurer could have handled the sales tax problem much better. Rather than give a small benefit to people who buy refrigerators and washing machines - I say good luck to them - it would have been better to have eased the tax on food. In most cases people buy refrigerators and washing machines on time payment and would therefore receive only a small benefit from the relaxation of sales tax on those items. If sales tax had been reduced on basic foods more people, particularly the family group, would have received a benefit. A large number of items consumed by families are subject to sales tax. Ice-cream is one of them. Why should dog biscuits be exempt from sales tax when biscuits eaten by children carry sales tax? Greater relief would have been extended to the general public if sales tax on foodstuffs had been reduced rather than sales tax on refrigerators and washing machines. If the sales tax on motor vehicles and their components had been reduced, avenues for employment in the industry would have been increased. After all, people do not buy a new refrigerator or a new washing machine more than once in every five years. So, over a period of five years they will not receive any great benefit from the reduction in sales tax on those articles. But if the sales tax on foodstuffs had been decreased, many families would have benefited.

Recently I asked a question in the House about the sales tax on omnibuses. Bus owners were concerned because the Treasurer in his speech said that new buses would be exempt from the payment of sales tax. However, this matter has now been resolved satisfactorily. A bus proprietor who places a new body on an old chassis will not be required to pay sales tax. However, I do not see how the sales tax reduction will help the economy greatly. Bus proprietors are not likely to renew their vehicles every year. In any case who will get the benefit of this exemption? I suggest that the only person to gain will be the bus owner, because the benefit is not likely to be passed on to passengers. They will continue to pay the old fares. The concession as applied to buses is negligible Only the owners - good luck to them - can benefit. There will be no relief for the people who use the buses. Perhaps the Government has in mind providing employment for body builders but the bus bodies are not likely to be renewed every year. Once again, I submit that the sales tax concessions should have been applied more generously in order to give benefits to more people.

With regard to repatriation, I am pleased to see that convalescing ex-servicemen are to receive the equivalent of the total and permanent incapacity pension upon leaving hospital. For many years various organizations fought for that provision. The Government has at last granted that benefit to these people. It is something that should have been done years ago.

I listened with interest to the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Aston) when he referred to age pensioners. I can remember supporters of this Government saying that Dr. Evatt’s policy of increasing the age pension by £1 would, if put into effect, wreck the economy. In the last eighteen months the Government has increased the age pension by 10s. but the economy has not been wrecked and I cannot see how the granting of a further 10s. to a mere 30,000 would wreck it. The pensioners deserve more consideration. I point out also that if the pension were increased by another 10s. or even £1, the pensioners would spend that money. They would not invest it; they cannot afford to invest anything. Their money is spent on clothing or food, from some of which the Government gets 12i per cent, or 33i per cent, in sales tax. So the Government would not be wasting its money. It would be giving the pensioners not £1 but £1 less anything up to 33J per cent.

While on the subject of sales tax it is well to remember that when the Government reduced the sales tax on sporting goods from 33i per cent, to 121 per cent., the customer did not get the benefit of the reduction. Prices remained unaltered. The manufacturers of sporting goods claimed that their costs of manufacture had increased so much that they were forced to retain the old prices. I was in the sporting goods game at the time and I know thai to be a fact.

Mr Chaney:

– You should be ashamed of yourself.


– Unfortunately, I was not a manufacturer.

I would have liked to see the onus of proof provision of the Repatriation Act relaxed. It is very difficult to-day to obtain consideration for a digger of the First World War. Because of the lapse of time those men have great difficulty in proving their claims. One case I know of concerns a digger of the First World War who was in employment all of his life. He never sought aid from the Repatriation Department. He was quite prepared to look after himself. When he needed a doctor’s services he visited his own physician who was himself an ex-serviceman. Although he suffered from time to time he never applied for a repatriation pension or for any other assistance because he always maintained that there were many more deserving cases than his. While he could work he did not intend to apply for a pension. That was all very well while he was alive, but when he died his widow found herself in an awkward situation. She has been trying to obtain a war widows’ pension. Unfortunately, the doctor who attended her husband during his lifetime is now dead and his records are not available. The lady to whom I am referring bas no been able to prove that her husband’s death was due to war causes, although she herself is quite convinced that it was. If his death was not due to war causes, at least his life was shortened because of his war service. It is now too late for evidence to be produced by his unit medical officers or by his senior officers, because all of them have died. In a case such as this I think that a lenient attitude should be adopted by the Repatriation Department. More careful consideration should be given to the claims of women such as the one to whom I have referred. This woman devoted a great amount of her time, when her husband was alive, to Legacy and other patriotic services. Now she must try to obtain a pension of some kind, because she is not old enough to qualify for the age pension. It is very difficult to lay down fixed rules to be applied in repatriation matters and I think that the Minister concerned should have the discretion to deal with these matters other than in the way at present laid down under the act.

Another matter that came to my attention concerned a man who had been injured in an aeroplane accident during war service. However, he was honest enough to tell the repatriation tribunal that at one time he fell from a chair. Now the tribunal cannot decide whether the osteomyelitis from which he is suffering was caused by the aeroplane crash or by the fall from the chair. That man should be given the benefit of the doubt without further ado but his claim has not yet been determined and he has not yet had satisfaction.

The Budget was disappointing in that it did not provide any great assistance for Queensland compared with the assistance provided for the southern States.

Mr Duthie:

– Tasmania does not benefit at all from the Budget.


– No, Tasmania is probably in the same category as Queensland. Western Australia and South Australia have received substantial assistance from the Government. It may be remembered that when the present Queensland Government came to power it stated that it would seek to be declared a claimant State. However, the Queensland Government was persuaded not to adopt that course. Since then, Queensland has received nothing from the Commonwealth. Western Australia is to receive financial assistance for the standardization of the railway line between Kwinana and Kalgoorlie. This afternoon in answer to a question the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said that Western Australia was being assisted by the Commonwealth because the work involved is largely gauge standardization, whereas work on the Mount Isa to Townsville railway is not standardization of gauge. What would be the use of constructing the Mount Isa to Townsville line of standard gauge? The rollingstock could not travel on to the main Queensland railway system. When you think of the difficulty the Queensland Government has had in getting £21,000,000 for the re-construction of the Mount Isa line, compared with the relatively easy conditions on which the southern States have obtained loan money from the Commonwealth Government, you realize how the people of Queensland must feel. The Queensland Government had to send its Treasurer and two other senior Ministers, almost cap-in-hand, to the United States of America to ask for money. Eventually, the Commonwealth Government approached the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for a loan.

Mr Hulme:

– This is not true, you know.


– It is true, as far as I know. I know that Mr. Hiley and the other two Ministers went to America to try to borrow money for the re-construction of the Townsville to Mount Isa railway. If that is not true, the Queensland Government and “ Hansard “ are not correct. They tried unsuccessfully in America to raise the money for the Mount Isa railway. Ultimately, the Commonwealth agreed to provide the money on terms requiring Queensland to re-pay at the rate of £1,000,000 a year. If that is not so, the “ Hansard “ record is wrong and the Minister for Supply (Mr. Hulme) is right. I feel that Queensland did not get a fair deal in this matter, nor is it getting a fair deal in connexion with roads to assist the cattle industry. It might not be the fault of the Commonwealth Government; it might be the State Government’s fault, but both governments are of the same colour and they are putting up a good enough case. Why are they not able to do something about it? There are eighteen members from Queensland on the Government side in this chamber. If these things are necessary, they should be told to put up a stronger case for assistance from the Commonwealth Government. They should not be kept in the dark by this Government. It is a case of passing the buck.

The Commonwealth claims that it is the State’s responsibility to do this and that, but the Commonwealth Government has a responsibility to the States. We should have some way of providing adequate assistance to the States for development. The States have natural resources and the National Government, in the interests of the economy, should advise them to develop those resources. Often, that work is beyond the financial capacity of the State governments.

The Minister has said that north Queens.lanl has wonderful deposits of raw materials which should be developed. If we are going to populate our north, the Commonwealth Government should develop the mineral and pastoral resources of that area. The Budget has given no hope of this whatever, particularly for north Queensland. Nothing in the Budget suggests that unemployment there will be relieved, or that vital industries will be developed in the north to absorb the unemployment or the seasonal workers whose working season is being reduced by automation and mechanization.

These problems should be the concern of this Parliament. We have an opportunity to show the rest of the world what can be done in tropical areas. Possibly, we have better deposits of raw materials and other potential assets than other countries of the world have in similar areas. We have an opportunity to set them an example. They should be helped to develop their countries instead of casting envious eyes towards us.

Mr Hulme:

– How could you build up an economic industry in the north in the off-season?


– I did not hear the Minister’s interjection, but I am prepared to talk to him about the situation at any time. I am very concerned about north Queensland. Unless that area is developed we will lose it, and we will deserve to lose it. If we do not lose it as a result of force, we will lose it as the result of criticism in the United Nations. Members of the United Nations are looking for opportunities to criticize us. We have a mandate over Papua and New Guinea and our critics have made several attacks on our administration of that Territory. What are we doing in northern Australia generally, including north Queensland, the north-west of Western Australia and the Northern Territory? Those areas must be developed.

I do not accept statements that the land is arid and no good. Anybody who has been to the Middle East and seen what the Jews have done in the Jordan Valley and in similar areas will understand that. The land that has been developed by the Jews looks worse than the Simpson Desert, which I flew over recently. The Jews have irrigated their land and have planted citrus fruits in areas that did not previously appear to be worth anything. If we are to populate our north, we must establish industries there to attract people.

We must look for some means of transport, not only by road but also by sea. If the coastal shipping companies are not prepared to run a service, the Government should try to establish a shipping service. Already we have lost the ships which formerly engaged in the tourist trade. They have been sold to overseas interests. The tourist industry is a valuable asset. The sea trip was not only part of a holiday; it was a colourful and attractive journey along the coast. I hope that the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) will make that trip in the future.

Mr Chaney:

– I am too busy in my electorate. I do not travel like the honorable member does.


– He travels on the rollon, roll-off ship. However, I think the Budget should have given some incentive to the majority of the people, rather than helping relatively few individuals. It has given relief to a certain section of the people, but has not helped the seasonal workers or the people in north Queensland generally. The tax concessions that have been handed out will not improve the employment position. Unemployment will be just as grave a problem as it has been. The harvesting season is now in full swing in Queensland, but by the end of November, there will probably be 1,200 to 1,500 people out of work in Cairns. Something must be done about this problem. There are 300 people out of work there now, and the season is in full swing.

Mr Chaney:

– What is the normal figure at this time of the year?


– Normally, we would not have any unemployed persons, except 50 or 60 who are unemployable. At this time of the year, there are usually fewer than 100 people out of work, but there are more than 300 registered now, not including immigrants who have not yet been naturalized.

Mr Murray:

– There will be 2,000 meat workers out of work in a few weeks’ time.


– Yes, the meat industry and the sugar industry will add to the number of unemployed. The unemployment figure will be higher before the genera] election unless the Government pulls on the election early in November.


Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.


.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, we have just heard from the honorable member for Leichhardt (Mr. Fulton) a speech which was moderate, sincere, thoughtful and, if I may say so, of the kind which we have come to expect from him. I do not agree with what he said, but I should like to say in passing that the ingredients of the speech which I have just enunciated are, unfortunately, becoming rare in the speeches we hear from honorable members on the other side of the chamber.

It is interesting to observe in passing, Sir, that in the latter part of this twentieth century the basic character of budgets prepared by governments of all countries has been changed. Budgets are no longer passive documents which set out in modified accounting form a simple statement of expected receipts and expenditure. They are now active and vital instruments of economic policy. Until comparatively recent times a budget was simply, as its name suggests, an academic accounting document in which the planned national expenditure was set off against anticipated government income and the totals either were reconciled or were made to produce a surplus or a deficit. This balance was merely a fortuitous result of a simple arithmetical problem of subtraction. To-day, however, with the growth of knowledge in this new science of economics, a budget can be, and indeed always is, a powerful and effective instrument in determining national economic policies, and its effects can be measured directly in terms of national stability and of human happiness and prosperity.

Whilst a budget can, in the hands of a responsible Treasurer, be a most useful means of maintaining economic stability, it is sobering to realize that in the hands of an irresponsible radical it can change the entire face of a nation’s way of life appreciably in a very short time. We have already observed, to our sorrow, how fiscal policies introduced by socialist governments in other countries have almost completely changed the economic and social fabric of those nations without offending any clauses of their constitutions, which were designed primarily to protect the rights of the individual person or corporation. In my more melancholy moments I sometimes wonder whether, if our socialist friends opposite were ever returned to power in this country, they would bother to try the tortuous legislative fairway, littered with constitutional hazards and bunkers, to attain their objectives. I suspect - according to the oft-repeated threats of their leaders, there are good grounds for my suspicion - that they would carefully avoid the fairway of legislation and would arrive at their so-called greens of socialist achievement from the rough of radical economic thought and policies. With the increase in economic knowledge and with the Constitution of this country a plain deterrent to its socialist objectives, the Labour Party would no more need to suffer the humiliation of adverse High Court judgments but could, and certainly would, engage in an orgy of nationalization and socialization of our banking institutions, insurance companies and basic industries - indeed, as its platform soberly reminds us, of all our means of production, distribution and exchange.

This Budget which we are debating, then, is a most important document. I believe it is a sound Budget - one which has been specifically designed to sustain economic stability in Australia. What is economic stability, and what are the factors which influence it? On this question there is a great divergence of opinion. It is interesting to note that in regard to most professions the layman will not presume to pass a technical opinion. On matters relating to medicine, the sciences, architecture and law, the layman respectfully keeps his peace; but in this new inexact science of economics a great number of people, without undertaking any research or prior study of the subject, will deliver the most profound judgments and prophesies on future trends. This is understandable, since all of us are engaged in some form of economics - for example, the economics of organizing and constructing our own households. We have the constant problem of matching our expenditure with our income, and by increasing or decreasing one or the other, our household economy can be stabilized - a very simple economic problem.

The management of a national economy is quite different. Many other factors and variables are introduced. In addition tomatching income with expenditure, a government must have regard to maintaining full employment, to keeping its balanceofpayments position in equilibrium, to ensuring that production and the supply of goods, keep pace with demand, to checking the incidence of inflation in an expanding economy, and to channelling both material and human resources into the areas that are best for the national good. At the same time, it must plant an economic base which is capable of coping with future unexpected problems - truly a complex project. It would be difficult enough if the country concerned was entirely self-sufficient and did not have to anticipate circumstances, beyond its control. Of course, such is not the case with Australia. So dependent arewe on the economic circumstances in other countries - for we are among the ten toptrading nations of the world - that these outside phenomena introduce other variables into an already complex problem.

The problem of maintaining economicstability, particularly in Australia, therefore is one which has to be approached scientifically. If a flaw develops in one of the areas I have just mentioned, corrective measures, unless taken with caution, can merely provoke an out-of-balance situation in some other sector. For example, if demand falls off and an over-supply of goods is present, measures taken to stimulate demand might well disturb the equilibrium in the price levels in the economy and cause inflationary pressures to develop.

Although classical economic theory has developed much since the 1930’s, national economics still remains an inexact science. Whilst the scientist has his laboratory andean test his theories in the safe confines of a test tube, there is no laboratory for the economist other than the community at large. He can use no simple, harmless tests, such as those which turn blue litmus paper red or red litmus paper blue, for his theories before their real life application. The results of the application of his theories cannot be nearly as clear cut nor as quickly determined. I believe that it is necessary for us to consider this rather complex background before we can appraise correctly and objectively the merits of this Budget. When highlighting the difficulties that are confronted by a national Treasurer in determining sound policies for a nation one certainly is brought to the inevitable conclusion that a magnificent job has been done by the Menzies Government in maintaining economic stability in Australia over the past eleven years. The maintenance of such stability in any country is not easy. In Australia, a top trading nation and one which is so dependent on outside influence, it is a highly complex task.

Let us consider, then, the specific factors which motivated the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) to introduce the kind of document we are now discussing. In 1960 there was a boom. Before the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) delivered his speech it would hardly have been necessary to mention this fact, because all thinking people must have recognized the presence of the boom. But in his speech the honorable gentleman made the astonishing statement that no boom conditions existed in 1960. He must have been in a cleft stick when considering how he could honestly criticize the Government’s measures of November, 1960. If he were to admit that there was a boom, logically he would have to agree with the measures that were taken. So, to be deliberately political and wilfully critical, he simply assumed that there was no boom. In making such a statement he reminds me of the manager of a professional fighter who, in wishing to castigate his charge upon sustaining an injury in a bout he has just won, simply assumes that there was no opponent.

When, in spite of the fact that in the honorable gentleman’s home city of Melbourne in the latter part of 1960 six or seven jobs were available for a man in several industries, in spite of the fact that land speculation and profiteering were reaching dizzy and insane heights, in spite of the fact - as we were reminded by the

Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in a truly magnificent speech delivered last week - Australia had become a net importer of steel, and in spite of the fact that motor vehicles were being registered at the astonishing rate of 330,000 per year and a great number were being sold irresponsibly on little or no deposit, the Leader of the Opposition states, as he has stated, that no boom conditions were present, he must have a much smaller appreciation of economic principles than that for which I give him credit or he has wilfully misstated the position to make political capital out of it. I fear that the latter is the case. The Government’s great courage in introducing unpopular measures in an election year must have caused some worry to the honorable gentleman and to his party. If indeed there was no boom, the Leader of the Opposition has given no reasons for this extraordinary action by the Government in November, I960. At this stage, [ should like to say, as a new member of this chamber, how proud I am to be associated with a government that has quite clearly demonstrated it acts in the first instance for the good of the community and not for its own political safety.

Is the Leader of the Opposition so naive that he would believe that this Government with its considerable experience would capriciously bring down unpopular measures in November, 1960, and a conservative Budget in August, 1961, on the very eve of an election, if it had not considered they were absolutely necessary in the public interest? There is little doubt that the boom which had developed in I960 had enough momentum to carry through 1961 to the 1961 election. This could have meant, if the Government had wished it, that the people of Australia would have gone to the polls in boom times and extraordinarily buoyant conditions. Indeed, this Budget could have been specifically designed to buy votes at the forthcoming election. 1 repeat I am proud to be associated with a government and with a treasurer primarily motivated by a spirit of altruism and not by a spirit of political self-gain.

It is amusing to contemplate what the attitude of the Opposition would have been if the Government had produced a Budget similar to that suggested by the Leader of the Opposition. There would have been loud and desperate cries from the Opposition that the Government was buying votes or that it had deliberately created economic problems to solve them in an election year. There can be little doubt that the proposed budget of the Opposition is a shameful attempt to buy the votes of the Australian people. We are confident that these same people, who are not easily hoodwinked by hollow, rash promises, will pay due credit to a government which plainly has their interests at heart.

Was a panic Budget required? What is the real position? I could go to some lengths to prove the soundness of the Australian economy to-day, but let me quote from an authority perhaps more objective and certainly more dispassionate than I am. Mr. Floyd G. Blair, a leading United States financier and former vicepresident of the First National Bank of New York, in Sydney just a week ago said -

I wish everything in the United States was in such good shape as things in Australia. Your country is well on its way out of the recent economic troubles. Some people will tell you that Australia is SO years behind the United States. That is nonsense. You are running close - neck and neck - with us.

Explaining that he did not want to sound a political note, he said -

In America, we would consider that your 2.7 per cent, unemployment was practically full employment. I cannot see why people-

Obviously he meant the calamity howlers on the other side of the chamber and elsewhere - talk about the gloomy, uncertain or hazy outlook of Australia. We have unemployment running at about 6 per cent, in the United States.

Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m.


– Before the suspension of the sitting I was describing a budget as a very important document in this twentieth century - a document which is no longer a simple accounting document but a vital and virile instrument in the determination of economic policy, to be measured directly in terms of human beings.

I referred to the Opposition’s reply to the Budget. One would not be blamed for assuming that the speech of the Leader of the Opposition was a preview of the Opposition’s policy speech which will be made later this year. I am not one of those who consider that because a man is of a different political persuasion from one’s own he is necessarily insincere or a scoundrel. There is a basic philosophical cleavage, however, between the followers of the Australian Labour Party and those who are privileged to sit on this side of the chamber. We believe in the supreme rights of the individual to live as he pleases, to work as he pleases and to be free in his choice in all things. The Labour Party, on the other hand, wishes to take these freedoms away. It wishes to regiment the individual. 1 must say that, in all sincerity, Opposition members believe that this particular philosophy will bring about the maximum happiness among human beings. But surely the results of the tragic experiments that have been attempted by socialist governments in other countries should have enlightened honorable gentlemen opposite as to the abject failure of this policy of taking away the freedom of the individual. I do, in all concience, while granting them sincerity in their approach to their political philosophy, condemn as insincere and false the way in which they make such promises as the Leader of the Opposition made in his speech last week, when they know quite well that they are completely incapable of fulfilling those promises. Even if the Leader of the Opposition has not the grasp of economics that he might have there are several members opposite who are well trained in this particular science and are not ignorant of the implications of those irresponsible promises and the harm that attempting to keep them could do to the nation and its economy. The blame attaching to these honorable members particularly for attempting to hoodwink the Australian people is tremendous.

It is rather peculiar to see the Labour Party emerging as the champion of the people who have vested interest in the recurrence of inflation in this country - the people who speculate on the Stock Exchange for sheer profit, the people who have been speculating in land. It must be obvious to all that the policy enunciated by the Leader of the Opposition in his speech would be terribly inflationary for this country. Although the Budget pre pares a healthy climate for meeting our future economic problems it cannot be assumed that one fiscal measure or set of measures can attend to all the difficulties which beset , US, but it cannot be denied that the Government’s November measures were abundantly successful in correcting our balance-of -payments position, which was deteriorating at that time. If we need any proof of this, we need only look at the Opposition’s references to that situation. Now that the Government’s measures have proved successful references by the Labour Party to this matter are conspicuous by their absence. However, nobody assumes that the future allows for complacency. lt is unfortunately true that Australia has an intractable balance-of-payments problem. In its efforts to achieve a positive balance between exports and imports the Government has already done much in a positive way to increase exports. But even the most hopeful of us will readily concede this as only a long-term permanent solution. In the meantime, our balance of payments can be kept in equilibrium by one of four methods. These are, first, import controls; secondly, devaluation of the currency; thirdly, control of demand; and fourthly, the displacement of imports.

The first method - the control of imports - is a defeatist expedient. One would believe that in this enlightened age it is neither desirable nor possible to use this negative approach. Apart from our limitations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade the very nature of that method inhibits the real correction of the situation. Surely the fact that our basic balanceofpayments position was not improved after several years’ experience of this crude and unsophisticated method is evidence enough to dismiss it as a solution of our problems. It is strange that certain manufacturers clamour for its re-introduction, because there are few other measures which would more quickly lead to strong inflationary pressures - which, of course, would be primarily detrimental to those very manufacturers who advocate the use of this method.

The second method - the devaluation of the currency - is certainly not the panacea some people seem to think. Unless it is accompanied permanently by strong com plementary anti-inflationary action, the fundamental causes would quickly re-assert themselves. Devaluation begets devaluation unless other strong and unpalatable action is taken.

The third method - the control of demand to within limits of supply - has been the Government’s policy, and although there has been no shortage of forecasters of doom the measures have succeeded in bringing the balance-of-payments position under control.

The fourth method - the displacement of imports - offers, in my view, a field which is as yet virtually unexplored but has enormous possibilities. In overall terms it can well be said that the attraction of overseas capital to this country has been a big factor in equating our balances in the last few years. That overseas companies appraise Australia’s future in this way is in itself a glowing tribute to the Menzies Government; but while the attracting of overseas capital has helped to solve our short-term problems a pattern could well develop in which it might well construct long-term problems. Let me say quickly that I firmly believe in encouraging this life-giving transfusion of foreign capital into our economy; but I do advocate some system which will be more selective and discriminatory so that those kinds of industries, or that kind of capital, designed to take the place of imports, will be attracted here in preference to funds which, in the long term, will not assist our balance-of-payments position but will aggravate it by stimulating greater imports.

This subject is too large for me to deal with in detail here, but I suggest strongly that the Government might well consider ways and means of attracting to Australia a preponderence of import-replacing capital over the other kinds of investment which are parasitic or import-stimulating.

We on this side of the chamber have no doubt that a return to business buoyancy is imminent. With it will come a sound economic base to cope with the multiplicity of circumstances which can arise without warning - a base upon which we can build for the tremendous problems ahead, not the least of which is the possible reorientation of our trade policies because of Britain’s proposed entry into the European Economic Community.

In conclusion, may I remind honorable members that the Leader of the Opposition spoke of courage. I have asked myself with what brand of courage I would like to be associated - with that displayed by the Leader of the Opposition and his party in a cheap gesture to buy the votes of the Australian electorate and to place our country in an impossible economic situation for the future, or with that brand of courage manifested by our Treasurer and our Government in steadfastly holding to principles designed for the betterment of the Australian people. My choice, Sir, is very simple.


.- Before and after the suspension of the sitting to-night, but more particularly before, we had the spectacle in this Federal Parliament of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) sitting in his place applauding the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) applauding the Prime Minister. This is the kind of unreal atmosphere in which the Government exists, the kind of self-delusion which the Government practices at this time. According to the Government, we live in the perfect state and we live under the most perfect of governments. It is a government which, at every hand’s turn, is congratulating itself on how it has saved Australia. But 1 should like to say, on behalf of the thousands of people in the community whom 1 know, that the smug selfcongratulation that this Government accords itself is not supported by them. Certainly it is not supported by the many thousands of unemployed. Nor it is supported by the thousands of other good but disappointed people in the community who have invested their life savings in business under the inducement of this Government.

This Government, which in past times has taken the plaudits for vastly increased production of this, that and the other thing, and which has spoken of the rich investment in this country, has shattered overnight the dreams and the investments of many good people. I will speak at more length about that matter in a little while. For the time being, I shall content myself with those remarks which might jolt, for a moment at least, the smug self-complacency of this twelve-year-old Government.

This Budget not only fails to deal with our immediate problems of getting people back to work and restoring business confidence and activity, but it also fails dismally to provide a bold blueprint for Australia’s future development. This, Mr. Chairman, is the third occasion within the twelve years of this Government’s existence on which the Australian economy has been depressed, shackled and enslaved by restrictive credit squeezes, high taxation and consequent high unemployment. It is bad enough that a young nation should be thwarted in this way on three quickly successive occasions, but it is worse still when the erring government still gives no indication that it has learned how to deal effectively with the situation.

The Government again talks of a reallocation of resources into more essential industries, of balanced national growth and development and of economic stability; but that is as far as it goes. Even if one were particularly generous - one would have to be - and conceded that some worthwhile, even if painful, correction of the economy had been made, the Government gives no indication of how this condition can be maintained. Rather, the recipe seems to be “ as before “ - indiscriminate and unbalanced expansion for a while and then another bout of jolting, jamming restrictions and controls. This is the Government spoken of by my immediate predecessor in this debate! This is the Government that is supposed to be standing for freedom! This is the Government that represents liberty, liberal enterprise, free enterprise and unrestricted enterprise. Industry has never been so shackled in the existence of this nation. It is bad enough that the economy should be under controls; but it is under maladministered and inefficient controls. The nation has to endure these recurring painful episodes and neither this Budget nor any other statement of policy gives any assurance at all that while this Government lasts, the nation will not be put through this same painful economic mangle again and again each few years. That has happened three times in ten years already.

The Government has not a fundamental policy for Australia’s development. It is a bits-and-pieces government. The crying shame of it all is that this unfortunate Government is holding back Australia’s development just at the time when so many other nations of the world are surging forward. Even worse still is the fact that the Government apparently does not see or recognize the damage that it is doing to the nation. It is living in a world of unreality, as I said at the outset. It sees itself as the paragon of all virtues and a bold courageous government. I wonder what courage was called out of the Government for it to give the colossal increase of 5s. a week to our pensioners! I wonder what kind of courage it took for the Government to give an increase of 17s. 6d. a week to a family, irrespective of its size, in which the breadwinner is unemployed! Whether there be five, six or seven children in the family or whether it is just an ordinary family of a mother and father and three or four children, they are asked to live on £7 a week by a government that has deliberately and purposefully summoned up its courage to put people out of employment. That is the kind of courage that is before us to-night.

Mr Anderson:

– What bunkum!


– Of course, the very affluent member of the Australian Country Party says, “ What bunkum “, but we will see what the electors have to say about these people having to live on £7 a week. Where the Government does recognize some defects in the economy, it says that they are just passing defects. To this Government, a quarter of a million people either totally or partially out of employment is just a passing defect! In a country like this - a vast country with all the opportunities for expansion - one wonders how any government could so mismanage the country as to cause such vast unemployment. It surpasses comprehension.

Government supporters make reference to what somebody in the United States of America has said. The United States has about 180,000,000 people and a more complex economy than ours; out honorable members opposite liken it to a continent as vast as Australia with all the expansion and population that is desired and urgently required here! How the Government can so mismanage the country as to cause this vast number of unemployed people and this vast amount of unemployed resources such as machinery, buildings, factories and business acumen surpasses comprehension. Yet Government supporters come along and congratulate themselves on being so effective.

They are the people who decry as calamity howlers those who direct attention to this state of affairs, whether they be business people, social welfare workers, or the nine clergymen representing various denominations in Melbourne who called on the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) yesterday to inform him of the wretched state of poverty being endured by thousands of people. Apparently all of these people are calamity howlers. For example, the president of the Chamber of Automotive Industries referred to this as one of the most colossal mistakes, or pieces of economic bungling by anygovernment in Australia. Is that the sort of” thing that would be said by a businessman without justification? Would a businessman be prepared to tear down the edifice of the economy by making an irresponsible statement?

These measures were purposefully designed by the Government. It is no use for the Government to say that these things were caused by somebody else who is sabotaging the confidence of the community. These things have been purposely caused by the Government. The Government set out to curb credit and to curb the motor vehicle industry. The Government also set out to cut back housing, of all things, in this community, developing as it is and with immigrants still pouring into it. We are told by the Commonwealth Statistician that a much higher proportion of young people are approaching marriageable age. They will be wanting homes and already there is a backlag of people wanting homes. The Government has to face the fact that in Australia to-day the rate of home-building is lower than at any other time in the last thirteen years. The honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Aston), who is interjecting, will have his opportunity to speak. He will be answerable to his electors. If he wants to support these measures he can do so for all he is worth and I will enjoy hearing him do so.

No matter how much this omnipotent Government kicks you around, you are supposed not to raise your voice in criticism because that will kill public confidence. It does not matter how many thousands of other people become unemployed, so long as you do nothing that might cause this Government to become unemployed. However, this same high-minded Government shows little restraint in its own criticisms. By gross misrepresentation it does all that it can to shake public confidence in alternative and vastly more imaginative policies put forward by its critics and by its political opponents. This Government, with all its mistakes and maladministration, has certainly been a load on Australia’s back.

Let me look very briefly, in the time allowed to me, at some of the colossal mistakes that have accrued as a result of the Government’s policy. As I said before, it is extraordinary that a country such as this could be so mismanaged as to have so many people out of work. There are 113,000 people officially acknowledged as being fully out of work. We can add to those thousands more, including, for instance, women who do not bother to register for work. Because their husbands are in fulltime work or in part-time work, they are not eligible to register for the unemployment benefit. They know that jobs are not available and therefore they do not register. My office in the electorate of Barton is in the same building as one of the biggest branches of the Commonwealth Employment Office in the metropolitan area of Sydney. I see people coming into that office in even bigger numbers at the present time than there were formerly.

This situation is confused. There has not been an accurate presentation of the situation to the Australian people, taking account of all these factors. There are women who do not register and migrants who are not yet employed and who have never had employment in Australia. They are not listed; they are not included in the count. They are in receipt of what are called special benefits from the Department of Social Services. In addition, there are all the able-bodied people - a quite numerous group- to whom I have not yet heard reference made, who are forced into receipt of either the age pension or the service pension. A man of 65 years of age or a woman of 60 years of age is not eligible to register for employment. Such people come to my office, and I know that they go to many other offices, and say, “ It seems as though I cannot get a job. I am forced, against my inclination, to accept the age pension.” Ex-servicemen say, “ We are forced to accept the service pension “. Many of the latter are forced into this position at the age of 60 years. There is all this waste of human ability and human endeavour in a country that is crying out for development. That is the tragedy of it. That is the tragedy of this Government.

Then, of course, no account is taken of the innumerable people on short-time work. I do not think that there could be any accurate assessment of the number of these people, but we hear of people being laid off for a fortnight in the motor industry and in other industries that are linked with it, such as the Goodyear tire company, the Lucas company, and many other companies that provide accessories for the motor industry. This applies also to the accessory industries linked with housing and building generally. They are also in the same position. As a consequence, we have the sorry spectacle, in this day of prosperity under a Libera] Government, of 20 per cent, of the employees of General Motors-Holden’s Limited being affected. According to the New South Wales president of the Automotive Products Manufacturers Association, about 31 per cent, of the workers in industries producing components for motor vehicles have been retrenched since November last. The rot spreads. It is no wonder that Mr. W. W. D. Daunt, secretary of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, referred to the Government’s measures as “ one of the greatest economic bungles in our history”. He is a calamity howler, of course, just like the reverend gentlemen in Victoria yesterday and the reverend gentlemen in Sydney the previous week, who are trying desperately to provide some kind of salve for these people in their distress.

There is the spectacle. Talk about recovery! Of course, the Prime Minister is now softening up the Australian people, saying, “Do not expect too quick a recovery, because there are large stocks to be cleared yet “. My word, there are large stocks to be cleared! A lot of money is pouring into this country at the moment to provide people with credit to purchase goods of which delivery has already been taken. To-day there are 42,000 unsold vehicles in the showrooms of motor sales organizations. That is three times the number normally heid. This is the situadon. Has it taken great courage? It has taken colossal mismanagement, the kind of mismanagement that lifted the lid off imports and allowed them to pour into this country. Does the Government take credit for having been forced to take the consequent corrective action, hitting not only what it regards as guilty industries and investors but also thousands of innocent people by the blanket credit squeeze and blanket taxation imposts on the Australian community?

As I said at the outset, it is bad enough that we have to go through this, but no assurance is given and no new policy is indicated to ensure that once we get over this problem the situation will not recur. When credit is released - as it will have to be - by this Government or a succeeding government, what will happen then? What will be done to maintain the situation that the Government says was so desirable, with people being placed in what the Government regards as essential industries, and taken out of the automotive industry. What happens now when credit is released? What is to stop all those workers and all the capital involved from flowing back into these so-called unessential industries? Not a word is said about bow the situation is to be maintained. Not a word is said to indicate that what we have just gone through is not likely to recur. When we have cleared the stocks of imported goods and when credit is released, what will the Government do to prevent a similar bulk of imports from pouring into the country again?

Government supporters may talk about the tariff policy, but the Government’s tariff policy is like the rest of its policies - hit or miss, bits and pieces. In applying emergency measures, no overall survey is made of the nation’s requirements in inmports. There are no specified objective criteria of essential imports. None of these things are told to the Australian people. What confidence can any man going into the motor industry have in making a longterm investment? Does the Government tell him what it regards as a desirable output of motor cars in Australia? Has he any warning that he may in the Government’s eyes on a subsequent occasion again overstep the mark? There is no indication on matters of this sort.

In these circumstances, the Prime Minister rejected out of hand the request by the Premiers of various States for a gettogether with the Commonwealth Government on this matter in order to attack unemployment. The Prime Minister said that there would be a meeting early in the new year, after the general election. Is he avoiding, for instance, his colleague, the Premier of South Australia, who went on record, according to the Sydney “ Sun “, following the Prime Minister’s address to members of the Liberal Party in the Sydney Town Hall, in these terms -

The South Australian Premier this week made it very clear to his own Parliament that he considered the Federal Government’s policies in the past year were wrong. With bluntness and candour painful to Mr. Menzies and his “ practical “ Ministers, Sir Thomas denounced the credit squeeze as unwise and demanded its earliest possible removal. He also made it clear that his views of what should be done to remedy the situation were very different from those being voiced by the Prime Minister and his advisers.

Mr Curtin:

– Who said that?


– The Liberal Premier of South Australia had that to say of his self-congratulating colleagues in this chamber.

Mr Cleaver:

– We are still waiting for your policy.


– You will hear a lot about it, and you will not like it. The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) went one better. He went over to Western Australia to give the people of Perth his views on the unemployment position. In an address to the Young Liberals in Perth the AttorneyGeneral was reported as having said that it was not the Government’s task to solve the unemployment problem and that, in fact, the less the Government had to do with it, the better. The Government has caused unemployment. It has pushed people out of employment and has forced private industries to unload their employees, yet it says it is not the Government’s job to put them back into employment. That is the kind of government we have in command in Australia to-day. I have referred to the unemployment benefit. There was no increase in this benefit for four years, and now a paltry £7 a week is being paid to an unemployed man with a family. He and his family are expected to exist on that.

In this day and age, governments interfere with or intrude into - call it what you like - the economy of the nation, and do so deliberately in order to correct, in their own terms, die state of the economy. I suggest to the Government, in all sincerity, that if, in so doing, it puts people out of work, those people should be compensated accordingly, and the compensation should be not less than the basic wage. I do not care about the cost. I think that the common humanity demands that. If, by govmental action, you deliberately put people out of work, whether they have been employed by the Government or by private enterprise, you should compensate them. “Why should those unfortunate people bear the brunt of the Government’s measures? If correction of the economy is necessary in the national interest, then, to my mind, the nation should bear the cost of it.

There are many other ill effects of the Government’s actions, but time will not allow me to refer to them all to-night. A recent survey by the Department of Trade shows that production has fallen in 33 industries and that employment is down in 29 industries. There are 52,300 fewer workers in Australian manufacturing industries to-day than there were formerly, but despite this, and despite the large numbers of young people leaving school and seeking employment, we are still bringing into the Australian community annually about 100,000 people from overseas. That is the pitiful condition in which the country finds itself in under this self-congratulating Government.

On 29th July the Commonwealth Statistician revealed that only 47,870 homes were under construction at the end of the financial year 1960-61 - the lowest figure for thirteen years. That was bad enough, but in July the number of approvals for home building declined by a further 12 per cent. That is a scandalous state of affairs, affecting new Australians and other people who have been desperately seeking homes for years.

The nation’s adverse trade balance at the end of the last financial year was £369,000,000. We were £369,000,000 in the red on current account, or £150,000,000 deeper in the red than we were the year before. In fact, we were in the red to twice the extent that we were two years ago. That is the situation with which we are faced. Defaults in business payments are now commonplace, setting up a chain reaction. If one man cannot meet his commitments he puts another man in the same position, and so the process goes on. That is a cycle for which the Government is blaming everybody but itself.

I cannot refer to all the obvious examples of this Government’s mismanagement. I wish now to refer briefly to some things which could be done and ought to be done, and I will elaborate on them during the debate on the Estimates. The Government is proposing what it is pleased to call a crash programme of public works, but it does not give the State governments or local governing bodies any assurance that if they accelerate their spending in this half of the year it will, if necessary, add to their resources in the second half of the year. There has been no assurance of that kind. The Government says to the State governments and to municipal bodies, “ Go ahead and spend. Employ people. Get them to work. Do anything to get us back into power at the end of this year. We could not care less what happens after that. We will not give an assurance that if you spend most of your money in this half of the financial year we will give you more in the next half.” Yet when the Labour Party comes out with a positive proposal to remit the pay-roll tax on local government bodies, the Government says the proposal is impracticable. When the Labour Party comes out with a policy to give all the proceeds of the petrol tax to the States for road-building purposes, the Government sneers. But that is not the feeling of the National Roads and Motorists Association in New South Wales. A spokesman for that body said -

We are gravely disappointed at the Federal Government’s failure to make more funds available for road works. During the five years to 1964 the Commonwealth will pass on to the States about £250,000,000 for roads, but in the same period motorists will pay the Commonwealth over £350,000,000 in fuel taxes.

That is what the motorists will pay in fuel taxes alone, excluding sales tax, excise duty or customs duty on cars. That is the tax they will pay in taxes on petrol and diesel oil alone. In the five-year period to 1964 this Government will take out of the funds raised by the petrol tax a sum of £100,000,000. That money will not be applied for the benefit of the road users of the nation, to the development of urgently needed roads, whether in the south or the north. The Government will take £ 100,000,000 in five years. That is a pretty solid sock in anybody’s language. I am reminded that it is the local government authorities and the municipal authorities which have to build and maintain 75 per cent, of the roads in Australia. Is it any wonder that the poor property-owning ratepayers in our municipalities and shires are being hit so hard to-day? They have to bear the burden of the great bulk of our road construction and maintenance to-day, but this Government will take away in five years £100,000,000 which ought to go to the construction of roads. The ratepayers in my electorate would be very happy to see a proposal carried which would remit the pay-roll tax on municipal authorities and make at least the proceeds of the petrol tax available for road construction in Australia, lt would be a very welcome relief to them.

The Government goes on in this fashion, raking in money and paying for its capital works out of taxation. In the two years 1958-59 and 1959-60 it was able to reduce its share of the national debt by £. 176,000,000. In the same period the share of national debt attributable to the States and local government authorities increased by no less than £420,000,000. That is the lop-sided kind of arrangement we have in Australia to-day. There has been a cry for national development and now the Government, belatedly, says it is going to do a little bit here and a little bit there. It makes promises about what will have happened by 1968, trying to bolster Government members in shaky seats. That seems to be the main criterion in the location of public works. Members of the Government ask Dorothy Dix questions in this chamber by arrangement-

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock:

Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.

Minister for Labour and National Service · Lowe · LP

Mr. Chairman, I think it proper that, before I touch on matters relating to the Budget debate, I deal with the remarks made by the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) about a speech made by the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) to representatives of the Young Liberal Movement in Western Australia. The honorable member repeated an allegation that the Minister had said on the occasion mentioned that unemployment was no business of the Government and that the further the Government kept away from it the better. I say categorically that the Attorney-General made no such statement. The Opposition has now adopted the tactic of alleging that all sorts of statements have been made by members of the Government. But when those allegations are analysed they are usually found to be half-truths or to be completely devoid of truth. However, Sir, I do not want to waste too much time on the remarks made by the honorable member.

I have tried to find a description that adequately fits the speech made in this debate by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). I am sure that most honorable members agree that it was a strange speech for a leader of the Australian Labour Party to make. I have come to the conclusion that by far the best way to describe the honorable gentleman’s speech is to say that it was the effort of one who wished to disown his parentage and to forget his progeny. I shall proceed now to explain exactly what I mean by that phrase, Sir. The Leader of the Opposition is a member of the socialist party. He has signed the socialist pledge. And the platform of the Australian Labour Party reflects the. party’s socialistic outlook. Last year, the honorable gentleman appealed to the private sector of the economy and made the frank admission that he was hoping, by doing so, to get £100,000 for the Australian Labour Party’s funds. That was a blatant attempt to buy votes. On this occasion, he has adopted a somewhat more subtle method. He has now gone out of his way in an attempt to show the members of the community who he. thinks may be a little disgruntled that he is the arch-priest of liberalism and that he would, if he were given the opportunity, give the private sector of the economy a better go than he says it is getting from this Government.

What are the facts on which I base that judgment, Mr. Chairman? I think that most honorable members will recall the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition. He said that if he were in office he would give certain inducements to private enterprise to go ahead. The other evening, in my hearing, he made the somewhat extraordinary statement that the Government has been giving all sorts of incentives and funds to the public sector - the government sector - of the economy in order to let it expand, but has given nothing to the private sector, which, he said, is the only sector that produces the goods.

Mr Pollard:

– The Leader of the Opposition did not say that.


– He was on a television programme, and I heard him say it. Perhaps I can agree with him that the private sector produces most of the goods. However, it is somewhat extraordinary to hear a socialist leader claim that he would give funds, not to the public sector of the economy, but to the private sector. I think that when we look at his statement, we cannot help coming to the conclusion that the honorable gentleman did not quite know the facts. We have only to look at the way in which employment in certain fields has increased. The Leader of the Opposition claimed that employment has been transferred from the private sector of the economy to the public sector. The statistics show that the transfer, far from being from industry to the civil service, has been of such a kind as to strengthen the industrial sector of Australia’s economy.

Where have the transferred people gone to? About 6,000 have gone into transport and communications, 6,500 into finance and commerce and 6,900 into education. Does any Opposition member say that because of the measures that we have taken - because 6,900 people have been transferred from one sector to another which includes education - something is wrong with this kind of transfer of employment? So one can go on: A total of 3,200 people have gone into health services, and 3,300 have gone into the building and construction field. In the last seven months - this is of critical importance - something like 2,700 additional employees have gone .into the iron and steel industry.

Despite these statistics, the Leader of the Opposition says that he would have given preference to the private sector of the economy. He does not believe that the public sector should have been given the stimulus that it received. Again, I emphasize that he ought to recall his origins and remember that he is a socialist. We must ask ourselves the simple question: Does he mean what he says? Finally, we must ask ourselves whether we think that the transfer of employees to the fields of employment that I have mentioned has been for the benefit of the Australian people. 1 believe that it has been, Sir.

I want just to show how the Leader of the Opposition appears to be trying to forget his progeny. He appears to be trying to forget what he said last year. He stated then that the Government’s analysis of the economic situation was perfectly correct, but that we had acted a little late and not severely enough. This year, denying completely his brain-child of last year, he says that the analysis of the economic situation made by the Government last year was incorrect because there was not a boom. He says now that the action that was taken by the Government last year was quite unnecessary.

At this point, Sir, I want to return to the analysis of the situation made by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), because I believe that that analysis has not been understood perfectly. Unless one understands that analysis, of necessity it is improbable that one can understand whether the Government’s measures were the right ones. The Treasurer described our present problems as sectional ones. That is a perfectly accurate definition of the nature of our problems. They are noi problems that extend over the whole economy. They are found only in some sections of the economy. The “ Sydney Morning Herald “ recently declared that production in the basic industries has increased substantially. We have not difficulties in all industries. Rather, as I have said, our problems are sectional ones, as the Treasurer very properly pointed out. Consequently, we had to ensure, not a general increase in demand such as would bring back the problems of 1959, but such a stimulus to industry as would lead to a healthy increase in demand and assistance to those sections of the economy that were experiencing special difficulties such as consumer durables and housing.

May I now go back a little and ask this question, Sir: What were the problems that we faced in 1959? I think that honorable members and, for that matter, most of the public now know what those problems were. We faced at that time a fall in our overseas reserves, a decline in our international balance of payments, problems of inflation and, also, great problems caused by speculative activity. So, during 1960, the Treasurer and the Government took action to ensure that the difficulties that we faced were overcome. This being so, we have to ask another question: Should action have been taken to solve those problems? I venture to suggest, Mr. Chairman, that no nation can hope to be successful or prosperous, or can provide expanding employment opportunities, unless it has satisfactory overseas reserves, a favorable balance of payments and a rate of inflation that is not too much out of line with that of the rest of the world.

Now, Sir, what has happened? We have substantial and solid overseas balances amounting to more than £570,000,000. Despite the fact that we have borrowed something like £80,000,000 this year, our balance of international payments is sound. Inflation has been brought back in the last quarter to a rate that is less than 2i per cent, per annum. So, what are we entitled to claim was the result of the action taken in 1959 and 1960? Unless those things had been achieved, we would not have had a solid structure within which progress could take place and within which we could hope for increasing opportunities for development and employment. What was done had to be done, and what was done was successful, ft has established the framework within which development and progress can take place.

It is true, too, that during 1960 certain other problems emerged. They were a fall in employment, or an increase in unemployment, should we care to put it that way, a fall in job vacancies, and a fall in effective demand. The Government showed that it was receptive of ideas and that, if it was necessary, it would change its policies to meet the new conditions. During the early part of 1960 action was taken by the Treasurer and by the Government to ensure that these difficulties were, within practical limits, overcome. Legislation relating to the nondeductibility of interest, other than as it related to convertible notes, was repealed. Action was taken to stimulate the housing industry so that we would get an effective rate of home building approaching 80,000 homes in the September quarter; that is, of commencements. Action was taken during the course of the Australian Loan Council and Premiers’ Conference discussions to provide approximately £36,000,000 for the States, and the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission increased the basic wage, adding something like £50,000,000 net to purchasing power within the community.

The point I am making here is that, before the Budget, action of a stimulating kind had been taken. It was taken against the background that we were not prepared to take such drastic action as would make certain that the difficulties that we faced during 1959 would return. In other words, we preferred to take action of a kind which would give a stimulus, but not a stimulus that would of necessity bring back the problems of inflation and our balance of payments and so lead, I believe, to an impossible situation so far as long-term employment is concerned. That was the setting in which we had to prepare the Budget. Action had already been taken, but we were not prepared to give very much more of a stimulus because we knew the difficulties that might emerge.

It is at this point, Sir, that I wish to state what I believe to be a misunderstanding about the analysis made by the Treasurer in his Budget speech. The Opposition has characterized the analysis itself as perfect but the remedies that were taken as the wrong ones. Tn other words, it has said. “Yes, you have analysed the position properly, but your prescription has been wrong - diagnosis perfect, prescription wrong”. But I venture to say that the critics who follow this line have not realized that the real problem, when the Budget was being framed, was not the necessity to give another big boost to consumer purchasing, or another big boost to general demand, but rather to give a moderate one and to look at those industries where there were special problems, or those sectors that could be given a special boost which would not be permanent and where action could be flexible, so that it could be changed at our will. It would not therefore interfere with the long-range plans of the Government.

Following this principle, the Treasurer said to the State representatives at the meeting of the Australian Loan Council, “ We will agree to approve of local government borrowings being increased to £111,000,000”. Since then, he has stated his willingness to consider an increase to £116,000,000. In addition, he has said to the States, “We will agree, in respect of your public works programmes, to an accelerated rate of advances to you so that in this difficult period, while those sections of industry that are having difficulties are working their way out of their problems, you will have the money to supplement your normal programmes and to pull back a large number of people into employment “.

I venture to say, Sir, that that was the correct way to approach the matter. We knew there was a sectional problem. We have taken action during the time that it is necessary to get these sections of industry on to their feet. Action has in fact been taken by the Government, first, to stimulate general demand, and, secondly, to take special action such as with housing and emergency tariffs while the sections of industry with special problems are getting back on to their feet. Before I finish with this part of my speech, I want to make it perfectly clear that we do not say for one moment that we hoped or expected that when we took action during 1959 and 1960, we could do so without creating problems for some people. We never thought for one moment that we could do so without difficulty and without some price being paid. That is true. But equally true, Sir, we were certain that the action that we took in 1960 would have a stimulating effect against the background that we were determined not to go back to the conditions of 1959.

I think I can say to the committee that the conditions for progress have been established, that now we have a sound struc ture for an economy to develop, and that whilst we do not expect to get spectacular results, and in fact we do noi want them, we can give the assurance that progress will be both steady and sure. We are prepared also to give the assurance that if the stimulating action we have taken is not sufficient, and if the banks do not lend in the way which we think is desirable, the Government will not hesitate to take the action that we consider necessary to keep the economy in a healthy state.

I shall leave that aspect for the moment and turn to the problem of employment, because I want to touch on two or three matters associated with employment before I conclude my speech. We have heard so many members of the Opposition dealing with the problem of employment that it might be thought that they were the only people who were really concerned with the welfare of the individual. I shall not go into that argument because I do not think there is a political party represented in this Parliament which does not believe in full employment. I believe in it, my colleagues believe in it, and all that can be argued about is whether the timing and the methods we have adopted will be successful.

I have said that we have taken action to ensure that over the long term, not over the short term, there will be sound growth prospects for the economy. That is the very foundation of a long-term policy associated with full employment. The first point I want to make relates to the period during which people are out of employment. I say, as the Minister for Labour and National Service, that I do not think we have ever developed in this community, in the years that this Government has been in office, a fear of unemployment - quite the reverse. I do not think that has developed, and for very good reason. During the last nine months the Department of Labour and National Service has received about 345,000 notifications of vacancies, and it has placed in employment about 256.000 persons. In other words, we are being continually notified of job vacancies and we are rapidly placing people in employment. Consequently, I think it is fair to state that a person who is unfortunate enough to become unemployed and who registers for employment can have a reasonable expectation that he will not stay unemployed for a substantial period. Let me add that even at the present time we are receiving about 7,000 notifications of job vacancies each week, and to a large extent we are finding the people to put into those jobs.

The first point I wish to make is that if a person is unfortunate enough to have to register for employment, the reasonable probability is that he will be placed in employment fairly quickly. There is a second point I wish also to make. I have heard it argued, and, I think, argued at too great length without being rebutted, that there will be such a serious unemployment problem in the period from December next to March, 1962, that the numbers of registrants for employment will reach astronomical figures. Here I must enter the field of opinion. Some of the technical experts, the people who called themselves demographers - what the word means is difficult to determine - say that we will have 105,000 to 110,000 persons coming into the work force in December of this year and January and February of next year. This is 20,000 more than last year. They say that this will create a well-nigh insuperable problem. I believe that the assumptions on which these calculations have been based are, for the most part, a little exaggerated. They are based, first, on the expectation that we will have 195,000 person reaching the age of fifteen years, that we will get 100,000 immigrants, of whom 50,000 will be workers, and also that there will be a certain number of persons retiring, a number coming from the universities, and so on. As to immigration, we have taken action to ensure that in the first six months of this year about 5,800 Commonwealthassisted workers coming into the work force will be technical experts or skilled people who, simply by taking jobs, will create increasing opportunities for employment. This will occur because they will eliminate a bottleneck in our existing structure.

However, even allowing for that development, I would be extremely surprised if we had as many as 95,000 persons coming into the work force, let alone 105,000. and I would think an accurate figure would be closer to 90,000 than 95,000. In other words, instead of an increase of 20,000, as some of the demographers have forecast, I believe the increase will be of the order of 5,000 to 6,000 or, at the most, as high as 10,000 but certainly it will not be so large an increase as to create insuperable problems or any great difficulty so far as employment is concerned.

There is another point I wish to make. I have already mentioned the movement of labour from some sections of industry to others. I believe that this transfer has strengthened the basic structure of employment in this country, because as employees have moved, say, to the steel industry, or to the legal and medical professions, or into education, we have achieved a far better balance in our employment structure than we have had for many years. When this is considered in conjunction with our favorable balance of payments position, our improved overseas reserves and the reduced rate of inflation, I think the Government is perfectly entitled to claim that the country is now in a sound position for a healthy drive forward in our economy.

Having placed so much emphasis on the need to keep the economy within bounds, I think it would be wrong of me to move on without mentioning the matter of inflation, the rate at which items in the consumer price index are increasing, and the rate at which increases are being experienced in prices of other commodities affecting our cost structure and our capacity to export. Labour Party spokesmen are continually harping upon what happened when the Labour Government was in power, lt is well known that the “ C “ series index showed a rise of about 9i per cent, for the last full year when the labour Government was in office, and 10 per cent, in the year of its last Budget. We have reduced the rate of increase to something less than 2) per cent. This is about the increase that has been experienced in other countries, and, frankly, we have some hopes that this rate can be sustained or even reduced.

However, the section of the community for which I wish particularly to appeal is the primary producing section. If the costs of primary producers were to increase greatly, the prospects of exporting primary commodities would be jeopardized, and our prospects of improving our balance of payments position would be similarly affected.

Lastly, it is a peculiar fact that in this community of ours most people harp on the unfavorable features of the economy. Let us look at the other side. If we consider what is happening in other parts of the world I think we can point to far more favorable features in our economy than unfavorable ones. Yesterday we received the good news that the price of wool was about 5id. a lb. greater than the average price last year. If this trend continues, and it is expected to do so, about £30,000,000 to £35,000,000 will be added to our external reserves. It may be more. In the United States of America the position is being reached at which the Government is being advised of the probability of over-full employment and over-expansion. The fear there is not of recession but of over-full employment and of inflation. If demand expands there it must have an impact on commodity prices and this will strengthen the basic conditions for progress which have been established.

What conclusions, therefore, should we draw from an analysis of existing conditions? The first is that the Budget is sound, and that what we have done in the past represents sound financing and reflects credit on my colleague, the Treasurer. Secondly, we have taken action on developmental projects to ensure that this country will go ahead. The most spectacular of these moves is the provision of money for railways in Western Australia and the development of iron ore deposits. Finally, we have provided for the needy members of the community, the invalid and age pensioners and the recipients of unemployment benefits. I repeat that the Budget provisions represent sound financial policy, and that even considering the difficulties of some industries, particularly the motor car industry, what was done before the Budget was prepared, and what is proposed in the Budget strengthens the foundations from which we can make another pretty hefty push forward.


.- The analysis of the Budget made by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) would carry more weight if earlier forecasts that he had made had proved more accurate. He followed the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) on 15th November last, and said -

There is no reason in the world why any one should be hurt as a result of these measures. If people are wise they can avoid suffering any hurt from them.

Three months later, in a statement to the press, he said -

I am sure of this: By the end of March the critics will have had their exaggerated prediction disproved, as has so often happened in the past.

He spared us any forecasts to-night. He concluded his remarks with a reference to the motor industry, an entirely post-war industry, the largest industry in Australia, a modern and potentially a great export industry. Two days after the November measures were announced, he told us -

A considerable amount of excess demand would have to be wiped off before any difficulties about employment in the motor industry could be thought of.

Then, three months later, he said -

The November economic measures had as one of their purposes the reduction of demand for motor vehicles in Australia. This would necessarily lead to a transfer of labour to other important industries which are starved of labour.

Which was the correct statement - the one he made in November, or the one he made in February? Was it intended in November that men should be displaced from employment in this, the largest industry, or was that not intended? That is, was he concealing the position then, or was he at last frankly admitting it three months later? Of course, the significant thing is that the speaker whom he followed, the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds), challenged him to say what was the real plan the Government had in mind for this, the largest industry. That is, how many motor vehicles does the Government think Australia can sell locally and how many does it think Australia should sell abroad. The Government attacked this industry in 1951, 1956, and again last year. There is still no estimate of what is required of the industry, and if our chief employer of labour, potentially the largest contributor to our exports markets, is not to know the Government’s plans, how can we develop this country in other fields? How can we plan for the future? I leave the honorable member. To-morrow, at question time, he may be able to give the estimates which he has avoided giving to-night.

The Treasurer’s Budget brings us to the end of more than a decade of continuing failure - failure to control inflation, failure to bring our overseas finances into a steady and enduring balance, and, above all, failure to ensure for our people a steadily expanding prosperty. This Government boasts of its success in removing controls from our economic life, yet it has brought into operation the harshest controls of all - control through the empty pay packet, through the empty shops and through the empty factories. It abhors the idea of direct control of investment but it advocates the idea of a blanket control over purchasing and borrowing powers. It brings about unemployment in the work force under the slogan “ Deployment of the work force “. It has brought its conservative controls into operation on three occasions - in 1951, 1956 and last year. We see the level of production in Australia lower and the level of unemployment higher than at any time since the 1930’s, and the level of confidence is at a low ebb.

Why has this happened? It has happened because the Government has made mistakes; because it has not thought ahead; because it has misled Australians, employers and employees alike, about the trends of events in the economy; because it believes that our economic affairs can be conducted to-day in the same thoughtless, unheeding and ramshackle fashion that was typical of much earlier times. That has happened because the Government has been careless, slipshod and, above all, dangerously reluctant to plan ahead, to anticipate, to introduce order into the management of our economic affairs.

Now that we are in our present hapless condition - and in it, let me remind you, because the Government made another grotesque miscalculation last November - the Treasurer and the Prime Minister are both seeking to convince us that all is well, that nothing more should be done, that all our troubles will soon be over if only nobody does anything to rock the boat. We in the Labour Party reject this negative policy. We reject the view so popular during the disasters of the 1930’s, and so popular with this Government, that if only everybody keeps quiet our troubles will vanish. We have always sought to make use of the powers of this Parliament so as to bring about a positive improvement in the lot of the Australian people. We have already, through the Leader of the Opposition, made some suggestions for an improvement in the present economic situation.

Let me examine some of the arguments which the Prime Minister brought forward last Thursday to reduce the force of what the Leader of the Opposition proposed. The Prime Minister said -

The honorable gentleman seemed to set out to destroy confidence, to preach gloom, to prophesy mass unemployment.

Those words are the tactic of a government which wants all members of Parliament to close the ranks to cover up its failings. If confidence is now at a low ebb - and no doubt it is - it is because the Government’s own policies have succeeded in destroying that confidence. It is not disloyal to disagree with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister suggests that we are letting the side down because we are seeking to expose the damage which his policies have caused since the axe fell last November. On the contrary, we believe that confidence will only be restored when Australians see that something practical is being done to improve the position. In an English-speaking country, it is not unpatriotic to criticize the Government; in fact, it is the duty of an opposition to oppose, and to expose, as we have done. So far. nothing has been done which has led to an improvement in production or employment. Only yesterday, at his first press conference in the capital in 56 weeks, the Prime Minister said - i am not looking for anything exciting about this upturn expressed in terms of employment. i think the position will go along quietly.

How smug our senior statesman is! After what has been said and done by the Government, first to abandon its November measures as soon as possible, and then, allegedly, to attempt to rectify its mistakes, we are still in as bad a position as we were before. The latest figures, those for July, show that the slump in motor vehicles, building and industrial production is as bad as it was in June, or even worse. The stock exchanges are just as depressed as they were before the Budget was brought down. Does the Government expect that, faced with this indisputable and disturbing evidence that recovery is not yet in hand, we should all huddle together in silence, hoping against hope that everything will turn out for the best in this best of all possible worlds?

The Labour Party seeks some positive action which will provide Australians with some reason for confidence. With that in mind, the Leader of the Opposition brought down his moderate and constructive proposal for a budget deficit. He thought that the times now demanded that a budget deficit of up to £100,000,000- and not just £16,000,000- should be provided. The Prime Minister criticized the proposal a.” a vast inflationary system of finance. The simple fact is that the Prime Minister himself has supported large deficits in earlier years when economic conditions were not nearly as depressed as they are now. In August, 1958, when the number of registered unemployed persons was 63,000, Sir Arthur Fadden, the iron chancellor himself, in his last Budget envisaged a deficit of £110,000,000. In August, 1959, when the number of registered unemployed was 59,000, the present relatively trivial Treasurer envisaged a budget deficiency of £61,000,000. On that occasion, the Prime Minister spoke with positive praise of the imaginativeness and justice of the proposal. This month, when the number of registered unemployed is 113,400, and when those working short time number 31 in every 1 ,000, as against one in every 1 ,000 at the end of October last, the Leader of the Opposition suggests, modestly, that it might be necessary to have a deficit of £100,000,000. The Prime Minister then soars to new heights of righteous indignation at this preposterous proposal. He is answered by his own arguments in 1958 and 1959.

Quite apart from the force of the comparisons with the recent record of the Menzies Government itself in deficit financing, I want to make it plain that deficit budgeting at this stage is not only proper but prudent. Taking into account the official number of unemployed, the extent of short time working and the inherent tendency of the official statistics to understate the number of work-seekers and to overstate the work-force, there is enough labour available in Australia to-day for employment to rise immediately by more than 3 per cent, before any element of strain would occur in the labour market. Furthermore, there will be a larger number of young people leaving school and seeking their first jobs at the end of this year than at any previous time in our history - probably about 140,000.

There is even greater scope for increased production in our factories. Over the whole range of motor vehicles, textiles and appliances, production is about one-third less than a year ago. The fall in homebuilding activity is almost as great. In the last three months the permits granted for new houses and flats were one-quarter fewer than a year previously. So there is great scope for increased production. We have the men and machines to lift production by more than 3 per cent, immediately and by up to 5 per cent, before the end of this financial year. We could increase our gross national product immediately by more than £200,000,000 a year and within ten months by £350,000,000 a year, simply by drawing into productive work the labour we have idle and coming forward. We could use vast national assets in labour and capacity which are presently in wasteful idleness. The way to achieve this increase in production is to budget for a deficit. This is no vast inflationary scheme. It is a prudent, constructive and reasoned solution for the problems which have been brought down about us by the mistakes of the Menzies Government’s policy. Instead of acting to get people and machines back into production, the Government prepares to fight the next boom.

Finally, there are the Prime Minister’s fears for the balance of payments. In the last ten years there have been only two years - 1952-53 and 1956-57 - in which Australia has had a current account surplus in its balance of payments. Those two years were the years following the horror Budget of 1951 and the supplementary Budget of 1956, when Australia was suffering from reduced production, increased unemployment and general stagnation. Now the Prime Minister tells us once again, in the midst of a crisis of unemployment and declining production, that our international reserves are in a “ position of abounding health “.

I want to make two comments on that. Firstly, the present level of the reserves includes an amount of £78,000,000 borrowed from the International Monetary Fund.

Secondly, there was a large jump in the rate of apparent capital inflow last year, and much of it was due to the financing of local affiliates or customers by overseas companies. These affiliates and customer;, were in such a bad way for money following the Government-precipitated slump in business, that they had to be carried for the time being by their overseas head offices and overseas suppliers. For these two reasons - loans from the International Monetary Fund and the supply of emergency funds to stricken Australian importers by their overseas connexions - our international reserves are at present higher than was expected about six months ago. None of this, however, is due to the Government’s policy, except in a very negative way.

What is more, the so-called “ abounding health “ of the reserves disguises large hidden weaknesses. We are heavily in debt to the International Monetary Fund. We do not know, but can only fear, the cost we are suffering from our undertakings to the fund to pursue deflationary domestic policies - and we have hanging over our national head a collective responsibility to pay back a large amount, estimated to be £100,000,000, in short-term emergency finance accorded to Australian importers during the worst period of the credit squeeze. So, of our total international reserves of £550,000,000-odd, some £150,000,000 to £200,000,000 are quite illusory.

Sooner or later the Australian Government will have to face up to the consequences of this large phantom element in the international reserves. Either it is going to keep domestic production down and unemployment up, so that imports will remain low, or it will reluctantly allow a resurgence of domestic production, which is likely to be followed by a resurgence of imports from their present artificially low level. It can only hope - hope, I repeat - that something will turn up in the way of increased exports or higher capital inflow which will allow a rise in imports and a rise in production to proceed together. Under Liberal governments, we are always likely to be brought up with a round turn, plunged into another slump and treated to another series of speeches on the virtue of the Government’s “ stop and go “ policy.

We in the Labour Party would not allow national goals of increasing production, investment and employment to be constantly jeopardized by some alleged vagaries in our export markets. We do not believe the Liberal fiction that fluctuations in exports are the real source of our recurrent balance-of-payments crises. Since 1953-54, fluctuations in Australia’s importing bill have been much greater than any fluctuations in our exports. Over the seven years from 1953-54 to 1960-61, exports have, in fact, fluctuated from a low of £763,000,000 to a high of £978,000,000. Over the same seven years imports have fluctuated from a low of £683,000,000 to a high of £1,085,000,000. The range in exports has been £215,000,000, but in imports £402,000,000. It is far more important to keep imports steady than it is to keep exports steady, if steadiness in the economy is to be encouraged. So, if necessary, we would not hesitate to re-impose selective import licences.

We would re-impose licensing in order to bring a greater consistency and steadiness into our import flow and in order to prevent our internal expansion from being jeopardized, as it is at present being jeopardized by a government bent on freedom from controls. 1 first want to make it quite clear, however, that the Government has freed us from one sort of control only to put us immediately under another more stringent and less equitable form of control. Instead of the control over imports exercised by licensing, we now suffer the arduous control over imports exercised through a reduction in national prosperity and purchasing power. We have paid too high a price for the lifting of import licensing.

Against the moderate and constructive Opposition proposals for a deficit to help us out of the slump, what does the Treasurer propose? He said in his Budget speech -

We have a set of basic conditions which should favour an early and genera] lift in activity.

In his speech last Thursday, the Prime Minister said -

We have good bank liquidity and a vastly accelerated works and housing programmes.

Yet what do the latest economic indicators show? Retail sales in July, at £223,000,000, were £4,000,000 below June and £6,000,000 below the June quarter average of £229,000,000, which was itself a level indicating a fall of about 5 per cent, in consumption per bead of population. Hire-purchase outstandings fell by a further £8,000,000 in July, after falls of £24,000,000 and £20,000,000 in the March and June quarters. So the damaging slump in hire purchase is continuing to drag money out of people’s pockets.

The number of new home buildings approved in July fell by 12 per cent., compared with June, to a level of 24 per cent, below July last year. The value of nondwelling construction approved in July fell by 27 per cent., compared with June, to a level of 57 per cent, below July last year. The number of new motor vehicles registered in July fell by 5 per cent., again compared with June, to a level of one-third below July last year. What do these figures show? They show that in spite of all the brave words and the promises of the Treasurer and the Prime Minister, the economic trend is still, at best, level; at worst, still tilted downwards.

But our present fix is only one example in many of the heavy losses of production and national welfare which have been the real story of the last decade, not the “ unhalting national progress “ which the Prime Minister claimed on the tarmac at Mascot last February. Honorable members will recall that he was then departing for the Prime Ministers’ Conference at which he tried to put them right on South Africa and at which he forgot to discuss the Common Market.

If only the progress that has been made had been unhalting, how much better off we would now be. But the history of this Government’s administration over the last decade or more has been one of halt and go, stop and start, accelerating and jamming on the brakes - in short, a most halting progress. This halting progress, the infamous stop-and-go policy, has demoralized business for a long period, has caused heavy losses of production in the prolonged stop periods, and has caused the progress of our national economy to be considerably slower than it would have been if steady unhalting progress had been ensured.

Here are some examples of what has happened. Nowhere has the loss and damage from stop and go been more apparent than in the motor vehicle industry. In August. 1951 - the month of the first horror budget - 21,878 motor vehicles were registered. The following month the number had sunk to 16,555. By August, 1952, it had sunk to 10,331. By March, 1956, the month of the supplementary budget - the second horror budget - registrations were 20,164. The following month they had sunk to 16,648 and, by the following January, to 14,785. Last November - the month of the third horror budget - 31,865 were registered. In December the number had sunk to 22,368. Last month it was 17,372. Thus there has not been unhalting progress in the motor industry.

Now look at the equally vital home building industry. In the September quarter of 1951, 23,006 houses and flats were commenced; a year later only 15,970. In the December quarter of 1955, 18,831 houses and flats were commenced; in the December quarter of 1956, 16,994. In the September quarter of 1960, 25,638 houses and flats were commenced; in the June quarter of this year, 19,051. The number of private houses and flats for which building approvals were granted in August, 1960, was 9,170 and in July this year, 5,814. So, like the motor vehicle industry, home building has been through three periods of slump since this Government came to power - periods of slump interspersed by brief periods of vigorous expansion and prolonged periods of stagnation.

We have a similar pattern of stop and go in our migration programme. In 1951 there were 111,000 more permanent arrivals than permanent departures; in 1953 only 43,000. In 1955 there were 97,000 more permanent arrivals than permanent departures; in 1958 only 65,000. Last year, once again there were 90,000 more permanent arrivals than permanent departures, whilst this year, for the third occasion under this Government, the number has been cut by an unspecified amount because economic conditions have made it impossible to find jobs for migrants on a sufficient scale.

Mr Stokes:

– Not so many people are going overseas.


– They cannot afford to. In employment the picture of stop and go is even more clearly shown. In September, 1951, the number of persons registered for employment was 9,200. The number rose to 79,900 in January 1953 and fell to 14,300 in October, 1955. In January 1959, it had risen to 81,900, only to fall again to 34,400 by October, 1960. By July this year it had risen to 113,400 - a record for twenty years and more.

Three times the Government has chosen the course of deflation and unemployment, yet it is unprepared to pay adequate unemployment benefits. Its attitude to unemployment is one of callousness and indifference. The Prime Minister considers that the present unemployment is not too high a price to pay. He looks at the economy “ in the broad “ and, despite his protestations, ignores the personal problems of unemployment. Last Thursday, he said -

To-day, the numbers of registered unemployed are a little more than twice what they were in the period of the boom . . . Let us agree that the number to-day is twice as great as it was - that is 50,000, 60,000 or whatever you may care to call it. These people are tremendously important.

They were not, however, important enough for him to count them accurately. The numbers of registered unemployed are not a little more than twice what they were in the boom; they are considerably more than three times what they were. There were 34,400 unemployed at the end of October. This figure was announced the night before the November measures were announced. This does not involve a rise of “ 50,000, 60,000 or whatever you may care to call it “; it means a rise of 79,000. Was that an arithmetical error by the Prime Minister or does it reveal his lack of concern about unemployment?

The Treasurer in his Budget expressed sympathy for the unemployed, “who through the turn of events find themselves unemployed “, as if there were some unalterable, inexorable logic which decreed that there should be this unemployment. There is no doubt that the Government expected and intended increased unemployment. The only point at issue is how much unemployment it intended.

The increases in unemployment benefits in the present Budget are a disgrace to a country such as ours. The increases in benefits are estimated to cost an additional £1,000,000 in the present financial year. The estimated losses to revenue as a result of the sales tax cuts are £9,000,000. Even within the restricted terms of the Government’s own Budget, more spending and greater social justice would have resulted if unemployment benefits had been increased more and sales tax cut less. The failure to provide adequate unemployment benefits is typical of a government which regards the unemployed as expendable for the greater national good.

Our internal economy has been distinguished during the years of Menzies Government rule by a wasteful and jerky pattern of development - a pattern which has forced us to suffer large losses of production for prolonged periods of time and which has frequently demoralized confidence in the future expansion of the country. But this jerky pattern of internal development has also taken place against a background of continuing difficulty in our overseas trade - against the well-known background of recurrent crises in the balance of payments. Faced with these recurrent crises, the Government has sought to find a way out of the immediate difficulties by restricting the expansion of our domestic production.

This is not the way the Labour Party would choose. The first priority for Australia is to secure a steady pattern of vigorous expansion of production and employment. A major problem for Australia, however, and a problem for which the Government clearly has no answer, is the growing difficulties confronting our export trade, particularly the export trade in the products of our farms. The imminence of Britain’s entry into the Common Market has suddenly brought before the attention of Australia the dangerous barriers to our rural export trade which are at work in the world to-day. It is no secret that for key commodities on which we depend - wheat coarse grains, dairy products and the like - Australian exporters earn rock bottom prices. By far the greater part of the wheat that is sold in the world to-day is sold in protected domestic markets - in the markets in Europe and the United States - at prices much above what our own exporters get when they sell wheat in Britain or elsewhere. By far the greater amount of wheat sold in Europe and the United States, for example, is sold at prices in excess of £1 a bushel, but our own export wheat is sold at average prices about onethird below this price. Similar difficulties face our trade in coarse grains, butter and the like, so that the farmers in the big consuming areas such as Europe and the United States are getting an average price for their farm products about half as high again as the price being received by Australia.

The sudden realization in Australia of the dangers inherent in Britain’s entry into the European Common Market is serving to bring home to us the seriousness of the underlying difficulties facing our farm product export trade. I will not be putting the dangers of the situation too strongly if I say that, from here on, we in Australia are going to find ourselves increasingly the poor relations of the big industrialized countries in Europe and America as far as finding openings for our export trade at reasonable prices is concerned. We have been steadily frozen out of our markets in Europe. Now we are going to be frozen out of our market in the United Kingdom.

Where can we look for new markets? Some say we should look to the newly developing nations of Asia; but here we come up against the massive weight of United States and other surplus disposals. The bitter conclusion is that our export trade in farm products is facing, and will continue to face, mounting barriers in the markets to which we have always looked for expanding outlets at profitable prices.

Despite rising production and internal inflation, farm income in 1960-61 was lower than in 1953-54. The Government is slowly realizing that we must quickly increase exports of manufactured products if we are to finance the imports- we need even for the limited national expansion a Menzies Government would permit. It is slowly realizing that safeguards for our farm produce export trade are becoming more urgent with every day that passes. In the past, the Government has made some small attempts to meet this fundamental and serious problem. There have been some bi-lateral agreements with customer countries to take guaranteed quantities of our wheat. There have been other bilateral agreements with European countries seeking to stop them from dumping their own farm surpluses in our markets. There have been some attempts, largely unsuccessful, to persuade the Americans to consult with us before they dump their farm surpluses in our markets. We have complained to the Americans, we have pleaded with Britain, we have tried to have our case understood in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, but the seriousness of our present plight shows that these ad hoc measures have been little more than palliatives.

An appreciation of the difficulties shows that at least two things are needed: First, we must use every legitimate weapon at our disposal to force openings for our farm products export trade; secondly, we must make sure that our manufacturing industry, the key to our continuing national expansion, is kept strong and vigorously growing.

What has the Government done to meet these two needs? It has recklessly thrown overboard the whole structure of import licensing and it has precipitated a domestic slump. So we have said to the very oversea countries which are responsible for frustrating and hindering the expansion of our export trade, “ You have been so good to us that we shall let you come into our market free and unimpeded by any control. We shall rely on you completely for our shipping and insurance. You are quite free to cut the ground from under the feet of our manufacturing industry on which we happen to depend for the future progress of our nation. Just to help you do the job a little more thoroughly, we shall cut purchasing power and help to weaken our manufacturing industry even more.” What could be more negative, cowardly and destructive than this noble policy?

In the world to-day, we must fight for our survival. Yet our Government gives up the fight before it has started. Instead of making the grand gesture of giving up the import controls - a gesture which weakened our manufacturing industry, made it even more difficult than before to combine growth with a sound balance of payments and which threw out the window a major negotiating weapon - the Government should have used the weapon of import controls to further the expansion of our manufacturing industry and to negotiate openings for our export trade.

But we shall need, in the years to come, more than increasingly strenuous efforts to force new openings for our farm exports. We shall need to develop our local resources much more vigorously than we have done. We must not resign ourselves to the alternatives of having development on oversea investors’ terms or having no development at all. There is no time for slumps, no time for recessions, no time for stagnation, if Australia is to survive and progress. The best way to achieve a favorable balance of payments is through guided expansion, not restriction of production.

There is much to be done. Only under the stress of the pressures developed during the slump it has caused has the Government belatedly begun to pull out of the drawer plans for developing the resources of this country. Only when the unemployment toll mounts do we hear about standard gauge railways for Western Australia which were recommended by both Government and Opposition committees in reports tabled in the Parliament in October, 1956. It is aways a case of too little too late. There is no time for such a laggard attitude. There is no time for the negative view of the role of the Government in our community to-day which finds favour with the Menzies Government.

First, we must get out of the present slump and encourage an expansion of production and employment. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) has put forward a practical plan to meet this immediate crisis. Then we must go on with steady expansion,- encouraged and helped by the wide resources at the disposal of the Government.

This means that there must be ever closer consultation between government and business; ever more vigorous efforts to dovetail government planning in with business planning for the achievement of our national goal of expansion. Let the Government say what it intends for the motor industry. What output should be allowed? What exports should be required? What level of building is satisfactory? What is its attitude to hire purchase in Australia to-day?

The Government must set out clearly what it is trying to achieve and how it means to achieve it. There must be an end to the debilitating plan of stop and go, put and take which has been the hallmark of this Government’s misrule. Business needs to be assured of the cooperation of the Government in seeking national goals. It must not be forever lifted up and then smacked down as the Government’s shaky grip on our national affairs weakens, and then, suddenly and without warning, tightens up again. Within this framework, there is a great new role for constructive government effort.

In many fields of enterprise, the Government must take a lead. There must be greater energy in the development of water, transport, agriculture and manufacturing. As the Labour Government in the past took the lead in the development of projects like the Snowy Mountains scheme, the Commonwealth Bank, the national migration programme and the Bell Bay aluminium industry, so in the future there will be a large role for the Government in the cooperative development of our national resources. The Australian Labour Party has pledged itself to establish a permanent conservation authority similar to the Snowy Mountains Authority. The Leader of the Opposition has mentioned the scope which exists for the development of a national shipping line and of a national insurance corporation, so that Australia will no longer be the only considerable country which relies on foreigners for all its shipping services and most of its insurance facilities.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has a piquant sense of proportion and logic in these matters. His Government refuses to enter the shipping business and decides to enter the hotel business. His Government compels life assurance companies to put their funds in bonds and permits marine insurance companies to send their funds abroad.

There are other fields where government enterprise can co-operate for the achievement of national expansion. I think immediately of our unco-ordinated road system, our crowded schools and technical colleges, our understaffed universities. There is a pressing need in this highly technical age for a large and vital national plan for investment in the minds and skills of our people - our greatest national asset. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization last week reported that Australia was not spending enough on research. Increased allocations of finance to C.S.I.R.O. over the last ten years had meant little additional research work.

I think of the meagre efforts which have been made by this Government to secure the exploitation of our mineral resources, the utilization of more of them in our country, and an intense and coherent national search for oil. I think of the great efforts which must be made to force entry into new markets for our farm products and of the declining living standards of our farmers, so evident in the falling trend of farm income in recent years. Governments must seek to do internationally in regulating trade and development what most governments have accepted internally as their responsibility through marketing arrangements, taxation and banking policy.

What distinguishes the Australian Labour Party from the Government parties is that we accept the need for urgent government action in all these matters. In the postwar years we were the great initiators, the planners and builders of Australia’s future. We will be the initiators again. In our present crisis the Menzies Government has yet again shown its lack of energy and foresight. New men and methods, Labour men and Labour methods, must now be used.


.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, we have just heard one of the most effective speakers on behalf of the Opposition! But those persons who do not know the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) will be very shocked at the inconsistencies in his speech when they read it later. Let me refer to one or two of those inconsistencies. The honorable gentleman spoke about the car industry and the low standard of living. Does he know that in Australia at the beginning of 1960 cars were being sold at the rate of about 700 a day for six days a week, and that while the inflationary boom was on, that number jumped to 1,000 a day? That was in a period when we were supposed to have had a very low standard of living. The honorable member said that such a state of affairs did not need to be corrected. But I point out that the sale of 1,000 cars a day made a difference of £50,000,000 a year to our overseas balances. That money was expended on the importa tion of rubber, fuels and certain classes of steel.

The honorable member for Werriwa referred to what he described as the extraordinary attitude of the Government in removing import licensing, but he wants Australian manufactured goods to compete on the world’s markets with goods manufactured in other countries. Why did the Government remove import licensing? It did so because it was attacking high costs in Australia. Australian farmers could not compete overseas because of high costs, but everybody knows that Australian manufacturers were sheltering behind the protection afforded to them by import licensing. The honorable member for Werriwa said that if Labour were returned to office it would impose selective import licensing. In other words, it would return to the old method of protecting the manufacturers.

How does a government deal with high prices and high costs? What are the factors which affect the cost of an article? Do they not include hours of work, whether a man works hard, wages, profits and efficiency? If a government has to reduce costs, those are the factors it must attack. Whether a government attacks wages or profits, what it does is always painful to the party concerned. The Government attacked the difficulties with which we were confronted by lifting import restrictions and by exposing manufacturers who were sheltering behind that form of protection to the chilly blast of competition. But Labour would take us back to the bad old days. The factors that were causing high costs were featherbedding the manufacturers. As long as the manufacturers had a good home market which was protected from overseas competition, they did not care what their prices were. But the farmer had to compete on the world’s markets.

Let us see what the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie), who is the Opposition Whip, had to say about the effect of import licensing. He said -

Some firms have put eight out of 25 employees oft and are finding that they are getting just as much production from the reduced staff as they got before, so they will not put any more men on again. That is happening all over the country to-day. I know of two cases in Melbourne where this sort of thing has happened. In one instance a firm is saving itself £100 a week in wages and is getting the same production as it got before.

The Labour Party is a trade union party. Its members contend that wages and hours of work should be inviolate. Of course, I believe in high wages.

Opposition Members. - Oh!


– I do. If you want prosperity you must have money in people’s pockets. But I do not believe in featherbedding. 1 do not believe in giving three weeks’ annual leave before you can afford it.

We have just listened to what the honorable member for Werriwa had to say. He is one of those persons who use a false premise and then argue logically from it. When addressing a Labour Party conference at the time of the split payment on wheat, this is what he said -

Every piece of legislation of the Menzies Govern ment has been directed against the man on the land.

Was the matrimonial causes legislation directed against the man on the land? Was the Exports Payment Guarantee Corporation legislation directed against the man on the land? Was the beef subsidy and the wool subsidy legislation directed against the man on the land?

When referring recently to the European Common Market, the honorable member for Werriwa accused this Government of making the people of Australia hewers of wood and drawers of water. He has said that we should have a shipping line and thus save a lot of the money that is now spent on transporting our goods overseas, and he has said that we should have an exports insurance scheme. He has said that we should not send our raw materials overseas to be processed, because our overseas customers are processing them and are getting the profit. That sounds very good. That is why I am warning the public about what this honorable gentleman says. Let us consider the export of butter. Can we process butter any more before it is exported? Can we process cheese any more? What about dried fruits and fresh fruits? Can we process them any more? What about sugar and beef? Are we to cut the beef into joints? What about mutton? Then there are our metals. Are we to use all the lead and zinc we produce? What are we to do with our wool? Are we to process 5,500,000 bales of wool a year? The honorable gentleman makes a good talking point when he says this Government is making the people of Australia hewers of wood and drawers of water.

The honorable member is a great believer in Australia having her own shipping line. He forgets that we had our own ships and that those who control the waterfront unions have destroyed our coastal shipping. We had our own liners plying along the coast, but they have all gone, and now no pursers, stewards and cooks are being employed on the coast. The ships of the Australian National Line can compete only in the carriage of bulk cargoes; they cannot compete in the transport of general cargo. The Labour Party says that our own shipping would be able to compete against overseas shipping lines, but I point out that the rates charged by the Australian National Line - our government line - are nearly double those quoted on the Baltic Exchange. I point out to honorable members that it costs £205 sterling a day to charter a British motor vessel of 10,000 tons, but that the cost of chartering an Australian vessel is the equivalent of £388 sterling a day. Honorable gentlemen opposite propose the establishment of a shipping line to transport our products at that figure. Eighty per cent, of our products are provided by the farmers; yet Opposition members say they will help the farmers! One of the most significant things in the honorable gentleman’s speech would not be known to those who were not in this chamber last Thursday. Never have I heard a more devastating speech than that of the Prime Minister - and I have heard many fine speeches - when he attacked the Labour Party policy as enunciated by the Leader of the Opposition. It could be described as “strip-tease”. The only thing is, it went further and exposed the complete nakedness and barrenness of Labour policy. I was almost sorry for the honorable gentleman receiving such a shocking dressing down. The Leader of the Opposition in his speech talked about Labour’s proposed tax reliefs and about budgeting for a deficit of about £100,000,000. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition made no attempt to defend his leader’s policy. He made no attempt to defend what his leader had made a point of - that there was no boom in 1960. He forgot to do it - or did he not want to do it?

Is he competing for the job? I have never heard a more devastating speech than the Prime Minister’s, yet the Deputy Leader of the Opposition did not make one attempt to defend his leader’s policy, except in one small instance. He talked about Labour’s tax reliefs which were going to be formidable. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition said that a Budget deficit of £100,000,000 was not too much. But what he failed to say was that the Prime Minister had said that that £100,000,000 could come only in the last four months of this financial year. That was the point he did not try to defend. How could he? The whole of the Prime Minister’s attack was not rebutted by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and I regard that as very significant. But the interesting thing about those vast tax reliefs to be given by the Labour Party is how they are to be financed. The honorable gentleman mentioned the petrol tax. The petrol tax goes into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, so that is all gone. He said that sales tax had to go. What is to replace it? That is the point.

The honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Bandidt) made a magnificent speech, in which he analysed the cost of the expansion proposals of the Leader of the Opposition. It came to £365,000,000 in the short period with which the Leader of the Opposition’s proposals dealt. How could these expansion proposals be helped by tax reliefs? The obvious thing was that they would be financed by increased direct taxes on higher incomes. It would also be done by a capital gains tax. In a young country a capita] gains tax is the surest way to dry up the sources of investment. Our great problem in Australia is that we have not enough savings of our own to pay for our full development, and that is why we have to go overseas to borrow overseas savings to help us. But the funny thing is this: The Labour Party is a Social Democratic party, just the same as Castro heads, according to the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). It is a socialist party and proud of it. Where is the heart and soul of socialism? Where do the socialists like to point to now and then as the workers’ paradise? To Russia. But Soviet Russia is abandoning direct taxes and relying on indirect taxes. Here is the great socialist experiment, successful over 40 or 50 years according to our opponents, and Krushchev is promising that there will be no direct taxation. Income tax will be abolished and the only taxes will be indirect purchase taxes, so that the rich commissar on a high pay will pay the same price for his bread and cheese as the poor slave labourer will have to pay. That is Labour for you.

The surprising thing to me is that the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ has supported the honorable gentleman strongly. The “ Sydney Morning Herald “ might best be described as the Labour follow- traveller. The only difference of any significance was that it said that the suggestion that sales tax might be cut by £50,000,000 could certainly be used to assist key industries, but that the heavy cut in income tax planned entirely for lower income groups did not seem to be the right approach. The one thing that the Opposition supports the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ sees as wrong. On the same page of the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ as that on which the Leader of the Opposition’s speech is reported there is a report of the plan of the federal executive of the Labour Party for Labour’s future policy. This plan is nothing but a socialist plan. On one side of the front page there is a report of the Leader of the Opposition’s speech, and on the other side there is Labour’s plan, which includes the provision of funds to the States to enable them to set up steel industries and oil refineries, which will compete with capital already invested in oil - the people’s capital. The plan also includes proposals to increase the search for oil in Australia and to arrange with foreign governments for the supply of oil. There is only one foreign government that I know of that sells oil, and that is the Russian Government. All the rest of the oil supply is in private hands. So here is the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ supporting the leader of the Labour Party, when those who control that paper know - none better - that a Labour Prime Minister has no strength. He is entirely at the beck and call of the federal executive of the Australian Labour Party.

Mr Ward:

– Rubbish!


-“ Rubbish “, says the honorable member for East Sydney. He is always impetuous; he says the firs, thing that comes to his mind. The Premier of

New South Wales received a direction from the State executive of the A.L.P. in exactly the same way as a Labour Prime Minister received direction from the federal executive of the A.L.P. The late Mr. Chifley said, “We have to do this. We have a direction from the federal executive.” The “ Sydney Morning Herald “ says that the Labour Party’s plan is worth considering, although the plan is nothing but a socialist proposition of the worst type which will compete unfairly with private enterprise and will ultimately completely destroy private enterprise and allow for a Communist take-over of a socialist world.

The Leader of the Opposition used figures to support his statement. He said -

Repayments have exceeded new loans by that amount.

He was referring to £52,000,000 which, he said, had been drawn out of the people’s pockets by the hire-purchase companies. He added -

Since October withdrawals from savings banks have exceeded deposits by nearly £50,000,000.

Those figures are not correct. My research shows that the fall in the savings bank deposits between October and June was £3,250,000, not £50,000,000. The July figures show deposits of £17,000,000 in the savings banks in that month, so the honorable member was bolstering his case with something that was inaccurate.

Mr Ward:

– That included interest payments.


– Order! The honorable member is out of his place.


– It has nothing to do with interest payments. In 1960-61 the increase in savings bank deposits was £55,000,000. If the honorable member used this £50,000,000 decrease to prove his point against the Government, then obviously, if his figures are wrong, the Government’s point is right. The honorable gentleman is an old war-horse and he forgot to tell the House that while the savings banks’ accounts were a little lower, fixed deposits had risen by £116,000,000 between June, 1960, and June, 1961. Those are savings which are actuated through the policy of a wise government. The Labour Party’s policy is a spendthrift policy. It would start the inflationary boom again, at a time when the international situationis very serious. That is why the policies, outlined in the Budget have been directed towards greater stability. The international situation is dangerous and we are also faced with problems in connexion with the European Common Market.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), in his speech to-night, spoke about deficit budgeting when Sir Arthur Fadden was Treasurer. In this world of changing events, conditions change. When Sir Arthur Fadden budgeted for a deficit in 1958 there were indications of a slight recession in Australia and there was a serious recession in the United States of America, as well as in Canada and Great Britain. However, because of this Government’s methods of handling the economy, the effects of those recessions were never felt in Australia. Had we allowed the inflationary boom of the beginning of I960- to continue, the depression that followed the bursting of that boom would have been infinitely more severe than what is taking, place to-day.

There is irresponsibility in the trade union leadership in this country. There is a constant demand for better conditions, irrespective of production. That is one of the reasons why we have rising costs. Wehave to face the problems connected with the European Common Market. I recall that during the debate the other day members of the Labour Party interjected and said that if Australia joined the Common Market, the European nations would then be able to export their manufactured goods to Australian markets without paying a protective customs duty. They asked, “ How could we compete with Germany and Italy,, which have a 46-hour week? “ When the unions applied for a 40-hour week, the argument was that, by the workers working shorter hours and resting more, production would be increased. According to that theory, we could compete easily with imports from overseas, but we do not seem to be able to do so.

The Prime Minister asked for confidence. If ever an attempt to break down confidence was made, it was made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition this evening. Half of the material he produced’ consisted of little pieces taken out of their context. When you look back at the amazing expansion that Australia has undergone in the last twelve years, you see how ridiculous his speech was. It sounded good and it looked good, but it is pretty rotten inside.

The Prime Minister said, “ Give us confidence. With only 2 per cent, more spending, all the unemployment will be eliminated.” For the benefit of members of the Opposition who are not good at mathematics, 2 per cent, more spending would mean an extra 5d. for every £1 spent. Does the Australian retail trade attract all :the available public purchasing power? 1 say that it does not. I say that the retail trade could be expanded enormously in our own home market. If we expand the retail trade, we expand the manufacturing industries and increase employment. 1 have taken out figures of the amounts per head spent in the retail trade in the various States in the March quarter of 1961. These figures exclude purchases of building materials and of cars and other vehicles. In that quarter, the people in New South Wales and Victoria spent about £68 per head; in Western Australia, £65 10s. per head; in Queensland and South Australia, £62 per head; and in Tasmania, only £59 18s. per head. The average for the other States was £5 4s. more than the Tasmanian figure. Why is the Tasmanian figure lower than the other figures. Is it because Tasmanians are more depressed? Are they more peasant-like? Are they different from us? I am pretty certain that honorable members who represent Tasmanian electorates will not agree with that. The reason is that, with the exception of the City of Launceston, Tasmania has no Saturday shopping. That is all it is. If people are given more opportunities to buy goods, retail sales will rise. That was found here in Canberra. Canberra has Friday night and Saturday morning shopping, and retail sales in Canberra are high. The reason that that is not the position throughout New South Wales is that one of the Labour Party’s bosses, Mr. 0’Dea. refused to allow proper shopping hours in New South Wales. If each breadwinner and his wife go shopping together, more money will be spent in the retail trade. However, as a consequence of Mr. O’Dea’s refusal, instead of that happening, a lot of money is going to gambling. There is more gambling in New South Wales than in any other State of Australia.

The Leader of the Opposition, in his speech, showed great sympathy for the primary producer. He said -

In 19S6-S7, wages and salaries amounted to £2,827,000,000 while farm incomes totalled £520,000,000. Four years later, in 1960-61, wages and salaries were increased by £743,000,000 to £3,570,000,000, but farm incomes fell- yes, fellby £53,000,000. . . .

How much of that decline in farm incomes has gone in wages and salaries? That is what I would like to know. The Leader of the Opposition made no attempt to suggest that there was a reason for the decline. The decline in farm prices is not confined to Australia. The American farmers increased production by 28 per cent, between 1952 and 1960, but during that period their farm incomes fell by 19 per cent. Under this Government Australian farmers increased their production by 41 per cent, and their incomes rose by only 7 per cent. Therefore, this Government has done even better than the American Government has done. The point I want to make is that all farm incomes are falling and that is one of the great problems we have to solve.

The Budget is prepared by the Government, which has a lot of experience, but there is one point I should like to make in criticism of it. I should like to see more money made available to the Development Bank. It needs more funds. I believe the private banks should be allowed to develop agricultural branches. Agriculture needs long-term loans. How can we have longterm propositions from the private banks if the Reserve Bank makes regular call-ups under the statutory reserves scheme? We cannot have long-term propositions for stimulating agriculture if at the same time the Reserve Bank is going to call up money to decrease liquidity according to the condition of the economy. In practice, the private banks have no separate agricultural branches. In fact, during the credit squeeze much pressure was brought to bear on rural accounts simply because the credit squeeze covered the whole area. If rural accounts were excluded from the right of the Reserve Bank to call up statutory reserves, farmers would have a more stable long-term economy.

I support the Budget very strongly. Everywhere I go I find that people are in entire agreement with it. Australians want security. They will not buy the proposition put up by the Labour Party. However, there is one other point that I should like to criticize. I should like this matter to be more carefully examined before the next Budget is introduced, although I do not know all the factors which influenced the Government’s decisions. 1 should like to see married men given greater taxation allowances for their wives and dependants. I believe that that is an avenue which provides good prospects for helping people with large families.

The second matter I should like to raise I shall discuss during the debate on the repatriation bill. That will be a better time to put the points that 1 want to make. On the whole, everywhere I go there is confidence in this Budget. We want to restore confidence, and speeches like that which was made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to-night are not speeches that bring confidence. This Government has a record unequalled in the history of Australian governments. As the Prime Minister said, you could go throughout the world to-day without finding a country that is better governed than Australia.

Progress reported.

page 591


Reserve Bank of Australia

Motion (by Mr. Adermann) proposed -

That the House do now adjourn.

East Sydney

.- 1 desire to take this opportunity to direct attention to a matter which I think warrants the closest immediate investigation. It refers to the calling of tenders for the construction of the new head-quarters in Sydney of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Fourteen leading building construction firms were invited by the bank authorities to submit tenders for this work. They were invited to submit their tenders only after the most exhaustive inquiries had been made in regard to their financial standing and their performance record. To indicate to honorable members that the inquiries were of a most exhaustive kind, I point out that tenderers were asked to provide their back balance-sheets for three years. They were also asked to authorize the bank authorities to get a report from the bank with which they were doing business. After these most exhaustive investigations had been made, on 24th June of this year these firms received a letter inviting them to submit a tender. Tenders closed on 4th August of this year.

On 10th August, four of the tenderers were advised that they had been unsuccessful. These four were amongst the lowest five tenderers. They were the lowest tenderer, the second lowest tenderer, and the fourth and fifth lowest tenderers. Without any reason being given, they were informed that they were unsuccessful with their tenders. The lowest tender was submitted by a firm that has a great reputation in the building industry, Eastment and Sons Proprietary Limited. To indicate that these contracts are not chicken feed, I mention that the price of the lowest tender was £4,535,000. As I have said, without any explanation being given, within six days after the closing of tenders, four of the lowest five tenderers, including the lowest two, were advised that their tenders had been unsuccessful.

Let me give the House an idea of some of the work that the lowest tenderer has been able to perform, in order to show that it is a firm of some magnitude. Eastment and Sons Proprietary Limited built the Yaralla military hospital at Concord, Greenway Flats at Milson’s Point, and the Haymarket telephone exchange. It has also completed successfully a number of other great works. So it will be rather interesting to know why in this case the lowest tender has been rejected, especially after the tenderer had been submitted to the most exhaustive investigation in regard to financial circumstances and record of performance. 1 understand that Eastment and Sons Proprietary Limited endeavoured to get some explanation from the bank as to why its tender, which was the lowest, had been passed over.

Mr Bryant:

– Was it substantially lower than the others?


– The second lowest tender was £18,000 above the lowest tender, and it, too, was rejected. The fourth lowest tender was £62,000 above, and it was rejected. The fifth lowest tender was £67,000 above, and it was rejected. So honorable gentlemen can see that there was some considerable difference in the amounts of the tenders. In any case, if there is any merit at all in the tender system the basis ought to be acceptance of the lowest tender unless there is some very substantial reason, that the Government in this instance has not revealed, why the lowest tenderer should not get the contract.

When I said that Eastment and Sons Proprietary Limited and the other unsuccessful tenderers had been given no reason at all for the rejection of their tenders, perhaps I was not quite correct, because they were told, if this can be regarded as a reason, that investigations into the fourteen building construction firms which were invited to tender, although these investigations had gone on for some weeks, had not been completed when the tenders were invited. That was the only explanation that was given to them. What was discovered which made four of the lowest five tenderers ineligible? These were all reputable building firms.

Let me tell the House of one remarkable feature. Bruce Cameron and Associate are quantity surveyors who have done a tremendous amount of work for the Commonwealth Department of Works. They were so disturbed at what had happened about these tenders that they wrote a letter of protest to the bank authorities. Bruce Cameron and Associate l-ave since been advised by the Government, or by the Department of Works, that they are to receive no further government work, although a great deal of their work had previously consisted of work for the Government. When Mr. Tate, a member of the establishment section of the Reserve Bank, was interviewed - I understand, by some tenderers - he said that it was always understood that the lowest or any tender need not necessarily be accepted. But surely if the lowest tender is not accepted there is an obligation on the Government to reveal why it is not accepted. even if it is a condition of tendering that the lowest tender need not be accepted. There is a penalty of £2,000 per week for nonperformance or completion of the contract within the stipulated time by the successful tenderer. But the third tenderer, who evidently is still in the running, has submitted a price £39,000 higher than that of the lowest tenderer and there is a differ ence of only a few weeks between his time and that set by the lowest tenderer for the performance of this work. He could very easily take the same time and pay the £2,000 penalty and still be above the figure of the lowest tenderer.

All these tenderers - reputable building firms - have been put to unnecessary expense, because I have been told that a tender for a £4,500,000 contract involves them in expenses of between £2,000 and £5,000. Despite that, it took the Government or the bank authorities six days to notify four tenderers that they had been unsuccessful. Although the Governor of the Reserve Bank indicated some weeks ago that he was going to reveal who the successful tenderer was, so far he has not made any announcement and . some twenty days have elapsed since these four unsuccessful tenderers were informed.

What is causing the delay? Is it simply because the Government and the bank authorities now feel that they have to tread very warily if they want to give this contract to some firm which is not the lowest tenderer but which evidently is able to exercise some influence with the Government? That is all I know about it, but I think it is sufficient to satisfy any reasonable member of this House or of the Australian community that this matter ought to be thoroughly sifted. There ought to be a public investigation. The Master Builders Association is very disturbed about this action on the part of the bank authorities. A master builder who submits the lowest tender naturally expects to be the successful tenderer, yet he and other master builders are passed over without any explanation at all! I guarantee that if the Government agrees to establish a proper public investigation there will be people coming forward from the building industry who will be prepared to give evidence on oath in regard to what has happened in respect of these tenders. I think this matter warrants investigation and I will listen with great interest to the explanation of the Minister for Works (Mr. Freeth).

Minister for the Interior and Minister for Works · Forrest · LP

– I regret that the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), in asking for an explanation to-night, will be disappointed, because I have heard his complaint for the first time. Quite obviously, if there are fourteen tenderers and only one of them, who has not yet been announced, is to be awarded the contract, there will be thirteen of them who will be willing to complain about the situation.

Mr Ward:

– Only one of them was the lowest tenderer.


– The honorable member lays great emphasis on the lowest tender. I wonder why, at this stage, before the successful tender has been announced, he is so enthusiastic to advocate the lowest tender. In the Department of Works, and in government tendering generally, there are literally hundreds of cases throughout the year where the lowest tender, for one reason or another, is not accepted.

The honorable member has raised a specific matter at this stage, before any decision has been made by the responsible authority, which is the Reserve Bank of Australia, and not the Government. The Department of Works acts as agent for the bank in the matter. In this case, I agree that if the decision is not awarded to the lowest tenderer there must be some substantial reason for it. I accept that, but further than that I would not go. The honorable member himself indicated that there were large problems other than price in regard to this building. I think that, seeing that the honorable member has raised this matter before the House at this time, all that can be done is for me to say that the Government will undertake to give a full report to the House on the circumstances of the contract and the tenders. We will then see whether there is anything that needs further inquiry.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 10.35 p.m.

page 593


The following answers to questions were circulated: -


Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. How many wool producers have flocks of sheep in, the following categories: - (a) up to 500, (b) from 500 to 2,000, and (c) in excess of 2,000?
  2. What is the total number of sheep in each of these categories?
Mr Adermann:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. The following figures resulting from the 1959-60 special sheep flock size classification collection have been furnished by the Bureau of Census and Statistics with the advice that they may be subject to minor revisions: -

Commonwealth Offices, Toowoomba

Mr Swartz:

z asked the Minister for Works, upon notice) -

  1. Is any change contemplated in the plans for the Commonwealth Administrative Building in Toowoomba, Queensland, following the recent inspection of the proposed site by the Public Works Committee?
  2. Can this project be included in the Works Programme for the financial year 1961-62?
Mr Freeth:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. Yes. Some minor variations were suggested by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works following its inquiry and these have been accepted by the Government. The approval to proceed along the lines suggested by the Committee was given by the House on 10th May, 1961.
  2. The project is included in the 1961-62 Works Programme.


Mr Daly:

y asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

  1. Can he state the names of overseas artists engaged by television’ Channel 2 in Sydney during the past twelve months?
  2. What were the nationalities of these artists and what salaries or fees were paid to them?
  3. What Australian artists were engaged during the same period and what salaries and fees were paid in each case?
Mr Davidson:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. People who were not Australians who took part in A.B.C. television programmes in the twelve months prior to 4th May, 1961, and their nationalities were -

  1. Talks Programmes. - Sir Harrie Massey (United Kingdom), Aaron Copland (U.S.A.), Cornelia Otis Skinner (U.S.A.), Professor Maury Massler (U.S.A.), Dr. Jarvid Iqbal (Pakistan), Mrs. Margaret Ballinger (South Africa), Dr. Kenneth Foster (United Kingdom), Professor P. C. Mahalanobis (India), Frank Worrell (West Indies), Rt. Hon. Viscount Caldecote (United Kingdom), RearAdmiral A. R. Heslet (United Kingdom), Sir Colin Anderson (United Kingdom), Could Adams (United Kingdom), Ralph M. Binney (U.SA.), Dr. J. H. Hunt (United Kingdom), Jimmie Edwards (United Kingdom), A. C. Jerath (India), Sakuntala Roman (India), Elsie Morrison (United Kingdom), Mioko Takeshita (Japan), Mrs. F. Skaise (United Kingdom), Jean Ling (Singapore), Eliabeth Talbot-Martin (U.S.A.), Professor Walsh McDermott (U.S.A.), Dr. Albert Morris (U.S.A.), Professor John Hope Franklin (U.S.A.), Sir Alexander Todd (United Kingdom), Kwame Bosque-Hamilton (Ghana), Walter M. Casey (U.S.A.), Paul Robeson (U.S.A.), Sir Ciough Thurasisingham (Malaya), Professor Asa Briggs (United Kingdom), Dr. Albert Truman (Canada), Professor Ungku Aziz (Malaya), Sir Roland Robinson (United Kingdom), Anna Russell (U.S.A.), Dan Farson (United Kingdom), Nat Jackley (United Kingdom), Madan Mohan Row (India), TI Miss Subranianian (Thailand), Valmae Steinis (Germany), Miss Kato Fanna Tonga), Rev. Dr. Jennings (United Kingdom), Mrs. R. Anet (India), M. Michel Saus-Salaz (France), Mr. Kalman Solymossy (Hungary), Captain Arland (United Kingdom), Mrs. s.. I. Derauiyagala (India), Rachelle Banchesska (India), Winifred Atwell (Trinidad), Elisabeth Mitchell (United Kingdom), Mr. George Hack (U.S.A.), Hy Hazell (United Kingdom), Gladys Aylward (United Kingdom), Miss Tara Singh (Fiji), Sister Alice Grided Canada), Mrs. G. Tzipine (France), Hi-Kwei Sze (American China), Mrs. Anden (Philippines), Miss Bunty Turner (United Kingdom), Julie Palmer (U.S.A.), Mrs. V. T. Karuth (Malaya), Jan Wilson (America), Captain Russell (U.S. A.), Young, Mariposa (U.S.A.), John Cotton, Mariposa (U.S.A.), Mrs. Gill (United Kingdom), Clare Spackman (U.S.A.), Claude Manerdey (France), Alexander Archdale (United Kingdom), Freddie & Mrs. Bamberger (US.A),

Miss Florence Byerly (U.S.A.), Miss Joytikana Rae and two models (India), Lauri Francks (U.S.A.), Hon. Mrs. Maurice Lubbock (United Kingdom), Miss Helene Burollaud (France), Captain A. N. Boulton (U.SA.), Samuel Makamba (Africa), Dr. Doris Odium (United Kingdom), Mrs. Bruce Page (Canada), Miss Alice Pinney (U.S.A.), Mr. and Mrs. Paul Sharrott (U.S. A.), Martin Redpath (United Kingdom), Commander W. Dedrick (US.A.), James Oberley (U.S.A.), C. Hardey Gratten (U.S.A.), Robert Conradt (U.S.A.), Edith Dahl (U.S.A.), George Slaughter (U.S.A.), Dorothy Cage (U.S.A.), “Wild Red” Berry (U.S.A.), Arthur Rutsen (U.S.A.), Father Clifford King (U.S.A.), Dr. Persia Campbell (U.S.A.), Eugene Kaplan (U.S.A.), Bob Tattersall (U.S.A.), Maynard Cohick (U.S.A.), Fred Cole (U.S.A.), John Hadland (United Kingdom), Dame Margot Fonteyn (United Kingdom), Mrs. Warren Deacock (United Kingdom), Lord Lymington (United Kingdom), Harold Hennessey (United Kingdom), Ernest Sprod (United Kingdom), Mr. and Mrs. Johnson (United Kingdom), David Williams (United Kingdom), George Kerstein (United Kingdom), Denis Silk (United Kingdom), Chip-Yu (China), Dr. Adaseissha (India), Mr. Hudi Berg (Germany), Mr. S. Parastaev (U.S.S.R.), Margaret Ruxton (South Africa), Mrs. Audrey White-Adeluer (United Kingdom), Kamea Cabe (New Guinea), Miss Seggerman (Switzerland), Stauros Andreskos (Greece), Marjorie Stewart (United Kingdom), Candy Rogers (U.S.A.), Bob Wiley & Nancy Langton (U.S.A.), Mrs. A. Manoz (Philippines), Chin Fu (China), George Pilavidid (France), Brigadier Boyce (United Kingdom), Freda Larsen (United Kingdom), Mrs. Alfred Hitchcock (U.SA.), Mrs. Hendricks (Holland), Miss Huffam (United Kingdom), Mrs. Wisamuller (Holland), Robert Kapferer (Europe), Terrence Finnigan (Ireland), J. Luxton (United Kingdom), Chief Purser, Mariposa (U.S.A.), Chief Steward, Mariposa (U.S.A.), Jogita Berzins and Latvian dancers (Latvia), Ann Lett (Europe), Mr. Cohes (U.SA.), Chris Rasmussen (United Kingdom), Julia Clements (United Kingdom), Mr. Grant (U.S.A.), Hon. Mrs. Bower (United Kingdom), Mrs. Margot Campbell (United Kingdom), Lady Gamage (United Kingdom), Miss Wilma Berg (Germany), Lady Slattery (United Kingdom), Miss Joyce Whitworth (United Kingdom), Lady Hamilton Fairley (United Kingdom), Judy Bruce (United Kingdom), Mary Seah (China), Mrs. V. Soski (U.S.A.), Miss Daisy Bridges (United Kingdom), Hon. Mrs. Bower (United Kingdom.), Charlton Heston (U.S.A.), Frank Gordon (U.S.A.), Mr. and Mrs. J. Zuber (U.S.A.),

Rossario Mazzeo (U.S.A.), Miss Bill; Burke (U.SA.), James Kenger (U.S.A.), Claudia Franck (U.S.A.), Ula Rose (U.S.A.), Grant Simmons (U.S.A.), Stuart Auer (U.SA.), Victor Bennett (U.S.A.), Ron Randall (U.S.A.), Leroy Warriner (U.S.A.), David Greer (U.SA.), Seaman James Richie (U.S.A.), Michael Miles (United Kingdom), Princess Levania (United Kingdom), Dr. Barbara Moore (United Kingdom), Dr. William Belson (United Kingdom), George King (United Kingdom), Mr. and Mrs. Adams (United Kingdom), Mr. D. Moore (United Kingdom), R. C. Morgan (United Kingdom), Frederick Joss (United Kingdom), Han Suyin (China), Edward Manson (China), George Singh (India), Jean Buhler (Switzerland), Angelo Vetucci (Italy), Terasita Bualong (Philippines), Colonel Dina Worth (Israel), Mr. Justice Hunter (Tonga), Professor G. Woodward (United Kingdom), Sir Alexander Todd (United Kingdom), Mr. Richard Gould-Adams (United Kingdom), Dr. Theodore Klump (U.S.A.), Mr. Andrew Kambale (Fiji), Mr. R. Tripp (New Zealand), Sir Robert Robinson (United Kingdom), Dr. Ivan Polunin (United Kingdom), Mr. Joen Utzon (Denmark).

  1. Variety Programmes. - The Windjammers (vocal trio) (Norway), Albert Laguere (Jamaica)), Max Geldray (Holland), The Duvanders (dancers) (Holland), Maria Martini (Italy), Chang (China), Therese Lung Ping (China), Adrian Baianu (Rumania), The Malayan Tria (Malaya), Kahu-Kincaha (New Zealand), Therese Talbert (France), Leo Bassi and June (France), Othon Mestnik (France), Maria Waleszska (Poland), Los Espanoles (Spain), Wawra Sisters (Austria), Percy Faith (United States), John Calvert (U.S.A.), The Del Rubio Triplets (U.S.A.), Bob Markworth and Mayana (U.S.A.), Jerry Leader (U.S.A.), Los Quatros Aros (Philippines), Ricman Duo (Philippines), Leilani (Fiji), Frank Brozzesi (Unknown), Eddie Calvert (United Kingdom), Dorothy Squires (United Kingdom), Tommy Godfrey (United Kingdom), Earl and Vaughan (United Kingdom), Hopey Keen (United Kingdom), Yolande (Jamaica), The Chicos (Vocal Trio) (Holland), Augusto Matsa (Italy), Michael O’Duffy (Ireland), Che Chung Chong and Mana Koon (China), Martha Kuty (Hungary), Elic Duval (Switzerland), Maori High Fives (New Zealand), The Vilstis (U.S.S.R.), The Rivieras (France), The Flying Micheles (France), Marie Clare (France), Stasy Kypn (Greece), Pedro Terlis (Spain) Gabor Mosley (Austria), Bobby Rydell (U.S.A.), Paul Desmond (U.S.A.), The Coquettes (U.S.A.), Paul Robeson (U.S.A.), Baby Jane (Philippines), Cornelis Ballanque (Philippines),

Yolande Parolo (Cuba), Montego and Partner (Germany), Lynne Allison (United Kingdom), Digby Wolfe (United Kingdom), Dennis Spicer (United Kingdom), Dennis Shirley (United Kingdom), Sid and Max Harrison (United Kingdom).

  1. Rural Programmes. - Dr. B. R. Sen (India), Mr. S. Mariti (India), Mrs. H. Morita (Japan), Miss Y. Watanabe (Japan), Mrs. S. Sidichai (Thailand), Mr. C. Abesekera (Ceylon?, Mr. L. P. Jayatunge (Ceylon), Mrs. C. M. Hirodo (Japan), Mrs. F. Oda (Japan), Mrs. T. Yamade (Japan), Mrs. S. Cookey (Nigeria), Mr. V. D. Madgulkar (India).
  2. Serious Music Programmes. - A.

Rostropovich (U.S.S.R.), Bela Siki (Switzerland), Tatyana Nikolayeva (U.S.S.R.), Lorin Maazel (U.S.A.), Alexander Zakin (U.S.A.), Alfredo Campoli (United Kingdom”, Philippe Entremont (France), Grant Johannesen (U.S.A.), Galina Vishneskaya (U.S.S.R.), Claremont Quartet (U.S.A.), Abbey Simon (U.S.A.), Allegri Quartet (United Kingdom), Isaac Stern (U.S.A.), Yi-Kwei Sze (U.S.A.), Lois Marshall (Canada).

  1. Sporting Programmes. - -Mohibullah Khan (Pakistan), Jim Ferrier (U.S.A.), Arthur Gilligan (United Kingdom?, Ram Levy (Israel), Vernon Wenzel (South Africa), Jerry Gomez (West Indies), Michael Hann (United Kingdom), Innes Ireland (United Kingdom), Gerry Chaldi (Israel), Alick Jeffrey (United Kingdom).
  2. Children’s Programmes. - Tor Holdt (Scandinavia), Robert di la Vaggas Imre Panda (Austria), Frank Galago (Spain).
  3. Religious Programmes. - Rt. Rev. Stephen

Neill (United Kingdom), Rev. Canon Max Warren (United Kingdom), Rev. Philip Potter (Jamaica), Rev. Eric Thornton (United Kingdom).

  1. Drama Programmes. - Joe Jenkins


The fees paid to artists are regarded as being confidential between the artists and the A.B.C.

  1. During the twelve months preceding 4th May, 1961, a total of 5,645 Australians were engaged to take part in A.B.C. television programmes, as compared with the 330 overseas contributors listed above. The figure for Australians does not include the members of the A.B.C.’s orchestras and dance bands. It is not considered practicable to list the names of the Australians. With regard to fees, see answer to question 2.

War Pensions

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -

  1. How many appeals were heard by each of the War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunals during the year ended on 30th June, 1961?
  2. In how many instanceswere the appeals successful?
Mr Osborne:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. A total of 7,026 appeals were heard by the four War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunals as set oat hereunder: - No. 1 Tribunal, 2,050; No. 2 Tribunal, 2,157; No. 3 Tribunal, 2,141; No. 4 Tribunal, 678 (commenced operating from 31st January, 1961).
  2. This information will be available in the annual report of each tribunal which will shortly be tabled in Parliament. Pending the tabling of these reports, the only information available in my department is that a total of 1,085 appeals were allowed by all tribunalsin the period.

Carriage of Mail by Air.

Mr Cope:

e asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

What amount was paid by his department to all airline companies in Australia for the carriage of air mail in the years 1956-57, 1957-58, 1958-59, 1959-60 and 1960-61?

Mr Davidson:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: - 1956- 57- £850,014 (included subsidy for domestic airline operations which, since 1st July, 1958, has been paid from Department of Civil Aviation votes). 1957- 58- £1,046,886 (included subsidy for domestic airline operations which, since 1st July, 1958, has been paid from Department of Civil Aviation votes).

1958-59- £713,651.

1959- 60- £1,038,353.

1960- 61- £1,207,007.

Royal Australian Navy

Mr L R Johnson:

son asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -

  1. What is the description and purchase price of each naval vessel purchased, or intended to be purchased, overseas this year?
  2. Was consideration given to the possibility of constructing these ‘vessels in Australia; if so, why wastheir construction not so undertaken, particularly in view of the large scale unemployment in theship building industry?
Mr Freeth:

– The Minister for the Navy hassupplied the following answers: -

  1. On the assumption that the question to which an answer is required should read, “ What is the description and purchase price of each naval vessel which the Navy has purchased or intends to purchase overseas for its re-equipment programme “, the answer is -

    1. Six “ Ton “ class coastal minesweepers at -a total cost, including conversion, base spares, and first outfit of stores, of £A.6,370,000 for the six. The vessels were paid for last financial year, as. was part of the conversion cost. These ships are of specialist nature, constructed of wood and aluminium, and are being re-engined with engines designed of materials specially selected not to activate a sensitive mine. They are to be equipped with the latest devices for locating and disposing of mines. Two of them will be specially equipped for mine hunting and theothers for mine sweeping duties.
    2. Two 4,500-ton destroyers of the “CharlesF. Adams “ class. The first of this class was commissioned in the United States Navy a year ago. Each ship is. complete with a wide range of the most modern equipment for locating and attacking submarines. Each ship is. also equipped with sea to air guided missiles of the Tartar class and dual acquisition to enable them to engage two aerial targets at once. The cost of each ship with all ammunition and equipment including a complete outfit of guided missiles (and base spares) is approximately £A.20,000,000. This compares with an estimated cost of £A.9,400,000 for constructing and outfitting including base spares a Type 12’ frigate in Australia. The Type 12 is. half the size, has no guided missiles of the Tartar type, and lacks other attacking features in the aerial defence role of the “Charles F. Adams”.
  2. Consideration was given to constructing these vessels in Australia but both types pose special problems of construction not previously encountered in Australia. Investigation showed that the cost of construction in Australia would greatly exceed that of purchase overseas in spite of the fact that all the specialized equipment, including guided missiles, would in any case have had to be imported from overseas. Investigation also showed that unless there was a very -considerable addition to the naval vote the vessels could not be constructed in Australia except at the cost of delaying their acquisition by the Royal Australian Navy for several years. The reference to “ large scale unemployment “ in the ship building industry appears to be completely unsupported by the facts, but in any case the Government takes the view that the purpose of a naval defence vote is not primarily to provide employment; it is to provide Australian fighting sailors with the greatest quantity of most ‘modern equipment in the shortest time and at the lowest cost to the taxpayer. This consideration, on which the lives of Australian sailors may depend, is the prime purpose of a naval defence vote.

Mr Swartz:

z asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -

  1. Will a new hydrographic survey vessel be added to the Royal Australian Navy?
  2. If so, what are the details of the equipment tobe fitted to the new vessel?
Mr Freeth:

– The Minister for the Navy has supplied the following answers: -

  1. A new survey ship is to be built for the R.A.N. and will replace H.M.A.S. “ Warrego “.
  2. The ship will be fitted with the following equipment: -

    1. One in number deep echo sounder and two in number medium depth echo sounders.
    2. Asdic set as an aid to survey.
    3. High definition navigational radar.
    4. Lambda survey system.
    5. Pitometer log.
    6. Four in number 28-ft. survey boats; one in number 16-ft. survey skiff; one in number surf boat; two in number 8-ft.

Pram dinghies.

  1. Two in number landrovers; one in number trailer.
  2. Helicopter.
  3. Bathy thermograph.
  4. Identification equipment.
  5. Electric telegraphs.

    1. Automatic steering,
  6. Two in number Bofors guns,
  7. Low, medium, high and ultra high, frequency communication equipment.

Labour Conventions

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -

  1. How many conventions have been adopted at International Labour Conferences?
  2. How many conventions have been ratified by Australia?
  3. Have any other English-speaking countries ratified fewer conventions?
  4. What conventions has Australia ratified in the last year?
  5. What conventions were considered at this year’s meeting of the Departments of Labour Advisory Committee?
  6. Did the Australian Government representatives support the conventions and recommendations adopted at the 45th (1961) Session of the International Labour Conference?
  7. Was the Australian Government invited to appear before the Committee of Experts on the Applications of Conventions and Recommendations; if so, concerning what conventions and recommendations?
  8. When does he expect to table a statement relative to the 41st (1958) and subsequent sessions of the International Labour Conference?
Mr McMahon:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. One hundred and sixteen.
  2. Twenty-five.
  3. Yes- Canada (19), South Africa (11), United States (7).
  4. None.
  5. No. 32 - Protection Against Accidents (Dockers) - Revised, 1932. No. 62- Safety Pro visions in the Building Industry, 1937. No. 81- Labour Inspection, 1947. No. 26 - Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery, 1928.
  6. Yes. They were the Convention (No. 116) which related to standardization of provisions regarding reports, and the Recommendation (No. US) relating to Workers’ Housing.
  7. No.
  8. It is hoped that Statements relative tothe 41st (Martime- 1958), 42nd (1958) and 43rd (1959) Sessions will be finalized shortly. The Instruments adopted at the 44th (1960) Session are still the subject of consultation with the appropriate authorities. The official texts of the Instruments adopted at the recently concluded 45th (1961) Session have not yet been received by the Australian Government.


Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

On what occasions and with what results has he conferred or corresponded with the New Zealand Minister for Marine concerning the establishment of a trans-Tasman shipping service?

Mr Opperman:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -

I met the New Zealand Minister for Marine in Melbourne in June last year and discussed with him tentative proposalsmade by the New Zealand Government for a joint trans-Tasman shipping service. The New Zealand Minister was told on that occasion that insufficient data on probable traffic trends was available in Australia to enable an accurate assessment to be made of the merits of the proposal. He promised then to have this information collated and sent to me, but no further correspondence or representations have been received from New Zealand on the matter.

Pollution of the Sea by Oil.

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

What progress has been made towards State legislation (a) complementary to the Pollution of the Sea by Oil Act 1960 and (b) conforming with the 1957 Convention relating to the Limitation of the Liability of Owners of Sea-going Ships?

Mr Opperman:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. State legislation complementary to the Pollution of the Sea by Oil Act 1960 has been passed by New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. The Government of South Australia is understood to be likely to introduce a bill shortly.
  2. The question of the possible introduction of Convention relating to the Limitation of the give effect in Australia to the provisions of the convention relating to the Limitation of the Liability of Owners of Sea-going Ships is a complex one which is being studied by the Crown Law authorities. The matter has not yet been taken up with the States.

Papua and New Guinea

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice) -

  1. How many (a) indigenous and (b) Australian children of school age live in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea?
  2. How many (a) indigenous and (b) Australian children in the Territory attend (i) administration (a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) technical schools; (ii) subsidized mission (a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) technical schools and (iii) unsubsidized mission schools?
  3. How many (a) indigenous and (b) Australian children of persons resident in the Territory are assisted to receive (i) primary, (ii) secondary, (iii) university and (iv) other education in Australia or elsewhere?
Mr Hasluck:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

Northern Territory

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

  1. How many (a) aboriginal and (b) other Australian children of school age live in the Northern Territory?
  2. How many (a) aboriginal and (b) other Australian children in the Northern Territory attend (i) administration and (ii) mission (a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) technical schools?
  3. How many (a) aboriginal and (b) other Australian children from the Northern Territory are assisted to receive (i) primary, (ii) secondary, (iii) university and (iv) other education elsewhere in Australia?
Mr Hasluck:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

In the answers the term “ aboriginal “ is applied only to those children who are wards of the Administration. There are numbers of children of aboriginal race included in the figures for “ Other Australian Children “.

  1. A three-year programme designed to bring education to 90 per cent, of all aboriginal children of school age in the Northern Territory is being introduced this financial year. The aim is to provide teachers and school accommodation for a further 1,200 children by the beginning of the 1964 school year. The programme will be concentrated initially on building up faculties on existing government settlements and mission stations. The later stages will involve establishing new schools on some of the more remote pastoral properties.

War Service Homes

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -

  1. Is it intended to build home units for exservicemen and war widows eligible for advances under the War Service Homes Act?
  2. Are advances available under the War Service Homes Act for home units as defined in the New South Wales Conveyancing (Strata Titles) Act?
Mr Roberton:

– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers: -

  1. It is not practicable at present to furnish an answer to this question - see answer to question 2.
  2. The question whether finance will be made available under the provisions of the War Service Homes Act in respect of a home unit erected in accordance with a strata plan registered under the Conveyancing (Strata Titles) Act 1961 is at present under consideration.


Mr Cope:

e asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -

How many age and invalid pensioners were in receipt of the 10s. supplementary allowance at 30th June, 1961?

Mr Roberton:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: - 66,389 age pensioners and 16,837 invalid pensioners.

Social Services

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -

When and by what amount was each social service benefit last increased?

Mr Roberton:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -

Age and invalid pensions - 1960 by 5s. a week.

Widows’ pensions - 1960 by 5s. a week.

Wives’ allowances - 1952 by 5s. a week.

Children’s allowances - 1951 by 2s 6d. a week.

Additional pension for each child after the first - 1956 introduced at 10s. a week.

Supplementary assistance - 1958 introduced at 10s. a week.

Funeral benefit - 1943 introduced at £10.

Maternity allowances -

Where no other children- 1943 by £10 10s.

Where one or two previous children - 1943 by £11. Where three or more previous children - 1943 by £10.

Child endowment -

Each child after first- 1948 by 2s. 6d. a week.

First child - 1950 introduced at 5s. a week.

Unemployment and sickness benefits -

Adults- 1957 by 15s. a week.

Unmarried minors -

Under eighteen - 1957 by 5s. a week.

Eighteen to twenty years - 1957 by 7s. 6d. a week.

Additional benefit for spouse - 1957 by 7s. 6d. a week.

Additional benefit for one child - 1957 by 5s. a week.

Rehabilitation allowances - 1960 by 5s. a week.

Training allowances - 1955 by 5s. a week.

Living-away-from-home allowances - 1955 by 10s. a week.

Unemployment Benefits

Mr Cairns:

s asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -

  1. How many (a) men and (b) women were in receipt of unemployment benefits on the 30th June, 1961?
  2. How many (a) men and (b) women were receiving unemployment benefits on the 30th June, 1961, at the following weekly rates: - (a) for adults or married minors, £3 5s.; (b) for unmarried persons aged 16 and 17, £1 15s.; (c) for unmarried persons aged 18 to 20, £2 7s. 6d.; (d) for dependent spouses, £2 7s. 6d.; and (e) for one child, 10s.?
Mr Roberton:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. The figures, for the statistical week ending 24th June, 1961, i.e., the week ended immediately prior to 30th June, are - (a) 42,479 men, (b) 11,775 women.
  2. Regular statistics of recipients of unemployment benefit according to benefit rate and conjugal condition are not kept. The information requested is therefore not available.

Unemployment Statistics

Mr Cope:

e asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -

  1. Do the figures of registered unemployed, as released by his department, include unemployed persons in migrant camps?
  2. How many migrants in Australia are registered as unemployed with the department?
  3. How many migrants in Australia are in receipt of unemployment relief?
Mr McMahon:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. Assisted passage migrants who, while awaiting initial placement in employment in Australia, are living in the Department of Immigration’s migrant reception and accommodation centres are not included in statistics of persons registered for employment by the Commonwealth Employment Service. 2 and 3. There are no statistics of migrants registered for employment or of migrants receiving unemployment benefit. Employment officers deal with applicants on the basis of their qualifications, experience, aptitudes and wishes - not on the basis of their country of origin or how long they have been in Australia.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 August 1961, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.